TOP 12 OF 2019

HOW DOES ONE BEGIN to compile a ‘best of year’ list from the wealth and diversity of new releases out there?! Well, appreciation of music is, of course, entirely subjective. But during 2019, amongst all of the jazz and jazz-related albums I have written for or about, or have been privileged to simply receive an invitation to hear, these twelve (in no particular order) have been revisited the most frequently. All are heartily recommended, with info/links below. 

Here’s to a great new year – and decade – of musical discovery!

🎹 AP

Fred Hersch & The WDR Big Band – Begin Again
Fred Hersch, The WDR Big Band, arranged and conducted by Vince Mendoza
Release date: 7 June 2019 (Palmetto Records)
Available from: propermusic.com/fredhersch/beginagain

Kate Williams’ Four Plus Three meets Georgia Mancio – Finding Home
Kate Williams, Georgia Mancio, John Garner, Marie Schreer, Francis Gallagher, Sergio Serra, Oli Hayhurst, David Ingamells, John Williams
Release date: 1 June 2019 (KW Jazz)
Review: ap-reviews.com/findinghome
Available from: katewilliams.bandcamp.com/findinghome or georgiamancio.com/findinghome

Ingi Bjarni – Tenging
Ingi Bjarni Skúlason, Jakob Eri Myhre, Merje Kägu, Daniel Andersson, Tore Ljøkelsøy
Release date: 30 August 2019 (Losen Records)
Available from: losenrecords.no/tenging

Chick Corea, Christian McBride, Brian Blade – Trilogy 2
Chick Corea, Christian McBride, Brian Blade
Release date: 18 October 2019 (Concord Jazz)
Available from: propermusic.com/chickcorea/trilogy2

Rymden Reflections & Odysseys
Bugge Wesseltoft, Dan Berglund, Magnus Öström
Release date: 8 February 2019 (Jazzland Records)
Review: ap-reviews.com/rymden
Available from: rymden3.bandcamp.com/reflections&odysseys

Mark Lockheart and Roger Sayer – Salvator Mundi
Mark Lockheart, Roger Sayer
Release date: 5 July 2019 (Edition Records)
Review: ap-reviews.com/salvatormundi
Available from: marklockheart.bandcamp.com/salvatormundi

Michael Janisch – Worlds Collide
Michael Janisch, Jason Palmer, John O’Gallagher, Rez Abbasi, Clarence Penn
with John Escreet, George Crowley, Andrew Bain

Release date: 6 September 2019 (Whirlwind Recordings)
Available from: michaeljanisch.bandcamp.com/worldscollide

Saxophone Summit – Street Talk
Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Greg Osby, Billy Hart, Phil Markowitz, Cecil McBee
Release date: 4 October 2019 (Enja Records)
Review: ap-reviews.com/streettalk
Available from: propermusic.com/streettalk

Trish Clowes – Ninety Degrees Gravity
Trish Clowes, Chris Montague, Ross Stanley, James Maddren
Release date: 26 April 2019 (Basho Records)
Available from: bashorecords.com/ninetydegreesgravity

Scott Kinsey – We Speak Luniwaz (The music of Joe Zawinul)
Scott Kinsey, Katise Buckingham, Hadrien Feraud, Gergo Borlai with Bobby Thomas Jr, Arto Tunçboyaciyan, Steve Tavaglione, Jimmy Haslip, Michael Baker, Danny Carey, Cyril Atef, Brad Dutz, Naina Kundu
Release date: 25 October 2019 (Whirlwind Recordings)
Available from: scott-kinsey.bandcamp.com/wespeakluniwaz

Huw Warren Trio – Everything In Between
Huw Warren, Dudley Phillips, Zoot Warren
Release date: 15 March 2019 (CAM JAZZ)
Review: ap-reviews.com/everythinginbetween
Available from: camjazz.com/everythinginbetween

e.s.t. – e.s.t. live in Gothenburg
Esbjörn Svensson, Dan Berglund, Magnus Öström
Release date: 25 October 2019 (ACT Music)
Review: ap-reviews.com/estliveingothenburg
Available from: actmusic.com/estliveingothenburg

‘e.s.t. live in Gothenburg’ – e.s.t. (2CD)

WHAT MORE can be said, what more can be heard of a band who, between 1993 and 2008, came to inspire a generation of artists and significantly expand the landscape of contemporary jazz?

Read my full review at LondonJazz News…

Released on 25 October 2019 and available from ACT Music.

 

Esbjörn Svensson piano
Dan Berglund double bass
Magnus Öström drums

est-music.com

ACT Music – ACT 9046-2 (2019)

#recentlistening – September 2019 (1 of 3)

e.s.t – e.s.t. live in Gothenburg (2CD)
Esbjörn Svensson, Dan Berglund, Magnus Öström
Release date: 25 October 2019 (ACT Music)
www.actmusic.com/en/Artists/Esbjoern-Svensson-Trio-e.s.t./e.s.t.-live-in-Gothenburg/e.s.t.-live-in-Gothenburg-CD

Aki Rissanen – Art in Motion
Aki Rissanen, Antti Lötjönen, Teppo Mäkynen
Release date: 13 September 2019 (Edition Records)
akirissanen.bandcamp.com/album/art-in-motion

John Pearce – Just Friends
John Pearce, David Newton, Will Harris, Ian Matthews
Release date: 18 September 2019
johnpearce.bandcamp.com/album/just-friends

Mette Juul – Change
Mette Juul, Lars Danielsson, Ulf Wakenius, Heine Hansen, Gilad Hekselman, Per Møllehøj
Release date: 6 September 2019 (Universal Music)
mette-juul.com/music/

Kjetil Mulelid Trio – What You Thought Was Home
Kjetil Mulelid, Bjørn Marius Hegge, Andreas Winther
Release date: 30 August 2019 (Rune Grammofon)
runegrammofon.com/artists/kjetil-mulelid-trio/rcd2208-kjetil-mulelid-trio-what-you-thought-was-home-cd-lp/

Tonbruket – Masters of Fog
Dan Berglund, Johan Lindström, Martin Hederos, Andreas Werliin
Release date: 27 September 2019 (ACT Music)
actmusic.com/en/Artists/Tonbruket/Masters-of-Fog/Masters-of-Fog-CD

‘Reflections & Odysseys’ – Rymden

THERE’S A MAJOR STORY behind this unassuming cartoon rocket ship hurtling up through the firmament. A decade after the tragic death of revered Swedish pianist Esbjörn Svensson, his longtime colleagues Dan Berglund and Magnus Öström have returned to the trio format which launched global high flyers, e.s.t. Alongside them on Rymden’s Reflections & Odysseys is one of Norwegian jazz’s respected names, pianist Bugge Wesseltoft, known for his enduring New Conception of Jazz project and various ECM and ACT collaborations over the years. 

Read my full review at LondonJazz News…

Released 8 February 2019 and available from Proper MusicBandcamp, Amazon and iTunes.

 

Bugge Wesseltoft piano, keyboards
Dan Berglund bass
Magnus Öström drums, percussion

rymden-music.com

Jazzland Recordings – CD: 3779206 / 2LP: 3779207 (2019)

#recentlistening – January 2019

Rymden Reflections & Odysseys
Bugge Wesseltoft, Dan Berglund, Magnus Öström
Releasing 8 February on Jazzland Records
rymden3.bandcamp.com

Chris Potter Circuits
Chris Potter, James Francies, Eric Harland, Linley Marthe
Releasing 22 February at Edition Records
chrispotterjazz.bandcamp.com

Graham Costello’s Strata Obelisk
Harry Weir, Liam Shortall, Fergus McCreadie, Joe Williamson, Mark Hendry, Graham Costello
Releasing 1 February at bpqd Records
grahamcostello.bandcamp.com

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra Peter and the Wolf
Prokofiev – arranged and orchestrated by Tommy Smith,
featuring Makoto Ozone and narrated by Tam Dean Burn
Releasing 25 January at Spartacus Records
snjo.co.uk

‘e.s.t. live in London’ – Esbjörn Svensson Trio (2CD)

e.s.t. live in london_300dpi

FOR MANY, E.S.T. (the Esbjörn Svensson Trio) were a truly seminal force in music. Translating the relative simplicity of a piano trio into an outfit which could energize the pulse or melt the heart with dewdrop tenderness, they spawned and influenced a generation of bands which followed.

Read my full review at LondonJazz News…

Released on 11 May 2018 and available from ACT, Amazon, Apple Music, etc.

 

Esbjörn Svensson piano
Dan Berglund double bass
Magnus Öström drums

est-music.com

ACT Music – ACT 9042-2 (2018)

‘Liberetto III’ – Lars Danielsson

Liberetto III

A KEY FASCINATION with Swedish bassist, cellist and composer Lars Danielsson’s Liberetto III is that his original music’s instrumental fluctuations and juxtapositions frequently pose thoughts of “What is that instrument or combination of sounds?”

The third of the bassist/composer’s recordings under this title again brings together guitarist John Paricelli and drummer Magnus Öström to form the core quartet, this time with pianist Grégory Privat; and as before, some of Danielsson’s twelve new pieces also feature a clutch of guests (including returning trumpeter Arve Henriksen) to further varicolour the attractive, pictorialised soundscapes.

German label ACT Music (this year celebrating its 25th anniversary) has successfully continued to discover and nurture a distinctive, European ‘family’ of artists; and Danielsson’s output is very much a part of its prolific release catalogue – typically cosmopolitan, infused with cross-cultural atmospheres and refractions, defined by a welcome lack of boundary. Describing the project’s development, he refers to the band having a ‘sixth sense’ which comes from playing together so much; and this surely is a factor in why this array of ebullient, haunting and even spiritual expressions melds together so well across the album’s fifty-five minutes.

Lars Danielsson’s melodic approach is not unlike that of German bassist Eberhard Weber, and his bright, lyrical vibrato is prominent in opening numbers Preludium and Agnus Dei, with the latter’s warm, hymnal equilibrium emphasised by Arve Henriksen’s subtle trumpet and Björn Bohlin’s oboe d’amore. With Magnus Öström driving the precise energy of numbers such as Lviv, there’s a pleasing inevitability of his brushed ‘perpetuum mobile’ summoning e.s.t., confirmed by Danielsson’s searing, screeching strings in Dawn Dreaming. Hussam Aliwat’s oud and John Paracelli’s acoustic guitar enhance the dusky, heated Arabic flavours of Taksim by Night and also (showcasing Grégory Privat’s rapid, pianistic flair) catchy Sonata in Spain.

The clear, reverential aspects of the bassist’s compositions and arrangements are particularly magnetic – from the melancholy trumpet phrasing and wordless vocal of Henriksen in Orationi (which also features an achingly beautiful solo from Danielsson) to a similarly wistful pastorale, Da Salo, painted with exquisite, teardrop watercolours from Bohlin’s English horn. The appealing African-lute timbres of Danielsson’s gimbri are given a contemporary twist in Gimbri Heart as chromatic trumpet and sustained effects prompt the leader’s flamboyant rock cello; and the echoic, French elegance of Mr Miller (US bassist Marcus Miller also, incidentally, a master of the gimbri) suggests the romanticism of Fauré’s ‘Pavane’ and Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ – glimpses of European classical and folk, throughout this album, add so much.

To close, affably scurrying guitar lollipop Affretando spreads soft sunshine with theme-tune-like memorability until slow, eventide bossa nova Berchidda seemingly honours Antônio Carlos Jobim in sublime suspension, featuring Danielsson’s dulcet high-bass melodies, with great attention to detail.

Released on 26 May 2017, Liberetto III somehow casts a spell… a real joy to hear, again and again.

Available from ACT Music, Amazon and iTunes.

 

Lars Danielsson double bass, cello, piano, wah-wah cello, gimbri
Grégory Privat piano, Fender Rhodes
John Paricelli guitars
Magnus Öström drums, percussion
with guests
Arve Henriksen trumpet
Dominic Miller acoustic guitar
Hussam Aliwat oud
Björn Bohlin English horn, oboe d’amore
Mathias Eick trumpet

ACT Music – Act 9840-2