lunes, 16 de marzo de 2015

Grayson, Farrugia & Sherlock - Wolf & Hound (2015)

Source: Bandcamp
Label: Eleven Pin Music
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆    

‘Wolf & Hound’ is the new album from jazz trio; ‘Grayson, Farrugia & Sherlock’ and features new original material recorded over 2 dates with musician and engineer, Jake Mason.

The hammond organ jazz trio is a rarity on the Australian musical landscape. Consisting of the classic Hammond B3 organ together with a Leslie cabinet, drums and guitar, it’s an ensemble synonymous with American jazz, gospel and rhythm & blues. Four years ago, these three world class musicians set about reviving the art of the hammond trio in Melbourne, exploring what may be possible with fresh ears and a sense of excitement. What they found was an open sound that gave equal weight to each musician, allowing a freedom not often found in larger ensembles.

With no bass player, the organist can dictate or follow harmonic conversations with flow and ease. The staccato nature of guitar tones punctuate over the organ’s mid range notes, while the drums can wash over the trio, adding rhythm and colour. The compositions shift in time and space, with harmonic and rhythmic ideas that push the envelope of traditional jazz. Some pieces follow a simple sketch while others tip their hat to standard conventions, all the while allowing the improvisations to remain fluid and tactile.

Ben Grayson is no stranger to the organ, or to the Australian musical landscape. His work with Aussie funk pioneers The Bamboos is widely recognised and in recent years has toured with US folk icon Martha Wainwright and New York local Bilal.

Daniel Farrugia is the drummers drummer and has made an impeccable mark on the Australian music scene. He covers a diverse variety of musical styles playing and recording with Missy Higgins, Luke Howard Trio, Julia Stone, Tinpan Orange and The Bamboos.

James Sherlock needs no introduction. He is widely respected amongst the echelon of Australian jazz greats, having performed and recorded with Dale Barlow, Bernie McGann, Barney McAll and Allan Browne. As well as with visiting artists; the great Jeff "Tain" Watts, Jon Riley, Cyrille Aimee and Sheila Jordan.

The album is released on the new Australian imprint for hammond music; Eleven Pin Music.  

1. Interlude 00:47
2. Wolf & Hound 05:55
3. Goldilocks 05:35
4. Chippy 05:14
5. Interlude 2 02:59
6. A Different Land 07:31
7. Inutil Paisagem 04:20
8. Interlude 3 01:42
9. Here Is The Sea 06:17
10.Fools Gold 05:17
11.Finale 01:40

Ben Grayson - Hammond
Daniel Farrugia - drumms
James Sherlock - guitar

"Master your instrument, master the music 

& then forget all that & just play."


 - Charlie Parker -

Albert "Tootie" Heath - Philadelphia Beat (2015)

Label: Sunnyside
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   

One of my favorite recordings from 2013 was the second album by the trio of veteran drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath and relative young guns Ethan Iverson and Ben Street (on piano and bass, respectively). Tootie's Tempo (Sunnyside) turned the spotlight on the percussionist, one of the last great proponents of bop playing; but he's a musician capable of so much more. The trio's first recording was a terrific but loose live session from the New York club Smalls; the second release captured the group melding into a working ensemble, essaying a wide variety of standards drawn from the entirety of jazz history, with Heath given the latitude to explicitly impart his personality in every performance. The results were accessible, effortlessly swinging, and fun—no matter how hoary the chestnut, the drummer brought something modern and hip it.
That quality continues on the trio's even stronger new album, Philadelphia Beat (out Tuesday on, again on Sunnyside). The title refers to Heath's hometown and its strong jazz tradition. The trio recorded the album in Philly, and in the middle of the visit played a local gig; Heath also met with some of his old cohorts at the city's Clef Club, the first black musician's union there. In his liner notes Iverson writes that the Clef Club hang charged the energy and vibe of the recording sessions. While the repertoire is still dominated by jazz classics, the trio branches out a bit: there's a cover of the Gloria Gaynor disco classic "I Will Survive" as well as a surprising, rather spontaneous interpretation of Bach's "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme." Of course, the apple doesn't fall far from the trio, as another selection is John Lewis's "Concorde," a fuguelike classic by the Modern Jazz Quartet which featured Albert's brother Percy on bass (the former worked with the latter a bit when he replaced drummer Connie Kay in the group's final year).
The playing of Iverson and Street is superb throughout, and once again the pianist gets to exert a wonderfully subversive feel on many of the tracks. There's modern harmony and phrasing throughout the exquisitely slow reading of the Eubie Blake staple "Memories of You," building tension and florid embellishment of melody against a fatback drumbeat on "I Will Survive" (a flashback to the early days of the pianist's work in the Bad Plus), and a supremely light touch (a la Lewis) on the Milt Jackson standard "Bag's Groove," which Heath opens with finger cymbals, ("an invitation to dance," in the words of Iverson).
Sometimes I forget about the quiet grace and eloquent swing of jazz—reasons I've loved it for so many years—so it's great when a recording like this turns up and reminds me of that basic, indelible attraction. Philadelphia Beat is one of those rare new albums where everything just feels right, and you can't help but say, "yes!" Below you can hear the trio's take on the Monk gem "Bye-Ya," whom Heath worked with in Philly. Peter Margasak

"Bag's Groove"
"Reets And I"
"I Will Survive"
"Memories Of You"
"Con Alma"
"Wachet Auf"
"Everything Must Change"
"Speak Low"
"Pentatonic Etude"

Albert "Tootie" Heath - drums
Ben Street - bass
Ethan Iverson - piano

"Master your instrument, master the music 
& then forget all that & just play."
 - Charlie Parker -