Jay Phelps - Jay Walkin’ (3 stars)

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

(Proper Records)

Many young jazz musicians have been either praised or damned for retro tendencies in the last couple of decades, but Jay Phelps (formerly of Empirical) openly embraces a backward-looking perspective on this debut album as a leader. The Canadian-born trumpeter eschews any fashionable dabbling with hip-hop or electronics, and focuses instead on an old-fashioned swing approach. Just to complete the period feel, he adds corny 40s-style vocals from singer Michael Mwenso, including some scatting on Jackie McLean’s ‘Out of the Blue’ and a rendition of Phelps’ paean to motherhood, ‘I Love My Mama’. I could happily do without that one, but there is no shortage of enjoyable and unpretentious jazz blowing here. Phelps is abetted by a fine band that features rising saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, Jonathan Gee’s excellent piano and Gene Calderazzo’s propulsive drumming.

Jay Phelps - Jay Walkin' Album Sampler

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