by: Hobart Taylor
Murray Allen & Carrington Power Trio - Perfection - (Motema)
Yay! We get superb tunes and we get to listen to three of jazz music's most extraordinary instrumental performers, two of whom happen to be women. Pianist Geri Allen has played with seemingly every artistic genius in jazz of her time, Ornette, Oliver Lake, Joseph Jarman, Charlie Haden, etc and she is truly a peer of their's if not yet as famous outside the jazz world. Terri Lyne Carrington is one of the music world's most respected drummers, and she has been an essential part of Herbie Hancock's recent ensembles. David Murray (World Saxophone Quartet) is a saxophone god. The title tune, "Perfection", is an Ornette Coleman composition, and it is performed by a sextet (add Wallace Roney, trumpet, Craig Harris, trombone, and Charnett Moffett, bass) with all off hand grace of Ornette himself. There is an amazingly neo-classical and deeply American version of the folk tune "Barbara Allen". Funky and yet profound while swinging too, "The David,Geri, and Terri Show" is wonderful fun. Finally, there is a quirky herky jerky piece that tickles going down, "For Fr, Peter O'Brien".
John Beasley Presents Monk'estra - Monk'estra Vol. 1 - (Mack Avenue)
Monk himself led some big bands in stunning arrangements of his work, and this new iteration adds contemporary hip hop touches that enhance rather than interfere (" 'Round Midnight ", "Epistrophy"). Faves, "Oska T", "Little Rootie Tootie" and "Coming on the Hudson".
Jae Sinnett - Zero to 60 - (Self Released)
Drummer Sinnett swings old style...deep late 'Trane. With a band that can't be beat (Ralph Bowen on tenor sax, Allen Farnham, piano, and Hans Glawischnig on bass), Sinnet gets in the car, turns the key, and puts the pedal to the metal. This music is in the heart of the tradition, melodic, full of disciplined changes, and rhythmically precise.
Metalwood - Twenty - (Cellar Live)
O Canada, you done done it again. This quartet is fresh... with a clear connection to innovative in rock like Radiohead. It swings swings swings and makes you think too. It's all fine, but I especially like "The Past Before You", "Bodybeard", "Fortune Smiles" (minor key fractals unfolding),and the up tempo and jagged tune "Rush".
Matty Harris - Double Septet - (pfMentum)
Third stream is where jazz and classical collude and collide. This is gorgeous and often profound and thoroughly meditative. Elements of Charles Ives and Ornette Coleman abound, and there is a hippie vibe too. I like this stuff and I hope you will too.
Tim Ray Trio - Windows - (Whaling City Sound)
Pianist Ray has a light and pleasant touch. This is happy sunny jazz. deftly played. Check out "Toys",a nice take of "Dolphin Dance", the broken time Cuban inspired delight "Star Eyes" and the bopping "12 by 7" my fave.
Music Soup - Cut to the Chase - (Chicken Coop Records)
Power organ led trio from Greece featuring guitar and drums. The up tempo tunes are a head rush, (see "Cut to the Chase"), I like the soul jazz tune "Movin'" and the loping and classically melodic "A New Start".