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.

CD1
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]

CD2
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. 

PRS Foundation and the Steve Reid Foundation have announced that the next deadline for the Steve Reid Innovation award is 8 August. It is an initiative for emerging artists worth up to £1,500 to assist with creative goals and career development and including mentoring from an experienced, successful working artist. Open to anyone based in the UK who writes and performs their own music and is currently unsigned and unmanaged. Submit links to your music as well as a three-minute video which explains your career to date, and how funding and mentoring would help with your creative development via: http://bit.ly/SRIAapply with the final deadline for submissions of Thursday 8 August 2019, 6pm.

 Eliane Elias

Brazilian singer-pianist Eliane Elias has a new orchestral project just announced which is to be released in the late-summer.

Love Stories sung mostly in English, features three original compositions plus seven arrangements of songs made famous by Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim. ‘Baby Come To Me’, above, the Rod Temperton song recorded in a hit version by Patti Austin and James Ingram in 1983 also makes its smoochy presence felt.

With Elias on the album, which is to be released by Concord at the end of August, are Marcus Texiera on guitar and Edu Ribeiro, Rafael Barata and Celso Almeida on drums – plus her core collaborators, her husband co-producer and bassist Marc Johnson and co-producer Steve Rodby. The orchestrations are by long-term associate Rob Mathes. Roberto Menescal guests on ‘Little Boat.’

Elias (photo above: Bob Wolfenson/Concord) plays the London Jazz Festival this year appearing at the Barbican on 22 November.

 

Street Party

Pretty novel idea, as part of the Ronnie Scott’s 60th Anniversary festivities spooling out this year, in that the club is to host a street party outside the club’s premises on Frith Street on Saturday 20 July. The confirmed line-up includes Pee Wee Ellis and his Funk Assembly, Nubya Garcia and a 7-piece latin-jazz band.
Full details: here

Pianist Zac Gvi returns this summer with a smart new Thelonious Monk-themed album on the F-IRE label.

Called Monk Spent Youth it features Ben Davis (cello), Fred Thomas (drums, bass, prepared piano) and Gvi on piano, bass clarinet, organ, toy piano. The album was recorded by Alex Bonney at Greenway Studios and Heath Street Baptist Church in Hampstead, and mixed and mastered by Bonney.  The launch will be on 13 August at the Vortex in London. 

Olli

At least a couple of times a year I go out to see an unreconstructed blues-rock guitarist called Pat McManus who has incredible chops but does not play jazz, only getting close when he opens up on a Hendrix-like run. I often wonder standing in front of his power trio how it would sound if he played jazz. It probably would not work in the same way. However this guy Olli Hirvonen (photo: Luke Marantz) can do the sort of things I want with a guitar and this summer the guitarist who used to be on the Edition label and who has won a high profile Montreux Jazz Guitar competition judged by John McLaughlin switches to US indie Ropeadope returns with Displace. I have been listening to the album, which I must say is superb, this morning but cannot share anything for the time being: maybe something will turn up on YouTube or Bandcamp and if so I will add a track or two.

It is pretty compulsive stuff kitted out with gutsy McLaughlin-like jagged lines full of intensity and strength. The 30-year-old Finn is in a quartet setting with pianist Luke Marantz, bassist Marty Kenney and drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell. Playing a Fender Jazzmaster solidbody electric guitar there is something completely organic about his sound, full of a very modern sounding jazz without being remotely avant garde but with that spiky sound going on that commands attention. Hirvonen started studying classical guitar in Finland when he was 9, studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and at Manhattan School of Music in New York where his creative world opened up and he began to move away from bebop to the sounds of the likes of Nels Cline and Lee Ranaldo. Next time I hear Pat McManus I will be thinking of Hirvonen and wondering if when the Finn was into Deep Purple years ago he sounded anything like Pat. Look for the record in late-August. SG. 

Orphy RobinsonThe National Jazz Youth Orchestra has announced details of a new scheme called the NYJO Jazz Exchange which is a two-year national project which NYJO says is about “encouraging young professional musicians to take charge of their artistic voice.”

To begin next year ten musicians will be supported by mentorship, regular rehearsals, paid performances and masterclasses with the first ensemble to be coached by vibist Orphy Robinson MBE, pictured above.

The initiative is funded by Arts Council England and the Peter Sowerby Foundation. 

Austrian saxophonist, flautist, bandleader and educator Karlheinz Miklin died on Saturday afternoon following a stroke. He was 72. The Carinthian culture minister and governor Peter Kaiser expressed his deepest sympathy to Miklin’s family and said that Carinthia has lost an inspirational cultural ambassador.

Miklin appeared in numerous projects, including with Albert Mangelsdorff, Art Farmer, Mark Murphy, Horace Parlan, Mel Lewis and Barre Phillips and appeared at festivals all over Europe during a long career. From 1983 to 2000 he led the jazz department of the Graz University of Arts. 

I will be updating my pick of the year so far soon to add Carib. It is one of those albums where everything just gels.

To be frank I had forgotten about Sánchez in recent years. I used to like his gutsy, powerful, natural sound a lot in the 1990s and interviewed him once for a long forgotten magazine called Jazz on CD.

Somehow however contemporaries like Danilo Pérez have become much higher profile. The Puerto Rican taps his homeland and Haiti for inspiration that connects with his 1990s self on albums like The Departure. Sánchez also manages to make the connection between the Caribbean and the US a seamless one, Dizzy Gillespie knew how to do that years ago and that style still makes sense.

The album has its poignancy. Sánchez says: “This album is in memory of my father Dimas and especially my late wife Karla. After a great deal of research and listening to Haitian music, Karla encouraged and helped me take a trip to Haiti. It was an incredible and intense experience, seeing everyday people’s struggles. She felt like it was important that I had this direct contact with Haitian culture. I feel like this recording wouldn’t have been possible without her wisdom, sensibility and love. Even if she wasn’t physically around when I was in the studio, she was constantly present in many different forms and definitely a key component of this album’s vibe.”

Check Carib out above: drummer Obed Calvaire, guitarist Lage Lund, bassist Ricky Rodriguez, and pianist Luis Perdomo who plays the Fender Rhodes on just under half the 11 tracks join the saxist. It is simply a thrill. SG

It is quite preposterous really how much pitch bending courtesy of guitarist Mark Wingfield is going on here... and it is also quite staggering how much empathy and sheer power he and long time Billy Cobham and John McLaughlin keyboardist Gary Husband generate. Tor & Vale is out next month and going by the generous example of the lead-off tracks will make the jazz-rock & prog fan in your life inordinately happy.

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.

Interpretations of Brel crop up surprisingly often on jazz vocals album. This goes a step further and gathers a stellar crop of singers for a Larry Klein produced songbook album to mark the 90th anniversary of the great Belgian singer-songwriter’s birth. Melody Gardot, Madeleine Peyroux, Marianne Faithfull, Thomas Dutronc, etc etc are all included. Not everything hits the bull’s eye but Gardot steals the show. Out on Decca.