Well, The People I Love by Steve Lehman looks like a kind of event. It does not sound like a reheated version of the past, does not try to be a ‘classic jazz’ record and from what I’ve heard is far more immersive a listen and gets right inside you like few new releases at the moment. In other words this is not fake.

The altoist has a tart slightly dour sound that has a certain gravitas to it without being at all self-conscious, and in the past he has run his fertile imagination over a broad range of music from African hip-hop to French spectral music.

This new album is closer to his jazz roots than some of his previous records and finds Lehman with the Robert Glasper drummer Damion Reid, bassist Matt Brewer and pianist Craig Taborn. Tunes on the record include a version of Kurt Rosenwinkel’s ‘A Shifting Design’ and Kenny Kirkland’s ‘Chance’ and among the pre-release tracks you can hear on Bandcamp there is a remarkable version of ‘qPlay,’ by electronica mavens Autechre — I hear it as a non-literal translation which has a lot of depth to it and a great respect for the jazz ballad tradition even while dressed in such modernistic clothing. Look for The People I Love on the Pi label at the end of August. SG

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 this solo piano record such a fascination.

Fêted UK saxophonist and clarinettist Alan Barnes celebrates his 60th birthday by releasing a themed 1959 album.

Eleven classic compositions from 1959 arranged by trombonist Mark Nightingale are included, compositions by Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Horace Silver and Gerry Mulligan among others. 

On the record Barnes (alto and baritone saxophones, clarinet and bass clarinet) is joined by Pat White (trumpet), James Copus (trumpet and flugelhorn), Mark Nightingale, Gordon Campbell (trombone), Howard McGill (alto saxophone and clarinet), Robert Fowler tenor saxophone, clarinet and bass clarinet), Andy Panayi tenor saxophone, flute and clarinet), Mick Foster (baritone saxophone and bass clarinet), Robin Aspland (piano), Sam Burgess (bass) and Matt Skelton (drums).

Look for it on Woodville Records to be released on 12 July. Barnes plays this year’s Scarborough Jazz Festival on 20 September.

João Gilberto died in Rio yesterday at the age of 88.

The singer-songwriter/guitarist’s ‘Chega de Saudade’ in 1959 marked the beginning of the bossa nova style with which he became synonymous.

His Grammy-winning 1964 album Getz/Gilberto with Stan Getz sold in the millions and featured the long since ubiquitous Jobim classic ‘Girl from Ipanema’, sung by Astrud Gilberto, to whom Gilberto was then married. 


Ex-Miles Davis jazz violin fusion legend Michał Urbaniak pops up with his band Urbanator for a rare club visit to London in September.

Hugely charismatic, the former saxophonist, who also played with Krzysztof Komeda in the 1960s, will be appearing at Streatham club Hideaway on 14 September. The club say that it is Urbaniak’s first London show in five years. Tickets.

Interesting and cheering to see this pop up as a bestseller on Bandcamp at the moment. Why so? Well Price is not part of the currently much hyped group of UK bands, usually released by either the Jazz Re:freshed or Brownswood labels, to get a rush of hype behind him. And another thing, the style is pretty mainstream to an extent which rarely gets, rather unfairly, any hype at all. Nobody is going to be going around claiming like the wheel has been reinvented after all. Guitarist Price has a pristine highly mobile sound and close your eyes and he could be playing on a 1960s record, his sound landing a little between Kenny Burrell and Grant Green. With Matt Home on drums, the popular Hammond organist Ross Stanley, and hard blowing tenor saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos all playing as a supportive team, the impressive thing here is that this was made in front of a live audience, the band clearly are old fashioned in the sense that they can make it sound like the studio. Good meat and potatoes blowing jazz all in all and a bunch of tunes that know where the beginnings, middles and ends need to be.

Price is playing Annie’s in Southend on Tuesday 9 July.

Sad to report the death from the ravages of pancreatic cancer of the Norway residing Italian drummer Paolo Vinaccia at the age of 65. Vinaccia worked memorably with Tommy Smith and Arild Andersen on the Live at Belleville album. Smith, via Twitter, paid tribute, writing: “To my dear brother in music, Paolo Vinaccia, rest in peace, we love you forever. I’m a better human being for having known you. Paolo was the embodiment and definition of the word Art in its truest form, for that man dreamt, lived and breathed creativity.” 


Mark 29 and 30 July in your diaries... they make for a couple of chances to catch one of the most swinging soulfully bluesy jazz saxophone masters in the ideal circumstances of a small jazz club situation.

Now in his eighties Houston Person has more than 75 albums under his own name on Prestige, Westbound, Mercury, Savoy, Muse, and is currently with High Note Records. He has recorded with Charles Brown, Charles Earland, Lena Horne, Etta Jones, Lou Rawls, Horace Silver, Dakota Staton, and many more.

His latest record is I’m Just a Lucky So and So, from which his version of ‘Willow Weep For Me’ can be heard above, is released on High Note at the end of July. Hear him with his organ trio at Pizza Express Jazz Club, London. Remember: you only really learn deep down as a player or as a listener by hearing and experiencing the masters live. Tickets

Murmuring to a tech equivalent of a cicada behind him, saxophonist Rob Cope paints all over the minimal background as a Gods of Apollo scene setter on ‘Sputnik’ the first of what is planned to be a three-part trilogy inspired by space.

Spoken word from the NASA archives spool out of the speakers at the beginning of ‘Human Spaceflight’ with pianist Elliot Galvin suitably modernistic sprawlingly effective behind the speech. There is a lot going on throughout the album and there is a certain danger that the concept will overpower the playing itself but luckily this does not happen mainly because the production and compositional techniques seem to be so very well thought through. Cope has a very human Iain Ballamy-like sound and his bittersweet soliloquies make this quite a personal statement and with Galvin, superb particularly on ‘Magnificent Desolation’, guitarist Rob Luft and drummer Jon Ormston around him there is a strong group unity and direction. Cope and chums launch the album tonight at the Vortex. Get yourself down there if you can.

There is a lot of really firing latin-jazz around at the moment including this nimble new album from former Mongo Santamaria pianist Bill O’Connell and the Afro Caribbean Ensemble who make their debut release together with Wind Off the Hudson (issued by the Savant label) on 26 July. Quite a line-up of a band including Andrea Brachfeld, Craig Handy, Ralph Bowen, Gary Smulyan, Alex Sipiagin, Conrad Herwig, Lincoln Goines, Robby Ameen and Roman Diaz. Tracks are: Wind Off the Hudson, Gospel 6, Jerry’s Blues, I Don’t Have the Answer, Oye Como Va, Perdido, Got Cha, Transition, C Jam Blues and Discombobulation. 

Sketchy details so far but I found this, the beautiful closing track of From Baku to New York City by Shahin Novrasli, the brilliant Azeri pianist who has won the support of Ahmad Jamal, and which is to be released on the Jazz Village label in September. On one level the track, which was written by the great Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov, is a conversation with the unnamed bass player; on another it is like a nocturne, and revels in the simplicity of modal study breaking eventually into the release of a natural bluesy display of virtuosity in the open improvisation drawn from the ingredients of what has gone before like a natural conclusion. Other tracks on the album are: Both Sides Now, 52nd Street Theme, Night Song, Shahin’s Day, She’s Out Of My Life, Salt Peanuts, Memories and Stella By Starlight.


A SPECIAL HEADS UP for marlbank readers here, to be issued on Kurt Rosenwinkel’s independent label Heartcore Records, is a quite extraordinary record called ELEW plays Rosenwinkel: Cubism, a solo piano affair to be released on 19 July.

The title track dates back to Rosenwinkel 1990s album Yam Yam while other material includes selections from the guitarist’s 2001 album The Next Step.

ELEW, pictured above [photo: Anna Yatskevich], is a powerful, extravagant player. He does not tickle the notes: he slams into them and he manages to draw out the drama in all the thematic shifts and jolts he encounters while this former Monk competition-winning pianist has tremendous harmonic resource in store and a bluesy grasp of the bigger picture that transports the listener into his own individual world.

This is not a solo piano album where you are afraid to breathe for fear of upsetting the Trappist-like silence of proceedings but there is subtlety too. ELEW stood out on the recent Theo Croker album Star People Nation but this is so much deeper than that tantalising glimpse. Look out for it.

I keep a list of players I still have not seen live but would like to, a lot. Top of it at the moment is Noah Preminger whose After Life makes that desire even more urgent. Preminger is a powerful player and he has plenty of power to hand as well in his band playing a bunch of very coherent originals. With trumpeter Jason Palmer by his side — Palmer and Preminger together operate a bit like the way Dave Douglas and Joe Lovano communicate — Max Light is on guitar, Kim Cass plays bass, and Rudy Royston, best known for his work with Bill Frisell, is as vital as ever on drums. Preminger has another album out in the autumn... I will be keeping an eye out for it. But for now After Life is one of Criss Cross’ best releases in many a moon. SG.

Revisiting songs from his albums My Spanish Heart and Touchstone with a multi-cultural octet, sprinkling in a few new compositions and guest appearances by vocalists Rubén Blades, Chick’s wife Gayle Moran Corea, and Maria Bianca, Antidote is a reminder once again how important it is to listen and learn from the masters of the music.  Flamenco flavours, the dazzle of Corea’s signature touches, and a mobile band who cruise along as an immaculate support to the timelessness in the Corea sound that Antidote underlines, make this a must for his fans. Chick and the Spanish Heart Band are playing the Love Supreme festival on 6 July. 

Some extremely tasteful soprano saxophone soloing here from the ex-Miles Davis player Bill Evans (eg The Man With The HornWe Want MilesStar People, and Decoy) here on The Sun Room, to be released by earMusic in late-July, with blues veteran guitarist-singer Robben Ford (also an ex-Miles Davis player who played with Miles and Carlos Santana in a fabled Amnesty benefit concert at Giants stadium) joined by Steely Dan drummer Keith Carlock and the fine Herbie Hancock-associated bassist James Genus.

Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/album/0SR3xyJvDGaKyb32YZLkdl?t=guu7n1i5t508k0oi9s5d2snio2&tto=b642fb34

Listen to the reflective, gently inuring, ‘Whisperings’ from new Ahmad Jamal album Ballades to be released by the Jazz Village label in September. Jamal says via Facebook that: “‘Whisperings’ is one of three original compositions I am releasing on Ballades. First recorded by the great O. C. Smith of ‘Little Green Apples’ fame, on one of my previous releases [the Picture Perfect album], here it is again.” Other album tracks are: ‘Marseille’, ‘Because I Love You’, ‘I Should Care’, ‘Poinciana’ (the tune that Jamal is most instantly identified with), ‘Land of Dreams’, ‘What’s New’, ‘So Rare’, ‘Spring is Here/Your Story’, and ‘Emily’.

Obituary via Universal

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 just released. A very gentle, very Italian, and sentimental album (the inclusion of ‘As Time Goes By’ and ‘Moonlight Serenade’ practically guarantees reverie) and you certainly get the carefree and playful gist pretty quickly although Trovesi’s reputation as an avant gardist and the anarchic sounds off you occasionally hear ornamenting a solo line or two apply a sprinkle of welcome salt. Two friends enjoying themselves, then: paying tribute to a departed, if world famous, literary pal with a lot of love and affection. SG 

From the previously unissued and newly-rediscovered 1969 Grits, Beans and Greens: The Lost Fontana Sessions, by the great British jazz saxophonist Tubby Hayes, to be released by Decca on 26 July. I guess this will make a lot of people very happy. 

What you need to know:

Grits, Beans And Greens: The Lost Fontana Studio Session 1969

1CD, 1LP & Digital. 5 tracks of what would have been the final album

1. For Members Only (take 2) [6.26]
2. Grits, Beans and Greens (take 4) [6.09]
3. Rumpus (take 1) [7.30]
4. You Know I Care (take 2)
5. Where Am I Going? (take 3) [9.16]

Recorded at Philips Studios, Stanhope Place, London, Tuesday June 24th, 1969
10.30am – 1.30pm

The personnel: Tubby Hayes (tenor sax); Mike Pyne (piano); Ron Mathewson (bass); Spike Wells (drums)
Producer: Terry Brown
Engineer: David Voyde

Grits, Beans And Greens: The Lost Fontana Studio Sessions 1969 [Complete Sessions]

2CD Deluxe + digital. The complete sessions. 18 tracks including alt. takes, studio chatter + the May 1969 studio session (with Louis Stewart on guitar). In recording date & tape order.

1. Where Am I Going – (Take 1) May 27th, 1969 [08:27]*
2. Where Am I Going – (Take 2) May 27th, 1969 [07:37]*
3. Where Am I Going – (Take 3) May 27th, 1969 [08:03]*
4. Grits, Beans and Greens – (Take 1) [05:44]
5. For Members Only – (Take 1) [07:25]
6. Where Am I Going? – (Take 1) Breakdown [04:18]
7. For Members Only – (Take 2) Full Version [06:34]

1. Where Am I Going – (Take 2) [06:18]
2. Grits, Beans and Greens – (Take 2) Breakdown [00:57]
3. Grits, Beans and Greens – (Take 3) [06:21]
4. Rumpus – (Take 1) Full Version [07:45]
5. Where Am I Going – (Take 3) Full Version [09:41]
6. Rumpus – (Take 2) Breakdown [00:31]
7. Rumpus – (Take 3) Breakdown [00:17]
8. Rumpus – (Take 4) [07:22]
9. Grits, Beans and Greens – (Take 4) Full Version [06:19]
10. You Know I Care – (Take 1) Breakdown [01:06]
11. You Know I Care – (Take 2) Full Version [07:05]

* recorded at Philips Studios, Stanhope Place, London, May 27th, 1969
Tubby Hayes (tenor sax); Louis Stewart (guitar); Ron Mathewson (bass); Spike Wells (drums)

Remaining tracks recorded at Philips Studios, Stanhope Place, London, June 24th, 1969
Tubby Hayes (tenor sax); Mike Pyne (piano); Ron Mathewson (bass); Spike Wells (drums)

Producer: Terry Brown
Engineer: David Voyde

All compositions by Edward Brian ‘Tubby’ Hayes except for:
You Know I Care – written by Columbus Calvin ‘Duke’ Pearson
Where Am I Going – written by by Seymour Kaufman aka Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh
All arrangements by Edward Brian ‘Tubby’ Hayes.

Van Morrison

The never ending tour continues... following on from news of his headlining, now sold out Albert Hall appearance at Ronnie Scott’s 60th this autumn, Van Morrison has added more UK dates with concerts announced for Bournemouth International Centre (21 October), St David’s Hall Cardiff (23 Oct), New Theatre Oxford (27 Oct), Royal Concert Hall Nottingham (28 Oct) and the Brighton Dome over two nights (2-3 December). Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday.

There is a great gravitas about hearing Abdullah Ibrahim live and you get that here on The Balance which is to be released by Gearbox on Friday. With his band Ekaya this was recorded in London and simplicity is key, grand cadences and rich tonality washes all over the record which has a rich instrumentation including even harmonica on the title track as well as cello, and piccolo. But it is the pianistic touches above all you are looking for expressed in a language Ibrahim himself has provided all the vocabulary for. Ibrahim now in his eighties has always had that ability to make his presence count and rather than flurries of uptempo fast fingered melodies prefers to underline what he has to say with chords that count delivered as if they matter. And they so joyfully do. One of the releases of the year. 

A fully fired up latin-jazz big band these days is a pretty rare beast.

Essence is something of a special occasion for the great pianist Michel Camilo because this is his 25th album and he has pulled out all of the stops. It is fairly rare to hear Camilo with his own big band and he takes the opportunity to dust down some of his earlier work and give it a big band setting.

Arranged by Michael Philip Mossman the big band is full of A list players including saxophonists Antonio Hart and trumpeter Diego Urcola. Trombonist Steve Davis is there too and Cliff Almond is the powerful drummer on hand. You know you are in safe hands from the very first track, ‘And Sammy Walked In’. 

While the album is never old fashioned it does speak of jazz history as much as the present and underlines once again why Camilo is one of the greats. Above all it is full of spirit and has a rhythmic urgency that draws the listener in. And yes it swings like the clappers SG 


Marcos Valle is back with Sempre, the Brazilian’s first solo LP since 2010’s Estática. A canny fusion of disco, samba, and jazz-funk Valle recruited Azymuth bassist Alex Malheiros and the album boasts a horn section that includes trumpeter Jesse Sadoc. Close your eyes and you may find yourself back in 1979. 

Brassy, joyful sounds from new Ibrahim Maalouf album S3NS which is to be released in September.

Produced by John Patitucci, bass guitarist Gwizdala has Clarence Penn on drums, Philip Dizack on trumpet, and Ruslan Sirota on piano on his upcoming album The Union. Look for it at the end of June.

Buxton Water have enlisted drummer Moses Boyd for their latest TV ad campaign which hit screens on 3 June, and follows stories of resilience and determination from three up and comers from the worlds of music, sport, and dance: ballerina Georgie Rose-Connolly, rower Josh Bugajski, and Boyd, best known for his band Exodus, duo with Binker Golding and working with singer Zara McFarlane. 
Check it out.

There is so much to like here, the arranging certainly, the bags of optimism for sure, huge talent, and sheer creativity are there in great abundance. However, I think it is fair to say that Elftet does not all quite hang together as an album, a whole crowd of ideas maybe needing a bit more space and some canny pruning back.

Award winning vibist Jonny Mansfield however manages to inject a little heat into the chamber jazz-like settings and certainly in the way the horns respond (having a guest like Chris Potter on one track does no harm either) lifts the album to new heights.

As proof that Mansfield is a name for the future Elftet certainly succeeds. But I bet his next album will have a good deal more clarity and not be so intent on packing everything including the kitchen sink in. Caveat aside for now: sit back and prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of a listen. SG. Out now.  
Full personnel: Ella Hohnen-Ford - Vocals & Flute; James Davison - Trumpet & Flugel; Tom Smith - Alto, Tenor Sax & Flute; George Millard - Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet & Flute; Rory Ingham - Trombone; Dominic Ingham - Violin; Laura Armstrong - Cello; Oliver Mason - Guitar;  Jonny Mansfield - Vibraphone & Composition; Will Harris - Double Bass & Electric Bass; Boz Martin-Jones - Drums. Guests; Chris Potter - Tenor Sax (track 2); Gareth Lockrane - Flute (track 4); Kit Downes - Hammond Organ (track 9). 

“I feel I have finally carved out something that has taken a step back in the direction of human feeling but is both of the heart and of the machine.” ‘Involution’ is from Beat Infinitum, a new solo path for Neil Cowley, which is to be released in July.

Just adding an example track (updated 21 June) from one of the jazz-vocals events of the year in prospect. As previously reported with eight original songs Love and Liberation is to be released just as the earlier A Social Call was on the Concord label. It is striking listening to ‘When I Say’ how intuitively Horn inhabits that boisterous rollercoaster of a Betty Carter sound.

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.

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.’ 

It is a 27 August launch date at Pizza Express Jazz Club for Travel Sketches, new on the Ubuntu label from Steve Winwood saxophonist Paul Booth.

With the Booth quartet of Steve Hamilton piano, Dave Whitford on bass and Andrew Bain on drums most of the tunes are originals plus a cover of Peter Gabriel's ‘Don't Give Up’ is included. Booth is on the faculty and performs this summer at the Sligo Jazz Project.

New Soho venue Boulevard Theatre on the site of the old Raymond Revue Bar has announced a late-night offering of music, comedy and cabaret running from Wednesday-Saturday straight after its nightly theatre shows. Soho Sounds: Jazz will run every Wednesday night weekly from 6 November-18 December showcasing the best UK and international performers. The house trio will be Alex Webb (piano), Andy Champion (bass), and Pete Hill (drums). For the first season, composer, pianist and arranger Alex Webb will curate the night. Confirmed performers for the autumn include David McAlmont, China Moses, Jo HarropVimala Rowe and singer-songwriter Anna Ross.

Engrossing free jazz listen from the Christina Dahl Quartet and their new album Quintesse to be released on the venerable Storyville album at the end of this month. Saxist Dahl is joined by guitarist Niclas Knudsen, Nils Bosse Davidsen, on bass & cello, and Espen Laub von Lillienskjold on drums playing Dahl compositions.

Quite taken by this, Mattson 2 are a psychedelic jazz duo comprising identical twin brothers Jared and Jonathan Mattson. The guitar-drums ’n’ moody vocals toting outfit have supported GoGo Penguin on tour in the States and Paradise just released is making waves in the US. Uncannily you could be into indie rock, or see yourself as a Yo La Tengo or Coltrane fan (they do their own out-of-the-ballpark take on A Love Supreme live), and get something different out of this. Only a matter of time before they play the UK, surely.