Jazz, December 2022

hfnalbum.pngRaph Clarkson's Dissolute Society
This Is How We Grow
Migu Records MGU001

Trombonist and composer Raph Clarkson has been involved in many classical educational projects as well as jazz and experimental music groups including Dissolute Society. As with its 2018 album Soldiering On, the band is a 'super conglomerate' built around trumpeter Laura Jurd, Phil Merriman on keys, drummer Simon Roth and vocalist Fini Bearman. Guests include guitarist John Parricelli and saxophonist Mark Lockheart, and there's even a string section. But what's really special is the way that every track features a group of children's voices, from various schools and from years 3 to 6. Subtly fronted by Bearman, they sing their hearts out and, if you believe in music education at all, they will warm your heart too. SH


Eddie Harris
Live At Fabrik: Hamburg 1988
Jazzline D77106 [2 discs]; LP: D78106 [2 discs]

Back in 1967, the Chicago-born saxophonist and pioneer of the Varitone horn pick-up had a hit with The Electrifying Eddie Harris. And then in 1969 he had an unexpected success with Swiss Movement, a live and allegedly unrehearsed Montreux festival set featuring pianist Les McCann and trumpeter Benny Bailey. At Hamburg's Fabrik club in 1988, Harris was still purveying R 'n' Bsoaked funky soul jazz but also letting loose vocally with long tirades of African-inspired animal sounds. You can't help feeling that the front-man skills of McCann would have helped here, but to compensate there are long, tough, grooving solos from blues/rock guitarist Darryl Thompson. SH


Julia Hülsmann Quartet
The Next Door
ECM 4807370

For the German pianist's Not Far From Here the great saxophonist Uli Kempendorff joined bassist Marc Muellbauer and drummer Heinrich Köbberlin, both then with her for more than a decade, to complete the sublimely integrated quartet heard again here. As Hülsmann put it, 'This is not trio plus guest'. All but one of the pieces are originals by band members and most are short, engaging yet satisfyingly intricate, as the band draws on the cool and modal jazz heritage to create its own zone of refinement. And when Hülsmann gives an occasional hint of Kind Of Blue, it's not a superficial whim, but springs from the deepest musical understanding. SH


Charles Lloyd
Trios: Sacred Thread
Blue Note 4526687; LP: 4533317

After recruiting Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan for Chapel, Lloyd chose guitarist Anthony Wilson and pianist Gerald Clayton for Ocean. But now comes the final episode in the veteran saxophonist's 'trio of trios'. When Lloyd first played with Zakir Hussain in 2001, he realised that he'd seen the percussionist's father Alla Rakha performing with Ravi Shankar, decades earlier: 'You could call it Providence, I call it a Sacred Thread', he says. I have to say that Ocean is still my favourite. But with a sympathetic Julian Lage on guitar, Sacred Thread once more reveals the spirituality and truth of Lloyd's music, no matter how many or how few notes he plays. SH