Jelly Cleaver, Forever Presence (EP), Gearbox ***

Playing the Crypt, Camberwell tomorrow night guitarist, singer, composer Jelly Cleaver journeys into a spiritual-jazz place here. And there are two sides of the coin on the 2-part 'Forever Presence' title tracks: the first includes a fine tenor …

Published: 12 Nov 2021. Updated: 21 days.

Playing the Crypt, Camberwell tomorrow night guitarist, singer, composer Jelly Cleaver journeys into a spiritual-jazz place here. And there are two sides of the coin on the 2-part 'Forever Presence' title tracks: the first includes a fine tenor saxophone solo from James Akers (who is very Mark Lockheart-like throughout and plays a pivotal role within the band sound) and the second a dramatic vocal from Cleaver and an interesting Rhodes electric piano passage from Lorenz Okello-Osengor that develops organically. Cleaver doesn't really sound like anyone which is to the singer's enormous credit and there are lots of new approaches at work here compositionally. 'Prayer for Rojava' shows a lot of technical ability in Cleaver's voice and the Cleaver-and-band-written 'We Have Known Love' goes into sprawling open-ended territory the pervasive tonality of which shifts in and out of focus and a more appealing experimental feel develops. As usual with Gearbox the audio sound quality is excellent. 'Black Line' is the most radio-friendly piece at the end with its squealing organ undertow and chugging progress. Out today

Tags: Albums and EPs

Bill Charlap trio, Street of Dreams, Blue Note ****

This isn't the kind of trio album where standards are deconstructed and the wheel is reinvented. It's the very opposite and revels in the classic, sleek, lines of the format, standards and Broadway songs as its vocabulary and treasure chest. …

Published: 12 Nov 2021. Updated: 21 days.

Next post

street

This isn't the kind of trio album where standards are deconstructed and the wheel is reinvented. It's the very opposite and revels in the classic, sleek, lines of the format, standards and Broadway songs as its vocabulary and treasure chest. Elegance and sophistication are written into its DNA. Charlap has immaculate touch and he and Peter and Kenny Washington in their long-running collaborative journey finish each other's sentences. Textbook piano trio in other words in the classic mould, this album could have been made in the 1950s or 1960s and is a period piece in that sense.

Included on the album are Charlap's elegantly swinging version of Brubeck's paean to Duke Ellington 'The Duke' and a treatment of the Victor Young and Samuel M. Lewis song 'Street Of Dreams'. The inclusion of 'I'll Know,' a Frank Loesser standard from Guys and Dolls that you don't often hear so obviously these days, is a good choice. The track I liked most was 'Your Host' the perky Kenny Burrell composition that appeared on the 1956 album Jazzmen:Detroit. Kenny Washington's busy scuffling momentum gives the treatment a lot of life. You'll be snapping your fingers before too long. SG