Laura Jurd – Human Spirit ★★★★

Chaos Collective CC004
Laura Jurd (t), Chris Batchelor (t), Colm O’Hara (tb), Mick Foster (bs), Alex Roth (g), Corrie Dick (d), Conor Chaplin (b) and Lauren Kinsella (v). Rec. 9-11 June 2014


This follow-up to Laura Jurd’s critically acclaimed 2012 debut Landing Ground explores an entirely different sound-world. The all-instrumental debut brought together Jurd’s own jazz quartet with the Ligeti String Quartet in music of crisply articulated, Stravinskian counterpoint and free jazz interludes. While the songbased Human Spirit shares some of the same driving ostinatos, there’s a much edgier, rockier feel to the music-making, thanks to the hard-hitting electric guitar work of Alex Roth on tracks such as ‘She Knew Him’ and the potent bass sax work of Mick Foster.

From the hymnic ‘Brighter Days’ and monumental ‘More Than Just A Fairytale’ to the modal inflections of ‘Blinded’, vocalist Lauren Kinsella’s delivery is starkly beautiful, with each song’s expressive arc working its way under your skin. Trombonist Colm O’Hara and trumpeter add extra heft Chris Batchelor and gravitas to the front line, while Jurd regular, drummer Corrie Dick, marshals the tricky metric shifts faultlessly.

‘Pirates’ features an all-hands-on-deck unison chorus outro straight out of the Loose Tubes songbook, while the title track starts out as a sorrowing brass chorale before a block-like cut to a grungy sounding chorus riff which sees Roth channelling his best Nirvana manner. And it’s Roth who has the final word, his looping, minimalist guitar riff bringing this compelling collection to a pleasingly cyclical close.


– Peter Quinn

Jazzwise Dec 2014/Jan 2015 Issue Albums Reviewed List

All these albums are reviewed in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of Jazzwise which is out now – to read them all click here to subscribe and get a FANTASTIC FREE CD

New Releases

ARQ (Alison Rayner Quintet) August Blow the Fuse Records

Kenny Barron/Dave Holland The Art of Conversation Impulse!

Andy Bey Pages From An Imaginary Life High Note

Ketil Bjørnstad
 A Passion for John Donne
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Cyrus Chestnut Midnight Melodies Smoke

The Cookers Time and Time Again Motéma Music

Chris Dundas Oslo Odyssey BLM Records

Samuel Eagles Quartet Next Beginning F-IRE

Geoff Eales Invocation Nimbus

European Jazz Sextet Live at the International Jazzfest in Viersen Konnex

Luc Ex Assemblée Red Note

Bill Frisell Guitar In The Space Age Okeh

Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio We’re Back Whaling City Sound

Bebel Gilberto Tudo Portrait/Sony Masterworks

Hansu-Tori
 An Improvised Escape
 Hansu-Tori HANSU001

Conrad Herwig The Latin Side Of Joe Henderson Featuring Joe Lovano Half Note Records

Lisa Hilton 
 Kaleidoscope
 Ruby Slippers Productions

Jenny Hval & Susanna Meshes of Voice Susanna Sonata

Jason Jackson Inspiration Jack & Hill

Paul Jackson Trio Groove Or Die Whirlwind

James Farm
 City Folk
 Nonesuch

Eric Johnson & Mike Stern Eclectic Heads Up

Russ Johnson Still Out To Lunch Enja/Yellow Bird

Jøkleba Outland ECM

Karen Lane Organ Project Two Steps from the Blues www.cdbaby.com/cd/karenlane

Nguyên Lê with Michael Gibbs and NDR Bigband Celebrating The Dark Side Of The Moon ACT

Lumen Drones Lumen Drones ECM

Magma Riah Sahiltaahk

Branford Marsalis In My Solitude: Live at Grace Cathedral OKeh

Michael Mantler The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra Update ECM

Medeski, Scofield, Martin, Wood Juice OKeh/Sony Masterworks

Møster! Inner Earth Hubro

Gregory Porter Issues Of Life – Features & Remixes Motéma

Tineke Postma/ Greg Osby
 Sonic Halo
 Challenge Records

Simon Purcell Red Circle Whirlwind Recordings

Roller Trio 
 Fracture
 Lamplight Social Record

Zoë Schwarz Blue Commotion Exposed
 33 Records

Kavita Shah Visions Naïve

Tierney Sutton Paris Sessions

Fred Thomas/Zac Gvirtzman Living Standards F-IRE

Trio 3 + Vijay Iyer Wiring Intakt

Olivia Trummer Fly Now
 Contemplate Music

David Virelles Mboko ECM

Mike Walker and Stuart McCallum Beholden Shell-Like

Marcin Wasilewski Trio with Joakim Milder Spark of Life ECM

Ernie Watts A Simple Truth Flying Dolphin Records

Robin Williamson Trusting In The Rising Light ECM

Michael Wollny Trio Weltentraum Live — Philharmonie Berlin ACT

Short Cuts// New Releases

Brooklyn Jazz Underground 7X7 BJU Records

Freddy Cole Singing the Blues Highnote

Johannes Enders Mellowtonin Enja

Paul Edis Mr Hipster Vignette

Sammy Figueroa & Glaucia Nasser Talisman Savant

Garzone/Bergonzi/Winther/ Aman/Mogensen Quintonic Stunt

Erik Honoré Heliographs Hubro

Phil Haynes No Fast Food CornerStoreJazz

Ideal Bread Beating the Teens: Songs of Steve Lacy Cuneiform

Intransit Barlovento That Hat Records

Christoph Irniger Pilgrim Italian Circus Story Intakt

Darius Jones The Oversoul Manual AUM Fidelity

Lifestories Lifestories Reverb

Sylvain Rifflet/Jon Irabagon Perpetual Motion Jazz Village

Jerome Sabbagh The Turn Bee Jazz

Skelton Skinner Allstars Septet Play Ellington & Basie Diving Duck

Michael Schiefel Platypus Trio BMC

Various Artists Magic Moments 7 Sounds of Surprise ACT

REISSUES/ARCHIVE //A-Z

Louis Armstrong and his All Stars Columbia and RCA Victor Live Recordings Mosaic

Don Cherry Modern Art: Stockholm 1977 Mellotronen

Rosemary Clooney CBS Radio Recordings 1955-61 Mosaic
John Coltrane and Friends Sideman: Trane’s Blue Note Sessions Blue Note

Ry Cooder Soundtracks Warner Bros

The Miles Davis Quintet Featuring John Coltrane All of You: The Last Tour 1960 Trapeze

Miles Davis Round About Midnight DreamCovers

Miles Davis + 19 Miles Ahead DreamCovers

Grant Green Nigeria Essential Jazz Classics EJC

Tubby Hayes Tubby The Tenor/Tubby’s Back In Town/Boston ’64 Fresh Sounds

Roy Haynes Hip Ensemble Boplicity

The Jazz Crusaders Complete Live At The Lighthouse ’62 American Jazz Classics

Elvin Jones Jazz Machine Remembrance MPS

Pete Magadini Bones Blues Sackville

Mahavishnu Orchestra Between Nothing & Eternity/Visions Of The Emerald Beyond

Junior Mance Trio Junior’s Blues/Happy Time/Big Chief! American Jazz Classics

Charles Mingus Mingus Moods Proper

Thelonious Monk Jackie-ing Nederlands Jazz Archief

Gerry Mulligan Jeru/What Is There To Say? Essential Jazz Classic EJC

Gerry Mulligan Quartet The Gerry Mulligan Quartet/Spring Is Sprung Essential Jazz Classic

Nucleus with Leon Thomas Live 1970 Gearbox

Weather Report Forecast Tomorrow Columbia Legacy

Short Cuts// Reissues

 

Manny Albam / Ernie Wilkins Drum Suite Fresh Sound

Louis Armstrong Young Satchmo Upbeat

Chet Baker Sextet and Quartet Dream Covers

Booker Ervin The Book Cooks Verse

Art Farmer Listen to Art Farmer /Brass Shout Pollwinners

King Fleming The King Fleming Trio Fresh Sound

Coleman Hawkins The Hawk Swings Boplicity

Shirley Horn At The Gaslight Square 1961 Solar

Jonah Jones The Unsinkable Jonah Jones Blue Moon

Lee Konitz / Bill Evans You and Lee / Lee Konitz Meets Jimmy Giuffre American Jazz Classics

Julie London Your Number Please/ …at Home Fine and Mellow

Jacques Loussier Play Bach Vol. 1, 2 and 3 American Jazz Classics

Brew Moore Svinget ’14: Brew Moore in Europe Fresh Sound

Don Randi Feelin’ Like Blues / Where do we go from Here? Fresh Sound

Sue Raney Complete Capitol Years 1956-1960 Fresh Sound


Paul Smith Trio and Quartet Fresh Sound |

Buddy Tate Swingville Sessions Fresh Sound

Various Artists Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression Blue Note


Australian Jazz Album Round-Up December 2014

We kicked off the year with Julian Wilson’s wonderful “Swailing”, featuring the guitar of Stephen Magnusson. Last month he was part of Enrico Rava’s band. We finish off the year with two more albums featuring his unique guitar, both well worth the purchase price. But first, a very promising new talent, Matthew Sheens.

Finally, five of the best for 2014.

– Michael Prescott, Jazz Presenter 5MBS, Australia

 

matthew sheens untranslatable ipMatthew Sheens

Untranslatable                     

Self Release (via ABC Jazz)     ★★★★

__________________________________________________________________________________

Matthew Sheens (p), Sara Serpa (voc), Michael Mayo (voc), Mike Moreno (g), Linda Oh (b), Kenneth Salters (d), Rogerio Boccato (perc), Yanni Burton String Quartet. Rec 2014

__________________________________________________________________________________

In jazz there are performers who compose by providing vague sketches and themes for their band to add their own persona. On the other hand there are those who are complete composers, creating complex works and arranging them for specific musicians and groupings. These musicians have a focus on creating sound structures to fulfil their singular approach. There is no doubt the Sheens falls into the latter class and on display here is his clear vision for each composition. Evidence for this comes firstly from the shifting personnel and instrumentation and secondly the music itself, fully formed and structured but with space for improvisation. He has carefully selected the musicians and has employed a wide range of sonic shapes, from the Yanni String Quartet, to Sara Serpa great vocals, held together by Linda Oh’s wonderful bass, not to mention Moreno’s fluid guitar. It is apparent that Sheens has a particular interest in percussion and how it interacts with his music. To achieve his vision Salters utilises a wide range of styles, at times providing hints of modern street beats. This is a very eclectic but extremely satisfying album and is a logical step forward from his debut, “Every Eight Seconds” A young man whose potential is huge.

Click here for more info

 

Omelette-On-This-DayOmelette

On This Day

Jazzhead  ★★★★

Jordon Murray (trom), Stephen Magnusson (g), Mark Shepherd (b), Ronny Ferella (d). Rec. 19 December 2013

This album is one seriously tasty morsel! The group sound, loose and free, is dominated by the fabulous trombone of Murray, who introduces a great sense of fun and entertainment to his playing. Supporting him is the ever present Magnusson, who seems to be everywhere in Australian jazz these days. All the tracks are group compositions and performed with gusto and intent. Jordon delivers an extraordinary range of sounds from his instrument and this is what makes the album work so well. What could have been hampered by lack of variety is instead a sheer joy. Magnusson has a unique approach to the guitar and in addition to his lead provides the perfect sound bed for Murray’s excursions, whist complementing the shifting rhythms. The impression gained from listening to this album is that the band had a ball during recording and this enthusiasm simply leaps out of the speakers. The concept of a trombone led album may be daunting, but that is certainly not the case here, Murray’s trombone has a rich sound enhanced by obvious technical skill, but more importantly, imagination. This album was recorded over a year ago and represents their debut. I can only hope that their sophomore release in already in the can.

Click here for more info

 

Paper-TigerStephen Magnusson, Jamie Oehlers, Ben Vanderwal

Paper Tiger  

Self Release  ★★★

Featuring; Stephen Magnusson (g), Jamie Oehlers (ts, ss), Ben Vanderwal (d). Rec 5, 6 February 2013

One of the country’s leading saxophonists joins up with guitarist Magnusson and drummer Vanderwal for this leaderless trio outing, sans bass, over 15 mostly shortish tracks. From the opening track, Keith Jarrett’s “Back Hand”, to the rather surprising duo of final the track, (Magnusson and Oehlers), Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come No More”, the trio cover a wide variety of styles. The lack of bass presents no obstacle with Magnusson’s versatile guitar expertly covering much of that role. Aside from a fairly even spread of originals, the covers offer insights into the wide musical panorama exhibited here. In addition to the above, they also see to Frank Loesser’s “Slow Boat To China” and Ornette Coleman’s “Word From Bird”. There are some great originals, notably from Ben Vanderwal with the deliciously titled “A Song To Parallel Park To” (with Oehlers doubling on tenor and soprano) and “A Rocking Horse...”, being standouts. There is an obvious empathy between all three musicians with Magnusson and Vanderwal providing a firm base for Oehlers to take off with the aid of his fertile imagination. Vanderwal, in particular, is exemplary throughout. There can be no greater compliment to the success of an album than the listener returning again and again to hear these musicians in full flight, as this reviewer has done over the last several weeks.

Click here for more info

Australian Albums of the Year (in no particular order!)

__________________________________________________________________________________

1          Tilman Robinson “Network Of Lines”          (listen here collective)

2          Joseph Tawadros “Permission To Evaporate”       (ABC Jazz)

3          Luke Howard Trio “A Dove, A Loin, A Coast, A Pirate”   (Which Way Music)

4          Alistair Spence & Myra Melford “Everything Here Is Possible”    (self release)

5          Dog “Dog”      (Rattle Jazz)

Paal Nilssen-Love Large Unit – Erta Ale ★★★★

LargeUnitErtaAle

PNL Records PNL025
Paal Nilssen-Love (d, perc), Thomas Johansson (c, flhn), Mats Äleklint (tb), Kasper Værnes (ss, as), Klaus Ellerhusen Holm (as, bs), Børre Mølstad (tba), Ketil Gutvik (g), Lasse Marhaug (turntable, electronics), Jon Rune Strøm (b, el b), Christian Meaas Svendsen (b, el b) and Andreas Wildhagen (d, perc). Rec. 30 January-4 February and 7 June 2014
Sluice your magma chambers – because Paal Nilssen-Love’s 11-piece band hasn’t just named their formidable box set after an eternally-active Ethiopian volcano, they’ve harnessed the lava bombs and sent them vaulting over the ozone. The drummer’s formative experiences with Peter Brötzmann’s Chicago Tentet and Frode Gjerstad’s Circulasione Totale Orchestra undeniably impact on the full-blast ratio; mobocracies of molten chaos blossom into welters of hellish cat-calls as jive rifts sling salvos of supremely low-slung swing.

Ataxias of semi-composed sax scramble are jettisoned by Lasse Marhaug’s coruscating coordinates, the electronics saboteur dishing clean slates, allowing the collective to devolve into constituent parts, a chain of improvisatory workshops preventing Erta Ale from becoming just another extended white knuckle ride. On the title-track the group broker a suite of diverging tectonics in the aisles of a pachinko parlour before detonating another plum in the guise of a wheezy carp. Nilssen-Love says this is just the beginning. Expect more thunder, more pyros and bucketfuls of BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Spencer Grady

Australian Jazz Album Round-Up November 2014

Two of Australia’s best-known jazz artists release new albums, Paul Grabowsky solo and in contrast, fellow pianist Mike Nock with an octet. Also this month, an Australian jazz faculty goes to Italy to learn from the wonderful Italian trumpeter, Enrico Rava. Finally a stunning set from three very different guitarists, collectively known as MGT.

– Michael Prescott

Jazz Presenter 5MBS, Australia

 

mikeknockMike Nock Octet

Suite Sima                            FWM Records                      ★★★★

Phil Slater (t), James Greening (tb), Mike Nock (p), Peter Farrar (as), Karl Laskowski (ts), Carl Morgan (g), James Waples (d), Brett Hirst (b). Rec 24, 25 April 2014

In the cover notes to this low key release, Mike Nock states that the concept behind the disc is to pay tribute to the Sydney Improvised Music Society, an organisation that has provided support, a venue and opportunities to jazz musicians for 30 years. To this end Nock composed 6 works and it is his superb compositional skills that are on display here. Despite his extensive discography, Nock has rarely worked with a group of this size or with a horn focused front line. These are very much composed pieces in keeping with the “suite” concept and highlight his well tuned arranging skills. Aside from the opening track, “Freedom Of Information”, generous space is given on each of the remaining tracks for various members of the ensemble to strut their stuff and strut they do in style. Of particular note are the solos of James Greening on “Peripherals”, Phil Slater in “Holding Patterns” and Nock himself in “Option Anxiety” The overall mood is upbeat, very much in keeping with the celebratory intent of the suite. Any release by an artist with the stature of Nock is important, but this even more so, blending, as it does, his compositional and arranging skills in the context of an octet. The only downside is that we don’t get to hear much of Nock’s piano, but there’s plenty of that on many of his other discs.

Click here for more info

 

paul-grabowskyPaul Grabowsky

Solo                                           ABC Jazz                 ★★★★

Paul Grabowsky (p) Rec. 9, 10 July 2014

Earlier this year Grabowsky released his first sextet album in a long time, “The Bitter Suite”, reviewed here in June. This album, his first solo piano album, comes a somewhat as a surprise, especially so soon after his last release. With this album gone is the difficult, almost cluttered sound in favour of a sparse, melodic series of original compositions and covers. The contrast could hardly be greater. But whilst “The Bitter Suite” required repeated listens to unlock its secrets, “Solo” is an open book, readily accessible on first glance. Grabowsky’s playing here is uncomplicated and almost minimalistic and all the better for it. The album kicks off with the lovely original “Angel” in which he manages to create a feeling of serenity. It’s a perfect opener and leads beautifully into the delights within. There are 2 covers, a subdued “’Round Midnight” and the closer “I Get Along Without You Very Well”. Grabowsky’s versions fit in beautifully with his originals like a comfy pair of slippers. The downside to this relaxed approach is that there is a lack of variety and tempo, although “Cole For Cook” sitting as it does slap bang in the middle, offers a welcome contrast. On the strength of this album Grabowsky should contemplate more solo albums.

Click here for more info

 

enrico-ravaEnrico Rava

The Monash Sessions     Jazzhead                                                 ★★★

Featuring; Enrico Rava (t), Paul Grabowsky (p), Robert Burke (ts), Stephen Magnusson (g), Mirko Guerrini (ts) plus students Rec 14,15 December 2013

The Monash University jazz faculty, led by Rob Burke, has invited a series of jazz luminaries to attend the University as Artist In Residence. Previous guests have included George Lewis, George Garzone and Hermeto Pascoal. Normally the guest travels to Melbourne, joins staff and students and their labours are recorded by Jazzhead for release. In this instance the musicians reversed that rule by travelling to the Monash’s Italian campus in Prato to join the great trumpeter, Enrico Rava. The results are well worth the effort, it is very evident that Rava still plays at the top of his game, despite his 75 years; his fluid, warm tone is all over this disc. Rava’s contribution extends to his composing all of the tunes. The potential problem with a concept such as this can be the disparity between the master and the students leading to a disjointed sound where the elder struggles against struggling students. That is not the case here, the addition of the above listed staff on some tracks and the quality of students to a great extent avoids that issue. Indeed the basic rhythm is provided solely by students, but on listening, you wouldn’t know it. The albums highlight is the ballad “Lulu”, Rava’s gorgeous tone bookends evocative solos from Grabowsky and Magnusson. The success of the Monash series is a credit to the faculty and the obvious empathy that developed in a short time between the students and the elder statesman.

Click here for more info

 

LIVE

MGT (Ralph Towner, Wolfgang Muthspiel & Slava Grigoryan)

Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide

MGT is comprised of three highly skilled and technically proficient guitarists. Firstly, Ralph Towner, best known for his work with Oregon and his many ECM recordings. The second member is Wolfgang Muthspiel, the brilliant German classically trained guitarist and the only member of the group to feature the electric guitar. The final member is the Kazakhstan born and Australian since the age of five, Slava Grigoryan. Whilst he is usually found in a classical setting, he is always looking to expand his horizons and what better way than with his idol, Towner. On a cool Adelaide night these three superb guitarists combined for a little live magic. The evidence supporting a great show came firstly from a beaming promoter post concert and secondly this reviewer who thought the concert had ended early after what seemed like 45 minutes, only to find that it was double that. After short solo introductions from the three they then performed in all possible combinations, highlighting works from their two albums, “From A Dream” (Which Way Music) and “Travel Guide” (ECM). The concept of three guitars and no accompaniment, rhythmic or otherwise, could be problematic, but on this night their combined skill transcended any perceived limitation such that additional instrumentation would have hindered the musical flow. A highlight was the amazing interplay between Muthspiel and Grigoryan in “Nico and Mithra “.

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Campaign builds to rename Williamsburg Bridge in Sonny Rollins’ honour https://t.co/s75PT9WVTT https://t.co/mpe7Ten72x
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@DiscoveryRecor1 @hawkinsmusic @LauraJurd @juliekjaersax @percypursglove Soon the world will be ours... they alread… https://t.co/3tnHoDEocj
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