Larry Ochs, Donald Robinson, A Civil Right, ESP-Disk ****

There is such freedom, rapport, a sense of daring, testimony and empathy here in what is one of the finest free-jazz albums that I have heard this year up there with All Knavery and Collusion. Sax titan Ochs on tenor and sopranino saxophones makes …

Published: 7 Jul 2021. Updated: 3 months.

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There is such freedom, rapport, a sense of daring, testimony and empathy here in what is one of the finest free-jazz albums that I have heard this year up there with All Knavery and Collusion. Sax titan Ochs on tenor and sopranino saxophones makes the spirits rejoice and Robinson following a multi-directional style on drums reach heights few alive in the idiom can match. There is a concision even in the longest tracks 'Arise the Poet' and 'The Others Dream'. Above all the conversational dimension and wide screen vision the two achieve is striking, nothing is forced, ideas are explored and resolved. I haven't heard a better duo in the same idiom since 2015's Dem Ones. Before listening to this record I could scarcely imagine what it would be like falling from a plane without a parachute. I can now. A free fall for all. SG

Don Robinson, top left, and Larry Ochs

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Robben Ford 'Balafon' earMusic ****

'Balafon' by Robben Ford, a guitar blues great who crossed into jazz mesmerisingly with Miles Davis in the 1980s, is a must. Ford is supremely loose on his original 'Balafon' drawn from the all-instrumental Pure with the mighty Steely Dan drummer …

Published: 7 Jul 2021. Updated: 3 months.

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'Balafon' by Robben Ford, a guitar blues great who crossed into jazz mesmerisingly with Miles Davis in the 1980s, is a must. Ford is supremely loose on his original 'Balafon' drawn from the all-instrumental Pure with the mighty Steely Dan drummer Keith Carlock slicing the air as Brian Allen redigs the foundations on bass guitar and Russell Ferrante slips along in subtle fashion in the wash on keys/synth replicating the balafon. Listen that bit harder and a delicious West African flavour breezes through. There is superb organic sound production in the guitar overdubs from co-producer Casey Wasner that also raises us all up and facilitates total immersion through its practically tactile quality.