Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Denny Zeitlin, Crazy Rhythm: Exploring George Gershwin, Sunnyside ****

An any-time-of-the-day, any-season-of-the-year kind of record. Given how significant the music of George Gershwin is still felt on jazz today - meaning you hear Gershwin compositions played a lot even on this side of the Atlantic when sometimes the …

Published: 11 Jul 2023. Updated: 11 months.

An any-time-of-the-day, any-season-of-the-year kind of record. Given how significant the music of George Gershwin is still felt on jazz today - meaning you hear Gershwin compositions played a lot even on this side of the Atlantic when sometimes the magnetic pull of the Great American Songbook isn't as strong as it once was in terms of next generation players' repertoire - it's surprisingly novel that a solo live piano album of Gershwin classics doesn't come along more often.

Zeitlin, last on our radar circa the cherishable Live at Mezzrow, distinguishes himself by playing matters down quite a lot here, in other words he avoids being grandiose unless he has to give the piece a more expansive scenic treatment and he avoids being giddy or throwaway. Instead there is a contentment and at easeness to 'By Strauss' and a perkiness to 'Swonderful'. Adjectives for each track are available - you can probably provide your own just as meaningfully when you hear what's lined up.

Opening it seems obviously but not at all yawningly with 'Summertime,' our favourite rendition here is 'I Was Doing All Right'. Most pieces are kept relatively brief except the more epic length of 'My Man's Gone Now'. Zeitlin, a psychiatrist as well as a fine player whose discography is substantial and well worth dipping into (if new even after all this time) to him, recorded Crazy Rhythm: Exploring George Gershwin on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland at the Piedmont Piano Company five years ago, a piano retailer that also hosts concerts. Next month among the mouth watering line-up are Michael Wolff, Dena De Rose and Tierney Sutton with come the autumn Helen Sung and Alan Broadbent planned to give you an idea of the curatorial approach. A treat for the Gershwin lover in your life, just about everyone into jazz has some kind of relationship and stored memory however third party with this great American composer. We think back to Gershwin's World Herbie Hancock's superb Robert Sadin produced celebration from the late-1990s and select it as a follow- up listen to extend the happiness this album provides. Overall pick is the airiness found on 'Bess You Is My Woman Now' but it's the all the time in the world touch that frames the narrative so convincingly way beyond the literal matter of factness of interpretation or the distance of the years that notions of nostalgia may or may not elide.

Tags: Reviews

Nick Costley-White Trio, Nice Work! ***1/2

Marlbank has luckily heard Nick Costley-White oh some 3 times already over the past 12 months, always pleasurably and with increasing interest as we get used to his style. Once over at the Oxford (now the ludicrously renamed Parakeet) in London's …

Published: 10 Jul 2023. Updated: 11 months.

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Marlbank has luckily heard Nick Costley-White oh some 3 times already over the past 12 months, always pleasurably and with increasing interest as we get used to his style. Once over at the Oxford (now the ludicrously renamed Parakeet) in London's Kentish Town. And a couple of times this year up west over at the very jazz friendly Louche on Greek Street in sessions also led by estimable Mobley chap tenorist Alex Harper. But the first time found the double bassist here Empirical bass legend Tom Farmer on the gig and that was the best of the shows. Usually when Farmer is on any gig you have to make hay while the sun shines and get down to hear him do some considerable harvesting of whatever standards the leader calls to store up for future digestion.

And so it proves. Nice Work! is sunny side up, on an unassuming and no worse for that calling card of an album that begins quietly and generates its own neatly unfolding sense of motion. Beautiful Wayne Shorter Adam's Apple tune 'Teru' is the pick in all tenderness and where the interplay between the guitarist leader and Farmer is most pronounced. While not overtly or much at all an obvious Wes Montgomery ''stan'' as Nigel Price, just like the Epsom icon Costley-White has fantastic facility, can swing the phonebook and goes more deeply into the harmonic inner stitching of tunes than most. And certainly he can totally unpick salient motifs to swoop in on and run with when he extemporises on favoured themes. Cleanly recorded by Ben Lamdin at London's Fish Factory studio with an Alex Bonney mix and master (always a plus factor) it is Josh Morrison known for his work with Stacey Kent who is patient and stately and knowing at the kit. No boat needs to be rocked on this hush hush set volume-wise so why bother? But the knack here is the subtle movement and connoisseur twists that Farmer and Costley-White fashion so adroitly.

  • Just released - on download and streaming formats. Nick Costley-White, above, publicity shot, bassist Dave Whitford and the Nice Work drummer Josh Morrison play the Norwich Jazz Club at the Maddermarket Theatre Bar tomorrow night