Steve Tromans and Mark Sanders, Mountains, Meditations, Murmurations, Discus Music ***1/2

UK improvisers pianist Steve Tromans and drummer Mark Sanders recording here together as a duo for the first time - the recording was made in Birmingham's Sansom Studios last year. Often serene and certainly thoughtful avantist Tromans can be …

Published: 2 Aug 2023. Updated: 9 months.

UK improvisers pianist Steve Tromans and drummer Mark Sanders recording here together as a duo for the first time - the recording was made in Birmingham's Sansom Studios last year. Often serene and certainly thoughtful avantist Tromans can be rhapsodic while Sanders is a careful listening presence in response, his approach sometimes sparking thoughts of Sunny Murray in terms of sheer expansiveness and coiled power. Often hush laden and introspective the major extended piece is 'Golden Mountain,' much longer than the rest but it's an album where little moments count and hook you in. Certainly the pair follow a mindful approach that often reaches a sort of logical conclusion. And it's a soothing recording although sometimes you think Mountains, Meditations, Murmurations is only the start of a journey that might be developed productively on a further recording. Pick of the pieces is the shattering excursions Tromans builds on 'Third Murmuration' that contrast with the aching tenderness he finds at the beginning of the second of the three murmuration pieces. Sanders' cymbal dints and dings on 'Silver Mountain' are a good place to zone in to explore how his often minimalist touches do so much to add a more panoramic sense to the whole feel of what is absolutely a meeting-of-minds. Practically tailor made for all the Freeness listeners among marlbank readers.

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Bill O'Connell, Live in Montauk, Savant ***1/2

Don't expect fireworks but there is acre upon acre of solid playing here. And with tunes including classics by Duke Ellington, Bobby Timmons and Herbie Hancock and staples of the future in the work of pianist-leader Bill O'Connell himself this live …

Published: 1 Aug 2023. Updated: 9 months.

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Don't expect fireworks but there is acre upon acre of solid playing here. And with tunes including classics by Duke Ellington, Bobby Timmons and Herbie Hancock and staples of the future in the work of pianist-leader Bill O'Connell himself this live recording made at Gosman's Dock during the Hamptons Jazz Festival at Montauk on Long Island in 2021 taps the heart of the modern mainstream. Mainly a quartet affair Live in Montauk marks the first time that pianist Bill O'Connell has completed a recording with the Mwandishi era icon drummer Billy Hart. Another plus factor is a guest appearance by, once again - he crops up in lots of guest spots at the moment - trumpet legend Randy Brecker on opener Ellington's 'Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me' to begin with. Later, after a bustling introduction from O'Connell on his own piece 'Tip Toes' where Brecker harmonises deftly with tenorist Craig Handy, Brecker launches into a fluttering typically high energy solo foray. Fans of bassist Santi Debriano will know 'Ripty Boom' from 2020's Flash of the Spirit, a Debriano tune that O'Connell also joined him on and continues their journey on the tune here once again live. Highlights for us include the tender Handy solo on O'Connell piece 'No Rhyme or Reason.' Bill O'Connell, photo: press