Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Giovanni Guidi, A New Day, ECM *****

A New Day was recorded at La Buissonne, a big favourite of A New Day producer Manfred Eicher's for years and years, tracks include a traditional Catalan Christmas carol here entitled 'Cantos Del Ocells' usually known as 'El cant dels ocells' and …

Published: 6 Jul 2024. Updated: 17 days.

  • A New Day was recorded at La Buissonne, a big favourite of A New Day producer Manfred Eicher's for years and years, tracks include a traditional Catalan Christmas carol here entitled 'Cantos Del Ocells' usually known as 'El cant dels ocells' and in English 'The Carol of the Birds' - boomer folk fans will know it most through Joan Baez.
Sombre and stately - an authoritative presence

The Gato Barbieri inspired Giovanni Guidi 5-star CAM Jazz album Ojos de Gato was a big highlight in 2021. This latest is every bit its equal. The remarkable Italian pianist's reunion with James Brandon Lewis from that extraordinary recording is here on a differently configured (eg: no trombone) quartet album recorded in France last summer.

Both are joined by the Frisellian tone master double bassist Thomas Morgan - the Charlie Haden of his generation - and drummer João Lobo, both of whom were on the earlier Guidi album released in 2019 entitled Avec Le Temps - an album all about romanticism and beauty on which Morgan also appeared and which included a homage to Tomasz Stańko.

Guidi originals 'To A Young Student,' 'Means For A Rescue,' his free improvisation and co-write with the band 'Only Sometimes,' 'Luigi (The Boy Who Lost His Name)' and 'Wonderland' plus an interpretation of Rodgers and Hart classic standard 'My Funny Valentine' are also included.

The best track is without a shadow of a doubt the stunning 'Wonderland.' And Lewis contributes a very moving solo on the Catalan carol and appears on an ECM recording for the first time. Yes, it's all another landmark in American free-jazz player Lewis' ever more compelling body of work. And yet again Guidi proves himself sui generis.

'Only Sometimes' and 'Cantos del Ocells' are streaming. A New Day is out on Friday

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FIVE top UK jazz gigs coming up

1 Rob Barron Quartet Peggy's Skylight, Nottingham Tonight Pianist Rob Barron in Nottingham with suave saxist Alex Garnett, bassist Jeremy Brown and drummer Josh Morrison. 2 James Hudson Ronnie Scott's, London Sunday 7 July lunchtime Read an album …

Published: 6 Jul 2024. Updated: 17 days.

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1 Rob Barron Quartet Peggy's Skylight, Nottingham Tonight

Pianist Rob Barron in Nottingham with suave saxist Alex Garnett, bassist Jeremy Brown and drummer Josh Morrison.

2 James Hudson Ronnie Scott's, London Sunday 7 July lunchtime

Read an album review of singer James Hudson's Moonray and Hudson pianist Joe Hill reviewed live last week.

3 Colin Steele Quintet The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh Thursday 11 July

GIG OF THE WEEK

4 Ian Shaw and Tony Kofi Swanage Jazz Festival, Dorset Friday 12 July. The festival runs until 14 July

Everything we need from a top jazz singer is found on An Adventurous Dream released in the spring: entering the hallowed halls of Ellingtonia this is one of Ian Shaw's very best records up there with the magical Fran dancing to the music of time found on A Ghost in Every Bar and his work in New York with Cedar Walton. In his element corresponding intimately on the stand with saxophonist Tony Kofi in very good form these last few years in a whole range of situations whether paying homage to Cannonball Adderley with Alex Webb and Andy Davies, going more celestial with Alina Bzhezhinska and kicking home hard with Sharp Little Bones, on this very fine Sweet Pea and Duke themed album. The unrelated everGreens Barry and Dave on piano and bass respectively are intergenerationally ideal especially given how long the younger of the pair Barry has worked with Ian. For instance, in the same room as An Adventurous Dream was recorded, the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho, Barry was excellent at a gig circa The Theory of Joy in 2016 - probably the best gig of all of Ian's we have attended down the years. Green, B's best bits are on 'Day Dream' while bassist Dave, known for his work with Ian and Tony's labelmate Scott Hamilton, keeps stately authoritative time throughout and is just the steadying vintage beatmaker needed for the material. He also knows how to handle classic Swing Era tunes expertly. Other highlights are when Shaw sings ''Azaleas drinking pale moonbeams'' the incredible line of Strayhorn lyric poetry found on 'A Flower is A Lovesome Thing' and makes us immediately listen to the deeper register in Murph's voice on his Links (HighNote, 2001) version.

5 Greg Abate The Verdict, Brighton Saturday 13 July

We have only caught the New England-based alto saxophonist Greg Abate, who also plays flute, the once. That was at a gig in the Spice of Life in Soho, not long after Abate released a very elegant Kenny Barron-themed album entitled Magic Dance (Whaling City Sound) with Barron, Dezron Douglas and Blue Note artist Johnathan Blake recorded at the most revered studio probably anywhere for jazz, Rudy Van Gelder's. Abate tours a lot in the UK and was over for an extensive round of gigs with pick-up bands collected along the way. He joked that he was like a pin cushion after all the jabs he had to go through to make the trip in those Covid times.

'I'll Remember April' from Abate's 2016 album Kindred Spirits featuring Phil Woods was a significant high point of the gig. Abate also mentioned the late Richie Cole during his brief chats to the audience and later speaking to him he said how much he missed his fellow saxist. What a fine instrumentalist Abate is. Catch him in Brighton on the 13th when he plays with pianist Simon Robinson, bassist Nigel Thomas and the QOW Trio drummer - Tubby Hayes legend - Spike Wells.

Ian Shaw and Tony Kofi, top. Photo: PX Records