Sean Khan: Sean Khan Presents the Modern Jazz and Folk Ensemble review – classics reinvigorated

(Acid Jazz)
A collective of genre-straddling talents give new life to songs by Nick Drake, John Martyn and Sandy Denny

Jazz and British folk enjoyed a fruitful communion in the late 60s and early 70s, primarily via Pentangle, a group entwining folk guitars with a jazz rhythm section and the agile voice of Jacqui McShee. London saxophonist Sean Khan revisits the era with elan here, delivering instrumental versions of hallowed ballads and vocal updates of songs by Pentangle, Nick Drake and John Martyn. Fair to say that the unnamed woman in She Moves Through the Fair has never bustled along in quite such sprightly fashion, led by Khan’s lyrical flute and Andy Noble’s rippling piano. Switching to soprano sax, Khan’s take on Sandy Denny’s Who Knows Where the Time Goes trades the song’s wistfulness for breezy optimism.

McShee herself rolls back the years to sing Pentangle’s I’ve Got A Feeling and Light Flight, sounding remarkably fresh alongside a young band. Twenty-something singer-songwriters Rosie Frater-Taylor and Kindelan prove inspired choices elsewhere, the latter with a delicate version of Nick Drake’s Parasite against a shimmering, crepuscular backdrop, while Frater-Taylor is languid for John Martyn’s Solid Air. Khan’s admiration for Drake is expressed on a short closing piece that captures both the beauty and anguish of his work. A fascinating reset for the genre.

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