Monday, October 23, 2017

Björn Meyer - Provenance (ECM 2017)

There is a distinguished tradition of solo bass albums on ECM, but Provenance is the first to be devoted to the electric bass guitar. Björn Meyer, Swedish-born and Swiss-based, has shaped a unique voice for his instrument inside the most diverse contexts, working alongside Persian harpist and singer Asita Hamidi, Swedish nyckelharpa player Johan Hedin, and Tunisian oud master Anouar Brahem. For a decade he was a member of Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin, in which his bass guitar was frequently the lead instrument.

His solo work is concerned with the experience of sound in acoustic spaces: “Even though the instrument is technically non-acoustic, the music is deeply influenced by the properties of the space where it is played. The many different ways in which acoustics affect my compositions and improvisations have always been sources of surprise and inspiration.

There is definitely a second member in this solo project – the room!” The participating room on Provenance is the highly responsive Auditorio Stello Molo RSI in Lugano, its rich acoustics helping to bring out all the fine detail in Meyer’s subtle playing.

1. Aldebaran
2. Provenance
3. Three Thirteen
4. Squizzle
5. Trails Crossing
6. Traces Of A Song
7. Pendulum
8. Banyan Waltz
9. Pulse
10. Dance
11. Garden Of Silence
12. Merry-Go-Round

Björn Meyer Bass Guitar [6-String Electric And Acoustic Bass Guitars]

Fredrik Kronkvist: Afro-Cuban Supreme (feat. Jason Marsalis, Eliel Lazo & Miriam Aïda) CONNECTIVE RECORDS 2017

Alto saxophone star Fredrik Kronkvist delivers his eclectic mix of Afro-Cuban rhythms and Coltrane inspired jazz and in an adventurous and colorful musical experience. New views on Latin-Jazz gives us an explosive rhythm fiesta that touches both body and soul.

Inspired by Dizzy Gillespie’s idea of bringing together people, music and rhythms from different continents and countries, the award-winning and Swedish Grammy nominated alto saxophonist Fredrik Kronkvist has created a diverse mix of Afro-Cuban rhythms and Coltrane-influenced jazz with his new group Afro-Cuban Supreme.

On the occasion of Dizzy’s 100-year anniversary in 2017 Fredrik Kronkvist releases the album Afro-Cuban Supreme with superstars Jason Marsalis(USA) on drums, conga virtuoso Eliel Lazo(CUB) and Miriam Aïda(MAR/SWE) on vocals.

The music ranges from legendary songs like A Night in Tunisia, Afro Blue and Manteca in eventful arrangements to exciting original compositions with contemporary approaches to timeless Latin Jazz.

1 Intro - Tierra Africana part I (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) 2:30
2 A Love Supreme - Acknowledgement (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) 5:29
3 A Night In Tunisia (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) 5:46
4 Caravan (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) 7:08
5 Conga Interlude (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) [Interlude #1] 1:27
6 Afro Blue (feat. Eliel Lazo, Jason Marsalis & Miriam Aïda) 4:20
7 Satellite (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) 5:38
8 Manteca (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) 6:34
9 Naima (feat. Eliel Lazo, Jason Marsalis & Miriam Aïda) 6:04
10 Gillespiana (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) 5:30
11 Be-Bop (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) 4:24
12 Tierra Africana part II (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) 1:53
13 On Green Dolphin Street (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) 5:28
14 Yemaya (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) 5:21
15 Prelude to Eternal Light (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) [Interlude #5] 1:31
16 Eternal Light (feat. Eliel Lazo, Jason Marsalis & Miriam Aïda) 6:10
17 Outro - Acknowledgement (feat. Eliel Lazo & Jason Marsalis) 2:02

Fredrik Kronkvist – saxophones, flutes and bass clarinet
Miriam Aïda – vocals
Martin Sjöstedt – piano
Johnny Åman – bass
Eliel Lazo – congas
Jason Marsalis – drums

Dave Douglas - Little Giant Still Life (2017)

Little Giant Still Life is an exhilarating new album from trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas featuring five brass players and drums. Much of this music was inspired by the American painter Stuart Davis and the music explodes with the same bright colors and excitement of Davis’ works. 

Combining the acclaimed talents of brass ensemble The Westerlies – known for their work with Fleet Foxes, their repertoire of original compositions, and interpretations of the music of Wayne Horvitz – and the soulful young drummer Anwar Marshall (Fresh Cut Orchestra, Kurt Rosenwinkel), with Douglas’ inspired compositional vision, the album is full of grooving, swinging, lyrical new jazz. 

What makes Little Giant Still Life special is the communal music making that the six musicians are able to generate. The sextet unfurls a new view of jazz brass band music with sophistication and heart.

1. Champion 05:58
2. Arcade 04:33
3. Men and Machine 03:26
4. Little Giant Still Life 05:14
5. Percolator 04:10
6. Your Special Day 03:22
7. Bunting 02:39
8. Swing Landscape 07:16
9. The Front Page 05:36
10. Colonial Cubism 03:58
11. Codetta 03:32
12. Worlds Beyond the Sky 03:27

The Westerlies:
Riley Mulherkar, trumpet
Zubin Hensler, trumpet
Andy Clausen, trombone
Willem de Koch, trombone 

Anwar Marshall, drums

Production Credits:
Executive Producer: Dave Douglas
Recorded on December 6, 2016 at the Hotel Samurai
Engineered by Geoff Countryman
Mixed and mastered Tyler McDiarmid
Cover photo by Austin Nelson
Band photos by Russell Moore
Design by Lukas Frei

Thomas Fonnesbæk & Justin Kauflin - Synesthesia (STORYVILLE RECORDS 2017)

New project from jazz bassist and household name on the Danish jazz stage, Thomas Fonnesbæk, with American composer and pianist prodigy, Justin Kauflin. 

Fonnesbæk himself recalls the beginning of the new project like this:

“My first meeting with Justin Kauflin was in Copenhagen in the spring of 2015 at Jazzhouse Montmartre, together with his childhood friend and drummer, Billy Williams. When Montmartre's former music director Christian Brorsen introduced me to them, I immediately recognized how talented they were and that Justin's pianistic virtuosity and musicality would be a most treasured musical experience. 

Besides being a meeting between Justin and myself, it was a meeting of cultures with many similarities and many inspiring differences that we could express through sound in the universal language of music. We quickly discovered we also shared a neurological commonality in that we both have synesthesia, which in our case means seeing sounds as colors with our mind's eye. Synesthesia has also ended up being the title of this album.”

The young jazz superstar Justin Kauflin is a pianist, composer and producer. His international recognition proves its worth on this album: He is a precise and playful pianist, but always laid-back and elegant. His style mingles perfectly with the quieter Scandinavian Fonnesbæk and together, their understated approach makes a powerful statement in itself. It’s Kauflin’s simplicity and skill that impresses the listener, his eloquence on the piano never throwing the audience off, but always inviting them to sharpen their senses to the smallest of details. 

This is Fonnesbæk’s third duo album, recorded over the course of two days in beautiful surroundings in Sweden. Some of the original compositions were prepared in advance and some were improvised on the spot. It’s a rather untraditional jazz album in the sense that the bass takes the lead with only a piano as support. Nevertheless, the collaboration between just two instruments doesn’t lack any support, and rather Fonnesbæk & Kauflin create an ambience for thoughtfulness and sensitivity in a aerial soundscape that lets you appreciate every small detail.

It's All Right With Me
For No One
Panic Attack
Nigerian Marketplace

Thomas Fonnesbæk: Double bass
Justin Kauflin: Piano

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah - The Emancipation Procrastination (ROPEADOPE RECORDS 2017)


‘I’m not interested in harming anyone. I have a responsibility as an artist to create a space where people feel welcome. When I walk outside this hotel room, that is not the reality. There is a difference when music is made with love. When people come into my space they are going to feel that. We are trying to figure out a way to treat each other better. We are all responsible for healing each other.‘ (Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah).

Thus begins the final chapter of The Centennial Trilogy : three full length albums that reflect deeply on the history of Jazz. The third album - The Emancipation Procrastination - deals directly with the social and political issues of the day. Rather than descend into identity politics, Adjuah sees in New Orleans many disparate cultures in one space being underserved and exploited.