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  • City Folk, the sophomore album from James Farm—saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland—features 10 original tunes reflecting the members' many influences. "While their acoustic instrumentation, virtuosity, and improvisational brio scream jazz, their music displays influences from all over the map, including classical, rock, ambient, and electronica," says the Boston Globe. "The quartet grooves fiercely." Pre-orders include an instant download of the opening track, "Two Steps," written by Penman.

  • City Folk, the sophomore album from James Farm—saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland—features 10 original tunes reflecting the members' many influences. "While their acoustic instrumentation, virtuosity, and improvisational brio scream jazz, their music displays influences from all over the map, including classical, rock, ambient, and electronica," says the Boston Globe. "The quartet grooves fiercely." Pre-orders include an instant download of the opening track, "Two Steps," written by Penman.

  • Lily-O, an album of reimagined folk songs by singer/fiddler/banjoist/guitarist Sam Amidon, was produced by Valgeir Sigurðsson and features jazz guitarist/composer Bill Frisell, a longtime hero of Amidon's, along with Amidon’s other frequent collaborators, bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Chris Vatalaro."Oh my, what joyous noise," exclaims fRoots. "As well as being master craftsmen," Amidon and his fellow musicians "create atmosphere—cinematic, mesmeric and groove-rich."

  • Joshua Redman's Trios Live was recorded during stands with two different trios: Redman and drummer Gregory Hutchinson with bassists Matt Penman (at Jazz Standard in NYC) and Reuben Rogers (at Blues Alley in Washington, DC). Trios Live features four original tunes by Redman and interpretations of three additional songs. "It's a great set," says the Financial Times, "full of muscular rhythms and the abandon of live performance, yet as tightly argued as a rigorous studio date." BBC Music Magazine gives it four stars, calling it "a thrill-a-minute set."

  • The debut album from the electric duo of Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana, Mehliana: Taming the Dragon, features Mehldau on Fender Rhodes and synthesizers and Guiliana on drums and effects. Mehliana comprises 12 original tunes—six written by the duo and six written by Mehldau—and was engineered and mixed by Greg Koller (Jon Brion, Kanye West). Jazzwise calls it "astonishing ... one of the best albums of 2014." The vinyl includes two 140-gram LPs pressed at Pallas MFG in Diepholz, Germany, and a CD of the album. 

  • On 2012's Grammy-winning album Unity Band, Pat Metheny recorded with a band that highlighted tenor saxophone for the first time since 1980, featuring Chris Potter on sax and bass clarinet, Antonio Sanchez on drums, and Ben Williams on bass. With Kin (←→), Metheny has added multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi and christened the ensemble Pat Metheny Unity Group. The album "takes guitar-led improvisation to new aesthetic levels," says Mojo, Metheny's "eloquent guitar etching a kaleidoscope of sonic hues." The vinyl includes two 140-gram LPs pressed at Pallas MFG in Diepholz, Germany, and a CD of the album.

  • Pat Metheny’s recording of John Zorn’s Tap: The Book of Angels, Vol. 20 from Zorn’s Masada Book Two is the first collaboration between the two artists. Besides his frequent collaborator, drummer Antonio Sanchez, Metheny plays all other instruments—guitars, sitar, tiples, bass, keyboards, orchestrionics, electronics, bandoneón, percussion, flugelhorn, and more—himself. The New York Times calls the album "an impressive feat of imagination, and a strikingly clear distillation of both artists’ distinctive languages." NPR says it's a "stunningly vivid sound world." The Independent concludes: "It's all dazzlingly virtuosic and evocative."

  • Walking Shadows, Joshua Redman’s first recording to include an orchestral ensemble, was produced by his friend and frequent collaborator Brad Mehldau. The record's core ensemble is a quartet featuring Mehldau, Larry Grenadier, and Brian Blade. Walking Shadows includes original tunes from both Redman and Mehldau along with works by a wide range of composers, like John Mayer and Pino Palladino, Kern and Hammerstein, and Lennon and McCartney. Buffalo News calls it "an unmitigated triumph ... one of the jazz discs of the year." The New York Times says "there hasn’t been a more sublimely lyrical gesture in his 20-year recording career."

  • Recorded at a church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, The Orchestrion Project showcases the full evolution of the Orchestrion as documented at the tail end of a sprawling 2010 world tour. The two-disc set features all five tunes from Metheny's Orchestrion—“a soaring five-movement suite featuring some of the most intricate music he's ever created" (Boston Globe)—plus eight additional Metheny compositions, which he plays on his phalanx of remarkable, custom-made instruments via solenoid switches and pneumatics. Q gives the album four stars, as does the Observer which calls it "fresh, elegant and surprising." The album, says the Financial Times, "captures the guitarist in inspired form."

  • The Brad Mehldau Trio’s Where Do You Start is a companion disc to the critically acclaimed Ode. Whereas Ode featured 11 songs composed by Mehldau, Where Do You Start comprises the Trio’s interpretations of ten tunes by other composers, along with one Mehldau original. "The pianist builds his improvisation like a master storyteller," says NPR's Fresh Air. The album, says the BBC, "points to Mehldau entering a new prime phase in his career." 

  • For the first time since his 1980 release 80/81, Metheny has recorded with a band that features tenor saxophone. Unity Band introduces a new Metheny ensemble of the same name with Chris Potter on sax and bass clarinet, longtime collaborator Antonio Sanchez on drums, and the up-and-coming Ben Williams on bass. The album features nine new Metheny compositions, "each one exquisitely performed and uniquely absorbing," says the Observer. All About Jazz says Unity Band is "unequivocally one of Metheny's finest—an album that's sure to find its way to 'best of' lists for 2012." Grammy Award winner for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

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