Chris Laurence, Ken Wheeler: Some Gnu Ones, Jazz in Britain (EP) ****

It's uncanny how listening you can somehow see Kenny Wheeler in front of you in a way as if through a misty window he is still here. That's the power of music beyond the grave. The personality of the trumpeter's compositions are so strong and the …

Published: 24 Nov 2021. Updated: 9 days.

It's uncanny how listening you can somehow see Kenny Wheeler in front of you in a way as if through a misty window he is still here. That's the power of music beyond the grave. The personality of the trumpeter's compositions are so strong and the atmosphere they convey even more vivid in all their bittersweet gentleness. All Kenny Wheeler compositions, the title immediately draws to mind the deliciously punning Wheeler classic album from 1976, Gnu High. Virtuoso bassist Laurence, one of the UK's greatest jazz bassists, and also known for his work in a rock setting with Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, appeared on Wheeler albums Kayak, Dream Sequence, Songs for Quintet, Six for Six and The Long Waiting. A treatment of Kayak piece 'C Man' is included on the EP. Recorded between 2020 and 2021 in Harpenden and Wood Green, Mark Knopfler band trumpeter Tom Walsh here on flugel steals the show on the shimmeringly elegiac 'Baroque Piece' along with a yearning Laurence line and mobile, telling, touch from John Parricelli. Pure poetry throughout. The only thing is it is over far too soon. If Manfred Eicher ever gets to hear this record you'd guess he'd be toying with getting Laurence, Walsh and Parricelli on board for some new project on ECM right away to build on the label's already significant Wheeler back catalogue because a full-length version is needed. And the definitive Eicher aura would add the icing on the cake however much a fantasy this thought must, at least for now, remain. SG

Tags: Albums and EPs

Ayanna Witter-Johnson publishing deal announced

Charismatic cellist and singer-songwriter Ayanna Witter-Johnson has signed a new publishing deal with Faber Alt, the Faber Music branch who specialise in alternative and crossover writers. According to Music Week the deal covers worldwide rights. …

Published: 24 Nov 2021. Updated: 9 days.

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Charismatic cellist and singer-songwriter Ayanna Witter-Johnson has signed a new publishing deal with Faber Alt, the Faber Music branch who specialise in alternative and crossover writers. According to Music Week the deal covers worldwide rights. Witter-Johnson opened the London Jazz Festival recently and was last heard by this blog playing the Great Jamaican Songbook with Cleveland Watkiss at the LJF 2 years ago. Lucy Holliday, head of A&R at Faber Alt, says: “There’s no doubt about it, Ayanna Witter-Johnson is an incredibly rare and rising talent who has that unique ability to fuse classical with more contemporary and alternative styles of music.''