by: Hobert Taylor
Clear Water - Electricity - (Self Released)
Trumpeter Donald Malloy melds hard bop, acid jazz and hip-hop in that New York way...like Robert Glasper. His assertive lines and pear shaped tone remind me of the Red Clay era Freddie Hubbard. The arrangements are crisp. I go for the title cut, "Electricity", and the synth driven "Chant".
Black Violin - Stereotypes - (Deutsches Grammophon)
The venerable classical label DDG has released a hybrid classical/jazz/hip hop artist who applies European classical violin technique to his own contemporary music in order to transcend stereotypes. In words and music, he does just that in the title composition. Strongest jams for my money are "Addiction", and "Runnin".
Mort Weiss - Mort Weiss is a Jazz Reality Show - (SMS Jazz)
Simply amazing. The guys has more chops than the butcher at Gelson's. At age 80 you'd expect some low key smoothie to play "just right". Clarinetist Weiss does that but then goes out on his own improvisational limbs with the energy and sense of adventure of a pioneer. While this record features standards, his last outing was an exploration of free jazz. Both are all well worth your listening time, but my faves on the current disc: "Yesterdays", a clarinet trio rendition of "Just Friends", and "The Lamp is Low".
The Liberation Music Collective - Siglo XXi - (Astrum records)
Out of Bloomington, Indiana, home of the excellent University of Indiana music program, come a host of jazz ensembles and big bands. One of these, The Liberation Music Collective, is overtly political and mission driven. With some spoken word and interviews between tunes they are very clear about economic justice, police accountability , and religious tolerance. This in no way conflicts with the depth of their musicianship, or the passionate grace of their performances. Check out "Murasaki", "War Department", "Bismillah", "Interitus", and "Anthem of the 99%".