Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Marshall Gilkes and the WDR Big Band, LifeSongs, WDR/Alternate Side Records ****

The things that I took away most out of this latest recording by Marshall Gilkes and the WDR Big Band were threefold: firstly, LifeSongs' sense of control - there isn't any grandstanding and for an orchestra as powerful as the WDR there is a lot of …

Published: 27 Jan 2024. Updated: 2 months.

The things that I took away most out of this latest recording by Marshall Gilkes and the WDR Big Band were threefold: firstly, LifeSongs' sense of control - there isn't any grandstanding and for an orchestra as powerful as the WDR there is a lot of subtlety that isn't lost in the scaling up; secondly, the sheer melodic richness of the writing where you get a very yearning West Wing-like graceful soaring quality, particularly on 'My Unanswered Prayer' and 'Longing for Home'; and thirdly almost a brass band quality to the horns here which gives the sound a lot of personality and honesty. While not a record that swings relentlessly all the time or wallows in some fake nostalgic past there's a get down swagger on 'Back in the Groove' that is pretty satisfying. Mostly trombonist Marshall Gilkes' tunes plus a version of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's 'This Nearly Was Mine' and vocalist Sabeth Pérez appears on the traditional song 'All the Pretty Little Horses' it's a treat for big band lovers and agnostic big band followers alike - and just as complete a listen as Köln all those years ago. SG

Tags: Reviews

Marius Van Den Brink, New York Knock, Highline Music ***1/2

One of those curious cases when just about everyone on your record is better known than you are. It might not matter except that a casual browser might skate over this release not really knowing how good a player Dutchman-in-New York Marius Van Den …

Published: 27 Jan 2024. Updated: 4 months.

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One of those curious cases when just about everyone on your record is better known than you are. It might not matter except that a casual browser might skate over this release not really knowing how good a player Dutchman-in-New York Marius Van Den Brink is both as a hard bop attuned writer and as a driving pianist. And that band? Saxist Stacy Dillard, trumpeter Sean Jones, bassist Matt Penman, drummer Willie Jones III and percussionist Keita Ogawa plus guests play a bunch of authentic tunes that sound as if they belong in the Golden Age of jazz in the 1960s all apart from the folkloric 'In Greece We Drink'. Van den Brink's reputation can only soar higher after a record that hits the spot as much as this does.