Take Five: Diana Krall, Romero Lubambo, Jimmy Greene, Chris Washburne, Vijay Iyer
Our latest installment of Take Five draws from several big new releases, including what will likely be a blockbuster, Diana Krall's Turn Up the Quiet. But you should also take note of the other offerings, including a brisk new samba by guitarist Romero Lubambo and a teaser for this week's Village Vanguard debut by the Vijay Iyer Trio.
Diana Krall, “L-O-V-E”
Diana Krall went from midlevel jazz success to international renown on the strength of her 1996 major-label debut, All for You: A Dedication to the Nat King Cole Trio. It was the first of her albums produced by Tommy LiPuma, and it captured the intimate charm that Krall would later turn into a high-gloss trademark. “L-O-V-E” didn’t appear on All for You, but it easily could have, especially in the small-group arrangement that Krall favors here. The track is a single from her new album, Turn Up the Quiet, which reunited her with LiPuma, and will stand as one of his final statements. (He died in March, at 80.) Don’t miss Krall’s easefully sly piano solo, and her effortless hookup with guitarist Anthony Wilson, drummer Jeff Hamilton and bassist John Clayton, Jr.
Romero Lubambo, “Estamos Aí”
Brazilian nylon-string guitar virtuoso Romero Lubambo is perhaps best known as the first among equals in Trio da Paz. Sampa, his captivating new album, introduces a different threesome, with two musicians from São Paulo, bassist Sidiel Vieira and drummer Thiago Rabello. The group has a brisk, responsive rapport, as they demonstrate on a range of original compositions and the occasional standard. “Estamos Aí,” a tune best known as a showcase for singer Leny Andrade, finds the trio in skittering samba mode: Fast but in no way furious, with an effervescent drive that leans as far forward as possible without actually rushing the beat.
Jimmy Greene, “Fun Circuits”
When saxophonist Jimmy Greene released Beautiful Life in 2014, the album resonated as a poignant tribute to his daughter, Ana Márquez-Greene, who died in the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, at age 6. The same objective holds true of Flowers — Beautiful Life, Volume 2, just out on Mack Avenue. But Greene made the decision this time to focus less on the pain of loss, and more on the bright, playful spirit that his daughter always embodied. “Fun Circuits” is a fusionesque tune inspired (as he puts it in the liner notes) by “unabashed childlike exuberance and playful mischief.” You can hear those qualities in Greene’s solo, and in the playing of guitarist Mike Moreno and keyboardist Renee Rosnes. (Greene will perform this music at Scullers in Boston on May 25, and at the Newport Jazz Festival on August 4.)
Chris Washburne, “Maple Leaf Rag”
Trombonist and scholar Chris Washburne is the type of musician who seeks out connections: Between disparate sounds, different cultural practices, different areas of focus. He’s best known as the founder of S.Y.O.T.O.S., a Latin-jazz group, but his new album — Rags & Roots, developed with support from the Catskill Jazz Factory and now out on Zoho Music — addresses ragtime, with a twist.
The album traces multiple folkloric traditions, across the Americas and the Caribbean, in an effort to examine and reimagine ragtime’s musical DNA. The album opens with a pan-stylistic take on Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag,” featuring a vocal performance by Sarah Elizabeth Charles, who breathes lie into Sydney Brown’s lyrics. (“Oh go 'way man, I can hypnotize the nation / Shake the earth’s foundation with the Maple Leaf Rag.”) Adding vital flavor in the front line, alongside Washburne, are clarinetist Evan Christopher and trumpeter Alphonso Horne. (Washburne performs on Thursday at Greenwich House Music School and on Saturday at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson; for more information, visit his website.)
Vijay Iyer Trio
There has been no shortage of recent milestones in the career of pianist and composer Vijay Iyer, who’s a MacArthur Fellow, a Doris Duke Performing Artist and a professor at Harvard, as well as the music director for this year’s Ojai Music Festival. But one thing has eluded Iyer, up to this point: a booking at the Village Vanguard, which still represents a rite of passage for jazz artists of a certain stature. This week, Tuesday through Sunday, Iyer makes his Vanguard debut with Stephan Crump on bass and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. As a pregame for that engagement, here’s a video episode of Jazz Night in America from a couple years ago, chronicling his longtime working trio, with Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore, in a momentous room of a different sort: The Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.