Music News 2/27/2019


Cactus Blossoms, EASY WAY (Walkie Talkie, $15.99) – Jack Torrey and Page Burkum, based in Minneapolis, revived the classic harmonies of the Everly Brothers on their first album, You’re Dreaming (2016). Easy Way, the follow-up by Torrey and Burkum (who are half-brothers), continue their deep investigation of the early sounds (and moods) of the Everlys, Roy Orbison, Rick Nelson. All the songs are originals, with highlights including “Please Don’t Call Me Crazy” and “Blue as the Ocean.” 



Makaya McCraven, WHERE WE COME FROM (Chicago X London Mixtape) (International Anthem, $13.99) – The Chicago drummer Makaya McCraven’s methodology is on the cutting edge: he records live improvisations, then arranges and mixes those fragments to construct new compositions. On Where We Come From, he collaborated in London with local musicians (Soweto Kinch and Nubya Garcia, saxophones, Theon Cross, tuba, and Joe Armon-Jones and Kamaal Williams, keyboards), then brought in local DJs for a “live beat-making and battle” to remix the music. Including his previous collaborations, Universal Beings (2018) and In the Moment (2016), McCraven’s Where We Come From adds to his fresh combination of improvisation and new beats.

Theon Cross, FYAH (Gearbox, $14.99) – The London tuba player is on Makaya McCraven’s collaborative album (see above), as well as a member of the quartet, the Sons of Kemet, who released a breakthrough album last year. Mr. Cross’s solo album includes a core trio with Nubya Garcia, saxophones, and Moses Boyd, drums.

John Pizzareli Trio, FOR CENTENNIAL REASONS: 100 Year Salute to Nat King Cole (Ghostlight, $18.98) – The entertaining guitarist and vocalist’s salute to the singular singer and pianist.

Cyrille Aimée, MOVE ON: A Sondheim Adventure (Mack Avenue, $17.98) – Vocalist Cyrille Aimée selects Sondheim songs, including “Loving You,” “Marry Me a Little,” and “Un Baiser d”Adieu,” her own French translation and arrangement of “One More Kiss.”

New from Sunnyside

The Sunnyside label has another batch of fine new release (each CD, $16.98)

Russ Lossing, MOTIAN MUSIC – The tunes of drummer Paul Motian (1931 – 2011) have lived on in performances by Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano, the Bad Plus, as well as many others. Pianist Russ Lossing worked with Motian, and got to know his songs from early draft stage to performances on the bandstand. In 2012, Lossing recorded Drum Music, a solo album of Motian tunes. Motian Music is a second album devoted to these tunes, now with a trio including bassist Masa Kamaguchi and drummer Billy Mintz.

John Raymond, REAL FEELS: LIVE VOL. 2 – Last year, flugelhorn player John Raymond released one of my favorite jazz albums, Joy Ride, with trio, Real Feels, with Gilad Hekselman, electric guitar, and Colin Stranahan, drums. On Reel Feels: Live Vol. 2, they stretch out on some of those tunes, including versions of Bon Iver’s “Minnesota, WI,” Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” the hymn, “Be Still, My Soul,” and two Raymond originals.

Miho Hazama, DANCER IN NOWHERE – Composer, arranger and big band leader Miho Hazama conducts her ensemble, M_Unit (a big band plus a string quartet) in a program of originals.

Lucian Ban & Alex Simu, FREE FALL – Pianist Lucian Ban and clarinetist Alex Simu play a concert “inspired and dedicated to Jimmy Giuffre.” They play two Giuffre tunes, one by Carla Bley, and work originals and free improvisations in a performance recorded live in Bucharest in 2018. Wonderful chamber jazz.

More from ECM

Larry Grenadier, GLEANERS (ECM, $18.98) – Larry Grenadier’s bass has been integral in the groups of Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny, Charles Lloyd, Paul Motian, and Mark Turner. His first solo bass album has tunes by John Coltrane, George Gershwin, and Paul Motian, and song tributes to bassist Oscar Pettiford and filmmaker Agnès Varda (inspired by her film, The Gleaners and I).

David Torn, Tim Berne, Ches Smith, SUN OF GOLDFINGER (ECM, $18.98) – Three long jams by the power trio of David Torn (electric guitars, live-looping, electronics), Tim Berne (alto saxophone), and Ches Smith (drums, electronics).


In time for this weekend’s Members’ Sale, I will have a two-page handout of 2019 CD recommendations (of titles through March 1). The handouts will be revised and updated on a regular basis.