Jure Pukl, Melt, Whirlwind ****

Drummer Nasheet Waits makes his presence felt pretty quickly with the energy he brings to the sound like a lively crackle and pop behind the horns on opener 'Metalurgic'. Led by Slovenian tenorist Jure Pukl with Waits' fellow American trumpeter …

Published: 25 Oct 2023. Updated: 41 days.

Drummer Nasheet Waits makes his presence felt pretty quickly with the energy he brings to the sound like a lively crackle and pop behind the horns on opener 'Metalurgic'. Led by Slovenian tenorist Jure Pukl with Waits' fellow American trumpeter Peter Evans in the front line with him, the ensemble completed by another US player bassist Joe Sanders (hear him best on 'Let It Go'), the improvisation from Pukl quickly enters deep waters on the opener, chorus upon chorus of knotty drama as he runs the sax through its paces. While the whole thing is often shaped around the interplay between sax and trumpet and uses a modernistic freebop as its main language the beat and groove Waits and Sanders wrap that relationship in gives what everyone produces space and variety. Quite tense at times with tunes that are often serious but tender too and demand close listening it's the best yet we've heard from the prodigiously talented Pukl who is already something of a fixture on Whirlwind. Recorded in Slovenia last year if you purchase the album you get an electronica reworking of the album as a bonus which takes the sound into another dimension entirely.

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Matt Ridley, The Antidote: Live At The London Jazz Festival, Ubuntu ****

The UK jazz scene has no shortage of top jazz bassists. But few are as imaginative as Matt Ridley as he proves here on his brand new live album of his music which includes unreleased material plus live versions from his band the Antidote's 2021 …

Published: 24 Oct 2023. Updated: 42 days.

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The UK jazz scene has no shortage of top jazz bassists. But few are as imaginative as Matt Ridley as he proves here on his brand new live album of his music which includes unreleased material plus live versions from his band the Antidote's 2021 studio album. Ridley, who has toured widely with Darius Brubeck in recent years, is with saxist Alex Hitchcock, guitarist Ant Law, pianist Tom Hewson and drummer Marc Michel and the five play complex but melodic and contemporary sounding instrumental music that has an anthemic feel and a punch to it. Hitchcock on 'Zelensky' provides one of the strongest passages of this feisty album which was recorded at Soho's Pizza Express Jazz Club, matched by his a cappella solo at the beginning of 'Adagio for the Fallen Stars,' much of it linked together in a suite and in Michel the band has a drummer who provides plenty of heat. Check Ridley's consummate virtuosity particularly at the beginning of 'Stranger Things'. Matt Ridley and the Antidote play the Vortex, London on Monday 30 October