Nat Birchall, above left, Paul Hession, Nick Blacka, Adam Fairhall, and Corey Mwamba. photo

Keeping the Coltrane flame burning saxophonist Nat Birchall’s upcoming release is his first live album, the spiritual jazz connections, the saxophonist’s trademark, more than to the fore on an atmospheric set. Side A of the Sound Soul and Spirit Records-issued Live in Larissa – Divine Harmony in Duende Jazz Bar has Bill Lee’s composition ‘John Coltrane’ all to itself spread over more than 17 frequently ecstatic and emotion-laden minutes, while Side C (as you can guess from the letters it’s a vinyl release) has classic Alice Coltrane composition ‘Journey in Satchidananda.’

Nat Birchall

Birchall has five albums to his name already and here he’s joined by long time associates pianist Adam Fairhall, vibes player Corey Mwamba, bassist Nick Blacka, and drummer Paul Hession. Recorded in May last year over two nights in the Greek town of Larissa’s tiny jazz bar the Duende other tunes originate from Birchall’s World Without Form and Sacred Dimension albums, and the new record (which comes with a free download card but is not being put out on CD) is to be released on 28 April. Birchall says on his website referring to his time spent playing in Larissa: “I have to say that we had the most amazing and life-affirming experience, the people were the most spiritual, warm-hearted and generous I have ever met. It made me feel humble to have been invited to play and to have been among them for even a short time.”