De­cem­ber round-up

BBC Music Magazine - - Jazz -

It’s un­usual for young jazz artists to make their mark with a de­but al­bum as leader. They usu­ally de­velop by work­ing through the ranks. But drum­mer Lor­raine Baker ’s first al­bum with her own quar­tet, Eden, is an ab­so­lute knock­out. In­spired by the in­no­va­tive im­pro­vised jazz of sticks­man Ed Black­well, Baker cre­ates an air­ily ex­pan­sive sound for her soloists, the mas­ter­ful pi­anist Liam Noble, along with young gun tenorist Binker Gold­ing. She’s ever present, urg­ing the ensem­ble for­ward on Char­lie ★aden’s ser­pen­tine ‘Chair­man

Mao’ or pulling the fo­cus on Or­nette Cole­man’s ‘Blues Con­no­ta­tion’ as the solo spools from Gold­ing’s horn; mean­while Baker’s lithe, rolling toms add drama to Don Cherry’s sig­na­ture tune ‘Mopti’. (Spark 006 ★★★★★)

★aving worked with leg­ends like Miles Davis and Charles Min­gus, guitarist John Scofield could rea­son­ably be called an elder states­man of jazz. In fact, he’s sound­ing younger and less stately than ever – grungy even. For Combo 66 Sco’s brought in pi­anist/keys player Ger­ald Clay­ton, drum­mer

Bill Ste­wart and bassist Vi­cente Archer to up­date the sup­per club con­cept. All the in­gre­di­ents are in place for a mostly deep fried pro­gramme of orig­i­nal pieces: re­ver­ber­at­ing gui­tar so­los over a bed of suit­ably greasy grooves. No­table palate cleansers in­clude the sharp, boppy ‘Icons At The Fair’ which stands out for Sco’s tightly punc­tu­ated phras­ing, in­ter­spersed with a stut­ter­ing solo pas­sage from Clay­ton and Willa Jean with its easy rolling theme, against which the leader hurls his trade­mark coun­try chords. (Decca 678 0218 ★★★★)

The vi­bra­phone is some­thing of a rar­ity on to­day’s jazz scene.

It’s odd be­cause the in­stru­ment’s com­bi­na­tion of melodic and per­cus­sive pos­si­bil­i­ties should make it a swing­ing shoo-in. US vibist Ste­fon ★ar­ris makes the most of both those as­sets on his third al­bum, Sonic Creed,a ra­dio friendly fu­sion of clas­sic modern jazz with silky R’N’B and funk. The tightly ar­ranged pieces for ★ar­ris’s Black­out quar­tet plus guests in­clude a choppy take on ★orace Sil­ver’s ‘Cape Verdean Blues’, the leader trad­ing cho­ruses with Casey Ben­jamin’s alto sax. On the more ex­per­i­men­tal read­ing of Abbey Lin­coln’s ‘Throw It Away’, ★ar­ris ex­ploits the vibes’ sil­very tim­bre to make a shim­mer­ing sound­scape. (Motema MTM0238 ★★★★)

Vet­er­ans of the fu­sion scene, La-based Yel­low­jack­ets have nearly 30 al­bums un­der their belts with a line-up that has al­tered across the years, new ar­rivals bring­ing a change of em­pha­sis each time. For Rais­ing Our Voice, the first al­bum in five years, Por­tuguese singer Lu­ciana Souza is the cat­a­lyst for a dif­fer­ent dy­namic, bring­ing fresh har­monies and per­cus­sive vo­calese to com­ple­ment vet­er­ans pi­anist Rus­sell Fer­rante and sax­ist

Bob Mintzer’s pol­ished im­pro­vi­sa­tions. ‘Ev­ery­one Else Is Taken’ has a grat­i­fy­ingly fid­dly bass part from Dane Alder­son set against Fer­rante’s in­tri­cate two-handed key­board chat­ter. (Mack Av­enue MAC1137 ★★★★★)

It’s hard to know where to start with Jan Fe­lix May’s de­but, Red Mes­siah: at times it tests credulity. From the self-in­flat­ing cover art to the manic drama of the tunes and their clunky lyrics, the mu­sic verges on a Europop jazz par­ody. May, who’s a de­cent pi­anist, ac­tu­ally dou­bles down on the clichés by in­sert­ing squeal­ing synth ef­fects. And yet… the mad ar­range­ments are all so skil­fully, pre­cisely ex­e­cuted by the ensem­ble it’s a strangely com­pelling work. (N77056 ★★★★)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.