Latest review: Clifton Anderson, Been Down This Road Before

Acclaimed for his work with his uncle Sonny Rollins, Clifton Anderson is also a trombonist's trombonist and anyone into straightahead jazz pushing hard from the centre will gravitate immediately to his elegant ideas. I'll not provide too many plot …

Published: 17 Dec 2020. Updated: 2 years.

Acclaimed for his work with his uncle Sonny Rollins, Clifton Anderson is also a trombonist's trombonist and anyone into straightahead jazz pushing hard from the centre will gravitate immediately to his elegant ideas. I'll not provide too many plot spoilers but certainly the album begins solidly and gets better and better before peaking on the standout title track tucked in near the end and ultimately 'Until Me Meet Again' provided even with what sounds like, yip, whistling.

There is a deep cry-in-your-beer and very successful version of Bacharach-David's 'A House is Not A Home' and that's just for starters. Collective personnel listed besides Anderson has saxophone/reedists Rene McLean, Antoine Roney, Eric Wyatt; guitarist Peter Bernstein; keyboardists John F. Adams, Monty Alexander, Stephen Scott, Tadataka Unno; bassists Buster Williams, Tom Barney; drummers Ronnie Burrage, Al Foster, Steve Jordan; percussionists Sammy Figueroa, Victor See Yuen; vocals by Andy Bey and backing vocals from Mala Waldron, Angela Workman and John F. Adams. So plenty of star power there. And of course many of these great players are significant leaders and jazz icons themselves.

'Sonny Says' is a belter, jump in there the water's warm. The interplay with guitarist Peter Bernstein luxuriating near the end on the title track, Clifton's own song, is quite something, and the whole album opens up again into a new dimension not to forget the great Andy Bey contribution that melts in like liquid sunshine. Feeling at home in the tone domain of Been Down This Road Before has definitely made my day. It could very well yours. SG

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Top Irish jazz reissue of 2020: Melanie O'Reilly, Oileán Draíochta (Enchanted Island)

Quite glorious in its entirety. If setting out to choose just one track from the reissue of Oileán Draíochta (''Enchanted Island'') it may be an uphill task, however. For the diddly-eidily side of Irish traditional music you could go for fun and …

Published: 17 Dec 2020. Updated: 2 years.

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Quite glorious in its entirety. If setting out to choose just one track from the reissue of Oileán Draíochta (''Enchanted Island'') it may be an uphill task, however. For the diddly-eidily side of Irish traditional music you could go for fun and try 'The Hunter's Purse'. However, 'Buille' is airier and more serious. And then sticking to the task there is jazz aplenty too because make no mistake Melanie O'Reilly is a fine jazz singer, her style authentic Celtic-jazz, so to say because of her command of the culture, language, mood and belief in improvisation as a working method and sensibility but most of all an artistic end in itself it is plain separating and lifting hybrid entities to exist alongside one another. Norma Winstone-like on 'Tir na Mara' led off by the pianist is nearly the track. But dreamy exile song 'Annie Moore' is even better. 'Cead Aighnis' done as jazz-rock let's go for. But hang on the title track it is, for its airiness, poise – and all that dark joy.