More holiday happiness!

In scanning new albums of seasonal jazz recently, I stumbled on this fantastic offering from the UK’s Gabriel Latchin Trio. While the titles may be very familiar, the handling of them is fresh and snappy. Immensely enjoyable: I look forward to exploring more from this group.

All tracks from this album have been added to my Spotify Yuletide Swing or Slow Holiday Jazz playlists, but please purchase the album if you like it.

Holiday happiness is…

..revisiting my Spotify Yuletide Swing playlist. Always curating, refining, polishing.

While some of the titles may suggest a particular denomination or belief, I’ve included them solely for their musical contribution. This is

Whatever situation the pandemic may have placed you in this year, I hope this brings you some smiles, warmth, comfort, groove, a swing to your step and extra light to your holiday season. We’ve surely needed it more this year than any in my lifetime.

Let me know of any tracks you think should add to this!

Swinging serenity

I can’t believe I haven’t lauded this group yet, after months of savoring their sweet stylings. Like the entirety of the performing arts community, this super suave jazz trio had to scramble to find performance alternatives in the face of the pandemic closures, and began streaming live Facebook sessions on Monday nights early this spring. These have become one of my top psychological palliatives in the turbulence of both the virus and the malevolent insanity of the current U.S. administration. If I haven’t been able to create much music of my own, having these cats remind me of what brilliance and joy is still possible has been mana.

Fronted by their wunderkind eponymous pianist, superbly backed by drummer Kyle Pool and bassist Russell Hall (who has to be the most stylin’ jazz performer currently on the interwebz), these concerts from Emmet’s living room in Harlem include featured guests from across the jazz spectrum. Each week is a blast.

The group has an extensive discography which I highly recommend, but increasingly legendary archive of live performances on both Facebook and Youtube is equally delectable. Donations are requested and I highly encourage it: live music this good and visceral, right in the comfort of your own home, shouldn’t be taken for granted.

One of the bizarre ironies of this catastrophic pandemic is the amount of creative content available at a click – almost overwhelming in both quantity and breadth. (I’ve unquestionably seen more Shakespeare in the last three months than in the rest of my life, and certainly more opera than in the last five years). Which is why a few weeks ago I took a breather from Weighty Content when I noticed Birdland’s Facebook stream presenting this trio’s weekly Monday night jam.

Who knows if I ever would have encountered this group were it not for the current circumstances? But have they ever been a tonic (in addition to what’s usually in my glass when I’m listening to them).

Their talent speaks for itself: these guys groove every which way and then some. And while almost all their streams are archived, I’m still making a point to catch them live: this weekly appointment has made the start of what are increasingly tense and exhausting weeks so much more tolerable. They accept donations of any amount (scroll down their Facebook page for the various options), and they’re well worth the financial love.

If and when in person events ever start up again, this group will be high on my list. In the meantime, these virtual gigs are superb.