FreeWheelin' Music Safari

“Into the Night” with Tom Russell’s Aztec Jazz

Aztec Jazz

So last night I had a chance to listen to Tom Russell’s latest release Aztec Jazz The album was recorded as a live concert in Halden, Norway in May of 2012 with the world-renown 32 piece Norwegian Wind Ensemble and guitarist Thad Beckman. Here’s what it says about the album at Russell’s website:

The new Aztec Jazz may be the most wonderful to date. Tom Russell has never been afraid to try something new and different, but he really outdoes himself on this album, a live 2012 performance with guitarist Thad Beckman and the 31-member Norwegian Wind Ensemble. What to call the result, which incorporates elements of jazz, folk, Tex-Mex and classical music? Who knows? Who cares?
As Russell writes, “The results were beyond our dreams. Sometimes it sounded like Western movie music and sometimes it called up Miles Davis’s Sketches of Spain. [The Wind Ensemble] played behind us without overpowering the songs, and I think my singing is far better than my vocals on the original tracks.” Perhaps so—though his always-emotive vocals on the originals were pretty damn powerful.
At any rate, the Ensemble’s trumpets, oboes, saxes, French horns, trombones and percussion—inventively arranged by Swedish composer Mats Halling—put a new slant on this classic American roots music. Continue at Tom

Tracks on the album include some Russell’s most emotional songs like Guadalupe, Nina Simone, Goodnight Juarez and St. Olav’s Gate. Here’s the full track list:

1. Love Abides
2. Nina Simone
3. East Of Woodstock, West Of Vietnam
4. Goodnight Juarez
5. Criminology
6. Guadaloupe
7. Stealing Electricity
8. Finding You
9. Mississippi River Running Backwards
10. St. Olav’s Gate
11. Jai Alai

Highlights for me were Nina Simone, “Guadaloupe”, and Jai Lai, which I thought was maybe the best track on the album.

Oops, I forgot about this one, let’s let “Goodnight Juarez” take us “into the night”. So sure to check out this fantastic album from maybe Americana’s best songwriter!!