In the speakers

For CD reviews see the Home Page or search CD review. Of the many I get to review, some just keep getting played in the kitchen – here’s the list, together with some old favourites from down the years (most recent additions at the top). And if you still like to buy actual music from an actual record shop, may I recommend Polar Bear in York Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, England? It’s the real deal. Here are the details.

Getchen Parlato: The Lost And Found (ObliqSound) The most original singer for years and this sounds even better as a reminder of hearing her and the band in concert at the London Jazz Festival.

Avishai Cohen: Seven Seas (Blue Note) Joyful stuff with the bassist doing quite a bit of singing, too, and feeding traditional folk tunes into the mix.

Jim Hall & Bill Frisell: Hemispheres (artistShare) Two guitarists from two generations having a ball together and making sublime music.

Abdullah Ibrahim: Senzo (Intuition/WDR) He’s made a lot of solo piano recordings but this might just be the best ever – a continuous flow through old tunes and new variations.

Maria Schneider Orchestra: Days of Wine And Roses (artistShare) After a recent visit to the Jazz Standard (Maria wasn’t there that week, alas) it’s great to listen to this live disc and imagine the band in that room.

Don Braden: Gentle Storm (High Note) A tenor saxophonist who always makes me smile with his warm, soulful sound and melodic improvising on tunes like the Isaac Hayes classic Never Can Say Goodbye.

Joe Zawinul & the WDR Big Band: Brown Street (Birdjam) Favourite Syndicate and Weather Report tunes, plus In A Silent Way, reworked for Joe’s band plus the big band by Vince Mendoza. Mind-blowing, to use a phrase from my youth.

Kurt Elling: Nightmoves (Concord) The appeal of the Chicagoan master of vocalese transcends the usual vocal jazz demographic. Here is a singer we can all relate to, with a peerless facility with words and notes.

Carla Bley: Dinner Music (Watt) Listening to the excellent new release by Carla Bley and her Big Band, called Appearing Nightly (also on Watt), sent me back to one of my favourites from decades ago. Her vocal track, Dining Alone, is a perfect tragicomic vignette.

Marcus Stockhausen: Electric Treasures (Aktivraum) I once had the honour of playing chauffeur to Karlheinz’s trumpeter son, and what a nice man he is. This is a fully improvised live double disc and it lives up to its title.

Adullah Ibrahim: No Fear, No Die (Enja) Music written for a film I haven’t seen, with awesome bass sound from Buster Williams, beautifully recorded.

Bheki Mseleku: Home At Last (Sheer Sound) The wonderfully warm pianist back home with a South African band and all the better for it. More poignant listening now he really is “home at last”. RIP Bheki.

Steve Dyer: Lifecycle (Sheer Sound) I declare an interest – my brother-in-law making really lovely music, recorded live in his tall and spacious studio north of Gauteng

Abdullah Ibrahim: Knysna Blue (Enja) I declare another interest – recorded by my friend Murray Anderson in his Milestones studio beneath Table Mountain, and filled with heartfelt reminiscence and humour.

Paul Hanmer: Playola (Sheer Sound) The salty sounds of the Cape Town bays filtered through a piano.

E.S.T: Leucocyte (ACT) The last recording – jamming in an Australian studio, but tighter than any other jam you’ve heard.

Zoe & Idris Rahman: Where Rivers Meet (Manushi Records) Bengali music from the Rahmans’ family albums given new life and a jazz sensibility.

Phil Robson: Six Strings & The Beat (Babel) Derby-born jazz guitarist and composer brings a jazz trio and a string quartet together to play music with wide influences, including Ali Farka Toure.

Polar Bear: Polar Bear (Tin Angel) Seb Rochford’s twin tenor band now with more fully integrated electronics.

Mike Walker: Madhouse And The Whole Thing There (own label) Manchester guitarist with a bit of Sco and a bit of Metheny in his paintbox, and a whole lot of warmth.

Julian Arguelles: Escapade (Provocateur) One of my favourite saxophonists and one of my favourite bands – includes some tunes commissioned by Birmingham Jazz.

Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (Columbia) A favourite from my student days – and has the ever-so-catchy Japanese Folk Tune on it.

Was (Not Was): Boo! (Ryko) The only band ever to sound/look any good on Later with Jools. Impeccably funky, and great hats.

Earth, Wind & Fire: I Am (Columbia) Orchestral in its scope and one of the best things about the 1970s.

Taylor Eigsti: Let It Come To You (Concord) Interesting young pianist who covers a lot of bases.

Django Bates: Spring Is Here (pre-release) The irrepressible Mr Bates with his Danish student band putting a spring in everyone’s step.

Sara Colman: Ready with great covers of Walter Becker’s Book of Liars and Stealer’s Wheel’s Stuck In The Middle With You.

Bill Frisell: History, Mystery (Nonesuch) His music feels so familiar now which is a tribute to how steadily he has ploughed his very distinctive furrow.

Norma Winstone: Distances (ECM) Great delicacy from a greatly-experienced singer with a new young band.

Brad Mehldau Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard (Nonesuch) The Trio has been given a new lease of life by drummer Jeff Ballard, and they sound so intimately at home in the world’s greatest jazz club.

Roberto Fonseca: Zamazu (Enja) Such great sense of time and atmosphere – a sonic joy.

Manu Katche: Playground (ECM) It just sounds so lovely, with trumpet and saxophone restrained over a quiet groove.

Maria Schneider: Sky Blue (Artistshare) The keeper of the jazz orchestra flame, taking what Ellington, Mingus, Evans and Bley did and reshaping it for the 21st century.

13 replies

  1. Africa, so sadly neglected on this page.

  2. A fair point – actually this list reflects, in the main, recent recordings that have struck a particular chord with me. I will add some of my favourite music from Africa without delay.

  3. Thanks for the African ideas. I’ve ordered the top two. Seems that the Hammer is oop.

  4. For a moment I thought we’d lost you to middle England completely. Thanks for the breakie invite. Enjoying nibbling my way through the site. We’re still waiting for Steve Dyer to make it up to Windhoek, so please do the brotherly-in-law thing and lean on him. Louis Mhlanga has beaten him to it. Great gig at The Warehouse a few months back.

  5. Peter, some tempting recommendations here but – no Kurt Elling! You need to spread the word to those who don’t know how sublimely talented the man and his band is. Great site by the way.

  6. How could I have left out the supremely wonderful Mr Elling? Error now corrected. See above!

  7. Goodbye 5-star ratings – becoming a member of the kitchen club is far more persuasive. Thanks for some inspirational recommendations from someone whose jazz listening has lapsed a bit lately.

  8. I gather that I have you to thank for the wonderful cd by Ulf Wakenius that David Lush introduced me to. A small piece of heaven. a Dane by birth, I find it very hard to praise anything done by a Swede, but this is an exception.

  9. Watch out for Scottish group NeWt, their second album comes out May 10th on F-IRE and features German sax player Silke Eberhard it’s gonna be a good un.

    Also new Scottish quartet loose grip


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