Playlist for Friday, June 19, 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
….. Whoa, that new Steve Lehman Octet album is a kick. More about that later.
….. Bloom Project is, in this case, the duo of Rent Romus (sax) and Thollem McDonas (piano). They explore some nice spaces well beyond jazz, but in a style that sticks to traditional playing as opposed to the heavy electronics Romus has been using lately. The contrast is interesting (and probably worth a writeup sometime).
….. Pink Saliva is a trio of Montreal-area improvisers, documented on one of a few 3-inch CDs we’ve gotten from Majuma. It’s mostly lo-fi cacophany — I mean that in a good way — but the third track, played here, gets a little closer to jazz.
….. Andy Haas (sax) and Don Fiorino (guitar) are improvisers who craft a unique sound, one with heavy doses of world music and a subtext that I’m guessing comes from a lot of classic-rock listening during formative years. They’ve got two very different CDs in rotation with us right now. Hanuman Sextet can be traced back to psychedelia experiments with Indian music, but it’s also got healthy doses of jazz horns, lots of steel guitar (not your usual improv instrument), and some more down-to-earth grooving than you normally get from the psych crowd.
….. Radio I-Ching, also featuring Haas and Fiorino, goes in a tougher direction: Heavy drums powering fleet sax lines and often crunching guitar, a heavy dose of rock sound applied to a jazz-jam concept. The lighter tracks add swirls of world-music exotica, a tough-to-place mix of African, Cuban, and Asian styles. “Judgement Day” is like a late-night party in a Cuban jazz club, and “Topsy” is a bebop gyroscope out of control. But I’m particularly taken with their version of “Misterioso,” which is a raging blur of guitar and drums, dark and flitting, with the soprano sax suddenly piping in with the melody line.
….. Pop alert: The new St. Vincent is really good, richly produced, and packed with nooks and crannies of sound (strings! extra guitar!) that make for a great pop-record experience. As good as Annie Clarke’s first album was, this is miles ahead. Flotilla is an indie-pop quartet with a harp player (and yes, she gets a solo, on at least one track!) They’ve got a deliciously icy sound that reminds me of Call and Response’s Winds Take No Shape album.