Imitonios – 2018 Jazz Releases, Vol. XI

Following the style of this website, here comes contemporary jazz of artistic and aesthetic aclaim, combined with a more commercial and entertaining side of this genre of music and its interaction with the current pop culture.
Every month, I go through a number of new albums, by well-known artists of the international jazz scene, which, despite the fact that, in their majority, are impeccable, few of them appeal to me enough to present them and include any tune of them in my monthly playlist.
Nevertheless, I still add them, as an archive, at the bottom of posts like this, so that anyone interested can explore, since we all have different tastes, different views and different musical needs and priorities, determined by both our background and, as well as, a given time.
And I cannot say I’m not shocked when seeing, for example, on Deezer, a jazz album followed by 750 fans, to leave me disinterested, while I find other albums, with two or three listeners, spectacular!
So, these are my choices, put together in the “tuned” playlist of the month; 20 songs from albums that stood out for their feel and essence, their integrity, energy level, peculiarity and, finally, their indispensable grace!

Listen for free on music streaming services


Here are the albums participating to the playlist:

Abstract Orchestra – Madvillain, Vol. 1
(soul/hip-hop/jazz, big band) – Leeds, UK – Review

Coming as a sequel of the golden era of British acid jazz, Abstract Orchestra is an all-star hip-hop big band, led by saxophonist Rob Mitchell


Alison Young – So Here We Are
(mainstream jazz) – Toronto

Cheerful straight ahead jazz by Alison Young, a composer and an all-saxophones gifted player, from soprano to baritone. Her full-metal, vibrating sound on the alto, reminded me of Arthur Blythe


Skalp – Future Funk
(fusion, smooth jazz, electronic) – France

The talented Skalp (aka Pascal Lemaire) is inspired by the historical jazz-funk, and produces wonderful modern grooves


Helen Sung -Sung with Words (A collaboration with Dana Gioia)
(modern jazz, post-bop, vocal jazz, poetry) – NPR review

Jazz and Poetry! “Oh great, two of the least popular things together!”  acclaimed pianist  Helen Sung tells us, laughing…
With Dana Gioia (poetry) and famous John Ellis (ts, ss, bcl), Ingrid Jensen (tp), Reuben Rogers (b), Kendrick Scott: (dr), Samuel Torres: (perc), plus guest vocals

Thomas Steffen – Ambifarius
(“hiphop, postjazz”, electronic) – Interview

Drummer, multi-instrumentalist and producer with modern concerns



Unwind – Orange
(chamber jazz, classical) – New Zealand

Hayden Chisholm (sax, shruti box, throat singing), Norman Meehan (p), Paul Dyne (b)


Sanah Kadoura – Hawk Eyes
(modern jazz, new jazz) – Downbeat news

Electrifying Lebanese-Canadian drummer Sanah Kadoura and her quartet, featuring Jeremy Pelt (tp) and Tivon Pennicott (ts)


Electric Circus – Canicola
(fusion, world) – Turin, Italy

A hot sextet, playing its “Psych-world grooves”



Odeia – Parlami
(world) – France

Mediterranean songs artistically arranged for voice, violin, cello (or guitar) and contrabass, by Elsa Birgé and her group Odeia


Otros Aires presents Balkan Airs (2017)
(world) – Review

A delightful blend of Argentinean tango and Balkan sounds, with a singing clarinet!


Braxton Cook – No Doubt
(new jazz) – Nextbop review

Already a figure of the “new jazz” scene, the young alto player and vocalist Braxton Cook released his second album


Ted Piltzecker – Brindica
(contemporary jazz, latin jazz) – Buenos Aires, N.Y.   Liner Notes

A fully melodic and rhythmic album with many percussionists and featured soloists, like Jon Faddis (tp), Gary Smulyan (bs), Ralph Lalama (ts), by the vibraphonist, ex-trumpeter, Ted Piltzecker


Otmaro Ruiz, Jimmy Branly, Jimmy Haslip – Elemental
(fusion)   Review

Mature, fulfilling fusion by Venezuelan pianist Otmaro Ruiz  (2016 Grammy nominated) and his keen associates


Dr. Syros – Joint Practice
(new jazz)
German cut “new jazz”  by the stunning group Dr. Syros

Martin Sörös (p, f.rh), Julian Hesse (tp, flg), Sebastian Schuster (b)
Daniel Mudrack (dr)


Johannes Wallmann – Day and Night
(contemporary jazz, modern jazz) – Review 
Intriguing, awarded pianist Johannes Wallmann celebrates jazz, together with other officials: Brian Lynch (tp), Dayna Stephens (, Matt Pavolka (b), Colin Stranahan (dr)

[This album doesn’t exist on Spotify, only on Deezer and  Bandcamp]

Nathan Haines – Zoot Allure
(nu jazz, smooth jazz) – London.   Review

Fresh urban sounds, beats, the right solos and the remarkable New Zealander saxophonist Nathan Haines creates positive vibes


Andrew Rathbun – Character Study
(post-bop) – Press Release

Mostly mellow post-bop by Canadian saxophonist Andrew Rathbun and the masters: Tim Hagans (tp), Gary Versace (p), Jay Anderson (b) and Bill Stewart (dr)


Brass Monkey Brass Band – Sonic Ranch
(New Orleans) – Website

7-piece brass band, in New Orleans style, playing contemporary stuff



Vladyslav Sendecki, ATOM String Quartet – Le Jardin Oublié / My Polish Heart (modern jazz, classical)

63 y.o. Polish composer and pianist with an astonishing bio, Vladyslav Sendecki’s album includes a very charming, 20 minutes quintet for piano and strings in four, non-stop parts, dispersing any doubt that Music is One!

Consequently, next song is  “Do You Like Music?”, from Eric Lau’s album 🙂

Eric Lau – Examples, Vol. 2
(beats, hip/hop, jazz, soul ) – London

Another one renowned producer, musician, engineer and DJ from the London scene, who diligently does his job: Letting us having a nice time, wherever we are, whatever we do!

More new jazz releases, as I mentioned in the beginning:

This is the end! Happy jazz time!