Saturday, March 30, 2013

Alice Smith - She (2013)

There comes a time in every artist’s life when they have to step into the spotlight on their own terms. For Janet, it was about Control. For Prince, it was about Emancipation. But for Alice Smith, it’s the art (and hard-won battle) of simply being herself.
The NYC-bred singer/songwriter/producer, known for her 4-octave vocal range and stunning stage presence, made a name for herself with her critically-acclaimed 2006 debut album, For Lovers, Dreamers & Me, released on BBE Records. At the time, her artful blend of bluesy, soulful vocals and mid-tempo grooves garnered a passionate following that packed venues like NYC’s Mercury Lounge and Joe’s Pub, while Vibe Magazine gushed that her sound “evoke[s] Fiona Apple’s finest material.” Her single “Dream” was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Urban/Alternative category.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Portico Quartet - Live/Remix (2013)

Portico Quartet bring their powerful live performance to record. Drawing on the inspiration of electronica, ambient, classical and dance music, they take their strange, beautiful, cinematic, future music to exciting new vistas. Live/Remix is a double album offering a unique insight into two distinct parts of the band's personality.
Live catches the band on tour in 2012 and features tracks from last year's eponymous album, Portico Quartet, as well as new arrangements of old favourites 'Clipper' and 'Dawn Patrol'. The hard won collective empathy that is at the heart of their sound remains the primary touchstone as Portico Quartet take the listener on a journey into the heart of their inimitable electro-acoustic-ambient music. Delivered with a powerful punch, the album adds that extra drive and energy honed over years of live performance, and many pieces appear in dynamic new arrangements. East London based Swedish singer Cornelia joins for a truly epic version of their track 'Steepless'.

Laura Mvula - Sing to the Moon (2013)

Now here’s a gap we didn’t know needed filling: between Nina Simone at her most stern, and The Beach Boys at their most baroque.  It’s a gap that Laura Mvula – composition graduate, supply teacher, Sound of 2013 contender – has decided to fill with her daring arrangements.
These are bliss-bombs of massed vocal harmonies, brave melodic excursions, and an entire orchestra playing only in fragments, when it really matters. Tellingly, there’s no sign of either a piano or guitar – the songwriter’s traditional work tools – until five songs in, which does indicate Laura’s ideas are worked out bar-by-bar, rather than bashed out in a moment of inspiration.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Quasimode - Soul Delivery (2013)

A totally great live set from Quasimode – and one that really returns the combo to the core brilliance of their first few records from Japan! The setting is completely unfurled and unbridled – the main quartet soaring away in a fast flurry of piano, bass, and percussion – always with a modal groove, and handled with plenty of soul – and topped throughout with tight horns from the Brassmode quartet – whose tenor and trumpet lines are especially nice, and really help deepen the soul of the music! There's only a bit of keyboards to bring in some slight electricity – but overall, things are mostly acoustic, very jazzy, and played live – with energy that even tops the group's recent studio albums. Two tracks feature vocals – and titles include "Febre Samba", "Another Sky", "The Man From Nagpur", "All Is One", "Relight My Fire", "El Paso Twist", and "Give It Up Or Turn It Loose".  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Love Supreme Jazz Fest 2013

The Love Supreme Jazz festival combines a classic jazz bill with a modern boutique, green field experience. Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Glynde Place in Sussex and in association with Jazz FM, Love Supreme will bring together 3 days of artists from the four corners of the world of Jazz; from Funk to Soul, Blues to Fusion. Four stages will see a diverse and premium bill that will combine jazz greats, international legends, cutting edge artists and the finest DJ's. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mop Mop - Isle of Magic (2013)

Andrea Benini, the man behind Mop Mop, worked together with Anthony Joseph and living legend Fred Wesley on his new album "Isle Of Magic". Anyone familiar with Mop Mop will already know that their refined style has already lend them a unique place somewhere between the worlds of jazz, funk, latin and the Italian Postmodern style allowed the band to achieve the International film business as part of Woody Allen's 'To Rome With Love' movie soundtrack. But with this latest LP'Isle Of Magic', Mop Mop digs even deeper to bring us one of their most engaging and organic records yet.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

VA - Spiritual Jazz 4: Americans in Europe (2013)

It's well known that throughout the 20th century, fed up with poor working conditions and racism in their home country, many American jazz musicians chose to leave the US in order to live and work in Europe. What's less well known is how their music developed and evolved during their time on the continent, and how the experience of being a musician in Europe was to shape their respective lives.
Over the years countless jazz concerts, festivals and recordings featuring American jazz musicians have taken place all over Europe, yet it's remarkable how few of these musical artifacts have been evaluated by the jazz community. We seek to assess the European experiences of the American jazzmen, with a specific focus on the progressive sounds of modal jazz and the avant garde. We examine the recordings made by those who crossed the Atlantic just to take in a short tour, as well as those who made more frequent trips, and of course those for whom Europe ultimately became their permanent place of residence.

William Adamson - Under an East Coast Moon (2013)

William Adamson trudges into view, muddied and dishevelled from his journey across the mist-shrouded, waterlogged heathland of Suffolk, bearing verse imagined and forged “Under An East Coast Moon”.

The slug trails of idea, half-truth and the untold. Catching the light of the full moon, crisscrossing each other on the path. We set about devising a map with places of which we had heard, through some chance visits and low sky directions. A mental map stretched down to Orford in the south, Southwold in the north and inland for twenty miles or so in the county of Suffolk on the east horn of the UK. A man was walking. A dog had been prowling, men readied for an apocalypse. Was the sea telling stories? Old songs and new roads, coughing, standing spitting, while we squinted into one of the hollows of England.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Terri Lyne Carrington - Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue (2013)

In 1962, Duke Ellington recorded a trio date with bassist Charlie Mingus and drummer Max Roach that is today considered one of the pivotal jazz recordings of the 1960s. Money Jungle, the 1963 album that emerged from the session, was – among other things – a commentary on the perennial tug-of-war between art and commerce. In some ways, the album’s 11 tracks were intended as a sort of counterbalance to the capitalist bent of the Mad Men generation.
 Fifty years later, this precarious balance in the world of jazz – or in any art form, for that matter – hasn’t changed much. Enter GRAMMY® Award-winning drummer, composer and bandleader Terri Lyne Carrington, who enlists the aid of two high-profile collaborators – keyboardist Gerald Clayton and bassist Christian McBride – to pay tribute to Duke, his trio and his creative vision with a cover of this historic recording.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bilal - A Love Surreal (2013)

After Airtight's Revenge was issued in 2010, Bilal picked up a Grammy nomination for that album's "Little One" and continued to be one of the most valuable guest vocalists. He enhanced the Roots' Grammy-nominated Undun and Robert Glasper Experiment's Grammy-winning Black Radio, the latter of which includes brilliant work on a version of David Bowie's "Letter to Hermione." For his third official release, Bilal entered the studio with the intent to record an EP, but exited with an album — one that possibly tops his previous release and has a very different character. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Angeline Morrison - Are you ready cat? (2013)

We had already tasted a sample of Angeline's talents a couple of a weeks back when her ep "The Feeling Sublime" played on endless repeat right here @ Twisted headquarters. Now Freestyle's finest returns with a full album and the result is, well, as expected a stellar mixof bossa, RNB, jazz, hip hop, exotica all wrapped up in her unique way. 
Opening track, The Looking Dance, sets the mood, and places itself somewhere between the folky jazz of Ben Sidran and the jazzy folk of acts like Pentangle - a beautiful, memorable melody is augmented with brushed drums, flute and shimmering harp. In contrast, the title track, Are You Ready Cat?, is a toe tapping, 60s style pop-soul groover with swinging strings, sax and some indispensable glockenspiel!