Nordost Playlist – August 2018


Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this August.


You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY


  1. I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You)—Thelonious Monk—Solo Monk
  2. Trick Of The Light—The Raah Project—Score
  3. Hold On – Remastered 2010—John Lennon—Plastic Ono Band
  4. Miles Away—Phil Cook—People Are My Drug
  5. I Dream a Highway—Elan Mehler—The After Suite
  6. Kounkoun—Ounou Sangaré—Mogoya
  7. Cool Cat – Remastered 2011—Queen—Hot Space (2011 Remaster)
  8. Turn Your Lights On—Emanative, Ahu—Time
  9. Glue—Bernice—Puff: In The Air Without A Shape
  10. La Di Da—The Internet—Hive Mind

 

Nelson Brill Reviews Jazz Pianists from the Newport Jazz Festival and Beyond

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Brill looks back on past performances at the Newport Jazz Festival, as he anticipates this year’s upcoming lineup.


JAZZ PIANISTS FRISKY AND WISE – FROM NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL AND BEYOND

By Nelson Brill

JUNE, 2017

Pianists have always been front and center at the Newport Jazz Festival (“Newport”) since it was founded in 1954 by the incomparable jazz impresario, George Wein. This year’s edition of Newport (sponsored by Natixis) runs from August 3-5 (see www.newportjazz.org for full schedule) and judging by past years, this year’s edition promises more keyboard verve and magic.

Last year, Newport was teeming with forward-thinking pianists. In a dazzling solo concert, pianist David Torkanowsky dug deep into a Hoagy Carmichael number that sashayed with smart New Orleans’ inspired rhythms. Under one of Newport’s larger tents, a global street party was led by pianist Danilo Perez and his Group.


Twin-engine percussionists Adam Cruz and Roman Diaz propelled the party with Yoruba chants and resonant conga hits. Perez cascaded sprightly on his keyboard and trumpeter Avishai Cohen and saxophonist Chris Potter lent powerful solos, all building to a cacophonous eruption of soaring colors.

Andrea Canter

Another highlight from Newport 2017 was the appearance of pianist Vijay Iyer on several stages. He first led his Sextet in exploring originals from their 2017 recording, Far From Over [ECM; www.ecmrecords.com], a richly textured recording that pulls the listener into Iyer’s challenging pieces.

Iyer is keen to explore contrasts in dynamics, instrumental colors and unpredictable meter shifts in his music. Far From Over opens with his composition, “Poles,” drawing on lightness (the softness of Iyer’s keyboard touches and Graham Haynes’ floating flugelhorn solo) and angular fury (Steve Lehman’s spilling alto sax solo). The locomotive “Down To The Wire” also contains shifting contrasts: an opening Iyer solo combines sweet flashes of concise phrasing followed by a  torrent of notes, brimming with concussive bass chords. Iyer and his talented Sextet range from light punches of funk, (such as on the slinky beauty of “Nope”) to the R & B of the propulsive “Wake” – knotty and unpredictable and then smooth as silk in the soulful foundation laid down by bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Tyshawn Sorey (with his blade-like hits on his closed hi-hat).


At one point in the Sextet’s Newport 2017 performance, Iyer soloed in a tranquil moment (with a twinkling flourish of light notes) while tenor saxophonist Mark Shim spun nimble runs shifting in and out of Iyer’s soft piano colors. Iyer and Shim’s beautiful duet reminded of Iyer’s recent recording where he teams up with another intrepid partner, the fearless trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, on their glowing 2016 recording, A Cosmic Rhythm With Every Stoke [ECM].


The intimate meeting between these two consummate artists will challenge your ears with its music that verges on silence – slow and viscid – contrasted with its leaps of searing power. The excellent sonics of Cosmic Rhythm ensnare beautifully the full harmonic body of Iyer’s piano as well as the metallic blaze and bite of Smith’s expressive trumpet.

Cal Alumni Assoc

In addition to Iyer’s vital partnership with Wadada Leo Smith, Iyer also clearly shares a special telepathic partnership with his intrepid drummer, Tyshawn Sorey, a member of Iyer’s Sextet and an accomplished composer in his own right. For instance, take a listen to Sorey’s original compositions on his recording  Alloy [Pi Recordings] joined by pianist Cory Smythe and bassist Christopher Tordini.


Sorey’s music stretches the sounds of the jazz trio into new territory with its mixture of driving  forces (the heady “Template”) and slow, repeating meanders as in Sorey’s “A Love Song” – highlighted by Smythe’s gorgeous piano that glows with harmonic richness and repeating, fragile patterns.

I was looking for the chance to hear Sorey again at his drum kit and such a joyous treat presented itself on May 4th, as Sorey joined with Iyer and bassist Nick Dunston for an intimate concert at the Regattabar in Cambridge, MA. (www.regattabarjazz.com). Although Sorey employed only a single large cymbal, a snare drum, a hi-hat and a bass drum for this concert, he created an astounding variety of sounds from his minimalist kit: the lightest of brush scamper to the most startling blasts of percussive force.

Jazz De Gama


The music moved uninterrupted through a series of musical chapters created by Iyer’s rich piano lines and melodies woven from classical references; rock anthems; pixelated one-note hits and Monk-like quips. The young Dunston interwove his gracious bass within Iyer’s storylines with a preference for letting his notes hang in the air (for their maximum harmonic richness) or utilizing  languid slides that slipped and fell as they may. For his part, Sorey kept all of this drama ignited with fluid snare runs; glows from a single drumstick hitting the bull’s-eye of his cymbal or attacking his bass drum with startling concussive effect. As all this trio chemistry and drama unfolded, its evolving beauty was captured in excellent coherent and textured sound by sound engineer Dean DeMatteo at this spirited Regattabar show.

Geri Allen: allaboutjazz


Returning to Newport 2017, Iyer was also seen at his keyboard performing in a moving tribute to the singular pianist and composer, Geri Allen, who tragically passed on a few weeks before Newport 2017 (where she was scheduled to appear with drummer Teri Lyne Carrington and bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding). Carrington and Spalding organized this Tribute to Allen and were joined by Iyer for a joyful collective romp on “Geri’s Song”- a Calypso inspired number that fired up Iyer, Spalding and Carrington in joyful, grooving celebration of Allen.

Esperanza Spaulding: New York Times


Also taking a turn at the keyboard in this Geri Allen Tribute at Newport was another of my favorite young pianists, Christian Sands, who took flight with his usual exuberance and velvety tumble.

wnpr

Sands has always been one to watch, whether in his piano seat in bassist Christian McBride’s band or now as a band leader in his own right, as on his new recording, Reach [Mack Avenue Records; www.mackavenuerecords.com].


Reach is a recording with a big boned and sparkling sonic presence, offering an upfront perspective to all the action. Take a listen to the opener “Armando’s Song”, one of the disc’s highlights, and if your audio system is up to the task, you will follow each of Yasushi Nakamura’s pungent bass pumps and toe-tap to the throttle of drummer Marcus Baylor’s snare/cymbal combinations. (Baylor emerges on this recording with bright and gutsy presence throughout, another young talent on the drums. Also check out his superb 2017 audiophile gem of a recording with his partner in The Baylor Project, the glorious singer Jean Baylor, on their Grammy nominated The Journey [CD Baby].

Marcus Baylor: Jeff Forman


Taking inspiration from Chick Corea’s “Armando’s Rhumba” (a version of which appears on Corea’s 2003 audiophile gem, Rendezvous In New York [Hybrid SACD; Stretch Records] with Corea joined by the brilliant Bobby McFerrin in a brilliant chase of piano and vocals), Sands makes Corea’s song his own by twisting it into a rollicking jam of flowing runs and surging piano note flourishes.


On another highlight from Reach, the blues surge of “Song of the Rainbow People,” Sand captures the majesty of this cut in glorious fashion, utilizing deep chords and rolling them into thunderous lyrical waves. Sands is also joined by saxophonist Marcus Stickland for a boiling “Pointing West” (all curvaceous in its bebop heat) and by guitarist Gilad Hekselman (for a softly grooving “Reaching For The Sun”with Hekselman’s guitar notes trim and flowing next to Baylor’s light wood rims).

New York Times

Things then get intensely funky when Sands and Hekselman join Baylor and Christian McBride for a hard-hitting “Use Me” featuring a blast of guitar sear from Hekselman’s solo and a funky hoe-down between McBride and Sands in which Sands lays down a clutch of low-end hurls and stride piano next to McBride’s feisty bowing.

Reach ends with a soft caress on Sand’s version of the classic, “Somewhere Out There”. In this intimate moment, Sands twists and turns upwards on his keyboard to an optimistic place with a final flutter up his colorful and expressive range, beckoning sunshine and striving on.

London Jazz News


If you would like to read more reviews like this one, visit Nelson’s blog at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.


 

Eleanor McEvoy Records Her First Direct-Cut Album with Nordost

When we hear that one of our favorite artists is heading into the studio, it always piques our interest. When that artist is heading into the studio to record a direct-cut album, then that really gets the juices flowing—we couldn’t wait to get involved! That’s exactly what happened the week after the Munich Show. While we were all recovering from the show, the bier, the wurst and the spargel, our Ax Angel Cables were on their way to Air Studios in North London, where Eleanor McEvoy was getting ready to embark on one of “the most nerve-wracking experiences of (her) recording career”. Of course, Eleanor is no stranger to either recording or performing in front of a live audience, but she described the direct-cut experience as “not just different, but a whole different kind of pressure. One that asks different questions and definitely requires different responses.” Fortunately, this wasn’t producer Mike Valentine’s first direct-cut project and, along with the experienced staff at Air Studios, a calm, focused and creative atmosphere soon prevailed.

With just guitar, vocals and piano accompaniment, there really is no place to hide, musically and artistically, so the whole one-take/multi-track structure of a direct-cut LP side screams caution. The whole point of the exercise is to capture the immediacy and artistic tension of the live performance – without the benefit, energy and feedback of a live audience. The result is a musical tightrope that was negotiated with the aid of three weeks of intensive rehearsals and two takes per side. We’re still waiting on the vinyl test-pressings, but the digital copies are in and the results are everything we hoped for. A mixture of established and new material, the eight tracks will be available on LP, CD and analog tape, as well as downloadable from the Chasing The Dragon website.

Nordost Playlist – July 2018


Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this July.


You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY


  1. Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now—Joss Stone—Introducing Joss Stone
  2. Sunny Afternoon—The Kinks—Face To Face
  3. Skip—Laura Misch—Playground
  4. June On The West Coast—Bright Eyes—Letting Off The Happiness
  5. Seasons (Waiting On You)—Future Islands—Singles
  6. July, July!—The Decemberists —Castaways and Cutouts
  7. Nobody—Mitski—Nobody
  8. Knives Of Summertime—Sparklehorse—Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain
  9. If You Want Me to Stay—Sly & The Family Stone—Fresh
  10. Your Dog—Soccer Mommy—Clean

EastSide Sound recording studio installs Nordost cables! [WATCH]

Nordost cables make a difference. Thanks to the series of live product demonstrations and cable comparisons performed worldwide at trade shows and dealer events, many hifi enthusiasts have had the opportunity to hear this difference for themselves — not to mention the improvements that people experience when introducing Nordost products into their own homes! However, there is one aspect of the chain that people have not been able to hear Nordost’s impact on — the musical recordings themselves.

A few years ago, Nordost launched its first range of pro audio cables, Ax Angel. Ax Angel studio recording cables are constructed using the same design philosophy and technology as our hifi audio cables, allowing musicians and recording engineers to fully capture music in its original state. This is what the Chief Engineer at EastSide Sound, Marc Urselli discovered when we initially installed Nordost cables in his recording studio, in order to record Newvelle Records’ fourth season. Once the cables were in place, we thought it would be fun for Marc to conduct an A/B test to hear the difference for himself. As a five-time nominated and three-time Grammy Award winning recording and mixing engineer, we wanted to hear his expert opinion.

I was initially skeptical about the fact that an audio cable might be able to make more than just a subtle difference in sound. When I got to test these cables I was blown away by how big the difference actually was. It wasn’t just a subtle thing that only an audio engineer or an audiophile would hear, but a clear improvement in the overall frequency response of the signal that EVERYONE can hear! Sound comes through without restriction, in its full, bold, rich and wide original state! More low end, more high end and more of EVERYTHING!  – Marc Urselli

Nordost has captured the installation and A/B test on video, for you to enjoy: 


 

Nordost Playlist – May 2018


Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this May.


You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY


  1. Deathless—Ibeyi, Kamasi Washington—Ash
  2. Righteously—Anna Ash—Righteously
  3. In My Life—Chie Ayado—Best II
  4. Wedding Song—Anaïs Mitchell, Justin Vernon—Hadestown
  5. Djougou Toro—Volta Jazz—Bobo Yéyé : Belle Époque
  6. Demolition Man—Def Leppard—Euphoria
  7. No Ordinary Love—Sade—Love Deluxe
  8. Catch My Breath—Confidence Man—Confident Music For Confident People
  9. Carry On—Wyclef Jean, Emili Sande—Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee
  10. Talking Straight—Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever—Talking Straight

 

Newvelle Records records their fourth season with Nordost cables

Recording is about to begin on Newvelle Records’ fourth season, and this time…they are using Nordost cables! Newvelle Records is an exciting new company that produces original, high quality, vinyl recordings, which are distributed as seasonal subscriptions. The collaboration between Nordost and Newvelle Records, announced in December 2017, is a natural fit, joining two companies whose love of music drove them to go to great lengths in order to achieve the same goal: high fidelity sound. Nordost cables have set up permanent residency in Manhattan-based recording studio, EastSide Sound, and are burned-in and ready to capture some great jazz. Newvelle’s fourth season will feature artists such as Steve Cardenas, Lionel Loueke, Bill Frisell, Skúli Sverrisson, Francisco Mela, Jason Palmer, Andrew Zimmerman, Dave Douglas, Kevin Hays, and Thomas Morgan.

2018.02.12 Nordost Eastsound Recording Studio -59

In celebration of our collaboration and the commencement of their fourth season, Newvelle Records is offering an exclusive gift: For every box set purchased, customers will receive a complementary pressing of Piano Noir!

To receive your free copy of Piano Noir, shop for your box set HERE and enter promo code “Nordost” at checkout.

2018.02.12 Nordost Eastsound Recording Studio -73

 

Nordost Playlist – April 2018


Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this April.

playlist_April_18


You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  |  SPOTIFY


  1. Hallelujah I Love Her So-2016 Mono Remastered—Ray Charles—The Atlantic Studio Albums In Mono (Remastered)
  2. Messaien’s Gumbo—John Patitucci—Remembrance
  3. I Choose You—Sara Bareilles—The Blessed Unrest
  4. Call Out My Name—The Weeknd—My Dear Melancholy
  5. My Way—Ivy Sole—West
  6. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye—Feist—Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
  7. Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps—Igor Stravinsky, Teodor Currentzis—The Rige of Spring : Part One : Adoration of the Earth: Spring Rounds
  8. Astonished Man—Thao & The Get Down Stay Down—A Man Alive
  9. Follow My Voice—Julie Byrne—Not Even Happiness
  10. Kill My Sorrow—Joy Kill’s Sorrow—Darkness Sure Becomes This City

 

Nelson Brill On New Audiophile Jazz Recordings

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Brill shares some new Audiophile jazz recordings.


New Audiophile Jazz Recordings To Spin And Savor

By Nelson Brill

January 14, 2018

Pierre VIGNAUX

Audiophile buddies gather around! Here are a few of my favorite new jazz recordings on CD or vinyl to share. They all contain toe-tapping music recorded with excellent sonics that deliver all the dynamic presence of these great musicians at play.

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First off, there is cause for celebration in hearing the new recording by the magnificent vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant and her savvy trio: Aaron Diehl on piano; Paul Sikivie on bass and Lawrence Leathers on drums. Dreams and Daggers [Mack Avenue Records; www.mackavenue.com] captures this magnetic partnership in delicious flight in their performances at the Village Vanguard in New York City in September, 2016.

Cecile_Salvant-768x566

wnpr.org

Salvant’s singular voice fills every nook and cranny of this glorious live recording with joy. She pours herself fully into the vessel of the blues singing slow and radiant on her powerful version of “My Man’s Gone Now” and then spiky and sweet on Ida Cox’s classic “Wild Women Don’t Have The Blues” and in the comic stroll of “Sam Jones’ Blues.” Her vocal playfulness positively glows on such burbling romps as “Let’s Face The Music And Dance”; “Nothing Like You” and “Never Will I Marry.” She effortlessly fashions narratives by Kurt Weill and Langston Hughes into a coiled, unfolding performance (on the unflinching “Somehow I Never Could Believe”) and then she joins a velvety string ensemble with cool vocal glow on a few zesty originals. Salvant inhabits the narratives of her songs with effortless aplomb. She fills each with soft scampers; slow delicious murmurs or heady crescendos – all with expressive delight. She possesses this protean ability to maintain her lithe pitch control to lightly perch on any twig or branch in her wondrous vocal range with indelible expressiveness (from tender quips to full blasts of soulful heat).

harlem-jazz3

Harlem World Magazine

Her partnering trio is as dapper and impeccable as one of Mr. Diehl’s fastidious bowties. On Dreams and Daggers, each player dazzles in their solo work and in their collective whimsy with Salvant’s creative lead. Diehl is a master storyteller at his keyboard. He possesses the lightest of touches; the most devious velvety runs and can surprise with fresh bursts of octaves or soft isolated notes that combine for deep expressiveness. Sikivie’s bass is a resonant juggernaut (check out his pumping presence in duet with Savant on “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me”) and Leathers is a sensual propulsive machine on his drum kit (listen to his impeccable backbone on “Si J’etais Blanche”). Savant’s duet with guest pianist Sullivan Fortner on “You’ve Got To Give Me Some” is another highlight as it shakes with sassy fury and showcases Fortner’s own transfixing piano style and his swanking partnership with the ever-adventurous Salvant. The audiophile quality of Dreams and Daggers captures every tactile detail of these gleeful encounters within the acoustic space and energy of the Vanguard. The adoring audience is also ensnared up close and present in their  boisterous enthusiasm for each musical gift bestowed by this stunning jazz band in action.

metrolyrics.com

metrolyrics.com

Across town from the Village Vanguard, the eminent Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (www.jazz.org/JLCO/) creates its own magic in performances at Lincoln Center in New York City. Two of its stalwart musicians, bassist Gerald Cannon and alto saxophonist Sherman Irby, each have new recordings out in which they contribute to each other’s smart, bracing and vital music.

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Cannon’s Combinations [Woodneck Records; www.cannonmusicart.com] fires on all cylinders with swinging prowess, such as on the opening “Every Man Is A King” (with blaze of trumpet from Jeremy Pelt) or on “One For Amos” with  Cannon’s fluid bass pumping behind Irby’s biting alto sax. The musicians gathered on this recording offer dynamic companionship to Cannon in their eclectic journey together. Russell Malone’s swanking guitar joins Cannon’s nimble bass in a radiant duet on “How Great Thou Art” while Gary Bartz’s smoothly cascading alto propels the unflinching R & B of “Gary’s Tune.” Pianists Kenny Barron and Rick Germanson bring their own glowing styles to several tunes that run from a shimmering bossa (“Amanda’s Bossa”) to the feathery lightness of “How My Heart Sings.” Drummer extraordinaire Willie Jones III brings his panache to everything he touches, including the blaring cacophony of “Columbus Circle Stop” which blares with Jones’ humming snare and crisp cymbal heat. Don’t miss the last tune, “Darn That Dream,” in which Cannon stretches his elastic acoustic bass to the max in a glowing solo piece where his fingers pull, hold and pluck upon his low strings to create a brewing cauldron of deep soulful dance.

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Cannon and Jones shine as well on Sherman Irby’s new recording, Cerulean Canvas [Black Warrior Records], another powerful statement of creative jazz mixing with blues heat.

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This recording is another audiophile gem, recorded by engineer Katherine Miller, who also recorded the Cannon Combinations session. Miller takes great care to deliver all the tactile details and buoyant energy of these two heated blowing sessions and ensnares all of their superlative musicianship and comradeship up close and personal.

jazz.org

jazz.org

Irby’s sharp robust attack on his alto sax can sing in bellowing breathy notes as on his molten slow grooving heater, “John Bishop Blues” (with Cannon’s pungent bass pumping behind) or on his “Blues For Poppa Reed” (with pianist Eric Reed tenacious and twinkling). He can also sing on his alto sax in full ballad glory on the slow unfurling swing of “From Day By Day” and the loping gait of Wayne Shorter’s “Contemplation”. The unusual front line of Irby’s alto sax mixing it up with a tenacious trombone (plied by either Vincent Garner or Elliot Mason) is bold and expressive. “Willie’s Beat” and “Racine” are stellar examples, with trombone and alto sax rollicking to Reed’s pouncing piano notes and the sparkle of Jones’ nimble cymbal/snare combinations. Irby’s version of “Sweet Georgia Brown” is a sprite swinging delight where trombone, sax and bass frolic in lightning elegance to the dance of Jones’ wood rim hits.

Trombone also plays glorious partner to sax in another blazing recording session brought to us by the young baritone saxophonist, B.J. Jansen, on his new recording, Common Ground [RonninJazz; www.bjjansen.com].

BJJansenCommonGroundCover300dpi-e1490300126382-300x258

Jansen joins one of my favorite trombonists, the dapper and keenly creative Delfeayo Marsalis, in a collective that also includes trumpeter Duane Eubanks; bassist Dezron Douglas; pianist Zaccai Curtis and the indefatigable drummer, Ralph Peterson. They create another barn burning session that is captured on this recording in all its intense up-front energy and tactile crackle.

bjjansen.com

bjjansen.com

The heat is immediately felt on “Stacey’s Plan” as Jansen’s reedy baritone plunges and flows deep in partnership with Douglas’ bass and Marsalis’ colorful trombone declarations (filled with high note blares and slippery slides). Curtis shines with keyboard prowess as he delivers tight bluesy turns of phrase and deft soft note accents. “Bucket Full of Soul” also swings kinetically on Jansen’s baritone pelts and gutsy breeze (blowing from high registers to low) with Marsalis working his creative banter and bluster. In contrast, “Brandon’s Blues” walks in slow strides as baritone and (muted) trombone take a stroll in warm meandering fashion, until Eubanks trumpet interrupts with his brazen calls – all angular, creative shine. This glittering band can do anything it wills: moving effortlessly from the full bore swing of “Angela’s Aggravation” to the melodic flow of “Relaxin’ With Jessica”. The title cut, with a feel of John Coltrane’s combination of soulfulness and heat, is ignited by Jansen’s baritone solo roiling in colorful declarations of low reedy power and heft partnered with Douglas’ heady bass rolls and Peterson’s snare and cymbal power. The magnetic Peterson is a creative gale force throughout the recording. His percussive foundation lays the brickwork for all the garlands of sonic riches and grooves that are delivered from this tight adventurous band flourishing in their companionship.

drummerszone.com

drummerszone.com

Shadows of John Coltrane and his compatriot genius, Thelonious Monk, linger over many of these new artists’ creative visions. Appropriately, two new recordings shine brightly upon Monk’s legacy.

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The first is a special audiophile quality LP (also available in a deluxe 2-LP box set) of a never-before released recording session by Monk joined by saxophonists Charlie Rouse and Barney Wilen; bassist Sam Jones and drummer Art Taylor at the Nola Penthouse Sound Studios in July, 1959. The occasion was to record a soundtrack for Roger Vadim’s film, Les Liasons Dangereuses and this new vinyl release of the same title, (produced by Zev Feldman, Francois Le Xuan and Fred Thomas for Sam Records/Saga [www.samrecords.fr]) invites the listener to take a front row seat to experience the informal give and take between these great musicians. Listening through my Rega RP-10 turntable with Alpheta 2 cartridge (www.rega.co.uk) and Aesthetix Rhea phonostage, (www.aesthetix.net) this LP’s surfaces were dead quiet and images were beautifully rendered. Although Monk’s piano is a bit recessed and its harmonic body slightly curtailed, there is a naturalness and informal quality to this session that immediately draws one into the drama and chemistry between these simpatico players. When the full band is involved, such as on their swinging “Well, You Needn’t,” or “Rhythm-a-Ning”, Rouse and Wilen’s saxes explode with dynamic presence in each corner; Taylor’s jumping sticks on his cymbal are crisp and clear and Jones’ walking bass is a pungent engine. Monk’s delicious and obtuse keyboard chases bind all this buoyant drama with his limpid bluesy phrases and pouncing chords. On “Six in One”; “Crepuscule with Nellie” and “Pannonica”, Monk’s solos are little marvels which are revealed on this splendid LP in all their intricate design and playful vision. The swank of Monk’s 12-bar blues, “Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are” is icing on the cake as all of these gifted musicians take a spirited run at this voluptuous romp. The Sam Records LP of this historic session allows us to time-travel back to sit in a folding chair in the Nola Studio and relish all of these potent grooves and musical drama within the air, warmth and naturalness of the studio space that only an LP can provide.

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Taking his own inspiration from Monk’s incomparable razzmatazz with rhythms, instrumental colors and melodic fancy, pianist, composer and arranger John Beasley has reinvented many of Monk’s compositions into his own exuberant stew for his “MONKestra” Big Band. The band has released two volumes of recordings, entitled MONKestra Volume 1 and 2 both on Mack Avenue Records [www.mackavenue.com]. The recording quality of both of these titles is excellent with the full weight, spaciousness and colorful imagery of a swanking big band in creative flight captured in a layered and airy  space. Beasley and his MONKestra can make a blaring New Orleans’ parade out of the glory of Monk’s “Round Midnight” or sail Monk’s “Skippy” into bluesy R & B territory, carefree and swinging. Monk’s “Little Rootie Tootie” is a collage of start and stop brass and woodwind soars while “Epistrophy” beckons with its dissonant swipes and clusters of tumultuous sounds (with guest Gary Burton frolicking on his crisp vibes). From Monk’s unpredictable vamps to his swinging bebop glory, everything is within the grasp of Beasley’s creative arrangements and the MONKestra’s consummate music making. They partner on these two recordings to flutter, spin and carouse in the playful landscape of Monk’s genius to the delight of our ears and our spirit.

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If you would like to read more reviews like this one, visit Nelson’s blog at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.


 

We’re collaborating w/ Newvelle Records!

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Nordost is very proud to announce an exciting new partnership with Newvelle Records!

This innovative company has made its mark on music distribution since their first pressing was introduced in 2016. Throughout the year, Newvelle creates a series of six exclusive, vinyl records, each paired with curated artwork and writing, which are released to customers in bi-monthly installments. These six pressings combine to form a box set that takes advantage of its full canvas to express something exceedingly deep and affecting.

The response to their work has been overwhelming, with an onslaught of positive reviews raving about every aspect of Newvelle, from the integrity of their records, to the quality of artists they feature, to the distribution model that they employ.

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We’ve found great symmetry in the ideals, aesthetics, dedication, and craftsmanship between Nordost and Newvelle.  Like us, they care fundamentally, and above all else, about the music. For their next set of recordings at East Side Sound in NYC, Newvelle will be using Nordost cables, including our Pro Audio studio series, Ax Angel, to create their highest quality recordings to date. This partnership will give Nordost customers the unique opportunity to experience their music through Nordost cables from beginning to end.

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To celebrate this new collaboration, and help you celebrate the upcoming holidays, Newvelle Records is offering the first 100 Nordost customers who purchase their already completed Second Season Box Set an exclusive gift: Piano Noir.

Piano Noir is a record born from the idea of “Making the Connection”— in this case, the connections that can be found between all of the arts involved in the project: audial, visual and literary.  Based on a story that was commissioned by Newvelle from best-selling author Douglas Kennedy, with music written by Newvelle cofounder pianist Elan Mehler, and featuring some of NYC’s best musicians, Piano Noir is a unique piece of art not currently available for sale, and made to Newvelle’s exacting standards.

Take advantage of this exclusive offer by using the promo code “Nordost” at checkout to get your copy of Piano Noir with a purchase of Newvelle’s Season Two, and be a part of this exciting musical movement.

Learn more about Newvelle Records at www.newvelle-records.com