The best new jazz albums: Editor's Choice, March 2020

A hand-picked selection of some of the best new releases and reissues reviewed in the March 2020 issue of Jazzwise

Issie Barratt’s Interchange

Donna’s Secret

(Fuzzy Moon Records)

Issie Barratt (bs, artistic director, cowbells), Jessica Radcliffe (v), Brigitte Beraha (v, one track), Laura Jurd (t), Helena Kay (as, cl, two tracks), Alyson Cawley (ss, ts, f, two tracks, cl, one track), Chelsea Carmichael (ts, one track, f, two tracks), Rosie Turton (tb), Shirley Smart (clo), Karen Street (accordion), Charlie Pyne (b, el b, bv, two tracks), Katie Patterson (d, perc, two tracks), Nikki Iles (p, one track) and Zoe Rahman (p, one track). Rec. 7-8 January 2019

Both ad hoc band and composers’ showcase, communal resource and musical achievement, Interchange typifies Issie Barratt’s work as educator, activist and artist. In the latter role, she has focused on large ensembles in a way rare for British female jazz musicians, eight of whom are offered the format’s compositional opportunities here. Though not always the music’s freest zone, with Ellington’s heritage and classically minded conservatoires perhaps maintaining its aspirational status, the individuals thus nurtured make their own case. Interchange are mostly a 10-piece, with Karen Street’s accordion largely substituting for piano to ensure gig practicality. Street’s ‘Still Here’ typifies an often soothing, restorative response to common themes of sickness and violent tumult. Nick Hasted

Read the full review in the March issue of Jazzwise

Elliot Galvin

Live In Paris, At Fondation Louis Vuitton


Elliot Galvin (p). Rec. Apr 2018

This 45-minute improvisation on six all-acoustic tracks takes Galvin from the storm of end-to-end runs, gently ringing interludes and percussive chording of the opening ‘As Above’, through the baroque-like symmetries of ‘For J.S.’ to the fast, flinty free-jazz cascades, chord-hammering drones and dreamy finale of the closing ‘So Below’. ‘Coda’ is a pithily brief exercise in subtle dynamics, launched in widely-spaced chord-stabs linked by quietly scuttling runs, ‘Time and Everything’ glimpses Galvin’s Jarrett roots in its rocking undertow, and the gently folksy but haltingly thoughtful ‘Broken Windows’ shows how lyrical he can be for all the fearlessness with which he writes his own rules. It all adds up to an uncompromisingly memorable solo piano debut. John Fordham

Read the full review in the March issue of Jazzwise

JZ Replacement


(Rainy Days)

Jamie Murray (d), Zhenya Strigalev (as) and Tim Lefebvre (b, effects). Rec. March 2019

JZ Replacement is a trio led by London residing drummer Jamie Murray (his debut as leader) and the formerly London-based, hyperactive saxophonist Zhenya Strigalev (currently living back in his home city of St Petersburg). The ex-Bowie sideman/Tedeschi Trucks bassist Tim Lefebvre is the heavy duty third man. Murray’s description of the band on the sleeve notes as a cross between Aphex Twin, Jimi Hendrix and Art Pepper is a good one and rings true. But it also reflects radical DIY movements from punk through to fire-starting drum and bass that propel Strigalev’s hurtling, naïve, spiky, themes with their machine-gun staccato. Selwyn Harris

Read the full review in the March issue of Jazzwise

Pulled by Magnets

Rose Golden Doorways


Seb Rochford (d), Pete Wareham (ts) and Neil Charles (b). Rec. date not stated

The inspiration comes more from drone-rock, hardcore and Indian spiritual trance music rather than jazz; imagine, perhaps, a meeting between Sunn 0))) and Bowie/Eno’s 1970s ambient urban dystopia. The three-way collective dialogue on the other hand is the stuff of musicians with high-level jazz sensibilities. It might split Bear fans but Rochford’s more open-eared disciples will be intrigued. Selwyn Harris

Read the full review in the March issue of Jazzwise

John McLaughlin/Shankar Mahadevan/Zakir Hussain

Is That So?

(Abstract Logix)

John McLaughlin (g syn), Shankar Mahadevan (v) and Zakir Hussain (tabla). Rec. 2014-20

Based largely on Indian Bhajans – songs with a spiritual theme – McLaughlin abandons the Raga system on which these songs are based that revolve around a drone, or single sustained note, and re-harmonises each song in terms of Western harmony. McLaughlin calls it a new concept in the meeting of East and West musical cultures. It’s not been tried before, but then, 40 years ago, integrating the Hindustani musical tradition of north India with the Carnatic tradition of south India had not been done before McLaughlin convincingly achieved it. Stuart Nicholson

Read the full review in the March issue of Jazzwise

Harish Raghavan

Calls for Action

(Whirlwind Recordings)

Harish Raghavan (b), Joel Ross (vib), Kweku Sumbry (d), Micah Thomas (p) and Immanuel Wilkins (as). Rec. December 2017

Over the previous decade or so, this New York-based Illinois-born bassist has been receiving deserved props for his performances with the likes of Vijay Iyer, Ambrose Akinmusire, Kneebody and Walter Smith III among others. But he’s been a reluctant frontman up until this debut release recorded two years ago. The youthful personnel, who played together in Blue Note-signed vibraphonist Joel Ross’ band, deliver the goods with Raghaven’s darkly shimmering, solidly resonant rich-toned bass proving a magnificent presence. Selwyn Harris

Read the full review in the March issue of Jazzwise

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