Jazz, April 2022

hfnalbum.pngImmanuel Wilkins
The 7th Hand
Blue Note 3832650; 2LPs: 3832750

Alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins broke through spectacularly in 2020 with his debut as leader, Omega, which confronted the most horrific aspects of the black experience in America. Here once again, the musicians are pianist Micah Thomas, bassist Daryl Johns and drummer Kew Sumbry, and once again they sound completely unified, committed and purposeful. The seven pieces on the album form a suite that progresses towards 'the idea of being a conduit for the music as a higher power', and the enigmatic title is an allusion to the biblical concept of the 'Hand of the Lord'. It's music that needs to be listened to from the beginning, right to the end of the 26m last movement, 'Lift', to bring balm to the soul. SH


Basil Hodge
A Point Of Reference
Zeal Records ZEAL CD003

British pianist Basil Hodge has worked across many genres, but wrote and recorded his first jazz album, My Guardian Angel, in 2003 with a quintet including saxophonist Tony Kofi and trumpeter Quentin Collins. Kofi was heard again on Sound Reasoning (2009), with Fulvio Sigurta on trumpet. But for this third album of Hodge originals (apart from 'A Nightingale Sang…'), the pianist recruited gutsy saxophonist Ed Jones, known for his work with hard-bop/contemporary outfit Killer Shrimp. The tunes are catchy rather than complex and there's some great playing by Jones in a set that happily recalls the hard-bop era but with a modern touch. SH


Andrea Motis
Colors & Shadows
Jazzline D77099; 2LPs: D78099

Here the WDR Big Band of Cologne provides a showcase for the fine young singer and trumpeter who emerged from St Andreu youth jazz band of Barcelona, directed by Joan Chamorro. Her 2019 major-label debut, Do Altro Lado Do Azul [Verve], included her own 'Brisa', 'Sense Pressa' and 'Sombra de La', which reappear now in an album of sumptuous and often brilliant Latin arrangements by Mike Mossman. There's also a sophisticated update of the old samba 'Iracema' and an expansive new exploration of Horace Silver's 'Senor Blues'. The superb WDR players revel in Mossman's gorgeous and supple orchestrations, and Motis rises to the occasion. SH


Oscar Peterson
A Time For Love
Mack Avenue MAC1151 (two discs); 3LPs: MAC1152LP

After Herb Ellis left in 1958, Oscar Peterson didn't hire another guitarist for his trio until the early 1970s, when he discovered Joe Pass, going on to record The Trio. Later the trio became the quartet that you hear in this previously-unissued live recording, made in Helsinki on the last night of a 1987 tour of Europe. Disc 1 is devoted to Peterson's own compositions but includes a 20-minute 'Salute To Bach' while Disc 2 includes a rapid-fire six-number Ellington medley. Apart from a few slower moments, for example Peterson's own Love Ballade and Pass's 'When You Wish Upon A Star' solo, the pace never lets up. It will leave you breathless and happy. SH