A selection of the hot new music surfacing across the continent this month by the top European jazz magazines and websites
Henning Bolte, Written in Music (Netherlands)
PETTER ELDH: Koma Saxo (We Jazz Records)
Koma Sax, a new quintet instigated and led by bass beast Petter Eldh gathering the sweeping horns of Finnish and Swedish forces Mikko Innanen, Jonas Kullhammar and Otis Sandsjö plus the driven and and driving inner chiseling of impetuous power-drummer Christian Lillinger – actually heavy action on the Berlin – Helsinki axis. It is music in the neck and breath of present time, a compact, highly densified, mighty new form of outright core jazz of its own, resting on strong and valid self-reliance. This music has a double expressive impact. It gives a clear and urgent feeling of facing straight to the time, to the realities we are living in. Also, it bundles up a decided, feathered, infectious counter force. It is musically deep core jazz of the best and radical new cut.
Patrik Sandberg, OrkesterJournalen (Sweden)
ODDJOB: Kong (Headspin Recordings)
Significant for the quintet, both on record and live, have been the sonorous appetizers, compositions and syllabic arrangements that have breathed great nuance. The well-oiled ensemble play has always been in the forefront when melody and pulse are worked together in a contrasting and ingenious way.
Hildo is a commissioned work premiered at Vossa Jazz in 2018. In January 2019 the band returned to the venue of the first performance, Voss old cinema theatre, and recorded eight tunes. It’s a delicate blend of old folk tunes with a harmonic and rhytmic twist and a dash of improvisation.
Matthieu Jouan, Citizenjazz.com (France)
THEO CECCALDI TRIO: Django (Brouhaha)
What would Django Reinhardt play if he were still alive? You have the answer, with many sparkling bubbles. The trio has matured, they are less in a hurry and they are lingering to do it right. French jazz is still as powerful as ever.
Axel Stinshoff, Jazz thing (Germany)
TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON SOCIAL SCIENCE: Waiting Game (Motéma)
Following the highly acclaimed “Unloved” of two years ago, “Three Crowns” is the second album recorded for ECM by Maciej Obara’s Polish-Norewgian Quartet, whom John Fordham praised in “The Guardian” as „improvisers of cosmic energy”. This newest material includes the leader’s six new pieces as well as jazz interepretations of two works by the great late Polish classical composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. Obara’s closing ballad “Mr. S” is a tribute to Tomasz Stańko. The Maciej Obara Quartet are: Obara – as, Dominik Wania – p, Ole Morten Vagan – b, Gard Nilssen – dr.
Singer Olga Sinyaeva emerged as a performer of jazz standards, but is was her work with Anton Chekurov Sextet which marked her switch to original repertoire: loud, electric, assertive, and pierced by virtuosic dashing instrumental solos, all in all exactly what the young urban audience preferred. Be sure they are virtuosic, as the sextet leader’s other job is the 1st alto sax chair in Igor Butman’s Moscow Jazz Orchestra where instrumentalists’ excellence is required, and the guitar player, Evgeny Pobozhiy, also works in the same big band.
If what you will hear will sound Greek to you literally, then you are taking an important lesson of jazz where improvisation can come in any form, with any instrument and at any time. Sofia is a master of kanun, an Eastern instrument of microtones, while Vassilis plays the good old acoustic guitar. The result is a set of original compositions which contain both western and eastern type (taksim) of improvisations. Worth listening without falling into the trap of world music.