Francisco Mela fires us up with call-to-listen appeal of 'Calipso'

Run that lockdown voodoo down with this gem, the lead-off track from Francisco Mela's MPT Trio Volume 1. I'll definitely forgive the dusty ''vol. 1'' bit because there's nothing at all dusty about this record. To be frank I'm not that familiar …

Published: 7 Jan 2021. Updated: 9 days.

Run that lockdown voodoo down with this gem, the lead-off track from Francisco Mela's MPT Trio Volume 1. I'll definitely forgive the dusty ''vol. 1'' bit because there's nothing at all dusty about this record.

To be frank I'm not that familiar with drummer leader Mela, although happily dredging the memory banks I managed to catch him live as one of two drummers in the Joe Lovano organisation of the day in Ronnie Scott's when Us5 made a spectacular Frith Street debut back in 2009, Esperanza Spalding also in the band at that time.

On Brooklyn label 577, whose recent records include in some astute A&R-ing fiery UK player Rachel Musson, Mela's record is a trio affair with tenorist Hery Paz and guitarist Juanma Trujillo joining him. The label description of Trujillo tune opener 'Calipso' streaming ahead of next week's release explains that the track ''features distinctive steel drums reminiscent of Caribbean calypsos.''

The track begins with Mela calling us to listen, and a raw street style readying us for who knows what. Then there's a gutsy tenor and guitar line, sort of in a watered down Albert Ayler style, a reluctant theme teased out that Mela fattens up rolling out a carpet of sounds behind. Paz takes us further with Trujillo riffing contrapuntally against him and when he eventually comes into his own paints it bluesy and jagged all over. What a trip.

Release date for MPT Trio Volume 1 is Friday 15 January

Tags: News

Jane Ira Bloom and Mark Helias, Some Kind of Tomorrow

Recorded remotely over wi-fi, the sound quality incidentally is fine although the bass could be a little louder, these soprano saxophone and double bass duets thrive on intimacy and open dialogue. One of the world's greatest soprano saxophonists …

Published: 7 Jan 2021. Updated: 10 days.

Next post

Recorded remotely over wi-fi, the sound quality incidentally is fine although the bass could be a little louder, these soprano saxophone and double bass duets thrive on intimacy and open dialogue. One of the world's greatest soprano saxophonists Bloom's beautiful tone and bluesy directness are arresting and refreshing. Helias known for his work with Dewey Redman, Anthony Braxton and Marilyn Crispell has worked extensively with Bloom over the years on such records as Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson and Early Americans.

Some jazz albums are prose others are poetry if you make the comparison with literary forms. And certainly Some Kind of Tomorrow is more poetry, each improvisation a stanza, part of a whole that makes sense. The steady building up of ideas and motifs, often fleeting and slippery, but always concise, contribute both mood and a certain striking momentousness.

Party music seems wrong at the moment and certainly this non-party music is more for meditation and retreat, I suppose a perfect Lockdown record in this time of withdrawal from an active life. Listening it is extraordinary how many different paths free improvisers can take: Bloom's is more narrative than some and here she does not really distort or scramble texture and timbre as some kindred spirits might, instead her saxophone stories are very exploratory and nomadic through intervallic leaps and the truant dissonances she finds that make sense illuminated by the free wheeling bustle and beat of the bass below. Helias shows great empathy, his sound carrying on the Charlie Haden innovations explored on early Ornette Coleman records with great spirit and passion. A lovely record. SG. Out today