I tend to be cautious about records with a significant percentage of standards in them. But there’s been an album in this category released this year that is as good as any I have heard since I
was overwhelmed by the Rachelle Ferrell album First Instrument released in the UK in 1995. I am talking of Cecile McLorin Salvant’s For One To Love. Click the Mixcloud tab where you can hear three tunes from the album and judge for yourself.
Five of the twelve tracks on the album are original compositions and good they are too – but I chose to play her versions of tunes by Bernstein/Sondheim, Monique Andree Serf and David/Bacharach. This is because she brings a voice full of expression, with varieties of mood and real adaptability to these compositions. There is also the all important matter of the instrumentation: she’s got a jazz piano trio line-up that is tough sounding at times, subtle when it needs to be and full of inventive phrases. The album cover features Salvant’s own interesting artwork. You can hear her live at the 2014 Marciac Festival here.
The Abbey Lincoln CD recorded in Paris in 1980, with Hilton Ruiz and Archie Shepp among the musicians, was something I picked up from a unique treasure of a shop called Rare and Racy in Sheffield which sells a lot of jazz that is on the more specialised and obscure end of the spectrum. This unique record and book store has been a feature in the area since 1969 and sadly is now threatened by the forces of ‘improvement’ and materialism.
The Cosmic Jazz Essential track this week came from Donald Byrd. Cristo Redentor is a Duke Pearson composition inspired by the imposing Christ the Redeemer statue that stands on Corcovado
mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro. The chorus followed by Byrd’s clear and restrained trumpet solo create a tune with an atmosphere of awe, wonder and spirituality. Herbie Hancock, Hank Mobley and Kenny Burrell are among the other musicians. Cristo Redentor is now a standard in its own right, having been recorded by artists as varied as David Sanborn, Harvey Mandel and S Moss featuring Busta Rhymes! The Brazilian connection continued with Dave Valentin’s version of Milton Nascimento’s classic Cravo e Canela (Cinnamon and Cloves), another tune much covered by both Brazilian and jazz artists. Try Flora Purim’s live Montreux version on her album 500 Miles High or Nascimento’s own take on his 1976 release Milton.
At this point, the programme changed seamlessly into some rather different sounds: the edgy, contemporary beats of the Jachna&Buhl duo from Poland, followed by more from the Scotland based David Patrick Octet and their jazz rendition of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. For more details check www.birnamcd.com. Up next was the exciting, free and unpredictable sound of Oslo-based Lucky Novak. Below is an indiosycratic video Lucky Novak have sent us to prove this.
The programme ended in calmer waters with a quartet led by violinist Bartosz Dvorak. Like the Jachna&Buhl this is available from Steve’s Jazz Sounds. It is wonderful music, but the tune had to be faded out because of time. There will be more to come in future shows.
- Cecile McLorin Salvant – Something’s Coming from For One To Love
- Cecile McLorin Salvant – Le Mal de Vivre from For One To Love
- Cecile McLorin Salvant – Wives and Lovers from For One To Love
- Abbey Lincoln – Caged Bird from Painted Lady
- Donald Byrd – Cristo Redentor from A New Perspective [Cosmic Jazz Essential]
- Dave Valentin – Cinnamon and Cloves from Sunday Afternoon at Dingwalls
- Jachna&Buhl – Obi Wan from Synthomatic
- David Patrick Octet – Wedding Song of the Chosen One from The Rite of Spring
- Lucky Novak – Spartakus from Up! Go!
- Bartosz Dvorak Quartet – Lullaby for Night Marks from Polished