The same Wayne Shorter behind game-changing standards like “Footprints,” “Nefertiti,” and “Kryptonite” was ever-present throughout this album, but that also indicates he’s on a pathway to unknown territory, too. Without a Net flies a heart-pounding trapeze of dizzying melodies and acrobatic rhythms that leaves the listener breathless and exhilarated. Never has it been so great to feel so unsafe.
Kenny Cox might not be the most well known jazz musician of his generation, but he certainly made an impact that is still being felt and will continue reverberating for years to come. As a recording artist, Cox became known for his group, the Contemporary Jazz Quintet, with whom he recorded two records with under the direction (or opposition to) Blue Note A&R director at the time, Duke Pierson. This ultimately led him to leave the major label scene despite heavy interest from Arista Records at the time Clap Clap! (The Joyful Noise) was recorded.
Jimmy Smith did not invent the organ. This is a fact. Long before his arrival, the instrument had been the vehicle of countless memorable performances. Word to Fats Waller. But with anything, there are architects and then there are innovators. I prescribe unto Smith the latter.
Frankly, I don’t care how old Kevin Coelho is and neither should you. If you’ve studied the greats (Herbie, Stevie, Michael, etc.) you know that “age ain’t nothing but a number.” And while today’s artist-in-residence wasn’t born early enough to fully appreciate my sincere, yet hackneyed reference, the point remains. Typically, this musician is introduced as a youthful prodigy, navigating the Hammond’s matured soul. But, I can’t trivialize the work through the obvious channel. This is a project that stands on its very own two.
In the past, I’ve struggled to adequately convey the entirety of Sirour’s compositional complexity. It was his unorthodox approach to the eden ahbez standard “Nature Boy” that first caught my attention. Vocalist and accompanist gave each other space in their own virtuosity, intermittently complimenting the other. It was stripped to the bare essentials, leaving the pianist no room to be anything but effective.
What we have here instead is a meeting of the minds—the talented youth and the burgeoning legend. Do I believe that a degree of competition existed between the two? Of course. A mastery of form cannot exist without the inherent desire to be greater than. But, this is a pairing that builds upon accentuation more so than aggravation. Dizzy Gillespie provided a platform for showcasing potential, and potential was given the name, Stan Getz.
As The Calling is witness, Collin found two like-minded peers throughout his journey in drummer Kendrick Scott and bassist Luques Curtis with which he could explore the depths of his deeply personal compositions. Taken as one fluid piece of work, the album is experimental and explosive with a touch of intimacy. It takes listeners on a journey, a soundtrack complete with storylines, dialogue and intrigue folded into synthesizers, palates, and the relationships made between Collin’s melodic and harmonic dialogues meeting the rhythmic force of Curtis and Scott.
A bridge over troubled water, John Coltrane’s Blue Train takes the dregs of the big band era and fuses the major influences of that proving ground for many of jazz’s giants with the budding compositional and performance based changes that would later alienate the pioneers of the post-bop movements from aging mentors who preferred the regimented syncopation and organizational rigidity of the classic bandstand environment from whence the whimsically vaudevillian swing and steady pay came. A work of deference to its musical forebears, it is as much a note of thanks as a sheepishly insincere apology for the creative rebellion the album is primed to encourage.
Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley Perkins label SomeOthaShip has released a collaboration between acclaimed producer Madlib and Georgia Anne Muldrow. The album is entitled Seeds and it is Madlib’s first venture into working solely with a female vocalist and Georgia Anne’s first time releasing a project that she herself did not produce. A dream collaboration for many avid hip-hop fans, the two artists come together effortlessly combining Madlibs gritty, soulful beats with Muldrow’s powerful lyricism and vocals.
In the aftermath of winning last year’s Grammy for “Best New Artist,” Esperanza Spalding finds herself in the unique position of presenting a widely anticipated album to mass audiences that consists of inspirations which span generations, genres, continents, instrumentations, and peoples. Released at a time in which musicians are reconsidering what it is they play, critics are re-categorizing what it is they hear, and audiences are craving authenticity, the album is representative of what music can be.
Jazz purists may be taken aback, but Glasper’s vision of melding the worlds of hip-hop, soul, and jazz is a thoughtful take on an idea that has been explored ad nauseum. Black Radio is Glasper’s vision of what the airwaves could sound like – a mixtape of sorts – that may not reignite a new movement to overtake popular radio as we know it today, but it’s a concept that should be applauded for a group of artists who believe in chops over charts.
The man affectionately referred to as “Pops” fathered an incredible heritage of barrier breaking music and instrumental genius that ushered in the era of modern jazz, but it was the melodic gift of his gravelly, yet nurturing voice that also firmly established Armstrong as one of the foremost vocalists in the history of music.
There may be better known Nina Simone songs in her canon – “My Baby Just Cares For Me,” “Feelin’ Good,” or “I Loves You, Porgy” – but perhaps her tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., entitled “Why? (The King Of Love Is Dead)” is the most poignant and heartfelt. Written by bassist Gene Taylor following the assassination, the performance was given a mere three days following King’s assassination in 1968 at the Westbury Music Fair. While a few nights earlier James Brown helped to keep the peace in Boston following the news of King’s death, Simone dedicated the entire show to his memory.
There is an overarching juxtaposition that somehow manages to hold this album together. The title alone pushes this idea directly into the forefront of any consumer’s mind. But, you have to truly listen to understand the dichotomous and yet, symbiotic relationship contained within A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness.
The popular music of Brazil is inherently a wide-ranging collection of influences and genres comprised of the voice of a culture. Many from around the world have narrowed their view of Brazilian music to simple Bossa Nova’s and the like without delving deeper into the history and vastness of possibilities. To this end, David Byrne, formerly of the Talking Heads, took it upon himself to compile Brazil Classics 1: Beleza Tropical.
Courtesy of The Revivalist, PopMarket, Sony and Woody Shaw III, we are giving away 2 exclusive box sets, The Complete Columbia Albums Collection of Woody Shaw and Dexter Gordon. Email us for a chance to win one of these timeless box set collections in honor of these legendary jazz icons. We are honored to have Woody [...]
Mauricio Maestro and Nana Vasconcelos last recorded together in 1976, as two thirds of a Brazilian trio with the singer Joyce. Those sessions remained dormant until 2009 when Far Out Recordings released them as Visions of Dawn. It’s breezy tones, touches of psychedelia and infectious grooves were so well received that Far Out asked Maestro and Vasconcelos to get together and record a follow-up, 35 years later.
Samba Esquema Novo is replete with the mellow aesthetics of a casual music excursion. Ben seems to require very little from his audience—a welcoming ear and an acute inclination for moderate temperaments. He begins with the oft-covered and highly favored “Mas, Que Nada!.” It has seemingly achieved standard status since its 1963 inception, but you would be hard pressed to find a version much better than Ben’s.
A man of many hats, Mark de Clive-Lowe finds time in the midst of DJing, remixing, and producing for others to release his own projects. From that great tradition of musical multi-tasking, we receive Renegades. From his roots in New Zealand to life in London and most recently Los Angeles, De Clive-Lowe has been busy raising the bar for peers and ears alike, as a leader in dubstep, nu-jazz, and house from the humble command center of his MPC and assorted instruments.
To be able to elucidate the subjectivity of consciousness in such a way that it can be universally understood is part of the intentional thinking of any great artist. “The Girl from Ipanema,” composed by Jobim, is now a classic because of the universalism expressed through its graceful romanticism and especially the personality in the vivacious voice of Astrud Gilberto—who had never recorded outside of her house before this album. The songs simple imagery transports you to Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro and illuminates the scene of the girl who strolls by the café when “each day she walks to the sea.”
this is one of the most important works of the Brazilian/jazz music exchange. It has influenced many in both fields and deserves credit for that alone. And while I am quick to recognize this project for its stellar music, it is important to place it in the proper framework, particularly for those who may attempt to pigeonhole its importance. Despite the reproach of his peers, Shorter helmed a project that was tailor made for widespread consumption. Some might say that the music is watered down; moving towards the shallowness of pop music. There is an undeniable accessibility in the music, yes. The melodies are quite palpable, even for the casual listener of jazz. But, this does not take away from the album’s credibility.
With Candygram For Mowo!, Adam Dorn has employed an unchained ear and an affinity for rhythm to create a body of work that challenges popular convention and makes a pointed attempt to take chances with tempo and stark contrasts between subgenres of jazz to create an aural patchwork that is something of a mashup, but much closer to what it might sound like if a musician were to sample, chop, and rearrange the most vital elements of himself.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to experience Steven Bernstein in any of his roles, you know that he’s well versed in the artistry of funk. In the most abstract sense, he, like so many others, studied under the tutelage of Sly and the Family Stone, learning the craft of dynamic musicianship. For MTO Plays SLY, Bernstein brought together his outfit, Millenial Territory Orchestra, for what can be understood as a cover of his influences greatest hits. But that would be an oversimplification, unjustly minimalizing what Bernstein accomplishes with this release.
Rarely does an album so viscerally representative of thematic inspiration occur than Soul Cycle’s latest, Homebrew. The fifth album, released by the group comprised of six New York musicians, all of whom are on the grind with artists of the caliber of Q-Tip, Laura Izibor, and Sonny Rollins among many others, ranges in inspiration from the Brooklyn music scene to the hustle and bustle of NYC and even some grooves reminiscent of the Balkans. Bandleader Jesse Fischer leads the charge on keys, yet he doesn’t stop there. The multi-talented musician also decided to produce and engineer the album to specifically fit his vision.