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5 jazz albums recorded during the pandemic

Blog
5 jazz albums recorded during the pandemic

10.09.2021

Text: Cem Kayıran

 It is evident that the coronavirus pandemic did not only have direct effects on the live music industry but also boosted the search for new ways around musical production. Jazz albums recorded during this period appear to be creative works by musicians who either break their certain habits or try to defeat the loneliness demanded by the given circumstances. Here’s a selection of five albums that even after years may arouse such feelings of the era for the listener. They were all recorded in 2020 and released in 2021.

 Nik Bärtsch – Entendre

(ECM)

 In the year 2020, the notion of solitude transformed into a global experience. One of the musicians who returned to creating solo after many years was Swiss pianist and composer Nik Bärtsch. The musician, who is known with projects like Ronin and Mobile, recorded his first solo since 2002. The recording took place in the autumn of 2020 at the Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI in Lugano. Like all of Bärtsch’s works, Entendre too compiles “Modul”s that shelter dense feelings and unexpected curves.

 John McLaughlin – Liberation Time

(Abstract Logix)

 John McLaughlin, who has been the subject of most sentences that contain the words “jazz fusion” since ‘60’s, says that Liberation Time is a reaction against the pressure imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. In a period that people grew apart from each other, he found peace in rearranging his latest output with friends who he thought were “ideal” for the given compositions. He also added two solo piano compositions to the album, which is extraordinary considering he had not played the piano in any recordings since 1973. 

 Emma-Jean Thackray – Yellow

(Movementt)

 Emma-Jean Thackray is one of the most innovative musicians in the UK’s current open-minded jazz scene. She created Yellow as a means to satisfy our longing and needs. In its 50 minutes flow, the album offers a spiritual blend of free jazz, P-funk and hip hop. Thackray, who played all the instrument herself in her previous album, is appreciated as a leader in Yellow.

 Naoko Sakata – Dancing Spirits

(Pomperipossa)

 “When I sit in front of the piano, I, as a person, disappear. My body becomes a conduit for expressing the music that I can hear in my head.” This is a direct quote from the Japanese pianist Sakata who resides in Sweden. Her new album is an improvisational work that was played on a Steinway piano in The Annedal Church in Gothenburg. With its chaotic moments followed by refreshing resolutions, Dancing Spirits wows the listener both in terms of virtuosity and how it gives in to the moment.

 Sons of Kemet – Black To The Future

(Impulse!)

 Sons of Kemet, lead by Shabaka Hutchings, keeps on celebrating the past, present and future of the Black culture. Black To The Future is a thematic album that instils hope in the listener and calls for the strength in togetherness. It was partly recorded in 2019 and 2020 under pandemic conditions. The album hosts guests like Moor Mother, Angel Bat Dawid, Lianne La Havas and Kojey Radical.

Click here for a selection of jazz albums recorded during the pandemic period

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