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YouTube | June 2022 SunNeverSetsOnMusic

YouTube | June 2022 SunNeverSetsOnMusic

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Favourites|June2022

Perfume Genius - Ugly Season

Ugly Season

by Perfume Genius

Released 17 June 2022

Matador Records

*****

When Perfume Genius' Mike Hadreas worked with choreographer Kate Wallich on the dance piece The Sun Still Burns Here, it revolutionized his relationship with his body and his music. Listeners got the first indication of how powerful these changes were with 2020's brilliant Set My Heart on Fire Immediately; with Ugly Season, they get even closer to the source of this transformation.

Hadreas' sixth album is largely based on his music for The Sun Still Burns Here, and like all of his work, offers a fascinating dance of vulnerability, strength, and how they intersect.

He's well-equipped to explore the musical and emotional complexities on pieces like "Teeth," which uses cut crystal chromatic percussion, pizzicato strings, soprano saxophone, and his highest falsetto vocals to blur pain and beauty together until they're unrecognizable from each other.

Ugly Season's detailed instrumentation evokes the choreography at the heart of The Sun Still Burns Here: "Herem," which moves from fluttering woodwinds and sinewy upright bass to sacred blasts of organ to an elastic electronic beat and tabla, suggests all the different shapes a mass of bodies can take over its seven-minute sweep, as do the jabbing piano and scrabbling strings of "Scherzo," which reflects Ugly Season at its most challenging. While the album is rooted in the artiest realms of Perfume Genius' music, it's still connected to the subversive pop that made No Shape and Set My Heart on Fire Immediately so compellingly catchy. As its name implies, "Pop Song" boils down that sound to its broadest strokes, yet there's still plenty of power and mystery in its swooning melody and jungly beat. "Eye in the Wall," another of Ugly Season's most immediate tracks, is a taut nighttime seduction with an extended percussive passage that reminds listeners this is dance music in its most literal sense, while "Photograph"'s smoldering pop encompasses the extremes of beauty and rawness that coexist in Perfume Genius' music. Hadreas dives into the deep end of that rawness with "Hellbent," a cathartic blast of synths, guitars, and mechanical beats that rivals Suicide in its electro-punk fury. It's in this discomfort zone that his art thrives: Ugly Season is a powerful statement as both an album and a score for a dance piece, and its intertwining of self-expression and healing is peak Perfume Genius.

Source: AllMusic

Mari Samuelsen - Lys

Lys

by Mari Samuelsen

Released 20 May 2022

Deutesche Grammophon

*****

Mari Samuelsen’s latest Deutsche Grammophon album sees a bold new curation of dynamic and original music dedicated and influenced by life and light. Lys – Norwegian for “Light” – presents music by thirteen female composers, from Hildegard von Bingen to Hildur Guðnadóttir, combining specially commissioned works with new arrangements of existing pieces. The fourteen tracks are woven together to create a meditative, and energising playlist on this life-giving phenomenon. The Norwegian violinist’s eclectic programme moves through light’s infinitely subtle qualities to reveal a musical world of boundless shades of emotion and expression. Lys is set for release on 20 May 2022.
Lys spans a breadth of styles that mirrors Mari’s openness to music from a multitude of genres and her wholehearted advocacy of new work. It embraces everything from a moving arrangement of the Beyoncé hit Halo to music by twelfth-century Benedictine philosopher, mystic and visionary Hildegard of Bingen; from the transcendent stillness of Hania Rani’s La Luce and the melancholy sounds of Hildur Guðnadóttir’s Bær to the laser-like precision of Anna Meredith’s Midi and Laura Masotto’s charming Sol Levante.
The tracklist also includes pieces by other such diverse contemporary classical composers as Lera Auerbach, Meredi, Hannah Peel, Caroline Shaw and Dobrinka Tabakova, as well as music by Mari’s fellow string players Margaret Hermant and Clarice Jensen, whose Love Abounds In Everything is a compelling contemporary complement to Abbess Hildegard’s chant O vis eternitatis.
Mari’s choice of composers grew from a long-list of people, most of them women, she felt would have something interesting to say about light. The finished album’s all-female tracklist, she explains, flowed from her desire to connect individual pieces to an overall soundscape rather than any preordained concept or “manifesto” about female musicians. She reached out to composers she already knew, contacted others for the first time, and worked closely with DG’s New Repertoire team to refine the performance details of each piece. Thanks to conversations with either the composers themselves or their arrangers, she was able to influence the individual tracks and the album’s overall soundscape. There’s a larger picture here that I hope will take listeners on a journey into light and the atmosphere it creates as it shifts and changes.

Source: IndieMidlandsUK

Theo Croker - Love Quantum

Love Quantum

by Theo Croker

Released 24 June 2022

Star People Nation

****-

Towards the beginning of trumpeter Theo Croker's seventh album, 2022's Love Quantum, he makes the bold proclamation: "Long live music, jazz is dead." The edict arrives via the song "JAZZ IS DEAD," a woozy, psychedelic anthem featuring a guest appearance by saxophonist Gary Bartz, a veteran of Miles Davis' 1970s fusion band whose presence helps to underline Croker's broad-minded aesthetic.

"JAZZ IS DEAD" works as a statement of purpose for Love Quantum, an evocation of the genre-defying spirit the trumpeter has increasingly embraced since at least 2016's Escape Velocity.

The grandson of legendary jazz trumpeter Doc Cheatham, Croker (who also studied with Donald Byrd at Oberlin Conservatory) has built an impressive career, balancing a deep grasp of the post-bop jazz tradition with his own atmospheric blend of mystical groove-based jazz, funk, electronica, and hip-hop. It's a sound that reached apotheosis on 2021's Blk2Life/A Future Past, which was less of a jazz album and more of a kaleidoscopic vision of musical Afrofuturism. Love Quantum is the next evolution in that vision as Croker crafts shimmering, dewy soundscapes that straddle the line between spiritual funk, electronic R&B, and space jazz. While Croker's warm, often hushed trumpet sound has long brought to mind the playing of Miles Davis, his approach on Love Quantum also resembles Davis' approach as a bandleader -- knowing when to push himself into the spotlight and when to pull back into the shadows and let his band shine. This is something Croker does throughout Love Quantum, spotlighting longtime collaborators like drummer Kassa Overall, as well as bringing on board a bevy of guest artists to help illuminate his interstellar vibe, including James Tillman on the dreamy, Sade-esque "Royal Conversation" and singer Teedra Moses for the acid jazz-sounding "Love Thyself."

We also get equally potent contributions by Jill Scott, Jamila Woods, and Ego Ella May, the latter of whom brings her sweet, Billie Holiday-meets-Erykah Badu style to Croker's hypnotic ballad "Somethin'."

Also returning from Blk2Life is rapper Wyclef Jean, who taps his own '90s hip-hop jazz history on the kinetic and flowing album closer, "She Bad."

With Love Quantum, Croker continues to push his sound well beyond the confines of jazz traditionalism and embrace the expansive purity of his musical self..

Source: AllMusic

Wallis Bird - Hands

Hands

by Wallis Bird

Released 27 May 2022

Mount Silver Recordings

*****

Wallis Bird’s music has been a staple in the Irish music scene since her first release Spoons in  2007. Her spirited releases have followed those who have been growing in an environment where genres have been mixing and matching such as Saint Sister and Ailbhe Reddy.

Now with Hands, Bird faces into her personal history with empathy and the energy that pushes her into legendary status. 

Bird captures how exciting trusting yourself can be and Hands is all about taking that leap. Her openhearted lyrics and earthy vocals instil a sense of pride, not only of yourself and the tribulations you’ve been through, but as an Irish person, of how far Ireland has come. On ‘What’s Wrong With Changing?’, tribal drums accompany an empowered Bird who looks back on the progressive actions of her home country. 

‘Aquarius’ and ‘Dreamwriting’ float along on childhood memories and fantastical imaginings. The warped echoing guitar and shimmering synths surround the more gentle moments in an ’80s haze. These moments bookend the uplifting chaos as if Róisín Murphy and Kate Bush were playing back to back. 

Ultimately, Hands blends fun with reflection; bombastic melodies with passionate confessions. The closing tracks ‘The Dive’ and ‘Pretty Lies’ lead into a wondrous ending that has birdsong and an electric guitar solo working hand in hand. Pushing you to groove one minute and breathe the next, Wallis Bird has crafted a multifaceted record; one that honours her roots. 

Source: Loud and Quiet

Timberlin - i don't know who needs to hear this...

i don't know who needs to hear this...

by Timberlin

Released 29 April 2022

Saddle Creek

*****

When songwriter Sarah Beth Tomberlin made her full-length debut as Tomberlin with the strikingly intimate and plaintive At Weddings in 2017, she did so with a minimalist color scheme consisting only of acoustic guitar, keyboards, light strings, and the liberal use of haunting echo.

Producer Owen Pallett was her sole collaborator on the album.

Arriving five years later, i don't know who needs to hear this... is somehow - with a couple notable exceptions - more elemental and spacious despite employing a far broader selection of instruments and over a half-dozen contributors, among them producer/engineer Phil Weinrobe (Adrianne Lenker, Kings of Convenience), Cass McCombs, Stuart Bogie, and Múm's Gyða Valtýsdóttir.

Here, every sound makes an impression. The album's orchestral timbral palette is introduced in the opening seconds of "easy," which begins with muted bass drum and hi-hat alongside sustained, straight-toned low notes from what sounds like double bass and bass clarinet in unison. A single reverberating piano note joins in before the singer enters with half-sung, half-spoken lines that alternate with measures of silence over the basal drum rhythm. As the song progresses, it adds quiet, atmospheric electronics, full piano chords, and artful, dissonant piano runs that contribute to the record's occasional classical reference points. "Born Again Runner" and "Tap" consist of more-structured folksong, although "Tap" in particular has ghostly layered vocals, electric guitar, shaker-type percussion, and horns that, in turn, seem to appear out of nowhere and just as quickly dissipate. Elsewhere, saxophone is a recurring presence, winding between piano and strummed acoustic guitar on "collect caller" and providing counterpoint to vocals on the title track. This type of attentive listening is demanded throughout the first two-thirds of idkwntht, before the songwriter delivers two fuzzy rockers, "stoned" and "happy accident," that nonetheless continue to play with texture, including the crashing, metallic drum tones and brassy guitar effects on "stoned." Tomberlin abruptly quiets things down again with the bird-chirping intro to penultimate track "possessed," which sets the stage for a profound, self-referential title track that leaves listeners with advice including "I don't know who needs to hear this/Sometimes it's good to sing your feelings/Especially when you don't know the next line or how it goes." She's joined on that song by Told Slant's Felix Walworth, who echoes her sentiments over gently rocking, campfire-style guitar and spontaneous-sounding one-or-two-finger piano (and saxophone).

Older, wiser, and more ambitious than on her collegiate debut, Tomberlin finds a musical artistry on i don't know who needs to hear this... that rises to the level of her lyrical perceptiveness.

Source: AllMusic

Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler - For All Our Days that Tear the Heart

For All Our Days that Tear the Heart

by Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler

Released 17 June 2022

Universal Music

*****

Is pain the most valuable of all feelings? This is a question that underpins Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler’s collaboration. Both artists have come to this record with singular histories - Buckley as an Oscar-nominated actor, and Butler, formerly of Suede, then a solo star - yet there is a cogent sensibility.

Part of this collaboration is down to Butler’s manager, who introduced the pair, feeling that there might be a sympathy. It is perhaps to be found in the Irish connection, but also a shared love of artists from Nina Simone to Pentangle to Talk Talk.

They have previously spoken of wanting people to discover the record “as if they have tripped across a box of photographs in the back of their closet”, and there is certainly something mysterious and fundamental at work.

The Eagle and the Dove opens with fierce intention, a work that seems to dance on a kind of musical tension, with Buckley’s impressive vocal sweeping and soaring, interrogating darkly lit corners, and Butler’s playing at once complex and understated. The album folds in so many elements — elevated folk, classical, blues and rock — and there are lovely moments everywhere. From the lonely-sounding trumpet and piano melody in For All Our Days That Tear the Heart that frames Buckley’s assertion that “we want to be things we’re not”, it is all orchestral intimacy.

The sea-shanty folk of 20 Years A-Growing (inspired by Maurice O’Sullivan’s 1933 memoir) mirrors the elegant sadness of Shallow the Water, and The beautiful Seven Red Rose Tattoos is built upon a sense of contradiction, where “sunbathing in the rain” is posited as a natural state of affairs.

Contradiction is everywhere, going back to that central question about the value of pain. How do we know if it has been worth it? Babylon Days tries to answer, as Buckley’s supple voice flies optimistically around Butler’s evocative guitar, and the softness of the reedy fiddle on Footnotes on the Map complements its strident male choir.

A bluesy sway adorns We’ve Run the Distance and I Cried Your Tears, and Beautiful Regret shows the range of Buckley’s voice, where she is reminiscent of Karen Carpenter, or on We Haven’t Spoken About the Weather, where perhaps Feist fronts Kings of Convenience.

But the doleful vocal intelligence is all her own.

Catch the Dust is an affectingly wheezing prayer to “catch the dust of a memory from a photograph”, that dust evocative of a time once-lived, that life is a precious, fleeting gift, and even amid pain, still remains compelling.

Source: Irish Times

Father John Misty - Chloe and the Next 20th Century

Chloe and the Next 20th Century

by Father John Misty

Released 27 May 2022

Sub Pop

*****

Father John Misty's combination of caustic wit and staggering talent as both a vocalist and songwriter has resulted in a catalog of varied, consistently strong albums, but he reaches new levels of refinement and grandeur on fifth album Chloë and the Next 20th Century. With earlier output, Misty (aka Josh Tillman) put his bile-dripping storytelling and darkly comical character sketches at the forefront of his songs, using instrumentation as an accessory for his scathing commentary and depraved character sketches. This took the form of epic, sometimes overblown production on 2017's Pure Comedy and stripped-down, vocals-forward rock on 2018's God's Favorite Customer.

Chloë and the Next 20th Century, however, is a softer, more thoughtful reading on FJM's sound, toning down his often ugly observations by letting gorgeous orchestral arrangements and gently beautiful songwriting occupy equal space with his persona.

The Tin Pan Alley instrumentation that starts the album on jaunty opener "Chloë" sets a tone of timelessness, as it draws on the carefree, strolling energy of '70s songwriters like Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson, softening the snark and vitriol of Tillman's typically sharp lyrical content.

"Goodbye Mr. Blue" goes so far as to rework Nilsson's 1968 hit "Everybody's Talkin'," sounding dangerously close to the original, but with lyrics about a couple uncomfortably coming back together over the death of their cat.

"Funny Girl" is similarly ornate, with cinematic touches supporting a lounge-y lope. Tillman explores torch song territory on the sweetly sad "Buddy's Rendezvous" and a bossanova sway on "Olvidado (Otro Momento)." While the arrangements on 2015's I Love You, Honeybear could be similarly grand at times, Father John Misty has never turned in anything as ambitious as the impeccable sonic tailoring of Chloë and the Next 20th Century.

Fans who fell in love with Tillman's sharp social commentary will find plenty to hone in on, but the lush sounds take some of the bite out of his clever barbs and cynical perspectives on love and connection. Even with the strong, considered design of his previous albums, Father John Misty has never sounded so pleasant.

Source: AllMusic

Lucy Roleff, Lehmann B. Smith  - Dark Green

Dark Green

by Lucy Roleff, Lehmann B. Smith

Released 16 June 2022

Youngbloods

*****

'Dark Green' is the collaborative full-length debut from Melbourne-based folk musicians Lucy Roleff and Lehmann B Smith, both well known for their individual work.

As the album statement notes "Lucy is a classically trained musician and painter, whose childhood was immersed in European classical music, storytelling, and folk styles. Her solo work pays homage to these influences and aesthetically runs parallel to her acclaimed still-life paintings, evoking a sense of romanticism and otherworldliness stemming from everyday life.

Lehmann's musical resume spans credits with a number of heralded local indie outfits including Totally Mild, Pikelet, Grand Salvo, Laura Jean, and Kes Band. His discography, spread across twelve full-length LPs, emphasises experimentation on the foundations of rock, folk, and vintage pop music and has made him a sought-after name for local artists and international acts alike, including Bonnie Prince Billy and Sonny & the Sunsets."

'Dark Green' is a timeless folk collection, created during a remote, creative retreat at Skenes Creek on the Grand Ocean Road. Their acoustic arrangements and melodic orchestrations give space to meditations on the past and present. It's a musical exchange between kindred spirits imbued with freedom and possibility.

Source: RRR

JB Dunckel - Carbon

Carbon

by JB Dunckel

Released 24 June 2022

Prototyp Recording

*****

On Carbon, his first album in four years, JB Dunckel suggests that technology might save the world. Born out of the improvisational shows he performed in 2020 just before the COVID-19 global pandemic happened -- and the abundance of studio time he had during lockdowns -- Carbon pairs its heavy subject matter with zero-gravity sounds, resulting in contemplative, largely instrumental tracks with the intricacy of sound paintings. These pieces have more tension and release than 2018's comparatively idyllic H+. Alternating between pulsing electronics and soaring riffs, "Corporate Sunset" captures the volatility of late-stage capitalism. "Zombie Park," one of the few tracks with vocals, muses on a park near Dunckel's residence where the homeless congregate with a mournful beauty that recalls The Virgin Suicides. Not long before making Carbon, Dunckel reaffirmed his chops as a composer with his César Award-nominated score for the film Summer of 85, and pieces such as the stately finale "Natura Principia Musica" exemplify the blend of precision and emotion within all of his work with a filmic flair. As on H+, Carbon harks back to Air's work more frequently than the projects Dunckel pursued immediately after the iconic duo called it quits in 2012. Echoing Talkie Walkie's soothing blend of chromatic percussion and electronics, the Zen clarity of "Cristal Mind" provides a breather from the album's darker moments. Carbon's fusion of technology and sensuality also continues the legacy of Dunckel's work with Air, whether he ponders a sexual revolution sparked by an alien invasion on "Sex UFO" (perhaps the most apt description of what his music sounds like yet) or drafts Au Revoir Simone's Heather D'Angelo to imbue "Space"'s existential meditations with haunting grace. The closest Carbon comes to a call to action is "Dare," a piece of eerie sci-fi pop where robotic vocals enumerate humanity's failings, then implore listeners to "Dare to be more/hope for the better." More often, Dunckel reminds his audience of how beautiful progress and possibilities can be, as on the gleaming opening track "Spark." A timely reflection of its era that is also resolutely true to Dunckel's body of work, Carbon serves as a reminder that there's more to his music than aesthetics.

Source: AllMusic

Jim Copperthwaite, Jono Buchanan - Stories In Motion

Stories In Motion

by Jim Copperthwaite, Jono Buchanan

Released 19 November 2021

Audio Network

****-

Created by veteran producer / remixer Jono Buchanan and multi-award-winning composer Jim Copperthwaite, this spellbinding set brings together gently propulsive electronics, crystalline piano, warm synth pulses and uplifting strings.

Copperthwaite is a multi-award winning composer and multi-instrumentalist working across genres from feature docs like Steve McQueen:The Man and Le Mans (Cannes Classics), Finding Jack Charlton (BBC Films) and the BAFTA-nominated The Fight of Their Lives (ITV) to global ad campaigns for brands including Carlsberg, Nike, Artois, Hyundai, Range Rover, Arla and EE. Equally at home with orchestras as he is with his array of tech and vintage synths, Jim seeks to make music that connects to narrative with subtlety, beauty and emotion. After several years touring the world as drummer, bassist player and keyboard player of the band 'Aqualung', he now works from a converted barn on his Somerset smallholding where his passions for music, food, livestock and sustainability have space to flourish.

Jonathan Buchanan cut his teeth as a writer/producer for Almighty Records in London, where he worked with artists such as Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, LeAnn Rimes, and the Pet Shop Boys. He is a classically trained violinist and pianist who is equally at home writing for orchestra as he is programming synths.

His music features in countless TV shows, documentaries and commercials across multiple territories and his credits include 60 Days In: Narcoland (A+E), Whitney Houston & Bobbi Kristina: Didn’t We Almost Have It All (Lifetime), Sports Life Stories (ITV), Euro 2016 Official FIFA Documentary (Noah Media Group) The Bird Catcher (Ross Clarke) and many more.

Source: Audio Network and West One Music

Bugge Wesseltoft - be am

be am

by Bugge Wesseltoft

Released 25 February 2022

Jazzland Recordings

*****

In a 2008 interview, Bugge Wesseltoft spoke of his despair at seeing civilians suffer throughout history, unable to protect their families and children from wars. He also noted that watching such events unfold from the safety of his Norwegian homeland was painful. Wesseltoft had recently released his superb album IM (Jazzland Recordings, 2007) which found him on reflective form at the piano.

Come the pandemic of 2020, Wesseltoft was caught in a similar climate of fear to those with whom he had expressed sympathy. Having to safeguard his loved ones at all costs was a situation he dreaded most. Not surprisingly, the music he now offers from this period echoes the quietly intense sounds of IM, where a sense of cultural trauma and healing flows throughout. Even the album's title Be Am expresses the need for spiritual courage amid a context of anxiety. Indeed, the twelve sketches presented here remind us of music's pivotal role as a mental tonic.
Raised in Skien, south-west of Oslo, Wesseltoft is the founder of Jazzland, and a composer to speak of in the same breath as Keith JarrettEspen Eriksen or Abdullah Ibrahim. His various group projects include the stellar trio Rymden whose album Space Sailors (Jazzland, 2020) was an absolute cosmic belter. But the contrast here is stark, as Wesseltoft dials down the sonic booms, so each piece bears its own emotional weight. 
One could mistake these moody melancholy ballads for saying something sorrowful. More likely, Wesseltoft is posting them as an act of creative ecstasy, of the overwhelming joy he takes in survival. It might be partly an elegy, but Be Am is an album made from benevolent rays of hope.

Source: All About Jazz

Vincent Peirani, Frederico Casagrande, Ziv Ravitz - Jokers

Jokers

by Vincent Peirani, Frederico Casagrande, Ziv Ravitz

Released 25 March 2022

ACT MUsic + Vision

*****

In the early 1970s, jazz and rock intersected, and fusion was spawned. In the new millennium, fusion and progressive rock are sometimes bopping down the same road. Music can easily get slotted into one category or another, and of consequence can just as easily be missed. Vincent Peirani's dynamic new recording Jokers, is a fine example of that quandary. Peirani has several records to his credit. Here he plays Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson on accordion. Yes, you read that correctly. Throughout the record he also plays clarinet, keys, accordion, music box, glockenspiel, and more. Indeed, Jokers is a monstrously clever collection of music. Along with guitarist Federico Casagrande and drummer Ziv Ravitz, Peirani takes a deep dive into expressionism, melodies, unbridled instrumental ranges and bursts, and unorthodox approaches. It's the type of record that might inspire a "I've never heard anything like that ever before" reaction
Jokers is a powerful statement from an artist known for risk taking. There is never a dull moment. The bond between these three musicians strengthens as the journey unfolds and forms. Peinani issues an invitation to step outside the norm, the usual, the mundane, and open your mind to a vivid, new and unexpected experience.

Source: All About Jazz

Abdullah Ibrahim - Solotude

Solotude

by Abdullah Ibrahim

Released 25 November 2021

Gearbox Records

****-

Abdullah Ibrahim once told a seminar at his M7 Academy in Cape Town, "The devil lives on the stage. This is where the ego comes out." On the strength of Solotude, recorded live on his eighty-sixth birthday, Ibrahim has crushed such personal demons and now lets angels guide his performing. One takes his point though, given that even the most spiritual music needs some sense of conceit to create and promote it. But this is an artist with nothing left to prove or justify, having laid down musical markers since emerging on record as Dollar Brand in 1968.
Solotude is neatly titled, with its aching sense of seclusion and repose. The record was made at Hirzinger Hall in east Germany, during the 2020 lockdown, with no audience beyond a technical crew. If anything, this format works better as each piece is left framed by brief silence rather than applause. The only background noise is actually supplied by Ibrahim with his occasional grunts and gasps of concentrated pleasure. Just possibly they could be groans of annoyance at a fluffed note, inaudible to any but himself. But more probably Ibrahim was captivated in the moment at his piano, just as the listeners are left enrapt.
The opening cut, "Mindif," is one of several which he revisits from a stellar career. Shorn of its previous orchestration, the track's blend of mystic light and golden silence sets a tone; also the album's most spectral cut, it echoes some of Espen Eriksen's noirish turns. "Trieste My Love," reworked from Dream Time (Enja Records, 2019) conveys a sweet sense of longing, while the playful rolls and jabs of "Nisa" are distinct from the brassy rendering on The Balance (Gearbox Records, 2019).
More geeky fun can be had with hearing "District 6" retain its funky swagger from the vibrant African Magic album (Enja Records, 2002). Elsewhere, a stark version of "Sotho Blue" supremely mimics the original's haunting sax and flute parts. Trying to unravel Ibrahim's sonic secrets is probably futile, though his fingertip sensitivity and use of sustain are evident on the romantic contemplations of "Blue Bolero" and "Once Upon A Midnight." Further, several short fragments, such as "Peace," "Blues For A Hip King" and "Tokai," echo a philosophical quality found in Franz Liszt's more intimate works.
Ibrahim presents one of his most enduring songs, "The Wedding," near the end like an encore. New numbers include the rhapsodic "In-Tempo" with its ripples of trilling birdsong, plus the closing cut, "Signal On The Hill," which brings a final note of serenity.
The meditative strength of this outing is born of one who recognises martial arts, medicine and movement as key elements. Ibrahim offers his symphonic poems to us here with quiet reverence. Who could refuse such a gift?

Source: All About Jazz

Charles Lloyd, Bill Frisell,  Thomas Morgan - Trios Chapel (Live)

Trios: Chapel (Live)

by Charles Lloyd, Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan

Released 24 June 2021

Blue Note

*****

Charles Lloyd has long been a free spirit, master musician, and visionary. For more than six decades the legendary saxophonist and composer has loomed large over the music world, and at 84 years old he remains both at the height of his powers and as prolific as ever. Early on Lloyd saw how placing the improvised solo in interesting and original contexts could provoke greater freedom of expression and inspire creativity. And while he has recorded many classics of jazz in a piano, bass, and drums combination — the latest Passin’ Thru from 2017 — all the while he has been open to, and has searched for, alternative ways to frame his improvisational skills.

This has formed a fascinating counterpoint to his work with his quartet; a few examples might include his early days in Memphis when he regularly jammed with pedal steel guitarist Al Vescovo. Later, during his period as music director for the Chico Hamilton Quintet he used flute (and tenor), trombone, guitar, bass, and drums. More recently there has been an album in duet with drummer Billy Higgins, while the configuration of one of his current groups, The Marvels, has both guitar and pedal steel guitar with bass and drums.

As a sound seeker, Lloyd’s restless creativity has perhaps found no greater manifestation than on his latest masterwork, an expansive project that encompasses three individual albums that are connected by an overarching theme with each presenting him in a different trio setting—a Trio of Trios. The first, Trios: Chapel, features Lloyd with guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan. The second, Trios: Ocean, with guitarist Anthony Wilson and pianist Gerald Clayton. The third, Trios: Sacred Thread, with guitarist Julian Lage and percussionist Zakir Hussain.

It should come as no surprise that each of the configurations that feature in the Trio of Trios set involve a deft change of musical context. Borrowing author Antonio Di Benedetto’s apposite term, these trios of expectation open with the Chapel Trio, named after its inaugural performance in December, 2018, at Coates Chapel in San Antonio.

Frisell had already cemented his relationship with Lloyd as a charter member of The Marvels when he was invited by Lloyd to join him in a special concert at Coates Chapel on the Southwest School of Arts campus in San Antonio. Lloyd was already familiar with the acoustic properties of the chapel, and knew it would not support drums or percussion. He was also aware that Frisell had recorded in a duo context with Morgan, with whom he had developed a close musical rapport, and suggested they might all come together as a trio.

Recorded live, for a while it seemed as if the Coates concert would become maiden voyage and farewell tour all in one. The global pandemic brought the world to a standstill for the best part of two years, but in December 2021 the trio were reunited for a concert at the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin, suggesting they may continue to sprinkle their magic into the future. Even so, the Coates concert left an indelible impression on Lloyd,

Source: Blue Note

Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Gonzalo Rubalcaba -  Skyline

Skyline

by Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Released 17 November 2021

Passion Records

*****

Substantial yet serene, sophisticated yet soothing, Skyline oozes with the earthiness of New York City. Here, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, and Gonzalo Rubalcaba merged their broad skills into an assemblage of erudite conversations, each package wrapped with beauty and delicate care.

Of the many common threads heard in this collection, none could be more precious than time. Yes, of course, the trio had a wealth of rich pockets, but the reference is made to time of another nature. They were in no rush. They let the music develop at its own pace. Good things come to those who wait. In the case of Skyline, that would be great things.
Befitting a long overdue reunion, the trio chose to play with old friends. Familiar tunes were reimagined and reenergized with the clearly abundant joy of playing together. A snareless DeJohnette created the necessary Afro-Cuban bolero feel for the timeless standard "Lagrimas Negras." Rubalcaba crescendoed softly and again vigorously, while Carter deftly raised the conversational bar. Carter then reached into his hip-pocket for "Gypsy." A tune first recorded some forty years ago with Chick Corea and DeJohnette, had a luster to it, a shiny new coat. Carter's walking bass allowed Rubalcaba to freely move about. Articulating every note, Rubalcaba again took his time, and explored the boundaries of Carter's stellar composition. It was time for DeJohnette to look into his treasure trove. Out came "Silver Hollow." Well sequenced, Rubalcaba was now able to move deeply in turnabout. The mesmerizing tune heightened his emotional scale, eliciting a heartfelt dive, anchored by Carter's steady, sturdy core. Years before, Rubalcaba wrote a piece dedicated to Carter. There was an entirely different vibe this time around with Carter actually playing on "Promenade." The circumstances and the depth of composition coupled to keep the sentiment and warmth of the recording session intact.
After a return to the Afro-Cuban sound of "Novia Mia," the trio transitioned to "A Quiet Place." This vintage Carter work of art was given a makeover. Its appeal, however, was mostly steeped in the grace of connectivity. The trio had reached a zenith of collective happiness and ease of conversation. In 1984, DeJohnette had honored Ahmad Jamal in song with his composition, "Ahmad the Terrible." Rubalcaba had both the pleasure and the challenge of adding his own voice, while capturing a screen shot of Jamal. With DeJohnette's groovy patterns and flair to play off, Rubalcaba moved brightly and boldly, succeeding on both counts. While Carter, forever the centerpiece, the rock, the engaging conversationalist, propelled the vocabulary. After the recording session was finished, or so they thought, the trio stayed in the studio and continued to play. They weren't recording anymore, just having fun noodling around together. Well, perhaps accidentally on purpose, it was still recording. It turned out to be the final track. "RonJackRuba" is the epitome of improvisation. Completely off the cuff, just messing with some grooves. It resulted in a cool fly-on-the-wall moment to be shared by all.
Skyline is a breath of fresh air, the very definition of jazz. Three cool cats chilling out and digging on each other. Skyline is a Grammy-worthy project.

Source: All About Jazz

Luke Howard - All Of Life

All Of Us

by Luke Howard

Released 29 April 2022

Mercury

****-

Luke Howard’s All of Us, an eerily beautiful atmospheric record, reveals the disorientation of reading Albert Camus’s The Plague after 2020. Howard’s sonic compositions become a musical language through which he responds to the calamities and destruction of the contemporary world - not reflecting or mirroring them, but speaking to them and illuminating the aural sensations they produce.

There are moments in All of Us where it’s clear that Howard has scored music for films, with sweeping orchestral crescendos that could be used to mark visual denouements in works of combat cinema (for example, in the fourth track An Hour Off For Friendship). Yet largely, the tracks are bound by their collective sense of unease and our shared sense of precarity.

Camus’s The Plague [La Peste] was the inspiration for All of Us during Howard’s experience of lockdown in Melbourne, Australia. Each of the track titles are pulled from Stuart Gilbert’s English translation from the original French, as is the title of the record itself.

While we certainly can understand how The Plague was on Howard’s mind as he put together these stark compositions, I’d like to propose that his music is doing something more complex than simply drawing inspiration from the novel. The album as a whole grapples with the strange disorientation of reading The Plague - an allegory, even a parable of sorts - during a pandemic in which the content of the conceit has become reality.
 
All of Us offers listeners a preternatural means of engaging with both the concreteness and allegorical nature of The Plague, and the desolation of pandemic and wartime exile. And outside its sociopolitical tethering, the record is made up of music that’s gorgeous in its ability to unsettle. Collectively the compositions create a beautifully bewildering atmosphere in which sonic apprehension delivers the possibility of peace.

Source: Louder Than War

Flock - Flock

Flock

by Flock

Strut Records

****-

Flock is a brand new collaboration between five leading musicians from London's open-minded jazz and experimental scenes:

Bex Burch (Vula Viel), Sarathy Korwar, Dan “Danalogue” Leavers (Soccer96, The Comet Is Coming), Al MacSween (Maisha) and Tamar Osborn (Collocutor).

Gathering together at The Fish Factory in London Summer 2020, the approach was to try something fresh. “I wrote texts as scores for the session and the emphasis was on breathing and listening to each other,” explains Bex Burch. “Improvisation is composition in itself,” continues Burch, “so although the music was freely improvised, we sometimes chose to stay on form and rhythm, repeating melodies and groove.

As Dan commented on the day, we ‘murmurated’.

The expansive 13-minute piece ‘How Many Are One’ on the album is the perfect example, a collective following and leading as the music developed.”

Other tracks include the pulsing, searching opener ‘Expand’, the taught soundscape ‘Prepare To Let Go’ and the frenetic, urgent ‘Bold Dream’.

At times widescreen and cinematic and at others more tense and claustrophobic, each Flock piece explores its own colour and mood.

“Some of the band had actually never met in person before the session. We played virtually together for the Boiler Room. So every moment in this process has been a new journey into the unknown. It goes to show that we were never in control even when we thought we were, and yet we made it. Everyone came, breathed and brought openness of heart, ears, lungs and wings.” 

Source: Bandcamp

Levitation Orchestra - Illusions & Realities

Illusions &Realities

by Levitation Orchestra

Gearbox Records

*****

"Many In Body, One In Mind" - so reads the the final track title from Levitation Orchestra's forthcoming record Illusions & Realities. It's a statement that embodies both the album and the prime philosophy behind London's foremost powerhouse collective. 

Levitation Orchestra presents one of the most adventurous albums to bless our ears in 2021, bringing together multiple inspirations ranging across spiritual jazz, classical, electronica, soul, spoken word, M-Base, and no-holds-barred free improvisation. With trumpeter Axel Kaner-Lidstrom (Cykada, Gary Bartz) as musical director, the collective comprises some of London's most promising young musicians, who together play in or with the likes of Alabaster de Plume, Shunaji, Nihilism, PÆN, and Nardedey. Lluis Domenech Plana on flute, James Akers on tenor saxophone, and Ayodeji Ijishakin on tenor saxophone complete the horn section, with Saskia Horton on violin, Beatriz Rola on violin, and Emma Barnaby on cello making up the strings. Rhythm is available in handfuls from Hamish Nockles-Moore on double bass and Harry Ling on drums, Maria Osuchowska on harp, and Paris Charles on guitar, with last but not least, Plumm and Dilara Aydin-Corbett on vocals.
As a true collective, each member is vital, contributing equally to the whole in terms of playing and writing. Compositions formed out of group discussions, which in the case of Illusions & Realities, delved into childhood, stoicism, astrophysical theories, and neurological delusions, all interweaving and circling the point where truth and reality enter the realm of illusion. The result is a record which manages to channels the energy of Sun Ra's Arkestra, the spiritual ambience of Alice Coltrane, and the harmonic subtleties of Debussy, whilst ultimately producing something tantalisingly original.

Source: Bandcamp

Avishai Cohen Trio - Aisihai Cohen, Elchin Shirinov, Roni Kaspi - Shifting Sands

Shifting Sands

by Avishai Cohen Trio

naive

****-

Since his emergence in Chick Corea’s trio in 1997, the Israeli-born double bassist Avishai Cohen has become a global star for his bass sound that joins cello-like purity to percussive drama, and for original compositions embracing American jazz, Latin music, Sephardic-Jewish folk song, avant-funk, orchestral works, even pop-tinged vocals.

Cohen’s 2021 album Two Roses was a sympathetic jazz/classical collaboration with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, while 2019’s Arvoles was the opposite: an elegant chamber-musical expansion of the intimacies of a jazz piano trio. But Shifting Sands is something exhilaratingly different – starker, simpler, coming straight from the leader’s palpable delight in jamming with energetic kindred spirits after the isolations of the pandemic.

The pianist is Elchin Shirinov, the thoughtful but forceful Azerbaijani musician who played on both Two Roses and Arvoles, and the wild card is Roni Kaspi, the rising 21-year-old Israeli drumming sensation. Cohen’s characteristically songlike themes abound: Intertwined’s churning eight-note piano hook beneath the folksy bass-led melody is badgered by Kaspi’s snappy, cross-grooving interjections; or in the brightly dancing The Window, Shirinov’s upturning elisions on resolving figures sound like the phrasing of a singer. The hymnal Dvash develops on an elegant piano/bass counterpoint (fitfully recalling the legendary Modern Jazz Quartet’s classic dialogues) but irrepressibly disrupted by Kaspi’s asymmetrical patterns, while the unison bowed-bass-and-piano whirl of Joy is a vehicle for her ferociously flat-out solo thrash against the quickly arriving hook. Cohen’s vivacious bass improv and Shirinov’s contrastingly imperturbable lyricism glow through this fine set – and if the new tunes add few surprises to the leader’s signature songbook, the playing is incandescent.

Source: The Guardian

Hania Rani, Dobrawa Czocher  - Inner Symphonies

Inner Symphonies

by Hania Rani, Dobrawa Czocher

Released 15 October 2021

Deutsche Grammophon

****-

Hania Rani and Dobrawa Czocher are the youngest female composer duo signed to Deutsche Grammophon. They began making music together in their early teens, discovering an instinctive artistic connection with one another. Both are now successful musicians in their own right, but that special bond remains unchanged. “There’s a lot of sisterhood between us,” explains Rani. Czocher agrees, adding, “When you’re siblings, you can be honest. We trust each other.”
That sense of mutual trust and understanding has inspired their debut DG album. Written by composer-pianist-singer Hania and composer-cellist Dobrawa, and recorded by them in their native Poland, Inner Symphonies is their first full album of original works.
The central element of Inner Symphonies is hope. During lockdown Hania and Dobrawa were able to encourage each other both as friends and as musical collaborators when they began composing this distinctive set of pieces. 
Their love of the natural world is reflected on the album, together with the themes of friendship and hope. Its contrasting tracks work together in light and shade to construct a unique, introspective sound-world, from the slow, mysterious beauty of “Whale’s Song” to the headlong movement of “Con Moto”, whose restless energy is heightened by the gentle melody that emerges amid endlessly rushing notes on piano and cello.
“Here inner means something little, private, intimate, while the symphonic means something huge,” observes Hania. “It’s a new adventure for us.”

Source: Deutsche Grammophon

Esoen Eriksoon Trio - In the Mountains

In the Mountains

by Esoen Eriksoon Trio

Released 29 April 2022

Rune Grammofon

*****

Espen Eriksen Trio was formed in 2007 and has released five critically acclaimed records.
The music relies on highly melodic and lyrical instrumentals and a “less is more” approach and the trio is often credited for its unique voice within today’s jazz scene.
In 2016 the trio started their ongoing collaboration with Andy Sheppard.

After five successful studio albums in 12 years, "In The Mountains" is the ensemble's first live album, by popular demand we should add.

A very popular international concert attraction on several continents, the trio have constantly been asked when they will release a concert recording. And here it finally is, an hour's worth of melodic, melancholy magic. Five of the seven tracks were recorded live in concert at Oslo´s Nasjonal Jazzscene in 2018 and 2020, one at a special one-off intimate concert at Propeller Music Division in Oslo in 2020 and one in Poznan, Poland, in 2021.
Six of the seven tracks are extended versions of Eriksen originals from four of the studio albums, adding instrumental vividness as well as dramatic and moving elements to the event. The seventh is a splendid cover of Krzysztof Komeda´s iconic Rosemary´s Baby. Andy Sheppard is guesting on three of the tracks, and another welcome twist is that only one of these are from the “Perfectly Unhappy” album he did with the trio, while the version of the title track from that album is featured here without Andy Sheppard.
 

Source: Bandcamp

Velvet Bloom - Glimmer (EP)

Glimmer (EP)

by Velvet Bloom

Released 8 April 2022

Cousin Will Records

*****

Ever since I first heard the music of Velvet Bloom, which would have been not long after the world went into lockdown due to Covid-19, I’ve been enchanted by the voice of Maddy Herbert. Beautiful, lush, smooth and, dare I say it, velvety, Herbert’s vocal has the ability to both comfort me but also send shivers down my spine with how stunning I find it.

Music touches us all in different ways and for me Velvet Bloom is an act that I like to relax to, close my eyes, and think of the good things in my life. Events, memories, loved ones, the songs wrap me in cotton wool and offer a protection against the ills of the world. And sadly there are far too many of those.

Earlier this month Velvet Bloom released their EP ‘Glimmer’, and as the title suggests it’s a shimmering collection of beauty from the Melbourne-based quintet. From opening track ‘Chance To Miss You’ to closer ‘Free’, it’s 15 minutes of soothing elegance.

‘Chance To Miss You’ has a delicate melancholy to it alongside a soulful 80’s-esque chorus. Big Taja Sevelle vibes on this one. Title track ‘Glimmer’ is possibly the most melodic song on the EP. It has a drop that is heartachingly beautiful. It’s easy to see why it is the title track.

After a short but charming 53 seconds interlude we are on to the last two tracks of the record. ‘Run’ might just be my personal favourite. This is the ‘slow dance’ song on the EP. Truly beautiful it will get inside you and grab you by the heart strings. The lead guitar on this one is exquisite. Herbert’s voice soars to new heights towards the finale of the song. Simply gorgeous.

‘Free’ is the final track. It has a slow build before it all starts to come together after around a minute. It’s probably the most modern sounding song on the EP. You could even say it begins to rock out towards the end of the song before coming to a quick unexpected ending. It all serves to leave you wanting more.

For me this EP is simply flawless. I don’t normally do ratings but ‘Glimmer’ is definitely a 10 out of 10.

Source: IndieMidlandsUK

Miiesha - Smoke & Mirrors

Smoke & Mirrors

by Miiesha

Released 3 June 2022

Miiesha Young

*****

'Smoke & Mirrors', the second album from rising artist Miiesha, from the Aboriginal community of Woorabinda, Queensland, follows her award-winning debut 'Nyaaringu' released in 2020.

The new album includes songs from her 5-track November 2021 EP 'Smoke',  which included the Nima-winning single 'Damaged', the funky Queensland Music award-winning 'Made for Silence' and the sublime 'Price I Paid' - songs that wrestle with love and forgiveness amid a “broken” mother-daughter relationship.

“Smoke & Mirrors' represents two chapters of my life and the growth between those chapters,” Miiesha explains. “I don’t feel so much hate or resentment because I understand where my pain is coming from.

The 'Mirrors’ half of the album opens with 'Everything', which Miiesha describes as a “fight song” with a singular message: “Just don’t give up.” In Everything, she sings: “My mind floods like / I’ve been drowning this whole time / Too late to learn to swim.” Miiesha hopes to use her platform to “open doors” for other young artists in Woorabinda, a community she says is brimming with creativity.

“I never wanted the spotlight because I didn’t want to have to be brave; I didn’t want to have to be strong,” she says. “I thought I was the worst person to be a role model. And now I’ve come to accept that this is who I am, this is what I’ve been given, and I have to bring these people up because I think it’s so important. I saw the bigger picture, you know?”

Source: The Guardian

Kiefer - When There's Love Around

When There's Love Around

by Kiefer

Released 27 August 2021

Stones Throw Records

****-

It’s no doubt a cliché but it seems generally true that music from the west coast of America, and in particular west coast jazz, emphasises the optimistic, the redemptive and the transformational. And this is certainly true of the latest album by Kiefer (Kiefer Shackelford), a keyboard player from Los Angeles whose jazz influences quite evidently include Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock.
The album is named after the title track, When There’s Love Around – a tune by The Crusaders, which in many ways is a reference point for Kiefer’s music. Like The Crusaders, Kiefer’s music is led from the keyboards and occupies a pleasing and harmonious place between jazz, pop and soul. And the sentiment that there is love around is echoed by the positive vibes given off on each and every track.
To even be on Stones Throw Records is an achievement for Kiefer, with labelmates being some of the most progressive and innovative music artists from Los Angeles including such giants of hip hop as J
Dilla, Madlib and MF Doom. Although Kiefer has worked on the margins of hip hop and electronic music with musicians such as Anderson .Paak and Kaytranada, this is a mostly self-composed instrumental jazz album that acknowledges contemporary currents in Black American music rather
than being overwhelmed by them.

This is an album of two halves, well suited to the vinyl format. The first half of the album features generally joyful but restrained songs that reveal Kiefer’s insecurities growing up as a mixed-race child, hence such titles as i remember this picture, crybaby and curly and an album cover that features two
young children. The second part is mostly a tribute to Kiefer’s late grandmother, whose loss is keenly felt, and has a more sorrowful and reflective feel. The final and most buoyant track, i love my friends, is a celebration of friendship. There seems to be more of a tradition among African American musicians, including jazz artists such as Horace Silver, of openly expressing through music the emotional or even spiritual connections to family and friends. This may well be something to celebrate in a time
when we are all encouraged to be more open about our innermost feelings. Kiefer has gathered around him some of the best jazz musicians from the west coast including Will Logan and DJ Harrison on drums and Andy McCauley on electric bass and guitar. The album was recorded in three sets of sessions in 2020 at Jazzy Jeff’s invitation in his studio, and many songs were recorded in only one or two takes, to ensure that the final result retains its freshness and intimacy. This is an album unafraid to display emotion
and sentiment and will appeal to those who appreciate music that is deceptively easy on the ear but rewards close listening

Source: London Jazz News

Ibibio Sound Machine - Electricity

Electricity

by Ibibio Sound Machine

Released 25 March 2022

Merge Records

*****

Fronted by Nigerian singer Eno Williams, London-based Ibibio Sound Machine is a clash of African and electronic elements inspired in equal measure by the golden era of West-African funk & disco and modern post-punk & electro.

The band’s self-titled debut album was released in 2014 on Soundway Records. The follow-up, ‘Uyai’, was released in 2017 and 'Doko Mien' in 2019, on Merge Records.

Ibibio Sound Machine is Eno Williams (vocals), Alfred Kari Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Jose Joyette (drums), Derrick McIntyre (bass), Tony Hayden (trombone, synth), Scott Baylis (trumpet, synth), and Max Grunhard (saxophone, synth).

Their fourth album, Electricity, as you would expect, marvellously fuses Afro with soul, funk, disco and electro-pop in a collection that never stands still.

There can be few bands who can flit so seamlessly and naturally between genres as Ibibio Sound Machine. Fusing Afro with soul, funk, disco and electro-pop, they make each album sounds like a compendium of work from at least half a dozen other artists. And yet, they don’t; somehow a distinctive smack of Ibibio Sound Machine is retained. Like a stick of seaside rock, their mark runs throughout. It’s a pretty neat trick.

Electricity, the London-based band’s fourth album to date, follows the trend set by its predecessors; continuing to enthral with its sheer energetic diversity. So, in some respects, more of the same. Yet, bigger; bolder; more accomplished. This is indubitably the work of a band on an upward trajectory.

Of course, sheer experience will account for that progression, but another factor must be the recruitment of those wizards of synth-pop, Hot Chip, on production duties. Having shared many festival bills down the years, the two bands had developed something of a mutual admiration for each other, so much so that Ibibio Sound Machine took the leap of appointing an ‘outsider’ to man the desk for the first time. Boy, has it paid off.

The world has become a more sinister place in the past two years and it is inevitable that macro-economic events will influence the output of artists. Notwithstanding that, Electricity does not feel like a dark album. Certainly, not musically. Rather, it feels uplifting and energising, as though it is drawing on a reservoir of positivity and optimism. It certainly made me feel good.

Source: AllMusic

Jimella Rose - The Gift: Around the Way Queen

The Gift: Around the Way Queen

by Jimetta Rose

Released 28 February 2022

Low Key Resources / Street Corner Music

*****

Jimetta Rose is an artist from Los Angeles who has been putting out music for fifteen years. Her last album, The Light Bearer, came out in 2016. She is now back with a project that began in 2014, The Gift – Around The Way Queen.

The roots of the project technically go back even further than 2014, because Jimetta Rose and DJ House Shoes actually first met when they teamed up to make the track “Castles” on House Shoes’ 2012 album, Let It Go. House Shoes then sought to launch his own label, Street Corner Music, with a series of ten beat tapes from lesser known producers, which was titled The Gift. Having really liked working with Rose, House Shoes then came up with the idea that she could pick a beat from each volume and write and record to it. They soon got to work, with Rose selecting the beats that spoke to her, and she began recording her vocals in Tenacity’s apartment in Glendale. Everything was going great until it came time to mix and master the album, when they realized that a lot of these beats were dusty, lo-fi beats made by up-and-coming producers who recorded to two-track WAVs or directly to mp3 and didn’t have stems. This sent the project into limbo for some time as it got passed around from engineer to engineer, who all shrugged and said they couldn’t get it where it needed to be. Finally, House Shoes reached out to a friend back in Detroit – Mags, the in-house engineer for The Disc in Eastpointe. He had dealt with similar projects before, and before they knew it, the project had finally been resuscitated and is now out for the world to hear.

For this project, Jimetta Rose is working with beats from Nameless, Dert Beats, Ext Tuamie, T-White, Cream Of Beats, Shoes, Raj Mahal, Denmark Vessey, Drugs Beats, Joseph Leimberg and I-Ced. Yes, the beats might have been a little dusty, but because these beats are also clever, inventive, and soulful, that becomes part of their charm.

At times, she brings out a bad bitch like Betty Davis, with a nice growl to her voice, and other times she can get more avantgarde and reach back to Minnie Riperton or Roberta Flack with her arrangements. There are also a few key moments when she can let it all hang out and belt some soul, such as on “Splatter.” Whatever it is, you can be sure that Rose is keeping it interesting, soulful, and giving a hundred percent of herself to the music.

It might have taken a long time to get here, but The Gift – Around The Way Queen was well worth the wait.

Jimetta Rose is a unique talent, and she takes each of these beats to new and interesting places that will move your soul.

Source: ScratchedVinyl

Reality - Disco Party

Disco Party

by Reality

Released 13 May 2022

Jazzman Records

*****

At Jazzman have already given legitimate release to albums that fell foul of the notorious '70s 'tax scam' practice, namely those by Sounds of the City Experience and Ricardo Marrero. It now gives us great satisfaction to present Reality's 'Disco Party' album, for the very first time in agreement with the surviving members of the band. Possibly the most obscure of all the obscurities in the TSG catalogue, 'Disco Party' isn't actually 'disco' at all, moreover it's a fully rounded excursion into mid-70s dancefloor funk and proto-disco-jazz, performed by a group of expert musicians at the height of their powers.

Recorded in one long session in NYC, until now, bandleader Dr. Otto Gomez and the rest of his crew had never even heard the recordings they'd made almost 50 years ago. Indeed, none of the band even knew that their album had been released!

At Jazzman, we consider it our mission to shine new light on music that went under-appreciated at the time of its original release. There are many varied circumstances which can cause an otherwise great record to not do so well - for instance, poor budget, marketing, promo and sometimes just plain old bad luck. Perhaps the most unjust circumstance involves the tax loss releases of the mid-70s - records made purely to cheat a few dollars out of the tax man.

Here, along with restoring the music, we have dug deep into the backstory of the group, interviewing Gomez and others to find out exactly who this unheralded NYC funk orchestra were and what happened to them before and after the monumental session laid out on this record. Our liner notes tell the story of the TSG label and the 'tax loss' phenomenon, and we delve into the history of the band from their humble beginnings as the Smokin' Shades of Black(!) to the present day.

We also find out exactly what it means to record some brilliant music - only to have it taken away - and discarded.
 

Source: Pitchfork

Suneden - Smooth Groove

Smooth Groove

by Suneden

Released 1 February 2022

Suneden

****-

If there’s ever any doubt regarding the fortune that fate can wield, look no further than Nepal/Melbourne duo Suneden. Following a chance meeting in Pokhara the pair have gone on to craft an affecting amalgam of dream-soul-funk music that is both made to mesmerise and energise listeners.

Soon after forming in 2016 the duo dove headfirst into the thriving Nepalese music scene refining their craft in both Pokhara and the country’s capital, Kathmandu. Now the duo find themselves in the heart of Melbourne and have been carving out their own little corner in Melbourne’s renowned music community since 2018.

Whilst in Melbourne, Suneden have ascribed themselves to local independent record label Side Stare Music and upon joining forces with local musicians Liam Beck, Nicholas Cox, and Brad Dadson – have expanded their line-up, bringing to life The Seg Street Jam.
Playing as a five-piece Suneden and The Seg Street Jam can be found in band rooms and festivals across Australia.

In 2020 Suneden put out their first studio release, Sapana Ko Samaya – a sitar-laden dream-funk odyssey that clocks in at thirteen minutes. Sapana Ko Samaya, meaning dream time in Nepali, is a thoughtfully crafted soul-soothing psych jam which takes you on a journey with the tidal rise and fall of its ethereal vocal harmonies. Encompassing as much groove as it does meditative refrains Sapana Ko Samaya showcases the novel diversity of Suneden’s repertoire.
 

Source: amrap

Tim Shiel - Distractions One Variants

Distractions One: Variants

by Tim Shiel

Released 2 March 2022

Spirit Level

****-

Naarm/Melbourne-based producer Tim Shiel expands the sonic universe of his Australian Music Prize-nominated album Distractions One with a companion album of variants, dubs and alternate mixes.

This is more than a remix package. Variants plays more like an alternate version of the original album, beamed in from another universe where the beats are harder and the vibe is further out.

It opens with a swirling piece of Lynchian sound design that invokes what follows: a blissful surreal trip driven by house pulses, punctuated by synth flourishes & starring an expanded cast of characters drawn from Tim's tight inner circle and beyond.

Genre-blending dance alchemists Close Counters contribute a broken-beat reinvention of Tim's boom-bap collab with ARIA-award winning phenom Genesis Owusu, while rising star of the Melbourne club scene FOURA brings a euphoric UKG touch to Together Again.

A dubbed-out version of early single Right In Front Of You pushes Braille Face's vocals to the back and brings the horns to the front, courtesy of Will Morrissey (Vance Joy band) on sax and Jonathan Baker (Anatole) on trumpet.

Tim also spins up his own thumping re-edits of album cuts Get Into Your Love, Call Me Back! and Together Again, inspired by the long tradition of the leftfield late-nite rework - from Arthur Baker's 1980s acid club edits through to modern-day Belgian wizards Soulwax, and everything in between.

The album's delicate denouement is a simple but effective "piano mix" of album highlight Sparrow. All of Tim's too-intricate bells and whistles are removed, leaving behind a deeply nourishing vocal/piano ballad that ruminates on memory and mindfulness

 

Source: Bandcamp

Inkswel, The Snaglepuss - Chasing Infinity

Chasing Infinity

by Inkswel, The Snaglepuss

Released 13 May 2022

Cosmocities Records

****-

Adelaide producer & DJ Inkswel introduces his new project ‘The Snaglepuss’ with ‘Chasing Infinity,’ a concept LP with a star-studded guest list that takes us on a stylistic journey from hiphop and g-funk to up tempo broken beat, boogie and house. With guests including Talib Kweli, Amp Fiddler, Steve Spacek and Kylie Auldist the album describes a cosmic quest for a new galactic home, searching for a better place and stopping on every dancefloor on the way.

Adelaide born and raised Inkswel (aka Jules Habib) has spent much of the last two decades in the Northern Hemisphere DJing every party and club from Rhythm Section in London to Output in New York and released music on BBE, Atjazz, Sonar Kollektiv, Tokyo Dawn and Motor City Wine. He’s produced tracks for artists like Pugz

Atoms & Georgia Anne Muldrow and remixed artists including Amp Fiddler and Dez Andrez. On the Snaglepuss material, he’s taken a more collaborative approach and much of this record was co-created with bassist Stephen Lane, Sloth on horns, UK broken beat royalty Kaidi Tatham and Inkswel’s wife and musical partner Erin Buku. Inkswel and the team’s genre bending productions draw influence from P Funk, 80s Pop, Boogie Funk, Classic 90s Hip hop and Contemporary Soul stitching it all together into a seamless multicoloured package.

The album kicks off with a nod to Inkswel’s musical roots, golden era hiphop. ‘Let It Grow’ features the legendary Talib Kweli, supported by Erin Buku and Baba Israel. Next up, staying in the hiphop lane, is ‘Everything’ feat. Dudley Perkins, followed by the spacey stylings of ‘Mystical Magic’ featuring Lee “Scratch” Perry and Elf Tranzporter and ‘Butterflies’ featuring Steve Spacek. From there the album turns up the tempo and the heat with the bouncy rollerdisco jam ‘New Day’ featuring Melbourne legends Kylie Auldist and N’fa Jones and the title track which features UK Soul luminary Oliver Night on vocals. Amp Fiddler jumps on organ and vocal duties on ‘How I Feel’ and Kaidi Tatham steps up on keys for ‘Cosmic Love Affair’ featuring the princely vibe of Erik Rico and contributes again to the instrumental cut ‘Intergalactic Bboy Anthem’. The album is rounded out by remixes from UK legend Mr Scruff, Detroit don DJ Dez Andrez and Adelaide’s Funkwig.
 

Source: Bandcamp

Mildlife - Live From South Channel Island

Live From South Channel Island

by Mildlife

Released 29 April 2022

Mildlife / [PIAS] Australia

*****

South Channel Island, also known as South Channel Fort, is a 0.7 ha artificial island in southern Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia, 6 km north-east of the town of Sorrento. It was part of a network of fortifications protecting the narrow entrance to Port Phillip.

It is 122 m long, 76 m wide, and is 6.4 m above sea-level, and was built on a shoal, close to the main shipping channel of the bay, with 14,000 tonnes of bluestone boulders, concrete and sand. It was constructed during the 1880s as part of a defensive strategy to protect and control access by sea to Port Phillip and the cities of Melbourne and Geelong. Its principal purpose was to illuminate the main shipping channel at night, and to explode mines under attacking ships which had breached the defences at Port Phillip Heads. The fort still contains remnants of its original military equipment, including disappearing guns

On March 10th, 2021, Mildlife travelled by boat to South Channel Island to perform a live concert. This was filmed and recorded resulting in the motion picture Mildlife Live at South Channel Island and the 2 disc set you see here.

The artificial Island hosts a long abandoned 19th century fort, a labyrinth of underground concrete tunnels and an important breeding ground for the white-faced storm-petrel. Along with Mildlife, other visitors to the island include Abalone poachers, fairy penguins, black-faced cormorants and fur seals.

Before the island existed, the Boonwurrung people of the Greater Kulin Nation have lived on the land and waterways this performance was held on. Mildlife pays respect to their elders past, present and emerging and recognise that sovereignty has never been ceded.
credits
Mildlife are Adam Halliwell, Kevin McDowell, Jim Rindfleish & Tom Shanahan
Percussion by Craig Shanahan
 

Source: Bandcamp and Wikipedia

Binker Golding - Dream Like a Dogwood Wild Boy

Dream Like a Dogwood Wild Boy

by Binker Golding

Released 17 June 2022

Gearbox Records

****-

Multi-award winning tenor saxophonist Binker Golding is a leading musician within UK jazz. He leads the Binker Golding quartet & makes up one half of Binker & Moses. Other collaborations include a partnership with Elliot Galvin & a trio with John Edwards & Steve Noble 

His second solo album (following Abstractions of Reality Past & Incredible Feathers in 2019), 'Dream Like a Dogwood Wild Boy' finds Golding moving towards a new sound that incorporates elements of blues, heart-land rock and Americana while remaining firmly rooted in the jazz idiom.
The songs explore themes of manhood, father and son relationships, friendship, love and sex, reflection, drinking, escapism, death, masculinity, and resilience.
Golding calls upon specific inspirations fro personal relationships and life-altering events that drew him to reflection. Though significant tragedy informs some of Golding's work here, the sentiment is not overtly carried into the music, which overall is upbeat. There is considerable depth to the stylistic ground covered.
Golding slots in plenty of time for the fine guitar work of Billy Adamson and Sarah Tandy's piano. Tandy's excellent debut, Infection In The Sentence (Jazz Re:freshed, 2019) featured a pair of contributions from Golding.
Golding's solo work to date has presented the saxophonist/composer as an alter ego of his presence with Boyd. He writes that Dream Like a Dogwood Wild Boy reflects his thoughts on maturing, "finding strength and doing things better." He acknowledges that such personal feelings are difficult to translate through instrumental music and it doesn't appear that he focused on an obvious link.

As Golding continues to explore the genre, he has made clear that he is willing and able to dip into a broad palette of styles, as he does here.
In addition to Billy Adamson (guitars) and
Sarah Tandy (piano) Golding is supported by:
Daniel Casimir (double bass) and Sam Jones (drums).

Source: AllAboutJazz and Bandcamp

Hamid El Kasri - Roots & Plugged

Roots & Plugged

by Hamid El Kasri

Released 11 March 2022

Metronome

*****

Hamid El Kasri (Arabic: حميد القصري; born 1961) is a Moroccan Gnawa musician traditionally considered a maâlem (Arabic: مُعَلِّم), or "master musician".

Born in Ksar El Kebir, Morocco, he now lives in Rabat. He began training at age seven, taught by Maâlem Abdelouahed Stitou and Maâlem Alouane.

El Kasri is famed for his deep, intense voice, which has made him one of the most sought-after maâlems, both in Morocco and abroad. In addition to singing, he performs on the guembri (الكمبري), a three-stringed bass instrument.

He is noted for having blended the Gnawa rhythms of the north and south of the Morocco,

Source: Wikipedia

Vieux Farka Toure - Les Racines

Les Racines

by Vieux Farka Toure

Released 10 June 2022

World Club Circuit

*****

Imagine being Jimi Hendrix’s son, and forging your own path as a musician. Vieux Farka Touré has carried that weight, wrestling with the legacy of his father Ali Farka Touré, the Malian guitarist whose ’90s albums with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder introduced western audiences to the blues’ diasporic loop, from the slave ships to the USA and back to Africa, where young Ali heard John Lee Hooker and shivered with recognition. Touré Senior closed that circuit of influence, defining what came to be termed desert blues.
Vieux Farka Touré, meanwhile, went his own way. Blessed with similarly virtuosic guitar talent, he defied Ali’s initial disapproval to become a musician. Starting his professional career in 2006, the year his father died, he explored different collaborative byways as he established himself, working with jazz great John Scofield and Allman Brothers alumnus Derek Trucks on The Secret (2011), and two improvised albums with Israeli musicians as The Touré-Rachael Collective - The Tel Aviv Session (2012) and The Paris Session (2014). In truth, he’s never wandered far from Malian music. But, 16 years after his father’s death, this sixth solo album finally immerses him in Ali’s sound. It’s as if, having made his own name, he’s now able to let go, allowing Ali’s influence to flood through. “This album had to be very natural, with the same mood and feeling my father had,” he tells Uncut. “I have this music in my blood and my heart anyway. What I’m doing is still myself. It’s not the same as previous Vieux Farka Touré albums, but it’s the same as I am in the street, in the school – it’s what I’m doing all the time. This is the tradition. It’s like the songs from my house.”

Les Racines means “the roots” and, as he crafted its music with maximum care at his Bamako home studio – named Studio Ali Farka Touré in unapologetic homage – Touré dug as deep as he could. Amadou & Mariam’s Amadou Bagayoko, who interweaves guitars on high-velocity opener “Gabou Ni Tie”, was among the elite Malian musicians who stopped by.

But Les Racines is ultimately a full and fierce showcase for Vieux’s own prowess, and his restatement of desert blues.

Source: Uncut

Kikagau Moyo - Kumoyo Island

Kumoyo Island

by Kikagaku Moyo

Released 6 May 2022

Guruguru Brain

****-

The fifth studio album & last euphoric mind-trip to Kikagaku Moyo's imagined island.
Best-suited for counting stars, looking at the ocean, and dancing in one’s daydream.

In many ways ‘Kumoyo Island’ represents the culmination of a journey for Kikagaku Moyo. While their decade-long career can be summarized as a series of kaleidoscopic explorations through lands and dimensions far and near, there’s a strong intention in each of their works to take the listener to a particular place, however real or abstract they may be. In that sense, the title and cover art for the band’s fifth and final album draws you into a magical mass of land surrounded by water—but the couch suggests that ‘Kumoyo Island’may not be a fleeting stop, but rather a place of respite, where one could pause and take it all in.

Reconvening at Tsubame Studios in Asakusabashi, Tokyo, where their earliest material had been recorded, the five members of Kikagaku Moyo found new inspiration in a familiar and comfortable environment. With their adopted homebase of Amsterdam under lockdown and their touring activities halted due to the pandemic, the band felt a renewed sense of freedom being back in shitamachi, or the old downtown area of their hometown. With unrestricted time in the studio, they began to build upon the demos and song fragments they’d amassed since their last tour. In the 1.5 months spent in Tokyo, everything started to come together.

“Monaka”, its name taken from a type of Japanese wafer sweets, takes melodic inspiration from traditional minyofolk styles, while “Yayoi Iyayoi” is a rare instance of the band singing in their native tongue, its evocative lyrics utilizing archaic words taken from old poetry and nature books found in one of the many second-hand bookstores of Tokyo. For “Meu Mar”, an Erasmos Carlos cover, the original Portuguese lyrics were translated into English, then to Japanese. Strangely enough, the words seem to conjure an image of the protagonist floating among the clouds, looking down upon Tokyo Bay.

In fact, it may be possible to draw a parallel between the topography of the band’s home country - an island nation, surrounded by bodies of water - and the mysterious isle of Kumoyo. Are they one and the same? Has the band finally made it back home? It’s up to the listener to decide. 

Source: Bandcamp

Etran de L'Air - Music from Saharan WhatsApp

Music From Saharan WhatsApp

by Various Artists

Released 10 June 2022

Sahel Sounds

****-

In 2020, Sahel Sounds hosted a project called Music from Saharan WhatsApp. This series consisted of ephemeral digital EPs, documenting live performances by some of the most exciting acts in the Sahel playing music, including Nigerién techno, wedding rock, Woodabe guitar, WZN, traditional music, Mandingue music, and more.
Responding to an open call from our network of artists, musicians recorded a handful of tracks on their cellphone and sent them over the popular mobile app WhatsApp.

Each session was hosted for a month on Bandcamp and sold on a sliding scale, with all profits wired directly to the musicians. After a month, the EP would disappear, replaced by another one.
Now, some of the label's favorite tracks from this series are collected for the first time outside of Bandcamp as the Music from Saharan WhatsApp compilation LP.

This LP features tracks by established Sahel Sounds artists such as Etran de L'Aïr, Hama, Alkibar Jr, Amaria Hamadaler (of Les Filles de Illighadad), and artists new to the label like Bounaly and Andal Sukabe.

Source: Bandcamp

Angela Davis - Suite For Max

Suite for Max

by Angela Davis

Released 1 April 2022

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

****-

Angela Davis's new EP is the next release to come out of our Fresh Start Fund commissioning series. Recorded in Melbourne, 'Suite For Max' is a five-part work that was inspired by the birth of her son, who arrived only a few months before the pandemic hit in 2020.

The Fresh Start Fund was put together by the ABC as a support package for creators and performers all across the arts community during the COVID-19 pandemic. ABC Jazz has been busy these past twelve months recording a number of these commissions, one of which was received by saxophonist and composer Angela Davis.

Growing up in Toowoomba, Davis has spent a good deal of her professional career based in New York City, but in 2018, she returned to Australia with her husband (and fellow jazz musician) Mat Jodrell to start a family.

Her son Max was born right before Covid restrictions took hold across the country two years ago, and while at home, she started writing new music while watching her young child grow and thrive.

Further lockdowns delayed this recording a number of times, but her band of Stephen Magnusson (guitar), Frank Di Sario (bass) and Patrick Danao (drums) finally hit the studio late last year to capture the new work.

You can stream the suite anytime above, or listen in below as Angela chats about how the movements and the recording of 'Suite For Max' all came about.

Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Alexander Hawkins Mirror Canon - Break a Vase

Break a Vase

by Alexander Hawkins Mirror Canon

Released 21 January 2022

Intakt Records

****-

After the 2021 album "Togetherness Music for Sixteen Musicians"(featuring saxophonist Evan Parker and London-based Riot Ensemble), British pianist and composer Alexander Hawkins presents another musical panorama: an ensemble in which his trio with bassist Neil Charles and drummer Stephen Davis meets saxophonist and clarinetist Shabaka Hutchings, guitarist Otto Fischer, and drummer Richard Olátúndé baker.

For anybody who has followed Hawkins' work since his emergence on the British improvised music scene in the mid 2000’s this is a fresh band full of familiar musicians with whom Hawkins has played in a wide variety of formations.

The new pieces that "break a vase" emerge from Hawkins' own imagination, but they also capture the thrust of energy in collaborating with these outstanding musicians.
“Hawkins gives one of his most complete performances to date,” writes Kevin Le Gendre in the liner notes. “Nothing is perhaps more majestic than the title track, which comes from St. Lucian poet Derek Walcott’s acceptance speech for the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature.

‘Break a vase, and the love that re - assembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.’

Enjoy then all these wily bits and pieces that come together in the kind of daring, courageous construction that is made to last.”

Personnel:

Alexander Hawkins: Grand Piano, Upright Piano, Sampler
Neil Charles: Acoustic Bass Guitar, Double Bass
Otto Fischer: Electric Guitar

Richard Olátúndé Baker: Adamo (Talking Drum), Percussion
Shabaka Hutchings: Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute

Stephen Davis: Drums

Source: Bandcamp

Kit Downes, Peter Eldh, James Maddren - Vermillion

Vermillion

by Kit Downes, Peter Eldh, James Maddren

Released 11 February 2022

ECM Records

****-

Vermillion is the third ECM leader date by classically trained British pianist and organist Kit Downes. He began his tenure with the label on 2018's Obsidian, a collection of mostly solo pieces recorded in churches on pipe organs. His follow-up, 2019's Dreamlife of Debris, showcased him playing piano and organ in a quintet setting that included guitarist Stian Westerhus, drummer Seb Rochford, cellist Lucy Railton, and saxophonist Tom Challenger. Vermillion reveals Downes in yet another setting, a jazz piano trio with Swedish bassist Petter Eldh and English drummer James Maddren. This group also recorded Enemy together for Edition in 2018.

The intention of these sessions was to explore different ways of capturing the essence of chamber music in a jazz setting. That said, the album doesn't sound like that at all. Instead, it is a captivating exercise in reinvention for a 21st century jazz piano trio. Downes is an intricate player who instinctively grasps aesthetic and technical difficulties in advanced harmonic systems and rhythmic development, but he's always made them accessible without reduction. He couldn't have asked for a more intuitive rhythm section to aid him.

There are five tunes each from Downes and Eldh, as well as a fragmental abstract of Jimi Hendrix's "Castles Made of Sand." As performed, these tunes suggest a sequence of unrelated yet highly accessible instrumental miniatures -- almost singles, really. That said, they are so centered on movement that familiar senses of gravity and return are somewhat displaced.

Vermillion is seamless. There are no pyrotechnics, only intimate communication that revels in its organic approach to harmonic invention, dynamic use of space, and deft rhythmic interplay

Source: All About Jazz

Mario Laginha - Jangada

Jangada

by Mario Laginha

Released 25 February 2022

Edition Records

****-

Mário Laginha’s music inhabits a space between the two worlds of jazz and music from the African continent, which has had a profound effect on his writing and shaped his music both rhythmically and sonically. Classical music has also played a significant role in his approach to the piano with a wonderful floating poise and Chopin-like elegance to his playing.

Jangada, meaning raft, originates from the idea of ‘picking up pieces of driftwood and binding them together to form a whole.’ It’s a beautiful metaphor that describes the organic collation of influences that are channelled into the music. Consisting of eleven original compositions by Mario, the album is harmonically rich with a delicate warmth. There’s also something very exploratory and searching, a sense of adventure and impulsive restlessness.

Jangada is the album that will open up new ears and hearts to Mario’s music and set him on a course to become one of the most legendary European musicians of his generation.

Source: Edition Records