Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Saturday morning listen: Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Pioneers

This week's Saturday morning listen is from singer-songwriter cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson along with the London Symphony Orchestra's Percussion Ensemble on 'Pioneers' from the live album Ocean Floor out this autumn. 'Pioneers' is the second …

Published: 12 Aug 2023. Updated: 10 months.

This week's Saturday morning listen is from singer-songwriter cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson along with the London Symphony Orchestra's Percussion Ensemble on 'Pioneers' from the live album Ocean Floor out this autumn. 'Pioneers' is the second movement of the three-part title piece, the work partly inspired by 18th century British slave ship history. The album also includes new work by star UK jazz pianist Gwilym Simcock.

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Johnathan Blake, Passage, Blue Note ****

With toms as if tolling bells on 'Lament for Lo' it's a sombre start to Passage two years on from Homeward Bound and every bit as accomplished, with the drummer's band Pentad again in tow. There's glorious high register work from alto ace Immanuel …

Published: 11 Aug 2023. Updated: 10 months.

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With toms as if tolling bells on 'Lament for Lo' it's a sombre start to Passage two years on from Homeward Bound and every bit as accomplished, with the drummer's band Pentad again in tow. There's glorious high register work from alto ace Immanuel Wilkins on the title track and the way the band knit together, piquant tones from vibist Joel Ross, rugged support from pianist David Virelles and tonal mastery from bassist Dezron Douglas part of the recipe it's a textbook pushing forward from a progressive hard bop base into new space. Blake dedicates the album to his father violinist John Blake Jr whose own tune 'Passage' gives the album its title. Once again Blake's skill at curating a sound that comes over as very much his own emerges - full of humane touches and blistering musicianship, it's an album to spend quality time profitably with.

Johnathan Blake, photo: David Ellis