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 New Release Round-up, Jazz New Release Round-Up - 28 June 2019

NRS 28th June

This seems to be an extra eclectic week for new releases, perhaps it's got something to do with summer solstice? Anyway this is a good thing in my book as it keeps things fresh, and the headphones glued to my cranium. My personal highlight at present is Jeanie Barton's Moments of Clarity, an album that has only grown in my estimation as the week has progressed. I affectionately mock some overly serious French sales blurb this week too... I hope there's something in here that tickles your fancy!

Jeanie Barton

Best Newcomer at the Marlborough Jazz Festival in 2015, Jeanie Barton’s latest release is an innovative electro-orchestral collaboration with double bassist, producer Simon Paterson (Angels in the Architecture) and featuring the ever-dependable Tony Kofi on alto saxophone. Most of the songs were penned by Barton, and cover all sorts of topics – spirituality, parenthood, love, death. I enjoyed this a lot, especially the slightly hallucinogenic arrangements, which sound great through headphones.

Available Format: CD

This Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic concert was recorded on the 6th of February 2019, thirty years after the death of its dedicatee, the Jewish baroness and heiress Pannonica (Nica) de Koenigswarter (1913-1988), née Rothschild. Known as the ‘Jazz Baroness’, she is best known for supporting Thelonious Monk after hearing him play in the fifties. Musicians from five countries took part in the concert: Finnish pianist Iiro Rantala was directing, alongside Swedish bassist Dan Berglund and Norwegian-born drummer Anton Eger, plus American saxophonist Ernie Watts, who shared the stage with Thelonious Monk back in the pianist’s lifetime.

Available Format: CD

Casey Abrams (double bass), Jimmy Greene (saxophone), Mark Whitfield (guitar), Anne Drummond (flute), Giveton Gelin (trumpet)

Harking back to the golden era of Jazz on Manhattan’s 52nd Street and after-hours jam sessions, bassist Casey Abrams’s latest group includes Jimmy Greene (saxophone), Mark Whitfield (guitar), Anne Drummond (flute), and Giveton Gelin (trumpet). A treat for the audiophiles, this sounds immaculate, with Abrams leading the band through classics like Why Don’t You Do Right and The Girl from Ipanema.

Available Format: CD

Ryan Keberle, Catharsis

On the cusp of being chill-out music, this fifth album from Ryan Keberle & Catharsis is a curious thing. I’ve had it on a few times now and it’s starting to seep in – it's something like a more jazzy ‘Sea and Cake’ (remember them?). The lyrics are drawn from Let America Be America Again, a poem written by Langston Hughes in 1935 (although it sounds like the closing riff to a Donald Trump speech.)

Available Format: CD

Bruno Letort

Firstly, having listened through this, it’s an interesting, ‘contemporary-meets-improv’ kind of affair that is worthy of a listen, especially the final cello piece The Cello Stands Vertically, Though…. Now let’s sample the so-French-it-hurts, structuralist sales blurb…

‘Between the poetics, the word and the deconstruction, a window opens, and sound spaces are invented. In Cartography of the senses, Bruno Letort initiates, from a classical structure and in a rigorous framework, the search for a writing of the counterpoint, a system of the delay, a deconstructed phrasing. Aesthetics of deconstruction that takes shape in Rebath, title itself recomposed from Breath, a piece for flute still exploring and otherwise the breath, its erasures and tensions in a tablecloth of electronic space, or in Fables électriques, no-wave composition in three movements.’

Priceless.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

'Baby Face' Willette (organ)

Hey, it's vinyl fetish time again (no not the kind you wear… the kind you play). This was ‘Babyface’ Willette’s first of two Blue Note sessions, recorded at the Van Gelder Studio on 30th January 1961. Also featuring Grant Green on guitar (Green's presence was virtually de rigueur for a Hammond record), Fred Jackson (tenor) and Ben Dixon (drums). A soul-jazz classic and a great vehicle for Willette’s blues-drenched pyrotechnics.

Available Format: Vinyl Record