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Steve Harris  |  May 14, 2019
This month we review: Rymden, Eric Dolphy, Emile Parisien Quartet, and Andrew Cyrille, Wadada Leo Smith, Bill Frisell
Steve Harris  |  Apr 03, 2019
This month we review: Gary Burton, James Francies, Bob James Trio, & Chucho ValdÉs
Steve Harris  |  Mar 06, 2019
This month we review: Christian Sands, Lionel Loueke, Shai Maestro, & Massimiliano Coclite 4tet
Steve Harris  |  Dec 01, 2018
This month we review: Wayne Shorter, Camilla George, All About That Basie, and Omar Sosa & Yilian Cañizares
Steve Harris  |  Nov 01, 2018
This month we review: Soft Machine, Bansangu Orchestra, Tony Kofi and The Organisation, and New York All-Stars.
Steve Harris  |  Oct 01, 2018
This month we review: John Coltrane, Tony Kofi and The Organisation, Bansangu Orchestra, and Mark Kavuma.
Steve Harris  |  Sep 01, 2018
This month we review: Stefano Bollani, Timo Lassy, Renee Rosnes, and Andreas Varady
Steve Harris  |  Sep 06, 2014
Last Dance - ECM 378 0524 In 2007, when they hadn’t worked together for 30 years, pianist and bassist met during the making of a film about Haden, and Jarrett invited Haden to his home studio. They spent four days recording, and some of the results were heard on the 2010 album Jasmine. In this new collection, tunes include the jazz standards ‘Dance Of The Infidels’ by Bud Powell and Monk’s ‘’Round Midnight’ as well as ballads like ‘My Old Flame’. With a second album celebrating the same reunion, you’ll think that you’re in for more of the same, and it’s true.
Steve Harris  |  Dec 10, 2010
Composer, pianist, leader and educator Django Bates has done just about everything, but in his 50th year he’s filled a gap by offering this tribute to his earliest inspiration, Charlie Parker. The idea, though, dates back to 2005, the 50th anniversary of Parker’s death, when Bates arranged tunes associated with Bird for a celebration event in Copenhagen. On this trio album he doesn’t play a bop style but lets loose his own piano pyrotechnics in ‘Scrapple From The Apple’ and other be-bop anthems. A final piece of contemplative musing creates its own space from a fragment of ‘Ah-Leu-Cha’, and if this is the least frenetic track, it’s also one of the most successful.
Steve Harris  |  Dec 10, 2010
After a brilliant start as a boy classical pianist, the teenage Cowley played in a Blues Brothers tribute band, then plunged into electronic pop with the Brand New Heavies and Zero 7 and his own group Fragile State. Returning to the piano, he formed the trio which recorded Displaced in 2006 and Loud Louder Stop in 2008. For their third album the trio are still together, or to be more accurate, more together than ever. They play as one.
Steve Harris  |  Dec 10, 2010
No matter how deeply it’s been mined before, the Blue Note vault is still a rich source of reissue gold. In what amounts to a relaunch of the XRCD audiophile format, Audio Wave has begun with a clutch of soul jazz classics. Soul Station has Mobley’s old Jazz Messengers boss Art Blakey on drums, with Paul Chambers on bass and bluesy pianist Wynton Kelly. This seemingly carefree album marked a turning-point for the light-toned tenor player, as 1961 would see him briefly and not very happily joining Miles Davis.
Steve Harris  |  Dec 10, 2010
Revisiting favourite old songs, the late great composer’s singer daughter has the luxury of Phil Ramone as producer, as well as some special guest stars. Stevie Wonder does a fabulous harmonica obbligato on ‘Blame It On The Sun’, while Brian Wilson and Take 6 vocalize amazingly behind her on ‘God Only Knows’. One of the best realisations, if not a jazzy one, is the opener ‘These Days’, with the unmistakeable liquid voice and soft guitar of composer Jackson Browne. This isn’t to be confused with the title track, the Billy Joel song, more wistful than ironic in Mancini’s hands.
Steve Harris  |  Dec 10, 2010
Tia Fuller has toured and played to huge audiences as a sax soloist in Beyoncé’s all-female band, but she’s her own boss here for her second Mack Avenue album. This time she’s joined by sister Shamie Royston on piano, but as on 2007’s Healing Space it’s Miriam Sullivan on bass and Beyoncé bandmate Kim Thompson on drums, with Sean Jones guesting on trumpet. The only non-original is her Cannonball-influenced ‘Can’t Get Started’, a ballad feature also for her other guests, vibraphonist Warren Wolf and bassist Christian McBride, who injects incomparable swing into two other numbers. A feast, here, of great and often joyous playing.
Steve Harris  |  Dec 10, 2010
For his third ECM project as leader, the celebrated drummer put together a new group, but it’s a group of old friends. Bassist Pino Palladino is a collaborator of many years, while pianist Jason Rebello played with Katché in Sting’s band. Norwegian saxophonist Tore Brunberg, often sounding like a soft-focus Garbarek, is a long-term ECM labelmate. Guests are guitarist Jacob Young and trumpeter Kami Lyle, who adds lyrics to ‘Stay With You’ with her impossibly warbly yet captivating vocal.
Steve Harris  |  Dec 10, 2010
Even given the prodigious talents and open-minded approach of the Hessischer Rundfunk orchestra, you’d think it would be impossible to arrange whole tracks from Miles Davis’ 1970s/80s electric music for big band. But that’s really not what heavy-metal guru turned film composer Colin Towns set out to do. Instead, he pulled out suitable themes and fragments and developed them for the band to work with, though you do hear more complete interpretations of ‘In A Silent Way’ and ‘Tutu’. And, against the expected backdrops of heavy rock beat, funky bass and period wah-wah guitar, he really gives the stellar HR soloists something to run with.