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 August 2018 (see below for sample reviews):

Ackamoor, Idris/The Pyramids: An Angel Fell (Strut 164)
Ambrosio, David: Four On The Road (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 552)
Arvanitas, Georges: Soul Jazz: Georges Arvanitas Quintet Sessions (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 961)
Barron, Kenny: Concentric Circles (Blue Note 6747897)
Bartsch, Nik/Ronin: Awase (ECM 673 5867)
Beirne, Beverley: Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun (BBR 0002)
Berg, Espen: Bølge (Odin CD9559)
Berger, Rudi: Contemplation (ATS 0896)
Bjornstad, Ketil: A Suite Of Poems (ECM 672 8356)
Blanchard, Terence/The E Collective: Live (Blue Note 6746254)
Blanco, Eduardo: Childhood Memories/International Quartet Vol.1 (eduardo
Block, Dan: Block Party (A Saint Louis Connection) (Miles High 8628)
Bonnel, Jean-Francois/And His Jazz Cats: With Thanks To Benny Carter (Arbors 19452)
Brann, Craig: Lineage (SteepleChase 31847)
Carter, Ron/Donald Vega & Russell Malone: Golden Striker (In + Out 77133)
Clearfield, Rob: Wherever You're Starting From (Woolgathering 0004)
Cline, Nels: Currents, Constellations (Blue Note 6742910)
Coca, Demian: Paykuna (QFTF 035)
Coleman, Ornette: The Road To Free Jazz/The Early Years 1958-61 (Acrobat 3245)
Cuber, Ronnie: Ronnie's Trio (SteepleChase 31848)
Damone, Vic: On The Street Where You Live (Retrospective 4333)
Delor, Thomas: The Swaggerer (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 553)
Downes, Bob/Open Music: A Blast From The Past (Openian 20218)
Elias, Elaine: Music From Man Of La Mancha (Concord Jazz no number supplied)
Finnerud, Svein: Plastic Sun (Odin 9558)
Fitzgerald, Ella/& Her Fellas: The Complete 1942-1953 Vocal Duets (Essential Jazz Classics 55732)
Fol, Hubert: And His Be-Bop Minstrels (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 955)
Francis, Zoe: Remembering Blossom Dearie (
Gibbs, Mike: Symphony Hall, Birmingham 1991 (Dusk Fire 116)
Gordon, Dexter: Tokyo 1975 (Elemental 5990528)
Green, Grant: Funk In France/From Paris To Antibes (1969-1970) (Resonance 2033)
Green, Grant: Slick! Live At Oil Can Harry's (Resonance 2034)
Haastrup, Benita: Mørkefjell (Gateway Music/
Haggis Horns: One Of The Days (Haggis 002)
Halvorsen, Erik Thormod: Social Call (Losen 189)
Hersch, Fred: Live In Europe (Palmetto 2192)
Hi-Lo's, The: All Over The Place + And All That Jazz (Jackpot 48769)
Hoenig, Ari: NY Standard (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 955)
Holt, Corcoran: The Mecca (Holt House Music/
Horler, John: Free And Easy (Trio 602)
Ibrahim Electric: The Marathon Concert (Stunt 16092)
Irabagon, Jon/Tim Hagans: Dr. Quizotic's Traveling Exotics (Irabbagast 010)
Jing Chi: Supremo (Inakustik 9153)
Kennedy, Nigel: Kennedy Meets Gershwin (Warner 0190295642136)
Kilgore, Rebecca/Bernd Lhotzky: This And That (Arbors 19455)
Loussier, Jacques: Play Bach Vols. 1 & 2 (Jazz Images 24741)
McCann, Les/Eddie Harris: Swiss Movement (Atlantic SD 1537, vinyl)
McRae, Carmen: Lover Man & Other Billie Holiday Classics (Columbia CS 8530, vinyl)
Mier, Vernau: Frisson Sextet (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 1010)
Miller, Marcus: Laid Black (Blue Note, no number supplied)
Morrison, Van/Joey DeFrancesco: You're Driving Me Crazy (Sony, number unknown)
Moser, Diane: Birdsongs (Planet Arts 30174)
Neu, Andrew: Catwalk (CGN 82601)
No Fast Food: Settings For Three (Corner Store Jazz 0121)
Nussbaum, Adam: The Lead Belly Project (Sunnyside 1500)
Okura, Meg/The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble: Ima Ima (
Ospina, Juan Andrés: Tramontana (
Parrott, Nicki: Dear Blossom (Arbors 19453)
Peplowski, Ken: Sunrise (Arbors 19458)
Peterson, Oscar/Fred Astaire: The Astaire Story (Essential Jazz Classics 55733)
Proulx, John: Say It (Artist Share 0159)
Pukl, Jure: Doubtless (Whirlwind 4724)
R+R=Now: Collagically Speaking (Blue Note 6755431)
Redman, Joshua/Ron Miles/Scott Colley/Brian Blade: Still Dreaming (Nonesuch, number unknown)
Robillard, Duke: Duke And His Dames Of Rhythm (MC-0083)
Saft, Jamie: Blue Dream (Rare Noise 095)
Selwyn, Esmond: The Way I Play (Slam 2107)
Selwyn, Esmond: Renegade (Slam 291)
Shatner's Bassoon: Disco Erosion (Wasp Millionaire/
Sherman, Daryl: Lost In a Crowded Place (Audiophile 357)
Sinan, Marc/Oguz Buyukberber: White (ECM 671 7054)
Sinatra, Frank: Songs For Swingin' Lovers! (Essential Jazz Classics 55734)
Sinatra, Frank: In The Wee Small Hours (Essential Jazz Classics 55735)
Sly & Robbie Meet Nils Molvaer: Nordub (Okeh 8898540642)
Spanish Harlem Orchestra: Anniversary (ArtistShare 0160)
Sperrazza, Vinnie/Jacob Sacks/Masa Kamaguchi: Play Benny Golson (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 555)
Sportiello, Rossano: Pastel/Solo Piano (Arbors 19454)
Stoysin, Branco: Above The Clouds (Sun Recordings 24597-8)
Succar, Tony: Unity: The Latin Tribute To Michael Jackson (Unity B0022695)
Teagarden, Charlie: The Big Horn Of “Little T” (Retrospective 4332)
Tibbetts, Steve: Life Of (ECM 672 3545)
Tuck, Hailey: Junk (Sony 19075840272)
Under The Lake: Jazz, Groove & Attitude (
Various: So Much, So Quickly - British Modern Jazz Pianists 1948-62 (Acrobat 3240)
Wilson, Teddy: Classic Brunswick Columbia Sessions 1934-42 (Mosaic MD7-265)
Zak, Peter: One Mind (Fresh Sound FSR-CD 5101)

Examples of the 86 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):


This Here; Bemsha Swing; Oblivion; Sonnymoon For Two; Mister X; Un Poco Loco; Bohemia After Dark; Monk’s Mood; Bouncing With Bud; (2) Brigitte Strip Blues; La Bride Sur Le Cou; (3) Extrait De Suite No. 1 En Ré Bémoi Pour Quartetette De Jazz; 245; Blues En Ré Mineur (58.18)
(1) Bernard Vilet (flh); Francois Jeanneau (ts); Arvanitas (p); Michel Gaudry (b); Daniel Humair (d). Paris, 22 & 24 June 1960.
(2) as (1) but Gaudry & Humair out; Luigi Trussardi (b) Michel Babault (d). Paris, 19 April 1961.
(3) as (1) but Gaudry out; Pierre Michelot (b). Paris, RTF broadcast February 1961.
Fresh Sound FSR-CD 961

In the mid-to-late 1970s Arvanitas (1931-2005) released back-to-back albums with the distinctly unfashionable titles Feeling Jazzy and Swing Again. This excellent reissue carries its original early 1960s title, alluding to a fashionable piece of “soul jazz” of the time like the Bobby Timmons opener, This Here. But the title also offers perfect summation of the timeless qualities – as swinging as they are jazzy – of music distinguished by arresting readings of such modernist classics as Monk’s Bemsha Swing, Powell’s Bouncin’ With Bud, Rollins’s Sonnymoon For Two and Pettiford’s Bohemia After Dark. The reissue is rounded out by a bonus bucketful of blues-shot grooves, including Eric Dolphy’s 245 – and Martial Solal’s Suite swings considerably more than its title might suggest.

Born and raised in Marseilles, Arvanitas was a noted tyro on the local scene before gravitating to Paris. Garner and Parker were early influences and bop continued to offer a seemingly bottomless well of energy, intelligence and inspiration. Following a key recording with Doug Watkins and Art Taylor, Arvanitas moved into the sort of commandingly crisp register of harmonic and rhythmic literacy – and melodic penetration – heard on these quintet sides: hear the standout Un Poco Loco and Monk’s Mood. The latter is graced by a resonant line from the muscular yet elegant Jeanneau. Like the Davis-oriented Vilet – who also has a touch of Clark Terry to him – the Coltrane-oriented reedsman is in sparkling form throughout.

If it’s good to get an early glimpse of Jeanneau – who would go on to make such notable “avant” albums as the 1977 Ephemere – it’s also a treat to hear a young Daniel Humair coming on hot and strong, e.g., on Powell’s Oblivion. Another unmissable cracker, with richly illustrated sleeve, from Jordi Pujol’s Fresh Sound.
Michael Tucker


(1) To Each His Dulcinea; (2) Dulcinea; What Does He Want Of Me; The Barber’s Song; It’s All The Same; (1) I’m Only Thinking Of Him; (2) Man Of La Mancha; The Impossible Dream; (1) A Little Gossip (53.25)
(1) Elias (p); Marc Johnson (b); Satoshi Takeishi (d); Manolo Badrena (pc). NYC, 1995. (2) Eddie Gomez (b); Jack DeJohnette (d) replace Johnson, Takeishi, Badrena.
Concord Jazz, no number supplied

I first came across this artist a few years ago when reviewing Light My Fire, in which her piano playing was secondary to her gentle singing within a well-established Brazilian tradition. However discographies show that her piano playing on record preceded by several years her recorded singing and she was not only the pianist in the group Steps Ahead but made trio albums such as this one. This music is previously unreleased, presumably because in 1995 she was under contract to Blue Note. All the themes are from a musical based on the story of Don Quijote and were composed by the late Mitchell Leigh.

As a pianist Elias mostly sustains the gentle approach which characterises her singing, but she becomes more forceful when the situation demands it. Bill Evans is a clear influence and it’s surely no coincidence that both bassists on these sessions had played significant roles in Evans trios. The limited literature supplied with this review copy (no back inlay) identifies the trios for the first two tracks only, but it sounds as if Gomez and DeJohnette pro- vide the excellent support on six tracks and the extra percussion is on only three. The Spanish origin of the story behind the music makes the different Latin rhythms used appropriate enough and the concluding A Little Gossip is “set within the Brazilian rhythm of frevo”. On this final track the pianist’s abilty to play with a forceful attack when she wants to is fully evident. Digging hard into Latin rhythms takes her furthest away from the influence of Evans and perhaps produces her most rewarding music – which is certainly worthy of investigation.
Graham Colombé


CD1: Lost In Space; Meant To Be; Roses Are Red; Gill B64315; Don’t Overdo It; Out Of The Question (67.57)
CD2: Pretty Out; Blueprint; Science And Religion; A World Without; Fat Lip (45.53)

Kenny Wheeler (t, flh); Stuart Brooks, John Barclay (t); Gibbs (tb, arr); Chris Pyne (tb); John Clark, John Rooke (frh); Dave Stewart (btb, tu); Tony Coe (ts); Julian Arguelles (ts, ss); John Taylor (p); John Scofield (elg); Steve Swallow (elb); Bill Stewart (d). Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 18 October 1991.
Dusk Fire 116

The benchmark here may be Gibbs’ stunning (and surgically arranged) Big Music of 1988 with Scofield. By 1991 the guitarist had moved to Blue Note and was producing more esoteric material in his acoustic quartet. Such music almost fills CD1 here, lending a rather dry air, albeit Scofield’s solos are top quality. I say almost: Don’t Overdo It, a roaring traditional big band swinger from Gibbs, is from a different dimension, prompting Scofield to tear up blues and bebop for nearly a quarter hour. Gill B643 (from the 1985 Still Warm) is another exception, pre-dating Scofield’s cool Blue Note phase; Swallow’s lurking bass pedal gives Scofield an opportunity to display his distinct polytonal idiolect.

If I remember rightly I saw this band on the London leg of the tour at Shaw Theatre and someone, perhaps expecting big band swing, called out “Where’s the jazz?”, at which Gibbs promised to practise his jazz licks in the interval. Jazz or not, Gibbs’ band arrangements typically don’t add a whole lot as Scofield dominates, creating a sense of Sco trio with horn embellishments. The big band does provide soloists though, Taylor, Wheeler and Arguelles among them.

Similarly on CD2: There’s much more of Gibbs’ trademark dissonance on his own Blueprint before the ensemble drops away and Scofield could be playing almost any modal vamp with trio or quartet. Gibbs’ A World Without tantalises with suspenseful chording and nicely expressive chromaticism before Sco and trio overtake; the set closes with Scofield’s Meters-style rave-up Fat Lip. So this may not be so much a big band album as one for Scofield fans - and another valuable document of his career.
Mark Gilbert


Trip Trap; Que Sera Sera; 7-T’s; Sublimity; Untamed; No Limit; Someone To Love; Keep ’Em Runnin; Preacher’s Kid (54.02)
Miller (elb); Trombone Shorty (tb); Kirk Whalum (ts); Michael “Patches” Stewart (t); Jonathan Butler (g, v); Alex Han (as); Selah Sue (v). New York, no recording details supplied.
Blue Note, no number supplied

This initially appears to be a live album (because of the applause after the opening track) by the great electric bass player and producer. I say appears, because there wasn’t much information with the review CD – a sign of the times, when the reviewer receives a very basic version of the actual product that the consumer will buy. In this case it was just the CD itself that arrived, along with the cover image and a track listing. This is an increasingly common practice, leaving the reviewer to search around for details of line-up, recording venue, dates, catalogue number – often unsuccessfully, as evident above.

Anyway, it appears that most of the music was recorded in the studio, and that great aforementioned opening track sounds like a much funkier version of some of Miller’s work with Miles Davis on the albums Tutu and Amandla. This funky vein continues on 7-T’s (featuring Trombone Shorty) and on most of the other tracks here, but there’s contrast in the set as well, initially in the form of the compound time ballad Que Sera Sera (featuring Selah Sue), and in particular the beautiful standout track Sublimity, alongside the closer Preacher’s Kid with its calming African-style vocal introduction by the group Take 6.

This album is a good example of Miller’s pop-style production within jazz, with the most tight and well-produced sound imaginable, but the improvised lines and solos and sense of freedom and space tell us it’s unmistakably jazz. There’s some really nice keyboard work here as well, which, in the absence of any information, I’m assuming is Miller himself, as he’s no stranger to the keys.
Dave Jones


Miss Otis Regrets; Hold It Right There; All Saints Day; The Way Young Lovers Do; The Things I Used To Do; Travellin’ Light; Close Enough For Jazz; Goldfish Bowl; Evening Shadows; Magic Time; You’re Driving Me Crazy; Everyday I Have The Blues; Have I Told You Lately; Sticks And Stones; Celtic Swing (70.45)
Collectively: Morrison (v, as, hca); DeFrancesco (org, t); Dan Wilson (g); Michael Ode (d); Troy Roberts (ts, ss); Ode (d, pc); Shana Morrison (v). 2018.
Sony Legacy, no number supplied

Van Morrison has a history of performing with jazz musicians and his association with Joey DeFrancesco goes back a number of years. Mose Allison, Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock are part of that roster and some may remember him turning out for a Gil Evans anniversary concert in Hammersmith many years ago. His earthy delivery is totally apposite for both the originals and standards presented here, just as DeFrancesco, Wilson, Ode and Roberts are perfect bedfellows whose accompaniment and solos are audibly appreciated by the singer. He genuinely sounds as though he is enjoying this experience.

Morrison imbues a high degree of swing throughout, his only dubious moment arriving when he descends to an inappropriate growl on the opening Miss Otis Regrets. His saxophone playing is confident enough, although Roberts supplies the meaty stuff. There are no huge surprises along the way, apart from the medium tempo lilt given to Have I Told You Lately and the all-instrumental closer Celtic Swing. DeFrancesco never quite escapes the shadow of Jimmy Smith, but he rarely fails to impress with his dexterity whatever the occasion. His Miles-inflected trumpet playing is also a welcome addition to three of the tracks.

Taken as a whole, You’re Driving Me Crazy has much to offer in its loose presentation and will surely find favour across the music spectrum.
Peter Gamble


All I Need Is The Girl; Chega De Saudade; Estate; If I Were A Bell; Clarinet In Springtime; When You Wish Upon A Star; The Eternal Triangle; Spring Is Here; Duet; The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else; I Like The Sunrise; Come Back To Me (62.13)
Peplowski (cl); Jack Stuckey, Jon Gordon, Mark Lopeman, Adrian Cunningham, Carl Maraghi (reeds); John Aldred, Harvey Tibbs, Bruce Eidem, Jennifer Wharton (tb); Bob Millikan, Jon-Erik Kellso, Randy Reinhart, Andy Gravish (t);
Ehud Asherie (p); Nicki Parrott (b); Matt Munisteri (g); Chuck Redd (d). New Jersey, April 2017.
Arbors 19458

From the opening bars of the Billy May chart All I Need Is The Girl, the controlled precision and finesse of this band of New York maestri will win you over. Apart from masterly playing all round, the ability to tread lightly when tenderness is required, and an excellent sound balance, this enjoyable CD has other delights for any inquisitive listener. One is the inclusion of two arrangements by the late Allan Ganley, Jobim’s Chega De Saudade and the Harline/Washington tune When You Wish Upon A Star (from Disney’s Pinocchio), both especially commissioned by Ken Peplowski. Another delightful surprise is the Alec Wilder composition Clarinet In Springtime, written and arranged for Benny Goodman in the early 1940s.

A further discovery occurred when I was typing up the personnel and came across the name of trombonist Jennifer Wharton. Wanting to know more about a player new to me, I came across an informative interview with Wharton on the internet – worth seeking out. But, of course, so is the whole CD, which is highly recommended.
John Robert Brown


Esa Nena; Yo Te Prometo; Dime Tú; Goza El Ritmo; Echa Pa’lante; Guaracha Y Bembé; Y Deja; La Media Vuelta; Canción Para Ti; Como Te Quise; Tres Palabras; Somos Uno; Soy El Tambor (68.31)
Oscar Hernández (p, ldr); Marcos Bermúdez, Carlos Castante (v); Jeremy Bosch (v, f); Manuel “Maneco” Ruiz, Héctor Colón, Randy Brecker (t); Doug Beavers, Noah Bless (tb); Mitch Frohman (bar, f); Luisito Quintero (tim); George Delgado (cga); Jorge González (bgo, maracas, guiro); Gerardo “Jerry” Madera (b). New Jersey, 2017.
ArtistShare 0160

There’s huge variety and virtuosity in all departments in this typically bravura performance of New York “salsa dura” – in the writing, arranging, playing and singing. The forms are standard but beautifully executed, and try to guess where one is in instrumental breaks – I’ll warrant it will confound you more than any of Brubeck’s or Ellis’s games with irregular metre, and this is in 4/4. The displacements in the clave are so ingenious they never cease to deceive and excite the ear.

What else do we have? Rich, melodic harmonies, emotive, exuberant singing - solo and in chorus - and ever surprising variations that have at least the resourcefulness of the best improvisation. Then there are actual improvised breaks - trombone from Doug Beavers on Yo Te Prometo, flute from Jeremy Bosch on Goza El Ritmo and trumpet from Randy Brecker on Somos Uno: Like many jazz players in 60s/70s NY Randy and his brother spent some time in salsa bands - a great grounding for budding virtuosi, and as I suggest in my review of Tony Succar (see In brief...) quite likely, in its rhythmic diversions, detailed horn arrangements and dense post-bop harmony an influence on funk writing of the sort produced by the Breckers and others.

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra was formed 15 years ago (hence “Anniversary”) and this is their sixth studio album. It’s perhaps a little contained compared to Salsa Selecta, a very hot 2001 compilation of 70s NY salsa on Nascente but still, buy this one and enjoy more joyousness, extreme musicality and intriguing syncopation than any CD should decently hold.
Mark Gilbert


(1) ’S Wonderful; Liza; (2) I Can’t Get Started; (3) Struttin’ With Some Barbecue; Charlie My Boy; Jazz Me Blues; (4) Basin Street Blues; (5) Sugar; Don’t Blame Me; Just You, Just Me; (6) Ostrich Walk; (7) What’s New?; Anything Goes; Gone With The Wind; I’m Getting Sentimental Over You; Yesterdays; Charmaine; You Stepped Out Of A Dream; Tangerine; My Heart Belongs To Daddy; Thou Swell (75.53)
(1) The Three Ts: Charlie Teagarden (t); Jack Teagarden (tb); Frank Trumbauer (c-mel); Adele Girard (hp); Herman Crone (p); Min Leibrook (b); Stan King (d). 11 December 1936.
(2) Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra: Dorsey (as, cl); C Teagarden (t, v); Maynard Ferguson, Dick Hoffman, Dick Murphy, Joe Graves (t); Herb Winfield, Al Lorraine, George Masso, Chuck Maxon (tb); Doc Clifford, Gene Bockey (as); Frank Maynes, Phil Cenicola (ts); Mimi LaRocca (bar); Al Waslohn (p); Nappy Lamare (g); Bill Lolatte (b); Ray Bauduc (d). New Jersey, 28 April 1949.
(3) Jimmy Dorsey Original Dorseyland Jazz Band: C Teagarden (t, v); Dorsey (cl); Cutty Cutshall (tb); Frank Maynes (ts); Dick Cary (p); Lolatte (b); Bauduc (d); Claire Hogan (v). NYC, 1 November 1949.
(4) Jimmy Dorsey Original Dorseyland Jazz Band: Dorsey (as, cl); C Teagarden, Shorty Sherock (t); Frank Rehak (tb); Art Lyons (ts); Bob Carter (p); Bill Lolatte (b); Karl Kiffe (d). c. December 1950.
(5) The Club Hangover Trio: C Teagarden (t); Jess Stacy or Norma Teagarden (p); Bauduc (d). 24 September 1951.
(6) Bob Crosby All Stars: C Teagarden (t); Zeke Zarchy, Ray Linn (t); Ted Vesely, Moe Schneider (tb); Matty Matlock (cl); Wilbur Schwartz (as); Babe Russin (ts); Chuck Gentry (bar); Stan Wrightsman (p); Al Hendrickson (g); Morty Corb (b); Nick Fatool (d). LA, 1952 or 53.
(7) C Teagarden (t); Ronnie Di Fillips (p); Carson Smith (b); Tom Montgomery (d). Las Vegas, 7 March 1962.
Retrospective 4332

This album has been waiting a lifetime to be put together. Charlie Teagarden had just turned 17 when he recorded with his brother Jack, Benny Goodman and the Venuti-Lang All Stars in October 1931. He showed himself then to be already better than most jazz trumpeters of the time, and he retained that status throughout his life with little credit from the critics or the general public.

Paul Whiteman knew jazz and employed jazz musicians whenever he thought them good enough. (1) is a good example. I once had a much-treasured HMV 78 by the Three Ts, but it wasn’t as good as the spectacular jazz on 'S Wonderful and Liza where Jack and Charlie are joined to good advantage by Teagarden family friend Trumbauer. Charles knocks out a busy I Can’t Get Started, where Jimmy gives him his head. The Dorseyland band was an oasis of hot jazz at a barren time, dominated by Jimmy and Charlie, but with good work from Cutshall, tenor sax Frank Maynes and, on Basin Street, from Frank Rehak, who is an amazing ringer for Jack. Charlie sometimes played lots of notes, and some people may think less of him for that, but if you listen, they are all tastefully chosen, and very well articulated.

The group on the (7) tracks is a revelation. You might remember it for an album it made with Lionel Hampton as a dominating guest. Here it comes into its own, with Di Fillips, Carson Smith and Montgomery all excellent. This was the band Charlie used to play in the casinos. He gave up jazz in the 70s to become a union official, something brother Jack would never have done. Retrospective have built a splendid pothole-filling corner for themselves. This is their finest road repair yet.
Steve Voce


CD1: (1) Idabop; (2) The Man From Minton’s; (3) Too Marvellous For Words; (4) The Nearness of You; (5) Fools Rush In; (6) Chelsea Bridge; (7) May-zee; (8) Bluebird; (9) Opus Untitled; (10) Sweet Lorraine; (11) Moveable Feast; (12) Autumn In Cuba; (13) We’ll Call You; (14) Cheek To Cheek (50.44)
CD2: (15) There It Is; (16) All The Things You Are; (17) Willow Weep For Me; (18) Portrait; (19) Manumission; (20) Drop Me Off In Harlem; (21) Pictures; (22) In The Night; (23) Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams; (24) I Get A Kick Out Of You (52.58)

(1) Esquire Five, Ralph Sharon (p). London, 13 January 1948. (2) George Shearing Trio. Shearing (p). London, 26 November 1948. (3) Ronnie Scott Quartet. Tommy Pollard (p). London, 28 February 1951. (4) Ronnie Scott with Ronnie Ball Trio. Ball (p). London, 13 October 1951. (5) Ronnie Scott Quartet. Victor Feldman (p). London, 28 April 1954. (6) Damian Robinson Trio. Robinson (p). Royal Festival Hall, London, 30 October 1954. (7) Dill Jones Trio, Jones (p). London, 21 April 1955. (8) Dizzy Reece Quartet. Terry Shannon (p). London, 23 July 1956. (9) Derek Smith (p). Summer 1956. (10) Lennie Felix Trio. Felix (p). London, 8 July 1957. (11) Eddie Thompson Trio. Thompson (p). London, May 1958. (12) Alan Branscombe (p) with London Jazz Quartet. London, 14 May 1959. (13) Stan Tracey Trio. Tracey (p). London, 22 May 1959. (14) Dave Lee Orchestra. Lee (p).
London, c. 1960. (15) Jazz Five. Brian Dee (p). (16) Harry South Trio. South (p). London, 10 November 1960. (17) Stan Jones Trio. Jones (p). 27 April 1961. (18) Tony Kinsey Quintet. Bill Le Sage (p). London, 19 July 1961. (19) Don Rendell Quintet. John Burch (p). London, 29 August 1961. (20) Norman Stenfalt Quartet. Stenfalt (p). London, 9 November 1961. (21) Joe Harriott Quintet. Pat Smythe (p). London, 22 November 1961. (22) Tubby Hayes Quartet. Gordon Beck (p). Ronnie Scott’s Club, London, 18 May 1962. (23) Tony Coe Quintet. Colin Purbrook (p). London, 10 July 1962. (24) Dudley Moore Trio. Moore (p). London, August 1962.
Acrobat 3240

This “pianorama” of British modern jazz spotlights 24 early and important practitioners, no fewer than eight of whom subsequently migrated to the USA, most enjoying relatively successful careers across the pond. Sharon, Shearing, Ball and Feldman led the overseas charge. Others, like Tracey, Smythe and Shannon stayed put, but did pretty well over here. Of course there were those, such as Pollard, Stenfalt and Robinson, who remained in obscurity.

Some of the early entries here sound as if they were recorded in somebody’s bathroom (as indeed they were!) with lumpen rhythm sections. But through the years, and in these CDs, one can hear the improvements and strides forward. As we all know, British musicians, hampered by the ban on American players, had to acquire their bebop knowledge from recordings and stolen nights on New York’s 52nd Street for those fortunate to work on transatlantic liners with Geraldo’s Navy.

The selections chosen are not necessarily the best works by the pianists, but the chronology does show the evolution and increasing expertise of our local keyboard talents. None of the players was content to merely copy the American masters, but projected their own personalities. A number of the tracks were recorded by Tony Hall, who brought modernism to the forefront on the Tempo label. One of Hall’s greatest regrets is that he failed to record the superb Terry Shannon in a trio context. Shannon is heard here with trumpeter Dizzy Reece, and one can detect his admiration for Silver, Clark Hawes. One significant name is, understandably, missing from this roster of ticklers - Marian McPartland, who beat all the blokes to New York, arriving there with trumpeter husband
Jimmy in 1946. Her output in Britain was in the Dixieland vein, but within a few years she emerged as a hip modernist, who kept pace with all the stylistic changes.

This is a useful compendium revealing the advances made on home turf by musicians of widely differing approaches, labouring in comparative isolation during their early career stages. That they progressed so well and fluently was a triumph against the odds.
Mark Gardner


For Sonny; Backseat Driver; George Washington; I Wish I Lived In LA; Where The Wild Things Are; Moonlight Over Saturnvelen; Textures; So In Love; Reflections (62.38)
Seamus Blake (ts); Zak (p); Marcos Varela (b); Billy Drummond (d). Paramus, NJ, May 2017.
Fresh Sound FSR-CD 5101

Zak’s been working away just below the radar for years. He made three fine records for SteepleChase, and a feature of the first two was the close interplay between the pianist and bassist Paul Gill, reminiscent of Bill Evans’s relationship with his trio partners.

In this one Varela is given “featured” status, and it’s clear that, in line with Evans’s ideal, this is a relationship that he and Zak want to develop and evolve. The younger man brings in Where The Wild Things Are, which suggests a rock/funk lineage, but for the greater part of proceedings, he’s absolutely on the money with Zak’s conception and with an intriguing selection of repertory (though in the case of Herbie Hancock’s Textures, not very often covered) pieces. The Hancock composition, originally from Mr Hands and performed there entirely by Herbie on an array of synths, transfers brilliantly to this acoustic format, quite startlingly so, in fact, and in doing so underlines just how shrewd a musical mind Zak has.

Like another alphabetical outlier, Denny Zeitlin, Zak always comes across as thoughtfully - even cerebrally - lyrical, which isn’t at all intended as faint or back-handed praise. Billy Drummond was a great recruitment and Seamus Blake delivers a splendid line on George Washington, one of his most memorable recent appearances. Fresh Sound continues to propagate great modern jazz. Where’d we be without it?
Brian Morton


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