Norwegian master bassist Arild Andersen s trio with big-toned tenorist Tommy Smith and powerhouse drummer Paolo Vinaccia is one of the most viscerally exciting jazz small groups of the present moment. Its energies are arguably best captured in a live context, and here the three musicians deliver a characteristically smoking performance at the Villa Rothstein in Bad Ischl, Austria, recorded in September 2016. Their earlier concert recording Live At Belleville, was issued a decade ago to rave reviews and a shower of awards. Absolutely and unreservedly marvellous said the BBC Music Magazine. How often do just three musicians produce music as vast and panoramic in its scale and vision? asked Jazzwise.
This is an album that should not have worked. LaVern Baker (a fine R&B singer) was joined by all-stars from mainstream jazz (including trumpeter Buck Clayton, trombonist Vic Dickenson, tenor-saxophonist Paul Quinichette and pianist Nat Pierce) for twelve songs associated with the great '20s blues singer Bessie Smith. Despite the potentially conflicting styles, this project is quite successful and often exciting. The arrangements by Phil Moore, Nat Pierce, and Ernie Wilkins do not attempt to re-create the original recordings; Baker sings in her own style (rather than trying to emulate Bessie Smith), and the hot solos work well with her vocals.