Nicole Mitchell – Awakening. Jazz flute often gets a bad rap, but recently I’ve been appreciating how amazing it is in the hands of a master–Rahsaan of course, and the wonderful James Newton. Nicole Mitchell is right up there in the pantheon, and here performs some spectacular vocalized solos in a tight small group backed with guitar, bass, drums.
Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression. Just found out that Iggy Pop put out a new album last year–and surprise, it’s actually good! The backing band is spare and effective, reminiscent of some of his 1970s classics, and Iggy’s mournful baritone is still great.
Craig Taborn – Daylight Ghosts. I hadn’t heard Craig Taborn before, but was drawn to this recording because the group includes Chris Speed and Chris Lightcap, who are among my favorites in this generation of jazz musicians. While I haven’t fully digested this unusual, atmospheric and complex recording yet, it’s very worthwhile, evoking minimalism as often as jazz.
Steve Lacy Meets The Riccardo Fassi Trio – Dummy. It’s unusual to hear Lacy in the relatively traditional context of a piano-bass-drums backing group, and they do help sand down some of his rougher edges. This is a great, lively recording, often quite lyrical but also with a punchy version of “This Is It,” one of my favorite Lacy tunes.