Welcome to the first ‘Between The Cracks’ of the year. The new album releases are thin on the ground, so we’re still picking goodies from last year that are just grabbing our attention. You can read about each album and play it on the website via the Bandcamp player. As always, please support the artists by purchasing their music. We hope you enjoy reading and listening!
Landon Caldwell & Friends – More Unity
From the Indianapolis freak music hotbed comes the latest release by Landon Caldwell. A seamless blend of ambient jazz, new age, and kosmische, the sound is based on freedom of expression and improvisation. With this immersive collaboration with his many talented friends, Caldwell’s musical identity is beautifully expressed across four tracks. Intense and impressive, yet gentle and atmospheric. It’s the perfect music to listen to while wearing headphones.
Jake Botts – Global Works
This is the debut album from saxophonist Jake Botts, who happily lets spiritual jazz rub shoulders with laidback exotica, cinematic soundscapes and bossa nova. His music is often smooth but has moments when it takes a darker turn. Sitting somewhere between Sam Gendel and Rich Ruth, you have everything from the mystic and wonder of ‘Roberta’ to the more direct eclectic vibrations of ‘Thailand For Now’. Well worth your time.
Work Money Death – Thought, Action, Reaction, Interaction
The spirit of the late Pharaoh Sanders is strong in this one. Four tracks of top-tier spiritual jazz from Leeds-based outfit Work Money Death. A one-take recording without rehearsal, where the players knew where they were starting but had no idea where they were heading. Remarkable from start to finish, click play and bask in the wonderment of Work Death Money!
Horse Lords – Comradely Objects
This record has a very Can feel at times, and the swirling repetitive rhythms will recall bands like Neu! But this is no thoughtless pastiche Horse Lords’ new album comes with enough twists and turns and free jazz feels to keep the listener interested and coming back for more. Possibly their best album yet.
Harry James – Harried
Second album from versatile composer Harry James Brenner Jr, who blends elements of jazz, hip-hop, ambient, and soul music in his work. Wonderfully intricate rhythms walk hand in hand with distinctive piano runs and percussive flourishes. Some tracks have traces of Sun Ra, Mulatu Astatke, and Yesterday’s New Quintet, to name a few. As a whole, the album offers a pleasing listening experience.
Anja Ngozi – Rhygin
A new release by Anja Ngozi is always worth investigating. We find a fascinating mix of styles, all perfectly paired, and the standout cut features the beautiful voice of Fatima. A touch of soul, a tad experimental, a bit of rap, a sprinkling of electronic, you will detect all of that and more. The term ‘experimental’ is defined and shared by Ngozi in the course of ‘Rhygin’. Backing Ngozi on the recording is James Mollison, Marysia Osu, Husban Blak, and Fatima, as mentioned earlier. You’ll sink into this EP quickly and lose yourself for a while.
Maddalena Ghezzi – Emeralds
Using the voice creatively, Maddalena Ghezzi connects avant-garde jazz improvisation with experimental electronics on her new EP, Emeralds. This is spirited and challenging, a lovely 3-track project packed with improv of the highest calibre. With site fave Maria Chiara Argirò along for the ride, this was always going to be an intriguing project, and it more than lived up to our expectations. Listening to this continuously from 2022 and beyond..
Circles of Indigo – Affinity
Released towards the end of last year, the collaboration between pianist/composer Amelia Huff and saxophonist Aiden Solomons is an almost 30-minute stroll of deep musicality that will delight fans of improvised jazz and contemporary classical. The short but exquisite excursion will leave you wanting more, and it’s “Name Your Price”, so what are you waiting for?