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Portico Quartet

Isla

(Real World; US: 31 Aug 2010; UK: 4 Oct 2010)

Review [29.Aug.2010]
Portico Quartet
Isla


England’s Portico Quartet is one of those bands that kind of makes you sick. By that I mean they are four young musicians who seemed to just drop out of the sky one day and land in Peter Gabriel’s/Real World’s lap, complete with an original sound intact and musical chops to match. Isla is a bid to bring their brand of world music-flavored minimalist jazz stateside, preceded by some deserved hype from British critics. May success never spoil them.


 

 



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Mostly Other People Do the Killing

Forty Fort

(Hot Cup; US: 26 Jan 2010; UK: 19 Jan 2010)

Review [8.Apr.2010]
Mostly Other People Do the Killing
Forty Fort


This quartet led by bassist Moppa Elliott makes superb and “serious” modern jazz that moves over the full range of the music’s history, from big band swing to raucous free jazz. But the group has such rollicking fun along the way that the dissonance and sharp edges are as easy on the ears as the sophisticated grooves you will hear. Alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon shines as a stand-out soloist, but the best thing about this disc is the way Elliott frames all the improvising in a dazzling kaleidoscope of different rhythms, different combinations of instruments, different tonal feelings, different pairs of improvisers. That the whole thing is fun (and even funny, with liner notes by Leonardo Featherweight and a cover photo mimicking an old disc by Roy Haynes) is a bonus. Jazz in the new century need not be ponderous, hallelujah!


 

Beyond US Shores


 



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Guillermo Klein

Domador de Huellas, Music of “Cuchi” Leguizamon

(Sunnyside; US: 10 Aug 2010; UK: 10 Aug 2010)

Review [12.Dec.2010]
Guillermo Klein
Domador de Huellas, Music of “Cuchi” Leguizamon


It’s a good sign that a jazz recording based on folk compositions from Argentina is a natural for this list. Klein, from Argentina via Boston and New York, takes on the tunes of a legendary countryman, but he approaches them with a jazz musician’s harmonic and rhythmic cleverness. Terrific vocal performances (by Klein as well as guests Lillian Herrera and Carme Canela) mesh naturally with Fender Rhodes electric piano lines, brass chorales, and a great variety of groove feelings from ballad to bluesy stomp. A record to listen to over and over again.


 

 



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Food

Quiet Inlet

(ECM; US: 27 Jul 2010; UK: 19 Apr 2010)

Review [25.Jul.2010]
Food
Quiet Inlet


Think of them as an ambient jazz Nordic all-star band set to carry the torch of Jon Hassell’s fourth-world approach. Throw in an African polyrhythm, and you have Food’s latest album Quiet Inlet, a creative highpoint for 2010. This is not music that will grab you by the throat on first listen, but then again, that’s never really been one of ECM’s goals.

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