Christian Sands’ music is what 21st century jazz sounds like. It’s dynamic, it’s surprising, it’s melodic, and yet it’s still so full of the tradition of jazz.

Over the last decade, the pianist and composer has established himself as an artist to be reckoned with, creating moods and sounds with some of the biggest names in jazz and carving out a unique spot for himself.

His latest album is Be Water, his fourth with the Mack Avenue record label, which takes inspiration from the tranquility and power of water and muses on “the possibilities offered by echoing its fluidity and malleability” — a philosophy largely modelled after that of martial artist Bruce Lee.

The expressionistic recording finds Sands with his core trio of bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Clarence Penn, with additional contributions from guitarist Marvin Sewell, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, trumpeter Sean Jones and trombonist Steve Davis.

Sands joined us from his home in Connecticut to talk about the ideas, experiences and philosophies that informed this new album.