Horace Bray – ‘Living.Within.Perfection’

Horace Bray – ‘Living.Within.Perfection’

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

I met guitarist/drummer/composer Horace Bray a year ago at a Tigran show in Austin. He’d been a fan of Nextbop for a while, and has been on my periphery for a while ever since. It’s cool knowing I’ve got a young fan, it’s even cooler to know the young University of North Texas student is pretty damn talented, too. As this young musician continues to gig in the Denton, Texas, area in assorted groups, the assorted songs he posts on his SoundCloud show pensive compositional poise and an artistic voice that’s constantly influenced by other musicians today like Gilad Hekselman or Matthew Stevens. Recently, he recorded a short set of songs with bassist Mike Luzecky and drummer Connor Kent, grooving together quite well with Bray’s original songs and with a lively, but relatively short version of “All the Things You Are”. The set, perhaps one might consider it an EP if one may be so bold, is called Living.Within.Perfection and it’s definitely worth spinning. Horace Bray is one of those artists I’m glad I’ve run into in the past and should definitely be one of those voices you should know. Check out Living.Within.Perfection and download some of the tracks after the jump.


Horace Bray: Guitar/Composition
Mike Luzecky: Bass
Connor Kent: Drums
Recorded and mixed by Jake Greenburg

Oliver Lake Organ Quartet – “6 and 3″ (Stream)

Oliver Lake Organ Quartet – “6 and 3″ (Stream)

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Saxophonist Oliver Lake is quite accomplished. The 72-year-old leader has been gaining fellowships and making inventive music for years. His latest work has been with his organ quartet (Lake’s third with an organ) of Jared Gold on B3 organ, Freddie Hendrix on trumpet, and Chris Beck on drums. In part rooted from the grant awarded to them in this year’s Doris Duke Performing Arts Award, they have made What I Heard. The pieces written for this album were originally intended for spoken word but they turned out quite well as instrumentals all the same, particularly with Beck keeping a crisp beat while Lake and Hendrix float around each other. These four sound great together. Check out What I Hear‘s opener, “6 and 3″, after the jump.


Oliver Lake – composition, saxophone
Jared Gold – B3 organ
Freddie Hendrix – trumpet
Chris Beck – drums

What I Heard, the new album from the Oliver Lake Organ Quartet, is out November 18th on Passin’ Thru Records. It’s available for pre-order now at iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – ‘Worker’

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – ‘Worker’

J.D. Swerzenski
Staff Writer
j.d.swerzenski[at]trinity.edu

Full disclosure, I unabashedly loved The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey’s last record, 2012’s Race Riot Suite. That release, which saw the four-piece trace the history of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riots over a 70-minute, carefully arranged musical time-capsule, was as bold as statement as they came in jazz that year, especially coming from a 20-year veteran band so often tagged as a jam band.

Summoning the focus, passion and gumption to pull off a record that ambitious likely wore on JFJO; at least that’s the impression one gets after a run through the band’s latest effort, the timidly titled Worker. It proves a smaller record in almost every sense. The core band–founder Brian Haas at piano, keyboards and synths; Chris Combs at guitar; Josh Raymer at the drums–recently reduced to a trio, a diminishment made even more stark when compared to the horn line and other instrumental flourishes that further augmented Race Riot. But more so than their reduced roster, JFJO just don’t seem driven to anything big on Worker. Its 11-tracks, totaling just over a half hour, seem content to just vamp along. Granted, those vamps are often killer: “Say Nothing” and “Better Living Through Collective Spirituality” spring to mind. But the lasting effect is…well, there really isn’t one.

It’s worth noting that the JFJO of Race Riot was, after all, not really the JFJO as it has existed for the past couple decades. Worker sees the band moving back to its wheelhouse, with keyboardist and founder Haas reassuming his role in the forefront, after ceding a good bit of control to Combs, who arranged all and wrote most of Race Riot. Hearing Haas turns out to be the biggest pleasure of Worker, his keyboard textures falling into the acid washed future sounds realm of Medeski, Martin and Wood or The Bad Plus’ early 2000s output.

However regarding the album as a whole, a better reference point however might be Brad Mehldau. After painstakingly crafting the most epic record of his career, the symphonic two-disc Highway Rider, Mehldau has largely contented himself with trio and solo records. These post-Highway Rider works range from good to great. But none have reached the heights of his 2010 opus, largely because they don’t aspire to. For JFJO, the transition back to their comfort zone on Worker feels like the beginnings of a similar narrative, and true to the arc, it’s resulted in a good-not-great album. While the thought in not trying to one-up themselves with something grander than Race Riot understandable, these guys proved they can do amazing things with big, ambitious ideas. So yes, Worker feels like a bit of a come-down. None of that’ll stop me from spinning it in the background for the next few weeks. But I’ll still be holding out for something bigger, brasher and bolder from the band in the near future.

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey’s Worker is out now on the Royal Potato Family label. It’s available at iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

The Line-Up for 24 October 2014

The Line-Up for 24 October 2014

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

I wanted to change things up this week and play as much new music as possible. I wanted to play music that was all added to the library this day. I wanted to delve into some things I never played before. I reached out a little more than usual, variety-wise, and I think it may have paid off.

The Line-Up for 24 October 2014

Nels Cline & Julian Lage – Racy
I’m pretty sure I pounced on this album, Room, pretty quickly when I got it. Cline has always been outstanding and Lage is rather quickly making a name for himself. This duo album looks pretty exciting. I’ll report back soon.
Mndsgn – Sheets
Jonathan Kreisberg – Wild Animals We’ve Seen
I love Kreisberg’s work with Dr. Lonnie Smith but I have yet to take the chance to listen to his work as a leader. He’s got a new album out, Wave Upon Wave, where I suspect I’ll change that.
Jon Batiste / Chad Smith / Bill Laswell – Haunted feat. Toshinori Kondo
This may have been one of my favorite albums I’ve heard this past week. The Process is a pretty cool piece of work.
Oliver Lake Organ Quartet – 6 and 3
This very well may have been a premiere. When this played one Friday night in San Antonio, it could possibly have played 12 or so hours later on Gilles Peterson’s BBC 6 Music show. Maybe, possibly, I dunno.
Mndsgn – Convert
Trevor Falls Collective – Geological Findings
Trevor FallsTrue Story hit my inbox (or really the suggestion of it leading me to a trail of emails giving me all the information I probably should have had in the initial email — see “What to Pitch for a Review”, I’m on a crusade here) and I was rather impressed. Seemed like the kind of thing I should put in rotation. Perhaps you should, too.
Michael Eaton – Centrifuge
I’m not totally sure why I’m suddenly paying closer attention to albums that pass my way that have Dave Liebman, but that’s what piqued my curiosity in Individuations. This track doesn’t have Liebman, but was a great surprise all the same. I’ll be turning this one over a bit.
Mndsgn – Frugality
Butcher Brown – Cairo
The new Butcher Brown album, All Purpose Music, is finally upon us.
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Let Yourself Out
I’ve really been enjoying the new JFJO album, Worker. It’s a real party, cool stuff. We’ll have a review of it up on the site soon.
The Budos Band – Tomahawk
The new Budos Band album, Burnt Offering, is awesome. I’d expect nothing less from Daptone Record, though.
Radiohead – Meeting in the Aisle
James Farm – Two Steps
Joshua Redman, Aaron Parks, Matt Penman, and Eric Harland got back together again. We’ve got a new album from James Farm, City Folk out there in the world.

More Kinds of Blue

More Kinds of Blue

Ben Gray
Staff Writer
bengray417@gmail.com

The new album from Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Blue, has been getting lots of press (and this fantastic review). In case you’ve missed this album, it’s a note-for-note remake of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue with a relationship to jazz that is akin to Keith Jarrett playing Bach. Think what you will of the album, but perhaps Ethan Iverson summed it up best – “The importance of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the rest of the cast of Kind of Blue is hardly confined to jazz. To declare that they not be allowed to be part of a deconstructed or conceptual undertaking might inadvertently suggest they are not “worthy” of arty mischief. Of course they are worthy! They are Gods, nothing is going to harm them”. Whatever your opinion of the MOPDtK album, there should be no question that Blue is successful in pointing out just how incredible the original album is. As such I would argue that Blue functions more as conceptual art and as a tribute to Miles, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb than as an album in itself.

It should be pointed out, though, that Kind of Blue has never been a sacred cow…

Miles Davis Quintet, “So What” live at 1963 Newport Jazz Festival
Miles, trumpet; George Coleman, sax; Herbie Hancock, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Tony Williams, drums

Plenty of jazz artists have taken on the songs from Kind of Blue, paying tribute to the original artists in their own way while also putting their own stamp on the music. A small sampling is here – these are of course by no means the “best” covers of these tunes, and of course the definitive versions will always be the originals on Kind of Blue, but don’t front on these:

1. So What

Grant Green’s version of “So What”, with Green on guitar, Kenny Drew on piano, Ben Tucker on bass, and Ben Dixon on drums, is from his 1961 album Sunday Mornin’. Green’s guitar coupled with Tucker’s bass in the introduction is a winner, and this whole thing swings along nicely, without a misplaced note to be found.

2. Freddie Freeloader

Jon Hendricks’ version of “Freddie Freeloader” is from the 1990 album of the same name. In a sense, this is also a note-for-note remake of this particular tune with an original twist of Bobby McFerrin doing Wynton Kelly’s piano part, Al Jarreau taking Miles’ trumpet, George Benson doing Cannonball Adderley, and Hendricks taking Coltrane’s line. Each vocalist adds their lyric to the instrumental lines that were played by the musicians Kind of Blue, telling the story of a sketchy bartender giving out “free booze, free blues”, while performing some amazing vocal gymnastics.

3. Blue in Green

The sound on Kind of Blue owed much to Bill Evans’ piano, and that is perhaps most true for the tune “Blue in Green”, widely understood to be an Evans composition despite the credit going to Miles on the album jacket. Bill Evans revisited “Blue in Green” with his trio of Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums for his 1959 album Portrait in Jazz (it should be pointed out that he revisited “Blue in Green” quite a few times, along with the other tunes from Kind of Blue – this is just one example of Evans’ trio doing this tune). This is a melancholy, impressionistic, and intensely beautiful piano trio version of the tune with this trio near the height of their artistic powers.

4. All Blues

Kenny Barron and Brad Mehldau performed their piano duet version of “All Blues” at the 1999 Umbria Jazz Fest. They start this version out playing fairly straightforward, sticking to the script from Kind of Blue, but they take this melody in some fairly wild and somewhat dissonant directions at times. Beautiful playing from both of these piano masters.

5. Flamenco Sketches

Eric Reed’s From My Heart, with Reed on piano, Dwayne Burno on bass, and Cecil Brooks on drums, includes Reed’s version of “Flamenco Sketches”. Starting with a sensitive duet between Reed and Burno, this version captures something of the mood on the original while Reed’s always-innovative piano playing moves this version in new directions. Brooks’ drums join at about 2:00, and the melancholy mood continues. Beautiful.

The Process: Jon Batiste, Chad Smith, & Bill Laswell

The Process: Jon Batiste, Chad Smith, & Bill Laswell

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

I’ve recently had the opportunity to watch pianist and multi-instrumentalist Jon Batiste perform live with his Stay Human band and it was a transformative experience, respectful of all the tropes of jazz’s history but cognizant of its rethinking of performance. Batiste is an innovator in the genre and can easily avail himself to many different musical directions. The latest intriguing direction he’s taken is alongside the drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chad Smith, and legendary bassist/producer/and record label owner Bill Laswell. Together, they’ve made The Process on Laswell’s M.O.D. Technologies label, and frankly, it’s a breath of fresh air.

THE PROCESS, with Bill Laswell, Jon Batiste, and Chad Smith coming this fall! from Jay Bulger on Vimeo.

The album recorded over a three-day session and without any music written beforehand, these three musicians evoke a chemistry and interplay that makes for particularly gripping music. Their disparate backgrounds make for a new sort of creation musically that evince a different sort of depth from improvised music. Tossing in other collaborators like TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe on “Drop Away” or the spacey feel Toshinori Kondo adds to “Haunted” give this album just the right sort of ethereal touches to make this album truly something special, like electricity caught in a room, instead of yet another one-off improvised jam. There’s thought and consideration taken in this collaboration and it’s one of the more interesting releases this year.

Jon Batiste – piano, electric piano, hammond organ, electronic keyboards, harmonaboard, percussion
Chad Smith – drums, percussion
Bill Laswell – basses, guitar, electronics

Tunde Adebimpe – vocals
Killah Priest – vocals
Garrison Hawk – vocals
Toshinori Kondo – trumpet
Peter Apfelbaum – flute, tenor & soprano saxophone
Dominic James – guitar

The Process is out everywhere November 4th on M.O.D. Technologies.

The Thing – ‘Viking’ EP

The Thing – ‘Viking’ EP

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

You need a little more skronk in your life. The mind-boggling free jazz trio The Thing (Mats Gustafsson on saxophones, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten on bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums) have just released a new EP, Viking, that provides just that. The two-song EP is mastered by Bob Weston who remixed “Viking” for this EP. These compositions are just compact enough for the vibe everything to weave together in just enough time before petering out on Weston’s “Viking” remix, while “Bruremarsj” is a surprisingly chill song for this group. Check out the EP from The Thing’s Bandcamp after the jump.

Compositions by Paal Nilssen-Love; Viking (TONO) and Bruremarsj (Trad.)
Mats Gustafsson – tenor saxophone
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten – bass
Paal Nilssen-Love – drums

Recorded 31st January- 1st February 2011 by Casey Rice in MONO at Headgap Studios, Melbourne, Australia. Mastered 14th April 2011 at Chicago Mastering Service by Bob Weston and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten. Viking remix by Bob Weston. Design by Rune Mortensen.

The Thing’s Viking EP is out now on The Thing Records and distributed through Trost Records.
Check out the trio as they tour Europe for the next couple weeks.
28 Oct – Porgy and Bess – Vienna (part of Mats Gustafsson 50 yrs extravaganza!)
30 Oct – Jazzhouse – Copenhagen, with Shellac
31 Oct – Tampere Jazz Happening
1 Nov – Alchemia – Krakow, with DKV
2 Nov – JazzFest Berlin – Berlin, with Fire Orch.
3 Nov – Klub Dragon – Poznan
5 Nov – Fasching – Stockholm
6 Nov – Victoria – Oslo
7 Nov – DOM – Moscow
8 Nov – Music Unlimited – Wels, with Ken Vandermark

Ayal Tsubery – ‘Decisions’

Ayal Tsubery – ‘Decisions’

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Young bassist Ayal Tsubery has released a strong straight-ahead jazz album with his debut, Decisions. The album of original compositions are carefully put together and swell as early compositions from young music grads do, giving his band mates — the core group being Tsubery on bass, Daniel Meron on piano & Rhodes, Eyal Hai on alto saxophone, and Dani Den or on drums — to play soulfully while staying in service to the pieces. It’s a respectable debut album with songs like “Sixth Floor” and “Parts Come Together” being particularly gripping. Jon Nellen’s tablas on “Hasin'” are a nice touch, integrating some South Asian influence into Decisions‘ sound that doesn’t exactly flow all throughout the album, but is perfectly in. Ultimately, you should check this album out from the young Berklee grad. It’s the kind of DIY album and young musician would make as a debut but with a polish that makes it worth your time. Check out Ayal Tsubery’s Decisions from his Bandcamp or check it out after the jump.

Compositions, Arrangements, and Production by Ayal Tsubery

Electric and Acoustic Bass – Ayal Tsubery
Drumset – Dani Danor
Piano/Rhodes – Daniel Meron
Alto Saxophone – Eyal Hai

Tenor Saxophone – Jonathan Greenstein
Flute – Itai Kriss
Percussion – Jon Nellen

The Line-Up for 17 October 2014

The Line-Up for 17 October 2014

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

This week felt like just another Friday after a few weeks of pretty constant activity. It felt nice to slow down and just make some radio without a major agenda for a change, and then I put together what I felt to be a pretty solid hour.

The Line-Up for 17 October 2014

Flying Lotus – Tesla
The new FlyLo album had to be one of the most anticipated of the year, and that’s just because it’s a FlyLo album. Yet for this to be his “jazz” album, or at least as much a jazz album as Flying Lotus can settle his constantly moving mind to make, that just makes this album even more important.
Mndsgn – Convert
Sean Jones – New Journey
Sean Jones’ latest album, im.pro.vise – Never Before Seen is still kinda amazing.
Father Figures – Piranha Plant
My good friend Adam Schatz is touring again with his band Landlady. They’re playing San Antonio’s 502 Bar on Wednesday night and I’m really excited about the show, but the music isn’t exactly jazz. Awesome, yes, but still outside the format, so I played some Father Figures instead.
The Bad Plus – Epistolary Echoes
I’m not only reminding you of how great the new Bad Plus album is, but I’m also hipping you to the version of 2048 Ethan Iverson made replacing the numbered tiles with Ornette Coleman album covers. You’re welcome.
Mndsgn – Sheets
Mostly Other People Do the Killing – Blue In Green
I’ve been procrastinating a lot on emailing some questions over to Moppa Elliott about MOPDtK’s Blue, their note-for-note recreation of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. I love the concept of this album and would love to take the time to talk out the ideas and process behind making it. In a contemporary art sense, this may be one of the most inspiring works in the jazz scene in quite a while.
Dayna Stephens – Peace
Dayna Stephens’ album of ballads has both Brad Mehldau & Larry Grenadier. It’s out next month. These should all be major selling points.
Mndsgn – Frugality
Butcher Brown – Forest Green
The new Butcher Brown album, All Purpose Music, drops tomorrow on Jellowstone/Ropeadope. Get hip.
BADBADNOTGOOD – Velvet
The new BBNG track is really the best song these dudes have made yet. They just keep getting better and better.
Mark Guiliana – Hunter Thompson is Watching
I still feeling Beat Music: The Los Angeles Improvisations hard.
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Hey Hey NSA
The new JFJO album, Worker, is mad dope and out now.
Taylor McFerrin – Stepps
Flying Lotus – Moment of Hesitation
I just had to play some FlyLo & Herbie again. This show just demanded it.

Robert Glasper Experiment – “I Stand Alone” feat. Common & Patrick Stump (Video)

Robert Glasper Experiment – “I Stand Alone” feat. Common & Patrick Stump (Video)

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Around this time last year, pianist Robert Glasper and his experiment of Casey Benjamin on saxophone & vocoder, Derrick Hodge on bass, and Mark Colenburg on percussion released Black Radio 2, the follow-up album to the previous year’s Black Radio, this time more pointed in an R&B direction and still evoking the flames Glasper’s fans have come to expect from him in his various musical directions. Now a year later, Glasper just released the video for Black Radio 2‘s first single, “I Stand Alone”, featuring verses from Common and a catchy hooking featuring Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump. It’s a very well crafted video, with a cool, fuzzy, colorful style to it and filled with special guests like Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Ma Dukes, Dave Chappelle, and many others. Check out the video after the jump.


Directed by: Brian Deka Paupaw & Robert Glasper

The Robert Glasper Experiment’s Black Radio 2 is available now on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.