Atlas

In what is one of their highest profile signings to date London jazz indie label Whirlwind have signed singer Natacha Atlas and will release her album Strange Days in the autumn.   

Atlas over the years has worked with Transglobal Underground, Peter Gabriel, Nitin Sawhney, Nigel Kennedy, Indigo Girls, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Ibrahim Maalouf. Strange Days Whirlwind describe as “A darkly dystopian Arabic-infused jazz fantasy.”

It is a departure for Whirlwind whose releases tend to gravitate towards acoustic hard bop, jazz-rock, Cool School and mainstream flavours and a sign of the growing reach of the label which is run by bassist Michael Janisch beyond its core constituency.

Atlas on her Facebook page provides more details, crediting violinist, composer, arranger Samy Bishai as her producer, co-composer and arranger on the album and indicating that her personnel on it includes pianist Alcyona Mick, Andy Hamill, Asaf Sirkis, Hayden Powell, Robinson Khoury, Laurie Lowe and Idris Rahman among others.

Singer Claudia Campagnol releases her debut album I’m Strong later this month, a gutsy soulful affair which features an A-list of guests including musicians Jimmy Haslip, Vinnie Colaiuta and Gerard Presencer. The Dane, one of Denmark’s rising stars, plays the Danish Club Night at this year’s Jazzahead! in Bremen on Saturday 27 April. 

Blake, Oh, Potter

A ferociously compelling trio affair from the Kenny Barron drummer, here recorded live at The Jazz Gallery in New York City featuring Chris Potter on tenor saxophone and Linda Oh on bass.

Kino trio

The Babel label has been relatively dormant for a while now but bounces back with a new signing, the Kino trio, led by the Bill Evans influenced pianist Bruno Heinen, above centre, himself no stranger to the label. Heinen is with bassist Michele Tacchi and drummer Riccardo Chiaberta, the trio was founded four years ago playing original compositions. They launch Il Cielo Sopra Berlino [Wings of Desire in Italian, the title inspired by a Wim Wenders film] at the Vortex in London on 28 April a few days after release. Tickets.

An audacious characteristically brilliant track from the new Gwilym Simcock solo piano album Near and Now to be released by the ACT label at the end of the month. Jazz in 2019 doesn’t get any better than this.

LP1 cover

Joseph Branciforte and Theo Bleckmann on LP1 will be releasing their debut together in June on Greyfade, a new record label Branciforte is launching this year and which Branciforte explains will feature “high-resolution editions of experimental electronic music, algorithmic composition, ambient, and minimalist chamber music.” Bleckmann provides vocals and electronics while Branciforte plays modular synthesizers, fender rhodes, and introduces tape loops and processing. It is a fascinating blend, by turn moody and dark, experimental and ambient, a mighty unearthly universe which the two have created. Click for more info. Cover, above.

Ashley Henry will make his biggest splash to date with studio album Beautiful Vinyl Hunter to be released by Sony later in 2019, the 15-track album includes guest spots by Makaya McCraven, Jaimie Branch, Binker Golding, Ben Marc, Keyon Harrold, Luke Flowers, MC Sparkz, and Joshua Idehen among others. Pianist Henry says: “My music is a straight up reflection of who I am; London in all its mixed up glory. The immigrant in me has musical roots that are traced back to the 1600s, so it’s important my music today reflects that jazz alpha narrative across different genres and generations”. Check ‘The Mighty’ from the album, above.

From Begin Again Fred Hersch’s new album with the WDR Big Band, arranged and conducted by six-time Grammy winner Vince Mendoza, which is to be released by the Palmetto label on 7 June.

Hersch will be appearing in Ireland at the Bray Festival on 3 May [Tickets] and the Cheltenham Jazz Festival on 5 May [Tickets].