blue cranes. swim. cuneiform. Strings and saxophones sound mighty good in latest from Portland, OR.- based ” post-jazz” quintet. genuine moments of quiet, drilling out a field of intense saxophone dialogue btw reed wallsmith on alto and joe cunningham on tenor. recalled for me the tiptons, beirut (the band not the city); honestly, i listened to this one over and over, as if it were the only piece of music on the planet. band fills out with rebecca sanborn on keyboards; keith brush on bass, ji tanzer on drums + string chorus & xtra horns/reeds. beautiful, strong, ambient: it’s great to be swept away.
davell crawford. my gift to you. basin street. just listen to crawford’s crazy creole man; there are all the dizzying components of Louisiana gumbo—cowboys & indian chase music, melodramatic movie themes, earnest poetry to bind this piece of whimsy and heart. can’t hold that man back; i think he’s a countertenor, too, though his claim to earlier fame is the throne of new orleans piano wizard james booker.
kermit ruffins. we partyin’ traditional style. basin street. Upbeat, polished playlist from New Orleans trumpeter/bandleader mixing traditional with originals. ruffins’ style and attitude nod to the great louis who preceded him–armstrong and jordan. with shannon powell on drums; steve pistorius, piano; don vappie, banjo; lucien barbarin, trombone; richard moten, bass; tom fischer, clarinet.
ken fowser + behn gillece. top shelf. posi-tone. The virbaphone is back, it seems. Here, the duets of behn gillece, composer/vibes and tenor/composer fowser share the spotlight, and add in trombonist michael dease. solid, all originals, with great supports from dezron douglas, bass; rodney green, drums, and steve einerson, piano.
marlene ver planck. ballads…mostly. audiophile. Marlene is a triple threat: experienced vocalist, elegant covers of “found” standards, A-list band–mike renzi on piano (especially valuable), claudio roditi, trumpet; houston person, tenor; ron vincent, drums; jay leonhart, bass.
jon wirtz. tourist. self. Easeful jazz from Colorado keyboardist wirtz showcases many guests including guitarist dan schwindt on the title track. for me, underwhelming.
sasha’s bloc. melancholy. self. Mostly Russian-born, LA-based musicians, led by bass guitarist alexander gershman, the bloc focuses on reviving jazz music from the 20-30’s. all originals, with vocals from guests maxayn lewis, will wheaton, and bloc member carina cooper; perhaps inspired by soundtrack to midnight in paris.
beat funktion. moon town. do music. Swedish vintage funk-disco-jazz group, begun in 2007 as a Stockholm-area dance band, the core “beats” are keyboardist/producer daniel lantz + ollie thunstrom, tenor; karl olandersson, trumpet; johan oijen, electric guitar; pal johnson, electric bass, and jon eriksson, drums. for xtra goodness they add in various strings, vocals, world-inspired percussion to achieve a cross btw the soundtrack to shaft and grooves of fela kuti. dedicated to the temple of dance.
noah haidu. momentum. posi-tone. Charlottesville born, Brooklyn pianist haidu covers jazz piano luminaries–keith jarrett, thad jones, joe henderson–in his assured recording with ariel de la portilla on bass, and mcclenty hunter on drums. a student of kenny barron, haidu balances melodic resistance with fluid improvisation. rising star.
mats/morgan. radio da da/ the teenage tapes. cuneiform. More from Sweden and the cuneiform archives. Musical duo, mats oberg, keyboards + vocals & morgan agren, drums had a unique influence in 80-90’s transcontinental music. Frank Zappa loved them and wanted to hire them. radio da da and the teenage tapes are reissues of these original works. Original, quirky, two CDs, a lot of information.
wheelhouse. boss of the plains. aerophonic. Snazzy new label, aerophonic, regroups wheelhouse trio in Chicago. originals with a slow-cooking, take my time approach: alto/baritone player dave rempis comes and goes from the foreground, nate mcbride + his bass keep the beat, and vibraphonist jason adasiewicz colors every moment of this drummer-less trio. night time patience.
rempis percussion quartet. phalanx. aerophonic. Two Cds–live in milwaukee, live in antwerp, 2012–from the free-wheeling, jazz improvisation group phalanx. Again, dave rempis on three saxophones; Norwegian super star ingebrigt haker flaten on double bass; drums x 2 with frank rosaly and tim daisy.
dudley taft. deep deep blue. self. Seattle-based blues/rock singer-songwriter taft writes originals and does fine covers of dylan’s meet me in the morning, and lou reed’s sally can’t dance. john kessler, bass; chris leighton, drums; scott vogel, drums.
popa chubby. universal breakdown blues. provogue. Rough and ready, high-energy blues from force of nature popa chubby ( aka ted horowitz of NY, NY). now on the re-styled Dutch provogue label. popa growls and plays guitar + slide; changing cast of sidemen and women.
terry garland. r-wr-d. silvermoon. American country blues interpreter garland plays electric and National (slide) guitars on his mostly original playlist. with kevin mckendree on keyboards; kenneth blevins, drums, glenn worf, bass.
maria woodford. bad dog blues. self. Singer/songwriter/guitarist woodford branches out from her folk format to the blues with originals and covers by tom waits, nina simone, bonnie raitt, and big mama thornton. phil wiggins on harmonica; ian walters, piano.