Anthony Wonsey is a winner on Sweet Lorraine: the pianist's solo version of the standard leads off upcoming Cellar Live release Lorraine's Lullabye

Who do you turn to first when you think of 'Sweet Lorraine', the 1920s song by Cliff Burwell with or without lyrics by Mitchell Parish? That was my first thought listening to the fine new instrumental solo piano version of the piece by Anthony …

Published: 28 Oct 2021. Updated: 26 days.

Who do you turn to first when you think of 'Sweet Lorraine', the 1920s song by Cliff Burwell with or without lyrics by Mitchell Parish? That was my first thought listening to the fine new instrumental solo piano version of the piece by Anthony Wonsey. Does the present equal the past and how does this new version stack up with the masters? Will you be as ''happy as a baby boy with another brand new choo-choo toy'' and stop dead in your tracks when you think of Nat King Cole's vocal version and just leave it at that in all blissful timelessness?

It's ages since I heard Wonsey in the flesh, back in 2012 playing Ronnie Scott's with the great Carmen Lundy. He blew me away that night and proved an ideal player digging in behind the great Carmen.

Immediately here Erroll Garner's dreamy version from 1947 leapt straight to mind. It's definitely getting to the heart of the matter. There are earlier versions in other arrangements by Jimmy Noone's Apex Club Orchestra, Joe Venuti and his Blue Six, Teddy Wilson and his orchestra, the Benny Goodman trio, Frankie Carle, Frank Froeba, the Coleman Hawkins Swing Four and Irving Fazola and his orchestra. Later what about Steve Allen ''at the Wurlitzer electronic piano'' in the 50s on Electrified Favorites? Ah, no.

Basie in 1960 on String Along With Basie is far more like it. But maybe it's Earl Hines' version on Blues in Thirds (Fontana, 1966) even more to the point? It's no way similar to what Wonsey is doing but it really works via a certain swagger. It's certainly my favourite version of the ones I know for the piano lines if not the vocal element so much.

What about Oliver Jones' dazzling version from the 80s? Yes it's a good one but far more showier than Wonsey's. There are lots more versions. The song is such a great vehicle for improvisation. But to be honest Wonsey's is as good as any. It's a winner. The album from which it is drawn entitled Lorraine's Lullabye is to be released next week by the Cellar Live label and was produced by the great trumpeter Jeremy Pelt. It includes a Milton Suggs vocal on 'Melancholy Mind'. Fine bassist Brandi Disterheft is among the personnel on a couple of tracks. SG. Anthony Wonsey, top

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Evan Parker, Winns Win, Byrd Out ****

Here's the 'Stow down by now you know the music of Evan Parker and if you do the ultimate Walthamstow album I think to be fair is Walthamstow Moon (’61 Revisited). Or you don't. If you do Winns Win is a lap of honour not that Parker is a kind of …

Published: 28 Oct 2021. Updated: 36 days.

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Here's the 'Stow down by now you know the music of Evan Parker and if you do the ultimate Walthamstow album I think to be fair is Walthamstow Moon (’61 Revisited). Or you don't. If you do Winns Win is a lap of honour not that Parker is a kind of lap of honour person. He probably would balk at the notion. And yet he has a lot to be proud of here as he pays tribute to William Morris, Walthamstow and most significantly John Russell. If you aren't familiar consider this as ''an easy'' wake-up call not that there is a prattling smooth radio Smashey and Nicey side to Parker. But the real 2021 release you need to get is All Knavery and Collusion by far and away the best avant release that this blog has heard in all 2021 and included in our overall best-of. Parker releases a lot of records so this is my best guess of the ones I know. Go on, pig out on April's excellent and characteristically fearsome Electro-Acoustic Ensemble release Warszawa 2019 while you are at it. And yet bearing in mind its limitations Winns Win is solo zen. A seemingly endless cycle of high pitched circular saxophone patterns I'd hesitate to call it minimalist but in terms of a vast vocabulary there isn't much beyond a strict routine and it is a very uncluttered highly lucid sound. Using circular breathing, formidable technique, immense concentration and a harnessing of intense focus you certainly achieve a state of mindfulness listening to these abstractions and they are quite beautiful in this regard. Serene, this is a Walthamstow homage to both socialist hero William Morris and the free improviser John Russell who died earlier this year. Some of these pieces are brief but never slight. Once again you go on a journey with every Parker listen. This might not be the same epic Marco Polo of a voyage as All Knavery and Collusion. But whether your motor vehicle is a Morris Minor or not and you're off to Tesco rather than embarking for the silk road the recording still represents a ride for your imagination to hitch a lift to a destination that you can't journey to on just any old day. Out now