Jazz, December 2023

You Know I Care
22a Records 043 (CD and LP)

Gifted UK multi-instrumentalist and producer Ed Cawthorne, aka Tenderlonious, has recorded prolifically on his own 22a label with his jazz fusion band Ruby Rushton and also in genres ranging from Indian music to pure electronica. This time he pays tribute to 1960s jazz greats who've inspired him since his early days as a DJ. The title song by Duke Pearson was originally a feature for flute, Tender's primary instrument, and he plays it eloquently here. But on most tracks he is melodious and engaging on alto saxophone. It's an album of warm, gentle grooves created by Pete Martin and Tim Carnegie on bass and drums with lovely flowing piano work by Hamish Balfour, but above all, Tenderlonious plays with heart and soul. SH


George Freeman
The Good Life
High Note HCD 7352

It's astonishing to hear recordings made only last year by the veteran guitarist whose band (including saxist brother Von) once backed Charlie Parker at Chicago's Pershing Hotel in 1950. Freeman had just turned 95 when he recorded four numbers, including the title tune, with Christian McBride and Carl Allen. On a second session Freeman, who'd worked with Richard 'Groove' Holmes in the 1960s and Jimmy McGriff in the '70s, teamed happily with the greatest Hammond player of modern times, Joey DeFrancesco, along with drummer Lewis Nash. Sadly, DeFrancesco was to pass away just a couple of months later, making this a poignant piece of jazz history. SH


Telarc TEL00170; LP: TEL00171 (two discs)

After two acoustic studio albums, Spectrum and Silver Lining Suite, the amazing Japanese pianist has returned to electric music, recruiting three incredibly talented musicians for her new band, Hiromi's Sonicwonder. Jaco-influenced bassist Hadrien Feraud is partnered on drums by the superbly propulsive Glen Coye, while Adam O'Farrill is a brilliant trumpeter whose playing can be really beautiful – as on the expansive 'Polaris'. 'Reminiscence', with lyrics co-written and sung by Hiromi's old friend and one time Berklee classmate Oli Rockberger, makes a sweet and sentimental interlude. But otherwise this is an exhilarating and breathless ride. SH


Joshua Redman Featuring Gabrielle Cavassa
Where Are We
Blue Note 5525300; LP:5525301 (two discs)

Seductive Italian American singer Cavassa joins the saxophonist here to take us on a USA trip, picking up star guests along the way. Trumpeter Nicolas Payton enlivens 'Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans', Joel Ross adds vibes to a 'Chicago Blues' that mashes up Basie with Sufjan Stevens, and guitarists Peter Bernstein and Kurt Rosenwinkel appear in 'Manhattan' and on the 'Streets Of Philadelphia'. The journey starts with Redman's original 'After Minneaopolis', written days after the Floyd killing – and ends with a re-write of the old pop song 'Where Are You', leading to the question that's in the album title. SH