Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Bruno Råberg tentet, Evolver, Orbis Music ***1/2

Progressive sounding the arrangements are light and airy - motifs and developmental passages are given all the time in the world. All written and produced by the erudite Wayne Shorter influenced Swedish bassist long time US-based Bruno Råberg …

Published: 27 May 2024. Updated: 54 days.

Progressive sounding the arrangements are light and airy - motifs and developmental passages are given all the time in the world. All written and produced by the erudite Wayne Shorter influenced Swedish bassist long time US-based Bruno Råberg guests include avant pianist Kris Davis and the Blue Note label saxophone star Walter Smith III whose Return to Casual worked so well last year. Råberg teaches in Boston at Berklee's elite Global Jazz Institute so it's not a surprise that a lot of the players are drawn from the Boston area who work very much as a team. Certainly, an engrossing album that includes a new arrangement of 'Elegy,' a piece of Råberg's that appeared on 2008's Lifelines. Evolver also includes the myth laden 'Echos Suite' where Davis uses prepared piano.

Tags: NEW in reviews

John O'Gallagher, Beast, Whirlwind ***1/2

Not at all radio-friendly in a Gilles Peterson radio show type sense at all. Because the tracks are mostly so long - only 'Practically Speaking' might get played if the red lines of the track length issue are a stumbling block. Or maybe 'Fishing …

Published: 27 May 2024. Updated: 54 days.

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JOG

Not at all radio-friendly in a Gilles Peterson radio show type sense at all. Because the tracks are mostly so long - only 'Practically Speaking' might get played if the red lines of the track length issue are a stumbling block. Or maybe 'Fishing for Paramecium' at a push. But 'Permeable' at more than 20 minutes long? Not a hope really.

More to the point stylistically Beast isn't a Gilles Peterson sort of release at all. Mainly that's because it isn't nu jazz, Brazilian music, ravey davey dancey stuff or spiritual, the influential DJ's main stylistic preferences. Spotify playlists that try to keep things succinct won't have room for this release either.

Does that sense of being out of the swim Gilles-wise make Beast less valid? Er, no. But what then happens to long-form jazz given neglect from tastemakers and media gatekeepers? Answers on a postcard please to Tim Davie or complain to Feedback if you really want to waste the price of a stamp and your breath.

Exasperated at the thought a few lines from classic 1972 Stevie Smith poem 'Not Waving But Drowning' - completely out of context - somehow intrude - and yet prove so welcome:

I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning.

Altoist O'Gallagher isn't at all as ''far out'' as so many in a musical sense - a world away from Smith agonising over the dead man in her great poem. It's his best album to date even if the live recording quality of the audio isn't amazingly impactful (particularly on tracks 3 and 4). And we also certainly retain a soft spot for the alto saxist's Anton Webern 2013 album also issued by Whirlwind and hearing him live back in Dalston in 2016 in Jeff Williams' band was a turning point in appreciating just what he is capable of.

The American here is with German pianist Samuel Gapp, Portuguese bassist Zé Almeida - who was on Apophenia's fine 2022 release, Prötzeler - and Almeida's compatriate the drummer João Lencastre who are all very much in O'Gallagher's shadow on this weighty Portuguese recording. And yet they all as supporting players add a few simpatico touches that certainly inspire this significant player - who is up there as a quality player with another avant-alto icon Steve Lehman - to new heights. John O'Gallagher, photo: via Bandcamp