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



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Andy JAFFE

Manhattan Projections

Big Round Records BR8922

 

 

1. Manhattan Projections [6:29]
2. Samba de Saudade [8:47]
3. Dersu [6:27]
4. So you say [10:35]
5. Blues for Cannonball Adderly [5:34]
6.The scorpion [6:03]
7.Integrity [5:44]
8.Transition [4:23]
9.Whole town [4:14]
10.Goose chase [6:27]
11.Cariocas* [5:31]
12.If I had a dream* [4:36]


Tracks 1-7: Andy Jaffe (piano); Branford Marsalis (tenor/soprano sax); Wallace Roney (trumpet); Ed Jackson (alto sax); Tom Olin (piccolo); Lou Harless (bass); Marvin "Smitty" Smith (drums)
Tracks 8-10: Andy Jaffe (piano); JohnClark (French horn); Bill Lowe (trombone); Phillipe Crettien (tenor sax); Mike Marcus (bass); Claire Arenius (drums)
Tracks 11-12:* bonus tracks featuring the Tom McClung-Andy Jaffe piano duo.
rec. January 24th, 1984 at Classic, NYC, New York, USA (tracks 1-7), August 2, 1991 at McDaniels Gallery, Simsbury, CT, USA (tracks 8-10), January 23&24, 1998 at Chapin Hall, Williams College, Williamstown, MT, USA (tracks 11-12)

 

I hadn't come across Andy Jaffe's name before but if this disc is anything to go by then I need to find some more because it's right up my jazz street! It is a great mixture of straight ahead mainstream jazz … la Blakey (au Blakey would look weird), Samba and Brazilian choro. It has a propulsive and driving momentum about it that is entirely infectious. Andy is obviously a highly talented composer/arranger as well as a great jazz pianist. He has taught jazz for over 30 years and has lectured all over the world so he knows what he's doing and no mistake and boy does it show with this disc. It's difficult to pick anything out as they are all so good but I particularly enjoyed the first two tracks and tracks 4 and 6. Track one is the album's title track which often gets included further on than the beginning but I think it is right to have it first here as it definitely sets out the canvas upon which the rest of the disc is depicted. It is a superb and superbly paced number that is hard to forget once heard. Track two is a beautiful samba which is so convincing you are fooled into thinking that you must have heard it before. Track four is the longest on the disc and allows for great development. It begins with a tune that is pure "Take Five" but there the similarity ends and wondrous things are done with that simple structure. Track six has a blistering solo on soprano sax from the wonderful Branford Marsalis (Wynton's brother), who, it must be said is fabulous throughout the disc - a real lynchpin, along needless to say, with Andy Jaffe's brilliant pianism. Again it seems unfair to single individuals out but Marvin "Smitty" Smith's drumming is just unbelievably good. It's a different line-up on tracks 8-10 with the unusual addition of French horn, and female drummer Claire Arenius who was a real discovery for me. The trombone is underused as a jazz instrument I always feel so it was good to hear Bill Lowe doing his bit to correct this and the French horn of John Clark perfectly meshed with the trombone complimenting it really well while Phillipe Crettien's lyrical tenor sax completed a fantastic trio of horns aided by Mike Marcus' walking bass and Claire Arenius' thoughtful drumming, all anchored by Andy Jaffe's piano. Track ten is a perfect example of this highly innovative grouping which shows each musician at their absolute best. The two bonus tracks are lovely examples of jazz piano duos and Tom McClung and Andy Jaffe play together as if they'd been born to do so and the final track uses a keyboard used in organ mode alongside a piano making for a wonderful conclusion to an extremely enjoyable disc. All the compositions are originals by Andy Jaffe which serve to emphasise how lucky his students are to have such talent to tap into and to be taught by. I can't praise the disc highly enough.

Steve Arloff



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