New jazz releases to tide us over until live performances return — The Know
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
With vaccines being rolled out, we’re seeing some promise of larger-scale live jazz performances happening at some point this year. The folks at the Telluride Jazz Festival have indicated they are planning on moving forward in August, “but only if it is safe to do so,” according to its website.
You miss all of the live options? Me, too, and I can’t wait for the time when I can take in half a dozen shows in one day, to make up for lost time. For now, there’s a wave of high-quality newly released life- affirmations on CD and download, including a couple of projects from formerly dormant Colorado groups.
I was unfamiliar with the Denver-based quintet The Jazz WORMS until recently, even if I’d appreciated all of its participants for years. The band’s name serves as an acronym for the last names of pianist Andy Weyl, saxophonist Keith Oxman, drummer Paul Romaine, cornetist Ron Miles and bassist Mark Simon. “Squirmin’” (out March 19 on Capri Records) is the group’s first album since 1987, and the smart interplay proves they haven’t missed a beat in more than three decades. The music is fresh and cerebral, and all five members deserve our respect, as does the Colorado label getting this music into the world, no matter the economic environment.
PW3 (formerly knows as Perry Weissman 3) has also gone a long time without presenting any new music. This local collective recently put “backlog” up on Bandcamp.com, and there are nearly 2 hours of drifting, atmospheric, sometimes rockish instrumentals, most featuring the outgoing trombone solos of Rick Benjamin-Tebelau and guitarist Brian Murphy. How do they sound after a long absence? Think Burt Bacharach meets Tortoise filtered through Brian Eno. Draw your own conclusions at https://pw3-be-free.bandcamp.com.
Bassist and bandleader William Parker must be one of the most prolific American artists of the 21st century. He becomes significantly more so with the release of “Migration Of Silence Into And Out Of The Tone World Volumes 1-10” (AUM Fidelity). Sprawling across 10 CDs, there’s an overwhelming sea of spiritual music created with love and empathy, featuring women’s voices throughout. My favorite pieces include Album 6, “Mexico,” with the vocalist Jean Carla Rodea and whenever drummer Hamid Drake joins in to further energize the proceedings. There’s also a sampler version of this material, “Trencadis,” that’s available, but since Parker and his associates have so much to say, why would you want that? This is music to live with for a long time.
Charles Lloyd turns 83 this month, but age is merely a number for this engaging saxophonist, whose new “Tone Poem” (Blue Note) is yet another inquiry into the beautiful possibilities of creativity. After listening, I once again am left with the question, “How does he do it?” Leading with a pair of Ornette Coleman numbers that are absolutely standards by now and breathing new life into songs by Leonard Cohen and Gabor Szabo, Lloyd’s collaborator from the ’60s, Lloyd plays with the verve he had then, but with the authority of an artist who has survived generations of change. Guitarist Bill Frisell, an alumnus of Denver’s East High School, serves as a resonant foil to Lloyd here, too.
And more jazz: The Peter Olstad Quartet performs “Blue Note and Beyond” at Nocturne March 7 and 14. … The Rico Jones Trio appears at Tracks on March 10. … Dazzle’s heartfelt “Bread & Jam” undertaking is helping to feed musicians of all genres. Get the details at dazzledenver.com.
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