Take Five: Revelry and Reflection, in New Music by Adam O'Farrill, Eddie Daniels and Peggy Lee

May 28, 2018

Adam O’Farrill’s Stranger Days, “Verboten Chant”

The trumpeter Adam O’Farrill is still only 23, but he has already made a substantial impression — as one of two musical sons of the great Afro-Cuban bandleader Arturo O’Farrill; as a musical wingman to the likes of Rudresh Mahanthappa; and, increasingly, as a composer and bandleader in his own right. His smartly rambunctious new album, El Maquech, due out on Friday on Biophilia Records, features the group he calls Stranger Days, with Chad Lefkowitz-Brown on tenor saxophone, Walter Stinson on bass and his older brother, Zack O’Farrill, on drums.

The album, recorded in the middle of a tour last spring, captures the energy of a working band in full stride. Hear how loose yet in sync the musicians are on “Verboten Chant,” a piece by Stinson that draws inspiration from the restrictive precepts of Buddhist monks. The theme, which bears a faint resemblance at times to Thelonious Monk’s “Evidence,” provokes some agile improvising from Lefkowitz-Brown, before a bravura performance by O’Farrill. El Maquech is out on Friday; preorder here.

Eddie Daniels, “Folia (Revelry)”

Brazilian music hasn’t been a primary focus for clarinetist Eddie Daniels over the years, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to his new album, Heart of Brazil: A Tribute to Egberto Gismonti. Releasing on Resonance Records this Friday, it’s a joyful plunge into the world of a brilliant composer, with the Harlem String Quartet playing arrangements by Ted Nash, Josh Nelson and others. The video above consists of footage from the recording of “Folia,” one of the album’s liveliest tracks; notice how organically Daniels connects with both the rhythm section (featuring Nelson on piano) and the strings. This Friday and Saturday, Daniels and Nash will join the Harlem String Quartet in a program called “Jazz in the Chamber,” with expert backing by pianist Helen Sung, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli. (Preorder Heart of Brazil at Resonance Records.)

Peggy Lee, “Out on a Limb”

The cellist and composer Peggy Lee has long had a feeling for improvised chamber music, and on her new album, Echo Painting, she finds a new avenue of expression in that mode. A suite for 10 pieces, it brings together a range of musicians mainly from the Vancouver scene, like the trumpeter Brad Turner, the saxophonist Jon Bentley and the drummer Dylan van der Schyff. The impressionistic video above captures a track called “Out on a Limb,” which builds on a minimalist syncopation in the rhythm section. It’s music for contemplation, but that doesn’t mean it lacks a vital pulse. (Purchase Echo Painting at Songlines.)

Harold O’Neal, “Jukebox Motion”

Piano Cinema is the new solo album by Harold O’Neal, and its title feels perfectly apropos. As lovely and delicate as a butterfly wing, this is an album for waking dreams and solitary thoughts, a study in careful quietude. Listen here to a piece called “Jukebox Motion,” which combines a strong Impressionist influence with the rippling sensation of a faraway mirage. In his liner notes, O’Neal describes this track as his most complex on the album: “I wanted it to warp like an old jukebox player with every single voicing, turn, and passage well-thought-out.” (Buy Piano Cinema on Amazon, or stream it on Apple Music or Spotify.)

R+R=NOW, “Resting Warrior”

The latest single from R+R=NOW, a veritable jazz-R&B supergroup, is “Resting Warrior,” a groove hallucination that owes a little something to Fela Kuti, a little something to Miles Davis, and a little something else to Detroit club music. Rooted in a sinuous groove maintained by drummer Justin Tyson and bassist Derrick Hodge, it yields authoritative solos by Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, on trumpet, and Robert Glasper, on keyboards. (Don’t miss the killer Tyson exhibition over the outro vamp, either.) This is a superlative version of a vibe that often doesn’t click as well as it should — and it raises the already-high anticipation level for Collagically Speaking, which will be released on Blue Note Records on June 15. (Preorder here.) R+R=NOW will appear on the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival on June 22.