Hailu Mergia: Lala Belu
Time to lose your mind and body with some superb new records with some deep and unique grooves. The first album is from Hailu Mergia, a keyboardist and accordionist (not a lot of accordionists in the ReccomNeds). It’s called Lala Belu and it is six remarkable tracks of pure magic. Mergia is backed simply by drums and upright bass, but the standard jazz piano trio format is just a rear-view-mirror starting point for all sorts of make-you-smile excursions. Can’t recommend this one enough, I dare you not to love it.
Gitkin: Five Star Motel
One of the biggest where-did-this-come-from!? surprises of the first half of 2018 has been Five Star Motel, the fantastic new album from Gitkin. This is around-the-world instrumental guitar grooves like you’ve never heard, fusing international sounds of all far-flung natures in expert fashion. You’re going to hear a whole lot of everything in this one and it all seems to work perfectly. Gitkin and the album have an interesting origin story, I would definitely suggest you Google it while you are listening to one of my favorite albums of the year.
Elephant9: Greatest Show On Earth
Here’s another where-have-you-been-hiding act that took me aback when I first heard them. The band is Elephant9, a keys/bass/drums trio out of Norway. The best I can describe them is some sort of Norwegian version of a MMW/Duo/ELP mash-up, which is about as high praise as I can muster. They find both deep grooves and unfold some seriously exploratory psych-fusion jamming on their newest Greatest Show On Earth. I definitely do think you’re going to dig this one.
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids: An Angel Fell
Finally, another must-listen, get-your-groove-on, this time courtesy of Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids. The new record from the veteran group is An Angel Fell and it is a masterpiece of modern day jazz, rife with addictive afro-funk as well as plenty of of-the-moment sociopolitical commentary. If you’ve recently fallen for the output of guys like Kamasi Washington, I would definitely recommend checking this one out. Ackamoor brilliantly guides a range of sounds and influences into a singular powerful package. Enjoy!