Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Espial, The Act of Noticing, Discus Music ***1/2

Playing South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell on Friday, The Act of Noticing new from Espial is out on 24 May It has been a good year for Martin Pyne fans almost up there with the annus mirabilis of 2020 that brought us - a gleam in the otherwise …

Published: 2 May 2024. Updated: 2 months.

espial-collage

Playing South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell on Friday, The Act of Noticing new from Espial is out on 24 May

It has been a good year for Martin Pyne fans almost up there with the annus mirabilis of 2020 that brought us - a gleam in the otherwise unrelenting gloom of Lockdowns that dread year - Spirits of Absent Dancers. First then in 2024 was from his Small Blue project in February and The Stealthy Moon - a piano trio recording that found the improvising drummer/percussionist/vibist/balafon player and composer with pianist David Beebee and double bassist Marianne Windham. There is a link between that fine release and the upcoming latest in that Beebee is here with Pyne again on what the latter describes as ''almost entirely improvised.''

A very different kind of sound to all of the above, as, completing the line-up, saxophonist Josephine Davies - last reviewed in these pages as part of The Harper Trio's very credible Passing By released just late last year - adds a mystical sense of her own. If you wish to summarise the album in two words consummate flow should suffice.

Rather than the dreamy Bill Evans-type atmosphere of Small Blue, The Act Of Noticing is an extension of Pyne and Beebee's ideas developed on Ripples which came out in 2022.

Pyne says that only ''… fresh snowfall at dawn'' uses pre-composed material as a basis for improvisation. You certainly couldn't know this if not told beforehand. ''Everything else is entirely spontaneous.'' That is uncanny. There is a firm naturalistic sense at play, whether grasped in the tidal clang of 'The Ever Changing Nature of River Water' or earlier the evocations of cicadas you'd swear were additional instruments amid the rustle of 'The Moment Summer Turns to Autumn.'

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Track of the week Zoetic by Black Diamond

If you are into the 1950s sound of Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh - albeit a lot less frenetically - or even the cool, crisp chill, an ocean, a lifetime away of Maridalen then you will quite possibly emerging from your winter hibernation however …

Published: 2 May 2024. Updated: 2 months.

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If you are into the 1950s sound of Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh - albeit a lot less frenetically - or even the cool, crisp chill, an ocean, a lifetime away of Maridalen then you will quite possibly emerging from your winter hibernation however woefully behind schedule be in your element.

With a timeless, resolutely elegant gravitas to their modus operandi, drawn from Furniture of the Mind Rearranging (WeJazz) Black Diamond are from Chicago where this was recorded at a studio called Palisade, the act name an amalgam of saxophonists Artie Black and Hunter Diamond who are the co-leaders of the band.

'Zoetic' is a Diamond piece ''the two-tenor intro uses a cyclical round to integrate the rest of the band, and then unfolds into a plaintive but bolstered melody'' according to the description on Bandcamp.

Joining the pair on this track are double bassist Matt Ulery - known for his work with Kurt Rosenwinkel and Grażyna Auguścik - we liked his album Mannerist last year a good deal - and drummer Neil Hemphill. Black Diamond debuted in 2017 with Mandala (Shifting Paradigm) followed by Chant on the same label issued in 2019 and A Held Space issued on Woolgathering Records in 2020. Artie Black, top left, and Hunter Diamond. Photo: press