Jazz, April 2020

hfnalbum.pngViktoria Tolstoy
ACT Music ACT 9740-2

Though she's a descendant of the great Russian novelist, the singer's Swedish father is a professor of music and, she says, 'I heard jazz music every day since I was a baby so that just comes naturally. But then I listened to everything'. This time, as young pianist Joel Lyssarides joins her long-time guitarist Krister Jonsson, bassist Mattias Svensson and drummer Rasmus Kihlberg, she starts with Nordic material. The title song is by mysterious Swedish singer-songwriter Stina Nordenstam and there are two by Ida Sand. But she finds other destinations too, stirring deep emotions with a wonderful version of Nat Adderley's 'The Old Country' and giving Jonsson a chance to rock out on Dylan's 'Million Miles'. SH


Pablo Held
Edition Records EDN 1148

Held and his loyal trio made several albums for Munich-based Pirouet before that label took a break from new recording in 2016. Now, following 2018's Investigations, comes the German pianist's second Edition release, with bassist Robert Landfermann and drummer Jonas Burgwinkel joined by Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras. On 'Poem #6', with its tumbling theme reminiscent of Messiaen's Turangalîla, Veras takes flight in a dazzling solo, while the fast-pulsed title track has him matching Held phrase-for-phrase in an exhilarating duo improvisation. Pirouet now offers Glow II, with live tracks from Held's bigger group of 2013-15 [PIT3102], but make the Ascent first. SH


Sergio Mendes
In The Key Of Joy
Concord Records 7213500/Deluxe 7213502; LP:7213511

In a release that ties in with a new documentary on his life by Chasing Trane filmmaker John Scheinfield, Mendes 'celebrates six magical decades of music', as the blurb puts it. He brings in rappers Common and Buddy (who expounds on the title track), Colombian urban pop duo Cali y

El Dandee and other rising stars like Sugar Joans. But the Deluxe 2CD edition adds 16 career-spanning selections from the film soundtrack. You get 'Mas Que Nada', 'Going Out Of My Head' and less famous numbers like 'Constant Rain', where Mendes, never one to miss a trend, tops off the Ramsey Lewis-like piano and classic Brasil 66 vocals with a sitar. Unmissable. SH


Jim Rattigan's Pavillon
The Freedom Of Movement
Three Worlds Records (no cat no)

There have been French horns in jazz since the 1950s, when Julius Watkins paved the way. Today, in the UK, Jim Rattigan is pre-eminent on the instrument. After music college he worked with major orchestras, became a first-call session man for all kinds of recording and played jazz too. Then, working with groups led by Mike Gibbs inspired him to launch his own 12-piece band, Pavillon. It's a stellar lineup of leading British players with three saxes, three trumpets and two trombones. Here, as with the band's first album Strong Tea, Rattigan has written pieces that involve wonderful ensemble work and give solo space for everyone. Intriguing and satisfying. SH