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June 2019

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Verna Hart painting

'Waiting To Exhale'

Painting by jazz-influenced American artist Verna Hart who passed through the Departure Lounge in May

 

 

 

 

Buddy Bolden Movie

Gary Carr as Buddy Bolden

 

'Bolden - Where the music began' is a new biopic about the life of jazz pioneer Charles ‘Buddy’ Bolden. It was released last month in the USA. Trumpeter and executive producer Wynton Marsalis has also released his soundtrack to the film (click here).

'Despite much of his life being shrouded in mystery, New Orleans cornet player Buddy Bolden was hugely influential and is often credited as Bolden movie posterbeing the father of jazz. The movie reimagines the life, music and passions of Bolden against the social backdrop of turn-of-the-20th-century America. “Many mythologies have a hero that comes from the bottom of whatever the social construct is, because that puts people more in touch with their humanity and takes them out of their system,” Marsalis told USA TODAY. “He created a coherent soul. He had a virtuosity of putting together the feeling of the church and the marches.”

Downton Abbey’s Gary Carr (he played the show's first black actor as Jack Ross, a jazz musician and singer in series 4) plays the title role in the movie written and directed by Dan Pritzker.

Writing in the LA Times, Lewis Beale says: 'Pritzker started reading about Bolden and discovered he was as much of a legend as he was a real person, his story based on oral history and very little else. A New Orleans trumpet player in the early 20th century, Bolden was known for an improvisational style that incorporated ragtime, blues and gospel, which evolved into what we now call jazz. But no recordings of his work exist, and in 1907, after suffering a psychotic episode at age 30, Bolden spent the last 24 years of his life confined to a Louisiana mental institution. “There wasn’t a there there in terms of the history of Bolden,” the director says. “That allowed me to make something that interested me, which was an allegory about the soul of America rather than a biography of a particular man.”.That didn’t stop the billionaire musician, an heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, from taking an interest in Bolden’s life. That led him to write a story, then a screenplay, then decide to direct the film himself, even though he had no filmmaking experience'.

Click here for the trailer. Click here for more information. I have not been able to find a release date for the UK yet.

 

 

 

 

 

The Petticoat Lane Foxtrot - Free Event

On Wednesday 12th June from 3.00 - 4.00 pm at The Jewish Museum in London, Alan Dein will be presenting the remarkable story of long-forgotten Jewish-themed jazz 78 rpm discs recorded in London between the 1920s and the 1950s. 'A vibrant soundtrack to the Cockney Jewish experience, when the swinging hot dance bands were still all the rage, and the Yiddish language was spoken on the streets of Yiddisher Jazz albumWhitechapel. This was the time when the area was a fertile breeding ground for singers, songwriters, conductors, and cantors to musicians, managers, proprietors of record shops and club owners, whose stories are now entwined with the development of the British recorded music industry'. Alan Dein is curator of Music Is The Most Beautiful Language In The World - Yiddisher Jazz in London's East End 1920s to 1950s.

The album was released in 2018 on JWM Records: ' ... A vibrant soundtrack to the Cockney Jewish experience, starting when the swinging hot dance bands were still all the rage, and the Yiddish language was spoken on the streets of Whitechapel, in London’s East End. For some, music or acting was a potential way out of the poverty experienced by these first and second generation refugees. Sounds from long-forgotten 78 rpm discs only recently unearthed, reveal a host of recording artists, united here for the first time. Klezmer fused very easily with jazz, a connection that becomes apparent in these recordings. Hear the legendary dance band figures of the era like Bert Ambrose and his Orchestra, and Lew Stone and his Monseigneur Band, to the relatively unknown Jewish speciality acts like Johnny Franks and his Kosher Ragtimers, and Rita Marlowe, the siren of Yiddish song....' (click here for the album details).

The Jewish Museum is at Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert Street, Camden Town, London NW1 7NB ('When you come out of Camden Town underground station, head towards the Jazz Cafe, keep going past Whole Food and take a left at the Earl of Camden – and the museum is across the road!'). Click here for details.

 

 

 

Bristol Jazz Festival's Funding Challenge

The Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival has been facing a number of challenges that have had an impact on their funding. Organisers of the festival which was staged in March for its seventh year have now launched a crowdfunding campaign to ensure that the event can Bristol International Jazz Festival picturecontinue.

The reasons for the situation are said to be the receipt of less funding, lost ticket sales due to last year's poor weather and the continuing refurbishment of the main venue, Bristol's Colston Hall. Organisers are hoping to raise £30,000 from the campaign. The festival director, Denny Illett is reported to have said: 'In these challenging and confusing times, I feel we need entertaining more than ever! With music being stripped away from school curriculums, funding for the arts at an all time low and festivals, clubs and arts centres struggling to survive, we hope that you will join us in helping to reverse this alarming trend by supporting us to bring world class jazz and blues to Bristol, as well as continuing to provide creative opportunities to local musicians'.

'We aim to inspire the next generation Our workshops and masterclass programme have allowed many of us, young and old, to learn from the best. We were pleased this year to bring the material from our touring schools programme to the Festival with our first children’s workshop – which sold out'.

Click here for more details.

 

 

 

 

June's Video Juke Box

*Click on the Picture to watch the Video

 

 

 

Pete Oxley Nicolas Meier Autumn Enters video

 

Guitarists Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier play Autumn Enters with Raph Mizraki (basses) and Paul Cavaciuti (drums & percussions). This is a live performance of a tune from their latest album The Alluring Ascent released in March 2019 on MGP Records.

 

 

 

 

 

Louis Armstrong Ole Miss video

 

Louis Armstrong plays Ole Miss in 1971 with Tyree Glenn (trombone), Joe Muranyi (clarinet), Marty Napoleon (Piano), Milt Hinton (bass) and Papa Jo Jones (drums). In February 1971, just five months before his death, he appeared on the Dick Cavett Show, playing an instrumental version of Ole Miss. In 1968, Louis had been forced to stop playing trumpet and cut back drastically on his touring due to health problems and by 1970, he was just performing as a singer. Later in 1970 he began to play trumpet in public again and we can still hear the incomporable Louis Armstrong style.

 

 

 

 

Jacob Collier Dont Stop Til You Get Enough video

 

In April, at the 2019 Jazz FM Awards, multi-instrumentalist 23 year old Jacob Collier received the prestigious PRS for Music Gold Award and played an outstanding set for the audience. This video has Jacob in New York playing Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough on a Yamaha DC7X ENPRO Disklavier Piano.

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Syson At Peace video

 

 

Trumpeter Tom Syson plays At Peace from his new album Different Coloured Days featuring Tom Barford (saxophone); David Ferris (piano); Pete Hutchison (double bass); Jonathan Silk (drums) (see Recent Releases).

 

 

 

 

 

Hellzapoppinvideo

 

 

A clip from the 1941 film Hellzapoppin featuring Norma Miller with Whitey's Lindy Hoppers. Norma, the last surving member of the dance group sadly passed away in May.

 

 

 

 

 

Benet McLean Buffalo Rag video

 

 

Benet McLean is a remarkable pianist as well as always knocking my socks off when he plays violin. Here he plays Buffalo Rag, a solo piano introduction based on the chords of 'Limehouse Blues' with Ashley Kerr (bass), Mark Mondesir (drums) and an appreciative audience watching on.

 

 

 

 

Emilia Martensson Be Still Grow video

 

 

Emilia Mårtensson sings Be Still - Grow with Luca Boscagin (guitar) - the recording is due out on the Babel label in September.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Rob Luft Selected For BBC3 New Generations Artists Scheme

Last month we reported on protests to cuts in BB3 Radio programmes that involved jazz, so this month it is encouraging to report on a BBC3 initiative that continues to support jazz musicians.

New Generation Artists is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and offers listeners access to the very best young international talent. The scheme Rob Luftwas launched in 1999. Every autumn six or seven artists or groups who are beginning to make a mark on the international music scene are invited to join the NGA scheme. Last year, jazz bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado was selected for the scheme. This autumn, one of the UK's most popular jazz guitarists, Rob Luft, has been selected. So what does the scheme do?

It offers musicians on the scheme opportunities for concerts in London and around the UK, appearances and recordings with the BBC performing groups, studio recordings for Radio 3 and, last but not least, the possibility of appearing at the BBC Proms. As part of the scheme Radio 3 has also collaborated with several record companies, including nine co-produced CDs in the EMI Debut series, three of which won Gramophone Awards for the best Debut CD of the Year. Rob is currently signed to Edition Records. Rob said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to be joining BBC Radio 3's New Generation Artists Scheme this autumn, and to have the opportunity to work with their team until December 2021. For me, this has come at an incredibly fortuitous moment as I prepare to hit the studio with my quintet to record my second album for Edition Records to be released in 2020!”

Rob Luft

 

New Generation Artists regularly feature in some of Britain's most prominent festivals, from Cheltenham to Edinburgh International Festival. They also have the opportunity to commission new works, thanks to a partnership between Radio 3 and the Royal Philharmonic Society. The composers involved to date have included Simon Holt, Geoffrey Burgon, Augusta Read Thomas, Karin Rehnqvist, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Alexander Goehr.

Many congratulations to Rob on his selection. We look forward to sharing some of his work under the scheme on this website.

 

 

 

The Price Of A Gig

In May, the excellent vocalist Verona Chard who is behind a number of initiatives in music posted a question on Facebook to guage peoples' opinion on the price of gigs that she stages in Wimbledon. The post raised a continual question about how to charge for events and a number of people responded. Our thanks to Verona for letting us share it here. We have included a number of the responses anonymously.

"Hello Folks, we are thinking of increasing the price for 'Jazz In A Broad Way' at the Studio Theatre Wimbledon from September to £20.00. I feel it might be a bit steep? Would this put you off attendiing? Thanks for your feedback, Verona xxxxx"

 

Jazz In A Broad Way

 

"I would have no problem with this particularly having had the chance to listen to such tip top musicians."

"Seems really fair and well deserved."

"It would put me off x."

"£20 is not really expensive. A good show with good artistes and musicians deserves reasonable reward. Some will find £20 unaffordable, but I suppose sadly, that is always going to be the case."

"Well worth £20 and I would think affordable in a good area like Wimbledon.....if it doesn't over complicate things you might want to consider an early Bird type booking where you get in for £18 if you book online up to a week or two before. That way you may encourage advance booking, get the money in and lessen the chance of last minute changes of mind."

"I would guess the seniors' cohort would be worth polling- the event is so accessible and comfy I would think its a priority for them MU/ jam participant discount might be handy?"

"For what it's worth, a venue such as the Bulls Head Jazz Club in Barnes, where you can see talent of at least the same calibre, usually Verona Chardcharges around £14."

 

 

Verona Chard

 

Jazz In A Broad Way takes place in the studio at the New Wimbledon Theatre, The Broadway, Wimbledon, London SW19 1QG. 'Live music and Vamp Jazz JAM with the VC Band and Special Guests. International award winning acro-vocalist Verona Chard heads up this evening of sultry swing, funky beats, foot tapping originals and dance divining global tunes. Relax in our Studio Theatre / Bar where the mood is 'smoky' and the tunes will mesmerise and delight your soul. Bring your horns, vocal chops, drum sticks etc. and 'Play It Again Sam...'

Click here for more about Jazz In A Broad Way. The dates for the next season of gigs are: Sundays - September 8th, October 6th, November 3rd, December 1st then in 2020 February 2nd, March 1st and April 5th. Verona also runs the Musical Balloon Band - ' interactive, fun and totally inclusive for the whole family. Meet Cecil 'the balloon' Donkey and his jazzy friends'. Click here for her website.

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Dedication

This month we give you the names of fifteen tunes dedicated to or named for people, places or things - can you identify who or what they referred to?

 

Who is this

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

Royal Academy Of Music Honours

A number of jazz musicians are included in the Honours announced by the Royal Academy of Music this year.

 

Kit Downes

Kit Downes

Pianist Kit Downes has been made a Fellow of the Academy, awarded to those musicians who have distinguished themselves within the profession.

Bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado, pianists Sam Leak and Rob Taggart, trumpeters Reuben Fowler and Tom Walsh and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier become Associates of The Academy, and educators Laurence Cottle (bass) and Ian Thomas (drums), Honorary Associates.

Congratulations to them all.

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Jazz Voices

Cherise Adams-Burnett

 

Cherise Adams-Burnett

Cherise Adams-Burnett

 

Named as Vocalist of the Year at this year’s Jazz FM Awards, Cherise Adams-Burnett graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music in late 2017. She has performed at many of the UK’s most prestigious venues and festivals including the BBC Proms at The Royal Albert Hall and the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C and at festival performances such as the UK's Love Supreme Jazz Festival. She has appeared on stage in drama and musical productions and has sung with a variety of bands and musicians. You can find out more about her performances on her website. A former member of the educational group Tomorrow’s Warriors, she is now involved in developing younger musicians through the same programme as both tutor and workshop leader.

As a second generation descendant to Jamaican Grandparents who settled in London as a part of the Windrush generation, Cherise has also honoured her culture, heritage and family by creating the children’s show, 'Evelyn and the Yellow Birds'. The show explores jazz music and its Caribbean influences through this heart-warming tale, with a live band accompaniment.

At the end of 2018, Cherise hosted a special night in Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. With a 10 piece band, including a String Quartet, backing vocalists and trumpeter Ife Ogunjobi, she  performed 12 of her original compositions. 

There are several of her videos on YouTube, but I have chosen this performance of the Hoagy Carmichael / Johnny Mercer standard Skylark from the Elgar Room gig where she sings the song accompanied by pianist Gabriel Pier-Manstell - click here.

 Click here for Cherise’s website and forthcoming gig dates.

Click here for our Jazz Voices page.

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Shez Raja
Journey To Shambhala

by Howard Lawes


 

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

 

Shez Raja

 

Where is Shambhala? In his latest album bass player and band leader Shez Raja imagines a journey by a hero, Raj, and tells the story of Raj's quest. The Telegraph says of Shez Raja's music: “I thought my head was going to explode. It sounds like it’s come from the future. In fact I don’t even think there is a correct term for this kind of music just yet” . For us, Howard Lawes listens to the album and describes the journey:

Shez Raja's album Journey to Shambhala is his seventh album with other relatively recent releases being Gurutopia (2016), Soho Live (2014) and Mystic Radikal (2010).  Raja continues his practice of inviting guest artists to perform his music alongside regular band members and for Journey to Shambhala the guests are Oregon born and raised Wayne Krantz (electric guitar) and "serial collaborator" Trilok Gurtu (tabla, konnakoi, djembe, cajon).  Apart from himself on bass guitar his regular band members are Monika Lidke (voice), Chris Nickolls (drums), Pascal Roggen (violin), Alex Stanford (keyboards, piano) and Vasilis Xenopoulos (saxophone).

Shez Raja

 

Shez Raja has imagined a series of scenarios and composed appropriate music for each one.  Track 1, Shambhala, represents the singing and dancing at a farewell party as the hero of the story, Raj, sets out on his quest. This lively tune, a great dance groove, becomes even more lively with wah-wah guitar on top and then Dharma Dance highlights Trilok Gurtu performing konnakol, a traditional form of voice percussion.

[Click here to listen to Dharma Dance]

In Lakshmi, Raj meets a young woman and discovers their mutual passion for ancient poetry and mythology. Monika Lidke sings a lovely melody scat style with a gentle accompaniment from guitar.  Get Cosmic gives Wayne Krantz plenty of opportunity to cut loose on electric guitar.

With Epiphany, featuring Monica Lidke, Pascal Roggen on violin, Wayne Krantz and Trilok Gurtu, Raj and Lakshmi overcome misfortune and danger to continue their quest. A guru on a white elephant called Airavata is encountered and Guru's Gift has a slow tempo symbolising the elephant's ambling gait, Monica Lidke's haunting melody evokes the feeling of cooling and refreshing rain which Airavata conjures up. 

[Click here to listen to Guru's Gift]

 

 

Battles are fought and travels completed before Raj and Lakshmi realise that Shambhala is an impossible dream but track 8, Devotion, celebrates their love for each other which provides everything they were looking for. The music is a undeniably romantic with piano and violin accompanying Monika Lidke's sweet-sounding voice before saxophone takes over with a carefree solo.

Raja says, “My vision for this recording was to merge my rich musical heritage with my diverse playing experience to create exciting and passionate music that blends East with West."  

This musical combination has been termed 'Indo-jazz Fusion' with one of the first exponents being London based Jamaican saxophonist Joe Arun GhoshHarriott who released Indo-jazz Suite in 1966. In the 1970s, a guitarist much admired by Shez Raja, John McLaughlin and  the Mahavishnu Orchestra (with Trilok Gurtu) and later with the band Shakti continued the development of the genre. Trilok Gurtu was involved in another band in the 1980s with L Shankar, Jan Gabarek and Zakir Hussain releasing Song for Everyone.  Indian born John Mayer had collaborated with Joe Harriott in the 1960s and also released his own albums as John Mayer's Indo-jazz Fusions in the 1990s.

 

Arun Ghosh

 

Another more recent exponent of the Indo-jazz genre, Arun Ghosh, has released albums and played with Shez Raja several times.  However Raja has gone further than composing interesting music by writing a short story, with each track on the album accompanying a stage in the Journey to Shambhala.

South Asian culture has both a rich literary and musical heritage, ancient works such as the Mahabharata, an epic poem composed in the 4th century BCE (Before the Common Era) are very much part of modern life with a Bollywood film being proposed, while classical Indian music and dance tradition considers the chants and melodies in Samaveda (believed to date from 1000 BCE) as one of its roots. 

 

Patrick Symmes Shabhala

 

According to Tibetan Buddhist teachings, paradise exists in the shape of Shambhala, a lost kingdom somewhere in central Asia. Armed with directions gleaned from ancient texts and Google Earth, Patrick Symmes embarked on a quest to find it (click here).

In 2007 he wrote about Shambhala, stating that it was first mentioned in the Mahabharata, calling it "the oldest Asian vision of enlightenment" and "invisible to ordinary people, yet reachable by supreme effort and various methods". 

 

Photograph by Seamus Murphy

 

 

 

 

Visits to his father's home region of the Punjab, provided the inspiration for Shez Raja to write his own story of adventure and romance and compose the fusion of traditional music and jazz to go with it.

The album contains three bonus tracks which are Happy Cat Jay remixes of tracks 1, 3 and 5.  The sound on these tracks add another dimension to Shez Raja's music and seems likely to appeal to audiences in clubs and festivals during DJ sets.  

This is a great album from Shez Raja and is a  significant milestone in his own and his band's development.  The guest artists are very good as would be expected but Monika Lidke's voice really stands out and Shez Raja has clearly given her a much larger share of the action on this album.  The Indo-jazz fusion genre has a long history of great music and Shez Raja and his band are worthy successors to those virtuoso musicians of the past.

[Click here to listen to Devotion from the album]

 

Shez Raja Journey to Shambhala

 

Click here for Shez Raja's website. Click here for details and samples from the rest of the album.

 

 


Directory of Alternative Musical Definitions

 

Head Arrangement

Creative mind over matter

 

Carmen Miranda

(Click on the picture)

Click here for more Alternative Definitions.

 

 

 

 

Jazz Novels

Young Man With A Horn book

 

Thanks to Laurie Scott who reminds me of the novel Young Man With A Horn to be added to our page on Jazz Fiction (click here). Dorothy Baker's book first came out in 1938. It is loosely based on the real life of Bix Beiderbecke and was adapted for the 1950 movie of the same name that starred Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day and Bix's friend Hoagy Carmichael. (Click here for a clip from the movie).

It is summarised in Wikipedia: 'It is a fictionalized novel on jazz set in a world of speakeasies and big bands during The Jazz Age of the 1920s. It is loosely based on the life of the great cornet player Bix Beiderbecke who died of alcoholism in 1931 at the age of 28. It tells the story of Rick Martin, a tormented genius from childhood until his death at age 30. The racial component of jazz is addressed. Ever since the first jazz record was released in 1917 by the white band The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, race has been an inherent issue in the new musical genre of jazz. In the wake of the success of the ODJB, both white and black musicians and bands emerged. The story also dwells on the white/black abilities to play jazz. Rick, however, establishes a strong relationship with white and black musicians. The book details both the widely accepted public view of the jazz musician of the time as well as a musician's own struggle for perfection. This drive finally destroys Rick'

There is a much more comprehensive summary by Mary Whipple on the Amazon website for the book - click here.

 

 

 

 

Lens America

Marcus Gilmore was deputising for drummer Eric Harland with the Chris Potter Circuits Trio at the Jazz Standard in New York City in May with Chris Potter Circuits albumChris Potter (saxophones and flute) and James Frances (keyboards) when he was photographed by JazzTrail photographer Clara Pereira.

Chris Potter's album Circuits was released in February 2019 with Eric Harland, James Francis and Linely Marthe on bass. The album notes say: 'For more than two decades, Chris Potter's limitless creativity, effortless virtuosity and vibrant sense of swing has wowed critics, musicians and fans alike, who cite him as one of the most influential saxophonists and inventive improvisors of the modern day. His new album, Circuits is immediate and uplifting, rooted in a strong sense of groove and intense improvisation. Featuring an all-star band of 23rd year keyboard and Blue Note Artist James Frances, drum virtuoso Eric Harland and bassist Linely Marthe. Blending a vibrant sound world of electronics, memorable hooky melodies and surprising turns of phrase, Circuits is sure to delight both the dedicated Potter fans and new listeners alike'. Click here for details and samples of the album. Click here for an introductory video.

 

 

Marcus Gilmore

Marcus Gilmore

 

Filipe Freitas at JazzTrail writes of the New York gig: 'Celebratory vibes with sinewy funk-inflected manifestations, occasional Afro and Eastern impressions, and seamless electronic integration were consistently added, leading to a wide diffusion of energy across the packed room'.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Jazz As Art

The Miguel Gorodi Nonet

Soma
from the album Apophenia


 

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

 

Miguel Gorodi

 

Like the cover of Miguel Gorodi's debut album Apophenia, the trumpeter's music is of many colours. I have heard him play in the London City Big Band, in duet with drummer David Ingamells and alongside vocalist Ian Shaw. On each occasion I have found his playing spellbinding.

Miguel Gorodi Nonet Apophenia

 

Miguel Gorodi is partly English, partly Hungarian and was born in Spain. His father also plays trumpet and graduated from the Royal Academy whilst Miguel’s mother plays piano and violin. Miguel graduated from the Guildhall School of Music in 2012, and with saxophonist Sam Braysher continued as a Fellow at the college where they established their own piano-less Quartet and organised Alumni Ensembles and weekly Jam nights for students. Miguel also took time out to focus on composing and developing his own identity. He is half of the Gorodi/Ingamells duet – a trumpet/drums line-up that plays avant-garde, improvised music (which features David Ingamells on drums). He has continued a freelancing career as a sideman and featured soloist, performing in Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, Hungary, Ireland, Russia, and across the UK. He currently leads and writes for the Miguel Gorodi Nonet, is a member of the Barry Green Sextet, SEED Ensemble, the London City Big Band and the Dixie Ticklers, as well as regularly playing for the London Jazz Orchestra.

Apophenia (a word defined as 'the tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things', is an absorbing album. Miguel Gorodi says: "Through my music I've tried to communicate my experiences with OCD and depression, my thoughts on how to create meaning and purpose in life, and my concerns about the limitations our psychology and biology may have on determining what is meaningful to us". For the listener the result is an engaging experience.

 

This album is not just a showcase for Miguel Gorodi as a trumpet player, although his instrumental and improvisational talent sparkles through his solos. Rather this is an album that belongs to the whole band and in particular to Miguel’s arrangements which I find imaginative, appealing and inclusive. There is plenty of room here for each musician to contribute and although I could pick out particular solos for you, they really only form part of a whole. Note the line-up for this band which includes vibraphone and tuba.

Miguel Gorodi (trumpet, flugelhorn); Gareth Lockrane (flutes); Michael Chillingworth (alto sax, clarinet); George Crowley (tenor sax, bass clarinet); Kieran McLeod (trombone); Ray Hearne (tuba); Ralph Wylde (vibraphone); Conor Chaplin (double bass); Dave Hamblett (drums).

The album opens like a swarm of bees with La Nausée (the title is taken from Jean-Paul Sartre's novel), and here we do get an early introduction to Miguel’s playing as well as from others.  As an opening track it is a great choice as it draws in the listener with a Miguel Gorodi Nonetpromise for what is to come. Time Sigmund is based on a repeated theme with fine solos from bass, flute and saxophone. The eight minutes given to this track work perfectly in allowing time to expand and improvise on a theme. Search is delicately introduced by Ralph Wyld’s vibraphone and again the track moves on to gradually include the others.

Amygdala (a roughly almond-shaped mass of grey matter inside each cerebral hemisphere, involved with the experiencing of emotions), has a short introductory track that leads the album into a different direction with freer explorations from trumpet and saxophone setting the scene for the main track with its mixture of discord and melody. Front line chord statements set the scene for Fifths and although Miguel’s trumpet solo is a centrepiece, the textures brought by saxophone solo and other instrumental breaks are what adds flavour. Two Trees has a trombone solo from Kieran McLeod with bass and drums that I particularly enjoy. The album closes with the cryptic Not Nicest Memo. Flute and bass, and later vibraphone and bass, work really well together; Miguel soars with a breath-taking solo, but in the end, as the track swings to a close, we are left where we began – that this work belongs to all the musicians here.

Most of the tracks are available to hear online and I have found it difficult to choose which to play for this month's Jazz As Art feature. In the end, I have gone for track 6, Soma. Soma (the body as distinct from the soul, mind, or psyche) features conversation between Miguel’s trumpet and Kieran McLeod’s trombone with Dave Hamblett’s drums driving the pace, but you will hear how the whole ensemble builds the picture.

Click here for Soma on our Jazz As Art page.

The Nonet are on tour with the album in June at the Whisky Jar, Manchester (17th) and Parr Jazz, Liverpool (18th). Further dates are coming in October and November in Poole, Bristol, Leeds, Bruton and Brighton.

Click here for Miguel's website. Click here for the album details. Click here for our profile of Miguel.

 

 

 

 

Name The Tune

(Click on the picture for the answer)

 

Name the tune

 

Click here for our Name The Tune page

 

 

 

Celebrating Sandy Brown

Sandy Brown was not only a very fine jazz clarinettist but he was also a respected Acoustic Engineer. Together with his colleague, David Binns, Sandy set up the acoustic engineering company Sandy Brown Associates. Although Sandy has now passed away and David has Sandy Brown and Davis Binnsretired, the company, still in Sandy's name, is going strong and this year celebrates its 50th birthday. We send them our congratulations.

 

Sandy Brown and David Binns

 

Lake Records, which over the years has released many of Sandy Brown's recordings on CD is also releasing a new compilation album this month in their Traditional British Jazz At A Tangent series. Volume 9, The Mainstream Bands, includes tracks by Sandy that illustrate one of the concepts adopted by this website - the range of the music we call jazz. Sandy's band started out as a Traditional Jazz band but developed as jazz developed and became a Mainstream band, writing their own music and bringing in influences from more contemporary jazz as they brought musicians such as reedsman Tony Coe into the band.

 

 

British Jazz The Mainstream Bands

 

 

Paul Adams at Lake Records writes of the compilation for The Mainstream Bands: 'The problem in compiling this collection is that there were very few working bands playing the style. The Jazz clubs of the 1950s and early 60s were very 'Trad'. Bands such as Lyttelton's and Fairweather-Brown ploughed very lonely furrows. It was a different matter with broadcasts and recordings where various aggregations fronted by Kenny Baker and sundry Lyttelton alumni got regular outings. As with most attempts to label music, 'Mainstream' was inclined to be a bit blurred at the edges. To illustrate the point, tracks by Beboppers such as John Dankworth and John Cox are included to show that they slot in without sounding out of place. Several tracks are previously unissued and it is hoped that the CD serves as both an introduction to the style and explode some myths'.

Click here for details of the album.

 

Click here for our page on Sandy Brown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utah Tea Pot

Tea Break

 

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

 

Alex Webb

Alex Webb

 

Alex Webb was born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, a quiet commuter town.  But in his late teens an amazing trio started a residency at a local pub - a young Martin Taylor with bassist Peter Ind and drummer Johnny Richardson.  Alex learned a lot from those guys (and many years later he ended up working at Peter Ind's Bass Clef club in London).  Alex says he was ‘forced to take piano lessons as a kid, which I didn't enjoy - the usual story’, then when he was about 15, his father, who had been something of a pub pianist, showed him Honky Tonk Train Blues.  “That was it,” Alex says. “I wanted to sound like Meade Lux Lewis. I'm still trying!”

In the late 1970s Alex had a band at school when the scene was all punk rock and disco, “But weirdly,” he says, “I found others who, like me, were starting to listen to Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. God only knows what we sounded like, but the seed was planted”. So he started playing in pubs and at school events. A long time in Manchester saw Alex playing with pop groups and reggae bands as well as jazz groups. Cafe Society Swing poster“I've done the lot,” he says. “From private parties to festival gigs and all points in between - you see some interesting things as a musician! ....and I'm available for weddings and barmitzvahs, by the way”.

In fact, Alex has done a lot more. As well as working in music publishing, as a music press officer and in music radio he has gone on to support musicians coming into 'the business'; staged a number of themed musical features such as Café Society Swing (the story of Café Society – the first racially integrated jazz club in New York) and established the Copasetic Foundation. The Copasetic Foundation creates and produces live music and theatre shows, with the aim of promoting the understanding and appreciation of jazz and related musics via live performance, recording, and electronic media. In 2013 it began as an informal vehicle for words and music productions with a bias towards jazz and contemporary music and has been active in staging shows around the country.

Needless to say, Alex works with a host of musicians and many of them, including Liane Carroll, Jo Harrop, China Moses, Vimala Rowe, Alexander Stewart and Ayanna Witter-Johnson featured on his album Call Me Lucky released in 2016.

Alex and saxophonist Tony Kofi have been staging A Portrait Of Cannonball which traces the explosive music of Cannonball Adderley from his first session as leader in 1955 through work with Miles Davis to the soul-jazz of the 1960s.

As you can see, Alex is a busy man, but we caught up for a Tea Break:

 

 

Hi  Alex, good to see you - tea or coffee?

Tea ... I couldn't live without industrial quantities of tea!

 

Milk and sugar?

Just milk, thanks.

 

I was trying to remember the first time we met. I think it was at a London Jazz Festival gig some years ago when you were playing with Sue Richardson’s band. Do you still see Sue?

Frequently.  She's in the band I use for the Billie Holiday show ('Billie Holiday at Carnegie Hall') with the amazing singer David McAlmont. We have a male 'Billie' so we have a largely female band - makes sense to me.  Sue has a real feel for swing and Cootie-style growling, I love her playing.

[Click here for a video of excerpts from the show]

 

I know that some time later we bumped into each other again when you were managing vocalist Alexander Stewart. Alexander has moved on and I think is now very popular on the Continent, but you were key in helping him break into the business. It is always difficult for young musicians to get a foot on the ladder, what do you think are the main things they should try to do?

Well, that's the $60,000 question, and I wish I knew the answer.  I remember a clip of when The Beatles landed at JFK airport and they were asked about the secret of their success, and Lennon said, 'If we knew that, we'd stop playing and be managers.'  I really don't know much, except to play as many gigs as possible, be as rehearsed and polished as possible and also to take the audience seriously, to really engage with them and feel their reactions and try to make them go away thinking they've seen something really special.

 

That sounds pretty comprehensive - and valuable!. Of course, one of the many strings to your bow is songwriting. Do you have a favourite song amongst those you have written? And who would you say are your songwriter influences?

On my album Call Me Lucky I had a crack at writing something with a langorous, Billy Strayhorn feel and louche lyrics, Low Low Places.  Took me ages.  Nobody else seems to like it, but I do. As for influences, all the obvious ones for someone of my age (I'm well into my 50s) - Lennon & McCartney, Stevie, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell.  All the writers of the Great American Songbook, inevitably, and John Martyn, Jacques Brel, lyricist Fran Landesman. I think Gregory Porter is a very good songwriter, by the way.

[Click here to listen to Vimala Rowe singing Low Low Places] 

 

That's a really lovely song. Thinking about Alexander Stewart and China Moses, I like the way they swung the duet The Hard Way on Alexander's album and there is a great band arrangement on that track.

Yeah, that was a good one, from Alexander's first album - China always brings such energy and sass to everything she does. The horn arrangement was by the excellent saxophonist and arranger Frank Griffith.  Frank is known for great arrangements and terrible jokes.  But at least it isn't the other way around. 

[Click here to hear Alexander Stewart and China Moses with The Hard Way]

 

Your album Call Me Lucky has been a good reflection of your music. How on earth did you get so many great musicians involved?

I just asked them!  It could either be a sign of their esteem for me, or the fact there's no work around - I dread to think which.  Seriously, I think they liked the songs, I really tried to match the singer to the song.  And - with all respect to all the other great vocalists on the album - to get Liane Carroll to sing 'Words I Never Spoke' was an amazing privilege, what an artist.  Watching her record that was an education.

[Liane Carroll sings Words I Never Spoke - click here]

 

Billie Wackrill

 

Yes, that's very special. Who else have you heard recently that we should listen out for?

Because he's a fixture on the London scene, doing Ronnie's upstairs jam every Wednesday, I think we take trumpeter Andy Davies for granted - he's amazing, and a beautiful cat.  Saxophonist Alex Hitchcock is a monster too, and look out for trumpeter Ife Ogunjobi.  As far as vocalists go, I think my partner in crime Jo Harrop is criminally under-rated - all the musicians love her, and now maybe the public is catching up.  Cherise Adams-Burnett and Billie Wackrill are going places, ones to watch.  

 

Billie Wackrill

 

 

 

 

I’m forgetting my manners! I have a few biscuits in the tin if you fancy some. Let’s see – some Garibaldis, some Hob Nobs or Ginger Nuts .... I’m afraid the digestives have gone a bit stale.

That's a shame, I'm very fond of a digestive.  The secret is to dunk them real fast before they disintegrate.

 

And then, of course, you have the Copasetic Foundation that has been going for six years now. How many shows have you staged now?

I did some research on this recently.  Between May 2013 when we started and May 2018 the Copasetic Foundation promoted 113 events across jazz clubs, festivals and theatres.  And in the last three completed financial years (2015-2018) it paid out £45,925 in fees to musicians.  But it's a lot of work and I could really use an assistant.  Or the help of a jazz-crazed millionaire - do you know one? 

 

I wish! If you were to pick a YouTube video of one of the shows, and there are quite a few, which would you choose that gives an idea of what the shows are about?

This one, about the show I run with Tony Kofi, A Portrait of Cannonball gives a good flavour of the music - click here.

 

Have you got any ideas about a musician you would like to write a show around at sometime in the future?

I love to create shows around jazz history (such as Café Society Swing) but I'm trying to get a way from 'tribute' shows to individuals, though of course I've done quite a few.  I do have some ideas though but we'll have to wait and see ... 

 

The Foundation is also involved in education, in particular business coaching for musicians. I get the impression that many students leave the academies and conservatoires without this and it is so important. Does the Foundation run a particular programme?

I used to lecture in music business subjects at university and you've reminded me I should be offering this out to more institutions.  Some of the conservatoires do more than others - I think Nick Smart at the Royal Academy really tries to prepare students for the world outside, although of course it's easier said than done. 

 

What have you got coming up in the year ahead, Alex?

With actress/singer Camilla Beeput, with whom I created a musical about Lena Horne, we're in serious discussions about taking that to the US in 2020.  I want to get my show with Jo Harrop, British Standard Time (all UK composers and songwriters) out to more venues; and Tony Kofi and I are hoping to record the Cannonball Adderley show we do, too.  I'd like to work more with the wonderful Vimala Rowe.  And I'm determined to get some more Wynton Kelly licks down ... 

 

I think you probably need another biscuit!?

Does that mean you have some fresh digestives hidden away? 

 

Tell you what - I'll play Jo Harrop singing Radiohead's No Surprises from British Standard Time, you make another pot of tea, sit back, relax and, call you lucky, I'll pop to the corner shop and get some fresh digestives ........

Click here for Jo Harrop singing No Surprises  

 

China Moses and Alex Webb

 

Alex Webb and China Moses

Click here for Alex Webb's website.

 

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

 

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

 

Conductor

 

'Running a jazz club gave me an illuminating insight into what is quaintly described as 'human nature'. Most people didn't begrudge paying a mere five or six shillings to listen to the cream of the country's jazz musicians, but there were some to whom getting into a jazz club without paying was a cardinal principle. They wouldn't dream of entering a cinema or leaving a restaurant without paying, but jazz clubs involved a different morality. Why, I don't know, but it was one of the facts of a club promoter's life ...

A hazard peculiar to the Six Bells was the 'Chelsea Set' ..... "Oh don't be such a silly little man," spluttered one outraged Hetty when I politely requested payment. I'm six feet tall, but the appellation was indicative of social attitude rather than a reference to my height. "I know the band very well," she cried. "They've been to hundreds of my parties! Now let me pass!" was her most imperious demand.

Her escort was silent until I remarked that she was very unpleasant. His contribution was straight from P.G. Wodehouse. "Oh, I say, look here. I shall jolly well have to ask you to take that back!" She eventually departed snarling malevolently at 'such a silly little man' and protesting that she could 'buy the place over and over again'. An odd claim to wealth from someone not prepared to pay a few shillings' entrance fee .....

Generally we had little real trouble, although I quickly made the discovery that individuals in the more exalted professions don't necessarily have higher standards of behaviour. On the contrary. My problem people were actors, doctors and solicitors .......There was a solicitor, since struck off, who came along solely to conduct the band. He was ferret-like, middle-aged and slightly demented. He had a rival in Johnny the Conductor and one night the band had the benefit of two maestri, each with his own interpretation of tempi, nuance and rhythm ....'

From All This And Many A Dog by Jim Godbolt

 

[There a sequence in the film Momma Don't Allow that goes well with Jim Godbolt's story. It comes at about 9.18 minutes into this 12 minute historic film made at Wood Green Jazz Club in 1956. Click here].

Momma Don't Allow movie still

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Finding Home
Kate Williams' Four Plus Three Meets Georgia Mancio

by Robin Kidson

 

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

 

Kate Williams Georgia Mancio Finding Home

 

For most of its history, jazz has been a mainly masculine activity. The one exception has been the space carved out by the female jazz singer – performers such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Cleo Laine take their place in the jazz pantheon on equal terms with the male icons. All this is beginning to change, particularly in the UK, where a new generation of jazz musicians includes many women. There are still singers amongst them, of course, but there are also superbly talented trumpeters, saxophonists, drummers not to mention composers and arrangers. Musicians such as Laura Jurd, Nubya Garcia, Camilla George, Yazz Ahmed, Trish Clowes and Lorraine Baker are making waves not only across the British jazz scene but further afield as well.

There is a charity, the Ambache Charitable Trust, which exists to raise the profile of women in all genres of music. The Trust has helped to fund an album released on 1st June called Finding Home which sees two women, pianist/composer Kate Williams and vocalist/lyricist Georgia Kate WilliamsMancio, collaborate on a collection of twelve songs. The lyrics from most of the songs have been written by Georgia, with the music composed by Kate. 

The increasing participation of women in jazz means that a project initiated and driven forward by two women is not particularly unusual. Both Kate Williams and Georgia Mancio have, in any case, impressive jazz credentials in their own right.

 

Kate Williams

 

Kate Williams is the daughter of classical guitarist, John Williams, and has worked with the likes of Bobby Wellins and Stan Sulzmann as well as leading her own groups. In 2016, she formed Four Plus Three joining together her own trio (the three) with a string quartet (the four). She says she was “drawn to the idea of having two bands within a band…and having had a longstanding yearning to write for strings. It was always my intention to expand the line up by inviting musician friends to guest with us including my father John for whom I wrote a short set of tunes back in 2017”. An album, Four Plus Three, was released in 2016 to widespread acclaim.

Click here for a video of Kate Williams and other members of Four Plus Three playing and talking about their collaboration:

Four Plus Three play on Finding Home. The members of the group are Kate Williams (piano), Oli Hayhurst (bass), David Ingamells (drums), John Garner (violin), Marie Schreer (violin), Francis Gallagher (viola) and Sergio Serra (cello).

Georgia Mancio is one of the top jazz singers in the UK, nominated for Jazz Vocalist of the Year in the 2018 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. She has worked in a variety of settings, most notably with Alan Broadbent with whom she collaborated on the 2017 album, Songbook. This was launched at Ronnie Scott’s in a show labelled “unequivocally one of the gigs of the year” by Jazzwise magazine.

“Having already been a fan of Kate’s Four Plus Three”, says Mancio, “I was delighted when she invited me to co-write some songs and perform as part of this stunning ensemble. Our chosen theme – Finding Home – prompted many questions and offered multiple answers: home as both a visceral and literal state, a person or place, whether global or local”.

Click here for a brief promotional video of Finding Home (including an extract from One For The Bees).

 

At the core of Finding Home is a trilogy of three songs; The Last Boy on Earth, Halfway, and We Walk. These all have lyrics written by Georgia Mancio and were inspired by time spent volunteering with refugee groups in Northern France and the UK. The music is by Kate Williams – who certainly knows how to write a good, hooky tune. I’ve had the album on my CD player for the past few weeks and some of her tunes have buried themselves in my head. The match between lyric and music is sometimes inspired – We Walk, for example, is about people who must leave their homes and walk to find a safer haven elsewhere: 'We walked, we walked, we walked and on we walked / We rose, we fell. We died and we lived to tell. / We climbed, we drowned. We found and lost our way through sea and mountain'. The music has a haunting trudging quality which brilliantly reflects the lyric and the struggles of the tired walkers. It also, incidentally, features John Williams playing some atmospheric guitar.

Georgia Mancio’s voice is crystal clear and bang on the note, often with a distinct English quality reminiscent of Norma Winstone. It is also expressive and not afraid to show all sorts of different emotions. On The Last Boy on Earth, for example, there are passages where the voice turns sinister and discordant to match the lyric. A word here, again, for the music which creates different moods: from ominous, with Georgia Mancioshimmering string playing, to a sense of chaos with some effective discordance and great drumming from David Ingamells.

 

 

A subject like the refugee crisis has its many dark sides and it would be easy for Georgia Mancio and Kate Williams to convey pessimism and hopelessness in dealing with it, but, in fact, there is much light optimism in Finding Home. Halfway, for example, is an upbeat piece with another catchy tune whose lyrics offer hope and solutions: 'Watch me fly now I’m free! / Soaring high, / I’m on my way – this is my day!'

There are three other tracks on Finding Home with Georgia's lyrics and Kate's music: One For The Bees is another Williams tune which drills into the mind with effective changes in tempo and a jazz-rock riff to die for. The writing for the strings is particularly striking; throughout Finding Home, the string quartet is not a gimmicky add-on but completely integral to the whole. Also, Kate has pulled off the difficult trick of writing jazz for strings - and she has the musicians to bring her vision to life.

 

Georgia Mancio

 

 

 

The title track, Finding Home, has Georgia speaking the lyric in her beautifully expressive English rose voice against a hypnotic rhythm mainly generated by piano, bass and drums. Play is a light, upbeat optimistic piece of high-grade pop which would have been a hit in the sixties – it could even be a hit now. Again, great string work and some wonderfully poetic lyrics: 'Time is just a crying clown who laughs when day is done'. Oli Hayhurst shines on bass and Kate Williams shows she can play a mean piano as well as writing great tunes.

One track – Tell The River - has words written by Georgia Mancio to a tune composed by Alan Broadbent. It is played as a slow, wistful piano/voice duet. Georgia ’s voice takes on an American Songbook quality – more Julie London or Lena Horne than Norma Winstone. Two tracks are Kate Williams' compositions which do not feature Georgia Mancio. Heartwood is straight upbeat jazz featuring the trio playing by itself. Kate gets the chance to show off her impressive piano chops and Oli Hayhurst gives good bass. The Key is a short piece of contemporary classical for solo violin played beautifully by Marie Schreer.

And finally, there are three tracks which are not Williams/Mancio originals. Caminando, Caminando is by Victor Jara and is another tune from the album which has lodged in my brain. The arrangement is superb and Georgia Mancio’s rendition in Spanish of the lyric is mesmerising. John Williams contributes a cameo on guitar which fits perfectly. Don’t Go To Strangers has Georgia in Great American Songbook territory again. That territory is explored further in Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Chage de Saudade given English lyrics by Jon Hendricks as No More Blues. This has a most attractive fifties Hollywood feel to it but with added jazzy violin.

And now we come to the vexed issue of labels. I think some purists might quibble with the notion that Finding Home is truly jazz. Clearly, there are jazz sensibilities at work but they are often channeled into what might be termed 'jazzish'. Indeed, some pieces drift into high end pop or, in the case of The Key, contemporary classical. The wider lesson here, though, is that if music (defined in its widest sense) is to convey complex issues and moods, then it has to use all the tools and genres at its disposal. This is what Kate Williams and Georgia Mancio have done in spades with Finding Home. In the last analysis, it is just great music and one of the best syntheses of music and words that I’ve heard in a long time.

 

Kate Williams’ Four Plus Three and Georgia Mancio are currently on an Arts Council England funded tour. In an admirable attempt to reach beyond the usual audience, some of these venues are well off the beaten jazz track. Some of the dates are in partnership with the child refugee charity, Safe Passage and/or other local groups. The Thornton Heath date on 29th June will have a pay-what-you-can afternoon family concert with the evening performance including a screening of the film, Calais Children: A Case To Answer.

7th June                     Calstock Arts Centre (with John Williams)
8th June                     Owermoigne Village Hall, Dorchester
9th June                     Colchester Arts Centre
29th June                   Salvation Army, Thornton Heath
7th July                       Frome Festival
13th July                     Bolton Abbey, Skipton

 

Kate Williams Georgia Mancio band

 

Click here for details and samples of the album. Click here for Kate Williams’ website and click here for Georgia Mancio’s website.

 

 

 

The Greatest Jazz Festival That Never Was!


Greatest Jazz Holiday

 

 

Colin Clark writes: 'Would you have taken a week’s trip to the Isle of Man had you been promised Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Thad Jones / Mel Lewis, Joe Williams and the Maynard Ferguson Orchestras, the Lawson-Haggart World’s Greatest Jazzband, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Wild Bill Davidson’s Chicago Jazzmen? Not to mention the UK contingent of the Humphrey Lyttelton Band, George Webb’s Dixielanders, Acker Bilk and the Paramount Jazz Band, Alex Welsh and his Band, the Original Crane River Jazz Band, George Melly and Beryl Bryden?

The flyer promised all of this in Douglas during the period 9th to 15th September 1973, for those with a maximum of £70 to spend on their travel from UK, hotel and festival tickets.

Are you kicking yourself for missing this bargain break? Don’t feel so bad! It never happened. A case of too good to be true, I am afraid.

I only learned of this non-event a few days ago. A neighbour, Alan Grubb was de-cluttering following a house move, and came across the flyer. He had started bringing UK jazz stars to the island a couple of years previously, starting with Nat Gonella, and went on to be one of the founders of the Manx Jazz Club. But meanwhile had been approached for local knowledge input from the UK-based organisers of this event, who included George Webb and Acker Bilk’s brother David.

But this super-ambitious project never got off the ground; Alan believes that George Webb had to mortgage his house in order to pay bills incurred in the organisation of this greatest jazz festival that never was!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

Photographer Brian O'Connor took his camera to gigs recently. Here are some of his images from a gig with at the Splashpoint Jazz Club in Rottingdean in May

 

Jinjoo Yoo

 

Jinjoo Yoo

 

Jazz Pianist/Composer/Arranger Jinjoo Yoo comes originally from Seoul, South Korea. She currently lives in New York and collaborates with different projects and leads her own group as well. As a leader or a side-musician, she has toured and performed internationally, including performances in the United States, Italy, Greece, Spain, Azerbaijan, and South Korea. In 2017, she was selected as one of the finalists for the Baku Jazz Competition. On the occasion when this photograph was taken she was playing with trumpeter Chris Hodkins' band at Rottingdean in East Sussex.

Jinjoo found that jazz captured her attention soon after starting University in South Korea. It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with Mary Lou Williams, Wynton Kelly, Teddy Wilson, Bud Powell, Sonny Clark, Art Tatum, Jimmy Rowles, Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae, and so on. Since then, she has immersed herself in the music by listening to jazz legends’ albums. Although she was studying Sociology and Economics in her undergraduate years, she found herself more interested in Jazz rather than her major. After her graduation, she decided to focus on jazz more deeply in New York. In 2017, Jinjoo earned Master’s degree in Jazz Performance from Queens College.

Jinjoo stylistically encompasses the range from Jazz Classics and the American Songbook to original compositions. She recently released her Debut Album I’m Curious (Gut String Records, 2018).

Click here for a video of Jinjoo playing Cole Porter's You Do Something To Me.

 

Jinjoo Yoo

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Hodgkins

 

Chris Hodgkins' International Quartet has been touring the UK during May.

In the 12 date tour the band included Chris; 29 year old South Korean pianist from New York, Jinjoo Yoo, “one of the most exciting pianists on the scene in New York”; Wayne Wilkinson a headline guitarist, “one of the best, most underrated jazz guitarists in the USA”, and Alison Rayner on bass, winner of the Parliamentary Jazz Award 2018 for Best Ensemble.

The tour took a fresh look at music ranging from lesser-known standards to band originals plus 4 original pieces and set out to attract a wide audience including young people.

Click here for Chris Hodgkins' website.

 

Chris Hodgkins

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Forum

 

Jazz History

Amy Carr writes: 'I just wanted to shoot you a quick email to say thanks. I'm a youth mentor, and one of my mentees (Mark) is an extremely talented tuba player. We meet biweekly and go over everything from current homework and projects to his life goals, dreams, aspirations, struggles, etc.  He had a project due this week on Jazz History and the Sandy Brown Jazz page was a great help to him (click here) so we wanted to let you know how much he appreciated it.

Mark is only in the 9th grade but he's started exploring his options in terms of where his musical passion and talent can take him for college. Together we found this really helpful guide on "Scholarships and Financial Resources for Future Musicians" (click here). Mark actually suggested that I pass it along to you as a way of saying thank you. He thought it would be a great addition to your resources and that perhaps it could help to encourage another young aspiring musician that there are real options out there for them.

[For those who enjoy the tuba in jazz, Tuba Skinny is a great contemporary band - click here for them playing Jubilee Stomp. Ed]

 

 

Louis Stewart

Ken Scott corrects information on our page about guitarist Louis Stewart (click here): 'I was looking at your Louis Stewart page - and thanks for adding that as the world needs to be reminded of his contributions.   However, at the risk of being a pedant there is a mistake on the lineup mentioned for "Louis The First" - the others were Martin Walshe and John Wadham not Billy Higgins / Peter Ind etc; they all appeared on later recordings.

 

 

Nit Picking

Thanks to pianist Rick Simpson who has agreed that I can share some thoughts he posted on Facebook during May. It was interesting how many messages of agreement and support he received from other musicians:

'I have been thinking about this for a while and I apologise in advance for this rather serious post. It’s a really wonderful jazz community we have here and in a weird way it’s often like one massive office where we’re shoved together, with the exception that most people hardly ever get to see each other that regularly. That makes things weird enough but one of the things that bugged me on and off over the years is how people often hold onto nit picky things about other musicians and often tell those things to everyone when that person comes up in conversation. I’m sure I’ve done plenty of this in the past but these days I’m really trying to make my own mind up about people, be forgiving and not give my little nugget of negativity about the one time said musician was late, or a bit ‘vibey’, or played a bit iffy. It’s inevitable that if someone is having a bad day and they see another musician that they don’t know very well they could come across badly but it would be great if we could all try and be a bit more forgiving and let go of little things that happen over the years. Lord knows I often give a bad impression without meaning to and it’s usually always because I’m having a rough time with something or I’m just shy/awk or whatever and I’m sure everyone is the same! I really think that well meaning but quite bumbling social awkwardness around people you don’t get to see that often and sometimes only really know the musical side of accounts for so much perceived character flaws. So let’s be positive and celebrate each other. Love to all!'

 

 

Jazz Venues

Thanks to Phil Kent for sending a link to The Jazz Guide website which is particularly comprehensive for the programme of Traditional Jazz gigs around the UK. I have added the link to our 'Jazz Venues Near You' page - click here.

 

 

Harry Baldock and Jerry Withers

Some time ago, Tash Smith wrote to ask whether anyone could help with information about Harry Baldock: '‘My father, Harry Baldock, recently passed. He played trumpet and bass mainly, though could also play banjo and guitar. He was a former member of various bands including Cambridge City Jassband (late 1970s/early 80s) and Thames City Jazz Band (late 1950s/early 60s). He also toured with Monty Sunshine Band, Max Collie's Rhythm Aces and Champion Jack Dupree in the late '70s'. I have several photos, both of bands he played in and of bands that perhaps were on the same bill. I'm looking for more information on them, as currently they are just nameless faces'.

Jane Buller has written to say: ‘My Dad, Jerry Withers played with the Thames City Jazz Band on banjo back in the 1960s and I remember him talking about Harry. Dad is not shown in the photograph that is at the bottom of the article (below) - the only one I recognise is Dad’s long time friend Les Handscombe (trombone player) - still playing I believe (Tailgate Jazz band?). Dad is now 87 and sadly has dementia so remembers very little of his "band days" but I will ask him if he remembers any other names from the photo. I would be interested to see whether there are any other photos which include my Dad .....

 

Thames City Jazz Band

Thames City Jazz Band

 


..... Here are two photos from Thames City days - the awful curtains are in our living room at Lewisham! Ken Smart is on drums (he died young), Les Handscombe is the trombonist and Dad is on banjo. I spoke to my sister last night - we were recounting some of the names of bands that Dad played in - Thames City, Imperial, Empty House Jug, Colin Symons, and with Sid Pye and Brian Green. He played regular sessions in various pubs which may be long since gone and Dad went from playing the banjo to the double bass'.

Jerry Withers and Ken Smart

 

 

 

 

Jerry Withers and Ken Smart

 

 

 

 

 

[As Jane has some other pictures and a recording, I should like to set up a page on this website about the people mentioned in this correspondence. If any readers have memories of the musicians or the bands, please contact me and I can include them. Ed]

 

 

 

Jerry Withers Ken Smart Les Handscombe

 

 

 

 

 

Les Handscombe, Jerry Withers and Ken Smart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook and Mailing List

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


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Euan Stevenson Plays East Neuk

 

Euan Stevenson

 

Journalist Rob Adams reports that 'The East Neuk Festival is a gem of an event held in an utterly charming location and generally includes jazz (French double bass marvel, Renaud Garcia-Fons has appeared three times). This year, New Focus pianist Euan Stevenson shares a bill with violinist Tim Kliphuis' trio in Anstruther. The pre-gig fish 'n' chips and stroll round the harbour are optional but highly recommended!.

Click here for a video of Euan improvising on Frank Loesser's I've Never Been In Love Before.

 

 

 

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.

 

Clive Fenner

 

 

Clive Fenner - UK drummer well-known at Eastside Jazz Club in East London where he was involved both in organising the club and playing with his Clive Fenner Quintet and Quartet. He was also Director and founder of The International French Jazz Summer School and The Cuban Music School. Click here for a video of Clive's Quintet playing Midnight Voyage.

 

 

 

 

 

Norma Miller

 

 

Norma Miller - American Lindy Hop dancer, choreographer, actress, author, and comedian known as the "Queen of Swing". Norma was the last surviving member of Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, the most famous professional Lindy Hop group of the swing era. She toured with Ethel Waters and featured in films with Duke Ellington, Ivie Anderson and Cab Calloway. Click here for a clip from the 1937 film A Day At The Races featuring Whitey's Lindy Hoppers.

 

 

 

 

Verna Hart

 

 

Verna Hart - American artist whose work, inspired by the jazz she heard in New York nightclubs, has been shown in gallery exhibitions, featured on record album covers and used on the sets of movies and television shows — including Spike Lee’s 1990 film, “Mo’ Better Blues”. Click here for a video interview with Verna Hart.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gwilym Simcock - Near And Now
(ACT Music) - Released: 26th April 2019

Gwilym Simcock (piano)

Gwilym Simcock Near And Now

 

“Near and Now” is Gwilym Simcock’s second full album for solo piano. The first, the highly successful “Good Days at Schloss Elmau” from 2011, was his ACT debut. That early album was nominated for the Mercury Prize and was an important step in establishing the Welsh-born pianist’s reputation internationally. It has also stood the test of time, a fact which is at least in part due to the strong architectural sense that Simcock always brings to his work as both composer and improviser. As he says: “I have always enjoyed the challenge to make sure that a piece of music has a satisfying arc to it  – it should take you on a journey whether it is composed or improvised.” ... Simcock’s talent was singled out as special in his early twenties, most notably by Chick Corea. .. In 2006 he achieved a unique distinction when he became the first ever jazz musician to be invited to join the BBC’s prestigious New Generation Artists scheme. In more recent times, since May 2016 he has been travelling the world as a member of Pat Metheny’s Quartet. ..The time while travelling the world with Metheny ... has been put to good use. Simcock explains: “In the last six months or so, whilst away from home, I spent my spare time writing new music for a second solo album. I actually wrote much more, but quite a few of the pieces expanded.” In the new album, recorded at Simcock’s home in Berlin, the pianist is aiming for an “honest and personal sound,” for which he cites Keith Jarrett’s home-recorded album “The Melody At Night, With You” as a model. The instrument is a newly-acquired Steinway “B” from around 1900, completely custom-rebuilt for Simcock by the Klangmanufaktur partnership in Hamburg. ..... Each of the pieces on the album has another piano player as its dedicatee, and yet two things shine through consistently. First is the increasingly distinctive and individual musical personality of Simcock; and equally important is the sense of enjoyment which colours his whole music making process ... his credo about listening is above all “to know why you are enjoying something.” And playing? “To be able to make music that you know you’d want to listen to yourself.” ... at the mid-point of the album, perhaps its emotional heart, is a short and beautiful ‘thank you’, which stands in contrast to the larger structures around it. Simcock has dedicated the transparently poetic “You’re My You” to his first jazz piano teacher and mentor in Manchester from the ages of 14 to 18, Les Chisnall. “He has a very warm and giving approach to music, and that spirit is what I wanted to convey,” says Simcock’ (ACT Music on Simcock's website).

Further details about the album and Samples : Purchase details : Listen to Before The Elegant Hour (For Brad Meldhau) : Listen to Beautiful Is Our Moment (For Billy Childs) :

 

 

 

 

 

 

British Traditional Jazz At A Tangent - Vol 9 The Mainstream Bands
(Lake Records) - Released: 14th June 2019

Al Fairweather & Sandy Brown; Humphrey Lyttelton & His Band; Dill Jones Trio; Kenny Baker's bands; Fat John's Jazz band; John Dankworth Seven; George Chisholm & His Jive Five

British Traditional Jazz Vol 9

 

 

'Vol. 9 in the AT A TANGENT series looks at Mainstream bands on the British Jazz scene and completes the CDs devoted to different styles in the series. 'Mainstream' was a term coined in the early 1950s to describe a more arranged style of Jazz sitting somewhere between Trad/Dixieland and Bebop/Modern – it is closely akin to Small Band Swing of the 1930s/40s. The main protagonist in the UK is usually held to be Humphrey Lyttelton, but musicians like Kenny Baker and his associates had been playing it before Lyttelton embarked on it in the mid-50s. The problem in compiling this collection is that there were very few working bands playing the style. The Jazz clubs of the 1950s and early 60s were very Trad. Bands such as Lyttelton's and Fairweather-Brown ploughed very lonely furrows. It was a different matter with broadcasts and recordings where various aggregations fronted by Kenny Baker and sundry Lyttelton alumni got regular outings. As with most attempts to label music 'Mainstream' was inclined to be a bit blurred at the edges. To illustrate the point tracks by Beboppers such as John Dankworth and John Cox are included to show that they slot in without sounding out of place. Several tracks are previously unissued and it is hoped that the CD serves as both an introduction to the style and explode some myths' (album notes).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonsai - Bonsai Club
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 31st May 2019

Rory Ingham (trombone); Dominic Ingham (violin, vocals); Toby Comeau ( piano, keyboards); Joe Lee (bass); Jonny Mansfield (drums)

Bonsai Bonsai Club

 

'Chosen in the 'Shape of Jazz to Come in 2018' in Jazzwise, Bonsai (formerly known as Jam Experiment) are an award-winning band that are based in London, UK. Formed in 2014, they have appeared on BBC Radio 3 and Jazz FM numerous times and played at leading jazz festivals and venues across the UK including London Jazz Festival, Love Supreme Festival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, and Ronnie Scott's. Bonsai's sound is dynamic jazz fusion balanced with intricate compositions and adventurous improvisations negotiated through mutual admiration for each other. The band has no leader or rather, each member is the leader; through this process they've challenged their own musical boundaries. Given that the Ingham brothers have been playing together for nearly 20 years, when the unusual frontline of trombone/violin/vocals is met with the ferociously "high- octane" rhythm section, the ensemble has an electric synergy that results in "pure musical gold". The line-up includes the winner of Rising Star in the 2017 British Jazz Awards, trombonist Rory Ingham, his brother Dominic Ingham on violin/vocals, Toby Comeau on piano/keyboard, Joe Lee on bass, and Jonny Mansfield (Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize winner) on drums. As the band explains, "'Bonsai Club' is an album of compositions by Bonsai. This is a group where everyone is the leader, and the music is written to be played by each other, with each other. The long-standing relationships between Jonny, brothers Rory and Dom, and childhood best friends Toby and Joe mean that Bonsai are able to work cohesively and freely as a collective, resulting in total synergy. For this record Bonsai have explored breaking down boundaries between genres, whilst developing a sound that is driven by a myriad of ingredients: expressive vocals, a plethora of synths, and groove fuelled improvisations." (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Website and Tour Dates :

 

 

 

 

 

Partisans - Nit De Nit
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 17th May 2019

Phil Robson (guitar); Julian Siegel (saxophones, bass clarinet); Thaddeau Kelly (bass); Gene Calderazzo (drums)

Partisans Nit De Nit

'With an authority developed over two decades on the circuit, Partisans are proud to unleash their first live album, Nit De Nit, recorded at London’s Vortex Club. As writers and co-leaders, Robson and Siegel had long thought of releasing a live account of their dynamic shows: “We’ve played many memorable gigs over the years and wanted to capture that energy, in the great tradition of jazz recording.” And though Partisans’ music is carefully conceived, the emphasis is on collective improvisation, explains Phil: “There’s something particular about the way this band gets its material together – we need to play live to get a glimpse of how it’s going to be. Our writing simply sets it in motion, with nothing set in stone, because everyone brings so much personality to it.” A quotation from Charlie Parker’s ‘Klact-oveeseds-tene’ preludes ‘Max’ (from Partisans’ album of the same name), an homage to Max Roach, whose audacious rhythms grace the original Parker recording. As Calderazzo replicates his intricacy (four bars of five, then four of three), the band launch into their own heady bebop celebration, Siegel and Robson unifying its perky riffs. Sidewalk-grooving ‘That’s Not His Bag’ (after pandemonium boarding a flight) hints at Steely Dan; and ‘Nit De Nit’ (hear that call-and-answer) suggests Parker again, only to snap into impressively-synced frenzy and fast swing. Siegel’s shamelessly brash blues arrangement of ‘John, I’m Only Dancing’, from a classic Bowie songwriting era, indicates a massive Miles influence. A groundhog’s punctual daily arrival in Robson’s New Jersey garden is behind ‘3:15 (On the Dot)’, Siegel’s bass clarinet emphasising tentative footfall around lush guitar chords and improvisational freedom. Punky ‘The Overthink’ is titled following an official’s reassurance to Siegel in boarding the right train: “Don’t overthink it”, while the guitar hues of ‘Eg’ (Egberto Gismonti) provide a Brazilian flavor. Swaggering mash-up ‘Pork Scratching’ features fine percussive detail and bass-pedal electronics before the set closes to koto-like ‘Last Chance’… with a ferocious sting in the tail'. (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to That's Not His Bag : Partisans Website:

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Syson - Different Coloured Days
(Self Release - TSYSCD02) - Released: 10th May 2019

Tom Syson (trumpet); Tom Barford (saxophone); David Ferris (piano); Pete Hutchison (double bass); Jonathan Silk (drums)

Tom Syson Different Coloured Day

 

 

'Tom Syson is a highly regarded trumpeter and composer based in the UK. In January 2019 he recorded his 2nd album, ‘Different Coloured Days’ at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios, which he is touring around the UK in May 2019, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The album title is inspired by his experience with anxiety. Tom opens the album with a compelling statement of intent to claim your ears. Gathered around that, a quintet of contemporaries suffuse the 8 compositions by Tom with warmth and muscle, in a finely-tuned balance of jazz tradition and contemporary instincts' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video of At Peace : Listen to Near Death On The A90 : Listen to Soon :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kim Cypher - Love Kim x
(Kim Cypher Music) - Released: 3rd May 2019

Kim Cypher (vocals, saxophone); with various artists including Pee Wee Ellis (saxophone); David Newton (piano); Clive Morton (double bass); Chris Cobbson (guitar); B.D. Lenz (guitar); Karl Vanden Bossche (percussion).

Kim Cypher Love Kim

 

'Kim started playing saxophone at age 9 and achieved Grade 8 practical and theory of music with distinction by age 14. She studied Expressive Arts at St Paul’s & St Mary’s College in Cheltenham where she was awarded a First Class Honours for her original musical composition for saxophone, clarinet, Peruvian pipes and percussion. Kim has developed her own unique ‘funky’ style of saxophone playing, built upon influences by great players such as Gerald Albright, Maceo Parker, Pee Wee Ellis, Andy Sheppard, Dean Fraser, Courtney Pine and Grover Washington.  Kim trained alongside American saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis (saxophonist with James Brown and Van Morrison) and internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard.  Kim’s vocal style has been influenced by the great Billie Holiday together with a wide range of vocalists / performers including Gunhild Carling, Imelda May, Caro Emerald and Liane Carroll. Inspired by the funkier side of jazz, Kim’s style of performance is best described as ‘funky saxophonist meets 1940s jazz singer’. Kim performs an eclectic mix of music spanning many genres with a quirky, jazzy twist together with her own original material, all packaged up in a captivating performance and warm stage presence. Kim’s 2nd album ‘Love Kim x’ (a collection of inspired original music and quirky takes on some well-known classics) is due for release on 3rd May 2019. The new album tour kicked off on 8th February to a sell-out 200 audience, with special guest Pee Wee Ellis. ‘Love Kim x’ features some of the finest jazz musicians in the UK and overseas including Pee Wee Ellis, David Newton on piano (14 times winner of best pianist in the British Jazz Awards), Clive Morton on double bass (ex-tutor to Jamie Cullum and long-time sideman with Frank Sinatra and Stephane Grappelli), Alex Steele on piano, Chris Cobbson on guitar, Lee Jones on guitar, Tom Clarke-Hill on double bass, John-Paul Gard on Hammond organ, Karl Vanden Bossche on percussion, Mike Cypher on drums PLUS awesome New York guitarist B.D. Lenz and The Kentwood Show Choir directed by Sheila Harrod' (Kim's website notes).

Details and Samples : Kim Cypher Website :

 

 

 

 

 

Miguel Gorodi Nonet - Apophenia
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 24th May 2019

Miguel Gorodi (trumpet, flugelhorn); Gareth Lockrane (flutes); Michael Chillingworth (alto sax, clarinet); George Crowley (tenor sax, bass clarinet); Kieran McLeod (trombone); Ray Hearne (tuba); Ralph Wylde (vibraphone); Conor Chaplin (double bass); Dave Hamblett (drums).

Miguel Gorodi Nonet Apophenia

 

 

'Miguel Gorodi is a London based composer, teacher and trumpet player performing across a broad spectrum of jazz and improvised music. Miguel's Nonet is an ensemble that explores various compositional techniques with specific focus on texture, non-tonal melodic structures, polyrhythms, and the relationships between them all. A deep, moving debut' (album notes). ' ..... Dave Hamblett's punchy drums introduce the tune Nicest Memo," the concluding number in this set and, in common with all the compositions on the album, the tune presents a full tonal spectrum thanks to the cogent deployment of a variety of instrumentation within the nonet. Produced by vibraphonist of note Jim Hart, the final mix manages to showcase all the musicians equally, and more importantly so they can all be heard in a clear and distinct balance, even within the ensemble final crescendo. Apophenia represents a highly significant milestone in what promises to be a stellar career for this talented trumpeter and composer' (Roger Farbey in All About Jazz ****).

Details and Samples : Sandy Brown Jazz article :

 

 

 

 

 

America

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

 

Greg Burk - As A River
(Tonos Records) - Released: 12th April 2019

Greg Burk (piano)

Greg Burk As A River

 

'Following his acclaimed 2016 release “Clean Spring” on SteepleChase Records, American pianist & composer Greg Burk returns with solo piano “As A River” - his 12th and most lyrical album to date. The son of classical musicians, Burk spent his formative years on the Detroit jazz scene, followed by studies in Boston with the likes of George Russell, Danilo Perez & Paul Bley. The lyrical, classical, side of Burk’s music emerges with conviction in this solo piano setting and mixes seamlessly with his deep roots in the jazz tradition. These diverse currents flow together fluently and unpredictably to create the journey that is the music of “As A River”. Now based in Italy, where this album was recorded on a Steinway Concert Grand, he’s performed with some of the jazz greats, from Benny Golson and Kenny Wheeler, to David Murray & Steve Swallow. Burk describes the impetus for this recording, which at times recalls the harmonic language of folk songs and melodies, as a “reawakening to the wonder of nature”. The rivers and lakes of his native Michigan were the playgrounds of his youth. This powerful union to the natural world, reawakened following a trip to Sequoia National Park to which the closing song of the recording, “Sequoia Song” is dedicated. “As A River” demonstrates Burk’s sophisticated touch, original pianistic conception and intimate flowing improvisations'. (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to As A River : Listen to The Union : Listen to Sequoia Song : Greg Burk's website :

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Frisell / Thomas Morgan - Epistrophy
(ECM Records) - Released: 12th April 2019

Bill Frisell (guitar); Thomas Morgan (acoustic bass)

Bill Frisell Thomas Morgan Epistrophy

 

'Epistrophy marks another beautiful encounter between guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan. The follow up to Small Town boasts a formidable repertoire captured live at The Village Vanguard in March 2016, having Jerome Kern’s “All is Fun” opening it in a marvelously relaxed atmosphere. Frisell’s fascinating melodicism is knee-deep in rhythmic ideas, and Morgan, who lightly swings for a while, assures not only a superior foundation but also constructs it in an interactive way. In addition to the aforementioned opener, it was the bassist who suggested The Drifters’ “Save The Last Dance For Me”, an R&B hit from the early 60s that comes affiliated to “Wildwood Flower”, the folk song that serves it as an intro. On many occasions, Morgan communicates with Frisell by responding to his thoughtful guitar work. It’s not uncommon to hear exquisite guitar harmonics adorning the tunes and Billy Strayhorn’s sweet ballad “Lush Life” doesn’t let me lie. Another example is Monk’s “Pannonica”, which also does a great job in highlighting the instrumentalists’ soulful lyricism and sharp tonalities. It’s a joy to experience all these magnetic chords brimming with delicious extensions.Since only top-notch musicians have the ability to make knotty passages sound simple, don’t be surprised if the rendition of Paul Motian’s whimsical “Mumbo Jumbo” surfaces natural and uncomplicated. The rubato approach invites us to freer, non-linear flights and the song is given a totally different perspective after the infusion of tasteful machine-like effects inflicted by Frisell’s sound-altering pedal ..... The title track is another Monk classic whose telepathic and freewheeling interpretation includes melodic fragmentation, blues sparkle, and swinging flair. Frisell’s comping is smart and fun, and the original melody only shows up at the end in all its clarity ..... Owners of an immeasurable musicality, Frisell and Morgan embark on impeccable narrations of well-known gems, in a clear demonstration of their interactive dexterity. It’s mind-boggling how they put such a fresh spin in so many familiar songs, and all we want to do is play them over and over’ (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning : Video of Epistrophy played live :

 

 

 

 

 

Linda May Han Oh - Aventurine
(Biophilia Records) - Released: 17th May 2019

Linda May Han Oh (acoustic and electric bass); Greg Ward (alto and soprano saxophones); Matt Mitchell (piano); Ches Smith (drums, vibraphone); Fung Chern Hwei (violin); Sara Caswell (violin); Bennie Von Gutzeit (viola); Jeremy Harman (cello) + Invenio vocal ensemble.

Linda May Han Oh Aventurine

 

'The prodigiously gifted bass player Linda May Ahn Oh proposes a warm, often quietly expressive set of music on her newest outing, Aventurine, a personal music essay in which some of the pieces took several years to reach the desired state of maturation. Flanked by collaborators such as top-tier pianist Matt Mitchell, imaginative drummer/percussionist Ches Smith, and outgoing saxophonist Greg Ward, Ms. Oh also employs a dutiful string quartet and the Melbourne-based vocal ensemble Invenio on selected numbers ...... Rest Your Weary Head ... divided into two distinct tracks. The first of them brings a dreamy, lullaby-ish feel in the voices and texture, while the second initiates with a spacey, serene interaction between soprano sax and bass that becomes vivacious around the time that the pianist brings a sort of Latin motif into the game. ... “Lilac Chaser” got its title from the visual illusion of the same name and was musically inspired by the work of pianist Andrew Hill with strings. The thick, round sound of the electric bass initially concentrates in a pedal, eventually breaking down to incorporate a groovy motion. ..... The bandleader’s roots are celebrated on fascinating musical hybrids such as the layered “Song Yue Rao” and the scrupulous “Seepsea Dancers”, both drawn from listenings of shuochang, a traditional Chinese genre of storytelling. More restrained in tone, the latter composition is dedicated to the bassist’s late former manager Izumi Uchida. Oh’s compositional virtuosity is on display throughout the record, generating layered and risk-taking new music. She manages to propel some classic material to unfamiliar places, like on Charlie Parker’s “Au Privave”, a bebop tune turned into funky experiment enclosing multi-keyed dialogue, and a mournful reading of Bill Evans’ “Time Remembered”, where she delivers a fine bass solo with the strings playing a focal role ....’ (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : UK purchase details : Full JazzTrail Review : Video Introduction : Listen to Kirigami :

 

 

 

 

 

The Art Ensemble Of Chicago - We Are On The Edge
(Pi Recordings) - Released: 26th April 2019 (2 CDs)

Roscoe Mitchell (soprano and alto saxophones, sopranino); Famoudou Don Moye (drums, percussion); Moor Mother (voice, poetry); Rodolfo Cordova-Lebron (voice); Hugh Ragin (trumpet, flugelhorn); Fred Berry (trumpet, flugelhorn); Nicole Mitchell (flutes, piccolo); Christina Wheeler (voice, autoharp, electronics); Jean Cook (violin); Edward Yoon Kwon (viola); Tomeka Reid (cello); Silvia Bolognesi (bass); Jaribu Shahid (bass); Junius Paul (bass); Dudù Kouaté (percussion); Enoch Williamson (percussion); Titos Sompa (vocals, mbira, percussion).

Art Ensemble Of Chicago We Are On The Edge

 

'Comprised of two discs: a meticulous studio session and the capture of a rousing live set at Edgefest in Ann Arbor, MI, 'We are on the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration' is exactly that, a commemoration of a half-century of magical music making. The greatness of The Art Ensemble of Chicago has always been the shared commitment of it's original members - Roscoe Mitchell, Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, Malachi Favors, and Famoudou Don Moye - to the total realm of African diasporic music: what they have long-termed Great Black Music - Ancient to the Future. Also important are the group's disparate musical and artistic personalities, comprised of jazz, advanced compositional techniques, theatrical performance, poetry, Pan-African percussion, all tied together with improvisational flair and the exploration of pure sound (album notes). 'Founded in 1969, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, champions of the Great Black Music, interrupts a studio recording hiatus of 15 years to celebrate their 50th anniversary with a two-disc set (one of them recorded live at Edgefest in Ann Harbor, Michigan). Currently with 18 members, the group appears as a completely new constellation in the creative scene, including valuable additions such as flutist/composer Nicole Mitchell, cellist Tomeka Reid, experimentalist/activist Moor Mother, trumpeter Hugh Ragin, bassists Junius Paul and Jaribu Shahid, among others. The highly anticipated record comprises new material as well as some re-orchestrations of old tunes, having two of its founders at the helm: Roscoe Mitchell and Famoudou Don Moye. It’s dedicated to the original members who already departed: Lester Bowie, Malachi Favors, and Joseph Jarman .......Brimming with cinematic refinement, “We Are On The Edge” boasts the inflammable spoken word by Moore Mother over a relentless vamp of pizzicato bass lines, percussion, and strings. Despite the group's energy and a great attitude, this title doesn’t match the restless Pan-African rhythms and expressionistic textures of “Chi-Congo 50”, an old piece dressed in new clothes. The primitive dance between wild, teetering, trilling flutes and a horde of sprightly horns is invigorating, producing one of those incantatory moments that no one wants to let go. From the minute three on, there’s a circular bass groove and euphoric horn interplay, reinforcing the magic and the singularity of this special ensemble .....Brewing liberating textural ambiances, the new version of The Art Ensemble of Chicago is injected fresh blood and orchestral significance, but keeps its musical roots raw and its principles well intact' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

Europe and Elsewhere

 

Kino Trio - Il Cielo Sopra Berlino
(Babel Label) - Released: 26th April 2019

Bruno Heinen (piano); Michele Tacchi (bass); Riccardo Chiaberta (drums)

Kino Trio Il Cielo Sopra Berlino

 

 

'Bruno Heinen piano, Michele Tacchi bass, Riccardo Chiaberta drums The Italians already know: Kino Trio brings together 3 players well matched in poise. Bruno Heinen's roots in impressionistic classical music are complemented by Michele Tacchi's lyrical fretless sound and the wide dynamic range of Riccardo Chiaberta's sensitive approach to the drums. Musical partners over many years in different combinations, including Bruno and Riccardo in Reem Kelani's group, Kino Trio came together over compositions with a unified written language stemming from the European jazz tradition, and as the band name makes clear, a shared fascination with cinema. The compositions from all members were written with each other in mind, and the album takes its title from Michele Tacchi's composition, inspired by Wim Wenders "Wings of Desire"... released in Italy as Il Cielo Sopra Berlino. Il Cielo Sopra Berlino, released on the Babel label, was developed through Kino Trio touring dates and studio time in Italy. First laid down over 2 days in November 2016 at Artesuono Recording Studio, the Trio returned to Italy to work on the mix, when concert dates have concentrated their minds and their collective whereabouts' (album notes).

Details and Samples : CD : Video Introduction : Listen to Heineniana :

 

 

 

 

Re-Releases

 

Etta Jones - A Soulful Sunday
(Reel to Real) - Released: 18th January 2019

Etta Jones (vocals); Cedar Walton (piano); Sam Jones (bass); Billy Higgins (drums)

Etta Jones A Soulful Sunday

 

 

'Newly-discovered recording of vocalist Etta Jones with the Cedar Walton Trio live in Baltimore, MD in 1972. Recorded in 1972, ''A Soulful Sunday: Live at the Left Bank'' is the first official release of previously-unissued music by vocalist Etta Jones feat. the Cedar Walton Trio with Sam Jones and Billy Higgins. The extensive booklet includes rare photos; essay by author James Gavin; interviews with Jones' longtime musical partner Houston Person, the Left Bank Jazz Society's John Fowler, Grammy-winning vocalist Catherine Russell and more!' (album notes). '..... Walton was playing an engagement at the club whereas Jones was appearing in Chicago and flew in and out on her day off to play the gig. As is usual with Resonance issues, the booklet is worth the money all on its own .... As might be expected, Walton and the trio fit right in with Jones's choices .... for all her experience there is a shouty aspect to these performances, a sense of trying too hard for my taste .... Still, Walton is superb throughout'. (Peter Vacher in Jazzwise ***)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mundell Lowe - Five Classic Albums
(Avid Jazz) - Released: 1st March 2019 [2 CDs]

Mundell Lowe (guitar); with various personnel including Donald Byrd, Clark Terry (trumpet); Jimmy Cleveland, Urbie Green (trombone); Gene Quill (alto sax); Ben Webster, Al Cohn, Oliver Nelson (tenor sax); Tony Scott (bass sax); Billy Taylor, Eddie Costa (piano); Trigger Alpert, George Duvivier (bass); Ed Shaughnessy, Osie Johnson (drums).

Mundell Lowe Five Classic Albums

 

'AVID Jazz continues with its Five Classic Album series with a re-mastered 2CD release from Mundell Lowe, complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details 'Guitar Moods'; 'TV Action Jazz!'; 'Porgy & Bess'; 'A Grand Night For Swinging' and 'Satan In High Heels' Perhaps unsurprisingly for a jazz guitar player, our next musical hero, Mundell Lowe spent much of his career playing in large bands, accompanying solo artists and doing session and TV work. Amazingly he did also find time to produce many fine albums under his own name. His musical career started at age 16 when he found himself performing at the famed Grand Ole Opry. From there he went on to play in the bands and orchestras of Jon Savitt, Benny Goodman and Ray McKinley. His TV session work was complimented by his weekend work on the jazz circuit where he played with the likes of The Dorsey Brothers, Bill Evans, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus as well as both 'Bird' and 'Pres'! He also was a key accompanist to the great jazz singer Carmen McCrae (AMSC1125). Our albums feature Mundell in a number of settings including a film soundtrack, a show tribute, a TV themes set, a more typical Lowe-ish mellow guitar album and unusually a more swinging outing appropriately titled 'A Grand Night For Swinging'. This last album is one of the treasures of the set being a very rare, hard to find album (album notes)'. '..... The results, by and large, are exactly what you'd expect from such a top team, concise and neat, but when all's said and done, at times more than a little, well, over-polished ...... Best of the bunch is his take on Porgy And Bess, which assembles a never-to-be-repeated front line of Art Farmer, Ben Webster and Tony Scott, which, had it not been for the Miles/Gil version, might have got more attention at the time. Worth a punt for that alone. Hugely generous playing time.' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ***).

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George Adams - Sound Suggestions
(ECM Touchstone) - Released: 18th January 2019

Kenny Wheeler (trumpet); Heinz Sauer (tenor sax); George Adams (tenor sax, vocals); Richard Beirach (piano); Dave Holland (bass); Jack De Johnette (drums).

George Adams Sound Suggestions

 

 

'George Adams made only one ECM recording, but it's a beauty, placing his powerful tenor sax at the front of a talent-packed group, with Adams, Kenny Wheeler and Heinz Sauer all contributing compositions to the programme. "The spirit of Mingus hovers watchfully nearby; Adams is an original, though. His solos roil beneath the restraints of bebop structure, then sail wildly through the roof with a committed passion," wrote Chicago Magazine. The tenor exchanges between Adams and Heinz Sauer are exciting, and George also delivers a very spirited vocal on "Got Something Good For You." Recorded in1979' (album notes). 'Not only is this vintage George Adams from a time when his playing was at its most fluent and inventive, but it is an example of Kenny Wheeler at his best as well - both as soloist and composer ....If you only know Adams' work from his Mingus or McCoy Tyner days, this album is a must-have' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ****).

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Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers - 'Live' At The Cafe Bohemia, November 1955
(Acrobat) - Released: 3rd March 2019 [2 CDs]

Art Blakey (drums); Kenny Dorham (trumpet); Hank Mobley (tenor sax); Horace Silver (piano); Doug Watkins (bass).

Art Blakey Live At The Cafe Bohemia album

 

'Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers were a major influential creative force in modern jazz for over three decades, with Blakey actively leading different incarnations of the band through to his death in 1990. They were legendary as representing the archetypal hard bop school of jazz, with a driving blues-flavoured approach. These performances came from early in the development of the Messengers soon after drummer Art Blakey and pianist Horace Silver had formed the group with tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, trumpeter Kenny Dorham and bassist Doug Watkins, and these recordings were the first live performances by this line-up to be recorded and released, and so represent something of a landmark. This set comprises the performances which were subsequently released on the Blue Note label. In addition, by way of a bonus, we also feature three studio tracks which this line-up had recorded at their first session together in November 1954, which were released by Blue Note as The Horace Silver Quintet. Including several extended performances where the full range of the groups skill and style can be fully appreciated, this is a great showcase for one of the most admired ensembles in modern jazz, capturing the modern jazz zeitgeist of those years (album notes). '.... The rhythm section certainly drives things home with genuine force .. but the dream-team front line of Dorham and Mobley sound more gentle and lyrical than legend might allow ...It's tempting to say that these are recordings that have something for jazz fans of all stripes. There. I've said it. Nicely packaged too (Simon Spillett in Jazzwize ****)

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Some Other Pages on this Website:

Jazz As Art : Listen to a track while looking at a range of paintings we have chosen to go with the music.

The Tea Break : A musician or someone in the Jazz world generally takes time out to chat over a cuppa.

Jazz Venues Near You: Venues hosting live jazz in the UK. Please let us know of other venues together with their website addresses, or please also let us know if you discover any of the links on the page don't work.

Jazz Talks : People willing to give talks about Jazz to community groups. The geographical areas covered include Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Norwich.

 

 

 

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