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March 2019

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Sheila Maurice-Grey

Click here

Sheila Maurice-Grey is a jazz trumpeter and graduate of London's Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Ms Maurice is playing on Thursday 21st March at Poplar Union, 2 Cotall St, Poplar, London E14 6TL as part of the JazzHerStory programme. Set up in July 2017, Jazz Herstory aims to explore and address gender equality in Jazz. It is an integrative endeavour, looking to bring women from the background of the jazz world to a balanced foreground. Click here for details about Ms Maurice.

 

 

 

Josephine Davies Jazz Orchestra

 

Josephine Davies

Josephine Davies

 

Saxophonist Josephine Davies is branching out from her usual Satori Trio to debut her Jazz Orchestra at London's Vortex Jazz Club on Sunday, 14th April at 3.00 pm. The musicians involved include many of the UK's respected jazz players, such as bassist Calum Gourlay who has his own Big Band and monthly gig at the Vortex. Others in Josephine's Orchestra include: Fini Bearman, Will Glaser, Tom Cawley, Sam Bullard, Michael Cillingworth, George Crowley, Tamar Collocutor, Robbie Robson, Steve Fishwick, Barney Lowe, Jim Raittigan, Kieran Stickle McLeod, Maddie Dowdeswell and Sarah Williams.

Details and tickets will be on the Vortex website.

 

 

 

Drake YolanDa Award

YolanDa Brown

 

Philanthropist and entrepreneur James Drake and saxophonist / broadcaster YolanDa Brown have created a new “Drake YolanDa Award” to support emerging artists across the UK on their musical journey. The award is provided by the Drake Calleja Trust.

YolanDa Brown

In 2019, 10 emerging artists will be awarded £3000 each to support them in areas including; touring, artistic development, recording new music, music videos, marketing, branding, purchasing new equipment, etc. This award is open to emerging artists across any genre of music (classical musicians not eligible) aged 16 – 30. Applicants can be singers, rappers, instrumentalists and groups.

Click here for an interview with YolanDa on Sky News.

The deadline for applications is 19th March 2019. For details and to apply click here.

 

 

 

 

Scotland Council Axes Music Tuition

In February, The Scotsman newspaper reported that Midlothian Council '....is set to become the first Scottish local authority to entirely axe all musical instrument tuition in its schools - bar for children who are studying for Higher or National Five exams in the subject'. The council Scotsman imagespoke to its instrumental music service staff ... telling them that nine of its 12 full time equivalent posts would be cut under new proposals aimed at filling a multi-million pound hole in the council’s budget .... Separately, Moray Council has unveiled plans to increase charges for instrumental lessons to £699 a year - the highest in Scotland.

 

Picture from The Scotsman report

 

The changes come despite an investigation by Holyrood’s education committee telling Scotland’s councils that instrument tuition should remain free. A campaign was launched in 2018 after many local authorities introduced fees for musical instrument tuition or increased existing fees for students. Midlothian - which currently charges parents £205.50 a year for instrument tuition in primary and high schools - '... was the only council in Scotland to charge fees for instrumental lessons for youngsters sitting SQA examinations in music, who under Scottish Government regulations, must not have to pay for their own tuition'.

Click here for The Scotsman report.

 

 


HMV Rescued

A HMV logoCanadian chain, Sunrise Records, run by entrepreneur Doug Putman, has come to the rescue of HMV - news earlier in the year predicted that the historic music store was set to disappear from the High Street. Sunrise will take over 100 of the 127 HMV stores saving around 1,500 jobs and keeping the brand in business.

Doug Putman is also said to be a fan of vinyl. A report in The Independent newspaper says: ‘HMV already has a third of the market for the one physical music format that’s still growing. The growth slowed markedly last year, to just 1.4 per cent after well over a decade of double figure sales increases. But the BPI, the music industry’s trade body, points out that there was no global mega release to turn up the volume on the figures, and vinyl is also starting to run into capacitySunrise Records logo constraints. There is a shortage of plants to press new product’. Nonetheless, the format has a solid and enthusiastic base, and there is the potential for further growth if the latter issue is addressed. That growth would likely have gone into reverse had HMV gone'. 

In another report, it was pointed out that 'Sunrise greatly expanded its Canadian business two years ago by taking over a whole load of old HMV Canada stores, after the Canadian HMV business was wound up. Those stores were then rebranded as Sunrise Records. But after Sunrise then bought HMV UK, and confirmed it would keep the HMV brand alive on the British high street, some wondered whether the company might therefore want to bring the brand back to Canada too. So much so, the Canadian Press asked Sunrise President Doug Putman whether the UK deal might result in HMV returning to the Canadian high street. That, Putman said, was “unlikely, but definitely possible”.'

 

 

 

Name The Tune

(Click on the picture for the answer with characteristic choreography by Bob Fosse)

 

Name the tune

 

Click here for our Name The Tune page

 

 

 

Timewasters

Timewasters

 

The ITV2 programme about a struggling jazz quartet returns for a second season on 11th March.

'Timewasters follows a struggling four-piece South London jazz band who travel back in time via a urine-sodden lift in a dilapidated block of flats. The comedy, which was created by Daniel Lawrence Taylor, is produced by Big Talk Productions, and stars Lawrence Taylor, Kadiff Kirwan, Adelayo Adedayo and Samson Kayo'.

'In season two our time-travelling jazz band are transported to 1950’s London. In a world of budding pop sensations, the band start a jazz club. Nick is desperate to rival those in the swinging heart of Soho by booking jazz legends of the day. ..... And can Nick save the future of Jazz when Horace inadvertently introduces garage music to a young Ronnie Scott who decides MC Horace is now the one to follow?'

'But in an atmosphere of post-war Cold War paranoia our gang wonder if their time-travelling antics will be spotted – someone seems to be on their tail. With their typical mix of brazen opportunism and massive incompetence, they’re going to have to work much harder this time round to keep their adventures on the down-low. It’s not until our gang accidentally start the Notting Hill Riots that they realise it might be time to get home – but can they? Joining the cast for the show’s second season is Anna Chancellor (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Hour), Javone Prince (PhoneShop, The Javone Prince Show), Ellie White (The Windsors) and Daniel Rigby (Eric & Ernie)'.

Click here for a trailer from Series 1. Click here for a trailer for Series 2.

 

 

 

The Grammys 2019

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held on February 10, 2019, at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles and was hosted by singer Alicia Keys. The ceremony recognises the best recordings, compositions, and artists of the eligibility year (October 1, 2017 - September 30, 2018).

In the categories that relate to Jazz and Blues, the winners were:

Best Improvised Jazz Solo: "Don't Fence Me In" – John Daversa, soloist
Best Jazz Vocal Album: The WindowCécile McLorin Salvant
Best Jazz Instrumental Album: EmanonThe Wayne Shorter Quartet

Wayne Shorter Grammy

 

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of FreedomJohn Daversa Big Band featuring DACA Artists

Best Latin Jazz Album: Back to the SunsetDafnis Prieto Big Band

Best Traditional Blues Album: The Blues Is Alive and WellBuddy Guy

 

Wayne Shorter receives his Grammy

Best Contemporary Blues Album: Please Don't Be DeadFantastic Negrito
Best Instrumental Composition: "Blut und Boden (Blood and Soil)" Terence Blanchard, composer (Terence Blanchard)
Best Music Film: QuincyQuincy Jones Alan Hicks & Rashida Jones, video directors; Paula DuPré Pesmen, video producer

 

 

 

 

 

February's Video Juke Box

*Click on the Picture to watch the Video

 

 

 

Andre Previn Just In Time video

 

 

Pianist, composer and conductor Andre Previn sadly passed through the Departure Lounge on 28th February. He is perhaps best know as a classical musician, but during the 1950s and 1960s he showed that he could also play fine jazz piano. He recorded some fine versions of music from My Fair Lady and West Side Story but in this video from 1961, he plays Just In Time.

 

 

 

Benjamin Croft video

 

Benjamin Croft and Triple Echo play Bad Reputations from the album 10 Reasons To ... released on 8th March (See Recent Releases)

 

 

 

 

Fats Waller and Ada Brown video

 

 

Fats Waller plays and quips and Ada Brown sings That Ain't Right from the 1943 film Stormy Weather ..... 'Feed The Kitty' .... "One never knows, do one?"

 

 

 

Jam Experiment video

 

 

Jam Experiment is trombonist Rory Ingham's band. In this video they are playing Alexander Bone's It's You with: Alexander Bone (saxophone); Rory Ingham (trombone); Toby Comeau (piano); Joe Lee (bass) and Jonny Mansfield (drums). Their debut album was released in 2017 - click here for details and samples. Click here for the band's website.

 

 

 

Brian Ling with Freddy Randall video

 

 

In this video, 8 year old Brian Ling plays clarinet with Freddy Randall's Band at Wood Green Jazz Club in 1964. Unfortunately there is a hum on the soundtrack but it fades a bit when the band plays.

 

 

 

 

Stan Getz Final Concert video

 

 

Stan Getz - The Final Concert 1990. This video (1hr 46 mins) is a record of the saxophonist's final concert at Munich Philarmonie, Munchen, in 1990. As one contributor says: 'Stunning playing by a man a year or so away from death, at this time he was seriously ill'. In this video, the line up is: Stan Getz (tenor saxophone); Kenny Barron (piano); Eddie Del Barrio & Frank Zottoli (synthesizers); Alex Blake (bass) and Terri Lyne Carrington (drums). In January, the Chris Ingham Quartet released Stan, an album paying tribute to Stan Getz - you can read Robin Kidson's article about it below or here).

 

 

 

 

Madwort Sax Quartet

 

 

Tom Ward's Madwort Sax Quartet plays Dwarf Sunflower at Jazz @ the Wonder Inn, Manchester on 6th March 2017. The Quartet here is: Tom Ward (alto saxophone, composition); Chris Williams (soprano saxophone); Andrew Woolf (tenor saxophone) and Cath Roberts (baritone saxophone). Madwort (an anagram of Tom Ward, of course) have evolved into a larger band this year, Madwort's Menagerie, and their debut album is featured in our Recent Releases (click here).

 

 

 

 

Darrius Simmons video

 

At a young age, Darrius Simmons fell in love with the piano. As he watched others play, he was amazed by the joy the piano gave them. He wanted to experience that too, but knew for him it would be a challenge. "I decided at age 10 that I wanted to learn how to play the piano, but I knew that it was going to take a little bit more work for me to learn," Simmons says. "I knew most people had 10 fingers. I knew I had four, but I was pretty sure I could make it work." Click here for the CNN article.

 

 

Click here to visit the Video Juke Box choices from the past six months.

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Stan
Chris Ingham Pays Tribute To Stan Getz

by Robin Kidson

 

[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 (recommended). 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].

 

Stan Getz

 

 

Some months ago, a friend of mine gave me a CD by the Chris Ingham Quartet called Dudley. It was a tribute to Dudley Moore and not only was it an impressive piece of music making in its own right but also served as a reminder of how talented Dudley Moore was as both a musician and a composer. It ended up as one of my most played CDs last summer.

Chris Ingham has now turned his attention to another great jazzman of the sixties and seventies, saxophonist Stan Getz. He has recently released a CD called Stan on which he and his quartet play twelve pieces from Getz’s extensive repertoire.

When I first got interested in jazz as an adolescent boy in the mid-nineteen sixties, Stan Getz was one of the music’s biggest names. He was also briefly something of a pop star following his collaborations with Brazilian musicians which brought the bossa nova to the wider world. In particular, The Girl From Ipanema, on which Getz’s sax accompanies singer Astrud Gilberto, became a huge hit. Of course, any sort of commercial success is anathema to some jazz purists and Getz struggled for a while, post Ipanema, to retrieve some jazz cred. amongst the cognoscenti. That he eventually succeeded says something for how talented and compelling a musician he was.

Stan Getz was born in Philadelphia in 1927. His paternal grandparents were from London and emigrated to the United States in 1913. During the Depression, the family moved from Philadelphia to New York City which is where Getz was educated and where he first started Stan Getzlearning a musical instrument. He began a professional career when he was only 16, and he first came to attention playing with Woody Herman’s band from 1947 to 1949.

After leaving Woody Herman, he mainly worked with small groups throughout the nineteen fifties, steadily building a formidable reputation. His cool, light tone, heavily influenced by Lester Young, was widely admired. The fifties also brought various personal problems, including issues with drugs and drink, which partly explains why he spent periods living and working in Europe at this time.

In 1961, Getz teamed up with composer and arranger, Eddie Sauter in New York and they recorded the tracks later released as the album, Focus. This has come to be seen as Getz’s (and Sauter’s) finest hour – Getz himself said that it was his favourite album. Focus is made up of seven Sauter compositions which Getz plays with a full string orchestra. The pieces are often complex with echoes of classical composers such as Béla Bartók. Focus is arguably one of the most successful attempts ever to integrate jazz with strings.

 

Click here for a clip of Sauter, Getz and the orchestra playing Once Upon a Time, one of the tracks on Focus.

And then came the bossa nova. In the early sixties, Getz recorded a number of albums with Brazilian musicians and composers such as Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto. The albums were commercially successful, none more so than Getz/Gilberto released in 1963 and from which The Girl From Ipanema was released as a single. Click here for a video of a live performance.

Even after fifty or so years, Getz/Gilberto holds up pretty well. The tunes have lost none of their brilliant originality and Getz’s sax, dancing and soaring over the melodies, is a perfect complement to them. The way in which the pieces are performed is deceptively simple giving them a freshness – almost rawness – that has never left them. It is  sophisticated music played in an apparently unsophisticated way.

After the bossa nova years, Getz returned to more straightforward jazz. Here he is, for example, playing Charlie Parker’s Scrapple From The Apple live in concert at the London School of Economics in 1966 (click here). He’s accompanied by Gary Burton, Steve Swallow and Roy Haynes.

Throughout the seventies and eighties, Getz continued to tour and release critically acclaimed albums, often collaborating with some of the biggest names in jazz – Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Chick Corea…. From the album he made with pianist Jimmy Rowles in 1975, click here for the title track, The Peacocks.

 

Stan Getz never coasted. He always tried to get the best out of any tune, to capture it’s essence in the most original way possible but Chris Inghamwithout straying into free jazz experimentation. His romantic lyricism and distinctive light tone made him one of the most admired saxophonists of his day. His musical reputation may have suffered a bit in the years after his death in 1991, but albums like Focus and Getz/Gilberto still figure in lists of must-have jazz.     

For his tribute album, Stan, Chris Ingham has chosen twelve pieces ranging over the whole of Getz’s post Woody Herman career from the early fifties to the late eighties. None of the tracks were written by Getz who was unusual for a top jazz man in that he didn’t compose his own stuff. He was the supreme interpreter rather than an originator.

 

Chris Ingham
Photograph by Brian O'Connor, Images Of Jazz

 

 

Ingham plays piano and is joined by Mark Crooks on tenor sax, Arnie Somogyi on bass and George Double on drums. Given this is a tribute to a saxophonist, it is Mark Crooks who is in the spotlight. And he is a revelation. Best known, perhaps, for his work with the John Wilson and Back To Basie orchestras, he manages to capture Getz’s light tone perfectly – that tenor-sounding-like-alto sound which is so distinctive. He also catches the Getz spirit without ever falling into the trap of mere imitation or pastiche. Crooks remains very much his own man.

Crooks comes closest to Getz, perhaps, with the bossa nova tracks on the album. On Vivo Sonhando, an Antonio Carlos Jobim composition from Getz/Gilberto, Crooks swoops and soars over the tune to the manor born. And on The Dolphin, written by Luiz Eça and Chris Ingham Quartet Stan albumrecorded by Getz in 1981, he plays chorus after sublime chorus with that deceptive Getz style - seeming as if he’s not trying that hard but you know that the duck’s legs are paddling like fury beneath the water. A word, too, for Ingham, Somogyi and Double who, on these bossa nova tracks, set up the most compelling foot tapping, hip twisting rhythms.

On other upbeat numbers, such as Signal and Voyage, Crooks really stretches out with some marvellously virtuosic playing. But it is not only on the fast tempo numbers that Crooks delivers. He also shines on the ballads. On When The World Was Young, for example, or Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most, his breathy tenor beautifully captures the wistfulness of the tunes.

Chris Ingham showed on Dudley that he is no slouch on the piano. On Stan, he is mainly in a support role but still rolls out some nice solos, particularly on Windows, a Chick Corea piece recorded by Getz in 1967. It has a slight rock beat and Ingham takes an imaginative and absorbing solo. The best of Stan, however, is left to the last track, a wonderfully realised version of The Peacocks. The musicians have the advantage, of course, of a truly great tune and do it full justice. Crooks is in complete control of his instrument and plays with admirable passion. I was reminded of Bobby Wellins and his playing on Starless and Bible Black from the Under Milkwood suite.

Click here for details and to sample the album Stan.

Chris Ingham is touring his show, Getz: A Musical Portrait, throughout 2019. Click here for a short taster of Stan and Ingham’s live show, Getz: A Musical Portrait. Dates for the tour are:

Chris Ingham Quartet Stan

 

 

 

4th March 2019 - Bexley Jazz Club
4th April 2019 - Diss Jazz Club, Corn Hall
5th May 2019 - Lincoln Jazz Week
19th May 2019 - Ipswich Jazz Club, California Club
31st May 2019 - Wakefield Jazz
16th July 2019-  Buxton Festival
31st August 2019 - Hadleigh Jazz Club
28th September 2019 - Oxford Jazz at St. Giles
14th October 2019 - London Reform Club
21st November 2019 - The Other Palace, London  

 

Further details are on Chris Ingham’s website - click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JazzFM Awards 2019

The nominees have been announced for this year's Jazz FM Awards; this year the Awards event will take place at Shoreditch Town Hall on JazzFM logoInternational Jazz Day (April 30th). The annual Awards recognise' the best emerging new artists, contemporary icons and established stars from across the worlds of jazz, soul and blues'. The Jazz FM Awards 2019 is a partnership between Jazz FM and Serious and is made possible with the support of PRS for Music, PPL, Shoreditch Town Hall, and a number of other sponsors.

Three of the Awards are open to public vote (see below) - you can vote if you click here or below where it says 'public vote' - voting closes on 12th March.

 

The nominations are:

Breakthrough Act : Cassie Kinoshi, Emma-Jean Thackray, Sarah Tandy

The Digital Award : Blue Lab Beats, Louis Cole, Moses Boyd - 1Xtra Residency

Rob Luft

 

The Innovation Award : Orphy Robinson – Freedom Sessions at Vortex, Steam Down, Tomorrow’s Warriors

Instrumentalist of the Year : Camilla George, Jean Toussaint, Rob Luft

 

Rob Luft

 

International Jazz Act of the Year : Jamie Branch, Makaya McCraven, Wayne Shorter

Soul Act of the Year : José James, Leon Bridges, Poppy Ajudha

 

 

 

Blues Act of the Year : Eric Bibb, Errol Linton, Roosevelt Collier

Vocalist of the Year : Cherise Adams-Burnett, Ian Shaw, Judi Jackson

UK Jazz Act of the Year (Public Vote) : Jason Yarde, Joe Armon-Jones, Nubya Garcia Nubya Garcia


    

Nubya Garcia

 

Album of the Year (Public Vote) :
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels + Lucinda Williams – Vanished Gardens,
Jean Toussaint Allstar 6Tet – Brother Raymond,
John Coltrane – Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album, Sons of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile,
Various Artists – We Out Here,
Wayne Shorter – Emanon

Live Experience of the Year (Public Vote) :
Jason Moran: The Harlem Hellfighters – Tour,
Jazz Re:Fest 2018:
Brighton Edition, Makaya McCraven and Nubya Garcia – EFG London Jazz Festival,
Orphy Robinson presents Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks – Tour,
Steam Down featuring Kamasi Washington,
The Cookers – Church of Sound

The recipients of some Awards will be announced on the night: Impact Award; PRS Gold Award and the PPL Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

The Big Bands

This month we give you fifteen questions about jazz Big Bands / Orchestras over the years - how many can you answer?

 

London City Big Band

 

For example:

'When Frank Sinatra made his Sinatra At The Sands concert recording in the Copa Room of the former Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 1966, whose orchestra accompanied him?

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

Gary Crosby and Simon Purcell Receive Awards From Trinity Laban

Gary Crosby OBE and Simon Purcell have received Honorary Fellowships from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in recognition of their contributions to music. International double bassist and Guest of Honour, Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE presented the awards during Trinity Laban’s January graduation ceremonies in the Old Royal Naval College Chapel, Greenwich. A Visiting Professor of Double Bass at Trinity Laban, Chi-chi is also the founder and Artistic Director of the Chineke! Foundation, which champions diversity in classicalSimon Purcell receives award music.

Gary Crosby OBE, double bassist, bandleader, co-founder and artistic director of Tomorrow’s Warriors, which provides platforms for talented young jazz musicians said: "I am deeply honoured to become an Honorary Fellow of one of the finest music institutions in the country that, over several years, has played a key role in educating so many of the leading jazz artists that form the Tomorrow’s Warriors movement. As an Honorary Fellow, I aim to strengthen the bond with Trinity Laban so that, together, we can inspire and support future generations to pursue excellence, reach beyond boundaries and achieve successful, sustainable careers as leaders on the world stage.”

 

Simon Purcell receives his Honorary Fellowship

 

Simon Purcell, former Head of Jazz at Trinity Laban, and currently International Chair in Improvisation at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama said: “I feel honoured and privileged to have received this Fellowship. As a past student and recent member of staff I shall continue to be an advocate for Trinity Laban's special social/ethical mission and innovative artistic work."

 

 

 


Directory of Alternative Musical Definitions

 

Chart

Musical notation to help musicians guage how far a tune is 'cool' or 'hot'

 

Click here for more Alternative Definitions.

 

 

 

Jazz Voices

Nishla Smith

 

Nishla Smith

 

Originally from Australia, Nishla Smith lived for a while in Germany and is now based in Manchester. Nishla is a singer and songwriter who defies easy categorisation. Nishla's live sets have been described as including 'a breathtaking variety of material: from celebrated originals to dark jazz standards and devastating ballads'. One of Manchester Jazz Festival’s talent development artists and a prolific collaborator, Nishla has worked with some of the most creative jazz and classical musicians in the UK. She is currently working on a narrative song cycle produced by Opera North, and her original project has shows at NQ Jazz, The Vortex and Newcastle Arts Centre.

Click here to listen to Nishla singing Just One Of Those Things.

Opera North’s Resonance project was launched in 2017 and offers professional artists working in all genres the opportunity to develop new performance ideas. Successful applicants receive up to a week of free rehearsal space in central Leeds in March and April 2019, a grant to cover fees for those involved and other costs, support and advice from technicians, producers and other specialists, and an optional ‘work in progress’ performance. Nishla's work on the song-cycle tells the story of her grandmother's sister, Agnes, who disappeared as a child in Malaysia in the 1930s. It was her grandmother who inspired Nishla to start singing. Nishla is working with pianist Tom Harris and artist Luca Shaw to create a cross-genre narrative show. There will be a preview in April, at Opera North. People can keep in touch about it via Nishla's website.

Nishla is married to cellist Will Hewer and together they have made a number of duet videos. Click here for their version of Paul McCartney's All My Loving, and click here for their take on Singing In The Rain.

In September 2017, Nishla produced a major commission for Manchester Collective. 'Cabaret', was a collage of her original songs and reimagined classical and jazz repertoire. She toured throughout the UK, the work was performed live on BBC3's In Tune, and was later revived for a limited second run at Manchester Home's Push Festival, an annual celebration of the North West’s creative talents. In 2018, Nishla toured Australia; performed at Mona's summer jazz festival in Tasmania, and had a sell-out show at Melbourne's Paris Cat Jazz Club. After a summer residency at The Sage in Gateshead, Nishla closed 2018 with shows at Manchester Jazz Festival, Lancaster Jazz Festival, Matt and Phred's, and Band On The Wall. With support from Manchester Jazz Festival's hothouse talent development programme, Nishla will be releasing her single Blue Dream at the end of March, 2019.

Nishla is currently working on a new project, a collaboration with Leeds-based sax player, Emma Johnson, and together they have shows booked through the year in Manchester and Leeds. Her regular Quintet includes Aaron Wood (trumpet), Rich Jones (piano), Joshua Cavanagh-Brierley (bass) and Johnny Hunter (drums) their forthcoming gigs include Newcastle Arts in May.

 

The video I have chosen is this one (click here) from the gig last year at The Sage, Gateshead with Nishla's Quintet playing Friends With Monsters and Julian with Rich Jones (piano), Jeff Guntren (saxophone), Rebecca Mills (harp), John Pope (bass) and Johnny Hunter (drums).

 

Nishla Smith video

 

Click here for Nishla's website where you will find details of her gigs around the UK this year.

Click here for our Jazz Voices page.

 

 

Jazz As Art

Duke Ellington

Stompy Jones

 

 

When you listen to music, you sometimes conjure images in your mind. Our Jazz As Art series invites you to listen to a piece of jazz and as it plays, scroll down the page and see which of the pieces of art I have chosen comes closest to the pictures in your mind. Hopefully, this will introduce you to recordings and art works you might not have spent time with before. You need to go to another page to play the music and see the images - click here. (I think this only really works if you spend time with each painting)

 

Duke Ellington

 

Stompy Jones is a Duke Ellington composition that was first recorded by his Orchestra for the Victor label in 1934. As far as I can see, the personnel for that first recording was:

Duke Ellington (piano, leader); Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Otto Hardwick (reeds); Cootie Williams, Louis Bacon, Arthur Whetsel, Freddy Jenkins (trumpet); Tricky Sam Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombone); Fred Guy (guitar); Wellman Braud (bass); Sonny Greer (drums).

The tune appears again with quite a different approach by Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges on the 1958 album Side By Side. For this article I am using the 1934 version. I haven't been able to find out the inspiration for 'Stompy Jones' - perhaps someone knows?

 

Michael Arnold Steam Train

 

Go to our Jazz As Art page, play the tune and scroll slowly down through the pictures I have chosen to go with the music (I think this only works if you spend time with each painting). See what you think.

Click here for the Jazz as Art page.

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Jazz In Arabic Culture
Part Two

by Howard Lawes


 

[You are able to listen to the music at the same time as reading this article (and Part One) without leaving the page if you click here (recommended). 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].

Click here for Part One of this article.

From its beginnings, Jazz has reflected many influences of different genres and cultures. In this article, Howard Lawes continues his exploration of Jazz in Arabic culture. Last month, Howard noted how the EFG London Jazz Festival gives audiences the chance to hear music from all over the world. During the 2018 festival Arts Canteen promoted a series of concerts at the Rich Mix venue in Shoreditch featuring artists from the Arab World. Arts Canteen is an organisation that specialises in giving emerging Arabic artists a platform for them to gain exposure while also bringing enjoyable and enriching experiences to audiences and in 2017 it won an award from the Arab British Centre .......  

Lebanon has proved to be fertile ground for nurturing musicians who have been drawn to jazz. Violinist and composer Layale ChakerLayale Chaker performed at the EFG London Jazz Festival with the Sarafand ensemble playing music from her debut album Inner Rhyme which celebrates Arabic poetry, unveiling musical threads woven by the rhythmical cycles of the twelve classical Arabic poetic meters.  Inner Rhyme is improvised music while Layale Chaker is a classical violinist, however she has performed with the Academy Inegales and noted "What I love about working with Inégales is that I can be all that I am at the same time. I don’t have to choose between being a classical musician, an Arab musician, an improviser or a composer".  Interestingly Club Inegales has just announced the formation of 'The Third Orchestra' which will perform music from around the world and includes Syrian oud player Rihab Azar.

Click here for a video of Layale Chaker and Sarafand playing Relentless from Inner Rhyme.

Ahmad Kaabour is also from Lebanon and a prominent cultural figure in the Middle East; his 1975 hit Oundaikom became the anthem of the Palestinian struggle. In 2012 he released Abou Afif which has been described as encapsulating "the feel of modernist 1970s jazz with bright-toned funk-inflected keyboard and a chorus of female backing vocals". Ziad Rahbani also pioneered an oriental jazz movement, which singers, including Rima Khcheich, Salma El Mosfi, and (on occasion) Latifa, have popularised.

A subsequent Arts Canteen event in London celebrated the Arab Christmas which according to the Julian calendar falls on 7th January and is still observed by Orthodox and Coptic Christians.  This celebration of Arabic music at St Martins in the Fields was compèred by Reem Kelani, a Palestinian singer, musicologist and broadcaster who was born in England, brought up in Kuwait and now lives in London. Reem is currently working with classical and jazz pianist Bruno Heinen on a special duo project, that includes new arrangements of Arabic and Western Jazz songs. Reem Kelani also worked with Gilad Atzmon on the tellingly titled album Exile, an album that also featured Tunisian singer and oud player Dhafer Youssef.  This inspirational album uses jazz and the music of the Middle East, highlighting the similarities Yazz Ahmedbetween the music and the experiences of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples.

Click here to listen to the track Dal'ouna on the Return from the album Exile.

Three jazz musicians with Arabic heritage, Yazz Ahmed, Ibrahim Maalouf and Dhafer Youssef, have enjoyed particular success well beyond the Arab world.  Yazz Ahmed is a British Bahraini trumpet and flugelhorn player. Her music, through which she seeks to blur the lines between jazz, electronic sound design and the music of her mixed heritage, has been described as ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling’. Her 2017 album La Saboteuse was one of the 'albums of the year' while in 2015, Yazz was commissioned by Tomorrow’s Warriors, with support from PRS Women Make Music, to write a suite inspired by courageous and influential women. Polyhymnia was premiered at the Purcell Room by a special all female ensemble at the WOW! Festival in March 2015. Yazz is currently working on completing the recording of her third album, Polyhymnia, due for release in 2019. 

 

Yazz Ahmed

 

 

Click here for a video of Yazz Ahmed playing The Space Between The Fish and The Moon and The Lost Pearl at the Turning East festival in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in November 2017.

Yazz Ahmed and another trumpeter, Lebanese born Ibrahim Maalouf use micro-tone instruments that give the ability to play maqam, which is the basis of Arabic music.  Since 2007, Maalouf has produced, composed, arranged, and recorded seventeen albums, composed more than ten classical symphonic works, and created original scores for several films. Ibrahim remains the top-selling instrumentalist in France, Europe, and the Middle East, and after performing for more than 1,000 concerts and five world tours, he became the first jazz artist in history to sell out France’s largest concert hall, the AccorHotels Arena in Paris-Bercy. The historic concert Ibrahim gave there on December 14th, 2016 sold out eight months in advance. In addition to setting performance records, Ibrahim won four Victoires de la Musique awards in France; the ECHO Jazz Award in Germany in 2016; was nominated twice for Best Original Music for the César Awards; and won the César Award, along with the Lumières Award for In The Forests of Siberia in 2017. 

Dhafer Youssef is a highly successful jazz musician with 16 albums to his credit. As a young man he studied music in his native Tunisia butDhafer Youssef decided that his destiny lay elsewhere and moved to Austria.  In Vienna he met local musicians with whom he formed his first band, Zeryab and in 1996 the first album, Musafir, followed. Dhafer Youssef's career has been marked by various collaborations with musicians from Europe and beyond, all of which have fed his insatiable desire for new sounds and musical projects.

 

Dhafer Youssef

 

In 2013 Dhafer Youssef released Birds Requiem,  an album immediately praised by critics and which he followed with a triumphant international tour of about 100 concerts, over 50,000 records sold and performances by several orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra. Constructed as a film soundtrack, Birds Requiem is a very personal album that was recorded at a turning point of the artist's life. Dhafer Youssef's voice accompanies the clarinet of Husnu Senlendirici and the Kanun of Aytaç Doğan. He also collaborates again with his companions Eivind Aarset on the electric guitar, Nils Petter Molvaer on the trumpet, Kristjan Randalu on the piano, Phil Donkin on the bass and Chander Sardjoe on drums. Birds Requiem is ranked among the ten best jazz albums in France and elsewhere, and included in the list of "Best 20 male vocalists" by DownBeat Magazine.

Click here for a video of Dhafer Youssef playing Fuga Hirundinum from the Birds Requiem album

The Arab world has from very early times enjoyed music, developed instruments and styles of singing and chanting that were very different to those in Europe. An article in the September 2010 edition of Jazzwise magazine by Stuart Nicholson suggests that Arab culture was responsible for introducing stringed and plucked instruments such as the banjo to Spain during the period of Moorish domination and that blue notes and musical structures that are very prevalent in jazz are part of the Arab musical tradition. 

It seems likely that jazz music has profited in the past from Arab culture  but modern Arab musicians are proving that there is so much more to enjoy and while an article such as this really only scratches the surface of what is a very large field of ethno-musicology it is hoped that it will encourage some to look further into a fascinating area.  For those interested in Arab culture the Shubbak Festival is a window on Arab culture and will be held in London from 28 June to 14 July (click here for details). Lots of further information about Arabic music can be found here.

Click here for a video of Ibrahim Maalouf playing Beirut. One commentator on Youtube says: 'Saw him live a couple of times, and people were actually crying when the lights went on after the show. This is what music is about; communication on a different level'.

 

Ibrahim Maalouf

Ibrahim Maalouf

 

 

 

 

 

Utah Tea Pot

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 (recommended). 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].

 

Ed Parr

 

Ed Parr

 

Trombonist and pianist Ed Parr grew up in Colchester, Essex. His parents are both music teachers, his father plays piano and his mother the oboe. Their music, however, is primarily classical and Ed started out playing classical music on the piano when he was eight. At twelve, Ed's mother encouraged him to try out brass instruments and he discovered the trombone. He played with various school brass and wind bands and school orchestras, but it was coming across some of his father's records of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Oscar Peterson that caught an initial interest in jazz. At secondary school his music teacher was also involved with a very active orchestra at a 'rival' school and arranged for Ed to join and take the opportunity to play more and to go on tour.

With his interest in jazz growing, Ed joined the Essex Youth Jazz Orchestra where the musical director is educator and musician Martin Hathaway.

[Click here for a video of Ed back in 2010 with EYJO - the video quality is not too good, but the video shows the grounding young musicians get from being part of the orchestra]

This was an experience that consolidated Ed's interest in jazz and big band music, and he auditioned and was accepted for Junior Guildhall, the London-based Saturday school at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. As the Junior Guildhall website says: 'Our training prepares talented musicians, singers, composers and actors to access Higher Education courses in their chosen discipline if that is their wish. Some Junior Guildhall students have gone on to reach the very peak of their chosen professions to become household names....'.

By the time Ed completed his GCSEs he knew he wanted to take Music at 'A' Level and it was not long before he joined the National Youth Orchestra. When it came to moving on to a degree course, he was accepted on the Jazz course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London at which point he joined the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. He graduated in 2017.

Ed has continued to play with NYJO in the trombone chair, he teaches, and plays with a number of other bands in the London area.

I caught up with Ed for a Tea Break.

 

Hi Ed, good to see you, tea or coffee?

Hi Ian, black coffee please.

Sugar?

No thanks.

Who are you playing with these days?

Quite a variety of bands. I'm still with NYJO and I play with a number of other big bands - the London City Big Band, the London Jazz Orchestra ..... I am also involved in starting up a small band with two trombones.

 

[Click here for a video of Ed with James Brady's Voyagers playing Manhattan]

 

I see you have your 25th birthday coming up in May which means your time with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra will come to an end. Have you enjoyed playing with them? What do you think the experience has given you?

Yes, I've enjoyed NYJO very much. It has been a wonderful experience. It is a great place to meet other musicians; it gives you a taste at an Ed Parr at Ronnie Scotts Clubearly age of being a professional musician - turning up on time, touring .... NYJO tours Germany every two years and German musicians return to the UK on alternate years. Professional jazz musicians have come to lead workshops and NYJO has a number of smaller groups within it too. There is a little bit of leeway in the age thing and I shall probably go on playing with them until January 2020.

 

In some ways it seems a shame that NYJO has this cut-off age. Do you think it would be a good idea if they had a follow-on band, say 25 – 35? They couldn’t call it NYJO, but I see there is a Canadian Indie band ‘Land Of Talk’ who released an album last year called ‘Life After Youth’. But I guess the NYJO organisation has to draw a line somewhere.

Actually, I think there is a band made up of ex-NYJO musicians, but it is not attached to NYJO. You are right, they do have to draw the line somewhere and in a way, that is a good thing. You have to move on to grow professionally.

 

I guess that's right. Here’s your coffee – how about a biscuit? I have some Hob Nobs, some chocolate digestives and a few Jammie Dodgers. Did you know that in 2009, Jammie Dodgers were the most popular children's sweet biscuit brand in the United Kingdom, with 40% of the year's sales consumed by adults?

Hmm, I still think a chocolate digestive sounds appealing, thank you.

 

You mentioned that you are starting up a new band - what's the plan?

At the moment we only have a working title - 'The Magic Bone Band'. It has two trombonists, myself and Joe Fenning. Matt Carter is the pianist, Eleazar Ruiz Spreafico, bass, and Robbie Ellison, drums. We had a first 'try out' gig at the Guildhall in January and it seemed to go very well.

 

I think The Magic Bone Band is a great name for a band with two trombones! If you could invite a past musician to play with the band, who would you invite and what tune would you play?

Probably Bob Brookmeyer. I don't play valve trombone, but Joe Fenning does sometimes. Brookmeyer was also a great arranger and composer and always melodic and rhythmically interesting. I like his work with Curtis Fuller and his arrangements for the Mel Lewis band. As for the tune - I think I'd go for Skylark, I love his arrangement for Mel Lewis.

[Click here to listen to Mel Lewis, Bob Brookmeyer and Clark Terry with Skylark]

 

 

You graduated from the much respected Jazz course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2016 – what advice would you give to people wanting to go on a Jazz course about how they might prepare for their careers after graduating?

The Guildhall Jazz course was so valuable - the contacts you make, access to jazz gigs, meeting international players. I studied with some tremendous teachers including Scott Stroman, Malcolm Edmonstone and Martin Hathaway. It would be worth finding out about the course before you apply - go to Open Days and talk to staff and other students about what to expect from the course.

 

You play a whole range of instruments, Ed – trombone, euphonium, trumpet, piano – do you find that now, as a teacher, there is more call for one of these in particular?

Vincent Gardner

Yes, the call it is mainly for piano and guitar. Piano is a good grounding for other instruments and I guess young people have more exposure to guitar in pop music. The trombone is a bit more of an 'endangered species' as it takes longer to master.

 

I know you mainly as a trombone player – who would you say that your favourite trombonist is, or was?

Well, I started out liking Jack Teagarden. I have already mentioned Bob Brookmeyer, but then there is Vincent Gardner. He has a lovely sound - bebop and blues based.

 

Vincent Gardner

 

[Click here for Vincent Gardner's solo on Just In Time with his Quintet featuring Ali Jackson (drums), Mark "Ice Water" Groos (alto sax), Joris Teepe (bass) and Lewis Porter (piano)]

 

So – 2019 lies ahead. What would you like to be aiming for this year?

Mainly trying to gain more experience. Getting The Magic Bone Band underway, of course, and then I want to go on playing in big bands. It would also be good to get involved in playing with the bands for West End shows.

 

Another coffee, and perhaps another biscuit or two?

I'll have another chocolate digestive or two, please, and another coffee - as I have just finished 'Dry January', is there any chance of having an Irish coffee?

 

I'll see what I can do ........ in the meanwhile, here's a reminder of you, or at least your striped T-shirt, playing with Jonny Mansfield's band and Ellie Bignall singing Love You Madly [click here].

 

[Ed Parr can be contacted through his Facebook page - click here]

 

Ed Parr

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Roy Wallace the guitar player

Picture by Roy Wallace - 'Guitar Player'

 

'In 1963, before the Beatles burst on the scene, a brief but powerful infatuation with folk music gripped America. The TV show that came along at the right time to capitalize on the craze was Hootenanny ... At that time, Ronnie and Billy's grandfather lived with the Paquettes. He was known as Hector the Barber because that had been his trade ..... Hector the Barber rarely said anything. He just sat in the living room, tipping capfuls of bourbon whiskey into his coffee and smoking Tiparillos ... when he did talk, his discourse was peppered with profanity. He liked Hootenanny though ... One night, after some white boy sang something about how his baby left him and he felt so sad, Hector the Barber snorted and said, 'Shit, boys, that ain't the blues.'

'What do you mean, Grampa?' Ronnie asked.

'Blues is mean music. That boy sounded like he just peed the bed and he's afraid his mama might find out.' ......

'You wait,' he said, and slowly mounted the stairs, yanking himself along by the bannister with one gnarled hand. He was gone so long the boys had almost forgotten about him when Hector came back down carrying a beat-up Silvertone guitar by the neck. Its body was scuffed and held together with a hank of frayed hayrope .... He sat down with a grunt and a fart, and hauled the guitar onto his bony knees ... 'Shut that shit off,' he said.

Ronnie did so ... 'I didn't know you played, Grampa,' he said.

'Ain't in years,' Hector said. 'Put it away when the arthritis started to bite. I don't know if I can even tune the bitch anymore.'

'Language, Dad,' Mrs Paquette called from the kitchen.

Hector the Barber paid no attention to her .... He tuned the guitar slowly, muttering curses under his breath, then he played a chord that actually sounded a bit like music.

'Wow!' Ronnie said. 'Which chord is that, Grampa?'

'E. All this shit starts with E.' .... he began to strum the old guitar, using one horney nicotine-yellowed fingernail as a pick ..... then he picked up a steady, chugging rhythm that made the boys glance at each other in amazement. His fingers slid up and down the fretboard clumsily at first, then ...a little more smoothly: B to A to G and back home to E .... In a high, wailing voice utterly unlike the one he spoke in (when he did speak), Ronnie's grandpa sang: 'Why don't you drop down, darlin, let your daddy see ... you got somethin, darlin, keep on worryin me ...'

....Hector the Barber was now thumping his foot in time and grinning. Con said he had never seen the old man grin before ... 'My mama don't allow me to fool around all night long ... she afraid some woman might ... might ...' He drew it out. 'Miight not treat me right!' Hector launched into the second verse .... but then a string broke: TWANNG.

'Oh, you dirty c**t,' he said, and that was it for Hector the Barber's impromptu concert. Mrs Paquette snatched away his guitar (the broken string flying dangerously close to her eye) and told him to go outside and sit on the porch if he was going to talk that way. Hector the Barber did not go out on the porch, but he did lapse back into his accustomed silence. The boys never heard him sing and play again. He died the following summer ....

 

From Revival by Stephen King

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Love And Stillness In Scotland
Tom Bancroft In Common

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 (recommended). 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.

 

In Common band

 

Last April the Observer ran a story called "The British Jazz Explosion" which heaped praise on several young musicians making waves in the jazz world and signalling that "in the UK, a new and thrilling jazz movement has evolved". The piece went on to describe the influence of other genres such as "hip-hop, neo-soul, UK club sounds such as broken beat, or from the African and Caribbean diaspora".  Despite the mention of the UK all the highlighted musicians are based in England and the majority of those in London, and while all the musicians featured thoroughly deserve their acclaim, it is easy to forget that great jazz is being created all over the UK. This is certainly the case in Scotland.  Furthermore Scottish jazz has been influenced by the traditional music of Scotland to a greater extent, and for a longer period, than new British jazz has been influenced by the cultural heritage of the diverse communities that make up cosmopolitan London.

There are many Scottish music festivals presenting great music of all types but two worthy of special mention are the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, now in its 41st year, and Glasgow's Celtic Connections.  Mike Hart, the founder of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival played with Sandy Brown and said of him "One man was responsible for world class Edinburgh Jazz: Sandy Brown". Celtic Connections began in 1994 attracting 35,000 people, in 2018 the audience exceeded 130,000 and featured an eclectic programme of music, including jazz, and other events.  In 2018 Creative Scotland Music Officer Clare Hewitt said "Creative Scotland sees jazz as a vital and vibrant part of the overall music landscape in Scotland and how Scotland’s music is presented to the world. Our priorities include supporting talent, raising the profile of the scene and its musicians, developing international connections, and supporting opportunities to develop sustainable careers in an increasingly digital world".   Kim Macari, Chair of Jazz From Scotland said: "I am so excited at what lies ahead for Jazz From Scotland this year. We've worked hard to provide opportunities for people at all levels within the jazz community - young musicians, established professionals, those keen to develop their international profile. We have a strong programme of work, a dedicated and passionate board and I am privileged to be a part of that."  

Epitomising progressive jazz in Scotland and opening Celtic Connections 2019, Tom Bancroft's band 'In Common' performed material from their new album Love and Stillness that focuses on the common ground between Scottish music, jazz, Indian music and electronica - which pretty much meets all of Creative Scotland's priorities in one package.  Tom, with brother Phil and sister Sophie, grew up in a In Common bandmusical family and have all gone on to be successful jazz musicians in Scotland.  Both Tom and Sophie live in Pathhead, home of the Pathhead Music Collective, which appears to be a musical Shangri La attracting musicians to live, teach, perform and create music together.  Some years ago Tom Bancroft met Indian violinist Sharat Chandra Srivastava and tabla player Gyan Singh in Pathhead during their visit to Scotland when they discussed a cooperative project. It has taken a while but Love and Stillness is the result of that meeting. While this is not the first collaborative venture between Scottish and Indian musicians a distinctive feature of this album is the beautiful vocals from three singers.

The first track Somehow Something, starts with a drone which is an obvious common feature of both Indian and Scottish music. In India the sound is created on a tanpura while in Scotland it is the bagpipes, neither of which are listed as instruments played on this album but with Tom Bancroft (drums and bodhran), Sharat Chandra Srivastava (violin), Graeme Stephen (guitar), Gyan Singh (tabla), Sophie Bancroft (voice), Gina Rae (voice) and Inge Thompson (voice) there is more than enough instrumental firepower to conjure up a host of sounds that characterise the music of both Scotland and India.

Click here for an introductory video.

Track 3 illustrates the point, being a combination of  two compositions, firstly an improvised piece with Srivatava's violin and Stephen's guitar which is gradually replaced by a song called Donald, Willie and His Dog sung by the three vocalists using word music, not exactly jazz scat singing nor traditional Gaelic mouth music, but just using harmonised voices to create music. 

Click here to listen to Donald, Willie and His Dog.

Track 5, The Burnin O Auchindoun is a traditional Scottish folk song relating how Auchindoun Castle was attacked and set on fire by Clan Mackintosh in the 16th century. It is sung with rhythmic precision and accompanied by tabla and violin and evokes an image of a military battle; in complete contrast the title track of the album, Love and Stillness, is a beautiful melody introduced by Stephen's guitar, taken up initially by individual singers, echoed by violin, and then all together creating exquisite harmonies - tabla and bodhran take over with chanting in the background creating a feeling of mysticism and meditation.

Three tracks, all composed by Tom Bancroft are Flower Child 1, Flower Child 2 and Flower Child 2b; 1 is a gentle duet between Stephen and Srivastava, while 2, featuring the whole band playing a cheerful melody, wouldn't sound out of place in a Bollywood movie. Stephen In Common Love and Stillness albumprovides a great jazz solo on guitar followed by Srivastava on violin and then 2b returns to a reflective mood with solo guitar reprising the melody.  Track 11, Nette Ball was first performed by the Bancroft Di Castri Group at the 2016 Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival featuring Jacopo Albini on saxophone and Furio di Castri on double bass. In the version on this album the saxophone is replaced by voices and the double bass by bodhran, the vocal parts are sometimes word music, sometimes improvised scat singing, there are solos on guitar, violin and also a percussion duet between Bancroft on drums and Singh on tabla.  Track 12, is called 18 referring to the recurring 18 beat rhythm that is called a taal in Indian music, guitar and violin with some electronic enhancement conjuring up a modern version of traditional Indian sounds which are full of interest and innovation.

Having written about several Scottish bands for Sandy Brown Jazz including Fat Suit, Colin Steele and Square One I have never been disappointed by the quality of music, the ambition, innovation and the references to traditional Scottish music which are often present but never excessively so.  Tom Bancroft's In Common certainly has the same qualities and his exploration of the links or similarities between Scottish and Indian music within a jazz context is both very interesting and enjoyable.  While he is not the first musician to investigate associations and collaborate with Indian musicians, his album Love and Stillness, stands out because he has included wonderful vocal rhythmic patterns from the three vocalists who employ a variety of techniques.  Scat singing originated in the early 20th century but traditional mouth music in Scotland and konnakol in India have been around a lot longer, Sophie Bancroft, Gina Rae and Inge Thompson do not replicate these ancient techniques but what they do produce is wonderful.

Click here to listen to Somehow Something.

Jazz and traditional music in Scotland have long been complementary, incorporating traditional music from another country that shares many common features adds even more to a winning combination.

Tom Bancroft recorded his Indian musicians in India and his journey is described in a video - click here.

Click here for details and samples of the album which is released on 15 March. Click here for Tom Bancroft's website.

 

Tom Bancroft

Tom Bancroft

 

 

 

Lens America

 

Jazz Composers Collective 2019

 

 

Ron Horton listens as Michael Blake solos in this picture by Clara Pereira from JazzTrail in New York. The Jazz Composers Collective were playing at The Stone Jazz Club in New York City in January. In this extract from his review Filipe Freitas from JazzTrail describes the gig:

'As expected, the group played Herbie Nichols all the way through, kicking in with “The Happenings”, a piece that was never recorded by its author, but is perfectly emblematic of his value as a composer. The music strides and struts confidently with a magnificent arrangement that conveys a triumphant feeling from start to finish ... There was still time for a couple of unpublished tunes, which were given to the collective by Nichols’ nephew. One of them, “Tell The Birds I Say Hello”, boasts a catchy riff that, reiterated by Kimbrough during his solo, lingers in the ear for some time. The other one closed out the show with a punchy verve. This was an enjoyable concert, which, in addition to the group’s rapport and musical excellence, also served to let us know more about Herbie Nichols’ genius'.

Originally from Canada, Michael Blake graduated from Vancouver Technical High School receiving the Music Award and then enrolled at Vancouver Community College. After his freshman year he accepted a scholarship to Courtenay Music Center. In 1984 and 1985 Michael participated in the Banff School of Fine Arts Jazz Workshop under the direction of Dave Holland. He relocated to New York in 1987. An enduring presence for the last 30 years, saxophonist, composer and bandleader Michael Blake has built his reputation playing jazz and creative music in New York City. As a composer and arranger he has produced a cornucopia of recordings that vary in context and mood. He has played tenor and soprano saxophone with a diverse range of artists including The Lounge Lizards, Charlie Hunter, Henry Butler/Steven Bernstein & the Hot 9 and Ray Lamontagne. Click here for a video of Michael playing with the Lounge Lizards in 1998.

Click here for the full JazzTrail review and other photographs of the Jazz Composers Collective gig.

 

 

 

 

Do You Have A Birthday In March?

 


Your Horoscope

for March Birthdays

by 'Marable'

 

Pisces (The Fish)

19th February - 20th March

 

Pisces

 

February appeared to have a positive outlook and this continues into March, at least until the 20th. There are indications that work opportunities are forthcoming, particularly around the 15th and 16th, and spiritually this can be a good time for you too.

At the same time, Mercury is in retrograde from the 5th to the 28th and your social confidence might not be as strong as you would like it to be at this time, but fall back on the personal confidence you have found at times during February, it is still there and you can use it to your advantage. Your 1st house is packed full with beneficial planets that focus on you while your 7th house is more or less empty. Take steps to create situations that suit you - you will see the benefits in time to come.

Uranus finally leaves your money house on the 7th bringing some financial stability. Mars your financial planet moved into your 3rd house on February 14th and will stay there for March. Look out for opportunities to take on work that could add to that stability as you could find yourself having to spend a little more in April.

For you, click here for a video of Wynton Marsalis and Norah Jones with Come Rain Or Come Shine.

 

Wynton Marsalis Norah Jones video

 

 

Aries (The Ram)

21st March- 20th April

 

Aries

 

Two of your long term planets have been in stressful alignment but things should be improving. The signs are for a happier month ahead. Look out for inspiration on the 15th and 16th; spiritual and creative breakthroughs could happen at any time this month, but particularly then, and Mercury, your health planet links to your spiritual planet, Neptune from the 24th to the 31st.

The planetary power is approaching its maximum Eastern position for the year - flowing towards you rather than away from you. This suggests that you might well be feeling more independent and confident. If conditions in your life are troublesome consider making any changes that need to be made - before the 5th and after the 25th could be the best time to do this.

On the 26th Venus will enter Pisces, your 12th house. This is Venus's strongest celestial position and your intuition could work in your favour socially and financially.

For you, click here for the Valdosta State University Jazz Trombone Quartet with guest soloist David Gibson playing Bouncin' With Bud.

 

Valdosta State University Jazz Trombone Quartet

 

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

Photographer Brian O'Connor took his camera to gigs recently. Here are some of his images:

 

Jam Experiment

In February, Brian went to the Watermill Jazz Club in Dorking, Surrey where Jam Experiment (Rory Ingham - trombone, Dominic Ingham - violin and voice, Toby Comeau –piano and keyboard, Joe Lee - electric bass, Jonny Mansfield – drums) were playing.

 

Rory Ingham

Rory Ingham

 

Rory Ingham is a 22 year old jazz trombonist/composer based in London. He was the winner of Rising Star in the 2017 British Jazz Awards, and was voted as a runner-up in the Trombonist of The Year, 2016. He was chosen as ‘One To Watch’ in the Shape of Jazz To Come section of Jazzwise. Most recently, he was announced winner of the 2018 British Trombone Society award Student of The Year. In 2014, Rory set up the award-winning band Jam Experiment that have played at many high-profile British jazz festivals (inc. Cheltenham, Love Supreme and London), and have been featured several times on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland and Jazz FM. They released their debut album in 2017, which received much positive acclaim. He is currently in his final year of studying jazz at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He holds a chair in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Gerard Sands went to their Watermill Club gig with Brian O'Connor and writes:

'To my mind, experimentation sits at the heart of jazz. Each great musician learns from what has gone before, takes what they want from the legacy left by their predecessors, and then experiments to see what they can do with it and to develop their own style. That’s what keeps the music alive and relevant, and prevents it from being assigned to a museum of repertory. And for my own part, one of my great joys is to discover new music and new musicians, not just for novelty’s sake but because there is so much more to be experienced. Sadly that’s an opinion which doesn’t seem to be widely shared by my fellow gig goers, whilst certain stalwarts of the UK jazz scene can be guaranteed to sell out time after time, numbers are generally down for newer and less familiar acts. Perhaps that’s inevitable with the aging jazz audience but it does feel a shame'.

 

Jam Experiment

 

'Anyway, rant over and having got that off my chest, how experimental are Jam Experiment? The band are all quite young, I would guess in their early 20s, and are perhaps still forging their identity, but they certainly seem willing to take chances. The material played was all original compositions by assorted members of the band, with all of them, including absent regular bassist Joe Lee, contributing at least one piece. Stylistically I was reminded at times of Carla Bley, and at others of bands such as Matching Mole and Hatfield and the North from the Canterbury jazz-rock scene, although this may be more to do with the tone of the material and some of the harmonies employed rather than any direct similarities. These impressions were compounded when Dominic Ingham sang on a couple of pieces, revealing a singing voice quite similar to Matching Mole’s Robert Wyatt. But given their youth I wonder whether Jam Experiment would ever have heard of these bands'.

'Dominic also played violin, making up the front line with Rory Ingham very agile on trombone (I assume they’re brothers but I don’t actually know), and the two instruments together made for an intriguing combination and one which we don’t hear very often. Rory was also a very engaging and humorous compère. Piano and electric keyboardist Toby Comeau was quite restrained, tending to probe away at the music rather than going into florid streams of notes, and drummer Jonny Mansfield powered the band appropriately, holding back where other drummers could have been tempted to overwhelm. Stand-in bassist Seth Tackaberry, a recent finalist in the BBC’s Young Jazz Musician of the Year, fitted in seamlessly and was given a few solo spots as well. Altogether it made for another enjoyable evening’s entertainment at the Watermill Jazz Club. It’s just a shame a few more people didn’t come to experience it'.

Click here for a video of Jam Experiment playing Alexander Bone's It's You.

 

 

 

James Pearson and 100 Years Of Jazz Piano


James Pearson

 

On 9th February, Brian O'Connor went to the National Jazz Archive fundraising gig by the James Pearson Trio. Nick Davies writes: 'The James Pearson Trio (James on piano, with Sam Burgess on bass and Chris Higginbottom on drums) gave a wonderfully entertaining and informative concert to a packed audience at Loughton Methodist Church. Beginning with Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag, they moved through the history of jazz piano, via Jelly Roll Morton, Teddy Wilson, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Erroll Garner, George Shearing, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson with Duke Ellington for an encore'.

'James not only explained key innovations by individuals, but also illustrated pianists’ unique sounds and styles. He invited the audience to suggest tunes that he could apply those styles to, so we had snippets of the Harry Lime Theme and Land of Hope and Glory as played by Erroll Garner, along with anecdotes about Keith Jarrett’s close physical relationship with the piano, Oscar Peterson on holiday, and CBE – otherwise known as the Count Basie ending! Particular highlights were a stunning version of Bill Evans’ My Foolish Heart, James’ own composition The Fourth Deuce (a homage to George Shearing, with a beautiful solo by Sam Burgess), and two pieces by Oscar Peterson – Place St Honore and Hymn to Freedom. Chris Higginbottom provided entirely appropriate accompaniments and fine solos. The concert was also a tribute to the late Brian Browning, in thanks for the legacy he left to the Archive, and included a display of photos that Brian O'Connor had taken at the East Side Jazz Club in Leytonstone over many years. Many thanks to James, Sam and Chris for a brilliant concert, which raised well over £2000 for the Archive'

 

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).

 

 

 

 

Forum

 

Jazz Fiction

But Beautiful Geoff DyerGerry Lupton adds to our page of recommended Jazz Novels: 'I can wholeheartedly suggest But Beautiful by Geoff Dyer. First published in 1991, I think it may still be in print. It may not fit your criteria, as it's not a novel, but a fictionalised look at seven legendary jazz musicians; not even bookshops know what to file it under, as it's 'based upon' and not factual nor a biography and is the first of Dyer’s genre-defying works. It imagines what was said and what MAY have happened with the Duke and Harry Carney, as well as scenarios involving Mingus, Monk, Art Pepper et al. It's a fascinating read. The full synopsis is on Waterstones website, including an enthusiastic endorsement by Keith Jarrett no less!'

'Lester Young fading away in a hotel room; Charles Mingus storming down the streets of New York on a too-small bicycle; Thelonius Monk creating his own private language on the piano... In eight poetically charged vignettes, Geoff Dyer skilfully evokes the embattled lives of the players who shaped modern jazz. He draws on photos and anecdotes, but music is the driving force of But Beautiful and Dyer brings it to life in luminescent and wildly metaphoric prose that mirrors the quirks, eccentricity, and brilliance of each musician's style'. (Waterstones synopsis).

Click here for details.

 

 

 

Henrik Johansen Meets Sandy Brown (feat. Sandy Brown)

Henrik Johansen meets Sandy Brown

 

David Keen in Canada writes: 'Not sure if you're aware of these recordings. I certainly wasn't.  I found them completely by accident. I was looking for some pics on line, of Sandy, and what  did come up however, was the Danish guy (Henrik Johansen). I visited that page and that linked me to the YouTube recordings. The Danish guy’s a very good player also (I've never heard of him ) and he's out of the Dodds bag like Sandy was in his early days.

Click here for the tracks David is talking about. There are eight very fine recordings including Honeysuckle Rose, You're Driving Me Crazy and That's My Home. The album is available to download here.

 

 

 

Wood Green Jazz Club

Paul Greenwood adds to our page on Wood Green Jazz Club (click here): 'I am a New Orleans jazz fan and friend of the Late Monty Sunshine. There are 2 videos on YouTube [Wood Green Jazz Club 1956] that show the club and parts of the area - the videos are well done - Monty is playing but too much time spent on Ottile Patterson (the videos are on our Wood Green Jazz Club page - ed). I used to go there in the late 50's to a rock and roll night. The Bourne Hall [entrance at the side of the Fishmongers Arms] was then known as 'The Barracuda'.. a band called The Habits played there then [not jazz] but had a good guitarist who played a super 'Mona'.. [Bo Diddley]. I love 'Everybody Loves Saturday Night’ by Sandy Brown and Al Fairweather.. super trumpet opening [not on Youtube...nor is Nat Gonella's 'His Old Cornet'].

 

 

 

George Chisholm and George Melly

Rick Tanton writes: 'I picked your details up from the Internet and wondered if you could help me. I saw them both together, on stage in Hull (The New Theatre I think it was) and would like to know if you have an approx date for the gig. I guess it would be sometime in the 60’s ??'

Does this ring a bell with anyone - please contact us if it does.

 

 

 

Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook and Mailing List

Thank you to those people who have liked our Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook page and who have commented on posts. I hope that you have found the items there of interest. Using Facebook gives us a chance to share information that arrives between issues of What's New Magazine. If you do visit our Facebook page, please 'Like' us and 'Share' us with your friends. (If you are not on Facebook, please tell your friends about us anyway!). Facebook


Click here

 

There is no charge for the Sandy Brown Jazz website.
You can join our Mailing List - click here - and I will send you an email each time a new issue of What's New comes out.

 

 

 

Jazz Festivals 2019

As March arrives, the season of Jazz Festivals gets underway, some small, some larger, working their way towards the London Jazz Festival in November. There is likely to be a festival of some sort not far from you - in March, look out for the Bristol Jazz Festival (22nd -24th) with many names including Liane Carroll, Soft Machine, Yazz Ahmed, Ant Law and Jonny Mansfield's Elftet. The Thornbury Jazz Festival nr. Bristol is also on 23rd March) and the Nantwich Jazz Festival is in April (18th - 22nd). Look out too for Fringe events when Festivals take place such as Steve Day's Blazing Flame Quintet / 6 in Bristol on 24th March when there is a double bill of music from Blazing Flame and poetry from Steve Day and James Stallard.

 

Jazz Festival

 

Click here for a list of 2019 Jazz Festival dates for the UK. Some still have to give details of their programme.


Festival booking scams: A number of festivals have discovered scams in which fake booking agents have been inviting musicians to play at festivals under false pretences. Cheltenham Jazz Festival website, for example, carries this notice:

'We’ve recently been made aware of an attempted email phishing scam to jazz musicians in the United States claiming to be from Cheltenham Jazz Festival. The emails claim to be an invitation from Ian George (Director of Festivals) to perform at the Festival, conditional on the artists paying for visa costs. It includes information cut and pasted from the Festival website and offers a generous fee for multiple performances plus flights, accommodation and other benefits. It seems these emails are primarily being sent to databases of musicians in the USA. The emails are sent from various Gmail addresses and include an American phone number. All genuine festival offer emails are sent from cheltenhamfestivals.com email addresses, and our offices are based in the UK..... If you have received an email fitting this description, do not enter into correspondence and please do not make any payments ....' (Click here for the full text).

 

 

 

Women's Voices - Lara Eidi at Hampstead - March 8th

 

Lara Eidi Hampstead gig

 

Impressive vocalist Lara Eidi presents a session on March 8th at Hampstead Jazz Club celebrating Women's Voices.

'In this special programme created in honour of Women’s Day, the worlds of musical theatre, jazz and singer-songwriter traditions come together with creative yet elegant delivery in a concert sure to create an enriching atmosphere. The evening programme includes a homage to the leading ladies of song, amongst them Barbara Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, including original compositions performed by Lara and a stellar line up of musicians, Naadia Sheriff (piano) and Dave Mannington (bass). The music performed will also look at re-interpretations  of some of Lara's  favourite songwriters, including plenty of original material set to be an evening of a journey through song and time'.  Tickets and details are available here.

 

 

 

ALL STAR LINE UP FOR NYJC FUND RAISER - April 29th

A host of top British jazz musicians will perform at a gala fundraising concert for National Youth Jazz Collective (NYJC) at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street, on April 29th.

Joining NYJC Vice President, Julian Joseph, will be: Liane Carroll; John Etheridge; Tim Garland; Laura Jurd; Mark Lockheart; Orphy Robinson; Ian Shaw; Cleveland Watkiss; Norma Winstone; Jason Yarde; and BBC Young Musician of the Year, Alex Ridout, plus others.
The concert will be curated by multi award winning, NYJC Artistic Director, Issie Barratt.

 

NYJC

 

All funds raised will go to supporting the annual NYJC Summer School. NYJC provides music education across the country for youngsters of school age, to enable them to play by ear in small groups: to learn, improvise, compose, arrange and lead bands. The amazing Annual Summer School selects 45 of the nation’s best young jazz musicians from a 16 day audition tour, to play in ensembles supported by 15 world class professional jazz musicians. Issie Barratt said, “Our aim is to help young jazz musicians of school age become the best. We have a long list of alumni, many of whom have become top class professional musicians and household names in the jazz community. Some are in the line up for this unique event. We are grateful to all the musicians for offering their services and to Ross Dines of the Pizza Express Jazz Club for providing the venue for what will be a truly memorable event.”

Tickets cost £36 and are available on the Pizza Express Jazz Club website. For further information, please contact Bob Blizzard, Chair of NYJC Development Board, on 07710 100100 or click here.

 

 

 

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.

 

Roy Pellett

 

 

Roy Pellett - UK clarinettist and bandleader born in Surrey. Played with Dave Nelson, Leathertown Jazzmen (jn Germany), returned to lead re-formed Clyde Valley Stompers in 1963, also played with Gerry Brown, London City Jazzmen, Max Collie's Rhythm Aces (founder member), Bob Wallis, Rod Mason, his own Hot Four and came up with the concept of the BBC Jazz Score programme. Click here for a YouTube tribute to Roy Pellett.

 

 

 

 

Andre Previn

 

 

Andre Previn - A German-American pianist, composer and conductor, Andre Previn was best know for his work with classical music but between 1945 and 1967, he made dozens of jazz recordings, returning to make more between 1989 and 2001. Critic Ted Gioia wrote: '...Previn largely steered clear of Third Stream classicism in his jazz work, aiming more at an earthy, hard-swinging piano style at times reminiscent of Horace Silver. Long before his eventual retreat from his jazz work, Previn had become something of a popularizer of jazz rather than a serious practitioner of the music. At his best, however, his music reflected a strong indigenous feel for the jazz idiom ...'. Click here for Andre Previn playing Just In Time in 1961.

 

 

 

 

Kiyoshi Koyama

 

 

Kiyoshi Koyama - Widely regarded as Japan’s pre-eminent jazz journalist, he covered the music’s development throughout the 1960s and ’70s before becoming a producer of archival albums. As the editor of Swing Journal, the leading jazz magazine in one of the world’s most jazz-loving countries, Mr. Koyama rigorously covered the music being made on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, often travelling to the United States. He went to New York in the summer of 1969 to report on the city’s avant-garde scene, he watched Ornette Coleman’s band rehearsing and spent time with him in his living quarters above the rehearsal space. “My style is to meet a musician and see his home, and find out how they live. That shows me another side of the musician. That’s interesting to me,” Mr. Koyama said.


 

 

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.

 

 

 


Some Recent Releases

 

UK

Benjamin Croft - 10 Reasons To ....

Madwort's Menagerie - Madwort's Menagerie

Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere - Theta Four

Rosie Turton - Rosie's 5ive

SEED Ensemble - Driftglass

John Turville - Head First

Tom Bancroft's In Common - Love And Stillness

Trevor Watts - Life & Music

 

 

 

America

Quinsin Nachoff's Flux - Path Of Totality

Wadada Leo Smith - Rosa Parks: Pure Love

Ralph Alessi - Imaginary Friends

Matthew Shipp Trio - Signature

 

 

Europe and Elsewhere

Ernie Watts Quartet - Home Light

Still Light - Minua

I Am Three & Me - Mingus' Sounds Of Love

Seamus Blake - Guardians Of the Heart Machine

 

 

Re-Releases

New Orleans Rhythm Kings - Complete Recordings 1922-1925

Chet Baker - Chet Baker Big Band

Art Tatum and Ben Webster - The Art Tatum-Ben Webster Quartet

Harry James - The Hits Collection: 1938-53

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Croft - 10 Reasons To .....
(33JazzRecords) - Released: 8th March 2019

Benjamin Croft (piano, keyboards), Benet McLean (violin), Henry Thomas (bass), Tristan Mailiot (drums) with guests: Andy Davies (trumpet), Saleem Raman (drums), Mario Castronari (bass), Peter Miles (spoken word)

Benjamin Croft 10 Reasons To'UK pianist Ben Croft has created a significant album, a musical journey through the past, present and future. An exploration of a unique musical mind featuring some of the U.K's finest Jazz and the unique voice of the actor Peter Miles. Benjamin Croft is a Graduate of Leeds College of Music in Jazz and Classical Piano. He has toured around the world performing with artists as diverse as Belinda Carlisle and the Temptations. Since moving to London Ben has performed and acted on the West End stage and is an up and coming name on the London jazz scene, playing regularly at Ronnie Scott's in Soho'. (album notes). 'The sounds and styles on this album reflect the slow processing of all that captured my imagination since I was a child. Written over a period of two years, the compositions were inspired by the passing of several legends. Tracks are dedicated to Allan Holdsworth, Keith Emerson, Christopher Lee and Gustav Mahler...... I didn't want this to be a typical acoustic jazz sounding album as my ideas tend to be more orchestral. I wanted the sounds to be a combination of keyboard instruments and have always had a love of 70's and 80's analog synths. The Mini-Moog, Prophet 5 and Mellotron  among others all feature on the tracks. The synths were recorded by Andy Whitmore at Greystoke Studios. Andy has one of the largest collections of vintage synths in the UK! Tracking for the piano and other musicians was recorded by Sonny at Livingston Studio 1. It was important to me to also have a great sounding piano and Livingston has a world class Steinway. After the recording was completed it was mastered at Air Studios by Ray Staff. Ray is a living legend and was the chief mastering engineer at Trident Studios during the 70's. His work can be heard on many of the albums that have influenced me over the years. This album also marked the final work of a great friend of mine; I have been a Doctor Who fan almost since day one and I was very lucky to call Peter Miles a friend. Peter can be seen in many classic episodes acting alongside Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee. Peter reads two extracts of poetry that book-end the album. The Doctor Who connection was kept with the artwork. Andrew Skilleter, famous for a multitude of book covers and video releases for the BBC, contributed an amazing album cover'. (Benjamin Croft)

Details : Video of Bad Reputations : Listen to The Sycophant :

 

 

 

 

Madwort's Menagerie - Madwort's Menagerie
(Madwort Records) - Released: 9th February 2019

Alex Bonney (cornet); Tim Fairhall (double bass); Julie Kjær (flutes); Cath Roberts (baritone saxophone); Adam Spiers (cello); Tom Ward (bass clarinet, compositions)

Madworts Menagerie album

'Madwort's Menagerie is the self-titled first recording from Tom Ward's strings and winds sextet, and the second release on Tom's new Madwort micro-label. After a momentary glimpse in a misfiring big band rehearsal, Tom Ward was bugged by an overheard snippet of a weird quartet comprising bass clarinet, flute, trumpet and trombone. Transmogrifying some of his compositions for sax quartet, hybridising this with his free improv duo Ti/om and finally balancing woodwind, brass and strings with the addition of a cello, led to the creation of the distinctive line-up of Madwort's Menagerie. It features some incredible improvising musicians with a full spectrum of credits ranging from the London Improvisers Orchestra through Brass Mask, Favourite Animals, the Overground Collective, Sloth Racket, London Vocal Project and The Imaginary Delta to Sinfonia Cymru and the London Tango Orchestra. The album was beautifully recorded at IKLECTIK in London in June 2017 by Alex Bonney. The album opens with Fish Biscuit Standoff, in which a sonic tussle between Tom's bass clarinet and Alex's cornet gives way to a multi-way fist-fight improvisation. This disintegrates into a heap, with the winner of the cat food stockpile negotiations remaining unclear. The calmer Islands in the Green follows, featuring the deep tone of Julie's alto flute over a long Bulgarian influenced rhythmic pattern and a heartfelt double bass solo from Tim. Revolution (about Axis) is built on long harmonic series that revolves through four key centres, and tips a hidden wink to the band Alas No Axis. It features solos from Adam on cello and Tom on bass clarinet, and a space for Julie to stretch out towards the end of the track. Next is Human Eyes Humanise, a reference to the phenomenon of pareidolia, and reminds us that although we may see a face in a plug socket (for example), what we're actually seeing is our own humanity looking back at us. This is a feature for Alex Bonney on cornet.Tribute to Tau was inspired by Michael Hartl's Tau Manifesto, which proposes that everyone's favourite irrational number π would be far better represented as τ, equal to the value of 2π. The irrational time signature is a mix of 6/8 and 7/8, the running average of which tends towards the value of τ (6.2831853071) as the composition progresses, and the harmony embeds these digits within its structure, which makes for a complex structure for the bass clarinet improvisation. Unfortunate Interaction with a Chair flips between two different rhythmic feels, featuring a duo dialogue for the cello and cornet on the first, and a bass clarinet improvisation on the second. The groove of Dangerous Slumberer sidles slowly into view next, leading to solos from Tim on double bass and Cath on baritone sax. The final tune on the album is the open-ended Handbuilt by Robots. This was also featured on the Madwort Saxophone Quartet album, and allows the ensemble more freedom to shape the composed material than some of the more structured pieces on this record. Madwort's Menagerie have performed at the Vortex Jazz Club, the LUME free stage at the Barbican as part of the London Jazz Festival, and at Out Front's The Week festival in Derby' (album notes).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

Orchestra Of the Upper Atmosphere - Theta Four
(Discus Music) - Released: 8th July 2018

Martin Archer (keyboards, electronics, saxophones, clarinets, flutes, recorders, melodica, voice); Steve Dinsdale (electronic drum kit, synth, frostlake); Jan Todd (vocals, lyrics, electronics, celtic harp, lute harp, korg wave drum, keyboards, bowed electroacoustic bass, idiopan); Yvonna Magda (violin, electronics); Walt Shaw (acoustic percussion, electronics, voice); Terry Todd (bass and electroacoustic bass guitars).

Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere Theta Four"When it comes to Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere's Theta Four, describing it as 'epic' feels like selling it short. The large ensemble harnesses a hybrid patchwork of electro-acoustic textures that brings to mind the spacey explorations of Alice Coltrane, Terry Riley, Tangerine Dream, Can et al. Choirs, choppy strings, throbbing beats, dreamy vocals and snarling bass rise and soar into bold themes creating a diverse and thrilling listen. If you're unfamiliar with their previous three albums, then start here." (Sid Smith, Prog); 'Fourth outing from this cutting edge progressive ensemble experiments with grander arrangements, rhythms, a few more commercial tracks, but with other pieces exploring more extended electronic music territory.This improvising rock group references the musical innovations of Terry Riley, the swooping exuberance of Alice Coltrane and a mastery of contemporary electronics. Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere still intend a Big Listen, this time round the core six piece group explode into Theta Four from the very first track- a cinematic epic with powerful brooding string arrangements from Martin Archer and the re- introduction of his performance poetry/improvising group Juxtavoices, who chant and improvise their way into a new deep dimension of sound. The CD continues to surprise and delight with spacious improvisations, composed pieces and all combinations in between, from hypnotic groove-driven drama to " What the hell did I just hear?" Theta Four features some of their best playing yet- virtuoso horns, wind, violin and keys, creative drums bass and percussion and haunting vocal lines. Seamless arrangements evoke an incredible variety of moods across a single CD which is energetic and confident. The musicians complement each other well with sheer enjoyment and it makes for a positive and addictive liste' (album notes). 'OUA is a rock group using repetition based improvisations referencing Terry Riley, Krautrock, Magma, Faust, Sun Ra and Alice Coltrane' (website).

Details and Samples : Website :

 

 

 

 

 

Rosie Turton - Rosie's 5ive
(Jazz re-freshed) - Released: 11th January 2019

Rosie Turton (trombone); Johanna Burnheart (violin); Maria Chiara Argirò (piano/wurlitzer); Twm Dylan (bass); Jake Long (drums); Ben Hayes (synthesizers on Orange Moon); Luke Newman (vocals on Stolen Ribs)

Rosie Turton Rosies 5ive

 

 

'London based trombonist and composer Rosie Turton is one of the up and coming voices on the UK jazz scene. Expressing herself through a variety of different musical outlets, from composing and playing with septet Nerija (Domino Recording Co), Sun Ra space influenced Where Pathways Meet to recording with Jitwam and Hollie Cook. After exploring the eclectic music scenes of London and New York to the Himalayas of India, Rosie’s ‘5ives’ release with Jazz Re:Freshed showcases her individual and unique voice as a performer, composer and producer' (album notes). '.....Rosie Turton, a promising trombonist and composer who also plays with the septet Nerija. Her compositions are understated, grooving and in a spiritual jazz vein ..... There's an intoxicating feeling of dazed melancholy about the whole set .... This isn't a flashy, "look at me" debut, its a sofly spoken "hello" and that makes it all the more compelling' (Thomas Rees in Jazzwise ***)

Details and Samples : Review : Listen to Butterfly : Listen to Orange Moon :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEED Ensemble - Driftglass
(Jazz re:freshed) - Released: 8th February 2019

Cassie Kinoshi (alto sax); Miguel Gorodi, Sheila Maurice-Grey (trumpet); Chelsea Carmichael (tenor sax, flute); Joe Bristow (trombone); Theon Cross (tuba); Joe Armon-Jones, Sarah Tandy (piano, Fender Rhodes); Shirley Tettah (guitar); Aana, Cherise Adams-Burnett, Mr. Ekow (vocals); Rio Kai (bass); Patrick Boyle (drums)

SEED Ensemble Driftglass

 

'jazz re:freshed are proud to present the long-awaited debut album from emerging London-based collective SEED Ensemble. Formed in 2016, SEED Ensemble is a ten-piece project led by composer, arranger and alto saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi. Already a giant on the UK jazz scene, she is known for her work with all-female jazz septet, Nerija, and afrobeat jazz group, Kokoroko. Combining jazz with inner-city London, West African and Caribbean influenced groove, Cassie Kinoshi’s SEED Ensemble explores a blend of genres through both original compositions and arrangements. “SEED Ensemble is my way of celebrating the vibrant and distinctive diversity that has significantly influenced what British culture has become over the centuries. Projecting this new musical vision are some of London’s most up-and-coming young jazz musicians essential to the modern identity of British jazz including tuba player Theon Cross, trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey, tenor saxophonist Chelsea Carmichael and one of London’s leading guitarists, Shirley Tetteh. Across ‘Driftglass’, Kinoshi embraces styles both past and present to create something that we can call modern. Band members cut across race and gender with original compositions inspired by the social issues of our times' (album notes). 'After decades in the shadow of its American parent, British jazz is finally coming of age. A community of young, London-based musicians is forging a rebooted style which reflects both the Caribbean and African musical heritages of the majority of its vanguard players and also locally created musics such as grime and garage. Jazz was created by black musicians. The new London scene is by no means racially exclusive, but there is no doubt it is black musicians who are once more leading the way .... As 2019 begins, the heavenwards trajectory continues with the debut album from alto saxophonist and composer Cassie Kinoshi's 10-piece SEED Ensemble. Driftglass is an untrammelled wrap-around delight' (Chris May allaboutjazz ****).

Details and Samples : Listen to Afronaut : Listen to Mirrors : Video of Album Launch (1hr 43mins) :

 

 

 

 

John Turville - Head First
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 22nd February 2019

John Turville (piano), Julian Argüelles (tenor and soprano saxophone), Robbie Robson (trumpet), Dave Whitford (double bass), James Maddren (drums)

John Turville Head First

 

'Pianist and educator John Turville has established himself as a mainstay of the UK and European contemporary jazz scenes in his varied roles as sideman, co-leader and trio/quartet leader. This debut quintet release, 'Head First', includes the estimable names of saxophonist Julian Argüelles, double bassist Dave Whitford, drummer James Maddren and versatile trumpeter Robbie Robson. Available on a high quality, 6 panel digipack with a velvety soft-touch laminate finish and 180 gram, 12" LP - comes with download code containing the digital album in multiple formats. Inspired greatly by the music of mentor John Taylor, as well as Kenny Wheeler, Turville was one of many artists who came together for the Jazz Piano Summit concert of 2015 dedicated to Taylor's immeasurable musical legacy. There, Turville presented his own homage, "A Perfect Foil" (which appears on this album), igniting a desire to realise originals and interpretations for an expanded line-up. The resulting collaboration, featuring Julian Argüelles, is a radiant celebration of British jazz creativity which also confirms the pianist's mastery of composition and performance. Turville's sound world is informed by the likes of Fred Hersch (the album title a playful though gracious twist on his name) and Bill Evans, yet is frequently imbued with the harmonic colouring of classical composers such as John Ireland, Federico Mompou and the French Romantics. Other tracks include the bustling "Fall Out", with strong horn motifs and driving, bass-propelled rhythms and turbulent, piano-figured "Seahorses" recalls a stormy sea trip off Seahouses, on the wild Northumberland coast, reflected in billowing, improvisatory freedom. "Almagro Nights", for piano trio, is full of Buenos Aires hustle, spotlighting Turville's brightness at the keyboard, while impressionistic soprano-and-piano "Interval Music" finds Argüelles waltzing oh so elegantly into the sublime, descending phrases of 'A Perfect Foil' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Fall Out : Video extract of A Perfect Foil :

 

 

 

 

Tom Bancroft's In Common - Love And Stillness
(Interrupto Music) - Released: 15th March 2019

Tom Bancroft (drums and bodhran), Sharat Chandra Srivastava (violin), Graeme Stephen (guitar), Gyan Singh (tabla), Sophie Bancroft (voice), Gina Rae (voice) and Inge Thompson (voice)

In Common Love And Stillness

 

'This new project by Tom Bancroft starts with the bodhran and the tabla and a drone, adds Indian Classical Violin and improvising jazz guitar, and continues adding layers and voices from different traditions, in a creative new project that focuses on the common ground between Scottish music, jazz, Indian music and electronica. Strip away the surface features and jazz, electronica, Scottish traditional music and Indian classical music all share: drone, groove & rhythm, collective and individual improvisation, melodies and scales / ragas, vocal rhythmic patterns. Tom Bancroft is a drummer, composer, bandleader and educator. Trained as a doctor Tom now makes a living from music. He has played with musicians ranging from Sun Ra & Martyn Bennett to Geri Allen and Bill Wells. He is a key member of the 80 piece Grit Orchestra that features many leading Scottish jazz, folk, and classical musicians and plays with Graeme Stephen in the award winning Playtime collective that performs every fortnight in Edinburgh, and the Go Get It Trio. Tom is a founder member of the Pathhead Music Collective where he curates (with Martin Green from LAU) the PIE series of improvised/experimental concerts in a village hall. He leads other occasional creative projects like big band Orchestro Interrupto, and the non-jazz electronic/experimental group Vincent - with Japanese avant-grade pianist Satoko Fuji, and In Common - a project finding common ground between Indian Classical and Scottish Jazz musicians, and jazz and traditional singers. After running Scottish Jazz record company Caber Music for 7 years between 1998 and 2005, he now runs the music education company ABC Creative Music with his twin brother Phil' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Listen to Donald, Willie and His Dog : Read Howard Lawes article on this website :

 

 

 

 

Trevor Watts - Life & Music
(HI4HEAD Records) - Released: February 2019

Trevor Watts (alto, soprano saxophone, wooden flute, Percussion, Piano, Synth, mbira); Jamies Harris (percussion, voice); Geoff Sapsford (guitar, voice); Roger Carey (bass guitar), Giampaolo Scatozza (drums); Amy Leake, Rob Leake (tenor sax); Anna Watts (voice)

Trevor Watts Life & Music

 

 

'Life & Music is a glimpse into a new renaissance musician. Over sixty years of serious endeavour cannot be complete on one recording. The album doesn't example the Trevor Watts duets with pianists Veryan Weston and Stephen Grew, nor the vast catalogue of his 'sound' cynosures. What this collection does demonstrate is a unique 21st century virtuoso tracking his own muse to the limit. He denies nothing, he gives everything. Trevor Watts (1939 to the present) does not act his age, he soundtracks it. Celebrate with him' (album notes).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

America

We are indebted to Filipe Freitas for details of many American and some other releases. Filipe and photographer Clara Pereira (see the 'Lens America' article in What's New) run JazzTrail in New York City. They feature album and concert coverage, press releases and press kits, album covers and biographies. They are valued contacts for Sandy Brown Jazz in the United States. You can read more about Filipe and Clara in their 'Tea Break' item with us if you click here.

 

 

 

Quinsin Nachoff's Flux - Path Of Totality
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 2nd February 2019

David Binney (alto saxophone, C melody saxophone); Quinsin Nachoff (tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone); Matt Mitchell (Piano, Prophet 6, modular synthesizer, Novachord, harpsichord, Estey pump harmonium); Kenny Wollesen (drums, Wollesonic percussion); Nate Wood (drums) plus guest musicians.

Quinsin Nachoff's Flux Path Of Totality

 

'Quinsin Nachoff's Flux communicates an extraordinarily colourful palette of conceptual reasoning and musical expression in the effulgent release, 'Path of Totality'. ... Saxophonist/composer Nachoff's overarching inspiration arose from the moon's total eclipse of the sun in 2017. That event became a dramatic, natural metaphor for the band's evolutionary creative process, plus a reminder (especially amidst current political and environmental discord) of light's assured emanation from and triumph over transitory darkness. The Toronto-born, New York-based saxophonist's compositions each begin from a clear-cut kernel of an idea, with their own set of parameters, which are then developed into stories of differing landscapes, all crafted from the ground up for these specific players to interpret and improvise across. Tracks include the progressive yet cyclical impetus in giant-stepping title track "Path of Totality", explored through thunderous, phased double-drum patterns and far-reaching saxophone figures; and "Bounce" takes motivic ideas and rhythmic structures from a bouncing ball's motion (studied through mathematical programmes), manipulating them to create elasticized environments, the two saxophonists' extemporizations eventually narrowing against the full swell of a 1924 Kimball Theatre Organ. As you immerse yourself in its narrative, on whatever level you connect with its story, Path of Totality's artistic journey continues to intrigue, fascinate and enthral'. (album notes).

Details : Samples : Review 4.5* :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wadada Leo Smith - Rose Parks: Pure Love
(Tum / Broken Silence) - Released: 15th February 2019

Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet); Min Xiao-fen (voice, pipa); Karen Parks, Carmina Escobar (voice); Shalini Vijayan, Mona Tian (violin); Andrew McIntosh (viola); Ashley Walters (cello); Ted Daniel, Hugh Ragin (trumpet); Graham Haynes (cornet); Pheeroan akLaff (drum set); Hardedge (electronics).

Wadada Leo Smith Rosa Parks Pure Love

'Wadada Leo Smith's latest album features 'Rosa Parks: Pure Love. An Oratorio of Seven Songs,' another extended composition by Smith inspired by the civil rights movement in the United States. This new major work is composed for the iconic civil rights hero Rosa Parks (1913-2005) and performed by three vocalists, a double-quartet and a drummer with electronics. The album is released in February 2019 to celebrate Rosa Parks' birthday on February 4' (album notes). 'The creativity of trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, a dominant figure of the avant-jazz scene, boasts unlimited musical boundaries, crispness of sound, and resolute leadership. Besides mirroring these capabilities in his attractive way of playing, Smith is a conscious man and activist. His new outing, Rosa Parks: Pure Love - an oratorio of seven songs - consists in a set of triumphal hymns presented like an extended suite and arranged according to his unique style and vision. Paying tribute to the iconic civil rights activist mentioned in the title, the album features a double quartet, three female vocalists, a drummer and an electronics wizard, as well as samplings of recordings by Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Steve McCall, and Smith. It’s a philosophical type of narrative where the bandleader experiments his own musical language, Ankhrasmation, on top of the traditional oratorio form ..... With quizzical parts and curious editing, this is a record with both polished and rugged chamber surfaces, feeling more earthly rooted when compared with the stunning America’s National Parks (TUM, 2016). Even less impactful than the latter, Rosa Parks: Pure Love breathes confidence and deserves attention for its musical and political statements' (JazzTrail).

Details : Listen to Mercy: Music For Double Quartet : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Ralph Alessi - Imaginary Friends
(ECM) - Released: 8th February 2019

Ralph Alessi (trumpet); Ravi Coltrane (tenor, sopranino); Andy Milne (piano); Drew Gress (bass); Mark Ferber (drums)

Ralph Alessi Imaginary Friends

 

'Trumpeter Ralph Alessi's first two ECM albums as a leader – Baida (2013) and Quiver (2016) – justly earned him high praise. The New York Times lauded the "elegant precision and power" of Baida, while The Guardian extolled Quiver, pointing to the leader's "flawless technique and ability to draw on jazz tradition while avoiding its clichés." After those quartet discs, Alessi's third ECM album, Imaginary Friends, presents him fronting a longtime working quintet in its first recording since 2010. Alessi's bandmates include a kindred spirit in saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, a studio and stage partner of the trumpeter's since they were students together at the California Institute of the Arts in the late '80s. They are joined by pianist Andy Milne and drummer Mark Ferber, both making their ECM debuts, plus bassist Drew Gress, who played on Baida and Quiver. The nine Alessi compositions of Imaginary Friends include an irresistible highlight in "Iram Issela," with its rich seam of bittersweet melody and exceptional soloing by Coltrane setting the scene for an album of quicksilver beauty' (album notes). 'Trumpeter supreme Ralph Alessi reconvenes his longtime quintet, known as This Against That, for its third ECM album. Imaginary Friends comprises nine mature originals fully developed while touring in Europe. Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, pianist Andy Milne, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Mark Ferber are the remaining members of the group. They make a wonderful first impression on the soulful opening track, “Iram Issela”, whose strange title consists of the name of Alessi’s eight-year-old daughter spelt backwards. Piano and trumpet set up reserved moments of pure beauty, after which Alessi flies in a solo full of brightness and expression ...... The methodical, unfolding narrative arc of Imaginary Friends makes it an exceptional collection of impassioned, free-shimmering tone poems where the musical personality of Alessi shines through' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Shipp Trio - Signature
(K7 / ESP Disk) - Released: 1st March 2019

Matthew Shipp (piano); Michael Bisio (bass); Newman Taylor Baker (drums)

Matthew Shippp Trio Signature

 

'Pianist Matthew Shipp reunites with trio mates, bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Newman Taylor Baker, to bring his bewitching signature into a new album, the follow-up to the magnificent Piano Song (Thirsty Ear, 2017). This collection of inventive tunes, precisely called Signature, exhibits the title song as the opening sentence. It's a peaceful exploration of melodic lines crafted with intervallic curiosity in the middle register and liberally anchored by left-hand conductions. Bass and drums sneak in nicely and softly, tinging the scenario with an opalescent luster without ever overriding the pianist’s moves .... Alluding to Chick Corea, “This Matrix” runs over 16 minutes, spinning with rhythmic fulgor and glistening with creative patterns and boppish lines soaked in extravagance and chromaticism. It comes with a bass monologue and turns out charmingly lyrical in its last section. Shipp remains faithful to freer forms of expression and Signature gives you another chance to dive into the magical complexity of his resourceful music' (JazzTrail).

Details : Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to This Matrix :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Europe And Elsewhere

 

Ernie Watts Quartet - Home Light
(Flying Dolphin Records) - Released: 16th November 2018

Ernie Watts (saxophones); Christof Sanger (piano); Rudi Engel (bass); Heirich Koebberling (drums)

Ernie Watts Quartet Home Light

 

'New and original music from Grammy winning saxophonist Ernie Watts. His latest Flying Dolphin release is 'Home Light,' just-pressed and filled with a variety of powerful and lyrical pieces, and also some humor, such as the irresistible, Ornette-like energy of 'Frequie Flyiers,' a tribute to bebop, and 'I Forgot August,' built on the harmonic structure of the standard 'I Remember April. ' 'Horizon' is a lovely meditative ballad, and the title tune, 'Home Light,' a nod towards gospel' (album notes). Veteran tenorman Ernie Watts, 73, has recorded with numerable musicians in wide-ranging musical genres. Apart from integrating the Charlie Haden Quartet West, Watts gave major contributions to works by Cannonball Adderley, Bobby Hutcherson, Jean-Luc Ponty, Lee Ritenour, Gerald Wilson, and Quincy Jones, just to name a few. Outside the jazz scene, he got known for his collaborations with Frank Zappa, Marvin Gaye, and Carole King, as well as for touring with The Rolling Stones.In the mid-2000s, Watts convened his European quartet with three German musicians: pianist Christof Sanger, bassist Rudi Engel, and drummer Heirich Koebberling. Their new outing, Home Light, is a straight-ahead ride with no bumps or stumbles that begins with “I Forgot August”, a contrafact of “I’ll Remember April”. Here, the saxophonist shows off his deft soloing skills and has the pianist joining him in the B section of the theme, doubling the melody .... Demonstrating a bonafide inner motivation, Watts mixes earthly vibes with some occasional spirituality, keeping jazz in its purest, classic forms' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to the Title Track : Listen to Frequie Flyers :

 

 

 

 

 

I Am Three & Me - Mingus' Sounds Of Love
(Leo Records) - Released: 21st January 2019

Maggie Nicols (vocals) ; Silke Eberhard (alto saxophone); Nikolaus Neuser (trumpet); Christian Marien (drums)

I Am Three & Me Mingus Sounds Of Love

 

 

'In the wake of hugely successful CD "I AM THREE," The Music of Charles Mingus, the three Germans invited Maggie Nicols to further explore his music. Mingus, the poet. From loving quotes to ironic breaking, from homage to deconstruction, from historic reminiscence to an expression of the current state. With this recording the collective "I am Three & Me" simultaneously moves closer and away from Mingus, resulting in a present-day reflection. "Music is life, magic, spirit, healing, liberation, communication, an international language beyond words" (Maggie Nicols) (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Various Tracks :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still Light - Minua
(Traumton Records) - Released: 1st February 2019

Fabian Willmann (bass clarinet); Kristinn Kristinsson (guitar); Luca Aaron (guitar)

Still Light Minua

 

'..... the cryptic album title, Still Light, refers to the little remainder of daylight after sunset and the minimal, calmly and slowly increasing light show that Minua have devised for their concerts.  When Luca Aaron, Kristinn Kristinsson and Fabian Willmann played together for the first time in a rehearsal room of the Academy of Music Basel in 2014, they immediately felt a strong bond. “It was almost like salvation from the daily college-routine, to find people who also wanted to play something different,” Luca Aaron grins. The trio’s creative drive feeds on various influences. Some of them have inspired all members and others are more personal. To name the most important: post-rock, minimalism à la Steve Reich, Nordic melancholy and Scandinavian folk, as well as unusual tonal colors, created by extended playing techniques and well applied electronics. In the poetic pieces on Still Light the aforementioned influences are sometimes subtly, sometimes more distinctly discernable. Listening to “Waterlines” you hear swelling guitar chords, lyrical bass clarinet and a romantic-epic aura reminiscent of Sigur Ròs, without celebrating their monumental emotionalism ......... Luca Aaron and Kristinn Kristinsson now live in Berlin, but Minua’s sound deliberately stands out from the capital’s scene and its often fast, rhythmic, at times harsh sounds. Instead of playing with rapid cuts and staccatos, the band rather relies on textures and long installations. In this way Minua leaves ordinary boundaries of genre behind in favor of a decisively independent, international aesthetic' (album notes).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seamus Blake - Guardians Of the Heart Machine
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 15th March 2019

Seamus Blake (saxophones and vocals), Tony Tixier (piano), Florent Nisse (double bass), Gautier Garrigue (drums)

Seamus Blake Guardians Of The Heart Machine

 

'Guardians of the Heart Machine' - the debut Whirlwind release from tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake - symbolizes and protects the importance of creating music with feeling, blending his considerable experience in contemporary jazz with three exciting players originally from the French scene - pianist Tony Tixier, double bassist Florent Nisse and drummer Gautier Garrigue. Available on a high quality, 6 panel digipack with a velvety soft-touch laminate finish and 180 gram, 12" 2x Gatefold LP (4 sides of music - A, B, C, D) - comes with download code containing the digital album in multiple formats. Born in London, raised in Vancouver, and a student of Berklee, Blake has released eight albums as leader and contributed to numerous other recordings. Back in 2002 as winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, he delighted in playing alongside Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. Heralded as one of the most influential saxophonists of his generation, his extensive career has included collaborations with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Dave Douglas, Antonio Sanchez, Michael Brecker; and as a member of John Scofield's Quiet Band, the guitarist hailed him as "extraordinary - a total saxophonist." Blake wrote and arranged especially for these artists: "My idea was to bridge what I consider elements of European and American styles, writing music I like to play, but also with a European sensibility, including classical harmony and certain types of groove." That verve is evident in the title track, whose anthemic drive and melodic hooks are informed by Blake's indie-rock interest; and the loping gait of "Vaporbabe" was inspired by the 9/8 hand-drum and clapping rhythms of a street band in Istanbul. Other tracks include the furtive "Sneaky D", which confirms the saxophonist's penchant for strong melody, sparking off his rhythm section's vitality' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video Introduction : Listen to Vaporbabe :

 

 

 

 

Re-Releases

 

New Orleans Rhythm Kings - Complete Recordings 1922 - 1925
(Rivermont) - Released: 16th November 2018 [2 CDs]

Paul Mares (cornet); George Brunies, Santo Pecora (trombone); Leon Roppolo, Charlie Cordilla (clarinet); Glen Scoville, Don Murray (alto sax); Jack Pettis (C-melody sax); Elmer Schoiebel, Mel Stitzel, Jelly Roll Morton, Kyle Pierce, Gly Lea 'Red' Long (piano); Lou Black, Bob Gillette, Bill Eastwood (banjo); Arnold Loyacano, Steve Brown, Chink Martin (bass); Frank Snyder, Ben Pollack, Leo Adde (drums)

New Orleans Rhythm Kings Complete Recordings

 

'One of the most exciting and strikingly original of the early jazz bands was the New Orleans Rhythm Kings (NORK). Their approach was fresh and airy as well as hot, and would not fall prey to caricature, as did many other bands of the early 1920s. They literally redirected the public's attention to what jazz was at its core and, in doing so, influenced scores of musicians who would carry it into the future. Although the band's personnel changed often, the recordings on this set include such star players as Jelly Roll Morton, Paul Mares, Leon Roppolo, Santo Pecora, Ben Pollack, Don Murray, George Brunies, Steve Brown, Jack Pettis, and Elmer Schoebel. This new 2-CD set, a joint production of Rivermont and Off The Record (widely lauded for their recent restorations of King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band and The Wolverines) presents all 42 master and alternative takes recorded by the NORK from 1922-1925. Every track has been meticulously transferred and restored from original disc sources by renowned engineer Doug Benson for superb sound quality. The NORK recordings have never sounded this good -- clear, open, and brimming with life and vitality! The copiously illustrated 40-page booklet includes detailed liner notes by Sue Fischer and 2-time Grammy nominee David Sager' (album notes). '..... the NORK was a fine band whose members had obviously been listening carefully to the work of New Orleans pioneers like Freddie Keppard and Joe 'King' Oliver .... This new set of the complete recordings the band cut between 1922 and 1925 is easily the clearest and most vivid ever likely to be achieved ... Rivermont stop short of including the reunion session NORK associates recorded in 1935, otherwise the exceptional recorded sound and fastidious notes make this the definitive NORK experience' (Philip Clark in Jazzwise **** ).

Details :

 

 

 


Chet Baker - Chet Baker Big Band
(State Of Art) - Released: 30th November 2018

Chet Baker, Norman Faye, Conte Candoli (trumpet); Bob Burgess, Frank Rosolino (trombone); Fred Watress, Phil Uro, Bob Graf, Bill Hood, Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Bill Perkins (reeds); Bobby Timmons (piano); Jimmy Bond (bass); Peter Littman, Larance Marable (drums)

Chet Baker Big Band

 

 

'This release presents the complete original album Chet Baker Big Band (Pacific Jazz PJ-1229), which was one of the rare occasions on which Chet fronted a large group as a leader. That being said, the formations on this LP are never as large as other orchestras, featuring from nine to eleven musicians. Although he always favored small groups, Chet would occasionally record again with larger bands during the course of his long career, including one of Chet’s very last concerts, performed in Hannover, Germany, on April 28, 1988, on which he was accompanied by the Radio Hannover orchestra conducted by Dieter Glawischnig' (album notes). 'These tracks essentially by two different sized groups, one of nine and one of eleven musicians - presented Chet to a record-buying public in an unfamiliar setting .. producer Bock had unstintingly presented Baker's small group persona ... Bock celebrated the trumpeter's return to the West Coast (from Europe) with this pair of sessions, that put his uncharacteristically aggressive trumpet at the head of these large ensembles.... if you don't have these sides, and even if you do, the extra material justifies splashing out' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ****)

Details : Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Tatum : Ben Webster - The Art Tatum - Ben Webster Quartet
(State Of Art) - Released: 30th November 2018

Ben Webster (tenor sax); Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson (piano); Red Callendar, Ray Brown (bass); Bill Douglass, Jo Jones (drums)

Art Tatum Ben Webster Quartet

 

'This is nearly the only existing collaboration between Art Tatum and Ben Webster. Their only other recordings together consist of four short tunes from the radio show “The New World A-Coming”, Program #17, recorded in New York on June 25, 1944. However, even though both Tatum and Webster are present on the radio show, the music it yielded doesn’t even begin to display the magic that they would create a dozen years later for their lone studio session on September 11, 1956. We are deeply indebted to Norman Granz, who was responsible for this session taking place. At the beginning of the 1950s, Tatum’s music style was beginning to be considered a bit outdated compared to the sound of Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and the rest of the modern players. Thus, it was more difficult for him to find record contracts. Granz sought to rectify this gross oversight by offering Tatum the opportunity to record extensive sessions, both as a solo pianist and in the company of other outstanding jazz figures like Benny Carter, Lionel Hampton, Buddy DeFranco, Buddy Rich and, of course, the great Ben Webster. “I think”, Granz wrote, “if I am ever remembered for any meaningful contribution to jazz it was presenting permanently for the future the incredible artistry of the greatest instrumental soloist in the history of jazz, Art Tatum”. And from the amazingly extensive body of Granz-Tatum tapes, the session with Ben Webster was perhaps the highest point (album notes). '.... Long hailed as a masterpiece, the synergy between Webster's mix of aggression and lyricism, and Tatum's flamboyance and delicacy made for a fascinating encounter ... All in all, the album is an oustanding example of laid-back mainstream, and reverence for the ballad form, never giving away for an instant that this is actually difficult material to play with such insouciant charm (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Harry James - The Hits Collection 1938-53
(Acrobat) - Released: 11th November 2018 (3 CDs)

Harry James (trumpet, bandleader) with various personnel

Harry James Hits Collection 1938-53

 

'Trumpeter and bandleader Harry James was one of the most important, successful and influential personalities of the swing and big band era, his unmistakeable bravura trumpet style providing an inspiration and benchmark for trumpeters across the jazz and orchestral genres. He was hugely popular on radio, as a live attraction and on record with his music not only appealing to cutting edge jazz and big band enthusiasts, but also, through his recordings of sweeter orchestral material, featuring the many male and female vocalists who launched their careers with his bands, capturing a wider audience to achieve a remarkable string of big-selling hits from his debut as a bandleader in the late 30s right through into the 1950s just before the dawn of the rock n roll era. This great-value 71-track 3-CD set comprises just about all his records which featured in one form or another of the charts during his career, including the few that were listed as being Top 10 hits before the launch of the record sales charts in Billboard in 1940, and those which featured thereafter in one or other of the published Billboard charts or related listings. It naturally includes his No. 1 hits Sleepy Lagoon, I Had The Craziest Dream, I've Heard That Song Before, Ill Get By, I'm Beginning to See the Light and It's Been a Long, Long Time. Among the featured vocalists are Frank Sinatra, Dick Haymes, Helen Forrest, Kitty Kallen, Johnny McAfee, Buddy DeVito, Betty Grable, Willie Smith, Ginnie Powell, Marion Morgan, Art Lund and Dick Williams, and it also includes Harrys 1950s hits with Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney. Its a hugely entertaining overview of the commercially successful output of one of the great stylists and innovators of the big band era' (album notes). 'Though this overlooks James' work in small groups, some of which created some classic jazz, Acrobat have assembled a first-rate 3 CD package of almost all the trumpeter's major hits from 1938-53 thereby making it an ideal companion to Avid's Four Classic Albums set from the slightly later Vegas period' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ****).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

UK Jazz Venues Near You

 

Click here for our page of venues hosting live jazz in the UK.

Please let us know of other venues together with their website addresses, or please also let us know if you discover any of the links on the page don't work.

 

 

Jazz Talks: Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas

 

Surrey and around:

Mike Forbes is a member of the Woking Area U3A and active in the Jazz Appreciation Group. He ha’s given presentations to other groups and is willing to travel in Surrey and surrounding areas to give his talks, which consist of music tracks with commentaries. Rather than focus on a particular jazz group or soloist he takes a theme and follows it chronologically from early to modern jazz. Topics include: Women in Jazz; Is There Less Improvisation In Jazz Than We Think?; Twelve Bars; Time After Time; Best of Buddies; and, as an exception to the rule, Unexpected Satchmo. No payment required although a little towards cost of travel would be appreciated. Just a CD player (and PA if it’s a very big room) is all that’s needed.

email: jmike210@gmail.com

 

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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