Full of familiar standards: ‘All The Things You Are,’ ‘Blue In Green’ and ‘Dolphin Dance’ chief among them but don’t feel that you have heard it all before because with Kenny Werner there is a certain intricacy and resolution of familiar situations into something more approaching adventure and this is no different. The harmonic journeys he takes the themes on only he knows the map for, and that touch and intimacy he delivers time and time again makes Solo in Stuttgart such a fascination.
Dedicated to Umberto Eco, a friend of accordionist Gianni Coscia, Eco’s 2004 novel The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana inspired reedist Trovesi and Coscia on this new record to be released by ECM on 21 June. Listen to New Orleans classic ‘Basin Street Blues’ above.
Radically different from any album you will hear on current release This Land Abounds With Life (Biophilia) is essentially a piano trio album but you hardly realise. Pianist Fabian Almazan with his wife Linda May Han Oh (acoustic/electric bass) and Henry Cole (drums) shape a strong Cuban theme, and there is a certain power and widescreen compositional vision (a little birdsong too!) that make this stand out. It avoids trio clichés and has a strong percussive fix that contributes to the wealth of ideas on the album. Almazan is an extraordinary pianist and this album underlines that fact once again.
Great booking for the Soho Jazz Festival, back on again next month, with saxophone legend the 90-year-old Benny Golson who is also one of the most significant composers in jazz appearing, his work including ‘Whisper Not’, ‘Stablemates’ and ‘I Remember Clifford’. Dates are 12 and 13 July. Check out the rest of the festival running from 5-15 July too, Melissa Aldana and Joel Ross, Lew Tabackin and Goldings/Bernstein/Stewart also appear. Details.
This blasts out of the speakers. Worth saying, so much contemporary jazz is pretty quiet. A lot of production has gone into this record by trumpeter Theo Croker, samples and spooky echoes abound. Croker has great tone and a sense of attack on the track above and if you like Christian Scott you will probably enjoy his similar approach. Bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Kassa Overall are used well and Irwin Hall on alto sax gives the front line firepower, I’d prefer the album as fully instrumental my only caveat, none of the vocals contributions really connected with me. However, the Elew feature at the end on the pulsating ‘The Messenger’ really shows where Croker’s heart lies, beefy hard bop with a moody edge and if the whole album was as compelling as this then even better.
In their sixtieth year Ronnie’s has pulled off another plum booking with the rare visit by one of the greatest saxophonists, with a two-night visit by the hippie jazz legend Charles Lloyd on 1-2 August now confirmed. I cannot think of the last time the Forest Flower icon played any UK club because usually he confines his visits to big concert halls. Interesting band, a quintet that includes guitar hotshot Julian Lage, he is bringing with him too. Here’s the link for more details and tickets.