Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Skip Grasso, Becoming, Barking Coda Music ****

Having heard Billy Drummond live recently any new albums that he is on is a favoured destination for more. And so here why not: a new name. Guitarist Skip Grasso who writes the tunes on Becoming recorded last summer in a New Jersey studio and does …

Published: 9 Feb 2023. Updated: 16 months.

Having heard Billy Drummond live recently any new albums that he is on is a favoured destination for more. And so here why not: a new name. Guitarist Skip Grasso who writes the tunes on Becoming recorded last summer in a New Jersey studio and does the arranging here also with bassist's bassist Harvie S - cast your minds back to the very fine Trio in Motion with Alan Broadbent that the septuagenarian legend S for Swartz is on. Pianist-organist Anthony Pocetti on 'Three Simple Truths' is most at ease on organ and pops up imaginatively on an array of solos when back on piano. Like someone reading a writer's manuscript before anyone else Drummond is like privileged first ears when the tune unspools given the way the melodies and harmonies have to be persuaded on to the listener rhythmically and not so much organised more understood. Harvie S does that tonally and when you hear little break out phrases not even melodically more intrinsic to the story being told beyond logic on the witty portmanteau of a title like the twinkling 'Harvie Livingston Seagull'.

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As in the world of the much missed John Abercrombie you get a lost in the music humility and being at oneness that is remarkable and as in Gateway when Jack DeJohnette understood Abercrombie better than maybe anyone, Drummond here gets what the thoughtful wistful, pastoral, tunes Grasso writes best needs. Grasso, who plays around the sprawling Baltimore and DC areas in the States, is making his debut here - there's maybe a bit of Pat Martino in his sound somewhere - and what a way to get us used to him. There's a whole lot of love here, what a writer this guy is.

L-r: Harvie S, Billy Drummond, Anthony Pocetti, Skip Grasso.

Photo: Jack Frisch/uprightgraphics.com

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Shiver, Shiver Meets Matthew Bourne Volume 1, Discus Music ***1/2

Have your cake and eat it. A 40 minute-plus single track 'Functional' is yes - a ''single'' in the Spotify sense. And the streaming behemoth of the beggarly royalty also bafflingly calls singles ''albums''. So for once this is an album - in an LP …

Published: 8 Feb 2023. Updated: 16 months.

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Have your cake and eat it. A 40 minute-plus single track 'Functional' is yes - a ''single'' in the Spotify sense. And the streaming behemoth of the beggarly royalty also bafflingly calls singles ''albums''. So for once this is an album - in an LP length sense anyway - actually more a veritable symphony given that Matthew Bourne is involved - no not the excellent dance choreographer of the same name but the equally great free-piano genius who should be a household name but isn't and probably will never be.

Taking on the mantle from past collaborator Keith Tippett there is a switching over from piano to Mini Moog by Bourne and you get via the latter a futuristic sheen to the endeavour. The recording thankfully isn't one of these lonesome remote occasions involving one man and his dog but more a litter of musicians let off the leash in the same room together - Shiver simply click on a personal chemistry level by going all Bourneful - the four of them gathering apparently to also tea drink and admire the stove.

Joost Hendrickx pants along like the best big dog clambering on to the drum kit, pounding a good deal while the interesting textural stuff is provided by that fine guitarist Chris Sharkey of Trio-VD and Bilbao Syndrome renown. Shiver are a trio by the way: our friend from the north bass guitarist Andy ''Shoes for Losers'' Champion is a stolid presence + Sharkey and Hendrickx complete that sensation. Music for the mind and the body. Don't wake up to their sound in the distant future when they all are long gone by then. This is invigorating music for the here and now experimenting in form and idiom that sheds more light on the state of the art than people content to run the changes incontinently all day long as ''under-conversation'' once in a blue moon in a function room will ever realise.

Shiver, photo: press