Thursday 27 June 2024

New Jazz RoundUP

'From Dust' by Steven Nichols

London's Ubuntu Music have long waved the flag for innovative UK jazz talent and over the years have accumulated a phenomenal catalogue of releases from contemporary luminaries like Camilla George, Mark Kavuma, Quentin Collins and Andrew McCormack, naming just a few.  Steven Nichols adds his name to a list of burgeoning talent all poised to leave their indelible mark on the UK's continually thriving scene.  'From Dust' serves as the debut full-length for Ubuntu from the trumpeter and is demonstrative of all the promise and plaudits his abilities have garnered to date.  Performing alongside his long-standing collaborators and some incredible musicians in Charlie Rees (saxophone), Reuben Goldmark (piano), John Jones (bass) and Amund Kleppan (drums), 'From Dust' is more than just an introduction to the boundless talents of Nichols as a performer and a bandleader, but an album charting his own experiences about life, hope and faith.  'From Dust' is an album that continues in the vein of Ubuntu's rich musical lineage and also an album that serves as the genesis for Nichols' own as well.

'Fire øjne' by Emil de Waal

Emil de Waal has long established a career built upon his passion for creating progressive and forward-thinking music that thrives upon the spirit of collaboration and a boundary-less amalgamation of styles.  As a member of the hugely versatile Danish Kalaha quartet, de Waal & company have created inspired compositions over their releases that incorporate a range of varying styles from Turkish and Middle Eastern influences to off-kilter jazz and 80s synthpop. Projects outside of Kalaha however still find de Waal celebrating that notion of exploration through a fearless fusion of unhindered styles which still proves very much to be at the forefront of his agenda.  Emil de Waal's prolific output has seen the drummer, percussionist, guitarist and composer collaborate with numerous artists for full-length releases including Saxofon, Gustaf Ljunggren and also head up his own Vente quartet.  For 'Fire øjne', de Waal engages his collaborators to join him through a series of duo recordings across the project's ten tracks with some excellent names from the April Records roster including Fredrik Lundin, Rasmus Oppenhagen and Cecilie Strange.

'WAW!' by Carl Winther, Richard Andersson & Jeff 'Tain' Watts

'WAW!' marks the debut release of the dynamic new trio comprised of US drummer Jeff 'Tain' Watts alongside Danish musicians Carl Winther on piano and Richard Andersson on double-bass.  Released through Hobby Horse Records, each of the MAW members have accumulated extensive backgrounds in both performance and collaboration with Winther, Andersson and Watts having worked with leading names from both the US and Danish jazz scenes.  Carl Winther helms compositional duties for four of the album's five tracks, providing elegant and spirited backdrops that still generously afford its players the freedom to embrace their improvisational tendencies and leave their own distinguishable contributions.  The album also boasts a cover of the definitive jazz standard 'My Old Flame' - originally unveiled in 1934 by Mae West and Duke Ellington - the version presented here is a sublime and affectionate nod to the brilliance of the original but still demonstrates the creativity of the WAW ensemble.

'Creatures' by Pohem

The debut release from Pohem is a genuinely transcendent listen with the French trio as committed to creating as much of a spiritual experience for its listener as an aural one.  With Pohem initially forming in 2019, the trio have spent years honing their respective crafts as well as refining how they each play together.  Openly professing their music as an exploratory process, 'Creatures' relishes its place within the sublime, boasting twinges of a neo-classical aesthetic beautifully working alongside traditional jazz sensibilities.  The trio consists of Charline DeMatteo (vocals and piano), Benoist Foulonneau (horns) and Thomas Krzyzaniak (bass) who impart their shared musical vision across the album's seven original compositions.  With some undeniable high points across the project, 'Imparfaits' may well serve as the ultimate gem of the project - beautifully composed, elegantly performed and showcasing a wonderful vocal from DeMatteo, the track is again a wonderful symptom of the vast scope undertaken by Pohem. 

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