I heard this trio live supporting Carla Bley at QEH in 2009 and was mightily impressed. This had been recorded a couple of years earlier at "The Vortex" in London. I have seen Julian a number of times, usually with his "Partisans", but even before the advent of that group, he has impressed as one of Britain's most inventive reed players. This trio of Julian playing either tenor sax, clarinet or bass clarinet (he remains one of a handful of musicians who can play jazz on a bass clarinet), Americans Joey Baron (d) and Greg Cohen (b). Joey Baron is the "most melodic drummer" that I have ever heard; his approach to drumming is, as far as I know, unique. The interplay between these three musicians is wonderful to behold (the same intensity as the Ornette Coleman trio with Charles Moffett and David Izenzon). With 94 minutes of music spread over two CDs one might choose to listen to just some at a time, it is pretty intense stuff. I only knew two of the tunes: "Alfie" and "One Mint Julep"; other tunes are by Julian Siegel. This release deserves to be much better known.
This CD has got to be one of the best that I own, and believe me I do have a lot of jazz CD's. I listen to everything, there are no boundary's, I am a Jazz musician. If I was to loose or damage this CD I would buy it again without hesitation,it qualifies as a must have! The interaction between all three musicians is top notch, inventive and fun to listen to. There are strong melody lines,which take time to get to know but are worth the effort and are not too repetitive. Julian Siegel has made an inspired choice by inviting Joey Baron and Greg Cohen to play this music and I for one hope that this is not there only collaboration...Buy with confidence and enjoy.
A great piece of contemporary live jazz improvisation. Having come to jazz over the last 10 years, I had pretty much given up on hearing anything made after about 1968 that wasn't a turn off. But Julian Siegel Live At The Vortex is a modern, new, and vibrant update on the great hard-bop/avant-garde sax players like Sonny Rollins or Jackie McLean - fiercely original, but you can still hear the blues roots clearly. Worth the price for the great twisting and turning around the familiar tune of Ray Charles's 'One Mint Julep' alone