Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

David Hazeltine, Blues For Gerry, Criss Cross ***1/2

THE SONG GOES ON: So you are a linguistics professor in the Netherlands. You love jazz. You decide to go to New York City, record artists you like in a style and idiom that you adore - straightahead sounds that swing and don't forget to salute the …

Published: 5 Jun 2023. Updated: 12 months.

THE SONG GOES ON: So you are a linguistics professor in the Netherlands. You love jazz. You decide to go to New York City, record artists you like in a style and idiom that you adore - straightahead sounds that swing and don't forget to salute the blues nodding to bebop and beyond venturing into the modern-mainstream. Then you release these regularly and with care on your own label back home year in year out and find distributors to export them all over, both for home consumption and to reach out to kindred spirits abroad. That was what Gerry Teekens, the Gerry in the title, did. He passed away in 2019 aged 83 having founded Criss Cross 38 years earlier. His work ethic was relentless and the label counts far more than 400 titles in its catalogue. Teekens was also willing to take on new cohorts of players to inject their own ideas shaped by his outlook as to where the heart of jazz resides. And the message and the label continues and since his death we'd pick out David Binney's A Glimpse of the Eternal released last year as an example of the Criss Cross continuum and excellence often punching above its weight.

Pianist David Hazeltine here is hugely familiar to Criss Cross collectors.

The Milwaukee born 64-year-old who has been a leader since the 1990s, recording on labels in addition to Criss Cross that have included Sharp Nine, deepheads Japanese label Venus, Chesky and Smoke Sessions, is not a showy player at all and this picks up where 2010's Inversions left off recorded staggeringly in one session at the tail end of last year.

Bassist Peter Washington wonderful with the Heavy Hitters (descend certainly discerningly down that rabbit hole) and the swinging Wyntonian Joe Farnsworth - who is also on the latest Gabriel Latchin album and routes back to Inversions - are with Hazeltine on the date.

It is the treatment of Hoagy Carmichael's 'Skylark' that stays with us most and provides the spark of most enlightenment given its graceful presence. And it also certainly sends us afterwards helplessly but appropriately to Erroll Garner and a stirring 1949 recording released the following year savouring the moment following Blues for Gerry. The upcoming release includes Hazeltine numbers including the title track and a nuanced treatment of Cedar Walton's 'Firm Roots,' a piece that goes back to the 1970s Rochester, New York State, live album of the same name, Walton on Firm Roots (1976, Muse) with Sam Jones and Louis Hayes - an extremely hip choice and conjured meaningfully. Hazeltine has recorded with the Adderley great Hayes in recent years and the treatment works well in the context of all the swinging, bluesy Gerriana spread all over.

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David Hazeltine can-do attitude, photo from the cover art

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Album of the week beginning 5 June is The Glass Hours that precedes the upcoming Linda May Han Oh and Fabian Almazan Irish tour

Scroll down for upcoming Linda May Han Oh and Fabian Almazan Irish tour dates and ticket links. The significant thing about The Glass Hours (Biophilia, just released) is the way vocals are intertwined with tenor saxophone, piano, bass and drums. …

Published: 4 Jun 2023. Updated: 12 months.

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Scroll down for upcoming Linda May Han Oh and Fabian Almazan Irish tour dates and ticket links.

The significant thing about The Glass Hours (Biophilia, just released) is the way vocals are intertwined with tenor saxophone, piano, bass and drums. The process is not like a band backing the voice or the other way round when the voice acts as a bolt-on to an album whose spiritual core is largely instrumental. In other words this is a fully knitted together vocal-instrumental weaving of dreams. The tunes are often audaciously knotty and not standard shape at all in their construction. You glean what you are hearing is experimental and not built out of tough to click together cellular blocks. And yet certainly in the saxophone passages there is a connection with a strong post-bop tradition. But in ethos it is not generic or orthodox at all and is avant-garde in the sense of the Oh compositional mind trying to launch the sound into a new stratosphere. Linda May Han Oh is one of the very best jazz bassists.

Thriving on a riff - Oh dazzles from the get-go on 2020 Pat Metheny quartet release From This Place's 'Same River'

We say that of the Malaysian-Australian who lives in the United States because of the bassist's formidable role primarily on Uneasy with Vijay Iyer; with Pat Metheny heard on the great Missourian's From This Place and above all on her own Walk Against Wind - a classic of the 2010s.

On The Glass Hours issued on Oh's husband Cuban pianist Fabian Almazan's Biophilia label and on which Almazan also figures strongly, the ''new cool school'' tenor icon Mark Turner best here - and check him too on recently reviewed Jochen Rueckert album With Best Intentions - in his scrabbling intensity on 'The Imperative' and on the title track.

Experimental Portugal-born singer Sara Serpa is very significant on the record especially on the moving and compelling stark anti-war meditation 'Jus ad bellum' that is incredible. Dave Holland drummer Obed Calvaire completing the quintet is a steadying and highly responsive presence.

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The 13-22 June Irish tour dates are: The Concert Hall, Thomastown Co. Kilkenny (13 June); Pavilion theatre, Dún Laoghaire (14 June); Riverbank, Newbridge, Co. Kildare (15 June); Garter Lane, Waterford (16 June); Triskel, Cork (17 June); National Opera House, Wexford (18 June); The Sugar Club, Dublin (20 June); King House, Boyle. Co. Roscommon (21 June); MAC, Belfast (22 June). Linda May Han Oh photo: YouTube still