'LITTLE SCORPIO' WE PICK OUT AS TOP COMPOSITION SO FAR IN 2022
The sort of album to introduce to a friend who has never appreciated jazz before. They may never turn back in their new listening choices on hearing this marvellous record which may be a turning point and all they need to jump into jazz properly.
As a listener you can actually move closer to the vision given the relatively organic production techniques. That is worth mentioning. Sometimes production puts up a barrier, not here. The miking essentially is key to the success of the sonics and the simple mix is not harsh at all and lands in lock step with the relatively narrow dynamic range. And it isn't only about musicianship although that is of a high level not a surprise given the collection of top players here who eagerly bounce of each other.
The first couple of tracks act as the bigger compositional vision shaped around the core piano trio of Jon Cowherd, known for his work in the Brian Blade Fellowship, Wayne Shorter bassist John Patitucci and drum legend (also a classic Shorterian) Blade himself known for being on the acclaimed 1990s Joshua Redman album Moodswing - Pride and Joy also enhanced by the widely adored saxophonist Chris Potter and the Weather Report percussion legend Alex Acuña.
'Little Scorpio' is new in the 1 luv marlbank track of the day spot and also in our composition of the year choice so far in 2022 given the beautiful soprano saxophone solo line from Potter and overall sense of flow. The whole recording sounds far less glossy whether this was deliberate or not is hard to say but on this the sonics are not at all clinical concert hall or the opposite beaten up honky tonk either. And yet it is closer to simplicity which enhances the listening experience.
A celebration, the pride and joy in the title, of Cowherd's young daughter and also a hat tip to Colorado where Cowherd lives, the album is family-first and prides an at ease sense-of-belonging and through what is spectacularly achieved a universal jazz consciousness in its grounded humanity that lifts everything higher through the art of musical conversation. There is certainly a positive remarkable life force at play on Pride and Joy as the style jumps in and out of straightahead jazz resonances and circles even to an easy folk-rock hinting mood in some melodic passages recalling the 1970s that singer songwriters in that decade were able to tap so mightily. Highlights in addition to 'Little Scorpio' include the Bill Evans tribute 'Plainfield' where the rustle of Blade's brushes is absolutely textbook. Just released