Kokoroko, Could We Be More, Brownswood ****

Kokoroko cover the waterfront stylistically moving beyond genre into a diasporic Afrojazz blend that journeys through highlife and Fela Kuti's innovations via West Africa to 1970s funk America parallel to the Marvin Gaye cosmos on the chant …

Published: 6 Aug 2022. Updated: 4 days.

Kokoroko cover the waterfront stylistically moving beyond genre into a diasporic Afrojazz blend that journeys through highlife and Fela Kuti's innovations via West Africa to 1970s funk America parallel to the Marvin Gaye cosmos on the chant 'Something's Going On' and in and out of a syncretic London contemporary blend. Debuting here the eight-piece founded by trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey achieved word of mouth buzz before the Pandemic and then everything went on pause. Band name Kokoroko is a word from the Nigerian Urhobo language and means “be strong.”

Four tracks are extremely brief. But the main statements found dotted around the album include 'Ewà Inú' when there is time to simply nestle into the beat and Richie Seivwright's trombone solo emerges organically while Maurice-Grey oozes rectitude and an at easeness in her solo. 'Age of Ascent' has a great groove from Ayo Salawu and beyond the trombone solo the horns together act like a chorus and fulfil that role often.

Could We Be More is new in our twin albums of the year and top UK lists. Kokoroko are all about the flow and thrive on a riff-groove alchemy and not to forget ensemble play that's so vital in all great jazz. Read these here

Kokoroko play We Out Here on 25 August

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Enrico Rava and Fred Hersch collaboration The Song Is You is a big autumn highlight

Hugely influential on some of the world's greatest jazz pianists including Brad Mehldau and Ethan Iverson US pianist, composer and bandleader Fred Hersch hasn't until now recorded for ECM before so this factor makes the November release something …

Published: 5 Aug 2022. Updated: 5 days.

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Hugely influential on some of the world's greatest jazz pianists including Brad Mehldau and Ethan Iverson US pianist, composer and bandleader Fred Hersch hasn't until now recorded for ECM before so this factor makes the November release something special.

Italian master Rava is by contrast part of the fabric of the German label, in recent years on jaw dropping form on Roma.

The duo introduce The Song Is You with their beautiful take on the Jobim classic also known as 'Portrait in Black and White' and 'Zingaro' deriving from 1967's A Certain Mr Jobim.

Rava is on flugelhorn on the recording produced by Manfred Eicher and which also includes a free improvisation by the duo.

Laid down in a Lugano studio The Song Is You includes the title track Jerome Kern's 'The Song Is You' a song that dates back to a first recording in 1932 and which has been covered in fairly recent years by Chick Corea in 2013 and Kenny Werner just 5 years ago.

Also making the cut is Hersch original 'Child's Song' which was on the Hersch Pocket Orchestra's 2009 Live at Jazz Standard album and Rava's 1996 Label Bleu Noir piece 'The Trial.'

Enrico Rava, top left, and Fred Hersch

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