Nat Birchall Quintet – Live In Larissa ★★★★

Sound Soul And Spirit NB003 2LP Set – Nat Birchall (ts, ss, bells, shaker, tambourine), Adam Fairhall (p), Corey Mwamba (vibes, bells), Nick Blacka (b) and Paul Hession (d). Rec. 11-12 May 2013

For anyone who still believes in the transformative and inherently spiritual nature of jazz, most forcefully proposed by John Coltrane in the mid-1960s, there’s something enormously admirable about the path UK saxophonist Nat Birchall has dedicated himself to. Even the fact that his latest release is only available on heavyweight double vinyl (plus download option) ticks a few boxes. Birchall really means it. This sixth album – his first live release, recorded over two nights in the Duende Jazz Bar in Larissa, Greece – feels like his most sincere offering yet, with extended meditations on the two primary moods his compositions most commonly touch upon: pieces like ‘Divine Harmony’ are sensitive, free-shimmering tone poems with rolling, sighing percussion; while numbers such as ‘Return to Ithaca’ burrow into smouldering modal grooves that give pianist Adam Fairhall the chance to exercise his most strident and grandiloquent McCoy Tyner-isms. Actually, the whole ensemble of northern English allstars exudes a sense of exquisitely absorbed concentration, fully immersing themselves in long, searching solos. The album’s two longest cuts are both deep-jazz standards: a side-long vamp on Bill Lee’s ‘John Coltrane; and an impressively deep reading of Alice Coltrane’s ‘Journey In Satchidananda.’ There aren’t many contemporary artists operating today who could get away with it. Birchall is undoubtedly one of them.

– Daniel Spicer


Jazzwise May 2014 Issue Album Reviews List


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

New Releases

Ambrose Akinmusire The Imagined Savior is Far Easier To Paint Blue Note

Julian Argüelles Circularity CAMJazz

Paul Bley Play Blue – Live in Oslo ECM

Billy Bottle & The Multiple Unrecorded Beam Leo

Kris Bowers Heroes + Misfits Concord Jazz

Pete Brown and Phil Ryan with Psoulchedelia Perils Of Wisdom Interoceter Records

Chloe Charles Break The Balance

Wayne Escoffery Quintet Live at Firehouse 12 Sunnyside

Elliot Galvin Trio Dreamland Chaos Collective

Louise Gibbs and The Septet 7 Deadly Sings 33Xtreme

Tom Guarna Rush Brooklyn Jazz Underground

Taylor Haskins Fuzzy Logic Sunnyside

Alexander Hawkins Ensemble Step Wide, Step Deep Babel

Tim Hegarty Tribute Miles High Records

Jon Irabagon/Mark Helias/Barry Altschul It Takes All Kinds Jazzwerkstatt/Irabbagast

Josh Kemp Tone Poetry Fulltone Music

Roan Kearsey-Lawson Presence in Mind 144 Records

Takuya Kuroda Rising Son Blue Note

Dominic Lash Quartet Opabinia Babel

John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension The Boston Record Abstract Logix

Led Bib The People In Your Neighbourhood Cuneiform

Mike Longo Step on It Consolidated Artists

Marc Mac presents Visioneers Hipology BBE Records

Machine Mass featuring Dave Liebman INTI Moonjune

Raymond MacDonald and Marilyn Crispell Parallel Moments Babel

Made To Break Cherchez La Femme Trost

Harvey Mason Chameleon Concord

Andrea Motis and Joan Chamorro Quintet featuring Scott Hamilton Live at Jamboree Barcelona SWIT

Plymouth Plymouth Rare Noise Records

Shez Raja Collective Soho Live 33 Records

Kala Ramnath & Ty Burhoe Samay Chakra Tala Records

Alfredo Rodriguez The Invasion Parade Mack Avenue

Matt Slocum Black Elk’s Dream Chandra Records

Omar Sosa Senses Ota

Marius Neset & Trondheim Jazz Orchestra Lion ACT

Sunn O))) & Ulver Terrestrials Southern Lord SUNN

Warren Vache / Alan Barnes The Cobbler’s Waltz Woodville

Christian Vuust Urban Hymn Aero Music

Tim Warfield Inspire Me! Herb Harris Music

Frank Wess Magic 201 IOP  

Dhafer Youssef Birds Requiem OKeh

Sandro Zerafa The Bigger Picture

Short Cuts// New Releases

Diego Barber + Craig Taborn Tales Sunnyside

Steve Cardenas Melody in a Dream Sunnyside

Susan Clynes Life is… Moonjune

Gabrielle Ducomble Notes from Paris

Sławek Dudar Quartet Inside City Luna Music

Lisa Ferraro Serenading the Moon Pranavasonic Universal

Charlotte Hug Stefano Pastor Paragon D’archi Leo

Chris Ingham Quartet Hoagy Downhome

Nina Kristofferson Billie Holiday Story NK Records

Kavorka Culture Shock Bronx Bound Records

Resolution 88 Resolution 88 Synthethesia

Revolutionary Snake Ensemble Live Snakes Accurate Records

Samo Salamon & the Slovene Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra Orchestrology

The Bob Sands Quartet Out and About Steeplechase

The Souljazz Orchestra Inner Fire Strut

Dave Stryker Eight Track Strikezone

Aki Takase La Planete Flying Soul Intakt


Reissue Archive Reviews

Cannonball Adderley/ Bill Evans Legendary Quartet/ Quintet Sessions American Jazz Classics

Gato Barbieri The Third World BGP

Count Basie Afrique BGP

John Coltrane Out Of This World Proper

Digby Fairweather Digby Fairweather Archives: Chris Ellis Rose Cottage

Grant Green & Ike Quebec Complete Instrumental Sessions Essential Jazz Classics

Woody Herman Woody Herman’s Big New Herd At The Monterey Jazz Festival Atlantic

Abdullah Ibrahim African Piano ECM

Keith Jarrett Arbour Zena ECM

Keith Jarrett Ritual with Dennis Russell Davies ECM

Joachim Kühn 70th Birthday Edition: Trio Kühn Humair JennyClark/ Europeana ACT

Little Feat Rad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros years 1971-1990 Warner/Rhino

Lonnie Liston Smith Astral Travelling BGP

Brother Jack McDuff Quartet with Grant Green Goodnight, It’s Time To Go / The Honeydripper Groove Hut

Bud Powell Birdland 1953 ESP-Disk

Sam Rivers Contrasts ECM

Tom Scott Tom Scott & The L.A. Express/Tom Cat/New York Connection

Wayne Shorter Second Genesis/ Wayning Moments Essential Jazz Classics EJ

Jimmy Smith Quartet Back at the Chicken Shack/Midnight Special Essential Jazz Classics

Sonny Stitt & Brother Jack McDuff ’Nuther Futher/ Soul Shack Groove Hut

Ralph Towner/ John Abercrombie Five Years Later ECM

Miroslav Vitous Group ECM

Chick Webb/ Ella Fitzgerald Complete Decca Sessions (1934-1941) Mosaic

Ben Webster The Warm Moods + BBB & Co American Jazz Classics

Ben Webster Quartet Live In Hilversum 1970 Domino

Short Cuts// Reissues

Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt Boss Tenors in Orbit! / Soul Summit Fresh Sound

Howard McGhee Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out / House Warmin’ Fresh Sound

Red Mitchell / Harold Land Quintet Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Atlantic

Donald Byrd / Pepper Adams Motor City Scene Bethlehem / Verse

Betty Carter Round Midnight / Out There Solar

Kenny Clarke / Francy Boland Orchestra Jazz Is Universal Atlantic

Nat King Cole / George Shearing Nat King Cole Sings / George Shearing Plays Jackpot

Jimmy Giuffre Three Classic Albums Plus (Second Set) Avid

Grant Green Goin’ West / Feelin’ The Spirit Masterjazz

Jazz Crusaders At The Lighthouse ’62 Fresh Sound

Volker Kriegel Lost Tapes Jazz Haus

Charlie Parker Complete Bird at the Apollo RLR

Pee Wee Russell New Groove / College Concert Solar |

Clark Terry / Bob Brookmeyer Quintet Complete Live Recordings, 1962-65 Fresh Sound

Clark Terry Four Classic Albums Avid

Bobby Troup The Songs of Bobby Troup Bethlehem / Verse

Stanley Turrentine with The Three Sounds Blue Hour – The Complete Sessions Essential Jazz Classics

Various Artists Jazz Britannia ’56 Harkit

Ben Webster In Norway Storyville


Emilia Mårtensson – Ana ★★★★

Babel BDV14126 – Emilia Mårtensson (v), Barry Green (p), Sam Lasserson (p), Adriano Adewale (perc) and Fable String Quartet. Rec. July 2013
Immensely subtle arrangements, exquisitely beautiful songs, and, at its centre, a voice of quite remarkable expressive depth. With her second album, the Londonbased Swedish vocalist Emilia Mårtensson has struck gold. Coloured by the use of strings (the excellent Fable String Quartet) and percussion, and featuring a core band that gets to the very heart of the music, the various streams of Mårtensson’s artistry – Swedish folk songs, singer-songwriters and jazz – are subtly drawn together into a profoundly satisfying whole. Named after her Slovenian grandmother, the otherworldly opening to the title track sees the singer’s voice floating ethereally over beautifully sustained string chords. Three songs written by up-and-coming London-based songsmiths (and friends) – Jamie Doe’s ‘Harvest Moon’, Barnaby Keen’s ‘Learnt from Love’ and Emine Pirhasan’s ‘Tomorrow Can Wait’ – are all outstanding. The touching Swedish folk song ‘När Som Jag Var På Mitt Adertonde År’, a suicide note from a teenage girl, is driven solely by a lonesome bass ostinato and percussion, while Joe Henderson’s ‘Black Narcissus’, with new lyrics penned by the singer, transports you to a melancholic hinterland. Highly recommended.

– Peter Quinn

Jazzwise April 2014 Issue Album Reviews List

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

New Releases

Adriano Adewale Group Raizes Caboclo

Jeff Ballard Trio Time’s Tales OKeh

George Cables Icons And Influences High Note

Chaos Orchestra Island Mentality Chaos Collective

Peter Edwards Trio Safe and Sound

Colin Edwin and Lorenzo Feliciati Twinscapes Rare Noise

Nina Ferro Into The Light Night Creature

Billy Hart Quartet One Is The Other ECM

Fishwick/ Roberts/ Basile/ Sanz/ Whitford/ Fishwick When Night Falls Hard Bop Records

Free Nelson Mandoomjazz The Shape of Doomjazz to Come/Saxophone Giganticus RareNoise

Scott Hamilton Quartet Dean Street Nights Woodville

Arve Henriksen Chron / Cosmic Creation Rune Grammofon

Vijay Iyer Mutations ECM

JT4 Tate Song LYTE records

Barb Jungr Hard Rain – The Songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen Kristalyn Records

Kikoski, Carpenter, Novak, Sheppard From The Hip

Karin Krog and John Surman Songs About This And That Meantime Records

Kühn & Kruglov Duo Art Moscow ACT

Emilia Mårtensson Ana Babel

NeWt North Creative Scotland

Shahin Novrasli Bayati Bee Jazz

Jeremy Pelt Face Forward, Jeremy HighNote Records Inc

Phronesis Life to Everything Edition

Polar Bear In Each and Every One Leaf

Tom Rainey Obbligato Intakt

Rufus Reid Quiet Pride: The Elizabeth Catlett Project Motéma

Neal Richardson Better Than The Blues Splash Point Records

Slowly Rolling Camera Slowly Rolling Camera Edition

Colin Vallon Trio Le Vent ECM

Various Artists Duo Art – Creating Magic ACT

Nick Vayenas Some Other Time Whirlwind Recordings

Mike Westbrook Glad Day Live Meantime Records

Laura Zakian Songs For Modern Lovers Dancing Rhino Records

New Release Short Cuts

Antonio Bertoni ½ H(our) Drama Leo

Mraz & Viklicky Duo Art Together Again ACT

Ari Brown Groove Awakening Delmark

Ciyo Brown Put a Little Jazz in Their Lives Ciyo Groove Music

Dewa Budjana Joged Kahyangan Moonjune

Kahil El’Zabar’s Ritual Trio Follow the Sun Delmark

Rob Hall Chic Lyall Chronicles FMR

Shirazette Tinnin Humility: Purity of My Soul Hot Tone Music

The Puppeteers The Puppeteers Puppet’s Records

Iiro Rantala String Trio Anyone with a Heart ACT

Alex Riel/Stefan Pasborg Drum Faces Stunt

The Rempis/Daisy Duo Second Spring Aerophonic

Joris Roelofs Aliens Deliberating Pirouet

Anton Schwartz Flash Mob Antonjazz Label

Jass Jass Yolk

Mimi Jones Balance Hot Tone Music

Sue McCreeth No Evil

Sketches Volume 1 Baldhill

The Eric Starr Group Such is Life Bronx Bound Records

Twelve Years Ago Bonsa

Reissues and Archive

Jan Akkerman North Sea Jazz Legendary Concerts North Sea Jazz

Chet Baker Italian Movies – Composed By Piero Umiliani 1958-1964 Moochin’ About

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers Pisces Solar Records

Gary Burton Seven Songs for Quartet and Chamber Orchestra ECM

Miles Davis Miles At The Fillmore. Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol.3 Columbia Legacy

John Coltrane Quintet Complete November 18, 1961 Paris Concerts ‘In’ Crowd

Paul Desmond First Place Again Warner Bros

Art Farmer Quartet featuring Jim Hall Live at the Half Note Warner

Milt Jackson & John Coltrane Bags & Trane Warner Atlantic

Clifford Jordan Complete Strata-East Sessions Mosaic

Modern Jazz Quartet NDR 60 Years Jazz Edition No. 04 28 October 1957, Hanover Moosicus

Thelonious Monk Paris 1969 Blue Note

Wayne Shorter North Sea Legendary Concerts North Sea Jazz

Chick Webb/Ella Fitzgerald Complete Decca Sessions (1934-1941) Mosaic

Randy Weston African Cookbook Atlantic

Books and DVD

Bathed In Lightning – John McLaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond Colin Harper Jawbone Press

William S. Burroughs: A Life Barry Miles Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Eminent Hipsters Donald Fagen Jonathan Cape

Island Mentality – Chaos Collective ★★★★

Laura Jurd (t, dir), Jennah Smart (fl), Rob Cope (clt), Simon Marsh, Will Scott, Mike Underwood, Greg Sinclair, Leo Richardson (s), Rob Greenwood, Tom Dennis, Mike Soper, Matt Roberts (t), Raphael Clarkson, Emma Bassett, Rosie Turton, George Wrench (tb), Alex Roth (g), Elliot Galvin (p), Conor Chaplin (el b), Corrie Dick (d), Lauren Kinsella (v) and Mark Lockheart (ss). Rec. July 2013

If there’s one thing the trumpeter Laura Jurd’s Chaos Orchestra doesn’t have, it’s an island mentality, the title she’s given to the debut CD. Made up of the Chaos Collective’s mostly Trinity Laban Conservatoire alumni, a relaxed and open-minded approach to creative music making is the young 20-piece ensemble’s calling card. Hotly tipped experimental Irish singer Lauren Kinsella is among the guests and she sings with folky assurance on Jurd’s musical setting of a John Donne poem; there are echoes of Ellington in the arrangements for ‘Oh So Beautiful’, and a more free improvising sonic approach is demonstrated on another Jurd-Kinsella collaboration ‘Horses for Courses’.

Meanwhile, the spirit of the hit British 1980s ensemble Loose Tubes is never far away, on Jurd’s ‘Giant’s Causeway’ and saxophonist Simon Marsh’s Township-ish ‘Yoh’, and Loose Tubes saxophonist Mark Lockheart is indeed here to contribute the uplifting Gil Evans-esque ‘Strange Attractors’, his 2012 commission for the orchestra on which he also plays soprano sax. Guitarist Alex Roth’s ‘The Charm of Impossibilities’ comes the closest to contemporary classical music. Chaos co-founder and upcoming pianist Elliot Galvin’s Cecil Taylorderived solo and the piece’s eerily sparse neo-noir-ish textures suitably round off a thoroughly engaging, versatile set of new music.

– Selwyn Harris


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