Strength and San­ity (Newvelle NV004LP)

Australian HIFI - - ON TEST -

Booker Lit­tle was as great a jazz trum­peter as any, and here his work is re­vis­ited by his old pi­anist Don Fried­man, re­in­forc­ing one’s be­wil­der­ment as to why these fas­ci­nat­ing com­po­si­tions have not en­tered the stan­dard reper­toire. With­out re­sort to imi­ta­tion in any sense, Fried­man, bassist Phil Palombi and drum­mer Shin­no­suke Taka­hashi cap­ture key hall­marks of Lit­tle’s work: stark­ness, lyri­cism and litheness. The rhythm sec­tion makes the tunes airy, and Fried­man skims across the top of this buoy­ancy with con­stant re­minders of what an un­der-ac­knowl­edged force he is. His im­pro­vis­ing never feels hemmed in by the changes, and his freer work is un­der­pinned by a rare artis­tic rigour. As we have now come to ex­pect from Newvelle, the vinyl sound has sump­tu­ous depth and ex­trav­a­gant dy­namic breadth.

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