Lizz Wright, Holding Space, Blues & Greens ****

One of the world's greatest jazz singers Lizz Wright again does not disappoint, here live in Berlin on this 2018 recording issued today on her own socially-conscious label. You will melt listening to this masterly performance. Lizz has Chris Bruce …

Published: 15 Jun 2022. Updated: 20 days.

One of the world's greatest jazz singers Lizz Wright again does not disappoint, here live in Berlin on this 2018 recording issued today on her own socially-conscious label. You will melt listening to this masterly performance. Lizz has Chris Bruce on guitar, Ivan Edwards on drums, Ben Zwerin (son of the legendary jazz journalist and trombonist Mike Zwerin) on bass guitar and Bobby Ray Sparks II on keys in her band. Sparks is raucous and lit up inside on his organ intro to 'The New Game'. Holy roller 'Walk With Me Lord' grooves big time Edwards chopping up the sizzling beat and Bruce gets us head bobbing along. Allen Toussaint's 'Southern Nights' is a pleasure as Lizz displays all the time in the world singing the classic song.

No one does humility and sincerity as well as Wright. Hearing her a decade earlier in 2008 on that occasion circa The Orchard at the agreeably louche Soho Revue Bar noticing the audience spontaneously burst into applause for Jimmy Page and Robert Plant’s ‘Thank You’ was something you don't often witness when a crowd can often times be very uptight or shy but on that occasion seemed to just let their repressed demeanour transform itself. You definitely thank your lucky stars as the crowd did that night and surely here in Berlin going by the liveness of the audio capture. Everytime you hear this remarkable human being you just know what a humbling experience it is to soak it all in like the thrill of the first time magnified, shared and powerfully meaningful as expressed manifoldly here. SG

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Tags: reviews

Meg Morley trio - Hampstead Jazz Club appearance previewed

Timely for this performance the just-released Journey Through Home (33 Jazz) is an engaging release from the Meg Morley trio given an ingredient that you might not expect as one talking point and the pianist-leader's ability to defy expectations …

Published: 15 Jun 2022. Updated: 20 days.

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Timely for this performance the just-released Journey Through Home (33 Jazz) is an engaging release from the Meg Morley trio given an ingredient that you might not expect as one talking point and the pianist-leader's ability to defy expectations along the way. Don't just file under intriguing use of a preposition in the nonetheless thought-provoking title.

Once again featuring the former Neil Cowley trio's Richard Sadler, the double bassist from Displaced which in 2006 was something of a revelation when the Cowley 3 first made a splash, Sadler plays exceedingly well. Emiliano Caroselli is the drummer and paces the progress of the sound carefully.

Morley's imaginative approach, largely a modernist-mainstream sound that crucially can just as easily go avant in its musical syntax, simmers and radiates throughout, a maelstrom of departures from the norm never far away or at least heavily hinted at.

The additional element on Journey Through Home that comes out of the blue but does not distract too much is the presence of a bağlama flavour provided by Huseyin Atasever on the very different 'e-Gnosis'.

The pieces, nearly all Morley's, are strong and the pianist can go free-ish in incremental phases built up from an impressionist core often with a shifting almost bitonal sense to the method as on 'How Not to Graciously Accept a Gift'. The only controversial aspect of 'Dancing Through Culture Wars' is its title. Let's call a ceasefire on that particular skirmish. Morley's own solution as the piece unwinds is appealingly ingenious.

The Meg Morley trio play London's Hampstead Jazz Club tonight at 8

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