Harold Mabern, Mabern Plays Coltrane, Smoke Sessions ***

US pianist Harold Mabern died a few years ago and this album paying homage to John Coltrane is a live one recorded at New York jazz club Smoke in 2018 just the year before Mabern's death at the age of 83. The Memphisian had a devoted following …

Published: 6 Dec 2021. Updated: 7 months.

US pianist Harold Mabern died a few years ago and this album paying homage to John Coltrane is a live one recorded at New York jazz club Smoke in 2018 just the year before Mabern's death at the age of 83. The Memphisian had a devoted following among fans but never became even halfway as popular as say McCoy Tyner who you think of a lot when you listen to a Coltrane-related record. Mabern, whose career included an appearance on the classic Lee Morgan Live at the Lighthouse album from 1970 reissued in complete form recently, sounds nothing like McCoy. There isn't the same tower of power in his sound, sometimes even on 'Naima' his approach here can be a bit plodding. And yet there is plenty of forceful playing albeit delivered often in more oblique ways. But Mabern does not hold back at all on 'My Favorite Things'. Everything is familiar on this record in terms of tune selection and the band plays it reverentially, maybe a little bit too much so if being completely candid. Vincent Herring is on alto saxophone, Eric Alexander on tenor sax, Steve Davis on trombone, John Webber on bass and Joe Farnsworth drums, a solid team who are literal rather than metaphorical interpreters of this great body of music.

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Selected gigs for this week Tonight Simon Woolf quintet, the Oxford Tavern, London Tuesday Mica Paris, Jazz Cafe, London Wednesday Puppini Sisters, Spiegeltent, Harbourside, Bristol Thursday Soweto Kinch, Fargo, Coventry Friday BadBadNotGood, Albert …

Published: 6 Dec 2021. Updated: 7 months.

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