Taborn and Iyer

There is an elegiac mood in this remarkable two-piano album from Iyer and Taborn, certainly in the spread of memorialising pieces, the choice of Cecil Taylor’s words in the title, and the all-pervasive sombre mood. But instead of grim endeavour carried through in a spirit of worthiness there is an alert, spirited life force at play and a great understanding that the two demonstrate of each other’s method and ideas. Recorded live in Budapest the live setting gives this a taut electricity and strength, all the tunes are Iyer and Taborn’s with a treat at the end reserved for Geri Allen’s ‘When Kabuya Dances’. If you want to know what the state of the art of jazz piano is look no further than this fine achievement by two masters at work. SG

Pretty unradio-friendly given the length of the tracks, each of the three clocks in at more than 20 minutes, the middle piece ‘Spartan Before It Hit’ ups the core trio ante by adding strings, the piano of Craig Taborn, and extra guitars. This is deftly exploratory improvising, Torn and Berne dancing around airy, tense fragments that summon a certain menace and this album overall has plenty of severity about it, an open feeling too thanks often to the way rhythm is sub divided or just shrinks back, and a sense that the trio are playing without any safety net. While easy to admire it is harder to fully embrace, yes the pieces are too long and there is a good deal of development that does not necessarily deliver the impact that this trio is capable of. The middle piece with the extra players is where the album really comes alive so go there first. SG

When Sting guitarist Dominic Miller was first signed to ECM I must confess a sharp intake of breath. Nowadays on his second release for the label, a Mediterranean baked wistful affair, it just seems so obvious. Manu Katché on drums adds beef to the mix which includes the gorgeously evocative bandoneon of Santiago Arias. Miller has plenty of personality up front, the bass of Nicolas Fiszman laidback enough to give him room while Mike Lindup’s spacey keyboards do not intrude. Recorded in a French studio a year ago tracks are kept quite short, at just under six minutes tops, all the tunes are Miller’s and they fall into what I’d call Metheny pastoral, nothing too twee or sweet but certainly provided with enough melodicism to tug the heartstrings. All in all? A really pleasant album that grows on every play and shows Miller’s writing as much as his superlative playing touch in the very best light. SG

Interesting tour coming up this... a UK premiere combining sound art, video, free improvised music with influences of minimalism, shockwave electronica and what the organisers refer to as “an unforgettable, immersive experience.” Fall-Out are World Service Project leader Dave Morecroft on keyboard/electronics plus Marco di Gabarro – drums/electronics and Simone Memé – video/visuals. Dates are: 27 April Take Over Festival, Colston Hall, Bristol; 30 April Number 39, Darwen; 2 May – Tin Arts Centre, Coventry; 3 May – The Regal Theatre Bar, Minehead; and 5 May Vortex, London.

Jazz singer Dwight Trible’s moves label on this his latest record just out to London jazz indie Gearbox (who have just signed Abdullah Ibrahim). Quite a gathering of musicians here including Kamasi Washington, Mark de Clive-Lowe and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson the sound is very much within the AfroFuturist mood at the moment and could sit just as easily as an Impulse record released in the 1970s because it has such a Pharoah Sanders/Leon Thomas vibe. The set includes a treatment of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ one of The Beatles’ most groundbreaking releases. There is plenty of power throughout not least because Trible, which another UK label Gondwana has done much to champion, is a very powerful singer. Trible is also a very involved singer who values tenderness, and he gives songs like ‘Brother Where Are You’ his all. And there is also something very reverent about the way he approaches his material, again part of the spiritual jazz sound he develops so effortlessly. The presence of Kamasi Washington is a big plus but by no means is this just a collection of star names. Think of it instead as easily one of the best jazz albums to date in 2019.

Pianist composer Andrew McCormack switches labels to UK jazz indie Ubuntu, the label has announced. His album Graviton: The Calling will be released this summer. McCormack’s group for the project has Noemi Nuti on vocals, Josh Arcoleo on tenor saxophone, Tom Herbert on electric bass and Josh Blackmore on drums. Check the video above.

Drummer Kendrick Scott’s band Oracle have a new record out next month with the release of Blue Note album A Wall Becomes A Bridge. 

Scott beefs up his core band of guitarist Mike Moreno, pianist Taylor Eigsti, reedist John Ellis, and bassist Joe Sanders adding turntablist Jahi Sundance. 

Check the absorbing ‘Mocean’ from the album, due on 5 April, above.

This is a must for hard bop fans, Harrell has come up with the goods on two counts: a fine band (Mark Turner on tenor sax, Charles Altura on guitar, Ben Street on bass and Johnathan Blake on drums) who run hard with the trumpeter; and a bunch of compositions that make sense and provide both a heat and plenty of depth kept taut and true by the great rhythm section. Harrell is an inspiration to many trumpeters out there including the UK talent Reuben Fowler and it is easy to see why. Harrell keeps the formula the same on most of his albums so no one is smashing up the rule book but that formula is one that continues to remain true to his vision and there is a clarity on Infinity that you won’t find on too many records out there. Out now on Highnote records.