Jazz, January 2020

hfnalbum.pngMichel Petrucciani
BMG/Dreyfus Jazz 538459425 (two discs); 2LPs: 405053 8526837

Pianist Michel Petrucciani died in January 1999, when he was just 36. This 20th anniversary tribute, also on vinyl, is culled from albums he made for the French label Dreyfus from 1994. It focuses on Petrucciani the composer, as all 18 pieces are his own. From Solo Live (1998) comes the longest track, his evocative 'Trilogy In Blois' suite, and the shortest, his amazing boogie/stride workout 'She Did It Again', which in this compilation fades out before it becomes 'Take The “A” Train'. Along with the solos we hear Petrucciani in duet with organist Eddie Louiss, with trios augmented by horns or string quartet, and with Stephane Grappelli on the jaunty 'Little Peace In C For U'. A delightful reminder of a true great. SH


Nils Landgren
4 Wheel Drive Live
ACT Music 9895-2

A live follow-up to a studio album that topped the German jazz charts for four months, recorded at the final concert of the band's subsequent tour. In order of seniority 4 Wheel Drive consists of virtuoso Swedish trombonist Nils Landgren, supreme Danish bassist Lars Danielsson, German drummer Wolfgang Haffner and (relatively) the group's wunderkind, German piano star Michael Wollny. Between its vigorous jazz-funk originals the quartet reshapes Sting's 'Shadows In The Rain' and rocks out with his 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free', both adorned by Landgren's cloudy vocals. With atmospheric, sometimes clangorous sound, a good time was had by all. SH


Abdullah Ibrahim
Dream Time
Enja ENJ-9676 2

June 2019 saw the release of The Balance, recorded by Ibrahim with his group Ekaya in London in November 2018, shortly after his 84th birthday. Now, a decade after Senzo, five years after Song Is My Story, comes a new solo piano album. Once again, in a long sequence played without a break, Ibrahim seems somehow to distill his whole life story. There are the African themes, pieces for Coltrane and Ellington, and a beautiful nostalgic melody conjuring up Ellington's great trombonist Lawrence Brown. Recorded in a relatively cosy hall near Ibrahim's new home in Bavaria, the sound is intimate yet sonorous, just right for this deep, calm and healing music. SH


Quentin Collins Sextet
Road Warrior
Ubuntu Music UB0027; LP: UB0027LP

For this set the trumpeter envisaged 'a first-class American rhythm section' with a 'pulverising UK horn section' to play music by himself and alto sax player Tom Harrison. As Harrison couldn't make the recording due to injury, Collins brought in Ohio-born, UK-based altoist Meilana Gillard to join gutsy tenorist Leo Richardson. And the US/UK combination really works on 'Do You Know The Way', an over-the-top hard-bop theme with fervid solos all round. Then there's the gentler optimism of 'Look Ahead (What Do You See?)', while the summery 'Jasmine Breeze' is one of two tracks to feature the tenor sax of Jean Toussaint, who also produced. Hot from start to finish. SH