Jim McNeely and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band feat. Chris Potter, Rituals, Double Moon ****

What a lot of firepower there is here. But even more than that clever arrangements and some explosive soloing from Chris Potter (the third part of the 'Rituals' suite especially) light up this tribute to Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. The album …

Published: 29 Jan 2022. Updated: 10 months.

What a lot of firepower there is here. But even more than that clever arrangements and some explosive soloing from Chris Potter (the third part of the 'Rituals' suite especially) light up this tribute to Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. The album also includes four additional Potter pieces including two from the saxophonist's masterwork The Sirens and these fit well within the overall feel of the release. Chicago-born pianist, composer and Grammy winning arranger McNeely in the 1970s was a featured soloist in the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra and later pianist in the Stan Getz quartet and Phil Woods quintet. His arranger's pen has a delicacy and lightness of touch that helps make this fine big band release so involving and very rewarding.

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Joel Lyssarides, Stay Now, ACT ****

If you are looking for quiet sophistication in a jazz album at the moment then Stay Now is state of the art. Full of lush melody, a palpable quietness at times, but when push comes to shove the engine changes gear and pianist Joel Lyssarides shows …

Published: 28 Jan 2022. Updated: 8 months.

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If you are looking for quiet sophistication in a jazz album at the moment then Stay Now is state of the art. Full of lush melody, a palpable quietness at times, but when push comes to shove the engine changes gear and pianist Joel Lyssarides shows his considerable technique. Bassist Niklas Fernqvist is central to the mobility of the album recorded in Gothenburg studio Nilento. And while drummer Rasmus Blixt on 'Gowns of Dark' certainly comes into his own Stay Now is more a melodic statement than an all and out rhythmical demonstration. You get a classical sense of exactitude in the way Lyssarides sets up his improvisations with above all a strong narrative to the melodic statement and a clarity in the execution of each piece. The title track with insistent bass underpinning the lapping piano introduction has a rhapsodic insistence that the trio do so well. The pieces, which quite often have an almost classical sense of composure, tend to be quite short so some may feel the full improvisational effect is too truncated but that is more than made up for by the thrilling strength of the material.