John Donaldson

Sing the Line

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John Donaldson's second CD for Koch is a bit more eclectic than his first release for the label. The British pianist is well accompanied by bassist Andrew Cleyndert and drummer Dave Mattacks, offering a driving interpretation of Bill Evans' "Only Child" and a subtle take of Kenny Werner's ballad "Compensation." Donaldson overdubs organ in Abdullah Ibrahim's "The Wedding," adding tenor saxophonist Andy Panayi in this deliberate piece that blends an African flavor with a bit of a bluesy air. A breezy take of Steve Swallow's "Ladies in Mercedes" showcases Cleyndert first before the leader turns up the heat. A string trio is added on Donaldson's tense "Unrelated Incident" and the lovely folk song "Wild Mountain Thyme" (the latter adding vocalist Agatha Coffey and Panayi), while the cello is omitted from Benny Golson's haunting "Sad to Say," an unjustly obscure work deserving of wider recognition. Recommended.

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