Between The Cracks: Essential Releases You May Have Missed

With so much good music coming through thick and fast, it’s easy for albums to drop online and go overlooked. So many great releases floating around it’s time to check out the musical delights that have graced our ears in the last seven days. Happy listening – and don’t forget to hit the links and support the artists.

Lucia Cadotsch – Speak Low II

Lucia Cadotsch returns next month with her Speak Low trio for ‘Speak Low II’. Marking her debut on We Jazz Records; the LP picks up where their genre-bending and forward-looking debut album left off, introducing new shades into the band’s sound and also diving even deeper into the songs they tackle. The 9-track album features Cadotsch on voice, Otis Sandsjö on tenor saxophone and Petter Eldh on double bass. It also introduces guest artists Kit Downes on Hammond organ and Lucy Railton on cello. Only three tracks are currently available to stream, but if the remainder of the release is as good, we’re in for a treat.


Kahil El’ Zabar – America the Beautiful

The legendary Kahil El’ Zabar is back with a new album! Titled ‘America the Beautiful’, the spiritual jazz master is addressing the state of America and the world today while expressing his love and hopes for a better tomorrow. The nine-song LP sees El’ Zabar conducting, arranging and writing for a large ensemble, featuring an orchestra of Afro-percussion and strings together with the likes of Corey Wilkes, James Sanders, Tomeka Reid, Joshua Ramos, Miguel de la Cerna and more. With the US elections just a few days away this is a timely and poignant recording.


Mark De Clive-Lowe — Dreamweavers

Mark De Clive-Lowe ditches the sampling and looping electronics for an album of unplugged broken beat, and dreamy soundscapes. Inspired by the likes of Ahmad Jamal and Ryuichi Sakamoto the new LP titled Dreamweavers is an instrumental trio recording featuring frequent collaborators Andrea Lombardini (bass) and Tommaso Cappellato (drums). They also both take on production duties as with anything he puts out this is high quality and essential listening.


Sam Amidon – Sam Amidon

Regular readers will know my fondness for a bit of psychedelic folk-rock. Sam Amidon’s seventh studio album is crammed full of such delights as he leads musical comrades Shahzad Ismaily, Chris Vatalaro, Ruth Goller, Sam Gendel – as well as his wife Beth Orton on an album of dazzling covers of traditional folk songs. What a great, great album this one will be soundtracking our weekends for some time to come.


Glenn Astro – Homespun

Wow just wow!! What an utterly brilliant and eclectic album this is. Following his debut album Throwback, Glenn Astro returns with Homespun. This intensely personal collection has been brewing for five years. It is the culmination of several years of reflection and artistic development. Lasting just 45 minutes, the ten tracks that make up the album float between house, jazz, beats, electro, soul and more quite effortlessly. From the deeply soulful ‘Look At You’ featuring Ajnascent and Eyal Lovett to the dubby tribal electronics of ‘Viktor’s Meditation’ this is quite a ride. Highly recommended. One for the open-minded music lover.


Duval Timothy – Brown Loop

Duval Timothy follows the release of his excellent album Help with a reissue of Brown Loop. Initially released in 2016 and after being out of print for several years, this passionate, piano-led body of work is finally back again. A delicate blend of styles from jazz, hip-hop and modern classical are mixed across these ten tracks that are rich in melodies and intricate piano passages: so many textures, moods and unique piano details. Absolutely outstanding and profound work of art. Enjoy!


Maria Chiara Argirò + Jamie Leeming – Flow

This album gets better and better and better with each listen. Pianist Maria Chiara Argirò and guitarist Jamie Leeming have created a beautiful body of work with their debut collaborative album titled Flow. Modern jazz, electronica, contemporary folk music and cinematic soundscapes; all combined into a unique and absorbing listen. Tracks like ‘Boos Lullaby’ and ‘Fables’ are light, airy and incredibly beautiful. The interplay between the pair on the title track is so good it will make your jaw drop. Their interpretation of James Blake’s ‘Retrograde’ is another highlight for me, a cinematic and introspective take on the song that gives me goosebumps every time. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better guitar and piano album this year. This one could sneak onto a few end-of-year lists.



Tcheser Holmes – .​.​.​the T is silent

If you love Tcheser Holmes’ work with Irreversible Entanglements and his recent collaborative LP with bandmate Aquiles Navarro this EP offers everything you like and more. The album also features Navarro (trumpet) as well as Moor Mother (vocals), needless to say, Holmes’ drumming is frantic, powerful and utterly incredible. I am already looking forward to a full LP of this stuff! Hoping that Holmes continues to bring us the energy and drive that makes him stand out from the crowd! 



Various Artists – New Horizons: Young Stars of South African Jazz

From South Africa’s hotbed of exciting young jazz music comes this superb compilation. In this project, Shane Cooper (bass player with the excellent MABUTA) and Afrosynth label head DJ Okapi compile an assortment of sounds from the thriving South African scene. Highlights include tracks by Kyle Shepherd Trio, Benjamin Jephta Quintet, Siya Makuzeni Sextet, Thandi Ntuli, Zoë Modiga and MABUTA. An intriguing, and genuinely eclectic album in which the energy and talent of the young artists shine throughout. 


Maalem Mahmoud Gania – Aicha

It’s a big one … The tenth release from Hive Mind Records is this stunning reissue of Aicha, a late 90’s album from Maalem Mahmoud Gania. Originally released on cassette in Morocco, ‘Aicha’ was recorded in Gania’s home town of Essaouira with only a small and intimate group of supporting musicians. The album is now reissued on vinyl with extensive sleeve notes written by Tim Abdellah Fuson, Berkeley scholar and curator of the excellent Moroccan Tape Stash blog. Deserving of a wider audience; one that enjoys deeply spiritual healing music. 


And there’s more…

Kiko Dinucci – Rastilho (Mais Um Discos UK release)

Dorian Concept – The Jitters

Actress – Karma & Desire

Raúl Monsalve y Los Forajidos – Bichos

CF Smith

Permeating your ears with good music.

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