Ben Monder's Amorphae is an ECM release. It's contemplative, expansive, tumultuously beautiful and beautifully tumultuous. It sounds positively gorgeous. It's sparse in ways that never leave the listener wanting more because it's an album that makes one appreciate the pauses. Some folks out there are going to hate it, ECM albums can be like that sometimes. Some folks aren't going to care that much for its drone nature. However, guitarist Monder pulls this all off so well that maybe those people who don't care for this can just go off and chill for 45 minutes while minds are expanding elsewhere.
We all have our favorites. We also have our need to make sense of the world. I hold to the belief that genre is important because while some can say there are only two kinds of music, good and bad, that still doesn't help describe the music much. Direction is important, so is mood. However, virtuosity rules over all. I feel like listening to many different kinds of music and sometimes my mood shifts. These were my favorites of the albums that I've played just as fervently this year as the jazz albums I've listened to, whenever the mood so suited.
Comedian H. Jon Benjamin is releasing a jazz album this week on Sub Pop Records. The album features Scott Kreitzer on saxophone, David Finck on bass, Jonathan Peretz on drums, and Benjamin on piano. H. Jon Benjamin does not know how to play the piano.
Their day began at 3am. The day before, BADBADNOTGOOD, the quartet of keyboardist Matty Tavares, bassist Chester Hansen, drummer Alex Sowinski, and tenor saxophonist Leland Whitty, had been rehearsing in their overgrown studio in Ontario in preparation for their 7:40pm Sunday set closing down the Yellow Stage of Austin, Texas' tenth annual Fun Fun Fun Fest at the close of what was a previously damp early November weekend before the sun broke through reminiscent of Ontario's current "heat wave". It'd be a quick trip for them, barely even getting the chance to see the festival, out by midday Monday, though considering they had never seen Austin outside the chaotic, city-enveloping context of a South by SouthWest festival, this was quite the welcome gig. Their playing this gig seemed a long time coming, particularly appropriate, in fact.