jazz around the world once more ..

Many great new recordings have been released over the last few weeks .. and as I have been a bit lazy in writing about them, this blog will be a little bit longer than usual …  and it will for the first time have links to the music written about, so you can easily follow up … hope you’ll enjoy!

Julie Campiche / ONKALO – on her first record under her own name, Swiss harpist Julie Campiche is creating wonderful soundscapes and spaces for improvisation for her band, which includes saxman Leo Fumagalli, bass player Manu Hagmann and drummer Clemens Kuratle. Five out of the six composition on the album are by Campiche and show her talent as a writer with unique style, using the talents of her co-musicians perfectly. Her sound on the harp is very individual and captivating, her music from groovy to contemplative, from ambient to modern jazz, with deep musical content, at the same time accessible and challenging and rewarding when listening closely. Julie Campiche is sure an artist to have an eye on for the future! You can check out the opening track of the album in a live setting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=NcpKKpFojvQ

Wolfgang Schalk / Obsession – Austrian guitarist Schalk’s new album features ten original pieces he wrote for and recorded with his current band – Andy Langham on piano, Carlitos Del Puerte on bass, Gene Coye on drums and Luisito Quintero on percussion. Schalk has a beautiful sound on his instrument and his writing includes wonderful lyrical ballads as well a groovers like the title track of this new album, which you can listen to by following this link: https://open.spotify.com/track/2vzHO4FUNnlDRdUFGGc1Bb?si=KgqAKcGjRuObkKXHMi6AGw

By the way: his wonderful 1996 album ‘The Second Third Man’ featuring Michael Brecker has been re-mastered and is available again and surely worth checking out!

Dave Holland, Zakir Hussain, Chris Potter / Good Hope – three masters at work – this is one wonderful recording and surely one of the best of the year so far! The musical border crossings are incredible, the call and response and musical communication on an extremely high level and the musicality of these three artists beyond! At times the album recalls Hussain’s 1987 masterpiece ‘Making Music’, but then goes beyond that in terms of togetherness and depth. Potter blows his heart out and Holland gives the rhythms a pulse and his soli are touching and full of ideas as ever. Hussain is a master on his instrument and delivers the beat of the music with elegance and feeling. A must hear!!


Tertio / La mince ligne – Tertio are a Canadian jazz/rock quintet led by guitarist Vincent D. Perreault and are featuring Paul Shrofel on keyboards, Alex Lefaivre on bass, Eric Thibodeau on drums and Andy King on trumpet. Their music is an individual and intense mix of influences ranging from Weather Report to Miles Davis – it is funky and melodic and played by a very tight band. Marvellous!           https://open.spotify.com/track/6THgEUOluXpc95Ix1aEFO7?si=HBVZ5rbGR9ac3ub7ols6Ew

Joel Miller / Unstoppable – sax player, composer and conductor Joel Miller delivers with Unstoppable a ‘21st-century chamber symphony, inspired in equal parts by Afro-Peruvian folk music, early 2000 indie rock and large ensemble jazz’. The album is set up in 3 parts – Song Story, What you can’t stop and Deerhead Hoof Suite, all wonderful performances with great use of the various colours of the ensemble.  For lovers of big sounds and good melodies. And Miller plays some really good sax parts throughout. Line up: flutes by Billy Kerr, Nadia Sparrow; clarinets by Mark Simmons, Luc Jackman, Jennifer Bell; horn by Jocelyn Veilleux; trumpets by Lex French, Bill Mahar; trombone by Dave Grott; piano by David Ryshpan; acoustic and electric guitars by Steve Raegele; percussion by Sacha Daoud, Erin Donovan, Kullak Viger Rojas; drums by Kevin Warren and acoustic bass by Fraser Hollins. Guest conductor Christine Jensen. Recommended.  https://open.spotify.com/track/7cIstxVfvcETEjWzFKgmJz?si=JHgKRl89RgSP0utHb0jnKQ

Chelsea McBride / Aftermath – another wonderful big ensemble recording from Canada, this one from composer, conductor and saxophonist Chelsea McBride, who put into music various forms of conflicts, saying “The works found on this album were meant to be dark, and scary, conflict is never an easy thing to explore. But I can’t look at all the hurt that inspired this recording without remembering that even in the worst moments … somehow there is hope”. And her compositions do reflect these words perfectly .. dark, but with a ray of light, melodic and sometimes uplifting, haunting and engaging. A great album reflecting our times! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uzAvESR0i4

Dan Pitt / Fundamentally Flawed – young guitarist Pitt delivers a remarkable first album with his trio, that flows between composition and improvisation without effort. Completing this exciting trio are bassist Alex Fournier and drummer Nick Fraser, both well-known in the Canadian jazz scene. Pitt has a full sound on his instrument and is a class player – one to watch and see where he goes from this first step …  https://open.spotify.com/track/4ahBicjgcXk5kVhwbFIcdG?si=cxqAZyCNSZyARkHuvdNS2Q

The Bad Plus / Activate Infinity – this is the second album from the ‘new’ Bad Plus, featuring Orrin Evans on piano and as usual Reid Anderson on bass and Dave King on drums. Written by all members of the trio, this is exciting music that shows the new direction of the band … as edgy as always, but with a new melodic sense … Orrin Evans having a sometimes-symphonic touch on the piano. Wonderful and highly recommended … not only by myself: “Along with new songs, The Bad Plus reshapes a few fan favourites, like “Thrift Store Jewelry” and “Love Is the Answer” — as if to reinforce the idea of continuity, from then to now and beyond” – Nate Chinen, WBGO    https://open.spotify.com/track/3EWX16gyPWqh2HB1MmND36?si=dQVp7hWaQ3maNucfLR-DdA

Trevor Giancola / Sonnet18 – Giancola, a formidable guitar player and composer, assembled his ‘dream team’ for this recording with the wonderful Seamus Blake on sax; Rick Rosato on bass and Adam Arruda on drums. Says Trevor about the album: “Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 is about love, life, and death: things that I think all people, to some degree, are constantly trying to come to grips with. This album represents my own attempt to address these big picture topics in the most personal way that I can.” Incredible performances by all musicians, but especially Giancola and Blake make this album a valuable addition to any jazz collection.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVkMjOMDBoM

The Occasional Trio / Live In Berlin – pianist Simon Vincent’s trio, featuring Roland Fidezius on bass and Kai Lübke on drums, recorded this album at the Schlot Club in Berlin over two nights – creating intense music with free spaces for improvisation, based on compositions by Vincent. The trio is tight and swings amazingly, treats ballads with lyrical interplay and giving the audience their emotions through music. Harmonic and melodic adventures worth checking out!

Andres Vial / Gang of Three – A year after the release of his critically-acclaimed Monk tribute album, ‘Sphereology, Volume One’, Montreal pianist Andrés Vial and his sidemen bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Eric McPherson focus entirely on Vial’s original compositions, which are influenced by blues, gospel and world music. Vial shows, as he did with the Monk album, what great player he is and that he can swing as well as groove or touch the listener with an emotional ballad.     https://vimeo.com/353639401

DSC / MonkTime – DSC, a trio led by bassist Leon Lee Dorsey and featuring guitarist Greg Skaff and drummer Mike Clark, deliver a high level and touching tribute to Monk. This is only Dorsey’s third album, coming after a 20-year gap … but it has been worth while waiting … as this is an album that shows respect to the original compositions, but still giving them something individual. As Dorsey states: “We weren’t looking to reinvent the wheel on masterpieces. We wanted to keep the essence of the songs, that timeless commonality they have, while blending in our own spices and flavours.” A must have for Monk fans!     https://vimeo.com/354123443


Further recommended listening:

Hiromi / Spectrum – a wonderful solo album by the colourful and energetic pianist, showing her full range of expressions on her instrument.    https://open.spotify.com/track/1NpTkYFGPrYb9FRNGjLVyJ?si=mgd34nzmSnS2U003szw0Ig


Joshua Redman & Brooklyn Rider / Sun On Sand – the string quartet Brooklyn Rider with Redman and Scot Colley on bass and Satoshi Takeishi on drums – what a musical feat!! Music composed and arranged by Patrick Zimmerli – a perfect vehicle for Redman and his co-musicians. Alone the opener Flash is worth the album! https://open.spotify.com/track/2DmMxDDxzEPyuIaCBzYBLX?si=KMAQEyUbQWywjQ1sy6JKMQ


Jan Garbarek & Hilliard Ensemble / Remember Me My Dear – a live recording from that wonderful combination of voices that gave us Officium. Divine vocal performances with the added voice of Garbarek’s saxophone … compositions by Pärt, Brumel, von Bingen, Garbarek and others inspire the 5 musicians to create beauty in sound. https://open.spotify.com/track/0WdHpqNjIAlK6easKjLROh?si=hH1S9lDXTNiAVDsctHuvQw


some shows I saw and heard lately:

Javier Colina / Josemi Carmona / Bandolero – this trio, as well known as the De Cerca Trio, performed at the AC Hotel Recoletos on October 25th, as part of a Colina residence. Both records of the trio are fantastic in the way they mix jazz and flamenco and the same is true for their shows … from Carmona compositions to flamenco standards and jazz standards they paly everything in their own special way – Colina a wonderful bass player with lots of ideas and twists, Carmona a top guitarists for him it isn’t about speed but expression and Bandolero keeping the rhythm for them.

They get better and better and this time their version of ‘Moon River’ was absolutely divine.

Sara Gazarek – singer Sara Gazarek just has been for her first time to Spain for 5 concerts, three of them in Madrid’s Café central, where I saw her on October 30th performing with Julian Shore on piano, Alex Boneham on double bass and Ferenc Nemeth on drums. Gazarek is an immaculate singer with incredible control and technique and gives all chosen material her own stamp – as on the night we could hear her doing so with compositions from the Beatles, Brad Mehldau, Miles and many others, as well as her own songs. Her latest and truly wonderful album ‘Thirsty Ghost’ provided most of the material, exceptionally performed by her band. Outstanding on the night her own ‘Easy Love’, co-written with Larry Goldings and a very powerful and touching rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. Amazing!!

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