DownBeat March 2021

His octave configurations have the resonance you hear in some of Chick Corea’s performanc- es, but with an even stronger dash of cinnamon. In several ways that opening track is a pre- lude to “Hallelujah,” Leonard Cohen’s signa- ture song, and it’s made all the more ecclesias- tical when Valle applies harp-like strokes to his cluster of solos. On one swift passage of notes, he approximates a carillon; Valle has a way of sus- taining that sound of bells.The only things miss- ing fromthe invocation is a choir and an “Amen.” Exciting moments occur near the close of the album on “Cinco Hermanas,” when Valle’s vocalizations, a little scat and a bunch of har- monic phrases converge with explosive notes from his piano. A tune that began in a classi- cal mood soon became a festive shout, Valle’s voice mimicking the tone and velocity emanat- ing from the keyboard. But perhaps the most engrossing effort here is “Mamita Yo Te Quiero,” where Valle’s flurry of fingers matches Peet beat for beat and Calvo swings in a Latin context. The pianist and composer has presented an array of colorful images and soundscapes that abound in his native Cuba, and should summon visions of his home.  —Herb Boyd Inner State: FreeAt Last; Little, Irreplaceable Things; Hallelujah; MamitaYoTeQuiero; Te Extraño; Levitando; CincoHermanas. (61:47) Personnel: RamónValle, piano, vocals; Omar Rodriguez Calvo, bass; JamiePeet, drums. Ordering info:

Altar Double Quintet We SaluteThe Night REAL MUSIC HOUSE 2393-037 HHH 1/2 The treatment by Europeans of anAmerican folk tradition as a bastion of high art has resulted in a rich panoply of outstanding jazz. Adding to this legacy are Slovakian pianist Luboš Šrámek and saxophonist Nikolaj Nikitin, who along with their Eastern European colleagues in the Altar Quintet sport an accomplished strain of impro- vised music. Collectively, the players have con- siderable experience with American jazz musi- cians, and for We Salute The Night they tap three A-listers to add authentic seasoning to their skill- ful blending of jazz and classical influences. For “Kunzo,” trumpeter Tom Harrell fabri- cates a delicious strand of melody that weaves effortlessly through the shifting harmonic struc- ture, sandwiched between confident solos by Nikitin and Šrámek. Bassist Drew Gress and drummer Johnathan Blake are also signifi- cant contributors, with Gress revealing a con- servatory-like accuracy of pitch and placement on “Rain,” while Blake demonstrates the right amount of fiery attitude on the hard-swinging “GipsyMoustache.”The rest of the album is han- dled by the core working quintet with immacu- late attention to detail, including a faithful treat- ment of theKennyWheeler title track, a poignant arrangement by Nikitin of Bach’s “Jesu, Meine Freude” and the exquisite ballad “Stayin’ Alone.” The one smudge on an otherwise highly pol- ished effort is the unfortunately titled “Smells LikeMILF Spirit,” which starts out as a rock cho- rale that’s somehow simultaneously dark and corny, devolving into a spirited but polite hom- age to Kurt Cobain’s hallowed grunge anthem. Apparently, not all Americana translates well abroad.  —Gary Fukushima We Salute The Night: Kunzo; Rain;We Salute TheNight; Gipsy Moustache; Stayin’ Alone; Smells LikeMILF Spirit; Short Affair; Jesu, Meine Freude. (59:24) Personnel: Luboš Šrámek, piano; Nikolaj Nikitin, soprano saxo- phone, tenor saxophone; TomHarrell (1, 2, 4), Kornél Fekete-Kovács (5, 6), Juraj Bartoš (3, 7, 8), trumpet, flugelhorn; DrewGress (1, 2, 4), NenadVasilic (3, 5, 6, 7, 8), bass; JohnathanBlake (1, 2, 4), Klemens

Ramón Valle Inner State IN+OUT 77144 HHH 1/2

Ramón Valle is an extraordinary pianist who strives to create picturesquemusic, and practical- ly every tune on Inner State evokes at least a daz- zling image or two. His treatment of “Free At Last,” words so inseparably linked to the sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., begins slowly, like a call to prayer, before an eruption of chords summon bassist Omar Rodriguez Calvo and drummer Jamie Peet to join him in a holler of liberation. Jazz Orchestra Of The Concertgebouw The Jazz Influencers JOC 013 HHH 1/2 The Jazz Orchestra Of The Concertgebouw, recorded before a live audience in February 2020, offers a dozen detailed compositions by ninemil- lennial musicians out to establish their individ- ual voices. Except for guesting alto saxophonist Tineke Postma, the composers don’t themselves play, and half the program is arranged by Rob Horsting, whose stamp might be nuanced sec- tional blends and free use of space. Its liner notes avow that this European cohort’s music is distinct from American jazz by virtueof it beingwrittenandperformedby young musicians in Holland adopting a “more inclusive approach” to the music. But the compositions here embrace conventions of concert masters like Ellington and Kenton, while also nodding to Maria Schneider. The edgier legacy of Holland’s Instant Composers Pool is muted, but there are moments of affecting polyphony, such as the horns-only passages of “Whiplash.” Trombonist Bert Boeren’s solo on “Open Water” is another highlight, with Marco Kegel and Simon Rigter on sax, sustaining the song’s exoticism. Indeed, all the soloists aim high, supported by a rhythm

section providing sensitive coloration, as well as power and sometimes swing. Throughout, the orchestra performs sectional call and response, rich harmonies, tricky syncopation and counter- point faultlessly. It doesn’t resist going big, mak- ing full use of the dynamic and harmonic poten- tials of brass and reeds.  —Howard Mandel The Jazz Influencers: Giant;Whiplash; Lunar;Mercurial; Sat- urnine;Mushroom;Mynah; Brothers Keeper; Freya; OpenWater; PixelatedPariside; ThePeter Cat. (75:35) Personnel: MarcoKegel, TinekePostma, alto saxophone; Simon Rigter, SjoerdDijkhuizen, tenor saxophone; JuanMartinez, baritone saxophone;WimBoth, ErikVeldkamp, RuudBreuls, Janvan Duikeren, trumpet; JanOosting, IljaReijngoud, Bert Boeren,Martin vandenBerg, trombone; Peter Beets, RobvanBavel, piano;Martijn van Iterson, guitar; Frans vanGeest, bass;Marcel Serierse, drums. Ordering info:

Marktl (3, 5, 6, 7, 8), drums. Ordering info:


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