Selected reviews


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

Complete list of albums reviewed in JJ January 2018 (see below for excerpts):

Ainsworth, Laura: New Vintage (Eclectus 1003)
Altschul, Barry: The 3Dom Factor/Live In Kraków (Not Two MW960)
Anatma: Anatma (Slam 586)
Armstrong, Louis/All Stars: Live In Vancouver 1951 (Upbeat 277)
Atzmon, Gilad/The Orient House Ensemble: The Spirit Of Trane (Fanfare 1702)
Bechet, Sidney: Essential Original Albums (Masters of Music 545508)
Bechet, Sidney: Bechet Souvenirs (Vogue Jazz Club 003)
Benko, Julie: Introducing (Self produced)
Berger, Bengt/Beches Brew: Beches Indian Brew (Country & Eastern 38)
Blue Note/All Stars: Our Point Of View (Blue Note, no number)
Blythe, Arthur: Elaborations/Light Blue/Arthur Blythe Plays Thelonious Monk/Put Sunshine In It (Beat Goes On 1304)
Campisi, Laura: Double Mirror (
Cole, Nat King: The Complete Nelson Riddle Studio Sessions (Music Milestones 983200)
Dahlen, Erland: Clocks (Hubro 2595)
Davis, Miles/Bill Evans: Complete Studio & Live Masters (One Records 59807)
Downes, Bob/Open Music: Let Your Mind…Space Out (Openian 22807)
Eisenmann, Henrique: The Free Poetics Of Henrique Eisenmann (rpr 14599-4429)
Evans, Bill: The Quiet Passion Of Bill Evans (Él Records 329)
Falzone, Giovanni: Pianeti Affini (Cam Jazz 7915)
Fitzgerald, Ella: The Lost Recordings (FON-1704027)
Forrest, Helen: With The Larry James Orchestra (Sounds Of Yester Year 2069)
Glowering Figs: Glowering Figs (Slam 2104)
Griffin, Johnny/Eddie Lockjaw Davis: At Onkel Pö’s Carnegie Hall (Jazzline NDR N 77046)
Guaraldi, Vince: A Charlie Brown Christmas (Craft 00061, vinyl)
Herring, Vincent: Hard Times (Smoke Sessions 1708)
Hiromi/Edmar Castaneda: Live In Montreal (Telarc 00026)
Honoré, Erik: Unrest (Hubro 2599)
Hopkins, Lightin': Four Classic Albums Second Set (Avid Roots 1254)
Horsfall, Peter: Nighthawks (APP 003)
Hubbard, Freddie: At Onkel Pö’s Carnegie Hall (Jazzline NDR N 77044)
Humes, Helen: The Helen Humes Collection 1927-62 (Acrobat 3213)
Ilg, Dieter: B-A-C-H (ACT 9844)
Kappeyne, Floris: Interchange (Challenge 73440)
Kenton, Stan: Mellophonium Memoirs (Tantara 1133)
Kessel, Barney: The Poll Winners (Retrospective 4318)
Kinhan, Lauren: A Sleepin' Bee (Dotted I 2017)
Kirkland, Wendy: Piano Divas… (Blue Quaver 017)
Lakatos, Roby/Biréli Lagrène: Tribute To Stéphane & Django (Avanti Jazz 5414706 10532)
Lee, Peggy: With The Benny Goodman Orchestra 1941-47 (Acrobat 3216)
Liebman, Dave/Joe Lovano: Compassion (Resonance 2030)
Lightsey, Kirk/Harold Danko: Shorter By Two (Sunnyside 1467)
Lindsley, Lisa: Wouldn't It Be Loverly? (Take One Music 03-0327)
Mabern, Harold: To Love And Be Loved (Smoke Sessions 1706)
Masekela, Hugh: Sixty/Black To The Future/Notes Of Life (Float 6305)
McCandless, Paul: Morning Sun/Adventures With Oboe (Living Music 49)
McLaughlin, John/The 4th Dimension: Live @ Ronnie Scott's (Abstract Logix 058)
McLaughlin/Surman/Berger/Martin/Holland: Where Fortune Smiles (Esoteric 2605)
Monk, Thelonious: Piano Solo/The Centennial Edition Paris 1954 (Sony 88985472342)
Montand, Yves: Les Feuilles Mortes (Retrospective 4313)
Moore, Dudley: Today (Él Records 332)
Moran, Paul: Smokin' B3 Volume 2 Still Smokin' (Prudential 0038)
Morrissey, Dick: Live At The Bell 1972 (Acrobat 4395)
Neset, Marius: Circle Of Chimes (ACT 9038)
New Meeting Quartet: Lusitania (Milan 399 364)
Nordic Circles: Under The Clouds (AMP Music 009)
Nyro, Laura: Christmas And The Beads Of Sweat (Columbia KC30259, vinyl)
Phillips, Esther: At Onkel Pö’s Carnegie Hall (Jazzline NDR N 77047)
Pieranunzi, Enrico/Mads Vinding/Alex Riel: Yesterdays (Stunt 17072)
Richardson, Leo: The Chase (Ubuntu Music 0005)
Sanchez, Antonio: Bad Hombre (Cam Jazz 7919)
Smith, Rudy: Glass World (Stunt 17082)
Smith, Wadada Leo: Solo: Reflections And Meditations On Monk (TUM 053)
Smith, Wadada Leo: Najwa (TUM 049)
Smoczynski, Mateusz: Berek (Universal 576 107 1)
Spaceheads: A New World In Our Hearts (Electric Brass 007)
Stafford, Jo: "Live" On Johnny Mercers Music Shop (Sounds Of Yester Year 2071)
Steele, Nat: Portrait Of The Modern Jazz Quartet (Trio 598)
Turrentine, Stanley/Grant Green Qnt: Complete Recordings (Groove Hut 66724)
Various: New Orleans (Upbeat 276)
Various: Down Home Blues - Chicago (Wienerworld 5100)
Vasconcelos, Mônica: The São Paulo Tapes (Movas 005)
Wolking, Henry: In Sea (Big Round Records 8944)

Examples of the 72 album reviews in this issue (see more reviews as printed; subscribe to see 12 months of the print edition of Jazz Journal
, including over 20,000 words of CD review each issue):

In A Sentimental Mood; Invitation; Minor Thing; Soul Eyes; Blue Train; Naima; Giant Steps; Say It (Over And Over Again) (48.12)
Atzmon (ts, ss, cl, bcl, f); Frank Harrison (p); Yaron Stavi (b); Enzo Zirilli (d); The Sigamos String Quartet. London, 19-20 December 2016.
Fanfare 1702

Morning Mist; Ramallah; The Seeker; Peace And Beyond; In A Sentimental Mood; Ghaza Mon Amour; Anecdote; Dawn (58.47)
Dwiki Dharmawan (p, syn); Atzmon (cl, ss, elec); Kamal Musallam (oud, g, midi g); Ade Rudiana (kendang); Nasser Salameh (frame drum); Asaf Sirkis (d). Jakarta & Bali, October and December 2015.
Enja 9642
The sentimental mood persists throughout the Orient House session – which while it doesn’t catch fire – is fairly blissful listening. Some of Atzmon’s most arresting wanderings are on the bass clarinet and soprano in this tribute to Coltrane whose influence, he says, led him first towards the tenor. If he is more closely associated with the alto, he blames the cost of travelling with the bigger horn on budget airlines!

The quartet is at one with him in trying to capture the beauty with which Trane imbued his ballad improvisations without attempting to replicate the sound. In the three Coltrane songs – Blue Train, Naima and Giant Steps – Atzmon enjoys some of his more hustling interpretations with chromatic runs on the soprano in Naima. The opening Sentimental Mood features a lush, languid arrangement in which piano, bass, drums and string quartet join in a statement of extreme romantic feeling. The ensemble marked this release with an 18-date tour of southern Britain.

The World Peace Trio (optimistic name of the year) also plays the Ellington standard in a set of mainly originals composed jointly. Coming together two years ago in Jakarta, the trio of an Israeli-born reeds player, Indonesian pianist and Kuwaiti guitarist/oudist almost inevitably brought a flavour of middle- and further east into their music. This unique sound, made further arresting by their mix of electronics with traditional percussion instruments, is in itself a statement about the continuing diversification of jazz.

The original American model and its basic foundations holds no sway here: all that is left is the principle of improvisation: but it is accomplished with strong non-western influences, such as the use of quarter-tones and an eerie overlay of reediness. The percussion instruments provide a steadily churning, if bland, impetus, while pieces like the evocative Morning Mist mix changing tempi with free time. An interesting deviation.
Anthony Troon


CD1: (1) Elaborations; Metamorphosis; Sister Daisy; One Mint Julep; Shadows; The Lower Nile (41.03)
CD2: (2) We See; Light Blue; Off Minor; Epistrophy; Coming On The Hudson; Nutty; (3) Tumalumah; (4) Put Sunshine In It; (5) Uptown Strut; (6) Silhouette; (7) #5; (8) Sentimental Walk (Theme From Diva) (78.50)

(1) Blythe (as); Bob Stewart (tu); Kelvyn Bell (g); Abdul Wadud (clo); Bobby Battle (d); Wilbur Morris (b); Mohammad Abdullah (cga). NYC, 1982.
(2) Morris and Abdullah out. NYC, 1983.
(3) Blythe (as); Todd Cochran (computer d, syn bass, syn). LA, 1985.
(4) Blythe (as); Leon “Ndugu” Chancelor (d); Alphonso Johnson (b); Todd Cochran (Rhodes synth); Michael O’Neill (g); Paulinho Da Costa (pc). Same date.
(5) Blythe (as); Cochran (computer d, syn bass, syn); Bruce Purse (OB8). Tarzana, CA, 1985.
(6) Blythe (as); Alphonso Johnson (b); Cochran (computer d, syn bass, syn, kyb). LA, 1985.
(7) Blythe (as); Johnson (b, el stick, bass pedal syn); Cochran (computer d, kyb, syn). LA, 1985.
(8) Blythe (as); Gerry Brown (d); Stanley Clarke (b); Cochran (kyb, syn); O’Neill (g); Da Costa (pc); LA, 1985.
Beat Goes On 1304
Blythe, who died in March aged 77, cut these tracks for Columbia in the early 1980s, yet they still have that challenging avant-garde howl. This was the period when he was working in a unique quintet - with tuba and cello - but he was persuaded by Columbia to embrace the electronic technology that was becoming common in pop music and R&B. So the album Put Sunshine In It marked a departure for a basically acoustic artist who had eschewed overdubbing and other studio trickery. The track entitled #5 is probably the most obvious digression into the new sounds.

It was often wondered why Arthur Blythe wanted a tuba in his group. Bob Stewart, who had to work on a new breathing technique and became amazingly virtuosic on the instrument (note tuba part in Sister Daisy) believed it was partly a link with early jazz and a need for sustained notes as well as a “walking bass” style. The warmth of Wadud’s cello tone made a satisfying contrast with Blythe’s sound on alto – which was fairly unmistakeable: shrill and edgy at one end of the spectrum and tenderly embracing at the other.

The band could have fun. Its interpretations of Monk’s music are admirable. But One Mint Julep on CD1 is an R&B take-off complete with yells and heavy backbeat. Blythe was undoubtedly the main force although Stewart felt they were equal partners. And this passionate saxophonist, who didn’t get due recognition before he faded out of sight, deserved this intriguing and moving reissue.
Anthony Troon

CD1: (1) C Jam Blues; On Green Dolphin Street; (2) Sophisticated Lady; (1) In Walked Bud (50.07)
CD2: (3) I Can’t Get Started; (1) Stompin’ At The Savoy; Funky Fluke (43.04)
(1) Griffin, Davis (ts); Tete Montoliu (p); Niels-Henning Orsted-Pedersen (b); Art Taylor (d). Onkel Pö’s Carnegie Hall, Hamburg, Germany, 8 August 1975. (2) as (1) omit Davis. (3) as (1) omit Griffin.
Jazzline NDR N 77046
I was never fortunate enough to hear these two protagonists in person but the frisson of excitement created by two tenors standing toe-to-toe is present throughout these exuberant performances. Eddie Davis and Johnny Griffin are part of a noble tradition that includes Dexter Gordon-Wardell Gray, Gene Ammons-Sonny Stitt, Al Cohn-Zoot Sims and our own Jazz Couriers –Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott.

Eddie Davis and Johnny Griffin regularly worked together in the early 60s often at Minton’s and a good example of their performances from that time can be found on the Jazz Dynamics box set (JD001) which features seven of their albums. Davis felt their approach was a little different to the high-octane battles of Ammons and Stitt. In a 1961 Downbeat interview he said “We are presenting side by side two different styles of playing tenor – a contrast not a contest”.

That said, the energy level is kept pretty close to maximum throughout with no quarter asked or given.
Griffin’s roots were in the robust Gene Ammons-Dexter Gordon school and Davis was clearly inspired by both Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. His technique incorporated elaborate false fingerings with corks placed under some keys because “I don’t need them”! (Truly one of a kind, although Pete Christlieb comes pretty close.)

The sleeve-note does not give the solo order but there is no problem telling them apart as they were two of the music’s great individualists. Just in case it’s necessary Davis leads off on each selection except In Walked Bud. Incidentally Funky Fluke has been incorrectly titled Funky Flute on the sleeve. A final doff of the cap to the hard-swinging rhythm section – the constantly inventive Tete Montoliu, the big sounding Niels-Henning and the powerful but never intrusive Art Taylor.
Gordon Jack


CD1 (1): Elmer’s Tune; My Old Flame (alt); See A Million People; That’s The Way It Goes; I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good); My Old Flame; How Deep Is The Ocean; How Deep Is The Ocean (alt take and date); Let’s Do It (alt); Let’s Do It; Shady Lady Bird; Somebody Else Is Taking my Place; Somebody Nobody Loves; How Long Has This Been Going On; That Did It , Marie; Winter Weather; Everything I Love; Not Mine; Not A Care In The World; (2) Blues In The Night; Where Or When; On The Sunny Side Of The Street (69.30)
CD2: (3) The Lamp Of Memory; If You Build A Better Mouse Trap; When The Roses Bloom Again; My Little Cousin; (4) The Way You Look Tonight; (3) I Threw A Kiss In The Ocean; We’ll Meet Again; Full Moon; There Won’t Be A Shortage Of Love; You’re Easy To Dance With; All I Need Is You; Why Don’t You Do Right; Let’s Say A Prayer; (5) The Freedom Train; (6) Keep Me In Mind; For Every Man There’s A Woman; (7) Soft As Spring; The Shrine Of St. Cecilia; That Did It Marie; Blues In The Night; Mr Five By Five; Praise Be The Lord (And Pass The Ammunition) (69.23)

Lee (v) and Goodman (cl) on all tracks with;
(1) Benny Goodman Orchestra. Collective personnel: Billy Butterfield, Cootie Williams, Jimmy Maxwell, Al “Slim” Davis, Joe Ferrante, Bernie Privin (t); Lou McGarity, Cutty Cutshall (tb); Skippy Martin, Clint Neagley, Julie Schwartz, Sol Kane (as); Vido Masso, George Berg (ts); Chuck Gentry (bar); Mel Powell (p, arr); Tom Morgan (g); John Simmons, Marty Blitz, Sid Weiss (b); Sidney Catlett, Ralph Collier (d). Chicago and NY, 15 August-10 December 1941.
(2) Benny Goodman Septet. McGarity, Cutshall (tb); Powell (p, cel); Morgan (g); Weiss (b); Collier (d); NY, 24 December 1941.
(3) Benny Goodman Orchestra. Collective personnel: Privin, Maxwell, Davis, Johnny Napton, Tony Faso, Benny Baker, Lawrence Stearns (t); McGarity, Cutshall, Charlie Castaldo (tb); Kane, Neagley, Bud Shiffman, Hymie Schertzer (as); Musso, Berg, Jon Walton, Leonard Sims (ts); Gentry, Art Ralston, Bob Poland (bar); Powell (p, arr); Morgan, Dave Barbour (g); Weiss, Cliff Hill (b); Collier, Alvin Stoller, Hud Davies (d); Art Lund (v). NY, 15 January-30 July 1942.
(4) Benny Goodman Sextet. McGarity (tb); Powell (p, cel); Weiss (b); Morgan (g); Collier (d); NY, 10 March 1942.
(5) Paul Weston Orchestra with Johnny Mercer, Margaret Whiting and the Pied Pipers (v). Hollywood, 12 September 1947.
(6) Benny Goodman Orchestra; John Best (t); Ed Kusby (tb); Sinclair Lott (frh); Paul McLarand, Jack Dumont (as); Bumps Myers (ts); Chuck Gentry (bar); Louis Kiernan (vla); Red Norvo (vib); Mel Powell (p); Al Hendrickson (g); Artie Shapiro (b); Tommy Romersa (d); Hollywood, 2 December 1947.
(7) Benny Goodman Orchestra. Collective personnel as CD 1 and 2. Conrad Gozzo (t); Dick Le Fave (tb); Al Klink (ts); Jimmy Rowe (p); Louie Bellson (d) in. Selected live radio broadcasts, NY, 4 October 1941-19 October 1942.
Acrobat 3216
Peggy Lee made her radio debut in North Dakota aged just 14. Seven years later in 1941 she made her first studio recording – Elmer’s Tune – with the Benny Goodman Orchestra, remaining as band vocalist for two years. CD1 contains all the recordings she made in 1941, which were issued by Columbia or Okeh, plus three alternative takes. CD2 continues in 1942 up till July, after which the AFM recording ban came into force. The songs, in the main, are inferior to those on CD1, with considerable schmaltz and some (several unissued) with references to the war in the lyrics. There’s even a cover version of We’ll Meet Again albeit stamped with Peggy’s usual class. In addition, there’s a selection of rare live radio show transcriptions, plus three tracks recorded with Goodman’s orchestra in 1947, by which time Peggy was an established solo recording star in her own right.

Reclining serenely on the cushioned upholstery of Benny’s 16- piece orchestra, Peggy sings with coolly understated style, yet sensuous expression. Showing innate artistry as a jazz vocalist, her delicate phrasing, with its nuanced timing and dynamics, swings lightly and effortlessly. I Got It Bad, a playful Let’s Do It, How Long Has This Been Going On and Everything I Love are quite outstanding examples of her ability in interpreting lyrics. Benny weaves elegantly and regally around her vocals, and in the well-crafted arrangements by Mel Powell. Commendably detailed information from Paul Watts is provided in the 20-page booklet.
Hugh Rainey


Ana Maria; Delores; Dance Cadaverous; Pinocchio; Marie Antoinette; Armageddon; Lester Left Town; Witch Hunt; Iris; El Gaucho; Nefertiti (55.43)
Lightsey, Danko (p). New York City, 19 & 21 July, 1983.
Sunnyside 1467
On the face of it, this unlikely piano partnership turned out to be a pianistic jewel. Danko and Lightsey, from differing segments of the modernistic cause, formed a telepathic musical union, merging their talents seamlessly. Choosing to perform compositions by Wayne Shorter was a masterstroke. His writing is quirky, unhackneyed and unorthodox, but his pieces translate superbly to this duo context.

It was also an inspired production decision not to separate or channel the pianos, so we hear the lines melding, counterpointing and coalescing in perfect accord, just as audiences would have done at the live recitals the pianists gave post-recording in Montreal, Paris and Portugal. The collaboration is so close that even Danko, listening to the recordings, admitted that sometimes he could not identify who’s who. I don’t know how much rehearsal time they put in, but to achieve this level of empathy and rapport workouts must have been extensive. The pianists are ever true to the atmospheric moods that Shorter’s tunes engender. As Danko commented, “You can develop what he’s written, but you don’t have to add anything”. It has been a late revelation to hear favourite Wayne lines like Pinocchio, El Gaucho and Lester Left Town expressed by two such creative pianists.

Somehow, I missed this one 34 years ago, but it was joyous to discover unknown treasure, albeit so late. The pianists have not collaborated since that time in the early 1980s. It would be delightful if this essential reissue persuaded the pair to hold a recorded reunion.
Mark Gardner


Meeting Of The Spirits; Miles Beyond; Gaza City; Here Come The Jiis; New Blues Old Bruise; El Hombre Que Sabia; Sanctuary; Vital Transformation; Echos From Then (71.26)
McLaughlin (elg); Étienne M’Bappé (elb); Gary Husband (kyb, d); Ranjit Barot (d, v). London, March 2017.
Abstract Logix 058
Hot-ish on the heels of McLaughlin’s last studio album, the 2015 Black Light, comes this live album which is gratifyingly around 25 minutes longer than its predecessor. While some CDs of near maximum possible length can become tedious, there is no such turgidity here; it’s all meat and no potatoes.

The set opens with Meeting Of The Spirits from The Mahavishnu Orchestra’s The Inner Mounting Flame, which retains all of its original dynamism and there’s a Zawinul-esque keyboard opening to Miles Beyond, from the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds Of Fire with Étienne M’Bappé turning in a near-impossible bass guitar solo. On the frenetic Here Come The Jiis, Ranjit Barot augments his drums with quick-fire konokol vocalising. El Hombre Que Sabia is given a turbo-charged treatment, McLaughlin here on electric, as opposed to acoustic guitar as heard on the Black Light version. Vital Transformation from The Inner Mounting Flame still sounds as galvanising as it did 45 years ago but now includes added interest in the form of a bass guitar solo from M’Bappé and Gary Husband’s sinewy keyboard solo. The lengthy finale, Echoes From Then, features an extended, mesmeric drum and konokol solo from Barot with McLaughlin’s coruscating guitar chords bringing the track to a grandstanding close. It’s no wonder that the guitarist featured on no fewer than 12 Miles Davis albums.

In the wake of a 2017 European tour with the 4th Dimension, from which this session was gleaned, the 75-year-old McLaughlin and his band have been on a farewell tour of the USA along with guitarist Jimmy Herring. It can only be hoped that reports of his impending retirement are greatly exaggerated.
Roger Farbey


Glancing Backwards (For Junior); Earthbound Hearts; Where Fortune Smiles; New Place, Old Place; Hope (35.15)
John McLaughlin (g, elg); John Surman (ss, bs, bcl); Karl Berger (vib); Dave Holland (b); Stu Martin (d). New York City, May 1970.
Esoteric Recordings 2605
First released on Pye’s progressive Dawn Records in 1971, Where Fortune Smiles has since had a chequered public history, reappearing in various short-lived guises and most recently forming part of John Surman’s 2006 three-CD Dawn anthology, Glancing Backwards (Castle Music), even though, strictly speaking, the album is a collaborative effort. This new issue is therefore the first time it has stood alone for years.

Despite its credits, it is John McLaughlin who dominates this set, and it is his 1969 jazz-rock debut, Extrapolation, to which it is most often compared. Like that set, it mixes intensity – the ferocious opening Glancing Backwards and the angry, sprawling New Place, Old Place – with wide-eyed innocence – Earthbound Hearts, a McLaughlin piece that serves as a feature for Surman’s baritone, or the title track, commanded by Berger’s luminous vibes. As it’s a collaborative effort, each musician gets his chance in the limelight, McLaughlin’s screeds of sound matched by the intensity of Surman’s baritone and the insistence of Berger and Martin in driving support. Holland is heard to good effect when the others bow out.

Where Fortune Smiles does not have the brilliance of Extrapolation, but as a one-off meeting of musicians who had never played before as a quintet, this is a landmark piece of jazz-rock history that should never again go out of print.
Simon Adams

The More I See You; Waterloo; Before Love Went Out Of Style; The Look Of Love; Song For Suzy; Two For The Road; Robyn’s Blues; The Staircase (44.25)
Moore (p); Peter Morgan (b); Chris Karan (d). Australia, 1971.
Él Records 332
Although Dudley Moore (1935-2002) has been variously described as a comedian, actor, composer  and musician, the passing of time confirms – to me at least – that despite his undeniable talents in other areas Moore’s enduring impact was as a jazz musician.

Nevertheless, laughter was never far away when Dudley was around. My late friend and erstwhile colleague Dick Hawdon frequently remarked upon the puzzlement he felt at the gales of laughter heard when he (Hawdon) was soloing in front of the Dankworth band, only to realise that the audience was focused on the piano bench and some comic antics of diminutive Dudley (later to be known as a “sex thimble”) rather than on Dick’s accomplished trumpet bebopping. Hawdon’s comments about Dudley Moore were always made without any resentment, I must add, which tells us much.

One could carp at the relatively short playing time of this CD. Some of Moore’s licks come across more as decoration than melodic phrases, and for some listeners the exceptionally high level of the double bass in the mix will be a slight bother. But these are mere niggles when set against the pleasure received by hearing these superb tracks once again – and the powerful and accurate bass playing of Peter Morgan is unquestionably first-class. A most welcome reissue.
John Robert Brown


Blues For Joe; Demon E; The Curve; The Chase; Elisha’s Song; Mambo; Silver Lining; Mr Skid (54.15)
Quentin Collins (t on 2, 3, 4) ; Richardson (ts); Alan Skidmore (ts on 8 only); Rick Simpson (p); Mark Lewandowski (b); Ed Richardson (d). London, 5 & 6 December, 2016.
Ubuntu 005
Leo Richardson, son of bassist Jim Richardson, is a tenor saxophonist who has immersed himself in the hard bop legacy of the 1950s and early 1960s. His sax style is out of Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson and, to a lesser degree, John Coltrane. His writing (all eight tunes are his) reflects the influences of Horace Silver, Cedar Walton and Wayne Shorter – in other words the Jazz Messengers tradition. His colleagues here are like-minded, and the moods and overall atmosphere are drenched in the spirit of Blue Note and Prestige, both of which provided a continuing platform for the oeuvre.

All that said, this music is by no means wholly derivative. The musicians unleash their own creative energy and fire, with an ear to the present and future while respectful of sources from the past. The basic quartet is supplemented on three performances by the lively trumpet of Quentin Collins, who also doubles as producer of the sessions. In some respects the best is left to last when Alan Skidmore joins for a two-tenor thrash on a composition reminiscent of Freddie Redd’s well-crafted tunes. This pairing generates ample heat, just as those tandems of Gordon/Gray, Cohn/Sims and Davis/ Griffin did of yore. Not surprisingly, as the pair dig in for bouts of solid wailing, Mr Skid is the longest track of the package, running for a fruitful 10 minutes.

After this impressive debut, further releases by the gifted Mr Richardson will be awaited with eager expectancy by this writer. He has much to say and says it with feeling.
Mark Gardner


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