COMPOSERS: Denys Baptiste
ALBUM TITLE: Denys Baptiste
WORKS: The Late Trane
PERFORMER: Denys Baptiste (sax), Nikki Yeoh (piano), Gary Crosby, Neil Charles (bass), Rod Youngs (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: EDN 1093
The album title here refers to some of the late works of saxophonist John Coltrane, an artist that inspired London’s Denys Baptiste and generations of other sax players besides. Coltrane himself recorded these lesser-known numbers in 1965, the year before his groundbreaking A Love Supreme, and many of the tracks were released posthumously.
Although Baptiste has retained much of the emotional intensity and depth of the originals, he hasn’t set out to emulate his idol. Instead he’s allowed in the sort of London references that followers of the capital’s jazz scene will recognise:
in the jostling post-bop of his own tune ‘Neptune’, for example, or the funk and soul feel of Yeoh’s keys behind Baptiste’s epic, convoluted solo on ‘Ascent’.
Although widely lauded, Baptiste hasn’t been the most prolific recording artist since his debut in 1999, so it’s great to have him back and firing on all cylinders.