Time just sort of slips on by...Meanwhile, back on the Edge of Jazz it's been an amazing year both for new releases, but also for me re-discovering boxes of material in the depths of my cellar as I needed more space for wine-racks! It's really difficult to mention all the albums that I've enjoyed since February, but a few current favourites are;
Parallax: Phronesis- You might wonder what a piano trio might have to offer in 2016. Listen to this album and any doubts about the format will get blown away. Really rather more than splendid!
Crimson: Delta Saxophone Quartet - so here's another pianist, in this case Gwilym Simcock who's arranged a set of King Crimson originals for a saxophone quartet, and adds his own edge to an eclectic choice of Crimso originals, with two from my favourite album "Starless and Bible Black". Chris Caldwell will be a guest of the show when we can find a mutually agreeable date in two crowded diaries!
Unstatic: Manu Katche - a quintet format (plus guests) for an album that embraces a whole host of idiosyncratic styles. This was suggested to me by my sister, who knows about all things French. In this case even the sleeve notes, which I struggled to translate, but I do like the word "perturbants" which is used to describe the music.
Everything is beautiful: Robert Glasper - Perhaps too little Glasper (and certainly too little Miles) but a brilliant attempt to harness the music of Miles Davis and rework it in some interesting idioms. I especially like the track with Laura Mvula, but repeated playing will reveal hidden depth in all the work of a variety of artists.
Arclight: Julian Lage - I've often worried that Lage might never throw off the legacy of being a child prodigy and not develop his own style of guitar playing. Her, in a trio format, he manages that with an eclectic mix of totally self-written compositions played in a variety of tempos that makes me look forward to his next outing as well.
Connection: Empirical- Each of the band, except drummer Shaney Forbes gets to contribute to an album from a group that have an alto sax and a vibraphone as the front line. It's an ever shifting patchwork of themes and ideas that somehow comes together in a rewarding album.
and then there's the ones that I re-discovered..
The Soothsayer: Wayne Shorter - Although it was recorded in 1965 this one didn't get released until 1979, which is difficult to explain since it's such a belting album, with several unique features. Amongst those are the sextet format, a group of buddies from a classic Miles Davis Band, a front line where James Spaulding and Freddie Hubbard (especially the former) almost, but not quite manage to steal the thunder from Shorter, and some ripping Shorter compositions that rarely appear elsewhere. Can't quite understand why I buried this in the vaults...and then there's
The thing to do: Blue Mitchell - On a rainy April day I decided to sit down and listen to my Junior Cook and Blue Mitchell albums, then remembered this Blue Note Classic from 1964. What's so good about it is just how relaxed the two front men sound (its Junior Cook on Tenor) and just how splendid Chick Corea sounds in front of Gene Taylor and Al Foster (who calls himself Aloysius for this album!). The version of the title track is just splendid!
Various albums; Marlena Shaw- There, just where the 2015 Hermitage is going to rest was a box of albums including a Cadet album and all five albums she recorded for Blue Note. I hadn't played any of them since the eighties and wondered how they would sound. Yeah, OK, possibly a bit more soul orientated than I'd normally play nowadays, but I had "From the depths of my soul" on auto replay sounding only as Blue Note vinyl can sound. I worked my way through them and even "Who is this bitch anyway?" which I wasn't that keen on, at the time sounds great.
I'll try to post more regularly, as there's some splendid new stuff in the offing, including, I have been promised a new Emily Saunders and a new Slowly Rolling Camera CD. There's also a couple of festivals to fit in as well. Should be a great summer.