Satin Doll

Satin Doll

Saxophonist Sam Gendel has been a force in Los Angeles’ emerging underground scene for a few years, forging a fruitful collaboration with bassist Sam Wilkes while contributing to records from performers as sonically diverse as Moses Sumney, Blake Mills, and Vampire Weekend. He’s been pushing jazz’s limits in a particularly experimental direction since 2017’s 4444, and here, with Gabe Noel on bass and Philippe Melanson on electronic drums, he has his way with a set of old standards. In other words, the track titles on Satin Doll will be familiar (Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood”), but Gendel’s interpretations most certainly won’t be. As if former LA club night Low End Theory did a jazz-covers event, Gendel tackles classics like Eddie Harris’ “Cold Duck Time” or Miles Davis’ “Freddie Freeloader” almost with a hip-hop producer’s approach, warping his horn, chopping vocals, loping the drums, and generally throwing each song here off-kilter in the most refreshing of ways. It’s a staggeringly original take on jazz, if you can even call it that.

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