ALBUM of the WEEK Joshua Redman, Come What May, Nonesuch
It has been quite a while since this Joshua Redman Quartet configuration has issued an album, some 20 years or so in fact since Redman last teamed up with Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers and Gregory Hutchinson in the easy mainstream space that Redman has virtually made his own over the years.
Full of bittersweet elegiac melody this lands if you like right in the middle stylistically of where jazz is these days, neither smooth nor full of extravagant avant garde gesture. Redman brings with him nonetheless an encyclopedia of saxophone prowess and in some ways nothing really has changed since we were introduced to him back in the 1990s.
Full of original tunes there is plenty here for newcomers to jazz and old hands alike. For sure one thing that Redman never forgets is how to shape a melody and draw on his emotional side and with this band manages to underline his key approach so convincingly once again.
A sax icon of the UK jazz scene Dave O’Higgins has signed to go-ahead UK indie label Ubuntu for the first outing of his new band. Expect a release in the autumn. Also on the label’s radar who follows suit is new generation guitarist Rob Luft who joins O’Higgins, drummer Rod Youngs and Belfast organist Scott Flanigan on a project that encompasses the work of Monk and Coltrane.
O’Higgins says: “Rob called me for some ‘blowing’ gigs last year. It wasn’t difficult to find a common repertoire, and a predilection for Monk and Trane tunes was apparent. We had such fun that I suggested trying to get a short tour together and a recording and before we knew it there were 40 dates in the book and a new CD planned with Ubuntu.
“The music we’ve chosen to play focuses on lesser known Monk compositions and some of the songs Coltrane chose to record in the late 50s, more than the usual few Monk tunes and modal Coltrane so often heard. The choice of Scott Flanigan on organ changes our course from the obvious sonority associated with either musician.”
Now there's a relative rarity, a new George Benson album in prospect. The guitar great/vocalist returns with Walking to New Orleans due for release in April. Walking to New Orleans is Benson’s first recording since his 2013 Nat King Cole-inspired album Inspiration. With Benson on the new release are drummer and musical director Greg Morrow, guitarist Rob McNelley, pianist Kevin McKendree, and bassist Alison Prestwood.