Selected reviews


        
        


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RECORD REVIEWS

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

Complete list of albums reviewed in JJ October 2018 (see below for sample reviews):

About Aphrodite: Membran Music/Polaris (Floating World 043)
Adderley, Cannonball: Them Dirty Blues (Jazz Images 24738)
Aimée, Cyrille: Live (Mack Avenue 1139)
Alexander, Joey: Eclipse (Motema 0271)
Armstrong, Louis/Dave Brubeck: The Real Ambassadors (Jazz Images 24737)
Baker, Chet: Chet Baker & Russ Freeman Quartet (Jazz Images 38059)
Baker, Chet: Live In London Volume II (Ubuntu 0014)
Baker, Chet/Art Pepper: Picture Of Heath (Jazz Images 38063)
Bansangu Orchestra: Bansangu Orchestra (Pathway 0121)
Bethea, Mica: Suite Theory (micabethea.com)
Clarke, Stanley/Band: The Message (Mack Avenue 1116)
Coltrane, John: Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (Impulse! 00602567493013, vinyl)
Coltrane, John: Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (Impulse! 02567 49299, CD)
Coltrane, John: Olé Coltrane (State Of Art 81238)
Dharmawan, Dwiki: Rumah Batu (Moonjune 092)
Di Meola, Al: Elegant Gypsy & More Live (e.a.r Music)
Dirigo Rataplan: Dirigo Rataplan (Rataplan 001)
Dørge, Pierre: Soundscapes (SteepleChase 31846)
Dowling, Sara: Two Sides Of Sara (SD1802 (saradowling.co.uk))
Eberhard, Silke/Sandy Evans: What She Sees (Rufus 120)
Elkins, Marty: Fat Daddy (Nagel Heyer 124)
Ellis, Don: Shock Treatment/Autumn (Beat Goes On 1333)
Emmeluth's Amoeba: Polyp (Øra Fonogram 125)
Ersan, Oytun: Fusiolicious (oytunersan.com)
Esche: Der Dichter Spricht (QFTF 055)
Evans, Bill: The Classic Trio 1959-61 (Acrobat 3252)
Fazola, Irving: My Inspiration - His 26 Finest (Retrospective 4337)
Garner, Erroll: Nightconcert (Mack Avenue 1142)
Get The Blessing: Bristopia (Kartel 08)
Getz, Stan: Stan Getz And The Oscar Peterson Trio (State Of Art 81237)
Goldings, Larry/Bernstein/Stewart: Toy Tunes (Pirouet 3100)
Gould, Andrew: First Things First (OiM 1802)
Gustavsen, Tord: The Other Side (ECM 675 1618)
Halley, Rich: The Literature (Pine Eagle 011)
Hayes, Tubby: What Is This Thing Called Love? (Acrobat 2501)
Hekselman, Gilad: Ask For Chaos (Motéma 0284)
Holiday, Billie: Music For Torching (State Of Art 81238)
Jackson, Gene: Power Of Love (Whirlwind 4723)
Jobim, Antonio Carlos: Tide/Stone Flower (Beat Goes On 1338)
Krivda, Ernie/Swing City: A Bright And Shining Moment (Capri 74149)
LeDonne, Mike/The Groover Quartet: From The Heart (Savant 2168)
Lloyd, Charles/The Marvels/Lucinda Williams: Vanished Gardens (Blue Note, no number supplied)
Lopez-Nussa, Harold: Un Dia Cualquiera (Mack Avenue 1135)
Martial Art: Saga (QFTF 045)
McFarland, Gary: The In Sound & Soft Samba (Ace 1530)
Mintzer, Bob/New York Voices: Meeting Of Minds (Manchester Craftmen's Guild 1045)
Moholo-Moholo, Louis/Five Blokes: Uplift The People (Ogun 047)
Moore, Dudley: Authentic Dud - Vol. 2 (Harkit 8019)
Moskus: Mirakler (Hubro 2588)
Muthspiel, Wolfgang: Where The River Goes (ECM 675 1712)
Mwendo Dawa: Silent Voice (LJ Records 5260)
New York All Stars: Burnin' In London (Ubuntu 0012)
Nocturnal Four: Life On Earth (In + Out 77134)
Palmer, Jason: At Wally's Volume 1 (SteepleChase 31855)
Ricard, David: Parallels (ArtistShare 163)
Sanabria, Bobby: West Side Story (Jazzheads 1231)
Seim, Trygve: Helsinki Songs (ECM 675 1580)
Soft Machine: Hidden Details (Dyad 029)
Son, Sungjae: Near East Quartet (ECM 676 5877)
Soskin, Mark: Upper West Side Stories (SteepleChase 31858)
Spence, Alister: Sound Hotel (ASM 006)
Speyer's, Loz/Inner Space: Life On The Edge (Leo 782)
Splashgirl: Sixth Sense (Hubro 2587)
Springs, Kandace: Indigo (Blue Note, no number supplied)
Svensson, Esbjörn/Trio: e.s.t/Live In London (ACT 9042)
Travis, Theo/Robert Fripp: Between The Silence (PaneGyric 301)
Turner, Mark/Ethan Iverson: Temporary Kings (ECM 673 6988)
Various: Now That's What I Call Jazz (Sony CDNNNOW68)
Vienna Symphony Jazz Project: Go Go! (ATS 0902)
Vinson, Will: It's Alright With Three (Criss 1399)
Von Kalnein, Heinrich/& Kahiba: The Neuroscience Of Music (Natango 47617)
Wasilewski, Marcin: Live (ECM 673 8486)
Williams, Kamaal: The Return (Black Focus, no number supplied)
Wingfield, Mark: Tales From The Beginning City (MoonJune 091)
Winkler, Mark/Cheryl Bentyne: Eastern Standard Time (Café Pacific 4065)
Worldservice Project: Serve (Rare Noise 093)
Zimmerli, Patrick/Quartet: Clockworks (Songlines 1625)

Examples of the 77 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):

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JJ STAR RATINGS
* Family members only
** Good playing with moments of inspiration, derivative concept
*** Professionally executed, perhaps with originality in playing or concept
**** Exceptional in concept and execution, a once in a decade recording
***** Epoch-making recording demonstrating hitherto unheard concept

A bracketed star indicates a half-star
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CYRILLE AIMÉE
LIVE

It’s A Good Day; Nuit Blanche; Si Tu Vois Ma Mére; Live Alone And Like It; Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’; Off The Wall; Day By Day; It’s Over Now (Well, You Needn’t); Three Little Words; Each Day (57.19)
Aimée (v); Adrien Moignard (g); Michael Valeanu (elg); Dylan Shamur (b); Dani Danor (d). NYC. 16 August 2017.
Mack Avenue 1139
***(*)

Raised in Samois, France, home to the Django Reinhardt festival, Aimée learned her trade as a child singing around gypsy encampments. Since then, she has attained a richly deserved international reputation. Her previous albums (It’s A Good Day and Let’s Get Lost, both on Mack Avenue) were studio recordings and this set, recorded at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge, is her first live album. The occasion came at the end of five years touring internationally and the band’s togetherness is evident throughout. Although Valeanu, Shamur and Danor are primarily in supportive roles, there are many highly effective solo moments from Moignard. He is excellent throughout, notably on It’s A Good Day, Live Alone And Like It, a breakneck Three Little Words, and on Sidney Bechet’s Si Tu Vois Ma Mére.

As well as Bechet the repertoire includes one by Thelonious Monk, the Peggy Lee-Dave Barbour hit, a couple of standards, a pop song by Michael Jackson and two originals, Nuit Blanche (Aimée) and Each Day (Aimée and Valeanu). The eclectic song selection widens the set’s appeal but all the songs are reshaped into exceptional jazz performances. Aimée’s vocal sound is light but strong, her diction clear, her phrasing impeccable and she swings mightily at whatever tempo. On the Jackson song she accompanies herself using a loop. Regular readers might recall that I included Aimée’s Let’s Get Lost (Mack Avenue 1097) in my choice for 2016’s year-end top 10. This set is of equal quality and very warmly recommended.
Bruce Crowther


BANSANGU ORCHESTRA
BANSANGU ORCHESTRA
(1) Cross Channel; (2) The Long Road; (1) Currulao Cool; (3) My Old Life; (1) Takes Three To Samba; (4) Choice Is Yours; (1) Light My Fire; The Village; The Reason (68.00)
(1) Paul Booth (ss, ts, f, melodica, acc, v, kyb, pc); Sammy Mayne (as, f); Jason Yarde (as, ss); Richard Beesley (ts, cl); Gemma Moore (bar, bcl); Ryan Quigley (t, flh); Kevin Robinson (t, flh); Andy Greenwood (t, flh); Shanti Paul Jayasinha (t, flh); Steve Fishwick (t, flh); Trevor Mires (tb, pedal effects); Barnaby Dickinson, Robbie Harvey, Martin Gladdish (tb); Richard Henry (btb, tu); Giorgio Serci (g, oud); Alex Wilson (p); Davide Mantovani (elb); Satin Singh, Edwin Sanz (pc); Rod Youngs, Tristan Banks (d). London, 6 and 7 January 2016. (2) as (1) add Jonathan Mayer (sit). (3) as (1) add Oli Rockberger (v, p). (4) as (1) add Seckou Keita (kora).
Pathway 0121
***(*)

Bansangu Orchestra - formed in 2014 by saxophonist Booth, guitarist Serci and trumpeter Robinson – is, on the surface, a traditional jazz big band. There are lots of players, plenty of trumpets and trombones, numerous saxophones. Dig deeper and it’s clear that Bansangu is a little bit different. Booth doubles on accordion and melodica, Serci plays oud, guest musician Seckou Keita adds kora to Choice Is Yours and Jonathan Mayer plays sitar on The Long Road. The compositions are all originals, with the exception of that far-from-big-band-standard, Light My Fire by The Doors. Musical influences from across the globe are readily apparent.

The result is a powerful, punchy and exciting collection. There’s enough straightahead big band jazz to keep traditionalists happy, enough innovative composition and arranging to please those looking for something fresh. Robinson’s arrangement of Light My Fire gives the song a ska rhythm, swapping Jim Morrison’s macho posturing for something more uplifting. Oli Rockberger’s bluesy, intense vocal on his excellent My Old Life is matched by Booth’s dynamic arrangement and Ryan Quigley’s trumpet solo. Booth’s Cross Channel mixes Lebanese and Afro-Cuban rhythms which serve as excellent foundations for solos by Fishwick, Booth and Youngs. Serci’s Takes Three To Samba (a samba in 3/4) evokes a party feeling and while the kora is a little overwhelmed on the ensemble sections of bass guitarist Mantovani’s Choice Is Yours, Keita’s solo, with bass and drums for company, is exquisite. Booth’s The Village takes inspiration from Celtic folk, with accordion, flutes and soprano sax giving the tune a distinctive sound.

And the name? Apparently, it’s based on Airto Moreira’s pronunciation of the phrase “Band sound good”. Which it does.
Bruce Lindsay


JOHN COLTRANE
BOTH DIRECTIONS AT ONCE: THE LOST ALBUM – DELUXE CD
CD1: Untitled Original 11383 (Take 1); Nature Boy; Untitled Original 11386 (Take 1); Vilia (Take 3); Impressions (Take 3); Slow Blues; One Up, One Down (Take 1) (47.29)
CD2: Vilia (Take 5); Impressions (Take 1); Impressions (Take 2); Impressions (Take 4); Untitled Original 11386 (Take 2); Untitled Original 11386 (Take 5); One Up, One Down (Take 6) (41.26)

Coltrane (ts, ss); McCoy Tyner (p); Jimmy Garrison (b); Elvin Jones (d). Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 6 March 1963.
Impulse 02567 49299
***(*)

Barry Witherden had an article on this music in JJ 0818 and a recent website post from Bruce Lindsay advised that Both Directions had made the UK’s official album chart. JJ was sent the single CD1 album but as I had the so-called deluxe edition anyway that is what is detailed here. Both issues have exemplary sound and come with detailed notes from Impulse! specialist Ashley Kahn, but the booklets are configured slightly differently.

For Sonny Rollins, quoted on the album’s inside gatefold cover, “This is like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid”. A new room, yes, but also a long-familiar one. For anyone versed in Coltrane’s Atlantic years, Vilia (from Lehar’s The Merry Widow) and Slow Blues will surely conjure fond memories of albums like Coltrane Jazz and Coltrane Plays The Blues. And the sing-song complexity-out-of-simplicity of such modal gems as Untitled Original 11383, Impressions and One Up, One Down will long have etched itself into the consciousness of anyone who has relished the more exploratory aspects of Coltrane’s early years at Impulse. On the other hand, the near three-minute, relatively contained reading of Nature Boy is significantly different from the more expansively ruminative version on The John Coltrane Quartet Plays from 1965.

There has been much debate about why this music - which features consistently excellent, even electrifying, contributions all round, with some especially fine work from Garrison and Jones - was not released at the time. Perhaps Coltrane felt that distinctions between past accomplishment and present, unfolding potentiality in his music had been registered too distinctly? But if this music does not essay the sublime refiguring of all such matters which would distinguish the 1964 Crescent, it remains a most welcome and totally unmissable release.
Michael Tucker


OYTUN ERSAN
FUSIOLICIOUS
Oh, That Butterfly; Mysterious Maze; Rise Up; L.A.; Rooms; Ocean; Sacred Solace (50.08)
Ersan (elb); Dave Weckl (d); Eric Marienthal (as); Gary Husband, Gerry Etkins (kyb); Dean Brown, Mike Miller, Brett Garsed, Okan Ersan (g); Gökay Gökşen (tb); Utku Akyol (t); Karen Briggs (vn); Simge Akdoğu, Aytunç Akdoğu (v). No recording details supplied.
oytunersan.com
***

This is an impressive jazz fusion album from Oytun Ersan, the Turkish Cypriot bassist, with solos from a variety of contributors that use a full language of possibilities rather than just concentrating on pentatonic scales. The ensemble work by this large and impressive cast is extremely tight and intense, and overall it’s a well-balanced programme of material, all composed by the leader, with brass arrangements by Mitchel Forman.

The use of Karen Briggs’s violin lead and solo on Rise Up is inspired, and provides welcome contrast. It might seem quite unlikely in the context, but it fits beautifully, as she uses quite a full-on approach to the playing. The use of two keyboard players is nicely managed, and their solos have a Hancock-like quality to them (which of course is no bad thing), with some smooth and effective side-slipping. Also, the keyboards work well alongside the electric guitars, never seeming to get in each other’s way.

I’d perhaps question why the keyboards are used for brass “stabs” alongside real brass arrangements, but it’s nothing all that unusual in this style. Also, Sacred Solace, arranged by the album producer Ric Fierabracci, provides something of a short and slightly abrupt end to the album, and doesn’t really seem to fit into the programme - the penultimate track Ocean actually feels like the end of the album, but don’t let these small issues put you off - if you like really high-quality fusion then it’s an album that’s well worth a listen.
Dave Jones


LARRY GOLDINGS, PETER BERNSTEIN & BILL STEWART
TOY TUNES

Fagen; Don’t Ever Call Me Again; Lullaby For B; I’m In The Mood For Love; And Now The Queen; Toy Tune; Calm; Maybe (47.29)
Goldings (org); Bernstein (g); Stewart (d). Oberhaching, Germany, 15 & 16 February, 2016.
Pirouet 3100
***

Many organ trios are characterised by blare and bluster, but the Goldings, Bernstein, Stewart threesome is all about subtle, serene sounds, and a collaborative approach that pianist Bill Evans pioneered in his piano trios. Goldings’ restrained style and his close musical interlocking with guitarist Bernstein and drummer Stewart is a refreshing and welcome expression after the ear-blasting boom of the strident Hammond practitioners. This unit has been setting its own style since the early 1990s, and that experience is reflected in the mind-reading responses of the participants.

Here captured during a trip to Germany, the combo lays out a programme prefaced by three tunes from within the group – Goldings’ Fagen, Stewart’s Don’t Ever Call Me Again and Bernstein’s Lullaby For B. All lyrical and considered pieces. Then an engaging reworking of that drunks’ favourite, I’m In The Mood For Love. That gives way to an experimental account of Carla Bley’s And Now The Queen before Wayne Shorter’s Toy Tune is afforded a toe-tapping treatment. Calm, by Bill Stewart, evokes the mood to perfection in a quiet, lingering fashion. The closing Maybe takes us out in a graceful groove. In their 12th album together, this trio goes to the top of the class in my book.
Mark Gardner


CHARLES LLOYD/THE MARVELS/LUCINDA WILLIAMS
VANISHED GARDENS
(1) Defiant; (2) Dust; (1) Vanished Gardens; (2) Ventura; (1) Ballad Of The Sad Young Men; (2) We’ve Come Too Far To Turn Around; (1) Blues For Langston And LaRue; (2) Unsuffer Me; (1) Monk’s Mood; (2) Angel (73.22)
(1) Lloyd (ts, f); Bill Frisell (g); Greg Leisz (pedal steel g); Reuben Rogers (b); Eric Harland (d). Los Angeles. (2) add Lucinda Williams (v).
Blue Note, no number supplied
**(*)

For most of his career Lloyd has embraced eclecticism, and has been unfairly rebuked for doing so (a JJ review caricatured him as a cross between Harpo Marx and a gypsy fiddler) but as a teenager he played pure blues and R&B with B.B. King and Bobby Bland amongst others. Frisell, too, has mixed many elements into his music, working in so many genres that no pigeonhole comfortably accommodates him. Adding to the variety, Williams, who fuses rock, blues and country, appears on half the tracks. The result is a thoroughly satisfying, cohesive blend, transforming varied elements into a homogeneous whole.

Lloyd taps into those blues roots more deeply than he has for some while, especially on We’ve Come Too Far, where his tenor provides perfect support for Williams’s gritty, soulful vocal, Langston And LaRue (on flute) and even the gentle Defiant. Over the years Lloyd’s tenor tone became more etiolated but lately he often recaptures the earthiness and depth of his early sound. Occasionally a kind of overly discursive hangover from the days when his classic quartet was promoted alongside psychedelic rock bands surfaces (on the title track and the last couple of minutes of Dust for example) but there is plenty of real substance too.

Lloyd had an early penchant for working with guitar (when as musical director of Chico Hamilton’s group he added Gabor Szabo, later including the Hungarian guitarist in his own band) and the line-up here seems to have inspired him to some of his most overtly emotional and texturally rich playing of his mature years. Frisell and Leisz play beautifully and sensitively, well supported by the staunch team of Rogers and Harland.
Barry Witherden


NEW YORK ALL-STARS
BURNIN’ IN LONDON

Almost Like Being In Love; I Could Have Danced All Night; Nightlife In Tokyo; It’s Magic; The Night Has A Thousand Eyes; Summertime (62.49)
Eric Alexander (ts); Harold Mabern (p); Darryl Hall (b); Bernd Reiter (d). Pizza Express, London, 20-21 November 2017.
Ubuntu Music 12
***

The New York All Stars is basically a showcase for Eric Alexander and deservedly so, because he towers above his fellow tenor men. Out of hard bop, he is quite simply the finest tenor player that I have heard since people like George Adams and Billy Harper emerged. Even more imposing than them, his antecedents are Tubby Hayes and Johnny Griffin and his fast execution is comfortably in their league - something I never thought I’d live to hear. His ideas flow logically at speed. He has a most appealing hard-edged tone for a lot of the time, but uses dynamics well and softens it a little when he’s not charging headlong down some torrent of inspiration. Hot? The corona of the sun has nothing on this fellow! His solos have great character, something that I have missed in many of the younger jazz musicians that I’ve heard in recent years - and, stylistically apart, that puts him in the line of Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Zoot Sims and Sonny Rollins.

His quartet swings from the opening note. Alexander could play with any rhythm section, but he obviously has an affinity with Mabern, under whom he studied at one time. Mabern is consistently good throughout, amazing since he is only a couple of years younger than I am, and I’ve reached the bread-and-milk stage. Hall and Reiter are in no way outclassed.

In recommending Alexander to you, I would say he is the best there is. But then, if I’ve missed him for all these years, there might be yet another one lurking round the corner. I hope so. And Harold Mabern is really good - terribly swift in both thought and technique for his age. Listen to him go on I Could Have Danced. Danced? Rocketed, I would say. A great quartet album.
Steve Voce


SOFT MACHINE
HIDDEN DETAILS

(1) Hidden Details; The Man Who Waved At Trains; Ground Lift; Heart Off Guard; Broken Hill; Flight Of The Jett; One Glove; Out Bloody Intro; Out Bloody Rageous, Part 1; Drifting White; Life On Bridges; Fourteen Hour Dream; (2) Breathe (59.59)
(1) John Etheridge (elg, g); Theo Travis (ts, ss, f, elp); Roy Babbington (elb); John Marshall (d, pc). (2) as (1) but add Nick Utteridge (wind chimes). Sutton, Surrey 20-22 December 2017.
Dyad Records 029
***(*)

There’s some serious provenance to this iteration of Soft Machine now freed of its “Legacy” tag. Roy Babbington played double bass on Fourth (CBS, 1971). Stalwart John Marshall joined the group from Fifth (CBS, 1972) onwards and John Etheridge played on Softs (Harvest, 1976) and Alive & Well: Recorded In Paris (Harvest, 1978).

One raison d’être for this latest recording is to mark the 50th anniversary of the band’s eponymously titled debut album released on Probe in 1968. But the earliest track recorded by the “classic” line-up and covered here is Mike Ratledge’s Out Bloody Rageous, which is given a shorter but still fairly faithful reworking. However, Ratledge’s The Man Who Waved At Trains doesn’t come off quite so well to anyone familiar with the original.

Saxophonist Theo Travis joined Soft Machine Legacy from Steam (MoonJune, 2007) and his compositions on the album are satisfyingly meaty. Life On Bridges, for example, is subtly redolent of Hugh Hopper’s typically robust numbers. His riff-laden Fourteen Hour Dream neatly evokes the fluid electro-jazz of Seven (CBS, 1973). The spacey Breathe, penned by Marshall and Travis, is a hypnotic reminder of the more ethereal numbers found on Six (CBS, 1973) such as Karl Jenkins’s E.P.V.

This follow-up to Burden Of Proof (MoonJune, 2013) is technically the first actual Soft Machine album since Land Of Cockayne (EMI, 1981). However, as with all revivals of this idiosyncratic band, including Soft Head, Soft Heap, Soft Ware, Soft Works and Legacy, this is not the hardcore Soft Machine of Wyatt, Ratledge, Hopper and Dean. Nevertheless it evinces some unique and attractive characteristics of its own and both longstanding fans and newer ones won’t be disappointed.
Roger Farbey


TRAVIS & FRIPP
BETWEEN THE SILENCE

CD1: The Apparent Chaos Of Stone; In A Field Of Green; Route 23 (Improv); The Offering; Blue Calm; Moonchild; Duet For The End Of Time; Coda: Duet For The End Of Time (51.01)
CD2: Emporium; In A Field Of Green; Rotary Symmetrical; Moonchild; A Careful Distance; Blue Calm; Route 23 (Improv); Duet For The End Of Time; Encore: Bath Improv (67.51)
CD3: The Power To Believe; Pastorale; Rotary Symmetrical; Dark Clouds; Blue Calm; When The Rains Fall; Duet For The End Of Time (52.05)

Travis (af, ss); Fripp (elg, soundscapes). CD1: Salisbury, 21 May 2009. CD2: Bath, 5 June 2010. CD3: Cheltenham, 16 July 2010.
Panegyric 301
****

Theo Travis is the go-to musician for all things prog. He’s played in a wide range of bands from Gong to Soft Machine Legacy (now just Soft Machine). The last album he recorded under his own name with his band Double Talk was the excellent Transgression (Esoteric, 2015), which featured a forbidding angel, photographed in sombre-looking monochrome, on its cover, an image which is repeated on the three inner panels of Between The Silence’s six-sided digipak.

Robert Fripp, had he so wished, could probably have become the world’s greatest jazz guitarist (check out Groon on the flip side of King Crimson’s 1970 Island Records single Cat Food and available as a bonus track on In The Wake Of Poseidon 40th Anniversary Series reissue). He could equally have been a classical guitar virtuoso and evidence of this is surely the solo rendition of his own masterly composition Suite No. 1, found on the quirky The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles And Fripp (Deram, 1968). But to paraphrase Ray Davies, Fripp was not like everybody else. Early on in his career he broke the rules of rock guitar by taking a stand and sitting down to play on stage. Interviewed for Guitar Player (May 1974) Fripp revealed that King Crimson bassist and vocalist Greg Lake had told him “You can’t sit down; you’ll look like a mushroom”. He expanded thus: “I felt it wasn’t my job to stand up and look moody. My job was to play, and I couldn’t play standing up”. But leaving aside this technical idiosyncrasy, Fripp’s real point of difference was his attitude and approach to playing. He believed in firm musical discipline and rigorous organisation. Essentially, Fripp created his own genre of music which transcended the prog-rock bag into which Crimson was commonly placed. It may not be a coincidence that David Bowie, on Brian Eno’s recommendation, invited Fripp to play stunt guitar on his 1977 album Heroes since, for many, the guitarist was already a hero.

Fripp’s association with Eno on albums such as No Pussyfooting (Island, 1973) heralded the inception of the guitarist’s employment of soundscapes and self-styled “Frippertronics”. It also led to pejorative suggestions that the music was of an ambient nature. But as with Travis and Fripp, the “ambience” is very far removed from the “Bentley-driving guru” scene of 60s hippiedom. It would be hard to imagine Fripp attempting anything, even making a cup of tea, without imbuing it with his extraordinary intelligence, imagination and perfection.

This is not the first recorded collaboration between Fripp and Travis. Amongst other forays together, they’ve recorded Discretion (Panegyric/Tonefloat, 2014); Follow (Panegyric, 2012), Live At Coventry Cathedral (Panegyric, 2010) and Thread (Panegyric, 2008). Throughout the three CDs on Between The Silence, all recorded live in relatively modest settings (the first and third were recorded in churches), the two musicians meld notes together seamlessly. There are often two - and in the case of Duet For The End Of Time and Blue Calm three - versions of the pieces spread over the three CDs and importantly, whilst they might sound like effortless extemporisations, they are, with three stated exceptions, all pre-composed (including two King Crimson covers) and executed with sensitive latitude. Travis has a gift for playing empathetically in any setting and his flute and soprano work here is delicately mesmeric. Fripp, meanwhile, is equally capable of evincing wistful legato lines or sudden, disconcerting bursts of fuzz-stinging guitar as heard on tracks such as Rotary Symmetrical and Moonchild. Nowhere on the album is the music “ambient” and it’s never less than captivating at all times.
Roger Farbey


VARIOUS
NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL JAZZ

CD1: Fly Me To The Moon (Frank Sinatra); Haven’t Met You Yet (Michael Bublé); You Know I’m No Good (Amy Winehouse); Liquid Spirit (Gregory Porter); Brother Can You Spare Me A Dime (George Michael); At Last (Etta James); What A Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong); Come Away With Me (Norah Jones); Beyond The Sea (Robbie Williams); I Say A Little Prayer (Aretha Franklin); Moondance (Van Morrison); Englishman In New York (Sting); My Baby Just Cares For Me (Nina Simone); Let There Be Love (Nat King Cole); What A Difference A Day Made (Jamie Cullum); Slow (Rumer); By Your Side (Sade); Slow Dancing In A Burning Room (John Mayer); Nothing’s Real But Love (Rebecca Ferguson); Green Garden (Laura Mvula); This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) (Natalie Cole)
CD2: Feeling Good (Nina Simone); I Just Want To Make Love To You (Etta James); Music To Watch Girls By (Andy Williams); Ain’t That A Kick In The Head (Dean Martin); Mack The Knife (Bobby Darin); Fever (Peggy Lee); The Look Of Love (Diana Krall); Unforgettable (Nat King Cole); Cry Me A River (Julie London); Summertime (Louis Armstrong And Ella Fitzgerald); Hay Laura (Gregory Porter); Sunny (Bobby Hebb); Papa Loves Mambo (Perry Como); In The Mood (Glenn Miller); Mad About The Boy (Dinah Washington); That Ole Devil Called Love (Alison Moyet); Light My Fire (Jose Feliciano); Soul Bossa Nova (Quincy Jones); The Girl From Ipanema (Stan Getz); Baby I’m A Fool (Melody Gardot); Wonderful Life (Katie Melua); Mr Bojangles (Robbie Williams); I Left My Heart In San Francisco (Tony Bennett); As Time Goes By (Bryan Ferry)
CD3: Take Five (Dave Brubeck); Cheek To Cheek (Ella Fitzgerald And Louis Armstrong); Comin’ Home Baby (Mel Tormé); Cantaloupe Island (Herbie Hancock); Songbird (Kenny G); Angela (Bob James); A Certain Smile (Johnny Mathis); Stormy Weather (Etta James); Goodbye Pork Pie Hat (Charles Mingus); Moonlight Serenade (Glenn Miller); Lady Sings The Blues (Billie Holiday); Alfie’s Theme Differently (Sonny Rollins); Black Coffee (Sarah Vaughan); My Funny Valentine (Chet Baker); My Favorite Things (John Coltrane); I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free) (Billy Taylor Trio); Work Song (Cannonball Adderley); So What (Miles Davis)

Various personnel and dates.
Sony, no number supplied
**

Compilations are always a tricky business, especially ones that purport to sum up a genre in an unwieldy 63 songs over three CDs. There will always be one who says, “‘Now That’s What I Call Jazz’? Well, that’s not what I call jazz!” And I admit guilt in that respect when glancing at the track listing to see Rumer’s Slow, a smooth-radio lounge ballad whose jazz content I fail to recognise, not to mention other suspect inclusions such as Sade, Bryan Ferry, Robbie Williams and - my personal bugbear - the robotically air-brushed jazz-lite of Michael Bublé.

It is interesting to see what counts as jazz in the minds of the compilers, and going by the selection here, it’s a mixture of inoffensive ballad and Latin-flavoured pop, with a few incontestable classics of the genre thrown in for good measure – Take Five, Lady Sings The Blues.

But on the whole, it’s not a terrible collection, if you’re prepared to jump for the skip button every now and then. The stalwarts are represented - Ella, Louis, Mingus, Billie, Coltrane, plus a smattering of newer voices like Gregory Porter and Melody Gardot. A collection like this is always going to be superficial. You could say it partway works as a serviceable introduction to jazz for the unitiated, but you might want to take NOW music’s claim to be your “ultimate guide” with a generous side of salt.
Sally Evans-Darby

 

Your Comments:

Posted by Vaughan Lipscombe, 1 November 2018, 19:20 (1 of 1)

Steve Voce is utterly correct about Eric Alexander's new CD "Burnin' In London" - an absolutely storming live set. I hope more emerges from the gigs' recordings. There is a great load of fire from the quartet and Harold Mabern is sensational, especially so given his 80+ age. Critch could do this with the right support from the bass & drums. This is, in my low-end view, one of the best live CDs to come out in a long while and I am pleased to have bought it (eBay). There are other good and great tenorists around doing it in the old fashioned way (eg Harry Allen & Grant Stewart who, along with Eric, produced a stunning ensemble CD - "The Candy Men"). My grateful thanks to JJ for bringing this CD to my attention. VL.


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