Jazz, July 2020

hfnalbum.pngTom Green Septet
Tipping Point
Spark! 008

Gifted trombonist and award-winning composer Tom Green launched his Spark! label back in 2015 with the Septet's first recording, Skyline. With only one change of personnel (altoist Tommy Andrews replacing Matthew Herd) the new album is a promise fulfilled, as Green's 'chamber jazz' writing is stronger and fuller-sounding than ever. On bass is Misha Mullov-Abbado, to whose 2015 debut album Green contributed, while on trumpet is Tom's friend-since-schooldays Jim Davison. Like drummer Scott Chapman, he's also a member of Misha's band. These close-knit colleagues put Green's music over with verve and aplomb, the horns often sounding like a much bigger band, but with delicacy and subtlety too. SH


Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
Just Coolin'
Blue Note 64201 (CD and 180g LP)

A 'lost album' from the Blue Note label's heyday. Blakey and The Jazz Messengers cut these six tracks in Rudy van Gelder's studio on March the 8th, 1959. But then label boss Alfred Lion recorded the band at Birdland in New York, and the live double At The Jazz Corner Of The World was issued instead of the studio session. One of the two previously-unheard compositions here is pianist Bobby Timmons' jaunty, quirky 'Quick Trick', while the uncredited 'Jimerick' is a fast if shapeless flag-waver that has Timmons showing off his fast-fingered Bud Powell side rather than his soul-jazz block chords. With Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan stretching out, this is a great set. SH


Erroll Garner
Up In Erroll's Room
Mack Avenue MAC1164

We now have reissues Nos 7, 8 and 9 of the 12 albums the late great pianist made for his own Octave label. There's the live-sounding That's My Kick from 1966 and 1969's Feeling Is Believing, which includes Garner's robust attacks on pop hits like 'For Once In My Life' and 'Yesterday'. But Up In Erroll's Room, uniquely, offers Garner with a brass section, brilliant arranger Don Sebesky deftly adding his orchestrations at a later session, just as he'd done with Wes Montgomery, to fit round Garner's improvisations. Standards old and new got this treatment, from 'Watermelon Man' to 'The Girl From Ipanema' to 'All The Things You Are'. A fascinating period piece. SH


Tony Kofi
Another Kind Of Soul
The Last Music Co LMLP217

Alto saxophonist Tony Kofi's past collaborations have ranged from The Monk Liberation Band to Chris Biscoe's tribute to Eric Dolphy, to Arnie Somogyi's Mingus Project and harpist Alina Bzhezhinska's Coltrane celebration. But here he leads his quintet in a live salute to his own biggest early influence. Trumpeter Andy Davies, pianist Alex Webb, Andrew Cleyndert and drummer Alfonso Vitale all shine in this gutsy, atmospheric set, opening with Webb's 'A Portrait Of Cannonball', which Kofi says would have been the album's title if Adderley hadn't used it himself. Of course, Nat Adderley gets celebrated too, with the title tune and an exuberant 'Work Song'. SH