Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Yussef Dayes' Black Classical Music wins best album at The Ivors

Among the winners at the Ivors announced this week landing - in the Best Album category - was Black Classical Music written by Yussef Dayes, Rocco Palladino and Charlie Stacey. Representing a significant coup once again for the London jazz scene …

Published: 24 May 2024. Updated: 53 days.

Yussef-Dayes-by-Danika-Magdelena-3.jpeg

Among the winners at the Ivors announced this week landing - in the Best Album category - was Black Classical Music written by Yussef Dayes, Rocco Palladino and Charlie Stacey. Representing a significant coup once again for the London jazz scene on a music biz roll since Ezra Collective won the Mercury last year, judges praised the Brownswood release for its ''narrative arc that propels the listener forward, using a modern lens to reframe the format of instrumental music.''

The title track was track of the week on marlbank back in September 2023. We wrote of the album at the time that the track was quite the tour de force from one of the most understandably hyped new generation drummers on the UK scene. But there is much more than maximalist groove which there is in plenty given the subtle melodic lines that interweave also indicated by what to us up to this point was Dayes' best release, The Yussef Dayes Experience Live at Joshua Tree. Tracks in this much fuller exposure to his ideas are often brief and often rely on sheer power but it's not just Dayes in the forcefield because bassist Rocco Palladino is formidable on the hazily unpeeling 'Tioga Pass,' one of the album's big highlights. Album guests included Shabaka Hutchings, Theon Cross and Tom Misch. Yussef Dayes, photo: Danika Magdelena

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Helveticus, Our Way, Blaser Music ***1/2

RADTRAD RHAPSODIES Not exactly a full blown trend this year. Give it time - but Our Way nevertheless is the latest in what we call radtrad - radical traditional jazz - to come our way after reviewing Brum sensations Swing You Sinners last month. …

Published: 24 May 2024. Updated: 52 days.

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RADTRAD RHAPSODIES

Not exactly a full blown trend this year. Give it time - but Our Way nevertheless is the latest in what we call radtrad - radical traditional jazz - to come our way after reviewing Brum sensations Swing You Sinners last month. Nothing if not versatile Swiss trombone icon Samuel Blaser, who is a big reggae head as well as a radical tradster, is here with a trio who go by the name of Helveticus ergo, Swiss - bassist Heiri Känzig and drummer Daniel Humair, the latter of whom is the best known of all these players, a legendary free-jazz drummer who turned 86 this week and is long known for his work crossing idioms oh with Stéphane Grappelli as effortlessly as he collaborated wth the erudite Swiss grand fromage, George Gruntz.

Creole Love Call

Set up on this recording, given the lack of a piano role in the instrumentation, to be loose and not too bogged down by harmonic strictures, Humair and Blaser pieces are presented along with a range of standards the best of which captured is 'Creole Love Call' - the Duke Ellington, Rudy Jackson, Bubber Miley, King Oliver classic that goes back to the 1920s. It's a zany and yet tender strum-a-long that we are fond of having heard it played live first by Humphrey Lyttelton back in the 1980s when Humph was touring small towns in Ireland.

Swish from the Swiss

The filling provided by these - if you think of the album as a Toblerone (and why not!) - Swiss on a roll is also bolstered by folk tunes. Blaser is reliably Albert Mangelsdorff-like rather than anyway kind of fondue, itching to swing if you know what I mean - but it wouldn't be completely appropriate here - rather than go modal or the full monty and freak out or even however daringly scale the nearest mountain to hand without the need for crampons. He is always reliably blue-ish. So it's clear radtrad has momentum - if Blaser has a counterpart on the UK scene it's that fine improviser Sarah Gail Brand. And there's enough here to go cuckoo over, especially the fun version of 'Tiger Rag'. But if push were to come to shove we still prefer Blaser's Don Drummond tribute Routes last year featuring sterling work from Soweto Kinch, Alex Wilson and lovers rock queen Carroll Thompson. If you are a Günter Baby Sommer fan, however - is there a freeform loving Eurojazz or maverick German jazzer who isn't? - you will probably dig Humair most on 'Genevamalgame.'

Out today

Samuel Blaser, photo: Alex Troesch