Marcus Strickland's musical journey is one of discovery and of searching for an inner enlightenment. Deeply spiritual and profound songwriting separates Marcus from many of his generation. After last year's Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, in which he was one of the three winners, he is back with his latest CD, "Brotherhood", which refers to not only his brother E.J. on drums, but also his view of his fellow man. These new tracks follow on from his last Fresh Sound New Talent release "At Last" but also take his music a step further, with new sounds and ideas coming through all the time.
This is the second leader-session by the acclaimed Norwegian composer and bassist Eivind Opsvik for Fresh Sound New Talent. Since moving to New York in 1998 Eivind has been working on his own compositions and concepts and, in early 2002, he assembled some of his favourite musicians in the city, some of whom he's played with for years and some who are more recent acquaintances, with the intention of doing gigs around the city and to record a CD. In selecting musicians for his band Eivind favoured open-mindedness, individuality and musicians with experience from the free music scene who would give his music a certain edge and energy.
Norwegian bassist and composer Eivind Opsvik merges an interest in early fusion with a characteristically Nordic sensibility. The music on Overseas is atmospheric, full of shifting, dark pastel textures. The rhythms underpinning the sounds always seem to be on the verge of finding a groove, yet remain fluid, almost to the point of formlessness. On "Punchball," for example, seemingly random sounds emerge from a void, peeps and pucks and blips looking for a context. Yet, Opsvik keeps it rooted with a four-note funk phrase every few bars. The sound grows fuller, though not focused until an insistent groove emerges in the closing minutes.
Both classic and modern jazz sensibilities flow from the debut recording of guitarist Hironobu Saito. Having performed and received numerous awards in his home of Miyazaki Japan in the '90s, he earned a scholarship at Boston's Berklee School of music in 1999 and is currently performing in many venues in New York. The recording's style is straight-ahead yet yields a few fresh ideas in the post bop and contemporary arena. All seven compositions are Saito creations and cover various colors, including heavy bebop, cool ballads, and modern lyricism. His tone is even and full and his chops hint of an early George Benson with smoothness, agility, and control.
Belgium-based Spanish jazz guitarist Albert Vila delivers his fourth album as leader with The Unquiet Sky, offering a tad more music than a standard album with a presentation of fourteen original compositions of modern-styled jazz that's quite appealing. There's little question whose recording this is as the leader's electric guitar voice becomes the center-piece of the disc from the opening tune.
Gaël Horellou is a French jazz saxophonist and composer. Saxophonist with a classical and jazz background, his career started in 1992. Album "Time After Time" was released in 2013 and it belongs to Jazz genres.
French saxophonist Horellou also goes under the name Dual Snake, and seems equally at home working in a variety of musical genres as he does with jazz. Brooklyn is a pretty mainstream quartet outing, full of enjoyable compositions that Horellou has penned himself, and seven originals plus Tadd Damerons If You Could See Me Now makes up a solid set for the 70 minutes duration.
The work of the Catalan pianist Sergi Sirvent, despite the organizational complexity that entails such a wide formation, is a real delight from beginning to end. Inferències and the group that develops it, is an octet conformed by a cast of musicians coming from diverse musical areas of the Barcelona scene. A project to publicize the compositional concerns in large format of one of the most interesting musicians and creators that currently exist in the national jazz scene.
Pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and Minneapolis-based drummer David King are the Bad Plus, and they bill themselves as "the loudest piano trio ever." Upon hearing them play, one is not inclined to quibble. In any case, they're certainly the only jazz group to cover ABBA's "Knowing Me, Knowing You," Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and Rodgers & Hart's "Blue Moon" on the same disc. Iverson and Anderson each contribute two previously unrecorded originals. King, for his part, penned the persistently grooving "1972 Bronze Medalist."
Life before 'The Bad Plus', when he had hair, playing 'standards' but not as you know them! Iverson´s first recordings for Fresh Sound are showcases for his working trio with Reid Anderson and Jorge Rossy. The originals are theatrical and the standards are treated with love and disrespect, Iverson´s trio´s performances are of concert hall proportions (Howard Mandel, Downbeat). Deconstruction Zone (Standards) was chosen as one of the best recordings of 1998 by Peter Watrous in the New York Times.