2018/2019 Jazz Releases, Vol. I

“From Maximum Enjoyment to Rare Beauty” –  That’s how an overabundant month has passed, when the Jazz Spirit argued in favor of “Maximun Enjoyment,” according to the title of the first album of an exuberant and promising new playlist! And as we dig in, we get rewarded with “Rare Beauty,” which is the title of the last piece! You only have to check, if I speak the “Simple Truth”!
So, here we have a two and a half hours unique program that praises today’s jazz, with respect to the past and confidence in the future!

Listen on music streaming services


(the two playlists are not identical, as Spotify misses three albums)

The albums of the playlist:

Something Blue – Maximum Enjoyment
(straight ahead jazz) – Brooklyn, NY   [Posi-Tone Rec] 

A fine gig that preserves the great tradition of mid-1960’s jazz, with fabulous Alexa Tarantino (as), and respected  Nick Finzer (trb), Sam Dillon (ts), Art Hirahara (p), Boris Kozlov (b), Rudy Royston (dr)


Mavtraxx – Family Ties
(new jazz, neosoul) – Dallas, Texas   [Press Release]

Contemporary lounge jazz, also conveying a message, by musician/producer Marcus Roberts Jr. (aka MavTraxx)


Zakk Garner – Humble Ambition (12/2018)
(contemporary jazz) – Louisiana

Zakk Garner may also play simply, so we can enjoy his big, powerful sound and the stimulating swing feel of his straight-ahead quartet


Farnell Newton, Toranpetto – Lofijazzsoul
(hip-hop) – [Review]    [Bandcamp]

The “Lofijazzsoul” side of hip-hop, by trumpeter Farnell Newton and composer/producer Toranpetto


Nathalie Darche, Carine Llobet – Pétrole (02/2018)
(classical, modern jazz) – [Pépin et Plume Rec.]

Oil, apart from a major energy issue of the planet, gives a chance for modern compositions for two pianos


Sofia Rubina – Where It Begins
(contemporary r&b/soul/jazz) – Boston   [Bandcamp]

A multi-featured band for Sofia Rubina’s touching voice



Wet Ink Ensemble – Wet Ink 20 (09/2018)
(avant-garde, new music)  – NY   [Bandcamp] 
[Νew Music Usa]   [Review]

The so-called “new music” of the 21st century, is nothing but the mix of contemporary classical music with modern and avant-garde jazz. Promoting this kind of music art, the 28-member Wet Ink Ensemble celebrates its 20th anniversary

Kaho Nakamura – Ainou (11/2018)
(art pop) – Kyoto, Japan     [Review]

Quality pop, with modern aesthetics and Kaho Nakamura‘s fascinating voice

(not available on Spotify)


Benjamin Boone, Philip Levine – The Poetry of Jazz, Vol. 2
(jazz, spoken word)   [Bandcamp]     [About]     [Interview]

A year after the wide approval of a first part, saxophonist and composer Benjamin Boone releases the rest of his collaboration with the renowned, award-winning poet and lifetime jazz fan Philip Levine (1928 – 2015), highlighting the musicality of his spoken word, closely related to the jazz rhythms

Mark Lockheart – Days on Earth
(modern jazz, classical) – London, UK   [Bandcamp]   [AAJ Review]

Experienced saxophonist and composer Mark Lockheart (Loose Tubes, Polar Bear) beautifully combines the sounds of a jazz sextet with those of a 30-member classical orchestra


Athletic Progression – Dark Smoke
(alt. hip-hop) – Denmark  [Review]

Sophisticated Scandinavian jazz hip-hop, by Jonas Cook (Keys), Justo Gambula (b), Jonathan Jull Ludvigsen (dr), featuring vocalist Minna Forouzandeh and rappers Isatta Sheriff, Blacc El


Modern Art Orchestra – Contemporary Music (Dedicated to the Memory of András Mohay and Gábor Varga)
(big band, modern jazz, classical) – Hungary  [MAO Orchestra]

This diverse modern jazz project comes from Hungary, the Bella Bartok’s homeland. It also integrates elements from contemporary classical music, with much knowledge and inspiration. At the moment, there are no other reviews available on the net, so it must be briefly said  that this work is astonishing and it deserves a Grammy nomination!  Endless colors from a band with credits from Dave Liebman and Bob Mintzer, excellent compositions, advanced soli and further more, an 18 minute concert for jazz guitar!

Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Adrian Younge – The Midnight Hour (06/2018)
(contemporary rnb/soul/hip-hop) – Los Angeles [Bandcamp]
[Review-1]  [Review-2]   [Tiny Desk Concert]

Two famous hip-hop composers/producers leading a “fusion-jazz orchestra,” on an album that was considered among the best of its kind for 2018

Orbis Tertius – Changing
(modern jazz)

Orbis Tertius (Third World), apart from a title of a story by Jorge Luis Borges, is also a jazz quartet, with an eccentric saxophone, that blooms out from tradition and does not care for publicity


Raul Gutierrez and His Cuban Big Band – The Big Band – Latin Jazz…
(latin jazz)

Here is an opportunity to dance, listening also to favorite jazz standards, from an impeccable latin big band


Christian Li, Mike Bono – Visitors
(modern jazz, postbop) – Kansas  [Bandcamp]

Quality, pure modern jazz idiom, with compositions by pianist Christian Li and guitarist Mike Bono, featuring  Alex Hargreaves (vl), Dayna Stephens (ts, ss),  Jared Henderson (b),  Lee Fish, Jimmy Macbride (dr) and Chris Marion (strings)


Chris Bullock – Boomtown
(fusion) – NY   [Bandcamp]

Saxophonist Chris Bullock, mostly known as a member of famous Snarky Puppy, on his first album, full of “choppy” fusion beats


Caecilie Norby – Sisters in Jazz
(vocal jazz)

A vivid, female, multinational, mainstream group, with the voice of Scandinavian diva  Caecilie Norby
Featuring Hildegunn Øiseth (tr, NO) – Nicole Johänntgen (sax, CH) – Rita Marcotulli (piano, IT) – Lisa Wulff (b, DE) – Dorota Pietrowska (dr, PL),


Jac Berrocal, David Fenech, Vincent Epplay – Ice Exposure
(ambient jazz/rock, electronic) – London, UK   [Bandcamp]

Noir music and “sound poetry” with analog and digital sounds, spoken word and a trumpet reminding of late Don Cherry


Abel Gonzalez – Bass Of View
(smooth jazz, funk, fusion) – Santiago, República Dominicana

Notes of carelessness and pentatonic optimism, by a bassist who knows how to express himself in several different styles


Elsa Martin, Stefano Battaglia – Sfueâi
(vocal jazz,  folk) – Italy   [AAJ Review]

Beautiful songs with poetry in the dialect from the province of Friuli, by Elsa Martin’s expressive voice, arranged by pianist Stefano Battaglia


Heroes Are Gang Leaders – The Amiri Baraka Sessions
(jazz, vocal, spiritual, spoken word) – ΝΥ  [About]

African-American poetry and jazz by Heroes Are Gang Leaders, the 2018 Winners of the American Book Award for Oral Literature, paying tribute to the highly influential poet/activist/jazz critic Amiri Baraka (1934 – 2014). Saxophonist of the band and co-founder of HAGL is James Brandon Lewis 

Roberto Nieva –  Process
(modern jazz) – Spain

Shining quintet, by the skillful composer and improviser Roberto Nieva, who studied with Branford Marsalis, Miguel Zenón, Loren Stillman, Roman Filiu and Bob Mintzer


Yasmine Kyd  – Showtime (11/2018)
(rnb, neosoul) – Paris  [Bandcamp]

With her deep, spicy, girlish voice and a tasteful blend of acoustic soul-jazz and DJ-beats, Yasmine Kyd, profoundly a Billie’s discipline, is on her fourth album


Stéphane Pelegri – Mikrokosmik, d’après Béla Bartok (10/2018)
(avant-garde jazz) – FR   [Review]

Percussionist, pianist, composer, arranger Stéphane Pelegri and an 11-member ensemble, in a tribute to Bela Bartok, with jazz arrangements and improvisations on excerpts of  “Microkosmos”


Lyre le temps – Clock Master
(electro-swing, hip-hop) – Strasbourg, FR  [Facebook]

Adventurous and buoyant dance-band for the needs of joint parties between swingers and hip-hoppers



Tubby – FunkTub
(jazz-funk, fusion) – India

Pianist and versatile composer Indrajit Sharma (Tubby) originates from a musical family in India. Here he goes deep in the stormy styles of the ’80s



Paul Elwood –  Émissions transparents
(classical, avant-garde, experimental jazz) – Kansas  [Review+booklet]

Acclaimed composer, professor and five-string banjo player Paul Elwood’s work has been inspired to become a sound canvas for philosophical and metaphysical quests. Featuring the Callithumpian Consort of New England Conservatory and other performers

Pierre de Bethmann, Medium Ensemble – Todhe Todhe, Vol. 3
(modern jazz) – FR  [Review]

The award-winning pianist Pierre de Bethmann, together with the elite of French jazz scene, creatively extend the limits and the potentiality of modern jazz, with complex, inventive compositions and improvisational skill. Featuring  Stéphane Guillaume (fl, ts), Sylvain Beuf (as), David El-Malek (ts), Thomas Savy (b-cl_, Sylvain Gontard (tp, flh), Denis Leloup (tb), David Patrois (vib, mar), Simon Tailleu (b), Karl Jannuska (dr)


Anne Paceo – Bright Shadows
(jazz) – FR   [Review]

Talented and distinguished 36 y.o. drummer and composer Anne Paceo grew up with the drum sounds of Ivory Coast, and, after returning for studies in France, she has been active on the European music scene, in collaboration with renown artists, offering strong rhythmic basis in a variety of contemporary styles, such as pop, folk, jazz and electro

Joe Lovano – Trio Tapestry
(modern jazz) – [AAJ review]

A quiet and meditative, as expected by ECM, album with rich harmonic content, in a style, somewhat reminding of the Soul Note era and the collaboration of this famous saxophone stylist, with Paul Motian (‘The Story Of Maryam” was one of my favorite LPs)
Οn these contemporary, abstract, – let’s call them –  “ballads,” and in addition to his gongs collection, Joe Lovano appears here with his personal twelve-tone melodic perception, to start a music conversation with the legendary “free jazz” pianist Marilyn Crispell and the airy, discreet drummer Carmen Castaldi. As the title of the album declares, they weave a “Tapestry” music, for our pleasure, or other proper use

Listen to the playlist below


So, we finish here, adding some more new releases, for everyone who may be interested in :

F/b: Imitonios©
Contact: info@modernjazz.gr