Author Archives: Ben Fischer

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (PAPA) – Little Africa [The Village]

Jamael Dean’s piano and Sharada Shashidar’s vocals open this beautiful burner that introduces the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra’s new label, The Village, to audiences for the first time. PAPA has been a breeding ground for the West Coast’s most daring and creative Black American Musicians. Infectious melodies and incredible collective improvisation.

Joel Ross – More? [Blue Note Records]

The first single off of Ross’ sophomore effort Who Are You seems like a natural continuation of King Maker with Immanuel Wilkins’ pungent sax and Ross’ shimmering vibes leading a tense charge through a churning eddy. Harmonically things are more mysterious and darker than they were on King Maker. Who Are You comes out in […]

Blu & Exile – Miles [Dirty Science Records]

Really beautiful, almost carnival-like beats are juxtaposed against serious and dense lyrics. A vivid imagery that’s come to saturate a truly poetic genre seems to be reinvented here with, of course, themes of colors.

Trivium – What the Dead Men Say [Roadrunner]

Highly melodic, dark and syncopated. Definitely within the Zeitgesit of metal today that one should check out just for the rhythms.

Georgia Anne Muldrow – Mama, You Can Bet! [eOne Music]

Music filled with loping grooves, drastic mood shifts, hip samples, and dissonant choirs. Muldrow has been called the modern day Nina Simone and, certainly in the field of artistic weight, this is an apt comparison.

John Fedchock NY Sextet – Into The Shadows [Summit Records]

From promoter: It’s the trombonist’s tenth album as leader, this time with an all-star group featuring trumpeter Scott Wendholt, tenor saxophonist Walt Weiskopf, pianist Allen Farnham, bassist David Finck, and drummer Eric Halvorson.

Matt Wilson – Hug [Palmetto]

From promoter: “Featuring Wilson’s long-running quartet with saxophonist Jeff Lederer, cornetist Kirk Knuffke and bassist Chris Lightcap, Hug documents one of jazz’s most potent and expressive working bands exploring a typically far-flung Wilsonian program.”

May Erlewine – Anyway [Sapsucker]

A mellow, groovy album co-led by Woody Goss of Vulfpeck fame. Everything about this album is silky smooth though and cohesive. Recommended track is ‘Palm of My Hand’.

Immanuel Wilkins – Omega [Blue Note]

Highly anticipated debut album from alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins. Very much of the zeitgeist with titles alluding to recent Civil Rights struggles (such as Ferguson, MO). The quartet presented here is energetic and powerful.

Moses Sumney – grae [Jagjaguwar]

Brilliant textures, beautiful lyrics, and a striking delivery. Sumney even samples some Esbjorn Svensson!

Lianne La Havas – Self Titled [Warner Records UK]

Five years since her last release, Lianne La Havas’ Self Titled release shows remarkable artistic growth with solid, earthy grooves and direct lyrics. “Sour Flower” is recommended.

Immanuel Wilkins – Warriors [Blue Note]

The first single off of Immanuel Wilkins’ upcoming release for Blue Note records, Omega. This album is going to be amazing as this track clearly shows.

Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher [Dead Oceans]

The second full length record from indie icon Phoebe Bridgers is harmonically strong, tonally muted, and derives much of its aura from that of Elliott Smith. Highly recommended for fans of any genre.

R.A.P Ferreira – Purple Moonlight Pages [Ruby Yacht]

A resident of Biddeford, ME, R.A.P Ferreira evokes the feelings of isolated suburban living in the Pine State. His lyrics are hard to pin down at times, but what is evident is how incredible a rhymer Ferreira is. The sense of realism is very appealing. Check the tracks for profanity before airplay.

The Mark Harvey Group – A Rite Four All Souls [Americas Musicworks]

From Promoter: “Trumpeter, composer and bandleaderHarvey has been an uncompromising explorer of new sonic territories for decades. He has performed in David Douglas’s Festival of New Trumpet Music; appeared at the Knitting Factory, the Village Gate, the Public Theater, Roulette, and the Berlin Jazz Festival among others; shared the stage with Jaki Byard, Geri Allen, Ricky […]

Gato Libre – Koneko [Libra]

From Promoter: “The group draws listeners in with its lyricism and simple melodies. But it is a deceptive simplicity. The trio develop their solos to sustain a meditative atmosphere as they play, blending improvisation and composition into an integrated whole. It all sounds effortless and relaxed, but it is the product of great musical discipline, close […]

MY TAM (Tammy Huynh) – Philly Pop [Self Released]

Tammy Huynh, a graduate from Temple University has been playing in and around Philly for the past few years and garnered attention as a pretty damn amazing vocalist. Huynh released Philly Pop, her first EP during the COVID-19 quarantine. “‘PHILLY POP’ (play on “City Pop”) is a mock radio station set in a dystopian future.” […]

Georgia Anne Muldrow, Jyoti – This Walk [eOne Music/SomeOthaShip Connect]

Hard to categorize, polyrhythmic, syncopated goodness from Georgia Anne Muldrow. Play for sure!

Jaimie Branch – FLY or DIE II: bird dogs of paradise [International Anthem Recording Co.]

Trumpeter Jaimie Branch released this powerful collection of politically charged songs in October of 2019. The tone of this album is moody and percussive; Branch is the only non-rhythm section player on the date. Fans of Bill Dixon and the Art Ensemble of Chicago will find a friend in these tunes.

Freddie Gibbs – Alfredo [ESGN/ALC/EMPIRE]

Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs released “Alfredo” with The Alchemist in late May to widespread acclaim. Gibbs’ muscular flow is juxtaposed by some killer, sensuous strings and synthesized open harmonies. Recommended. Check lyrics before playing.

Zach Fischer Quintet – Due North [Self Released]

The second recording and first official release by Montreal guitarist Zach Fischer showcases the writing talents of the leader and melodic inventiveness of a sympathetic group. The music is narrative of life and the feeling of being in a foreign environment at home; in its movements and contours, one’s listening conjures up these feelings and […]

Harish Raghavan – Calls For Action [Whirlwind Recordings]

Veteran bassist Harish Raghavan makes his debut as a leader for the UK’s Whirlwind Recordings label. Raghavan is joined by up and coming stars Joel Ross and Immanuel Wilkins more a melodically stunning and rhythmically dense set of 15 tunes. One wishes there were more.

Junius Paul – Ism [Internation Anthem Recording Co.]

International Anthem Recording Co., a Chicago-based label, has been releasing the new wave of, what this writer thinks to be, seminal jazz recordings. Of these recordings, bassist Junius Paul’s “Ism” is among the top creating a tapestry of ever changing sound courtesy of such luminaries as Tomeka Reid, Makaya McCraven, and Marquis Hill. Highly recommended […]

Pinegrove – Marigold [Rough Trade Records]

Montclair, New Jersey natives, Pinegrove, find themselves partnered up with Rough Trade Records for their fourth release, Marigold. Unlike their previous recordings, Marigold is quite positive with less adolescent angst and more early adult content. The Country/Americana influences that garnered them attention at conception takes a front row seat as indicated by the simpler harmonic […]

Frances Quinlan – Likewise [Saddle Creek]

The debut release from Hop Along lead singer Frances Quinlan is an oddly-structured, poppy confessional that combines elements of Indie and Electronic genres for a unique listen. Quinlan’s voice certainly steals the show here; it ranges from a whispery sweetness to a raging rasp complimented perfectly by dynamic instrumentals. Not to miss.