May 29, 2024

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New musics from Joshua Crumbly, Laurin Talese, Gregoire Maret, John Escreet, Bill Frisell and more … Videos, Photos, Sounds

Music of renewal, reassurance and reminiscence.

Blossom Dearie composed the music for “I Like You, You’re Nice,” a song that first appeared on her 1973 album Blossom Dearie Sings. Its sweet, deceptively simple lyrics, credited to Mahriah Blackwolf, sketch a picture of innocent flirtation that gradually turns toward an invitation.

A new version by Laurin Talese, with Fender Rhodes accompaniment by Eric Wortham II, nudges the song in the direction of contemporary R&B, without losing the dawning intimacy and rubato ease of the original. And while Talese appears in this video for the song, it’s only in a bit part, incidental to the depiction of a dawning romance.

“This video is so special to me,” Talese explains in a note accompanying the video. “One reason is that COVID-19 is greatly impacting our elders. We often don’t see depictions of the elderly falling in love and it’s truly heartwarming. To me it symbolizes possibility. The couple featured in the video is Dr. and Mrs. William Woods. Dr. Woods was my high school jazz instructor at the Cleveland School of the Arts, mentor, and a large part of why I even considered a career in music.”

Joshua Crumbly, “For Victor”

A bassist familiar in jazz circles for his work with Terence Blanchard, Stefon Harris and Kamasi Washington, among others, Joshua Crumbly is about to release his own first album, Rise. Due out on May 15 on Open Book Records, it represents a culmination so far, without closing any avenue to future discovery.

“For Victor,” which premieres here, is a muscular fusion tune whose quick-twitch harmonic movement may lead some younger listeners to draw comparisons with Thundercat. But as the title suggests, it’s inspired by the former Weather Report bassist Victor Bailey, an important early mentor to Crumbly who died in 2016.

“He actually gave me my first bass amp,” Crumbly recently told No Treble. “He saw a gig of mine when I was about 10 and I was playing at a restaurant with my dad in Los Angeles. I just had a JBL speaker. A week later, I got a big box on my doorstep from him and it was a bass amp.”

Vincent Peirani and Emile Parisien, “Deus Xango”

The accordionist Vincent Peirani and the soprano saxophonist Emile Parisien named their forthcoming duo collaboration Abrazo, Spanish for “embrace.” The album is their celebration of the tango, featuring tunes like “Deus Xango,” which its composer, Astor Piazzolla, once notably recorded with Gerry Mulligan.

Parisien and Peirani, two of the most celebrated younger jazz artists in France, revel in the tune’s sprightly bittersweetness. Especially around the track’s midpoint, when their improvisational tandem kicks into a higher gear, they make it clear that they’re out to honor a tradition — but unafraid to trample the ground as they do. Note that in addition to Piazzolla fare, Abrazo, due out on ACT Music on Aug. 28, includes tango versions of songs by Jelly Roll Morton and Kate Bush.

John Escreet Trio, “Piano Study I”

Last Friday, Bandcamp waived its usual fee, generating more than $7 million in revenues to artists. Among the albums released that day was a sleeper: Bimhuis 2012by the John Escreet Trio. Recorded at a storied Amsterdam venue, it’s a riveting document of a band — Escreet on piano, John Hébert on bass, Tyshawn Sorey on drums — that was working steadily at the time, but never properly recorded.

“Piano Study I” captures the balance of explosive energy, deep focus and compositional detail that made this trio such a force at the time. (It can be heard on record with the indomitable English saxophonist Evan Parker, but that album, The Unknown, consists entirely of free improvisations.) There are moments on the track — listen closely from 5:00 to 6:00 or so — when Escreet shows his affinity for the pianism of Cecil Taylor, and his band mates thrillingly push into the red. The trio is no longer an active concern, but Escreet has left open the possibility. Bimhuis 2012 serves as a reminder of what a welcome turn that would be.

Grégoire Maret / Romain Collin / Bill Frisell, “Re: Stacks”

The emotive lyricism in Grégoire Maret’s harmonica playing has always had a welcoming home in jazz. But that quality finds special traction on Americana, a lovely new album that matches Maret with French pianist Romain Collin and American guitarist Bill Frisell. As the title implies, it’s a celebration of the style that Frisell has made a calling card, with a mix of original songs and thoughtful covers.

One of those covers is “Re: Stacks,” from the debut album by Bon Iver. As beautifully arranged by Collin, it becomes a twinkling rumination, with Maret standing in for Justin Vernon’s falsetto vocal and Frisell evoking a watercolor backdrop with his effects.

Bassist Joshua Crumbly will release his debut album, 'Rise,' on May 15.

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