Jazz Rising: Greg Ward Presents Rogue Parade, Ilhan Ersahin, Brandee Younger & Theon Cross
by Aaron Stein, Jambase
As we get into the summer months, it always feels like a good time to take stock of the excellent jazz releases of the year so far. The genre continues to get twisted into new shapes by a host of up-and-coming talent pushing the boundaries. In that light, a great place to start this week is with Chicago saxophonist Greg Ward who has assembled the band Rogue Parade filled with equal talents. The group makes some serious magic on Stomping Off From Greenwood, showing off a progressive sound of guitars, bass and drums to go along with Ward’s sax. It’s an ecstatic blend, spiritual and rocking, utterly accessible while still excitingly exploratory. Like the best of ‘em, the Rogue Parade transcends genre — this is just great music, period — on a must-listen record.
Ilhan Ersahin: Silver
Brandee Younger: Soul Awakening
While we’re in NYC, let’s check out one of the more exciting young voices in jazz today. I had the opportunity to catch a set from harpist Brandee Younger this past weekend and she kind of blew me away. Her newest release, Soul Awakening captures her spirit and her voice nicely, even though it was recorded several years ago. The harp is such a magical instrument and Younger manages to invoke the ethereal wonder in the sound while bringing it to a really interesting and irresistible place. Backed by drums and bass, and a selection of horns throughout, Younger is a revelation of composition, beauty and groove. This is not one you’ll want to miss. I think you’ll dig.