Gerald Clayton, Bells on Sand, Blue Note ****

Of the new big-release records at the moment led by pianists Bells on Sand works much better than new albums by Danilo Pérez or Brad Mehldau. Gerald Clayton's record is easier to digest and is less concerned with intricate process or elaborate …

Published: 22 Mar 2022. Updated: 3 months.

Of the new big-release records at the moment led by pianists Bells on Sand works much better than new albums by Danilo Pérez or Brad Mehldau. Gerald Clayton's record is easier to digest and is less concerned with intricate process or elaborate structure than either the prog-steeped Jacob's Ladder or chamber epic Crisálida. Best tracks on Bells on Sand which is quite introspective and elegiac in nature feature sax icon Charles Lloyd and when Clayton's father bassist John Clayton comes more to the fore. Drummer Justin Brown offers strong support and Clayton's piano runs throughout display a dazzling sense of melodicism but do not sell out in any way. I'm less keen on the vocals by MARO than the way Clayton shapes the standard 'My Ideal' into something that does not seem stuck in the past. The album is also of niche interest for Clayton's take on Catalan composer Federico Mompou and for not only its fine homage to Roy Hargrove but also Clayton's wonderful version of his late uncle Jeff Clayton’s 'There is Music Where You’re Going My Friends.' All in all a must for piano jazz fans, Bells on Sand is released on 1 April. SG

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OK:KO, 'Anima,' WeJazz ****

Knock-out improvising and direction here from this Finnish band led by drummer Okko Saastamoinen. OK-KO do the scrambling hurly burly of bebop well that sees detailed lines decant slickly into smart melodic flourishes to create a real sense of …

Published: 22 Mar 2022. Updated: 3 months.

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Knock-out improvising and direction here from this Finnish band led by drummer Okko Saastamoinen. OK-KO do the scrambling hurly burly of bebop well that sees detailed lines decant slickly into smart melodic flourishes to create a real sense of momentum on 'Anima'. Saxist Jarno Tikka carries melody persuasively and the whole things gels convincingly. The full album Liesu is out next month.

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