Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Josh Lawrence, Measured Response, Posi-Tone ***1/2

Stacey Kent pianist Art Hirahara opens proceedings here on trumpeter Josh Lawrence's latest. As you'd expect on very middle of the road label Posi-Tone the imperative to lightly and gently swing is the name of the game. The label also is good at …

Published: 28 May 2024. Updated: 53 days.

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Stacey Kent pianist Art Hirahara opens proceedings here on trumpeter Josh Lawrence's latest. As you'd expect on very middle of the road label Posi-Tone the imperative to lightly and gently swing is the name of the game. The label also is good at retaining a solid repertory company of musicians - so long time followers of this US indie will not be surprised to note the presence of Bill Frisell drummer Rudy Royston here nor indeed tenorist Diego Rivera - and swinging bassist Luques Curtis completes the playing personnel.

Tunes include Orrin Evans Orchestra member Lawrence's own plus a version of Charlie Haden's evocative 'Song for the Whales,' that goes back to 1979's Old and New Dreams later covered by Charlie's daughter Petra in the 1990s and by Haden in duo with John Taylor 20 years ago. That's a wonderful choice and gives the album a lot more width and stylistic variance. Full marks for the ingeniously entitled and very swinging 'Every Choice Comes With an Invoice' - musicians have to pay so much to get their albums made these days when labels can be little more than transactional production houses - and great graphics in the strong cover art.

We are lovers of John Coltrane's 'Wise One'. So it's good it's here. Although the treatment is nowhere nearly as effectively rendered as John Abercrombie or Bobby Hutcherson's 2012 covers of the classic. But Royston lovers will love the drummer's part on 'Flip on a Drip'. Overall then a very solid release from Lawrence - and we like it even more (because of the Haden cover mainly) than last year's And That Too which up to now was easily our favourite of the Lawrence oeuvre.

Tags: NEW in reviews

Oded Tzúr, My Prophet, ECM ***

With only five significant tracks - the opener 'Epilogue' (surely an epilogue comes at the end?) is not so - a contrast to the whopping title track which comes in at over 11 minutes - the My Prophet line-up is a quartet formation - the Israel born …

Published: 28 May 2024. Updated: 53 days.

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With only five significant tracks - the opener 'Epilogue' (surely an epilogue comes at the end?) is not so - a contrast to the whopping title track which comes in at over 11 minutes - the My Prophet line-up is a quartet formation - the Israel born New Yorker tenorist Oded Tzúr along with compatriate regular pianist Nitai Hershkovits, whose own Call On The Old Wise (2023) is actually a much better album, Greek bassist Petros Klampanis and Brazilian drummer Cyrano Almeida who is new to the band and whose approach is a little Seb Rochford-like.

My Prophet was recorded last November in the revered French studio of La Buissonne, a favoured spot that has proved very worthwhile for producer Manfred Eicher in recent decades and where Ahmad Jamal recorded his late period Jazz Village classic Saturday Morning more than a decade ago.

'Through a Land Unsown' - not a gloomy Jeremiad at all but certainly sincerely conveyed - is the most striking of the tracks and in terms of flow when Tzúr comes alive more on 'Renata' it's a purple patch of considerable quality. But Isabela is far better - earlier work of the pastorally inclined saxist's work on the same issuing label - read a review of that fine 2022 release here.

'Child You' from My Prophet is streaming