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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 September 2013 (see below for excerpts):
Altschul, Barry: The 3Dom Factor (TUM 032)
Armstrong, Louis: Intégrale Louis Armstrong Vol.11: "Jack-Armstrong-Blues” 1944-1945 (Frémeaux & Associés FA 1361)
Armstrong, Louis: Intégrale Louis Armstrong Vol.12: “New Orleans” 1946-1947 (Frémeaux & Associés FA 1362)
Bechet, Sidney/Mezz Mezzrow: The King Jazz Records (Storyville 1088611)
Avengers, The: On A Mission (Belead Music / Gudari 884501728003)
Bilk, Acker/Micky Ashman: The Radio Luxembourg Sessions, The 208 Rhythm Club Volume 3 (Vocalion CDNJT 5317)
Brubeck, Dave: The Columbia Studio Albums Collection 1955-1966 (Sony Legacy 88697938812)
Byrd, Donald: With Strings/Byrd Blows on Beacon Hill (Phoenix 131583)
Charette, Brian: Borderline (SteepleChase SCCD 31756)
Cline, Alex: For People In Sorrow (Cryptogramophone CG147)
Cowell, Stanley/Empathlectrik Quartet featuring Vic Juris: Welcome To This New World (SteepleChase SCCD 31757)
Connor, Chris: Four Classic Albums Plus (Avid AMSC1089)
Daniels, Mike/And His Delta Jazzband: Mike On Mike (Lake LACD322)
Davis, Miles: In Person At The Blackhawk, San Francisco (Essential Jazz Classics EJC55593)
De Holanda, Hamilton/André Mehmari: GismontiPascoal (Adventure Music AM1078 2)
Djangirov, Eldar: Breakthrough (Motéma 233714)
El'Zabar, Kahil: What It Is! (Delmark DE 5002)
Farlow, Tal: Three Classic Albums Plus (Avid AMSC 1086)
Fenner, Clive: Get It (Jazzizit JITCD 1259)
Gardony, Laszlo: Clarity (Sunnyside SSC 4014)
Getz, Stan/Gerry Mulligan/Harry Edison: Jazz Giants '58 (Phoenix 131588)
Gibbs, Mike: Plays Gil Evans (Whirlwind WR4639)
Gillespie, Dizzy: Meets Phil Woods Quintet (Timeless Jazz Legacy TJL 74513)
Green, Grant: First Recordings (Phoenix 131571)
The Groove: A Tribute to Jimmy Garrison (Imogena IGCD 191)
Harris, Anita/And Friends: Here's Looking At You (Newmarket Music NEW3320.2)
Hawkins, Coleman/Clark Terry: Back In Bean's Bag (Essential Jazz Classics EJC55595)
Impossible Gentlemen, The: Internationally Recognised Aliens (Basho SRCD 43-2)
James, Bob/David Sanborn: Quartette Humaine (Okeh 88765484712)
Jazz Messengers: Complete At The Café Bohemia (Phoenix 131581)
Kairos 4tet: Everything We Hold (Naimcd191)
Kandinsky Effect, The: Synethesia (Cuneiform 358)
Kennedy, Nigel: Recital (Sony Classical 88765447272)
Kinch, Soweto: The Legend Of Mike Smith (Soweto Kinch Recordings SKP003CD)
Lee, Jeanne/Ran Blake: The Newest Sound Around (Phoenix 131575)
Legardh, Cathrine/Brian Kellock: Love Still Wears A Smile (Storyville 1014282)
Lewis, George: Jass At The Ohio Union, George Lewis 1954 Concert (Upbeat URCD244D)
Lightfoot, Terry/Ken Sims: The Radio Luxembourg Sessions, The 208 Rhythm Club Volume 5 (Vocalion CDNJT 5319)
Live New Departures Jazz Poetry Septet, The: Blues For The Hitchhiking Dead (Jazz Poetry Superjam #1) (Gearbox 1518, vinyl)
Lloyd, Charles: Quartets (ECM 372 9512)
Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Original MO, Complete Columbia Albums Collection (Sony Legacy 30342)
Major Surgery: The First Cut (Next DP1)
Monk, Thelonious: Monk's Dream (Poll Winners PWR 27311)
Morrison, Barbara/feat Houston Person: A Sunday Kind Of Love (Savant SCD 2128)
Motian, Paul: Old And New Masters Edition (ECM 372 2346)
Murray, David/Infinity Quartet: Be My Monster Love (Motéma 233724)
Nichols-Duffee International Jazz Orchestra: One More Time (Lake LACD321)
Optimystik Visionaries: Optimistic Vision (www.optivis band.co.uk)
Pelt, Jeremy: Water And Earth (HighNote HCD 7247)
Pohjola, Verneri & Black Motor: Rubidium (TUM CD 031)
Prené, Yvonnick: Jour De Fête (SteepleChase SCCD 33106)
Rosengren, Bernt: Big Band (Caprice CAP21829)
Russell, Ray: Now, More Than Ever (Abstract Logix ABLX 039)
Rypdal, Terje: Melodic Warrior (ECM 372 9504)
Schlegelmilch, JP: The Music Of Bill Frisell (SteepleChase SCCD 33105)
Shepp, Archie/Bill Dixon: Archie Shepp/Bill Dixon Quartet (In Crowd 996687)
Shepp, Archie/The Full Moon Ensemble: Live In Antibes (BYG/Charly 651 X)
Shihab, Sahib/Art Farmer/Clifford Jordan: Swiss Radio Days Jazz Live Trio Concert Series (TCB 02322)
Soft Machine Legacy: Burden Of Proof (Esoteric Antenna EANT 1015)
Stewart, Louis/Jim Doherty: Tunes (Beechpark BPRCD001)
Sunshine, Monty/Ken Sims: The Radio Luxembourg Sessions, The 208 Rhythm Club Volume 6 (Vocalion CDNJT 5320)
Swallow, Steve: Into The Woodwork (XtraWATT/13 279 8380)
Tardy, Gregory: Standards & More (SteepleChase SCCD 31754)
Teagarden, Jack/Don Goldie: A Portrait Of Mr. T & Mr. G, Their 21 Finest (Retrospective RTR 4216)
Tingvall Trio: In Concert (Skip SKP9127)
Tyner, McCoy: Bon Voyage (Timeless Jazz Legacy TJL 74512)
Universal Quartet, The: Light (ILK 203)
Various: Africa in America: Rock, Jazz & Calypso 1920-1962 (Frémeaux & Associés FA 5397)
Various: Jazzactuel (BYG/Charly 707 J)
Welsh, Alex: It's Right Here For You/Echoes Of Chicago (Vocalion CDNJT 5321)
Wofford, Mike: It’s Personal (Capri 74121-2)

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Excerpts from the 71 CDs reviewed in this issue:


DAVE BRUBECK: THE COMPLETE STUDIO ALBUMS COLLECTION 1955-1966 (Sony Music 86979 38812)

Brubeck’s music didn’t swing in the manner of Zoot Sims or Erroll Garner and this was a palpable fact. He didn’t – apparently couldn’t – swing but did it matter? Nineteen CDs by Brubeck might seem daunting, but then 19 by Paul Desmond are most welcome, for Paul had an unlimited fountain of brainy, amusing, graceful and intelligent improvisations. Morello, who certainly could swing, was a master drummer and Wright was a most accomplished player. Whether the music is Disney’s, Bernstein’s, Broadway’s or Brubeck’s, it reeks with charm. (Steve Voce) ****

CHRIS CONNOR: FOUR CLASSIC ALBUMS PLUS (Avid AMSC 1089)
Overall there is more than two hours of top jazz singing here from a vocalist who had a wide vocal range and knew how to use it most effectively and the backing support in all cases is extremely good. As all the material here is taken from the Great American Songbook, there are no duff tracks. (Derek Ansell) *****

MIKE DANIELS AND HIS DELTA JAZZ BAND: MIKE ON MIKE (Lake LACD 322)

This welcome reissue reminds us of just how good the DJB was. Miscellaneous singles fill out the CD, the earliest from 1948 when Mike was just 20. He’s now 85, and still playing. Long may he do so. (Hugh Rainey) ****

MILES DAVIS: IN PERSON AT THE BLACKHAWK, SAN FRANCISCO (Essential Jazz Classics EJC55593)
These high energy recordings could be said to be the last foray by Miles Davis into hard bop with a front-line partner and rhythm section immersed in and devoted to that style. Following the departures of Adderley and Coltrane, Miles had employed first Jimmy Heath, then Sonny Stitt, followed by Hank Mobley in December 1960. Miles claimed that he didn’t enjoy Hank’s playing and was not inspired by him. Yet Hank was in his pomp at this period. (Mark Gardner) *****

MIKE GIBBS +12: PLAY GIL EVANS (Whirlwind WR4639)
Six of the 10 selections here feature the original Gil Evans arrangements which, unfortunately, invite comparison with the recorded Evans discs. They do not compare too well and particularly not in the case of Las Vegas Tango where Paul Chambers’ exquisite floating bass line lifted the entire performance of the original but is, seemingly, impossible to match. (Derek Ansell) ***

THE IMPOSSIBLE GENTLEMEN: INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED ALIENS (Basho SRCD 43-2)
This set from the transatlantic heroes is alive all the way, every detail apparent, the music breathing as if it had all the time in the world. It’s the first time the group has worked with producer and sometime Pat Metheny Group bassist Steve Rodby and one wonders if he had a seismic effect on mood and actual arrangement. If not, what did? A new high for the combo. I doubt they’ve been heard to better effect. Basho’s promotion is low-key but this is one that shouldn’t be missed. (Mark Gilbert) *****

BOB JAMES & DAVID SANBORN: QUARTETTE HUMAINE (OKeh 88765484712)
The danger for one with so distinctively lachrymose a tone as Sanborn’s is falling into the caricature that bedevils Charles Lloyd, a sense of barely relieved wall-to-wall sentiment. On the whole Sanborn is perhaps unambitious here, but it’s very worthwhile to check the closing 90 seconds of Geste Humain, perhaps significantly a modal vamp (the environment Sanborn the jazz-funker thrived in); thrown into an open space he suddenly blooms into tonal and melodic variation, quoting from Surrey and others. This is likely an album that rewards repeated listening. (Mark Gilbert) ***

THE JAZZ MESSENGERS: COMPLETE AT THE CAFÉ BOHEMIA (Phoenix 131581)
Five stars? I wish I could give it 500. These are the definitive recordings of the original Messengers, the first and the best of all the groups Blakey led, in concert at the Bohemia in front of an enthusiastic audience, that raised their game on the night. (Derek Ansell) *****

KAIROS 4TET: EVERYTHING WE HOLD (Naim Jazz 191)

To be honest, I find that the vocal tracks – predominately folk in orientation – don’t sit easily next to the jazz instrumentals, although both are fine in themselves. Narrowboat Man, wistfully and most beautifully sung by the Swedish Emilia Mårtensson, would be a highlight of any vocal set but loses its impact when surrounded by jazz instrumentals. The vocals also detract from the fine musicianship to be heard behind them. (Simon Adams) ***

SOWETO KINCH: THE LEGEND OF MIKE SMITH (Soweto Kinch Recordings SKP003D)
It’s pointless to bemoan how little of Kinch’s marvellous sax playing we get: this is a recording of a studio performance of the show, more about displaying his skills as a rapper, composer, collagist, dramatist and satirist. Over two CDs I found the backgrounds and intense rapping claustrophobic, although I assume that that is part of the point. Legend is a considerable achievement, but I’m not sure yet how much I like it. (Barry Witherden) ****

JEANNE LEE/RAN BLAKE: THE NEWEST SOUND AROUND (Phoenix 131575)
If ever an album exemplified the proposition that jazz is not a matter of either/or, but rather, both/and, this is it. Smoky yet lucid, cool yet impassioned, Lee’s ever thoughtful sound and phrasing find delicious complement in the chilled yet warming resonance of Blake’s spacious – yet penetrating – poetics. Unreservedly recommended. (Michael Tucker) *****

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA: THE ORIGINAL MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA: THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA ALBUMS COLLECTION (Columbia/Legacy 886979303421-5)
Cheesecloth, Sri Chinmoy, double-neck guitars, the very hairy guy out of The Flock, 11/8, damn it, 13/8: there was so much to dislike about the Mahavishnu Orchestra and yet – surely? – there’s been nothing since with the same excitement, weight and sheer musical presence. Even a glimpse of what was left on the studio floor would have been intriguing, but this is a box that will delight fans who’ve worn out their original copies and a perfect introduction for anyone who’s only seen the Ork on YouTube. (Brian Morton) ****

PAUL MOTIAN: OLD AND NEW MASTERS EDITION (ECM 372 2346)
This boxed set brings together the first six albums Motian recorded for the ECM label, the first of which, Conception Vessel, was his first as a leader despite his being over the age of 40. A nice package for those interested in the modern drummer’s art or admirers of the thinking man’s percussionist. (Peter Gamble) ****

VERNERI POHJOLA & BLACK MOTOR: RUBIDIUM (TUM CD 031)
For such an experimental trio (their roots lie in the Peter Brötzmann school) this is a very tuneful album. Indeed, in the liner notes, drummer Laihonen cites Pohjola as a “balancing element for our group” and in a sense, the spirit of Albert Ayler is prevalent: strong, almost simple tunes descending into an avant madness and entropy without ever losing the melody. A highly varied selection (did I mention Rimsky-Korsakov's Song Of India?) that is made perfectly coherent by the chemistry of its performers. (Dave Foxall) ****

THE SWALLOW QUINTET: INTO THE WOODWORK (XtraWATT/13 279 8380)
In the press-release interview Swallow emphasises his lyrical roots and intent (“Frank Sinatra and Marvin Gaye are two of my great influences”) and it’s easy to wonder if Stan Getz is hovering over Chris Cheek on Into The Woodwork. Sometimes the music is a trifle overwrought (ie, simply loud, as at the close of Still There) but on the whole it’s all rather charming with many outstanding musical moments and a nice joke in the title, presumably referring to the leader’s intimate relationship with his instrument. (Mark Gilbert) ****

 


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