Saturday, May 27, 2017

Paul Brody's Sadawi - Vanishing Night (YELLOWBIRD RECORDS 2017)

For both klezmer and jazz fans Paul Brody's Sadiwi is one of the most exciting new groups in today's music scene. A healthy mix of traditional klezmer and fantasyful improvisations by some of the best klezmer-jazz muscians out of New York and Berlin.

The sound of the group is unmistakably unique: a bass clarinet jamming with a banjo on a blues hora, a growling Ellingtonish trumpet battling through tribal bulgar beats, a hasidic folk song woven around impressionistic trance beats and prayer loops squeezed though the the sondboard of a guitar. Paul Brody's Sadiwi is full of suprises for both traditionalist and modernists.

The musicians in Sadiwi have played for years in other klezmer cross-over bands and have a solid foundation in both modern jazz and in traditional klezmer. This type of player is unique in this gerneration of musicians. They have experience in such jazz and jewish music groups as Steve Bernstien's Sex Mob, The Klezmer Concervatory Band, Aufwind, The Marty Erlich Group, Ahava Rava, Kenny Wheeler, Billy Bang , The Anthony Braxton Band, Nafturle's Dream, Shirim.
"Paul Brody is a remarkable trumpet player, composer, arranger based in Berlin. ...he brought together some of the best players from both the U.S. and Germany to create a new Jewish supergroup. The music combines exciting arrangements, catchy tunes, and compelling solos into another classic of the new Jewish Renaisance....Brody is forging a new Jewish jazz for the 21st Century..."

John Zorn

01. Gathering Light 04:33
02. Mighty Max 05:22
03. Two Self Portraits 06:20
04. Thankfulness 02:04
05. Grimace 06:48
06. Night Bloom 03:08
07. Lacrimosa 06:13
08. One Charming Night 05:04
09. Die Nacht 02:14
10. Prelude XII 02:59
11. Vanishing Night 03:28

Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow, Bobby Previte with Iggy Pop - Loneliness Road (RareNoise Records 2017)

Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow and Bobby Previte first joined together in 2012, producing “The New Standard” (also on RareNoise), an album of first takes with ‘classic’ songwriting and jazz trio roots. On “Loneliness Road” they return for another disc’s worth plus a little extra: vocals by Iggy Pop on three of the tracks.

Now, however well-established and respected RareNoise is – and it is – this is undoubtedly going to result in a new level of media attention, all under the banner of ‘Iggy Sings Jazz’ but… beyond the surface novelty, does it work?

Yes. Oh yes.

For a start, the combination of vocal and instrumental tracks is well-balanced. If Iggy had featured on all of them, it would likely have been too much, losing the precious rarity value of the half-sung words (that said, I could have enjoyed one or two extra songs… who was it said, always leave ‘em wanting more?) As it is, attention alternates between his naked and well-worn voice and Saft, Swallow & Previte’s effortless invocations of time past through a present lens.

On the three vocal tracks – Everyday, Don’t Lose Yourself, and Loneliness Road – Iggy Pop’s voice is heard probably more up close and personal than ever before. You can hear the breath vibrating in his throat in these simple, evocative songs of love, loss and strength with lyrics that are sentimental but not sugary; a sparse, stripped-back charm.

Yet lest the vocalist pull all the focus… the music (either with words or without) is exquisite, unhampered by cliché, timeless with a myriad of fresh and uncluttered detail. There’s no sentimental nostalgia or re-hashed forms here, just new compositions that draw on a deep well. Take Henbane as an exemplar. From a mellow start, Saft’s piano tickles you into the tune, spells out the melody, and then soars with dramatic sweep. Listen beyond the keys and Swallow and Previte lay down a marvellous locked-but-loose rhythm, with a short, bubbling solo from Swallow. Henbane is not unusual.  

And don’t forget, like the first disc, “Loneliness Road” is all first takes, from all four musicians.

New Standard is no misnomer – instantly ‘familiar’ piano trio jazz tunes with a rolling fluidity; each threatening to embed themselves in the wrong drawer of your memory; the illusion of long existence.

Late night introspective fare, with more than a few surprises, pour yourself a glass of good red or a smoky malt and let it carry you away.

Ten Nights
Little Harbor
Don't Lose Yourself
Henbane; Pinkus
The Barrier
Loneliness Road
Unclouded Moon

Jamie Saft: piano
Steve Swallow: bass
Bobby Previte: drums
Iggy Pop: vocals (4, 9, 12)

Louis Hayes - Serenade for Horace (BLUE NOTE 2017)

Legendary drummer Louis Hayes will make his Blue Note debut with the May 26 release of Serenade for Horace, a loving tribute to his mentor and friend, the great pianist, composer and bandleader Horace Silver. Hayes was 19 years old when he moved to New York City in 1956 and joined Silver’s Quintet, putting his stamp on timeless Blue Note recordings like “Señor Blues,” “Sister Sadie,” and “Blowin’ the Blues Away.”

“I wanted to do this recording for Horace Silver because I wanted jazz fans to hear his music and I wanted to honor his memory,” writes Hayes in the album’s liner notes. “Horace and I always stayed in touch ever since I first worked with him. When he got to the point where he wasn’t feeling too well, I went to see him and one day he said to me ‘Louis, you’re a part of my history.’ I thought about what that meant and I began thinking about how to take Horace’s music and his legacy into the future.”

The pre-order for Serenade for Horace launched today along with the release of the album’s lead track “Song for My Father” featuring GRAMMY-winning vocalist Gregory Porter. Hayes will celebrate his 80th birthday next month with album release shows at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center from May 29-31.

Co-produced by Blue Note Records President Don Was and bassist Dezron Douglas with the eminent Maxine Gordon acting as executive producer, the album presents Hayes leading an ensemble that includes Douglas, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, pianist David Bryant, tenor saxophonist Abraham Burton, and trumpeter Josh Evans. The band revisits 10 Silver classics in addition to Hayes’ new original “Hastings Street,” a dedication to his hometown of Detroit.

Nils Landgren & Friends - New Eyes on Martin Luther (ACT MUSIC 2017)

Many have tried to combine jazz and classical music. Few have succeeded.

In “New Eyes on Martin Luther” the ensembles have focused on the similarities instead of the differences, and have scrupulously avoided attempts at parody or postmodern extravagance.

Everyone is just doing what they’re best at, and with the open tonality of the renaissance music, they have found the perfect meeting place and playground for it. Swedish soprano Jeanette Köhn together with a small ensemble (Johan Norberg guitar, Magnus Lindgren, flute and clarinet, Eva Kruse, bass) fronted by Nils Landgren, recorded their album “New Eyes On Baroque” with Swedish Radio Choir under the baton of Gustaf Sjökvist (2013) released on ACT: “… how well the timbres of soprano saxophone, trombone and guitar suit the original melodies. The effect in Handel's ’Gia nel seno’ and Purcell's ’When I Am Laid in Earth’ is gorgeous” (The Observer, GB). ”A strong direct quality about the music which is distinctly Nordic in character…a superb piece of music making on the part of all involved” (Euan Dixon, Jazzviews).

Jeanette Köhn is one of Sweden's most versatile sopranos. She has been an established concert- and oratorio- singer for a long time with engagements all over the world. Jeanette Köhn was soloist at the Royal Wedding of H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria with Mr Daniel Westling on the 19th of June in Stockholm. She is also a member of Nils Landgren's highly coveted and successful touring ensemble "Christmas With My Friends”.

Nils Landgren has one of the leading profiles on the European jazz scene, easy recognizable with his red trombone and tasteful tenor voice. With “Funk Unit”, the Swede gives full rein to his grooving side, whereas the highly sentimental Nils Landgren can be seen during Advent with his ensemble “Christmas With My Friends”. When looking for a new challenge he decided to see if it was possible to combine baroque music with Swedish traditional music and jazz.

After the success of the first album “New eyes on Baroque” it was an easy choice to dig even deeper into the history of classical music. In 2016 there was an opportunity to perform a concert with the Capella de la Torre and Knabenchor Hannover conducted by Jörg Breiding at the 500th anniversary of the reformation, an event at NDR's Funkhaus in Hannover.

Capella de la Torre have specialized in historical performance practice with a repertoire of mediaeval and renaissance music. Their instruments are similarly old, from shawms, slide trumpets and sackbut to lute, cow horn and percussion. In 2016 their critically acclaimed album “Water Music – Tales of Nymphs and Sirens” won an ECHO Klassik award in the best recording ensemble/orchestra category.

Jörg Breiding took over as conductor of the Knabenchor Hannover in 2002. Together they have made several recordings and in 2003 released a new CD with Georg Friedrich Handel’s “Messiah” with “Barockorchester L’Arco”. In 2006 the Knabenchor Hannover was awarded “ECHO Klassik” in the category “Choral Work Recording of the Year”

”New Eyes on Martin Luther” is an experiment based on Nils Landgren's relentless conviction that “music is music” and “nothing is impossible”. With those words serving as a motto, the three ensembles just dived into the music without pre-conceptions. The traditional German folksong “Die Gedanken sind frei” is here performed with a percussive flute solo, and Landgren’s smooth voice on top of a funky rhythm. Sometimes he joins Capella de la Torre with a trombone solo and when all musicians play together it sounds as if the music was originally written with this in mind. It moves seamlessly between genres and what you can hear is the sound of really skilled musicians together - and just having fun.