Rising star pianist/composer Connie Han brings the ancient Sumerian culture to the present day by channelling Inanna — the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, beauty and war — on her third release for Mack Avenue Records.

Rising star pianist/composer Connie Han brings the ancient Sumerian culture to the present day by channeling Inanna — the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, beauty, and war — on her third release for Mack Avenue Records.

Featuring Katisse Buckingham (alto flute and piccolo), John Patitucci (bass), Rich Perry (tenor saxophonist), and drummer Bill WysaskeSecrets of Inanna creates a new world open to interpretation, harkening back to the ethereal soundscapes’ of 1970s spiritual jazz with the modern composition Han has received praise for since her 2018 debut Crime Zone, creating a truly unique soundscape of great depth. ~MackAvenueRecords

At your leisure, stream her new single “PRIMA MATERIA” from her upcoming album

 

[Just in case, you missed it…] Accra, Ghana jazz trumpeter Peter Somuah’s debut album Outer Space gives music lovers a satisfying gumbo of jazz, funk, electronic, and traditional Ghanaian rhythms

Peter Somuah is a gifted jazz trumpeter hailing from Accra, Ghana, and currently based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Somuah, who learned to play by listening endlessly to his trumpet heroes Roy Hargrove and Miles Davis, stands out with his warm and melancholic sound, as well as the rhythmic prowess reflecting his upbringing surrounded by the music styles native to West Africa. He touches his audience and makes them groove.

At 25, Somuah has already shared the stage with many local and international acts and toured in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Among others, he has performed and recorded with Akwasi, Bridget Kearney, and Yung Nnelg. Somuah will be releasing his debut album ‘Outer Space‘ this Spring. On the record, he explores the boundaries between jazz, funk, electronic music, and traditional Ghanaian rhythms with his band. ~Bandcamp

Peter Somuah – trumpet
Anton de Bruin – keys
Danny Rombout – percussion
Jesse Schilderink – saxophone
Marijn van de Ven – bass
Jens Meijer – drums

Originally released: April 29, 2022

[What are you listening to?] … the debut album The Seed encompasses eight aesthetically fresh cross-genre melodies pen and arranged by guitarist Thomas Mitrousis

All eight pieces of this album fluidly shift between moods, textures, and tempos, revealing high levels of musicianship and chemistry.

THE SEED” consists of eight compositions with obvious modern jazz references, as well as influences from classical and post-rock. The cinematic introduction of the opening track “Crossing Lines”, immediately engulfs the audience into the atmosphere of the album.

The compositions create continuous exchanges of emotions and images, retaining undiminished anticipation from the first note to the last. Each piece has a tendency to refer to a different musical genre. “Fax From Fux” contains baroque elements, and “Poisonous Little Flower” moves with an impressionistic mood but all compositions maintain an amalgamated character, due to the common jazz background of the four musicians.

The quartet explores the amazingly broad varieties of timbres and dynamics of the instruments and manages to maintain a sonic diversity with an aesthetically contemporary approach, through the whimsical arrangements.

The pleasure is simple, direct, and completely jazz; it is very well played, and it swings just enough to keep the balance between body and mind. […] ‘The Seed’ is a gratifying surprise.”BESTOFJAZZ

He tends to combine notated context with improvisation, and with his outstanding technical skill, the guitar not only solos but also conducts a creative dialogue with partners.[…]Mitrousis is a new and promising name in the European jazz scene.”-JAZZQUAD

The chemistry of the group is evident. The guitar dialogues with the rest of the instruments and vice versa, enriching the final result, colorful and very, very pleasant.”-La Habitacion del Jazz

The debut offering from Athens, Greece’s Thomas Mitrousis Quartet gives a whirlwind, feet-off-the-ground experience. Leader and guitarist Mitrousis has all the fingerwork to keep the vibe easy even when the drums and brushes are briskly whisking us along. In nine fresh tracks, this CD is a simultaneous exploration into musicians that gel beautifully together while giving the listener the ability to clearly appreciate each one’s specific talent.“-Debbie Burke ~Bandcamp

 

Released: March 21, 2022

Thomas Mitrousis: guitar
Kostas Yaxoglou: piano
Paraskevas Kitsos: double bass
Dimitris Klonis: drums

Recorded in May 2021 at Antart Studios by Nikos Kollias and Yannis Damianos

[NOTEWORTHY] – Tales of Time is the calling car to versatile drummer/composer Greg Germann’s relentless chops and composing skills

New York-based drummer/composer Greg Germann has spent the better part of the last 2 decades touring the world with Broadway shows and then making his mark as a Telly Award-winning film composer, utilizing his background in classical percussion and jazz to guide his hand. With encouragement from an important mentor, drummer Clarence Penn, Greg turned his attention to documenting a collection of his wide-ranging compositions for the modern jazz quartet.

With Penn producing, they pulled together a group of supreme improvisers including saxophonist Donny McCaslin, pianist Luis Perdomo and bassist Yasushi Nakamura to tackle Germann’s rhythmically expansive & melodically rich works. Recorded in November of 2020, the compositions present a dynamic view of life during the Covid-19 pandemic.

From the relentless post-bop opener, ‘Rush Hour,’ to the reflective ‘Quarantine,’ Tales of Time is Germann’s calling card for jazz fans worldwide. ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Originally Released: March 12, 2021

At your leisure, spin “TALES OF TIME” by Greg Germann

Ivan Radivojević Quartet’s voice ascends with In Plain View the genre bending sound called the New Serbian Jazz Wave

New Serbian Jazz Wave. They call it that. And, for some time now, it has been closely linked with our label. Today it is the turn of Ivan Radivojevic, a young (thirty-one years old) trumpet player from Belgrade, who got noticed by us playing in the combo of Max Kochetov of whom a few months ago we published “Altered Feelings” and previously with Sanja Markovic for the album “Ascension” in 2020. Radivojevic, like every one of his generation, is one who moves in a sprawling way between jazz and hip-hop, passing through forays into reggae, rock, and soul. In short, very modernly his is a synthesis of music that tries to use the most disparate experiences to get to propose something personal.

In “In Plain View” all this is certainly not perceivable in terms of musical proposal: it is his mentality, open to the use of other languages, that strikes us and makes us touch with hand (better with the ear) than in those parts – it seems for some time now – a scene has been developing from which some of the most interesting musicians of this turn of the millennium are emerging. At least in Europe and at least for what concerns jazz as we are used to living it in its most adventurous sense. The trumpeter already boasts a very respectable curriculum having accrued the attendance of prestigious masterclasses with old and young African American lions (from Eddie Henderson, James Moody, and fellow countryman Stjepko Gut to Charles Altura and Joel Ross). “In Plain View” collects complex music – and this does not mean that it is difficult to use – the testimony of a curious mentality, attentive to everything that happens, always at the service of music. The combo is completed by very young musicians from the Serbian scene, all to keep an eye on – and who will soon be talked about. And not just in Serbia. ~Bandcamp

The Band…

Ivan Radivojević – Trumpet,  Andreja Hristić – piano Boris Šainović – double bass Bogdan Đurđević – drums
Guests:
Luka Ignjatović – alto saxophone (Loving You In Reverse) Andreja Stanković – guitar (Slipping Into The Night)

You can also listen below…

Creative bassist composer Rosa Brunello arrives with Sounds Like Freedom her second release on Domanda Music

Sounds Like Freedom” is the second release from LA-based record label, Domanda Music. It was recorded in September 2021 in Verona, Italy, and conceived by bass player Rosa Brunello with notable contributions from UK Jazz star Yazz Ahmed, Arabic experimental music pioneer Maurice Louca and Italian drumming sensation Marco Frattini. Each track is the result of spontaneous improvisations, which have been lovingly post-produced by Rosa Brunello herself and label founder Tommaso Cappellato.

The album speaks to the strange times we have been living through collectively as a society when direct human contact has been rationed and many performance opportunities have ground to a halt for musicians across the globe. While seeking to respond to this yearning for connection, Rosa uses this album as an opportunity to harness influences from each of the artists who contributed to this recording. At the heart of this album lies its celebration of freedom and the joy of sharing experiences and spaces with others, at a time when such simple pleasures can no longer be taken for granted. ~Bandcamp

Released May 6, 2022

At your leisure, spin “SOUNDS LIKE FREEDOM” by Rosa Brunello

‘Agua de Jamaica’ is the first collaborative project between producer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger Sylvester Uzoma Onyejiaka II AKA Sly5thAve and pianist and composer Roberto Verástegui.

Agua de Jamaica’ is the first collaborative project between producer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger Sylvester Uzoma Onyejiaka II AKA Sly5thAve and pianist and composer Roberto Verástegui. The pair originally met whilst studying Jazz in Texas and began piecing together the release on Sly5thAve’s first visit to Mexico, over a drink of Agua de Jamaica – a drink made with water, hibiscus flower, and sugar. Recorded during the lockdown in Mexico, the LP is built from a passionate and comprehensive understanding of Jazz, a love of Hip Hop, and Mexico City’s ever-vibrant artistic culture, Latin flavors, and the African roots from which these sounds grew.

Epitomizing this fusion of sounds and collaborative talents on the introductory single “Tie Break”, Sly5thAve reworks a track originally written as a big band chart for the Orquesta Nacional de Jazz de Mexico by Roberto. Beginning with the original lead sheet, laced with nods to Funk and Hip Hop, the pair improvised a Jazz reworking before taking it home to layer synths, piano, and beats. With a constant backbeat and harmonic pattern courtesy of Sly5thAve, Roberto’s Hammond organ takes the experimental Jazz center stage.

At the heart of ‘Agua de Jamaica’ is the title track; the moment Sly5thAve and Roberto realized they had something to pursue. Thought of by both Sly5thAve and Roberto as the fullest collaboration on the release, “Agua de Jamaica” considers the constant artistic and cultural exchange between the US and Mexico, despite the political differences. It draws the listener in with a Hip Hop loop intertwined with hypnotic vocals from local artist Silvana Estrada; “she has a voice, unlike anything I’ve ever heard. She has the ability to effortlessly float between genres”, Sly5thAve adds.

Having moved to Mexico City at the beginning of 2020, Sly5thAve stayed with Roberto and his wife Yuki during the first Covid-19 lockdown; outtakes of their time together BBQing can be heard on the serendipitous “Empeño (lil’ bop)” if you listen closely. This time allowed for the pair to build on their ideas and explorations of different sounds and places centered around Jazz. Their combined voice, emotions, and way of working are perfectly presented in the Afrobeat-inspired “La Tormenta”. “I stayed up all night working it out and it came together last minute,” Sly5thAve recalls. “After we had finished recording everything we went back in and started to piece it all together like a Hip Hop record. Thinking about how it all came together, “La Tormenta” (or “The Thunderstorm” in English) made the most sense”. This energy carries through to the interweaving melodies of the Modern Jazz-inspired “The Wanderer” – built from unused demos of a Jazz album Sly5thAve had been working on – and onto the improvised big, tough city vibes of “Past Thoughts”. “We decided to improvise over some Jazz changes that get played pretty often, but with an ‘IN YOUR FACE’ edge”, Roberto says, highlighting the freely played nature of the Jazz tune which peaks with the perfected communication between the rhythm section and Sly5thAve’s sax sound. ~Bandcamp

Released: March 25, 2022

Portico Quartet announces Next Stop, a dynamic 4 track EP recorded at the same sessions as 2021’s acclaimed Monument release

Released in November 2021, Monument was acclaimed as one of Portico Quartet’s most accessible, direct records to date. Carefully crafted as an ode to better times, it pulsed with the energy of dance music and was one of the most melodic and carefully structured records the band has ever released. Next Stop is the brilliant follow-up, a pulsing powerful four-tracker that also features a wistful, elegiac side and perhaps provides a coda to Monument.

Captured Time is a melodious and atmospheric tune that erupts out of layered synthesizers and strings. It’s the contrast between melodic simplicity and textural density is that lets it push through to an elated, ecstatic conclusion as the band draws you into an emotional journey as only they can.

Next Stop is Portico Quartet at full power. Arguably the most rhythmically dense tune they have ever made. It’s a hypnotic groove driven by an off-kilter 7/8 drum and bass groove that ducks and dives with relentless intensity.

Youth is a deceptively simple tune, nostalgic in tone, It’s a paean to childhood and simpler days, with Wyllie’s wistful sax melody perfectly offset by the low-slung slow-mo hip-hop beat of Bellamy drums. But is the beautiful strings that really turn this tune into something special. ~Bandcamp

Released: March 18, 2022

[What the Jazz Funk?]… Organ-based trio Soulive’s Blue Note debut album Doin Something

Doin’ Something, Soulive’s Blue Note debut and second album overall, sees the organ-based groove-jazz trio creatively stretching beyond their heralded debut, Turn It Out. Where that session was a lean, live cooker that cemented the trio’s appeal to the acid-jazz and jam-band crowd, Doin’ Something reaps the rewards of time spent in the studio–there are overdubs and, more importantly, an ambitious, varied overall vision. Rather than just rattling off a dozen jams based on a single line, the tunes here are actual songs with memorable melodies that draw upon hip-hop, soul, funk, and pop to go along with the rump-shaking jazz grooves.

Furthering the funk foundation, the trio–guitarist Eric Krasno and brothers Neal and Alan Evans on organ and drums, respectively, also brought in James Brown-veteran trombonist Fred Wesley to lead a four-piece brass section (and contribute horn arrangements) on a few tracks. This is the sound of a hot young band putting its best foot forward, and the great thing is, you won’t be able to keep your foot from bouncing along. ~Tad Hendrickson | Amazon

Originally Released: March 13, 2001

At your leisure, check out this jazz-funk gem “DOIN SOMETHING” by Soulive

 

The adventurous and progressive guitarist and composer Gilad Hekselman releases new album ‘Far Star,’ featuring guests including Shai Maestro, Eric Harland, Ziv Ravitz, Nomok & Amir Bresler

Far Star is the new album from Israeli-born and New York-based guitarist Gilad Hekselman – a work that explores a new universe rich in color, limitless in detail, and bold in vision. Based for more than 18 years in New York, Gilad has become a well-known figure in that highly creative scene, building a unique sound that is both progressive and timeless. With a new approach to music-making that has as much to do with the enforced constraints of the pandemic as with any artistic decision, Gilad has produced something that is simply breathtaking. The music has a boldness and simplicity, it’s progressive yet accessible; ultimately it’s a modern and adventurous album with an abundance of detail that offers reward after reward at every listen. From the opening infectious whistle, you know you’re going to be taken on a journey of discovery. It connects on all fronts, emotionally and intellectually, ebbing and flowing into wide-view cinematic and progressive Jazz goodness. It is, without question, a remarkable album by a remarkable artist.

At the start of 2020, I returned from 3 months with my family in Southeast Asia with piles of new music ready to be played with real people. Then the pandemic hit, and suddenly all I was left with for making this music come to life were my instruments, mics, and computer. Like everyone else, I didn’t know how long this was going to last, so I started a folder on my computer called ‘Song Demos’ with every hope that I would soon be sending the tracks to my band when it came time to make a new record. Weeks turned into months: I watched hundreds of tutorials, took sound engineering lessons, and consulted with my producer friends. After thousands of hours of work, I finished what I called Far Star”.

The adaptation of process, and the artistic response to this, caused by the pandemic resulted in a different, more adventurous sound than appeared in Gilad’s previous albums. It was this ability to go deeper into the detail of the music, to explore new ways of communicating and building the music that opened up more possibilities; “Far Star is about my ability to travel with my imagination too far sonic galaxies, all from the insides of a room. The music worked on during a pandemic, somehow leaves me with memories of great freedom and liberation through what was clearly a very constricting time in our lives.” ~Bandcamp

Credits:

Release Date: May 13, 2022

Gilad Hekselman – Guitars, Keys, Bass
Eric Harland – Drums (track 1, 2, 3, 5, 6)
Shai Maestro -Co-production, Keys (track 2)
Nathan Schram – Viola, Violin (track 4)
Oren Hardy – Bass (track 4)
Alon Benjamini- Drums, Percussion (track 4)
Nomok– Co-production, Keys (track 7)
Amir Bresler – Co-production, Drums, Percussion (track 7)
Ziv Ravitz – Drums (track 8)

Recorded & produced in Tel Aviv from March 2020 – Dec 2020, and in NYC Dec 2020 – June 2021. Eric Harland recorded at GSI Studios in NYC, January 2021. Ziv Ravitz recorded in France, home studio, September 2020.