jazz posts


Monday, December 15th, 2008 by Andrew Ladd

jazz // turntablism

Several bands have called themselves Kobayashi, but for now let’s stick to the Montreal jazz/funk/hip-hop outfit that broke up (d’oh!) before I managed to blog ‘em. They’re still a gritty earful, though, with explosive blasts of horn, a plucky bass, and big, huge buckets of speaker hum that slosh around the drums; they also have a nifty female vocalist (not featured here) who sounds like a cross between Beth Gibbons and Blossom Dearie. Worth your holiday moolah!

Dark and brash and full of drive
Kobayashi – Shasta
Kobayashi – 2 Cent
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Kitty Hoff & Forêt-Noire

Thursday, December 4th, 2008 by Julija

bossa nova // retro swing

The retro feel of Kitty Hoff’s album Blick Ins Tal (2007) recalls the elegance of classic bossa nova and vintage swing. While it might be difficult to imagine a language like German playing well with the bossa tempo, “Toc-Toc-Toc” carries graceful vocal lines and laid-back grooves in a light, rhythmic and relaxed pace. The tasteful arrangements, lovely piano and solid bass of “Psychenswing” create a unique sense of nostalgia and style.

Unexpectedly charming.
Kitty Hoff & Forêt-Noire – Toc-Toc-Toc
Kitty Hoff & Forêt-Noire – Psychenswing
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Tuesday, October 14th, 2008 by Julija

electro-jazz // electronica

Viennese chanteuse and songwriter Madita musical debut came as she lent her soulful vocals to dZihan and Kamien’s critically acclaimed album Gran Riserva back in 2002. Produced and co-written by Vlado dZihan, Madita’s second album Too (2008) offers richly textured electro-jazz. Madita’s standout track “Because” delivers a mixture of eccentric piano-tingled beats, spectacular vocals and the glitter glamour of Goldfrapp, while the seductive quality and retro lounge vibe of “Deep Down” brings to mind the playful elegance of Bitter:Sweet.

Disarming charm.
Madita – Because
Madita – Deep Down
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Sylvie Lewis

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008 by Julija

folk // jazz // singer-songwriter

Exposed to music at an early age, a graduate of prestigious Berklee School of Music, London-born and Rome-based Sylvie Lewis displays a sweet, clear voice and remarkably literate songwriting skills. Musically, Sylvie’s charming style varies from simple folk melodies to the subtle and sophisticated arrangements. Vocally, it ranges from the light-hearted to the moody crooning. “Starsong… What Became Of Us”, an opening track from her latest album Translations (2007), captures the ears for its appealing, catchy vocal lines and Sylvie’s clever, warm phrasing.

Tasteful singing, reflective songwriting.
Sylvie Lewis – Starsong… What Became Of Us
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Lily Frost

Sunday, September 21st, 2008 by Julija

swing jazz // retro vocal jazz

Canadian songstress Lily Frost pays earnest homage to the heyday of the swing era. Recorded live in mono and accompanied by the Swinging Dukes, an upbeat swing band, Lily Frost’s album Lily Swings (2008) brings new interpretations of lesser-known Billy Holiday songs. Lily’s melodic, sweet voice and the arrangements of banjo, breathy tenor sax, low sweet clarinet and trumpets evoke the comfortable and stylish atmosphere of a jazz den.

From nostalgic jazz ballads to the playful swing tunes.
Lily Frost – Lover Come Back To Me
Lily Frost – Willow Weep For Me
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Melody Gardot

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 by Julija

vocal jazz // blues

Mature beyond her years, Philadelphia native Melody Gardot possesses a very natural musicality and a silky, versatile voice. While comparisons to the standards of Norah Jones and Madeleine Peyroux are justified, Melody’s confident grace and elegance shine throughout “Goodnite” and “Worrisome Heart”. With her tasteful and warm phrasing, moving seamlessly between the mellow old-time blues, jazz influences and acoustic folk, Melody captures the essence of the subtle beauty, confessional and timeless songwriting.

A young chanteuse on the rise.
Melody Gardot – Goodnite
Melody Gardot – Worrisome Heart
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Club des Belugas

Thursday, March 13th, 2008 by Kyle

nu-jazz // lounge

By bringing together musicians from multiple generations and countries, Germany based Maxim Illion & Kitty the Bill’s Club des Belugas brainchild is contemporary, classic, and terrifically varied. On a relaxing, beautiful day, Swedish singer Anna.Luca will croon your fancy before Brenda Boykin’s California energy gets you swinging the night away. Other guests include Iain Mackenzie from London, Dean Bowman from New York, and Fred Astaire, whose “Puttin’ on the Ritz” gets remixed for their latest album, Swop!

Irresistibly hip.
Club des Belugas – It’s A Beautiful Day
Club des Belugas – It Don’t Mean A Thing
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Monday, January 21st, 2008 by Paul Irish

nujazz // downtempo

I promised myself I’d listen to 2005′s Toujours le meme film whenever I wanted to recall the accomplishments of the downtempo movement. The album, (over)produced by Paul Nawrata aka Urbs, is so complicated that it evokes emotions far beyond where current downtempo can reach. His aesthetic sophistication is impressive, creating a new motto that less is, actually, never more. And because his effortless groove never sounds congested, we are left with not mere beats, but life stories, spanning more than one time frame.

Vienna chanteuse, whisper me a new tune.
Urbs – So Weit
Urbs – Tu Moi Aussi?

Words contributed by Angad Raj Singh
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Kira Neris

Saturday, December 15th, 2007 by Kyle

nu-jazz // downtempo

At 11 years old, Hervé Poudoulec begins hearing and feeling music over the radio. His mind collects fragments and wonders what to do; pondering from Rock to House, Dance and Jazz; amassing over 4000 samples before experiencing The Cinematic Orchestra’s ‘Motion‘ – helping to align hidden vibrations. Kira Neris graciously strides from downtempo and jazzy affairs to voluptuous dance vibes with an earnest underlining.

Marvelous samples enriched in soulful harmonies.
Kira Neris – Open Doors
Kira Neris – Un Été Sans Fin
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Tuesday, November 13th, 2007 by Kyle

broken beat // future jazz // hip-hop

Breakdancing and graffiti roots converge with fashionable French writing and visual stimuli to create a contagious blend of soulful, jazzy good rhymes, laden with a hip-hop reverie that’s almost non-existent these days. Irfane Khan-Acito, Jay1 & Jerome Hadey from Strasbourg and Paris fuse an album of everyday messages people tend to share or ignore, but ultimately live through, with a positive, youthful expression.

Dancefloor grooves that inspire and ignite.
Outlines – Just A Lil Lovin
Outlines – Now That I’m Free
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