Yuma Uesaka and Marilyn Crispell, Streams, NotTwo/Polyfold ***

With the great free improviser pianist Marilyn Crispell is relative unknown saxophonist Yuma Uesaka in a playing situation that may be seen as modelled on Crispell's work with Anthony Braxton. Some pieces are compositions, others are entire …

Published: 30 Sep 2021. Updated: 27 days.

With the great free improviser pianist Marilyn Crispell is relative unknown saxophonist Yuma Uesaka in a playing situation that may be seen as modelled on Crispell's work with Anthony Braxton. Some pieces are compositions, others are entire improvisations. Skip the opening 'Meditation', however, because it seems too much off-the-shelf. What is more bespoke journeying beyond is how Uesaka consistently proves his persuasiveness in terms of authorial voice. He uses tenor sax, Bb clarinet and contra-alto clarinet on the record. Recorded in late-2018 in Woodstock, New York state and early-2019 in a New York city studio Crispell prefers an episodic approach in her accompaniment and there is a serenity in her contributions that is a gratifying foil to the reedist's unjarring robustness. 'Ma/Space,' grounds Uesaka’s Japanese heritage and ancient Gagaku court music with Chatori Shimizu guesting on an instrument hardly known beyond Japan, the Shō. The Shō steals the show? It certainly conjures the most engrossing atmsophere of all. Out on 15 October. Marilyn Crispell, top left, and Yuma Uesaka. Photo: press

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Joris Teepe and Don Braden, Chemistry, Creative Perspective ****

Jazz of this calibre and level of musicianship never goes out of fashion. To the more sceptical it may be meat and potatoes hard bop. But sometimes we all need home cooking to remain grounded, find a suitable benchmark to grow again, and we get it …

Published: 29 Sep 2021. Updated: 28 days.

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Jazz of this calibre and level of musicianship never goes out of fashion. To the more sceptical it may be meat and potatoes hard bop. But sometimes we all need home cooking to remain grounded, find a suitable benchmark to grow again, and we get it here. Bassist Joris Teepe and tenor saxophonist Don Braden are in an all-star small gathering (no piano or guitar at all required) as the pair are joined alternately by the great Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane and Horace Silver drummer Louis Hayes and by Jeff ''Tain'' Watts known for his long tenure in Branford Marsalis' classic quartet. Branford (known to pals and fans as Steep) is namechecked immediately on Kenny Kirkland's 'Steepian Faith' at the beginning. Classy stuff. I've only heard Braden live briefly at a show in London's Pizza Express Jazz Club circa The Voice of the Saxophone on what was a swinging occasion back oh more than 20 years ago. An elegant, erudite, player here he is like a younger Benny Golson. And chorus after interesting chorus pours out of him. Tain I interviewed on a rare trip to New York back in the late-1990s when he was doing press for his record Citizen Tain and back in London heard him a few times mainly playing with Branford. Ancient history perhaps. What's modern however is that he's a constant stimulus to deepen any jazz appreciator's interest in this life-changing music. Still one of the world's greatest jazz drummers you get that sense of coming home here, no grandstanding, just going to the heart of the groove and shaking things up where you least expect it to make the rhythm sizzle and stir. You just don't get that power, that polyrhythmic sense in a hard bop setting done so well any more. Flying Dutchman Teepe who is well-known on the US scene is excellent, I'm thinking Ron Carter a bit in his style tunnelling into the big beat required in such a setting. There's a lot of brightness to his accents. Teepe and Braden have been playing together for many years and their understanding of each other's moves is part of why this unassuming but compelling record works so well. Full of old favourites Braden finds interesting things to do on Horace Silver's 'Song For My Father' with Hayes totally in his element. SG