Jazz, June 2019

hfnalbum.pngGwilym Simcock
Near And Now
ACT 9883-2

As the first jazz musician on the BBC's New Generation Artists scheme, Gwilym Simcock made many solo piano recordings for broadcast, but his first solo album was Good Days At Schloss Elmau in 2011. Here, he's followed Keith Jarrett's example by recording the album himself at home. It's dedicated to five other pianists who've had an impact on his music, so there are three-part suites for Billy Childs and Egberto Gismonti sandwiching single compositions dedicated to Brad Mehldau, Russell Ferrante and Les Chisnall, the teacher who introduced Simcock to jazz. The sound is that of a grand piano in a fairly small space, but Simcock's playing is expansive, rhythmically intricate and always alluring. SH


Chris Potter
Edition Records EDN1123; (2LPs: EDNLP1123)

Despite acclaim for his recent ECM albums, the virtuoso saxophonist has been 'itching to get back into grooveland'. Here he's teamed up with a colleague of many years, drummer Eric Harland, who recommended the great young pianist James Francies. Completing a truly dynamic quartet is Mauritius-born Linley Marthe, who's played, it seems, with everyone from Joe Zawinul to Richard Galliano, on electric bass, setting up some truly amazing grooves with Harland. With Potter adding electronica and wailing on tenor as the first among equals here, the music is alternately structured and freewheeling, yet always with fabulous drive and excitement. SH


Alfredo Rodriguez/Pedrito Martinez
Mack Avenue MAC1145

Percussionist and vocalist Martinez moved from Cuba to the USA in 1998 while Rodriguez arrived about ten years later, and they first collaborated on The Invasion Parade in 2014. Here they create a full, rich sound, Rodriguez adding Rhodes and keyboard bass to grand piano while Martinez contributes impassioned vocals and multiple drums. Rodriguez's originals range from the celebratory 'Africa' to the smoother 'Flor' and 'Mariposa', but then there's a cover of the Cuban classic 'El Punto Cubano', a reworking of 'Thriller' and a fun-filled virtuoso workout on the 'Super Mario Bros 3' game theme. A treat. SH


John Turville
Head First
Whirlwind Recordings WR4734 (CD or 180g vinyl)

One of the pieces here, 'A Perfect Foil', was first performed as the pianist's homage to the late John Taylor in 2015, and became a starting-point for this quintet recording. And Robbie Robson's bright, agile trumpet is a perfect foil for the distinctive, almost purring tenor sax of Julian Argüelles, who is also gorgeously lyrical on soprano. As well as Turville's originals there are some subtle interpretations, as when, with just the bass and drums of Dave Whitford and James Maddren, Turville makes Toninho Horta's 'Francisca' sound like 'Waltz For Debby'. Then the horns return with Michel Petrucciani's 'Beautiful But Why' to close a warm, uplifting album. SH