Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Tarbaby feat. Oliver Lake, Dance of The Evil Toys, Clean Feed ****

This week's avant and radical jazz highlight Dance of The Evil Toys is stimulating. Begun counterintuitively with a tender non-avant Trudy Pitts ballad sung by the great pianist Orrin Evans (The Magic of Now, formerly Ethan Iverson's replacement …

Published: 22 Jul 2022. Updated: 23 months.

This week's avant and radical jazz highlight Dance of The Evil Toys is stimulating. Begun counterintuitively with a tender non-avant Trudy Pitts ballad sung by the great pianist Orrin Evans (The Magic of Now, formerly Ethan Iverson's replacement in The Bad Plus), it's a reminder of a song that appeared two decades ago on Criss Cross release Blessed Ones which has a number of Pitts tunes.

The World Saxophone Quartet great Oliver Lake who turns 80 this autumn begins Lake's own piece 'Bonu' (also to be found serenely on the Lake and William Parker duo album To Roy) with such communicative, tender sound it's heartbreaking in a way so deftly followed by Evans. Lake is superb most of all on the very free 'Ke-Kelli' and on the Prince song at the end.

As we go through the album which has a good deal of variety and can not easily be pigeonholed which is to its credit prepare to jump into and out of an avant sensibility without seeing the process. Josh Lawrence on trumpet is significant on the title track.

Anchored by the classic Branford Marsalis Quartet bass star Eric Revis with the Bandwagon drummer Nasheet Waits as always eminently listenable to it's been a while since we heard anything by Tarbaby who are popular in continental Europe but don't really play the UK much ever.

They are certainly on our bucket list to see live going on this fine release. Best track is indeed the title track but there is an array. It folds in a percussion contribution from Dana Murray.

The antique isn't forgotten about and in this we also dug the Evans line at the outset of 'JRMJ' deftly accompanied by Waits. The surprise at the end is a cover of Prince and the Revolution's for the ages 1986 elegy 'Sometimes It Snows in April.'

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Bennie Maupin and Adam Rudolph, Symphonic Tone Poem For Brother Yusef, Strut ****

Not at all an indulgent statement from Mwandishi reeds great Bennie Maupin (as ''Mwile'' Swahili word for ''body'' on the classic 1971 Herbie Hancock record) in duo with percussionist Adam Rudolph in a 2020 recording, Rudolph played a lot with …

Published: 21 Jul 2022. Updated: 23 months.

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Not at all an indulgent statement from Mwandishi reeds great Bennie Maupin (as ''Mwile'' Swahili word for ''body'' on the classic 1971 Herbie Hancock record) in duo with percussionist Adam Rudolph in a 2020 recording, Rudolph played a lot with Yusef Lateef towards the end of the innovator's career and to whom tribute is lovingly made. You get direct-from-the source chills.

Maupin always has been an experimental player and the way his sax is treated in the airy electronic textured flavour to the sound around him works well. The arrangement is highly organic and is holistic in the best sense because it lends itself well to the immersive.

So as a listener you receive a real sense of kinetic lifeforce and yet a stark aloneness which is so advanced and post-modern but crucially speaks rather than preaches to you.

We land in an African spirit world and commune with all our human ancestors. Try to listen in one single sitting for best effect. Very painterly, particularly the third movement. The whole work sits well with any Don Cherry record (perhaps Organic Music Society) you might have in your collection as a parallel running emerging from a different eco-system but sharing certain core values.

Like Cherry Yusef Lateef was way ahead of his time. This tribute travels the road less travelled that Lateef knew and understood so well. SG