Ferenc Nemeth, Unstandard, Sounderscore ***

There's something epic about the rapport Nemeth and Biolcati have. The drummer and bassist in Gilfema are here instead of iconic guitarist Lionel Loueke completing the sound with firstly saxophonist Dayna Stephens, a pal of Lionel's from his Monk …

Published: 31 Aug 2022. Updated: 26 days.

There's something epic about the rapport Nemeth and Biolcati have. The drummer and bassist in Gilfema are here instead of iconic guitarist Lionel Loueke completing the sound with firstly saxophonist Dayna Stephens, a pal of Lionel's from his Monk Institute days, and long since a titan of tenor saxophone on the contemporary jazz scene himself. Stephens alternates with Marcus Strickland the Gregory Porter tenorist who is perhaps a less poetic but no less gutsier player than Stephens but still can add a lot of stirring vibrancy to his lines and certainly does here. Ferenc Nemeth has a tactile sound, meaning you hear the nuts and bolts of skin, snare and tom. These sound, of course they are, physical and so you discern the extra craft of player and the kit as if part of the same organism and neatly caught in the clean recording crispness. While not a power drummer at all (and similarly Massimo Biolcati is not a showy chops bassist either while of course he is always a master of time and metre) he shepherds us from a-to-b using a certain melodicism at the kit because he knows the tunes so well and expresses their tonality in his own way. UnStandard has a great version of Wayne Shorter classic 'Footprints' certainly one of the highlights here. All in all an album to put a smile on the face and a step in your walk as well as a call to arms to woodshed your playing a bit more equipped with some new ways-in to some quite familiar material delivered in an imaginative fashion. A sentimental choice to flag up is the lilting version of 'Dear Old Stockholm' where Stephens isn't afraid to play softly and yet manages to take the expression in the sound out to new places that you've probably never been to before. The 3-part drum suite at the centre of the album is not just for drummers but any student of the instrument will find plenty to savour there in something of a bravura display of pulse and feel. The use of a voice synthesizer utilising Nemeth's voice within the African polyphonic spree on 'N.O.' that has Strickland burning the place down is a very welcome surprise factor in the generous mix of material on an album that punches above its weight at every turn. Out on 30 September

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Sandro Roy feat. Biréli Lagrène, You Are the Sunshine of my Life, Skip ****

Swing violin and guitar in a positive vein here on the Stevie Wonder classic 'You Are the Sunshine of My Life' a number 1 hit single for Tamla in 1973 - zone in within the Stevie sound on the congas of Richie Havens player Daniel Ben Zebulon who …

Published: 31 Aug 2022. Updated: 27 days.

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Swing violin and guitar in a positive vein here on the Stevie Wonder classic 'You Are the Sunshine of My Life' a number 1 hit single for Tamla in 1973 - zone in within the Stevie sound on the congas of Richie Havens player Daniel Ben Zebulon who was on Havens' Something Else Again. On this sparkling new instrumental cover violinist Sandro Roy and the swing guitar great Biréli Lagrène whose initial solo is a haven of intricate delicacy and interest distil the spirit of the instantly recognisable melody and find inventive things to do with it. Later in a more extensive even more engrossing solo he seems around the three minute mark to quote a little of 'Pop! Goes the Weasel.'

Using an improvisational style when lots of chord changes do not matter half as much as in bebop nonetheless the spirit of adventure is the same. And there is great looseness found in the flair of the duo. Lagrène shows his modulating chops a great deal during his solo which again is part of the appeal. Roy has a very pristine sound and can shift up the tempo gears effortlessly.

Roy is the son of a family of musicians from Augsburg in Bavaria who has long been influenced by European gypsy swing and American jazz. '…Sunshine…' is from Discovery out on Friday. Discovery also includes versions of 'The Nearness of You' and romantic classic 'Can't Take My Eyes of You' plus five Roy originals and also unveils the violinist's Unity band on a recording for the first time (Boris Netsvetaev on piano, Sven Jungbeck on guitar, and Stefan Berger on double bass). British jazz swing guitar legend Martin Taylor guests on 'True.'