As more people get vaccinated and concert venues open their doors once again, some sort of normalcy seems within reach. Meanwhile, artists are continuing to release excellent music to help us through these strange times. Here are notes on a few new jazz releases you might want to check out.
á,” one of my personal favorites, in part because of the delightful way it moves. Three tracks on this album feature vocals. The first of these is “Bateu, Levou/Who’s Wrong Or Right?” with Téka Penteriche and Trist Curless. “You rant and rave and overanalyze/You want a war/Who needs those anymore?” And the presence of vocalists does not mean a lack of a good lead on bass, for in the second half of this track David Finck certainly delivers. Kelly Mittleman provides the vocal work on “So What,” a track that also features some nice work on saxophone. Then Melissa Errico sings on “I Remember,” which was written by David Finck and Jack Murphy, a gorgeous track to conclude the album. This album is scheduled to be released on October 1, 2021.
Because she fully inhabits each song, it means a different vocal approach depending on the track’s mood, so in “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most” we hear a different sound from her. That one also features a rather unusual, gentle drum solo. Then with the trio of Arturo O’Farrill on piano, Jonathan Gilley on bass, and Willard Dyson on drums, she tackles Franz Schubert’s “Organ Grinder.” This track features some moving work on bass, and then there is a surprising section in the second half with some of the lines delivered almost as spoken word, with an improvised feel. With that same trio, she sings “Summertime.” I’ve said it often, but you can never go wrong with Gershwin. And this trio delivers a version that is unusual right from its opening, creating a strange atmosphere from which Alexis Parsons’ voice emerges. It is a different sort of summer in these musicians’ hands. This is a fresh approach that is captivating. The album opened with a Cole Porter song, and it likewise closes with one, “In The Still Of The Night,” featuring the trio of David Berkman, Drew Gress and Matt Wilson. This one also has a gorgeous and intimate sound, coming from those hours so late that time seems to have stopped entirely. This album is scheduled to be released on October 1, 2021.
Jackson Potter: “Restless” – Guitarist Jackson Potter’s debut album features mostly original compositions, beginning with “Bird Flu,” an energetic piece that contains some delicious leads on piano and guitar and saxophone, and seems to be in constant motion. What is exciting about this piece is that during a lead the other musicians do not settle into the background waiting their turns, but keep up their own energy and fantastic work. The band is made up of Patrick Leavy on bass, Gibb Mandish on drums, and Leo Folsom on piano, with David Mason on alto saxophone, Joey Curreri on trumpet, and Carter Key on tenor trombone. “Bird Flu” is followed by “Falling Grace,” one of only two covers, this one written by Steve Swallow. As with the opening track, there is a strong sense of movement here, particularly in Jackson Potter’s guitar work, which seems to flow and dance. Then “Mulberry Tree” has a pleasant and warm, nostalgic vibe. “Sophia’s Waltz” has a sweet, gentle sound, a love song that will bring to mind that special person in your life. Then “Amalfi” features some really good work on drums, particularly toward the end. The album’s second cover is Horace Silver’s “Peace,” which begins with a pretty guitar solo, and features a wonderful lead on bass. That’s followed by “Hindsight Is 2020,” which was written during the pandemic. And though 2020 is technically in the past, the pandemic certainly isn’t, and most of the events and effects of last year are still with us, and so this track doesn’t really look back, but captures the current mood. It features some great work on drums, as well as from the horn section. The album concludes with “Restless,” which comes as a surprise, Jackson Potter turning to more of a rock guitar sound at the beginning. Before long, this track commands your attention. This album is scheduled to be released on October 8, 2021.