Things are pretty much back to normal around here so I filled this hour with as many brand spanking new songs as possible. Just about everything in this hour is a premiere of someone's new material and there should be more where that came from. Yep, it's all out newness for this week's Line-Up
The Line-Up for 10 January 2014
Eric Harland is one of the more prolific drummers on the jazz scene today, and his presence on a recording or in a band is (in my listening experience) a guarantee of some great playing, both from the drummer and from the rest of his bandmates. Harland’s drumming has shown up in lots of different settings, mostly as a sideman for some wide-ranging leaders including Dave Holland, Aaron Goldberg, The 3 Cohens, Aaron Parks, Charles Lloyd, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ravi Coltrane, Jacky Terrasson, and the SFJAZZ Collective, and he also leads his own Voyager band, with Taylor Eigsti on piano, Julian Lage on guitar, Walter Smith III on sax, and Harish Raghavan on bass (more on them below…). Similar to an earlier column I wrote here, I’ll look at a few recent tunes that have featured Eric Harland on the studio and/or live versions. Along with changing the drummer in these tunes, the other personnel changes have led to big differences in the overall feel and structure of these tunes over the span of just a few years.
iiii (Four) is a group of pure radiance. The quartet of vocalist Laila Smith, pianist Paul Bloom, bassist Connor Schultze, and drummer Jeremy Dutton are a young group that have already found something special. Their sound melds all the best qualities of jazz and R&B to make for a compelling group that stirs the soul. One listen to their sweet sweet music will get you hooked, so check out their debut self-titled album after the jump.
Every now and then, it's good to look to the Russian label FANCYMUSIC to see what goodness they have brewing. One of their latest releases comes from the Live People Quartet. The album, The New Cities is a mix of jazz and rock that one would come to expect from this group that's inspired by reconstruction. We've mentioned this group before and can attest that these folks are no joke, so seeing a new release from them from the other side of the globe is worth the inquiry (and the almost certainly faulty Google translations), so make sure to check out this album after the jump and cop it from the FANCYMUSIC label.
It's been a good three years since tenor saxophonist Kenneth Whalum III's debut album and he's been steadily grinding all that time. While he wasn't performing on the Grammys stage with Bruno Mars, acting as Ludacris' musical director, hanging backstage with Jay Z, and being the Paul the Apostle of music -- all things to all people -- he's been working on his sophomore release, Through Hell & High Water. Today, Whalum released the first single to the album, "Away", featuring rapper Big K.R.I.T., now availabile on iTunes. It just dropped this morning and it's already #2 on the jazz charts, so we at Nextbop/Art of Cool are far from alone in saying this is a great song and hotly anticipated. Check the stream after the jump.