Joel Ross, The Parable of the Poet, Blue Note ****

The vibes have always been an outlier of an instrument, perfect for ensemble colour, for a certain ladiback attitude sometimes, an additional asset for the rhythm section with all that reverberant power that no other instrument comes close to …

Published: 8 Apr 2022. Updated: 4 months.

The vibes have always been an outlier of an instrument, perfect for ensemble colour, for a certain ladiback attitude sometimes, an additional asset for the rhythm section with all that reverberant power that no other instrument comes close to creating. US player Joel Ross in a short number of a years has become part of the furniture of the current state of the vibes. Remarkably this is his third record for Blue Note after KingMaker in 2019 and Who Are You the following year. It's different this time with a long suite forming the album and shows how melodic his sound world is without any sugary coating. So there is a soothing quality to the horns on the opening 'Prayer'. The horns who include Immanuel Wilkins and Marquis Hill enable a serene almost beatific vision. Later bassist Rick Rosato is Mingus-like at the beginning of 'Guilt' and on 'Choices' you get the individualism of trumpeter Marquis Hill taking hold which is startling in context. You get increased maturity and a cohesion in that all the pieces work as a menu of possibilities not just single expressions that do not match. For repeated play I liked the trombone feature of Kalia Vandever on 'The Impetus (To Be And Do Better)' which thrives on a slightly latinate melody beautifully accompanied by pianist Sean Mason. Ross isn't ''out there'' as a wild improviser or in thrall too much to the past to be relevant and emerges here as a fine composer who above all knows how to voice the ensemble interesting ways. Further proof overall what a significant presence he is among the new generation of players and more than that his best album to date. SG Out on 15 April. Joel Ross photo: Lauren Desberg

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Smith Komma John, 'Klem,' Jazzland ****

Track of the day: Like something that might soundtrack a Jim Jarmusch film check this surfy bit of cool from unusual trio Smith Komma John who play the music of their guitarist Stian Larsen. Beautifully gathered and as laidback as it is possible …

Published: 7 Apr 2022. Updated: 4 months.

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Track of the day: Like something that might soundtrack a Jim Jarmusch film check this surfy bit of cool from unusual trio Smith Komma John who play the music of their guitarist Stian Larsen. Beautifully gathered and as laidback as it is possible to be there's a great looseness in the delivery and a feeling of curious adventure throughout the other tracks from these fine Norwegians on Music for Humans.

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