Ronnie Foster, Reboot, Blue Note ****

Half a century ago also on Blue Note Ronnie Foster's Two Headed Freap began a long and winding road that leads us to their door once again. Foster hasn't been holding his breath. Absent in the Blue Note catalogue for more than 30 of these years, …

Published: 10 Jul 2022. Updated: 31 days.

Half a century ago also on Blue Note Ronnie Foster's Two Headed Freap began a long and winding road that leads us to their door once again. Foster hasn't been holding his breath.

Absent in the Blue Note catalogue for more than 30 of these years, this George Benson Breezin' (1976) jazz-funk player, an organist, keyboardist, pianist, also known for his work on 'Summer Soft' with Stevie Wonder on the classic Songs in the Key of Life (1976) returns to the mothership in fine fettle. Where there's a Was there's often an Is given Don Was' propensity to get the veterans back and on the label again when some other firms riding the amnesia express don't even like to admit jazz musicians were around however preposterously before the invention of the Internet.

Reboot is full of meaningfulness and there's some formidable organ sprinkled throughout courtesy of the Buffalo, New York State-hailing septuagenarian on the title track. A joyousness in the soloing is obvious all over this unpretentious and still seriously cool often ripplingly effective record. With Ronnie's son drummer Chris Foster and guitarist Michael O’Neill in tow you mightn't have heard of the leader in a long while. But guaranteed you will be diving headfirst à la carte into the Foster crates for even more of the player's illustrious work down the decades before too long. That's because 'Swingin'' seals the deal before you get too long going. Thereon in free wheel away to your heart's content. 'After Chicago' goes even deeper following a solemn start. And for sheer straightforward instrumentalism the moment of moments is found on 'After Conversation with Nadia.' SG

Out on Friday

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Mike Soper, Undoing ****

Taking the long view it has not been a brilliant year for jazz releases so far if being really tough. Compare instead with say 2015 an annus mirabilis when Kamasi Washington's The Epic was released and the wider music world not only noted its …

Published: 10 Jul 2022. Updated: 31 days.

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Taking the long view it has not been a brilliant year for jazz releases so far if being really tough. Compare instead with say 2015 an annus mirabilis when Kamasi Washington's The Epic was released and the wider music world not only noted its comet-like appearance but actually welcomed Washington's remarkable sound that quickly became a statement for the new exciting vigour of the music which insiders long since knew was a factor but the outside world was oblivious to. That said there are a few dozen excellent records out there in 2022 that compare well with some of last year's best releases which was a pretty good year overall. Whether any of these will ''crossover'' or not is really not that interesting to speculate over.

But that number of top releases certainly includes the Laura Jurd produced Mike Soper quartet studio album Undoing just released and which is note worthy from a number of points of view not least because it marks the debut of the erstwhile Chaos Orchestra trumpeter.

We have compared Soper to Peter Evans of Mostly Other People Do The Killing renown and I think that definitely stands up after a number of close listens. But on some tracks also factor in the sound of James Copus as a close ''cousin'' although Soper is less Ian Carr-like.

Undoing contains flavours of punk-jazz ('Acrylic') and avant directions couched in an electronic keyboards language given Elliot Galvin's very significant showing on the album. Synth pop percolates through on 'Voice Led' and the Galvin connection extends to the fact that his own regular bandmate bass guitarist Tom McCredie is on the album. Jay Davis at the kit is an efficient presence. Soper's tunes above all else lift the album up to the remarkable heights he has achieved consistently throughout the album. SG

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