Ulysses Owens Jr and Generation Y, A New Beat, Cellar Live ***1/2

Pretty generic as a whole but two tracks leap out, the first a wonderfully gutsy blues drenched vocal by Milton Suggs covering 'Heart Full of Rhythm,' a song identified with Louis Armstrong that you rarely hear these days. And even better a tender …

Published: 29 Jan 2024. Updated: 29 days.

Pretty generic as a whole but two tracks leap out, the first a wonderfully gutsy blues drenched vocal by Milton Suggs covering 'Heart Full of Rhythm,' a song identified with Louis Armstrong that you rarely hear these days. And even better a tender version of 'Helen's Song' by George Cables kept to the end which really is a treat. American Ulysses Owens Jr - best known for his work with Christian McBride - is a fine drummer and he has technique to burn. And mentoring his newcomer Generation Y band here he has one hand in the 1990s as this is such a ''young lions'' kind of neobop recording and one in the retro-loving now he makes sense of the tradition in transition in vibrant fashion.

Tags: reviews

Small Blue, The Stealthy Moon ***1/2

A welcome surprise to begin the new listening week with a piano trio recording from a new UK band called Small Blue, which is drummer-composer Martin Pyne with pianist David Beebee and double bassist Marianne Windham, the latter a mainstay of the …

Published: 29 Jan 2024. Updated: 29 days.

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A welcome surprise to begin the new listening week with a piano trio recording from a new UK band called Small Blue, which is drummer-composer Martin Pyne with pianist David Beebee and double bassist Marianne Windham, the latter a mainstay of the jazz scene in Guildford. I was only really aware of Pyne's more avant-garde work mainly on vibes and percussion but as so often with jazz musicians: categorise someone at your peril. Here it's a Bill Evans-type dreamy atmosphere at play with the tunes by Pyne and a balladic and gently swinging modal feel that transports you back to the 1950s and 60s. Subtle and elegant tunes crisply delivered include 'Seeking Refuge' that Pyne has already released on vibes on his album Ripples and a number of tunes inspired by literature drawn from the work of Wilkie Collins, Thomas Hardy and Louis MacNeice. The more oblique title track is inspired by Marilyn Crispell. SG

A couple of tracks are already streaming on Bandcamp ahead of the full 10 February release.