10 Modern Jazz Albums To Listen To | sheerluxe.com
Whether you’re after a summer soundtrack or something atmospheric for a chilled Sunday evening, here are some recent jazz releases for you to enjoy…
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To The Earth by Dinosaur

 

British jazz supergroup Dinosaur have released their third album, To The Earth. As they enter their tenth year of trumpet-led, improv musings, Mercury-nominated Dinosaur present new material which reflects a decade of making music as a band. Playing the compositions of bandleader and multi-award-winning composer Laura Jurd, Dinosaur explore Jurd's distinctive yet ever-evolving music with technical prowess. Over the past decade, they have earned a reputation as some of the best UK jazz musicians of their generation and played at some of the world's most iconic jazz festivals including North Sea, Molde and Montréal. A joyful listen.

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Recognition: Music For A Silent Film by Sara Serpa

 

From her family’s archives, Sara Serpa adapted Super 8 footage of various scenes under Portuguese colonial rule in 1960s Angola into an experimental documentary in the format of a silent film, before composing its musical counterpart. Far more than accompaniment, Serpa’s mesmerizing feature-length score to the film is as immersive and compelling as the extraordinary images it reflects. Serpa uses her voice as both an ensemble instrument and a focal point for narrative during passages of spoken word, which came out of Serpa’s intensive, self-directed research into the period. More than solely an achievement in music, Recognition addresses thematic concerns that are relevant and significant in the present day.

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Afro Blue by Dee Dee Bridgewater (Reissue)

 
Singer Dee Dee Bridgewater’s 1974 debut album Afro Blue has just been reissued via UK record label Mr Bongo. Although best known for her jazz work, Dee Dee has had a wonderfully rich and varied career encompassing soul, musicals, gospel, and underground disco from the 70s to the present day. Recorded in Japan, Afro Blue features an incredible collaboration of American and Japanese musicians, such as Cecil and Ron Bridgewater, Motohiko Hino and producer Takao Ishizuka. The result is a sublime deep soul-jazz masterpiece featuring timeless versions of 'People Make The World Go Round', 'Love From The Sun' and, of course, 'Afro Blue'.

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All Rise by Gregory Porter

 

Grammy award winner Gregory Porter's sixth studio album, All Rise, is a joyful celebration of the evolution of his art to something even more emotive and universal. The album marks a return to the US jazz singer's original style of song writing – heart-on-sleeve lyrics imbued with everyday philosophy and real-life detail, set to a stirring mix of jazz, soul, blues and gospel. All Rise has been produced by Troy Miller, who’s also worked with Laura Mvula, Jamie Cullum and Emeli Sandé. A crowd pleaser.

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100% Yes by Melt Yourself Down

 

Melt Yourself Down are a London-based band who incorporate elements of North African musical styles, punk, jazz and funk. Founded in 2012, the band is led by saxophonist Pete Wareham, former leader of now defunct jazz/punk band Acoustic Ladyland and saxophonist in British jazz band Polar Bear. With their new album, 100% Yes, the band have reimagined themselves and created a bruising reinterpretation of their signature sound – now with added synths, lyrics and anthems. One for fans of The Comet Is Coming, Sons of Kemet and Battles.

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Martin Freeman And Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner Two

 

When Acid Jazz founder Eddie Piller asked Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock, The Office) to do a jazz radio show they could hardly imagine the response. From around the world emails and tweets inundated the show and they swore to themselves that they couldn't leave it there. Now, two years on this compilation of their favourite jazz has arrived. From the rolling hard bop of Lee Morgan and Art Blakey, via screaming soul organ, jazz funk original acid jazz onwards to the post-modern spiritual jazz of Kasami Washington, this is an incredible journey and a great place to start if you’re new to the genre.

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Kaleidoscope – New Spirits Known and Unknown by Various Artists

 

Soul Jazz Records’ new album Kaleidoscope – New Spirits Known and Unknown brings together many of the ground-breaking artists involved in the new UK jazz scene which has developed over the last few years. Featured artists include Matthew Halsall, Yazmin Lacey, Ill Considered, Tenderlonious, Theon Cross, Emma-Jean Thackray and many more. As well as sharing a pioneering spirit in these new artists’ approach to crossing musical boundaries, a further theme of this album is that many also share a determination to independent practices: most of the recordings featured here are either self-published or released on independent labels. The compilation shows that while there is commonality in their approach to music, there is also a wide variety of styles – from deep spiritual jazz to punk-edged funk and deep soulful vocals.

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In Duo with Mihkel Mälgand by Kadri Voorand

 

Kadri Voorand and Mihkel Mälgand have formed a duo, playing skilfully composed original music for piano, bass and voice that's open for improvisation and uses ambient electronic effects. On In Duo with Mihkel Mälgand, Kadri engages with a musical soundscape that encompasses everything from acoustic folk-pop, classical and R&B to jazz vocal and wordless improv. Kadri has received much acclaim in her home country of Estonia, including recent Estonian Music Awards for ‘Best Female Artist’ and ‘Jazz Album’, as well as accolades in a producer role, something that points to her sensibility towards contemporary vocal aesthetics, in particular her subtle use of electronic effects, looping and layering. This new recording highlights all her attributes as a singer-songwriter: a vocalist who’s highly expressive, energetic and imaginative.

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Songs of an Unknown Tongue by Zara McFarlane

 

Zara McFarlane’s Songs of an Unknown Tongue is a masterful work that underlines her continuous growth as an artist. Zara’s fourth studio album pushes the boundaries of jazz-adjacent music via an exploration into the folk and spiritual traditions of her ancestral motherland, Jamaica. The album is a rumination on the piecing together of black heritage, where painful and proud histories are uncovered and connected to the present. Partnering with cult south-London producers Kwake Bass and Wu-lu, Zara has created a futuristic sound palate, electronically recreating the pulsing, hypnotic rhythms Kumina and Nyabinghi – and the music played at African-rooted rituals.

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Out of Dust by Laila Biali 

 

Multi-award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter and pianist Laila Biali has toured with Chris Botti, Paula Cole and Suzanne Vega. In recent years, she has headlined festivals and venues spanning five continents, including Carnegie Hall, and won a Juno Award for ‘Vocal Jazz Album of the Year’. But it’s also been a period of change and heartache. The result is Biali’s deeply personal new album, Out of Dust, which details the recent deaths of her loved ones in a tender way. A must-listen.

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