Sam Eastmond, John Zorn: The Bagatelles Vol. 16, Tzadik ****

A formidable coming together led by the UK's foremost exponent of the remarkable world of John Zorn something of a label regular on Tzadik London arranger and composer Sam Eastmond. Commissioned by Zorn, who turns 70 in September, to select and …

Published: 25 Jul 2023. Updated: 9 months.

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A formidable coming together led by the UK's foremost exponent of the remarkable world of John Zorn something of a label regular on Tzadik London arranger and composer Sam Eastmond. Commissioned by Zorn, who turns 70 in September, to select and arrange from his massive 2015 composed work The Bagatelles, Eastmond conducts an adventurous 12-piece who inject a Mingus like fervour to the sound - the front line saxists including Chris Williams and Emma Rawicz & trumpeters Noel Langley and Charlotte Keefe. The fiery rhythm section also brandishes Let Spin's Moss Freed on guitar particularly significant on '74' while fine newcomer bassist Fergus Quill often proves pivotal as the ensemble gain traction. You derive almost an antique sense of jungle period Duke Ellington in the trumpet foray on '78' but just as often the ensemble rip into a post modernistic routine ('63') in a feast of styles that prove a rollercoaster of a ride and an exultant way to mark Zorn's 70th.

Out on 8 September

The Eastmond ensemble plays Cafe Oto in London on 19 September. The release is part of a 4 CD box set also featuring work by Peter Evans, Ben Goldberg and the Chris Speed-Jon Irabagon Quartet with John Zorn.

Tour de force from Sam Eastmond, above. Photo: press

Tags: Reviews

Keigo Hirakawa, Pixel, Origin Records ***1/2

Bob Hurst completists may not know about Pixel new from Keigo Hirakawa released recently by US label Origin. Certainly they will want to. And for added value and the main focus beyond the great bassist's participation discover Hirakawa possibly for …

Published: 24 Jul 2023. Updated: 10 months.

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Bob Hurst completists may not know about Pixel new from Keigo Hirakawa released recently by US label Origin. Certainly they will want to. And for added value and the main focus beyond the great bassist's participation discover Hirakawa possibly for the first time, particularly his involving writing as the album is stocked almost to the brim of the knotty but immediately impactful compositions by the pianist.

The American-Japanese leader, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Dayton in Ohio who also holds a masters in jazz studies from the New England Conservatory, also has hired reedist and flautist Rafael Statin, guitarist Brandon Scott Coleman and drummer Alex White for Pixel - a link here is worth following in that Hirakawa was a sideman on Coleman's album Infinite Loop released six years ago. Hurst thrives on a riff most on 'Home Somewhere' and more broadly speaking melodies are bright, the stylistic remit loosely spanning 1980s and 1990s jazz-rock but the album sounds in no way dated. There is a generous dimension of rhythmical undertow to the tunes' harmonically progressive directions. Coleman's colouration of melody lines adds texture that opens up more expansive vistas. And in that regard MBASE era guitar hero David Gilmore springs to mind when listening to his contributions as a blues rock seam is prised open. The pianist leader's best soloing comes on 'Origami Beetle' and you can pick up some of the influence of Danilo Pérez there most.