Sandy Brown Jazz

 

Featured Albums Released in 2020

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Click here for Releases featured in 2019

 

By artist in alphabetical order:

 

 

 

A

Gianluca Peterella, Eivind Aarset, Michele Rabbia - Lost River

Rez Abbasi - Django-shift

Ambrose Akinmusire - On The Tender Spot Of Every Calloused Moment

Susan Alcorn Quintet - Pedernal

JD Allen - Toys / Die Dreaming

Lynne Arriale Trio - Chimes Of Freedom

Artemis - Artemis

AuB - AuB

Gregg August - Dialogues On Race Volume One

 

 

B

John Bailey - Can You Imagine?

Joe Balke - Discourses

Ian Shaw, Iain Ballamy, Jamie Safir - What's New

Chris Barber and Ottilie Patterson - A Jazz Club Session

Issie Barrett's Interchange - Donna's Secret

Rob Barron Trio - From This Moment On

Fini Bearman - La Loba

Harry Beckett - Joy Unlimited

Big Heart Machine - Live At The Jazz Gallery

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - Just Coolin'

Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow - Life Goes On

British Traditional Jazz At A Tangent - Vol 10: Rarities And Hidden Gems

The Dave Brubeck Quartet - The Singles Collection 1956 - 1962

Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time OutTakes

Dee Byrne and Cath Roberts - Disembark!

 

 

C

James Carney Sextet - Pure Heart

Brian Charette - Like The Sun

Cherise - Paradise

Avishai Cohen - Big Vicious

Nat King Cole - The Complete Nelson Riddle Studio Sessions

George Colligan Trio - Live In Arklow

John Coltrane With The Red Garland Trio And Quintet - Four Classic Albums

Ken Colyer - The Real Ken Colyer

James Copus - Dusk

Patrick Cornelius - Acadia : Way Of The Cairns

Julian Costello Quartet - Connections: Without Borders

 

 

D

Josephine Davies - Satori: How Can We Wake?

Johnny Griffin and Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis - Ow! Live At The Penthouse

Miles Davis - The Lost Septet

Miles Davis Quintet - Four Classic Albums

Steve Day and Mark Langford with Julian Dale - Pairing: Poetry and Music

Steve Day and Mark Langford with Julian Dale - Pairing: Poetry and Music

Simon Deeley's Blue Haze - Afan's Dance

Michael Deighan - Ukulele Gershwin

Dinosaur - To The Earth

Niels Lan Doky - River Of Time

Down For The Count - Swing Into Christmas

Joe Downard - Seven Japanese Tales

 

 

E

Duke Ellington Orchestra - Liederhalle Stuttgart 1967

 

 


F

Digby Fairweather - Notes From A Jazz Life

Benjamin Faugloire Project - L

Michael Feinberg - From Where We Came

Kevin Figes Quartet - Changing Times

Alvin Schwaar, Bänz Oester, Noé Franklé - Travellin' Light

 

 

G

Elliot Galvin - Live In Paris At Fondation Louis Vuitton

Nubya Garcia - Source

Tim Garland - ReFocus

Erroll Garner - Magician

Erroll Garner - Up In Erroll's Room

Stan Getz - Four Classic Albums (Fourth Set)

Dave Glasser - Hypocrisy Democracy

Matt Gold - Imagined Sky

Dexter Gordon - Montmartre 1964

Tom Green Septet - Tipping Point

Johnny Griffin and Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis - Ow! Live At The Penthouse

 

 

H

Wolfgang Haffner - Kind Of Tango

Mary Halvorsen's Code Girl - Artlessly Falling

Tigran Hamasyan - The Call Within

Linley Hamilton Quintet - For The Record

Steve Hamilton - Between The Lines

The Joe Harriott Quintet - Swings High

Paul Harrison - Adventures From Home

Jim Hart, Ivo Neame - Multiverse

The Tubby Hayes Quartet - Free Flight : The Ron Mathewson Tapes Vol 3

Jimmy Heath - Four Classic Albums

Pablo Held - Ascent

Johnny Hodges - Creamy

John Hollenbeck - Songs You Like A Lot

Yuri Honing Acoustic Quartet - Bluebeard

Fred Hunt - Blues 'n Boogie

Johnny Hunter - Pale Blue Dot

Gary Husband and Markus Reuter - Music Of Our Times

 

 

I

Abdullah Ibrahim - The Balance

Dominic Ingham - Role Models

Issie Barrett's Interchange - Donna's Secret

 

 

J

Joshua Jaswon Octet - Silent Sea

Dusan Jevtovic - If You See Me

Dr John - Ske Dat De Dat : The Spirit Of Satch

Hank Jones - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter Vol 1

Pete Judge - Piano 2

 

 

K

Kansas Smitty's - Things Happened Here

The Nels Kline Singers - Share The Wealth

Tony Kofi - Another Kind Of Soul : A Picture Of Cannonball

Diana Krall - This Dream Of You

 

 

L

Brian Landrus - For Now

Steve Day and Mark Langford with Julian Dale - Pairing: Poetry and Music

Ingrid Laubrook - Dreamt Twice Twice Dreamt

Ant Law - The Sleeper Wakes

John Law's Congregation - Configuration

Peggy Lee - Ultimate Peggy Lee

Tony Lee - Tony Lee With The Alvin Roy Band

Orlando Le Fleming - Romantic Funk : The Unfamiliar

Let Spin - Steal The Light

Jazz At Lincoln Centre Orchestra - Sherman Irby's Inferno

Lionel Loueke - HH

Rob Luft - Life Is The Dancer

 

 

M

Rhada Thomas, Aman Mahajan - Bangalore Blues

Rudresh Mahanthappa - Hero Trio

Tina May - 52nd Street (And Other Tales)

Christian McBride - The Movement Revisited

Andrew McCormack - Solo

Zara McFarlane - Songs Of An Unknown Tongue

Meraki - Meraki

Pat Metheny - From This Place

Mezcla - Shoot The Moon

Dave Milligan - Memento

Andy Milne And Unison - The ReMISSION

Charles Mingus - Charles Mingus @ Bremen 1964 & 1975

Monocled Man - Bernabe Jurado

Thelonious Monk - Palo Alto

Chris Montague - Warmer Than Blood

MoonMot - Going Down The Well

Misha Mullov-Abbado - Dream Circus

 

 

N

Quinsin Nachoff - Pivotal Arc

Allison Neale - Quietly There

Jim Hart, Ivo Neame - Multiverse

Naomi Nuti - Venus Eye

 

 

O

Alvin Schwaar, Bänz Oester, Noé Franklé - Travellin' Light

Judith & Dave O'Higgins - His 'n' Hers

Michael Olatuja - Lagos Pepper Soup

Engin Ozsahin - Sequence Of Emotions

 

 

P

Charlie Parker - Five Classic Albums

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra - The Light That Shines

Alastair Penman - Do You Hear Me?

Oscar Pettiford - Oscar Pettiford 1958 /1959

Jay Phelps - Raw & Unreleased

Ted Poor - You Already Know

Chris Potter - There Is A Tide

Jure Pukl - Broken Circles

 

Q

 

R

Jim Rattigan - When

Gary Husband and Markus Reuter - Music Of Our Times

Dee Byrne and Cath Roberts - Disembark!

Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio - Angels Around

Joel Ross - Who Are You?

The Ray Russell Quartet - Spontaneous Event : Live Vol 1 - 1967-69

 

 

 

S

Christian Sands - Be Water

Maria Schneider Orchestra - Data Lords

Hanna Schörken - Luma

Alvin Schwaar, Bänz Oester, Noé Franklé - Travellin' Light

Ian Shaw, Iain Ballamy, Jamie Safir - What's New

Shabaka And The Ancestors - We Are Sent Here By History

Ian Shaw, Iain Ballamy, Jamie Safir - What's New

Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow - Life Goes On

Matthew Shipp - The Piano Equation

Matthew Shipp Trio - The Unidentifiable

Rick Simpson - Everything All Of The Time : Kid A Revisited

Debbie Sledge - Sledge Sings Simone

Tom Smith - Gecko

Walter Smith III / Matthew Stevens - In Common 2

Jim Snidero - Project-K

Graham South Quartet - By And By

Dayna Stephens Trio - Liberty

Walter Smith III / Matthew Stevens - In Common 2

Javier Subatin - Variaciones

Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow - Life Goes On

 

 

T

Rhada Thomas, Aman Mahajan - Bangalore Blues

Stefano Travaglini - Monk

Trio Grande - Trio Grande

Trypl - Trypl

Oded Tzur - Here Be Dragons

 

 

U

 

V

Will Vinson - 441

 

 

W

Alan Wakeman - The Octet Broadcasts 1969 and 1979

T-Bone Walker - 5 Classic Albums

Kenny Warren Trio - In The Heat

Marcin Wasilewski Trio with Joe Lovano - Arctic Riff

Kate Westbrook / The Granite Band - Earth Felt The Wound

Jeff Williams - Live At London Jazz Festival : Road Tales

Matt Wilson Quartet - Hug!

Teddy Wilson Trio - Revisits The Goodman Years

Juliet Wood - Sconsolato

 

 

X

 

Y

 

Z

 

 

 

Alastair Penman - Do You Hear Me?
(Sospiro Records) - Released: 11th December 2020

Alastair Penman (soprano/alto/tenor/baritone saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, keyboards, MIDI programming and compositions)

Alastair Penman Do You Hear Me

 

 

'The 4-track EP 'Do You Hear Me?' reflects on the climate emergency we are living through and the changes we must make to prevent the end of life on earth. In the words of Greta Thunberg, "Our house is on fire", so we must do everything we can to halt and reverse this disaster. Alastair Penman is a multi-award-winning saxophonist and composer praised by critics for his "undoubtedly brilliant imagination" and "surpassingly beautiful music". 'Do You Hear Me?' fuses Penman's masterful saxophone playing with electronic effects, backings and enhancements to create a unique sound world and convey the urgency of the climate emergency. 'Do You Hear Me?' has been produced by legendary saxophonist and producer John Harle, following on from Penman and Harle's successful collaboration on Penman's critically acclaimed debut album 'Electric Dawn'. 50% of proceeds from the album will be donated to two highly impactful environmental charities: Clean Air Task Force and Coalition for Rainforest Nations.'

Details : Video for Our House Is On Fire :

 

 

 

 

Artemis - Artemis
(Blue Note Records) - Released: 11th September 2020

Melissa Aldana (tenor sax); Ingrid Jensen (trumpet); Anat Cohen (clarinet, bass clarinet); Cecile McLorin Salvant(vocals); Renee Rosnes (piano); Noriko Ueda (bass); Alison Miller (drums).

Artemis

 

'All-star collective featuring Renee Rosnes, Anat Cohen, Melissa Aldana, Ingrid Jensen, Noriko Ueda, Allison Miller & Cécile McLorin Salvant release their debut album 'Artemis', a superb nine-song set that features material composed and/or arranged by each of the band's six instrumentalists. 'The group identity emerged organically', Rosnes says, and Artemis discovered a thrilling collective vision early in its lifespan. 'We are seven leaders, each with our own vision and personal point of view, but we play with a unified conception.' (album notes). 'Artemis is an all-female supergroup whose seven members already possess deep credentials in the modern jazz world. They are not only intrepid improvisers and colorists but also true team players. Hence, Artemis’ eponymous debut album is highly demonstrative of those feats. Under the musical direction of Canadian pianist Renee Rosnes, this international ensemble proudly features New York-based jazz figures from different parts of the world, namely Israeli clarinetist Anat Cohen, Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana, Canadian trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, American vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant, Japanese bassist Noriko Ueda and American drummer Alison Miller. Artemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt and the wilderness. The opener, precisely titled “Goddess of the Hunt”, was penned by Miller, who forges an attractive rhythm with Ueda here. The tune features four distinctive soloists - Aldana, exemplary in her acrobatic movements, is effective across the whole range of the saxophone but really stuns whenever she hits the low notes; Rosnes develops fleet phrases with horn fills in the back; Jensen’s unique locution is filled with meaningful piercing notes; and Cohen brings her dulcet sound and agile imagination to the fore. The interesting arrangement inflicted by Jensen to The Beatles’ “The Fool on the Hill” transformed the amiable pop of the British group into polished post-bop. Amidst the collective effort, it’s hard not to notice the conjoint work of the contrabass and the bass clarinet toward low-end stabilization. .... These remarkable jazzwomen make a point about creativity.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video for Goddess Of The Hunt : Listen to The Sidewinder :

 

 

 

 

Susan Alcorn Quintet - Pedernal
(Relative Pitch Records) - Released: 13th November 2020

Susan Alcorn (pedal steer guitar); Mary Halvorson (guitar); Michael Feldman (violin); Michael Formanek (acoustic bass); Ryan Sawyer (drums).

Susan Alcorn Quintet Pedernal

 

"Pedernal” opens with Alcorn’s gracefully slithery pedal steel line suggesting a dark, minor blues that’s joined in an undulating caress by Formanek’s lithe bass. Descending chords introduce the second section as the band steps into the gathering maelstrom, eventually resolving into a beatifically lyrical theme that seems to summon the abiding power of the iconic vista. (album notes). 'Cleveland-born, Baltimore-based pedal steel guitar player/composer Susan Alcorn always finds a taut balance between articulate melody and ambiguous, atmospheric ambiances. She’s usually seen playing in duo and trio formats but for her most recent outing, Pedernal, she assembled a quintet with three old collaborators - guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Ryan Sawyer - and a new backer of her musical cause - violinist Michael Feldman. The album embraces diverse languages, moods and styles, yet, the five Alcorn compositions perfectly cohere as a whole. The title track initiates the journey by centering guitar and bass in a spiritual communion. The group embraces folk, chamber music and country-jazz with a deep melodic sense in this charming sonic portrait of Cerro Pedernal, a narrow mesa located in northern New Mexico. Inspired by the Anasazi dwellings in southeastern Utah’s Hovenweep National Monument, “Circular Ruins” enhances a contrasting, restless cymbal activity within the reflective mood delineated by concurrent guitars and violin countermelodies. Halvorson’s exquisite tones are wonderful during the explorative states of suspension created by Alcorn’s colorful chordal work and the lugubrious bowing of the bass and violin .... Alcorn’s long-awaited debut as a leader is a promising sign regarding the work that will come in the future.' (JazzTrail)

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Charette - Like The Sun
(Dim Mak) - Released: 1st December 2020

Brian Charette - Hammond organ, keyboards,synth, drum machines.

Brian Charette Like The Sun

 

 

'New CD of Hammond organ with electronica; think Kraftwerk meets Harlem juke joint. Charette’s keyboards are accompanied by synths and drum machines that he has programmed to react to him in provocative ways as he tracks live. The music is original catchy instrumental tunes with hip beats, memorable melodies, slick chords, and dreamy atmospheres. The heart of the music is the Hammond Organ which is compelling because it is rarely seen in this robotic context. The pieces on the album speak of isolation, finding my lovely wife, and the terrible anxiety of losing my concerts because of the virus. All instruments and production by Charette' (album notes).

Details and Samples: Video for Like The Sun :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joel Ross - Who Are You?
(Blue Note Records) - Released:

Joel Ross (vibraphone); Immanuel Wilkins (alto saxophone); Jeremy Corren (piano); Kanoa Mendenhall (bass); Jeremy Dutton (drums) + guest Brandee Younger (harp).

Joel Ross Who Are You

 

 

'Only with two albums released as a leader, Joel Ross is already considered one of our era’s most brilliant and lavishly gifted vibraphonists. Following up Kingmaker - his encouraging debut on Blue Note - Who Are You? is a collection of 15 new made-to-measure instrumentals whose result is utterly rewarding. Ross, who moved to New York from Chicago, welcomes bassist Kanoa Mendenhall into the group, expanding the original quartet featuring saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins, pianist Jeremy Corren and drummer Jeremy Dutton. Proficient jazz harpist Brandee Younger is also featured on five tracks, including Coltrane’s “After the Rain”, where the sweetness of her sweeps and plucks contribute to achieve spiritual heights. The record kicks off with “Dream”, a Dutton-penned piece that brings a certain magic spell and dramatic quality. This is followed by Mendenhall’s solo-bass “Calling”, which serves to bridge the path that takes us from the opening piece to the waltzing “Home”, a Ross composition cooled-out by an unspeakable comfort and endearment .... Ross is a storyteller with an ample melodic and harmonic sense. He brings such a broad scope to the jazz vibraphone universe that his music is capable of influencing hearts and minds.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Dream : Listen to After The Rain :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Potter - There Is A Tide
(Edition Records) - Released: 4th December 2020

Chris Potter (piano, keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, drums, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto flute, percussion, samples and saxophones).

Chris Potter There Is A Tide

 

'It’s a year no one will forget, a year in which the global lockdown was shared by all, and yet experienced in a million different ways. For Chris Potter, a musician who has been on the road continuously since the 1990s, whose raison d’etre is playing live, lockdown presented both a challenge and an opportunity. It’s a tribute to his creativity, personal integrity and huge musical talent that Chris was able to take on this challenge and make something unbelievably fresh from the opportunity. Starting in May 2020, as the Black Lives Matter movement was kicking off (reflected in the track ‘I Had A Dream’), Chris set out to create something alone, to express his reaction to these chaotic times. Uniquely, playing each and every instrument: piano, keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, drums, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto flute, percussion, samples and of course saxophones, Chris took just six weeks to complete the whole process.' (album notes). 'This solo album by Chris Potter, made in six weeks while in lockdown, reveals instrumental insight as he plays all the instruments in a new and challenging experience that included writing, recording and producing. It's not as thrilling as when he plays with his groups, but his known strengths are on display, especially the killer saxophone solos, the compositional eclecticism, and the ability to find color and joy in his surroundings. The opening track, “I Had a Dream”, has all that. The piece, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, has a glowing Afro-folk feel to it that enhances the urgency of equality in this world.... In turn, “Rest Your Head” waltzes gently, displaying a lovely pop melody on top of a harmonic tapestry competently textured with acoustic and electric guitars.....There is a Tide was conceptualized and arranged with imagination, insisting on the search for beauty and hope instead of focusing on the fear and despair. Although far from Potter’s foremost works, it’s hard not to be uplifted by its positive energy.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Listen to I Had A Dream : Listen to Rest Your Head : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

Tigran Hamasyan - The Call Within
(Nonesuch) - Released: 28th August 2020

Tigran Hamasyan (piano, keyboards); Evan Marien (bass); Arthur Hnatek (drums). Guest artists: Tosin Abasi (guitar); Areni Agbabia (vocals); Artyom Manukyan (cello).

Tigran Hamasyan The Call Within

 

'Produced by Hamasyan, 'The Call Within' is a journey into the artist's dreamlike inner world, which is as realistic to him as his physical one. Hamasyan, who believes that the 'moment of unconscious creation is the way to feel conscious', says: 'Unutterable seconds of longing, subliminal realization, and mostly joy fill the body as a work of art, a poem, or a melody is being born into this world for no apparent reason, but only for the humanity to discover what is invisible: the divine mystery'. (album notes). 'After two consecutive solo albums, namely An Ancient Observer (2017) and For Gyumri (2018), Armenian pianist/composer Tigran Hamasyan returns to the trio format on The Call Within, his sixth album for Nonesuch and the most fascinating thus far. Pairing up with American electric bassist Evan Marien and Swiss drummer Arthur Hnatek, Hamasyan delves deeper into dreamlike inner states, nudging the band into uncharted realms while drawing inspiration from astrology, maps from ancient eras, geometry, divine mysteries, ancient Armenian design and folklore, and many more. The album provides several highlights encrusted with technical acuity, and “Levitation 21” couldn’t have opened the album in a better way. Incantatory chants are set against a relaxed piano-driven background; yet, on top of that, the energetic rhythmic thrust of Marien and Hnatek creates a polyrhythmic feel that completely dazzles. It’s a beautiful piece indeed, with effortless transitions in which the ethereal moods of folk and classical contrast with the powerful dynamism of progressive jazz and rock ..... These expertly structured frameworks are designed with imagination and a perfect sense of direction. I hope they provide the same exhilarating listening experience for you as they provided for me.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video for Levitation 21 :

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Faugloire Project - L
(jazz family) - Released: 16th October 2020

Benjamin Faugloire (piano, composer); Denis Frangulian (double bass); Jérôme Mouriez (drums).

Benjamin Faugloire Project L

 

 

'BFP is a jazz trio from Marseille (France). Born in 2005, those three friends met and bonded over the music of Benjamin Faugloire. More than ten years after BFP creation, three recorded albums and many tours around the world, the trio comes back to present the 4th album: a succeed, successful and flagship album. "L" marks a frank evolution in Benjamin Faugloire's style: if it confirms his personality and his emotivity, it nonetheless refined here even more and focuses on the essential. Indeed, he avoids  conventions and makes fun with form or style: Only the narration counts. The trio just reached a level of cohesion and musicality unmatched until now. Spontaneity of playing and improvisation, strong moments, unforeseen silences, as much risks as a united trio like BFP can accomplish with so much control and flexibility. The whole with the precision and the colorful writing from the pianist. "L" is one of those albums that gives you chills, makes you cry and laugh, brings you back to your childhood memories, your love stories... It is also one of those jazz albums where skills of musicians can shine but always for a speech: this is one of these albums which should lead this trio to the top of the bill.' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Video extract of Bunker : Listen to La Demoiselle : Band website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Rattigan - When
(Three Worlds Records) - Released: 4th December 2020

Jim Rattigan (French Horn); Nikki Iles (piano); Michael Janisch (double bass); James Maddren (drums) and the Tear Quartet - Julian Tear, Alison Gordon (violin); Nic Barr (viola); Nic Cooper (cello).

Jim Rattigan When

 

 

“Having had a career in classical music and now playing jazz, I thought that I would write some music that would combine the two worlds,” explains Rattigan. “This is not crossover music but a juxtaposition - the two styles working side by side. I worked with Julian Tear for many years in the Academy of St Martin's in the Fields chamber orchestra and asked him to record the music with his quartet. The quartet becomes a quintet when I call on the double bass to play 'arco' and the French horn is a bridge between to the two genres.” Most of the ten original compositions on the album were written five years ago. “They seemed a little sad and reflective at the time so I put them in a folder and forgot about them,” says Rattigan. “The irony is that the title When could be applied to the times we’re living in now.” (album notes).

Details and Listen to the Title Track When :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate Westbrook / The Granite Band - Earth Felt The Wound
(Westbrook Records) - Released: 31st July 2020

Kate Westbrook (voacls); Roz Harding (alto sax, soprano sax); Mike Westbrook (keys, Piano, organ); Jesse Molins, Matthew North (guitar); Billie Bottle (bass, piano, organ, vocal;s); Coach York (drums)

Kate Westbrook Earth Felt The Wound

 

 

 

'Hard on the heels of their ‘epic and ground-breaking’ Granite project, Kate and the Granite Band with producer Jay Auborn are back with a major new album. Recorded in Summer 2019 in the depths of the Devon countryside, mixed and mastered at dBs studios Bristol, Earth Felt the Wound deploys state-of-the-art recording to stunning effect and takes Kate and The Granite Band in a radically new direction.' (album notes). '..... The title of course comes from Milton's Paradise Lost, wherin the best tunes nororiously went to the Devil. Well. Kate Westbrook just gave him some more'' (Andy Robson in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Video for Threat Of Natural Disaster : Listen to Big Baby Hips : Listen to Rooster Rabelais :

 

 

 

 

 

Down For The Count - Swing Into Christmas
(Self Released ) - Released: 1st December 2020

Mike Paul-Smith (piano, bandleader) and various band members plus City String Ensemble (see their website for details)

Down For The Count Swing Into Christmas

 

'Down for the Count bring the sounds of the Swing Era back to life - but this is no mere nostalgia trip. The band perform each song in their own unmistakeable style, breathing new life into the best vintage music. “Swing Into Christmas” is Down for the Count’s holiday celebration - a collection of our favourite Christmas tunes, alongside a few winter-themed jazz standards. This album is special to us, as it’s the first time we have worked in the studio with string players. For years, we at Down for the Count have dreamt about adding strings to the line-up, and over the past year or so we have been lucky enough to work with City String Ensemble, led by Sophie Poteratchi. They are not only fantastically talented musicians, but they are also a wonderful group of people to be around, and it has been a joy welcoming them to the Down for the Count family. Huge thanks to Sophie and her team for their energy and positivity - we hope that this will be the first of many albums we record together, and we’re sorry that you’ve had to endure our questionable sense of humour and 15 years of “in-jokes”. For this album we’ve also expanded the regular Down for the Count line-up with more instruments, including trombone and percussion, and we hope that listeners enjoy the results! ....We began planning this album in August 2019, and the first day of recording was in January 2020. As we all know, a few weeks afterwards the world changed. It’s been a difficult year for everyone, for one reason or another - and for those who love the arts, it has been particularly challenging. We know that this album can’t even begin to replicate the joy that live performance brings to our lives, but all of us at Down for the Count remain hugely grateful to our loyal fans (including the many new fans who have discovered us in lockdown). Your support and encouragement keeps us creative - this year more than ever before - and this is our Christmas gift to you. ' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Winter Wonderland :

 

 

 

 

Chris Barber and Ottilie Patterson - A Jazz Club Session
(Lake Records) - Released: 16th October 2020 [2 CDs]

Pat Halcox (trumpet, vocals); Chris Barber (trombone, vocals); Ian Wheeler (clarinet, alto sax); Eddie Smith (banjo); Dick Smith (bass); Graham Burbidge (drums); Ottilie Patterson (vocals, tambourine)

Chris Barber A Jazz Club Session

 

 

'Chris Barber led the UK's most successful Jazz band from its first recordings in 1949 until Chris's retirement in 2019. Chris Barber's discography runs to around 200 pages. Starting off as a standard, but highly accomplished, Traditional Jazz band, from the 1960s onwards the band started to expand its horizons and widen the repertoire without losing sight of its roots. This previously unreleased CD from 1963 shows that development in place: alongside the standard Trad Jazz fare there are Gospel tunes, Duke Ellington material as well as two tunes by Kurt Weill and originals by Chris Barber himself. Blues singer Ottilie Patterson also broadens her Blues scope with songs by Memphis Minnie, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and a reworking of an old Bessie Smith song. Most of Chris Barber's 'live' recordings have been large concert ones, but this sees the band in a Jazz club setting, less formal with the band relaxed, on top form and enjoying itself. These excellent recordings come from those made by the late Allan Gilmour in Nottingham and are part of an on-going series by LAKE Records.' (album notes)

Details : Samples and Review on Chris Barber website :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim Garland - ReFocus
(Edition Records) - Released: 18th September 2020

Tim Garland (tenor sax (soprano sax on Jezeppi), piano); Asaf Sirkis (drums, crotales); Yuri Goloubev (bass); John Turville( piano on Jezeppi); Ant Law (guitar on Jezeppi) and Strings - Thomas Gould, Ben Hancox, Magdalena Filipczak, Rakhi Singh, Simran Singh (violins); Robin Ashwell, Juan-Miguel Hernandez (violas); Cecilia Bignall (cello); Lauren Scott (harp)

Tim Garland ReFocus

 

 

'One of the UKs finest saxophonists, and a member of Chick Corea’s legendary band, Tim Garland has taken the classic Stan Getz album with strings, Focus, from 1961 and created a reworking for our time. This is not a slavish recreation, or an attempt at nostalgia, but the result of a creative mind working in the spirit of the album, and with the legacy of a great artist. It’s an exercise in expressing the past in the present and the future. Tim has brought together a multi-talented chamber orchestra to interpret his interpretation and compositions. “It is not just the spirit of Focus I wished to pay homage to on this album, but the experimental urges of the early 1960s that were heard in jazz, film music, and the classical world - fuelled by romanticism and the burgeoning psychedelia of the new decade.” (album notes). '....Whether you're a fan of the past century's jazz-with-strings strange experiments or not, ReFocus is a rich testament to Tim Garland's improv eloquence and sophisticated compositional palette ...' (John Fordham in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Listen to Jezeppi :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graham South Quartet - By And By
(Efpi Records) - Released: 18th September 2020

Graham South (trumpet); Richard Jones (piano); Seth Bennett (bass); Johnny Hunter (drums)

Graham South Quartet By And By

 

'Manchester-based trumpeter, composer and improviser Graham South’s previous work with Johnny Hunter Quartet, Beats & Pieces Big Band, and Anton Hunter’s Article XI (amongst others) has established him as a key player on the local and national improvisation scenes. On his debut as leader, South’s mature, emotionally direct playing is matched by three regular collaborators who together take the strong source material through a set of volatile landscapes....... The album is a collection of the choral Spirituals that glue together the movements of Michael Tippett’s oratorio A Child of Our Time, delicately arranged by Graham for this project. The Spirituals themselves combine strong religious imagery with a broader symbolic struggle ushered in by their context – all originated as songs sung by African American slaves in America, with the strong liberatory tone of the lyrics offering hope of eventual triumph through strife. Maintaining an appreciation for the music’s origins whilst also carving out a space for creativity was something deeply important in Graham’s approach to the album, as he explains: “The creative process around these arrangements and performances was based around the musical and lyrical content of the songs, trying to show deep respect to them whilst providing space for improvisation. Working with these spirituals has led me to seek more knowledge about their history, the systematic oppression of the Black Americans who created them, and the wisdom of the songs themselves.” ...... (album notes). '.... The mood is patient and thoughtful, but as the tracks progress grooves emerge and the improvisations gather force ... (Thomas Rees in Jazzwise ***)

Details and Samples : Listen to Go Down Moses : Listen to Steal Away :

 

 

 

 

Tina May - 52nd Street (and Other Tales)
(33 Jazz) - Released: 4th December 2020

Tina May (vocals); James Pearson (piano); Sam Burgess (bass); Chris Higginbottom (drums) with guests; Mark Nightingale (trombone); Phil Hopkins (percussion); Karen Street (accordion)

Tina May 52nd Street

 

'Produced by Duncan Lamont Jnr, this wonderful album features the music and lyrics of his late father the acclaimed saxophonist and song writer Duncan Lamont.This album will be a treasured reminder of Duncan Lamont's contribution to the world of jazz.' (album notes). 'Featuring a collection of songs written by Scottish musician and composer Duncan Lamont, the album is full of the character and wit that Lamont, who died in July 2019, brought to his work as an astute observer of places and people. Originally a trumpet player, Lamont left his hometown, Greenock for London in the 1950s, and like many other musicians of the time, he worked his passage on transatlantic liners, by now playing saxophone in the ships’ orchestras so that he could experience the jazz scene in New York while on shore leave. He not only learned from the musicians he heard on these trips, going on to play with Frank Sinatra,  Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Count Basie and Sir Paul McCartney among other top line stars, he also got ideas for songs.....“Every time I sing a jazz standard like Midnight Sun or More Than You Know, I think of Duncan because these songs were of the quality that he aimed for in his own writing,” says Tina May. “And he very often succeeded because he was such a perfectionist. There’s a least one song on the album that had two different sets of lyrics because Duncan kept tinkering and improving on what he’d written.” (Rob Adams).

Details when album is released : Video of Tina May singing Duncan Lamont's Where Were You In April live six years ago :

 

 

 

 

The Nels Kline Singers - Share The Wealth
(Blue Note Records) - Released: 13th November 2020

Nels Cline (guitars; Skerik: saxophone); Brian Marsella (piano, keyboards); Trevor Dunn (bass); Scott Amendola (drums); Cyro Baptista (percussion).

Nels Kline Singers Share The Wealth

 

'On Nels Cline's third release 'Share The Wealth', the sonic explorer and guitar renegade delivers a potent and provocative program of spontaneous, uncompromising, and ultimately compelling music. The expanded edition of his long-running project, The Nels Cline Singers, features saxophonist and punk-jazz iconoclast Skerik, keyboard marvel Brian Marsella, bass powerhouse Trevor Dunn, longtime collaborator and drummer Scott Amendola, and Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista. Together they revel in swirling, evocative soundscapes brimming with ferocious skronking and uninhibited stretching on this dynamic album.' (album notes). 'The spunky music of farsighted American guitarist Nels Cline glitters with jagged detail and unfolds with a progressive attitude. Following-up on Microscope (Mack Avenue, 2014), his previous work with the squad The Singers, Share the Wealth is a grippingly disorienting double album that results from a two-day recording of spontaneous music. The current formation - a sextet - allows Cline to merge stylistic currents with complexity and sophistication, and the fantastic opener, Caetano Veloso’s “Segunda” is a case in point. A visceral folk dance working within a more conventional song format and delivered with irresistible rock and Brazilian flavors, shows that Cline not only is unafraid to step into risky musical forays, but also does it successfully.....Touting nearly telepathic interplay, this thought-provoking record is an absolute joy for the ears and a must listen for all lovers of modern music. Indisputably, one of my favorites of 2020.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Video for Beam / Spiral : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Lionel Loueke - HH
(Edition Records) - Released: 16th October 2020

Lionel Loueke (guitars, vocals)

Lionel Loueke HH

 

 

'HH is the brand new album from Lionel Loueke playing the music of his long-term mentor, the legendary Herbie Hancock. Lionel Loueke is one of the most singular, compelling and innovative artists of his and any generation on the international scene. Known for his ability to “transform the guitar into a virtual Afro-Western orchestra” (Jazz Times), he is a musician who transcends genre to create unparalleled sounds. In a deeply personal tribute, Lionel takes Herbie’s best-known compositions (including Cantaloupe Island, Watermelon Man and Rock It), and creates something entirely fresh and new.' (album notes). 'The eclectic work of legendary pianist/keyboardist Herbie Hancock informs and inspires a new album from virtuoso West African guitarist Lionel Loueke, whose idiosyncratic style is not just served with a groove-oriented posture and rhythmically advanced patterns, but also emotional lyricism. He definitely puts his own stamp on fresh interpretations of selected Hancock pieces..... Boasting a firm grasp across styles and idioms, Loueke makes a wonderful homage to Hancock; from a great musician to another great musician. And he closes out the album with a rambunctious reading of “One Finger Snap”, whose original hard-swinging abandonment is discarded in favor of a relentless and hectic electronic vibe. A remarkable solo effort.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Listen to One Finger Snap : Listen to Cantaloupe Island : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

Mary Halvorsen's Code Girl - Artlessley Falling
(Firehouse 12 Records) - Released: November 2020

Mary Halvorson (guitar); Amirtha Kidambi (vocals); Adam O’Farrill (trumpet); Maria Grand (tenor sax, vocals); Michael Formanek (bass); Tomas Fujiwara (drums) + guest Robert Wyatt (vocals (#1,3,5).

Mary Halvorsens Code Girl Artlessly Falling

 

'The sophomore album from Code Girl, an intrepid project led by guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson that incorporates lyrics and blends elements of jazz, rock, folk, and indie pop, offers some agreeable surprises. Artlessly Falling signals the absence of trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire from the original roster of musicians, but welcomes Adam O’Farrill for his place, as well as saxophonist/vocalist Maria Grand and rock legend Robert Wyatt, who puts his voice on three pieces. The remaining members are bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tomas Fujiwara - both colleagues of Halvorson in the Thumbscrew trio - and avant-garde vocalist Amirtha Kidambi. The material on this recording was inspired by many factors, but perhaps the most significant of them has to do with the challenging poetic forms picked by Halvorson to write the lyrics for each tune. With words inspired by and dedicated to novelist Lawrence Osborne, “The Lemon Trees” is a pure delight. It kicks off with gentle waltzing steps conducted by arpeggiated guitar, brushed drums, and topped by Latin-flavored trumpet, quickly segueing into the sung part, where Wyatt’s beautiful voice - efficiently backed by Kidambi and Grand - takes us to the realms of King Crimson. The final section of O’Farrill’s wide-ranging solo has exclusively drums as accompaniment, and, afterwards, the drummer seizes the opportunity to deliver an enthusiastic statement himself.....Halvorson, who always takes the jazz guitar to another dimension with such extraordinary talents, creates another powerful album. And, damn, how I loved to hear Wyatt here!' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Lemon Trees :

 

 

 

 

Ingrid Laubrock - Dreamt Twice, Twice Dreamt
(Intakt Records) - Released: 20th November 2020

Ingrid Laubrock (tenor and soprano saxophones); Sam Pluta (electronics); Cory Smythe (piano, quarter-tone keyboard); Robert Landfermann (double bass); Tom Rainey (drums); Adam Matlock (accordion); Josh Modney (violin); Zeena Parkins (electric harp) + EOS Chamber Orchestra

Ingrid Laubrook Dreamt Twice Twice Dreamt

'The album Dreamt Twice, Twice Dreamt follows Ingrid Laubrock's landmark orchestral album Contemporary Chaos Practices from 2018 (Intakt CD 314). Ingrid Laubrock presents on this double album five compositions in double version. On the first CD, the EOS Chamber Orchestra Cologne interprets Laubrock's compositions. The soloists are Cory Smythe (piano), Sam Pluta (electronics), Robert Landfermann (bass), Tom Rainey (drums) and Ingrid Laubrock (saxophone). On a second CD of the double album a filigree ensemble around the core trio of Ingrid Laubrock, Cory Smythe, Sam Pluta and the guests Adam Matlock, Josh Modney and Zeena Parkins play the same five compositions. The two CDs of Laubrock's works contrast, diverge and complement each other. Ingrid Laubrock writes: “While the small-group versions were composed first, I did not just re-arrange those compositions for the orchestra but rather re-imagined them. As I wrote the large-scale pieces, I often zoomed-in on a detail in a small-group version to generate a materially different large-group piece.” As a whole, the two CDs paint fascinating musical panoramas, inspired by the composer's dream worlds, characterized by Laubrock's ability to compose and the individual colors and shades of the soloists.' (album notes). 'Saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock’s latest release, Dreamt Twice, Twice Dreamt, displays her unwavering talent as not only an improviser but as a composer/arranger as well. Recently, she has been focusing more on large scale composition, with her previous outing, Contemporary Chaos Practices (Intakt, 2018) receiving general praise. Yet, this new double-album features two disparate versions of five compositions originally written for small ensemble and later re-worked and expanded for chamber orchestra. The main inspiration for the pieces was Laubrock’s dream diaries......With respect to “I Never Liked That Guy”, the small-ensemble version triumphs as a result of a haunting atmosphere that keeps pushing us into dark corners with skittering soprano diagonals over prostrate piano shapes and mysterious electronic effects. It all ends in a feast of ostinatos. This extended opus offers a substantial listening with all its transitions, integrations and innovations. Laubrock’s music can be slow-burning and quietly exploratory in one moment, combustible and antic the next. Here, she manages to keep the freshness and vibrancy for which her music is known.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Listen to Dreamt Twice : Full JazzTrail Review :


 

 

 

Michael Feinberg - From Where We Came
(SteepleChase) - Released: 15th September 2020

Noah Preminger (tenor saxophone); Dave Liebman (soprano saxophone); Gary Versace (piano); Michael Feinberg (bass); Ian Froman (drums).

Michael Feinberg From Where We Came

 

'Since its inception in 1972 one of SteepleChase's enduring policies has been to discover new talents who deserve recognition. Michael Feinberg, bassist/composer originally from Atlanta, Georgia is one of them. Feinberg with seven leader albums up his sleeve may not be labelled as a new comer but this is his debut release on this label which prides itself with the rich tradition of great bass players such as Red Mitchell, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Sam Jones, Jay Anderson, Scott Lee, just mention a few. Feinberg leads here a formidable band with two horn-front by one of the most influential saxophonists Dave Liebman on soprano and young elite Noah Preminger on tenor whose SteepleChase debut album, by the way, is on its way. (album notes). 'The seventh outing as a leader from rising star bassist/composer Michael Feinberg offers an accomplished set of tunes and features a well-versed lineup that includes multi-generational saxophonists - veteran master Dave Liebman and today’s revitalizing force Noah Preminger - plus a cohesive rhythm section in which he links up with Gary Versace on piano and Ian Froman on drums. A notorious swinger, Feinberg demonstrates to have a warm and easily appealing bass playing that sparks with a lovely glow, while composition-wise, he melds tradition and modern jazz sensibilities with an organic disposition. The leadoff track “Louisville”, named after the city where the boxer Muhammad Ali was born, is the perfect example, sliding between epic modal jazz and blithe Latin-tinged passages. The rhythmically tense melodies unleashed by Liebman propose an avant-garde coating, while Preminger, no less explorative, appraises idioms loaded with verbal elasticity and quick-wit. For his part, Versace, who has a gift for spontaneous melody, sequences rhythmic figures with nimble fingering.....Feinberg’s music is as much straightforward as it is extraordinarily appealing. From Where We Came leaves an indelible impression.' (JazzTrail)

Details : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Louisville : Full Release Concert Video :

 

 

 

 

J D Allen - Toys / Die Dreaming
(Savant) - Released:
28th August 2020

JD Allen (tenor saxophone); Ian Kenselaar (bass); Nic Cacioppo (drums).

JD Allen Toys Die Dreaming

 

'Of JD Allen, Giovanni Russonello in The New York Times said, "Mr. Allen has become one of today's most exciting tenor saxophonists not by trying to spotlight his own virtuosity...but by defining a new way of playing in a group." Allen's current release, "Toys / Die Dreaming," is his 14th as a leader and builds on his already rich recorded legacy. His compositions exhibit his philosophy of providing short melodies as the basis of both solo and group improvisation; "Get in and get out," as Allen likes to say. This gives his music a remarkable ever-transforming feel, as if the improvisation was actually part of the composition itself. To bring his music to life, Allen requires players of the utmost talent and creativity and he has certainly found them in bassist, Ian Kenselaar and drummer, Nic Cacioppo. "I found the bad boys of this generation, as far as I'm concerned," says Allen, "guys who are not afraid to dip their toe in the avant-garde a little bit, and then turn around and play the tradition." But tradition to Allen is a development, an unending arc of creativity which begins at the dawn of jazz and to which he is the latest contributor to the music's evolution. (album notes). 'Throughout a triumphant career, saxophonist JD Allen has taken the time to refine his sound and develop his language, carving out a unique place for himself in the jazz spectrum. On his new trio outing, Toys / Die Dreaming, he summons for the second time bassist Ian Kenselaar and drummer Nic Cacioppo, two young musicians who find here a pragmatic compromise between the robust, the adventurous, and the polished. Peppering the proceedings, the trio opens with a standard; “You’re My Thrill” gets a fresh reworking from minute one, when Kenselaar and Cacioppo create the ideal ambiance for Allen’s advanced melodic recital. The theme, stated with smart and subtle punctuation, is followed by improvised tenor run-ups embellished with blues and gospel licks. Allen’s engrossing intonation - incisive, dark and compact - is on full display here, providing unexpected muscularity to a supposedly soft tune. In opposition to the first track, “The G Thing” feels like a standard without being one. It displays a solid mid-tempo swing after a theme statement conducted with beseeching sax melodies and cymbal legato...... Not as muscled as Barracoon, its predecessor, Toys/Die Dreaming features Allen as we know him: in superb form.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to You're My Thrill : Listen to The G Thing :

 

 

 

 

Orlando Le Fleming - Romantic Funk: The Unfamiliar
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 18th September 2020

Philip Dizack (trumpet - all tracks except 6); Will Vinson (alto sax); Sean Wayland (keys/synths); Orlando le Fleming (upright and electric bass); Kush Abadey (drums - except tracks 3 & 5); Nate Wood (drums - tracks 3 & 5)

Orlando Le Fleming Romantic Funk The Unfamiliar

 

"Outstanding” is an overused description but one that’s applied to bassist Orlando le Fleming so consistently that its justification can’t be denied. Since relocating from his native UK to New York City he’s thrived in the world’s toughest jazz environment, and brought his inimitable personality to work on projects for the likes of Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bill Charlap, Billy Cobham, Wayne Krantz, Ari Hoenig, Seamus Blake, Jeff “Tain” Watts and David Sanchez among many others.“As a leader he shines even brighter - his drumless OWL Trio in particular gained plaudits across the board for its hushed, intimate atmosphere. Now he’s back with a completely different conception: his latest release Romantic Funk: The Unfamiliar introduces us to a new sound, a tribute to the muscular, high-intensity fusion of the 1980s, and a new band, Romantic Funk. .... Le Fleming’s tunes showcase his band’s individual excellence and group cohesion. ‘I’ll Tell You What It Is Later’ is influenced by the Miles Davis albums of the 80’s and late 60’s. It uses a simple form with minimal chords and open unrestricted solo section, giving Philip Dizack space to shine. “Phil is a very intuitive, musical player. His choices always seem to make so much sense.” ‘Waynes’ is inspired by le Fleming’s two favourite Waynes - Shorter and Krantz alternating excitingly between tension and release. .....“When writing this album, I was very conscious of the improvisational sections being tailored for the specific musicians, allowing them freedom to express their quirks. I encouraged risk taking and tried to make it fun for them without being too much of a control freak. It’s very much a cohesive band, as we workshopped this material at the 55 bar over the last year. The ‘Romantic’ in Romantic Funk is more in line with romantic ideals such as the indefinable, unbounded, inexpressible, unfamiliar.” To which we might add - Outstanding.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video for FOMO Blues : Video for Waynes :

 

 

 

 

Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time OutTakes
(Wienerworld Music) - Released: 4th December 2020

Dave Brubeck (piano); Paul Desmond (alto sax); Eugene Wright (bass); Joe Morello (drums)

Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time OutTakes

 

"Time OutTakes features 7 tracks that have never been heard before. These newly discovered recordings feature wonderful performances that are every bit as compelling as those the original Time Out. We discovered that during the original 1959 sessions the Quartet also recorded 'I'm In a Dancing Mood' and an unlisted trio jam with a major drum solo that included snatches of the melody from 'Watusi Drums'. Two tracks from Time Out, 'Pick Up Sticks' and 'Everybody's Jumpin', were achieved in e take so no alternates exist to include here. These 7 new performances (and bonus track) are fascinating finds." Chris Brubeck. "We've all heard Dave Brubeck's Time Out - but never quite like this. You'll hear Dave Brubeck's signature pieces afresh and anew. Listening to this album will make you rediscover why you fell in love with The Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Paul Desmond, Joe Morello and Eugene Wright. This is mesmerising music." Kabir Sehgal, Grammy Award Winning Producer. "Once the Dave Brubeck Quartet released Time Out in 1959, the world of jazz was never the same. Every note of the seven original compositions soared with wild originality and trained musical genius. 'Take Five' became the best-selling jazz single of the twentieth century. I've often wondered how this work of genius came to fruition in the studio? How did Brubeck develop such chemistry with alto-saxophonist Paul Desmond? Now the mysteries are solved with the historic release of Time OutTakes (alternative takes to the masterpiece that blew the hinges off the doors of jazz). What a high privilege it is to be able to be in the studio with the quartet as they innovate using 9/8, 5/4 and 2 bars of 3/4 alternating with 2 bars of 4/4 on such classics as 'Blue Rondo a la Turk' and 'Three to Get Ready'. All listeners of Time OutTakes will experience the Cold War era jazz revolution as it unfolded. What joyous music for the ages!" Douglas Brinkley, CNN historian and Grammy-winning jazz producer.' (album notes).

Details and Samples when released :

 

 

 

Dexter Gordon - Montmartre 1964
(Storyville) - Released: 6th November 2020

Dexter Gordon (tenor sax, vocals); Tete Montoliu (piano); Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Alex Riel (drums)

Dexter Gordon Montmartre 1964

 

 

'Listening to this album takes you back to the atmosphere and sound of Jazzhus Montmartre on a random night in the 1960s, engulfing you in Dexter Gordon’s enormous aura. Dexter’s arrival in Copenhagen had a tremendous impact that left a lasting impression on the Danish jazz scene. He was handsome and well-dressed. His playing was superb, with a giant sound; his introductions and showmanship were unique and captivating. In addition, Dexter felt the Danish mentality was well-suited for playing and enjoying jazz...... It’s impossible not to notice Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen on this recording. He was already a virtuoso in 1964, at the age of 18. NHØP was a genius on the contrabass. First and foremost, however, this session is an excellent example of how good it sounds when musicians get to play together every night, week after week. The trio played with Dexter three months throughout the summer to a full house every night. With the great Tete Montoliu the trio was burning behind Dexter. This album is an example of the superior quality of the music that was played at Montmartre during this golden era. Thank you, Dexter for all that you gave us!....' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Misty : Listen to Cheese Cake :

 

 

 

 

 

Joshua Jaswon Octet - Silent Sea
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 30th October 2020

Anna Seierse (vocals), Joshua Jaswon (alto and soprano saxophone); Marc Doffey (tenor and soprano saxophone); Miguel Gorodi (trumpet and flugelhorn); Jan Landowski (trombone); Johannes Mann (electric guitar); Sidney Werner (double bass); Aaron Castrillo (drums).

Joshua Jaswon Silen Sea

 

'London-born saxophonist and composer Joshua Jaswon has undergone something of a transformation over the past three years. Following the disastrous results of Britain’s 2016 Brexit referendum vote Jaswon took the decision to leave London for Berlin and set about establishing himself in Europe’s creative hub. This journey of musical discovery has led to collaborations with artists from Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and Copenhagen, the formation of the Joshua Jaswon Octet and the recording of Silent Sea. “The nucleus of the project first took shape when I read a collection of twenty contemporary poems collated by Carol Ann Duffy,” explains Jaswon. “The project was an opportunity to engage with themes that have significant meaning for me and move beyond an exercise in abstract music making.” Each composition on the album is based on the text of a contemporary British poem by writers Jackie Kay, Maura Dooley and Rachael Boast and deals with the issues surrounding climate change and Brexit. “It is moving, fresh and thought-provoking and the music perfectly mirrors the poem’s anxiety and satirical humour,” says Kay, Scotland’s Makar (poet laureate), commenting on Jaswon’s interpretation of her poem ‘Extinction’. “The jazz music fits the poem like a hand to a glove, and the rhythms and tempos capture the heightened sense of time running out, of seizing the moment.” The Octet’s distinctive sound is lyrical, intensely rhythmic and steeped in the magic of storytelling. “One of the challenges in writing for an eight-piece group was to utilise the timbral and compositional possibilities afforded by a larger ensemble without losing the intensity that comes from small-combo interaction. The group’s rhythm-section powerfully shape the music’s narrative and momentum while being able to respond in the moment to it’s shifting contours,” says Jaswon. “The playing of Miguel Gorodi, Marc Doffey and Jan Landowski shows their exceptional ability as improvisers and ensemble musicians, and the music lives and breathes through Anna Serierse’s outstanding voice.” (album notes)

Details and Samples : Article by Howard Lawes for Sandy Brown Jazz : Brief Introductory Video :

 

 

 

 

Patrick Cornelius - Acadia: Way Of The Cairns
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 30th October 2020

Patrick Cornelius (alto saxophone); Kristjan Randalu (piano); Michael Janisch (double bass); Paul Wiltgen (drums)

Patrick Cornelius Acadia Way Of The Cairns

'Over the course of eighteen years living in New York City, Patrick Cornelius has earned a substantial reputation as a saxophonist, composer, solo artist and educator, and created an impressive body of work comprised of nine albums as a leader, featuring some of the finest musicians from the global jazz and improvised music scene. Now for his latest release Way of the Cairns he reunites a ‘TransAtlantic Collective’ of like-minded musicians for a brand new project of original compositions. Fourteen years ago, Cornelius and bassist (and Whirlwind label boss) Michael Janisch teamed up with Luxembourgish drummer Paul Wiltgen and virtuoso Estonian pianist Kristjan Randalu for a tour that turned into a band that turned into a recording project that delivered, in Cornelius’ own words, “some of the best musical experiences I’ve ever had”. This new music takes inspiration from his experiences of hiking with his growing family among the untamed wilderness of Maine’s Acadia National Park. The band delivers an outstanding set of first and second-take performances that combine the heat of New York’s jazz scene with the depth and subtlety of the European jazz tradition to create a set of recordings that are accessible and melodic, but as powerful and compelling as the landscapes that inspired them. The album takes the listener on a journey through a set of inspiring scenes. ‘Way of the Cairns’ describes the ascent of Great Head Mountain, through texture and tempo changes and a strong bass/sax unison melody. ‘Star Party’ commemorates a beachside star-gazing session with a lyrical piano feature for Randalu. The insistent, subtly shifting groove and intricate melody of ’Blueberry Mountain’ evoke a sense of tumbling, childlike excitement, contrasting with the radiant, gently lilting calm of ‘Seawall Sunrise’. ‘Darkest Night’ has a feature for Janisch’s powerful, clearly articulated bass, and ‘On The Precipice’ hands the reins to Wiltgen for a thrilling drum break, both pieces articulating the ominous quality that can be revealed when travelling across the wilderness. ....... Though Cornelius is leader and principal writer, Way of the Cairns is very much the sound of a collective - “My idea was to feature the band as the lead voice, rather than myself. There’s a definite chemistry here - not super-straight ahead but not avant-garde either - embracing the European aesthetic, but with the ability to swing hard as well - that’s the unique magic of this band.” The inspiration from Cornelius’ favourite landscapes that underlies the compositions, combined with the special rapport between the players, gives the album a powerful, highly characterful unity that makes this a stand-out release.' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Listen to Blueberry Mountain : Listen to Darkest Night :

 

 

 

 

 

British Traditional Jazz At A Tangent - Volume 10: Rarities And Hidden Gems
(Lake Records) - Released: October 2020

Various bands and personnel including: Freddy Randall; The Crane River Jazz Band; Alex Welsh and his Dixielanders; the John Barnes Trio; Mike Daniels; Dave Carey; Kenny Ball; Micky Ashman; Terry Lightfoot; Pete Ridge; Fairweather-Brown; and others

British Traditional Jazz At A Tangent Volume 10

 

 

'This release sees the 10th and final volume in the AT A TANGENT series. When compiling the POTTED HISTORY OF BRITISH TRADITIONAL JAZZ (LAKE LACD300) triple album, it became apparent that there were various stories within the stories and the previous TANGENT series attempted to tell the stories of Classic style, Dixieland/Chicago, Mainstream, New Orleans style, Territory bands etc, etc. This final set is a round-up with examples of all the aforementioned. The series tried, as far as possible, to avoid the 'big names' of Traditional Jazz, but this volume does include tracks by Ball, Barber and Bilk plus Alex Welsh and Terry Lightfoot. Its subtitle is 'Rarities & Hidden Gems' because 18 of the 23 tracks are previously unreleased and those that have been released were mostly on small, obscure labels. It makes an enjoyable, informative and fitting end to the series.' (album notes).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

The Tubby Hayes Quartet - Free Flight: The Ron Matthewson Tapes Vol.3
(Jazz In Britain) - Released: 29th May 2020 [2 CDs]

Tubby Hayes (tenor sax, flute); Mike Pyne (piano); Ron Mathewson (bass); Tony Levin (drums)

Tubby Hayes Free Flight

 

 

 

'...Recorded on Mathewson's cassette recorder, this album, until somethingelse surfaces, makes this Hayes' last hurrah on record. His tone is firm, his phrase lengths shorter; however the concision of his musical ideas shows a remarkable fertile and original musical mind ....' (Stuart Nicholson in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Listen to I've Got You Under My Skin :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oscar Pettiford - Oscar Pettiford 1958 / 1959
(Jazzhaus) - Released: 2020

Oscar Pettiford (bass) with Dusko Goykovich (trumpet) Rolf Kuhn (clarinet); Lucky Thompson (soprano sax); Rudy Flierl (alto sax); Hans Koller (tenor sax); Helmut Brandt, Helmut Reinhardt, Johnny Feigl (bass); HansHammerschmidt (piano; Attila Zoller (guitar); Hartwig Bartz, Jimmy Pratt, Kenny Clarke (drums)

Oscar Pettiford 1958 - 1959

 

'One of Oscar Pettiford s greatest fans was Joachim-Ernst Berendt, jazz editor of the Südwestfunk Baden-Baden. After an All Star tour in Europe in 1958, Pettiford decided to relocate there. Berendt went straight to work organising a series of studio appointments with band members for his American guest. These included not only local talents such as trumpeter Dusko Goykovich, clarinettist Rolf Kühn and drummer Hartwig Bartz, but also more widely established artists such as saxophonist Hans Koller and guitarist Attila Zoller; each took his place in the queue. American colleagues, including drummer Kenny Clarke and saxophonist Lucky Thompson, occasionally joined the team and formed exquisite combos that discreetly courted Pettiford. For his part, Pettiford thanked them with inspired eloquence on his instrument. During the next couple of years, a good dozen recordings were made, mainly of standards, but also including Pettiford hits such as Blues in the Closet. These recordings document a master of the bebop swinging groove bass. Pettiford died prematurely in Copenhagen on 8 September 1960, as the result of a traffic accident. But he remains a charismatic figure in the annals of jazz history, whose art is always worth rediscovering.' (album notes). '....There's good playing from him and from some of the locals such as guitarist Zoller and reedmen Kuhn and Koller, but only the slow 'Sophisticated Lady' has fellow expatriate Lucky Thompson .....Most of these sessions are rather laid-back with either no percussion or very unobtrusive drumming ....' (Brian Priestley in Jazzwise ***)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

Monocled Man - Bernabe Jurado
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 17th April 2020 [EP & 7", 45 rpm and download]

Rory Simmons (trumpet, keyboards, electronics and processing); Chris Montague (guitar); Jon Scott (drums)

Monocled Man Bernabe Jurado

 

'Bernabe Jurado is the third release from Monocled Man, the boundary-crossing project assembled by trumpeter/programmer/producer Rory Simmons to realise his idiosyncratic musical vision that marries the freedom of improvisation, steeped in the European jazz tradition, with the powerful atmospheric affordances of contemporary digital sound manipulation. Guitarist Chris Montague (Troyka, Squarepusher) and drummer Jon Scott (Kairos 4Tet, Sons Of Kemet XL) provide the perfect complement for Simmons’ matching of comprehensive musical chops and fearless imagination, and the resultant EP glues together the atmosphere of Massive Attack inspired dub and Fourtet influenced ambience with freewheeling improv amongst the trio itself. Simmons’ wide-ranging cultural curiosity provides the inspirations behind the evocative, cinematic quality of Monocled Man’s music: Bernabe Jurado is inspired by the curious true story of William Burroughs’ murder of his wife Joan Vollmer in a drunken game of William Tell, and the subsequent defence offered by his enigmatic lawyer Bernabe Jurado: the macabre stories of Katherine Dunn and country singer Steve Earle’s Southern Gothic novel ‘I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive’ further set the tone and provide the imagery for Simmons to pin his project to. For this latest iteration, four tracks of delay drenched trumpet, jagged guitar lines and chewed up drum patterns unfolded in the studio around melodies penned by Simmons, only to be chopped and reassembled by him into new ever-evolving forms. For ‘Bernabe Jurado’ Simmons created layers of ambient textures, influenced by contemporary producers like Brian Eno and Thom Yorke, over which his trumpet playing moves between Arve Henriksen/Nils Petter Molvaer inspired introspection, the twisting improv of Dave Douglas and the glassy rawness of Tomaz Stanko. The otherworldly ‘Sero Max For Joan Vollmer’ is based around multiple cut up rhythm parts from Scott and cumulates in a fearsome shred from Chris Montague....... Impossible to categorise, equally impossible to forget, Monocled Man continues the exploration into half-glimpsed worlds at the fringes of creative imagination.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to The Raw, Mineral Blue :

 

 

 

 

 

Rick Simpson - Everything All Of The Time: Kid A Revisited
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 23rd October 2020

Rick Simpson (piano/arrangements); Tori Freestone (tenor saxophone & violin on track 4); James Allsopp (baritone saxophone); Dave Whitford (double bass); Will Glaser (drums)

Rick Simpson Everything All Of The Time

 

'Rick Simpson’s impeccable technique and restless imagination have earned him a place at the forefront of contemporary UK music. He’s equally at home exploring the tradition or pushing fearlessly against the boundaries, and now his unique creative voice is back in the spotlight with a typically idiosyncratic project: a re-framing of Radiohead’s Kid A album, featuring ten original arrangements of the source material played by an all-star band of like-minded musical mavericks. Whirlwind recording artist Tori Freestone joins James Allsop to form the twin-saxophone frontline, and Simpson is joined in the rhythm section by by the universally respected veteran Dave Whitford on bass and upcoming young hotshot Will Glaser on drums. The project was created to mark the 20th anniversary of the original album’s release, as part of a series of sell-out shows curated by Simpson at London’s Vortex club featuring non-jazz records rearranged with an improvisational focus. The original show was such a success, drawing in listeners from beyond the club’s regular audience, that Simpson re-assembled the band in the studio and recorded the entire album in a single afternoon session “I think the time pressure contributed to the performances. It’s really punchy and to the point, but a lot happens – it captures the energy so well”. There’s a wealth of detail to discover, and surprises at every turn. 'Everything In Its Right Place’ sets the scene, with the horns framing a beautifully constructed solo from Simpson, leading into the hushed piano intro of ‘Kid A’ that builds and builds towards a dramatic finale of controlled chaos.... ‘Motion Picture Soundtrack’ ends the journey with a hushed, contemplative ballad reading. Simpson’s imaginative, free-flowing arrangements give his superb band space to unleash their own individual voices. Sometimes sticking closely to the original melodies, sometimes re-purposing elements as the jumping-off point for radically new explorations, he leads his creative cohort to create a thrillingly uncategorizable musical experience. This record takes the listener on a journey through an ever-changing landscape of powerfully emotive moods and textures, while still preserving the concise, focused energy and emotional directness of the original. (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Everything In Its Right Place : Listen to Morning Bell :

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Smith - Gecko
(Basho Records) - Released: 6th November 2020 [digital release]

Tom Smith (alto sax and bass clarinet); Will Barry (piano); Jonny Mansfield (vibraphone)

Tom Smith Gecko album

 

 

'Gecko is the debut album from award winning young saxophonist Tom Smith, a rising star on the London jazz scene. Gecko brings Tom together in a unique collaboration with pianist Will Barry and vibraphonist Jonny Mansfield, and features Tom’s energetic and joyful new compositions, which allow this special band to shine.' (album notes). :

Details and Sample : Introductory Video : Tom Smith's Tea Break article for Sandy Brown Jazz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Williams - Live At London Jazz Festival: Road Tales
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 20th November 2020

Jeff Williams (drums); John O'Gallagher (alto saxophone); Josh Arcoleo (tenor saxophone); Sam Lasserson (double bass)

Jeff Williams Road Tales

 

'Ohio native Jeff Williams cut his teeth playing with the likes of Stan Getz and Dave Liebman in the febrile atmosphere of 1970s New York, but London is now his second home and his free-ranging creativity both as drummer and as composer, coupled with his dedication as a teacher and bearer of the tradition, has embedded him deep into the UK scene. This recording features an all-star cast of his longtime collaborators, with altoist John O’Gallagher and Josh Arcoleo on tenor making a ferocious twin-horn frontline and virtuoso bassist Sam Lasserson completing the rhythm section. With all the compelling immediacy of a live concert recording, 'Road Tales' documents how the shared experiences of being a band on the road for a decade or so has shaped a musical narrative, as each member tells the story of those experiences, and shows how they established their own identity within the compositions. “Some of these tunes go back many years, but I think what’s special here is the way that band works together, adding things that aren’t on the paper. So many things were completely unplanned - it’s pure interaction, the sound of a band taking risks together.” Williams’ compositions give his band a wonderfully diverse span of moods and colours to work with, and they rise to each occasion magnificently ... 'Road Tales', his sixth release for Whirlwind, marks the latest stage on a continuous musical journey for Williams and his musical partners. “I love to have a band that is able to take chances – It’s wonderful the way this group can develop my compositions, with their ability to take things as far as possible without going over the cliff. There aren't many actual on-going bands in jazz anymore. The fact that this is one is something I'm proud of. That's the only way a performance of this type becomes possible.” (album notes)

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Listen to The Interloper :

 

 

 

 

 

Simon Deeley's Blue Haze - Afan's Dance
(Self Release) - Released: 31st May 2020

Simon Deeley (piano, keyborads); Ian Cooper (bass); Charlie Russell (drums)

Simon Deeleys Blue Haze Afans Dance

 

 

'The music recorded for Afan's Dance shows the full stylistic range of Simon Deeley's writing at this time: from powerful, driving Jazz-Fusion numbers to groove-driven, blues-infused tracks, and on through atmospheric film music style compositions, to reflective, evocative ballads. Simon Deeley performed for many years on the Birmingham/Midlands jazz scene. In recent times Simon's focus has been on composing. Since his move to the Welsh Borders in 2014, his career has centred on writing and performing his own music, which has led to the production of three albums - Crossing Borders (2016), From the Blue Hills (2017), and Afan's Dance (2019), the later two recorded by current band Blue Haze. (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Hey CC! : Inroductory Video :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Hamilton - Between The Lines
(Self Release) - Released: 21st August 2020

Steve Hamilton (keys, mixing & mastering); Martin Taylor (acoustic guitar); Don Paterson (guitars, arranging & programming); Paul Booth (saxophone); Davie Dunsmuir (guitars)

Steve Hamilton Between The Lines

 

'Scottish pianist and keyboards player Steve Hamilton has used the enforced inactivity of lockdown to record his first solo album, Between the Lines, with friends including guitar virtuoso, Martin Taylor MBE dropping by to guest on selected tracks. The album’s release coincides with a period of recuperation for Hamilton following surgery to remove his right kidney after a tumour was found during a CT scan for another problem that has since cleared up. “I went into hospital on September 25th and had the kidney removed along with the tumour and hopefully any traces of it from my body,” he says. “It seems we found it early enough to hope for a clear outcome moving forward.” As the Covid-19 pandemic began to take its effect on live music, Hamilton had tours with his regular employer, drumming legend Billy Cobham, as well as all his other bookings, cancelled. Having appeared on more than forty recordings by luminaries including drummer Bill Bruford’s Earthworks, saxophonists Peter King and Tommy Smith and guitarist Tony Remy, he felt this was an ideal opportunity to release an album of his own. Most of the material was written, often on the spot, by Hamilton alone or with his guests. Opening track Awakening explores the textures and tones available with the latest keyboard technology. The ballad Ealasaid, dedicated to Martin Taylor’s wife, Elizabeth, was created spontaneously by Hamilton and Taylor. For the powerful, atmospheric In a Flash of Light, Hamilton invited Davie Dunsmuir to add electric guitar to his keyboard and rhythm track, and Paul Booth’s tenor saxophone brought out the yearning quality of From the Embers. “I really enjoyed the process of making the album,” says Steve. “I didn’t set out with any particular aim or sound in mind. Of course, I didn’t expect to be undergoing life-saving surgery once the recording was finished but I’m beginning to do some exercise, like slow walking, and I’m looking forward to getting back into some kind of musical action again. I’m just so grateful to my NHS consultant and the whole team who looked after me. They were all amazing.” (Rob Adams).

Details and Samples : Listen to In A Flash Of Light : Listen to Ealasaid : Video :

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Shipp Trio - The Unidentifiable
(Esp-Disk/K7/Other) - Released: 18th September 2020

Matthew Shipp (piano); Michael Bisio (double bass); Newman Taylor Baker (drums)

Matthew Shipp Trio The Unidentifiable

 

'Starting in the bebop era, the piano-bass-drums lineup has been the most classic jazz format in which the piano is featured, accumulating the weight of history and critical expectations. In this setting, a non-mainstream player such as Shipp can infiltrate Newport Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and other Establishment bastions in a familiar format and then unleash his ideas on audiences that might not normally be exposed to his style. Thanks to hearing it in the communal language of the piano trio, they can better understand the message the Matthew Shipp Trio has to deliver – “Mr. Shipp’s predilection for finding fertile ground between accessibility and abstraction,” as Larry Blumenfeld wrote in The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Shipp says, "The piano trio is such a basic configuration in jazz, and it is an honor to take a well-explored area and apply my imagination to it to see where we can go—it helps that my trio mates are great." Shipp, Bisio, and Baker convened at Shipp's favorite recording venue last year looking to pursue a new direction. The result is both distinctively Shippian yet a further evolution of the group’s sound.' (album notes). 'The phenomenal pianist Matthew Shipp leads one of the best trios currently at work. Relying on the acute, sensitive responsiveness of bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Newman Taylor Baker, Shipp creates freely with a broad aesthetic range that goes beyond the expected. The three musicians are mavericks of the rhythm and texture who cultivate an exemplary balance between discipline and abandon. Wonderful, lyrical moments are extracted from the new album, The Unidentifiable, starting with “Blue Transport System”, which, possessing that kind of slow, seductive rhythmic flow that keeps us engaged, also pulsates at a quiet boil. Bisio’s melodious bass helps to cultivate this trance-like penchant for reverie, and the lovely finale is worthy of a film-noir score.....The charm and energy are palpable throughout the album’s 11 tracks. This is such an elastic trio, whose immense resources take them wherever they want.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples *: Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Blue Transport System :
* Recordings in Bandcamp Dollars convert to £ Sterling if you choose to buy.

 

 

 

 

 

Gregg August - Dialogues On Race Volume One
(Iacuessa Records) - Released: 21st August 2020

John Ellis (soprano sax); Bruce Williams (alto sax); JD Allen Tenor sax); Ken Thomson (bass clarinet); John Bailey (trumpet/flugelhorn); Rafi Malkiel (trombone/euphonium); Marcus Rojas (tuba); Luis Perdomo (piano); Gregg August (bass/composer); Donald Edwards (drums); Mauricio Herrera (congas/shekeré/castanets); Frank Lacy, Shelley Washington, Forest VanDyke (vocals); Wayne Smith (narrator); Leah Asher, Lena Vidulich, Yuri Namkung, Johnna Wu (violin); Wendy Richman, Brian Zenone (viola); Madeline Fayette (cello).

Gregg August Dialogues On Race Volume One

 

'Raising awareness of the racial problem in America, bassist/composer Gregg August, a fundamental pillar in the acclaimed trio led by saxophonist JD Allen and also a respected member of Arturo O’Farrill's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, releases his fourth album as a leader. Featuring a 12-piece big band, Dialogues on Race Volume One is a mature two-disc jazz opus composed and premiered in 2009,  that only now is released on record. Motivated by Black Lives Matter and other civil rights movements, it's a reflection that urges us to combat racism and all the injustices derived from it. The bassist, being white, was not discouraged by black fellow musicians and friends to present a sonic meditation largely centered on Emmett Till’s cruel assassination by lynching in 1955. The titles “Your Only Child” - inspired by Marilyn Nelson’s poem and presented in three distinct parts, the second of which shaping up as a lonely arco bass dirge - and “Mother Mamie’s Reflections” - where Emmett’s mother’s poignant words resonate atop of the brooding low sounds emitted by bowed bass, tuba and bass clarinet - are powerful musical statements imbued with troubled historical context....... Equally dynamic, “The Bird Leaps” encompasses head-to-head dialogues, smooth tempo shifts and compellingly articulated statements from saxophonists John Ellis, Bruce Williams and JD Allen on soprano, alto and tenor, respectively. August matured into a talented leader and composer; this is a quite colorful work with a lot to absorb and reflect upon.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples * : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Your Only Child Second Statement : Listen to Mother Mamies's Reflections : Listen to The Bird Leaps :
* Recordings in Bandcamp Dollars convert to £ Sterling if you choose to buy



 

 

 

Trio Grande - Trio Grande
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 13th November 2020

Will Vinson (saxophones and electric piano); Gilad Hekselman (guitar); Antonio Sanchez (drums)

Trio Grande album

 

'Trio Grande is the debut statement from a brand new project that unites three of the most inventive, exciting and accomplished musicians working at the interface of New York’s contemporary musical culture, where the city’s rich tradition of jazz meets crosscurrents blowing in from across the world. British-born saxophonist Will Vinson, Israeli guitarist Gilad Hekselman and Mexico City native, longtime Jackson Heights, Queens resident Antonio Sánchez first came together at one of the city’s legendary club residencies at the Cornelia Street Café, and the chemistry and excitement was immediate. Each brings their own formidable reputation as bandleader and composer in their own right, but when they started playing together, following their impulses with all the freedom afforded by the bassless trio format, they found the music taking on its own creative directions that surprised and delighted them all. Says Vinson: ‘We’re all grounded in jazz but all of us are also looking for other sounds and influences to bring in: that’s what we have in common, and what sets us apart is that all our sounds and influences are so different!’. The album’s magic lies in the way that so many disparate musical elements are woven together to create such a coherent whole. ... Texture and dynamics are as important as melody and improvisation, all brilliantly captured by engineer Mike Marciano’s warm, crystal clear studio sound. The music will be available on CD / DL and Limited Edition 180g Double LP with gatefold artwork. The LP contains three bonus tracks: an original by Vinson, a loving deconstruction of John Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’ and a reverent reading of ‘Silence’ by Charlie Haden. The selection of tracks shows the scope of the trio’s no-limits influences and underlines the spirit of openness and unity of purpose that defines this remarkable collaboration.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Northbound :

 

 

 

 

The Dave Brubeck Quartet - The Singles Collection 1956-1962
(Jasmine) - Released: 2020

Dave Brubeck (piano); Bill Smith (clarinet); Paul Desmond (alto sax); Bob Bates, Eugene Wright (bass); Joe Dodge, Joe Morello (drums); Carmen McRae (vocals)

Dave Brubeck Quartet The Singles Collection

 

 

'Dave Brubeck is one of very few artists to cross over from the jazz world to the pop charts. The versions of his recordings issued as singles often had unique performances or edits created for them which have rarely been reissued until now. This compilation features A and B sides from both the UK and USA issued between 1956 and 1962, including all UK chart and Billboard hits. This includes versions of 'It's a Raggy Waltz' and 'Blue Shadows in the Street' that were specially recorded for single release and not issued on LP, the original single version of his international hit 'Take Five' and many 45 rpm edits issued here in stereo for the first time. Includes collaborations with singer Carmen McRae and clarinettist Bill Smith, along with his classic quartet featuring saxophonist Paul Desmond. The set features what could be described as "Bite-sized Brubeck" in comparison to some of his long-form 10-minute performances. It serves as a great introduction to his genius as a pianist/composer for those new to his music, but also as a Rarities set for his fans.' (album notes). '....This compilation of singles released by the Dave Brubeck Quartet actually begins in 1951 ... Jasmine have also muddled the personnel - Brubeck and Desmond were joined by Bryan Ruther (bass) and Herb Barman (drums), not Bob Bates and Joe Dodge ...' (Philip Clark in Jazzwise ***)

Details, Samples and Reviews:

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio & Quintet - Four Classic Albums
(Avid Jazz) - Released 2020 [2 CDs]

John Coltrane (tenor sax); Donald Byrd (trumpet); Red Garland (piano); Paul Chambers, George Joyner (bass); Arthur Taylor (drums)

John Coltrane Red Garland Four Classic Albums

 

'AVID Jazz continues with its Four Classic Albums series with a finely re-mastered 2CD release from John Coltrane with The Red Garland Trio & Quintet complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details. For this set, our fourth featuring John Coltrane and second featuring The Red Garland Trio & Quintet we have selected four more albums that bring together, arguably the greatest ever tenor sax player and one of perhaps the greatest unsung giants of jazz piano. Given the massive drawing power of the name John Coltrane we have cheated a little by placing his name first on this release as we genuinely feel it will lead more jazz fans to discover the genius of Red Garland who was actually the leader on three of our releases. 'John Coltrane with The Red Garland Trio', 'The Red Garland Quintet featuring John Coltrane & Donald Byrd: Soul Junction', 'The Red Garland Quintet with John Coltrane & Donald Byrd: High Pressure' and 'The Red Garland Quintet with John Coltrane: Dig It!' As the story of John Coltrane is pretty well known we thought we would just focus a little more on Red Garland on this occasion. A word about Red Garland... How many jazz pianists can say that they went a few rounds with the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson? Well certainly our next artist can! Red Garland began his career as a boxer, fighting over 30 bouts including an exhibition match with the aforesaid legend! Calming things down a little, Red began his musical career on the alto sax and clarinet before moving to the piano. In the period directly after the Second World War, Red Garland appeared to be playing with just about everybody who was anybody in the jazz world including Billy Eckstine, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Charlie Parker and Lester Young. Actually the more we check out Red's resume the more staggering it becomes when you start to consider that he hadn't even met Miles and Trane yet!! And thus Garland's career continued until Red was invited to play on the legendary recordings by The Miles Davis Quintet (recently released by Avid - AMSC1376) and John Coltrane joins his Trio and Quintet alongside the likes of Paul Chambers, Arthur Taylor, George Joyner and Donald Byrd. We strongly urge you to listen to this release and you will discover a great pianist in Red Garland alongside some classic early Coltrane playing with a fine band of jazz brothers.' (album notes). ' .... Avid's budget-priced two-fers such as this edition are fast becoming the way for new listeners to encounter the music's past ..... theirs was a teaming that thrived on contrasts .... full of character individuality and charm. Recommended (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Reviews :

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Mingus - Charles Mingus @ Bremen 1964 & 1975
(Sunnyside Records) Released: 2020 [4 CDs]

Charles Mingus (bass); Johnny Coles (trumept); Eric Dolphy (alto sax, flute, bass clarinet); Clifford Jordan (tenor sax); Jaki Byard (piano); Dannie Richmond (drums)

Charles Mingus at Bremen

 

'The great bassist and composer Charles Mingus had his diehard supporters and detractors. His explosive intermingling of devil may care attitude, imposing character and aggressive music was sure to rub some listeners the wrong way and was just as likely to attract adventurous fans. But his genius could not be denied; it just may have taken some time to break down barriers. // A good way to examine this change in listener attitudes is to investigate the differences in critical appraisals from two performances in the port city of Bremen, Germany, a decade apart. The initial performance in 1964 introduced Mingus's firebrand ways to an unsuspecting audience while his 1975 appearance was met with the expectancy of jazz royalty. The performances appear in their first official release remastered from the original source tapes on Charles Mingus @ Bremen 1964 & 1975. // Both of Mingus's performances in Bremen are incredible marathons of brilliance from the top musicians of two decades. The performances don't show a wilting in the passion of the leader. A decade apart, the performances are every bit as cutting edge. The only thing that seems to have changed was the attitude of the critical mind, as ten years of achievement had cemented Mingus's legacy in Europe.' (album notes). 'Twolive sets performed 11 years apart, not only give an excellent summary of Mingus' very individual approach to composition, they also constitute excellent accounts of two of his most outstanding bands ... this reissue uses the original tapes from Radio Bremen.' (Brian Priestley in Jazzwise ****).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Barron Trio - From This Moment On
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 2nd October 2020

Rob Barron (piano); Jeremy Brown (bass); Josh Morrison (drums)

Rob Barron Trio From This Moment On

 

'Pianist Rob Barron has been a mainstay on the London jazz and studio scene for years and is highly regarded for his improvisational flair, innate musicality and a deft touch that reveal influences inspired by Blue Note greats Cedar Walton, Wynton Kelly and Sonny Clark. Barron’s latest recording, From This Moment On, features Jeremy Brown on bass and Josh Morrison on drums and follows his critically acclaimed 2016 debut What’s In Store. “On this album I feel I have created a work that reflects who I am as an artist today. In a departure from my debut album, this recording centres on the piano trio. Now is the time to produce a classic trio recording that reflects my influences and puts me in the piano trio spotlight,” explains Barron. “My playing and arranging style has developed greatly since my debut and I feel energised by the musical bond within the trio, the arrangements and the space I am in as a player.” From This Moment On is a beautiful collection of music featuring compositions by Barron (‘Fortune Green’ and ‘Evidently’) as well as imaginative interpretations of classics from the Great American Songbook. “‘From This Moment On’ struck me as the perfect name for this album. As well as being the title of the Cole Porter song featured on the record, I felt the optimistic narrative of the lyrics (‘From this moment on, No more blue songs/ We’ll be riding high/ Every care is gone…’) is a positive and hopeful sentiment during this period of crisis in the world,” says Barron. “It brings a sense of looking forward to a brighter future.” (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to Pure Imagination : Video for A Time For Love :

 

 

 

 

 

Linley Hamilton Quintet - For The Record
(Teddy D Records) - Released: March 2020

Linley Hamilton (trumpet, flugelhorn); Derek O'Connor (tenor saxophone); Cian Boylan (piano, organ); Mark Egan (bass); Adam Nussbaum (drums)

Linley Hamilton Quintet For The record

 

 

'Linley Hamilton has been the foremost trumpeter in Ireland for the last 20 years. He is one of the most prolific figures in the jazz scene on these islands between his role as a Radio broadcaster for the BBC, his position as Professor of music at The Ulster University Magee and of course meeting the demands of his musical performances.He has released several albums as a leader as well as appearing on several albums by Paul Brady and Eleanor McEvoy. Linley has also performed on several occasions with Van Morrison. 'For the Record' sees Linley return with a quintet format for his next creative project. A superb recording that highlights Linley's sensational ability as a virtuoso horn player. Joining Linley are US stars Adam Nussbaum on drums and Mark Egan on bass, Derek "Doc" O'Connor on saxophone and Cian Boylan on piano.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Listen to Holly's Moment : Listen to Right Angle :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fini Bearman - La Loba
(Self Release) - Released: 9th October 2020

Fini Bearman (compositions and lyrics, voice, piano, guitar, charango, mandolin, ukulele, electric bass, percussion, glockenspiel, tenor saxophone); Zosia Jagodzinska - cello (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 10 & 11)

Fini Bearman La Loba

 

 

'Spanning a wide range of musical textures and lyrical themes, ‘La Loba’ is infused with world-wide influences, from American folklore (La Loba) to stories of young children in East Berlin (And We Climb). Narratives play a pivotal role throughout and with this change in aesthetic - multi-layered vocals, guitars and percussion, perhaps reminiscent of Becca Stevens or Jacob Collier - this sound-world draws the listener in as the elements of each story unfold. These are songs about womanhood and childhood; looking for love and finding it; femininity, courage and the life-long journey towards individuation. Fini looks at the problems we face in this modern age; the pull of social media and worrying shifts in global politics. As well as drawing luscious and vivid imagery, this album is a celebration of all the dimensions of life as well as a call to arms - challenging the listener to stand up and find their own voice. ‘We all begin as a bundle of bones lost somewhere in the desert, a dismantled skeleton that lies under the sand. It is our work to recover the parts.’ (Clarissa Pinkola Estés -Women Who Run With Wolves). (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to La Loba : Listen to Beholden : Tea Break article with Fini Bearman :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dee Byrne and Cath Roberts - Disembark!
(Luminous Label) - Released: 18th September 2020

Dee Byrne (alto saxophone); Cath Roberts (baritone saxophone)

Dee Byrne and Cath Roberts Disembark!

 

'Recorded by Cath at Gun Factory Studios in April 2019, it was mixed by Alex Bonney and has original album artwork by Dee. Disembark! is a series of short, spontaneous improvisations that explore a dramatic range of textures, whilst maintaining the sense of an ongoing, inquisitive conversation. The recording came about after a series of live duo performances; going into the studio seemed like the next logical step. The release was originally planned for earlier in the summer, with a five date duo tour booked and ready to go, but that plan was derailed by the pandemic. Now, we've decided to get the music out there. Dee and Cath have played together in many different ensembles since they started working together, most recently in February this year with MoonMot (more about that on the LUME blog), touring the UK and Europe to mark the sextet's debut album just before COVID-19 shut all the venues down. Playing together as musicians has been part of a larger context, combined with running LUME projects together and releasing music through Luminous. Disembark! is available as a digital album via Bandcamp. No physical copies for now, but ask us again when touring is back on...' (Dee and Cath)

Details and Samples : Listen to the title track Disembark! : Listen to On The Tip Of My Mind :

 

 

 

 

John Hollenbeck - Songs You Like A Lot
(Flexatonic Records ) - Released: 14th August 2020

John Hollenbeck (composer, arranger, conductor); Kate McGarry (vocals); Theo Bleckmann (vocals); Gary Versace (piano, organ) + Frankfurt Radio Big Band.

John Hollenbeck Songs You Like A Lot'......This project brought up questions I asked myself numerous times: What is arranging? Why arrange? Why arrange popular songs? Is it still a “pop” song if it was not “popular”? Must the original still be recognizable in the arrangement? What can you arrange and what must be left intact so that the original is still there? When does it stop being an arrangement and transition to being a re-composition or original-composition-based-on-another-piece? And, do you have to like a song or composition to be able to create a good arrangement of it? Going into the project, my answer to this last question was “yes,” but now at the end of this project, my answer has changed to a definite “no.” As it turns out, for this recording, I was able to enjoy arranging pieces that I did not know or, in some cases, even like.......(album notes). 'With Songs You Like a Lot, drummer/composer/arranger John Hollenbeck concludes the trilogy started in 2013 with Songs I Like a Lot and continued with Songs We Like a Lot. This album, featuring the synergetic pair of vocalists Kate McGerry/Theo Bleckmann on top of keyboardist Gary Versace (who returns after Uri Caine has taken the piano chair on the second installment) and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, is the first to be released on Hollenbeck’s own label Flexatonic Records. Similarly as in previous sessions, popular songs were culled from different genres (this time chosen online by a group of fans/listeners), being reshaped and stretched into musical states that still respect the integrity of the original versions. Even pushing the program a bit more into the pop canon, the eclectic drummer opens the album with the methodical gospel chant of the traditional “Down In the River To Pray”. This well-intentioned song makes a good catch with the understated “Kindness”, the sole Hollenbeck original, which sounds like a Bjork oddity subtly adorned with affable woodwind lines and beautified with melancholic improvisations from bassist Hans Glawischnig and guitarist Martin Scales......Although I was not particularly impressed with the song selection, there are two pieces in the lineup that made me experience an immediate connection. The first of them was Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love”, here transformed by excellent rhythmic mutations and offering spectacle in the arrangement. It kicks off with a magnetic drum beat over which piano, flute and bass clarinet probe odd intervals. It also adds organ for textural consistency and color, and a tenor saxophone solo that stands out during the most orchestrally populated phase of the song. The other one was a memorable, risk-taking version of Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up”, here launched by a lone trumpet and redirected into a funkified jazz full of groove and harmonic force.....' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to How Deep Is Your Love :

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Wilson Quartet - Hug!
(Palmetto Records) - Released: 2020

Jeff Lederer (tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet, piccolo, voice); Kirk Knuffke (cornet, soprano cornet, voice); Chris Lightcap (acoustic and electric basses, 8 string space bass, voice); Matt Wilson (drums, xylophone, voice).

Matt Wilson Quartet Hug

 

'Need a little musical snuggle time? The irrepressible drummer/composer Matt Wilson brings us a virtual 'Hug!'. A new Matt Wilson album isn't so much a snapshot capturing the drummer at a particular moment in time. Rather, his recordings are more like a musical family tree,vividly illustrating the web of relationships that manifest in his music. A creative force since the 1980s, he embodies a verdant and radically unbounded aesthetic, and ' Hug' embraces some of his deepest nourishing roots. Featuring Wilson's long-running quartet with saxophonist Jeff Lederer, cornetist Kirk Knuffke and bassist Chris Lightcap, 'Hug!' documents one of jazz's most potent and expressive working bands exploring a typically far-flung Wilsonian program.' (album notes). 'American drummer/composer Matt Wilson reconvenes his monumental quartet - pairing up with bassist Chris Lightcap in the rhythm section and having reedsman Jeff Lederer and cornetist Kirk Knuffke sharing the frontline - to perform an 11-track session crammed with improvisational virtuosity and quicksilver interplay. The drummer’s phenomenal work, known for its elasticity and versatility, can encompass everything from New Orleans marches to muscular swinging numbers to uncompromising avant-garde tradition. Consisting of originals and covers alike, Hug! is no exception to the rule, having been programmed with a wide aesthetic variety.... More than anything, this album expresses the immense joy these four musicians feel when they play together. They have fun while exploring the visceral pleasures of swing and marching songs, or by simply exchanging muscular melodies with ecstasy.' (JazzTrail).

Details : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to the title track Hug : Listen to Space Force March :

 

 

 

 

Diana Krall - This Dream Of You
(Verve) - Released: 25th September 2020

Diana Krall (piano, vocals); Alan Broadbent piano, arranger); Anthony Wilson, Russell Malone (guitar); Christian McBride, John Clayton (bass); Jeff Hamilton (drums);– and includes numbers with Stuart Duncan (violin, fiddle); Marc Ribot (guitar); Bob Dylan’s bassist Tony Garnier, Randall Krall (accordion); Karriem Riggins (percussion).

Diana Krall This Dream Of You

 

 

 

“This Dream Of You” is a new album that I have produced from sessions that took place in 2016 and 2017, leading up to Turn Up the Quiet, but it is very far from a record of outtakes or unfinished music. When Tommy Lipuma died shortly before TUTQ was released, I lost not only a great friend but my creative partner. Earlier this year, I realize that I still had work to do in preparing the large repertoire covered in those 2016-2017 sessions for this new album. I’m glad to say that record leads off with “But Beautiful”, a performance that Tommy loved with all his heart and the last song we were able to complete together. Some of these performances have unavoidable poignance. In days when one cannot easily travel to New York, in “Autumn” or any other season, I have to believe that there is still a place for hope even in a city of struggle and change." (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video for Autumn In New York : Listen to But Beautiful :

 

 

 

 

 

Hanna Schörken - Luma
(Leo Records) - Released: September 2020

Hanna Schörken (vocals)

Hanna Schorken Luma

 

 

 

'With her solo album Luma, Hanna Schörken shows herself as an improviser with great vocal techniques, expression and an urge to explore the unknown. She combines a wild, sensitive, fiercs and word-related approach towards vocal free expression and in the last years she has become a significant voice on the scene. In her improvisations she dives deep into an emotional landscape of her voice: curious and without fearof silence or chaos (album notes).

Details and Sample : Video of Hanna singing in 2018 :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miles Davis Quintet - Four Classic Albums
(Avid Jazz) - Released: 14th August 2020

Miles Davis (trumpet); John Coltrane (tenor sax); Red Gardland (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); Philly Joe Jones (drums)

Miles Davis Quintet Four Classic Albums

 

'AVID Jazz continues with its Four Classic Albums series with a re-mastered 2CD release from The Miles Davis Quintet complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details 'Cookin', 'Relaxin'; 'Workin' and 'Steamin' Over the years we at AVID have been developing a catalogue of classic jazz albums, while also giving some space to some lesser known names and perhaps forgotten jazzmen and jazzwomen who made their own significant mark on the jazz world. These days it's a pretty large and diverse catalogue which deserves to be checked out by all jazz fans. Many featured albums are now hard to find or ridiculously expensive. Because it was important to us to feature some of the lesser names in jazz we have inevitably left some significant gaps in the catalogue along the way, which we are now setting about rectifying. Our next release certainly falls into that category! A true classic jazz quartet comes to AVID Jazz only this time the quartet is a Quintet! The Miles Davis Quintet present four classic albums 'Cookin'; 'Relaxin'; ''Workin' & 'Steamin'. Universally recognised as one of the greatest jazz quintets ever recorded (until Miles created the 2nd great jazz quintet in the 1960s!), Miles Davis was at the top of his game when, in October 1956, he bought together four of the greatest musicians of the day (including one who would go on to become a jazz legend) to record a bunch of tunes that would make up the four classic albums we are honouring with this fine release. Alongside Miles Davis, was John Coltrane on tenor sax, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and 'Philly' Joe Jones on drums.' (album notes). 'This famous material was last reissued as recently as last year and reviewed enthsuiastically in Jazzwise. That release on the Jazz Images label reproduced the music in the order it was recorded at two lengthy dates for the Prestige label, whereas here it's grouped as originally issued on the four legendary albums .....' (Brian Priestley in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

Alan Wakeman - The Octet Broadcasts 1969 and 1979
(Gearbox Records) - Released: 21st August 2020

Alan Wakeman (tenor sax, clarinet); Alan Skidmore (tenor sax, flute, two gongs at once); Mike Osborne (alto sax, clarinet, tambourine); Paul Rutherford (trombone, small Chinese gong); Paul Nieman (trombone, small Chinese gong); John Taylor (piano, castanets); Lindsay Cooper (bass, sleigh bells); Paul Lytton (drums)

Alan Wakeman The Octet Broadcasts

 

'The next young generation of British jazz” has been applied many times to London’s current jazz scene, but this headline from Melody Maker was also used to describe Alan Wakeman and his band back in 1970. And if a prototype for Binker and Moses' viscerally energetic, semi-free sound is sought, you would be hard pressed to find a closer relative than the second part of climactic Disc 1 highlight 'Dreams'. The Octet Broadcasts is made up of two BBC sessions from 1969 and 1979 respectively. Taken and mastered from the original analogue tapes by Gearbox, the album offers a snapshot of a time when British jazz was at another high, featuring such names as John Taylor, Alan Skidmore, Paul Lytton, and Art Themen, who themselves were contemporaries of and collaborated with the likes of Evan Parker, Michael Garrick, Ian Carr, and Roscoe Mitchell. Wakeman, influenced by Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus and mentored by Mike Westbrook, was composing singular, large ensemble pieces at a time when jazz had long left the limelight and rock was in the foreground. His brand of warm, pastoral jazz, reminiscent of brass bands and traditional chorales whilst also fit to bursting with free improvisation and dramatic motifs, is representative of a magical period in British jazz which deserves to be unearthed and heard again.' (album notes). '...Talk about prophets unheard and all that - the groups Wakeman assembled here never got to play live, these dates were the only time they played together' (Stuart Nicholson in Jazzwise ****)  

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Heath - Four Classic Albums
(Avid Jazz) - Released: 17th July 2020

Jimmy Heath (tenor sax); Nat Adderley (cornet); Clark Terry, Freddie Hubbard (trumpet); Julius Watkins,Dick Berg (french horn); Curtis Fuller, Tom McIntosh (trombone); Cannonball Adderley (alto sax); Pat Patrick (baritone sax); Wynton Kelly, Cedar Walton (piano); Percy Heath, Paul Chambers (bass); Albert Heath (drums)

Jimmy Heath Four Classic Albums

'AVID Jazz continues with its Four Classic Album series with a re-mastered 2CD release from Jimmy Heath, complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details 'The Thumper'; 'Really Big!'; 'The Quota' and 'Triple Threat' One of the many great aspects of working with the wonderful folks at AVID is the opportunity to discover artists that for one reason or another, have eluded ones musical radar. One such name is our latest recruit to the AVID Hall of Jazz, Mr Jimmy Heath. Sadly, it has taken the recent passing of Mr Heath at 93 years of age in January 2020 to bring him to our attention through a suggestion from one of our dedicated customers. Selecting the albums for our set, what struck us out about Jimmy Heath was the wonderful sound he made on his tenor sax, it was so rich and full of life and energy. Starting jazz life playing with his two musical brothers, Percy and Albert, Jimmy found early success as an alto player but getting a rep as 'Little Bird' Jimmy decided to make the switch to tenor in order to stand out from his influences. Heath had a classic (some might say almost cliched) jazz life when as a heroin addict in the 1950s he was imprisoned (more than once) and would eventually spend most of a six year sentence incarcerated. He eventually emerged in 1959 having spent much of his prison time composing and playing jazz. Cleaning up took some time but Jimmy did it and was clean for the rest of his long life. As an arranger, composer (100+ songs) and player the list of jazz men he played with or who used his compositions is actually quite startling, take a look at this lot. Donald Byrd, Benny Carter, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, Art Farmer, Curtis Fuller, Red Garland, John Coltrane, Milt Jackson, Elmo Hope, Milt Jackson, JJ Johnson, Sam Jones, Herbie Mann, Cal Tjader, Nat & 'Cannonball' Adderley, Chet Baker and Ahmad Jamal. So, as you would expect, Jimmy is joined by a whole host of great jazz players for these four fine selections. Here's just a flavour of some of those guys, Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, Nat Adderley, 'Cannonball' Adderley, Pat Patrick, Clark Terry, Cedar Walton, Tommy Flanagan, Julius Watkins and of course not forgetting Jimmy's famous siblings Percy and Albert Heath who were often essential mainstays of his bands on bass and drums respectively.' (album notes). '.... Presented in beatiful sound quality, these sets make an ideal introduction to Heath's music' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ***)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Allison Neale - Quietly There
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 11th September 2020

Allison Neale (alto saxophone); Peter Bernstein (guitar); Dave Green (bass); Steve Brown (drums)

Allison Neale Quietly There

 

 

'Allison Neale is an alto saxophonist on the UK jazz scene. She is influenced by the US West Coast altoists of the 1950s like Art Pepper, Paul Desmond and Bud Shank. Allison has previously released four albums including 'Melody Express' with Dave Cliff, 'Blue Concept' with trumpeter Gary Kavanagh and 'I Wished on the Moon' with vibraphonist Nat Steele, and 'Then and Now' with UK baritonist Chris Biscoe. 'Quietly There' Allison's latest recording features the international jazz superstar Peter Bernstein from New York on guitar, plus Dave Green on bass and Steve Brown on drums. 'Quietly There' was recorded at Angel Studios. The album was inspired by Allison's and Peter's love for the music and the musical partnership of Jim Hall and Paul Desmond, particularly as both Peter Bernstein and Dave Green played together with Jim Hall.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Split Kick : Listen to Midnight Sun :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nubya Garcia - Source
(Concord Jazz) - Released: 21st August 2020

Nubya Garcia (tenor sax); Joe Armon-Jones (piano, keyboards); Daniel Casimir (bass); Sam Jones (drums) plus guests.

Nubya Garcia Source

 

'Award-winning saxophonist and composer Nubya Garcia announces her debut album SOURCE, to be released August 21, 2020 on Concord Jazz. Produced by Garcia herself in collaboration with celebrated producer Kwes (Bobby Womack, Solange, Nerija), the album is announced after the release of lead single “Pace” and a rousing live performance on the BBC’s 2020 Glastonbury Experience. SOURCE explores a multidimensional jazz sound layered with soul, afro-diasporic sounds and hints of dub-step along the way. The title track, Source (out now) arrives reworked in steamy dub overtones, blending together reggae, jazz and myriad sounds from her youth. The sweltering heat generated in the track’s bass-lines and Garcia’s militant sax, place the track as a paean to personal power. Reflecting on what makes her feel powerful, she notes that it’s also about “being ok with reaching out to people and supporting one another”. In 2018, Garcia won the Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year Award and the Sky Arts Breakthrough Act of the Year Award, followed by the 2019 Jazz FM UK Jazz Act of the Year Award.' (album notes). '... Her debut album, which follows two EPs and albums with Maisha and the septet Nérija, is a sonic self-portrait that reflects her Afro-Carribean heritage and her expanding musical horizons .... Garcia's best and most varied work so far.' (Thomas Rees in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Listen to Together Is A Beautiful Place To Be : Video for Pace played live :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jay Phelps - Raw & Unreleased
(Self-Released) - Released: 1st May 2020

Jay Phelps (trumpet); Rick Simpson (piano); Mark Lewandowski (bass); Shane Forbes (drums)

Jay Phelps Raw & Unreleased

 

 

'Trumpeter, composer, band leader, educator and writer – Jay Phelps has performed with some of the world’s top names. With an instantly recognisable warm and projecting tone, Canadian born Phelps is a household name on the Jazz scene in the UK and his international presence is steadily growing. Jay Phelps Raw & Unreleased EP is music recorded in 2015 that never made it on an album, but finally being self-released now.' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Listen to Angel : Listen to Tormented : Video for Angel :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josephine Davies - Satori: How Can We Wake?
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 9th October 2020

Josephine Davies (tenor and soprano saxophones); Dave Whitford (double bass); James Maddren (drums)

Josephine Davies Satori How Can We Wake

 

'Josephine Davies continues to assert her unique presence across the crowded landscape of international jazz with the latest release from the acclaimed trio project that she has been developing since 2016 under the name of Satori. This latest iteration reunites her with two of the UK’s most uncategorisable talents: both Dave Whitford on bass and James Maddren on drums combine a fearsome level of accomplishment with a fearless appetite for improvisation that makes them the perfect partners in this venture. ‘Satori’ is a Buddhist word meaning a moment of presence and inner spaciousness away from the clutter of thought, and this recording captures a particular moment of presence as the band perform a suite of pieces, poised in the space between composition and the mindful spontaneity of collective improvisation, before a rapt audience at the Oxford Tavern in Kentish Town. Taking the writings of the Indian sage Patanjali as an inspiration, Davies created the pieces for How Can We Wake? as sets of melodic and rhythmic parameters for the trio to explore in the heat of the present moment.  “What happens between us in the trio is more and more based on group collaborative improvisation: the tunes are more wanting to reflect different states of being rather than specific set musical ideas. Dave and James are such incredibly creative musicians, and that’s taught me as a composer to realise that less can be more - they’ve both got such strong individual sounds. James has so many different voices and creates a constant movement around me as I play, and Dave has an amazing deep, grounded bass sound. They are magical!”  On this remarkable recording Satori combine forces to create an inner space filled with melody, rhythmic freedom and empathetic interplay.' (album notes).   

Details and Samples : Introductory video : Listen to Duhkha: pervasive dissatisfaction : Listen to Ananda: bliss :

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Harrison - Adventures From Home
(Self Release) - Released: 1st September 2020

Paul Harrison (piano, synthesisers, production, mixing, mastering, artwork, design, video engineering and editing).

Paul Harrison Adventures From Home

 

 

'Recorded at the artist's home in summer 2020, "Adventures From Home" takes a broad sweep across the history of jazz piano, with a selection of solo pieces and improvisations. The result is exploratory and spontaneous whilst being carefully curated, an accessible but interesting set covering Duke Ellington to Carla Bley and the artist's own compositions. Most of the pieces are intimate solo piano recordings, and as one might expect, one or two tracks are augmented with synths and electronic production touches. Following on from 2013's "Ten Play Ten", this is a document of the progress made by a musician who continues to develop and push boundaries.' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Video for Loro : Video for Never Let Me Go : Listen to Don Quixote :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judith & Dave O'Higgins - His 'n' Hers
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 23rd October 2020

Judith O’Higgins (tenor saxophone) & Dave O’Higgins (tenor saxophone), Graham Harvey (piano), Jeremy Brown (bass) and Josh Morrison (drums).

Judith & Dave O'Higgins His 'n' Hers

 

''His 'n' Hers' affectionately pits Mr and Mrs O’Higgins against each other as in the movie, Mr & Mrs Smith... In reality, this is a swinging “tough tenors” band in the good humoured tradition of the great Johnny Griffin - Eddie Lockjaw Davis group, who made nine albums together between 1960 and 1962. But what Griffin and Davis did together was not a competition, however apparently combative. It was collaboration, mutual inspiration, and special because of both the similarity and contrast of the two protagonists. The eponymous His’n’Hers recording has been prepared specifically for vinyl. The appeal of this medium was to present something considered and well programmed in an elegantly digestible format. Pour yourself a glass of wine and listen to Side 1, whilst perusing the large-scale cover art and familiarising yourself with the tune titles and personnel. Then, 18 minutes later it will be time for a refill and you’ll be lured into hearing what Side 2 brings. An LP requires careful programming on the part of the artist, in the same way as a good set at a gig. The track order is crucial and, due to the nature of the medium, often listened to in the intended order. The CD format can be the musical equivalent of the “all you can eat” buffet - too much for one sitting! In addition, the tactile, analog nature of the 12” disc encourages focused engagement, not ripping onto a digital device for shuffled play in the background. The recording was made with a “new meets old” aesthetic: inspired by the 50s and 60s Rudy Van Gelder recordings in terms of transparency and natural fidelity, but also with a nod to contemporary sonic developments. The O’Higgins have been on a mission for 10 years or more now to create a jazz friendly, ribbon mics, spill-and-all recording environment and JVG Studio gets better all the time.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Introductory Video : Listen to Hanky Panky :

 

 

 

 

Meraki - Meraki
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 28th August 2020

Jacky Naylor (piano); Nick Jurd (double bass); Jonathan Silk (drums)

Meraki album

 

 

'Meraki is the brainchild of young pianist and composer Jacky Naylor. Forged in Birmingham, it includes Double Bassist Nick Jurd (Soweto Kinch), and BBC Radio Scotland Young Jazz Musician of the Year, Jonathan Silk (Forj/Mike Fletcher). Meraki was born out of their desire to play complex contemporary music, inspired by the great European jazz trios. 4 years in the making, their debut album was recorded at Real World Studios directly after their April 2019 ACE funded UK Tour. The trio effortlessly travels through the various moods, emotions and complexities of Naylor’s original music, whilst dynamically interacting.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video for Simple Things : Video for 9 Lives : Listen to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde :

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Sands - Be Water
(Mack Avenue) - Released: 17th July 2020

Christian Sands (piano, keyboards, voice, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B2); Yasushi Nakamura (bass); Clarence Penn (drums) + Marvin Sewell (guitars); Marcus Strickland (tenor sax, bass clarinet); Sean Jones (trumpet, flugelhorn); Steve Davis (trombone). String Quartet - Sara Caswell, Tomoko Akaboshi (violin); Benni von Gutzeit (viola); Eleanor Norton (cello).

Christian Sands Be Water

 

'Pianist Christian Sands' stunning third full-length recording for Mack Avenue Music Group captures and establishes him as a forceful leader in composition and conceptual vision. On 'Be Water', Sands takes inspiration from water's tranquillity and power and muses on the possibilities offered by echoing its fluidity and malleability. For this recording, Sands has reunited with bassist Yasushi Nakamura and saxophonist Marcus Strickland, and is joined by trumpeter Sean Jones, trombonist Steve Davis, guitarist Marvin Sewell, drummer Clarence Penn. Through ten gorgeous and thrilling pieces, Sands alternately conjures the serenity of a sun-dappled lake and the drama of a relentless thunderstorm. Just embarking on his 30s, Sands has already enjoyed a remarkable career trajectory, touring and recording with Christian McBride's Inside Straight and Trio, as well as collaborating with the likes of Gregory Porter and Ulysses Owens.' (album notes). 'American pianist/composer Christian Sands has a striking new album in which he leads a flexible band composed of his core trio plus guests. Sands, who has made a name for himself as a creative composer and virtuosic player both as a leader and member of Christian McBride’s Insight Straight trio, takes inspiration from the fluidity and malleability of the water to traverse new ground. He shapes his music like water and fills the structures through clever sonic routes that often tweak expectations. Be Water contains 10 tracks, all originals with the exception of a gospelized trio version of Steve Winwood’s folk-rock song “Can’t Find My Way Home”...... Sands' accomplished compositional style helped configuring Be Water with absorbing musical moments. This is clearly my first pick from the pianist's catalog.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Introductory Video : Listen to Can't Find My Way Home.

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Olatuja - Lagos Pepper Soup
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 12th June 2020

Michael Olatuja (producer, arranger, composer (except 8,10), electric bass, synth bass (1), percussion (5) ; Aaron Parks (piano 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12); Etienne Stadwijk (keyboards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11); Terreon Gully (drums except 5, 6): Troy Miller (drums 6); Magatte Sow (percussion 2,3, 4, 6, 9,11); Femi Temowo (guitar 6); Herve Sambe (guitar 11); Michael Aarons (guitar 12): Camille Thurman (voice 9,12); Thana Alexa (voice 3); Ayanna George (backing vocals 2,3,4); Cassondra James (backing vocals 2,3,4): Rasul A-Salaam (backing vocals 2,3,4); Samir Zarif (tenor and soprano saxophone 8,10,12); Alicia Olatuja (vocal arrangement 4); 'Lagos Pepper Soup' String Orchestra (3,4,6,7, 9); Joseph Joubert (orchestra conductor 3,4,6,7, 9) and (orchestration 6 & 7); David Metzger (orchestration 2); Jason Michael Olatuja Lagos Pepper SoupMichael Webb (orchestration 4); Jon Cowherd (orchestration 9).

Featured Artists: Angelique Kidjo - voice (2); Dianne Reeves - voice (4); Laura Mvula - voice (6); Becca Stevens - voice (8); Regina Carter - violin (3); Lionel Loueke - guitar (2, 4, 10); Joe Lovano - sax (11); Robert Mitchell - piano (8); Onaje Jefferson - voice (7); Brandee Younger - harp (5); Grégoire Maret - harmonica (9)

Michael Olatuja’s musical development has taken place across three continents, in the heart of three of the world’s greatest cities. After a childhood in Lagos absorbing the Yoruba culture of his Nigerian family, followed by teenage years performing and studying on the booming London jazz scene, Michael’s talent bloomed when he arrived in New York to study at the Manhattan School of Music. His unique breadth of talent, grounded in the strong musical traditions of his homeland, has earned him first-call status across a range of genres from pop to gospel to Broadway to top-flight jazz, and along the way he’s filled his contacts book with a impressive and eclectic range of talent.
For 'Lagos Pepper Soup', his second solo release, Michael picked a core band of Terreon Gully, Aaron Parks and Etienne Stadwijk, and then enlisted the talents of Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, Regina Carter, Joe Lovano, Laura Mvula, Lionel Loueke, Grégoire Maret, Becca Stevens, Brandee Younger, Robert Mitchell, Onaje Jefferson, and top studio arrangers David Metzger, Joseph Joubert and Jason Michael Webb to realise his vision of what he calls Cinematic Afrobeat - “What you hear is a blend of three major cities: it’s a celebration of life, and I wanted to make it sound like a soundtrack for a movie that hasn’t been made yet - maybe the next Black Panther movie.” (album notes).

Details and Samples (dollars convert to sterling if you purchase); Video of Brighter Day featuring Laura Mvula; Video of Soki featuring Dianne Reeves and Lionel Loueke : Article by Robin Kidson :

 

 

 

 

 

Kenny Warren Trio - In The Heat
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 10th April 2020

Matthias Pichler (bass); Nathan Ellman-Bell (drums); Kenny Warren (trumpet)

Kenny Warren Trio In The Heat

 

'Brooklyn based trumpeter Kenny Warren’s wide-ranging, adventurous musicality has led him on diverse explorations across the musical landscape, from jazz to Americana and from folk to free. His new record In The Heat features a suite of compositions that he wrote for bassist Matthias Pichler (Wolfgang Muthspiel, Lorenz Raab) and drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell (Olli Hirvonen, Yuhan Su). This trumpet-led version of the classic trio format was chosen to maximize the potential for freedom for these accomplished and unclassifiable improvisers. “I've always been interested in writing music that can be played with the same feeling of abandon that you get from free playing. It's difficult because as soon as you put a note on paper, you set up an expectation in the minds of the players which can pull you away from the moment. The fun part is in the tension created by resisting that pull, while still being ready to jump or slide or drift to the next zone when the music calls for it." The titles reflect the personal, unfiltered nature of the project, drawn from the cut-up lines of a poem capturing a creative moment in Warren’s life, composing in his summer NYC apartment...... In The Heat is the sound of an artist bringing together the many strands of his creative personality, using the flexibility of the trio format to write without boundaries, and trusting to the perfect understanding between his collaborators to improvise without fear. Like a good hang with old friends, these three strike a balance between pouring their hearts out and just kicking back and having a good time.' (album notes).

Details and Samples (dollars convert to sterling if you purchase) : Listen to Pen In Hand : Listen to One Room In My Mind :

 

 

 

 

 

Quinsin Nachoff - Pivotal Arc
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 7th August 2020

Quinsin Nachoff (tenor saxophone); JC Sanford (conductor); Michael Davidson (vibraphone); Mark Helias (bass); Satoshi Takeishi (drums, percussion); Jean-Pierre Zanella (piccolo, flute, clarinet, soprano sax); Yvan Belleau (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Brent Besner (bass clarinet); Jocelyn Couture (trumpet I); Bill Mahar (trumpet II); David Grott (trombone); Bob Ellis (bass trombone); Molinari String Quartet: Olga Ranzenhofer (violin I); Antoine Bareil (violin II); Frédéric Lambert (viola); Pierre - Alain Bouvrette (cello)

Quinsin Nachoff Pivotal Arc

 

 

'Saxophonist and composer Quinsin Nachoff’s career to date has delivered a boundary-crossing body of work that’s consistently unpredictable, fearlessly innovative, breathtakingly accomplished, and full of creative passion, constantly increasing its scope to encompass ever greater horizons. His new album Pivotal Arc presents his most ambitious project yet: bringing together virtuoso violin soloist Nathalie Bonin with a jazz-inflected unit comprising two established giants of the NY scene, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Satoshi Takeishi, and the stunning young vibraphone player Michael Davidson, and adding a wind and string ensemble conducted by JC Sanford for a concerto that boldly mixes written and improvised sections. A contemporary string quartet performed by the renowned Molinari String Quartet and the extended title piece round out the album. The result is three diverse long-form works that flow naturally together, demonstrating Nachoff’s equally heartfelt facility with the free-flowing language of jazz improvisation, the depth and rigour of classical composition and the direct melodicism of folk forms.....' (album notes).

Details and Samples (dollars convert to sterling if you purchase) : Introductory Video : Listen to String Quartet - Movement I)

 

 

 

 

 

Rez Abbasi - Django-shift
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 28th August 2020

Rez Abbasi (fretted and fretless acoustic guitars); Neil Alexander (organ, electronics and synthesizers); Michael Sarin (drums)

Rez Abbasi Django shift

 

 

'Rez Abbasi has established an enviable reputation over the course of his fourteen album releases as leader: not simply as one of the finest guitarists of his generation, but also as a musical alchemist with the ability to parlay his continent-crossing range of influences into consistently fresh and innovative compositions and reframings of the tradition. His deep musicality has been applied with equal conviction to contemporary New York acoustic jazz, the Qawwali and Indian Classical traditions of South Asia and the heady fusion sounds of the 1970s, each time applying the filter of his own musical personality to deliver inimitable results. Commissioned to present a project on Django Reinhardt from the Freight & Salvage’s Django Festival in California, he boldly redefined his engagement by turning the focus away from Django, the codifier of the Sinti guitar vocabulary, and on to Django, the composer. For Django-shift Abbasi keenly listened to Django’s full catalogue of music before choosing seven of his original pieces and two classic tunes that Django was greatly associated with. The arrangements were soon created for a contemporary trio format, with Neil Alexander on organ and electronics and Michael Sarin on drums. The results give a fascinating and original insight into an often overlooked attribute of Django’s genius........' (album notes).

Details and Samples (dollars convert to sterling if you purchase) : Introductory Video : Listen to Django's Castle : Listen to Swing 42 :

 

 

 

 

 

Javier Subatin - Variaciones
(Self Released) - Released: 2020

Javier Subatin (guitar); Pedro Moreira (tenor saxophone); João Paulo Esteves da Silva (piano); André Rosinha (double bass); Diogo Alexandre (drums).

Javier Subatin Variaciones

 

'Argentine guitarist/composer Javier Subatin is currently based in Lisbon, where he’s been very active in the last three years - the guitarist released two records and just put together the Composers & Improvisers Community Project, a global community of independent musicians whose main plan is to fight the hardships brought by the covid-19 crisis through Patreon. His sophomore album, Variaciones, is seen as a natural extension of the 2018 debut CD, Autotelic, a duo collaboration with Portuguese pianist João Paulo Esteves da Silva plus guests. Besides the pianist, whose intricate work fits hand in glove with Subatin’s solution of composed and improvised segments, this new work features saxophonist Pedro Moreira, bassist André Rosinha and drummer Diogo Alexandre. “Solo#3”, which opens the record, comes flavored with the subtlety of classical music and the strength of contemporary jazz. The integration between piano and guitar is rock-hard, and before the guitarist steps forward - his exquisite fingerpicking draws sharp reactions from Alexandre behind the drum kit - there’s a passage filled with polyrhythmic haziness in which the instruments dance with unabashed freedom....... It’s impossible not to notice an ecstatic chapter where a fast-paced rock meets a hip Latin-American groove. Subatin has here a compositionally strong work.' (JazzTrail)

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video of Solo #3 : Video of Prelude :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miles Davis - The Lost Septet
(Sleepy Night Records) - Released: 31st July 2020

Miles Davis (trumpet); Gary Bartz (soprano and alto sax); Keith Jarrett (keyboards); Michael Henderson (bass); Ndugu Leon Chancler (drums); Don Alias, James Mtume Foreman (percussion)

Miles Davis The Lost Septet

 

'From the label that brought you Miles Davis: The Lost Quintet comes the follow up album and next in this amazing trilogy Miles Davis: The Lost Septet! On a Double CD! The Lost Septet, this 7 piece never recorded in the studio but we are lucky that they did a European tour in October/ November 1971... this is one of the best performances from Wiener Konzerthaus, in Vienna, Nov 5th. 'Miles last recording in the studio was the Jack Johnston album although he was still going through more changes in music, slowly moving on to more of a rock sound than jazz and his friendship with Jimi Hendrix was a big influence. We were as intense as any rock band and just as loud .'. Gary Bartz. Miles was playing music on this tour from various albums.. In a Silent Way , Bitches Brew also Jack Johnston and his soon to be released Live Evil which was made up of studio and live tracks from the Cellar Door gig, which was released the day before the final tour date in Nov 17th 1971. The band now had more of a Rock background and Miles was playing with a wah wah pedal as it made him sound more like a guitar and where in the older days he played in the middle register he heard more high notes, Miles playing style would reflex that.' (album notes). '....Miles was in good shape from his boxing, was drug-free and had just won the Downbeat and Playboy polls, and was enjoying his life ... Like much of Davis' live electric music, it is good in parts ... Even so, this is a valuable piece of the puzzle of how Davis' music from 1969-75 evolved prior to his drug-fuelled furlough from the music.' (Stuart Nicholson in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

Erroll Garner - Magician
(Mack Avenue) - Released: 15th May 2020

Erroll Garner (piano); Norman Gold (organ); Bob Cranshaw (bass); Grady tate (drums); Jose Mangual (congas); Jackie Williams (percussion)

Erroll Garner Magician

 

 

'The eleventh album of the Erroll Garner 'Octave Remastered Series' is here - a collection of music that is among the most important in the history of jazz. One new remastered album will be released each month through until June 2020. The selections Garner committed to tape in the fall of 1973 include what may be some of his best original compositions, alongside a series of timeless contemporary takes on American Songbook classics. Though it would turn out to be the final studio album of his life, it makes clear that Garner was continuing to innovate on his distinctly individualistic style, and surely would have for decades to come.' (album notes). '.... As he launches into an atonal opening to Bacharach and David's 'Close To You' , there's a sense he might be stepping into new and dangerous territory, but after a few bars we relapse into the comfortable mainstream groove of much of Garner's later work, complete with a rash of Latin conga accompaniment....Garner never disappoints in his ability to swing even the best known tune into submission.' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ***).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joe Harriott Quintet - Swings High
(Cadillac Records ) - Released: 25th March 2020

Joe Harriott (alto sax, leader); Stu Hamer (trumpet); Pat Smythe (piano); Coleridge Goode (bass); Phil Seaman (drums)

The Joe Harriott Quintet Swings High

 

 

'A reissue of the Melodisc album, recorded 20 June 1967, featuring Joe getting back to the hard bop of his 50s recordings. With a great band, featuring Coleridge Goode and Phil Seaman, Joe rocks through a selection of standards. As Coleridge says in his notes "Joe plays so fiercely on the record that at times it seems as though he is about to blow his alto apart". The CD and vinyl issues are now out of print, but here for the first time in glorious downloadasound is The Joe Harriott Quintet, swinging high!' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Polka Dots And Moonbeams :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ant Law - The Sleeper Wakes
(Edition Records) - Released: 24th July 2020 (digital release only)

Ant Law (guitar); Michael Chillingworth (alto saxophone & bass clarinet (on tracks 7 & 9); Ivo Neame (piano); Tom Farmer (acoustic bass); James Maddren (drums); Tim Garland (tenor saxophone (tracks 1 & 2); Adam Kovacs (percussion (tracks 1 & 2)

Ant Law The Sleeper Wakes

 

 

British guitarist Ant Law’s new album ‘The Sleeper Wakes’ is a return to the spotlight for the talented musician and composer following his successful Edition debut ‘Life I Know’ in 2018. Loaded with infectious rhythmical hooks, lyrical flowing lines and progressive improvisation, this album is infused with the energy and accessibility that is introducing swarms of new fans to his music. The album reflects also the deeper interplay between the guitarist and the eclectic and diverse group of musicians who, with the deepest respect and honesty, have shaped this set into a sound that is distinctly Ant Law’s. This is an artist who is taking ever greater steps towards becoming an internationally significant guitarist, composer and bandleader. According to Ant Law “'The Sleeper Wakes' is the joyous flipside to 'Life I Know'. There's an emphasis on warmth here, in contrast to ‘Life I Know’ which was darker. Take for example a bright piece like ​ Harvest ​ from 'The Sleeper Wakes' versus ​ Laurvin Glaslowe​ from the old album. Or perhaps Swan Song​ versus The Act Itself​.” Which is interesting, considering that as the new album is about to be released, the world appears to be plunged into gloom. But then, as is demonstrated in the positive rainbow colours of the artwork, every cloud has a silver (or in this case, pink) lining, and as anyone who knows Ant Law, positivity isn’t exactly in short supply, and there’s always humour to undercut the serious business of creation (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video of Harvest : Video of The Sleeper Sleeps and The Sleeper Wakes : Listen to Swan Song :

 

 

 

 

 

Kansas Smitty's - Things Happened Here
(Ever Records) - Released: 26th June 2020

Giacomo Smith (alto sax, clarinet); Pete Horsfall (trumpet); Alec Harper (tenor sax); Dave Archer (guitar); Joe Webb (piano); Ferg Ireland (bass); Will Cleasby (drums)

Kansas Smitty's Things Happened Here

 

 

'Drawing influence from over one hundred years of jazz history, from Django Reinhardt to Ahmad Jamal, and the vivid musical landscapes of Debussy and even Brian Eno, British seven-piece and residents/owners of East London venue/bar of the same name, Kansas Smitty’s combine journeying with cinematic textures on new album Things Happened Here via K7’s newly revived Ever Records imprint.' (album notes). 'Kansas Smitty's is a Hackney bar as well as a band, a musical utopia whose name was conjured from speakeasy pipe-dreams and the trad and gypsy tndencies of transplanted American leader Giacomo Smith .... Kansas Smitty's pull towards the past never congeals into wighty torpid, and finds inspiration between the European wars, not in easy Dixieland retro. Nor though does it pour hot, beating blood into its 20th century ghosts'. (Nick Hasted in Jazzwise ***)

Details and Samples : Video of Sunnyland : Video of album launch concert :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zara McFarlane - Songs Of An Unknown Tongue
(Brownswood) - Released: 17th July 2020

Zara McFarlane (vocals);

Zara McFarlane Songs Of An Unknown Tongue

 

'Brownswood are delighted to present Zara McFarlane’s, Songs of an Unknown Tongue a masterful work that underlines her continuous growth as an artist. Zara’s fourth studio album pushes the boundaries of jazz adjacent music via an exploration into the folk and spiritual traditions of her ancestral motherland, Jamaica. The album is a rumination on the piecing together of black heritage, where painful and proud histories are uncovered and connected to the present. Partnering with cult South London based producers Kwake Bass and Wu-lu, Zara has created a futuristic sound palate, electronically recreating the pulsing, hypnotic rhythms Kumina and Nyabinghi – and the music played at African rooted rituals like the emancipation celebration Bruckins Party, and the lively death rites of Dinki Minki and Gerreh. These richly patterned electronic rhythms are balanced throughout by McFarlane’s distinctive, clear vocal tones, and vivid song writing. Zara’s critically acclaimed third studio album ‘Arise’ met with universal critical praise, and was supported by an impressive live tour performing at festivals such as Love Supreme, Field Day and SXSW. Zara is the winner of multiple awards including a Mobo, 2 Jazz FM Vocalist of the Year Award (2018 & 2015), an Urban Music Award, and Session of the Year at Worldwide Awards. Drawing respect from a wide range of artists, Zara has collaborated with Gregory Porter, Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd and Louie Vega. These new sonic explorations signal an exciting direction of travel for this innovative founding member of the UK’s vibrant homegrown jazz scene.' (album notes). 'Musically, lyrically, conceptually, in any number of ways Zara McFarlane's fourth studio album Songs Of An Unknown Tongue is a remarkable soul-stirring collection. It not only presents a fascinating exploration into the folk and spiritual traditions of her Jamaican heritage, but also .... shines a powerful light on the legacy of colonialism, empire and slavery ...' (Peter Quinn in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Listen to Native Nomad : Listen to Black Treasure :

 

 

 

 

 

Trypl - Trypl
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 21st August 2020

Ryan Quigley (trumpet); Trevor Mires (trombone); Paul Booth (sax); Alex Wilson (piano); Dimitris Christopoulos (bass); Edwin Sanz (percussion); Tristan Banks (drums)

Trypl

 

'Ubuntu Music is delighted to announce the signing of TRYPL -- featuring the superb horn section of Trevor Mires (trombone), Ryan Quigley (trumpet) and Paul Booth (saxophones) -- for the worldwide release of their debut album, 'TRYPL'..TRYPL is a UK based Latin Jazz outfit co-founded by the horn section consisting of Trevor, Ryan and Paul. This is new and fresh original music, penned by these three esteemed musicians, along with special guest Alex Wilson (piano). The band is also joined by powerhouses Dimitris Christopoulos (bass), Edwin Sanz (percussion), Tristan Banks (drums) and Davide Giovannini (drums).Their professional credentials read like the Who's Who in today's music.The album was recorded at keyboard artist Steve Winwood’s Wincraft Studios in The Cotswolds. As Trevor Mires explains: "Having had the immense pleasure of doing many recordings and gigs together as a horn section, it soon transpired that we had all spent many of our formative years as professional musicians touring and recording with many great salsa, boogaloo, and merengue bands, both in the UK and around the world. Combined with our love for the Latin Jazz idiom, the fast paced, high impact and groovy seed for TRYPL was born.“We were lucky enough to record at the legendary Wincraft studios, Steve Winwood’s private recording studio. It’s a beautiful location, set in the picturesque countryside of The Cotswolds and it provided the perfect, inspirational setting to make and record music along with some of our favourite musician friends. “We each penned a few tracks. Some were written many weeks prior to the recording date and others were written between recording, eating, sleeping and drinking!“We hope you enjoy this album as much as we enjoyed making it…” (album notes).

Details : Further Details : Introductory Video : Samples when available :

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Shipp - The Piano Equation
(Tao Forms) - Released: 22nd May 2020

Matthew Shipp (piano)

Matthew Shipp The Piano Equation'Further honing a singular cosmic musical language, Matthew Shipp begins celebrating his landmark 60th year with this solo piano recording. 'The Piano Equation' is also the inaugural release from Tao Forms, a new label founded by drummer-improviser-composer - and longtime Shipp collaborator - Whit Dickey. Over more than half of his lifespan, Shipp has built up an unparalleled body of work and a wholly original musical language that only becomes more hyper-focused and distinctive with the passage of time. Shipp's abstract eloquence is on vivid display throughout 'The Piano Equation', which presents Shipp alone at the piano, brilliantly solving his higher-order musical mathematics, approaching each new unknown from unexpected vantage points as in some form of cubist algebra. Shipp builds his solo music in a cellular fashion, formed like the building blocks of human life out of disparate elements that combine and evolve in novel and fascinating forms. Eruptive Cecil Taylor clusters are mutated by the interstellar rays of Sun Ra's philosophising, then spiral earthward in taut, obsessive figures. Stride, swing and the avant-garde collide like so many elemental particles, the aftereffects radiating outward in increasingly complex and intricate formations. The scientific, the personal, the political and the fantastic co-exist throughout Shipp's work, melding in the radical vocabulary that the pianist employs on the album, which speaks with its own alien yet familiar logic. Fragments of melody coalesce and transform, dissolve or shatter into kaleidoscopic reveries. While some may have used the arrival of such a landmark occasion as their 60th birthday to look backwards, Shipp will spend the year continuing to move resolutely forward, further evolving a voice that is as intimately personal as it is cosmically adventurous.' (album notes). 'With unmatched style, pianist and improviser Matthew Shipp masterminds another solo offering where his fabulous command of timbre and texture brings creative ideas to fruition. The titles of the 11 pieces that comprise The Piano Equation indicate connections with mathematics and space phenomena, containing words like equation, void, vortex, hyperspace, signal and cosmic...... The freedom of playing solo is beautiful, and that can be deeply felt here. By exploring new places within his vast musical cosmos, Shipp takes us into a journey that emboldens the listeners’ imagination.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Ambrose Akinmusire - On The Tender Spot Of Every Calloused Moment
(Blue Note) - Released: 12th June 2020

Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet); Sam Harris (piano); Harish Raghavan (bass); Justin Brown (drums).

Ambrose Akinmusire On The Tender Spot Of Every Callosed Moment

 

 

'Besides being one of the most reputable conceptual thinkers out there, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is a prominent figure on the scene, modernizing the parameters of jazz and blues to create music that is utterly appealing and innovative. The 11 tunes comprising On The Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment, his sixth album as a leader, point to a well-defined direction that is very much Akinmusire’s line of action. The topic at the center of the album is the continual struggle endured by black people in America, which, according to the latest occurrences - including the murder of George Floyd and massive gentrification - finds itself in an opportune time to urge change on social issues...... The trumpet work by Akinmusire is absolutely fantastic throughout, cutting across the underlying textures with acerbic twist, painful consciousness, and a fair dose of abstraction. His self-possessed lyrical force is not within reach of common artists.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Roy : Listen to Yessss :


 

 

 

 

 

Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio - Angels Around
(Heartcore Records) - Released: 15th July 2020

Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar); Dario Deidda (bass guitar); Gregory Hutchinson (drums).

Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio Angels Around

 

 

'Owning an inimitable style, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel has a special gift for playing standards with expertise and passion, making them afresh. On his latest trio outing, Angels Around - with a strong assist from Italian bassist Dario Deidda and American drummer Gregory Hutchinson - he presents five notably selected standards that really make me want to revisit them again and again. The program is rounded out with two sinewy originals, one by Rosenwinkel and one by Deidda. Opening the album, Monk’s “Ugly Beauty” suggests an initial rock layer that soon evaporates, soaked in the mellow synth-effects of Rosenwinkel’s reverb-drenched guitar. The electric transferences provided by the guitarist always find a generous supportive from the well-oiled rhythmic engine of Deidda and Hutchinson....Rosenwinkel brings the full breath of his natural musicianship and spontaneity into this session. Despite the valid fusion works made recently (Caipi, Bandit 65), his true glory lies here, where the style is more direct and accessible and he reaches the apogee of his musical powers. This is a gem not to be missed.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Sample : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Ugly Beauty : Listen to Time Remembered :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maria Schneider Orchestra - Data Lords
(Artistshare) - Released: 2020

Maria Schneider (composer, arranger, conductor); Steve Wilson (alto/soprano/clarinet/flute/alto flute); Dave Pietro (alto/clarinet/piccolo/flute/alto flute); Rich Perry (tenor); Donny McCaslin (tenor/flute); Scott Robinson (baritone/Bb, bass & contra-bass clarinets/muson); Tony Kadleck,Greg Gisbert, Nadje Noordhuis, Mike Rodriguez (trumpet/flügelhorn); Keith O'Quinn, Ryan Keberle, Marshall Gilkes (trombone); George Flynn (bass trombone); Gary Versace (accordion); Ben Monder (guitar); Frank Kimbrough (piano); Jay Anderson (bass); Johnathan Blake (drums/percussion).

Maria Schneider Data Lords'I am absolutely thrilled to embark on our recording project, Data Lords. In revisiting my past recordings, it’s easy for me to see how my music has always reflected the world around me. But these days, I feel my life greatly impacted by two very polarized worlds: the digital world, and the organic world. While one world clamors desperately for our constant attention, the other really doesn’t need any of us at all. Amidst the noise and the clamoring, it now requires great effort for us to take real breaks from the digital world so that we can fully access the organic world that sustains us. Feeling both of these opposite worlds represented in my recent music, I have decided to make this a two-album release reflecting these two polar extremes. In the digital world, data lords, who are in a race to amass the entire world’s information, hypnotize us with conveniences, endless information at our fingertips, limitless entertainment, “curated” content, and endless other enticements. While many of those things offer us wonderful tools that enhance our lives and societies in mind-bending ways, a vast number of the enticements numb our minds and lure us into submissiveness. And almost without fail, the enticements, tools and conveniences delivered to us by these data lords, force us into a Faustian bargain of bartering our personal privacy and individuality for these often fleeting benefits. With the additional consequence of less and less face-to-face contact and no real accountability, humans’ internal compasses that measure empathy, along with their sense of self and purpose, are often hijacked. Fueled by silicon chips, rare earth metals, energy-hungry server farms, this digital world often feels right out of a science fiction novel. In the natural world, magic is revealed if we intentionally divert our attention away from the virtual world long enough to embrace silence. Not long ago, the natural world was our only world. With a brain much freer of clutter, our minds could coast and daydream – a state of mind that produced many of our world’s greatest ideas. This space also left our senses keenly alert. Our eyes and ears were truly hungry for absorbing new artistic creations. And while far less music was instantly available literally at our fingertips, I think most of us remember longingly how intentional and deep our listening was. Many more people reveled in nature, and the myriad of mysteries one would encounter there, ignited questions and a search for meaning and purpose. A vacuum of space in our lives left humans reaching out to others for discourse and real connection. ... All I know is that I’m searching for sonic beauty in all of it, as well as searching for my own sense of balance between these two opposing worlds. Welcome to the Data Lords Project. I hope you’ll enjoy being a part of it and will revel in the music and our collective discourse and discoveries as well.' (Maria Schneider). 'While Maria Schneider's last album, the critically acclaimed The Thompson Fields, came in pastel shades, reflective moods and wistful evocation of an idealised 'Heimat', Data Lords, in contrast, releases what Schneider calls her 'inner beast' ... Quite simply, this is a classic, music that will be played, studied and enjoyed for decades to come.' (Stuart Nicholson in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

Debbie Sledge - Sledge Sings Simone
(Inner Adventures) - Released: 10th July 2020 [Digital only at this stage]

Debbie Sledge (vocals); Niels Lan Doky (piano); Francois Moutin (double bass); Victor Jones (drums).

Sledge Sings Simone

 

 

'Nina Simone’s seminal voice and remarkable music stood up against racial injustice and carried forward American civil rights efforts for decades. Debbie's group, Sister Sledge, released the iconic song ‘We Are Family’ four decades ago, and it remains a universal anthem for diverse communities the world over. The intersection of Nina's brilliant music, with its defiant social outcry, and Debbie’s passionate call for unity through her healing voice, is something to truly cherish. Significantly, for these times, the performance was recorded in Denmark - a country where many African American musicians sought refuge during the height of the 1960s civil rights movement. Experience the intimacy, ambience and power of being there on that auspicious night. Sledge Sings Simone will be released to mark the period of the postponed Copenhagen Jazz Festival.' (album notes).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dusan Jevtovic - If You See Me
(Self Produced) - Released: 20th March 2020

Dusan Jevtovic (guitar); Markus Reuter (Touch guitars® AU8, live looping); Bernat Hernandez (fretless bass); Gary Husband (drums); Special guest: Aleksandar Petrov tapan (Macedonian traditional drums)

Dusan Jevtovic If You See Me

 

'Some albums tease and caress as they envelop a listener in an enchanting embrace. Some albums just enthusiastically grip their audience by the collar and will not let go. Some albums like Dusan Jetovic’s If You See Me are able to satisfy in many ways and straddle both extremes. Frenzy and discord are set against and juxtaposed with musical passages that possess elegance and gentle harmony. If You See Me, has the rare ability to vigorously, bludgeon the senses and delicately stroke the emotions as it simmers, snaps, boils, and bristles with imaginative creativity. In tunes such as, the exciting Si Pooro, it possesses a feral unpredictability that quickens the pulse and heightens every aspect of the senses. On occasions, in tunes like Endings, it has a flickering fragile beauty that provides a reflective balm for the spirit. Therefore, this is an album that will soothe the heart, knuckle wrap the fingers, satisfy the mind and much more. ..... If You See Me is an important and exciting release. It should appeal to fans of instrumental jazz fusion music that enjoy albums that are intense and sometimes full of dark foreboding. Its enviable ability to convey a kaleidoscope of auditory moods offers a warm vision of green shrouded Balkan forests radiantly distorted by the ruddy glow of a summer haze. However, the menace of ink black clouds distantly perched on far away rock-strewn summits is never far away. Consequently, moments of tranquillity and reflection, aggression and gentleness, harmony and discord frequently merge and coexist. Jevtovic’s memorable compositions explore these feelings in an imaginative and original manner. This creates an album that is often utterly compelling and convincing in every way. (album notes).

Details and Samples : Intro Video of Walking Seven : Video of If You See Me : Listen to Si Pooro : Listen to Ending :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Milligan - Memento
(Big Bash Records) - Released: 28th August 2020 [initially download only]

Dave Milligan (piano); Danilo Gallo (bass); U.T. Gandhi (drums)

Dave Milligan Memento'Scottish pianist Dave Milligan releases Momento, his first album since 2008, on Friday August 28th. Best known in the jazz world as the pianist and arranger behind the award-winning trumpeter Colin Steele’s success over the past twenty-five years and for his own acclaimed trio (described by The Guardian as “cracking”), Milligan is a musician of remarkable versatility.....The music on Momento resulted from meeting Italian bass and drums team Danilo Gallo and U.T. Gandhi on an international project with Colin Steele at Edinburgh Jazz Festival. Milligan enjoyed playing with the Italians so much that, when a Creative Scotland artists bursary allowed him to travel to Cavalicco in the Italian province of Udine, he booked two days in ArteSuono recording studio with engineer Stefano Amerio and invited Gallo and Gandhi to join him.... Over the two days, the trio recorded everything they played and with the expert recording of Amerio, who has worked on over forty albums for the prestigious ECM Records label, they finished up with twenty tracks, some completely improvised, some Milligan originals and some improvisations based on folk songs. ..... “Something changed for me over those few days in Italy – not so much in terms of my musical vocabulary or technique, but in terms of where the music comes from in performance, and allowing it to flow,” says Milligan. “As well as having great musicians and a great engineer to work with, the landscape around the studio is inspiring. When I arrived in Udine, I stood for a while on the balcony of my room and tried to take in the panoramic horizon that was the Alps. It was unexpected and breath-taking; particularly bathed as it was in the colours of a humid summer evening. A long way away - on so many levels - from the rolling hills of the Borders, where I grew up. But, for a moment at least, it felt like home.”' (album notes).

Details and Sample :

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Beckett - Joy Unlimited
(Cadillac Records) - Released: 7th August

Harry Beckett (trumpet, flugelhorn); Ray Russell (guitar); Brian Miller (piano, electric piano, synthesiser); Darryl Runswick (bass, bass guitar); Nigel Morris (drums); Martin David (congas)

Harry Beckett Joy Unlimited

 

 

'It’s been a real Joy to bring this long-lost classic back to life. There’s not much more can be said about Harry’s beautiful talent. He lifted the atmosphere wherever he played and was a gentleman, always softly spoken, but a presence in the room. I remember, as a callow youth, interviewing him for a sleeve note in the basement of Mole Jazz. He was thoughtful, listened to my questions and answered with a civility and intelligence they barely deserved. I’ve always thought Joy Unlimited one of his best albums. In fact, one of the best British jazz albums of the 70s, and one of the finest jazz rock albums full stop. It has never been reissued, and never released on CD or digitally, so this is an opportunity for the world to hear what a great player and composer Harry was. It will bring you joy-joy unlimited. Harry died 22 July 2010, ten years ago. We’d like to celebrate his life and dedicate this release to one of the finest black British artists of his generation.' (album notes).

Details and Sample :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thelonious Monk - Palo Alto
(Impulse!) - Released: 31st July 2020

Thelonious Monk (piano); Charlie Rouse (tenor sax); Larry Gales (bass); Ben Riley (drums)

Thelonious Monk Palo Alto

 

 

'After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, racial tensions across the country rose. Palo Alto, a largely white college town in California, was not immune to the events of the day. Danny Scher, a rising junior at Palo Alto High School, had a dream to bring Thelonious Monk to Palo Alto to perform and help bring about racial unity in his community as well as raise funds for his school's International Committee. After somehow securing Monk's services to perform on Sunday, October 27, Scher initially had trouble selling tickets and convincing people that Monk was even going to show up. With many twists and turns along the way and several hundred people waiting in the school's parking lot to await Monk's arrival before purchasing tickets, the concert eventually happened and was a triumph in more ways that Monk or Scher could have imagined. This is a recording of that historic concert.' (album notes). '.... Despite the release over the years of one too many live Monk quartet recordings, this one turns out to be a pleasant surprise and, as they used to say, it's good enough to keep' (Brian Priestley in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stan Getz - Four Classic Albums (Fourth Set)
(Avid Jazz) - Released: 22nd May 2020

Stan Getz (tenor sax) with various personnel including Clark Terry, Doc Severinson (trumpet); JJ Johnson (trombone); Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone); Oscar Peterson (piano); Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Jim Hall (guitar); Ray Brown (bass); Connie Kay, Louie Bellson (drums)

Stan Getz Four Classic Albums Fourth Set

 

'AVID Jazz continues with its Four Classic Albums series with a re-mastered 2CD fourth set release from Stan Getz, complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details. Stan Getz with J.J.Johnson-'At The Opera House' (Mono and Stereo versions); 'Jazz Samba,' and 'Big Band Bossa Nova'. 'A fourth set by Stan Getz' we hear you cry, 'we knew he was great but four sets'? We at Avid are, of course, big fans of Mr. Getz and our three previous sets have been extremely popular. But there was something missing we thought, a selection from his great Brazilian influenced era. We have selected two of his finest and most popular albums from that era to represent what was to become a golden moment in the career of Stan Getz and one where he even went on to make the pop charts! We have coupled these classics with both recordings of the first time Stan Getz got together with the famed trombonist J. J. Johnson for what was to become one of the classic live jazz recordings in the catalogue. Both albums became known as 'At The Opera House' but in fact one set was actually recorded at The Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles while the other was recorded at the Opera House in Chicago. The Chicago set was recorded in stereo and contained five tracks while the Shrine set was recorded a week later in mono and contained six tracks. Our pairing of these two classic concerts together gives you a chance to compare and contrast two very different interpretations of a classic set and to witness two giants of jazz together for the first time and at the top of their game.' (album notes). '..... 'Mahna De Carnaval' and 'Chega De Saudade' are among Getz's best recordings, but then again everything on this release can be considered so. Recommended especially to newcomers to the saxophonist' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Teddy Wilson Trio - Revisits The Goodman Years
(Storyville) - Released: 29th May 2020 [vinyl release]

Teddy Wilson (piano); Jesper Lundgaard (bass); Ed Thigpen (drums)

Teddy Wilson Trio Revisits The Goodman Years

 

 

'Reissue of a 1982 LP by American jazz pianist Teddy Wilson, described by critic Scott Yanow as "the definitive swing pianist". Recorded alongside leading Danish bassist Jesper Lundgaard and US drummer Ed Thigpen. Besides his reputation as "the definitive swing pianist", Teddy Wilson is often remembered in terms of his collaborations. Having played on the records of names like Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman, Wilson's fingerprints are found on many of records that helped popularize and define swing in its glory years. In 1980, Wilson revisited the songs he had performed with Benny Goodman in the 1930s, delivering material that he had clearly mastered at this point and which gave a special look into the talents and sentiments of Teddy Wilson that played a primary role in the swing era. Teddy Wilson Trio 'Revisits the Goodman Years' sees Teddy Wilson re-portray the Benny Goodman small-group repertoire that Wilson had played with Goodman many decades before this Copenhagen session in 1980. It is a return to material that had stood the test of time while Wilson had lived a long career since his time with Goodman himself.' (album notes). 'The then 68-year old Wilson was in Copenhagen in 1980 .... The word impeccable is often used to describe Wilson's improvising posture but on this evidence, there was still plenty of vim and urgency on offer too. Never prolix or overlong, these joyous expositions, bass and drum spot-on, make this a delight to re-encounter.' (Peter Vacher in Jazzwise ****).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Ken Colyer - The Real Ken Colyer
(Cadillac Records) - Released: 20th July 2020

Ken Colyer (trumpet, vocals); Sammy Rimmington (clarinet); Geoff Cole (trombone); Johnny Bastable (banjo); Pat Hawes (piano, vocals); Ron Ward (bass); Pete Ridge (drums)

Ken Colyer The Real Ken Colyer

 

 

'Recorded live at The White Horse, Willesden, London, February 27, 1964. John Jack reissued this album in 2000 as part of a projected reissue of a number of 77 albums in honour of his friend and mentor Doug Dobell. Extra takes were added from the original session acetate. This is the first time the album has been made digitally available...... Doug gave this album its title personally. I don’t know whether it was The Real Ken Colyer, but it certainly is very good Colyer and I’m proud to have been a part of it. Sadly three of the participants and Doug himself are no longer with us. Pete Ridge, 1968; John Bastable,1985; Ken Colyer, 1988; and Doug Dobell 1987 have all “gone ahead” as Art Hodes used to say. It’s to the memory of these good friends that we dedicate this album.' (album notes by Pat Hawes).

Full Details and Samples :

 

 

 

Andrew McCormack - Solo
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 26th June 2020

Andrew McCormack (piano)

Andrew McCormack Solo

 

'My mission in music is constantly evolving. I’m often experimenting with ways to communicate my ideas to the audience and solo piano is a very direct and explicit way to do that. However, solo concerts are difficult to pull off well. There’s an exposed test of all your facility which can be risky and exhausting, plus it’s lonely up there. Despite this, you could say I’m addicted. Particularly the hush of the room when something special happens in the moment and everyone is locked in..... Nobody Else But Me and Thelonious Monk’s We See are quasi studies in two-part invention and the latter became like a rough line drawing, Monk is one of my favourite composers in the jazz repertoire because his signature sound is all over these tightly made compositions, even though you might substantially change them from the original ... I Can’t Believe You’re In Love With Me is a light nod to the Stravinsky tarantella from Pulcinella, even though it sounds nothing like it!  Also the coda of Nobody Else But Me has snatches of the Russian composer Petrushka too....The final results are a recital of piano music that uses composition as a springboard for improvised exploration with an overarching theme of storytelling devices such as contrast within the pieces themselves ....' (Andrew McCormack)

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Further Details : Video of Shaper Maker played live : Video of For All We Know played live from 2018 :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Copus - Dusk
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 17th July 2020

James Copus (trumpet, flugelhorn, voice), Jason Brown (drums), Tom Cawley (piano, synthesiser), Conor Chaplin (bass)

James Copus Dusk

 

'2020 sees the release of James’ much-anticipated debut album, featuring a first call line up of Tom Cawley (Peter Gabriel, Curios trio..), Conor Chaplin (Marius Neset, Dinosaur…) and New York heavyweight Jason Brown (Monty Alexander, Kurt Rosenwinkel, etc.). The music showcases each musician's personality and originality, still keeping the aesthetics of a classic jazz record. Recognised as a talented composer, Copus’ writing is fresh and original, while reflecting his serious study of the jazz trumpet tradition - Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Gerard Presencer are his idols. James has composed all original material for the album, drawing on many influences that have sculpted his musical tastes. Compositionally, James has mainly drawn inspiration from the writing of Seamus Blake, Kendrick Scott and Chris Potter, citing the New York aesthetic as a huge influence. An in-demand sideman across a range of projects, Copus has played and recorded with the Alex Hitchcock Quintet, Jacob Collier, Stan Sulzmann Neon Orchestra, Nikki Iles Big Band, Alan Barnes + 11, Tim Garland and Bruno Heinen to name a few. He is, by now, a stalwart of the British jazz scene having performed at most of the country's leading jazz venues. A regular performer at London’s premier jazz venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, PizzaExpress Jazz Club and the 606, Copus can often be heard with musicians such as Daniel Casimir, Ashley Henry, Binker Golding, Alex Hithcock and others. He has also performed and recorded with Seamus Blake, Jorja Smith and Joss Stone.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Video of From The Source : Listen to Yearning :

 

 

 

 

 

Pete Judge - Piano 2
(PJM) - Released: 3rd April 2020

Pete Judge (piano)

Pete Judge Piano 2

 

 

'At the beginning of 2019, trumpeter Pete Judge surprised himself and everyone else by releasing an album of solo piano miniatures, prosaically entitled ‘piano’ (partly in reference to his use of the soft pedal throughout the recording) which he recorded on a single autumn night in an empty St George’s Bristol,  a deconsecrated 1820s church reopened a few years ago as a concert space. Now, in Spring 2020, comes the follow-up, the second storey (or ‘piano’): ‘piano 2’. As before, the album was recorded on a single day in St George’s Bristol. It consists of 16 pieces, ranging in length between one and five minutes.'

Details and Samples : Video for Frond Three : Listen to Brute Angels :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Downard - Seven Japanese Tales
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 12th June 2020

Joe Downard (double bass, synthesisers); Alex Hitchcock (tenor saxophone); James Copus (trumpet, flugel horn); Will Barry (piano); Rupert Cox (synthesisers); Felix Ambach (drums); Jon Moody (Hammond organ); Todd Speakman (Space Echo).

Joe Downard Seven Japanese Tales

 

 

'Seven Japanese Tales is a suite of compositions inspired by the deeply lyrical and moving short stories of the great Japanese writer, Junichiro Tanizaki. The album explores bassist and composer Joe Downard’s interest in Japanese literature and features seven compositions, each named after one of the stories, bringing to life the narratives, characters, moods and dynamics through interweaving melodies, improvised passages, and lush soundscapes. The album features an augmented sextet lineup, including electronic elements and field recordings from Downard’s travels in Japan. “If light is scarce then light is scarce; we will immerse ourselves in the darkness and there discover its own particular beauty.” - Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows' (album notes). '...this impressive debut from bassist/producer Joe Downard offers musical counterparts to seven short stories by Japanese author Jun'ichirō Tanizaki. Downard was inspired by Tanizaki's lyricism and by the range and depth of emotion he manages to convey is a short space of time and you can hear those same qualities in these seven tracks ....' (Thomas Rees in Jazzwise ****).

Details and Samples : Video of The Thief : Listen to Aguri :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Spin - Steal The Light
(Efpi Records) - Released: 17th April 2020

Chris Williams (alto saxophone); Moss Freed (guitar); Ruth Goller (bass); Finlay Panter (drums)

Let Spin Steal The Light

 

'Since their inception, Let Spin have maintained an egalitarian musical ethos, giving each member the opportunity to write for the project and have equal say over its decision-making. Yet, with their third album, Steal The Light, it is the progress they have made in developing their respective compositional voices and musical outlooks independently that has resulted in their most accomplished, experimental and meticulously-produced album to date. When guitarist Moss Freed, bassist Ruth Goller, drummer Finlay Panter, and saxophonist Chris Williams convened at Hull University’s Duality studio, they each harboured desires to use the studio as an instrument, to implement inspirations found in music beyond the worlds of jazz and rock, and to challenge some of the conventions of meter, groove and melody. To realise their ambitions, the group worked closely with engineer/producer Alex Killpartrick, inviting him to have a greater creative influence than on either of their previous two records ....In experimenting with time and space, challenging their own compositional tendencies and striving for a more experimental production style, Let Spin have crafted a fluid yet focussed LP that reflects their maturity and ambition ... '(album notes). '.... In a band designed to give its members room to write, diverse tracks of atmospheric intensity and viscerally realised intellect are the result ... ' (Nick Hasted in Jazzwise ****)

Full Details and Samples : Video for Sketch : Listen to Cosmoss :

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Glasser - Hypocrisy Democracy
(Here Tiz Music) - Released: 8th May 2020

Dave Glasser (alto and soprano saxophones, flute); Andy Milne (piano); Ben Allison (bass); Matt Wilson (drums).

Dave Glasser Hypocrisy Democracy

 

 

'The latest album from New York-born saxophonist Dave Glasser, Hypocrisy Democracy, arrives not only with a vital message of fairness and justice to the world but also with an intense will to ‘speak’ to the listener, musically. Drawing from tradition but sounding properly contemporary, Glasser, the lead altoist for the Count Basie Orchestra, is backed by a stellar quartet comprised of pianist Andy Milne, bassist Ben Allison and drummer Matt Wilson, all of them accomplished bandleaders. The opening two tracks are scorchers that demonstrate the athletic agility of the ensemble ...... If “Dilemonk” is a bluesy Monkian stretch, then “Revolver” seems to fuse the late pianist’s “Ask Me Now” with some Brubeck’s demeanors. And you’ll also find a beautiful ballad with shades of bolero and great piano work on “Dark Deep”, and crested waves of funk on “It’s Nothing New, where soprano and flute ride together over Milne’s wide harmonic avenues. Fueled by an infectious, inspiring energy, this album is immediately relatable and a pleasure from start to finish.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to It's A Small World : Listen to Dilemonk :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Carney Sextet - Pure Heart
(Sunnyside Records) - Released: 5th June 2020

Ravi Coltrane (tenor and soprano saxophones); Oscar Noriega (bass clarinet, alto saxophone); Stephanie Richards (trumpet); James Carney (piano); Dezron Douglas (bass); Tom Rainey (drums).

James Carney Sextet Pure Heart

 

'The combination of concept, effort and the right collaborators typically leads to good things no matter what the goal might be. These elements are especially integral to cohesion within a musical ensemble in performance, especially a group built of musicians who haven't previously played together. Pianist/composer James Carney was thinking along these lines when he came up with the idea and chose the musicians for his new recording, Pure Heart. The sextet that Carney put together is quite an assemblage. For the horns, he recruited his longtime friend and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, bass clarinetist and alto saxophonist Oscar Noriega, and recent collaborator and trumpeter Stephanie Richards. Bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Tom Rainey met in their first time ever pairing. In fact, most of these players had never played together before, except Coltrane and Douglas and Noriega and Rainey.' (album notes). 'Pianist and composer James Carney has been an important figure in the New York scene for years, whether leading interesting groups assembled to carry out his creative ideas, whether curating and hosting the improvisation-centered Konceptions music series in Brooklyn .... His new outing, Pure Heart, features a sextet composed of a powerful three-horn frontline with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, multi-reedist Oscar Noriega, and trumpeter Stephanie Richards, and a gritty rhythm section that puts bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Tom Rainey side by side for the very first time. Despite the different aspects of their musical personalities, interesting things happen throughout the five tracks on the album, a display on how utterly comfortable Carney is on his instrument.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Rudresh Mahanthappa - Hero Trio
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 19th June 2020

Rudresh Mahanthappa (alto saxophone), François Moutin (acoustic bass), Rudy Royston (drums)

Rudresh Mahanthappa Hero Trio

 

'Over the course of an illustrious twenty-five-year career Rudresh Mahanthappa's music making has constantly pushed at the artistic boundaries to encompass such diverse influences as classic bebop, the ash and fury of electric fusion, and the complexities of Carnatic music, while always maintaining a clear sense of his own fiercely intelligent, uncompromising musical personality. On 'Hero Trio', his sixteenth release as a leader/co-leader, he has moved the focus away from his own compositions to pay tribute to his greatest influences with an album of interpretations. All of the material is presented in Mahanthappa's characteristically original arrangements, and to approach them with the greatest degree of freedom and spontaneity he chose to record in trio format, enlisting the talents of long-time associates François Moutin on bass and Rudy Royston on drums.' (album notes). 'Possessing a sui-generis improvisational style, altoist Rudresh Mahanthappa is known as one of the most powerful forces in today’s jazz. On his latest recording, Hero Trio, he performs in trio format, basking in a collection of nine familiar non-originals that includes jazz standards, bebop and post-bop hits, and - surprise! - an R&B and a country-pop song by Stevie Wonder and Johnny Cash, respectively. For this purpose, Mahanthappa enlisted his longtime associates - bassist François Moutin and drummer Rudy Royston - paying homage to his influences and inspirations with able arrangements of his own, and that constant, impulsive spontaneity that has been stamping his discography......Both widely known, “I Can’t Get Started” and “I’ll Remember April” are carried out with different postures. The former, more meditative, is delivered in five and exhibits an incantatory way of breathing, whereas the latter returns to that soulful ebullience that Mahanthappa often presents us with. This is a trio of shifting texture and smart rapport.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video of Red Cross live : Listen to Ring Of Fire :

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Gold - Imagined Sky
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 29th May 2020

Matt Gold (electric and acoustic guitars, voice (5), analog synthesizer (2, 8), wurlitzer electric piano (2, 7), mellotron (5)); Bryan Doherty (electric bass); Jeremy Cunningham (drums); Macie Stewart (voice 2); Sara Serpa - (voice 8); Dan Pierson ( analog synthesizer 1, 3); Myra Hinrichs (violin 5); Matt Ulery (- double bass 5).

Matt Gold Imagined Sky

 

 

'Imagined Sky'​ is the first solo record from Chicago-based guitarist and songwriter ​Matt Gold.​ Gold’s open, creative approach to music making has flourished in his adopted home - “I value the cross-pollination and intermingling of the scenes; it’s a beautifully collaborative city” - and his talents have been called upon by a diversity of boundary-crossing artists such as ​Makaya McCraven, Greg Ward, Sara Serpa,​ and J​amila Woods.​ Melody is at the center of Gold’s music, whether he’s edging towards post-rock power-trio antics with electric bassist ​Bryan Doherty​ and drummer ​Jeremy Cunningham, ​or exploring an abstracted Americana with acoustic guitar and whispering electronic textures. Imagined Sky also uses these elements to frame the direct, folk-tinged vocals of collaborators ​Sara Serpa​ and ​Macie Stewart,​ as well as Gold himself. “I’ve tried to stitch together the more improvisatory electric trio material with something more song-focused and concise, balancing these energies.” (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Bottom Of The Barrel : Listen to Queen Anne :

 

 

 

 

 

Jon Balke - Discourses
(ECM) - 15th May 2020

Jon Balke (piano, sound processing)

Jon Balke Discourses'Jon Balke's solo recordings comprise a special subset of his work, informed by the improvisational daring and compositional imagination that has made him one of creative music's most original voices. Discourses is his third solo album, preceded by Book of Velocities (recorded 2006) and Warp (2015). The new album, recorded in sessions in 2019, takes further the integration and juxtaposition of acoustic piano and processed soundscapes introduced on Warp. Jon Balke's unique solo work blurs distinctions between composition, improvisation and sound design as Discourses further develops the methodology introduced with the Norwegian pianist's Warp album. Integrated in the resonant sound of his piano music are "layered soundscapes" of processed material which Balke describes as "distorted reflections and reverberations from the world." Underpinning the project are some thoughts about language, and the notion of discourse and dialogue as fading concepts in an era of confrontational rhetoric. Balke: "In this work I had the framework of language with me from the beginning. As the political climate hardened in 2019 with more and more polarized speech, the lack of dialogue pointed me towards the terms that constitute the titles for the tracks." Discourses was recorded at Lugano's Auditorio Stelio Molo in December 2019, and produced by Manfred Eicher.' (album notes). 'Resisting categorization, the music of the Norwegian pianist Jon Balke, a longtime ECM recording artist, can be sublime, rousing and touching, all at the same time. On his third solo piano recording, Discourses, Balke is deep inside his piano playing. With a sense of dignity and penchant for exploration, he emanates a genuine intimacy from statements that are juxtaposed with processed soundscapes, creating absorbing narratives inspired by the overwhelming lack of dialogue and polarized speech in the political context we’re living in. Hence, language appears as a crucial factor here, with Balke employing specific composed ideas as a vehicle for improvisation, as well as sound processing to complement his conceptual thinking ..... This is a dazzling album from a fascinatingly complex musician who, without refraining from innovate, preserves his exceptional musical identity.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to the why :

 

 

 

 

Marcin Wasilewski Trio with Joe Lovano - Arctic Riff
(ECM Records) - Released: 26th June 2020

Marcin Wasilewski (piano); Joe Lovano (tenor saxophone); Slawomir Kurkiewicz (bass); Michal Miskiewicz (drums).

Marcin Wasilewski Trio with Joe Lovano  Arctic Riff

 

'The first-time teaming of Poland’s dynamic Marcin Wasilewski Trio and big-toned US tenorist Joe Lovano brings forth special music of concentrated, deep feeling, in which lyricism and strength seem ideally balanced. The alliance plays four new tunes by Marcin and one by Joe, as well as Carla Bley’s classic “Vashkar” (in two variations), plus collective improvisations with strong input from all four players;  Slawomir Kurkiewicz’s bass skills are particularly well-deployed in the spontaneous piece “Arco”. Joe will be joining the Polish trio for a number of selected concerts in the autumn. Arctic Riff was recorded at France’s Studio La Buissonne  in August 2019, and produced by Manfred Eicher.' (album notes). 'Polish pianist Marcin Wasilewski augments his crisply articulate piano trio - featuring bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz - with the addition of great American saxophonist Joe Lovano, who populates Arctic Riff with his burnished saxophone literacy. The album comprises 11 pieces - four by Wasilewski, one by Lovano, four collective improvisations, and one by pianist Carla Bley, which makes a double appearance with the inclusion of an alternate take. The composition in question is “Vashkar”, which first saw the light of day in 1963, when it was included on Paul Bley’s trio album Footloose. The quartet’s reading admits conspicuous turbulence by the time that Wasilewski speaks and also exposes great saxophone work over a logical bass-drums association. The tune’s variation is cooked with the same passion and subtly atmospheric tones, but relatively different flavors.....Even when exploring boundlessly, the quartet embraces a fluid style leavened by a wonderful sense of space. As a key to our contentment, the sounds are not just meticulous but also consistently surprising.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Introductory Video : Listen to Glimmer Of Hope :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ray Russell Quartet - Spontaneous Event : Live Vol. 1: 1967-69
(Jazz In Britain) - Released: 1st May 2020

Ray Russell (guitar); Alan Rushton (drums); Roy Fry (piano 1-3, 5-9), Pete Lemer (piano 4); Ron Mathewson (bass 1, 4, 6-8) , Dave Holland (bass 2, 3, 5, 9).

The Ray Russell Quartet Spontaneous Event

 

 

'Live is Live!" You are what you play". 'The experience of live broadcast where you can't try anything before you start is an experience like no other. Falling in a dream is the nearest analogy. In these days live was live. Every gig an unrepeatable event. Ron Fry the pianist on some of these tracks passed away far too early. He was ahead of his time in progressive music. This era was a great time for progressive music in the UK. I'm so pleased it has found its way to be released.An incredible, never-before-released series of live sessions from The Ray Russell Quartet, recorded in London between 1967 and 1969. Featuring one of the earliest known recordings of legendary bassist Dave Holland. This is an absolutely unmissable set for fans of Ray, British progressive jazz, and jazz in general.' (album notes). 'For aficionados of British jazz, guitarist Ray Russell is a tantalising if not downright frustrating prospect; a formidable talent who released a handful of albums in the late 1960s and early 1970s before drifting away from jazz to make a living as a session musician ...These recently unearthed jam sessions are a welcome addition ... capturing Russell in his early twenties and absolutely incandescent with youthful vigour ...' (Daniel Spicer in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Listen to Spring Flower : Listen to Can I Have My Paperback Back :

 

 

 

 

 

Hank Jones - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter Vol 2
(Storyville) - Released: 1st May 2020

Hank Jones (piano); Mads Vinding (bass); Shelly Manne (drums)

Hank Jones Live at Jazzhus Slukefter Vol 2

 

 

'Storyville releases Hank Jones 'Live at Slukefter Vol. 2' - the follow up to 2019's Vol. 1. Whereas the first volume was recorded at the legendary Copenhagen Jazz Club Slukefter on June 6th 1983, this recording is from the day after, June 7th. As on the earlier release, Jones is joined by Mads Vinding who worked together on several other visits to Europe. The chosen songs on these recordings are very diverse, and support image of Jones as a musician with a huge knowledge of songs, both from within the Jazz world as well as contemporary pop music. The result of the 1983 Slukefter session Vol. 2 is an enjoyable hour of music that, after sitting unheard for over 30 years, sounds as fresh as if it were recorded yesterday.' (album notes). 'Taking a standard like All The Things You Are and finding fresh things to say on the head, and then adding more originality as the piece progresses was child's play for Hank Jones, one of the most consummate pianists in all of jazz. But it is a good way of approaching this release of the second of two nights recorded in a live Copenhagen club setting, as it stands as a yardstick for what this trio would achieve ....' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ****).

Details : Listen to Recorda Me / No Me Esquica :

 

 

 

 

 

Peggy Lee - Ultimate Peggy Lee
(UMC - Virgin International) - Released: 19th June 2020

Peggy Lee (vocals) with various bands.

Ultimate Peggy Lee

 

'Throughout 2020, the 100th anniversary of Peggy Lee’s birth - May 26, 1920 - will be commemorated around the globe with music releases, notable exhibitions, special events, programming and a host of tributes and concerts, including a just-announced Hollywood Bowl tribute concert in August, “Miss Peggy Lee at 100 with The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra.” Kicking off The Peggy Lee 100 celebration is the release of Ultimate Peggy Lee, a new collection from Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) available April 17. The 22-track comprehensive set features her hits, five songs she co-wrote, as well as the previously unreleased “Try A Little Tenderness,” which makes its world debut 57 years after it was recorded. (album notes). 'Released in tandem with Peggy Lee Decca Rarities, this is part of the Lee estate's year-long centenary tribute to this great jazz singer, and it includes a previously unreleased version of 'Try A Little Tenderness' ... Her career was so prolific that this extensive collection can do no more than scratch the surface .... That said, the 2CD Avid Four Classic Albums set not only runs this close, but gives us a broader cross section of Lee's work .... So while The Ultimate is a very fine anthology, it is far from definitive.' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ***).

Details and Samples : Listen to Try A Little Tenderness : Listen to He's A Tramp :

 

 

 

 

 

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messegers - Just Coolin'
(Blue Note) - Released: 17th July 2020

Art Blakey (drums); Lee Morgan (trumpet); Hank Mobley (tenor sax); Bobby Timmons (piano); Jymie Merritt (bass)

Art Blakey Just Coolin'

 

 

 

'Now that's what you call an archival gold nugget! A rediscovered studio recording by the short-lived spring 1959 edition of Blakey's Messengers, which unlike any other recent vault-retrievals, is a genuine 'album' rather than a sewn-together set of cut-offs ...Short at around 39 minutes, this is a set with absolutely no filler, but that's the point: this killer is the very essence of hard bop. An album that deserves all the stars you can throw at it.' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Sample : Listen to Quick Trick :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Montague - Warmer Than Blood
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 8th May 2020

Chris Montague (guitar); Kit Downes (piano); Ruth Goller (electric bass)

Chris Montague Warmer Than Blood

'Warmer Than Blood is the new venture from critically acclaimed compose and guitarist Chris Montague (Troyka, Squarepusher, Benny Greb). It brings together pianist and ECM recording artist Kit Downes and renowned electric bassist Ruth Goller (Acoustic Ladyland, Melt Yourself Down, Let Spin) for a groundbreaking exploration of Chris’s compositions. While Chris’s reputation as a startlingly original composer is already well established, not least through his longstanding collaboration with Downes in the much lauded Troyka project, this release marks the first in Chris’s extensive discography to be entirely under his leadership, and his choice of an unusual line-up was both fortuitous and deliberate. “I love how Ruth and Kit both interpret music, they were always going to be my first choice – and writing for a band without drums made us work much harder to create dynamics and shape within each piece. This brought out a whole new dimension in the compositions“. Chris takes inspiration from many sources and it is hard to classify this music, it still has shape and energy, without relying on volume or histrionics to deliver it. All three musicians responded to the deliberately limited sound palette by reaching into their boundless musical imaginations. ‘Irish Handcuffs’ is named after a running jokes between Chris and Kit about Irish hospitality – ‘Guinness in one hand, Whisky in the other!’ – that illustrates the trio’s ingenious use of hocketting and exact note placement to create a rhythmic clarity. ‘Warmer Than Blood’ derives it’s title from a poem by Fiona Sampson – it’s unsettled harmony chimes with the poem’s disturbing imagery, tying together notions of colour, touch, fear and family. Many of the songs are inspired by Chris’s own life: he wrote much of the album following the birth of his son and ‘FTM’ is named or him – ‘a beautiful ballad that morphs into a kind of horror show!’ – ‘Moira’ is a hushed, intimate improvisation inspired by his grandmother, while ‘C Squad’ refers to the trio’s shared Chesham neighbourhood and pays tribute to their long and fruitful creative relationship. ‘Not My Usual’ has a more standard form than Chris usually deploys, with a written melody and chord changes, creating an oasis of calm melodicism – by contrast, ‘The Internet’ sounds deliberately glitch and uncomfortable to reflect Chris’s ambivalence about the benefits of limitless connectivity. The lyrical, almost folkloric final track ‘Rendered’ started life as a commission for the opening of Jimi Hendrix’s flat in Handel House, with a score initially created by rubbing manuscript paper onto the woodchipped wallpaper – an aleatory approach that Chris found both challenging and liberating. “It’s a theme for the whole album – me learning to embrace the improvised and the unknown. It doesn’t sound like anyone else’s music and that’s what I’m most proud of”. Warmer Than Blood is suffused with the honesty of Chris’s own personality, the fearless creativity of his collaborators, and the warmth and quirkiness that characterise the trio’s long-term relationship.' (album notes).

Details an Samples : Video and Introduction ; Listen to the title track Warmer Than Blood : Listen to Rendered :

 

 

 

 

 

John Law's Congregation - Configuration
(Ubuntu Music) - Released 1st May 2020

John Law (piano); James Mainwaring (saxophone, guitar, electronics); Ashley John Long (bass); Billy Weir (drums).

John Law Configuration album

 

'John Law's Congregation releases their latest album, Configuartion, on Ubuntu Music. Captivating, anthemic melodies, mixed with powerful rhythms and grooves of subtle electronic soundscapes. The stellar line-up features James Mainwaring (sax/Roller Trio Mercury Prize nominee), Ashley John Long (bass/London Philharmonic Orchestra Young Composer) and Billy Weir (drums). As John describes the project, “With ‘Configuration’, my upcoming album, it feels like all the kaleidoscopic parts of my musical life have finally come together. Jazz, rock, electronics, classical… it’s all in there. My aim for Congregation, my band, is to put each composition into a different visual space, with its own individual identity. Like separate colours blending to form a design. A couple of the tunes took shape during a wonderful tour in India, where the sounds and colours we experienced there found their way into the music. And the whole thing is brought to life by the stunning young musicians I work with: James Mainwaring, on saxophones and guitar – the group’s partly built around his full-on saxophone playing and subtle understanding of electronics; Ashley John Long, on double bass – an extraordinary bass virtuoso and simultaneously a ‘straight’ composer who writes through-composed works for the London Philharmonic Orchestra; and Billy Weir, on drums – who brings the fire and enthusiasm to the project that is commensurate with his tender years!” (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Listen to And Them : Listen to the title track Configuration :

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Figes Quartet - Changing Times
(Pig Records) - Released: 12th June 2020

Kevin Figes (saxes, flute. voice); Jim Blomfield (Fender Rhodes, Prophet, Hammond); Thad Kelly (bass); Mark Whitlam (drums); Emily Wright (voice - tracks 2 & 5)

Kevin Figes Quartet Changing Times

 

 

'Multi-instrumentalist, composer and educator Kevin Figes is set to release Changing Times, his fifth quartet recording .."There is a striking level of empathy and interlay within the Quartet that comes from a combination of highly accomplished players, all great improvisors in their own right, who have worked closely together for some time," says Figes. "This record is a snapshot in time with a group of people I'm very fond of and will keep working with." The eight tracks written by Figes on Changing Times explore a wide world of compositional influences. Toothpick is a homage to Soft Machine, the band that made Figes move on from Rock to Jazz .... Radio Play was inspired by Paul Hindemith, Guiding Light by Hermeto Pascoal. Special objects and places have sparked Figes' interest - an old imperial wooden ruler in Enid Dodd's Ruler and a statue of a lion that sits in his garden. "I like the idea of the statue providing protection and well-being," comments Figes. "The first part of Stone Lion was really a separate tune, but the two parts seemed to fit together well, the second being very groove based. The baritone seemed the best instrument for it, authoritative and charactareful." Vocalist Emily Wright performs on two tracks - Strange Place, which evokes the 70s horror film, and Soft Escape Bed, a road sign that Figes used to see on his journey to visit his critically ill Dad.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Stone Lion : Listen to Soft Escape Bed : Video for Strange Place :

 

 

 

 

 

Dominic Ingham - Role Models
(Ingham Records) - Released: 12th June 2020

Dominic Ingham (violin); Jonny Mansfield (vibraphone); David Swan (piano); Will Sach (bass); Boz Martin-Jones (drums).

Dominic Ingham Role Models

 

 

'Role Models' is the debut album by Dominic Ingham, a violinist, singer and composer who combines violin techniques from his folk and classical background into playing a unique style of jazz violin. He has spent the last two years touring with Bonsai, one of the most talked about and critically acclaimed young bands on the UK scene, but is now embarking upon a personal journey with his own group and this album. The album showcases his new quintet, featuring Jonny Mansfield (2018 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize winner) on vibraphone, Scottish pianist David Swan, Will Sach (NYC) on bass and Boz Martin-Jones on drums. "These musicians aren't just my role models, they're some of my closest friends who I'll continue to play with for the rest of my life", says Dominic. These rising stars of the UK jazz scene join Dominic on an adventurous journey through seven of his original compositions, each of them inspired by new music from the likes of Ambrose Akinmusire, Walter Smith III and Camilla Meza, amongst others. The album was produced by renowned UK drummer James Maddren (with whom Dominic studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama) and was engineered by fellow Yorkshireman and Grammy nominated engineer, Sonny Johns. (album notes).

Details : Introductory Video for Fall : Listen to an excerpt from the title track Role Models :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra - The Light That Shines
(Spark! Label) - Released: 22nd May 2020

James Davison, Adam Chatterton, Alex Ridout, Tom Dennis (trumpet); James Copus, George Hogg (trumpet on "The Light That Shines"): Kieran McLeod, Tom Green, Jamie Pimenta (trombone); Yusuf Narçin (bass trombone); Tom Smith, Sam Glaser (alto saxophone); Sam Miles, George Millard (tenor saxophone); Tom Ridout (baritone saxophone); Liam Dunachie (piano & hammond organ); Billy Marrows (electric guitar); Misha Mullov-Abbado (double bass); Scott Chapman (drums); Gareth Lockrane (flute on "Genmaicha").

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra The Light That Shines

 

'As a result of Covid-19 lockdown measures, lives, places of work and entire industries have dramatically changed all over the world. Things that were once deemed unachievable are being proven to be possible - in this case recording a big band record entirely remotely, with every musician in their own separate home. Patchwork Jazz Orchestra has brought together our musicians from all over the UK to remotely record "The Light that Shines" - an EP dedicated to everyone battling this virus on the frontline. In typical Patchwork fashion, the EP includes works from five different composers within the band. We hear three fresh compositions from Misha Mullov-Abbado, Tom Smith, and Billy Marrows, taking us from a funk odyssey to a trombone-led preaching gospel ballad, and an explosive Brazilian carnival. The EP also features two arrangements: a richly textured and lush rendition of Fred Hersch's "Endless Stars" from Tom Green, and Kieran McLeod's fiery uptempo take on "If I Were A Bell" from the smash hit musical Guys and Dolls. The title track of the album was initially a one off release, with a video produced by composer Tom Smith. After the band collectively rose to the challenges faced by such a mammoth task, it became clear that the recording method we had painstakingly developed could be streamlined and repeated to create a record! First, the composer would create a click track which was sent to the rhythm section, who recorded a first draft. This was sent to lead players of each section who would record their track ahead of their colleagues. The soloists on each track would then improvise over these materials, ahead of the rhythm section re-recording their initial takes to allow for sympathetic improvising in the solo sections. These uncertain times have created a space that is ripe for experimentation and collective growth. Creating a record in unfavourable circumstances has become a true artistic exploration for the whole ensemble. It goes without saying: We are extremely proud to present to you our expression of these times - The Light That Shines!' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to If I Were A Bell :

 

 

 

 

 

Misha Mullov-Abbado - Dream Circus
(Edition Records) - Released: 12th June 2020

Misha Mullov-Abbado (double bass); James Davison (trumpet & flugelhorn); Matthew Herd (alto saxophone); Sam Rapley (tenor saxophone); Liam Dunachie (piano & Hammond organ); Scott Chapman (drums).

Misha Mullov Abbado Dream Circus

 

 

 

'Dream Circus is the vibrant new album from London based double bassist and composer Misha Mullov-Abbado. His third outing with fellow bandmates, Dream Circus is derived from a place of deep imaginations that exudes all that is playful and joyful about this music. The 'Dream' in the title refers not just to the hopes and dreams of Misha, but also their mysterious and psychadelic nature. Since the release of his second album Cross Platform-Interchange, Misha has seen his career flourish with continued praise, adoration and being awarded a place onthe BBC New Generation Scheme. Dream Circus is a career-defining album, produced by fellow bassist and Edition artist Jasper Høiby, that will see him make a significant mark on the international scene.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to The Infamous Grouse :

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Landrus - For Now
(BlueLand Records) - Released: 15th May 2020

Brian Landrus (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, flutes); Fred Hersch (piano); Drew Gress (double bass); Billy Hart (drums) + Mike Rodriguez (trumpet); Sara Caswell (violin). 

Brian Landrus For Now

 

 

'Low woodwinds virtuoso Brian Landrus explores his romantic side on From Now, his 10th album as a leader, which features him in a stellar core quartet with pianist Fred Hersch, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Billy Hart. The album comprises ten sharp originals from Landrus and three fresh renditions of jazz standards, including two from Monk. On selected numbers, there’s a quartet of strings coping with arrangements provided by Landrus and opera composer Robert Aldridge. My favorite track of the album happens to be the opener, “The Signs”, a post-bop spectacle with a luxurious sound. Guest trumpeter Mike Rodriguez divides the melodic chores with Landrus, being the first to forge ahead into improvisation. He is immediately followed by the highly emotional drive of Hersch’s melodies. The pianist’s far-sighted comping involves us all deeply and Landrus' sinuous baritone promenade is not excluded from this blessing ..... Leaning on straight-ahead jazz but handled with an authentic new feel and inner instinct, Landrus proves that low reeds, besides groovy, can also be melodically intense.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to The Signs : Video for The Second Time : Video for 'Round Midnight :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Heart Machine - Live At The Jazz Gallery
(Toof Records) - Released 15th May 2020

Brian Krock (conductor); Charlotte Greve (alto saxophone, flute); Caroline Davis (alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute); Timo Vollbrecht (tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet); Anna Webber (tenor saxophone, alto flute, flute); Jay Rattman (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet); John Lake (trumpet, flugelhorn); Kenny Warren (trumpet, flugelhorn); Chloe Rowlands (trumpet, flugelhorn); Dave Adewumi (trumpet, flugelhorn); Nick Grinder, Sam Blakeslee, Isaac Kaplan (trombone); Jen Wharton (bass trombone); Olli Hirvonen (guitar); Arcoiris Sandoval (piano); Marty Kenney (bass); Nathan Ellman-Bell (drum set).

Big Heart Machine Live At The Jazz Gallery

 

 

'After an acclaimed eponymous debut, the 18-piece Big Heart Machine, led by saxophonist/composer/arranger Brian Krock, returns with a live recording captured at The Jazz Gallery in New York. It was great to see that the ensemble, even without Paul Jones, thrives with the talents of saxophonists Anna Webber and Caroline Davis on its lineup. Unblock the Stoppage opens the session, bringing a sense of orchestral freedom in a way but sounding perhaps a bit more cerebral than other Machine’s efforts. A dialogue between the saxophones of Anna Webber and Timo Volllbrecht is emphasized while, down the road, the immensely adaptable drumming from Nathan Ellman-Bell keeps shifting in texture, density and color ..... Glow On, a love song written by Krock’s fiancée, the singer/songwriter Molly McAdoo. The light-filled tune immerses the listener in tender, expressive melodies while exuding a quietly ravishing quality. Guitar, trombone and trumpet occupy the center spots ...... Orchestrated with modernistic splendor, this big-band music is nicely done.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Fanfares : Listen to Recessive :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walter Smith III / Matthew Stevens - In Common 2
(Whirlwind Recordings)- Released: 15th May 2020

Walter Smith III (tenor saxophone); Matthew Stevens (guitar); Linda May Han Oh (double bass); Micah Thomas (piano); Nate Smith (drums)

Walter Smith III In Common 2

 

'Long time musical associates Walter Smith III and Matthew Stevens perform in a multiplicity of projects at the vanguard of the international jazz & improvised music scene, touring and recording with Esperanza Spalding, Ambrose Akinmusire, Christian Scott, Terence Blanchard, Dave Douglas, Terri Lyne Carrington, Bill Stewart and Roy Haynes as well as their own respective groups. They first collaborated in 2017, gathering a wish-list band of musical peers, booking a studio, and presenting them with compositions written for the occasion. The resulting album was widely praised for its freshness and spontaneity and they’ve returned with ‘In Common 2’ to explore the same parameters, adjusting the personnel to produce an intriguingly different but equally dynamic album. “We loved the way it turned out” says Smith “We had the opportunity to do something different together: what I like to call ‘One Page Songs’ - simple forms, so that we can just show up and get to the music quicker” As in the first project, Smith and Stevens picked a selection of their favourite rhythm section players of mutual acquaintance - Linda Oh on bass and Nate Smith on drums - plus a player from a different generation, so that rising piano star Micah Thomas takes the place of Joel Ross’ vibes. The material was specially written to suit the character of the resulting band, favouring short, concise statements of melody - ‘We’re trying to do something different from what we’d do on our own. We’re going off what we imagine the band will sound like, and continuing to focus on being direct, melodic and interactive.” ‘Roy Allan’, the only non-original was included as a homage to its composer, the late lamented Roy Hargrove, performed as a brief heartfelt duet. ..... In Common 2 manages to be at once free and highly structured, melodically accessible yet thoroughly contemporary. With many of the songs recorded in a single take, the album highlights the inventiveness and immediacy of a shared vernacular spoken in a vital corner of New York’s music community.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Cowboy : Listen to Lotto :

 

 

 

 

Shabaka And The Ancestors - We Are Sent Here By History
(Impulse! Records) - Released: 13th March 2020

Shabaka Hutchings (tenor sax, clarinet); Siyabonga Mthembu (vocals); Mthunzi Mvubu (alto sax); Ariel Zamonsky (acoustic bass); Gontse Makhene (percussion); Tumi Mogorosi (drums); Nduduzo Makhathini (Fender Rhodes); Thandi Ntuli (piano); Mandla Mlangeni (trumpet).

Shabaka and the Ancestors We Are Sent Here By History.

 

'The project was formed in early 2016, leading to their debut album later that year ‘Wisdom of Elders’; a document of sessions combining Hutchings with a group of South African jazz musicians he’d long admired. His connection to the group was Mandla Mlangeni (bandleader of the Amandla Freedom Ensemble), whom he’d flown there to play with over the past few years. ‘We Are Sent Here by History’ is a meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning. A questioning of the steps to be taken in preparation for our transition individually and societally if the end is to be seen as anything but a tragic defeat. For those lives lost and cultures dismantled by centuries of western expansionism, capitalist thought and white supremist structural hegemony the end days have long been heralded as present with this world experienced as an embodiment of a living purgatory.' (album notes). 'On cusp of fame, saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, who also leads Sons of Kemet and The Comet is Coming, brings us stimulating rhythmic chops and haunting sounds with this new hyper-creative work with the Ancestors. We Are Sent Here By History is the long-awaited follow up to Wisdom of Elders (Brownswood Recordings, 2016). This recording gets even more enticing in its African chants, eloquent whispers, alternative sounds, tribal pulses, and pithy saxophone phrases. Hutchings defined it as a meditation on topics such as our own extinction as a species, forever lost cultures, greedy capitalism and white supremacist hegemony.The Afro-centric jazz practiced by the ensemble is as much rooted in tradition as it sounds contemporary, alternating phases of light and darkness over the course of 11 hypnotic tracks.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video for Go My Heart, Go To Heaven : Visualisation for The Coming Of The Strange Ones :

 

 

 

 

 

Niels Lan Doky - River Of Time
(Inner Adventures) - Released 29th May 2020

Neils Lan Doky (piano); Tobias Dall (bass); Niclas Bardeleben (drums)

Niels Lan Doky River Of Time

 

'Niels Lan Doky has had one of the most unusual and prolific careers ever seen in music. He is essentially a product of his equal blend of Danish and American influences and life experiences. Growing up in Copenhagen at a time heavily marked by the presence of a record number of American ex-patriot jazz legends (Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster, Kenny Drew, Ed Thigpen, Thad Jones, etc.) his American influence started early on and continued when he moved to the USA to continue his prolific career that has so far yielded over 40 albums as a leader plus numerous collaborations with a who’s-who in jazz .... Lan Doky’s Danish/Scandinavian influences have been omnipresent in his music since before his recording debut - rendering him distinctly different from his American counterparts. Upon moving to the USA in the early 80s, a longing for his motherland made him more aware of his roots and soon he realised that his personal brand of Scandinavian lyricism made him stand out from the crowd on the fiercely competitive jazz scene of New York City. As a result he started to consciously cultivate his Nordic side, which became even further enhanced during his long-standing collaboration with Danish bass legend Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, which began in 1986 and lasted through most of the 90s - during which time NHØP initially mentored Niels and helped him shape and define his musical direction. An obvious question arises: What exactly is this Nordic/Danish/Scandinavian component? For many generations, Scandinavians have lived in symbiosis with nature and close to the sea. They are marked by the changing seasons and their sharp contrasts.  During the long winters they remain mostly inside to stay warm and light candles, being reflective and melancholic, longing for the joy of Spring and anxiously awaiting the sparkle of Summer. At the same time, Denmark happens to be the most Southern part of Scandinavia.  Its capital of Copenhagen has been called the Paris of the North. Historically, it has been a cultural melting pot unlike any other city in the region.  The city’s large community of American jazz expats over the years attest to that fact, some of the genre’s greatest icons have lived there and inevitably changed the local Danish jazz landscape forever. As a result of all of the above, the music of Lan Doky embodies a unique blend between Nordic reflection and melancholy - and American swing and tradition......' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Video of Sita's Mood live : Listen to Pink Buddha : Video of Greasy Sauce live :

 

 

 

 

Gary Husband and Markus Reuter - Music Of Our Times
(MoonJuneRecords) - Released: April 2020

Gary Husband (Fazioli F212 Grand Piano); Markus Reuter (Live Electronics, Touch Guitars® AU8)

Gary Husband Markus Reuter Music Of Our Times

 

'Yet another facet of two contemporary genii is revealed. Maestros Gary Husband and Markus Reuter embark on an impromptu journey of both mind and soul, in one of the most unique, timeless efforts ever to grace the MoonJune label – or, for that matter, the improvised and avant-garde genre – with the release of the recherché, "Music Of Our Time." ..... Temporarily stranded after performing only one show in Japan, at Blue Note in Nagoya, and having the remainder of the Japan and China tour with Stick Men (Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter) with very special guest Gary Husband (on keyboards), abruptly cancelled, the producer Leonardo Pavkovic quickly constructed a 'Plan B' on the fly. Acting quickly, Leonardo booked a block of studio time in a Tokyo for two musicians, before their return flights. In a candid, unrehearsed setting, the two bared their souls – uncovering further evidence of their fluid, inventive natures. Inspired by the house's beautiful Fazoli Pianoforti grand piano, Gary Husband unveils new depths of his unique musical prodigy. Markus Reuter proves the perfect compliment: kinetically synchronized in effortless perfection to his partner's every shift and turn – with graceful elegance, and rich textures providing spacious understatement throughout proceedings. The chemistry between artists takes its immediate and obvious form: through their mutual reverence of the musical moment at hand, exhibited through seemingly telepathic interplay and dynamics. The result is a priceless gem: "Music Of Our Time" is a lustrous jewel of exquisite beauty and magnificent stature ... an ethereal creation, which ventures to places and spaces music rarely accesses.' (album notes).

Details and Samples :   Listen to the title track Music Of Our Times : Listen to A Veiled Path : Visualisation for Across The Azure Blue :

 

 

 

Dr John - Ske Dat De Dat : The Spirit Of Satch
(The Last Music Company) - Released: 3rd April / 6th June 2020

Dr John (keyboards, vocals); Nicholas Payton, Terence Blanchard, Arturo Sandoval (trumpet); Bonnie Raitt (guitar, vocals); The Blind Boys Of Alabama, The McCrary Sisters, Ledisi, Shemekia Copeland, Telmary and Anthony Hamilton (vocals).

Dr John The Spirit Of Satch

 

 

 

Originally issued in 2014, reviews on Amazon give this a mixed response, but '..... this limited vinyl (and CD) [Amazon have it as an mp3 donwload] re-issue is fitting as it's released on the anniversary of Mr Rebennack's passing on 6 June last year...... Both Renennack and Armstrong relish theatrical hokum, and there's enough here to melt the hardest of hearts ...An hour's worth of dreams to wrap your troubles in'. (Andy Robson in Jazzwise ***).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erroll Garner - Up In Erroll's Room
(Mack Avenue) - Released: 14th February 2020

Personnel for this reissue series includes: Erroll Garner (piano); Bernie Glow, Marvin Stamm (trumpet); Wayne Andre, Jimmy Cleveland (trombone); Don Butterfield (tuba); Pepper Adams, Jerome Richardson (reeds), Wally Richardson, Art Ryerson (guitar); Milt Hinton, George Duvivier, Gerald Jemmott, Ike Isaacs (bass); Jimmie Smith, Joe Cocuzzo, Charli Persip, Herbie Lovelle, George Jenkins (drums); Jose Mangual, Johnny Pacheco (percussion).

Erroll Garner Up In Errol's Room

 

 

This is part of a series of re-issues; other albums include That's My Kick and Feeling Is Believing. 'Remastered reissue of Erroll Garner's 1968 album 'Up in Erroll's Room', which is appearing here on CD for the first time. Over the course of two sessions in November 1967, Erroll Garner and his band recorded enough material for a handful of albums. What makes this collection truly unique is the addition of a brass section, expertly orchestrated over a selection of Garner's improvised arrangements. This style of collaboration was groundbreaking for the era and helps to make this one of the most musically thrilling of all Garner's albums. The Octave Remastered Series represents the heart of Erroll Garner's recorded catalog. Spanning 12 albums recorded and released between 1959 and 1976, this collection of music is among the most important in the history of jazz. It represents an artist in his prime, with full creative and commercial control of his output following his break with Columbia Records. All of these albums were owned by Garner's Octave Records and licensed for release on a variety of iconic labels, including MGM, ABC, Philips, Mercury, Reprise, MPS, and more.' (album notes). '..... The addition of a brass section playing Don Sebesky's charts on Up In Erroll's Room is not as inhibiting as the rash of percussion on the first disc, indeed, Garner fitted naturally with the larger forces and in addition to some jumping dance tracks ... there's a model of his ballad playing on It's The Talk Of The Town .... this is the pick of these three albums' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

T-Bone Walker - 5 Classic Albums
(Avid Roots) - Released: 7th February 2020

T-Bone Walker (guitar, vocals) with various personnel.

T-Bone Walker Five Classic Albums'AVID Roots continues with its Five Classic Albums series with a re-mastered 2CD release from T-Bone Walker complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details; 'Classics in Jazz'; 'Sings the Blues'; 'T-Bone Blues'; 'Singing the Blues' and 'I Get So Weary' Following the success of our Avid Roots series which includes classic blues names from Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, Jimmy Reed, B.B King, Freddie King, Albert King to Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Lonnie Johnson and John Lee Hooker we thought it was time to add another name to our Roots roster. Mr. Aaron Thibeaux Walker, better known to blues fans as T-Bone Walker. Born in 1910 to musician parents, the young T-Bone Walker stands somewhat apart from what we consider the more traditional blues performers of his era. He was not an itinerant rural blues man travelling restlessly around the country making a living with an acoustic guitar. He does however have a fabulous back story in that he began his musical career at age 15 when he escorted a family friend, none other than the legendary blues man Blind Lemon Jefferson to his gigs, all the while, no doubt, soaking up the blues from this great blues icon. However, his style was never that of the rural acoustic blues singer but instead went down the road of jump and electric blues with a healthy dose of jazz for good measure. In fact it is testament to his unique style that he was posthumously inducted into both the Blues and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame. Walker made many, many fine recordings across the years from the late 1920s to the 1970s. Many of the classic albums we are featuring were put together from these recording sessions and we have tried to provide as accurate a picture of the dates and musicians as possible. The main thing is to just sit back and enjoy the electric blues of the unique and amazing Mr T-Bone Walker.' (album notes). 'T-Bone Walker has been one of the most influential guitarists in all of jazz, blues and rock. His fans are given a treat with his debut 1953 10” record release included here. The original vinyl goes for up to $1500 on Ebay, so you get here the heat seeking missiles  of the swinging “T-Bone Shuffle” and the classic “Stormy Monday But Tuesday Is Just As Bad”. The great thing about this collection is that you can hear his influence in today’s singers and guitarists. Every modern artist should give a tithe of royalties to this guy.’ (George W Harris In Jazz Weekly).

Details : Full Jazz Weekly Review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tony Kofi - Another Kind Of Soul : A Portrait Of Cannonball
(The Last Music Company ) - Released: 24th April 2020

Tony Kofi (saxophone); Andy Davies (trumpet), Alex Webb (piano); Andrew Cleyndert (bass); Alfonso Vitale (drums)

Tony Kofi Another Kind Of Soul

 

 

'BBC and Parliamentary Jazz Awards winner Tony Kofi 's Another Kind Of Soul traces the explosive music of Cannonball Adderley from his first session as leader in 1955 through his work with Miles Davis to the soul-jazz of the 1960s. Recorded live at Luton's Bear Club in 2019, .... This is the distilled version of two very special nights, immortalised by Paul Riley's recordings. The album is in digital format and also available in limited edition 180gm vinyl - the medium of Adderley's era - to best replicate the ambience of this remarkable live recording. The album is not called A Portrait of Cannonball as there is already one bearing that name by the great man himself. It is however, without a doubt, Another Kind of Soul by Tony Kofi. Kofi has performed with the World Saxophone Quartet, Clifford Jarvis, Courtney Pine, Donald Byrd, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Eddie Henderson,Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Ornette Coleman. The Guardian has described his improvisational skill as having "…an arrestingly raw power…" (album notes).

Details an Samples : Video introducing the original project : Listen to Stars Fell From Alabama : Listen to the title track :

 

 

 

 

 

 

AuB - AuB
(Edition Records) - Released: 29th May 2020

Tom Barford (saxophone); Alex Hitchcock (saxophone); Fergus Ireland (bass); James Maddren (drums)

AuB album

 

 

'AuB is the London based quartet, masterminded by two young saxophonists, Tom Barford and Alex Htichcock, musicians who are making huge waves as part of the next generation of virtuosic instrumentalists intent on doing things their way. AuB, pronounced ORB, refers to the meeting and unity of two musical minds and instrumental sounds melded into one group sound. Twin tenors tradition has had a long history but with AuB, it's the collaborative writing process and blending of sounds that drives their group sound. Together with bassist Fergus Ireland and drummer James Maddren, AuB melds contemporary Jazz sounds, an adventurous and risk-taking spirit with a degree of unpredictability, nuance and intense improvisation.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to Not Jazz : Video of band playing Iceman at Rats Records in London : Alex Hitchcock's Tea Break for Sandy Brown Jazz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinosaur - To The Earth
(Edition Records) - Released: 15th May 2020

Laura Jurd (trumpet); Elliot Galvin (piano); Conor Chaplin (double bass); Corrie Dick (drums)

Dinosaur To The Earth

 

 

'As they enter their tenth year of trumpet-led, improvisatory magic, Mercury-nominated Dinosaur present brand new material which reflects ten years of making music as a band. Dinosaur's latest offering finds them in a more acoustic setting, presenting brand new material that reflects on 10 years of miraculous interplay, whilst maintaining the sonic elasticity of their previous, more "plugged-in" album 'Wonder Trail'. Playing the compositions of bandleader and multi-award-winning composer Laura Jurd, Dinosaur explore Jurd's distinctive yet ever-evolving music with playful abandon and technical prowess. Over the past decade, they have earned a reputation as some of the best UK jazz musicians of their generation and played at some of the world's most iconic jazz festivals including North Sea, Molde and Montréal.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to Mosking :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Luft - Life Is The Dancer
(Edition Records) - Released: 17th April 2020

Rob Luft (guitar); Joe Wright (tenor saxophone); Joe Webb (hammond organ, piano); Tom McCredie (bass); Corrie Dick (drums); and Featuring: Byron Wallen (trumpet tracks 2 & 10) and Luna Cohen (vocals tracks 2 & 10)

Rob Luft Life Is The Dancer

 

 

'British guitarist Rob Luft returns with Life Is The Dancer, his second album following acclaimed debut Riser (2017). With the same line-up Life Is The Dancer confirms all the praise and promise of an artist of the moment and commands attention for its brilliance and originality. Rob Luft is a superstar in the making - a virtuoso, a band-leader, a composer of vibrant, original music and a captivating communicator. Life Is The Dancer is an eagerly awaited and anticipated release from a future star.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to the title track Life Is The Dancer : Listen to Berlin :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juliet Wood - Sconsolato
(Elsden Music) Released: 1st May 2020

Juliet Wood (vocals); John Crawford (piano); Andrés Ticino (percussion); Andrés Lafone (bass); Marisa Wessler (backing vocals - In These Shoes)

Juliet Wood Sconsolato

 

 

'This collaboration with three masters of Latin-flavoured Jazz - John Crawford (piano), Andrés Lafone (bass) and Andrés Ticino (drums & percussion) - overlays the flowing vocal lines with complex rhythms and an intriguing vibe. The title track, Sconsolato, is a heart-rending song of love and loss written by bassist Jimmy Woode and recorded in 1968 by Mark Murphy. Juliet’s carefully curated repertoire continues with musical gems such as Chelsea Bridge (Billy Strayhorn), Journey Within (Kenny Barron/Clare Foster), Midnight Sun (Lionel Hampton/Johnny Mercer), In These Shoes (Kirsty McColl et al.), Slow Hot Wind (Henry Mancini/Norman Gimbel) and two lesser known but beautiful Hoagy Carmichael tunes Lying to Myself and I Walk with Music. Also given a refreshing revival are Duncan Lamont’s bluesy Billie Holiday and the wistful Manhattan in the Rain. An up-tempo, percussive Fascinating Rhythm (Gershwin) completes this delightful collection.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Billie Holiday : Listen to In These Shoes :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tony Lee - Tony Lee With The Alvin Roy Band
(Self Produced by Alvin Roy) - Released: 25th February 2020

Tony Lee (piano); Alvin Roy (clarinet); George Oag (guitar); Danny Padmore (bass); Colin Seymour (drums)

Tony Lee With The Alvin Roy Band

 

 

'Tony Lee, who died in 2004, was a leading British pianist who played with some of the world's top musicians over a career spanning 40 years. This live session was recorded, on a portable home cassette recorder, at the Prince of Orange, Rotherhithe, London in 1988, when Tony guested with Alvin Roy's band. Consequently, the sound is not exactly of "Studio" quality but this rare recording captures the atmosphere of the night, the outstanding playing of Tony and the musical empathy that was shown by the other musicians. Tony was well known for his ability to absorb "Errol Garner" style, which is superbly illustrated on "The Way You Look Tonight" with its elaborate intro' but the remaining tracks are pre Tony Lee ... melodic and swinging.' (album notes).

Details : Purchase details : Listen to Blues For Bird : Listen to Lover Man :

 

 

 

 

Lynne Arriale Trio - Chimes Of Freedom
(Challenge Records) - Released: 28th February 2020

Lynne Arriale (piano); Jasper Somsen (bass); E.J. Strickland (drums); K.J. Denhert (vocals)

Lynne Arriale Chimes Of Freedom

 

 

'Chimes of Freedom' is Lynne Arriale's second album on Challenge Records and her 15th as a leader. Lynne is joined by renowned musicians, Dutch bassist/co-producer Jasper Somsen, drummer, E.J. Strickland, and guest vocalist, K.J. Denhert. In Chimes, her most passionate artistic statement to date, Lynne reflects on freedom, cultural diversity, and her wish that all refugee families may reach an inclusive safe harbour among the democratic nations of the world. This remarkable collection features seven of Lynne's original, deeply personal works. Lynne is known throughout the jazz world for the clarity, honesty and lyricism of her melodic lines, her virtuoso technique, and her genius for creating a synergistic environment around the trio, whose sound is greater than the sum of its parts. Lynne's albums have consistently topped the US Jazzweek Radio Charts and have appeared on numerous "Best Of" lists, including the New Yorker, United Press International, JAZZIZ, JazzTimes and Jazz History Online.' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Listen to Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child : Listen to Journey : Radio Interview with Lynne :

 

 

 

 

Andy Milne and Unison - The reMISSION
(Sunnyside Records) - Released: 10th April 2020

Andy Milne (piano); John Hébert (bass); Clarence Penn (drums)

Andy Milne The reMISSION

 

'Marking Milne’s first foray into piano trio performance, the album is a stunning shift in direction in the artist’s illustrious career. In late 2017, a life-changing cancer diagnosis forced Milne into a period of reflection over his fruitful career, a re-evaluation of his direction as an artist, and finally, remission. Added to the mix was an unexpected offer (which he accepted), for a full-time professorship from The University of Michigan. After conquering his diagnosis, Milne seized the opportunity to tackle a musical venture that he has always found exciting, and at times daunting: the powerful intimacy of the piano trio format. Juno award winner Milne brings a bold, imaginative sound to this pared down context, presenting fresh, original material written for this hallmark collaboration between himself, drummer Clarence Penn and bassist John Hébert ..... While Milne’s journey reflects a reversal of the jazz pianists’ time-honored practice of starting their careers with a trio and tackling larger configurations later, this decision has paid off by informing his trio sound with a structural and harmonic richness, and masterful interplay atypical to mainstream of the piano trio idiom.... (album notes). '.....the pianist embraces this Unison trio project with all his soul. He is found in great shape throughout the ten tracks of a record composed of eight originals - some of them purposely written for this trio - and two covers, which bookend the album .... The album title, The reMission, couldn’t be clearer, and Milne deserves compliments for both the remission of the disease he was diagnosed with and the mission accomplished with this gorgeous trio recording.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video introducing the band : Live video of Passion Dance :

 

 

 

Dayna Stephens Trio - Liberty
(Contagious Music) - Released: 28th February 2020

Dayna Stephens (tenor and baritone saxophones); Ben Street (acoustic bass); Eric Harland (drums).

Dayna Stephens Trio Liberty

 

 

'Well-versed saxophonist Dayna Stephens went for an appealing trio recording session with longtime collaborators, bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric Harland. These musicians were featured on Stephens’ very first recording, The Timeless Now (CTA Records, 2007), and one composition from that album - “Lost And Found” - appears on Liberty with a new outfit, passing a sensation of downtempo jazz without really being it. The warmly connected bass lines join the laid-back drumming to support the darkly wistful tones of Stephens, who, on this one, plays baritone sax with asserted pensiveness ..... Shaped with equal parts sturdiness and grace, the 11 tracks of Liberty, Stephens’ ninth recording as a leader and first trio output, flourish with invention, suspension, and resolution. Above all, the group brings emotion into play, building and releasing tension in a stylized fashion.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Listen to Planting Flowers : Listen to Kwooked Stweet : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Ted Poor - You Already Know
(Impulse! Records) - Released: 28th February 2020

Ted Poor (drums); Andrew D’Angelo (saxophone); Andrew Bird (violin); Blake Mills (guitar).

Ted Poor You Already Know

 

 

'Seattle-based drummer Ted Poor possesses a clear, detailed language that makes him a singular voice among fellow instrumentalists. He achieved wider notoriety after joining trumpeter Cuong Vu in his trio and 4-tet projects, embracing once more the leadership with this brand new outing, You Already Know. Comprising nine pieces that favor smartly arranged forms of interplay, the album features the gifted saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo, as well as violinist Andrew Bird and guitarist Blake Mills on one of the tracks. One doesn't have to wait long to witness the group’s constructive chemistry. “Emilia” opens the album with an intelligible conversational drum cycle that keeps going. Poor deals with each part of the drum kit with astuteness, extracting beautiful, contrasting tones that are not averse to scintillation. D’Angelo’s prayerful melodies rest over the effective piano comping that further brightens the Americana-suggested scenario. Everything seems so simple, detached of unnecessary complexities, that makes hard to believe how remarkably good it sounds ......I wish Poor were more prolific as a leader since his formidable aesthetics and minimalistic compositional adroitness make him one of the most diligent rhythmic colorists of our times.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video Introduction : Listen to Emilia : Listen to At Night :

 

 

 

 

Stefano Travaglini - Monk
(Notami Jazz) - Released: 5th March 2020

Stefano Travaglini (piano)

Stefano Travaglini Monk

 

 

'Italian pianist Stefano Travaglini is accustomed to play solo, and he does it in a unique way. His newest solo album is called Monk, the sparkling follow up to Ellipse (Notami Jazz, 2017). As you can immediately guess, this recording consists in personal interpretations of pieces authored by the genius pianist Thelonious Monk. Over the course of this session, he flies freely, refusing imposed boundaries and configuring various combinations drawn from the modern classical and jazz idioms. This way, he enables Monk’s music to be smeared and smudged into new colors and shapes ..... The stirring and inventive take on “Round Midnight”, for example, is hair-raising. Loosened up in tempo but still keeping the wondrous sentiment and structure of the original, this piece is one of the most beautiful on the record .....With no cuts or edits, Travaglini’s free improvisation offers an expanded, progressive, third stream vision of Monk’s music.' (JazzTrail)

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yuri Honing Acoustic Quartet - Bluebeard
(Challenge Records) - Released: 20th March 2020

Yuri Honing (saxophone); Wolfert Brederode (piano); Gulli Gudmundsson (bass); Joost Lijbaart (drums)

Yuri Honing Bluebeard

 

 

'Yuri Honing has dedicated his new album to the gruesome heritage of Bluebeard, titlular character of the 17th Century French fairytale. The duke with the seven wives sybolizes other historic European figures such as Pablo Picasso, who conquered women and loved them, but also destroyed them; all these phases inspired his art. A sonnet by the first female Pulitzer Prize winner, Edan Milay, a variation on the fairy tale, forms the basis of the album Bluebeard.The relentless Bluebeard now has a soundtrack thanks to Dutch saxophone pride Yuri Honing. With his Acoustic Quartet, Yuri Honing has been celebrating international success for many years. As with his previous album Goldbrun, the release of Bluebeard will be followed by an exhibition at Museum De Fundatie in Zwolle, a 'Gesamtkunstwerk' of paintings, sculptures and music in collaboration with painter Mariecke van der Linden. Honing's awards include three Edisons and the Boy Edgar Prijs 2012, and he has worked with countless greats such as Pat Metheny, Charli Haden, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Paul Bley and Craig Taborn.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video for Bluebeard Maze : Listen to She Walked In Beauty Like The Night :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nat King Cole - The Complete Nelson Riddle Studio Sessions
(Music Milestones) - Released: 6th March 2020 [8 CDs]

Nat King Cole (vocals, piano); Nelson Riddle (arranger, conductor) with various personnel including Mannie Klein, Pete Candoli, Sweets Edison (trumpet); George Roberts, Milt Bernhardt, Juan Tizol (trombone); Jack Dumont, Ted Nash, Joe Koch (reeds); Jimmy Rowles, Paul Smith, Lou Levy (piano); Irving Ashby, Barney Kessel (guitar); Joe Mondragon, Red Callander (bass); Archie Freeman, Alvin Stoller (drums) and others.

Nat King Cole Nelson Riddle Studio Sessions

 

'Limited edition 8CD deluxe box set featuring 216 tracks - issued for the first time ever on a single set. Includes a 40-page booklet with rare photos and memorabilia, updated liner notes and detailed discography. This monumental box set presents, for the first time on a single release, all the existing songs recorded by the great Nat King Cole with orchestras conducted and/or arranged by the equally great Nelson Riddle. Cole and Riddle started their extended collaborations in 1950 and continued to work together regularly for a whole decade until 1960, when Ralph Carmichael became Cole's main conductor. The songs are presented here chronologically in session order, and are accompanied by a comprehensive booklet including rare photos, memorabilia , and detailed information on the dates. Along with well know classics such as "Unforgettable" and "Mona Lisa", this collection presents dozens of rarely heard and hard to find songs which had never been issued before in their proper context.' (album notes). 'Hard on the heels of the excellent Hittin' The Ramp 1936-43 set on Resonance comes this exemplary package collating all Nat Cole's sessions with Nelson Riddle (and a final session with Ralph Carmichael at which Cole remade some of the early Riddle arrangements in stereo .... overall this makes a fine complement to the Resonance set as a rounded portrait of a very significant decade in Cole's career ...' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Digby Fairweather - Notes From A Jazz Life
(Acrobat) - Released: 2nd February 2020 [2 CDs]

Digby Fairweather (cornet) with various personnel.

Digby Fairweather Notes From A Jazz Life

 

'Cornetist Digby Fairweather has become one of the leading figures on the British jazz scene, both as a bandleader and sideman in other leaders bands, and as a writer and broadcaster, as well as being the founder and director of the charity Jazz Centre UK in Southend, aimed at promoting, preserving and celebrating the culture of jazz. As a cornetist, his style embraces many strands of jazz, being influenced by the likes of Nat Gonella, Louis Armstrong, Ruby Braff, Billy Butterfield, Bobby Hackett, and Red Nichols. This 33-track 2-CD set is a retrospective of his career to date, compiled by Digby himself, and with substantial booklet notes written by him. It comprises recordings from across his career, from his studio debut in 1971 through to 2012, and features recordings with a host of the top names in British jazz, including of course several by bands he has led under the names of Digby's Half Dozen and Digby's Fairweather Friends. Among the artists with whom Digby performs in this set are John Barnes, Roy Williams, Ron Russell, Keith Ingham, Fred Hunt, Chris Ellis, Brian Lemon, Pete Strange, Lennie Hastings, Stan Barker, Danny Moss, Martin Litton, George Melly and Wild Bill Davison. Its a musical overview of a significant career selected by the artist himself, and providing not only a showcase for his talents, but an entertaining insight into the British jazz scene across four decades.' (album notes). ' Blessed is the 74-year-old musician who is encouraged to compile a career retrospective, write a detailed autobiographical essay, and lives to tell the tale. This is exactly what happens here over the course of this double-CD dip into Digby's plentiful discography ..... So, milestones aplenty, great players alongside, contentment and overall, a sense of a sprited jazz journey well-travelled with, doubtless, plenty more surprises to come' (Peter Vacher in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny Hodges - Creamy
(Essential Jazz Classics) - Released: 1st November 2019

Johnny Hodges (alto sax); Clark Terry, Ray nance (trumpet); Lawrence Brown (trombone); Harry Carney (baritone sax); Billy Strayhorn (piano), Jimmy Woode (bass), Sonny Greer, Sam Woodyard (drums).

Johnny Hodges Creamy

 

 

'Presented here is the complete Johnny Hodges album Creamy (Verve MGV-8136), one of his best small group albums as a leader. In addition to Hodges, many important figures from the Duke Ellington band are also featured here, among them Clark Terry, Lawrence Brown, Jimmy Hamilton, Harry Carney, and the great Billy Strayhorn, who also contributes three compositions. Hodges’ following date as a leader, showcasing a very similar personnel, has been added as a bonus in its entirety. (album notes). 'Was a jazz album ever more appropriately titled? This EJC reissue of two of Hodges' mid-1950s Verve sessions is a perfect summary of what made the great Ellington altoist the revered voice he was ....should you only know Hodges from his apperances with Ellington this is a record that'll round out a great deal of the picture. It's simply classic jazz, 'mainstream' if you like, but shot through with the very essentials of the idiom.Very highly recommended' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ****)

 

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Parker - Five Classic Albums
(Avid Jazz) - Released: 27th March 2020 [2 CDs]

Charlie Parker (alto sax) with various personnel including Kenny Dorham, Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet); Al Haig, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, Hank Jones, Walter Bishop (piano); Tommy Potter, Curley Russell, Ray Brown, Teddy Kotick, Percy Heath (bass); Max Roach, Buddy Rich, Don Lamond, Roy Haynes, Art Tayler (drums) plus big bands and strings.

Charlie Parker Five Classic Albums

 

'AVID Jazz continues with its Five Classic Album series with a re-mastered 2CD release from Charlie Parker, complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details.“Bird & Diz”; “Big Band”; “With Strings”; “Charlie Parker Quartet” and “Plays Cole Porter’” At last, the wait is over, we hear you cry, again! AVID have finally inducted Charlie Parker into our Four Classic Albums “hall of fame”! In fact, you have waited so long and so patiently that we have decided to add in another album to make it Five Classic Albums! .... Ok, so we have taken our time in paying tribute to one of the greatest sax players who ever lived, but we wanted to get it right, we wanted to select the best albums that truly captured the huge talents of Charlie Parker. We didn’t want to give you just any ol’ bird! And we think with the selections we have chosen we furnished our feathered friend with five fine examples of his fabulous talents!' (album notes) '.......There are five albums here rather than Avid's usual four because two of them were 10-inch LPs: the self-explanatory Bird And Diz ... and the 1952-53 quartet set with Roach. These two are the highlights ...The closing small-group set of Cole Porter tunes ... is from Bird's last year and finds some songs better suited to him than others ...' (Brian Pristley in Jazzwise ****)

 

Details : Track listing :

 

 

Noemi Nuti - Venus Eye
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 6th March 2020

Noemi Nuti (vocals, Paraguayan harp, classical harp); Chris Eldred (keys); Tom Herbert (bass); Emiliano Caroselli (drums); Gareth Lochrane (flute); Quentin Collins (trumpet)

Noemi Nuti Venus Eye

 

'Born in New York City and of Italian descent, Noemi Nuti is a well-established jazz vocalist based in London.A finalist at the Worshipful Company of Musicians, she has released her debut album Nice to Meet You in 2015, which was also the first release on the Ubuntu Music Record Label. Six tracks have been featured on national and international radio stations, two of which were A listed on Jazz FM. She has received wide critical acclaim touring the UK, headlining festivals and supporting Brazilian legend Marcos Valle at Islington Assembly Hall. She has also performed nationally and internationally as lead vocalist in Andrew McCormack's Graviton. Noemi Nuti's second album, Venus Eye, due to be released in March 2020, is a celebration of the female perspective in song form, fusing influences from artists such as Joni Mitchell and Esperanza Spalding.' (album notes). 'Venus Eye is the expression of a three-year journey I started in 2017. After the success of my debut album, ‘Nice to Meet You’, I decided to take some time off to go on an artistic, emotional and musical quest. I was lucky enough to spend this time listening, researching, practising and rediscovering my love for the harp.This has shaped the music and, for me, this was the best decision I have ever made. It took 18 months to write the music as I wanted to challenge myself to write songs with strong vocal and flute layering arrangements yet preserving elements of improvised jazz music. As I was recording, I realised that the overall theme was one of the self-affirming female perspective, which is the only perspective I have. I am so happy to embrace this music as it developed naturally whilst I was seeking to discover what was within me at that time. I believe this honesty can be heard in the storytelling of the lyrics, the instrumentation, the arrangements, the compositions and the textures.' (Naomi Nuti). '..... Nuti's ever-evolving musical artistry is tellingly reflected in this consummate collection of songs'. (Peter Quinn in Jazzwise ****)

 

Details and Samples : Click here for a Video of Cornflake Girl : Listen to I Will Remember : Listen to Crazy Dance : Further Details :

 

 

 

 

Tom Green Septet - Tipping Point
(Spark! Label) - Released: 17th April 2020

Tom Green (trombone/composition; James Davison (trumpet/flugelhorn); Tommy Andrews (alto/soprano saxophones); Sam Miles(tenor saxophone); Sam James (piano); Misha Mullov-Abbado (double bass); Scott Chapman (drums)

Tom Green Septet Tipping Point

 

'The Tom Green Septet is an outlet for Tom's original compositions: elegant and lively contemporary chamber jazz tunes with rich harmony, propulsive grooves, and memorable melodies at their heart. The Septet was formed in 2012, bringing together seven in-demand young musicians who are all prize-winning bandleaders, composers and performers in their own right. Together they create a warm and distinct sound world, using the unique range of textures available in the seven-piece ensemble. Their debut album 'Skyline' was released in February 2015 to unanimous critical acclaim, and now five years later, the Tom Green Septet return with their second release 'Tipping Point' featuring eight new compositions celebrating the importance of hope and positive action when addressing individual and global challenges. 20% of album sales will be donated to the charities Trees for Life: rewilding the Scottish Highlands by restoring the Caledonian Forest, and Cool Earth: working alongside rainforest communities to halt deforestation.' (album notes). " 'Tipping Point' is a phrase that has become more and more common recently to describe global changes, whether the subject matter is climate change, politics or upheavels within society. The title track in particular reflects this; it is unsettled, with shifting tona lcentres and alto saxophone, trombone and trumpet solos building towards a climax before a quiet unresolved ending". (Tom Green).

Details and Samples : Listen to Jack O' Lantern :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ian Shaw, Iain Ballamy, Jamie Safir - What's New
(Silent Wish Records) - Released: 3rd April 2020

Ian Shaw (vocals); Iain Ballamy (saxophone); Jamie Safir (piano)

Shaw Ballamy Safir Whats New

 

'What's New is the latest collaboration between two internationally renowned British jazz musicians - vocalist Ian Shaw and saxophonist / composer Iain Ballamy - and Jamie Safir, one of the finest young pianists of his generation. "This recording is a return to how it all started - under the wise advice of Ronnie Scott, thirty years ago - and a discovery of the art of great popular song," explains Shaw. "To be able to sing these songs with one of Ronnie's favourite horn players, Iain Ballamy, who played with Cedar Walton and me exactly twenty years ago on my US release, In A New York Minute, was pure joy. One of the pleasures of making jazz is how it transcends generation. Jamie Safir, the in-demand pianist of our day, here in the UK and in Europe, completes this convergent, thrilling and completely live album." From the title song by Bob Haggart and Bernstein's Some Other Time to the Bacharach and David classics Alfie and You'll Never Get To Heaven, What's New is a beautiful collection of songs celebrating love and hope, music that is rich in its portrayal of human connections. Many of the songs featured were favourites of Ballamy's father, who recently passed away, and the album is dedicated to his memory.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video of Alfie : Listen to You'll Never Get To Heaven : Listen to I Wish I Were In Love Again :

 

 

 

 

Fred Hunt - Blues 'n Boogie
(Lake Records) - Released: 10th April 2020

Fred Hunt (piano); Mike Bracewell (drums, tracks 1-9); Alex Welsh (Long Model cornet, track10)

Fred Hunt Blues n Boogie

 

 

'Pianist Fred Hunt quietly became a cult figure on the British Jazz scene. In the early 1950s he played semi-professionally before turning professional with Alex Welsh in 1954. He did two stints with the Welsh band (1954 – 1962 and 1964 -1974). During this time he carved out an enviable reputation. The Welsh band was the 'go-to' band for visiting Americans and so Fred played alongside, and recorded with, Bud Freeman, Wild Bill Davison, Ruby Braff and others. His style ranges from gentle to powerful coupled with his own tasteful, inventive ornamentations. He left to pursue a solo career in the 1970s. He only made two now rare, highly collectable albums under his own name before his death in 1986. This 'live' set shows him away from the constraints of a band and a recording studio enjoying and indulging himself often playing medleys where he alights on a standard, gains inspiration before segueing into another theme often in a variety of tempos. Highlights of Welsh band concerts were the duets he played with Alex. 'Davenport Blues' was one of their notable collaborations and a previously unissued version is the bonus track.' (album notes).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Hart, Ivo Neame - Multiverse
(Edition Records) - Released: 21st February 2020

Ivo Neame (piano, electric piano, keyboards); Jim Hart (vibraphone, percussion, marimba)

Jim Hart Ivo Neame album

 

'Pianist Ivo Neame and vibraphonist & drummer Jim Hart take their duo project to the next level with an astonishing and multifaceted new album. Produced by Matt Calvert, the music blends a rich world of Jazz, groove, electronica with ear-catching and bold electronic textures. This is a distinctive-sounding, multi-faceted album that ranges from serene, acoustic interpretations of the music of Hermeto Pascoal and John Taylor to dystopian, electronic free jazz. Both musicians are at their most free and honest whilst being in full command of their respective means of expression.' (album notes). 'If ever there was a meeting of virtuosic equals who can play more or less anything and often do, it's the UK partnership of pianist and reeds player Ivo Neame and vibraphonist / drummer Jim Hart - a 15 year liaison realised in a variety of line-ups .... Multiverse is a duo project, but this pair's multi-instrumental versatility creates tumultuous soundscapes that suggest a band twice the size ... Multiverse lives up to its name with a frquently awesome aplomb' (John Fordham in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Video of Transference : Listen to Au Contraire :

 

 

 

 

Pat Metheny - From This Place
(Nonesuch Records) - Released 21st February 2020

Pat Metheny (guitar); Gwilym Simcock (piano); Linda May Han Oh (bass); Antonio Sanchez (drums) + guests Gregoire Maret (harmonica); Meshell Ndegeocello (vocals); Luis Conte (percussion).

Pat Metheny From This Place

 

''From This Place' is one of the records I have been waiting to make my whole life', Metheny says. 'It is a kind of musical culmination, reflecting a wide range of expressions that have interested me over the years, scaled across a large canvas, presented in a way that offers the kind of opportunities for communication that can only be earned with a group of musicians who have spent hundreds of nights together on the bandstand'. The record features ten compositions by Metheny, who is joined by his long-time drummer, Antonio Sanchez, Malaysian/Australian bassist Linda May Han and British pianist Gwilym Simcock as well as the Hollywood Studio Symphony conducted by Joel McNeely.' (album notes). 'Four years after releasing the double-disc CD The Unity Sessions, guitar phenomenon Pat Metheny is back to his eclectic, fully persuasive sonic environments with a new album, From This Place. The program consists of 10 deftly written originals that reflect Metheny's refined musicianship, and is carried out alongside his new working quartet ... Their sound kept evolving throughout the years they’ve been touring together, and the bandleader broadens his vivid palette with brilliant symphonic arrangements written by Alan Broadbent and Gil Goldstein and performed by the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joel McNeely.... Conceived with perspective, developed with maturity, and sparkling with effulgence, this journey takes us to places worth visiting.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Same River : Listen to Love May Take Awhile :

 

 

 

 

 

Christian McBride - The Movement Revisited
(Mack Avenue) - Released: 7th February 2020

Christian McBride (bass); Steve Wilson (alto sax, flute);  Todd Bashore (alto sax); Ron Blake (tenor and soprano saxes); Loren Schoenberg(tenor sax); Carl Maraghi (baritone sax); Michael Dease, Steve Davis, James Burton (trombone); Doug Purviance (bass trombone); Lew Soloff, Ron Tooley, Frank Greene, Freddie Hendrix, Darryl Shaw (trumpet); Warren Wolf (vibraphone, tambourine, timpani); Geoffrey Keezer (piano); Terreon Gully (drums) + Alicia Olatuja, J.D. Steele (vocals) + choir Voices Of The Flame.

Christian McBride The Movement Revisited

 

'The Movement, Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Cultural Icons is culminating documentation of a richly inspired piece - lauding four key figures of the Civil Rights Movement: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and Muhammad Ali. Marshalling his ever-sharpening skills as a composer, arranger, conductor, musician and lyricist, McBride has created a historically and culturally illuminating five-part suite for an 18-piece big band, chorus and narrators that places the motivating forces as well as the goals of the Civil Rights Movement within a powerfully relevant artistic context. It is a one-from-the-heart project McBride was, apparently, destined to undertake. This recording of The Movement, Revisited marks the addition of a fifth movement, "Apotheosis," which acknowledges the election of Barack Obama as the first African American President of the United States.' (album notes). 'The Movement Revisited, the newest opus of first-class bassist/composer/arranger Christian McBride, is an important African American manifesto that takes the form of a five-part suite focused on four indelible figures of the Civil Rights Movement - Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Muhammad Ali. The bassist gathered an 18-piece band that includes vibrant soloists, a great choral team led by soul/gospel singer JD Steele, and four skilled speakers, who profess the words of each protagonist with passion........ The splendor of the music side with force of the words in a powerful and personal musical statement that envisions to alert the world for essential principles. This is the third big band recording for McBride.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Sample : Full JazzTrail Review : Video :

 

 

 

 

 

Engin Ozsahin - Sequence Of Emotions
(Self Produced) - Released: 11th January 2020

Engin Ozsahin (piano); Jacob Shulman (tenor saxophone); Aaron Dutton (alto saxophone); Bobby Lane (trumpet); Seajun Kwon (bass); Charlie Weller (drums).

Engin Ozsahin Sequence Of Emotions

 

'Originally hailing from Istanbul and now residing in Boston, pianist Engin Ozsahin drew inspiration from the bold decision of radically changing careers at the age 29 to compose his debut album, Sequence of Emotions. His passion and flair for music making led him to cut ties with a steady engineering job and enroll in the New England Conservatory in Boston. The nine song collection presented here took into consideration the whirl of emotions associated with different phases of that challenging process. Musically, the pianist was able to create a synergistic environment in the company of a functional sextet of young talents that includes saxophonists Jacob Shulman and Aaron Dutton on tenor and alto, respectively, Bobby Lane on trumpet, Seajun Kwon on bass, and Charlie Weller on drums.....Tunes such as “What If” and “Instincts” denote a fantastic sense of dynamics and interplay. The former starts off with a blue trumpet discourse supported by Kwon’s inspired bass notes, and then segues into a passage where staccato full-hand chords on the piano give it the intended locomotion. A stark contrast is created when the two saxophonists pair up in an unaccompanied ride that later welcomes swirling piano movements. The piece then evolves into an avant-garde crescendo that allows emotions to flow freely. A different perspective, more traditionally swinging is offered on “Instincts”, whose scrumptious arrangement embodies a relentless bass pedal setting the pace, attractive melody, and improvisations from piano and alto sax.....Ozsahin composes with intelligence and his voice rings out clearly and promisingly.' (JazzTrail)

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to What If : Listen to Day Dreamer :

 

 

 

 

 

Avishai Cohen - Big Vicious
(ECM Records) - Released: 27th March 2020

Avishai Cohen (trumpet, effects, synthesizer; Uzi Ramirez: guitar); Yonatan Albalak (guitar, bass); Aviv Cohen (drums); Ziv Ravitz (drums, live sampling).

Avishai Cohen Big Vicious

 

'Charismatic trumpeter Avishai Cohen launched his homegrown band Big Vicious six years ago, after relocating from the US to his native Israel, rounding up friends to shape the music from the ground up. Guitarist Uzi Ramirez, bassist Jonathan Albalak and drummer Aviv Cohen write much of the material together with Avishai. Ziv Ravitz, from Avishai's acoustic quartet, was recruited as second drummer a year ago. "We're all coming from jazz, but some of us left it earlier", Avishai says, summing up the stylistic reach of his cohorts. "Everyone's bringing in their backgrounds, and that becomes part of the sound of the band." Textures from electronica, ambient music and psychedelia are part of the blend, so too grooves and beats from rock, pop, trip-hop and more. A wide-open approach to cover versions – from Massive Attack to Beethoven - is also integral to the Vicious vision. Recorded in Studios La Buissonne in the South of France in August 2019 and produced by Manfred Eicher, Big Vicious's debut album is issued as the band gears up for extensive international touring, including Love Supreme in July.' (album notes). 'Trumpeter/composer Avishai Cohen gives another solid step toward innovation with the consistent group he formed six years ago, after moving back from the US to his native Israel. The eclectic album, Big Vicious, is the successor to the duo recording Playing The Room and marks his fourth outing on the reliable ECM imprint. The electro-acoustic ensemble, which includes two drummers, delivers a program of nine originals and two covers. Despite their backgrounds in jazz, these open-minded artists experiment with different sonic flavors and the outcome is more than satisfactory....... Revealing himself a musical chameleon, Avishai Cohen deserves acclaim for this exciting work.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Honey Fountain : Listen to Teardrop :

 

 

 

 

 

Jure Pukl - Broken Circles
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 21st February 2020

Jure Pukl (tenor and soprano saxophones); Charles Altura (guitar); Joel Ross (vibraphone); Matt Brewer (bass); Kweku Sumbry (drums)

Jure Pukl Broken Circles

 

'The sociopolitical and environmental focus on our world seems to be stronger than ever, predominantly for all the wrong reasons. But consequential calls for action can also summon a positive uprising of both energy and creativity – something particularly evident in the story behind Broken Circles from New York-based saxophonist/composer Jure Pukl, with new music that reflects empathy and respect. Previous Whirlwind releases Hybrid (2017) and Doubtless (2018) featured more spatial quartet and dual-tenor environments. But Pukl has also been honing this quite different quintet sound with the arresting line-up of guitarist Charles Altura, vibraphonist Joel Ross, bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Kweku Sumbry. “We’ve been playing in New York for a while now,” explains Pukl, “including Smalls, Fat Cat and The Jazz Gallery, and I am drawn to how the watercolor feel of guitar and vibes changes the sound, quite different to piano, and sometimes even blurs those textures. I hear Joel as another prominent melodic voice, and Charles contributes hugely to the arrangements.” Alongside the dexterity of bassist Matt Brewer is the astonishing talent of Kweku Sumbry. “He moved here a couple of years ago,” enthuses Pukl, “and comes from a strong African-family percussion tradition. Hearing this album, my very good friend, drummer Howard Curtis, exclaimed: ‘Wow, who’s the drummer? He sounds like a percussionist playing drums!’ – and that’s exactly what he is. So most of the pieces were written (with input from Pukl’s saxophonist wife, Melissa Aldana) with this group in my head.” (album notes). 'With Broken Circles, Slevenian-born, New York-based saxophonist Jure Pukl floats along on the waves of self-awareness and optimism, issuing a call for action on the sociopolitical and environmental predicaments that our world is facing lately .... This record comprises compositions that allow him to fly with freedom and, simultaneously, take full advantage of his bandmates’ musical skills ... The music in Broken Circles reflects Pukl's virtuosic prowess both as a composer and performer. His work has evolved in exciting ways and the 11 originals presented here couldn’t have been shaped with more character and life.' (JazzTrail)

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail review : Listen to Sustained Optimism : Listen to the title track Broken Circles :

 

 

 

 

 

Alvin Schwaar, Bänz Oester, Noé Franklé - Travellin' Light
(Leo Records) - Released: 20th March 2020

Alwin Schwaar (piano); Bänz Oester (bass); Noé Franklé (drums).

Alvin Schwaar Travellin Light

 

 

'If your love for improvisation and the memory of the Great Jazz Songbook is driven by pure joy and confidence you get the Swiss trio of Alwin Schwaar (piano), Bänz Oester (bass) and Noé Franklé (drums). They go on a travel without any preconceptions and language limitations, and they do not aim to arrive at any precise place. They just enjoy the trip which turns into pure joy. The band unites two generations and the musicians see themselves as soulmates with juvenile serenity!' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Track List :

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Colligan Trio - Live In Arklow
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 3rd April 2020

George Colligan (piano); David Redmond (bass); Darren Beckett (drums)

George Colligan Trio Live In Arklow

 

'George is not only one of the great jazz pianists of his generation, but he has earned an international reputation as a multi-instrumentalist (drums, trumpet, organ, keyboards), composer, accompanist, teacher and bandleader. Winner of the DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll, he has had a long association with living jazz legend Jack DeJohnette. With over 130 albums to date as an accompanist, Colligan has worked with a long list of jazz greats, including Buster Williams, Cassandra Wilson, Don Byron, Ravi Coltrane and many others. Colligan, a New York resident for 15 years, now resides in Portland, Oregon where he is an Associate Professor at Portland State University."Mr. Colligan. favours an earthy, assertive style, putting him in a lineage that includes McCoy Tyner, John Hicks and Mulgrew Miller. "--The New York TimesGeorge was reunited with a long-time colleague, Irish drummer Darren Beckett, since their extensive recording and playing days in New York, and was joined by Irish bassist David Redmond, to form a gifted trio that performed at the Bray Jazz Festival in 2018, appearing at Arklow Methodist Church. The live performance was recorded and will be released in CD and digital formats."One of the best kept secrets in jazz."All About Jazz Darren Beckett (drums) won a prestigious Bass Ireland Award as a teenager, leaving the emerald isle to study jazz in New York, where he resided for 21 years. Across his career, he has played drums everywhere from Carnegie Hall in New York to the Royal Albert Hall in London. He has performed on over 50 albums recording with notable names like Brandon Flowers, Daniel Lanois, Madeleine Peyroux, Lee Konitz and Kenny Wheeler. Over the years, Darren has worked with Lauryn Hill of The Fugees, James Hunter, jazz pianist Aaron Parks and played festivals all over the world from Austin City Limits to Montreux to NH7 in India.' (album notes).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

Radha Thomas & Aman Mahajan - Bangalore Blues
(Subcontinental Records) - Released: 31st March 2020

Radha Thomas (vocals); Aman Mahajan (piano, Fender Rhodes)

Radha Thomas Bangalore Blues

 

 

'Considered one of India's most beloved jazz vocalists, Radha has worked with some of the biggest names in the genre including Michael Brecker, John Scofield, Alex Blake and Buddy Williams. On Bangalore Blues she teams up with Berklee-alumnus piano player Aman Mahajan for an album described as unusual, outstanding and superb.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Video of Load Shedding live :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duke Ellington Orchestra - Liederhalle Stuttgart 1967
(Jazzhaus) - Released: 17th January 2020

Cat Anderson, Cootie Williams, Herbie Jones, Mercer Ellington (Trumpet); Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors, Lawrence Brown (trombone); Johnny Hodges (alto sax); Russell Procope (clarinet, alto sax); Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax); Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, tenor sax); Harry Carney (baritone sax); Duke Ellington (piano); John Lamb (bass); Rufus Jones (drums).

Duke Ellington Liederhalle Stuttgart

 

 

 

'The Duke Ellington Orchestra's European tour of 1967 has already generated a generous spread of bootleg discs, but perhaps none of them as vibrantly recorded as this Stuttgart concert from 6 March. Matters do not, however, get off to a promising start. An unkempt 50-second scrap of 'Take The A Train' just about hangs together - before the curtain rises on the orchestra's true glories......Kixx also highlights what a hard-driven, funky band Ellington had in 1967, with raw-boned brass stabs and trenchant saxophones that could have easily given James Brown a run for his money. An exceptional Ducal night.' (Philip Clark in Jazzwise ****).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny Griffin & Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis - Ow! Live At The Penthouse
(Real to Reel Recordings) - Released: 17th January 2020

Johnny Griffin, Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis (tenor sax); Horace Parlan (piano); Buddy Catlett (bass); Art Taylor (drums).

Johnny Griffin Eddie Davis Live At The Penthouse

 

'Nicknamed the Little Giant for his short stature and forceful playing, Johnny Griffin's career began in the early 1940s and continued until the month of his death in 2008. A pioneering figure in hard bop, Griffin recorded prolifically as a bandleader in addition to stints with pianist Thelonious Monk, drummer Art Blakey, in partnership with fellow tenor Eddie Lockjaw Davis and as a member of the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band after he moved to Europe in the 1960s. Eddie Lockjaw Davis played with Cootie Williams, Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk, Eddie Bonnemere, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie, as well as leading his own bands and making many recordings as a leader. He played in the swing, bop, hard bop, Latin jazz, and soul jazz genres. Some of his recordings from the 1940s also could be classified as rhythm and blues.' (album notes). 'Griff 'n' Jaws - the ultimate tough tenor tandem, a powerhouse pairing who could take any audience ... on a wild ride towards pure jazz nirvana .... This splendid rescue job, taken from a couple of previously unissued radio broadcasts ... is the tenor twosome at close to their collective best ...' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

Julian Costello Quartet - Connections: Without Borders
(33 Jazz) - Released: 2nd March (CD 20th April)

Julian Costello (tenor sax, soprano sax); Maciek Pysz (guitar); Jakub Cywinski (bass); Adam Teixeira (drums).

Julian Costello Quartet Connections Without Borders album

 

 

Saxophonist Julian Costello explores new material with his highly acclaimed European Quartet, featuring Julian on tenor and soprano saxophones, Maciek Pysz on guitar alongside bassist Jakub Cywinski and drummer Adam Teixeira. The music is about the connections we have to places - and how the music transcends borders.' (album notes). 'It has a theme and is conceptual. The full title is Connections: Without Borders.  Connections we have to places through music, and also how music transcends borders. It was recorded near Oslo and features great musicians from different parts of Europe. Music doesn't have boundaries and nor should it. I am inspired by how musicians and music travel like nature. Open to new ideas and influences from what, I think, should be an open world - when sadly, some would put up borders.' (Julian Costello).

Details and Samples : Read our Tea Break article with Julian Costello :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Vinson - 441
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 31st January 2020

Will Vinson (alto saxophone); Sullivan Fortner, Tigran Hamasyan, Gerald Clayton, Fred Hersch, Gonzalo Rubalcaba (piano); Matt Brewer, Matt Penman, Rick Rosato, Larry Grenadier (bass); Obed Calvaire, Billy Hart, Eric Harland, Clarence Penn, Jochen Rueckert (drums)

Will Vinson 441

 

 

'2019 is a milestone year for altoist Will Vinson. It’s twenty years since he relocated to New York from his native London, and commenced an exploration that led him into the heart of that city’s legendary scene, where the tradition and the avant-garde intersect. Seven records as leader have confirmed his stature: now, for his debut on Whirlwind, titled four forty one, he’s dug into his contact book to present the realization of a long-held dream - to record with five of the greatest contemporary piano masters......Each pianist was chosen by Vinson to reflect a different aspect of his musical journey through America, and a different side of his own musical identity. The sessions were all performed with no rehearsal and a minimum of formal arrangements, to let the diverse personalities shine through. It’s a unique experiment that has yielded unique results.....“At heart, I am a frustrated pianist. It may be on the saxophone that I’ve found a voice, but it’s the piano that has captivated, inspired, and eluded me my whole life. This project is a dream come true.” (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Work :

 

 

 

 

 

John Bailey - Can You Imagine?
(CD Baby / Freedom Road Records) - Released: 20th January 2020

John Bailey (trumpet, flugelhorn); Stacy Dillard (tenor and soprano sax), Stafford Hunter (trombone), Edsel Gomez (piano), Mike Karn (bass) and Victor Lewis (percussion), “special guests”, Janet Axelrod (flutes); Earl McIntyre (bass trombone, tuba).

John Bailey Can You Imagine

 

'In 1964, Dizzy Gillespie announced his candidacy for President of the United States. The campaign was, in the iconic trumpeter’s wry fashion, in large part satirical – particularly his proposed cabinet, which included Duke Ellington as Secretary of State, Louis Armstrong as Secretary of Agriculture, and Miles Davis as CIA Director among others. But the issues that Gillespie raised on the campaign trail, during one of the most heated periods of the Civil Rights movement, were serious, and resonate with the conflicts we still face today. On his new album, Can You Imagine?, veteran trumpeter/composer John Bailey posits an alternate reality half a century on from a President Gillespie administration. (This is no passing fancy for Bailey; as Allen Morrison points out in his liner notes, the trumpeter’s license plate reads “DIZ4PREZ.”). Due out, appropriately enough, on January 20, 2020 – Inauguration Day – through Bailey’s own Freedom Road Records, Can You Imagine? is also offered as a rhetorical question, a stunned response to the fact that too many of us seem not to have learned the lessons on empathy and human decency offered by our country’s artistic giants.' (album notes).

 

Details and Samples : Article for this website by Robin Kidson :

 

 

 

 

 

Oded Tzur - Here Be Dragons
(ECM) - Released: 14th February 2020

Oded Tzur (tenor saxophone); Nitai Hershkovitz (piano); Petros Klampanis (double bass); Johnathan Blake (drums).

Oded Tzur Here Be Dragons

 

'Here Be Dragons is the ECM debut of New York based, Tel Aviv born saxophonist Oded Tzur, a strikingly original player and musical storyeller. Tzur's graceful and fluid tenor sax sound has been influenced by studies with bansuri master Hariprasad Chaurasia, and the concept of raga is subtly embedded in his elegant compositions, played with verve and imagination by his outstanding Israeli-Greek-American jazz group. As DownBeat has observed: "Tzur and his colleagues are definitely on to something." Recorded in June 2019 at Auditorio Stelio Molo in Lugano, and produced by Manfred Eicher, the album is issued as Tzur embarks on an international tour.' (album notes). 'The elegant jazz of Tel Aviv-born, New York-based saxophonist Oded Tzur is fully reflected on his new album Here Be Dragons. The newcomer joins the ECM label, playing alongside Israeli pianist Nitai Hershkovitz, Greek bassist Petros Klampanis and American drummer Johnathan Blake. The quartet takes us into a deeply connected, reflecting, and moving journey, crystallizing their sounds into empathic rhythmic textures with a preference for soft and minimalist raga-inspired practices rather than any sort of fiery streaks......Working on hushed dynamics with soulful resplendence, Tzur and his quartet mates create some sweet moments of rare sensibility. This is a promising first ECM outing for him.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Listen to the Title Track : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mezcla - Shoot The Moon
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 11th February 2020

Joshua Elcock (trumpet); Michael Butcher (tenor saxophone); Alan Benzie (keyboard); Ben MacDonald (guitar); David Bowden (bass); Stephen Henderson (drums) and Steve Forman (percussion).

Mezcla Shoot The Moon

 

'Ubuntu Music is proud to announce the signing of Mezcla, to release their debut album, 'Shoot The Moon', worldwide on 7th February 2020. Mezcla are a Glasgow-based world/jazz fusion ensemble currently making waves throughout the UK. Led by bass player David Bowden (BBC Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year 2017), the band features some of Scotland's brightest stars and is attracting attention for its innovative blend of soulful jazz and energetic grooves.The name Mezcla means 'mixture' and the music draws from a wide range of genres and moods. Skilfully fusing modern jazz with African, Latin-American and RnB music influences, Mezcla's music is distinguished by its uplifting melodies, shimmering textures, and visceral improvisation.The line-up includes Michael Butcher on tenor sax, Joshua Elcock on trumpet, Alan Benzie (Berklee Billboard winner) on keys, Ben MacDonald on guitar, David Bowden on bass and compositions, Stephen Henderson (Jazzwise 'One to Watch' 2018) on drums and Steve Forman (veteran LA studio musician) on percussion."Fresh and vibrant... really uplifting jazz with world music flavours"BBC Radio 3 Nominated for 'Best Band' at the 2018 Scottish Jazz Awards, they have been touted by Jazz FM, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 3. Recent highlights have included a sell-out gig at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, BBC Music's 'Biggest Weekend', and London Jazz Festival 2018. Their debut album 'Shoot the Moon' will be released on Ubuntu Records in 2020.Bassist David Bowden, Mezcla's leader, is an award-winning bass player and composer working primarily in the fields of jazz, folk and contemporary improvised music. A mainstay of the Scottish scene, David has toured the UK and Europe extensively and was described by BBC Radio 3 as 'a gifted bass player'. Originally from London, David studied jazz at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and won 'BBC Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year' in 2017. He has spent time studying abroad in Amsterdam and Ghana and is involved in Scottish music education.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : David Bowdens Full Focus article on this website :

 

 

 

 

Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra - Sherman Irby's Inferno
(Blue Engine Records) - Released: 17 January 2020

Sherman Irby, Ted Nash, Victor Goines, Walter Blanding, Joe Temperley (reeds); Wynton Marsalis, Ryan Kisor, Marcus Printup, Kenny Rampton (trumpets); Vincent Gardner, Chris Crenshaw, Elliott Mason (trombones); Dan Nimmer (piano), Carlos Henriquez (bass), Ali Jackson (drums).

Jazz At Lincoln Centre Orchestra Inferno

 

'In the epic composition - recorded live at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater in 2012 - the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra all-star improvisers give life to the colorful denizens of hell and casts the late, legendary baritone saxophonist and founding member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Joe Temperley as the voice of “Dante.” Sherman Irby’s Inferno both stands alone as an irresistible musical narrative and sheds new light on Dante’s classic; this unique exploration of the epic poem captures its timeless quality and ingeniously places it in conversation with the jazz canon.' (Wynton Marsalis) 'Trumpeter extraordinaire Wynton Marsalis fronts the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, a 15-piece band bound to perform saxophonist Sherman Irby’s Inferno, an impeccably arranged and masterfully executed suite in six movements that narrates Dante Alighieri’s first part of his 14th-century epic poem The Divine Comedy. The ensemble not only displays a magic touch when it comes to luxurious orchestration, but also provides absorbing individual statements whenever an improviser steps forward........Collective discipline is an important aspect in Irby’s compositional aesthetic and the shapeshifting, cinematic narrations of “Movement V: The Three-Headed Serpent” show exactly that, conveying a sense of danger and momentum in one of its passages. However, unrehearsed creativity is also vital, and the spotlight is pointed at an early galloping drum solo delivered by Ali Jackson, followed by a buoyant tenor stretch over drums.....' (JazzTrail).

Details and Sample : Introductory Video : Listen to Movement 1 - House Of Believers : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

Carla Bley / Andy Sheppard / Steve Swallow - Life Goes On
(ECM) - Released: 14th February 2020

Carla Bley (piano); Andy Sheppard (saxophones); Steve Swallow (electric bass).

Blay Sheppard Swallow Life Goes On

 

'A striking album of new music from pianist/composer Carla Bley, whose trio with Andy Sheppard and Steve Swallow is now in its 25th year. Individual associations among the players go back much further: bassist Swallow first recorded music by Carla in 1961. So when Bley says "Life Goes On", a lot of life is alluded to. Following two other trio albums for ECM, Trios (2013) and Andando el Tiempo (2016), this recording, realized in the Auditorio Stelio Molo Studio in Lugano in May 2019, with Manfred Eicher producing, takes the form of three suites. The title piece begins as a stoical blues, at first melancholic then hopeful. "Beautiful Telephones", inspired by a US president's first observation on entering the Oval Office, has plenty of Bley's dark wit. And "Copycat" explores the notion of call-and-response in fresh ways as the improvisers continue each other's thoughts. Throughout, Carla's distinctive piano, with its hints of Monk and Satie, is beautifully framed by Swallow's eloquent, elegant bass guitar and Sheppard's yearning saxes. This trio has a unique collective sound, reflecting - as The Telegraph recently noted – "musical mastery of a rare order". "Carla Bley is not just one of jazz history's most iconoclastic figures; she is also capable of turning the most moribund of topics into a cause for celebration… " – The Times (album notes). 'Pianist/composer Carla Bley forged an unprecedented path in the jazz world on account of exceptional creative capacities. Her quarter-century drum-less trio, which includes her husband, bassist Steve Swallow, and the British saxophonist Andy Sheppard, enriches the ECM catalogue with another disc, Life Goes On, the follow-up to Andando El Tiempo (2016). Effectively, Bley’s unique compositional lay outs translate into unmistakable sonic aesthetics delivered with elegance, strength, tenderness and wittiness.This album is composed of three suites and opens with the title track, whose four distinct, poised and warmhearted parts suffuse an underlying magnificence that refuses excesses of any kind...... Bley, Swallow and Sheppard engage on straightforward jazz narratives devoid of artificiality. This music is gripping and immensely fun.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Listen to the Title Track : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

Issie Barrett's Interchange - Donna's Secret
(Fuzzy Moon Records) - Released: 31st January 2020

Issie Barrett (bass, artistic director, cowbells); and on various tracks: Jessica Radcliffe (vocals); Brigitte Beraha (vocals on one track); Laura Jurd (trumpet); Helena Kay (alto sax, clarinet); Alyson Cawley (sopranos sax, tenor sax, flute, clarinet); Chelsea Carmicahel (tenor sax, flute); Rosie Turton (trombone); Shirley Smart (cello); Karen Street (accordion); Charley Pine (bass, electric bass, backing vocal); Katie Patterson (drums, percussion); Nikki Iles (piano); Zoe Rahman (piano).

Interchange Donna's Secret

 

 

'Issie Barratt's INTERCHANGE (In-to-change) Pushing at the boundaries & blurring all the edges. INTERCHANGE'S debut album "Donna's Secret" (recorded January 2019) features 14 highly creative improvising artists performing 8 highly original newly commissioned works, led by multi award composer and bandleader Issie Barratt - ranked by BBC Radio 4's 2018 power-list as one of the most influential women in the music industry: An exhilarating programme of newly commissioned music providing a broader, more diverse experience than any audience might typically hear.' (album notes). '....Interchange typifies Issie Barrett's work as educator, activist and artist. In the latter role, she has focused on large ensembles in a way rare for British female jazz musicians, eight of whom are offered the format's compositional opportunities here...... A sea-change washing away the necessity (if not the pleasure) of gender focus is hopefully brwing in the next generation.... in the meantime these are valuable voices' (Nick Hasted in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Introductory Video :

 

 

 

 

 

Cherise - Paradise
(self release EP) - Released: 31st January 2020

Cherise Adams-Burnett (vocals); Andy Bunting (piano); Louis van Der Westeuizen (bass); Jonathan Silk (drums); Tal Janes (guitar); Ernesto Marichales (percussion); Joe Bristow (trombone); Ms Maurice (trumpet); Chelsea Carmichael (tenor sax); String Quartet - Valeria Pozzo (violin); Barbara Barry (violin); Jamie-lee Glinsman (viola); Midori Jaeger (cello).

Cherise Paradise

 

'Following an incredibly successful 2019, which saw her win Vocalist of the Year at the Jazz FM Awards and perform at the Jazz Voice opening gala for the EFG London Jazz Festival alongside Corinne Bailey Rae and Cécile McLorin Salvant, hotly-tipped UK vocalist CHERISE has announced the release of her long-awaited debut EP 'Paradise'. Since graduating from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music in late 2017, Cherise has been invited to perform at many of the UK’s most prestigious venues and festivals ranging from the BBC Proms at The Royal Albert Hall and the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C to Festival performances including the UKs Love Supreme Jazz Festival. When asked about her approach as an artist and music, Cherise described her goal as... "To celebrate and draw from all the musical styles that I love without being defined strictly by any particular Genre.... to bring something fresh!" Owing much of her earlier development to the highly-regarded educational group Tomorrow’s Warriors, nowadays she is glad to be involved in developing younger musicians through the same program as a both tutor and workshop leader.' (website notes). '..... we haven't, until now, had a release from Adams-Burnett herself. It's pleasing to report that - for its ambition, its imagination, and its poetry - this debut EP has been well worth the wait ...' (Peter Quinn in Jazzwise ****).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video :

 

 

 

 

Steve Day & Mark Langford with Julian Dale - Pairing: poetry and music
(Freetone Records) - Released: February 2020

Steve Day (words, voice, hand-percussion, whistle); Mark Langford (music, bass clarinet, piano); Julian Dale (double bass tracks 1,2,4,7), bowed glass bowl (track 4)

Steve Day Pairing

 

 

'Mark Langford and I had been living in different parts of the city since the 1970’s. We were aware of each other, but didn’t arrive in the same space together until autumn 2016.  I needed a reeds player; he didn’t realise he required a poet nor I an exceptional pianist, but we ‘got each other’ completely.  We are a true pairing and we have pared down these performances to essentials. On five tracks this includes the contributions of Julian Dale, a bass player of nuance and detail, who appreciates ‘less is more’. Pairing: Here is a two verse poem coming into view/ emerging from memory as a rewritten blues,/ Short of words it doesn't know it needs./ An elongated melody stretching into a key/ unlocking a tongue that isn't owned by me. ... I wrote the title on the back of a grubby ticket/ Scratched out graphite in stub pencil patterns/ like firework hieroglyphics marked on a piano./Now the two of us pair the core of our complicity./ Black and white turns into daylight so my flamin'/buddy can slip a left hand chord a little density.' (Steve Day).

Details and Samples : Steve Day's website :

 

 

 

 

 

MoonMot - Going Down The Well
(Unit Records ) - Released: 14th February 2020

Dee Byrne (alto saxophone, effects); Simon Petermann (trombone, effects); Cath Roberts (baritone saxophone); Oli Kuster (Fender Rhodes, effects); Seth Bennett (bass); Johnny Hunter (drums).

MoonMot Going Down The Well

 

 

'Going Down the Well is the debut by UK/Swiss Sextet MoonMot. The Album contains eight original compositions written by all band members. The music of MoonMot features various sound and compositional concepts, such as twelvetone composition, distortet horn sounds, song forms and linear compositions. The band members also present themselves as highly skilled improvisers. MoonMot are six musicians from Bern and London. All six represent a young generation of improvising musicians who have sharpened their own voices in countless performances around the world. Together they are working on current developments in European jazz. The band emerged from the activities of the LUME Collective in London run by the band's two saxophonists Dee Byrne and Cath Roberts. Together with bassist Seth Bennett and drummer Johnny Hunter, they were invited to Jazzwerkstatt Bern in 2017, where they played for the first time with Bern musicians Oli Kuster (Keys) and Simon Petermann (trombone, electronics). After a successful concert the band were invited to perform at the renowned EFG London Jazzfestival later that year.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Article on this website : Video of MoonMot playing Avignon live in 2019 :

 

 

 

 

Wolfgang Haffner - Kind Of Tango
(ACT) - Released: 28th February 2020

Wolfgang Haffner (drums); Lars Danielsson (bass & cello); Christopher Dell (vibraphone); Simon Oslender (piano); Vincent Peirani (accordion); Ulf Wakenius (guitar).

Wolfgang Haffner Kind Of Tango

 

 

'After "Kind of Cool" and "Kind of Spain", drummer & bandleader Wolfgang Haffner rounds up his trilogy of deeply relaxed, delicately grooving, multi-colored jazz recordings with this tango-flavoured musical melange. “This isn’t about reproducing an original, it’s much more like a translation. When I absorb and adapt influences and when I write, I follow my own path – and that allows me to be myself. It’s a process from which something new and contemporary can emerge.” This is how Wolfgang Haffner describes the artistic approach in his “Kind of...” album trilogy, all of which have the unmistakable Haffner sound running right through them. After a first adventure in cool jazz, and then a search for musical traditions in Spain, his new destination is Buenos Aires: “From the moment Siggi Loch suggested tango as my third point of departure, I didn’t need any more convincing. Rhythm is the essence of tango, plus catchy melodies which can then be developed – and there’s so much emotion in it too.”“Kind of Tango” is indeed a kaleidoscope of shifting emotions ..' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to Tango Cordoba :

 

 

 

 

Jim Snidero - Project-K
(Savant Records) - Released: 31st January 2020

Jim Snidero (alto saxophone); Dave Douglas (trumpet); Orrin Evans (piano); Do Yeon Kim (gayageum); Linda May Han Oh (bass); Rudy Royston (drums'.

Jim Snidero Project K

 

'With 'Project-K', Jim Snidero breaks new ground. Absorbing and refracting varied aspects of Korean folkways, he delves into a topic near and dear to his home and heart. "Having a Korean wife, family and friends, I've been immersed in Korean culture for more than 20 years," he shares. "Between Korean history, culture and philosophy, I felt that there was much to explore musically." Bridging his own wide-ranging aesthetic with those very traditions, Snidero turns out one of the most distinctive dates of his career. In choosing the personnel to flesh out this music, Snidero's decisions proved shrewd and sound. The rhythm section, comprised of pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Rudy Royston, brings a rare balance of sensitivity, strength and insight to these ventures. And trumpeter Dave Douglas serves as the perfect front line foil for the saxophonist. "I wanted to use a traditional Korean instrument on Project-K and the gayageum appealed to me the most. My goal was to fully integrate the instrument within some of the arrangements," says Snidero, "and Do Yeon Kim was the natural choice. As a group, we were all able to create what I believe is both unique and inspired music." (album notes). 'Everyone knows how hard American saxophonist Jim Snidero can push his music into pleasant hard-bop and post-bop territory. As a disciple of tradition, he is a musician of reference for many others, a truly inspiration on how to play jazz passionately and structurally. However, his new outing on the Savant imprint, Project-K, breaks preconceptions, presenting a totally new facet in the way he composes and arranges. Inspired by the culture, philosophy and history of South Korea, this new music adds an unprecedented contemporary vibe to his music, capable of surprising and enchanting ...... Bristling with jazz brio and Korean traditions, Project-K seamlessly connects two different worlds into a coherent whole. This is a wide, pivotal step in Snidero’s efforts to give his career a new direction.'(JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Jenga : Listen to Seoulful :

 

 

 

 

 

Elliot Galvin - Live In Paris at Fondation Louis Vuitton
(Edition Records) - Released: 24th January 2020

Elliot Galvin (piano)

Elliot Galvin Live in Paris

 

 

'Live in Paris, At Fondation Louis Vuitton is a bold statement by the pianist Elliot Galvin. Solo, entirely improvised, each piece is freely extemporised on the spot, distilling Elliot’s superb pianism and compositional brilliance in the moment. Described by BBC Radio 3, as a ‘vital and significant part of our contemporary and jazz scenes’, Elliot Galvin is a unique and visionary artist; a supremely talented pianist, improvisor and composer. His bold approach has seen him build a reputation as one of the rising stars of European jazz and improvised music, solo and in trio, in his role as a key member of Mercury Music Prize nominated band Dinosaur, and in the free jazz duo with saxophonist Binker Golding. For four albums Elliot’s critically acclaimed trio with bassist Tom McCredie and sticksman Corrie Dick has been the main focus, with The Influencing Machine being named in both Downbeat’s and Jazzwise’s best of 2018 list. His last album, the brilliant Modern Times (a BBC 6 Music Album of the Day), continued this trajectory, but Live in Paris, At Fondation Louis Vuitton, strips back his extensive arsenal of electronic and extended acoustic sounds, placing the brilliance of his pianism, musicianship and storytelling front and centre stage.' (album notes)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wolfgang Haffner - Kind Of Tango
(ACT) - Released: 28th February 2020

Wolfgang Haffner (drums); Lars Danielsson (bass & cello); Christopher Dell (vibraphone); Simon Oslender (piano); Vincent Peirani (accordion); Ulf Wakenius (guitar).

Wolfgang Haffner Kind Of Tango

 

 

'After "Kind of Cool" and "Kind of Spain", drummer & bandleader Wolfgang Haffner rounds up his trilogy of deeply relaxed, delicately grooving, multi-colored jazz recordings with this tango-flavoured musical melange. “This isn’t about reproducing an original, it’s much more like a translation. When I absorb and adapt influences and when I write, I follow my own path – and that allows me to be myself. It’s a process from which something new and contemporary can emerge.” This is how Wolfgang Haffner describes the artistic approach in his “Kind of...” album trilogy, all of which have the unmistakable Haffner sound running right through them. After a first adventure in cool jazz, and then a search for musical traditions in Spain, his new destination is Buenos Aires: “From the moment Siggi Loch suggested tango as my third point of departure, I didn’t need any more convincing. Rhythm is the essence of tango, plus catchy melodies which can then be developed – and there’s so much emotion in it too.”“Kind of Tango” is indeed a kaleidoscope of shifting emotions ..' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to Tango Cordoba :

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Deighan - Ukulele Gershwin
(self produced) - Released: 18th January 2020

Michael Deighan (1933 La Foley concert ukulele, Maholo baritone ukulele, Unknown classical guitar, Gibson LG 1 acoustic guitar 1963, Gibson Kalamazoo Arch-Top 1934)

Michael Deighan Ukulele Gershwin

 

Mike Deighan is the banjo player with the Temperence Seven and has just completed his solo ukulele album of 17 Gershwin tunes. Mike says: 'Nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you try'. Picking up the uke one day, this tune by George Gershwin seemed to fall under my fingers and as the chords came tumbling out together with the melody I thought I'm on to something here! An improvisation flowed over the chord structure but what next? Add the guitar. What style? Finger-picking sounded good to my ears and with an accidental distort on the guitar the version sounded complete. What next? The answer was simple - other Gershwin tunes and the Gershwin Uke project was under way! S'wonderful, Summertime, Lady Be Good, they all seemd to be suited to the line-up of uke and guitar. One tune I particularly enjoyed recording was They All Laughed. Inspiration struck when I was reminded of a clip from the film Shall We Dance. Astaire and Rogers, as if by magic, appear to dance across the beat to this tune. Breathtakingly beautiful! Ballads or belters, they all seemed to work for me. I hope they work for you too.' (Mike Deighan).

Details :

 

 

 

Johnny Hunter - Pale Blue Dot
(Northern Contemporary) - Released: 14th January 2020

Gemma Bass (violin); Aby Vulliamy (viola); Seth Bennett (double bass); Mark Hanslip (tenor sax); Johnny Hunter (drums).

Johnny Hunter Pale Blue Dot

 

'I was really affected by a particular photograph taken by Voyager 1 in 1990; the Earth as seen from a distance of 6 billion kilometers and appears less than 1 pixel in size. For a while, I had been toying with the idea of writing a piece for string quartet, a horn and drums, and I felt that this provided me with the perfect material. There are four movements, each observing the Earth from different perspectives, the titles of which are taken from Carl Sagan’s beautifully memorable commentary about this photograph, the “Pale Blue Dot”.

I: Everyone You Love II: Endless Cruelities III: Momentary Masters of a Fraction of a Dot IV: Save Us From Ourselves

My hope is that the listener will, albeit temporarily, be able to take a step back from any frustrations and anxieties of “everyday life”, and the atrocities of the world, and place themselves in the serenity of the edge of our Solar System, where all of humanity’s problems seem insignificant.' (Johnny Hunter).

Details and Samples : Video of extract taken from the second movement : Video describing Voyager's taking the image of the 'Pale Blue Spot' : Listen to Save Us From Ourselves :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abdullah Ibrahim - The Balance
(Gearbox Records) - Released: 1st January 2020

Abdullah Ibrahim (piano); Lance Bryant (tenor saxophone); Cleave Guyton Jr. (alto saxophone, flute, piccolo); Marshall McDonald (baritone saxophone); Andrae Murchison (trombone); Adam Glasser (harmonica); Noah Jackson (double bass, cello); Alec Dankworth (double bass); Will Terrill (drums).

Abdullah Ibrahim The Balance"People don't like Abdullah Ibrahim, they adore him, bestowing on him the devotion normally reserved for Nina Simone. When he plays, melodies tumble out effortlessly, as he slides from theme to theme like a laid-back South African reincarnation of Thelonious Monk." - THE GUARDIAN Abdullah Ibrahim (who has also recorded as Dollar Brand) is one of South Africa's most famous musicians. His music is often referred to as representing freedom. His major anti-apartheid anthem "Mannenberg" (released as "Capetown Fringe" in the US) thas come to be regarded as an unofficial national anthem in South Africa. He even performed at Nelson Mandela's inauguration, where Mandela referred to him as "our Mozart". He's played with everyone from Duke Ellington to Max Roach, John Coltrane to Ornette Coleman, and is the father of underground rapper Jean Grae.Encompassing Township-Jazz, solo piano, Highlife and plentiful modern jazz styles, this brand new studio album (recorded with his band Ekaya at RAK Studios in London,) is a major return for a genuine living Jazz legend.On April 15th 2019 Abdullah will be received into the NEA Jazz Masters fellowship, the highest honour the Unted States bestows upon jazz musicians."There are few musicians in jazz that can make you feel that all is right in the world like Ibrahim" THE TIMES"Wordless expressions of freedom and defiance" THE GUARDIAN UPDATE: No.1 in Germany JPC charts No.3 in US Billboard Jazz charts No.4 in UK official Jazz charts.' (album notes). 'After a four-year hiatus, the legendary South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim returns with a wonderful album, continuing a trailblazing work of pure instinct and eclectic refinement started in 1960. For this new work, aptly titled The Balance, the 84 year-old artist balances solo and collective efforts, high energy and melancholia, elation and forlornness, celebration and restraint, as well as spontaneous rides and thoroughly written parts. So, balance is the key, and the music, an incredible blend of township folk and sophisticated jazz, provides that compelling emotional depth that we found in previous masterpieces such as Water From an Ancient Well (1985) and Ekaya (1983).......There’s an unfluctuating state of grace that lingers long after the harmonica-tinged title track brings the album to a conclusion. Ibrahim continues true to himself and the magic of his individual expression is well alive. The Balance is one of his best records in many years.' (JazzTrail).

Details : Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to the Title Track :

 

 

 

 

Pablo Held - Ascent
(Edition Records) - Released: 7th February 2020

Pablo Held (piano); Robert Landfermann (bass); Jonas Burgwinkel (drums); Nelson Veras (guitar); Veronika Morscher (voice on Forest Spirits & Ascent); Jeremy Viner (clarinets on Forest Spirits & 52nd Street Theme)

Pablo Held Ascent

 

 

'Pablo Held’s new album, Ascent, his second for Edition Records, is a collaboration between his long-running trio (with bassist, Robert Landfermann and drummer, Jonas Burgwinkel) and the great Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras. Regarded as one of the most talented and adventurous pianists and improvisors in Europe, Pablo Held is building a formidable reputation, not only as a pianist of outstanding ability but also for his considerable musicality, energy and risk-taking. Ascent is highly anticipated new album, following their 10th album Investigations, praised internationally for its remarkable quality, deep communication and lyrical elegance, prompting All About Jazz to describe the group as “a world-class trio of exceptional talent”. The new album is a deeply satisfying fusion of the powerful and expressive music associated with Pablo Held’s trio and the fluid invention of Nelson Veras’s guitar stylings.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to the Title Track :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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