by: Hobert Taylor
Robert Sabin - Humanity Part II - (Ranula Music)
Bassist/composer Sabin writes ghostly charts full of neo-classical orchestral elements like late Ellington and Tadd Dameron. This is very important music, music that advances new a sophisticated ideas. Best jazz release I've gotten this summer.
Dave Mihaly's Shimmering Leaves Ensemble - Euro and Solo - (Self-Released)
San Franciscan drummer Mihaly joined by cornetist Jon Birdsong (Calexico, Beck) and bassisit/guitarist Tim Coenen alternate takes between Bay area folk jazz, space jazz, Native American melodies, and beat sensibilities to make this intimate and personal postcard from Mihaly's psyche to yours. Soulfully deep, all cuts whisper reassurance borne from a lifelong vision quest.
Electric Squeezebox Orchestra - Cheap Rent - (OA2 Records)
Also from San Francisco, this big band is very hip and contemporary, just ahead of the beat. When you think "here are the same old moves" harmonies shift, intonation varies and yet none of the swing is lost.
Juli Wood Quartet - Synkka Metsa - (OA2)
Saxophonist Wood joined by bass, drums, and guitar, translates Finnish folk tunes to jazz. Her playing is direct, unadorned, perfect for respecting and embracing these marvelous melodies.
Etienne Charles - Creole Soul - (Culture Shock)
Trumpeter Charles, originally from Trinidad, brings post bop and Creole melodies together spiced with some NOLA (New Orleans)soul. A virtuoso, he is not innovating, but his interpretations and re-jiggering of jazz idioms are refreshing and cool.
Jack Perla - Enormous Changes - (Origin)
Jazz songs, originals, with the wit and charm of Joni Mitchell and the pop precision of Sting.
Jamison - Jamison - (Concord Jazz)
Speaking of pop precision, this is updated Stevie Wonder... without the depth or maturity. It sounds good but there is not a lot of air in this balloon."Deep Down in Florida" is a lot of fun, "Jazz" is fine, and his take on "Bye Bye Blackbird", "Bye Bye Blues" is masterful.
Clay Giberson - Minga Minga - (Origin)
Keith Jarrett has tuned my ears to the ephemeral joys solo piano explorations. Bill Evans tuned them as well. With such high standards it is hard to hear those who don't quite get "there" (aka George Winston). Giberson gets there. He intermingles traditions, emotions, and even time signatures gracefully and seamlessly.
Catherine Marie Charlton - Maiden's Voyage - (River Dawn)
Pianist, with double bass, drums, sax or flute, and flugelhorn accompaniament. Third stream music, neo-clasical and melodic jazz with compositions by Piazzolla, Ginastera, Satie, and some killer originals. Her touch is sensitive yet authoritative. Her own melodies on the last 6 cuts on the CD are full of surprises and grace.