Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

The 10 US and Canada jazz labels figuring mostly on our radar this year - ranked!

Things change - labels go through busy spurts and ride the crest of a wave. They gain momentum. Or they lose their mojo just as easily from time to time. You've checked out our UK label lists - the latest update was in April - so here is what we are …

Published: 8 Jul 2024. Updated: 14 days.

Things change - labels go through busy spurts and ride the crest of a wave. They gain momentum. Or they lose their mojo just as easily from time to time. You've checked out our UK label lists - the latest update was in April - so here is what we are appreciating most consistently concerning the output of US and Canada labels over half way through the year. Click through for reviews of the records in focus.

  • 10 Sunnyside

Release(s) we have liked most this year JOBIM'S WORLD

  • 9 Cellar Live

Release(s) we have liked most this year LIVE AT MEZZROW

  • 8 Color Field

Release(s) we have liked most this year FREE TO DANCE

  • 7 Mack Avenue

Release(s) we have liked most this year WHO KILLED AI? & BUT WHO'S GONNA PLAY THE MELODY?

  • 6 Smoke Sessions

Release(s) we have liked most this year SANYAS & SOUL JAZZ

  • 5 HighNote/Savant

Release(s) we have liked most this year: TRUTH TO POWER & PLAYS

  • 4 Origin/OA2

Release(s) we have liked most this year CLOSING TIME & A KISS FOR BRAZIL

  • 3 Blue Note

Release(s) we have liked most this year NUBLUES & TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE

  • 2 Outside In Music

Release(s) we have liked most this year BIANCA, THE OPTIMIST & VIBRATIONS;

  • 1 Blue Engine

Release(s) we have liked most this year AMONG GIANTS, FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND HOPE & TO WHOM I LOVE

Joel Ross released NuBlues this year through Blue Note, photo: Bruce Bennett

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Albert Bover, A Parisian Affair, Fresh Sound ***1/2

Emanating from the Meudon studio - Antonio Faraò's Tributes was also recorded there in the Paris suburbs. Pianist Albert Bover was born in Barcelona and recorded A Parisian Affair early last year along with double bassist Yoni Zelnik (good on …

Published: 8 Jul 2024. Updated: 14 days.

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Emanating from the Meudon studio - Antonio Faraò's Tributes was also recorded there in the Paris suburbs. Pianist Albert Bover was born in Barcelona and recorded A Parisian Affair early last year along with double bassist Yoni Zelnik (good on Modular this year) and drummer Philippe Soirat - a player who was born in the French Riviera town of Menton in 1961.

  • Playing originals of Bover's composed in the Galician city of Vigo, the pianist isn't new to Fresh Sound. Esmuc Blues he recorded in Barcelona in May 2001 with bassist Chris Higgins and the revered Brad Mehldau drummer Jorge Rossy.

Tunes here include 'Song for Maia' inspired by Bover's young daughter. We liked 'Cyclic Episode' a great deal for its more complex soloing and also the romantic rhapsodising throughout that Bover does so well. If you are a Mulgrew Miller, Julian Joseph or Trevor Watkis fan then definitely check A Parisian Affair out as it matches all these fine players' approach a little.

Soirat and Zelnik's sympathetic accompaniment is best heard on Michael Leonard's 'Why Did I Choose You' - a song written for the 1960s Broadway musical The Yearling first recorded by Barbra Streisand and most pertinently interpreted in recent times by Laurence Hobgood on the great pianist's When The Heart Dances (Naim, 2008) with Charlie Haden.

It's our overall pick on an album that surely will appeal to anyone into sophisticated piano trios. Bover does not take the road most travelled and dumb down at all. But neither does he make his improvisations overly oblique or impenetrable. Another highlight is a welcome cover of Wayne Shorter classic 'Pinocchio' where there is plenty of heat from Soirat. Worth your time, dear reader - so soigné and élégant it's plain to observe and full of natural flair.