Here are five more recent jazz releases worth giving a listen to:
1. Sophisticated Ladies by Charlie Haden (Emarcy, March 22, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY
An album of pure class – Legendary bassist Charlie Haden and his “film-noir” inspired quartet are joined in this album of atmospheric standards by some of the finest singers performing today: Diana Krall, Melody Gardot, Norah Jones, Cassandra Wilson, Renee Fleming and Ruth Cameron. Produced by Charlie Haden and Ruth Cameron, Sophisticated Ladies brings the seductive romance and style of a classic era to contemporary ears and tastes.
2. Pursuit of a Radical Rhapsody by Al Di Meola (Telarc, March 15, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY
On Di Meola’s latest outing, Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody, the guitar virtuoso and world music pioneer deals in more evocative and compelling sounds with his World Sinfonia ensemble, delivering hauntingly beautiful and deeply moving music from track to track. The collection kicks off with the entrancing, suite-like “Siberiana,” which opens with some tender call-and-response between Beccalossi’s accordion and Di Meola’s nylon string acoustic guitar before building to a turbulent section with searing electric guitar lines on top. On the affecting “Paramour’s Lullaby,” Di Meola takes a more deliberate approach on electric guitar, spinning warm, lyrical lines over the beautiful harmonies before engaging in spirited call-and-response with Beccalossi near the end of the piece. The rhythmically charged “Mawazine” (featuring percussionist Mino Cinelu) is broken up into two parts on the album and showcases some typically tasty electric guitar work by the leader.
3. Dancing Monk by Eric Reed (Savant, February 22, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY
Not only did Ahmad Jamal call Eric Reed “one of my very favorite pianists,” not only has he worked with such talents as Wynton Marsalis, Jessye Norman, Patti Labelle, Quincy Jones and others but he has composed film scores for Eddie Murphy and Tim Story and serves as musical director for The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. Somehow he still finds time to teach, perform and cut his latest disc, “The Dancing Monk.” Here the genius of Monk is refracted through the prism of Eric’s own creativity resulting in ‘thoughts on’ rather than a ‘tribute to’ one of the true titans of jazz.
4. Tirtha by Vijay Iyer (Act Music & Vision) CLICK HERE TO BUY
Twenty-first century global chamber music, eminently listenable and vibrantly alive, from 2010 Grammy finalist and year-end list-topper Vijay Iyer! Here, the pianist introduces his newest project, an exciting and dynamic trio collaboration with two internationally renowned young Indian musicians living in the US. “Stunning … one of the best recordings of the year from one of our most exciting artists.” –DownBeat
5. Alone at the Vanguard by Fred Hersch (Palmetto Records, March 1, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY
Fred Hersch holds the unique distinction of being the first pianist to be asked to play solo at the renowned Village Vanguard in New York City. This recording documents his second and most recent week of performances at the club, November 30 through December 5, 2010. Some say after Fred recovered from his coma, his playing is deeper and more emotional. This album is a testament to that fact. Hersch is widely considered a genius on the piano. He moved to New York from Cincinnati in the 1970s, earning his credibility as a piano prodigy at Bradley’s. His list of credits as a band leader, co-leader, sideman and soloist are astounding. He has worked extensively with jazz masters Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, and Jane Ira Bloom, Art Farmer, Toots Thielemans, Gary Burton, Bill Frisell, Sam Jones and Charlie Haden and has appeared on over 100 recordings. He is also a three-time GRAMMY© nominee.