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May 2017

Click for this month's:
Quiz
Jazz Venues


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

I almost added Shakespeare to my repertoire during my stay in Paris. No fooling man. John Barrymore got me on that "Bard of Avon" kick ... The next day I went to the library to get some books, so I could catch this Shakepeare's stuff and practice up.

"Ma'am, I want to dig some of that jive about Romeo and Juliet ... can you all show me where I can find a tome on the subject?" Man, that Shakespeare cat had me baffled from the beginning. He could have been writing in Greek, as far as I was concerned ... A couple of nights later (John) was in, and explained it to me, telling me the whole story of Romeo and Juliet.

It seems that in the ancient, Italian beat-up town of Verona lived two families, the Montagues and Capulets, who were deadly enemies ... Then Romeo kissed the hand of the beautiful gal and spoke some soft jive admiration to her. He learned later that she was Juliet, the mellow child of his arch enemy. This made him even more salty. He left the ball an hour before the ace of chimes, and man, he was really in love with Juliet. He didn't go to his domicile, but climbed over the wall into her righteous garden.

Juliet busted out of the window and hollered, "'O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name: or if thou wilt not, be but my sworn love, And I'll no longer be a Capulet." Romeo then stepped closer and told this chick his name now made him very sad, 'cause her old man wasn't comin' on that riff with the Montagues.

 

Romeo and Juliet caption

 

"It makes no difference, Jack," Juliet told him. "If you're hip as a dip, and sharp as a tack, in the rack, and solid packed, I'll go upstairs and get my pack, and we'll go on down the track. Your kind of jive and my kind of jive has never been done befo', and after we see that deacon, we won't have no troubles no mo'."

So the next morning they were married ...

Man, after John told me all that stuff, I thought, "That guy Shakespeare had got to use something to dream up a mess like that."

from Trumpet On The Wing by Wingy Manone & Paul Vandervoot II.
(Currently out of print).

 


Name That Tune!

(Click on the picture for the answers)

What's the tune?

 

 

What's this tune?

 

 

What's the tune?

 

 

 

 

Bill Evans - Time Remembered

A DVD copy of the 2015 film Bill Evans : Time Remembered is due out during May / June.

Director Bruce Spiegel says: "The film Bill Evans, Time Remembered took me 8 years to make. Eight years of tracking down anybody who knew Bill and who played with him, to try and find out as much as I could about the illusive and not easy to understand Bill Evans. I feel very Bill Evans Time Remembered DVDhonored to have had the chance to interview and get to know good guys that spent a lot of time with Bill: Billy Taylor, Gene Lees, Tony Bennett, Jack DeJohnette, Jon Hendricks, Jim Hall, Bobby Brookmeyer, Chuck Israels, Paul Motian, Gary Peacock, Joe LaBarbera. It was a once in a life time experience talking to these gifted talented guys about their time in jazz music, about their “Time Remembered“ with Bill Evans."

"I think I have done my story some justice," Spiegel continues. "The film showing in Louisiana was a big success. I know that a lot of people were happy they saw and experienced the film. I felt it in my bones, I had done the right thing. I know Bill would be smiling today: 'you brought the film to the right people, my friends, my family and my fellow players who knew me well'. I hope the film has a good life, that many people will see and hear of Bill’s music:, a great American artist that shouldn’t be forgotten. I hope the film goes a long way to making that happen."

The documentary is named after Bill Evans' live album, Time Remembered, partially recorded at the Shelly Manne club in Hollywood, California in May 1963, but not released until 1983. It was shown at Ronnie Scott's Club in November 2016. Reviewing the film in allaboutjazz.com, Peter Jurew said: ' ... did we need a film to tell us what we already knew? The answer, based on a recent viewing, is a resounding yes. There's much about Bill Evans that was, and is, a mystery, and the film goes into great detail to explore the facts of Evans's life while maintaining clear focus on the music. Spiegel lays the facts out chronologically, using old photos and stories from family, friends and associates both in and outside the business, as well as extant audio recordings of Evans himself that carries much poignancy throughout the film ...'

Click here for the trailer.

 

 

Jazz FM Awards 2017

After a rather chaotic event last year, Jazz FM excelled in producing this year's Awards event held at the prestigious Shoreditch Town Hall on 25th April. The annual awards recognise performance from a range of Jazz, Blues and Soul musicians who have been nominated for their work during the year, including a number of awards voted for by listeners to the radio station. Last year, many of the award winners were unable to attend Orphy Robinsonand the comdian hosting the event was increasingly frustrated by the conversation noise levels. That was remedied this year. Jez Nelson from Jazz FM was an ideal, straightforward host and he reminded the audience, many of them helpfully seated, about keeping down conversation to respect the musicians performing and receiving awards, and the venue itself and the sound system helped in achieving that.

It is my opinion that Awards events have a valuable place in helping to promote and acknowledge the work of musicians, and to stage a high profile event means that it is more likely to bring the music and the musicians to the attention of the general public. Whether the right people receive awards is a matter for debate, but that is another issue.

Jazz FM has a number of faithful sponsors for the event and their investment was well rewarded this year. As well as the recipients, those who came to present awards included Courtney Pine, Will Young, Van Morrison, Evan Parker and actor Adrian Lester. The award winners were also largely present, including Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts from the Rolling Stones. Drummer Charlie Watts also received a Gold Award (we should be reminded of the great jazz musicians he included in his Orchestra, including Stan Robinson who passed through theRolling Stones Departure Lounge last month).

Click here for a video of the Charlie Watts Big Band playing in 1988.

I guess it is inevitable, but a shame nevertheless, that such celebrities as The Stones have to have minders, albeit unobtrusively, present at such an event. A number of people have been questioning whether it was appropriate that the Stones should receive the award for 'Best Album' and that there have been more deserving jazz albums (Blue And Lonesome is basically a blues/rock album]. This award was by public vote, and so presumably it reflects the response from the wide range of listeners to Jazz FM. Mick Jagger himself acknowledged the irony when receiving the award saying that when they first started out they played in jazz clubs and were thrown out because their music was not jazz!

Performances on the evening by three of the award winners were outstanding. Soul artist Laura Mvula captivated the audience; saxophonist Donny McCaslin who had flown in from America blew up a storm and winner of the PPL Lifetime Achievement Award, Georgie Fame, sang Everything Happens To Me and his interpretation of Moanin' in a way that emphasised his jazz influences and underlined the justification for the award.

This year's Award winners are:

Donny McCaslin

Breakthrough Act - Yussef Kamaal
International Jazz Artist - Donny McCaslin Vocalist - Norma Winstone
Instrumentalist - Nikki Yeoh
Blues Artist - The Rolling Stones
Soul Artist - Laura Mvula
Jazz Innovation - Jaimeo Brown
Digital Initiative - Gilles Peterson for Worldwide FM
Album - The Rolling Stones - Blue And Lonesome [Click here for a video of Hate To See You Go from Blue And Lonesome].
Live Experience - Orphy Robinson All Stars - The Bobby Hutcherson Songbook at St James The Great, London
UK Jazz Act - Shabaka Hutchings
Impact Award - Damien Chazelle, director of the movies Whiplash and La La Land
Gold Award - Charlie Watts
PPL Lifetime Achievement Award - Georgie Fame

Donny McCaslin

 

 

 

Listening To Jazz In The Digital Age

Stuart Nicholson, award-winning music journalist and author, will explore how we listen to music in general, and jazz in particular, in the newStuart Nicholson digital world, and how new technology is changing the experience, in a talk at the National Jazz Archive in Loughton Library on Saturday 13th May 2017 at 2.30pm. Stuart has written eight books on jazz, which have been translated into 13 languages. He is Visiting Professor at Leeds College of Music. His latest book Jazz: A Beginner’s Guide, a lively and accessible introduction, has just been published by Oneworld Publications.

The talk is part of the Loughton Festival of Heritage, Literature, Arts and Culture, which runs from 29 April to 30 May. The Festival features exhibitions, walks, talks, concerts, films, competitions, courses, and more. Visit www.loughtonfestival.org for details. The talk will be at the National Jazz Archive, Loughton Library, Traps Hill, Loughton, Essex IG10 1HD. There is parking close by and good access by bus. Loughton station on the London Underground Central Line is approximately 10 minutes’ walk away. Tickets cost £5 and are available in advance from 020 8502 4701 or on the door. For further information visit www.nationaljazzarchive.org.uk or email events@nationaljazzarchive.org.uk.

 

 

 

Jazzwise magazine

 

Jazzwise Anniversary

Congratulations to Jazzwise Magazine who reached their 20th publication anniversary in March. Launched 20 years ago with the support of Charles Alexander's education business, Jazzwise is now backed by the Mark Allen Publishing Group. Mark himself is a keen jazz advocate. Editor Jon Newey, who has been with Jazzwise since it began, says: 'I had this idea burning in my head ever since I worked on the long-departed music weekly 'Sounds', of wanting to create a jazz publication that combined the editorial depth, expertise and passion that jazz fans demand with the visual punch and design flair of the rock monthlies, who, by the mid-1990s, were breathing new life into the UK music press ... today Jazzwise is proud to be the UK's biggest selling jazz magazine and Europe's leading English language jazz monthly, particularly at a time when the music is attracting a new generation ....'

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Festivals 2017

As we enter the time of this year's Jazz Festivals, there are a number of websites that carry details of when and where they are taking place. The Jazz FestivalMay issue of Jazzwise Magazine also carries a comprehensive list.

The Festival Calendar carries details of Jazz and Blues Festivals in the UK in its information on music festivals.

allexciting.com carries information about festivals in Europe.

The EFG London Jazz Festival is not until November (10th to 19th) but some performances are already booking.

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Song Title Remix

 

This month we give you sixteen song titles but we have mixed them up by taking part of one title and attaching it to part of another title. Can unravel them?

 

Who's This?

 

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

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

Fake Book Memories - Music Maestro Please

Seppo Lemponen in Finland remembers 'Fake Books':

In the 1940's a Finnish music publishing company started selling small-size books with blank lines for music and chord changes. After the war, at least in the countryside, dance band musicians had difficulty in buying records and sheet music to build a necessary and up-to-date repertory.Seppo Lemponen's Fake Book Gramophones were rare, not to speak of tape-recorders, so to keep up with popular music trends one had to listen to broadcasts from abroad.

When a ban on dancing was lifted in Finland after the war, any kind of light music, including jazz, was accepted with enthusiasm. Pop music was, however, a rare treat, because the national Finnish Broadcasting Company had the policy of playing mainly "serious" music. Therefore musicians listened eagerly to foreign stations like the Swedish Radio, the BBC, AFN and the Voice of America. Some memorized the tunes on one hearing and were also deft at transcribing them for fake books. They were copied, sometimes even with mistakes, later corrected and commented on.

One of my late friends had filled in a few of fake books that are now in my possession. He started picking up tunes as a schoolboy and wrote them down nicely with a fountain pen, later a ballpoint, and ended the last line with the information of the place of writing and date. This gives an interesting picture of the pop music of the day played on the radio and my friend's whereabouts from 1949 to 1960. Some of the first transcriptions include Sophisticated Lady, The Sheik of Araby and Samba Brazil.

During my military service in 1954-1955 I got to know a young talented pianist and accordion player, Mr Aulis Sallinen. He served in the same signal company and wrote a few tunes for my fake book with a pencil. It did not take long and he didn’t need any instrument. Some of the Aulis Sallinen Trio 1955melodies I wanted were I May Be Wrong, The Continental and Music, Maestro, Please. As a return service I was able to free him from some regular cleaning duties at the barracks and let him focus on playing with his trio for his senior officers. At present Aulis Sallinen (born 1935) is one of the best-known Finnish classical music composers and - at least to me, a real Maestro.

Aulis Sallinen Trio in 1955

Seppo Lemponen writes for the Finnish web jazz magazine Jazzrytmit. Photographs courtesy of Seppo.

 

In an article on Universitas Helsingiensis, Maarit Niiniluoto, writes: 'In the 1920s and 1930s, summertime open-air dance pavilions run by local youth and labour organisations epitomized the entertainment culture, which spread with the aid of modern ballroom dancing, the favourite melodies of the era, the radio and the record industry. The venues were situated by lakes and on islands, and were widely popular until the eve of the Winter War against Russia. During the Second World War, however, a ban - unique in its kind in wartime - was put on dancing. In a small country like Finland, dancing during wartime was considered "dancing on graves". It was not until the Allied Control Commission left Finland in 1948, that the then Minister of the Interior, Aarre Simonen, lifted the ban.'

Click here for more about 'fake books'.

 

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

 

Sari Schorr and Engine Room

Photographer Brian O'Connor took these pictures at a gig by Sari Schorr and Engine Room playing at The Studio Hawth, Crawley, West Sussex in April. The band is back in the UK for six gigs in May and Brian recommends them saying 'Don’t miss her!'

 

Sari Schorr

 

Sari Schorr (vocals), Innes Sibun (guitar), Anders Olinder (keyboards), Kevin Jeffries (bass) and Kevin O’Rourke (drums)

 

Sari Schorr video

 

Click here or on the picture above for a video of Sari and the band playing at the North Sea Jazz Club in Amsterdam in January. In the 10 minute video Sari talks about her music.

 

Innes Sebun

 

Innes Sibun

 

Brian writes: 'I’d never heard of Sari Schorr until she was listed as appearing at the Hawth.  Quite a revelation.  From all out blues, a touch of rock, and more than a hint of jazz, she puts on one powerhouse performance.  Then, out of the blue, delivers a poignant version of the ballad Stormy Monday, her voice coping more than adequately in the switch from raw blues.'

'Sari is promoting her first major recording, the aptly titled, Force of Nature

 

Kevin Jeffries

 

Kevin Jeffries

 

 

 

Sari Beth Schorr is an American singer / songwriter from New York. As Brian describes, her music is rooted in Blues and Rock with Jazz influences.

 

In 2015, producer Mike Vernon saw a performance by Sari Schorr at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee , where he was awarded the "Keeping the Blues Alive" category, and offered to produce an album with her. Sari was already known for her live Sari Schorr A Force Of Natureperformances, for example in the New York CBGB club and was recorded in the New York Blues Hall of Fame.

Jimi Patricol for Blues 411 said: “Sari Schorr is a stunning vocalist, powerful, energized and engaging…. Sari Schorr and other members of the band took the song to church and made believers of us all.”

 

Click here for a video of Sari singing her version of Black Betty from the album. Click here for details and to sample the album.

 

Sari Schorr's Manhaton Records debut, A Force of Nature, has been described as, "A hailstorm of an album sure to go down in blues history" by Blues Rock Review. Maximum Volume Music has given the album a 10/10 and exclaims, "The quality of the record frequently touches jaw-dropping. Sari Schorr & the Engine Room have just made one of the blues records of the year." Most of the songs on the album are written by Sari in collaboration with a variety of others.

The band is currently touring Europe and will be back in the UK in May for the following dates:

May 19th - Keighley Blues Festival, Bradford
May 20th - Redcar R&B Club, Milton Keynes
May 23rd - The Beaverwood Club, Chislehurst
May 25th - The Flowerpot, Derby
May 26th - Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-By-Sea
May 27th - West End Centre, Aldershot

 

Sari Schorr and Engine Room

 

All pictures © Brian O'Connor, Images Of Jazz

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

 

 

 

 

Jazz As Art

 

 

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.

This month - the band Dinosaur play Robin from their album Together, As One and there are five pictures I have chosen to go with the music. See what you think.

 

Dinosaur

 

You will need to go to a separate page on the website for this, but you can come back here afterwards - click here for the Jazz As Art page.

 

Joan Miro Figures at night

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Ella

Singer Tina May and Scottish pianist Brian Kellock take their Celebrating Ella and Oscar programme out on the road in Scotland during May to mark jazz singing legend Ella Fitzgerald’s centenary year. Ella Fitzgerald has long been an inspiration to the award-winning, Gloucestershire-born Tina MayMay and her 1975 recording with Oscar Peterson is a particular favourite.

“I think most jazz singers will have listened to and learned something from Ella,” says May. “The Ella & Oscar album is really a masterclass with great songs like Midnight Sun and April In Paris, and I’m really lucky to have Brian, who is one of the best pianists in the business, accompanying me on this tour.”

 

Tina May

 

May knows about April in Paris, having been a regular visitor to the French capital since she spent a year there as a student. A Parisian student revue, with impressionist Rory Bremner, led to Tina singing with her first jazz group, which included the great jazz drummer and Paris resident Kenny Clarke. As with Kellock, whose CV includes dates with Stanley Turrentine, Sheila Jordan and Art Farmer, May has gone on to sing with numerous jazz luminaries including pianists Stan Tracey, Enrico Pieranunzi and Ray Bryant. She recorded her album Tina May Sings the Ray Bryant Songbook with Bryant at the piano in the legendary Rudy Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey, scene of countless classic recording sessions, with Van Gelder himself at the controls. Her most recent album, Café Paranoia, celebrates the great singer Mark Murphy, who died in 2015, but she always returns to the songs she learned from Ella Fitzgerald.“They’re timeless, really,” she says, “and because they’re so well written, there’s always something new to be discovered in them.”

The Scottish tour dates are:

Wednesday 10th May: Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock
Thursday 11th May: Websters Theatre, Glasgow
Friday 12th May: West Kilbride Village Hall
Saturday 13th May: Hospitalfield House, Arbroath
Sunday 14th May: Eden Court, Inverness

Click here to listen to Tina singing Why Don't You Do Right from her album Divas.

Later in the year the Ella Fitzgerald celebration continues with Tina singing with saxophonist Frank Griffith. Frank writes:

The "First Lady of Song", Ella Fitzgerald, is now "The Centennial Lady of Song" having been born in 1917 in Virginia but growing up mostly in Yonkers, New York. Her singing fame erupted in 1938  with the Chick Webb Band with  her recording of a Number 1 million seller A Tisket a Tasket. Her repertoire was far and wide including several songbook albums for Verve of Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Arlen, and, of course, Duke Ellington with whom she would record several more albums through the 1960s. Her career dwindled to a close in 1991 due to illness and she Ella Fitzgeraldpassed away in 1996 at the age 79.

 

Ella Fitzgerald

 

During 2017, Tina May, will be continuing her renditions of hand picked songs from Ella's varied repertoire that will no doubt include classics such as How High The Moon, You've Changed,  Everytime We Say Goodbye and Can't Buy Me Love as well as Duke and Strayhorn gems like Caravan, Daydream and Take The A Train.  Tina will be accompanied by USA saxist and clarinettist, Frank Griffith, and his quartet with Gareth Williams, piano, Jeremy Brown, bass and Rod Youngs, drums, all of whom were in his band presenting "Kind Of Blue Revisited" at the Corn Exchange in 2016. This concert will also feature the premiere of Frank's composition "Ella Be Good"  with lyrics by Tina May to help celebrate the rich century of song that Ella gave us.

Celebrating Ella's Centenary- 100 years of Song - 7th September, 8.00 PM with Tina May, Jez Brown, Rod Youngs and Gareth Williams. Dorchester Corn Exchange, High Street, Dorchester, DT1 1HF. 01305 819039. £14 www.dorchesterarts.org.uk

Celebrating Ella and Fats - 25 November, 7.30 PM. with Tina May, Frank GriffithNick Weldon, Dave Olney, Richard Pite. Pavenham Village.

Click here to listen to Ella Fitzgerald singing Why Don't You Do Right.

 

 


Help With Musical Definitions No 35.

 

Da Capo

Ruthless bandleader who makes offers you can't refuse.

Whiplash Fletcher character

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

 

 

 

 

Video Juke Box

Click on the Picture for the Video

 

 

 

Henry Spencer video image

 

Henry Spencer and Juncture are on tour featuring their very impressive album The Reasons Don't Change. Click on the picture for a new introductory video to the album - Henry Spencer (trumpet, flugelhorn), Nick Costley-White (guitar), Matt Robinson (piano, Fender rhodes, Wurlitzer), Andrew Robb (double bass), David Ingamells (drums). Thu, May 11: Soundcellar, Poole; Fri, May 12: Bourton Hall, Gillingham; Sat, May 13: Calstock Arts; Sun, May 14 Ashburton Live! Mon, May 15: North Devon Jazz Club in Appledore; Tue, May 16 St Ives Jazz Club; Wed, May 17: "Jazz @ Dempsey's" in Cardiff; Thu, May 18: Jazz at Future Inn in Bristol; Fri, Jun 2: Rays Jazz At Foyles in London. Album review. Click here for more about the tour.

 

 

Kansas City Sound

 

This is just one of several excerpts on YouTube from the 1979 jazz film documentary "The Last of the Blue Devils". The Kansas City Sound is explored by some of the cities' prominent musical figures and includes some amazing historic jazz footage.

 

 

 

Tina May and Nikki Iles

 

 

I was surprised to come across this. It is an audio track, rather than a video, of Tina May and Nikki Iles with their interpretation of Donald Fagan's On The Dunes.

 

 

 

Sloth Racket Shapeshifters

 

 

Sloth Racket's new album Shapeshifters is released on the Luminous label on 12th June. The album features Cath Roberts (baritone saxophone), Sam Andreae (tenor saxophone), Anton Hunter (guitar), Seth Bennett (bass) and Johnny Hunter (drums). Here they are playing the title tune live at The Vortex in 2016. We shall review the album in our next issue.

 

 

 

Collective Improvisation New Orleans Jazz

 

Careless Love. In this video shared by Jazz On The Tube, reeds player Evan Christopher demonstrates the ideas behind New Orleans Collective Improvisation. One of a series of videos from Jazz At The Lincoln Centre's Jazz Academy, this is a great video and series for explaining the early concepts of jazz to people you know who might want to know more.

 

 

 

 

The Button Band

 

The Button Band (Andrew Button, guitar; Andrew Woolf, tenor sax; Dave Manington, bass and Marek Dorcik, drums) are on tour featuring their new album, Emilie, named after Andy Button's young daughter. In this video they are playing Brinkmanship, one of Andy's compositions for the album. Their tour runs from 7th May to 29th June and visits Ashburton Arts, St Ives, St Austell, Bristol, Sheffield, Lowestoft,  Pizza Express London, Cardiff and Poole. Click here for all dates and more details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tracks Unwrapped
St James Infirmary


 

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

 

I went down to St. James Infirmary
To see my baby there,
She was lyin' on a long white table,
So sweet, so cool, so fair.

Went up to see the doctor,
"She's very low," he said;
Went back to see my baby
Good God! She's lying there dead.

 

Laid out on a cold white table

 

Click here for a well known version by Louis Armstrong where someone has put film footage to the song.

The source of St. James Infirmary, or St. James Infirmary Blues, is actually an 18th Century English folk song The Unfortunate Rake. The Rake was a sailor who used his money on prostitutes and died of venereal disease.

The website traditionalmusic.co.uk says: 'This l9th century broadside text may not be the grand-daddy of all later versions of the much travelled "Rake" cycle, but it is probably sufficiently close enough to the original ballad to warrant its use as a starting point for an examination of the whole family of related parodies and recensions. Only a handful of texts reported from tradition have been as graphically frank in their commentary on the cause of the young man's demise as that given in this early version.  Later texts have tended to treat the matter obliquely, or have rationalized the situation by having death caused by other, usually more violent, means.'

 

As I was a-walking down by St. James' Hospital,
I was a-walking down by there one day,
What should I spy but one of my comrades
All wrapped up in flannel though warm was the day.

I asked him what ailed him, I asked him what failed him,
I asked him the cause of all his complaint.
"It's all on account of some handsome young woman,
'Tis she that has caused me to weep and lament."

 

There are as many interpretations of St James Infirmary Blues as there are of the original tune itself. Click here for a video of Arlo Guthrie singing the song with the Burns sisters as a tribute to New Orleans.

There are some immediate discrepancies. In the version we know, it is the woman who has died, but then the man talks about his own future Unfortunate rakedeath. In the tradional song the 'rake' is said to be a sailor but he wants soldiers to carry his coffin. The reference to a 'rake' is also interesting. The word has gone out of current usage and I don't know that there is an equivalent; 'womaniser' is only part of it, 'playboy' is also rarely used, perhaps 'hedonist' or 'hellraiser' is nearer?

Wikipedia is a good source for understanding a definition of the rake: 'A rake, short for rakehell (analogous to "hellraiser"), is a historic term applied to a man who is habituated to immoral conduct, particularly womanising. Often, a rake was also prodigal, wasting his (usually inherited) fortune on gambling, wine, women and song, and incurring lavish debts in the process. Comparable terms are "libertine" and "debauchee".

The Restoration rake was a carefree, witty, sexually irresistible aristocrat whose heyday was during the English Restoration period (1660–1688) at the court of Charles II. They were typified by the "Merry gang" of courtiers, who included as prominent members the Earl of Rochester; George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham; and the Earl of Dorset, who combined riotous living with intellectual pursuits and patronage of the arts. At this time the rake featured as a stock character in Restoration comedy. After the reign of Charles II, and especially after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the cultural perception of the rake took a dive into squalour. The rake became the butt of moralistic tales in which his typical fate was debtor's prison, venereal disease, or, in the case of William Hogarth's A Rake's Progress, insanity in Bedlam.'

 

"And had she but told me before she disordered me,
Had she but told me of it in time,
I might have got pills and salts of white mercury,
But now I'm cut down in the height of my prime."

 

Fife and Drum

 

"Get six young soldiers to carry my coffin,
Six young girls to sing me a song,
And each of them carry a bunch of green laurel
So they don't smell me as they bear me along."

"Don't muffle your drums and play your fifes merrily,
Play a quick march as you carry me along,
And fire your bright muskets all over my coffin,
Saying: There goes an unfortunate lad to his home."

 

As the traditionalmusic.co.uk site says: 'Only a handful of texts reported from tradition have been as graphically frank in their commentary on the cause of the young man's demise as that given in this early version.' Perhaps that is because the view of sexually transmitted diseases has also changed. Today, H.I.V. / AIDS and Chlamydia are the only infections and diseases that are widely publicised, although there are probably a range of other sexually transmitted infections dealt with by clinics. When I was a lad, we were always warned about the risk of V.D. (venereal disease), and in the 1970s I can recall that there were still patients in psychiatric hospitals suffering the results of tertiary syphilis. Syphilis is still around despite the greater availability of penicillin; during 2015, it caused about 107,000 deaths, down from 202,000 in 1990 but apparently it can still be associated with H.I.V. Apart from physical symptoms (e.g. growths), the neurological symptoms that caused many people to end up in psychiatric hospitals were confusion, disorientation, personality disorder, dementia, mood disturbance and psychosis. With such a range ofMercuric Chloride symptoms it is not surprising that diagnoses were sometimes confused too.

I am not aware of many jazz or popular songs that deal with sexually transmitted diseases, other than perhaps H.I.V. Readers will no doubt let me know otherwise, but you might like to watch this video of Rachel Bloom's Jazz Fever which features Rachel with Seth Green, Rebekka Johnson, John Milhiser and Zach Reino (click here). 'Pick out a musician, buy him a gin, then I take him home for a delicious night of sin. Now I've got a sore ....'

'Salts of white mercury' in the lines of the traditional song also point to the disease being syphilis. 'Elemental mercury was known to the ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Hindus. Mercuric chloride was used to disinfect wounds by Arab physicians in the Middle Ages. It continued to be used by Arab doctors into the twentieth century, until modern medicine deemed it unsafe for use. Syphilis was frequently treated with mercuric chloride before the advent of antibiotics. It was inhaled, ingested, injected, and applied topically. Both mercuric-chloride treatment for syphilis and poisoning during the course of treatment was so common that the latter's symptoms were often confused with those of syphilis. This use of "salts of white mercury" is referred to in the English-language folk song "The Unfortunate Rake".' (Wikipedia).

The only other song I can recall is Rod Stewart's Three Times Loser from the 1975 Atlantic Crossing album. In some ways the infection is treated lightly except for the line that says: '... my friends say its here to stay'. (click here).

The form of the song has appeared in other popular tunes that, as traditionalmusic.co.uk says, avoid the graphic commentary of the cause and vary the setting. Take The Streets of Loredo as sung by Marty Robbins (click here).

Returning to St. James Infirmary Blues:

 

I went down to old Joe's barroom,
On the corner by the square
They were serving the drinks as usual,
And the usual crowd was there.

On my left stood old Joe McKennedy,
And his eyes were bloodshot red;
He turned to the crowd around him,
These are the words he said:

There is the question of whether St. James Infirmary actually existed, and the general consensus is that it was located in Liverpool. In a 1970's BBC interview, apparently B.B. King stated that the song had originated in Liverpool and was taken to the southern states of America, where it changed from a maudlin Victorian ballad to a blues. He claimed it is the oldest blues song. "St. James Hospital was a very old hospital on Tollemache Road in Birkenhead (across the river from Liverpool) in the 1970's when I was there, and it doesn't seem to exist any more. It used to be known as the "Fever Hospital" located next to the main cemetery. It had moved up the hill from Livingstone Street at some point in the 19th century." Information online shows that there was such a St. James Hospital in Birkenhead and there is a short, rather strange short video that purports to show the remains of the Birkenhead Fever Hospital and that says the site was cleared in 2007 (click here).

Over the years the origins of the song have been discussed and disputed. Rob Walker in the New Orleans publication Gambit has done a lot of research and come up with a lot of interesting information about the song. His research also reveals the link to The Unfortunate Rake: '.... Kenneth S. St James Infirmary bookGoldstein writes that the oldest published text from the "Rake" cycle was "collected" in 1848 in County Cork, Ireland, "from a singer who had learned it in Dublin in 1790." The song may have been "in tradition" for years prior to that, but it's obviously impossible to say. (He also notes that St. James Hospital was in London, and treated lepers).'

Rob Walker isn't the only researcher and books have been written about the song. I haven't read Robert W. Harland's well reviewed book, I Went Down To St James Infirmary, but it is now in its second edition and is described as: 'Infused with humor and supported by meticulous research, this ground breaking book explores the turbulent and mysterious history of one of the most important and influential songs of the twentieth century. I Went Down to St. James Infirmary looks at the people and the times in which “St. James Infirmary” achieved its initial popularity and explores what happens to a traditional song when it becomes a piece of merchandise.' (A paperback copy came out in 2015).

Here is a more recent video of St James Infirmary from the Hot Sardines playing their version of the song (click here).

The lyrics to the song vary greatly. Rob Walker points out that St James Infirmary is sometimes attributed to Joe Primrose or Irving Mills: 'Actually Joe Primrose is Irving Mills. I eventually confirmed this with EMI Music, the song's publisher. According to EMI, Mills, using the pseudonym Joe Primrose, took the copyright on the song in 1929. This seemed odd, if it's right that the Armstrong recording was actually made in late 1928. A knowledgeable reader has suggested that Mills probably published the song in 1928 and deposited the copyright the following year; publishers, my correspondent added, often sent artists advance copies of their tunes.' Rob Walker's detailed article can be read if you click here.

 

Let her go, let her go, God bless her;
Wherever she may be
She may search the wide world over
And never find a better man than me

Oh, when I die, please bury me
In my ten dollar Stetson hat;
Put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain
So my friends'll know I died standin' pat.

 

Robert Harwood writes: 'New Orleans, of course, is famous for its funerals. Bold clothing marked both the gambler and the pimp as men who stood outside the normal rules of society, and served as primary indicators of their status. Given the continuous quest to impress colleagues and competition, the insistence on flashy attire in the coffin seems almost reasonable. Louis Armstrong was a prolific writer but he mentioned St James Infirmary only once, and that was in relation to the Stetson hat. While still a young man in New Orleans, he had dressed in his best clothes to play in the funeral of a member of his club, the Tammany Social Aid and Pleasure Club. “I had on a brand new Stetson hat (like the one in St James Infirmary), my fine black suit and new patent leather shoes. Believe me, I was a sharp cat’. Unfortunately his girlfriend Daisy saw him chatting with a young woman whom he ‘used to sweetheart’ and came after him with a razor. Wisely Louis ran away – but in doing so his hat fell off. Daisy cut it to ribbons.’

The more one looks, the more one finds different versions of The Unfortunate Rake and of various St James Infirmaries, but the general consensus seems to be that it started with The Unfortunate Rake and was then varied as the folk song travelled. Ironically there is a St James Infirmary in San Franciso which is part of the organisation NSWP a global network of sex work projects covering North America and the Caribbean working with 'current, former and transitioning sex workers of all genders and sexual orientations, their primary partners and their adolescent children'. (click here) - the Rake would no doubt have approved!

Click here for a video of Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue playing St James Infirmary in 2011 with a great trumpet introduction and touches of Cab Calloway.



Get six gamblers to carry my coffin
Six chorus girls to sing me a song
Put a twenty-piece jazz band on my tail gate
To raise Hell as we go along

Now that's the end of my story
Let's have another round of booze
And if anyone should ask you just tell them
I've got the St. James Infirmary blues.

 

New Orleans funeral

 

 

Say It With Music Exhibition

Say It With Music is an exhibition that celebrates the people and places that have shaped jazz. On display at The Forum Southend in May, it is the culmination of the National Jazz Archive Intergenerational Jazz Reminiscence Project. The exhibition explores how different generations have promoted, performed, supported, and documented our jazz heritage. Visitors will be able to relate interviews and memories recorded The Forum Southendthroughout the project to their own experience of discovering music, which illustrate the investment that people of different ages and backgrounds have made to British musical heritage. Original photos, posters and magazines from the Archive will be on display.

The 18-month Project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and run by the National Jazz Archive in collaboration with numerous partners, including the University of Essex and Loughton Youth Project. The project has focussed on three areas in Essex close to the Archive’s base in Loughton, and one in Brixton. In each location, using materials from the Archive and supplied by local jazz clubs and Chelmsford Museums Service, the archive team has engaged with members of Age UK and Age Concern activity centres, local jazz clubs, local youth groups, and young jazz musicians, to explore and discuss what music has meant and still means in their lives. The exhibition will provide a fascinating experience for lovers of jazz and popular music of all ages.

Members of the project team will be at The Forum on Saturdays while the exhibition is running and will be delighted to hear visitors’ own experiences and stories. The Forum is just off Southend High Street, easily reached by public transport. Car parking is available nearby – for more information visit www.theforumsouthend.co.uk.

The exhibition runs from 5th to 29th May 2017 at the The Forum Southend, Elmer Square, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS1 1NS. It is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 10pm, Saturday (8am to 6pm) and Sunday (11am to 5pm). Entry is free.

 

 

 

Do You Have A Birthday In May?

 


Your Horoscope

for May Birthdays

by 'Marable'

 

Taurus

Taurus (The Bull)

21st April - 20th May

Last month, I suggested that it might be wise to resist the urge to make quick financial decisions until Mercury starts moving forward again in early May, and that May promises much and could be the time for new ventures between the 3rd and the 10th and from the 25th onwards. The signs are still positive. From the 1st to the 11th Mercury and Uranus are travelling together, and on the 16th, Mercury will cross your Ascendant and enter your 1st house. Mars will be in our money house all month. This should give you confidence financially and where others are supportive, this should inspire you.

Whilst this is the case, we should also take notice of Venus and Pluto that are not in good aspect. Don't get carried away, and be aware of the risk of neglecting your friends and / or love during May. Things should be less of an issue with this in June.

So, from your birthday onwards, this might be the time for new ventures that you can take on with some confidence, but be sure to take others with you.

For you, here is Charlie Parker playing I Remember You in 1953 with Al Haig (piano), Percy Heath (bass) and Max Roach (drums) - click here.

 

 

Gemini

Gemini (The Twins)

21st May - 20th June

Geminis are the communicators and conveyors of information. With Mercury as your ruling planet you are ideal teachers as well as students, and you can often convince people you know more than you do. Remember, Geminis can have a dual nature, symolised by their sign of twins.

Mars will spend the month in your sign and on the 20th, the Sun will enter Gemini. The outlook is for a happy and productive month. Friends seem devoted and supportive but you are feeling less in need of their approval as you are enjoying your personal independence.

From the 20th, be aware of your tendency to talk too much without thinking - difficult as your brain might be overstimulated.

Finances might not have been a strong point so far this year and until next month, things could continue along the same lines, but from the 25th there are signs that things could improve.

For you, here's a video of the Bill Evans Trio playing If You Could See Me Now - click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tea Break

 

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

 

Verona Chard

 

Verona Chard

 

Verona Chard sings. Her album Fever ... In Love With Shakepeare was a really enjoyable album of 2011 inspired by Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine’s 1964 recording, Shakespeare and All That Jazz, and she is about to record again in the company of others.

If that was all she did, there would be no trouble in catching up with her for a Tea Break, but it is not. In 2013 she set up British and International Vocal (Jazz) Academy continuous workshop courses. Verona said: 'The courses are for around 15 individuals who areVerona Chard at Ealing Jazz Festival serious about developing their knowledge and skills with a view to creating successful jazz performance in all styles. I am keen to encourage mature students as well as young people at the start of their careers. There are very few bespoke courses for vocalists/instrumentalists who wish to empower themselves with a greater understanding of the rhythm section, band leading and performance confidence. One full scholarship and a limited number of half scholarships will be awarded per term.'

On stage at Ealing Jazz|Festival

 

 

Verona also runs the Musical Balloon Band for children under six. An interactive live family music show with a twist, it incorporates the art of Vwrona Chard and Humphrey Lytteltonballoon modelling and great music making using singing, props, words, and movement. The star of the show is Cecil the Donkey on his various Safari adventures assisted by Verona and their friends. The next session will be in Nottingham on 20th May in the foyer of the Theatre Royal Concert Hall (click here for details).

 

Verona with Humphrey Lyttelton

 

Born in Bristol and raised in Bath, Somerset. Verona's first jazz break came in 2005 when Humphrey Lyttelton asked her to record the Jail Break track for his Sad Sweet Songs and Crazy Rhythms album. Verona’s album ‘Fever…in love with Shakespeare’ features an arrangement of Jail Break as a tribute and ‘thank you’ to Humph. Verona remembers Humph and his wit fondly as you will see from our Tea Break discussion below. Verona trained in London at the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity Laban Conservatoire, she has performed at the top London jazz clubs including Ronnie Scott's and the 606 Club, and has presented a Women In Jazz show on UKJazzRadio and teaches and coaches in a variety of settings.

 

 

Hi Verona, tea or coffee?

Coffee please or hot lemon when performing.

Milk and sugar?

Soya, rice or similar milk please, no sugar thank you.

 

It seems ages since we met at the Bath Wine Vaults jazz club although we have been in touch since then. You had brought out your debut album, Fever, subtitled ‘In Love With Shakespeare’. How has the album done – are you still in love with The Bard?

Verona Chard In Love With Shakespeare album

Still in love with The Bard but sadly the album has stalled. Naively, I enthusiastically licensed it to a friend of a dear friend in the record industry, it went well at first with some lovely reviews. But a few 'stories' / excuses later and not a lot has happened ... it cost a lot to self produce so from that perspective it's very disappointing but I gained from the experience.

 

My favourite track has always been the title track. Where did the idea for that track come from?

I was researching links to a Shakespeare theme and Fever was in the mix but initially excluded. I was working with Alex Stanford at the time and he experimented with a few of our ideas and helped to come up with the arrangement which is beautiful.

[Click here to listen to Fever].

 

 

 

 

 

Hob Nob, Custard Cream, Garibaldi or digestive biscuit?

Hmmmm, instinctively Custard Cream but currently I'm off biscuits. Love nakd and similar bars though!

 

Humphrey Lyttelton

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

Humphrey Lyttleton and John Hawkins.

What would you ask them?

Humph - to enjoy more of his wit and music making. Now a general election has been called I'd love to hear his opinion of the Party leaders and what he thought the Labour party would need to do to return to government - he had such a sound and inquisitive mind.

 

John Hawkins and band members

John - about his life working with some of the greats in jazz and blues and his role as a TV producer, it would have been great  to have had an opportunity to help him write his story as a book. John advised me and came to help during the production of Fever, he worked with many 'greats' such as Frank Ifield, Patsy O'Hara and Betty Reilly. Arranging was a big skill of John's and he worked with many well known bands and musicians: Franck Pourcel and Paul Mauriat, Sol Raye, and he was MD for Helen Shapiro and Cilla Black.

L-R: Mark Fletcher (drums); John Hawkins; Dave Green (bass); Alex Stanford (piano / keys);
at Cowshed Studio for the recording of Fever.

John also helped the Lionel Hampton Orchestra when their material was lost in a coach fire following a crash. He was also arranger to Gilbert Becaud, Charles Aznavour, The Platters, Nicole Croiset, Christanne Legrand. In 1966 John signed with Polypro records as assistant head of A&R to Chris Parminter during that time working with Georgie Fame, Blue Mink, Jack Hammer, Otis Reading and many other names from the Stax Volt / Atlantic Records label. In 1977 John was signed to ATV Music and co-wrote an award winning West End musical 'Canterbury Tales'.

 

 

I hear you have another album planned. How’s that going and what can we expect?

Well, I'm guesting on an album so I don't want to give much away at this stage if you don't mind, we are recording at the beginning of May, and I'm so, so excited I can't wait to do this project. I was promised a re-release of Fever for 26 April, but don't hold your breath!

 

You have also been tied up with the Musical Balloon Band programme, what’s that all about?

This is an absolute passion of mine. In 2013 I had a lovely opportunity to audition for a presenting project at the Royal Concert Halls, Nottingham Cecil The Donkeyand as part of the audition I was asked to 'express' myself, so I played some clarinet, sang and balloon modelled and told them about my concept which I'd been thinking about for quite a while. I did not get the job but amazingly the team at the TRCH decided to mentor me and the project and we are now part of their Beanbag Music scheme.

Cecil The Donkey

 

The Musical Balloon Band have another performance coming up there on Saturday 20th May. I LOVED watching balloon modellers as a child when they were working in the summer at The Parade Gardens, Bath and I love singing jazz so this project feels like home. It's unique, my idea and my 'baby'.

We've had some amazing performances including a tour and most recently the Sandgate Sea Festival; The Ivy Club; Hayes Carnival; BigFest Uxbridge; Haverhill Fun Day and the Art's Theatre, London. I'm also working with the New Wimbledon Theatre every Monday of the term. It's a session for babies + parents / carers. It's a very interactive project with percussion, singing, jazz, my original tunes and movement.


What else have you been doing recently? Are you still running BIVJA?.

BIVJA is still alive but the Musical Balloon Band has taken over at the moment. I'm co-running a new series of jazz, monthly at the Club For Acts and Actors (the Concert's Artiste's Association) on a Friday night. The other hosts are Christopher Hare (who founded the Lewisham Jazz Festival) and Simon Bashford. There was one on Friday 28 April with John Horler (piano), Alec Dankworth (bass) and Winston Clifford (drums). Simon, Chris and myself also 'perform' plus there is usually a jam for folk to join in with. Tickets are £15.00 (from me or the club for CAA members) - BOOKING ESSENTIAL!

My teaching work continues at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and I'm proud proud to say that students are getting West End leads and working in film and television. I recently started teaching at the London School of Musical Theatre and running a lunchtime choir as well as the VMBB sessions at the New Wimbledon Theatre. I co-own a theatrical agency and there is also a possibility that I'll coach on another TV series so fingers and toes crossed and please watch this space!

 

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

Fleur Stevenson

 

 

Fleur Stevenson came to BIVJA sessions and she was inspired to work with myself and Claire Martin MBE, she has since gone on to achieve an ATCL Jazz Diploma (Distinction)  and performs regularly and teaches in the Oxford area. Click here for a video of Fleur singing Cry Me A River with Chris Neill on piano. Click here for Fleur's website where you can hear more of her music.

 

 

Lou Beckerman

 

 

Lou Beckerman certainly deserves a mention - she is a fine singer and uses music for healing. Lou has an expressive, velvety jazz quality and pays great attention to the words which I love. Click here for Lou's website and click here to listen to some of her music.

 

 

 


Going back to Fever, do you have a favourite track?

Willow Weep For Me has a huge emotional memory and meaning for me. 

[Click here to listen to Willow Weep For Me]

 

Another biscuit?

Pass me a carrot?

Verona Chard

 

Click here for Verona Chard's website. Click here to sample the album Fever ... In Love with Shakespeare.

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

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Remembered

Shirley Horn

 

 

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

 

Shirley Horn

Shirley Horn in 1961 - publicity photograph by Bruno Bernard

 

Click here for a video of Shirley Horn playing and singing Basin Street Blues with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis at the Lincoln Centre.

Pianist and vocalist Shirley Horn was born in Washington D.C.in 1934. Before she was of legal age she was going into jazz clubs in Washington's famous U Street and by the age of twenty she had her first jazz piano trio. At twenty six she was noticed by Miles Davis who informed the management of New York's Village Vanguard club that he wouldn't play his show unless an unknown singer called Shirley Horn played the opening set.

Shirley had taken piano lessons from the age of four (her grandmother was an organist), and went on to study piano and composition at Shirley Horn and Miles DavisHarvard. Her influences were Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson and Ahmed Jamal and she is reported to have said: "Oscar Peterson became my Rachmaninov, and Ahmad Jamal became my Debussy."

 

Shirley Horn and Miles Davis

 

Before attracting the attention of Miles, she had recorded several songs with violinist Stuff Smith in 1959 both as a pianist and a singer and in the early 1960s she recorded on various labels before being signed by the more prominent Mercury and Impulse labels. Miles Davis heard her first album, Embers and Ashes, recorded in 1960, and later that year brought her to the Village Vanguard. She then toured briefly, and in 1963 recorded for the Mercury label with high-class partners including the pianist Hank Jones and guitarist Kenny Burrell. Quincy Jones described her rich voice as "like clothing, as she seduces you with her voice", but when the Beatles and other popular bands took over in the mid 1960s, she resisted attempts to popularise her material. Instead, she stepped back to raise her daughter, only giving local performances. Even so, she later recorded the Beatles' Yesterday for the album May The Music Never End (click here).

Shirley owned a local club for some years - and in 1978, Washington drummer Billy Hart arranged a crucial recording contract with Copenhagen's Steeplechase label resulting in the album A Lazy Afternoon, and Billy again worked with Shirley on the 1981 live album At Northsea.

Wikipedia suggests that it wasn't until the 1990s that she emerged again, but in John Fordham's obituary for Shirley in The Guardian, he says that Shirley's 'reputation finally took off at an informal late-night recital at a music-industry event in a Washington hotel in 1980 (she was then 46), the reclusive artist stunning an influential audience with a show that had set out to be only a casual dialogue with friends.' In 1991, Miles Davis guested on an album aptly titled You Won't Forget Me. Click here to listen to Miles playing on a track from the album. Shirley Horn Trio

A year later Shirley made the unusual decision to record with an orchestra rather than her usual trio. The 1992 album Here's To Life, (the title track became her signature tune) was accompanied by a video documentary under the same title looking back at of Shirley's life and music. Her trio with Charles Ables (bass) and Steve Williams (drums) played together for 25 years.

 

Steve Williams, Shirley Horn and Charles Ables.

 

Her albums Here's to Life, Light Out of Darkness (A Tribute to Ray Charles) and I Love You, Paris all reached number one on the Billboard jazz charts.

Click here for a video of Shirley singing Here's To Life in 1993 with John Williams and the Boston Pops orchestra.

In the early 2000s, Shirley was making fewer performances. In 2002 she had a foot amputation because of complications with her diabetes and for a while she was obliged to delegate the piano playing to George Mesterhazy. In late 2004, Shiley made a recording comeback for the Verve label at Manhattan's Au Bar with trumpet player Roy Hargrove (although she was not happy with the recording). Apparently it remains unreleased except for tracks on the album But Beautiful - The Best of Shirley Horn.

Shirley died in 2005 at the age of 71 having suffered from breast cancer although it was further Shirley Horncomplications with her diabetes that was the main cause..

During her career she had also played with Dizzy Gillespie, Toots Thielemans, Ron Carter, Carmen McRae and Wynton Marsalis.

Click here to listen to Someone To Watch Over Me with the harmonica of Toots Thielemans.

She was nominated for nine Grammy Awards during her career and won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance at the 41st Grammy Awards for I Remember Miles, (the album's cover featuring a Miles Davis drawing of them both). Click here to listen to her playing piano on Blue In Green from the album.

Shirley Horn was recognized by the 109th US Congress for "her many achievements and contributions to the world of jazz and American culture", and performed at The White House for several U.S. presidents. In 2002 she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Berklee College of Music. John Fordham said of Shirley Horn in the obituary mentioned before that she was 'a soft-voiced, lazily eloquent performer, had much of Billie Holiday's patient audacity about the pacing of songs - and she more generally exhibited the same disinclination to run if she could walk'; arranger Johnny Mandel is said to have commented that Shiley Horn's piano skill was comparable to that of pianist Bill Evans.

This year, for April's Record Store Day, Nels Cline contributed In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning - the only outake from his Lovers suite, to a limited 7" Blue Note issue with Shirley Horn's version of the song on the flip side (click here).

Click here for a video of Shirley Horn playing Corcovado with her trio in 1999.

Click here for more about Shirley Horn.

 

 

 

Full Focus
Over The Brow Of The Green Hill

From Blazing Flame Quintet album: The Set List Shuffle

 

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

'Full Focus' is a series where musicians and others discuss a jazz track or tracks in detail. The idea is that you are able to listen to the track that is discussed as you read about it. If you have a track on an album that you have released where you might like to share the ideas behind it and talk about how it developed - please contact us. This month, Steve Day talks about the track Over The Brow Of The Green Hill from his band Blazing Flame Quintet's new album The Set List Shuffle released on Leo Records, summer 2017.

 

Blazing Flame Quintet are: Steve Day (voice, words, percussion), Peter Evans (5 string electric violin), Mark Langford (tenor sax, bass clarinet), Julian Dale (double bass, cello),  Anton Henley (drums, percussion).

Over the brow of the green hill
come Marc and Bella Chagall.
Over the brow of the green hill
come Marc and Bella Chagall.
Leaving town,
and not coming back until the world turns round.
Pogroms, pogroms, pogroms, move on, pogroms, pogroms, pogroms.

The flying lovers are drawn to acrylic skies
but the Bolsheviks were marching before the paint had dried.
The love-birds board a steamship to the USA,
where Bella died on Broadway and Marc made Broadway pay.
France became his place of peace in stain-glass blue.
Let no thief steal your lover or the one green hill you knew.

Over the brow of the green hill
come Marc and Bella Chagall.
Over the brow of the green hill
come Marc and Bella Chagall.
Leaving town,
and not coming back until the world turns round.
Pogroms, pogroms, pogroms, move on, pogroms, pogroms, pogroms.

These are the most fantastical of days,
there’s a green hill far away
where the moon is painted blue
in seven different shades
and Bella flies like a sea-gull
guarded by a golden eagle
counting sheep fast asleep
unaware there’s a wolf who wants to feed on them. 

Over the brow of the green hill
come Marc and Bella Chagall.
Over the brow of the green hill
come Marc and Bella Chagall.
They're leaving town,
and not coming back until the world goes round.
Pogroms, pogroms, pogroms, progroms, move on, pogroms, pogroms, pogroms.

 

Click here to listen to Over The Brow Of The Green Hill.

Writing a poem, song, a play, book or story, even an online article can become a metaphor.  Bloggers and hacks, artists and painters all carry other purposes.  A picture seems to depict a certain image, yet there’s often secondary, maybe multiple meanings given off by a visual statement.  If ‘statement’ sounds too hard a word (as in solid ‘state’), try a hint of inference about a wonderland beyond reality.  The medium of paint or letters are not the facts of the matter just the means of description. 

I wrote Over The Brow Of The Green Hill after watching Kneehigh Theatre’s production of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.  The show, based onDaphnis and Chloe book the lives of Marc and Bella Chagall.  Ten years before, I had seen the painter’s exquisite lithographs from his Daphnis And Chloe series when I was staying on the Greek Island of Lesbos.  Chagall had painted the series between 1957 and 1960; long after the events depicted in Flying Lovers and Over the Brow.  For me Daphnis And Chloe are representative of his regeneration.  When Blazing Flame Quintet came to record Over The Brow Of The Green Hill, coincidence stepped in. I discovered our drummer, Anton Henley, in his role as a Daphnis and Chloe book front pageprofessional bookbinder, had crafted a beautiful bespoke book of Daphnis And Chloe translated by George Thornley and printed by The Golden Cockerel Press.  

One life can, in itself, embrace multiple lives.  Initially Marc Chagall’s birthright came out of the Russian pogroms.  His home in Vitebsk could be described as rural poverty.  He was to make many journeys of his own volition, yet some became circumstantial, others desperate. By the outbreak of World War 1 he was still a young man, on the brink of establishing his reputation as a painter.  In 1923 he left Russia for Paris, but in 1941, now clearly a formidable avant-garde artist, he and his wife Bella fled Europe at the outbreak of the Nazi invasion.  Only to find that “Bella died on Broadway and Marc made Broadway pay” – it is said that Marc Chagall considered that exile itself may have contributed to Bella’s death. 

Juxtapose these ‘lives’ with a later life with his second wife, Valentina, in Greece and the surreal sensuality of Daphnis And Chloe. Our performance of Over The Brow of The Green Hill is a compression, it’s a verbal song/poem literally moving in different directions.  Critically for me it ends with the lines: “....counting sheep fast asleep unaware there’s a wolf who wants to feed on them.” For me, the ‘wolf’ is always present.  However pastoral the painting or the verse, we must always endeavour to seek out the wolf.  If it is truthful it will be present in some form.  And sure, Over The Brow is about ‘Marc and Bella Chagall’; but it is also about the citizens of Aleppo and Mosul who currently have to flee their homes, it acknowledges the tragedy of Gaza, the plight of the Rohingyas in Myanmar, and yes, it represents the millions of Jews who never managed to “board a steam ship for the USA”.

Over The Brow Of The Green Hill was recorded in one take at The Factory Studios on 11th January 2017.  It begins with an intensely angular, caress of a violin and cello.  Immediately the music feels as if it could swallow your ears.  In concert, Peter Evans and Julian Dale stretch thisMarc Chagall Daphnis and Chloe duet.  They provide a prologue, précising storytelling without words.  They are both orchestrators, here they lay out the tale of Marc and Bella Chagall as if their music is a map.  As a soloist one of Peter Evans' skills is that he can hit creativity from a standing start.  I’ve heard it happen many times.  We arrive somewhere, we set up.  Peter uses an array of effects pedals, wires, leads, tuning adjustments, he’s plugging stuff in. There’s a bit of brief conversation.  A count in; he’s away, totally on the soundpicture, producing big strokes of colour from the beginning.  Julian, a formal composer as well as bassist with The Flame, configures the cello like a low sonic descant. After the initial voice incanting the chorus and verse, enter bass clarinet into the mix. 

Marc Chagall Daphnis and Chloe

The gift that is Mark Langford is that he plays like an enquiring mind, both troubling yet at the same time richly detailed in clarity.  As a human being he is a lovely generous person, musically, there’s something of, beware ‘the wolf’ about him.   I think he’s a special player.  A significant proportion of his career has been dedicated to open ended ‘free’ improvisation; in Blazing Flame Quintet my pre-written lyric binds him into a beginning and an end.  He becomes an interpreter of not just his own psyche but mine too.  It’s a privilege I don’t take lightly, yet I recognise that for him there has to be an element of being a “wolf who wants to feed”.  His playing throughout Over The Brow is exemplary.   

At first, Anton’s vintage Premier traps kit clicks metronome tight, by the end he has maintained the pulse yet pushed off in other directions, Blazing Flame Quintetshaking and rattling on the rim of the lyric.  Drumming becomes a sophisticated pulse diviner, with the air between two wooden drumsticks measuring beaten time.  Never underestimate the drum role (roll), the crack is literally the space in-between.  He sets up strings and reeds for the final instrumental segment which, again in a live setting, is extended. 

Blazing Flame Quintet has never been merely an ‘accompaniment’ for songs.  Structurally, we are interested in the playoff between composition and the impromptu response.  Both Anton and I are intuitive time keepers but Peter, Mark and Julian are sonic pioneers.  Truly, each one of them is like a technically gifted fine art artist who abstracts.  People coming to our gigs this year can expect to hear ‘songs’ from The Set List Shuffle.  What they won’t hear is reproductions.  We have to alter the dynamic.  Personally, I have one other motive.  I write in order to reach an understanding with myself, Over The Brow Of The Green Hill is an example.  I operate on the itch of what troubles me.  In the writing and singing of the story of Marc and Bella Chagall, I confront my own fears. When I saw Kneehigh Theatre’s Flying Lovers it wasn’t just a good night out, to my mind it asked something of me.  To touch the raw residue of hope which exists within the baying tribe of humanity towards all people who flee persecution.  Over The Brow is an attempt to deal with the inherent desperation in such circumstances.  Once placed within a communal musical context of the Quintet – Mark’s hungry dark wood clarinet, Julian circling Peter’s top strings for harmony, Anton stirring the borderline and I, taking the ‘poetic’ to the flame.  Sometimes it produces a beacon, on other occasions the performance just burns.  I suppose, potentially it could smoulder.

Recently we played Over The Brow Of The Green Hill at a gig at The Greenbank Hotel in Bristol.  It’s an intimate, welcoming room with a strong acoustic resonance.  The venue itself is the antithesis of its name; there is nothing green growing at The Greenbank.  It’s inner-city busy, the green hill long gone in the industrial eruption of the 1800’s.  Now, in 2017, the downstairs bar area is bustling with people sitting at small tablesBlazing Flame The Set List Shuffle sipping, eating and quaffing bespoke beers.  The upstairs calls out for music; as we began to play Over The Brow I knew it was going to be good.  It was almost as if the entry of Peter’s 5-string electric violin had parted an air pocket so that by the time I hit the storyline I couldn’t help but breathe deeply and call out, seemingly from across continents, for a better deal for those who flee persecution. It is one of the inherent mysteries of music that it can transcend circumstances yet also unite them.  Admittedly, easier to achieve in downtown Bristol than in some other parts of the world.  Marc and Bella Chagall never sat inside The Greenbank, yet I come to a line like Let no thief steal your lover or the one green hill you knew and suddenly, right there in this inner city music venue, I’m certain that no thief will ever rob us of a place to play through the heart of the matter. The Bataclan in Paris still stands.  

The idea behind the Full Focus feature on this website is, for me, the essence of what performance is all about.  It’s certainly nothing to do with fame or recognition, or being told you’re brilliant.  Writers, musicians, offer up a snippet of creativity to other people, for what purpose?  What are they actually bringing to the table?  Give me the detail of it?  Focus on it.  Those of you who have got this far with Over The Brow Of The Green Hill are entitled to expect those questions answered.  I can only explain the circumstances behind me writing the words, and Peter Evans, Mark Langford, Julian Dale and Anton Henley bothering to spend time improvising with them.  They too own their personal stake in it.  This song speaks of “the moon... painted blue in seven different shades”.  Blazing Flame Quintet translate these colours into music, adding additional worth by spontaneous extemporisation.  That’s how I hear it.

The Blazing Flame Quintet album The Set List Shuffle will be available from Leo Records (click here) and will be reviewed in June.

The band will be playing at:

Monday, 29th May - Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Open Stage, BFQ present Over The Brow Of The Green Hill, a ten minute contemporary improvised jazz opera (start time tbc)
Friday, 2nd June - Cafe Kino, Bristol BS1 3RU
Sunday, 6th August - Ashburton-Live, St Lawrence Chapel, Ashburton, TQ17 7DD
Friday, 29th September - Cafe Kino, Bristol BS1 3RU
Friday, 6th October - Chew Valley Arts Project, Old School Room, Chew Magna, BS40 8SH
Friday, 17th November - Cafe Kino, Bristol BS1 3RU
Tuesday, 12th December - The Greenbank Hotel, Bristol BS56DP

Click here for Steve Day's website.

 

 

 

Continental Drift

 

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

 

Max Nagl Ensemble

Live at Porgy & Bess Vienna Vol.2

 

Max Nagle Ensemble Live album

 

Pamelia Stickney: theremin
Joanna Lewis: violin
Anne Harvey-Nagl: violin
Clemens Salesny: alto- tenor saxophones, clarinet
Max Nagl: alto- soprano- bariton saxophones, clarinet
Daniel Riegler: trombone
Clemens Wenger: keyboard
Raphael Preuschl: bass
Herbert Pirker: drums

This month's choice is an Austrian band led by saxophonist Max Nagl.  Since the late 1980s Nagl has built a catalogue of CDs by trios and quartets as well as a background in creating music for theatre and radio plays.

Here with a fine band he brings those influences together in a terrific live recording that has theatre, circus and jazz intertwined.  The distinctive Max Naglsound of  the Theremin is a prominent element as well as a fine front line of soloists.  The Porgy and Bess club in Vienna is one of Europe's great clubs known for it's innovation and experimentation.

This CD fits that style perfectly - it can move from a classical sound to a circus march to a lyrical melody to free jazz and back again, sometimes in the space of one tune.  It's very quirky, often gloriously chaotic and very identifiable as European music.  There's a shortage of good video clips but you can hear some sample clips if you click here.

Better still go and buy a copy direct from Max through his email address at max.nagl@chello.at

Click here for a (rather poor) video of the Max Nagl Ensemble playing at the Porgy and Bess club.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Photographic Memories

Mick Clift

 

 

Mick Clift and band

Christmas 1954 / 1955?

Trombonist Mick Clift’s daughter, Helen, has picked up on Chris Watford’s memories in our Profile of Mick (click here) and sends us these pictures.

Helen says: ‘At the bottom of the page Chris mentions his great friend Tony Parker.  Here are photos of Mick Clift them both in 1947 which makes them 18 or 19 years old - yes - they were that young once!!!'

Chris had said: ‘Mick was a real character, and a tremendous help with running my band. Wherever we played, it seemed that someone in the audience knew him. On our way back from a gig, we would chat Mick Cliftaway to keep me awake at the steering wheel, but he would wait until I had forgotten to turn off the motorway, and then say to me "Weren't you supposed to turn off back there?", which usually meant a long detour - at 2 a.m. in the morning !'

Tony Parker

'His great schoolboy friend, Tony Parker, who also took up the trombone at the same time as Mick, once told me that Mick turned up one day with a large bag of sweets, and Tony said "Can I have one please?", and Mick retorted " No,'cos you asked", and proceeded to scoff the lot !' 

Mick Clift

'They were great friends, but must have been a right couple of lads as youngsters! Dad always played the guitar and the banjo and later, probably in his 50s, he wanted to join the local amateur orchestra and took up the bassoon, deliberately choosing an unusual and difficult instrument so they were happy to take him on.'

 

Helen continues: 'I have also found a photo dated Christmas 1954 or 1955  (above) with my Dad playing his trombone but I have no idea who any of the other people are or where it was taken. It might be in Bedfont, Middlesex but the photo could just as likely have been in Skegness.' [Does anyone recognise others in the 1954/1955 photo? Ed.].

'There is also a scan of a postcard featuring my Dad in The Jubilee Brass Band at the Bude Jazz festival 1995 when my parents lived in Cornwall. Dad died on March 10th 2007.'

 

Mick Clift at Bude Jazz festival

 

 

 

Forum

 

Charlie Galbraith and Eric Allandale

Teddy Wilson Lake CD

 

Alan Bond has picked up a Lake Records CD of Teddy Wilson with Dave Shepherd dating from 1968 (click here) and writes: 'The vibes player is Ronnie Greaves, a name from the past if ever I heard one. It also has Peter Chapman on bass, another name from long ago. Further names from long ago are trombonists Charlie Galbraith and Eric Allandale, both of whom had rather nice bands in the 1960s. I remember Eric as a very nice chap who was always ready to chat. News of either of these gentlemen would be welcome as would any of George Dawson, erstwhile of Steve Lane's band in the 1960s. I did see some fairly recent video of George on YouTube but I can't locate it now. As far as I know he is still playing'.

Please let us know if you have any information I can pass on to Alan.

 

 

 

 

London Jazz Archive

 

Les Tomkins Recordings from Gearbox

Mike Rose at the National Jazz Archive writes: 'A few weeks ago, I was invited to a reception at the Sound Department of the British Library by Gearbox Records. They’d got hold of whole stack of reel-to-reel recordings made in secret by Les Tomkins at London jazz clubs, got an award from Heritage Lottery Fund to digitalise the recordings and produced 20 sets of the recordings on vinyl. They presented a set to the NJA. In case you also didn’t know, they have now made all the recordings available on their web site (click here).

 

 

 

Esquire Vic Lewis recording

 

Marion Williams

Harry Haecker in New Zealand has been reading our Profile of singer Marion Williams (click here) and writes: 'I have a copy of Esquire 10-124. One side of this 78 features Marion Williams scatting with Vic Lewis on Lemon Drop.  Her scatting on this recording is joyous! Here is the listing on Discogs which I uploaded today (click here)'.

The recording is from February 1951 and has Solitaire on the A-side.

 

 

 

 

Rusty Taylor

Following our Profile of the late Rusty Taylor and my putting on YouTube some of her music, Rusty's husband Kevin Taylor points out that there is now a video filmed by Louis Lince of Rusty singing I've Got What It Takes on YouTube. I have now put this on Rusty's page (click here).

 

 

Albert Hall

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

 

 

 

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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You can also join our Mailing List - click here - and I will send you an email each time a new issue of What's New comes out.

 

 

 

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:

 

Stan Robinson

 

Stan Robinson - English tenor saxophonist and flutist from Lancashire and Manchester who during the 1960s went to London and played with a range of musicians including Allan Ganley, Keith Christie, Ginger Baker, Phil Seaman, Tubby Hayes, Sandy Brown, Humphrey Lyttelton, and many others. He was part of The Animals big band, the Don Rendell Quintet and Maynard Ferguson's big band. Later he toured with Charlie Watts' Orchestra and in the 2000s continued to lead a trio with Geoff Castle and often featured vocalist Frank Holder.

(Photograph courtesy of Brian O'Connor, imagesofjazz.com)

Click here for a video of Stan playing at Frank Holder's 90th birthday gig at Pizza Express Jazz Club in Dean Street in 2015.

 

 

 

 

Tony Augarde

 

 

Tony Augarde - UK "writer, musician and word expert” was in touch with Sandy Brown Jazz from time to to time and I had the pleasure of spending time with him at his home in Oxford. As his daughter says in Tony's obituary, he was "an accomplished jazz drummer, a newspaper arts editor and word quiz broadcaster". At various times he played with British musicians such as Alan Barnes, George Chisholm, Mark Nightingale, Tommy Whittle, Malcolm Creese and Jim Tomlinson. He wrote for Jazz Rag and Crescendo magazines and broadcast a weekly jazz programme for BBC local radio. Click here for our Profile of Tony. He will be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

Lonnie Brooks

 

 

Lonnie Brooks - American Blues singer and guitarist from Louisiana born Lee Baker Jr. who called himself 'Guitar Junior' until he changed his name so not as to be confused with another Blues guitarist in Chicago. His recording of Robert Johnson's Sweet Home Chicago became a hit in 1980. He toured for many years with his sons Wayne and Ronnie, both guitar players, and appeared in the 1998 film The Blues Brothers.

Click here for a video of Lonnie Brooks playing and singing Sweet Home Chicago in 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ken Sims

 

Ken Sims - UK trumpet player born on Merseyside. His father played jazz piano and Ken began playing at the age of five. Ken started to play cornet and then his father bought him a trumpet. He joined the Freddie Rae Dixielanders, was hired at Cy Laurie's Club and began playing for Acker Bilk in 1957. He formed a band with Ian Wheeler that became the Ken Sims Vintage Jazz Band and then joined Terry Lightfoot in 1964. After a period in Germany he returned to form the Ken Sims Dixie Kings but he also played with a number of other ensembles. Click here for a video of Ken's funeral procession. Click here for a video of Ken with John Petters' Creole Jazz band playing Snag It in 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

Allan Holdsworth

 

Allan Holdsworth - Self-taught UK guitar player born in Bradford. His grandfather was an amateur jazz pianist and his favourite music when he was young were the recordings of John Coltrane. In 1973 he was invited to join the progressive rock band Soft Machine but left after two years when the American drum virtuoso Tony Williams, renowned for his work in Miles Davis’s quintet, asked him to join one of the first jazz-rock fusion bands, Lifetime. He went on to play with French jazz-rock band Gong, the violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and the all-star band U.K. In the 1980s he moved to California where he continued to record and perform. In the 1980s, he is quoted as saying: “I don’t like playing to guitar players, actually. I’d rather just play to ordinary people. But obviously it’s difficult with this kind of music because no one ever really gets a chance to hear it, because radio won’t play it. Because it’s not jazz, they don’t really know what to call it, so they don’t know where to put it.”

Click here for a video of Allan soloing with Soft Machine in 1974.

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Hopkins

 

 

Linda Hopkins - American Gospel singer born in New Orleans who featured Bessie Smith's songs in her performances. She started singing in a Gospel choir at 3 and at 11, she impudently called the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and invited her to perform at a fund-raiser for the children’s choir. Ms. Jackson, unaware that she was speaking to a young girl, agreed. On the day of the fund-raiser, she was rewarded when Helen gave a full-throated rendition of “God Shall Wipe Your Tears Away,” one of Ms. Jackson’s best-known songs.' Mahalia Jackson supported Linda who eventually moved to California sang and recorded with the Johnny Otis Orchestra and then moved to Broadway where amongst other shows she wrote and performed “Me and Bessie,” a tribute to the great blues singer.

Click here for a video of Linda Hopkins singing John Henry and Trouble in 1979.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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Album Released: 7th April 2017 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings

 

Mark Lewandowski

Waller

 

Robin Kidson reviews this album for us:

Another month, another fine release from Whirlwind Recordings. This UK-based record company must be one of the most innovative and prolific popularisers of contemporary music around at the minute. Its founder and boss, Michael Janisch, is the John Hammond/Norman Granz/Ahmet Ertegun of our day.

Waller is a tribute to Fats Waller from the British bassist, Mark Lewandowski. Fats Waller belongs firmly in the “Jazz As Entertainment” category. As such, there are perhaps many jazz fans out there who have dismissedMark Lewandowski Waller him as a figure not to be taken too seriously. However, Lewandowski’s contemporary take on the music releases Waller from the comic stereotype and shows him not only to be a consummate musician but a composer of subtle and brilliantly constructed melodies. Lewandowski does not stray too far from Waller’s original style – he says of the music, “I wanted to approach it with respect. Fats’ music is frequently loud, exuberant, even obnoxious at times, as well as wistful and elegant; so I really wanted to strip it down…”

Lewandowski is joined by two other British musicians who have been round the block a few times: Liam Noble on piano, and Paul Clarvis on drums. Together, they apply a number of different modern jazz styles to Waller’s songs. They do so with both respect and a sense of humour which Fats would surely have appreciated. The net result is that familiar (hackneyed, even) melodies are given a new lease of life as if they were being heard and appreciated for the first time.

The album begins with Lulu’s Back in Town which is introduced by a rather eerie and scratchy extract from a radio broadcast by Waller in 1938. It’s an effective and oddly moving touch. Lewandowski, Noble and Clarvis then come in with some contemporary loose improvisation before launching into a fairly straight, swinging rendition of the familiar tune. As the track proceeds, Noble introduces more modern piano styles – a bit of bebop here, some fashionable dissonance there – together with some neat interplay particularly with Clarvis’s drums. The drumming is one of the highlights of the album. Clarvis uses brushes throughout and keeps perfect time, as well as playing brilliantly off the other musicians and contributing his own improvisatory style.

Click here to listen to Lulu’s Back in Town.

The second track is labelled I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead….Suzannah! and is a fusion of two separate tunes. It begins with Lewandowski, sounding a little like Charlie Haden, playing the tune (or tunes?) backed by drums. The tempo gradually increases until Noble suddenly bursts in with some frantic piano. He displays all his considerable virtuosity with a bravura performance which includes some almost classical sounding passages. There is humour there as well in what Lewandowski calls “Liam’s playful unpredictability”.

There is also a classical feel to Jitterbug Waltz with Noble moving effortlessly from Jacques Loussier playing Bach to Dave Brubeck playing West Coast Cool without ever renouncing a gentle swinging tempo.

Blue Because of You is taken at a very fast pace with some nice call and response between the musicians and a short but effective bowed bass solo. In contrast, Fair and Square… In Love, is treated as a slow ballad in which Noble gets to channel his inner Bill Evans and where the spaces between the notes become almost as compelling as the notes themselves. This is followed by Cinders which also has a slow but attractive bluesy tempo.

It’s a Sin to….Write a Letter is another intelligent amalgamation of two tunes with piano and bass comfortably dovetailing with each other, and Clarvis making interesting percussive sounds as well as vocalising little grunts Mark Lewandowski groupand hums. Have a Little Dream on Me is a bass solo in which Lewandowski gets to show off his considerable skills.

Track 9 is a version of one of Waller’s most famous compositions, Ain’t Misbehavin'. The tune is performed fairly straight with a gentle swing. The musicians play off each other very effectively with some imaginative and absorbing improvisation. The cliché about breathing new life into an old tune has never been more true. The same goes for the next track, Honeysuckle Rose, another Waller favourite again introduced by a crackly extract from an old recording. The musicians briefly play the tune with a slightly latin beat and jagged notes.

The final track is called Surprise Ending. The said surprises come thick and fast: first, the track is not a Fats Waller song, it’s the Jelly Roll Morton number, Why? Second, as well as playing bass, Lewandowski sings (and whistles). Most surprising of all is that Lewandowski has a fine singing voice – a light tenor in the style of a swing era crooner. Once again, the sense of humour which underlies the whole album shines through. The track ends on a single bass note. It’s a fitting finale to a most absorbing and well thought through album.

Lewandowski, Noble and Clarvis are currently on tour during May with a busy schedule around the UK. Check out Lewandowski’s website for the dates - click here. The website also contains details of how to get hold of the album, as does the Whirlwind website - click here.

Click here to sample the album.

Robin Kidson

 

 

 

Album Released: 21st April 2017 - Label: Babel

 

Brass Mask

Live

 

Howard Lawes reviews this album for us:

Brass Mask is a band lead by Huddersfield born, London based saxophonist and Loop Collective member, Tom Challenger.  Live is the band's second album, following on from Spy Boy released in 2013 to some good reviews.  

The material that Challenger has composed and arranged for the band is inspired by the street music of the New Orleans Mardi Gras parades and in particular the music of the Mardi Gras Indians, a large part of whichBrass Mask Live has only recently come to light via unofficial, live recordings appearing online.  Challenger also has interest in music from Africa and the Caribbean as well the use of electronics for samples and loops which he has incorporated into the album at the post-production stage.

The Brass Mask lineup for the Live album differs slightly from that for Spy Boy and includes Loop Collective members Alex Bonney (trumpet), Rory Simmons (trumpet) and Dan Nicholls (organ, percussion); Tomorrows Warriors brothers Nathaniel Cross (trombone) and Theon Cross (tuba); George Crowley (saxophone, clarinet), John Blease (drums, percussion) and Jon Scott (percussion). The Live album was recorded at London's Servants Jazz Quarters by Alex Bonney who also did the mixing, additional production by Tom Challenger and the striking cover design is by  Dan Nicholls, all Loop Collective members and the album is released under the Babel label. 

The first track is called Francilia + Shallow Water and commences with some hard to define electronic sounds and percussion replaced by a saxophone funeral dirge embellished with improvised passages from the brass instruments. It is followed in quick succession with a lively version of the Lil' Liza Jane, an American folk song dating back to the early 20th century, or even before, which has become a well loved standard of New Orleans style brass bands.  The Bague, is an exuberant ensemble piece led by trumpeter Rory Simmons, inspired by the music of Haiti, with so much happening it is almost impossible to take it all in and must have really shaken the Servants Jazz Quarters to its foundations.

Click here to listen to The Bague.

Next comes a traditional New Orleans marching band piece called Indian Red which speeds up half way through to give a very quick stepping march, it finishes with rattling and whirring reminiscent of some voodoo ritual.  The next track, I Thank You Jesus, is also a march but this time for a funeral, the drums and tuba emphasising a mournful rhythm while the improvised wailing and weeping comes from brass and reeds. 

Nyodi features the tuba of Theon Cross as the foundation while other instruments improvise around him in various combinations to give a hypnotic performance. 

[Click here to listen to a version of Nyodi on Soundcloud]

The next track, The Merman, has more voodoo strains before an unrelenting rhythm prompts thoughts of some infernal machine from Fritz Lang's Metropolis.  The last track, Francis P, begins with a sound like a bell tolling before the band create a soundscape suggesting urban life, speeding up, slowing down like the traffic, a Brass Maskkeyboard solo is frenetic followed by a furious contrapuntal duet between two trumpets before finally some order is restored in the form of a melody but the album ends with more voodoo style electronic sounds which could be swarming bees.

So often having been to a great, live gig you buy the album and then, when you play it at home it is a little disappointing because the excitement of the live performance is missing.  On the other hand some live recordings also fail to do justice to the performance because the recording equipment and environment probably leave a little to be desired.  However with this album, the performance sounds absolutely wonderful and great credit to Alex Bonney for the recording and mixing, because not only is the excitement of the live performance captured but it is almost as if you have a live band playing in your living room and like a live band, every time you hear them, it seems slightly different.  Tom Challenger should have a real winner with this album, not only are his arrangements and compositions really good but the members of the band are so clearly enjoying what they are doing that the result is truly a joyful celebration of the New Orleans Mardi Gras.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Click here for an earlier video from 2014 featuring Brass Mask playing at Cafe Oto.

Click here for our Tea Break chat with Tom Challenger.

 

Howard Lawes    

 

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

 

Humphrey Lyttelton

Dusting Off The Archives
Rare Recordings : 1948 - 1955

 

There are 23 tracks plus 2 bonus tracks on this great compilation from Lake Records, so I won't even attempt to list or describe them all. I should add, however, that there is a comprehensive booklet by Paul Adams with personnel details, recording dates, and information about each of the tracks. The bonus tracks, Ain't Misbehavin' and After You've Gone, are from a home produced 78 rpm record. More about them later.

Paul Adams' liner notes begin with a description of how Humph 'powered out of the 1940s on the crest of aHumphrey Lyttelton Dusting Off The Archives steadily building wave of interest in traditional jazz ... (that) had become a full-scale revival by 1950.' We read about Humph's bands through this time and how he had 'very little serious competition until Chris Barber's band emerged from the collapse of Ken Colyer's jazzmen in 1954.' So this is a very formative collection of recordings until that time.

Paul continues: 'The recordings on this CD are indeed rarities. They come from a miscellaneous collection of broadcasts, out-takes and private recordings. Most were dubbed from acetates rather than tape so a lot of restoration was required - acetates are soft plastic and the fact that they have survived for over 65 years, let alone be playable, is quite remarkable. In most cases they are the only copies. With an issued record you can often have two or three copies and take the best bits and edit them together. No chance of that here! Despite the technical limitations they have generally cleaned up well and what shines through is the power and quality of this hugely significant band.'

Let's talk about some of the tracks - not necessarily in sequential order. Bad Penny Blues (track 12 from April 1952 and a live performance) is quite different to the hit single that eventually emerged from Joe Meek's studio production. Johnny Parker is great on piano, Humph's solo strays around more and George Hopkinson's drums are less driving than Stan Greig's on the later recording. Doctor Blues (track 16 from July 1952 is a little more 'New Orleans', and has a lighter feel lifted by Wally Fawkes who was absent on the Bad Penny Blues track. 'The track was recorded for Parlophone three months later, but never issued at the time. It was never recorded again.' Walkin My Baby Back Home (track 18 from September 1952) has Neva Raphaello singing Hunphrey Lytteltonthe words and Humph soloing nicely on muted trumpet. Singing The Blues (track 19 from the same session) is Humph's interpretation of the beautiful Bix Beiderbecke number. Johnny Parker takes a short piano solo, but this is mainly about Humph's trumpet improvisations.

There are some changes made for Memphis Shake (track 22 from 1955) which has Bruce Turner on alto sax and John Picard on trombone filling out the sound more, but Wally Fawkes' clarinet is ever present waeving in and out of the tune. By the time we get to Pretty Baby (track 23, September 1955), Jim Bray is on bass and Stan Greig on drums had moved down from Edinburgh. The track features excellent playing from Humph and Bruce Turner on alto. Skipping back a few tracks, I should mention I Wonder (track 4) this is from 1948 and features a warm and sensitive solo from Humph. The band has Wally Fawkes (clarinet), Harry Brown (trombone), George Webb (piano), Nevil Skrimshire (guitar), Les Rawlings (bass) and Dave Carey is playing drums. In a way, this reflects the essence of this album. Recorded the day after George Webb and Dave Carey joined the band, it is reminds us that Neville Skrimshire was around at the time.

And so to the 2 'bonus tracks'. Bob Saunders was a sound engineer who worked at a West End studio in the early 1950s. 'He would put his own stuff and radio recordings on to acetates and sell them,' writes Paul Adams. Ain't Misbehain' and After You've Gone are two such tracks from a cocert where the personnel, date and venue are not known, despite 'extensive efforts by Lyttelton devotees .. to narrow it down.' The recording is probably 1954 or earlier and it is not Humph's regular band, and the last chord of Ain't Misbehavin' indicates a bigger band of which the group fronted by Humph is just a part. A mystery that someday might be resolved by someone who was there? They are enjoyable versions of the tunes with good pace, featured clarinet, piano and trombone, cohesive playing and Humph, as Paul Adams says: 'more than holds his own.'

This is an album that those interested in the early days of UK trad jazz and Humphrey Lyttelton's story will certaoinly want to hear.

Click here for details and samples.

Ian Maund


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Album Released: 16th July 2017 - Label: Self Release

 

Big Bad Wolf

Pond Life

Owen Dawson (trombone); Rob Luft (guitar); Michael De Souza (Fender bass VI); Jay Davis (drums).

Big Bad Wolf describe their music as 'featuring washy guitars, ambient vocals, brassy hooks and deep grooves…'. Graduates of the jazz courses at the Royal Academy of Music and Leeds College of Music, you will hear them playing with other groupings, but in Big Bad Wolf they have developed their own style with an unusual combination of instruments that really works. Pond Life is their debut album; the official launch is notBig Bad Wolf Pond Life until July, but they are currently on tour (dates below).

Canary opens the set with skipping guitar and trombone joined by bass and drums as the theme emerges. The guitar sets a light tone while the trombone flows lyrically underneath. The bass and drums are nicely placed, but then the album is recorded and engineered by Alex Killpartrick and I'd expect nothing else. As the track reaches an atmospheric middle section voices are added repeating until the end of the track. As Steve Day says in another review on this site, the final track on an album can be as important as the first - Canary as the first track is important because it certainly draws the listener in. The Plight Of The Typewriter as the final track, well, we'll see.

Before that, there is Flats In Dagenham - I really must talk to these guys about where the titles come from. Flats is as engaging as Canary, opening with mellow trombone and interspersed with trickling guitar and background voices. Rob Luft's guitar effects that develop on this track are absorbing and the change into the final section with low repeated trombone riff and then the repeated theme takes the tune out nicely.

Click here to listen to Flats In Dagenham.

Frog at track 3 hops along with the guitar before swelling into what could be music from a much larger band and it is the guitar again that later changes the mood and pace with a repeated motif before Owen Dawson's full trombone comes in with its own ideas. By now, I am certain that this is an album that will bear repeated listening, and as the longest track, Quiet Coach (9.16 minutes), begins with its beautiful trombone statement, the certainty is confirmed. There are lyrics voiced again in the background; trombone and guitar sustain the mood as the bass guitar enters at just the right point before a gentle, extended trombone solo until the guitar changes the mood as the music expands to the close.

Click here for a video of the band playing Quiet Coach.

Hopkins' Choice has another light guitar entry with the recording developing the band's presence as Owen's trombone jauntily joins in and stretches out as the band dance the tune to an abrupt end. Grassfish, (where do these titles come from?) is another atmospheric number with the trombone taking us into lyrics - I find the Big Bad Wolfuse of the band's voices totally appropriate in adding to the overall effect. It is the guitar that eventually leads the band with an opening out of the tune to its conclusion. Pond Life, the title track, is an appealing track full of variation and the arrangement deserves credit.

Which brings us to that other 'important' last track, The Plight Of The Typewriter. The effective use of trombone, guitar, bass, drums and voice is encapsulated again in this number and it does illustrate what the album and the band is about. Big Bad Wolf's description of 'featuring washy guitars, ambient vocals, brassy hooks and deep grooves…' goes some way to describing the music, but you need to hear some of it to appreciate it. Hopefully with the samples in this review you can.

I think Pond Life is a triumph for a debut album. It introduces a talented band, distinctive, well-arranged, compositions and in collaboration with Alex Killpartick's engineering an overall package of pleasure. The band have seven gigs left on their current tour. Catch them if you can. If not, seek out the album when it is available.

Click here for a video of the band playing Canary.

Click here for the Big Bad Wolf website. The album will be officially released on the 16th July but for now head over to their website and sign up to the mailing list to hear about the album when it becomes available!

Sunday, 7th  May @ The Alex (Jazz East) - Undercliff Road West, Felixstowe, IP11 2AF
Monday, 15th May @ The Wonder Inn - Shudehill, Manchester, M4 2AF
Tuesday, 16th May @ The Spotted Dog - Warwick St, Birmingham, B12 0NH
Sunday, 21st May @ Music In The Park - Wanstead Park, London
Friday, 16th June @ Hot Numbers - Gwydir Street, Cambridge, CB1 2LJ
Saturday, 24th June @ Club 85 (JazzUP!) - Whinbush Road, Hitchin, SG5 1PZ
Sunday, 16th July "Pond Life" album launch – @ The Royal Albert (for Good Evening) - New Cross Road, London, SE14 6TJ

Ian Maund

 

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Album Released: 19th May 2017 - Label: Discus

 

Archer, Clark, Grew, Hunter

Felicity's Ultimatum

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Martin Archer (alto, sopranino & baritone saxophones); Graham Clark (violin); Stephen Grew (piano); Johnny Hunter (drums).

Amanda’s Drum is the opening track, I’ve no information about Amanda especially as the percussion on the album belongs to ‘Johnny’s drum’.  It is Mr Johnny Hunter himself who crashes onto the scene at this party.  If you’ve been reading in-between the lines of the Sandy Brown Jazz website over the last 18 months you’ll already know he is one of our favourite drummers.  This album goes a long way to explaining why.The quartetMartin Archer Felicitys Ultimatum line-up on Felicity’s Ultimatum is sonically balanced (plus, the whole album has 10 track titles naming particular women and their possessions – in Felicity’s case it isn’t an object, but a demand and she gets the title track).

The vivid presence of Stephen Grew broods over this album, a detailed pianist capable of restraint as well as full-on crescendo; a player who keeps a low profile yet is among the most deeply inventive pianists in the UK.  His solo album Lit & Phil Suite, reviewed in August 2015, is worth catching.  Here in Martin Archer’s quartet Felicity sessions he acquits himself with aplomb, tirelessly sparking events whilst still holding up the middle ground, spraying tough and tender lines with purpose. Graham Clark’s violin is a smart addition.  He’s a member of Archer’s small big band, Engine Room Favourites, and a number of other Discus projects.  Years ago I used to catch Mr Clark in Bristol.  He seemed to play every gig possible, and ended up in Europe in a late version of Daevid Allen’s Gong.  Here he bows with stealth. 

On the short, Jane’s Ruin, it begins with Hunter and Grew stoking a fire of repeats and then you detune your ears to an awareness of Mr Clark’s strings gradually harmonising the picture until he is countering their statements.  On Bessie’s Greens, in effect a ‘Bird’ Parker abstraction for Martin Archer, the violin turns the tables and produces a coda of guile and smooth grit.  It’s beautifully executed. Of course, there is no bass player.  I’m a believer in bass players, but sometimes if a substitution is made, or even, heaven forbid, the daring do of leaving the bottom end totally empty, what you get is a space.  And space can be just as productive as filling it with time and motion.  What you get on Felicity’s Ultimatum is a lot of light and air around Martin Archer’s sopranino and alto horns, particularly when chorusing with violin.  When they need something deep down underneath there’s the occasional use of baritone sax to burnish the bottom. 

It also means that the Hunter-Drummer designs his own line – Sonya’s Goat could be modern be-bop if they let it, but the drums are constantly re-folding the rhythm round a circular improv catching on the hop the Stephen Grewcomposition element.  I’m not saying a bassist couldn’t have found a home here, but leaving the vacancy allows for an open door policy when it comes to running the voodoo down (so to speak).

Okay, right in the centre of the running order is Masayo’s Experiment, one of two improvised workouts.  I can reveal the worse kept secret ever, that Masayo Asahara is someone very close to Martin Archer’s heart, particularly since they share the same initials.  Love it.  Masayo’s Experiment sounds different to the other tracks.  Same line-up, same recording session, but twice the length of most of the companion pieces, it positively tracks forth like searching for its own story.  They wait for each other.  Right at the beginning there’s this hint of strings and horn testing weight and wait.  How long is he going to hold that note?  How heavy is he going to make the irruption? Mr Grew’s entry seems to settle things down for a while, but damn, he drops out again.  It is Martin Archer getting in touch with his Masayo Asahara which propels the quartet forward and it is Johnny Hunter flicking cymbals and fast hi-hat that presents everyone with a firm basis to heave in a dramatic central cascade.  Turn it up! The foursome become ferocious.  For a while they sound invincible until they eventually break down into a keyboard abstraction.  And they grow space between them as if the empty quarter were additional colour.  Mr Archer takes time out on each of his three horns.  A reminder that despite his reputation as a producer/composer, he’s actually a soloist with a very broad range; a systematic sax maestro.  Masayo’ Experiment leaves the speakers with Clark’s violin taking on what amounts to the classical form.  I wonder what he’d be like in a Kronos Quartet set-up?

My tip for listening to an album is always listen to the last track.  How musicians choose to end a session is as important as how they begin.  Agnese’s Fan (as in those whirring electric things, essential to life in Thailand if not in Derbyshire) begins almost silently.  Agnese does not whir. There’s a filigree of Johnny Hunter percussion, cracking wood, low rushed rolls, soft strikes, crushed touches on cymbal bells.  Unison lines fromMartin Archer Clark/Archer throughout; Grew gracing a counter melody from in-between the air pockets.  They all arrive at the end together, unhurried, harmoniously true, speaking through instruments which deliver an Ultimatum that I can only guess at.  I don’t need to know the detail.  I have just played Agnese’s Fan four or five times.  If they have the time to take five and half minutes to play it, I certainly have half an hour to examine my own response.  This is music.  No one has come here to mark time.

Once more Martin Archer has produced another fine and detailed thing.  He’s been around a long time but some people finally come into themselves just at the point when the hot chocolate is being poured for them.  There’s nothing sickly sweet about Felicity’s Ultimatum.  This is a definitive Ultimatum delivered by a different kind of quartet.  And it is music conceived out of a history but only possible because it is played as of NOW.  I’m even going to suggest that if Sandy Brown were alive today he could be taking his clarinet to Sheffield.  He never stood still.  To maintain the mainstream it has to have fresh water, to be continually on the move, alive to organisms, eventually it will sublimate itself to the oceans.  At which point we have to encounter the deep.

Click here for details and to listen to a sample.

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk 

 

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Album Released: 19th May 2017 - Label: Discus Music

 

Archer, Mwamba, Bennett, Fairclough

Sunshine! Quartet

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Martin Archer (alto & sopranino saxophones); Corey Mwamba (vibraphone); Seth Bennett (double bass); Peter Fairclough (drums).

Peter Fairclough’s title for the opening track, Four Free To One, has its roots way back in the old world’s wording of true groundbreaking innovative UK indie labels like Ogun Records.  ‘One too free for’ could count in a crossover of rhymes which have little alignment to beats or bar lines yet still swing the mother and the father.  Martin Archer Sunshine QuartetIt raised a smile on my face.  And Sunshine! Quartet is exactly what you want to hear when the going gets tough.  A ray of sunlight in darkness as a class act comes forth and pirouettes across the ears.

There are four tracks, credited to each of the players involved.  It was recorded in the same studio just over a week before Martin Archer’s other sizzling quartet recording reviewed this month, Felicity’s Ultimatum.  If you think Sunshine! Quartet is going to be similar ground, it isn’t.  Yes, there are four of them, a different four other than Mr Archer, and yes, it is another mesmerising performance, and yes, the sleeve graphics come from the same source, however Sunshine! Quartet declares a ‘jazz’ consciousness, one which the Felicity line-up eschews. 

Both approaches are valid and I’d be hard pressed to give a preference.  I did not refer to the J word in Felicity’s review.  To not use it in any discussion of Sunshine! Quartet would be to miss an important element.  On Four Free To One Martin Archer’s alto horn produces a carnage as close to Jackie McLean’s dissection of a jazz standard as it's possible for an Englishman to get.  It’s that sound of an internal vibration in the horn; fabulously unsettling Martin Archerand comfortingly compelling at the same time.  Peter Fairclough’s drums really rattle around him.  Precise, but twice as hectic in the way that ‘jazz’ contains the inherent spirit of crash and burn. 

On It’s Not Finished (a long decisive workout, nearly twenty minutes in duration), Seth Bennett centres his double bass, to wrap his fingers around the scales as if Charles Mingus himself had returned to the living. And finally, the great Corey Mwamba, whose vibraphone has designed space for people like Nat Birchall, Orphy Robinson and Robert Mitchell, now explores the J-word ticket in a duet with Seth Bennett recalling the empathy of bass/vibes masters like Richard Davis and Bobby Hutcherson.  To get this close, and then do your own thing is a stroke, not of luck, but something far more meaningful.

Seth Bennett’s composing credit on this session is Alsten (I think the name is probably a reference to an island connected to the Norwegian coast by the elegant Helgeland Bridge).  The fact is, Alsten the composition, crystallises the essence of a place or person.  For my money it’s a track worth anyone’s investigation.  It carries its creativity with slow, formidable grandeur.  The sort of recording that ECM’s Manfred Eicher excels in, except that Martin Archer’s production, along with David Watts' engineering, is less ‘formal’.  The Archer’s Quartet do not engage in ‘take’ after ‘take’ to arrive at this sound.  Listen through this twelve minute ballad track and there is a natural warmth that comes through by not being overworked.  The beauty is in it simply being played.  Initially Seth Bennett holds a bowed drone, Mr Fairclough uses mainly beaters throughout, the saxophone reed is lip suction tight to the melody opening up a well of measured vibraphone cross hatching across Bennett’sCorey Mwamba ‘woody’ double bass as he reverts to plucked notes for the duet. Even when Mr Archer’s alto falls into his own articulate solo, Corey Mwamba surrounds him with measurement in the backdrop.  They never give Alsten away.  They play the intention. 

On this their closing number, Sunshine! Quartet have produced an outstanding performance that holds its own integrity together.The driver for me when I come to a Martin Archer recording is only partly about the question: ‘do I like it’?  I do; because I admire someone who is constantly seeking a new context for the next idea.  I like it because whatever ‘it’ actually is, Sunshine! Quartet is not the same animal as Felicity’s Ultimatum or for that matter Story Tellers, which we reviewed in November 2016, or Engine Room Favourites or Martin Archer’s ongoing collaborative work with Julie Tippetts.  Each of these projects is unique.  And for me the real driver is not simply that they are different from each other, but this changing process is not done purely for the sake of it.  Mr Archer constantly re-evaluates the material, the muse, and designs accordingly.  He is not hemmed in by his own past.

In the scheme of things Sunshine! Quartet should give him a bigger profile.  It’s a quartet with a reasonably orthodox line-up.  There are four ‘composed’ works worried and woven through with extremely sophisticated improv.  These are all guys who carry a certain amount of ‘reputation’; the playing is of a mountain high standard.  Each of these tracks carries its own individual construct.  Yet it seems to me that Martin Archer is another example in the UK (other names like Paul Dunmall, Steve Beresford, Maggie Nicols, Loz Speyer, Pat Thomas come spinning off the top of my head) whereby brilliant ‘street-up’ musicians who have constantly forged truly mindbending original work over long, long periods are overlooked.  Last night I was at a gig (in the south of England) and I mentioned Mr Archer’s name to a ‘status’ musician, who said he had “never come across him.”  Whaaaat!  Okay, it’s a rant.This is an album you could seriously get involved in. It’s not ‘difficult’, this is UK ‘jazz’ at its creative best, it carries its own certification of class.  Martin Archer produced it.  Get down onto his website and order a copy. Keep the keeper alive.

Click here for details and to sample.

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

 

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Album Released: 17th February 2017 - Label: Capri Records

 

The Mark Masters Ensemble

Blue Skylight

 

Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us:

Mark Masters is an arranger/bandleader who formed his first ensemble in 1982. He founded the non-profit organisation called “The American Jazz Institute” and has previously recorded tributes to Jimmy Knepper, Clifford Brown, Dewey Redman and others.

This album has an attractive reproduction of Edward Hopper’s 1957 painting, “Western Motel”. Sleeve notes are by trumpeter Tim Hagans and there are 11 tracks, all arranged by Mark Masters. The album is a homage to Mark Masters Ensemble Blue Skylight bassist Charles Mingus and saxophonist Gerry Mulligan using perhaps their lesser known compositions. The tracks alternate starting with a Mingus composition called Monk, Bunk and Vice Versa and finishing with two Mulligan tunes. So the full track listing from track 2 is Out Back of the Barn, So Long Eric, Wallflower, Peggy’s Blue Skylight, Strayhorn 2, Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love, Apple Core, Eclipse, Birds of a Feather, and finally, Motel.

The band is a tight group and even with changes in personnel for specific tracks, the quality of the playing is first class. Mark Masters’ arrangements give all a chance to shine. So we have Gary Foster (alto sax), Jerry Pinter (tenor and soprano saxes), Gene Cipriano (tenor sax), Adam Schroeder (baritone sax), Ed Czach (piano), Putter Smith (bass), and Kendall Kay (drums). On tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 Ron Stout (trumpet) and Les Benedict (trombone replace Cipriano and Schroeder.

The recording for the CD was on April 18, 2015 and it was finally released on February 17 of this year, so was the wait worth it? I should say so as the first track Monk, Bunk and Vice Versa swings along with good bouncy solos throughout backed by the bass of Putter Smith and the drums of Kendall Kay.

Track 2 Out Back of the Barn, has a bluesy feel from Cipriano’s tenor and the lyrical piano of Ed Czach. Track 4 Wallflower has soft gentle percussion with Czach’s clear and delicate piano, making this a beautiful track to listen to. Track 6 Strayhorn 2 has Schroeder’s baritone sax in a duet with Czach’s piano in a relaxing and atmospheric piece and track 7, Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love, has a recurring melody repeated by different instruments. The trombone of Benedict gives a melancholy feel to this gentle rhythmic track. Track 8 Apple Core is the longest on the album, swinging with a persistent melody at a fast pace from the saxes of Pinter and Foster. I nearly forgot to mention the great solo trombone playing of Les Benedict on track 3 - So Long Eric.

To sum up, Masters has used his arranging skills to allow spirited playing by the members of his ensemble of lesser known compositions from Mingus and Mulligan. He even manages to get a “big band” sound from a smaller number of musicians.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Tim Rolfe

 

 

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Album Released: 3rd February 2017 - Label: ECM

 

Ralph Towner

My Foolish Heart

 

Filipe Freitas reviews this album for us:

Ralph Towner (solo guitar).

Resourceful acoustic guitarist Ralph Towner has been an exemplary case of productivity and dedication since his first appearances in the early 70s. His virtuosity is patented in a variety of recordings whose listenings will disclose the incomparable sound and accurate technique that make him unique.

Towner was a co-founder of Oregon, a world-fusion chamber jazz group that also included the versatile experimentalists Collin Walcott, Paul McCandless, and Glen Moore. In this particular band, his instrument wasRalph Towner My Foolish Heart not only the guitar but also the keyboards. He was also a crucial member of the new age ensemble led by the American saxophonist Paul Winter, during its early phase.

In 1973, he started a collaborative association with the record label ECM and that fruitful liaison was extended until the present time. In truth, My Foolish Heart is his 23rd album as a leader/co-leader on the cited label and is now out to prove him in top form. On this new record, Towner returns to the solo format 11 years after Time Line (ECM, 2006). Since then, he has recorded with guitarists Slava Grigoryan and Wolfgang Muthspiel, as well as with the Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu.

Charged with Third Stream improvisation, Pilgrim opens the recording with strong folk influences that are definitely not American but rather Eastern. Through the passionate melodies of I’ll Sing to You, the guitarist exhibits his technical brilliance translated into stylish fingerpicking, shivering trills, and modern classical lyricism. The enormous facility in combining melody and harmony in a smooth, seamless manner comes to our attention again in Saultier, which feels less folk and more postbop.

The title track, a bright rendition of a widely-known jazz standard, is delivered with sentimental melancholy, naturally contrasting with the stunning Clarion Call where the rich sounds of a 12-string guitar infuse a transcendental beauty. My soul was filled with these hypnotic, often percussive reverberations modulated with Ralph Townerdelay effect, and decisive guitar slides and harmonics. Connotations with world music and progressive jazz are easily identifiable and can be heard again in the shorter Binding Time.

Click here for a video of Ralph Towner playing a solo version of My Foolish Heart in Argentina. The video is a bit unsteady but it gives us an idea of the guitarist's work.

Different moods are those of Dolomiti Dance, steeply folk in its most traditional current, and Rewind, another compound of jazz and classical with splashes of Brazil fragrances, in the same line of Toquinho.

Another eclectic paragon is Blue As In Bley, a piece composed for the late pianist Paul Bley that overflows with enigmatic multi-coloured tones resultant from postbop, classical, folk, and blues.

Ralph Towner has enough inventive qualities to never step on clichés. Whether extemporizing his own originals, working as a sideman, or digging selected jazz standards with circumstantial vision, Towner is always immensely vibrant in his musical approach.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Filipe Freitas jazztrail.net


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Album Released: 18th November 2016 - Label: Leo Records

 

Frank Gratkowski & Sebi Tramontana

Live At Španski Borci

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Frank Gratkowski (alto saxophone, bass clarinet, Bb clarinet); Sebi Tramontana (trombones).

I wanted to do this particular review just because the music got under my skin.  It doesn’t purport to be ‘important’ or some kind of stylistic breakthrough, but in an off-hand, modest matinee of a performance it could be just that if you let it.  Live At Španski Borci, is a delicious example of how instantly music can be created, how it can be presented with no frills yet still retain an inherent quality, and how it can spark new things in theFrank Gratkowski & Sebi Tramontana Live at Spanski Borci ears despite the fact that you have heard these players many times before and believe you understand, or are at least simpatico, with their rationale. 

I suppose, I was also drawn to the cover artwork by Sebi Tramontana – a rough and ready drawing of a man’s drooping arm hanging out of, what? A shell on legs?  A monster mouth?  Mr Tramontana’s own arms are critical to his music.  Trombone players use the whole length of one arm to control their sound and use the other in a positioning V shape, to grip and literally face-up to the instrument. Look carefully at the cover picture and the two short legs of this figure appear tethered together, restricted.  The very opposite of what is happening musically.  And finally, for me, the other delight in relation to the sleeve is the notes. There’s an interesting ‘I’m-hung-up-with-critics’ trailer of words by Steve Beresford.  A humorous  frolic using Flann O’Brien as a starting point.  However, the real deal is the two short paragraphs contributed, firstly by Gratkowski about Tramontana, the second a Tramontana piece describing Gratkowski.  Like the music, they read in the manner of instant, intimate reflections.  As if they’ve been asked to write them on scraps of paper just prior to publication. Frank writes:  “It has a beautiful playfulness... The connection between us is almost mysterious....” Or try this from Sebi:  “Spending my time with him is enriching.  Frank is a bottomless pit.  Human and artistic.  A great musician.  My friend.”  Wouldn’t anyone want to have that said about them from someone they’ve gigged and recorded with for almost twenty years?

Listen to these fifteen “Instant songs”, the longest 5.28, the shortest 2.10, and they feel as if they naturally arrived as the artwork that surrounds them. The titles that peg these duets to the page read like descriptors of each performance – Time and Space, Dancer, Singer, Series of Dramatic Events, Nocturne, Homage.  Each one an individual little story, sometimes boldly burlesque like Series of Dramatic Events, which involves overblown reeds masking as a choir alongside the bone acting the role of both clown and grand narrator.  Others such as Singer and Deceiver, convey a single idea pitched but not played beyond its staying power.

The crack that is Deceiver, edgy, ragged, fractured, could in other hands and hearts end up clogging up the ears, like listening to neighbours arguing about the volume.  That doesn’t happen, instead it’s a glimpse of potential danger before its reached fulfilment.  We don’t know if there’s any long term deceit, meanwhile intrigue is cooked up on the spot.  To taste, bitterness can be soured by something sweet.  Singer contains no vocal song, but you know what they mean, this is a tune that could go either way – to the conservatoire or the coffee-house open-mic night.  And I appreciate the title is given as a singular, not plural.  This is tea for two taken from a common tea pot (in a manner of speaking). A song sung through two horns-of-plenty. Another Sebi Tramontana and Frank Gratkowskispecial quality about this recording is that it harks back to the work of other musicians who have also walked this lonely road.  At no time is there impersonation, yet Frank Gratkowski touches on the spirit of people like Elton Dean, Lol Coxhill and Mike Osbourne. 

As Gratkowski/Tramontana press into the sound pad of their instruments it’s as if the well-tempered trombone of the great Roswell Rudd has broken free once more to take up his place alongside John Tchicai or maybe even, Steve Lacy.  These were all touch and go pioneers with personal vocabularies.  Technicians, certainly, but more importantly great non-vocalised storytellers. Among the final twenty minutes of the Španski Borci performance Gratkowski and Tramonta seem to hold up a joint discussion of reed and trombone language as if it were a trophy.  They have cracked their own code and this is their simple reward.  To play the gig. 

Empathy begins with smears of tongue and breath control flushed through metal.  Frank Gratkowski is the one with the lead lines, Sebi Tramonta doing his own thing.  “I’m in agreement with you, Frank.”  Yet forever Sebi is lengthening his arm out to try to find a scale beyond the bottom of the bone.  By the final fifth minute they have reached common ground.  They play out their joint satisfaction.  A couple of minutes further down the line this odd couple embark on a Homage of whistles, coughs and mouthpiece distortions.  What kind of Homage is this? And then they settle like two old birds on a perch.  To reference Flann O’Brien again, its two birds swimming on a perch rather than swinging on one.  I find it a lovely, lively moment. This is the wonderful “bottomless pit” of music.  I kept my tea in the cup; little in the way of tunes, the bare essentials of chromatic truth, but in their place is enacted a fertile playfulness of madcap magic and kindred spirit.  It’s true, I didn’t tap my feet or dance to my boiling kettle.  I can’t hum a melody line or give you the chord changes.  If music depends on these things to define the rationale then pass up on Frank Gratkowski and his buddy, Sebi Tramontana, it is way, way too late to change them now.  On the other hand, if you feel like taking an hour out to genuinely feast on a couple of masters of improvisation here’s an excellent place to begin.

Click here for details and a short sample.

Click here for a video of Gratkowski and Tramontana playing live in December 2009

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

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Album Released: 1st December 2016 - Label: Relative Pitch

 

Corsano, Courvoisier, Wooley

Salt Task

 

Filipe Freitas reviews this album for us:

Drummer Chris Corsano, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, and trumpeter Nate Wooley are three inveterate improvisers who joined forces in Salt Task, another hallucinating trip into arduous avant-garde galaxies.

All the members of the trio have been very active lately, participating in a variety of recordings and performing live with regularity. The versatile Corsano, whose collaborations can range from Bjork to Evan Parker, is a member of the powerhouse quartet led by the Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado, which also featuresSalt Task album American saxophonist Joe McPhee and bassist Kent Kessler. Besides recording with the avant-rock trio Rangda, he keeps on teaming up with saxophonist Paul Flaherty, a longtime collaborator.

Wooley launched great records in duo with multi-reedist Ken Vandermark and released Argonautica (Firehouse 12 Records, 2016) with a hot sextet that includes cornetist Ron Miles, pianist Cory Smythe, keyboardist Jozef Dumoulin, and drummers Rudy Royston and Devin Gray. Last year, Courvoisier put all her musical passion in Miller’s Tales (Relative Pitch, 2016), an avant-jazz delight cooked in partnership with her violinist husband Mark Feldman and featuring saxophonist Evan Parker and electronics wiz Ikue Mori. This year, she could be heard in Crop Circle (Relative Pitch), recorded in duo with the nonconformist guitar sensation Mary Halvorson.

Salt Task opens with the revolutionary title track, a 20-minute-piece that erupts with dense contrapuntal cogitations simultaneously driven by the trio. After the opening section, the musicians usually interact two by two, exploring different sonic possibilities and moods until reaching the final section, where the trio strikes again. Depending on the setting, one may float serenely over idyllic landscapes, march at the sound of a Corsano Courvoisier Wooley military trumpet, startle with ominous low-pitched piano vibes, revolve around cyclic ideas, or become energized through piano-drums sweeps and thunders.

Eminently percussive, Last Stat displays extra alternative textures with Corsano in the spotlight. He reproduces the sound of a plastic trashcan rolling down the street while Courvoisier strums the piano strings to make it sound like a stale harp. Wooley contributes with airy sounds and rapid attacks that often uncover playful melodies.

Tall Stalks conveys admiration through Wooley’s muted phrases on top of Corsano’s combustible rhythm flows and Courvoisier’s unflagging textures. She creates tension by continually hitting the same key with her left hand.

The gently atmospheric Stalled Talks finishes the album with a circumspect narrative flow, probing techniques of meditation that feel intense on one side and tranquilizing on the other.

The inventive trio wisely plays with textural agitations and composures, arranging them with freedom, responsibility, and an evident musical insight that makes them first-rate avant-gardists.

Click here for details.

Click here for a video of the trio playing live in 2015.

Filipe Freitas jazztrail.net

 

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Choice Cuts / Slim Pickings

 

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

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

 

 

Luke Sellick Alchemist

 

Luke Sellick - Alchemist - (Cellar Live)
Luke Sellick (double bass). On various tracks: Jimmy Greene (tenor saxophone), Jordan Pettay (alto saxophone), Benny Bennack III (trumpet), Mat Jodrell (trumpet), Adam Birnbaum (piano), Andrew Renfroe (guitar), Kash Abadey (drums), Jimmy MacBride (drums), Andrew Gutauskas (bass clarinet).
Details and Sample : Review : Video.

 

 

 

 

Denys Baptiste The Late Trans

 

Denys Baptiste - The Late Trane - (Edition)
Denys Baptiste (tenor sax, electonics), Steve Williamson (tenor sax), Nikki Yeoh (piano, electric piano), Gary Crosby (bass), Neil Charles (electric bass), Rod Youngs (drums).
Details (released in June): Ascent fom the album.

 

 

 

 

The Alberta Hunter Collection

 

Alberta Hunter - The Alberta Hunter Collection 1921 - 1940 - (Acrobat)
Alberta Hunter (vocals) with various bands and personnel. 2 CDs.
Details and Sample.

 

 

 

 

 

Ollie Howell Self Identity

 

Ollie Howell - Self-Identity - (Ropeadope)
Ollie Howell (drums, electronics), Henry Spencer (trumpet), Duncan Eagles (tenor sax), Ant Law (electric guitar), Matt Robinson (piano, Fender Rhodes, electronics), Max Luthert (bass).
Details and Sample. Video.

 

 

 

 

Johnny Dankworth Three Classic Albums Plus

 

Johnny Dankworth - Three Classic Albums Plus - (AvidJazz)
Johnny Dankworth (alto sax, clarinet) with varying personnel. Double CD containing the albums The Vintage Years, Collaboration, England's Ambassador Of Jazz and the soundtrack for Jospeh Losey's 1960 film The Criminal.
Details and Sample.

 

 

 

 

Loz Speyer's Inner Space Life On The Edge

 

Loz Speyer's Inner Space - Life On The Edge - (Leo Records)
Loz Speyer (trumpet, flugelhorn), Chris Biscoe (alto sax), Rachel Musson (tenor sax, soprano sax), Ollie Brice (bass), Gary Willcox (drums).
Details and Sample.
Video.

 

 

 

 

Allan Holdsworth Eidolon

 

Allan Holdsworth - Eidolon: The Allan Holdsworth Collection - (Manifesto)
Allan Holdworth (guitar, SynthAxe) with various personnel recorded 1982 to 2003.
Details and Sample.

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Vaughan and Quincy Jones Misty

 

Sarah Vaughan and Quincy Jones - Misty - (American Jazz Classics)
Sarah Vaughan (vocals) and Quincy Jones (conductor) with various personnel containing the original 1958 and 1959 albums Vaughan And Violins and Close To You.
Details. Title track.

 

 

 

 

Quercus Nightfall

 

Quercus - Nightfall - (ECM)
June Tabor (vocals), Iain Ballamy (saxophone), Huw Warren (piano).
Details and Sample.
Review.

 

 

 

 

 

The Reunion Project Varanda

 

The Reunion Project - Varanda - (Tapestry Records)
Felipe Salles (saxophones, flute, clarinets), Chico Pinheiro (guitar), Tiago Costa (piano), Bruno Migotto (bass), Edu Ribeiro (drums).
Details and Sample : Review
: Video

 

 

 

 

Louis Armstrong 1951 Pasadena Concerts

 

Louis Armstrong - The Complete 1951 Pasadena Concerts - (Essential Jazz Classics)
Louis Armstrong with Jack Teagarden, Barney Bigard, Earl Hines, Arvell Shaw, and Cozy Cole, plus Velma Middleton on vocals fromthe original album Satchmo At Pasadena from January 30th 1951, then a later, rarer recording in Pasadena on December 7th. Also included a rarely heard Chicago broadcast by the original All Stars taped on July 5, 1951, before the band broke up.
Details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some UK Jazz Venues

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jazz London Live

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

 

 

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

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

London: LUME, www.lumemusic.co.uk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

London: Putney, The Half Moon, Putney , 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1EU.
Dick Laurie's Elastic Band. The band now plays the first Sunday and third Sunday of every month.
Sunday, 7th May and Sunday, 21st May - 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Jazz Talks: Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas

Buckinghamshire:

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

Norwich:

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

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

 

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