Starting today (and continuing 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 April 11th and April 17th, 2010.
1. Groove Alchemy by Stanton Moore (Telarc, 4/13/2010)
The 12-track set is the culmination of Moore’s multimedia project that also includes an instructional book and DVD of the same name. All three facets of the project are designed to explore the roots of funk drumming by examining the work of pioneers like Jabo Starks, Clyde Stubblefield, and Zigaboo Modeliste – each of whom made their mark at different times throughout the 1960s as the engines driving James Brown’s and the Meters’ legendary rhythm sections – and in turn tracing their influences back to the rhythms coming out of New Orleans in the earlier part of the 20th century. Recorded at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock, NY.
2. Jam Session by Mark O’ Connor (Omac, 4/13/2010)
“Nobody in the history of jazz fiddle has ever played with the technical assurance of O’Connor, and he has been a brilliant and soulful improviser since he was a teenager … Backed with driving finesse by bassist Jon Burr and guitarist Frank Vignola, this live set has a definite whiff of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France about it, with O’Connor’s fire and heart-on-the-sleeve emotional involvement rendering this not only one of the finest discs of his career, but one of the greatest jazz violin albums ever.” — Chicago Tribune
3. Live at the Village Vanguard by Lee Konitz New Quartet (Enja, 4/13/2010)
Cover Sticker: “Sparkling … tantalizing” (New York Times) / “A celebration of cultural diversity and thematic exploration” (Washington Post). Lee Konitz maintains that this uncompromising, completely personal recording is a high point in his long career, and was thrilled about the great “welcome home” the New York press and the enthusiastic audience gave him. This recording features longtime Konitz collaborators Minsarah.
4. Morning Star by Vincent Herring & Earth Jazz (Challenge, 4/13/2010)
Earth Jazz represents Herring’s electric funk-jazz connection, and while most jazz fans may know him from his tenure with hard bop icon Nat Adderley (1987-1993) or from his various sideman roles with the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Cedar Walton, the Mingus Big Band, or Louis Hayes’ Cannonball Legacy Band (as well as from his 14 recordings as a leader), they will no doubt recognize him in this new and different setting.
5. Clarinetwork: Live at the Village Vanguard by Anat Cohen (Anzic Records, 4/13/2010)
Anat Cohen’s Clarinetwork: Live at the Village Vanguard, inspired by Benny Goodman and celebrating his centennial, is a musical tour-de-force. Winner of three consecutive Jazz Journalists Association “Clarinet Player of the Year” awards and multiple “Rising Star Clarinet” DownBeat critic’s polls, Cohen leads an all star rhythm section (Benny Green, Peter Washington, Lewis Nash ) on this exquisite live recording that returns the clarinet to its rightful role at the forefront of jazz.