Thursday 16 May 2024

New Jazz Round-Up

'Live in Turku' by Dawda Jobarteh and Stefan Pasborg

'Live in Turku' marks the wonderful live chronicle of friends and collaborators, Dawda Jobarteh and Stefan Pasborg, whose two-man project found a delightful setting within the revered confines of Turku, Finland's Flame Jazz live music venue.  For kora player Jobarteh and drummer Pasborg, their combined musical journey was initially unveiled back in 2016 through their collaborative and aptly-titled album, 'DUO'; despite the lengthy wait, 'Live in Turku' marks a riveting extension to that release by capturing their inspired chemistry within a live setting.  Musically, the performance pays tribute to West African tradition and rhythms while still embracing the free-flowing improvisational qualities and imagination associated with live jazz.  Across the seven-track project, there are some sensational moments of eclectic, hi-energy performance that can make you forget the stage is populated by just two incredible artists and not created by a full band. 

'Path' by Mathias Landæus

Swedish pianist Mathias Landæus holds the proud distinction of helming over twenty albums as a bandleader along with boasting an even lengthier list of projects that have recruited his exquisite skills over the years.  Through his new album 'Path', Landæus recruits the members of his heralded Landæus Trio (Cornelia Nilsson on drums and Johnny Åman on double bass) along with saxophonist Karl-Martin Almqvist and celebrated trumpeter Tim Hagans for a sensational piece of work exploring creative freedoms, open improvisation and spirited interplay between its world-class cast.  With nothing short of sublime performances throughout the album, compositions embracing the 'mind', 'body' and 'spirit' punctuate an exceptional release that strives to paint the picture and make-up of the paths we all walk in our lives.  Landæus's album acknowledges that each of us leave footprints from our day-to-day as a result of the lives we live and the decisions we make and it's an eternal quest we each face to keep us on the straight and narrow ensuring our footprints are ones people would one day wish to follow.

'Romann' by Filip Dinev

'Romann' marks the new album release from guitarist and composer Filip Dinev who enlists Tilman Oberbeck on upright bass and Jan Zeimetz on drums to round out his new trio.  Of Macedonian descent and based in Hamburg, Germany, Dinev's take on contemporary jazz beams with inspirations ranging from Balkan to blues and classical music making his seven-track release an immensely enjoyable experience.  Featuring six original compositions from the pen of Dinev himself, along with an imaginative seven-minute interpretation of the Beatles' 'Blackbird', Dinev and his new trio pace their music elegantly making each listener feel like a welcome and invited guest on the musical journey that is 'Romann'.  Boasting a selection of fantastic tracks, including the brilliant, personality-driven 'Should Be Easy', Dinev, Oberbeck and Zeimetz present some fascinating music and a worthy successor to Dinev's previous 'Szvetlo' release from back in 2020.

'Better' by Tomasz Dąbrowski & The Individual Beings

Two years following their debut, self-titled release through Denmark's April Records, Tomasz Dąbrowski & The Individual Beings return with a compelling new project that provides a fascinating new context to their last outing.  While the group's previous full-length sought to pay their respects and express their affections for a Polish icon in Tomasz Stańko, 'Better' turns its attentions from looking to the past to looking much further into the future.  With compositions that herald The Individual Beings and their glimmering chemistry together, the music is further enhanced by Dąbrowski's penchant for a touch of the electronica subtly introduced into the music allowing captivating new dimensions and a definitively progressive take on jazz and its future.  Comprised of an all-star ensemble, including fellow April Records label mate, saxophonist Fredrik Lundin, trumpeter Dąbrowski leads the charge with poise and inventiveness over the album's nine tracks that intuitively relish the moments of passive tranquility in contrast to the rawkus, but joyous, frenzy some of the tracks revel within.

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