Category: jazz

Live Footage: Reykjavik’s Óregla Releases an Expansive and Mischievous Single

Óregla is a rising, Reykjavik, Iceland-based jazz/progressive funk octet led by composer and trumpeter Daníel Sigurðsson that derives its name from the Icelandic word for chaos or irregularity. Featuring some of the country’s rising jazz musicians, the act is inspired by a diverse and eclectic array of influences including Igor Stravinsky, Miles Davis and Frank Zappa.

While Sigurðsson crafts compositions featuring arrangements centered around a brass section consisting of two tenor saxophones and a trumpet, guitar, bass, keys, drums and some bursts of orchestral percussion, the members of the act aim to push the boundaries of their music and sound with a funky and lively atmospheric and a sense of humor.

The act released their latest album Þröskuldur Góðra Vona (The Threshold of Good Hopes) earlier this year, and the album’s latest single “Don’t Quit Your Day Job” is a expansive track, centered around rapidly changing and very odd time signature changes as the song progresses — and some deft playing, that alternates between mischievous playfulness, contemplation and a breakneck swing.

The live footage features the band performing “Don’t Quit Your Day Job” at Tónkvísl for Reykjavik Sessions back in 2014.

New Video: Monsieur MÂLÂ Releases a Breezy Two-Step Inducing Latin-Tinged Single

Monsieur MÂLÂ is a French musical collective — Balthazar Naturel (sax), Robin Antunes (violin/mandolin), Nicholas Vella (keys), Swaéli Mbappé (bass) and Mathieu Edward (drums) — that features musicians, who have played with a who’s who list of contemporary, internationally acclaimed artists including De La Soul, Mayra Andrade, CHASSOL, Ibrahim Maalouf, China Moses and a lengthy list of others.

Released earlier this year, the act’s debut single “Misemo” features a sinuous bass line, soulful horns, twinkling strings and stuttering polyrhythm within an expansive, tempo shifting, Latin and Tropicalia-like composition. With fall officially upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, this song is a reminder of warm summer nights dancing and returning home singing love songs to yourself. Unsurprisingly, the band explains that the composition encourages the listener, whoever they may be, that sometimes you just need to dance, and let it all go for a little while at least. God, how we could all use that, right about now.

Directed by Jonathan Schupak, the video for “Misemo” follows a diverse collection of people across race, gender and age listening to the song for the first time, capturing their earnest first impressions. The video reminds the viewer that in our morally bankrupt world, music is the only truly universal thing in our lives — and it may be one of the few things that truly binds us.

New Video: Spain’s Alba Careta Group Releases a Surreal Visual for Expressive “Oceans”

Although she’s just 25 years-old, the Avinyó, Spain-based trumpeter and bandleader Alba Careta has managed to be rather busy throughout her relatively young life and career: Careta has taken part in a number of different projects including Balkan Paradise Orchestra, Big Born Band, Cardona Jazz Quartet, Mamihlapinatapai, STOKA Ensemble, NSJO (Netherlands Student Jazz Orchestra), JM Jazz World Orchestra, MB Big Band, Ping-En Hung Quintet; she’s also collaborated with Santi Careta, Jofre Fité, Ferran Juamira Duo, Las Albits and she leads her own band Alba Careta Group with some of these collaborations occurring while she was earning her Masters in Jazz Trumpet at the Amsterdam Conservatory. Additionally, Careta has quickly established herself as one of the rising talents of the Catalan jazz scene.

Alades is Careta’s second album as a bandleader with a band that features Egor Doubay (tenor sax), Adrián Moncada (piano) Jort Terrwjin (double bass) and Joäo Guerra (drums) — and the album is the follow up to her critically applauded debut album Origins, which won the Enderrock Award for Best Jazz Album. Much like its predecessor, Alades’ material draws from the rising Spanish trumpeter’s experiences while studying and living in Holland. “The nostalgia of being far from home, the curiosity of knowing what life will bring and the desire to be next to the people I love are some of the feelings that you can find in my new album,” Careta says in press notes. Careta adds, “I simply gathered friends with whom I feel good playing; this is what later makes us all feel good on stage and out of it.”

“Oceans,: Alades’ latest single is centered around an expansive composition that alternates between a propulsive and breakneck swing led by Guerra’s rapid fire drumming and Moncada’s explosive blocks of twinkling chords and a brooding and atmospheric middle section. The entire composition is held together by Caretta’s and Doubay’s vibrant and expressive dueling solos, which may remind some listeners of bop era jazz. Throughout, the composition reveals a collective of musicians, who intuitively know when to lead, follow and push each other — or to just get out of the way when necessary. And while feeling remarkably oceanic, the song evokes a sense of awe, curiosity and joy.

Filmed and edited by LeCuala Films’ Aarón Barreiro, the recently released video for “Oceans” is centered around a surreal and dream-like logic in which household items — a drawer, a bed, a nightstand, two lamps are sink to the bottom of a pool, along with a trumpet. Towards, the middle, a blindfolded woman sinks to the bottom, towards the bed. We see her grab her trumpet and play underwater.

On the evening of September 11, 2005, I returned home from a day job working as an Editorial Assistant at a small, Midtown Manhattan-based, family-owned book publisher of bilingual dictionaries and phrasebooks and international cuisine cookbook to my father cooking and playing John Coltrane‘s A Love Supreme.

My father was a very troubled man with whom I had a uneasy and difficult relationship for a significant portion of my life. But for some reason, playing Coltrane’s gorgeous and meditative opus on a day of such horror and terror seems like a fitting response. And it’s quickly become an annual tradition for me.

As always cherish life — especially today.

New Audio: Emerging French Act Yusan Releases a Breezy and Summery New Single

Yusan is a French jazz sextet — Ann Shirley (vocals), Romain Cucq (saxophone), Ralph Lavital (guitar), Kevin Jubert (piano), Gwen Ladeux (bass), and Mathieu Edward (drums) — that can trace its origins back to when its members serendipitously met at at unexpected residency at The Maison Des Artistes in Chamonix, France. Bonding over common musical influences, the members of Yusan felt an instant simpatico and decided to create music together. 

Interestingly, the act, which specializes in sound that draws from Caribbean music, African rhythms, gospel and others was given the name Yusan by a mutual friend — and according to the band Yusan in Korean means “heritage.” 

The act’s latest single “Chiraj” is a breezy swing centered around  an arrangement that features African polyrhythm, Afro-Caribbean scatting, a sinuous Jaco Pastorious-like bass line, shimmering and dexterous guitar work, some and a playful horn line. Each musician seems to know when to push, pull and lead — and with a joyful, fun-loving mischievously air. The expansive song structure allows the act to dabble in Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian jazz, Weather Report-like jazz fusion and funk with a summery air. 

Individually Norwegian-born and-based trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær and French-born, Brooklyn-based percussionist Mino Cinelu have had accomplished careers: Cinelu first gained attention playing on Miles Davis‘ We Want Miles and Amandla, which has landed him gigs playing with Weather Report, Gong, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Sting, Santana, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and a eclectic and lengthy list of internationally acclaimed artists. The French percussionist has also released three solo albums and has collaborated with Dave Holland and Kevin Eubanks on World Trio. With 1997’s Khmer released through ECM Records, Nils Petter Molvær quickly established his unique sound and aesthetic — one which combines the Nordic feeling of nature with Southeast Asian sound philosophies. But since then, Molvær’s work has found him pushing his sound deeper into uncharted areas, while exploring various combinations of acoustic and electronic sounds. His work has allowed him to collaborate with German electronic producer Moritz von Oswald in 2013 with reggae artists Sly and Robbie in 2018 and with Bill Laswell on several occasions.

Slated for a September 4, 2020 release through BMG’s Modern Recordings, Cinelu and Molvær’s collaboration together SulaMadiana can trace its origins back to 2015 when the duo first met at a solo Molvær played in Turkey. Quickly agreeing to embark on a joint project together, it took several more meetings in different parts of the world and a handful of years before they were able to get together for a studio session in Oslo. Early this year, the recordings were rounded off in Cinelu’s Brooklyn studio with post-production completed as a remote, Transatlantic endeavor as a result of pandemic-related lockdowns. Speaking about the process, Cinelu says “The best way to start something is to start it. So I said: ‘let’s get started’. Nils brought a groove along which I liked, we enriched it with sounds and other grooves, wanted to find a melody, and it just made ‘Bang’. It was a real trip. A lot of blood, sweat and tears, but even more love.”

Sonically speaking both artists’ work represents two completely different worlds — Molvær’s work evokes the boreal cold of his homeland while Cinelu’s work evokes the rhythms and heat of Latin America and Africa. The album, which derives its name as a tribute to both artists’ heritage — Sula is the Norwegian island where Molvær grew up and Madiana is a loving nickname for the island of Martinique, where Cinleu’s father was born. The album’s material finds the duo finding a common sonic playground initially inspired by their previous work — but while pushing each other and their sound together into completely new territories: the album’s material finds Cinelu taking up vocal duties while Molvær plays acoustic, electric guitar and various other electronics. Of course for this to work, the interplay between the musicians is key. “We are different, but what we have in common is that we like to give some space to things,” Molvær says. Cinelu adds: “It doesn’t matter who has what share in music. We both know each other’s cultures, we find bridges and crossings, and often we walk these paths that lead in the same direction. We wrote everything together and followed our feelings. There are no limits or barriers.”

The album’s first single, album title track “SulaMadiana (For Manu Dibango)” is an ethereal yet funky tribute to Cinelu’s mentor Manu Dibango, centered around a propulsive acoustic guitar line, pedal effected trumpet, shimmering electric guitar soloing, atmospheric electronics, Afro-Latin percussion and Cinelu’s dreamy vocals. The end result is an adventurous and loving Vulcan mind-meld in which a wintry breeze blows through the propulsive funk in a way that evokes late summer.