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Various – Music For Jazz Dancers review

As DJ at one of the longest running and most venerable jazz nights around, London’s Messin’ Around, Adrian Gibson has road-tested more than a fair share of jazzy sensations in his time. Music For Jazz Dancers distills his knowledge and experience into one vital collection of essential cuts, and it’s an eye-opening and valuable resource.

Trombonist and bandleader Peter Herbolzheimer’s collaboration with Dianne Reeves from 1995, “Cherokee,” kicks things off with a big band flair that would undoubtedly tear up the right dance floor. Samba rhythms find a good home here too – with Mario Canonge’s “Kon Djab Djigidi” and Marcos Ariel’s pacey “Samba Torto” breaking out the congas in particular. In fact, much of what Gibson selects comes at a break-neck speed, which suggests the crowds at Messin’ Around must have superhuman stamina. Fernando Gelbard’s “Alevacolaries” in particular is blisteringly fast, driven by hand percussion, some screaming vocals and Rhodes. The combination of all these elements is fascinating and a real find. For listeners inclined toward a slightly more conventional mode of jazz though, Primo and the Groupe’s “A Child Runs Free” is a perfect fusion of uptempo rhythms with smooth vocalisms and laidback piano accompaniment. Not only is this a great collection of hitherto obscure jazz, the fact that it’s presented with dancing in mind makes it all the better.

Review: Oliver Keens