Craig Harris, Managing the Mask, Aquastra Music ****

Compositionally very convincing and once again a trombone theme to recent posts applies in the days since the news of the passing of Grachan Moncur III spread – Judas and the Black Messiah film music composer Craig Harris here in scintillating form …

Published: 8 Jun 2022. Updated: 27 days.

Compositionally very convincing and once again a trombone theme to recent posts applies in the days since the news of the passing of Grachan Moncur III spread – Judas and the Black Messiah film music composer Craig Harris here in scintillating form directing a horn-heavy painterly ensemble who recorded in a New York studio last year.

'Twenty Four Days an Hour' has a chant and breakout churchified organ and on the album too there is a fine homage to Black Panther Fred Hampton in 'Requiem for Fred Hampton' among its features. For us the overriding interest in what is an excellent album is in the close horn arrangements and surprises (use of didgeridoo on 'Venus Outside My Window' which is not at all gimmicky – yes that is possible) and the beautiful ballad 'Song for a Friend' with flute set against descending horn lines and a delicious Harris solo.

Managing the Mask is available via this link

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Tags: reviews

The stirring sounds on Michael Dease's Best Next Thing form a big July prospect

The Marc Free label Posi-Tone continues to deliver magnificently journeying straightahead and never sounding hokey in the process. Take Art, just for starters recently part of the release cycle. And Art Hirahara, the very same, is catchable in …

Published: 7 Jun 2022. Updated: 27 days.

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The Marc Free label Posi-Tone continues to deliver magnificently journeying straightahead and never sounding hokey in the process. Take Art, just for starters recently part of the release cycle. And Art Hirahara, the very same, is catchable in Ronnie Scott's with Stacey Kent later this week.

The definite purple patch continues next month with the release on 8 July of the latest from warm toned trombonist Michael Dease on his latest record Best Next Thing for the label. For Dease's sound if you know the timbre and fantastic facility of UK trombonist Harry Brown but haven't made the equally formidable aquaintance hitherto of the sound of Dease you will feel right at home.

On Best Next Thing Dease connects in the front line with trumpeter and labelmate Alex Sipiagin and alto saxist Rudresh Mahanthappa, Rudresh best known in his early career for his groundbreaking work with Vijay Iyer.

Pianist for-the-ages Renee Rosnes, Mingus Big Band bassist Boris Kozlov and the Frisellian drummer Rudy Royston complete the all-star personnel and raise us suitably up.

Recorded last September in a New York studio highlights include Steve Turre opener 'Rainbow People' (which was on the 2008 HighNote album of the same name), Dease's own 'Parker's Brood' tribute to Barry Harris, 'Charly Jaye', 'Horse Trading' and 'Lullaby for Rita'. Claudio Roditi's 'One for Dease' is also on the album along with Rosnes, Sonny Rollins, Rufus Reid and Charles Tolliver numbers. Take it from us having given the album a few spins the Dease treatments are more than decent and banish any deleterious jadedness that can banjax the best of us at times. Will ''decent'' be part of the understatement of the week? Who knows – it's only Tuesday but suffice is to say no-one needs to brag: the music does the talking all by itself. Michael Dease photo: Jessica D. Cowles

Updated on 9 June adding 'Parker's Brood'

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