Jazz: Fall 2022

Monarch Jazz Recommendations

La Voz Del Mar

The noteworthy new release by vocalist Torres and vibraphonist/marimbaist Neville shines a scintillating spotlight on the often overlooked songs and rhythms of Colombia’s Pacific coast. It’s a triumph for Neville’s ongoing work delving into Afro-Colombian culture and the perfect showcase for the talents of Torres, who hails from one of the area’s illustrious musical families. Her prodigious artistic range allows her to honor the music’s traditional roots while incorporating manifold stylistic influences. Torres, Neville, and a stellar roster of guest artists excel on tracks including a reimagined “Me Quedo Contigo,” the bracing “Tarde Lo Conocí,” and a salsa-fied version of the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” Salsa and rumba-tinged grooves, folkloric rhythms, driving percussion, powerful horns (including Wayne Wallace’s venerable trombone) and Torres’s sweet, sizzling voice at the forefront make La Voz del Mar resonate with celebration and purpose.

Finding Light

The top-notch trio of bassist Denson, guitarist Pilon, and drummer Blade debuted in 2019 with Between Two Worlds. While their exceptional chemistry was immediately apparent, pandemic life prevented them from actively pursuing their musical union. They’ve emerged from the darkness of isolation with a second album titled appropriately on the theme of light. Shining, blazing, luminous—all of these apply to their inspired, seamless musicmaking. The trio delivers ardent performances of ten smartly composed tracks (six by Denson, four by Pilon) inspired by beloved dogs, searching for hope in dark times, honoring the planet, and the musician Sixto Rodriguez. Finding Light is one for the ages, an important contribution to the jazz trio canon. It’s an exhilarating record by three brilliant musicians who swing, soar, and shine as one.

Three Seconds Kolme Toista

Guitarist, oud player, and composer Reijonen waited almost a decade to release his second album. To say it was worth the wait would be an understatement. Electrifying and deeply resonant, monumental and profoundly personal, Reijonen’s five-movement suite is a beautifully crafted, remarkable journey of sound and emotion performed by a knockout nine-piece ensemble. The international roster includes American trumpeter Jason Palmer, Palestinian cellist Naseem Alatrash, and Japanese percussionist Keita Ogawa. Reijonen himself has lived in Finnish Lapland, the Middle East, East Africa, Europe, and the United States. The resultant questions of identity and belonging inform his complex and alluring jazz suite, bringing a rich palette of influences that synthesize into a fully cohesive, utterly original sound. Three Seconds | Kolme Toista is a triumph and a sophisticated, revelatory musical mosaic that bears repeated listening.

Hodges: Front And Center Vol.1

On his second album as a leader, Broder tips his horn to one of his greatest influences, iconic jazzman Johnny Hodges. Broder and his quintet tackle nine pieces associated with Hodges, some from the Rabbit’s association with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and others from his small group albums. Broder’s excellent arrangements stay true to the integrity and polish of the originals while infusing them with contemporary panache. On tracks like the swinging “Royal Garden Blues,” the spicy “18 Carrots for Rabbit,” the longingly sumptuous “Ballade for the Very Sad and Very Tired Lotus Eaters,” and a boisterous rendition of “Take the A Train,” the quintet seamlessly merges modern and vintage styles. Volume 2, due in the spring, will be a welcome follow-up to this finely crafted tribute album. With Hodges: Front and Center, Broder reinforces his status as a first-rate saxophonist and an excellent jazz arranger and interpreter.

Two Of Swords

The debut album by trombonist and composer Sobrer is a celebration of his late father: the writer, translator, and Catalan scholar Josep Miquel Sobrer. The Latin jazz-infused score, inspired by a tantalizing mix of influences, including Catalan poetry, Catalan composer Frederic Mompou, and tarot cards, embraces and makes relevant the personal while incorporating a diverse range of musical elements. Rhythms from the African diaspora, Hindustani classical music, other international styles, and exquisite texts combine in exhilarating, singular music performed by a tight band of Sobrer’s closest musical colleagues. The record, produced by Sobrer’s mentor and fellow trombonist Wayne Wallace, is an impressive introduction to a multi-faceted, multi-talented artist. Sobrer’s versatile horn playing and compositional choices fit perfectly with thematic elements of the text, creating a lavish, lively sonic journey that takes listeners into unique realms of sound and meaning.