Alex Merritt/Steve Fishwick Quintet, Mind-Ear-Ladder, Fresh Sound New Talent ****

Retro fiends form a very long queue. Close your eyes and you might time travel directly to the late-1950s to land in Vee-Jay period Wayne Shorter and like that sound it's a trumpet and tenor sax-led quintet at play. Trumpeter Steve Fishwick, …

Published: 12 Jan 2022. Updated: 15 days.

Retro fiends form a very long queue. Close your eyes and you might time travel directly to the late-1950s to land in Vee-Jay period Wayne Shorter and like that sound it's a trumpet and tenor sax-led quintet at play. Trumpeter Steve Fishwick, saxophonist Alex Merritt plus that fine pianist pride of Walthamstow John Turville, bassist Mick Coady and drummer Matt Fishwick last heard by marlbank playing with Mark Kavuma on a memorable night in Brick Lane back in the autumn.

While to some it may be an overly genteel sound still you can feel really at home especially if you like well-structured and beautifully rendered hard bop because it's all here. Highlights include Turville's solo on the marvellously-titled 'Dr Wu What's Wrong With You?' Tunes are from not a firm of Dickensian solicitors but by Messrs Merritt, Fishwick and Turville. One for the serious jazzheads Merritt is magnificent on 'At St George's' and the sonic quality of the recording has that ''real'' touch to it as if the carpets in the studio are all suitably manky, the wood panels all sanded down and doted upon, the microphones so vintage they belong to a black and white film. You can dream away to all this any time of the day or night. Out on 24 January. Catch the band nowhere better than in Soho at the Pizza Express Jazz Club on 9 February at the beginning of their upcoming tour

Tags: Albums and EPs

Ben Marc surfaces

Fascinating glimpse of an alternative side to the musical personality of bassist/bass guitarist Neil Charles (Anthony Braxton, Pulled by Magnets, Jonny Greenwood, Lady Blackbird, Zed-U, original Empirical) as Ben Marc rolls out here with 'Mustard' …

Published: 12 Jan 2022. Updated: 16 days.

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Fascinating glimpse of an alternative side to the musical personality of bassist/bass guitarist Neil Charles (Anthony Braxton, Pulled by Magnets, Jonny Greenwood, Lady Blackbird, Zed-U, original Empirical) as Ben Marc rolls out here with 'Mustard' from Glass Effect hard on the heels of an EP last year. The Innovative Leisure release has a loungey jazztronica and Afrojazz relaxed feel to it that reels you in fairly instantly a country mile way from his more avant garde work. A cop-out it's not! Featured guests on the album include singer Judi Jackson on 'Give Me Time' and performance poet Joshua Idehen on 'Dark Clouds'.

Ben Marc photo: Alex Waespi