DownBeat March 2021

another thing entirely: a well-played slice of fan- tastical escapism?Maybe it’s all three. “Lemonade” attempts an effervescent bossa nova, but sounds like an inconsequential distrac- tion. Brönner favors his flugelhorn over trumpet here, but his trills on “SaveYour Love ForMe” are painterly delights. Tracks like “Lavender Fields” elicit the laid-back vibe of James’ classic CTI out- ings. Hip-hop producers recognize that he’s a keyboardist with astonishing rhythmic sensibil- ity, having crafted an outsized number of songs that have been sampled, including the sunny, steel drum-studded “Take Me To The Mardi Gras.” Unfortunately, that sensibility is underuti- lized here. The pulsing sunniness of “Mardi Gras” occasionally breaks through the clouds, appearing in the compelling interplay between the co-bandleaders on “Elysium.” But the mood- iness of James’ work on classics like “Nautilus” largely is missing. It’s a sharpness that would cut some of the cloying sweetness that makes up most of OnVacation . Instead, what listeners get is an occasional musical rally, marred by intermit- tent drowsiness.  —Ayana Contreras On Vacation: Save Your Love ForMe; Lemonade; LateNight; Lav- ender Fields; SeptemberMorn; Elysium; I Get It FromYou;Miranda; ScentOf Childhood; OnVacation; Sunset Vale; BasinStreet Blues; If SomeoneHadToldMe. (65:29) Personnel: Till Brönner, flugelhorn, trumpet, keyboards, vocals; Bob James, keyboards; ChristianVonKaphengst, bass, electric bass (2); Yuri Goloubev, bass (5, 8, 11, 12); HarveyMason, DavidHaynes (2,10),WolfgangHaffner (3, 4, 7), drums. Ordering info:

Till Brönner &Bob James On Vacation SONY MASTERWORKS 19439700122 HHH Sometimes, the circumstances of an album’s recording are incongruent with the circum- stances of its release. Till Brönner, Bob James and a coterie of first-call players have issued On Vacation during a time punctuatedwith isolation and travel bans, when few people have the ability to partake in any sort of getaway. So, is the album—recorded in the south of France during 2019—or the theme behind it a vestige of another time, simply tone deaf or RoscoeMitchell &Mike Reed The Ritual AndThe Dance ASTRAL SPIRITS 145 HHHH Saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and drummer Mike Reed had gotten to know each other espe- cially well by the time they performed togeth- er in Antwerp, Belgium, for this live record- ing from 2015, The Ritual And The Dance . They had been touring for a few years as a duo and pieces from another concert were released as In Pursuit Of Magic during 2014. That famil- iarity fuels their intense musical conversation throughout this Antwerp set. But their affin- ities go beyond onstage collaborations. Both musicians balance space and silence with free playing that explodes beyond expected tones and bar lines. All of these sounds are used to construct a strong sense of narrative, especial- ly for the lengthy, single piece that constitutes this album. The Ritual And The Dance sounds sponta- neous, but none of its pivots seem random. After Mitchell begins with a few spacious upper- register notes, which Reed answers with simi- lar minimalism, the duo continues to build and change up its dynamics.WhenMitchell unleash- es long lines of circular breathing, the sense of focus that he summons at such velocity—and

Keith Jarrett Budapest Concert ECM 2700 HHHH 1/2

In the summer of 2016, pianist Keith Jarrett set out on a solo tour, concertizing extemporane- ously in some of Europe’s greatest performance halls. ECM, his label since the 1970s, was onhand to document the performances. Munich 2016 , the first album from that cache of live record- ings, dropped in September 2019. By the time of that release, Jarrett had suffered two paralyzing strokes, throwing intodoubt the future of his pio- neering, 50-year career. The second release from that run, Budapest Concert , serves as a poignant companion to the first. Recorded at the Béla Bartók Concert Hall in Hungary almost two weeks before the Munich date, the album unveils Jarrett’s evolving musi- cal conception for the tour. As on Munich , he opened with a long, impulsive free improvisa- tion that eschewed melodic suppositions (“Part I”), followed by a more concordant section (“Part II”) and two spontaneous forays into increasing- ly complex rhythmic and harmonic expressive- ness (“Part III” and “Part IV”). Throughout the first disc, one can hear Jarrett’s signature vocal- izations—the seemingly unconscious exposition of the music he’s hearing in his head. On the second disc, these vocalizations diminish as Jarrett falls into a stretch of gentle melodicism, expounding on a sonorous motif (“Part V”), a boisterous bop head (“Part VI”), a regret-filled ballad (“Part VII”) and a heart- searing meditation (“Part VIII”). “Part IX” and “Part X” signal a return to the dark, ponder- ous free expression that opened the concert, and “Part XI,” an unhurried waltz, tempers the fren- zy of these two preceding tracks. For the finale in Budapest, Jarrett resolved the musical epic with a growling 16-bar blues (“Part XII), before closing with some oft-played encores, an almost unbear- ably tender farewell.  —Suzanne Lorge 25 Years: DiscOne: Parts I–IV. Disc Two: Parts V–XI; Part XII–Blues; It’s ALonesomeOldTown; AnswerMe. (37:39/54:41) Personnel: Keith Jarrett, piano. Ordering info:

after so many decades—is a marvel. Reed is equally sharp in his response and also provides complementary or contrasting melodic lines. Alongwithmatching or deviating fromthe saxo- phonist’s tempo, he draws on an array of different tones. Mitchell’s sustained notes serve both as a contrast to the drummer’s speed and also a redi- rection of the piece’s overall ambition. A few bars of Reed’s repeated drum patterns and electronic chimes conclude The Ritual AndThe Dance with a jarring stop, as if signaling to everyone in the room that it is time to exhale.  —Aaron Cohen The Ritual And The Dance: TheRitual AndTheDance. (36:44) Personnel: RoscoeMitchell, reeds;MikeReed, drums, electronics. Ordering info:


Powered by