Modern Jazz Gateway Drugs

The Bad Plus will get you started! Youtube playlist embedded below. At the very least, check out their versions of “Chariot’s of Fire” and the “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Click Here for my Bad Plus YouTube Playlist


If you are willing to venture further, check out this new release from a quartet named Mole. Their new disc “What’s the Meaning?” has been my main listening pleasure over the course of this last week. This debut album offers up an astoundingly diverse palette of modern jazz fusions, and the players are as diverse as the music, consisting of Mexican born pianist-composer Mark Aanderud, New York guitarist David Gilmore, Argentinian drummer Hernan Hecht, and Mexican bassist Jorge Molina. Their combined sounds possess the modern dynamism of a group like the The Bad Plus and the eccentricities of fusion that run through the veins of classic players like Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. What’s the Meaning? covers a lot of territory, from the spacious “Trees And The Old New Ones” to the driving “Flour Tortilla Variation”, Mole’s ability to seamlessly morph from sublime to funky is seldom pulled off with such keen sensibility. The compositions are expertly arranged and executed. Mark Aanderud and David Gilmore lead the melodic proceedings. Their conversations are wise. Aaderud’s focused playing serves to tether Gilmore’s creative wandering, and the result is accessible and deep. Hecht and Molina’s grooves stand out on tracks like “Stones” and “Greenland”. With all that is going on here, it is exciting to note that there is still room for these players to develop even further as a unit. A surprising and wonderful balance, What’s the Meaning? is contemporary jazz at the top of its game.

Find a Youtube video of the track “Flour Tortilla Variation” below. Stream a few more tracks from the album here.