Luke Stewart's Silt Trio, 'Roots,' Cuneiform ***

The gospel according to Luke – surely a test of any record is how quickly you want to hear it again. Certainly for the bass and drum integration tick that box. The sax playing in this trio, Brian Settles, did not ignite so much first time round. …

Published: 29 Dec 2021. Updated: 29 days.

The gospel according to Luke – surely a test of any record is how quickly you want to hear it again. Certainly for the bass and drum integration tick that box. The sax playing in this trio, Brian Settles, did not ignite so much first time round. But the second and subsequent listens were another story, the less-is-more ethic meaning you listen differently once you realise that this is not about instant gratification.

And yet Settles seems distracted, insouciant if you like. By contrast the busy, feverish, momentum of Luke Stewart on double bass and the brittle touch and jostling swagger of Chad Taylor means that he can't be too busy or the whole thing would simply combust. There is a lot to like here. And you always get freedom when there isn't a harmony instrument so that's often a plus although the downside can be there is too much protective scaffolding and not enough robust structure.

Certainly the trio starts stripped back and keep it real if that isn't too much of a cliché. As for Settles John Coltrane comes to mind a bit but hear him too for more meat on last year's far more complex and sonically rich release The Daily Biological, the tenorist again with Taylor as a contrast to the relatively simpler, quasi-spiritual, style here.

'Roots' is from The Bottom out on 22 January. Stewart, above, the blazing motor at the heart of the sound, is fast becoming a worthy heir musically to Henry Grimes and his role is a tonic to hear. Catch the bassist too on one of 2021's most stimulating free-jazz records, Open the Gates.

Tags: Tracks

Liran Donin and Idris Rahman, 'Thar' ***

It is easy to be caught in a cleft stick releasing a single track ahead of release. That is because that track doesn't always but can be by default seen to represent the album as its essence even if it isn't really. Not every track serves such a …

Published: 29 Dec 2021. Updated: 30 days.

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It is easy to be caught in a cleft stick releasing a single track ahead of release. That is because that track doesn't always but can be by default seen to represent the album as its essence even if it isn't really. Not every track serves such a purpose. Jazz is often regarded as a long-player listen after all and some tracks function as interludes in that album context and aren't meant to do anything else but contribute to the whole.

What we do know about these short fairly introverted three-and-a-half minutes here on the worthwhile 'Thar' from Earth and Bones is that this duo recording has a brooding middle-eastern feel and atmosphere. Album titles riff somewhat on a desert theme including 'Rub' al Khali' the Arabian desert, 'Negev,' a desert in Israel as is 'Al-Ḥajarah' but in Iraq – you get the drift, pun intended. 'Thar' itself is a wasteland in Rajasthan.

English-Bengali reedist Idris Rahman is the brother of pianist Zoe Rahman and is known for his work with Israel-born bassist Donin in Ill Considered and excellent recently with Unknown to Known. Donin bizarrely is also composer of TV chef Gordon Ramsay's game show Bank Balance. The bassist, whose shimmering arco input is a strong feature of the track, performed with Rahman at St Mary's church in Walthamstow where this album to be released on 28 January was recorded. Liran Donin, above. Link to the album's Bandcamp page. Photo: lirandonin.com