BP Recommends

Shinedown, Mary Ann McSweeney, Salazh Trio, and More!
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URBAN FADO [Sparky Productions]


Veteran New York acoustic bassist Mary Ann McSweeney leads a stylistically suited ensemble of bass, guitar, sax, violin, drums, and vocals to explore Portuguese fado, a traditional folk style known for its haunting, mournful melodies and lyrics of longing and loss. On originals such as the title track, “Fate of Amelia,” “Brooklyn–Lisbon Connection,” and “Spy-Espia,” McSweeney begins with rubato bowed melodies before the pulse kicks in and the group flexes its improvisational muscle. Elsewhere, the covers “Equina Do Pecado” and “Um Corpo Que Nao E Meu” (with Mary Ann’s most expressive solo) get inspired, reverential readings. —CHRIS JISI



Thanks to a burgeoning vanguard of fresh blood and the embrace of hip-hop stars like Kendrick Lamar, jazz is in a state of resurgence—but don’t tell that to Brad Mehldau. He’s been knocking down doors since the early ’90s, and for most of that time, Larry Grenadier has been his go-to bassist and collaborator (drummer Jeff Ballard joined the trio in 2005, replacing Jorge Rossy). The trio’s latest album takes a contemplative turn on pieces like Mehldau’s “Spiral” and the whimsical title cut, but Grenadier opens up the throttle on the standard “Almost Like Being in Love” and Sam Rivers’ “Beatrice,” providing the sinewy connective tissue between Mehldau’s acrobatic piano runs and Ballard’s powerhouse polyrhythms. He also brings a fluid sense of melody to covers of the Beach Boys’ “Friends” and Paul McCartney’s “Great Day,” breathing new life into both. —BILL MURPHY



Joe Dart has emerged with a new Vulfpeck offshoot that includes his fellow Vulf alum Cory Wong, Snarky Puppy guitarist Mark Lettieri, and drummer Nate Smith. The new outfit’s wildly funky six-song EP includes a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed Sealed, Delivered” and a handful of upbeat originals. Given the number of guitarists (Blake Mills cameo included), this might seem like a guitar-centric album, but don’t be mistaken: Any time Dart’s name is in the linear notes, bass is king. —JON D’AURIA

DEEPER [Fire Talk]


For up-and-coming bands, few music scenes are as demanding as Chicago’s, and that’s why those who do break through tend to be eclectic (Wilco, Tortoise, Shellac, and plenty more). Deeper is a raucous foursome that fits the mold—which is to say they don’t fit neatly into any—merging elements of punk, psych-rock, indie art-pop, and glam into a sound that’s as much a throwback as it is a taste of the future. Drew McBride is a key part, whether he’s laying into a dry-and-heavy line on the Gang Of Four-ish “Should Be” or mounting a percussive attack on the hyperactive “Feels” and the mind-bending workout “Transmogrified.” For a debut this loud and groovy, Deeper lives up to the name on multiple levels. —BILL MURPHY

[Salazh Trio]


Dutch bassist Jeroen Paul Thesseling has demonstrated perhaps one of the most impressive pivots ever, from death metal with his old band Obscura to jazz-fusion with Salazh Trio. On the Trio’s debut album, Thesseling shows the true range of his fretless 7-string, ranging from ground-rumbling phrases to melodic, high-end soloing—with loads of dissonance and imaginative composing in between. Thesseling’s brilliance comes through in his ability to make odd-time signatures smooth and dark tones beautiful. —JON D’AURIA



Joanna Bolme has been the anchoring force in the Jicks for all seven of the band’s albums behind former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus, and she deserves a lot more recognition than she gets. From the way she approaches her P-Bass (with a touch that’s sure-handed, unflashy but inventive, and always with a sound that serves the song), her low profile might be by design, but there’s no denying the punchy presence she exerts here on “Future Suite,” or the fuzz-boosted oomph she gives to the hard-driving “Shiggy” and the big-and-bouncy “Bike Lane.” Her versatility comes through on the more oddball cuts, especially on the acid-fueled “Rattler,” a freaky psych excursion that would have given a young Roger Waters a run for his lucre. —BILL MURPHY



Eric Bass, owner of probably the best name in rock, was extra-busy going into Shinedown’s sixth studio effort. Not only did he write 22 songs for the band’s new concept album, but he also took on production duties on top of his normal role of, well, bass. The result is 14 continuous, flowing songs—leading with the radio-primed first single, “Devil”—that are all heavy, catchy, and mosh-pit-ready, with Bass boasting a powerful wall of tone and dirty attack. —JON D’AURIA



Juan Alderete is widely known for his bass and pedal mastery in rock, metal, and experimental alternative music, but he’s also well respected for his work in hip-hop with Deltron 3030 and Dr. Octagon. The latter has just released a new album that features Alderete and Merlo Podlewski (Jack Johnson), who get groovy on the tracks “Bear Witness VI” and “Karma Sutra.” For a guru of effects, Alderete always brings the right tone to the table, and he doesn’t disappoint on this fantastic album. —JON D’AURIA


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BP Recommends: Little Dragon, Nightlands, Suicidal Tendencies, and More

Los Angeles pianist Graves, a founding member of the West Coast Get Down and veteran of Stanley Clarke’s band, releases his robust solo debut, featuring a Kamasi Washington-led horn section, drummer Ronald Bruner Jr., and bass aces Hadrien Feraud and Thundercat. Inspired by The Urantia Book (which also influenced Jaco), Graves’ compositions boast dense layers of melody and rhythm marked by striking harmonic shifts.