Selected reviews


        
         Subscribe for full reviews


CDs and DVDs for review can be sent to the Ashford address under Subscriptions.  Do not send any other type of review material (e.g., books) but email editor@jazzjournal.co.uk for advice.



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 edition.

Complete list of CDs reviewed in JJ February 2014 (see below for excerpts):
Bannau Trio: Points Of View (Whirlwind WR4645)
Barbieri, Gato: Fenix (BGP CDBGPM 268)
Black Motor: Yöstä Aamun Kynnykselle (Lumpeela Julkaisut LJ010)
Brimley, Wilford: With The Jeff Hamilton Trio (Capri 74028-2)
Broadbent, Alan: Heart To Heart (Chilly Bin 0004)
Bushkin, Joe: Three Classic Albums Plus (Avid AMSC 1097)
Candoli, Conte/Lou Levy: West Coast Wailers (Warner 8122799817)
Carter, Betty: Round Midnight (Warner 7567804532)
Claudia Quintet: September (Cuneiform Rune 377)
Coleman, Ornette: The Art Of The Improvisers (Warner 8122796690)
Coleman, Ornette: Friends And Neighbours (BGP CDBGPM 266)
Coltrane, John/Don Cherry: The Avant-Garde (Warner 8122796410)
Coryell, Larry: Barefoot Boy (BGP CDBGPM 269)
Curson, Ted: The New Thing & The Blue Thing (Warner 8122796899)
Dankworth, John/Danny Moss: About 42 Years Later (Avid AMSC 919)
Escreet, John: Sabotage And Celebration (Whirlwind WR4634)
Fruscella, Tony: Tony Fruscella (Warner 7567805252)
Glasper, Robert/Experiment: Black Radio 2 (Blue Note no number)
Haarla, Iro: Kolibri (TUM CD 034)
Hawes, Hampton: Three Classic Albums Plus (Avid JAMSC 1104)
Higgins, Eddie: Soulero (Warner 8122754182)
Holland, Dave: Prism     (Okeh 88883721802)
Horn, Shirley: At The Gaslight Square 1961 (Solar 4569941)
Hubbard, Freddie: Bundle Of Joy/Super Blue/The Love Connection (BGOCD1111)
Jackson, Milt: The Ballad Artistry Of Milt Jackson (Warner 8122797131)
Jackson, Milt: Bags & Flutes (Warner 8122710702)
Jackson, Milt: Ballads & Blues (Warner 7567802362)
Jackson, Milt: Plenty, Plenty Soul (Warner 7567819792)
Jackson, Milt/Coleman Hawkins: Bean Bags (Warner 8122710742)
Jackson, Milt/John Coltrane: Bags & Trane (Warner 8122797289)
Jackson, Milt/Ray Charles: Soul Brothers (Warner 8122796869)
Jarrett, Keith: Concerts: Bregenz/München (ECM 279 4570)
Jarrett, Keith: No End (ECM 375 5519)
Jones, Jessica/Connie Crothers: Live At The Freight (New Artists NA1056CD)
Kaz, Fred: Eastern Exposure (Warner 8122796700)
Kriegel, Volker: Lost Tapes: Mainz 1963-1969 (Jazz Haus 101 726)
Kühn, Joachim: Voodoo Sense (ACT 9555-2)
Lewis, Meade Lux/Albert Ammons/Pete Johnson/Jimmy Yancey: Masters Of Boogie Piano: Five Classic Albums Plus (Avid AMSC 1094)
Lysne, Geir: New Circle (ACT 9561-2)
McCann, Les: But Not Really (Limelight 86016)
McClure, Ron: Ready Or Not (SteepleChase SCCD 31759)
McGuinness, Pete: Voice Like A Horn (Summit DCD 609)
McRae Carmen: Portrait Of Carmen (Warner 8122796581)
Merrill, Helen: American Country Songs (Warner 8122796654)
Miami Saxophone Quartet: Four Of A Kind (Fourtitude FR005W)
Mingus, Charles: The Clown    Warner (8122796415)
Mingus, Charles: Three Or Four Shades Of Blues (Warner 8122796413)
Mitchell, Red/Harold Land: Hear Ye!!! Hear Ye!!! (Warner 7567819532)
Monk, Thelonious: Unissued Live At Newport ("In" Crowd 996685)
Mwendo Dawa: Mwendo Dawa Music (LJ Records LJCD 5256)
Neset, Marius: Suite For The Seven Mountains (Calibrated CALI074)
Newborn Jr., Phineas: Here Is Phineas (Warner 8122796888)
Nicholas, Albert/Henri Chaix Trio: Kornhaus Theater Baden 1969 (Sackville SKCD2-2045)
Oddarrang: In Cinema (Edition EDN1046)
Pearson, Duke: Prairie Dog (Warner 8122796866)
Peplowski, Ken: Maybe September (Capri 74125-2)
Phillips, Esther: Confessin' The Blues (Warner 7567906702)
Pia De Vito, Maria: Il Pergolese (ECM 481 0427)
Printup, Marcus: Desire (Steeplechase SCCD 31763)
Roach, Max: Featuring The Legendary Hasaan Ibn Ali (Warner 8122796914)
Russell, Pee Wee: New Groove + The College Concert (Solar 4569938)
Ryerson, Ali/Jazz Flute Big Band: Game Changer (Capri 74124-2)
Scott, Tony: Three Classic Albums Plus (Avid AMSC 1098)
Sedgwick, Amanda: Shadow And Act (PB7 022)
Smith, Jimmy: Back At The Chicken Shack + Midnight Special (Essential Jazz Classics EJC55614)
Stevens, Carol    : That Satin Doll (Warner 8122796676)
Stevens, John: Away At Home (Loose Torque LT025)
Stewart, Rex/Henri Chaix: Baden 1966 & Montreux 1971 (Sackville SKCD2-2061)
Storaas, Vigleik: Epistel No. 5 (Inner Ear INEA 16)
Svensson, Hannah & Ewan: Some Favorite Things (Dragon DRCD 413)
SWR Big Band And Fola Dada: Kings Of Swing Op.1 (Hänssler Classic CD 93.310)
Thing, The: Boot! (The Thing Records TTR001)
Tonbruket: Nubium Swimtrip (ACT 9558-2)
Tormé, Mel: Comin' Home Baby! (Warner 8122797132)
Tormé, Mel: Sunday In New York And Other Songs About New York (Warner 8122796843)
Toussaint, Allen: Songbook (Rounder, no number)
Various: East Coast Jazz Workshops 1954-1961 (Frémeaux & Associés FA 5392)
Various: Keynote Jazz Collection 1941-1947     (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 815)
Von Mosch, Max: Berlin Kaboom! (ACT 9559-2)
Weston, Randy: African Cookbook (Warner 8122796865)
Wilder, Alec: Music For Lost Souls And Wounded Birds (Hep CD 97/98)
Willis, Dan: The Satie Project II (Daywood Drive DDRLP1014)
Wyatt, Robert: ’68 (Cuneiform Rune 375)


Excerpts from the 83 CD reviews in this issue:

ALAN BROADBENT: HEART TO HEART (Chilly Bin 0004)

This is yet another richly satisfying set following Alan Broadbent’s last two trio recordings – Live At Giannelli Square Volumes 1 and 2. He premiered Charlie Haden’s Hello My Lovely with the composer in 1991. It has a melodic, song-like quality that would be an ideal vehicle for a lyric from someone like Dave Frishberg. Alan’s walking bass line here is very reminiscent of Dave McKenna’s approach when playing unaccompanied. Albums like this show just why Jazz Times has called Alan Broadbent “one of the major keyboard figures today”. (Gordon Jack) *****

JOE BUSHKIN: THREE CLASSIC ALBUMS PLUS (Avid AMSC 1097)

Joe first attracted widespread attention in the mid-30s, when he worked at The Famous Door club on New York’s 52nd Street. The contemporary jazz scene seethed with exceptional talent, and his burgeoning career had to progress in the shadow cast by such contemporary keyboard titans as Waller, Hines, Wilson, Tatum and Mel Powell – just for starters. Yet he subsequently worked with a succession of top names. In a star-studded career he composed, arranged, directed shows, and even acted on Broadway but somehow his status in jazz history seems to have slipped over the years. This compilation, spanning 1940-51, serves as a long-due reminder that he deserves to be ranked alongside the piano stars of his day. (Hugh Rainey) ****

ORNETTE COLEMAN: THE ART OF THE IMPROVISERS (Warner 8122796690)
All these decades later Coleman and Cherry still sound like a partnership every bit as distinctive as Parker and Gillespie. Indeed it might even be said that Coleman was one of the few to properly pick up on Parker’s implications, as opposed simply to his joy of life. When the two horns (Cherry on pocket trumpet) play unaccompanied on The Alchemy Of Scott La Faro (this is La Faro’s only appearance, incidentally) they produce the sound of two men in earnest but not overbearing discussion, and in a tongue they’re still working out. In lesser hands a title like Moon Inhabitants might have had schlocky implications, but here it’s another facet of Coleman’s artistry and that of Blackwell, whose way of injecting momentum was never anyone’s other than his own. (Nic Jones) ****

JOHN ESCREET: SABOTAGE AND CELEBRATION (Whirlwind WR4634)
Doncaster-born John Escreet, who’s lived in New York since 2006, has produced a genuinely exciting new album, perhaps one of the most exciting jazz albums for quite some time. Escreet’s musical influences are clearly wide and varied, and he uses them here to great effect, probably more in terms of composition than performance in this case. The angular melody and odd time signature of Animal Style eventually lead to Binney’s alto and Potter’s tenor solos, and the gentle and reflective piano-led introduction on the compelling closer Beyond Your Wildest Dreams ultimately makes way for some remarkable vocal harmonies with Escreet then jumping onto harpsichord to instigate the dramatic, but grooving and pop-influenced conclusion to a remarkable album. (Dave Jones) *****

HAMPTON HAWES: THREE CLASSIC ALBUMS PLUS (Avid AMSC 1104)
“Son, you hot”: words that meant the world to Hawes, coming as they did one night from Art Tatum after he had heard Hawes with Stan Getz at the Tiffany Club. A week after Tatum’s death, Hawes put together a quartet that recorded 12 tracks in one continuous session from 9 at night to 8.30 the next morning, and this long-acclaimed music is presented here. Packed full of crisp, medium-up, harmonically hip yet also blues-rinsed and gospel-pumped lines, these high-octane pieces are complemented by the earlier Hampton Hawes Trio release from 1955, minus its original concluding Carioca because of CD capacity. If this omission and some sequencing alterations are (mostly) understandable, albeit regrettable, the value-for-money and superb sound quality of this typically generous Avid package remain exemplary. (Michael Tucker) *****

DAVE HOLLAND: PRISM (Okeh/Sony 8883721802)
The UK’s very own bass Galactico Dave Holland has taken a very curious turn and released a quite heavy fusion album. Of course Holland has form in the jazz-rock field – he was an early adopter, famously working on In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew after Miles Davis “discovered” him at a Ronnie’s gig in 1968. But since then Holland has been more closely associated with high art. Yet, though he is now eligible for a bus pass Holland has returned to his fusion roots with a dream band that features Kevin Eubanks’ Burbank-friendly wailing guitar and Craig Taborn’s Fender Rhodes chops. It is like a trip down memory lane that one might initially be reluctant to take. But Prism is a deceptive album and listening below the surface reveals the sort of wondrous technique and harmonic depth we’ve come to associate with any project involving the world’s greatest living bass player (discuss). (Garry Booth) ****

KEITH JARRETT: CONCERTS: BREGENZ/MÜNCHEN (ECM 279 4570)
The three-disc Concerts release combines the previously available Bregenz material with the first appearance of the complete Munich performance from 1981 on CD. With comprehensive liner notes, including some rather pretentious poetry from Michael Krüger, this certainly has the feel of a serious retrospective release from ECM. The music shows some effortless improvisational skills from Jarrett, bringing in elements of stride piano, blues, Satie, bop, Debussy and baroque. Given the age of the recordings, it all sounds remarkably fresh and accessible – perhaps more so than some of the more recent extended solo performances that have been released. (John Adcock) ****

CHARLES MINGUS: THREE OR FOUR SHADES OF BLUES (Warner 8122796413)
Three Or Four Shades Of Blues was somewhat unusual for Mingus in that three guitarists take prominent parts in the proceedings. Apparently Mingus was not generally a great fan of the guitar but was happy with the considerable part it played in this emotive album. The assorted line-ups play the blues in its various forms and titles include an anthem to Lester Young in Goodbye Porkpie Hat. The leader’s imaginative writing is evident in spades on the multi-faceted title track and a rousing climax sees out Nobody Knows, on which Sonny Fortune, alto, adds a blistering solo. Jack Walrath’s trumpet also makes a pithy contribution. As usual with the inexpensive CDs in the 1000YEN series a magnifying glass will probably be needed to read the notes reproduced from the original LP covers but the music speaks for itself. (Brian Robinson) ****

MWENDO DAWA: MWENDO DAWA MUSIC (LJ Records 5256)
The Swedes Lindeborg and Johansson are the collective power behind the LJ label, one of the most consistently stimulating independent operations of recent decades: among many gems are the 1995 Ord På Golvet (Words On The Floor), where fragments of the poetry of Gunnar Ekelöf (1907–1968) are set to music, and Johansson’s own solo Coast recording, reviewed recently in JJ. If the sound world of Mwendo Dawa includes a good deal of what one might call avant-garde abstraction, a residual sensitivity to central jazz values helps distinguish their laptop-enhanced improvisations from, say, those of Evan Parker’s Electro-Acoustic Ensemble or the Dutch improvising group E-RAX. Mwendo Dawa are, on this evidence, making some of the most invigorating and satisfying music around today. (Michael Tucker) *****

MARIUS NESET: SUITE FOR THE SEVEN MOUNTAINS (Calibrated CAL1074)
This is Norwegian-born Neset’s 2007 debut album as a leader, and the influence of Michael Brecker on his playing is already apparent at this stage. However, some of his compositions here, particularly VII, also suggest other influences such as the late 1980s and early 1990s British band Roadside Picnic; so Suite For The Seven Mountains has an interesting background of American, British and Scandinavian influences. The exciting opening track is one of the highlights, where the core quartet is enhanced by the addition of a very well-arranged string quartet, beautifully played and recorded, and also utilised to great effect on the next few tracks, and for me, this is the most effective part of the album. (Dave Jones) ****

ODDARRANG: IN CINEMA (Edition EDN1046)
Olavi Louhivuori is a master improvising drummer at home playing in a classic Blue Note style combo, improvising in an avant-contemporary jazz troupe or running the rhythms in a big-band set up. Oddarrang is more of an outlet for his compositional vision and talents and on the strength of this third album, those talents continue to be prodigious. The use of trombone as sole horn contributes strongly to the ensemble’s signature sound, a feel-it-in-the-gut, often mournful depth that combines well with the lightly distorted guitar arpeggios and emotional cello. Which is not to say that it’s all melancholic Nordic gloom. Far from it. There are many uplifting and joyful moments and much of the beauty of this album is in not only the compositional derring-do but also in the structure and dynamics of the presentation. Put simply, Oddarrang continue to do what they do and they do it better than anybody. (Dave Foxall) *****

DUKE PEARSON: PRAIRIE DOG (Warner 8122796866)
Despite a long and distinguished association with the Blue Note label as pianist, leader, sideman, composer, arranger and producer, Duke Pearson still found time for activity with other companies during the 1960s, an intensely prolific period for him. Prairie Dog was one of two albums he made for Atlantic, the other being Honeybuns. Each featured Pearson regulars such as Johnny Coles, James Spaulding, Bob Cranshaw and Mickey Roker, and Duke’s winsome arrangements and tunes. A typically thoughtful and well-programmed album by a stalwart performer. (Mark Gardner) ****

KEN PEPLOWSKI: MAYBE SEPTEMBER (Capri 74125-2)
Since his formative swing/Dixieland days, Ken has transformed tunes from a wide range of sources. The clarity of tone, effortless fluidity and expressive dynamics of his clarinet playing are well captured by the excellent recording quality. Arrangements are thoughtful and interesting throughout, but I have reservations about some of the tunes selected, which seem to me to be no great shakes as compositions. The established standards come over better. Was Ken setting himself a challenge? And why the straight classical rendition of Poulenc’s clarinet sonata, Romanza, in a jazz CD, except perhaps to show that Ken – like his old boss Benny Goodman – could do it? With one or two exceptions, this is a contemplative, gentle, almost elegaic album, with some exceptional musicianship to enjoy. Not, however, perhaps the most striking example of this talented musician’s work. (Hugh Rainey) ***

PEE WEE RUSSELL: NEW GROOVE + THE COLLEGE CONCERT (Solar 4569938)
At times in earlier years there was a curious diffidence among writers about Pee Wee Russell, his apparent failings as a technician overriding his clear commitment to jazz, his improvisational gifts and his unflagging swing. It was when the clarinettist played with musicians of a modern bent that the problem some commentators had with Russell’s work became clear. He had been ahead of his time. When the jazz world caught up with him, as it did in the early to mid-1960s, his true worth as a jazz original became apparent. Among his recordings in those years are two exceptional examples: that which opens this CD reissue, 1962’s New Groove, and 1963’s Ask Me Now!. Although teaming New Groove with Ask Me Now! might have been a more wholly satisfying album, the second set included here, the concert with Red Allen, is an excellent way of underlining how Russell could make himself at home in almost any company. (Bruce Crowther) ****

VARIOUS: THE KEYNOTE JAZZ COLLECTION (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 815)
It’s good that, more than half a century after Harry Lim, owner of the Keynote label, became such a prolific benefactor of jazz, his recordings should be so beautifully presented by Fresh Sound. A lot of the recordings were made for 12-inch 78s, and this leads to plenty of relaxed and extended performances. Jordi Pujol should be congratulated for the imaginative and unstinting presentation of the music. The 124-page booklet is full of fascinating text and photographs. The CDs, in robust card sleeves, have their own box and that box and the booklet are contained in yet another box. Five stars? This box should have its own star system and get 10. (Steve Voce) *****

 


post a comment