Marc Johnson, Elaine Elias: Swept Away (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  1 min read

Johnson, Elias: B is for Butterfly
Marc Johnson, Elaine Elias: Swept Away (ECM/Ode)

Longtime followers of the ECM label will register that this one ticks any number of the right boxes: the line-up of pianist Elaine Elias, bassist Marc Johnson, drummer Joey Baron (a working trio in their own right) and tenor player Joe Lovano is one of those modest "supergroup" aggregations of talent which the label does so effortlesly.

This is unashamedly lyrical, melodic music which swings gently, references restrained post-bop and Middle Eastern harmonics (One Thousand and One Nights) and pays fastitious attention to detail (the appropriately titled Johnson ballad Midnight Blue where Lovano takes you on a ruminating walk through the empty and dark streets of Manhattan).

Early up is an immediate highpoint: Elias' gentle tribute to the late Michael Brecker (she was once in Steps Ahead with him) on the sad It's Time where Lovano slows things to a stately and low pace as Elias drops in romantically rippling lines behind. To some extent it and Midnight Blue have their conceptual equal in the quiet Foujita (again by Johnson) which is elegantly spare and barely-there.

And as with many American jazz musicians -- Charlie Haden immediately comes to mind -- they go back to a traditional song as source material: the closer here is a solo turn by Johnson on Shenandoah in which he begins by picking out the notes slowly as if finding his way into this old warehorse and evoking a time long gone.

It is a wistful and nostalgic note ending this album which -- although it hardly breaks any new ground -- aims more for the heart than the head, and hits that target every time in way which, as Bob Marley said, makes you feel no pain.

Like the sound of this? THen check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

CHICK COREA INTERVIEWED (2007): The restless quest for connection

CHICK COREA INTERVIEWED (2007): The restless quest for connection

After the long drought came the flood: just 10 days on from Herbie Hancock’s Auckland concert in early 2007 came that by Chick Corea, a keyboard player whose jazz career is equally long and... > Read more

Mette Henriette; Mette Henriette (ECM/Ode)

Mette Henriette; Mette Henriette (ECM/Ode)

This late-twentysomething Norwegian saxophonist announces herself with this impressive double CD debut, which is all the more interesting for the questions it raises. The first disc finds her... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Neil Young: On the Beach (1974)

Neil Young: On the Beach (1974)

By consensus the idealism of the 60s was dealt two fatal blows in late '69: the first in August when the victims of Charles Manson's murderous family started turning up in flash Hollywood homes;... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Logan Bell of Katchafire

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Logan Bell of Katchafire

Elsewhere has long held the view that Hamilton reggae band Katchafire have been the hardest working band in the country. Three gigs on one Waitangi Day alone tells you how committed they are.... > Read more