November 20, 2019

Tomas Fujiwara - 7 Poets Trio [2019]

This review was published on NextBop

When one thinks of jazz trios, the combination found on 7 Poets Trio is probably not what comes to mind. Then again, when looking at the members of this trio, each one being a mainstay in the boundary pushing avant-garde jazz scene of New York City, it makes perfect sense. 7 Poets Trio is a riveting collaboration between Patricia Brennan (vibraphone), Tomeka Reid (cello) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums). All of the compositions here, with the exception of "Questions", were written by Fujiwara exclusively for Reid and Brennan and it definitely shows - the connection among the three musicians is extraordinary. 

October 17, 2019

Yazz Ahmed - Polyhymnia [2019]

This review was published on NextBop

It's no secret to those that follow jazz that London is one of the places to be right now. The English capital has an exciting young scene. Bahraini-British trumpeter Yazz Ahmed is extremely active within this scene, having released her sophomore record, the much acclaimed La Saboteuse, in 2017. La Saboteuse was composed of many original compositions that featured a potent combination of Arabic melodies, strong chops and forward thinking jazz fusion. In Polyhymnia, Ahmed returns with a more expansive version of her vision, aided by over 20 musicians throughout the album's six tracks. The trumpeter's unique brand of big band is dedicated to important women throughout history such as civil rights icon Rosa Parks ("2857"), prominent activist for female education Malala Yousafzai ("One Girl Among Many"), and the first female Saudi Arabian film director, Haifaa al-Mansour ("Lahan al-Mansour").

August 30, 2019

Andrew Munsey - High Tide [2019]

This review was published on NextBop

Debut records can make or break an artist, but it seems that drummer Andrew Munsey already has it figured out. Munsey has worked in the past as a sideman and a producer, but he takes his first step as a bandleader on High Tide. The album features ten strong compositions that are brought to life by a talented quintet. The drummer is joined by Steph Richards (trumpet, flugelhorn), Ochion Jewell (tenor saxophone, kalimba), Amino Belyamani (piano, fender rhodes) and Sam Minaie (double bass). 

August 25, 2019

Brandee Younger - Soul Awakening [2019]

This review was published on NextBop

Although Soul Awakening officially carries a 2019 release date, it was finished much earlier. Having been recorded in 2012 and completed in 2013, Harpist Brandee Younger's fourth album as a leader has been sitting in the vaults for some time. With the high quality on display here, the first thing many listeners will be wondering throughout the opening track ("Soulris") is how in the world this record was shelved for so long.

Sleater-Kinney - The Center Won't Hold [2019]

On January 8, 2019, Sleater-Kinney hit the indie-rock world with the shock announcement that they were recording a new album. The news came by way of a picture that included the band - Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss - and St. Vincent (Annie Clark), who was listed as the record's producer. The inclusion of Clark, an artist that is part of the generation of indie-rock listeners that were deeply influenced by Sleater-Kinney, in a way felt like things coming full circle. The teachers were going to benefit from how they inspired the student.