Jazz, April 2024

hfnalbum.pngQOW Trio
The Hold Up
Ubuntu Music UBU0151; LP: UBU0151LP (two discs)

Recorded after a successful tour, this is a vibrant second album from an ebullient sax/bass/drums trio, the unstoppable Riley Stone-Lonergan backed by uninhibited and enjoyable drumming from veteran Spike Wells, and the muscular bass of Eddie Myer. Named for the Dewey Redman tune played on their first album, the band's original inspiration was the classic 1950s Sonny Rollins Trio recordings. You get 'I'm An Old Cowhand' as a bonus track on the CD, but although Lonergan's playing can seem saturated with Sonny, that's only one aspect. He's a tremendously adept and creative improviser who has absorbed many influences but is never a copyist, with a big warm sound that keeps you listening. SH


Jasper Høiby | Three Elements
Edition Records EDNDA1229

In London again after a decade back in Copenhagen, the peerless bassist formed a new trio with brilliant young pianist Noah Stoneman and inspiring drummer Luca Caruso, who was also heard on Stoneman's 2021 trio debut, Anyone's Quiet.... In an album of rhythmic virtuosity and originality, the title and title tune come from What It Means To Be Human, the second of four albums from Høiby's ongoing piano-less trio project, Planet B, but fleshed out here by Stoneman and Caruso. After all those years with Phronesis, Høiby has said he intends Three Elements to feature different trio lineups in the future, but the combination heard here could be a worthy successor. SH


Lage Lund
Most Peculiar
Criss Cross 1412

Based in the US since 1995, the guitarist was back in Norway when Covid-19 had him helping his wife home-school their two daughters. Lund kept his hand in, musically, by writing short pieces based on each day's teaching themes, from 'Elephants' to 'Antarctica'. Later in New York, these fed into his new quartet album. As with Terrible Animals (2018), Lund has Sullivan Fortner on piano and Tyshawn Sorey on drums; they first worked with Lund in 2014, while bassist Matt Brewer first recorded with him in 2006. With effortless rapport, the quartet plays intricate, interlocking music, lightly gilded with guitar effects and with moments of sheer poetry. SH


Joel Ross
Blue Note 5837662; LP: 5837663 (two discs)

At the New School finishing his degree, vibraphonist Joel Ross immersed himself in the blues. Here he takes a new and free-roaming view of older blues and ballad forms, his well-established and close-knit band including alto sax Immanuel Wilkins, pianist Jeremy Corren, bassist Kanoa Mendenhall and drummer Jeremy Dutton, Gabrielle Garo guesting on flute. Along with Ross originals, they explore contrasting Coltrane compositions, the minor-key blues 'Equinox' and the ever-shifting 'Coltrane changes' of 'Central Park West', and they resolve the jagged edges of Monk's 'Evidence' with long, compelling solos and a triumphant ending. It's an ear-opener. SH