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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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JIM MARTINEZ & FRIENDS

He Keeps Me Swinging

Invisible Touch CD 012

 

 


1. Hargrove/McBride Warm-Up
2. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
3. When i Survey the Wondrous Cross
4. Open the Eyes of My Heart
5. Majesty
6. Nothing but the Blood
7. The Old Rugged Cross
8. The Solid Rock
9. Holy, Holy, Holy
10. Good News Blues
11. He Keeps Me Singing
12. Alleluia
13. Just a Closer Walk with Thee
14. Your Name
15. How Great Thou Art

Jim Martinez- Piano
Roy Hargove - Trumpet -(tracks 1, 2)
Christian McBride - Bass (tracks 1, 2, 8, 15)
Tony Savage - Drums (tracks 2-9, 11, 12, 15)
Bill Douglass - Bass (tracks 3-5, 7, 9, 11, 12)
Julia Dollison - Vocals (tracks 4, 8, 12)
Guy Kowarsh - Percussion (track 4)
Tom Lopes - Bass (track 6)
Ron Wilkinson - Vocals (track 7)
Todd Johnson - Electric bass (track 9)
Lance Bryant - Tenor sax (track 10)
Dee Daniels - Vocals (track 10)
Cleve Guyton - Flute (track 10)
Rob Thorsen - Bass (tracks 10, 13)
Daryl VanDruff - Drums (tracks 10, 13)
Jeff Clayton - Alto sax (track 12)
John Stowell - Guitar (track 13)
Brandon Muchow - Vocals (track 14)

 

As a fully paid-up atheist, I usually avoid music that has the buttonholing evangelical feeling of wanting to sign you up to a particular brand of religion. This album is subtitled "Jazz Praise IV", which was enough to put me on guard, as I am disinclined to praise any deity. I like much gospel music but more for the music than its message. So I was surprised to find myself liking this CD. The album was actually started in 2003 but it only progressed by fits and starts until it was ready for release this year.

Talented pianist Jim Martinez blends hymn tunes with jazz - a seemingly perilous enterprise which happens to work very well on most tracks here. Jim's sleeve-note points out that Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is based on the chords of There Will Never Be Another You, while Alleliuia mingles with Take the "A" Train and Nothing but the Blood is merged with Vince Guaraldi's Linus and Lucy from Peanuts. Perhaps the most startling example is Open the Eyes of My Heart, which keeps referring to Dizzy Gillespie's A Night in Tunisia.

The album is full of such cross-references - for example, The Solid Rock borrowing the middle eight from Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Some solemn listeners may disapprove of the way that songs like The Old Rugged Cross and Holy, Holy, Holy are jazzed up, the latter given a Latin-American pulse. Yet I like the inventive and sometimes witty transformations, even though I find some of the more overt religiosity in the lyrics hard to stomach.

Jim Martinez has assembled some highly gifted musicians to join in, with Roy Hargrove and Christian McBride tuning up in the first track and swinging on Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Cleve Guyton contributes some forceful flute to Good News Blues and altoist Jeff Clayton plays a neat solo on Alleluia.

This album not only supplies more than an hour of tasty jazz but it also boasts some of the clearest recording quality I have ever heard.

Tony Augarde

www.augardebooks.co.uk



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