Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Xhosa Cole collaborative duos album Ibeji to be released in November

It's an 11 November release for new Stoney Lane Records release Ibeji next up from Xhosa Cole. Described as ''a collaborative project of duos featuring seven eminent percussionists of African descent'' - sax and percussion duets are interspersed …

Published: 11 Oct 2022. Updated: 21 months.

It's an 11 November release for new Stoney Lane Records release Ibeji next up from Xhosa Cole. Described as ''a collaborative project of duos featuring seven eminent percussionists of African descent'' - sax and percussion duets are interspersed with conversations and interviews involving the participants. The album title is a Yoruba orisha orignated word for ''twins''. 'Doo-shima' features Ian Parmel; 'Andy's Shuffle' and 'Native Tongues,' Jason Brown.

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'Dance of Ancestra' features Adriano Adewale. 'Our Search For' - Mark Sanders. 'Double Displacement' features Corey Mwamba. 'All Roads', Xhosa's brother Azizi Cole. And the title track has the great Lekan Babalola known for his work with Cassandra Wilson in a featured spot.

More reading:

K(no)w them, K(no)w Us review (2021)

Xhosa Cole live playing Unity (2020)

updated - with the lead-off track 'Andy's Shuffle' feat. Jason Brown added on 14 October

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Henry Spencer and Juncture, Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho ***

The house PA carried John Coltrane's version of 'I'll Wait and Pray' before trumpeter and flugel player Henry Spencer came on with his quintet, Juncture. Trane's son Ravi is in London tonight playing the Barbican. Spencer has been making a name for …

Published: 11 Oct 2022. Updated: 20 months.

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The house PA carried John Coltrane's version of 'I'll Wait and Pray' before trumpeter and flugel player Henry Spencer came on with his quintet, Juncture. Trane's son Ravi is in London tonight playing the Barbican. Spencer has been making a name for himself over the past few years quietly and steadily and was playing Soho after gigs in Romania and in France on tour recently. He studied at Guildhall and was playing his own compositions on this occasion with a very fine band who included guitar innovator Ant Law superb here almost Miles Okazaki-like customising the sound with delicate arpeggiated accompaniment, blistering bent-note work outs when he broke free - and a keen sense of volume control at all times.

The style of Spencer's often dark and probing compositions are plangent and yet anthemic in their resolution into some kind of catharsis. The sound of the New Orleanian Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah circa Anthem sprung to mind often during the evening.

The Pizza looks different these days - see our report on the new look club published back in the summer. The place sounds better than ever, the differences are subtle. It's if anything softer and more tactile as an acoustic and when Spencer took the volume up for an almost fanfare type blast of passionate fervour there was nothing brash or harsh in the heavier volume.

Showtime was 8pm. The club was starting to fill a bit more. Matt Robinson on piano, Nord and using an OP-1 synth to up the gear factor unobtrusively (the musicians joked it seemed to not be working later) Spencer's trumpet was miked up and his flugel tones were full and warm.

The bearded Ant Law - he joked during the break when marlbank grabbed a quick word with the guitarist that it hid his mother's chin! - was to the right and was quite a presence. He's been working with Emma Rawicz, currently the hottest new sax name on the UK scene. And he says interestingly that there's a lot of big label interest in the saxist. Check out Ant's fine new recording with Alex Hitchcock.

Spencer, sleeves rolled up, began with a composition 'Eulogy' dedicated for his grandfather, the affecting ballad led by Law. To some extent piano was less important as a lead instrument in the sound although given the harmonic depth both piano and guitar provided in tandem Robinson's role should not be underestimated one bit. The rolling fills and very melodic (if that isn't a contradiction in terms) drum lines were provided by Dave Ingamells who was on Brandon Allen's Stanley Turrentine homage earlier this year. In looks he resembles fellow drummer Clark Tracey a tiny bit. And he plays a bit in the same style although he has a heavier mallet sound and certainly gives a lot of oomph to the ensemble. We liked the deliberate rubato effect that the band achieved in one passage. Other material during the two sets included 'The Defector'. Scottish bassist Andrew Robb here completing the band is a player who goes way back with Spencer - they used to share a flat when they were students and his contribution was tonally rich in key passages.

'Hindsight Can Wait' was a later significant piece in the concert and of the new material the Trump anti-homage working title of which is '45 FU' based on something written on a sign in the middle of Wendell, Massachusetts, America's most liberal town, Spencer mentioned to the gathered throng and where he was playing in the vicinity of not too long ago.

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There is a dystopian sense to the mood music in some of Spencer's best motific ideas. Talking to marlbank in the break he mentioned how he is influenced by the aforementioned aTunde Adjuah, Miles and Ambrose Akinmusire. Juncture used to have Nick Costley-White on guitar he said. And Spencer explained that he had initially met Ant in Edinburgh playing at The Jazz Bar. ''I wanted to be a singer songwriter,'' he admits to our surprise and certainly doesn't rule out working with singers in the future. But for now having recorded with strings recently the direction is looking to a fuller instrumental sound. A fair amount of new material was unveiled last night and certainly the compositions both new and old and however complex they are at times are convincing and stacked full of interest. 'Real People' contained the best tune of the evening.

Henry Spencer, photo: marlbank