The late and lamented Derek Bailey has suggested that due to the current state of jazz—"a comfortable reminder of the good old days was one of his more sympathetic characterizations—a complete separation of jazz and improvised music is in effect. Aorta's sophomore effort, Janus, makes a good case for the validity of Bailey's point. The Swedish band, centered around NY-based guitarist Anders Nilsson, immediately presents in the opening "Operation: Janus" the elements which make up its music, none of which are considered jazz.
Out of Sweden comes new jazz sounds from guitarist Anders Nilsson's group Aorta, a group that glances briefly back at the late '60s and '70s, then forges ahead, showing some possible directions for the music to go if it is to remain vital. Aorta probably won't be doing a week at the Vanguard any time soon, but if there's any music that can even remotely be called jazz and has any chance of capturing the ears of teens and twenty-somethings (the holy grail in music sales), this is it.
Jazz Ist Anders, Die Ärzte's 11th studio album to date and their first in four years, should thrill devoted fans of the chart-topping German punk band. While it's not as ambitious as their previous album, the double-disc, 25-track Geräusch (2003), it's a tour de force nonetheless. There are 16 songs – actually, 19 overall if you count the three-track bonus disc – and each is unique in its own way, whether in terms of songwriting or instrumentation. The three bandmembers (guitarist Farin Urlaub, bassist Rodrigo González, and drummer Bela B.) take turns singing, and all contribute songs of their own, sometimes collaborating with one another.