One More Mile – Brent Jensen, Bill Anschell, Jeff Johnson, John Bishop

“For One More Mile, the College of Southern Idaho professor teams up with three of Seattle, Washington’s finest—pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop—for an intriguing straight-ahead set of standards and originals.” –All About Jazz

Art of the Groove – Brent Jensen/Rob Walker Quintet

“Alto sax player Brent Jensen here releases his third album, now in combination with flugelhornist Rob Walker. The theme of Art of the Groove is creations based on the many stylings of Miles Davis, with the compositions stacked with originals from the pair….While no single work necessarily bears out the full beauty of the album as a highlight, the album as a whole is a solid effort.” –Allmusic

Origin Records, 2004

A Sleepin’ Bee – Lauren Kinhan

Long a member of the respected New York Voices group, Lauren Kinhan has also, it turns out, been a fan of the early 60’s collaboration between the sublime vocalist Nancy Wilson and the soulful saxophonist Cannonball Adderly. She pays a perfect homage here, with no attempt to directly copy style or substance. The backing trio is beautifully augmented by trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, who contributes perfectly balanced nods to Nat Adderly’s work on the original recording.

Dotted i Records, 2017
Notes by John Gilbreath

I Am A Man – Ron Miles

On I Am a Man, Ron Miles—“one of the finest trumpeters in jazz today” (JazzTimes)—assembles an all-star cast of Jason Moran (piano), Bill Frisell (guitar), Thomas Morgan (bass), and Brian Blade (drums) to deliver his most powerful artistic statement to date. Influenced by the eponymous protest signs of the civil rights movement, Miles brings social justice into his artistic sphere, drawing comparisons of past injustices to the present, while investigating philosophical notions connected to humans simply being and expressing themselves. This is a powerful, pensive, and above all timely, recording.

Yellowbird, 2017
Notes by John Gilbreath

Layers of the City – Ben Allison

Bassist/composer Ben Allison delivers a solid second recording with his “Think Free” quartet of trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, guitarist Steve Cardenas, pianist Frank Kimbrough, and drummer Allan Mednard. Inspired by his home base of New York City, Layers of the City is filled with “tricky melodies, playful moods and an occasional dollop of world beat and free improv” (DownBeat). It is a cohesive album, filled with new sounds and themes, that stay with you even after listening.

Sonic Camera Records, 2017

Cross My Palm With Silver – Avishai Cohen

Following his impressive ECM debut Into the Silence, trumpeter/composer Avishai Cohen releases an album highlighting his dexterous, highly capable quartet of pianist Yonathan Avishai, bassist Barak Mori, and in-demand drummer Nasheet Waits. The interplay between these musicians is absolutely stellar, nearly telepathic as they sojourn through a program of five Cohen originals.

ECM, 2017
Notes by John Gilbreath

The Study of Touch – Django Bates

Subtly challenging the conventions of the jazz piano trio, British pianist Django Bates’ “Beloved” project, with Swedish bassist Petter Eldh and Danish drummer Peter Bruun, delivers a contemplative, free-flowing set on The Study of Touch. At times coursing with momentum, at times painted with light-as-a-feather touches, this album show-cases the incredibly talented players as they make their way through original compositions by Bates, plus a beautifully imagined reworking of Charlie Parker’s “Passport.”

ECM, 2017
Notes by John Gilbreath

Flowers: Beautiful Life, Volume 2 – Jimmy Greene

As on his 2014 Mack Avenue debut Beautiful Life, saxophonist/composer Jimmy Greene poignantly honors his daughter Ana, whose life was tragically cut short in the Sandy Hook massacre. This follow-up, compared to the more spiritual, contemplative predecessor, brings a sense of buoyancy, inspired by his daughter’s love of dance. The more energetic, groove-centric compilation of original compositions features heavyweights including bassist John Patitucci, drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, and pianist Renee Rosnes, among others. It’s yet again a heartfelt tribute to this musician’s biggest inspiration.

Mack Avenue, 2017
Notes by John Gilbreath

Live in Montreal – Hiromi & Edmar Castaneda

Two of the most electrifying and original instrumentalists in contemporary jazz, Japanese pianist/composer Hiromi and Colombian harpist Edmar Castaneda join forces for a sensational performance, recorded live at the 2017 Montreal International Jazz Festival. Two always-crowd-pleasing artists deliver an engaging, explosive, intricate, and absolutely infectious set. “It was really magical and effortless,” notes Hiromi. “It felt like all the musical notes that we created were happy to be together. It was like dancing.”

Telarc, 2017
Notes by John Gilbreath

Coldwater Stories – Florian Hoefner

Pianist Florian Hoefner delivers an astoundingly gorgeous solo performance on Coldwater Stories, recorded live at the acoustically pristine Bremen venue, Sendesaal. Inspired by his newly adopted home, Newfoundland, these compositions aptly reflect the tranquility and beauty of his natural surroundings. Exploring the intersection between improvisation and composition, Hoefner tells a unique, beautiful story on this album.

Origin Records, 2017
Notes by John Gilbreath

Get What You Deserve – Sweet Pea Atkinson

“I’m old as dirt but I can still sing.” On his first solo album in 35 years, 72-year-old vocalist Sweet Pea Atkinson is back and better than ever on this highly enjoyable record of 10 blues, soul, and funk tracks. Best known for the 1980s hit “Walk the Dinosaur” with Was (Not Was), Atkinson has spent the past few decades as a background vocalist for Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, and many more. Get What You Deserve is appropriately named for his hard work and talents paying off, and listeners will enjoy his take on classics like Bobby Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” and James Brown’s “You Can Have Watergate.”

Blue Note, 2017
Notes by John Gilbreath