The most recent Charles Lloyd album that we loved most of all over the past 20 years was Mirror back in 2009. How does this latest stack up now that the great saxophonist of Forest Flower and hippie jazz renown and who can be said to have invented …
Published: 4 Jul 2022.Updated: 5 months.
The most recent Charles Lloyd album that we loved most of all over the past 20 years was Mirror back in 2009. How does this latest stack up now that the great saxophonist of Forest Flower and hippie jazz renown and who can be said to have invented the loose sub-genre is in his eighties?
Mournful and philosophical Charles is found in the company of guitarist Bill Frisell, who opens 'Song My Lady Sings' so beautifully, and double bassist Thomas Morgan - the outcome is winningly introspective and thoughtful.
Billy Strayhorn masterpiece 'Blood Count' is certainly moving and even better than the Lift Every Voice (2002) treatment (above). 'Ay Amor' has a perfect largo opening that finds Frisell deftly arpeggiating. 'Beyond Darkness' is a flute feature but less compelling. However, 'Dorotea's Studio' also found on Charles' Voice in the Night (1999) is a gem of a miniature typically ably led off by Frisell who taps the Americana strand of his personality to be beautifully responded to by Charles.
Every bit as good then but so different to Mirror - Chapel is also one of our top 2022 album choices.
Fini Bearman The Yard, Manchester Monday 4th July
Georgia Cécile Ronnie Scott's, Soho, London Tuesday 5th
One of the biggest independent jazz vocals success stories out of Scotland in recent years was when because from out of nowhere last year …
One of the biggest independent jazz vocals success stories out of Scotland in recent years was when because from out of nowhere last year singer-songwriter Georgia Cécile whose Only the Lover Sings was both critically acclaimed and also made it high up in the official UK jazz and blues chart. There is a Jessie Ware-like quality that Cécile brings to the ultra-lush 'He Knew How to Love'. But think the soulful spirit of Lulu deliciously too and so intact on 'Always Be Right'. The heart of the record is in classic jazz vocals. 'Harpoon', vocal against tumbling drums, at the outset was the album's biggest achievement as the mood became Ellingtonian.
Last year's Stormy Emotions was as literary a jazz album as any around that year. Words matter and singer Sarah Moule knows this better than most. With her husband pianist Simon Wallace who worked and wrote with the ''poet laureate of lovers and losers'' Fran Landesman (1927-2011) extensively over many years the album is a homage to Fran. And while recorded in a studio is very much a jazz club record in spirit and prefers considered cynicism to fake sincerity as a first choice. So that means it is about intimacy, people, experience, and you actually do not feel that you have been sold a bottle of 1950s air neatly stoppered and tied up with a bow. The singer's work in the past has appeared on the Linn label and on Sarah and Si's own imprint Red Ram. But this is even better than her best album to date Songs from the Floating World released in 2014. Influenced at the beginning of her career by Jeri Southern and Billie Holiday and mentored by Claire Martin, musicians joining Moule and Wallace for this Ballyhack appearance are Belfast trumpet legend the Steely Dan-loving horn player Linley Hamilton and double bassist Rohan Armstrong known for his work with fine singer Victoria Geelan.
In this very well curated pan-stylistic festival mix of styles held in Moseley Park, Birmingham's Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul festival main headliners include seminal Coventry two-tone legends The Specials while jazz-head choices within the three-day fest include Rosie Frater-Taylor (on the Friday); Secret Night Gang (Saturday); Ill Considered, CollapseUncollapse, Julie Dexter and the soaraway Lady Blackbird (Sunday). Julie Dexter was born in Birmingham and has lived in Atlanta for years. Julie’s single 'Ketch a Vibe' was featured in radio ads for President Barack Obama.
Encounter Babelfish for the first time and you will be intrigued. Landing on Once Upon a Tide somewhere in a jazz, folk, experimental space topped by the adventurous voice of Brigitte Beraha this is their third and most mature album. Vocal jazz clichés there are none but their jazz roots are strong and Beraha gets great support from the Ian Shaw pianist Barry Green, the great Chris Laurence on double bass (see a review of the John Taylor archive rarity Fragment) and the formidable Paul Clarvis on drums. Beraha has a big range of extra sounds, whether sighs, laughter or elaborate ornamentation that she dresses her lyrics with. Her style lands in the Norma Winstone heritage and like Winstone can stop you in your tracks with her quiet but devastating intent in the most unexpected places. Includes lots of originals plus a great version of the Ellington/Strayhorn standard ‘Pretty Girl.'Lady Blackbird, photo, top: Christine Solomon