Jazz

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - John McBeath

The Late Trane Denys Bap­tiste Edi­tion In this trib­ute to John Coltrane, who died 50 years ago, Bri­tish sax­o­phon­ist Denys Bap­tiste re-imag­ines and re­works 10 of Coltrane’s com­po­si­tions from 1963 to 1967, head­ing his quin­tet on tenor and so­prano saxes. The al­bum, just Bap­tiste’s fifth as a leader in 18 years, is, like the orig­i­nal Coltrane mu­sic, very much spir­i­tual jazz, writ­ten at a time of tu­mul­tuous change. There are mul­ti­cul­tural flavours, us­ing touches of folk, but the al­bum never strays far from its per­sonal jazz jour­ney, bal­anc­ing Bap­tiste’s artis­tic vi­sion with the vis­ceral emo­tions and cos­mic ref­er­ences that en­com­pass Coltrane’s later mu­sic. As­cent, a good track to es­tab­lish the style and spirit of the al­bum, be­gins with Nikki Yeoh’s piano un­der­scor­ing Gary Crosby’s dou­ble bass and Bap­tiste’s so­prano sax, con­tin­u­ing with a Coltrane-style so­prano sax an­gu­lar solo of in­creas­ing in­ten­sity, pushed along by Rod Young’s drums. Piano is also to the fore in the open­ing of Tran­si­tion, in­tro­duc­ing the so­prano’s bal­lad-like solo in an achingly sor­row­ful mode backed by piano and adding the drums’ soft mal­lets. True to its ti­tle, Peace on Earth be­gins Yeoh’s wan­der­ing piano and moves into Bap­tiste’s strength­en­ing sax­o­phone ex­cur­sion wend­ing to its con­clu­sion. An­other slower track, As­tral Trane, also be­gins ab­stractly with so­prano, piano and Gary Crosby’s acous­tic bass as Rod Young’s per­cus­sion shim­mers. Af­ter the Rain paints an au­ral land­scape of the awak­en­ing re­fresh­ment af­ter a down­pour us­ing the so­prano’s quick­en­ing flurry of notes. The fi­nal track, Dear Lord, adopts a tango rhythm with just so­prano and acous­tic bass, to com­plete the spir­i­tu­al­ity of the al­bum. Bap­tiste has made mu­sic of im­por­tance here, pre­sent­ing a rare win­dow on to a great mo­ment in jazz his­tory.

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