Latest releases reviewed


Classically-trained violinist/composer Galasso's first ECM release in 20 years is a mix of influences from jazz and classical music to - probably - idioms from the near, middle and far east he has encountered in his ceaseless wandering around the world. With Norwegian guitarist Terje Rypdal, Marc Marder (bass) and Frank Colón (percussion), what emerges is a deceptively simple music, hypnotic, almost minimalist at times, evocative of moods and scenes - sometimes both, as in Caravanserai Day and Caravanserai Night. Galasso, who composed all these, mostly short, pieces, is a virtuoso of breathtaking quality, and Rypdal fills the performances in which he takes part with some compelling textures. Whether or not it may be considered jazz doesn't really matter; it remains one of the more unusual releases of the year. www.musicconnection.org.uk
Ray Comiskey


Two Hammond organs may seem two too many to some, but this master/pupil encounter between Smith and DeFrancesco, recorded last year shortly before Smith's death, is not the messy overkill that might have been expected. They're both in fine form, managing to walk the line between restraint and self-indulgence, and the result is an exuberantly swinging release that does them both credit. DeFrancesco switches to piano for some pieces, which helps the textures, and they have the benefit of several very capable rhythm sections in which longtime colleague Paul Bollenbeck is prominent on guitar, while tenor saxophonist James Moody guests effectively on a tribute to drummer Elvin Jones. Nothing here to startle the horses, but fans will find much to enjoy. www.musicconnection.org.uk
Ray Comiskey

DENA DEROSE A Walk in the Park Maxjazz ***

Derose is a good singer/pianist with, career-wise, plenty of miles on the clock. On this new CD she heads up some quality company in drummer Matt Wilson and bassist Martin Wind, with whom she works regularly. She hasn't got a big voice, but she knows how to use it well - crucially, there's no feeling that the idiom has changed when the jazz solos kick in - and she has a fluent piano technique with a buoyant sense of swing, although her solos tend to be a collection of phrases rather than consistently developed ideas. The most memorable performances in a programme of standards spiced with a few of her originals are her own lovely In the Glow of the Moon and Jimmy Van Heusen's seldom-played I Could've Told You. Tasty. www.maxjazz.com
Ray Comiskey