"Glitchy" is probably the best word for the latest release from Mary Halvorson, a solo guitar album she titled Meltframe. This is not to say there's something wrong with the album. It's not riddled with errors. While Halvorson's guitar certainly sounds intentionally fuzzy, it's not rough in an overgrown sense. There isn't some loss of control, this much is certain for the highly revered musician. There are instead ten songs here that are as carefully played as they are pensively explored, resulting in a rather interesting work.
alex.marianyi[at]gmail.com / @alexmarianyi
A hip-hop group that sounds better live, retains their voice when playing a cover, and still bumps without a bassist or drummer is a rare find. Having known most of the members in Sidewalk Chalk before the band existed, I thought I knew what to expect out of them, but I forgot to expect them to regularly beat my expectations. Their video for "Alright", a Kendrick Lamar cover, beat my expectations like Jumaane Taylor's shoes beat the bed of that truck, with flawless rhythm and style.
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah plays three different horns on his new album, Stretch Music (Introducing Elena Pinderhughes)-- the siren, the sirenette, and the reverse flugelhorn. They're horns by his own design. They are somewhat more difficult to play than the typical trumpet. They are as attuned to his style of play-- crafted, beaten and broken and lovingly bent to make music likely only he can make. They are as crafted and designed as his band, a group that has gone through a certain degree of molding over the years as well, and has been through its own loving process of craft together to make this music. They function as tools for expression, specialized as if for a surgeon forging new roads through medicine. Only this man can wield these horns, like John Henry's hammer. It's careful craft and attention to detail and design that to this same degree is the essence of Stretch Music, another in a fine line of Christian Scott albums that always seem to arrive at just the perfect times.
There may not be any stronger melodies in jazz today than the lines flowing out of Gilad Hekselman's guitar. Hekselman's new album, Homes, displays his melodicism and songwriting as well as the continued growth of his trio with Joe Martin on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums. Homes is the fourth album with this core trio, starting with 2008's Words Unspoken, and their rapport has continued to grow with time. While the previous albums from Hekselman have featured either Joel Frahm's or Mark Turner's sax, this album is strictly a guitar-bass-drums affair, though one track features both Marcus Gilmore and Jeff Ballard on drums and another substitutes Ballard for Gilmore on the drumset.