When the thought of writing a new monthly post crossed my mind today I wasn’t sure what I would write about. I had the impression that I didn’t yet explore much this year yet. But a quick peek in my monthly discovery playlist revealed that there was alot. But when I started writing about some of them, I realized that I didn’t feel too passionate about most of them – especially the new releases – which is why I decided to keep it short this time. There’s a bunch of good stuff I’m excited for coming in February, as you can see in the new release calendar accessible via the sidebar. But until then enjoy this half-full glass of concentrated January juice.
Uriel Herman Quartet – Face to Face
So, to some jazz fans who might complain “Joja, you say you’re a fan of jazz music, but your posts never even really feature pianists, I think you’re a stupid phony!” I would have to say no u and also sorry I didn’t mean it. Please don’t tell on me. Here’s a pianist. Uriel Herman, a classically trained pianist and graduate from the Jerusalem Academy, achieved to create a record that seems to be constantly moving. Listening to The Man Who Sold The World, if you don’t pay attention you might wonder how what sounded like a classical music recording transformed into an energetic middle eastern/klezmer hybrid and back to baroque cadences, but it all happens organically. This album as a whole is musically so ambiguous (in a good way) it’s hard to assign it to a label or compare it to other albums! It definitely has some piano though.
Ill Considered – Ill Considered 5 & 6
The Comet Is Coming, step aside. This shit is hot. In mid-January Ill Considered, consisting of four dudes based in London, casually dropped 2 full-length LP’s. And they hit me hard. This is something you got to take time for. Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes while listening to improvisational prowess on two back to back LP’s. The beginning of each track often bares a loose and simple canvas which they take and manage to transform into an intense and fierce work of art. Every. Damn. Time. And they create it basically on the spot, leaving me feeling talentless and inadequate. Fuck you, Ill Considered.
Other Tasty Refreshments
Terry Riley – You’re NogooD
The odd one out of the bunch. This isn’t jazz. This music induces anxiety. I’m dead serious. Listening to it makes my limbs feel weird and after a while messes with my head. I don’t want to talk too much about it, so you can go listen to it unspoiled. It’s truly an experience you don’t get to have that often with music. This was made with It’s sampling taken to another level from 1967, a time where sampling wasn’t even common practice! Terry Riley used his Time Lag Accumulator – a delay/feedback machine based on two tape recorders – and a synthesizer to turn an old obscure r&b song into insanity. I’m glad I found this and look forward to checking out more of his stuff. This track is highly experimental and ahead of it’s time. Definitely listen in stereo and best with headphones!
Quite Sane – The Child Of Troubled Time
When trying to get other people into jazz, jazz enthusiasts often say “start with the classics” which is, in my opinion exactly the wrong thing to do. It may work for some, but I think most people need to develop an ear for jazz first. And the best way to do so is by listening to contemporary crossover jazz. And boy do I have a prime example for you! HNNNGGG it’s so good. The Child of Troubled Time is probably the best thing to come out of Anthony Tidd’s Quite Sane, a band he formed in the 90s. It’s a great mix of r&b, underground hip-hop, fusion and contemporary jazz. At times it has the flow of a 90s hip hop record, but it’s real jazz which makes it sound way more organic than using sampled jazz. Whether it’s a oldschool rap centric song like The Mack or soulful r&b singing like in The Promised Land or Short Stories, it’s always accompanied and steared by colourful chord progressions, Steve Coleman’s intricate sax and Tidd’s tight bass lines, inherently making this a jazz record.
Mamadou Diabate & Percussion Mania – Masaba Kan
Hey you! Yeah you! Do you like vibraphone music but would like a world music version of it? Try the BALAFON! Hailing from Burkina Faso, now living in Austria, Mamadou Diabate is a master of his craft. In the 13 tracks of this album he shows how the mastery of the balafon and peak improvisational finesse should sound. Accompanied by his 7-man band ‘Percussion Mania’ this makes for a good dive into the music of the little west african country. Buy it now or forget about it forever!