Julian Joseph

COMPOSERS: Julian Joseph
LABELS: ASC Records
ALBUM TITLE: Julian Joseph
WORKS: Live at the Vortex London
PERFORMER: Julian Joseph (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: ASC CD 132

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This is Julian Joseph’s first recording in over 15 years – how is that possible? A composer, big band leader and a broadcaster too, he’s never far from the public ear. Maybe he’s been too busy with commissions, the latest being a dance suite for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Whatever the reason, this new CD, an electrifying solo gig recorded in the London jazz club in 2008, is most welcome. It’s a characteristically clangorous live set consisting mostly of original numbers, save a suitably skew-whiff take on Monk’s ‘Think Of One’ and a longer meditation on Bheki Mseleku’s ‘Universal Renaissance’.

A compelling improviser, Joseph is so centered, assured and physical, that you feel safe in those large hands, wherever his ideas take the music. And, because he can draw easily on blues, bebop or classical styles, he delights in swinging into unexpected places en route. Worth the wait Mr Joseph, but don’t leave it so long next time.

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Garry Booth