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Articles by Roger Farbey

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Randy Brecker with the NDR Big Band - The Hamburg Jazz Orchestra: Rocks

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Randy Brecker has been at the forefront of jazz since the late 1960s. His debut album as leader way back in 1969 was Score (Solid State). In addition to numerous albums under his own name he's also recorded with George Benson, Duke Pearson, Dreams and Larry Coryell's Eleventh House, to name just a few. But perhaps he is best known for the albums he produced with his younger brother, the late Michael Brecker as The Brecker Brothers. Lest people forget ...

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Rymden: Reflections And Odysseys

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Is it mere coincidence, or fate, that Bugge Wesseltoft and the late Esbjo Svensson were both born in the same quarter of 1964? More to the point, Wesseltoft, having effectively merged his New Conception of Jazz with the two surviving members of Svensson's e.s.t., has now hatched a veritable Scandinavian supergroup. The formation of Rymden is a welcome move since it provides an excellent vehicle for Wesseltoft and the virtuoso rhythm section of bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Öström. ...

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Benjamin Harrison: Nomad

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Australian multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Harrison began his career as a child prodigy, initially playing piano and violin at age four. He then gained a music school scholarship and performed nationally and internationally, including participating in a tour of China as an Australian cultural ambassador in 2003. In 2007, Harrison advanced his formal studies at the University of Adelaide's Elder Conservatorium of Music, graduating with a Bachelor of Music Performance and specializing in jazz saxophone. From 2010 he has had an ongoing ...

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Daniel Herskedal: Voyage

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Daniel Herskedal's third release for Edition Records is no less intriguing than his first two, Slow Eastbound Train (2015) and The Roc (2017). It's tempting to summarise the album as “pastoral," but there's a lot more to it than that solitary adjective. Granted, tunes like “The Horizon" and “Molly Hunt's Seagulls" really are pastoral, dreamlike, and evocative of the nautical imagery central to the album's theme. But “Batten Down The Hatches," the opener, is no tranquil outing. Herskedal's ...

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Chris Potter: Circuits

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Circuits is, stylistically, relatively far removed from Chris Potter's previous album, The Dreamer Is The Dream (ECM, 2017) but is certainly no less attractive. Whilst the earlier album is, generally, more sedate (with some exceptions), this record is full of heterogeneous, unanticipated delights and handbrake rhythm turns. That said, the short-ish opener, “Invocation," with Potter on bass clarinet, atypically evinces a Duke Ellington-ish charm with an emphasis on elegant counterpoint. This makes “Hold It" sound funky by contrast. But it's ...

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Jason Palmer: Rhyme And Reason

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Jazz albums without chordal instruments can sometimes sound arid. But that is decidedly not the case with Jason Palmer's Rhyme And Reason. The members of his quartet fit together organically, and the contrapuntal interplay between the trumpeter and his co-front man, tenorist Mark Turner, is remarkably tight. But the backline too is populated by a taut rhythm section comprising Matt Brewer on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums. “Backline" is something of an understatement since both Brewer and Turner deliver ...

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Anton Eger: AE

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On first listen, Anton Eger's eponymously titled debut album shares similarities in its execution with the some of the recordings of Joe Zawinul and Django Bates, and Frank Zappa's Jazz From Hell Synclavier phase. Despite the irritating hieroglyphically devised song titles, there is actually real substance to the ten compositions. For over ten years Eger has been the backbone of Jasper Høiby's extraordinary trio Phronesis but now it's his turn to lead. For the purposes of this review (and brevity) ...

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Quinsin Nachoff's Flux: Path Of Totality

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The title of Quinsin Nachoff's ambitious double album refers to the August 2017 lunar eclipse, when the moon passed in front of the sun and cast a shadow known as the “path of totality." This event also gave rise to a twin-headed metaphor reflecting both his band's creative evolutionary process and the current political and environmental discord in which (hopefully) light will triumph over darkness. Nachoff's approach is to employ his quartet as a nucleus for the album but also ...

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Wandering Monster: Wandering Monster

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Wandering Monster is the eponymously titled debut album for a quintet comprising five young musicians based in the Leeds area of England. The group came to fame after winning the 2016/17 Jazz North Introduces Award, and is led by bassist Sam Quintana who wrote all the album's compositions. “Samsara" is driven-off by Quintana's resonant bass, Tom Higham's subtle drumming and Aleks Podraza's fluid piano line before the ensemble kicks-in with a labyrinthine theme. Plenty of space is afforded ...

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Jeff Ballard: Fairgrounds

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The overture to Fairgrounds, “Grounds Entrance," involves an engaging percussive soundscape leading into “Yeah Pete!," which despite its exclamatory title is a laid-back feast of drums, electric piano and guitar on a similar wavelength to Miles Davis' In A Silent Way (Columbia, 1969). But “The Man's Gone" introduces a funky shift with irrepressibly upbeat wah-wah guitar from the redoubtable Lionel Loueke. At nearly three minutes into the song, Loueke's guitar goes nuclear for around half a minute, clearly signalling that ...

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Jasper Blom Quartet: Polyphony

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Saxophonist Jasper Blom's double album Polyphony, released on Whirlwind, centres around two key elements. Firstly, his long- standing penchant for adding a guest soloist to his quartet, reflected in each disc having its own additional musician. On the first CD there is trumpeter Bert Joris, with whom Blom and his quartet have played for several years, whereas on the second CD, the extra player is Nils Wogram on trombone. The music on both discs was recorded live at Amsterdam's famous ...

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Mark Lockheart: Days On Earth

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Mark Lockheart's Days On Earth encapsulates the term fusion in its most literal sense. This actually refers to the amalgamation of two different species of music; jazz and classical. It was deliberately organised so that the individual musicians from each respective genre were paired with their opposite number from “the other side." Something akin to footballers marking their opponents or parliamentary pairings during a vote. Pairing examples include flautists Roland Sutherland (jazz) with Anna Noakes (classical) or clarinettists James Allsopp ...