Jazz, August 2022

hfnalbum.pngJoel Ross
The Parable Of The Poet
Blue Note 3891818; 2LPs: 3891819

In his third Blue Note release, the vibraphonist and composer offers an album-length suite, his themes providing for collective and individual improvisation within his innovative Parables band. It's an octet in which Ross's long-time alto sax collaborator Immanuel Wilkins and trumpet star Marquis Hill are joined by tenor saxist Maria Grand, trombonist Kalia Vandever, brilliant young pianist Sean Mason, bassist Rick Rosato and drummer Craig Weinrib. After the meditative first movement, 'Prayer', things darken through 'Guilt' and 'Choices' to the emotional cry of 'Wail'. But then comes the turning point of 'The Impetus (To Be And Do Better)' and at last the uplift and joy of 'Doxology (Hope)'. It's a beautiful journey. SH


Ewan Bleach Quartet
Ewan The Night 'N' The Music
Old Style Records (via Bandcamp)

A leading figure in the London revival of 1920s-'30s music, Bleach has also played and recorded memorably with New Orleans band Tuba Skinny. But here pianist Colin Good, guitarist John Kelly and bassist Jim Ydstie, all colleagues from The Man Overboard and other groups, provide a backdrop for his superb ballad playing on saxes and clarinet. Bleach doesn't merely copy the idols of the past. On his opening 'Body And Soul', he gives us a tenor sound every bit as luscious as Coleman Hawkins', but the interpretation is his own. Similarly, he includes his old Bechet favourite 'Si tu veux voir ma mère', but this time makes it tell his own story. Gorgeous. SH


Alternative Guitar Summit
Honoring Pat Martino Vol 1
High Note HCD7333

Guitar great Pat Martino passed away in November 2021. This tribute was partly recorded in March '21 at Joel Harrison's annual Alternative Guitar Summit, which for that year became a live-streamed studio event, Martino viewing online. With more tracks recorded later, the album features 14 guitarists playing Martino compositions. There are guitar duos with rhythm section, including a memorable 'Willow' with Sheryl Bailey and Ed Cherry as well as a rock-inclined 'Joyous Lake' from Nir Felder and Oz Noy. Kurt Rosenwinkel recorded his own one-man trio on 'Black Glass' while Fareed Haque played 'Line Games' on his flamenco guitar. This is not just for guitar freaks. SH


Trish Clowes
A View With A Room
Greenleaf Music GRE-CD-1094

A fourth release for the saxophonist and composer's tight-knit quartet, My Iris, but her first on US trumpeter Dave Douglas's Greenleaf label. In fact, guitarist Chris Montague and drummer James Maddren also appeared on the two albums Clowes made before Ross Stanley completed the lineup in 2016. All but one of the pieces were written for live-streaming events in lockdown; three pay tribute to inspirational women. Outstanding is the funky, upbeat and positive 'Amber' (for Donate4Refugees CEO Amber Bauer), Montague's rock-informed but jazz-flexible guitar meshing brilliantly with Maddren's off-centre beats and Stanley's stabbing chords. SH