Best of Jazz: 5 EPs that made 2017



Mark de Clive Lowe Live at the Blue Whale

Mark de Clive-Lowe “Live at the Blue Whale”

Mashibeats Records – 2017
Japan / New Zealand

Recorded live at the Blue Whale jazz club in Los Angeles, Live At The Blue Whale is exactly the kind of EP that pushes us to listen to jazz live in clubs, its best place to be.

Mark de Clive-Lowe is here at his best, joined by world-class musicians (also playing with Wayne Shorter, Robert Glasper, Thundercat or Flying Lotus). The first track is an original composition, followed by 3 explorations of tracks composed by 3 of Mark favorites artists: Yusef Lateef, Sun Ra, and Ahmad Jamal.

The result is just breathtaking, especially The Golden Lady (For Sun Ra) for which we also gave a standing ovation – alone in our living room.

*****

Mark de Clive-Lowe: piano/keys/live electronics | Josh Johnson: alto sax & flute | Brandon Eugene Owens: bass | Gene Coye: drums



Jonathan Greenstein - Vol 2

Jonathan Greenstein “Vol. 2”

Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit Records – 2017
Israel / United States

Jonathan Greenstein made us wait a lot for that EP Vol. 2; it was definitely worth it.

It is softer and more delicate than his 2017 Vol. 1, yet the five tracks keep our attention clearly stuck to the melodies thanks to his amazing musicians (also playing for Takuya Kuroda, José James, Kamasi Washington, Theo Croker…), and compositions (here is a previous post).

Vol. 3 should be coming very soon (this winter hopefully) – be sure we will follow it.

*****

Jonathan Greenstein: sax, keyboard | Michael King: piano, keyboard | Takeshi Ohbayashi: piano, keyboard | Joshua crumbly: Bass | Jonathan Pinson: drums



kamasi washington - harmony of difference

Kamasi Washington “Harmony of Difference”

Young Turks – 2017
United States

For Kamasi Washington, 6 tracks and 31 minutes, after The Epic, can only be an EP.

Seriously, Harmony of Difference is a condensed accessible version of himself, packaged in 6 keywords that tell it all: Desire, Humility, Knowledge, Perspective, Integrity, and Truth; nearly as a suite, having each song following one another without noticing transitions.

Don’t be afraid when you read accessible. It does not mean that Kamasi Washington changed his dense compositions and arrangements, nor dropped the choirs or the plethora of musicians involved; just that this EP drags you into his world in a more insidious way, making it more enjoyable for all the ones that were too overwhelmed by his previous release.

*****

Kamasi Washington: Tenor Saxophone | Terrace Martin: Alto Saxophone | Artyom Manukyan: Cello | Peter Jacobson: Cello | Miles Mosely: Double Bass | Ronald Bruner Jr.: Drums | Tony Austin: Drums, Percussion | Thundercat: Electric Bass | Rickey Washington: Flute | Matt Haze: Guitar | Brandon Coleman: Keyboards | Cameron Graves: Piano | Ryan Porter: Trombone | Dontae Winslow: Trumpet | Nick Mancini: Vibraphone | Andrea Whitt, Molly Rogers: Viola | Chris Woods, Jen Simone, Paul Cartwright, Tylana Renga: Violin | Doctor Dawn Norfleet, Dexter Story, Dustin Warren, Jimetta Rose Smith, Mashica Winslow, Patrice Quinn, Steven Wayne, Taylor Graves, Thalma De Freitas: Choir



The Comet is Coming - Death to the Planet

The Comet is Coming “Death to the Planet”

The Leaf Label – 2017
United Kingdom

We did not get any new album from The Comet is Coming this year, but we were still very happy to get a special edition of their album Channel The Spirits (including the Prophecy EP and three previously unreleased tracks on a second CD) and of course, this awesome 4 tracks EP.

Death to the Planet was released for Record Store Day in an edition of 700 vinyls, now sold out, reprinted (300), re-sold out. If you are a fan, you can still buy the digital version on their Bandcamp. It includes the 2016 song Final Ecplipse with 3 new tracks.

While songs titles of the full-length album were linked to a space journey invitation, the Death to the Planet tracks listing makes it a lot scarier by giving a human point of view over the comet that is coming: start running, final eclipse, march of the rising sun, ascension… Outch.

The band mentions this is just “signaling an end to life as we know it, heralding the dawn of a new age”. Anyway, the music is perfect and if this is the soundtrack of our death, it feels quite ok.

*****

Danalogue the Conqueror: keys | Betamax Killer: drums | King Shabaka: sax



Tony Allen - A tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

Tony Allen “A tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers”

Blue Note – 2017
Nigeria

2017 is another good year for Tony Allen, increadible, as always. His new album The Source got all our attention (cf this playlist) but what kept playing on our stereos was his last EP A Tribute To Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers.

It has the perfect conciseness and the carefree precision of Tony Allen’s groove. It has some of the most famous Art Blakey compositions (Moanin’, A Night In Tunisia, Politely, and Drum Thunder Suite). It is a perfect tribute.

*****

Tony Allen: drums | Jean Phi Dary: piano | Rémi Sciuto: alto saxophone | Yann Jankielewicz: tenor saxophone | Daniel Zimmermann: trombone | Nicolas Giraud: trumpet | Mathias Allamane: bass



 



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