Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

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.

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.

Tags: Reviews

Marlbank all-new jazz 10 - playlist

Updated daily - specially selected - the 10 new tracks that you need to stop right now and listen to asap. Catch up on some of Thursday's great choices - below: Sarah Hanahan, photo: sarahhanahan.com

Published: 17 May 2024. Updated: 36 days.

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Updated daily - specially selected - the 10 new tracks that you need to stop right now and listen to asap.

Catch up on some of Thursday's great choices - below:

160524ThursdayPlaylist

Sarah Hanahan, photo: sarahhanahan.com