Each Friday, I will post five new jazz albums that were released over the past week that are worth giving a listen to.
Here are this weeks five, released between May 16th and May 22nd, 2010.
1. Swingin’ with Sinatra by Beegie Adair (Green Hill, 5/18/2010)
2. Precipice by Denny Zeitlin (Sunny Side Records, 5/18/2010)
Denny Zeitlin on this album:While I love playing with other musicians, there is something wonderfully limitless and challenging about being onstage or in the studio by myself. In many ways, this is my most intensely personal musical statement, and goes back to my earliest musical roots. I hope to be open and fully present, drawing on the worlds of jazz, classical, funk, and avant garde, and allowing the music to go where it wants. When the audience shares this openness, we enter a merger state where magic can really happen, and I believe the concert on this CD provides a special example.
3. Royal Toast by The Claudia Quintet (Cuneiform, 5/18/2010)
“Royal Toast” is the fifth release by this sensational ‘jazz and beyond’ ensemble, led by twice Grammy-nominated drummer/composer John Hollenbeck and featuring Drew Gress (bass), Matt Moran (vibes), Ted Reichman (accordion), Gary Versace (keyboards) and Chris Speed (tenor sax, clarinet). The Claudia Quintet’s visibility could not be greater: The band perform at high profile venues, place very high on CMJ’s listings of most played jazz albums with each release and gather huge press interest. This is the band’s first album in four years and will be eagerly received by their many fans.
4. Reverse Thread by Regina Carter (E1 Music, 5/18/2010)
One of the most beloved artists of her generation, preeminent violinist Regina Carter has achieved another landmark in a creative history that has yielded both artistic and commercial triumphs. Her newest release, Reverse Thread, starts with exquisite traditional African music and infuses it with contemporary jazz and Afropop energy. The results are uplifting, stirring, and joyful. Regina’s Reverse Thread Band adds virtuoso Yacouba Sissoko on kora – the West African harp traditionally played by village storytellers–to her longstanding rhythm section. Sissoko’s beautiful instrumental voicings were brought into the mix to help recreate the spirit of passing stories from generation to generation. The collaboration–unlike anything previously heard–is a haunting and beautiful compliment to Regina’s sumptuously seductive violin. Through her best-selling, Grammy-nominated albums, incessant touring and various guest appearances and collaborations, Regina has developed into a distinctly diverse musical personality. She has repeatedly toured throughout the world, and was the first jazz artist and African American to play Niccolo Paganini’s famed Guarneri “Cannon” violin. She has been featured with several symphony orchestras and performed with pop artists as diverse as Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Billy Joel, and Mary J. Blige. With Reverse Thread, Regina takes another giant step forward. In an era of cookie cutter jazz albums that do little to excite the imagination of music lovers, it’s a brilliant, colorful, and lively exploration whose seductive charms are infallible.
5. Monster Returns! by Quartet of Happiness (Creative Nation Music, 5/10/2010)
The Monster Returns is the latest recording from the Boston-based theatrical jazz group, Quartet of Happiness. Known for its unusual combination of performance art, irreverent humor, story telling and educational elements, this innovative ensemble engages audiences of all ages with its ability to accentuate the fun aspects of jazz without sacrificing any of its innate creativity. The Monster Returns features musical game pieces, satirical looks at music history and TV talent shows, a sing-along about New Jersey and various other comic vignettes, all infused with modern jazz and a high level of musicality.