The Editor’s pick of the best new albums reviewed in the December 2020 issue of Jazzwise, featuring Keith Jarrett, Elina Duni & Rob Luft, Mary Halvorson, Rob Mazurek and Sun Ra Arkestra
Patrick Cornelius (s), Michael Janisch (b), Kristjan Randalu (p) and Paul Wiltgen (d). Rec. May 2019
‘Acadia is a reincarnation of Patrick Cornelius’ co-led TransAtlantic quartet that toured prolifically from 2006-9 and released an eponymous album along the way. It signals a change in direction for the quietly established New York-based alto saxophonist. The stimulus is the ‘great outdoors’ of Acadia, the spectacular rocky coastline of the Northeastern tip of Maine, which has inspired Cornelius’ originals on his fourth release for long-time associate/bassist Michael Janisch’s Whirlwind Recordings. Programmatic jazz of this kind isn’t always noteworthy but this is an exception. The themes are mostly on the folky side, with a Celtic-ish kind of feel, creating an airily pastoral ambience in keeping with the bucolic source of inspiration, while the ensemble’s sturdy, animated rhythmic backbone reflects its rugged terrain…’ Selwyn Harris
Elina Duni (v), Rob Luft (g), Fred Thomas (p) and Matthieu Michel (flhn). Rec. February 2020
‘On Lost Ships, guitarist Rob Luft makes his ECM debut and vocalist Elina Duni presents a new ensemble – and the result just happens to be a minor classic.