Streamnotes: December 31, 2022


Most of these are short notes/reviews based on streaming records from Napster (formerly Rhapsody; other sources are noted in brackets). They are snap judgments, usually based on one or two plays, accumulated since my last post along these lines, back on November 28. Past reviews and more information are available here (20677+ records).


Recent Releases

$ilkmoney: I Don't Give a Fuck About This Rap Shit, Imma Just Drop Until I Don't Feel Like It Anymore (2022, DB$B): Rapper from Virginia, fourth album, this title only slightly longer than the others. B+(**) [sp]

Alex Acuña: Gifts (2021 [2022], Le Coq): Drummer, originally from Peru, moved to Puerto Rico in 1967 and on to Las Vegas in 1974. Played in Weather Report 1975-78, many side-credits since along with a few albums he led. Peruvian saxophonist Lorenzo Ferrero stands out among a fine Latin jazz ensemble. B+(**) [sp]

Adeem the Artist: White Trash Revelry (2022, Four Quarters): Country singer-songwriter Adem Bingham, originally a "seventh-generation Carolinian," considered the ministry before a songwriting bug and other concerns led to a very good debut album called Cast-Iron Pansexual. Here a deep dive into his "white trash" roots generates an even better sequel. A- [sp]

[Ahmed]: Ahad/Wahid (2022, A Cheeseboard Production, EP): Two songs, 11:04, a free jazz quartet with Pat Thomas (piano), Antonin Gerbal (drums), Joel Grip (bass), and Seymour Wright (alto sax). They had a good album out in 2021. This could fit into another. B+(*) [bc]

Taru Alexander: Echoes of the Masters (2022, Sunnyside): Drummer, father a saxophonist, started early, playing with Reggie Workman at 13. First album, cover surrounds his picture with a name cloud of various sizes, of which I can make out Billy Higgins and Roland Alexander near the top, elsewhere Tony Williams, Mulgrew Miller, McCoy Tyner, John Coltrane, and largest of all, Freddie Hubbard. Actual group here has Antoine Roney (tenor sax), James Hurt (piano), and Rashaan Carter (bass), with Hanka G. singing one track. B+(***) [sp]

Rodrigo Amado: Refraction Solo: Live at Church of the Holy Ghost (2021 [2022], Trost): Tenor saxophonist from Portugal, I've heard 25 of his albums since Lisbon Improvisation Players in 2002, and this is the 12th I've A-listed, including all but one of the last nine. What makes this one improbable is that it's solo -- as much as I love tenor sax, it's hard for any monophonic instrument to satisfy without some rhythm to nudge it along and/or bass for harmonics (or piano for both). Yet this one works: it opens with "Sweet Freedom," a profound (20:54) meditation on Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Rollins -- a quote from the latter always grabs me -- and two shorter pieces don't outstay their welcome (total: 33:41). A- [cd]

Zoh Amba: O, Sun (2021 [2022], Tzadik): Young tenor saxophonist, from Tennessee, first album of many released in 2022 -- I count six in my tracking file -- making her enough of a big deal that she got an in-depth profile in the New York Times. Quartet with Micah Thomas (piano), Thomas Morgan (bass), and Joey Baron (drums), with producer John Zorn joining for one track (alto sax, on "Holy Din"). Some hot streaks, but mostly this is toned down nicely. A- [dl]

JoVia Armstrong & Eunoia Society: The Antidote Suite (2022, Black Earth Music): First album, has a fair number of side-credits (percussion and vocals) going back to Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble in 2002. Composes and plays "hybrid cajon kit" here. Group also features Leslie DeShazor (violin), plus various guests including Mitchell (flute), Jeff Parker (guitar), Yaw Agyeman (vocals), and Teh'Ray Hale (rapper). B+(**) [bc]

Kate Baker & Vic Juris: Return to Shore: The Duo Sessions (2019 [2022], Strikezone): Jazz singer, has some side credits but this is the first album under her name, co-wrote three songs (out of 10). Date is "shortly before" her guitarist-husband's death, and much of the interest here will be in hearing him in such an intimate setting. But she's every bit as appealing. B+(***) [sp]

Balance: Conjure (2020 [2022], Two Rooms): Saxophonist Marcus Elliot and pianist Michael Malis, with drums (Gerald Cleaver) on two tracks, and spoken vocals (Chace Morris) on two more. B+(**) [bc]

Barcelona Clarinet Players: Fantasías Barcelónicas: A Tribute to Paquito D'Rivera (2021 [2022], Sunnyside): Spanish (or Catallan?) quartet: two clarinets, basset horn, and bass clarinet, with the Cuban object of their affection sitting in on four (of eleven) tracks. B+(*) [sp]

Basher: Doubles (2021 [2022], Sinking City): New Orleans group led by tenor saxophonist Byron Asher, who has several group albums, with Aurora Nealand on alto sax, Daniel Meinecke (synthesizers), and two drummers. A potent mix of avant riffing with swarming rhythm, not that it always works. B+(*) [bc]

Battle Trance: Green of Winter (2022, New Amsterdam): Saxophone quartet, third studio album, all tenors, led by composer Travis Laplante, with Patrick Breiner, Matthew Nelson, and Jeremy Viner. B+(*) [sp]

The Baylor Project: The Evening: Live at Apparatus (2022, Be a Light): Singer Jean Baylor, husband-drummer Marcus Baylor, a band with Terry Brewer on keyboards, Yasuhi Nakamura on bass, and a horn section (trumpet, trombone, tenor/soprano sax). B+(**) [sp]

Karl Berger/Kirk Knuffke: Heart Is a Melody (2022, Stunt): The cornet player could claim this, but much respect to the 87-year-old German who plays vibes, piano, Rhodes, and Melodica. Also to the smaller-print names on the cover: Jay Anderson (bass) and Matt Wilson (drums). B+(***) [sp]

Jeb Bishop/Pandelis Karayorgis/Damon Smith: Duals (2021-22 [2022], Driff/Balance Point Acoustics, 3CD): Trombone, piano, bass, three hour-long sets each duos of two of the three. Such duets are intrinsically limited, but each player brings real strengths to the match ups. B+(**) [dl]

Michael Blake: Combobulate (2022, Newvelle): Canadian saxophonist, mostly tenor but credit here is plural, debut 1997, backed here by brass section -- Steven Bernstein on trumpet, Clark Gayton on trombone, Bob Stewart and Marcus Rojas on tuba -- plus drums. B+(***) [dl]

Ran Blake: Looking Glass (2015 [2021], A-Side): Pianist, about 80 when he recorded this, one of many solo albums. Thoughtful and unpredictable as ever. B+(***) [sp]

Jake Blount: The New Faith (2022, Smithsonian Folkways): Black (ok, biracial) folk singer-sonwriter from DC, digs deep for his roots, then uses them to sing about the future, a bleak one, though perhaps not as bleak as it would be without a heritage that has survive plenty. B+(**) [sp]

Blue Lines Trio: Chance and Change (2022, Casco): Dutch group, debut album 2014, with compositions by Michiel Scheen (piano) and Raoul van der Weide (bass, crackle box, sound objects), plus George Hadow on drums. Most impressive when they pick up the pace and break free. B+(***) [bc]

Blue Moods: Myth & Wisdom (2021 [2022], Posi-Tone): The label's house band -- Diego Rivera (tenor sax), Art Hirahara (piano), Boris Kozlov (bass), and Joe Strasser (drums), with Dave Kikoski on piano for 3 (of 10) tracks -- kick off the Mingus centenary year with ten favorites. B+(**) [sp]

Surya Botofasina: Everyone's Children (2022, Spiritmuse): Keyboard player, based in New York, a follower of Alice Coltrane, bills this debut as "spiritual avant-garde music," though it ticks most of the boxes for ambient, then starts to build something more grandiose, which eventually turns into just long. B+(*) [bc]

Staffan Bråsjö: Stratosfär (2020 [2022], self-released): Swedish pianist (also plays organ here, and conducts choir elsewhere), seems to be his first album, although he has side-credits, including the group Into the Wild. Trio with Josefin Runsteen (mostly violin) and Vilhelm Bromander (bass). With the notes citing Bach and Beethoven, this could pass as classical chamber music, but must be jazz because I find it very likable. B+(***) [bc]

Zach Bryan: American Heartbreak (2022, Warner, 2CD): Country singer-songwriter, born in Okinawa to a Navy family, did eight years in the Navy himself, but was still just 26 when this third album was released, and it's a whopper, with 34 songs running 121:00. B+(**) [sp]

Anna Butterss: Activities (2022, Colorfield): Bassist, both electric and acoustic, originally from Australia but based in Los Angeles, appears on Jeff Parker's Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy, produces a similar, subtle, shifting groove album here, dubbing in guitar, keyboards, percussion, and flute, along with bits of vocal. Josh Johnson plays sax on two tracks, and there are spot drums/percussion credits. B+(***) [sp]

Call Super: Swallow Me (2022, Can You Feel the Sun, EP): British electronica producer, Joseph Richmond-Seaton, three albums, more EPs and singles since 2011. This is basically a single: two tracks, 16:16. One of my favorite beat purveyors, but fairly minor. B+(**) [sp]

Frank Carlberg Trio: Reflections 1952 (2021 [2022], 577): Finnish pianist, based in New York, couple dozen albums since 1992. Trio with John Hébert (bass) and Francisco Mela (drums), with a couple vocal spots. The date was a turning point for Thelonious Monk, with reflections on his music, but nothing as simple as a cover. B+(***) [bc]

Sabrina Carpenter: Emails I Can't Send (2022, Island): Singer-songwriter from Pennsylvania, started as an actor at age 12, fifth album by age 23. B+(***) [sp]

Melissa Carper: Ramblin' Soul (2022, Mae Music): Country singer-songwriter, plays banjo and upright bass, started out with a family band, has two self-released albums on her own, plus two more with Rebecca Patek (one as Buffalo Gals Band). B+(**) [sp]

François Carrier/Alexander von Schlippenbach/John Edwards/Michel Lambert: Unwalled (2022, Fundacja Sluchaj): Alto sax, piano, bass, drums. It seems like Quebec natives Carrier and Lambert have spent much of the last two decades wandering around Europe in search of inspiring piano and bass partners. They finally hit the jackpot in Berlin. A- [dl]

The Casual Dots: Sanguine Truth (2022, Ixor Stix): Second album, after an eponymous 2004 debut on Kill Rock Stars. DC alt-rock trio, froonted by singer-guitarist Kathi Wilcox. B+(**) [sp]

Chicago Soul Jazz Collective Meets Dee Alexander: On the Way to Be Free (2022, JMarq): First group album, so it's hard to picture them without the singer, who is a major asset. B+(*) [sp]

Trish Clowes: A View With a Room (2021 [2022], Greenleaf Music): British saxophonist (tenor/soprano), six albums on Basho before this one, a quartet with Ross Stanley (keyboards), guitar, and drums. Nicely appointed postbop. B+(**) [sp]

Emmet Cohen: Uptown in Orbit (2022, Mack Avenue): Pianist, albums since 2011 include four Masters Legacy Series volumes -- sessions with Jimmy Cobb, Ron Carter, Benny Golson, and George Coleman -- a respect for tradition he continues here, framed by pieces from Willie "The Lion" Smith and Duke Ellington. Between, you'll find originals plus his arrangements of Neal Hefti, Cedar Walton, and Gerry Mulligan. Backed by bass and drums, half with a horn or two present (Sean Jones on trumpet, Patrick Bartley on alto sax). I have to admit, I'm partial to his stride. B+(**) [sp]

Marc Copland Quartet: Someday (2022, InnerVoice Jazz): Pianist, 40-plus albums since 1988, a quartet with Robin Verheyen (tenor/soprano sax; also wrote 2 songs to Copland's 3), Drew Gress (bass), and Mark Ferber (drums). Near-perfect balance. A- [sp]

Jon Cowherd Trio: Pride and Joy (2022, Le Coq): Pianist, originally from Kentucky, has a couple albums under his own name, several dozen side credits. Trio here with John Patitucci (bass) and Brian Blade (drums). One oddity is the Vol. 2 in the lower right corner -- as best I can tell, Vol. 1 was a Patitucci album called Trio with Vinnie Colaiuta and Bill Cunliffe. Another oddity is that this opens with two of three tracks (of eight total) with Chris Potter (tenor sax) and Alex Acuña (percussion). B+(*) [sp]

Theo Croker Quartet: Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic XII: Sketches of Miles (2021 [2022], ACT): American trumpet player, albums since 2007, quartet -- Danny Grissett (piano), Joshua Ginsburg (bass), and Gregory Hutchinson (drums) -- backed by Berliner Philharmonic conducted by Magnus Lindgren, in a long, surefire program that draws on Miles Davis. B+(**) [sp]

Dandy Dandie: Hypnos & Morphée (2019 [2022], Yolk Music): Side-project composed and arranged by French saxophonist Alban Darche (one track by trumpet player Geoffroy Tamisier), built around texts from Poe, Baudelaire, Verlaine, Roethke, and others, sung by Chloë Cailleton. With piano by Nathalie Darche, but no drums or anything else, has an art song feel, but I like the sax. B+(*) [sp]

Harold Danko: Rite Notes (2021 [2022], SteepleChase): Pianist, thirty-plus albums since 1979, takes this one solo. B+(*) [sp]

Daphni: Cherry (2022, Jiaolong): Canadian electronica producer Dan Snaith, recorded a couple albums as Manitoba (2001-03) before switching to Caribou (2005, 5 albums through 2020) and adding Daphni as an alias (2012, 4th album). B+(***) [sp]

Eli Degibri: Henri and Rachel (2021 [2022], Degibri): Israeli saxophonist (tenor/soprano), studied in Boston and moved to New York before returning in 2011, eighth album since 2003, dedicated to his parents. B+(***) [sp]

Allen Dennard: Flashback (2022, Allen Dennard Music): Trumpet player from Detroit, seems to be his first album. Annoying lack of info on this album, but he's got some chops. B+(*) [sp]

Dopolarians: Blues for Alvin Fielder: Live at Crosstown Arts, Memphis (2022, Mahakala Music): A tribute to the late drummer (1935-2019), who was born in Mississippi, headed to Chicago, played with Sun Ra, was a charter member of the AACM, eventually returned to the South, and plugged into the tiny free jazz scenes in New Orleans, Memphis, Dallas, and (joining this group in 2018) Little Rock. Billed here as a sextet, core members are Christopher Parker (piano), Chad Fowler (sax), Kelly Hurt (vocals), and Chad Anderson (drums, taking over Fielder's chair), joined here by Marc Franklin (trumpet), Douglas Ewart (sax), and William Parker (bass). Ends with a nice dedication. B+(**) [bc]

Dopolarians: Sunday Morning Sermon (2022, Mahakala Music): No recording date, but obviously before drummer Alvin Fielder died in 2019. Core group is Christopher Parker (piano), Chad Fowler (alto/baritone sax), and Kelley Hurt (vocals), with Fielder on drums and Kidd Jordan on tenor sax. Bassist William Parker is listed on the cover, but not on the Bandcamp page. The piano solos cut down on the fire-breathing, which is probably just as well. B+(**) [bc]

Dezron Douglas: Atalaya (2021 [2022], International Anthem): Bassist, many side credits but only a 2012 live album and a locked-down 2020 duo with wife-harpist Brandee Younger have his name up front. Quartet with sax (Emilio Modeste), keyboards (George Burton, and drums, plus one vocal (Melvis Santa). I like the way the bass leads into the sax, something he must have learned with Pharoah Sanders. I didn't like the vocal, and not just the singer. B+(***) [bc]

Hamid Drake: Dedications: Black Cross Solo Sessions 6 (2020 [2022], Corbett vs. Dempsey): Drummer, originally from Louisiana but moved to Chicago as a child, playing especially with Fred Anderson, and later with William Parker. Solo, nine pieces, each dedicated to free jazz notables, not least the drummers. B+(**) [bc]

Mats Eilertsen: Hymn for Hope (2021, Hemli): Norwegian bassist, more than a dozen albums since 2004 as well as a wide swathe of side-credits. This a quartet with Tore Brunborg (tenor sax), Thomas Dahl (guitar), and Hans Hulbaekmo (drums). Consistently nice vibe here. B+(***) [sp]

Espen Eriksen Trio Featuring Andy Sheppard: In the Mountains (2022, Rune Grammofon): Norwegian pianist, Trio with Lars Tormod Jenset (bass) and Andreas Bye (drums) has eight albums, this the second joined by the saxophonist (3/7 tracks). Piano is solid on its own, but the sax is special. B+(***) [sp]

Extended: Without Notice (2020 [2022], self-released): New Orleans-based piano trio -- Oscar Rossignoli, Matt Booth, Brad Webb -- all three write songs. Released an album, Harbinger in 2019, that I misread and took the title to be the group name. (Fixing that is going to be a pain.) Meanwhile, another smart set. B+(**) [bc]

Ezra Collective: Where I'm Meant to Be (2022, Partisan): British jazz quintet, led by drummer Femi Koleoso, with Ife Ogunjobi (trumpet), James Mollison (tenor sax), Joe Armon-Jones (keyboards), and TJ Koleoso (bass). Second album, mostly a groove I find very attractive, various guest spots including vocal features (Sampa the Great, Kojey Radical, Emeli Sandé, Nao). B+(**) [sp]

Fazer: Plex (2022, City Slang): German quintet, with trumpet (Matthias Lindermayr), guitar (Paul Brändle), bass, and two drummers. Some sort of post-rock fusion vibe, but the trumpet has some moves, and it's never overly pat. B+(**) [sp]

Anthony Ferrara: Cold Faded (2022, SteepleChase): Young tenor saxophonist, based in New York, second album, gets a veteran rhythm section: Gary Versace (piano), Jay Andersen (bass), and Billy Drummond (drums). B+(**) [sp]

Fractal Sextet: Fractal Sextet (2020-22 [2022], Alchemy): Guitarist Stephan Thelen, who has released a couple volumes of Fractal Guitar, got the ball rolling with four compositions, then sent the files around to be developed and detailed by this international coterie: Jon Durant added more guitar, along with Fabio Anile (keyboard), Colin Edwin (bass guitar), Yogev Gabay (drums), and Andi Pupato (percussion). A- [sp]

Free Form Funky Freqs: Hymn of the 3rd Galaxy (2020-21 [2022], Ropeadope): Funk-fusion all-star jam: G. Calvin Weston (drums), Vernon Reid (guitar), and Jamaaladeen Tacuma (bass). Third album, after ones in 2008 and 2013. Could be freer (or for that matter, funkier), but lots of pyrotechnic guitar. B+(*) [bc]

Satoko Fujii: Hyaku: One Hundred Dreams (2022, Libra): Japanese pianist, very prolific since 1995, even went monthly a couple years back for her 60th birthday. Counts this as her 100th album, and I'm not about to check her math. She rounded up eight frequent collaborators for this, but unlike most nonets, this is light on horns (two trumpets, tenor sax, and bassoon), with double drums and Ikue Mori electronics. A single piece in five parts, but it doesn't feel arranged -- more like a series of do-you-thing solo spots. So it's not one of her more compelling statements, but offers a nice synopsis of a remarkable career (including some of the piano that caught our ears in the first place). A- [cd] [12-09]

Dai Fujikura/Jan Bang: The Bow Maker (2022, Punkt): Japanese composer of "contemporary classical music," based in UK, teams here with the Norwegian composer-producer, who tends to straddle jazz and electronica. Atmospheric, a bit dark at times. B+(*) [sp]

Charlie Gabriel: Eighty Nine (2022, Sub Pop): Longtime clarinet/tenor sax player with Preservation Hall Jazz Band, steps out front with an album named for his age, perhaps not a debut, but should be. A banner proclaims "Preservation Hall Presents," and with Ben Jaffe producing the band backs up his old songs, but nothing that screams "trad jazz." He sings a couple, but not as eloquent as his sax. B+(***) [sp]

Runhild Gammelsæter & Lasse Marhaug: Higgs Boson (2022, Ideologic Organ): Norwegian voice/electronics duo, she has a PhD in cell physiology and is on the board of a biotech company, but has a background singing in metal bands. He has a rep as a noise artist: I first encountered him in Vandermark groups, but more often these days I see him credited with album art. Second album together, after 2014's Quantum Entanglement. B+(*) [sp]

Marshall Gilkes: Cyclic Journey (2022, Alternate Side): Trombonist, sixth album since 2008, a nine-part suite with a fairly large (12-piece) group: a wide range of brass, but no reeds. This has a lovely sound, but triggers my anti-classical reflex. B+(*) [sp]

Onno Govaert + Martina Verhoeven/Dirk Serries: Twofold (2021 [2022], A New Wave of Jazz, 2CD): Dutch drummer, albums since 2008, offers two substantial duo discs, one with piano (45:38), the other with guitar (42:10). B+(***) [bc]

Forbes Graham/Jeb Bishop/Pandelis Karayorgis/Nate McBride/Kresten Osgood: Water Lilies (2022, Driff): Artist order as given on cover, but Graham (trumpet) and Bishop (trombone) only play on the fifth and last track (a 30:52 "Quintet Improvisation"). The others (piano, bass, drums) play rhythm there, and trio for the first four tracks (34:14). Both are substantial. B+(***) [dl]

Pasquale Grasso: Be-Bop! (2022, Sony Masterworks): Italian guitarist, seventh album since 2015, most solo but this one adds bass (Ari Roland) and drums (Keith Balla), playing one original, one Monk, seven songs by Charlie Parker and/or Dizzy Gillespie, plus "I'm in a Mess," which Gillespie recorded in 1951, and Samara Joy sings. B+(**) [sp]

Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet: The Sound of Listening (2022, Edition): Drummer, from New Jersey, started in the trio Heernt, has leaned toward fusion but this is more postbop, with Jason Rigby (tenor sax/clarinet/flute), Shai Maestro (piano), and Chris Morrissey (bass). B+(**) [sp]

Mats Gustafsson & Nu Ensemble: Hidros 8: Heal (2016 [2022], Trost): Swedish saxophonist (all weights plus related instruments, but probably best known for baritone, which he plays here), main group in 1990s was AALY Trio, followed by The Thing since 2000, but he has many more records. First Hidros album in 2001. Group here is a conduction tentet, with Anna Högberg (alto and bari sax), Susana Santos Silva (trumpet), Per-Åke Holmlander (tuba), Hedvig Mollestad (guitar), Massimo Pupillo (bass), plus turntables, electronics, and two drummers, with an intriguing Christof Kurzmann vocal in the middle of the second side, which then sets up the massive ending we've all been waiting for. A- [bc]

Craig Harris: Managing the Mask (2021 [2022], Aquastra): Trombonist, also credited with didgeridoo and vocals (three tracks), started with Sun Ra (1976-80), recorded a couple of notable albums for Soul Note in the 1980s, hasn't released a lot more but his 2005 Souls Within the Veil was masterful. B+(**) [sp]

Jo Harrop: The Heart Wants (2021, Lateralize): British jazz singer, billed as her "first self-penned album," but Discogs lists a previous album. Has so-credits on eight (of 12 or 13) songs, with Duke Ellington and Tom Waits among the covers. B+(**) [sp]

Gerry Hemingway: Afterlife (2020-22 [2022], Auricle): Drummer, was part of Anthony Braxton's extraordinary Quartet in the 1980s, also of the long-running BassDrumBone trio with Ray Anderson, and has dozens of significant albums on his own, over 250 in total. Still, none of the others are like this: songs with words, sung or just rapped, over widely varied beats with scattered instrumental colors. Bandcamp page cites 11 contributing musicians with no clue to what or where, since their contributions are just samples applied to the mix. First few second remind me of DJ Shadow. Rest isn't so obvious, but shades from pop to blues, with fanciful rhythm throughout. A- [bc]

Julia Hülsmann Quartet: The Next Door (2022, ECM): German pianist, several albums since 2000, fourth Quartet album, with Uli Kempendorff (tenor sax), bass, and drums. Nice, even tone, with a lot of movement beneath the surface. B+(***) [sp]

Shawneci Icecold/Fred Lonberg-Holm: Sepphoris (2022, Underground45): Pianist from Rhode Island, has a hip-hop sideline as well as several free jazz albums, mostly plays harmonium here, with Lonberg-Holm on cello and electronics. Runs 29:57. B+(**) [cd]

Shawneci Icecold/Shuishan Yu: Flowing Water: Music for Guqin & Harpsichord (2022, Underground45): Another duet set, the guqin an ancient Chinese string instrument, plucked fits in nicely with the harpsichord. B+(**) [cd]

Ifsonever: Ifsonever (2022, Jazz & Milk): Daniel Helmer, first album, opens with voiceover presumably to clear his head, follows with ambient electronics with just enough beat to keep it enjoyable. B+(***) [bc]

Ulf Ivarsson/Bill Laswell: Nammu (2022, Ropeadope): Two bassists, one Swedish, the other American, have similar careers on the fringes of jazz and pop, leads a group here with Thomas Backman (baritone/alto sax, bass clarinet), organ, and drums. Better for its heavy grooves than ambient affectations. B+(**) [sp]

Keefe Jackson/Jim Baker/Julian Kirshner: Routines (2019 [2022], Kettle Hole): Saxophonist from Arkansas, in Chicago since 2001, Discogs lists 12 albums and twice that many groups. Plays tenor and sopranino here, with piano/synthesizer and drums. Very hit and miss: great in spots, then hits a tone I can't stand. B [bc]

Jazzanova: Strata Records: The Sound of Detroit (2022, BBE): German production collective, started in 1995, only a few proper albums but lots of remixes. This one honors a small Detroit label which released nine albums 1974-75, by artists little-remembered, a cocktail of jazzy pop that the producers are tempted to add some fizz to. Sean Haefeli claims most of the vocals, unfortunately. B [sp]

George V Johnson Jr: Walk Spirit Talk Spirit (2022, Your Majesty): DC-based jazz singer, Discogs lists one previous album, but offers no help parsing this one. Website suggests In Memory of McCoy Tyner as a subtitle, but he only does two Tyner songs, plus pieces by Lou Donaldson, Hank Mobley, Wes Montgomery, Herbie Hancock, Charlie Parker, and Nat Adderley, writing his own lyrics (aside from deferring to Mark Murphy for "Canteloupe Island"). So, vocalese? No credits for the hard-swinging band, either. B+(**) [sp]

Max Johnson Trio: Orbit of Sound (2021 [2022], Unbroken Sounds): Bassist, handful of albums since 2012, composed all five pieces, joined by Anna Webber (tenor sax/flute) and Michael Sarin (drums). B+(***) [sp]

Pandelis Karayorgis Trio: The Hasaan, Hope & Monk Project (2021-22 [2022], Driff): Greek pianist, moved to Boston in 1985, first album (1989) was a Monk set, trio with bassist Nate McBride goes back to 1999, drummer Luther Gray joined by 2012. This mixes six Monk tunes in with pieces by Elmo Hope (3) and Hasaan Ibn Ali (4). B+(**) [dl]

Kassmasse: Bahil | Weg (2022, Meedo): Ethiopian, sings/raps in Amharic, with a catchy beat and agreeable musicality. B+(***)

Lady Aicha & Pisco Crane's Original Fulu Miziki Band of Kinshasa: N'djila Wa Mudjimo (2022, Nyege Nyege Tapes): This seems to be the same group that released a highly recommended EP earlier this year (Ngbaka EP), but at greater length here, not least in the headline credit. Like Congotronics, they salvage and engineer instruments from junk, not just drums but that's what makes this work. A- [sp]

Ant Law & Alex Hitchcock: Same Moon in the Same World (2020-21 [2022], Outside In Music): British, guitar and saxophone, both have previous albums, recorded this during lockdown with various guests -- exact credits are hard to come by. B+(**) [sp]

Janel Leppin: Ensemble Volcanic Ash (2022, Cuneiform): Cellist, also plays keyboards, sixth album since 2011, married to guitarist Anthony Pirog (probably a subject for further research), who amps up the string contingent here (cello, harp, and Luke Stewart on bass). They're joined by two saxophonists (Sarah Hughes on alto, Brian Settles on tenor), with Larry Ferguson on drums. B+(***) [dl]

Little Simz: No Thank You (2022, Age 101/Awal/Forever Living Originals): Late album drop from UK rapper Simbi Ajikawo, her fifth, after 2021's Sometimes I Might Be Introvert swept many of the year's best album lists. Major musical contribution here by Dean Josiah Cover (of Sault), with Cleo Sol (also of Sault) backing vocals, but still sharpest when the raps cut through to the front. A- [sp]

Igor Lumpert's Innertextures: I Am the Spirit of the Earth (2021 [2022], Clean Feed): Slovene tenor saxophonist, based in New York since 2000, favored group name dates from a 2004 album title. B+(**) [sp]

Ruben Machtelinckx + Arve Henriksen: A Short Story (2022, Aspen Edities): Belgian guitarist, eighth album since 2012, a duo with the Norwegian trumpet player. Nice, ambient pairing, always attentive. B+(***) [bc]

João Madeira/Wagner Ramos: Meristema (2022, 4darecord): Portuguese duo, bass and drums, fairly minimal but sustains my interest for 71:11. B+(***) [cd]

Joe Magnarelli: New York Osaka Junction (2022, SteepleChase): Mainstream trumpet player, early albums (1998-2006) on Criss Cross, recent ones (since 2018) here. Osaka connection is organ player Akiko Tsuruga, joined with Gary Smulyan (baritone sax) and Rudy Royston (drums). As hopped up as a big band. B+(*) [sp]

Majamisty Trio: Wind Rose (2021 [2022], Majamisty): Serbian piano-bass-drums trio (Maja Alvanovic, Ervin Malina, Lav Kovac), fourth album, cover notes two featured guests: Aneta George (vocals), and Ulrich Drechsler (clarinet). B+(*) [sp]

Miko Marks and the Resurrectors: Feel Like Going Home (2022, Redtone): Singer-songwriter, identifies country but draws as much on black gospel and folk music -- "Deliver Me" could be a civil rights anthem, but "Trouble" brings on the banjos. B+(***) [sp]

Dado Moroni/Jesper Lundgaard/Lee Pearson: There Is No Greater Love (2016 [2022], Storyville): Italian pianist, many albums since 1980, this a trio with a Danish bassist and an American drummer. Flashy swing-oriented piano, gets down on "C Jam Blues." B+(***) [sp]

Hermon Mehari: Asmara (2022, Komos): Trumpet player, from Eritrea (although Discogs says Kansas City, where he got his degree), has a couple albums -- I was especially taken by his one with Florian Arbenz. Reflects on his war-torn nation here, backed by a band with piano/vibes (Peter Schlamb), bass, and drums, plus Eritrean vocalist Faytinga on two songs. Some terrific trumpet. A- [sp]

Raul Midón: Eclectic Adventurist (2022, Artistry/Mack Avenue): Guitarist, from New Mexico, dozen albums since 1999. Mostly solo. B+(*) [sp]

Per Møllehøj/Kirk Knuffke/Thommy Andersson: 'S Wonderful (2022, Stunt): Danish guitarist, has a couple albums, wrote three (of nine) songs here, with cornetist Knuffke writing two. Those pieces, with Andersson on bass, offer nice instrumental filler between the swing-era covers from Gershwin and Ellington, and two classics (with Knuffke vocals) from W.C. Handy. B+(**) [sp]

Hedvig Mollestad & Trondheim Jazz Orchestra: Maternity Beat (2021 [2022], Rune Grammofon): Norwegian guitarist, sings some, mostly works in her Trio but her brings in the heavy guns: 12-piece avant-jazz group founded in 2015 with a couple dozen albums, each featuring some special guest. Some terrific passages, but bogs down in spots. B+(*) [sp]

Joyce Moreno: Brasileiras Canções (2022, Biscoito Fino): Brazilian singer, started in late 1960s, just used her first name until 2009. B+(**) [sp]

Ra Kalam Bob Moses/Damon Smith: Purecicle (2021 [2022], Balance Point Acoustics): Drums and bass duo, Moses goes back to 1975, Smith to 1999. Smith conjures up a lot of quasi-industrial grunge here. B+(**) [sp]

Qasim Naqvi/Wadada Leo Smith/Andrew Cyrille: Two Centuries (2021 [2022], Red Hook): Pakistani drummer, best known in the piano trio Dawn of Midi, composed their pieces and plays modular and minimoog synthesizers, deferring to Cyrille on drums, with Smith on trumpet. One of many fine settings for Smith this year. B+(***) [sp]

Paal Nilssen-Love Circus: Pairs of Three (2021 [2022], PNL): Norwegian drummer, many projects including The Thing. New group here: a sextet with trumpet (Thomas Johansson), alto sax (Signe Emmelulth), accordion, guitar, and bass, plus South African singer Juliana Venter -- who may color background, or free associate (at one point sampling "Strawberry Fields Forever" then sliding into "we are the victims of the Deep State"), or just lay out. Much going on here. B+(***) [bc]

Odesza: The Last Goodbye (2022, Foreign Family/Ninja Tune): Electropop duo from Washington state, Harrison Mills (Catacombkid) and Clayton Knight (BeachesBeaches), fourth album since 2012. Guest vocals include Juliana Barwick, Bettye LaVette, and Låpsley. B+(**) [sp]

Oxbow & Peter Brötzmann: An Eternal Reminder of Not Today: Live at Moers (2018 [2022], Trost): Fringe hardcore rock group from San Francisco -- first three albums, starting in 1989, were titled: Fuckfest, King of the Jews, and Let Me Be a Woman -- pick up a saxophonist, who adds a new dimension to their g-b-d thrash plus words (Eugene Robinson), working hard to fit in and inevitably standing out. B+(***) [bc]

Jeff Parker ETA IVtet: Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy (2019-21 [2022], Eremite): Guitarist, I still associate him with Chicago but he's moved on to Los Angeles, worked in avant-jazz and post-rock groups and produced a wide range of albums under his own name. Four tracks here from three dates, ranging 18:00-23:37, are ambient vibe pieces with some meat on their bones, from a quartet with Josh Johnson (alto sax & pedals), Anna Butterss (bass), and Jay Bellerose (drums). A- [dl]

Nicholas Payton: The Couch Sessions (2022, Smoke Sessions): Trumpet player from New Orleans, also keyboards, debut 1993, father played bass and sousaphone in trad jazz bands. Basically a hard bop player, but knows his tradition, and likes to dabble in electronics. Trio with Buster Williams (bass) and Lenny White (drums). Nothing special about his keyb groove, or his rapping, but his trumpet can still light up the room. B+(**) [sp]

Pillbox Patti: Florida (2022, Monument): Florida native Nicolette Hayford, has been kicking around Nashville a decade or so, accumulating songs about the hard life, admitting youth is past and barely notice, leaving her cohort "a little fucked up, but we're still breathing." Debut album, a short one (8 songs, 29:15). B+(**) [sp]

Dafnis Prieto Featuring Luciana Souza: Cantar (2021 [2022], Dafnison Music): Cuban drummer, hot shit when he hit New York, though I found his early albums more impressive than enjoyable. Group here -- Peter Apfelbaum (woodwinds), Martin Bejerano (piano), and Matt Brewer (bass) -- manage to keep up, redeeming the herky-jerk rhythms. Singer is probably a plus, too. At least there's no ballad risk. B+(***) [sp]

Ishmael Reed: The Hands of Grace (2022, Reading Group): Famous novelist and poet -- I read The Freelance Pallbearers shortly after it came out in 1967 but lost track after The Last Days of Louisiana Red (1974) -- crossed over to jazz when Kip Hanrahan produced his Conjure albums, then released a collection of his piano in 2003. More piano here, mostly solo but some accompanied by flute, guitar, violin, and/or voice (Tennessee Reed). Nothing great, but catches your interest. B+(**) [bc]

Revelators Sound System: Revelators (2022, 37d03d): Jazz side project of MC Taylor (Hiss Golden Messenger) and Cameron Ralston (The Spacebomb House Band). B+(*) [sp]

Stephen Riley: My Romance (2021 [2022], SteepleChase): Mainstream tenor saxophonist, steady run of albums since 2007, this one a trio with Brian Charette (organ) and Billy Drummond (drums). B+(***) [sp]

Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Trio D'ÉTÉ: Turning Point (2018 [2022], 5Passion): Cuban pianist, long based in Florida, many albums since 1985. This is a trio with Matthew Brewer (bass) and Eric Harland (drums), playing seven original Rubalcaba pieces. B+(***) [sp]

Rich Ruth: I Survived, It's Over (2022, Third Man): Given name Michael Ruth, based in Nashville, plays guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion. Second album, billed as ambient but a little loud for that, even before the saxophones (3 + flute) kick in. B [sp]

Sadistik x Kno: Bring Me Back When the World Is Cured (2022, self-released): Seattle rapper Cody Foster, half-dozen albums since 2008, helped here by Atlanta producer Ryan Wisler, a founder of CunninLynguists. B+(***) [sp]

Sault: 11 (2022, Forever Living Originals): British collective, anonymous when they first appeared in 2019, their first albums striking me as the second coming of Chic, but we now know that's just one of various masks. We also have a couple identities: producer Inflo (Dean Josiah Cover, who's worked with Little Simz), and vocalist Cleo Sol (who has three of her own albums). This kicks off a batch of five new digital-only albums that dropped on November 1. Strikes me as trivial on its own. Most reviewers glommed them together, then threw up their hands. B+(*) [sp]

Sault: AIIR (2022, Forever Living Originals): Title seems to refer back to their April, 2002 Air, which, as I noted at the time, with its strings and choral vocals "lost me." Same elements here, not worth making fine distinctions over, although this has five new titles, is shorter (25:27 vs. 45:06 for the seven-piece Air). B [sp]

Sault: Earth (2022, Forever Living Originals): African drums, scattered raps, bits of tasty guitar, other effects which may or may not work. B+(*) [sp]

Sault: Today & Tomorrow (2022, Forever Living Originals): A venture into retro rock, some say punk, but nowhere near that immediate, which is probably just as well. B+(*) [sp]

Sault: Untitled (God) (2022, Forever Living Originals): One more, a long one (21 songs, 73:08), "God" appears in several titles and more lyrics, but "We Are Gods" strikes me as suspicious. I'm reminded here how often thinking of God turns the mind to mush, but the last two songs make me wonder whether mush is the point ("God in Disguise," "Life We Rent but Love Is Free"). Possibly the best album of the series, but more likely the worst. B [sp]

Scenes: Variable Clouds: Live at the Earshot Jazz Festival (2021 [2022], Origin): Seattle quartet, seventh album since 2006, with Rick Mandyck (tenor sax), John Stowell (guitar), Jeff Johnson (bass), and John Bishop (drums). Closes very strong (with Jim Pepper's "Witchi Tai To"). B+(***) [cd]

Frank Paul Schubert/Kazuhisa Uchihashi/Klaus Kugel: Black Holes Are Hard to Find (2021 [2022], Nemu): German saxophonist (alto/soprano), albums since 2005, in a trio with guitar/electronics and drums. B+(***) [cd]

Maya Shenfeld: In Free Fall (2022, Thrill Jockey): Israeli composer, originally studied classical guitar, but moved to Berlin and got into electronics. First album, stately pieces that drift between ambient and drone. B+(*) [sp]

Patrick Shiroishi: Evergreen (2021 [2022], Touch): Los Angeles-based saxophonist, huge number of recordings since 2017: Discogs lists 46 albums, 2 singles/EPs, 6 miscellaneous -- which is where this 4-cut, 42:06 set is filed. Starts with cemetery field recordings, adding synths, clarinet, and tenor sax, with a spoken word memoir of the Japanese-American concentration camps. B+(*) [bc]

James Singleton: Malabar (2022, Sinking City): Bassist, from New Orleans, has been around a while but doesn't have much as leader. This is boundary-pushing postbop, with' two saxophones (Rex Gregory and Brad Walker), guitar, drums, and vibes/percussion (Mike Dillon). B+(**) [sp]

Tom Skinner: Voices of Bishara (2022, Brownswood/International Anthem/Nonesuch): British drummer, debut album, but Discogs offers 100+ side-credits, including Sons of Kemet, Melt Yourself Down, Owiny Sigoma Band, and the Smile. Two star saxophonists (Nubya Garcia and Shabaka Hutchings), with cello and bass. A- [bc]

Gary Smulyan: Tadd's All, Folks (2021 [2022], SteepleChase): Baritone saxophonist, twenty-some albums since 1997, plays Tadd Dameron songs here, backed by piano (Pete Malinverni), bass (David Wong), and drums (Matt Wilson), sharing the spotlight with vocalist Anaïs Reno. B+(**) [sp]

Cory Smythe: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (2021 [2022], Pyroclastic): Four original pieces with a large group -- eleven, including singer Sofia Jernberg -- that feels smaller because they pick things apart rather than build them up, followed by seven solo piano takes of the title piece, that sound different because, well, I don't know why. B [cd]

Tyshawn Sorey + 1 [With Greg Osby]: The Off-Off Broadway Guide to Synergism (2022, Pi, 3CD): Drummer-led trio, with Aaron Diehl (piano) and Russell Hall (bass), plus alto saxophonist guest, who makes all the difference, not that the rhythm section doesn't keep him going. Osby was something of a star during his 1995-2005 run on Blue Note, but since then has only released one album as sole leader, so I was surprised that Discogs gives him a steady stream of co-leader credits, like this one. He even wrote two songs here, slipped in with 17 "standards and jazz classics," from Cole Porter and Fats Waller to Ornette Coleman, springboards running anywhere from 7:09 to 20:00. [Haven't played this enough, but pretty sure this is the right grade.] A [dl]

Sowal Diabi: De Kaboul à Bamako (2022, Accords Croisés): An international project, named for Persian and Bambara words for "question" and "answer," with two singers -- Mamani Keita of Mali and Sogol Mirzael of Kurdish Turkey -- plus Iranian violinist Aïda Nosrat and various French musicians. Both ends of the imaginary journey have been damaged by war and terror, but if Mali is the answer, the answer must be music. A- [sp]

Special Interest: Endure (2022, Rough Trade): Third album from a New Orleans no-wave dance-punk group, a' contradiction they flaunt but don't necessarily resolve. B+(*) [sp]

SWR Big Band/Magnus Lindgren/John Beasley: Bird Lives (2021, ACT): German big band, founded 1951 in Stuttgart attached to public radio station SWR, Discogs lists 50+ albums since 1998, nearly all vehicles for guest stars. Both Lindgren, a Swedish saxophonist, and Beasley, an American pianist, are into big band arranging, and they've lined up a long list of stars -- e.g., Chris Potter and Joe Lovano on tenor sax, Charles McPherson and Miguel Zenón on alto -- to plow through Charlie Parker's songbook. This has some big moments, but perhaps a bit too much formaldehyde? B+(*) [sp]

SZA: SOS (2022, Top Dawg/RCA): R&B singer Solána Rowe, second album, both critical and commercial successes, not that they do much for me. B+(**) [sp]

Jamaaladeen Tacuma/Mary Halvorson: Strings & Things (2014 [2022], Jam-All Productions): Bass and guitar duo, plus some electronics, recorded on the sly during a tour in Japan. Typical of her guitar style in a friendly context. Seven tracks, 28:52. B+(**) [bc]

Stephan Thelen: Fractal Guitar 3 (2021-22 [2022], Moonjune): American guitarist, based in Zürich, leads the band Sonar as well as pursuing various solo projects, often tied to mathematical concepts, like the third installment of this series. Each track has 3-5 guitars (Thelen plus Eivind Aarset and Markus Reuter, often Jon Durant) with drums (Manuel Pasquinelli), sometimes keybs, bass, and/or percussion. Patterns: deeply ingrained, finely tuned, just noisy enough. A- [bc]

Thollem: Obstacle Illusion (2021 [2022], Astral Spirits): Pianist, last name McDonas, three dozen albums since 2004, four pieces here, each between 18:13 and 18:45. No credits for other musicians, but second piece sounds like a mix of organ and electronics. B+(*) [bc]

Micah Thomas: Piano Solo (2022, LP345): Young pianist, impressive in several recent side-credits, has chops and ideas. B+(**) [sp]

Pat Thomas & XT [Seymour Wright/Paul Abbott]: Akisakila/Attitudes of Preparation (Mountains, Oceans, Trees) (2018 [2022], Edition Gamut): British pianist plays tribute to Cecil Taylor by arranging his 1973 piece, with drums and sax, like the original with Andrew Cyrille and Jimmy Lyons. As with the original, the thrash is pretty intense. Finishes with an interview with Cecil Taylor, which Thomas vamps around with. Discogs gives Will Holder a co-credit, for wrapping the album up in small type I can't read. B+(***) [bc]

Ricardo Toscano Trio: Chasing Contradictions (2021 [2022], Clean Feed): Portuguese alto saxophonist, several albums, this a basic trio with Romeu Tristão (bass) and João Pereira (drums). B+(**) [sp]

Tuba Skinny: Magnolia Stroll (2021 [2022], self-released): New Orleans trad jazz group, more/less annual albums from 2009, got some exposure backing Maria Muldaur's Let's Get Happy Together (2021). Nine-piece group, anchored not with tuba but Todd Burdick's sousaphone. This is being touted as the first album where they wrote all originals, with six members contributing. B+(**) [bc]

Tess Tyler: Fractals [Vol. 1] (2022, Manners McDade): Composer, from Bristol, first album (although there's a Vol. 2 out the same day -- the volume numbers aren't on the covers, but referred to on Bandcamp). No credits, but a video shows her playing piano with electronics and a drummer. A- [bc]

Tess Tyler x Spindle Ensemble: Fractals [Vol. 2] (2022, Manners McDade): Five songs from Vol. 1 performed with the composer on piano, accompanied by a Bristol-based string quartet, intended to offer another view into the compositions. All aspects are reduced, including length (30:21). B+(*) [bc]

Wako: Ut Av Det Nye (2022, Øra Fonogram): Norwegian quartet, led by pianist Kjetil Mulelid and saxophonist Martin Myhre Olsen, with Bárður Reinert Poulsen on bass and Simon Olderskog Albertsen on drums. Sixth album since 2015. B+(**) [sp]

Johannes Wallmann: Precarious Towers (2021 [2022], Shifting Paradigm): German pianist, fourth album, postbop quintet with Sharel Cassity (alto sax), Mitch Shiner (vibes), bass, and drums. B+(**) [sp]

Weyes Blood: And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow (2022, Sub Pop): Singer-songwriter Natalie Mering, fifth album, but only the second to see much chart presence. Much pomp and splendour, with a little more beat this time. B [sp]

Rodney Whitaker: Oasis: The Music of Gregg Hill (2022, Origin): Bassist from Detroit, albums since 1996, this his third one featuring Hill's compositions -- Hill is a self-taught composer-pianist based in Lansing, who's still active feeding compositions to several followers, including Bruce Barth (piano here). Strong leads from Terell Stafford (trumpet) and Tim Warfield (tenor/soprano sax), plus four vocals by Rockelle Fortin. B+(**) [cd]

Eri Yamamoto Trio: A Woman With a Purple Wig (2022, Mahakala Music): Japanese pianist, based in New York since 1995, more than a dozen albums since 2006, mostly trios, like this one with David Ambrosio (bass) and Ikuo Takeuchi (drums). She sings a couple songs here, but doesn't show much subtlety as a lyricist. B+(*) [bc]

Jeong Lim Yang: Zodiac Suite: Reassured (2021 [2022], Fresh Sound New Talent): Korean bassist, based in Brooklyn, has a couple previous albums. This one offers a "free reinterpretation" of Mary Lou Williams' 1945 suite, with Santiago Leibson (piano) and Gerald Cleaver (drums). B+(***) [bc]

Jason Yeager: Unstuck in Time: The Kurt Vonnegut Suite (2022, Sunnyside): Pianist, several albums, starts from anecdotes showing the comic novelist, born 100 years ago, to have been a jazz fan, indeed a wannabe jazz pianist, and presents him with some music, which may or may not have tickled his funny bone. B+(**) [cd]

Yellowjackets: Parallel Motion (2022, Mack Avenue): Fairly popular jazz fusion group, debut 1981, keyboard player Russell Ferrante the only original member, but saxophonist Bob Mintzer joined in 1990, and keeps the group respectable, even when they offer little else of interest. B [sp]

Per Zanussi & Vestnorsk Jazzensemble: Li (and the Infinite Game) (2022, Clean Feed): Norwegian bassist, several albums since 2004, his Zanussi 5 Live in Coimbra (2014) impressed me. Working with a large (11 by my count) group here. B+(**) [sp]

The Zebra Street Band: Shirwku (2021 [2022], Trytone): Dutch group (well, Amsterdam, more or less): Alistair Payne (trumpet), Salvoandrea Lucifora (trombone/tuba), Andrius Dereviancenko (tenor sax), John Dikeman (baritone sax), plus two drummers (Fabio Galeazzi and Onno Govaert) keeping it bouncy, while the horns riff on brass bands. A- [cd]

Recent Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

Geri Allen/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian: Live at the Village Vanguard (Unissued Tracks) (1990 [2022], DIW): All-star piano-bass-drums trio, supplements the same-titled album released in 1991, which grabbed nine original pieces (Allen 2, Haden 3, Motian 4). The leftovers include some nice covers like "Cherokee" and "In Walked Bud." B+(**) [sp]

Don Ayler: In Florence 1981 (1981 [2022], Railroad Town Music): Trumpet player, brother of saxophonist Albert Ayler, played in many of his brother's 1960s bands, quit after Albert died in 1970, and didn't play until the late 1970s. This live septet is the only thing recorded under his name: originally released on three LPs. It's basically six 15:41-17:27 pieces (107:02, including an extra spoken bit), performed by a mostly obscure septet -- only name I recognize is bassist Richard Willimams (he did a stretch with Sun Ra), but saxophonists Frank Doblekar and Abdul Rahim Mustafa (Donald Strickland) are honorary Aylers, and the guitar and piano can emerge from the cracks. Nice to hear them keep the faith. A- [sp]

Derek Bailey: Domestic Jungle (1990s [2022], Scatter): British avant guitarist (1932-2005), big Penguin Guide favorite but I've only lightly sampled his work. This is a private cassette recording (aside for two tracks released by David Toop in 1997), often guitar played along to the radio or some other unreliable rhythm/noise source -- surprisingly a plus here. B+(***) [bc]

Donald Byrd: Live: Cookin' With Blue Note at Montreux (1973 [2022], Blue Note): Trumpet player (1932-2013), from Detroit, started in hard bop c. 1956, was a mainstay of the Blue Note label from 1959, when it entered a golden age, through its late-1960s decline, his experiments in fusion and funk, all the way to 1976. Group here represents his electric funk period, with Larry Mizell's synthesizers, electric piano (Kevin Toney), guitar (Barney Perry), and bass (Henry Franklin), drums and congas, two saxophones, and a second trumpeter (Fonce Mizell, who worked at Motown). B+(*) [sp]

Jean-Charles Capon/Philippe Maté/Lawrence "Butch" Morris/Serge Rahoerson (1977, Souffle Continu -21): French cellist (1936-2011), swung both ways in groups like Bach Modern Quintet and Baroque Jazz Trio, in a quartet here with tenor sax, trumpet, and drums. B+(***) [bc]

Elton Dean/Steve Miller/Pip Pyle: Home Brewed (1976 [2022], British Progressive Jazz): Sax-piano-drums trio, four songs (38:56) from previously unreleased private tapes. B+(***) [bc]

Ellery Eskelin/Gerry Hemingway: From the Archives: Live at the Stone in NYC, 2010 (2010 [2022], Auricle): Tenor sax and drums duo, a couple years after they recorded a similar duo called Inbetween Spaces. Three improv pieces totalling 59:53. A bit tentative, but impressive when they get going. B+(***) [bc]

Ronnie Foster: Two Headed Freap (1972 [2022], Blue Note): Organ player, from Buffalo, first album of five released 1972-75 by Blue Note, had two 1978-79 Columbias, not much since until his Reboot (Blue Note) this year, which may have motivated a luxury vinyl reissue. Funk grooves with Gene Bertoncini (guitar), George Duvivier (bass), and Jimmy Johnson (drums), plus a little extra glitz on harp and vibes. B+(*) [sp]

ICP Orchestra: 30 Yr Jubileum 1997: Day 1 (1997 [2022], ICP): From a "three-day festival/jubileum/party in 1997 to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of ICP." The lineup evolved over time, but this one is especially memorable: Misha Mengelberg (piano), Han Bennink (drums), Thomas Heberer (trumpet), Wolter Wierbos (trombone), Michael Moore (alto sax/clarinet), Ab Baars (clarinet/tenor sax), Ernst Reijseger and Tristan Honsinger (cello), and Ernst Glerum (bass). Add guests Steve Lacy (soprano sax) and Roswell Rudd (trombone), and of course they're playing Herbie Nichols and Thelonious Monk. Four tracks, 31:19. B+(***) [bc]

ICP Orchestra: 30 Yr Jubileum 1997: Day 2 (1997 [2022], ICP): A much longer set (114:28), opening with three songs by guest Cor Fuhler (piano/organ/keyolin), with Louis Moholo (drums) and Roswell Rudd (trombone) also sitting in. After that, it's a kaleidoscope of Mengelberg pieces (with a Moholo co-credit). A- [bc]

ICP Orchestra: 30 Yr Jubileum 1997: Day 3 (1997 [2022], ICP): A third set, runs 52:15, with Roswell Rudd guesting again, playing Mengelberg pieces plus a Herbie Nichols at the end. B+(***) [bc]

Ahmad Jamal: Live in Paris (1971 [2022], Transversales Disques): Newly uncovered "lost tapes" from a live performance, three fairly long piano trio pieces (39:44), with Jamil Nasser (bass) and Frank Gant (drums). These are "excerpts from the full performance," but they are superb throughout. A- [bc]

Joyce With Mauricio Maestro: Natureza (1977 [2022], Far Out): Brazilian pop/jazz singer-songwriter since 1969, last name Moreno but usually the first name suffices. Claus Ogerman produced this album in New York, but it didn't get released (until now). Maestro (original surname Figueiredo) wrote or co-wrote four (of 7) songs (Moreno wrote the other three, and shares one of Maestro's credits), plays guitar, and sings (two leads). Drags a bit when he leads, but a spot of Michael Brecker sax clears the fog. B+(**) [sp]

Jack McDuff: Live at Parnell's (1982 [2022], Soul Bank Music): Organ player Eugene McDuffy, recorded a ton 1960-65 for Prestige, several albums 1969-70 for Blue Note, and had a bit of a revival in the 1990s with Concord. This was from a period when he recorded little, selected from a week in Seattle, released on 3-LP (comes to 118:28). There is some dispute over who else is playing, but the sax and guitar are both rougher and more stronger than I'd expect. B+(**) [sp]

Brother Jack McDuff: Moon Rappin' (1969 [2022], Blue Note): One of four albums the organ player released on Blue Note 1969-70, reissued this year in the label's Classic Vinyl Series. With uncredited guitar, bass, drums, and tenor sax/flute (somewhere). Still, the organ is what matters. B+(**) [sp]

Thelonious Monk: Celebrating 75 Years of His First Recordings Revisited (1947-52 [2022], Ezz-Thetics): "23 Remastered Thelonious Monk Titles From The Blue Note Recordings." A selection from the recordings Blue Note has long hawked as The Genius of Modern Music, as well as in various compilations (The Very Best is a personal favorite, but this is half-again as long: 71:42). Revolutionary in its day, repertoire now. B+(***) [bc]

Thelonious Monk Quartet: Live Five Spot 1958 Revisited (1958 [2022], Ezz-Thetics): More cherry-picking among the newly copyright-free classics. This is the same music Riverside picked for two LPs: Thelonious in Action and Misterioso, remastered with minor edits to fit a single CD. Johnny Griffin plays tenor sax, with Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass and Roy Haynes on drums. Robert Christgau cites a Griffin solo on Misterioso as life-changing, but I'd be hard-pressed to tell you which, but note that the other album was the one where he got a "featuring" credit. [NB: Lonehill Jazz has its own competing Complete Live at the Five Spot 1958, including additional non-album material on 2-CD. This album is basically the first disc plus one cut from the second.] A- [bc]

The Pyramids: AOMAWA: The 1970s Recordings (1973-76 [2022], Strut, 4CD): Saxophonist Bruce Baker, originally from Chicago, better known since 2012 as Idris Ackamoor, founded this Afrocentric, Sun Ra-influenced group in Antioch, Ohio, in the early 1970s as part of Cecil Taylor's Black Music Ensemble. A- [bc]

Buddy Tate & White Label: Tate's Delight (1982 [2022], Storyville): One of the famed Texas Tenors, came up in the Basie band, has a local Danish quintet for support, playing upbeat songs they all should know, including "Jumpin' at Woodside" and "Lester Leaps In." B+(***) [bc]

Old Music


Roland Alexander: Pleasure Bent (1961 [1962], New Jazz): Tenor saxophonist (1935-2006), from Boston, first album, Discogs only credits him with one more (a live quintet in 1978), came to my attention only when his drummer son released a good hard bop album (although now I recognize a few notable side credits, like Eddie Gale's Black Rhythm Happening (1969). This is remembered as a hard bop lineup, with Marcus Belgrave (trumpet) and Ronnie Mathews (piano), but is more mainstream, the sax tone softer, with a bit of swing. B+(**) [r]

Willi Carlisle: Too Nice to Mean Much (2016, self-released, EP): Arkansas tunesmith, first album, or most of one (six songs, 25:56), got some clever words, banjo too. B+(***) [sp]

Willi Carlisle: To Tell You the Truth (2018, self-released): Twelve songs this time, four credited to Traditional. Seems to be aiming for something darker, more primitivist. B+(**) [sp]

Julieta Eugenio: Unaccompanied Saxophone Vol. 1 (2020, Greenleaf Music, EP): Tenor saxophonist, from Argentina, based in New York, released a superb full-length album in 2022, following this EP (4 tracks, 24:54). Four standards, takes them at a sensible pace. B+(**) [bc]

Ronnie Mathews/Roland Alexander/Freddie Hubbard (1961-63 [2002], Prestige): CD reissue combines two LPs, both with Mathews on piano: one with Hubbard on trumpet (Hubbard gets the small cover print, although he's much the bigger name), and another led by tenor saxophonist Alexander, with Marcus Belgrave on trumpet. B+(**) [r]

Further Sampling

Records I played parts of, but not enough to grade: -- means no interest, - not bad but not a prospect, + some chance, ++ likely prospect.

Revised Grades

Sometimes further listening leads me to change an initial grade, usually either because I move on to a real copy, or because someone else's review or list makes me want to check it again:

Willi Carlisle: Peculiar, Missouri (2022, Free Dirt): Folksinger from the Ozarks, earned his credentials the new-fashioned way, with a BA in Writing and Performance Studies and a MFA in Poetry, plus two self-released albums before moving up to a label with a name. [was B+(***)] A- [sp]


Additional Consumer News:

Grades on artists in the old music section.

Music Weeks

Music: Current count 36534 [36534] rated (+0), 149 [149] unrated (+0).

Excerpts from this month's Music Week posts:

Notes

Everything streamed from Napster (ex Rhapsody), except as noted in brackets following the grade:

  • [cd] based on physical cd
  • [cdr] based on an advance or promo cd or cdr
  • [lp] based on physical lp (vinyl)
  • [dvd] based on physical dvd (rated more for music than video)
  • [bc] available at bandcamp.com
  • [sc] available at soundcloud.com
  • [sp] available at spotify.com
  • [yt] available at youtube.com
  • [os] some other stream source
  • [dl] something I was able to download from the web; may be freely available, may be a bootleg someone made available, or may be a publicist promo