Track of the day: Boosted - Yvonnick Prené

One of those situations when just about everyone on the album is far better known than the leader. 'Boosted' as if to compensate was nevertheless written by the leader French harmonica player Yvonnick Prené who delivers the head bobbing …

Published: 26 Dec 2022. Updated: 34 days.

One of those situations when just about everyone on the album is far better known than the leader. 'Boosted' as if to compensate was nevertheless written by the leader French harmonica player Yvonnick Prené who delivers the head bobbing sharps-and-flats strewn syncopated head riding on the back of a shuffling groove in Bristol fashion.

According to issuing label Sunnyside the piece explaining the name given to it was written by Prené when the wiz ''fell ill after his Covid vaccination booster''. Once again Jeremy Pelt (qv The Heavy Hitters) produces although he's not on this particular track. Wait for the trumpet icon on Listen! selection Victor Feldman-Miles Davis classic 'Seven Steps to Heaven' to go full Pelt into one when the whole album is out in early-2023.

The 'Boosted' tenor sax line is by the formidable Dayna Stephens while the combination's pianist is Kevin Hays who was recently in London playing at the Vortex with singer Lily Lyons.

Hays holds the distinction of having appeared on Chris Potter's 1993 released debut as a leader, Presenting Chris Potter. Listen how his piano lines dance around the muted trumpet and sax lines in the deliciously mournful head on 'Uneasy Dreams' never getting in the way but always vital as a navigator. I wonder what, if anything, Potter has in the pipeline to mark this 30th anniversary milestone in 2023.

Much more recently Hays was superb last year on All Things Are.

Renowned John Scofield drummer Bill Stewart (Meant to Be, Hand Jive - mighty with Don Alias behind Larry Goldings seemingly going all Mo Allison 'Parchman Farm'-like on 'Whip the Mule') and bassist Clovis Nicolas complete the rhythm section. Chromatic harmonica however counter intuitively works well as a lead instrument and it's all handsomely recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's.

Get a head get a hat: Yvonnick Prené photo: detail from the cover art. Listen! is out on 20 January

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Chihiro Yamanaka, Today Is Another Day, Blue Note ***

The title track and 'Old Days' are Japan born New York based pianist Chihiro Yamanaka's compositions. Keith Jarrett's 'So Tender' (Standards Vol 2, ECM, 1985) a minute or so shorter than the Standards version and containing less dark a sonority, …

Published: 25 Dec 2022. Updated: 34 days.

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The title track and 'Old Days' are Japan born New York based pianist Chihiro Yamanaka's compositions. Keith Jarrett's 'So Tender' (Standards Vol 2, ECM, 1985) a minute or so shorter than the Standards version and containing less dark a sonority, Osvaldo Farrés 'Tres Parablas' ('Three Words') from the 1940s covered by Nat King Cole two decades later on the More Cole Español album are also on Today Is Another Day.

Ben Raleigh and Joe Zawinul's 'Midnight Mood' a piece that goes back to Zawinul's Money in the Pocket (Atlantic, 1966) later covered in the 70s by Bill Evans in trio formation at the Vanguard on Since We Met (Fantasy, 1976) is more the template for Yamanaka's accessible treatment. Bob Telson's 'Calling You', Cedar Walton's 'Ojos De Rojo', Denny Zeitlin's 'Quiet Now' and Harold Arlen's 'My Shining Hour' are also on the CD version.

Piano trios are often easy listening especially when there is a lot of dynamic exactitude in the balance between piano and drums - here Yamanaka's long time colleague LaFrae Olivia Sci at the kit.

Bass duties are mainly delivered on acoustic bass with a little electric on the title track, the players at work Jennifer Vincent and Yoshi Waki. Fairly undemanding overall, with a hankering for the 1980s in one solid strand of well-chosen material, but certainly pleasant enough - ideal in any playlist that includes sprinklings of Vince Guaraldi.

Chihiro Yamanaka, photo: publicity shot