Tag Archives: Album

Tom Ollendorff: A Song For You

A Song For You

UK guitarist Tom Ollendorff has released a fantastic debut album on the Spanish jazz label ‘Fresh Sound New Talent’. Tom is accompanied by Conor Chaplin on bass and Marc Michel on drums. The trio has been playing together for several years and as Tom points out: “The trio developed it’s own sound and character”.

 

A significant part of this individual character comes from Toms guitar playing style, a combination of plectrum and picking which creates a full and dense sound.

The album starts with the title song ‘A Song For You’, an original from Tom with a beautiful melody that modulates between major and minor. First solo goes to Conor Chaplin on bass before we get the chance to listen to the first guitar solo. Every note is played crystal clear, the trio plays quite open but always in time and with nice dynamics, the sound is fresh and transparent and it is great pleasure to listen to this song.

‘Spring’ continues in this way, a feast of beautiful harmonies and melodic ideas with a sophisticated bass and drum accompaniment.

‘Etude 1′ is a nice little guitar solo piece which demonstrates Tom’s outstanding technique. Tom Ollendorff has published a transcription of this song on his website and the following video on youtube:

 

‘Not In These Days’ and ‘XY’ are the two extended tunes on the album, both originals from Tom, the first one impresses with the freedom drummer Marc Michel takes, the second a medium-up jazz tune shows the ‘classic’ jazz skills of Tom Ollendorff and his trio.

‘Autumn in New York’ is the only jazz standard on this album and Tom uses this tune for great chord melodies.

The album continues with ‘Aare’ named after the river that flows through Bern which is famous for being one of the longest open air swimming ‘pools’ in Switzerland. Again, a beautiful and atmospheric song featuring Marc Michel with an excellent drums solo.

The trio presents a second etude with ‘Etude 3′ this time with a simple bass and sophisticated drums focusing on cymbals.

The album ends with ‘These Days (Outro)’ a little light and airy tune that fades away in harmony and elegance.

I might repeat myself, but I like this album very much. Tom Ollendorff is a great guitarist with a distinct sound and style, the interaction in this trio is fantastic and very precise, the compositions are beautiful and the sound is clear and atmospheric. Please enjoy.

More information on tour dates are found on Tom Ollendorff’s website:

https://www.tomollendorff.com/

And finally a playlist of the album on Spotify:

 

Daniel Bennett Group: New York Nerve

meta_eyJzcmNCdWNrZXQiOiJjb250ZW50LnNpdGV6b29nbGUuY29tIn0=

 

Saxophonist and composer Daniel Bennett tried to find his own way after the disruption of the New York City nightlife through the Covid-19 pandemic and his answer is summarized in this new album called ‘New York Nerve’.

During lockdown Daniel started to play on the rooftop of his apartment building and when restaurants and jazz-clubs opened again he performed with his band under “snow-covered heat lamps”. His idea was always to bring the music to the people and he found some comrades that shared his idea and followed him in the last 15 months. When studios re-opened in 2020 he recorded this album together with

  •  Assaf Kehati: Electric Guitar
  • Kevin Hailey: Electric Bass
  • Koko Bermejo: Drums

 

The album starts with ‘Television’, a song that has a beautiful melody built on a steady rock-groove with the Bennett-typical change of tonal centers. The seamless transition from saxophone to clarinet together with the change of the background from guitar riffs to piano chords is done quite nicely.

‘The Town Supervisor’ moves much slower. Assaf Kehati on guitar trades solos with Daniel Bennett, interesting is how the groove is slightly modified and I think the long background notes are played by Daniel Bennett on clarinet.

‘Gold Star Mufflers’ is a song that Daniel recorded before but this new version sounds much cleaner and has a certain spirit of a merry-go-round in an (sometimes enchanted) amusement park. Excellent song and great arrangement.

The album continues with ‘Human Playback’. The melody is accompanied by arpeggios while the solo part reduces the harmonic elements significantly to a simple pattern. The short guitar solo is played without any harmonic support. The final melody returns again to the arpeggio accompaniment. The long coda of this song is dominated by a vanishing saxophone.

‘Rattlesnake’ begins as an open improvisation and changes to an steady nice sad melody which is repeated multiple times giving this song a contemplative character.

The album closes with ‘The County Clerk’. The solo part of this slow song starts with a duet between Daniel Bennett on saxophone and Assaf Kehati on guitar before each of them has its own solo part.  One final major chord and some cymbals swoosh and the album comes to and end.

‘New York Nerve’ is the right title for this album because it shows – with Daniel Bennett as its most passionate advocate – the courage and unfaltering spirit of this city to stay positive and creative. The songs are all typical Bennett-songs with beautiful melodies and strong modulations, the arrangements are done quite nicely and the band produces a compact and transparent sound on this album.

More information on the Daniel Bennett group is available on their website:
https://danielbennettgroup.com/

And finally the complete album as Spotify-playlist: