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

Aronas: Culture Tunnels (Southbound)

Aronas: Culture Tunnels (Southbound)

This is an interesting one: originally released under the same title but in a different cover two years ago from the band lead by gifted young New Zealand pianist Aron Ottignon, it has now... > Read more

Tsabropoulos, Lechner, Gandhi: Melos (ECM/Ode)

Tsabropoulos, Lechner, Gandhi: Melos (ECM/Ode)

On a first encounter you will think you won't get much bbq season play out of this melancholy, autumnal album of original pieces by pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos and interpretations of short... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

And The Horse You Rode Into Town On

And The Horse You Rode Into Town On

It has been some time since I had hate mail, and while I can't say I miss it I always used to read the letters with interest and thought about what the people had to say. Then I chucked them away.... > Read more

THE AMBER RILEY-THOMPSON SAGA, PART THE FIRST (2003-04): A child's Christmas and wails