Here are five more recent jazz releases worth giving a listen to:
1. Here We Go Again by Willie Nelson/Norah Jones/Wynton Marsalis (Blue Note Records, March 29,2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY
Once in a while the stars align and something magical happens…as on the night Jazz at Lincoln Center presented a salute to the late, great bluesman, Ray Charles. Two musical iconoclasts, Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis, along with the stunning songstress Norah Jones, collectively brought their unique musical perspective to the legendary artist’s hits such as “Hallelujah I Love Her So”, “Hit the Road Jack,” and “Unchain My Heart.” Country music legend Willie Nelson and Pulitzer Prize-winning jazz artist and Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis share more in common than their multiple GRAMMY® awards. They also share great respect and admiration for the late musical pioneer Ray Charles. Nelson and Marsalis joined musical forces for a two-night Jazz at Lincoln Center concert event at New York City’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Their set list explored the legacy of Charles, cleverly sequencing the songs to tell the story of a love affair from beginning to end and beyond. This fine idea was made finer by the inclusion of fellow multiple GRAMMY® winner Norah Jones, whose style suggests a middle ground between Nelson and Marsalis. The sold out performance was captured and the resulting footage expertly mixed and mastered for the brand new album.
2. James Farm by Joshua Redman (Nonesuch, April 26, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY
2011 release, a collaborative effort between Joshua Redman and fellow Jazz travelers Aaron Parks, Matt Penman and Eric Harland. Since they’ve already guest-starred on each other’s recordings, James Farm is a natural progression for these Jazz musicians. James Farm made its debut at the 2009 Montreal Jazz Festival and has since performed dates in North America and Europe, garnering praise for its live set and fueling anticipation for this studio debut, which features tunes by each of the four musicians.
3. Sign of Life, Music for 858 Quartet by Bill Frisell (Savoy Jazz, April 26, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY
It’s hard to find a more fruitful meditation on American music than in the compositions of guitarist Bill Frisell. –NY Times. Bill Frisell’s remarkable artistry shines through on this brand new album with his world renowned 858 string quartet. Featuring Jenny Scheinman (violin), Eyvind Kang (viola), and Hank Roberts (cello), Sign Of Life was born out of Bill’s composing retreat in Vermont during the fall of 2010. The entire album was recorded, mixed, and mastered in only 3 months – the shortest gestation period ever for a Frisell recording.
4. ‘Round Midnight by Karrin Allyson (Concord Records, May 3, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY
`Round Midnight, an 11 track collection was recorded at Sear Sound in New York City and features tracks from a wide variety of sources, including Bill Evans, Paul Simon, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mandel, Thelonious Monk, Stephen Sondheim, even Charlie Chaplin. But regardless of who wrote the songs and when, Allyson ties them all together with the same melancholy thread with which they were originally spun. The three time GRAMMY nominated vocalist describes her new album best in her liner notes: “Imagine yourself, in the city, walking late at night,” she writes. “It’s `Round Midnight. The wind is cold, but you hear some warm sounds and you follow your ear down into a small, dark club. There’s a woman at the piano singing these intimate ballads – one after the other. Maybe you’ve just recently suffered a heartache, or maybe the lyrics, melodies and harmonies evoke feelings you have somewhere deep down inside.”
5. Live at Birdland by Lee Konitz/Brad Mehldau/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian (ECM Records, May 17, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY
A quartet of master musicians and a program of jazz classics. Live At Birdland presents the finest moments from two inspired nights at New York’s legendary club, as Konitz, Mehldau, Haden and Motian play “Loverman”, “Lullaby Of Birdland”, “Solar”, “I Fall In Love Too Easily”, “You Stepped Out Of A Dream” and “Oleo” with freedom, tenderness, and a love of melody that only jazz’s greatest improvisers can propose. On this live recording from New York’s legendary club, an ensemble of history-making players dives into the music without a set list. Four exceptional jazz musicians -Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden and Paul Motian – approach the standards from new perspectives and unusual angles. They play them with freedom, tenderness and a melodic and rhythmic understanding found only amongst jazz’s greatest improvisers.