Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Releases: KAT EDONSON - The Big Picture; ALICE COLTRANE - A Monastic Trio; DARIUS JONES - The Oversoul Manual


Kat Edmonson announces October tour dates in support of her third album, The Big Picture out September 30 via Sony Music Masterworks. A full tour will follow in early 2015.  The album is her label debut and was recorded with Grammy-nominated producer Mitchell Froom (Paul McCartney) in his Los Angeles studio. Of the album, Edmonson states, "There's no particular theme, but there are some commonalities, one of which is my ever-underlying influence from motion pictures and film scores. I have always felt that music and film go hand in hand, because that was how I was first exposed to music-from old movies and musicals-and to me there wasn't a separation between an actor acting, dancing and singing." See full tour dates below. This album follows her 2012 release, Way Down Low, her first collection that included original material. The New York Times hailed the album as "fresh as a spring bouquet," and The Boston Globe called it "one of the greatest vocal albums I've ever heard." Edmonson performed on Austin City Limits made her Prairie Home Companion debut, and was featured on NPR an impressive five times that same year. The songstress also found herself touring with several well-established acts such as Chris Isaak, Gary Clark Jr. and Michael Kiwanuka.


Early work by Alice Coltrane – somewhat under the shadow of her late husband, as you'd guess from the use of his name on the front cover – but really stepping out here with a voice of her own! The Monastic Trio of the set features Alice on harp and piano – alongside bass from Jimmy Garrison and drums by either Ben Riley or Rashied Ali – both really fluid players who open up nicely in this way that's never to far out, at least in the way that John Coltrane was using rhythms at the time – but which allow Alice to really take the lead as a bold musical visionary of her own! Perhaps most exciting, Pharoah Sanders sits in on one of the album's longest tracks – blowing tenor with a force that's enough to bring back The Great One – but the real charm of the set is Alice's piano work, bubbling out here with a sensitivity that we never would have expected from the harder-edge sessions cut with Coltrane – that new level of spirituality she instantly brought to her own solo sessions. Titles include "Ohnedaruth", "Lovely Sky Boat", and "Atomic Peace".  ~ Dusty Groove


One of the most unusual projects we've ever heard from Darius Jones – so much so that the record doesn't feature the instrumentalist at all – just his own ideas and compositions performed by a very unique vocal quartet! The album is dedicated to all the singers who've influenced Jones over the years – from Nina Simone to Leontyne Price, Andy Bey, and Betty Carter – but the compositions are way different than any of those references might make you expect, and are based around a created language for spiritual rituals from the planet Or'gen – with word shapes instead of actual lyrics, performed by a quartet of female singers with a very enigmatic sound! The work is far more experimental than straight jazz vocals, but still has a very haunting, captivating feel – and the 15 tracks on the album are all listed with a variety of different symbols in the notes.  ~ Dusty Groove


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