Jean-Marie Machado, Majakka

Let's level. Majakka is a record that you will not only desire and need to own you will want to live in. Like an auteur Jean-Marie Machado paints pictures that are less travelogue more fodder for the roaming imagination. Recorded at Gérard de …

Published: 6 Feb 2021. Updated: 15 months.

Let's level. Majakka is a record that you will not only desire and need to own you will want to live in. Like an auteur Jean-Marie Machado paints pictures that are less travelogue more fodder for the roaming imagination. Recorded at Gérard de Haro's Provençal studio La Buissonne, famed for Ahmad Jamal classic Saturday Morning, and issued on the studio's in-house label, the pianist injects a Levantine feel via his use of prepared piano in a sweeping style that carries you along. The shape of his compositions aided particularly by Keyvan Chemirani's use of the zarb goblet drum provide a piquant flavour to paint a large canvas rather than steal away to fragments. The tunes are simply gorgeous rolling in and out in their tidal command. Reedist Jean-Charles Richard when on soprano saxophone especially reminds me of Tim Garland: His panoramic vision as an improviser is aesthetic and as compelling. Vincent Ségal on cello adds an elegiac elixir. So, a very beautiful record, an edifice – for the ages. SG. Out now on La Buissonne

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Peter Urpeth Quartet, Live at Cafe Oto

A great introduction to a band who take commitment to a new plateau of engagement. One of the strengths of the UK jazz scene is its free improviser tradition. Go back to Mike Taylor. Go back to the late Keith Tippett and to the talismanic Steve …

Published: 5 Feb 2021. Updated: 15 months.

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A great introduction to a band who take commitment to a new plateau of engagement. One of the strengths of the UK jazz scene is its free improviser tradition. Go back to Mike Taylor. Go back to the late Keith Tippett and to the talismanic Steve Beresford and Pat Thomas for some intimations of its arc and flow. Lately the push for change, watchwords along with freedom, of the whole movement, has begun to pick up even more interest thanks to the quality of the musicianship at play and a continued willingness to be daring and mindful both in terms of the means of expression and the transformation of the traditions of the music itself. Certainly the directness of digital communication via streams helps a good deal. Released today Live at Cafe Oto recorded at the east London venue, a spacious place that has become one of the launchpads of the music in recent years, is a quartet affair led by pianist Peter Urpeth. Here with saxophonist Ntshuks Bonga in a John Tchicai domain perhaps and on double bass veritable lion of the scene Olie Brice out of the Henry Grimes sound a bit and the Beresfordian Terry Day on drums and percussion complete the Urpeth group. You might think of the Matthew Shipp approach in America a bit or reach back to vintage Cecil Taylor as well as homegrown resonances mentioned earlier in the article. Check out the particularly engrossing long second track for the overwhelming sense of protean metamorphosis. SG