Jazz, April 2019

hfnalbum.pngKarin Krog & Georgie Fame
On A Misty Night
Odin ODINCD9566

A pioneer writer and arranger of the be-bop era, Tadd Dameron left a legacy of jazz standards, the title tune here covered by Coltrane and others. In the early 1980s, Norwegian orchestra leader Per Husby started a big-band project based on Dameron's music, enlisting the country's leading jazz singer Karin Krog, calling in Georgie Fame to write lyrics for tunes that didn't have any and finally recording them in 1985. Ten years later, Husby, Krog and Fame recorded a second, crisper-sounding album of Dameron tunes in New York, and here you get the lot. When Krog turned 80, Odin Records put out a six-CD retrospective covering her six-decade career, but here's a single disc that's a double lens on jazz history. SH


Jeff Ballard
Edition Records EDN1121; LP: EDNLP1121

Drummer Jeff Ballard is best known for his work with Brad Mehldau and also in Fly, the trio with Mark Turner and Larry Grenadier. His 2014 album Time Tales launched a new trio with guitarist Lionel Loueke and saxophonist Miguel Zenón but here he leads a quintet in which, he says, the musicians play with 'absolute freedom'. Kevin Hays, Reid Anderson and Pete Rende on keyboards and electronics join Loueke, who thrives bluesily on spontaneity. There's a sax guest spot for Turner on the challenging dirge 'Father Time' and a couple of fine solos by Chris Cheek. Dominated by Ballard's rhythms, this music often seems themeless, but is intense and absorbing. SH


Randy Brecker & NDR Bigband
Jazzline N77057; two LPs: N78057

For his Brecker Brothers Band Reunion back in 2013, the trumpeter lined up former band members and added his brilliant saxophonist wife Ada Rovatti in place of the late Michael Brecker. This time, he fronts the NDR Bigband of Hamburg with new arrangements of his compositions in what's almost a career retrospective. Rovatti features strongly again but there's scope for many fine NDR soloists too, altoist Fiete Felsch on the Reunion opener 'First Tune Of The Set' for example, and tenorist Frank Delle on the 1977 tune 'Squids'. And David Sanborn guests on the title number, which he helped the Brothers to create back in 1974. Virtuosic good-time jazz-rock. SH


Christian Mcbride
Christian McBride's New Jawn
Mack Avenue MAC1133; two LPs: MAC1133LP

When his long-established trio came to a natural end because pianist Christian Sands had blossomed as a leader in his own right, the great Philadelphia-born bassist adroitly launched this dynamic new piano-less quartet, founded on the drumming of Nasheet Waits. Saxophonist Marcus Strickland is now also a leader, with his People Of The Sun out on Blue Note, but here he teams brilliantly with the outstanding trumpeter Josh Evans. As there's no chordal instrument around, you actually hear more of McBride's great sound, as in Waits' 'Ke-Kelli Sketch', which opens with a gripping bass and drum duet. And that gets better with each listen. SH