Ethan Iverson, Technically Acceptable, Blue Note ***1/2

Doesn't Ethan Iverson's Bad Plus period now seem so distant? The more solo records he makes for Blue Note the greater not just the time but the stylistic distance becomes. This new one Includes Iverson originals 'Victory is Assured (Alla Breve)' …

Published: 19 Jan 2024. Updated: 39 days.

Doesn't Ethan Iverson's Bad Plus period now seem so distant? The more solo records he makes for Blue Note the greater not just the time but the stylistic distance becomes. This new one Includes Iverson originals 'Victory is Assured (Alla Breve)' and 'It's Fine to Decline' plus a version of 'Round Midnight' with, uniquely, the melody played on the ever preposterous and slightly spooky sounding theremin. Also figuring are a fine version of 1970s Roberta Flack pop hit 'Killing Me Softly' and a specially composed Iverson piano sonata. Iverson is with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Kush Abadey (known for his work with Orlando Le Fleming) on the album in its first half with later tracks featuring bassist Simón Willson and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza. Playing the theremin is Rob Schwimmer - you gotta have a gimmick and Technically Acceptable certainly has plenty of spirit and surprises sewn into its elaborate fabric. Out today

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Karim Saber, Transmission, Ubuntu ****

The new album that we have been most anticipating since hearing an initial track back at the end of last year guitarist Karim Saber makes his debut with Transmission and what an impact the British/Iranian player who studied at the Royal Academy of …

Published: 19 Jan 2024. Updated: 39 days.

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The new album that we have been most anticipating since hearing an initial track back at the end of last year guitarist Karim Saber makes his debut with Transmission and what an impact the British/Iranian player who studied at the Royal Academy of Music and recorded his group's debut back in April makes. As we have noted already if you are into go-ahead guitarists like Wolfgang Muthspiel or Ant Law then Saber certainly will appeal. Here he is with pianist Alex Wilson, tenorist Matt Cook - if you like Mark Turner you will probably be into what he does on the album - bassist John Jones and drummer Jack Thomas. Tunes range from the bittersweet sax soaked ballad 'Blossom' where Cook takes on the initial melody to the fractured unpeeling of 'Mannheim' where all points of the band's sonic resource coalesce and the main track, the formidable statement that is the mournfully significant '3 Warwick Street,' its place on the album introduced by a short prelude track. Saber's guitar work is exact and playful and his harmonic grasp on 'Open' has a brightness in the voicings that is so appealing. Deserves a hatful of awards. But beyond all such backslappery and industry malarkey it's your ears it needs most of all. Out today