Track of the week - Kasper Tranberg, Circle Dance, April Records

Instead of guitar, tenor saxophone and of course drums as on the One Time Out (Soul Note, 1989) Motian/Frisell/Lovano version that introduced the Motian piece the Kasper Tranberg Nobody's Heart version is still a trio but trumpet-led - the whole …

Published: 7 Feb 2023. Updated: 14 months.

Instead of guitar, tenor saxophone and of course drums as on the One Time Out (Soul Note, 1989) Motian/Frisell/Lovano version that introduced the Motian piece the Kasper Tranberg Nobody's Heart version is still a trio but trumpet-led - the whole thing beginning with a stillness that upends the point of entry. Tranberg showboating? Not really at least at first, just declaring a musical premise which is almost like a mournful sundown lights out call which is then wakened sleeplessly by the ensemble, drummer Frands Rifbjerg very un-Motian like the way he scoops up inverted puddles of sound, the bass line hardly heard there much for now early on. Tranberg's version of the melody is less earthy than Lovano's and he does play the soloist maybe a bit more as he proceeds and makes the piece his own given how convincing the treatment is. His tone is incredibly characterful and supported beefily by the drummer.

There aren't many versions of the Motian piece out there by other people. So given this what a very good curatorial choice as otherwise it becomes so dull hearing the same pieces covered so often. Also check out Johnathan Blake's 2014 version from the drummer's quartet two-sax album Gone But Not Forgotten version where Chris Potter and Mark Turner vie to out fox one another.

Tranberg's treatment is found on a springtime release new from the Danish April Records label based on a Copenhagen concert hall recording dating back to last year. Detail from the Nobody's Heart sleeve, photo: April

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The 10 top UK jazz guitarists

You check out guitar George, he knows all the chords. Mark these sultans of swing still based on the UK scene today 10 Chris Montague Allan Holdsworth influenced guitar genius Chris Montague can play anything. 9 Jim Mullen Scottish …

Published: 7 Feb 2023. Updated: 14 months.

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You check out guitar George, he knows all the chords. Mark these sultans of swing still based on the UK scene today

10 Chris Montague

Allan Holdsworth influenced guitar genius Chris Montague can play anything.

9 Jim Mullen

Scottish soul-jazz icon Jim Mullen these days is most often heard in an organ combo situation. His heyday in the 1970s was in jazz-funk guise coming out of pub-jazz with tenor titan Dick Morrissey in the much loved Morrissey-Mullen Up era, an album that featured vocals from Luther Vandross and Cissy Houston no less.

8 Nigel Price

Come on down yes the price is right - hard touring Wes Montgomery influenced stalwart of the scene. Superb on Road Song.

7 Shirley Tetteh

First heard to considerable effect with Jazz Jamaica

6 Phil Robson

Titanic leading from the front with Wiggy in Partisans

5 Dave Okumu

Burst on to the scene with Courtney Pine - now most known for The Invisible and check him out with London Brew

4 Rob Luft

Meeting of minds in recent years with Elina Duni, Byron Wallen and his O'Higness, he of the sax rather than orb and sceptre

3 Martin Taylor

World class custodian of the spirit of Django. Papa? Nicole

2 Mike Walker

Inimitably, definitively, Impossible

1 John Etheridge

No one comes close

John Etheridge, Soft Machine legendary force on the UK jazz scene for yonks. Photo: public domain

  • Beyond the UK scene the greatest UK player to make his mark globally is of course the Mahavishnu himself John McLaughlin significant in at the birth of jazz-rock fusion with Miles, later blowing allcomers away with his own hugely influential Mahavishnu Orchestra and an Indojazz innovator of distinction with Shakti.
  • More in the top heads series - see the UK drummer count down