RECENT LISTENING: July 2021

‘The Antidote’ – Matt Ridley
Matt Ridley, Alex Hitchcock, Ant Law, Tom Hewson, Marc Michel
Release date: 23 July 2021
mattridley.bandcamp.com

‘Revival Room’ – Revival Room
Adam Fairhall, Mark Hanslip, Johnny Hunter
Release date: 30 July 2021
adamfairhall.co.uk / Bandcamp link to follow

‘Where the Streets Lead’ – Slowly Rolling Camera
Dave Stapleton, Elliot Bennet, Deri Roberts + Mark Lockheart, Stuart McCallum, Jasper Høiby, Verneri Pohjola, Chris Potter, Sachal Vasandani, Jon Visanji, Jenni Curiel, James Toll, Victoria Stapleton, Linda Kidwell, Rob Tuson, Phil Daish-Handy, Lionel Handy
Release date: 23 July 2021
editionrecords.com

‘Gated’ – Alex Ward
Alex Ward
Release date: 13 July 2021
discusmusic.bandcamp.com

‘Rising Up’ – Bianco Brackenbury
Tony Bianco, Faith Brackenbury
Release date: 13 July 2021
discusmusic.bandcamp.com

‘Imasche’ – Tomas Challenger/Alexander Hawkins/Mark Sanders
Tomas Challenger, Alexander Hawkins, Mark Sanders
Release date: 16 July 2021
tomchallenger.bandcamp.com

REVIEW: ‘Worry Not’ – Emma Johnson’s Gravy Boat

THE LAST fifteen, pandemic-dominated months have undoubtedly pulled focus on our mercurial emotions. So the premise of debut release Worry Not, from Leeds-based tenorist/composer Emma Johnson and her quintet, resonates all the more loudly.

Read my full review at LondonJazz News…

Released on 2 July 2021, Worry Not is available as CD or download at Bandcamp.

 

Emma Johnson tenor saxophone
Fergus Vickers electric guitar
Richard Jones piano
Angus Milne double bass
Steve Hanley drums

johnsonmusic.co.uk

Self-released (2021)

REVIEW: ‘Sankofa’ – Amaro Freitas

THERE’S ALWAYS a frisson of excitement when a left-field approach to ‘piano trio’ comes into view; and an online search for ‘Amaro Freitas’ soon returns live video which goes towards confirming the audio essence of new album Sankofa – that of a man who is utterly and perhaps even spiritually absorbed in his instrument and his music-making.

Read my full review at LondonJazz News…

Released on 25 June 2021 and available as CD, vinyl and digital download at Bandcamp.

 

Amaro Freitas piano
Hugo Medeiros drums, percussion
Jean Elton double bass

amarofreitas.com

Far Out Recordings (2021)

RECENT LISTENING: June 2021

‘Divided Horizon’ – Aki Rissanen
Aki Rissanen – solo piano/Omniwerk
Release date: 25 June 2021
editionrecords.com

‘Right Here, Right Now’Charlotte Keeffe
Charlotte Keeffe, Moss Freed, Ben Handysides, Ashley John Long, Diego Sampieri, London Improvisers Orchestra
Release date: 11 June 2021
discusmusic.bandcamp.com

‘Path of Seven Colors’ – Ches Smith’s We All Break
Ches Smith, Matt Mitchell, Miguel Zenón, Sirene Dantor Rene, Daniel Brevil, Markus Schwartz, Fanfan Jean-Guy Rene
Release date: 11 June 2021
weallbreakpyroclastic.bandcamp.com

‘Tales from the Jacquard’ – Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra
Julian Siegel, Nick Smart, Tom Walsh, Percy Pursglove, Henry Lowther, Claus Stotter, Mark Nightingale, Trevor Mires, Harry Brown, Richard Henry, Mike Chillingworth, Jason Yarde, Stan Sulzmann, Tori Freestone, Gemma Moore, Mike Outram, Liam Noble, Oli Hayhurst, Gene Calderazzo
Release date: 25 June 2021
juliansiegel-whirlwind.bandcamp.com

‘We’re Young Pilgrims’ – Young Pilgrims
Richard Foote, Kieran McLeod, Mike Adlington, Sean Gibbs, Sam Wooster, Michael Owers, Chris Maddock, Jonathan Silk, Euan Palmer
Release date: 18 June 2021
emporium.stoneylane.net

‘Isn’t It Romantic?’ – Aki Takase, Daniel Erdmann
Aki Takase, Daniel Erdmann
Release date: 7 May 2021
bmcrecords.hu

REVIEW: ‘A New York Flight’ – Andreas Toftemark Quartet

HAIRS RAISED on the nape of the neck, here. Why? Well, the sound of Danish saxophonist Andreas Toftemark and his quartet, on new release A New York Flight, is summoning memories of those revelatory early years of musical discovery in bars and halls – the formative experiences of live jazz that are indelibly printed on heart and mind.

Toftemark moved to New York some four or five years ago, studying with Joel Frahm and Ben Wendel, while also learning fast by playing in the heat of its vibrant, yet famously tough jazz scene alongside names such as Peter Bernstein and Ethan Iverson. 2020, a year like no other, saw him return to Denmark, soon establishing a band with his colleagues Calle Brickman (piano), Felix Mosehol (bass) and Andreas Svendsen (drums). For this studio recording, selecting two originals alongside four reinterpretations, Toftemark has crafted a set which captivated on its first hearing, his confident, rounded tenor tone sometimes reminiscent of Scott Hamilton. Significantly, he absolutely achieves that important ‘one foot in the past’ aim of honouring jazz heritage in a way that is just as relevant for our time; and the balmy, romantic thread of these roomy performances (averaging seven minutes apiece) is balanced by both a breeziness and episodes of invigorating sparkle.

The initial, wistful ‘look back’ of the leader’s title-track opener – described in the sleeve notes as ‘a bridge from the New York that was to the near future of the Danish jazz scene’ – soon snaps into a crackling groove which presents the individual merits of each player. Able to create space for detail, they also collectively punch out substantial waves of excitement, Calle Brickman’s rolling piano phrases leading to Toftemark’s gradual pathway towards a potentially limitless torrent of tenor improvisation. Cryptically explained as ‘a row of numbers that seem to follow Andreas in love and friendships’, his gladsome, streetwalking 2223 ramps up into blistering full-on swing – certainly a feel-good gem amongst gems.

Count Basie classic, Blue and Sentimental, is transported oh so elegantly from its 1930s beginnings into an ease-back blues brimming with delectable, acciaccatura piano phrasing, while Toftemark’s measured explorations pay homage to that golden era of jazz; and the assured rhythms of Mosehol and Svendsen are beautifully controlled. From a decade earlier, Donaldson/Kahn’s Love Me or Leave Me (recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone et al) feels at home in instrumental guise as the quartet navigate its push-pull metre before cruising to the leader’s extemporisations – and even when he bows out midway, the remaining piano-trio display, incorporating fine piano and drum soloing, is similarly engaging.

The Big Apple is evidently dear to Toftemark, his dusky, heart-on-sleeve interpretation of enduring Autumn in New York seemingly glinting in the afterglow. Focusing on each cadence, his cool delivery of this Vernon Duke evergreen (originally written with a longing for the city) is consistently a joy, supported by lucent touches from his attentive personnel – and it’s easy, too, to imagine a rapt audience in the shadows of the bandstand. To close, romantic I’m a Fool to Want You (Jack Wolf, Joel Herron, Frank Sinatra) is treated to a lush arrangement which finds light amongst the original’s lovelorn torment, gently swinging to bewitching tenor and piano spotlights.

Aside from the overriding pleasure of these 43 minutes, the intriguing takeaway is what might yet be in the pipeline from the relatively young Andreas Toftemark and, indeed, his friends on this recording. As fine, contemporary interpreters of the tradition, and with that glimpse of the saxophonist’s compositional prowess, the stage seems well and truly set.

Released on 11 June 2021, A New York Flight is available in CD, vinyl and digital formats at Bandcamp.

 

Andreas Toftemark tenor saxophone
Calle Brickman piano
Felix Mosehol bass
Andreas Svendsen drums

andreastoftemark.com

April Records – APR086CD / APR086LP (2021)

REVIEW: ‘Perihelion’ – Guido Spannocchi

COOL AS YOU LIKE, Viennese alto saxophonist Guido Spannocchi’s Perihelion (a title referencing the position in the orbit of a planet where it’s nearest to the sun) has ‘summer’ written all over it!

Read my full review at LondonJazz News…

Released on 14 May 2021, Perihelion is available from Audioguido Records.

 

Jay Phelps trumpet
Guido Spannocchi alto saxophone
Sylvie Leys tenor saxophone
Robert Mitchell Wurlitzer, piano
Michelangelo Scandroolio double bass
Tristan Banks drums

Composed, arranged and produced by Guido Spannocchi

audioguido.com

Audioguido Records (2021)