Friday, December 27, 2019

The Beguiling Sound of Rozina Pátkai : Taladim

Rozina Patkai Taladim (self-produced)
There is a Hungarian vocalist, Rozina Patkai, that I recently listened to for the first time on her latest release Taladimand I must admit that I found her voice gentle and beguiling. Patkai has been an educator and you can see her fascination with moving poetry on this recording.

Patkai is supported by a creative and talented group that includes tenor and soprano artist Janos Aved, who also plays piano; acoustic guitarist Istan Toth Jr.; cellist Ditta Rohmann; Andras Des, who provides acoustic and electronic percussion and her husband Marton Fenyvesi, who plays synth bass and creatively arranges the music.

The rhythms employed are an amalgam of progressive styles that include acoustic folk music, electronic accents, avant-garde chamber music and at times is strongly influenced by a lilting Brazilian Bossa style and don't forget the Hungarian folk music tradition.

Toth's delicate guitar, the airy McCandless-inspired soprano of Aved, an achingly moving cello work by Rohmann, and the deft rhythmic use of percussion and electronic augmentation by Des and Fenyvesi create clever and modern music that incorporates literary poetry. The music comes alive with Patkai's voice and delivery. The album has thirteen songs, poems that include Patakai, Fenyvesi's and other band mates musical transformations. Poets that offer inspiration for this music include T.S. Eliot, William Blake, Jane Tyson Clement, Gyula Juhasz, Fernando Pessoa. Federico Gracia Lorca and Caetano Veloso.

Rozina Patkai (photo credit-unknown)
Some of the highlights that capture my attention include Lorelei, Sea Song, Poe-Me As Maos Nos Ombros and the delightful Joao Donato's A Ra. The music, at times,  creates a Middle Eastern-like drone that can be mesmerizing. Patkai's voice, especially on a beautiful ballad like Juhasz's Szerelem, which she sings in Hungarian, is so movingly sung that it can be a rapturous experience.

For anyone looking for a new experience in cross-genre music that is sure to move, seize you and take you prisoner than Rozina Patkai's Taladim will not disappoint.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Notes on Jazz Best of Jazz 2019

The year is almost over and Notes on Jazz has traditionally reflected on the plethora of jazz that we have been privileged to listen to, and in most cases enjoyed, from so many talented musicians. Many have been expanding the genre, pushing the envelope, being adventurous. Others have simply honed their practice, refined their focus, played with diverse bandmates to challenge and trailblazed their own paths, often to our delight. Every year there is always something spectacular to enjoy and this year's crop of splendid music was no different.

My choices are my own personal preferences. If I have somehow left out one of your favorite artists, or missed fantastic artists whose work was missed by my list, that's just the way the chips fall.  Chances are I just never got the opportunity to listen to every deserving musician's work that was released this year.

My selections for this year are listed in no particular order below- taste is always a subjective thing-I have included a video of the music so you can decide what suits your own taste. I have included three main categories: Best Jazz Vocal Album, Best Latin Jazz Album, Best Jazz Albums, Best Reissue or Historical Jazz Albums and Thirty other really great jazz albums that deserve to be mentioned.

One last request, in the spirit of this giving season, all these musicians and the many not here listed, contribute a great deal of love and enjoyment to the listening world. We are all very fortunate to have such a talented, vibrant and creative art form in this country. It is a genre that is always reinventing the music and it is magical. If we all would like to see this music continue healthily, we all have to support these artists by listening, purchasing their music and attending their performances. Without our financial support, a musician's life is often financially impossible to sustain without great difficulty. Let's all do our part to support the arts so they can continue to enrich our lives.

I have linked each of the albums listed to locations where these worthwhile albums can be purchased or streamed.

Happy holidays!

My Choice for Best Jazz Vocal Album 2019 : 
Sara Gazarek: Thirsty Ghost ( Self Produced)

My Choice for Best Latin Jazz Album 2019:

Miguel Zenon: Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera ( Miel Music)

My Choices for Best Jazz Albums for 2019 (listed in no particular order)

Bob Sheppard:  The Fine Line (Challenge Records) 

Randy Brecker and the NDR Big Band: Rocks  (Jazz Line Distribution)

Mike Holober and the Gotham Big Band: Hiding Out (Zoho Music)

Scott Robinson: Tenormore 
(Arbors Records)

Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan: Epistrophy ( Live at the Village Vanguard 2016) 

The Branford Marsalis Quartet: The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul  
(Okeh/Sony Masterworks)

Dave Holland, Zakir Hussain Chris Potter: Good Hope (Edition Records)

Ethan Iverson Quartet with Tom Harrell: Common Practice  (ECM)

Ahmad Jamal: Ballades (Jazz Village/Jazzbook Records) 

Amina Figarova: Road to the Sun 
(BA Records)

My Three Top Choices for Best of Jazz Reissues or Historical Issues in 2019: 

Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet (Resonance Records)

Louis Armstrong: Louis Armstrong: Live in Europe  (Dot Time Records)

 Johnny Griffin & Eddie Lockjaw Davis: "Johnny Griffin and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Quintet: Ow! Live at the Penthouse (Reel to Reel)

Here are thirty other worthy jazz albums that surely cover as diverse a selection of tastes as possible and should be worth your time discovering and enjoying for many years to come. Enjoy 

George Garzone, Peter Erskine, Alan Pasqua, Darek Oles: 3 Nights in LA (Fuzzy Music)

Linda May Han Oh: Aventurine (Biophilia Records)

Ben Monder: Day After Day: (Sunnyside Records)

Denny Zeitlin: Remembering Miles (Sunnyside Records)  

Ryan Keberle & Catharsis: The Hope I Hold (Greenleaf Music)

Mark Wingfield & Gary Husband: Tor and Vale (Moonjune Records)

Dave Bass w/ Ted Nash: No Boundaries (Whaling City Sound)

Jim Robitaille Group: A View from Within: (Whaling City Sound)

Amendola & Blades: Everybody Wins (Royal Potato Family)

Alicia Olatuja: Intuition: Songs from the Minds of Women: (Resilience Music)

Peter Hand Big Band: Hand Painted Dream: (Savant Records)

Henrik Meurkens: Cobb's Pocket (In + Out Records)

Lynne Arriale Trio: Give US These Days:(Challenge Records)

Marc Copland Trio: And I Love Her: (Illusions/Mirage) 

Helen Riley: Personal Optimism: (Mack Avenue Records)

Mark Winkler: I'm with You: Mark Winkler Sings Bobby Troupe (Cafe Pacific Records)

Typical Sisters: Hungry Ghost: (Outside Music)

Michael Dease: Never More Here: (Positone Records)

Roberto Magris Sextet Featuring Ira Sullivan: Sun Stone (JMood Records)

Laura Antonioli: The Constant Passage of Time ( Origins Music)

Robben Ford & Bill Evans: The Sun Room (EAR Music)

Yotam Silberstein: Future Memories: (Jazz& People)

Mark Turner: Mark Turner meets Gary Foster: (ECM)

Dave Wilson Quartet: One Night at Chris' : (Dave Wilson Music)

Dave Stryker: Dave Stryker: Eight Track III (Strikezone Records)

Nicholas Meir World Group: Peaceful (MGP Records)

Adam Larson Band: Listen With Your Eyes ( Ropeadope Records)

Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow, Bobby Previte; You Don't Know The Life: (Rare Noise Records)

Andres Vial, Derzon Douglas, Eric McPherson: Gang of Three (Chromatic Audio)