With so much good music coming through thick and fast, it’s easy for albums to drop online and go overlooked. No lengthy write-ups as who reads those anyway? We keep it short and to the point because you’re here to listen to the music! Check out our weekly mini-guide below and if you like what you hear, click the links and support the artists.
Chihei Hatakeyama – Late Spring
Japanese musician Chihei Hatakeyama returns with his stunning new album, Late Spring. Released on Gearbox Records, Late Spring comprises eleven tracks and sees the multi-instrumentalist draw inspiration from the landscapes circular beauty, and changing seasons. The sound is rich and vivid, making for an absorbing 42-minute listen.
The Vernon Spring – A Plane Over Woods
The full-length solo debut of Sam Beste, aka The Vernon Spring, offers a relaxing trip through hypnotic jazz soundscapes tinged with ambient and electronics. A Plane Over Woods is an outstanding album full of delicate and atmospheric yet adventurous and expressive tracks. One of the best releases of this year so far. Strongly recommended.
Binker Golding, John Edwards, Steve Noble – Moon Day
Award-winning saxophonist and composer Binker Golding leads a new trio with two giants of the experimental music scene Steve Noble and John Edwards. Over six tracks of free jazz and improvisation, ‘Moon Day’ is rich in variety, spontaneity, and creativity. Another winner released on the consistently excellent Byrd Out.
Petros Klampanis – Rooftop Stories
A real treat for jazz fans here who love a bit of upright bass! New York-residing bassist, composer, and producer Petros Klampanis delivers this outstanding collection of ten tracks. A slow journey of meditative and mesmerising soundscapes in which jazz, electronics, and chamber music meet to produce a unique whole. This is quality – click, listen, and enjoy!
Amanda Whiting – After Dark
Harp maestro Amanda Whiting returns to Jazzman Records with After Dark. As the title suggests, ‘After Dark’ has a distinctly nocturnal feel, informed by a deep understanding of classical and jazz music. Taking cues from Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane but never copying, just using them as reference points, this is a modern jazz harp album of the highest order. Alongside Whiting, you’ll find John Reynolds (drums) and Aidan Thorne (bass). Also onboard is saxophonist and flautist Chip Wickham, who plays on three songs. Far too many standout tracks to list. Listen for yourself decide.
Damon Locks – Black Monument Ensemble – NOW
Another vital release from improvisational artist Damon Locks’ Black Monument Ensemble project. The vibrant collective of artists, musicians, singers, and dancers bring the same activist energy as their 2019 debut ‘Where Future Unfolds’, inspired by the global pandemic and isolation, as well as police protest, violence and political upheaval. This will undoubtedly be amongst the jazz albums of the year. Deep and essential stuff!
Kutiman – Surface Currents
Lovely, unwinding ambient wanderings inspired by classical Indian ragas, Terry Riley, and William Basinski’ Water Music’ album. Surface Currents is a thoroughly relaxing and enchanting journey from Kutiman. I loved his last album, Wachaga. This release might be even better!
Outlines VA – ANMA & Cognitiva Records
Outlines V.A is a collection from Cognitiva and ANMA Records, showcasing a new generation of exciting producers from across Europe, collaborating and mixing jazz, broken beat, and house in exciting new ways. Artists include Contours, Werkha, Footshooter, Roy Vision, Aura Safari, and more. Don’t sleep!
Tenderlonious – Tek-88
2021 brings the return of 22a sublabel – DAM (Dennis Ayler Music). The third release on the label sees the prolific multi-instrumentalist, DJ, and producer, Tenderlonious, make his debut on DAM with a brand new collection of studio productions. The iconic Roland TR-808 inspires the four-track EP. Classic analog beats and twisted synth lines lay the foundations for dark, sci-fi-inspired soundscapes that are dragged into dance floor territory by 808 drum patterns, jazzed-out synth solos, and sub-shaking bass hooks.
Myele Manzanza – Crisis & Opportunity’ Vol.1 – London
World-renowned drummer, composer, producer, and beatmaker, Myele Manzanza is back with a new EP called ‘Crisis & Opportunity’ Vol.1 – London. Born out of Manzanza’s necessity to direct his creative energy in a productive direction and maintain his growth as an artist during the 2020 Covid 19 lockdown, ‘Crisis & Opportunity’ reflects the time we currently live in as a global society. Across the project’s five tracks, Manzanza brings together jazz with bruk beat, electronica, and afro.