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 a month

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

Aarum, Anders: Shakin' Our Souls (Ozella 088)
Aerie: Sonic (QFTF 041)
Allen, JD: Lovestone (Savant 2169)
Ambrose & His Orchestra: When Day Is Done (Retrospective 4338)
Andriotis, Strat: Night Manager (Dekatria 003)
Basie, Count: All About That Basie! (Concord CJA-00109)
Bennett, Tony/Diana Krall: Love Is Here To Stay (Decca)
Bevan, Sam: Emergence (sambevan.com)
Black Art Jazz Collective: Armor Of Pride (HighNote 7313)
Blakey, Art/The Jazz Messengers: Complete Concert At Club Saint Germain (Essential Jazz Classics 55745)
Brubeck, Dave/Quartet: Bossa Nova U.S.A (State Of Art 81242)
Cline, Patsy: Three Classic Albums Plus (Avid Country 1313)
Coltrane, John/Quartet: Africa/Brass (State Of Art 81249)
Davis, Miles: Birth Of The Cool (Essential Jazz Classics 55749)
Doty, Ellen: Come Fall (Alma ACD32182)
Eno, Roger: Dust Of Stars (Painted Word 1)
Farrell, Joe: Joe Farrell Quartet/Outback/Moon Germs (Beat Goes On 1346)
Feather, Lorraine: Math Camp (Relarion 314)
Freeman, Mike/Zonavibe: Venetian Blinds (Vibes Out Front 2018-7)
Fusco, Andy: Turmoil (SteepleChase 31843)
George, Camilla: The People Could Fly (Ubuntu Music 0015)
Gibbs, Michael/Gary Burton Quartet: Festival 69 (Turtle 503)
Gillespie, Dizzy/His Orchestra: Gillespiana (Essential Jazz Classics 55751)
Gordon, Dexter: Espace Cardin 1977 (Elemental 5990431)
Green, Danny: One Day It Will (OA2 22154)
Hall, Jim: Concierto/Big Blues/Studio Trieste (Beat Goes On 1342)
Haltli, Frode: Avant Folk (Hubro 2604)
Harris, Stefon/Blackout: Sonic Creed (Motéma)
Hart, Beryl: Retroactive (BH Records 942 – berylhart.co.uk)
Heinonen, Aapo: Tara (Ozella 089)
Heise, Matthias/DRBB: The Beast (Giant Sheep Music 0392)
Hubbard, Freddie: Gleam (Beat Goes On 1341)
James, José: Lean On Me (Blue Note)
Jenkins, Lillette: The Music Of Lil Armstrong (Chiaroscuro 302)
Jungr, Barb/John McDaniel: Float Like A Butterfly (Kristalyn 05)
Katz, Darrell/And The JCA Orchestra: Rats Live On No Evil Star (JCA 1804)
Law, Ant: Life I Know (Edition 1119)
Lawrence, Jamie/Sextet, The: New York Suite (Good Mood Records)
Levy, Allegra: Looking At The Moon (SteepleChase 31852)
Lilley, Andrew: Brother Gone (cdbaby.com/cd/andrewlilley2)
McCrary, Howard: Moments Like This (Bear 58)
McLaughlin, John/& The 4th Dimension With Jimmy Herring & The Invisible Whip: Live In San Francisco (Abstract Logix 059)
Michelle, Jocelyn: Live At Viva Cantina! (Chicken Coup 7027)
Modern Jazz Quartet: The Sheriff (Pure Pleasure PPAN 11414, vinyl)
Møster: States Of Minds (Hubro 2577)
Myhr, Kim: Pressing Clouds Passing Crowds (Hubro 2612)
Nojakin: Perfection In A Bird (QFTF/076)
Oslo 14 Vocal Ensemble: Improvisation. Composition II (Losen 202)
Peirani, Vincent: Living Being II/Night Walker (ACT 9858)
Pellissier, Florian: Bijou Voyou Caillou (Heavenly Sweetness 178)
Person, Houston/Ron Carter: Remember Love (HighNote 7315)
Pillow, Charles/Large Ensemble: Electric Miles (Mama 1055)
Reid, Kate: The Heart Already Knows (katereidmusic.com)
Reinhardt, Django: The Best Of/24 Classic Jazz Performances (State Of Art 81246)
Salvant, Cecile McLorin: The Window (Mack Avenue 1132)
Sands, Christian: Facing Dragons (Mack Avenue 1143)
Segal, Gene: Transformation (SteepleChase 31849)
Shavers, Charlie: Decidedly (Retrospective 4340)
Shaw, Woody: Live In Bremen 1983 (Elemental 5990430)
Shorter, Wayne: Emanon (Blue Note)
Skogstad, Hakon: Two Hands To Tango (Avantango 002)
Sosa, Omar/Yilian Canizares: Aguas (Ota 1032)
Spence, Alister/Satoko Fujii: Intelsat (Alister Spence Music 007)
Staton, Dakota: Four Classic Albums Second Set (Avid Jazz 1312)
Sundstøl, Geir: Brødløs (Hubro 2603)
Tonbruket: Live Salvation (ACT 9867)
Tonhaufen Deluxe: Cygnus 5 Expanse (Hout Records 003)
Trondheim Jazz Orchestra/Ole Morten Vagan: Happy Endlings (Odin 9567)
Turrentine, Stanley: Sugar/Gilberto With Turrentine/Salt Song (Beat Goes On 1345)
Vaughan, Sarah: Sings George Gershwin (Essential Jazz Classics 55750)
Vloeimans, Eric: Levanter (V-Flow 02)
Warfield, Tim: Jazzland (Criss 1400 CD)
Wendel, Ben: The Seasons (Motéma, number?)
Willcox, Scott/Big Band With Georgia Mancio: All Change! (scottwillcoxbigband.co.uk)
Yellowjackets: Raising Our Voice (Mack Avenue 1137)
Young, Lester: The Complete Aladdin Recordings (Essential Jazz Classics 55748)

Examples of the 76 album reviews covered in 20,000 words of CD review:

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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

(*) indicates a half-star
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STRAT ANDRIOTIS
NIGHT MANAGER
(1) Song 21; (2) Secrets; Chili’s Blues; (3) Can’t Wait; Avid; Feverpitch; The Arrival; (4) I Hear A Rhapsody (34.33)
Andriotis (g) on all tracks; Jerry Goodman (vln). (1) add Gonzalo Rubalcaba (p). (2) add Adrean Farrugia (p) but omit Rubalco. (3) omit Rubalco and Farrugia. (4) omit Goodman. Ontario, no date, c. 2018.
Dekatria 003
***

Strat Andriotis was born in Greece but departed with his parents from there when aged four and is now a resident of Ontario, Canada. As a budding guitarist he was initially inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, so his forename (or nickname?) seems appropriate. But despite the heavy-metal moniker, on this recording Andriotis plays a Gibson J-200 for the rhythm tracks and a Gibson Super 200 for his lead guitar work. On the Fragos/Baker/Gasparre cover of I Hear A Rhapsody, Andriotis plays solo, multi-tracking the lead and rhythm guitar parts, using a 1964 Gibson Johnny Smith archtop for the job. The primary USP for this album is undoubtedly the collaboration with jazz-rock legend Jerry Goodman who appears on all but one of the tracks and co-wrote The Arrival with Andriotis.

In the guitar and violin interaction there’s a distinct reminder of John McLaughlin’s seminal My Goal’s Beyond (Douglas, 1971) on which Goodman played a memorable role. Night Manager is the follow-up to Andriotis’s previous album, Less Off Patient (2016, Dekatria), which differed from this latest recording by virtue of its piano/violin/guitar configuration throughout, imbuing a rather more classically oriented chamber jazz approach. But here the music is far more bluesy and jazzy than its predecessor. The publicity blurb labels this as “Gypsy Jazz” but that term serves only to assign a hackneyed stereotype and consequently undersells the record. Much better would be to describe this as contemporary acoustic jazz, which it is. But with original compositions predominantly outnumbering standards, fans of gypsy jazz (and others) will undoubtedly enjoy this as a reimagining of the unforgettable pairing of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli.
Roger Farbey


TONY BENNETT & DIANA KRALL
LOVE IS HERE TO STAY

S’Wonderful; My One And Only; But Not For Me; Nice Work If You Can Get It; Love Is Here To Stay; I’ve Got Rhythm; Somebody Loves Me; Do It Again; I’ve Got A Crush On You; Fascinating Rhythm; They Can’t Take That Away From Me; Who Cares (36.00)
Bennett (v); Krall (v); Bill Charlap (p); Peter Washington (b); Kenny Washington (d). No place info, 2018.
Verve
***

Tony Bennett began his love affair with duet albums in 2001 with Playin’ With My Friends, which featured the likes of Stevie Wonder and k.d. lang trading fours with the indomitable singer. Since then he’s teamed up with Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga and Elton John, among many others, as well as Diana Krall – yet this is their first full album together.

They’re a natural pairing: both have a cool, clear tone and spot-on timing, and favour understatement. All the tracks here are Gershwin compositions and dialogic in arrangement, creating a friendly back-and-forth between the singers. There’s little in the way of extra detail in their exchanges, however – any asides or the like are kept reserved, and relatively minimal instrumentation completes the less-is-more picture.

Fascinating Rhythm is particularly worth a listen, especially in comparison with the debut single Tony Bennett, then Joe Bari, put out in 1949; it’s energetically pacey yet unhurried, and certainly belies Bennett’s 92 years. The two singers do also split up for a couple of solo numbers, with Krall’s thoughtful, poignant reading of But Not For Me being especially effective. Listeners familiar with the two singers’ styles and the Gershwin canon (and who here isn’t?) will find little to surprise them in this set, and that’s no bad thing: expect just over half an hour of top-notch versions of top-notch songs from dyed-in-the-wool jazz singers, and that’s exactly what you’ll get.
Sally Evans-Darby


CAMILLA GEORGE
THE PEOPLE COULD FLY

(2) Tappin The Land Turtle; (1) He Lion, Bruh Bear, Bruh Rabbit; How Nehemiah Got Free; (3) Little Eight John; (4) The People Could Fly; (1) Carrying The Runnings Away; The Most Useful Slave; (5) Here But I’m Gone (40.43)
(1) George (as); Sarah Tandy (p, Rhodes); Daniel Casimir (b); Winston Clifford (d). (2) as (1) add Cherise Adams-Burnett (v); Shirley Tetteh (elg). (3) as (2) omit Tetteh. (4) as (2) omit Adams-Burnett and Clifford, add Femi Koleoso (d). (5) as (4) add Omar Lye-Fook (v); Quentin Collins (t). London, 4-5 January 2017.
Ubuntu Music 0015
***

The People Could Fly is a set of saxophonist Camilla George’s original compositions (with one exception), produced by pianist Andrew McCormack and based on a book of African stories. The book is dear to George’s heart and it’s inspired a fine album that showcases George and her band on a wide-ranging collection of songs, from the upbeat and danceable (Tappin The Land Turtle, The People Could Fly) to the beautiful, if somewhat macabre, Little Eight John, a lullaby with a warning of “raw head and bloody bones” delivered impeccably by Cherise Adams-Burnett.

George is ever-present; her contributions are measured and refreshingly understated on the quieter, more reflective, numbers. It’s her band, but there’s never any sense that she’s hogging the limelight: there are plenty of opportunities for her fellow musicians to shine. Keyboard player Sarah Tandy and bassist Daniel Casimir also play on every track, with drum duties shared between Winston Clifford and Femi Koleoso. Whoever is in the drum seat, this rhythm section is tight and reliable, each member eminently capable of soloing or shifting to a more melodic role. Guitarist Shirley Tetteh won a best newcomer award at one of those London jazz award ceremonies and on this evidence it was thoroughly deserved – her deft and light touch on the opening to The People Could Fly is original and skilful.

The album closes with George’s arrangement of Curtis Mayfield’s Here But I’m Gone, featuring Omar Lye-Fook. It’s a downbeat and pessimistic song, but Lye-Fook’s vocal and the band’s performance are spellbinding. It’s a treat to hear an album that’s so consistently high-quality, both in the writing and the performances. Let’s hope this band stays together for future recordings.
Bruce Lindsay


DEXTER GORDON
ESPACE CARDIN 1977

Sticky Wicket; Oleo; Body And Soul; Antabus (46.28)
Gordon (ts, ss); Al Haig (p); Pierre Michelot (b); Kenny Clarke (d). Espace Cardin, Paris, 25 September 1977.
Elemental 5990531 (vinyl)

ESPACE CARDIN 1977
Sticky Wicket; Ala Modal; Body And Soul; Antabus; Oleo; Round Midnight (68.30)
Personnel and dates as above.
Elemental 5990431 (CD)
***(*)

Always a highly consistent performer, Gordon was only slightly less than his best when local rhythm sections were not quite what he was used to. This very welcome discovery came at the end of his continental stay when he was preparing a return to USA to form his own, regular band. No problem here though as he linked up with the splendid bass and drum team that had propelled him in 1964 on Our Man In Jazz for Blue Note. It was also, surprisingly, the only time he ever recorded with Al Haig and the pianist gives him just the sort of support that always produced the very best in Dex.

As the quotes from the tenor man come thick and fast you can tell he is in his element, bouncing off Haig’s chords and spinning chorus after chorus of newly minted phrases. His own line Sticky Wicket is a 13-minute-plus joyous workout for everybody with Dexter on top of his game and Haig not far behind. Michelot and Clarke get plenty of space to solo too. A La Modal features Dex on soprano, not an instrument he played very often but he had a rich, strong sound and once into this modal track he is as inventive as ever.

The 14-minute Body And Soul sounds like Dexter’s attempt to make the definitive bop version after Hawkins claimed it for his landmark recording. The intro is borrowed from Coltrane’s version but after that it is all newly improvised Gordon, a fresh look at an old warhorse. Antabus is a tasty blues with everybody on great form and Round Midnight is an encore track from the concert featuring Haig and the rhythm section.

Gordon plays as well on this release as I’ve heard him since his landmark recording Go! With Sonny Clark in 1962. He had matured since then and was even more assured and in full flight with ideal company. Haig’s solos complement and enhance the session generally. Once again, like the recent Coltrane discovery, it is a mystery how this set came to be unissued until now. Sound is excellent on both issues but only the CD has the extra tracks.
Derek Ansell


MATHIAS HEISE & THE DANISH RADIO BIG BAND
THE BEAST
Para Mi Madre; Brain Soup; The Beast; Repetition; Evening Coffee; One Man Army; Sudden Ascent; Love Song (49.04)
Heise (comp, arr, hca, syn, p); Danish Radio Big Band. Prominent soloists: Nicolai Schultz (f); Peter Fuglsang (reeds); Gerard Presencer (flh); Per Gade (g); Nikolaj Bentzon (p). Denmark, 2018.
Giant Sheep Music 0392
***(*)

You may not have heard of Mathias Heise – but Denmark has: the 25-year-old harmonica player, pianist and composer won the title Chromatic Harmonica World Champion (2013), The Crown Prince Couple’s Stardust Award (2016) and the Ben Webster Prize (2017).

The album title comes from his perception of the big band as “almost like a beast that has to be tamed”. The big band can be as free, possibly beastly, as any composer likes; here, Heise pushes harmony to its limits but everything is ordered and rhythmically pretty well contained in familiar Latin, swing and funk frameworks. For example, there’s samba in Para Mi Madre, a Trane-type modal situation in Brain Soup and brisk hip-hop in the jazz-fusion of The Beast.

A. Schoenberg is credited as inspiration for the tone-row based Repetition, but there’s nothing forbidding here, Heise telling us his ears rather than the math were the final arbiter; the result is nicely consonant Latin-rock. There’s no beastliness on Evening Coffee either, a jazz ballad that wouldn’t be out of place on a Thielemans record. One Man Army, dedicated to Heise’s hero Karl Popper, is a uptempo bebop head that turns modal for solos, Sudden Ascent is a rock-cum-swing piece and Love Song is just as its title suggests.

First-class soloists (Heise included) are sprinkled throughout – notably Presencer on plump flugel on the opener and Gade in hot, distorted, nicely polytonal mode on The Beast. The leader’s name may yet be unfamiliar outside Denmark but the work is world class, as so much with the imprimatur of the DRBB.
Mark Gilbert


FREDDIE HUBBARD
GLEAM
CD1: Put It In The Pocket; Ebony Moonbeams; Betcha By Golly Wow; Spirits Of Trane (41.44)
CD2: Kuntu; Midnight At The Oasis; Too High (46.40)

Hubbard (t, flh); Carl Randall Jr (ts, f); George Cables (elp); Henry Franklin (elb); Carl Burnett (d); Buck Clarke (pc). Tokyo, March 1975.
Beat Goes On 1341
***(*)

Miles Davis was in Japan, too, just a month before this date, playing the concerts that were released as Agharta and Pangaea. Depending on your point of view, these are either dark masterpieces or unlistenable slabs of electronic sludge. Hubbard’s Yubin Chokin Hall appearance was similarly amped up: no electric guitars but plenty of Fender bass and keys, everything funking out over a heavy backbeat. There are moments on the 23-minute Kuntu, a relentless Afro-modal idea that took up the whole of the original side three, when you might be listening to a Miles group, except the trumpet sound is wrong and Miles’s sax players never got the leeway granted to the splendid Carl Randall.

I’ve not heard Gleam since maybe the year it came out. I seem to remember that it was a Japanese import and maybe I felt undersold. Not sure why. It’s a cracking set and well-recorded. The material comes either from Polar AC and High Energy, respectively his last CTI recording and first for Columbia. That, and three tunes (Put It In The Pocket, Kuntu, Midnight At The Oasis) being roadtested for the next studio album Liquid Love, which featured basically the same band (plus guitars).

Freddie’s in powerful voice. Interesting to hear him essay the Maria Muldaur-associated, David Nichtern tune as a slow ballad. One sometimes felt that Hubbard doubted his own balladry, a misreading that led him ever deeper into lip-busting power play. He’s completely on top of it here, mellowly thoughtful on flugelhorn. His choice of the Stylistics’ Betcha By Golly Wow anticipates some of Miles’s later pop covers. It’s brilliantly done, as is the effects-heavy Too High from Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions. Clever choices that, along with George Cables’ Ebony Moonbeams, written for Hubbard, round out a top notch set.
Brian Morton


JAMIE LAWRENCE SEXTET
NEW YORK SUITE
(1) New York Suite; (2) Margot With A “T”; Watts What; Beluga Triangle; (3) Tongue Twister (43.15)
Lawrence (p, syn, comp, arr) with: (1) Jim Pugh (tb); Marty Ehrlich (as, cl); JD Parran (ts, cl, acl); Carlos Henriquez (b); Peter Erskine (d, pc); Ed Bialek (hca). New York, 1988- 1990 & 2017-2018.
(2) Pugh (tb); Lawrence Feldman (as); Eddie Daniels (ts); John Beal (b); Ronnie Zito (d). NY, 1988-1990.
(3) Jon Faddis (t); George Young (as); Lou Marini (ts); Jeff Mironov (g); Francisco Centeno (elb); Jamey Haddad (pc); Chris Parker (d). NY, 1988-1990.
Good Mood Records
***(*)

Most of the music here, all of it previously unreleased, was written and recorded around 30 years ago by pianist and composer Jamie Lawrence, son of veteran pianist and bandleader Elliot Lawrence. In the case of New York Suite, however, the demo rhythm track Lawrence originally provided for the front line has been replaced with recent overdubs by Henriquez and Erskine. You don’t notice the joins, and it must have been a tough job as the suite lasts over 20 minutes with many metric twists and turns.

Lawrence sums up the suite’s style well: “The music is very compositional, while at the same time feeling very loose and improvisatory”. In other words, there aren’t heads and solos, rather brief declamations amidst an arrangement that sounds continuously improvised but isn’t. The style is loosely modern bebop, redolent of something Randy Brecker might have written in the late 80s, mixed with elements of contemporary classical composition

Other tracks move elsewhere: Margot is a semi-ballad tribute to Lawrence’s mother with Daniels romantic on tenor; Watts What bops hard with Feldman fervent on alto and then, wonderful curiosity, the leader soloing wildly on what sounds like a Stylophone over a stone acoustic rhythm section – as delightfully incongruous as Bialek’s blues harmonica bursting out of the esotericism of New York Suite; the intricately scored Beluga has Eddie Daniels reminding that he was a load more than Mr. Mainstream; and Tongue Twister melds a jolly Latin beat with an unsettling and elusive chromatic theme, setting for a strong solo from Faddis.

Why was it not all fulfilled at the time? Lawrence says a busy schedule as commercial and film composer intervened. It was worth reviving – a striking lost leaf from the pages of New York jazz of the 80s.
Mark Gilbert


JOHN MCLAUGHLIN & THE 4TH DIMENSION / JIMMY HERRING & THE INVISIBLE WHIP
LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO
Meeting Of The Spirits; Birds Of Fire; A Lotus On Irish Streams; The Dance Of Maya; Trilogy; Earth Ship; Eternity’s Breath Part 1 & 2, Be Happy (71.29)
McLaughlin, Herring (g); Ranjit Barot (d, v); Gary Husband (elp, syn); Etienne M’Bappe (b, v); Jason Crosby (v, vn, elp); Kevin Scott (b); Jeff Sipe (d); Matt Slocum (org). San Francisco, 2017.
Abstract Logix 059
***(*)

Even though over 40 years have passed since the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s debut album in 1971, the music is still as powerful as ever. Joined by Jimmy Herring’s band, The Invisible Whip, they open with Meeting Of The Spirits, the first track of their debut album, The Inner Mounting Flame, and continue with songs from Birds Of Fire, Between Nothingness And Eternity, and Visions Of The Emerald Beyond.

Recorded at The Warfield, 8 December 2017, this live album demonstrates not only some of the finest jazz-fusion, but also how well it has stood the test of time. Birds Of Fire is remarkably close to the original, and Jason Crosby emulates Jean-Luc Ponty’s violin sound excellently. Another highlight is the nine-minute version of Eternity’s Breath Part 1 & 2, and the thundering energy of the two drummers lifts the ensemble as McLaughlin and Herring take turns showing off their refined guitar skills. The three keys players cover Jan Hammer’s complex keyboard parts well, creating some fantastic soundscapes, particularly during Trilogy.

As expected, McLaughlin’s playing is astonishing, and if he has slowed down at all in recent years, it can’t be heard in this performance. He creates some blistering sounds even without the use of a double-necked Gibson, and his solos are as impressive as ever. Alongside McLaughlin, Herring is just as proficient, and in A Lotus On Irish Streams their unison playing is captivating. But speed isn’t everything, and on Earth Ship they both show how tasteful and imaginative they can be. Live In San Francisco is a fantastic album, and for fans of the orchestra, it is definitely worth a listen.
Elliot Marlow-Stevens


DJANGO REINHARDT
THE BEST OF DJANGO REINHARDT

(1) Exactly Like You; Solitude; Ain’t Misbehavin’; Runnin’ Wild; Body And Soul; Hot Lips; When Day Is Done; Rose Room; Liebestraum No. 3; Miss Annabelle Lee; Tears; Mystery Pacific; (9) Swing Guitars; (3) Big Boy Blues; (7) Montmartre; Solid Old Man (Solid Rocks); Finesse (Night Wind); I Know That You Know, Low Cotton; (5) Swinging With Django; Paramount Stomp; (2) Japanese Sandman; (4) Minor Swing; (6) Bolero; (8) Douce Ambience; Manoir De Mes Rêves (77.16)
Reinhardt (g), all in Paris, with:
(1) Stéphane Grappelli (vn); Pierre “Baro” Ferret, Marcel Bianchi (g); Louis Vola (d). 21-26 April 1937.
(2) Bill Coleman (t); Dicky Wells (tb); Richard Fullbright (b); Bill Beason (d). 7 July 1937.
(3) Coleman (t); Christian Wagner (cl); Frank “Big Boy” Goudie (ts, cl); Emile Stern (p); Lucien Simoens (b); Jerry Mengo (d). 19 November 1937.
(4) Grappelli (vn); Joseph Reinhardt, Eugène Vees (g); Vola (d). 25 November 1937.
(5) as (4) add Michel Warlop (vn). 7 December 1937.
(6) Phillippe Brun, Gus Deloof, André Cornille (t); Guy Paquinet, Josse Breyre (tb); Paul Bartel, Joseph Swetchin, Warlop (vn); J. Reinhardt, Vees (g); Vola (d). 14 December 1937.
(7) Rex Stewart (t); Barney Bigard (cl, d on Solid and Finesse); Billy Taylor Snr (b). 5 April 1939.
(8) André Lluis, Gérard Lévêque (cl); Vees (g); Jean Storne (b); Gaston Léonard (d). 17 February 1943.
(9) American Swing Band (i.e. the Air Transport Command Band): Jack Platt (md); possibly: Herb Bass, Robby Gould, Jerry Stephan, Lenny (or Lonnie) Wilfong (t); Bill Decker, Don Gardner, Shelton Heath, John Kirkpatrick (tb); Jim Hayes (as, cl); Les Lieber, Joe Moser (as); Bernie Cavaliere, Bill Zickefoose (ts); Ken Lowther (bar); Larry Mann (p); Bob Decker (b); Bill Bethel (or Red Lackey) (d). 6 November 1945.
State Of Art 81246
***(*)

The first European to rise to prominence in jazz, from the outset Reinhardt was at least on par with the best American jazz musicians of his era. Listening to him all these decades after his death, it is clear that were he still around he would be up there alongside the best of the intervening years and of today.

The tracks collected here have him in various groups, all of which provide appropriate settings for his inimitable, extraordinary and often amazing solos. Readers familiar with my reviews will be aware that I seldom use words like those in that last sentence, but I find it hard to do otherwise when assessing the qualities of Reinhardt’s playing.
There are no weak moments here, although I would have liked to see his session with violinist Eddie South included but to be fair that was an occasion when Reinhardt appeared content to step out of the spotlight. Good as everything is, I am once again impressed by Manoir De Mes Rêves and Minor Swing.

Throughout there are exceptional examples of why Reinhardt’s place among the true masters of jazz is unshakeable. Regardless of age or stylistic preference, anyone who likes the guitar cannot fail to admire Rein- hardt’s skill. Recently, there have been numerous reissues of Reinhardt’s many recordings, hence readers will check carefully against their collections. This particular release appears to duplicate the double LP Capitol TBO 10226, to which are added the last two tracks. To anyone who is without examples of Reinhardt I have two things to say: “Tut tut” and “What are you waiting for?”
Bruce Crowther


WAYNE SHORTER
EMANON

CD1: (1) Pegasus; Prometheus Unbound; Lotus; The Three Marias (51.02)
CD2: (2) The Three Marias; Lost And Orbits Medley (37.23)
CD 3: (2) Lotus; She Moves Through The Fair; Adventures Aboard The Golden Mean; Prometheus Unbound (38.59)

(1) Shorter (ts, ss); Danilo Perez (p); John Patitucci (b); Brian Blade (d); Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. No location or date supplied.
(2) as (1) but Orpheus Chamber Orchestra out. London, no date supplied.
Blue Note
***(*)

Joe Zawinul told me that working with Shorter had spoiled him for all other saxophonists. For me, the sinewy, blues-shot and harmonically oblique strengths of Shorter’s 1960s work on Blue Note – as well as his many riveting moments with Blakey, Davis and Weather Report (and, to lesser degree, VSOP and Carlos Santana) – made it difficult to get too excited about any of this master saxophonist’s 1980s work on Columbia. The 1995 High Life, his initial Verve release, continued the overblown approach of the Columbia years, over a dated albeit enjoyable Marcus Miller groove. But then things picked up considerably, especially in Footprints Live! and Alegria (of 2002 and 2003 respectively) – both of which featured Shorter’s now longstanding quartet with Perez, Patitucci and Blade.

Where are we now, with this lavishly produced three-CD/LP set and graphic novel, marking Shorter’s return to Blue Note? It took a lot of listening to get into the first disc, which initially struck me as both portentous and static. Ultimately, however, the life-affirming qualities in the music got through to me. Shorter’s soprano soars incisively and his trio interact sparely and well with the estimable Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, enlivening a range of tonal but chromatically inflected themes, now dancing and up, now rubato and reflective.

The other discs document quartet concerts, where Shorter’s chops and poetic inclinations are in exhilarating dynamic accord. A leaner experience than Footprints Live! – a bit like Bartók after Beethoven – these Emanon dates essay an extraordinary dialectic of distilled means and expansive effect. At times – hear the soprano figures in the initial minutes of Lotus – I was reminded of the earliest days, as questing as they were meditative, of Weather Report. At other moments, passages of limpid impressionism from Perez metamorphose into burning ostinato figures fed by Patitucci’s and Blade’s crisp cross-hewn magic, exemplified by the tenor-pumped Fair and soprano-seared Adventures. Welcome back, Mr Mysterioso.
Michael Tucker

 


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