Bessie Smith reissued

A cause for no small celebration, Bessie Smith reissued in a snug new paperback edition: 2021 is also the blues. Ma Rainey has even sprung again to life. Talk about a miracle. Jackie Kay's vivid narratives circle the prophetic – ''no need for a …

Published: 18 Feb 2021. Updated: 17 days.

A cause for no small celebration, Bessie Smith reissued in a snug new paperback edition: 2021 is also the blues. Ma Rainey has even sprung again to life. Talk about a miracle. Jackie Kay's vivid narratives circle the prophetic – ''no need for a glass ball when you've got the blues'' (p.62) – and the poetic. Out on Faber

Tags: Books

Mareike Wiening winningly ups the ante

Sounds emanating and created live in a club on a record are often better than heard on a studio treatment for counterintuitive reasons given as listeners we are more often than not absent and regardless of sound quality considerations. Take the live …

Published: 18 Feb 2021. Updated: 18 days.

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Sounds emanating and created live in a club on a record are often better than heard on a studio treatment for counterintuitive reasons given as listeners we are more often than not absent and regardless of sound quality considerations. Take the live album Metropolis Paradise: Live at Bird's Eye Basel new on the US jazz-indie, Greenleaf.

The work of Bavarian drummer-composer Mareike Wiening and recorded at a jazz club called the Bird's Eye in the Swiss city of Basel not long before the Pandemic struck, pianist Glenn Zaleski is significant in the overall highly acoustic dreamy sound that elegiacally fans out. (Mono No Aware recently reviewed in these pages that the pianist also makes a winning contribution to is also highly recommendable.)

It isn't just Zaleski or the fine, deliciously bittersweet, contribution of tenor saxophonist Rich Perry. It is the shape of the sound that instead is fundamental. Listen also to the studio version of the track issued on an obscure 2019 Greenleaf release of the same name. Dan Tepfer is the pianist on that. Also very good, the audio quality is better. But the view from the Bird's Eye is that much more far-sighted. Sounds as nested in the Bird's Eye simply cannot be gathered so individually without the club experience. SG