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Brandee Younger - Somewhere Different makes Treble: best jazz albums of 2021

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Treble's Konstantin Rega writes….In recent years, jazz has consistently been a source of the most thrilling and innovative new sounds, and 2021 was no exception. This year, heralded by a landmark release from a contemporary electronic musician with a saxophone legend, we saw a trend of more atmospheric jazz with electronic elements, but that alone doesn’t tell the story of what was happening in jazz this year, which also saw intimate solo recordings, veterans hitting their stride, upbeat protest records and compilations of exciting sounds from local scenes. These are the best jazz albums of 2021.

Brandee Younger—the American harpist infusing classical with jazz and soul—was new to me this year but not the music scene. Somewhere Different is ethereal but solid, tracks like “Reclamation” and “Beautiful is Black” exhibiting Younger’s talent well. Confidence radiates out of the speakers as natural as birds in the morning. Somewhere Different is different, and all the better for trying to showcase a voice in a unique way without distancing the listener too much. The tracks are graceful and powerful; though the harp may be perceived as a gentler instrument, hear it roar after each pluck of Younger’s touch. –