Jazzmeia HornOne of the jazz-vocals events of the year in prospect with news of a Jazzmeia Horn album set for a late-summer release. With eight original songs Love and Liberation is to be released just as the earlier A Social Call was on the Concord label.

Horn who will be appearing with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra for dates this autumn, click for more information, has pianists Victor Gould and special guest Sullivan Fortner on the Chris Dunn-produced album plus tenor saxophonist Stacey Dillard and trumpeter Josh Evans, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer/singer Jamison Ross.

Horn comments about her songs: “Some of these songs are very cute and fun, but a lot of them are meditations and have deep meaning that people can listen to, to help free up their minds. People of all creeds and races, and even all generations because there’s a lot of tradition in this music. My godfather gave me the best compliment when I played the album for him. He said, I’m really proud of you because this music sounds like what Ella [Fitzgerald] or Billie [Holiday] or Abbey [Lincoln] or Nina [Simone] would have evolved into.” 

Covers on Love and Liberation are Jon Hendrick’s ‘No More’ , Erykah Badu’s ‘Green Eyes’, Rachelle Farrell’s ‘Reflection of My Heart’ duetting with drummer/singer Jamison Ross, and Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Mercer’s ‘I Thought About You.’ photo: Emmanuel Afolabi/Concord

Joe Stilgoe does not take himself too seriously and that characteristic sense of humour and love for retro jazz surfaces once again this time as he tackles the dreaded 1980s, when pop did its very best to eat itself! The Heat Is On: Swinging the 80s with his big band arranged by Evan Jolly features songs you never really expected to be jazzed up such as ‘The Heat Is On’, ‘Glory Of Love’, ‘When The Going Gets Tough’ and ‘St Elmo’s Fire’ for goodness’ sake. Singer-pianist Stilgoe, son of witty That’s Life entertainer Richard Stilgoe, has already sold out Ronnie Scott’s for his 30 June show coming up when the album is released on the Silva Screen label.

A busy year of releases for bassist Mats Eilertsen 2019 is proving to be. I enjoyed And Then Comes the Night back in February and now the if anything even more hardcore release Reveries and Revelations on the folk-inclined Hubro label. To be frank I am not immediately taken by ‘Tundra,’ the heavily produced lead-off track but it is worth being patient with. Personnel includes a guesting Geir Sundstøl on guitar and banjo, Eivind Aarset guitar, Per Oddvar Johansen drums, Thomas Strønen, drums, and Arve Henriksen trumpet. Eilertsen provides the tunes and variously plays double bass, electric bass, acoustic bass guitar, guitar, harmonium, and keyboards. “An experimental score for some yet to be realised film,” the label suggests. Hmmm, wishful thinking no doubt but Eilertsen is worth spending quality time with in what is proving a bumper year of releases for him.

Impressive sounds from singer Quiana Lynell in an accessible mix that takes in Love Unlimited/Chaka Khan’s ‘Move Me No Mountain,’ Irma Thomas’ ‘Hip Shakin’ Momma’ and Donny Hathaway’s ‘Tryin’ Times’. Cyrus Chestnut on piano steers the band well and there is a heartland command of ‘Come Sunday/I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free)’. If your tastes yearn for a jazz with a twist of soul then A Little Love is perfect listening among the current crop of releases.  

Babelfish

Encounter Babelfish for the first time and you will be intrigued.

Landing somewhere in a jazz, folk, experimental space topped by the adventurous voice of Brigitte Beraha this is their third and most mature album.

Vocal jazz clichés there are none but their jazz roots are strong and Beraha gets great support from the Ian Shaw pianist Barry Green, veteran Chris Laurence on double bass and Paul Clarvis on drums.

Beraha has a big range of extra sounds, whether sighs, laughter or elaborate ornamentation that she dresses her lyrics with. Her style lands in the Norma Winstone heritage and like Winstone can stop you in your tracks with her quiet but devastating intent in the most unexpected places. Includes lots of originals plus a great version of the Ellington/Strayhorn standard ‘Pretty Girl (Star Crossed Lovers)’. SG
Babelfish, left to right above: Barry Green, Brigitte Beraha, Paul Clarvis, Chris Laurence. Babelfish launch the album at Kings Place, London on 29 June.

This is very tasty, the ever prolific Jamie Saft, the ever inspired RareNoise records, calling on the services of Dave Liebman for that extra slice of spiritual jazz inspiration on Hidden Corners, along with Bradley Jones on bass, and Hamid Drake on drums. Could well be the best thing you hear all day. 

Meaty stuff from pianist Aki Takase, to be released by the Intakt label on 21 June, drawing inspiration from a Japanese painter, and part of a two day session of recordings at the Sendesaal Rundfunk in Berlin-Brandenburg. Alexander von Schlippenbach pops up on one track as a guest.

A big deal in Germany with his trio Martin Tingvall switches to solo piano once again with The Rocket due out soon which the Swede is touring extensively this summer. Pretty easy listening to be fair but Tingvall and his accessible compositional touch drawing on the lilt of Swedish folk traditions and the language of contemporary Eurojazz have a certain inescapable charisma that hook you in. 

 

Martin Taylor

The guitar great Martin Taylor was presented with his lifetime achievement award by Suzanne Miller. Other winners included: Best band: SNJO; Best album: Turas by The Fergus McCreadie Trio; Best vocalist: Georgia Cecile.
Full list of winners:

Best Vocalist Award sponsored by Whighams Jazz Club

Georgia Cecile

 

Best Instrumentalist Award sponsored by ESP Music Rentals

Brian Kellock

 

Best Band Award sponsored by Musicians’ Union

Scottish National Jazz Orchestra

 

Winners

 

Best Album Award sponsored by Birnam CD

Fergus McCreadie Trio, Turas

 

Rising Star Award sponsored by The Blue Arrow

Marianne McGregor

 

Services to Scottish Jazz sponsored by Ticketmaster

Jazz Scotland

 

Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Help Musicians Scotland

Martin Taylor

See also: Scottish Jazz Awards site.

Well there you have it: the very antithesis of blandness and playing to formula. There is such a cram and collision of sound on Phalanx Ambassadors, a boisterous, uneasy sense of vitality, clawing at chords, rampaging off on mad solos... pianist, keyboardist, composer Matt Mitchell is as reliable as ever in his anarchic disregard for neat little solutions. Quite a band of star left-field bandleaders he has gathered with him on this new album from Pi records: Miles Okazaki on guitars, Patricia Brennan on vibraphone and marimba, Kim Cass on bass, and Kate Gentile on drums with producer David Torn in tow. Turn this mighty effort up loud.