February 27, 2024


Website about Jazz and Blues

New music from Joshua Redman, Tom Harrell, Patricia Barber, and Elder Ones: Photos, Videos, Sounds

And a premiere by bassist André Carvalho, whom you should get to know.

Joshua Redman Quartet, “How We Do”

Late last week Nonesuch Records announced Come What May, a forthcoming album by the Joshua Redman Quartet. Arriving on March 29, it represents the first release for this road-tested personnel — Redman on saxophones, Aaron Goldberg on piano, Reuben Rogers on bass and Gregory Hutchinson on drums — in almost 20 years.

For Redman, who just turned 50, the album follows a personal best: Still Dreaming, which featured a different four-piece band and a set of jazz-historical evocations. The dynamic on Come What May is more closely related to earlier Redman efforts like Passage of Time. Listen to the stop-start syncopations in “How We Do,” the first single from the album, which puts the agility of Redman’s veteran rhythm section on proud display.

“How We Do” is one of seven new Redman originals on the album, and as a whole they cover a healthy range of mood and style. What feels self-evident throughout Come What May is the relaxed self-assurance that Redman experiences in the company of these players. “This record,” he puts it in a press statement, “is a celebration of our relationship.”

Tom Harrell, “The Fast”

Trumpeter and flugelhornist Tom Harrell released his first album as a leader more than 40 years ago. His latest is Infinity, just out on HighNote. More than a strong dispatch from a post-bop survivor, it’s a reminder of how driven Harrell remains. At 72, he’s the most recent recipient of the Jazz Journalists Association award for Trumpeter of the Year — and a composer-bandleader with a restless urge to push forward. For confirmation, look no further than this track, “The Fast.”

As on the rest of Infinity, it features Mark Turner on tenor saxophone, Charles Altura on guitars, Ben Street on bass and Johnathan Blake on drums. The song rests on a dark modal churn, with a melody that incorporates a train of notes up and down the scale. Harrell solos first, with precision and soul, followed by a hyper-fluent Altura. Turner’s improvisation, beginning at 3:25, is a characteristic offering, harmonically astute and rhythmically sure.

Elder Ones, “Dance of the Subaltern”

Amirtha Kidambi is probably best known among jazz observers as the voice of Code Girl, a standout recent effort by guitarist Mary Halvorson. Across the adventurous listening landscape, she’s also widely admired for Elder Ones, her own staunchly unplaceable band. From Untruth (Northern Spy), the ensemble’s new album, is a ferocious broadside clearly rooted in our current sociopolitical moment.

“My rights are the leaves,” Kidambi sings, “trampled upon by the feet of armies.” That metaphor — the first line in the song — arrives almost three minutes in, out of a meditative drone. Along with a shapeshifting vocal, the track features Kidambi on analog synthesizer, Matt Nelson on soprano saxophone, Nick Dunston on bass and Max Jaffe on drums and electronic percussion.

The lyrics reflect a certain tendency toward urgent didacticism. (Among the other songs are “Eat the Rich” and “Decolonize the Mind,” both as forcefully direct as those titles suggest.) But there’s also resilience here: stick with Kidambi long enough to hear her oscillate between “We will drown” and “We will rise,” ending with a desperate yet defiant gulp of breath.

Patricia Barber, “The Albatross Song”

As a singer, a composer and a pianist, Patricia Barber has always favored smoldering mystery over clear exposition. But that doesn’t mean she shies away from the narrative urge, or the application of dry wit. On her new album, Higher(ArtistShare), those impulses take multiple forms, notably in a song cycle titled Angels, Birds, and I…, which Barber has performed in collaboration with soprano Renée Fleming.

“The Albatross Song” is a noir reverie in swinging 5/4 time — Barber’s song of praise to a lover who’s “more like a bird than a man,” replete with beak and plumage. On bass is Patrick Mulcahy, and on drums is Jon Deitemyer; the hale tenor saxophone solo is by Jim Gailloreto.

André Carvalho Group, “Evil Parade”

Bassist André Carvalho originally hails from Lisbon, Portugal, though he has spent the last five years on the scene in New York. He has released a couple of albums as a leader; his third will be The Garden Of Earthly Delights, releasing on May 17. Drawing inspiration from the art of Hieronymus Bosch, whose most famous painting bears the same title, the album features Carvalho’s compositions for a group with trumpeter Oskar Stenmark, saxophonists Jeremy Powell and Eitam Gofman, guitarist André Matos and drummer Rodrigo Recabarren.

This footage of the band recording “Evil Parade,” at the Bunker Studio in Brooklyn, has its premiere here. Vividly capturing the energies of Carvalho’s crew, it leaves only two key figures unseen: Pete Rende, who produced and mixed the album, and Nate Wood, who did the mastering.

The Joshua Redman Quartet: Gregory Hutchinson, Aaron Goldberg, Redman, and Reuben Rogers.

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