A LANDMARK recording. This solo piano album of Gwilym Simcock’s acts as his own dedication to players he loves and reveres (Billy Childs, Brad Mehldau, Egberto Gismonti, Russell Ferrante, etc) but also and just as significantly represents a one stop visit to the remarkable style and sound of this astonishing pianist’s artistry. Simcock has a big technique but that never gets in the way of his torrential flood of melodic ideas which often land never far from a rhapsody and at all times are delivered with tenderness and skill. Jazz does not get any better than this in 2019.
For their next album the Pablo Held trio, their label Edition has announced, will collaborate with Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras. Held says: “We always enjoy the various ways another person inspires us, expands the possibilities of interaction and instrumentation, and actually makes us play differently. With Nelson, I’ve been listening to his music for years, his records The Solo Sessions Vol.1 and Rouge Sur Blanc are the two main albums I always go back to. He’s a complete musician with a totally unique way of playing, who obviously has roots in many different places, but branches out into the sky. When we first played with the trio he was more than ready to jump into the music! Even with only a super short rehearsal he totally made the music his own and showed us new ways to approach my compositions. Not by talking about it, by playing and going for it in the moment – I love that!”
The Ubuntu label have announced the fact that they will release a second album by trumpeter Mark Kavuma and his band the Banger Factory, a collective from Brixton, south London which along with Kavuma features Mussinghi Brian Edwards and Kaidi Akinnibi (saxes), Artie Zaitz (guitar), David Mrakpor (vibes), Reuben James (piano/organ), Deschanel Gordon (piano), Michael Schrimpling (double bass) and William Cleasby (drums). Kavuma is quoted by the label: “As Keith Richards once said, ‘Good music comes out of people playing together, knowing what they want to do and going for it. You have to sweat over it and bug it to death’.” More here.
Partisans’ first live album: there is undeniably a real snap of excitement about this, recorded in intimate circumstances in the Vortex, clean lines, lots of meaty soloing, and Gene Calderazzo sounding as up for it as you will ever hear him. Journeying through nods to Charlie Parker, Steely Dan and David Bowie the tunes ring out, Julian Siegel sounding like a British Michael Brecker and Phil Robson steady and astute as his front line partner, this is one of the best albums of the year to date: no doubt about it.
A gorgeously arranged latinate opening track from Triple Helix new from the Anat Cohen tentet next month, a co-commission for the Symphony Center Presents Jazz Series to celebrate its 25th anniversary and Carnegie Hall where it was premiered earlier this year amounting to a three-movement concerto. Musical director Oded Lev-Ari says: “Anat and I have always shared a musical connection that has been effortless and unspoken. As we have each developed as musicians and become proficient in various styles, genres and disciplines, that fundamental musical understanding has remained unchanged.”
To be released by Anzic records on 14 June.
Route to the roots: Robert Randolph & The Family Band’s ‘Have Mercy’ from the band’s forthcoming studio album, Brighter Days is a bit of a must, a heartfelt gospel vocal on top of a laidback groove to die for. The sacred steel specialist and his band worked with producer Dave Cobb on Brighter Days. The Family Band features Robert’s cousins bassist Danyel Morgan and drummer Marcus Randolph along with his sister, vocalist Lenesha Randolph. The album also includes a cover of Pops Staples & the Staples Singers’ ‘Simple Man.’
Well this is a surprise bittersweet treat from Laura Zakian: a very late night kind of record brief as it is contained in a five song EP. With Steve Lodder, bassist Simon Thorpe, drummer Nic France and Laura’s husband baritone saxophonist Paul Bartholomew and percussionist/composer Martin Pyne whose tunes Laura writes lyrics for, the pervasive style lands somewhere between the atmosphere of an Anthony Newley or Fran Landesman song, thoughtful and melancholic and above all full of a certain regret. Well worth your time.