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Pharoah Sanders

Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders, June 2017. Picture by Clara Pereira, Jazztrail


WHAT'S NEW

September 2017

 

 


On A Night Like This,
The Story Is Told
...

'I still say the greatest thing about the Basie band of those days was that they never used a piece of music, still all sixteen of them could end up sounding like a great big wonderful one sound.

Most of my experience with bands before that had been in hanging out with Benny Goodman. I used to listen to him rehearse with high-paid radio studio bands and his own groups. He always had big arrangements. He would spend a fortune on arrangements for a little dog-assed vocalist.

But with Basie, we had something no expensive arrangements could touch. The cats would come in, somebody would hum a tune. Then someone else would play it over on the piano once or twice. Then someone would set up a riff, a ba-deep, a ba-dop. Then Daddy Basie would two-finger it a little. And then things would start to happen.

 

Billie Holiday and Count Basie

 

Half the cats couldn't have read music if they'd had it. They didn't want to be bothered anyway. Maybe sometimes one cat would bring in a written arrangement and the other would run over it. But by the time Jack Wadlin, Skeet Henderson, Buck Clayton, Freddie Green and Basie were through running over it, taking off, changing it, the arrangement wouldn't be recognizable anyway.

I know that's the way we worked out Love Of My Life and Them There Eyes for me. Everything that happened, happened by ear. For the two years I was with the band we had a book of a hundred songs, and every one of us carried every last damn note of them in our heads.'

From Lady Sings The Blues by Billie Holiday with William Dufty.

Click here for archive video of Billie singing God Bless The Child with Count Basie.

 

 

 


Name That Tune!

(Click on the picture for the answers)

 

Name that tune

 

 

Name that tune

 

 

Name that tune

 

 

 

Sonny's Bridge

A campaign has begun to rename after saxophonist Sonny Rollins the Williamsburg Bridge that connects Manhattan's Lower East Side with Williamsburg BridgeBrooklyn. From 1959 to 1961, Sonny had taken a sabbatical when he used the Williamsburg Bridge as a practice space - his 1962 album The Bridge was named in recognition of the time. The move comes as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem has bought Sonny's extensive archives that include previously unreleased material. The campaign has been launched by New Yorker Jeff Caltabiano who is quoted as saying: 'I strongly believe it is a not a question of if but when. The thousands of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists that cross the bridge each day should know that they're crossing Sonny Rollins' bridge, a sacred space in music history.'

When it opened in 1903, Williamsburg Brisdge held the record for the longest suspension bridge span in the world. Williamsburg is a multi-ethnic neighbourhood in Brooklyn and the area has known several names over the years. 'In 1802, real estate speculator Richard M. Woodhull acquired 13 acres near what would become Metropolitan Avenue, then North 2nd Street. He had Colonel Jonathan Williams, a U.S. Engineer, survey the property, and named it Williamsburgh (with an h at the end) in his honor'. As the neighbourhood would retain it's name, the renaming of the bridge would presumable not affect it.

Click here to read more.

 

 

The Write Stuff 2017

The Write Stuff press hat

If you are interested in writing about jazz, now is the time to sign up for this year's Write Stuff course. Founded and organised by Jazzwise magazine and London Jazz Festival producers, Serious, the course will take place for its 15th year during the EFG London Jazz Festival in November. This is a free opportunity to work with professional journalists to improve your writing skills, develop an understanding of music criticism and the workings of the music press and the blogosphere - and to get to see a number of Festival concerts.

This year, the course will focus on bringing on a new generation of younger writers aged 18 - 25 who will attain an Arts Award qualification following a successful completion of the course.

If you are interested in taking part, you need to send by email a 300-word review of a gig/concert that you have seen recently, together with a CV and full contact details to learning@serious.org.uk by 10th October 2017 with 'The Write Stuff 2017' in the subject line. Applicants must be aged 18 - 25 and be available in London on the following dates: Friday 10 November (evening); Saturday 11 - Sunday 12 November and Saturday 18 - Sunday 19 November.

Click here for more details.

 

 

 

New Premises for Birmingham Conservatoire and Eastside Jazz Club

September will see the opening of new £57 million state of the art premises for Birmingham Conservatoire. This will be the first purpose-built UK music college for many years with awe-inspiring facilities that include: a 500-seat concert hall, a 150-seat recital room, a 100-seat experimental 'lab' Eastside Jazz Clubspace, a 100-seat organ studio, and the 80-seat Eastside Jazz Club.

Technical facilities boast a £2.5 million audio-visual and lighting package, high-calibre acoustics, 100 practice rooms for students, a full-orchestra size stage and a recording studio. The venue will also host the BBC Young Musician competition.

Head of Jazz at Birmingham Conservatiore, Jeremy Price, is quoted as saying: 'I lobbied hard at the planning stage to get our jazz club included from the outset. I took architects and designers down to Ronnie Scott's to help explain that very special space that jazz thrives on; where the audience are there to listen, but they can relax and have a good time, and where the feel is of one social space for jazz musicians and audience alike .... We are calling it Eastside Jazz Club: Birmingham, and plan to programme music throughout the week. Monday to Wednesday will be student gigs, including the Jazz Orchestra and Ellington Orchestra alternating on Monday nights, and the best of student combos Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday nights will be 'guest nights' that we can also tie in with masterclasses in the afternoon before ... Friday is for commercial hire and Saturday is offered to the local scene. The students are going to be in jazz heaven!'

Click here for a brief video showing the space for the Eastside Jazz Club.

 

 

Paul Oliver - Bye Bye Blues Man

One of the names going through our Departure Lounge this month is that of Paul Oliver. He will no doubt be remembered elsewhere for his work as an architectural historian, but for us, his contribution to understanding the history of the Blues is important.

Paul was born in Nottingham, the son of an architect, but he initially trained as a painter and sculptor. It turned out that he was allergic to some artPaul Oliver materials and so turned to graphic design, something that would later become useful as he designed many blues album sleeves, usually uncredited, in the 1950s. (He had written to Decca to complain about their sleeve design - so they hired him!). Paul went on to teach Art in two secondary schools, and was Head of Art at Harrow County School for Boys from 1949 to 1960 where he formed a jazz club in which he played his blues records - he also played mandolin in a skiffle group.

Click here for a brief recording of Paul talking about how he became interested in the Blues.

Paul Oliver published his first article in Jazz Journal in 1951 and his first book on the Blues, a biography of Bessie Smith, was published in 1959. His acclaimed book Blues Fell This Morning: The Meaning of the Blues appeared in 1960 and was distributed through the Jazz Book Club that existed at that time. It was described as "one of the first efforts to examine closely the music’s language and subject matter."

Click here for a 30 minute film Blues Like Showers Of Rain that used Paul Oliver's photographs.

His work, particularly during the 1960s included interviews, field work and research in recording Before the Blues imageand print that traced the origin and development of African-American music and culture from the time of slavery and before. He made several trips to the USA in the 1960s, financed by the State Department and the BBC, to interview and record blues musicians and many of his interviews were transcribed in Conversation with the Blues (1965). In 1969 he published The Story of the Blues, "the first comprehensive history of the genre", followed by several other books covering all aspects of blues music. His unfinished research with Mack McCormick on Texas blues is due to be published in 2018.

Click here for a 1 hour BBC radio broadcast Before The Blues from 1987 in which Paul talks about and plays the music, starting with Bessie Smith.

The New York Times described Paul Oliver as "a scrupulous researcher with a fluent writing style, [who] opened the eyes of readers in Britain and the United States to a musical form that had been overlooked and often belittled." His Collection of African American Music and Related Traditions was established in 2007 with the support of the European Blues Association at the University of Gloucestershire.

Paul Oliver died on the 15th August 2017.

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Fest Quest


This month's quiz is as much about your knowledge of geography as it is about jazz. Jazz Festivals have been in full flow around the world Can you identify the county or country where they are located? See how many you can identify?

 

Festival

 

For example, here is an easy one:

In which U.K. county does the Keswick Jazz Festival take place?

Now try the others.

You can check how well you have done on the Answers page where you will also find some interesting videos - and don't forget to check your score.

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

Jazz FM Listeners

The UK radio station, Jazz FM, has given interesting details of its listener base showing that it has increased its weekly reach to 556,000, up 19% quarter on quarter, with total hours unchanged at 1,660,000. Listening across the UK has grown at twice the rate as in London with 56% of listeners living outside the London area compared with under 40% in 2016, before Jazz FM re-launched nationally on DAB+ over a year ago.

The weekly audience is slightly male biased at 52%, with two-thirds of listeners aged 15-54.  The audience profile has continue to skew younger Jazz FM logowith 15-34 year olds now representing 37% of weekly reach. Jazz FM’s ABC1 ('middle class') audience profile has increased to a record 80% of weekly reach – the highest ABC1 profile of any national radio brand, including all BBC networks.

All weekday programme audiences have increased, with Jaime Crick’s Breakfast Show attracting a record 143,000 listeners and Chris Philips’ Morning Show achieving the highest audience of the week at 189,000. Sunday attracts the station’s highest audiences of the week with 171,000 listening across the day. Nick Pitts, Content Director, Jazz FM said “Great results, great audience growth and all a result of great effort by the team in the Jazz basement… its really gratifying that listeners all over the UK are enjoying our music.”

As always, statistics raise as many questions as answers. It is interesting that there is a susbstantial number of women listening, but Jazz FM do not say how many women presenters they have. I am not sure about the implications of the ABC1 statistics, hopefully jazz is not just being targetted at a middle class audience? The number of younger people listening is also interesting and it raises questions about how it relates to the age of audiences going to live gigs.

 

 

 

 

Jazz Remembered

Richie Kamuca

 

[You are able to listen to the music at the same time as reading this article and without leaving the page if you click here. This will take you to the article on another page on our website where some computers might ask you to allow the music to play on the page. Alternatively there are links to the music on YouTube etc. in the article below].

Saxophonist Dave Keen writes from Canada suggesting we remember saxophonist Richie Kamuca.

 

Richie Kamuca

 

'It is so tragic that Richie Kamuca died so young - he was a force to be reckoned with. In my view, he was up there with Zoot Sims and Al Cohn. He was a consummate, straight ahead tenor saxophonist; he always took care of business in a very melodic, rhythmical way and played accurately over the changes', Dave say.

'There's a pecking order for me when I listen to a player. Number one is the Sound, (he had such a great sound), 2: Articulation. It aintsamuch what ya say but how ya say it, dyathink? And three, Content - doesn't matter how good the content is, if you can't get past the sound and you can't articulate the content, it's probably not gonna get listened to, at least not by me'.

Dave suggests this video of Shelly Manne and his men featuring Richie Kamuca and Conte Candoli - click here.

Richie Kamuca was born in Philadelphia and became a saxophonist associated with the West Coast style of jazz, that cool music that emerged Richie Kamuca The Brothers albumaround Los Angeles and San Francisco during the 1950s. Richie's early playing developed touring with the big bands of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman where he became one of the later 'Brothers' line-ups with Al Cohn and Bill Perkins.

Click here for them playing Blixed in 1955 with Hank Jones (piano), Jimmy Raney (guitar), John Beal (bass) and Chuck Flores (drums).

 

Kamuca continued playing on the West Coast with smaller groups, including those of Chet Baker, Maynard Ferguson and Shorty Rogers.

Click here to listen to Little Girl from 1956 by the Chet Baker and Art Pepper Sextet with Chet Baker (trumpet), Art Pepper (alto sax), Richie Kamuca (tenor sax), Pete Jolly (piano), Leroy Vinnegar (bass) and Stan Levey (drums).

 

In 1957 and 1958 he was a member of the Lighthouse All-Stars and recorded with his own and other groups. According to Wikipedia: '"Verpilate's" restaurant is Hermosa Beach, California, was built at 30 Pier Avenue in 1934, and it was converted into "The Lighthouse", a bar, in 1940 ("Café" was added to the name only several decades later). The club first began showcasing jazz music on May 29, 1949, when owner John Levine permitted bassist/band leader Howard Rumsey to start a recurring Sunday jam session on a trial basis. The experiment was a success. Rumsey became club manager soon after, and put together a house band called the Lighthouse All-Richie KamucaStars ... that had among its guest musicians Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan and Miles Davis. The longest-running members of the Lighthouse All-Stars were Bob Cooper (tenor saxophone), Conte Candoli (trumpet), and Stan Levey (drums)'.

Click here for a video of Richie Kamuca's Quintet playing Cherry in Los Angeles in 1958 with Frank Rosolino (trombone), Scott LaFaro (bass), Victor Feldman (piano) and Stan Levey (drums).

 

In 1959 Richie joined Shelly Manne and stayed with him until 1962 when he went to New York to work with Gerry Mulligan, Gary McFarland and Roy Eldridge.

Click here for a video of Richie with Shelly Manne playing Straight, No Chaser from Frankly Jazz, a regular television programme hosted by DJ Frank Evans in Los Angeles in the early 1960s - Conte Candoli (trumpet), Richie Kamuca (tenor sax), Russ Freeman (piano), Monte Budwig (bass), and Shelly Manne (drums).

In 1972 Richie went back to the West Coast where he recorded and played for five years until July 1977 when he died of cancer in Los Angeles the day before his 47th birthday.

In February 1977, Richie Kamuca recorded his album Drop Me Off In Harlem with Herb Ellis (guitar) and Ray Brown (bass). Click here to listen to the track Dear Bix, from the album. Richie takes the vocals with Dave Frishberg's lyrics.

"I wonder, Bix, old chum,
When you reminisce in years to come,
Will you ever hum that someday song
You've been looking so long to find?"

 

This short 'remembered' profile is just a taste of the wealth of Richie Kamuca's music from his own recordings and his work with others that you can find on YouTube and elsewhere.

 

 

 


Help With Musical Definitions No 38.

Cha Cha

Tea for two.

 

Click here for our page of 'Alternative Definitions'. Send us yours

 

 

 

 

Cat Out Of Hull

Philip Larkin

by Howard Lawes


 

[You are able to listen to the music at the same time as reading this article and without leaving the page if you click here. This will take you to the article on another page on our website where some computers might ask you to allow the music to play on the page. Alternatively there are links to the music on YouTube etc. in the article below].

Howard Lawes reflects on Philip Larkin's jazz and an exhibition New Eyes Each Year running in Hull until 1st October:

 

Philip Larkin

 

When I went to university in Hull in 1968 the librarian there at the time was Philip Larkin and although I was not much interested in poetry, it was nice to know that we had a celebrity on site.  Because of his status and our student ambitions it wasn't long before Hull students could quote passages from Whitsun Weddings, an anthology of Larkin poetry that had been published in 1964. In 1971 he wrote a poem called This Be The Verse which, like pictures of Che Guevara on your bedroom wall, was a call to arms for every disaffected young person struggling to come to terms with growing up and protesting against the establishment.  

What was less apparent to students who chose to read newspapers other than the Daily Telegraph was that Larkin wrote a monthly column about jazz between 1961 and 1971, many of which were published as a book called All What Jazz in 1970, and a second edition with all of them in 1985.

Larkin did reveal his enthusiasm for jazz in one of the poems in his Whitsun Weddings anthology, For Sidney Bechet begins with the lines:

 

That note you hold, narrowing and rising, shakes
Like New Orleans reflected on the water,
And in all ears appropriate falsehood wakes,

Building for some a legendary Quarter
Of balconies, flower-baskets and quadrilles,
Everyone making love and going shares—

Oh, play that thing! Mute glorious Storyvilles
Others may license, grouping around their chairs
Sporting-house girls like circus tigers (priced

Far above rubies) to pretend their fads,
While scholars manqués nod around unnoticed
Wrapped up in personnels like old plaids.

 

(Click here for the full poem)

 

Philip Larkin New Eyes Each Year

 

 

Larkin's taste in jazz was for classic Armstrong, Basie and Ellington and of course Sidney Bechet.  In 2010 a 4CD set titled Larkin's Jazz, commissioned by the Philip Larkin Society, was released, containing 81 tracks, which showcased a broad cross-section of jazz musicians

This year Larkin's life and times are explored in an exhibition called New Eyes Each Year running at the University of Hull’s Brynmor Jones Library and presented jointly by Hull, UK City of Culture 2017, The Philip Larkin Society and The University of Hull Archives. It runs until 1st October.  In the exhibition there are many references to jazz music including books, magazines and recordings - admission is free.

 

 

 

Philip Larkin was born in 1922 and started to enjoy jazz music as a teenager, his first record was Tiger Rag by Ray Noble and his Orchestra which was released in 1933.  He also had 78 rpm records by the Washboard Rhythm Kings and Louis Armstrong's 1929 release of Ain't Misbehavin’Click here to listen to Ray Noble and his Orchestra playing Tiger Rag.

Larkin went to St John's College, Oxford in 1940, his poor eyesight disqualifying him from military service during World War II, and he graduated in 1943 with first class honours in English.  As might be expected, during his time at university Larkin greatly expanded his knowledge of both English literature and jazz music. The names of his favourite bands often included the words ‘hot’, ‘rhythm’ or ‘feetwarmers’ and the music he loved was quality Dixieland jazz, blues and swing.

During and after the war the supply of new, recorded music was severely limited but when normal service was resumed the style of jazz hadBessie Smith changed.  Larkin seems to have yearned for the pre-1940 jazz music of his early years, and on the BBC programme Desert Island Discs he described Louis Armstrong as ‘the Chaucer and Shakespeare of jazz music’ and his favourite track as I'm Down in the Dumps by Bessie Smith, released in 1933 (you can download the programme if you click here).  Click here to listen to Bessie Smith singing I'm Down In The Dumps.

 

Portrait of Bessie Smith by Carl Van Vechten

 

By the time he became the jazz critic on the Daily Telegraph, writing a monthly column, the jazz landscape had changed markedly, bebop had held sway since the 1940's and in 1959 (the year that changed jazz) Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman all released important and influential albums.  Larkin said of Brubeck's Take 5: "this modest, tricky-rhythmed piece seems an odd candidate for mass acclaim" and typically, while recognising the ability of these new jazz musicians, Larkin was disparaging when describing their music.

In some ways Larkin was perhaps an unlikely choice for a contemporary jazz reviewer, but when it came to traditional jazz, anthologies and re-issues from the pre-war era he certainly knew his stuff and even if not everyone agreed with his viewpoint, there was no denying the quality of his Philip Larkin All What Jazzwriting.  John Coltrane seems to have come in for some particularly venomous criticism such as the July 1965 column when Larkin was reviewing A Love Supreme; in response to another reviewer who expressed the opinion that he didn't think John Coltrane could play Larkin states: "It is of course absurd to suggest that he can't play his instrument: the rapidity of his fingering alone dispels that notion. It would be a juster question whether he knows what to do with it now that he can play it."  

However no jazz writer can survive simply on denigration and Larkin wrote many fine, complimentary pieces demonstrating considerable knowledge of jazz in both America and Britain.  He also wrote about the plight of African-American jazz musicians in America and discussed how discrimination, injustice and maltreatment influenced their style of music. 

Larkin continued writing about jazz in the Telegraph until 1971 when he seems to have decided that new jazz music had moved too far away from his own idea of what it should be and that another writer might find a more receptive audience.  Larkin never stopped caring about the jazz that he loved, but never grew to really love that modern jazz that he lumped together with modern art and modern poetry.  In the introduction to the 1985 edition of All What Jazz Larkin says: "If Charlie Parker sounds a less filthy racket today than he did in 1950 it is only because, as I point out, much filthier rackets succeeded him".

As part of the ongoing feast that is Hull, UK City of Culture 2017, the 25th Anniversary Hull Jazz Festival from 11-18 November includes Pat Metheny, Gwilym Simcock, Andy Sheppard, Moon Hooch, Arun Ghosh, Nu Civilisation Orchestra and GoGo Penguin.  One hopes that Philip Larkin will lie still in his grave in nearby Cottingham even though all art forms including jazz, art and poetry continue to evolve.

 

 

New Eyes Each Year is at the University of Hull’s Brynmor Jones Library until 1st October. In the exhibition there are many references to jazz music including books, magazines and recordings. Entrance is free.

 

Philip Larkin Exhibition Hull

 

 

Click here to listen to Philip Larkin reading his poem For Sidney Bechet as Bechet plays Petite Fleur.

Click here for the website of the Philip Larkin Society.

 

 

 

Arts Council Funding 2018 - 2022

Arts Council England

Arts Council England grants for the next four years have been announced with a range of jazz beneficiaries that include the Manchester venue Band On The Wall; the National Youth Jazz Orchestra; Jazz:Refreshed; Serious; the Manchester Jazz Festival; Tomorrow's Warriors; Jazz North and EMJAZZ (the East Midlands based development agency) amongst others. Click here for the full list of ACE grants in their National Portfolio Dataset. Details are also there on how to apply for future grants.

Writing to Jazzwise magazine, Chris Hodgkins challenges the claim that the latest grants see a shift to more regional organisations. Chris Hodgkins says: ' .... in 2018/2019, opera will receive a total of £57.1 million of which 32.5 % will be spent outside of London. Classical music will receive £19 million of which 55% is spent outside of London'. Chris continues .... 'For the avoidance of doubt 3.4 million people attend classical music concerts, 2.1 million people attend jazz concerts and around 1.7 million people attend opera'.

I am not sure how the figures for attendance at jazz clubs is calculated. Presumably there is also an argument that funding should be targeted at less well-supported art forms to help them to develop their profiles?

 

 

 

Congratulations Tom Barford

This year's recipient of the Kenny Wheeler Prize is saxophonist and composer Tom Barford. The prize is conferred each year on a young Tom Barfordmusician from the Royal Academy of Music in London who has demonstrated excellence in both performance and composition.

As part of the award, Tom will be given the opportunity to release a new recording through the Edition label.

Click here for a video of Tom playing Blues For J.C. at the Jazz Nursery in May: Tom Barford (saxophone), Alex Hitchcock (saxophone), Ferg Ireland (bass), James Maddren (drums).

Tom joined the Junior Jazz Course at the Royal Academy of Music when he was sixteen before going on to gain a place on the Undergraduate Jazz Programme in 2013 where he was awarded a First Class Hons degree this year. During his time at the Academy, Tom has been writing music and performing across Britain with his band ASTEROPE, as well as co-leading and writing for the quartet involving James Maddren, Alex Hitchcock and Ferg Ireland. He has played at Ronnie Scott’s Club, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Brecon Jazz Festival, The Jazz Nursery, The Vortex, The 606 Club, and the Pizza Express Jazz Club among others. Tom also plays as sideman other groups as well as playing occasionally in the Gareth Lockrane Big Band and The London Super Sax Project alongside Alex Garnett, Nigel Hitchcock, Graeme Blevins and Sammy Maine. Tom is also looking forward to a UK tour later this year with Bill Mchenry, Jeff Williams, Tom Ollendorff and Mark Trounson.

Click here for Tom Barford's website.

 

 

 

Video Juke Box

*Click on the Picture for the Video

 

 

 

Swing Kids In Nazi Germany

 

 

Swing Kids in Nazi Germany. As a decade of Nazi rule passed by, the Hitler Youth lost its appeal as something glamourous. This video describes the Swing Kids who refused to conform, and the fate that awaited them if caught. For more background to this story from Ken McCarthy at Jazz On The Tube - click here.

 

 

 

 

Gareth Lockrane Fistfight at the Barndance

 

 

The Gareth Lockrane Big Band. Here is the promo video for Gareth's new album Fistfight At The Barndance. Click here to listen to Do It from the album. (Gareth Lockrane (flutes/compositions); Steve Fishwick, Henry Collins, Andy Greenwood, Tom Walsh (trumpets); Sam Mayne, James Gardiner-Bateman, Graeme Blevins, Nadim Teimoori, Richard Shepherd (saxes/woodwinds); Mark Nightingale, Barnaby Dickinson, Trevor Mires, Barry Clements (trombones); Mike Outram (guitar); Ross Stanley (piano/rhodes/organ); Ryan Trebilcock (acoustic/electric bass); Ian Thomas (drums); Hugh Wilkinson (percussion). Conducted by Nick Smart.

 

 

 

 

Duke Ellington Caravan from Money Jungle

 

 

Michael, who occasionally types on the next table in my usual coffee bar, has been sampling versions of Caravan and recommends this track from the Duke Ellington, Max Roach, Charles Mingus trio 1962 album Money Jungle. Note: Money Jungle has just been re-released and remastered on State Of Art Records / Intermusic (click here for details).

 

 

 

 

 

Entropi Interloper video

 

Here is the official promo video from Dee Byrne's band Entropi whose new album, Interloper, is out on 8th September on Whirlwind Recordings. Dee Byrne (alto saxophone/compositions), Andre Canniere (trumpet), Rebecca Nash (keyboard), Olie Brice (double bass) and Matt Fisher (drums).

 

 

 

 

 

Me and the Devil Blues documentary

 

Me and The Devil Blues. In this 24 minute video, two young Australians Marty Singh and Aidan Prewett take to the American Blues Trail to confront the mysterious legend of the crossroads. As they drive from New Orleans to Chicago, they meet with a number of Blues personalities as they try to grasp the inconsistencies and contradictions of the legend of Robert Johnson, one of the original Blues men. Johnson's legend states that he soul his soul to the Devil in exchange for extraordinary guitar talent, way back in the '30s.

 

 

 

Universal Mind Of Bill Evans

 

The Universal Mind Of Bill Evans. This 44 minute documentary from 1966 has Bill Evans talking about the Creative Process and Self-Teaching and includes a conversation with his brother. It also includes Bill playing Spartacus Love Theme (aka Emily), I Like New York in June, How About You?, Star Eyes (Analyzing the Melody and Harmonics), Star Eyes (Full Song), Very Early, Time Remembered and My Bells.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tea Break

 

[You are able to listen to the music at the same time as reading this article and without leaving the page if you click here. This will take you to the article on another page on our website where some computers might ask you to allow the music to play on the page. Alternatively there are links to the music on YouTube etc. in the article below].

 

Jon Newey (Jazzwise)

 

Jon Newey

Picture JazzFM.com

 

In the spring of 2017, Jazzwise Magazine celebrated its 20th birthday with a week-long anniversary festival at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. Jazzwise has its roots in a jazz education company founded in 1984 by guitarist Charles Alexander to distribute jazz educational books and video and run the Jazzwise Summer School. Jazzwise magazine was launched in April 1997 as a monthly consumer jazz magazine and Jon Newey re-launched it in Feb 2000. In 2013, Jazzwise became part of the Mark Allen Group, an independent publishing group which produces more than 50Jazzwise magazine magazines in business, healthcare, education and, since 2013, a growing music division that now also includes The Gramophone and Songlines. In 2001, the website Jazzwisemagazine.com was launched and in 2011 Jazzwise became the first jazz magazine in the world to have a digital app edition available. Now it is said to be the UK’s biggest selling jazz monthly magazine, aims to be the leading English languagejazz magazine in Europe and is exported to over 30 countries.

Behind the continued success of Jazzwise is Editor in Chief and Publisher, Jon Newey. Growing up in London, Jon has been associated with the music industry for many years, first as a musician from 1970. From 1977-1991 he worked on the weekly music paper Sounds where he was part of the core team that grew the title to become the biggest ABC audited circulation UK music weekly in 1981. From 1991-1999 he was Publishing Director of Tower Records’ TOP magazine and also Editor/Publisher of the Tower Records Guide to Jazz. He was a writer and consultant for Jazzwise since its launch issue in 1997 and he became Editor / Publisher from January 2000.

Jon has written for a wealth of other jazz and rock publications, books and album / DVD sleeve notes and his contribution to jazz has been recognised by his twice receiving the Jazz Journalist of The Year Award at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2006 and 2012. Jazzwise itself has twice been named Jazz Publication of The Year at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2007 and 2010; Jazz Publication of the year at the Ronnie Scott’s Awards 2007 and Best Jazz Media at the Jazz FM Awards 2013. Jon was awarded Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music 2014 for his Services to Jazz.

His activities in journalism tend to overshadow his other contribution to music as a drummer / percussionist. Since 1970 he has played and recorded with psych-blues band, They Bite; psychedelic funk band Crew; England’s Glory (pre-The Only Ones); soul funk band Bandana; funk/reggae/jazz sextet Jabba; Nick Kent’s Subterraneans; Chris Jagger’s Atcha and currently with Latin-jazz band J-Sonics, whose album Different Orbits we reviewed here.

 

Getting such a busy man to stop for a tea break is no easy task.


Hi Jon, tea or coffee?

Italian expresso please.

Milk and sugar?

A sugar lump always had a particular appeal.

 

You seem to have been at the helm of Jazzwise for ages. How did you get involved?

I was one of the core group of writers from Jazzwise’s launch issue in 1997 along with Brian Priestley, Kevin Le Gendre, Stuart Nicholson and the late Keith Shadwick. At the time my day gig was publishing director of TOP magazine, owned by Tower Records, and I also wrote its Jazz Fusion column and edited the Tower Records Guide to Jazz. I and took over the publishing and editing of Jazzwise in January 2000.

 

I think a lot of people don’t know that you also play congas and percussion with the Latin-jazz band, J-Sonics. I really enjoyed the 2015 Different Orbits album. Is the band still active?

It’s been our busiest year yet. In 2017 we have so far played Ronnie Scotts, Pizza Express Jazz Club Dean Street, the 606, and played the opening nights of the South Coast Jazz Festival and Love Supreme Jazz Festival with more gigs lined up into 2018. I’m also involved in the two Jazz For Labour gigs in Brighton during the Labour Party Conference at the end of September. I toured as a full time musician from 1971 prior to joining the music press in 1977 when I started at SOUNDS music weekly.

 

J-Sonics Different Orbits

 

 

 

[Click here for a video of J-Sonics featuring Grace Rodson playing Ed Motta's Banareira at The Hideaway]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hob Nob, Bourbon, Garibaldi or digestive biscuit?

Take them away, quick!

 

I caught part of an interview on the radio recently with some chap who had been involved in newspapers for many years. He was saying that he feared the days of the newspaper were numbered with online news. I disagree; I think there will always be people who enjoy reading print. I see many people taking their time with newspapers and Waterstones in Wells is always busy with people buying books. I think there is room for both and people use them differently. Do you find that?

When TV was invented they said it would be the death of film. When downloads and streaming were developed they said it would be the death of CD. It’s always the death of something or other, which never actually comes to pass. I’m a hard copy lifer, whether it’s magazines, newspapers, books, vinyl or CD. Online is fine for soundbites or to sample music, but to digest and enjoy anything properly you simply have to experience the real deal. The tactile nature of magazines, newspapers and books is irreplaceable, hence the huge fall-off in Kindle sales. Book sales are now on the increase just like vinyl, and CD sales still outstrip all streaming and download sales. But there’s room for both. Jazzwise has a digital edition and website with daily breaking news as well as the print mothership, which incidentally is growing subscriptions and copy sales, both here and in the USA. Good writing, like good music, doesn’t come free

 

Jazz is clearly alive, well and thriving. I see Dinosaur have been deservedly nominated for this year’s Mercury Awards, but the award scene appears to be changing. The prestigious JazzFM Awards seem to be very big now - international and including Blues. The Parliamentary Jazz Awards, that you hosted last time, have been more intimate and locally focused, but have been put back to October.

The Parliamentary Jazz Awards are taking place just a bit later this year and will be on 10 October at the new Pizza Express Jazz Club in Holborn. Considering the duplicity over Brexit and what I think have been the lies of the Leave campaign, maybe it’s better the event is away from the House of Commons at this juncture. The jazz community might want to go headhunting after a few beverages!

 

Miles Davis and John Coltrane

 

 

 

If you could ask two past jazz musicians to join us for the tea break, who would you invite?

I know it sounds a bit obvious but I’d like to brew up for Miles and Coltrane.

 

What would you ask them?

Amongst other things, I’d enquire as to what awaits us on the other side?
 

 

 

 

 

Of course it took Miles Seven Steps to get to Heaven. That reminds me of buying singles, you knew what was on the 'A' side but the other side could sometimes be a surprise. Perhaps we should ask The wise 'Colonel'? Each month in Jazzwise you have a column written by ‘The Colonel’. Who is the Colonel, or is that subject to the Official Secret’s Act?

The Colonel lives on the Isle of Wight where he is involved in a local New Orlean’s revival band, the Ventnor Foot Tappers. Currently he is taking a sabbatical from his Jazzwise column as he has been instructed to reform the Isle Of Wight Home Guard and refurbish the local air raid shelter due to the increased tensions between countries that possess nuclear weapons. However he has promised to send the odd postcard to Jazzwise and assures readers that he is keeping his eyes on the jazz world to make sure decent values aren’t forgotten.

 

Miles Davis Seven Steps To Heaven

 

[Click here to listen to Miles Davis playing Seven Steps To Heaven
with George Coleman (tenor sax); Herbie Hancock (piano); Ron Carter (bass) and Tony Williams(drums)].

 

 

What can we look forward to coming up in Jazzwise?

The September issue is just out with a fantastic cover feature on Arun Ghosh and his electrifying new album, plus in depth features on Mike Gibbs who celebrates his 80th this year; singer and composer Zara McFarlane; flautist Gareth Lochrane, vocalist You Sun Nah telling Jazzwise about the album that changed her life; newcomers guitarist Rob Luft and bassist Olie Brice; over 100 albums reviewed plus the biggest jazz news section on the planet. We are in production with the October issue at the moment which will feature a cover story on the hottest new female vocalist of the past decade. Much more too but it’s all under wraps at the moment including a special London Jazz Festival issue coming up in November.

 

The LJF issue is always a treat. Who else have you heard recently that we should listen out for?

The superb alto saxophonist Camilla George and her band featuring guitarist Shirley Tetteh;

[Click here for a video of Jazz Jamaica with Camilla George and Shirley Tetteh playing Don't Stay Away at the Hideaway with Camilla George (alto sax); Denys Baptiste (tenor sax); James McKay (trumpet); Harry Brown (trombone); Ben Burrell (piano); Shirley Tetteh (guitar); Gary Crosby (bass); Pete Eckford (percussion); Moses Boyd (drums) and Guest Vocalist - Zara McFarlane]

 

John McLaughlin Live at Ronnie Scott's

 

John McLaughlin’s stunning new live album recorded at Ronnie Scott’s during the JazzwOrphy Robinson Astral Weeksise 20th anniversary festival week;

trailblazing New York drummer Mark Guiliana’s forthcoming new acoustic jazz album Jersey,

and vibist Orphy Robinson’s Spiritual Jazz Reimagining of Van Morrison’s masterpiece, Astral Weeks at the Jazz Café in Camden in October, to name just a few….

 

 

 

 

Are you sure you don't fancy a biscuit? I also have custard creams or ginger nuts.

Didn’t you hear!

 

Jon Newey

Picture: David Foreham

Click here to see who else has taken a tea break.

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

 

Do You Have A Birthday In September?

 


Your Horoscope

for September Birthdays

by 'Marable'

 

Virgo

Virgo (The Virgin)

22nd August - 22nd September

 

The planetary power is now in its maximum Eastern position, a sign that now is a time for personal power and independence. Rely on your own confidence, it is good to have the support of others but you can go it alone. Create the conditions for your own well being, it can pay off in the long run.

The Sun is in your 1st house until the 22nd September adding to the quality of your image; Mars is in your sign from the 5th giving you courage and Mercury is also there bringing self-esteem.

If you do find yourself needing to assert yourself, it is wise to disagree with others respectfully, they are entitled to their views and although you might see things differently, there might still be things you can learn, aspects of their opinions that are valid.

The month ahead signals good things.

For you, here is the Shirley Horn Trio from 1978 with I'll Go My Way By Myself with Buster Williams and Billy Hart - click here.

 

 

Libra

Libra (The Scales)

23rd September - 22nd October

 

Libras respond differently to Virgos when it comes to the personal power that comes from planetary power being in the East. You are more vulnerable to the need to please others and it is harder to assert your independence. The Libra believes that without harmony there is less beauty in things and beauty is important to you. You are, by nature, a harmoniser.

Nevertheless, it is important this month for you to get in touch with yourself. Someone said to me recently that with his impending retirement it would bring time for him to discover who he is rather than to always do what others expect. There is no need, dear Libra, for you to wait until then. Do it now.

Your 12th house of spirituality is easily the most dominant house this month - half the planets (and important ones too) are either there or moving through the house. This is a month for spiritual, interior, progress. If there were any doubt, Venus also moves into your spiritual house on the 20th.

The presence of Mercury and the Sun in your 12th house shows that the path of knowledge and rationality is also important - a path that is right up your street.

For you, click here for Scott Hamilton playing All The Things You Are (Scott Hamilton - tenor saxophone; Brian Lemon - piano; Dave Green - bass; Allan Ganley - drums).

 

 

 

 

 

Full Focus

Geri Allen (1957 – 2017) Six Examples Of A Maestro

by Steve Day

by Steve Day

 

 

[You are able to listen to the music at the same time as reading this article and without leaving the page if you click here. This will take you to the article on another page on our website where some computers might ask you to allow the music to play on the page. Alternatively there are links to the music on YouTube etc. in the article below].

 

Back in June, I received an email from Ann Braithwaite out in Lincoln, Massachusetts; it was my first news that Geri Allen had died.  I should know by now that most of us leave this planet in circumstances not of our own choosing.  In her case, only fifteen days past the passing of her 60th birthday.  All these years of listening to the music of the great Geri Allen weren’t suppose to end like this.

I’d been hooked from the beginning.  She is/was (it’s like that, the terrible enactment of the past tense) amongst the most deftly fluid pianists I have ever encountered; expressive to the point of poignancy on inner celebration.  Geri Allen probed with poise, a certain, a very certain, pressured touch.  She was definite and precise yet initially she could ring faint until your ear caught the subtlety of the angle. Like catching stars, Geri Allenthe flame flickers, the light hovers but doesn’t disappear; it was a sound that was all her own.  Some people tried to label her (it’s easy shorthand, saves on description) as ‘mainstream’, next year ‘fusion’, then ‘avant-garde’ – Geri Allen picked up more definitions than a dictionary.  The truth is she embraced it all, took in everything, but always came out as Geri Allen.

Back in 1998 I wrote the following words, describing a concert I’d seen/heard at Cheltenham Town Hall – the classic line-up, Geri Allen, piano, Charlie Haden, double bass and Paul Motian, drums: 

“The first notes she played she hardly played at all.  It was as if she stoked the notes from the piano interior in order to encourage them to be heard.....The whole trio is one of economy and careful use of the volume dynamic.  I have this visual image of seeing Charlie Haden rocking his double bass from side to side as if trying to bear down on the light blue lines that spiralled out from the piano.  Geri Allen takes her time.  Even when she’s playing a fast line, there is never any impression of hurry.  Watching her play it is easy to think the person does not represent the sound; unless her hands are visible, it is as if she is merely sat at the piano.  Occasionally she glanced across at Paul Motian, but her posture was very still, yet from this quiet person came an improvisation that stood time and space on its head.” (Two Full Ears – Listening To Improvised Music (Soundworld).

You see, for me, Geri Allen has been one of the very great pianists of the last thirty years, a true maestro.  Read what a lot of the blogs and websites are putting out and you’d think she was an academic.  And on one level she was.  Perhaps we all are to some degree (sic).  But first and foremost Geri Allen was an extraordinarily creative pianist and she came from a long line of jazz pianists – nobody knew her own history better than Geri Allen.  So start talking about The Nurturer and the conversation has to include Lil Hardin, Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Bud Powell, you’ve got to get right in there with Andrew Hill and Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley and then back again to people like Lennie Tristano, then Herbie Nichols and Red Garland, okay, and Bill Evans.  But with Geri Allen you’ve also got to travel past all those important ebony and ivory people. With certainty she was Michigan and Motor-City, M-Base and Ornette; she could be free-fall and stride, she could be seriously funky, and as pastoral as springtime. 

Geri Allen understood horns and reeds – what they need, how they blow, yet she should could ‘space’ a piano trio into places of contemplation to the point where she was hitting on the sacred. In my opinion, Geri Allen was badly underestimated, particularly in Europe.  Grasp the implications of her early 1990’s work with Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland.  Together they produced The Life Of Song, an album for Telarc which crossed over so many times, the weave of music is truly boggling.  Her composition Holdin’ Court is good example; the piano is bravura central, almost an investigation, and you can hear Jack DeJohnette rippling the balance throughout and Mr Holland constantly feeding the situation with power-play.  Such empathetic understanding is also present on the work the three did with the singer, Betty Carter on the Feed The Fire tour/album. I’m talking something exceptionally profound.  Scat song and a personalised piano held within what is in effect, the avant-garde of the Miles Davis ‘Lost’ quartet rhythm section. 

 

My intention is to take six specific performances which, I contend, demonstratively prove such profundity – in all its joyful exuberance and grace.


1.  Geri Allen plays Lonely Woman from the Etudes album with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian (1987).

Geri Allen Etudes albumCharlie Haden’s first recorded performance of Lonely Woman was on 22nd May 1959 for Ornette Coleman’s debut on the Atlantic label, The Shape Of Jazz To Come.  In his lifetime Mr Haden went on to record the Coleman composition numerous times with different line-ups.  Why wouldn’t he?  Lonely Woman is a special melody line that breaks poignancy into gaping wide moments of pure solitude (if you know what I mean).  There’s a good argument for making the case that the version on the Etudes trio album, with Haden, Paul Motian and Geri Allen, recorded 28 years after The Shape Of Jazz To Come, was among the finest, richest, most sublime readings of this great tune.  There’s a measured bass led intro, then Geri Allen picks up the melody and carries it directly into a collective infinity.  She never hurries herself or Haden and Motian; this is all balance and a light grandeur containing depth and deliberation.  The ability to play the written line, then displace it, rebuild it, soften the sequence and then pass it back to Charlie Haden as if it were a precious gift.  And by any stretch of the critique, that is exactly what the Geri Allen performance of Lonely Woman was.  A precious gift.  

Click here to listen to Geri Allen (piano), Charlie Haden (bass), Paul Motian (drums), 1989 Lonely Woman, from Etudes

 


 

2.  Geri Allen plays Batista’s Groove from The Nurturer album with Kenny Garrett, Marcus Belgrave, Jeff Watts, Eli Fountain and Robert Hurst (1990).

It’s a long time ago now, but I remember buying The Nurturer CD in Mike’s Music Matters jazz shop in Bath.  I was fingering through the racks and found the disk; because ‘Allen’ is at the beginning of the alphabet it was also near the counter.  I passed the disk straight to Mike and he Geri Allen Nurturerimmediately put it on the shop stereo.  For some reason Mike played Batista’s Groove first (it’s the fourth track on the disk).  The B Groove begins with a Jeff Watts/Eli Fountain percussion break over which a Kenny Garrett and Marcus Belgrave horn conversation hurls the thing forward exchanging lines like twins swapping stories.  The whole track is only a little over five minutes in length.  Geri Allen herself doesn’t enter until roughly half way through, taking over ‘the groove’, and in the course of just under a minute and a half, utterly defining the time it takes to cause a commotion.  My memory is that there were a couple of other punters in the shop that afternoon beside me.  Everyone began shuffling around, dancing on the spot to Batista’s Groove, with Mike conducting an instant quiz as to which instrument was being played by the leader of the band?  See, in Geri Allen’s short interlude of a solo she manages to capture the essence of literally hitting-off an acoustic piano statement in the middle of horns and beats.  I walked away with The Nurturer in my shopping bag with Mike ordering a couple more copies for other people.  There’s a lesson in all this which I’m still learning; it’s not the length of a solo that matters, it’s the content.

Click here to listen to Geri Allen (piano), Marcus Begrave (trumpet), Kenny Garrett (alto saxophone), Robert Hurst (bass), Jeff Watts (drums), Eli Fountain (percussion), 1990  Batista’s Groove from The Nurturer.

 


3. Geri Allen plays RTG from Twenty-One the album with Ron Carter and Tony Williams (1994).

RTG opens this unique album.  The legendary pairing of Ron Carter and Tony Williams set in a stretch of music containing six Allen compositions, two Monk tunes played as one, plus five standards (though not the same old - same old).  RTG’s got the piano riff, the keyboard Geri Allen Trio Twenty Onedip and dive into extemporisation, the riveting hammer on wire hit that trips the light fantastic through the middle of an amazing contrapuntal maze; Geri Allen dealing with the great rush of abstraction which is Tony Williams (the Janus-opposite to Paul Motian’s riddle of breaking up rhythm).  Hang on round the bends as Williams rides fast high-hat, splash cymbals, drum fills and flips.  Then comes Ron Carter counter-lining the piano-drive as if he’s just extended the neck of the double bass.  RTG is pop song length (2.45) yet it goes nowhere near popular song performance.  RTG is all statement; Ron, Tony, Geri, a mini musical explosion, beautifully controlled and given weight by Geri Allen’s ability to carry a performance higher and higher.  This bass/drums team must rank as (one of) the greatest in the jazz dictionary.  And it’s got to be said, for all their historical staggering association with the definitive (Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter), the uniqueness that Geri Allen brings to this session means that any serious analysis of Carter/Williams has to incorporate the Twenty-One album.  The fact that the recording does not carry the same symbolism as other more well known sessions is nothing to do with lack of quality and everything to do with the glass-ceiling women, as instrumental jazz players, still encounter.  We might as well say it here as anywhere else in this retrospective.  In Geri Allen’s case it was starkly obvious.

Click here to listen to Geri Allen (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums), 1994 RTG, from Twenty-One.


 

4. Geri Allen plays Feed The Fire from the album of the same name, with Betty Carter, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette (1993).

This album is one of the real jewels of my wall to wall bank of CD’s.  I’ve been playing this Betty Carter led live session at least once a year since Feed The Fire album1995.  Every track is diamond, I’m All Smiles and Feed The Fire exceptionally so.  These are performances that ring the truth of music.  The track Feed The Fire is an Allen original, there’s a blast performance with Carter/Williams on Twenty-One, and an often forgotten extended version with Palle Danielsson and Lenny White on Some Aspects Of Water.  The latter is such a peach – she was always able to get under Lenny White’s inherent groove and here Palle Danielsson also takes a bass solo that results in the pianist taking herself off down an exploration not found on other versions of the tune.  Back to the Betty Carter version – the album was recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall in London, the YouTube version is from the same tour, in Hamburg.  Feed The Fire is a great example of a riff at work; the repeated phrase used like a balancing act, offered like a weighted message before plunging into the possibilities.  Live, Betty Carter’s diversity of vocal gymnastics are literally pitched, curving into the rolling piano flow.  Yet in London, it is Ms Allen’s repetition which sets the scene, and once Carter’s scat vocals start to stretch the scenario the piano is constantly providing two handed comment.  Instrumentally, Geri Allen takes the first solo, Dave Holland the second, Jack DeJohnette the third – bass/drums totally in tune, in-hoc, to the keyboard’s design plan.  It’s a ten minute-plus workout that feels like the length of song form, such is the empathetic hook and hammer these four musicians bring to the performance.

Click here to listen to Betty Carter (voice), Geri Allen (piano), Dave Holland (bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums), live in Hamburg 1993, Feed The Fire.

 


5. Geri Allen plays What A Friend We Have In Jesus from Sound Museum/Hidden Man with Ornette Coleman, Denardo Coleman and Charnet Moffett.

Seventeen years ago this is what I wrote, reading it again, I don’t need to add anything: 

'Even if there is no such thing as god.  I guess Ornette Coleman can invent one.  Quite where the resurrection of What A Friend We Have In Ornette Coleman albumJesus came from is another steal on my sub-consciousness.  What I do know is that this trip with the old and friendly miracle worker is just what the doctor ordered.  It seems to go back a long way.  Further back than Ms Allen did in the Robert Altman film Kansas City, further, much further than the bright cities of New York and Los Angeles.  Probably the railroad south could be witness to those gospel choruses.  Ornette Coleman’s relationship with the membrane of Christianity is, if not a moveable feast, certainly a bite-size break on wheels.  I am reminded of Mr Coleman’s past encounters with Jehovah’s very own door-to-door witnesses. There is also a rap track that Prime Time have been gigging with called Bible Talk.  Never under-estimate old time religion, it can come creeping up from under the floorboards.  On What A Friend We Have In Jesus it is for once a welcome interruption.  Ornette Coleman’s alto horn sounds so sorrowful and straight forward, so beautifully cool and plaintive, and mellow, and hungry, yet full of something that is only usually there on his ballads.  ‘Friendly Jesus’ rocks along at a good medium pace, with Ms Allen placing out the changes just as if her boss had always known them. 

The melody is completely re-worked so all that is left is a little turnaround.  The piano and alto saxophone groove all the way down the great wide road that leads to innovation and experience.  If there needed to be a demonstration as to why Geri Allen works in the context of this Quartet, here it is.  The piano rocks with recognition, nods in the direction of Jaki Byard, who in turn is vamping the rhythm with Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith and Mary Lou Williams.  Suddenly things are falling in place with both the past and future tense.  I find it a startling performance.  An honest account of the holy modal rites of passage that have taken jazz from the cradle of New Orleans right through to Chicago and out onto the Western seaboard.  In a Sound Museum such things come to light. I think What A Friend is a lovely study of just the way it is; whatever the reason behind its history, the swing with which this performance swings is as free as anything else Mr Coleman has ever set in motion.  Ornette Coleman: Music Always (Soundworld)

Click here to listen to Ornette Coleman (alto saxophone), Geri Allen (piano), Charnett Moffett (bass), Denardo Coleman (drums), 1996 What A Friend We Have In Jesus (Variation) from Sound Museum, Hidden Man.

 


6. Geri Allen plays Live In Montreal from the Charles Lloyd Quintet, DVD/film with Charles Lloyd, John Abercrombie, Marc Johnson and Billy Hart.

This concert goes back to 2001 – it was a stellar line-up.  The gig begins with a piece called Miss Jessye (after the opera diva Jessye Norman). The opening ripples with the whole band holding the central spot.  John Abercrombie’s guitar counterpointing Charles Lloyd and Geri Allen;  Mr Lloyd’s decisively subtle tenor moves through the tune as if signing a signature but its Geri Allen who is the first to go under and out front from the horn.  She designs something here which is as much Allen as it is Lloyd.  It’s one of her classic performances, she doesn’t take over, yet she seals the deal.  Miss Jessye is a Charles Lloyd tune, but in a sensitively reflective manner the pianist almost explains the character of the pieceCharles Lloyd Live In Monteal video by way of an introduction.

There are other examples of this throughout the gig.  Her reading of Mr Lloyd’s reconstructed blues Sweet Georgia Bright, both in her initial introduction and then midway through after an intense plucked electric solo from John Abercrombie, has the acoustic piano coming on like a decision maker.  Billy Hart trips his traps up a gear and Geri Allen plays a blues script as if it were her autobiography.  The audience reacts accordingly; Ms Allen has nailed the whole thing.  She has put purchase on her instrument so it speaks down the through the ages of what constitutes ‘blues in jazz’. It’s a subject all of its own, this performance could act as a byword to the art.  The same could be said for any number of cuts on this live date.  The Water Is Wide – ‘nu-gospel in jazz’, The Prayer – ‘meditation in jazz’; Geri Allen is at the crucible of these interpretations.  Describing sound is ultimately the same as painting air, possible certainly, but no substitute for listening.  On Live In Montreal, Geri Allen’s presence is not just about solos, there’s a bigger picture.  How she feeds the metaphysical fire, gracing harmonies, the inflection, the rhythmic glance across bass and drums, the intros and outros.  Jason Moran took over the piano position in the Charles Lloyd band.  Stylistically he is a different gravitas, but even an exceptional pianist such as he undoubtedly is, finds himself having to draw on the blueprint Geri Allen left behind.  

Click here for Charles Lloyd (tenor saxophone, flute), Geri Allen (piano), John Abercrombie (guitar), Marc Johnson (bass), Billy Hart (drums) in concert, Montreal, 2001.

Geri Allen’s music got to me.  In her portfolio I hear soul stirrers and Motown, practice my own doubt, celebrate dissonance, I can go to both Bud Powell’s Dance Of The Infidels and back to my old vinyl copy of Mary Lou Williams’ Black Christ Of The Andes, then move into M-Base territory. And I can bathe in the depths of the piano trio.  All the way from Bill Evans’ Witchcraft to Cecil Taylor’s Nefertetti (who will surely come) and then return to Geri Allen’s own recordings with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian -which is where I came in. For sure, Geri Allen was a true maestro.

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk 

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

Photographer Brian O'Connor has again been capturing musicians in performance and shares with us some of his latest images

 

Jo Harrop

Jo Harrop

 

Jo Harrop sings Peggy Lee at  the Watermill Jazz Club, Betchworth Park Golf Club, Dorking, Surrey on Tuesday 25th July 2017 with Alex Webb (piano), Tony Kofi (sax), Henry Gilbert (bass) and Sophie Alloway (drums).

Brian says of the event: ' ... very satisfying and enjoyable.  Tony Kofi added some drama by having to do running repairs on his sax.  Elastic bands I believe'.

 

Tiny Kofi

 

Click here for a video of Jo and the band with Peggy Lee's Why Don't You Do Right (mislabelled Fever).
Miles Danso (bass) and Joel Prime (drums) are in this video recorded at The Hideaway. Click here for more.

 

All pictures © Brian O'Connor, Images Of Jazz

Brian O'Connor's hard back book, packed with hundreds of photographs is now available. It can be obtained from Brian at: Brian O’Connor, 48 Sarel Way, Horley, Surrey RH6 8EW. Tel: 01293 774171. Email: info@imagesofjazz.com. The book is priced at £25 plus £4.95 post and packing (UK).

 

 

 

 

Looking Back

by Chris Macdonald

 

[You are able to listen to the music at the same time as reading this article and without leaving the page if you click here. This will take you to the article on another page on our website where some computers might ask you to allow the music to play on the page. Alternatively there are links to the music on YouTube etc. in the article below].

When Chris Macdonald, second clarinettist / saxophonist with the Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra came across our page about bandleader Eric Silk, it triggered off many memories. Chris looks back at those early days and hopefully his recollections will bring back memories for others.

 

I used to see Eric Silk’s band in his final days at the Red Lion, Leytonstone, and from that moment on at the ex-Servicemen’s Club next door. The personnel at that time were Denis Field (cornet), Alan Dean (trombone), Jack Gilbert (clarinet), Pete Tamplin (piano), Eric Silk (banjo), Alex O’Dwyer (bass) and Norman Davey (drums). The Interval often featured Brian Rackham playing piano rags, or Eric’s dreaded portable wind-up gramophone, more often than not pumping out very worn 78s of Sister Rosetta Tharpe! Excruciating!

 

Eric Silk Band

 

In this photograph of Eric Silk's band the personnel are L-R: Norman Davey (drums), Alan Dean (trombone), Eric Silk (banjo), Denis Field (cornet), Alex O'Dwyer (bass), Jack Gilbert (clarinet) and Pete Tamplin (piano).

Occasionally Teddy Fullick played trumpet when Denis Field was indisposed. Teddy and I were at Wanstead County High School. Our PE teacher, Ron Pickering (later a TV athletics pundit), and Phyliis Rigby, one of our Domestic Science teachers put on a series of four weekly jazz Chris Macdonaldconcerts at Ilford Town Hall. This would have been around 1959. The bands included the excellent Sandy Brown Jazz Band, Mick Mulligan’s Band with George Melly and Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen in the days when he had Ray Foxley on piano. I just cannot think for the life of me who the fourth band was but it was very exciting for us youngsters!

It was a rainy Saturday afternoon; all my friends were doing other things, so I took myself off to the Odeon cinema in South Woodford where I saw The Benny Goodman Story. I was grabbed! We weren't well off, but my parents bought me a clarinet for a combined Christmas and birthday present, so off I went on the adventure of a lifetime, and that is where I am today, still at it!

As I said, we were all exposed to jazz at school, through both small school bands that existed when we arrived, and the discovery that our somewhat staid music master actually liked Chris Barber, along with Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti. The four concerts organised by Ron Pickering actually exposed us to what we had previously only experienced on record.

 

Chris Macdonald, 22nd April 1989 at the Prince of Orange, Rotherhithe

 

A further opportunity came from our Art mistress taking a sabbatical. She was replaced by the wonderfully eccentric Hugh Gordon - he played jazz guitar and caused a sensation by arriving on his first morning in a black frock coat and driving a vintage black Rolls Royce saloon. He was a wonderful chap, and soon palled up with Ron, and they organised our first school "hop" with a live band (previous dances were accompanied by Victor Silvester records). But this wasn't just any old band. The personnel? - Bobby Mickleburgh  (trumpet), Alan Cooper (clarinet), John R  T Davies (trombone), Tony Cash (alto sax), Des Bacon (piano), Hugh on guitar, and Martin Fry (sousaphone). A night to remember ... and essentially the Temperance Seven prior to George Martin unleashing them on to an unsuspecting world!

Click here for a video of the Temperence Seven in 1962 playing Everybody Loves My Baby.

At fourteen, that night was particularly significant for me as I formed what was to be a lifetime's friendship with Alan Cooper.

Jazz Clubs were then the places for us to visit. The Royal Forest Hotel in Chingford was a massive place when we first started our Sunday night pilgrimages. You had to queue up in single file and present your membership card to pay the lady in the kiosk. It was amazing how many people you could get in with one card! You then went down a long rickety staircase which emerged into a huge barn - no seats, but hay bales. Beer was purchased by the bottle, or crate (!). Quite a big stage enabled us to see the bands quite clearly. We saw, in no particular order, Cyril Preston, Mick Mulligan, Chris Barber, The Confederates, Temperance Seven, Ken Eric Silk at Colyer's poster1964Colyer, Terry Lightfoot, Dick Charlesworth ... all the top bands of the time. We soaked it up. Later the barn was closed and the sessions were held in the Hotel itself, but it was never quite the same. I'm sure the move was a wise one though - timber barn, hay bales, everybody smoking....

Another venue that I used to frequent on a Thursday night was the Tally Ho! in Kentish Town, home to the excellent Brian Green New Orleans Stompers - Alan Snook (trumpet), Alex Revell (clarinet), Gordon Blundy (trombone), Brian on drums, Charlie Morrish (banjo), Tom Culbert on piano (later to join us in the PRO, albeit briefly), and Pete Barton on bass.

Ken Colyer's Studio 51 club was a regular haunt as well. No alcohol, toilets (?), smoky cellar. Saturday all-night sessions - I remember falling asleep playing the piano around 5 am on one! We would see Ken's band, the Gothics (Bee Minter, Dick Douthwaite, Richard Simmons, Roger Nicholls, Ron Clarkson, Alan Ward), and other New Orleans style bands. Teddy and I would also regularly go on Wednesday nights to see Barry Martyn's Ragtime Band with Cuff Billett (trumpet), Pete Dyer (trombone), Bill Greenow (clarinet), Graham Patterson (piano), John Coles (banjo), Terry Knight (bass), and Barry on drums - superb band, which I listen to on two LPs that I have, one a private white label copy with George Lewis replacing Bill Greenow. This particular experience was good for Teddy as well as he ended up replacing Cuff Billett when the Martyn band toured the USA in 1968.

The 100 Club was a bit too expensive for us, but I do recollect going once or twice - I remember Sid Phillips berating some Asian girls, who were seated in front of the stage, for talking while he was playing!

There were lots of pubs featuring local bands in our area as well - The Cauliflower in Ilford, Seven Kings Hotel, Green Man in Leytonstone, Cowley Arms Leytonstone, Rising Sun on Tunnel Approach (home to the Bill Brunskill Band), White Hart in Drury Lane...

Going back to Eric Silk and his band - a quick anecdote: When my friend Teddy Fullick was first asked to dep for Denis Field one Friday evening he was greeted on arrival by Pop and Mrs Silk, Eric's mum and dad who always did "the door". Pop said they were very grateful for young Teddy stepping in at the last moment, and asked him if he would like a drink. Being somewhat nervous Ted asked for a pineapple juice or the like. Ted acquitted himself marvellously for a first time, and at the end of the evening he was given his pay packet - evening's fee, less one pineapple juice! We've never forgotten that.

A very rare occurrence at Silk's Club was a band from overseas. Anders Hassler and the Cave Stompers from Sweden were on tour and they made a Friday appearance in 1962. I have a copy of the "Club Diary" page from the March 7th 1962 edition of the weekly Jazz News. At the top of the third column, "Southern Jazz Club", is advertised as being at the Masonic Hall, 640 High Road, Leytonstone. This is interesting in that the address is actually the Red Lion, and I suspect that the "Masonic Hall" was the name of the upstairs room in which the jazz club was held. I'm not sure that I've ever come across another Masonic Hall in a pub?

This means that the club moved "next door" (actually round the corner), to the Leytonstone & District Ex-Servicemen’s Club, 2 Harvey Road, shortly after that, because I remember the Cave Stompers played the latter venue the same year.

 

The Cave Stompers

 

In the picture of the Cave Stompers above, the personnel are L-R: Nalle Hallin (trumpet), Kjell Sonderqvist (banjo), Arne Oberg (drums), Anders Hassler (clarinet), Knut Rutenborg (trombone) and Anders Froberg (bass).

Eric Silk had a fine band even before I heard him at the Red Lion and earlier members included Alan Littlejohn (trumpet), Don Simmons (clarinet), Teddy Layton (clarinet), Pete Strange (trombone), Ron Weatherburn (piano), and the wonderful motorcycle and sidecar-riding Norman Bunce (sousaphone). It was a great band for dancing, and the venue was a regular meeting place for aspiring young musicians like Teddy and myself, and proved to be the spawning ground for my Creole Dance Orchestra in 1965 which, in 1969, became the Pasadena Roof Orchestra. For many years the Eric Silk band also featured fairly regularly at the Budworth Hall in Chipping Ongar, then at the very end of the Central line!

 

Chris Macdonald's Creole Orchestra circa 1966

 

Chris Macdonald's Creole Dance Orchestra circa 1966

L-R: Mick Hickey (trombone), Teddy Fullick  (trumpet), John Farrell (piano), Tony Cooke (trumpet), Dave Price (banjo), Mick Carter (drums), Jo Gurr (alto sax/clarinet), Chris Macdonald (leader), Roy Rhodes (alto sax/clarinet), John Arthy (sousaphone), Clive Payne (soprano, tenor & bass sax/clarinet).

 

Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra is currently featuring Swinging At The Cotton Club, an action-packed show celebrating the music, dance, and songs of the Cotton Club – New York City’s legendary nightclub of the 1920s and ‘30s. Performances by Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Fats Waller would have had the club swinging – whilst dancers such as Bojangles Robinson and the Nicholas Brothers lit-up the stage with their breathtaking routines. In this show, the exciting dance and music of the Cotton Club is recreated by the fabulous The Lindy Hop Dance Company, the world’s premier jazz dance company and Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra featuring vocalist Marlene Hill and compere/vocalist Megs Etherington.

Chris Macdonald will share more of his reminiscences from his life of almost 60 years performing on the British traditional jazz scene in a future article.

Photographs courtesy of Chris Macdonald

 

 

 

Tommy Smith - Embodying The Light On The Road

Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith leads his new quartet on a UK tour starting on September 26th that includes concerts in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Liverpool and the world famous Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London. The tour marks two anniversaries. This year is the 50th anniversary of the death of jazz icon and Smith’s greatest inspiration, saxophonist John Coltrane. It is also Smith’s fiftieth birthday year and he celebrated this with a Tommy Smithsold-out, concert in his home town during Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival in July.

A presence on the global jazz scene since his teenage years with vibraphonist Gary Burton’s Whiz Kids quintet, Smith has recorded for two of the most prestigious record labels in jazz, Blue Note and ECM Records. He keeps a busy diary and when he’s not working with his own groups, directing the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and overseeing the jazz programme he established at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, he tours the world with Norwegian bass master Arild Andersen’s trio, which is widely regarded as one of the premier jazz groups working today.

His new quartet was formed specifically to play the music of Coltrane (a challenge Smith describes as daunting), as well as some new pieces written by Tommy in homage to his hero. “I recorded one of Coltrane’s tunes on my very first album, Giant Strides when I was sixteen, but I’ve never felt ready to do his music justice with a full tribute concert before,” he says. “I’m not sure I’m ready now, because Coltrane was so far ahead of his time but these musicians I have with me are some of the best I’ve ever played with and they really inspire me to try and take my playing to the next level.”

The quartet features former Herbie Hancock and Jamie Cullum drummer, Sebastiaan de Krom; the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year 2012, pianist Peter Johnstone, and Scottish National Jazz Orchestra bassist Calum Gourlay. They released their first album, Embodying the Light, in July. We reviewed the album here. In concert they play without amplification, an approach that Tommy Smith has long favoured in his well-established duo with pianist Brian Kellock and one he prefers to follow whenever possible. “I’ve nothing against amplified music,” he says, “but it feels more natural to play acoustically. It makes us listen to each other more carefully and the audience gets to hear the true sounds of the instruments and the band – we sound the way we are.”

The tour takes in:

SEPTEMBER
Tue 26: An Tobar, Tobermory; Wed 27: Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock; Thu 28: Blue Lamp, Aberdeen; Fri 29: Paisley Arts Centre

OCTOBER
Sun 1: Eden Court, Inverness; Mon 2: Websters Theatre, Glasgow; Mon 23: Ronnie Scott’s, London; Wed 25: Capstone Theatre, Liverpool; Thu 26: Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh; Fri 27: West Kilbride Village Hall

 

 

 

 

Jazz Church Services

by Colin Clark

 


Someone once called Jazz ‘the Devil’s music' but the links between jazz and spirituality have been documented and discussed many times. The most common 'jazz' church experience is perhaps with Gospel music, but jazz of various kinds has been played in churches of different beliefs and denominations for years. Duke Ellington's music is but one example. However, I have not been aware of a regular celebration with jazz in chuch until Colin Clark wrote of Laxey Methodist Church in the Isle of Man. Colin had first been inspired when he heard Phil Mason's Laxey Methodist Church Serviceband playing at a church service at a Dove Holes Festival, about 20 years ago. Colin goes on to tell the story:

'Soon after came the period when the Isle of Man, where I have lived this last 30 years, had its own jazz festival, and each year the festival featured a Sunday morning  jazz church service. This took place each year at St. George’s Anglican Church; the vicar at the time was Rev. Brian Partington,  himself  knowledgeable and enthusiastic about jazz. Each year one or other of the visiting bands would lead the music, and it was always an enjoyable occasion. Then one year, which coincidentally happened to be the last year that the Isle of Man Festival took place, Rev. Brian had been replaced with a new vicar with no knowledge of jazz. He had arranged a service choosing from the normal Anglican repertoire of hymns, without consideration of whether they could be interpreted with a jazz slant. He then sent this play list off to the designated visiting band (which shall be nameless). He also arranged for a classical soprano to be the featured soloist.

Meanwhile, in England, the band had received a list of hymns of which they had never heard.  They did not read music, so reached the conclusion that there was nothing they could do about the situation, and thought no more about it. Comes the Sunday morning and it is apparent that unless the regular church organist can be quickly co-opted, there is no accompaniment for the chosen hymns. Luckily, he is found. Meanwhile our visiting band sit centre stage (or church equivalent), doing nothing but looking most uncomfortable. Except when they play a gospel song from their repertoire somewhere in the middle of the service. This fiasco Laxey Methodist Church jazz service posterwas an embarrassment for all concerned, and its memory stuck in my mind.

So about ten years ago it occurred to me that there didn’t need to be a festival or a visiting band in order to have a meaningful jazz church service. I had been gigging since my teens, then giving me a 50 year track record (now 60 years +). I felt that I could not fail to do better than that recent travesty! My first job was to establish whether my own Church,  Laxey Methodist Church, would welcome a jazz service. Somewhat diffidently I put the suggestion to our Church Council, and was greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm with which the idea was accepted. I then had to find my band. At that point I was leading a five-piece band, playing a trad to mainstream repertoire with an unusual line up, comprising myself on alto, a clarinet and tenor player, electric guitar, electric upright bass and drums. The guitar player was not keen on the whole church thing, but fortunately one of the stalwarts of our church was (and is) a talented guitarist and singer, so she was co-opted.  I then co-opted a trombone player and a keyboard player, friends playing in other bands, and we had a seven-piece.

I then started looking for a format for the service - and appropriate music. The format of our services closely follows the regular Methodist format, with 5 hymns, 2 Bible readings, a sermon,  a soloist,  and two tranches of prayer. One innovation that has become a tradition over the years is that we do not say The Lord’s Prayer together, but listen and watch MahaliaMahalia Jackson The Lord's Prayer Jackson at the 1958 Newport Festival (click here) - a performance that still moves me to tears every time I hear it. Our hymns are all taken from one or other of the Hymn Books used in Methodist Services,  and we have tried many over the last 10 years, some of which have become perennials. Some favourites are Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory, Old Rugged Cross, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, Send The Fire, Amazing Grace and Walk, Walk In The Light. In addition to the music within the service, we always play gospel songs for 15 minutes before the advertised service time, and finish with The Saints after the benediction.  The before-service period gives the band its best blow, and we try to encourage the congregation to arrive early for this. Some of our favourites for this section are Lord, Lord, Lord, Lonesome Road, Just A Closer Walk and We Shall Overcome.

I have also taken the initiative in inviting a preacher each year. For our first year I invited the Anglican preacher Rev. Brian Partington, who had successfully run the services in Douglas during Jazz Festivals. Since Methodism has itinerant preachers in charge of several Churches and Chapels, assisted by many lay preachers, it has been possible to have a different preacher each year. Some of them  having a knowledge of jazz, Laxey Church Jazz Servicesome totally without. All seem to have enjoyed the experience. Whilst not trying to influence the subject of their sermons, I have tended to point out the connection between the history of jazz music and the history of slavery, the civil rights movement and race relations.

One of the goals of my jazz services has been to try to get some different people into church. This in turn requires some effort put into marketing. Here we are probably fortunate in being in the confines of the Isle of Man. In addition to getting posters into various shops and other locations, we have been able to get free mentions on local radio, the local newspapers, a village newsletter and, in recent years, various websites. During the early years it was necessary for me to type up and copy an order of service featuring the words of the hymns, etc. Thankfully, in recent years the installation of a projector system has removed the necessity of this.

The annual Jazz Service has become a feature of our church year. If anyone else has an inclination to do something similar in their community, I would encourage you to do so. If I can be any help, please contact me through Sandy Brown Jazz - click here.

[Colin's experience is of a Christian, Methodist, jazz service. If you know of jazz taking place in other spiritual settings, please contact us and let us know. Ed]

 

 

 

Forum

 

 

Archie Carmichael

Dick Waterhouse who runs Sidcup Jazz Club is trying to track down his old friend, clarinettist Archie Carmichael. If anyone can help, please contact us.

 

 

Eddie Thompson and Rod Marshall

Paul Acton writes: 'I too was a regular at Eddie's gigs at the Anchor Inn at Brighouse. I first met Rod Marshall in 1970 at the Alexander Hotel in Bradford when my father used to take me to see Joe Markey's band. Rod used to show up to publicise gigs at a pub he had just bought. He was a great supporter of jazz and did his best to help both Harold McNair and Joe Harriot who were both ill and struggling for gigs. The pub was called the Anchor, (It's still there but called something else now), right next to the canal, it was a Webster's house and a bit of a dump to say the least! However the jazz gigs in the upstairs room went from strength to strength. There was a regular band led by pianist Doc Bailey and featured John Beaumont on tenor and Pete Maguire on valve trombone. Guests that I managed to see were, Don Rendall, Henry Lowther, Pete King, Danny Moss, Red Price, Ronnie Scott, Johnny Griffin, and of course Eddie Thompson'.

'Eddie had a regular Thursday night gig from about 1973 to 1976, with his sidemen being Rowley Ashton on bass and Gordon Tetley on drums. He also had a regular gig at the Warren Buckley theatre in Stockport.  I remember the long lost TV programmes. They were broadcast, I think, in 1976, on the same night as Eddie appeared at Brighouse. Rod set up a TV with a makeshift aerial, so we could watch them during the band's intermission. I talked to Eddie, and he wasn't all that happy with these programmes, saying that he didn't really have much say in what he wanted to do, but needed the bread! Guests included Danny Moss, Adelaide Hall, (who Eddie said was past it, but quite sweet), and Beryl Bryden, (who was a pain in the a***). Eddie proved to be a very popular draw at the Anchor, and got some good coverage in the local paper as one of the regulars was a reporter. A high point was when Rod managed to book Ruby Braff. He and Eddie got on really well'.

'The pub folded around 1977, but Rod's mailing list was passed on to a couple of guys who promoted jazz at the Shay Club in Halifax. Eddie was the house pianist accompanying the likes of Al Cohn, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Al Grey and Jimmy Forrest, Hal Singer, Arnett Cobb, Red Holloway and Sonny Stitt. The latter two proved problematic. Many of us listeners came to see Eddie as much as the front liners, and Holloway and Stitt would only give Eddie a couple of choruses when he wanted to stretch out. Every time they cut him off mid flow to the annoyance of everybody. At the end Eddie refused to do the expected encore and simply walked off saying loudly, 'They can't afford any more', and that was it. When Holloway and Stitt returned the following year they had a different pianist! This would be around 1981'.

'I lost touch with the local scene after that, but remember Eddie doing a BBC broadcast with Pepper Adams. I last saw Rod Marshall during a visit to Wakefield Jazz Club in 1994, he remembered both me and my father from all those years ago'.

 

 

Albert Hall

Eddie Sammons has discovered some footage on YouTube to add to our information about trumpeter Albert Hall. Eddie says: 'Just browsing through Delaney stuff  on YouTube and came across this - It is the full US album (12” against UK 10”) but track 11 is of interest to your piece on Albert Hall. It is “One O’Clock Jump” and was recorded in London, England on 15th October 1957. (click here). Albert (present on the whole LP) is to be heard blowing with Kenny Ball who had replaced Bert Courtley. The tenor saxes are Jimmy Skidmore and Vince Bovill'.

(I hope to feature an article about Albert Hall in a future issue - Ed)

 

 

Alan Littlejohn(s)

Colin Clark says: 'I enjoyed reading the article on Alan Littlejohns (click here). I believe I only heard him once, with Laurie Chescoe’s band in Douglas, Isle of Man, close to the end of Alan’s life. They were playing for Manx Jazz Club at the Palace Hotel, and the bandstand was quite a height, with no easier way up than to do it in one big step. To start the second set, Alan carried out this manoeuvre with some difficulty, in full view of the audience, then said over his shoulder “Poor old bugger”, correctly interpreting what we were all thinking. General laughter and warmth. But he played beautifully! I love what you keep doing for jazz'.

 

 

Mick Clift and Ben Cohen

Clarinettist Alex Revell writes after seeing our Profile of trombonist Mick Clift:

'I was so pleased to see that Ben is at last having some belated recognition of his great playing, recognised by so many of his fellow musicians. I first met Ben sometime in late 1949 and we played together in a little band which rehearsed in a local school – we were both living in Essex at the time. I knew Chris Barber from meeting him at the 100 Club and asked him to come along to one of our rehearsals. That led to the formation of the first semi-pro Chris Barber Band until Chris turned pro in 1953. Ben and I were firm friends and we stayed in close touch over the years –  he was in one of my bands in the 1950s'.

'We then lost musical touch for a number of years, until we began to see more of each other when we began playing a regular monthly gig together with Colin Kingwell’s Jazz Bandits – a fine band -  at Beaconsfield Jazz Club. We had both remained semi-pros, were now both running small businesses, and we often met at Ben’s factory for long chats. During these, we always said that we should form a band, but we never did, and it wasn’t until I was playing at the Bude Festival in 1992 and the organiser John Minnion, a trumpet player himself, knowing Ben and I were old friends, asked me if I thought Ben would be interested in playing at the festival the following year. I said that I thought he would, especially if he could lead his own band. John said that in that case, ask him to form a band to play the Louis Hot Five tunes as a tribute band to Louis  – promoters  never seem to realise the enormity of what they ask!'

'I subsequently put it to Ben: he jumped at the idea and his Hot Five – and later the Hot Seven, was born. We both knew that there was only one trombone to fit the bill, Mickie Clift, with old friend Geoff Over on banjo and new friend, Jon Penn, on piano. For the Seven, Ben later added Terry McGrath on sousa and the great Nick Ward on drums. The band was an instant success, with both fans and musicians – Ben called it his ‘real band’– and we all had a great time playing the music which had inspired us to try to play jazz in our youth. With forty years of playing under our belts we thought we could do it just a little more justice. Sadly, the band was no more after Ben’s death in 2002, followed by Mickie. I still miss them, both great and inspiring players. (Incidentally, I see in one of the tributes to Mick Clift – well deserved - that Ben’s Hot Five and Seven was a ‘festival only’ band. Not so, we played many gigs other than festivals.)'

'Like Steve Lane another fine, musician, Ben was also a great character. Perhaps it runs in cornet players. To give just one instance: There’s a little more to Laurie’s story of Ben’s falling off the stage at Wavendon. Ben broke his right arm in the fall and had to spend some time in hospital.  At the time, Ben was also leading his own  Hot 5 and he arrived at our next gig with his arm still in plaster. The arm wasn’t in a sling, with the arm at the usual opposition down by the waist, but up high, level with his face. He explained that he had asked the hospital staff to position the plaster like that so that he could reach the valves of his horn. That was typical of Ben who wouldn’t go a single day without playing, on a gig, or to practise'. 

 

 

 

Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook and Mailing List

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Departure Lounge

 

Information has arrived about the following musicians or people connected to jazz who have passed through the 'Departure Lounge' since our last update. Click on their names to read their obituaries where we have them:

 

 

John Abercrombie

 

John Abercrombie - Born in New York to immigrant parents from Scotland, guitarist John Abercrombie's early interest in country and rock music became influenced by the jazz of Wes Montgomery and Barney Kessel. Graduating from Berklee School of Music he joined Chico Hamilton's band and with other young musicians began exploring the range of jazz from avant garde / tradition / and rock. From the 1970s he began to record for the ECM label playing in notable collaborations with people such as Jack DeJohnette, Gato Barbieri and Dave Holland. In 2012 he started working with a more traditionally structured but equally distinctive quartet, featuring his longtime associate Marc Copland on piano. That group recorded two albums for ECM, “39 Steps” and “Up and Coming.” Click here for John Abercrombie, Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland playing Unshielded Desire from the 1975 Gateway album.

 

 

 

 

Paul Oliver

 

 

 

Paul Oliver - Born in Oxfordshire, England, Paul Oliver wrote some of the most respected histories of the Blues. His biography of Bessie Smith was first published in 1959. His second book Blues Fell This Morning (1960) became a popular classic and was followed by The Story Of The Blues (1969) following Oliver's touring the American South interviewing and recording Blues singers. Brett Bonner, the editor of the magazine Living Blues, said in an interview: “Paul was one of the founders of blues scholarship. He and Sam Charters set the template for everything that followed. They also set the stage for the blues revival of the 1960s. Without them, people like Mississippi John Hurt, Son House and Skip James would not have had second careers.” Paul Oliver was actually an architectural historian and also wrote and lectured on that subject. Click here for the 1 hour programme Before The Blues with Paul Oliver.

 

 

 

 

 

Sandi Russell

 

Sandi Russell - American jazz singer, writer and educator born in New York City and who grew up in Harlem. Inspired by Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, she was also inspired by Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and the great divas Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae. She gained scholarships to the New York City high school of music and art, where she worked with the composer Leonard Bernstein and performed at Lincoln Center. She went to Syracuse University where, in the first cohort of black students at a previously white university, she was trained to sing the classical Western repertoire. After a postgraduate course at Hunter College, New York, Sandi taught for eight years in the tough South Bronx. She became a professional jazz singer at 30, touring with a mixed band in the south. In 1984, Sandi moved to Britain, where she performed at festivals and in London clubs. Her two major albums, Incandescent (2001) and Sweet Thunder (2007), demonstrate her vocal range, rich musicality, emotional commitment and exceptional scat singing. She toured the UK with her one woman show ELLA!, about the life and music of Ella Fitzgerald. Click here for a video of Sandi Russell singing Summertime.

 

 

Bern Nix

 

Bern Nix - Steve Day writes: The great Prime Time guitarist Bern Nix died (unexpectedly) on the 31st May.  Along with James 'Blood' Ulmer and Charles Ellerbee, Nix's name became synonymous with translating Ornette Coleman's Harmolodic theory for guitar.  Simplistically (sic) it could be said that Ellerbee did the rock, Ulmer spoke through the blues, while Bern Nix articulated the jazz.  He was born in Toledo, Ohio, learnt guitar as a kid, and via a circuitous route eventually studied at Berklee College Of Music. Bern Nix spent twelve years playing with Ornette Coleman's Prime Time and is probably best remembered, along with Ellerbee, riding the central repeating riff of the classic Dancing In Your Head (1977) track Theme From A Symphony. Bern Nix never received full recognition for his Post-Ornette work, his trio recording Alarms & Excursions with two other iconic musicians Fred Hopkins, bass and Newman Baker, drums, was a subtle storm. Bern Nix rarely used effects pedals, preferring a direct line to tonality, and a finger technique of twists and turns.  A unique man and musician has left us. Click here for Bern Nix with Ornette Coleman's Prime Time (1987).

 

 

 

Bea wain

 

 

Bea Wain - Born in the Bronx to Jewish immigants from Russia, self-taught vocalist Beatrice Wain began singing soon after leaving school on a children's radio programme. In 1937 she recorded with Artie Shaw's band (although she was credited as 'Bea Wayne') and in 1938 was 'discovered' by arranger Larry Clinton who signed her for his orchestra playing at Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle, N.Y. She tired of the road trips and poor pay for recordings and left to perform on her own, appearing regularly on the popular radio show “Your Hit Parade” and later on “Your All-Time Hit Parade.” In a short-lived recording career (curtailed by a two-year strike by musicians over royalties that began in 1942), Ms. Wain was voted most popular female band vocalist in Billboard’s 1939 college poll. (Ella Fitzgerald was second.) She later headed a vocal group called Bea and the Bachelors. Click here for a video of Bea singing Heart And Soul with Clinton's band in 1939.

 

 

 

Not all jazz musicians who pass through the Departure Lounge are reported in the national press, so if you know of anyone's passing that we should mention, please contact us with a few words about them, or a local obituary if one is available.

 

 

 

Clare Teal and her Trio Play the National Jazz Archive - 14 September

Popular jazz vocalist Clare Teal is bringing her trio - Jason Rebello (piano); Simon Little (bass) and Ben Reynolds (drums) - to play a fund-raising concert for the National Jazz Archive on 14 September in Loughton, Essex. Clare is one of the UK’s most celebrated and much loved singers, Clare Tealas well as a prolific recording artist and popular BBC Radio 2 broadcaster. She has released 14 albums and with her encyclopaedic knowledge of jazz, swing and big band music, and her warmth and wit, Clare is a sought after singer throughout the country. She has been voted British Jazz Singer of the Year three times.

The venue for the concert is Loughton Methodist Church, 260 High Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 1RB, close to the Archive’s home in Loughton Library, where there is extensive parking, 1 km from Loughton Station on the Central Line, and served by numerous bus routes. The concert starts at 7.45pm and tickets cost £20. For details and to book tickets, click here,   email here or phone 020 8502 4701.

The National Jazz Archive is a registered charity based in Loughton Library in Essex. It was founded by Digby Fairweather, and holds the UK’s finest collection of written, printed and visual material on jazz, blues and related music, from the 1919 to the present day. The Archive holds more than 4000 reference books, specialist periodicals and bulletins spanning over 600 titles, archival material, artwork, ephemera and photographs. It is open on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 1pm.


 

 

Continental Drift

 

It is not unusual for UK readers, and maybe others, to spend time checking out jazz from the UK and the U.S.A. but less so on music from Europe. Peter Slavid hosts a monthly, 2 hour radio show at www.mixcloud.com/ukjazz and says: 'The programme has a very specific purpose. First of all the show is entirely European and entirely modern. There is so much American (and American style) jazz around that European jazz doesn't get a fair shout. And yet I think European jazz is now more creative and more exciting.' Each month Peter selects a CD of the month – looking especially for bands not well known in the UK - and has offered to share that with us. This month he features:

 

AVA Trio

Music From An Imaginary Land

 

AVA Trio Music From An Imaginary Land

 

Esat Ekincioglu (bass), Pouriya Jaberi (percussion), Giuseppe Doronzo (saxophone).

This has been a particularly difficult month to select an album, with three terrific new releases from well known British artists - including the Django Bates' tribute to Sgt. Pepper, and two double albums from Alexander Hawkins and Binker & Moses.  However, as usual, I have tried to bring you something a bit less well known from Europe and this month's selection is truly multinational.

The recently formed AVA trio is three young musicians blending Mediterranean, Middle-East and Western jazz, and was completely new to me when I came across this CD. Bassist Esat Ekincioglu is Turkish and though still in his twenties, has worked in pop, rock, and theatrical musicals as well as jazz.   Iran's Pouriya Jaberi is a virtuoso percussionist who plays frame drums including the daf — a drum that's very similar to the Irish bodhrán.  Amsterdam-based baritone saxophonist Giuseppe Doronzo is an Italian native and has a strong jazz pedigree having played with Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, Paolo Fresu, and others.

It's an interesting and unusual sound with the sharp notes of the drum contrasting with the deep notes of the bass and baritone sax.  The rhythms are generally middle eastern, creating an imaginary sort of multinational folk music, and there's plenty of improvisation – sometimes very melodic, sometimes verging on the avant-garde. Despite the complex rhythms and some fierce improvising the overall effect is very accessible and even toe-tapping.

Click here to sample the album. Click here for a video of the Trio playing POL.

 

 

Roots Magic

Last Kind Words

 

Roots Magic Last Kind Words

 

Alberto Popolla (clarinet & bass clarinet), Errico De Fabritiis (alto and baritone sax), Gianfranco Tedeschi (double bass), Fabrizio Spera (drums).

This is the first time I have come across this interesting Italian band that combines some fierce improvising with traditional melodies.  This is an album of the blues, and it's great fun.  Tunes from Charlie Patton and Pee Wee Russell jostle alongside modern blues from free-jazz exponents Julius Hemphill and Henry Threadgill and all get the same treatment.  In various instrumental combinations the two front-line horns approach the material with a 21st century mentality – even converting Henry Threadgill's Bermuda Blues into a dub rhythm. 

This isn't a parody, the tunes are treated with proper respect and the whole thing is driven along by steady rhythms, but the improvising is at times ferocious.  For some reason the mixture of blues, funk and free-jazz seems to work well. The rhythm section may be known to some. Spera has played with the London Musician's Collective and with John Butcher.  Tedeschi has played with visiting Americans including Wadada Leo Smith. Both the horn players are new to me and both are worth keeping an eye on. 

Click here to sample the album. Click here for a video of the band playing Latina #1.

Peter Slavid broadcasts a monthly programme of modern jazz focussing entirely on Europe and the UK at www.mixcloud.com/ukjazz and on various internet stations including www.thejazz.co.uk .

 

 

 

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Album Released: 1st September 2017 - Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

 

Sam Braysher with Michael Kanan

Golden Earrings

 

Sam Braysher (alto saxophone), Michael Kanan (piano)

Here is a debut album where only one of the tracks is an original composition by Sam Braysher. The other nine are his interpretations of well and lesser know numbers by people like Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and Tadd Dameron. You will recognise some of the tunes (Dancing In The Dark; What'll I Do), but this is a project where two lovers of Standards and the Great American Songbook have sought out lesser known numbers and brought them into the light. How many of you heard of the Charlie Parker tuneSam Braysher Golden Earrings Cardboard, for example?

Sam Braysher says: 'By listening to original recordings, learning lyrics and consulting published sheet music, I have tried to access the composer's intention ... we tried to use this as our starting point for interpretation and improvisation, rather than existing jazz versions ... Our approach to recording was fairly old fashioned: just three microphones in a room with a nice piano; no headphones and no edits.'

Sam Braysher is a talented musician. He graduated in 2011 with a first class honours degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, before undertaking a two-year Guildhall Artist Fellowship at the School. He is a Chartered Surveyor's Prize winner and he also won the UK Jazz Radio Young Performer's Award in 2010. London-based, he now has a busy freelance career playing a wide range of music, from the Great American Songbook to traditional jazz and swing, contemporary repertoire and new music as well as leading his own Quartet. He teaches instrumental lessons at three schools in East London as well as privately, and has also taught jazz saxophone to undergraduate music students at City University London. Sam has always taken an interest in exploring lesser known material from the Great American Songbook and his essays on the music of various musicians can be found on his website.

In recent years, Sam has developed an association with the respected New York pianist, Michael Kanan. Michael is much sought after to accompany singers such as Jimmy Scott and Jane Monheit as well as a juggling a busy schedule with other bands. It is fortunate that he is able to find time to come to the UK to play with Sam during September for the tour accompanying the album release. Michael is recognised as an authority on the Great American Songbook so his partnership with Sam fits nicely.

It is also interesting that this is the first time that the iconic Barcelona-based record label Fresh Sound New Talent has produced an album by a British bandleader (other signings have included Brad Mehldau, Robert Glasper, Ambrose Akinmusire and Kurt Rosenwinkel).

The album opens with Dancing In The Dark the theme spelt out simply by piano and saxophone and then developed richly and lyrically by the saxophone before returning to the theme. Charlie Parker's Cardboard follows with the piano and sax bopping in tandem and the interplay that follows works particularly well. Track three is an Irving Berlin Waltz Medley based on the tunes What'll I Do; Always; and Remember. It takes a while Sam Braysher and Michael Kananfor the theme for What'll I Do to emerge from saxophone imrpovisation; Always is a Michael Kanan solo played pretty much straight, and Remember features a pleasing piano / saxophone interplay.

BSP is Sam Braysher's composition at track four. He explains how it is a contrafact (a new melody written over an existing chord sequence) based on Cole Porter's Love For Sale. Taken quite fast the interplay allows both instruments to surface with ideas and there is a fine piano section here by Michael Kanan. Duke Ellington's All Too Soon is one of the longer tracks with a saxophone lead into slow waltz time and sensitive saxophone improvisation. Michael Kanan again takes a piano solo while the theme returns from time to time by the saxophone. Sam Braysher says Of Love In Vain: 'I love the original version from the film Centennial Summer. We begin with Kern's verse and end with a coda that is sung in the film but does not appear in the sheet music I have for this. Perhaps it was added by the film's orchestrator's? So much for getting the composer's original intention!'. The tune is taken like a light dance. In Otto Preminger's romantic musical Centennial Summer, a less successful follow up to Meet Me In St Louis, the song Of Love In Vain was not seen as one of the main songs - All Through The Day was the popular number nominated for an Academy Award. We can see here how Sam has brought back to life a tune less loved.

Click here for an introductory video.

The Scene Is Clean is a Tad Dameron number and is described by Sam as: '... probably the most harmonically dense composition to feature here.' I find this one of the most enjoyable tracks on the album. Both piano and saxophone interplay beautifully and here is Sam Braysher's signature, lyrical, interpretive style. I have never heard of Nat 'King' Cole's composition Beautiful Moons Ago, a sad, sweet number, another drawn up from somewhere by Sam from the 'Lost and Found' and which features Michael Kanan's piano and more sensitive playing from Sam Braysher. Golden Earrings, the title track, comes from a 1947 romantic spy movie. The tune is sung on screen by Murvyn Vye, but it was Peggy Lee who had it as a hit. The piano cascades an entry to the rhythm picked up by the sax for the theme. There are no vocals here but you can hear how the words fit: 'There's a story the gypsies know is true / That when your love wears golden earrings / She (He) belongs to you / An old love story that's known to very few / But if you wear those golden earrings / Love will come to you.' The saxophone plays faster over a steady piano that in its turn explores the tune.

The last tune is a short (just under 2 minutes) version of Way Down Yonder In New Orleans. A happy, interplayed interpretaion of the old standard. Sam says: 'This take features more joint soloing and we finish by playing Lester Young's masterful 1938 solo in unison.'

In some ways this album is a 'project' as Sam explains above, and as he implies in that quotation, the overall effect is of an informal session with two musicians who understand the music just getting together to play. For me, the album's strength is in the interplay, the counterpoint that Sam and Michael achieve. The result is an accessible recording that will be enjoyed by a wide audience and of interest to those who have not previously come across these lesser known tunes by great songwriters. Maria Cristina Mena put it nicely: 'The piano keys are black and white but they sound like a million colors in your mind'. I have heard Sam fly away with some beautiful solos at live gigs and if you get the chance to go to the live sessions on the tour promoting this album, you should take the opportunity - and some change to buy the album.

Click here for details and to sample the album. Click here for Sam Braysher's website. Click here for Michael Kanan's website.

Tour dates - Sam Braysher and Michael Kanan:

September 7th - Cafe Jazz, Sandringham Hotel, 21 St Mary Street, Cardiff, CF10 1PL - 8:00 am - 11:00 pm
September 8th - The Verdict Jazz Club, 159 Edward St., Brighton, BN2 0JB - 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm (Quartet: Sam Braysher - alto saxophone; Michael Kanan - piano; Dario Di Lecce - double bass; Steve Brown - drums)
September 9th - Norden Farm Centre For The Arts, Altwood Road, Maidenhead, SL6 4PF - 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm (Quartet: Sam Braysher - alto saxophone; Michael Kanan - piano; Dario Di Lecce - double bass; Steve Brown - drums)
September 10th - Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds, LS7 3PD - 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
September 10th - Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec, 140 Newington Butts, London, SE11 4RN - 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm (Quartet: Sam Braysher - alto saxophone; Michael Kanan - piano; Dario Di Lecce - double bass; Steve Brown - drums)
September 11th - Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, 47 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 4HT 11:00 pm - 2:30 am (Quartet: Sam Braysher - alto saxophone; Michael Kanan - piano; Dario Di Lecce - double bass; Steve Brown - drums)
September 12th - Anteros Arts, 11-15 Fye Bridge Street, Norwich, NR3 1LJ - 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm
September 13th - ALBUM LAUNCH - The Vortex Jazz Club, 11 Gillett Square, London, N16 8AZ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Ian Maund

 

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Album Released: 8th September 2017 - Label: JVG

 

Dave O'Higgins

It's Always 9.30 In Zog

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Dave O’Higgins (tenor and soprano saxophones); Graham Harvey (piano and Fender Rhodes); Geoff Gascoyne (double bass); Sebastiaan De Krom (drums).

I was pleased when this review copy came through the post.  Dave O’Higgins has been around for a long time now, he’s always there yet at the same time, just like 9.30, early morning or mid-evening, he’s the kind of player that is often taken for granted.  He’s a brilliant technician; O’Higgins can fit into all sorts of tasty situations, from literally Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles to the Brubecks, yet throughout all the comings and goings for six years he’s kept his own quartet on the road playing a contemporary be-bop to hard bop that swings the chandeliers.

Whereas his peers, the ‘Class of 1980’, Tommy Smith, Courtney Pine, Andy Sheppard ... have all gone on to find their very different individual distinctive voices, Dave O’Higgins is acknowledged as being a damn fine player (the self-penned third track on the album is called Alien With Extraordinary Ability, the words written onDave O'Higgins It's Always 9.30 in Zog his American work visa), yet he’s never quite garnered the same critical praise as the others.  Here’s the lowdown:

I’ll pick out particular tracks, but before I do I want to describe the overall feel and sound of this session.  It’s nearly noon but the blinds are drawn tight, I’ve got a low light over the laptop keypad, that’s all; my second pint glass of water at my left wrist, a tower-block stack of disks at the elbow,  It's Always 9.30 In Zog has been coming out the speakers since.... about 9.30 and is now coming around for the third time.  It’s a zone of piano breaks and tenor solos, with Sebatiaan De Krom’s hi-hat pinched into the middle of the swing, sometimes a Fender Rhoes electric piano breaks in like Herbie Hancock had landed out there across the corridor, there’s that quake that comes with hearing soprano saxophone sound like its being poured out of a big glass cylinder, Geoff Gascoyne’s double bass going back and forth, jumping the fences on the scale. 

(You know about Mr Gascoyne don’t you?  I would have said he’s been jumping double bass session routes since before I was born, but he’s younger than me, so it can’t be so.  Sometimes his session work has been for people who I couldn’t listen to even in the dark, yet you hear the bass placed like a plum on the tongue, and there’s no argument, it’s beautiful music.)  There’s no such caveat in Zog.  Even when the tracks mesh in the middle, the whole rush of this torrent of tunes is a continuous soundtrack, turning on staggering solos which grow out from their swinging structures. I put my ears to the floor and rattle my own head; stretch back again for the chorus.  I haven’t heard better new bop than this since I was with the Hallbergs in Denmark.  See, this is it about Dave O’Higgins, it’s not that he’s a revolution, or that he’s “found his own sound”, or that he advertises a particular make of reeds, it’s simply that he can’t stop himself being a harbinger on horns.

The rational for 9.30 In Zog is that of the twelve tracks, eight them are O’Higgins originals.  Normally he bases his workouts on other people’s ‘tunes’, Zog has pushed him into coming up with self written starting points, albeit that New Resolution inherently signals John Coltrane’s Live At The Village Vanguard as a default position.  Who cares?  I don’t, it’s in the manner of the territory; the crucially important thing is that all four players mark out the ground on which they operate.  They score the session with such verve and commitment it matters not that from time to time you hear a tipping touch to Coltrane, maybe Joe Henderson.  This music comes from somewhere, of course there’s going to be map references.  The way the O’Higgins band treat the standard, Autumn Serenade, it could have been a long lost grab at those American songbook classics on Coltrane’s Dave O'HigginsAtlantic series. It isn’t.  Catch the way One For Big G breaks open in a series of twists and turns only to allow Graham Harvey’s piano to float out a tightly procured finger massage over the piano keys, eventually leading straight into a solo soprano song-trap, pitched squashed and incendiary.  In turn the soprano sets up Gascoyne to provide a conquering bass break, it’s a gift!  This could be late in the evening at 47 Frith Street, except, again, it isn’t, instead according to the O’Higgins riddle it’s 9.30 In Zog and I for one, rather like that.

Click here for a video of the band recording the number Morpheus for the album.

A couple of months ago, in another place and time zone, I caught Sebastiaan De Krom’s drums with Tommy Smith’s quartet on the tribute album to John Coltrane called Embodying The Light.  Here’s a word or two about Mr De Krom’s contribution, his percussion profile makes a significant difference to both The Light and In Zog.  We all know there’s a multitude of different ways a percussionist can come at a drum kit.  The spatial approach which seems to place time in the air; there’s the staggered thunder of Hard Bop; tight beat to bar; Ellington swing, unfussy yet constantly crisp and nifty; rock power thrash; and how do you hit in a hurry and still keep it exactly ‘on’ pulse?  De Krom’s approach is one that is distinctly musical – his cymbals are set low so that when he strikes it’s not so much a curve, more a precise blow coming off a flick.  The high-hat is time-keeper and director, Seb De Krom has all the action covered.  He places emphasis through a compressed roll, like unfolding a tight fist, or makes a single rim-shot blow reach underneath everyone.  The title track is a prime example, Dave O’Higgins could be writing his own horn arrangement as a big band, but it is as a quartet it comes; a smooth snap drive straight down the middle of things – drums, crack and break, (repeat) crack and break. 

The album ends with Easy Living. I grew up with my father playing the Billie Holiday/Teddy Wilson classic – it’s been around a long time and that’s how the Dave O’Higgins Quartet play it – and I've got to say, here’s a tenor saxophone that’s not proving anything other than he loves this song.  So do I.

The artwork to this recording is just like the music.  Judith O’Higgins has based the sleeve on the same rationale used by Reid Miles at Blue Note.  The cover shot angle of a fly-over contains a fabulous curve, as does the music.  The font and lettering is as it should be, clarity without fuss, just like the music.  It may be 9.30 In Zog, but this ensemble is anytime of the day and night as far as I’m concerned.

Click here for a video Trailer for the album. Click here for more details of the album.

 

Steve Day  www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

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Album Released: 7th July 2017 - Label: Spark! Label

 

Sam Watts

Mime Music

 

Howard Lawes reviews this album for us:

Sam Watts (piano and accordion), Mike Fletcher (alto saxophone, flute, clarinet), James Davison (trumpet, flugelhorn), Kieran McLeod (trombone), Lucia Capellaro (cello), Thomas Seminar Ford (guitar, banjo), Flo Moore (double bass) and Ben Brown (drums, percussion).

Mime Music was recorded in 2015 but has only just been released on Spark!, a label which was created in 2014 by a couple of Royal Academy of Music alumni, J.J. Wheeler and Tom Green.  Sam Watts also attended the Royal Academy of Music, graduating with an MA in Jazz Piano and winning the 2012 Humphrey Lyttelton prize.  He follows in the footsteps of some wonderful modern jazz pianists such as Ivo Neame, Kit Downes andSam Watts Mime Music Gwilym Simcock and one imagines that having such illustrious predecessors does concentrate the mind providing both reassurance that anything is possible but also that there is a lot to live up to. 

Watts' first album in 2011 was as part of the band Eh Joe with the Portuguese singer Mila Dores with whom he has collaborated for many years after they met at Leeds College of Music. In 2016 he was a member of Brazilian singer Luna Cohen's band on her album November Sky.  As well as these collaborations Sam has acted as sideman in several bands; been musical director for a show celebrating the career of Judy Garland and composed a portfolio of his own music.  His broad and diverse range of musical influences includes Duke Ellington (which provides a huge scope); Astor Piazzolla, an Argentine composer who developed a new tango style incorporating elements of both jazz and classical music; Tom Waits, an innovative American genre bending musician and Arvo Part, an Estonian composer of religious and classical music. Another source of inspiration for Watts is film with the use of the word 'mime' in this album title suggesting music to accompany a visual drama or scene.  The scene on the album cover is an original picture by Mirry Stolzenberg and shows a white horse jumping through a hoop in a shadowy, surreal hall inside a large building, perhaps alluding to the last track of the album called In Dreams.

Mime Music, Sam's debut album under his own name, has fourteen tracks, although one is a brief introduction and three are just short interludes, all are composed by Sam.  Track 1, Overture, is very much in the manner of an introduction with a drum roll followed by a typical, silent film style opening. The link to film is even more apparent in track 2 called recalling Fellini's film of the same name which mixes fantasy with reality, in this case Watts mixes accordion music in the waltzing style of Nino Rota (composer of the soundtrack of ) with something far more jazzy such as one might expect from the the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Almost Sunset is a reflective piece, without a discernible melody but combining piano and the cello of Lucia Capellaro to great effect and evoking that magical time of twilight.  A short interlude on guitar is followed by a piece simply called Tango which really highlights the strength in the depth of this band, lovely melodies from cello and trumpet are interspersed with piano solo all the while maintaining a great tango rhythm.  Next comes Love Song with cymbals providing an eerie opening but giving way to a far more romantic piano and cello. Sam WattsOptimistic horns are short lived and the ending suggests that, as in A Midsummer Nights Dream, the course of love never did run smooth.

A very short, cacophonous interlude precedes The Kite which has a lovely piano melody, reminiscent of a French film, the name of which is forgotten but with music that drifts from side to side just as a flying kite would do.  Track 9 is called Rag and as the name suggests is a homage to Ragtime and the Hot Jazz of the early 20th century with Watts' piano forming the backbone of the piece while other instruments, including Ford's banjo, provide some entertaining high jinks.  Another brief interlude in the style of a brass band is followed by Lament, dedicated to double bass player Charlie Haden. It begins slowly with the cello and one or more horns then gives way to a mournful double bass solo gently supported by piano and then some serious flamenco style lamenting on guitar with horns wailing and cymbals crashing before the original theme returns. 

Radio is a brief boogie woogie interlude before some gentle piano begins a piece called Birds and evokes a scene with birds wheeling about the sky, a flute perhaps represents a young bird leaving the nest and taking flight and after some hairy moments on the ground rises up to join the others in joyful flight.  The last track In Dreams, is the longest and has something of a New Orleans style about it with trombone and guitar solos and several other instruments having the chance to shine, including Watts himself on accordion.

Mime Music seems very much a journey through Sam Watts' own personal compendium of favourite, many and varied musical styles.  He has put together a really interesting band and uses it to great effect while all the time setting the tone with piano and accordion.  His compositions are always interesting and very effective in conjuring up a picture or scene in the listener's mind with the brief track titles providing clues.  A very nice album that is both intelligent and entertaining, for further information see Sam's website - click here.

Click here for details and to sample Tango from the album.

 

Howard Lawes

 

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Album Released: 14th July 2017 - Label: Acoustical Concepts

 

John Vanore

Stolen Moments - Celebrating Oliver Nelson

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

John Vanore (conductor, arranger, trumpet (3); Tony Kadleck (trumpet, flugelhorn); Augie Haas (trumpet, flugelhorn); Jon Owens (trumpet, flugelhorn); Dave Ballou (trumpet, flugelhorn); Steve Wilson (alto, soprano sax, flute); Bob Malach (tenor sax, bass clarinet); Ryan Keberle (trombone); David Taylor (bass trombone); George Barnett (French horn); Adam Unsworth (French horn); Jim Ridl (piano); Greg Kettinger (guitar); Mike Richmond (bass); Danny Gottlieb (drums); Beth Gottlieb: percussion (El Gato).

When I bought my first copy of Blues And The Abstract Truth I thought I was buying into greatness, the title was enough. Those words seemed to embody the very definition of ‘jazz’ – Oliver Nelson had somehow captured the reality.   On hearing the original classic version of Stolen Moments for the first time, with Eric Dolphy’s defining flute solo and the stellar ensemble orchestration of the chorus line, it was like confirmation of The Duke, The Count, Mingus and Coltrane – Blues And The Abstract Truth was, indeed the summarising title of this music, not just their music but mine too; this IS what I knew to be THE Truth – it did not come in straight lines, it couldn’tJohn Vanore Stolen Moments be confirmed or confined on a manuscript score..... though it could be ‘arranged’.  These were blues arrangements, not anything like the refined rough cut I heard it from Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker through to Billie Holiday and back to Bessie Smith.  Me and my pals were all Chasin’ The Trane, but it had arrived in a refurbished, sophisticated station. And I, skinny white know-it-all from Bristol via Essex, had better understand why this Blues And The Abstract Truth had a sound like Black choristers, yet was defining itself as abstract.

So here’s the truth.  Right now, today, I’m not listening to Oliver Nelson and Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers and all the other giants who inhabited THE Abstract Truth, instead it’s a crew of established 2016 session guys who have packed their bags to play MRS Studios, at Legacy’s old base, just off of Times Square in the heart of New York.  We are not downtown, this is Manhattan near as damn it.  And abstract or not, Oliver Nelson had already made the journey to the bright lights even in his short lifetime.

John Vanore, who conceived this tribute to Oliver Nelson, has not tried to reproduce Abstract; the track, Stolen Moments is its only representative.  Instead he has drawn music from across Oliver Nelson’s canon, as a writer, but also as arranger; St Louis Blues through to Greensleeves.  Personally I’d have dispensed with the English pastoral pageant, and gone for something like Emancipation Blues (after all there are no tracks from the sorely underrated early Nelson album, Afro/American Sketches).  Vanore does include the actual track Blues And The Abstract Truth; the iconic title comes from Mr Nelson’s follow-up album, More Blues And The Abstract Blues, on which, ironically, Oliver Nelson never played himself, confining himself to writing, arranging and producing.

John Vanore’s choice of opening track is Self Is Needed; a typically simple flowing Nelson melodic score which has terrific verve and a strong current that leads straight to a Steve Wilson alto break, placed plumb central to the performance.  Mr Wilson was with Chick Corea’s Origin – his non-electric band in the 1990’s.  I caught Wilson with Dave Holland’s Quartet (I think) just prior to the Corea gig.  At the time I hoped he’d stay with Holland, alas it ended up that he and Chris Potter played ‘musical chairs’ between the two leaders.  Steve Wilson’s involvement on this Stolen Moments session is important in the same way that Eric Dolphy’s presence was to Nelson.  He brings space and light every time he makes an entry into a music which, at its heart, is based on simple melodic motifs, orchestrated into swing.  That ‘heart’ should not be thought of as unworthy of the soloist.  Johnny Hodges and all those great Ellington interpreters bathed in the richness of The Duke’s melodies.  On I Hope In Time A Change Will Come Steve Wilson restricts his central role to playing the melodic line over two choruses, taking on Oliver Nelson’s part on the original version, which, like Self Help, comes from Nelson’s 1970’s Martin Luther King tribute album, Black, Brown And Beautiful.

John Vanore band

 

At the core of this new recording is El Gato.  Oliver Nelson had arranged Gato Barbieri’s music for the infamous movie, Last Tango In ParisEl Gato was written to honour the Brazilian tenor giant.  John Vanore has devised an atmospheric version of this music, which feels cinematic from the start.  It is the longest track and needs to be.  Pat Metheny’s old drummer, Danny Gottlieb is on traps throughout the session.  On El Gato he is joined by his wife Beth Gottlieb, a renowned percussionist in her own right.  The pairing provides a tasty rattle inside the rhythm box; it means that when Bob Mallach’s tenor and the Wilson alto get sparking the ghost of Barbieri there’s not only a playback to the past, but a twist of the exotic to cruise against.  Brazil is close at hand, we are where we are, a holistic world.  Gato Barbieri in his prime was all fire and brimstone.  (Catch his contribution to the very first Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra album on Impulse.)  Bob Mallach manages to touch down on this aspect of the great man’s muse just long enough to contextualise what Barbieri was all about without losing sight that this session is actually an Oliver Nelson tribute.

Nothing is ‘stolen’ here – what John Vanore has done is produce in his own words a “reimagined” music of Oliver Nelson.  What you borrow, you give back; Nelson was most definitely owed his day of remembrance and Mr Vanore has given up this new recording to that memory.  John Vanore has been heading up a band called The Abstract Truth for years.  This is no flirtation with a favourite.  So much happens on this reimagining that it has to be heard not just read about – Jim Ridl’s piano, Dave Ballou’s trumpet on St Louis Blues, the lock-in of Mike Richmond’s bass to Danny Gottlieb’s drums.  This is an album to be recommended in its own right, and if it sends the listener back to the Oliver Nelson originals you still won’t want to give up the album that took you there. No, nothing is stolen here, not one moment.

Click here for a sample compilation from the album. Click here for John Vanore's website.

 

Steve Day  www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk 


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Album Released: 15th September 2017 - Label: Spark!

 

Tom Millar Quartet

Unnatural Events

 

Robin Kidson reviews this record for us:

The early jazz pioneers learned and developed their craft in whorehouses and dancehalls. The CV of Tom Millar, the British-based jazz pianist, shows just how far jazz has moved up in the world since those early days. He was born in Australia but grew up in London. He read music at King's College, Cambridge then went to the Royal Academy of Music from where he emerged with a Master’s degree in jazz piano. Hardly the path to greatness of a Jelly Roll Morton or an Earl Hines. And yet these musicians would have had no trouble in recognising the music on Millar’s new album, Unnatural Events, as jazz. It has all the rhythmic and improvisational qualities thatTom Millar Quartet Unnatural Events one expects and wants from jazz. It is also accessible, as crowd-pleasing as anything from Morton or Hines or any of those other pioneers. Light, airy, beautifully played and full of good tunes (all composed by Millar), Unnatural Events is a most promising debut from a musician who is clearly going places.

The Tom Millar Quartet is Millar on piano, Alex Munk (guitar), Misha Mullov-Abbado (bass), and Mike Clowes (drums). The vocalist, Alice Zawadzki, also joins the band on two of the tracks.

The album kicks off with Azura Days inspired by a trip around the Mediterranean. It’s a lively, foot-tapping start with Alex Munk in sparkling form on guitar, and some interesting interplay between his playing and Millar’s liquid piano. The Seafarer begins with a short but effective bass solo from Mullov-Abbado. The other musicians join in and, at first, the mood is tranquil but gradually something more ominous emerges as if a storm is in the offing. Then the beat picks up – the storm didn’t come to anything, apparently, and all’s well with the world. It’s a very well worked out piece of music.

The title track, Unnatural Events, again begins with the bass playing a simple but memorable riff. Millar says that the composition was “my response to a suggestion from trumpeter Dave Douglas to try writing pieces from different starting points each time – this was one of my first compositions to come out of a bass line.” It’s an upbeat number with Munk playing some striking pizzicato guitar. He also plays electric sitar. Strangely, this Tom Millar Quartetdoes not add an Indian feel to the music; the effect is more futuristic like the theme tune of some sixties sci-fi tv serial. There is a bluesy tinge to Millar’s playing with some Brubeck touches, and the track ends with a drum solo backed by little piano runs and guitar exclamations.

Power Chord Thing has some wonderful tunes with Millar playing, well, 'power chords'. The rhythm is complex with, once again, effective piano/guitar interplay. Choro has Alice Zawadzki singing wordlessly, using the voice as another instrument. Her contribution adds a light, ethereal quality, reminiscent of Norma Winstone. Millar’s solo builds very nicely and his exchanges with Mullov-Abbado’s bass are particularly impressive.

Inversnaid is a setting of the poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins with Zawadzki singing the words. It’s a piece of sophisticated upbeat jazz, urban (urbane, even). This is good at reflecting the liquid wateriness of the poem but jars slightly with Hopkins’ central message which is all about wildness and rural simplicity: “Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet”. But, remove the context and don’t pay much attention to the words and Inversnaid becomes a very attractive piece of contemporary jazz.

On Woad, all the musicians really stretch out with great solos from Millar, Munk and particularly Mullov-Abbado. The virtuosic, bang-on-the-beat drumming of Mike Clowes is also well to the fore.

The final track, Park Hill, is a ballad with a very hummable tune. There are traces of country music here and a bit of contemporary pop. Munk and Mullov-Abbado duet, sounding all the world like a Charlie Haden/Pat Metheny collaboration. The piece finishes with Millar playing the main theme alone. It’s a fitting end to a carefully constructed album which repays careful and repeated listenings. 

When he was recording the album, Millar made a short video as part of a crowd funding campaign. You can watch it if you click here. Unnatural Events will be launched at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in London on 20th September 2017. The band is touring extensively over the following weeks - for a full list of tour dates click here.

Click here for details of the album and to sample tracks. For more information about Tom Millar, click here for his website.

 

Robin Kidson

 

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Album Released: 26th May 2017 - Label: Leo Records

 

Blazing Flame Quintet

The Set List Shuffle

 

Steve Day (voice, hand percussion, slide whistle), Peter Evans (5 string electric violin), Mark Langford (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet), Julian Dale (double bass, cello), Anton Henley (drum kit, percussion).

The reviews that have been written about this album conjure up images of a curate's egg accompanied by toast with Marmite. Some like parts of it, some either love it or hate it. Selwyn Harris in Jazzwise magazine gives it short shrift but Italian critic Vittorio says: 'It's a project that works by real musicians and a poet who plays / singsBlazing Flame Quintet The Set List Shuffle inspired verses'. At the end of the day, we all have our own opinions and differences in taste, but is good to open our ears to new sounds and see (hear) what we think. Blazing Flame Quintet has also been on tour with this album, and as with the album reviews, the tour has received different responses. It is to their credit that the Vortex Jazz Club in London has booked them again to return in 2018 and they are making return visits to Cafe Kino in Bristol.

Steve Day is a regular contributor to this website and has stressed that he doesn't want that to affect what I write about this album and so I shall try to describe what I hear and give you the chance to decide for yourselves - Marmite or Strawberry Jam.

The album is a challenge because it comprises three different aspects.

In a way it takes us back to Poetry and Jazz, born in the 1920s with poets like Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot but very much a part of Jack Kerouac and Bob Kaufman's 'Beat' generation. That means that the poetry is a central part. The verse itself is complicated and so to respond to it, listener or musician, you have to have some grasp of its intention.

David Amran, Jack Kerouac's musical colleague is quoted as saying: 'We never once rehearsed. We did listen intently to one another. Jazz is all about listening and sharing. I never drowned out one word of whatever Jack was reading or making up on the spot. When I did my spontaneous scatting [...] he would play piano or bongos and he never drowned out or stepped on a word or interrupted a thought that I or anyone else had when they joined us in these late night-early morning get-togethers. We had mutual respect for one another, and anyone who joined us received the same respect.'

Secondly, the music is improvised. Peter Evans, Julian Dale and Anton Henley have played with larger ensembles of Blazing Flame before. They know the name of the game. Mark Langford is new to the line-up, but you would never know. These are very talented musicians who not only play fine solos but who respond and understand each other well.

Thirdly, and you don't see this on the album, is performance. Steve Day's voice is not like that of most vocalists, but he also performs his poetry with the enthusiasm and actions at times reminiscent of Mick Jagger or Joe Cocker. This is worth mentioning in discussing the album because of the unseen dynamic that takes place Blazing Flame Quintetbetween Steve's approach and the response it brings from the musicians.

It might help to illustrate this with a video of the band playing Loach Song at Ashburton Live in August 2017 (click here) where the band attracted an audience of around 100 people who responded enthusiastically to the gig.

This gives a flavour of the Quintet's music and also the challenge of absorbing and appreciating the words. It is unfortunate that the album's liner notes do not come with the verse printed out as this is a key to appreciating the album (they are available on Steve Day's website - click here - where you will also find details of live gigs). Steve has given us some background to one of the tracks in an article he wrote for What's New a few months ago about the track Over The Brow Of The Green Hill (click here). You can read Steve's description and listen to the track at the same time and in doing so get some grasp of the story behind the track and how it is presented.

Click here for a video of the band recording the track King Of The Rain for the album in the studio. This is one of several tracks that has 'driving rhythms' and shows the band working together. Other tracks such as Coal Black Buddah, Over The Brow Of The Green Hill and and Loach Song also develop that persuasive rhythmic drive.

Music in all its different forms and styles will appeal to listeners differently. It is healthy that we have a wide choice and the opportunity to explore new approaches. Marmite or strawberry jam - taste it and see.

The Set List Shuffle from Blazing Flame Quintet is available from Leo Records - click here for details and to sample the album.

 

Ian Maund

 

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Album Released: 2nd June 2017 - Label: Symbol

 

Geoff Simkins Trio

in a quiet way

 

Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us:

The trio consists of Geoff Simpkins (alto sax), Nikki Iles (piano) and Dave Green (double bass).  

I always like a trio that uses other instruments (in this case; bass and piano) instead of drums as the rhythm section.  This trio of old friends have played with each other in various groups over the years and the CD notes are written by each of the trio members.  There are 9 tracks and the longest, the old standard Make Someone Happy, runs for nearly 9 minutes and shortest, For DJC, for 3 minutes 39 seconds. For DJC and is the only trackGeoff Simkins Trio in a quiet way composed by the trio as a tribute to Dave Cliff, the jazz guitarist who has not been in the best of health lately and is well regarded by all of the jazz world. These two tracks top and tail the album.  

Two of Geoff’s favourite composers are Earl Zindars and Kenny Wheeler, so we have Wheeler’s Old Ballad and Zindars’ Elsa and Sareen Jurer.  For improvisation over standards,Geoff has included Lee Konitz’s Friend-Lee, a seldom recorded number, which uses the John Klenner and Sam Lewis classic, Just Friends, as a base, and was originally recorded in 1931 by Red McKenzie.  

The other 2 tracks are Beija Flor, which Geoff thinks is Portuguese for 'Humming Bird' and was composed by Nelson Cavaquinho and Mooch Too Early, which was written by Josh Rutner from the New York band Respect Sextet and moulds Charlie Parker’s demanding line from Moose The Mooche on to the constantly shifting harmonic framework of Bill Evans' Very Early.  Geoff states about the repertoire, “having put the tracks into the order that I felt was best for the album, I realised that this was, in fact, exactly the order that we’d recorded the music on the day.”

The CD booklet has a photo of the trio and it reflects the enjoyment they had in recording this album.  Mentioning Geoff Simkins Triophotographs, I was puzzled by the picture of a boulder on the actual CD that had a red cast/tone and repeated within the CD case which shows it with a green colouration.

Starting as mentioned above with Make Someone Happy, this is a different interpretation of a standard; there is wonderful interplay with gentle piano, joined by the sax and later the bass.  With the next tack Elsa, the same comments apply, but it also has a solid bass solo section.  Old Ballad features another piano introduction with bass accompaniment. These work well off each other and the sax blends and melds with both.  The melody is never lost whichever instrument is following it.  

Another track that I enjoyed was Beija Flor, which was beautifully rhythmic and melodic; with prominent sax that pulls along the other instruments as well as the tune itself.  Sareen Jurer has frequent tempo changes and intricate passages which allow each instrument to solo for a period.  For DLC was a gently contemplative number to end with and I wished it had been a bit longer.

in a quiet way seems an appropriate title for this Trio's album.  Their beautiful, seamless improvisation works well and they obviously know how to interact off each other.  The playing feels gentle, not rushed and very “at ease”, music that can flow through you and surround you.

Click here for details.

Tim Rolfe

 

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Album Released: 31st July 2017 - Label: CD Baby

 

Meg Morley Trio

Can't Get Started

 

Meg Morley (piano), Richard Sadler (double bass), Emiliano Caroselli (drums).

In March 2017, pianist Meg Morley released a solo EP, Through The Hours, that we reviewed in June. At the time we said: 'On the strength of this solo EP, her venture into recording her jazz compositions and improvisations is packed with potential'. It was a fine introduction to this trio album that follows.

If you checked out the EP, you will know that Meg is a professional Australian pianist-improviser living in London. She completed a Masters degree at the University of Southern Queensland, where she was awarded Distinctions for the AMEB's A.Mus.A and L.Mus.A diplomas, won national competitions and bursaries, andMeg Morley Trio Can't Get Started performed with a professional Australian orchestra. She also took a Postgraduate Diploma in Jazz Improvisation at Melbourne's Victorian College of Arts and began teaching piano and improvisation at Melbourne Girls Grammar and Firbank Grammar whilst performing and playing for the Australian Ballet and the Australian Ballet School.

She moved London in 2010 where she plays full time with the English National Ballet School, but her interests and her pereformance is varied. She has performed with rising talents like Louise Bartle from Bloc Party and established stars such as Tina May; with Matthew Bourne's New Adventures; the Rambert Dance Company at Sadler's Wells and  the Royal Ballet School, and has regularly accompanied classes at the world famous Pineapple Studios in Covent Garden. As a member of the samba band, Rhythms Of The City, she has performed at the O2 Brixton Academy and toured with them in Poland for SambaFest 2012.

In January 2016 Meg became a resident pianist at The Kennington Bioscope, an internationally acclaimed silent film organisation supported by Academy Award winner Kevin Brownlow at The London Cinema Museum.

Her trio album finds her in the company of bassist Richard Sadler, whose experience is also varied (Sam Kelly; Ray Davies; Neil Cowley Trio; ISQ) and Italian drummer Emiliano Caroselli who adds additional influences from Richard sadlerCuba where he lived and studied in Havana. The three first came together in 2014 when they recorded MIA Panboola's album Searching Not Finding which also featured Meg's compositions.

'Can't Get Started' is an album title that invites a corny response, so I'll avoid that; suffice it to say that they do. Perhaps the title comes from the album cover where they seem to have forgotten their instruments.

There are 10 tracks on the album, all compositions by Meg Morley. The title track, Can't Get Started opens the set, and the title is explained by the intentional hesitant ends to initial sequences. Then Meg pulls it together with a piano solo before the bass then the drums establish their identities. D.C.M. follows with a solo drum introduction before Meg's reflective piano plays a pretty ballad with the bass coming through at times to pick up on the mood. Caged initially reflects Meg's classical influences and keyboard arpeggios and double bass lines build a more generic middle section.Emiliano Caroselli Meandering trips in over the piano keys and there is plenty of space given again to the double bass while Emiliano's drums are placed effectively and well.

Click here for an introductory video for the album.

Rush Hour is a tune that appeared on the solo EP, now written for trio. The effect remains the same as I described it before in that it has a gentle, lyrical opening before a rumble in the bass leads to a hustle-bustle of notes until the piece slows to its ending. In this version, the use of the drums and double bass add an underlying urgency. Polly (Part 1) suggests that we might expect a Part 2, but it is not on this album. The track is brief at just over a minute, a repeated theme that might well accompany an action sequence in one of Meg's silent film accompaniments. Life Coaching, on the Meg Morleyother hand, is the longest track on the album and sees a change in tone and is perhaps the track I enjoyed most on the album because of the varied and unexpected styles it mixes up. It starts out with a clear slow Blues piano until the drums signal a change of tempo and the three musicians bring a complexity that again changes for the piano, then bass and then drums to each develop their own ideas. Meg's happy piano from 5.32 is a complete contrast to the opening Blues.

Invention in D has piano and bass interplay to a simple, dancing, theme that reminds me of the beginning to Dance From Gelderland scene in the movie A Knight's Tale (another 'invention').

The Folk Hymn at track 9 has a piano theme that swells and ebbs, and the bass underpins the rhythm as the piano plays crisply and the on to reflect the rhythm. The final track, Song Without Words, is an attractive, romantic tune true to its title - it just asks for words to be added. Someone should.

If Meg Morley's solo album was 'packed with potential', so is this debut Trio album. There is no mention on Meg's website of where the Trio goes from here, no gigs seem to be scheduled apart from them having performed a semi-improvised score for silent film footage in July and a potential tour with an original score for several film festivals in 2018. It would be good to see and hear them nurture and share their improvising talents in live performance as they clearly work together well. This album should not be a 'one off'.

Click here for details and to sample the album. Click here for Meg Morley's website.

Ian Maund

 

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Album Released: 12th May 2017 - Label: Cats Paw Records

 

Michael Rabinowitz

Uncharted Waters

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Michael Rabinowitz (bassoon); Nat Harris (guitar); Ruslan Khain (double bass); Vince Ector (drums).

This name was new to me.  I had not come across Michael Rabinowitz before. And I guess bassoons are rare in our neck of the woods, though Sun Ra had Marshall Allen doubling on bassoon occasionally and Anthony Braxton has included bassoon in some of his larger ensembles.  Anyone familiar with the work of Lindsay Cooper, of Henry Cow/Robert Wyatt’s extended stories, will know how awesome this long double baritone reed can be in the right leftfield hands and mouth.  And though they didn’t use bassoon, double reeds were alsoMichael Rabinowitz Uncharted Waters prominent in the music of Charles Lloyd and Dewey Redman.... I’m not suggesting Michael Rabinowitz comes from the same place as any of those champions.  Nevertheless, I’ve been listening to Mr Rabinowitz off and on for about three weeks.  There was no accompanying background material with my ‘review’ CD, and I decided to rely on what I was hearing rather than search out stuff.

The immediate impression is that Rabinowitz’s bassoon is played by a working composer/small group bandleader with a diverse interest in ‘covers’ which spring from not-your-usual songbook.  The Uncharted Waters album has four of his own pieces and five by others - Duke’s Caravan excepted, the other four ‘non-originals’ are all un-standard standards – So Do It, a Wes Montgomery tune setting the scene for Rabinowitz’s guitar partner, Nat Harris; the cabaret country of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s How Insensitive; Art Farmer’s The Third (originally a two trumpeter showcase for Farmer and Donald Byrd); and When Sonny Gets Blue, a 1950’s best seller for Johnny Mathis – the original title used the spelling, ‘Sunny’.  I guess Michael Rabinowitz is giving a tweak in the direction of Sonny Rollins – there’s a few other nods in the great man’s direction on Harold’s Blues and the final track, Calypso Joe.

Listening to this bassoon-led quartet there’s an element of contemporary American Hard Bop behind the technique, if not the actual sound.  This is a gimmick-free recording.  The bassoon is not there as a curiosity.  The nearest comparison I can make is the relationship between Art Blakey and Wayne Shorter.  For sure that early 1960’s line-up of the Jazz Messengers was trumpet, tenor sax, piano, bass and drums, a different prospect to bassoon, guitar, bass/drums, but I’m talking about Blakey accenting polyrhythmic drumming to encase Shorter’s cerebral melodies. In that specific sense, although a lot more laid back, the Rabinowitz quartet Michael Rabinowitzrecording is built on a similar relationship. On the ‘heads’, Vince Ector’s drums are the foil, detailing the pulse, tracking the line. 

The opening, Uncharted Waters, is a bit of a misnomer.  There’s a detailed ‘score’ charting the soloing.  On the familiar Caravan theme, both drummer and guitarist relive the melody of its central role; to my ears it feels as if they push their leader into getting underneath Ellington’s tune.  I wish they’d been given a little more room to explore the ‘uncharted waters’ residing within the composition.  But Kiki’s Theme, written for Rabinowitz’s mother, gets my vote.  The bassoon introduction is a subtle study, rather like a gone-to-ground Gerry Mulligan pitching for centre space. In doing so the scene is set for Nat Harris to take a short, but nevertheless telling solo that abstracts the picture.

In reviewing music it’s important to actually ‘review’ what’s there, not what you’d necessarily like to be there.  (I know, guilty as charged.)  Do that, and the ears sometimes find new pleasures. Track six is an example: Jobim’s How Insensitive – to quote the song, “What can you say when a love affair is over?”  Let’s not talk about the song; Michael Rabinowitz doesn’t sing it, he quite expertly redraws the discourse into a deep recital.  The whole measure is touch and go, bassoon provides the melody leading to a brief double bass break which marks the thing; like a question that requires no answer.  Mr Ector’s little hi-hat slaps add commas to the sentence so that Nat Harris’ guitar starts critically unwinding the wire around a spring.  Neat as natural.  And another final fine bassoon break, requiring an embouchure exercise that makes the mouth twitch.  The physicality of blowing bassoon as opposed to saxophone is different.  I used to know a guy (now, sadly, dead) who played oboe, bassoon and... tenor saxophone (plus piano and guitar).  I remember he once commented about the reeds, “One is a love affair, the others are like kissing pencils.”  Which is which? All I know is this, the sheer bassoon facility Michael Rabinowitz has achieved in a ‘jazz’ context is remarkable.  He flows like a sax and his instrument has a warm woody ‘plop’ on the articulation of each note.

Listening to this album, I’ve appreciated spending a little time outside my usual unusual habitat.  In many ways, for me this recording is another country.  And I’m not talking about the bassoon, that’s just Rabinowitz’ reed, end of story.  What these guys have is an idea of who they are.  Surely, that is what is asked of any one of us?  Uncharted Waters is an album that does what it does without a lot of grandstanding.  How Deep Is The Ocean? A smart question, also, maybe, a tune for next time, a further fathom.  There’s interesting music here, I recommend the diving board.

Click here for details and to sample the album. Click here for Michael Rabinowitz's website

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

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Album Released: 25th August 2017 - Label: ECM

 

Vijay Iyer Sextet

Far From Over

 

Filipe Freitas at Jazztrail in New York reviews this album for us:

Vijay Iyer (piano); Graham Haynes (trumpet, cornet); Steve Lehman (alto saxophone); Mark Shim (tenor saxophone); Stephan Crump (bass); Tyshawn Sorey (drums).

Vijay Iyer is a tour-de-force pianist, improviser, and composer whose innovative concepts about music got him a wide legion of jazz fans.
 
To materialize the ten new original compositions included on Far From Over, his fifth ECM album, he opted toVijay Iyer Sextet Far From Over trust his recurrent rhythmic partners Stephan Crump and Tyshawn Sorey, respectively bassist and drummer, and enlisted the resourceful saxophonists Steve Lehman and Mark Shim, as well as the trumpeter Graham Haynes for a spectacular frontline.

The introductory section of “Poles” is launched with solo piano, to which bass and drums join before the luxuriant entrance of the reedists, who infuse striking counterpoint to the already bombastic groovy flow. Iyer’s incisive comping and rhythmical expression work in synergistic communion with Crump and Sorey, who respond with sturdiness to Lehman’s pungent language full of steep accentuations. In opposition to the altoist, Haynes, less adrenalized and more embraceable, contemplates with pleasure first and then explores before wrapping up.

Both the grandiose title track and the pushful “Good On the Ground” gallop energetically by employing vigorous rhythms. While the former, dishing out majestic polyphonies over a beautiful textural matrix, gives the opportunity to the horn players to shine individually and collectively, the latter, seems to have been made for an action movie with heart and bravery as key factors. It eventually glides into jazzy ground to sustain Shim’s infectious phrasing, Iyer’s extemporaneous runs and mordacious note aggregations, and Sorey’s powerful rhythmic cramps.

Click here to listen to the title track.

A fluid post-bop interpretation suffused with an impeccable rhythmic sense defines “Down To The Wire”, which features Shim’s dark timbre and impressive power of argumentation. Crump and Sorey, always working side by Vijay Iyerside for a steadfast navigation, weave a ductile layer that serves Iyer’s flexible ideas. Eloquent and adjustable, the pianist excels in his vibrant attacks.

Airing danceable and unambiguous vibes, “Into Action” serves as a vehicle for Haynes and the bandleader to extemporize their creative thoughts. Even if we find some rhythmic connotations with “Nope”, an urban jazz-funk piece where Iyer adventures himself on the Fender Rhodes, this tune stands on a completely different shelf.

Click here to listen to Nope.

Quieter moods may be enjoyed not only on “For Amiri Baraka”, a poetic stance that expands harmonically in a classic trio format, but also on “Wake”, whose innocuous movements convey the lethargy of awakening from a heavy sleep, and “Threnody”, where the initial cerebral serenity is shaken by Lehman’s cutting-edge expansiveness.

Far From Over propagates revolutionary sound waves with the visceral earnestness that has been always associated with the pianist’s work along all these years. Vijay Iyer's compositional style translates into a vortex of possibilities in terms of rhythmic intensity, challenging time signatures, and interactive action, which are all unmistakable features of this authentic and consummate jazz artist.

Click here for details and to sample the album. Click here for an introductory video.

Filipe Freitas jazztrail.net

 

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Album Released: 7th April 2017 - Label: Mack Avenue

 

Kevin Eubanks

East West Time Line

 

Filipe Freitas at Jazztrail in New York reviews this album for us:

Kevin Eubanks (guitar); Nicholas Payton (trumpet); Orrin Evans (piano, Rhodes); Dave Holland (bass); Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts (drums); Bill Pierce (saxophone); Rene Camacho (bass); Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith (drums); Minu Cinelu (percussion).

It’s not uncommon to see the American guitarist Kevin Eubanks leaning on funk, soul, pop, and R&B to obtain the right flavours for his bending jazz style. Born in Philadelphia, Eubanks attained the peak of his career in the '80s, when he was part of the legendary Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. In the '90s, and for 15 years, he becameKevin Eubanks East West Time Line the bandleader of The Tonight Show With Jay Leno while making an effort to maintain his solo career alive. Eubanks is also a reliable sideman whose work goes from avant-garde (with Oliver Lake) to progressive post-bop (with Dave Holland and Billy Hart) to more traditional jazz (with Diane Reeves). Recently, he has set his guitar on fire in Orrin Evans’ #knowingishalfthebattle.

His new record, East West Time Line, is divided into two distinct parts, each of them comprising five tracks and a different band. 

The first five tunes are all originals played in the company of amazing East Coast artists like Nicholas Payton on trumpet, Orrin Evans on piano and Rhodes, Dave Holland on bass, and Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts on drums.

The opening piece, “Time Line”, a bright, infectious fusion of post-bop and jazz-funk, bursts with a hard-swinging stamina and burning activity. The bandleader doesn’t waste time and shows off his advanced technique through the use of octaves, creamy harmonic sequences, intervallic erudition, and steadfast phrasing.

Click here to listen to Time Line.

Watercolors” is a 3/4 acoustic demonstration of musical faculty. It’s an Eubanks’ original composition despite carrying the same title and mood of Pat Metheny’s 1977 tune of the same name. Although the pace is not winged, there’s a palpable energy overflowing from the consonant arrangement and enhanced by Payton’s terrific solo.
 
The Fender Rhodes of Evans, whose chord progressions take us to the universes of pop and soul, dominates the first half of “Poet”. For the second half, he switches to acoustic piano, exuding tranquil sound waves with the contribution of Holland and Watts. A distinct intensity emanates from “Carnival”, a pulsating crossover jazz experience with two unequal passages.

Click here to listen to Poet.

Absent from the two tunes mentioned above, Payton returns for “Something About Nothing”, an atmospheric but Kevin Eubanksstill groovy funk-rock-jazz excursion.

The last five tunes are renditions of songs chosen from different musical spheres, featuring a West Coast band composed of saxophonist Bill Pierce (also a former Jazz Messenger), bassist Rene Camacho, drummer Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith, and French percussionist Minu Cinelu. 
 
They dug Ellington’s “Take The Coltrane” with a half-funky half-Latin feeling, Chick Corea’s “Captain Señor Mouse” with a hazy straight-ahead adhesive label affixed, and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” with happy vibes. However, it was through the moving standard “My One and Only Love”, where Pierce exceeded the limits of beauty in his improvisation, and the jazzified “Cubano Chant”, a tune of melodic slickness composed by Eubanks’ uncle, Ray Bryant, that the band captivated me the most in this second set.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Filipe Freitas jazztrail.net

 

 

 

 

Choice Cuts / Slim Pickings

 

In the above reviews we aim to look in detail at a selection of new albums we think you will find interesting, to give you some background to the recording and a description of what you are likely to hear so that you can decide whether you would like to investigate the albums further.

Clearly we are only able to review a limited number of albums in detail, so here we list a selection other new or re-released albums that you can explore further if they look of interest.

 

Mark Murphy Wild And Free

 

Mark Murphy - Wild And Free - (HighNote)
Mark Murphy (vocals), Paul Potyen (piano), Peter Barshay (bass), Jack Gobetti (drums), Babatunde Lea (percussion).
Details.

 

 

 

 

Nat King Cole The Complete Billy May Sessions

 

Nat King Cole - The Complete Billy May Sessions - (Essential Jazz Classics - 2 CDs)
Nat King Cole (piano and vocals) with various Billy May and various West Coast musicians.
Details

 

 

 

 

Duke Ellington Money Jungle

 

Duke Ellington, Max Roach and Charles Mingus - Money Jungle - (State Of Art Records - Remastered edition)
Duke Ellington (piano), Max Roach (drums) and Charles Mingus (bass).
Details

 

 

 

The Complete Ella Fitzgerald in Berlin

 

Ella Fitzgerald - The Complete 1960-61 Ella In Berlin - (Essential Jazz Classics - 2 CDs)
Ella Fitzgerald (vocals), Paul Smith, Lou Levy (piano), Jim Hall, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel (guitar), Wilfred Middlebrooks, Max Bennett, Joe Mondrogon (bass), Gus Johnson, Alvin Stoller (drums)
Details

 

 

 

The Tommy Ladnier Collection

 

Tommy Ladnier - The Tommy Ladnier Collection 1923-39 - (Acrobat - 2 CDs)
Tommy Ladnier trumpet) with various musicians including Sidney Bechet, Fletcher Henderson, Mezz Mezzrow, Clarence Williams, James P. Johnson, Ida Cox, Ma rainey, Coleman Hawkins and Fats Waller.
Details

 

 

 

 

Milt Jackson The Early Years

 

Milt Jackson - The Early Years - (Acrobat - 2 CDs)
Milt Jackson (vibraphone) with various musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Fats Navarro, J.J. Johnson and John Coltrane.
Details

 

 

 

 

Matt Wilson Honey And Salt

 

Matt Wilson - Honey And Salt - (Palmetto Records)
Dawn Thomson (guitar, vocals);  Jeff Lederer (reeds, harmonium, vocals); Ron Miles (cornet); Martin Wind (acoustic bass guitar); Matt Wilson (drums).
Music Inspired By The Poetry of Carl Sandburg. Details and sample. Jazztrail review.

 

 

 

 

Logan Strosahl Team Book 1 Of Arthur

 

Logan Stroshal Team - Book 1 Of Arthur - (Sunnyside Records)
Logan Strosahl (alto saxophone, narration); Michael Sachs (clarinets); Sam Decker (tenor saxophone); Aquiles Navarro (trumpet); Nick Sanders (piano); Henry Fraser (bass); Connor Baker (drums); Julia Easterlin (narration).
First of a planned set of three chapters inspired on the legendary King Arthur. Details and sample. Jazztrail review.

 

 

 

 

Uri Gurvich Kinship

 

Uri Gurvich - Kinship - (Jazz Family)
Uri Gurvich (tenor and soprano saxophone);  Leo Genovese (piano); Peter Slavov (bass); Francisco Mela (drums).
Details and sample. Jazztrail review.

 

 

 

 

Zack Clarke Random Acts Of Order

 

Zack Clarke - Random Acts Of Order - (Clean Feed)
Zack Clarke (piano, electronics);  Henry Fraser (double bass); Dre Hocevar (drums).
Details and sample. Jazztrail review.

 

 

 

 

Charles Lloyd Quartet Passin' Through

 

Charles Lloyd New Quartet - Passin' Thru (Live) - (Blue Note)
Charles Lloyd (saxophone, flute); Jason Moran (piano); Reuben Rogers (bass); Eric Harland (drums).
Details and sample. Jazztrail review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We regularly receive requests for information about musicians, music, etc. Responses sometimes come months after we have featured the request so we have started a separate page. Please click here to see if you can help ...



 

 

 

Some UK Jazz Venues

 

 

It is impossible for me to include a list of all the gigs taking place during a month. I have decided to take an approach where I will list venues geographically and give you their website links so you can check what is going on in a particular area. If you would like me to include links to other venue listings, please let me know.

 

Dublin: JJ Smyth's, 2, Aungier Street, Dublin 2. www.jjsmyths.com

Dublin: Sugar Club, 8, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. www.thesugarclub.com

Dublin: National Concert Hall, Dublin 2. www.nch.ie

Dublin: Flanagan's (Basement) Piano Bar, 61 Upper O'Connell Street, Dublin 1. www.flanagansdublin.com

Dublin: Whelan's, Wexford Street, Dublin 2. www.whelanslive.com.

Wicklow: The Hot Spot Music Club, Harbour Lodge, Bayswater Terrace, Cliff Rd, Greystones, Co. Wicklow. www.thehotspot.ie

For other regular jazz sessions in Dublin contact Ollie Dowling from Quality Music Tel: 00 353 87 2878755 or email:jazzindublin@gmail.com

 

Scotland: The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen, 121 Gallowgate, Aberdeen, AB25 1BU. www.thejazzbar.co.uk

Scotland: Fife Jazz Club, The Woodside Hotel, Aberdour. email: fifejazzclub@yahoo.co.uk

Scotland: The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, 1a, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HR. www.thejazzbar.co.uk

Wales: Dempsey's, Cardiff, 15, Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BS. www.jazzatdempseys.org.uk

 

Newcastle-upon-Tyne: The Jazz Cafe, 25 - 27 Pink Lane, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 5DW. www.jazzcafe-newcastle.co.uk

Cumbria: Kendal Jazz Club, The River Bar, Hawkshead Brewery, Stavely Mill Yard, Back Lane, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 9LR. www.kendaljazzclub.co.uk.

Lancashire: Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club, The Grand Theatre, 18 York St. Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 2DL. www.rvjazzandblues.co.uk

Liverpool: The Capstone Theatre, Shaw Street, Liverpool, L6 1HP. www.thecapstonetheatre.com

Yorkshire: Seven Jazz, Leeds, Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, or Inkwell Arts, 31 Potternewton Lane Chapel Allerton, Leeds. www.sevenjazz.co.uk
(Includes: Seven Jazz Improvisation Group, Seven Jazz instrumental workshops and Seven Jazz Voices Choir).

Yorkshire: Wakefield Jazz, Wakefield (College Grove) Sports Club, Eastmoor Road, Wakefield, WF1 3RR. www.wakefieldjazz.org

Yorkshire: Jazz In The Spa, Boston Spa, Village Hall, High Street, Boston Spa. www.jazzinthespa.co.uk

South Yorkshire: Sheffield Jazz, Various venues in Sheffield. www.sheffieldjazz.org.uk

Manchester: Matt and Phred's, 64 Tib Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1LW. www.mattandphreds.com

East Staffordshire: Jazz On Tap, The Worthington Room, The National Brewery Centre, Horninglow Street, Burton upon Trent, DE14 1NG www.jazzontap.wordpress.com

Birmingham: Birmingham Jazz Listings www.jazzinbirmingham.co.uk

Hertfordshire: Herts Jazz Club, Welwyn Garden City, Screen2, Hawthorne Theatre, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6BX. www.hertsjazz.co.uk

Essex - Colchester Arts Centre Jazz Club, Church Street, Colchester, CO1 1NF. www.colchesterartscentrejazzclub.com

Essex: The Electric Palace, Harwich, King's Quay. Harwich. www.electricpalace.com

Essex: North Weald, North Weald Village Hall, CM16 6BU Essex
Third Saturday of every month - 12.30 pm to 3.00 pm. Jack Free's All Star Band with Jack Free (trombone), Peter Rudeforth (trumpet), John Crocker (clarinet), Tim Huskisson (piano), Murray Salmon (bass), Martin Guy (drums).

Buckinghamshire: Amersham Jazz Club, Beaconsfield SYCOB FC HP9 2SE. www.amershamjazzclub.co.uk

Oxford: The Oxford Wine Cafe, 38 South Parade, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7JN www.oxfordwinecafe.co.uk/jazz/

Oxford: The White Hart, 162 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1UE
From 28th September 2016: Last Wednesday of each month, 8,30 to 11.00 pm, Volunatry donations
- Oxford Kitchen Jam Session

Oxford: James Street Tavern, 47-48 James St, Oxford OX4 1EU.
First Wednesday of each month, 8.45 to 11.00 pm, Free entry - The Trish Elphinstone Quintet.

Oxfordshire: Witney Jazz, Burwell Hall, Thorney Leys, Witney OX28 5NP. www.witneyjazz.co.uk

Oxfordshire: Newbridge, Rose Revived, Newbridge, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX29 7QD. Mondays from 3rd April 2017 - Alvin Roy's Reeds Unlimited. Free entry. 7.30 to 10.00 pm.

 

 

Jazz London Live

 

Jazz London Live has become the key reference place for who is playing where in the London area - click here, and you can download their app to your phone etc. from a page on their website.

 

 

London: Jazz London Live, Listings website for London and South East. www.jazzinlondon.live

London: King's Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG. www.kingsplace.co.uk

London: LUME, www.lumemusic.co.uk

London: Pizza Express, Soho, 10, Dean Street, London W1. www.pizzaexpresslive.com

London: The Spice Of Life, Soho, 6, Moor Street, London W1. www.spicejazz.co.uk

London: Ronnie Scott's Club, Soho, 47 Frith Street, London W1. www.ronniescotts.co.uk  

London: The 100 Club, 100 Oxford Street, London W1D 1LL. www.the100club.co.uk (The 100 Club only occasionally stages jazz gigs these days)

London: The Green Note, Camden, 106 Parkway, Camden, London NW1 7AN. www.greennote.co.uk

London: Chickenshed Theatre Jazz Bar, Southgate, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. www.chickenshed.org.uk

London: The Vortex, 11, Gillett Street, N16 8AZ. www.vortexjazz.co.uk

London: Club Inégales, 180 North Gower Street (corner of Euston Street). www.clubinegales.com

London: Southampton Arms, Highgate Road, North London
Wednesdays, 8.00 - 10.00 pm: Dave Burman (piano) and Dave Eastham (alto / clarinet)

London: Jazz In The Round, The Cockpit, Marylebone, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH. www.thecockpit.org.uk

London: Omnibus, Old Clapham Library, 1 Clapham Common Northside, London, SW4 0QW. www.omnibus-clapham.org

London: 606 Club, 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0QD. www.606club.co.uk

London: The Bull's Head, Barnes, 373 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, London, SW13 9PY. www.thebullshead.com

London: Putney, The Half Moon, Putney , 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1EU.
Dick Laurie's Elastic Band. The band now plays the first Sunday and third Sunday of every month.
Sunday 3rd September and Sunday 17th September - 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm

London: The Hideaway, Streatham, 25 Streatham High Rd, London SW16 6EN. www.hideawaylive.co.uk

London: e17 Jazz, Walthamstow, Gnome House, 7 Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow, E17 6DS. www.e17jazz.com

London: The Jazz Nursery, St Mary Overies Dock, Cathedral Street, London SE1. www.jazznursery.com

 


Surrey: Harri's Jazz, Shepperton, Bagster House, Walton Lane, Shepperton, TW17 8LP. www.harrisjazz.com

Surrey: Thames Ditton, The George and Dragon, High Street, Thames Ditton, KT7 0RY.
Every Tuesday - Alan Berry (piano), Mike Durrell (bass), Don Cook (drums) plus weekly guests - 8.30 pm

Surrey: Guildford Jazz, 2 venues - Guildford and Godalming Rugby Club, Guildford Road, Godalming GU7 3DH (second Wednesday in month); Guildford Electric Theatre, Onslow Street. Guildford GU1 4SZ (Tuesday nights). www.guildfordjazz.wordpress.com

Surrey: Watermill Jazz, Dorking, Betchworth Park Golf Club, Reigate Road, Dorking RH4 1NZ. www.watermilljazz.co.uk

Surrey: The Grey Horse, Kingston-Upon-Thames, 46 Richmond Road, Kingston-Upon-Thames, KT2 5EE. www.grey-horse.co.uk

Surrey: The Barley Mow, Shepperton, 67 Watersplash Road, Shepperton, TW17 0EE. www.themow.co.uk

Kent: The Roffen, New Road Rochester, ME1 1DX. www.144club.co.uk

Sussex: Splash Point Jazz Club, Seaford, Splash Point Jazz Club Seaford at The View, Seaford Head Golf Club, Southdown Road, Seaford. www.splashpointmusic.com

Sussex: Brighton Jazz Club, www.brightonjazzclub.co.uk

Sussex: Splash Point Jazz Club, Brighton Marina, Splash Point Jazz Club at The Master Mariner, Inner Lagoon, Brighton Marina. www.splashpointmusic.com

Sussex: Chichester Jazz Club, Pallant Suite, 7 South Pallant, Chichester, PO19 1SY. www.chichesterjazzclub.co.uk

Hampshire: Fleet Jazz Club, The Harlington Centre, 236 Fleet Rd, Fleet GU51 4BY (every 3rd Tuesday each month - except August).
 www.fleetjazz.wordpress.com & facebook.com/FleetJazzClub

 

Gloucestershire: Cirencester, Kings Head Hotel, 24 Market Place, Cirencester GL7 2NR. www.kingshead-hotel.co.uk

Bath: Piattino's, 7 Edgar Buildings, George Street, Bath, BA1 2EE.
Jazz Times Three. Every 2 weeks. 9.00 - 11.00 pm www.piattinobath.com

Bristol: The Be-Bop Club, The Bear, Hotwell Road, Bristol, BS8 4SF. www.thebebopclub.co.uk

Bristol: Future Inns, Cabot Circus, Bond St S, Bristol BS1 3EN. www.futureinns.co.uk/bristol/jazz-at-future-inns

Somerset: Ilminster Arts Centre, The Meeting House, East Street, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0AN. www.themeetinghouse.org,uk

Dorset: Blandford Forum, The King's Arms, Whitecliff Mill St, Blandford Forum DT11 7BE. Facebook

Dorset: Bridport Arts Centre, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NR. www.bridport-arts.com

Dorset: Sound Cellar, Poole, The Blue Boar, 29 Market Close, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1NE, www.soundcellar.moonfruit.com

Cornwall: St. Ives Jazz Club, Western Hotel, Gabriel Street, St. Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2LU. www.stivesjazzclub.com

 


 

Jazz Talks: Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas

Buckinghamshire:

Dr Bob Moore has contacted us saying:'I am a member of the U3A (University of the Third Age) Jazz appreciation section. I now have given four talks to them on each of the following: Louis Armstrong, US swing bands of the 40's, Modern Jazz Quartet and Stan Kenton. I should say that I am not a profession speaker but I have reasonable knowledge of the subject. Now that I have given the talks, it is most probable that they will gather dust in a cupboard  but if anyone local to me in High Wycombe is interested, I would be prepared to repeat the talk for free with possible expenses for petrol if far away.'' The talks mainly simply require a good audio system plus someone to put on the CD's but the Kenton talk does included some excerpts from Youtube on the internet but these could be edited out. If I use the Internet it would require screen plus associated equipment. The talks take about 90 min and the usual format is general background on the artist or group followed by tracks from CD's.'If anyone would like to take up Bob's offer, you can email him at drbobmoore-inbiltec@supanet.com

Norwich:

Similarly, Roy Headland who gives occasional talks to Norwich Jazz and Blues Record Club is offering to give talks with music to other groups in the Norwich area. A recent talk 'A Jazz Tour of Norwich and Norfolk' to an audience of 60 had the organiser saying: "Thank you for giving us such an informative and enjoyable evening,full of musical stars.The feedback was good and we hope to see you back with part 2." Other talks Roy has given include: Condon Jam Sessions; Clarinet Kings of Swing; Tommy Ladnier -"Mandeville to New York "; and a talk to Rotary on "The Winter Solstice" (their request) on Dec 21st which I managed to link in with Artie Shaw and called "The Shawtest Day"!

Roy's email address is: royheadland@gmail.com.

 

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