AJE’S BEST JAZZ RELEASES, 2021

AJE’S BEST JAZZ RELEASES, 2021 in alphabetical order…

Aakash Mittal, NOCTURNE

Adam O’Farrill, VISIONS OF YOUR OTHER

Adi Meyerson, I WANT TO SING MY HEART OUT IN PRAISE OF LIFE

Amaro Freita, BAQUAQUA

Amir ElSaffar, RIVERS OF SOUND

Andrew Cyrille Quartet, THE NEWS

Archie Shepp, Jason Moran, LEY MY PEOPLE GO

Arnan Raz, 7 DAYS

Artifacts, PLEASURE PALACE

Arturo O’Farrill, …DREAMING IN LIONS…

Belmondo Quintet, BROTHERHOOD

Ben Tiberio, RARE PEACE

Benoît Delbecq, ANAMORPHOSES

Brandee Younger, SOMEWHERE DIFFERENT

Brian Lynch, SONGBOOK VOL. 1 BUS STOP SERENADE

Cassie Kinoshi SEED Ensemble, BALLETBOYZ: BRADLEY 4:18

Charles Lloyd, TONE POEM BLUE NOTE POET SERIES

Chelsea Carmichael, THE RIVER DOESN’T LIKE STRANGERS

Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble, NOW

Dave Holland, ANOTHER LAND

Dave Meder, UNAMUNO SONGS AND STORIES

David Tixier Trio, BECAUSE I CARE

DeAndre Lettsome, IMPETUS

Dr. Lonnie Smith, BREATHE

Edward Simon, SOLO LIVE

Elephant9, ARRIVAL OF THE NEW ELDERS

Enrico Rava, ROMA

Florian Arbenz, CONVERSATION #1

Gabriel Gosse, CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Gregory Porter, STILL RISING – THE COLLECTION

Gretchen Parlato, FLOR

Hiromi, SILVER LINING SUITE

Irreversible Entanglements, OPEN THE GATES

Jaimie Branch, FLY OR DIE LIVE

Jalen Baker, THIS IS ME, THIS IS US

James Francies, PUREST FORM

James Brandon Lewis, CODE OF BEING

Jazztronik, UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE

Jeremy Pelt, GRIOT: THIS IS IMPORTANT

Jihye Lee, DARING MIND

Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Sound Prints, OTHER WORLDS

Joe Lovano, GARDEN OF EXPRESSION

John Pope Quintet, THE RIGHT-HAND PATH

Jonas Sorgenfrei, ELEPHANTS MARCHING ON

Kazemde George, I INSIST

Keith Brown Trio, African RIPPLES

Kenny Garrett, SOUND FROM THE ANCESTORS

Kurt Elling w/guitarist Charlie Hunter, SUPERBLUE

Lewis Wright, THE COLOUR OF INTENTION

Lionel Loueke, CLOSE YOUR EYES

Magnus Lindgren, BIRD LIVES

Makaya McCraven, DECIPHERING THE MESSAGE

Malcolm Jiyane Tree-O, UMDALI

Marc Cary, LIFE LESSONS

Mareike Wiening, FUTURE MEMORIES

Marques Carroll, THE ANCESTOR’S CALL

Matt Ridley, THE ANTIDOTE

Matthew Shipp, CODEBREAKER

Menagerie, MANY WORLDS

Michael Mayo, BONES

Milho Hazama, IMAGINARY VISIONS

Nate Smith, KINFOLK 2: SEE THE BIRDS

Nick Mazzarella Trio, WHAT YOU SEEK IS SEEKING YOU

Obed Calvaire, WHOLE LOTTA LOVE: THE MUSIC OF LED ZEPPELIN

Orrin Evans, THE MAGIC OF NOW

Pat Metheny, SIDE-EYE NYC (V1. IV)

Prism Quartet, HERITAGE/REVOLUTION, VOL. 2

Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly of Shadows, ARCHITECTURE OF STORMS

Roberto Olzer Trio, NOTTURNO

Sebastian Noelle, SYSTEM ONE

Shai Maestro, HUMAN

Simone Blasioli, CONVERSATION

Sons of Kemet, BLACK TO THE FUTURE

Tamill Rogeon, SON OF NYX

Terence Blanchard, ABSENCE

The Baylor Project, GENERATIONS

Theo Croker, BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST

Thommy Andersson, WOOD CIRCLES

Timothee Robert, QUARKS

Victor Gould, In Our Time

Vijay Iyer, UNEASY

Will Glaser, CLIMBING IN CIRCLES

William Parker, TABASCO

*Playlist coming soon to Spotify

Trumpeter/composer Adam O’Farrill – Visions of Your Other – Out November 12th on Biophilia Records

TRUMPETER ADAM O’FARRILL AND HIS STRANGER DAYS QUARTET CHART A FRESH COURSE ON THIRD RELEASE, VISIONS OF YOUR OTHER

Coproduced by O’Farrill and Curtis Macdonald
with Xavier Del Castillo (tenor sax),

Walter Stinson (bass), Zack O’Farrill (drums)

After garnering high acclaim for his previous outings Stranger Days (2016) and El Maquech (2018) — plus sideman credits with trailblazing artists Mary Halvorson, Anna Webber, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Kevin Sun, and more — Adam O’Farrill (#1 Rising Star trumpeter, 2021 Downbeat Critics Poll) is proud to release the third album from his quartet Stranger Days, Visions of Your Other. The group’s musical language continues to evolve with a new member as of 2019: tenor saxophonist Xavier Del Castillo, filling the formidable shoes of tenorist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown as he joins bassist Walter Stinson and drummer Zack O’Farrill in the fold. “Xavier is deeply inquisitive, as an artist and a person,” O’Farrill says. “Walter, Zack, and I had built a strong foundation on principles of rawness and spontaneity, and Xavier brings a slightly more analytical approach, revealing to me layers of the music I didn’t even know were there.”

 

Visions of Your Other highlights the band’s creative growth with a set of four O’Farrill compositions (“Blackening Skies,” “Inner War,” “Ducks,” the D.H. Lawrence-inspired “Hopeful Heart”), an abstractly funky reading of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “stakra,” and a piece by Stinson (“Kurosawa at Berghain”) that “merges the propulsive rigidity of house music with the amorphous sound of the chord-less quartet,” O’Farrill notes. The album title stems from a line of dialogue in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2012 film The Master (starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman) that O’Farrill found seductive: “The visualization of potential scenarios — past, present, and future — is a very powerful current in all of us. It can motivate us just as easily as it can delude us. This theme of juxtaposition has been at the core of my work thus far, and this album is no exception.”

 

On the opening “stakra,” from Sakamoto’s evocative 2017 album async, O’Farrill builds texture and mood with a 20-second electronic sample of the quartet’s performance fed through Paulstretch, a sound design software application used by Sakamoto and other composers. “It’s no exaggeration to say that Sakamoto’s async album changed my life,” declares O’Farrill. “It made me rethink all of the elements of music and the way they’re prioritized. I realized that melody can involve many possibilities, and that texture is not just that — it can actually be the musical protagonist. It’s fair to say it will take a long time to fully process the impact that async has had on me.”

“Blackening Skies,” accompanied by an animated film short from German artist Elenor Kopka, is “both apocalyptic and humorous,” says O’Farrill, who composed the song after a brutal New York heatwave and an experience of summer monsoons in Los Angeles. “I told Elenor all this and she showed me the work of Hieronymus Bosch, using that as a reference point for the tone of the piece.” The staggered staccato rhythms in the horns as they play slightly out of sync is “a concept that Xavier and I have explored in previous projects, such as my large ensemble piece ‘Bird Blown Out of Latitude.’ It’s inspired by electronic music, trying to humanize something very mechanical. There’s a perfection to a lot of electronic music that allows for its ideas to be flexibly interpreted by live instruments, which opens up an exciting and endless world of sound.”

The son of GRAMMY-winning pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill and grandson of legendary Cuban bandleader Chico O’Farrill, Adam O’Farrill has received composer commissions and grants from The Jazz Gallery, The Shifting Foundation, Metropolis Ensemble, and ASCAP. He co-led the O’Farrill Brothers Band with his older brother Zack on the albums Giant Peach and Sensing Flight. He continued his rise with Rudresh Mahanthappa on Bird Calls, as well as appearances on Mary Halvorson & Code Girl’s Artlessly Falling, Anna Webber’s Idiom, Arturo O’Farrill’s …dreaming in lions…, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown’s Imagery Manifesto, Stephan Crump’s Rhombal and more. He can also be heard on recent releases by Glenn Zaleski (The Question), Tarun Balani (The Shape of Things to Come), Gabriel Chakarji (New Beginning), Onyx Collective (Lower East Suite Part One), and Aaron Burnett & The Big Machine (Jupiter Conjunct), among others.

RELEASE DATE: November 12th, 2021

[NOTEWORTHY]: Bird Calls is not a tribute to Charlie Parker, it is a blissful devotion to a man who made so much possible Rudresh K. Mahanthappa

I was blessed to first hear Charlie Parker’s music when I was 12 years old. The album was Archetypes. Soon after, I picked up the Bird: Master Takes on Savoy and my world was forever changed. His sheer virtuosity and innovative vocabulary were obviously astounding but what moved and continues to inspire me is the joy, humor, and beauty that he portrays, evokes, and instills. It was Charlie Parker (Bird) who truly embedded the spark for me to make a life in music. I have never looked back since.

While jazz has continued to evolve as a global art, it is of utmost importance to examine its gravitational sources and forces. While Bird’s music has been performed and recorded countless times, it is a higher order of magnitude to absorb his work and give new shape and meaning to his gifts. That is to say that imitating Parker is of no consequence to forwarding this form, but developing new perspectives upon tradition is the substance of contemporary expression. I firmly believe that Bird would have wanted his legacy to resonate in this fashion.

There are no Charlie Parker tunes on this album but each track is directly based on a Parker composition or solo. Historically, it has always been “easy” to state that Bird’s work left an indelible and influential mark on modern music but to prove that fact has been an exciting endeavor. When removed from its context, much of what Parker played or wrote is as modern as any current work in western music is it jazz, classical, rock, or pop. It has also been an immense pleasure for me to revisit my core roots that predate my concentration on bridging jazz and non-western music.

This album is not a tribute to Charlie Parker. It is a blissful devotion to a man who made so much possible. Bird Calls on all of us to embrace the beauty of the world as it exists here and now.-From the liner notes by Rudresh K. Mahanthappa.

At leisure, spin the incredible gem “BIRD CALLS” by Rudresh K. Mahanthappa

With Idiom, Webber has created a singular sonic world, a bold magnum opus that paves a new path for the amalgamation of cutting-edge composition and improvisation

Idiom by composer/saxophonist/ flutist Anna Webber is the follow-up to her critically-acclaimed release Clockwise, which the Wall Street Journal called “visionary and captivating” and NPR described as “heady music [that] appeal to the rest of the body.” Idiom is a series of six pieces, each of which is based on a specific woodwind extended technique — a broad term meaning any non-traditional way of producing sound on an instrument, including the use of multiphonics, alternate fingerings, key clicks, overblown notes, and the like — that she has taken from her own improvisational language. The works are the upshot of her belief that jazz composers/performers are in a privileged position to create the perfect vehicles for themselves as improvisers. As a frequent user of extended techniques in her own playing, Webber set out to create a continuum between her compositional and improvisatory vocabulary, orchestrating these effects across the ensemble, and applying them to different instruments. They are also used to generate chords and scales and, overall, gave license to utilize other naturally occurring sounds, opening up whole new worlds of mysterious sonic combinations and orchestrations.

Anna Webber’s IDIOM (RELEASED: May 28, 2021)

“Idiom II” from this book of compositions appeared on Clockwise, while the new project – spread out over two volumes – comprises the other five “Idiom” pieces. The first four of these feature her Simple TrioWebber with drummer John Hollenbeck and pianist Matt Mitchell – which has been her primary working group for the past eight years. The hour-long “Idiom VI” is performed by a twelve-piece ensemble that brings together a mix of musicians equally split between improvisers and new music specialists. With Idiom, Webber has created a singular sonic world, a bold magnum opus that paves a new path for the amalgamation of cutting-edge composition and improvisation.  

Release Date: May 28, 2021

Disc One
Simple Trio
Idiom I (11:18)
Idiom IV (7:47)
Forgotten Best (8:40)
Idiom V (4:48)
Idiom III (10:02)

Anna Webber – tenor saxophone, flute
Matt Mitchell – piano
John Hollenbeck – drums

Disc Two
Large Ensemble
Idiom VI
Movement I (8:40)
Interlude 1 (3:35)
Movement II (9:08)
Interlude 2 & Movement III (12:29)
Movement IV (9:34)
Interlude 3 & Movement V (11:25)
Interlude 4 & Movement VI (9:34)

Anna Webber – tenor saxophone, flute, bass flute
Nathaniel Morgan – alto saxophone
Yuma Uesaka – tenor saxophone, clarinet, contra-alto clarinet
Adam O’Farrill – trumpet
David Byrd-Marrow – horn
Jacob Garchik – trombone
Erica Dicker – violin
Joanna Mattrey – viola
Mariel Roberts – cello
Liz Kosack – synthesizer
Nick Dunston – bass
Satoshi Takeishi – drums
Eric Wubbels – conductor