Here are five new jazz albums that were released over the past month or so that are worth giving a listen to.
1. Jasmine by Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden (ECM Records, May 25, 2010) CLICK HERE TO BUY
Jasmine marks Keith Jarrett’s first recorded collaboration in decades other than with his standards trio, and reunites him with the great bassist Charlie Haden, a close partner until the mid-seventies. Intimate, spontaneous and warm, this album of love songs recorded at Jarrett’s home, has affinities, in its unaffected directness, with his solo collection The Melody At Night With You. These deeply felt performances should inspire any listener “to call your wife or husband or lover in late at night,” as Jarrett says in his liner notes, “These are great love songs played by players who are trying, mostly, to keep the message intact.” The program on Jasmine includes such classic songs as “Body and Soul”, “For All We Know” , “Where Can I Go Without You”, “Don’t Ever Leave Me” as well as a rare Jarrett cover of a contemporary pop song, “One Day I’ll Fly Away”. Jarrett and Haden play the music and nothing but the music – as only they can. As Keith Jarrett says in his liner notes: “This is spontaneous music made on the spot without any preparation save our dedication throughout our lives that we won’t accept a substitute… These are great love songs played by players who are trying, mostly, to keep the message intact.”
2. The Imagine Project by Herbie Hancock (Herbie Hancock Records, June 21, 2010) CLICK HERE TO BUY
Herbie Hancock’s Imagine Project is an unprecedented international recording and film project featuring collaborations between music legend Herbie Hancock and a dozen superstars from every region of the planet. It utilizes the universal language of music to express its central themes of peace and global responsibility. The album combines Herbie s genre defying musical vision with the local musical identities of cultures from around the world. Herbie’s last two efforts, 2008’s Grammy Album of the Year River: The Joni Letters sold over 750,000 units worldwide and 2005’s Possibilities sold over one million units INTERNATIONALLY.
3. Nikki by Nikki Yanofsky (Decca, May 4, 2010)
Sixteen-year-old Nikki Yanofsky is poised to break out as one of the year’s most-exciting new artists with her self-titled CD Nikki. The press has hailed Yanofsky as a “young Ella Fitzgerald”–from jazz to originals, she is among the most unique vocalists in recent time. She has been captivating audiences from jazz festivals around the world and most recently appeared at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Her song “I Believe” has sold 4x platinum in Canada, garnering the highest first week of any Canadian artist in Soundscan history. Nikki is produced by 15-time Grammy®-winning producer Phil Ramone and Grammy® winning songwriter / producer Jesse Harris (best known for his work on Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me). “For Another Day” is the focus track and will be worked at AAA radio in the coming months. PBS pledge show Live From Montreal will begin airing in all major markets in May 2010.
4. Stanley Clarke Band by Stanley Clarke (Heads Up, June 15, 2010) CLICK HERE TO BUY
Renowned bassist Stanley Clarke’s new recording, The Stanley Clarke Band, is unlike his previous acoustic bass releases, Clarke feels that this album’s music is fresh and different from just about anything he’s done before. Produced by Clarke and Lenny White, the range of collaborative material on The Stanley Clarke Band has allowed him to venture to new levels of experimentation, utilizing his arsenal of bass instruments. Clarke compares this new release to the first three albums of his solo career: Journey to Love, Stanley Clarke, and School Days, with long extended electric pieces that take the listener on a kind of journey.
5. Double Portrait by Bill Charlap/Renee Rosnes (Blue Note Records, June 8, 2010) CLICK HERE TO BUY
Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes, two of the premiere pianists in Jazz, and also husband and wife, have joined forces to record their first collaborative album, Double Portrait. The album is a sparkling set of four-hand piano duets that traverses many of the couple’s musical touchstones including the great jazz composers (Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson), Great American Songbook composers (George & Ira Gershwin, Howard Dietz & Arthur Schwartz), and one of Rosnes’ own striking original compositions. The depth of musical experience shared between Charlap and Rosnes is truly staggering. Charlap is a two-time Grammy Award nominee and the son of two renowned musicians (Broadway composer Moose Charlap and pop singer Sandy Stewart) who has performed with icons such as Tony Bennett, Phil Woods and Gerry Mulligan, and served as the musical director of The Blue Note 7. The Canadian-born Rosnes is a four-time Juno Award winner who has collaborated with legends the likes of Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson and J.J. Johnson, and has also been the pianist and contributing composer in the dynamic SFJAZZ Collective. It’s a happy musical marriage that both proclaim is “a natural evolution of our partnership and love for each other.”