Whither the Withers? Well witter no more, the album confirmed for a 28 September release Lean on Me is a José James mass market aimed celebration of the ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ singer-songwriter’s back catalogue and very credible it is too going on sufficient glimpses so far. Bill Withers turned 80 in the mid-summer.
JJ has Pino Palladino (bass), remember his epic figure on ‘Trouble’, Kris Bowers (keys), Brad Allen Williams (guitar) and Nate Smith (drums) in the rhythm section at the heart of the sound among the collective personnel. And in a certain pride of place on an instantly familiar song ‘Lovely Day’ guest features soul goddess Lalah Hathaway. JJ already a big draw on both sides of the Atlantic, if Lean on Me works out he will be heading stratospheric and if not at the very least will consolidate his position as one of the world's very best jazz-influenced male singers. ‘Use Me,’ heard top, which was on the 1972 Still Bill album, is the sixth track. SG
Moving documentary Sunset and the Mockingbird which was successfully crowdfunded last year is the story of jazz pianist Junior Mance who is suffering from dementia and his love for manager and soulmate, Gloria Clayborne Mance. The pair met in the 1990s and married shortly afterwards.
Junior turns 90 on 10/10 (sharing a birthday with Thelonious Monk who was 11 years older), and is known for his work with Gene Ammons, Dinah Washington, Johnny Griffin and Dexter Gordon, and who remains an influence via his own trio records and stride and boogie-woogie touch on a host of today’s jazz notables including José James and Ethan Iverson.
Junior is on Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s ‘Spirits Up Above’ — sung by José James (on The Dreamer put out by Brownswood in 2008). Hone in, too, on the piano tracks especially of Harlem Lullaby reviewed here.
Junior began to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease six years ago and yet continued to play, up until his last public concert in 2016.
The film charts his gradual decline and struggle as life has become more difficult. Just listen going way back, there is a huge quality choice... to Junior with the great Sonny Rollins bassist Bob Cranshaw (The Bridge) and Speak Like a Child drummer Mickey Roker play ‘Blue Monk’ which was in New York City on Valentine’s day 1962 — and I am sure that you will agree, a joy. SG
Junior Mance Facebook link
It is not every day, every year that a singer like Patrice Quinn comes along, Video above, the most recent that I can find of the ‘Fists of Fury’ vocalist, painting it raw and unselfconsciously all over ‘Cherokee’ a blues cry in her voice you might hear within the array of possibilities on a Carmen Lundy record — in an informal rough and ready very spirited small club situation. Let’s see which labels queue up or have already done just that to join her on her creative path, iron out scratch that, keep, the wrinkles — and above all believe in her. SG
WEEKEND CHOICE ‘Temporary Kings’ by tenor saxophonist Mark Turner and pianist Ethan Iverson both from the Billy Hart quartet has a grandeur to it that is startling.
- Rarity factor, an interpretation of Warne Marsh’s ‘Dixie’s Dilemma’ — a contrafact of Jerome Kern’s ‘All The Things You Are.’
- CD and vinyl.
- “Six originals by Iverson”; “two by Turner,” the issuing label indicates.
- Recorded in Lugano, the Swiss location written into one number.
- Look for it as September sweeps in.