Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Omer Klein, Life & Fire, Warner Music ****

Everything springs from the writing: Our favourite piano trio discovery in recent years - Personal Belongings two years ago switched on an electric light inside - the paradox of that metaphor does not escape us even if part of the magic here is the …

Published: 3 Mar 2023. Updated: 15 months.

Everything springs from the writing: Our favourite piano trio discovery in recent years - Personal Belongings two years ago switched on an electric light inside - the paradox of that metaphor does not escape us even if part of the magic here is the doggedly acoustic sense the trio bring to their interplay.

Take the way the double bass is recorded on 'Song No 2' so soft, tactile and so very mobile that lifts its power to communicate. You would swear that it's possible to reach out and touch the strings given the clarity of the beat. Pianist Omer Klein is once again with bassist Haggai Cohen-Milo and drummer Amir Bresler. Tunes are by Klein and their strength is really why Life & Fire works so well. There's a Brubeckian sense to the hop of '3/4 Mantra', a folkloric skip to 'Tzuri' and springy jump to 'Cantando' that all proves so rewarding. 'Niggun' labours a bit too much (the only downside) but the ringing joy you get on the hugely melodic 'Spilt Milk' more than makes amends. 'Malchut' at the end is when Klein is at his loosest and reminds me here of Aaron Goldberg at his most joyful with the Yes trio.

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Vince Mendoza/Metropole Orkest, Olympians, Modern ***1/2

A considered dip into arranger-composer Vince Mendoza's long collaboration with the Metropole Orkest from the Netherlands guests include singers Dianne Reeves and Cécile McLorin Salvant while saxophonists Chris Potter and David Binney and …

Published: 3 Mar 2023. Updated: 15 months.

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A considered dip into arranger-composer Vince Mendoza's long collaboration with the Metropole Orkest from the Netherlands guests include singers Dianne Reeves and Cécile McLorin Salvant while saxophonists Chris Potter and David Binney and percussionist Alex Acuña are among the instrumentalist fire power. Mendoza draws inspiration from Cervantes on opener 'Quixote' and his stylistic palette, where you often hear a flavour of Gil Evans in his writing, also factors in a Brazilian dimension on 'Partido Alto.' Rather than pick out one piece it's better to see the album in the round given the panoramic vision in the writing and the grand orchestrated outcomes available at every turn. Norma Winstone's wise lyric on Mendoza's 'House of Reflections' sung exquisitely by McLorin Salvant ''you know that the road you travelled can't be travelled again'' stays with you lingeringly. Out today