Album of the Day: Jean-Claude, “IF Music Presents You Need This – A Journey Into Deep Jazz Vol. 3”

Like its predecessors, IF Music Presents You Need This – A Journey into Deep Jazz Vol. 3 is mostly comprised of songs recorded in the 1970s and ‘80s. However, where IF label head Jean-Claude’s first two volumes (released in 2015 and 2017, respectively) focused on American jazz, with occasional offerings from Britain and Italy, his latest compilation casts a wider net. Hungary makes an appearance via guitarist Gábor Szabó’s funky Latin fusion “24 Carat.” So does India, with the Sangam Jazz Yatra Sextett, whose Carnatic raga is also surprisingly funky (and operates at a breakneck tempo to boot); Japanese big band Copa Salvo ups the album’s cross-cultural ante with their percolating mambo.

U.S. musicians do make a showing: Beaver Harris was a one-time major—now somewhat forgotten—avant-garde drummer from Pittsburgh, whose “Aladdin’s Carpet” numbers among his more accessible pieces. The album’s boldest venture comes from California-based scholar multi-reedist Karlton Hester, listed here as Karl; “Pan African Ballet Music” is 20 minutes of loose, sprawling, semi-free blowing. Bassist Stafford James goes firmly straight ahead with a waltz version of John Coltrane’s “Impressions.”

For all its geographic diversity, the compilation is held together by virtue of the deep soul that runs through every performance. In that way, IF Music are the ideal musical archivists: They don’t merely collect musical traditions—they understand them.

Michael J. West

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