One of the downsides to so much good music coming out this year is that I don't get nearly enough time to enjoy or write about everything I want. And so I've been remiss in mentioning one of the many great new albums from this year -- On the Way by Negroni's Trio. I very recently discovered the trio -- Puerto Rican-born pianist José Negroni and his son Nomar on drums, as well as a rotating bassist -- through the magic of the internet and they are my favorite current jazz act. In many ways they've supplanted The Bad Plus as my go-to group for adventurous, muscular jazz. If you really want to get technical, you can consider their music Latin jazz, but that's just a label. What it is is stirring, melodic, daring music that any music fan can appreciate. On the Way -- the group's seventh
Sigh. Once again there's so much music and so little time. In fact, most of albums on this list can't properly be considered "new" anymore, but that's life. Dave King - Indelicate (Sunnyside Records) King has already established himself as a jazz percussionist par excellence with the Bad Plus and Happy Apple, but here he decides to carry the entire load himself. While I'd love to say that Indelicate is a prime example of a talented artist finally allowed to break free from the shackles of the group format, that isn't really the case here. King's muscular and primal rhythmic approach to the drum kit carries over to the piano but it becomes clear fairly quickly that while King has a number of good ideas (among them the simple but engaging "Homage: Young People" and the bouncy "I
Man, I take a short break from updating the site and, just like that, I'm buried under a pile of new music releases. Not to mention, of course, the Beatles remasters. So with no big preamble, let's get right into it... Ace Frehley - Anomaly (Brooklyn Born Records) Peter Criss couldn't do it, Paul Stanley almost did it, and who the hell knows what Gene Simmons was trying to do. I'm speaking, of course, about original Kiss members putting out a solo album this decade that even approached their best work from previous decades. So how does the Spaceman fare on his first release since George Bush Sr. was president? Pretty decently, by and large. Sure the album art is...well, it sucks. It's just bad. But who even notices such things anymore? The music's the thing, and Ace acqu
Patrick Jarenwattananon over at NPR's A Blog Supreme posits a most interesting challenge - name five albums I'd recommend to someone looking to get into jazz. The twist is that the list needs to made up of recording from the last decade or so, in order to showcase what jazz is about today rather than in its heyday. In other words, no Kind of Blue or Time Out (even 50th anniversary reissues). Hmmmmm.... So here's my list in no particular order, in case anyone reading this is looking for one collection of high-quality, contemporary jazz. 1. Robert Glasper, In My Element (Blue Note, 2007) - As much as I do like Glasper's latest offering I think it would be too jarring for someone just getting into jazz. In My Element showcases Glasper's ability to meld his muscular yet cerebral styl
Just to show that I put my money where my mouth is, here's my little promotional effort for modern jazz. Readers of this site know how much I love the Bad Plus, and here's a taste why. It's an edited version of "Physical Cities" from the group's 2007 Prog album. It's aggressive and muscular jazz, but still has great melody.
From Idolator via the AV Club comes a pretty cool music meme - compile a list of your favorite albums, with one for each year you've been alive. Sounds easy enough, but some years are positively stacked with music I love. Forcing me to choose among my musical children is just so...cruel. For me the most bountiful years were 1975-1978, 1980, 1982-1984, 1990, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2006, and 2007. 1975 - Kiss, Alive! 1976 - Led Zeppelin, Presence 1977 - Rush, A Farewell to Kings 1978 - Ace Frehley/Kiss, Ace Frehley 1979 - Pink Floyd, The Wall 1980 - Genesis, Duke 1981 - Rush, Moving Pictures 1982 - Rush, Signals 1983 - Iron Maiden, Piece of Mind 1984 - Iron Maiden, Powerslave 1985 - Kiss, Asylum 1986 - Queensrÿche, Rage for Order 1987 - Anthrax, Among the Living 1988 - Queensr
It was quite a big weekend for the Bad Plus - in addition to a two-night stand at Chris' Jazz Café in Philadelphia, the Midwest-based jazz trio made an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on Friday. I caught them for the early set on Saturday (the 2nd night), and if there was any post-Conan letdown it was not apparent. The band played a tight set that showcased their strengths - chops, melody, and humor. (more…)