by: Hobart Taylor
Rich Brown - Abeng - (Self Released)
Canadian bassist Brown's richly textured compositions are inspired by the clarion call of a hollowed out cow horn called an Abeng, an instrument used to gather Jamaican slaves in community and to pass on important messages.
These tunes uses traditional African beats, afro-jazz modes, and neo-hip-hop melodic structure a la Robert Glasper and Kris Bowers.
Check out "Chant of the Exiled","The Lotus Ascension", and "The Etymology of Ouch". This is my favorite new release.
Logan Richardson - Shift - (Blue Note)
Young man in a hurry Richardson is an alto player with a rich and insistent tone who is always slightly ahead of the beat, urgent, eager,on top of it all. With the go to rhythm section of bassist Harish Raghavan on bass, the super in demand Nasheet Waits on drums, and help from a couple of the biggest names in jazz, guitarist Pat Metheney and pianist Jason Moran he drops a record that I believe will be regarded a one of those transitional releases that grow the genre. Check out "Creeper", "In Your Next Life", and "Untitled". It is all worthy of honor, praise, and attention.
Adam Rudolph-Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra - Turning Towards The Light - Cuneiform
Adam Rudoplh is a musician with a long and honorable pedigree having worked with masters on four continents, including Yusef Lateef for fifteen years, Don Cherry, African and Indian sages and here on this recording, several of the foremost names in the guitar world. Rez Abassi, Nels Cline, David Gilmore, Joel Harrison, Kenny Wessel, are but some of the marquee names that opened their hearts and minds to the improvisational journey on which Rudoplh has chosen to lead them.
These are a collection of those moments where in a concert setting you stop listening to the tunes so you can hear the music.
Raoul Bjorkenheim - Out of the Blue - (Cuneiform)
Finnish guitarist has an angular and thorny sound, which when married with an acoustic double bass, drums and various sax timbres goes to familiar avant garde improvisational places which a sincerity and ease that comes from just being that kind of person. Yeah, another child of Ornette, and a dandy one at that. The CD has the best cover of the year so far, the bare chested Bjorkenheim astride a horse charging through what looks like the kitchen of a Finnish country house.
Pixel - Golden Years - (Cuneiform)
This Norwegian Euro jazz/indie rock consortium specializes in irresistible ear candy. The harmonies of trumpeter Jonas Kilmork Vemoy, saxophonist Harald Lassen and vocalist (and double basszist) Ellen Andrea Wang are hypnotic and resonant. All the instrumentals powerful and evocative. The songs, sung in English are sometimes a little cute, reaching for acceptance. On the whole though this is a fine release.
Bill Frisell - When you Wish Upon a Star - (Okeh)
Frisell may be the most popular jazz guitarist in the world partially because he plays so many other genres, and bends the familiar to his aesthetic. Here he takes on movie and TV themes from Disney to Hitchcock, from Bonanza to The Godfather and re-constructs them.