Seymour reads the Constitution

Brad Mehldau is one of the greatest exponents of jazz piano in the world and has released a new album ‘Seymour Reads the Constitution’ with his regular trio that shows the power of beautifully played well-interpreted songs, whether they be by Paul McCartney or Frederick Loewe.

Shiroi

Mansur Brown is guitar player on the jazz label ‘Black Focus’ and his album Shiroi (which apparently means white in Japanese) is a great showcase for his skills. Purely instrumental, the album manages to hold your attention throughout and has been on constant rotation in my home this month. Here’s a sample

Under Her Spell

Esperanza Spalding is a jazz/R’n’B/pop singer who doesn’t neatly fit into the typical musical genres of today. Here new album ’12 Little Spells’, was launched a track at a time, though you can hear it in its beautiful entirety on Spotify. The album has been accompanied by a quite magical stage show featuring incredible choreography, …

Kinfolk

Nate Smith is a jazz drummer of the highest quality. In fact, many consider him to be the best in the world ( something Mark Guiliana might like to dispute) His album ‘Kinfolk: Postcards from Everywhere’ is a superbly accessible album that exists in the land where Pop meets jazz. One of the standout tracks …

Heaven on Earth

There seems to be a bit of jazz revival going on at the moment. In America Kamasi Washington is crossing over into the pop/rock world while in London for the last few years there’s been a growing number of Jazz artists like Bill Laurance, Matthew Halsall, Jacob Collier, Moses Boyd, and Shabaka Hutchings. Here is …

Choose Heroin, Choose Life.

The message of the Chet Baker biopic ‘Born to be Blue’ is not perhaps as romantic as his music. It amounts to this. When given the choice between the devoted love of a good woman and a trumpet and a boatload of heroin, go for the latter. This perhaps surprising conclusion is at the very …

Antonio Sanchez. The Unexpected Virtue of Jazz

There have been a series of films over the last couple of years that have had their soundtracks performed live by their composers in New York, ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ and ‘There Will be Blood’ to name but two. Birdman is the latest to be given the honor with Anthony Sanchez doing the honors …

Sketches of Spain

Jazz and flamenco? Do they really go together? On the face of it the idea seems vaguely preposterous and the results potentially heinous. But in reality it turns out they’re made for each other. Well certainly if the album ‘Jazz Flamenco’ is anything to go by. Spanish Jazzman Pedro Iturralde is behind the double album, …

Le Pas du Chat Noir

ECM is a label responsible for some of Europe’s finest jazz recordings. Often more reflective and moody than barnstorming, it’s a place I’ve often checked for more mellow introspective sounds. One of my recent discoveries is the Tunisian Oud player Anouar Brahem. His album ‘Le pas du chat noir’ is one of the more haunting …

Gregory Porter at Town Hall, NYC

It’s a long time since I enjoyed a concert as thoroughly as I enjoyed Gregory Porter at Town Hall. His charisma is undeniable and his voice is unsurpassable. He even found time in between blowing the roof off with the power of his voice to allow a fan to propose to his girlfriend. Something neither …