Jazz, October 2020

hfnalbum.pngMisha Mullov-Abbado
Dream Circus
Edition Records EDN1156

Misha, gifted son of violinist Viktoria Mullova and conductor Claudio Abbado, made a splash as bassist and composer with New Ansonia in 2015. By the time he followed up with Cross Platform Interchange, in 2017, he'd assembled the loyal group of talented London musicians that are still his Dream Circus here. As before, the septet includes the forthright trumpet of James Davison, the contrasting saxes of altoist Matthew Herd and tenorist Sam Rapley, the piano of Liam Dunachie and the drums of Scott Chapman. All are fine soloists, yet above all they play Abbado's finely-structured pieces with verve. Multi-influenced yet stylistically coherent, accessible but never merely obvious, this is an inviting and rewarding album. SH


Soft Machine
Live At The Baked Potato
Dyad Records DY031

Here's a fine, clean recording of the band on top form, live in an LA club during the world tour that followed the release of Hidden Details in 2018. While guitarist John Etheridge, bassist Roy Babbington and drummer John Marshall were all members of Soft Machine in the 1970s, relative newcomer Theo Travis is as wild and astounding on keys as he is on flute and sax. As with the studio album, alongside more recent material they celebrate the early days with 'Out Bloody Rageous' and 'The Man Who Waved At Trains', but here you also get 'Hazard Profile' and 'The Tale Of Taliesin', where Etheridge lets fly as only he can. Essential for jazz-rock headbangers. SH


Jean-Louis Matinier/Kevin Seddiki
ECM 086 4800

Accordionist Matinier and guitarist Seddiki have both worked in many genres but their partnership seems to be a perfect fit, both using their instrumental resources in telling interpretation rather than flaunted display. Most of these jewel-like pieces are originals, but 'Schumannsko' weaves a theme of Schumann around a Bulgarian folk tune while 'Les Berceaux' interprets a sea song by Fauré, Seddiki's guitar conjuring the rippling waves. This duo even brings something fresh to 'Greensleeves', stripping down the melody and fully exploiting the harmony. Nothing goes on too long, and in fact you'll get to the end wishing there were more. Short and sweet. SH


Jo Harrop & Jamie Mccredie
Weathering The Storm
Lateralize Records LR07CD

Though busy touring her Peggy Lee show, fronting a big band Anita O'Day tribute and covering UK songbook classics with British Standard Time, Jo Harrop still found time to record as a duo with guitarist Jamie McCredie in his London studio. He gives her just the right support, on standards old and not so old. Taking a cue from Tony Bennett and Bill Evans they start with 'My Foolish Heart', then bring warmth to 'Tenderly' and subtlety to 'Early Autumn', before moving on to Randy Newman's 'Guilty', for example. As a singer, Harrop has everything, warm and effortless, putting every song over with perfect intonation, perfect diction and impeccable taste. A joy. SH