Playing The Room •••
Avishai Cohen, trumpet
Yonathan Avishai, piano
Two musicians, two instruments, and music that flows on a contemporary ocean of sunlit beauty and peace. The music here, at its best, is a calming force of dynamic intelligence, mature, invariably poised, big-toned and confident. The distinctive waves of music interweave jazz themes and motifs, with conversational passages made spontaneous-sounding in their flexibility. Both players achieve an impressive range of colors boasting a spacious, bright and balanced sound picture throughout. The standouts include “The Opening,” “Crescent,” “Azalea,” and “Shir Eres (Lullaby)”.
Love & Liberation •••
Jazzmeia Horn, vocals
Vocalist Jazzmeia Horn’s debut album is a welcoming addition to today’s jazz world. Ms. Horn’s voice is certainly fit to stand alongside some of her eminent predecessors. Above all, it’s the rhythmic excitement of her voice that is so irresistible. Her classical and post-classical explorations of jazz have, by necessity of style, a beautiful, nostalgic pastoral idyll for the genre. But the heart of her music is the subtle, penultimate movement and explosive iridescence of her songs. A thoroughly enjoying singer, well worth exploring. Take a look at “Green Eyes,” from Love & Liberation, her performance of “Moanin” at the 60th Grammy Awards 2018, and her YouTube collections.
Enrico Rava, flugelhorn, Joe Lovano, saxophone, tarogato
Giovanni Guidi, piano; Dezron Douglas, double bass; Gerald Cleaver. drums
On this album, recorded live at Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica, Enrico Rava and Joe Lovano deliver a profound and intensely experienced performance superbly crafted for an album of striking euphony and depth. Phrasing, tone-projection and technical brilliance all contribute to a classic jazz reading of considerable charm and musicality, most notably “Interiors” and “Divine Timing.” Mr. Lovano is more than a match for Mr. Rava, offering a masculine tapestry of textured lyricism which goes with his richly expressive yet totally unsentimental interpretation of John Coltrane’s exuberant lyricism as in “Spiritual.” In a performance as good as this, and with its recording beautifully engineered and balanced, you can imagine it was quite gripping on stage.
Paolo Rustichelli, pianist, keyboardist
Italy-based composer, pianist, keyboardist, singer and producer, Paolo Rustichelli’s latest music offering is a spacy, melody rich and funky trip, an unconventional flight of keyboard harmonies that jet in, out and in between techy hip hop beats and imaginative synth passages. Accompanying the single is the vivid video he crafted. “The song ‘Hypnofunk’ is meane 80s,” according to Mr. Rustichelli. In fact, there are typical synth sounds of that time along with a modern hip-hop rhythmic drum base. The colorful minimalist video salutes late 70s elements, ranging from psychedelia, Greco-Roman symbols and includes some UFO images. “UFOs are being seen more and more in our friendly skies lately,” said Mr. Rustichelli. “Hypnofunk” offers a preview of the artist’s forthcoming album, “Tempus Fugit,” that is slated to drop in March 2020.
Urban-jazz keyboardist Kayla Waters will be at The Birchmere in Alexandria on August 17. Ms. Waters is touring with her father, saxophonist Kim Waters, in support of her sophomore album, Coevolve, which spawned her second Billboard No. 1 single, “Zephyr.