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.