Selected reviews


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Jazz Journal offers unrivalled coverage of recorded jazz old and new. We carry more than 20,000 words of expert comment and discography on recent jazz issues in every edition

Complete list of CDs reviewed in JJ November 2014 (see below for excerpts):
Aimée, Cyrille: It's A Good Day (Mack Avenue 1087)
Albam, Manny/Al Cohn: The Drum Suite (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 837)
Allen, Henry Red: Ride, Red, Ride! (Retrospective 4248)
Armstrong, Louis: Intégrale Vol. 13 (Frémeaux 1363)
Ayler, Albert: Spiritual Unity (ESP-Disk 1002)
Baker, Chet: & Strings (Essential Jazz Classics 55634)
Basie, Count: Broadway Basie's Way + Hollywood Basie's Way (American Jazz Classics 99107)
Benitez, Monder, Xirgu: Gasteiz (Fresh Sound FSNT 441)
Byard, Jaki: The Late Show (HighNote 7264)
Byrd, Donald: Byrd Jazz (Fresh Sound FSR 1666)
Byrd, Donald: Transition Sessions (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 836)
California Feetwarmers: California Feetwarmers (
Carter, Betty: Four Classic Albums (Avid Jazz 1132)
Charles, Ray: King Of Cool - The Genius Of Ray Charles (Warner 8122795903)
Coltrane, John/Mal Waldron: The Dealers (Essential Jazz Classics 55645)
Cunningham, Adrian: Ain't That Right! The Music Of Neal Hefti (Arbors 19443)
Davis, Miles: Live In Paris 21 Mars/11 Oct. 1960 (Frémeaux 5451)
Delmar, Elaine: Nobody Else But Me (Spotlite 563)
Dyani, Johnny Mbizo: Rejoice+Together (Cadillac 012-013)
Eckstine, Billy    : Four Classic Albums Plus (Avid Jazz 1131)
Ellington, Duke: Meets Coleman Hawkins (Essential Jazz Classics 55646)
Fleming, King: The King Fleming Trio (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 834)
Galliano, Richard: Au Brésil (Milan 399 449)
Getz, Stan: England 1958/Chicago 1957 (Solar 4569952)
Getz, Stan/Dizzy Gillespie/Sonny Stitt: For Musicians Only (American Jazz Classics 99106)
Gibbons, Polly: My Own Company (Diving Duck 021)
Gillespie, Dizzy: The Greatest Trumpet Of Them All (American Jazz Classics 99109)
Gordon, Dexter: Doin' Allright, Dexter Calling, Landslide (American Jazz Classics 99101)
Green, Grant: Oleo (Essential Jazz Classics 55647)
Hall, Jim: Classic Quartets (Essential Jazz Classics 55635)
Hampton, Lionel: 1947 - 1948 'That's My Desire' (Doctor Jazz 012)
Hawkins, Coleman: Alive! At The Village Gate 1962 (American Jazz Classics 99108)
Hayes, Tubby: England's Foremost Tenor Sax Meets US Jazz Greats (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 839)
Henriksen, Arve: The Nature Of Connections (Rune Grammofon 2161/3161)
Hiromi: Alive (Telarc 3530702)
Hot Fingers: Smile (Lake 331)
Ineke, Eric/Jazz Express: Cruisin' (Daybreak/Challenge 74588)
Jackson, Milt: Sunflower (Creed Taylor, Inc. 6024)
Jamal, Ahmad/Yusef Lateef: Live At The Olympia - June 27, 2012 (Jazz Village 570053.55)
Jennett, Mark: Everybody Says Don't (Jazzizit 1462)
Jones, Jonah: The Unsinkable Molly Brown (Blue Moon 853)
Jones, Quincy: Live In Paris (Frémeaux 5460)
Jormin, Anders/Christian Jormin: Provenance (Footprint 063)
Kemp, Josh: Tone Poetry (Fulltone Music 011)
Kent, Stacey: The Changing Lights (Pure Pleasure 17529, vinyl)
Kilgore, Rebecca: I Like Men (Arbors 19422)
Kimbrough, Frank: Quartet (Palmetto 2173)
Kronkvist, Fredrik: Reflecting Time (Connective 36533)
Langford, Frances: I'm In The Mood For Love (Retrospective 4245)
Langley, Noel: Edentide (Sun 7422002)
Lawrence, Azar: The Seeker (Sunnyside 1392)
Lundgren, Jan: Flowers Of Sendai (Bee Jazz 067)
MacPherson, Fraser: Ellington '87 (Sackville 2043)
McRae, Carmen: Four Classic Albums (Avid Jazz 1125)
Moore, Brew: In Europe/Svinget 14 (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 840)
Morrison, Barbara: I Love You, Yes I Do (Savant 2136)
Moule, Sarah: Songs From The Floating World (Red Ram 002)
Nelson, Oliver: Swiss Suite (Beat Goes Public 279)
Ogerman, Claus/Orchestra: Gate Of Dreams (Warner 7599273122)
Ott, Roman: If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now (Fresh Sound FSNT 446)
Paich, Marty: The Broadway Bit (DreamCovers 6082)
Rayner, Alison: August (Blow The Fuse 1411)
Rebirth Brass Band: Move Your Body (Basin Street 1204)
Shipp, Matthew/Darius Jones: The Darkseid Recital (AUM Fidelity 088)
Simone, Nina: Original Album Series (Warner 2564628851)
Smith, Paul: The Big Men/The Sound of Music (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 838)
Smith, Wadada Leo: Red Hill (RareNoise 044)
Snarky Puppy: We Like It Here (GroundUP Music)
Speake, Martin/Douglas Finch: Sound Clouds (Pumpkin 006)
Stacken, Jesse: Helleborus (Fresh Sound FSNT 454)
Tate, Buddy: Swingville Sessions (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 835)
Thorson, Lisa: Live (
Turrentine, Stanley: Betcha (Warner 8122796005)
US Free: Fish Stories (Fresh Sound FSNT 453)
Vaughan, Sarah: Wonderful Sarah (Master Jazz 8892869)
Vitous, Miroslav: Magical Shepherd (Warner 8122796007)
Walton, Cedar: Reliving The Moment (HighNote 7265)
Witherspoon, Jimmy: Roots (Warner 8122796012)
Wood, Charlie: New Souvenirs (Perdido DOR-1401)
Zapponi, Caterina: Romantica (Motéma 233851)
Zeitlin, Denny: Stairway To The Stars (Sunnyside 1380)

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

This is the most disciplined drum album you’ll ever find. It’s also the most enjoyable I’ve heard. All the drummers involved are as skilled as any you could wish for. Because it is written and controlled by Manny Albam, Ernie Wilkins and Al Cohn it also contains some most inspiring big band music. It’s also, I hurry to add, packed with good solos from the horns to the extent that everyone you’re looking for gets some space – Conte Candoli, Joe Newman, Clark Terry, Jimmy Cleveland, Urbie Green Frank Rehak, Cohn, Quill and Zoot and a touch of Bob Brookmeyer – you get the idea. (Steve Voce) *****

Ray Charles began recording in 1949 but it was during his years with the Atlantic company (1952 to 1959) that he rose to national    and international fame. This well-packed selection from those years is in a roughly chronological order and the first CD reveals a strong focus on a fairly traditional approach to the blues. The Sun’s Gonna Shine Again (1952) and Sinner’s Prayer (1953) are adjacent tracks which show an authentic and convincing approach to eight- and 12-bar blues respectively. By 1956 the female backing group eventually known as The Raelets was coming into prominence and aiding the gospel feeling of tracks such as It’s Alright. The lengthy instrumental version of Horace Silver’s Doodlin’ from the same year demonstrates another facet of the leader’s interests and abilities. (Graham Colombé) ****

Until he moved to Denmark, Dyani helped power some of the most exuberant and exhilarating gigs that ever graced Britain’s bandstands. I was lucky enough to hear him in person several times (usually with the Chris McGregor Group), and it was a shock to realise it is 28 years since he died, just short of his 41st birthday. The range of his music is indicated by these two contrasting sessions: one, by Witchdoctor’s Son, featuring the great altoist Dudu Pukwana, firmly rooted in the township jazz and jive of his native South Africa, the other by a trio venturing into free jazz and freebop. This two-disc set has been released as part of the commemorations of Cadillac Music’s 40th anniversary. (Barry Witherden) ****

It must have been a great feeling for Tubby on the first of these three sessions, playing as leader with musicians he had long admired and then finding that they had just about as much respect for him as he for them. There is no doubt who is in charge from the opening blast off on You For Me with that great rhythm section purring behind him. Tubby plays with fire, vigour and swing throughout and his sound is unique and easily distinguishable from Moody and Kirk on the second set. He launches into Clark Terry’s A Pint Of Bitter with as much relish as if he were sinking one at home in London, blowing the blues with considerable invention. Costa’s vibes shine out on three tracks and Parlan is a tower of strength on the first 10 selections. (Derek Ansell) *****

Arve Henriksen’s previous sets have always used electronics and live sampling to enhance their sound, but he has always wanted to record a purely acoustic set with a string quartet, a set much closer to Nordic folk and minimalist chamber music than he has usually produced. What has resulted is a quiet triumph. All but the first of these nine pieces are by fellow musicians in this and other groups, the connections and collaborations they make resulting in a music of rare and calm beauty. (Simon Adams) *****

This CD heralds the return of Hiromi’s Trio Project, their fourth recording and the Japanese pianist and composer’s ninth as leader. Hiromi’s love of so many different kinds of music allows her to move very easily beyond and across stylistic genres while exhibiting acute awareness of the jazz tradition. The influence of Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, and on occasion, Monk, is there and acts as springboard for her to explore a wide palette of compositions which she imbues with the improvisational playing of a virtuoso. She has performed and toured with Jackson and Phillips for the past four years, and the chemistry is obvious. (Francis Graham-Dixon) ****

The name might remind of The Jazz Messengers, and like Art Blakey of that ilk Dutch drummer Ineke has surrounded himself with exceptional talent. Trumpeter Rik Mol and reedman Sjoerd Dijkhuizen are world-class players, entirely convincing in the hard bop style, Dijkhuizen no less so on the challenging bass clarinet. Purists might worry about the hip-hop beat under Cruisin’ but as Ineke says it shows the band (and I’ll add genre) sailing “into the 21st century”. If you’ve an ear for the finest in hard bop, you should check this record, the sixth from JazzXpress since its formation in 2006 and a sound testament to Ineke’s 50 years in jazz. (Mark Gilbert) ****

This exciting band, very much in the Basie style, was put together by Quincy Jones for the Arlen/Mercer musical Free And Easy. The show opened in Paris on 15 January 1960, but France was in the midst of a new crisis with its Algerian colony and black people were advised to stay off the streets after dark. The production lasted only six weeks, never to re-emerge. Quincy and his crew were virtually stranded, and he had somehow to find $4,800 a week to keep them afloat. He rapidly learned to be a businessman and lined up work in nine countries. Most of these recordings were made at the Barclay studios in front of sparse audiences, but the enthusiasm of the players and quality of Quincy’s arrangements and direction ensured a series of electrifying performances. (Mark Gardner) ****

This album is a true delight, as you would expect from a vocalist as accomplished as Rebecca Kilgore. Here she is accompanied by a group of instrumentalists who know exactly what is wanted. The fact that Allen and Sportiello are first-rate soloists simply adds to the enjoyment. The insert booklet has a worthy essay by Will Friedwald on the compositions, and discographical information is provided. This is an album that deserves its five stars and one that readers should get without hesitation. (George Hulme) *****

Following his superb Man In The Fog solo release on Bee Jazz (reviewed JJ December 2013) Lundgren returns with his trio to offer just under an hour of melodically elegant, harmonically enticing and diversely swinging music, including a deeply grooved, bass-rooted trio reworking of the title track of that previous release. Altogether the set offers welcome evidence both of the breadth and depth of post-Evans, post-Peterson jazz understood as a mature yet exploratory, fully contemporary and poetically vibrant art form, and Lundgren’s increasingly potent role in the evolution of such music. (Michael Tucker) *****

Brew Moore was among the most dedicated of Lester Young’s white disciples – “the grey boys”, as Prez dubbed them – but never quite penetrated their inner circle. He was a wanderer – around the south, then to New York, San Fransisco, and finally Copenhagen, where he came and went several times. His style was bop-flavoured swing, or maybe the other way round. His tone had the authentic roundness, his improvised lines the loose relaxation which is the epitome of cool. That’s how he plays here, and the best tracks are mainly the ones that feature him alone with the rhythm section. The exception is the couple of numbers he shares with Lars Gullin, the Swedish baritone master, where their playing is in complete stylistic accord. (Dave Gelly) ****

Sarah Moule’s fourth album finds her once more investigating the considerable legacy of lyricist Fran Landesman, who died in 2011. Ten of the 16 songs are Landesman’s, with music by longtime collaborator Simon Wallace. Moule is a fine interpreter of Landesman’s lyrics, her clear intonation, unhurried pacing and subtle note placement ideal for the wit and wisdom of the words. The accompaniment is classic, late-night club jazz, supportive without ever being demonstrative, evocative of the floating world of ambiguity and decadence the songs conjure up. A classy and intelligent set. (Simon Adams) ****

This is a live recording of a large jazz-fusion ensemble, with all compositions, arrangements and production by Michael League. The press release for their 2014 UK tour says “Their music is not groundbreaking”, and it’s difficult to disagree because their music sounds familiar at the first listen. However, it’s easy to see why this band has such a large audience, with their tight arrangements and performances, and like most jazz-orientated music it is best heard in a live context. They’re at the Roundhouse in London, 18 November. (Dave Jones) ***

Despite the big names and the excellent sound quality of this Japanese CD reissue of the original LP, this is not one of Vitous’s most memorable recordings. However, placed next to the contemporary Majesty Music on Arista, it certainly helps document the extent of Vitous’s search for musical identity and development following his exit from Weather Report, as the bassist and his cohorts offer a diversity of takes on the electro-shuffle funk of post-Sweetnighter territory. Soaring “astral” vocalese from Grainger helps lift an album which fires best on Basic Laws, New York, Synthesizers Dance and the title track. (Michael Tucker) ***

Charlie Wood, Mr. Jacqui Dankworth, was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1967, just over a hundred miles from Tippo, MS, the birthplace of Mose Allison, and both might be called poets of the blues, though Wood is rather more into the chords – and with a more smoked, honeyed voice – than Mose, showing the influence of harmonically fascinated songwriters such as Donald Fagen of Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell. This is his sixth studio album and for him the best since Southbound, done in 1997 for Ben Sidran’s Go Jazz label. Key to the whole thing for jazz ears is the ubiquitous blues tonality and the extended harmonic character. Wood seems to be challenging form and harmony to break and collapse but always saves himself – and us – from disaster. This tantalising quality married to an enduring sense of the bittersweet and suspended in harmony, melody and lyric creates an appealing tension. It’s always been a mystery to me that Wood isn’t lined up with Jamie Cullum, Gregory Porter and the like but possibly he’s a shade too subtle for that market. (Mark Gilbert) ****


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