Monday, July 19, 2021

Natacha Atlas Official - The Inner & The Outer (2021)

Natacha Atlas is an internationally-acclaimed artist with one of the world’s most distinctive voices. She is long known for synthesising western and middle eastern vocal traditions with mind-blowing dexterity, pushing vocal and musical boundaries.

1. Natacha Atlas feat. Jason Singh - The Outer 05:39
2. Natacha Atlas feat.Yazz Ahmed - The Inner 06:02
3. Natacha Atlas feat.Yazz Ahmed - Inner Sunset 03:38
4. Natacha Atlas feat. Yazz Ahmed - The Inner Dimension 10:39
5. Natacha Atlas X Basha Beats feat. Yazz Ahmed - Inner Stardust 04:19
6. Natacha Atlas feat. Jason Singh - The Outer - Radio Edit 04:01

Natacha Atlas - Vocals (1-6)
Yazz Ahmed - Flugelhorn (2-5)
Jason Singh - Beatbox, Analogue Synths (1 & 6)
Alcyona Mick - Original Piano Takes (1-6)
Samy Bishai - Violin, Viola, String Arr. (2), Electric Bass (3), Beats (1, 3, 5, 6), Programming & Sound Design (1-6)

All Tracks by Atlas/Bishai (Wise Music Publishing)
Produced & Arranged by Samy Bishai
Mixed by Samy Bishai
Mastered by Jon Astley

Young Pilgrims - We're Young Pilgrims (2021 Stoney Lane Records)

Young Pilgrims, the addictive young brass band brimming with jazz-rock energy, release their much-anticipated new studio album We’re Young Pilgrims this June, alongside a cluster of live dates as Britain’s live music scene reawakens!

"The feverish, brassy, raucous intensity of 'Canal Tripping' is refreshing from Young Pilgrims new this June on Brum jazz indie Stoney Lane. The ballsy 'Hall of Meat' is also streaming drawn from We're Young Pilgrims. Strap yourself in." - Marlbank

Growing out of the thriving Birmingham jazz scene, Young Pilgrims have found themselves drawing fans from across Europe and beyond with their intense live performances - from beer-soaked dance floors to London’s South Bank, the Paris Jazz Festival to Love Supreme Festival.

The Pilgrims’ adventurous brass-heavy, rock-influenced sound is brought together by their explosive nine-strong line-up, featuring trumpets and trombones alongside the baritone sax, sousaphone and two drummers driving the band’s high-energy rhythmic groove.

With improvising invention set against their infectious melodies, the band follow their 2016 debut (Little Things) with their first fully produced studio album - released 18th June on Stoney Lane Records - with an unorthodox tour reclaiming Britain’s old bandstands, festivals and venue dates taking their imaginative music across the UK later in 2021 and into 2022.

Inspired by renegades, Scottish cities, skateboarding and even a brief and murky incursion into a local canal, We’re Young Pilgrims features eight originals from frontman Richard Foote alongside fellow Scots Kieran McLeod and drummer Jonathan Silk, with striking new arrangements of music from Vulfpeck, Elliot Smith and D’Angelo.

Canal Tripping is written in homage to trombonist Richard Foote’s unfortunate plunge from his bike into one of Birmingham’s canals, giving a nod to the now legendary passerby who saved Richard, his bike and his trombone from the depths of the waterways. Foote’s Hall of Meat, meanwhile, takes its name from “a notorious and gnarly” Instagram page from Thrasher Magazine, as Richard writes: “a tribute to all the skaters out there, taking slams, getting smoked, bouncing back up and making some serious tricks.” Silk’s original Pilgrimage draws inspiration from the band’s long-running residency at Birmingham’s Hare & Hounds, whilst i Of The Underground (Kieran McLeod) is a subtle nod to an oft-missed piece of design circulating around London since 1916. The lowercase ‘i’ designed by Uruguayan-born Edward Johnston, for the famous original London Underground typeface, represents all renegades and non-conformists, with the music conjuring images of typewriters, train noises and the many characters encountered on the Tube.

1. Intro 00:36
2. Rufio 05:34
3. Hall Of Meat 03:48
4. Kabuki Dance 08:01
5. Back Pocket 03:15
6. Pilgrimage 03:42
7. Everything Means Nothing To me 03:27
8. Dear Green Place 04:29
9. Canal Tripping 04:41
10. i of The Underground 04:21
11. Feel Like Making Love 06:29

Young Pilgrims are ...

Richard Foote – Trombone
Sam Wooster – Trumpet
Chris Maddock – Baritone Saxophone
Jonathan Silk – Drums
Mike Adlington – Trumpet
Euan Palmer – Drums
Sean Gibbs – Trumpet
Michael Owers – Sousaphone
Kieran McLeod – Trombone

Tracks 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9 composed by Richard Foote. Tracks 5 and 7 arranged by Richard Foote. Tracks 4 and 10 composed by Kieran Stickle McLeod, track 11 arranged by Kieran Stickle McLeod. Track 6 composed by Jonathan Silk. Track 5 written by Jack Stratton. Track 7 written by Steven Paul Smith.

Produced by James Gardiner-Bateman
Recorded by Luke Morrish-Thomas at East Cote Studios

Miguel Ângelo Quarteto - Dança dos Desastrados (2021)

On Dança dos Desastrados, every note, every beat has a melodic perspective in mind. This is not a new thing for Miguel Ângelo. The bassist has a talent for establishing epic dialogues on the strength of his flowing melodic statements. His Porto, Portugal-based quartet with alto saxophonist João Guimarães, pianist Joaquim Rodrigues, and drummer Marcos Cavaleiro is a go-to for those of you who can’t get enough of the Brian Blade Fellowship—or any musician with a similar approach to a melody.

1. Capítulo I 01:47
2. Era Uma Vez... 06:26
3. Caminho dos Perdidos 05:56
4. Dança dos Desastrados 07:09
5. Capítulo II 03:15
6. Valsa do Solitário 08:34
7. Soldado Desconhecido 06:26
8. Capítulo III 03:12
9. Vira do Avesso 04:39
10. Réquiem do Insignificante 06:44

KAMA Kollektiv - Toivo (2021 Berthold Records)

The KAMA Kollektiv’s second album TOIVO is released by BERTHOLD records.

The line-up: Kirsi Harju (Finland) on trumpet and vocals, Jonathan Nagel (Germany) on bass, Jetse de Jong (Netherlands) on piano and Yoad Korach (Israel) on drums. Harju who – alongside Nagel – composed the songs, leads the quartet.

Harju is an original and accomplished trumpeter and singer. She excels at both. “I didn’t choose the trumpet, the trumpet chose me,” she recalls. “I wanted to play everything else, particularly violin, but as a kid I made mistakes in the music school exam, I was so nervous.” She was put into the wind department, given a pocket trumpet and soon found she could play beautiful melodies. She also sang. “My friends said I was too loud but I loved it. I was in choirs and vocal groups at school. Later I heard Chet Baker and realised I could combine the two.”

Toivo (also the title of one of the tracks) is the Finnish word for hope. According to the band “the music brings together the confusion of the current international situation with desire for unity and hope, in a musical tapestry. It expresses influences from melancholic Nordic atmospheres and landscapes, minimalism, folk and indie pop, as well as jazz artists like Mathias Eick.”

The melodic idea for the track Distance Song was already in Harju’s mind in Finland before she moved to Amsterdam to study in the conservatory, where she met her fellow musicians. “Then it became a song about homesickness and distance,” she explains. “This is reflected in the changing tonality of the music.”

I wish you could see my true nature begins with the drone of a bowed double bass, duetting with Harju’s almost breathless, sensitive voice. “The inspiration was the book – The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down, by Haemin Sunim,” says Harju. “I was reading it during the pandemic. It’s very philosophical and leaves a lot open. There are no answers. Even I don’t know my own true nature.” Muiden Käsissä “is a Finnish title,” explains Harju “which means – in the hands of others – it's about not being in control or dependency.” Paradoxically the lyrical music on this track displays Harju’s masterly control as both singer and trumpeter, in perfect, complex balance with piano, bass and drums.
Of the songs written by Nagel, Once to scar me for life got its title from a poem given him after a meeting a stranger. “The brief encounter,” he explains “was casual, but it triggered thoughts about this person and our lives in general. This song is about taking risks. Just go for it. Just once, to scar for life.”

Nagel’s song Maybe tackles self-image, and “the way we manipulate our bodies – dream fantasies. The body as designed or sexualized object. The song starts out in a funky rock groove, sounding cheerful and innocent, then becomes satire, when it suddenly changes to a swing rhythm mocking a showband.”

Phlegmatic Escapism “draws you into a flow state,”explains Nagel. “The feeling of time is stretched by continuous repetitions of a dull and mellow melody. The song hovers unimpressed over the busy beat, in a dream state. Like looking out of a train window, seeing the countryside flying by endlessly. Then suddenly a big shift, an intermezzo reminding of folk and country music from a different, bizarre dream world, with distorted echoes and a futuristic retro charm, which eventually merges back to the initial flow. It’s about trying to escape our hectic everyday routines and information overflows.”

Inventing Memories also a Nagel song “is about idealising the past. I have mostly good memories of Berlin and other placed I’ve lived, my childhood, ex-girlfriends. I know that there have been many problems and good reasons why I moved on. But the memories give the illusion that it mostly was all good – inventing and reshaping the past.”

Harju sees her band as a collective.“Discussing and deciding things together as much as possible is important,” she says “but there also has to be a leader.” She loves the poetry of Jonathan Nagel’s ideas, but also respects his musicality and versatility as a bass player. She is very grateful to have the pianist Jetse de Jong on the album as he is in much demand on other projects. “I love his diversity and it’s effortless to work with him,” she explains. The drummer Yoad Korach “has worked on a range of projects. With each new one he incorporates all the different ideas, to create a fresh and unique style.”

1. Distance Song 05:15
2. Maybe 04:14
3. Once To Scar Me For Life 06:10
4. Toivo 06:08
5. Phlegmatic Escapism 05:24
6. Inventing Memories 04:30
7. Muiden Käsissä 06:12
8. I Wish You Could See My True Nature 05:45
9. Silence Your Own Voice 05:43

Ben Goldberg - Everything Happens To Be. (BAG Production Records 2021)


The echoes of traditional jazz bounce off the walls of Ben Goldberg’s music. The music is warped and strange, as if buckling beneath the strain of being compressed to fit the length of the clarinetist’s latest recording. For this session, Goldberg collaborates with musicians who have a proven track record with that kind of approach. Guitarist Mary Halvorson, tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara traverse time and distance, recalling the sound of New Orleans one hundred years ago as they offer a vision of what it could become a hundred years from now.

1. What About 05:41
2. 21 06:14
3. Fred Hampton 04:48
4. Everything Happens To Be. 07:04
5. Cold Weather 06:23
6. Chorale Type 09:53
7. Tomas Plays the Drums 05:51
8. Long Last Moment 05:10
9. To-Ron-To 05:32
10. Abide With Me 01:10

Mary Halvorson - electric guitar
Ellery Eskelin - tenor saxophone
Michael Formanek - bass
Tomas Fujiwara - drums
Ben Goldberg - clarinets

All compositions by Ben Goldberg, except "Abide With Me," by William Monk (by way of Thelonious Monk).

Recorded June 2018 at Firehouse 12 Studio, New Haven
Nick Lloyd, engineer
Mixed January 2021 by Michael Coleman

Jake Baxendale & Jasmine Lovell-Smith - Sanctuary (2021)

Sanctuary is a collaborative album featuring works by New Zealand jazz composers Jake Baxendale and Jasmine Lovell-Smith for eleven-piece ensemble. The material on the album was developed as part of a live performance residency named the Arthur Street Loft Orchestra at now defunct Wellington venue the Tuatara Third Eye. Running weekly every Monday night for three years, the series featured works by local and national jazz composers for large ensemble. The musicians featured on the album are a multi-generational cast of favourite collaborators from the Wellington jazz scene. With the inclusion of flute and bass clarinet along with traditional winds, brass and rhythm, the ensemble has a rich, chamber-like texture, yet maintains the fluidity and agility that are typical of small group jazz, allowing space for the improvising voices of each musician.

The title of the album is taken from Lovell-Smith’s composition of the same name. The concept of Sanctuary gained further significance at the time of recording when much of the world was stuck in COVID-19 lockdown while New Zealand had emerged back into relative normality. New Zealand has been a kind of sanctuary from the chaos of the pandemic over the past year, and the gratitude that the musicians felt to be able to be making music together in the same room pervades the album.
The title of the album is taken from Lovell-Smith’s composition of the same name. The concept of Sanctuary gained further significance at the time of recording when much of the world was stuck in COVID-19 lockdown while New Zealand had emerged back into relative normality. New Zealand has been a kind of sanctuary from the chaos of the pandemic over the past year, and the gratitude that the musicians felt to be able to be making music together in the same room pervades the album.

The two composer/bandleaders first met in 2007 when Lovell-Smith became Baxendale’s saxophone teacher upon his move to Wellington at age 17. They reconnected as peers ten years later when Lovell-Smith returned to Wellington after a number of years in the U.S. and Mexico. Both are accomplished improvisers and composers in their own right, with Baxendale’s works documented on his recordings with the Jac and Antipodes, and Lovell-Smith’s with her New York-based quintet Towering Poppies. Sanctuary sees both composers expanding the scope of their work into longer forms and more varied ensemble textures, exploring a broad instrumental palette and a diverse array of strategies for ensemble interaction, ranging from tightly composed to fluid and free.

The album is centered around two suites, one by each composer. The opening work is Baxendale’s three part suite Leaves of Grass. Named for the poetry of Walt Whitman, it expresses the humanist and egalitarian ideals of the great poet, integrating a range of musical influences from the American continent, from pastoralism to free jazz to the blues. There is a songlike sense of wonder on “I: Opening” which features Lovell-Smith on a fluid soprano saxophone, aptly supported by a rich ensemble chorale. “II: A Chants of Paints and Joys” opens with Baxendale’s plaintive alto saxophone over a melancholy brass wail, eventually accelerating into a bittersweet, dance-like theme. Drummer Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa heralds the transition to “III: I Sing the Body Electric,” an unabashedly celebratory down-home bluesy piece featuring the guitar work of Aleister James Campbell. The sense throughout Leaves of Grass is of an earthy reflection upon nature, community, and the ups-and-downs of life.

Lovell-Smith’s “Noche Oscura” follows, a haunting, minor chorale which shows another facet of the ensemble's performance as they maintain a sense of delicately listening throughout. Next is the other major work of the album, Lovell-Smith’s Sanctuary, a suite in three continuous movements presented here as a single track. The piece represents Lovell-Smith’s emotional journey upon moving back to New Zealand after a number of years abroad to embark on doctoral studies in music. The sanctuary the piece refers to is an internal sense of calm and groundedness that she has sought to cultivate to carry her through these challenging transitions.

“I: Optimism” opens with Louisa Williamson’s mellifluous tenor saxophone over a lilting accompaniment, evoking the bright-eyed excitement of starting a new venture. The joyful finish of the piece dissolves into the atmospheric “Interlude,” where overlapping improvisations mark the transition to the muddied waters of “II: Strangely Familiar.” Resonant bass clarinets set the scene for a wistful soprano saxophone theme, evoking the experience of emotional overwhelm. An undulating, collective improvisation at the end of the work aids the transition to “III: Inevitable.” Accumulating melodies build tension over an insistently pulsing bass, eventually reaching a much-needed release to a burning swing feel. Blair Latham’s gritty and exuberant baritone sax solo leads the piece with steely determination to a surprising finish. Baxendale’s “Sleep (A Glimpse of Plimpse)” is an evocative postscript to the album. The ensemble explores Baxendale’s dream world in a beautiful collective meandering, feeling their way through the fog together.

Jake Baxendale is a saxophonist and composer based in Wellington, Aotearoa. Raised in remote Golden Bay, he demonstrates in his life and music a freedom of expression, a love of nature and a community oriented mindset that is heavily influenced by his upbringing. Jake's music has taken him throughout Aotearoa, Australia and South Korea to New York City. His work has been recognised by APRA NZ (Best Jazz Composition, 2020) and the Aotearoa Music Awards (Best Jazz Album/Artist - nominated 2015 for "Nerve", 2019 for "Good Winter" and 2020 for “A Gathering”). As well as performing and composing, Jake is involved in the local and national jazz community as the musical director of the Rata Music School jazz ensemble, curator of the Arthur Street Loft Orchestra concert series, and founder of jazz networking and advocacy group, Jazz Aotearoa.

Jasmine Lovell-Smith is a composer and soprano saxophonist from Wellington, New Zealand whose work explores the intersections of jazz, improvisation and chamber music. She was based for a number of years in the U.S. and Mexico, during which time she released two albums with her New York-based quintet Towering Poppies, graduated from Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT) with a Master of Arts in composition, and taught jazz studies and saxophone at the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Higalgo in Morelia, Mexico. Jasmine performs regularly with her own ensembles the Noveltones, the Jasmine Lovell-Smith Quintet, and as part of the Wellington composers’ collective the Arthur Street Loft Orchestra. She is an Artist Teacher at the New Zealand School of Music - Te Kõkī. 

Track details:

1 I: Opening 4:16
2 II: A Chant of Pains and Joys 10:55
3 Drum-Taps 1:58
4 III: I Sing the Body Electric 5:20

5 NOCHE OSCURA - Lovell-Smith 6:51

6 SANCTUARY - Lovell-Smith 18:51
I: Optimism (0:00-5:00)
Interlude (5:00-7:51)
II: Strangely Familiar (7:51-13:43)
III: Inevitable (13:43-18:51)

7 SLEEP (A GLIMPSE OF PLIMPSE) - Baxendale 5:03

Rachelle Eastwood - flute
Ben Hunt - trumpet
Jasmine Lovell-Smith - soprano saxophone
Jake Baxendale - alto saxophone and bass clarinet
Louisa Williamson - tenor saxophone
Kaito Walley - trombone
Blair Latham - baritone saxophone and bass clarinet
Aleister James Campbell - guitar
Anita Schwabe - piano
Chris Beernink - bass
Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa - drums

Recorded on July 25th and 26th 2020 at Massey Studios by Thomas Voyce
Assisted by Michael Sutherland
Mixed by Thomas Voyce at Rhombus Studios
Mastered by Arnold Kasar at Calyx Studio, Berlin
Produced by Jasmine Lovell-Smith, Jake Baxendale and Thomas Voyce
Compositions ©Jake Baxendale (APRA) or ©Jasmine Lovell-Smith (APRA)

Album art by Eden Fainberg
Album design by Jamie Breiwick