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Revival Room, You Funnin' Me, Son? Efpi ****

You can get jaded. And then miraculously that feeling stops. It's when a track like 'You Funnin' Me, Son?' comes along. Garrulous conversational tenor saxophone, interesting non-corny organ accompaniment by one of the UK's most go-ahead players …

Published: 16 Jul 2021. Updated: 7 days.

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You can get jaded. And then miraculously that feeling stops. It's when a track like 'You Funnin' Me, Son?' comes along.

Garrulous conversational tenor saxophone, interesting non-corny organ accompaniment by one of the UK's most go-ahead players and a drum contribution that skates along knowingly and works out how to upset the applecart with darting ideas and a quick rhythmic wit, Manc trio Revival Room sound ancient and modern all at the same time. The three play from the heart and the same secular hymn sheet.

Adam Fairhall on organ is at the heart of it all and Mark Hanslip on the track while a throwback a little, if you are familiar with the sound of Tom Challenger you will know that there is a modernist sensibility rising up because Hanslip lands in the same space here on this track in a 2018 recording made in Leeds as you will find Huddersfield player Tom at times.

Johnny Hunter on drums is as usual a maverick presence, think Tim Giles a bit and can carve out a good, brittle, groove.

The track introduces the album also called Revival Room due at the end of this month. I had a few listens to the full album earlier in the week and it's one of the best UK-derived albums of the year to appear.

If there's any justice, the jury is out on whether there ever is alas, Revival Room should be clearing the mantlepiece and adding a few inches sideways along for all the awards going because it is outstanding given the character of the playing and the ideas that leap from the three of them. Let's see if these come along. The kudos is in the quality of the creation anyway and that's easy to discern. SG

Revival Room photo: Efpi/Bandcamp

Tags: jazz

Looking ahead to Mayan Space Station: William Parker 'Tabasco', Aum Fidelity ****

Call yourself a jazz fan and don't like ''avant''? But first up and unpick that: what a jazz fan actually is might be more abstract than you think (after all ''genre'' is more difficult to buy into and unravel than being mad-for-it over an artist …

Published: 16 Jul 2021. Updated: 7 days.

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Call yourself a jazz fan and don't like ''avant''? But first up and unpick that: what a jazz fan actually is might be more abstract than you think (after all ''genre'' is more difficult to buy into and unravel than being mad-for-it over an artist or a record); secondly, ''avant'' is a wide target and can span anything from the innovations of Cecil Taylor to the latest sounds of Angel Bat Dawid.

A Rorschach test to interpret reactions to 'Tabasco' to my knowledge does not exist. It would be fascinating to know the results of such an experiment. In lieu of that research path the instrumental lands at the feet of the electric blues end of the genre spectrum (and as ''free'' goes has very defined lines enough to make you feel it isn't ''free'' at all) with guitarist Ava Mendoza blazing a ferocious path, the actual avant lines coming from bassist William Parker interrogating the ostinato and the way he wrangles this riff through shifting accents and the elasticity of metre (although not that much initially even when the tectonic plates of the piece begin to shift and they do) and drummer Gerald Cleaver keeping time in a fairly straight manner however engrossingly throughout.

Things do change and that is the interesting thing all three players facilitate. Firstly: Mendoza starts to slow down and commences on fracturing her phrases. Secondly, Cleaver begins to pound. Thirdly, Parker tumbles through and somehow the three enter a huge space and then the real heart of the character of the improvisation begins beyond all the piled-up riffage debris from around 3 and three-quarter minutes in.

Drawn from Mayan Space Station out next week so much for ''avant'' terminology, eh? This couldn't be further from what anyone might sanely expect given some knowledge of Parker's playing. But that is the nature of such loose terms. The moral should it exist is that these genre pronouncements aren't that useful beyond shorthand and yet they are all around and are barriers that need dismantling however well we think we know what the sound approximates to because rely on them too much and we miss out on gems just like this particularly if not too fussed on avant. What it is here is a blues connotation that sizzles and soars in a universe ruled by James Blood Ulmer or Sonny Sharrock! But it is a new day after all and no one is resting on their laurels here or playing the past just because. SG

William Parker, top. Photo: Aum Fidelity/Bandcamp