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Don't Call it Jazz, Recent Favs

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For this episode of Don’t Call it Jazz, Jon digs into his recent purchases and shares some of his favorite recent tracks. Not so much a best-of, but a collection of great creative jazz music from some wonderful contemporary artists that Jon has been listening to on repeat recently.

Playlist:

  1. Dawn Clement

“Sunshine” - 3:55

Islands (2021)

Produced by Jon Solo

Guitar by Kathy Moore

2. Brandee Younger

“Love & Struggle” - 5:41

Somewhere Different (2021)

Impulse!

Studied at the Hartt School U of Hartford (Jackie McLean)

Opening Track

Allan Mednard - drums

Rashaan Carter - bass

RVG studios!

3. Dan Schnelle

“Spaceman Spiff” - 4:44

Shine Through (2022)

Dave Binney, sax FX

Anthony Wilson, guitar

Jeff Babko, keys

Sweet vibey tune, great atmosphere, deep unmoored groove with loads of freedom. Love the Babko de-tuned solo, then Wilson tears it up. Schnelle is driving throughout. Great record, incredible players

4. Makaya McCraven feat Nubya Garcia

“Suite Haus” - 5:09

Universal Beings (2021)

Son of jazz drummer Steve McCraven, Makaya has established an incredibly creative career as a drummer, producer, and artist. This album is special to me, it’s so unique….

Edited together from four performances around the world featuring artists from that city. LA, NYC, Chicago, and this one from London

5. Esthesis Quartet

“Cricket” - 5:50

Esthesis Quartet (2022)

New album from a wonderful super band! This group brings together four incredible musicians from across the country, Raymond drums, Clement piano/vocals, Elsa Nilsson flute, Emma Dayhuff bass. As they write:

“The quartet has the restrictions of the past two years flowing through its DNA. “Esthesis” by definition means “elementary sensations of touch,” something that we were all robbed of throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The quartet was formed at this time, starting as a creative support group to keep compositions coming and creative juices flowing. After spending many sessions together on Zoom and deciding that connecting in person was safe again, the group members headed to Los Angeles and recorded their first album.”

Monsters all of them, and this song “Cricket” composed by pianist Clement was inspired by Clement’s daughter who was referred to as cricket before she was born because of her constant movement. Incredible composition, wonderful playing throughout

6. Arun Ghosh 

“Hanji” - 4:32

“Seclused in Light” (2022)

A word he made up, a mixture of recluse and secluded. By his own words, Ghosh said that the music for this album came from the isolation of COVID combined with the loss of his father. It’s a sorrowful record at times, a joyful one, and constantly exciting and emotional. A wonderful collection of sounds and performances. You hear Ghosh on clarinet, but he also overdubs bass, guitar, keys, harmonium and aux percussion. He then brought in certain folks to come in and bring it to life. I found this surprising when I read it, as the album has a wonderful feeling to it and it speaks to Arun Ghosh’s vision and the impassioned performances by everyone that it feels so good.

7. James Brandon Lewis and the Red Lily Quintet

“Seer” - 4:02

Jesup Wagon (2021)

An album dedicated to George Washington Carver. The album name is a reference to Carver’s traveling wagon that allowed Carver to teach farmers and sharecroppers how to grow crops, such as sweet potatoes, peanuts, soybeans and pecans. A mobile classroom if you will.

Kirk Knuffke, cornet

William Parker, bass

Chad Taylor, drums (On mbira here)

Chris Hoffman, cello

8. Tigran Hamasyan 

“De Dah” - 4:16

Stand Art (2022)

Fiercely creative musician, composer, and pianist, Tigran from Armenia has forged an impressive career with his explosive original compositions that are often steeped in Armenian folk traditions. This album is super interesting for him as it’s an album of obscure standards arranged brilliantly, some of these standards I have never heard of! B-Sides, and other bits of buried treasure. The song we’re gonna listen to here, “De Dah”, was originally composed by the wonderful bebop pianist and composer Elmo Hope, Tigran takes the bebop head and distorts and twists it into a rawkus odd time gallup. Incredible work here. Features Matt Brewer on bass and Justin Brown on drums

9. Sam Hirsh

“House Cleaning” - 4:09

Quarantine Dreams (2022)

Produced by DANIEL WEIDLEIN, a record meant to celebrate connection “I wanted to make a record about community, especially after isolation.”

10. Nubya Garcia

“Boundless Beginnings” - 2:47

Source (2022)

English saxophonist who I first heard of from the Makaya McCraven album. Outstanding player, and this album is really special. Shades of Pharaoh Sanders/late Coltrane, explorations into electro and hip hop productions. It’s such a wonderful mix of worlds that feels great. Nubya is a special talent and a really outstanding musical mind. She seems to be only in her early 30s so this is a career to watch.

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Host of Don't Call it Jazz (DCiJ) on KISU-FM. DCiJ air's twice monthly on Saturday nights at 7:00 pm.