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 June 2018 (see below for sample reviews):

Adderley, Cannonball: Somethin' Else (State Of Art 81210)
Adderley, Cannonball/Miles Davis: Somethin' Else The Stereo & Mono Versions (Green Corner 100896)
Andersen, Arild: In-House Science (ECM 671 6897)
As Is, w. Alan & Stacey Schulman: Here's To Life (
Atlantic Bridge: Atlantic Bridge (Esoteric 2604)
Beirach, Richie: Inborn (Jazzline N 77049)
Benzie, Alan: Little Mysteries (Alan Benzie 1801)
Berg, Oddgeir: Before Dawn (Ozella 72)
Blakey, Art/Duke Jordan: Les Liaisons Dangereuses + Des Femmes Disparaissent (Essential Jazz Classics 55731)
Boman, Patrik/Ambivalent: Soul Searching (PB7 033)
Bro, Jakob: Returnings (ECM 670 5850)
Byars, Chris: New York City Jazz (Steeplechase 31842)
Cloudmakers Five: Traveling Pulse (Whirlwind 4719)
Dale, Eyolf: Return To Mind (Edition 1106)
Davis, Miles: Rubberband EP (Warner Bros/Rhino R1 565639, vinyl)
Diaz, Olegario: I Remember Chet (SteepleChase 31853)
Doran, Christy: Undercurrent (Intuition 71326)
Eick, Mathias: Ravensburg (ECM 671 0239)
Eleventh House/Larry Coryell: Level One (Floating World 6315)
Elling, Kurt: The Questions (Okeh 88985492832)
Ellis, Don: Tears Of Joy/Connection (Beat Goes On 1317)
Farell, Fred: Distant Song (Whaling City Sound 103)
Fitzgerald, Ella/Louis Armstrong: Porgy & Bess (State Of Art 81207)
Ford, Tennessee Ernie: Sixteen Tons (Retrospective 4329)
Fox, Danny: The Great Nostalgist (Hot Cup 162)
Fukumori, Shinya: For 2 Akis (ECM 578 8817)
Gayer, Matyas: Never Ending Story (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 1009)
Gewelt, Terje: Wow And Flutter (Resonant Music 26)
Gurls: Run Boy, Run (Grappa 4571)
Hamasyan, Tigran: For Gyumri (Nonesuch 7559-79325-7)
Haugshøj, Morten: The Street Doctor (
Hayes, Tubby: A Little Workout (Acrobat 4396)
Heinen, Bruno: Mr. Vertigo (Babel 18151)
Hobbs, Steve: Tribute To Bobby (Challenge 73433)
Holland, Dave: Unchartered Territories (Dare 2 010)
Jarrett, Keith: After The Fall (ECM 671 6506)
Juris, Vic: Eye Contact (SteepleChase 31841)
Kostelanetz, Andre: Plays The Rodgers And Hart Songbook (Sounds Of Yester Year 2089)
Lewis, Ramsey: Don't It Feel Good/Tequila Mockingbird/Love Notes (Beat Goes On 1328)
Lien, Helge/Knut Hem: Hummingbird (Ozella 79)
Liss, Ira B/Big Band Jazz Machine: Tasty Tunes (Tall Man Productions 005)
Manington, Dave/Riff Raff: Challenger Deep (Loop 1030)
Mason, Janette: Red Alert (Dot Time 9072)
Masson, Nicolas: Travelers (ECM 670 5808)
McGriff, Jimmy: Swingin' Ocean Sounds (Groove Hut 66725)
Mehldau, Brad: Seymour Reads The Constitution! (Nonesuch 0075597934434)
Mehldau, Brad: After Bach (Nonesuch 007559793180)
Meyer, Ruth Wilhelmine: Klangbiotoper (Ozella 083)
Mick, Alcyona/Tori Freestone: Criss Cross (Whirlwind 4722)
Mingus, Charles: The Clown + Pithecanthropus Erectus (Poll Winners 27370)
Mingus, Charles: Mingus Ah Um (State Of Art 81208)
Mingus, Charles: Mingus Ah Um The Studio And Mono Versions (Green Corner 100897)
Mopo: Mopocalypse (We Jazz 07)
Morris, Nigel: Repercussion! (
Nieto, Gerard: Reunion Three (Swing Alley 035)
Pancaldi, Chiara: What Is There To Say (Challenge 73435)
Pastorino, Matteo: Suite For Modigliani (Challenge 73448)
Pelt, Jeremy: Noir En Rouge Live In Paris (HighNote 7314)
Phillips, Flip/Bill Harris/Kai Winding/All Stars: Perdido (Sounds Of Yester Year 2086)
Possing, Arthur: Four Years (Hypnote 004)
Prima, Louis: "Swing It!" (Retrospective 4326)
Riley, Howard: Listen To Hear (Slam 2106)
Rodgers, Shorty: Jazz Waltz (Pure Pleasure PPAN R-9 6060, vinyl)
Rodriguez, Alfredo: The Little Dream (Mack Avenue 1130)
Schneider, Maria/SWR Big Band: Big Bands Live (SWR Jazzhaus 469)
Shake Stew: Rise And Rise Again (Traumton 4663)
Smith III, Walter: Twio (Whirlwind 4718)
Smulyan, Gary: Alternative Contrafacts (SteepleChase 31844)
Speake, Martin: Intention (Ubuntu Music 0009)
Spirit Fingers: Spirit Fingers (Shanachie 5457)
Springer, Mark: Diving (Exit 017)
Strigalev, Zhenya: Blues For Maggie (Whirlwind 4720)
Thuelund, Magnus: Angel From The South (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 547)
Toneff, Radka/Steve Dobrogosz: Fairytales (Odin 9561)
Urtreger, René: Early Trios (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 956)
Various: Clarinet Marmalade (Retrospective 4328)
Wollny, Michael: Oslo (ACT 9863)
Wollny, Michael: Wartburg (ACT 9862)
Xenopoulos, Vasilis/Nigel Price: Sidekicks (Trio 601)

Examples of the 79 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):


Mira; Science; Venice; North Of The Northwind; Blussy; Inhouse (55.32)
Andersen (b); Tommy Smith (ts); Paolo Vinaccia (d). Bad Ischl, Austria, 29 September 2016.
ECM 671 6897

For this live album, Arild Andersen again employs Italian drummer Paolo Vinaccia and Scottish tenorist Tommy Smith, who accompanied him on Live At Belleville (ECM, 2008) and the studio album Mira (ECM, 2014). Smith also collaborated with Andersen on Celebration (ECM, 2012), with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. An ECM recording artist for nearly 50 years, Andersen appeared on ECM’s seventh release, Jan Garbarek’s Afric Pepperbird, from 1970 and on George Russell’s The Essence Of George Russell (Sonet, 1971). But those are just two of the significant contributions the Norwegian bassist has made. In-House Science marks his 21st album as leader since 1975’s Clouds In My Head.

Mira opens with an exquisite solo by Andersen, replete with pizzicato double stopping and embellished with evanescent harmonics. Science is imbued with a hauntingly memorable anchoring riff and Smith executes a freewheeling solo exploring the entire range of his tenor. This is followed by Andersen’s astonishingly agile bass solo alongside Vinaccia’s crackling, powerhouse drumming. The folky melody of Venice contains some initial lyricism, evolving into a manic piece adorned by outbursts of overblown saxophone. On North Of The Northwind, Andersen’s pizzicato bass line is accompanied by a sample of arco bass which produces a piece rich in lustrous harmonies. Blussy is actually quite bluesy and borders on the funky. On that number, Science and Venice, Andersen can be heard sporadically humming along in unison with his bass solos. This can be viewed as mildly distracting or endearingly idiosyncratic. Either way, it doesn’t mar the performances. The finale is a storming Inhouse, with coruscating tenor work from Smith. This exceptionally good recording captures these three virtuosos in an incandescent session.
Roger Farbey


CD1: [Live] Paradox; Alone Together; Inborn; Con Alma; Sunday Song; In Your Own Sweet Way; You Don’t Know What Love Is; Broken Wing (63.27)
CD2: [Studio] My Funny Valentine; Leaving; Inborn; Some Other Time; Sunday Song; Young And Foolish; Paradox (46.03)

Beirach (p) Randy Brecker (t, flh); Michael Brecker (ts); John Scofield (g); George Mraz (b); Adam Nussbaum (d). New York, 17-18 April 1989.
Jazzline CD N 77049

Beirach is a harmonically adventurous, rhythmically exciting, and very interactive player. In terms of style, to me he belongs in a relatively small batch of genuinely exciting “new” piano players that emerged fully between the 1970s and 1990s, and, like Kenny Kirkland in some ways, Beirach possesses something of his own that makes him stand out.

The live CD1 (recorded in front of an invited evening audience) kicks off at high tempo with Paradox and Alone Together, but then calms down with Beirach’s lovely solo introduction to the reflective Inborn, featuring Michael Brecker’s tenor. On Con Alma, Randy Brecker sounds quite Chet Baker-like in places, as indeed he does on Brubeck’s In Your Own Sweet Way. The leader’s Sunday Song returns to the mood of Inborn, featuring a solo piano feature in the middle, followed by Brecker’s lyrical and beautifully toned line, which I think he excels with even more on the studio version from CD2. Check out Beirach’s reharmonisation of the A section of You Don’t Know What Love Is, which returns to the energy of the earlier tracks, followed by his own reflective three-time Broken Wing, where Scofield offers some subtle lead guitar work in between the horns, and by way of contrast he burns more (as does drummer Adam Nussbaum) during the solo exchanges on the second version of Paradox at the end of CD2.

Just over half of the tracks in total on these CDs are composed by the leader, but the way the band approach the other tunes makes them sound very much part of the whole programme. CD2 is a studio recording, done the day before, with three of the same tunes as CD1, but they’re quite different versions, as you might expect. This second disc starts with more heavy reharmonisation from Beirach, this time on My Funny Valentine, and he opens Bernstein’s Some Other Time in the manner of Evans’s Peace Piece. A great release, by a somewhat unsung pianist.
Dave Jones

Side A: Rubberband Of Life (featuring Ledisi – radio edit); Rubberband Of Life (featuring Ledisi) (10.03)
Side B: Rubberband Of Life (instrumental); Rubberband (original version) (12.09)
Davis (t, kyb); Glen Burris (s); Adam Holzman, Neil Larsen, Wayne Linsey (kyb); Vince Wilburn Jr (d); Steve Reid (pc); Ledisi (v).1985, 2017.
Warner Bros/Rhino R1 565639, 12” vinyl

Up to now we had to rely on George Cole and The Last Miles to talk us through the making of Miles’s abortive first recording away from Columbia. The move to Warners was supposed to usher in a new, street-friendly sound, though it’s hard to imagine whether the music could be possibly be more “street” than On The Corner. Furthermore, Miles was a man rising 60, and for all his commitment to new musical frontiers he wasn’t as mobile or as unselfconscious as the young blades he wanted to run with.

The first and abiding impression of Rubberband in its original version is Ah, yes, that’s Miles ... being Miles. Which means making much of short, stabby phrases, letting the note hang and the main line lurch ahead and hang back off the beat, like one of his favourite performance cars revving at the lights. Far from being a radically new Miles, it feels like a further iteration of On The Corner, but with fatter (that probably should read “phatter”, since this was 1985) grooves.

I like the song a lot. I like Ledisi’s vocal and I like what Randy Hall, Attala Zane Giles and Miles’s nephew Vince Wilburn have done to the source material 30-plus years on. But in 1985 Prince was touring Purple Rain and creating grooves like Rubberband’s with almost insulting ease. Miles was already an elder statesman and hearing him thus, playing young, is a little like finding a portrait of a parent with a previous decade’s hair and moustache. It prompts affection, but also amusement. Maybe the Rubberband album will prompt another full-scale revisionism. George Cole makes a case for that. Or maybe it will become yet another Miles collectable.
Brian Morton

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall; A Happy Thought; American Tune; Washing Of The Water; A Secret In Three Views; Lonely Town; Endless Lawns; I Have Dreamed; The Enchantress; Skylark (65.21)
Elling (v) with, collectively: Marquis Hill (t); Branford Marsalis (ss); Stu Mindeman (p); John McLean (g); Joey Calderazzo (p); Clark Sommers (b); Jeff “Tain” Watts (d). New York, 5-12 October 2017.
Sony Okeh 88985492832

Kurt Elling displays all the qualities we look for in a jazz singer – individual phrasing, rhythmic awareness and a singular devotion to taking a chance with unlikely material – and on The Questions all these assets are presented to us in good order. Prior to the excellence of the final track, where all the components of Elling’s talents are brought together, including a couple of apposite flights into the upper register, we have a programme including Bob Dylan (A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall), Paul Simon (American Tune), Peter Gabriel (Washing Of The Water) and Leonard Bernstein (Lonely Town) – not a mix one would expect of the average jazz album. But this works for Elling.

His voice may not be the sweetest of instruments but is surely far more engaging than those of many others purporting to be “jazz” vocalists. If the singer favours slow to medium tempos as here, so be it, for this is clearly his forte and should not be viewed as a refuge for the unadventurous. Many of these tracks feature lyrics heartfelt in delivery, the mood setting carrying over into the solo features mainly acting as important composite parts rather than necessary appendages, all contributing to an aural treat your reviewer has already returned to on a number of occasions.
Peter Gamble


You Don’t Know What Love Is; Early Autumn; I Didn’t Know What Time It Was; When The Lady Dances; Oleo; Nature Boy; Manhattan Burn; Over The Rainbow; Mountain Dance; You Turn Me On Baby; Recon (66.15)
Collectively: Randy Aviles, Mark Nicholson, Peter Green, Collin Reichow, Carlos Roldan (t); Gary Bucher, David Bernard, David Murray (tb); Tim Hall (btb); Holly Hofmann (f); Eric Marienthal, Tyler Richardson (as); Christopher Hollyday, Richard McGuane (as, ss); Bob Mintzer (ts); David Castel De Oro (ts, f); Joel Ginsberg (ts, ss); Ross Rizzo Jr (bar); Steve Sibley (p); Lance Jeppesen (b); Alex Ciavarelli, Dean Brown (elg); Charlie McGhee (d); Marc Lamson (pc); Janet Hammer (v). Art Institute Of California, 2017.
Tall Man Productions 005

This is the fifth release by the Ira B. Liss Big Band, which has been based in southern California for the past four decades. To the plethora of soloists he usually has at his disposal the leader has added guest stars Eric Marienthal, Bob Mintzer and Holly Hofmann to bring a little extra magic to charts by Tom Kubis, Mike Abene, Mike Crotty and Peter Herbolzheimer.

The torch song You Don’t Know What Love Is has been transformed into an 80-bar-to-the-minute explosive outing for Christopher Hollyday on alto. There is some impressive altissimo work along the way in a solo that positively bristles with authority. The amazing Eric Marienthal, who is also heard with Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, has Early Autumn all to himself. He caresses Ralph Burns’ lovely melody on a lyrical outing that climaxes with an unaccompanied coda. Janet Hammer was heard on the band’s 2013 CD It’s About Time. Her cute delivery and perfect diction call Nicki Parrott to mind and I Didn’t Know What Time It Was, Nature Boy and You Turn Me On Baby are perfect vehicles for her. The latter is a hip but sadly neglected Cy Coleman opus that Blossom Dearie used to sing. Incidentally Nature Boy benefits from some expressive alto flute by Holly Hoffman. Oleo is a feature for the saxes who shine on a section soli leading to half a chorus from each member of the team.

Bob Mintzer’s apposite quote on the sleeve accurately sums up the band’s approach – “Ira Liss is one of those special folk who keep the big band idiom alive and moving forward”.
Gordon Jack

Before Bach: Benediction; Prelude No. 3 In C# Major From The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I, BWV 848; After Bach: Rondo; Prelude No. 1 In C Major From The Well-Tempered Clavier Book Ii, BWV 870; After Bach: Pastorale; Prelude No. 10 In E Minor From The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I, BWV 855; After Bach; Flux; Prelude And Fugue No. 12 In F Minor From The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I, BWV 857; After Bach: Dream; Fugue No. 16 In G Minor From The Well-Tempered Clavier Book Ii, BWV 885; After Bach: Ostinato; Prayer For Healing (69.24)
Mehldau (p). Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA, 18-20 April 2017.
Nonesuch 007559793180

The idea for After Bach originated in a commissioned work – Three Pieces After Bach – which Mehldau first performed in 2015. The pianist then recorded four preludes and a fugue from J.S Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, each followed by an “After Bach” piece written by Mehldau inspired by the original. Much of Bach’s work as a professional organist took the form of improvisation for which he was so admired. Mehldau addresses this tradition, and thrillingly applies it to Bach’s art as a composer.

There have always been elements in Mehldau’s densely woven voicings that recall Bach. Here, without any suggestion of imitation, he attempts to view Bach’s genius from every possible angle. At times, there are echoes of Messiaen – also a great organist and Bach disciple – in particular from his 1929 Preludes. Ligeti’s 1985 Études, also for solo piano, came to mind. The Prelude In C# Major, a two-part invention, is further developed in Mehldau’s Rondo, which inserts a small improvisational hook around which the piece takes form. Flux, which follows the Prelude In E Minor, echoes Bach’s original study. Mehldau inserts chromatic permutations in the left hand recasting it into something irrepressible, as his reinvention keeps being drawn back to the resolution of E major. The intricate chromatic inflections of the F Minor Fugue are fully explored in Dream.

After Bach: Ostinato is my favourite piece for its breadth of vision, Mehldau absorbing the profound severity of the G Minor Fugue, transforming its repeated-note sombre character into a piece of astonishing beauty. Prayer For Healing brings a quiet coda to the contrapuntal activity, the tone set in his opening Before Bach: Benediction. Mehldau makes a compelling case for a new stream of Bach interpretation.
Francis Graham-Dixon

Vodka; Deep People; Tale Of The Fingers; Cohn Pone; Moodamorphosis; Ahma See Ya; I’ve Changed; On The Minute; Hanid (59.08)
Gary Smulyan (bar); David Wong (b); Rodney Green (d). No location, April 2017.
SteepleChase 31844

Poll-winning baritone player Gary Smulyan, a veteran of the Woody Herman and Mel Lewis bands, long ago branched out to pursue his own path. On this disc he goes into the realm of contrafacts. The insert notes by Neil Tesser provide a learned discourse on the subject of contrafacts and their alternatives – both generally and in relation to the contents of this interesting CD.

Some of the numbers relate back fairly obviously to the original tunes, for example, Hanid is a new melody originally written by Coleman Hawkins on the chords of Dinah. The imaginative Smulyan, who at times sounds somewhat like Gerry Mulligan, has certainly worked hard on this production. He sits out for the first part of Moodamorphosis then delivers a commanding solo, the original basis here being Lady Be Good. You’ve Changed is the foundation for I’ve Changed. Although this is not strictly speaking a true contrafact, the leader’s thoughtful solo is engaging. It’s an interesting exercise musically but a little difficult to listen to at times. There is little relief from the very busy bass and drums who have to work hard to cover for the absence of a piano which would normally suggest the chords.
Brian Robinson


(1) A Night In Tunisia; The Way You Look Tonight; (2) Dance Of The Infidels; Budo; Parisian Thoroughfare; So Sorry Please; Bouncing With Bud; À La Bud; Mercedes; Celia; (3) Fontainebleau; Monsieur de ...; What’s New; Jumpin’ At The Woodside; (4) Tune Up; How About You?; Polka Dots And Moonbeams; Lady Bird; Bloomdido; Indian Anna; Goofy The Cat; Blues For Marianne; I Didn’t Know What Time It Was; East Of The Sun; Al’ s Groove (78.45)
Urtreger (p) with: (1) Benoît Quersin (b); Jean-Louis Viale (d). Paris, 16 May 1954. (2) same as (1) Paris, 24 February 1955. (3) Paul Rovère (b); Al Levitt (d). Paris, 20 April 1957. (4) same as (3) Paris, 15-25 September 1957.
Fresh Sound FSR-CD 956

Well known for his contributions to Miles Davis’s soundtrack to Louis Malle’s Lift To The Scaffold film of late 1957, Urtreger (born 1934) has long been a potent force in French jazz. In 1961 he was honoured by the Academie du Jazz with the award of the Prix Django Reinhardt for Jazz Artist of the Year. These consistently compelling early recordings take us to within a couple of months of the Scaffold session. From first note to last they show why it was that Urtreger came to command the respect of such diverse major Americans as Don Byas and Lester Young, Davis and John Lewis, Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz.

A bebopper through and through, Urtreger’s chief elective affinities were Powell, Monk and Lewis and he also admired Hank Jones, Horace Silver, Al Haig and Red Garland. Given such surpassing quality, it might seem difficult, if not impossible, for the young Frenchman to have established his own identity as quickly as he did. These sessions certainly evince Urtreger’s fast-developing literacy, with a significant portion of the 1955 tracks dedicated to six of Powell’s compositions. Yet there is something about all of this music – which features two top quality trios - which takes it far beyond pastiche and which led me to play it again and again. Fresh Sound boss Jordi Pujol puts it best, in his typically thorough and illuminating sleeve-note, when he speaks of Urtreger’s quality of touch and the corresponding clarity of his unhurried flow of ideas, his fresh harmonic sense (hear, e.g., Mercedes) and, above all, “the commanding authority of his left hand, which manages to get a free-wheeling, coasting sort of feeling that remains, still today, truly exhilarating”. An excellent release, as immediately enjoyable as it is is historically informative.
Michael Tucker


(1) Clarinet Marmalade; (2) Clarinet Wobble; (3) Beau Koo Jack; (4) Praying The Blues; (5) I Know That You Know; (6) Wailing Blues; (7) Love Is Just Around The Corner; (8) My Inspiration; (9) Sweet Georgia Brown; (10) Man With A Horn Goes Berserk; (11) I Got Rhythm; (12) Lull At Dawn; (13) Woodsheddin’ With Woody; (14) Blue Horizon; (15) Sheikh Of Araby; (16) September Song; (17) Stealin’ Apples; (18) When It’s Sleepy Time Down South; (19) Caravan; (20) Black And Blue; (21) Wild Cat Blues; (22) St James’ Infirmary; (23) Creole Jazz; (24) Burgundy Street Blues (78.29)
(1) The Original Dixieland Jazz Band: Larry Shields (cl); Nick LaRocca (c); Eddie Edwards (tb); Henry Ragas (p); Tony Sbarbaro (d). New York, July 1918.
(2) Johnny Dodds (cl); Lil Armstrong (p); Bud Scott (g). Chicago, April 1927.
(3) Omer Simeon (cl); Earl Hines (p); Claude Roberts (bj). Chicago, September 1929.
(4) Jimmy Dorsey (cl); Leo McConville, Mannie Klein (t); Tommy Dorsey (tb); Alfie Evans (as); Paul Mason (ts); Arthur Schutt (p); Eddie Lang (g); Joe Tarto (b); Stan King (d).
(5) Jimmy Noone (cl); Charlie Shavers (t); Pete Brown (as); Frank Smith (p); Teddy Bunn (g); Wellman Braud (b); O’Neil Spencer (d). December 1937.
(6) Frank Teschemacher (cl); Wingy Manone (cl); Bud Freeman (ts); Frank Melrose (p); Charles Melrose (acc); George Wettling (d). Chicago, January 1930.
(7) Pee Wee Russell (cl); Eddie Condon (g); Bobby Hackett (c); George Brunies (tb); Bud Freeman (ts) Jess Stacy (p); Artie Shapiro (b); George Wettling (d). New York, January 1938.
(8) Irving Fazola (cl); Billy Butterfield, Sterling Bose, Zeke Zarchy (t); Warren Smith, Ward Silloway (tb); Matty Matlock, Joe Keams (as); Eddie Miller, Gil Rodin (ts); Bob Zurke (p); Nappy Lamare (g); Bob Haggart (b); Ray Bauduc (d). Chicago, October 1938.
(9) Benny Goodman (cl); Lionel Hampton (vib); Teddy Wilson (p); Dave Tough (d). Chicago, October 1938.
(10) Buster Bailey (cl); Frank Newton (t); Pete Brown (as); Don Frye (p); Jimmy McLin (g); John Kirby (b); O’Neil Spencer (d). New York, December 1938.
(11) Sid Phillips (cl); George Shearing (p); Barry Wicks (d). May, 1940.
(12) Barney Bigard (cl); Ray Nance (t); Juan Tizol (vt); Ben Webster (ts); Harry Carney (bar); Duke Ellington (p); Jimmy Blanton (b); Sonny Greer (d). Chicago, November 1940.
(13) Woody Herman (cl); Steady Nelson, Ray Linn, Cappy Lewis (t); Neil Reed, Jerry Rosa, Vic Hamann (tb); Jimmy Horvath, Sam Rubinowitch (as); Saxie Mansfield, Herbie Haymer (ts); Tommy Linehan (p); Hy White (g); Walter Yoder (b); Frank Carlson (d). August 1941.
(14) Sidney Bechet (cl); Sidney DeParis (t); Vic Dickenson (tb); Art Hodes (p); Pops Foster (b); Manzie Johnson (d). New York, December 1944.
(15) Jimmy Hamilton (cl); Emmett Berry (t); Benny Morton (tb); Johnny Williams (b); J.C. Heard (d), with Teddy Wilson orchestra. New York, September 1941.
(16) Artie Shaw (cl); Hank Jones (p); Joe Puma (g); Tommy Potter (b); Irv Kluger (d). Hollywood, June 1954.
(17) Peanuts Hucko (cl); Whitey Thomas, Bob Nichols, Bernie Privin, Jack Steele, Steve Seck (t); Jimmy Priddy, James Harwood, John Haliburton, Larry Hall (tb); Addison Collins Jr. (fh); Gene Steck, Hank Freeman, Freddy Guerra, Jack Ferrier, Vinnie Carbone, Chuck Gentry, James Lynn Allison (reeds); Mel Powell (p); Carmen Mastren (g); Trigger Alpert (b); Ray McKinley, Frank Ippolito (d). New York, January 1944.
(18) Matty Matlock (cl); Clyde Hurley (t); Eddie Miller (ts); Stan Wrightsman (p); George Van Eps (g); Phil Stephens (b); Nick Fatool (d). Los Angeles, September 1954.
(19) Edmond Hall (cl); Teddy Wilson (p); Billy Taylor (b); Art Troppier (d). New York, July 1944.
(20) Albert Nicholas, Peter Schilperoort (cl); Wybe Buma (t); Wim Kolstee (tb); Dim Kesber (tb); Joop Schrier (p); Dick Braxhoofden (bj); Bob van Oven (b); André Westendorp (d). Copenhagen, September 1954.
(21) Monty Sunshine (cl); Lonnie Donegan (bj); Chris Barber (b). London, March 1955.
(22) Pete Fountain (cl); Stan Wrightsman (p); Bobby Gibbons (g); Morty Corb (b); Jack Sperling (d). Los Angeles, June 1961.
(23) Acker Bilk (cl); Stan Grieg (p); Roy James (bj); Ernie Price (b); Ron McKay (d). London, May 1961.
(24) George Lewis (cl); Emanuel Sayles (bj); Alcide Pavageau (b); Joe Watkins (d). New Orleans, July 1962.
Retrospective 4328

An informed selection of tracks that feature some of the most revered clarinettists from the first half century of recorded jazz. Here is Benny Goodman at his most swinging, Woody Herman at his hottest, Artie Shaw at his boppiest, Sidney Bechet vibratoing more intensely than you can imagine and, from 1918, Larry Shields sounding so stylistically mature as to make later enthusiasts wonder where on earth all this originated. Where, indeed!

On the evidence of the ODJB’s Clarinet Marmalade, the character of jazz soloing was already well established by 1918. And this version is as well-recorded as any other version I’ve heard. There’s nothing experimental here. Oh, what regret that we don’t have recordings of the jazz that was being played during the decade before the Great War.

Nevertheless, it’s delightful to hear George Shearing with Sid Phillips in 1940, and to be reminded of the intensity that Edmond Hall brought to Caravan in 1944, or to hear the distinctive style of, say Irving Fazola or Buster Bailey, and how well Sid Phillips – playing his covered hole plateau system clarinet – acquits himself when compared to his peers. From Ray Crick’s booklet notes one learns that Pete Fountain was originally Pierre LaFontaine. Well recorded and with generous playing time, this is a compilation to be considered should your copies of these tracks be showing their age.
John Robert Brown


Uh Huh; Lyresto; Full House; When Joanna Loved Me; Ready And Able; The Right Time; O Pato; Without A Song; Soul Eyes; Ladyfingers (71.38)
Xenopoulos (ts); Price (g); Dario Di Lecce (b); Steve Brown (d). London, 21 June 2017.
Trio 601

I have witnessed Vasilis in action many times at local jazz venues; always riveting, enjoyable and good value for money, he has great melodic sense and a deep-rooted feeling for the blues. Nigel Price has earned his place as one of the country’s leading guitarists. Their approach to this recording was inspired by the classic collaborations between tenor and guitar such as Hank Mobley and Grant Green, Dick Morrissey and Jim Mullen and Stanley Turrentine and Kenny Burrell.

The swinging Uh Huh sets the scene. Full House is Nigel Price’s nod to Wes Montgomery. There follows a sympathetic treatment of the lovely ballad When Joanna Loved Me referencing Paul Desmond and Jim Hall. George Benson’s Ready And Able gets an energetic workout. The Brazilian feel of O Pato is unsurprisingly inspired by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd.

Nigel Price’s impressive solo on Ladyfingers is a joy. Stanley Turrentine and Kenny Burrell are the inspiration here.
Everything is underpinned by the excellent bass playing of Dario Di Lecce and the ever-swinging, ever-smiling Steve Brown on drums. Vasilis and Nigel share a common approach to how jazz should be performed and their mutual chemistry is displayed in spades on this disc, which is one to savour.
Brian Robinson


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