April 9, 2019

Irreversible Entanglements & Pat Thomas - 5.4.18 [2019]

This review was published on NextBop

Irreversible Entanglements burst onto the avant-garde jazz scene with a fascinating debut that was as abrasive as it was captivating. The roar of Camae Ayewa's (a.k.a. Moor Mother) socio-political poetry was well met by a driving rhythm section (Luke Stewart on bass, Tcheser Holmes on drums) and furious horns (Aquiles Navarro on trumpet, Keir Neuringer on alto saxophone). While the group's first project didn't exactly propel them into avant-jazz stardom, it was extremely well received and led to them being booked in the USA and abroad. 5.4.18 is a recording of Irreversible Entanglements' first show in London, and throughout its 83 minutes, there's no doubt that this band is something special.

March 3, 2019

Steph Richards - Take The Neon Lights [2019]

This review was published on NextBop

Although trumpeter Steph Richards hails from Canada, she has a deep connection with New York City. Like many modern jazz musicians, Richards' has built a name for herself in New York City, having worked with a wide range of artists that includes indie-pop stalwarts such as St. Vincent and accomplished jazz experimentalists like Sylvie Courvoisier. Richards' sophomore album as a bandleader, Take The Neon Lights, is an adventurous work dedicated to her musical home. Throughout the album's 44 minutes, Richards, accompanied by James Carney (piano), Sam Minaie (bass) and Andrew Munsey (drums) play a unique collection of compositions with a healthy balance between the subtle and the frenetic.

March 2, 2019

Solange - When I Get Home [2019]

After her commercial breakthrough with the fantastic A Seat At The Table, Solange is back with another great record. Like its predecessor, When I Get Home has a strong focus on the mellow instead of the bombastic, however, this time around the structure is quite different. Although A Seat At The Table was a strong project lyrically and musically, it was an album defined by the power of Solange's words, which were at the forefront of its conversation. Conversely, on When I Get Home, the lyrics are much less pointed and there is a significantly less amount of them. While there are moments like the wittily rapped "Binz" that offer instantly quotable soundbites ("dollars never show up on CP time"), this record finds its power in the fruitful marriage between the impressive instrumentation and the mantras of Solange's lovely voice. When I Get Home features Solange's compositional style diving even further into the funk-and-jazz-tinged Neo-Soul rabbit hole that previous tracks like "Weary" and "Junie" hinted at. 

February 15, 2019

Stephan Crump's Rosetta Trio - Outliers [2019]

This review was published on NextBop

Stephan Crump has an impressive resume. In just the past two years the bassist has been a part of mesmerizing feats of collective improvisation (Planktonic Finales with Ingrid Laubrock and Cory Smythe) and one of the most impressive post-bop outfits in modern jazz (Far From Over with the Vijay Iyer Sextet). Much of Crump's work as a sideman and collaborator shows that he works extremely well in a free and spontaneous context. Despite this, throughout the years Crump's Rosetta Trio has shown the strength of the other, more traditionally structured side of his talent.

January 14, 2019

Ingrid Laubrock - Contemporary Chaos Practices [2018]

This review was published on NextBop

German saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, a musician who usually works in relatively small jazz groups, is now taking her vision to the orchestra. With two pieces full of engrossing discord and a contemporary fusion with traits of classical music and avant-garde jazz improvisation, Contemporary Chaos Practices is an extremely apt title. The soloists featured include Laubrock and other musicians that are a part of the New York City experimental jazz scene where the saxophonist is a mainstay: Kris Davis (piano), Mary Halvorson (guitar) and Nate Wooley (Trumpet).