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November 2018

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Arun Ghosh


Clarinettist Arun Ghosh photographed by Brian O'Connor in 2016. In October, Arun received this year's Parliamentary Jazz Award for Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year.



On A Night Like This,
The Story Is Told

Louis Armstrong ran down the platform as the Panama Limited was departing, his cardboard suitcase in one hand, his cornet case and tickets in the other ... The train blew its whistle and Louis redoubled his efforts, dodged past a stack of luggage, past a bemused-looking porter, reached the first carriage marked Colored, threw his suitcase on board, put his tickets in his mouth, grabbed the handrail and swung himself onto the train

... His compartment ... was occupied by a large woman and a brood of young children ...."What's your name, boy?" the woman asked... "Louis Armstrong, ma'am." "You Mayann's son?" "Yes I am". "I've know your mother years," she said, her tone suggesting she was for some reason proud of the fact. "Where you headin'?" "Chicago". "Us too. You got work that way?" "Yes, ma'am. Playing with Joe Oliver's band. Second cornet".


Dead Man's Blues by Ray Celestin


... . at some point he awoke to see a galaxy of city lights streaking past the window, daubs of neon against the blackness, the sense of a great hustling on the streets below, and then the sodium buzz of Chicago's 12th Street Station .... He looked around at the people there, and saw how quickly they were walking, how they rushed, how sharply they were dressed, how streamlined ... Compared to the Chicagoans, Louis' people looked like refugees from some far-away, famished country, and in that instant he realized that his notion of home would be tested in these new surroundings ...

"Boy, you look loster than a snowflake in hell," said a voice behind him, and Louis turned to see an old Negro dressed in a Red Cap's uniform ......"Where you need to go?" asked the man. "The Lincoln Gardens. I'm here to join Joe Oliver's band". "King Oliver?" said the man, suddenly animated. "You the new cornet player everyone's talking about?"

Louis frowned, guessing there'd been some mix-up, wondering since when was Papa Joe called King? ....

...He wasn't sure what was going on .... Something was happening in Chicago, and he grinned from ear to ear at the beautiful bizarreness of it all ......

From the novel Dead Man's Blues by Ray Celestin - click here where you can also listen to some of the story. Click here for other jazz-related novels recommended this month.


Name The Tune!

(Click on the picture for the answers)


Name the tune




Name the tune




Name the tune


Click here for a full page of Name The Tune.



Jazz South Applications Open

Jazz South announces 'Platform South'. Applications are invited from bandleaders and bands for the first of Jazz South's support schemes for the region.

Platform South is a new open application scheme to support jazz musicians from the Jazz South region to perform across that region. The Turner Sims Southamptonscheme aims to 'strengthen artists’ offer, enabling them to engage new and existing promoters, encourage promoters to book as widely as possible and develop jazz audiences across the sector'.  Performances by artists selected for the Platform South scheme will be subsidised by a set amount per musician, which reduces the financial risk to promoters and encourages them to book high-quality artists from the region.
Jazz South has secured sufficient funds for two rounds of the scheme over the period of the Jazz South project and Round 1 is open for applications now.   The available funding will provide places for six bands in Round 1, each with the opportunity of six supported gigs.  Selected bands will kick off with marketing advice and support and a public showcase performance at Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival in March 2019. Jazz South welcomes Platform South applications from a diversity of artists of all genders and all ages, and from all backgrounds and communities of ethnicity, disability or any other cultural or personal characteristics.  The key to success on Platform South will always be musical excellence.

Downloads: Full details on Platform South are available here where you can download the Guidance Notes, FAQs, and Application Form, etc.  The deadline for applications is 14 December.





Here and Now with Sarah Jessica Parker
Here and Now poster

Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex And The City) plays a New York jazz singer for the upcoming film Here and Now (originally entitled Blue Night) co-starring Simon Baker, Renee Zellweger, Taylor Kinney and the rapper Common. In the movie (also co-produced by Parker) she is a jazz superstar who is forced to rethink her life and career after some life changing medical news.

'Exploring a different — and decidedly less glamorous — side of the Big Apple from her fizzy HBO series, Parker plays a fading songstress named Vivienne who, in the opening scene, is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. The doctor gives her, at best, 14 months to live. That’s an inherently dramatic situation, and one that Vivienne will spend the next 24 hours wrestling with how to accept. ......Vivienne grabs a ride, only to be confronted with the Arabic-speaking driver’s personal drama (Waleed Zuaiter plays the only Lyft driver in town, with whom she develops a touching kinship after several rides) .... one of New York’s many paradoxes: Crowded as it may be, the city can be one of the loneliest places on earth, as Vivienne comes to realize, unable to find someone sincere with whom to share what’s on her mind. Ironically, that fact ultimately feels more tragic than the diagnosis itself, calling into question what she has achieved in her 50-odd years on earth, if she has no one close in whom to confide. One might expect that melancholy to come through in her music, as represented by her song “Unfollow the Rules” — written by Rufus Wainwright expressly for the film — although the scene in which Parker performs it reinforces the degree to which the movie never quite penetrates her point of view .... (Variety review)

Sarah Jessica Parker says she was terrified to sing on stage at the world-famous Birdland nightclub for the role, and says for better or worse, her actual vocals are featured in the film.

The film is released in the USA in November - at present, I have not been able to find the UK release date.

Click here for the trailer.




Women In Jazz Exhibition at The Barbican

Women in Jazz exhibition


Women In Jazz exhibition


A reminder that this exhibition is now open at the Barbican in London. We mentioned it in an earlier issue of What's New - now it is here and well worth a visit.

The exhibition forms part of the Barbican’s current theme ‘The Art of Change’ and is one of the events being held during 2018 to celebrate the National Jazz Archive's 30th anniversary.

The exhibition, staged by the National Jazz Archive, is ‘a celebration of the past, present and future’. Chairman Paul Kaufman says they wanted to pay particular attention to instrumentalists across the spectrum such as Valaida Snow, Esperanza Spalding, Kathy Stobart and Deirdre Cartwright.

It marks 100 years of jazz in Britain, with a steady and important increase in contributions from women over that time. The exhibition features photos, posters, journals, video and memorabilia from the Archive. It’s free and runs until 31st December.

The Barbican Music Library is on Level 2, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. It is within walking distance of a number of London Underground stations, the closest being Barbican, St Paul’s and Moorgate. The nearest train stations are Liverpool Street and Farringdon. Bus route 153 runs directly past the Barbican. Free bicycle spaces and paid car parking spaces are available. Opening times are: Monday and Wednesday 9.30am–5.30pm, Tuesday and Thursday 9.30am–7.30pm, Friday 9.30am–2pm, and Saturday 9.30am–4pm.


Click here for details.






November's Video Juke Box

*Click on the Picture for the Video



Click on the picture to watch the video.


Lara Eidi A Case Of You


The wonderful voice of Lara Eidi singing Joni Mitchell's A Case Of You at Hampstead Lounge and Jazz Club with Naadia Sheriff at the piano. Lara plans to have an album, Transitions, out in 2019. She says: 'I wanted to take my time in crafting my debut album, and as the saying goes, "write what I know" - It has resulted in an ode to the beautiful chaos that is London and all the people who have shaped my journey thus far'. Click here for more about Lara.





Tractor band


John Westwood has shared this version of Sweet Georgia Brown and Bye Bye Blues played by the Olle Hemmingsson Trio and the 'percussion' provided by a tractor. Comments include, rudely : "Your drummer ain't much to look at but he plays steady" and "He was already playing while they were tuning their instruments, kept playing after they finished, didn't even listen to them. Typical drummer".





Flying Machines


Alex Munk and Flying Machines introduce their album New Life released on the Ubuntu label in October. The band are Alex Munk (guitars); Matt Robinson (piano, synths, Fender Rhodes); Conor Chaplin (electric bass); Dave Hamblett (drums) - reviewed in Jazzwise, Andy Robson writes 'What sings out immediately about New Life is Munk's love of playing: not in a shred-tastic way, but in a relish of the many voices the guitar offers him ... We are lucky to have a new generation of guitarists growing in confidence, and Munk and his band could yet fly furthest'. Details in Recent Releases.





Miles Davios Joshua video



A rare live video recording by the Miles Davis Quintet playing Joshua at the Teatro Dell'Arte in Milano, Italy on October 11th, 1964, with Miles Davis (trumpet), Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums).





Maria Muldaur Don't You Touch My Leg



In this video, Maria Muldaur goes into the studio to record Don't You Feel My Leg, the title song for her new album featuring the Naughty Bawdy Blues of Blue Lu Barker (see article by Kate Gamm in this month's issue - click here).






Josephine Davies Satori In the Corners Of Clouds



Josephine Davies introduces her new Satori album In The Corners Of Clouds with James Maddren (drums) and Dave Whitford (bass). (See details in Recent Releases).






Vitor Pereira video



Guitarist Vitor Pereira and his Quintet have a new album coming out in December, Somewhere In the Middle, and they will be on tour during November in Cardiff, Shrewsbury, Bristol, Birmingham, Brighton, Southampton and London (click here). Here is a video of Lomo from the album with Vitor on guitar; Chris Williams (alto sax); Alam Nathoo (tenor sax); Mick Coady (bass) and Adam Teixeira (drums).



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



Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2018

This year's Parliamentary Jazz Awards took place on 16th October at Pizza Express Live in Holborn. Following an online public vote for the Awards, the shortlist was then voted upon by a selection panel who represent a broad cross-section of backgrounds united in their passion and knowledge of jazz. The winners, have been chosen by judging members of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG). APPJAG currently has 80 members from the House of Commons and House of Lords across all political parties. Their aim is to encourage wider and deeper enjoyment of jazz, to increase Parliamentarians’ understanding of the jazz industry and issues surrounding it, to promote jazz as a musical form and to raise its profile inside and outside Parliament.  

During the presentations, a number of those presenting and receiving awards spoke about the reduction in support funding for Jazz, highlighting the difference in grant aid that other genres, particularly Opera, receive in comparison. They also drew the audience's attention to the decrease in music education in schools and the continuing closure of Jazz venues. This was an appropriate occasion to point out these issues and there is no doubt that more support funding is needed, but these factors have been around for some time now and in addition to support funding, new approaches and new thinking about funding support for Jazz is needed. Perhaps a 'meeting of minds' should be arranged to include representation from musicians, venues, Parliament, business, etc?

The nominations and award winners (highlighted in blue) were:

Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Liane Carroll, Georgia Mancio, Zara McFarlane, Ian Shaw.

Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Rob Luft, Arun Ghosh, Ross Stanley,

Arun Ghosh

Jazz Album of the Year: Arun Ghosh – But Where Are You Really From?; Denys Baptiste – The Late Trane; Gareth Lockrane Big Band – Fistfight At The Barndance

Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Ezra Collective, Dinosaur, ARQ – Alison Rayner Quintet, Beats and Pieces Big Band

Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Fergus McCreadie, Sarah Tandy, Shirley Tetteh,


Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year - clarinettist Arun Ghosh. Arun was also nominated for his album But Where Are You Really From?

Arun Ghosh is a clarinettist, composer and music educator. Described by Ravi Shankar as a 'natural born improviser', he is a renowned innovator of the modern Indo Jazz style. A passionate, dynamic and eloquent performer, Arun's playing combines South Asian raags (scales) and taals (rhythms), with the musical inspirations of his British-Asian and northern upbringing; jazz, rock, classical, folk, hip-hop and dance cultures. Based in London and Manchester, Arun has released four albums on Camoci Records; his latest, the autobiographical But Where Are You Really From? was released in October 2017, accompanied by an extensive national tour in 2017/18. Click here for a video of Arun and his band playing Dagger Dance.


Arun Ghosh


Jazz Venue of the Year: Jazz Re:Freshed, Jazz At The Lescar, South Coast Jazz Festival

Jazz Media Award: Richard Williams, Kevin Le Gendre, Lance Liddle – Bebop Spoken Here

Jazz Education Award: Pete Churchill, Jean Toussaint, Nikki Iles

Services to Jazz Award: Blow The Fuse - Alison Rayner and Deirdre Cartwright, Jill Rodger - Glasgow Jazz Festival, Gary Crosby, Gill Wilde  

Special APPJAG Award: Gary Crosby





Jazz Quiz

Location, Location


In the Quiz this month we give you fifteen questions about jazz-related locations.
How many can you identify?


Sporting House


For example:

In which area of New Orleans would you have found a Sporting House after 1897?


Click here for the Jazz Quiz.





‘Evenings for Ed’ at The Albany - 1st - 3rd November

1st November
- Omar Puente Sextet + special guest ; 2nd November - Riot Jazz Brass Band ; 3rd November - Transglobal Underground featuring Natasha Atlas.

In December 2011, Ed Renshaw, the son of British clothes designer Margaret Howell, committed suicide following a long bout of depression. Ed was a gifted musician. He was 30. Ed, who had been playing guitar since the age of ten had a rare talent for the instrument, equally fluent in classical, jazz and other styles he had achieved international recognition and had a bright future ahead of him. Despite the Ed Renshawmentoring and support he received from the music business, family and friends, Ed suffered from a lack of self-esteem. Set up in memory of Renshaw by his family and friends in 2012, the Ed Renshaw Award aims to help young musicians (some of whom have mental health issues) in South East London – Ed’s home - to achieve their potential. The Albany, based in the heart of Deptford has been proud to host the bi-annual fundraising concerts that have seen the likes of Alec Dankworth, Beth Orton and Chris Difford (Squeeze) perform.

This year, the Albany will host four extraordinary, consecutive concerts spanning different genres:  Steve Howe (solo) (played on 31st October), Omar Puente Sextet,  Riot Jazz Brass Band and the original line-up of Transglobal Underground featuring Natacha Atlas who will each perform in the intimate setting of the Albany’s in-the-round space. These four concerts will raise money to continue the good work of Ed Renshaw Music Award and each show will be preceded by a short set from one of four recipients of this year’s award: Amar-Reece Hanlan, Sasha Thomas, Sabrina Obiago and Jack Patchett. Click here for tickets.

The Ed Renshaw Award has, this year, worked with Youth Music and Goldsmiths University. Youth Music is a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances. Each year, they support around 350 music-making projects, helping more than 75,000 children and young people develop personally, socially and musically. They support children and young people to build their confidence, resilience, and self-esteem. To meet different kinds of people, learn to trust each other, and make friends. To develop vital skills they need, get support to be able to face the world, and take control of their own lives.

Applications for the Ed Renshaw Award must be aged 16-25, be resident in South East London and are usually considered in the summer of each year.





Jazz Oboe?

You Can't Be Serious!

by Gail Ford


[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].



Gail Ford


For some folk, the idea of jazz on the oboe is like seeing a dog walking about on its hind legs, and talking.  You’re not surprised at it being done well, you’re amazed it’s being done at all.  Jazz and oboes?  Really?  Oh yes my e-friends, indeedy.

I started as a pianist (still my full time job), and was classically trained.  I took up the oboe in an unguarded moment – unguarded by my husband and daughter that is, who had been used to a reed-free existence, with no reason to suppose that would ever change.  They have put up with living in an oboe-centric universe wonderfully well, all things considered.  I have a wonderful teacher who is mildly bemused at the path my playing has taken – open mic nights, busking, jazz gigs, and the idea for a jazz oboe quartet; any passing pianists/keyboard players reading this, please get in touch.  I’d love to hear from you (I live in the Cambridge area).  I started playing jazz, Latin, etc, because I liked it, and nobody told me it couldn’t be done.  I began learning my jazz trade courtesy of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s Jazz-Rock Summer School.  Truly one of the most supportive and encouraging courses to go on – irrespective of instrument, with some amazing names from the jazz world giving their time and expertise to nurture and bring on new talent. THOROUGHLY RECOMMENDED – and no, they haven’t paid me to say that. 


Click here to listen to Gail playing her composition, Thank You Mr Baker, (inspired by the 2015 film about Chet Baker, Born To Be Blue, starring Ethan Hawke).


We’re a C instrument, and the sound is produced through a double reed, made of 2 pieces of cane from a grass - arundo donax, since you’re asking.  With the French horn, it’s the smallest embouchure of any wind/brass instrument – making it very challenging to play. We’re more usually found in orchestras, classical chamber groups, and (almost grudgingly) wind bands, Baroque Oboewhere we are sometimes used as ersatz flutes, often getting a part consisting of all the notes left over from everybody else’s, like a bad collection of tiles at musical Scrabble.  If I see a part marked ‘Flute/Oboe’ my heart sinks.  It usually means the arranger/composer forgot that an oboe part was needed, and just added ‘and oboe’ next to ‘flute’, grabbed his coat and dashed off home– job done.  Our heyday was the Baroque era, where we were loved, fêted, given endless concertos…….  Ah, the good old days.


Baroque Oboe


Don’t get me wrong, I do like clarinets and saxes (though I couldn’t eat a whole one) – the tone and range of colours, not to mention their flexibility over a wide range is amazing. Think of us as having a similar range to trumpets (not too far wrong), and being quite nifty at punchy bright rhythms (à la Quintet Of The Hot Club Of France).

Once you know our strengths, you can play, or rather write, to them.  It’s just that due to the way the oboe is made, it’s not suited to passages like the syrupy glissando that sets the beginning of Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue alight.  The reason is that there are open-holed, conservatoire and dual system styles of construction and key work; the metal gubbins that crawls over much of the grenadilla wood of the instrument’s body.  Don’t bother about this, we can do funky stuff too – we can bend and inflect notes, with the way we produce the air through our lungs and the soft palate in the mouth, ideal for blues soul and Latin. 


Click here to listen to Gail playing her composition Tea And Empathy.


And there is a fairly long and honourable history of oboists in jazz to prove it, including the following:-


Yusuf Lateef


Yusef Lateef – a multi instrumental jazz legend, who played with Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderley, and turned his attention to the oboe – on his album Cry Tender! the oboe is described as a “double-reed creature that bites inattentive handlers” – and that’s before we get onto the vexed and complex subject of reeds.  (No, trust me, if you’re not an oboist, you won’t want to know).  There’s a cool track by Yusef orginally released on the Savoy label and on his album The Dreamer called Oboe Blues – check it out.  I was incredibly privileged to get Lateef’s personal permission to transcribe his arrangement of Jerome Kern’s classic song ‘Yesterdays’, about a year or so before he died.  I’ll always regret not sending him a recording; I felt it wouldn’t have done him justice and didn’t want to be pushy or intrude.

Click here for a video of Yusef Lateef playing oboe on a recording of In The Evening with Kenny Barron (piano); Bob Cunningham (bass) and Albert Heath (drums).



Paul McCandless




Paul McCandless – fronts a band called Oregon, and has worked with such varied artists as Al Jarreau and The String Cheese Incident.  How can you not respect a man who works with an outfit called that. 

Click here for a video of Oregon (Ralph Towner - guitar, piano; Paul McCandless - woodwinds; Glen Moore - bass; Mark Walker - drums, percussion) and Witchi-Tai-To.







Evan Cobb





Evan Cobb – Nashville.  Tenor sax player (see, we are related to saxophones!) musician, composer, educator and all round good jazz egg.  He has played with (amongst many others) Steven Tyler, Jerry Lee Lewis and the late, great, Aretha Franklin. 








Jean Luc Fillon



Jean Luc Fillon – who not only plays jazz oboe, but jazz cor anglais and jazz oboe d’amore to boot.  Jazz oboe d’amore – now there’s a niche market.   Jean-Luc, known as ‘Oboman’, also runs a summer school in a fabulous chateau in France for oboists wanting to learn and improve their jazz improvising skills.  All that and great wine too.

Click here for a compilation video of Jean-Luc in 2004 with Jean-Luc Fillon (oboe, english horn, duduk); João Paulo (piano) and Carlo Rizzo (tambourins).





Yoram Lachish



Yoram Lachish plays jazz cor anglais with Avishai Cohen, and many other groups.  He’s a performer, improviser and composer, who combines classical with other genres, and plays not only the cor anglais and oboe, but the shehnai (Indian oboe) and Zurna (Turkish oboe) amongst other ethnic wind instruments.

Click here for a video of Yoram Lachish playing Oblivion with the Piango Quartet (Yoram Lachish - Jazz Oboe; Adrian Justus - 1'st Violin; Guy Figer - 2'nd Violin; Amijai Shalev - Bandoneon; Shachar Ziv - Piano; Rinat Avisar - Contrabass).





I am now a published composer and arranger – an arrangement of Dean Friedman’s beautiful ballad ‘Humor Me’ was given the thumbs up by the man himself, and at one time featured on his website’s home page.

Gail's arrangement of Humor Me is no longer on Dean's website, but you can listen to it if you click here.

For further information about Gail, or to contact her, click here for her website.
She also has music for sale on, and


Gail Ford

Gail Ford




Directory of Alternative Musical Definitions



A warning cry best heeded when walking in the vicinity of lumberjacks.


Lumberjack big band

Click the picture

(with thanks to Dave Simms)

Click here for more Alternative Definitions.





Dizzy 101

Dizzy Gillespie’s nephew, MC G. Craig “Butter” Glanville, is working on a new in-depth documentary about the be-bop legend. The producer and drummer has announced a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo to raise funds for the project, to be titled 'Dizzy 101', and whichDizzy Gillespie has so far been paid for out of his own pocket. He says he’s exhaustively researching and going deep into the life of his uncle, featuring musicians from the past and present and focussing on the incredible life story of Dizzy, and how it continues to inspire people today. Including the story of his famous trumpet, his band-leading, scat singing, many showbiz appearances and even his brief political career!

'Through 60 plus years of archival photographs, home movies, and unseen performance footage, viewers will be re-introduced to Dizzy Gillespie, the composer, bandleader, talented scat singer, State Department Music Ambassador, and Presidential candidate. Yes, Presidential candidate! In 1964, Dizzy ran for President of the United States! He said that if he were elected, the White House would be called ‘The Blues House’ and his government would include jazz artists such as Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong!'

In addition to funds, Glanville is inviting contributions of stories, encounters, photos and film of Gillespie for possible use.

For more details, put Dizzy 101 into your search engine (giving the link here ends up requiring you to update various search engines).




Novel Jazz

With Christmas approaching, I though I would share six jazz-related novels (not biographies) that I have enjoyed and that you might like to find in your stocking, give as a gift, or just read anyway. In each instance I have given a link to Amazon where you can read various reviews, but you could equally check out other sites such as Waterstones, or pop into your local bookshop or library. Some of these books are also available on Kindle:


The Axeman's Jazz


The Axeman's Jazz by Ray Celestin (Pan).

'New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer - The Axeman - stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him. Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot, heading up the official investigation, and harbouring a grave secret, is struggling to find leads. Former detective Luca d'Andrea, working with the mafia, whose need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as that of the authorities. Meanwhile, Ida, a secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency, stumbles across a clue which lures her and her musician friend, Louis Armstrong, to the case and into terrible danger . . . As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer's identity, the Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim'.




Dead Man's Blues


Dead Man's Blues by Ray Celestin (Pan).

Sequel to The Axeman's Jazz. Louis Armstrong travels to Chicago to join King Oliver's band. His friend Ida is now based there with the Pinkerton Agency. 'Chicago, 1928. In the stifling summer heat three investigations begin . . . Pinkerton detectives Michael Talbot and Ida Davis are hired to locate a missing heiress. But it proves harder than expected to find a woman known across the city. After being called to a gruesome murder in Chicago’s violent Black Belt, crime-scene photographer Jacob Russo can’t get the dead man’s image out of his head, and decides to track down the culprit himself. And with a group of city leaders poisoned at the Ritz, Dante Sanfelippo – rum-runner and fixer – is called in by Al Capone to discover whether someone is trying to bring down his empire. As the three parties edge closer to the truth, their paths will cross and their lives will be threatened. But will any of them find the answers they need in the city of blues, booze and brutality?'




The Horn


The Horn by John Clellon Holmes (Souvenir Press)

'This mesmerizing tale of a musician’s rise and fall is widely considered the greatest jazz novel ever published. Edgar Pool came up with the big bands. He spent the 1930s crisscrossing the country, playing in only the finest dance halls. In those days, a saxophone player was expected to stay on the beat, to swing without getting too hot. But Edgar - whom the young men called “the Horn” - couldn’t help but rebel. His sound was always far-out, never pedestrian. When the bebop revolution came, Edgar was recognized as one of the vanguard. But by then it was already too late; the world had passed the Horn by. This is the story of jazz in the transition years between swing titans Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young and bop innovators Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Rich in the details of a musician’s life - the grind of the road; the flash of inspiration; the seduction of booze, drugs, and willing women - it is also a heart-wrenching portrait of the price an artist pays for being ahead of his time'.




Half Blood Blues


Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (Serpent's Tail)

'Chip told us not to go out. Said, don't you boys tempt the devil. But it been one brawl of a night, I tell you. The aftermath of the fall of Paris, 1940. Hieronymous Falk, a rising star on the cabaret scene, was arrested in a cafe and never heard from again. He was twenty years old. He was a German citizen. And he was black. Fifty years later, Sid, Hiero's bandmate and the only witness that day, is going back to Berlin. Persuaded by his old friend Chip, Sid discovers there's more to the journey than he thought when Chip shares a mysterious letter, bringing to the surface secrets buried since Hiero's fate was settled. In Half Blood Blues, Esi Edugyan weaves the horror of betrayal, the burden of loyalty and the possibility that, if you don't tell your story, someone else might tell it for you. And they just might tell it wrong ...'





Outside In



Outside In by Scott Schachter (StarBeat Press)

'Shawn is a hard-luck saxophonist with an unearthly muse. His demented neighbors, a mob boss and a choir of interdimensional aliens with sharp teeth are not the only things that stand between Shawn and jazz stardom. A bigger problem is no one likes his crazy music. Worst of all, it scares off Carole, the woman he loves more than anyone. It even scares himself because he knows one day he’ll follow his reckless muse until he goes insane, and Carole will stay away forever. When his soul collides with reality, Shawn must choose between his art and his love'.





Off Key Mark Robertson



Off Key by Mark Robertson (Matador)

'Charlotte has supported Kyle's precarious musical career for three years. Now it's her turn. When Kyle doesn't want to play the breadwinner, she looks to a future on the other side of the Atlantic. Saxophonist Kyle has no money, no career and has now lost the love of his live. Can an autistic twelve-year-old boy and an alcoholic 'has been' be his salvation?'







Lens America

Sara Schoenbeck, tuba player Dan Peck


Bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck and tuba player Dan Peck photographed by JazzTrail photographer Clara Pereira in September at the The Stone in New York City where they played Harris Eisenstadt's Poschiavo 50.

Filipe Freitas writes: 'On Friday, September 21, JazzTrail headed to The Stone, where drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt had his weeklong concert residency, gathering different formations to explore many soundscape possibilities. Naturally leaning on the avant side of the jazz spectrum, Eisenstadt was accompanied by bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck, tuba player Dan Peck, and the influential electronics artisan and laptop improviser Ikue Mori. The concert consisted of five original pieces penned last summer as segments of a 50-part composition project for mixed ensembles entitled Poschiavo 50. Fulfilling their roles with a privileged sense of collectiveness, the quartet built a mix of fragile and strapping scenarios, sometimes surrounding us with mysterious futuristic ambiances that never felt antagonistic .....
The audience reacted with satisfaction and the quartet demonstrated an admirable chemistry'. Click here for Filipe's full review; Click here for a video of the gig.





Poetry and Jazz


Music, Social Comment and We Are All

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 below].

The vast majority of music is ephemeral, entertaining or something interesting to listen to, but it can also be more than this, it can cause elation, sadness and in some cases can express views and emotion more effectively than words can. Taking the idea further, songs can be Marcha really effective way of stimulating a common purpose in people, such as singing from the same hymn sheet, either in church or metaphorically,  while protest songs are an excellent way of conveying a message. 

Probably one of the most famous songs of this type was written by Abel Meeropol (Lewis Allan),  Maurice Pearl and Dwayne P Wiggins, - Strange Fruit. It is perhaps best remembered for being sung by Billie Holiday in 1939 at a New York club called Café Society.  In an article in The Guardian, Dorian Lynskey refers to it as '.. a song about racist lynchings that stunned audiences and redefined popular music'.  Strange Fruit was included in the list of the top 20 political songs of all time published In 2010 in The New Statesman. Others in that list included This Land Is Your Land by Woodie Guthrie, Imagine by John Lennon and Where Have All the Flowers Gone by Pete Seeger.  Such songs are well known by very many people and when heard can invoke strong feelings about the injustices suffered by minorities, about damage to the environment and the appalling consequences of war, but songs and music can be equally effective at engendering feelings of patriotism - songs such as Rule Britannia, Finlandia and Beethoven's Ode To Joy, which has become the national anthem of the European Union.  

When it comes to protest and social comment it is probably true that songs are a more effective vehicle than music alone and so with the jazz canon consisting predominantly of instrumental rather than vocal music suggests there are perhaps rather fewer instances of social comment in jazz than might be expected, given its origins and history.  Having said that the Café Society Club was itself a comment on the racism prevalent in New York society, the club called itself "the wrong place for the right people" and subsequently it was closed down, ironically following in the footsteps of the pre-war Berlin clubs on which it was modelled and closed by the regime at that time. 

Others have suggested that jazz in general, and bebop jazz in particular, was the voice of Black America calling for freedom - (Gilad Atzmon, Politics Charlie Parkerand Jazz, Counterpunch, 20/11/2004) citing Charlie Parker's 1945 tune, Now's The Time, as a clarion call for social change. Certainly, the civil rights campaigner, Martin Luther King, who was a great fan of Charlie Parker quoted him with the phrase 'Now Is The Time' in his famous 'I Have A Dream' speech in August 1963.


Charlie Parker


There were four takes of Now's The Time recorded on 26th November 1945. The fourth, slower take is the one that was the official release, but I think this is Bird from the third take (click here).

Just a few weeks later a bomb, planted by white supremacists, exploded in a church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four children.  This appalling crime with Martin Luther King's moving condemnation of it inspired the composition of the tune Alabama by John Coltrane.  Martin Luther King himself was assassinated in 1968 and was himself commemorated in the Nina Simone song Why (The King Of Love Is Dead).  The Charlie Mingus song, Fables of Faubus, was an explicit condemnation of Orval Faubus, Governor of Arkansas, who in 1957 ignored the U.S. Supreme Court and decreed that Little Rock Central High School remain racially segregated and yet the version on Mingus's classic 1959 album, Mingus Ah Um is an instrumental.  The reason for this, according to Gene Santoro, is that the Columbia record company didn't want the words to be on the record.  The full version was eventually released under the name Original Faubus Fables on the 1960 album Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus. (Click here for more on The Fables Of Faubus).

In more recent times many jazz musicians have come together to support social and political causes, Barack Obama benefitted from a Phronesisfund-raising concert in 2012 called Jazz For Obama, while in 2015 Jazz For Labour featured an exceptional array of UK jazz talent.  Vocalist Vimala Rowe gave her rendition of Strange Fruit at this event and Courtney Pine closed the show by remarking that "in jazz and life we can only do this together". 

Almost as if prompted by Courtney Pine's comment, the band Phronesis, with Jaspar Høiby on double bass, Ivo Neame on piano and Anton Eger on drums have just released an album called We Are All with the strap line "One album, multiple covers, one message of interconnectedness".  Continuing to quote from their publicity material: "The trio aim to shine a light on the interconnectedness of all living species and the responsibility we hold as human beings to co-exist in harmony with our environment, and to protect the beauty, fragility and welfare of our planet, and each other".  These sentiments, inspired by the Scottish/American enviromental campaigner John Muir, set the tone for the album.   


Phronesis (Ivo Neame, Anton Eger and Jaspar Høiby)


One For Us, the first and longest track on the album, opens with piano triplets harmonised with bowed double bass in a classical style before plucked double bass and crashing cymbals herald something quite different, the piece continues with the combined trio rather than solo improvisation that is such an exciting hallmark of a live Phronesis performance leading to a lovely, melodic solo from Høiby and then a drum solo from Eger with Neame providing a hypnotic rhythm. 

Click here for a video of Phronesis playing One For Us from the album.

Anton Eger's composition, The Tree Did Not Die is a message of hope and musical tribute to the redwood trees in Muir Woods, a National Monument park in the USA named after John Muir. The Tree Did Not Die includes electronic keyboard and synthesiser from Neame which he employed to great effect  in his own album Moksha, it certainly reveals a different and rather interesting variation to the Phronesis sound.

Click here for a video extract from The Tree Did Not Die.

Ivo Neame's inspiration for his tune Matrix For D.A. is Douglas Adams, best known for his book A Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy, but also an environmental campaigner whose activities included raising awareness and funds to help save gorillas, rhinos and other less well Phronesis We Are All albumknown species from the threat of extinction.  The tune has so much going on it is difficult to take it all in and you certainly need to listen several times to appreciate the finer points and polyrhythmic nature of the piece. 

Click here for a video of Phronesis playing Matrix For D.A.

Breathless, the title of Jaspar Høiby's composition, highlights the fate of a world where its natural resources and very atmosphere have been abused by its human inhabitants threatening the breath of life itself.  The track starts slowly with a plodding piano and double bass providing the melody although these roles are swapped as the piece progresses to a somewhat enigmatic conclusion.

The inspiration for other tracks on the album, Eger's The Edge and Neame's Emerald Horseshoe are not obvious but Høiby's One For Us surely highlights the general theme of the album which is that by demonstrating mutual understanding and harmony in their musicianship, the band can inspire a similar determination within their audience and hopefully the population at large. Eger's The Edge is an unexpectedly tender and melodic composition from a drummer whose performances are so often energetic and forceful, however one must admit that it speeds up significantly with a crescendo towards the end.  Neame's Emerald Horseshoe has a rather mysterious title which reflects the cryptic nature of the music

Most of the critical comment published since the release of the album We Are All has been about the music, all extremely positive, highlighting the band's continued development, the excellence of their musicianship, compositions and rapport.  However apart from the music there is a message which the band is trying to communicate which is their concern for the health of our planet and the wellbeing of all its inhabitants.  The pictures on the album cover show large masses of  people, animals, fish and trees indicating the interdependence of all living things described by the environmental campaigner John Muir.  While it is undeniably easier to convey such messages with songs rather then music alone, if Phronesis fans everywhere were to pass on this message the band may well achieve a whole lot more than great music and carry on a tradition of caring for others initiated by the campaigning jazz musicians of America during their struggle for civil rights.


John Muir

John Muir



Click here to sample the tracks on the album. Click here for album purchase details. Click here for more about John Muir.





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].


Ida Karlsson


Ida Karlsson


Saxophonist Ida Karlsson lives in Malmö, Sweden. She recently came to the UK as part of a tour by the Kathrine Windfeld Big Band where many people were able to catch some of Scandanavia’s impressive jazz talent.

Ida grew up in Haraker outside Västerås. Her mother’s band occasionally rehearsed at home in the garage, where as a child, Ida liked to Scandanvia maplisten and play along (on maracas…). She started playing the saxophone when she was eleven - her fascination with the instrument probably began in earnest after hearing a concert by The Rollin' Phones.

Click here for a video of the Swedish saxophone quartet the Rollin' Phones playing Gershwin's I Loves You Porgy / I Got Plenty Of Nuttin' from Porgy And Bess.

Ida began taking piano lessons, primarily to better understand music theory and harmonies and during her teens, she played in the brass band Flickgardet and later with the big band Hildings Damer. After high school, and following a few years of study at music colleges, Ida felt a longing to learn something other than music. She also wanted to carve out a clearer place for herself in society, separate from that of a jazz saxophonist. She therefore studied physical therapy for three years at Lund University, but her involvement in music continued at the same time and  she began to play with Emeli Ek in the duo ‘Medi’ and led the quartet ”Digiti Minimi Band”.

 After receiving her Bachelor’s degree, Ida found that she missed playing music so much that she enrolled at Malmö Academy of Music, ‘an open-minded place where she immediately felt at home’. It was there that she started her band, the “Ida Karlsson Quartet”, subsequently releasing two albums with her own compositions.

Click here to listen to the Quartet playing the lovely Holmbo Sommarhage from the album Circles.

She now leads the jazz quartet ”IDKA JAZZ” with Martin Juteus on piano, Pontus Häggblom on drums and, until recently, Zacharias Holmkvist on double bass. She also plays (amongst others) with Medi duo; Gursus; Who’s Your Mama; OSSSO and the Kathrine Windfeld Big Band.



Medi for children





Ida writes songs and creates arrangements, primarily within the jazz genre. However, she is able to switch effortlessly between music styles.

Since 2013, the duo Medi has performed for children based on compositions authored by Emeli and Ida where the music mixes movement, play and rhythm. Every performance’s goal is to inspire children to play and simultaneously break the norms around what music can or should be. As these performances have grown, Ida has widened her arsenal of instruments, as well as creating her own scenery and costumes.

Is anyone in need of an accordion? A dancing squirrel? And a tail? Ida can naturally deliver any and all of this!







I managed to catch up with Ida for a Tea Break:


Hej, Ida, tea or coffee?

Hej! Coffee please.

Milk and sugar?

A tiiiiny drop of milk.



Bullret Jazz Club



What is the jazz scene like in Sweden – are there many jazz clubs in the cities and do you have a favourite?

The Swedish jazz scene is, as I guess the jazz scene is in many places, divided in sub-genres. There are jazz clubs in most Swedish cities thanks to dedicated volunteers. Some of them only offer old swing, some focus on modern jazz.

In my hometown Malmö, there is 'Bullret' and "Jazz i Malmö”. Both of them have a very open mind when booking bands, which I think is great. The jazz scene needs that if the genre shall have a chance to survive.


Bullret Jazz Club during a pre-performancesoundcheck





Do you play mainly in Sweden or in Scandinavia generally?

My band IDKA JAZZ has only played in Sweden so far, but will play in Germany soon. Since I play in several other bands I have played a lot in Denmark too.


Do you think Scandinavian clubs would welcome bands from the UK?




Your band IDKA JAZZ seems to be quite busy with gigs and you have a new album out – who are the members of the band and have you been together for a long time?

Our pianist is Martin Juteus who is also an artist/painter! And writes music for other bands. Pontus Häggblom is our drummer originally from Finland, and Aaron Mandelmann, bass, is a new member of the band, since a couple of months ago (after Zackarias moved back home to Finland). We have played together since May 2017!  






That's quite a recent line-up then, but of course there is your earlier work with the Ida Karlsson Quartet - I really like your Quartet's recording of Holmbo Sommarhage from the 2013 Circles album - What does Holmbo Sommarhage mean?

It means "Summer fields of Holmbo". Holmbo is where my brother lives, not far from where we grew up. The title is a blink to the piano piece Intåg i sommarhagen by Wilhelm Petterson Berger. 




The Onion's Core album


Your latest album with IDKA JAZZ album ‘The Onion’s Core’ was released in April this year - I find it captivating and really engaging with some great saxophone playing from yourself. Where did the title of the album come from and is there a story behind the compositions?

Thank You! I’m glad you enjoyed it. The album is named after one of my songs. I have tried different ways of composing and have often been over-thinking (I guess). I thought a lot about chords, and scales and how to make things sound ‘jazzy’, but this song more or less came to me while practising. It sounds a bit like music I heard as a child, which made me think over other compositions I wrote to this album – and a lot of them remind me of music I listened to, and played as a child. I mean, even though I’ve studied music (jazz) a lot my inner sound is very influenced by my childhood.

Click here to listen to The Onion's Core.




That link to the music of your childhood is interesting, particularly in relation to the work you and Emeli as Medi do with children. People can also see the band playing one of the tunes from the album, ‘Humble’, on YouTube – I love this tune – why was it called ‘Humble’?

There are so many things that remind me of being humble… When this song was new, I wasn’t happy with it. But when I tried it with the band it grew and it is a blast to play it with these people. Together we open new doors.

Click here for the video of IDKA JAZZ playing Humble live at INKONST Malmö.







What do you usually have in Sweden with your tea break? I have some biscuits here if you fancy one – bourbons, chocolate digestives, Hob Nobs ....?

We don’t have tea break. We have “fika”. Fika is usually only coffee and in southern Sweden where I live, the coffee is very strong. (Up north it’s milder but still much stronger than in the UK). Everybody likes cinnamon buns I think, or "kladdkaka".







If you could invite a past musician to play with the band – who would you invite, and what would you ask them during your tea break?

O wow! Tough question! There are so many! Nina Simone maybe, but I don’t know if I would dare… or Alice Coltrane or Monica Zetterlund.

Click here to listen to Swedish vocalist Monica Zetterland reflecting back on singing Some Other Time with the Bill Evans Trio in 1965.



Kari Sjöstrand



Who else have you heard recently in Sweden that we should listen out for?

I’ve heard Kari Sjöstrand and her band ”Talk” with Gunnar Åkerhielm, Ulf Åkerhielm and Sebastian Voegler, great band! Her sound reminds me of Dexter Gordon!

Click here for Kari's studio recording of A Litle Boat for her album Frost Blossom, part of her 'New Orleans' project.






Ida Karlsson with Kathrine Winfeld big band


What do you have planned for the coming months?

The next four months I will play some gigs with the Kathrine Windfeld Big Band in Sweden! I am playing a couple of tours with Medi and our children’s shows. I am also arranging music for a new, yet secret, jazz project!

IDKA JAZZ has a couple of gigs and tonight actually Martin and I are playing as a duo.

Apart from playing I will (hopefully) write a bachelor essay on Music Pedagogy.


Ida with the Kathrine Winfeld Big Band






Click here for a video of Ida playing WASP with the Kathrine Winfeld Big Band at the 2017 Copenhagen Jazz Festival.



That is quite a busy scedule - I hope somewhere in the future you will come back to the UK again. In the meantime, would you like another slice of kladdkaka?

No thank you, it tastes so good that one piece is enough winking emoji



Tack för att du pratar med mig, Ida

Tack själv, det var trevligt!



Click here for Ida Karlsson's website. Click here for details of the album The Onion's Core.

Ida Karlsson


Utah Tea Pot




Supreme Standards - Ghost Notes

The organisers of the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, which has built a sizeable fanbase since its launch in 2013 and this year attracted a record crowd of 45,000 across the weekend, are launching 'Supreme Standards', a new sub-brand which will incorporate a monthly live residency in London and a new online music platform. Having launched the inaugural Love Supreme at the Roundhouse Festival earlier this year, which will return to the capital in 2019, Love Supreme continues its expansion in the live sector with the addition of a monthly series of Ghost Notesconcerts at Ghost Notes in London at the beginning of 2019.

Ghost Notes is located at Peckham Levels, 95A Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST.


The series will add a new dimension to London’s thriving live music scene and will showcase an eclectic selection of cutting-edge acts from across the jazz spectrum.

Lined up to perform at the first event on January 31st are Ruby Rushton, the South London quartet led by Ed ‘Tenderlonious’ Cawthorne, and rising-star multi-instrumentalist and producer Emma-Jean Thackray.

Also launching is a brand new online platform designed to offer a one-stop shop for fans of both new and established jazz-influenced music. The Supreme Standards site will incorporate premieres, feature a bi-weekly podcast, interviews, guest mixes, Q&As, think pieces and much more. The first two guests on the podcast are confirmed as Sampa The Great and Emma-Jean Thackray.

Love Supreme Founder Ciro Romano says: “Following the overwhelmingly positive response to our festivals this year, it felt like a great time to broaden what we’re offering. We’re keen to support the continuing resurgence in the popularity of jazz, particularly amongst the younger demographic, and to engage with a wider, more diverse audience. Tina (Tina Edwards, the host) is an incredibly well-respected figure in this area and will do a great job of spearheading this new chapter in the Love Supreme story”.

Click here for tickets and for more about Supreme Standards at Ghost Notes.





Poetry and Jazz

Don't You Feel My Leg
Maria Muldaur sings the Naughty Bawdy Blues of Blue Lu Barker

by Kate Gamm


[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


Maria Muldaur

Maria Muldaur from a 1999 album

Click here to listen to Maria Muldaur with Blue Lou Barker and Don't You Feel My Leg. This track is quite a unique duet from Maria Muldaur and Blue Lu Barker, (posthumously sampled from a 1989 JazzFest recording of Lu and her late husband, Danny Barker). Blu Lu was an early advocate for safe sex but was considered too risqué for recording in her earlier singing career! Vocals - Maria Muldaur and Blue Lu Barker (vocals - sampled from ‘89 recording courtesy of Orleans Records); Kenneth Blevins (drums); George Porter, Jr. (bass); Cranston Clemments (guitar); Chris Burns (piano); Leroy Jones (trumpet); Mark Mullins (trombone). [The track is from an album produced by the New Orleans Musician's Clinic who brought together 100 musicians, songwriters and others to pay tribute to the legacy of New Orleans music].


Whatever the temperature of the Summer of 1974, no song captures the spirit of that year better than Midnight At The Oasis.  Earning a Grammy award nomination for 30 year old Maria Muldaur, it transformed a little known singer into chart topper on both sides of the Atlantic.

Maria Muldaur was born Maria Grazia Rosa Domenica D'Amato in Greenwich Village, New York City in 1943. She began her career in the 1960s as Maria D'Amato, performing with Jug Bands and was part of the Greenwich Village scene that included Bob Dylan - some of her recollections of the period, particularly with respect to Dylan, appear in Martin Scorsese’s film about Dylan, No Direction Home.

Click here for a very brief video clip of Maria with the Jim Queskin Jug Band.

Maria married fellow Jug Band member Geoff Muldaur but began a solo career when their marriage ended in 1972. Her first solo album, Maria Muldaur, reached number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974. Her 2005 release Sweet Lovin' Ol' Soul was nominated for both a Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Award) and a Grammy Award in the 'Traditional Blues' category. In 2013, she was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female) category.

Over forty years on from her chart-topping Midnight At The Oasis, Muldaur’s 41st album pays tribute to vocalist and songwriter Blue Lu Barker, who made her mark in the 1930s and 1940s and was cited by Billie Holiday as her greatest influence.  It was Barker's Don't You Feel My Leg that made it onto Muldaur's 1973 Blue Lu Barkersolo debut album at the suggestion of Dr. John.  Despite the commercial success of Midnight At The Oasis, to this day Don’t You Feel My Leg remains her most requested song at live gigs.

Louisa Dupont Barker was born in New Orleans in 1913. Her father ran a grocery store and pool hall, making money during prohibition with bootleg liquor. Louisa left school when she was just 13 and married banjo player / guitarist Danny Barker. Danny played with the Boozan Kings early on in New Orleans and toured Mississippi with Little Brother Montgomery. In 1930, Louisa and Danny moved to New York where Danny worked with a variety of jazz musicians including Sidney Bechet, Albert Nicholas, James P. Johnson, Lucky Milliner and Cab Calloway; and Louisa with Cab Calloway  and Jelly Roll Morton amongst others. Danny wrote Don’t You Feel My Leg for Louisa to sing. In 1938, Louisa recorded her first sessions for Vocalion where the producer came up with her ‘Blue Lu Barker’ stage name. Lu and Danny went on to be contracted by Decca and then by the Apollo label in the 1940s – one of the Apollo sessions featuring a jam with Charlie Parker.

Blue Lu Barker


Click here to listen to Lu singing Deep Blue Sea Blues in 1938 with Danny Barker's Fly Cats - Danny Barker (guitar), Henry 'Red' Allen (trumpet), Buster Bailey (clarinet), Sammy Price (piano), Wellman Braud (b), unknown (d).

Blue Lu’s most well-known recordings were made around 1938, often accompanied by Danny on banjo and guitar. Don't You Feel My Leg was a well-crafted song that seemed to encourage promiscuity and restraint simultaneously, 'always a good thing for the music business’ ( Blue Lu went on singing with a final recording in 1998 at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. She died in May of that year and was buried in New Orleans.

Click here to listen to Blue Lu Barker singing Buy Me Some Juice with Danny Barker's Sextette

Maria Muldaur and Blue Lu formed a friendship that lasted until Lu's death in 1998. In 2016, having been invited to perform a tribute to her old friend in New Orleans, Muldaur discovered that Blue Lu had written and recorded dozens of equally naughty, bawdy, witty and clever songs with her husband and co-writer Danny Barker, guitarist of choice for Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong.  “Besides the wonderfully funny, suggestive lyrics, I was really struck by Blue Lu’s delivery of these tunes …. droll, sly, full of sass and attitude, yet understated. Her cool nonchalance and crisp ladylike diction in contrast to the naughty, risqué lyrics made them smoulder with innuendo all the more,” says Maria.

And so to the 2018 album release by Muldaur of Don’t You Feel My Leg – The Naughty, Bawdy Blues of Blue Lu Barker, recorded in New Orleans with A-list Nola Sound Studio musicians:  David Torkanowsky on piano (Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas), Roland Guerin on bass (Allen Toussaint, Steve Earle), Herlin Riley on drums (Dr John, Cassandra Wilson).  Guitarist Chris Adkins has the honour of playing one of Maria Muldaur Dont You Feel My LegDanny Barker’s original 1938 Gibsons.   Recorded as live using vintage sound equipment, the album is true to the spirit and soul of New Orleans and Barker's funny, sassy and risqué material.

This album is the latest in a series by Muldaur celebrating the musical contribution of women from her own musical journey across folk, jazz, gospel and blues. One of these, the 2007 release Naughty, Bawdy & Blue, is a retrospective devoted to pioneering blues women of the early and mid-twentieth century, a celebration of jazz band accompanied blues performances.

Muldaur’s own voice has changed beyond recognition from the early days.  Over time that sweet, girlish voice (not unlike Blue Lu’s) has deepened to a rich, bluesy drawl.  Writing in the 1930s and 1940s, Blue Lu’s writing conveys sexuality by suggestion and innuendo, a ploy used in film, literature and theatre writing at that time.  What united Blue Lu and Danny, who enjoyed a sixty year marriage, are songs celebrating women taking control of their relationships with men.   Loan Me Your Husband, written by Danny, is an upfront bid for infidelity by a frustrated wife.   Handy Andy is like something from the music hall tradition, a barely disguised celebration of Andy’s sexual prowess.

And then there’s the title track – Don’t You Feel My Leg – well, the message is in the title!  


Click here to a video of Maria recording Don't You Feel My Leg from the album.

Click here for details and to sample the album.




Jazz As Art

The People Could Fly

by Camilla George


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)

The People Could Fly is the title track from saxophonist Camilla George's 2018 album. The album is named after a book of African folk tales that portrays the lives and experiences of African slaves who created stories in which animals have assumed the personalities of slaves and slave owners. "The People Could Fly was my favourite story in this collection of tales," says Camilla. "The cover illustration showed men and women flying over the cotton fields. The idea behind it is that some Africans were magical and had the ability to fly but through long enslavement, lost the ability to fly away. This image is bittersweet for me as it is a fantasy tale of suffering and is a powerful testament to the millions of slaves who never had the ability to fly away".


Camilla George


Camilla George is a London-based saxophone player, improviser, composer and teacher. She began playing when she was 11 years old when she won a music lesson and as a result took up the saxophone. In 2012 she graduated with a Masters degree in Jazz from Trinity College of Music, and she won the Archer Scholarship for outstanding performance. Since 2004 Camilla has been working with both Tomorrows Warriors and the Nu Civilisation Orchestra; she joined award winning band, Jazz Jamaica - in 2013 Jazz Jamaica were Camilla George The People Could Flynominated for a MOBO award for Jazz Performance - and in 2014 she joined Courtney Pine's Venus Warriors. Her debut album Isang was released in 2016.

The album intrigued me enough to get a copy of the book on which the music is based - Virginia Hamilton's 'The People Could Fly' and alongside the album it makes a great package. A school library journal says: "The well-known author retells 24 black American folk tales in sure storytelling voice: animal tales, supernatural tales, fanciful and cautionary tales, and slave tales of freedom. All are beautifully readable. With the added attraction of 40 wonderfully expressive paintings by the Dillons, this collection should be snapped up." Click here for details of the book and to listen to an extract.

The album The People Could Fly is varied and textured like the stories it tells. The African reflection is strong in Tappin The Land Turtle, the opening track featuring Cherise Adams-Burnett's vocals: He Lion, Bruh Bear, Bruh Rabbit is the first track that features a Daniel Casimir bass solo - I'm glad there are more from Daniel. How Nehemiah Got Free is funky with Casimir pushing on electric bass; Little Eight John is lullaby-like; Carrying The Runnings Away builds from Winston Clifford's drum intro. and has excellent piano playing from Sarah Tandy and Daniel Casimir again; The Most Useful Slave has Winston Clifford on drums and chains atmospherically taking us into a blues with noticeable playing again from Sarah Tandy, and the album closes with Here But I'm Gone - Quentin Collins guesting on trumpet and with Omar Lye-Fook taking the vocals, if not the substances, he sings about. The album is under Camilla George's name - her creative playing, vision and influence certainly underlies the success of this album - I don't know whether the arrangements are collective or by Camilla, but they are also certainly worth crediting.


Camilla describes The People Could Fly track as 'bittersweet', but I don't hear sadness here, to me it speaks more of hope and promise. The theme is light and Camilla's saxophone 'bookends' some fine guitar playing by Shirley Tettah. As with the whole album, the mix is excellent.

Click here for The People Could Fly on the Jazz as Art page.


Leo and Diane Dillon painting




Do You Have A Birthday In November?


Your Horoscope

for November Birthdays

by 'Marable'




Scorpio (The Scorpion)

23rd October - 22nd November

Last month I said that things were looking good for you in November; Jupiter moves into your money house on the 6th November, and on the 22nd, the Sun also enters your money house with an opportunity for prosperity that could be there for several months.

Uranus is also moving backwards out of your 7th house signalling some stability to your social life. As things might be a little more predictable at this stage, think about making your long term plans while you can. Next year Uranus will move back into your 7th house and could stay there for quite a while making forward planning rather more challenging.

It looks as though with Venus in your 12th house of spirituality this month, it might be at social events, or through social relationships, that you will become involved in altruistic causes.

Repeating what I said last month, career opportunities could still be presenting themselves through November. Continue to be who you are as you go about your business, after all, it is the 'true you' that people respond to.

For you, click here for a video of Thilo Wolf's Big Band in Germany with Caroline Kiesewetter singin It Could Happen To You.


Thilo Wolf Big Band video






Sagittarius (The Archer)

23rd November - 20th December


On the 8th November, Jupiter, the ruler of your Horoscope, crosses your Ascendant and entered your 1st house - now in his own sign and in his own house he is at home and working on your behalf. Your energy levels are able to rise and you should take advantage of this when you recognise that you are feeling good.

On the 6th, Uranus goes retrograde into your 5th house. Usually this is a sign of career stability and even though Mars is moving into more stressful alignment on the 16th, you should be able to handle any stress that comes your way.

By the 22nd there will be only one planet (with the exception of the Moon) above the horizon. The night side of your Horoscope becomes dominant. You are feeling more sure about your short-term goals and people are beginning to notice you. Career opportunities are around, but there is no need to chase after them, just follow your instincts when they present themselves.

After the 17th, with Mercury travelling backwards, it is a time to stop and think about what your Horoscope has been telling you.


For you, click here for a video of Gregory Porter and his Septet and Work Song.


Gregory Porter Work Song







Two Ears Three Eyes

Photographer Brian O'Connor took his camera to a gig at The Hawth in Sussex during September. Here are some of his images:


Noel McCalla


Noel McCalla


Derek Nash's band played a tribute to the music of Stevie Wonder in 'Some Kinda Wonderful' at The Hawth, Crawley, West Sussex on 5th October. The band included Derek Nash (saxophone); Noel McCalla (vocals); Neil Angilley (keyboards); Nic France (drums) and Orefu Orakwue (bass guitar).

Brian says: 'Derek Nash is a very versatile musician.  As a sax player he covers jazz, funk, pop, etc.  He is also a stalwart member of the Jools Holland Band, but on this occasion he was playing the music of Stevie Wonder, with Noel McCalla on vocals.  This is no mere tribute act.  Noel doesn't sound anything like Stevie, but in this context his powerful blues and soul-influenced voice fitted perfectly.  All the favourite Stevie Wonder songs (and a few lesser-known numbers) were given their own different interpretation whilst retaining the essence of the originals.  No mean feat!  For sheer exuberance and excitement this group is hard to beat, but then Derek never gives less than his all.  Derek and Noel together make a terrific team, and accompanied by three further excellent musicians, this is a must see/hear gig if it comes your way.  I'm sure Mr. Wonder would love it.'

Click here for the band playing Stevie Wonder's Sir Duke at Dartford in 2017. [As an aside, if you have never seen Stevie Wonder with James Corden's funny Carpool Karaoke, click here].

Noel McCalla and Derek Nash


Noel McCalla and Derek Nash


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




Directory of Alternative Musical Definitions



Jazz chauvinism


(with thanks to Dave Simms)

Click here for more Alternative Definitions.





Lorraine Baker, Caroline Scott

and the Art Of Drumming

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].

Jazz puts a particular emphasis on rhythm; and not just any rhythm but a swinging, syncopating beat which makes you want to tap your feet even on the slowest blues. Since the earliest days of jazz, the instrument of that beat has been the drum – or, rather, the drum kit with its variety of different drums and cymbals. As jazz has evolved, so different styles of drumming have developed. Certain conventions have also emerged. For instance, the drummers and their drums have often been in the background, both sound wise and also in their stage position in live Buddy Richperformance. But from time to time, the drummer is allowed to take the limelight for another convention: the drum solo. Subtlety is usually not the selling point of the drum solo and many of the star drummers of jazz – Gene Krupa, for example, or Buddy Rich – can sometimes seem keener on displaying their physical stamina rather than their musicality.


Buddy Rich


When 'free jazz' came along in the nineteen sixties, the freedom sometimes applied to the beat as well as everything else. It is difficult to tap your feet to Albert Ayler’s Spiritual Unity, for example, or Coltrane’s Ascension. However, it is surprising how much free jazz retains the distinctive rhythms of the music. Take the daddy of free jazz, Ornette Coleman, whose music usually has a strong rhythmic pulse. Even Free Jazz, the piece which arguably kick-started the whole movement, has a beat of sorts provided by not one but two drummers, Billy Higgins and Ed Blackwell. Blackwell went on to become Coleman’s regular drummer, and continued into a long career often playing with ex-Coleman alumni like Don Cherry or Charlie Haden. Click here for Ed Blackwell playing with the Mal Waldron Quintet in 1986. He died in 1992, aged 62.

Which brings us in a rather roundabout way to Lorraine Baker, a young British jazz drummer inspired by the playing of Ed Blackwell. She has recently released her debut album, Eden, on the Spark! label (last month's Recent Releases). It is made up of pieces played by Blackwell at various times in his career and composed by musicians with whom he collaborated. This includes Ornette Coleman’s Blues Connotation; two pieces by musicians associated with Coleman: Charlie Haden’s Chairman Mao and Don Cherry’s Mopti; and, finally, three pieces by musicians of a slightly younger generation who played with Blackwell later on in his career: Thumbs Up and Pentahouve both by Mark Elias, and Dakar Dance, by Karl Berger.

Click here to listen to the other Mark Elias' number Thumbs Up from the album.

Lorraine Baker has rearranged these tunes with her bass player, Paul Michael. “I have always admired the dance-like quality of Blackwell’s playing and his strong sense of melody”, says Baker, “I wanted to create my version, taking existing tunes that featured him and reimagining the arrangements in a modern setting whilst showcasing my own style as an improviser.” As well as Michael on electric bass, Baker is joined on Eden by Binker Golding on tenor saxophone and Liam Noble on piano

The result is a splendid piece of music making which also highlights some interesting trends in jazz and particularly in jazz drumming. First, Viola SmithLorraine Baker is one of a growing number of women beginning to make their mark in jazz, a genre that used to be seen as very much a masculine endeavour. Jazz drummers, in particular, were almost exclusively male, so to see female drummers competing with the best on their own terms is a cause for celebration.

One wonders how Viola Smith, one of the first female jazz drummers, handled things when we read that she 'gained notoriety as the "female Gene Krupa" and the "fastest girl drummer" (our underlining of 'notoriety'). Perhaps this video of Viola Smith with Frances Carroll and her Coquettes gives us a picture of the time (click here). It is worth noting here that in the supposedly stuffy, conservative world of classical music, they order things differently with few thinking it significant that the most prominent classical percussionist is a woman – Dame Evelyn Glennie. 

Viola Smith


Lorraine Baker's Eden also reflects changes in the role of drummers in jazz. The drum kit is emerging from the back of the stage with drummers like Lorraine Baker fronting their own bands and composing their own pieces. It is significant that the big jazz act of last year – Binker and Moses – was a duo of saxophone and drums with the drums seen as very much the equal of the sax. And drums are increasingly seen not just as time keepers but also as lead instruments in their own right. This has led to much more subtlety in drumming styles with more complex polyrhythms – and Lorraine Bakermore virtuosic drummers often with a solid academic training. Both Lorraine Baker and Moses Boyd (the Moses half of Binker and Moses), for example, are graduates of Trinity Laban School of Music.

These shifts in drumming styles have been accompanied, and to some extent led, by developments in recording, mixing and amplification technologies allowing the drums to be heard much more clearly.  It is noticeable on Eden, for example, how crisp Baker’s drumming sounds.

An upsurge of interest in the whole field of drumming has been cemented by Sky Arts recently devoting a whole series of programmes to The Art of Drumming with drummers talking eloquently about their technique and how the art has developed over time.  


Lorraine Baker


Lorraine Baker’s work on Eden reflects many of these changes in the drummer’s role. The album is bookended by two solos, for example, which are light years away from the pyrotechnic solos of old. Baker gradually and subtly builds her solos in a compelling and absorbing way. The drums are well to the fore on the other tracks; on a piece like Dakar Dance, the drums are almost the lead instrument with the other musicians falling into line behind them.


Click here for Lorraine playing the drum part of Dakar Dance.



The same applies to Pentahouve with its complex but absorbing rhythms. “I wanted”, says Baker, “to elevate the melody with a simple accompaniment, building gradually as layers overlap. The drums play almost continuously, picking up on the melody in different ways, highlighting yet never overpowering the tune and offering an emotive solo response at the conclusion”. That final solo response also has some interesting subtle electronic enhancements.

A word too about the other musicians on the album who play beautifully. Coleman’s Blues Connotation hits a compelling groove with Binker Golding (the sax half of Binker and Moses) in superb form.

Lorraine Baker is touring with her band throughout November, leading up to a formal launch of Eden at the Vortex in London on 29th November. Click here for further details on Lorraine's website. For details and samples of the album, click here.


Lorraine Baker Eden
Caroline Scotta Khoalesce



Whilst Viola Smith and others like Terri Lyne Carrington have led the way, we now see a refreshed emergence of UK-based women playing drums - Cheryl Alleyne, Sophie Alloway ..... and at the same time as the release of Lorraine Baker's Eden, another British drummer, Caroline Scott, is releasing her debut album. Like Baker and Boyd, she is a graduate of Trinity Laban and is beginning to make a name for herself on the British jazz scene. Her debut album is called Caroline ScottKhoalesce and is due for release on 9th November. She leads a band with Kevin Glasgow (bass), Duncan Eagles (tenor saxophone) and John Turville (piano).

Caroline Scott is a Scottish drummer who has been noticed on the London jazz scene in recent years. She has played and recorded in a wide range of musical environments, from theatre shows and jazz big bands, to playing on BBC's 'Strictly Come Dancing'. 


Caroline Scott


Caroline has worked with leading conductors such as Marin Alsop (a protégé of Leonard Bernstein), playing at London's Royal Festival Hall in March and April 2018. Caroline has also lived in Boston where she played regularly with jazz bands and she plays drums and timpani in various orchestras including the Amati Orchestra and BBC Elstree Concert Band. You would hardly notice that in 2017, Caroline underwent open-heart surgery which meant that she was unable to perform for several months, but it was during this time that she began composing what would eventually become Khoalesce. Accepted on the Masters course at Trinity Laban with a full scholarship she was set the task of composing and recording an album within a year - an amazing achievement. The result is Khoalesce which incorporates and develops what she had started whilst recovering, it reflects the contrasting atmospheres and moods that have influenced the creative process.

Click here for a short video of Khoalesce being recorded.

Caroline not only leads the band but has written all 11 tracks. She proves herself adept at a range of compositional styles from the jazz-rock of Big Flashing Lights, through wistful ballads like Overflow and Golden Jubilee, to the Fifties Blue Note swinging blues of Blues For Kev. Like Eden, there are the same complex rhythms which still make you want to tap your feet. There is also the same crisp sound quality. Unlike Eden, though, the drums are mainly in the background, but still superbly played and bang on the beat.

Click here for a clip of Caroline Scott recording with the band Cygnus Flare.

Click here for further details of Khoalesce and click here for Caroline’s website


Finally, it is worth checking out the international 'Hit Like A Girl' annual contest (click here) where you can see videos of this year's winners. The contest is open to women drummers worldwide - girls and women aged between 5 and 65 have entered in past years from more than 50 countries and winners have come from all over…Japan, Indonesia, Chile, Poland, US, the Dominican Republic, and other countries. To enter, you need to upload a video and complete an entry form, usually by the end of April each year - for details click here.

Prizes for the 2018 contest included a wide variety of drumsets, cymbals, drumheads, sticks, hand percussion, snare drums, accessories, scholarships and special awards. In addition, all 2018 HLAG participants receive a link to the Hit Like A Girl Power Pack 3 which features downloadable content from many of our media sponsors, including Drum Channel, Drumeo, Hudson Music, Drum!, PAS, WGI, Sick Drummer, Digital Drummer and many more. In addition to the recognition, drums and drumming equipment the Champions and “Performance Award” winners receive, several “Achievement Awards” are given to players who exhibit outstanding drumming skills as well as commitment, dedication, perseverance and a positive attitude. The recipients of these special awards are determined by Hit Like A Girl’s directors, sponsors and judges.


Hit Like A Dirl image






Meeting - Future Of Swanage Jazz Festival - 14th November

After the rescue of Swanage Jazz Festival for 2018, Eric Jackson draws our attention to questions about its future once again. There is to be a meeting to discuss the matter at Tawny’s Wine Bar in Swanage on November 14th at 7.30pm. Eric says: 'I noticed on Facebook (and Twitter) a posting by Swanaga Jazz FestivalMike Bonfield, the Town Mayor on the subject.This states that the town council are concerned and a meeting will be held on Wednesday 14th November at 7.30pm at Tawny's Wine Bar on the High Street to see if a way can be found to continue with some form of festival. Maybe there is a lottery winner among your readership?'

Nigel Price, who stepped in to keep the Festival running this year, posted in August: 'I’m funding these tour dates with an online raffle and if I don’t get a few more takers I’ll be working for zilch. Please have a look at the prizes - they are mega. A Fibonacci guitar and a Session amp and it’s only £2 a ticket! Closing date 05/09 at 23.59'. He followed it with the message: 'The festival won’t run in 2019. I did everything I could but disappointing sales and a frankly bewildering lack of local support means that there is another even bigger mountain to climb than that of ‘17/18. We had one last great year didn’t we? Thanks to all those who helped.'

If the future of the Festival is of concern to you - do go to the meeting - it sounds as though interest from 'local support is particularly important.


Can You Brand A Jazz Musician?

I met a Business Management Consultant at an event in October and we talked about his work in helping individuals and organisations promote and develop their businesses. Initially, his approach is something you might expect - where do you want to see yourself or or Louis Armstrongbusiness in 3 or 5 years time? What steps and stages should you / can you take to get there? What are the challenges and opportunities? How could he, as a consultant with contacts and experience help someone achieve those steps?

We then moved on to talk about how businesses should develop the image they want to present; the image people would recognise and remember; the brand. I asked how this could be applied to jazz musicians trying to establish themselves professionally as the process seems somewhat different. I can see how a band might develop a style, an image and how steps could be planned towards a recording, a tour, or an approach to publicity. There are of course challenges here too as bands are not always put together with any expectation of longevity.


Louis Armstrong


But what about an individual musician? The consultant argued that a professional musician should also take an approach to promote themselves as a 'brand'. How that works, I am not quite sure. I can see the rationale for asking where do you want to be in 5 years? What steps will you plan to get there? How can you develop and work with contacts that will help you get there? How do you publicise Henry Spenceryourself? ..... but can a musician be a 'brand'?


Considering some famous jazz musicians, perhaps they did have an individual persona - say a name; get a picture; think of their music. Examples might be the image of Bill Evans hunched over a piano, cigarette hanging; Louis Armstrong with a handkerchief; Gene Krupa wild at a drum kit .... the images might not have been intentional initially, but have taken root over time.

Some bands do go for an image Get The Blessing in suits with bags on their heads for example, and by a musician regularly using an image, perhaps people get to associate the image and the musician with their music - for example this image regularly used by trumpeter Henry Spencer and that I always associate with his music. Other obvious examples are Gregory Porter's hat, Carla Bley's hair style, Billie Holiday's gardenia ...

Henry Spencer



Publicity and promotion is a factor that all musicians and bands have to take into account, for gigs, album releases and their own professional development. The concept of a 'brand' can seem at odds with the integrity of making music, but is it?


thinking emoji




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

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Departure Lounge


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


Hamiet Bluiett



Hamiet Bluiett - American saxophonist, clarinettist and composer born in Illinois whose primary instrument was the baritone sax. He was a member of the World Saxophone Quartet and also recorded with the bass saxophone, E-flat alto clarinet, E-flat contra-alto clarinet, and wooden flute. In 1972 he joined and toured with Charles Mingus; in the 1980s, he also founded the Clarinet Family, a group of eight clarinetists playing clarinets of various sizes ranging from E-flat soprano to contrabass. From the 1990s Bluiett led a virtuosic quartet, the Bluiett Baritone Nation, made up entirely of baritone saxophones, with drum set accompaniment. Click here for a video of Hamiet playing Live in Ghana #2






Jerry Gonzalez




Jerry González - American trumpeter and percussionist who was born in Manhattan into a family of Puerto Rican heritage, grew up in the Bronx and later moved to Spain. He was a central figure in Latin jazz, especially through the Fort Apache Band, which he formed with his bass-playing brother, Andy González. He also played with Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente, Jaco Pastorius, McCoy Tyner and others. Click here for a video of Jerry playing Earth Dance with the Fort Apache Band.







Sonny Fortune




Sonny Fortune - American jazz saxophonist born in Philadelphia who played soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones, clarinet, and flute. Played with Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis, Nat Adderley and many others as well as leading his own group. Click here for Sonny playing In A Sentimental Mood with the Nat Adderley group live at Sweet Basil's in New York City in May 1990.






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.




Smith's Trane Pulls Into Towns Across the UK

Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith leads his Embodying The Light quartet in dedication to his greatest inspiration, John Coltrane, on six dates across the UK in November.

The group, which Smith formed last year to mark both the fiftieth anniversary of Coltrane’s death and his own fiftieth birthday, has hadTommy Smith Quartet enthusiastic responses from audiences, promoters, reviewers and fellow musicians alike. American trumpet star Randy Brecker, who has worked with the Smith-led Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and whose late Brother, Michael, was a Coltrane devotee, sent a message of congratulation to Smith on hearing the quartet’s debut album. Brecker joked that he’d been playing along with the CD in the hope that some of the quartet’s quality might rub off on him.


Tommy Smith Quartet
Photo by Derek Clark


The quartet features former Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year, pianist Pete Johnstone alongside bassist Calum Gourlay and drummer Sebastiaan de Krom and they played sold out concerts at Ronnie Scott’s and Edinburgh Jazz Festival on their initial round of gigs in 2017. The repertoire includes Coltrane favourites including Naima, Resolution (from A Love Supreme) and The Father The Son and The Holy Ghost, as well as pieces written by Smith in homage to Coltrane.  

The tour calls in at Watermill Jazz, Dorking (November 6th), Bonington Theatre, Nottingham (November 8th), Zeffirellis, Ambleside (November 9th), Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (November 10th), Theatr Clwyd, Mold (November 27th) and Widcombe Social Club, Bath (November 28th).





Some Recent Releases



Ant Law - Life I Know

Flying Machines - New Life

Anstey, Gibbs, Helson, Langford - Fringe Activity

Josephine Davies' Satori - In The Corners Of Clouds

Caroline Scott - Khoalesce

Laura Cole - Enough

Ron Caines / Martin Archer AXIS - Les Oiseaux De Matisse

Vitor Pereira Quintet - Somewhere In The Middle



Jonathan Finlayson - 3 Times Round

Walking Distance - Freebird

Matthew Stevens and Walter Smith III - In Common

Thelonious Monk - Mønk

Maria Muldauer - Don't You Feel My Leg (The Naughty Bawdy Blues Of Blue Lu Barker)

John Scofield - Combo 66

Mary Halvorson - The Maid With The Flaxen Hair

Ben Wendel - The Seasons

Tony Bennett and Diana Krall - Love Is Here To Stay



Europe and Elsewhere

Darren Barrett : Time For Romance - But Beautiful

Shai Maestro - The Dream Thief

Ron Davis' SymphRONica - UpfRONt

Lionel Loueke - The Journey




Sarah Vaughan - Sings George Gershwin

Miles Davis - Birth Of The Cool

Jazz On A Summer's Day - Deluxe Edtion

The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Bossa Nova U.S.A.








Ant Law - Life I Know
(Edition Records) - Released: 9th November 2018

Ant Law (guitar); Mike Chillingworth (alto saxophone and bass clarinet); Ivo Neame (piano); Tom Farmer (double bass); James Maddren (drums).

AntLaw Life I Know



'Life I Know is the third and much anticipated album from British guitarist and composer Ant Law. Utilising some of the finest musicians in British Jazz today, Ant Law has crafted a masterpiece, merging wide-ranging stylistic and genre influences, virtuosic musicianship and melodic accessibility into one career-defining album. Abounding in warmth and energy, Life I Know is a deeply experienced musical expression of all the influences that surround Ant: his sense of community, culture, human interaction and creative spirit. It’s these influences that inspire Ant’s ambition and motivation to create. (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video extract of Aquilinus live : Listen to Credits :









Flying Machines - New Life
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 19th October 2018

Alex Munk (guitars); Matt Robinson (piano, synths, Fender Rhodes); Conor Chaplin (electric bass); Dave Hamblett (drums).

Flying Machines New Life


'Having established themselves as one of the biggest breakthrough acts to have emerged from the exploding UK jazz scene in recent years, Flying Machines continue their rapid ascent with the release of their second album New Life. New Life represents a significant milestone in the band’s development. In partnership with Grammy, MOBO and Mercury nominated producer Sonny Johns, the band’s trademark fusion of contemporary jazz with progressive rock has been lifted to soaring new heights. From thundering, all out metal assaults, to ambient meditations and plaintive melodies, New Life sees Flying Machines pushing the envelope in terms of extremities of dynamics and explorations of form, with a marked leap forward in production values. The band also document their foray into the anarchic freedom of group improvisation for the first time, with unrestrained, improvised interludes that dove tail gracefully into more expansive and through-composed tracks, a risk-embracing approach that now informs the band’s electric live performances' (album notes). ' ... What sings out immediately about New Life is Munk's love of playing: not in a shred-tastic way, but in a relish of the many voices the guitar offers him ... We are lucky to have a new generation of guitarists growing in confidence, and Munk and his band could yet fly furthest' (Andy Robson in Jazzwise).

Details and Samples : Video about Making the Album : Live Performance Video of New Life :







Anstey, Gibbs, Helson, Langford - Fringe Activity
(Bandcamp) - Released 7th August 2018

Paul Anstey (double bass); Phil Gibbs (guitar); Bob Helson (drums, percussion); Mark Langford (bass clarinet, tenor saxophone).

Anstey, Gibbs, Helson, langford Fringe Activity


'Fringe Activity is the newest release of “FreeTone Records”. The album was recorded by Mark Langford (bass clarinet, tenor saxophone), Paul Anstey (double bass), Phil Gibbs (guitar) and Bob Helson (drums, percussion). The musicians like to make brave, innovative and original musical decisions. Their collective improvisations are like real bursts of energy, shocking contrasts, sudden stylistic changes, eclectic combinations and spontaneous waves. The music has inspiring, bright and engaging sound – it’s created by using huge variety of different playing techniques, expressions, timbres and sounds. Each improviser is great, creative and interesting – all of them have unique sound, evocative and bright playing manner, rich musical language and the talent to reveal wide range of different playing techniques, moods, senses and expressions. They do all that by using a masterful and organic fusion of sounds, unusual noises, strange timbres and other elements of musical language. All the pieces are connected together in the most effective, bright, evocative and organic way ..... This album has many effective, gorgeous and interesting duos, solos or trios. Roaring, passionate and dynamic reeds solos gently fit together with subtle, variable and bright double bass solos, unusual timbres or original, energetic and intensive guitar solos. Inspiring variety of styles, sounds, expressions, timbres and chords makes an effort to remarkable, luminous and tremendous sound of this album. (Avant Scena).

Details and Samples : Full Avant Scena Review :






Josephine Davies' Satori - In The Corners Of Clouds
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: - 2nd November 2018

Josephine Davies (tenor saxophone); James Maddren (drums); Dave Whitford (bass).


Satori In The Corners Of Clouds

'Saxophonist and composer Josephine Davies is engaged in a continually evolving, creative musical expedition with near-chordless trio project Satori; and for this second recorded waymarker, In The Corners of Clouds (the follow-up to the 2017 Whirlwind debut, Satori), she welcomes drummer James Maddren alongside existing double bassist Dave Whitford to explore eight original numbers, fronted by her own inquiring tenor resonances. The spontaneity of this purely acoustic trio has already captured imaginations, as well as spurring Davies on in its progression. “We played a lot of shows after the first release and soon after I had written another album’s worth of material; and because our approach has become more and more open, I began to see my tunes mainly as a basis for improvisation. It might be seen as limiting to have no traditional "harmonic instrument" in this line-up—especially with the deeper frequencies of the tenor—but it actually throws melody to the fore, which I like. And if melody is happening you really can do whatever you want. We create so much space together that it actually encourages me to both compose and play in a different way.” Comprised almost entirely of first takes, the less-rehearsed immediacy of Satori’s sound is fundamental to the ambiences which Davies seeks, and is encapsulated in opening number ‘Wabi Sabi’, named after a Japanese philosophy which embraces and celebrates the beauty in imperfection. Here, Whitford’s rhythmic ostinato and the core melody are broken up, creating an oriental long groove for improvisation before being put back together into a similarly beautiful state. Davies’ long-held fascination with the music of John Coltrane can be heard in ‘Dancing Saint’, its bluesy, smouldering rhythms and long, shaped tenor lines paying homage (with animated individual features for bass and drums) ..... Reflecting on the affecting unrestraint of Satori, Josephine Davies concludes: “As a culture, we mostly don’t celebrate the crusty, technically imperfect, unglossed aspects of life, but rather seek perfection—and that doesn’t move me. I’ll always go for the intangible or the emotional; that ‘creative something’—which is what I feel all the timeless albums have got. The enduring appeal of Satori is its freedom—a wonderfully exciting and valuable experience.” (album notes).

Details and Sample : Introductory Video :






Caroline Scott - Khoalesce
(Bandcamp) - Released: 9th November 2918

Duncan Eagles (tenor saxophone); John Turville (piano); Kevin Glasgow (bass); Caroline Scott (drums).

Caroline Scott Khoalesce


'The Khoalesce project was started by drummer Caroline Scott in 2017 to bring together jazz musicians in London to develop and perform original compositions. The group have been gigging around London, and recorded a debut album at Livingston Studios in London in July 2018 thanks to a successful Crowdfunding campaign. Caroline Scott is a Scottish drummer who has been prevalent on the London jazz scene in recent years. She has played and recorded in a wide range of musical environments, from theatre shows and jazz big bands, to playing on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. Caroline has worked with leading conductors such as Marin Alsop (a protégé of Leonard Bernstein), playing at London's Royal Festival Hall in March and April 2018. Caroline has also lived in Boston where she played regularly with jazz bands and orchestras at Harvard, Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory and MIT, and gigged on the local jazz circuit. She plays drums with piano trio Cygnus Flare (who won the 2017 Yamaha Soho Jazz Sessions competition, played at Ronnie Scott’s and Pizza Express Soho jazz clubs and toured in Armenia), Tomorrow's Warriors, the MO Jazz Orchestra, the Swinging Magpies, and plays timpani in various orchestras including the Amati Orchestra and BBC Elstree Concert Band ...... In an unfortunate stroke of fate, Caroline underwent open-heart surgery in 2017, rendering her unable to perform for several months. During this intense and frustrating period, Scott began composing what would eventually become Khoalesce. It was during this time that she was accepted on the Masters course at Trinity Laban with a full scholarship and set the task of composing and recording an album within a year. Deciding to incorporate and develop what she had started whilst recovering, Khoalesce is subject to contrasting atmospheres and moods that have influenced the creative process....' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Article by Robin Kidson for Sandy Brown Jazz





Laura Cole - Enough
(Discus Music) - Released: 2nd August 2018

Laura Cole - piano, voice

Laura Cole Enough


'Enough is pianist/composer Laura Cole's first solo album. It is a double album: one disc is entitled 'This is Water', and is a collection (on tracks 1 to 10) of arrangements of pieces given to Laura for the album from esteemed friends and colleagues, such as Robert Mitchell, Alex Wilson, Nikki Iles, Jason Yarde and Corey Mwamba; and the other disc, entitled 'As Warm As The Sun', is a collection of compositions and improvisations by Laura herself. This album was developed during a residency at Lyth Arts Centre, in Wick, Scotland, in September 2017; a few months later, it was sensitively recorded at Steinway Recording by Spencer Cozens. Enough represents a highly personal gathering of musical ideas and intimate emotional journeys, and is an attempt to express this in the solo format. The basis for this album was inspired by Laura reading the sculptor Anne Truitt's journal, 'Daybook', and is an exploration of emotional themes related to the nature of composing and improvising, both as a musician and a mother. The wider context to both the conception and recording of Enough was an attempt to express the real life challenges outside of music which Laura experienced during that time; this context was explored and brought into focus during the residency, in particular in regards to the relationship between the private and public spheres within creative processes, and the situating of music-making within this (album notes).

Details and Samples :






Ron Caines / Martin Archer AXIS - Les Oiseaux De Matisse
(Discus Music) - Released: 2nd September 2018

Ron Caines (alto and soprano saxophones); Martin Archer (saxophones, clarinets, electronics); Laura Cole (grand piano, electric piano); Gus Garside (double bass); Johnny Hunter (drums); Hervé Perez (live sound processing, shakuhachi); Graham Clark (violin, electric guitar).

AXIS Les Oiseaux De Matisse



'A beautiful and atmospheric collision of real time jazz playing and studio collage from Martin Archer and East Of Eden mastermind Ron Caines who is making his first commercially available recording since 1970. This CD which teams Ron with a cast of regular Discus Music collaborators is a collision of pure jazz skill happening in real time and studio collage. We hope, even though the music is quite different, that it contains a spark and continuation af the 'arts lab' ethos of Ron's early work with E of E. Now based in Brighton where he is a regular on the leftfield scene, Ron's fluent and highly individual playing seems as able as ever to cross and recross the line between tradition and abstraction with deeply informed ease' (album notes)

Details and Samples :







Vitor Pereira Quintet - Somewhere In the Middle
(Details coming) - Released: 1st December 2018

Vitor Pereira (guitar); Chris Williams (alto sax); Alam Nathoo (tenor sax); Mick Coady (bass); Adam Teixeira (drums).

Vitor Pereira Quintet Somewhere In the Middle


'Somewhere In The Middle is the title of the third album of original music by this London based contemporary jazz band. It embodies an idea which naturally spilt from this music where the audience meet the musicians in a symbiotic middle plane of mutual stimulation. With a variety of influences from “Vijay Iyer” to “Queens of the stone age”, these compositions are carefully thought to fulfil a mixed bag of particular tastes of a refined but diverse audience whilst at the same time they offer excellent platforms for the musicians to shape and bend the music as they please and feel on the moment. Being it a thrill for head-banging guitar riffs or the complexity of contrapuntal interweaving melodic lines, this music will induce a comprehensive and contrasting journey. We live in a polarised world today, both musically and socially and although the fringes can be very trending, this album tends to sit on the idea that there’s plenty of space to be innovative and unique when you navigate in the middle. The choice of musicians was equally important. All of them are extremely open and versatile musicians who understand the music very well and naturally take a lot of liberties both on the written and improvised material. This is essential for the music to have the elastic and organic sound it has as well as to produce the cohesive nature of this album’s idea. Vitor Pereira was born in Porto/Portugal where he studied mainly classical music and classical guitar. His interest in Jazz took him to participate in seminars and private lessons with the likes of Pat Metheny ......' (album notes).

Details available shortly : Click here for a video of Lomo : Click here for a live performance of Refreshments : Click here for a live performance of Alternative Facts.





Jonathan Finlayson - 3 Times Round
(Pi Recordings / Alliance) - Released: 5th October 2018

Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet); Steve Lehman (alto saxophone); Brian Settles (tenor saxophone); Matt Mitchell (piano); John Hebert(bass); Craig Weinrib (drums).

Jonathan Finlayson 3 Times Round


'Trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson's 3 Times Round is his first release since the widely-lauded Moving Still, which was named one of the top albums of 2016 by the New York Times and the best release of the year by PopMatters, who called it "clean and cool while still ripping with adventure." Among the most admired young musicians on the scene, Finlayson is the first-call of innovative musicians seeking a trumpeter who is able to negotiate the most complex musical material yet still bring his own sense of individuality and verve. These include a stunning list of cutting-edge artist such as Henry Threadgill, Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Lehman, Mary Halvorson and, of course, Steve Coleman, with whom Finlayson has played with for the last 18 years. Finlayson is joined on 3 Times Round by the alto and tenor saxophones of Steve Lehman and Brian Settles, which he intertwines with his own horn with fluidity and grace. The inventive pieces leave plenty of room to showcase each musician's distinctive improvisational personalities, yet still convey an overarching sense of narrative mystery. It's another purposeful step forward for a young artist on the rise'. (album notes). 'If you dig sterling modern jazz, Jonathan Finlayson is a name to memorize. At the age of 36, the Californian trumpet ace is flying way above the standards and is still receiving accolades for his fantastic CD Moving Still, featuring his Sicilian Defense group. On the newest 3 Times Round, his third outing on Pi Recordings, he is joined in the frontline by two vibrant saxophonists - altoist Steve Lehman and tenorist Brian Settles - whose fieriness and passion help taking Finlayson’s compositions to a level that many experienced musicians would aspire to reach ..... This is a must-have album from a rising trumpet star and smart composer whose innovative jazz perspective has absolutely everything one might ask for. One of the year's very best (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video 'In Person' :






Walking Distance - Freebird
(Sunnyside Records) - Released: 21st September 2018

Caleb Curtis (alto saxophone, trumpet); Kenny Pexton (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Adam Coté (double bass, mellotron); Shawn Baltazor (drums, percussion). Featured guests - Jason Moran (piano, samples); Ben Rubin (bass, mellotron).

Walking Distance Freebird


'It's almost trite to mention the indelible mark that saxophonist Charlie Parker left on the world of culture at large, and more specifically with the practitioners of jazz, the music that he redefined. In the years since his death, his music has been covered incessantly, which in many ways, has robbed the music of it's essential vitality. One solution to this ubiquitous problem lies in the stunning invention of the NYC based quartet Walking Distance and their second album, Freebird, which features the resplendent piano playing of Jason Moran on a number of tracks' (album notes). 'Walking Distance, a quartet of emerging New York artists, takes inspiration on Charlie Parker to create bop-derived originals with a contemporary twist. For their sophomore album, Freebird, they invite virtuosic pianist Jason Moran to join them in 6 of the 9 tracks. Alto saxophonist Caleb Curtis signs nine of the twelve tracks, two of them co-penned with bassist Adam Coté, who also delivers “Quasar Halo”, a disciplined chamber musing sweetened by docile unisons traced by clarinet, alto sax, and arco bass, and contrastingly bolstered by enthusiastic piano injections and relatively busy drum work. Relying on an unbending form and structure, “William” starts the album off as a pure hard bop exercise, thriving with Curtis and Moran’s eruptive vocabularies while Coté and drummer Shawn Baltazor assure an indestructible bass-drums foundation. An engulfing melodic crescendo announces a short drum solo, renewing its vows before the reestablishment of the theme’s vibrant energy ..... Even idolizing this swing-to-bop core, the band vouches for variety, which is reflected on “Feather Report” (an allusion to the revered band Weather Report), a fusion delight, magnificently enhanced by Moran’s keyboard dexterity and containing multiple shifting passages and interesting rhythmic deconstructions ..... A breath of fresh air in an album that, enjoying the comforts of hard bop, empowers up-to-dateness so it can be considered colorful, modern, as well as a personal statement (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video :






Matthew Stevens & Walter Smith III - In Common
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 19th October 2018

Walter Smith III (tenor saxophone); Matthew Stevens (guitar); Joel Ross (vibraphone); Harish Raghavan (double bass); Marcus Gilmore (drums).

Matthew Stevens Walter Smith III In Common



'.... “Walter and I had been talking about putting a recording session together" explains Stevens, “and decided to go into the studio with music that could be quickly interpreted with an interesting group of musicians and to let it unfold naturally from there.” The resulting sessions yielded an unaffected and dynamic recording by a group of peers sharing a mutual musical vocabulary. “Part of the basis for the project was to write relatively simple music," says Smith. “The idea of simplicity downplayed individual ownership which was liberating.” The outcome is a collection of succinct, in-the-moment canvases that exhibit an engaging contemporary style .... The success of In Common's informal collaboration is in creating a work that is unmistakeably alive and instinctive'. (album notes).

Details and Sample : Sample the track freefive :








Thelonious Monk - Mønk
(Gearbox) - Released: 28th September 2018

Thelonious Monk (piano); Charlie Rouse (tenor saxophone); John Ore (double bass); Frankie Dunlop (drums).

Thelonious Monk Monk album



'Hot on the heels of Impulse’s recently unearthed Coltrane number one hit album comes another beauty from Jazz’s ‘Holy Trinity’. This is a previously unreleased, precious lost treasure from Monk’s most critically acclaimed line-up; Charlie Rouse on saxophone, John Ore on double bass, and Frankie Dunlop on drums. The music was recorded live in Copenhagen in 1963 at the peak of Monk’s career. A year later he was to feature on the cover of TIME magazine, one of only for 4 Jazz artists ever to do so. The performance, a mixture of Monk originals and interpretations of standards, showcases Monk at his prime: full of avant-garde flair and wit, but always with a swinging feel that explains his title as the 'High Priest of Bebop'. The original tapes, saved from a skip and blessed with the approval of the Monk estate, have been faithfully restored, mastered and cut using Gearbox's legendary all-analogue process' (album notes).

Details and Sample :







Maria Muldaur - Don't You Feel My Leg (The Naughty Bawdy Blues Of Blue Lu Barker)
(Last Music Company) - Released: 28th September 2018

Maria Muldaur (vocals); David Torkanowsky (piano & Musical director); Herlin Riley (drums/percussion); Chris Adkins (guitar); Roland Guerin (bass); Kevin Louis, Duke Heitger (trumpet); Roderick Paulin, Tom Fischer (saxophone/clarinet); Eric Trolsen, Charlie Halloran (trombone).

Maria Muldaur Don't You Feel My Leg


'This will mark Maria's 41st album in a distinguished career that has established her as a preeminent and revered interpreter of American roots music ~ and it is her first studio album in six years. For this stunning set, Maria pays tribute to the wonderful Blue Lu Barker, the popular vocalist and songwriter of the late 30s and early 40s whom Billie Holiday once cited as her biggest influence. It was Barker's "Don't You Feel My Leg" that made it onto Maria's 1973 self-titled solo debut album at the suggestion of Dr. John. The album went on to spawn a million-seller hit with "Midnight at The Oasis," and yet to this day, "Leg" remains her most requested song. Maria and Blue Lu would later form a friendship that lasted until Blue Lu's death in 1998. In 2016, Maria was invited to perform a tribute to her old friend  in New Orleans. While researching material for the tribute, to Maria's surprise and delight, she discovered that the Barkers had written and recorded dozens of songs equally naughty, bawdy, witty, and clever as "Don't You Feel My Leg." "I put together a wonderful "all star" band of stellar New Orleans players, and we had a blast performing this fun material to a sold-out audience! The response was overwhelming and after the show people swarmed up to the merchandise table all clamoring to buy a CD of the fun material they had just  heard," says Maria. "At that moment we all realized that this wonderful collection of songs needed to be recorded and shared with the world!"' (album notes).

Details : More Details and Samples : Article by Kate Gamm :





John Scofield - Combo 66
(Verve) - Released: 28th September 2018

John Scofield (guitar); Gerald Clayton (piano, organ); Vicente Archer (bass); Bill Stewart (drums).

John Scofield Combo 66



'On Combo 66, top-tier guitarist John Scofield is featured in a quartet with his longtime drummer, Bill Stewart, and two new collaborators, pianist/organist Gerald Clayton and bassist Vicente Archer. Scofield keeps the fire burning, commemorating his 66th anniversary with a provocative blend of post-bop, rock, swinging blues, soul-jazz, and funk. His nonpareil guitar strokes and bracing language are immediately perceived on the opening tune, “Can’t Dance”. The guitarist discloses his incapacity to dance but, on the other hand, substantiates the ability to play swinging post-bop pieces with hints of soul-jazz à-la Lou Donaldson with groove, humor, and hot bluesy licks ...... Scofield creates an automatic empathy, letting us know that he is here to fly for many more years'. (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :







Mary Halvorson - The Maid With The Flaxen Hair
(Tzadik) - Released: 23rd July 2018

Mary Halvorson (guitar); Bill Frisell (guitar).

Mary Halvorson The Maid With The Flaxen Hair


'Mary Halvorson is one of the most acclaimed guitarists of her generation a virtuoso improviser, distinctive composer, arranger and a deep student of the jazz guitar. Here she joins forces with living legend Bill Frisell to pay tribute to Johnny Smith, a guitarist who has been a huge influence on them both. Performing nine ballads associated with Smith and his classic composition Walk Don't Run, this is an essential CD of soulful guitar duets by two of the most beloved and original guitarists in modern jazz. A beautiful CD of ballads like you have never heard them before!' (album notes). 'Pursuing fashionable sounds, Mary Halvorson joins forces with her fellow guitarist Bill Frisell on The Maid With The Flaxen Hair, where both follow their natural stylistic impulses to interpret nine ballads associated with Johnny Smith. The idea came from saxophonist John Zorn, who opened the doors of his record label, Tzadik, to these guitar-centric duets with abundance of melody and experimentation. Electronic seasoning confers a 21st-century presentation to timeless standards shaped with hints of folk and country   ... Wry sounds spread throughout and sometimes the sound of the guitarists blend in such a way that it’s hard to say who’s doing what, especially when Halvorson doesn’t use that descendant pitch shifting effect that characterizes her playing .... This is a fun, accessible disc from two open-minded sound-shapers who bring interesting ideas to songs from the past'. (JazzTrail).

Details : Samples : Listen to Scarlet Ribbons For Her Hair :






Ben Wendel - The Seasons
(Motema) - Released: 12th October 2018

Ben Wendel (saxophone, bassoon); Aaron Parks (piano); Gilad Hekselman (guitar); Matt Brewer(bass); Eric Harland (drums).

Ben Wendel The Seasons


'The Seasons is not a new conceptual project by saxophonist and bassoonist Ben Wendel, a founding member of the eclectic band Kneebody, whose expressive tone jabs as much as bewitches. Still, this is the first time he presents it on record. For that purpose, he gathered a remarkable quintet harmonically driven by pianist Aaron Parks and guitarist Gilad Hekselman, and all propelled by the rhythmic bond of bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Eric Harland. .... On “January”, despite the wintry connotations that the month implies, there’s a total absence of coldness in its ternary fluency due to the ardent way Hekselman and Wendel conduct their improvisations. Instead, that wintry torpor is left to “August”, a grey ballad that becomes darker and agitated as it moves forward. Wendel is abrasively lyric in his solos, attaining climatic heights on pieces such as “February”, a confluence of vibrant post-bop and robust rock with a hint of Brazilian rhythmic flair .... The guitarist, who shares an undeniable musical chemistry with the saxophonist, infuses contrasting folk textures on the Metheny-esque “May”, where the suggested crossover jazz takes the shape of a blues. Guitar and bassoon are complimentary forces on the effect-drenched “December” .... The Seasons is a wonderful, multi-colored work, a sagacious demonstration of Wendel's capacities. It’s an album that, deservedly, will be among the natural choices for best of the year'. (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video of July played live : Video of February played live :






Tony Bennett and Diana Krall - Love Is Here To Stay
(Verve) - Released: 14th September 2018

Tony Bennett, Diana Krall (vocals); Bill Charlap (piano); Peter Washington (bass); Kenny Washington (drums).

Tony Bennett and Diana Krall Love Is Here To Stay


'All songs in the album are from the Great American Songbook and were composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin. Bennett first recorded "Fascinating Rhythm" in 1949. By recording the song again for Love Is Here to Stay, he received the Guinness World Records title for "longest time between the release of an original recording and a re-recording of the same single by the same artist." The time span is 68 years and 342 days, according to the Guinness adjudicator who presided over the record-setting. Bennett and Krall have been friends for more than two decades. Krall previously participated in recording two Bennett’s albums, Duets: An American Classic (2006) and Playin' with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues (2001). This record is their first full-length project together' (Wikipedia). '...One of the great pleasures of this recording is the immaculate playing of the Bill Charlap trio ... they offer a masterclass in understatement ... (Peter Quinn in Jazzwise).

Details and Samples : Video of Love Is Here To Stay :





Europe and Elsewhere



Darren Barrett : Time For Romance - But Beautiful
(dB Studios) - Released: 26th September 2018

Darren Barrett (trumpet, vocals); Takeru Saito (piano); Santiago Bosch (keyboards, synth); Youngchae Jeong (bass); Daniel Moreno (drums); Judy Barrett (percussion) + guest Kurt Rosenwinkel (electric guitar).

Darrenn Barrett Time For Romance But Beautiful


'On his new album with the Time For Romance band, Canadian trumpet player Darren Barrett shows an enormous respect for jazz tradition, devoting himself to pure melody and transforming eight classic ballads to be firmly fit in the present. Sporadically, we can sense the same innovative, futuristic vibes that made The Opener, his previous album, an unexpected phenomenon of the contemporary jazz. These are mirrored in tunes like “Everything Happens To Me”, where we find him flirting with hip-hop rhythms and dubstep synthesis while reeling off bop-inflected phrases with long-held notes; and “The Touch Of Your Lips”, here designed with a flamboyant Afro-Latin rhythm and tasteful sound effects while upholding the warm, mellow tone reminiscent of Chet Baker .... These re-imaginations of ballads chosen from the Great American Songbook don’t have the powerful impact of Barrett’s last year’s originals. That wasn’t expected since the nature of the music is very different. However, and despite making us enjoy immortal melodies, the instrumentation and modernistic garnishes of But Beautiful, didn’t captivate me as much as I would have liked'. (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :






Shai Maestro - The Dream Thief
(ECM Records) - Released: 28th September 2018

Shai Maestro (piano); Jorge Roeder (acoustic bass); Ofri Nehemya (drums).

Shai Maestro The Dream Thief


'The first ECM leader date for Shai Maestro (following his label debut with Theo Bleckmann on Elegy) features the gifted pianist fronting his superlative trio with fellow Israeli Ofri Nehemya on drums and Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder, and also playing alone. A solo interpretation of Matti Caspi's "My Second Childhood" opens the curtain on a programme of characteristically thoughtful Maestro originals, each one with a story to tell. "Hearing the Shai Maestro Trio is like awakening to a new world", All About Jazz has suggested. "Expressions of joy, introspective thoughts and heightened intensity all come to the fore." Maestro's differentiated touch is special; he can convey a range of fleeting emotions in a single phrase. A deconstruction of "These Foolish Things", the album's sole standard, serves as a prelude to "What Else Needs To Happen", a sombre meditation on inner city violence and its aftermath. The Dream Thief was recorded at Lugano's Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI in April 2018 and produced by Manfred Eicher. It is released in both CD and LP formats (album notes). 'Comprising six originals and two solo piano covers, The Dream Thief marks a strong ECM debut as a leader from the Israeli pianist Shai Maestro, whose trio includes longtime associate Jorge Roeder on bass and a new partner, the drummer Ofri Nehemya (replacing Ziv Ravitz). The band’s state of mind airs a candid sophistication that also feels gentle and literate, expressing carefully practiced mechanisms and spontaneity alike. However, Maestro decides to open solo with a rendition of Matti Caspi’s “My Second Childhood”, a rubato reflection eked out by yearning tenderness and profound beauty. The choice to include a song from Caspi is not fortuitous since Maestro is a confessed admirer of his work and even took some lessons from him in the past ...... A confluence of classical and jazz streams give a magical touch to “These Foolish Things”, another solo effort, before the poignant “What Else Needs To Happen” raises awareness of the gun problem with the assistance of a couple Obama speeches. Emotionally charged atmospheres surround The Dream Thief, a definitive statement of maturity from Maestro, a refined world-class pianist'. (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Introductory Video :





Ron Davis' SymphRONica - UpfRONt
(Really Records) - Released: 1st October 2018

Ron Davis (piano, leader); Kevin Barrett (guitar/ Music Director); Ross MacIntyre (bass); Giampaolo Scatozza (drums); Aline Homzy (violin); Jessica Deutsch (violin); Ben Plotnick (viola); Tess Crowther (cello); Nagata Shachu: Kiyoshi Nagata (Founder/ Artistic Director); Aki Takahashi; Akemi Akachi; Tony Nguyen.

Ron Davis Symphronica Upfront



'SymphRONica UpfRONt is Ron’s 12th and SymphRONica’s 3rd collection of his unique, and world renowned sound. UpfRONt, is a quantum leap from his previous works, representing the greater cross--cultural and cross-stylistic diversity of the players and contributors, including Juno Award winner Mike Downes (who also acted as producer). UpfRONt showcases the great Canadian talent that has coalesced in and around SymphRONica. UpfRONt is pure Ron Davis and the entire essence of the SymphRONica project at its peak' (album notes). 'Ron Davis is a Canadian jazz visionary. His music blends genres and pushes boundaries, building on his jazz and classical training, influenced by world music (klezmer, Hungarian, Italian, Brazilian, Latin, Québecois). He seeks new textures, new forms, new compositions, new formations and new ways of presenting his signature sound without losing a connection to audiences. The music is diverse in a characteristically Canadian way' (Ron Davis website).

Details and Samples : Video of Whirlycurl live : Video of Dodeka Nagata live :







Lionel Loueke - The Journey
(Aparté Music) - Released: 2nd November 2018

Lionel Loueke (guitars, vocals, percussion); Pino Palladino (bass); Coro Baptista (percussion); John Ellis (soprano saxophone); Christi Joza Orisha (percussion); Robert Sadin (keyboards); Dramane Dembélé (peul flute); Mark Feldman (violin); Patrick Messina (clarinet); Vincent Ségal (cello); Étienne Charles (trumpet); Massimo Biolcati (bass); Ferenc Nemeth (percussion).

Lionel Loueke The Jorney


'The Journey brings together a wide range of influences that shape Loueke's distinctive musical personality. His trademark nylon guitar seamlessly blends jazz with traditional African and modern Brazilian sounds but we also hear the range of his electric guitar, from the delays and distortions of 'Dark Lightening' to the orchestral sustained sounds of 'Hope' ....All 15 tracks that make up The Journey are original compositions and embrace the rich vocal harminies, clicking sounds, lyrical melodies and brilliant vocal improvisations that have helped gain Loueke the reputation he has today' (album notes). '....While dancing rhythms and celebratory chants, typical for Lionel Loueke, do find their way into this record, the more reflective side of things prevails and makes this endeavor one of a very profound and touching amplitude. The minimalist instrumental approach only adds to this intimate feeling and places the listener right by the source. If not in person, then this is probably the closest one might ever get to meeting Lionel Loueke ....' (allaboutjazz).

Details and Sample : Introductory Video : Video of Molika :








Sarah Vaughan - Sings George Gershwin
(Essential Jazz Classics) - Released: 25th July 2018

Sarah Vaughan (vocals) with Hal Mooney's Orchestra

Sarah Vaughan Sings George Gershwin



'The complete original Sarah Vaughan 2-LP set Sarah Vaughan Sings George Gershwin (Mercury MGP-2-101), which presents Sarah performing songs by the great composer backed by the Hal Mooney orchestra. A variety of other Gershwin songs (and different versions of the same songs included on the album) recorded by the singer for different labels during that same period have been added here as a bonus. Featured musicians include Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, J. J. Johnson, Kai Winding, and Roy Haynes, among many others. Includes 16-page booklet (album notes)'. '....with Hal Mooney's Orchestra being what Nelson Riddle's was to Ella, this attractive set has 12 additional Sarah Vaughan interpretations of Gershwin from the same period (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise).

Details :







Miles Davis - Birth Of The Cool
(Essential Jazz Classics) - Released: 3rd August 2018

Miles Davis (trumpet); Mike Zwerin (trombone); Bill Barber (tuba); Junior Collins (French horn); Gerry Mulligan (baritone saxophone); Lee Konitz (alto saxophone); John Lewis (piano); Al McKibbon (bass); Max Roach (drums).

Miles Davis Birth Of The Cool



'The complete seminal album “Birth of the Cool”, bringing together the talents of Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis and Gil Evans, among others. As a bonus, all of the tracks recorded by the same group live at the Royal Roost a year before the studio LP was made. Arrangements by John Lewis, Gerry Mulligan, Gil Evans, Miles Davis and Johnny Carisi (album notes)' 'An identical album to the Dream Covers issue (of) a couple of years ago, this not only has all the original Capitol sides, but also the Nonet's 1948 radio broadcasts from the Royal Roost, making it the essential collection of this music' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise).

Details :








Jazz On A Summer's Day - Deluxe Edition (4 discs DVD / CD)
(Proper Music) - Released: 26th October 2018

Various Artists

Jazz On A Summers Day


'60TH ANNIVERSARY NEWLY REMASTERED SPECIAL EDITION - Complete film DVD + bonus documentary + extras. Newly-remastered soundtrack on CD plus 2x 10-inch LP's mastered half-speed on audiophile vinyl and a 40-page lavishly illustrated hardback book with new liner notes by Fred Dellar. Bert Stern's acclaimed film of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival is newly restored for its 60th Anniversary by Richard J Whittaker of FX with DVD authoring by Ray Shulman at I-Sonic while the soundtrack has been digitally remastered for CD by Peter Reynolds at Reynolds Mastering and for the first time ever, mastered at half-speed by Barry Grint at Alchemy Studios on two 33 1/3 rpm audiophile Vinyl LPs. The special edition comes housed in a lavish, blue-foil blocked fully-illustrated 40-page hardback book complete with new, definitive sleeve notes by Mojo's Fred Dellar, including artist and track-by-track details. 'Jazz On A Summer's Day' is one of the greatest concert movies ever made, a timeless record of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, with some of the most stunning images of live music ever brought to the cinema screen. Conceived by stills photographer Bert Stern (Vogue magazine, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn) and brilliantly filmed over three days in August 1958, Jazz On A Summer's Day provided the template for future concert documentaries such as Monterey and Woodstock. Interspersing footage of the crowd and fashions of late Fifties America, the America's Cup yacht race with artists live on stage and largely devoid of dialogue, Stern's fluid form perfectly echoes the jazz vibe tempering a fly-on-the-wall documentary style with surreal, dreamlike flourishes. Although the festival featured a glittering array of jazz giants such as Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Anita O'Day, Dinah Washington, George Shearing, and Gerry Mulligan, the event encompassed far more. Chuck Berry duck-walked his way to rock glory, Big Maybelle provided her powerhouse R&B and the magnificent Mahalia Jackson delivered gospel in a manner that demonstrated what true soul was all about. In 1999, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". DVD extras include an interview with Bert Stern, an introduction to Jazz On A Summer's Day, artist biographies and photo gallery' (album notes).

Details :





The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Bossa Nova USA
(State Of Art) - Released: 27th July 2018

Dave Brubeck (piano); Paul Desmond (alto sax); Gene Wright (bass); Joe Morello (drums).

Dave Brubeck Quartet Bossa Nove USA


'On June 25 and July 1, 1959, Dave Brubeck recorded 'Time Out', which became such a huge success that even the musicians were taken by surprise. By 1959, the Dave Brubeck Quartet with Paul Desmond (the bass player and the drummer changed a few times until Joe Morello arrived in 1956 and Eugene Wright joined the group in 1958/59) had been in existence for nearly a decade and it enjoyed tremendous popularity among jazz audiences. The band had begun playing in colleges, and slowly made their way into concert halls and jazz festivals. In 1954 Brubeck was featured on the cover of Time magazine (the second jazz musician to receive the honor following the groundbreaking cover of Louis Armstrong in 1949). In the mid and late fifties, the Dave Brubeck Quartet issued many popular albums, including 'Brubeck Time', 'Jazz Red Hot and Cool', 'Jazz Impressions of the USA', 'Jazz Goes to Junior College, Newport ’58' (the group had become a regular feature at the Newport Jazz Festival, and at the 1958 edition they played a homage to the music of Duke Ellington), 'Jazz Impressions of Eurasia', and, in 1959, just before taping 'Time Out, Gone with the Wind', which received a 5-star rating in Down Beat' (album notes). '..... While not the huge success of Getz's recordings, Brubeck's Bossa is done with equal deference and respect to the idiom, to the extent Brubeck's polytonal, polyrhythmical and percussive aspects of his style simply do not surface here, allowing him to concentrate on his gift for shaping and developing melody .....' (Stuart Nicholson in Jazzwise).

Details :





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.




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



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:

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