Bill Charlap trio, I'll Know, Blue Note ****

Looking again and forward a lot to next month's Blue Note release Street of Dreams 'I'll Know' is a Frank Loesser standard from Guys and Dolls that you don't often hear so obviously these days performed certainly by less standards and Great …

Published: 24 Oct 2021. Updated: 13 months.

Looking again and forward a lot to next month's Blue Note release Street of Dreams 'I'll Know' is a Frank Loesser standard from Guys and Dolls that you don't often hear so obviously these days performed certainly by less standards and Great American Songbook centred jazz trios than this one. The latest single to gravitate to ahead of the release and again like 'The Duke' makes its presence felt.

The last version of the song that I can find was two years ago and Wendell H Mills II's far more straightforward solo piano treatment. By contrast the Charlap trio's delicate elegance has an ease and mobility that keeps you listening. Going further back Cedar Walton's with Charlap's drummer Kenny Washington on 2001 High Note release The Promised Land had a different arrangement and was appealingly lively the melody led off by saxist Vincent Herring and joyful soloing from the much missed Walton injecting a lot of individuality to their treatment. The new Charlap treatment is slower, begun by the pianist more chordally and Washington's brush work with a different feel to the jollier swinging Walton sound again very listenable.

Kenny Washington, above left, Bill Charlap. Peter Washington. Photo: publicity shot

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Bex Burch and Leafcutter John, Boing! Vula Viel Records ****

The sane thing is not to think of genre at all when listening to Boing! Even ''Uncategorisable'' does not do it justice. Let's think of it instead in terms of percussion, ritual and an electronic world that is more than any one instrument. …

Published: 23 Oct 2021. Updated: 13 months.

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The sane thing is not to think of genre at all when listening to Boing!

Even ''Uncategorisable'' does not do it justice. Let's think of it instead in terms of percussion, ritual and an electronic world that is more than any one instrument. There is a remarkable ecosytem of sounds that Leafcutter John cultivates and cross-fertilises with the less mysterious but nonetheless equally riveting Bex Burch rhythms that add a grittiness to the floatier and more elastic elements that swirl around it.

Leafcutter John has in the past collaborated with Polar Bear, one of the greatest UK jazz bands to have emerged in the last 30 years, and has forged a solo career at the cutting edge of acclaimed electronics innovation in his own right ever since.

Burch is an innovator herself as hearing the percussionist a few times over the years firstly at the Vortex in east London and more recently at a theatre venue in Dublin confirmed. Burch's interest in African music specifically emerging from the Dagaare in Ghana and her interest in the gyil (a balafon-like instrument) meshing with the futuristic Leafcutter sound is a fascinating often highly cinematic collision.

Their collaboration is a very different sound to Vula Viel's (where Burch works with among others Melt Yourself Down bass guitarist Ruth Goller and drummer Jim Hart) and possibly an even better direction for Burch certainly as a headphones listen and in terms of composition. I can't imagine how this would come across live given how it seems as if it belongs more properly as desert or moonscape than concert stage. An arty, stimulating, sound that works as a whole rather than for individual tracks it's as if the pair have reinvented Brian Eno's innovations. There's a lot of heart to it all.