Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Anaïs Reno, At PizzaExpress Live in London, PX ***1/2

A very capable Dinner Jazz sound from US based Geneva-born singer Anaïs Reno (born 2003) on a standards strewn presentation - the clue to it suiting that much later specific Jazz FM championed genre in its Helen Mayhew first heyday is given by the …

Published: 21 Feb 2024. Updated: 4 months.

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A very capable Dinner Jazz sound from US based Geneva-born singer Anaïs Reno (born 2003) on a standards strewn presentation - the clue to it suiting that much later specific Jazz FM championed genre in its Helen Mayhew first heyday is given by the title Irving Berlin's 'Supper Time' itself. Ethel Waters introduced the song in 1933 on Broadway in the music theatre revue As Thousands Cheer. Vocals versions down the years have included treatments by Ella Fitzgerald, Audra McDonald and the most recent of these, by Roberta Gambarini.

Reno had already debuted as a 16-year-old with Lovesome Thing. Here it is pianist Pete Malinverni - who for many years was Minister of Music at the African-American Devoe Street Baptist Church in Brooklyn - offering impactful support. UK double bass great Dave Green who is also on PX appearing on the label's first release last year known for his tenure in Scott Hamilton's UK band is also on the record as is the Stacey Kent luminary drummer Josh Morrison who on a 2023 release contributed noteworthily on Nick Costley-White's Nice Work!

We liked the slower number, Billy Joel's 'And So It Goes,' best, a track that comes at the end of the album, Malinverni taking it up quite a few keys higher than you might know it from Storm Front. A coincidence in this preference because Joel song, and his first release in many years 'Turn the Lights Back On' has been an earworm with us in recent weeks and we are listening to it once again as we finish off typing this piece. The standards choices are also pretty OK. A new version of 'The Girl From Ipanema,' however, decent and all it is, and it is, we can do without right now.

Anaïs Reno, photo: TradePhotographer

Tags: Reviews

Black Art Jazz Collective, Truth to Power, HighNote ****1/2

Textbook and a canonical vision: Co-founded by saxophonist Wayne Escoffery [front row, left, in the photo] with Jeremy Pelt [front row, centre] and later Blue Note star leader Johnathan Blake [front row, right], the Black Art Jazz Collective …

Published: 20 Feb 2024. Updated: 55 days.

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Textbook and a canonical vision: Co-founded by saxophonist Wayne Escoffery [front row, left, in the photo] with Jeremy Pelt [front row, centre] and later Blue Note star leader Johnathan Blake [front row, right], the Black Art Jazz Collective (BAJC)’s first gig was at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, New York City, in April 2013 with lost leader Dwayne Burno who left us far too soon in the band.

Escoffery, heard live in the Mingus Big Band and a few times down the years, most memorably at Ronnie Scott's in 2016 up front in the sax line alongside altoist Mark Gross that distant Wednesday night, was noteworthy for his sheer tone, command and ease on the bandstand. Then and now - no matter. The same applies.

Blake shares drum duties with Mark Whitfield Jr, the bassist Rashaan Carter - heard by marlbank in Ravi Coltrane's Quartet live at London's Barbican in 2022 depping for Dezron Douglas and shares bass duties with the Glasperian Vicente Archer. Recall Archer from the Robert Glasper 2007 classic In My Element.

Such an excellent album, this - even better than the BAJC's 2020 release Ascension - includes a beautiful tribute written by Pelt called 'Soliloquy' to the globally adored Guess Who's Coming to Dinner actor Sidney Poitier who died in 2022. We also most liked trombonist and composer James Burton III's 'Coming of Age.' So, a cultural, collective creation that is all about black pride and consummate musicianship and a shared aesthetic vision that ripples across all the writing and all the soloing.