Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

UK and Ireland gig guide 21-26 May

Iain Ballamy The Flute and Tankard, Cardiff Tuesday 21 May Charlie Moon O'Regans, Dublin Tues 21 May Launching Charlie Moon Sings & Plays singer-guitarist Charlie Moon is accompanied by double bassist Barry Donohue. Shirley Smart Trio Lescar, …

Published: 18 May 2024. Updated: 35 days.

Launching Charlie Moon Sings & Plays singer-guitarist Charlie Moon is accompanied by double bassist Barry Donohue.

Cellist Shirley Smart with pianist John Crawford whose new album Room for Dancing was released in the spring and percussionist Demi Garcia Sabat. Smart and Sabat were ace with Nikki Yeoh playing the music of Maurice El Medioni at Crazy Coqs last year.

Sold out.

The sax player known for his work with Gregory Porter playing from Roots to Branches. With pianist Idris Frederick, bassist Dean Torrey and drummer Ken Salters.

Sold out. The highest profile Scottish jazz musician since Tommy Smith first emerged, Scottishness is important in the grace notes, accents and naturalistic influences that pianist-composer Fergus McCreadie weaves in to his piano trio settings. Look no further on new album Stream than 'Driftwood' for proof. A very solid release up there with Cairn, McCreadie is a natural and newcomers can start right here or go back to his most acclaimed record Forest Floor for more. David Bowden on double bass and Stephen Henderson on drums again excel within team McC. The hymnal 'Mountain Stream' is just one of several tracks that reward repeated play.

2023's Purple / Black Vol 1 (Whirlwind) proved not at all a thundering chops fest on steroids because it is thoughtful, highly intelligent sounding developmental small group play from a quartet of significant players. Much preferable to Preston/Glasgow/Lowe's Something About Rainbows pianist/keyboardist Kit Downes on the record sounds different here, far more pared back than usual although he occasionally slips off the leash. David Preston - also known for his work with singer Ian Shaw in one of Shaw's best periods - renders 'Susie Q's' warm and Frisellian as is 'Salem Ascending' with its lovely woozy harmonising interplay between Preston and Downes. But there is also a lot of prog verging on mondo Holdsworth or areas too that border on jazztronica ('Cassino Dream') where Preston breaks through deliciously with some choice licks. The drummer here is Seb Rochford who with Downes has delivered one of last year's best albums A Personal Diary. The two contribute a lot in a group size here twice as large and where the writing is not Rochford's but Preston's - and valiantly questing it is too. Six-string bass guitarist Kevin Glasgow is a formidable player and completes the quartet. This setting isn't about showing off: tunes are quite oblique and intriguing rather than intense and fraught. You might not get all that this album has to offer on a first listen but patience is certainly rewarded. The best groove from Rochford is on 'Cassino Dream' but groove is only part of the panoply of approaches this inventive album dips in and out of.

By now some six years since we have had a new ECM album by the iconic British saxophonist and bass clarinettist John Surman, who turns 80 this summer, Words Unspoken is a beautiful, resonant, quartet album that, like its predecessor, Invisible Threads, was recorded at the Rainbow in Oslo. American vibist Rob Waring who like Surman lives in Norway is once again in Surman's band but both are joined for the first time by British guitarist Rob Luft and by Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen. It's all very pared back and softly conveyed containing a pastoral, naturalistic feel shaped around robust motifs that are delicately unpeeled harmonically by Luft and Waring while Surman himself weaves weighty explorations around the themes with both a gravitas and a sense of grace and playfulness as active ingredients. Certainly up there with some of Surman's best work in a long and distinguished career and one of 2024's top jazz albums.

The Northern Irish drummer best known for his work with the great American vintage jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux and rocker Brandon Flowers of The Killers, Darren Beckett also figured mightily on Live in Arklow, a standout album from George Colligan with Dave Redmond in 2020. Appearing down under Dean Street at the Pizza with bassist Dave Whitford (good with Paul Booth on Travel Sketches) and Irish bebop loving saxist Riley Stone-Lonergan, who is on the upcoming pretty superb Bag of Bones track Onwards and Upwards issued by 577 on No One Gets Saved Beckett gelled well with swinging Irish guitarist Lee Meehan last year on the terrific tip of the hat to dear Oscar in the title, Some of Us Are Looking at the Stars.

Heidi Vogel of The W, pictured, plays the 606 in Chelsea on Wednesday night. The great Phronesis pianist Ivo Neame is in Heidi's band set to play the 6

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Wadada Leo Smith and Amina Claudine Myers, Central Park’s Mosaics of Reservoir, Lake, Paths and Gardens, Red Hook Records ****

Duo albums - when they land right - can be as weighty as the manifestation of any big band. Notes ring in the air, but there is a nakedness that no massive firepower or sheer numbers can ever match. You get stark, almost a John the Baptist …

Published: 17 May 2024. Updated: 36 days.

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Duo albums - when they land right - can be as weighty as the manifestation of any big band.

Notes ring in the air, but there is a nakedness that no massive firepower or sheer numbers can ever match.

You get stark, almost a John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness wisdom to the great avant trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith who is very Tomasz Stańko-like on the opener 'Conservatory Gardens'.

And in his rapport with pianist-organist Amina Claudine Myers it reminds us of the much missed Stańko's work with the blind synth player Janusz Skowron on obscure beyond Poland 1990s album Tales For A Girl, 12, And A Shaky Chica. New York themed, where Stańko spent happy times living there in the latter part of his career and forming his own acclaimed New York Quartet, issuing label the Ireland based Red Hook also takes its name from an area of the Big Apple's Brooklyn.

John Fordham has called this album an ''elegiac homage'' and that is so apt given the poetic murmurations and airy, floating, ethereal mood. When Myers switches to Hammond organ on 'Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir' it is incredibly moving and Myers even steals the show on the exquisite 'When Was'.

A beautiful album and Red Hook yet again triumphs once again with Sun Chung's keen curatorial and ''producing as composition'' sense at the reins. Wadada is at his bluesiest and most fundamental on his homage to Albert Ayler and the muted John Lennon meditation at the end is a perfect way to conclude an album of intricate diaphonous mood and feeling.