Jazz Sabbath: Vol. 2

Former Black Sabbath keyboard player and trio take a jazz view of the group's songbook and turn in a plausible set that fuses The Bad Plus and Dave Brubeck

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Jazz has been sucked into vortex of the Whovian world of time travel. Just when you thought you knew who’d written all those Black Sabbath classics, it transpires they were actually composed in 1969 by a trio of jazz musicians led by pianist Milton Keanes.

The trio’s debut album release was hijacked by a lawsuit and by Keanes suffering a massive heart attack. The album was shelved and the band from Birmingham (Black Sabbath) reworked Keane’s songs into metal versions claiming them as their own.

However, in 2019 the discovery of the long-lost master tapes of the trio’s first album finally led to its overdue release. Then, 52 years after entering the studio for the first time, the trio regrouped to record and finish their second studio album.

Back in the real world, this trio led by Adam Wakeman (aka Milton Keanes) and famous Rick’s son, has produced their second album of jazz reworkings of Black Sabbath numbers. Wakeman is confidently backed by Jerry Meehan (aka Jacque T’fonoa) on bass and Ash Soan (aka Juan Také) on drums.

Wakeman was touring keyboardist and rhythm guitarist for Black Sabbath (2004-2017) and is currently a member of Ozzy Osbourne’s band. This Spinal Tap-ish spoof was conceived after Sabbath’s security guard asked Wakeman, during a late-night drinking session, if he could play Sabbath’s set on the hotel bar’s piano.

The trio tackle these songs in a style that fuses The Bad Plus with Dave Brubeck and somewhat surprisingly they work very well and any unfamiliarity with the Black Sabbath canon doesn’t diminish their enjoyment. The more well-known tunes such as Paranoid and Black Sabbath are treated with reverence but never preciously so. Indeed, some of the numbers, such as the majestic Snowblind, could have been composed by a jazz musician, which, of course, they were.

Discography
Paranoid; Snowblind; Behind The Wall Of Sleep; Sabbra Cadabra; Symptom Of The Universe; N.I.B.; Black Sabbath (42.00)
Adam Wakeman (p, kyb); Jerry Meehan (b); Ash Soan (d) and others. Buckinghamshire, Norfolk and Kent, June 2021.
Blacklake BL411375