jazz around the world

Despite the problem jazz is facing in terms of how to access new music – as streaming isn’t yet the way for the jazz fan to listen to his/her music and CD shops are disappearing fast around the world – there seems to be a wave of new talent and newly recorded music coming from all corners of the world. I listened to a few of them and will introduce some interesting recordings to my readers this time, as I haven’t seen any live shows lately, simply enjoying the summer in Spain.

Adam Palma “Palm-Istry”. Palma is a virtuoso guitar player from Poland, who is endorsed by Tommy Emmanuel – and rightly so! This is wonderful guitar music on the highest level and Palma’s compositions are beautiful and musically interesting. Amazing his Hendrix medley featuring Little Wing/Hey Joe/The Wind Cries Mary and his version of Django Reinhardt’s Nuages. One for the quiet moments.

Juan Sebastian Trio “Tribute”. Spanish pianist Juan Sebastian Vazques is one of the shining talents of the Spanish jazz scene. Playing solo, with his trio or with his friend Theo Croker, he always makes his statement musically – elegant original compositions by Vazquez are the content of this engaging trio recording. Centre piece is the composition tribute, with its beautiful little melody and Spanish feel to it – the song is on the album in two versions – once as a trio and the second is with Jorge Pardo on flute. Juan Sebastian is definitely worth checking out and to have an eye on for the future….

Café Drechsler “and now…boogie!” Austrian Trio Café Drechsler had disappeared for a few years and now decided to get back together and have some fun: and on ‘boogie’ sax player Ulrich Drechsler, bassist Oliver Steger and drummer AleX Deutsch are having just that! Cool grooves, powerful improvisations and togetherness make this a really outstanding record. Any bet you can’t hold your legs still! Great the rap by FlowinImmO over the groove of ‘Fake News’ or the slowly flowing Silent Pearls, that ends the record. Fascinating!

Ambrose Akinmusire “A Rift In Decorum”. This live recording by trumpet star Akinmusire is the result of a few nights at the Village Vanguard in New York and shows all the amazing abilities of this young musician – song writing, improvising and leading a great group of musicians to play at the top of their game. 2 discs of powerful ensemble play and incredible soli by all members of the band, which, beside Ambrose, are Sam Harris on the piano, Harish Raghavan on bass and Justin Brown on drums. This is ’sit down with a glass of wine and close my eyes’ music as it needs focus and concentration to enjoy the incredible communication between the musicians and their expressions of unity. Deep and rewarding!

Vein “Vein plays Ravel”. Swiss piano trio Vein is slowly building a reputation in Europe and I am sure this new disc will speed this process up a bit … Vein are Michael Arbenz on piano, Thomas Lähns on bass and Florian Arbenz on drums and they have previously released albums with guests like Dave Liebman and Greg Osby and on the Ravel album they got Andy Sheppard as a soloist for ‘Bolero’ (which has some very cool horn arrangements and is of course the centre piece of the album) and Mouvement de Menuet, the rest is trio. Sheppard sounds amazing and fits into their arrangements perfectly. For the many jazz fans who haven’t heard of Vein yet, this one is a good starting point.

Avishai Cohen “Cross My Palm With Silver”. The second ECM album by trumpet player Cohen is the logical sequence to his first outing on the label and highlights his and his group’s abilities to create beautiful and haunting atmospheres and wonderful improvisations. There is fluidity to their performance that is seldom found and as a band they are really tight. Beside Cohen the record features Yonathan Avishai on piano, Barak Mori on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums. Excellent.

There’s more to come … I just need to find the time to properly listen to all the music on my desk …. No complains there!!!


Dee Dee Bridgewater will release next month a fabulous R&B based album entitled “Memphis …Yes, I’m Ready” – which is a trip back to her home town and the music she grew up with. Dee Dee pure and simply amazing!

Late August will see the release of the first Okeh album by trumpet player Markus Stockhausen “Far Into The Stars”. Stockhausen and his band Quadrivium creating hauntingly beautiful music of a rare quality. One that should not be missed

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