STEVE DAVIS - THINK AHEAD
Trombonist and composer Steve Davis offers a master class on his new release, Think Ahead, in art of reacting to the unpredictable with an elite group of jazz all-stars whose ability to create spontaneously borders on the clairvoyant. For this album, Davis focuses on his original writing and arranging; it s hardly a secret that Davis is one of the most talented composers on the modern jazz scene. To render these new compositions, Davis assembled a stellar group of masters: the trombonist is joined by saxophonists Steve Wilson and Jimmy Greene, pianist Larry Willis, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash, each deserving the title of 'jazz giant' in their own right. In fact, it was this precise ensemble that Davis had in mind when he sat down to write several months before the session. He shares with every member of the ensemble a long and deep history, so he knew that he would have the makings of a truly profound, flawlessly swinging, flat-out burning set of music. In addition to Davis originals, Think Ahead also includes two beloved standards, 'Polka Dots and Moonbeams' and 'Love Walked In,' as well as two jazz classics by departed giants Tony Williams and Bobby Hutcherson, 'Warrior' and 'Little B s Poem,' respectively. 'I ve been deeply involved with everyone in this band on not only a professional level but as friends for decades,' Davis says. 'So it was more than an honor to have this group together.' The resulting record is an inspired set of straight-ahead jazz that will be a favorite for years to come.
COLIN STEELE QUARTET - DIVING FOR PEARLS
Steele has a long association with The Pearl fishers since he appeared as a studio musician on many of their albums. Steele: "I'd played on many sessions with The Pearl fishers before, and have a similar taste in music with David Scott, with our shared love of Burt Bacharach, Beatles and Beach Boys. I was impressed by the depth of the beautiful melodies and could immediately hear my own voice playing these melodies - specifically using the 'Miles Davis sound' of the Harmon mute." The results are simply gorgeous. The album kick-starts with the joyous blast of "The Bluebells" - a song that originally appeared on the Pearl fishers album "Up With The Larks". Colin Steele makes it swing and rise just beautifully. His warm, melodic playing and tone is also a perfect match for the wonderful "Everything Works Out", one of Scott's most enduring songs. "The Vampires Of Camelon" rides on a great piano riff reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi - brilliantly played by Dave Milligan, Steele's long-time collaborator, who also arranged the album. Quite fabulously so.
MISHA MULLOY-ABBADO - NEW ANSONIA
New Ansonia is the debut album from bassist and composer Misha Mullov-Abbado, winner of the 2014 Kenny Wheeler Music Prize. Son of the late, great Italian conductor Claudio Abbado and Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova, British-born Mullov-Abbado grew up in a powerfully musical environment, a unique upbringing that has inspired Misha to create his own musical identity and tell his own compelling story. This, his debut album, demonstrates gifts that are uniquely his own and is full of unusual colours, leaps of imagination and a strong sense of character. New Ansonia clearly defines the path Misha intends to follow both as a composer and performer of exceptional ability. As Kenny Wheeler Music Prize judge Evan Parker put it, this is the beginning of a journey of an outstanding individual . To achieve his musical goals Misha has brought together a wealth of young talent from the vibrant and creative London jazz scene with a front line of alto saxophonist Matthew Herd and trombonist Tom Green and alongside him in the rhythm section YouTube sensation & Quincy Jones protégé Jacob Collier on keys and drummer Scott Chapman. With a strong sense of song, evolving with dramatic twists, shifting dynamics and moods, New Ansonia is an exceptional debut - colourful, bursting with character, grooves, melody and inventive soloing.