Melissa Aldana, Echoes of the Inner Prophet, Blue Note ***1/2

The bar is set very high but if push were to come to shove we do prefer 2022's 12 Stars and the vin extraordinaire Tripwire to this latest from saxophonist Melissa Aldana. Original tune 'The Solitary Seeker,' however, is a former track of the week …

Published: 13 Apr 2024. Updated: 39 days.

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The bar is set very high but if push were to come to shove we do prefer 2022's 12 Stars and the vin extraordinaire Tripwire to this latest from saxophonist Melissa Aldana. Original tune 'The Solitary Seeker,' however, is a former track of the week on marlbank so there be purple passages aplenty luckily me hearties more than the lurk and pounce of any passing dragons. A quintet album to shiver the timbres - the encantada formula is similar in terms of personnel. Because, with the Chilean, it's guitarist Lage Lund who co-produces the album with Aldana, pianist Fabian Almazan, bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Kush Abadey who is on the new slightly disappointing Ethan Iverson album Technically Acceptable - so apart from Almazan who comes in instead of Sullivan Fortner it's the same 12 Stars line-up. Maybe it just comes down to the fact we much prefer Fortner as a player among other factors in the sound. Pangs. The album also includes 6 new pieces by Aldana among the 8 originals with the title track dedicated to Wayne Shorter. Melissa Aldana, photo: Ebru Yildiz/Blue Note

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Dave Douglas, Gifts, Greenleaf Music ****

No one is pining for the fjords. Even better than James Brandon Lewis' Transfiguration because the material and overall gel prove stronger - check out above all the ingeniously raucous introduction to Billy Strayhorn's 'Take the A Train' on this …

Published: 13 Apr 2024. Updated: 39 days.

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No one is pining for the fjords. Even better than James Brandon Lewis' Transfiguration because the material and overall gel prove stronger - check out above all the ingeniously raucous introduction to Billy Strayhorn's 'Take the A Train' on this Brooklyn recorded studio album. And yet anything with Lewis on it is to be completely prioritised. Shoot us - but true enough - ''the gifts that keep on giving'' is such standards strewn fare where original thinking and writing are also carefully fed in throughout. And yet we do forget how formidable a player and composer Dave Douglas remains mainly because he puts out so many records of high quality, not necessarily his own on Greenleaf, and yet you never can have enough, can you? It's not like four buses coming along at once here. The trumpeter's form and overall thinking on recent releases particularly with a different band on the liturgically inclined Songs of Ascent Book 1: Degrees suggested a new purple patch. Upping the ante still further and helped by a welcome strong scent of Sweet Pea, the classics jaunty 'Rain Check,' 'Day Dream' on which drummer Ian Chang goes way beyond spang-a-lang into the freeness, and sombre 'Blood Count' are also generous pressies to a jazz listening community gathered hopefully around the maypole seeking inspiration to offset the dreaded torpor of invasive listlessness. The can do Chang adds plenty of edge as does guitarist Rafiq Bhatia. Don't assume, consume. Douglas originals capitalise this isle-of-manjazz and jostle with the classics as if to the manner born and the metaphysical day dreaming Donne.

F. o. n. t co-founder Douglas makes it again to Bray this time with a Britband dubbed the Eyes Up - saxist Trish Clowes, pianist Ross Stanley, the Holdsworthian guitarist Chris Montague and paradiddle wrangler Joel Barford who happily took the Epsom salts medicinally, Nigh on, Live at Peggy's Skylight. Dave Douglas, photo: Greenleaf