Jazz, January 2023

hfnalbum.pngConnie Han
Secrets Of Inanna
Mack Avenue MA1193; LP: MAC1193LP (two discs)

Raised in a musical family, the Californian piano prodigy and budding composer self-published her first album in 2015 while still (just) in her teens. Most obviously influenced by McCoy Tyner, her mastery and rhythmic drive soon won her a contract with Mack Avenue. Like Crime Zone and Iron Starlet, this third album for the Detroit label is produced and co-written by drummer Bill Wysaske, who'd been her mentor at the LA County High School For The Arts. Those two earlier albums featured Walter Smith III, but this time saxophonist Rich Perry is melodious, if almost languid by comparison, on Han's pieces. But whether on piano or the no-longer-unfashionable Rhodes, Han is intriguing, sometimes spectacular, always alive. SH


Elvin Jones
Revival: Live At Pookie's Pub
Blue Note 4587204 (2 discs); LP: 4587205 (three discs)

Joining John Coltrane in 1960, Elvin Jones became a member of the 'classic quartet', leaving in 1966 after Coltrane added Rashied Ali as second drummer. He made his own all-star jazz-funk studio album Midnight Walk in that year, but this live recording from July 1967 couldn't be more different. It captures Jones and his quartet in a small New York club where he had a weekly residency. We hear Wilbur Little on bass, Billy Greene doing his best with the club's awful piano and above all the Coltrane-influenced Joe Farrell stretching out endlessly and energetically on tenor sax, and also balladeering on flute. This is hardly hi-fi, but it's a piece of history. SH


The Bad Plus
The Bad Plus
Edition Records EDN1208; LP: EDNLP1208 (two discs)

Back in 2000, an innovative piano trio launched its self-titled debut album, The Bad Plus, going on to record and tour successfully for years. But 2017 saw the departure of pianist Ethan Iverson, by then becoming well-known online for his Do The Math website. Orrin Evans took over but then, come the pandemic, left to focus on his own projects. So in 2021, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King called in saxophonist Chris Speed and guitarist Ben Monder. The Bad Plus had always drawn on rock and pop material, but now, with the versatile Monder, they can have a rock sound as well. As the two founders defiantly assert, 'We're still The Bad Plus'. SH


Andrew Mccormack
Terra Firma
Ubuntu UBU0123

Making his debut with Telescope in 2006, pianist Andrew McCormack went on to become a mainstay of Kyle Eastwood's touring band and head his own prog-jazz band Graviton, but here returns to the acoustic trio format. UK-based American drummer Rod Youngs was a colleague even in pre-Telescope days, and the bassist is rising-star Joe Downard. Covers include a neat reading of Sting's 'Fragile', an affectionate 'Dear Old Stockholm', a swing through Monk's 'Work' and an oblique look at 'Confirmation'. McCormack's appealing originals range from the wistful 'Better To Have Loved' to his cheerful 'Cherry Blossom' solo, which has a real spring in its step. SH