Snarky Puppy are back soon... their twelfth album to date. Listen to the Lalo Schifrin-esque shimmer of ‘Xavi’ drawn from Immigrance which will be released in March.  

A two-piano summit tour unites two giants of UK free improvised music generations apart, with the coming together on the same stage of Keith Tippett, pictured, and Matthew Bourne.

Touring begins in mid-March and progresses through to late-May opening in Leeds, and moves on to Bristol, Cork, London, and Manchester.

For full details of venues and dates see the Sound UK site.

Now signed to Impulse The Comet Is Coming have a new record called Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery to be released in March, ‘Summon the Fire’ is the first track made available from it. As previously reported on marlbank the trio, reedist Shabaka Hutchings with Danalogue on keys and Betamax, drums, play the Black Box, Belfast on 2 March.

Quite funky in a way, taken from the upcoming album Songs of the Degrees by the Israeli pianist Yaron Herman back with his trio again (Sam Minaie is on bass and Ziv Ravitz is on drums) after what seems an inordinately long time. 

To be released by Universal in February, Herman in an evocative phrase talks of each track being a “self-addressed letter.” Certainly good to find Herman back in such fine form with such a strong lead-off track landing in a Mehldau vein to introduce us to his new sounds.  

Anna Webber? Simple back in 2014 was our introduction to the avant saxophonist/flautist and her fractured, interlocking Anthony Braxton-like saxophone lines impressed at the time.

It was certainly music infused with a strong uncompromisingly rugged improvising ethic that was the complete opposite of “simple.”

That positive characteristic remains the same and is enhanced if anything on Clockwise which gets a release next month on the Pi label. 

A couple of tracks have been made available ahead of release.

With Webber are reedist Jeremy Viner; trombonist Jacob Garchik; cellist Christopher Hoffman; pianist Matt Mitchell; bassist Chris Tordini; and drummer/vibist Ches Smith. If you are into the Claudia Quintet you will probably like this a good deal. Lots of sinuous interplay, great sense of syncopation, and a collision between freer forms of abstract jazz and the discipline of contemporary classical music, provide the canvas the ensemble spreads itself liberally over.

Look out for Motian Music from long time Paul Motian pianist Russ Lossing to be released next month by the US indie Sunnyside. ‘Fiasco’ from the studio album recorded in New Jersey is available ahead of the release. Covered by a range of artists this appealingly jagged Motian composition was on a fairly hard to get Soul Note record that he co-led with Charlie Haden and which featured Geri Allen released in 1988 called Études. Lossing on the upcoming record is in a trio setting with bassist Masa Kamaguchi and drummer Billy Mintz.  

Joys and Solitudes

A very so-so affair from pianist Yonathan Avishai, Yoni Zelnik on bass and Donald Kontomanou, drums. Joys and Solitudes opens with a glacial version of ‘Mood Indigo’ followed by seven fairly bland originals of Avishai’s. A studio affair recorded in Lugano last year this is as neat and tidy as it possibly gets. Tasteful, well played and professionally presented for sure but there is nothing however that really screams passion or adventure here. Archetypal chamber jazz instead, there is a discreet and polite playbook at work but too much so and this teeters over the line into over-compliance with too many assumed norms. A record that could certainly do with a lot more heat and risk-taking to properly engage. SG. 
Released on 25 January.


Trio Tapestry

IT IS hard to know where to begin with Trio Tapestry. Somehow, listening, you feel that you have stepped into the wrong room. It could even be a Charles Lloyd record. A long way from a hard bop blowing session, which is what you might expect with Joe Lovano, this is open, thoughtful and challenging music delivered in an unfamiliar language although its building blocks are deep down always there in terms of tone, blues connotation and means of expression.

‘Seeds of Change’, which in sequence is the second of the 11, is very beautiful with a real feeling of aching intimacy and rapport, and you might swear it hints at the melody of ‘Equinox’ before veering into a free floating bluesy reverie, an emergent Marilyn Crispell in serene contemplation. As the tonality waveringly oblique adds mystery and a sense of occasion, a weightlessness wraps the atmosphere in ribbons of space. percussionist Carmen Castaldi sweeps forth in the latter part emerging as a glinting observational presence amid the steely fragility of the momentous mood.

Recorded last year at a studio in New York the overall approach strips sound back to poetic forms and if you think of albums as novels, short stories or poems this is definitely a poem.

There is nothing trite here and yet no overdone pomposity either. On ‘Razzle Dazzle’ instead of a show stopping anthem you get an ominous piano solo from Crispell who plays impeccably throughout, Lovano accompanying her mournfully as if this is a lament. ‘Sparkle Lights’ taken at a lento tempo also has that mood of requiem and the interplay between sax and piano is very respectful. In the end you consider that eternal rivalry of time and silence.

Lovano mostly refrains from showing us the powerful side of his playing although the ‘Piano / Drum Episode’ midway through has a weight to it that contrasts heavily with what has gone before or after when his tender side is more explored.  His experiments with gongs on one track are frankly less engaging, however. 

A very atypical Joe Lovano record all considered, not always overly stocked with great moments to be fair and a little lacking in killer material, but there is plenty here to enjoy and Lovano is to be applauded for his adventurous spirit and the seriousness of his spiritual questing. SG

Released on 25 January. 


Emanating from a hitherto unknown Chicago collective, Resavoir are directed by trumpeter Will Miller who also throws in MIDI keyboard harmonies, ‘Escalator’ (this longer version is better than the shorter one also available) retains a lo-fi unglossy groove to it that journeys on to a sax soloing over a catchy rhythm section the bass bubbling up at you. Akenya Seymour is on keyboards & vocals, Irvin Pierce on tenor sax, Lane Beckstrom on bass, Peter Manheim on drums & percussion, and Jeremy Cunningham on drums, all fairly new names. Released by International Anthem and recorded in Chicago listen on and on for Seymour’s scatting coming out of seemingly nowhere, the keys-led main theme motif recurring again as an undertow as she goes wilder and wilder and then equally unexpectedly the pitch starts waywardly detuning and mucking about in zany fashion behind her. We even get an instrumental portion of ‘My Favorite Things’ tucked in.

Wrap your ears around a sublime bit of Joe Jackson and ‘Strange Land’ from the singer’s album Fool which is released this week. Live dates coming up include April dates in London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Cork and Dublin.