New Jazz News – 2/16/2021

New Jazz Adds – 2/16/2021

Nicki & Patrick Adams – lynx (Sunnyside): “The collaborative essence of jazz ensures that the music is about making connections. These connections can be between individual musicians, different playing styles or even genres, as long as they are joined together in expressions through improvisation. Brothers Nicki and Patrick Adams have a natural bond that most musicians can never approximate with their peers. Their common upbringing and interests have also given them the idea to blend the aural tradition of jazz with the more written one of classical, with a unique approach that makes their efforts seem buoyant and natural on their new recording, Lynx. Originally from Prescott, Arizona, the Adams brothers both began playing piano early on at the behest of their parents. In middle school, the two entered the band program, and Patrick took up the trumpet. During high school, they discovered jazz under the guidance of master ceramicist/educator Heath Kreiger. Under Heath’s tutelage, Nicki and Patrick began to seriously focus on the craft, history and aesthetics of jazz improvisation. Heath’s unique approach to jazz education focused on developing a personal sound and left a lasting influence on the brothers…. The two perform together in a number of configurations, leading their own ensembles, and collaborating with bands of many different styles. They also have collaborated with many of jazz’s finest, including Francisco Mela, Robin Eubanks, Corey Wilcox and Mike King. Their debut recording as a duo, Lynx, takes its name from an Arizona lake that the brothers frequented during their boyhood years, solidifying bonds both fraternal and musical. The project evolved after Nicki began to reinvestigate classical pieces that he had played or listened to before he devoted his attention full time to jazz. Rather than study scores, the pianist relearned the pieces by ear in an aural learning approach more utilized by jazz and folk musicians. Nicki felt that this approach allowed him more insight into the creative choices of the composers.” (https://sunnysiderecords.bandcamp.com/album/lynx) The interplay between the brothers is magnetic and quite beautiful. Click here to listen to a song from this release.

Franco Ambrosetti Band – Lost Within You (Unit): “Swiss trumpeter / flugelhorninst Franco Ambrosetti opens his Lost Within You with “Peace,” from the pen of pianist Horace Silver…. Ambrosetti’s take on the tune is time-stands-still gorgeous. His tone is softer and warmer….” (https://www.allaboutjazz.com/lost-within-you-franco-ambrosetti-band-unit-records) Ambrosetti has terrific backing from John Scofield (guitar), Renee Rosnes and Uri Caine (piano), Scott Colley (bass) and Jack Dejohnette (drums, piano on the opener – Horace Silver’s “Peace”). There is a wide range of titles, but the tone is mellow and inviting throughout. Scofield has commented, “I have a real affinity with Franco’s playing. The Stuff he chooses to play, in terms of lines and the rhythm, feels like home to me.” (https://www.facebook.com/unitrecordsofficial/photos/a.102183374687621/195751825330775) Click here for a sample of the music.

Junk Magic – Compass Confusion (Pyroclastic): “At least one central idea of the new jazz of the 21st century is the flat-out rejection of the neo-traditional jazz purism represented by Wynton Marsalis during his first decade or so. That purism was laced with a rejection of The Other, as articulated with such self-righteousness by critic Stanley Crouch in so many syllable-rippling Marsalis liner notes. The encroachment that so horrified the late cultural pundit was that of—gasp and horror!—popular funk, soul, and hip-hop on the rarefied air of J A Z Z. When pianist Craig Taborn recorded Junk Magic for Matthew Shipp’s Thirsty Ear label in 2004, he was still mainly thought of as the accompanist of saxophonist James Carter, playing in a quartet that largely presented neo-traditionalism on steroids. In fact, Taborn had begun a solo career that was starting to veer into originality and a form of creative post-modernism. Not only would he venture into the ambiguous territory between structured and “free” playing (as on 2001’s Light Made Lighter), but he also started to use the tools of beat making that were part of electronic music. Enter Junk Magic. The 2004 band included saxophonist Aaron Stewart, the experimental viola player Mat Maneri, and drummer Dave King, whose main band the Bad Plus had just broken as the Cool New Thing, even though the jazz critics liked to criticize the band because, if you can believe this was still a thing, “the drummer plays too loud, like a rock drummer”. The 2004 recording dared to use loops and beats, spooky synth lines and textures, viola playing that was both gorgeous and sliding into the spaces between regular notes of the chromatic scale. It made us think that Taborn had some ideas that we didn’t know it was possible to have. As is too often the case, the new decade and century started a few years later than the calendar said it should. Here, at last, jazz was starting to sound wholly new even as it did jazz things, but did them with tools and textures drawn from elsewhere. Not funk and soul as Crouch had feared, either. Junk Magic was coming from European art music as well as hip-hop, though those two have their own historical overlap. This music was the opposite of dumbed-down or sold-out. It was breaking ground in new ways. Over time, it has also emerged as less rebellious than it is, well, refined. Conservative in its discipline and focus.” (https://www.popmatters.com/craig-taborn-junk-magic-compass-2648956007.html?rebelltitem=2#rebelltitem2) You can decide for yourself by listening to the opening song, “Laser Beaming Hearts”.

Kolotov Mocktails – Ivy Hall (Three Coasts Music): “As you would imagine, instrumental jamband the Kolotov Mocktails have a sense of humor. The mocktail part of the band might be a characteristically wry admission of how many styles and ideas they appropriate; and yet, they are absolutely unique. Their songs tend to be upbeat, the solos are purposeful and the tunes are catchy. (https://newyorkmusicdaily.wordpress.com/2020/12/13/kolotov/) “The Kolotov Mocktails Play Dynamic, Interesting, Subtly Amusing Cross-Genre Instrumentals” (delarue) The players are Dave Easley (pedal steel, electric guitar, Weissenborn guitar), George Mason (guitar, violin), John Lang (acoustic and electric bass, keys) and Rob McKendrick (drums, percussion) with guests Alan Walters (Scottish smallpipes), Jason Debord (keys) and Matt Sheens (keys). Truly eclectic and fascinating! Click here to listen to the songs on this release.

Russ Lossing – Meta Morphism (Sunnyside): “Lossing’s latest recording, Metamorphism, is an extension of his continually evolving compositional identity. Here he presents eight original compositions, each written with its own particular strategy for interplay among a stalwart ensemble of longtime collaborators. It is only with musicians with whom he has established a deeply felt musical connection that this music could actually be realized.” (https://www.sunnysiderecords.com/site/release_detail?id=1047) The players are Russ Lossing (piano), Loren Stillman (alto and soprano sax), John Hébert (bass) and Michael Sarin (drums). “Russ Lossing has been part of the New York jazz scene since 1986. Lossing played with drummer Paul Motian over a period of 12 years and was a member of the Paul Motian Quintet which played week-long gigs at the Village Vanguard in New York.” (https://www.russlossing.com/bio.html) “Lossing’s thoughtful, intriguing compositions, the sensitive correspondence among the players, and their captivating improvisational developments make Metamorphism a noteworthy addition to the jazz catalogue.” (https://www.melminter.com/2021/01/14/pianist-russ-lossings-metamorphism-captures-mystery-in-a-bottle/) Click here to listen to the title song.

Doug MacDonald Duo – Toluca Lake Jazz (Self-produced): “This recording came about after Harv and I started rehearsing as a duo in North Hollywood. I had never done a duo CD before and I thought it would be a unique project. Just adjacent to North Hollywood is Toluca Lake, an area named for its private lake, with a rich, vibrant history of entertainment, particularly jazz.” (https://www.dougmacdonald.net/) Click to listen to samples of songs on this disc.

New Faces – New Sounds (Posi-Tone): “Posi-Tone Records rolls out a second volume of “New Faces” with a musical message that stays focused on “New Sounds.” This group of “New Faces” (trumpeter Brandon Lee, alto saxophonist Markus Howell, tenor saxophonist Nicole Glover, pianist Caili O’Doherty, bassist Adi Meyerson and drummer Cory Cox) was assembled and sent off under the supervision of producer Marc Free to explore a wonderland of melodic mysteries and harmonic possibilities. The performances of these emerging artists are specifically intended to provide you with an insight into the musical aesthetics and operational ethos of Posi-Tone Records with an engaging program of fresh cuts and a few dusky gems from the label’s previous releases. Please take a moment to relax and experience the “New Sounds” of these talented artists as they work to provide you with the opportunity to enjoy a more delightful today and a brighter tomorrow.” (https://www.posi-tone.com/newsounds/newsounds.html) This is truly straight-ahead jazz: flowing rhythms and melodic performances that remind us of the many virtues of the style. The players are Doug Stone (tenor sax), Nick Finzer (trombone), Matthew Golombisky (bass) and Chris Teal (drums). Click here to listen samples of the songs on this release.

Quintopus – the adjacent possible (earsandeyes): “Improvisatory but not esoteric, virtuosic yet unpretentious, Quintopus mixes up its own electro-pop futurism out of a little jazz, a little rock, a splash of alternative indie pop, and a good old-fashioned sense of adventure. Drawing on its members’ diverse backgrounds in a full spectrum of jazz, rock, and classical music, the band applies its eclectic, open-ended approach to a mixed repertoire of original compositions and personalized arrangements of songs by artists including Bjork and Radiohead. While uncompromising in its pursuit of new musical territory, Quintopus remains equally dedicated to the belief that improvised instrumental music can be engaging and fun, providing grooved-based, hard-rocking performances that grab audiences, jazz fans or not. The brain-cephalopod of drummer, composer, and bandleader Chris Teal, Quintopus began as a collaboration of like-minded improvisers who met at Rochester, New York’s Eastman School of Music.” (https://www.allaboutjazz.com/tag-quintopus) Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of a few songs on this release.

Henry Robinett Quartet – Jazz Standards Volume 2: Then Again (Nefertiti): First, some words from Robinett: “I’m a jazz guitarist who plays a variety of, mostly, improvised music. I also write music, and own and operate a recording studio. I’m also a teacher and college professor who taught  at The University of the Pacific and Cosumnes River College and presently at carious star prisons in Northern California. Many of you probably know me from my band, The Henry Robinett Group. This has been, and continues to be,  a major creative outlet for me.” (https://henryrobinett.com/) I regret that I am not able to find a sample from this release.

Kristiana Roemer – House of Mirrors (Sunnyside): “Every individual has the opportunity to forge her own path through life making decisions based on internal and external factors. One’s intuitions, lessons learned, relationships and experiences inform the path one takes. Once the course has been taken, there is always reflection on the choices made and on what other choices may have yielded, and what they both may tell about one’s self. Vocalist/composer Kristiana Roemer likens these wide-ranging deliberations to a disorienting, ever-changing array of looking glasses, thus, the title of her new recording, House of Mirrors. Roemer’s recording debut finds the vocalist at an exciting time in her promising career, navigating her unique path, where she is ready to introduce her fabulously broad musical approach and singular experience to the world.” (https://sunnysiderecords.bandcamp.com/album/house-of-mirrors) Four of the songs on offer are Roemer’s compositions. The musicians supporting Roemer are Addison Frei (piano), Alex Claffy (bass), and Adam Arruda )drums) and guest performers Gilad Hekselman (guitar on one song), Ben Monder (guitar on three songs), Dayna Stephens (sax on two sings) and Rogerio Boccato (percussion on one song). Click here to listen to the songs on this release.

Adonis Rose – Piece Of Mind: Live At The Blue Llama (Storyville): “Adonis Rose is a Grammy-award winning artist, composer, educator, and producer from the city of New Orleans. He has played and recorded with the biggest names in jazz, including Terence Blanchard, Betty Carter, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Roberts, Harry Connick, Jr., and Wynton Marsalis, and has performed on the most renowned stages in the world such as Carnegie Hall, Olympia in Paris, North Sea Jazz Festival, Umbria, Birdland, Apollo Theater, Newport Jazz Festival, and Jazz at Lincoln Center, to name a few. Rose has over fifty recordings to his credit (five as a leader), including six with longtime friend, trumpeter Nicholas Payton. In 2010, he won a Grammy Award with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra for Best Large Ensemble. In January 2017, Rose was named the Artistic Director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) and led the 18-piece orchestra to its first concert season in October of that year that featured world-renowned artists Sheila E, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ledisi, Slick Rick, and Eric Benet. He has been instrumental in the organization’s success by developing educational and community programs, leading performances, and developing partnerships associated with The Jazz Market, a 350-seat performance venue in the New Orleans’ Central City neighborhood, which is home to the orchestra.” (https://www.offbeat.com/news/adonis-rose-named-new-orleans-music-and-culture-curator-for-jazzascona-in-switzerland/) Click here to listen to the songs on this release.

The 14 Jazz Orchestra – Cartoon Bebop (DaBon): “The 14 Jazz Orchestra is a thirteen piece Jazz ensemble under the direction of Dan Bonsanti, with a basic instrumentation of 4 saxes/woodwinds, 2 trombones, 3 trumpets, guitar, bass, keyboard, and drums. The ensemble takes a contemporary approach to a wide assortment of Jazz Styles… THE 14 Jazz Orchestra is comprised of 13 premier Jazz and studio musicians and distinguished Jazz Educators. Individually, the members of “THE 14” have recorded, toured, and/or performed with many of the greatest Jazz and Pop artists of our time, from the big bands of Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Mercer Ellington, and Woody Herman to such Jazz artists as Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughan, Jon Hendricks, Mel Torme, Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Turrentine, The Brecker Brothers, Eliane Elias, Bob Mintzer, Bob James, and Arturo Sandoval, just to name a few. Their collective resumes also include Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Nancy Wilson, Ray Charles, and Pop/Rock artists as diverse as Barbara Streisand, Marvin Gaye, and The BeeGees. The ensemble takes a Contemporary Jazz approach to a wide assortment of styles, performing compositions from Jazz composers such as Billy Strayhorn, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, John Scofield, and Wayne Shorter, and pop/rock artists such as Paul McCartney and John Lennon.” (https://www.14jazzorchestra.com/) The group constantly shifts point of style to create a fresh sound. It’s quite a shift that gives both traditional and funk styles a solid trade-off. Song titles range from covers of Chic Corea and Herbie Hancock to originals from Bonsanti. Fun and hip! Click here to check out the title song.

Kopastically,

Professor Bebop

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