All of your favorites, in one place.
2019 Small Repress Spring Heel Jack brings esteemed trumpeter and vanguard composer Wadada Leo Smith to the mix, along with reedsman and longtime Spring Heel collaborator Evan Parker, fellow Brit John Edwards on bass, and drummer Mark Sanders. The Sweetness of the Water, from 2003, is a strong offering from John Coxon and Ashley Wales (the masterminds behind Spring Heel Jack), with a more intimate, live feel than the group’s previous electro-heavy efforts.
Parker returns with his bellowing, screaming sax juxtaposed perfectly by Smith’s Miles-ish trumpet. Smith, hands down one of the most under-recognized voices in jazz’s last thirty years, is rightfully showcased to the fullest extent on Sweetness.
With its gospelized, droning organ and Parker’s testified cries, “Lata” seems ripped from J. Spaceman’s Spiritualized songbook—no wonder that Mr. Spaceman is a friend and collaborator to the Spring Heel lot. This selection is followed by “Duo,” a doodling drum and guitar duet that signifies why this album just isn’t for everyone.
Over an eerie and echoing piano line, Parker and Smith engage in beautiful dialogue on “Track One”—at times they’re screaming at one another, at other times gently whispering, interjecting or offering guidance to each other's improvisational explorations. This tune is simply wonderful, emphasizing that under-recognized adjective attributed to Mr. Smith above.