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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 March 2017 (see below for excerpts):
52nd Street: Scrapple To The Apple (Inner City 1165)
Abercrombie, John: Timeless (ECM 374 3522, vinyl)
Airto: Free (CTI 6020, vinyl)
Alexander, Eric: Second Impression (HighNote 7296)
Allison, Ben: Quiet Revolution (Newvelle 004, vinyl)
Anderskov, Jacob: Resonance (Stunt 16062)
Anderson, Carleen: Cage Street Memorial - The Pilgrimage (Freestyle 118)
Azymuth: Fenix (Farout Recordings 194)
Baker, Chet: Broken Wing (Inner City 1120)
Basie, Count/& His Atomic Band: Complete Live At The Crescendo 1958 (Phono 870245)
Basie, Count/Orchestra: High Voltage (MPS 0211560MSW)
Benson, George: In Flight (Warner BSK 2983, vinyl)
Bergonzi, Jerry: Spotlight On Standards (Savant 2158)
Breakstone, Joshua: 88 (Capri 74144)
Budjana, Dewa: Zentuary (Favored Nations 2880)
Burns, Ralph: Four Classic Albums (Avid Jazz 1224)
Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra: Basically Baker Vol 2/The Big Band Music Of David Baker (Patois 022)
Cables, George: The George Cables Songbook (HighNote 7292)
Calhoun, Will: Celebrating Elvin Jones (Motéma 234292)
Canniere, Andre: The Darkening Blue (Whirlwind 4693)
Charles, Ray: Live At Newport 1960 (Frémeaux & Associés 5643)
Charles, Ray: Ray Charles Orchestra Zurich 1961 Vol. 41 (TCB 02412)
Christoffersen, Jacob: We Want You (Stunt 16052)
Clausen, Thomas/Francesco Calì: The Voyage (Stunt 16032)
Clowes, Trish: My Iris (Basho 53)
Cullen, Lori: Sexsmith Swinghammer Songs (True North 618)
Dahanukar, Martin: Traumesrauschen (Skip 9132)
Davis, Kris: Duopoly (Pyroclastic 01/02 – CD & DVD)
Dørge, Pierre/& New Jungle Orchestra: Ubi Zaa (SteepleChase 31819)
Dream, The: Get Dreamy (Round2 007, vinyl)
Dudziak, Urszula: Future Talk (Inner City 1066)
Dumaine, Rebecca: Happy Madness (Summit 687)
Duski: Duski (Cambrian 008)
Evans, Bill: Symbiosis (MPS 0211548MSW)
Franklin, Aretha: Yeah! (Columbia CS 9151, vinyl)
Friedman, Don: Strength & Sanity (Newvelle 004, vinyl)
Ganelin, Slava/Lenny Sendersky: Hotel Cinema (Leo 764)
Gelb, Howe: Future Standards (Fire 466)
Gillespie, Dizzy/Reunion Band: 20th And 30th Anniversary (MPS 0211554MSW)
Gismonti, Egberto: Dança Das Cabeças (ECM 477 4633, vinyl)
Guy/Crispell/Lytton: Deep Memory (Intakt 273)
Hart, Billy: The Trio (Progressive 7044)
Heckman, Steve: Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute (Jazzed Media 1074)
Henderson, Joe/Chick Corea/Billy Higgins: Mirror, Mirror (MPS 0211347MSW)
Hopkins, Lightnin': Four Classic Albums (Avid Roots 1225)
Hot Club Of San Francisco Goes Fab!: Goes Fab! John/Paul/George/& Django (Hot Club Records 2704)
Ingham, Chris/Quartet: Dudley (Downhome 004)
Irniger, Christoph/Pilgrim: Big Wheel Live (Intakt 271)
Jasmine: Tropical Breeze (Inner City 1155)
Jefferson, Eddie: The Jazz Singer (Inner City 1016)
Jefferson, Eddie: The Main Man (Inner City 1033)
Jungr, Barb/John McDaniel: Perform The Beatles - Come Together (Kristalyn 04)
Kemp, Josh: Rare Groove (Fulltone 012)
Koivistoinen, Eero/& UMO Jazz Orchestra: Arctic Blues (Svart 049)
Koppel, Benjamin/Joe Lovano: The Mezzo Sax Encounter (Artist Share 0147)
Laubrock, Ingrid: Serpentines (Intakt 272/2016)
Laurance, Bill: Live At The Union Chapel (Ground Up!/Decca 002576400)
LeDonne, Mike/& The Groover Quartet: That Feelin' (Savant 2159)
Lewis, John: The Wonderful World Of Jazz (Atlantic SD 1357, vinyl)
Lucas, Gary: Fleischerei (Cuneiform 405)
Lundgren, Mårten: Plays The Music Of Bob Dorough (Gateway Music 5 707471 046890)
McCallum, Stuart/& Mike Walker: The Space Between (Edition 1082)
Monk, Thelonious: Live In Paris/16 Avril 1961 (Frémeaux & Associés 5653)
Musillami, Michael/Rich Syracuse: Of The Night (Playscape 032816)
Niles, Richard/Banzilla: Bandzilla Rises!!! (Bandzilla Records)
Original Dixieland Jazz Band: Tiger Rag (Retrospective 4296)
Parker, Charlie: Intégrale Charlie Parker Vol.10 (Frémeaux & Associés 1340)
Peacock, Gary: Voice From The Past - Paradigm (ECM 478 1120, vinyl)
Peterson, Oscar/Trio, The: Walking The Line (MPS 0211344MSW)
Pixel: Golden Years (Cuneiform 412)
Reed, Jimmy: Four Classic Albums (Avid Roots 1214)
Rollins, Sonny: Complete 1957-62 Studio Recordings (Essential Jazz Classics 55704)
Rypdal, Terje: Waves (ECM 478 1119, vinyl)
Schaphorst, Ken/Big Band: How To Say Goodbye (JCA 1602)
Schlippenbach/Trio: Warsaw Concert (Intakt 275/2016)
Shepp, Archie: Doodlin' (Inner City 1001)
Sheriff, Jamil: Places Like This (newjazz records.co.uk)
Slagle, Steve: Alto Manhattan (Panorama 006)
Square One: In Motion (squareonequartet.com)
Terry, Clark: Clark After Dark (MPS 0211570MSW)
Thomas, Nigel: Hidden (pathwayrecordings.com)
Tobin, Christine: Pelt (Trail Belle 04)
Tolling, Mads/& The Mads Men: Playing The 60s (Madsmen 03)
Tower Of Power: Bump City : Tower Of Power (Expanded Edition) (Soul Music WSMCR 5146)
Various: Classic Savoy Be-Bop Sessions 1945-49 (Mosaic 264)
Various: Jazz In Italian Cinema (Jazz On Film 003, vinyl)
Virelles, David: Antenna (ECM 571 0440, Vinyl)
Wheeler, Kenny: Deer Wan (ECM 478 1118, vinyl)
Wiley, Lee: The Lee Wiley Collection 1931-57 (Acrobat 9059)


Excerpts from the 89 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):

JOHN ABERCROMBIE: TIMELESS (ECM)
For me, this session – the guitarist’s ECM debut, reissued here on vinyl with free download code - remains the most consistently compelling of all his recordings for the label. Virtually every moment here is charged with full-on yet subtly disposed intensity, intelligence and feeling. I can’t recall hearing more stimulating, jazz-sprung work from Hammer and DeJohnette’s alert dynamics ensure the rock or backbeat element in pieces like Lungs and Red And Orange never becomes a reductive factor. Abercrombie’s sound, phrasing and overall group awareness are simply superb – whether up, lean and hot or laid-back and mellow: relish the reflective lyricism of the guitar and piano interplay in the duets Love Song and Remembering, the lovely, easy-down yet cooking trio groove of Ralph’s Piano Waltz or the mood-spinning mix of pedal point meditation and spaciously evolving melody in the brushes-caressed, folk-touched and surpassing title track. A classic album, with cover design to match. (Michael Tucker) *****

COUNT BASIE & HIS ATOMIC BAND: COMPLETE LIVE AT THE CRESCENDO 1958 (Phono)
Although some of these Crescendo performances have been available on Phontastic LPs as The Count On The Coast (two volumes) and Basie’s Golden 58, Phono have now released all the known recordings made by the “Atomic Period” Basie band at Gene Norman’s Los Angeles club, with the addition of six tracks from a TV broadcast just before that extended engagement. A glance at the titles reveals many familiar (and cherished) items from the band’s book, with well-honed compositions and arrangements by Neil Hefti, Ernie Wilkins, Thad Jones, Frank Foster and Frank Wess. Some titles are duplicated, but (with one exception) deserve second servings – try Moten Swing, Shiny Stockings and Mellow Tone and several versions of One O’Clock Jump as cases in point. Throughout, the band is in excellent collective voice with a fiery but controlled “roughness” that was to be absent from some of its later Pablo era sessions. These recordings certainly rank with the best of the band’s 1950s studio albums. As “live” performances they also benefit from a palpably relaxed atmosphere, with the Count’s merry men in audibly high spirits and appreciative audiences registering their approval. If only “Lockjaw” had also been present. (John White) ****

JERRY BERGONZI: SPOTLIGHT ON STANDARDS (Savant)
In the organ trio format Jerry Bergonzi again proves he’s one of the most compelling tenor sax players currently working the modern mainstream. He’s been around long enough to have found his voice, and his depth of expression springs naturally from maturity. Despite the title standards constitute only just over half the programme; four Bergonzi originals round it off. Of these Bi-Solar is an uptempo romp which leaves the listener in no doubt that this is a finely integrated trio. Witchcraft is an urbane opener enhanced by Bergonzi’s considered work, which happily lacks cool contrivance. Renato Chicco solos first and hints at Larry Young circa 1964 before accommodating the leader’s poised solo. Out Of Nowhere exemplifies how to get something fresh out of something well-worn, and should be required listening for musicians who want to express themselves (as opposed to a summary of their influences) in this overcrowded area of the music. (Nic Jones) ****

JACOB CHRISTOFFERSEN TRIO: WE WANT YOU (Stunt)
Born in Copenhagen in 1967, Christoffersen has for some years been regarded as one of Denmark’s most notable pianists. I Want You is an attractive, strongly swinging release rich in both song-soaked melody (Long Tall, My Irish Soul and the solo Farvel for example) and diversely turned rhythmic urgency (sample the rocking and trilling, bass-pumped title track and the nudgingly urgent yet also reflective Home, as well as Long Tall and Night Wanderer). Fellow Dane and bassist Fonnesbaek is a fine player, well known for his work in the Lars Jansson Trio while the CV of the excellent and imaginative drummer Cörsz includes work in the progressive rock field as well as a lengthy tenure in the Jan Lundgren trio. Together they do much to help Christoffersen shape a fine post-Jarrett album of considerable emotional warmth, melodic freshness and rhythmic conviction. (Michael Tucker) ****

THOMAS CLAUSEN/FRANCESCO CALI: THE VOYAGE (Stunt)
At just over an hour, this incidental chamber music – written by Danish pianist Clausen for the recent Danish Theatre production of the play The Arrival – could be said to overstay its welcome by some 15 minutes or so. However, track by track (there are 23 in all) there’s no doubting the beauty of the exquisitely turned interplay of piano and accordion, nor the attractiveness of the finely spun mix of rubato reflection and nudging, jazz-touched rhythmic nuance in an atmospheric, dynamically vibrant programme which should appeal strongly to enthusiasts of the music of, e.g., Richard Galliano and Dino Saluzzi. (Michael Tucker) ***

THE DREAM: GET DREAMY (Round2, vinyl)
A juicy slice of Hendrix-and-Floyd-touched progressive pop from Norway in 1967, beautifully packaged with great sound, contemporary psychedelic cover and a lengthy and informative sleevenote from Terje Rypdal enthusiast Reine Fiske. The Dream weren’t Cream, but if the yearning vocals are largely forgettable, there’s plenty of purposive organ-pumped and bar-stretching playing with Rypdal feeding to strong effect on the classic Clapton of John Mayall’s The Bluesbreakers. Rypdal’s subsequent Bleak House album (scheduled to be reissued by Round2) would take the music into stronger jazz realms, but Get Dreamy remains a key document of avant-pop, rock-fuelled but increasingly jazz-aware Norwegian ambitions of the time. (Michael Tucker) ***

EGBERTO GISMONTI: DANÇA DAS CABEÇAS (ECM, vinyl)
You couldn’t get any further from the images of South America conjured by the bossa and samba crazes of the 1960s than this ground-breaking album from Gismonti and his (late) compatriot Vasconcelos. Two of Brazil’s most characterful improvisers and composers, they interact to deeply poetic effect in two flowing, highly atmospheric suites. Folk tropes and heady yet distilled improvisation, jazz-like fire and classical nuance meld in a quite magical shape-shifting 50 minutes. Gismonti and Vasconcelos would appear together on other exceptional albums for ECM - Sol Do Meio Dia (1977), Saudades (1979) and Duaz Vozes (1984) - but this vinyl issue (with free download code) is the all-time classic. (Michael Tucker) ****

CHRIS INGHAM QUARTET: DUDLEY (Downhome)
Just how good a jazz player Dudley Moore really was has been obscured by the success of his legendary partnership with satirist Peter Cook on TV in the 60s and later as a Hollywood “sex thimble”. His Erroll Garner influenced jazz trio just wasn’t taken seriously by the jazz world – and maybe not even by him. Chris Ingham’s quartet have rectified that poor state of affairs with an album of 16 sparkling tunes closely associated with Moore the swinging 60s trio leader and versatile film score composer. Older readers (ahem) will remember the theme from Not Only But Also and also the scores for films like Bedazzled and 30 Is A Dangerous Age, Cynthia. Also present are less familiar gems written by Moore for his studio LPs, The Other Side Of Dudley Moore and The Dudley Moore Trio. The Satie-esque Sad One For George is a melancholy stand-out, along with Love Song From An Imaginary Musical, contrasting with the more poppy, upbeat offerings. Ingham and his group did a grand job of distilling the essence of Hoagy Carmichael in their last project. Now they have pulled it off again with Dudley, an intimate and affectionate tribute that’s very Moore-ish indeed. (Garry Booth) ***

JASMINE: TROPICAL BREEZE (Inner City)
Now here’s an obscure event. Five years before her debut with Steve Coleman, six years before her first album as leader, 24-year-old Cassandra Wilson recorded five songs in New Orleans with the Brazilian group Jasmine. As an ardent Wilson fan, this is the first time I have even heard of this set, let alone listened to it. If truth be told, I and others would struggle with any blindfold test here, for her vocals are youthfully exuberant without any of the languid, sultry approach she displayed later on her fine Blue Note sets. Thanks to Kim’s expressive violin, the band are more than just a Brazilian tribute band on a set, rereleased I assume, for aficionados. (Simon Adams) **

MIKE LEDONNE: THAT FEELIN’ (Savant)
Latest in the series by organist Mike LeDonne’s Groover Quartet, with guest Vincent Herring added on three numbers, meets the standard one expects. Tunes as usual mix his own pieces with those from outside jazz – from At Last to the likes of La La Means I Love You, doubtless familiar to any Delfonics fans reading this. It’s an ensemble that hits all the collective buttons along with classy solos. This album also suggests LeDonne, whose career had been built around steam piano, keeps digging into ways to make effective use of the organ’s sonic potential, which does not simply mean more noise. (Ronald Atkins) ****

RICHARD NILES & BANDZILLA: BANDZILLA RISES (Bandzilla Records)

Niles rightly says “This is not a traditional jazz record”. Drawing comparisons with other very recent big band albums I’d say that this one veers towards the style of Bob Mintzer’s excellent All L.A. Band, but with a touch of the Mike Westbrook about it, particularly in terms of social comment in the lyrics and occasionally the vocal style. Niles goes much further in a commercial direction than Mintzer with vocals being used on almost all of these predominantly funk and soul orientated songs. I first knowingly heard Niles’s typically slick arranging in the mid 1980s on Swing Out Sister’s hit Breakout, and then I quickly discovered just how many records I’d heard that were tinged to great effect by his exacting charts. Here, the strident, idiomatic alto sax of Nigel Hitchcock leads the way in terms of the instrumental solos, but one of the highlights is the unaccompanied group vocal introduction to Tip For A Toreador, notably sung entirely by the excellent Kim Chandler who ably demonstrates her studio skills in multi-layering the vocal lines; Clarice Assad later follows her lead with one of the more surprising solos. (Dave Jones) ****

OSCAR PETERSON: WALKING THE LINE (MPS)
The Canadian pianist’s partnership with Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer of MPS continued in the late 60s, with nine albums produced in 1969-71. This immensely enjoyable example is full of infectious exuberance. Peterson is an unstoppable juggernaut, and his unflagging energy makes even this listener – not his biggest fan – almost forgive his equally unflagging repetition of licks. There are Cole Porter songs – an unusually bluesy, driving I Love You, and All Of You – and two Michel Legrand compositions. The furious makeover of The Windmills Of Your Mind makes it almost unrecognisable, while the ballad Once Upon A Summertime offers respite from the album’s aural battering. Great fun all the same. (Andy Hamilton) ***

KEN SCHAPHORST BIG BAND: HOW TO SAY GOODBYE (JCA 1602)
A rich and diverse collection of music reflecting a wide-range of profound influences from Ellington, Mulligan and Mingus to the distinctive cyclical rhythms of Zimbabwean mbira music features in composer/bandleader Schaphorst’s fourth big band release for JCA. He is surrounded by veterans of his True Colors Big Band and colleagues from the New England Conservatory faculty for which he has chaired the Jazz Studies Department for over 15 years. His 10 compositions showcase the rewards of long-lasting musical relationships. Outstanding musicianship abounds in this accomplished example of jazz orchestral production. (Jason Balzarano) ****

JAMIL SHERIFF TRIO: PLACES LIKE THIS (newjazz records.co.uk)
If Leeds is jazz music’s northern power house then the College of Music is arguably its turbine hall. Pianist Jamil Sheriff, head of jazz there, recorded this album with his trio two weeks after touring China. A considered combination of through-composed pieces that leave space for freer improv and nutty solo diversions, it’s an intriguing and diverse set. Blueish is indeed a tipsy blue-ish stroll for the piano, kept on track by the attentive rhythm section, while the slow-paced and melancholy Miss Mae suggests a German art-film score. I look forward to hearing more from New Jazz Records, run by horn player James Hamilton, who’s made it his mission to document the Leeds jazz scene. (Garry Booth) ***

LEE WILEY: THE LEE WILEY COLLECTION 1931–57 (Acrobat 9059)
This long overdue, extremely comprehensive collection of Lee Wiley’s recordings covers most of her singing career, from Take It From Me with the Leo Reisman Orchestra in 1931 to My Melancholy Baby with the Billy Butterfield Quintet in 1957. These 70 songs over three discs have been lovingly put together, including extensive liner notes by Paul Watts. The recordings are only slightly fuzzy in the early 1930s sets; throughout her vocal is fresh and gentle, and mostly underrated. (Sally Evans-Darby) ****

 


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