Jazz, May 2022

hfnalbum.pngMarquis Hill
New Gospel Revisited
Edition Records EDN1190; 2LPs: EDNLP1190

Winning the 2014 Thelonious Monk prize brought the Chicago-born trumpeter and composer a Concord contract, and his 2016 album The Way We Play covered some jazz standards – unlike his recordings on the independent Black Unlimited Music Group label, which all feature his own music. It's the material from his 2012 debut, 'New Gospel', that he revisited in this live recording from Dec '19, with a great new band. Saxophonist Walter Smith III is supreme, intense and caressing by turns, while now-risen-star vibraphonist Joel Ross and pianist James Francies are both astounding. With Harish Raghavan on bass, Kendrick Scott on drums, they co-create Hill's music with passion, clarity and brilliance. SH


Kinetika Bloco
Banger Factory Records BF002

Nubya Garcia, Sheila Maurice Grey, Theon Cross and Mark Kavuma are just some of the London jazz talents who played in the Kinetika Bloco youth band in their teens. Along with many other past and current members they all contribute to this joyful celebration, released at the end of 2021 to mark the charity's 21st birthday. Also heard are organiser and drum workshop leader Shayanna Dyer-Harris, and trumpet inspiration Claude Deppa. With saxophonist Ruben Fox, son of Kinetika's late founder Mat Fox, as leader/arranger, it's music with a carnival feel, full of Caribbean and Brazilian rhythms and spirit. This is Bloco's first album but it won't be the last. SH


Ivo Neame
Glimpses Of Truth
Whirlwind Recordings WR4782; LP: WR4782LP

Paradoxically, pandemic restrictions spurred Phronesis pianist Ivo Neame on to create this album of his big-band pieces. Unable to perform them live, he decided to record the lot, and (virtually) assembled a dozen stellar musicians. He multitracked many of the saxophone ensemble parts himself, but you also hear UK sax stars George Crowley, Nathaniel Facey and Jason Yarde. Neame is concerned about finding truth in a 'post-truth' world, his polyrhythmic opener here inspired by the claim that 12 million Americans believe in 'The Rise Of The Lizard People'. And spacey electronics help conjure up a 'Ghostly Figure' to close this intriguing and engaging album. SH


Paul Wertico/John Helliwell Project
The Bari Session
Challenge Records CR73529

Co-led by long-time Pat Metheny Group drummer Wertico and Supertramp saxist Helliwell, this quartet is completed by Italian guitarist Raimondo Meli Lupi and his countryman Gianmarco Scagli on bass. They first played together in 2008, but it wasn't until 2019 that they found time, on a happy day off during a tour of Italy, to make this studio album. They can sound atmospheric and nostalgic, as on the opening 'Circular Motion', with Meli Lupi's most luscious guitar sound in a tune that hints at 'Killing Me Softly...', or gently gospelly-bluesy, as in the catchy 'Train Bossa'. And the sound is gorgeous: like a big soft sonic mattress. SH