Sandy Brown Jazz

 

Featured Albums Released in 2020

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Click here for Releases featured in 2019

 

By artist in alphabetical order:

 

 

 

A

Gianluca Peterella, Eivind Aarset, Michele Rabbia - Lost River

Ambrose Akinmusire - On The Tender Spot Of Every Calloused Moment

Lynne Arriale Trio - Chimes Of Freedom

AuB - AuB

 

 

B

John Bailey - Can You Imagine?

Joe Balke - Discourses

Ian Shaw, Iain Ballamy, Jamie Safir - What's New

Issie Barrett's Interchange - Donna's Secret

Harry Beckett - Joy Unlimited

Big Heart Machine - Live At The Jazz Gallery

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - Just Coolin'

Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow - Life Goes On

 

 

C

James Carney Sextet - Pure Heart

Cherise - Paradise

Avishai Cohen - Big Vicious

Nat King Cole - The Complete Nelson Riddle Studio Sessions

George Colligan Trio - Live In Arklow

Ken Colyer - The Real Ken Colyer

James Copus - Dusk

Julian Costello Quartet - Connections: Without Borders

 

 

D

Johnny Griffin and Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis - Ow! Live At The Penthouse

Steve Day and Mark Langford with Julian Dale - Pairing: Poetry and Music

Steve Day and Mark Langford with Julian Dale - Pairing: Poetry and Music

Michael Deighan - Ukulele Gershwin

Dinosaur - To The Earth

Niels Lan Doky - River Of Time

Joe Downard - Seven Japanese Tales

 

 

E

Duke Ellington Orchestra - Liederhalle Stuttgart 1967

 

 


F

Digby Fairweather - Notes From A Jazz Life

Kevin Figes Quartet - Changing Times

Alvin Schwaar, Bänz Oester, Noé Franklé - Travellin' Light

 

 

G

Elliot Galvin - Live In Paris At Fondation Louis Vuitton

Erroll Garner - Up In Erroll's Room

Stan Getz - Four Classic Albums (Fourth Set)

Dave Glasser - Hypocrisy Democracy

Matt Gold - Imagined Sky

Tom Green Septet - Tipping Point

Johnny Griffin and Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis - Ow! Live At The Penthouse

 

 

H

Wolfgang Haffner - Kind Of Tango

Jim Hart, Ivo Neame - Multiverse

Pablo Held - Ascent

Johnny Hodges - Creamy

Yuri Honing Acoustic Quartet - Bluebeard

Fred Hunt - Blues 'n Boogie

Johnny Hunter - Pale Blue Dot

Gary Husband and Markus Reuter - Music Of Our Times

 

 

I

Abdullah Ibrahim - The Balance

Dominic Ingham - Role Models

Issie Barrett's Interchange - Donna's Secret

 

 

J

Dusan Jevtovic - If You See Me

Dr John - Ske Dat De Dat : The Spirit Of Satch

Hank Jones - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter Vol 1

Pete Judge - Piano 2

 

 

K

Kansas Smitty's - Things Happened Here

Tony Kofi - Another Kind Of Soul : A Picture Of Cannonball

 

 

L

Brian Landrus - For Now

Steve Day and Mark Langford with Julian Dale - Pairing: Poetry and Music

Ant Law - The Sleeper Wakes

John Law's Congregation - Configuration

Peggy Lee - Ultimate Peggy Lee

Tony Lee - Tony Lee With The Alvin Roy Band

Let Spin - Steal The Light

Jazz At Lincoln Centre Orchestra - Sherman Irby's Inferno

Rob Luft - Life Is The Dancer

 

 

M

Rhada Thomas, Aman Mahajan - Bangalore Blues

Rudresh Mahanthappa - Hero Trio

Christian McBride - The Movement Revisited

Andrew McCormack - Solo

Zara McFarlane - Songs Of An Unknown Tongue

Pat Metheny - From This Place

Mezcla - Shoot The Moon

Dave Milligan - Memento

Andy Milne And Unison - The ReMISSION

Thelonious Monk - Palo Alto

Chris Montague - Warmer Than Blood

MoonMot - Going Down The Well

Misha Mullov-Abbado - Dream Circus

 

 

N

Naomi Nuti - Venus Eye

Jim Hart, Ivo Neame - Multiverse

 

 

O

Alvin Schwaar, Bänz Oester, Noé Franklé - Travellin' Light

Engin Ozsahin - Sequence Of Emotions

 

 

P

Charlie Parker - Five Classic Albums

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra - The Light That Shines

Ted Poor - You Already Know

Jure Pukl - Broken Circles

 

Q

 

R

Gary Husband and Markus Reuter - Music Of Our Times

Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio - Angels Around

The Ray Russell Quartet - Spontaneous Event : Live Vol 1 - 1967-69

 

 

 

S

Maria Schneider Orchestra - Data Lords

Alvin Schwaar, Bänz Oester, Noé Franklé - Travellin' Light

Ian Shaw, Iain Ballamy, Jamie Safir - What's New

Shabaka And The Ancestors - We Are Sent Here By History

Ian Shaw, Iain Ballamy, Jamie Safir - What's New

Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow - Life Goes On

Matthew Shipp - The Piano Equation

Debbie Sledge - Sledge Sings Simone

Walter Smith III / Matthew Stevens - In Common 2

Jim Snidero - Project-K

Dayna Stephens Trio - Liberty

Walter Smith III / Matthew Stevens - In Common 2

Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow - Life Goes On

 

 

T

Rhada Thomas, Aman Mahajan - Bangalore Blues

Stefano Travaglini - Monk

Trypl - Trypl

Oded Tzur - Here Be Dragons

 

 

U

 

V

Will Vinson - 441

 

 

W

T-Bone Walker - 5 Classic Albums

Marcin Wasilewski Trio with Joe Lovano - Arctic Riff

Teddy Wilson Trio - Revisits The Goodman Years

Juliet Wood - Sconsolato

 

 

X

 

Y

 

Z

 

 

 

Ant Law - The Sleeper Wakes
(Edition Records) - Released: 24th July 2020 (digital release only)

Ant Law (guitar); Michael Chillingworth (alto saxophone & bass clarinet (on tracks 7 & 9); Ivo Neame (piano); Tom Farmer (acoustic bass); James Maddren (drums); Tim Garland (tenor saxophone (tracks 1 & 2); Adam Kovacs (percussion (tracks 1 & 2)

Ant Law The Sleeper Wakes

 

 

British guitarist Ant Law’s new album ‘The Sleeper Wakes’ is a return to the spotlight for the talented musician and composer following his successful Edition debut ‘Life I Know’ in 2018. Loaded with infectious rhythmical hooks, lyrical flowing lines and progressive improvisation, this album is infused with the energy and accessibility that is introducing swarms of new fans to his music. The album reflects also the deeper interplay between the guitarist and the eclectic and diverse group of musicians who, with the deepest respect and honesty, have shaped this set into a sound that is distinctly Ant Law’s. This is an artist who is taking ever greater steps towards becoming an internationally significant guitarist, composer and bandleader. According to Ant Law “'The Sleeper Wakes' is the joyous flipside to 'Life I Know'. There's an emphasis on warmth here, in contrast to ‘Life I Know’ which was darker. Take for example a bright piece like ​ Harvest ​ from 'The Sleeper Wakes' versus ​ Laurvin Glaslowe​ from the old album. Or perhaps Swan Song​ versus The Act Itself​.” Which is interesting, considering that as the new album is about to be released, the world appears to be plunged into gloom. But then, as is demonstrated in the positive rainbow colours of the artwork, every cloud has a silver (or in this case, pink) lining, and as anyone who knows Ant Law, positivity isn’t exactly in short supply, and there’s always humour to undercut the serious business of creation (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video of Harvest : Video of The Sleeper Sleeps and The Sleeper Wakes : Listen to Swan Song :

 

 

 

 

 

Kansas Smitty's - Things Happened Here
(Ever Records) - Released: 26th June 2020

Giacomo Smith (alto sax, clarinet); Pete Horsfall (trumpet); Alec Harper (tenor sax); Dave Archer (guitar); Joe Webb (piano); Ferg Ireland (bass); Will Cleasby (drums)

Kansas Smitty's Things Happened Here

 

 

'Drawing influence from over one hundred years of jazz history, from Django Reinhardt to Ahmad Jamal, and the vivid musical landscapes of Debussy and even Brian Eno, British seven-piece and residents/owners of East London venue/bar of the same name, Kansas Smitty’s combine journeying with cinematic textures on new album Things Happened Here via K7’s newly revived Ever Records imprint.' (album notes). 'Kansas Smitty's is a Hackney bar as well as a band, a musical utopia whose name was conjured from speakeasy pipe-dreams and the trad and gypsy tndencies of transplanted American leader Giacomo Smith .... Kansas Smitty's pull towards the past never congeals into wighty torpid, and finds inspiration between the European wars, not in easy Dixieland retro. Nor though does it pour hot, beating blood into its 20th century ghosts'. (Nick Hasted in Jazzwise ***)

Details and Samples : Video of Sunnyland : Video of album launch concert :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zara McFarlane - Songs Of An Unknown Tongue
(Brownswood) - Released: 17th July 2020

Zara McFarlane (vocals);

Zara McFarlane Songs Of An Unknown Tongue

 

'Brownswood are delighted to present Zara McFarlane’s, Songs of an Unknown Tongue a masterful work that underlines her continuous growth as an artist. Zara’s fourth studio album pushes the boundaries of jazz adjacent music via an exploration into the folk and spiritual traditions of her ancestral motherland, Jamaica. The album is a rumination on the piecing together of black heritage, where painful and proud histories are uncovered and connected to the present. Partnering with cult South London based producers Kwake Bass and Wu-lu, Zara has created a futuristic sound palate, electronically recreating the pulsing, hypnotic rhythms Kumina and Nyabinghi – and the music played at African rooted rituals like the emancipation celebration Bruckins Party, and the lively death rites of Dinki Minki and Gerreh. These richly patterned electronic rhythms are balanced throughout by McFarlane’s distinctive, clear vocal tones, and vivid song writing. Zara’s critically acclaimed third studio album ‘Arise’ met with universal critical praise, and was supported by an impressive live tour performing at festivals such as Love Supreme, Field Day and SXSW. Zara is the winner of multiple awards including a Mobo, 2 Jazz FM Vocalist of the Year Award (2018 & 2015), an Urban Music Award, and Session of the Year at Worldwide Awards. Drawing respect from a wide range of artists, Zara has collaborated with Gregory Porter, Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd and Louie Vega. These new sonic explorations signal an exciting direction of travel for this innovative founding member of the UK’s vibrant homegrown jazz scene.' (album notes). 'Musically, lyrically, conceptually, in any number of ways Zara McFarlane's fourth studio album Songs Of An Unknown Tongue is a remarkable soul-stirring collection. It not only presents a fascinating exploration into the folk and spiritual traditions of her Jamaican heritage, but also .... shines a powerful light on the legacy of colonialism, empire and slavery ...' (Peter Quinn in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Listen to Native Nomad : Listen to Black Treasure :

 

 

 

 

 

Trypl - Trypl
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 21st August 2020

Ryan Quigley (trumpet); Trevor Mires (trombone); Paul Booth (sax); Alex Wilson (piano); Dimitris Christopoulos (bass); Edwin Sanz (percussion); Tristan Banks (drums)

Trypl

 

'Ubuntu Music is delighted to announce the signing of TRYPL -- featuring the superb horn section of Trevor Mires (trombone), Ryan Quigley (trumpet) and Paul Booth (saxophones) -- for the worldwide release of their debut album, 'TRYPL'..TRYPL is a UK based Latin Jazz outfit co-founded by the horn section consisting of Trevor, Ryan and Paul. This is new and fresh original music, penned by these three esteemed musicians, along with special guest Alex Wilson (piano). The band is also joined by powerhouses Dimitris Christopoulos (bass), Edwin Sanz (percussion), Tristan Banks (drums) and Davide Giovannini (drums).Their professional credentials read like the Who's Who in today's music.The album was recorded at keyboard artist Steve Winwood’s Wincraft Studios in The Cotswolds. As Trevor Mires explains: "Having had the immense pleasure of doing many recordings and gigs together as a horn section, it soon transpired that we had all spent many of our formative years as professional musicians touring and recording with many great salsa, boogaloo, and merengue bands, both in the UK and around the world. Combined with our love for the Latin Jazz idiom, the fast paced, high impact and groovy seed for TRYPL was born.“We were lucky enough to record at the legendary Wincraft studios, Steve Winwood’s private recording studio. It’s a beautiful location, set in the picturesque countryside of The Cotswolds and it provided the perfect, inspirational setting to make and record music along with some of our favourite musician friends. “We each penned a few tracks. Some were written many weeks prior to the recording date and others were written between recording, eating, sleeping and drinking!“We hope you enjoy this album as much as we enjoyed making it…” (album notes).

Details : Further Details : Introductory Video : Samples when available :

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Shipp - The Piano Equation
(Tao Forms) - Released: 22nd May 2020

Matthew Shipp (piano)

Matthew Shipp The Piano Equation'Further honing a singular cosmic musical language, Matthew Shipp begins celebrating his landmark 60th year with this solo piano recording. 'The Piano Equation' is also the inaugural release from Tao Forms, a new label founded by drummer-improviser-composer - and longtime Shipp collaborator - Whit Dickey. Over more than half of his lifespan, Shipp has built up an unparalleled body of work and a wholly original musical language that only becomes more hyper-focused and distinctive with the passage of time. Shipp's abstract eloquence is on vivid display throughout 'The Piano Equation', which presents Shipp alone at the piano, brilliantly solving his higher-order musical mathematics, approaching each new unknown from unexpected vantage points as in some form of cubist algebra. Shipp builds his solo music in a cellular fashion, formed like the building blocks of human life out of disparate elements that combine and evolve in novel and fascinating forms. Eruptive Cecil Taylor clusters are mutated by the interstellar rays of Sun Ra's philosophising, then spiral earthward in taut, obsessive figures. Stride, swing and the avant-garde collide like so many elemental particles, the aftereffects radiating outward in increasingly complex and intricate formations. The scientific, the personal, the political and the fantastic co-exist throughout Shipp's work, melding in the radical vocabulary that the pianist employs on the album, which speaks with its own alien yet familiar logic. Fragments of melody coalesce and transform, dissolve or shatter into kaleidoscopic reveries. While some may have used the arrival of such a landmark occasion as their 60th birthday to look backwards, Shipp will spend the year continuing to move resolutely forward, further evolving a voice that is as intimately personal as it is cosmically adventurous.' (album notes). 'With unmatched style, pianist and improviser Matthew Shipp masterminds another solo offering where his fabulous command of timbre and texture brings creative ideas to fruition. The titles of the 11 pieces that comprise The Piano Equation indicate connections with mathematics and space phenomena, containing words like equation, void, vortex, hyperspace, signal and cosmic...... The freedom of playing solo is beautiful, and that can be deeply felt here. By exploring new places within his vast musical cosmos, Shipp takes us into a journey that emboldens the listeners’ imagination.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Ambrose Akinmusire - On The Tender Spot Of Every Calloused Moment
(Blue Note) - Released: 12th June 2020

Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet); Sam Harris (piano); Harish Raghavan (bass); Justin Brown (drums).

Ambrose Akinmusire On The Tender Spot Of Every Callosed Moment

 

 

'Besides being one of the most reputable conceptual thinkers out there, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is a prominent figure on the scene, modernizing the parameters of jazz and blues to create music that is utterly appealing and innovative. The 11 tunes comprising On The Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment, his sixth album as a leader, point to a well-defined direction that is very much Akinmusire’s line of action. The topic at the center of the album is the continual struggle endured by black people in America, which, according to the latest occurrences - including the murder of George Floyd and massive gentrification - finds itself in an opportune time to urge change on social issues...... The trumpet work by Akinmusire is absolutely fantastic throughout, cutting across the underlying textures with acerbic twist, painful consciousness, and a fair dose of abstraction. His self-possessed lyrical force is not within reach of common artists.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Roy : Listen to Yessss :


 

 

 

 

 

Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio - Angels Around
(Heartcore Records) - Released: 15th July 2020

Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar); Dario Deidda (bass guitar); Gregory Hutchinson (drums).

Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio Angels Around

 

 

'Owning an inimitable style, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel has a special gift for playing standards with expertise and passion, making them afresh. On his latest trio outing, Angels Around - with a strong assist from Italian bassist Dario Deidda and American drummer Gregory Hutchinson - he presents five notably selected standards that really make me want to revisit them again and again. The program is rounded out with two sinewy originals, one by Rosenwinkel and one by Deidda. Opening the album, Monk’s “Ugly Beauty” suggests an initial rock layer that soon evaporates, soaked in the mellow synth-effects of Rosenwinkel’s reverb-drenched guitar. The electric transferences provided by the guitarist always find a generous supportive from the well-oiled rhythmic engine of Deidda and Hutchinson....Rosenwinkel brings the full breath of his natural musicianship and spontaneity into this session. Despite the valid fusion works made recently (Caipi, Bandit 65), his true glory lies here, where the style is more direct and accessible and he reaches the apogee of his musical powers. This is a gem not to be missed.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Sample : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Ugly Beauty : Listen to Time Remembered :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maria Schneider Orchestra - Data Lords
(Artistshare) - Released: 2020

Maria Schneider (composer, arranger, conductor); Steve Wilson (alto/soprano/clarinet/flute/alto flute); Dave Pietro (alto/clarinet/piccolo/flute/alto flute); Rich Perry (tenor); Donny McCaslin (tenor/flute); Scott Robinson (baritone/Bb, bass & contra-bass clarinets/muson); Tony Kadleck,Greg Gisbert, Nadje Noordhuis, Mike Rodriguez (trumpet/flügelhorn); Keith O'Quinn, Ryan Keberle, Marshall Gilkes (trombone); George Flynn (bass trombone); Gary Versace (accordion); Ben Monder (guitar); Frank Kimbrough (piano); Jay Anderson (bass); Johnathan Blake (drums/percussion).

Maria Schneider Data Lords'I am absolutely thrilled to embark on our recording project, Data Lords. In revisiting my past recordings, it’s easy for me to see how my music has always reflected the world around me. But these days, I feel my life greatly impacted by two very polarized worlds: the digital world, and the organic world. While one world clamors desperately for our constant attention, the other really doesn’t need any of us at all. Amidst the noise and the clamoring, it now requires great effort for us to take real breaks from the digital world so that we can fully access the organic world that sustains us. Feeling both of these opposite worlds represented in my recent music, I have decided to make this a two-album release reflecting these two polar extremes. In the digital world, data lords, who are in a race to amass the entire world’s information, hypnotize us with conveniences, endless information at our fingertips, limitless entertainment, “curated” content, and endless other enticements. While many of those things offer us wonderful tools that enhance our lives and societies in mind-bending ways, a vast number of the enticements numb our minds and lure us into submissiveness. And almost without fail, the enticements, tools and conveniences delivered to us by these data lords, force us into a Faustian bargain of bartering our personal privacy and individuality for these often fleeting benefits. With the additional consequence of less and less face-to-face contact and no real accountability, humans’ internal compasses that measure empathy, along with their sense of self and purpose, are often hijacked. Fueled by silicon chips, rare earth metals, energy-hungry server farms, this digital world often feels right out of a science fiction novel. In the natural world, magic is revealed if we intentionally divert our attention away from the virtual world long enough to embrace silence. Not long ago, the natural world was our only world. With a brain much freer of clutter, our minds could coast and daydream – a state of mind that produced many of our world’s greatest ideas. This space also left our senses keenly alert. Our eyes and ears were truly hungry for absorbing new artistic creations. And while far less music was instantly available literally at our fingertips, I think most of us remember longingly how intentional and deep our listening was. Many more people reveled in nature, and the myriad of mysteries one would encounter there, ignited questions and a search for meaning and purpose. A vacuum of space in our lives left humans reaching out to others for discourse and real connection. ... All I know is that I’m searching for sonic beauty in all of it, as well as searching for my own sense of balance between these two opposing worlds. Welcome to the Data Lords Project. I hope you’ll enjoy being a part of it and will revel in the music and our collective discourse and discoveries as well.' (Maria Schneider). 'While Maria Schneider's last album, the critically acclaimed The Thompson Fields, came in pastel shades, reflective moods and wistful evocation of an idealised 'Heimat', Data Lords, in contrast, releases what Schneider calls her 'inner beast' ... Quite simply, this is a classic, music that will be played, studied and enjoyed for decades to come.' (Stuart Nicholson in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

Debbie Sledge - Sledge Sings Simone
(Inner Adventures) - Released: 10th July 2020 [Digital only at this stage]

Debbie Sledge (vocals); Niels Lan Doky (piano); Francois Moutin (double bass); Victor Jones (drums).

Sledge Sings Simone

 

 

'Nina Simone’s seminal voice and remarkable music stood up against racial injustice and carried forward American civil rights efforts for decades. Debbie's group, Sister Sledge, released the iconic song ‘We Are Family’ four decades ago, and it remains a universal anthem for diverse communities the world over. The intersection of Nina's brilliant music, with its defiant social outcry, and Debbie’s passionate call for unity through her healing voice, is something to truly cherish. Significantly, for these times, the performance was recorded in Denmark - a country where many African American musicians sought refuge during the height of the 1960s civil rights movement. Experience the intimacy, ambience and power of being there on that auspicious night. Sledge Sings Simone will be released to mark the period of the postponed Copenhagen Jazz Festival.' (album notes).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dusan Jevtovic - If You See Me
(Self Produced) - Released: 20th March 2020

Dusan Jevtovic (guitar); Markus Reuter (Touch guitars® AU8, live looping); Bernat Hernandez (fretless bass); Gary Husband (drums); Special guest: Aleksandar Petrov tapan (Macedonian traditional drums)

Dusan Jevtovic If You See Me

 

'Some albums tease and caress as they envelop a listener in an enchanting embrace. Some albums just enthusiastically grip their audience by the collar and will not let go. Some albums like Dusan Jetovic’s If You See Me are able to satisfy in many ways and straddle both extremes. Frenzy and discord are set against and juxtaposed with musical passages that possess elegance and gentle harmony. If You See Me, has the rare ability to vigorously, bludgeon the senses and delicately stroke the emotions as it simmers, snaps, boils, and bristles with imaginative creativity. In tunes such as, the exciting Si Pooro, it possesses a feral unpredictability that quickens the pulse and heightens every aspect of the senses. On occasions, in tunes like Endings, it has a flickering fragile beauty that provides a reflective balm for the spirit. Therefore, this is an album that will soothe the heart, knuckle wrap the fingers, satisfy the mind and much more. ..... If You See Me is an important and exciting release. It should appeal to fans of instrumental jazz fusion music that enjoy albums that are intense and sometimes full of dark foreboding. Its enviable ability to convey a kaleidoscope of auditory moods offers a warm vision of green shrouded Balkan forests radiantly distorted by the ruddy glow of a summer haze. However, the menace of ink black clouds distantly perched on far away rock-strewn summits is never far away. Consequently, moments of tranquillity and reflection, aggression and gentleness, harmony and discord frequently merge and coexist. Jevtovic’s memorable compositions explore these feelings in an imaginative and original manner. This creates an album that is often utterly compelling and convincing in every way. (album notes).

Details and Samples : Intro Video of Walking Seven : Video of If You See Me : Listen to Si Pooro : Listen to Ending :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Milligan - Memento
(Big Bash Records) - Released: 28th August 2020 [initially download only]

Dave Milligan (piano); Danilo Gallo (bass); U.T. Gandhi (drums)

Dave Milligan Memento'Scottish pianist Dave Milligan releases Momento, his first album since 2008, on Friday August 28th. Best known in the jazz world as the pianist and arranger behind the award-winning trumpeter Colin Steele’s success over the past twenty-five years and for his own acclaimed trio (described by The Guardian as “cracking”), Milligan is a musician of remarkable versatility.....The music on Momento resulted from meeting Italian bass and drums team Danilo Gallo and U.T. Gandhi on an international project with Colin Steele at Edinburgh Jazz Festival. Milligan enjoyed playing with the Italians so much that, when a Creative Scotland artists bursary allowed him to travel to Cavalicco in the Italian province of Udine, he booked two days in ArteSuono recording studio with engineer Stefano Amerio and invited Gallo and Gandhi to join him.... Over the two days, the trio recorded everything they played and with the expert recording of Amerio, who has worked on over forty albums for the prestigious ECM Records label, they finished up with twenty tracks, some completely improvised, some Milligan originals and some improvisations based on folk songs. ..... “Something changed for me over those few days in Italy – not so much in terms of my musical vocabulary or technique, but in terms of where the music comes from in performance, and allowing it to flow,” says Milligan. “As well as having great musicians and a great engineer to work with, the landscape around the studio is inspiring. When I arrived in Udine, I stood for a while on the balcony of my room and tried to take in the panoramic horizon that was the Alps. It was unexpected and breath-taking; particularly bathed as it was in the colours of a humid summer evening. A long way away - on so many levels - from the rolling hills of the Borders, where I grew up. But, for a moment at least, it felt like home.”' (album notes).

Details and Sample :

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Beckett - Joy Unlimited
(Cadillac Records) - Released: 7th August

Harry Beckett (trumpet, flugelhorn); Ray Russell (guitar); Brian Miller (piano, electric piano, synthesiser); Darryl Runswick (bass, bass guitar); Nigel Morris (drums); Martin David (congas)

Harry Beckett Joy Unlimited

 

 

'It’s been a real Joy to bring this long-lost classic back to life. There’s not much more can be said about Harry’s beautiful talent. He lifted the atmosphere wherever he played and was a gentleman, always softly spoken, but a presence in the room. I remember, as a callow youth, interviewing him for a sleeve note in the basement of Mole Jazz. He was thoughtful, listened to my questions and answered with a civility and intelligence they barely deserved. I’ve always thought Joy Unlimited one of his best albums. In fact, one of the best British jazz albums of the 70s, and one of the finest jazz rock albums full stop. It has never been reissued, and never released on CD or digitally, so this is an opportunity for the world to hear what a great player and composer Harry was. It will bring you joy-joy unlimited. Harry died 22 July 2010, ten years ago. We’d like to celebrate his life and dedicate this release to one of the finest black British artists of his generation.' (album notes).

Details and Sample :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thelonious Monk - Palo Alto
(Impulse!) - Released: 31st July 2020

Thelonious Monk (piano); Charlie Rouse (tenor sax); Larry Gales (bass); Ben Riley (drums)

Thelonious Monk Palo Alto

 

 

'After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, racial tensions across the country rose. Palo Alto, a largely white college town in California, was not immune to the events of the day. Danny Scher, a rising junior at Palo Alto High School, had a dream to bring Thelonious Monk to Palo Alto to perform and help bring about racial unity in his community as well as raise funds for his school's International Committee. After somehow securing Monk's services to perform on Sunday, October 27, Scher initially had trouble selling tickets and convincing people that Monk was even going to show up. With many twists and turns along the way and several hundred people waiting in the school's parking lot to await Monk's arrival before purchasing tickets, the concert eventually happened and was a triumph in more ways that Monk or Scher could have imagined. This is a recording of that historic concert.' (album notes). '.... Despite the release over the years of one too many live Monk quartet recordings, this one turns out to be a pleasant surprise and, as they used to say, it's good enough to keep' (Brian Priestley in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stan Getz - Four Classic Albums (Fourth Set)
(Avid Jazz) - Released: 22nd May 2020

Stan Getz (tenor sax) with various personnel including Clark Terry, Doc Severinson (trumpet); JJ Johnson (trombone); Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone); Oscar Peterson (piano); Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Jim Hall (guitar); Ray Brown (bass); Connie Kay, Louie Bellson (drums)

Stan Getz Four Classic Albums Fourth Set

 

'AVID Jazz continues with its Four Classic Albums series with a re-mastered 2CD fourth set release from Stan Getz, complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details. Stan Getz with J.J.Johnson-'At The Opera House' (Mono and Stereo versions); 'Jazz Samba,' and 'Big Band Bossa Nova'. 'A fourth set by Stan Getz' we hear you cry, 'we knew he was great but four sets'? We at Avid are, of course, big fans of Mr. Getz and our three previous sets have been extremely popular. But there was something missing we thought, a selection from his great Brazilian influenced era. We have selected two of his finest and most popular albums from that era to represent what was to become a golden moment in the career of Stan Getz and one where he even went on to make the pop charts! We have coupled these classics with both recordings of the first time Stan Getz got together with the famed trombonist J. J. Johnson for what was to become one of the classic live jazz recordings in the catalogue. Both albums became known as 'At The Opera House' but in fact one set was actually recorded at The Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles while the other was recorded at the Opera House in Chicago. The Chicago set was recorded in stereo and contained five tracks while the Shrine set was recorded a week later in mono and contained six tracks. Our pairing of these two classic concerts together gives you a chance to compare and contrast two very different interpretations of a classic set and to witness two giants of jazz together for the first time and at the top of their game.' (album notes). '..... 'Mahna De Carnaval' and 'Chega De Saudade' are among Getz's best recordings, but then again everything on this release can be considered so. Recommended especially to newcomers to the saxophonist' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Teddy Wilson Trio - Revisits The Goodman Years
(Storyville) - Released: 29th May 2020 [vinyl release]

Teddy Wilson (piano); Jesper Lundgaard (bass); Ed Thigpen (drums)

Teddy Wilson Trio Revisits The Goodman Years

 

 

'Reissue of a 1982 LP by American jazz pianist Teddy Wilson, described by critic Scott Yanow as "the definitive swing pianist". Recorded alongside leading Danish bassist Jesper Lundgaard and US drummer Ed Thigpen. Besides his reputation as "the definitive swing pianist", Teddy Wilson is often remembered in terms of his collaborations. Having played on the records of names like Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman, Wilson's fingerprints are found on many of records that helped popularize and define swing in its glory years. In 1980, Wilson revisited the songs he had performed with Benny Goodman in the 1930s, delivering material that he had clearly mastered at this point and which gave a special look into the talents and sentiments of Teddy Wilson that played a primary role in the swing era. Teddy Wilson Trio 'Revisits the Goodman Years' sees Teddy Wilson re-portray the Benny Goodman small-group repertoire that Wilson had played with Goodman many decades before this Copenhagen session in 1980. It is a return to material that had stood the test of time while Wilson had lived a long career since his time with Goodman himself.' (album notes). 'The then 68-year old Wilson was in Copenhagen in 1980 .... The word impeccable is often used to describe Wilson's improvising posture but on this evidence, there was still plenty of vim and urgency on offer too. Never prolix or overlong, these joyous expositions, bass and drum spot-on, make this a delight to re-encounter.' (Peter Vacher in Jazzwise ****).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Ken Colyer - The Real Ken Colyer
(Cadillac Records) - Released: 20th July 2020

Ken Colyer (trumpet, vocals); Sammy Rimmington (clarinet); Geoff Cole (trombone); Johnny Bastable (banjo); Pat Hawes (piano, vocals); Ron Ward (bass); Pete Ridge (drums)

Ken Colyer The Real Ken Colyer

 

 

'Recorded live at The White Horse, Willesden, London, February 27, 1964. John Jack reissued this album in 2000 as part of a projected reissue of a number of 77 albums in honour of his friend and mentor Doug Dobell. Extra takes were added from the original session acetate. This is the first time the album has been made digitally available...... Doug gave this album its title personally. I don’t know whether it was The Real Ken Colyer, but it certainly is very good Colyer and I’m proud to have been a part of it. Sadly three of the participants and Doug himself are no longer with us. Pete Ridge, 1968; John Bastable,1985; Ken Colyer, 1988; and Doug Dobell 1987 have all “gone ahead” as Art Hodes used to say. It’s to the memory of these good friends that we dedicate this album.' (album notes by Pat Hawes).

Full Details and Samples :

 

 

 

Andrew McCormack - Solo
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 26th June 2020

Andrew McCormack (piano)

Andrew McCormack Solo

 

'My mission in music is constantly evolving. I’m often experimenting with ways to communicate my ideas to the audience and solo piano is a very direct and explicit way to do that. However, solo concerts are difficult to pull off well. There’s an exposed test of all your facility which can be risky and exhausting, plus it’s lonely up there. Despite this, you could say I’m addicted. Particularly the hush of the room when something special happens in the moment and everyone is locked in..... Nobody Else But Me and Thelonious Monk’s We See are quasi studies in two-part invention and the latter became like a rough line drawing, Monk is one of my favourite composers in the jazz repertoire because his signature sound is all over these tightly made compositions, even though you might substantially change them from the original ... I Can’t Believe You’re In Love With Me is a light nod to the Stravinsky tarantella from Pulcinella, even though it sounds nothing like it!  Also the coda of Nobody Else But Me has snatches of the Russian composer Petrushka too....The final results are a recital of piano music that uses composition as a springboard for improvised exploration with an overarching theme of storytelling devices such as contrast within the pieces themselves ....' (Andrew McCormack)

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Further Details : Video of Shaper Maker played live : Video of For All We Know played live from 2018 :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Copus - Dusk
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 17th July 2020

James Copus (trumpet, flugelhorn, voice), Jason Brown (drums), Tom Cawley (piano, synthesiser), Conor Chaplin (bass)

James Copus Dusk

 

'2020 sees the release of James’ much-anticipated debut album, featuring a first call line up of Tom Cawley (Peter Gabriel, Curios trio..), Conor Chaplin (Marius Neset, Dinosaur…) and New York heavyweight Jason Brown (Monty Alexander, Kurt Rosenwinkel, etc.). The music showcases each musician's personality and originality, still keeping the aesthetics of a classic jazz record. Recognised as a talented composer, Copus’ writing is fresh and original, while reflecting his serious study of the jazz trumpet tradition - Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Gerard Presencer are his idols. James has composed all original material for the album, drawing on many influences that have sculpted his musical tastes. Compositionally, James has mainly drawn inspiration from the writing of Seamus Blake, Kendrick Scott and Chris Potter, citing the New York aesthetic as a huge influence. An in-demand sideman across a range of projects, Copus has played and recorded with the Alex Hitchcock Quintet, Jacob Collier, Stan Sulzmann Neon Orchestra, Nikki Iles Big Band, Alan Barnes + 11, Tim Garland and Bruno Heinen to name a few. He is, by now, a stalwart of the British jazz scene having performed at most of the country's leading jazz venues. A regular performer at London’s premier jazz venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, PizzaExpress Jazz Club and the 606, Copus can often be heard with musicians such as Daniel Casimir, Ashley Henry, Binker Golding, Alex Hithcock and others. He has also performed and recorded with Seamus Blake, Jorja Smith and Joss Stone.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Video of From The Source : Listen to Yearning :

 

 

 

 

 

Pete Judge - Piano 2
(PJM) - Released: 3rd April 2020

Pete Judge (piano)

Pete Judge Piano 2

 

 

'At the beginning of 2019, trumpeter Pete Judge surprised himself and everyone else by releasing an album of solo piano miniatures, prosaically entitled ‘piano’ (partly in reference to his use of the soft pedal throughout the recording) which he recorded on a single autumn night in an empty St George’s Bristol,  a deconsecrated 1820s church reopened a few years ago as a concert space. Now, in Spring 2020, comes the follow-up, the second storey (or ‘piano’): ‘piano 2’. As before, the album was recorded on a single day in St George’s Bristol. It consists of 16 pieces, ranging in length between one and five minutes.'

Details and Samples : Video for Frond Three : Listen to Brute Angels :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Downard - Seven Japanese Tales
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 12th June 2020

Joe Downard (double bass, synthesisers); Alex Hitchcock (tenor saxophone); James Copus (trumpet, flugel horn); Will Barry (piano); Rupert Cox (synthesisers); Felix Ambach (drums); Jon Moody (Hammond organ); Todd Speakman (Space Echo).

Joe Downard Seven Japanese Tales

 

 

'Seven Japanese Tales is a suite of compositions inspired by the deeply lyrical and moving short stories of the great Japanese writer, Junichiro Tanizaki. The album explores bassist and composer Joe Downard’s interest in Japanese literature and features seven compositions, each named after one of the stories, bringing to life the narratives, characters, moods and dynamics through interweaving melodies, improvised passages, and lush soundscapes. The album features an augmented sextet lineup, including electronic elements and field recordings from Downard’s travels in Japan. “If light is scarce then light is scarce; we will immerse ourselves in the darkness and there discover its own particular beauty.” - Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows' (album notes). '...this impressive debut from bassist/producer Joe Downard offers musical counterparts to seven short stories by Japanese author Jun'ichirō Tanizaki. Downard was inspired by Tanizaki's lyricism and by the range and depth of emotion he manages to convey is a short space of time and you can hear those same qualities in these seven tracks ....' (Thomas Rees in Jazzwise ****).

Details and Samples : Video of The Thief : Listen to Aguri :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Spin - Steal The Light
(Efpi Records) - Released: 17th April 2020

Chris Williams (alto saxophone); Moss Freed (guitar); Ruth Goller (bass); Finlay Panter (drums)

Let Spin Steal The Light

 

'Since their inception, Let Spin have maintained an egalitarian musical ethos, giving each member the opportunity to write for the project and have equal say over its decision-making. Yet, with their third album, Steal The Light, it is the progress they have made in developing their respective compositional voices and musical outlooks independently that has resulted in their most accomplished, experimental and meticulously-produced album to date. When guitarist Moss Freed, bassist Ruth Goller, drummer Finlay Panter, and saxophonist Chris Williams convened at Hull University’s Duality studio, they each harboured desires to use the studio as an instrument, to implement inspirations found in music beyond the worlds of jazz and rock, and to challenge some of the conventions of meter, groove and melody. To realise their ambitions, the group worked closely with engineer/producer Alex Killpartrick, inviting him to have a greater creative influence than on either of their previous two records ....In experimenting with time and space, challenging their own compositional tendencies and striving for a more experimental production style, Let Spin have crafted a fluid yet focussed LP that reflects their maturity and ambition ... '(album notes). '.... In a band designed to give its members room to write, diverse tracks of atmospheric intensity and viscerally realised intellect are the result ... ' (Nick Hasted in Jazzwise ****)

Full Details and Samples : Video for Sketch : Listen to Cosmoss :

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Glasser - Hypocrisy Democracy
(Here Tiz Music) - Released: 8th May 2020

Dave Glasser (alto and soprano saxophones, flute); Andy Milne (piano); Ben Allison (bass); Matt Wilson (drums).

Dave Glasser Hypocrisy Democracy

 

 

'The latest album from New York-born saxophonist Dave Glasser, Hypocrisy Democracy, arrives not only with a vital message of fairness and justice to the world but also with an intense will to ‘speak’ to the listener, musically. Drawing from tradition but sounding properly contemporary, Glasser, the lead altoist for the Count Basie Orchestra, is backed by a stellar quartet comprised of pianist Andy Milne, bassist Ben Allison and drummer Matt Wilson, all of them accomplished bandleaders. The opening two tracks are scorchers that demonstrate the athletic agility of the ensemble ...... If “Dilemonk” is a bluesy Monkian stretch, then “Revolver” seems to fuse the late pianist’s “Ask Me Now” with some Brubeck’s demeanors. And you’ll also find a beautiful ballad with shades of bolero and great piano work on “Dark Deep”, and crested waves of funk on “It’s Nothing New, where soprano and flute ride together over Milne’s wide harmonic avenues. Fueled by an infectious, inspiring energy, this album is immediately relatable and a pleasure from start to finish.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to It's A Small World : Listen to Dilemonk :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Carney Sextet - Pure Heart
(Sunnyside Records) - Released: 5th June 2020

Ravi Coltrane (tenor and soprano saxophones); Oscar Noriega (bass clarinet, alto saxophone); Stephanie Richards (trumpet); James Carney (piano); Dezron Douglas (bass); Tom Rainey (drums).

James Carney Sextet Pure Heart

 

'The combination of concept, effort and the right collaborators typically leads to good things no matter what the goal might be. These elements are especially integral to cohesion within a musical ensemble in performance, especially a group built of musicians who haven't previously played together. Pianist/composer James Carney was thinking along these lines when he came up with the idea and chose the musicians for his new recording, Pure Heart. The sextet that Carney put together is quite an assemblage. For the horns, he recruited his longtime friend and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, bass clarinetist and alto saxophonist Oscar Noriega, and recent collaborator and trumpeter Stephanie Richards. Bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Tom Rainey met in their first time ever pairing. In fact, most of these players had never played together before, except Coltrane and Douglas and Noriega and Rainey.' (album notes). 'Pianist and composer James Carney has been an important figure in the New York scene for years, whether leading interesting groups assembled to carry out his creative ideas, whether curating and hosting the improvisation-centered Konceptions music series in Brooklyn .... His new outing, Pure Heart, features a sextet composed of a powerful three-horn frontline with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, multi-reedist Oscar Noriega, and trumpeter Stephanie Richards, and a gritty rhythm section that puts bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Tom Rainey side by side for the very first time. Despite the different aspects of their musical personalities, interesting things happen throughout the five tracks on the album, a display on how utterly comfortable Carney is on his instrument.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Rudresh Mahanthappa - Hero Trio
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 19th June 2020

Rudresh Mahanthappa (alto saxophone), François Moutin (acoustic bass), Rudy Royston (drums)

Rudresh Mahanthappa Hero Trio

 

'Over the course of an illustrious twenty-five-year career Rudresh Mahanthappa's music making has constantly pushed at the artistic boundaries to encompass such diverse influences as classic bebop, the ash and fury of electric fusion, and the complexities of Carnatic music, while always maintaining a clear sense of his own fiercely intelligent, uncompromising musical personality. On 'Hero Trio', his sixteenth release as a leader/co-leader, he has moved the focus away from his own compositions to pay tribute to his greatest influences with an album of interpretations. All of the material is presented in Mahanthappa's characteristically original arrangements, and to approach them with the greatest degree of freedom and spontaneity he chose to record in trio format, enlisting the talents of long-time associates François Moutin on bass and Rudy Royston on drums.' (album notes). 'Possessing a sui-generis improvisational style, altoist Rudresh Mahanthappa is known as one of the most powerful forces in today’s jazz. On his latest recording, Hero Trio, he performs in trio format, basking in a collection of nine familiar non-originals that includes jazz standards, bebop and post-bop hits, and - surprise! - an R&B and a country-pop song by Stevie Wonder and Johnny Cash, respectively. For this purpose, Mahanthappa enlisted his longtime associates - bassist François Moutin and drummer Rudy Royston - paying homage to his influences and inspirations with able arrangements of his own, and that constant, impulsive spontaneity that has been stamping his discography......Both widely known, “I Can’t Get Started” and “I’ll Remember April” are carried out with different postures. The former, more meditative, is delivered in five and exhibits an incantatory way of breathing, whereas the latter returns to that soulful ebullience that Mahanthappa often presents us with. This is a trio of shifting texture and smart rapport.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video of Red Cross live : Listen to Ring Of Fire :

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Gold - Imagined Sky
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 29th May 2020

Matt Gold (electric and acoustic guitars, voice (5), analog synthesizer (2, 8), wurlitzer electric piano (2, 7), mellotron (5)); Bryan Doherty (electric bass); Jeremy Cunningham (drums); Macie Stewart (voice 2); Sara Serpa - (voice 8); Dan Pierson ( analog synthesizer 1, 3); Myra Hinrichs (violin 5); Matt Ulery (- double bass 5).

Matt Gold Imagined Sky

 

 

'Imagined Sky'​ is the first solo record from Chicago-based guitarist and songwriter ​Matt Gold.​ Gold’s open, creative approach to music making has flourished in his adopted home - “I value the cross-pollination and intermingling of the scenes; it’s a beautifully collaborative city” - and his talents have been called upon by a diversity of boundary-crossing artists such as ​Makaya McCraven, Greg Ward, Sara Serpa,​ and J​amila Woods.​ Melody is at the center of Gold’s music, whether he’s edging towards post-rock power-trio antics with electric bassist ​Bryan Doherty​ and drummer ​Jeremy Cunningham, ​or exploring an abstracted Americana with acoustic guitar and whispering electronic textures. Imagined Sky also uses these elements to frame the direct, folk-tinged vocals of collaborators ​Sara Serpa​ and ​Macie Stewart,​ as well as Gold himself. “I’ve tried to stitch together the more improvisatory electric trio material with something more song-focused and concise, balancing these energies.” (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Bottom Of The Barrel : Listen to Queen Anne :

 

 

 

 

 

Jon Balke - Discourses
(ECM) - 15th May 2020

Jon Balke (piano, sound processing)

Jon Balke Discourses'Jon Balke's solo recordings comprise a special subset of his work, informed by the improvisational daring and compositional imagination that has made him one of creative music's most original voices. Discourses is his third solo album, preceded by Book of Velocities (recorded 2006) and Warp (2015). The new album, recorded in sessions in 2019, takes further the integration and juxtaposition of acoustic piano and processed soundscapes introduced on Warp. Jon Balke's unique solo work blurs distinctions between composition, improvisation and sound design as Discourses further develops the methodology introduced with the Norwegian pianist's Warp album. Integrated in the resonant sound of his piano music are "layered soundscapes" of processed material which Balke describes as "distorted reflections and reverberations from the world." Underpinning the project are some thoughts about language, and the notion of discourse and dialogue as fading concepts in an era of confrontational rhetoric. Balke: "In this work I had the framework of language with me from the beginning. As the political climate hardened in 2019 with more and more polarized speech, the lack of dialogue pointed me towards the terms that constitute the titles for the tracks." Discourses was recorded at Lugano's Auditorio Stelio Molo in December 2019, and produced by Manfred Eicher.' (album notes). 'Resisting categorization, the music of the Norwegian pianist Jon Balke, a longtime ECM recording artist, can be sublime, rousing and touching, all at the same time. On his third solo piano recording, Discourses, Balke is deep inside his piano playing. With a sense of dignity and penchant for exploration, he emanates a genuine intimacy from statements that are juxtaposed with processed soundscapes, creating absorbing narratives inspired by the overwhelming lack of dialogue and polarized speech in the political context we’re living in. Hence, language appears as a crucial factor here, with Balke employing specific composed ideas as a vehicle for improvisation, as well as sound processing to complement his conceptual thinking ..... This is a dazzling album from a fascinatingly complex musician who, without refraining from innovate, preserves his exceptional musical identity.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to the why :

 

 

 

 

Marcin Wasilewski Trio with Joe Lovano - Arctic Riff
(ECM Records) - Released: 26th June 2020

Marcin Wasilewski (piano); Joe Lovano (tenor saxophone); Slawomir Kurkiewicz (bass); Michal Miskiewicz (drums).

Marcin Wasilewski Trio with Joe Lovano  Arctic Riff

 

'The first-time teaming of Poland’s dynamic Marcin Wasilewski Trio and big-toned US tenorist Joe Lovano brings forth special music of concentrated, deep feeling, in which lyricism and strength seem ideally balanced. The alliance plays four new tunes by Marcin and one by Joe, as well as Carla Bley’s classic “Vashkar” (in two variations), plus collective improvisations with strong input from all four players;  Slawomir Kurkiewicz’s bass skills are particularly well-deployed in the spontaneous piece “Arco”. Joe will be joining the Polish trio for a number of selected concerts in the autumn. Arctic Riff was recorded at France’s Studio La Buissonne  in August 2019, and produced by Manfred Eicher.' (album notes). 'Polish pianist Marcin Wasilewski augments his crisply articulate piano trio - featuring bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz - with the addition of great American saxophonist Joe Lovano, who populates Arctic Riff with his burnished saxophone literacy. The album comprises 11 pieces - four by Wasilewski, one by Lovano, four collective improvisations, and one by pianist Carla Bley, which makes a double appearance with the inclusion of an alternate take. The composition in question is “Vashkar”, which first saw the light of day in 1963, when it was included on Paul Bley’s trio album Footloose. The quartet’s reading admits conspicuous turbulence by the time that Wasilewski speaks and also exposes great saxophone work over a logical bass-drums association. The tune’s variation is cooked with the same passion and subtly atmospheric tones, but relatively different flavors.....Even when exploring boundlessly, the quartet embraces a fluid style leavened by a wonderful sense of space. As a key to our contentment, the sounds are not just meticulous but also consistently surprising.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Introductory Video : Listen to Glimmer Of Hope :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ray Russell Quartet - Spontaneous Event : Live Vol. 1: 1967-69
(Jazz In Britain) - Released: 1st May 2020

Ray Russell (guitar); Alan Rushton (drums); Roy Fry (piano 1-3, 5-9), Pete Lemer (piano 4); Ron Mathewson (bass 1, 4, 6-8) , Dave Holland (bass 2, 3, 5, 9).

The Ray Russell Quartet Spontaneous Event

 

 

'Live is Live!" You are what you play". 'The experience of live broadcast where you can't try anything before you start is an experience like no other. Falling in a dream is the nearest analogy. In these days live was live. Every gig an unrepeatable event. Ron Fry the pianist on some of these tracks passed away far too early. He was ahead of his time in progressive music. This era was a great time for progressive music in the UK. I'm so pleased it has found its way to be released.An incredible, never-before-released series of live sessions from The Ray Russell Quartet, recorded in London between 1967 and 1969. Featuring one of the earliest known recordings of legendary bassist Dave Holland. This is an absolutely unmissable set for fans of Ray, British progressive jazz, and jazz in general.' (album notes). 'For aficionados of British jazz, guitarist Ray Russell is a tantalising if not downright frustrating prospect; a formidable talent who released a handful of albums in the late 1960s and early 1970s before drifting away from jazz to make a living as a session musician ...These recently unearthed jam sessions are a welcome addition ... capturing Russell in his early twenties and absolutely incandescent with youthful vigour ...' (Daniel Spicer in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Listen to Spring Flower : Listen to Can I Have My Paperback Back :

 

 

 

 

 

Hank Jones - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter Vol 2
(Storyville) - Released: 1st May 2020

Hank Jones (piano); Mads Vinding (bass); Shelly Manne (drums)

Hank Jones Live at Jazzhus Slukefter Vol 2

 

 

'Storyville releases Hank Jones 'Live at Slukefter Vol. 2' - the follow up to 2019's Vol. 1. Whereas the first volume was recorded at the legendary Copenhagen Jazz Club Slukefter on June 6th 1983, this recording is from the day after, June 7th. As on the earlier release, Jones is joined by Mads Vinding who worked together on several other visits to Europe. The chosen songs on these recordings are very diverse, and support image of Jones as a musician with a huge knowledge of songs, both from within the Jazz world as well as contemporary pop music. The result of the 1983 Slukefter session Vol. 2 is an enjoyable hour of music that, after sitting unheard for over 30 years, sounds as fresh as if it were recorded yesterday.' (album notes). 'Taking a standard like All The Things You Are and finding fresh things to say on the head, and then adding more originality as the piece progresses was child's play for Hank Jones, one of the most consummate pianists in all of jazz. But it is a good way of approaching this release of the second of two nights recorded in a live Copenhagen club setting, as it stands as a yardstick for what this trio would achieve ....' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ****).

Details : Listen to Recorda Me / No Me Esquica :

 

 

 

 

 

Peggy Lee - Ultimate Peggy Lee
(UMC - Virgin International) - Released: 19th June 2020

Peggy Lee (vocals) with various bands.

Ultimate Peggy Lee

 

'Throughout 2020, the 100th anniversary of Peggy Lee’s birth - May 26, 1920 - will be commemorated around the globe with music releases, notable exhibitions, special events, programming and a host of tributes and concerts, including a just-announced Hollywood Bowl tribute concert in August, “Miss Peggy Lee at 100 with The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra.” Kicking off The Peggy Lee 100 celebration is the release of Ultimate Peggy Lee, a new collection from Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) available April 17. The 22-track comprehensive set features her hits, five songs she co-wrote, as well as the previously unreleased “Try A Little Tenderness,” which makes its world debut 57 years after it was recorded. (album notes). 'Released in tandem with Peggy Lee Decca Rarities, this is part of the Lee estate's year-long centenary tribute to this great jazz singer, and it includes a previously unreleased version of 'Try A Little Tenderness' ... Her career was so prolific that this extensive collection can do no more than scratch the surface .... That said, the 2CD Avid Four Classic Albums set not only runs this close, but gives us a broader cross section of Lee's work .... So while The Ultimate is a very fine anthology, it is far from definitive.' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ***).

Details and Samples : Listen to Try A Little Tenderness : Listen to He's A Tramp :

 

 

 

 

 

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messegers - Just Coolin'
(Blue Note) - Released: 17th July 2020

Art Blakey (drums); Lee Morgan (trumpet); Hank Mobley (tenor sax); Bobby Timmons (piano); Jymie Merritt (bass)

Art Blakey Just Coolin'

 

 

 

'Now that's what you call an archival gold nugget! A rediscovered studio recording by the short-lived spring 1959 edition of Blakey's Messengers, which unlike any other recent vault-retrievals, is a genuine 'album' rather than a sewn-together set of cut-offs ...Short at around 39 minutes, this is a set with absolutely no filler, but that's the point: this killer is the very essence of hard bop. An album that deserves all the stars you can throw at it.' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Sample : Listen to Quick Trick :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Montague - Warmer Than Blood
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 8th May 2020

Chris Montague (guitar); Kit Downes (piano); Ruth Goller (electric bass)

Chris Montague Warmer Than Blood

'Warmer Than Blood is the new venture from critically acclaimed compose and guitarist Chris Montague (Troyka, Squarepusher, Benny Greb). It brings together pianist and ECM recording artist Kit Downes and renowned electric bassist Ruth Goller (Acoustic Ladyland, Melt Yourself Down, Let Spin) for a groundbreaking exploration of Chris’s compositions. While Chris’s reputation as a startlingly original composer is already well established, not least through his longstanding collaboration with Downes in the much lauded Troyka project, this release marks the first in Chris’s extensive discography to be entirely under his leadership, and his choice of an unusual line-up was both fortuitous and deliberate. “I love how Ruth and Kit both interpret music, they were always going to be my first choice – and writing for a band without drums made us work much harder to create dynamics and shape within each piece. This brought out a whole new dimension in the compositions“. Chris takes inspiration from many sources and it is hard to classify this music, it still has shape and energy, without relying on volume or histrionics to deliver it. All three musicians responded to the deliberately limited sound palette by reaching into their boundless musical imaginations. ‘Irish Handcuffs’ is named after a running jokes between Chris and Kit about Irish hospitality – ‘Guinness in one hand, Whisky in the other!’ – that illustrates the trio’s ingenious use of hocketting and exact note placement to create a rhythmic clarity. ‘Warmer Than Blood’ derives it’s title from a poem by Fiona Sampson – it’s unsettled harmony chimes with the poem’s disturbing imagery, tying together notions of colour, touch, fear and family. Many of the songs are inspired by Chris’s own life: he wrote much of the album following the birth of his son and ‘FTM’ is named or him – ‘a beautiful ballad that morphs into a kind of horror show!’ – ‘Moira’ is a hushed, intimate improvisation inspired by his grandmother, while ‘C Squad’ refers to the trio’s shared Chesham neighbourhood and pays tribute to their long and fruitful creative relationship. ‘Not My Usual’ has a more standard form than Chris usually deploys, with a written melody and chord changes, creating an oasis of calm melodicism – by contrast, ‘The Internet’ sounds deliberately glitch and uncomfortable to reflect Chris’s ambivalence about the benefits of limitless connectivity. The lyrical, almost folkloric final track ‘Rendered’ started life as a commission for the opening of Jimi Hendrix’s flat in Handel House, with a score initially created by rubbing manuscript paper onto the woodchipped wallpaper – an aleatory approach that Chris found both challenging and liberating. “It’s a theme for the whole album – me learning to embrace the improvised and the unknown. It doesn’t sound like anyone else’s music and that’s what I’m most proud of”. Warmer Than Blood is suffused with the honesty of Chris’s own personality, the fearless creativity of his collaborators, and the warmth and quirkiness that characterise the trio’s long-term relationship.' (album notes).

Details an Samples : Video and Introduction ; Listen to the title track Warmer Than Blood : Listen to Rendered :

 

 

 

 

 

John Law's Congregation - Configuration
(Ubuntu Music) - Released 1st May 2020

John Law (piano); James Mainwaring (saxophone, guitar, electronics); Ashley John Long (bass); Billy Weir (drums).

John Law Configuration album

 

'John Law's Congregation releases their latest album, Configuartion, on Ubuntu Music. Captivating, anthemic melodies, mixed with powerful rhythms and grooves of subtle electronic soundscapes. The stellar line-up features James Mainwaring (sax/Roller Trio Mercury Prize nominee), Ashley John Long (bass/London Philharmonic Orchestra Young Composer) and Billy Weir (drums). As John describes the project, “With ‘Configuration’, my upcoming album, it feels like all the kaleidoscopic parts of my musical life have finally come together. Jazz, rock, electronics, classical… it’s all in there. My aim for Congregation, my band, is to put each composition into a different visual space, with its own individual identity. Like separate colours blending to form a design. A couple of the tunes took shape during a wonderful tour in India, where the sounds and colours we experienced there found their way into the music. And the whole thing is brought to life by the stunning young musicians I work with: James Mainwaring, on saxophones and guitar – the group’s partly built around his full-on saxophone playing and subtle understanding of electronics; Ashley John Long, on double bass – an extraordinary bass virtuoso and simultaneously a ‘straight’ composer who writes through-composed works for the London Philharmonic Orchestra; and Billy Weir, on drums – who brings the fire and enthusiasm to the project that is commensurate with his tender years!” (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Listen to And Them : Listen to the title track Configuration :

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Figes Quartet - Changing Times
(Pig Records) - Released: 12th June 2020

Kevin Figes (saxes, flute. voice); Jim Blomfield (Fender Rhodes, Prophet, Hammond); Thad Kelly (bass); Mark Whitlam (drums); Emily Wright (voice - tracks 2 & 5)

Kevin Figes Quartet Changing Times

 

 

'Multi-instrumentalist, composer and educator Kevin Figes is set to release Changing Times, his fifth quartet recording .."There is a striking level of empathy and interlay within the Quartet that comes from a combination of highly accomplished players, all great improvisors in their own right, who have worked closely together for some time," says Figes. "This record is a snapshot in time with a group of people I'm very fond of and will keep working with." The eight tracks written by Figes on Changing Times explore a wide world of compositional influences. Toothpick is a homage to Soft Machine, the band that made Figes move on from Rock to Jazz .... Radio Play was inspired by Paul Hindemith, Guiding Light by Hermeto Pascoal. Special objects and places have sparked Figes' interest - an old imperial wooden ruler in Enid Dodd's Ruler and a statue of a lion that sits in his garden. "I like the idea of the statue providing protection and well-being," comments Figes. "The first part of Stone Lion was really a separate tune, but the two parts seemed to fit together well, the second being very groove based. The baritone seemed the best instrument for it, authoritative and charactareful." Vocalist Emily Wright performs on two tracks - Strange Place, which evokes the 70s horror film, and Soft Escape Bed, a road sign that Figes used to see on his journey to visit his critically ill Dad.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Stone Lion : Listen to Soft Escape Bed : Video for Strange Place :

 

 

 

 

 

Dominic Ingham - Role Models
(Ingham Records) - Released: 12th June 2020

Dominic Ingham (violin); Jonny Mansfield (vibraphone); David Swan (piano); Will Sach (bass); Boz Martin-Jones (drums).

Dominic Ingham Role Models

 

 

'Role Models' is the debut album by Dominic Ingham, a violinist, singer and composer who combines violin techniques from his folk and classical background into playing a unique style of jazz violin. He has spent the last two years touring with Bonsai, one of the most talked about and critically acclaimed young bands on the UK scene, but is now embarking upon a personal journey with his own group and this album. The album showcases his new quintet, featuring Jonny Mansfield (2018 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize winner) on vibraphone, Scottish pianist David Swan, Will Sach (NYC) on bass and Boz Martin-Jones on drums. "These musicians aren't just my role models, they're some of my closest friends who I'll continue to play with for the rest of my life", says Dominic. These rising stars of the UK jazz scene join Dominic on an adventurous journey through seven of his original compositions, each of them inspired by new music from the likes of Ambrose Akinmusire, Walter Smith III and Camilla Meza, amongst others. The album was produced by renowned UK drummer James Maddren (with whom Dominic studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama) and was engineered by fellow Yorkshireman and Grammy nominated engineer, Sonny Johns. (album notes).

Details : Introductory Video for Fall : Listen to an excerpt from the title track Role Models :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra - The Light That Shines
(Spark! Label) - Released: 22nd May 2020

James Davison, Adam Chatterton, Alex Ridout, Tom Dennis (trumpet); James Copus, George Hogg (trumpet on "The Light That Shines"): Kieran McLeod, Tom Green, Jamie Pimenta (trombone); Yusuf Narçin (bass trombone); Tom Smith, Sam Glaser (alto saxophone); Sam Miles, George Millard (tenor saxophone); Tom Ridout (baritone saxophone); Liam Dunachie (piano & hammond organ); Billy Marrows (electric guitar); Misha Mullov-Abbado (double bass); Scott Chapman (drums); Gareth Lockrane (flute on "Genmaicha").

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra The Light That Shines

 

'As a result of Covid-19 lockdown measures, lives, places of work and entire industries have dramatically changed all over the world. Things that were once deemed unachievable are being proven to be possible - in this case recording a big band record entirely remotely, with every musician in their own separate home. Patchwork Jazz Orchestra has brought together our musicians from all over the UK to remotely record "The Light that Shines" - an EP dedicated to everyone battling this virus on the frontline. In typical Patchwork fashion, the EP includes works from five different composers within the band. We hear three fresh compositions from Misha Mullov-Abbado, Tom Smith, and Billy Marrows, taking us from a funk odyssey to a trombone-led preaching gospel ballad, and an explosive Brazilian carnival. The EP also features two arrangements: a richly textured and lush rendition of Fred Hersch's "Endless Stars" from Tom Green, and Kieran McLeod's fiery uptempo take on "If I Were A Bell" from the smash hit musical Guys and Dolls. The title track of the album was initially a one off release, with a video produced by composer Tom Smith. After the band collectively rose to the challenges faced by such a mammoth task, it became clear that the recording method we had painstakingly developed could be streamlined and repeated to create a record! First, the composer would create a click track which was sent to the rhythm section, who recorded a first draft. This was sent to lead players of each section who would record their track ahead of their colleagues. The soloists on each track would then improvise over these materials, ahead of the rhythm section re-recording their initial takes to allow for sympathetic improvising in the solo sections. These uncertain times have created a space that is ripe for experimentation and collective growth. Creating a record in unfavourable circumstances has become a true artistic exploration for the whole ensemble. It goes without saying: We are extremely proud to present to you our expression of these times - The Light That Shines!' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to If I Were A Bell :

 

 

 

 

 

Misha Mullov-Abbado - Dream Circus
(Edition Records) - Released: 12th June 2020

Misha Mullov-Abbado (double bass); James Davison (trumpet & flugelhorn); Matthew Herd (alto saxophone); Sam Rapley (tenor saxophone); Liam Dunachie (piano & Hammond organ); Scott Chapman (drums).

Misha Mullov Abbado Dream Circus

 

 

 

'Dream Circus is the vibrant new album from London based double bassist and composer Misha Mullov-Abbado. His third outing with fellow bandmates, Dream Circus is derived from a place of deep imaginations that exudes all that is playful and joyful about this music. The 'Dream' in the title refers not just to the hopes and dreams of Misha, but also their mysterious and psychadelic nature. Since the release of his second album Cross Platform-Interchange, Misha has seen his career flourish with continued praise, adoration and being awarded a place onthe BBC New Generation Scheme. Dream Circus is a career-defining album, produced by fellow bassist and Edition artist Jasper Høiby, that will see him make a significant mark on the international scene.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to The Infamous Grouse :

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Landrus - For Now
(BlueLand Records) - Released: 15th May 2020

Brian Landrus (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, flutes); Fred Hersch (piano); Drew Gress (double bass); Billy Hart (drums) + Mike Rodriguez (trumpet); Sara Caswell (violin). 

Brian Landrus For Now

 

 

'Low woodwinds virtuoso Brian Landrus explores his romantic side on From Now, his 10th album as a leader, which features him in a stellar core quartet with pianist Fred Hersch, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Billy Hart. The album comprises ten sharp originals from Landrus and three fresh renditions of jazz standards, including two from Monk. On selected numbers, there’s a quartet of strings coping with arrangements provided by Landrus and opera composer Robert Aldridge. My favorite track of the album happens to be the opener, “The Signs”, a post-bop spectacle with a luxurious sound. Guest trumpeter Mike Rodriguez divides the melodic chores with Landrus, being the first to forge ahead into improvisation. He is immediately followed by the highly emotional drive of Hersch’s melodies. The pianist’s far-sighted comping involves us all deeply and Landrus' sinuous baritone promenade is not excluded from this blessing ..... Leaning on straight-ahead jazz but handled with an authentic new feel and inner instinct, Landrus proves that low reeds, besides groovy, can also be melodically intense.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to The Signs : Video for The Second Time : Video for 'Round Midnight :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Heart Machine - Live At The Jazz Gallery
(Toof Records) - Released 15th May 2020

Brian Krock (conductor); Charlotte Greve (alto saxophone, flute); Caroline Davis (alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute); Timo Vollbrecht (tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet); Anna Webber (tenor saxophone, alto flute, flute); Jay Rattman (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet); John Lake (trumpet, flugelhorn); Kenny Warren (trumpet, flugelhorn); Chloe Rowlands (trumpet, flugelhorn); Dave Adewumi (trumpet, flugelhorn); Nick Grinder, Sam Blakeslee, Isaac Kaplan (trombone); Jen Wharton (bass trombone); Olli Hirvonen (guitar); Arcoiris Sandoval (piano); Marty Kenney (bass); Nathan Ellman-Bell (drum set).

Big Heart Machine Live At The Jazz Gallery

 

 

'After an acclaimed eponymous debut, the 18-piece Big Heart Machine, led by saxophonist/composer/arranger Brian Krock, returns with a live recording captured at The Jazz Gallery in New York. It was great to see that the ensemble, even without Paul Jones, thrives with the talents of saxophonists Anna Webber and Caroline Davis on its lineup. Unblock the Stoppage opens the session, bringing a sense of orchestral freedom in a way but sounding perhaps a bit more cerebral than other Machine’s efforts. A dialogue between the saxophones of Anna Webber and Timo Volllbrecht is emphasized while, down the road, the immensely adaptable drumming from Nathan Ellman-Bell keeps shifting in texture, density and color ..... Glow On, a love song written by Krock’s fiancée, the singer/songwriter Molly McAdoo. The light-filled tune immerses the listener in tender, expressive melodies while exuding a quietly ravishing quality. Guitar, trombone and trumpet occupy the center spots ...... Orchestrated with modernistic splendor, this big-band music is nicely done.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Fanfares : Listen to Recessive :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walter Smith III / Matthew Stevens - In Common 2
(Whirlwind Recordings)- Released: 15th May 2020

Walter Smith III (tenor saxophone); Matthew Stevens (guitar); Linda May Han Oh (double bass); Micah Thomas (piano); Nate Smith (drums)

Walter Smith III In Common 2

 

'Long time musical associates Walter Smith III and Matthew Stevens perform in a multiplicity of projects at the vanguard of the international jazz & improvised music scene, touring and recording with Esperanza Spalding, Ambrose Akinmusire, Christian Scott, Terence Blanchard, Dave Douglas, Terri Lyne Carrington, Bill Stewart and Roy Haynes as well as their own respective groups. They first collaborated in 2017, gathering a wish-list band of musical peers, booking a studio, and presenting them with compositions written for the occasion. The resulting album was widely praised for its freshness and spontaneity and they’ve returned with ‘In Common 2’ to explore the same parameters, adjusting the personnel to produce an intriguingly different but equally dynamic album. “We loved the way it turned out” says Smith “We had the opportunity to do something different together: what I like to call ‘One Page Songs’ - simple forms, so that we can just show up and get to the music quicker” As in the first project, Smith and Stevens picked a selection of their favourite rhythm section players of mutual acquaintance - Linda Oh on bass and Nate Smith on drums - plus a player from a different generation, so that rising piano star Micah Thomas takes the place of Joel Ross’ vibes. The material was specially written to suit the character of the resulting band, favouring short, concise statements of melody - ‘We’re trying to do something different from what we’d do on our own. We’re going off what we imagine the band will sound like, and continuing to focus on being direct, melodic and interactive.” ‘Roy Allan’, the only non-original was included as a homage to its composer, the late lamented Roy Hargrove, performed as a brief heartfelt duet. ..... In Common 2 manages to be at once free and highly structured, melodically accessible yet thoroughly contemporary. With many of the songs recorded in a single take, the album highlights the inventiveness and immediacy of a shared vernacular spoken in a vital corner of New York’s music community.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Cowboy : Listen to Lotto :

 

 

 

 

Shabaka And The Ancestors - We Are Sent Here By History
(Impulse! Records) - Released: 13th March 2020

Shabaka Hutchings (tenor sax, clarinet); Siyabonga Mthembu (vocals); Mthunzi Mvubu (alto sax); Ariel Zamonsky (acoustic bass); Gontse Makhene (percussion); Tumi Mogorosi (drums); Nduduzo Makhathini (Fender Rhodes); Thandi Ntuli (piano); Mandla Mlangeni (trumpet).

Shabaka and the Ancestors We Are Sent Here By History.

 

'The project was formed in early 2016, leading to their debut album later that year ‘Wisdom of Elders’; a document of sessions combining Hutchings with a group of South African jazz musicians he’d long admired. His connection to the group was Mandla Mlangeni (bandleader of the Amandla Freedom Ensemble), whom he’d flown there to play with over the past few years. ‘We Are Sent Here by History’ is a meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning. A questioning of the steps to be taken in preparation for our transition individually and societally if the end is to be seen as anything but a tragic defeat. For those lives lost and cultures dismantled by centuries of western expansionism, capitalist thought and white supremist structural hegemony the end days have long been heralded as present with this world experienced as an embodiment of a living purgatory.' (album notes). 'On cusp of fame, saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, who also leads Sons of Kemet and The Comet is Coming, brings us stimulating rhythmic chops and haunting sounds with this new hyper-creative work with the Ancestors. We Are Sent Here By History is the long-awaited follow up to Wisdom of Elders (Brownswood Recordings, 2016). This recording gets even more enticing in its African chants, eloquent whispers, alternative sounds, tribal pulses, and pithy saxophone phrases. Hutchings defined it as a meditation on topics such as our own extinction as a species, forever lost cultures, greedy capitalism and white supremacist hegemony.The Afro-centric jazz practiced by the ensemble is as much rooted in tradition as it sounds contemporary, alternating phases of light and darkness over the course of 11 hypnotic tracks.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video for Go My Heart, Go To Heaven : Visualisation for The Coming Of The Strange Ones :

 

 

 

 

 

Niels Lan Doky - River Of Time
(Inner Adventures) - Released 29th May 2020

Neils Lan Doky (piano); Tobias Dall (bass); Niclas Bardeleben (drums)

Niels Lan Doky River Of Time

 

'Niels Lan Doky has had one of the most unusual and prolific careers ever seen in music. He is essentially a product of his equal blend of Danish and American influences and life experiences. Growing up in Copenhagen at a time heavily marked by the presence of a record number of American ex-patriot jazz legends (Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster, Kenny Drew, Ed Thigpen, Thad Jones, etc.) his American influence started early on and continued when he moved to the USA to continue his prolific career that has so far yielded over 40 albums as a leader plus numerous collaborations with a who’s-who in jazz .... Lan Doky’s Danish/Scandinavian influences have been omnipresent in his music since before his recording debut - rendering him distinctly different from his American counterparts. Upon moving to the USA in the early 80s, a longing for his motherland made him more aware of his roots and soon he realised that his personal brand of Scandinavian lyricism made him stand out from the crowd on the fiercely competitive jazz scene of New York City. As a result he started to consciously cultivate his Nordic side, which became even further enhanced during his long-standing collaboration with Danish bass legend Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, which began in 1986 and lasted through most of the 90s - during which time NHØP initially mentored Niels and helped him shape and define his musical direction. An obvious question arises: What exactly is this Nordic/Danish/Scandinavian component? For many generations, Scandinavians have lived in symbiosis with nature and close to the sea. They are marked by the changing seasons and their sharp contrasts.  During the long winters they remain mostly inside to stay warm and light candles, being reflective and melancholic, longing for the joy of Spring and anxiously awaiting the sparkle of Summer. At the same time, Denmark happens to be the most Southern part of Scandinavia.  Its capital of Copenhagen has been called the Paris of the North. Historically, it has been a cultural melting pot unlike any other city in the region.  The city’s large community of American jazz expats over the years attest to that fact, some of the genre’s greatest icons have lived there and inevitably changed the local Danish jazz landscape forever. As a result of all of the above, the music of Lan Doky embodies a unique blend between Nordic reflection and melancholy - and American swing and tradition......' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Video of Sita's Mood live : Listen to Pink Buddha : Video of Greasy Sauce live :

 

 

 

 

Gary Husband and Markus Reuter - Music Of Our Times
(MoonJuneRecords) - Released: April 2020

Gary Husband (Fazioli F212 Grand Piano); Markus Reuter (Live Electronics, Touch Guitars® AU8)

Gary Husband Markus Reuter Music Of Our Times

 

'Yet another facet of two contemporary genii is revealed. Maestros Gary Husband and Markus Reuter embark on an impromptu journey of both mind and soul, in one of the most unique, timeless efforts ever to grace the MoonJune label – or, for that matter, the improvised and avant-garde genre – with the release of the recherché, "Music Of Our Time." ..... Temporarily stranded after performing only one show in Japan, at Blue Note in Nagoya, and having the remainder of the Japan and China tour with Stick Men (Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter) with very special guest Gary Husband (on keyboards), abruptly cancelled, the producer Leonardo Pavkovic quickly constructed a 'Plan B' on the fly. Acting quickly, Leonardo booked a block of studio time in a Tokyo for two musicians, before their return flights. In a candid, unrehearsed setting, the two bared their souls – uncovering further evidence of their fluid, inventive natures. Inspired by the house's beautiful Fazoli Pianoforti grand piano, Gary Husband unveils new depths of his unique musical prodigy. Markus Reuter proves the perfect compliment: kinetically synchronized in effortless perfection to his partner's every shift and turn – with graceful elegance, and rich textures providing spacious understatement throughout proceedings. The chemistry between artists takes its immediate and obvious form: through their mutual reverence of the musical moment at hand, exhibited through seemingly telepathic interplay and dynamics. The result is a priceless gem: "Music Of Our Time" is a lustrous jewel of exquisite beauty and magnificent stature ... an ethereal creation, which ventures to places and spaces music rarely accesses.' (album notes).

Details and Samples :   Listen to the title track Music Of Our Times : Listen to A Veiled Path : Visualisation for Across The Azure Blue :

 

 

 

Dr John - Ske Dat De Dat : The Spirit Of Satch
(The Last Music Company) - Released: 3rd April / 6th June 2020

Dr John (keyboards, vocals); Nicholas Payton, Terence Blanchard, Arturo Sandoval (trumpet); Bonnie Raitt (guitar, vocals); The Blind Boys Of Alabama, The McCrary Sisters, Ledisi, Shemekia Copeland, Telmary and Anthony Hamilton (vocals).

Dr John The Spirit Of Satch

 

 

 

Originally issued in 2014, reviews on Amazon give this a mixed response, but '..... this limited vinyl (and CD) [Amazon have it as an mp3 donwload] re-issue is fitting as it's released on the anniversary of Mr Rebennack's passing on 6 June last year...... Both Renennack and Armstrong relish theatrical hokum, and there's enough here to melt the hardest of hearts ...An hour's worth of dreams to wrap your troubles in'. (Andy Robson in Jazzwise ***).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erroll Garner - Up In Erroll's Room
(Mack Avenue) - Released: 14th February 2020

Personnel for this reissue series includes: Erroll Garner (piano); Bernie Glow, Marvin Stamm (trumpet); Wayne Andre, Jimmy Cleveland (trombone); Don Butterfield (tuba); Pepper Adams, Jerome Richardson (reeds), Wally Richardson, Art Ryerson (guitar); Milt Hinton, George Duvivier, Gerald Jemmott, Ike Isaacs (bass); Jimmie Smith, Joe Cocuzzo, Charli Persip, Herbie Lovelle, George Jenkins (drums); Jose Mangual, Johnny Pacheco (percussion).

Erroll Garner Up In Errol's Room

 

 

This is part of a series of re-issues; other albums include That's My Kick and Feeling Is Believing. 'Remastered reissue of Erroll Garner's 1968 album 'Up in Erroll's Room', which is appearing here on CD for the first time. Over the course of two sessions in November 1967, Erroll Garner and his band recorded enough material for a handful of albums. What makes this collection truly unique is the addition of a brass section, expertly orchestrated over a selection of Garner's improvised arrangements. This style of collaboration was groundbreaking for the era and helps to make this one of the most musically thrilling of all Garner's albums. The Octave Remastered Series represents the heart of Erroll Garner's recorded catalog. Spanning 12 albums recorded and released between 1959 and 1976, this collection of music is among the most important in the history of jazz. It represents an artist in his prime, with full creative and commercial control of his output following his break with Columbia Records. All of these albums were owned by Garner's Octave Records and licensed for release on a variety of iconic labels, including MGM, ABC, Philips, Mercury, Reprise, MPS, and more.' (album notes). '..... The addition of a brass section playing Don Sebesky's charts on Up In Erroll's Room is not as inhibiting as the rash of percussion on the first disc, indeed, Garner fitted naturally with the larger forces and in addition to some jumping dance tracks ... there's a model of his ballad playing on It's The Talk Of The Town .... this is the pick of these three albums' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

T-Bone Walker - 5 Classic Albums
(Avid Roots) - Released: 7th February 2020

T-Bone Walker (guitar, vocals) with various personnel.

T-Bone Walker Five Classic Albums'AVID Roots continues with its Five Classic Albums series with a re-mastered 2CD release from T-Bone Walker complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details; 'Classics in Jazz'; 'Sings the Blues'; 'T-Bone Blues'; 'Singing the Blues' and 'I Get So Weary' Following the success of our Avid Roots series which includes classic blues names from Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, Jimmy Reed, B.B King, Freddie King, Albert King to Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Lonnie Johnson and John Lee Hooker we thought it was time to add another name to our Roots roster. Mr. Aaron Thibeaux Walker, better known to blues fans as T-Bone Walker. Born in 1910 to musician parents, the young T-Bone Walker stands somewhat apart from what we consider the more traditional blues performers of his era. He was not an itinerant rural blues man travelling restlessly around the country making a living with an acoustic guitar. He does however have a fabulous back story in that he began his musical career at age 15 when he escorted a family friend, none other than the legendary blues man Blind Lemon Jefferson to his gigs, all the while, no doubt, soaking up the blues from this great blues icon. However, his style was never that of the rural acoustic blues singer but instead went down the road of jump and electric blues with a healthy dose of jazz for good measure. In fact it is testament to his unique style that he was posthumously inducted into both the Blues and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame. Walker made many, many fine recordings across the years from the late 1920s to the 1970s. Many of the classic albums we are featuring were put together from these recording sessions and we have tried to provide as accurate a picture of the dates and musicians as possible. The main thing is to just sit back and enjoy the electric blues of the unique and amazing Mr T-Bone Walker.' (album notes). 'T-Bone Walker has been one of the most influential guitarists in all of jazz, blues and rock. His fans are given a treat with his debut 1953 10” record release included here. The original vinyl goes for up to $1500 on Ebay, so you get here the heat seeking missiles  of the swinging “T-Bone Shuffle” and the classic “Stormy Monday But Tuesday Is Just As Bad”. The great thing about this collection is that you can hear his influence in today’s singers and guitarists. Every modern artist should give a tithe of royalties to this guy.’ (George W Harris In Jazz Weekly).

Details : Full Jazz Weekly Review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tony Kofi - Another Kind Of Soul : A Portrait Of Cannonball
(The Last Music Company ) - Released: 24th April 2020

Tony Kofi (saxophone); Andy Davies (trumpet), Alex Webb (piano); Andrew Cleyndert (bass); Alfonso Vitale (drums)

Tony Kofi Another Kind Of Soul

 

 

'BBC and Parliamentary Jazz Awards winner Tony Kofi 's Another Kind Of Soul traces the explosive music of Cannonball Adderley from his first session as leader in 1955 through his work with Miles Davis to the soul-jazz of the 1960s. Recorded live at Luton's Bear Club in 2019, .... This is the distilled version of two very special nights, immortalised by Paul Riley's recordings. The album is in digital format and also available in limited edition 180gm vinyl - the medium of Adderley's era - to best replicate the ambience of this remarkable live recording. The album is not called A Portrait of Cannonball as there is already one bearing that name by the great man himself. It is however, without a doubt, Another Kind of Soul by Tony Kofi. Kofi has performed with the World Saxophone Quartet, Clifford Jarvis, Courtney Pine, Donald Byrd, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Eddie Henderson,Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Ornette Coleman. The Guardian has described his improvisational skill as having "…an arrestingly raw power…" (album notes).

Details an Samples : Video introducing the original project : Listen to Stars Fell From Alabama : Listen to the title track :

 

 

 

 

 

 

AuB - AuB
(Edition Records) - Released: 29th May 2020

Tom Barford (saxophone); Alex Hitchcock (saxophone); Fergus Ireland (bass); James Maddren (drums)

AuB album

 

 

'AuB is the London based quartet, masterminded by two young saxophonists, Tom Barford and Alex Htichcock, musicians who are making huge waves as part of the next generation of virtuosic instrumentalists intent on doing things their way. AuB, pronounced ORB, refers to the meeting and unity of two musical minds and instrumental sounds melded into one group sound. Twin tenors tradition has had a long history but with AuB, it's the collaborative writing process and blending of sounds that drives their group sound. Together with bassist Fergus Ireland and drummer James Maddren, AuB melds contemporary Jazz sounds, an adventurous and risk-taking spirit with a degree of unpredictability, nuance and intense improvisation.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to Not Jazz : Video of band playing Iceman at Rats Records in London : Alex Hitchcock's Tea Break for Sandy Brown Jazz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinosaur - To The Earth
(Edition Records) - Released: 15th May 2020

Laura Jurd (trumpet); Elliot Galvin (piano); Conor Chaplin (double bass); Corrie Dick (drums)

Dinosaur To The Earth

 

 

'As they enter their tenth year of trumpet-led, improvisatory magic, Mercury-nominated Dinosaur present brand new material which reflects ten years of making music as a band. Dinosaur's latest offering finds them in a more acoustic setting, presenting brand new material that reflects on 10 years of miraculous interplay, whilst maintaining the sonic elasticity of their previous, more "plugged-in" album 'Wonder Trail'. Playing the compositions of bandleader and multi-award-winning composer Laura Jurd, Dinosaur explore Jurd's distinctive yet ever-evolving music with playful abandon and technical prowess. Over the past decade, they have earned a reputation as some of the best UK jazz musicians of their generation and played at some of the world's most iconic jazz festivals including North Sea, Molde and Montréal.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to Mosking :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Luft - Life Is The Dancer
(Edition Records) - Released: 17th April 2020

Rob Luft (guitar); Joe Wright (tenor saxophone); Joe Webb (hammond organ, piano); Tom McCredie (bass); Corrie Dick (drums); and Featuring: Byron Wallen (trumpet tracks 2 & 10) and Luna Cohen (vocals tracks 2 & 10)

Rob Luft Life Is The Dancer

 

 

'British guitarist Rob Luft returns with Life Is The Dancer, his second album following acclaimed debut Riser (2017). With the same line-up Life Is The Dancer confirms all the praise and promise of an artist of the moment and commands attention for its brilliance and originality. Rob Luft is a superstar in the making - a virtuoso, a band-leader, a composer of vibrant, original music and a captivating communicator. Life Is The Dancer is an eagerly awaited and anticipated release from a future star.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to the title track Life Is The Dancer : Listen to Berlin :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juliet Wood - Sconsolato
(Elsden Music) Released: 1st May 2020

Juliet Wood (vocals); John Crawford (piano); Andrés Ticino (percussion); Andrés Lafone (bass); Marisa Wessler (backing vocals - In These Shoes)

Juliet Wood Sconsolato

 

 

'This collaboration with three masters of Latin-flavoured Jazz - John Crawford (piano), Andrés Lafone (bass) and Andrés Ticino (drums & percussion) - overlays the flowing vocal lines with complex rhythms and an intriguing vibe. The title track, Sconsolato, is a heart-rending song of love and loss written by bassist Jimmy Woode and recorded in 1968 by Mark Murphy. Juliet’s carefully curated repertoire continues with musical gems such as Chelsea Bridge (Billy Strayhorn), Journey Within (Kenny Barron/Clare Foster), Midnight Sun (Lionel Hampton/Johnny Mercer), In These Shoes (Kirsty McColl et al.), Slow Hot Wind (Henry Mancini/Norman Gimbel) and two lesser known but beautiful Hoagy Carmichael tunes Lying to Myself and I Walk with Music. Also given a refreshing revival are Duncan Lamont’s bluesy Billie Holiday and the wistful Manhattan in the Rain. An up-tempo, percussive Fascinating Rhythm (Gershwin) completes this delightful collection.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Billie Holiday : Listen to In These Shoes :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tony Lee - Tony Lee With The Alvin Roy Band
(Self Produced by Alvin Roy) - Released: 25th February 2020

Tony Lee (piano); Alvin Roy (clarinet); George Oag (guitar); Danny Padmore (bass); Colin Seymour (drums)

Tony Lee With The Alvin Roy Band

 

 

'Tony Lee, who died in 2004, was a leading British pianist who played with some of the world's top musicians over a career spanning 40 years. This live session was recorded, on a portable home cassette recorder, at the Prince of Orange, Rotherhithe, London in 1988, when Tony guested with Alvin Roy's band. Consequently, the sound is not exactly of "Studio" quality but this rare recording captures the atmosphere of the night, the outstanding playing of Tony and the musical empathy that was shown by the other musicians. Tony was well known for his ability to absorb "Errol Garner" style, which is superbly illustrated on "The Way You Look Tonight" with its elaborate intro' but the remaining tracks are pre Tony Lee ... melodic and swinging.' (album notes).

Details : Purchase details : Listen to Blues For Bird : Listen to Lover Man :

 

 

 

 

Lynne Arriale Trio - Chimes Of Freedom
(Challenge Records) - Released: 28th February 2020

Lynne Arriale (piano); Jasper Somsen (bass); E.J. Strickland (drums); K.J. Denhert (vocals)

Lynne Arriale Chimes Of Freedom

 

 

'Chimes of Freedom' is Lynne Arriale's second album on Challenge Records and her 15th as a leader. Lynne is joined by renowned musicians, Dutch bassist/co-producer Jasper Somsen, drummer, E.J. Strickland, and guest vocalist, K.J. Denhert. In Chimes, her most passionate artistic statement to date, Lynne reflects on freedom, cultural diversity, and her wish that all refugee families may reach an inclusive safe harbour among the democratic nations of the world. This remarkable collection features seven of Lynne's original, deeply personal works. Lynne is known throughout the jazz world for the clarity, honesty and lyricism of her melodic lines, her virtuoso technique, and her genius for creating a synergistic environment around the trio, whose sound is greater than the sum of its parts. Lynne's albums have consistently topped the US Jazzweek Radio Charts and have appeared on numerous "Best Of" lists, including the New Yorker, United Press International, JAZZIZ, JazzTimes and Jazz History Online.' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Listen to Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child : Listen to Journey : Radio Interview with Lynne :

 

 

 

 

Andy Milne and Unison - The reMISSION
(Sunnyside Records) - Released: 10th April 2020

Andy Milne (piano); John Hébert (bass); Clarence Penn (drums)

Andy Milne The reMISSION

 

'Marking Milne’s first foray into piano trio performance, the album is a stunning shift in direction in the artist’s illustrious career. In late 2017, a life-changing cancer diagnosis forced Milne into a period of reflection over his fruitful career, a re-evaluation of his direction as an artist, and finally, remission. Added to the mix was an unexpected offer (which he accepted), for a full-time professorship from The University of Michigan. After conquering his diagnosis, Milne seized the opportunity to tackle a musical venture that he has always found exciting, and at times daunting: the powerful intimacy of the piano trio format. Juno award winner Milne brings a bold, imaginative sound to this pared down context, presenting fresh, original material written for this hallmark collaboration between himself, drummer Clarence Penn and bassist John Hébert ..... While Milne’s journey reflects a reversal of the jazz pianists’ time-honored practice of starting their careers with a trio and tackling larger configurations later, this decision has paid off by informing his trio sound with a structural and harmonic richness, and masterful interplay atypical to mainstream of the piano trio idiom.... (album notes). '.....the pianist embraces this Unison trio project with all his soul. He is found in great shape throughout the ten tracks of a record composed of eight originals - some of them purposely written for this trio - and two covers, which bookend the album .... The album title, The reMission, couldn’t be clearer, and Milne deserves compliments for both the remission of the disease he was diagnosed with and the mission accomplished with this gorgeous trio recording.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video introducing the band : Live video of Passion Dance :

 

 

 

Dayna Stephens Trio - Liberty
(Contagious Music) - Released: 28th February 2020

Dayna Stephens (tenor and baritone saxophones); Ben Street (acoustic bass); Eric Harland (drums).

Dayna Stephens Trio Liberty

 

 

'Well-versed saxophonist Dayna Stephens went for an appealing trio recording session with longtime collaborators, bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric Harland. These musicians were featured on Stephens’ very first recording, The Timeless Now (CTA Records, 2007), and one composition from that album - “Lost And Found” - appears on Liberty with a new outfit, passing a sensation of downtempo jazz without really being it. The warmly connected bass lines join the laid-back drumming to support the darkly wistful tones of Stephens, who, on this one, plays baritone sax with asserted pensiveness ..... Shaped with equal parts sturdiness and grace, the 11 tracks of Liberty, Stephens’ ninth recording as a leader and first trio output, flourish with invention, suspension, and resolution. Above all, the group brings emotion into play, building and releasing tension in a stylized fashion.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Listen to Planting Flowers : Listen to Kwooked Stweet : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Ted Poor - You Already Know
(Impulse! Records) - Released: 28th February 2020

Ted Poor (drums); Andrew D’Angelo (saxophone); Andrew Bird (violin); Blake Mills (guitar).

Ted Poor You Already Know

 

 

'Seattle-based drummer Ted Poor possesses a clear, detailed language that makes him a singular voice among fellow instrumentalists. He achieved wider notoriety after joining trumpeter Cuong Vu in his trio and 4-tet projects, embracing once more the leadership with this brand new outing, You Already Know. Comprising nine pieces that favor smartly arranged forms of interplay, the album features the gifted saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo, as well as violinist Andrew Bird and guitarist Blake Mills on one of the tracks. One doesn't have to wait long to witness the group’s constructive chemistry. “Emilia” opens the album with an intelligible conversational drum cycle that keeps going. Poor deals with each part of the drum kit with astuteness, extracting beautiful, contrasting tones that are not averse to scintillation. D’Angelo’s prayerful melodies rest over the effective piano comping that further brightens the Americana-suggested scenario. Everything seems so simple, detached of unnecessary complexities, that makes hard to believe how remarkably good it sounds ......I wish Poor were more prolific as a leader since his formidable aesthetics and minimalistic compositional adroitness make him one of the most diligent rhythmic colorists of our times.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video Introduction : Listen to Emilia : Listen to At Night :

 

 

 

 

Stefano Travaglini - Monk
(Notami Jazz) - Released: 5th March 2020

Stefano Travaglini (piano)

Stefano Travaglini Monk

 

 

'Italian pianist Stefano Travaglini is accustomed to play solo, and he does it in a unique way. His newest solo album is called Monk, the sparkling follow up to Ellipse (Notami Jazz, 2017). As you can immediately guess, this recording consists in personal interpretations of pieces authored by the genius pianist Thelonious Monk. Over the course of this session, he flies freely, refusing imposed boundaries and configuring various combinations drawn from the modern classical and jazz idioms. This way, he enables Monk’s music to be smeared and smudged into new colors and shapes ..... The stirring and inventive take on “Round Midnight”, for example, is hair-raising. Loosened up in tempo but still keeping the wondrous sentiment and structure of the original, this piece is one of the most beautiful on the record .....With no cuts or edits, Travaglini’s free improvisation offers an expanded, progressive, third stream vision of Monk’s music.' (JazzTrail)

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yuri Honing Acoustic Quartet - Bluebeard
(Challenge Records) - Released: 20th March 2020

Yuri Honing (saxophone); Wolfert Brederode (piano); Gulli Gudmundsson (bass); Joost Lijbaart (drums)

Yuri Honing Bluebeard

 

 

'Yuri Honing has dedicated his new album to the gruesome heritage of Bluebeard, titlular character of the 17th Century French fairytale. The duke with the seven wives sybolizes other historic European figures such as Pablo Picasso, who conquered women and loved them, but also destroyed them; all these phases inspired his art. A sonnet by the first female Pulitzer Prize winner, Edan Milay, a variation on the fairy tale, forms the basis of the album Bluebeard.The relentless Bluebeard now has a soundtrack thanks to Dutch saxophone pride Yuri Honing. With his Acoustic Quartet, Yuri Honing has been celebrating international success for many years. As with his previous album Goldbrun, the release of Bluebeard will be followed by an exhibition at Museum De Fundatie in Zwolle, a 'Gesamtkunstwerk' of paintings, sculptures and music in collaboration with painter Mariecke van der Linden. Honing's awards include three Edisons and the Boy Edgar Prijs 2012, and he has worked with countless greats such as Pat Metheny, Charli Haden, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Paul Bley and Craig Taborn.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video for Bluebeard Maze : Listen to She Walked In Beauty Like The Night :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nat King Cole - The Complete Nelson Riddle Studio Sessions
(Music Milestones) - Released: 6th March 2020 [8 CDs]

Nat King Cole (vocals, piano); Nelson Riddle (arranger, conductor) with various personnel including Mannie Klein, Pete Candoli, Sweets Edison (trumpet); George Roberts, Milt Bernhardt, Juan Tizol (trombone); Jack Dumont, Ted Nash, Joe Koch (reeds); Jimmy Rowles, Paul Smith, Lou Levy (piano); Irving Ashby, Barney Kessel (guitar); Joe Mondragon, Red Callander (bass); Archie Freeman, Alvin Stoller (drums) and others.

Nat King Cole Nelson Riddle Studio Sessions

 

'Limited edition 8CD deluxe box set featuring 216 tracks - issued for the first time ever on a single set. Includes a 40-page booklet with rare photos and memorabilia, updated liner notes and detailed discography. This monumental box set presents, for the first time on a single release, all the existing songs recorded by the great Nat King Cole with orchestras conducted and/or arranged by the equally great Nelson Riddle. Cole and Riddle started their extended collaborations in 1950 and continued to work together regularly for a whole decade until 1960, when Ralph Carmichael became Cole's main conductor. The songs are presented here chronologically in session order, and are accompanied by a comprehensive booklet including rare photos, memorabilia , and detailed information on the dates. Along with well know classics such as "Unforgettable" and "Mona Lisa", this collection presents dozens of rarely heard and hard to find songs which had never been issued before in their proper context.' (album notes). 'Hard on the heels of the excellent Hittin' The Ramp 1936-43 set on Resonance comes this exemplary package collating all Nat Cole's sessions with Nelson Riddle (and a final session with Ralph Carmichael at which Cole remade some of the early Riddle arrangements in stereo .... overall this makes a fine complement to the Resonance set as a rounded portrait of a very significant decade in Cole's career ...' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Digby Fairweather - Notes From A Jazz Life
(Acrobat) - Released: 2nd February 2020 [2 CDs]

Digby Fairweather (cornet) with various personnel.

Digby Fairweather Notes From A Jazz Life

 

'Cornetist Digby Fairweather has become one of the leading figures on the British jazz scene, both as a bandleader and sideman in other leaders bands, and as a writer and broadcaster, as well as being the founder and director of the charity Jazz Centre UK in Southend, aimed at promoting, preserving and celebrating the culture of jazz. As a cornetist, his style embraces many strands of jazz, being influenced by the likes of Nat Gonella, Louis Armstrong, Ruby Braff, Billy Butterfield, Bobby Hackett, and Red Nichols. This 33-track 2-CD set is a retrospective of his career to date, compiled by Digby himself, and with substantial booklet notes written by him. It comprises recordings from across his career, from his studio debut in 1971 through to 2012, and features recordings with a host of the top names in British jazz, including of course several by bands he has led under the names of Digby's Half Dozen and Digby's Fairweather Friends. Among the artists with whom Digby performs in this set are John Barnes, Roy Williams, Ron Russell, Keith Ingham, Fred Hunt, Chris Ellis, Brian Lemon, Pete Strange, Lennie Hastings, Stan Barker, Danny Moss, Martin Litton, George Melly and Wild Bill Davison. Its a musical overview of a significant career selected by the artist himself, and providing not only a showcase for his talents, but an entertaining insight into the British jazz scene across four decades.' (album notes). ' Blessed is the 74-year-old musician who is encouraged to compile a career retrospective, write a detailed autobiographical essay, and lives to tell the tale. This is exactly what happens here over the course of this double-CD dip into Digby's plentiful discography ..... So, milestones aplenty, great players alongside, contentment and overall, a sense of a sprited jazz journey well-travelled with, doubtless, plenty more surprises to come' (Peter Vacher in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny Hodges - Creamy
(Essential Jazz Classics) - Released: 1st November 2019

Johnny Hodges (alto sax); Clark Terry, Ray nance (trumpet); Lawrence Brown (trombone); Harry Carney (baritone sax); Billy Strayhorn (piano), Jimmy Woode (bass), Sonny Greer, Sam Woodyard (drums).

Johnny Hodges Creamy

 

 

'Presented here is the complete Johnny Hodges album Creamy (Verve MGV-8136), one of his best small group albums as a leader. In addition to Hodges, many important figures from the Duke Ellington band are also featured here, among them Clark Terry, Lawrence Brown, Jimmy Hamilton, Harry Carney, and the great Billy Strayhorn, who also contributes three compositions. Hodges’ following date as a leader, showcasing a very similar personnel, has been added as a bonus in its entirety. (album notes). 'Was a jazz album ever more appropriately titled? This EJC reissue of two of Hodges' mid-1950s Verve sessions is a perfect summary of what made the great Ellington altoist the revered voice he was ....should you only know Hodges from his apperances with Ellington this is a record that'll round out a great deal of the picture. It's simply classic jazz, 'mainstream' if you like, but shot through with the very essentials of the idiom.Very highly recommended' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ****)

 

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Parker - Five Classic Albums
(Avid Jazz) - Released: 27th March 2020 [2 CDs]

Charlie Parker (alto sax) with various personnel including Kenny Dorham, Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet); Al Haig, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, Hank Jones, Walter Bishop (piano); Tommy Potter, Curley Russell, Ray Brown, Teddy Kotick, Percy Heath (bass); Max Roach, Buddy Rich, Don Lamond, Roy Haynes, Art Tayler (drums) plus big bands and strings.

Charlie Parker Five Classic Albums

 

'AVID Jazz continues with its Five Classic Album series with a re-mastered 2CD release from Charlie Parker, complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details.“Bird & Diz”; “Big Band”; “With Strings”; “Charlie Parker Quartet” and “Plays Cole Porter’” At last, the wait is over, we hear you cry, again! AVID have finally inducted Charlie Parker into our Four Classic Albums “hall of fame”! In fact, you have waited so long and so patiently that we have decided to add in another album to make it Five Classic Albums! .... Ok, so we have taken our time in paying tribute to one of the greatest sax players who ever lived, but we wanted to get it right, we wanted to select the best albums that truly captured the huge talents of Charlie Parker. We didn’t want to give you just any ol’ bird! And we think with the selections we have chosen we furnished our feathered friend with five fine examples of his fabulous talents!' (album notes) '.......There are five albums here rather than Avid's usual four because two of them were 10-inch LPs: the self-explanatory Bird And Diz ... and the 1952-53 quartet set with Roach. These two are the highlights ...The closing small-group set of Cole Porter tunes ... is from Bird's last year and finds some songs better suited to him than others ...' (Brian Pristley in Jazzwise ****)

 

Details : Track listing :

 

 

Noemi Nuti - Venus Eye
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 6th March 2020

Noemi Nuti (vocals, Paraguayan harp, classical harp); Chris Eldred (keys); Tom Herbert (bass); Emiliano Caroselli (drums); Gareth Lochrane (flute); Quentin Collins (trumpet)

Noemi Nuti Venus Eye

 

'Born in New York City and of Italian descent, Noemi Nuti is a well-established jazz vocalist based in London.A finalist at the Worshipful Company of Musicians, she has released her debut album Nice to Meet You in 2015, which was also the first release on the Ubuntu Music Record Label. Six tracks have been featured on national and international radio stations, two of which were A listed on Jazz FM. She has received wide critical acclaim touring the UK, headlining festivals and supporting Brazilian legend Marcos Valle at Islington Assembly Hall. She has also performed nationally and internationally as lead vocalist in Andrew McCormack's Graviton. Noemi Nuti's second album, Venus Eye, due to be released in March 2020, is a celebration of the female perspective in song form, fusing influences from artists such as Joni Mitchell and Esperanza Spalding.' (album notes). 'Venus Eye is the expression of a three-year journey I started in 2017. After the success of my debut album, ‘Nice to Meet You’, I decided to take some time off to go on an artistic, emotional and musical quest. I was lucky enough to spend this time listening, researching, practising and rediscovering my love for the harp.This has shaped the music and, for me, this was the best decision I have ever made. It took 18 months to write the music as I wanted to challenge myself to write songs with strong vocal and flute layering arrangements yet preserving elements of improvised jazz music. As I was recording, I realised that the overall theme was one of the self-affirming female perspective, which is the only perspective I have. I am so happy to embrace this music as it developed naturally whilst I was seeking to discover what was within me at that time. I believe this honesty can be heard in the storytelling of the lyrics, the instrumentation, the arrangements, the compositions and the textures.' (Naomi Nuti). '..... Nuti's ever-evolving musical artistry is tellingly reflected in this consummate collection of songs'. (Peter Quinn in Jazzwise ****)

 

Details and Samples : Click here for a Video of Cornflake Girl : Listen to I Will Remember : Listen to Crazy Dance : Further Details :

 

 

 

 

Tom Green Septet - Tipping Point
(Spark! Label) - Released: 17th April 2020

Tom Green (trombone/composition; James Davison (trumpet/flugelhorn); Tommy Andrews (alto/soprano saxophones); Sam Miles(tenor saxophone); Sam James (piano); Misha Mullov-Abbado (double bass); Scott Chapman (drums)

Tom Green Septet Tipping Point

 

'The Tom Green Septet is an outlet for Tom's original compositions: elegant and lively contemporary chamber jazz tunes with rich harmony, propulsive grooves, and memorable melodies at their heart. The Septet was formed in 2012, bringing together seven in-demand young musicians who are all prize-winning bandleaders, composers and performers in their own right. Together they create a warm and distinct sound world, using the unique range of textures available in the seven-piece ensemble. Their debut album 'Skyline' was released in February 2015 to unanimous critical acclaim, and now five years later, the Tom Green Septet return with their second release 'Tipping Point' featuring eight new compositions celebrating the importance of hope and positive action when addressing individual and global challenges. 20% of album sales will be donated to the charities Trees for Life: rewilding the Scottish Highlands by restoring the Caledonian Forest, and Cool Earth: working alongside rainforest communities to halt deforestation.' (album notes). " 'Tipping Point' is a phrase that has become more and more common recently to describe global changes, whether the subject matter is climate change, politics or upheavels within society. The title track in particular reflects this; it is unsettled, with shifting tona lcentres and alto saxophone, trombone and trumpet solos building towards a climax before a quiet unresolved ending". (Tom Green).

Details and Samples : Listen to Jack O' Lantern :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ian Shaw, Iain Ballamy, Jamie Safir - What's New
(Silent Wish Records) - Released: 3rd April 2020

Ian Shaw (vocals); Iain Ballamy (saxophone); Jamie Safir (piano)

Shaw Ballamy Safir Whats New

 

'What's New is the latest collaboration between two internationally renowned British jazz musicians - vocalist Ian Shaw and saxophonist / composer Iain Ballamy - and Jamie Safir, one of the finest young pianists of his generation. "This recording is a return to how it all started - under the wise advice of Ronnie Scott, thirty years ago - and a discovery of the art of great popular song," explains Shaw. "To be able to sing these songs with one of Ronnie's favourite horn players, Iain Ballamy, who played with Cedar Walton and me exactly twenty years ago on my US release, In A New York Minute, was pure joy. One of the pleasures of making jazz is how it transcends generation. Jamie Safir, the in-demand pianist of our day, here in the UK and in Europe, completes this convergent, thrilling and completely live album." From the title song by Bob Haggart and Bernstein's Some Other Time to the Bacharach and David classics Alfie and You'll Never Get To Heaven, What's New is a beautiful collection of songs celebrating love and hope, music that is rich in its portrayal of human connections. Many of the songs featured were favourites of Ballamy's father, who recently passed away, and the album is dedicated to his memory.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video of Alfie : Listen to You'll Never Get To Heaven : Listen to I Wish I Were In Love Again :

 

 

 

 

Fred Hunt - Blues 'n Boogie
(Lake Records) - Released: 10th April 2020

Fred Hunt (piano); Mike Bracewell (drums, tracks 1-9); Alex Welsh (Long Model cornet, track10)

Fred Hunt Blues n Boogie

 

 

'Pianist Fred Hunt quietly became a cult figure on the British Jazz scene. In the early 1950s he played semi-professionally before turning professional with Alex Welsh in 1954. He did two stints with the Welsh band (1954 – 1962 and 1964 -1974). During this time he carved out an enviable reputation. The Welsh band was the 'go-to' band for visiting Americans and so Fred played alongside, and recorded with, Bud Freeman, Wild Bill Davison, Ruby Braff and others. His style ranges from gentle to powerful coupled with his own tasteful, inventive ornamentations. He left to pursue a solo career in the 1970s. He only made two now rare, highly collectable albums under his own name before his death in 1986. This 'live' set shows him away from the constraints of a band and a recording studio enjoying and indulging himself often playing medleys where he alights on a standard, gains inspiration before segueing into another theme often in a variety of tempos. Highlights of Welsh band concerts were the duets he played with Alex. 'Davenport Blues' was one of their notable collaborations and a previously unissued version is the bonus track.' (album notes).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Hart, Ivo Neame - Multiverse
(Edition Records) - Released: 21st February 2020

Ivo Neame (piano, electric piano, keyboards); Jim Hart (vibraphone, percussion, marimba)

Jim Hart Ivo Neame album

 

'Pianist Ivo Neame and vibraphonist & drummer Jim Hart take their duo project to the next level with an astonishing and multifaceted new album. Produced by Matt Calvert, the music blends a rich world of Jazz, groove, electronica with ear-catching and bold electronic textures. This is a distinctive-sounding, multi-faceted album that ranges from serene, acoustic interpretations of the music of Hermeto Pascoal and John Taylor to dystopian, electronic free jazz. Both musicians are at their most free and honest whilst being in full command of their respective means of expression.' (album notes). 'If ever there was a meeting of virtuosic equals who can play more or less anything and often do, it's the UK partnership of pianist and reeds player Ivo Neame and vibraphonist / drummer Jim Hart - a 15 year liaison realised in a variety of line-ups .... Multiverse is a duo project, but this pair's multi-instrumental versatility creates tumultuous soundscapes that suggest a band twice the size ... Multiverse lives up to its name with a frquently awesome aplomb' (John Fordham in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Video of Transference : Listen to Au Contraire :

 

 

 

 

Pat Metheny - From This Place
(Nonesuch Records) - Released 21st February 2020

Pat Metheny (guitar); Gwilym Simcock (piano); Linda May Han Oh (bass); Antonio Sanchez (drums) + guests Gregoire Maret (harmonica); Meshell Ndegeocello (vocals); Luis Conte (percussion).

Pat Metheny From This Place

 

''From This Place' is one of the records I have been waiting to make my whole life', Metheny says. 'It is a kind of musical culmination, reflecting a wide range of expressions that have interested me over the years, scaled across a large canvas, presented in a way that offers the kind of opportunities for communication that can only be earned with a group of musicians who have spent hundreds of nights together on the bandstand'. The record features ten compositions by Metheny, who is joined by his long-time drummer, Antonio Sanchez, Malaysian/Australian bassist Linda May Han and British pianist Gwilym Simcock as well as the Hollywood Studio Symphony conducted by Joel McNeely.' (album notes). 'Four years after releasing the double-disc CD The Unity Sessions, guitar phenomenon Pat Metheny is back to his eclectic, fully persuasive sonic environments with a new album, From This Place. The program consists of 10 deftly written originals that reflect Metheny's refined musicianship, and is carried out alongside his new working quartet ... Their sound kept evolving throughout the years they’ve been touring together, and the bandleader broadens his vivid palette with brilliant symphonic arrangements written by Alan Broadbent and Gil Goldstein and performed by the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joel McNeely.... Conceived with perspective, developed with maturity, and sparkling with effulgence, this journey takes us to places worth visiting.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Same River : Listen to Love May Take Awhile :

 

 

 

 

 

Christian McBride - The Movement Revisited
(Mack Avenue) - Released: 7th February 2020

Christian McBride (bass); Steve Wilson (alto sax, flute);  Todd Bashore (alto sax); Ron Blake (tenor and soprano saxes); Loren Schoenberg(tenor sax); Carl Maraghi (baritone sax); Michael Dease, Steve Davis, James Burton (trombone); Doug Purviance (bass trombone); Lew Soloff, Ron Tooley, Frank Greene, Freddie Hendrix, Darryl Shaw (trumpet); Warren Wolf (vibraphone, tambourine, timpani); Geoffrey Keezer (piano); Terreon Gully (drums) + Alicia Olatuja, J.D. Steele (vocals) + choir Voices Of The Flame.

Christian McBride The Movement Revisited

 

'The Movement, Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Cultural Icons is culminating documentation of a richly inspired piece - lauding four key figures of the Civil Rights Movement: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and Muhammad Ali. Marshalling his ever-sharpening skills as a composer, arranger, conductor, musician and lyricist, McBride has created a historically and culturally illuminating five-part suite for an 18-piece big band, chorus and narrators that places the motivating forces as well as the goals of the Civil Rights Movement within a powerfully relevant artistic context. It is a one-from-the-heart project McBride was, apparently, destined to undertake. This recording of The Movement, Revisited marks the addition of a fifth movement, "Apotheosis," which acknowledges the election of Barack Obama as the first African American President of the United States.' (album notes). 'The Movement Revisited, the newest opus of first-class bassist/composer/arranger Christian McBride, is an important African American manifesto that takes the form of a five-part suite focused on four indelible figures of the Civil Rights Movement - Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Muhammad Ali. The bassist gathered an 18-piece band that includes vibrant soloists, a great choral team led by soul/gospel singer JD Steele, and four skilled speakers, who profess the words of each protagonist with passion........ The splendor of the music side with force of the words in a powerful and personal musical statement that envisions to alert the world for essential principles. This is the third big band recording for McBride.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Sample : Full JazzTrail Review : Video :

 

 

 

 

 

Engin Ozsahin - Sequence Of Emotions
(Self Produced) - Released: 11th January 2020

Engin Ozsahin (piano); Jacob Shulman (tenor saxophone); Aaron Dutton (alto saxophone); Bobby Lane (trumpet); Seajun Kwon (bass); Charlie Weller (drums).

Engin Ozsahin Sequence Of Emotions

 

'Originally hailing from Istanbul and now residing in Boston, pianist Engin Ozsahin drew inspiration from the bold decision of radically changing careers at the age 29 to compose his debut album, Sequence of Emotions. His passion and flair for music making led him to cut ties with a steady engineering job and enroll in the New England Conservatory in Boston. The nine song collection presented here took into consideration the whirl of emotions associated with different phases of that challenging process. Musically, the pianist was able to create a synergistic environment in the company of a functional sextet of young talents that includes saxophonists Jacob Shulman and Aaron Dutton on tenor and alto, respectively, Bobby Lane on trumpet, Seajun Kwon on bass, and Charlie Weller on drums.....Tunes such as “What If” and “Instincts” denote a fantastic sense of dynamics and interplay. The former starts off with a blue trumpet discourse supported by Kwon’s inspired bass notes, and then segues into a passage where staccato full-hand chords on the piano give it the intended locomotion. A stark contrast is created when the two saxophonists pair up in an unaccompanied ride that later welcomes swirling piano movements. The piece then evolves into an avant-garde crescendo that allows emotions to flow freely. A different perspective, more traditionally swinging is offered on “Instincts”, whose scrumptious arrangement embodies a relentless bass pedal setting the pace, attractive melody, and improvisations from piano and alto sax.....Ozsahin composes with intelligence and his voice rings out clearly and promisingly.' (JazzTrail)

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to What If : Listen to Day Dreamer :

 

 

 

 

 

Avishai Cohen - Big Vicious
(ECM Records) - Released: 27th March 2020

Avishai Cohen (trumpet, effects, synthesizer; Uzi Ramirez: guitar); Yonatan Albalak (guitar, bass); Aviv Cohen (drums); Ziv Ravitz (drums, live sampling).

Avishai Cohen Big Vicious

 

'Charismatic trumpeter Avishai Cohen launched his homegrown band Big Vicious six years ago, after relocating from the US to his native Israel, rounding up friends to shape the music from the ground up. Guitarist Uzi Ramirez, bassist Jonathan Albalak and drummer Aviv Cohen write much of the material together with Avishai. Ziv Ravitz, from Avishai's acoustic quartet, was recruited as second drummer a year ago. "We're all coming from jazz, but some of us left it earlier", Avishai says, summing up the stylistic reach of his cohorts. "Everyone's bringing in their backgrounds, and that becomes part of the sound of the band." Textures from electronica, ambient music and psychedelia are part of the blend, so too grooves and beats from rock, pop, trip-hop and more. A wide-open approach to cover versions – from Massive Attack to Beethoven - is also integral to the Vicious vision. Recorded in Studios La Buissonne in the South of France in August 2019 and produced by Manfred Eicher, Big Vicious's debut album is issued as the band gears up for extensive international touring, including Love Supreme in July.' (album notes). 'Trumpeter/composer Avishai Cohen gives another solid step toward innovation with the consistent group he formed six years ago, after moving back from the US to his native Israel. The eclectic album, Big Vicious, is the successor to the duo recording Playing The Room and marks his fourth outing on the reliable ECM imprint. The electro-acoustic ensemble, which includes two drummers, delivers a program of nine originals and two covers. Despite their backgrounds in jazz, these open-minded artists experiment with different sonic flavors and the outcome is more than satisfactory....... Revealing himself a musical chameleon, Avishai Cohen deserves acclaim for this exciting work.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Honey Fountain : Listen to Teardrop :

 

 

 

 

 

Jure Pukl - Broken Circles
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 21st February 2020

Jure Pukl (tenor and soprano saxophones); Charles Altura (guitar); Joel Ross (vibraphone); Matt Brewer (bass); Kweku Sumbry (drums)

Jure Pukl Broken Circles

 

'The sociopolitical and environmental focus on our world seems to be stronger than ever, predominantly for all the wrong reasons. But consequential calls for action can also summon a positive uprising of both energy and creativity – something particularly evident in the story behind Broken Circles from New York-based saxophonist/composer Jure Pukl, with new music that reflects empathy and respect. Previous Whirlwind releases Hybrid (2017) and Doubtless (2018) featured more spatial quartet and dual-tenor environments. But Pukl has also been honing this quite different quintet sound with the arresting line-up of guitarist Charles Altura, vibraphonist Joel Ross, bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Kweku Sumbry. “We’ve been playing in New York for a while now,” explains Pukl, “including Smalls, Fat Cat and The Jazz Gallery, and I am drawn to how the watercolor feel of guitar and vibes changes the sound, quite different to piano, and sometimes even blurs those textures. I hear Joel as another prominent melodic voice, and Charles contributes hugely to the arrangements.” Alongside the dexterity of bassist Matt Brewer is the astonishing talent of Kweku Sumbry. “He moved here a couple of years ago,” enthuses Pukl, “and comes from a strong African-family percussion tradition. Hearing this album, my very good friend, drummer Howard Curtis, exclaimed: ‘Wow, who’s the drummer? He sounds like a percussionist playing drums!’ – and that’s exactly what he is. So most of the pieces were written (with input from Pukl’s saxophonist wife, Melissa Aldana) with this group in my head.” (album notes). 'With Broken Circles, Slevenian-born, New York-based saxophonist Jure Pukl floats along on the waves of self-awareness and optimism, issuing a call for action on the sociopolitical and environmental predicaments that our world is facing lately .... This record comprises compositions that allow him to fly with freedom and, simultaneously, take full advantage of his bandmates’ musical skills ... The music in Broken Circles reflects Pukl's virtuosic prowess both as a composer and performer. His work has evolved in exciting ways and the 11 originals presented here couldn’t have been shaped with more character and life.' (JazzTrail)

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail review : Listen to Sustained Optimism : Listen to the title track Broken Circles :

 

 

 

 

 

Alvin Schwaar, Bänz Oester, Noé Franklé - Travellin' Light
(Leo Records) - Released: 20th March 2020

Alwin Schwaar (piano); Bänz Oester (bass); Noé Franklé (drums).

Alvin Schwaar Travellin Light

 

 

'If your love for improvisation and the memory of the Great Jazz Songbook is driven by pure joy and confidence you get the Swiss trio of Alwin Schwaar (piano), Bänz Oester (bass) and Noé Franklé (drums). They go on a travel without any preconceptions and language limitations, and they do not aim to arrive at any precise place. They just enjoy the trip which turns into pure joy. The band unites two generations and the musicians see themselves as soulmates with juvenile serenity!' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Track List :

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Colligan Trio - Live In Arklow
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 3rd April 2020

George Colligan (piano); David Redmond (bass); Darren Beckett (drums)

George Colligan Trio Live In Arklow

 

'George is not only one of the great jazz pianists of his generation, but he has earned an international reputation as a multi-instrumentalist (drums, trumpet, organ, keyboards), composer, accompanist, teacher and bandleader. Winner of the DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll, he has had a long association with living jazz legend Jack DeJohnette. With over 130 albums to date as an accompanist, Colligan has worked with a long list of jazz greats, including Buster Williams, Cassandra Wilson, Don Byron, Ravi Coltrane and many others. Colligan, a New York resident for 15 years, now resides in Portland, Oregon where he is an Associate Professor at Portland State University."Mr. Colligan. favours an earthy, assertive style, putting him in a lineage that includes McCoy Tyner, John Hicks and Mulgrew Miller. "--The New York TimesGeorge was reunited with a long-time colleague, Irish drummer Darren Beckett, since their extensive recording and playing days in New York, and was joined by Irish bassist David Redmond, to form a gifted trio that performed at the Bray Jazz Festival in 2018, appearing at Arklow Methodist Church. The live performance was recorded and will be released in CD and digital formats."One of the best kept secrets in jazz."All About Jazz Darren Beckett (drums) won a prestigious Bass Ireland Award as a teenager, leaving the emerald isle to study jazz in New York, where he resided for 21 years. Across his career, he has played drums everywhere from Carnegie Hall in New York to the Royal Albert Hall in London. He has performed on over 50 albums recording with notable names like Brandon Flowers, Daniel Lanois, Madeleine Peyroux, Lee Konitz and Kenny Wheeler. Over the years, Darren has worked with Lauryn Hill of The Fugees, James Hunter, jazz pianist Aaron Parks and played festivals all over the world from Austin City Limits to Montreux to NH7 in India.' (album notes).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

Radha Thomas & Aman Mahajan - Bangalore Blues
(Subcontinental Records) - Released: 31st March 2020

Radha Thomas (vocals); Aman Mahajan (piano, Fender Rhodes)

Radha Thomas Bangalore Blues

 

 

'Considered one of India's most beloved jazz vocalists, Radha has worked with some of the biggest names in the genre including Michael Brecker, John Scofield, Alex Blake and Buddy Williams. On Bangalore Blues she teams up with Berklee-alumnus piano player Aman Mahajan for an album described as unusual, outstanding and superb.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Video of Load Shedding live :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duke Ellington Orchestra - Liederhalle Stuttgart 1967
(Jazzhaus) - Released: 17th January 2020

Cat Anderson, Cootie Williams, Herbie Jones, Mercer Ellington (Trumpet); Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors, Lawrence Brown (trombone); Johnny Hodges (alto sax); Russell Procope (clarinet, alto sax); Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax); Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, tenor sax); Harry Carney (baritone sax); Duke Ellington (piano); John Lamb (bass); Rufus Jones (drums).

Duke Ellington Liederhalle Stuttgart

 

 

 

'The Duke Ellington Orchestra's European tour of 1967 has already generated a generous spread of bootleg discs, but perhaps none of them as vibrantly recorded as this Stuttgart concert from 6 March. Matters do not, however, get off to a promising start. An unkempt 50-second scrap of 'Take The A Train' just about hangs together - before the curtain rises on the orchestra's true glories......Kixx also highlights what a hard-driven, funky band Ellington had in 1967, with raw-boned brass stabs and trenchant saxophones that could have easily given James Brown a run for his money. An exceptional Ducal night.' (Philip Clark in Jazzwise ****).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny Griffin & Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis - Ow! Live At The Penthouse
(Real to Reel Recordings) - Released: 17th January 2020

Johnny Griffin, Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis (tenor sax); Horace Parlan (piano); Buddy Catlett (bass); Art Taylor (drums).

Johnny Griffin Eddie Davis Live At The Penthouse

 

'Nicknamed the Little Giant for his short stature and forceful playing, Johnny Griffin's career began in the early 1940s and continued until the month of his death in 2008. A pioneering figure in hard bop, Griffin recorded prolifically as a bandleader in addition to stints with pianist Thelonious Monk, drummer Art Blakey, in partnership with fellow tenor Eddie Lockjaw Davis and as a member of the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band after he moved to Europe in the 1960s. Eddie Lockjaw Davis played with Cootie Williams, Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk, Eddie Bonnemere, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie, as well as leading his own bands and making many recordings as a leader. He played in the swing, bop, hard bop, Latin jazz, and soul jazz genres. Some of his recordings from the 1940s also could be classified as rhythm and blues.' (album notes). 'Griff 'n' Jaws - the ultimate tough tenor tandem, a powerhouse pairing who could take any audience ... on a wild ride towards pure jazz nirvana .... This splendid rescue job, taken from a couple of previously unissued radio broadcasts ... is the tenor twosome at close to their collective best ...' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

Julian Costello Quartet - Connections: Without Borders
(33 Jazz) - Released: 2nd March (CD 20th April)

Julian Costello (tenor sax, soprano sax); Maciek Pysz (guitar); Jakub Cywinski (bass); Adam Teixeira (drums).

Julian Costello Quartet Connections Without Borders album

 

 

Saxophonist Julian Costello explores new material with his highly acclaimed European Quartet, featuring Julian on tenor and soprano saxophones, Maciek Pysz on guitar alongside bassist Jakub Cywinski and drummer Adam Teixeira. The music is about the connections we have to places - and how the music transcends borders.' (album notes). 'It has a theme and is conceptual. The full title is Connections: Without Borders.  Connections we have to places through music, and also how music transcends borders. It was recorded near Oslo and features great musicians from different parts of Europe. Music doesn't have boundaries and nor should it. I am inspired by how musicians and music travel like nature. Open to new ideas and influences from what, I think, should be an open world - when sadly, some would put up borders.' (Julian Costello).

Details and Samples : Read our Tea Break article with Julian Costello :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Vinson - 441
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 31st January 2020

Will Vinson (alto saxophone); Sullivan Fortner, Tigran Hamasyan, Gerald Clayton, Fred Hersch, Gonzalo Rubalcaba (piano); Matt Brewer, Matt Penman, Rick Rosato, Larry Grenadier (bass); Obed Calvaire, Billy Hart, Eric Harland, Clarence Penn, Jochen Rueckert (drums)

Will Vinson 441

 

 

'2019 is a milestone year for altoist Will Vinson. It’s twenty years since he relocated to New York from his native London, and commenced an exploration that led him into the heart of that city’s legendary scene, where the tradition and the avant-garde intersect. Seven records as leader have confirmed his stature: now, for his debut on Whirlwind, titled four forty one, he’s dug into his contact book to present the realization of a long-held dream - to record with five of the greatest contemporary piano masters......Each pianist was chosen by Vinson to reflect a different aspect of his musical journey through America, and a different side of his own musical identity. The sessions were all performed with no rehearsal and a minimum of formal arrangements, to let the diverse personalities shine through. It’s a unique experiment that has yielded unique results.....“At heart, I am a frustrated pianist. It may be on the saxophone that I’ve found a voice, but it’s the piano that has captivated, inspired, and eluded me my whole life. This project is a dream come true.” (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Work :

 

 

 

 

 

John Bailey - Can You Imagine?
(CD Baby / Freedom Road Records) - Released: 20th January 2020

John Bailey (trumpet, flugelhorn); Stacy Dillard (tenor and soprano sax), Stafford Hunter (trombone), Edsel Gomez (piano), Mike Karn (bass) and Victor Lewis (percussion), “special guests”, Janet Axelrod (flutes); Earl McIntyre (bass trombone, tuba).

John Bailey Can You Imagine

 

'In 1964, Dizzy Gillespie announced his candidacy for President of the United States. The campaign was, in the iconic trumpeter’s wry fashion, in large part satirical – particularly his proposed cabinet, which included Duke Ellington as Secretary of State, Louis Armstrong as Secretary of Agriculture, and Miles Davis as CIA Director among others. But the issues that Gillespie raised on the campaign trail, during one of the most heated periods of the Civil Rights movement, were serious, and resonate with the conflicts we still face today. On his new album, Can You Imagine?, veteran trumpeter/composer John Bailey posits an alternate reality half a century on from a President Gillespie administration. (This is no passing fancy for Bailey; as Allen Morrison points out in his liner notes, the trumpeter’s license plate reads “DIZ4PREZ.”). Due out, appropriately enough, on January 20, 2020 – Inauguration Day – through Bailey’s own Freedom Road Records, Can You Imagine? is also offered as a rhetorical question, a stunned response to the fact that too many of us seem not to have learned the lessons on empathy and human decency offered by our country’s artistic giants.' (album notes).

 

Details and Samples : Article for this website by Robin Kidson :

 

 

 

 

 

Oded Tzur - Here Be Dragons
(ECM) - Released: 14th February 2020

Oded Tzur (tenor saxophone); Nitai Hershkovitz (piano); Petros Klampanis (double bass); Johnathan Blake (drums).

Oded Tzur Here Be Dragons

 

'Here Be Dragons is the ECM debut of New York based, Tel Aviv born saxophonist Oded Tzur, a strikingly original player and musical storyeller. Tzur's graceful and fluid tenor sax sound has been influenced by studies with bansuri master Hariprasad Chaurasia, and the concept of raga is subtly embedded in his elegant compositions, played with verve and imagination by his outstanding Israeli-Greek-American jazz group. As DownBeat has observed: "Tzur and his colleagues are definitely on to something." Recorded in June 2019 at Auditorio Stelio Molo in Lugano, and produced by Manfred Eicher, the album is issued as Tzur embarks on an international tour.' (album notes). 'The elegant jazz of Tel Aviv-born, New York-based saxophonist Oded Tzur is fully reflected on his new album Here Be Dragons. The newcomer joins the ECM label, playing alongside Israeli pianist Nitai Hershkovitz, Greek bassist Petros Klampanis and American drummer Johnathan Blake. The quartet takes us into a deeply connected, reflecting, and moving journey, crystallizing their sounds into empathic rhythmic textures with a preference for soft and minimalist raga-inspired practices rather than any sort of fiery streaks......Working on hushed dynamics with soulful resplendence, Tzur and his quartet mates create some sweet moments of rare sensibility. This is a promising first ECM outing for him.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Listen to the Title Track : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mezcla - Shoot The Moon
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 11th February 2020

Joshua Elcock (trumpet); Michael Butcher (tenor saxophone); Alan Benzie (keyboard); Ben MacDonald (guitar); David Bowden (bass); Stephen Henderson (drums) and Steve Forman (percussion).

Mezcla Shoot The Moon

 

'Ubuntu Music is proud to announce the signing of Mezcla, to release their debut album, 'Shoot The Moon', worldwide on 7th February 2020. Mezcla are a Glasgow-based world/jazz fusion ensemble currently making waves throughout the UK. Led by bass player David Bowden (BBC Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year 2017), the band features some of Scotland's brightest stars and is attracting attention for its innovative blend of soulful jazz and energetic grooves.The name Mezcla means 'mixture' and the music draws from a wide range of genres and moods. Skilfully fusing modern jazz with African, Latin-American and RnB music influences, Mezcla's music is distinguished by its uplifting melodies, shimmering textures, and visceral improvisation.The line-up includes Michael Butcher on tenor sax, Joshua Elcock on trumpet, Alan Benzie (Berklee Billboard winner) on keys, Ben MacDonald on guitar, David Bowden on bass and compositions, Stephen Henderson (Jazzwise 'One to Watch' 2018) on drums and Steve Forman (veteran LA studio musician) on percussion."Fresh and vibrant... really uplifting jazz with world music flavours"BBC Radio 3 Nominated for 'Best Band' at the 2018 Scottish Jazz Awards, they have been touted by Jazz FM, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 3. Recent highlights have included a sell-out gig at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, BBC Music's 'Biggest Weekend', and London Jazz Festival 2018. Their debut album 'Shoot the Moon' will be released on Ubuntu Records in 2020.Bassist David Bowden, Mezcla's leader, is an award-winning bass player and composer working primarily in the fields of jazz, folk and contemporary improvised music. A mainstay of the Scottish scene, David has toured the UK and Europe extensively and was described by BBC Radio 3 as 'a gifted bass player'. Originally from London, David studied jazz at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and won 'BBC Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year' in 2017. He has spent time studying abroad in Amsterdam and Ghana and is involved in Scottish music education.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : David Bowdens Full Focus article on this website :

 

 

 

 

Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra - Sherman Irby's Inferno
(Blue Engine Records) - Released: 17 January 2020

Sherman Irby, Ted Nash, Victor Goines, Walter Blanding, Joe Temperley (reeds); Wynton Marsalis, Ryan Kisor, Marcus Printup, Kenny Rampton (trumpets); Vincent Gardner, Chris Crenshaw, Elliott Mason (trombones); Dan Nimmer (piano), Carlos Henriquez (bass), Ali Jackson (drums).

Jazz At Lincoln Centre Orchestra Inferno

 

'In the epic composition - recorded live at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater in 2012 - the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra all-star improvisers give life to the colorful denizens of hell and casts the late, legendary baritone saxophonist and founding member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Joe Temperley as the voice of “Dante.” Sherman Irby’s Inferno both stands alone as an irresistible musical narrative and sheds new light on Dante’s classic; this unique exploration of the epic poem captures its timeless quality and ingeniously places it in conversation with the jazz canon.' (Wynton Marsalis) 'Trumpeter extraordinaire Wynton Marsalis fronts the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, a 15-piece band bound to perform saxophonist Sherman Irby’s Inferno, an impeccably arranged and masterfully executed suite in six movements that narrates Dante Alighieri’s first part of his 14th-century epic poem The Divine Comedy. The ensemble not only displays a magic touch when it comes to luxurious orchestration, but also provides absorbing individual statements whenever an improviser steps forward........Collective discipline is an important aspect in Irby’s compositional aesthetic and the shapeshifting, cinematic narrations of “Movement V: The Three-Headed Serpent” show exactly that, conveying a sense of danger and momentum in one of its passages. However, unrehearsed creativity is also vital, and the spotlight is pointed at an early galloping drum solo delivered by Ali Jackson, followed by a buoyant tenor stretch over drums.....' (JazzTrail).

Details and Sample : Introductory Video : Listen to Movement 1 - House Of Believers : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

Carla Bley / Andy Sheppard / Steve Swallow - Life Goes On
(ECM) - Released: 14th February 2020

Carla Bley (piano); Andy Sheppard (saxophones); Steve Swallow (electric bass).

Blay Sheppard Swallow Life Goes On

 

'A striking album of new music from pianist/composer Carla Bley, whose trio with Andy Sheppard and Steve Swallow is now in its 25th year. Individual associations among the players go back much further: bassist Swallow first recorded music by Carla in 1961. So when Bley says "Life Goes On", a lot of life is alluded to. Following two other trio albums for ECM, Trios (2013) and Andando el Tiempo (2016), this recording, realized in the Auditorio Stelio Molo Studio in Lugano in May 2019, with Manfred Eicher producing, takes the form of three suites. The title piece begins as a stoical blues, at first melancholic then hopeful. "Beautiful Telephones", inspired by a US president's first observation on entering the Oval Office, has plenty of Bley's dark wit. And "Copycat" explores the notion of call-and-response in fresh ways as the improvisers continue each other's thoughts. Throughout, Carla's distinctive piano, with its hints of Monk and Satie, is beautifully framed by Swallow's eloquent, elegant bass guitar and Sheppard's yearning saxes. This trio has a unique collective sound, reflecting - as The Telegraph recently noted – "musical mastery of a rare order". "Carla Bley is not just one of jazz history's most iconoclastic figures; she is also capable of turning the most moribund of topics into a cause for celebration… " – The Times (album notes). 'Pianist/composer Carla Bley forged an unprecedented path in the jazz world on account of exceptional creative capacities. Her quarter-century drum-less trio, which includes her husband, bassist Steve Swallow, and the British saxophonist Andy Sheppard, enriches the ECM catalogue with another disc, Life Goes On, the follow-up to Andando El Tiempo (2016). Effectively, Bley’s unique compositional lay outs translate into unmistakable sonic aesthetics delivered with elegance, strength, tenderness and wittiness.This album is composed of three suites and opens with the title track, whose four distinct, poised and warmhearted parts suffuse an underlying magnificence that refuses excesses of any kind...... Bley, Swallow and Sheppard engage on straightforward jazz narratives devoid of artificiality. This music is gripping and immensely fun.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Listen to the Title Track : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

Issie Barrett's Interchange - Donna's Secret
(Fuzzy Moon Records) - Released: 31st January 2020

Issie Barrett (bass, artistic director, cowbells); and on various tracks: Jessica Radcliffe (vocals); Brigitte Beraha (vocals on one track); Laura Jurd (trumpet); Helena Kay (alto sax, clarinet); Alyson Cawley (sopranos sax, tenor sax, flute, clarinet); Chelsea Carmicahel (tenor sax, flute); Rosie Turton (trombone); Shirley Smart (cello); Karen Street (accordion); Charley Pine (bass, electric bass, backing vocal); Katie Patterson (drums, percussion); Nikki Iles (piano); Zoe Rahman (piano).

Interchange Donna's Secret

 

 

'Issie Barratt's INTERCHANGE (In-to-change) Pushing at the boundaries & blurring all the edges. INTERCHANGE'S debut album "Donna's Secret" (recorded January 2019) features 14 highly creative improvising artists performing 8 highly original newly commissioned works, led by multi award composer and bandleader Issie Barratt - ranked by BBC Radio 4's 2018 power-list as one of the most influential women in the music industry: An exhilarating programme of newly commissioned music providing a broader, more diverse experience than any audience might typically hear.' (album notes). '....Interchange typifies Issie Barrett's work as educator, activist and artist. In the latter role, she has focused on large ensembles in a way rare for British female jazz musicians, eight of whom are offered the format's compositional opportunities here...... A sea-change washing away the necessity (if not the pleasure) of gender focus is hopefully brwing in the next generation.... in the meantime these are valuable voices' (Nick Hasted in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Introductory Video :

 

 

 

 

 

Cherise - Paradise
(self release EP) - Released: 31st January 2020

Cherise Adams-Burnett (vocals); Andy Bunting (piano); Louis van Der Westeuizen (bass); Jonathan Silk (drums); Tal Janes (guitar); Ernesto Marichales (percussion); Joe Bristow (trombone); Ms Maurice (trumpet); Chelsea Carmichael (tenor sax); String Quartet - Valeria Pozzo (violin); Barbara Barry (violin); Jamie-lee Glinsman (viola); Midori Jaeger (cello).

Cherise Paradise

 

'Following an incredibly successful 2019, which saw her win Vocalist of the Year at the Jazz FM Awards and perform at the Jazz Voice opening gala for the EFG London Jazz Festival alongside Corinne Bailey Rae and Cécile McLorin Salvant, hotly-tipped UK vocalist CHERISE has announced the release of her long-awaited debut EP 'Paradise'. Since graduating from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music in late 2017, Cherise has been invited to perform at many of the UK’s most prestigious venues and festivals ranging from the BBC Proms at The Royal Albert Hall and the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C to Festival performances including the UKs Love Supreme Jazz Festival. When asked about her approach as an artist and music, Cherise described her goal as... "To celebrate and draw from all the musical styles that I love without being defined strictly by any particular Genre.... to bring something fresh!" Owing much of her earlier development to the highly-regarded educational group Tomorrow’s Warriors, nowadays she is glad to be involved in developing younger musicians through the same program as a both tutor and workshop leader.' (website notes). '..... we haven't, until now, had a release from Adams-Burnett herself. It's pleasing to report that - for its ambition, its imagination, and its poetry - this debut EP has been well worth the wait ...' (Peter Quinn in Jazzwise ****).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video :

 

 

 

 

Steve Day & Mark Langford with Julian Dale - Pairing: poetry and music
(Freetone Records) - Released: February 2020

Steve Day (words, voice, hand-percussion, whistle); Mark Langford (music, bass clarinet, piano); Julian Dale (double bass tracks 1,2,4,7), bowed glass bowl (track 4)

Steve Day Pairing

 

 

'Mark Langford and I had been living in different parts of the city since the 1970’s. We were aware of each other, but didn’t arrive in the same space together until autumn 2016.  I needed a reeds player; he didn’t realise he required a poet nor I an exceptional pianist, but we ‘got each other’ completely.  We are a true pairing and we have pared down these performances to essentials. On five tracks this includes the contributions of Julian Dale, a bass player of nuance and detail, who appreciates ‘less is more’. Pairing: Here is a two verse poem coming into view/ emerging from memory as a rewritten blues,/ Short of words it doesn't know it needs./ An elongated melody stretching into a key/ unlocking a tongue that isn't owned by me. ... I wrote the title on the back of a grubby ticket/ Scratched out graphite in stub pencil patterns/ like firework hieroglyphics marked on a piano./Now the two of us pair the core of our complicity./ Black and white turns into daylight so my flamin'/buddy can slip a left hand chord a little density.' (Steve Day).

Details and Samples : Steve Day's website :

 

 

 

 

 

MoonMot - Going Down The Well
(Unit Records ) - Released: 14th February 2020

Dee Byrne (alto saxophone, effects); Simon Petermann (trombone, effects); Cath Roberts (baritone saxophone); Oli Kuster (Fender Rhodes, effects); Seth Bennett (bass); Johnny Hunter (drums).

MoonMot Going Down The Well

 

 

'Going Down the Well is the debut by UK/Swiss Sextet MoonMot. The Album contains eight original compositions written by all band members. The music of MoonMot features various sound and compositional concepts, such as twelvetone composition, distortet horn sounds, song forms and linear compositions. The band members also present themselves as highly skilled improvisers. MoonMot are six musicians from Bern and London. All six represent a young generation of improvising musicians who have sharpened their own voices in countless performances around the world. Together they are working on current developments in European jazz. The band emerged from the activities of the LUME Collective in London run by the band's two saxophonists Dee Byrne and Cath Roberts. Together with bassist Seth Bennett and drummer Johnny Hunter, they were invited to Jazzwerkstatt Bern in 2017, where they played for the first time with Bern musicians Oli Kuster (Keys) and Simon Petermann (trombone, electronics). After a successful concert the band were invited to perform at the renowned EFG London Jazzfestival later that year.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Article on this website : Video of MoonMot playing Avignon live in 2019 :

 

 

 

 

Wolfgang Haffner - Kind Of Tango
(ACT) - Released: 28th February 2020

Wolfgang Haffner (drums); Lars Danielsson (bass & cello); Christopher Dell (vibraphone); Simon Oslender (piano); Vincent Peirani (accordion); Ulf Wakenius (guitar).

Wolfgang Haffner Kind Of Tango

 

 

'After "Kind of Cool" and "Kind of Spain", drummer & bandleader Wolfgang Haffner rounds up his trilogy of deeply relaxed, delicately grooving, multi-colored jazz recordings with this tango-flavoured musical melange. “This isn’t about reproducing an original, it’s much more like a translation. When I absorb and adapt influences and when I write, I follow my own path – and that allows me to be myself. It’s a process from which something new and contemporary can emerge.” This is how Wolfgang Haffner describes the artistic approach in his “Kind of...” album trilogy, all of which have the unmistakable Haffner sound running right through them. After a first adventure in cool jazz, and then a search for musical traditions in Spain, his new destination is Buenos Aires: “From the moment Siggi Loch suggested tango as my third point of departure, I didn’t need any more convincing. Rhythm is the essence of tango, plus catchy melodies which can then be developed – and there’s so much emotion in it too.”“Kind of Tango” is indeed a kaleidoscope of shifting emotions ..' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to Tango Cordoba :

 

 

 

 

Jim Snidero - Project-K
(Savant Records) - Released: 31st January 2020

Jim Snidero (alto saxophone); Dave Douglas (trumpet); Orrin Evans (piano); Do Yeon Kim (gayageum); Linda May Han Oh (bass); Rudy Royston (drums'.

Jim Snidero Project K

 

'With 'Project-K', Jim Snidero breaks new ground. Absorbing and refracting varied aspects of Korean folkways, he delves into a topic near and dear to his home and heart. "Having a Korean wife, family and friends, I've been immersed in Korean culture for more than 20 years," he shares. "Between Korean history, culture and philosophy, I felt that there was much to explore musically." Bridging his own wide-ranging aesthetic with those very traditions, Snidero turns out one of the most distinctive dates of his career. In choosing the personnel to flesh out this music, Snidero's decisions proved shrewd and sound. The rhythm section, comprised of pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Rudy Royston, brings a rare balance of sensitivity, strength and insight to these ventures. And trumpeter Dave Douglas serves as the perfect front line foil for the saxophonist. "I wanted to use a traditional Korean instrument on Project-K and the gayageum appealed to me the most. My goal was to fully integrate the instrument within some of the arrangements," says Snidero, "and Do Yeon Kim was the natural choice. As a group, we were all able to create what I believe is both unique and inspired music." (album notes). 'Everyone knows how hard American saxophonist Jim Snidero can push his music into pleasant hard-bop and post-bop territory. As a disciple of tradition, he is a musician of reference for many others, a truly inspiration on how to play jazz passionately and structurally. However, his new outing on the Savant imprint, Project-K, breaks preconceptions, presenting a totally new facet in the way he composes and arranges. Inspired by the culture, philosophy and history of South Korea, this new music adds an unprecedented contemporary vibe to his music, capable of surprising and enchanting ...... Bristling with jazz brio and Korean traditions, Project-K seamlessly connects two different worlds into a coherent whole. This is a wide, pivotal step in Snidero’s efforts to give his career a new direction.'(JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Jenga : Listen to Seoulful :

 

 

 

 

 

Elliot Galvin - Live In Paris at Fondation Louis Vuitton
(Edition Records) - Released: 24th January 2020

Elliot Galvin (piano)

Elliot Galvin Live in Paris

 

 

'Live in Paris, At Fondation Louis Vuitton is a bold statement by the pianist Elliot Galvin. Solo, entirely improvised, each piece is freely extemporised on the spot, distilling Elliot’s superb pianism and compositional brilliance in the moment. Described by BBC Radio 3, as a ‘vital and significant part of our contemporary and jazz scenes’, Elliot Galvin is a unique and visionary artist; a supremely talented pianist, improvisor and composer. His bold approach has seen him build a reputation as one of the rising stars of European jazz and improvised music, solo and in trio, in his role as a key member of Mercury Music Prize nominated band Dinosaur, and in the free jazz duo with saxophonist Binker Golding. For four albums Elliot’s critically acclaimed trio with bassist Tom McCredie and sticksman Corrie Dick has been the main focus, with The Influencing Machine being named in both Downbeat’s and Jazzwise’s best of 2018 list. His last album, the brilliant Modern Times (a BBC 6 Music Album of the Day), continued this trajectory, but Live in Paris, At Fondation Louis Vuitton, strips back his extensive arsenal of electronic and extended acoustic sounds, placing the brilliance of his pianism, musicianship and storytelling front and centre stage.' (album notes)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wolfgang Haffner - Kind Of Tango
(ACT) - Released: 28th February 2020

Wolfgang Haffner (drums); Lars Danielsson (bass & cello); Christopher Dell (vibraphone); Simon Oslender (piano); Vincent Peirani (accordion); Ulf Wakenius (guitar).

Wolfgang Haffner Kind Of Tango

 

 

'After "Kind of Cool" and "Kind of Spain", drummer & bandleader Wolfgang Haffner rounds up his trilogy of deeply relaxed, delicately grooving, multi-colored jazz recordings with this tango-flavoured musical melange. “This isn’t about reproducing an original, it’s much more like a translation. When I absorb and adapt influences and when I write, I follow my own path – and that allows me to be myself. It’s a process from which something new and contemporary can emerge.” This is how Wolfgang Haffner describes the artistic approach in his “Kind of...” album trilogy, all of which have the unmistakable Haffner sound running right through them. After a first adventure in cool jazz, and then a search for musical traditions in Spain, his new destination is Buenos Aires: “From the moment Siggi Loch suggested tango as my third point of departure, I didn’t need any more convincing. Rhythm is the essence of tango, plus catchy melodies which can then be developed – and there’s so much emotion in it too.”“Kind of Tango” is indeed a kaleidoscope of shifting emotions ..' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to Tango Cordoba :

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Deighan - Ukulele Gershwin
(self produced) - Released: 18th January 2020

Michael Deighan (1933 La Foley concert ukulele, Maholo baritone ukulele, Unknown classical guitar, Gibson LG 1 acoustic guitar 1963, Gibson Kalamazoo Arch-Top 1934)

Michael Deighan Ukulele Gershwin

 

Mike Deighan is the banjo player with the Temperence Seven and has just completed his solo ukulele album of 17 Gershwin tunes. Mike says: 'Nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you try'. Picking up the uke one day, this tune by George Gershwin seemed to fall under my fingers and as the chords came tumbling out together with the melody I thought I'm on to something here! An improvisation flowed over the chord structure but what next? Add the guitar. What style? Finger-picking sounded good to my ears and with an accidental distort on the guitar the version sounded complete. What next? The answer was simple - other Gershwin tunes and the Gershwin Uke project was under way! S'wonderful, Summertime, Lady Be Good, they all seemd to be suited to the line-up of uke and guitar. One tune I particularly enjoyed recording was They All Laughed. Inspiration struck when I was reminded of a clip from the film Shall We Dance. Astaire and Rogers, as if by magic, appear to dance across the beat to this tune. Breathtakingly beautiful! Ballads or belters, they all seemed to work for me. I hope they work for you too.' (Mike Deighan).

Details :

 

 

 

Johnny Hunter - Pale Blue Dot
(Northern Contemporary) - Released: 14th January 2020

Gemma Bass (violin); Aby Vulliamy (viola); Seth Bennett (double bass); Mark Hanslip (tenor sax); Johnny Hunter (drums).

Johnny Hunter Pale Blue Dot

 

'I was really affected by a particular photograph taken by Voyager 1 in 1990; the Earth as seen from a distance of 6 billion kilometers and appears less than 1 pixel in size. For a while, I had been toying with the idea of writing a piece for string quartet, a horn and drums, and I felt that this provided me with the perfect material. There are four movements, each observing the Earth from different perspectives, the titles of which are taken from Carl Sagan’s beautifully memorable commentary about this photograph, the “Pale Blue Dot”.

I: Everyone You Love II: Endless Cruelities III: Momentary Masters of a Fraction of a Dot IV: Save Us From Ourselves

My hope is that the listener will, albeit temporarily, be able to take a step back from any frustrations and anxieties of “everyday life”, and the atrocities of the world, and place themselves in the serenity of the edge of our Solar System, where all of humanity’s problems seem insignificant.' (Johnny Hunter).

Details and Samples : Video of extract taken from the second movement : Video describing Voyager's taking the image of the 'Pale Blue Spot' : Listen to Save Us From Ourselves :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abdullah Ibrahim - The Balance
(Gearbox Records) - Released: 1st January 2020

Abdullah Ibrahim (piano); Lance Bryant (tenor saxophone); Cleave Guyton Jr. (alto saxophone, flute, piccolo); Marshall McDonald (baritone saxophone); Andrae Murchison (trombone); Adam Glasser (harmonica); Noah Jackson (double bass, cello); Alec Dankworth (double bass); Will Terrill (drums).

Abdullah Ibrahim The Balance"People don't like Abdullah Ibrahim, they adore him, bestowing on him the devotion normally reserved for Nina Simone. When he plays, melodies tumble out effortlessly, as he slides from theme to theme like a laid-back South African reincarnation of Thelonious Monk." - THE GUARDIAN Abdullah Ibrahim (who has also recorded as Dollar Brand) is one of South Africa's most famous musicians. His music is often referred to as representing freedom. His major anti-apartheid anthem "Mannenberg" (released as "Capetown Fringe" in the US) thas come to be regarded as an unofficial national anthem in South Africa. He even performed at Nelson Mandela's inauguration, where Mandela referred to him as "our Mozart". He's played with everyone from Duke Ellington to Max Roach, John Coltrane to Ornette Coleman, and is the father of underground rapper Jean Grae.Encompassing Township-Jazz, solo piano, Highlife and plentiful modern jazz styles, this brand new studio album (recorded with his band Ekaya at RAK Studios in London,) is a major return for a genuine living Jazz legend.On April 15th 2019 Abdullah will be received into the NEA Jazz Masters fellowship, the highest honour the Unted States bestows upon jazz musicians."There are few musicians in jazz that can make you feel that all is right in the world like Ibrahim" THE TIMES"Wordless expressions of freedom and defiance" THE GUARDIAN UPDATE: No.1 in Germany JPC charts No.3 in US Billboard Jazz charts No.4 in UK official Jazz charts.' (album notes). 'After a four-year hiatus, the legendary South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim returns with a wonderful album, continuing a trailblazing work of pure instinct and eclectic refinement started in 1960. For this new work, aptly titled The Balance, the 84 year-old artist balances solo and collective efforts, high energy and melancholia, elation and forlornness, celebration and restraint, as well as spontaneous rides and thoroughly written parts. So, balance is the key, and the music, an incredible blend of township folk and sophisticated jazz, provides that compelling emotional depth that we found in previous masterpieces such as Water From an Ancient Well (1985) and Ekaya (1983).......There’s an unfluctuating state of grace that lingers long after the harmonica-tinged title track brings the album to a conclusion. Ibrahim continues true to himself and the magic of his individual expression is well alive. The Balance is one of his best records in many years.' (JazzTrail).

Details : Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to the Title Track :

 

 

 

 

Pablo Held - Ascent
(Edition Records) - Released: 7th February 2020

Pablo Held (piano); Robert Landfermann (bass); Jonas Burgwinkel (drums); Nelson Veras (guitar); Veronika Morscher (voice on Forest Spirits & Ascent); Jeremy Viner (clarinets on Forest Spirits & 52nd Street Theme)

Pablo Held Ascent

 

 

'Pablo Held’s new album, Ascent, his second for Edition Records, is a collaboration between his long-running trio (with bassist, Robert Landfermann and drummer, Jonas Burgwinkel) and the great Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras. Regarded as one of the most talented and adventurous pianists and improvisors in Europe, Pablo Held is building a formidable reputation, not only as a pianist of outstanding ability but also for his considerable musicality, energy and risk-taking. Ascent is highly anticipated new album, following their 10th album Investigations, praised internationally for its remarkable quality, deep communication and lyrical elegance, prompting All About Jazz to describe the group as “a world-class trio of exceptional talent”. The new album is a deeply satisfying fusion of the powerful and expressive music associated with Pablo Held’s trio and the fluid invention of Nelson Veras’s guitar stylings.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to the Title Track :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Sandy Brown Jazz 2020

 

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