Jazzeptember (Part I): Nick Millevoi, Mammal Hands, Stirrup & Sarathy Korwar

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Nick Millevoi: Desertion

I’ve got a backlog of great jazz or “jazz” releases to try and hep y’all to … quite a few, actually. Too many for a single column, so I’ll see what I can squeeze in over two weeks. Consider this part one and I’ll start with a vicious new album from Nick Millevoi, a guitarist from Philly (and present member of the Solar Motel Band) who draws equally from jazz and rock, avant garde and more traditional. On Desertion, Millevoi’s quartet is rounded out with some top-notch talent – Jamie Saft (keys), Ches Smith (drums) and Johnny Deblase (bass) – who all make their presence felt throughout in the best ways possible. This is a killer album with some high-level ensemble playing, high-energy improv, great songs and of course, plenty of excellent guitar playing. I’m sure you’ll dig it.

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Mammal Hands: Floa

I’ve been wanting to feature Floa, the new album from Mammal Hands, in a RecommNeds column since I first heard it several months back and so I’m glad to finally have a good spot to tell you to: go, go, go listen to Floa! Mammal Hands is a sort of nontraditional piano trio from England, with a saxophonist joining the drums and piano. Their sound is rooted in their lovely and intriguing compositions, a cousin to the “newer” piano sounds of the Bad Plus, GoGo Penguin et al. The sax-instead-of-bass twist provides interesting new melodic space for the threesome to explore, giving the music a really fresh and unique sound. But at the heart, it’s less about the instrumentation and more about the fact that this is just beautifully moving music. Definitely one of my favorite new jazz discoveries of the year. Go!

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Stirrup: Cut

Seems like I can’t get too far in my musical explorations without bumping into a new discovery of something awesome out of Chicago. The newest blip on my radar is Stirrup consisting of Fred Lonbger-Holm on cello and guitar, Nick Macri on double-bass and Charles Rumback on drums. Each player and instrument seems to exhibit a different personality over the course of their new record, Cut. The cello playing has a manic energy – experimental and electric, the drumming is thoughtful, melodic and rambling and the bass is a perfect mediator between the other two. It’s a unique and sometimes thrilling sonic adventure. Worth a listen or two, for sure. Enjoy!

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Sarathy Korwar: Day To Day

For something a bit different, try drummer/percussionist Sarathy Korwar who is American born, but was raised in India and presently lives in London. His debut album, Day To Day, combines the early influences of Coltrane and traditional Sidi folk music with plenty of up-to-date seasoning. There is a tremendous depth for a debut, layers of sounds old and new, field recordings with studio performance, thoughtful juxtapositions with extravagant melody and the occasional thumping groove. This is a special record, a signature entrée overflowing with contrasting flavors, all of them delicious. Highly recommended. Stay tuned for a few more excellent jazz-ish releases next week …

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