Best of Modern Jazz 2021


Here’s some of the best jazz albums of 2021!


Number Five: Wood River & Cantus domus – Sediments We Move


On Sediments We Move, Charlotte Greve takes us on quite the panoramic tour! Backed by the Cantus domus choir, this is jazz with choir, and it’s positively disconcerting. I love it so much!


Number Four: Skrim – The Crooked Path


The avant-garde jazz journey of Skrim’s Crooked Path release is one you can’t easily forget, as you’ll constantly be thrown this way or that, to the whim of the composers-improvisers leading the boat. An amazing album!


Number Three: Patrick

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Saint Sadrill – Pierrefilant

The Music

The Words

Pierrefilant is the debut album of Lyon, France’s Saint Sadrill sextet, who plays a thoroughly interwoven mix of avant-garde prog and jazz fusion. Out on November 2 via the excellent French label Dur et Doux, the album is over an hour long and features a full-time vibraphonist. I was anticipating the album since the first single came out, and, now that it is, let me tell you about it.

I was expecting the release to be good; I mean, listen to “Corq”: it’s beautiful. Even if it’s not the most theoretically interesting track on there, it … Read more

Devin Drobka’s Bell Dance Songs – Amaranth

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The mouthfully-baptised Devin Drobka’s Bell Dance Songs band is a quintet made of three woodwind players, one acoustic bass player, and a drums person that also acts as the composer: the aforementioned Devin Drobka. It is without a surprise that you will read my words telling you that this is a merciless sonic assault! Amaranth came out on 28 September through Shifting Paradigm Records. Let’s dissect the beast.

The album loses no time to show its colours. At the fluid-tempoed start of “Skip Skip” and the dialogue between the bass and the drums, it’s quite fun … Read more

Andrew Bernstein – An Exploded View of Time

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Andrew Bernstein is a saxophone player and composer most recognized for his involvement in experimental band Horse Lords. He is releasing his latest album, An Exploded View of Time, through Hausu Mountain Records.

When listening to it, I can’t help but summon a comparison with saxophone virtuoso Colin Stetson. Of course, the palette of solo sax releases is pretty wide even for this relatively niche and narrow canvas, but the choice of techniques and soundscapes with which Andrew decided to paint it are remarkably similar. A short list of those include overblowing, circular … Read more

Peter Evans & Weasel Walter – Poisonous

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The Words

Poisonous indeed, the newest release from free, avant-garde jazz duo Peter Evans & Weasel Walter is a journey into the delirious mind of a poison-afflicted would-be mycologist. In forty-four minutes, the two seasoned musicians craft an album obsessed with venenous fungi that sounds as lethal as its subject. I don’t know how many layers of improvised or forethought material have been arranged to create this fever dream, but the result is a dense hallucinative soundscape as heard through thick forest haze.

Some parts are almost metal in just how harsh and intense they are–see “Sulfur Tuft”. … Read more