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 New Release Round-up, Jazz New Release Round-Up - 15th July 2021

New jazz releases include a box set chronicling the music of late trombonist and bandleader Chirs Barber, Grateful Dead tributes from Blue Note saxophonist Dave McMurray, and a handful of new albums by budding young artists on Unit Records.

The late trombonist and bandleader Chris Barber’s huge career is hard to compile into one collection, but this set from The Last Music Company certainly does a good job of it. As well as featuring recordings from his seventy-year bandleading career, A Trailblazer’s Legacy also features a book with words by Alyn Shipton and photographs from Barber’s private collection.

Available Format: 4 CDs + Book

Francesco Ciniglio

Naples-born, Paris-based drummer Francesco Ciniglio makes his Whirlwind Recordings debut with The Locomotive Suite, a collection of sextet tunes alluding to a personal metaphor of his; “every one of us should be our own locomotive, sturdy and reliable”. The pieces on The Locomotive Suite take inspiration from both Ciniglio’s family and personal past, ranging from tender laid-back takes to darker, melancholic pieces.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Francesco Ciniglio

Available Format: 2 Vinyl Records

Amaro Freitas

Born in the slums of Brazil’s north-eastern city of Recife, Amaro Freitas has since grown into one of his country’s most popular modern jazz players. Taking its name from the Adinkra symbol of the backward-facing bird, Sankofa explores Freitas’s personal past, as well as the ancient philosophies and figureheads of Black Brazil.

Available Format: CD

Amaro Freitas

Available Format: Vinyl Record

Alice Coltrane

Originally released only on cassette in 1982, Kirtan: Turyia Sings is a collection of devotional songs arranged for organ. Produced by her son Ravi Coltrane, these stripped-back arrangements are perhaps not what the harpist is known for, but a great time capsule into a particularly spiritual point in her life.

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

Alice Coltrane

Available Format: 2 Vinyl Records

Dave McMurray

The title of saxophonist Dave McMurray’s latest album is perhaps a ‘dead’ giveaway here (that was awful, I know). Following up his 2018 Blue Note debut Music Is Life, an album consisting mostly of his own material, McMurray’s latest outing is a collection of his favourite songs by rock band The Grateful Dead, rearranged by the saxophonist himself. He’s even joined on the album's version of ‘Loser’ by guitarist Bob Weir, one of the band’s founding members.

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

Jul Dillier

Presented as a wordless book rather than an “album”, the first solo record by Swiss pianist Jul Dillier - released on Unit Records - comprises two cycles of pieces concerning isolation and solitude, recorded from Dillier’s home during Switzerland’s first lockdown. Dillier also makes ample use of extended piano techniques, including prepared piano, making this more than a simple ‘solo piano’ affair.

Available Format: CD

Robert Giegling

Another release from Unit this week comes to us from trumpeter Robert Giegling, a double album featuring the horn in the context of both breathy, spacious pieces and beat-heavy, hip-hop inspired tunes.

Available Format: 2 CDs

Afi Sika

Bern, Switzerland-based vocalist Afi ‘Sika’ Kuzeawu makes her debut with Nubu, also on Unit Records. Her original tunes draw inspiration from her home country of Togo, West Africa, both musically and autobiographically, chronicling her life following her arrival in Europe.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Fiona Grond

Our final Unit Records pick comes from Swiss-German vocalist Fiona Grond, with her trio record Interspaces. The unusual trio configuration features Grond on vocals, tenor saxophonist Moritz Stahl and guitarist Philipp Schiepek, resulting in some refreshingly original-sounding arrangements.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Nikol Bóková

Czech pianist Nikol Bóková is a classical performer by day, and jazz bandleader by night. Joined here by hand-picked sidemen - French horn player Radek Baborák, guitarist David Dorůžka, double-bass player Jaromír Honzák and drummer Michal Wierzgon, all of whom also have connections to both jazz and classical music - Prometheus is a personal work for Bóková that marries the lyrical quality and technical fluency of both styles.

Available Format: CD

Nikol Bóková

Available Format: Vinyl Record

Danielle de Gruttola, Henry Kaiser, Benedicte Maurseth, Stein Urheim

Be Here Whenever is the product of cellist Danielle de Bruttola, guitarists Henry Kaiser and Stein Urheim, and hardanger fiddle player Benedicte Maurseth, with the quartet embracing influences from Norwegian folk and guitar-led ambient music.

Available Format: CD