New Jazz Adds – 7/16/2019
Anat Cohen Tentet – Triple Helix (Anzic): “Anat does what all authentic musicians do: She tells stories from her own experiences that are so deeply felt that they are very likely to connect listeners to their own dreams, desires and longings.” (Nat Hentoff) “Anat has been declared Clarinetist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association every year since 2007 and has also been named the top clarinetist in both the readers and critics polls in DownBeat for multiple years running.” (https://www.anatcohen.com/biography) “Cohen delves into the wealth of ideas summoned by Lev-Ari on “Triple Helix”: classical and contemporary sounds, Americana lyricism, Latin and Middle Eastern rhythms and more. The clarinet trill at the outset hints briefly at Rhapsody in Blue, subtly proposing a 21st-century perspective on Gershwin’s model of hybrid-genre works for the concert hall.” (https://www.anatcohen.com/triple-helix) There is a wonderful range of music on this disc and when the Cohen Tentet turns off the beaten path the results are spell-binding. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Avishai Cohen – Arvoles (RazDaz): Though he began his musicianship on piano, inspired by the works of Jaco Pastorius, fourteen year old Avishai Cohen changed his instrument to bass. He has released numerous discs, this being his seventeenth as a leader. Half of the songs on this release are performed as a trio featuring Cohen on bass, Elchin Shirinov (piano) and Noam David (drums) while the other half add Bjorn Samuelsson (trombone) and Anders Harberg (flute). Cohen states, “This music is straight from my heart, I hope it moves you and uplifts your soul.” All of the songs except the title song are originals. Great variety and interplay throughout. Click here to listen to several songs from this disc.
Theo Croker – Star-People-Nation (Masterworks): Theo Croker (composer/trumpeter) now based in Los Angeles, attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music. This is his fifth release. The style is a mixture of funk, pop and jazz with similarity to the music of Earth, Wind and Fire and groups who played that mellow funk in the seventies. In addition of Theo Croker (trumpet, keys/synths, programming and background vocals) the players include Irwin Hall (reeds), Michael King (piano, keys), Eric Wheeler (bass) and Kassa Overall (drums, percussion) with special guests Rose Gold, ELEW, Eric Harland and Chronixx to round out the line-up. The content is intriguing and smooth. Click here to listen to the opening song on this release.
Al Foster Quintet – Inspirations & Dedications (Smoke Sessions): Composer/drummer Al Foster was born in Richmond and grew up in NYC from an early point in his childhood. He decided on drums as his instrument and he has certainly had a wonderful career. He first recorded on Blue Mitchell’s “The Thing to Do” at age 20 and joined Miles Davis’ group when Jack DeJohnette left in 1972. Foster was 29 at that time and stayed with Davis until 1985. This disc features eleven compositions by Foster and opens with Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island” and closes with Davis’ “Jean-Pierre”. The Players are Foster on drums, Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Dayna Stephens (tenor and bari sax), Adam Birnbaum (piano) and Doug Weiss (bass). This is a wonderfully swinging set and the interplay by Pelt and Stephens is especially terrific. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Stan Getz – Gatz At The Gate: The Stan Getz Quartet Live At The Village Gate, 11/26/1961 (Verve): “Getz At The Gate” is a previously unreleased 1961 live recording from the historic Village Gate in New York City. This release features an all-star, rarely heard quartet with pianist Steve Kuhn, bassist John Neves and drummer Roy Haynes (aka ‘The Boston Band’).” (https://www.amazon.com/Stan-Getz-At-Gate-CD/dp/B07QD32SVK) This two disc set features Getz (tenor sax), Steve Kuhn (piano), John Neves (bass) and Roy Haynes (drums) and could certainly be one of Getz’ best recordings. The playlist includes “It’s All Right With Me”, “Airegin”, “Woody ’N You”, “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most” and “Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid”, among others and the group was in stellar form! Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this release.
Pureum Jin – The Real Blue (Cellar Music): This is alto saxophonist Pureum Jin’s first release and she has gained quite a lot of praise from musicians, including her former boss – Phil Woods and Charlottesville’s own royalty – John D’earth, Robert Jospe, and Charles Evans. She also gives a shout out to Gary Funston and the Charlottesville Jazz Society. Jin’s sax playing is truly outstanding! JIn’s players include Jeremy Manasia (piano), Luke Sellick (bass), and Willie Jones III (drums) with Sabeth Perez adds vocals on a couple of songs. This disc is solid from end to end! Click here for a performance of “Trembling Forward”, a Jin original and the first piece on this disc.
Ryan Keberle & Catharsis – The Hope I Hold (Self-produced): Ryan Keberle (trombone) returns with a musical set that offers many messages and musical styles. “Keberle combines that wealth of influence and experience into a bold group sound with the debut of his pianoless quartet, Catharsis. The band comprises some of the most compelling up-and-coming voices in jazz – trumpeter Mike Rodriguez, bassist Jorge Roeder, and drummer Eric Doob – culminating in an approach rich with melodic invention, heavy groove, and a subtle indie rock sensibility. With the absence of a chordal instrument, Keberle was driven to focus more keenly on melodic and rhythmic aspects, resulting in memorable tunes and intensely driving grooves.” (http://ryankeberle.com/catharsis/) The music is unique and typically carries a message. The opening songs feature lyrics from Langston Hughes, while later songs carry lyrics from members of the group, often blending and shedding light from different global points of view. Click here to listen to samples of three selections from this disc.
Le Rex – Escape Of The Fire Ants (Cuneiform): “Le Rex is an up and coming Swiss jazz quintet with an interesting lineup of reeds, brass and drums: Benedikt Reising on alto saxophone, Marc Stucki on tenor saxophone, Andreas Tschopp on trombone, Marc Unternährer on tuba and Rico Baumann on drums. This may put you in the mind of a New Orleans marching group, and that is a strand of their DNA, but they run the length and breadth of jazz leaning into progressive and free sounds as well.” (https://jazzandblues.blogspot.com/2019/06/le-rex-escape-of-fire-ants-cuneiform.html) “Le Rex’s fourth album ‘Escape of the Fire Ants’ is the band’s most confident and cohesive, marked by consistently compelling compositions, careening melodies and thick, lapidary harmonies. It’s cosmopolitan music drawing on far-flung influences and connections to Chicago, Belgrade, Cape Town, New Orleans, and Lagos. Rather than flaunting an eclectic palette, Le Rex transmutes its source material into seamless original works reflecting the group’s singular collection of personalities. Featuring German-born alto saxophonist Benedikt Reising, tenor saxophonist Marc Stucki, trombonist Andreas Tschopp, tuba player extraordinaire Marc Unternährer, and drummer Rico Baumann, Le Rex reflects the fundamental strength that flows from musicians who’ve put in the time to forge deep ties on and off the bandstand.” (https://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/escape-of-the-fire-ants) Offbeat and a syncopated joy! Click here to listen to songs from this disc.
Brad Mehldau – Finding Gabriel (Nonesuch): Composer/multi-instrumentalist Brad Mehldau (piano, synthesizers, percussion, Fender Rhodes, and vocals) offers a multi-faceted sonic collection expressing the turn of current events and beliefs that are becoming more prevalent in the US and world. It’s expressed as a conversation between a father and son. “Mehldau explains, “Finding Gabriel came after reading the Bible closely for the last several years. The prophetic writing of Daniel and Hosea resonated in particular, as well as the wisdom literature of Job and Ecclesiastes, and the devotional words of Psalms. The Bible felt like a corollary and perhaps a guide to the present day—one long nightmare or a signpost leading to potential gnosis, depending on how you read it. The archangel Gabriel appeared to Daniel, telling him, ‘At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision.’ It seemed that the trick was to listen to Gabriel’s words through all the noise and find a way to explain the bedlam, not only to oneself, but to a young person with less of a reference as to what is right-side up—perhaps one’s own children. “In this upside down state of affairs, the prophet is a fool: ‘The man of the spirit is mad, because of your great iniquity and great hatred,’ Hosea says. He meant that the prophet indeed speaks the truth, but no one believes it anymore—it’s all fake news, no matter on which side of the fence you are standing. There is a temptation to make it all go away and escape into even more distraction, but this is only temporary refuge and leads one further into a matrix of falsehood. Eventually one comes up for air with more confusion and maybe even despair. With all the supposed connectivity, it seems that we are more separated from each other than ever, submerged in the deep water of unhappy solitude. Where to turn for the truth? Ask, with a humble heart, listen deeply, and the answers will come.” (https://www.bradmehldau.com/finding-gabriel) The players include Becca Stevens and Gabriel Kahane (voice); Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet); Michael Thomas (flute, alto sax); Charles Pillow (soprano sax, alto sax, bass clarinet); Joel Frahm (tenor sax); Chris Cheek (tenor sax, baritone sax); Mark Guiliana (drums). This is an intriguing and complex release. Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc.
Yoko Miwa Trio – Keep Talkin’ (Self-produced): Pianist/composer/educator Yoko Miwa was initially classically trained and applied to Berklee School of Music thinking that she would never be accepted, however, she was selected and at this point she has been on the faculty in jazz for several years. This is her eighth release and it is dazzling and delightful. Miwa plays with vigor and delight. She is backed up by Scott Goulding (drums) and Will Slater (bass on the first ten songs and by Brad Barrett on the final song). Six of the songs are originals and the covers range from Monk’s “In Walked Bud” and Mingus’ “Boogie Stop Shuffle” to Lennon and McCartney’s “Golden Slumbers/You Never Give Me Your Money” and Joni Mitchell’s “Conversation”. Wonderful throughout! Click here for an introduction to this release.
Ed Palermo Big Band – A Lousy Day In Harlem (Sky Cat): “Though he’s normally known for reinventing the works of Frank Zappa, composer & alto saxophonist Ed Palermo and his Big Band decide to stick to straight jazz here on A Lousy Day in Harlem, their brand new album for Sky Cat Records. Instead of Zappa, the focus is on some classics from Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, and Egberto Gismonte, as well as a healthy dose of Palermo originals. It’s a thrilling set of big band jazz, played by The Cats and Kittens of The Ed Palermo Big Band: Cliff Lyons (alto sax, clarinet, soprano sax on “Affinity”); Phil Chester (alto and soprano sax, flute, piccolo); Bill Straub (tenor sax, clarinet, flute); Ben Kono (tenor sax, flute, oboe); Barbara Cifelli (baritone sax, bass clarinet, Eb mutant clarinet); Ronnie Buttacavoli (lead trumpet); John Bailey and Steve Jankowski (trumpets); Charley Gordon (lead trombone), Mike Boschen (trombone); Matt Ingman (bass trombone); Ray Marchica (drums); Paul Adams (bass);
Bob Quaranta (piano); and Ted Kooshian (keys). Not that lousy! Palermo composed five of the songs and co-wrote another. The other songs came from Duke Ellington, Egberto Gismonti, Gigi Grice, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, David Leone and Renee Rosnes with Walt Weiskopf. And you can even listen to the songs by clicking here!
Marlene Rosenberg – MLK Convergence (Origin): Marlene Rosenberg (bass, vocal, composer of half of these songs) has pulled together a wonderful trio line-up which includes Kenny Barron (piano) and Lewis Nash (drums) with Christian McBride (bass on 2 songs) and Thomas Burrell and Robert Irving III (adding vocals on one song). The songs range from beautiful to illuminating and are always thoughtful, reminding us of the beauty and hatred within our country. It also reminds us of the vibrance of jazz in particular. Click here to listen to samples of two songs on this release.