Trevor Watkis Routes in Jazz Group, The Music of Dizzy Reece, Blue Soundscape Music ****

A considered celebration of the Kingston, Jamaica, trumpeter Dizzy Reece (born in 1931) who made jazz history with the release in 1959 of the classic Tony Hall produced Blues in Trinity - here very elegant English pianist Trevor Watkis himself of …

Published: 25 Jun 2022. Updated: 3 months.

A considered celebration of the Kingston, Jamaica, trumpeter Dizzy Reece (born in 1931) who made jazz history with the release in 1959 of the classic Tony Hall produced Blues in Trinity - here very elegant English pianist Trevor Watkis himself of Jamaican lineage along with a US band comprised of expat fellow Londoner Ralph Moore, Josh Evans, Dezron Douglas, marvellous on the upcoming Billy Drummond album Valse Sinistre heard best at the beginning of 'The Rake,' and the Hargrovian Willie Jones III - The Music of Dizzy Reece is full of Reecian classics and complementary tunes.

Tracks covered include the Routes in Jazz Group take on 'The Rebound' and 'A Variation on Monk' from Star Bright (Blue Note, released in 1960), 'Sands' from Comin' On (Blue Note, recorded in 1960 but not released until 1999) and Watkis original, 'Stargazing.' The thing about this world-beating style that owes much to the Jazz Messengers plus a Caribbean lilt is that it does not go stale. And indeed the bedrock of much advanced jazz in the UK still comes out of bebop via Bird & Diz modified later by Art Blakey just as much as avant free-jazz and of course the Jamaican Joe Harriott was important in that radical new style as a pioneer.

You need to know the changes, a helluva lot of changes, be a monster player to deliver the style convincingly, and you need to know structures even if not sticking too obsessively to them. And when breaking through these you hear say Evans on 'The Rebound' emerging so unexpectedly to wail and express himself (or tight-mic'ed on 'Ackmet') it's a startling statement in itself no matter how you relate to hard bop.

Evans on one level is the main interest if you like given this is about a trumpeter's music. But it's obvious given Reece's compositional skill how the ''Group'' rather than ''Band'' in the period parlance are also a ''collective soloist'' over and above. And this brings us back to the structures of hard bop and how they unspool to embrace collective playing and individualism as everyone lifts and separates.

Watkis, the great singer Cleveland Watkiss MBE's younger brother, is never a showy player and all these years on since his Berklee days has long since absorbed his main influence Mulgrew Miller and is certainly his own man.

This Reece homage is Trevor's best album yet having built up a small but connoisseur-level discography to date and is a pleasure start to finish. 'Stargazing' fits perfectly among the Reece material which of course is partly the point but no mean feat to pull off and above all a testament to Watkis' prowess as a writer and hard bop visionary in his own right. SG

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7/4 time: we're listening to the classic title track of Avishai Cohen's Seven Seas (2011) and appreciating the freedom, space and life force found in the groove As you listen with us here are 7 to the fore ways to connect with marlbank 1 …

Published: 24 Jun 2022. Updated: 3 months.

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7/4 time: we're listening to the classic title track of Avishai Cohen's Seven Seas (2011) and appreciating the freedom, space and life force found in the groove

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Back in March bass don Cohen's 'Videogame' was in the One Love spot and one thing that you are never lacking on a record of his is energy and a dazzling sense of momentum. And sure enough on the single which introduced the new 2022 trio album Shifting Sands you get this in abundance with pianist Elchin Shirinov and drummer Roni Kaspi, Cohen sounding as powerful as ever.

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