Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Steve Nelson Trio, A Common Language, Daybreak ***1/2

It's been a great year for prominent features on significant albums to showcase the vibes - first Joel Ross' excellent Nublues on Blue Note; then the marvellously adventurous Jim Hart Cloudmakers Trio release A Drop of Hope in the Ocean of …

Published: 6 May 2024. Updated: 2 months.

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It's been a great year for prominent features on significant albums to showcase the vibes - first Joel Ross' excellent Nublues on Blue Note; then the marvellously adventurous Jim Hart Cloudmakers Trio release A Drop of Hope in the Ocean of Uncertainty on Whirlwind. And now, perhaps the least challenging album of the three - not that edginess matters in the least because what is created works on its own terms - the latest word from one of the global masters of the instrument, Steve Nelson, who turns 70 this summer. Heard in trio mode playing standards with such aplomb in the company of Dutch bass and drums team Joris Teepe and Eric Ineke A Common Language was recorded at the Prince Claus Conservatory in Groningen last October where Nelson and Teepe both teach. Indulge yourself at length with their take on 'Bags’ Groove,' 'Satin Doll' and so many more evergreens. Monk's 'Well You Needn’t' and a lasting favourite of ours, Freddie Hubbard's evocative 'Up Jumped Spring' - introduced to the world on Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers' Three Blind Mice album issued on the United Artists Jazz label in 1962 - also figure. Gently swinging, full of interesting elaboration as Nelson goes into the interstices of the tunes to find new nooks and crannies, it's all an easy going but never dull stroll down memory lane spread over 2 CDs. Issued on the Daybreak imprint of venerable Dutch jazz indie, Timeless. Bags this quick.

Safe as Milt, l-r: Eric Ineke, Steve Nelson, Joris Teepe. Photo: press

Tags: Reviews

Tijuana Brass guitarist John Pisano has died at the age of 93

Known for his work with Chico Hamilton, Herb Alpert, Sérgio Mendes, Joe Pass and Peggy Lee, guitarist and composer John Pisano has died aged 93. A native New Yorker his albums under his own name included Among Friends featuring duets with Lee …

Published: 6 May 2024. Updated: 2 months.

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Known for his work with Chico Hamilton, Herb Alpert, Sérgio Mendes, Joe Pass and Peggy Lee, guitarist and composer John Pisano has died aged 93. A native New Yorker his albums under his own name included Among Friends featuring duets with Lee Ritenour, Phil Upchurch, Ron Affif, Dori Caymmi, Ted Greene and Pass.

Influenced by George Van Eps, Django Reinhardt, Tal Farlow, Jimmy Raney and Chuck Wayne, in the 1950s Pisano played with the US Air Force band and on demob worked with Chico Hamilton and also with Billy Bean.

From 1965 to 1969 John was a member of Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, and he also recorded with Sérgio Mendes’ Brasil ’66 and worked with songwriter Burt Bacharach. Pisano played on the first four Brasil '66 albums (Herb Alpert Presents… Sérgio Mendes, Equinox, Look Around, and Fool on the Hill). He co-wrote 'Wind Song' that Wes Montgomery included on 1968’s Down Here on the Ground and other well known compositions of Pisano's included 'Felicia.'

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Tributes to Pisano have included these words on Facebook from fellow guitarist Peter Bernstein: ''R.I.P. to the great John Pisano. A beautiful and generous human being and great musician. It’s a great loss for the guitar community worldwide as he brought so many people together. I feel lucky to have known him. My condolences to all his family and friends.''

UK jazz guitar great Martin Taylor also paid tribute on Facebook: ''Sad to hear of the passing of John Pisano. A guitar giant and a much loved and admired man.''