#recentlistening – March 2020 (2)

Jimmy Greene – While Looking Up
Jimmy Greene, Reuben Rogers, Kendrick Scott, Aaron Goldberg, Stefon Harris, Lage Lund
Release date: 3 April 2020 (Mack Avenue Records)
mackavenue.com / propermusic.com

Pericopes+1 – UP
Emiliano Vernici, Alessandro Sgobbio, Nick Wight
Release date: 6 March 2020 (Losen Records)
pericopes.it / losenrecords.no

Jasper Høiby – Planet B
Jasper Høiby, Josh Arcoleo, Marc Michel
Release date: 6 March 2020 (Edition Records)
jasperhoiby.bandcamp.com

Kenny Barron / Dave Holland Trio feat. Johnathan Blake – Without Deception
Kenny Barron, Dave Holland, Johnathan Blake
Release date: 6 March 2020 (Dare2 Records)
dave holland.com / propermusic.com

Article XI – Live in Newcastle
Sam Andreae, Oliver Dover, Simon Prince, Cath Roberts, Graham South, Nick Walters, Kieran McLeod, Tullis Rennie, Seth Bennett, Johnny Hunter, Anton Hunter
Release date: 16 March 2020 (Discus Music)
discusmusic.bandcamp.com

Agile Experiments – Alive in the Empire (vinyl)
John Edwards, Dan Nicholls, George Crowley, Dave De Rose
Release date: 27 March 2020 (Dave De Rose Records)
davederosemusic.bandcamp.com

‘Connections: without borders’ – Julian Costello Quartet

IT’S NOT DIFFICULT to warm to a recording whose character reflects that of its leader – and in Connections: without bordersJulian Costello and his quartet interpret the saxophonist’s original chamber jazz writing which meanders between wistfulness, adventure and perky mischief.

Read my full review at LondonJazz News…

Released on 28 February 2020 and available from 33 Jazz RecordsAmazon, Apple Music, etc.

 

Julian Costello tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Maciek Pysz electric guitar, classical guitar
Jakub Cywinski double bass
Adam Teixeira drums, percussion

juliancostello.co.uk

33 Jazz Records – 33JAZZ283 (2020)

#recentlistening – March 2020 (1)

Henrik Jensen’s Followed by Thirteen – Affinity
Rory Simmons, Esben Tjalve, Henrik Jensen, Pete Ibbetson
Release date: 20 March 2020 (Babel Label)
babel-label.bandcamp.com/affinity

Trilok Gurtu – God is a Drummer
Trilok Gurtu, Frederik Köster, Sabri Tulug Tirpan, Jonathan Cuniado, Christophe Schweizer, Kaplana Patowary, Zara, Emre Meralli, Junge Norddeutsche Philharmonie conducted by Wolf Kerschek
Release date: 7 February 2020 (Jazzline-Leopard)
jazzline-leopard.com / propermusic.com

Noemi Nuti – Venus Eye
Noemi Nuti, Chris Eldred, Tom Herbert, Emiliano Caroselli plus special guest Gareth Lockrane
Release date: 6 March 2020 (Ubuntu Music)
amazon.co.uk

The Brecker Brothers – Live and Unreleased (2CD)
Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, Mark Gray, Barry Finnerty, Neil Jason, Richie Morales
Release date: 20 March 2020 (Jazzline-Leopard)
jazzline-leopard.compropermusic.com

Jaume De Viala – Sonoritat De Mil Miralls
Jaume De Viala, Dusan Jevtovic, Judit Cucula, David Marroquin, Xavi Reija, Álvaro Gandul, Vasil Hadzimanov, Pablo Selnik, Robindro Nikolic, Oriol Madurell, Salvador Avià, Jordi Bonell, Kamal Musallam, David “Sam”, Roger Conesa, Bernat Hernandez, Juanito Makandé, Trissi Hernandez
Release date: July 2019
jaumedevialatorello.bandcamp.com

Maciek Pysz – A View
Maciek Pysz – solo guitar
Release date: October 2019 (Caligola Records)
maciekpysz.com / caligola.it

#recentlistening – February 2020 (2)

Julian Costello Quartet – Connections: without borders
Julian Costello, Maciek Pysz, Jakub Cywinski, Adam Teixeira
Release date: 28 February 2020 (33 Jazz Records)
www.33jazz.com

Andy Fleet – The Sleepless Kind
Andy Fleet, Andre Canniere, Zane Maertens, Joe Evans, Pete Kershaw, Chez Taylor, Sarah Doe
Release date: 31 March 2020
andyfleet.bandcamp.com

Andrew Bain – No Boundaries
Andrew Bain, Alex Bonney, Peter Evans, John O’Gallagher
Release date: 13 March 2020 (Whirlwind Recordings)
andrewbain.bandcamp.com

Sefrial – Sefrial
Sophie Stockham, Jake McMurchie, Joe Wilkins, Greg Cordez, Matt Brown
Release date: 6 March 2020
sefrial.com

Sarah Thorpe – Deep Blue Love
Sarah Thorpe, Olivier Hutman, Darryl Hall, John Betsch plus T.K. Blue, Josiah Woodson, Ronald Barker, Ismaël Nobour
Release date: 17 January 2020 (Dot Time Records)
dottimerecords.com / amazon.co.uk

Katrine Amsler – Laslafaria
Katrine Amsler, Qarin Wikström, Samuel Hällkvist, Nils Berg, Josef Kallerdahl, Knut Finsrud, Frederik Hauch, Stue Ericson, Stephan Sieben, Mike Højgaar
Release date: 6 March 2020 (BoogiePost Recordings)
katrineamsler.bandcamp.com

‘Portrait: Reflections on Belonging’ – Byron Wallen

DISPLAYING integrity and humanity, respected trumpeter/flugelhornist Byron Wallen’s Portrait – his first recorded release in thirteen years – drew me in at the very first listen… and hasn’t let go yet!

It’s a beautiful concept. Wallen’s original, storytelling compositions are carried on a kaleidoscopic, journeying wave of urban ‘field recordings’ and communal interactions from his native London. In these tarnished days of discrimination and hatred (countered, thankfully, by positive expressions such as #BeKind), it’s worth reading Byron’s heartfelt words… and then responding in gratitude by feeling his and his band’s uplifting, even healing, creativity:

“This album is a meditation and reflection on the powerful impact that music has had on my life. It was conceived whilst sitting in the central square in Woolwich, an area of South East London. I was struck by the community around me with its mixture of cultures and nationalities, from Nepalese elders to young Nigerian men, Somali mothers with their children, a new Eastern European contingent and descendants of families who used to work in the docks and at the Arsenal. Music paved my way to travel and see the world, meeting people from all different cultures and walks of life. The study of music and the process of striving to become a better musician furnished me with a deeper knowledge of self and a gift I could share on so many different levels. In Portrait I am meditating on identity, culture and what it means to belong. The compositions, workshops, performances, and social interaction born out of this project deepened my artistic and personal relationships with the people in my neighbourhood. The album pays tribute to the heart, soul and vibrant provenance of the community I call my home.”

Rising-star guitarist Rob Luft features alongside bassist Paul Michael, drummer Rod Youngs and percussionist Richard ‘Olatunde’ Baker – and together, the leader and his Four Corners band produce a rich swell of vibrant celebration, as well as atmospheres of introspection and reminiscence (sleeve notes provide background to several numbers).

It’s no surprise that Byron Wallen studied with Jon Faddis, Hugh Masekela, George Benson and Chaka Khan; and there’s also a semblance of Freddie Hubbard in his joyful, natural phrases and improvisations. Each For All and All For Each, as an example, presents a warmly-grooving South African vibe, plus a freer sense of looking back; and percussively-driven No Stars No Moon (its title referencing historic racial tensions) features a memorable, chromatic guitar riff supporting Wallen’s almost growling, dual-tracked lead.

Chordal and rhythmic arrangements are tightly executed, Luft usually at the heart, providing agile coloration quite different to that of a keyboard instrument. Reflective moments summon imagery, also – especially the eery, flugelhorn/mouthpiece repetition of Alert (for the workers at the Royal Arsenal) which seemingly pictorialises ships’ horns, seagull cries and gunfire echoing around the docklands of (former) heavy industry. Wallen’s miniatures, such as sweetly-dancing Ferry Shell and bold percussion solo Warren to Arsenal, are tantalisingly brief; and calming Fundamental, with jazz-country pedalled guitar textures, is described as ‘a meditation on what it is to be human’.

The educational aspects of Wallen’s career are fascinatingly woven into the fabric of this album, too, employing the choral exuberance of Plumcroft Primary School, in the heart of Woolwich. Young voices chant ’Spirit of the Ancestors (is calling)’ to a bass-and-drum groove as Wallen bluesily improvises across, connecting to the classes’ examination of family and ancestry; and calypsoing, “soft and squishy” Banana Man (for Bannockburn Primary School) highlights the importance of street markets. Harmonious joy, indeed – something further communicated through gyrating, sunshiny instrumental, Holler.

Byron Wallen tours Portrait in the UK from 2 February to 14 October 2020 – and the album, released on 17 February, is available as CD or download from Bandcamp.

 

Byron Wallen trumpet, flugelhorn, shells, piano, percussion
Rob Luft guitar
Paul Michael bass guitar
Rod Youngs drums
Richard ‘Olatunde’ Baker congas, talking drums
Plumcroft Primary School, classes 3G and 3H vocals

Illustration: Marc Drostle

byronwallen.co.uk

Twilight Jaguar Recordings – TJCD3 (2020)