Jazz

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
Luys i Luso (CD)
Pianist Tigran Hamasyan’s ECM debut is an extraordinary exploration of Armenian sacred music. Hamasyan has selected hymns and sharakans (Armenian liturgical songs), as well as chants by Grigor Narekatsi, Komitas, and more. Read more
Hommage À Eberhard Weber (CD)
Poignant and righteous, this live recording celebrates the 75th birthday of jazz bassist and ECM institution Eberhard Weber, whose floaty, elastic bass tones and lush, icy production have proven hugely influential within jazz and beyond. Read more
Sorrow: A Reimagining Of Gorecki's 3rd Symphony (CD)

Saxophonist Colin Stetson’s latest solo release features Arcade Fire violinist Sarah Neufeld and Liturgy’s Greg Fox on a rendition of avant-garde composer Henryk Gorecki’s Third Symphony that “draws heavily from the world of black metal, early electronic music, and from my own body of solo saxophone music,” according to Stetson. Slow and foreboding, yet full-bodied and alive, these renditions feature beautiful operatic vocals, notes that shift between atonal and euphonious, with swells of strings and stirring, rumbling percussion. It adds up to a singular, moving experience that should be undertaken by fans of neoclassical music and indie rock alike.

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Amorphae (CD)

Spellbinding solo electric guitar, with a few duets, that stretches categorization almost to the breaking point. Modern “jazz” playing by a man whose chops are best described as “how did he do that?” Most always melodic, the notes and chords break away from expectations, the exploratory nature sounding like improvisation.

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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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