The best new jazz albums | Editor's Choice - October 2021

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Featuring outstanding new albums from Pat Metheny, Eric Bibb, Terence Blanchard, Brandee Younger and more

Eric Bibb – Dear America


Eric Bibb (g, v), Selwyn Arnold (org), Eric Galesk, Staffan Astner (g), Chuck Campbell (lapsteel), Christer Vandola (mand), Billy branch (hca, v), Ron Carter (b), Tommy Sims (b, v, g), Steve Jordan (d), Shaneeka Simon, Lisa Mills, Big Daddy Wilson, Andre De Lang (v) with Glen Scott (ky, syn, f, g, b, d, perc, v). Rec. date not stated

“Without haranguing the listener, Bibb draws deep on a hundred years of American gospel, blues and 1960s righteous soul to ask profound questions of why so little has changed between the Civil Rights era and the Trump error.” Andy Robson

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Terence Blanchard – Absence

Blue Note 

Terence Blanchard (t), plus The E-Collective: Charles Aktura (g), Fabian Almazan (p), David Ginyard (b), Oscar Seaton (d) + Turtle Island Quartet: David Balakirshnan (vn, dir), Gabe Terracciano (vn), Benjamin von Gutzeit (vla) and Malcom Parson (clo). Rec. date not stated

“A dazzling homage to saxophonist Wayne Shorter that combines the interactive flow of the E Collective band he formed in 2016 with the finesse of the Turtle Island String Quartet. Merging his grasp of composition with the small-group Terence Blanchard skills he honed with Art Blakey, the album captures Shorter’s freewheeling spirit, dramatic narratives and oblique harmonies in full.” Mike Hobart

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Andrew Cyrille Quartet – The News


Andrew Cyrille (d), Bill Frisell (g) David Virelles (p, syn) and Ben Street (b). Rec. 2020

“Cyrille’s often painterly textural invention has always been outstanding, and here he shows a consummate command of low tempo on daringly spacious, sparse material where he chooses every strike of snare or crash of ride cymbal with the utmost care, as if the notes were punctuation in a letter or exclamation marks in an intimate conversation.” Kevin Le Gendre

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Gerry Gibbs – Songs From My Father

Whaling City Sound

Gerry Gibbs (d), Chick Corea, Patrice Rushen, Geoff Keezer, Kenny Barron (p), Larry Goldings (kys), Ron Carter, Buster Williams, Christian McBride (b) and Kyeshie Gibbs (d). Rec. 2020

“This fine and devotedly-crafted double album is a vehicle for much thrilling jazz-making by a superb cast, but it has a rich stream of backstories running through it too. Songs From My Father is New York drummer Gerry Gibbs' personal tribute to his 96 year-old father and bop-vibes legend Terry, involving 10 months work and 15,000 miles of driving and pandemic-restricted meetings for Gibbs Jnr to involve four star-packed versions of his nine year-old Thrasher Dream Trio across the US.” John Fordham

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Pat Metheny – Side-Eye – NYC (V1–IV)

BMG/Modern Recordings

Pat Metheny (g, g syn, el b), James Francies (p, org, syn) and Marcus Gilmore (d). Rec. 2019

“Our received notions of Pat Metheny is that there is not one, but two Pat Methenys. There’s the Pat Metheny that loves jamming, be it on his memorable 80/81, or with his trio on albums such as Trio 99 > 00, Trio > Live and Pat Metheny Dave Holland Roy Haynes, and there’s the Pat Metheny formerly of the Pat Metheny Group and now custodian of its sound, as on 2020’s From This Place. Having set the bar incredibly high with the latter album (and more recently with Road to the Sun), an album of acclaimed classical compositions and arrangements, his current project/band Side Eye features young musicians making waves on the current NYC jazz scene.” Stuart Nicholson

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Revival Room – Revival Room


Adam Fairhall (org), Mark Hanslip (ts) and Johnny Hunter (d). Rec. 1 and 2 August 2018

“This eponymous debut by Adam Fairhall, Mark Hanslip and Johnny Hunter bristles with ideas, delivered with a sly wit and unruffled confidence. Save for a mellow reading of Carla Bley’s ‘Ida Lupino,’ every track here is an original, ranging from Hanslip’s gospel-tinged ballad ‘Day of Rest’ to the fractured boogaloo of Hunter’s ‘April.’” Daniel Spicer

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Brandee Younger – Somewhere Different


Brandee Younger (hp), Maurice Brown (t), Chelsea Baratz (ts), Anne Drummond (fl), Rashaan Carter, Dezron Douglas, Ron Carter (b), Allan Mednard and Marcus Gilmore (d). Rec. November 2020–February 2021

“From the inventive comping in the striking album opener ‘Reclamation’ to the heavy ostinato of the final track, ‘Tickled Pink’, which irrevocably calls to mind ‘The Creator Has A Master Plan’ from Pharoah's iconic Karma, Brandee Younger’s major label debut on Impulse! Records is a work of enormous imagination and mesmerising artistry.”  Peter Quinn

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