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 November 2018 (see below for sample reviews):

Adolfo, Antonio/Orquestra Atlantica: Encontros (AAM 0712)
Alchemy Sound Project: Adventures In Time And Space (
Alesbrook, Gary: Jazz In Movies (
Andersson, Richard/NOR: The Six Of Us (richardanders
Angel, Rebecca: What We Had (Timeless Groove 143)
Arguelles, Julian: Tonadas (Edition 1116)
Ast, Miriam/Victor Gutierrez: Secret Songs (Mons 874613)
Austin-Bishop, Allen: No One Is Alone (
Baker, Lorraine: Eden (Spark! 006)
Baptist, Maria: Resonance (Baptist 3033)
Beets, Marius: This Is Your Captain Speaking (Maxanter 74607)
Beier, Chris: Scarborough Variations (ACT 9760)
Bowden, Chris: Unlikely Being (UK Vibe 25)
Braden, Don: Earth Wind And Wonder (Creative Perspective Music 3005)
Brown, Ruth: Miss Rhythm (Pure Pleasure PPAN SD 18026, vinyl)
Brubeck Brothers/Quartet: Timeline (Blue Forest 18-03001)
Brumburgh, Gary: Moonlight (Café Pacific 888295778565)
Burke, Solomon: King Solomon (Pure Pleasure PPAN 18158, vinyl)
Cardoso, Elizete/Moacyr Silva: Sax Vox No.2 + Sax Voz (Aquarela Do Brasil 531001)
Carter, Daniel/Hilliard Greene/David Haney: Live Constructions (Slam 589)
Cole, Freddy: My Mood Is You (HighNote 7312)
Cole, Nat "King": Cole Español Greatest Hits (New Continent 648053)
Colman, Sara: What We're Made Of (Stoney Lane 1968)
Cosker, Alyn: KPF (NYLA 01)
Crabbe, Shirley: Bridges (MaiSong Music 2018)
Cuber, Ronnie: Live At Montmartre (Storyville 1018458)
Davidson, Roger: Music From The Heart (Soundbrush 1039)
Donin, Liran/1000 Boats: 8 Songs (Cavalo 001)
Enemy: Enemy (Edition 1112)
Evans, Bill: The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961 (Riverside 36005-01, vinyl)
Fairweather, Digby: Digby Fairweather Meets Danny Moss (Rose Cottage 008)
Frank, Maurice: Mad Romance And Love (Jumo Music 1007)
Fukumori, Michika: Piano Images (Summit 725)
Garland, Tim: Weather Walker (Edition 1113)
Gillespie, Dizzy/Dave Brubeck: Live At Newport (Sounds Of Yester Year DSOY2096)
Gordon, John: Step By Step (Strata East 19760, vinyl)
Grdina, Gordon/The Marrow: Ejdeha (Songlines 2409)
Halvorsen, Erik Thormod: Social Call (Losen 189)
Henderson, Fletcher: A Study In Frustration (Poll Winners 27380)
Henriksen, Arve: The Height Of The Reeds (rune grammofon 2201)
Holdsworth, Dave/New Brew: Wodgi (Capton 01)
Jackson, Lucia: You And The Night And The Music (Roni Music 6672)
Kendrick, Johnaye: Flying (Johnygirl, no number)
Kenton, Stan: Concerts In Miniature Part 23 (Sounds Of Yester Year DSOY2091)
Knudsen, Kenneth/Oliver Hoiness: November Tango (Stunt 18022)
Landfermann, Robert: Brief (Pirouet 3103)
Lassy, Timo: Moves (Membran 234482)
Lindner, Jason/Now vs. Now: The Buffering Cocoon (Sunjah Music 3779045)
Mapping Oceans: Marea (Just For The Records 726)
Martinelli, Samuel: Crossing Paths (
Mathisen, Per/& Jan Gunnar Hoff/With Horacio Hernandez: Barxeta II (Losen 183)
Mazolewski, Wojtek: Polka (Whirlwind 4725)
Meurkens, Hendrik/Bill Cunliffe: Cabin In The Sky (Height Advantage 002)
NES: Ahlam (ACT 9865)
Nuss, Hubert: Standards And Other Stories (Pirouet 3105)
O'Connell, Bill: Jazz Latin (Savant 2172)
Pálsson, Jóel: Dagar Koma (Flugur 009)
Pepper, Art: Modern Art: The Russ Freeman Sessions (Poll Winners 27371)
Pieranunzi/Fonnesbaek: Blue Waltz (Stunt 18012)
Powers, Wayne: If Love Were All (Kabockie 1031)
Rathbun, Andrew/Large Ensemble: Atwood Suites (Origin 82755)
Rosnes, Renee: Beloved Of The Sky (Smoke Sessions 1801)
Royal Krunk Jazz Orchestra: Get It How You Live (Ropeadope 430)
Run Logan Run: The Delicate Balance Of Terror (Weizenbaum 003)
Sassoon, Jeremy: Live (
Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: Sweet Sister Suite (Spartacus 026)
Segal-Garcia, Cathy: The Jazz Chamber (Dash Hoffman 1022)
Skydive Trio: Sun Sparkle (Hubro 2596)
Slettahjell, Solveig: Live At Victoria Hall (Jazzland 377 916 7)
Snidero, Jim/& Jeremy Pelt: Jubilation! (Savant 2167)
Sörensen, Claus: My Burnin' Valentine (CVM 001)
South Florida Jazz Orchestra: The Music Of Gary Lindsay: Are We Still Dreaming (Summit 728)
Sugarwork: Sugarwork (Harriphonic 1801)
Supermood: Supermood (Leo 761)
The End: Svarmod Och Vemod Ar Vardesinnen (Rare Noise 097)
Thielemans, Toot: The Soul Of Toots Thielemans (Jazz Images 24735)
Toronto Jazz Orchestra: 20 (TJO 004)
Varady, Andreas: The Quest (Resonance 1026)
Various: Fahrt Ins Blaue II: Groovin' In The Spirit Of Jazz (ACT 9866)
Various: Dance To The Bands! (Sepia 1327)
Various: Songs Of Harry Warren/Lullaby Of Broadway (& Hollywood!) (Retrospective 4334)
Various (Guarnieri, Bradley, Slack): Big Band Boogie / Boogie Woogie On The 88 (Sepia 1326)
Vu, Cuong: Change In The Air (RareNoise 091)
Wickham, Chip: Shamal Wind (Lovemonk 60)
Wood, Charlie: Tomorrow Night (Perdido 1801)
XL Big Band: Gråskala (CVM 002)

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):

* 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

(*) indicates a half-star


Solo Intro; Dakar Dance; Thumbs Up; Pentahouse; Chairman Mao; Blues Connotation; Mopti; Solo Outro (47.07)
Binker Golding (ts); Liam Noble (p); Paul Michael (elb); Baker (d). London, 21-22 September 2016.
Spark! 006

For this actual jazz hack so much contemporary jazz (at least on record) lacks the spark. Trying to define what that spark is isn’t a task to be embarked on here, and there isn’t enough room for manoeuvre within the word count to discuss what it is, even approximately. This album does, however, have it.

On the face of it the spark might be indefinable anyway. After all, there are countless recorded incidents of tenor sax, piano, bass and drums coming together to make music destined to sit on a shelf for years once the listener’s digested it, and while times are so conservative that even recording a programme of compositions by the likes of Ornette Coleman and Mark Helias is a politely radical act, it’s in the execution that the spark’s best manifested. Helias’s Pentahouse is a good example because it throws the spotlight on Golding’s individual tone, which is refreshingly evocative of Odean Pope, and Noble’s execution, which has the ring of originality which comes only from having listened widely and digested.

Messrs Blackwell (Ed, not Otis) and Swallow spring to mind when it comes to Baker and Michael, though not in either case to the point where the influence prevails. On Karl Berger’s Dakar Dance Baker gives the beat some air even while she and Michael impart just the right degree of impetus, allowing the music to breathe. To tell the truth it’ll be a long time before this set’s consigned to a shelf and forgotten about.
Nic Jones


My Mood Is You; Temptation; Almost In Love; I’ll Always Leave The Door A Little Open; First Began; They Didn’t Believe Me; My Heart Tells Me; The Lonely One; Love Like This Can’t Last; Marie (52.39)
Cole (v); Joel Frahm (ts, ss); John di Martino (p); Randy Napolean (g); Elias Bailey (b); Quentin Baxter (d). Teaneck, NJ, USA, 26-27 September 2017.
HighNote 7312

Freddy, now an octogenarian, has long followed in the footsteps of his famous brother Nat as a professional vocalist. He still sings very well, with supple intonation, relaxed timing and respect for the melody. He doesn’t set out to copy Nat closely, but his warm, comfortable approach and occasional mannerisms of phrasing show clear signs of Nat’s influence. His established and experienced rhythm section contributes tastefully swinging backing, and the instrumentalists are deservedly allocated considerable space to stretch out with some stylish solos. Bassist Elias Bailey impresses in a lovely slow version of They Didn’t Believe Me, and with the excellently played bowed melody lead in The Lonely One (one recorded by Nat). Guest saxophonist Joel Frahm adds both lyricism and some spirited bop to the mix. An enjoyable, gently swinging album of love ballads, sung with appealing charm by this veteran vocalist.
Hugh Rainey


It Begins; What We’re Made Of; Heartsafe; Strange Meeting; All I Want; Open; Trouble Out There; Echoes; Be Careful; Dreamer; Still Crazy After All These Years (62.53)
Colman (v, p); Rebecca Nash (p, elp); Steve Banks (g, elg); Percy Pursglove (t, flh); Adriano Adewale, Johnathon Silk (pc, d); Ben Markland (b, elb); Jules Jackson (b); Carducci String Quartet. Backing singers. Birmingham, March 2017.
Stoney Lane 1968

Two tracks here were composed by Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon. The rest of the material was composed by the leader or in collaboration with others although she wrote all the lyrics to the original songs. The first two pieces and Strange Meeting feature soft focus, lyrical flugelhorn or trumpet from Pursglove. The songs are personal to Ms Colman and sung in a warm, rather folksy voice with good, clear diction. Strange Meeting benefits from jazz solos and backings by Banks on guitar and Pursglove’s trumpet. These two musicians are responsible for most of the jazz content on the record. Mitchell’s All I Want is given a fresh slant, Colman’s voice intimate and there is a neat improvised Rhodes outing from Rebecca Nash.

The music here is a mix of mainstream popular, folk and jazz with some striking arrangements and sympathetic instrumental playing, the string quartet and backing vocals on some tracks reinforcing the pop music style of much of the material. It may all not appeal directly to jazz purists but it is melodic easy listening throughout and Colman has an attractive voice. Try Be Careful for the strongest jazz moments in the set.
Derek Ansell


(1) Constantinople; My Heart Belongs To Daddy; I Found A Million Dollar Baby In A Five And Ten Cent Store; My Man; (2) In Your Own Sweet Way; The Duke; Take The ‘A’ Train; I’m In A Dancing Mood; Two Part Contention (56.08)
(1) Gillespie (t); Les Spann (g, f); Junior Mance (p); Sam Jones (b); Lex Humphries (d). Newport Jazz Festival, Rhode Island, July 1959.
(2) Paul Desmond (as); Brubeck (p); Norman Bates (b); Joe Dodge (d). Newport Jazz Festival, Rhode Island, July 1956.
Sounds Of Yester Year 2096

Brubeck in 1956 and Gillespie in 1959 were leaders in waiting, Dave for a dynamic rhythm section and Diz for a complete change of personnel. Both changes were not long in coming. Dizzy’s backing here was good on paper, but less so in the flesh. Spann was a poor partner for the great trumpeter, and the tunes this unit performed posed few challenges and included a truly irritating arrangement of My Heart Belongs To Daddy. Dizzy’s exuberance and Mance’s soulful solos just about save the day, but things were soon to get much better when Leo Wright came aboard to replace Spann.

There has been a plethora of Brubeckiana of late, and here is another generous slice, containing two of the pianist’s most felicitous compositions in The Duke and In Your Own Sweet Way, both of which were eagerly snapped up by Miles Davis. However, I must confess to preferring Brubeck’s reflective versions of these pieces on his Columbia solo set. One point to note in this interpretation of The Duke is Paul Desmond’s sincere bow to Johnny Hodges. As ever, it is Desmond who supplies most of the musical interest on the set, playing with wit, grace and subtle swing. He was always listenable and never less than interesting.

Both sessions feature the respective bands’ most recent recorded repertoire, encouraging comparisons with the studio takes. The differences are not as marked as one might suppose. Incidentally, when Columbia first released the Brubeck material, The Duke was omitted and included instead on a sampler.
Mark Gardner


Come April; Reefs And Roots; The Swans Bend Their Necks Backward To See God; Height Of The Reeds In The Wetlands; Is There A Limit For The Internal?; Nymphs And Eurasian Horses; Waders; The Wind In The Willows; Pink Cherry Trees (42.49)
Henriksen (t, v); Eivind Aarset (g, elec); Jan Bang (samples, programming); Jez Riley French (field recordings); Choir and Orchestra of Opera North (v, orch); three vocalists. Kristiansand, Leeds, 2017.
Rune Grammofon 2201

The Height Of Reeds was commissioned by the city of Hull, as Britain’s cultural capital in 2017, to celebrate the longstanding maritime relationship between Hull and Scandinavia. It provided the music for a sound walk during which participants donned headphones as they crossed the Humber Bridge. Apparently, 15,000 hardy souls braved the Humber’s bracing winds that spring. Local sound artist Jez Riley French supplied field recordings from the bridge itself, including the creaking of its steel wires, the noise of the river below, and the songs of the river’s reeds in the wind. Opera North’s choir and orchestra provided the necessary space for the three main soloists while two actors and a child read translations of poems by the Norwegian poet Nils Christian Moe-Repstad.

It would be glib to say that you had to be there to appreciate all this fully, but the presence of strings and the perfectly enunciated words do turn this set into a formal performance piece rather than a work of jazz. But Henriksen’s evocative trumpet set against the ethereal electronics and sampling of Aarset and Bang more than holds its own, while Riley’s field recordings provide a surprising resonance to some of the pieces. Actually, I do think you had to be there, but as a sound-track, it more than stands up by itself.
Simon Adams


Wodgi; Harambee II; Waiting For The Rain; Suite: Anytime Now – About Time, To Quietness, Stump, Jalanga; Ten Day Simon; Lydia’s List; Too Late, Too Late; Beefa, Lickety Split; Perhaps Tomorrow (71.44)
Holdsworth (t, flh): Alan Wakeman (ss, ts); Roz Harding (as); Marcus Vergette (b); Coach York (d). Plympton, Devon, 12-13 February 2018.
Capton 01

Holdsworth is omitted from jazz encyclopaedias that should know better, presumably because he largely shunned the music business: he was a teacher (not of music) until 1992. However, I remember hearing him often, on early Mike Westbrook recordings and at gigs with other line-ups in London, where he had moved in 1964, joining that remarkable scene and playing with Westbrook, Mike Osborne, Mike Gibbs, Chris McGregor, John Warren, Graham Collier, Kenny Wheeler and Barry Guy, amongst others.

Holdsworth’s compositions pay tribute to the exciting, experimental jazz of that period. The title track was written back then and indicates that Holdsworth was strongly impressed by Ornette Coleman’s quartet recordings, whilst ensembles in the four-movement Anytime Now evoke Albert Ayler’s take on New Orleans. On another tack, Harambee II and Lickety Spit showcase stirring solos by Harding and Wakeman, against infectious whirling patterns by Vergette and York, recalling the Caribbean and South African input. Holdsworth often cedes space to the other horns (who play superbly throughout, improvising absorbing solos and plumping ensembles) but when he steps upfront he plays with clarity, wit, swing and exemplary lucidity.

New Brew did little rehearsal before these sessions, but Holdsworth and Wakeman go way back and the others have worked with them quite a bit in recent years, notably in Westbrook’s Uncommon Orchestra. The band coheres and interacts gratifyingly, as you’d expect from personnel of this calibre. This is Holdsworth’s debut album as leader, though there was a CD by a quartet co-led with Liane Carroll, Ten Day Simon (1990, Cadillac) and, apparently, an obscure cassette by one of his bands. Wodji should get companies and producers queueing to record a follow-up.
Barry Witherden


Obama Samba; Just One Of Those Things; It’s Ok; Footprints; Goodbye My Friends; Quicksand; Tip Toes; Puttin’ On The Ritz; Mom’s Song; Zingaro; What Is This? (63.08)
Randy Brecker (flh); Craig Handy (ts); Andrea Brachfeld (f); Conrad Herwig (tb); Dan Carillo (g); O’Connell (p); Lincoln Goines (elb); Robby Ameen (d). Paramus, New Jersey, 10 January, 2018.
Savant 2172

Pianist Bill O’Connell adds a Latin flavour to the jazz mix in this tasty package of seven of his compositions interspersed with tunes by Porter, Berlin, Jobim and Shorter. While the trio takes the lion’s share of performances, he presents guest appearances on five tracks by individual soloists, making for a set of welcome variety and individuality. Brecker lights up Goodbye My Friend, Handy figures in It’s OK, Herwig’s trombone enlivens Puttin’ On The Ritz, Carillo’s guitar is heard on both Goodbye and Mom’s Song while Brachfeld is featured on Quicksand.
O’Connell is an excellent pianist with a good touch and ready flow of well-shaped ideas. He uses electric piano sparingly (thankfully) on only a couple of tracks. One of the set’s best performances is the trio version of Wayne Shorter’s Footprints, a favourite outlet for numerous players, and now a recognised jazz standard. O’Connell delivers it beautifully, and also provides a splendid account of Jobim’s Zingaro. All in all a thoroughly attractive and listenable outing by the pianist and friends offering continuous aural appeal.
Mark Gardner

Never Let Me Go; You’ve Changed; All Of Me; Body And Soul; Lush Life; When Your Lovers Has Gone; Willow Weep For Me; You Don’t Know What Love Is; If Love Were All; Just In Time; East Of The Sun (West Of The Moon); I Only Have Eyes For You; Time After Time; Smile (52.12)
Powers (v); Ziad Rabie (ts); Keith Davis (p); Ron Brendle (b); Al Sergel (d). Unknown location, 15- 16 January 2018.
Kabockie 1031

Actor, comedian, voice-over artist and radio personality Wayne Powers releases his first CD for 25 years, but one wonders if it has really been worth the wait. Can there be anything new to say in an album based on the Great American Songbook? Given this lazy selection of songs, and the execution of them, the answer would have to be no.

Things get off to a shaky start with Powers’ wheezy reading of Never Let Me Go, and go downhill from there. He’s just about okay in the lower register of his vocals, but in top range he’s struggling badly, grappling to hold the song and to give any power and emotion to what should be some stellar material. This pattern repeats itself as the album unfolds - familiar material put through the wringer for the apparent benefit of no-one. Rabie, Davis, Brendle and Sergel do the best they can with what they have to work with, but it is the vocals that capture the attention of the listener - for all the wrong reasons. If Love Were All is a good example of what is wrong with a lot of jazz albums at the moment: over-familiar material recorded with little thought behind what new the performer can bring to a seam of classics that have been mined to extinction. Excrutiating.
John Adcock

Party Time; Del Sasser; Wabash; Saudade; Stars Fell On Alabama; Sack O’ Woe; Ball’s 90th; Work Song (53.21)
Pelt (t); Snidero (as); David Hazeltine (p); Nat Reeves (b); Billy Drummond (d). New York City, 23 December 2017.
Savant 2167

All five musicians in this celebration are admirers of the Adderley brothers and the joyous sounds made by their groups. When the Miles Davis group broke up, Davis and Coltrane went off to explore jazz-rock and avant-garde areas respectively, whereas Cannonball hewed to the jazz mainstream and the tuneful zone of hard bop. That’s where Snidero and Pelt are happiest. Here they recycle six excellent items from the Adderley book plus a brace of their own creations in the rich vein that the brothers mined so successfully. Avoiding imitation of their inspirations, Snidero and Pelt nevertheless wallow in the communicative spirit that was intrinsic to the Adderley style. They reached audiences with a deceptive ease, such was their accomplished musicianship. That happy feeling is recreated in this finely honed tribute to a band and specific style which was routinely dismissed as commercial and unadventurous in its time.

Two of the pieces recall a session by the Miles Davis personnel (minus the leader) during a Chicago gig. Modality was set aside as Cannonball, Coltrane and company returned to changes. Wabash was one of the alto saxophonist’s most attractive lines, and he laid down a ravishing version of Stars Fell On Alabama, recalled here with expressive delight by Snidero. Work Song and Sack O’ Woe were totemic items in the Adderley repertoire, and bassists Sam Jones (Del Sasser) and Walter Booker (Saudade) also contributed significantly. Ball’s 90th, by Snidero, reminds us that Cannonball would have been 90 on 15 September 2018. Unfortunately he lived for only 46 years, but packed a heap of music into that relatively short span. Jubilation! is a timely reminder of a notable band and its dynamic leader. It should prompt listeners to re-explore Cannonball’s substantial legacy.
Mark Gardner


Tomorrow Night; Stay With Me; The Good Stuff; One By One; Lullaby; How Can You Mend A Broken Heart; Never Make Your Move Too Soon; You Can’t Have My Blues; To Memphis, With Love; Members Only; Killing Floor; These Arms Of Mine (52.42)
Ryan Quigley (t); Brandon Allen (s); Mark Nightingale (tb); Wood (v, kyb); Chris Allard (elg); Dudley Phillips (b); Nic France (d). Special guest: Jacqui Dankworth (v). Woodworm Studios, Oxfordshire, 2018.
Perdido 1801

Guy grew up in Memphis. What the hell else was he going to do with his life? Charlie Wood just passed 50, which is a good time for a soul-blues voice. His seventh album is a stonker and Stay With Me is the male vocal performance of the year, delivered with equal parts of authority and yearning.

By the kind of happy coincidence that wins me ribald jeers in One Sweet Letter, I got Charlie’s promo on the day I was teaching a graduate class on Lionel Trilling’s Sincerity And Authenticity. I know, I know. Trilling doesn’t really define either concept, but concedes that in its modern sense, authenticity is “staying true to one’s self” rather than to some e(x)ternally defined code, order or tradition. I’ve no idea how “authentic” is Wood’s take on the blues and R&B tradition, but it’s absolutely true to itself. As the young people say, he owns it.

He doesn’t let you forget where this all comes from. To Memphis, With Love (and that comma somehow confirms the quality of the man!) is quickly followed by the Bobby “Blue” Bland-associated Members Only, which is a reminder that Bobby came out of Barretville, TN, with that great heartland voice and melting-pot stylistic that blends folk, country, blues and jazz with absolute ease. Wood does great things with Howling Wolf’s Killing Floor and Otis Redding’s These Arms Of Mine, and it’s here that you realise, a little belatedly, how subtle is his sense of time and phrasing, akin to Kurt Elling’s. He really does put the commas in the right places.

The originals are mostly grouped at the beginning of the set. With the Bee Gees song, it moves over largely to covers, but utterly remade and personalised. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart is a reminder of how heartbreaking a songwriter Robin Gibb was. Makes me want to hear Charlie’s take on Another Lonely Night In New York or Love Just Goes.

The band’s in great shape. The horns shout encouragement on the title track, and there’s plenty of tasty guitar, but Charlie’s organ and piano are the main support. Only one quibble: those damned fade-outs – performances as good as these deserve to be brought to a proper close.
Brian Morton


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