Turbulence and Pulse, etc.

The cover and disc of the CD album 'Turbulence and Pulse' by Asher Gamedze.

Latterly added to my shelves, and shown above, is the album Turbulence and Pulse by the South African drummer, composer and bandleader Asher Gamedze. It was released last year, another fine offering from the people at International Anthem. For a taste of the music see Gamedze’s quartet play a live version of ‘Melancholia’, one of the tracks on the album.

It’s acoustic jazz with an old-school sound agreeably reminscent at times of Charles Mingus, with its unison horn passages and powerhouse rhythm section, in which Gamedze is very ably aided & abetted by bassist Thembinkosi Mavimbela. Shaped by American traditions it may be, but it also has an accent and an attitude very much its own. I’m less convinced by the vocal contributions of Julian ‘Deacon’ Otis on a couple of its numbers, but they may yet grow on me. If this and my one other slice of South African jazz (Shabaka And The Ancestors' We Are Sent Here By History) are anything to go by, then further exploration of that country’s music will be well worth my time.

The covers of the CD albums 'Cloudward' by Mary Halvorson and 'Bark Out Thunder Roar Out Lightning' by Chief Adjuah.

Here are a couple more jazz or jazz-related albums that have made an impression on me lately. Also from last year, Bark Out Thunder Roar Out Lightning by Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah, hitherto known as a trumpeter (and formerly named Christian Scott), who has turned to using his voice, in conjunction with harp-like instruments inspired by the West African ngoni and kora, and has produced a striking record heavy on the percussion and replete with call-&-response vocals. Hear for example ‘Shallow Water’.

And the first 2024 release to reach me: Mary Halvorson’s Cloudward, a sequel of sorts to her wonderful ‘22 album Amaryllis, one that features the same sextet line-up as that earlier record. Apart from Halvorson’s highly-distinctive guitar work, Patricia Brennan’s contributions on the vibraphone are, for me, particular highlights. An example track is ‘The Gate’.