DownBeat Fall Album Preview: Mehldau, McLaughlin and More
Autumn is ahead. The fall season doesn’t technically arrive until Sept. 22, but as temperatures begin to cool down, music fans are looking forward to a plethora of important albums in the coming weeks.
We’re proud to present the DownBeat Fall Album Preview, an online exclusive that shines a spotlight on several noteworthy albums that will make autumn more memorable.
The upcoming bounty will be particularly rich for jazz piano fans. Brad Mehldau’s Where Do You Start (Nonesuch, Sept. 18) is a trio date containing 11 tracks that were recorded with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard during the same sessions that yielded the album Ode. The latest from Fred Hersch is also a trio project: The 2-CD set Alive At The Vanguard (Palmetto, Sept. 11) was recorded with bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson at New York’s Village Vanguard in February. German pianist Florian Weber’s Biosphere (Enja, Sept. 11) was recorded with guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Dan Weiss.
Other jazz pianists with new albums include George Cables, whose My Muse (HighNote, Sept. 11) includes four original compositions, as well as the Gershwin classic “I Loves You Porgy.” Harold Mabern pays tribute to Sammy Davis Jr. with Mr. Lucky (HighNote, Sept. 11), featuring tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander. The fourth album from the London-based Neil Cowley Trio is The Face Of Mount Molehill (Naim Jazz, Sept. 11).
Jazz guitar aficionados will have plenty of releases to check out this fall. John McLaughlin’s studio album Now Here This (Abstract Logix, Oct. 18) includes eight original compositions recorded with his group The 4th Dimension in Antibes, France. Bluesman Hubert Sumlin (who died on Dec. 4, 2011) contributed to “This House Is For Sale,” a track on the new album by Elliott Sharp’s band Terraplane, Sky Road Songs (Yellowbird/Enja, Sept. 11). Rez Abbasi’s latest recording is a trio project, Continuous Beat (Enja, Oct. 9), recorded with Hébert on bass and Satoshi Takeishi on drums.
Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling’s 1619 Broadway—The Brill Building Project (Concord, Sept. 25) includes standards such as “Come Fly With Me” and “I Only Have Eyes For You.” Blues singer Shemekia Copeland’s 33 1/3 (Telarc, Sept. 25) includes a guest appearance by guitarist Buddy Guy on “Ain’t Gonna Be Your Tattoo.” The fourth solo album by keyboardist/vocalist Donald Fagen (best known as half of the jazz-rock duo Steely Dan) is Sunken Condos (Reprise, Oct. 16). The title track to Bob Dylan’s Tempest (Columbia, Sept. 11) is 14 minutes long, and Van Morrison’s Born To Sing: No Plan B (Blue Note, Oct. 2) is a studio album that was recorded in the Irish singer-songwriter’s hometown, Belfast.
Other intriguing releases include the William Parker Orchestra’s 2-CD set Essence of Ellington/Live In Milano (AUM Fidelity, Sept. 11), which features tenor saxophonist Kidd Jordan. David Binney produced the new album by tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, Casting For Gravity (Greenleaf, Oct. 2). Medeski, Martin & Wood’s Free Magic (Indirecto, Sept. 25) is a live disc that chronicles their 2007 acoustic tour.