Top class piano trio jazz as we have come to expect from Alexi Tuomarila over the years, here with bassist Mats Eilertsen and forward looking drummer Olavi Louhivuori. There is a dazzling, ferocious work ethic at play, more a maximalist than a minimalist vision and yet Tuomarila is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve darting in and out of the modern mainstream traditions. With trumpeter guest Verneri Pohjola stark and striking on three tracks the trio spread out into a new bigger panorama on these tracks but to be honest the trio is enough, whether tender on ‘Origins’ or full of feverish enchantment on opener ‘Shapeshifter’. Eilertsen’s contribution is a hefty one and the intertwining lines he and Tuomarila create make their forays together a continual fascination to unpick. Sphere goes straight to the top of my favourite releases at the moment. SG 

I had an over riding sense of déjà vu when hearing Shalosh for the first time. Not only do they inhabit similar terrain to EST certainly on the surface they appear for Onwards and Upwards on the same label as the great piano trio.

But there are as many differences as there are similarities. Certainly the trio push and play with the idea of a piano trio and fold in a wide variety of influences spanning jazz, rock and electronica. But they also go their own way. Formed of pianist Gadi Stern, bass player David Michaeli and drummer Matan Assayag they have been around for a while largely known mainly back home in Israel but now projecting to an international audience via the bigger reach of their new label although their earlier releases have appeared on small international labels already and they have toured widely.

Shalosh bring a sense of drama, heat and engagement to their tunes and the trio manage to carve out a space that has appeal to jazz audiences but can also exist simply as modern sounding rock or whatever inspired instrumental music. I enjoyed what I heard especially when there is a little more depth to the tunes (say ‘Children of the 90s’ or the pick of the album ‘Meditation’) but the pop covers (You’ll Never Walk Alone, Take On Me) left me a little cold. Worth discovering.   

A previously unreleased live recording of Stan Getz at New York’s Village Gate is to be released in June in a 2-CD, 3-LP treatment. GETZ AT THE GATE: THE STAN GETZ QUARTET LIVE AT THE VILLAGE GATE, NOV. 26, 1961 features Getz with pianist Steve Kuhn, bassist John Neves, and drummer Roy Haynes. The show was professionally recorded, possibly for eventual release, but was extraordinarily forgotten about for oh a mere 57-plus years. 

One of the most imaginative jazz trombonists around, Ryan Keberle has a new album The Hope I Hold on Dave Douglas’ label Greenleaf out next month, the Maria Schneider Orchestra member with his own seasoned band, Catharsis. The title relates to the album’s theme of optimism in the face of political and cultural corruption and features lyrics drawn from a 1935 Langston Hughes poem. Listen from the album to ‘Despite the Dream’, which has the spirit of Carla Bley and Charlie Haden hovering somewhere in the ether about it.

New Day cover

Very little publicity, actually scratch that, none at all for this nevertheless exquisite sounding duo album out today from Welsh pianist Huw Warren and his former Perfect Houseplants colleague saxophonist Mark Lockheart

New Day — Live at Livio Felluga Winery is released on the Italian CAM Jazz label and was recorded last year.

“Playing original material, mostly by Warren, but also a couple of compositions by the English master John Taylor, their improvisations bespeak deep understanding of each others’ musical personality. Nothing forced or overstated, but precisely the kind of creative conversation you might expect from two friends who’ve just opened a fine bottle of wine. This is music to savour in repose and thoughtfully. It is also music that will continue to develop with age,” says Brian Morton in the notes. Cover above. You will find listening samples here.

New in June the above opening track is from the fine, powerfully expressive, Cuban themed release by pianist Fabian Almazan This Land Abounds With Life, with Linda May Han Oh (acoustic/electric bass) and Henry Cole (drums), + a string quartet on one track, Almazan says: “I didn’t want to make an overtly political album but there are things that are wrong both in the U.S. and in Cuba. By no means do I have the answers. But everyone’s caught up with their power struggle. I’m being allusive because my main focus is the environment and nature, and being able to look beyond today, beyond politics and ideologies to the basic foundation of life, which if we continue to overlook, the consequences are going to be catastrophic.” Listen to ‘Benjamin’ from the album to be released on the Biophilia label above.