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 July 2018 (see below for sample reviews):

Alma Brasileira: Viagem Nova (Fresh Sound World Jazz FSWJ 049)
Amargant, Gabriel: Gabriel Amargant Trio (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 546)
Amihai, Yuval: I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 551)
Arthurs, Bob: Jazz It Up! Ukrainian Songs For Three Dads (Blue Griffin 461)
Austin, Patti/James Morrison: Ella & Louis (ABC 481 6483)
Ballantine, Charlie: Life Is Brief: The Music Of Bob Dylan (Green Mind 0004)
Barnes, Alan/David Newton: Ask Me Now (Woodville 150)
Beneke, Tex/Glenn Miller: Hits Not Issued In Britain (Sounds Of Yester Year 2090)
Bennington, Jimmy/Steve Cohn: Albany Park (Slam 587)
Björkenheim, Raoul/Ecstasy: Doors Of Perception (Cuneiform Rune 443)
Calvo, Bruno: Outlines (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 548)
Choi, Jungsu/Tiny Orkester: Tschüss Jazz Era (Challenge 73451)
Cohen, Anat/Fred Hersch: Live In Healdsburg (Anzic 0061)
Coleman, Ornette: The Atlantic Years (Atlantic 0081227940690)
Collective X: Love & Protest (Two Rivers 032)
Coloma, Lluís/Carl Sonny Leyland: Telling Our Stories (Swing Alley 034)
Cordez, Greg: Last Things Last (
Costello, Julian: Transitions (33 Jazz 268)
Crawford, Kizzy/Gwilym Simcock/With Sinfonia Cymru: Birdsong (Basho 54)
Crayton, Pee Wee: 1960 Debut Album (Soul Jam 600914)
Davis, Miles: Miles In Berlin (CBS 62 976, vinyl from speakerscorner
Dorsey, Tommy: Tenderly: The Best Of The Decca Years (Sepia 1322)
Dr John: Remedies/Desitively Bonnaroo (Beat Goes On 1326)
Duni, Elina: Partir (ECM 670 8641)
Echoes Of Swing: Travelin' (ACT 9104)
Ellington, Duke: Piano In The Background (Columbia CS 8346, vinyl from
Eriksen, Espen/Andy Sheppard: Perfectly Unhappy (Rune Grammofon 2199)
Escoffery, Wayne: Vortex (Sunnyside 1499)
Faitelson, Dalia: Powered By Life (Losen 199)
Flying Horse Big Band: The Bat Swings (
Gould, Victor: Earthlings (Criss 1398)
Hall/Koenig/Idzerda: Three Way Conversations (Slam 580)
Hammer, Jan: Oh, Yeah? (Float 6336)
Haynes, Phil/Free Country: 60/69 My Favourite Things (Corner Store Jazz 0117-0118)
HBH/Julian Priester: Signals From The Mind (Slam 588)
Held, Pablo: Investigations (Edition 1109)
Hitchcock, Alex: Live At The London And Cambridge Jazz Festivals (
Hitz, Bill/Greig McRitchie: West Coast Series: Jazz & Swing Orchestras (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 959)
Hole, Sigurd: Encounters (Elvesang 002)
Hum!: Live At Club St-Germain-Des-Prés (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 957)
Ibarra, Tom: Sparkling (
Irwin, Aaron: Wobegon (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 549)
Jensen, Peter: Crystal Palace (ILK 275)
Jive Aces: Diggin' The Roots Vol. 2 (Golden Age 005)
Johansson, Ronny: Manhattan (Nilento 1801)
Jones, Mike/Penn Jillette: The Show Before The Show (Capri 74148)
Joos, Herbert: Change Of Beauty (Jazz Haus 470)
Kenton, Stan: Concerts In Miniature Part 22 (Sounds Of Yester Year 2084)
Krebs, Susan: Spring - Light Out Of Darkness (GreenGig Music 033)
Lane, Karen: Passarim (33 Jazz 273)
Lawrence, Azar: Elementals (HighNote 7306)
Liebman, Dave: Fire (Jazzline 77050)
Lithium: Red (Challenge 73443)
Lockyer, Roch: When Frank Met Django (
Lovano, Joe/Dave Douglas/Sound Prints: Scandal (Greenleaf 1063)
Lundin, Fredrik: 5 Go Adventuring Again (Stunt 17162)
Lydian Collective: Adventure (
McKelle, Robin: Melodic Canvas (Doxie/Membran)
Milburn, Amos: Let's Have A Party 1946-1961 Sides (Hoo Doo 263596)
Modern Jazz Quartet: Fontessa (Atlantic 1231, vinyl from
Murray, David: Blues For Memo (Motéma 0256)
Musillami, Michael: Life Anthem (Playscape 091717)
Nightports/Matthew Bourne: Nightports/Matthew Bourne (Leaf 108)
Nojechowicz, Guillermo: Puerto De Buenos Aires, 1933 (Zoho 201708)
Paier-Valcic Quartet: Cinema Scenes (ACT 9845)
Randalu, Kristjan/Ben Monder/Markku Ounaskari: Absence (ECM 672 2679)
Raymond, John/Real Feels: Joy Ride (Sunnyside 1501)
Reeves, Scott/Jazz Orchestra: Without A Trace (Origin 82752)
Rodriguez, Jay: Your Sound: Live At Dizzy's Club Coca Cola (Whaling City Sound 105)
Runswick, Daryl: Playdreaming (ASC 172)
Sonar/David Torn: Vortex (RareNoise 087)
Spence, Alister: Not Everything But Enough (Alister Spence Music 005)
Tana, Akira: JazzaNova (Vega 0008)
Tatum, Art/Oscar Peterson: Masters Of Jazz Piano (Sounds Of Yester Year 2087)
Trippe, Sam/Bob Rogers: West Coast Series: Jazz & Swing Orchestras (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 958)
Tull, Dave: Texting And Driving (Toy Car 0210)
Van Kemenade, Paul: Master Of Lyric (Kemo 021)
Various: Singin' In The Rain OST (Soundtrack Factory 606389)
Westbrook, Mike: The Last Night At The Old Place (Cadillac SGC016)
Westbrook, Mike: In Memory Of Lou Gare (Westbrook Records 002)
Wild Card: Life Stories (Top End 0004)
Wiley, Lee: "West Of The Moon" (Jackpot 48772)

Examples of the 82 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):

I Won’t Dance; The Gentle Rain; The Sun, The Sea, The Stars And Me; Ballad For Very Sad And Very Tired Lotus Eaters; Looking At You; Angel Face; Ask Me Now; Detour Ahead; The Mooche; You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me; Little Man, You’ve Had A Busy Day (53.31)
Barnes (cl, as, ss, bar); Newton (p). Watford, England, 12 & 13 July, 2017.
Woodville 150

Barnes and Newton have been musical comrades for many years and in a wealth of situations. Knowing each other’s work so well, it isn’t surprising that they make such a telling twosome, supportively combining and interacting with mellow ease. They picked nine shimmering melodies and added a brace of their own, Alan’s The Sun, The Sea... and David’s Looking At You.

Barnes rings the instrumental changes, seemingly picking the right axe for every performance. For example, his baritone expresses the vigour one expects on Monk’s title track. Hank Jones’s Angel Face, on the other hand,
sits nicely for the soprano. Barnes is a master of all four horns. Newton’s accompaniment, incisive but never over-egged, amounts to dream support, and when he steps out alone he is in full command enhancing the mood. Solo piano can become florid in the wrong hands. Newton avoids that pitfall with concise and thoughtful elaborations.
In short this duo is ever alert and responsive while showing great respect and admiration for the well-chosen material. A delectable duo, indeed, providing an intimate musical repast to savour.
Mark Gardner


LP1: (1) [The Shape Of Jazz To Come] Lonely Woman; Eventually; Peace; Focus On Sanity; Congeniality; Chronology (38.01)
LP2: (2) [The Change Of The Century] Ramblin’; Free; The Face Of The Bass; Forerunner; Bird Food; Una Muy Bonita; Change Of The Century (40.54)
LP3: (3) [This Is Our Music] Blues Connotation; Beauty Is A Rare Thing; Kaleidoscope; Embraceable You; Poise; Humpty Dumpty; Folk Tale (38.53)
LP4: (4) [Free Jazz] Free Jazz Part 1: Free Jazz Part 2 (36.26)
LP5: (5) [Ornette!] W.R.U.; T.& T.; C. & D.: R.P.D.D.: (43.49)
LP6: (6) [Ornette On Tenor] Cross Breeding; Mapa: Enfant; EOS; Ecars (42.03)
LP7: (7) [The Art Of The Improvisers] The Circle With A Hole In The Middle; Just For You; The Fifth Of Beethoven; The Alchemy Of Scott LaFaro; Moon Inhabitants; The Legend Of Bebop; Harlem’s Manhattan (44.12)
LP8: (8) [Twins] First Take; (9) Little Symphony; Monk And The Nun; Check Up; Joy Of A Toy (42.35)
LP9: (10) [To Whom Who Keeps A Record] Music Always; Brings Goodness; To Us; All; P.S. Unless One Has (Blues Connotation No 2); Some Other; Motive For Its Use (39.57)
LP10: (11) [The Ornette Coleman Legacy] Rise And Shine; The Tribes Of New York; I Heard It Over The Radio; Revolving Doors; Mr. And Mrs. People; Proof Readers (37.39)

(1) Coleman (as); Don Cherry (c); Charlie Haden (b); Billy Higgins (d). Hollywood, 22 May 1959.
(2) as (1) Hollywood, 8 & 9 October 1959.
(3) as (1) but Ed Blackwell (d) replaces Higgins. NYC, 19 & 26 July & 2 August 1960.
(4) Coleman (as); Eric Dolphy (bcl); Don Cherry, Freddie Hubbard (t); Charlie Haden, Scott LaFaro (b); Billy Higgins, Ed Blackwell (d). NYC, 21 December 1960.
(5) as (3) but Scott LaFaro (b) replaces Haden. NYC, 31 January 1961.
(6) as (5) but Jimmy Garrison (b) replaces LaFaro. NYC, 27 March 1961.
(7) Coleman (as); Don Cherry (t, c); Charlie Haden, Scott LaFaro or Jimmy Garrison (b); Billy Higgins or Ed Blackwell (d). Hollywood, May to October 1959; NYC, 26 July 1960, 31 January and 27 March 1961.
(8) as (4) NYC, 21 December 1960.
(9) as (6) but Charlie Haden or Scott LaFaro replaces Garrison.
(10) as (7) excluding 31 January 1961 & 27 March 1961 dates.
(11) as (7) excluding 27 March 1961.
Atlantic 0081227940690

Although Contemporary released two LPs by Coleman in 1959, the first music by his own quartet with musicians of his choice was with The Shape Of Jazz To Come on Atlantic, reproduced on the first LP here. This 10-LP collection presents the discs he made for Atlantic, with original artwork and sleeve notes, in the order that they appeared on release, the first half dozen between May 1959 and March 1961. Those first six LPs were issued as made but it still left four LPs’ worth of unissued material, well up to the same musical standard, in limbo until 1970 when the company finally issued the other four between 1970 and 1975. Only the last LP here, The Ornette Coleman Legacy, was never before issued on vinyl and first appeared on a seven-CD box set in 1993. Now, at last, enthusiasts have the great opportunity to hear this music, at their leisure, as it unfolded all those years ago but not stretched out over four decades.

Many readers will remember the shock of first hearing Ornette, whose philosophy from the start was to play purely melody-driven music and improvise directly on those melodies with scant regard for chord sequences or bar lines. His music was, as these LPs demonstrate forcibly, pure improvisation, with Coleman and trumpeter Don Cherry improvising freely but coming together as if by magic on the ensembles. Bass and drums had to work out a way to follow them wherever they went and Haden and Higgins were the first to achieve that not inconsiderable feat.

Perhaps fortunately, the first LP was the most conventional, with tracks like Lonely Woman and Peace sounding at times like advanced, modified hard bop. However, Coleman’s melodies were fresh sounding and miraculously still sound fairly fresh to this day. Peace is a catchy, attractive melody that never sounds too difficult to follow even allowing for Haden’s low arco bass inserts. But the sound of that blues-based plastic alto and Cherry’s cornet pre- sented many listeners with a hang up that has lasted 58 years.

Change Of The Century had the same quartet starting off with Ramblin’, a bouncy, country-blues-inflected piece that featured preaching Coleman and a pulsating strummed bass solo in the centre. The Face Of The Bass puts the spotlight on Haden, Bird Food pays homage to Charlie Parker and Una Muy Bonita is a powerful melodic line that is difficult to forget once heard. This Is Our Music introduced Eddie Blackwell on drums, with his driving, African-inspired percussion, but did not change the musical style noticeably. Blues Connotation reinforces the point that Ornette’s music is practically all blues and melody.

Ornette’s Free Jazz is another first in the music, a continuous free improvisation of 37 minutes duration by double quartet. Two complete quartets, one on the left and one on the right, play solos in turn as the others comment freely on what they are doing. Highlights here are the leader’s commanding 10-minute alto solo and the fascinating bass duet towards the end by Haden and Scott LaFaro. You certainly need stereo to get the best of this marathon jazz performance. It was followed by an LP called simply Ornette! It features the virtuosic bass playing of LaFaro, whose two long solos on W.R.U. and C.& D., one bowed and one pizzicato, are stunning in their complexity and breadth of imagination. Ornette On Tenor showed how well Coleman could handle the bigger horn and was geared towards longer and more complex solos by the leader. Bassist Garrison fitted in very well but he was never happy in this unconventional setting and soon departed to make history with John Coltrane.

The four late-issued LPs that round out this marathon Coleman set are consistently good and match in quality and invention the first six discs. They include a first take of Free Jazz which is less than half the length of the main issue and might be a good idea for newcomers to Coleman’s music to listen to before the full length take. Various extra tracks by the quartet with Haden, LaFaro or Garrison or bass and Higgins or Blackwell on drums are all of high musical quality. The Alchemy Of Scott LaFaro is a highlight and another fine example of his bass innovation.
This is a remarkable set of 10 LPs of music that changed the face of jazz forever and it is a sound investment for any jazz lover who wishes to listen to all of this music over a period of time to better comprehend it. Nobody in their right mind would want to listen to it all in one day! There will always be jazz folks for whom the music of Ornette Coleman will be a permanently closed door but this box could open ears and minds for many. As an American critic once said about a first issue of one of these LPs, “Jump in, and take the plunge. It won’t hurt a bit!”
Derek Ansell


(1) Boogie Woogie Gallop; Swipesy Cakewalk; Rolling Tumbleweed; Detour Through Melancholia; (2) Destroying The Boogie; (3) Trembling Blues; (1) Avalon; After Glowers; Good Gravy Rag; Hindustan; (4) It’s A Brand New Boogie; (1) Swanee River Boogie; (3) Your Cheatin’ Heart; (2) Sun’s Gonna Shine On Pretty Redwing One Day (63.37)
(1) Coloma (p); Leyland (p). Barcelona, 6-10 December 2017. (2) add Marc Ruiz (d). (3) as (1) except Leyland (v, p). (4) add Victor Puertas (hca).
Swing Alley 034

Forget trade deals and the royal wedding. As an example of valuable co-operation between Europe and the States this would be hard to beat. Coloma (Catalan) and Leyland (American) first met at a boogie-woogie festival in France and here, almost two decades later, is proof of their remarkable empathy. The most famous boogie duets from the past are surely the nine 1941 sides by Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson. However Coloma and Leyland (playing on two pianos as indicated above) have, in comparison, the massive advantage of stereo recording and separation. This is helpful throughout but particularly so in Swanee where their delightful conversation starts in four-bar segments but reduces to alternation of two bars and then one (a procedure probably pioneered by Hawkins and Eldridge).

The opening track firmly establishes their impressive competence in a piece in the Ammons-Johnson mode. Fears of imitation and monotony are then quickly dispelled by the next track which is a rag. Indeed, care is taken throughout to avoid the ennui which too much boogie can engender. Leyland sings effectively on three tracks, making up with energetic conviction for what he lacks in subtlety, and on one of these the harmonica of Puertas offers blues of total conviction.

Avalon starts out with stride accompaniment but finishes with boogie figures beneath, whereas Hindustan has a boogie approach throughout and survives very well. I’ve mentioned “impressive competence” above but that doesn’t suggest the enthusiasm the two men can communicate. When they get going on the fast Destroying The Boogie the excitement is tremendous and should set the laziest feet a-tapping. Not everyone’s cup of tea but some of our readers will be delighted with this music.
Graham Colombé


Amara Terra Mia; Let Us Dive In; Meu Amor; Lamma Bada Yatathanna; Vishnja; Lusnak Gisher; Oyfn Veg; Kanga E Kurbetit; Ani Kaj Lulije; Vaj Si Kenka; Je Ne Sais Pas; Schönster Abestärn (47.45)
Duni (v, p, g, pc), Pernes-les- Fontaines, France, July 2017.
ECM 670 8641

After two acclaimed quartet sets for ECM, Albanian vocalist Elina Duni now releases her debut solo set, an intimate and beautiful recording of love, loss and leaving.

Duni’s voice is remarkable, for while it is crystal clear in its multilingual enunciation it is also intimate and expressive in tone. Often singing alone, she occasionally accompanies herself with some minimal piano, guitar or percussion. Her choice of material is considered, mixing a diverse range of traditional folk songs from the Balkans, Armenia and Switzerland with chansons and a breathy Jacques Brel classic Je Ne Sais Pas, among other pieces.
Whatever the song, she approaches it with a tentative and in places haunting delivery, fully expressing the longing described in many of the songs. Material such as thus doesn’t usually get much of an airing, which makes this fine and highly personal set all the more worthwhile.
Simon Adams


(1) Orient Express; Volare; (2) The Old Country; (1) On A Slow Goat Through China; Das Wrack Der Guten Hoffnung; The Fiji Hula Bula; Where Or When; On A Turquoise Cloud; Cabin In The Sky; Gan Hyem (Going Home); Southern Sunset; En Auto; (2) Trav’lin’ Light;(1) Disorder At The Border; Wohin? (Where To?) (55.40)
(1) Colin T. Dawson (t, c, flh); Chris Hopkins (as); Bernd Lhotzky (p, cel); Oliver Mewes (d). Kefermarkt, Austria, 5-7 September 2017.
(2) as (1) except Dawson (t, s, flh, v).
ACT 9104

You might assume from its name that this group simply replicates classic swing. However, this fine quartet weaves a rich and eclectic pattern of jazz styles from the 20s onward, sometimes blended with broader influences including classical music.

In their fourth album for ACT the group looks back on 20 years of touring. Standards chosen rub shoulders with intriguing originals. The band’s arrangements are all imaginatively structured and meticulously performed, bringing to mind the John Kirby band. Eschewing the familiar horns-backed-by-rhythm concept, the band unifies skilfully as a collective force, interpreting a kaleidoscopic sequence of varying rhythms, tempos and styles. Rolling away on the Orient Express, the soul/blues feel is appropriately threatening. Ideas abound. Slow Goat is brightly 50s boppish, Das Wrack a kind of sound portrait of a shipwreck, Gan Hyem hot and lively in 20s style and En Auto features perky ragtime and stride (dedicated to Dick Hyman). In the standards, Chris Hopkins’ alto is supple and lyrical in Where Or When. Bechet’s Southern Sunset and Coleman Hawkins’ classic bebop blues, Disorder At The Border, are particularly well performed.

I have enjoyed every release from this excellent quartet, which draws inspiration from classic jazz roots, reinterpreted with an open-ended, creative approach. Warmly recommended.
Hugh Rainey


(1) Just One Of Those Things; Bye Bye Blackbird; Ah Moore; Monsieur De...; Well You Needn’t; Laura; Airegin; C.T.A.; A Night In Tunisia; (2) Donna; Sid’s Delight; Laura; Monsieur De...; (3) Just One Of Those Things; Well You Needn’t; Bye Bye Blackbird (71.28)
(1) Humair (d); Urtreger (p); Michelot (b). Club Saint-Germain, Paris, 5-8 September 1960. (2) same, RTF Studio, Paris, November 1960. (3) same, RTF broadcast of the show Jazz Memories, February 1961.
Fresh Sound FSR-CD 957

First issued in 1960 on the French Vega label and now supplemented by two radio broadcasts, these recordings by HUM (an acronym of the three performers’ surnames) are particularly welcome. Despite distinguished service as accompanists during the 1950s for visiting American jazz stars in Paris, the immensely talented Humair, Urtreger and (the late) Pierre Michelot remain relatively unknown outside France. This is even more surprising when one remembers that Humair worked with Martial Solal, The Swingle Singers and Phil Woods, Michelot appeared in Bertrand Tavernier’s movie Round Midnight (1987) and joined Jacques Loussier’s trio in 1959, while Urtreger played on Miles Davis’s score for Ascenseur Pour L’échafaud (1958).

Once formed, HUM became a highly accomplished and popular combo with a distinctive identity. From the St Germain engagement they selected the titles that best reflected their group sound, starting with a hectic One Of Those Things with Humair (not only an excellent drummer but also an accomplished painter) pushing and punctuating Urtreger’s Powellish solo. Blackbird receives an extended and sparkling reading from Urtreger and a nimble-fingered solo from Michelot. Other highlights include Jimmy Heath’s C.T.A. with Urtreger and Humair striking sparks off each other, and Laura with Michelot stating the melody and unobtrusive support from his peers. The trio is totally at ease with two bop standards – a suitably angular Well You Needn’t and an exhilarating Airegin. Five of the St Germain titles reappear (in shorter but satisfying measures) on the studio tracks. These early appearances should help bring an innovating trio (still recording in 1999) wider and overdue recognition.
John White


Atrium; Gymnasium; Aquarium; Auditorium I; Auditorium II; Zoo; Ballroom; Atrium Revisited (35.00)
Bo Fuglsang, Anders Gustafsson, Christer Gustafsson, Thomas Kjærgaard, Made LaCour, Gerard Presencer (t); Vincent Nilsson, Steen Nikolaj Hansen, Kevin Christensen, Annette Saxe (tb); Jakob Munck (btb, tu); Kim Aagaard (btb); Nicolai Schultz (picc, f, af); Peter Fuglsang (cl, Ebcl, bcl); Hans Ulrik (ss, bcl); Anders Banke, Pelle Fridell, Anders Gaardmand (bcl); Per Gade (elg); Henrik Gunde (elp); Kaspar Vadsholdt (elb); Søren Frost (d); Jakob Weber (waterphone, typewriter, Bali gong); Kim Thomsen (beats); Jensen (cond, arr); Morten Büchert (sound design, etc). Denmark, 2013.
ILK 275

Last week, in the ruins of St Peter’s Seminary at Cardross, I re-read Louis Marin’s Utopics: The Semiological Play Of Textual Spaces. Sounds like a sad thing to be doing, but it’s an immensely uplifting book about the way imaginary topographies and architectures function as a critique of our miserably mucked-up human environments.

And then I came home and listened to Peter Jensen’s extraordinary Crystal Palace, a sonic meditation on abandoned spaces. It’s challenging music, not at all a conventional big band record. There are moments when jazz is unquestionably the dominant language, but there are just as many passages of quasi-serialist composition, elements of musique concrète and electronica. Oddly, but often enough for it to be remarked on, I was reminded of Charles Mingus more than once, and Stan Kenton/Bob Graettinger, too.

Auditorium I is a tape collage created by Morten Büchert, the electronic/ensemble elements punctuated by open-form improvisations. Anders Banke’s bass clarinet is featured strongly in Auditorium II and he’s also heard to atmospheric effect on Aquarium. Gerard Presencer and turntablist Kim Thomsen are ghosts in the forsaken Ballroom. Trombonists Vincent Nilsson and Jakob Munck are featured on Gymnasium, though if that gives too strong an impression of jazz soloing, then it needs to be corrected or qualified. The named parts feel more like the kind of majestic architectural details that somehow manage to survive dereliction.

This is an extraordinary work, doubtless standing outside some definitions of what jazz is supposed to be about; but keep the Mingus comparison in mind and it seems to fit that compositional (and recording) paradigm rather well. My record of the month (and quite possibly year).
Brian Morton


Part 44; Red Shift; Waves And Particles; Monolith; Vortex; Lookface! (56.16)
Stephan Thelen (elg); Bernhard Wagner (elg); Christian Kuntner (elb); Manuel Pasquinelli (d); Torn (elg, live loops, manipulation). Zurich, 15-15 February 2017.
RareNoise 087

One of the most exciting things about catching the Jan Garbarek Group of the mid-1980s live was hearing (and seeing) David Torn first conjure and then cut deep into textured space, soaring high and wide, loose and wild. Back then, serious health issues would take Torn off the scene for a while but he’s long been back, as provocative – and thoughtful – as ever. Anyone who enjoyed his last ECM albums Prezens (2007) and Only Sky (2015) should relish this meeting of the guitar maverick with the excellent Swiss minimalists and art rockers Sonar.

It’s an exhilarating session, set up by another outsider with serious form, guitarist Henry Kaiser. The press release calls the album a 21st century rock milestone. However, this pulse-rich, firmly driven yet reverie-inducing music should appeal strongly to anyone who ever thrilled to the Larry Coryell/Elvin Jones classic Stiffneck, or who is generally sympathetic to the modal axis of post-Russell, post-Davis jazz – or the current compulsive grooves of another fine minimalist Swiss group, Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin.

“It felt like a cross between Miles Davis and Jon Hassell” says Torn about the melodic patterns he weaves within and across the slowly shifting harmonies of Monolith. Tritones and abrasive rock shards, thunderous ostinato bass and drum patterns and spacious sound clouds, legato loops and ambient drones: all combine to conjure the sort of layered modal moods which – as in the especially superb Red Shift – take you to the place sought by so many, for so long: “somewhere else”. Why else did I, one day, play this mesmeric album continuously, seven or eight times straight through? Is it rock or is it jazz – and, who cares? It’s brilliant.
Michael Tucker

The Texting Song; Henrietta; The Moment; Please Tell Me Your Name; I’m Forever In A Fog; I Will Sing To You; The Stoplight At The End Of The Street; Tell Me That I’m Wrong; Watch Your Kid; The Date; Clapping On One And Three; This Summer Night; You Remind Me; I’m So Confused; Fly By The Seat Of My Pants (75.36)
Tull (d, v, arr) with collectively Wayne Bergeron, Pete Olstad, Mike Gutierrez (t), George Stone (t, flh, p, arr); Les Benedict, Andy Martin (tb); Doug Webb, Dave Becker (s, cl, f); Randy Porter, Randy Waldman (p); Larry Koonse (g); Kevin Axt (b); Billy Hulting (pc); Brynn Albanese (vn); Peter Jandula-Clark (vla); Ken Hustad (clo); Cheryl Bentyne (v, The Date), Inga Sveringen (v, The Moment). Los Angeles, 2017.
Toy Car 0210

Tull is long established as a drummer in jazz, including working with Paige Cavanaugh’s trio and a 10-year spell with Chuck Mangione. He is also in demand in popular music as demonstrated by his three tours with Barbra Streisand. On his second album as leader he displays not only his instrumental talent but also his abilities as singer and songwriter, the words and music of all 15 songs being his work.

Rhythmically secure, his singing voice is light and engaging. The lyrics are all well-crafted, emotionally meaningful examples including I’m Forever In A Fog, Tell Me That I’m Wrong and I Will Sing To You. Humour is a factor that can fit comfortably in a jazz context as is evidenced by the work of Jack Sheldon and Dave Frishberg. Examples of Tull’s humour are heard in the witty lyrics of The Texting Song and Watch Your Kid, while jazz fans whose other halves are not similarly attuned will delight in Clapping On One And Three.

The musicians listed appear in various small group formats and also as a big band and throughout the ensemble sound is effective (cited arrangers are Tull and Stone). Notable among the instrumentalists is Porter who has several very good features, and there are also good solo moments from Bergeron, Webb, Stone, Koonse, Axt and Benedict. The two vocal duets are also enjoyably skilful, Tull having worked with Bentyne for several years. A very entertaining album and one that will be liked by many.
Bruce Crowther

The Few; For Ever And A Day; Lover Man; We Salute You: The Few; Folk Song; Flying Home; Sugar; Who’s Who; Can’t Get It Out Of My Mind; A Life Of Its Own (78.40)
Dave Holdsworth (t); Malcolm Griffiths, Paul Rutherford (tb); Mike Osborne, Bernie Living (as); Nisar Ahmed “George” Khan (ts); John Surman (bar); Westbrook (p); Harry Miller (b); Alan Jackson (d). Ronnie Scott’s Old Place, London, 25 May 1968.
Cadillac SGC016


(1) D.T.T.M.; (2) Propositions; (3) Juxtapositions; (1) Manje; (4) The Barber; (5) Johnny Come Lately; (6) Lush Life; (7) D.T.T.M. 2; (8) Graffitti (55.09)
Gare (ts) with The Uncommon Orchestra (collective personnel): Mike Brewer, Brian Moore, Sam Massey, Dave Holdsworth (t); Sam Smith, Dave Hankin, Bob Cronin, Andy Dore, Joe Carnell, Jamie Tweed, Stewart Stunnel, Ken Cassidy (tb); Stan Willis, Roz Harding, Sarah Dean; Gary Bayley; Karen Street; Alan Wakeman; Ian Wellens, Andy Tweed, Alex Lloyd (s); Lewis Riley (kyb); Billie Bottle (kyb, v, elb); Jesse Molins, Matthew North (g); Marcus Vergette, Andy Tunbridge (b); Coach York, Theo Goss (d); Kate Westbrook, Martine Waltier (v). (1) Barnfield Theatre, Exeter, 18 December 2014. (2) as (1) but The Drewe Arms, Drewsteignton, 3 August 2014. (3) as (1) but Bridport Arts Centre, 18 July 2015. (4) as (1) but 25 July 2014. (5) as (1) but Hannah’s at Seale Hayne, 17 December 2011. (6) as (5) but 28 April 2014. (7) as (1) but Bancroft Hotel, Torquay, 18 December 2012. (8) as (1) but Carlton Theatre, Teignmouth, 10 December 2010.
Westbrook Records 002

In 1968 Deram issued Release, the Concert Band’s second album, a suite combining oldies and original compositions in a glorious mélange of punchy ensembles and rousing solos. The work had been developing for some months before this recording, made on the night that Ronnie Scott’s original club in Gerard Street closed. I have lived with and loved the Deram recording for 50 years, so this performance took some adjusting to. For the 1968 recording the suite was trimmed down in overall length, although the LP included pieces absent from this session. At Scott’s the soloists got more time to explore fewer pieces. There is more space for the great Osborne and the too infrequently recorded Living and Khan: Living’s chromaticism could turn litmus red and Khan used a splintered plank for a reed.

Westbrook not only facilitates an accommodation between written and improvised material but skilfully brings different styles and eras together with no sense of strain. Compared with the LP the detail of the band’s sound suffers slightly, a couple of early ensembles are less tight, and some solos upset my comfortable/lazy familiarity with the Deram versions, but that only adds to the sense of immediacy and exploration: if I didn’t have my picky reviewer’s hat on I’d happily brush those points aside as minor and irrelevant. Convincingly mixing swing and free improv, it’s essential for anyone interested in the rich flowering of
British jazz in the late 60s ... or just in exhilarating, creative music. Not least amongst its merits is the impressive line-up of then-young musicians making their mark, soon to become major figures.

Not content with being a fine pianist, composer and arranger, Westbrook was a commendable nurturer of talent and still is: witness the behemoth that is the Uncommon Orchestra, with such excellent young players as Roz Harding.
Lou Gare, who died last October, is probably best known for his work with AMM, but was a member of Westbrook’s earliest London band and reunited with various Westbrook projects over the years. Seven of these tracks are extracts, with Gare the main focus, enabling more pieces to be squeezed in. Even with Gare’s most “abstract” playing there was always an ascetic lyricism and sense of structure.

This collection spotlights his big- toned rhapsodic side, somewhat in the Sonny Rollins tradition, as well as demonstrating, on Johnny, that he could wax exceeding bluesy. On tracks like the two full-length pieces (D.T.T.M. and D.T.T.M.2) and The Barber the ensemble creeps up on the tenor until there is a glorious concerto-like culmination. These live performances were not originally intended for public issue but the quality fully justifies their release. Gare was a player of formidable musical integrity, intelligence and imagination and this CD is an admirable memorial to him.
Barry Witherden


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