Monday, December 31, 2012

Tia Fuller - Angelic Warrior (2012)

Tia Fuller’s third release on Mack Avenue Records, Angelic Warrior, marks her deep-rooted evolution as an instrumentalist, composer and bandleader. After five years in Beyoncé’s band, the pop diva’s attention to detail in the studio rubbed off on Fuller. She has since developed a heightened focus in the editing, mixing and mastering process of Angelic Warrior, as the producer. And as the Assistant Musical Director for Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society touring band, Fuller applies her pop and jazz chops on behalf of some of the hottest artists in music today.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Nils Landgren - Chistmas With My Friends III (2012)

The test of a great Christmas album is simple: will it sound good in August? Christmas With My Friends III should ace that particular test. Even those who derive most festive fun from repeatedly grunting "Bah, Humbug" at passing kindergarten children will be drawn into the spell of this music. Beautifully performed by some of the European jazz scene's finest singers and musicians, the gentle grace of the music comes to the fore and serves as a reminder of Christmas' spiritual quality.
This is the third Christmas album from prolific Swedish trombonist Nils Landgren, and features the same lineup of musical friends as Christmas With My Friends II (ACT, 2008). Recorded at two December 2011 concerts in Storkyrkan, Stockholm's largest church, Christmas With My Friends III boasts exceptional sound, thanks to engineer Lars Nilsson. This audio quality ensures that every nuance comes across clearly, transmitting the atmosphere of the live performances from those cold December nights.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cassandra Wilson - Another Country (2012)

Ms. Wilson needs no introduction to a legion of fans who have been captivated by her eight albums for the Blue Note label during the course of almost two decades with that esteemed imprint. With a million Soundscan albums to her credit in the U.S., she s one of the very few jazz artists whose artistic influence and contributions have been matched by unqualified commercial success.
Creatively, Cassandra Wilson has never rested on her laurels, and her new album, Another Country, is no exception to the rule. Nine of the ten songs are composed by Ms. Wilson and/or her collaborating partner, guitarist-producer Fabrizio Sotti, with the tenth a very special arrangement by the duo of the classic aria, O Sole Mio. Recorded in Florence, Italy, the entire sound of the album is intimate, guitar-driven, and lushly romantic. Launched by the lead single, Red Guitar, Another Country is poised to invigorate Cassandras intensely loyal fan base as well as greet new audiences.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra - Towards Other Worlds (2012)

Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra are back with their second album ‘Towards Other Worlds’. The UK- based 9 piece have built on the success of their debut album, described by BBC Radio 2’s Jamie Cullum as one of his ‘sounds and albums of 2010’. Afrobeat’s inimitable rhythm and language is evident and the band also owes part of their sound to the space jazz pioneers of the 70s and the free jazz trailblazers of the 60s.
Towards Other Worlds explores this diverse blueprint, taking in driving afro-funk, spiritual jazz, and Mulatu-esque Ethio-jazz. Built around a quote of the Sun-Ra film ‘Space Is The Place’ the album is split into two halves – the first represents Earth and it’s ‘sounds of guns, anger, frustration’ whilst the second is couched in the cosmos, where ‘the vibrations are different’, leading to a more progressive, peaceful sound.

Indigo Jam Unit - Rebel (2012)

 by Pyke
If there is one band that can be considered as the absolute TWISTED JAZZ band it's the INDIGO JAM UNIT. Exploding jazz tunes, prolific (a record each year) even in those blink-and-you'll-miss-it digital times, beautiful melodies, unexpected covers (remember that great Re:common cover record?). 
Anyone familiar with the IJU trademark sound would know by now what to expect. And that's exactly what's being delivered wrapped up in optimal quality and innovative playing. From the very first notes of the powerhouse calling card "Rebel" to the emotional centerpiece "Graduation Day" and latin tour-de-force "Danza Eterna" and all the way to the relaxing closing exercise "Reflection", the japanese trio is showing once again how confident, strong and adventurous it is by simply stretching its arms.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Re:Jazz - Kaleidoscope (2012)

German band Re:Jazz have just celebrated ten years together and 'Kaleidoscope' is their fifth studio album. It opens in wonderful style with the delightfully soulful 'Don't Push Your Luck' which features vocals from N'Dea Davenport. It's a great throwback to the best of the Acid Jazz years and it's every bit as good as anything that Ms Davenport's erstwhile employers, The Brand New Heavies, have ever come up with. The band's new, "regular" vocalist, Mediha, is out front on 'Wonders Of The World' which offers more of the same vibe.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Juice ‎– Feel Like Good Music / Catch A Groove (1976)



Holly Cole - Night (2012)

"The night time is the right time"… It's a musical statement the great Ray Charles and many others have made gloriously. But for singer Holly Cole, the feeling expressed in this classic blues/jazz motif is much more than just celebratory. To her, the comfort of the nighttime is central to her personal and artistic life. As is usual when it comes to this iconic Canadian songstress, this is an album that features a stylistically diverse and emotionally stirring collection of songs. Supported by musicians the singer recognizes as soul mates and companions, the album presents a fullblown reunion of the original Holly Cole Trio, featuring pianist Aaron Davis and double-bassist David Piltch. 

Moskus - Salmesykkel (2012)

Pianist Anja Lauvdal, bass player Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson and drummer Hans Hulbækmo are all in their early twenties, and have been part of the creative milieu in the Jazz Department of the Trondheim Conservatory of Music. Anja and Hans have already made a name for themselves as part of the critically acclaimed rock bands Your Headlights are On and The Avalanche/Snøskred. In 2011 Moskus was the first jazz band towin Grappa Record Company’s annual “Debut Artist Award”.
[...]their sound is unmistakeably Nordic, and fans of e.s.t., In the Country or Tord Gustavsen will probably find much to keep them happy here.[...] Salmesykkel is a quiet joy; a thoughtful, unshowy piece of work whose maturity and poise seems at odds with the tender ages of its creators.- Peter Marsh (BBCmusic)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Submotion Orchestra - Fragments (2012)

Bass, rhythm and soul are still paramount, but from the first few bars of 'Intro', with it's Philip Glass-meets Penguin Cafe pianos, it's clearly evident that the band have broadened their musical palate. It's also also clear they've made this expansion sound effortlessly captivating - ready to melt minds and bassbins alike.
"In making 'Fragments', we started to stretch out from the template of the first album", explains keyboardist Taz Modi. "There's a lot more colour and moods on this record; strings, woodwind and various new synth textures. We followed our noses to see where they'd lead us. There should be enough here to satisfy fans of 'Finest Hour', but hopefully there'll be quite a bit to surprise them as well...;"

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Menagerie - They Shall Inherit (2012)

Menagerie is the spiritual jazz project from the prolific producer, songwriter and guitarist Lance Ferguson, best known for his eclectic and highly acclaimed work under the Lanu and The Bamboos monikers, and here venturing out to explore new musical terrain. The first album, ‘They Shall Inherit’ is out in December 2012 on CD, vinyl and digital; featuring a guest appearance from the legendary US jazz/funk vibraphonist Roy Ayers, the album has gained early support from the authority on all things leftfield, Gilles Peterson (Worldwide/BBC 6Music).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sonar Kollektiv 15 Years Of Volxmusik (comp, 2012)

You’ll always find a reason to party if you will. Sonar Kollektiv’s 15th anniversary is more than just another invitation to let one’s hair down though.
Sonar Kollektiv was founded in 1997 by Jazzanova. Designed as a platform for own releases it soon attracted numerous new discoveries and like-minded musicians to lead their trumps right here. Still it was never the intention of Sonar Kollektiv to pursue one specific sound or provide an already existing scene. Each and every release on the label (250 and counting) was at all times meant to illustrate the musical taste of the collective, its flavourful development and recollection of past sounds. The various compilations and label showcases played a big part of it. From the renowed „Secret Love“ compilation (No. 6 has been released in October 2012), the „Computer Incarnations For World Peace“ edition, the „...Boadcasting“ and „....Mixing“-series to the „Romanian Jazz“ label showcase Sonar Kollektiv continuously cares about broadening its own and the horizon of any type of music lovers. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Larry "Stonephace" Stabbins - Transcedental (2012)

Back in the '80s, British jazz had one of its intermittent flirtations with pop chart success. Much of it, with the benefit of hindsight, was as much about the cut of a trumpeter's trouser as it was about the cutting-edge nature of the music. Some of it was eminently justifiable, as the best of these musicians brought varied influences together to create music that was technically skilful and genuinely engaging in a physical, emotional and intellectual sense. Working Week was one of the bands that justified the crossover success. Larry "Stonephace" Stabbins, guitarist Simon Booth and singer Juliet Roberts were the band's core, but they also drew on key players from the UK scene—trumpeters Harry Beckett and Guy Barker, and trombonist Annie Whitehead all made guest appearances on the band's debut, Working Nights (Virgin, 1985).

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lund Quartet - Lund Quartet (2012)

Thnx to Billy P. "the neighbour" for pointing this out...(Twisted Jazz)

by  John Eyles(BBCmusic)
Once in a blue moon, a debut album makes it obvious the band in question is exceptional. Thirty seconds into Sequoia, the opening track of Lund Quartet, it is clear this is one such album. Immediately, the listener is drawn into an economic soundscape of piano, bass and drums overlaid with sampled trumpets, which help make it a compelling piece.
Lund Quartet is Simon Adcock on piano and theremin, double bassist Rob Childs, drummer Sam Muscat, and Jake Wittlin on turntables. They are from Bristol and have been together five years. In 2010, they rented out an industrial unit in a car mechanic’s yard and built their own studio, using equipment obtained from skips and friends.

Friday, December 7, 2012

GoGo Penguin - Fanfares (2012)

Manchester trumpeter Matthew Halsall's Gondwana Records has been documenting that city's vividly creative jazz scene – here he introduces GoGo Penguin, a young piano trio collecting a cult following in the region this year. The band cite Aphex Twin, Debussy and Massive Attack among their influences, but from a jazz angle EST, the Bad Plus, and maybe a little of the funky drive of Neil Cowley's trio play big roles. Pianist Chris Illingworth makes the EST connection explicit in the anthemic roll of the opening Seven Sons of Björn (written at the time of Esbjörn Svensson's premature death), a stirring theme in the manner of the Swedish superband, unfolded over Rob Turner's intense drumming. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Bryan Ferry Orchestra - The Jazz Age (2012)

If there was ever a musical icon and a decade destined to come together it is Bryan Ferry and the Roaring Twenties. The artist as creative powerhouse with a dazzling career of endless surprise, delight and innovation, and the decade - a time of modernity, decadence and bright young things - all driven on by the thrill of it all. So what better way to celebrate and mark the 40th year anniversary of Ferry's incredible career as a singer and songwriter, than by rearranging his own compositions and have them performed in a 1920's style by his very own Jazz Orchestra? 

A Bow and a Fond Farewell to...Dave!

David Warren "Dave" Brubeck (December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012)

Dave Brubeck, designated a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, was one of the most active and popular musicians in both the jazz and classical worlds. With a career that spanned over six decades, his experiments in odd time signatures, improvised counterpoint, polyrhythm and polytonality remain hallmarks of innovation.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kurt Elling – 1619 Broadway The Brill Building Project (2012)

With his new album, Kurt Elling – the outstanding male vocalist in jazz today – celebrates a legendary legacy from outside the jazz world. 1619 Broadway – The Brill Building Project honors a locale that the London Telegraph called "the most important generator of popular songs in the Western world." Even for the ceaselessly inventive GRAMMY-winning singer-lyricist, it's a hugely unexpected step, and one guaranteed to further solidify his reputation for bold innovation and superb craftsmanship.
"Having done so many projects about my love for Chicago," Elling says, "I wanted to make something that spoke of my love for New York." The two cities define his career. Elling developed his craft in Chicago, and recorded several of his early albums there – including his debut, Close Your Eyes, which catapulted him onto the national stage and earned the first of his many GRAMMY nominations. (All told, every one of Elling's nine albums has been nominated for at least one jazz GRAMMY – a streak unequalled in GRAMMY history.)