[3 June 2007]
Although viewed with suspicion by some of the mouldy figs of the British jazz scene, there’s no doubting the energising effect DJ, impresario and tastemaker Gilles Peterson has had on the lives and record collections of UK jazzers in the last 15 years—from his days spinning acid-jazz classics at Camden’s ‘Dingwalls’ club, though his championing of Nu-jazz and jungle on his seminal ‘Worldwide’ radio show, to his role as compiler of countless compilations. Here, he’s let loose on one of the most iconic of all jazz catalogues, the Impulse label. Unsurprisingly, even when delving into a label most closely associated with the fiery, experimental sounds of Alice Coltrane, Archie Shepp and Pharoah Sanders, Peterson manages to locate soulful nuggets of accessible jazz that never stray far from the dance-floor: Michael White’s “The Blessing Song” is uplifting spiritual jazz with stirring gospel vocals and sweet fiddle; and Milt Jackson and Ray Brown’s “Enchanted Lady” is smouldering soul-jazz that wouldn’t sound out of place in a modern-day club. Added deep-jazz cuts from McCoy Tyner, John Coltrane and Oliver Nelson make this a treat that even the mouldiest fig would do well to peruse.