I never have enough time to cover every worthy release that comes my way, and quite a few got past me in 2014. Over the holidays, though, I had a chance to dive into a few of them, and so I’ll start the new year with a quick look at four 2014 releases that caught my fancy, from the Jon Armstrong Jazz Orchestra, the Fred Hersch Trio, Holly Muñoz, and Matt Ulery. Continue reading
Whatever was JazzTimes thinking? Their online reader’s poll didn’t even list bassist Matt Brewer as an option. No matter that he’s one of the premier young bassists in the world, who’s toured and/or recorded with such
luminaries as Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Antonio Sanchez, Greg Osby, and Steve Coleman, among others. Never mind that he was a top-three finalist in the Thelonious Monk competition. Forget that he released his first
album as a leader this year. Well, let’s not forget it, since Mythology (Criss Cross Jazz) is an
impressive collection of seven Brewer originals plus one from Ornette Coleman, all delivered with an astute “less is more” approach by Brewer and his first-call colleagues: Mark Turner (tenor), Steve Lehman (alto), Lage Lund (guitar), David Virelles (piano), and Marcus Gilmore (drums). Continue reading
Anne Vanschothorst, Ek Is Eik
(Big Round Records)
Dutch harpist Anne Vanschothorst fears
neither time nor space, luxuriating in vast
silences and in expanded moments that stretch a listener’s anticipation. On her most recent album, Ek Is Eik (Afrikaans for I Am Oak), she reveals herself as one of those
magicians—oh! I meant to type “musicians”—beyond categorization who can drop the
listener deep into a contemplative space of peace and restoration. Continue reading
Saxophonist Glenn Kostur has had nothing but trouble with the name of the sextet he is
accidentally headlining. When Tom Guralnick, executive director of the Outpost Performance Space, offered him a Thursday night in the fall season, Kostur immediately thought of the nameless sextet that had coalesced last spring for a faculty recital by trombonist Chris Buckholz and a subsequent recording project.
“We enjoyed playing together, and we liked the sextet format,” says Kostur. So the group, which also included Paul Gonzales on trumpet, Stu MacAskie on piano, Colin Deuble on bass, and
Arnaldo Acosta on drums, decided to stay together and develop a repertoire.
With a slot to fill on the Outpost calendar, the band needed a name, and Kostur suggested Deep Six to the band members. What no one expected is that Deep Six, a perfectly benign play on words, somehow got tangled up—and I’m guessing here—with the title of a famous
pornographic movie in some minds. In fact, when Kostur ran the name out for inspection at a party, he induced a bit of blushing among the ladies.
The group settled on Six of One, but deep swing is still on their menu. Continue reading