Jazz, December 2021

hfnalbum.pngTerence Blanchard
Blue Note 3844264

In the late summer of 2021, Blanchard could look forward to the premiere of his opera Fire Shut Up In My Bones at the Met. He could also look forward, at last, to touring in support of this long-promised new album, which is his homage to his major influence, Wayne Shorter. Like 2015's Breathless, it features the composer/trumpeter's E-Collective fusion band, whose bassist David Ginyard wrote the striking and Shorter-esque title piece. But it also features the strings of the genre-crossing Turtle Island Quartet, heard on their own in mid-album with leader David Balakrishnan's sombre and absorbing 'The Second Wave', then rejoining the others for Shorter's 'When It Was Now'. An expansive and impressive tribute. SH


Chick Corea
Akoustic Band LIVE
Concord Jazz CJA00291 (two discs); 3LPs: CJA00292

Previously issued in the US (on CD) and Japan (on SHM-CD), this concert recording is now being released for Europe in tribute to Corea, who died in February. It was back in 1989 that the pianist recruited his Elektric Band fusion rhythm team, bassist John Pattitucci and drummer Dave Weckl, to make the unplugged Akoustic Band album, the title becoming the name of the trio. Then came Alive, and Live From The Blue Note. But in 2018, at the Florida concert that kicked off a reunion tour, the group sounded better than ever, again mixing jazz standards with Corea's pieces like 'Morning Sprite' and 'Humpty Dumpty'. The vinyl edition is promised for January. SH


Donald Edwards Quintet
The Color Of US Suite
Criss Cross Jazz 1407

Label founder Gerry Teekens, who made countless trips from Holland to record jazz in New York, passed away in 2019 but happily Criss Cross continues, headed by his son. Here the Suite's main movements are 'Red', 'White', 'Blue', 'Black', Brown' and 'Tan' but it opens with a beautiful message from drummer Edwards' daughter Sophia, reading the Pledge of Allegiance down to 'liberty and justice for all', and adding 'I hope that will be true when I grow up'. Sonics could be smoother, but with heartfelt playing by Abraham Burton on tenor sax and fine jazz/Latin/rock guitarist David Gilmore (often confused with Floyd's Gilmour), it's a great album. Buy it! SH


Various Artists
Mack Avenue MAC1185; 2LPs: MAC1185LP

In support of musicians hit by the pandemic, this multi-label collaboration offers some fine unissued tracks from earlier album sessions. For example, you get Christian McBride's 'Brother Malcolm' from his 2018 New Jawn quartet and Kenny Garrett's 'Joe Hen's Waltz', left off Seeds From The Underground in 2012. Then there's Charles Lloyd's live 'Lift Every Voice And Sing' from 2014 and Herbie Hancock live in 2014 on 'Gingerbread Boy' with Wallace Roney and composer Albert Heath. Newly recorded are Esperanza Spalding's 'Back To Who' and Hiromi's deeply pensive 2020 solo version of her 'Green Tea Farm', which is just outstanding. SH