The second volume of my SMOKY NIGHTS series of mixtapes features a selection of tracks from a few incredible Jazz albums published this year, and you’ll find both acclaimed and wordly respected artists but also a few minor gems that didn’t reach yet the same fame. The compilation I’ve assembled for this volume is actually an ode to jazz improvisation and the fantastic capacity of crafting dissonant and articulated harmonies that only the great ensembles succeed in doing. The selection for the second volume includes songs taken from the recent albums by SLOWFOX and the incredible supergroup featuring DeJohnette, Grenadier, Medeski, Scofield. The mix is completed by other great pieces by “The Stone House” (Wingfield, Reuter, Stavi, Sirkis), Hadouk and the wonderful duo Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita. I really hope you enjoy it. Listen to the mixtape and, as usual, you can read some additional info after the widget.
SLOWFOX is the avant-garde jazz trio founded by German double bass virtuoso Sebastian Gramss with saxophonist Hayden Chisholm and pianist Philip Zoubek. The song appearing in the mixtape, Seen Dancing, is taken from their recent album, Gentle Giants, which is the second they have published so far. The beauty of the album – which is captured by the song selected for the mix – relies moslty in the exceptional balance between the beautiful harmonic improvisations and the reassuring melodies that lie in the background. This is one of the best LP I’ve listened in the recent times. I couldn’t open the new mixtape without them!
Guitarist John Scofield, drummer Jack DeJohnette, keyboardist John Medeski and bassist Larry Grenadier are four legends of modern jazz and their quartet undoubtedly deserves the caption of a “supergroup”. Their recent album, named Hudson, is an incredible example of what these masters of jazz improvisation may create together and the title track features interesting electronic and groovy elements that further enrich the musical landscape they’ve created.
Third song of the mixtape is taken from The Stone House, the interesting album recorded live in the studio – withouth any overdub – by British guitarist Mark Wingfield, German touch guitarist Markus Reuter, bassist Yaron Stavi, and drummer Asaf Sirkisby. All of the music, including the hypnotic and fascinating track Tarasque, was completely improvised with no music written down or rehearsed.
With Hadouk and its last album Le Cinquieme Fruit we enter into the last part of the mixtapes, where we abandon the intriguing and sometimes dissonant sounds of improvisation to tackle another theme, which is the search for distant and lost sonorities. The music crafted by this incredible quartet is in fact an ecstatic journey through different cultures and their sounds, and the track selected for the mixtape, Valse au pays du tendreby, is a particulary poetic and dreamlike tune which sets the tone for this final section of the compilation.
The last piece of the mixtape comes from Transparent Water, the album released by the incredible duo featuring Cuban-born pianist Omar Sosa and Senegalese drummer, vocalist and kora player Seckou Keita. This record has been indicated many times here in this blog as one of the best jazz albums of 2017. The album is in fact a magic and wonderful mix of sounds and influences from the most disparate areas of the world. The song selected for the compilation, Another Prayer, features additional artist such as Japanese koto player Mieko Miyazaki and Chinese sheng master Wu Tong. The track is a spiritual and deeply emotional song that fully represents the spirit of this incredible collaboration.
Previous edition of the mixtape serie: SMOKY NIGHTS – Volume 01 (June 2017), featuring Avishai Cohen, Verneri Pohjola, Aaron Parks, Ben Street, Billy Hart, Anthony Jambon and Ferenc Snetberger.