Vicki Burns, Close Your Eyes ***

Track of the day and new in the One Love spot, the first new occupant of the section in a few days - Vicki Burns sounds great and a bit like the revered Dena DeRose. Listen to DeRose singing the same standard in a very different chamber jazz …

Published: 5 Jul 2022. Updated: 36 days.

Track of the day and new in the One Love spot, the first new occupant of the section in a few days - Vicki Burns sounds great and a bit like the revered Dena DeRose.

Listen to DeRose singing the same standard in a very different chamber jazz arrangement from 20 or so years ago on, appropriately given some words from the lyrics - the Love's Holiday album.

But who exactly is Vicki Burns? Certainly not a beginner - the US singer has established a strong track record over the years. And while coming up to the present and perusing a list of personnel on Bandcamp look there is drummer Billy Drummond. And the very good news is that the Carla-ite is back and topical with his first record under his own name in around a quarter of a century - the upcoming for August and excellent Valse Sinistre.

With Drummond in the rhythm section are bassist Sam Bevan and Stacey Kent's relatively new pianist Art Hirahara who provide a firm foundation for the horns and flute. Burns released Siren Song in 2005 and a live quartet album three years later and in 2020 Bittersweet on which the personnel on the new record also figured.

As for the 1933 Bernice Petkere song first recorded by Freddie Martin and his Orchestra that year these are favourite versions of ours to dip into:

The first is a doo-wop tinged bouncing treatment and top 20 UK hit from Tony Bennett in 1955.

The second is the gorgeously lush Billy May arranged easy listening treatment with strings by Nancy Wilson found on Tender Loving Care dating from 1966.

And the last and best of these is Stacey Kent's very tidy and concise girl-next-door 1997 treatment aided by the Getzian dreaming of Jim Tomlinson on tenor saxophone, found on an album of the same name that catapulted the American singer into the jazz limelight on the UK scene heavily backed at the time by Humphrey Lyttelton on his BBC Radio 2 weekly show.

The Burns track has a storming contrapuntal feel in the opening statement set up by drums and piano. Beyond simple riff/groove clichés the momentum involves more overt swing led by Drummond and moved ultimately after first conversational obbligato trumpet and a peeling-off solo into more of an AfroCuban arena. All is eventually judiciously garnished by flute as if ta-da dancing unselfconsciously around the main strand of the sound. Drawn from Lotus Blossom Days

Donate

Tags: reviews

Al Foster, 'Pent-Up House,' Smoke Sessions ****

Another rare treat from a veteran and someone whose work always makes the spine tingle. Drummer Al Foster, 79, the Miles Davis player who was on 1970s and 80s albums of the trumpet genius including In Concert: Live at Philharmonic Hall, Big Fun, …

Published: 5 Jul 2022. Updated: 36 days.

Next post

Another rare treat from a veteran and someone whose work always makes the spine tingle. Drummer Al Foster, 79, the Miles Davis player who was on 1970s and 80s albums of the trumpet genius including In Concert: Live at Philharmonic Hall, Big Fun, Get Up with It, Dark Magus and on through to Decoy, You're Under Arrest and Amandla, has recorded the Sonny Rollins classic standard before on a 1990s Hank Jones trio recording as a member of the much-missed great pianist's trio.

'Pent-Up House' which has a bebop chirpiness and harmonic joie de vivre to it first appeared in 1956 on the Sonny Rollins plus 4 album. The instrumentation on the Foster treatment recorded at Sear Sound in New York keeps to the classic quintet sound. And in Foster's band are the two Ps - peas in a pod for rapport going by the sound of the connoisseur blend - stellar iconic ease and magnitude of all-round masters-at-work prowess in one, the New Orleanian and Smoke Sessions labelmate Nicholas Payton on trumpet and, two, the Michael Brecker of the 21st century Chris Potter (the ex-Dan, Dave Holland, McCoy Tyner titan) on tenor saxophone.

Al says via his publicist: “I fell in love with Sonny Rollins from his albums with Max Roach. He played so lyrically on those records. It was like he was having a conversation through his solos. What a super genius he is.”

Foster's pianist is Kevin Hays and the fine double bassist the Glasperian Vicente Archer, superb last year on Orrin Evans' The Magic of Now and the rhythm section generates the right kind of traction the piece needs as it jabs and shadow boxes once again into our deep jazz head consciousness.

'Pent-Up House' is drawn from the Paul Stache and Damon Smith produced Reflections to be issued on 26 August and guaranteed to put a significant skip in your step to ward off all languor given the integrity of approach and taste exhibited by all concerned. Payton delivers some blistering solo work in key passages as the master throws rhythm after rhythm to him to play with time after time.

Donate