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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 edition

Complete list of CDs reviewed in JJ February 2015 (see below for excerpts):
Allison, Mose: Complete Prestige 1957-1959 (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 842)
Allison, Mose: Wild Man On The Loose (Warner 81227958541)
Arioli, Susie: Christmas Dreaming (Jazz Village 570042)
Basie, Count: Original Album Series (Warner 2564628850)
Bjørklund, Terje: Yesterday Song (Reflect 0114)
Bollani, Stefano: Sheik Yer Zappa (Decca Black 602547051523)
Brubeck, Dave: Brubeck Plays Bernstein (Essential Jazz Classics 55487)
Chestnut, Cyrus: Midnight Melodies (Smoke Sessions 1408)
Christian, Charlie: Live With The Benny Goodman Sextet (Phoenix 131606)
Cloudmakers Trio: Abstract Forces (Whirlwind 4655)
Coltrane, John: My Favorite Things (Warner 81227957704)
Cookers, The: Time And Time Again (Motéma 233883)
Corbin, Harold: Soul Brother (Fresh Sound FSR 1667)
Coryell, Larry/The Eleventh House: January 1975: The Livelove Series, Volume 1 (Promising Music 441202)
Crawford, Hank: True Blue (Warner 8122-79589-4)
Davis, Miles/Quintet featuring John Coltrane: All Of You: The Last Tour 1960 (Trapeze 7076)
Davis, Miles: Live Around The World (Warner 81227957728)
Davis, Miles: Ascenseur Pour L' Échafaud (Dream Covers 6089)
Davis, Miles/John Coltrane: Complete Studio Recordings - The Master Takes (Omnia 348261)
Desmond, Paul/Gerry Mulligan: Two Of A Mind (RCA LSP-2624, vinyl)
Di Sabatino, Paolo: Trace Elements (Musica Jazz 1282)
Ellington, Duke: Ellington Uptown/The Liberian Suite/Masterpieces By Ellington (Essential Jazz Classics 55655)
Gaillard, Slim: The Extrovert Spirit Of Slim Gaillard (Avid Jazz 1141)
Getz, Stan: At Large (Essential Jazz Classics 55651)
Gillespie, Dizzy/Big Band: The Complete 1956-57 Studio Sessions (American Jazz Classics 99120)
Greene, Jimmy: Beautiful Life (Mack Avenue 1093)
Gullin, Lars: Portrait Of The Legendary Baritone Saxophonist (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 841)
Held, Pablo: The Trio Meets John Scofield (Pirouet 3078)
Hopper, Hugh: Memories (Gonzo Multimedia 240)
Hopper, Hugh: Frangloband (Gonzo Multimedia 241)
Horellou, Gaël: Brooklyn (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 455)
Indù: Juggernaut (Slam 554)
Jackson, Javon: Expression (Smoke Sessions 1404)
Jamal, Ahmad: The Piano Scene Of Ahmad Jamal (Epic LN 3631, vinyl)
Jarrett, Keith: Hamburg ’72: Live Recording (ECM 470 4256)
Jordan, Duke: Three Classic Albums Plus (Avid Jazz 1145)
Jurd, Laura: Human Spirit (Chaos Collective 004)
Lacy, Steve: School Days (Emanem 5016)
Mainieri, Mike: Wanderlust (Warner 81227958503)
Marsalis, Branford: In My Solitude: Live At Grace Cathedral (Okeh/Marsalis Music 88875011652)
Medeski/Scofield/Martin/Wood: Juice (Okeh 88875005012)
Mingus, Charlie: Tijuana Moods (RCA LSP-2533, vinyl)
Monk, Thelonious/Trio: Plays Duke Ellington + The Unique Thelonious Monk (Essential Jazz Classics 55652)
Monk, Thelonious/Trio: Thelonious Monk Trio (Essential Jazz Classics 55658)
Murphy, Mark: Shadows (TCB 33802)
Pepper, Art: The Art Of Pepper (American Jazz Classics 99116)
Peyroux, Madeleine: Keep Me In Your Heart For A While (Rounder 888072362577)
Powell, Bud: Live At The Blue Note Café, Paris 1961 (ESP 4036)
Rattigan, Jim: Triplicity (Pavillon 003)
Reinhardt, Django: 5 Albums Originaux (Warner 5054196229450)
Ritenour, Lee: First Course (Beat Goes On 1163)
Rogers, Shorty: Clickin' With Clax (Warner 81227957377)
Sanborn, David: Taking Off (Warner 81227957476)
Shank, Bud: Plays The Music Of Bill Evans (Fresh Sound FSR 5012)
Sloane, Carol: Out Of The Blue/Live At 30th Street (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 843)
Steps Ahead: Magnetic (Warner 81227957537)
Syms, Sylvia: Lovingly (Warner 81227957490)
Tilitz, Jerry: Jerry Tilitz Meets Joe Gallardo (TCB 32202)
Tristano, Lennie: The New Tristano (Warner 81227957346)
Troyka: Ornithophobia (Naim Jazz 210)
Truffaz, Erik: 5 Albums Originaux (Warner 5054196229559)
Valente, Caterina/Chet Baker: I'll Remember April (Blue Moon 856)
Various: Jazz In Polish Cinema: Out Of The Underground 1958-1967 (Jazz On Film 002)
Various: Jazz Mission To Moscow/Soviet Jazz Themes (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 844)
Washington Jr, Grover: Come Morning (Warner 81227957711)
Washington, Dinah: In The Land Of Hi-Fi + Unforgettable (American Jazz Classics 99115)
Washington, Dinah: Original Queen Of Soul (Fantastic Voyage 210)
Washington, Dinah: For Those In Love/The Complete Quincy Jones Small Group Sessions (American Jazz Classics 99119)
Weather Report: Forecast: Tomorrow (Columbia/Legacy 88875006192)
Young, Lester/Buddy Rich/Trio: With Nat "King" Cole (American Jazz Classics 99121)


Excerpts from the 70 CD reviews in this issue (full print reviews run up to 300 words and include discography - subscribe here):

MOSE ALLISON: COMPLETE PRESTIGE RECORDINGS 1957-59 (Fresh Sound)
Mose Allison is a unique, inimitable and complete artist, although that hasn’t stopped a sizeable squad of admirers from borrowing bits of him. His own influences, when he first appeared, seemed so bizarre that mere curiosity probably accounted for some of the attention he attracted. Who could ever have imagined a combination of Nat King Cole, Al Haig, Ray Charles, Willie Dixon, Thelonious Monk, Jimmy Rogers and Sonny Boy Williamson? Six albums in his first three years meant that, odd though the recipe may have seemed at first, it appealed to a lot of people. Those six albums are all contained in this three-CD package. (Dave Gelly) *****

COUNT BASIE: ORIGINAL ALBUM SERIES (Warner)
The five albums in this Warner Jazz reissue series will be familiar to most collectors of a certain age: The Atomic Mr Basie (1957), Count Basie Swings, Tony Bennett Sings (1959), Basie, One More Time (1958), Chairman Of The Board (1959), and Basie At Birdland (1961). All are prime examples of the so- called “New Testament” Basie orchestra at its superlative best. Pride of place has to go to The Atomic Mr Basie, a collection of made-to-measure Neal Hefti arrangements played to perfection by a band that could be tightly disciplined (The Kid From Red Bank, Teddy The Toad), insolently relaxed (After Supper, ’Lil Darlin’) and then instantly re-ignited by the blistering solos of Lockjaw Davis (Whirly Bird, Splanky). Pure joy! (John White) ****

STEFANO BOLLANI: SHEIK YER ZAPPA (Decca Black)
This live CD is a jazz interpretation of six songs by Frank Zappa, together with three Zappa-inspired originals, two of which are composed by the expansive pianist Bollani, and he co-composes Male Male, a freeish duet, with Adasiewicz. These originals integrate nicely with the interpretations of Zappa songs, although it’s generally the latter that stand out, along with the playing contributions of Black and Adasiewicz. It’s an interesting concept for a jazz album, with Cosmik Debris, Bobby Brown Goes Down, Bene Bene, Eat That Question and Bollani’s stunning two-fisted virtuosic piano solo interpretation of Peaches En Regalia working particularly well. (Dave Jones) ****

CHARLIE CHRISTIAN: LIVE WITH THE BENNY GOODMAN SEXTET (Phoenix)
Charlie Christian and Lester Young were two of a kind – not because they were proto-beboppers, as many have claimed, but because they both had a similar way of playing swing that early bebop players admired and tried to incorporate in their own work. Christian virtually invented the electric guitar as a jazz instrument, too, and was an inescapable influence on guitarists for at least 25 years after his death, so he’s doubly important. Because his recording career lasted less than two years – August 1939 to June 1941 – every scrap of his recorded work has been hunted down and carefully preserved. We have a good-sized bundle of it here, mostly from broadcasts with Goodman. Christian plays as he always did, with unhesitating precision, each note minutely timed, each phrase turned at a harmonically apt point. (Dave Gelly) *****

LARRY CORYELL & THE ELEVENTH HOUSE: JANUARY 1975: THE LIVELOVE SERIES, VOLUME 1 (Promising Music)
John McLaughlin perenially gets credited as the progenitor of jazz-rock. Nevertheless, Larry Coryell was also a contender for that title, making an impact as early as 1966 with Chico Hamilton’s The Dealer. But it was McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra, specifically the 1971 debut album, The Inner Mounting Flame, that was the clincher. So when Coryell later followed suit with Eleventh House in 1973, comparisons with McLaughlin’s outfit were inevitable. Eleventh House’s eponymously titled album from 1974 produced some incendiary music, commencing with the storming Birdfingers, which also introduces this latest and previously unissued archival release. The performances of this Radio Bremen live recording are easily equal to the first studio album, and if anything, are superior, benefiting from adrenalin-rich solos of incredible dexterity and speed. (Roger Farbey) ****

LARS GULLIN: PORTRAIT OF THE LEGENDARY BARITONE SAXOPHONIST (Fresh Sound)
Lars Gullin’s regular reissues are a reminder of a baritone sound that was a thing of rare beauty. His son Peter, who died in 2003, was the only one who came close to that unique timbre and concept. Tenderness on Dragon 222 is a good example of the young man’s work – a blindfold test would fool many. Few soloists have specialised on the instrument but Gullin, who studied to be a concert pianist, is an important member of that exclusive group. His relaxed, legato sound and long lyrical lines owed little to contemporaries like Cecil Payne and Serge Chaloff and as far as Leo Parker was concerned, they might have been playing different instruments. Initially influenced by Gerry Mulligan’s work with the Miles Davis nonet he soon absorbed the chromatic and rhythmically daring approach of both Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. Together with a 1960 Nils Lindberg session (Sax Appeal, Dragon 220) this reissue features some of Gullin’s finest work. (Gordon Jack) *****

JARRETT/HADEN/MOTIAN: HAMBURG ’72: LIVE RECORDING (ECM)
In 2012 ECM dug deep into its vaults and released the magical two-CD set that was Sleeper, a 1979 live concert recording by the so-called European Belonging quartet which Jarrett ran with Jan Garbarek, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen. This first-time issue of a 1972 set from the trio of Jarrett, Haden and Motian, recorded at the NDR Jazz Workshop in Hamburg, is of comparable quality and importance. The trio had already recorded several attractive albums for Atlantic, but Hamburg ’72 finds them moving up several gears in music of both scintillating precision and expansive group empathy, as rich in dynamic diversity as it is enfolded, overall, in poetic nuance. (Michael Tucker) *****

LAURA JURD: HUMAN SPIRIT (Chaos Collective)
In Jurd’s case the hype’s believable as she embodies one of those very infrequent occasions when the marketing industry gets it right. The music on this set consists of original songs and instrumental touches that acknowledge what Miles Davis was up to circa 1973, and thus has the added bonus of irking the purists something rotten. The underlying feeling this music induces is that repeated listening reveals more, and that’s a rare feat, not least because it often feels like most of the creative ground’s already covered. Because of this every one of those five stars in justified. (Nic Jones) *****

BRANFORD MARSALIS: IN MY SOLITUDE: LIVE AT GRACE CATHEDRAL (Okeh/Marsalis Music)
Large cathedral, brave man, for this is Branford Marsalis’s first solo outing. Playing a mix of improvisations and standards, plus an opener by Steve Lacy, a sonata by CPE Bach, and the challenging multiphonic MAI for solo saxophone by Ryo Noda, he set himself a lonely task. Aware that most people can’t concentrate on solo performances, he decided to focus instead on melody and mood, playing an organised set list with space for improvisation. Grace Cathedral is a cavernous space, lending a rich echoing delay to each note but blurring faster passages. That acoustic enhances Bach’s slow Oboe Sonata In A Minor, which he plays almost straight on tenor, with just a few embellishments towards the end, and does wonders for his own Blues For One. Unfortunately the CD can’t really capture the sacred atmosphere of a cathedral, which leaves listeners at home at some disadvantage. (Simon Adams) ****

MEDESKI, SCOFIELD, MARTIN, WOOD: JUICE (Okeh)
Scofield’s relationship with Medeski, Martin and Wood’s so-called “jam band” goes back to his 1997 album A Go Go where they formed the rhythm section. Technical range and sophistication has not been hitherto been their strong point, rather modish jamming centred around Medeski’s retro-fashionable keyboards. However, on this record something must have been in the studio supply of Evian. I haven’t heard Scofield solo with such range and invention as he does on the bright, clave-driven blues variation Louis The Shoplifter for some while. On Helium he approaches the devilry heard on his best work with Miles. Even Medeski, here on piano, sounds relatively light-footed. The piece has chords, and somewhat colourful ones, as well as tightly played stops. Production may have a lot to do with the success of the record: as well as varied programming, the sounds of all the instruments is admirably clear, adding to the sense of colour. If you’ve time for either Scofield or MMW, give it a spin. (Mark Gilbert) ****

MARK MURPHY: SHADOWS (TCB)
Since 1988 TCB’s Peter Schmidlin has been letting us in on hidden treasures from various European sources featuring American giants. This latest, a previously unreleased studio album from Slovenia in the mid-90s, adds to that distinguished roster. This comes from a time when Murphy was living and teaching in Europe and immersed in the poetic, theatrical, harmonically piquant style that has characterized his music the past four decades or so. It contrasts significantly with the Songbook persona heard on his late 50s and early 60s albums, as if the advent of rock and free improvisation in the mid-60s had a lasting effect on him. The latter is evident on one of the two standards here, If I Should Lose You, which acquires a rock beat and draws from Murphy a typically off-the-wall scat solo. His sense of pitch is clearly flawless but when it comes to improvising, expression trumps propriety, with exhilarating results. Another important session to add to the resplendent discography of the unique Murphy, who CD annotator Sheila Jordan describes as “a poet, an actor and above all a soulful human being”. (Mark Gilbert) ****

LENNIE TRISTANO: THE NEW TRISTANO (Warner)
I’ve never agreed with those who pigeonholed Tristano as a pianist who treated jazz merely as a cerebral exercise. This reissue of some of his solo work (I almost said “legendary” somewhere in that sentence) illustrates how by applying audacious theory and superlative keyboard technique he was able to create a kind of improvised music that defied categorisation. But yet which swung! There is rhythmic impulse in what he creates in this short – too short – session despite the fact that he changes the time signature at will and seems to devise his own rules of harmony, or rather to improvise those rules as the inclination occurs to him. This was a kind of “free jazz” ahead of its time, of a sort which honoured the metre, that foot-tapping element that many identify as an essential quality in jazz. (Anthony Troon) *****

VARIOUS: JAZZ IN POLISH CINEMA: OUT OF THE UNDERGROUND 1958-1967 (Jazz On Film)
Jazz On Film’s previous venture, the five-CD set French New Wave: Jazz On Film Recordings 1957-62, went down well with both the specialist jazz and general press. Much as I enjoyed that release, Out Of The Underground 1958- 67 strikes me as an even more impressive achievement. For whereas French New Wave brought together music chiefly already well known (by, e.g., the MJQ, Martial Solal, Miles Davis and Art Blakey) this overview of jazz in Polish cinema features much rare and previously unreleased material. This includes Andrzej Trzaskowski’s soundtrack (based on Artie Shaw’s Moonray) for the 1959 Night Train and his fellow pianist Krzysztof Komeda’s work for Andrzej Wajda’s 1960 Innocent Sorcerers (released for the first time in its entirety) and Jerzy Skolimowski’s Le Départ (featuring a rather special group with, a.o., Don Cherry, Gato Barbieri and Philip Catherine). (Michael Tucker) *****

VARIOUS: JAZZ MISSION TO MOSCOW (Fresh Sound)
Most of the music was written by Russian jazz composers Gennadi Goldstein, Konstantin Nosov and Andrej Towmosjan. They’re very good, and on the (1) and (4) sessions their work has the benefit of being arranged by Al Cohn. It must have been satisfying indeed for the Russians, if they heard these recordings, to hear their works receive the Cohn treatment. The (1) tracks give an impression of what Goodman’s Russian tour could have sounded like if music like this had replaced the very tired Henderson charts. Markowitz, who wasn’t on the Russian tour, is perhaps the big surprise here. He is in turn a delicate and then an explosive soloist. He worked with most of the good name bands over the years, but we never heard him solo like this in his other recordings. Eddie Costa connoisseurs will immediately be in thrall to the piano rumble that opens the first track, and throughout the soloists, notably Sims and Woods, play at or near their best. (Steve Voce) *****


WEATHER REPORT: FORECAST: TOMORROW (Columbia/Legacy)
This three-CD plus DVD set, first issued in 2006, traces Weather Report from its immediate antecedents (Miles Davis’s 1969 band) to its demise in 1985. We hear the music developing from the raw, unrefined structures of the first two albums into the ingenious 1976-1980 masterpieces such as Black Market, Palladium and Three Views and on to the consolidating material of the last years. Even at the last, all WR’s work surpasses DJ Logic’s 2005 lumpen remix of 125th Street on CD3. Newest for most will be the DVD, containing 18 tunes from a 1978 concert filmed for German TV and featuring Zawinul, Shorter, Pastorius and Erskine. Plentiful high-quality photography and essays from Bob Belden, Hal Miller and Peter Erskine complete the book-styled package. The title is mysterious. Even in 2006 the band had been gone 21 years. Perhaps it suggests that WR were and remain unsurpassed as innovators, the last hurrah for modernity in jazz. Although their influence persisted for many years, the stock of the revivalists and curators was rising rapidly around the time they ceased. (Mark Gilbert) *****

 


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