Rich is this May’s harvest and our playlist calls attention to 31 selected albums, some of them should had deserved a stand-alone presentation. Needless to say that it is impossible to listen to a piece that does not remind us of something. This is both good and bad because, no matter how much we like whatever is “familiar”, jazz requires that the element of surprise should be present. We have, thus, the astonishing lists of modernjazz.gr, which assure the balance of the whole thing, through their diversity! We should all be content, or most of us, at least, because beside its aesthetic value, art should contain this specific functional aspect as well – it must and has to be liked! OMG, what a disgrace! And unfortunately, the more simple and comprehensible it is, the more followers it wins – something that turns the marketing industry extremely happy.
Frankly now, what is the factor that lends a distinctive value to any jazz production, as well as added value to the art of jazz? In my opinion, this happens not only when musicians apply virtuosity, highlighting the essence of this particular “musicians music”, but also when they can express some kind of individuality, reflecting their time, or even, ahead of it, opening new roads and contributing to the edifice of jazz. Beside, if they manage to generate, with their music, positive energy vibrations, then we can argue that the Spirit of Jazz is present, providing Inspiration.
However and in order to be fair, most of the jazz productions today are flawless and functional and the musicians are extremely qualified technicians. Thus the listener has the opportunity, according to his physical, emotional and mental condition – don’t ignore the sound system efficiency – to engulf the stimulus. He can tune in, ascertaining the phenomenological model. Hey guys! “Health, beauty and fashion” and the rest we can manage.
After all this babbling, here you have a today’s comprehensive view of modern jazz, as it appears on the internet. The list follows the rule of diversity and of progressive difficulty. Go ahead fearlessly, till the surprises at the end of the list, since jazz – just like love and life itself – is for those who dare!
Click the links below and enjoy a three hour program!
Here you can also find basic information and links about the albums of the playlist:
Zarcia – Therapy
(neosoul, adult pop & more)
Out of this cute variety of styles-collection, we choose to warm up with a song that could had been written and performed by Esperanza Spalding
A high quality eleven members band, in a double CD, with great grooves, spirituality and featuring stars, can make happy listeners, djs and dancers!
Van Morrison‘s secret seems to be that he does not simply sings the song· the man “is” the song!
Sirintip – Tribus
(Pop, rnb, electronic and jazz)
A noble voice on sophisticated songs. Michael League’s – of Snarky Puppy – production
Ami Nakazono – The Real (smooth jazz)
Here she comes, this young Japanese keeper of the flame!
Juan Andrés Ospina Big Band – Tramontana
(big band, contemporary jazz)
Colombian composer/bandleader on his debut album, with a multi-national ensemble, featuring Greeks, Petros Klampanis and Magda Giannikou, Colombian vocalist Lucia Pulido (track 06) and Paquito D’Rivera, as guest.
Intensively harmonic and melodic big band stuff with a “latin” pinch. Juan has now joined WDR big band for two live perfomances
Ganavya – Aikyam: Onnu (vocal jazz, India)
Uncommon, interesting interpretation of standards, by the use of Indian vocalism
Craig Brann – Lineage (contemporary jazz, guitar)
Bright and groovy jazz moments
Shake Stew – Rise and Rise Again (jazz, fusion)
Let positive vibrations flow to your jazz party, out from this Austrian bassist Lukas Kranzelbinder’s project
Ken Peplowski – Sunrise: The Ken Peplowski Big Band
(classic jazz, big band)
Full clarinet timbre can caress your ears with superb virtuosity!
Juan Mejia’s Conspiracy – Persona (modern jazz)
A group with alto, vibraphone, bass and drums – by Colombian drummer Juan Mejia – can draw your interest with their modern sound and nice soli
Nellie McKay – Sister Orchid (vocal jazz)
Tonal precision, depth, necessary edge, breath and go!
Misnomer – Neighborhood (contemporary soul/funk, fusion)
Nine young musicians from Athens, Georgia, playing joyful, buoyant music
Fred Hersch Trio – Live in Europe (modern jazz, postbop)
Here we have the chance to listen to live performances from one of the most acclaimed jazz pianists of our times. Album includes “We See“, a tune that was Grammy nominated in 2016, for Best Improvised Jazz Solo. Hersch, 62 y.o. now, is very inventive and can be as free as possible to develop rich soli, using a wide variety of musical elements, under the well structured forms of his creative compositions or standards interpretations. Allaboutjazz review
Dave Mcmurray – Music Is Life (rnb/soul jazz)
Enjoy Dave Mcmurray’s powerful and clear saxophone tone, here playing in trio form. As Don Was (of Blue Note) says, “It’s all about honest expressions”
Nicola Conte & Spiritual Galaxy – Let Your Light Shine On
Nicola Conte is a successful Italian Dj, producer, guitarist and bandleader. Able to hire famous collaborators and guests, he produced precise and convincing classic grooves that can work at all situations
Yelena Eckemoff Quartet – Desert (modern jazz)
Pianist/composer Yelena Eckemoff marks decades of creativity. Enjoy true mastership from her fruitful mind and her all-star quartet, featuring Paul McCandless, Arild Andersen and Peter Erskine. Read stories from the desert in the digital booklet
Brad Mehldau Trio – Seymour Reads the Constitution!
Classical roots, romanticism, swing, fine technique and the famous pianist tends to be a “Keith Jarrett” of our times, attaining high level of popularity
Ted Nash Quintet – Live at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
(feat. Warren Wolf, Gary Versace, Rufus Reid, Matt Wilson)
Grammy winner altoist Ted Nash and the other today’s jazz masters at their best!
Meg Okura & the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble – Ima Ima
Wonderful orchestral colors and compositions from Japanese violinist Meg Okura (Juilliard School) and her fine ensemble, feat. Tom Harrell, Sam Newsome (her husband), Rez Abbasi and more..
Dana Murray – Negro Manifesto
(avant-garde, rap/hip-hop/underground, electronic)
Dana Murray (Omaha) is a drummer/producer, with a rich bio, high creativity and a political attitude
Harold O’Neal – Piano Cinema
(crossover, modern jazz)
A fine pianist (also composer, producer, actor, speaker) that uses French impressionism’s piano music vocabulary to build his cinematographic improvisations
Tia Fuller – Diamond Cut (modern jazz)
Tia Fuller is a first class saxophonist/composer, full-time professor at Berklee College of Music, best known as Beyonce’s partner, also playing and arranging in Esperanza Spalding’s bands.
Her fifth album, as bandleader, is a Terri Lyne Carrington’s production. Tia appears speedy and fiery, devoted on her purpose, with flashy ideas and great sound. With Dave Holland/Jack DeJohnette, Adam Rogers, Sam Yahel, James Genus/Bill Stewart Read review
Giulia Galliani MAG Collective – Song for Joni
Pretty jazzy, well done tribute to Joni Mitchell from this Italian singer, her sextet and guests
Ben Markley – Basic Economy
(modern jazz, postbop)
Pianist/composer/educator Ben Markley’s quartet performs his boppish compositions, featuring Greg Osby on alto sax. Basic Economy is a modernly treated blues form, chosen for the playlist. Read more..
Matthias Tschopp Quartet – Untitled
(avant-garde, modern jazz, electronic)
A Swiss baritone saxophonist and his quartet create jazz space to let us flow in
Kamaal Williams – The Return
(ambient jazz, new jazz, broken beat)
Well known member of the London scene, specially after his last year successful debut, keyboardist Kamal Williams, in his second album, leads a trio to a visionary world of no discord
Kat Edmonson – Old Fashioned Gal (Vocal jazz, swing)
A spicy, playful voice, as if it is coming out of the musical theater, make us travel back to the sweet and memorable swing era, now calling it “vintage pop”
Joshua Redman – Still Dreaming (modern jazz)
The famous saxophonist, together with Ron Miles, Scott Colley and Brian Blade, pay emotional homage to Joshua’s father, Dewey Redman and his historical freebop group “Old and New Dreams”
Ryan Carraher – Obscure Sorrows
(modern jazz, avant-garde, chamber music)
Young guitarist/composer Ryan Carraher’s second album, as leader, was reviewed at modernjazz.gr on May, 27, 2018.
Emanuele Cisi – No Eyes: Looking at Lester Young
(mainstream jazz, vocal jazz)
Emanuele Cici’s rich tenor saxophone sound joins with great Roberta Gambarini’s amazing voice, for a tribute to Lester Young. No information available about No Eyes, a nice ballad with nostalgic for “Pres” lyrics..
As for the end, you may also want to check these latest releases, with your own initiative:
- Freddy Cole – My Mood Is You
- Mike LeDonne (f. Eric Alexander) – From the Heart
- Dave Holland (feat. Evan Parker, Craig Taiborn & Ches Smith) – Uncharted Territories
- Joey Alexander – Eclipse
- Eddie Henderson – Be Cool
- Kenny Barron Quintet – Concentric Circles
- Portico Quartet – Untitled (AITAOA #2)
- Lee Konitz – Prisma
- Terence Blanchard feat. the E collective – Live
- Dave Liebman – Fire
- Peter Erskine & the Dr. Um Band – On Call
- Renee Rosnes (f. Chris Potter, Steve Wilson, Peter Washinghton, Lenny White) – Beloved of the Sky
- Brian Charette, George Coleman – Groovin’ with Big G
- Tim Warfield – Jazzland
- Ari Hoenig (Tivon Pennicott, Gilad Hekselman, Orlando le Fleming) – NY Standard
- Jure Pukl, Melissa Aldana, Joe Sanders, Gregory Hutchinson -Doubtless
With love for jazz and the worldwide jazz community,