Friday, 20 July 2018

Renato D'Aiello - Blue Vanguard, Gipsy Hill Hotel, Exeter - 19th July, 2018


Another fine night of jazz at the Blue Vanguard with guest saxophonist Renato D’Aiello, the UK based Italian player who must be enjoying our summer even though he has claimed he lives here for the weather, not particularly liking the heat of ‘home’, and probably does a fine cover of Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.

He is a sublime player, reminding me at times of the breathy style of Benny Golson [my touchstone range isn’t huge but this is a genuine feeling], especially on the ballads, two gorgeous ones played last night, the second the Gordon Burdge / J. Russel Robinson Portrait of Jennie.

As ever, and as ever I will present this anaphora [I’ve been marking Lit papers…], the Blue Vanguard Trio was also superb, Coach York and Al Swainger consistently providing their two thirds of the sterling worth, and I only separate this time round in reviewing as Craig Milverton and Renato did share a particular rapport in their playing – a symbiosis in musicianship as well as physical proximity: Renato touchingly often playing very close to Craig, if you’ll excuse the punning indulgence – and it would seem obvious they share a deep friendship as well as their musical closeness.

Photos by Tim
Forthcoming events look like more of the excellent same. Brilliant.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Jimmy LaFave - Peace Town, album review

Rest in that Town

This posthumous album by Jimmy LaFave resonates for two main reasons: the first is in its total beauty, mainly wonderful covers of great songs, made distinctive by his sweet, sweet voice, and of course the interpretation [also such fine supporting musicians]; and secondly in honour of his passing just over a year ago. This two cd collection was recorded not as a farewell, but it collects his last studio work focused specifically on favourites of his to mainly cover [with a particular fondness for Dylan], and serves as a memorable statement of a distinctive artist.

I didn’t realise he had passed and there should have been a louder knell, or I should have been paying attention more.

There are so many fond and knowing reviews/reflections out there and I defer to their already stated affections and accolades. I as ever lean to the beautiful and plaintive tilts he makes at and with well-known songs, but I also commend the upbeat and the blues and the rock’n’roll. He was a class act and this collection is burnished with that talent and sensitivity for empathy and meaningfulness.

A previous review of mine here will support my high regard, and I thoroughly recommend this. 

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Scott Matthews - The Great Untold, album review


Strange to read [somewhere] Scott Matthews stated as the natural heir to John Martyn – or words to that effect – and clearly drawing musical parallels. I don’t see/hear it at all, unless the suggestion is Matthews is a fine artist, which he is.

What I hear is much more Rufus Wainwright and Jeff Buckley, perhaps early Ron Sexsmith: fine enough touchstones for tracing a lineage, and this is in the sweetness of the vocal – which John Martyn of course had in his early work, though quite a different sweet factor, and his latter jazz slur became its own phenomenal and distinctive instrument.

This is a genuinely pretty collection of popfolk songs that are finely crafted and performed, which is a rather clich├ęd assessment but that too is quite genuine.