Midsummer Jazz Edition: Trichotomy, Binker & Moses, Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow & Bobby Previte And Nicole Mitchell

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Trichotomy: Known-Unknown

It’s been a few months since I dropped a set of good jazz recommendations on you, so let’s see what we can come up with. Here are four picks featuring both traditional and non-traditional sounds. And let me say from the start, if you’ve got any great off-radar new jazz albums to recommend, please let me know! I’ll start with the Australian piano trio Trichotomy. Their newest record is called Known-Unknown, which is a perfect title for an album that balances well-known piano/bass/drum sounds with a more improvisational spirit and contemporary influences. With almost 20 years performing together under their belts, Trichotomy plays with both the steadiness of veterans and the adventurousness of something brand new. Enjoy!

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Binker and Moses: Journey To The Mountain Of Forever

When you see their names written together like that, Binker and Moses, you first might wonder if they’re actually someone’s names and then you realize that they were meant to be paired together. Somehow religious and profane all at once, it describes their music well. Binker Golding on the saxophone, Moses Boyd on the drums play both as a duo (on their first LP) and in a larger band on their newest (and second) album Journey To The Mountain Of Forever. Their music is equal parts an homage to saxophone greats like Coltrane and Rollins and an inversion and subversion of those classic sounds and an exploratory what’s-next expansion. It’s thoughtful, bombastic, groovy, progressive and a whole lot more than two guys should be able to do.

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Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow, Bobby Previte: Loneliness Road

Jamie Saft is just one of those guys. A restless, innovative musician and producer, he seems to pop up everywhere, often making it into RecommNeds (his surprising guitar album featured here just a few weeks ago). This time around he’s back in a traditional piano trio with a heavyweight rhythm section of Steve Swallow on bass and Bobby Previte on drums. Together the three are a freewheeling ensemble with a real easy feel to their playing that’s also easy to embrace. The twist to the record is that none other than Iggy Pop making an appearance on three tracks, adding vocals that somehow fit in perfectly despite their apparent juxtaposition.

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Nicole Mitchell: Mandorla Awakening II – Emerging Worlds

So far, we’ve played it pretty straight this week, although all the picks have their share of innovative surprises. But for the last recommendation of the week, I’ve got Nicole Mitchell’s Mandorla Awakening II – Emerging Worlds. The Chicago flutist leads her large Black Earth Ensemble through a psychedelic, Afro-futuristic journey that would make Sun Ra proud. This is science fiction, exotic musical world-building and, at its roots, deeply funky experimental jazz that really jams. Spiritual, soulful and physically invigorating, Mitchell has created a masterpiece of the avant garde … a must-listen.

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