New Release Roundup

With fewer and fewer jazz releases coming out, fans of the music are ecstatic about the last two weeks.

Out today is the latest from George Duke, simply called DUKE. It?s his second release on his own Big Piano Music label. And, from what he says, it?s a classic Duke recording.

Last week was a big week. Trumpeter Patches Stewart released Blow, which is produced by Marcus Miller. I’ve yet to see the CD in any stores or on iTunes but the release date was confirmed. Additionally, information about the CD is oddly unavailable at his web site except for this link to a press release.

Luc's Lantern from William ParkerI’ve listened to samples of bassist William Parker’s Luc’s Lantern and am impressed. The Thirsty Ear label can always be counted on for inventive music. This recording is a trio recording (with female pianist Eri Yamamoto and Michael Thompson on drums) and features some unique compositions and excellent playing. It’s only $9.90 on iTunes too.

Maybe I need to listen to it several more times, but I couldn’t get into Altered State, the new CD from Yellowjackets on Heads Up. Press materials are focusing on the shifting time signatures and the album cover by Peter Max. I’ve heard the band’s ability to jump time signatures in their excellent late 80s to early 90s catalog. Those were more interesting. Nothing on this release sounds different from the other ‘Jackets recordings from the last decade. In fact, I was so frustrated with it when I first received it, I didn’t listen to it again for a week in hopes that I could get a fresh listen and enjoy it. Didn’t work.

We Want You To Say Sakesho!The other Heads Up release that came out last week was on the opposite end of the spectrum. The new band with steel pan master Andy Narell is called Sakésho is excellent. We Want You To Say… is easily one of most listenable CDs I’ve heard this year. If there were an audience, I would swear this is a live recording. Sakésho, which also consists of pianist Mario Canonge, bassist Michel Alibo, and drummer Jean Philippe Fanfant, brings a lot of adrenaline into the studio. The compositions are rich in world music, a given for a jazz quartet with roots deep in the French Caribbean. I really like We Want You To Say… and hope it gets the recognition it deserves.

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