The latest update featuring recommendations and previews relating to selected live jazz club venues across the EU:
Kurt Elling, tonight, Porgy & Bess, Vienna
Recently the great Chicago jazz singer Kurt Elling's to-die-for version of the Doc Pomus classic 'Lonely Avenue' which was first recorded and released by Ray Charles in 1956 was the easy pick of the soaraway new 5-track EP SuperBlue - The London Sessions. Backing vocals on this ''Live at the Pool'' set were by Vula Malinga and La Donna Young with Charlie Hunter taking a strutting but never over-the-top guitar solo that ambles along mightily and there's drummer Corey Fonville who provides a laidback groove as DJ Harrison divvies up an airplane-doing-the-taxiing like keyboards as the ensemble start to rev the mother up oh so effortlessly and roar to put their own stamp on this evergreen break-up beauty and run that particular voodoo of a heartbreak down. Elling appears with Charlie Hunter for the Vienna show.
James Brandon Lewis quartet, tonight, Unterfahrt, Munich
Code of Being was one of 2021's very best albums and had a momentousness to it that you only get with the masters and Lewis is certainly easily considered as one. Capable of delivering a penetrating vision as well as supreme command of the instrument yes it is Coltranian in a certain sense but the saxist finds new wrinkles and solutions while charting out his own path. Quintet record Jesup Wagon was also a big achievement last year certainly from a compositional point of view. From a sheer performance perspective Code of Being shades it at the finishing line and is even more direct and moving. Lewis in Munich is billed to appear with pianist Aruán Ortiz bassist Brad Jones and drummer Chad Taylor Lewis and comes in from the wilderness of the hardcore avant-garde environment where there are as many successess as failures given the nature of unfettered free improv. But there are still no easy compromises. It is as if Lewis on this recording has distilled what he wants to say over many years and is now just doing the saying. His gritty grandeur is the winner that takes it all.
James Brandon Lewis, top. Photo: publicity shot