Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

In the British and Irish jazz clubs this week

NoSax NoClar: Bastien Weeger, Julien Stella Watermill, Dorking Tuesday 28 May. Joe Webb trio Ronnie Scott's, London Tues 28 May. The Earl Hines loving pianist Joe Webb with double bassist Will Sach - on social media recently spotted playing …

Published: 27 May 2024. Updated: 52 days.

The Earl Hines loving pianist Joe Webb with double bassist Will Sach - on social media recently spotted playing the American ambassador's residence with Wynton Marsalis - and drummer Sam Jesson.

Stellar band joining drummer leader Andrew Bain are erstwhile Impossible Gentleman Salford guitar icon Mike Walker, Welsh piano great Huw Warren and tone don bassist Mark Hodgson best known for his work with Julian Joseph. Last year Bain succeeded bassist Paula Gardiner as the head of jazz at the Cardiff institution the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, the leading music college in Wales. The Edinburgh born Bain who himself studied at the Guildhall in London and later the Manhattan School of Music in New York had previously served as deputy head of jazz at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

An unusual line-up trombonist Rory Ingham with Hammond organist Matt Carter and drummer Luke Tomlinson

The reliably groovy Delvon Lamarr with guitarist Jimmy James and drummer Julian MacDonough.

New York based Canadian pianist Sean Fyfe in Chelsea with UK tenor sax legend Dave O'Higgins and the NYC scene alto ace Jon Gordon


We reckon that Belgium based South African Tutu Puoane's Wrapped in Rhythm: Volume One is the year's best release to date produced like the upcoming Jo Harrop album The Path of A Tear by the great Larry Klein. No better place than Ronnie's to hear Tutu live for the first time. The singer is with her husband pianist Ewout Pierreux, bassist Brice Soniano and drummer James Williams.

Soulful guitarist Edison Herbert with a top band: pianist Sean Hargreaves - a doyen of the Woodman jazz pub scene in Highgate; bassist ''Level'' Neville Malcom, last heard by marlbank upstairs in Ronnie's back in 2018 with fine singer Deelee Dubé; and completing the band, UK drum royalty all present and correct in the dynamic presence of Winston Clifford.

No One Got Saved, a track from which is streaming at the moment, is marlbank's album of the week

Scottish jazz piano legend Brian Kellock's tribute to the swinging Marty Grosz - Kellock with guitarist Ross Milligan and bassist Roy Percy.

  • Myra Melford's Splash trio feat. Neil Charles and Ches Smith Vortex, London Fri 31 May.

Nicole? Papa! Remember that vintage Renault Clio ad that ran in various guises for many years? UK guitar great globetrotting Englishman Martin Taylor, a long time resident in Scotland, is always worth hearing live and of course played the insanely catchy theme known as 'Johnny and Mary' written by rocker Robert Palmer. Guitar players, pick your jaws up off the floor. He's on very good form recently too on Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II classic 'The Folks Who Live on the Hill' with the Peggy Lee loving singer, Alison Burns - drawn from 5 June release, Nature Boy.

Take art dear hearts for a rare sighting of US guitarist Randy Johnson best known for his work with Lou Donaldson, Houston Person and the late Joey DeFrancesco with whom he chopped up the beat to the manner born on the seriously roogalating version of monster Lalo Schifrin tune 'The Cat' on late 1990s classic Jimmy Smith homage The Champ. Johnston is with Hammond organist Jeremy Platt and drummer Dave Lee,

Features Jeff Beck Blow by Blow drum icon Richard Bailey

Manfred Mann legend Paul Jones with the UK's top jazz guitarist, John Etheridge

  • Kim Cypher, the Simon Spillett Big Band, Marvin Muoneké, Alex Merritt, Guido Spannocchi, Alex Goodyear Trio, Roger Beaujolais Band, Jonathan Mayer, Fleur Stevenson, Mid-West Swing Band and Marco Marconi Highworth Jazz Festival, HIghworth, Wilts Sat 1 June all-dayer

Band members are pianist Coen Molenaar, double bassist David de Marez Oyens and drummer Enrique Firpi.

  • Orchestre National de Jazz feat. Steve Lehman Vortex, London Sat 1 June.

Playing avant alto saxophone icon Steve Lehman's Ex Machina - it's the rare chance to hear crack French big band the ONJ up close and personal in a tiny east London jazz club.

Bag of Bones - pictured - play Birmingham on Friday night


In the Eurojazz clubs this week

Goran Kajfeš Tropiques Fasching, Stockholm Saturday 25 May Emile and the Movers L'archiduc, Brussels Sunday 26 May 5pm free Cyrille Aimée Bimhuis, Amsterdam Sun 26 May The US based French singer of Dominican descent Cyrille Aimée's most …

Published: 27 May 2024. Updated: 51 days.

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The US based French singer of Dominican descent Cyrille Aimée's most personal album to date is recent release À Fleur de Peau given that the songs are largely originals. The ratio of killer to filler lands just about in the favour of the former. Larry Goldings collaborator Jake Sherman worked closely with the singer on the production side. ''À Fleur de Peau'' - an idiomatic French expression that can mean something like being very sensitive, on edge - created between 2018 and last year was recorded chez Sherman. Aimée's emphasis is on positivity particularly on the smiles everywhere New Orleans paean found on 'Beautiful Way'. The piercing 'Here' is harder to like although probably even easier to admire. But who couldn't love the pacey cover of the Isley Brothers' The Heat Is On (1975) song ‘For the Love of You’ covered down the years by Whitney Houston, Joss Stone and George Michael. 'Again Again' we wrote about back at the end of last year when À Fleur de Peau was first teased. Listening to it again today that song's appeal remains vivid. SG

The Czech band take their name from a Lee Ritenour piece that lent its name to the smooth jazz guru's classic 1977 album for Epic of the same name.

What a trio for a Monday night in Berlin, mercy - brother of popular UK scene drummer Gene Calderazzo (Partisans, Julian Siegel Quartet) famed Branford Marsalis and former Michael Brecker piano icon Joey with the great bassist John Patitucci (Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter Quartet) and fusion monster & jazz rock heavyweight supremo Dave Weckl allegedly a little less brutal at the kit these days - in the idiom only Dennis Chambers and Vinnie ''the Vinman'' Colaiuta come anyway close to what Weckl can so formidably and, let's face it so often simply miraculously, do. The Buddy Rich of our times? Ponder, amigo, on this rewardingly when next down the Dog and Duck if a few jazzers who know their onions on this descend.

Influenced by the great Kenny Garrett - read a recent interview with the great Detroiter doing tasty mightily ramped up drum 'n' bass these days with New Jersey homie the mysterious Russian from Vladivostok, Svoy - in relatively few years it is no exaggeration to say that alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins has become one of the most in-demand internationally and on record alto saxophonist of his generation. His wonderful album Omega was marlbank's US jazz album of the year and best jazz album of the year from anywhere led by a saxophonist in 2020: Omega highlights omg included the bass grounded track 'The Dreamer' where there is a real subtlety in the group interplay. Wilkins has a delicately sinuous, expressive tone, a little reminiscent of Greg Osby's, and the record overall owes something in common with the approach of trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. Wilkins is in Warsaw with pianist Micah Thomas, bassist Rick Rosato and drummer Kweku Sumbry.


The more contemporary side of the French saxophonist Emile Parisien is on latest album Let Them Cook.


His quartet together for some two decades is Parisien on soprano and effects with pianist Julien Touéry, double bassist Ivan Gélugne and drummer Julien Loutelier who also contributes some triggered electronics. There is great humanity in Parisien's sound particularly in his soloing on 'Nano Fromage,' a morse code like insistent repeated riff from Gélugne enhancing a labyrinth in all tendresse.

Kept fairly concise (in jazz terms), the longest tune clocks in at just under 6-and-a-half minutes. There's plenty of blowing and that's good given that 41-year-old Parisien is a formidable soloist. Mysterious electronics on 'Ve 1999' are OK but perhaps a bit old hat to some. That is a problem with using electronics as the technology changes so quickly and it is easy to sound dated even when this isn't. Fine drummer Loutelier on 'Pistache Cowboy' (amusing title) reminds us of the touch of Marc Michel a bit. The two-part 'Wine Time' suite begins with walking bass from Gélugne and some very tasty responses from Parisien who harmonises well with Touéry.

Métanuits is an EP favourite of ours from the saxist's work on the Siggi Loch founded label issuing this latest recording, ACT. But the French jazzer's best work that we know of was live album Sfumato, a 2018 release - recorded in Marciac a three-hour drive from Cahors in the Lot département where Parisien hails from. Playing Sidney Bechet’s ‘Temptation Rag’ on that record was a for the ages moment and makes us join the dots with the way Bechet has inspired generations of top musicians in France and even as far west as over the sea to Ireland.

As the poet put it. From 'See Me Through, Part II (Just a Closer Walk with Thee)' - Hymns to the Silence (Van Morrison 1991, 1 min 48 sec mark):

Sidney Bechet, Sunday afternoons in winter

And the tuning in of stations in Europe on the wireless

Before, yes before this was the way it was

Bechet is the father of the soprano saxophone. And so it it is more than applicable to think of his sound when someone as good as Parisien plays. The way Bechet inspired not just tradsters like Chris Barber and Van Morrison even when the context is wildly different - in Van's case above, highly gospelised and poetic. But also such iconoclasm jumped the snark to span across the arts to some of the great poets - Philip Larkin springs to mind particularly.

That note you hold, narrowing and rising, shakes

Like New Orleans reflected on the water,

And in all ears appropriate falsehood wakes

From 'For Sidney Bechet' - The Whitsun Weddings (Faber, 1964)
In Parisien's case on that fantastic version of 'Temptation Rag' (hear the French crowd go completely potty spontaneously in the live recording) with Wynton - New Orleans, Bechet and Wynton's home town, and early jazz is a blink away.

Inside Colours Live (Jazzwerkstatt) released earlier this year is spread over two CDs. Avant flavoured duo and trio settings, the work firstly of Germany based English pianist Julie Sassoon of the early 21st century trio Azilut with her partner German reedist Lothar Ohlmeier and secondly the pairing joined by their now 19-year-old daughter, drummer Mia Ohlmeier. Part of the release is a Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Radio) recording issued by Berlin label Jazzwerkstatt. The main talking point is that the second CD recorded in the Chamber Music Hall of the Berlin Philharmonie includes the presence of Mia who clearly is already a sensational jazz musician improviser - hear her best on the trio version of 'Land of Shadows'. The drummer's playing seems to us to be as intuitive as freedom inclined players such as the great drummer-percussionist Paul Clarvis, heard most recently on Rob Cope's Gemini. 'Land of Shadows' is a Sassoon piece that has become one of the most notable compositions in the Manchester born pianist's repertoire. Also the title of a 2013 issued recording that John Fordham in The Guardian reviewing the record at the time said was ''a journey back through the 1930s German-Jewish history her family had barely been able to discuss… Julie Sassoon consistently makes the piano, her voice and her deepest emotions sound awesomely and naturally inseparable''. Sassoon compositions such as 'Shifting' that have also appeared on 2021's weighty and very satisfying differently configured quartet recording Voyages are reprised. To the Power of Three's 'Coming Home' and the meisterwerk 'Land of Shadows' referred to three paragraphs earlier appear in both duo and trio versions - the trio one certainly capturing a remarkably fresh, vibrantly expressed and well worth full immersion in set of moments in time.


Heidi Vogel sings in Budapest on Friday night

Heidi Vogel sings in Budapest on Friday night