by: Hobart Taylor
Lionel Loueke - Gaia - (Origin)
Loueke may be my favorite jazz guitarist. I remember the chills I got when I first heard James "Blood" Ulmer in the '80's. They're back.
Loueke who originally comes from Benin (West Africa), has deep and ancient African roots but also feels like he's from the future. Loueke with true soulmates drummer Ferenc Nemeth and bassist Massimo Biolcati, incorporates funk, free jazz, and rock elements not as quotations or allusions, but as an elemental alphabet used to construct a new rhetoric of music. Please listen.
Emma Larsson - Sing to the Sky - (Origin)
Swedish jazz singer Larsson has that elusive quality, that mystical quality, that what the hell just happened here quality in her voice and performance style that works like the song of the sirens. You are listening so intently to her voice that you can lose track of the song, of the room around you, of time and place entirely. At least I do. I couldn't or don't want to analyze how this works. It just does.
Doug Webb - Back East - (Posi-Tone)
What a throwback. Short, radio friendly, cool be-bop and straight ahead tunes, played with precision and style by saxophonist Webb pianist Peter Zak, Ben Wolfe bassist, and drummer Rudy Royston. This is very easy on the ears and full of nuance.