David Mrakpor, 'Lonely,' Jazz Re:Freshed ****

Track of the day and new in the One Love spot, 'Lonely': Riff-groove alchemy once again from David Mrakpor. It's a year since we first caught him live, so far the only time alas, and that Post Bar appearance in Tottenham was a revelation. The word …

Published: 24 Jun 2022. Updated: 20 months.

Track of the day and new in the One Love spot, 'Lonely': Riff-groove alchemy once again from David Mrakpor. It's a year since we first caught him live, so far the only time alas, and that Post Bar appearance in Tottenham was a revelation. The word ''multi-instrumentalist'' gets trotted out a lot but can be a ''so-what?'' moment given that a lot of top musicians can play a range of instruments. Not here. I still don't know which incarnation of Mrakpor that I like best. But if push were to come to shove I'd go for keys, guitar, vibes. He also plays drums and bass guitar. What's good here is what he does with all his instrumental prowess. A George Benson-esque atmosphere and a real sense to the improvisational journey is part of the outcome neatly curtailed and endowed with a lot of life. Mrakpor plays coherent choruses that groove and sparkle to capture the musical space in this sunny highly radio-friendly sound sphere. The Londoner creates his own all-engrossing world. SG

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Pipe Dream, Blue Roads, CAM Jazz ****

Four years on from their self-titled predecessor of a release we love this new from Pipe Dream - Giorgio Pacorig (piano, Fender Rhodes, live electronics), Zeno De Rossi (drums, percussion), Filippo Vignato (trombone), Hank Roberts (cello and …

Published: 23 Jun 2022. Updated: 20 months.

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Four years on from their self-titled predecessor of a release we love this new from Pipe Dream - Giorgio Pacorig (piano, Fender Rhodes, live electronics), Zeno De Rossi (drums, percussion), Filippo Vignato (trombone), Hank Roberts (cello and vocals) and Pasquale Mirra (vibes).

There's an exquisite piano solo from Pacorig on 'Extended Human Potentials' and then huge deepness in the register from the ensemble. 'Living Paradox' is begun by the drummer De Rossi and has more of a skittering syncopated feel for trombone to solo over.

With material written by members of the band, recorded handsomely as ever by Stefano Amerio at his famed studio near Udine in Italy the main thing is that the ensemble are able to spread out and improvise deeper around coils of springy surfaces, the suspension making the bumpiest of journeys comfortable and fun. It's not just attractive instrumental material (although there is lots of cheeriness to the quintet's approach). Roberts' growly vocal on 'Pretty Boy Tom' has an ugly beauty to it that soars away from its Waitsian undertow to embrace wicked riff and groove, the arc of the pieces all develop detours ahead that reveal new imaginings in the collective interplay.

Pipe Dream take the road less travelled and even into a beautiful freeness where the best things always are - and it's wonderful.