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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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ACT:15 MAGIC YEARS 1992-2007

ACT 9470-2

 

 

  1. Della Mae - John Lee Hooker
  2. Funebre - Michael Wollny Trio
  3. Asta - Danish Radio Orchestra
  4. Fragile - Nils Langren - Rigmor Gustafssen
  5. The Global Soul - David Binney
  6. Shining on You - Viktoria Tolstoy
  7. Calima - Grarado Nunez
  8. Tennessee waltz - Norah Jones
  9. Down By the Old Well - Tomasz Stanko
  10. Dodge the Dodo - Esbjorn Svensson
  11. Massanicisse - Soriba Kouate
  12. Wade in the Water - Eddie Harris
  13. Walk Tall - Nils Langren funk Unit
  14. Mangustao - Nguyen Le
  15. Back is the Colour of my True Loves Hair - Joachim Kuhn
  16. Tangos - Al Di Meola, Michael Brecker.

The ACT label has been a remarkable success, this is remarkable, the last 15 years have been extremely difficult for anyone engaged in the jazz business. Most successes in jazz are usually down to one man, in this case proprietor "Siggi" Loch, he has had the courage to sign fresh young European Jazz talent for his label and encouraged people to reach in new directions.

This record is a good example of the artists he has worked with and their various talents. Not all the musicians and singers are from Europe however, Blues Man, John Lee Hooker kicks things off in his inimitable style! Track 2 is completely different with pianist Michael Wollny playing a composition of the drummer in his trio. Track 3 features various guests with the renowned Danish radio Orchestra.

Track 4 has two vocalists performing a duet, from their album Sentimental Journey, backed by a jazz trio. Very pleasant listening. The Global Soul, a composition of Dave Binney, Alto also features Chris Potter, Tenor.

Viktoria Tolstoy has a very pleasant voice which is heard to good effect on Shining on You. Calima has a Latin flavour and a most attractive theme.

It was a real pleasure for me to hear Norah Jones again, she was surely one of the most underrated singers of the jazz world. Down By the Well is described as Swedish Folk Jazz and like most fusion attempts it ends up as neither fish nor foul!

Dodge the Dodo was not really for me either, no real jazz feel, plenty of strange sounds against a repetitive beat.

Eddie Harris with the WDR Big Band on the other hand is for me, it gets my vote as the best track on the album, the track is called Wade in the Water. There is also some fine trombone Nils Landgren. I know this tune as something different but at the moment I can’t think what!

Walk tall takes us in to Funk Land and is very well played by all concerned. Black is the colour includes Django Bates and the NDR Radio Philharmonic, not a lot of swing here. Tangos has Michael Brecker on Tenor and is played with the WDR Big Band. The piece has a Spanish flavour and it is one of the oldest in the catalogue being released in 1992, Michael Brecker rarely if ever disappointed and it would have been nice if his solo had have been longer, but this is a quality outfit all round.

I recommend this sampler album to all jazz fans, it makes you listen to a lot of people who you have not heard before, by it’s nature I doubt if anyone will enjoy everything but the majority of people will find more that they like than they might expect.

Don Mather

 



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