Jazz 2020 / A Few Favourites

Starting with the more obviously, overtly, spiritual stuff, there were a ream of classic jazz reissues from the `70s – Le Theatre du Chene Noir`s Miss Madona from 1973, Don Cherry’s Om Shanti Om from 1976, Pharoah Sanders` Pharoah from 1977 – plus Paz` Dream Sequence, recorded with The Singing Bowls Of Tibet in `81. The latter came from a Jazz In Britain E.P. that also featured Ron Mathewson`s brilliant, heavy, Black Sabbath-esque reading of Coltrane`s Love Supreme. 

New music that sought to soar to similar transcendental heights came in the shape of Matthew Halsall`s Salute To The Sun, Carlos Nino & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson`s Chicago Waves, and Tenderlonious` Lahore sessions, recorded with local musicians Jaubi. 

Tenderlonious also released a damn fine E.P.`s worth of flute-inflected house – After The Storm – and together with Lorenzo Morresi paid homage to composers Piero Umiliani, Alessandro Alessandroni, Ennio Morricone, and library music legends, KPM and De Wolfe, with the single Cosmica Italiana. 

More lush library-leaning licks came from Felbm and Sven Wunder. 

Additional jazz juiced house and techno could be found on Bruise`s Presentation E.P. and Colour Club`s cracking label sampler. 

Another showcase that stood out was that of Bristol`s Worm Discs, who impressed even further with a furious solo set from Glasgow`s AKU!

Then there was On The Corner`s six-sided Door To The Cosmos collection – a mix of music that’s for sure rooted in jazz but ruffs it up and throws it around in mutations that defy classification. One of the artists included, Planet Battagon, also released their solo debut, for which I had the pleasure of penning some prose.

planet battagon text photo

On a smaller format, Quantic`s Selva imprint released 3 high, high quality 45s, from Colombian big band leader/arranger/conductor Juancho Vargas, New York chanteuse, Denitia, and Quantic`s own OP-1-based project, Teletronix. 

Other 7s that shone took the shape of 291Out`s Wellington and Claude Cooper’s Tangerine Dreams. The latter jiving like Albert Ayler jamming with ESG at NYC`s Tier 3. 

Incognito`s Bluey and Gilles Peterson joined forces as Str4ta and also flashbacked to `80s streetwise, jazz-funk – summoning a sound that authentically fused that of Freeez and Atmosfear. 

Sweet, sweet song came from the beautiful Lady Blackbird – who continued to tease with outstanding remixes from her still under wraps Black Acid Soul long-player — and the more mainstream Melody Gardot – whose sublime, bossa nova`d Sunset In The Blue was a top tip from Mancunian balearic guru, Moonboots.

Further essential reissues came in the form of Tino Contreras` Musica Infinita and Shirley Scott’s One For Me, on Arc Records, Manfredo Fest`s Brazilian Dorian Dream, on Far Out, Duke Pearson`s Blue Note benchmark, The Phantom, and two live sets from Japanese pianist Ryo Fukui, on WRWTFWW off-shoot, We Release Jazz – the half-speed mastered pressings of which are incredible, turning even the most lowly home system into jazz-kissaden quality Hi-Fi. Close your eyes and the trio are right there with you in your living room. 

Finally there was Greg Foat`s Symphonie Pacifique, for Strut – which managed to effortlessly blend elements of most of the above. Regardless of genre and pigeon-holes this was one of my favourite LPs of the year, full stop. 

Matthew Halsall – Mindfulness Meditations – Gondwana
Paz with The Singing Bowls of Tibet – Dream Sequence – Jazz In Britain
Carlos Nino – Part V – International Anthem
Don Cherry – Om Shanti Om – Black Sweat
Tenderlonious – Azadi – 22a
Greg Foat – Mothers Love – Strut
Le Theatre du Chene Noir – Le Chant du Cirque – SouffleContinu
Matthew Halsall – Salute To The Sun – Gondwana
Carlos Nino & Miguel Atwood – Part II – International Anthem
Tenderlonious – Kirwani Part 2 – 22a
Ensemble Al-Salaam – Optimystical – P Vine
Melody Gardot – There Where He Lives In Me – Decca
Lady Blackbird – Collage
Greg Foat – Pointe-Venus – Strut
Juancho Vargos Con Ondatropica – Selva
Shirley Scott – Keep On Moving – Arc Records
Ryo Fukui – Just One Of Those Things – We Release Jazz
Duke Pearson – The Phantom – Blue Note
Tino Conteras – Orbita 13 – Arc Records
Melody Gardot – Love Song – Decca
Pharoah Sanders – Harvest Time – Alternative Fox
Roger Webb Sound – Moon Bird – De Wolfe
Felbm – Somnambulant – Soundway
Sven Wunder – Blanket Fog Descends – Piano Piano
Dezron Douglas & Brandee Younger – The Creator Has A Masterplan – International Anthem
Ryo Fukui – Sonora – We Release Jazz
Snazzback – Flump (Ishmael Ensemble Rework) – Worm Discs
John Henderson – Space Array – Colour Club
Waldos Gift – Jabba – Worm Discs
291Out – Wellington – Terrasolare
Manfredo Fest – Jungle Cat – Far Out
Tenderlonious – Cosmica Italiana – 22a 
Tenderlonious – D Low – 22a
Planet Battagon – Styx – On The Corner
AKU! – Blind Fury – Worm Discs
Claude Cooper – Tangerine Dreams – Friendly Records
Str4ta – Aspects (Demus Dub) – Brownswood Recordings
Furious Frank – Hydro-Hydrangea – Colour Club
Clive From Accounts – The Rain – On The Corner
Bruise – Portrait – Meda Fury


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