ukvibe’s Top 13 Jazz Albums of 2013

01. Nicole Mitchell’s Ice Crystal – Aquarius [Delmark]
02. Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone & London Vocal Project – Mirrors [Edition]
03. Kenny Garrett – Pushing The World Away [Mack Avenue]
04. Christian McBride & Inside Straight – People Music [Mack Avenue]
05. Alex Sipiagin – Overlooking Moments [Criss Cross]
06. Jonathan Finlayson & Sicilian Defense – Moment and the Message [PI]
07. Maratone Quintet – Finding The Way [Prophone]
08. Terence Blanchard – Magnetic [Blue Note]
09. Marc Cary – For The Love Of Abbey [Motema]
10. JD Allen – Grace [Savant]
11. Gerald Clayton – Life Forum [Concord]
12. Luis Perdomo – Links [Criss Cross]
13. Derrick Hodge – Live Today [Blue Note]

What we listened to:

Aaron Diehl – The Bespoke Man’s Narrative
Aaron Parks Trio – Alive in Japan (Free Download)
Ahmad Jamal – Saturday Morning
Aki Rissanen, Robin Verheyen & Markku Ounaskari – Aleatoric
Alex Sipiagin – Overlooking Moments
Andy Bey – The World According To Andy Bey
Ari Brown – Groove Awakening
Ben Goldberg – Subatomic Particle Homesick Blues
Ben Wolfe – From Here I See
Benny Green – Magic Beans
Bertrand Renaudin – Play
Bobby McFerrin – SpiritYouAll
Cecile McLorin Salvant – WomanChild
Chester Thompson Trio – Approved
Chris Potter – The Sirens
Christian McBride & Inside Straight – People Music
Christian McBride Trio – Out Here
Chucho Valdes & The Afro-Cuban Messengers – Border-Free
Craig Yaremko – CYO3
Cyrus Chestnut – Soul Brother Cool
Dan Tepfer & Ben Wendel – Small Constructions
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society – Brooklyn Babylon
Dave Douglas – Time Travel
David Boykin Trio – Live at Dorchester Projects
Dayna Stephens – That Nepenthetic Place
Dee Daniels – State of the Art
Derrick Hodge – Live Today
Empirical – Tabula Rasa
Erik Bosgraaf & Yuri Honing – Hotel Terminus
Fabrizio Bosso Spiritual Trio – Purple
Gerald Clayton – Life Forum
Gregory Porter – Liquid Spirit (Deluxe Edition)
J.D. Allen – Grace
Jakob Bro – December Song
Jeremy Pelt – Water and Earth
Jonathan Finlayson & Sicilian Defense – Moment and the Message
June Tabor, Iain Ballamy, Huw Barren – Quercus
Kenny Garrett – Pushing The World Away
Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone & London Vocal Project – Mirrors
Kyle Eastwood – The View From Here
Lage Lund – Foolhardy
Live People Quartet- The New Cities
Luis Perdomo – Links
Maratone Quintet – Finding The Way
Marc Cary – For The Love Of Abbey
Mark de Clive-Lowe & The Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra – Take The Space Trane
Matthew Shipp – Piano Sutras
Melissa James – Day Dawns
Michael Rodriguez – Reverence
Nicole Mitchell’s Ice Crystal – Aquarius
Omar Sosa – Eggun
Omer Klein – To The Unknown
Orrin Evans – It Was Beauty
Raf Vilar – Studies in Bossa
Rob Mazurek Octet – Skull Sessions
Robert Glasper Experiment – Black Radio 2
Rodney Green Quartet – Live at Smalls
Sachal Studios Orchestra – Jazz and All That
Samo Salamon Quartets – Stretching Out
Sebastien Texier – Toxic Parasites
Snarky Puppy – Family Dinner Vol.1
Sonny Troupé Quartet – Voyages et Rêves…
Sons of Kemet – Burn
Stan Tracey Quintet – The Flying Pig
Steve Coleman and Five Elements – Functional Arrhythmias
Tarbaby – Ballad of Sam Langford
Terence Blanchard – Magnetic
The New Gary Burton Quartet – Guided Tour
The Universal Quartet – Light
Thomas Enhco – Fireflies
Tim Green – Songs From This Season
Tim Warfield – Eye Of The Beholder
Tim Warfield – Inspire Me!
Tom Gibbs – Fear Of Flying
Trilok Gurtu – Spellbound
Vinnie Sperrazza, Jacob Sacks, Masa Kamaguchi – Play Cy Coleman
Wayne Shorter Quartet – Without A Net
Will Calhoun – Life In This World

ukvibe’s Top 13 Stand Out Jazz compositions of 2013

01. Kenny Garrett – ‘Pushing The World Away’ Title Track
02. Nicole Mitchell’s Ice Crystal – ‘Fred Anderson’ from Aquarius
03. Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone & London Vocal Project – ‘Humpty Dumpty’ from Mirrors
04. Cecile McLorin Salvant – ‘You Bring Out The Savage In Me’ from WomanChild
05. Christian McBride & Inside Straight – ‘The Movement, Revisited’ from People Music
06. Alex Sipiagin – ‘Savoir’ from Overlooking Moments
07. Will Calhoun – ‘Spectrum’ from Life In This World
08. Marc Cary – ‘Music is the Magic’ from For The Love Of Abbey
09. Maratone Quintet – ‘New Beat’ from Finding The Way
10. Samo Salamon Quartets – ‘Ice Storm’ from Stretching Out
11. Wayne Shorter Quartet – ‘Pegasus’ from Without A Net
12. Tim Warfield – ‘Ny Daze Ny Knights’ from Inspire Me!
13. Chucho Valdes & The Afro-Cuban Messengers – ‘Afro-Comanche’ From Border-Free

Nat Birchall’s Top 10 albums for 2013

Hailed by Gilles Peterson as “one of the best musicians in the UK”, saxophonist Nat Birchall remains one of the UK’s hidden jazz treasures. Playing tenor and soprano saxophones, he is a band leader, composer and arranger ( and occasional DJ ) who has grabbed listeners attention with his soulful sound and inspirational spiritual music.

John Coltrane – John Coltrane: The Complete Sun Ship Session (3 LPs – Mosaic Records)

Clifford Jordan – The Complete Clifford Jordan Strata-East Sessions (6 CDs – Mosaic Records Limited Edition Box Set)

JD Allen – Grace (Savant)

David Boykin Trio – Live At Dorchester Projects (Sonic Healing Ministries)

Various Artists – Freedom Jazz France (Heavenly Sweetness)

Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre Quartet – Musical Blessing (CIMP)

Odean Pope Trio with Marshall Allen – In This Moment (CIMP)

Miles Davis Quintet with John Coltrane – The Unissued Cafe Bohemia Broadcasts (Domino Jazz)

Winston Edwards & The Natty Locks – Natty Locks Dub (VP/Greensleeves)

Yabby You & Bretheren – Deeper Roots (Pressure Sounds)

Notable Deaths in 2013

Claude Nobs (January 10th aged 76)
George Gruntz (January 10th aged 80)
Donald Byrd (February 4 aged 80)
Lou Myers (February 19th aged 76)
Armando Trovajoli (March 1st aged 95)
Kenny Ball (March 7th aged 82)
Don Blackman (April 11th aged 59)
Dan Whitner (May 14th aged 77)
Ed Shaughnessy (May 24th aged 84)
Jean Bach [Jazz on a Summer’s Day] (May 27th aged 94)
Mulgrew Miller (May 29th aged 57)
Ben Tucker (June 4th aged 82)
Sam Most (June 13th aged 82)
Alan Kiger (July 20th aged 81)
Steve Berrios (July 25th aged 68)
George Duke (August 5th aged 67)
Cedar Walton (August 19 aged 79)
Marian McPartland (August 20 aged 95)
Jimmy Ponder (September 16th aged 67)
Edward “Butch” Warren (October 8th aged 74)
Donald Orlando “Duck” Bailey (October 15th aged 80)
Ronald Shannon Jackson (October 19th aged 73)
Frank Wess (October 30th aged 91)
Kalaprarusha Maurice McIntyre (November 9th aged 77)
Nate Morgan (21st November aged 49)
Chico Hamilton (November 25th aged 92)
Stan Tracey (December 6th aged 86)
Jim Hall (December 10th aged 83)
Jimmy Amadie (December 10th aged 76)
Herb Geller (December 19th aged 85)
Yusef Lateef (December 23rd aged 93)
Ricky Lawson (December 23rd aged 59)
Dwayne Burno (December 28th aged 43)
Al Porcino (December 31 aged 88)

George H. Buck
Paul Plummer
Dwike Mitchell
Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris
Don Nelson
Johnny Smith
Patty Andrews
Peter Appleyard
Pepsi Auer
Kevin Ayers,
Jean Bach
Donald Bailey
Red Balaban
George Barrow
Sathima Bea Benjamin
John Bergamo
Ruth Berman
Sid Bernstein
Claude Black
Steve Blailock
Bobby Bland
Ed Bland
Toto Blanke
Howard Brofsky
Cedric Brooks
Bob Brozman
Precious Bryant
George Buck
Rahn Burton
Mike Canterino
Rune Carlsson
Oscar Castro-Neves
Lindsay Cooper
Father John D’Amico
Phil Darois
Rudolf Dasek
Jimmy Dawkins
James DePreist
Gugu Depuis
Henry Otto Donner
Frank D’Rone
Boyd Lee Dunlop
Steve Ellington
Sam Falzone
Bob Friedman
Laurie Frink
Leonard Garment
Jim Godbolt
Kris Goessens
Per Goldschmidt
Bobby Gordon
Eydie Gormé
Bob Greene
Tommy Gumina
Pat Halcox
Bengt Hallberg
Jane Harvey
Donna Hightower
Jef Lee Johnson
Wayne Jones
Larry Karush
Fred Katz
Eddie Kaye
Joe Killian
János Körossy
Svatopluk Kosvenec
Jim Lackey
Gary LeFebvre
Ed Lewis
Terry Lightfoot
Ulf Linde
Little Willie Littlefield
Gloria Lynne
Bernie McGann
Magic Slim
Jack Maheu
Fred Maroth
Dwike Mitchell
Ollie Mitchell
Sherman Mitchell
Kermit Moore
Dick Morgan
Herbert Morgan
Butch Morris
Albert Murray
Don Nelson
Rune Öfwerman
Patti Page
James Patrick
Eddie Pérez
Michael Point
Daniel Ponce
Dick Ramberg
Phil Ramone
Arthur “Doc” Rando
Carline Ray
Lou Reed
Rita Reys
Mel Rhyne
Bobbi Rogers
Billy Root
Seth Rothstein
Sonny Russo
Howard Shapero
Chris Sheridan
Don Shirley
Aldo Sinesio
Jaroslaw Smietana
Johnny Smith
Paul Smith
Cleotha Staples
Jonas Starker
Jerry Steinholtz
Bert Stern
Kerry Strayer
Lee Tanner
Paul Tanner
Bobby Thomas
Bob Thompson
Jimmy Tolbert
Frank Tribble
Ken Vail
Bebo Valdes
Bernard Vitet
Gyorgy Vukan
Butch Warren
Fran Warren
Derek Watkins
Ricky Wellman
David Wertman
Tommy Whittle
Virginia Wicks
Bert Wilson
Robert Zildjian
Mike Zinzen

Tom Harrell ‘Colors of a Dream’ (HighNote) 4/5

tom-harrellTrumpeter and leader Tom Harrell has an impressive CV that takes in Latin jazz (Azteca,Santana), reflective piano leaders (Kenny Barron, Hank Jones, Horace Silver) and big bands. However, since 1976 he has been working as a leader and recording and composing some of the subtlest of melodies that countless musicians have subsequently covered. As a follow up to the 2010 set ‘The time of the sun’ (High Note), his long-term formation has been augmented on this occasion with a second bassist in Esperanza Spalding who doubles up on vocals and an extra horn player in Jaleel Shaw. In keeping with Harrell’s philosophy, the music is eclectic, yet accessible with a nod towards his earlier interest in soul and funk music, James Brown, Earth,Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder all making an impact upon him and they have been assimilated into a larger cohesive sound. Anything but formulaic, ‘Phantasy in Latin’ is the kind of innovative Latin-themed piece that one might expect from Harrell and there is even some scat vocals alongside the tasty horn work before a jam-style session sees the number out. Spalding takes on lead vocals on the attractive Brazilian-influenced ballad ‘Velejar’ while in a more uptempo vein ‘Even if’ features a catchy bass line and horn riff with wordless vocals and some latinized drum beats. An R & B flavoured number ‘Goin’ out’ has a strong groove to it and is a fine way for the album to end. What this album shows is that the still youthful in spirit Harrell is simply one of today’s finest writers as well as being an outstanding trumpeter.

Tim Stenhouse

Brian Goucher’s 2013 soulful ramblings

briangoucher …And yet another soulful year has passed us by, and once again it has been another corker for new tuneage. Soul radio continues to thrill us in the comfort of our homes, and new-kids-on-the-block have certainly made an impression with Shaun Evans and Gary Connely giving us some very fluid and consistently good shows, and with Mick O’Donnell and Mark Merry coming up trumps weekly, it has never been a better time to appreciate the new stuff, these jocks are making it very easy for us at the minute. For me the search has never slowed down and my shelves are testament to that fact! New ‘recent & decent’ scuffling for space with new vinyl acquisitions? Bilbao came and went within the blink of an eye, but Prince Phillip Mitchell will live on in the memory banks for years to come – what a performance in a venue that was akin to a mini Wigan Casino. The band were tight and he has still got that voice (not withstanding it got lost in the mix at times), great night, thank you Alex & Aitor. Away from the ‘Prince’, musically the weekend had something for everyone, with a very healthy dance floor both nights, the Cotton Club sessions on Saturday afternoon continue to grow in stature, wonderful music and I’m honoured to be asked to play – long may it continue. For my own part I was surprised to see some of the Brits venturing out onto the floor on Friday night throwing shapes to brand new releases, that don’t happen too often any more and it was a positive sign when the trend continued on the Saturday session too.

Onto my music highlights then… Lola Gulley first surfaced in my life back in 2007 when her excellent album “Give her what she wants” was released on William Bell’s ‘Wilbe’ label, and “Look my way” still gets a play today, a wonderful free flowing dancer and in more recent times her latest set “Cleaning House” has hogged the laser flicker, initially a download only, but its beginning to surface as a proper release at the time of writing (October 2013) ignore track one which has a total nonsense rap and its then safe to drop the laser anywhere. “What goes on” is a mid-paced ballad that could have graced any Denise Lasalle album, it had me shaking my head in disbelief the first time I heard it. “It isn’t worth it” should be smashing up dance floors everywhere but the Southern tag is holding it back, rammed the floor both nights for me in Bilbao, echoes of “To much love making” in here but what a tune, what a tune. Next up is the killer ballad “I deserve better”, and as the title suggests, she’s berating her man for his lack-lustre performance and approach to their relationship… and finally “The other shoe” is classic female southern soul steeped in past glories and will have you up and at it instantly.

October, and along came the final album from the late Lou Pride and his “Ain’t no more love in this house” set, which smashed its way to the top of my pile. The title track and opener takes you back to a time when Soul Essence used to openly embrace new southern soul dancers chugging along on base, drums and a Hammond with sparse horns, this would have been huge, today, well, we will have to see. The album spans the Blues and Soul genre’s but soul is there in abundance, “Take it slow” is a rare groove stepper that is perfect for early doors spots or radio play. “Never” nods its head in the direction of Southern Soul’s glorious past entering my top three for the year – so classy. The rich and soulful “We can do what we want” and “Daddy don’t you walk so fast” are destined for lounge plays, “Love come got me” is another class dancer that is clearly influenced by the Royal Studio’s sound however, the big daddy on here is the crossover sounding dancer “I gotta move on up”, so in vogue at the minute, and if this doesn’t at least get some plays then we might as well pack it all in. The rest of the album has something to offer, for me it’s the complete album, how sad then that there appears to be nothing else in the can in respect of recent material from this iconic singer.

Jaye Hammer also gave me a very enjoyable album in the shape of “I can lay the hammer down”. The dancer “Dig a little deeper” hit me straight away, and has cast a shadow over the remaining tracks, nevertheless a good album. One tune that refuses to be filed away is Beautiful Bobby Blackmon and his “Yeah Baby” which I dropped on the Saturday Bilbao session and once again had so many folks wanting a look and photographing the CD. Already several years old but that rolling lazy rhythm and those black southern vocals just has you moving and a grooving – a guaranteed floor packer.

For many the track of the year will be Lionel Cornelius and his sumptuous head nodder “Hey Love”, which has had huge radio plays, his interview with Mick O’Donnel showed the man to be gracious and very much in the right place, and yes, he’s related to Eddie Cornelius. For more of the same go and listen to the beautiful Les Walston “You should be here with me”, slightly more urgent but so damn good. The deep soul track of the year and my undisputed number one comes from no less than Gean West & The Relatives, and the guttural desperation that is “Your love is real”, simply as stark and deep as anyone could go using just drums, bass and a Hammond and that includes the mighty Charles Bradley (and what a year he’s had). That documentary had me swallowing hard. Mr Bradley certainly deserves all the attention he’s getting at the minute. Another highlight for me was the James Hunter Six set on Daptone Records, the title track “Minute by Minute” is typical of what this throwback Jazzy Soul album throws at you, but that sixties chink-chink base line takes you to another level, James of course is well known to soulies as each of his albums has provided a track of note, released on chunky vinyl too.

Well, what do you make of the sudden rise of Kani Cole’s version of “Show & Tell”? One play on Shaun’s show and bang we were off and running, such a huge response and in Bilbao, on the Saturday early slot, it had a healthy impact on the floor. The album surfaced in 1998 to virtually no acclaim at all, my good friend, the late Steve Jackson, put me onto the album and then I discovered S & T on its first play here at home. The whole album is one of those very classy jazz orientated affairs, I love her voice and “Show & Tell” does it for me.

A four track gospel set surfaced by The Mighty Voices of Praise which gave me just about the sweetest gospel orientated ballad I’ve heard in a long time and has nestled comfortably at number two, “I owe my life to you” contains simple instrumentation, sweet harmonies and multiple lead’s just how it used to be. Charles Walker & The Dynamites have had a cracking eighteen months, crowned with the release on 45 of the best dancer to surface this year “Get up for love”, impossible to listen too without offering some nod or tap of the foot, smashing dance floors up and down the country since surfacing via radio plays from Mark & Mick. It’s not on either of the albums that have surfaced but Soul Brother Records have come to the rescue.

Back to the live appearances, nothing could prepare me for what I witnessed at the Wilton when Debbie Taylor and a wonderful live band gave me one of the best nights I’ve ever had. Her voice was stunning, strong emotive and passionate and “I don’t want to leave you” was the finest tune I’ve ever heard sung live, lump in the throat time. WOW. Later she sat and chatted, signed records and posters and was the most humble of ladies, a real treasure.

Along with Tad Robinson I’m always on the lookout for new tunes from Donnie Ray, this man possess one of the finest voices out there but all of his albums suffer from poor synthesised production, on most it sounds like Ian Levine is at the helm and as we all know in the main that ain’t a good thing at all. Well, his “Drowning in my own tears” set landed and straight then to the mid tempo dancer “Play something pretty on my radio” followed then by the mid-paced southern stroller “What about me” both really do have their moments, however its “You keep taking your love away” that’s the nugget on here, a down-tempo rolling type rhythm and some fine vocals to top it off (actually I can understand the appeal of some of the more up-tempo tunes having been sent a video of a southern soul night just outside of Texas and the reaction to his “Hideaway” track off the last album was phenomenal).

An absolute must, is the Coalitions “Color me blue” album, which lay in the can from its inception in the early 70’s, with only one track not to my liking. The rest is a wonderful roller coaster of soul, the way it used to be, and its been repeatedly played here at home since its arrival. If you’re looking for comparisons try the Street People album on Vigor, any of the Delfonics or Main Ingredient albums too, yes it’s that good.

It’s been a fabulous year for Soul Junction Records, and we have them to thank for this albums arrival too. Big G has released his umpteenth album titled “Special Delivery” no balladry, which is a shame, as we know this guy has a top voice but a major contender for dancer of the year is on here in the shape of “We can’t stay together”, also check out “Your loving Arms” and “The only fool” both of which are lovely mid-tempo tunes with strong vocals.

FeFea WhiteYet another new name to me surfaced, FeFea White is a very accomplished gospel singer with a very powerful voice who has released a four track EP (obviously a showcase to something more substantial to come hopefully in 2014), “Your love is like water” is a stunning finger snapping stroller with all the right hooks which could garner some plays with the thinking man’s brigade. A sleeping giant of a reactivation for me here at home is David Avery’s “On some other earth” from his 2009 ‘Bone Dog Records’ album “Feel good for awhile”, its my most played ‘old’ track this year, really gets under the skin, stunning southern soul and then some. Another pulled from the shelves was the 1999 William Bell album ”A portrait is forever”, track 8 “I can’t leave your love alone” has been doing it for me big time, a modern soul dancer with serious class. Lomax hit us with a cracking album titled “Life’s lessons” and the opener “Baby its over” really got hammered here at home, a mid-tempo dancer that grows on you and instantly memorable too. He’s got a great voice, well written lyrics dealing with slipping around, falling in and out of love, this really is a good album. The down-tempo sax led “I’ve had my turn” is essential, and the Stax/Atlantic/Fame inspired “Second hand man” is a true modern day gem, anyway a great album, download only at the minute.

Okay, I need to stop now. As I said, its been another top year and I suspect 2014 will do the same with essential new releases in January from Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and Derobert & The Half Truths both albums are absolute must-haves, I’ve already got tracks off both projects, what a way to start 2014. Bring it on.

Soul On

Brian Goucher

Jonatan Bäckelie aka Ernesto top ten for 2013

These are the top ten songs that I have enjoyed this year.

Boards of Canada “New Seeds”
James Blake “Our Love Comes Back”
Kastle “Circles”
Jmsn “Alone” (Kastle Remix)
Mya “My Love Is Like Whoa” (Jaw Jam Bootleg Mix)
Pomrad “This Day”
Alex Barck & Jonatan Bäckelie “Doubter” (Mao Remix)
Alex Barck & Pete Joseph “Spinning Around”
Daft Punk “Doing It Right”
Elise “Poseidon” (Atjazz Love Soul Mix)

Jonatan Bäckelie is a postmodern indie & electronica producer, vocalist, songwriter, performer and theologian from Sweden.


Percy Pursglove’s Top 10 albums for 2013

ukvibe asked Percy Pursglove what he had enjoyed musically in 2013.. “My top ten (favourite/most listened to) albums of 2013 (in no particular order) are”:

Exaudi – Exposure (Exuadi/Huddersfield Contemporary 2013)

Wayne Shorter – High Life (Verve 1995)

Peter Evans Quintet – Ghosts (More Is More 2011)

Keith Jarrett Standards Trio – At the Blue Note: The Complete Recording (ECM 2008)

The Hilliard Ensemble – Morimur (ECM 2001)

Vince Mendoza/London Symphony Orchestra: Epiphany (Zebra 1999)

Ornette Coleman – The shape of jazz to come (Atlantic 1959)

Kenny Wheeler – Music For Large & Small Ensembles (ECM 1990)

Conlon Nancarrow/Ensemble Modern/Ingo Metzmacher – Studies (BMG 1993)

Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic – Le Sacre Du Printemps (Columbia 1958)

After graduating from the Birmingham Conservatoire’s BMus(Hons) Jazz course with first class honours in 2003, Percy obtained a scholarship to study on the Jazz and Contemporary Music Program at the New School University, New York City. During his stay in New York he performed with a great variety of jazz ensembles, including The Ellington Orchestra at Birdland, the Coltrane Ensemble at Sweet Rhythm, The Rene Marie Big Band at Town Hall, and The Knitting Factory with Jesse Elder, Matt Brewer and Tommy Crane.

Percy has performed alongside Paul Dunmall, Peter Evans, Jon Irabagon, BBC Radio Big Band, Amy Winehouse, Jamie Cullum, Hans Koller, Dan Weiss, Thomas Morgan, John Hollenbeck, Mark Dresser, Andy Panayi, Mark Lockheart, Tommy Smith, LJO, The Halle, Stan Sulzman, Jim Mullen, English String Orchestra, Jean Toussaint, Tony Levin, Elbow, Guy Barker, John Horler, Mark Nightingale, Nigel Hitchcock, Phil Robson, Neil Yates, Alan Barnes and John Dankworth.

Various ‘Love, Poetry and Revolution: 1966-1972’ 3CD box set (Cherry Red/Grapefruit) 4/5

Love Poetry RevolutionThis is something of a treasure trove for the psychedelic music fan and with sixty-seven tracks in total, the majority of which have never seen the light of day on CD previously, it is a wonderfully presented compilation with a mammoth thirty-six page booklet full of informative notes on individual songs, evocative era posters and record labels/covers. With so many tracks on offer, the anthology will be worth its weight in gold to collectors in search of even a fraction of the songs. While a good deal of this music falls outside the usual remit of the review section, there is still enough of interest for the broad-minded listener who wishes to be taken on a journey into the psychedelic music scene. For example the modish sounding ‘Am I glad to see you?’ by the In Crowd from 1966 which was originally planned to figure on the Antonioni ‘Blow Up’ film soundtrack (Bobby Hutcherson covered the title track), or the melodic folk hues of ‘Rosemary Bluebell Day’ by the Piccadilly Line who sound as though Simon and Garfunkel were their inspirations. For fans of acid-folk there is a definitive slice on Mark Fry’s ‘The Witch’ from 1972 complete with flute, sitar and vocals while there is a real surprise in store on ‘Hurry on’ by Hawkwind Zoo, a delicate folk-rock number from 1969 that was a precursor to heavy metal band Hawkwind. Jazz devotees will be intrigued by the cover of a Jim Pepper original ‘Whitchi Tai To’ (Jan Garbarek would attempt a version on ECM) from Taiconderoga that is completely different from either of the mainly instrumental interpretations. Among other delights, the Spencer Davis Group perform ‘Morning Sun’ with keyboards that are straight out of the Santana school of playing while the Deviants’ ‘You’ve got to hold on’ features the saxophone of Dick Heckstall-Smith and is a number in a blues-rock vein. A candidate for most informative and cohesive compilation of the year. Tim Stenhouse

Amir ElSaffar ‘Alchemy’ (PI) 4/5

Amir ElSaffarFans of spiritual jazz will be interested in this release on the ever innovative PI label. With a New York quintet featuring current in-demand pianist John Escreet as sideman, François Moutin on bass and leader Amir El Sak on trumpet, this album has definite shades of the mid-1960s Coltrane quintet in its prime and it is surely the latter that are the inspiration for the recording. The album comprises two main suites and the first of these, ‘Ishatarum’ includes the momentous ‘Five phases’ which begins with a languid bass line intro before the horns stress the main theme in unison. The floating ‘Nid Qablitum’ is a fine ensemble piece with Escreet occupying a secondary accompanying role and there is excellent solo work from tenorist Ole Mathisen. Evocative and eastern-tinged, ‘Embulum-Ishtarum-Pitum’ is almost eleven minutes in length and a definite album highlight. A second suite and album title track in its second part is notable for its offbeat rhythm pattern. Overall some of the pieces come across as early Ornette Coleman territory (aka his Contemporary Jazz period) and straddle be-bop with early freer elements including slower pieces such as the gentle sounding ‘Ballad’ which still manages to be experimental in format. Tim Stenhouse