Jazz Albums - Weekly Listening Jun 20-26

Last week's six records. All recommended.


Jack DeJohnette: drums, piano; Ravi Coltrane: saxophones; Matthew Garrison: electric bass.

A perplexing odyssey into a spiritual splendor is the best gift from In Movement, a tour de force engagement of inner meditations and beneficial energy fluxes. The veteran drummer Jack DeJohnette, 73, doesn’t stop to surprise and marvel us with the musicality of his compositions and excellence of his drumming. Here, he couldn’t have had better company since the saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and the electric bassist Matthew Garrison were exemplary in their work. The selection of tunes, containing the dazzling "Alabama" by John Coltrane and a beautiful ad lib version of “Blue in Green” by Miles Davis, are part of a stunning mix of peaceful composures, frenzy exaltations, and thrilling jazz-funk pieces. 
Undoubtedly, this is my favorite record of 2016 so far.

Favorite Tracks:
01 – Alabama ► 02 – In Movement ► 07 – Rashied


Rez Abbasi: guitar; Mark Shim: tenor saxophone; Ben Stivers: keyboards; Kenny Grohowski: drums.

Throughout the years, the gifted Pakistan-born American guitarist, Rez Abbasi, has developed impressive compositional skills and impeccable techniques he put into practice in this beautiful album. 
His electrifying sound and entrancing improvisations gain even more power and meaning in Behind the Vibration, one of the year’s must-listen and his best album to date. This happens thanks to the tangible progressive fusion he practices with the complicity of his fresh new quartet, Junction. There’s a mordant vitality that comes from Shim’s eloquent and anxious phrasings, reminiscing Steve Lehman’s attacks, and the impactful rhythmic variations imposed by Stevens and Grohowski.

Favorite Tracks:
02 – Groundswell ► 04 – Uncommon Sense ► 08 – Matter Falls


Carla Bley: piano; Steve Swallow: bass; Andy Sheppard: saxophones.

Following Trios, dated from 2013, Andando el Tiempo shows us pianist Carla Bley teaming up again with the bassist Steve Swallow and the saxophonist Andy Sheppard. The music, meditative and delicate, is an amalgamation of selective jazz with traces of yearning tango and classical.
Throughout these five transparent reflections, Bley often incurs into a gentle romanticism in her approach, which is enriched by Swallow’s tuneful high-pitched interventions and Sheppard’s ruminative divagations.

Favorite Tracks: 02 – Potación de Guaya ► 04 – Saints Alive! ► 05 – Naked Bridges / Diving Brides


Jane Ira Bloom: soprano saxophone; Mark Helias: bass; Bobby Previte: drums.

When we think of soprano saxophonists in the avant-jazz panorama, the name of Jane Ira Bloom pops up immediately, together with her fellow iconic musicians Dave Liebman and Steve Lacy, the latter already deceased. 
“Early Americans” catapults Bloom’s vertiginous melodic streams into the highly coordinated structures created by Helias and Previte, a reputable rhythm section. As versatile executants, the trio offers us a variety of moods, tempos, and approaches. Still, they speak identical idioms and share the same desire of making the tunes sound unique. Working diligently to shape the collective, they don’t refrain from flying high whenever it’s time to exhibit individual capabilities.

Favorite Tracks:
01 – Song Patrol ► 02 – Dangerous Times ► 12 – Big Bill


David Gilmore: guitar; Marcus Strickland: saxophones, bass clarinet; Luis Perdomo: piano; Ben Williams: bass; Antonio Sanchez: drums.

There are many aspects to praise in David Gilmore’s Energies of Change, a fruitful rendering that transpires motivation and competence at the same time that allows pure energy to flow. 
The excellent musicians, all of them respected leaders in their own right, experience the right balance and assemble Gilmore’s compositions with sufficient ingredients to broad our palate. Sparkling conversational exchanges occurring within dynamic passages are recurrent throughout the songs, which work as recipients for an intertwining of post-bop and fusion.

Favorite Tracks:
01 – Energies of Change ► 02 – Raja Guna ► 07 – Awakenings


Jaimeo Brown: drums; Chris Sholar: guitar; Jaleel Shaw: alto saxophone; JD Allen: tenor: saxophone; Big Yuki: keyboards; James Francies: keyboards; Marcia Miget: flute. 

Understated drummer/percussionist Jaimeo Brown, pairing with the guitarist/ producer Chris Sholar, dabbles in the roots, giving it the proper contemporary touch to fit in today’s trendy currents. His conceptual work songs are established over samples that carry traditional blues, African-American slave protests, and oriental lamentations. 
Brown’s trippy hip-hop beats and Sholar’s dirty guitar invite us to a rainbow of harmonious musical layers that include tasteful electronic elements, intentional vocal reproductions, atmospheric keyboard sounds, and resplendent saxophone melodies drawn by Jaleel Shaw and JD Allen.

Favorite Tracks:
04 – Safflower ► 07 – 2113 ► 12 – The Valley