Hey, it’s Luke, your Jazz Director at WLFM. Like the other Music Directors, I thought I’d take some time to introduce you all to the Jazz section of our website, and write about some of the music that is currently charting – as in, going for spins – in CMJ.
Unlike Hip-Hop, Loud Rock, and RPM we often have the problem of getting too much music in – like, more good jazz than anybody would ever play on their show… So here is a little motivation for you, the non-jazz listener (and jazz-listener alike), to branch out and expand your musical palette. [Or, something to listen for when DEATHBOT! is on (Thursdays, 10-12PM), or Hip-Hop on the Jazz Bus, or Post-Dream Funk-Core with Gus Murphy – see DJs, if you play jazz I will mention your show in my posts!.]
Oh, and also, jazz today isn’t as viral as Top 200, so – unlike Josh and Rachele – I can’t just post youtube videos to show you what’s new (cheaters). So bear with me while I actually write about my favorite albums. (Honestly, I’d rather watch videos of them too).
One of my favorite releases of the last couple of weeks has been the Jeff Gauthier Goatette’s latest album Open Source (http://www.cryptogramophone.com/index.php?module=Crypto&func=album&id=128). It has Nels Cline and Alex Cline on guitar/effects/awesome and drums/percussion respectively, as well as Jeff Gauthier on violin/effects, John Fumo on trumpet, and David Witham on piano/accordion/effects. It is a really solid album – check out “40 Lashes (with Mascara),” “Joy of a Toy,” an Ornette Coleman tune, the title track, or “Prelude to a Bite.” It definitely falls in the avant-garde realm of jazz, but I hope that doesn’t scare people away – it won’t bite! And everything Nels Cline does is amazing.
In the other realms of WLFM’s jazz world, there are a bunch of great albums charting right now. Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Samdhi is one of my favorites. It is off of ACT music (the same label that Vijay Iyer releases stuff on, and the same label that puts cool plastic sculptures on the front of their albums). A combination of Indian music and various jazz styles, it really feels like a fusion album. Like, classic Miles fusion, but with Indian influences… you know. It has Mahanthappa on alto saxophone/effects, David Gilmore on electric guitar, Rich Brown on bass, Daimon Reid on drums, and Anatha Krishnan on mridangam & kanjira (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mridangam &http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanjira).
Probably my favorite album charting right now, however, is Jason Kao Hwang’s Spontaneous River. We got it in over a month ago, but it just gets better. Really. Jason Kao Hwang is a violinist and composer, and this is his album consisting of the composition Spontaneous River (11 movements) for orchestra. It’s really an improvising orchestra, however, conducted by Hwang… It’s pretty out there, but, again, don’t let that scare you away. It is a wonderful blend of jazz and classical in that realm where genres seem to lose meaning – the avant-garde! So open up your minds and branch out!
Oh, and check out Bill Frisell’s newest, All We are Saying… It’s a whole album of John Lennon covers… by Bill Frisell. Need I say more?
Here are some other artists with albums that are charting right now: Christian McBride Big Band, Stanley Jordan, Oscar Peterson, Sophie Milman, George Benson, Miguel Zenon, and Poncho Sanchez & Terence Blanchard.
That’s it for now, but check back… I will be updating until Thanksgiving.