The last time Courtney Pine played tenor saxophone in the studio was on 2005's Resistance. Since then, we've heard him use his soprano horn, bass clarinet, flutes, and more in programs as diverse as 2009's Tradition in Transition -- an homage to Sidney Bechet that re-opened NOLA jazz's embrace of Afro-Cuban and Caribbean sounds -- to 2015's Song (The Ballad Book), a bass clarinet duo offering with pianist Zoe Rahman. Black Notes from the Deep places Pine in mostly quartet settings, backed by his working band with pianist Robert Mitchell, bassist Alec Dankworth, and drummer Rod Youngs.
E ver one to mix things up, Britain's most celebrated jazzer follows a low-key ballads album with a collection centred on funk-oriented duets with vocalist Omar, though Courtney Pine - back on tenor sax for the first time in years - conjures assorted moods. Rivers of Blood is a brooding meditation taking its title from Enoch Powell's 1968 racist speech, while A Change Is Sure to Come is a wistful, flute-driven piece. Omar brings an elegant touch to Herbie Hancock's Butterfly, and snappy vitality to opener Rules.