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11,755 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 895 of them this year alone and, so far, 32 this month (August 9).

Coming soon ...

August

Monday 10: Happy Birthday Paul Edis.

Thursday 13: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Monday, August 13, 2018

CD Review: New York All-Stars - Burnin' in London.

Eric Alexander (tenor); Harold Mabern (piano); Darryl Hall (bass); Bernd Reiter (drums).
(Review by Lance).
Recorded at Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho last November it took only a few bars for me to instantly know that this was going to be nigh unbeatable come December 31 and the CD of the Year listings.
If, like myself, you treasure those old Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Hank Mobley Blue Note albums you will love this Ubuntu Music release (Sept. 7). It's the logical progression and keeps the flame alive and, to quote the album title, Burnin' in London.
Alexander and Mabern's association harks back to when Mabern was the tutor and Alexander the student at William Paterson University, Indiana. They have since met many times, now on a level playing field, each one feeding off the other. The tenorist blows with such amazing fluency that I can't think of any current tenor saxist I'd rather listen to whilst Mabern, who played on many of those Blue Note albums with such illustrious names as Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard proves that, even at 82, age hasn't withered nor custom staled his infinite variety (Ant & Cleo). His Nightlife in Tokyo proves he's no slouch as a composer either.

Almost Like Being in Love and I Could Have Danced All Night get things off to the most swinging of starts. All four players laying down their credentials leaving no one in doubt that they were listening to living legends.
Alexander is at his most lyrical on the number Julie Styne wrote for Doris Day's first movie, It's Magic. On the other hand, Mabern chooses the tune to display his impish sense of humour with quotes abounding.

More virtuosity on The Night Has a Thousand Eyes. A song from the film of the same name based on the Cornell Woolrich noir novel also of the same name. A longtime fave of modern jazz musicians (it has no connection with the Bobby Vee hit, also of the same name!) this performance ranks alongside versions by Trane and Stitt as definitive.
If, at this point, anyone wonders, can an album be that good? I'll just say that the track that knocked me out the most was, you'd better believe it, Summertime!

As my aversion to this most overworked tune is well known (I was pleased to note, in the film Geordie Jazzman, Keith Crombie shares my views) I realise eyebrows will be raised so I'll just say you've never quite heard Summertime played like this (tenor players, please don't try this at home or, even worse, on stage unless your name is Eric Alexander). Gershwin may have been turning in his grave but these guys were dancing on it! Once again, Mabern has some fun and the rhythm section go along with him all the way.
And, as always, the rhythm section is the last to get a mention which is unjust as Hall and Reiter solo and support to perfection.

Buy this CD, even if you never buy another one in your life, and catch them, if you can at the following: 
Sept.16: Band on the Wall. Manchester.
Sept. 17-19: Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho.
Sept. 20: Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.
Also dates in Italy, Germany, Norway, Austria, Switzerland and France.
Lance.
Release date: Sept. 7.

1 comment :

Francis tulip said...

Some old blue note tenor recordings are definitely treasured! I love joe Henderson generally but 'Our Thing' is one of my favourites.

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