Jakob Dreyer, Songs, Hymns and Ballads: Volume 1, Fresh Sound ***

Jakob Dreyer? No us neither. But he has delivered one of the best debuts by a new leader this year and he surrounds himself with name players proving himself more than up with the stellar company that he keeps. Most jazz fans will recognise at …

Published: 21 Oct 2022. Updated: 44 days.

Jakob Dreyer? No us neither. But he has delivered one of the best debuts by a new leader this year and he surrounds himself with name players proving himself more than up with the stellar company that he keeps.

Most jazz fans will recognise at least the names of Jon Cowherd and Jason Rigby here on a classy straightahead session that doesn't go to church as much or even at all as its title might otherwise partially hint.

Rigby is on the new Mark Guiliana record The Sound of Listening for instance and best here on 'Kaspar.'

Pianist Cowherd has released one of 2022's very best records Pride and Joy which includes our top composition of the year, 'Little Scorpio' featuring Chris Potter.

Jimmy MacBride keeps exceptionally good time and like all the players here is a great listener and knows when to do more and crucially less while keeping things lively. His unshowiness on 'Legrand' is one delight.

As for bassist Dreyer this talented US-based German player sounds a bit like Larry Grenadier. Not easy to do. And there is taste in pursuing that sound. The tunes are very good.

A new name to get to know asap Dreyer's career to date has included work with pianist Alessandro Fadini (listen to an example of their work together above).

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Ron Carter, Finding the Right Notes, In + Out ****

Second Great Miles Davis Quintet titan Ron Carter, now 85, the most recorded jazz bassist in history, here on this soundtrack album to a new PBS documentary as you would probably and duly achieved expect keeping stellar company not only with the …

Published: 21 Oct 2022. Updated: 47 days.

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Second Great Miles Davis Quintet titan Ron Carter, now 85, the most recorded jazz bassist in history, here on this soundtrack album to a new PBS documentary as you would probably and duly achieved expect keeping stellar company not only with the WDR Big Band, Europe's top jazz big band by a long distance, but lots of big individual names too including Stanley Clarke playing with Ron for the first time on 'Bags' Groove', Payton Crossley, Bill Frisell, Jimmy Greene, Russell Malone, Christian McBride and Renee Rosnes.

An album that doesn't really seem to belong at all to the current era even within jazz let alone the contemporary popular music landscape like a lot of jazz that swings. That's because big band sounds like these are period pieces. Is there anything wrong with that you may whisper? Arch modernists might say there is. Without getting into golden ageism which is a big bear trap of a subject where everyone gets snared styles established in the 1940s, 50s and 60s still have plenty of currency let's face it. More recent jazz styles (eg acid jazz, nu jazz, jazztronica) often have less perhaps because they haven't been around as long and are not as revolutionary as bebop which is the bedrock of all modernistic jazz since the 1940s. Only jazz-rock, jazz-funk, eg big Ron's erstwhile Miles alumnus Herbie Hancock's trademark sound, the ECM approach, reinvention of the piano trio by EST and Brad Mehldau and AfroFuturism in the hands of Kamasi Wasington and others are among the few since the late-1960s to deserve the term innovation or if you prefer a rapid evolution of a new jazz consciousness.

Highlights here after a breezy beginning are the soft guitar textures allowed to weave intricately on 'Soft Winds' live at Newport. The best Milesian connection is a delicate and very appealing rendering of 'Flamenco Sketches'.

When you hear Ron duetting in Harlem with Christian McBride on 'Willow Weep For Me' you have to pick your jaw up off the floor. Bassists, if you don't already know and it would be weird if you didn't, throw out your textbooks and bunker down. Just get any record that you can lay your hands on including this that has Ron Carter on it. It's going to take a while to relearn everything you think you know.

Finding the Right Notes coincides with a 120-minute Peter Schnall produced PBS documentary of the same name broadcast last night.

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