Jazz, May 2019

hfnalbum.pngPatchwork Jazz Orchestra
The Adventures Of Mr Pottercakes
Spark! SPARK 007

Patchwork is a co-operative big band of 17 fine young London-based talents, while its writers are pianist Liam Dunachie, bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado, drummer Scott Chapman, trumpeter James Davison, saxophonist Matthew Herd and trombonists Kieran McLeod and Tom Green. The title number portrays 'A bumbling Englishman' who stumbles across a Caribbean festival, in episodes that move from urbane to wistful to frantic fiesta. Other pieces tell stories too, whether zany or touching, like the drugs-and-death tale of 'The Boy Roy', as it hints at Ellington's 1920s jungle sounds. Musical influences are diverse but brilliantly synthesised, the arrangements are beautiful and the solos strong. SH


Joe Lovano
Trio Tapestry
ECM 679 6426; LP: 773 6190

Lovano's approach on this album, his first as a leader on ECM, is very different from his familiar straight-ahead-to-free-jazz blends, but it has deep roots. His writing for it involved 12-tone processes related to his work with the late Gunther Schuller, and in this he's ably partnered by pianist Marilyn Crispell, who notably worked with Anthony Braxton in the 1980s. And he's played with drummer Carmen Castaldi since their student days in the '70s. But you don't need to know any of this to respond to the moods and atmospheres created by Lovano's spare, intense pieces here, which he calls 'Some of the most intimate and personal music I've recorded so far'. SH


Duncan Eagles
Ropeadope RAD-443

Best known for his work with Partikel, the London-based saxophonist now makes his leadership debut, for an American label. As well as Partikel colleague Max Luthert on bass, he's recruited pianist Matt Robinson and drummer Dave Hamblett who both, along with Eagles himself, played on Luthert's Orbital album in 2014. Guitarist David Preston completes this well-integrated lineup. Full of complex rhythms and strong contrasts, Eagles' compositions reflect his touring experiences in many countries, and the title track implies global concerns as it turns from near-tranquility to a flight for life. But in the end this is a sunny, optimistic and welcoming album. SH


Joey Defrancesco
In The Key Of The Universe
Mack Avenue MAC1147; LP: MAC1147LP

On seven out of ten tracks, the Hammond master's key sideman, as on 2016's Project Freedom, is Australian/American saxophonist Troy Roberts. But at the heart of this 'spiritual jazz' album is his collaboration with veteran tenor sax giant Pharoah Sanders, who played with Coltrane before unleashing his own Karma in 1969. And Billy Hart, the drummer of Karma, is heard throughout. Both saxophonists play on the title song, but Roberts switches to bass as Sanders makes a magisterial revisit to 'The Creator Has A Master Plan'. Then, with DeFrancesco adding his Milesian trumpet and mellifluous keyboards, comes 'And So It Is', sumptuous and satisfying. SH