Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Rudy Royston and Flatbed Buggy, Day, Greenleaf Music ****1/2

Chamber jazz isn't a useful term but sometimes it is the only one closest available. Americana also isn't a useful term but sometimes it is the only one closest and anyway similarly amenable to some sort of bird's eye view. If you created a Venn …

Published: 25 Apr 2023. Updated: 14 months.

Chamber jazz isn't a useful term but sometimes it is the only one closest available. Americana also isn't a useful term but sometimes it is the only one closest and anyway similarly amenable to some sort of bird's eye view. If you created a Venn diagram stripped down from the two preceding sentences Day would fit somewhere there and in the evening - probably around dusk.

Imagine pre-jazz whatever chamber jazz might have been like if that isn't too paradoxical a thought. Because Day sounds like how you would imagine pre-records American jazz might approximate a long way from New Orleans. But there are no ragtime or quasi-classical sounds at all here and yet still sounds as if belonging well before the 20th century.

Maybe it is the rural parlour music feel in the arranging that conjures such a subliminal first coat. Drummer Rudy Royston's Flatbed Buggy isn't a new band at all. It has already established a sound that means something and that sound sits alongside some of Bill Frisell's work without being the same, just compatible.

Most of the tunes are Royston's. Day is a long play listen - usually a good thing and it's not a patience requirement - each piece seems to fit inside a vision rather than interlock in a cryptic mechanical sense or reflective of a mysterious theorem of the composer's own oblique design.

Royston, who is in his fifties, was born in Fort Worth, Texas and grew up in Denver, Colorado. The setting here is once again quintet - Royston with bass clarinettist John Ellis, accordionist Gary Versace, the Frisellian cellist Hank Roberts superb last year on Pipe Dream's Blue Roads and double bassist Joe Martin - who was on the excellent Mark Turner album Lathe of Heaven in 2014. We chilled to Martin and Royston swinging with Art Hirahara on Balance Point more recently. Described by issuing label Greenleaf Music as ''a musical evocation of Royston’s youth spent in rural Texas'' the album is dedicated to Rudy's brother Ritchie who passed away last year and to his erstwhile bandstand bro cornetist Ron Miles who also died in 2022 and with whom Royston worked on such work as 1990s album My Cruel Heart.

Joe Martin's 'Limeni Village' and Hank Roberts' 'A.M. Hours' fit well with Royson's writing style and do not jar.

Flatbed Buggy's first album was in 2018 featuring the same line-up on the self-titled release. One of the best jazz releases this year - we will certainly include the campfire sound of Day in our next best-of overall update when it is published in late-June. Rudy Royston photo: John Rogers/rudyroyston.com

MORE READING AND LISTENING:

· Royston is on Bill Frisell's Valentine - review, 2020…

· … also on Rudresh Mahanthappa's Hero Trio - review, 2020

· … and head all the way back to Frisell's Beautiful Dreamers (2010, Savoy) that shares congeniality and a sense of independently arrived at collegiality with the future Flatbed Buggy approach.

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Altin Sencalar, In Good Standing, Posi-Tone ***

None of the indie UK jazz labels - most far less strictly attached to orthodox retro bop manifesto approaches apart from Clark Tracey's Trio Records or Alan Barnes' Woodville - are as laser focused resolutely on straightahead and redolent of the …

Published: 25 Apr 2023. Updated: 14 months.

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None of the indie UK jazz labels - most far less strictly attached to orthodox retro bop manifesto approaches apart from Clark Tracey's Trio Records or Alan Barnes' Woodville - are as laser focused resolutely on straightahead and redolent of the ''Golden Age Blue Note classic 1950s and 60s'' sound as North American labels Posi-Tone, Cellar Live and Smoke Sessions.

Here's another case m'lud in evidence for the proposition from Posi-Tone. Point yourself firmly to The Cape Verdean Blues given that there is a version of the always thrilling 'Nutville'.

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The trombonist leader Altin Sencalar and JJ Johnson head, who even has a family hound called JJ - still making his way but certainly on a fast train - UK readers think these days Mark Nightingale stylistically as a shortcut to what the American does - folds in a version of Silver classic 'Nutville' which while nicely chiming and enjoyable doesn't quite have the punch in the sonic production of the original. You need more punch and period touches to go the whole nine yards for extra appreciation and full welly. But certainly subliminally you are partying like it's 1965.

That said because the label relies on such faithful and listenable to stalwarts as Art Hirahara, Boris Kozlov and Rudy Royston there is a sense to the overall sound that isn't the same as a modern 21st century Blue Note sound because if anything Blue Note under Don Was itself is far less stuck in the past given that their great alto signing Immanuel Wilkins just for one example is far more a Kenny Garrett lover (a much later period and not Blue Note) than a Jackie McLean head. Also good here is a version of Jack Wilson, bugalú-suggesting, 'Do It' which you never really hear covers of.

Out on 9 June - indulge yourself Golden Age head. US player Sencalar is off to a flying start. Saxophonists Diego Rivera and Patrick Cornelius also appear on this upcoming recording catnip for collectors of everything on Marc Free's estimable label.

Altin Sencalar, photo: Anna Yatskevich