Track of the week: Billy Valentine & The Universal Truth, 'Home Is Where the Hatred Is,' Flying Dutchman/Acid Jazz

Meaningfulness galore from Billy Valentine on Gil Scott-Heron 1971 classic 'Home Is Where The Hatred Is' with drum deity James Gadson ('Express Yourself,' 'Lean on Me' - The Nightfly) and bass don Pino Palladino and featuring incredible Rhodes …

Published: 12 Jan 2023. Updated: 16 days.

Meaningfulness galore from Billy Valentine on Gil Scott-Heron 1971 classic 'Home Is Where The Hatred Is' with drum deity James Gadson ('Express Yourself,' 'Lean on Me' - The Nightfly) and bass don Pino Palladino and featuring incredible Rhodes electric piano from Larry Goldings and the head bobbing touch of guitarist Jeff Parker also within the heady strings soaked brew. Produced by John Coltrane producer Bob Thiele's son Bob Thiele Jr, Valentine's voice is like a cross between Bobby Womack and Jimmy Scott. Thiele Senior produced Pieces of a Man the Flying Dutchman slice of classic social consciousness on which 'Home is Where The Hatred Is' appeared. Yep, goose bumps everywhere on a beautifully produced track. Stunning is an understatement. Billy Valentine, photo: via Shore Fire

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Beats & Pieces Big Band, Good Days, Efpi ***1/2

Their third studio album the UK's Beats & Pieces Big Band 14 years on sound as good as ever pushing at the boundaries of big band which in lesser hands is an anomaly. The real meat of the album centres on the tough, cynical, world weary 'Op' …

Published: 12 Jan 2023. Updated: 16 days.

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Their third studio album the UK's Beats & Pieces Big Band 14 years on sound as good as ever pushing at the boundaries of big band which in lesser hands is an anomaly. The real meat of the album centres on the tough, cynical, world weary 'Op' while the elastic feel of 'Elegy' and above all in terms of confounding our expectations the tender 'Cminriff' are key tracks. Ben Cottrell's outfit recorded Good Days in Scotland and Manchester and utilise field recordings from Bern and Berlin - this aspect of the album doesn't work as well because the sound of bird squawking we can take but mostly leave. Tunes are mainly by the visionary Cottrell plus a couple by saxist Anthony Brown and one, 'Op', (streaming already) by drummer Finlay Panter. Where the band really comes into its own is when it does rain streaked melancholy and becomes more intimate as on 'Cminriff' which is not easy given the arsenal at the band's disposal that needs using. They all can't resist a bit of a blast when they get past the opening pleasantries of '(Blues for) Linu' and go raucous on 'Woody'. But stylistically Beats & Pieces are hard to place - they aren't old fashioned or at all American sounding in outlook. And they aren't avant-garde either. But they do deliver some individual statements that play with the form and manage to somehow locate intimacy even when everything goes full tonto. Their northernness wins out in the end. Out on 27 January. Click for upcoming tour dates