Charles Lloyd, Manhattan Stories (Resonance). In 1965, Charles Lloyd teamed with guitarist Gábor Szabó, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Pete La Roca for a free-jazz concert at Judson Hall, which is attached to the Judson Memorial Church in New York's Greenwich Village. This newly discovered recording joins a second disc featuring a gig by the same group in '65 at Slugs on New York's Lower East Side. The music is energetic, poetic and astonishing in a year crowded with revolutionary albums from rock, folk and jazz artists. The Lloyd group also managed to break new ground at the height of the free jazz movement.
The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, OverTime: Music of Bob Brookmeyer (Planet Arts). Bob Brookmeyer was best known for his valve trombone playing, but he also was a mighty composer-arranger whose orchestral works were featured during his tenure in the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band and later incarnations of the band. Here, today's all-star Vanguard band takes on Bob's spirited works, from The Big Time to At the Corner of Ralph and Gary. The thrashing, streamlined sound reminds of me of my chats with Bob on arranging and conducting (see my multipart JazzWax interview with Bob here).
Sarah Moule, Songs From the Foating World (Ram). In 1994, lyricist Fran Landesman (Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most) met British composer Simon Wallace and collaborated with him on nearly 300 songs until her death in 2011. Vocalist Sarah Moule takes on 10 of those late-period ballad works with great affection here. She deploys a warm, rich sound on selections while retaining in her voice Landesman's word-play whimsy. Sample If You Believe That.
Afro Bop Alliance, Angel Eyes (Zoho). This Latin-jazz album sustains a special punch and groove throughout. There are jazz standards (This Is for Albert, Angel Eyes and Nature Boy) as well as originals. The septet from Annapolis, Md., tours largely in the Mid-Atlantic region of the States, unleashing chunky beats, jazz horns and shrewd hooks. Instantly addictive.
Hurricane Ruth, Born on the River. Searing vocalist Hurricane Ruth LaMaster is backed by a blues-rock trio that features lead guitarist David Lumsden, bassist Gary Davis and drummer Jim Engel. The band from south-central Illinois handles the 11 originals like a Harley-Davidson peeling out. LaMaster's powerful delivery and Lumsden's wailing guitar sell each song with plenty of vinegar and salt.