Monthly Archives: February 2014

Alsarah and the Nubatones – Silt (Wonderwheel)

New & different! Pentatonic music of the lower Nubian region of Egypt that was flooded in 1970 when the Aswan High Dam was built. The music was re-imagined by vocalist & composer Alsarah from Khartoum, Sudan, now based in Brooklyn, & percussionist Rami El Aasser, and performed along with Haig Manoukian (oud, lute) & Mawuena […]

Tinariwen – Emmaar (Anti-)

A return to the raw, bluesy, guitar-dominated tunes that these Sahara Desert Touareg musicians are known for. Born in Mali, displaced to Algeria in the 60s, & repatriated in the 80’s, new troubles in Mali have caused them to leave again; this CD was recorded in the California high desert at Joshua Tree National Park. […]

Satanique Samba Trio – Badtriptych (Far Out)

A “best of” collection of tracks from this talented Brazilian sextet (not trio), featuring experimental music with a distinct Brazilian tropicália flavor. The name of the CD refers to a rough psychedelic trip, and the music is trippy, but it also displays some of the peculiar innovative sensibilities of Hermeto Pascoal and a certain Zappa-esque […]

ANTH: Haiti – Haiti Direct (Strut)

A Haitian musical renaissance began in the late 1950s when Papa “Doc” Duvalier took power & sought to promote Haitian nationalism by promoting “authentic” Haitian music & competing on the airwaves with merengue from the Dominican Republic next door. Here is a 2-CD sampler of real Haitian music from the ensuing 20 years. Super liner […]

Jamaze – Around the World (MSY)

From Helsinki Finland, this 5-piece band has its roots in jazz but sought to create a musical journey around the world, incorporating styles from the Balkans, China, Australian aborigines & more. Still fairly rooted in jazz, however, and with some nice vocals in English.

Bandcamp Sampler- Rushingwind and Mucklow

When you hear the birds and flute in the track Old Chef’s Pipe you will feel what this duet is often described as pleasant and soothing.   In Plain Rider the best of flute and electric guitar.  With voice on Among The Ancients in a vocable chant blends with electric guitar and flute playing on […]

Ryan Cohan – “The River”

This Chicago pianist has deep  composing and orchestrating experience and here presents a suite of originals that truly ‘flow’. The septet is masterful and the exudes a kind of inner spirit that is joyful.  ‘The River’ is inspired by Mr. Cohan’s State Department tour through East Africa.  The fine tunes show off Ryan’s adept blending […]

Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio – self-titled

The two elder statesmen on this are remarkable – the fulfillment of Mr. Gibbs dream. The drummer rises, admirably, to what must have been a daunting occasion.  He is not merely the timekeeper here. He is tastefully assertive and adds much to the successful renderings of jazz standards, pop tunes and four of his own […]

Kenny Garrett – “Pushing the World Away”

Mr. Garrett’s signature ‘tart’ sound, Coltrane influenced sensibility and fine composing have produced another winner. First track is a high energy opener, #3 is a Cuban Mambo, #5 -Calypso, #4 a medium tempo waltz, #8 is in 5/4 meter with chanting. His piece dedicated to his co-producer finds Kenny playing piano with bass/drums/strings  (#10).  In […]

Cava Menzies / Nick Phillips – “Moment to Moment”

A CD of ballads. Spacious and intimate.  Fine support from bass/drums.   This slow, gentle music blends dark and light to create a unique space for the listener.  Brings to mind the legendary ballad playing of Miles Davis. Two originals and six ‘standards’- old and new.  Beautiful.

Amir ElSaffar – “Alchemy”

Amir has been residing in Egypt of late, further absorbing the musical language of the middle east. The first 3 tracks are based on Sumerian/Babylonian modes. Tracks 4-7 employ ElSaffar’s own tunung system which makes use of quarter-tones (microtonality).  His trumpet playing , at times, brings to mind Woody Shaw.  If things seem ‘out-of-tune’ at […]

Dhafer Youssef – Birds Requiem (OKeh)

A suite of 11 original, interconnected compositions by this Tunisian master of the oud (a fretless 11-string instrument in the lute family) who is also a stunning vocalist. Accompaniment by clarinet, trumpet, electric guitar, piano, double bass, percussion, & kanun (like a zither). Contemplative, emotional, & inspiring oriental avant/jazz. Read more and listen here  

Corina Bartra & Her Azu Project – Tributo A Chabuca Granada (Blue Spiral)

A tribute to Peruvian singer, composer, & musical legend María Isabel Granda Larco (“Chabuca Granda;” 1920-1983; the stature on the cover is her) by another more contemporary & amply talented Peruvian female vocalist & composer, featuring her own pioneering Afro-Peruvian jazz interpretations of Granda’s music. A real treat!

Jimmy Parramore – Pour Francoise (self-released)

Melancholy French-style chanson from an American ex-pat & Korean War vet who has spent much of his life in Switzerland. Sung in a rich, emotive voice (in French & English), and dedicated to the memory of his now-departed wife and soul-mate, Francoise. RIYL Serge Gainsbourg.

ANTH: Arabic – The Rough Guide to Arabic Café (World Music Network)

Nice little collection of authentic Arabic café music; the sort you’d hear drifting out of sidewalk eateries & record stores in North Africa or as far northeast as Lebanon (but nothing further east). Authentic, evocative, & easy on the ears. Arabic Café booklet with details about the artists

Bossacucanova – Our Kind of Bossa (Six Degrees)

This legendary Brazilian band celebrates its 15th anniversary with a bossa nova tour-de-force featuring a host of special guests (primarily vocalists) with whom they have collaborated in the past. Light, breezy, happy Brazilian bossa tunes, right from the source.

Paul Hindemith–Resolve

Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman performs modern works for various-sized ensembles. The Sonata for Clarinet and Piano is particularly nice!

Bruno Maderna–Music in Two Dimensions : Works for Flute

Ranging from classical to avant-garde. Play most. Trk 5 eerie w/ computer.

Bram Van Camp–The Feasts of Fear & Agony

Classical/avant-garde works for violin, solo, with soprano or ensemble. Sample 4 & 5.

Bernard Rands–Piano Music 1960-2010

Contemporary, abstract pieces for one or two pianos. Interesting, varied.

Florencio Asenjo–El Gran Teatro del Mundo

Self-described “maximalist” (little repetition) composer’s orchestral pieces. Interesting!

American Masterpieces for Solo Percussion

Avant-garde pieces for percussion. Cage’s dark, long. Try Babbitt’s.

J.S. Bach–Inventions & Sinfonias

Simone Dinnerstein performs Bach’s teaching pieces. Nice!

Elbow – New York Morning (single)

“New York Morning” is the first single from Elbow’s latest album The Take Off and Landing of Everything, which will be released on March 11. It’s quite good for the first single, a soft, pleasant song with a nice buildup. The percussion has a very cool sound, and the vocals sound a little like Peter […]

U.S. Royalty – Blue Sunshine

Blue Sunshine is the second album from Washington, D.C. band U.S. Royalty. The music on here is a variety of Indie rock with arena ambitions and clear classic rock influences. Sounds like a mix of Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac and early U2. The lyrics aren’t that great but the musicianship is strong and makes up […]