Vels Trio – Yellow Ochre

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?
Funky modern jazz trio with rock chops

Moods
Couldn’t get into Snarkypuppy so I saw the vels trio instead

Thoughts
Damn this is a tight group. Add vels trio onto the list of recent good modern jazz releases. Has just the right amount of funky keys and rock chops to keep the songwriting engaging.

This feels like a great release to get a friend into jazz as it’s got enough groove for anyone to hook into.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Vels-Trio-Yellow-Ochre-/release/10484847

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Vels Trio – Yellow Ochre

Description: Album Review of Vels Trio – Yellow Ochre


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Kamasi Washington – Harmony Of Difference

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?
A contemporary and melodic take on a big jazz band

Moods
Classy evening at Zinc bar

Thoughts
A lovely ep with great playing by Kamasi and his band. Compared to other Kamasi releases songs are more chilled out and run shorter. I appreciate the flow with songs merging into each other.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Kamasi-Washington-Harmony-Of-Difference/release/10756796

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtW1S5EbHgU


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Kamasi Washington – Harmony Of Difference

Description: Album Review of Kamasi Washington – Harmony Of Difference


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Antonio Sanchez – New Life

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
I’ll call this adult contemporary jazz. Modern melodic playing, at times building with rock-like structures

Moods
Pensive autumn walk

Thoughts
A lot to like here: top notch songwriting that builds effectively, each piece works as a standalone single.
Playing is great. Not usually a fan of Alto-sax players but I like him here.

Aspects of this border on corny. “New life”, for instance, has this new age scatting that I found distracting.

Overall great playing and writing makes this an album I’ve enjoyed coming back to over the past few years.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Antonio-Sanchez-New-Life/release/4490046

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxQyUU4B_IE

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Antonio Sanchez – New Life

Description: Album Review of Antonio Sanchez – New Life


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Ambrose Akinmusire – A Rift In Decorum (Live At The Village Vanguard)

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?
Modern jazz that is rooted in tradition but veers into tasteful experimental deconstructions.

Moods
Downtown jazz

Thoughts
Impressive stuff, wholeheartedly suggest this to fans of modern jazz.

I need to look up the style this is called but I feel this is part of a broader move forward for jazz. His compositions follow a general pattern with a somber melodic start to these songs that veers into intense free jazz like breakdowns. They illustrate a masterful knowledge of post-bop and mindful control on limits free jazz breakdowns.

I think what sets this apart (ie from Justin Brown’s latest) is the way the band keeps it together and doesn’t totally abandon a collective playing. Jazz, as a genre, evolved into something where people seemed to go free, fusion or forced to play as a revivalist. This record combines something of the free and revitalist approach but does so in a modern way that feels fresh.

Credit is due to the band and leadership of Ambrose. He’s a trumpet player who’s style I actually enjoy and is executing a vision perfectly. Justin Brown’s drumming is always impressive and his influence can’t be understated. I find he works very well as a member as a band rather than a leader; see my notes on nyeusi for more there.

Conflicted on what to rate this so gave it a 3 for now. Believe I need a bit more time to really set in with listening sessions where I can enjoy this. Overall a great record with fresh ideas, recommended.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Ambrose-Akinmusire-A-Rift-In-Decorum-Live-At-The-Village-Vanguard/release/10749297

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Ambrose Akinmusire – A Rift In Decorum (Live At The Village Vanguard)

Description: Album Review of Ambrose Akinmusire – A Rift In Decorum (Live At The Village Vanguard)


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Kneebody – Anti-Hero

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Rhythmic modern jazz with rock chops

Thoughts
This record is a very successful marriage of jazz and rock, listening notes:

* Like the drum player a lot here, uses the full range of his kit. Keys too, layers well.
* ‘Uprising’ is a good track, the 2nd half I could see extending into a tension building jam live.
* ‘Drum battle’ takes that and builds it into something a bit heavier.
* The sax player has great solos on drum battle and profar. Good use of distortion but otherwise the playing isn’t quite soulful enough.
* Album has a good flow. Almost has a classical like sway to it. Notes are long and melodic. I’d say this is where the ‘cool’ could be upped with this band..

More Info
https://www.discogs.com/Kneebody-Anti-Hero/release/10046749

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Kneebody – Anti-Hero

Description: Album Review of Kneebody – Anti-Hero


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Colin Vallon Trio – Danse

★★★☆☆ = Good!

What’s it sound like?

Modern jazz trio led by somber pensive piano player

Thoughts

Serious piano playing is at the core of this album. While there’s bass and percussion it feels like a secondary compared to Vallon. Songs tend to follow a repetitive structure of sparse starts that build towards chaos.

Tracks ‘tsunami’ and ‘smile’ force emotion on you through an intense progression. I prefer tracks like ‘sisyphe’ and ‘danse’ which seem to evolve naturally through the musicians interplay. ‘Kid’ is an album highlight, beautiful with it’s melodic sentimentality.

A lot to like if this is your style. The best I’ve heard from this trip yet.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Colin-Vallon-Trio-Danse/release/9658655

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Quasimode – Oneself-LIKENESS

⭐⭐⭐

Relentless percussion and piano give this album a steady forward momentum, reminds me of samba. This is a jazz album though structurally it feels like pop. Solos don’t off much or showcase the character of the players, seems the emphasis is on precision rather than exploration.

Track highlights include Skeleton coast and feeling green which feature hip hop like drumming.

More Info:

https://www.discogs.com/Quasimode-Oneself-LIKENESS/release/4158791

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Colin Vallon Trio – Le Vent

⭐⭐

Too somber and serious for my taste, I found it lacked any semblance of groove. That said an impressive ability is on display and I plan to check out the trios 2017 album which was well reviewed.

More Info:

https://www.discogs.com/Colin-Vallon-Trio-Le-Vent/release/5446568

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#VALUE!