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Portico Quartet - 'Untitled (AITAOA #2)'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Radiohead's 2001 album, Amnesiac, was recorded in the same sessions as their 2000 album, Kid A, which saw the group begin their exploration into a more electronic sound. It's hard not to think about those albums when listening to the Portico Quartet's 2018 album, Untitled (AITAOA #2), which was recorded in the same sessions as last year's release, Art in the Age of Automation, though these albums are a return to form as opposed to a tonal divergence. Once again, this group has combined their electronic and jazz influences into something quite grand. To try to heap additional praise on them is to repeat more of the same of the ethereal brilliance they released in their last album.

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'Sun Speak with Sara Serpa'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Sun Speak, the Chicago duo of guitarist Matt Gold and drummer Nate Friedman, have always sounded great together. Since their 2014 debut, the pair have made a tight sound that works simply but makes epic leaps. We've been charmed by them for years. So the idea of changing up this dynamic by adding a vocalist made us briefly take pause. However, we should have known to trust these aural craftsmen to add just the perfect ethereal element to their music, and for their third album, out April 27th on Flood Music, they made the perfect choice working with NYC-based Portuguese vocalist Sara Serpa.

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Caroline Davis - 'Heart Tonic'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Alto saxophonist Caroline Davis knows her way around a tune. Her songs on her new album, Heart Tonic, can be angular, smooth, poppy, earnest jams, or driving runs. She's a player and a composer with a great deal of range and enchanting execution, and she leads a damn fine band, too.

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Zack Nestel-Patt - 'River Run'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Bassist/composer Zack Nestel-Patt describes his debut album, River Run, as having "the sensibilities of an indie rock album" while still rooted in jazz elements and the "tradition of improvised music". It's a succinct, but accurate descriptor of his work. River Run has the jumble of the avant-garde with the gentle temperance and focus one would hear from Bon Iver or Grizzly Bear. Altogether, there's something particular here, something special, something that allows for grandiosity for a trio led from a bassist's big ideas.

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Mopo - 'Mopocalypse'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Mopo is the trio out of Finland of Linda Fredriksson on alto & baritone saxophones, Eero Tikkanen on acoustic & electric bass and violin, and Eeti Nieminen on drums, percussion, and synthesiser. Their new album, Mopocalypse, out now on Finnish label We Jazz Records, shows this group as a tight group with a clean sound. It has just the right balance of slickness with grit, with Fredriksson's saxophones keeping the sound in the back end, Tikkanen's bass riding along nicely, and Nieminen's drums making for interesting turns. Their a group with a punkish sound with more structure.