Jazz, July 2019

hfnalbum.pngBenjamin Croft
10 Reasons To...
33 Jazz Records 33JAZZ275

British keyboard wizard Croft toured with major US pop acts before becoming a Ronnie Scott's regular, but with a great fusion-style band, this album of originals reflects the influence of Weather Report as well as Dr Who. Intoning Poe's poem 'The City In The Sea' actor Peter Miles launches '100 Years At Sea', in which violinist Benet McLean solos superbly against Croft's Rhodes. Then Croft, backed only by drummer Tristan Maillot, changes gear in every sense, conjuring frenetic, futuristic sounds from an array of vintage synthesisers in 'One Million Years At Sea'. Two more Scott's club favourites, trumpeter Andy Davies and drummer Saleem Raman, feature strongly too, in an album of sheer enjoyment. SH


Quiana Lynell
A Little Love
Concord Jazz CJA00131

Winning the 2017 Sarah Vaughan jazz vocal competition gave this exciting young singer from New Orleans the chance to record for Concord. Her producer is Brian Michel Bacchus, of Norah Jones and Gregory Porter fame, with a judiciously varied programme that's still full of natural soul. Lynell soars up from her gospel roots as she segues 'Come Sunday' into 'I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free)' and echoes Ella on Gershwin's 'They All Laughed', with period-style chugging rhythm from guitarist Ed Cherry. The other fine musicians here include pianist Cyrus Chestnut, Snarky Puppy drummer Jamison Ross and vibes master Monte Croft. An engaging debut. SH


The Steve Fishwick-Alex Garnett Quartet
Marshian Time Slip
Hard Bop Records HBR33011 (limited edition LP)

This brings to fruition a project begun 15 years ago, when trumpeter Steve Fishwick and drummer twin brother Matt first met saxophonist Alex Garnett, and began rehearsing in the spirit of the great piano-less groups of the hard-bop era. Now their quartet is completed by American bassist Mike Karn. Fulfilling the promise of a Philip K Dick-inspired pun, Fishwick's sparky, intricate title tune is 'written in the Lennie Tristano/Warne Marsh style' on the chords of 'All The Things You Are' with 'three bars missing from various places'. You could go nuts trying to work out where. If you love sizzling bop themes, don't miss this. SH


Herlin Riley
Perpetual Optimism
Mack Avenue MAC1136

Well-known for his work with Ahmad Jamal and as a stalwart of Wynton Marsalis's Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, New Orleans drummer Riley has also long led his own quartets. His second Mack Avenue album as leader features essentially the same young group as New Direction, so once again we hear Goodwin Lewis, alternately bustling and elegantly plaintive on alto sax, and the broad trumpet tones of Bruce Harris. This time, along with his own originals, Riley has stirred in a few standards, and, although he doesn't call himself a singer, he lets rip amusingly on his special crowd-pleasing 5/4 version of 'Wang Dang Doodle'. Accomplished and entertaining. SH