This week's show is a rarity because I somehow managed to fit twelve songs into the hour. This never happens. I mean, I know other shows, particularly out of the jazz genre, probably do this all the time, but I never even knew it was possible for me to play twelve songs in an hour.
The Line-Up for 27 September 2013
Jazz artists covering non-jazz tunes is nothing new - John Coltrane doing “My Favorite Things,” Wes Montgomery, Soulive, Brad Mehldau, and countless others covering the Beatles’ catalog, The Bad Plus covering Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” (and lots of other rock tunes on their early output), and on and on. Being a jazz artist doesn’t mean banishing all other genres from your ears. Jazz artists can take inspiration from wherever it comes - say, a songbird. So it shouldn’t be so surprising that jazz artists have made some inspired covers of sample-based tunes. One of the more inspired (and inspiring) sample-based artists of the last decade or so is Flying Lotus (né Steve Ellison). Since his debut album 1983 was released in 2006, sounding like something released in 2083, Flying Lotus has been making electronic music that is not easily classifiable. His music has a hip-hop aesthetic, but rarely keeps any elements static throughout the song. His rhythmic experiments have been an inspiration to jazz artists, and his own music has moved from the beat-driven 1983 through Reset, Los Angeles, Grid + Pattern World, and countless remixes and side projects, to 2010’s Cosmogramma and 2012’s Until the Quiet Comes. These last two albums in particular have moved further away from the (relatively) straightforward drums on 1983 and maybe not coincidentally have spawned several jazz covers (and it’s probably worth mentioning here that Cosmogramma also features, among other guest artists, Ravi Coltrane, FlyLo's cousin, on a few tracks). In my earlier columns, I’ve looked at tunes that are several decades old and continuing to evolve. The tunes I’ll look at here are just a few years old and were made using technology that didn’t exist when, say, Herbie Hancock was recording Thrust.
In the realm of things that seemed inevitable, bass god Thundercat making a song called "Bowser's Ballad" dedicated to the late head of Nintendo Hiroshi Yamauchi seemed on top of the list. The track, composed along with pianist Ruslan Sirota (the two also wrote "Evangelion" off Thundercat's Apocalypse together), is up now at the Brainfeeder SoundCloud page. Stream and download the track after the jump.
Keyboardist Jesse Fischer played New York's Blue Note Jazz Club last week with his band Soul Cycle and brought along vocalist Lauren Desberg, saxophonist Dayna Stephens, and percussionist Mino Cinelo as well. If that all sounds mad impressive, you can thank your lucky stars Fischer recorded and mixed the set. Check out a stream of the entire performance after the jump.
Bassist Stephan Crump may be best known for his work with Vijay Iyer's trio (shout out to Iyer, by the way, for his being named a MacArthur fellow this year!), but you definitely shouldn't sleep on Crump's Rosetta Trio featuring guitarists Liberty Ellman and Jamie Fox. The trio weave around each other so smoothly and gently, creating such a rich, relaxed vibe. The group has been together since 2005 and just released their third album, Thwirl, on Sunnyside Records. Make like another Jamie Fox (namely Jamie Foxx) and Peep This (ha!) video for the title track and the EPK for Thwirl after the jump.