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COVID-19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

CD Review: John Yao's Triceratops - How We Do

John Yao (trombone); Billy Drewes (soprano/alto saxes); Jon Irabagon (tenor sax); Peter Brendler (bass); Mark Ferber (drums).
(Review by Lance)

Quite an intriguing concept - 3 horns, bass and drums no chordal support - also a challenging one for trombonist, composer, arranger Yao. Although named after a three-horned dinosaur this is certainly anything but prehistoric there's a crisp sound of today about it. The harmonies are cleverly handled, the interplay between the frontliners is impressive and no one trips anyone up.

At times it verges on the free but never enough to hurt. In his book on early jazz, Shining Trumpets, Rudi Blesh was big on polyphony well there's polyphony-a-plenty here although not perhaps what Blesh had in mind! If anything, much of it shows shades of Mingus.

Drewes excels on both alto and soprano, his command of the latter instrument comes across with an almost clarinet-like dexterity. On alto, for some unexplained reason, he uses a tenor mouthpiece which produces a fluffy, airy sound which may be the reason. Strange. 

Irabagon is a player whose name appears frequently in the American jazz mags and it's good to actually hear him and in such exciting circumstances.

Yao gets a full sound on trombone and knows his way around the slide when soloing. Pensive and reflective or hard-swinging as the occasion demands the same qualities are reflected in his compositions and arrangements.

Being sans piano or guitar the burden that falls on Brendler's shoulders isn't light but he doesn't falter and nor does drummer Ferber who has several moments in the spotlight.

The only non-Yao track is Irabagon's Tea For T, a joyful romp that has the horns playing a sort of fast fugue that doubles the already breakneck tempo when the coda sign is in sight. I don't know what Bach would have made of it but I suspect he'd have enjoyed it - I certainly did.
Lance.
Available Oct 18 see https://www.johnyao.com/

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