Loose ends, Vol. 2

So much music, so little time. Here are four new albums worth checking out.

“So much music, so little time,” as WRIR DJ Mr. Jazz would say. Like a two hour radio show, there’s only so much music we can feature on this site. Luckily for you, that means you get only the best. Without further ado, here are four new albums worth checking out.

Rafi Malkiel – Water (Tzadik 2010)

Listen to “Gilgool”:

http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/sep2010/04%20Gilgool.mp3|titles=Gilgool|artists=Rafi Malkiel]

When multiple cultures are at play in influencing a music, it can lead to some interesting results. When different environments are at play, a more tangible fusion emerges. It’s like so on Israeli trombonist Rafi Malkiel’s newest album for John Zorn’s Tzadik label, which seems to take place where the desert meets the sea. At times, the music is a mere suggestion of water — like an oasis — while percussionists literally and audibly play water and Malkiel blows on his invented “Aguaphonium.”

Jazz, salsa, the blues, and reggae are represented throughout, but Malkiel’s Moroccan family roots (which combines Spanish and Jewish elements) is the main voice that shapes all. With top-notch musicians like trumpeter Avishai Cohen, clarinetist Anat Cohen, and flutist Itai Kriss, Malkiel’s music puts emphasis on rich textures as well as the unique individual solo voices. This is a sure contender for best jazz album of 2010.


Personnel: Rafi Malkiel (trombone, euphonium, tuba); Itai Kriss (flute); Anat Cohen (clarinet); Chris Karlic (bass clarinet, tenor saxophone); Gili Sharett (bassoon); Avishai Cohen (trumpet); Jack Glottman, Pablo Mayor (piano); Daniel Freedman (drums); Anthony Carrillo (congas, bongos, claves); Mauricio Herrera (congas, timbales); Benny Koonyevsky, Nestor Gómez, Shane Shanahan (percussion).

James Moody – 4B (IPO 2010)

Listen to “O.P. Update”:

http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/sep2010/06%20O.P.%20Update.mp3|titles=O.P. Update|artists=James Moody]

The tenor saxophonist got his start in Dizzy Gillespie’s band in 1946 where he would also meet pianist Kenny Barron, much later being recognized as an NEA Jazz Master. 4B is the follow up to last year’s 4A and was recorded the day after the first, employing the same rhythm section of bassist Todd Coolman and drummer Lewis Nash. Moody’s straight-tone playing matches up with Coolman on the bassist’s composition “O.P. Update,” where we hear a little from everyone.


Personnel: James Moody (tenor saxophone), Kenny Barron (piano), Todd Coolman (bass), Lewis Nash (drums).

Odean Pope – Odean’s List (In+Out 2010)

Listen to “You and Me”:

http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/sep2010/09%20You%20and%20Me.mp3|titles=You and Me|artists=Odean Pope]

The longtime Max Roach side man and Philadelphia player rounded up his favorite musicians to produce “Odean’s List,” a collection of eight Pope originals and two standards. The tenor saxophonist’s octet has a brash small-big-band sound, James Carter’s baritone sax biting from the low end and Pope’s bright solos keeping the sound on edge. On “You and Me,” we hear solos from the leader as well as trumpeter Terell Stafford after an Oliver Nelson-like theme. With Jeff “Tain” Watts behind the drums, the piece — as well as the remainder of the album — has stop-and-go momentum and capabilities to engage deeply.


Personnel: Odean Pope, Walter Blanding (tenor saxophone); James Carter (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); David Weiss, Terell Stafford (trumpet); Jeff “Tain” Watts (drums); George Burton (piano); Lee Smith (bass).

Jeb Bishop Trio – 2009 (Better Animal Recordings 2009)

Listen to “Jacket Weather”:

http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/sep2010/03%20Jacket%20Weather.mp3|titles=Jacket Weather|artists=Jeb Bishop Trio]

Upcoming Richmond performance aside, trombonist Jeb Bishop’s new album is excellent. The chordless trombone-bass-drums trio from Chicago bridges the straight-ahead/avant-garde divide, pulling from a wide range of styles and moods but never without reason. The three sometimes fill the holes left by the instruments they have excluded and at other times embrace the group’s own bare branches. No one piece summarizes the album well; bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Frank Rosaly keep things so interesting that even the most unlikely listeners will find themselves entranced, but Bishop’s sound on the trombone alone should be able to get that done.


Personnel: Jeb Bishop (trombone), Jason Roebke (bass), Frank Rosaly (drums).

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Dean Christesen

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