Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Yes! Trio, Spring Sings, Jazz & People ***1/2

Alliterative optimism affirmatively speaking: More than five years whooshes by. Reason for such chin stroking is thinking of Groove du jour because the Yes (with an exclamation mark) Trio are back with a studio album succeeding their earlier work. …

Published: 24 Feb 2024. Updated: 3 months.

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Alliterative optimism affirmatively speaking: More than five years whooshes by. Reason for such chin stroking is thinking of Groove du jour because the Yes (with an exclamation mark) Trio are back with a studio album succeeding their earlier work. It's taken just under a couple of years since recording in April 2022 for the album to get released.

Recorded in a place called Malakoff in France, a short commute away from the centre of Paris to the studio, as for the playing principals they remain the same: firstly Ali Jackson - you may well recall from the drummer's work with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; secondly, star pianist Aaron Goldberg - The Now transfixed us in 2014; and thirdly bassist Omer Avital who contributes tunes like our currently playlisted 'Sheikh Ali.'

On 'Shufflonzo' if you know Brit pianist Gabriel Latchin's work a bit then you will dig Goldberg here a lot. Standards this time are a sprightly take on Coleman and Leigh's 'The Best is yet to Come' and Irving Berlin's 'How Deep is the Ocean' begun by very brief solo drum work. Jackson's stately bossa 'Sanción' is great. While still preferring Groove du jour, nevertheless, this latest is not without its merits given how high the bar is set. Spring Sings at its best thrives the more languid it sounds. l-r: Omer Avital, Aaron Goldberg, Ali Jackson. Photo: press

Tags: Reviews

Rod Stewart with Jools Holland, Swing Fever, Rhino ***

Fans of Sir Rod Stewart and/or Jools Holland may well want this in all sentimentality. Like them both? Bingo. Among the highlights here is the version of 'Night Train' which is OK and the chugging ska-like rhythms in the arrangement on the Phil …

Published: 24 Feb 2024. Updated: 3 months.

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Fans of Sir Rod Stewart and/or Jools Holland may well want this in all sentimentality. Like them both? Bingo. Among the highlights here is the version of 'Night Train' which is OK and the chugging ska-like rhythms in the arrangement on the Phil Manzanera produced 'Love is the Sweetest Thing' - ditto. Rod seems very comfortable with Jools, maybe that's the secret of the pianist's success - his sheer clubbability on the bandstand and studio is clear. The great rock singer gregariously belts everything out in his unmistakably gravelly tones.

Jools' best bit is the stomping Meade Lux Lewis-like atmosphere he clambers into found on the Nitin Sawhney produced 'Frankie and Johnny' that is by far the best thing here on an album that makes generous use of Manzanera of Roxy Music renown in the production department. Personally speaking I prefer the sound of Rod Stewart's voice to Jools' piano playing - but not Rod's Great American Songbook releases, more his Faces period.

'Frankie and Johnny' is not done as skiffle. Pre-knighthood Van Morrison's live version with Lonnie Donegan released almost 25 years ago however was. Depending on taste, yeah, but this is actually a better treatment given the fuller arrangement and extra welly from the big band when it starts riffing. But note it is done not like trad-jazz at all either, the knockabout way Bessie loving George Melly used to do it, probably my favourite and even comical route in to the song of these three including Swing Fever's. Mainly the often ebullient big band arrangements have a blue beat into ska feel pervasively which is fine. That sound lands not a million miles away from Jazz Jamaica - incidentally back from hiatus playing Camden Town's Jazz Cafe on the eve of St Patrick's day - at its core. SG