Upcoming jazz-adjacent albums from the Pacific Northwest
One of the defining qualities of modern jazz in the 21st century is that it doesn't sound like the "jazz" music that has come before. For four Northwest-connected groups, the foundations of improvisation and the jazz tradition are there, but upcoming albums show them pushing the edges of the genre even further.
New York-based drummer, producer and vocalist Kassa Overall remains closely connected to his hometown of Seattle and has released three singles from his upcoming album Animals, due next Friday, May 26 on Warp Records.
Overall's jazz-drenched neo-soul hip-hop fusion addresses the way our society values artists and their art. The momentum built with his 2020 album I Think I'm Good was interrupted by the pandemic but Overall is back on a roll.
The album's early singles point to music's therapeutic powers and develop irresistible beats both up-tempo and relaxed, featuring Overall's frequent collaborator Theo Croker on trumpet.
Animals also includes guests such as rapper Danny Brown, pianist Vijay Iyer, saxophonist Anthony Ware and singer Laura Mvula which make the full-length release all the more anticipated. Overall returns to the Northwest for the Thing Festival in Port Townsend August 27.
High Pulp's drummer and bandleader Bobby Granfelt and saxophonist Andrew Morrill recently relocated to Los Angeles as the rest of the band — saxophonist Victory Nguyen, keyboardists Rob Homan and Antoine Martel, and bassist/guitarist Scott Rixon — keep the home fires burning in Seattle.
The long-running ensemble's experiments in jazz grooves and complex rhythms move further into a modern, soulful electronica with cinematic horn arrangements and a psychedelic spirit. High Pulp also welcome special guests, like bassist MonoNeon, harpist Brandee Younger and guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkle, for an album promising a unique musical experience.
Days in the Desert will be released July 28 via Anti- Records. Find them at Bad Bar in Seattle June 16, and also at the Thing Festival in late August.
Headlining Bite of Seattle the weekend of July 21-23, Polyrhythmics will self-release their seventh album Filter System September 29. A result of their collaborative writing style, Filter System offers a fresh sound from these Seattle favorites now in their 12th year.
Polyrhythmics' first album in three years finds the group adding more rock feeling from guitarist Ben Bloom, bring a "cop show theme" energy to the first single "Roller." The follow-up "Funky Miracle" is a romantic slow jam with saxophonist Art Brown taking the spotlight solo before horns enhance the intimacy with soothing ensemble lines.
Led by Jason Cressey and Peter Daniel, FutureNot follow up their debut album Greatest Hits with their new single "Stargazer." For this recording, the group includes Bill Jones on trumpet and Tim Kennedy on keyboard, plus former DLO3 drummer Dan Weiss and guitarist Aquiles Magana of Monophonics and Surefire Soul Ensemble.
Cressey adds Moog synthesizer and bass to his trombones while Daniel sticks to his saxophones on this production by Kelly Finnigan, Cressey's band leader in Monophonics.
Interstellar atmospheric keyboards introduce the ensemble horn theme, matched by a chilled-out guitar and keyboard combination. This sexy slow jam loads up layered trombone lines and a brief solo from Kennedy before settling down to fade out under the stars.
FutureNot are opening for Peter Cat Recording Co. at a sold-out show at the Crocodile May 31. Tickets are still available for their show in Portland, June 3 at the Jack London Revue. The second single "Coffee Break" is expected soon, but no date has been announced for the group's second album yet.
Hear singles from all four groups on The New Cool Friday night and stay tuned for much more to come.
The New Cool airs Fridays at 9 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Washington. LISTEN ON DEMAND