Historically, there have been many variations on the line-up of a jazz trio. But as the piano-led model becomes somewhat ubiquitous any alternatives are more than welcome. Herman/Ceccaldi/Darrifourcq is a breath of fresh air in small group improvisation, as the uncommon textural palette created by saxophone, cello, drums and electronics reveals the maximum possibilities of what some might call a minimal set up.
The Church continue their never-ending exploration of inner space on 2014's Further/Deeper, the Australian group's first album in five years, and an impressive return to duty after the band's productive run in the 2000s. Taking a few years to rest and recharge seems to have worked out very well for the Church; this album doesn't find the band exploring much in the way of new and unchartered territory, but it finds them embracing their trademark version of psychedelia – clean but misty, like the calm eye of the aural hurricane as the waves of guitar and keys swirl about – with a welcome sense of vigor and focus.
Digitally remastered release that contains, for the first time ever on CD, a complete live performance in Manchester by the legendary Shelly Manne quintet with Joe Gordon and Richie Kamuca. This short lived group had produced the celebrated multi-volume albums at the Blackhawk, in San Francisco, the previous year (with Victor Feldman on piano instead of Russ Freeman), as well as celebrated recordings of Henry Mancini's Peter Gunn music. The Manchester concert, which was only previously released on an extremely rare long out of print LP, showcases the quintet in high spirits, and offers a new opportunity to appreciate the talents of trumpeter Joe Gordon, who would die soon after.
Cut swiftly – no more than two weeks at three different studios spread coast to coast – the Arcs' 2015 debut Yours, Dreamily does bear a spontaneous air, a record that enjoys its hazy detours as much as its sturdy foundations. This blend of airy sonic swirls and R&B-influenced rock formalism feels familiar, perhaps because it is the aesthetic that's driven Arcs leader Dan Auerbach during the heady mid-career heyday of his main gig, the Black Keys. Once the Ohio garage blues duo hooked up with producer Danger Mouse for 2008's Attack & Release, the Black Keys incorporated impressionistic soundscapes to their guitar growl but Yours, Dreamily flips the equation, favoring feel over grind.