In 2007, just over a decade ago, the Swedish electronic band Little Dragon released their eponymous debut album on Village Again Records. What makes Little Dragon's initial release so outstanding is its great tracks with songs like "Twice," "Constant Surprises," "Recommendation," and "Turn Left." It's the kind of album I would want to listen to on a rainy day or meditating in a blissful-zen state.
The Armenian jazz virtuoso pianist, Tigran Hamasyan is a powerhouse musical force to be reckoned with. In 2017, the 31-year-old composer released probably his most accessible and gorgeous album to date, An Ancient Observer. He manages to capitivate his listeners with his sheer raw talent and intricate melodies inspired by world-folk music and Eastern European traditional tunes. He also beatboxes and hums falsetto harmonies while shredding away on both a synthesizer and a grand piano.
I am looking at last year's Moonchild album called Voyager. This album infuses a chilled out mixture of neo-soul, jazz, lounge, electronic, and funk. The spacey, jazzy arrangements on this record are filled with softly strung harp chords, smooth Rhodes licks, funky bass lines, and tight drum samples.
Last year's record A Social Call by 26 year old jazz vocalist Jazzmeia Horn earned Ms. Horn a grammy nomination. What make this album stand out from some of the other recent jazz releases is its crafty qualities of a musical melting pot of politics, religion, race, spirituality, shifting moods, and of course jazz.
Ben Williams's second full length album, "Coming of Age," was released in 2015 to pretty remarkable reviews from various jazz critics. Williams infuses elements of R&B/neo-soul, fusion, post-bop, funk, and hip-hop into his innovative compositions. The 31-year old Washington D.C. upright bass player, Ben Williams, sheds a new prominent voice in the rising jazz scene
In 2016, the Toronto jazz quartet BADBADNOTGOOD (BBNG) released an album called IV, blending the genres of hip-hop, jazz, and electronic all together into one incredible album. The album IV is most likely BBNG's most accessible album to date.
The way Guru describes "Jazzmatazz Vol. 1" is: "Jazz's mellow tracks, along with the hard rap beat, go hand-in-glove with my voice."
In 2015 another underrated album that seemed to not get enough attention, was Blue Note artist: José James's Yesterday I Had The Blues (The Music of Billie Holiday). On this record, Mr. James presents his most intimate and heart-wrenching sound yet.
Already being sixteen years old, the album Waltz For Koop by the duo of Swedish electronic DJs known as "Koop" is a record that remains as fresh sounding since its initial release in 2001.
This album reflects the fact that jazz is still going strong almost a century after the famous "Roaring 20's." Jazz has always had a pushing the envelope kind of sound to it, and this is why the future of jazz is certain to exist.