296

Taylor/Swallow/Mirabassi: New Old Age

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Taylor/Swallow/Mirabassi: New Old Age Jazz seems to be on the upswing in Italy these days. Artists including pianist Enrico Pieranunzi and clarinetist Gabriele Mirabassi are becoming almost ubiquitous, even to jazz fans in North America. And, while labels like CAM Jazz and EGEA are working hard to promote music from their own country, they're also providing a place for artists including Canadian ex-pat trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and British pianist John Taylor. CAM Jazz, in fact, released last year's wonderful Wheeler/Taylor duet record, Where Do We Go From Here?, while EGEA was responsible for the sublime '02 recording, Moon, which teamed Wheeler and Taylor with Mirabassi.

Once again Taylor and Mirabassi are brought together for EGEA's latest release, New Old Age, this time with bassist Steve Swallow fleshing things out. The result is as graceful as one would expect from three artists who, in addition to being players with feet firmly planted in the lyrical, are memorably melodic composers.

Taylor is an artist who has only begun to receive his due in recent years. He continues to demonstrate the kind of harmonic depth and intuitive ability that have made him such a valuable addition to groups led by Jan Garbarek, Kenny Wheeler and Peter Erskine over the years. His gradual emergence as an artist of significance has been cemented by recent outings including the aforementioned CAM Jazz and EGEA releases, but also his two recordings for the sadly-defunct French Sketch label, '02's Overnight and'03's Insight. His strength as a composer of impressionistic bent is clearly evident on his three contributions here — the title track and "Evans Above, which he revisits from his days with Erskine's trio but, with Mirabassi on board, are somewhat more outgoing; and Q2, a more abstract composition with a curiously elliptical theme.

Swallow, of course, has been a vital force for over 40 years, and two of his contributions to the set — Arise, Her Eyes and "Hullo, Bolinas have entered the pantheon of standards, while his new contribution, the aptly-titled "Vaguely Asian, swings along in a relaxed fashion. While his electric bass is capable of providing the deep bottom end required to support the others, it's also, in some ways, a more flexible solo instrument than its acoustic cousin. In the upper registers Swallow sounds more like a guitarist, capable of providing unerring chordal accompaniment.

Mirabassi is something of an EGEA staple, having appeared on nearly a dozen releases. Not surprisingly, his contributions — including "Novalis, a duet that highlights Swallow's rich harmonic abilities, and the nine-minute closer, "Hotel Danubio, which is reminiscent of Jaco Pastorius' "Three Views of a Secret — bring a certain Mediterranean air to the set, which is well in keeping with EGEA's philosophy of exploring the Mediterranean identity. Lithe, supple and imaginative, he's inarguably one of the best clarinetists on the scene today.

New Old Age is an accessible set of chamber jazz that will appeal to fans of any of the artists involved; but its true strength lies in the elegance of their interactions.


Track Listing: New Old Age; Struzzi Cadenti; Vaguely Asian; Novalis; Q2; Arise, Her Eyes; Evans Above; Hullo, Bolinas; Hotel Danubio

Personnel: John Taylor (piano), Steve Swallow (bass), Gabriele Mirabassi (clarinet)

Title: New Old Age | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Egea Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Deep Memory" CD/LP/Track Review Deep Memory
by John Sharpe
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "Plays New Zealand" CD/LP/Track Review Plays New Zealand
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Lionsong" CD/LP/Track Review Lionsong
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Some Other Time" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Hear & Now" CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Live 1972" CD/LP/Track Review Live 1972
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 5, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.