Elias Stemeseder, 'Anthropcene,' Intakt ****

Track of the day is by Elias Stemeseder (b.1990, Salzburg) an Austrian pianist known for his long-time work with Jim Black and collaborations with John Zorn. The avant-garde 'Anthropcene' is drawn from Piano Solo released earlier in the spring. If …

Published: 10 Jun 2022. Updated: 25 days.

Track of the day is by Elias Stemeseder (b.1990, Salzburg) an Austrian pianist known for his long-time work with Jim Black and collaborations with John Zorn. The avant-garde 'Anthropcene' is drawn from Piano Solo released earlier in the spring. If you liked Alexander Hawkins' Song Singular you may well appreciate the weightiness of Stemeseder going solely on this track. Since 2008 Elias has been working extensively with the much adored American free-jazz drummer Jim Black. We liked 2016's The Constant that he's on with Black and Thomas Morgan. This is even more up our street. An artist whose career is certainly worth following. Elias Stemeseder image: Saudades site

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Claire Martin, Gwyneth Herbert, Ian Shaw, Liane Carroll, Luca Manning, Sara Colman - Heart of Mine: Songs of Ross Lorraine ****

Two songs are streaming ahead of the Heart of Mine release drawn from this Claire Martin-produced collection, one a 1970s-like number 'Pull You Back' featuring Sara Colman and the other deliriously upbeat album closer 'They're Playing Our Song' …

Published: 9 Jun 2022. Updated: 25 days.

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Two songs are streaming ahead of the Heart of Mine release drawn from this Claire Martin-produced collection, one a 1970s-like number 'Pull You Back' featuring Sara Colman and the other deliriously upbeat album closer 'They're Playing Our Song' sung by Gwyneth Herbert.

A micro-galaxy of UK jazz singer royalty is involved on this feelgood album where words matter as they should but rarely do and who luxuriate to interpret the songs of theatre composer and jazz pianist Ross Lorraine, known for his work with jazz flautist Sarah Chaplin. Claire, Liane Carroll, Ian Shaw and Scottish star Luca Manning also feature backed by the highly intuitive rhythm section of pianist Rob Barron, guitarist Mike Walker, bass guitar don Laurence Cottle and drummer Elliott Henshaw. Backing vocals where applicable are by Martin, Herbert and Colman as per 'Play On'.

There is a strong jazz sensibility on the swinging Claire feature 'The Name of the Game' and that certain vibration sits alongside a period 70s mood held up in a parallel running and provided by Colman. Tearjerking is kept strictly to a minimum. Everyone will have their own highlights. There is certainly a feast available to choose from. Mine are the songs 'Play On' and 'They're Playing Our Song' featuring Gwyneth and those involving Luca (the philosophical surrogate requiem 'We Will Sing Again') especially.

The Lorraine lyrics throughout have a directness and strip away all tautology. 'Body Language' has an ambivalent edge that mischievously satirises smouldering jazz singer cliché and reclaims it in the protagonist's own terms bluesed up and fabulously scatted over by Claire with deftly deadpan response levered in by Mike Walker as a foil. For the ultimate bravura statement and tenderness trap Liane provides that frisson on the staggeringly beautiful anthemic title track 'Heart of Mine'. As for Barron he is very empathetic and best heard accompanying Liane on 'The Waiting Game.' SG

Out on 24 June

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