New Releases: Jazz/Improvised Music (August 2018)

Catherine Sikora

New Releases: Jazz/Improvised Music (August 2018)

A round-up of new jazz and improvised music releases

Featured below: Catherine Sikora and Brian Chase, Umbra, John Coltrane, Yazmin Lacey, Discover Festival 2017.

Listen to the Journal of Music jazz/improvised playlist on Spotify:

Each week The Journal of Music compiles news on new and recent releases in contemporary, classical, jazz, indie, folk and traditional music. Please send details of all releases to editor [at]

Catherine Sikora and Brian Chase: untitled: after
Chaikin Records
13 July 2018

An album of experimental jazz, recorded in New York, composed by Sikora and Chase and inspired by Seamus Heaney’s translations of Beowulf. The two musicians capture phrases from the translation, such as the shimmering and explosive rhythms of ‘brightly forged’, or the weavings of Sikora’s sax in ‘shadow’. The album showcases its compositional core, surrounded by a flurry of complex improvisations that make it compelling. 



Umbra: West
26 July 2018

West is a kind of concept album, based on the journey taken by Chris Guilfoyle, Umbra’s band leader, along the west coast of North America. The tracks are named after places Guilfoyle visited on that journey, capturing something of the impression of these cities – whether the open manicness of ‘L.A.’ or the low-key grooves of ‘Vancouver’ – as well as his own feelings about the journey itself. This debut album is bold, with the confidence of a band who know when to hew tightly together and when to give space. Catch Guilfoyle, in a variety of ensembles, at the Kilkenny Arts Festival this month.

John Coltrane: Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album
Verve Label Group
29 June 2018

The music on this album is not a re-release – it was recorded in 1963, but lost when the label, Impulse Records, destroyed the master tape to save on storage space. Both Directions at Once contains finished tracks, voices and incidental recordings from the studio itself, multiple takes and unnamed improvisations, giving an insight into the working processes of Coltrane and his band, in an album that still sounds strikingly relevant. 


Yazmin Lacey: When the Sun Dips 90 Degrees
First Word Records
22 June 2018

London-baesd singer Yazmin Lacey fuses soul and jazz in her second EP, incorporating past singles ‘90 Degrees’ and ‘Something My Heart Trusts’ though it is tracks like ‘Burn & Rise’ that truly stand out. It’s an irresistable EP, reflective and warm. 

Various/Discover Festival 2017: Channel
4 July 2018

A live recording of a huge array of avant-garde improvised music artists, recorded at the Discovery Festival 2017 in London, this Bandcamp-only release from Weekertoft features label founder Paul G. Smyth, Evan Parker, Satoko Fukuda, Trio Blurb and Alison Blunt. Channel is vibrant and challenging, reflecting the artists that play on it as they constantly push boundaries around sound improvisation.


Please send details of all new releases to editor [at]

Published on 1 August 2018


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