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Jazz - Verschenen op 21 februari 2020 | Nonesuch

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According to Pat Metheny, From This Place is not just another album to add to his already super-size discography. “I have been waiting my whole life to make this record,” the guitarist from Missouri says outright. “It’s a kind of musical culmination, reflecting a wide range of expressions that have interested me over the years, scaled across a large canvas, presented in a way that offers the kind of opportunities for communication that can only be earned with a group of musicians who have spent hundreds of nights together on the bandstand.” With his longtime collaborator, drummer Antonio Sanchez along with bassist Linda May Han Oh, pianist Gwilym Simcock and the Hollywood Studio Symphony conducted by Joel McNeely, Metheny begins his ambitious project with a composition of over thirteen minutes, America Undefined, centred around a beautiful arrangement by Gil Goldstein. The lyricism of the theme, the theatrical arches and the inspired but never over zealous interjections from the guitar come together to form this majestic landscape. Pat Metheny manages to avoid falling into the classic traps of symphonic jazz, instead proving to be quite the master of creating an amazing melodic line. This is not surprising, as already with the release of As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls with ECM in 1981, an album he made with keyboard player Lyle Mays (who passed away 15 days before the release of From This Place), he excelled in perfectly calibrated lyrical narration. This level of craftsmanship returns on Same River, a prime example of the kind of composition that could easily fall into the banal or the tear-jerking but manages to remain purely beautiful. With Meshell Ndegeocello on vocals, Grégoire Maret on the harmonica and Luis Conte on percussion for certain tracks, the American guitarist has carefully chosen his guests, whose contributions only serve to confirm the precision of Metheny’s vision, a concept much more easily understood after listening to the album in full. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Vocale jazz - Verschenen op 28 augustus 2020 | Blue Note

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With his sixth album, Gregory Porter excels once again in perfectly blending jazz, soul, rhythm'n'blues, pop and gospel. In addition to being blessed with a voice of pure velvet (so cliché, but so true), the Californian, who knows Great Black Music inside out, is also a real wordsmith. In these troubled times, Gregory Porter's music refreshes and rejuvenates, like on "Revival Song," a sort of neo-gospel hymn that ignites the soul and frees the body. This sense of wellbeing can also be felt when Porter puts on his crooner hat on "If Love Is Overrated" or when he channels his inner Marvin Gaye and George Benson on "Faith In Love." Brilliantly produced by Troy Miller (Laura Mvula, Jamie Cullum, Emili Sandé), All Rise propels the American singer towards greater global recognition, reaching audiences well outside the jazz sphere. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Moderne jazz - Verschenen op 12 juni 2020 | Blue Note

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There was The Beatles by The Beatles, The Stooges by The Stooges, Cypress Hill by Cypress Hill, Metallica by Metallica – the list goes on. Naming an album after yourself tends to signal either the first chapter of your music, or the final one. For GoGo Penguin, GoGo Penguin represents the latter as a brief decade of enchanting musical exploration draws to a close for pianist Chris Illingworth, drummer Rob Turner and bassist Nick Blacka. The Manchester trio had established their own unique style and their well-balanced blend of contemporary jazz, electronic music and minimalism is captured perfectly in this 2020 vintage. With an album like this, GoGo Penguin increasingly move away from the legacy left behind by EST (the defunct Esbjörn Svensson Trio), the masters of minimalism (Steve Reich, Philip Glass) and of electronic music (Aphex Twin, Roni Size) who were their main influences in their early days. Illingworth explains, “What I’ve been able to do on the piano – it’s the sort of thing I’ve been trying to get towards, in what I can physically play and what I can do to express who I am. And I know that the other guys take the same pride themselves in what they’ve contributed. We’ve all found our place, we’ve all got that confidence of being able to say, ‘This is how I want to play my instrument, and this is how we want to play as a band – that thing we’ve always been aiming for”. For the first time, GoGo Penguin took their time to make this album and spent six months writing and two weeks recording and experimenting. It was a relatively calm experience but also emotional, as Turner explains, “This time, there's a lot more facing the realities of becoming older, facing mortality, and watching people that you care about being very close to death. At the same time, Chris (Illingworth) became a dad. The longer you live, the more complicated your reality becomes, so we felt our music had to reflect that”. And this is reflected in the improvisations as well as the ambient lyrical flights in GoGo Penguin, inflected with deep emotional resonance. In F Maj Pixie, the power behind Nick Blacka’s bassline acts like the beating heart of the track. Overall, this fifth studio album is all about emotion and delicate melodies. The clean production is free of unnecessary flourishes and GoGo Penguin get straight to the point in GoGo Penguin. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Verschenen op 27 maart 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Her mentor Prince said her voice could melt snow. A gift confirmed on The Women Who Raised Me, Kandace Springs' third album, which is quietly earning the artist a place at the heart of the vast family of contemporary jazz'n'soul singers. As the title of her 2020 release suggests, the Nashville native living in New York pays tribute to all those who influenced and inspired her, from Ella Fitzgerald to Roberta Flack, Astrud Gilberto, Lauryn Hill, Billie Holiday, Diana Krall, Carmen McRae, Bonnie Raitt, Sade, Nina Simone, Dusty Springfield and especially Norah Jones, one of her idols, who features on a track (Angel Eyes). Produced, like Soul Eyes, (her first album of 2016) by the expert in ultra-slick sound Larry Klein, The Women Who Raised Me also brings on board the saxophonists David Sanborn (I Put a Spell on You) and Chris Potter (Gentle Rain, Loneliness), trumpeter Avishai Cohen (I Can't Make You Love Me and Pearls), bassist Christian McBride (Devil May Care) and the flautist Elena Pinderhughes (Ex-Factor and Killing Me Softly With His Song). They bring virtuoso refinement to this album's collection of well-chosen covers. Special mention must go to Sade's Pearls, spurred on by a purring Avishai Cohen, and Lauryn Hill's Ex-Factor. This album also confirms the instrumental talents of Kandace Springs, who is just as comfortable at the piano as at the Fender Rhodes. A restrained virtuoso helped by the reserved trio of Steve Cardenas on guitar, Scott Colley on bass and Clarence Penn on drums. It is this ocean of subtlety and finely-measured power that makes these covers, sung with sensuality but above all conviction, very endearing. © Clotilde Maréchal / Qobuz
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Jazz - Verschenen op 10 juli 2020 | Nonesuch

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Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride and Brian Blade. A mere glance at RoundAgain’s line-up is enough to arouse a sense of collective hysteria among jazz fans. The original members of Joshua Redman's first quartet haven’t recorded together since MoodWing was released in 1994. “We would have done it ten years ago if it were up to me”, explains Mehldau, “Josh, Christian and Brian are all my heroes. It’s like playing with The Avengers!” It’s a worthy comparison seeing as these four really are considered superheroes in today’s jazzosphere. In almost a quarter of a century, their aura and playing has developed in an exponential way, to the point that the quartet has achieved an irrevocable spiritual chemistry. On this brand-new album (three compositions by Redman, two by Mehldau, and one each for McBride and Blade), they immediately show off a bond which allows them to perform extraordinary and colossal swing. Under the hood of this sparkling, perplexing yet vintage Rolls Royce of a record, RoundAgain is a meaningful four-way conversation. From beginning (Undertow) to end (Your Part to Play), mutual respect is at the heart of their drive and direction; even Redman’s verbose saxophone never steals the spotlight. Let’s just hope that we won’t have to wait another 26 years before they do it all again… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Verschenen op 21 augustus 2020 | Concord Jazz

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Although this release is Nubya Garcia's first real solo album, the artist is accustomed to being showered with praise, awards, prizes, projects and collaborations. At 29 years old, the Londoner is undoubtedly one of the major players on the new British jazz scene and her colourful, full-bodied saxophone playing has already resonated on numerous recordings such as those of the groups Nérija and Maisha, and on two thirds of We Out Here (2018), the iconic compilation album from Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label which united the big names on the contemporary scene. It is with some of these musicians that she has recorded Source. Joined by Joe Armon-Jones (keys), Daniel Casimir (bass) and Sam Jones (drums), Garcia was certainly well-equipped to push the boundaries of contemporary jazz and the UK music scene. As is often the case with contemporary UK musicians, Afro-Caribbean and urban sounds come to influence the rhythms as well as the melodies. Such a fusion is often present in UK jazz albums which also have their own unique flavours. The influence of Herbie Hancock (from the Headhunters period/early Columbia Records) is never far away (Inner Game, The Message Continues). This sensation is amplified by the funky playing of the organ and synth magician, Joe Armon-Jones.But Nubya Garcia is hungry for other sounds and landscapes. On the title track Source, the dub influence is clear. On Together is a Beautiful Place To Be, she deploys a delicate soul and R&B sensuality. Stand With Each Other slaloms between spellbinding nyabinghi rhythms while the aptly named La cumbia me està llamando leaves no doubt as to its influences… All of these sequences paint the picture of a woman well anchored in her time, a musician who is in harmony with her roots and history and puts the notion of collectiveness at the forefront of her artistry. Garcia's notable invitees include Richie Sievwright, Cassie Kinoshi and Sheila Maurice-Grey from the group Kokoroko, the Colombians of La Perla (La cambia me està llamando) as well as Chicago singer Akenya Seymour (Boundless Beings). With this Qobuzissime winning album, Nubya Garcia succeeds in going that little bit further and breaking down the walls that try to hold jazz back. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Verschenen op 20 maart 2020 | World Circuit

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Jazz - Verschenen op 14 februari 2020 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Choc de Classica
A sage piano stylist audibly influenced by Basie and Monk among others, Carla Bley has over the past 60 years also become one of jazz's preeminent composers. Originally influenced by '60s jazz avant-garde, Bley, as evidenced by her latest, Life Goes On, has fashioned her own jazz ethos—what ECM's Manfred Eicher has called her "radical originality." In jazz groups of any size longevity is often impossible as the essence of the music is often dependent on the potential of new combinations of talent, and yet a large part of Bley's recent success is keyed by her working trio of bassist/life partner Steve Swallow and saxophonist Andy Sheppard, who've been together for 25 years. Based around three suites—her most preferred form of composition—the lean and spacious Life Goes On is wonderfully confident and distinct. The opening movement of the title track is sly blues before turning to two parts that explore her trademark melodic mingling of classical music discipline and free jazz adventure. It concludes with "And Then One Day," where Bley holds down the rhythm with a repeated figure, over which Sheppard plays jaunty lines that have more than a whiff of Paul Desmond's cool tone. "Beautiful Telephones," based upon the current chief executive's comment about the Oval Office's exceptional phones, begins with Bley downshifting emotionally and exploring a more somber mood with Swallow plucking out his notes and Sheppard's tenor saxophone providing an equally unsettling counterpoint. In this work's final movement, the tempos pick up and her characteristic humor comes to the fore as she wryly quotes "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," "The Star-Spangled Banner," "America the Beautiful," and other patriotic hymns in a modern echo of her '70s composition, "Spangled Banner Minor and Other Patriotic Songs." The final suite, "Copycat" explores the hallowed jazz device of call-and-response as a conversation between three supremely accomplished players, whose clairvoyant togetherness shifts between agreeable and discordant. While it's right to applaud the current rush of praise for the fresh energies that youth are bringing to music these days, the deep wisdom and impeccable craft of a pioneer like Bley deserves to be equally acclaimed. © Robert Baird / Qobuz
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Vocale jazz - Verschenen op 2 oktober 2020 | Verve

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In 1962, Ella Fitzgerald was at the height of her powers, about midway through recording her now-iconic series of "songbook" albums and, two years earlier, having released a barnstormer of a live album, Ella in Berlin, that solidified her position as one of the most talented and popular musicians working in the jazz idiom. Her only competition at the time was, essentially, Frank Sinatra and herself. During the course of 1962, she would release three albums: two complementary collaborations with Nelson Riddle that further pushed her into crossover territory without tarnishing her credibility or minimizing her skills, and the oft-overlooked Rhythm is My Business, a hard-swinging set that comes off breezy and soulful, but is a remarkable document of the strength of Fitzgerald and her band during this era. And it's that strength that's captured on The Lost Berlin Tapes, recorded in concert at Berlin’s Sportpalast that year. Verve Records founder Norman Granz frequently recorded live sets of many of his acts (Fitzgerald especially), and that's what accounts for both the existence and the remarkable fidelity of these "lost" tapes. (Though they were never truly lost; Granz had just stashed them away). From a performance perspective, it's unbelievable that this concert recording sat unheard for more than a half-century. Brimming with energy and benefiting from the confidence that can only come from being at the top of one's game, Ella and her band careen through 17 songs with a full-throated fervor that's greeted with an equally enthusiastic response from the crowd. The set both swings incredibly hard and evinces a cool, sophisticated polish, a combination that, again, pretty much only she and Sinatra were delivering at this scale during the era. It's the sort of casual excellence that's made to look deceptively easy. (And yes, she aces the version of "Mack the Knife" here.) Releases like this—especially in the aftermath of the devastating Universal fire that destroyed so many iconic album masters and so much unreleased material—prove that, even when we think a barrel has been fully scraped or a vault fully excavated, there will always be warm, welcome surprises to be found in the archives of these legendary artists. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Jazz - Verschenen op 2 oktober 2020 | SKIP Records

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Jazz - Verschenen op 11 september 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Super groups are often over marketed and rather dull. However, this appears to be the complete opposite with Artemis’s debut album, released on Blue Note Records. Behind the Artemis name, Greek Goddess of nature, the hunt and childbirth, are seven internationally acclaimed female musicians, each masters of their craft. At the head of this multi generational roundup, the Canadian pianist and musical director of the project, Renee Rosnes has brought together the Israeli clarinetist Anat Cohen, the Chilean tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, the Canadian trompettiste Ingrid Jensen, the Japanese double bassist Noriko Ueda, the American drummer Allison Miller, and on two tracks, the Franco-American vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. ‘Each member of Artemis is a unique individual, and this is what music needs, artistic versatility!’, explains Cohen. ‘It’s the people that make life interesting and that make music captivating’. The group’s identity has flourished organically thanks to the seven musicians, each expressing their own vison and perspective yet maintaining a strong homogeneity throughout the record. For Jensen, ‘the character of the Greek Goddess Artemis reveals the energy and the broad musical horizons that our band brings on stage’. This is where the success of the record, focused on natural unification, shines. This vast album, comprised mainly of original compositions also features eclectic covers of The Fool On The Hill by the Beatles, Cry Buttercup, Cry, popularised by Maxine Sullivan, The Sidewinder by Lee Morgan and If It’s Magic by Stevie Wonder. Expert in her field, Renee Rosnes’ musical arrangements capture and cement the artistic creativity of each member. This super group, entirely female in its line-up, sends a strong message to the male dominated jazz world. Artemis’ music is beautiful, intelligent, and challenges the preconceived ideas of the jazz genre. ©️ Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Verschenen op 6 maart 2020 | Dare2 Records

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In 2014, producer Jean-Philippe Allard had the bright idea of getting Kenny Barron and Dave Holland in the studio together. They were longtime friends but they had never tried out playing together in a duo. The American pianist and English double bassist ended up making the wonderful and well-named The Art of Conversation, published with Impulse!. Six years later, and this art of the conversation continues with a new member: drummer Jonathan Blake, 30 years their junior. The trio unveils an impeccably high-voltage project, dominated by the art of listening as well as a certain sense of good taste. Every month, there are heapfuls of piano/drum/double-bass albums released, but this one stands out by means of its emphasis on improvisation without looking to revolutionise a format which is in no particular rush to be revolutionised. An album absolutely filled with beauty, as on Duke Ellington’s Warm Valley where Barron’s technique is astoundingly precise and refined. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz fusion en jazz rock - Verschenen op 13 maart 2020 | earMUSIC

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With his new album Across the Universe that has just come out, Al Di Meola reminds us of his passion for The Beatles. Like 2013's All Your Life before it, this record is entirely dedicated to the Fab Four, with covers of hits (Strawberry Fields Forever, Hey Jude, Yesterday) as well as less well-known hidden gems (Julia). The album cover is also a distinct nod to John Lennon's solo 1975 album Rock'n'Roll: a well-rounded homage. In amongst all the various tributes to The Beatles nowadays, this one is extremely well executed, namely because Al Di Meola stays himself from start to finish. Jazz fusion, flamenco, rock... it's all in the mix. His legendary talent beautifully complements the melodic genius of the Lennon/McCartney duo. The instrumental pyrotechnics that drive Al Di Meola fans crazy are bolstered here by tablas, brass, strings and even some accordion. The only (slight) downside is that this opus focuses exclusively on ballads... we would have loved to hear this guitar hero taken on Helter Skelter or Revolution! ©️ Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Jazz - Verschenen op 28 februari 2020 | ACT Music

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Jazz - Verschenen op 12 juni 2020 | Nonesuch

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The pandemic, lockdown and social distancing were the start and end point for this solo piano album that Brad Mehldau had clearly never expected to record nor publish. The impact of this most outlandish situation can be seen clearly in track’s titles on Suite: April 2020 (waking up, stepping outside, keeping distance, stopping, listening: hearing, remembering before all this, uncertainty, the day moves by…) and even the record’s sleeve, a self-written text and sort of explanatory waybill of a period that ended up more exciting than mundane. The piano playing is indeed exciting and purer than usual as if each note holds weight and questions itself own individual purpose. There’s an ambiance that gives Mehldau’s improvisations an authentic simplicity and surreal purity. It’s without doubt about the simplicity of finding oneself, like never before, among family and enjoying basic daily tasks and pleasures, as written on the cover. And to conclude this work: an indoor promenade of three parts: Don’t Let It Bring You Down by Neil Young (a song Mehldau often looks to for guidance), New York State of Mind by Billy Joel, a love letter to the Big Apple which has suffered greatly during the epidemic (and a place he considers a home away from home), and the classic Look for the Silver Lining, which closes in a reassuring, warming manner full of hope for a period in which the world stopped spinning; or almost. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Verschenen op 12 juni 2020 | ECM

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Rather than contempt, familiarity breeds a comfortable groove on Swallow Tales, a shared vision for a group of notable tunes written by the venerable bass veteran Steve Swallow. This straight-ahead conversation between old friends and musical partners was recorded in a brief four hours; the result is a flavorful snapshot of a long and fruitful relationship now over 40 years old between guitarist John Scofield and his mentor Swallow. The pair is accompanied by Scofield's go-to drummer, the versatile Bill Stewart, whom the guitarist has played with in a number of different musical contexts. Energized by the easy charm of musical instinct, this session opens with one of Swallow's most beautiful ballads, "She Was Young," before shifting to "Falling Grace," where Stewart's natural and infallible rhythms support Swallow who sweeps into his signature broken time bass style. Scofield stretches out and shows his sense of invention and flair for concise solos in a fast take "Portsmouth Figurations," a tune he first heard on one of his earliest album influences, Gary Burton's Duster. The most famous number "Eiderdown," (also the first tune Swallow ever wrote and has been covered by the likes of Chick Corea, Bill Evans and Phil Woods), receives a spirited run through with Scofield, who says he once struggled to master these changes. He deftly travels up and down the guitar neck, preferring high notes, while Stewart takes an orderly, articulate solo. Another oft-recorded tune, the waltzy "Hullo Bolinas," is taken at a brisk pace while the bassist's playful borrowing from Cole Porter—"In F"—also features another measured, tasteful solo from Stewart. A reunion more interested in bringing fresh insights to well-known repertoire than pushing envelopes, Swallow Tales is the sound of masters at work. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Jazz - Verschenen op 20 maart 2020 | ECM

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In 2016 and then again in 2018, for his albums Rising Grace and Where the River Goes, Wolfgang Muthspiel surrounded himself with a five-star cast including pianist Brad Mehldau, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and bassist Larry Grenadier. It was enough to show those who still doubted the calibre of the Austrian guitarist that he was still able to draw the greats to his side... for his 2020 offering, this worthy heir to Mick Goodrick and Pat Metheny trims sail to record with double bass player Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade. As his 2014 Driftwood already showed, this trio is a more powerful sounding board for Muthspiel, who alternates between acoustic and electric guitar. The precision of his phrasing, the melodic perfection of his writing (he signs seven of the nine tunes on the record) and the diversity of styles (be-bop with Ride, experimental on Solo Kanon in 5/4 played with a delay, contemplative on Camino) give birth to a contemporary jazz that is once again demanding formally as well as technically. Angular Blues is also a space of total freedom. And that feeling is even stronger on Everything I Love and I'll Remember April, the two unique standards of the album that the three men imbue from head to toe with a lot of ingenuity. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Verschenen op 24 april 2020 | ACT Music

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Jazz - Verschenen op 14 februari 2020 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama
Having moved to New York like a great many Israeli jazz artists, Oded Tzur quickly established his unique tenor saxophone for a simple reason. His teacher was not a player of the instrument, but was none other than the ultimate master of the bansuri flute Hariprasad Chaurasia. By exploring the subtleties of classical Indian music and ragas, the Tel Aviv native was able to build his knowledge of jazz differently. For his arrival on ECM, Oded Tzur joined forces with pianist Nitai Hershkovits, double bassist Petros Klampanis and drummer Jonathan Blake. Each theme on Here Be Dragons presents itself as a sort of mini raga developing over a moving bass and playing on the juxtaposition of two very different musical concepts. “The dialogue between these dimensions takes us wherever it takes us,” details the saxophonist. “For me, the raga is a universal concept. I hear its connection to synagogue prayers or to the blues -- a marvellous creation -- and to music all around the world.” This is a vision he shares with his three colleagues who are all on the same wavelength as him. The level of restraint, the accuracy of the interventions and the talent of manipulating silence are the most impressive on this record, as Tzur easily avoids the contemplative and self-indulging traps. The depth of his sound even allows him to create a rather captivating narrative. The blissful singing appears to invite you to a journey within. This is a sublime album which finishes with a rather surprising cover of Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis. With no gimmicks, Oded Tzur makes the King’s iconic hit his own and thus completes his grandiose entry to Manfred Eicher’s label with a cheeky wink. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Verschenen op 25 september 2020 | Mack Avenue Records

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Christian McBride's latest big band session travels back to an incredible moment in 1966 when organist Jimmy Smith, guitarist Wes Montgomery and arranger Oliver Nelson gathered at Rudy Van Gelder's studio for a hard-swinging and ever-so-slightly unconventional big band summit meeting; all were operating at peak creativity. It was the first-ever collaboration between Smith and Montgomery, and the resulting albums (The Dynamic Duo and The Further Adventures Of…) were bursting with feats of highwire soloistic daredevilry. Nelson was the stealth MVP of the date. His arrangements—particularly "Down By The Riverside" and "Milestones"—discovered a lane equidistant between the hard swing of Basie and the floral voicings of Ellington, with intricate full-ensemble taunts giving way to plush pads designed to provoke the soloists. McBride's update uses those and other original Nelson charts, which, after all these decades, exude a freshness that eludes many large-ensemble projects. And it relies on a similarly sparky showdown between strong minded soloists—the organist Joey DeFrancesco and guitarist Mark Whitfield. Both clearly know they're working in the towering shadows of giants; neither seems daunted by that as they explore the hairpin turns of the big-band "Milestones" or the easygoing saunter of Montgomery's "Road Song." There are a few astonishing small-group moments, too, that offer a quick gauge on how far these soloists have evolved— check Whitfield on "Road Song," DeFrancesco's gentle and dramatic reading of the ballad "I Want To Talk About You" and McBride's capricious twenty-fingered trip through "Up Jumped Spring"). One elusive element McBride managed to transfer from the original source: The swing feel. From the opening solo, a twisty-road Whitfield foray on "Night Train," it's clear that the soloists thrive in the McBride sweet spot—everything they do, all the flashy blowing, flows directly from the crisp, uncomplicated grooves established by the bassist and his rhythm section. Big band music would be easier to love if it all felt this good. © Tom Moon/Qobuz

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Jazz in het magazine