Here are five more recent jazz releases worth giving a listen to:
1. Radio Music Society by Esperanza Spalding (Heads Up – March 20, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY
It has not taken Esperanza Spalding long to emerge as one of the brightest lights in the musical world. Listeners familiar with her stunning 2008 Heads Up International debut, Esperanza, and her best-selling 2010 release Chamber Music Society, were well aware that the young bassist, vocalist and composer from Portland, Oregon was the real deal, with a unique and style-spanning presence, deeply rooted in jazz yet destined to make her mark far beyond the jazz realm. That judgment was confirmed on February 13, 2011, when Spalding became the first jazz musician to receive the GRAMMY® Award for Best New Artist. With the release of Radio Music Society, her most diverse, ambitious and masterful recital yet. Each of the 12 songs are accompanied by conceptual music videos, which further express Esperanza’s inspiration and story behind each track. Shot in various locations including New York City; Barcelona, Spain; and Portland, Oregon; all videos will be available to purchasers of Radio Music Society as a digital download or a DVD on the deluxe version.
2. Accelerando by Vijay Iyer (Act Music & Vision – March 13, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY
Accelerando sees Vijay Iyer and his telepathic trio mates bassist Stephen Crump and drummer
Marcus Gilmore light up material that ranges from a brace of bold originals and pieces by great jazz composers to surprising interpretations of vintage pop and funk tunes.
3. Floratone II by Bill Frisell (Savoy Jazz, March 6, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY
On Floratone II, Frisell and original members (Matt Chamberlin, Tucker Martine, Lee Townsend) build on the successful concept that NPR proclaimed ‘the most riveting instrumental music to emerge this year. The original Floratone project was released on Blue Note in 2007 and was hailed as one of the best records of the year by jazz and mainstream outlets alike As one jazz’s most prolific and beloved artists, Bill Frisell continues his award-winning streak with yet another stunning body of work on Savoy Jazz.
4. The Well by Tord Gustavsen Trio (ECM Records – February 7, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY
First and foremost it was a very natural process for me. After the release of “Restored, Returned” we did some touring with the full quintet line-up and some touring as a quartet, but the quartet was the formation that kept developing the best as an ensemble. So it felt logical to keep that momentum and to write and build a repertoire for the quartet. Also it is a group of musicians that I really like to travel with and really like to play with, so it has over the past two or three years definitely developed into my main formation for touring.There are definitely strong parallels between playing with Tore and playing with a singer in that Tore is really a strong melodic thinker. He never plays too much. He is extremely into the lyrical side of the themes. And his phrasing is really singing. The way I interact with Tore is very much the same combination of supporting and challenging as you use with singers. But in the relationship between saxophone and piano it is natural to enter even more flexibly in and out of foreground and background roles, whereas the singer’s role almost by definition is in the foreground. Kristin Asbjørnsen did some very beautiful ensemble singing without words on our previous album – and when she does that it is just the same democratic interchange of musical flow as it is with an instrumentalist – but still a singer with words will always be more to the front. So with a sax player it is easier to be flexible in terms of changing roles or changing places within the ensemble.
5. The Continents: Concerto for Jazz Quintet & Chamber Orchestra by Chick Corea (Deutsche Grammophon – February 7, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY
Making music for a combination of orchestral musicians and jazz musicians has end-less possibilities. Appreciation for the abilities each has for the other makes for an atmosphere charged with high interest, creative communication and new ideas. This was the setting for the composing and recording of The Continents for me, a dream come true. The process of making the recording was magical. The morale of the musicians plus the recording team was so high that we finished recording the six movements of the concerto a day and a half under schedule. After saying goodbyes to the orchestra musicians, the Quintet had an impromptu jam just for fun. Of course, the recorder was on. I then had the next evening to record some piano solo bits that I thought would fit the cadenza sections of the concerto. After recording those, I felt there was still something incomplete about The Continents recording. So I decided to try to get to what it was by improvising on the piano by myself I felt that the basic material was somehow lacking something was missing.
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