Best of Piano Jazz in 2017 (so far!)

We celebrate with this post the most beautiful piano pieces we had the pleasure to listen in the first months of the year. A number of musicians have released important albums in the first quarter of 2017, and we have selected some of their best tracks in this playlist. We also found a few hidden gems in the jazz scene, which were included in the selection as well.

The playlist may be accessed by the slim widget on top of the post, or via the larger widget at the bottom of the post.

The first artist appearing in our playlist is Tigran Hamasyan, the experimental jazz pianist whose compositions are strongly influenced by the Armenian folk tradition, often using its scales and modalities. Tigran has just released his last album, An Ancient Observer, from which we extracted two beautiful songs which are also representative of his unique style: Fides Tua and Markos and Markos, respectively tracks 1 and 2 of the playlist. You can also watch a live performance video of Fides Tua on YouTube.

TIGRAN - 1280x300

The following two tracks of the playlist come from the American pianist and composer Michael Cabe and his jazz trio MEM3, which features also Mark Lau on bass and Ernesto Cervini on drums. We have selected two pieces from Circles, the second album from the trio which has been released in March 2017: Faith of our Fathers, a quite touching traditional hymn, and Native Dancer, which sees Cabe taking clear inspirations from scandivian jazz music.

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Track number 5 features Swizz jazz pianist Colin Vallon, who published the third album of his great Colin Vallon Trio, Danse, with Patrice Moret on bass and Julian Sartorius on drums and percussions. The song we selected from the album is the beautiful Tsunami, which uses the rhythm of waltz to convey dark and disturbing emotions. You can also watch a live performance of the trio for this incredible piece of music.

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The following track is the magical Nécropole played by French pianist and harpsicord master Jean Rondeau. Nécropole is the last track of the album Le Rameau d’Or de la Sybille de Cumes, which has been recently released by Note Forget, the jazz ensemble founded by Rondeau in which he performs on piano.

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Next track is Wonder and Awe by Israelian pianist Omer Klein, who published on last February the album Sleepwalkers with the support of Haggai Cohen-Milo on bass and Amir Bresler on drums.

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The following two pieces show the the skill and style of Jan Lundgren, the Swedish jazz pianist and composer who released the beautiful album Potsdamer Platz, one of the best jazz works we heard in these first months of the year. We have selected a couple of tracks from this album, On the Banks of the Seine and No.9, which highlight the ability of the musician to combine beautiful tunes with deep musical atmospheres.

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Track number 10 of the playlist is dedicated to Omar Sosa, the Cuban-born composerand jazz pianist which gained popularity for his collaborations with musicians from all the most disparate areas of the world, sometime very far from the boundaries of his original jazz and Afro-Cuban traditions. Omar Sosa has released a beautiful LP with support from kora master Seckou Keita, named Transparent Water (the album was selected here as best Jazz album of March 2017). From this album we selected the wonderful In The Forest, a delicate and medidative piece where Sosa’s piano alternates with the magical sound of the kora and mysterious touches of cymbals.

OMAR SOSA

Next track is Backpack by Adrien Chicot, the talented French pianist who has released an album with his jazz trio, featuring Sylvain Romano on double bass and Jean-Pierre Arnaud on drums. We are in the presence of a more “classic”  and less experimental contemporary jazz, in which however we can still appreciate the style and technique of this young musician.

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This musical journey concludes with an exaggerated and exuberant song by Cameron Graves, who is known to be the pianist of Kamasi Washington’s jazz ensemble but who has been able to record a phenomenal and quite refreshing solo album, named Planetary Prince. The piece we selected from the album is the magnificent and unleashed song called El Diablo, which reminds us the tunes of the past but with the addition of a healthy dose of madness.

CAMERON GRAVES - 1280x300

12 songs, 57 minutes of running time, the best of jazz piano released in the first months of the year. Happy listening! And any comment is welcome. Enjoy!

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