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RECORD REVIEWS

Jazz Journal offers unrivalled coverage of recorded jazz old and new, with more than 20,000 words of expert comment and discography on recent jazz releases in every issue

Complete list of CDs reviewed in JJ August 2015 (see below for excerpts):
Bad Plus, The/Redman, Joshua: The Bad Plus Joshua Redman (Nonesuch 548920)
Baker, Chet/Wolfgang Lackerschmid: Artists Favor (HipJazz 004)
Bass, Dave: NYC Sessions (Whaling City Sound 071)
Baxter, Les: African And Jungle Jazz (Fresh Sound/Blue Moon 860)
Beats & Pieces Big Band: All In (Efpi 022)
Betts, Dave: These Times (dave-betts.com)
Brewer, Teresa With Basie, Jones, Ellington: The Songs Of Bessie Smith/It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing (Beat Goes Public 032)
Brubeck, Dan/Quartet: Celebrating The Music & Lyrics Of Dave & Iola Brubeck (Blue Forest 15001)
Brunborg, Tore: Slow Snow (ACT 9586)
Bryant, Bobby: Chicago Years (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 865)
Burrell, Kenny: Kenny Burrell + Swingin' (Poll Winners 27323)
Caliman, Hadley: Hadley Caliman (Boplicity 030)
Carter, John/Bobby Bradford: Self Determination Music (Beat Goes Public 286)
Chamorro, Joan/Andrea Motis: Feeling Good (Whaling City Sound 074)
Cobham, Billy: Reflected Journey (Cleopatra 2229)
Coleman, Ornette/Quartet: Live In Paris 1971 (Domino 891226)
Coles, Johnny/Quartet: The Warm Sound (Phono 870226)
Collin, Romain; Press Enter (ACT 9583)
Coltrane, John: Lush Life (Dream Covers 6092)
Davis, Miles: Complete Blue Note 1952-54 Studio Sessions (Essential Jazz Classics 55668)
Divergence Jazz Orchestra: The Opening Statement (DJO001)
Donaldson, Lou: Midnight Sun (Dream Covers 6091)
Eilertsen, Mats/Skydive Trio: Sun Moee (Hubro 2537)
Eisenstadt, Harris: Golden State II (Songlines 1610)
Fletcher, Mike/Trio: Vuelta (Stoney Lane 1931)
Fortin, Daniel: Brinks (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 473)
Gaslini, Giorgio/Quartet: La Notte (Soundtrack Factory 606345)
Green, Grant: Racing Green - Guitar Solos 1959/62 (Él 285)
Harris, Allan: Black Bar Jukebox (Love Productions 233921)
Hartman, Johnny: The Complete Bethlehem Sessions (Essential Jazz Classics 55669)
Holiday, Billie: The Complete Commodore Recordings (Essential Jazz Classics 55673)
Ikonen, Kari/Trio: Beauteous Tales And Offbeat Stories (Ozella 060)
Jarrett, Keith: Original Album Series (Rhino 0081227955397)
Johnson, Max: Something Familiar (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 471)
Kandinsky Effect: The Somnambulist (Cuneiform 408)
Knutsson, Jonas/Quartet: Livsmedel Biem (Jonas Knutsson Musikproduktion 01)
Kreisberg, Jonathan: Wave Upon Wave (NFN 0004)
Llombart, Jaume: Magenta (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 461)
Machito: Kenya + With Flute To Boot (Fresh Sound/Blue Moon 859)
Manone, Wingy: Trumpet On The Wing (Retrospective 4267)
Mateo, Natalia: Heart Of Darkness (ACT 9730)
Mazurek, Rob/& Black Cube SP: Return The Tides: Ascension Suite And Holy Ghost (Cuneiform 399)
Mitchell, Blue: Blue Mitchell (Boplicity 029)
Motis Chamorro Big Band: Motis Chamorro Big Band (Jazz To Jazz 14006)
Mozdzer, Leszek/& Friends: Jazz At Berlin Philharmonic III (ACT 9578)
New Cool Collective: Electric Monkey Sessions (Dox 219)
Oien, Michael: And Now (Fresh Sound New Talent 467)
Okiji, Fumi: Old Time Jazz Band (Jes Grew Records 001)
Partikel: String Theory (Whirlwind 4671)
Peacock, Gary/Trio: Now This (ECM 471 5388)
Redd, Freddie/Trio: Music For You (SteepleChase 31796)
Reys, Rita/Pim Jacobs/Kenny Clarke: Jazz Pictures + Marriage In Modern Jazz (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 866)
Riley, Stephen: Baubles, Bangles And Beads (SteepleChase 31792)
Ritter, Claire: Soho Solo (Zoning 1012)
Rollins, Sonny/Quartet With Don Cherry: Complete Live At The Village Gate 1962 (Solar 4569959)
Sanborn, David: Time And The River (Okeh 88875063142)
Sanchez, Antonio: Birdman (Milan 399 618)
Sand, Ida: Young At Heart (ACT 9729)
Scheidt, Holger/Group: The Tides Of Life (Enja 9619)
Sheppard, Andy/Quartet: Surrounded By Sea (ECM 471 4273)
Stilgoe, Joe: New Songs For Old Souls (Linn 484)
Stryker, Dave: Messin' With Mister T (Strikezone 8812)
Takase, Aki/Ayumi Paul: Hotel Zaubergerg (Intakt 244)
Terrasson, Jacky: Take This (Impulse, no number)
Thompson, Eddie: The Bosendorfer Concert 1980 (Hep 2102)
Tracey, Stan: Alone & Together With Mike Osborne/Live At Wigmore Hall, 1974 (Cadillac 014-015)
Various: New Orleans Brass Bands: Through The Streets Of The City (Smithsonian Folkways 40212)
Various: The Hustler (Soundtrack Factory 606346)
Vasilic, Nenad: The Art Of The Balkan Bass (Galileo 047)
Vazquez, Yago: Stream (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 472)
Verde, Luis: In Lak'Ech Hala K'In (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 474)
Waldrop, Michael/Big Band: Time Within Itself (Origin 82690)
Watrous, Bill: La Zorra (Progressive 7154)
Witherspoon, Jimmy: Spoon's Life (Pure Pleasure 021)
Witkowski Deanna: Raindrop: Improvisations With Chopin (Tilapia 003)
Woods, Phil: Four Classic Albums (Avid Jazz 1151)


Excerpts from the 76 CD reviews in this issue (see a free sample of full print reviews; subscribe to see 12 months of Jazz Journal
including over 20,000 words of CD review each issue):

THE BAD PLUS/JOSHUA REDMAN: THE BAD PLUS JOSHUA REDMAN (Nonesuch)
Long before this 
appeared in JJ, plaudits were already being awarded to the combination of the acclaimed The Bad Plus with saxophonist Joshua Redman. The established trio had rarely entered into an alliance with other musicians in the past, preferring to exist as an isolated performing unit. The threesome are famous for drawing on various sources for inspiration and given Redman’s open-minded resolve this looked like an ideal marriage. On the opener As This Moment Slips Away the saxophonist contributes a longish solo, indicating that he certainly wasn’t along for the ride. (Peter Gamble) ***

BEATS & PIECES BIG BAND: ALL IN (Efpi)
All In is the follow-up to the debut album Big Ideas by this young 14-strong big band. Comparing them with Loose Tubes seems inevitable, but the band’s composer and director Ben Cottrell takes a different approach, rendering the dynamic nearer perhaps to Mike Gibbs’s big bands, as evidenced by the short, ebullient opener Rocky. The first three tracks segue seamlessly into one another and the insistent rock beat and apparent simplicity of Pop is contradicted by layers of vibrant complexity and the bonus of a sonorous muted trumpet solo from Nick Walters. Cottrell’s imaginative compositions and arrangements on this album combined with the excellent performances of the band invite the listener to anticipate eagerly the prospect of the next one. (Roger Farbey) ****

BOBBY BRYANT: CHICAGO YEARS (Fresh Sound)

This is a really good big band in shouting form but you wouldn’t know it unless you are into every aspect of the Chicago scene in the late 50s and early 60s. Bryant spent his early professional years there before moving to LA and getting swallowed up in film and television studio work. Lost to jazz to a large extent, here he arranged a big band of largely unknown players he felt should receive more exposure. A fiery, brassy trumpet soloist, he gets to work on Blues Express and Round Midnight with some stratospheric high-note blowing before calming down somewhat on the remaining tracks. One standout is James Spaulding, who gets in some tasty, bluesy tenor solos instead of his more usual alto. The rest of the personnel might have come from Mars for all I know. But the big band swings mightily all through. (Derek Ansell) ****

ORNETTE COLEMAN QUARTET: LIVE IN PARIS 1971 (Domino)
This concert recording, with excellent sound quality, first appeared as the Japanese bootleg double-LP Paris Concert (Trio 7169/70), and has since been issued on CD by Fresh Sound. The stellar quartet features Dewey Redman, with whom Coleman first recorded in 1968, and long-term partners Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell. The concert belonged to a European tour that included performances at Belgrade on 2 November and Berlin on 5 November 1971 that were privately recorded and later issued. We’re not given the date of the Paris gig, though I guess it shouldn’t be impossible to find – it sounds like, and surely was, a sizeable venue with an enthusiastic audience. Though the audio is good, some writers have found the album maybe less adventurous musically than other Ornette recordings of the period. There may be a similarity in the (fast) tempo of the compositions, but I’d say this was the kind of exploratory set that’s always to be expected from Ornette. (Andy Hamilton) *****

KEITH JARRETT: ORIGINAL ALBUM SERIES (Warner/Rhino)
Here we have, in five CDs, five examples of Jarrett’s LP output for the Atlantic label, the first three originally issued on its Vortex subsidiary, the latter two on the label proper. Over the time period covered by the music, the pianist was initially a member of the popular Charles Lloyd group, before moving on to be employed by Miles Davis. This is not a complete representation of his work for the label but does give an excellent picture of how his career was about to develop, although thankfully Restoration Ruin where he features his own vocals (as opposed to singalong) has to be looked at as an unfortunate aberration; hence a deduction of one star. The albums are Life Between The Exit Signs, Restoration Ruin, Somewhere Before, The Mourning Of A Star and El Juicio (The Judgement). (Peter Gamble) ****

THE KANDINSKY EFFECT: SOMNAMBULIST (Cuneiform 408)
The Kandinsky Effect’s second album, Synesthesia, was a fully realised fusion of jazz-based com- position with electronic effects to create a series of compellingly addictive soundscapes. If anything, Somnambulist is KE saying, you can’t have too much of a good thing – and they’d be right. The tone is set by openers Copalchi Distress Signal and Somnambulist with jagged, catchy, effects-laden post-jazz. Lazy afternoon tenor lines drift through a haze of clockwork percussion as Petrina’s bass flutters and bubbles underneath. More lyrical flights of expression emerge and fade and the whole thing is very kinetic in that it’s almost impossible to sit still while listening. A good summing up might be that these are not so much tunes as a dozen soundscapes – not for nothing have they adopted a name synonymous with abstract expressionism. (Dave Foxall) ****

WINGY MANONE: TRUMPET ON THE WING (Retrospective)
Pure delight in this satisfying collection of Wingston’s best. He was famously difficult – “He’s a fascist!” Bruce Turner said. “If I’d had my other arm,” Wingy told me, “I’d have been better than Louis.” An ambitious and unrealistic claim, particularly since Wingy settled very well into an expert and comfortable copy of the Armstrong style. He wasted no notes – there was no flash – but he rightly became known for good, straightforward jazz records. He was lucky or shrewd in the musical company he kept, and as a result it was rare to find a poor disc that bore his name. This fine series owes much to Digby Fairweather who worked on rounding up the material but also writes the splendid liner notes that accompany each issue – so far encompassing Muggsy, Butterfield, Red Allen, Red Nichols and Teagarden. Long may it thrive! (Steve Voce) *****

ROB MAZUREK AND BLACK CUBE SP: RETURN THE TIDES: ASCENSION SUITE AND HOLY GHOST (Cuneiform)
In May 2013 Rob Mazurek’s mother, Kathleen, unexpectedly died. His response was to work with the five members of Black Cube SP, an extension of his celebrated Sao Paolo Underground trio, to perform this “shamanistic journey where we sonically clear a path for my mother into the unknown”. The four pieces were recorded in one session and run together seamlessly. It is a work of catharsis, a processing of loss that is at times difficult to listen to in its raw anger. But it is also a work of some beauty, a fine testimony to an obviously much-loved woman. (Simon Adams) ****

MOTIS-CHAMORRO BIG BAND: LIVE (Coda/Jazz To Jazz)
Andrea Motis and Joan Chamorro are exceptionally talented musicians. She is a strikingly gifted trumpet player and an engaging singer; for many years he has run a youth programme in Catalonia through which he has discovered many fine young jazz musicians. This album puts an excellent big band on show with Motis singing on most tracks. Punched along by the regular rhythm section of Terraz, Traver, Mengual and Pi, all of whom have solo moments, there is fine ensemble playing with frequent solo spots including Simon, fiercely duetting with Motis’s trumpet on Things, Arias on Old Folks, Carlquist on Don’t Explain, Correa on Bebop and a powerful Lover Come Back, on which Motis and Chamorro also solo, while the latter has a feature on Skylark. Chamorro’s familiarity with his principal instrument is also displayed with his composition Baritone Rhapsody, presented here as a feature for guest Robinson and on which Pastor and de Diego also solo. (Bruce Crowther) ****

PARTIKEL: STRING THEORY (Whirlwind)
This is one of my favourite CDs of the year of new material to date, and is one of the most successful attempts I’ve heard at fully integrating a string quartet into a jazz ensemble. Duncan Eagles composed all but two of the tracks (namely, an incredible take on Johnny Green’s standard Body And Soul, and McLean’s The Buffalo) and is string arranger for the entire album. The liner note explains: “The arrangements you are listening to are almost exclusively conceived on the bandstand.” It sounds like it too, because these are clearly not arrangements prepared for rehearsal near the recording date with an “add-on” string quartet – the strings are an integral part of the band. The recording (at Real World Studios) has a very natural, airy quality, allowing the full dynamic range of the music to come through. (Dave Jones) *****

RITA REYS: JAZZ PICTURES (Fresh Sound)
The first 10 tracks were originally released on LP as Jazz Pictures At An Exhibition and here they are followed by the 12 tracks from Marriage In Modern Jazz. The CD ends with three further tracks from the singer’s award-winning appearance at the 1960 Antibes Jazz Festival. Reys is in very good form, displaying the thorough grasp of the idiom that marked her out as one of the era’s most significant contemporary jazz singers outside America. Her sound is warm and engaging and this reissued material is very welcome. Her earlier work with drummer Wessel Ilcken (see FSR 861, reviewed June 2015) made clear her affinity with bop drummers and doubtless she was delighted at the opportunity to work with Clarke, a key presence on the Pictures tracks. (Bruce Crowther) ****

DAVID SANBORN: TIME AND THE RIVER (Okeh)
Way I see it, any album with Marcus Miller on it is a Marcus Miller album. The producer’s distinctive tight phalanx of keys, percussion and parquet-trembling bass is the keynote sound here, with Sanborn’s unmistakable alto wail perched on top. The nominal leader’s desire to invest every note with maximum expression is as compelling as it was 40 years ago on Taking Off. If this is “smooth jazz” – and it’s advisable to put some distance between yourself and Sanborn before the term is deployed – it’s of the highest sort. The obvious redundancy of the adjective is clear before A La Verticale (the first of two Alice Soyer compositions) is more than a few measures in. (Brian Morton) ****

ANDY SHEPPARD QUARTET: SURROUNDED BY SEA
Sheppard’s third ECM set adds Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset to the existing Trio Libero, his ambient drones and washes of sound adding orchestral elements while, paradoxically, opening up breathing space in the music. The title of the set refers to the physical awareness of being on an island surrounded by the sea, its calms and its squalls. It is mainly the calms that are reflected in the music, which at times is laid back almost to the point of being indolent. Sheppard proceeds slowly, his shimmering, floating notes offset by Benita’s more animated bass work and Rochford’s occasional flurries and odd-timed commentaries. The predominantly somnolent mood is broken at the end with Looking For Ornette, dedicated to a free spirit. It is a collectively joyous end to an intriguing set. (Simon Adams) ****

JOE STILGOE: NEW SONGS FOR OLD SOULS (Linn)
Baby-faced pianist, singer and songwriter Joe Stilgoe is the man of the moment. His father, the veteran entertainer Sir Richard Stilgoe, must be mighty proud. It’s his old man’s generation that’s likely to get most out of the aptly named New Songs For Old Souls album. The writing on numbers like Nobody Cares Like Me or Rainbows In My Teacup has a tin-pan-alley quality – in both senses of the word quality. Stilgoe’s songs, with their knowing lyrics pinned onto tunes that have sharper hooks than a mackerel line, could easily be neglected standards from the golden era of Broadway. To cap it all, he really can sing – albeit with a hint of Footlights in there – tripping lightly and articulately through the songs. There’s obviously a healthy niche for this form of retro light entertainment – think Cullum and Bublé – and Joe is tailor made for it. (Garry Booth) ****

STAN TRACEY: ALONE & TOGETHER WITH MIKE OSBORNE LIVE AT WIGMORE HALL, 1974 (Cadillac)
This double archival release is divided into two sets both recorded live on 18 June 1974. The first set is a reissue of the Stan Tracey album Alone (Cadillac 1003) and is entitled Eighty-Eight Plus One, comprising a 42-minute piano solo with the maestro on typically feisty form. The second CD is a previously unissued performance by Tracey and Mike Osborne, recollecting their 1972 Stockwell concert recording Original (Cadillac 1002). There are moments on this set, entitled Two-Part Intention, where the musicians’ interplay is seemingly telepathic. It’s an extraordinary testament to the unbridled talent of both these greatly missed musicians. (Roger Farbey) ****

 


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