Selected reviews


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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 July 2016 (see below for excerpts):
Amram, David: Classic American Film Scores 1956-2016 (Moochin09)
Anderson, Peter/Will Anderson: A Sax Supreme (SteepleChase 33122)
Avital, Omer: Abutbul Music (Jazz Village 570114)
Baker, Chet: Quartet (Barclay 84017, vinyl)
Baker, Chet: Quintet With Bobby Jasper (Barclay 84042, vinyl)
Bancroft, Tom: Lucid Dreamers (Interrupto IM005)
Barber, Chris/Jazz Band: Barber Back In Berlin 1960 (Lake 346)
Barker, Danny: New Orleans Jazz Man & Raconteur (GHB BCD-535/536)
Barron, Kenny: Book Of Intuition (Impulse)
Beckett, Harry: Still Happy (My Only Desire, vinyl))
Berg, Bob: New Birth (Elemental 906085)
Blanford, Phyllis: Edgewalker (Edgewalker)
Brederode, Wolfert: Black Ice (ECM 477 9462)
Bromberg, Brian: Full Circle (Artistry Music 7047)
Brown, Andy: Direct Call (Delmark 5023)
Collette, Buddy: Four Classic Albums (Avid Jazz 1186)
Coltrane, John: The Roulette Sides (Roulette 52125, vinyl)
Coltrane, John: The Complete 1963 Copenhagen Concert (Solar 4569964)
Cornelius, Patrick: While We're Still Young (Whirlwind 4682)
Danko, Harold: Lost In The Breeze (SteepleChase 31812)
Delta Saxophone Quartet With Gwilym Simcock: Crimson! (Basho 50)
Devore, Charlie: Charlie Devore And His New Orleans Family Band (GHB BCD-553)
Dharmawan, Dwiki: So Far So Close (MoonJune 075)
Downes, Bob: Open Music/Blowin' With Bass (BDOM 10116)
Eales, Geoff: Transience (Fuzzy Moon 008)
Elliott, Don: Four Classic Albums (Avid Jazz 1185)
Elliott, Moppa: Still Up In The Air (Hot Cup 152)
Etting, Ruth: Love Me Or Leave Me (Retrospective 4283)
Evans, Gil: Plays The Music Of Jimi Hendrix (RCA CPL 1 0667)
Fitzgerald, Ella: Sings The George & Ira Gershwin Song Book (Essential Jazz Classics 55689)
Formanek, Michael/Ensemble Kolossus: The Distance (ECM 475 9407)
Fusco, Andy: Quintet Whirlwind (SteepleChase 31811)
Garzone/Bergonzi/Moses/Andersson: Splitting Up In Boston (Hobby Horse 01)
Green, Grant: The Latin Bit (Essential Jazz Classics 55695)
Grencsó Open Collective: Derengés/Dawn (SLAM 565)
Grencsó Open Collective: With Rudi Mahall (Marginal Music/Rétegzene BMC 222)
Hall, Edmond: Profoundly Blue (Retrospective 4286)
Hancock, Herbie: Flood - Live In Japan (CBS-Sony SOPZ-99, vinyl)
Harris Jr, Lafayette: Hangin' With The Big Boys (Airmen 011)
Herwig, Conrad/Igor Butman: Reflections (Criss Cross1385)
Hines, Earl: Piano Genius At Work (Storyville 1088615)
James, Bob/Nathan East: The New Cool (Concord 39008-02)
Janssen, Guus: Meeting Points (Bimhuis 010)
Jaxen, Kazzrie: The Callicoon Sessions (Cadence Jazz 1243)
Jazz At The Philharmonic: Complete Live In Stockholm November 21, 1960 (Essential Jazz Classics 55688)
Juul, Mette: There Is A Song (Universal 4744866)
Kane, Matt/The Kansas City Generations Sextet: Acknowledgement (Bounce-Step)
Khan, Steve: Eyewitness/Modern Times/Casa Loco (Beat Goes On 1228)
Koller, Hans: Retrospection One (Stoney Lane 1920/1, vinyl)
Koller, Hans: Retrospection Two (Stoney Lane 1920/2, vinyl)
Koller, Hans: Retrospection Three (Stoney Lane 1920/3, vinyl)
Lacy, Steve: Four Classic Albums (Avid Jazz 1187)
Laurance, Bill: Aftersun (Ground Up)
Levy, Daphna: Late Night Journey (
Lindgren, Lasse: In A Big Band Atmosphere (Imogena 207)
Living Room, The/Barry Guy: Live At LiteraturHaus (ILK 239)
Lundbom, Jon/& Big Five Chord: Make The Magic Happen (Hot Cup)
Lundbom, Jon/& Big Five Chord: Bring Their 'A' Game (Hot Cup)
Maillard, Thierry: The Kingdom Of Arwen (Naïve 625811)
Mezei, Szilárd: Flute & Strings (SLAM 569)
Miles, Butch: Miles And Miles Of Swing (Progressive 7163)
Mingus, Charles: The Complete 1960 Nat Hentoff Sessions (Essential Jazz Classics 55694)
Nostro, Luca: Are You OK? (Via Veneto 102)
Parker, Charlie: Complete Savoy Sessions (Essential Jazz Classics 55685)
Parks, Aaron/Thomas Fonnesbaek/Karsten Bagge: Groovements (Stunt 15152)
Peplowski, Ken: Enrapture (Capri 74141)
Raja, Shez: Gurutopia (Dot Time 9050)
Reykjavík Big Band: Innri (Flugur 006)
Ridley, Matt: Metta (Whirlwind 4683)
Rissanen, Aki: Amorandom (Edition 1067)
Rodriguez, Alfredo: Tocororo (Mack Avenue 1109)
Rollins, Sonny/Trio: Live In Europe 1959 (Essential Jazz Classics 55693)
Scheving, Einar/Eypór Gunnarsson/Óskar Gudjónsson/Skúli Sverrisson: Intervals (Valrún 002)
Schumm, Andy/Enrico Tomasso: When Louis Met Bix (Lake 345)
Shepik, Brad/Ron Samworth: Quartet 1991 (Songlines 1616)
Shorter, Wayne: Native Dancer (Columbia PC 33418, vinyl)
Snekkestad, Torben: Winds Of Mouth (ILK 250)
Snekkestad, Torben: Plateau (ILK 251)
Snekkestad, Torben: The Reed Trumpet (ILK 252)
Solal, Martial: A Bout De Souffle (Soundtrack Factory 606357)
Sosa, Omar: JOG (OTA 1028)
Strigalev, Zhenya: Never Group (Whirlwind 4685)
Taylor, Cecil: Complete Live At The Café Montmartre (Solar 4569969)
Texier, Henri: Dakota Mab (Intuition 71317)
Tibaldi, Aldevis/London Jazz Ensemble: TwentySixThree (Galetone 263)
Valdés, Chucho Tribute To Irakere (Jazz Village 570095)
Walarowski, Marek: Seven Stairs To Hell (Dux 1209)
Webster, Ben: The Warm Moods (Reprise R9-2001, vinyl)
Williams, Jeff: Outlier (Whirlwind 4684)
Winding, Kai: The Trombone Panorama (Phono 870234)
Wollny, Michael/Trio: In Concert Klangspuren (ACT 6019)

Excerpts from the 91 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):

Issued in 1959, the original Barber In Berlin LP (available on Lake 323) contained seven tracks selected from a live concert performance before a capacity crowd of 12,000. (The rest of the 21 tracks recorded are now lost.) A year later the band was back and the concert again recorded. However, these 1960 tapes, probably intended for broadcast, were never used and were subsequently forgotten. Remarkably, they resurfaced in 2013, for sale on eBay. Fortunately they were spotted and acquired by Chris himself. The condition of the tapes and recording quality (a few minor and forgiveable flaws apart) is surprisingly good. Moreover, the band is on fired-up form. Experienced on stage after many major concert performances, but still charged with youthful energy, the band exemplifies British traditional jazz of the day at its best. (Hugh Rainey) ****

HARRY BECKETT: STILL HAPPY (My Only Desire, vinyl + digital)
The studio recording here is just shy of half an hour, due to being gleaned from a BBC Radio 2 Jazz Club session which eventually aired 11 August 1974. John Webb was Collier’s regular drummer but also one of Beckett’s S & R Powerhouse Section associates, as were Robin Jones on percussion, Don Weller and Alan Wakeman on saxes and keyboardist Brian Miller, a founder member of both Isotope and Turning Point. Paul Hart, better known for playing in John Dankworth’s bands, was described in the jazz knight’s autobiography as “the nearest thing to my conception of a genius”. Hart’s bass guitar playing here certainly attests to that claim, crucially underpinning the whole set. The rock-tinged jazz presented here, on highest fidelity vinyl, is consistently excellent, Beckett’s memorably lithe compositions matching his inimitable playing. (Roger Farbey) ****

BOB BERG: NEW BIRTH (Xanadu Master Edition)
This is a new re-release of the late Berg’s debut as leader on the Xanadu label, and it deserves another airing. It’s a great line-up, with Berg already showing what was likely to come from him in the couple of decades or so that followed, and Walton is on great and fiery form here too. The material is mostly original compositions from Harrell, Berg, Walton and Foster, but also features a charged version of This Masquerade, and a fine solo piano version of I’ll Let You Know from the same session which didn’t appear on the original LP release. (Dave Jones) *****

The Dutch Brederode features on some fine albums for ECM, including differently cast sessions with vocalist Susanne Abbuehl and clarinetist Claudio Puntin. This quietly burnished session with compatriot van Hulten and the Icelandic Gudmundsson is another intelligently distilled yet poetically open outing from a pianist who can traverse a beguiling range of seemingly understated yet potent mood and atmosphere. Sample the rhythmically charged space and implicit cross-rhythmic tension of Olive Tree, for me the outstanding track in a maturely conceived and most satisfying album. (Michael Tucker) ****

Patrick Cornelius wrote this music for his children, but it isn’t nursery music. Some of it is quite complicated and the more you listen to it, the more there is, unlike Piglet – the more you looked for him the less he was there. Some of the bigger bears try to pretend that nobody cares whether you walk on the lines or squares, but everybody on this record plays very correctly and it sounds as if the music was rehearsed carefully before they started. You don’t have to know or to like (I don’t) A. A. Milne to enjoy this. It would probably be the same music even without that connection but some of it sounds like it’s trying to make you think of a long time ago when things were supposed to be very simple, except they probably weren’t. This is a good record. I’m going to watch out for other things by Patrick Cornelius. (John Morton, 12) ****

Solo bass recordings are hard work at the best of times but Moppa Elliott’s is more challenging than most. That’s not to take away from the technical brilliance and lovely sound that Elliott energetically squeezes out of his 19th-century Bohemian fiddle. The performance is a one-take job, Elliott throwing everything at it, arco and pizzicato, with accompanying heavy breathing. The bowed passages are spine tingling, ranging from the seismic to lines something like a soprano sax. The clattering, percussive sounds are great too, like a giant moth crashing around inside a marquee used for storing bamboo poles. But the improvisation is so frequently very introverted, it’s too easy for attention to wander. For specialists only. (Garry Booth) ***

This, the debut release on Danish bassist Andersson’s own new label, chronicles parts of the encounter he had with three stalwarts of the Boston scene. This recording is not at all what I expected, but it’s certainly no less enjoyable for that. I guess most people will know the saxophonists for tough and challenging music, with Garzone especially celebrated for sessions of fearsome, cathartic, post-Brotzmann intensity. Whilst this is not easy music it is very accessible, immediately involving and often very amiable. From (Barry Witherden) *****

EDMOND HALL: PROFOUNDLY BLUE 1937-1944 (Retrospective)
This is an exact replica of AJA 5410 from the much-mourned ASV label. It has seven of Ed’s brilliant Blue Note tracks alongside his four appearances with Red Allen on Brunswick and sundry quartets. It’s intriguing to hear Charlie Christian playing acoustic guitar on the first three by the Celeste Quartet. The much-vaunted celeste playing of Meade Luxe Lewis I have always found irritating, but that’s personal! Two tracks by the innovative front line of Edmond, Harry Carney and Benny Morton are lovely, and Nightshift Blues, typical Ed, was one of those wonderful Blue Note tracks from the 40s which have cried out to be reissued en masse since their last appearance in the long-unavailable Mosaic box of six wonderful LPs. This will have to do until that great day. (Steve Voce) ****

Herwig and Butman, two seasoned brass players with over 30 years of experience in the jazz business, mark their first collaboration for the Criss Cross label. Sharing duties as composer and arranger and assembling a world-class sextet, they have fashioned a variety of spontaneously inventive moments into a bright and entertaining recording. Elements of Henderson, Mingus and Getz permeate the session. King Of The Mountain stands out as their most sophisticated work, each player bringing maximum tonal colour to a catchy theme and inspired solo contributions. A very promising debut. (Jason Balzarano) ****

While JATP began with mainly swing era musicians and ideas, in its later manifestations it progressed into what had now become known as mainstream and strongly featured bop. This release presents musicians drawn from these genres, several of whom were comfortable in all. The concert-hall jam session concept developed by Norman Granz is one clearly enjoyed by the musicians and they are similarly at ease with one another. That they were having a good time is something immediately shared with the audience and it is striking that the immediacy lives on more than half a century later. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gillespie has much impact, darting and swooping in his solos, while Johnson is fluid and commanding. Although coming from very different musical backgrounds, Carter and Adderley are both skilled and inventive improvisers. While this might not be top drawer JATP it is all very enjoyable and good to have in one package. (Bruce Crowther) ***

BGO follow their re-release of three important albums from 1977-79 (reviewed June 2015) with a superlative companion offering, again with an illuminating new essay. The guitarist felt “The time was right to move away from classic song-form and branch into more improvised music-making”. Steve Jordan and Anthony Jackson were two of the most sought-after New York musicians and first-call rhythm section on numerous high-profile sessions – Jackson had recently joined Khan on Steely Dan’s Gaucho. When ex-Weather Report percussionist Manolo Badrena arrived the jigsaw was complete. The quartet jammed at Jordan’s Chelsea loft. Khan realised then that something significant was crystallising between four distinctive musical personalities – “Somehow it was working. It was magical!” After listening to the sessions on cassette, Khan knew the music needed recording. The results are spellbinding. (Francis Graham-Dixon) *****

Charlie Parker’s Savoy debut as a potent force in a Tiny Grimes pick-up group was a bebop milestone, featuring the first fully articulated recorded solos in the modern style. His performances on Tiny’s Tempo and Red Cross were the touchstones for every aspiring saxophonist. Ironically, Bird’s best solo was accomplished on the first take of Tiny’s Tempo (a tune lately revived by pianist Bill Charlap) that remained unheard until after Charlie’s death. The famous Ko-Ko date has been analysed many times, but out of the apparent chaos (Bird seeking new reeds and fresh drug supplies, Miles asleep on the floor) emerged a series of masterpieces, not least Bird’s first memorable ballad interpretation (Meandering – actually Embraceable You). Like the recent comprehensive Dial package, this box is essential in providing extensive evidence of Charlie Parker’s enduring artistry. (Mark Gardner) *****

“And each day the need/for an even freer dialogue”. So wrote Sosa in the sleeve-notes to his Free Roots (1997). Since then, this Barcelona-domiciled Cuban has made a number of outstanding albums, including Ceremony with the NDR Big Band, the solo Calma and the surpassing Eggun – the last, from 2013, a medium-large ensemble tribute to Kind Of Blue, and for me one of the finest albums of the century. Using sampling – and technology in general – in the most organic way, the music can attain the sort of quality where it is able to transcend (or better, transmute) matters of “chops” and genre alike, to conjure the realm of the mythopoetic. “You’ve got to look back at the old things and see them in a new light”, said Coltrane. And that is what the ancestor-conscious, shamanically touched Sosa has been doing for many a year now, blending past and present as fruitfully as he has mixed African/Cuban and Latin rhythmic tropes with contemporary jazz, funk and “world-music” elements. A record of this and many a year, for sure. (Michael Tucker) *****

Having played in the Benny Goodman and Stan Kenton bands Winding went on to lead this frontline consisting entirely of trombones. The first track is his Trombone Panorama where his spoken narrative name checks various slide players with brief examples of their styles, ranging from New Orleans to New York modernism. The following nine numbers include a rather sombre The Party’s Over. When The Red Red Robin is an upbeat swinging bird and Winding’s amusing narration to Frankie And Johnny rates a smile. Who Me? and Yes, You are bright, satisfying twin tracks. A slightly out of the ordinary production, enjoyable and a must for trombone students. (Brian Robinson) ***

Two concerts, one reproduced on DVD. Michael Wollny was voted European Jazz Musician of 2014, which tells you pretty much what to expect. One third of a highly charged and virtuosic group, he takes them through originals plus bits from De Machaut up to Hindemith and others not part of the usual jazz repertory; there are contrasting versions of Alban Berg’s Nacht. Coming from a line of interactive trios that started with Bill Evans and then exploded with new ideas, Wollny, Weber and Schaefer are worthy successors. Oodles of ingenuity. No funk, though Wollny’s forelocks brush the keys just like early Horace Silver. (Ronald Atkins) ****


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