Loren Stillman, Time and Again, Sunnyside ****

Less is more on this stylish sax-bass-drums outing from leader Loren Stillman. Tender on 'Unsung', often emotive and stark in its direct qualities, Stillman is with bass great Drew Gress, heard at his very best at the beginning of 'Foist' and …

Published: 18 Nov 2023. Updated: 5 months.

Less is more on this stylish sax-bass-drums outing from leader Loren Stillman. Tender on 'Unsung', often emotive and stark in its direct qualities, Stillman is with bass great Drew Gress, heard at his very best at the beginning of 'Foist' and drummer Mark Ferber. The three keeps things simple on the Stillman originals and the album - serious music for serious times - consequently has a clarity in its execution and delivery. Pick of the tracks? Go for 'The Mask' with its handsome theme and sense of freedom in both the bass and drum parts swirling around the plaintive tenor saxophone lines.

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Kenneth Jimenez, Sonnet to Silence, We Jazz ***1/2

You get the sense with a lot of avant-garde music that you are heading into some kind of cul-de-sac - sure, the willingness to experiment is there but the route is not always clear or communicated well enough for complete enjoyment. Not at all here …

Published: 17 Nov 2023. Updated: 5 months.

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You get the sense with a lot of avant-garde music that you are heading into some kind of cul-de-sac - sure, the willingness to experiment is there but the route is not always clear or communicated well enough for complete enjoyment. Not at all here from relative newcomer bassist Kenneth Jimenez from Costa Rica who lives in the States and whose stately riff based patterns at the beginning of this set of originals is both sure footed and resourceful. It's quite a band with pianist Angelica Sanchez' cascades of fluent lines on opener 'Dos Tazas' and tremendous sense of vitality exhibited throughout. The whole rhythmic direction is expertly steered by drummer Gerald Cleaver who leaves plenty of room for the exploratory non-standard beat of Jimenez to express itself. The group is completed by saxophonist-flautist Hery Paz. I wasn't quite so taken by the arco mayhem conjured on 'El Patio', small carp (!), but certainly the record works far more successfully when Jimenez adds an injection of speed say on Mr Shipping' and where Paz responds with detailed clusters of scalar depth and texture. A very pleasant surprise. Sanchez is ideal on piano. SG