2019 Jazz Releases, Vol. II

Banality is a big foe of jazz. Although it is not easily recognizable by the general audience, it degrades  its artistic value, unless if dexterity predominates, as in classical music, or the rise of emotions, as in pop music. This is certainly a partial perception of the inconceivable Jazz Spirit, which is even capable of making us dance, since  It is an Energy Entity. That’ s why, in any of these cases, we are delighted with the successful efforts of young artists, as they now have the largest share of responsibility.
After all these deep and tiring thoughts,  let’s go for a 75 min break, enjoying 13+1 best tunes of the month!

Find the playlist on music streaming services:


Tracks picked from the following albums: 

Philipp Schiepek – Golem Dance
(post-bop) – DE

Talented and award-winning 24 y.o. guitarist and composer Philipp Schiepek on his first personal album (Enja Rec.) with famous Seamus Blake (ts, ss) on a great day, Henning Sieverts (b), Bastian Jütte (dr)


Swindle – No More Normal
(Jazz, hip-hop, dance, electronic) – UK, London [Bandcamp]
 [Allmusic]  [Reviews list]

A quality production with many guests, highlighting the wide range of London’ s scene styles, by Cameron Palmer (Swindle)


Gregor Lisser Double Quartet – On Eleven
(modern jazz)  – Switzerland  [Mons Rec. press release]

I believe that a real art musician, consciously or unconsciously, can talk about life and his times, through the musical action itself, even without the need of lyrics. For example, in 1959, Ornette Coleman recorded “Lonely Woman,” a “harsh” and dramatic “harmolody” as an acoustic picture of an old lonely woman who inspired him. It is as if the sobbing and the cries of this woman are borne out by Don Cherry’s cornet and the composer’s alto saxophone. They play in blue feel, with no bars, against Billy Higgins’s double time swing and Charlie Haden’s pedal bass, without being limited by any harmonic framework of a polyphonic instrument.
A beautiful and emblematic piece of jazz history that yields the despair and the strength of the lonely woman of that time, who went against the established (rhythm) and, having escaped from the social context (harmony), was now freed. It was the beginning of the free jazz, alongside with the libertarian mood of society.
On “Eleven”, his recent first album and among his other compositions, Swiss drummer and composer Gregor Lisser  presents an inventive revision of “Lonely Woman,” in which, according to my opinion, describes very successfully the modern lonely woman. The group consists of a jazz quartet with trumpet, plus a classic string quartet. With many references to the original, which bear witness to a deep knowledge and inspiration, “Lonely Woman” is defined today into a complex, inevitable harmonic context from the strings (the new pluralistic and unprejudiced social environment), which, at the beginning heralds the coming sadness, but soon after becomes pleasant and rhythmic (the prevalence of positive thinking and action). Jazz rhythm section certifies the groove, until the lonely woman unexpectedly appears, with the theme from trumpet sounding distant, altered and considerate (times have changed and passion tends to disappear). Although, conflict and acceptance come mixed by the rest of the group, preserving a scent from the past. The piano solo comes to reassure us that everything is going well, the beat becomes modern, and the trumpet is carried away and forgets its melancholy. However, the background strings express an underlying concern, culminating to a finale, when they take over the lonely woman’s theme all by themselves, recognizing that the problem is no longer personal, it is also social! (Believe it, if you like!)

Daniel Szabo – Visionary (New Music for Jazz Trio & Chamber Ensemble)
(modern jazz, classical, new music) – [AAJ Review]

Another nice mix of modern jazz with modern classical music, by Hungarian pianist Daniel Szabo’s  trio with Edwin Livingston (b) and Peter Erskine (dr), plus a  ten-member ensemble with Sara Andon (fl), Kim Richmond (as, ss, cl) and Bob Sheppard (ts, fl) in starring roles


Adi Becker –  Babbelou
(contemporary jazz/funk/latin, big band) – [Mons Rec. press release]

Jazz entertainment by trombonist/composer/arranger Adi Becker and the  Köln Grand Central Orchestra, featuring Eric Marienthal (sax), George Whitty (keys), Jemma Endersby (voc)


Jordan Pettay – First Fruit
(contemporary jazz) – [Kickstarter]  [Press Release]

With her sweet and balanced sound, especially on soprano saxophone, young professor Jordan Pettay moves between contemporary jazz and gospel, displaying grace, knowledge and dexterity.
Christian Sands (keys), Luke Sellick (b), Jimmy Macbride (dr) and special guests, Mat Jodrell (tp/flh), Joe McDonough (trb)

Romano Pratesi, Dave Liebman – Sound Desire
(avant-garde jazz) – Italy  [Review]

Tireless, 72 y.o. Dave Liebman, is considered to be today’s unique authority on soprano saxophone. Here is a creative duet with Romano Pratesi on bass clarinet, for the lovers of extremes and contrasts


SEED Ensemble – Driftglass
(new jazz) – UK  [AAJ Review]

London-based alto saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi and a 10-member ensemble innovatively cope with new jazz grooves, lifting up the spirit


Rachelle Garniez – Swimming Pool Blue
(vocal jazz) – ΝΥ

Rachelle Garniez carries an interesting personal story, as well as a voice that she knows how to skillfully “break” it with her short breaths. You feel the need to embrace and comfort her! (A good sound system is a prerequisite to hear these details)

Lo Greco Bros, Fusion Funk Foundation – Too Hot Too Tight 
(smooth jazz, funk, fusion) – Milan, Italy

Brothers Enzo & Gianni Lo Greco (bassist and drummer) is a famous rhythm section from Italy, carrying a 30-year history, marked with great collaborations. This year’s production features Fusion Funk Foundation (Italian also)for an assorted and groovy program, as always.

Ariana Grande – thank u, next
(pop, r&b)

As we can read in her bio, actor and pop star Ariana Grande had served in the musical theater. She had even sung jazz  to the famous Birdland, so it is no wonder that her new hit “7 rings” (227M views so far) is based on our well-known and beloved “My Favorite things” (Here’s the video with the lyrics)

(At this point of the music program, let me cite  the historical Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman”, for which I had previously talked so much about. It is imperative!)

Marc Staggers – Let’s Go out Tonight
(soul, smooth jazz)  [Review]

Something romantic for the end, from an acclaimed voice of contemporary soul, on a likable production. I think it fits well!



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You may want to check some more new albums by renown artists:








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f/b: Imitonios©
email: imitonios@modernjazz.gr