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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 albums reviewed in JJ August 2017 (see below for excerpts):

Adderley, Cannonball/Quintet: The Classic Albums 1959-60 (Acrobat 3197)
Allison, Mose: Complete 1957-1962 Vocal Sides (Essential Jazz Classics 55718)
Ardley, Neil/The New Jazz Orchestra: On The Radio: BBC Sessions 1971 (Dusk 115)
Astatke, Mulatu: Mulatu Of Ethiopia (Strut 129)
Baptiste, Denys: The Late Trane (Edition 1093)
Beaujolais, Roger: Sunset (Stay Tuned 010)
Bennett, Lou: Amen (& More) (Phono 870277)
Bennett, Lou: Dansez Et Rêvez (Phono 870278)
Binker And Moses: Journey To The Mountain Of Forever (Gearbox 1537)
Blakey, Art/Jazz Messengers: Moanin' (State Of Art 81176)
Broadbent, Alan/London Metropolitan Orchestra: Developing Story (Eden River 02)
Brubeck, Dave: Time Out (State Of Art 81166)
Carter, Regina: Ella: Accentuate The Positive (Okeh 88985406042)
Chandler/Stanley/Ford: Astrometrics (33 Jazz 261)
Cohen, Avishai: Cross My Palm With Silver (ECM 572 9057)
Cole, Nat King: Complete Billy May Sessions (Essential Jazz Classics 55720)
Coltrane, John: Coltrane Plays The Blues (Atlantic 0081227945206, vinyl)
Coltrane, John: Trane: The Atlantic Collection (Atlantic 0081227940683, vinyl)
Coltrane, John: Blue Train (State Of Art 81171)
Coltrane, John: Olé Coltrane (Atlantic 0081227945213, vinyl)
Coltrane, John/Don Cherry: The Avant Garde (Atlantic 0081227945190, vinyl)
Corea, Chick: The Musician (Concord Jazz 00019)
Danielsson, Lars: Liberetto III (ACT 9840)
Dean, Elton/Quintet: Welcomet (Live In Brazil, 1986) (Ogun 046)
Elias, Eliane: Dance Of Time (Concord Jazz)
Ellington, Duke/& John Coltrane: Duke Ellington & John Coltrane (State Of Art 81173)
Emborg, Jørgen: What's Left? (Stunt 17032)
Faraò, Antonio: Eklektik (Warner 5054197610424)
Ganty, Pauline: Après (QFTF 21)
Garbarek, Jan: Places (ECM 478 1121, vinyl)
Gates, Giacomo: What Time Is It? (Savant 2157)
Gibbons, Polly: Is It Me…? (Resonance 1025)
Gibbs, Terry: 92 Years Young: Jammin' At The Gibbs House (Whaling City Sound 092)
Hamilton, Scott: The Shadow Of Your Smile (Blau 16)
Holiday, Billie: Lady In Satin (State Of Art 81172)
Holiday, Billie: The Complete Decca Recordings (Essential Jazz Classics 55712)
Holland, Dave: Conference Of The Birds (ECM 477 4624, vinyl)
Hurwitz, Justin/Damien Chazelle: Guy And Madeline On A Park Bench OST (Milan 399 898)
Ikonen, Kari: Ikonostasis (Ozella 071)
Jacquet, Illinois: The Illinois Jacquet Collection 1942-56 (Acrobat 3203)
Jamal, Ahmad: Marseille (Jazz Village 570136)
Jarrett, Keith: The Survivors's Suite (ECM 478 0924, vinyl)
Jenkins, Billy: Scratches Of Spain (Voice Of The People 120)
Jones, Dave: The KeyNotes (DJT008)
Jones, Sean: Live From Jazz At The Bistro (Mack Avenue 1111)
Kikoski, David: Kayemode (Criss 1394)
Kirk, Snorre: Drummer & Composer (Stunt 17022)
Landgren, Nils/Funk Unit: Unbreakable (ACT 9039)
Lewandowski, Mark: Waller (Whirlwind 4703)
Lien, Helge: Guzuguzu (Ozella 070)
McCormack, Andrew: Graviton (Jazz Village 550004)
McCreeth, Sue: Look Back And Love (Tru Nu 355)
Miller, Dominic: Silent Light (ECM 572 8484)
Modern Jazz Quartet: Pyramid (Atlantic SD-1325)
MU7: My Ship (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 523)
Mumpbeak: Tooth (RareNoise 078)
Murphy, Mark: Wild And Free (HighNote 7310)
Nelson, Oliver: A Taste Of Honey/Impressions Of Phaedra (Phono 870279)
Nelson, Steve: Brothers Under The Sun (HighNote 7294)
Novrasli, Shahin: Emanation (Jazz Village 570141)
Ohashi, Bill: Keepher Vortex (Dancing Bear)
Ohashi, Bill: Ampullae Of Lorenzini (Dancing Bear)
Ohashi, Bill: Fantasia (Ugetsu) (Dancing Bear)
Parisien/Peirani/Schaerer/Wollny: Out Of Land (ACT 9832)
Parks, Aaron/Ben Street/Billy Hart: Find The Way (ECM 478 1841)
Partikel: Counteraction (Whirlwind 4699)
Pass, Joe/Quartet & Septet: Walking Up (Phono 870276)
Potter, Chris: The Dreamer Is The Dream (ECM 574 0661)
Quercus: Nightfall (ECM 574 3078)
Richards, Ann: Four Classic Albums (Avid Jazz 1239)
Roggen, Live Maria/Helge Lien: You (Ozella 066)
Runswick, Daryl: The Jazz Years (ASC 167/168)
Saft, Jamie/Steve Swallow/Bobby Previte/Iggy Pop: Loneliness Road (RareNoise 077)
Schaefer, Eric: Kyoto Mon Amour (ACT 9835)
Schaffer, Janne: Katharsis/Earmeal/Presens (Beat Goes On 1289)
Sclavis, Louis: Asian Fields Variations (ECM 573 2668)
Snétberger, Ferenc: Titok (ECM 574 0670)
South, Harry: The Songbook (Rhythm And Blues 040)
Stanko, Tomasz/New York Quartet: December Avenue (ECM 572 6302)
Sulieman, Idrees: The 4 American Jazz Men In Tangier (Sunnyside 4752)
Sultanov, Rain: Inspired By Nature (Ozella 068)
Taavitsainen, Jonne: Threedom (Ozella 069)
Tarkovsky Quartet: Nuit Blanche (ECM 572 9067)
Towner, Ralph: Solstice (ECM 478 1114, vinyl)
Vein: The Chamber Music Effect (Unit 4716)
Vesala, Martti/Soundpost Quintet: Helsinki Soundpost (Ozella OZ065)
Woodlander: Calvins Toboggan (QFTF 022)


Excerpts from the 87 album 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):

MOSE ALLISON: COMPLETE 1957-1962 VOCAL SIDES (Essential Jazz Classics)
When Mose Allison arrived in NYC from Mississippi in 1956 he secured work as a sideman with Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz. The success of his Young Man Blues vocal on a 1957 debut album introduced the jazz world to his wry, understated delivery which at times called to mind Hoagy Carmichael. This reissue has an eclectic mix of material from Percy Mayfield (a primary influence), Willie Dixon and Sonny Boy Williamson together with Ellington favourites and his own heady mix of idiosyncratic originals. (Gordon Jack) ****

BINKER AND MOSES: JOURNEY TO THE MOUNTAIN OF FOREVER (Gearbox)
Following their successful duo LP last year, Golding and Boyd have followed up with a lavish double-LP set incorporating searing free saxophone and trumpet solos from Parker and Wallen and adding a tabla player and harpist. Recorded direct to tape the sound is almost as vibrant as hearing the music live, with sterling work from all the principals and some tasty harp interludes by Tori Handsley. The LP set is attractively packaged in a soft-feel gatefold featuring a sumptuous painting of a fantasy landscape. The music is energetic, highly focused on improvised lines and natural sound recording. A CD version is available and will be reviewed in JJ later. (Derek Ansell) ****

ALAN BROADBENT & LONDON METROPOLITAN ORCHESTRA: DEVELOPING STORY (Eden River)
Many of Alan Broadbent’s recordings find him in a trio context exploring the songbook repertoire. For a change of pace his most recent releases have included a 2012 solo set (Chilly Bin 0004) and a 2013 date with the NDR Big Band (Jan Mathies 201401). This release with the London Metropolitan Orchestra is a relatively new departure for him. The title tracks comprise an original composition in three movements with Alan’s elegant piano creatively interacting with sympathetic backgrounds from the orchestra. He explores the beauty implicit in John Coltrane’s Naima, giving it an attractive Latin spin and he revisits Blue In Green. Lady In The Lake refers to the 1943 Raymond Chandler classic of the same name. Alan steps aside as a soloist on Milestones. The orchestra explores the harmonies here allowing the melody to flow seamlessly between the sections. (Gordon Jack) ****

CHANDLER/STANLEY/FORD: ASTROMETRICS (33 Jazz)
The organ trio is a hardy perennial of jazz and Astrometrics is yet another welcome advertisement for the combo, a debut for the trio of guitarist Matt Chandler, organist Ross Stanley and drummer Eric Ford. (For anyone who’s struggling to remember their school astrometrics lessons, the album title is an anagram of the players’ first names.) The tunes, all written by Chandler, range from the driving, insistent Dirty Rat through the self-declared funk of Funk Work to the flowing groove of Doctor’s In The House. Although there are strong hints here and there of the organ trios of old, Chandler’s writing and his subtle use of effects when playing the guitar give Astrometrics a contemporary edge (the early influence of Pat Metheny might also be a factor). Ford’s drumming is worthy of special mention, constantly creative and providing a commanding and muscular foundation. (Bruce Lindsay) ****

JOHN COLTRANE & DON CHERRY: THE AVANT-GARDE (Atlantic, vinyl)
A reissue from Atlantic, boasting high-quality monophonic sound on 180-gram vinyl and packaged in a facsimile of the original sleeve. It makes for a beautiful object. Credited jointly to Coltrane and trumpeter Don Cherry, it was recorded in 1960 but not released until 1967, the year of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Velvet Underground And Nico and Love’s Forever Changes. Which begs the question, just how avant-garde was The Avant-Garde? By 1967, the answer was “not very”. Even in 1960 it’s unlikely to have caused many listeners to run for the hills. The rhythm section – whether it’s Charlie Haden or Percy Heath on bass – keeps things tight but swinging; Blackwell’s drumming is often subtle and atmospheric; Coltrane and Cherry’s performances are inventive and frequently rather gentle. The Blessing was Coltrane’s first recording on soprano sax and the laid-back stroll through Monk’s Bemsha Swing sounds delightfully optimistic. (Bruce Lindsay) ****

CHICK COREA: THE MUSICIAN (Concord Jazz)
Coming off the back of a month-long residency at the Blue Note Jazz Club to celebrate his 70th birthday in 2011, Chick Corea The Musician finally arrives as a three-CD compilation of highlights selected from the wealth of legendary live sets that featured. Assembling an incredible line-up of musical friends including Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin, Wynton Marsalis, John McLaughlin and Stanley Clarke, Corea delves into a kaleidoscopic catalogue of music through 10 different group incarnations. From straightahead jazz with a milieu of hard-bop, Latin and avant-garde stylings, to the elegancy of his classical writing, the exoticism of his flamenco heart, and stylistic eclecticism of his fusion world, all of the manifestations are excitingly captured in nearly four hours of live recorded music. Just last year Corea led a similarly styled month-long residency at Blue Note to mark his 75th birthday and whilst we longingly wait for that to be subsequently mastered and released, this collection will be honestly hard to top. The Musician is quite simply an astonishing achievement that celebrates a true genius, remarkably still in his prime. (Jason Balzarano) *****

JAN GARBAREK: PLACES (ECM, vinyl)
Despite the (unusual) back-cover photo of Garbarek smiling broadly, there’s plenty on Places to support the view of Garbarek as a musician who has essayed an unusually wide-ranging emotional register and range. The four original pieces, all ad libitum and all by Garbarek, chart a spacious, modally driven quest seemingly touched by piquant awareness of the most fundamental matters, with John Taylor’s sustained legato organ chords often as close to Lutheran church music as they are distant from Jimmy Smith. Throughout, there’s a floating and enigmatic quality to the music, epitomised by the cool and ultra-laid-back phrasing of Connors. True, the lovely, devotional Bach-like chorale of Entering is contrasted in part by some (tempered) Rollins-like affirmation from Garbarek; elsewhere, however, the mood is very much one of abstracted musing and meditation. An utterly distinctive, gravely beautiful album of granite-like authority and character that comes with a free download code. (Michael Tucker) *****

POLLY GIBBONS: IS IT ME...? (Resonance)
This release follows Resonance's 2014 issue of Gibbons’ US debut, Many Faces Of Love, and continues largely where that debut left off. However, this time it’s with a 14-piece big band, which makes the music sound much more American than her excellent indie-style UK release from 2014, My Own Company. The new album’s glossy presentation style seems to reinforce this visually. Pianist Tamir Hendelman shines here (as he did on Many Faces Of Love), particularly with his fine solos on Thomas Dolby’s Ability To Swing and the title track. Gibbons sounds quite low in the mix on the first few tracks, and it’s almost as though the engineer was afraid of her powerfully dynamic voice, but from then on she soars in her usual soulful blues, funk and gospel-tinged way. The highlights are the handful of arrangements by Hendelman and Pearson, which tend more towards the contemporary jazz and pop variety than the American songbook, including a few originals by Gibbons and Pearson, of which I’d still like to hear more. (Dave Jones) ****

BILLIE HOLIDAY: THE COMPLETE DECCA RECORDINGS (Essential Jazz Classics)
Despite her chaotic private life, Billie Holiday’s recording career was remarkably straightforward. The Columbias are formative, with the Teddy Wilson sides sublime, the Commodores rightly revered, the Verves increasingly painful, but it is the sometimes overlooked Deccas that deserve the closest attention. For the first time, Holiday was supported by strings as well as by studio orchestras, notably those of Sy Oliver and Gordon Jenkins, so instrumental solos are rare. The extra studio expense was worthwhile, for the strings cushion and support her voice, leaving it less exposed and raw than before. Throughout her time with Decca, her voice was at its strongest, enabling her to sing a wide repertoire of popular songs, a few jazz standards, and some blues and torch songs. Notable here are the first versions of Lover Man – her biggest selling record – Don’t Explain and Good Morning Heartache, all of which remained in her repertoire for years, and a sumptuously arranged version by Gordon Jenkins of You’re My Thrill. There is something comfortable and reassuring about these sides, Holiday at ease with her voice and her material. Like the label says: Essential Jazz Classics, for that is what they all are. (Simon Adams) *****

DAVID KIKOSKI: KAYEMODE (Criss Cross)
This new album is a strong reminder, as if it were needed, of Kikoski’s prowess as a pianist in the mould of e.g. McCoy Tyner, Kenny Kirkland, Joey Calderazzo or the young Mulgrew Miller. In fact, on the hard-swinging, uptempo opener Au Privave and the distinctly Monk-like Binge Watching, there are moments when Kikoski is almost more like McCoy and Kirkland than those great pianists themselves. Morning Glory brings a country tinge. H & H has more freedom but the band are still tight and together, with great interaction, particularly between the powerful but often delicate Faulkner and Kikoski. The at times funky Switching Roles utilises cross-handed piano technique (acquired from the leader’s experience of playing Chopin). Trinkle Tinkle demonstrates Kikoski’s ability to play in a stride manner, something that he’s been doing at times for at least 30 years. Overall there’s a very nice variety achieved by the tunes and their treatment. (Dave Jones) ****

ANDREW MCCORMACK: GRAVITON (Jazz Village)
Andrew McCormack is a well-established jazz pianist and composer: a graduate of Gary Crosby’s Tomorrow’s Warriors, a partner with saxophonist Jason Yarde in the McCormack & Yarde duo and a member of Kyle Eastwood’s band for over a decade. It’s been 12 years since his debut as leader, Telescope, a pretty straightforward acoustic trio record. Graviton shows that McCormack has moved on, into a space that keeps jazz at its centre but creates, in his words, a record that’s “more of a compositional statement than a jazz session”. The title track is a fine example of the power of the band, full of forward motion. Kalamata is equally strong, marrying funky rhythms and Eska’s multi-layered voice with Shabaka Hutchings’ warm, woody, clarinets and McCormack’s own piano and electric keyboards. There are more placid moments, such as the lovely The Waiting Game and the atmospheric Aurora, a feature for McCormack’s piano. Eska’s vocals are crucial to Graviton’s often other-worldly atmosphere, whether she’s vocalising wordlessly or singing lyrics. McCormack has said of Graviton: “...all I wanted to do was to write cool music for a cool band”. Job done. (Bruce Lindsay) ****

SUE MCCREETH: LOOK BACK AND LOVE (Tru-Nu)
Inside the cover of this CD are 11 small photographs of Sue McCreeth that, at first glance, seem to suggest 11 different women. The differences are mainly in hair colour and arrangement but the difference in her music from track to track here is much more marked – perhaps no surprise as this CD anthologises 15 years of work. Her voice is full and flowing with deep resonances and dark harmonies. She stretches her voice in worded and wordless format on Sat Nam as the rhythm section provide a pulsing beat. She Want Him is full of stretched-out long notes as the backing group slow down the tempi to ballad time. John Horler’s boppish piano provides a familiar jazz hook but the voice is different; probing, searching for fresh sounds. Every track on this 70+ minute disc is fresh and slightly different to the one before it and Ms McCreeth is offering a new look at jazz singing that is all her own. It’s all original material, and it would be illuminating, I suspect, to hear what she does with a jazz standard. But the original compositions are strong and very personal, as indeed is her voice throughout. For more on Sue McCreeth see the profile in JJ June 2016. (Derek Ansell) ****

MARK MURPHY: WILD AND FREE: LIVE AT THE KEYSTONE KORNER (HighNote)  
A 16-song live set from singer Mark Murphy, in his late 40s, recorded at what was then one of the West Coast’s top jazz venues. Sound quality is excellent, Murphy is in fine voice and pianist Paul Potyen in particular provides
superb instrumental support. Song choice is also terrific – blues, standards such as Body And Soul and It Might As Well Be Spring, joyful interpretations of Stompin’ At The Savoy and Farmer’s Market that suit Murphy’s voice and delivery. Murphy puts the lyrics across with real commitment: occasionally his vocalese and scatting get somewhat over-wrought, but not enough to spoil the fun. [That is the fun - Ed] (Bruce Lindsay) ****

JOE PASS: WALKING UP (Phono)
I was stunned when, more than 50 years ago, I first heard Pass on Fontana 688139, an LP from Pacific that included the first eight tracks here. He instantly popped out fully formed as a virtuoso and a dextrous guitarist of the kind that we had never heard before. Those tracks were made at Synanon, a remarkable drug rehabilitation unit, at a time when few of us had any knowledge of drug problems. Apart from Joe and Arnold Ross none of the fine musicians on that session were ever heard from again. How does Joe rate? Take the other giants – Kessel, Montgomery, Farlow, Burrell – and none of them is more accomplished. These tracks from the early 60s prove that, and Joe still had his complete career with Norman Granz to come. Unbelievably, he became a much better player who excelled in solo or, as he proved so often, accompaniment. Joe is masterful and swings like mad at will. Try Sister Sadie. No, don’t try it – buy it. This is one of our geniuses at work. (Steve Voce) ****

QUERCUS: NIGHTFALL (ECM)
Quercus brings jazz instrumentalists Huw Warren and Iain Ballamy together with June Tabor, an award-winning singer who started professional life on the 60s folk scene. Nightfall is the trio’s second album. The trio draw on standards (Somewhere, You Don’t Know What Love Is) and interpret Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright. Ballamy and Warren contribute a tune each (Emmeline and Christchurch, both lovely). But much material comes from that most prolific of songwriters, Traditional. Nightfall opens with an anti-Hogmanay version of Auld Lang Syne that sets the mood for the album - songs of lost love, doomed love, drowned sailors, unfaithful lovers, a lonely shepherd. There’s little respite from the gloom - no uptempo music, no hopeful words. However beautifully the compositions are performed – and the performances are beautiful – their downbeat messages threaten to leave even the most cheery of listeners in despair. No doubt of the profundity here, but the British folk tradition is filled with songs of fun, positivity, a healthy disregard for petty rules and even a lusty enthusiasm for the joy of sex. Tabor has already drawn from those songs: perhaps Quercus could explore those aspects on their next release. (Bruce Lindsay) ***

 


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