Jazz, July 2023

hfnalbum.pngBilly Childs
The Winds Of Change
Mack Avenue MAC1200

Composer, arranger and pianist Billy Childs emerged in the late 1970s as a sideman before going on to record for the 'new age' label Windham Hill and then for Sony. Rebirth (2017) marked a return to straight-ahead jazz while Acceptance (2020) was more eclectic, but for this third Mack Avenue album he leads an all-star quartet with trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade. Apart from Chick Corea's 'Crystal Silence' and Kenny Barron's 'The Black Angel', the themes are all Childs' own, movie-score inspired, expansive and symphonic in scale, with Ambrose Akinmusire's warmth and humanity bringing them all to life in a fine, organic collaboration. SH


Five-Way Split
All The Way
Ubuntu Music UBU0129

That evocative retro artwork gives you some idea what to expect from this London-based quintet, led by trumpet star/Ubuntu co-founder Quentin Collins. He's joined by Greek sax master Vasilis Xenopoulos and pianist Rob Barron, with Matyas Hofecker and Matt Home on bass and drums. The five first got together in 2020, working on a repertoire from the hard-bop heyday of the 1960s, but soon came up with some lovingly-crafted and virtuosic originals, which in some cases re-create the idiom to the point of déjà vu. But the authenticity comes with a fresh and joyful approach, while the inviting sonics help to make listening enjoyable from start to finish. SH


In Real Time
Blue Note 4872856; LP: 4872855

A second album release from the all-star, all-woman band led by pianist Renee Rosnes. She's joined again by trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, bassist Noriko Ueda and drummer Allison Miller, but now (in place of Melissa Aldana and Anat Cohen) we hear Nicole Glover on tenor sax and Alex Tarantino on alto, soprano and flute, forging

a distinctive ensemble sound as well as great solos. All members contributed to the writing, but originals aside, there's a fast yet relaxed take on Lyle Mays 'Slink' to open, and a band favourite in 'Penelope' by Wayne Shorter (with whom Rosnes toured in 1988) featuring Milesian trumpet from Jensen. Rich, varied, totally engaging. SH


Basie All Stars
Live At Fabrik Vol 1: Hamburg 1981
Jazzline D 77125; LP: D 78125

Alto saxophonist Marshall Royal joined Count Basie in 1951 and became the 'straw boss' who ran the band, until he left in 1970. In 1981, when Basie was no longer well enough to tour, Royal put together the nine-piece band of (mainly) Basie alumni heard here. It included elder statesmen Harry 'Sweets' Edison (with Basie from 1937 to 1950), saxophonist Buddy Tate (1939-48) and trumpeter Joe Newman (1943-47 and 1952-61). Trombonist Benny Powell and drummer Gus Johnson had worked with Basie in the '50s, while Nat Pierce emulated Basie's piano style. Not quite a big band but swinging enough. Promised for next year is Vol 2, with singer Joe Williams. SH