Look out for these albums and DVDs released this week.
Esprit de Four is the follow-up to the contemporary jazz group’s 2011 release, Let’s Touch the Sky. It’s also the second to feature the group’s newest member, guitarist Chuck Loeb, who joins the all-star lineup of keyboardist Bob James, bassist Nathan East, and drummer Harvey Mason. According to the drummer, his composition “Venus” evokes the image of the thought-provoking planet of love. “When I write ballads or love songs for this group,” says Mason, “I can’t miss, because these guys are so extremely sensitive and romantic.” The title track, Mason’s second writing contribution to the album, closes the set with an anthemic vibe and gospel undercurrent. “The guys clearly loved the direction the song was taking in the studio, so I went with it,” Harvey says. “As the album came together, this tune, which remained nameless for the duration of the project, took on a feeling of unity, and I was honored when the guys named it ‘Esprit de Four.’”
The new album by 2012 MD Pro Panelist Gil Sharone’s unique hard rock band has been released digitally this week. (Physical copies are available on October 16.) Stolen Babies are currently touring the United States with co-headliners the Devin Townsend Project, Katatonia, and special guests Paradise Lost as part of the Epic Kings & Idols Tour.
This is the second solo album from the former member of Sleater-Kinney. Tucker describes this as a more collaborative effort from the band, which features drummer Sara Lund, formerly of Unwound. “After the past two years playing together, traveling, and making music,” says Tucker, “I think we’re more comfortable. We collaborated on every song on this record, and no one was shy about their ideas. I think you can hear that sense of joy and abandon in the songs.”
Here the renowned saxophonist, who was an important part of James Brown’s band in the ’60s and later collaborated with George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, reunites with the WDR Big Band for a collection of nine songs recorded live at the Leverkusener Jazz Festival in Leverkusener, Germany, in November 2011. The recording features bassist Christian McBride and drummer Cora Coleman-Dunham.
In 2011, the original three members of Ben Folds Five, including drummer Darren Jessee, came together to record three new studio tracks for the career-spanning Ben Folds anthology The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective. BFF subsequently launched its first tour in more than a decade. They return to the road this fall in support of their first new album in thirteen years, The Sound of the Life of the Mind.