In the dark alleys: five new jazz albums
April is full of intoxicating spirit of renewal. And this happens every year. And, thank God, for over a hundred years at this time there are new jazz albums. April of the 19th year of the 21st century is the return from legend of legendary figures, a bold experiment in the difficult format of a duet and something almost impossible – a solo album on a non-solitary instrument. And also a lot of interesting author compositions. A hundred years ago, probably, the label “jazz” (or “jass”, as this word was written at that time) would not have been glued to anything from this collection, but so what?
Larry Grenadier “The Gleaners” Solo albums of double bass players do not come out every day. That is literally solo, with no other instruments at all! Even solo double-bass plays are rare, let alone whole programs. Risked to make such an album a musician, to whom it is, in general, posited by status. Namely – Larry Grenadier, best known as the eternal ally of Brad Meldau. “The Gleaners” expectedly shows the Grenadier in all its brilliance of the technique with the tricks of polyphony, pleases with the lack of monotony, and the author’s material is grown on different soils – from Bach to Bop (Pettiford groove – a tribute to whom). Music subtle echoes and bright ghosts. You can talk about this album for a long time, but the main thing, I think, is this. Whatever the intentions of Larry Grenadier, but The Gleaners feels like a controversy with Patrick Zuskind, the hero of “The Contrabass”, who reasoned that the person is not born for the double bass, the double bass is evil fate, and so on. And his main claim: in the classical music of the solo pieces of the double bass is very, very small – the hero hates jazz – so he, such a good musician, can not flash. It’s not meant to be! This album is just about the fact that the person in any context flashes. There would be a person.
Apple Music, Yandex.Music, DeezerBranford Marsalis Quartet “The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul” By the 58-year-old saxophonist Branford Marsalis, there would be no jass or no jazz style at all. He is a well-known “traditionalist”, a native of the old New Orleans musical (read: jazz) family. At the same time, the eldest of the Marsalis brothers, mainly plays author’s music, and quite intricate. And in terms of sound-phrasing does not copy anyone. That is, it is only retrograde when looking superficially. Here is the new album of his Quartet – of course, you can simply hang the label “acoustic post-bop”, and that’s where the road goes. And you can marvel at the original melodies, sharp and fresh phrases, full of improvisations and the necessary “swing”. Drive, that is. Given that the music, I repeat, the author (from each musician of the quartet) is not easy, without indulging the listener with cold ears. Two interesting covers: rock and roll “Snake Hip Waltz” by Andrew Hill and “The Windup” by Keith Jarrett (he she played with her European quartet). Both are from the “electric” seventies. At the last, the permanent pianist of the Quartet, Joey Calderazzo, reproduces Jarrett, but somehow in his own way.
Apple Music, Yandex. Music, Deezer
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah “Ancestral Recall” We have become accustomed to the fact that middle-generation jazzmen, virtuosos with the broadest musical and cultural outlook, make anyone in that much more – jazz, not jazz, frank non-format. And the trumpeter Christian Scott (speaking, by the way, in Moscow with Marcus Miller) is one of these “hounds”. His new album is an unusually light thing. Polystylichnaya, but focused. Here the leitmotif is ethnic, quasi-African melodies. Hard broken rhythms – also something like an African, adjusted for the modern metropolis. For “pure jazz”, Scott’s trumpet is probably responsible. But in principle, the question of style and even genre is useless to put: this is such a creative post-bop in the broadest sense. For example, the song “Forever girl” is some kind of a sick R’n’B with an unformatted sound; “Song She Never Heard” with saxophonist Logan Richardson is an irregular smooth, rough, mixed in ethnic and noise. Well, all in this vein – you’ll go crazy with unraveling meanings, and there’s no need for that. Apple Music, Yandex.Music, Deezer
Joey DeFrancesco “In the Key of the Universe” Joey Defrancesco is one of the top Hammond organists in modern jazz. Even cooler: a modern classic. Hammond is practically equal to Defrancesco. Ready to argue? This album is an unexpected and rather arrogant idea. Even two. First, the style. It can be described as an instrumental psychedelic soul, but – does it ever happen? Although yes, it happened in the jazz of the 70s, but then something just didn’t happen – both great and forgotten – so even now it would not hurt to look into the marginal lanes. “Spiritual jazz in the tonality of the Universe,” as Defrancesco himself says about his work. As a result, approximately it turns out: structured instrumental songs with a touch of soul and psychedelia. The recording featured drummer Billy Hart and saxophonist Faroa Sanders, about whom you probably thought “is he alive?”