Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Orrin Evans, The Red Door, Smoke Sessions ****

Clearly an outstanding release because of the arranging flair and the at easeness with a complex tradition that US pianist Orins Evans does so much to immerse himself in and if you like resusitate. Yes there is room for an old fashioned tenor …

Published: 16 Jun 2023. Updated: 12 months.

Clearly an outstanding release because of the arranging flair and the at easeness with a complex tradition that US pianist Orins Evans does so much to immerse himself in and if you like resusitate. Yes there is room for an old fashioned tenor statement on 'The Good Life' and no one is afraid to swing. Evans does well to balance gravity in the material - best grasped on the vocal 'They Won't Go When I Go' sung by Alita Moses or the curveball treatment of 'Amazing Grace' - and the more exploratory he touches upon say in the open waters of 'Weezy'. Last week we raved on about the version here of 'Dexter's Tune,' the Randy Newman Awakenings theme that moves and heals you as you listen, and in a more upbeat less ensweetened melodic way 'The Good Life' does the same. Bob Hurst from the Branford Marsalis classic quartet takes a terrific introduction on 'Big Small' and Jazzmeia Horn fans will need this track given her rousing performance here.

The title track also appeared on The Bad Plus 2019 album Activate Infinite when Evans was a member of Dave King and Reid Anderson's band.

Marvin ''Smitty'' Smith is the main drummer here and there is a lot of authority in what he brings to the album. New Orleans trumpet icon Nicholas Payton is puckish and energy laden especially on the extravagant part he plays on 'All the Things You Are' so there is a lot of incident and passion in the approach everywhere you look. Out today

Orrin Evans, top. Photo: orrinevansmusic.com

Tags: Reviews

Meshell Ndegeocello, The Omnichord Real Book, Blue Note ****1/2

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ON MARLBANK FOR WEEK BEGINNING 19 JUNE 'Virgo' heralding release proved Afrofuturistically funky and a beckoning from another universe. That is one point of entry here. But there are so many ways in. A deft way of shifting the …

Published: 16 Jun 2023. Updated: 12 months.

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ALBUM OF THE WEEK ON MARLBANK FOR WEEK BEGINNING 19 JUNE 'Virgo' heralding release proved Afrofuturistically funky and a beckoning from another universe. That is one point of entry here. But there are so many ways in. A deft way of shifting the tectonic plates of what you might expect operates even when you feel in a safe space settling into a jazzfunkilyR&BAfrojazz mélange of such originality. There is no one like bass guitarist, singer, composer, bandleader Meshell Ndegeocello here with her first album for Blue Note. Joining the American is an interesting array of guests from various backgrounds - Josh Johnson, Jade Hicks, Deantoni Parks, Jeff Parker, Cory Henry, Joan As Police Woman on the oh so tender 'Gatsby', Joel Ross, Jason Moran, Thandiswa, Brandee Younger, Julius Rodriguez, Hanna Benn, Ambrose Akinmusire, The Hawtplates and World Saxophone Quartet legend Oliver Lake. 'Perceptions' featuring Jason Moran is the ultimate pick here and proves mesmerising, calming and challenging. The two Hawtplates tracks lift us higher into a very spiritual domain and 'Vuma' is so scintillating, the South African sounds sliding us effortlessly on to the dancefloor by adding a vital expansiveness and sense of swaying propulsion. Ndegeocello's anarchic beat on ''things fall apart oh happy day'' song 'Burn Progression' featuring Blue Note trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is yet another significant highlight. Essential. Out today. Meshell Ndegeocello, photo: Charlie Gross