The Jazz Project

Live •••

Nik Bartsch's Ronin, ECM

This is a double-album of the last live recordings of Ronin with guitarist Bjorn Meyer performed in Germany, Austria, Holland, England and Japan. Featured musicians include Nik Bartsch (piano), Sha (bass and contrabass clarinets, alto saxophone), Bjorn Meyer (bass), Kaspar Rast (drums), Andi Pupato (percussion), and Thomy Jordi (bass).

Indicum •••
Bobo Stenson Trio, ECM

This new album from the Bobo Stenson Trio offers some fine interpretative collaboration with highlights on "Your Story," written by Bill Evans, "Event VI" from "Living Time " by George Russell, and finally a piece from Danish composer Carl Nielsen's "Oft Am I Glad," a Norwegian hymn. Performers include  Bobo Stenson (piano), Anders Jormin (double bass), and Jon Falt.

Manu Katche •••
Manu Katche, ECM

French-Ivorian drummer Manu Katche offers us his fourth ECM album with some refreshing and exciting new music from a great line-up of talented musicians including Nils Petter Molvaer (trumpet), Tore Brunborg (tenor and soprano saxophones), Jim Watson (Hammond B3 organ, piano), and the man himself Manu Katche on drums.

Hayley Sings •••
Rachael MacFarlane, Concord Records

This is Rachael MacFarlane's debut album that offers two enjoyable highlights on "Makin' Whoopie" and "Someone to Watch Over Me." Ms. MacFarlane voices the beloved animated character of Hayley Smith on the Emmy-nominated television show American Dad!

Esprit de Four •••

Fourplay's new recording, Esprit de Four, is another fine example of contemporary jazz. This is the kind of music that connects with its soul-searching passion and its sweetness of heart. Among the more notable tracks is the Bob James’s composition “Put Our Hearts Together,” which he wrote for a concert in a region of Japan severely impacted by the tsunami of 2011. It appears as both an instrumental and vocal version on the CD. Japanese pop star Seiko Matsuda lends her voice to this moving tribute.

Transparent Heart •••
Animation, RareNoise Records

Saxophonist Bob Belden offers three provocative jazz compositions that cast a spellbinding world of rare insights of how music can help us think and live our lives. In a sense, this kind of music offers us a deeper understanding of how we are connected to our universe around us. Try listening to "Terra Incognito," "Urbanoia," and "Provocatism" and see for yourself.

Blues Is A Feeling •••
Elliot Sharp's Terraplane

The phrase "blues is a feeling," is a known fact for many of us blues lovers. Try and catch a fire when you listen and watch Elliot Sharp's Terraplane live at Etnafest 2007 on YouTube. According to Elliot Sharp,"the emphasis is on the songs – concise, focused, emotional and memorable, both drawing on the blues tradition and looking towards a futuristic sound."

Be Still •••
Dave Douglas, Green Leaf Music

The new album from Dave Douglas (trumpet) featuring hymns and originals with vocalist Aoife O'Donovan is dedicated to Mr. Douglas's late mother, Emily Douglas. Be Still, according to Mr. Douglas, simply "came about because all these hymns and songs were songs that my mother recommended that I play." Visit YouTube for "Be Still My Soul" and enjoy the power of love and gratitude of being born and becoming a part of this beautiful world of ours.

Questionable Creatures •••
Matthew Silberman, DeSoto Sound Factory

Tenor saxophonist Matthew Silberman dedicated this debut album to his parents, Charles and Arlene Silberman, and it is a memorable tribute especially with "Breathe" and "The Battle At Dawn." Featured guitarists include Ryan Ferreira and Greg Ruggiero, as well as bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Tommy Crane.

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