Monday, December 21, 2020

Tim Mah's Recommended Drummer-Led Albums of 2020 (Part Two!)

Frequent Four on the Floor correspondent Tim Mah returns today, this time offering Part Two of his extensive list of favourite albums released by jazz drummers in 2020 from all around the world (click here to read Part One, published last May).

Tim's radio program Jazz Today can be heard on CJSW Radio 90.9 fm (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) on Thursday mornings at 530am. 

It is also streamed on the CJSW website and is available through Apple Podcasts.

Look for more great year-end lists from Tim Mah coming your way in the weeks to come, offering his informed choices of Canadian and International jazz releases from 2020.

Tim Mah's 2020 Recommended Album Releases From Drummers (Part Two!)

In my previous guest post (published on May 15, 2020), Four on the Floor published a list of drummers, who released albums through April 2020. This guest post includes new music from May to November 2020, plus some that I missed on the previous post. 

The intent of this list is to put a spotlight on new releases from musicians, who happen to be drummers. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list. 

In no particular order, check out new releases from:   

Quin Kirchner     

Chicago-based Quin Kirchner’s sophomore album is called “The Shadows and the Light.” Bandcamp ranked his debut album (“The Other Side of Time”) as one of the best albums of 2018.

This is the audio of the title track:


Also, check out his solo drum performance for Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studio in April 2020:


Makaya McCraven    

Earlier this year, Makaya McCraven released “We’re New Again” - an album reimagining Gil Scott-Heron’s “I’m New Here.”  

In July, he released “Universal Beings E&F Sides” – an addendum to his critically acclaimed 2018 album, “Universal Beings.”

This is the audio for the track “Everybody Cool” from “Universal Beings E&F Sides”:

Check out this documentary about the making of “Universal Beings”:    

Shirazette Tinnin    

North Carolina-native, New York-based Shirazette Tinnin is a drummer, educator and health coach, who released her sophomore album this year called “Sonic Wallpaper Volume 1: The Cards That Life Can Deal.”   

This is the audio for “Past Tense”:


This is a video of a recent livestream concert featuring Shirazette Tinnin and her band playing music from the new album: 


Ralph Peterson Jr. 

Ralph Peterson Jr. released his 25th album as a leader, called “Onward and Upward,” with his band called the Messenger Legacy. He pays tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, bringing together 14 former Jazz Messengers and 3 Legacy Messengers to perform on the album.

This is the audio for the title track:   

Jonathan Barber   

Jonathan Barber released his sophomore album with his band, Vision Ahead” called “Legacy Holder” in May, followed by “Live at Jazz Standard” in October (available exclusively on Bandcamp https://jonathanbarber.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-jazz-standard). 

This could be the last album recorded at the Jazz Standard, which announced that it will not be reopening due to the impact of the global pandemic.

Here is the audio for the title track:

This is video of Jonathan Barber & Vision Ahead performing “Haikus” (composed by Matt Dwonszyk) at the Jazz Standard in New York:


Joe Farnsworth   

In September, Joe Farnsworth released his latest album, “Time to Swing” featuring Kenny Barron (piano), Peter Washington (bass), and Wynton Marsalis (trumpet).

This is the EPK for the album:


You can also hear Joe Farnsworth on the album “Mabern Plays Mabern” – the last album recorded by Harold Mabern, released posthumously in the spring of 2020.   
Billy Martin “Guilty”   

Medeski Martin and Wood drummer, Billy Martin, makes his debut on bass on the album “Guilty,” released in July 2020.   

This is the music video for the track called “Geek Love”:     


Dafnis Prieto   

The Dafnis Prieto Sextet’s new album is called “Transparency,” released in October.   

This is a behind the scenes look at the recording of the album:   


Dan Weiss   

In September, Dan Weiss released “Natural Selection,” his second album from his band, Starebaby, which combines doom metal, electronics and improvised music.   

This is the album teaser for “Natural Selection”:     


Check out this Starebaby concert:   

Part 1

Part 2 

Matt Wilson   
The latest album from the Matt Wilson Quartet is called “Hug!,” featuring Jeff Lederer (saxophone), Kirk Knuffke (cornet) and Chris Lightcap (bass) was released in August.   

This is the music video for the title track:


Rudy Royston    

Check out the June 25, 2020 Four on the Floor blog post featuring an interview with Rudy Royston about his new solo drum album called “PaNOptic.”   

This is the audio for the track for “maXX” – inspired by Max Roach:    


Also, check out Rudy Royston on 2020 releases from Bill Frisell (“Valentine”), Rudresh Mahanthappa (“Hero Trio”), and Lisa Hilton (“More Than Another Day”)   

Jeff Williams   

Four on the Floor featured Jeff Williams on February 17, 2020.  In November, Jeff Williams released “Road Tales: Live at the London Jazz Festival.”   
This is the audio file for “The Interloper”:     


Christian Euman   

Chicago-native, Los Angeles-based Christian Euman has performed with Billy Childs, Kurt Elling, Marquis Hill, Jacob Collier and many more. This summer, he released his debut album “Allemong.”  

This is the audio of “Don’t Go to Your Face”:


Asher Gamedze   

Cape Town, South Africa’s Asher Gamedze released his debut album in July.   

This is the audio for the track “Eternality” :   


Also, check out Asher Gamedze on Chicago’s Angel Bat Dawid’s 2019 album, “The Oracle,” where he’s featured on the 15 minute track called “Capetown”.   

Adam Nussbaum   

In August, Adam Nussbaum released “Lead Belly Reimagined” – a follow up to his 2018 album “The Lead Belly Project.” The band members are Steve Cardenas (guitar), Nate Radley (guitar) and Ohad Talmor (saxophone).   

This is a video of a concert recorded at Seeds: Brooklyn (September 2020):    


Adonis Rose   

Please refer to the October 15, 2020 blog post, featuring an interview with Adonis Rose about his new album, “Piece of Mind - Live at the Blue Llama.”   

This is a concert video of Adonis Rose and the “Piece of Mind” band performing at the New Orleans Jazz Museum for International Jazz Day 2020:


Quincy Davis 

Please refer to the November 5, 2020 blog post, featuring an interview with Quincy Davis about his new album “Q Vision”.    

This is the audio for the track “Shorter Days (For Wayne Shorter)”:


Charles Rumback   

Charles Rumback is another great drummer on the Chicago music scene. This summer, he released the album “June Holiday”.     

This is the official video for “Burning Daylight”:   


Matt Mayhall   

Los Angeles-based Matt Mayhall is the drummer in Aimee Mann’s band. In February, he released his sophomore album called “Fanatics,” featuring Jeff Parker (guitar) and Chris Speed (saxophone, clarinet).   

This is the audio for Heliotrope:


In May 2020, Matt Mayhall and trumpeter, Dan Rosenboom, released an album called “Language”  

Also, check out Matt Mayhall and Jay Bellerose (percussion) on Paul Bryan’s “Cri$el Gems”  

Eric Binder Trio   

New York-native, Chicago-based Eric Binder’s new trio album “Hard Bop" featuring Walter Smith III (saxophone) and Petros Klampanis (bass), was released in July.  

This is the audio for “Trane Ride” off the album:


This is a video of a livestream of the “Hard Bop” album release concert at the Fulton Street Collective in Chicago:



Here are a few more drummers with 2020 releases to check out:   

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers   

In July, Blue Note Records released an unreleased studio album "Just Coolin'" by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers that was recorded on March 8, 1959 in Rudy Van Gelder’s living room studio in Hackensack, New Jersey. 

The session featured a short-lived line-up of The Jazz Messengers with drummer Art Blakey, trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, pianist Bobby Timmons, and bassist Jymie Merritt.   

Bobby Wiens    

Calgary-native, Denver-based Bobby Wiens released his debut album as a band leader in November, called “Talking Drums”. 

Vijay Anderson   

The Vijay Anderson Trio, featuring Adam Lane (bass) and Ben Goldberg (clarinet) released a new album (“Studio Sessions, Vol. 10”) in September 2020. Vijay Anderson is a California-native, currently living in Brooklyn.  

John Hollenbeck 

In August, John Hollenbeck released the final chapter of a trilogy of albums, in which he explored and arranged popular songs. For this recording, “Songs You Like A Lot,” listeners nominated their favorite songs for Hollenbeck to arrange. After an internet-wide vote on a list of nominated songs, Hollenbeck chose (with the help of Kate McGarry, Theo Bleckmann and Gary Versace) from the top 20 most popular songs.  

This album was nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award.   Personnel - John Hollenbeck: composer, arranger, conductor; Kate McGarry: vocals; Theo Bleckmann: vocals; Gary Versace: piano, organ + Frankfurt Radio Big Band.   

Susie Ibarra    

“Rhythm Cycles” by Susie Ibarra is a commissioned solo performance by the Bagri Foundation for their series " At the Cutting Edge" performed at Cafe OTO.  This performance was recorded in 2019 and was released in November 2020.   

Raphael Pannier   

Paris-born, New York-based Raphael Pannier released his debut album in September 2020. The band on the album include Francois Moutin (bass), Aaron Goldberg (piano) and Miguel Zenon (saxophone).  

Rajiv Jayaweera   

London born Rajiv Jayaweera grew up in Melbourne, is of Sri Lankan heritage and has been based in New York for nearly a decade.This album is Rajiv Jayaweera's debut album featuring eight of his original compositions inspired by images and memories from Sri Lanka. It also features the relatively unknown traditional drum, the thammattama or temple drum, which appears on two of songs.  

Personnel: Chris Cheek (tenor/soprano saxophone), Aaron Parks (piano), Hugh Stuckey (guitar), Sam Anning (double bass), Rajiv Jayaweera (drums, cymbals, caxixi, thammattama) and Lara Bello (voice)   

Devin Gray   

Brooklyn-based Devin Gray collaborates with fellow drummer, Gerald Cleaver, on the October 2020 album called “27 Licks”. 

Also, check out Devin Gray’s EP “Socialytics” (released in May 2020) and two new singles that he recorded with Ralph Alessi (trumpet) and Angelica Sanchez (piano). 

Chase Kuesel   

Drummer and composer Chase Kuesel (“key-sull”) released his debut album, “Space Between,” in July 2020. This album was recorded in June 2019, at the end of Chase's one-year stay in Switzerland for the Focusyear Artist Grant.   

Larnell Lewis   

Larnell Lewis released “Relive the Moment” in November. On this album, Larnell reimagined six compositions from his debut album (“In the Moment”) by recording new live drum performances. The closing track is a new composition.   

Jerry Granelli

Granelli's latest release "The Jerry Granelli Trio Plays Vince Guaraldi and Mose Allison" explores music from two of Granelli's significant musical collaborators, putting a fresh perspective on some older material.

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