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RECORD REVIEWS

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

Complete list of CDs reviewed in JJ November 2015 (see below for excerpts):
Albany, Joe: An Evening With Joe Albany 2 (Steeplechase 31801)
Allison, Mose: Mose Allison (Avid 1163)
Baldych, Adam/Helge Lien Trio: Bridges (ACT 9591)
Birmingham Jazz Orchestra: Burns (seangibbs@hotmail.co.uk)
Bradford, Bobby/John Carter: No U Turn (Dark Tree 05)
Bridgewater, Dee Dee: Dee Dee’s Feather (Okeh 88875063532)
Brock, Zach: Serendipity (Criss 1380)
Cables, George: In Good Company (HighNote 7275)
Carroll, Liane: Seaside (Linn 533)
Charles, Ray: In Person (Atlantic 8039, vinyl)
Cole, Nat King: Live In Paris (Frémeaux & Associés 5494)
Crispell, Marilyn/Gerry Hemingway: Table Of Changes (Intakt 246)
Davis, Miles: Miles Davis At Newport 1955-1975 - The Bootleg Series Vol.4 (Columbia/Legacy 88875081952
De Villiers, Tam; Panacea (Whirlwind 4669)
DeFranco, Buddy: Cooking The Blues/Sweet & Lovely (Poll Winners 27346)
Douglas, Dave: High Risk (Greenleaf Music 1042)
Dunmall, Paul/Tony Bianco: Homage To John Coltrane (Slam 296)
Edison, Harry "Sweets”: Edison Inventions (Retrospective 4271)
Fairhurst, Richard/ John Taylor: Duets (Basho 49)
Fedchock, John/New York Big Band: Like It Is (Mama 1048)
Fischer, Jacob: In New York City (Arbors 19444)
Fitzgerald, Ella: Rhythm Is My Business (Essential Jazz Classics 55672)
Galliano, Richard/Charlie Haden: The Los Angeles Sessions (Milan 399 712)
Gannon, Oliver/& Bill Coon: Two Much More! (Cellar Live 011815)
Garner, Erroll: Complete Concert By The Sea (Columbia/Legacy 88875120842)
Garrett, Steve: Even Song (Alt-Mor1)
Gates, Giacomo: Everything Is Cool (Savant 2146)
Gullin, Lars: Baritone Sax + Lars Gullin Swings/The Complete Sessions (Phono 870336)
Harrison, Joel: Spirit House (Whirlwind 4673)
Hawes, Hampton/Red Mitchell/Chuck Thompson: The Trio - The Complete Albums (Phono 870335)
Hayes, Tubby: Live At The Hopbine 1968 Vol. 1 (Gearbox 1532, vinyl)
Herman, Yaron: Everyday (Blue Note France 472074-3)
Holiday, Billie: Lady Love/Live In Basel 1954 (Poll Winners 27344)
Horvitz, Wayne: Some Places Are Forever Afternoon (Songlines 1612)
Hourdakis, Andreas: In A Barn (Brus & Knaster 035)
Improgressive: Primo (Slam 564)
Indigo Kid II: Fist Full Of Notes (Babel 14130)
Jamal, Ahmad/Trio: The Classic 1958-1962 Recordings (Jazz Dynamics 006)
James, Bob/Nathan East: The New Cool (Yamaha Entertainment Group, no number)
Johnson, JJ: Plays Mack The Knife + Trombone And Voices (Phoenix 131612)
Kaiser, Henry/Ray Russell: The Celestial Squid (Cuneiform Rune 403)
Laubrock, Ingrid/Anti-House: Roulette Of The Cradle (Intakt 252/2015)
LeDonne, Mike: Awwlright! (Savant 2148)
Lewis, John/Sacha Distel: Afternoon In Paris (Versailles 12005, vinyl)
McLorin Salvant, Cécile: For One To Love (Mack Avenue 1095)
Mellé, Gil: The Blue Note Years 1952-1956 (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 876)
Micus, Stephan: Nomad Songs (ECM 471 4325)
Montoliu, Tete: Palau De La Música Catalana (Discmedi Blau 5147)
Montoliu, Tete: Per Sempre, Tete (Discmedi Blau 5146)
Økland, Nils/Band: Kjølvatn (ECM 377 0508)
Parker, Leo: The Last Sessions (Phono 870337)
Pepper, Art: Live At Fat Tuesday’s (Elemental Music 5990427)
Pifarély, Dominique: Time Before And Time After (ECM 472 1563)
Prost, Aurélie Claire: Aoura (Frémeaux & Associés 8517)
Rava, Enrico/Gianluca Petrella: Wild Dance (ECM 473 2228)
Richardson, Jerome: Complete 1958-1962 Recordings (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 874)
Romane: Djangovision/Complete Romane Volume 8 (Frémeaux & Associés 546)
Saluzzi, Dino: Imágenes (ECM 481 1592)
Schlippenbach Trio: Features (Intakt 250)
Schneider, Maria/Orchestra: The Thompson Fields (Artist Share 1037)
Schuum, Andy/Frans Sjostrom: Bix Off The Record (Lake 339)
Scottish National Jazz Orchestra/Makoto Ozone: Jeunehomme (Spartacus 021)
Sinopoulos, Sokratis/Quartet: Eight Winds (ECM 470 9408)
Sirkis, Asaf/Sylwia Białas: Come To Me (Stonedbird 004)
Sivan, Rotem: A New Dance (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 480)
Smith, Daniel: Jazz Suite For Bassoon (Summit 656)
Smith, Steve/Vital Information NYC Edition: Viewpoint (BFM Jazz 24302)
Springer, Mark: The Watching Bird (Exit012)
Springer, Mark: The Rip Rig & Panic Piano Solos (Exit013)
Steig, Jeremy/Eddie Gomez: Music For Flute & Double Bass/Rain Forest (MIG 80242)
The Ordinary Square: When In Paris (Hoob 049)
Ulvo, Andreas/Slagr: Softspeaker (Atterklang 305)
Vale, Marcos/Stacey Kent: Ao Vivo (Pure Pleasure 20092, vinyl)
Various: Turtle Records - Pioneering British Jazz 1970-1971 (Cherry Red 528)
Various: Poetry + Jazz: A Musical Marriage (shermusic.com)
Wallace, Wayne/Latin Jazz Quintet: Intercambio (Patois 019)
Washington, Dinah: Back To The Blues (Poll Winners 27345)
Weber, Eberhard: Hommage Á Eberhard Weber (ECM 473 2344)
Winchester, Lem: Four Classic Albums (Avid 1161)
Wright, Lizz: Freedom & Surrender (Concord 37220)
Wszołek, Paweł: Choice (Fresh Sound New Talent 478)


Excerpts from the 81 CD reviews in this issue (see a free sample of full print reviews; subscribe to see 12 months of Jazz Journal including over 20,000 words of CD review each issue):

LIANE CARROLL: SEASIDE (Linn)

There is a reassuring consistency in the output of Liane Carroll, which should never be confused with complacency for with every release we are treated to some surprises which probably only she amongst singers would contemplate. Not everything here would meet with the approval of the committed jazzer but these 10 tunes have real meaning for the singer, consequently leading to a number of performances carrying real weight. From the opening title track to the unlikely closer we hear Carroll close to her very best, each title imbued with those special qualities including passion and involvement that single out the singer from the majority of her contemporaries. (Peter Gamble) ****

MILES DAVIS: AT NEWPORT 1955-75 (Columbia/Legacy)

This 18th boxed Miles set from Columbia is Vol 4 of their excellent “Bootleg” series, although why this mainly legitimately sourced music should be tainted with piracy is not clear. Most of the recordings come from Newport, but also include stuff from the times when “Newport” was exported to New York and to Europe. Columbia claim that four of the five hours or so here have not been issued before. The music at Newport was usually recorded by the Voice of America (VoA) and by a unit with George Wein’s approval. Eventually the VoA handed a lot of their stuff at random to the BBC which then distributed it to local radio. I was privileged to see George Wein’s face when I told him that this had happened. (Steve Voce) ****

HARRY “SWEETS” EDISON: EDISON INVENTIONS (Retrospective)
Edison’s development into a prolific recording star, and the most sought after trumpet accompanist of his day is well documented in this excellent centenary tribute. The selection spans 1938-62, perhaps his peak years, although he continued to be musically active in high profile company long after. The personnels in this compilation shimmer with many of the greatest names in jazz history. With appreciative and informative notes from Digby Fairweather, this album has, in current parlance, the “wow factor” in abundance. (Hugh Rainey) *****

JACOB FISCHER: IN NEW YORK CITY (Arbors)

Jacob Fischer may not be the best-known guitarist in jazz, but his talent is immediately apparent just as soon as he makes his first appearance on the lively, swinging How About You. The Danish musician is blessed with an inventive approach and an easy, engaging style. Here he’s also blessed with a superb band, in complete sympathy with his selfless approach. In New York City has a pretty familiar track list; standards one and all with the exception of Fischer’s own Napolitana. Such a lack of adventure when it comes to programming is disappointing, but each tune sounds fresh and in a few notable cases Fischer gives them an intriguing new twist. (Bruce Lindsay) ****

ERROLL GARNER: THE COMPLETE CONCERT BY THE SEA (Columbia/Legacy)
As I write it is 70 years and three weeks since this music was created. And it’s as fresh as yesterday. Nat Pierce was hired every so often to go to a two-piano studio with Garner. Erroll couldn’t read music, and Nat’s job was to teach him contemporary tunes. Nat had overwhelming memories of the tidal wave of piano that suddenly came back at him when Garner picked up the melody. This classic began life as an unofficial recording by the man who presented the concert. “I wish someone had recorded this,” said Garner after it had ended. Garner’s friend and manager for 27 years Martha Glaser probably noticed the moving reels backstage and asked for the tapes of what Garner regarded as one of his best performances. She approached George Avakian and 11 tracks were issued on a Columbia LP. This reissue with bonus material seems to be 10 quid on Amazon and I can’t imagine that there would be anyone who wouldn’t enjoy it. (Steve Voce) *****

AHMAD JAMAL TRIO: THE CLASSIC 1958-1962 RECORDINGS (Jazz Dynamics)
This welcome compilation brings together seven of the LPs that Jamal recorded for the Argo label between 1958 and 1962. At least four – the two live sessions captured at the Pershing Lounge in Chicago, the Spotlight Club in Washington, D.C., and The Blackhawk in San Francisco – have long been recognised as outstanding items in Jamal’s early discography. With Israel Crosby’s crisp measures on bass, and Fournier’s metronomic and subtle drumming, this edition of the Jamal trio enraptured audiences and record buyers not normally reached by the jazz sounds of the 50s and 60s. Many readers will find their favourite tracks among these 94 selections; my own come from the Blackhawk dates. Before the advent of CD, I wore out the vinyl versions of I’ll Take Romance and My Funny Valentine. (John White) *****

CÉCILE MCLORIN SALVANT: FOR ONE TO LOVE (Mack Avenue)
Although one of many new young singers, Cécile McLorin Salvant stands well and truly above very nearly all of the others. In case she is new to readers here (she was featured in JJ October 2013), she was born in Miami to a French mother and Haitian father, studied piano and voice in Miami and, later, France where she began singing professionally. Returning to America, she entered and won the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Her recording career then began, and now, in mid-2015, she is still only 26 years old. McLorin Salvant’s vocal sound is light, fluid and graceful; even her aural digression on Growlin’ Dan is amusingly appropriate. Summarising, this is first class music from an outstanding jazz artist whose future must surely be limitless. (Bruce Crowther) ****

GIL MELLÉ: THE BLUE NOTE YEARS 1952-1956 (Fresh Sound)

Gil Mellé is a somewhat forgotten figure today but at the time of these recordings he was quite active on the Manhattan jazz scene. In 1952 he became the first white musician to sign for Blue Note and in 1998 the label released his Complete Blue Note Sessions on CD 95718. Fresh Sound has now reissued that material and added a previously unissued live broadcast from the Café Bohemia making this double CD an indispensable chronicle of his brief career in the jazz spotlight. He was something of a Renaissance man – apart from performing in jazz clubs he was a painter and sculptor showing his work in several New York galleries. Mellé was also a highly talented writer and most of his compositions feature original chord sequences not based on standards – as far as my tin ear can tell. (Gordon Jack) *****

LEO PARKER: THE LAST SESSIONS (Phono)
Leo Parker with Serge Chaloff and Cecil Payne was one of the first to adapt the baritone saxophone to the intricacies of bebop. He had a prodigious technique with a sound that owed something to Harry Carney and a concept that owed everything to Charlie Parker. Active in the 40s with Billy Eckstine, Fats Navarro, Gene Ammons and Dizzy Gillespie, he also recorded a minor hit – Mad Lad – with Sir Charles Thompson. In 1947 he joined Illinois Jacquet’s band and remained off and on until 1954. A good example of his work with Jacquet can be found on Uptown CD27.73 which finds a Toronto audience responding enthusiastically to the JATP excitement generated by the band. Required by the leader to produce barnstorming performances which often plundered the lower reaches of the baritone, his playing seldom found favour with critics. (Gordon Jack) ****

ART PEPPER: LIVE AT FAT TUESDAY’S (Elemental)
This comes from near the peak of Pepper’s best period. Pepper presents a typical blend of lyricism and wailing, with touches of far-outery in Goodbye. There are a few split notes from him, but they get lost in the torrent. The numbers are all long, varying from over 11 minutes to Make A List’s 18 minutes. Nothing wrong with that, for Pepper is the all-time atmosphere builder. His improvisations always seemed infallible in their success and he plays with driving sincerity throughout. The flying on What Is This Thing with its high-note outrage is magnificent. Leviev strikes me as one of the best pianists in the gap before Bill Charlap arrived and Mraz was a bass virtuoso if ever there was one. (Steve Voce) ****

ENRICO RAVA QUARTET WITH GIANLUCA PETRELLA: WILD DANCE (ECM)
Rava’s regular group of the last two years is joined by ex-band member Petrella on 14 tracks packing in plenty of variety, typical of the trumpeter’s output. Despite his commitment to the modern cause, Rava has always carried a lyrical edge and there is plenty of this kind of approach spread over the shifting moods his compositions display. There is a warm atmosphere about most of the release aided by a group empathy that only comes from respect and familiarity. Enjoyable and recommended. (Peter Gamble) ****

MARIA SCHNEIDER ORCHESTRA: THE THOMPSON FIELDS (ArtistShare)
This is a fan-funded project via ArtistShare, and generously funded at that, judging by the luxurious nature of the product, which is effectively a small square hard-back book including numerous photos, with the luxurious sounding CD tucked inside. This is however a stark reminder that in terms of the funding of music, we’re working our way back several centuries, but let’s not criticise a very successful current strategy to help support composers and performers. Walking By Flashlight led me to believe that we were descending into easy listening, but the remainder of the material almost entirely proved otherwise, with the climactic Nimbus being the standout track where the rhythm section has a more driving influence underneath the aforementioned wailing Wilson. At nearly 80 minutes in total, you might expect me to harp on as usual about the CD being overly long, but I certainly won’t in this case. (Dave Jones) ****

SCOTTISH NATIONAL JAZZ ORCHESTRA: JEUNEHOMME: MOZART’S PIANO CONCERTO No. 9 (Spartacus)
The hybridisation of two musical genres can sound incongruous at first but affording this live in concert recording a fair crack of the whip most definitely yields dividends. It’s certainly not the first time a jazz ensemble has taken on classical compositions; the Clarke Boland Big Band and Mike Westbrook have done this and Jacques Loussier’s Play Bach Trio is probably the prime example. Here, the SNJO, Tommy Smith’s brainchild, does a remarkably good job. There are some particularly notable solos from guest artist Makoto Ozone and from Tom Walsh and Alyn Cosker. (Roger Farbey) ****

VARIOUS: POETRY + JAZZ: A MAGICAL MARRIAGE (shermusic.com)

Poet and producer Chuck Sher brings something new and special to the poetry and jazz genre with this release. Diverse, high-quality cuts from, e.g., John Abercrombie, Stan Getz, Tribal Tech, Tony Scott, the Kronos Quartet and Maria Schneider enfold a sequence of strong readings from Rene Marie, Cory Bihr, Coleman Barks, Frank Ostaceski and Sher himself, who reads his own Visitation. Selections range from Rilke, including the magnificent Ninth Duino Elegy, to Rumi, Rexroth, Nazim Hikmet, Sandra Anfang and Carol Snow. Full marks to Sher for an ambitious and scrupulously realised project. Volume 2 is in the pipeline. (Michael Tucker) *****

EBERHARD WEBER: HOMMAGE À EBERHARD WEBER (ECM)
Hommage documents concerts celebrating the 75th birthday of 2007 stroke victim Weber. As with his recent Résumé and Encore releases, Weber is present thanks to previously taped concert sequences, often built up over looped figures. The opening Variations features a typically yearning, pulse-fed blend of his signature arco and pizzicato meditations: Garbarek – Weber’s playing partner through four decades – responds with incisive yet fluid, side-slipping melody, the whole evincing nuance after nuance of structural intelligence and poetic projection from both men. The following Hommage by Pat Metheny constitutes the core of the disc. Featuring terrific section work from the SWR big band and fine solos from, e.g., Burton, Colley and Gottlieb, the strongly atmospheric, shapeshifting piece builds upon a sequence of solo improvisations from Weber. (Michael Tucker) *****

 


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