Pablo Held, Meet Me at the Loft, Own label ****

What a feast. The Loft is a club in the German city of Cologne where pianist Pablo Held has hosted numerous concerts with a wide range of guests over the years. On this generous live album blessed with a piano sound that is often rich and sonorous …

Published: 11 Jan 2022. Updated: 17 days.

What a feast. The Loft is a club in the German city of Cologne where pianist Pablo Held has hosted numerous concerts with a wide range of guests over the years. On this generous live album blessed with a piano sound that is often rich and sonorous there is an extraordinary array of talent including familiar names Kit Downes, Jorge Rossy, Gary Husband, Jasper Høiby, Norma Winstone, Ben Monder, Julian Argüelles and also along the way there is also the familiarity of a standard like 'Nefertiti' or 'Little Melonae' but just as importantly lots of less well-known material. Gary Husband injects a lot of heat on the pulsating Jan Hammer piece 'Thorn of a White Rose' while there's a poetic vocal from Norma Winstone' on 'Wintersweet' a piece she wrote with Kenny Wheeler and which appeared on 1990s Azimuth album How It Was Then … Never Again. Ben Monder's rendering of 'Late Green' (which was on the guitarist's 1990s trio album Dust) is easily one of the best things here. A treasure trove of an album all in all. As the years go by our admiration for Held just lifts higher and higher and he keeps incredible company here to amplify that effect. On Bandcamp

Tags: Albums and EPs

Unreleased John Taylor sextet Eye to Eye live album from the 1970s set for February

An unreleased live album of four tracks from 1971 by John Taylor's sextet is quite a revelation and to be released by the British Progressive Jazz label on 2 February. The band is similar to the Pause and Think Again album line-up released that …

Published: 10 Jan 2022. Updated: 18 days.

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An unreleased live album of four tracks from 1971 by John Taylor's sextet is quite a revelation and to be released by the British Progressive Jazz label on 2 February.

The band is similar to the Pause and Think Again album line-up released that same year and shares some material in common. (But there's no John Surman or Norma Winstone on these newly unveiled tracks.)

The horn interplay between Kenny Wheeler, Chris Pyne and Stan Sulzmann is really dynamic and sparkling and you get a sense of turbulent momentum on all the tracks. The band is completed by JT, bassist Chris Laurence and drummer Tony Levin whose thundering solo on the title track is a big highlight of these tracks greeted by shell shocked audience applause. A must for UK jazz fans of the period. The tracks in no way sound dated and share an adventurousness that chimes with today's most progressively-inclined UK new bands.