LOOKING AHEAD TO HIS DEBUT Only 18, pianist Matthew Whitaker is something special. He releases the Brian Bacchus-produced Now Hear This via the Resilience Music Alliance label in August. First thing I thought when listening to him was a proximity to the Ahmad Jamal sound in his bright voicings and percussive touch (Jamal’s ‘Tranquility’ is on the album) but he has been compared to other players notably McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock. The point in all this is he sounds a major player already. In the live version above listen to ‘Emotions,’ one of the pieces featured on the album.

Whitaker, who also plays Hammond organ and Moog on the record, is the first blind undergraduate student to join Julliard's jazz programme, becoming a student at the famous New York conservatoire this autumn, appears with guitarist Dave Stryker, bassist Yunior Terry, drummer Ulysses Owens Jr., and percussionist Sammy Figueroa + guest slots from keyboardist Marc Cary and flautist Gabrielle Garo are slotted in. Tracks on the album include originals, the Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil song ‘Black Butterfly’ and Eddie Harris’ ‘Freedom Jazz Dance.’ 

 

A big deal in Germany with his trio Martin Tingvall switches to solo piano once again with The Rocket. Pretty easy listening to be fair, too much so. Tingvall and his accessible compositional touch draws on space themes in the titling of many of the tracks, the lilt of Swedish folk traditions and the language of contemporary Eurojazz and have a certain inescapable charisma as well as tunefulness. Personally I prefer his trio, still too underknown in the UK, which has a lot more drama to it than the Ludovico Einaudi-like easy going trajectories here. The surprising thing is how little jazz vocabulary Tingvall chooses to use here. Disappointing.

Binker Golding has a new quartet album out in September. Titled gnomically Abstractions of Reality Past & Incredible Feathers it was recorded at Abbey Road studios in London and alongside tenorist Golding features Daniel Casimir on double bass, Joe Armon-Jones on piano and Sam Jones on drums. Compositions are by Golding and the release is on Gearbox. Check out ‘Exquisite She-Green’ from the album, above.

 

Check the live version above of the opening track of upcoming Leo Richardson album Move to be released in August by Ubuntu. With eight original compositions included on the release Richardson has Rick Simpson on piano, Tim Thornton on bass, and Ed Richardson on drums + a guesting Alex Garnett. Richardson launches the album at the Pizza Express Jazz Club on 6 August. Tickets.