Daniele Germani, The Alternative Is Unthinkable, Fresh Sound New Talent ***1/2

Italian alto and soprano saxist Daniele Germani (b. 1992) has written most of the tunes on this new studio album recorded in New York last year although pianist Justin Salisbury gets a composer credit and so too does Leo Genovese - not on the …

Published: 28 Feb 2024. Updated: 49 days.

Italian alto and soprano saxist Daniele Germani (b. 1992) has written most of the tunes on this new studio album recorded in New York last year although pianist Justin Salisbury gets a composer credit and so too does Leo Genovese - not on the album, incidentally but Germani has played in the Argentine master's quintet - and whose 'Slow Down' is one of the plus points of an album that punches above its weight. Completing the quartet's rhythm section are bassist Giuseppe Cucchiara and drummer Jongkuk Kim knitting snugly with Salisbury. One of the last students to have been taught by Lee Konitz (1927-2020) - a history maker with Miles during the Birth of the Cool - Germani's glacially slow 'Fading Into Nonexistence,' akin to day dropping deliciously into night, is one of the best bits. Timbrally the saxist likes lots of vibrato and conjures a remarkable, romantically woozy, softness that's neither cheesy nor derivative. Daniele Germani photo: cover detail

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Euro jazz club currents - best of the bookings in the most happening spots

l-r: Kush Abadey, Ethan Iverson, Thomas Morgan play Stockholm, tomorrow night and Rome on 3 March Braxton Cook Le duc des Lombards, Paris tonight Ralph Moore Quartet Jacques Pelzer Jazz Club, Liège tonight Paal Nilssen-Love Circus Bimhuis, …

Published: 28 Feb 2024. Updated: 53 days.

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l-r: Kush Abadey, Ethan Iverson, Thomas Morgan play Stockholm, tomorrow night and Rome on 3 March

January saw the release of new studio album Technically Acceptable from pianist-composer Ethan Iverson with his latest for Blue Note. The album includes Iverson originals 'Victory is Assured (Alla Breve)' and 'It's Fine to Decline' plus a version of 'Round Midnight' with, uniquely, the melody played on a theremin. Also figuring are a version of 1970s Roberta Flack pop hit 'Killing Me Softly' and a specially composed Iverson piano sonata. Iverson is with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Kush Abadey (known for his work with Orlando Le Fleming) on the album in its first half with later tracks featuring bassist Simón Willson and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza. Playing the theremin is Rob Schwimmer. The piano sonata, issuing label Blue Note says is ''a through-composed, three-movement piece'' Iverson noting that “Gershwin, Copland and Johnson really tried to blend concert and vernacular idioms. Then after World War II, high modernism and then relatively simple minimalism ruled the roost, and that mix got shunted aside. In my humble way, I'm trying to pick up that 1930s thread.”

There's quite a chasm between swinging, bebop inspired jazz and a completely different music as here - the loose, take your time spacey sounds grounded in a specific regional music. Swiss pianist Florian Favre and his colleagues on Idantitâ Revisited provide sensitive, chamber music on this live recording taking Favre's earlier solo album Idantitâ released two years ago and making it a group sound by drawing once again on songs from Favre's home region of Fribourg in western Switzerland. It helps for extra personal resonance if you know the original songs. But if you don't it's not too much of a hurdle as Favre provides his own spin on the source work. Recorded at the Théâtre de L'Échandole in Yverdon-les-Bains singer Claire Huguenin plays a prominent, atmospheric, role - and the instrumentation is quite unusual with oud, violin, cello, euphonium and guitar all in the mix, the oud adding an antique Levantine charm on 'Le lutin du chalet des Rêbes' for instance. Some will prefer the original solo release - there's a link to it here but nevertheless this new release out in March gives plenty of new thought-provoking insights to a body of music most of us will be unfamiliar with but will want to know more about given the ingenious explorations delved into here.