The phrase Sax lead Jazz may, to those who walk more mainstream musical paths, conjure images of high end lounge bars, department store lifts and cocktail parties. Thankfully artists like Carlos Saunier prove that such music can be both sophisticated and accessible, effortlessly cool and far removed from such cliched images. It also walks that fine line between refinement, of slick deliveries and late night sensuality that lies at the heart of jazz music and the wilder, more experimental sonic explorations of the free jazz movement, where rules are made to be if not broken then at least bent out of shape.
And like all great jazz ensembles, Saunier surrounds himself with musicians who are both team players and virtuouso soloists in their own right. Happy to serve the song as readily as they are to head off in some dulcet flights of fancy. Inminente is a brilliant collection of jazz instrumentals wandering between the understated and the virtuosic, the expected and the eclectic, where rhythm sections and beats just as easily become focal points as they do the engine room of the music, where guitar notes seem to flow rather than get played and where sultry and shining saxophones seduce the listener.
Some music is a little hit or miss, and some music hit’s you like a tone of pacifying bricks; Ross Avant is a Soul artist who irrefutably creates the latter. His timelessly mesmerising compositions of sound carry an infinite amount of resonance to get caught up within as you listen to his standout single from his EP ‘Dream of Surrender’. The multi-instrumentalist’s ability to command sound ddoesn’t come into question throughout House of Blues as he lays down compelling piano melodies which have a way of contorting your emotions right the way through the rhythmically compelling old school blues. The New York based artist is no stranger to the stage lights after he performed with the world-renowned Jim Cullum Jazz Band, yet, it wasn’t until 2017 that Avant recorded his first solo EP which received critical acclaim.
You can stream & download Ross Avant’s latest single House of Blues from his most recent EP Dream of Surrender on BandCamp now. With Ross Avant’s forthcoming album set to be released later this year, he’s definitely an artist to keep on your aural radar.
Alex ja Armottomat is a Helsinki based artist, who, lets face it, you’ve probably never heard before, so it’s my job to tell you just how sensational this Indie Rock collective is when it comes to orchestrating tracks that make your heart skip a beat, even if you have to read the lyrics as subtitles.
Alex ja Armottomat’s latest track is accompanied by one of the most poignantly depressing music videos that the 21st century has seen, yet, in all of its quaintest charms it melts your heart paired against morosely muted vocals and the unmistakable rhythm of a raw acoustic Blues guitar.
Their debut track Sateisena Sunnuntaina was released last December, in all of it’s soulful Blues Rock Pop glory which is impossible to compare to other artists out there, it truly is in a league of its own with its strangely uplifting glory.
If you feel like adding a little culture to your music collection, make sure you check out the official music video to Sateisena Sunnuntaina using the YouTube link below:
Harry Jordan may just be the woman to bring Psychobilly into the mainstream, for years I’ve adored acts such as The Cramps and Mad Sin, but there always a disconnection, a sense that the vibe could never be translated into this time. Harry Jordan, a Birmingham, UK based artist has infused the nostalgically tired sound with her contemporary female empowerment mixed with her blues sensibility to create her sensational debut track Hell in High Heels.
In some ways, the track came across as a rounded international sound, with elements from the past and future delectably combined to create a rampant Rock & Roll track with a unique blues/jazz sensibility thrown into the mix.
If you’re a fan of The Creepshow, Vince Ray & The Boneshakers, The Meteors or The Radiacs; Harry & The Howlers then Hell in High Heels is going to be a breath of fresh air to your tired old playlists. She’s taken a sound which often loses authority in delivery by putting her own Femme Fatal stamp upon it to bring that old Psychobilly sound into a new era.
Check out Hell in High Heels using the SoundCloud link below:
Whilst it is pretty much impossible to find music which totally encapsulates America as an idea and an entity, by virtue of its size and diversity, cultural blends and creative explorations, there is some music which when heard makes you think of no other place. The bleak and emotive howls of early blues, wild eyed jazz ensembles, the heartland rock of the likes of Petty and Springsteen and the evocative roots sound which is at the heart of Jason Scotts music.
When I’m Good and Ready is like a snapshot into the American music psyche, mixing rootsy blues, country and old school rock and roll into the ultimate soundtrack for any film which wishes to pin point a sense of place in the space of eight bars. It feels as if the song could come from any time in the last 80 years and be playing in any bar, basement club, juke joint or truck stop you happen to stumble upon. But whilst the setting may be universal, few artists could get it this deliver something this deftly wrought, this effective, this seemingly effortless.
Julez is a young and talented musician hailing from the NYC/NJ area. Her sound is a great combination of blues, rock and pop, going for a very energetic approach.
When you think of blues music, most of you might think of old-timey music with a retro feel. While Julez still retains a charming old-school tone in her songs, her offering is also compelling and modern. This talented young artist is able to project the blues into the new millennium, catering to a new generation of fans. In partiuar, Julez excels as a live performer, as she can truly kick things up a notch on a stage, where she can get to engage with her audience. Having said that, Julez is also a great studio artist, as shown on his recent studio release.
“Back To First Steet” features 7 exciting blues/rock numbers that highlight the artist’s flexibility and creative vision. Her sound makes me think of influential performers the likes of Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin or Lucinda Williams, showcasing a whole new different personality.
Armed with her trusty Fender start, Julez is all about conquering her audience with immediate lyrics and unique vibes.
The wonderfully named Holyphant merge the drifting desert blues sound with a darker and more ephemeral vibe, one which is built on shifting dynamics, from ambient moods to classic rock salvos, and the bleak and wasted stoner rock vibe. Throw in some brooding gothic undercurrents and some hypnotic interludes and you are about half way to nailing down their meandering and mercurial sound.
It’s a lot to back into one song but it shows a clear understanding of the rocks rich and varied history and a deft hand when it comes to blending past styles into a gloriously new sound. It wanders progressive landscapes planting defiant rock seeds, waters them with alt-rock nourishment and prepares for the blooming of a whole new post-genre, all inclusive rock movement. Knowing where you come from is the key to knowing where you are going and Hallucinations prove beyond doubt that Holyphants never forget!
Although The Custom Shop is equally at home blasting out blues, rocking the R&B or soulfully and skilfully navigating Motown tinted waters, Ballads of Yore finds them at their most understated, most chilled and considered. The chorus might be built on bigger dynamics and a fuller band sound but the charm of the song comes in its mellower moments, when pianos skitter and chime and distant saxophones add wonderful musical detail around the edge of the song.
But as finely wrought as the song is it is nothing without the killer vocal to really carry the sonic ball over the musical line and Molly Orlando hits it just right, a masterful mix of subtlety and power, gentle balladry to powerful deliveries. Ballads of Yore is one of those timeless songs, part country, part blues, part rock all mixed in and underplayed to perfection, heavily nostalgic but never cliched, emotive, sensitive and soulful. They don’t make them like that any more!
They say that when life hands you lemons you make lemonade. Similarly when life handed Dani Sylvia heartache she made heartachingly beautiful songs. Working towards an album called Tall Tales, a reference to her height, Dark Blue is the latest in a procession of songs which range from the unabashed baring of inner emotions to her frustrations at the world around her, from tear stained honesty to thought provoking questioning.
It comes as no surprise that Dani is a trained dancer and that she has already worked with some big names in the industry from Paloma Faith to Muse, but now is her time to shine and she does so by following a completely individual path. Hers is a journey forged of gentle reflection, wistful regret and loss and longing but also one of optimism and hope and musically she wanders chilled pop landscapes, sensual R&B pathways and silky late night sensuality. Some music is about open celebration and throwaway party vibes, but when you want something more soul searching, emotive and heartfelt, Dani is your go to girl.
Tiana Major9 is a driven and dedicated artist with a passion for exciting crossover music that blurs the lines between genres as diverse as blues, jazz, and soul, among others.
Recently, Tiana wrapped up a brand new single release titled “Levee.” The track beings with a stunning, mellow combination of piano chords and vocals. The first thing that stands out is the singer’s incredible vocal performance. Tiana has some great dynamics, as she can seamlessly swing from low to high, from soft to quiet in order to create an exciting and direct sonic feature. The song feels very introspective in the beginning, but it actually comes to life with a burst of energy, with a nice rhythm section that complements Tiana’s vocals really well. I am particularly in awe of the production of this track. The song sounds remarkably modern, yet warm and relatable, almost like listening to one of those amazing jazz records that people still love for their organic vibes.