Sarah L. King, Fire Horse, Peccadillo ****

Pure toned new to us singer-songwriter Sarah L. King is brilliant. Produced by Claire Martin of production house ECN who also provides backing vocals with Ian Shaw there are eight King originals - and the covers folded in include Oliver Nelson …

Published: 18 Feb 2024. Updated: 2 months.

Pure toned new to us singer-songwriter Sarah L. King is brilliant. Produced by Claire Martin of production house ECN who also provides backing vocals with Ian Shaw there are eight King originals - and the covers folded in include Oliver Nelson classic 'Stolen Moments' and Billy Strayhorn's 'Lush Life'. Jim Watson is on piano and keyboards, he was last heard by marlbank playing live in Tessa Souter's band a year ago over in Chelsea, and accompanies beautifully particularly in the duo section on the Strayhorn. Welsh wiz Laurence Cottle on electric bass - hear Cottle deliciously at the beginning of 'Mystery Ride' - Jeremy Brown on double bass, good with his O'Higness Dave of the sax in recent years, the UK's top jazz drummer Ian Thomas, see list, and on his swinging time (ye gadds) keeping on 'Devil May Care,' the best of the standards, is another proof of why he can be seen as the Welsh Steve Gadd. By the way James McMillan is on flugelhorn and Chris Traves is on trombone - and yet the main focus is between the rhythm section, King and backing vocals. 'Show You The Way To Go' is pleasantly swinging - lyrics include best of all the turn of phrase on the reproachful you-let-me-down song 'Born Yesterday' that takes a different tilt to the nevertheless simpatico Sarah Moule register and sound. Plays Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho at lunchtime today, sold out; and at Piano Smithfield near the Barbican also in London on 19 April.

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Expect originals, spontaneous composition and standards on a solo piano studio release from the master Fred Hersch

ECM indicate that in the spring they will release the latest from piano master Fred Hersch. Silent, Listening is the title of the album, a solo piano studio creation, recorded in the Swiss city of Lugano in May 2023 at Italian-Swiss Radio/TV …

Published: 18 Feb 2024. Updated: 24 days.

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ECM indicate that in the spring they will release the latest from piano master Fred Hersch.

Silent, Listening is the title of the album, a solo piano studio creation, recorded in the Swiss city of Lugano in May 2023 at Italian-Swiss Radio/TV company RSI's Auditorio Stelio Molo.

Hersch says that the title piece ''has written material at the beginning and the end, and I improvise on its motives and feel.”

Spontaneous compositions among the set in the titling riff on Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) work - 'Volon', the name also for instance of a 1971 cardboard artwork of the world famous visual artist; and 'Aeon' sees a Rauschenberg reference in the assembling of a work called the Aeon machine, an element of the set design for dance choreographer Merce Cunningham's work Aeon.

Of the standards Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington’s 'Star-Crossed Lovers' also known as 'Pretty Girl' is among the material - the line in the S-CL titling is from Romeo and Juliet, “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,/ a pair of star crossed lovers take their life” (Prologue 5-6) and appeared on 1957's again Bard-citing Ellington classic album Such Sweet Thunder (this time the play that the line in the album title came from was from the comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream) and has been interpreted notably in recent years by saxophonist Charles Lloyd and pianist Jason Moran on Hagar's Song reviewed in these pages in 2013.

Yet another Shakespearean reference is hinted at in the titling on Silent, Listening of the Alec Wilder piece 'The Winter of My Discontent' (Richard III - not quite verbatim given the use of a ''my'' rather than an ''our'') is a tune that Hersch began playing after meeting Wilder in 1978. Hersch has interpreted the piece before as an instrumental duo with the acclaimed soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom on their As One album released in 1985.

At the end of 2022 we last experienced the Hersch sound on a recording most recently and very much enjoyed his and Esperanza Spalding's duo album Alive at the Village Vanguard (Palmetto) particularly the joy expressed in Hersch's playing on Charlie Parker's '[My] Little Suede Shoes' and the crisp bite of Spalding's scat.

Hersch and Spalding were nominated for a Grammy in the best jazz performance category for that album's treatment of the Gershwins' 'But Not For Me'. Fred Hersch, photo: Roberto Cifarelli/ECM. The Silent, Listening release date is 19 April.

Updated - adding 'Akrasia' and 'Little Song' - on 30 March