Louis Armstrong singing spiritual-jazz anthem "The Creator Has a Masterplan" (and sounding great) is one of the more bizarre experiences on this neat compendium of black consciousness from the vaults of Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman label.
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Saturday 26 April 2008
'Neither ghastly, hateful, nor ugly; neither commonplace, unmeaning, nor tame; but like man, slighted and enduring; and withal singularly colossal and mysterious . . ." Thomas Hardy was writing about a place – Egdon Heath in his imaginary-but-real Wessex - but the words also apply uncannily well to the music of Zaum, an improvising ensemble of extraordinary power and innovation founded in Poole in Dorset (fictionalised as "Havenpool" in Hardy's Life's Little Ironies). It was in Dorchester, Hardy's "Casterbridge", that the Zaum founder and percussionist Steve Harris died, at a time when his work with the group, recently remastered and reissued in a uniform edition, was starting to receive wider recognition.
Sunday 20 April 2008
The big bands might not be coming back but the form won’t go away. This incredibly assured debut from composer/arranger/saxophonist Richards and a 20-piece aggregation of young, often Royal Academy-trained players with Gwilym Simcock on piano, adopts a Maria Schneider or Vince Mendoza method with more sighs and whispers than rasps and growls. It’s at its best on the opening track "Dropping Pennies", with a show-stopping duo for Simcock and vibes-man Jim Hart heard between ticking rhythms and subtle reeds and brass harmonies. This is truly thrilling stuff.
Sunday 13 April 2008
What's a jazz album for? Is it an address to the listener or a musician's latest calling card? Saxophonist Tony Kofi is a terrific player (on alto, not soprano) but this amiable-enough set of boppish originals lacks any sense of essential purpose.
Sunday 23 March 2008
Like the trumpeting of the last leader of the herd, there's something majestic about a hard bop tenor saxophonist in full cry. On his second album Simon Spillett allies a tough sound to a Tubby Hayes fixation of monstrous proportions. On 10 tracks either written by or associated with the wunderkind English multi-instrumentalist, and recorded with a quartet featuring Tubby's drummer Spike Wells, pianist John Critchinson and bassist/ producer Andrew Cleyndert, Spillett blows up a storm. You can question why someone in their early 30s wants to do this at all, but it's jazz, see? The tradition is an old geezer who needs to be honoured.
Sunday 24 February 2008
The Windy City's twin traditions of free jazz and post-rock are celebrated in this stunning debut by saxophonist Roberts, recorded by Tortoise's John McEntire and featuring guitarist Jeff Parker and sax-man Fred Anderson. What's so impressive is not just Roberts's chops and tunes, but the thought that's gone into making the album work as a whole. An opening Ayler-ish squall is followed by an elegant exchange with Parker which devolves into blues before leading into the first of three "Birdhouse". "Nomra" shows a sensitive side, while "Love Call" has real compositional density.
Sunday 17 February 2008
Sunday 17 February 2008
Sunday 03 February 2008
Sunday 27 January 2008
Tuesday 15 January 2008
"We all live together, you see, and tonight this is for Jack," says Nick Mulvey, pointing at the saxophonist, who sports the looks of Jude Law and a chunky Norwegian jersey. "He sleepwalks and fell down the stairs last night." It's a genial way for the hang-player to introduce "Steps in the Wrong Direction", a track from this new band's first CD, Knee-Deep in the North Sea.
Sunday 16 December 2007
Sunday 21 August 2005
Friday 19 November 2004
Monday 20 December 1999
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