Jazz

Family Dinner Volume Two (CD)

Grammy Award-winning, genre-spanning Jazz band Snarky Puppy recorded Family Dinner Volume Two live in New Orleans with guest musicians and vocalists such as David Crosby, Charlie Hunter, Jason Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, and many more. The album is accompanied by a DVD featuring footage of the recording process, interviews, and behind-the-scenes action that brings you up close and personal with this amazing show. The DVD also includes footage of bonus tracks not included on the album. A portion of the proceeds from sales of Family Dinner Volume Two will be donated to Roots of Music, an organization that empowers the youth of New Orleans through music education, academic support, and mentorship.

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Culcha Vulcha (CD)

Genre-busters for sure, the Grammy-winning outfit Snarky Puppy lands somewhere between an R&B-fueled garage band and a rangy jazz collective, but Culcha Vulcha presents a darker, moodier Puppy with elements of Rock along with flourishes of Bossa Nova, electric Blues, R&B, Funk, Soul, Jazz, and more. Cultural influences collide and merge to make a thoroughly American sound. The album title may refer to the Western world’s obsession with pop culture and insatiable rate of consumption, but one can’t overlook the post-modern appeal of mixing it all up for one big, never-ending Snarky meal.

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Live In Cuba (CD)
Amazing arrangements and great sound on what could have been a mere nostalgia trip...this is as full of life as Ellington at Newport. Best Sunday morning record in years! Read more
Emily's D+Evolution (CD)

Esperanza Spalding sprung seemingly out of nowhere to take the Best New Artist Grammy in 2011. However arbitrary and/or irrelevant the Grammys may feel, Spalding was the rare example of the awards bringing widespread attention to a deserving artist that was little-known by the masses. But if you thought her 15 minutes of fame would cause the idiosyncratic jazz singer/songwriter and bassist to go soft, think again. The stunningly strange and complex Emily’s D+Evolution is easily one of the most original things you’ll hear this year, jazz, pop or otherwise. Songs like “Good Lava” are defiantly unruly, noise even, showing she’d sooner tour with someone like The Mars Volta than Norah Jones. The songs proggy turns are tempered only by Spalding’s cool vocals, which skip and flutter, lighter than air, before focusing into view in pointed moments reminiscent of similarly intellectually raucous indie-pop artists like Dirty Projectors or Tune-Yards. “Earth to Heaven’s” ’70s jazz-prog feel (think Steely Dan) sets a warm foundation for some of Spalding’s most daring vocals and subject matter, as she skewers religious fanaticism while dicing her vocals in a style reminiscent of Tori Amos, PJ Harvey or Erykah Badu, though she doesn’t seem to outright borrow from any one artist in particular. Even her attempt at a pop song, “One,” manages to be catchy yet intricate and uniquely grabbing all at the same time, full of spoken passages and odd turns. If you’re not totally convinced by Spalding’s idiosyncracies right off the bat, give it a minute; as she sings among the spiraling chords and springing basslines of “Judas,” “it’s only a matter of time, honey.”

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At Home: Live In Marciac [Import] (CD)

Recorded live in 2014 at the Jazz in Marciac festival, Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca and Malian singer/guitarist Fatoumata Diawara to produce a moving combination of Afro-Cuban rhythms, funky clavinet, spindly Malian guitars and Diawara’s earthy vocals.

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