Jazz Prospecting: June 2013

Sophie Agnel/John Edwards/Steve Noble: Meteo (2012 [2013], Clean Feed): Pianist, b. 1964 in Paris; tenth album since 2000, a trio with Edwards on bass and Noble on drums. Free, the piano often lurking as bass and drums set up a forest of uncertainty, but very impressive when it all comes crashing together. B+(***)

David Ake: Bridges (2012 [2013], Posi-Tone): Pianist, teaches at University of Nevada, Reno (or Case Western Reserve, depending on how dated his website is). Has a couple books, at least two previous records including a solo. This is a sextet with three front-line horns -- Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Ravi Coltrane (tenor sax), and Peter Epstein (alto sax) -- plus Scott Colley (bass) and Mark Ferber (drums). All originals, more free than the label's norm, hard to keep so much firepower down. B+(**)

Chris Amemiya & Jazz Coalescence: In the Rain Shadow (2011 [2013], OA2): Trombonist, born in Hawaii, based in Seattle, first album, a sextet with Jay Thomas on trumpet, Travis Ranney on sax, John Hansen on piano, Jon Hamar on bass, and Steve Korn on drums. Most names I google kick up false positives, but the first "Chris Amemiya" listed sure looks like the same person: a professor of genetics at the University of Washington, mostly working on fish, notably the genetic sequencing of the coelacanth -- the "living fossil" discovered in 1938 (a second species was identified in 1999) bearing deep similarity to 400 million year old fossil fish. His university bio doesn't mention anything about music, but his OA2 bio says he choose "a career path in science." He doesn't compose anything here: picks up a couple pieces from the band (Thomas, Hansen), opens with a piece by Eubie Blake and closes with Cedar Walton. The band swings, and the trombone leads are solid. B+(**)

The Stephen Anderson Trio: Believe (2012 [2013], Summit): Pianist, teaches at University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill); third album, plus has a classical album, and played in Lynn Seaton Trio. Starts with a couple trio cuts to show his bona fides, then brings in "special guest" Joel Frahm on tenor sax, who blows hot and hard, the work ethic the pianist had set up. B+(**)

Lotte Anker/Rodrigo Pinheiro/Hernani Faustino: Birthmark (2012 [2013], Clean Feed): Danish saxophonist, b. 1958, plays soprano, alto, and tenor here. Has close to a dozen albums since 1997; someone I should look into -- Stef Gijssels had her Live at the Loft as his top album of 2009 -- but this is my first encounter. Pinheiro and Faustino play piano and bass in RED Trio, whose original eponymous 2010 album I can recommend highly. This is softly toned and abstract, the lack of a drummer making it seem like nothing much is happening, but it sneaks up on you, demanding and rewarding your attention. B+(***)

The Aperturistic Trio: Truth and Actuality (2013, Inner Circle Music): Piano trio: James Weidman, Harvie S (bass), Steve Williams (drums). Weidman has three albums under his own name, plus a lot of notable side credits: M-Base/Steve Coleman, Abbey Lincoln, Cassandra Wilson, Kevin Mahogany, Joe Lovano -- more singers, especially. Williams is hard to look up -- Discogs lists 20 with that name, and I only found him on AMG through a back door: no name albums, a few dozen side credits since 1984, notably Miles Davis and Shirley Horn. Didn't bother looking up S, since he regularly berates me (and probably everyone else) for misspelling his name. Bassist, has a long career mostly under his eminently misspellable original name. I associate him with Sheila Jordan, but lately he's tried to remodel himself as a Latin jazz guy. In other words, three underrated veterans used to lurking in the background behind fabulous singers, adopting yet another alias to protect their obscurity. Inside stuff, easy to miss. But if you miss Tommy Flanagan and Hank Jones, maybe you shouldn't. B+(***)

David Arnay: 8 (2013, Studio N): Pianist, has a couple previous albums. The concept here is to start with a solo piece (a very jaunty "Caravan"), then for each additional piece add one instrument: the duo picks up bass, trio drums, quartet Doug Webb's tenor sax, and so on until you get to the octet at the end. Six originals -- the other cover is "Giant Steps." B+(*)

Lynn Baker Quartet: LectroCoustic (2012 [2013], OA2): Tenor/soprano saxophonist, teaches at Lamont School of Music (University of Denver), second album, with Eric Gunnison (keybs), Eduardo "Bijoux" Barbosa (bass), and Paul Mullikin (drums) -- as the title suggests, the keyb/bass players switch between electric and acoustic modes. Neither do much more than to set up a r&b/soul jazz vibe which validates Baker's honking instincts, although he also enjoys Coltrane-ish riffing. B+(*)

Diego Barber/Hugo Cipres: 411 (2013, Origin): Barber is a guitarist from Spain, has a couple previous albums, none like this, which is elegant jazztronica driven off Cipres' "desktop" synths. Seamus Blake plays tenor sax (and EWI) for extra lift, Johannes Weidenmueller fattens the bottom, and Ari Hoenig adds some conventional drums. B+(***)

Kenny Barron: Kenny Barron & the Brazilian Knights (2012 [2013], Sunnyside): Pianist, huge pile of records since 1968, also one of the most important jazz educators of our era; not known for Latin jazz but an early (1974) triumph was called Peruvian Blue and he must have picked up some Brazilian tunes during his long tenure as pianist for Stan Getz. His Knights are Sergio Barroso (bass) and Rafael Barata (drums), with Lula Galvao (guitar), Mauricio Einhorn (harmonica), and Idriss Boudrioua (alto sax) added on most tracks, and Claudio Roditi (flugelhorn and muted trumpet) on one. Features songs by the late Johnny Alf, three by Einhorn, one Barron original, and a Jobim that is anything but obligatory. B+(***)

Tony Bennett/Dave Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962 (1962 [2013], Columbia/Legacy): Actually, two separate sets at Sylvan Theatre, near the base of Washington Monument, rather than some cozy confab in the Rose Garden -- you can guess the crowd size from the applause. Brubeck does four cuts starting with "Take Five" and integrating Middle Eastern and Latin rhythms. Bennett then brings his own band in for six songs, ending with an understated "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." Nice enough, but very compact: the temptation here is the four extra cuts at the end where Bennett sings with the Brubeck Quartet. Main thing you get there is a lot more bite in the piano -- Brubeck was ready to rumble, and Bennett skates around him, but they didn't figure out anything for Desmond to do. B+(**) [advance]

Kenny Blake featuring Maria Shaheen: Go Where the Road Leads (2012 [2013], Summit): Search algorithm woes: an AMG search for "kenny blake" amusingly offered Kenny Chesney and Blake Shelton as 2nd and 3rd choices; more perplexing is Tim McGraw in the 1st slot, although I suppose you could consider him the least common denominator between Chesney and Shelton. The pop saxophonist came in 9th, after the Beach Boys and a phalanx of bad Kennys -- Rogers, Loggins, G, Wayne Shepherd. Sixth album since 1991, first with (or for) singer Shaheen. Most of the songs are originals by producer Peter Morley. Covers include Porter and Jobim: the latter goes far beyond "obligatory" to be one of the album's highlights. Contrary to standard practice, Baker tends to lead the singer's lines, justifying the credit order, but Shaheen is a fine singer. B+(*)

Joe Burgstaller: License to Thrill (2012 [2013], Summit): Trumpet player, b. 1970, played in Canadian Brass, Meridian Arts Ensemble, and NY Brass Arts Trio; teaches at Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, CA. Has two previous albums of classical music: Mozart and Bach. Starts solo here with an original piece, adds one or two instruments (usually piano) for the rest: Vivaldi, Bach, Gershwin, Corea, Fritz Kreisler, Jennifer Higdon, Piazzolla, trad, a "world premier recording" of a piece by Su Lian Tan. Wouldn't call any of it thrilling -- stately, picturesque, pretty in very conventional ways. B+(*)

Joey Calderazzo Trio: Live (2013, Sunnyside): Pianist, has a dozen or so albums since 1991, also notably part of the Branford Marsalis Quartet since 1998. Trio with Orlando Le Fleming and Donald Edwards, a 71:05 set recorded at Daly Jazz in Missoula, MT (no date given). Two originals, covers of Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Paul Motian, and "The Meaning of the Blues." B+(*)

Marc Cary: For the Love of Abbey (2012 [2013], Motéma): Pianist, b. 1967, has ten albums since 1995. This one is solo, focusing on songs by Abbey Lincoln -- Cary played with her on two 1997-98 albums -- plus one Ellington cover and two originals. B+(*)

Etienne Charles: Creole Soul (2013, Culture Shock Music): Trumpet player, from Trinidad, moved to Florida then New York to study (Florida State and Juilliard), teaches at Michigan State. Second album. Band includes alto and tenor sax, piano, bass, drums, with guest vocals and percussion. Tries to mix it all up, but neither explodes nor coheres. B [advance]

Liz Childs Quartet: Take Flight (2009 [2011], self-released): Standards singer, second album -- one original here, co-credited with guitarist Ed MacEachen, plus sixteen covers for a total of 77:14, including the usual suspects, Bessie Smith, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and two Jobims. Voice suggests a Diana Krall wannabe. Band is a guitar-bass-drums trio, with MacEachen a quality foil, keeping it light but adding something tasty. B+(*)

Corey Christiansen: Lone Prairie (2012 [2013], Origin): Guitarist, fourth album since 2004; group includes keybs/piano (Steve Allee and/or Zach Lapidus, the latter also credited with SuperCollider), bass, drums, percussion. Songs have a western flare, with three originals, one each from Marty Robbins and Ennio Morricone, and six credited as "Traditional" -- e.g., "Red River Valley," "Sittin' on Top of the World." Notes say recording date was August 30-31, 2013 -- clearly a typo, but one that will become less obvious over time. B+(*)

The Convergence Quartet: Slow and Steady (2011 [2013], No Business): Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet), Alexander Hawkins (piano), Dominic Lash (bass), Harris Eisenstadt (drums). Third album together. All four compose, with Lash -- the least famous to me, but Discogs credits him with 10 albums since 2006 -- getting the upper hand this time. Not all that slow or steady, interesting leads from Bynum and Hawkins, lots of flurry from the others. B+(***)

Correction With Mats Gustafsson: Shift (2012 [2013], No Business): Correction is Sebastian Bergström's piano trio -- their 2010 album Two Nights in April (Ayler) was a high B+ here -- with Joacim Nyberg on bass and Emil Åstrand-Melin on drums. Gustafsson plays baritone sax here, and for once brought his inside game, playing around the shifts rather than bulling through them. It's an appealing strategy, one that gives the pianist more to do, and he rises to the occasion. [Vinyl only.] A- [CDR]

David's Angels: What It Seems (2012 [2013], Kopasetic): Singer-songwriter Sofie Norling, b. 1984 in Sweden, based in Stockholm, backed with keybs (Maggi Olin), electric bass (producer David Carlsson), and drums (Michala Østergaard-Nielsen). Second group album. Doesn't fit any category: art song tempos but not the archness, singer has jazz inflections, instrumental bits lean toward experimental rock (more the bass than the jazz drums), Olin's Rhodes is sharper than her piano precisely because of the pencil-thin tone. Group name seems malapropos even if Carlsson is pulling the strings. B+(***)

Roger Davidson: Journey to Rio (2011 [2013], Soundbrush, 2CD): Pianist, American but b. 1952 in Paris, France; has 18 albums since 2000, mostly Brazilian themed although a couple take on other Latin idioms. This was recorded in Rio de Janeiro on his first visit to the country, with Pablo Aslan producing and a raft of Brazilian studio musicians. Marceo Martins offers a few fine sax solos and a lot of flute, which flutters delicately over the piano rhythm -- which no matter the accompaniment is central. B+(***)

Jon Davis: One Up Front (2012 [2013], Posi-Tone): Pianist, based in San Francisco in the 1980s and in New York since; website lists 48 albums he's played on since 1985 but none under his own name; AMG lists a previous solo album. Trio with Joris Teepe on bass and Shinnosuke Takahashi on drums. Four originals, one by Teepe, covers from Berlin and Porter, Silver and Mingus, all done with aplomb. B+(**)

Michael Dease: Coming Home (2012 [2013], D Clef): Trombonist, fourth album since 2007; quintet with Steve Wilson (alto sax), Renee Rosnes (piano), Christian McBride (bass), and Ulysses Owens, Jr. (drums), plus some guests. Postbop, trombone taking most of the leads, and everything else as full and complex as you'd expect from this band. Dease composed five of eleven tunes, got one each from McBride and Rosnes, and covered Ellington, Peterson, Hubbard, and Jule Styne. B+(*)

Django Festival Allstars: Live at Birdland 2012 (2012 [2013], Three's a Crowd): Dorado Schmitt plays guitar and violin, along with Ludovic Beier (accordion), Pierre Blanchard (violin), lots more guys named Schmitt (all on guitar), a few others you don't know, and Anat Cohen (alto sax), on a mix of Django Reinhardt standards and their own originals in the same vein. B+(**)

Harris Eisenstadt September Trio: The Destructive Element (2012 [2013], Clean Feed): Drummer, b. 1975 in Toronto, father was also a drummer; has been prolific since 2002 -- AMG lists 14 records, one (looks like) a dupe, but hasn't logged this one yet. One of the best of those was his 2011 September Trio with Ellery Eskelin on tenor sax and Angelica Sanchez on piano. Same group here: Eskelin is superb at stepping around the rhythms, while the pianist burns right through them, adding more along the way. A-

Ellery Eskelin/Susan Alcorn/Michael Formanek: Mirage (2011 [2013], Clean Feed): Tenor sax, pedal steel guitar, bass. Main mystery here is Alcorn, who has an album with Dr. Eugene Chadbourne titled An Afternoon in Austin, or Country Music for Harmolodic Souls (Boxholder; I haven't heard it). She's hard to follow here, merging into the bass and rarely coming out. Eskelin responds with ballad volume, but with no one offering him a groove he has to tiptoe around the uncertainty. B+(**)

Olivia Foschi: Perennial Dreamer (2012 [2013], self-released): Singer, b. near San Francisco, grew up and studied there and in Italy, eventually landing in New York. First album, produced by drummer Ulysses Owens Jr., with Miki Hiyama (piano), David Rosenthal (guitar), Michael Olatuja (bass), and guest spots (notably Gegoire Maret and Stacy Dillard). About half originals, half covers -- the latter stand out, especially "Everything Happens to Me." B+(***)

Gansch & Breinschmid: Live (2012 [2013], Preiser): Duets, live at the Wiener Konzerthaus, with trumpeter Thomas Gansch, b. 1975, and bassist Georg Breinschmid, b. 1973, both from Austria. Gansch has a previous album and has played in Vienna Art Orchestra. Breinschmid has several. Both also sing here, or joke. I'd have to dig into the trots to figure out how funny their act really is, but the music, and the audience, offers plenty of hints. B+(**)

Amos Garrett Jazz Trio: Jazzblues (2010-11 [2013], Stony Plain): Detroit bluesman, has about fifteen albums since 1980, this the first styled as jazz. The trio adds a second guitarist, Keith Sith, and Greg Carroll on bass. Eight songs, two each from Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, recorded live, strung out softly with a delicate tone, nothing fancy. B+(*)

Trilok Gurtu: Spellbound (2012 [2013], Moosicus/Sunnyside): Percussionist, b. 1951 in old Bombay, India; has a couple dozen albums since 1984. Early on he toured with Don Cherry, and this is something of a tribute, framed with tape bits of Cherry from the 1970s, and featuring a long list of trumpet players who wanted to get in on it: Ambrose Akinmusire, Paolo Fresu, Hasan Gozetlik, Matthias Hofs, Ibrahim Maalof, Nils Petter Molvaer, and Matthias Schriefl. Mostly Gurtu originals, but covers include one by Cherry, Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca," and several Miles Davis pieces, hinting at a spacey world fusion. B+(**)

The Harris Group: Errands (2013, self-released): Ric Harris, guitarist, second group album, with vibes, bass, and drums for the group proper, violin and flute for extras: effectively, easy groove music with extra tinkles. B-

Molly Holm: Permission (2012 [2013], Rinny Zin): Singer, San Francisco area, studied North Indian Raga and was a member of Bobby McFerrin's Voicestra. First album, half originals, covers include "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," "Afro Blue," "Straight No Chaser," things from Chick Corea and Joe Zawinul. Band includes Larry Schneider on soprano sax and Famoudou Don Moye on drums, and guests pop in and out. Likes to scat, has a bit of Sheila Jordan in her delivery, but interesting as all that is this didn't quite come together. B+(*)

Yoron Israel & High Standards: Visions: The Music of Stevie Wonder (2013, Ronja Music): Drummer, from Chicago, based in Boston, has a handful of albums since 1995. Group includes Lance Bryant on tenor and soprano sax, Laszlo Gardony on piano and keybs, Henry Lugo on bass, with a couple guest spots including a spoken word rap by Larry Roland. Stevie Wonder songs, something few jazz musicians have made much of, but this is fun all the way through, and Roland adds enough to the title cut that they reprise it. B+(**)

Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette: Somewhere (2009 [2013], ECM): He's 68 now, and his label keeps shipping out new product every year, but since he turned 65 or so the recording dates have started to creep back -- the new product more likely to come out of old tapes than new. Critics tend to fall into two camps: some savor every scrap served up, and some have started to wonder whether we have enough of the more/less same thing by now. His "standards trio" with Peacock and DeJohnette dates back to 1983, a couple dozen albums by now, and for someone who isn't a piano fanatic, they do tend to all blur together: impressive, admirable even, but how much do you need? Still, every once in a while they make you pause and appreciate just how extraordinary this group is. Last time for me was My Foolish Heart: Live at Montreux, a 2001 tape released as a double in 2007, but this is another one on that special level, recorded live at KKL Luzern Concert Hall in 2009. A-

Art Johnson/Marc Devine: Blue Sud (2012 [2013], Warrant Music/ITI): Guitar-piano duets. Johnson was b. 1945, worked in California a long time; not sure how much he's recorded, but he has done piano duets with Dwayne Smith before, and dabbled in Brazilian music. Don't know much about Devine, but he fills in a lot of holes. B-

Patricia Julien Project: Still Light at Night (2012, self-released): Flutist, teaches at University of Vermont, second album, her quartet including Alec Julien on guitar. Pleasant enough, but so free of bop or swing or avant moves it might get stuck in new age. B

Roger Kellaway & Eddie Daniels: Duke at the Roadhouse: Live in Santa Fe (2012 [2013], IPO): Pianist, b. 1939, and clarinetist, b. 1941, frequently seen in each other's company of late. James Holland joins in on cello, but only becomes a factor late midway through. Program is mostly Ellington, eight of ten if you count "Perdido," with one original each -- Daniels' is called "Duke at the Roadhouse," Kellaway's "Duke in Ojai." B+(**)

Mark Kleinhaut/Neil Lamb: Jones Street (2011 [2013], Invisible Music): Two guitarists, Kleinhaut with a half-dozen albums since 1999, Lamb with more like four. Back cover says, "greetings from Savannah, Georgia; evidently the home of the title street. Has a delicate, laid-back feel, with a bit more swing than new age allows. B+(**)

Lama + Chris Speed: Lamaçal (2012 [2013], Clean Feed): Live at Portalegre Jazz Fest, they say "10o edition" but mean 2012. Speed, who should need no intro, plays tenor sax and clarinet. Lama is a trumpet trio led by Susana Santos Silva, with Gonçalo Almeida on bass and Greg Smith on drums, both also dabbling in electronics, and this is their second album. A little slow on the start, but when the horns get working they bounce off one another splendidly. B+(***)

Brian Landrus Kaleidoscope: Mirage (2012 [2013], Blueland): Started as a baritone saxophonist, on his fourth album (since 2003) has expanded to include the whole deep end of the reed family: bass clarinet, bass flute, bass sax, contra alto clarinet. Features a string quartet conducted by Ryan Truesdell, plus guitar, keybs, bass, and drums -- all name players (Nir Felder, Frank Carlberg, Lonnie Plaxico, Rudy Royston). A complex concoction, all soft edges with fuzzy splotches. B+(**)

Billy Lester: Storytime (2010-11 [2013], JKA): Pianist, studied under Sal Mosca and evidently considers himself a Tristanoite. Fourth album since 1995, all originals, done solo. Website quotes Howard Mandel dubbing this "connoisseur jazz." I can't disagree. My appreciation for solo piano usually wears thin, but this is engaging all the way through, even tempered with bop moves -- song titles namecheck Bud Powell as well as Mosca. B+(**)

Liberation Prophecy: Invisible House (2013, self-released): Group from Louisville, KY; led by saxophonist Jacob Duncan with Carly Johnson ("Our Lady of Song") singing most of the pieces -- their one previous album, 2006's Last Exit Angel, had Norah Jones and Andre Easton singing. Music has bits of avant-jazz and prog-rock -- publicist cites Charles Mingus, Frank Zappa, Carla Bley and Sun Ra -- a mix I can't vouch for. Two spins and the best I can say is that they may turn out to be interesting but it's not obvious why. B

Made to Break: Provoke (2011 [2013], Clean Feed): Ken Vandermark group, with V5 drummer Tim Daisy, Devin Hoff on electric bass, and Christof Lurzmann on "lloopp" -- a free software package for live-improvising on a computer. Three longish (19, 20, 24 minutes) Vandermark pieces, dedications to John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, and Marshall McLuhan. The electronics have some difficulty gaining traction, and never amount to more than background, so this reduces to Vandermark's performance: a little screechy on clarinet, but a powerhouse on tenor sax. Group also has a new LP (vinyl only) called Lacerba, which I didn't get. B+(***)

Diane Marino: Loads of Love (2013, M&M): Standards singer-pianist, fifth album since 2003; cover notes "featuring Houston Person," which is about as smart a move as any singer can make, adding a little something to every song he plays on (10 of 12). B+(**)

Nicolas Masson/Roberto Pianca/Emanuele Maniscalco: Third Reel (2012 [2013], ECM): Swiss saxophonist-clarinetist, fifth album since 2001, with Pianca on guitar and Maniscalco on drums. All three compose, with the drummer taking eight (of 14) pieces, two more joint improvs. Slows it down a bit too much. B [advance]

Melodic Art-Tet (1974 [2013], No Business): Quartet, originally formed in 1970 by saxophonist Charles Brackeen and three members of Sun Ra's entourage: Ahmed Abdullah (trumpet), Ronnie Boykins (bass), and Roger Blank (drums). They played in lofts, never released an album, but cut this at WKCR in 1974, with a very young William Parker taking over the bass slot, and Tony Waters on percussion. Four pieces (17, 20, 30, 12 minutes), free with funk overtones, the reeds -- flute and soprano as well as tenor sax -- not as clear as you'd like, but Abdullah turns into a force of nature, and the second half is so ship-shape you could sail to Saturn. A-

Monday Michiru: Soulception (2012, Adventure Music): Singer, from Japan, AMG lists 23 albums since 1994, pegging her genre as "Electronic" and styles as "Acid Jazz, Club/Dance, Trip-Hop." She is backed by jazz musicians here, including Alex Sipiagin (trumpet) and Adam Rogers (guitar). Indeed, she should know her way around jazz, given that an early album was called Jazz Brat -- an especially good title if your parents are Toshiko Akiyoshi and Charlie Mariano. Having trouble sorting this out, although she has promising moments -- but then the title is a muddle, too. B

Bernie Mora & Tangent: Dandelion (2013, Rhombus): Guitarist, unable to find out much about him -- one post states that he has previous albums in 1990 and 1995, but I don't find them in AMG (or anywhere). Release party is is El Paso, but band members, including saxophonist Doug Webb, are based in Los Angeles. All Mora originals, thick funk-fusion, the opening "Twilight Tango" cartoonishly grand. B-

Bob Mover: My Heart Tells Me (2010-11 [2013], Motema, 2CD): Saxophonist, b. 1952, plays more alto than tenor, only has about nine albums, mostly 1977-88, then 1997, 2008, and this magnum opus. Mainstream player (when he doesn't kick it into bop overdrive), also sings, a frail crooner, possibly influenced by Chet Baker but I suspect such cases just find their vulnerability and pick it like a scab, sometimes turning it into something affecting. First disc here is all standards, mostly vocals, a quartet with Kenny Barron, Bob Cranshaw, and Steve Williams. Second disc has only one vocal, mostly originals with some swing, adds Josh Evans on trumpet, sometimes Steve Hall on tenor sax, and occasionally swaps in Victor Lewis on drums. Nice to have either option. B+(***)

Jovino Santos Neto: Adventure Music Piano Masters Series Vol. 4 (2007 [2013], Adventure Music): Brazilian pianist, about ten albums since 1997; plays solo here, tackling twenty pieces, ten originals, ten covers, with Hermeto Pascoal a favored source, three American standards, and "Blackbird" (the opener). B

Noertker's Moxie: Little Bluedevil (Blue Rider Suite, Vol. 2) (2011-12 [2012], Edgetone): Bassist Bill Noertker's group, his principal collaborator Annelise Zamula (tenor sax, flute), with all other musicians listed after a "with." Has a previous Blue Rider Suite volume (2010), three volumes of Sketches of Catalonia, a couple more since 2003, and an earlier (1993-95) group called After the End of the World Coretet. The Blue Rider sets are inspired by paintings by Kandinsky, Klee, and Franz Marc, [some] originally published in the Blue Rider Almanac (1912). As is always a risk with suites, more color than dynamism, and more flute than sax. B

John O'Gallagher: The Anton Webern Project (2012 [2013], Whirlwind): Alto saxophonist, ninth album since 2002 plus a long list of side credits where he's often the real star. This is based on eight opuses by Austrian 12-tone composer Anton Webern, refashioned for a superb jazz group with Matt Moran (vibes), Pete McCann (guitar), Russ Lossing (keybs), Johannes Weidenmuller (bass), Tyshawn Sorey (drums), and Margaret Grebowicz (voice). I listened to Webern some during my Adorno phase: found him the most tolerable of the 12-toners, possibly because his odd pieces were so short and oblique, but this builds outward, and aside from the occasional vocals I'd never suspect this to come out of central Europe. Fine ensemble work and solos, especially McCann and O'Gallagher. A-

Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton: Live at Maya Recordings Festival (2011 [2013], No Business): I can hardly guess how many records this trio has together: 10? 20? More? The earliest trio I see is 1986, but all three played in bassist Guy's London Jazz Composers Orchestra on Ode in 1972. Drummer Lytton appeared on a duo with Parker in 1972. And they were in a quartet with George Lewis in 1983. AMG credits Lytton with appearing on 26 Parker albums, and Guy on 25. So, probably close to a dozen, certainly if you count the quartets. I'm not sure how this ranks, but the basics are very solid. Parker's soprano sax is unique, especially with the circular breathing, while his tenor is rougher and more personable. A-

PJ Rasmussen: Adventures in Flight (2013, Third Freedom Music): Guitarist, b. 1990, wrote all of his own material, leads a postbop sextet (tenor sax, trumpet, piano, bass, drums), the guitar adding a nice sweetness to music that goes through all of the motions. B+(*)

Eric Revis: City of Asylum (2012 [2013], Clean Feed): Bassist, best known as part of Branford Marsalis Quartet since 1997; side credits have mostly been mainstream, but his own albums -- this makes four since 2004 -- have been more avant. This is a piano trio with Kris Davis and Andrew Cyrille. Mostly joint credits, with covers from Monk and Jarrett, and one Revis original. The piano is feisty, slippery, edgy, and the bass is prominent. B+(***)

The Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra: Artistry: A Tribute to Stan Kenton (2012 [2013], MAMA): Alto saxophonist, came up through big bands (Stan Kenton, Louie Bellson, Bob Florence, and others) and has about ten albums, most or all big band, since 1998. This group has a full brass section (plus French horns and tuba), extra reeds (including a guest shot for Hubert Laws) and percussion, both guitar and piano, and John Proulx's "wordless vocals" -- no point offering less than the kitchen sink when it comes to honoring Stan Kenton. Gets the basic idea, but misses the sense that Kenton enjoyed that he was doing something adventurous, even when it was merely outlandish. B

Frank Rosaly: Cicada Music (2008-11 [2013], Delmark): Drummer, plays in various Chicago groups, including Fast Citizens and Rempis Percussion Quartet. Third album, all originals, cut in two distant sessions but evidently with same lineup. The horns are mostly clarinets (James Falzone, Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Keefe Jackson on bass and contrabass plus some tenor sax) so they tend to run soft, and the vibes (Jason Adasiewicz, of course) heightens that. B+(**)

Rose & the Nightingale: Spirit of the Garden (2012 [2013], Sunnyside): Leader here is cellist Jody Redhage, the composer of all but one tune and four group improvs. Song-oriented, the two singers are Leala Cyr (also trumpet) and Laila Biali (also piano) -- Redhage also has a voice credit, but listed after cello, whereas Cyr and Biali are credited with voice first -- with Sara Caswell (violin, mandolin) completing the group, except when guests Alan Ferber (trombone, 2 cuts) or Ben Wittman (percussion, 5 cuts) drop in. B+(*)

The Rosenthals: Fly Away (2013, American Melody): Phil Rosenthal plays banjo and sings, as he had with the bluegrass band Seldom Scene (1976-86). Daniel Rosenthal is Phil's son. He plays trumpet, notably in jazz big band Either/Orchestra. Phil is a pretty deadpan singer and he doesn't take any chances with his standard fare -- at most a little yodel, but the trumpet is a nice touch. B+(*)

Nick Sanders Trio: Nameless Neighbors (2012 [2013], Sunnyside): Pianist, raised in New Orleans, based in New York; first album, a trio with Henry Fraser on bass and Connor Baker on drums, produced by Fred Hersch. The one thing that jumps out is the rumble on "Motor World" -- makes me wonder if his more delicate work has more going on than initially meets the ear. B+(*)

Chris Schlarb: Psychic Temple II (2011-12 [2013], Asthmatic Kitty): Guitarist, fourth album since 2007, has some jazz affinities but on a rock label wrote lyrics to most of his eight songs (also covers from Brian Wilson, Joe Jackson, and Frank Zappa), doling them out to seven vocalists (most famous labelmate Sufjan Stevens), and shuffles many more musicians in and out, looking for "juxtapositions." Such eclecticism isn't without interest, but it doesn't cohere very often. B [advance: July 16]

Julian Shore: Filaments (2012, Tone Rogue): Pianist, second album; all originals, music by Shore and lyrics by singer Alexa Barchini (liner notes includes three lyrics; Barchini sings on six cuts, and Shelly Tzarafi also sings on five). The vocals have a soft, arty feel, and nothing else does much to soften the chill -- horn spots, three guitarists, although Kurt Rosenwinkel makes his presence felt. B

Zoot Sims: Compatability (1955 [2013], Delmark): Octet session with Hall Daniels (trumpet), Dick Nash (trombone), Zoot Sims (tenor sax), Bob Gordon (baritone sax), Tony Rizzi (guitar), Paul Atkerson (piano), Rolly Bundock (bass), and Jack Sperling (drums). Sims is by far the best known here, but was just getting noticed in 1955, and the original 4-track 10-inch LP (tracks 1-4 here) was released as Hal Daniels Septet. In 1977, the same four songs (different takes, but the times are real close) were issued as Zoot Sims/Dick Nash-Ville Octet (tracks 5-10, "Nash-Ville" twice). Ends with three "previously unissued" tracks: studio chatter, the title track (a third time) and "Nash-Ville" (a fourth). B+(*)

Mary Stallings: But Beautiful (2012 [2013], High Note): Standards singer, b. 1939, cut an album with Cal Tjader in 1961, then nothing until 1990, regular work since. With Eric Reed on piano, sometimes supplemented by Danny Janklow on alto sax and/or Brian Clancy on tenor sax, which helps. A fine singer, but songs like "I Thought About You" make the difference. B+(**)

June Tabor/Iain Ballamy/Huw Warren: Quercus (2006 [2013], ECM): English folk singer, has a couple dozen albums since 1976, including Silly Sisters with Maddy Prior and several with Oysterband. This is very stripped down with pianist Warren backing and saxophonist Ballamy interpolating, a combo which sets her voice off nicely -- although I'm still a bigger fan of the tenor sax. B+(***) [advance]

Benjamin Taubkin + Adriano Adewale: The Vortex Sessions (2010 [2013], Adventure Music): Adewale is a percussionist, b. in Sao Paulo, Brazil; moved to UK in 2000; has an album under his own named group, another group called Sambura. Taubkin is a pianist, also from Brazil, with close to a dozen albums since 1998. These duets were recorded in London at Vortex Jazz Club. B+(*)

Bruce Torff: Look Again (2012 [2013], Summit): Pianist, credited with keyboards and percussion here; teaches at Hofstra, in the School of Education and Allied Human Services. First album, songs with lyrics sung by Pete McGuinness, who sort of splits the difference between Chet Baker and Robert Wyatt while still being able to carry a tune. First-rate musicians can navigate the postbop cool and add something, notably Joel Frahm (tenor sax), Pete McCann (guitar), Matt Wilson (drums). B+(*)

Trespass Trio + Joe McPhee: Human Encore (2012 [2013], Clean Feed): Trespass Trio is Martin Küchen (alto/baritone sax), Per Zanussi (bass), and Raymond Strid (drums). They're one of several groups I file under Küchen, their two previous albums less successful than the larger Angles. McPhee, a double threat on tenor sax and pocket trumpet -- split here is 5 cuts to 4 -- plays with everyone, often blowing them away. He doesn't do that here, perhaps because Küchen doesn't challenge him; they just negotiate odd angles, as they are wont to do. B+(**)

Els Vandeweyer/Fred Van Hove/Paul Lovens/Martin Blume: Quat: Live at Hasselt (2011 [2013], No Business): Cover lists last names only, and label lists this record as by Quat Quartet, although only "QUAT" ever appears on the package. I added the first names to avoid duplicating the last names here. Credits, respectively, are: vibes, piano, percussion, and percussion. I'd say that makes this the pianist's album, even though the four pieces are joint improvs. Van Hove is an important avant-pianist, his first record dating from 1969 (Requiem for Che Guevara/Psalmus Spei), thirty-some since. Lovens, 12 years younger, has had a comparable career, just shorter (since 1975). Blume is a few years younger, and on a lot fewer albums, and this appears to be the first for Vandemeyer. So much percussion creates a prickly chaotic storm, a whorl of noise that the piano trumps -- most impressive when it's all clashing, less so when Van Hove lays out, or picks up his accordion. B+(***)

Eric Vaughn: Minor Relocation (2011 [2012], self-released): Pianist, b. 1954 in Connecticut, took lessons from Sal Mosca but went to college (San Francisco) on a basketball scholarship, returning to music after he injured his knees. Cut his first record in 1997; this looks to be his fourth, some trio, some with Bob Kenmotso on tenor sax (5 cuts) or Bernie Williams on flute (1); mostly originals, but two (of three) covers are repeated for a "Take 2": "On Green Dolphin Street" and "Stella by Starlight." B+(**)

The Verge: Introducing . . . the Verge (2012, Danger Productions): Pop jazz group led by Jon Hanser, who plays keybs, sings, and wrote most of the pieces; flanked by Kenny Shanker (sax, keybs) and Brian Fishler (drums), both adding their voices. Presumably their first album -- AMG lists another, but I suspect it's by a totally different group. Haven't deciphered all the fine print, but one song features Richard Bona, and I suspect there are more guests (but they don't matter much). Not as slick or as bland as promised -- I hear some (dare I say it?) jazz breaks in with the funk, a bit of hip-hop too, and nothing I would call ersatz. B+(*)

Marlene VerPlanck: Ballads . . . Mostly (2012 [2013], Audiophile): Standards singer, b. Marlene Pampinella in Newark in 1933; cut an album as Marlene in 1955; nothing else until 1979, but she's recorded regularly since 1989. She built this album around seven arrangements of Cy Coleman songs by her late husband, J. Billy VerPlanck, adding four more songs by Harry Warren, and four more. Cut with two piano trios, adding Claudio Roditi's trumpet on four cuts, and Houston Person's tenor sax on four more. Singer is precise and fluid, no excess mannerisms, and the horns are a plus. B+(**)

Joan Watson-Jones/Frank Wilkins: Quiet Conversations: A Duet (2012, Eye of Samantha): Standards singer, third album since 1998, accompanied by piano, nice and intimate. She did write two originals, buried near the end. Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately" is an inspired pick; Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" isn't. B+(*)

Frank Wess: Magic 101 (2011 [2013], IPO): Tenor saxophonist -- also perhaps the most celebrated of all jazz flautists, but none of that here (other than a picture on the inside cover -- b. 1922 so he cut this just shy of 90, came up with Billy Eckstine and Lucky Millinder in the 1940s, was a key member of Count Basie's 1953-64 orchestra, probably cut his best albums in 1989-93 (Dear Mr. Basie, Entre Nous, Tryin' to Make My Blues Turn Green). Quartet: Kenny Barron (piano), Kenny Davis (bass), Winard Harper (drums). Seven standards: Monk, Ellington, "Come Rain or Come Shine," "The Very Thought of You." Slight but lovely. B+(**)

Jeff Williams: The Listener (2012 [2013], Whirlwind): Drummer, b. 1950, sixth album since 1994, a two-horn quartet with Duane Eubanks (trumpet) and John O'Gallagher (alto sax) up front, and John Hébert on bass. Eubanks and Hébert contributed songs, Williams wrote four originals, and they covered "Dedicated to You." O'Gallagher is especially engaging. B+(**)

Jon Wirtz: Tourist (2013, self-released): Pianist (organ, keyboards), based in Denver, second album. Mixed bag here, some trio, some extra guitar (pedal steel in one case), a spoken word thing, the closer piano with an impassioned trumpet lead (Gabriel Mervine); more semi-pop than post-bop but not necessarily. B

Zs: Grain (2013, Northern Spy): Avant-noise group, originally a trio with saxophonist Sam Hillmer, after a handful of releases (including a 4-CD box as a sextet), now a trio again, with Patrick Higgins (guitar) and Greg Fox (percussion) -- pulled those credits off the website, since the album doesn't say really much of anything. Actually, nearly all of this sounds electronic, and the two parts sound like dozens of pieces -- lots of interesting effects that don't get stuck long enough to become annoying, but that don't quite flow either. B+(***)

From Rhapsody Streamnotes

Terence Blanchard: Magnetic (2013, Blue Note): New Orleans trumpet player, only one year younger than that other one and at this point he's had a surprisingly comparable career -- something like 35 albums since 1983, a total inflated by a lot of (not necessarily any good) soundtrack work. Hard bop quintet plus guest spots from Ravi Coltrane, Lionel Loueke, and Ron Carter; split between four Blanchard originals and six from his band -- pianist Fabian Almazan is the overachiever there. Strong solo spots, but the flow hits some snags. B+(*)

Mark de Clive-Lowe & the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra: Take the Space Trane (2012 [2013], Tru Thoughts): Keyboard player from New Zealand, his records since 1997 straddle jazz and electronica, his programmed beats here adding both drive and fluff, while the big band is deep in brass and sax. They namecheck Coltrane for the title, but Ellington is in their hearts, and "Caravan" is the centerpiece. B+(**)

Kairos 4tet: Everything We Hold (2013, Naim Jazz): Saxophonist Adam Waldman's group, with piano (Ivo Neame), bass (Jasper Hoiby), and drums (Jon Scott), plus beaucoup others on their third album. Robert Friend wrote lyrics for four songs for guest vocalists, and producer Jules Buckley added all sorts of potential mush -- strings, harp, harmonium, bass clarinet, French horn, glockenspiel. Charming on their own, fond of grooves but never stuck in one, and the extras don't gum up the works like you'd expect. A species of crossover that is never attempted in the more compartmentalized US. B+(**)

Chandler Travis Three-O: This Is What Bears Look Like Under Water (2012 [2013], Iddy Biddy): Founder of 1980s rock band the Incredible Casuals, more recently seen with his jazz-oriented 9-piece Philharmonic, leans more toward folk-rock here but will run an instrumental, drop in some sax riffs, and go nostalgic over the Beatles cover. B+(**)

Trio 3 + Jason Moran: Refraction - Breakin' Glass (2012 [2013], Intakt): I file the Trio's records -- eight since 1993 -- under Oliver Lake but Reggie Workman (who's actually listed first here, but not always) and Andrew Cyrille are superstars too, and you can key on any one of them and hear everything a musician can do. Moran has to work to earn a spot in their company, and he does. Two raps: Lake's title cut reminiscing about his mother, and Cyrille's intro to "High Priest." A-

Trio 3 + Geri Allen: Celebrating Mary Lou Williams: Live at Birdland New York (2010 [2011], Intakt): The Oliver Lake-Reggie Workman-Andrew Cyrille supertrio live from a series of concerts honoring Mary Lou Williams, plus pianist Geri Allen, who has practically cornered the market for Williams tributes. Williams was the arranger behind Andy Kirk's late 1930s big band; she went on to compose modernist larger scale works and in the 1970s recorded some adventurous piano trios, and she was the first woman to do much of that. Allen has all the facets of her subject down pat, while Lake is just being himself. This is just old-fashioned (or do I mean modernistic?) enough you can imagine Williams and Charlie Parker jamming back in old KC, but where would they find such a rhythm section? A-

 May, 2013 July, 2013