Pretty unusual instrumentation first off, a trio of drums & electronics/trombone/guitar & electronics. And a pretty unusual start too, lots of airy intrigue giving way to a more driving sound. A studio album recorded in Italy in January last year, the tunes are mostly arrived at cooperatively among the three players, the style is more about mood and texture than ferocious flurries of notes. I am not sure if it all hangs together and certainly you need patience which is not always rewarded. However on the plus side Aarset is as compelling as ever and drummer Rabbia, whose approach reminds me of Marilyn Mazur’s a little, challenges the listener to move beyond the orthodox to embrace a wide range of new sounds. An album that poses as many questions as it provides answers for. SG
This dreamy sweep of a title track from the upcoming Warner Music album by Swedish pianist Jacob Karlzon has been the marlbank go-to track these last few days. Shaped around a trio and strings there is a lot of complexity in the writing and a bittersweet rather than overly lush mood hovering in the air. Augurs well for the album by a pianist who is no newcomer but whose profile certainly in the UK and Ireland deserves to be higher. Maybe this project will be a prompt in this direction.
Karlzon appears at the Edinburgh jazz festival this summer.
There is something very intimate and thought provoking about this duo album from Welsh pianist Huw Warren and his former Perfect Houseplants colleague saxophonist Mark Lockheart. New Day — Live at Livio Felluga Winery just released on the Italian CAM Jazz label was recorded last year. Full of Warren originals plus compositions by John Taylor there is a pervasive stately presence throughout that gives what they produce a gravitas that you do not always find on a contemporary jazz record but notwithstanding this there is also a playful joy to Warren’s spirited runs which Lockheart, like his fellow saxophonist and contemporary Iain Ballamy, also manages to conjure in playful spirit delivered with great control and tone to die for. I will be surprised if this does not turn up on many end of year best-of lists. It’s that good. SG.
George Cables delivers a masterclass on his new standards strewn premier cru of a trio album I’m All Smiles issued by HighNote out this week, the great pianist in the company of Essiet Essiet on bass, and Victor Lewis, drums. Tracks are: Young at Heart, I’m All Smiles, Speak No Evil, Bésame Mucho, Ugly Beauty, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, Celebration, Three Views of a Secret, Thermo and Monk’s Mood.
A stand out of this week’s new releases comes from bass great Ron Carter who has collaborated with Tony-winning Def Poetry Jam co-founder/painter Danny Simmons on new Blue Note album The Brown Beatnik Tomes — Live at BRIC House, the album’s selections are drawn from Simmons’ 2014 book of poems and paintings The Brown Beatnik Tomes. Check ‘For a Pistol’ from the album, which is inspired by Amiri Baraka.
A delicious hitherto unreleased Swiss recording from 1999 named after an Ornette Coleman tune that Paul Bley had been playing since the Hillcrest days it is worth noting how different sounding this trio comes across when compared with today’s typical piano trio. This has far more of a fractured and abstract sense than most piano trios today who tend to be more rock or electronica-influenced and who often tend to lean towards a sweeter sense of melody. Bley, Peacock and Motian are never far away from bebop and yet there is nothing dated about their performance or approach here: Bley elegiac and hugely modernistic in his solos, Motian a scampering, engaged, presence leaving it to Peacock to find hidden spaces to draw out and angle the trio in a new direction as each tune develops.
‘There (Reversed Lullaby)’ is a new single issued ahead of the release of Loredana by the vocalist Emilia Mårtensson the album to be released by Babel also featuring guitarist Luca Boscagin, percussionist Adriano Adewale, trumpeter Fulvio Sigurta and bassist Sam Lasserson. Emilia launched the single at Pizza Express Jazz Club, London on 29 May.
Mesmerising sounds here from flying Finns Timo Lassy & Teppo Mäkynen drawn from their self-titled album coming up on the WeJazz label in June.
Straying away towards a more spiritual direction on some tracks from the hard bop terrain you will often hear the sax/drums pair inhabit, the two have not recorded like this before although have played together often in such bands as The Five Corners Quintet and the Teddy Rok Seven. Worth a spin.