Looking for some Monday motivation? We’ve got you covered! From music reflecting the times to music evoking exotic travels, here are five new songs that you can listen to right now to start your week the right way.
The David Berkman Sextet, “Blowing Smoke”
Pianist-composer David Berkman continues to explore the rich orchestral possibilities in a three-woodwind sextet on his new album, Six of One, out April 5 via Palmetto Records, refining the work of musical exploration he introduced on 2015’s Old and New Friends. The new LP opens with “Blowing Smoke,” a swinging tribute to Manhattan’s Smoke Jazz Club and the New York City jazz scene that has nurtured Berkman since arriving to the Big Apple in 1985. On Six of One, he leads a sextet with three different saxophonists, Dayna Stephens, Adam Kolker and Billy Drewes, and the gifted rhythm section formed by bassist Chris Lightcap and drummer Kenneth Salters. “There are a lot of orchestral possibilities with these horns,” explains Berkman. “This group is all about having access to those colors as well as a wide range of approaches. We’ve been developing as a group as we play together.”
The Rippingtons, “Silver Arrows”
For over three decades, The Rippingtons have been topping the world of contemporary jazz. The group was founded by guitarist-composer Russ Freeman in 1985, and it has been the main vehicle for his genre-defying vision of music since then. Open Road, their first album in three years, finds The Rippingtons going back to basics, privileging great melodies, dynamic arrangements and virtuoso playing while, at the same time, taking advantage of and experimenting with modern techniques and new technologies. The danceable, groovy “Silver Arrows” opens the 11-track set, evoking a sensation of freedom and exotic journeys, a theme that certainly drives the album and is embodied by the band’s mascot, the “Jazz Cat” featured on Open Road‘s cover. The track featured Meyer on acoustic guitar and was inspired by his multitude of travels to Europe with his wife Yaredt.
Durand Jones & The Indications, “Long Way Home”
Durand Jones & The Indications released their new album, American Love Call, on March 1 via Dead Oceans/Colemine Records and on March 9, they made their daytime television debut on CBS This Morning: Saturday performing three tracks from their soulful sophomore LP: “Long Way Home,” “Don’t You Know” and “Morning in America.” The band is helmed by vocalists Durand Jones and drummer Aaron Frazer, and on American Love Call, they reckon with how to balance the love and fury of modern-day America. While their sound is steeped in the sound of early ’70s music, conjuring the dynamism of such great artists as Jackie Wilson, Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions, Duran Jones & The Indications are aware and firmly planted in the present, with the urgency of this moment in time, fulfilling Nina Simone’s idea of an artist’s duty to “reflect the times.”
George Benson, “Nadine (Is It You?)”
Legendary guitarist-vocalist George Benson has announced that he will release his 45th studio album Walkin’ to New Orleans on April 26. Whereas his previous album, 2013’s Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole, found him backed by lavish orchestration, on Walkin’ to New Orleans he is backed by a raw quartet of first-call Nashville cats, as he remembers and pays tribute to Fats Domino and Chuck Berry. “I’m a great appreciator of the music made by both of those guys,” he says via a press release. “Chuck Berry was a great showman and a great musician, and Fats Domino cut nothing but hit after hit after hit.” His take on Berry’s “Nadine (Is It You?),” the father of rock and roll’s first piece of music released after finishing a prison term in October 1963, anticipates what sounds like what may be Benson’s loose-limbed album yet.
Mark de Clive-Lowe, “Bushido II”
Musician, composer and producer Mark de Clive-Lowe follows his acclaimed Heritage, released earlier this year, with its companion piece, Heritage II, out April 5. The duology is de Clive-Lowe’s exploration of his own half-Japanese, half-New Zealander ancestry and cultural roots, fusing the world of jazz and Japanese influence with drum and bass, hip-hop and broken-beat. “This is my identity search and journey to better understand where I’ve come from, what ancestry means to me and where I’m going to,” he explains via a press release. “Bushido II” from Heritage II is the partner track to “Bushido I” from the earlier LP; both are inspired by the Bushido “Way of the Warrior,” a Japanese code of honor and ideals that dictated the samurai way of life. Where as “Bushido I” was a more introspective reading, “Bushido II” is a relentlessly dense and wildly experimental drum and bass ride, interpreting the code in full battle mode.
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