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Anthony Braxton quartet, Peggy's Blue Skylight ****

Following in the footsteps of Roland Kirk, on the Tonight at Noon version heard on that exquisite 1964 Atlantic release with the leader and writer of 'Peggy's Blue Skylight' Charles Mingus, the Anthony Braxton Standards quartet's tender version of …

Published: 11 May 2021. Updated: 44 days.

Following in the footsteps of Roland Kirk, on the Tonight at Noon version heard on that exquisite 1964 Atlantic release with the leader and writer of 'Peggy's Blue Skylight' Charles Mingus, the Anthony Braxton Standards quartet's tender version of the piece is one of the tracks streaming ahead of the release of a new box set next month. As previously discussed in these pages the release is an extraordinary prospect partly because it is a 13-CD box set. Titled Quartet (Standards) 2020, the band, the other reason for the anticipation, is a formidable unit collectively and no one has heard the unit on record before.

To be released this summer the release represents a 2020 tour that played London, Warsaw and Wels in Austria immediately pre-Pandemic. The Braxton box set has some 67 tracks drawn from 9 nights of performance and spans within the significant Braxtonian compositional universe also Great American Songbook standards, Paul Simon, Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Andrew Hill, Sonny Rollins and Wayne Shorter compositions. 'Peggy's Blue Skylight', a piece that also in recent years has inspired the naming of a Nottingham jazz spot, is the very last track.

With the great instrumentalist, composer, bandleader, innovator and free improviser Braxton, an icon of the music for decades, for the first time are a trio of top UK free-improvisers who have recorded together as the Room to Dream trio. These namely are: out of the Belfast scene the fine multi-directional exponent Stephen 'Dakiz' Davis from County Down on drums, known for Sugar Blade, his work as part of Bourne/Davis/Kane and Human; revered Oxford free-jazz pianist Alexander Hawkins heard recently on the 5-star All Knavery and Collusion with Evan Parker and for years with the Ethiojazz great Mulatu Astatke; and out of Birmingham the erstwhile Zed-U, original Empirical and now Pulled by Magnets bassist Neil Charles. The box set, click through for more details, is out on 18 June and is issued by the Tri-Centric Foundation and New Braxton House Records. Anthony Braxton, top

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Kurt Elling pays tribute to Sarah Vaughan on 'Sassy'

Fresh from winning a Grammy this year in the best jazz vocal album category for Secrets Are The Best Stories featuring Danilo Pérez, on Kurt Elling's next album to be released in the autumn entitled SuperBlue the singer and improviser extraordinaire

Published: 10 May 2021. Updated: 45 days.

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Fresh from winning a Grammy this year in the best jazz vocal album category for Secrets Are The Best Stories featuring Danilo Pérez, on Kurt Elling's next album to be released in the autumn entitled SuperBlue the singer and improviser extraordinaire has teamed up in a stylistic shift with guitarist Charlie Hunter plus mighty groovesters keyboardist DJ Harrison and drummer Corey Fonville from Butcher Brown. Among the SuperBlue tracks are 'Sassy,' a very different treatment of The Manhattan Transfer's ultrahip 1991 tribute to Sarah Vaughan. Kurt Elling, top. Photo: via Edition

Head to a clip of Elling's 'Sassy' ahead of release here.