Monday, July 24, 2017

Stephan Micus – Inland Sea (ECM 2017)

Inland Sea is Stephan Micus’ 22nd solo album for ECM, each one taking his audience on musical journeys to far-flung places and unique sound worlds. For decades, he has been travelling, collecting and studying musical instruments from all over the world and creating new music for them. Micus often combines instruments from different cultures and continents that would never normally be played together, adapting and extending them, and rarely playing them in a traditional manner. The instruments then become a cast of characters that help tell the particular story of that album. While he plays nine different instruments on Inland Sea, the lead role belongs to the nyckelharpa – a keyed fiddle from Sweden, with an array of other instruments and vocals providing layers and textures throughout.

Stephan Micus   Balanzikom, Nyckelharpa, Chord and Bass Zithers, Shakuhachi, Voice, Steel String Guitar, Genbri


Isamu McGregor - Resonance (feat. Bennie Maupin & Seamus Blake) GHOST NOTE RECORDS 2017

Resonance was recorded in New York and Los Angeles in May 2016, and will be released via Los Angeles-based music label Ghost Note Records on July 7. It features the three stellar musicians from my first record, Live at the Baked Potato: Evan Marien (bass), Gene Coye (drums) and Deen Anbar (guitar). Additionally, I'm thrilled that a couple guest musicians make appearances on the record: bass clarinet legend Bennie Maupin, and saxophone virtuoso Seamus Blake.

"At age 27, Isamu McGregor has established himself on a global scale as a highly sought-after pianist, keyboardist, musical director and arranger. Having toured the world over the last few years with an amazingly diverse group of artists (Richard Bona, Colbie Caillat, Virgil Donati, Sadao Watanabe), he has gradually been finding time between tours to work on his new album, Resonance, which will be released in May 2017 through LA-based Ghost Note Records. This will be his second album as a leader, following his 2012 debut Live at The Baked Potato, which received strong reviews from All About Jazz and other publications. 

While McGregor's first album was dominated by an electric/fusion sound that many characterized as a unique mix of Weather Report, Headhunters and Wayne Krantz, Resonance finds McGregor returning to a more acoustic setting. "I've always loved playing acoustic piano, but I found that people knew me mainly as a keyboard player, due to the nature of my first album. And while I love keyboards and electronics, it wouldn't be difficult for me to admit that acoustic piano is still my first passion."

1. The Dreamer 10:18
2. Relentless 07:22
3. Halfway There 06:28
4. Because 05:17
5. The Drifter 09:57
6. Thor vs James Brown 08:17
7. The Tao of Flying 08:17

The Dreamer. Evan Marien, Gene Coye 
Relentless. Seamus Blake, Evan Marien, Gene Coye 
Halfway There. Evan Marien, Gene Coye 
Because (no credits, it's solo piano) 
The Drifter. Bennie Maupin, Evan Marien, Gene Coye 
Thor vs James Brown .Deen Anbar, Evan Marien, Gene Coye 
The Tao of Flying. Evan Marien, Gene Coye

Tommy Smith - Embodying the Light: A Dedication to John Coltrane (2017)

Marking the 50 the anniversary of John Coltrane’s death, this acoustic quartet-based album features compositions by, & inspired by, the legendary saxophonist it features Coltrane compositions including “naima”, “dear lord” & “resolution” & music associated with coltrane alongside smith compositions written in homage to coltrane. smith has been a presence on the world jazz scene since his teenage years. at the age of nineteen he was touring internationally with gary burton's whiz kids quintet & three years later he signed to the legendary jazz label blue note. he has since gone on to establish & direct the internationally acclaimed scottish national jazz orchestra & he regularly tours the world with norwegian bass master arild andersen's trio, widely regarded as one of the premier groups working in jazz today. on drums, we find herbie hancock’s astonishing drummer, sebastiaan de krom.

dear lord
embodying the light
the father, the son, and the holy ghost
embodying the darkness

Olie Brice Quintet - Day After Day (BABEL LABEL 2017)

It’s hard to explain how music can evoke the same feelings in different people, but it’s also one of life’s more wonderful truths. Musing on adjectives to convey something about this set of free but lyrical pieces, I toy with saying something about melancholy abandon. Then, referring back to leader Olie Brice’s own words from a year ago, I find he is drawn to “emotional, mysterious music with an intense vocal quality and sense of complete commitment and abandonment, droning, melancholy yet also joyous, and a collective, communal process of generating melody and harmony”. A few more words, but I think we’re talking about the same thing. 

Bassist Brice was describing influences - including old blues, Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler, Leo Smith, the liturgical music he once sang in synagogues - and the music he hoped to make with this quintet on the road. This CD, recorded just after that tour, suggests they succeeded. 

There’s a change in the front line since his first quintet recording, 2013’s Immune to Clockwork with George Crowley on tenor sax and Mike Fletcher on alto coming in for Mark Hanslip and Waclaw Zimpel. Alex Bonney remains essential to the group sound, though switching from cornet to trumpet, and master drummer Jeff Williams contributes that unbeatable sensation of always being loosely propulsive even when he’s apparently heedless of timekeeping. 

It’s a post-Ornette quality, and that’s where one can locate most of the music, as Brice indicates. (He’s also deeply influenced here, he says, by the novels of Nathaniel Mackay, about whom I know nothing). There are four original pieces, which dig deep into multi-vocal improvisation from the horns as well as offering solo-plus-rhythm contributions from all three - Bonney spontaneously melodic at will, Fletcher fluid and inventive, Crowley thoughtfully fierce. If You Were the Only Girl in the World - a song Brice learnt from his grandmother but was inspired to perform by a recording of Sonny Rollins and one of his bass heroes, Henry Grimes - rounds out the set. 

There are hints of other great bassists, too - William Parker comes to mind at times. But as Brice’s inspirations indicate, the music is about building feeling through interaction more than individual brilliance. There’s nothing formulaic here, just an open, responsive approach that speaks to many different strands of improvising tradition, old and new, and makes them personal. The closer and title track, a simple, folkish theme evoking ancient echoes, sees the three horns bring many of these threads together, weaving them into a fresh, vividly coloured fabric. It’s a great realisation of Brice’s prospectus, rewarding for players and listeners alike.  READ MORE

1. Aunt Nancy's Balloons 8:04 
2. Red Honey, Yellow Honey 9:22 
3. Interruptions No. 1 4:49 
4. Another Mad Yak 6:18 
5. If You Were The Only Girl In The World 7:10 
6. Day After Day 8:14

Olie Brice double bass
Alex Bonney cornet
Mike Fletcher alto saxophone
George Crowley tenor saxophone
Jeff Williams drums

Silke Eberhard Trio - The Being Inn (INTAKT RECORDS 2017)

It’s no secret that reedist Silke Eberhard is a keen student of jazz history, a player whose inspiration routinely gets recharged by immersing herself in the music of her early heroes. For her that means more than listening to old records by the likes of Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, and Ornette Coleman (the subject of Eberhard’s 2007 Intakt debut, a duo album with pianist Aki Takase titled Ornette Coleman Anthology) – but diving into that repertoire and reshaping it with novel instrumentation. 

But Eberhard makes it clear that the trio featured on The Being Inn is the context for which she always imagines her own material. “I feel a lot of freedom with this group,” she says of working with bassist Jan Roder and drummer Kay Lu¨bke. Although this particular group coalesced in 2006, her history with each player stretches back to the mid-90s and there’s no missing the rapport they’ve all developed together. 

Eberhard and company make a conceptual leap on the album, with many of the pieces tied to the titular concept – an imaginary inn the saxophonist pictured as she composed numerous tunes. She jokes that the spry opening track, “Ding Dong,” is the kind of number she likes to open one of the trio’s sets with – “a door bell,” she calls it, although the first sounds we actually here are her footsteps leading toward a door that soon opens, inviting the listener in. (Peter Margasak, from the liner notes)

1. Ding Dong 05:10
2. Willisau Suite 18:12
3. Schlappen 00:48
4. Mininatür 04:12
5. Kanon 02:44
6. Towels 00:37
7. In Drei 03:35
8. Wake-Up Call 00:35
9. 8915 04:40
10. Schirm 03:59
11. Another Pint 00:35
12. Verst Last Order 00:38
13. Last Order 00:38

Wilfried Wilde - Oscilenscope (FRESH SOUND NEW TALENT RECORDS 2017)

01. Feeling Droiden 4:32
02. Nerve Vibrations 5:50
03. Nasty Introduction 1:13
04. Nasty meditation 6:36
05. La Valse à Huit Temps 6:26
06. La Houle 8:05
07. Ordering 4:25
08. Le Cri de l'Oiseau 7:35
09. Lynel 4:59

All music composed and arranged by Wilfried Wilde

Wilfried Wilde (guitar)

Charley Rose (alto sax)

Xan Campos (piano)

Demian Cabaud (bass)

Iago Fernández (d)

Recorded at Cangas Auditorium, Spain, July 27 & 28, 2015

Sopund engineer: Andrés Caputi
Assistant engineer: Michi Castro
Cover art: Rudy

Produced by Wilfried Wilde
Executive producer: Jordi Pujol

Jeong Lim Yang - Déjà Vu (FRESH SOUND NEW TALENT RECORDS 2017)

Jeong Lim Yang gained her recognition from playing with New York City's veteran artists such as Tim Berne, Oscar Noriega, Adam Kolker, Michael Attias and Billy Mintz since she moved to the Big Apple in 2011. Yang's first leader album "deja vu", has reflected her pure inspiration of playing with these musicians and her compositional ideas resemble much of her hero's like Charlie Haden and Paul Motian.

"Yang's interpretation of modern jazz is unique and creative, and her musicianship is at the top level of current community standards in jazz and art." - Michael Attias

01. Moon Tethered 5:53
02. Are You Happy Now? 5:51
03. Déjà Vu 5:42
04. Ravine 4:47
05. Obtuse 7:08
06. Cherry 6:52
07. Peculia 6:45
08. Deal Breaker 7:26

Jeong Lim Yang (bass)

Adam Kolker (tenor sax)

Michael Attias (alto sax)

Nick Sanders (piano)

Jesse Simpson (drums)

Recorded at Tedesco Studio, New Jersey, September 20, 2015

Sound engineer: Tom Tedesco
Mixed by Eivind Opsvik
Mastered by Pieter de Wagter
Photography & cover design: Krysta Brayer

Produced by Jeong Lim Yang
Executive producer: Jordi Pujol