Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Alexander Claffy, Good Spirits, Cellar Live ***

There's a lot to like here on this comfort blanket of a listen: plenty of classics in the larder (Freddie Hubbard's 'Straight Life,' Joe Henderson's 'Isotope' to name but a few) and lots of no-nonsense blowing in the fridge, with tenorist Nicole …

Published: 14 Mar 2022. Updated: 2 years.

There's a lot to like here on this comfort blanket of a listen: plenty of classics in the larder (Freddie Hubbard's 'Straight Life,' Joe Henderson's 'Isotope' to name but a few) and lots of no-nonsense blowing in the fridge, with tenorist Nicole Glover impressive in the two-horn line-up along with trumpeter Benny Benack, the latter highly atmospheric on the Milton Nascimento-associated 'Beijo Partido'.

Led by bassist Alexander Claffy who sounds as if he is having a ball I could imagine this band going down well in a club late at night when the pressure is off and you get a feeling of ''being there'' writ large all over what is however a very retro record. Nevertheless you'll be dusting down some Freddie Hubbard records all over again I'll warrant or realising that this kind of music is still meat and drink to many jazz fans and musicians even decades since its considerable heyday. SG

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Romain Pilon, Falling Grace, Jazz & People ****

It's interesting isn't it that the dynamics of a guitar trio (guitar, bass, drums) are so different than when the trio is led by piano. For one thing it's more tactile, there can be a greater elasticity in the sound and for sheer craft and deft …

Published: 14 Mar 2022. Updated: 2 years.

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It's interesting isn't it that the dynamics of a guitar trio (guitar, bass, drums) are so different than when the trio is led by piano. For one thing it's more tactile, there can be a greater elasticity in the sound and for sheer craft and deft execution a guitar trio can also be a very satisying listening experience. Falling Grace certainly is. If you like Wolfgang Muthspiel this is a good record to check out and Pilon is a player with extravagant style and pedigree, the comparison standing well with the more famous Austrian. A big plus is the presence of Jeff Ballard on drums who on the other side of the tracks certainly knows what it is like to be playing with a pianist given all his work with Brad Mehldau in that different sphere. Yoni Zelnik on double bass provides plenty of character and the standards are interestingly chosen, I can't for instance recall anyone covering Miles Davis 'Side Car' recently: the only versions I can think of are by Joe Henderson and George Schuller. Excellent. SG