‘Cross-Platform Interchange’ – Misha Mullov-Abbado

MishaM-A

IT SAYS MUCH about the rude health of the British contemporary jazz scene when an album such as London-based Misha Mullov-Abbado’s Cross-Platform Interchange makes its arrival with this level of young, high-spirited musicality.

The bassist’s second album – “dedicated to my love of trains, travelling, movement and constantly evolving musical journeys” – is a breath of fresh air as eight original, often European-inflected compositions offer an entertaining ‘itinerary’ of verve, lucid beauty and obvious humour, all delivered by a three-horn septet augmented with guest musicians. Mullov-Abbado’s musical progression comes as no surprise (the son of acclaimed classical artists Viktoria Mullova and the late Claudio Abbado), yet he has already embarked on his own creative route which appears to take in so many influences.

These fifty-seven minutes are, indeed, something of an eclectic sightseeing adventure, with the winding, bluesy, ‘in-crowd’ bass-groove of Shanti Bell announcing its departure, whilst a steam-filled segue accelerates into high-speed Mariachi folk tune No Strictly Dancing, characterised by James Davison’s blistering trumpet and the hissing perpetual motion provided by drummer Scott Chapman and percussionist Elad Neeman. Mullov-Abbado explains that these compositions have been written, performed and honed over a two-year period, so they take inspiration from different sources. The echoic, tumbling-sax atmospheres of Waves divert into a pictorial vista stretching for miles; and its deep, reedy, dance-band elegance suggests romantic evocations of early 20th Century rail travel (dedicated with love to the bassist’s stepfather, Matthew Barley, whose cello adornments can be heard here); and Still, Hidden Morning‘s hazy aurora again tumbles into swiftly-travelling percussiveness, illuminated by Liam Diunachie’s deft, US-soul piano improvisations as well as the vividly-phrased, fluctuating impressions of fleeting landscapes from saxophonists Matthew Herd and Sam Rapley, and James Davison on flugel.

‘Wensleydale-and-cracker’ antics in Gromit’s Grand Outing (complete with animated, Nick Park sound effects) mischievously bluster to Mullov-Abbado’s flapper-style fast-walking bass – but behind the madcap comedy are some great, bubbling, trad-jazz-club solo turns from the melodicists (the Mozart didn’t go unnoticed!). Pure 100% Nunnery‘s cool-cat sax lines nonchalantly shuffle (cue the tea dance), breaking into magnificent, Louis Armstrong-style abandon/cacophony before its exaggerated swoons hint at the opening titles of ‘That Darn Cat’. Blithe title track Cross-Platform Interchange hits an irresistible Stateside groove, thanks to Rob Luft’s rhythm guitar and Dunachie’s piano, along with a smooth horn-quartet backing (including bass trombonist Yusuf Narcin); and Latinesque Hair of the Bop‘s elaborate conga patterns and trumpet/sax melodies infuse the closing festivities with delectable, Mexican warmth as Mullov-Abbado’s express disappears around the cove.

An album of new music imbued with Misha-Mullov Abbado’s cultural experiences, Cross-Platform Interchange teems with life and cheer.

Released on 19 May 2017 and available as CD or digital download at Bandcamp.

 

Misha Mullov-Abbado double bass, bass guitar
James Davison trumpet, flugelhorn
Matthew Herd alto saxophone
Sam Rapley tenor saxophone, clarinet
Liam Dunachie piano, Fender Rhodes
Scott Chapman drums
Elad Neeman percussion
with 
Nick Goodwin acoustic guitar
Rob Luft electric guitar
Matthew Barley cello
Yusuf Narcin bass trombone

mishamullovabbado.com

Edition Records – EDN1091 (2017)

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‘Twentysix Three’ – Aldevis Tibaldi, London Jazz Ensemble

Aldevis

THE COOL VERVE of Twentysix Three – a new sextet release from Italian saxophonist, composer and arranger Aldevis Tibaldi – is defined by a live studio spontaneity which harks back to classic recordings of the ’50s and ’60s.

Each of these twelve tracks (mostly originals, plus a clutch of arrangements) was captured in a single take on analogue equipment, bringing distinctive warmth and immediacy to this full and vibrant session. Based in London since 2004, Tibaldi boasts an eclectic CV, taking in rock, pop, fusion, world music and theatre – but here his heart is firmly set on an attractive, traditional approach to jazz in collaboration with the similarly high-spirited London Jazz Ensemble: John Eacott (trumpet, flugelhorn), Paul Taylor (trombone), Liam Dunachie (piano), Richard Sadler (double bass) and Chris Gale (drums).

Just a few bars of opener Hunting Goose are sufficient enticement, its honest, buoyant piano/bass/drums groove prompting paired trumpet and sax phrases, swaggering, muted trombone and the leader’s own sumptuous tenor extemporisations; and with pensive title track Twentysix Three following, Tibaldi’s compositional expertise becomes increasingly evident. Do Not Panic‘s lucidity (even though a trio outing) evokes a golden, late-’50s/early-’60s era of Dave Brubeck (Time Out/Time Further Out), as chirpy soprano sax melodies skip over the shuffling bass and drums of Richard Sadler and Chris Gale, whilst the full-on sextet fervour of A Gardenia in Dean Street is maintained by bright soloing and imaginative, lively groupings – and Liam Dunachie’s constant pianistic flair here, over the relentless rhythmic drive, is a joy.

At over an hour’s duration, this is an album which exudes jazz-club ‘feel good’, Dinner Jacket‘s strolling 12-bar ease reminiscent of late-night Oscar Peterson – especially with Dunachie’s considered, breathable piano touch, plus Tibaldi’s soft, Getzian lyricism – whilst the soft bed of airy, lilting bossa La Lunga Notte affords the saxophonist’s soprano particular freedom amongst rich horn clusters (and all so delectable). The leader’s tenor on this recording is especially attractive, even his bubbling improvisations possessing a warm richness – something demonstrated so well in Night Bus, a bristling excursion also featuring John Eacott’s fabulously fluid flugel passages which easily recall Freddie Hubbard.

Charles Mingus’ Weird Nightmare feels bluesy, and perhaps less creepy than the original, though soprano sax, malleted cymbals and mobile bass retain its mystery; and Tibaldi’s almost ‘trad jazz’ quickie Barrel Tree (sitting so well within this album’s final cluster of arrangements) resounds to gutsy trombone and raucous horn phrases. Like some slow, New Orleansean funeral march, Ellington’s Black and Tan Fantasy lurches markedly before Tibaldi embarks on one of his most satisfying tenor solos of the session – gritty, soaring, squeaking, tumbling, yet always melodic; and Paul Taylor ups the ante with deeply sneering wah-wah trombone – utterly wonderful! To close, the limpid sentimentality of Daniele Luttazzi’s Mi Place is beautifully measured; and Thelonious Monk’s typically brash We See is reimagined for trio, Tibaldi’s clipped soprano seemingly jesting with playful bass and drums.

Twentysix Three is pretty ‘unputdownable’, both in terms of its solid reference to tradition and the consistent joie de vivre displayed in these varied, single-take performances.

Released on 25 March 2016, the album is available in various formats from Galetone Records or directly, as CD, from Aldevis’ website.

 

Aldevis Tibaldi soprano and tenor saxophones
London Jazz Ensemble:
John Eacott trumpet, flugelhorn
Paul Taylor trombone
Liam Dunachie piano
Richard Sadler double bass
Chris Gale drums

aldevis.com

Galetone Records – GALETCD263 (2016)