Write about jazz for a semi-living and one thing that’s guaranteed is that a lot of CDs are going to cross your desk. In fact, more discs than you can listen to and/or write about in a timely manner.
In an effort, then, to relieve the backlog and inform readers as to some notable new albums, I periodically run a look at recent, often under-the-radar releases. Here’s the latest batch.
Album: “India & Africa: A Tribute to John Coltrane”
Artist: Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra
Label: Water Baby
Lowdown: It’s no easy task going the adventurous nature of John Coltrane’s late recordings one better, but that is just what veteran Bay Area band leader Brown has done with this album. Recorded live last fall and this spring at both Yoshi’s locations, this disc takes its inspiration from the titular Coltrane albums but expands on them by blending the sax giant’s jazz with instrumentation from Indiaand Africa. So it is that the five “India” tunes include a swirl of sitar and saxophone on the title track as well as a straight out tabla-sarod duet. For their part, the “Africa” tracks include the self-explanatory “Percussion Discussion” and the album’s closer, a take on “Afro Blue” enlivened by Wayne Wallace’s magnificent trombone work. Taken together, this is an invigorating session rooted in jazz but wonderfully spiced with the music and culture of Indiaand Africa.
Album: “Back to the Bridge”
Artist: Dan Adler
Lowdown: Due out November 1, this disc puts Adler (guitar) in a throwdown with Joey DeFrancesco (organ) and Byron Landham (drums). The results are a wholly satisfying if not exactly ground-breaking; you can certainly feel the joy the men threw into the project and the musicality they share. The material is good and varied, ranging from Adler originals (“Silver and Gold,” “Between Jobs,” the title track) to classics such as Clifford Brown’s “Joy Spring” and Oscar Peterson’s “The Smudge,” which closes the album in raucous good spirits.
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