Nu Jazz

Jazz music community with review and forums

Nu jazz grew out of the combined influences of Jon Hassel’s Kiranic trumpet playing and ‘fourth world’ rhythms, Miles Davis’ soft tone and use of ambience on “In a Silent Way”, and the early 90s intersection of jazz and electronica, particularly trip-hop, dub and down-tempo. Some early Nu Jazz artists include Nils Petter Molvaer and Bugge Wesseltoft. Over time, other influences were introduced to the Nu Jazz sound.

For a time, the jangling ambient guitar sound of post-rock was a big influence on Nu Jazz, but that has mostly faded now. Meanwhile, bands like Jagga Jazzist and Snarky Puppy have re-discovered the lush orchestrations of sophisticated easy listening and exotica arrangers such as Henry Mancini and Les Baxter. Yet another influence, one that has emerged from the sound of the popular Portico Quartet and others, is the use of repeating minimalist phrases. This use of short repeating melodic phrases not only comes from minimalist composers such as Steve Reich and Phillip Glass, but also from Zeuhl artists and a long history of European art rock. An influence from ambient music is also part of the Nu Jazz genre, this can be found in the early music of Nils Petter Molvaer, as well as others. Nick Bartsch is a popular Nu Jazz artist who often combines the repeating figures of minimalism with a dub reggae style ambiance.

All of the above mentioned influences may appear on a Nu Jazz album, but not necessarily all. As Nu Jazz continues to develop, the most constant factors tend be a relaxed 'cool' approach, an influence from modern electronica and an appreciation for ironic kitsch and retro sounds. Some early precedents for Nu Jazz can found in the Terry Riley influenced ambient sections on Soft Machine's IIIrd album, Brian Eno's use of Brand X's funk/fusion backing tracks in building his late 70s ambient art rock albums, and Miles Davis' lengthy "He Loved Him Madly" from his "Get Up With It" album.

Although there are musical differences between Nu Jazz and Contemporary Jazz, from a pop-culture standpoint, the more obvious difference between the two is Nu Jazz’s self-aware ’hipster’ stance, compared to Contemporary Jazz’s more emotionally earnest approach.

nu jazz top albums

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ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.) Live in Hamburg Album Cover Live in Hamburg
ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.)
4.94 | 7 ratings
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BUGGE WESSELTOFT New Conception of Jazz: Moving Album Cover New Conception of Jazz: Moving
BUGGE WESSELTOFT
4.92 | 3 ratings
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BUGGE WESSELTOFT New Conception of Jazz: FiLM iNG Album Cover New Conception of Jazz: FiLM iNG
BUGGE WESSELTOFT
4.92 | 3 ratings
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NIK BARTSCH Holon Album Cover Holon
NIK BARTSCH
4.72 | 9 ratings
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SNARKY PUPPY
5.00 | 2 ratings
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BEN MONDER
5.00 | 2 ratings
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JAGA JAZZIST
4.86 | 2 ratings
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4.58 | 3 ratings
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4.33 | 12 ratings
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DAVID TORN Clouds About Mercury Album Cover Clouds About Mercury
DAVID TORN
4.32 | 11 ratings
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nu jazz Music Reviews

PHRONESIS We Are All

Album · 2018 · Nu Jazz
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snobb
After eleven years of activities and seven successful albums London-based Phronesis were probably most respectable contemporary jazz trio in UK. Few years ago, when their music started sounding a bit too safe and predictable they did a double shot trying to improve the situation. First they recorded (at Abbey Road Studios in London) much more muscular album ("Parallax")then they ever did before. I saw them playing life with these new songs and they sounded as high-energy power trio, but from the bad side their new music lost part of their melodies putting them in danger to become "another fusion piano trio". An year after they released an excellent album of their known songs recorded with Frankfurt radio big band. What's next?

Just released their ninth album "We Are All" doesn't open radically different horizons, but it looks here they finally found their best ever balance between slightly melancholic chamber jazz and more modern and youthful power trio sound. Trio's songs are tightly composed and precisely executed again with bigger attention to melodies. They reduced high energy of "Parallax" till controlled groovy sound with complex interplay between virtuoso piano soloing and physical acoustic bass.

"We Are All" represents contemporary European jazz at its best - multilayered intellectual improvisational music sounds almost as accessible as pop and rock songs without loosing its quality. One critic called "Phronesis" "the best modern jazz piano trio since EST", with "We Are All" release they have serious evidence that he was right.

DINOSAUR Together, As one

Album · 2016 · Nu Jazz
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snobb
Fresh wind from England - young London-based trumpeter Laura Jurd's new project Dinosaur just released their debut album, and the album sounds great!

On new album,four young guys play fun and full of positive energy jazz fusion, that kind Miles presented to the world in his music,coming from late 60s-early 70s, but with removed psychedelic component,so characteristic for "Bitches Brew" time. Instead Laura demonstrates attention to composition and as a result them all sound almost as pop (or rock) songs.

For sure it is not a level of innovation or experimentation what attracts in "Together, As One" - just there are already a few generations of listeners for whom "In A Silent Way" says close to nothing. Laura and Co. reinvent original jazz fusion (Miles Davis type) for Z-Generation using Miles legacy very carefully but at the same time making it sounding attractive for today's young listeners.

Mostly on every song Laura's trumpet flies over Hammond / Rhodes passages with tasteful and inventive support from rhythm section. Compositions are quite catchy and it is not strange first album reviews and massive live gigs program both already received very positive media around UK and in partially in continental Europe.

With no doubt one among most significant jazz releases coming from Britain in 2016.

THE COMET IS COMING Death to the Planet

EP · 2017 · Nu Jazz
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snobb
"Death To The Planet" is only new music released by hottest London jazz trio "The Comet Is Coming" in 2017. And it is even not a true album but vinyl-only four track EP, coming as Record Store Day's limited edition.

Surprisingly, this less than half-an-hour musical collection illustrates last year's burgeoning London scene in a best way, especially looking from the very first days of new 2018 year, right after all those end-of-the-year TV analytics, future modelling and apocalyptic visions.

Differently from trio's first two releases, "Death To The Planet" contains less psychedelic rock and more jazz, mixed with hip-hop and Squarepusher's-style electronic grooves. Songs are dark, tuneful, full of passion and as much commercial as anti-commercial.

This music is easy accessible and danceable, but at the same time it sounds as hottest news soundtrack - you almost can see all these explosions on the streets of European capitals and chemical attacks in Syria, Russians maintaining their nuclear missiles, already placed in occupied Crimea's coast and immigrants boats sinking near African and Italian shores.

This music sounds as rock when it was young, as punk in late 70s, as early Blondie and Talking Heads albums, as Patty Smith and Iggy - it sounds as if best music is socially sharp again and it returns back on the streets.

And to be honest I even feel happy that it's just an EP - in our time when technical abilities so often exceed creative content and artists are filling 80 minutes space of blank CDs with useless sounds just because there still is a bit of empty place, I started liking vinyl album size releases again (doesn't matter is it true vinyl or vinyl album-size CD release), it's always better to stay in silent if you have nothing important to say...

Nothing is revolutionary here - simply from all last year's releases this one possibly sounds closest to real music from the times, when it was a significant part of everyone's life, not a pale soundtrack to ageing, bored and tired of consuming society.

NIECHĘĆ Niechęć

Album · 2016 · Nu Jazz
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progshine
This young Polish band was a complete surprise for me!

On their second album, the selt titled Niechęć (pronounced Niehenti) managed to do the feat of mixing quite disparate things like Post Rock and Jazz Rock and making them work together!

At various times the Jazz Fusion school, which is so strong in Poland, takes us by storm and even I, who do not like Jazz Fusion, just gave up and enjoy their music.

44 minutes of quality music that is worth checking and, even though I didn't hear many new albums in these last two years, one of the best albums released in Poland in 2016!

THE CHEAP ENSEMBLE Patrick Arthur , Dana Fitzsimons, Chris Otts : The Cheap 3nsemble

Album · 2017 · Nu Jazz
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js
The Cheap 3nsemble is a leaderless trio operating out of Atlanta, and their CD of the same name is their debut recording. Despite the somewhat sarcastic name, there is nothing flippant about this trio’s music, instead, they provide compositions and improvisations that are very thoughtful, and even delicate at times, but also muscular as well, depending on how the collective muse moves them. The opening three tracks show an attachment to the early innovations of the ECM label, with saxophonist Chis Otts in particular echoing an influence from Jan Garbarek. But later tracks reveal a band that is far more diverse than mere copycats. Joining Otts in this trio is drummer Dana Fitzsimmons, whose freewheeling approach to the drums may remind some of Paul Motian, and guitarist Patrick Arthur, whose combination of floating space contrasted with gritty distorted muscle may recall the young John Abercrombie.

Along with the aforementioned opening tracks, some other interesting cuts on here include Chick Corea’s abstract post bop classic, “Matrix”, which the ensemble deconstructs into a noisy heavy avant-rock work out. Modern standard, “Pure Imagination” is barely recognizable as Chris stretches out the melody with long silences before the bands turns it into another broken beat rock affair. Arthur’s “Front” features the guitarist playing melancholy arpeggios that sound like a tuned hand drum behind Ott’s freely floating sax melody. Overall, there are no bad cuts on here, everything provided is well considered and treated with the challenge of making something original and new, or nu, if you will.

Going back to the earliest days of the fabled ‘cutting contests’, much of the jazz world has always been based around astonishing technique and virtuosity. It takes a certain amount of bold risk and conviction to check your extended chops at the door and play music that utilizes open space and slow unwinding melodies, but that is the risk that the Cheap 3nsemble has taken on in this debut CD. The end result, combined with the fractured rocking moments, is a new (nu) kind of jazz, something that the millennial generation can call their own. This music constitutes a remarkable debut, lets hope we here more from the cheap 3some, much of their potential is probably still untapped.

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JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

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