Sunday 10 December 2023

Late as usual!

Despite promising that my Ten to Six of this years favourite Edge of Jazz would appear on Friday, I apologise for it being delayed by current favourite excuse 'things'. Nonetheless, here are those vital (!) first five.

10. Bebel Gilberto: Joao

In lots of ways its basic simplicity is its charm. It's Bebel Gilberto backed by a really empathetic small group playing a group of Portuguese /Brazilian tunes that are hand picked. A couple of teh trtacks are self written, but the range is wide with Antonio Carlos Jobim co writing 3 and the rest from an array of well know (and not so well known) writeers in the genre like Gilberto Gil and Newton Ferreira de Mendonca. It really is one of those albums that it's bett to play than to try and write about.

9. Wolgang Muthspiel: Dance of the Elders.

Long time listeners to the show will know my liking for Wolfgang Muthspiel as a guitar player.. This album has the same line up as his 2020 album 'Angular Blues' with Scott Coley on Double bass and Brian Blade on drums, The main difference is that this is much more, ahem. laid back, with Muthspiel playing nylon stringed guitar on several tracks. It might be possible to say that it's so laid back that it almost falls over, but letting it wash over you lets you realise how complex the playing is, and how empathetic the other players are about wat's going on. Not one to rave to, but a considerable achievement.

8. Gretchen Parlato & Lionel Loeke: Lean in.

 Still finding things in this album that I like. Loueke seems to range across a whole gamut of material, and Gretchen Parlato initially seemed like an odd choice for duo material -  but a duo  fleshed out in places with sparse bass and percussion and  featuring a wide spectrum of material, mainly self written either alone or together, but also including the Dave Grohl song 'Walking after you'. Louke really is an impressive player in so many styles, and the combination of voice, guitar  and some sparse support made this really enjoyable.

7. Jonathan Blake: Passage.

I think the output from Blue Note this year has been very variable, but thought this album was an excelent example of what the label does best, which is putting its emergent talent together on each others albums. Thus Blake, the drummer is given strong support from Joel Ross on vibes, and Immanuel Wilkins on Alto sax., together with David Virelles on keyboards and Dezron Douglas on acoustic bass. The majority of the tunes are Blakes, but it contains other strong material,one of which is my favourite on the album, Virelle's 'Tiempos'. It's a great place to start on an excellent album.

6. Billy Childs: Winds of change.

Half of the backing group on this album appear in my ninth choice. Thus Scott Coley and Brian Blad e are joined by Ambrose Akinmusere on Trumpet and completed by Billy Childs on Piano. Recorded in California it emerged on the excellent Mack Avenue label (from which there is more to come on this list!) It's possible to describe it as a piano led jazz album, but it's far more than that its a series of really dtrong tunes, all written By Childs, but filled out in a totally unbusy way by the other performers. If you're looking for a track to start with, try 'The Great Western Loop' which gives an excellent sample of what follows.

Five to ten will follow next week - honest. I'd be grateful for any feedback (use and if you haven't guessed this was put together in three different locations ,on three different machines, which possibly accounts for the different typefaces. Overall I'd say its been a good year for jazz, and the diversity of what you can call jazz continues to explode in a multitude of different forms.

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