I’ve been away from the blog for awhile, but I’m still buying music on a regular basis. I’m also going to start including music on these posts. If I post something of yours and you want it removed, let me know. Here’s what’s new to me:
There are some great melodies and solid songs on this record, though they have all been twisted and tortured by the circuit benders Skerik and Marco Benevento. Some of the best moments are when Mike Dillon’s vibraphone takes center stage, and Stanton Moore’s drumming is rock solid throughout. The production could have done better keeping the instruments in separate sonic space, but with that much fuzz the blurring of lines is probably unavoidable.
Any record that starts off with gospel-infused sousaphone is going to grab me, and this one never let go. A great blend of New Orleans grease and New York groove, this record does an excellent job of being homey and intellectual at the same time- not an easy task. So often when someone with a jazz vocabulary as advanced as Ellis’ tries to do a “groove” record it can come across as patronizing, but Ellis and the band he assembled nail it with no hint of talking down to the music.
It’s hard to go wrong with Lovano, especially when he surrounds himself with an interesting group. Esperanza Spalding is such an interesting bass player, but I don’t own much of her work due to my general aversion to jazz vocals (something I hope to expand on in a later post). Lovano’s is great at composing with a purpose, and he definitely nails his stated goal from the liner notes of applying Ornette’s harmonic ideas to the structures of Bird and Trane.
It’s appropriate that this record opens with “Sweet Georgia Brown”, as the playing here is as show-off-y as any Harlem Globetrotters exhibition. Eldar gives a clinic on 20th century piano styles throughout, and his total command of the keyboard is undeniable, but the complete lack of soul leaves me cold. People who claim jazz is musicians’ music could certainly cite this as an example to support their case.
Marco Benevento- Me Not Me
This disc is a little more electronic driven than I usually like, but the songwriting and interpretations are strong and won me over almost right away. Benevento is one of the few jazz players who successfully uses drum machines and electronica techniques in creating new jazz-based music, sounding as though the parts were forged together rather than in separate schools. His playing is very song-first, and I would love to hear him flex his chops a little more, but as a whole this work is good for dedicated listening or background music at a house party.
Esbjorn Svensson was a brilliant pianist, and his trio’s work is exciting. Picking up where Keith Jarret’s 1970s groups left off, the trio plays with intense communication and exploration. Separating themselves from other European jazz groups, e.s.t. is soulful and, at times, funky. Definitely a great buy, has been in heavy rotation for the last few weeks.
Some old MMW from the used bin. After listening to their most recent Radiolarians series on infinite repeat for the first three months of the year it was very interesting to be reminded of how simple their music used to be. Much lighter, much more fun and definitely more structured. Good stuff, but after a few spins I wanted the more complex, adventurous MMW they’ve grown into.
I realize my purchases lately have been skewing towards newer music. Next trip, nothing from after 1980.