Album: Simon Nabatov, Spinning Songs of Herbie Nichols (Leo)

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The Independent Culture

A missing link between Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor, Harlem pianist Nichols wrote odd, utterly distinctive music that the jazz trad has never assimilated.

Russian virtuoso Nabatov – who came to NYC to study in 1979 – plays eight of Nichols' tunes, with the avowed aim of surprising himself by not pre-determining where the openings are headed. The result is marvellously jangly, madly syncopated vamping where the bones of the originals show through. Phil Johnson