Misha Mullov-Abbado: New Ansonia review – an impressive debut


Misha Mullov-Abbado, double-bassist son of the Italian classical conductor Claudio Abbado and Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova, won the Kenny Wheeler jazz prize for composition at the Royal Academy of Music last year. This accomplished debut mix of updated Ellingtonian ensemble colours, luxurious ballads and punchy swing shows why. It’s played by an elegant quintet, augmented by guests (including his mum) and given extra adrenaline by the presence of the versatile and now famous Jacob Collier on piano.

Mullov-Abbado couples a melodic gift with a mature balance of complex orchestration and jazz looseness. The lilting, bass-led waltz Circle Song has something of the folk-melodic grace of Avishai Cohen’s music, while Lock, Stock and Shuffle struts with the broad-grin swing of a 1960s hard-bop band. Almost through-written tone poems of fragile sax figures cushioned by trombone harmonies turn to free-jazz thrashes, classical cello and violin chords introduce billowing ballads, and the leader’s big, supportive bass sound pulses securely beneath it all. It’s an impressive debut.


John Fordham

The GuardianTramp

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