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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.

Complete list of CDs reviewed in JJ July 2013 (see below for excerpts):
Allyn, David: Where You At? (Hep CD 95)
Armstrong, Louis: The OKeh Columbia & RCA Victor Recordings - 1925-1933 (Sony Music 86979 45652)
Balcazar, JP: Rain (Fresh Sound FSNT 420)
Bean, Billy/Hal Gaylor, Walter Norris: The Trio (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 779)
Bell, Charles: Charles Bell Contemporary Jazz Quartet (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 775)
Braxton, Anthony: Eight (+1) Tristano Compositions 1989 (hatOLOGY 715)
Burton, Gary: Guided Tour (Mack Avenue MAC 1074)
Camilo, Michael: What's Up? (OKeh 88883703992)
Charles, Ray: Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music Vols. 1 & 2 (Hoodoo 263434)
Chescoe's, Laurie/Reunion Band: Let A Smile Be Your Umbrella (P.E.K. Sound PKCD-372)
Cohen, Anat: Claroscuro (Anzic ANZ 0040)
Cohen, Avishai: Triveni II (Anzic ANZ 0039)
Cole, Nat/Quincy Jones: Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series Vol. 33 (TCB 02332) Compassionate Dictatorship: Entertaining Tyrants (Jellymould JM-JJ011)
Curtis, King: Trouble In Mind + It's Party Time (Hoo Doo 263430)
Diehl, Aaron: The Bespoke Man's Narrative (Mack Avenue MAC 1066)
Ellington, Duke/The Washingtonians: Rare And Early Duke Ellington Sessions 1924-1928 (Frog DGF 78)
Favre, Patrick: Origines (Label La Lichere LLL333)
Faye, Frances: Frenzy + Swinging All The Way (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 778)
Felder, Wilton: We All Have A Star + Inherit The Wind (Cherry Red CDMRED536) Fresu, Paolo/Devil Quartet: Desertico (Tuk Music Bon 130101)
Galliano, Richard/Jean-Charles Capon: Accordeon/Violoncelle (Frémeaux & Associés LLL177)
Gates, Giacomo: Miles Tones (Savant SCD 2124)
Germanson, Rick: Live At Smalls (Smalls Live SL-0024)
Globestars: See The World/Swing 'n Dance (Dragon Of Sweden DRCD415) Gordon, Wycliffe: The Intimate Ellington/Ballads And Blues (Criss Cross Jazz 1353)
Green, Benny: Magic Beans (Sunnyside SSC 1338)
Gurtu, Trilok: Spellbound (Moosicus 1206)
Hasselbring, Curtis: Number Stations (Cuneiform Rune 356)
Henderson, Scott/Jeff Berlin/Dennis Chambers: HBC (Music Theories Recordings MTR 7399 2)
Holgersson, Jonas: 4003 (Prophone PCD 133)
Horellou, Gael: Time After Time (Fresh Sound FSNT 422)
Jarrett, Keith: Somewhere (ECM 276 6370)
Jefferson, Ron/Tricky Lofton: Love Lifted Me & Brass Bag (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 772)
Joelle, Florence: Stealing Flowers (Zoltan ZOL005)
Johansen, Tore: Double Rainbow (Inner Ear INEA15)
Johansen, Tore: Open Minds (Inner Ear INEA 17)
Jones, Dill: Up Jumped You With Love (Hep CD 2025)
Jones, Sam: The Soul Society/The Chant/Down Home (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 765)
Kelly, Grace: Sweet Sweet Baby (Woodward Avenue 84501 85337)
Lambert, Hendricks & Ross: The Hottest New Group In Jazz (Pure Pleasure PPAN CL 1401)
Laws, Ronnie: Mr. Nice Guy + Classic Masters (Soul Music SMCR25078)
Legrand, Michel: Le Grand Jazz (Phillips B 07373L)
McCann, Les: On Time (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 764)
McRae, Carmen: Something Wonderful (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 780)
Medeski, John: A Different Time (Okeh 88765444462)
Metheny, Pat: Tap: The Book Of Angels, Vol.20 (Nonesuch/Tzadik 7559 795 875)
Milverton, Craig: Bopularity (Raymer Sound RSCD 940)
Najar, Nate: Blues For Night People (Candid CCD 79992)
Oregon: Family Tree (CAMJ 7855-2)
Parker, Charlie: Complete Royal Boost Broadcasts (Jazz Dynamics 003)
Peterson, Oscar Plays And Sings/Soft Sands (Phoenix 131572)
Pieranunzi, Enrico/Marc Johnson/Paul Motian: Live At The Village Vanguard (Cam Jazz CAMJ 7857-2)
Redman, Joshua: Walking Shadows (Nonesuch 532288)
Robinson, Perry: Funk Dumpling (Fresh Sound FSR 1663)
Sagle, Chuck/Neil Hefti: Splendor In Brass & Jazz Pops (Fresh Sound/Jazz City FSR 2261)
Shearing, George: At Home (JazzKnight JKR001)
Simone, Nina: Empress Live! (Arts Records International 54725-2)
Sims, Zoot: New Beat Bossa Nova Vol. 1 + Vol. 2 (American Jazz Classics 99063)
Smith, Bessie: The Complete Columbia Recordings (Sony Music 87254 03102)
Speake, Martin: Always A First Time (Pumpkin 005)
Splashgirl: Field Day Rituals (Hubro CD 2520)
Stitt, Sonny: Rearin' Back + Tribute To Ellington (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 776)
Sun Ra: A Space Odyssey: From Birmingham To The Big Apple (Fantastic Voyage FVTD 154-156)
Tabor, June/Iain Ballamy/Huw Warren: Quercus (ECM 372 4555)
Taylor, James: Closer To The Moon (Real Self RS 4334)
VerPlanck, Marlene: Ballads . . . Mostly (Audiophile ACD-343)


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Excerpts from the 67 CDs reviewed in this issue:


GARY BURTON: GUIDED TOUR (Mack Avenue MAC 1074)
Recently turned 70 and with an autobiography due this autumn, Berklee’s Executive Vice President and jazz’s pre-eminent vibes-man might be forgiven the odd backwards glance. His Grammy-winning collaborations with Chick Corea perhaps serve that purpose, but this exciting young group is very much concerned with the here and now. (Fred Grand) ****

MICHEL CAMILO: WHAT’S UP? (OKeh 88883703992)
This extraordinary solo piano album on the historic OKeh label is a compelling and varied set of material comprised of seven Camilo originals together with his unique interpretations of four jazz and Latin standards. Camilo has in the past been described as a Latin Scott Joplin, but here perhaps it’s more a case of a Latin Art Tatum, with his virtuosic tendencies fully exposed in a solo context. (Dave Jones) *****

FRANCES FAYE: FRENZY + SWINGING ALL THE WAY (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 778)
Faye’s personal toughness, known through her openness about her sexual orientation in an era when this was detrimental to her career, carries over into her vocal sound. Her vocal range is limited, her interpretation of lyrics poor, and she does not swing; yet she has an appealing rhythmic vitality. These last negative remarks notwithstanding, the three stars are well-earned by the instrumentalists. (Bruce Crowther) ***

PAOLO FRESU DEVIL QUARTET: DESERTICO (Tuk Music BON130101)
The set opens with what looks unpromising on paper (a version of Satisfaction, one of the Glimmer Twins’ least subtle pennings) but turns out to be an exuberant, light-footed, Latin-tinged transformation of the source song . . . Fresu’s tone, especially unmuted, is always a delight, and the recording is excellent, doing full justice to him and the crisp, intricate textures of the quartet as a whole. (Barry Witherden) *****

GIACOMO GATES: MILES TONES (Savant SCD 2124)
Gates really is exceptional, singing with a warm, fluid sound used here to re-present the music of Miles Davis . . . There are touches of scat and vocalese, but mainly this is simply excellent orthodox jazz singing and a real treat for aficionados. The accompanying musicians are all excellent, with Dave Stryker having several solo opportunities, all of which are taken with skill. (Bruce Crowther) *****

SCOTT HENDERSON/JEFF BERLIN/DENNIS CHAMBERS: HBC (Music Theories MTR 7399 2)
Dave Gelly says in this issue that jazz-rock soon lost its shine. However, in my view several sustained the invention, among them these three masters of the post-1980 style, here revisiting core material (and in Footprints some fiercely swinging blues) with an imagination and energy that explains (and in Henderson’s case restores) their pre-eminence . . . the whole thing is recommended as an example, in repertoire and execution, of the best of the style today. (Mark Gilbert) *****

KEITH JARRETT TRIO: SOMEWHERE (ECM 276 6370)
These 65 minutes of a summer 2009 concert in Lucerne have been released to mark the 30th anniversary of the Keith Jarrett trio: a group which has made some of the most extrovert and exhilarating as well as some of the most introspective and lyrically intense music of the past three decades . . . Featuring superlative playing throughout what is perhaps the best balanced of all the sets this trio has recorded live, this anniversary disc offers unalloyed pleasure, from first note to last. (Michael Tucker) *****

SAM JONES: THE SOUL SOCIETY/THE CHANT/DOWN HOME (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 765)
The late 50s and the 60s was a wonderful time for emergent bass players . . . The danger that the pizzicato would get out of hand is easily avoided and a good balance is kept with the solo work from the other instruments. This album is a fine monument to Jones and yet another feather in the cap of Jordi Pujol who manages to keep finding albums that we missed the first time round! (Steve Voce) ****

PAT METHENY: TAP: JOHN ZORN’S BOOK OF ANGELS VOL. 20 (Nonesuch/Tzadik 7559 795 875)
For the most part Tap is a placid affair, and other than the skronky coda to Sariel and the flying piano clusters of Hurmiz there’s little here to frighten potential listeners. Re-contextualising Zorn’s singular music in a highly    personal way, Metheny’s innermost creativity appears liberated by the challenge of interpretation. This might just become the most surprising jazz hit of 2013! (Fred Grand) ****

OREGON: FAMILY TREE (CamJazz CAMJ7855-2)
Whatever the music is called, world jazz or jazz-classical, it’s immaculately conceived and played and if the surface prettiness is off-putting to some its harmonic richness and rhythmic complexity guarantees interest. Family Tree is one of the best. Going to CamJazz has restored the open-air purity they found at Vanguard and the clean, even tone of the ECM discs. (Brian Morton) *****

CHARLIE PARKER: COMPLETE ROYAL ROOST RECORDINGS (Jazz Dynamics 003)
Charlie Parker’s three-month stint at New York’s Royal Roost club was the longest and most stable residency of his career. In that time there was only one change in personnel – the replacement of Miles Davis by Kenny Dorham. This stability and well recorded, regular broadcasts by the band yielded a body of music that constitutes the best of Bird’s live canon . . . This compilation comprises the ultimate set of Bird on the air, and as such is both essential and perhaps the most revealing chunk of his extensive musical legacy. (Mark Gardner) ****

ENRICO PIERANUNZI: LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD (CamJazz CAMJ 7857-2)
Much has been written about Pieranunzi’s similarities to the pianist Bill Evans, and to his classical influences, so there’s no need to reiterate that too much here. On the opening track of this great live album, Enrico begins Monk’s I Mean You with a hard-swinging, bluesy right-hand approach which is more reminiscent of Carl Perkins (the pianist, not the blues guitarist) and partly Hampton Hawes and Wynton Kelly than of Evans. (Dave Jones) *****

GEORGE SHEARING: AT HOME (JazzKnight Records JKR 001)
A gorgeous record, and a truly important discovery. These sides were recorded in Shearing’s home, and the music shines with the warmth and intimacy you’d expect from such a setting. But this is emphatically not just two sympathique musicians noodling around in private self-indulgence. It is deeply committed playing at every moment, awash with imagination and intellectual bravery. (Richard Palmer) *****

JUNE TABOR/IAIN BALLAMY/HUW WARREN: QUERCUS (ECM 372 4555)

Folk singer June Tabor possesses one of the finest voices in English music today, a voice of clear, dark, sometimes chilling, precision that inhabits the emotional core of each song she sings . . . There’s not a false note or sentiment on this set, which I can’t praise highly enough. Five stars all round, and one extra for ECM for releasing it. I look forward to further Quercus releases soon. (Simon Adams) *****

MARLENE VERPLANCK: BALLADS . . MOSTLY (Audiophile ACD-343)
This is Marlene VerPlanck’s 22nd album, and as always her song choice is impeccable. Selection of the 15 titles was rooted in Marlene’s discovery of some arrangements made by her late husband, Billy VerPlanck . . . there is no hint that the singer has been around for several decades; her crystal-clear vocal sound is unimpaired and as gorgeous today as it ever was. Very warmly recommended to all lovers of good music that is expertly performed. (Bruce Crowther) *****

 


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