Hudson (DeJohnette/Grenadier/Medeski/Scofield) —
Hudson ... CD Motema, 2017. New Copy ...
A group who take their name from the Hudson River Valley – beautifully pictured here on the front cover – and a quartet who work in an equally expansive array of sounds – all sharp elements of tone and timing from a lineup that features Jack DeJohnette on drums, John Scofield on guitar, Larry Grenadier on bass, and John Medeski on piano, Fender Rhodes, and Hammond! The Hudson influence doesn't just stop at the name, though – because all these upstate New York musicians often pay tribute to other artists who left the city for points north – Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, and The Band – each of whom gets a tribute track on the album. About half the set is originals by members of the group – and if we had to pick one instrument that seems to have the strongest voice in the group, it might be the guitar of Scofield – maybe in part because he can skirt the two different worlds so well. Titles include "Tony Then Jack", "Dirty Ground", "El Swing", "Hudson", "Lay Lady Lay", "Woodstock", "Wait Until Tomorrow", and "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall". CD
Reedman Donny McCaslin's been making records for many years now – but he also seems to have gotten a new sort of inspiration from his work with David Bowie on his final recording – at a level that really seems to influence his sound here! The record's still very much a jazz session – but it's also got rhythms, flourishes, and other elements that Donny wouldn't have used a few short years ago – not just a bit of keyboards, which seem used to extrapolate the Bowie/Eno themes from Berlin – but also a more angular approach to his solos, which seems to create an inherent set of rhythm in the way he blows his tenor and flute. The album's dedicated to Bowie, but is hardly any sort of Bowie tribute or cover album – although the group does do a wonderful reading of "Warszawa", which comes out great as an instrumental. Other players include Jason Lindner on keyboards, Tim Lefebvre on electric bass, and Mark Guiliana on drums – and Jeff Taylor sings briefly on "A Small Plot Of Land". All other titles are instrumentals – and include "Remain", "Glory", "Faceplant", "Bright Abyss", "Beyond Now", and "Coelacanth 1". CD
Latin Bird, but way more Latin than Bird ever was – if that makes any sense! In other words, TK Blue really steps out nicely with this album – doing way more than just a Charlie Parker tribute, and certainly not rehashing the cubop elements of Bird's early 50s sides – and instead, taking the whole thing into the rich colors and joyous rhythms of the contemporary Latin jazz scene – far more involved and complicated than the old days! The album's got a lot more to offer than you might expect – a soulful acoustic vibe that's mighty nice – not just from TK's work on alto and flute, but from piano by Theo Hill, percussion by Willie Martinez and Roland Guerrero, guest trombone from Steve Turre, and even a bit of drums from Lewis Nash. Titles include "Chi Chi", "Si Si", "Blue Bird", "Visa", "Buzzy", "He Flew Away Too Soon", and "Moods Of Parker". CD
Round, warm sounds from bassist Charnett Moffett – working here on both acoustic and electric bass, always with that laidback sense of flow that always made his older work so great! Moffett seems to shape each tune in a different way – and he's joined in this pursuit by guitarist Stanley Jordan, who reminds us of his wonderful sense of tone throughout – and by pianist Cyrus Chestnut, who's on most of the tracks on the set – save for a few that feature Jordan on piano. Jeff Tain Watts handles most of the drums – and tenor legend Pharoah Sanders makes a surprising appearance on three of the album's best tracks. Titles include "Music From Our Soul", "Freedom", "We Are Here To Play", "Love In The Galaxies", "Freedom Swing", "Sound World Suite", and "Celestial Dimensions". CD
David Murray/Geri Allen/Terri Lyne Carrington —
Perfection ... CD Motema, 2016. Used ...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet —
Jersey ... CD Motema, 2017. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
That's the state of New Jersey on the cover – represented with an image that's as beautiful as the music on the set – a nicely bold statement from drummer Mark Guiliana, who works here with a mighty strong quartet! The group features some especially great tenor from Jason Rigby – a player who can soar forward on waves of sound one minute, then bring things back to carefully creative sonic territory – all in a way that's beautifully illustrative, with almost a painterly quality to his performance – but never in a way that feels forced or overly intellectual – given the organic quality of his horn. Pianist Fabian Almazan's great too – able to burst out these beautiful tones that really set the whole picture on fire – and bassist Chris Morrissey gets some great time in the spotlight, sometimes even to set the tunes up from the start – which he does wonderfully, then rolls them along as strongly as Guiliana's drums. Titles include "Our Lady", "Where Are We Now", "Big Rig Jones", "BP", "Rate", and "September". CD
The best sort of Thelonious Monk set in our opinion – the kind of record that draws heavily from the legacy of the master, but also delivers something completely new and fresh! Let's face it, Monk would wince at the idea of folks just copying his style and ideas – and Joey Alexander hardly does that at all here, by really transforming familiar Monk numbers with this modern approach that's both fluid and chunky at the same time! Alexander's hands on the keys are amazing – and almost feel like he's grabbing chunks of sound out of the air, to sculpt these sonic shapes based on the ideas of the tunes. The structure of the tunes is subtly but greatly enhanced by the work of Scott Colley on bass and Willie Jones III on drums – and titles include "Ugly Beauty", "Rhythm A Ning", "Straight No Chaser", "Pannonica", and "Evidence". CD
Ben Wendel's a tenorist with a mighty rich sound – a way of spacing out his notes, so that every moment matters – coming across with an attack that's maybe more subtle than some, but every bit as powerful! A big part of this album's charm comes from the rhythmic core – the work of Gerald Clayton on piano, Joe Sanders on bass, and Henry Cole on drums – who craft these angular passages which provide a perfect footing for Wendel's leaps in sound – notes that are always well-chosen, and which have a way of shaping sound that's really superb. Titles include "Amian", "Fall", "Spring", "Doubt", "Solar", "Austin", and "Soli". CD