Sunday, 18 September 2011

James Morton great young English player

  1. James Morton's Porkchop
  2. Don'T You Worry 'Bout That
  3. Fresh Ground Records
  4. 2010
When the young saxophonist James Morton surfaced in London on fellow Bristolian Andy Sheppard's 50th-birthday gigs in 2007, he energetically linked Sheppard's loose-improv contemporary approach to a hot, gospelly energy reminiscent of Cannonball Adderley or David Sanborn. Morton regularly plays with Pee Wee Ellis, the former James Brown and Van Morrison sax sideman, and Ellis's searing sound and punchy accents have been a significant influence. Still, it's hard to make anything beyond a retro impact from a soul-jazz album celebrating the anthemic hooks of the Crusaders, or the preachy melodramas of the Hammond organ funk bands of the 1960s. Morton, however, has done just that. He and his sidemen (particularly the classy guitarist Denny Illett) have reworked this familiar idiom with a relaxed affection that reignites it. Morton ascends from wistful beginnings to hypnotic eloquence on Forgiven, turns God Bless the Child into a soul groover, in effect, and if he mildly sends up improv and swing on Skits 1 and 2, there's enough depth to this appealing set to show that he understands jazz from the roots up.   

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