Review: For the latest missive on their excellent Jazz45 sub-label, Jazzman has decided to offer up two sought-after catalogue cuts from contemporary spiritual jazz maestro Muriel Grossmann, a sax player, singer and composer who already has a swathe of quality albums to her name. First up is an edited version of 2018 cut "Golden Rule", a wonderfully breezy and out-there affair that sees Grossmann add mind-altering sax solos to a heavily percussive, off-kilter backing track rich in jaunty pianos and slick double bass. On flipside "Okan Ti Aye" she layers up the drums and cymbals further while offering bolder, heavier sax motifs. The result is a track of rare drive and intensity.
Review: The Nat Birchall Quartet debuts here with Tunji, a new 7" special out through the inimitable Jazz45 imprint, home to some of the best contemporary jazz - of all shapes and sizes. The title tune "Tunji" is a sax-led masterpiece, slow yet constantly building and morphing into something new and exciting, taking the term 'broken beat' onto a new platform. Conversely, the B-side's "Mode For Trane" lingers at a slow tempo, transporting you into a bittersweet lullaby with Nat Birchall's sax very much in the spotlight. What a cracking little 7" - TIP!
Review: Ahead of a fresh album due later in the year, Nat Birchall fires up his quartet and returns to the Jazz45 series with a second seven-inch salvo for the Jazzman offshoot. A-side "Obeah Man" is wonderfully sweet, soulful and breezy, with Birchall and company layering jaunty spiritual jazz style piano riffs and snaking solos (think Clarinet, sax, trumpet etc) over a warm, loose and bustling groove. They continue on a similar vein on the slightly bolder flipside cut "Seeking", where bandmembers trade solos atop a classic jazz style bassline and fizzing drums. That forthcoming album should be killer.
Review: Formed in 2017, the Sokratis Votskos Quartet is fast becoming one of the leading lights in Greek jazz. Later in the year they'll be releasing a brand new album on Jazzman, from which this tasty double A-side is taken. "Almopian Etude" is a veritable humid summer breeze of a track: a loose and languid fusion of spiritual piano motifs, languid double bass, bustling drums and alternately snaking and intoxicating horn solos. B-side "Sevenates" is an altogether funkier proposition, with cyclical saxophone motifs increasing in intensity over a jumpy, piano-driven rhythm track. It's not exactly jazz-funk, but it's certainly travelling in that direction. Either way, it's ace.
Review: The latest limited-edition salvo on Jazzman's contemporary jazz offshoot Jazz45 comes courtesy of Soren Skov Orbit, a Copenhagen-based outfit formed by saxophonist Soren Lyhne Skov and pianist Peder Vind. The two tracks stick closely to the project's founding principles of fusing global musical traditions with modal jazz. A-side "Orbit Bound", where hissing cymbals, hypnotizing piano motifs, plodding double bass and ear-catching saxophone solos cluster around a droning bass clarinet, is probably the pick of the pair, though the more straight-up, trad-jazz warmth of "NV" is also very enjoyable. As debut outings go, it's hugely impressive; here's hoping we hear more from Skov and Vind in the months and years ahead.