One of the reasons jazz improvisation excites performer and listener alike is that it’s akin to walking a tightrope—chances are taken, stakes are high. A musician can create thrilling, in-the-moment art, or fall flat. Collective improvisation ups the ante—it’s never a given that multiple players can be so attuned to one another that they know when to listen as well as when to speak. The 3 Cohens—siblings Anat on clarinet and tenor saxophone, Avishai on trumpet and Yuval on soprano sax—explore this concept fully on “Tightrope,” their fourth album together. The material ranges from free improvisations and fresh originals to classics by Ellington, Monk, Tadd Dameron, Art Farmer and Gerry Mulligan, plus tunes associated with Joao Gilberto and Jo Stafford.
With the much-awaited second volume of his “Unsung Heroes” project, Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Brian Lynch extends his salute to underappreciated trumpet masters in fine form. From the same sessions as the original disc, “Unsung Heroes Volume 2” continues the mix of little known or unrecorded compositions by ‘under the radar’ jazz trumpeters such as Idrees Sulieman, Tommy Turrentine, and Joe Gordon, with original Lynch pieces in the spirit of these masters. He and his crack band, including alto sax great Vincent Herring, pay tribute ‘in the tradition’ while staying fresh, creative and highly swinging. Lynch’s trumpet work shows why he’s considered one of “the best and busiest trumpeters in jazz,” according to Jazz Times magazine.
Also this week, Al Di Meola fulfills a long-time dream of creating his own unique tribute to the Beatles with “All Your Life,” recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London; for his eighth recording as a leader, guitarist B.D. Lenz offers up his first straight-ahead jazz record, “Ready or Not”; and San Diego bassist Ben Wanicur debuts with “The Excluded Middle.”