Jonny Mansfield, The Air In Front Of You ***

Huddersfield born Jonny Mansfield, a west Yorkshire town that also raised fine saxophonist Tom Challenger, as a player impresses most on 'Norwood' and 'Etude'. If you know the vibist's work on Elftet which had sax icon Chris Potter on one track …

Published: 24 Apr 2023. Updated: 22 days.

Huddersfield born Jonny Mansfield, a west Yorkshire town that also raised fine saxophonist Tom Challenger, as a player impresses most on 'Norwood' and 'Etude'. If you know the vibist's work on Elftet which had sax icon Chris Potter on one track this is far more slimmed down, with different personnel, and signals less of a jazz-rock and post-bop dimension in the musical direction and veers more crossover classical but still sports heavily dyed progressive jazz roots. Bassist Will Sach, top UK drummer James Maddren who is on the upcoming Lucia Cadotsch album which is marlbank album of the week, violinist Dominic Ingham and cellist Midori Jaeger, a Take 5 participant in recent years, are collective personnel on the recording.

Watch 'Flicker' streaming on YouTube, and above, ahead of release. The Mansfield quintet play the Vortex, London, on 15 June. Jonny Mansfield, photo: press

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Taj Mahal, Savoy, Stony Plain Records ***1/2

What a voice. What a feeling. Not an album for intellectualising over but built for unabashed enjoyment instead veteran blues man Taj Mahal goes pretty much jazz certainly in terms of the choice of tunes and all points adjacent much more than usual …

Published: 24 Apr 2023. Updated: 10 months.

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What a voice. What a feeling. Not an album for intellectualising over but built for unabashed enjoyment instead veteran blues man Taj Mahal goes pretty much jazz certainly in terms of the choice of tunes and all points adjacent much more than usual here on a very enjoyable romp through a whole load of standards that you would have thought are just too familiar to work but do given the tilt Mahal and pals bring to it. So riffing against backing singers on 'Stompin’ at the Savoy' it's so laid back it's horizontal. Maria Muldaur guests on a stately ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ while violinist Evan Price picks up some choice spots especially effective on 'Baby Won't You Please Come Home.' Recorded in an Oakland, California, studio with Taj (real name Henry St. Claire Fredericks Jr who turned 80 last year) Danny Caron is on guitar; Ruth Davies on the bass; album producer John Simon on piano; and Leon Joyce, Jr is on drums as the core unit with guests joining in. Taj's harmonica playing on the rolling 'Caldonia' is one of the best bits and 'Lady Be Good' is another highlight when Taj scats. A fun listen. Out on 28 April. 'Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby' is streaming ahead of release. Taj Mahal, photo: via G Promo