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Logan Richardson, Afrofuturism ****

As a genre for Afrofuturism in recent years it is to a film and the game changing Black Panther first and foremost that I turn. However, the movement goes way back to focus in instead on a jazz relevance probably first of all to Sun Ra and most …

Published: 14 Mar 2021. Updated: 31 days.

As a genre for Afrofuturism in recent years it is to a film and the game changing Black Panther first and foremost that I turn. However, the movement goes way back to focus in instead on a jazz relevance probably first of all to Sun Ra and most potently in the last decade to Kamasi Washington and The Epic. About a new world, an existence that for African-Americans transcends the bigotry and racism they encounter in America it also is an artistic vision in its own positivity and right with its own iconography.

Alto saxophonist composer Logan Richardson compares well with Soweto Kinch in the UK in terms of ideas, artistry and the ability to create a world that is bigger than a solo on a record or a bunch of tunes on an album. Until this latest my favourite of his albums was Cerebral Flow back his early Fresh Sound New Talent days approaching a decade and a half ago. But it was on Blue Note that he made his name keeping A-list company with Pat Metheny and Jason Moran before moving to Philly imprint Ropeadope when he less successfully approached the Kansas City blues traditions.

Afrofuturism is very much an album listen not just a snack of tracks and is his most ambitious and impressive album to date. It is nevertheless quite sprawling in its direction. Very cinematic meaning particularly that the vision is panoramic not highly miniaturised compared to hearing the American say live in 2016 at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in London with his stimulating quintet this new record is a galaxy away from that nevertheless invigorating experience.

An intense and a very immersive listen the saxophone voice is all, and Richardson has a lot of personality in his sound that embraces a bluesy ache and like Kinch a scalding sense of attack, although the key ignition within the band distils down to Dominique Sanders on bass guitar and Ryan J. Lee and Corey Fonville on drums. The album includes a good deal of spoken word, some field recordings, a take on trap and a tribute to McCoy Tyner. SG. On Whirlwind

Tags: Album / EP reviews

Miguel Zenón, Ariel Bringuez, Demian Cabaud & Jordi Rossy, Law Years: The Music of Ornette Coleman *** (3 stars)

Two fundamentals about marlbank are representing live performance through witnessing the music, above all going out and hearing jazz as a first port of call, and then equally as importantly capturing honest responses to records for the personal, …

Published: 13 Mar 2021. Updated: 34 days.

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Two fundamentals about marlbank are representing live performance through witnessing the music, above all going out and hearing jazz as a first port of call, and then equally as importantly capturing honest responses to records for the personal, private, listening experience that we all adore. Thinking back to the CD era the first recording I ever purchased was The Shape of Jazz to Come by Ornette Coleman and it remains one of my favourite albums of all. I managed to see Ornette a few times live over the years, the first time in Warsaw with Don Cherry in his band, and then a couple of times in London including memorably an appearance by his band Prime Time and latterly during the Meltdown festival that he curated on the South Bank. Miguel Zenón isn't at all an out and out avant player but it doesn't show here and there is great spirit on Law Years: The Music of Ornette Coleman and perfectly decent sound throughout. A live quartet Ornette-themed affair recorded at the Bird's Eye club in Switzerland, with the Puerto Rican titan are tenor saxophonist Ariel Bringuez, so the lead horns texture is quite different to classic Atlantic Ornette, bassist Demian Cabaud and the Art of the Trio legend drummer Jordi Rossy. Not an edgy record at all, there is just a lot of joy especially when the band picks up the tempo. Good meat and potatoes Ornette and the sort of record that makes you love the music all over again given the chops on display and the sheer looseness of the band do all the persuasion that you need. Stephen Graham

Miguel Zenón, top. Out now on Bandcamp