Saxophonist and composer Roxy Coss participated in the Women's March the week of Donald Trump's inauguration. She carried a sign that read "The Future is Female"; that's the title of her new album, a of 10 original compositions featuring her working ensemble of Alex Wintz (guitar), Miki Yamanaka (piano), Rick Rosato (bass), and Jimmy Macbride (drums) with bass clarinetist Lucas Pino on one track.
Besides her work on the bandstand, Roxy Coss is the founder and director of WIJO (Women in Jazz Organization) - their Mission Statement is quite clear:
Here's the opening track:
Ake's fifth album on Posi-Tone is titled "Humanities" and features the powerful musical voices of his fellow CalArts colleague Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Ben Monder (guitars), Drew Gress (bass), and Mark Ferber (drums). If you have heard any of Ake's earlier group albums, you'll know he's a powerful and thoughtful pianist while his music often has a powerful forward motion.
|Photo: Anna Yatskevich
To do justice to the music on "Humanities" is truly to tell you to listen and listen deeply. David Ake composes music that asks questions, that plumbs the depth of the human spirit, and looks for the soul within the songs. And the musicians know how to transmit those questions and searches to an eager audience. Give some time to this music; it will make you think and, perhaps, even move you to action in these often tense times.
For more information, go to www.davidakemusic.com.
The album has two distinct sections. The first four tracks have the bop and hard bop feel of Lawrence's 2017 "Color Theory", shorter tunes with melodic heads and fine solos ("Dominant Curve" is a standout cut with its Charlie Parker-type melody and attack). The program changes on track #5, the powerful "In The Black Square." Now, the influence is McCoy Tyner and the music he began to make in the early 1970s. The shifting rhythms (Marshall is on fire here), the pounding piano chords, and the leader's fiery solo.
|Photo: Ola Baldych
The program closes with a soft version of Prince's "Sometimes It Snows in April", just muted trumpet and piano (Evans again), a lovely tribute to the artist. The version does not stray far from the original ballad, the piano giving the song more weight than Prince's acoustic guitar and trembling voice.
"Contrast" continues Josh Lawrence's fascination with colors and illustrates how the trumpeter is expanding his palette. He is growing as an artist on so many levels, not just as an excellent soloist but as a composer and bandleader. Grab ahold of this album and get into its grooves - the music is very alive and moving!
For more information, go to www.joshlawrencejazz.com.
Here's the core quintet in action with the opening song from "Contrasts":