2019 Highlight: Huw Warren and Mark Lockheart, New Day, CAM Jazz

There is something very intimate and thought provoking about this duo album from Welsh pianist Huw Warren and his former Perfect Houseplants colleague saxophonist Mark Lockheart. New Day — Live at Livio Felluga Winery on the Italian CAM Jazz label …

Published: 8 Nov 2019. Updated: 7 months.

There is something very intimate and thought provoking about this duo album from Welsh pianist Huw Warren and his former Perfect Houseplants colleague saxophonist Mark Lockheart. New Day — Live at Livio Felluga Winery on the Italian CAM Jazz label was recorded last year. Full of Warren originals plus compositions by John Taylor there is a pervasive stately presence throughout that gives what they produce a gravitas that you do not always find on a contemporary jazz record but notwithstanding this there is also a playful joy to Warren’s spirited runs which Lockheart, like his fellow saxophonist and contemporary Iain Ballamy, also manages to conjure in playful spirit delivered with great control and tone to die for. I will be surprised if this does not turn up on many end of year best-of lists. It’s that good.

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Vijay Iyer, Craig Taborn, The Transitory Poems, ECM **** Recommended

There is an elegiac mood in this remarkable two-piano album from Iyer and Taborn, certainly in the spread of memorialising pieces, the choice of Cecil Taylor’s words in the title, and the all-pervasive sombre mood. But instead of grim endeavour …

Published: 8 Nov 2019. Updated: 8 months.

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There is an elegiac mood in this remarkable two-piano album from Iyer and Taborn, certainly in the spread of memorialising pieces, the choice of Cecil Taylor’s words in the title, and the all-pervasive sombre mood. But instead of grim endeavour carried through in a spirit of worthiness there is an alert, spirited life force at play and a great understanding that the two demonstrate of each other’s method and ideas. Recorded live in Budapest the live setting gives this a taut electricity and strength, all the tunes are Iyer and Taborn’s with a treat at the end reserved for Geri Allen’s ‘When Kabuya Dances’. If you want to know what the state of the art of jazz piano is look no further than this fine achievement by two masters at work.