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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Big Heart Machine – Big Heart Machine

The Music

The Words

I’ve been waiting on this release for as long as it has been announced (or very nearly so), but, when it was finally released, it was impossible for me to listen to it attentively and, thus, prepare a short review before the month’s end. It is doubtless that I can say that Big Heart Machine would’ve made it in August’s monthly recommendations, but you’ll have to be content with this belated, overdue one.

Big Heart Machine is the eighteen-piece big band under the baton of Miho Hazama and the production of Darcy James Argue, another Read more

Les Rugissants – D’humain et d’animal

The Music

The Words

Les Rugissants is a nu jazz ensemble from Paris, France, and they recently released their latest album: D’humain et d’animalOf Human and Animal, if you allow me the free translation. At the junction of progressive rock and big band jazz, Les Rugissants plays an emotive and intellectually compelling brand of jazz that I must make sure you not miss.

After the lyrical and rather romantic introduction of “Le visage”, we get to an interesting \(\frac{5}{4}\) motif in “Second hymne delphique à Apollon”, which gets expanded upon throughout the song, quite rewardingly so. At … Read more

Matt Penman – Good Question

The Music

The Words

Modern jazz, with its emphasis on rhythm, above harmony or melody, has swiftly become one of my favourite and most sought-after subgenres of jazz music. I believe this was kickstarted in me by the amazing group Ikarus, which commonly uses various metres against one another to great effect. Today’s subject follows that train of thought on Good Question.

As a starting point, the first track starts off with what sounds like a \(\frac{13}{16}\) melody over \(\frac{13}{8}\) chords. While these two voices resolve every two measures, it’s interesting to hear and a bit jarring at … Read more

Kali – Riot

The Music

The Words

You really can’t go wrong when you combine musicians from bands such as Marena Whitcher’s Shady Midnight Orchestra, Sha’s Feckel, and Sekhmet! The result of this heavenmade match is Kali, and their debut album, Riot. Diving straight into that hot new trend of playing polyrhythmic post-rock-influenced modern jazz, they lose no time and open up the ball with “Trope”, a ten-minute slow burner that immediately shows their colours. I’d put Riot somewhere between the more math rock Schnellertollermeier and the jazzier Ikarus, although all three play in a similar field.

The album is generally … Read more