Sketchy details so far but I found this, the beautiful closing track of From Baku to New York City by Shahin Novrasli, the brilliant Azeri pianist who has won the support of Ahmad Jamal, and which is to be released on the Jazz Village label in September. On one level the track, which was written by the great Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov, is a conversation with the unnamed bass player; on another it is like a nocturne, and revels in the simplicity of modal study breaking eventually into the release of a natural bluesy display of virtuosity in the open improvisation drawn from the ingredients of what has gone before like a natural conclusion. Other tracks on the album are: Both Sides Now, 52nd Street Theme, Night Song, Shahin’s Day, She’s Out Of My Life, Salt Peanuts, Memories and Stella By Starlight.
A SPECIAL HEADS UP for marlbank readers here, to be issued on Kurt Rosenwinkel’s independent label Heartcore Records, is a quite extraordinary record called ELEW plays Rosenwinkel: Cubism, a solo piano affair to be released on 19 July.
The title track dates back to Rosenwinkel 1990s album Yam Yam while other material includes selections from the guitarist’s 2001 album The Next Step.
ELEW, pictured above [photo: Anna Yatskevich], is a powerful, extravagant player. He does not tickle the notes: he slams into them and he manages to draw out the drama in all the thematic shifts and jolts he encounters while this former Monk competition-winning pianist has tremendous harmonic resource in store and a bluesy grasp of the bigger picture that transports the listener into his own individual world.
This is not a solo piano album where you are afraid to breathe for fear of upsetting the Trappist-like silence of proceedings but there is subtlety too. ELEW stood out on the recent Theo Croker album Star People Nation but this is so much deeper than that tantalising glimpse. Look out for it.
I keep a list of players I still have not seen live but would like to, a lot. Top of it at the moment is Noah Preminger whose After Life makes that desire even more urgent. Preminger is a powerful player and he has plenty of power to hand as well in his band playing a bunch of very coherent originals. With trumpeter Jason Palmer by his side — Palmer and Preminger together operate a bit like the way Dave Douglas and Joe Lovano communicate — Max Light is on guitar, Kim Cass plays bass, and Rudy Royston, best known for his work with Bill Frisell, is as vital as ever on drums. Preminger has another album out in the autumn... I will be keeping an eye out for it. But for now After Life is one of Criss Cross’ best releases in many a moon. SG.
Revisiting songs from his albums My Spanish Heart and Touchstone with a multi-cultural octet, sprinkling in a few new compositions and guest appearances by vocalists Rubén Blades, Chick’s wife Gayle Moran Corea, and Maria Bianca, Antidote is a reminder once again how important it is to listen and learn from the masters of the music. Flamenco flavours, the dazzle of Corea’s signature touches, and a mobile band who cruise along as an immaculate support to the timelessness in the Corea sound that Antidote underlines, make this a must for his fans. Chick and the Spanish Heart Band are playing the Love Supreme festival on 6 July.
Some extremely tasteful soprano saxophone soloing here from the ex-Miles Davis player Bill Evans (eg The Man With The Horn, We Want Miles, Star People, and Decoy) here on The Sun Room, to be released by earMusic in late-July, with blues veteran guitarist-singer Robben Ford (also an ex-Miles Davis player who played with Miles and Carlos Santana in a fabled Amnesty benefit concert at Giants stadium) joined by Steely Dan drummer Keith Carlock and the fine Herbie Hancock-associated bassist James Genus.