Take Five: New Music by Joel Ross, Tim Berne, Tom Oren, Mara Rosenbloom and Cory Henry
Joel Ross, “3-1-2”
Vibraphonist Joel Ross has been a force in motion on the New York jazz scene almost since his arrival at the New School in 2015. Last year he released his prepossessing debut, KingMaker, on Blue Note; an anticipated follow-up will release this Friday. As before, it features the band called Good Vibes, with Ross, Immanuel Wilkins on alto saxophone, Jeremy Corren on piano, Kanoa Mendenhall on bass and Jeremy Dutton on drums. (Brandee Younger joins on harp for several tracks).
Ross titled the album Who Are You? — a nod to the process artistic self-discovery, and a sign that he sees his peer group as coming into its own. The deep collegiality among these musicians, and the emotional sweep of these compositions, bears out the point. “3-1-2,” the album’s closer, is a shout-out to Ross’ hometown of Chicago, with a melody that seems to ring with both triumph and longing.
Good Vibes will livestream its album-release show at 8 p.m. this Friday, from the Blue Note Jazz Club; for more information, see our Livestream Hub.
Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, “Scanners”
Earlier this year, Snakeoil — the hyperdynamic band led by alto saxophonist and composer Tim Berne, with Oscar Noriega on reeds, Matt Mitchell on piano and Ches Smith on drums — released a studio album on the Intakt label. (Titled The Fantastic Mrs. 10, it was featured in Take Five.) The Deceptive 4 is a double live album on the same label, a must-hear for anyone who has marveled at the intricate whorl of Berne’s compositions, and the hair-trigger interactions of the band.
“Scanners” is a piece that originally appeared on Snakeoil’s self-titled debut, released on ECM in 2012. Its blur of moving parts can call to mind the mechanized hum of a factory assembly line — until the breakdown, when the players expand the frame through group improvisation. This version was recorded at I-Beam in Brooklyn in 2010, along with half the album; the other half comes from a date at Firehouse 12 in 2017. At a time when the next in-person Snakeoil gig is a question mark, it’s good to have this album in hand.
Tom Oren, “Mrs. Barbarelli”
Tom Oren caught the attention of the jazz world in 2018, when he won the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. Along with the prestige and a scholarship prize, Oren received a recording contract. His debut, Dorly’s Song, will release on Concord Jazz on Oct. 30. Its second single, premiering at WBGO, is “Mrs. Barbarelli” — a jaunty tune with a melody seemingly designed for call-and-response, over a variant of New Orleans second-line rhythm.
“Mrs. Barbarelli,” like the rest of Dorly’s Song, was composed by Oren’s mother, Dorly Oren Chazon, a pianist and composer known in Israel. The album is a celebration of her work and its formative influence on Oren’s life — an subject he discussed last fall during a Checkout Live at Berklee. Throughout the album, he plays alongside bassist Barak Mori and drummer Eviatar Slivnik; saxophonist Eli Degibri joins as a special guest. Their joyous hookup is evident here.
Mara Rosenbloom Trio, “Uncertain Bird”
It has been four years since pianist-composer Mara Rosenbloom released Prairie Burn, an album of decisive and exploratory instinct, and a clear signal of arrival. She has been busy in the interim — working with avant-garde luminary William Hooker, studying with visionary pianist and vocalist Amina Claudine Myers — so it stands to reason that Rosenbloom’s new release, Respiration, feels steeped in experience.
Rosenbloom titled the album after some reflection on the subject of breathing, something that has held fascination for her since well before this year of airborne menace. Fittingly, her trio, with Sean Conly on bass and Chad Taylor on drums, breathes as one — notably on “Uncertain Bird,” a pulsing tune in polyrhythmic waltz time.
Cory Henry, “Don’t Forget”
Singer-songwriter and keyboardist Cory Henry earned acclaim as a member of Snarky Puppy, before breaking out as a solo artist several years ago. His third album, Something to Say, finds him speaking to our pressurized moment; as the title implies, he has a lot on his mind. The album opens with a disco-funk exhortation called “Don’t Forget,” whose message harks back to the pointed positivity of vintage Stevie Wonder.
The album is another showcase for Henry’s band The Funk Apostles, which played a memorable Tiny Desk Concert in 2018. And it’s worth noting that one day after Something to Say releases on Oct. 30, Henry and the band will release a Halloween livestream show, recorded at Apogee Studio and mixed by its resident guru, Bob Clearmountain. The broadcast starts at 6 p.m. ET; find tickets and more at coryhenry.com.