So here it is… the second edition of ‘The Record Pool’. Just a little late this month as the end of February caught us a bit by surprise and short on time, but let’s finally close out the month here at The Jazz Meet and take a fresh look back at a few of the records that caught our attention over the course of the past 30 days. Unearthing three more albums that run the full gamut of current jazz flavours, we present a lost début recording from saxophonist Nat Birchall, an electronic jazz project from Mark de Clive-Lowe and a digital only project from pianist Eddie Moore and his quartet The Outer Circle. Read below for our thoughts on each recording and peep the samples to get a much fuller picture of each project.
For the Hard Bop Enthusiast
Nat Birchall – The Sixth Sense
Available on Sound Soul & Spirit
2012 saw UK saxophonist Nat Birchall move away from Matthew Halsall’s Gondwana Records imprint to set up his own label Sound Soul and Spirit. Now after releasing four albums in as many years, the last of which was the critically acclaimed ‘World Without Form’ late last year, the prolific performer reissues his début release originally recorded with his then five-piece band ‘Sixth Sense’. Eschewing the more spiritually charged music that his later work so effortlessly displays, this album, recorded over a decade earlier in 1999, firmly displays his hard bop roots. Compositions such as ‘Indivisible’, ‘Ism Schism’ and the epic ‘Redemption’ (featuring appearances from both David Angol and Tony Kofi on saxes) bristle under the weight of brash solos and the underlying swing of the rhythm section while ‘Unity Blues’ exudes a unique soulfulness as Birchall, John Hulme (trumpet) and Richard Weatherall (piano) take turns in the spotlight. Elsewhere, there are more pensive moments to be found in the form of ‘Adin’ and ‘Helix Nebula’ and rounding off the set is a rousing interpretation of McCoy Tyner’s ‘Passion Dance’ that’s almost worth the price of admission alone. Available on CD or digital download, it’s a perfect introduction to where it all began for one of the UK’s leading sax players. Check out the first four tracks from the LP below and then grab the full CD via Bandcamp.
For the Future Jazz Fanatic
Mark de Clive-Lowe & The Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra – Take The Space Trane
Available on Tru Thoughts
It’s been quite a trip for Mark de Clive-Lowe. The much celebrated pianist, DJ and producer has so far forged an impressive career, contributing his considerable talent to a number of burgeoning music scenes, most famously as a permanent fixture on the London nu-jazz and broken beat circuit in the early noughties, and notching up an enviable back catalogue of productions and remixes. Now safely installed in the musical melting pot that is Los Angeles, we see the New Zealand native taking on ever more adventurous musical projects. New album ‘Take The Space Trane’ is one such venture with de Clive-Lowe collaborating with Dutch trumpeter Rob van de Wouw and The Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra to fuse traditional big band jazz with electronic club music. Recorded live at the second of two live shows at Amsterdam’s Melkweg and then edited down and engineered for release, over the course of eight tracks, we get brand new, bombastic renditions of some of the producer’s most popular tracks, a jazz standard (a mesmerizing version of Duke Ellington’s ‘Caravan’) and two new compositions all reinterpreted for a modern jazz dance floor with the all important de Clive-Love signature bounce. Highlights include a remake of his 2000 instrumental ‘El Dia Perfecto’ which is given a little broken jazz overhaul, while ‘Blue For Six’ and ‘Filthy Fingers’ both blend the two contrasting styles almost seamlessly to bring a truly modern take on the big band sound. Check out two of the other tracks from the album below, and buy the full-length from your usual online or physical outlet.
STREAM AND DOWNLOAD: Take The Space Trane
For the Modern Jazz Fraternity
Eddie Moore and The Outer Circle — The Freedom of Expression
Self-released via Bandcamp
Coming straight out of the creative hotbed that is the Houston jazz scene, pianist Eddie Moore, along with his quartet The Outer Circle, follows in the footsteps of one of the city’s other favourite musical sons Robert Glasper to release his début album. Musically, there’s definitely a nod or two to his contemporary here, but overall the set is more than just an engaging listen, delivering a dynamic take on forward thinking jazz which in places truly sizzles (particularly on tracks ‘Anger Management’ and ‘With You’). Moore’s finesse on the piano is second to none and as one would expect he shines brightly throughout the collection of songs on offer. On occasion, Matt Hopper provides intricate melodies on guitar to complement the soulful tone while both Erik Blume and Andy McGhie (on ‘Houston Visions’) both hold their own on tenor sax. Sitting firmly within the realms of modern-day jazz, the majority of Moore’s compositions have a contemplative feel to them, although at times musically the band do offer up instances of urgency, and on tracks like ‘Lesson’ the influence of hip-hop on proceedings becomes ever more clearer. You can listen to all the tracks on the album below via his Bandcamp page.