With a cinematic Jazz ensemble quiescently quivering beneath a poetically enticing spoken-word monologue, The Spice Cabinet’s latest release, “Bittersweet”, is captivating from the intro.
From there on out, the Neo-Classic soundscape demonstrates its efficaciousness in arresting your rhythmic pulses with the subtle yet striking fluctuations in zeal and style, leaving you eager, but assured, you’re in masterfully safe aural hands.
With the nuance exhibited in Bittersweet, it comes as no surprise that Beijing’s 11-piece award-winning Jazz fusion collective have amassed plenty of acclaim. Frontman, arranger, pianist and trombonist Terry Hsieh is able to bring modernism to a genre consistently perceived as archaic. Perhaps more pertinently, he is able to make a plaything of your psyche through his ingenuity.
The Beijing Times describes Canadian pianist and composer Martin Mayer as “Canada’s Prince Of The Piano”, and with ‘Carol Of The Bells’ – a soaring, shifting, ringing three-minute eighteen-seconds instrumental track of rolling drums and searing piano melody – Mayer is certainly doing everything to prove himself worthy of that title.
An instrumental fusion of pop-rock, smooth mellow jazz, and strict classical discipline, ‘Carol Of The Bells’ rings and chimes its way through key shifts and tempo switches, alternately lifting and droppingthrough the full dynamic range to produce an explosive, energetic track.
Mayer’s most recent album, ‘Unbreakable’, was listed as one of the top 25 New Music Critiques of 2018 by Music Connection Magazine, whilst Canada’s National Post predicts that Mayer is “Poised to take over the world stage”. On the basis of ‘Carol Of The Bells’, that truth is close to undeniable.
Perth’s Efa dances into our heart with lovely jazz-pop as she sings about heartbreak on ‘So Smooth‘.
This song is all about a cliché high school romance that is based on true events. The song is inspired by old-time-style jazz music mixed with the new-aged dance pop. This works so well and is a fun song to dance to, be inspired by and perhaps be sad about too. Love lost is always a sad thing as we should all be happy.
Efa is a singer-songwriter, dancer-choreographer from Glen Innes in New South Wales, Australia. With a strong background in Contemporary, Jazz, and Musical Theatre which influences both her musical and choreographic style. After starting her music career when she was 12, this young, quirky and talented musician is ready for the next step in her music. She sings about real moments, she is genuine and has a lovely voice.
‘So Smooth‘ from Perth’s Efa is a fine song and comes with a fun video that will cheer anyone up that has dealt with heartbreak lately. What a massive talent with lots more to come.
Michael Vincent is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from New York City and he returns with his new single ‘Summertime Love‘.
The City that never seems to sleep, New York. Michael is always thinking and dreaming in sound, melody, and lyrics. He had his first violin lesson at the age of six and got into the music scene from there. The bug bit and has never let go. After learning the guitar, and was involved in orchestra, jazz ensemble, several rock bands, and song writing. From there it was piano, drums, ukeleke, and he learned to sing. With such a passion to learn all these incredible instruments, you can tell that he wants to be the best he can be.
With a pure voice that captures your attention like a new crisp camera lens, Michael Vincent is in top form with the summer classic that we have been blessed with. There are clicking of the fingers here, the vocals are smooth and the beat reminds you of the beach, being with good friends and enjoying ‘Summertime Love‘. This is a house-covered tasty treat for our hungry ears who will consume this with a smile on your face. This is the type of song that gets you in a mood with dancing and be happy, forgetting all your worries.
Jazz music always holds a secret power over all of its listeners, and Stephanie Sellars certainly knows how to draw you in, with her sultry tone to her vocal and the gorgeous piano guiding the song with a trumpet adding to the track half-way through.
“I Want to Be Bad” is a cover of the 1920’s song by Helen Kane from the musical “Follow Thru”, yet Stephanie Sellars not only makes it her own, but she also brings it into the 21st century, giving it a much-needed reinvention, whilst also doing it justice.
Kicking in with some proper old style TR808 drum sounds before a set of mildly discordant piano and brass chords, ‘Cosmos’ by Dion Kerr is nine minutes of jazzy instrumental, a series of repeating motifs, moving through arrangements and phrases, alternating saxophone and experimental guitar courtesy of collaborator Jeff Parker.
Here using an original composition from his days at the Manhattan School Of Music, Kerr deconstructs and recasts the piece into an improvisational modern big band arrangement, marrying old school drum machine beats, cassette tape saturation, and experimental modern jazz.
‘Cosmos’ is from Kerr’s new album ‘Ivy’, available to preorder from his Bandcamp page.
‘How About You’ starts simply enough, a few measures of descending piano riff and Muonoke’s vocal before the full-on ‘brushes and hi-hats’ rhythm section kick, and we’re treated to the rich pleasure of Muoneke’s outstanding vocal.
This is full, old-school combo swing-time jazz a la Gershwin, Basie, or Woody Herman, or the best of West End show-tunes, the piano riffing alongside upright bass and a perfectly phrased trumpet interlude, Muoneke’s voice deep, rounded, and resonant throughout. The timbre and tone of his mellow baritone a perfect counterpoint to the band beneath; Muoneke describes himself as ‘the young man with the old soul’, and on ‘How About You’ he’s not wrong, the song instantly transporting us back to a 1940’s pre-Bebop era of smoky jazz clubs, expressive, strong, and vibrant, Muoneke’s lyrics a canny mix of old school (‘Lady Ella’s voice’) and new (‘Some roti curry goat, rice, and peas’), self-aware but never jarring or incongruous.
A masterclass of swing, Muoneke’s debut album is available to pre-save via his Facebook page.
Starting off with a subtle piano-and-drum part before the pulled back distorted vocals and mellow saxophone kick in, Yoni Mayraz’s ‘I used to think about God’ is a chilled-out, jazzy deep-cuts style wander through anger and acceptance, a cry to revisit a simpler, more peaceful time when the beauty of home and comfort had yet to be superseded by the fear and confusion of the last few months.
Noam Darvish’s vocal is pulled masterfully back in the mix, the track carried instead by Matan Vardi’s freeform jazzy sax, a three-minute paean to love and acceptance, the lead single from Mayraz’s new ‘Rough Cuts’ EP.
‘Sugar Freak‘ is the brand new EP from the UK band with the ultimate artist name- Tropical Boyfriend Catalogue.
Tropical Boyfriend Catalogue are a UK based indie-pop gathering of music lovers and they win our hearts with a genuine feel and jazzy postcards with wonderful vocals and beats. Consisting of members Kami Ivanova (vocals, guitar), Zak Lyons (guitar, keys), Craig Medlin (guitar) and Adam Thomas (bass), you can tell that this band love playing together. The intricate beauty shines above the bursting bass lines and I love the care that each song has been made with.
After meeting in Croydon in England, the band became good mates after University and a music flow soon wove into creations together. This close bond blends a mixer full packed synth-pop journey that gets you reminiscing and grooving.
The highlights on this fine EP are definitely ‘Holding On‘ and ‘Reverence‘ as these two efforts are sung with such passion and the background matched the songs the best I feel.
‘Sugar Freak‘ is a great release from Tropical Boyfriend Catalogue and the close friends impress on this stripped bare gem. There is an authentic feel that helps our hearts in 2020. They weave pop, rock and jazz into a tight bow of fantastic music.
‘Immersive’ isn’t usually the first adjective which comes to mind to describe a standout track from Jazz ensemble but discernibly, the Leeds-lauded Jazz outfit Dangerbirds are anything but archetypal.
After forming in 2018, Dangerbirds took their time crafting their transcendently warm album “Shapes”. Part Ambient Jaz and Part Progressive Melodic Instrumental Rock, the album is a deluge of complexity weaved into trustable rhythms. The standout track is undoubtedly Red Tea, it may not use typical time signatures, yet, you’ll want to surrender your pulses to the alchemy weaved by virtuoso-level composer and guitarist Sam Horan regardless.
Never let it be said that Jazz can’t be accessible and fit for contemporary airwaves.
You can check out Red Tea along with the rest of Dangerbirds debut album Shapes via Spotify.