Going fourth and forth - Faithful One is a first and the big Friday release coming up

This week what sets the tone and theme for your best filter and radar on the UK scene for once is fairly easy given the event aspect of what's occurring when Friday comes. A crystal ball isn't needed given empirical dues paying on the stand …

Published: 20 Mar 2023. Updated: 14 months.

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This week what sets the tone and theme for your best filter and radar on the UK scene for once is fairly easy given the event aspect of what's occurring when Friday comes. A crystal ball isn't needed given empirical dues paying on the stand flukily caught by us a few times and a studio album heard in the marlbank bothy the other week that ups the ante not just because of the presence of Denys Baptiste the tenorist who was the last artist to have released an album on the legendary Dune label and who as a young player shone with South African titan of jazz piano, the great Bheki Mseleku.

So to Faithful One (Whirlwind, 4 stars) by Sultan Stevenson. It all comes down to individuality and making sense of a style that the young pianist and composer has immersed himself in. With a piano trio at its core the album is enhanced by trumpet and saxophone playing guests in the case of the sax Identity By Subtraction ace Baptiste who also did a very good Martin Luther King themed album Let Freedom Ring in a career studded with achievement latterly delving into Sun Ship et al on The Last Trane and sounding lit up inside with Sultan.

Reach out

The sound quality - the sonics of the album - are quite distinctive so the piano sound is gritty and even quite metallic in places. And that gives us, dear marlbank reader, out there wherever in the up-for-it anorakerie taking care in the community Tranespoterie a solid line to hook on to. Yes, the main influence and it is easy to discern is McCoy Tyner, but Stevenson does something to move what he knows into something that he owns and frames it in his own cosmos, dominated by the church and by his rapport with his trio out there gigging in London jazz clubs and beyond. McCoy's sound was at the heart of what John Coltrane did with his classic quartet.

Faithful One isn't a bravura ''look at me'' affair - it has a certain humility to it. But Stevenson as his own best editor knows how to get his message across live or here and hits bull's eye with this maiden voyage.

More Sultan Stevenson reading:

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Go forth and multiply…

… gigs coming up:

nb the Sultan trio has tone phenom bassist Jacob Gryn and Enfield teacher drummer Joel Waters + guests where stated

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Presence of Denys

Baptiste joins for the Soho date in June.

Photo: Edition

Sultan Stevenson, photo: detail from the Faithful One cover art, top, and via Dynamic, above

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Pharoah Sanders Quartet, Live at Fabrik Hamburg 1980, Jazzline ****

Starting point be at one with Journey to the One period Pharoah live. Not out before this double vinyl, CD and digital formats recording for German broadcaster NDR of the Pharoah Sanders Quartet at Hamburg venue Fabrik, a converted 19th century …

Published: 20 Mar 2023. Updated: 14 months.

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Starting point be at one with Journey to the One period Pharoah live.

Not out before this double vinyl, CD and digital formats recording for German broadcaster NDR of the Pharoah Sanders Quartet at Hamburg venue Fabrik, a converted 19th century industrial site originally built as a workshop for a company called Hespe & Lembach which manufactured wood processing machines. With the history making saxophonist from Little Rock, Arkansas Sanders, who died last year, are the great gospel influenced modern mainstream pianist John Hicks (1941-2006) - if you know the sound of Cyrus Chestnut, Hicks is an influence; and on double bass, the only surviving member of this band from 43 years ago, Carmen Lundy's brother Curtis (winningly on Fade to Black last year) - and the great New Orleansian drummer Idris Muhammad (1939-2014). Tunes are 'You Gotta Have Freedom,' 'It’s Easy to Remember,' a 20 minute long 'Doktor Pitt,' a tender and quite brief rendition of the Sanders classic 'The Creator Has a Master Plan' and Journey to the One (Theresa) 1980 beauty 'Greetings to Idris' that Hicks and Sanders were on laying the thing down with Sanders in a San Francisco studio just the year before. The material here revolves around tunes from that period as 'Doktor Pitt,' 'You Gotta Have Freedom' and 'Easy to Remember' were also on the storming Journey to the One. Sanders' music is at the heart of what we all loosely call spiritual jazz taken on in recent years by James Brandon Lewis, Shabaka Hutchings, Nubya Garcia and many more. This is where the next chapter of unheard material and reissues begins however slowly at first in earnest. Digital version sound quality proves absolutely fine as you would have expected from the ever meticulous German jazzheads at the station. One to get on vinyl for the extra sense of liveness if feeling flush. Out on Friday

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