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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 December 2014 (see below for excerpts):
Alessandri, Lorenzo Ghetti: Rhythm Of Light (lorenzo.ghettialessandri@gmail. com)
Armstrong, Louis: Young Satchmo - Birth Of A Jazz Genius (Upbeat 256)
Barth, Bruce: Daybreak (Savant 2134)
Blake, Johnathan: Gone, But Not Forgotten     (Criss 1368)
Burton, Gary: Duster/Country Road & Other Places (Beat Goes On 1157)
Byrd, Donald: Four Classic Albums (Avid 1133)
Cobham, Billy: Compass Point (Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra 0515)
Coltrane, John: The Quintessence (Frémeaux & Associés 297)
Corea, Chick/McBride/Blade: Trilogy (Concord 35685)
Davis, Charles: For The Love Of Lori (Reade Street 1111)
Davis, Miles: Walkin' (Essential Jazz Classics 55638)
Davis, Miles: At The Oriental Theatre 1966 (Sunburn 9339880)
De Franco, Buddy: Four Classic Albums Plus (Avid 1135)
DeRose, Dena: We Won't Forget You… (HighNote 7263)
Dinovi, Gene: Plays Rodgers And Hart (Marshmallow 161)
Edison, Harry "Sweets": The Inventive Mr. Edison + Jawbreakers (American Jazz Classics 99105)
Evans, Bill: Complete 1956-1962 Studio Albums (Omnia 348260)
EYOT: Similarity (Ninety & Nine)
Farnon, Nicola: Three 'n' Easy (
Farnon, Nicola: A Day At The Market (
Fishwick, Steve: The Outer Periphery (Hard Bop 33008)
Fuller, Larry: Larry Fuller (Capri 74135)
Gang, Kat: Dream Your Troubles Away (Arbors 19404)
Glasson, Charlotte: Festivus (Surrey Street 010)
Gomez, Eddie/Carsten Dahl: Live At Montmartre (Storyville 1018450) Gunnarsson, Fanny: Same Eyes As You (Volenza 107)
Haden, Charlie/Jim Hall: Charlie Haden - Jim Hall (Impulse 00602537841820)
Halley, Rich: The Wisdom Of Rocks (Pine Eagle 006)
Halsall, Matthew: When The World Was One (Gondwana 010)
Hamilton, Scott: Swinging Young Scott (Progressive 7152)
Harrell, Tom: Trip (HighNote 7261)
Harris, Gene/& The Three Sounds: Play Jazz On Broadway + Blue Genes (Solar 4569950)
Hubbard, Freddie: Straight Life (CTI 6007, vinyl)
Indigo Mist: That The Days Go By And Never Come Again (Rare Noise 042)
Jacobs, Laurie: Midnight Voyage (Amazon/Ray's)
Jacobs, Laurie: Double Standards (Amazon/Ray's)
Karlzon, Jacob/3: Shine (ACT 9573)
Kearsey-Lawson, Roan: Presence In Mind (144 Records 002)
Kelly, Nancy: B That Way (Blue Bay 855334004329)
Knuffke, Kirk/Jesse Stacken: Five (SteepleChase 31779)
Konitz, Lee/Dan Tepfer, Michael Janisch & Jeff Williams: First Meeting - Live In London, Volume 1 (Whirlwind 4638)
L' Ame des Poètes: L'Interview Brel, Brasseus, Ferré (Igloo 27259)
Laws, Hubert: Crying Song/Afro-Classic/The Rite Of Spring (Beat Goes On 1149) LeDonne, Mike: I Love Music (Savant 2135)
Léonide, Jerry: The Key (ACT 9572)
Loussier, Jacques: My Personal Favorites - The Jacques Loussier Trio Plays Bach Telarc 35319)
Loussier, Jacques: Beyond Bach, Other Composers I Adore (Telarc 35342)
Lunde, Gjertrud: Hjemklang (Ozella 54)
Manne, Shelly/& His Men: Complete Live At The Black Hawk (Jazz Dynamics 010)
Mathieson, Ken/Classic Jazz Orchestra: Clarinet Gumbo (Lake 333)
Mendes, Sergio: Magic (Okeh 88843066322)
Mostly Other People Do The Killing: Blue (Hot Cup 141)
MusicMusicMusic: Buen Sabor (Hoob 037)
New York Standards Quartet: The New Straight Ahead (Whirlwind 4654) Norwegian Wind Ensemble: The Brass From Utopia - A Frank Zappa Tribute (Norwind 132)
O'Day, Anita: Five Classic Albums Plus Third Set (Avid 1129)
O'Day, Anita: Fourth Set Four Classic Albums Plus (Avid 1136)
O'Day, Anita Four Classic Albums Plus Second Set (Avid 1126)
O'Farrill, Arturo: The Offense Of The Drum (Motéma 233848)
Pastorius, Jaco: Anthology: The Warner Bros Years (Warner/Rhino 8122795729)
Persson, Anders/Palle Danielsson/Terje Sundby: The Second Time Around (Imogena 197)
Price, Nigel/Organ Trio: Hit The Road (33JAZZ 241)
Prima, Louis: The King Of Jumpin' Swing, Greatest Hits (Black Coffee 120012)
Psychic Equalizer: Train Back Home (HSG0001)
Rascals Of Rhythm, The: The Rascals Of Rhythm (PEK Sound 385)
Rathbun, Andrew: Numbers & Letters (Steeplechase 31781)
Rava, Enrico/Paolo Fresu: Shades Of Chet (Via Veneto Jazz 023)
Rollins, Sonny: Road Shows, Volume 3 (Okeh 88843049982)
Roure, Daniel: Le Temps D'Un Jazz (
Rowe, Ellen: Courage Music (PKO 064)
Saft, Jamie: The New Standard (Rare Noise 032)
Sclavis, Louis: Silk And Salt Melodies (ECM 378 6537)
Smith, Ronnie: Illusions (Ronnie Smith Productions 001)
Snekkestad, Torben/Barry Guy: Slip Slide And Collide (Maya 1401)
Solborg, Mark/Anders Banke: Song (Ilk 225)
Storm, Hakon: Fosfor (NORCD 1434)
Sun Ra: In The Orbit Of Ra (Strut 109)
Surman, John/Bergen Big Band: Another Sky (Grappa 4459)
Svensson, Hannah: Each Little Moment (Volenza 106)
Tate, Buddy: The Texas Tenor (Storyville 1038438)
Texier, Henri: Hope Quartet (Label Bleu 6713)
Tingvall Trio: Beat (Skip 9137)
Tricotism: Fingerbustin' (Raymer Sound 948)
Various: British Traditional Jazz At A Tangent Vol. 6 (Lake 335)
Vaughan, Sarah: Sings George Gershwin (Master Jazz 8892870)
Venkiah, John: Things Change (Volenza 108)
Vilde&Inga: Makrofauna (ECM 376 7590)
Washington, Dinah: The Best Of Dinah Washington (Black Coffee 120001) Webster, Ben/Richard "Groove" Holmes/Les McCann: Groove (American Jazz Classics 99104)
Winehouse, Mitch: Sings/But Beautiful (Lioness Records)
Zawadzki, Alice: China Lane (Whirlwind 4647)

Excerpts from the 91 CD reviews in this issue (full print reviews run up to 300 words and include discography - subscribe here):


These 25 well-chosen pieces from Armstrong’s first four years of recording tell a fascinating story. From the first, careful solo in Oliver’s Chimes Blues (1923), to the endearing, and fortunately doomed, attempt to conceal his identity while moonlighting with Jimmy Bertrand in 1927, we hear that astonishing creative force emerge from the diffident, sweet-natured young man from New Orleans. It’s almost as though he couldn’t help it. Despite being overawed by Henderson’s men and their smart New York ways, he stepped forward and simply demonstrated how it should be done. And some of the material! Making anything out of I Miss My Swiss must have felt – in Phil Seamen’s memorable phrase – like towing the Queen Mary through a sea of Mars Bars. But he did it. (Dave Gelly) ****

BILLY COBHAM: COMPASS POINT (Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra)
This is a previously unreleased set by Cobham’s finest combo of the modern era – on a par with that featuring John Scofield in the 1970s. The occasion was a series of gigs over a week at the Compass Point Hotel and other venues in New Providence in the Bahamas in 1997. The auspices weren’t good: The opening outdoor hotel gig was hit by a storm and the stage was a flimsy, barely finished plywood affair erected over the hotel’s swimming pool. In addition, the piano, a Yamaha CP70 Electric Grand, had been left out in the midday sun and the only piano tuner in town had that morning won the lottery and declared he would never tune a piano again. Judging by the comments of sound engineer Craig Bishop, the post-production on these tapes has included retuning, and the piano now sounds fine. (Mark Gilbert) ****

This recording deserves to be set alongside the brightest beacons of Corea’s remarkable recording career as composer and pianist since the late 1960s. Corea, McBride and Blade are joined on three tracks by special guests, Niño Josele, Jorge Pardo and Corea’s wife, Gayle Moran. Corea says that for him, the “best and most rewarding thing” he knows to do is to play for a live audience. He describes the trio experience with McBride and Blade as “a joyful exploration”, highlighting the particular chemistry between them when they play. Each composition or reinterpreted standard highlights this group’s particular synergy and freshness. Best of all, Corea revealingly adds, “I find myself trying things that I wouldn’t normally try.” (Francis Graham-Dixon) ****

Steve Fishwick, a most assured trumpeter confident and clarion clear throughout the instrument’s range, here delivers his latest batch of largely original compositions with a group of regular hands. A thoughtful player with an ear for the experimental, Fishwick writes in a quirky, unpredictable way which can range from irritating to superb. I loved his dynamic tribute to Tom Harrell (Harrellin’), but was unmoved by his digressive exercise on the Aeolian mode (Outskirts). Fishwick shows his paces and invention in the best Hubbard manner on a swift All Or Nothing At All, and evokes the exploratory Miles with a lustrous reading of Vissi D’Arte. He obviously has a ball playing Ornette Coleman’s Una Muy Bonita, while on Rachpu’s Blues the band is called on to blow in 7/4 time. (Mark Gardner) ****

Halsall’s previous releases, which include the poetically cast and well-received Fletcher Moss Park, have been described as “rain-streaked spiritual jazz from Manchester” where “Kind Of Blue Meets The Cinematic Orchestra” (Luke Flowers, the drummer here, is a key member of the last-named). The good – if scarcely brand new – news from the north continues here. A sometimes kicking and vamping (When, Patterns) but mostly meditative and flowing album finds Halsall’s Gondwana Orchestra spreading measured phrases from trumpet and soprano saxophone, harp, koto and bansurai flute across the sort of modal landscapes – such as Place, Bamboo Forest and Tribute – which inevitably bring to mind the achievements of Miles Davis, John and Alice Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Yusef Lateef, Tony Scott et al (yes, that’s 50-plus years ago, and counting). (Mike Tucker) *****

Aged just 23 at the time, Scott was already a fast-rising and obviously major talent in mainstream jazz. He sounds remarkably poised and assured for his years, his tone full and warm, with Zoot Sims and Ben Webster notable influences. His fluent phrasing is melodically inventive and rhythmically supple throughout a mixed programme of standards and originals. Similarly youthful and technically accomplished, Warren Vaché also impresses, in spirited style, and the two young stars work well together. John Bunch swings elegantly at the helm in a well-balanced rhythm section. Shortly after, Hamilton signed an exclusive contract for Concord. Thirty-seven years on, these talented musicians continue to excel. (Hugh Rainey) ****

A follow-up to the wonderfully fresh music of 2012’s More was never going to be easy. In something of a departure from conventional jazz piano trio terrain for Karlzon, his fluid improvisations were reframed within new and sometimes unexpected contexts. Over a hundred gigs later and with a clearer vision of how Karlzon’s sui generis instrumental music should sound, Shine picks up the gilded baton and once again runs for home. Opening with a breezily optimistic title-track, its simple melodic motif is shadowed by radiant synth washes. Riding above a distinctly modern groove, the studio sheen is blinding. Yet once your senses have adjusted it’s clear just how much Karlzon’s music gains from his embrace of modern production techniques. (Fred Grand) ****


Remastering often accompanies reissue, but in the case of Manne and his men at the Black Hawk it’s scarcely needed, such was the acoustic perfection of the original 1959 discs. This was due partly to the quality of the engineering and partly to the surroundings of the Frisco club itself, apparently a near-flawless venue for immortalising unfettered music-making. Was there ever a band that played with such cohesive freedom and panache as this particular quintet? Even the depping pianist Feldman, despite his sometimes lazy chord-vamping left hand, sounds as though he were a permanent fixture rather than a stand-in for Russ Freeman, then on leave-of-absence in Europe with Benny Goodman. (Nigel Jarrett) *****

I really like this album. It’s an impressive achievement and a sly postmodern artistic statement. That said, its very nature defends it against the likelihood of me ever listening to it again. Elliott & Co. have recorded a note-for-note reproduction of Kind Of Blue and in the liner notes reprinted a Borges story about a man who wrote a line-for-line copy of Cervantes’ Don Quixote. So, is it art? Is it original music? Is it an impressive but merely technical and intellectual exercise? Like Duchamp’s use of the urinal, have MOPDTK taken Miles’s classic and turned it into something else by the simple expedient of appropriation? Who knows? But it’s fun. (Dave Foxall) ***

If ever a life in jazz perfectly described the arc of tragedy, it was that of bassist Jaco Pastorius. He emerged to international acclaim with an eponymous 1976 album that reinvented the role of the bass in jazz and the electric bass in general (bringing to it virtuoso technique, incisive fretless tone and a new world of harmonics) and presented an unforced eclecticism that seemed quite new. His work through the mid-late 70s with Joni Mitchell and Weather Report amplified the genius. However, by the late 70s the pressure of success and expectation precipitated or exacerbated a bipolar condition that, combined with alcohol and drug abuse, led eventually to his inadvertent death at the hands of a nightclub bouncer in 1987 at the age of 35. This set includes some superb photography in which JP looks as fresh as tomorrow, representing a timeless jazz iconography that has hardly needed updating since. (Mark Gilbert) ****

Like old man river Sonny Rollins just keeps rollin’ along, grizzled but as spirited as ever – not holding back or coasting. For a man well into his 80s, his energy level is astonishing. This third volume of samples from his prolific travels documents a span of 11 years with four stops in French concert halls along the way and pauses in Japan and St Louis. Throughout that period he has maintained a settled instrumentation and with two stalwart sidemen ever present – frontline partner trombonist Clifton Anderson (recalling Sonny’s 1950s collaboration with Jimmy Cleveland) and bassist Bob Cranshaw, a colleague of some 50 years’ standing. The personnel of the accompanists fluctuates, with both guitarists adapting nicely and piano making a solitary appearance. Rollins enjoys a percussive boost, just as Dizzy Gillespie did, and this is supplied with brio by Kimati Dinizulu or Sammy Figueroa. (Mark Gardner) *****


I blush to confess that Snekkestad is unfamiliar to me. Classically-trained, he concentrates on contemporary music and improvisation of all types and, like Guy, has worked in more genres than you could shake a stick at. He conjures a remarkable range of sounds from his horns, evoking everything from the delicate wistfulness of the Japanese bamboo shakuhachi to the roar of a runaway JCB. He’s a worthy partner for Guy: high praise indeed. Guy’s name on any project certifies intensity, inventiveness and integrity. Here, this fearsome, two-headed yet cohesive entity guides us on a thrilling journey through 13 mesmerising landscapes. (Barry Witherden) *****

Gaining experience alongside the American stars who dominated the city in the 1960s, Henri Texier has since made waves as a leader on the Parisian scene, often skirting the freer approaches. This live gig offers a lively contrast among the reeds. Texier’s son, Sébastien, sweeps ahead somewhat in the manner of Eric Dolphy though more mellifluously; Corneloup’s sound may be at the smoother end of the baritone’s sonic spectrum but he is nevertheless the one for free-jazz freak-outs. Between them, the Texiers wrote all the pieces, a few nice ballads alongside the harder stuff. A solidly updated example of the genre. (Ronald Atkins) ****

The 1957 sessions with Jones and Mooney which produced two LPs entitled Sarah Vaughan Sings George Gershwin are on the first disc of this set. The second contains Gershwin songs recorded at a dozen different dates, including the 1950 Nice Work with Miles Davis and a second version of Man I Love from 1963. Not all of Gershwin’s songs were of high quality and Sarah doesn’t achieve the alchemy Billie Holiday might have wrought on several weaker ones. The best are the more robust choices, such as They All Laughed, where she seems to be really enjoying herself. (Graham Colombé) ***

This is the début album from London-based Zawadzki, who has been garnering praise from various critics and musicians, including Norma Winstone. She mixes jazz sensibility and scat/vocalese with elements of avant-pop and world music, at times conjuring thoughts of Björk and Kate Bush while sounding like neither. Sometimes intimate and girlish, at other moments assertive and upfront, Zawadzki gives her fine group plenty of room to stretch out where appropriate (hear Smart’s cello smoke on the Sephardic Dicho Me Habian Dicho). She also contributes some affectingly simple violin to a poetically wrought session which deserves wide exposure. (Michael Tucker) ****


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