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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 March 2015 (see below for excerpts):
Armstrong, Louis: At The Crescendo 1955 (Essential Jazz Classics 55657)
Armstrong, Louis/Blanche Calloway/Clarence Williams: 1929-1938 Unissued On 78s (Retrieval 79077)
Bailey, John: Black Ship Bright Sea (johnbaileyguitar.com)
Baker, Chet: Cool Baker Vols. 1 & 2 (Essential Jazz Classics 55650)
Barber, Chris/Jazz And Blues Band: The Class Of '78 (Lake 337)
Blake, Ran: Cocktails At Dusk (Impulse 3793181)
Brewer, Matt: Mythology (Criss Cross 1373)
Chant, Tom/John Edwards/Eddie Prévost: All Change (Matchless 92)
Chingari: Bombay Makossa (Abstract Logic 044)
Cline, Nels/Julian Lage: Room (Mack Avenue 1091)
Coltrane, John/Cannonball Adderley: Quintet In Chicago (Masterworks 21347)
Connor, Chris: Free Spirits (Warner 8122795755)
Connor, Chris: Misty (Warner 8122795851)
Ellington, Duke: Highlights Of The Great 1940-1942 Band (Avid Jazz 1143)
Eubanks, Kevin: Guitarist (Warner 8122795744)
Evans, Bill: With Don Elliott & Jerry Wald (Solar 4569954)
Farrell, Joe: Night Dancing (Warner 8122795754)
Gadd, Steve: Blicher/Hemmer/Gadd (C-Nut 06)
Garzone, George/Jerry Bergonzi: Quintonic (Stunt 14072)
Gingery, Bob: Traveler (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 456)
Hamilton, Chico: The Gongs East! (Warner 8122796687)
Hamilton, Chico: The Three Faces Of Chico (Warner 8122796620)
Harley, Rufus: Bagpipe Blues (Warner 8122795745)
Harley, Rufus: King/Queens (Warner 8122795889)
Harris, Eddie: High Voltage (Warner 8122795892)
Harris, Eddie: E.H. In The U.K. (Warner 8122795891)
Husband, Gary: Dirty & Beautiful Vol 1 Remix (Abstract Logic 046)
Jøkleba Outland (ECM 379 7773)
Juris, Vic: Walking On Water (Steeplechase 31788)
Kessel, Barney: Contemporary Latin Rhythms! + Breakfast At Tiffany's (American Jazz Classics 99118)
Kessel, Barney: Contemporary Latin Rhythms (Warner 8122796619)
Kirk, Rahsaan Roland: Other Folks' Music (Warner 8122796860)
Lloyd, Charles: Manhattan Stories (Resonance 2016)
Lumen Drones: Lumen Drones (ECM 470 0688)
Mann, Herbie: The Roar Of The Greasepaint - The Smell Of The Crowd (Warner 8122795763)
Mann, Herbie: Brazil - Once Again (Warner 8122795765)
Marsalis, Delfeayo: The Last Southern Gentlemen (Troubadour Jass 081814)
Marsalis, Jason/Vibes Quartet: The 21st Century Trad Band (Basin Street 03042)
Martino, Pat: Starbright (Warner 8122795762)
Martino, Pat: Joyous Lake (Warner 8122798818)
McCann, Les: Live At Montreux (Warner 8122795888)
Mingus, Charles: Something Like A Bird (Warner 8122796605)
Moholo-Moholo, Louis: 4 Blokes (Ogun 043)
Monk, Thelonious: Monk's Dream (Masterworks 21345)
Monk, Thelonious: The Complete 1966 Geneva Concert (Solar 4569953)
Montgomery, Wes: The Incredible Jazz Guitar Of Wes Montgomery (Masterworks 21340)
Moody, James: Cookin' The Blues/Another Bag (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 846)
Mosse, Sandy: Relaxin' With/Touff Assignment (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 845)
Møster, Kjetil/Jü: Jü Meets Møster (RareNoise 047)
Mulligan, Gerry/Ben Webster: Mulligan Meets Webster (Masterworks 21349)
New Jazz Orchestra: Le Déjeuner Sur L'Herbe (Dusk Fire 110)
Newman, David: The Weapon (Warner 8122795748)
Palermo, Ed: Oh No! Not Jazz!! (Cuneiform 380/381)
Pieranunzi, Enrico: Stories (Cam Jazz 78752)
Price, Sammy: Sammy Price On Tour (GHB 558)
Rivers, Mavis: Mavis (Warner 8122795848)
Rivers, Mavis: Swing Along With Mavis (Warner 8122795738)
Russell, George: Complete Smalltet/Orchestra 1956-1960 (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 847)
Russell, George/Sxt, Spt: Complete Decca/Riverside 1960-1962 (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 848)
Scofield, John: Überjam Deux (Emarcy 06025 37337248)
Scott, Shirley: Four Classic Albums (Avid Jazz 1140)
Shindo, Tak: Brass And Bamboo/Accent On Bamboo (Blue Moon 855)
Sipe, Jeff: Jeff Sipe Trio (Abstract Logic 045)
Spanier, Muggsy: Relaxin' At The Touro (Retrospective 4254)
Taubenhouse, Yaniv: Here From There (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 459)
Texier, Henri: "La Compañera" (Label Bleu 6525)
Texier, Henri/Joe Lovano: "Paris Batignolles" (Label Bleu 6506)
Thompson, Vance: Such Sweet Thunder (Shade Street, no number)
Trummer, Olivia: Fly Now (Contemplate 14005)
Van Asselt/Vistel Project: Tierra A La Vista (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 457)
Various: Checkmate/Hong Kong (Jazz In The Movies 1007)
Various: Now's The Time III - The Best In Contemporary Jazz From France & Luxembourg (Babel 12113)
Virelles, David: Mbókò (ECM 378 2966)
Walker, Mike/Stuart McCallum: Beholden (Shell-Like 001)
Wellkers, Alex: See (alex wellkers.com)
White, Brian/Magna Jazz Band: Remembering Ben Cohen (Lake 334)
Williamson, Robin: Trusting In The Rising Light (ECM 378 0287)
Witherspoon, Jimmy: Hey, Mrs. Jones (Warner 8122795750)
Witherspoon, Jimmy: Roots + Jimmy Witherspoon (Hoo Doo 263491)
Woods, Phil: Three Classic Albums Plus (Avid Jazz 1146)
Zak, Peter: The Disciple (SteepleChase 31791)


Excerpts from the 81 CD reviews in this issue (full print reviews run up to 300 words and include discography - subscribe here):

MATT BREWER: MYTHOLOGY (Criss Cross)
From Coleman and Osby to Iyer and Akinmusire, Matt Brewer’s name reliably appears in the credits when the movers and shakers of today’s Stateside jazz scene assemble a new band. A huge sonic presence in any ensemble but lithe enough to turn on a dime, Brewer the composer finally gets the showcase he deserves on this, his leadership debut. Owing as much to the hustle and bustle of current home New York as the expansive and often monumental vistas of Oklahoma and New Mexico where he spent his formative years, Mythology is a very personal and considered statement. (Fred Grand) ****

TOM CHANT, JOHN EDWARDS, EDDIE PRÉVOST: ALL CHANGE (Matchless)
This is a long album at 70-plus minutes and yet . . . it grips. Gentle menace is how it begins: tenor moans, cymbal scrapes and circling brushwork, rumbling arco bass . . . Strangely enough, I’ve seen Chant regularly in this kind of improvisational environment recently, and this is an accurate representation of this facet of his playing (if anyone reckons he’s “limited” to free-jazz work-outs, I’ve also seen him “do” Stravinsky): raging squalls, purrs and gurgles, frenzied flurrying, heart-wringing cries, and through it all a compositional sensitivity that brings a structure-on-the-hoof to his contributions. Prévost is, quite simply, relentlessly inventive – battering accompaniment, swirling cymbal work, tocks, ticks and clatters – he keeps the clock running; not always time in a traditionally recognisable sense, but solid nonetheless. (Dave Foxall) ****

CHINGARI: BOMBAY MAKOSSA (Abstract Logix)
Indo-jazz fusion goes back a long way, at least to Coltrane, D’Silva/Harriott, Shakti, Zawinul and progeny, yet this trio does manage to find something fresh in the concept, expressed, for example, in the seamless melding of Barot’s south-Indian syncopations and Mbappe’s Larry Graham derived funk bass in Pack Up Your Bags. Aside from Mbappe’s funky and often Pastorian bass, Indian modalities dominate courtesy of the portamento sound of Shrinivas’s mandolin. Only the closing title track, with Afrobeat bass and idiomatic West African vocals, clearly references Mbappe’s Cameroonian background. The audio production from Souvik Dutta’s Abstract Logix label, a blessed oasis of modernistic endeavour, is exemplary. (Mark Gilbert) ****

NELS CLINE & JULIAN LAGE: ROOM (Mack Avenue)
Room works to a simple formula. Nels Cline is on the right channel, Julian Lage on the left. Each plays either an acoustic or a lightly amplified archtop guitar. Ten tracks, with seven compositions by Cline, two by Lage, and one composed between them. All recorded live in the studio, with no overdubs. What results is as close to perfection as you can get. In a spontaneous way, Cline and Lage hold an eloquent conversation that is pristine in sound and bold in delivery, with no grandstanding or showboating. Some sets seem just right as they are, with no possible room for improvement. This is one of them, and I’d give it more than five stars if I could. (Simon Adams) *****

JOHN COLTRANE & CANNONBALL ADDERLEY: QUINTET IN CHICAGO (Masterworks)
The tenor on Super Jet flies happily, still a long way from the complex machinations to come with Giant Steps. Coltrane relishes Dameron’s material, but perhaps doesn’t let loose the power that he showed in his work with Davis. It’s hard to reconcile his eloquent inventions here with the man who destroyed his style so completely when he took to free playing in the last two years of his life. (Steve Voce) ****

STEVE GADD: BLICHER/HEMMER/GADD (C-Nut)
Steve Gadd will be the major draw, but the trio are technically well matched. Gadd’s tactile sound and varied approach to time and colour on the simplest of grooves is unmistakable, a delight, but though he stand out, he works as part of the group. The music, idiomatic organ-trio soul-jazz mostly written by Blicher (with In A Little Spanish Town a Rollinseque exception), is from recordings of the trio’s Scandinavian tour of early 2014 and a welcome assurance that not all Nordic jazz players prefer staring into the abyss to the core stuff of blues and the groove. (Mark Gilbert) ****

BOB GINGERY: TRAVELER (Fresh Sound New Talent)
Gingery’s group is doing a good job for one described as “new talent”. Its assumed “new” encompasses individual as well as combined effort. Guitarist Baggetta tones down to let tenorman Irabagon fly on Wheeling. When he returns with an energy-in-reserve persona on Boot Hill, the two are making a fist of co-projection up front. That guitar threatens to sound as though it’s holding back when the sax is at its expressive best, but if anyone can achieve parity it’s Baggetta. He does it on the reflective Past Lives, the whimsical Three Legged Dog and elsewhere. Interesting record. (Nigel Jarrett) ****

RUFUS HARLEY: BAGPIPE BLUES/KING-QUEENS (Warner 1000 Yen)
Despite his choice of instrument, Rufus Harley was a serious artist – maybe this would have been more obvious to audiences if he’d played the Tunisian mizwid, but then he did sometimes perform in a kilt. In 1963, watching President Kennedy’s funeral on TV, he was taken by the wailing Black Watch pipers. “[He] was playing a lot of tenor sax then,” his son Messiah commented, “but because Coltrane and Rollins were smoking the sax . . . he turned to the bagpipes”. In a familiar, poignant and persuasive narrative, he insisted that the pipes’ African roots helped make him aware of his cultural heritage. King/Queens is the more substantial album, with a hypnotic jazz-rock version of The Byrds’ Eight Miles High, and a cover of Love Is Blue. There are two plangent compositions by Harley – King for bagpipe and marimba-like instrument, and Queens for pipes and harp. (I couldn’t guarantee that King isn’t a sleeve misspelling of Kings.) Windy in contrast is lightweight pop, and though Moon River showed its jazz potential on the superb Art Blakey version with Wayne Shorter, Harley’s version is lighter, and definitely bizarre. (Andy Hamilton) ***/****

GARY HUSBAND: DIRTY & BEAUTIFUL VOLUME 1 (SPECIAL REMIX EDITION) (Abstract Logix)
I reviewed the original Volume 1 in JJ March 2011 and Volume 2 in August 2012. This issue spans the two sets in adding the precursor (Wayne Krantz) of Volume 2’s East River Jam. That’s one of four bonus tracks: the other three bonuses add alternative or extended takes of pieces from Vol 1. Otherwise, the record presents remixes of, and thus different emphases on, the original Volume 1 tracks, adding further colour to an already vivid musical experience. Virtuosity is a given here, though not just in instrumental performance. These compositions combine melodic, harmonic and timbral resources to produce a seemingly inexhaustible parade of musical variation and development. (Mark Gilbert) ****

VIC JURIS: WALKING ON WATER (SteepleChase)
Lauded by Mike Stern as one of the hottest tickets in New York, Vic Juris carries a similar mantle to George Garzone – extremely influential amongst his peers, he is nevertheless frequently overlooked by the jazz public. With over a dozen largely mainstream SteepleChase sets to his name, Juris makes something of a welcome departure here with a new free-roaming, piano-less quartet. All in all this is a terrific set, and one which leaves little or no doubt that the versatile Juris is the real deal. (Fred Grand) ****

DELFEAYO MARSALIS: THE LAST SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN (Troubadour Jass)
This excellent album brings together two members of the remarkable Marsalis family who are joined here by two front-rank musical collaborators to form a quartet that plays wholly accessible music. There are many ballads here and Delfeayo Marsalis approaches them with care and respect for the traditions that have flowed through jazz from its start. These traditions imbue the playing of all members of his family, in addition to which, like his father and siblings, the leader has complete mastery of his instrument. Importantly, unlike many younger musicians, he never uses technique for its own sake but instead takes care to find the sound and style that is most appropriate for the mood of each song. A trombone-led quartet is not common these days and this unusual element adds to the enjoyment. (Bruce Crowther) ****

LOUIS MOHOLO-MOHOLO: 4 BLOKES (Ogun)
Louis Moholo-Moholo is the last surviving member of the South African Blue Notes. He’s also one of the few remaining members of the late-lamented big band Brotherhood of Breath. But his energetic and inspired playing has not diminished nor, at the age of 73 when this album was recorded, had he exhibited any signs of slowing down. Whilst his younger compatriots have all previously recorded with him on For The Blue Notes, he’s also recorded a duo with Alexander Hawkins (Keep Your Heart Straight), with whom he shares a seemingly symbiotic percussive relationship. Yarde and Edwards are equally intuitive and play with inordinate intensity. The resulting music in this latest offering sounds uncannily premeditated despite being predominantly improvised. Although this outstanding set oscillates between free and semi-structured it never lacks cohesion. (Roger Farbey) ****

SANDY MOSSE FEATURING CY TOUFF: CHICAGO SCENE/ RELAXIN’/TOUFF ASSIGNMENT (Fresh Sound)
Sandy Mosse was one of the lesser known Lestorians but older readers may remember some fine recordings he made with Henri Renaud and Bobby Jaspar when he was living in France during the 50s. On his return to the US he worked briefly with Woody Herman but unfortunately he never recorded with the band. His long elegant lines on tenor – reminiscent of Bob Cooper and Richie Kamuca – are a delight throughout. The August session with Cy Touff was originally released with Cy as the leader. It is perhaps not quite as memorable as his 1955 date with Richie Kamuca which produced the classic Keester Parade (FSR 2237) but there is still much to enjoy. Touff had spent three years with Woody Herman’s Third Herd taking Frank Rehak’s place in the trombone section. The bass trumpet sounds like a valve trombone but with a swifter articulation allowing him to be extremely quick on his feet. The ballad feature How Long Has This Been Going On is notable for Touff’s immaculately controlled vibrato. (Gordon Jack) ****

GEORGE RUSSELL SEXTET AND SEPTET: COMPLETE DECCA/RIVERSIDE 1960-1962 (Fresh Sound)
The attention devoted to Russell’s theoretical contribution to jazz development may give an impression of him as a remote figure, but this very welcome box soon removes that idea as we find him at the piano in the heart of his sextet and even providing verbal introductions on two live recordings at the end of the programme (At The Five Spot was actually a studio album). A well-known reference book describes Russell as playing “arranger’s piano” but that’s unfair and unhelpful. In accompaniment and in solo he’s interested in variety and uses a wide range of approaches according to the situation. His percussive attack and dissonances occasionally recall Monk but mostly he’s himself and vital to the music’s success. Fresh Sound are to be congratulated on an impeccable presentation (with new and original notes in a very thorough booklet) of some outstanding music. Incidentally, the first CD release of the live sets in 2009 produced a complaint from Russell’s widow so Fresh Sound have dutifully waited for the appropriate 50-year interval before combining those sets with the studio albums as the icing on the cake. (Graham Colombé) *****

BRIAN WHITE’S MAGNA JAZZ BAND: REMEMBERING BEN COHEN (Lake)
This CD is described as being one of Lake’s Limited Edition Series and therefore should be purchased without delay. All of the tracks on the CD have been released before but only on cassettes produced by Brian White. A few tracks were also released on an American CD. The content of this CD is uniformly fine swinging jazz with plenty of hot solo work. Later Brian White bands played in a style based on Muggsy Spanier but none of that music is included here. The CD booklet is well-illustrated and includes a full discography of the tracks as well as an essay on Ben Cohen by Geoff Cole and one by Paul Adams mentioning some of his other recordings that are available elsewhere on Lake. Certainly this CD can be highly recommended for its uniformly good music. (George Hulme) ****

 


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