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John Donaldson

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Reviews of John Donaldson

 

05/05/2006 Jazz Rag Chris Yates

The album is simply superb, fluent flowing pianistics set
against a busy energetic polyrythmic drum and bass support. This is altogether a magnificent piano album. Chris Yates The Jazz Rag

 

25/04/0006 Chris Parker

One of the great piano players of recent British jazz (having played with Don Weller, Iain Ballamy, Art Themen, Alan Barnes and a host of other UK figures, not to mention visitors such as Art Farmer, Scott Hamilton, Ingrid Jensen and Jon Gordon),John Donaldson has been described as a bit like McCoy Tyner with the volume and temperature turned down by John Fordham, and the description fits the piano playing on this album pretty neatly.It begins with a couple of Monk pieces, Trinkle Tinkle (a tricksy theme rendered even tricksier in this version) and a springheeled visit to Light Blue, includes a number of intelligently varied originals and also mines the Weller band repertoire for the likes of Bobby Timmons gospelly shuffle Dis Here and (one of the album's highlights) the roiling Ross/Adler flagwaver Hey There. Throughout, Donaldson, whether lamenting the loss of Michel Petrucciani in the tender solo eponymous threnody dedicated to him or indulging in a freely improvised duo piece with drummer Asaf Sirkis (Unknown), is a patient,absorbing player by no means averse to building Tyneresque tension and release into his solos,but generally more interested in the subtle melodic and rhythmic felicities that can be drawn from them. In this, he's shadowed every step of the way by an extremely sympathetic rhythm section, Sirkis (a supremely sensitive drummer none the less capable of high-octane energy playing where required) and Oli Hayhurst, a bassist whose sterling qualities will be familiar to club regulars. A fine trio album.

 

09/04/0006 Dave Gelly, The Observer

John Donaldson
Music Box (Woodville)
With remarkably little publicity or fuss, John Donaldson has emerged as one of Britain's most exciting contemporary jazz pianists. Along with some excellent originals and a few standards, the music on this CD contains pieces by, or dedicated to, other pianists, from Monk to Michel Petrucciani. This points to Donaldson's ability to absorb ideas from players and transmute them into his own distinctive style. He is joined by bassist Oli Hayhurst and drummer Asaf Sirkis, who provide far more than mere accompaniment. Hayhurst has good ideas of his own, and Sirkis is a constant stimulus.
Dave Gelly

 

01/04/0006 Ray Comisky, Irish Times

JOHN DONALDSON/MARK EDWARDS Live at Appleby Jazz Festival *****

It's straining credibility to claim, as this album's sleeve note does, that these two brilliant pianists had never duetted before - some routines must have been worked out beforehand. But the intuitive mutual understanding they show here in their improvised excursions is remarkable, and the constant risk-taking is matched by an equal measure of success. A decidedly unhackneyed programme, full of variety, helps; they combine on pieces by Chick Corea (Sea Journey), Bobby Timmons (Dis Here), Egberto Gismonti (Lro), Monk (Light Blue) and Tyner (Man from Tanganiyka). And their solo features reveal a shared influence: Edwards chose Bill Evans's We Will Meet Again and Donaldson Evans's I Will Say Goodbye. It's one of those happy live occasions that turned out to be memorable. www.triorecords.co.uk

Ray Comiskey Irish Times

 

04/04/0005 Jazz UK Peter Vacher

Pianist Donaldson turns up in bands led by Alan Barnes or Don Weller and can steal the show even in such company. He turns fleeting cues into minor triumphs, has a sophisticated harmonic sense and flair for
dynamics all demonstrated on this fine trio date.
Peter Vacher JazzUK

 

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