by: Hobert Taylor
Turboprop - Turboprop - (Anzic Records)
The product of Canadian drummer Ernesto Cervini and featuring several all star Toronto musicians, (most notably saxophonist Tara Davidson), the band and the eponymous CD swing, bop, and wail. Cervini is a melodic drummer...his drumming is akin to scatting, commenting on the time he keeps. Their originals, as well as a Charlie Parker standard "Red Cross", a Keith Jarrett tune, "The Windup", and a Debussy melody, "The Engulfed Cathedral", all contain intensely personal performances by the sextet. Everyone shines because these young players bring a freshness and a contemporary glint to the material. Tara Davidson in particular is a revelation. That's why I had to mention her again. In case you weren't paying attention, watch out for Tara Davidson. Jazz. No OPI.
Yngvil Vatn Guttu - On The Crosswalk - (KR Records)
This young woman, like Cervini and Davidson in my last review, like Kris Bowers, Robert Glasper, Greg Tate, Nels Cline, etc. creates the new jazz paradigm. That is to say she takes popular forms and adds the intuitive improvisational genius of jazz in order to make the music powerfully meaningful. Originally from Norway, she lives there, in Alaska and New York, and while it is tempting to say her northern exposures bring an icy chill to her music, I'll resist and just say that she acknowledges that her tunes are tempered by her environments. She can be funky as in "Broadway Bomb", a 21st century take on Oliver Nelson. She can be meditative, and she can swing. It's all wonderful. Currently I'm playing "Blue North for 2" "1714" and "Plan B".
Jon Davis - Moving Right Along - (Positone Records)
Pianist Davis in a trio setting with Yasushi Nakamura , bass and Shinnosuke Takahashi, drums has produced a well oiled machine of a record, precise, beautiful and expressive. His originals, like say Chopin etudes, explore tone, color, and voicings at once personal and classic. There are echoes of Oscar Peterson. I particularly like, "Under the Stairway", and "Beauty and the Blues", among his originals, and the uptempo Coltrane classic "Moment's Notice".
Jacky Terrasson - Take This - (Impulse)
Pianist Terrasson packs em in all over the world on the festival circuit. This Franco-American is never dull or textbook. He deconstructs Paul Desmond's "Take Five", sort of "Take Five" meets "Bitches Brew" , here labeled "Take Five (Take 2)" and makes it sound as if it were written yesterday. Same with the Bud Powell classic "Un Poco Loco". His originals are informed by hip-hop and other contemporary trends without at all being gimmicky. My picks include his original tune , "Dance", the uptempo Brazilian tune "Maladie D'Amour", Luis Bonfa's "Somebody I Used to Know", and the bouncy sunny beat "Kiff".
Harley Card - Hedgerow - (Self Released)
Guitarist/composer Card is of the broken time highly syncopated hard driving/ elliptically loping school of playing most often identified with Pat Metheny. His compositions are not derivative however. The mellow title tune "Hedgerow" is comprised of several sub melodies stitched together to make a gorgeous quilt of a composition. On some tunes he plays acoustic in a style evocative of the Canadian master musician/songwirter Bruce Cockburn, i.e. "Helicopters and Holograms".
Sweet Lu Olutosin/Antonio Ciacca Quintet - Sweet Lou's Blues - (Twins Music)
Sort of a throwback to the Jon Hendricks/Oscar Brown Jr. era of jazz vocalists who were a part of the band, not backed by them. And like the song's of that era there is a political edge to some of the songs, i.e. "Malcolm's Song". Olutosin's voice is deeply romantic and seductive, authoritative and sure. Some of the songs and arrangements sound a bit dated to my ears, but the renditions are clean and in the pocket. The quintet swings. Faves: "Those Lagos Blues", Herbie Hancock's "Let's Go Driftin", and the jump tune "The Baron".