Vicky Tilson Quartet – Mojo Risin’ ★★★

F-ire Presents F-IRE CD79

Have you ever bought an album and put it on in the car one day and then never taken it out of the CD player because you love listening to it so much? This is one of those albums. My whole review could stop right here, but I’m guessing you probably want to know a bit more, like who’s playing on it and what sort of jazz it is. Mojo Rising is west country-based double bassist Vicky Tilson’s third album, and she has written all the material on it. Her quartet features Dee Byrne on alto, Stuart Fiddler on guitar and Reinis Axelsson on drums.

It is a joyous adventure from start to finish, passing through some splendid scenery to a place far from home. The opening track, ‘Only the Brave’ gives a clue as to what sort of intrepid travellers this band is composed of, Byrne and Fiddler’s equally firm tone and laconic phrasing brilliantly juxtaposed. ‘Black Dog’ is no doubt a nod to a bleaker frame of mind, with Byrne’s horn at the outset sounding ratty and obstreperous, while Tilson patiently leads her away into a lighter swung feel momentarily, before Fiddler gives advice from a more latin perspective, accented by Axelsson’s crisp Cuban patterns, delivering the horn in an infinitely better state of mind than it started out. ‘Better Late Than Never’ is very aptly named, as I wasn
t as keen on it to begin with, but its modest gospelesque tune eventually got right under my skin, and it’s the one I’m most likely to sing along to. There’s space, understatement and pathos throughout the album, as well as proper story-telling, vigorous vamps, gutsy bluesy moments, as well as an irresistible funkiness here and there. The line-up is so secure and supportive of one another, they are all able to stretch out and bask in the accompaniment of the other three. I say secure, but I don’t mean safe - they’re all taking risks, but it doesn’t ever sound forced or wayward.

The core of the album lies in ‘Headlovin’’, incisive and complex harmonically while coming across as simple and highly funky. The dissonant combination of the bass figure with jangly guitar chord tones and then the main tune over the top works like a jazz version of a song by The Fall (which in my book is high praise!), through which Byrne embroiders a solo of shifting patterns and moody fuzz. Fiddler responds with an equally reckless solo before reverting to the main riff. Actually, for all the harmonic interest on this track, it’s the drumming that really brings it alive, especially during the extended outro where the band members trade with each other, swapping the urgent rock feel for a languid swung one, slipping between each other effortlessly in short snappy bursts until it’s just bass and drums left before the final reprise of the main tune. Awesome stuff.

By way of contrast, we are given ‘Pas de Tout’, which starts as a gracious elegy with arpeggiated guitar backings and a slow, dark melody on alto. I love how this develops, picking up momentum and vigour, handing over to bass and guitar to work it into an easygoing meandering minor piece. The chord sequence offers a lovely workout; the saxophone comes back soulful and vivid, with Tilson then weaving her own brand of magic before it draws to a mellow close.

I think of the album is like one of those tasting menus, comprising nine courses in total, where nothing’s over salty or rich, it’s all beautifully judged, the flavours are inspired and delectable, and when you’ve eaten it all, you want to go back to the beginning and start all over again. Tilson makes it all sound very easy, but like every album, Mojo Risin’ represents a tremendous feat of writing, playing, mixing, mastering and sound design. Be sure to give it a listen!

– Sarah Chaplin

Polar Bear – Same As You ★★★★

The Leaf Label 8431900099824
Seb Rochford (d, perc, v), Mark Lockheart, Pete Wareham, Shabaka Hutchings (ts), Tom Herbert (b), Leafcutter John (g, electronics), Asar Mikael and Hannah Darling (v). Rec. April 2014

Polar Bear’s sixth album is the most emotionally engaging music I’ve heard from them. Though recorded in London, Seb Rochford’s relocation to the Mojave Desert to mix surely added to its haunting ambience. The urban murk of last year’s Mercury-nominated In Each And Every One has been replaced by a search for some higher, communal bond, made explicit when Rochford leads the chants in ‘Dont Let the Feeling Go’ (sic).

His need to vocalise his message can be traced back to A Love Supreme, but this 21st century, part-digital spiritual jazz can equally be linked to the Gondwana Orchestra, Primal Scream’s rave-rock classic Screamadelica, and even early house music’s gospel-rooted transcendence. A dub-learned sense of space earths its attempt at the sublime. ‘We Feel the Echoes’, especially, conjures an almost mappable place deep in the stereo field, in which saxes flutter and fade. ‘The First Steps’’ electronic swirl then ends in a horn-like, held note seeming to signal some sort of evolution.

With Rochford’s Sons of Kemet bandmate Shabaka Hutchings joining in on ‘Dont Let the Feeling Go’, Pete Wareham and Mark Lockheart’s saxes – generally central, and soloing with sinuous power – soar into clean air. ‘Unrelenting Unconditional’ then begins a ritual climax, in which a sax pans past like a freight-train in the night, the instrument’s siren-calls elsewhere become high-register screams, and a wild dog barks. The effect is meditative, dislocating and gripping all at once.

– Nick Hasted

Australian Jazz Album Round-Up March 2015

A typically slow start to the year, fuelled by yet another long hot summer, paved the way for a flood of new releases in February and March. This against a backdrop of Festivals and the associated Fringe plus Womad, resulted in too many shows and concerts (including a jazzified version of the Who’s Tommy, directed by Charles Mingus’s son, Eric). We’ll kick off the year with three piano based albums, two featuring the prolific talents of Casey Golden and the third from a new group, ishs/Allen Project with a delightful album.

– Michael Prescott, Jazz Presenter 5MBS, Australia

 

casey-goldenCasey Golden Trio

Outliers

Self Release  ★★★★

Casey Golden (p), Bill Williams (b), Ed Rodrigues (d). Rec 6 August 2014

It took Casey Golden five years to follow-up his debut album, “Clarity”. He used the time well as on the strength of this album, he has become a composer of note, presenting on this sophomore release eight very distinctive and melodically strong tunes. The quality screams out in tracks such as “Paralysed” and “Home” with almost classical flourishes appearing throughout. On this fine album Golden is supported ably by Ben Williams and Ed Rodrigues. Rodrigues really stands out as a drummer to be closely watched. Here, he eschews the standard trio rhythmic fare; rather at times he seems to be all over the kit and playfully dances with the beat and in so doing provides a fresh range of colours to the trio format. A prime example can be found in “Paralysed”. On the basis of this release there is no doubt that this trio has a golden future and this will probably be confirmed when the trio release a live album in June. In an age where the merest suggestion of a melody or rhythm can be the vehicle for improvisation, Golden stands out as a musician who places the composition first and improvisation second. On the evidence of this album, that’s no bad thing. The only criticism is that at less than 40 minutes one is begging for more at album’s end.

Info & samples: http://caseygoldenmusic.bandcamp.com/releases

 

hannah-jamesHannah James Trio

Triliphony

Self Release ★★★★

Hannah James (b), Casey Golden (p), Ed Rodrigues (d). Rec. 24 May 2014

A year ago, on this site, I reviewed with much enthusiasm, James first release, “Effigy” and predicted a bright future for this young bassist / composer. Now comes her second, which confirms the promise demonstrated so clearly 12 months ago. She has also taken the bold step of introducing her new compositions in a live setting, recorded at Sydney’s Sound Lounge. There is a sense of déjà vu with the album reviewed above, Casey Golden and Ed Rodrigues return to complete the trio. Despite this, it is James who is the clear leader here, penning 5 of the 6 tracks; the remaining track is Golden’s “Six”. As with her debut, she features a strong sense of melody and compositional skills, providing the perfect vehicle for Golden’s simply luscious piano. Rodrigues is again outstanding on percussion and I suspect it won’t be long before he achieves greater recognition for his different take on the role of the drummer. He is certainly one of the most innovative drummers around today. Golden further cements his reputation as a pianist of sheer class and brings life and passion to James’s compositions. This is a very worthy follow-up to her debut and confirms the promise so clearly evident on that album.

allen-projectishs/Allen Project

ishs/Allen Project

Self Release ★★★

Featuring; ade ishs (p, voc, glockenspiel, melodica), Chelsea Allen (d, voc), Paul Bonnington (b), Ee Shan Pang (t, f, voc). Rec 5, 6 November, December 2014

The ishs/Allen Project is a very different beast to the above 2 albums. Led by pianist ade ishs and drummer Chelsea Allen, with all but one composition by ish and the remaining track co-composed with Allen, the Project have produced something not very common in jazz, an album that reeks of a positive vibe, very uplifting, almost joyful. The common theme of this month’s releases is very melodic and expansive themes. Here they are in vogue again but this time with a greater range of tonal colour. The themes are stated by ish, and Pang’s trumpet / flugelhorn augmented by the judicious use of wordless, atmospheric vocals, mainly from Allen, soaring over the melodic base. Interestingly, Pang’s role appears to be more concerned with theme enhancement than soloing. This she does with great effect, her restrained approach just adds to the overall sense of joy. “Welcoming Spring” is a good case in point. This is not an album that relies on innovation and pushing boundaries. There are many other albums that do that very successfully, but frankly, that’s not the objective here and it’s all the better for that. The end result is a an album that finds itself repeatedly being slipped into the CD player

Info and samples: http://tiap.info/the-ishs-allen-project

Jazzwise March 2015 Issue Albums Reviewed List

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

New Releases


Tony Allen Film of Life Jazz Village

Lotte Anker What River Is This ILK

AR Quartet AR Quartet Fredriksson Music

Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble The Whistle Blower Fanfare

Stefano Bollani Sheik Yer Zappa Decca GRCD

Euan Burton Too Much Love Whirlwind Recordings

Nels Cline & Julian Lage Room Mack Avenue MACK

Duduvudu The Gospel According To Dudu Pukwana Edgetone

Sidsel Endresen & Stian Westerhus Bonita Rune Grammofon

Orrin Evans Liberation Blues Smoke Sessions Records

Garzone/ Bergonzi/ Winther/ Aman/ Mogensen Quintonic Stunt

Jimmy Greene Beautiful Life Mack Avenue MAC

Louis Hayes Return of the Jazz Communicators Smoke Sessions

Louis Hayes Return of the Jazz Communicators Smoke Sessions

Pablo Held The Trio Meets John Scofield Pirouet

Hijaz Nahadin Zephyrus. Zep0

Wayne Horvitz & The Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble At the Reception Songlines

Abdullah Ibrahim The Song Is My Story Intuition INT

JÜ and Kjetil Møster JÜ Meets Møster RareNoise

Laurie Jacobs Quartet Midnight Voyage Soultrane Jazz

Laura Jurd Human Spirit
 Chaos Collective

Wayne Krantz Good Piranha Bad Piranha Abstract Logix

Josh Kyle/Sam Keevers Songs Of Friends
 Own label

Large Unit Erta Ale PNL

Steve Lodder …Tied Up with Strings Sospiro Noir

Harold Mabern Right On Time Smoke Sessions

The Markov Chain The Markov Chain Bruce’s Fingers

Delfeayo Marsalis The Last Southern Gentlemen Troubadour

Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet The 21st Century Trad Band Basin Street

Ron Miles Circuit Rider Enja Yellow Bird

Hafez Modirzadeh In Convergence Liberation PI

Louis Moholo-Moholo Quartet 4 Blokes Ogun

Mole RGB RareNoise

Marius Neset Quintet Pinball ACT

Jef Neve One Universal

Jim Rattigan/Thomas Gould/Liam Noble Triplicity Pavillon

Annie Ross To Lady With Love Red Anchor CAP

Peter Vacher The Sirkis/Bialas International Quartet Come To Me SBPQ

SPUNK Adventura Botanica Rune Grammofon

Irène Schweizer and Jürg Wickihalder Spring Intakt

Troyka
Ornithophobia NAIM Jazz Naim

Tigran Mockroot Nonesuch Records

Kenny Wheeler Songs For Quintet ECM

Manuel Valera And New Cuban Express In Motion Criss Cross Jazz

Werner/Loueke/Zenón/ Koppel/Nemeth Coalition Half Note Records

The Whammies Play The Music Of Steve Lacy Vol. 3 Live Driff CD

Rodney Whitaker When We Find Ourselves Alone Mack Avenue MAC

Kate Williams Atlas & Vulcana Kate Williams Jazz kwjazz



New Releases Short Cuts

Greg Abate Quartet Motif Whaling City Sound

Ballister Worse for the Wear Aerophonic

Espen Berg Acres of Blue Atterklang

Blicher Hemmer Gadd Blicher Hemmer Gadd C-nut

Till Brönner The Movie Album Verve/Universal

Gill Cook Morning with You Mainstem

Clare Fischer Big Band Pacific Jazz Clavo Records

Gong I See You Madfish

David Hazeltine For All We Know Smoke Sessions

Vincent Herring The Uptown Shuffle Smoke Sessions

The Hot Sardines The Hot Sardines Decca

Gary Husband Dirty & Beautiful Volume 1 (Remix and Remastered Edition) AbstractLogix

Darrell Katz And the JCA Orchestra Why do you Ride? Leo

Lukas Ligeti/Thollem McDonas Duo Imaginary Images Leo

Puul Puul Optical Substance

Edward Ricart Quartet Chamaeleon Slam

Ben Sidran Blue Camus Bonsai

Paolo Conte Snob Universal



Reissues and Archive Reviews

Brand X Nuclear Burn Universal)

Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House January 1975 The Livelove Series Volume 1

Bill Evans New Conversations Warner

The Chico Hamilton Quintet Gongs East! Warner Bros Jazz

The Three Faces Of Chico Warner Bros Jazz

Tubby Hayes Without A Song Rare Live Recordings 1954-73 Acrobat

Keith Jarrett / Charlie Haden / Paul Motian Hamburg ’72 ECM

Jaga Jazzist ’94–’14 Ninja Tune

Jan Johansson/Rune Gustafsson When the Sun Comes Out Él Cherry Red Records

Barney Kessel Kessel/Jazz: Contemporary Latin Rhythms Warner Bros Jazz

King Crimson Starless DGM 40th Anniversary

Steve Lacy School Days Improvisations And Compositions By Thelonious Monk Emanem

Cycles, Hedges, Sands, Shots Emanem

Yusef Lateef Yusef Lateef’s Detroit Latitude 42 30-Longitude 83 Warner/Atlantic

Four Classic Albums – Sounds Of Lateef/The Three Faces Of Lateef/ Lateef At Cranbrook/ The Centaur And The Phoenix Avid

Joni Mitchell Love Has Many Faces Rhino

Thelonious Monk ’Round Midnight: Complete Blue Note Singles (1947-1952) Blue Note

The New Jazz Orchestra Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe Dusk Fire

The Birthday Concert Atlantic Warner

Jaco Pastorius Anthology – The Warner Bros Years Atlantic Warner

Red Garland Trio Swingin’ On The Korner Elemental

Sun Ra Reflections In Blue/ Hours After/Mayan Temples/A Tribute To Stuff Smith Black Saint/Soul Note

George Russell Presents The Esoteric Circle BGP

Various Artists Jazz In Polish Cinema: Out of the Underground 1958–1967 Jazz On Film Records

Robert Wyatt Different Every Time Domino WIGCD


Reissues Short Cuts

Mose Allison Wild Man on the Loose Atlantic

Louis Armstrong, Blanche Calloway, Clarence Williams 1928-1938 Unissued on 78s Retrieval

Ray Barretto Can You Feel It Atlantic

Duke Ellington Highlights of the Great 1940-1942 Band Avid

Duke Ellington The Complete Newport 1958 Performances American Jazz Classics

Joe Farrell Night Dancing Warner Jazz

Volker Kriegel House-boat MPS

Mike Mainieri Wanderlust Warner Jazz

Henry Mancini Playboy Themes El

Charlie Parker Integrale Vol 8: Laura Fremeaux

Quantum Jump Quantum Jump Esoteric

Lee Ritenour First Course BGO

Buddy Tate Texas Tenor Sackville

Joe Turner Two Classic Albums Plus Avid

Various Artists Walking To New Orleans Proper

Dinah Washington In the Land of Hi-fi / Unforgettable American Jazz Classics

Phil Woods Three Classic Albums Plus Avid

Dario ‘Rainote’ Chiazzolino – Paint Your Life ★★★

www.dariochiazzolino.com/

Dario ‘Rainote’ Chiazzolino (g), Taylor Eigsti (p), Marco Panascia (b) and Willie Jones III (d). Rec. 2011

Talented Italian guitarist Dario ‘Rainote’ Chiazzolino executes a cohesive and consistent vision on his 2013 album Paint Your Life. By this point a seemingly naturalised New York jazzman, Chiazzolino’s line-up reflects the move with hard bopper Willie Jones III on drums, fellow Italian Marco Panascia on double bass and the acclaimed pianist Taylor Eigsti, the last of whom is responsible for many of the disc’s most brilliant moments.

With overtones of Pat Metheny, the album casts off with a robust lop-sided groove on ‘Precious Things’ that gleefully capitalises on stark textures, switching time signatures and an expansive stop to immediately capture your senses. Pressing beyond the fast-paced opener, with stellar soloing from Chiazzolino and Eigsti, the soundscape settles down into a hip contemporary jazz. Chiazzolino’s compositions, which form the bulk of the tracks, are inventive, relaxed affairs that propel the tonality with the minimum of fuss. His team meanwhile are solid, highly proficient and maintain the smooth jazz style with confidence and flair.

Ultimately, the less-is-more approach pays memorable dividends on some of the Italian’s more intimate encounters, such as with the touching title track that closes proceedings. Light on dramatic catharsis yet brimming with pathos, the young Chiazzolino promises much with this smooth, largely unified work.

– Tommie Black-Roff

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