Larry Goldings and John Sneider, Chinwag, Sticky Mack Records ****

Not at all what I was expecting from the piano, keyboards, organ icon - best known for his long tenure with US singer-songwriter god James Taylor and jazz guitar great John Scofield among many other things. What was that expectation, pray, tell? …

Published: 16 Feb 2024. Updated: 2 months.

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Not at all what I was expecting from the piano, keyboards, organ icon - best known for his long tenure with US singer-songwriter god James Taylor and jazz guitar great John Scofield among many other things. What was that expectation, pray, tell? Erm like a swinging Hammond organ trio, guv, if truth be told. He does one of those, too. Goldings has monster chops. Going through the tracks - it's a keys-trumpet duo with old mucker John Sneider, whose chops include great tonal command - 'The Veldt' was the first track that excited me. Then 'In Walked Bud' is a comfort blanket. But hey listen closely and behind the trumpet all the dinky sound effects from the keys, the layering in the production is so interesting as Sneider noodles away, his playing sounding like none other than Linley Hamilton whose Ginger's Hollow represented a career peak last year and was one of the best UK and Ireland releases of the year. It's not a surprise that Linley and his wife Maggie have booked the great Larry for a date soon in their Dechomet club in the County Down countryside - surely the Belfast jazzer will be itching to grab his trumpet for a little spot at the gig in the absence of Sneider in which Goldings is joined by pianist-singer Jake Sherman. I loved the rickety keys sounds on 'Hesitation Blues' which is quite antique and bluesy, a sort of jangling number that belongs in spirit to the 1920s - Goldings uses an unusually reverberating Wing and Son upright piano on the album among other keyboards.

And by complete contrast he also makes use of possibly bespoke programming in the synths that don't sound at all corny - the title track itself is futuristic, full of pitch bending and smeary technological sounding smudges. Best tracks, oh easily the treatment of classic Stephen Foster song 'Beautiful Dreamer' that has a very old feel to it. Sounds crazy, Larry on paper - frankly it all makes perfect sense. Goldings is to use that word I never like to use as it is a cliché but stumped for anything better it is true here so lyrical when he solos. And Sneider is just the right side of grandiose when he begins to do some flourishes later in his improvisation on that song that Bill Frisell has done so much to popularise all over again in recent years. Also a high point, the poignant heartbreaking ballad 'Diary of a Lost Girl' is a must. SG

The Magy's Farm date is 27 February and follows London shows at the Pizza Express Jazz Club over the previous two nights also duetting in the Dean Street basement. Hilariously Goldings has a soft spot for blunderingly earnest jazz educator Hans Groiner, a remarkable creation, who the Pizza says will also be putting in an appearance

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Amaro Freitas, Y'Y, Psychic Hotline *****

Walk with the spirits, talk with the spirits: Even better than live, what a seance of an album - AfroBrazilian pianist/keyboardist composer all round polymath Amaro Freitas was good at Jazzahead last year especially the more Coltranian he went - …

Published: 16 Feb 2024. Updated: 2 months.

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Walk with the spirits, talk with the spirits: Even better than live, what a seance of an album - AfroBrazilian pianist/keyboardist composer all round polymath Amaro Freitas was good at Jazzahead last year especially the more Coltranian he went - but one giant leap beyond, Amazonian ''homage to the forest'' Y'Y is just about the best album we have heard a month-and-a-half into 2024 (closely followed by the new John Surman album Words Unspoken, also five-star calibre which is out today) - the album title is a word from the Sateré-Mawé dialect of the Mawé language, an indigenous language of his homeland - the brilliant title track features Birmingham Britjazz icon Shabaka Hutchings on flute of course these days in duo - he's as much a monster flautist as he is a saxophonist - with Freitas' vocal and turns into quite a thrashing stomp of a thing. Overall the album is big on serenity, with an orchestral sense that is highly original and live you only grasp a tenth of what's here. The Brazilian is a storming pianist by the way, there is a frisson to his sound - and it's not snoozy and quiet at all. Other guests include Chicago eminence the great Jeff Parker; and there's Brandee Younger, suitably celestial, on 'Gloriosa.' Another standout is 'The Glow.'

The reverb soaked 'Mar de Cirandeiras' that references the culture of Freitas' home state Pernambuco and jazziest of all the tracks with its engaging triple-metre feel, the flying McCoy Tyner-like going-fourthisms found in the piano line of 'Encantados' with its chunky bass riff and sheer flow in the modulations, from the album are streaming ahead of the full release of Y'Y on 1 March