George Coleman, Live At Smalls Jazz Club, Cellar Live ***

With Greenwich Village jazz club Smalls owner Spike Wilner on piano, George Coleman - now in his late eighties recording here last year on this live album originating from inside Smalls itself - the Memphis born legendary Miles Davis tenor …

Published: 14 May 2023. Updated: 9 months.

With Greenwich Village jazz club Smalls owner Spike Wilner on piano, George Coleman - now in his late eighties recording here last year on this live album originating from inside Smalls itself - the Memphis born legendary Miles Davis tenor saxophonist, who is on among other Miles albums such classics as Seven Steps to Heaven, My Funny Valentine and Four & More, references Miles from the get-go on Live at Smalls Jazz Club as the album opens with Miles' 'Four' and also includes the Rodgers and Hart classic 'My Funny Valentine' that Miles made his own. If you love Miles this is a trip down memory lane given how Coleman's sound - even given the ravages of time - sends you there. He has influenced many saxophonists down the years including English icon Iain Ballamy and you can hear the debt Iain for one owes to Coleman when he played ballads on 2020's What's New. Very respectfully supported by the great bassist Peter Washington and drummer Joe Farnsworth, Coleman completists will have to have this warts and all. We liked 'Blues for Smalls' most and the deep sentimentality that the Maiden Voyage saxophonist translates pertinently on Hoagy Carmichael's 'The Nearness of You' that wrings emotion out of every pore. George Coleman, photo: cover art detail

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Michael Valeanu, Move Your Feet ***

Two years on from I'll Be Seeing You Michael Valeanu in an organ, guitar, drums combination is easy going and disarmingly casual. Recorded in a Paris studio - very much a lounge type OGD sound it's Fred Nardin on Hammond Organ particularly …

Published: 13 May 2023. Updated: 9 months.

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Two years on from I'll Be Seeing You Michael Valeanu in an organ, guitar, drums combination is easy going and disarmingly casual. Recorded in a Paris studio - very much a lounge type OGD sound it's Fred Nardin on Hammond Organ particularly effective on 'King Cobra' and certainly reedy on Move Your Feet. As for the Paris born guitarist Valeanu he is certainly a player with Nigel Price level chops who like the Englishman worships at the altar of Wes Montgomery and can salt away numerous appealing licks to keep for further enjoyment and the rerunning in the memory banks of Epsom one der Nige-the-jazzer's finest derring-do.

The drummer is Andreas Svendsen who is OK but nothing special. To dip in here most satisfactorily go to the trio's moderately zany and appealing take on the 1920s show tune 'Limehouse Blues,' a Philip Braham song covered by loads of heads and singers down the years notably as an instrumental by Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra in 1931 and while not at all in the same idiom as Duke or indeed in another to die for treatment Django, the latter's treatment is a reminder of that remarkable primus inter pares exemplar among icons of all that's great about jazz then or indeed now. But, to paraphrase the owner of ''the pet shoppe'' in the Dead Parrot Sketch: ''Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back of the shop, and uh, we're right out of Djangos.'' Hearing Nardin recalled his Live in Paris, a much better record than the much less gripping Move Your Feet when piano not organ was at the heart of the matter and more than that factor was elevated by the presence of drummer Leon Parker who made all the difference. And yet Valeanu is worth knowing about and the added value is his indomitable spirit. Michael Valeanu, photo: publicity shot