His latest project, the Vijay Iyer Sextet, combines his Trio mates of Crump and, here, Tyshawn Sorey with alto saxophonist Steve Lehman, tenor saxophonist Mark Shim, and cornetist/flugelhorn player Graham Haynes. The ensemble's new album, "Far From Over" (ECM Records) is a fascinating mixture of sounds, from the forceful title track to the funky "Nope" to the elegiac yet forceful "For Amiri Baraka" (just piano, bass, and drums) to the thunderous "Good On The Ground" (listen to the power of Sorey's drumming and the rhythmical work of the reeds and brass) to the stunning "Threnody" that closes the album. This is music that holds your attention, makes you move your feet as much as it makes you think. The musicianship is impressive throughout yet these songs are not mere exercises of technical prowess.
|photo: Lynn Harty|
"Far From Over", the title, can relate to many of the events taking place everyday, whether it's the seemingly endless political gyrations of the United States to the continuing racist, anti-Muslim, and anti-Semitic events taking place in the US and around the world. The music of the Vijay Iyer Sextet has great power, not only to entertain but also to educate, not to only to make us think but also to move. Dig in!
For more information, go to vijay-iyer.com. The album is set to be released on August 25 and be pre-ordered from iTunes, Amazon, and other outlets!
Here's the Sextet in concert from the 2017 Ojai Festival:
You can also listen to this new recording by the Sam Boshnack Quintet. The trumpeter, vocalist, and composer has created the "Nellie Bly Project" (Artist Recording Collective), a four-piece suite featuring Ms. Boshnack, Beth Fleenor (clarinet, bass clarinet), Alex Chadsey (piano, keys), Isaac Castillo (acoustic and electric bass), and Max Wood (drums). Joining the ensemble are vocalists Valerie Holt and Anne Matthews (both on tracks 1 and 3) and Anne Whitfield (spoken vocal on tracks 2 and 4). All the lyrics and words come from Ms. Bly's columns and essays. While no one would or should argue about the accomplishments of the journalist, Ms. Boshnack's music is also quite impressive. The integration of words and music is well thought-out and the compositions are quite strong.
For more information, go to samanthaboshnick.wordpress.com.
Here's an in-concert performance of the opening movement (Dawn Clements is on piano):
"Ralph Bowen" the album and Ralph Bowen the musician will bring the adventurous listener many hours of pleasure. This new recording is, arguably, his best and there's not a weak in the crowd. I'd love to see this group in action but this album is well worth your time.
For more information, go to www.ralphbowen.com.
Here's the opening track: