From local Chicago friends to Armenian prodigies, musicians worldwide continue to knock my socks off with their new releases. Here are three recent albums that span the vast array of music that gets lumped under the unassuming and all-too-broad label of Jazz.
Tigran Hamasyan: Mockroot
Tigran made his first journey to Chicago 2 weeks ago, and after attending my first Tigran live show, all I can say is “wow.” His music is rhythmically complex, but somehow it still manages to groove insanely hard. I call it Armenian folk jazz metal, maybe Armymetazz? I’ll workshop that. But for all the intensity this group brings during the hard-hitting grooves, they balance it out with sparse, melodic interludes. The contrast can be schizophrenic, but that’s also part of the appeal. He sings, whistles, and tickles the ivories as well as anybody in the business. I’m so glad Nonesuch is now backing Tigran’s efforts, since he has deserving of wider recognition for many years. Get it on iTunes.