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RECORD REVIEWS

Jazz Journal offers unrivalled coverage of recorded jazz old and new. We carry more than 20,000 words of expert comment and discography on recent jazz issues in every issue. Here's what we reviewed in the October 2012 issue:

New issues: Peter Appleyard, Artistry Jazz Group & Friends, Tom Bancroft, Django Bates, Beverley Beirne, Emmanuel Bex, Julian Bliss, Zach Brock, Neneh Cherry, Trish Clowes, Tamsin Collinson, Dans Les Arbres, Monica Dominique/Palle Danielsson, John Ellis, Jacob Fischer, Béla Fleck/Marcus Roberts, Paolo Fresu/Omar Sosa, Jerry Granelli, George Gruntz, Chuck Israels, Ira Kaspi, David Kikoski, Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, Siobhan Lamb, Branford Marsalis, Nova Scotia Jazz Band, Kristjan Randalu, Larry Stabbins, Richard Sussman, Nick Vayenas, Eric Vloeimans/Flora Purim, Bugge Wesseltoft/Henning Kraggerud, Dr Michael White

Reissued or unissued archive material: Americans In Europe, Chet Baker, Count Basie, Bengt Berger, Clifford Brown/Max Roach, Billy Butterfield, Don Byas, Don Cherry, Miles Davis, Evergreen Classic Jazz Band, Jan Garbarek, Benny Goodman, Ahmad Jamal, Barney Kessel, Roland Kirk, Herbie Mann, Chris McGregor, Modern Jazz Quartet, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Oscar Peterson, Spike Robinson, Pharoah Sanders, US Jazzmen In Europe 1926-1929, Phil Woods
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Just a taste from over 60 CD reviews in the October 2012 issue of JJ:

PETER APPLEYARD: SOPHISTICATED LADIES (Linus)
"Peter Appleyard’s passion and enthusiasm has produced what should be a highly regarded disc. For a selection of talented singers with varied approaches and with impeccable backings this is hard to beat. Sophisticated ladies indeed." (Brian Robinson) ****

DJANGO BATES’ BELOVÉD: CONFIRMATION (Lost Marble)
"Not so much a homage to some of Charlie Parker's best known compositions, but rather a montage of musical ideas incorporating Parker's swirling ideas and ferociously fast playing, served up in the unique style of Django Bates." (John Adcock) ****

BEVERLEY BEIRNE: SEASONS OF LOVE (beverleybeirne.com)
"This debut album from Yorkshire-based singer Beverley Beirne exhibits some throaty, soulful vocals, with a solid quartet backing, but retains the indelible mark of the theatre performer turned jazz singer." (Sally Evans-Darby) ***

JULIAN BLISS SEPTET: A TRIBUTE TO BENNY GOODMAN (Signum)
"For any player to tackle a selection of Benny Goodman's 'greatest hits' is a pretty daunting task in that it will provoke comparisons with the original performances but aided by six excellent colleagues and very good arrangements by Neal Thornton, Julian Bliss pulls it off, admirably." (Jerry Brown) *****

CLIFFORD BROWN/MAX ROACH: COMPLETE STUDIO RECORDINGS (Essential Jazz Classics)
"There are enormous reserves of joy to be found within these four CDs comprising more than five hours of uplifting, super-charged jazz instigated by two masters who left an indelible impression on the 1950s and the decades that followed. A reissue which will be an automatic release of the year choice." (Mark Gardner) *****

BILLY BUTTERFIELD: WHAT’S NEW? 1938-59 (Retrospective)
"They sent for the right man when they had the idea for this one. The tracks are chosen with good taste (well, only two lapses) by Digby Fairweather, and Digby has also written a matchless set of notes. Since he and I would compete for the title of Billy’s biggest fan, I suppose I’m the right one to review it. The result is as good a picture of Billy’s life up to 1959 as you could wish for." (Steve Voce) *****

JACOB FISCHER: GUITARIST (Arbors)
"Throughout the album the quintet are able to provide a wide range of musical moods and provide the listener with a very pleasant experience. A favourite track? Difficult, but if pushed I would have to opt for Sharing The Blues which is a free blues duet between the leader and Bucky Pizzarelli – delicious!" (Jerry Brown) ****

GEORGE GRUNTZ: DIG MY TRANE (TCB)
"Here are more delights from the Montreux Jazz Label, this time recorded in Hamburg. American drummer Tom Rainey joins the NDR Big Band to help bandleader, arranger and conductor Gruntz deliver a gem of a tribute to Coltrane." (Michael Tucker) *****

AHMAD JAMAL: THE QUINTESSENCE (Frémeaux)
"The brilliance of a man who could reshape A Gal In Calico, personalise Morton Gould's inauthentic Pavane, and deliver music as urbanely idiosyncratic as New Rhumba and Aki And Ukthay comes through forcefully. A major American artist." (Brian Morton) *****

BARNEY KESSEL: THREE CLASSIC ALBUMS PLUS (Avid)
"Of most significance are the tracks by a studio trio that recorded under the banner of The Poll Winners. These
recordings and their additional subsequent works were highly influential among young guitarists. As Jim
Mullen pointed out to me during the interview in this issue, Kessel was the sole guitarist making albums with only bass and drums support in that period." (Mark Gardner) ****

HERBIE MANN: FOUR CLASSIC ALBUMS PLUS (Avid)
"Another splendid Avid set. It taught me a lot about a musician I dismissed for far too long, and it is lissomely enjoyable. (Richard Palmer) ****

BRANFORD MARSALIS: FOUR MFS PLAYIN’ TUNES (Marsalis Music)
"I was privileged to hear this band at Yoshi’s in San Francisco last year, where my jaw dropped early on and stayed on the floor. As a young pianist, Joey Calderazzo seemed to me a very glib technician, but he’s matured into one of the finest players on the scene, with a totally thematic, spontaneous improvisational capacity. As for the whole band, superlatives elude me – listen and be amazed. (Andy Hamilton) *****

THELONIOUS MONK QUARTET: THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA STUDIO ALBUMS COLLECTION (Sony)
"Monk aficionados will already have this material but hopefully there are enough newcomers out there who will be lured by its attractions, made more desirable by tracks not on the original releases plus alternate takes. Sony’s plan to issue live material in a similar package can only be eagerly awaited." (Peter Gamble) *****

SPIKE ROBINSON: VERY LIVE IN BOULDER, COLORADO (Hep)
"I had the pleasure of knowing Spike, an amiable friendly personality, well for some seven years up to his passing over 10 years ago. This disc should be in every mainstream collection and is an excellent insight into the quality of his work before he became familiar to British audiences." (Brian Robinson) ****

NICK VAYENAS: NICK VAYENAS (Whirlwind)

"This is one of the most impressive of recent Whirlwind issues, showcasing a multi-talented individual likely to appeal to a wide constituency of jazz fans, happily without the crossover glitz of a Harry Connick or Chris Botti. (Mark Gilbert) ****

DR MICHAEL WHITE: ADVENTURES IN NEW ORLEANS JAZZ, PART 2 (Basin Street)
"This is by far the worst album I have listened to for a very long time. In fact it gives New Orleans jazz a bad name. The ensembles are extremely ragged throughout with exceedingly plodding rhythm support. The leader’s clarinet playing could best be described as very average and I’m sure there are many players on the British pub and club trad scene who could play with far more invention and feeling." (Jerry Brown) -*

 

 


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