The Jazz Defenders, Memory in Motion, Haggis Records ***1/2

Swung hard by the firm no nonsense sound of Kasabian drummer Ian Matthews, great on 2016 release The Kid with James Morton, Bristol band the Jazz Defenders have been around a while and hit the ground running with opener 'Meanderthal' and therein …

Published: 21 Apr 2024. Updated: 31 days.

jd

Swung hard by the firm no nonsense sound of Kasabian drummer Ian Matthews, great on 2016 release The Kid with James Morton, Bristol band the Jazz Defenders have been around a while and hit the ground running with opener 'Meanderthal' and therein pianist-keyboardist George Cooper is as frisky as a colt. And the good news more broadly is that the tunes - mostly Cooper tunes or co-writes also involving the pianist - are sturdy and communicative. There's Soweto Kinch-like rap from Doc Brown on 'Rolling on a High' that owes more to a 1990s Jazzmatazz kind of vibe. And yet the rest of the album and its pervasive sound is rooted firmly in the classic Blue Note spirit of the 1950s and 1960s - a side salad of soul-jazz is generously served with all the meaty horns and rhythm section sense of drive. The band double bassist here is Will Harris of Michelson Morley who leads off 'Take a Minute' while fine trumpeter Nick Malcolm - who impressed us on 2022 Rebecca Nash album Redefining Element 78 - is on form again meshing well with Michelson Morley/Get the Blessing luminary Jake McMurchie on the tenor saxophone. If you adore the classic Blue Note sounds of the 1950s and 60s you will not need to dial into Google Maps to locate the sound here because it's in your head and heart already and the Cooper writing angle is corkscrew accurate enough to achieve the sweetest of pops when these vintage bottles are uncorked. There could have been a bit more like 'Engima (Live in Paris)' for the ballad lovers among us for even extra value but regardless tis a great Sunday morning listen. Tonight the Jazz Defenders, above, photo: press, play The Cluny in Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Tags: Reviews

Shabaka, Perceive Its Beauty, Acknowledge Its Grace, Impulse ****

Number 1 at the moment in the official UK jazz and blues sales chart as of 5.45pm yesterday afternoon, all is yes. The eyes of a scene… the ayes have it reflecting consensus in early reviews ''voted for'' critically… and in the moolah department at …

Published: 20 Apr 2024. Updated: 32 days.

Next post

Number 1 at the moment in the official UK jazz and blues sales chart as of 5.45pm yesterday afternoon, all is yes. The eyes of a scene… the ayes have it reflecting consensus in early reviews ''voted for'' critically… and in the moolah department at this stage enough perhaps… commercially.

Shabaka Hutchings - as flautist - hinted at a purple patch to come - more in the tank certainly as it has proved - on the 5-star mini-album Afrikan Culture last year and there was also a treat in his cameo ringing up the wonderful Amaro Freitas psychic hotline evidenced earlier this year.

Zoning in on the Japanese shakuhachi - if you know Arve Henriksen's experimentations influenced by Nils Petter Molvær there is a complete communion there with the Norwegians in that post-Khmer regard - but c'mere Perceive Its Beauty, Acknowledge Its Grace is even more all encompassing. With a big guest list of top name players contributing including South African pianist Nduduzo Makhathini and the US master Jason Moran of The Bandwagon renown, it's for us ethereal singer Moses Sumney and electronica maven Floating Points who steal the show in terms of guest contributions. There is despite all the press about Shabaka giving up the tenor - don't blink twice it's alright - Bob's your uncle - a bit (whisper it quietly) of sax from the Brum legend on the Indojazz fusion track 'Breathing'. Elsewhere there is a little Ethiojazz among many other riches from the pen of Shabaka. Fantastic - surely the future phD research community in embryo will be gearing up with thesis ideas soon inspired by such Afropean innovations. Time - surely too for Shabaka to buy a new, longer, mantlepiece when jazz awards season kicks in properly to add to his decent collection already gathered down the years if there's any justice.