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June 2017

Click for this month's:
Quiz
Jazz Venues


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

 

One night an announcer - let his name be forgotten, Earl says - was given a fatherly talking to by Hines. He'd been drinking too much on the job and Hines was asked to talk to him and he did.

Later that night he opened the show, sprawling on the table and leaning over the mike, lushed to the gills. He said, "Here comes Father Hines through the deep forest with his children." And the tag stuck, becoming the Hines trademark.

Hines and Reginald Forsythe, the British composer, wrote that theme song, "Deep Forest", while the latter was staying with Earl in Chicago ...

 

Earl Hines

Click on the picture to listen to Deep Forest.

 

... One of the legends about Earl Hines that was settled in our hotel-room interview was the story that he had had the webbing between his fingers cut to enable him to make larger chords.That one is strictly a legend and was put out by a pianist who didn't like Earl, he says. "My normal reach is a tenth, though I can make elevenths and sometimes twelfths. But I really have to slip over them. The way I invert chords makes them sound bigger," he says.

Ralph J. Gleason (from Jam Session, An Anthology of Jazz edited by Ralph J. Gleason).

 


Name That Tune!

(Click on the picture for the answers)

 

Name that tune

 

Name that tune

 

Name That Tune

 

 

 

Tomorrow's Warriors Summer Jam - June 3rd

Tomorrow’s Warriors have taken up a week-long residency at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton from 30th May bringing to life some of the incredible music celebrated in the Archive’s current ‘raw and energetic’ Black Sound exhibition that we featured in a recent issue. The residency features a series of workshops for all ages, including a 4-day intensive, and culminates in a massive Summer Jam party on 3rd June at 1 Windrush Square Brixton.

It promises a packed afternoon featuring some of the UK's exciting jazz talent as Tomorrow's Warriors bring to life some of the music in the Black Cultural Archive's exhibition. There's something for all the family and friends from 12.00 with the Tomorrow's Warriors Junior Band through a variety of other bands to the Tomorrow's Warriors House Band at 4.30 pm. Click here for details. If you are free on 3rd June, this could be a great afternoon out.

 

 

 

The Guardian Masterclass on Music and Video Production - June 7th

If there are some of the 100 places available still left (cost £49), this evening masterclass might be of interest.

Jack Patterson and Grace Chatto, aka two-thirds of chart-topping Clean Bandit, recount developing their hit songs and give you the chance to share your music. Jack and Grace will talk about the challenges of structuring a song, no matter what the genre, and share their insight into Clean Banditcatering to different audiences and achieving wider popularity and acclaim. They will also offer tips on music production and video-making software and provide constructive, professional feedback on any shared music.

The 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm event at The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU looks at - Where to find inspiration and how to develop initial ideas; How to structure a song and know what works; Explaining the journey: comparing Clean Bandit audio from demo stages with finished tracks; Brainstorming for video concepts: deciding what it needs to relay; Computer programmes to use for audio and video; How to compel an audience sonically and visually for three and a half minutes

The course is suitable for aspiring creatives looking to get into music/video production. Some prior knowledge of music/video production is recommended. The attendees are encouraged to come with music and/or videos to share with the class on their personal laptop.

Click here for details.

 

 

 

I Was Billie Holiday's Replacement

Annie Ross twisted

 

If you missed the broadcast on BBC Radio 4, you can catch up with the half hour programme on iplayer if you click here.

In the programme, Andrew McGibbon analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers, but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them or did their job for them while no one was looking. Annie Ross was a young singer from Scotland who found herself in a bigger spotlight when she was asked by Duke Ellington to stand in for Billie Holiday at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

She was petrified, but was well received by the audience. From there, Annie developed an intriguing relationship with Billie and as Billie's career nosedived with substance abuse and bad love, Annie's career as a singer took off as she created a new style of singing with her hit record Twisted. This is a moving story of japes and heartbreak from a witness and friend of one of the most significant jazz singers of the 20th Century.

 

 

 

 

Lost London Jazz Venues

Oliver Weindling, British jazz promoter and founder of the Babel jazz record label, has been collating a map of venues in London that have been lost, either because they are no longer physically there or because the music side has vanished. Oliver says: 'I started it in 2010 because of venues like the Vortex, Jazz Cafe, Ronnie Scott's, 606 had moved but still exist today. I add further venues on an ad hoc basis. Venues are constantly are risk. Rising rents, regulation etc. A report from the Mayor of London highlighted that 40% of live music venues have closed since 2008'.

Click here for the map. Please send any other suggestions to oliver@babellabel.co.uk.

 

 

June Monkathon In Birmingham

Birmingham Conservatoire’s Jazz Department is organising a nine-day festival encompassing the entire output of Thelonious Monk's music Thelonious Monkbetween 12th and 20th June to celebrate the centenary of the master jazz musician (he would have turned 100 on 10 October 2017). The event will feature all 70 of Monk's compositions performed at venues across the city by groups, soloists and guest artists from the UK and abroad, including visiting students from universities in Italy and France. Four local schools will get involved as part of an outreach programme.

On its website, the Conservatoire says: 'New York guitarist Steve Cardenas (transcriber of the famous Monk Fake Book, and alumnus of Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra, Paul Motion's Electric Bebop Band, and the John Pattitucci Quartet) teams up with our fantastic jazz musicians for a gig at the Spotted Dog, he will adjudicate the jazz department’s student Arranging Prize, and perform with Hans Koller's group, Thelonious, for a concert at the CBSO centre. Hailing from Paris Conservatoire we welcome Professor François Théberge and a group of his students who will work with UK piano star Liam Noble. Other highlights include a gig by Arnie Somogyi's Jump Monk at the Red Lion, supported by his student project, various outreach activities, and a symposium entitled 'Being Thelonious' featuring a key note presentation by the eminent Monk scholar and biographer Robin Kelley.'

Click here for details and tickets.

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Band Call

This month we challenge you to complete the full names of fifteen bands - to help, we give you the number of letters in the missing parts. Can you identify the bands?

 

Who's This?

 

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

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

The Jazz Ticket

The Jazz TicketThe Jazz Ticket is a schools-based music education project that brings together young musicians from across the UK to work with leading jazz professionals. Aimed at 11 - 18 year old musicians it brings them a chance to work with leading jazz professionals and increase their performance and improvisational skills. The project will be at venues around the country from July to November including Hull Shopping Centre (2 July), Southbank Centre, London (8 July), Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester (13 July), Colston Hall, Bristol (13 October), The Dome, Brighton (14 November) and Hull Truck Theatre (18 November).

The Jazz Ticket, produced by Tomorrow's Warriors, has been organised in association with Turner Sims and Southampton Music Hub and gives young musicians the opportunity to explore the rich and inspiring history of the genre and features six pioneering artists born 100 years ago (Tadd Dameron, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Buddy Rich and Mongo Santamaria). The premiere of The Jazz Ticket took place at Turner Sims Southampton on 16 March 2017, and in all, 54 schools from Southampton, London, Luton, Leicestershire, Manchester, Gateshead, Brighton, Bristol and Hull will participate in throughout 2017 involving almost 600 young people in what will be the first project of its kind – 'connecting regions and crossing generations in celebration of an art form that continues to inspire and hold relevance for contemporary audiences and new musicians'.

Click here for more details.

 

 

 

3rd Millenium Guitar: An Introduction to Perfect 4th Tuning Ant Law book

 

Although this book has been around for a while, I don't think we have ever mentioned it in What's New.

Guitarist Ant Law's book encourages guitar players to tune all their strings to the fifth fret, accelerating the learning process. Tune your top two strings up a semitone and simplify the guitar. So if you get lost on certain parts of the neck; get stuck into the same old patterns and licks this might help. Sometimes it is really difficult to remember which notes are on which string on which frets. If you tune in perfect fourths then everything will make perfect sense. There are no different fingerings for chords on different string groups. 'Join the new generation of guitar players tuning all their strings to the fifth fret.'

The book is available as an ebook and the entire contents can be previewed if you click here. jazzviews.net carried an interview with Ant Law about the book in 2015 (click here).

Click here for a video of Ant Law's Art Of Rhythm (with Asaf Sirkis, drums, and Matt Ridley, bass) playing John Coltrane's Satellite in 2016.

 

 

 

 

Essentially Ellington In New York

Every year, Jazz at Lincoln Center hosts the equivalent of “Woodstock” for high school jazz bands, it is called 'Essentially Ellington'. The event is Newark Academy banda 'band only' occasion with no audience tickets but Jazz at Lincoln Center video streams the entire three day programme live and later posts videos to YouTube. This year, for the first time, a band from Cuba participated. Directed by Camilo Moreira they did not reach the finals but some of its members were recognized for individual excellence - Jorge Sergio Ramirez (baritone saxophone), David Armando Navarro (trumpet) and Luis Miguel Sanchez (tenor saxophone). The band’s trumpet section was also recognized.

The Cuban band video is not yet on YouTube, but click here for a video of the Newark Academy playing Jack The Bear (there are other band videos from the event gradually being added to YouTube). There is also a really interesting video introduction and Question and Answer session with Wynton Marsalis that is worth spending time with (1 hour 21 minutes) click here. The sound is faint at the beginning but corrects itself.

 

 


Help With Musical Definitions No 36.

Lobster Quadrille

Quadrille

Strange dance where participants get thrown out to sea with lobsters.

[Click on the picture above for the words. Click here for Alexander Muravyev's bass solo]

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

 

 

 

Camden Jazz Initiative

London’s Camden Borough has launched a new 18-month programme, funded by Arts Council England to encourage aspiring jazz musicians, particularly young women. The project was officially launched by Camden Youth Jazz Band, the borough’s award-winning big band, and the New Camden Jazz Ensemble who played alongside other Camden youth groups at St Luke’s Church, in east London, on 2 April. In May, a session at the Roundhouse was hosted by all-female collective Nerija (who were nominated for Breakthrough Act at last year’s Jazz FM Camden Youth Jazz BandAwards).

In the coming weeks, there will be more activities and singing workshops, plus a free concert and picnic on Sunday 2nd July in the grounds of Lauderdale House, Waterlow Park, with music from the participants led by Jazz FM’s Instrumentalist of the Year 2017 – Nikki Yeoh. 

'Jazz Connect' brings together all the members of the borough’s partnership body - Camden Music Hub, which includes the Council’s highly-regarded Camden Music Service, The North London Music Academy, The Roundhouse, WAC Arts, Young Music Makers and local schools. Camden says: 'There is a wealth of talented young musicians who live or go to school and college in the borough, several of whom have already gone on to become world famous. Former members of the Camden Youth Jazz Band include trumpeter Mark Crown, of English drum and bass act Rudimental, who are previous Brit Award and Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Award winners, as well as multiple platinum award winners for sales of their music in several countries. Jazz Connect will help nurture the next generation of world-leading musicians and singers'.

Click here for more details and other events. Click here for a video of the Camden Youth Jazz Band playing The Sun Will Shine Today.

 

 

 

Jazz As Art

'Ebb And Flow' from the album 'Metta'
by the Matt Ridley Quartet

 

 

When you listen to music, you sometimes conjure images in your mind. Our Jazz As Art series invites you to listen to a piece of jazz and as it plays, scroll down the page and see which of the pieces of art I have chosen comes closest to the pictures in your mind. Hopefully, this will introduce you to recordings and art works you might not have spent time with before.

 

Matt Ridley Metta

 

This month the music, Ebb And Flow, comes from the Matt Ridley Quartet and their 2014 album Metta. The Quartet are Matt Ridley (​d​ouble ​b​ass), Jason Yarde (​s​oprano ​s​axophone), John Turville (​p​iano), George Hart (​d​rums) - and there are five pictures I have chosen to go with the music. See what you think.

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

 

Li Keran Waterfall

 

 

 

LUME Festival - 24th - 25th June

As we dig into the Festival season, don't forget this improvised music event developed by Cath Roberts and Dee Byrne and back for its second year. Held over the 24th and 25th June at IKLECTIK, 20 Carlisle Lane, London SE1 7LG (Tube: Lambeth North/Waterloo) it follows on from the success of last year’s inaugural festival, this year’s event will be a two-dayer, with a programme of high quality new improvised and original music featuring artists from across the UK and Europe.

Last year, Thomas Rees wrote in Jazzwise magazine: ‘Like all the best family get togethers LUME Festival should be an annual event. This debut was outstanding.’ Tickets are available from: luminouslabel.bandcamp.com/merch. [Luminous, an offshoot of LUME, is a tiny DIY record label also run by Cath Roberts and Dee Byrne featuring improv, free jazz, electronics, new compositions]. See Steve Day's review of Sloth Racket's album Shapeshifters below]. Click here for the full lineup for the Festival.

LUME Festival

 

 

 

Video Juke Box

Click on the Picture for the Video

 

 

 

Benet McLean Violin Trio Moanin

 

Benet McLean Violin Trio - Moanin'. A few months ago we shared a video of Benet's piano trio playing Bobby Timmons' Moanin' but this is a new one recorded at London's Preservation Room with Benet on violin, Dan Casimir, bass, and Sam Gardner, drums.

 

 

 

 

Christine Tobin Ritual

 

Christine Tobin - Ritual. Even though Christine is now in America, it is nice to know that she is still sharing music like this. Here she is with Phil Robson (guitar) and Mark Lewandowski (double bass) singing her own composition, Ritual, in Queens, New York City, in March.

 

 

 

 

Ken Burns Gumbo

 

Ken Burns Jazz Documentaries - 1: Gumbo. Historically, Ken Burns' work to document jazz is immensely valuable. Some of his documentaries are now available on YouTube. This one, running for almost an hour and a half and published on YouTube in March has some great footage and is well worth the time spent watching it.

 

 

 

 

Mel Henry New Orleans video

 

How does a trombone player celebrate their 80th birthday? Mel Henry celebrated his in New Orleans. Mel says: 'Had a fantastic time - sat in (on a rented horn ) at seven venues. The highlight was doing a " Happy Birthday " duet with Delfeayo Marsalis'. The event has been captured in this video. If you can play Bourbon Street Parade you know where to go for your 80th (do they supply the person recording the music on their mobile phone in the video?). Mel plays at Piattino's in Bath every other week.

 

 

 

Verneri Pohjola Pekka

 

Finnish trumpeter/composer Verneri Pohjola releases his album Pekka on 2nd June on the Edition label. Pekka reinterprets the music of Verneri’s late father Pekka Pohjola, the internationally acclaimed and revered prog-rock bassist and composer. In 2008, aged 56, Pekka Pohjola passed away leaving behind an extensive catalogue of music and a dedicated international fanbase. There has been huge anticipation from fans and media, particularly in Finland, that Verneri would perform his father’s music. Click here for more details and to sample the album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Kellock with Fionna Duncan - June 25th

Tron Theatre, Glasgow - Makar Jazz Sunday June 25 at 2pm

 

Fionna Duncan



Fresh from a successful tour celebrating Ella & Oscar with Tina May, the world class pianist Brian Kellock invites the grande dame of vocal jazz, Fionna Duncan to present bruised and bluesy gems from the Great American Songbook and beyond, swung and sung with spontaneous exuberance.

 

 

 

Tracks Unwrapped
Rose Room


 

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

 

Click here for a video of clarinettist Albert Nicholas and his band swinging Rose Room (I do not have details of the band members).

 

I want to take you to a little room
A little room where all the roses bloom
I want to lead you into Nature's hall
Where ev'ry year the roses give a ball
They have an orchestra up in the trees
For their musicians are the birds and bees
And they will sing us a song
As we are strolling along

 

Rose Room was written by West Coast drummer, pianist and bandleader Art Hickman and composer, lyricist and publisher Harry Williams as far back as 1917 (it was Williams who wrote In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree). The number is named after the Rose Room of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco where Art Hickman was playing at the time. Two years later, Columbia took the band to New York for a recording session that included Rose Room - the recording became a best-seller for the record label and the band the following year. You can listen to the recording on an old 78 rpm record here.

St Francis Hotel

 

The St Francis Hotel in 1904

 

The St. Francis Hotel is located on Powell and Geary Streets in San Francisco. It was built in the early 1900s from the estate of Charles Crocker, a railroad magnate, as an investment for his children. Originally it was to be called The Crocker Hotel, but was finally named after one of the San Francisco Gold Rush hotels. The hotel opened in 1904 and went on to host many celebreties including Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

By the 1920s, it became a favourite place for film stars - Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford .... and a young Art Hickman led the orchestra in the Rose Room where he played music similar to that of Paul Whiteman. Art subsequently moved on to New York and the Biltmore Hotel and the roof garden of the New Amsterdam Theatre.

 

Art Hickman and his Orchestra

Click here to listen to one of the better sound reproductions of Art Hickman's Orchestra playing Whispering from 1920. The YouTube entry gives much more information about Art including the information that: 'His orchestra is also credited, perhaps dubiously, with being among the first jazz bands. One who disputed this notion was Hickman himself. At first he even disputed that "jazz" was music at all, alternatively calling it a kind of bubbling water or just noise.'

One of the visiting celebrities to the hotel was film comedian Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle. In 1921, Arbuckle and friends were staying at the St Francis and held a party for people from the Hollywood scene. Apparently, during that afternoon, Arbuckle called the house doctor to see a young actress, Virginia Rappe who had been taken sick. A day or two later, the young woman died. Another woman, a friend of the actress, who had also been at the party, claimed that Arbuckle had assaulted and raped the actress and the Charlie Chaplin and Fatty Arbucklestory hit the headlines. Later, the woman's testimony was considered to be unreliable as she had a lengthy record of extortion. Nevertheless, Arbuckle was brought to trial in 1921. After two trials where the juries were unable to reach a verdict, Arbuckle was finally aquitted after a third hearing ... but his career was ruined. Click here for an interesting video documentary about Fatty Arbuckle and his story introduced by Paul Merton.

 

Charlie Chaplin and Fatty Arbuckle

 

The first recording of Rose Room was actually recorded by Joseph C. Smith's orchestra a year before Art Hickman's recording, since then it has become a jazz standard. Duke Ellington recorded it in 1932 and used the chord changes as a basis for his composition In A Mellotone.

The first recording with the lyrics appeared in 1928 on Columbia by the Garden Dancing Palace Orchestra - apparently collectors and historians feel this was a psuedonym for a Seattle-based group led by trombonist Jackie Souders. Souder’s orchestra was a popular Northwest group with a residency in the mid-1920s at Seattle’s Olympic Hotel, and Bing Crosby and Al Rinker both worked with the band before joining Paul Whiteman where with Harry Barris they became The Rhythm Boys. Click here to listen to the Garden Dancing Palace Orchestra playing Rose Room in 1928 - the vocalist here is possibly Walton McKinney.

 

When Ellington recorded the tune, it also gained a subtitle 'Rose Room - In Sunny Roseland' and the number can be found under both titles. Click here for the Ellington Orchestra playing the tune in 1932.

There is a story that in 1939, guitarist Charlie Christian came Charlie Christianon to the bandstand one night where the Benny Goodman Quartet was playing and jammed Rose Room for 45 minutes of solo after solo. Goodman was impressed - Charlie Christian was hired.

Click here to listen to Charlie Christian soloing on Rose Room with the Benny Goodman Sextet in 1939 with Benny Goodman (clarinet), Charlie Christian (guitar), Fletcher Henderson (piano), Lionel Hampton (vibraphone), Artie Bernstein (bass) and Nick Fatool (drums).

Charlie Christian

 

The website jazzstandards.com says that: “Rose Room” was an unusual tune for its time when ragtime’s popularity was fading in favor of the 32-bar song and the 12-bar blues. Composer Alec Wilder, in his book American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950, calls it “a good, loose, natural song, definitely ahead of its time.” Wilder’s assessment is spot-on, as the tune’s heyday was during the swing era when the open melody and moving chord changes found favor with arrangers and improvisers alike.'

The website also says: 'Vocal recordings of “Rose Room” are few and far between, with good reason. The lyrics are very flowery, almost an early 20th century period piece. No doubt the lyrics were tacked on by a worrisome publisher knowing that instrumental sheet music sold less than songs. The title is never even mentioned in the tune, and the lyrics’ sole purpose is to relate how wonderful it is to be in “sunny roseland,” where flowers sway and breezes blow.'

 

In sunny Roseland, where summer breezes are playing
Where the honey bees are 'A-Maying'
There all the roses are swaying
Dancing while the meadow brook flows
The moon when shining is more than ever designing
For 'tis ever that I am pining
Pining to be sweetly reclining
Somewhere in Roseland
Beside a beautiful rose.

 

The tune has been taken up by big bands and many times by 'Gypsy Jazz' bands following a great recording by Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli (click here).

In the 1950s, Phil Harris and Alice Faye used Rose Room as their theme tune for their radio show. The broadcast started with the tune Sunday followed by an ad before the theme tune and the half hour comedy show started. Here's one of their episodes 'Julius Is Missing' with an introductory ad for a 17" RCA television! (click here). Phil Harris was actually given the birth name of Wonga Philip Harris, the son of two circus performers. He was a drummer and orchestra leader, although today many people remember him as the voice of Baloo in the 1967 Jungle Book movie, Thomas O'Malley in The Aristocats and Little John in Disney's animation of Robin Hood. He married actress Alice Faye in 1941. He is seen as a pioneer in radio situation comedy, first with Jack Benny and then with his show with Alice.

Click here for a movie clip from 1947 with Phil Harris and his Orchestra playing and singing That's What I Like About The South.

Compass Rose Tea Room

 

There is video of a live concert with clarinettist John Crocker's band playing Rose Room in 1982 with Johnny McCallum (guitar), Vic Pitt (bass) and Norman Emberson (drums) - click here

 

The Westin St. Francis Hotel is still there in San Francisco with rooms from $199 dollars a night (click here). There is now a 'Colonial Ballroom' for dancing, and the nearest reference to Rose Room is their tea room - the Compass Rose Tea Room (left).

 

In a month when there are elections in the UK, Wikipedia tells an interesting anecdote about the St Francis Hotel: 'Part of the fame of the St. Francis was because of its legendary chef, Victor Hirtzler. Hirtzler learned to cook in Strasbourg, France, and then cooked for royal courts across Europe. According to Hirtzler, he had created a dish for King Carlos I of Portugal, called La Mousse Faisan Lucullus, a mousse of Bavarian pheasant's breast and woodcock flavored with truffles, with a sauce of cognac, Madeira and champagne. The dish was so expensive, and the King ate it so frequently, that he bankrupted Portugal twice and was assassinated in 1908, followed by the downfall of Portuguese monarchy in 1910. Victor moved to New York, became the Chef of the Waldorf Hotel, and then was persuaded by the manager of the St. Francis, James Woods, to move to San Francisco.'

'In 1916, Hirtzler again cooked a dish which had political consequences. The Crocker family were fervent Republicans, and they hosted a dinner at the hotel for Charles Evans Hughes, the Republican candidate for President of the United States, who was locked in a close race with incumbent Woodrow Wilson. Twenty minutes before the banquet began, the waiters, who were members of the culinary workers union, went on strike. Hughes wondered if the banquet should be canceled, but Hirtzler insisted upon it going ahead, and served the meal himself. When the Union learned that Hughes had crossed a picket line and eaten the dinner, they distributed thousands of leaflets denouncing him as anti-union. On election night, Hughes went to bed believing he had won the election. The next morning he awoke and learned that he had lost California by only 3,673 votes, and by losing California had lost the election to Wilson. The margin of his defeat was less than the turnout of union voters in San Francisco. By saving the dinner, Hirtzler had lost the election for Hughes.'

We end this unwrapping with a rather scratchy video of Earle Warren and Barry Emmett playing Rose Room in 1961. It has Sir Charles Thompson on piano, Gene Ramey on bass and Oliver Jackson is the drummer - click here.

 

For 'tis ever that I am pining
Pining to be sweetly reclining
Somewhere in Roseland
Beside a beautiful rose.

 

 

 

Claire Martin and Ian Shaw - Divas At The Palace - 29th June

Well, to be exact, The Other Palace, just down the road from Buckingham Palace at 2 Palace Street, London, SW1E 5JA. I'm not sure whether Claire and Ian would see themselves as 'Divas', but they are two of the UK's top jazz vocalists and this should be a special evening with the two of them together. The 'Jazz Divas' title comes from a series of shows that has been running in London with Barb Jungr having performed in May. Ian Shaw and Claire MartinClaire Martin (O.B.E.) and Ian have a string of memorable recordings to their names.

The Other Palace is an interesting venue. In 1766 it began life as the Charlotte Chapel. By 1924 the chapel had fallen into disrepair and was converted into a cinema called the St. James' Picture Theatre. In 1931 it reopened as the Westminster Theatre, with the chapel's crypt becoming dressing rooms, green room and stalls bar. The theatre fell dark in 1990 and after a long campaign to save it from demolition, it was destroyed by a fire in 2002.

 

Ian Shaw and Claire Martin

The Other Palace

Following the loss of the theatre, the Theatres Trust and Save London's Theatres campaign fought continuously to reinstate a theatre on site. In 2009 Westminster council granted planning permission for a theatre to be built.

In 2012 the current theatre opened as St. James Theatre, featuring a 312-seat main theatre and a 120-seat studio theatre where Claire and Ian's show takes place. St. James Theatre was acquired by Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatres Group in 2016. After closing its doors in January 2017 for refurbishment, the theatre reopened in February this year as 'The Other Palace'.

Click here for a video of Ian and Claire back in 2009 singing Stevie Wonder's Knocks Me Off My Feet.

Click here for The Other Palace website where you can book for the show taking place on Thursday, 29th June..

 

 

 

 

Do You Have A Birthday In June?

 


Your Horoscope

for June Birthdays

by 'Marable'

 

Gemini

Gemini (The Twins)

21st May - 20th June

 

Last month I mentioned that Mars would spend the month in your sign and that the Sun would enter Gemini and the positive period this brought should last until the 21st June. Then, it is not all over, Mars enters your money house on the 4th and the Sun and Mercury enter it on the 21st, so finances should be a strong focus for the coming month. The New Moon on the 24th suggests a particularly positive day for financial matters.

You tend to feel confident with things this month and this communicates itself to others, if you use this wisely you can accomplish much.

Mercury, the ruler of your horoscope goes 'out of bounds' from the 18th onwards signalling that you are moving outside your normal routine - this also suggests that it is a good time to 'think outside the box'. Allow yourself space to let other ideas come in and to try them out.

For you this month click here for a video of the Chris Barber band in Copenhagen in 1993 playing the suitably, contradictably jolly Money Blues (John Crocker is on alto sax).

 

 

Cancer

Cancer (The Crab)

21st June - 20th July

 

Cancerians tend to be about feelings. For them, logic is not always enough, things have to 'feel right' too. Cancerians can also be shy, up can go their defences if they are with people they don't know, but if they feel right about you, the defences can come down and you can end up with a good, reliable friend.

Last month was a spiritual month for Cancerians and so is the month ahead, but you must take responsibility for your happiness, you can't leave that to others. As with Geminis, Mercury in your sign will be 'out of bounds' at times, time to think 'outside the box'; if you cannot find your answers near to home, look wider, and don't ignore ideas that might at first seem foreign or strange to you.

On the 4th, Mars, your career planet, enters your 1st house and when you feel on top of things, it is a good idea to give real consideration to career opportunities that come your way. 'Out of the box' thinking applies here as well - people outside your usual sphere can become important to your career too.

For you, click here for a video of Liane Carroll and Ian Shaw with Carole King's You've Got A Friend.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Sergeant Pepper

Django Bates Saluting Sgt Pepper

 

 

On the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Django Bates is releasing his album Saluting Sgt. Pepper on Edition Records in July with performances at Ronnie Scott's Club from September, 4th - 9th, (with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band) and then in Scandanavia in October.

Django Bates says: 'My meeting with Sergeant Pepper came when I bought the album for my elder sister’s eighteenth birthday. An excellent gift. Through the closed door of her bedroom I would catch sonic glimpses… What a wealth of sounds, genres, effects, surprises, very generously scattered with words of madness and sanity'.

Click here for a taste.

 

 

 

 

 

Tea Break

 

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

 

Nick-Costley White

 

Nick Costley-White

 

Click here for a video of Nick playing Billy Strayhorn / Duke Ellington's Isfahan at The Vortex in 2015
with Calum Gourlay (bass) and Dave Hamblett (drums).

 

Guitarist Nick Costley-White graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2011 with a first class Honours degree, the highest mark in his year and was awarded the Yamaha Scholarship for Outstanding Jazz Musicians.

Since then he has been a part of several UK tours and performances across Europe, Australia and South America with world renowned jazz musicians such as Gareth Lockrane, Stan Sulzmann, Jeff Williams and composer John Warren (ECM). At various times he has played The Dixie Ticklersprofessionally with some of the UK's finest musicians including Martin Speake, Tom Challenger, Paul Clarvis, Tim Giles, Ivo Neame, Tommy Andrews, Jon Scott, Dave Hamblet and Josh Arcoleo.

Nick has performed on several live broadcasts including Radio 3's "In Tune" with the Martin Speake Trio and Radio London with the Dixie Ticklers. This range of bands illustrates the variety of Nick's playing from contemporary jazz to the vintage New Orleans music of the Dixie Ticklers, on whose 2011 release Standing Pat Nick is featured. The band has since toured extensively internationally and continues to gig regularly in London. www.dixieticklers.com

 

The Dixie Ticklers.

 

 

Click here for the Dixie Ticklers with Nick on guitar playing New Orleans Bump at The Jazz Nursery during the 2014 EFG London Jazz Festival.

 

As well as leading his own Quartet and teaching, Nick has been a part of many successful musical projects as a contributing musician. He is featured on 8 studio albums, including A New Start by UK sax veteran Pete Hurt, (2nd place in the 2016 Jazz awards New Release category) and Fini Bearman’s Burn the Boat (2nd in JazzWise “Best Albums of 2016”). He will be releasing his debut album as a leader in 2018 and he tells us about the recent recording sessions.

Since coming together in 2013, the Nick Costley-White Quartet has performed all over the UK and includes highly respected musicians who will be found playing with many other of the UK's top bands. Matt Robinson is the pianist, Conor Chaplin the bassist and Dave Hamblett is featured on drums. Recent performance highlights include a sellout performance at the 2015 London Jazz Festival which was reviewed for Jazzwise magazine who said: “Guitarist, Nick Costley-White has a flair for melody and he crafted some beautiful lines”.

 

Click here for a video with Nick playing a brief solo version of the Standard Tea For Two (even though he chooses coffee for our Tea Break).

 

Hi  Nick, tea or coffee?

Coffee please.

Milk and sugar?

Neither  

 

So, you’ve got a debut album in the pipeline. How’s that going? Who else is on it and what can we expect? Has it got a title yet?

It's gone really well so far, we did two days at Eastcote studios a few weeks ago and it was a really fantastic experience. I'd never led a session before and this was also by far the most improvising I'd done in a studio context compared to my other work as a sideman. This was Nick Costley-White and Conor Chaplin all a great learning experience and I'm really excited about how the album will come out.

The record features my long standing quartet of Matt Robinson on piano, Conor Chaplin on double bass and Dave Hamblett on drums. We've played together a huge amount both in my group and in several other bands. They're all exceptional players who were on absolutely peak form for these two days of recording. There are also a couple of tunes with Sam Rapley on bass clarinet, another fantastic musician I was really excited to have onboard.

 

Hob Nob, Custard Cream, Garibaldi or digestive biscuit?

Chocolate digestive please.

 

How are the Quartet gigs going, you played the Vortex in March and other gigs in April, how did they go. What else is coming up?

The Vortex was a lot of fun, and we also had a brilliant time playing recently at the Con Cellar Bar in Camden. The Con is definitely a second Vortex gighome for a lot of musicians of my generation, we did our first gig as a quartet there almost three years ago and I'm really pleased the nights there are continuing to be such a success. It's an integral part of the scene we should all support!

 

Click here for a video of the Quartet playing Swing State Wig Wam at the RamJam Club in Kingston earlier this year.

 

 

 

 

Have you gigs lined up with other bands?

I'm really excited to be doing the first gig with Mike Chillingworth's new quartet at the Con on the 9th June. Mike is an unbelievable saxophonist and improviser and I've always had great admiration for his playing and writing. The quartet is completed by James Maddren on drums and Calum Gourlay on double bass. All three of these guys are musicians I was dreaming about playing with when I started at music college.

 

If you could sit in with a Quartet of past, now departed musicians, who would you choose?

Miles Davis rhythm section from the '60s with Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Ron Carter. This band is probably my favourite within jazz and it's music that I've come back to over and over again. The spontaneity and interaction of this group is one of the most joyous things in jazz, and most of all it swings so beautifully. The Quintet featured several saxophonists, most notably Wayne Shorter and George Coleman, but my personal favourite is the very short lived line up with Sam Rivers, which is captured on Live in Tokyo.

 

What number would you get them to play?

If I Were a Bell, or All of Me. Anything where they did the open turnaround at the end of each solo and Herbie and Ron just get to expand more and more on the harmony whilst Tony just loses his s##t in the background.

 

Click here to listen to If I Were A Bell from the 1964 Miles In Tokyo album with Miles Davis (trumpet), Sam Rivers (tenor saxophone), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (double bass), Tony Williams (drums).

 

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

Well I'm sure any guys on the London scene you'll be interviewing soon enough (I'd recommend listening to Miguel Gorodi's Nonet and Sam Braysher's duo album with Michael Kanan). Outside of that I've enjoyed Lucas Pino's "No Net" nonet and Luigi Grasso's album Ca Marche featuring his virtusosic, Bud Powell inspired brother, Pasquale on guitar.

 

Click here for a video of Lucas Pino's "No Net" Nonet playing I Can't Remember When I Didn't Love You live at Smalls in Greenwich Village in February 2016.

Click here for a video of Pasquale Grasso playing Body And Soul with Yvonnick Prene on chromatic harmonica from the 2015 album Pasquale Grasso guitar Merci Toots.

 

Another biscuit?

All set thanks

 

Click here for a video of Nick Costley-White duetting with pianist Matt Robinson on Nick's composition Dumbo at The Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston, London in 2014.

 

Nick Costley-White

Click here for Nick's website.

 

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

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Remembered

Jessica Williams

 

 

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

 

Jessica Williams

 

Eric Jackson suggests we spend time with jazz pianist Jessica Williams. Eric says: ' It is time the profile of pianist Jessica Williams was raised as it seems to be slipping away with puzzled expressions or vague recollections when her name is mentioned. Where people do remember her, the recollection probably comes from a DVD where she appears with Bobby Hutcherson at a Harvest Jazz Festival, or from her work in the '70s and '80s with musicians such as Eddie Henderson and Charlie Rowse'.

Click here for a video of Jessica playing My One And Only Love.

Jessica Williams was born in 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland. She began playing piano when she was four and was performing by her teens. Although she studied classical music, by her early thirties she had played with Philly Joe Jones and after moving to San Franciso was playing in house bands for Eddie Harris, Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz.

Click here for a video of Jessica playing her composition I Remember Dexter.

Eric continues: 'In about 1993, she moved to Portland on the Pacific coast and continued playing both with her trio and as a solo pinaist. There are two superb CDs entitled Encounters 1 and 2 on Jazz Focus recorded at a club session in 1994 with backing from Leroy Vinnegar where the music could scarcely swing any more. Her music is always swinging, fun and accessible with glimpses of Brubeck, Monk, Tatum, Garner and stride, but is always recognisably hers, with a wide palette of tempos, emphasis, allusions and frequent use of the highest notes. But the music is never retro, just marinaded in the work of the masters.'

'It is difficult to put in print a musical experience but in my case it is akin to listening to musicians who can be audacious, wry and even Jessica Williamsunnerving, but then whose music ultimately resolves itself. From a reading of her sleeve notes it is apparent that her heroes are Monk and Coltrane and about the latter she has written: " ... his words light my path and his playing lifts my spirits and cleanses my soul."

Click here to listen to Jessica playing Theolonius Monk's Three Chimneys from her Trio album Jazz In The Afternoon.

'Jessica's last visit to the UK was an appearance at the Brecon Jazz Festival where she gave a superb ninety minute recital in the knowledge that it was being filmed by BBC Wales. She was bitterly disappointed when only a fifteen minute segment was shown and her attempts to get the material for her own use were unsuccessful'.

Click here for a video with Jessica playing and discussing her music with Julian Joseph at Brecon.

'At the time of this appearance she was already troubled by back problems that resulted from her posture when playing. This had to be tackled and as a result she underwent major surgery in 2012 in an effort to continue playing and earn a living. The medical procedures were long and complicated and had to be paid for by the sale of her precious Yamaha piano. Jessica tells how she had to have: 'multi-level back-fusion that required permanent internal rods, pedicle screws, and bone grafts'. This left her with very little money; she is still not playing publicly and is appealing for help to buy another piano'.

In 1997, Jessica began her own record label, Red and Blue Recordings. She also owns a publishing company, JJW Music, and an internet mail order business. Eric wonders whether this has not helped raise her profile due to the commitments of trying to market and produce her own recordings and cut out the middle man'.

Jessica has now also been diagnosed with cancer. In May, on her website, www.jessicawilliams.com, she remains positive, despite being very short of money, talking of the projects she wants to pursue, saying: 'I have projects, enough for a second lifetime! The first one coming is a doozie: It involves a book about MY LIFE so far, a movie, a DVD, merchandising, traveling, performing "live" again, plus much NEW JAZZ MUSIC from me. That's all I can say about my business "deals", besides perhaps my improbable request for Jennifer Lawrence to play me . . . I have decided that the best thing I can do for myself is to do what I do, and be who I am. I love my music, and I will soon release new music and begin performing again. There are many things to do, and I will start slow, but speed alone is not music — soul and passion are. I am not done.'

Jessica Williams has released over 70 albums, has written over 1000 compositions and holds a Fellowship with the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation

Click here to listen to Miles To Go from Jessica's CD Virtual Miles.

Jessica's CD's are available from Amazon etc. but also directly from her through her website.

 

 

 

Jazz Awards

Last month we reported on this year's Jazz FM Awards. This year's Parliamentary Jazz Awards that usually take place in the summer just before Parliament goes into recess are being deferred partly due to the Election and partly due to confirming sponsorship. However, after a gap of four years, the Scottish Jazz Awards are back sponsored by the Glasgow Jazz Festival, Hands Up For Trad, The Brunswick Hotel, Glasgow UNESCO City of Music, ESP Music Rentals, the Musicians' Ynion, Birnam CD, and Susan Rose. The awards ceremony takes place on the closing night of the Glasgow Jazz Festival in the City of Music Studio at the Royal Concert Hall on Sunday 25th June (The Glasgow Jazz Festival runs from 21 to 25 June. Tickets and full programme are available at www.jazzfest.co.uk).

The nominations are:

Fergus McCreadieBest Vocalist Award: Ali Affleck, Carol Kidd, Georgia Smith, Maggie Nicols, Seonaid Aitken.
Best Band/Ensemble Award: Colin Steele Quartet, Fat-Suit, New Focus, Rose Room, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.
Best Instrumentalist Award: Alyn Cosker, Brian Kellock, Konrad Wiszniewski, Martin Taylor, Steve Hamilton.   
Rising Star Award: Alan Benzie, Fergus McCreadie, Fraser Urquhart, Joe Williamson, Sean Gibbs
Best Album Award: Colin Steele Quartet: Even in the Darkest Places, Fat-Suit: Atlas, New Focus: On Song, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: Beauty & The Beast featuring Bill Evans, Square One: In Motion

A Lifetime Achievement Award will also be persented at the ceremony. Previous recipients are Bobby Wellins, Jim Mullen, Tam White and Ronnie Rae.



Across the Pond, America has celebrated the Jazz Journalists Association Annual Jazz Awards where McCoy Tyner was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award. There were 41 categories (we won't include them all here). 13-year-old Joey Alexander was hailed as Up and McCoy TynerComing Musician of the Year, Kenny Barron (73) named Pianist of the Year, the late Bill Evans’ Some Other Time: The Lost Session from the Black Forest (Resonance Records) winning as Historical Recording of the Year, Robert Glasper was acknowledged for his use of electronics, and Vijay Iyer cited for his role in Duo of the Year -- his duet partner being trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, recipient of the Musician of the Year Award.

 

McCoy Tyner

Batter Git It In Your Soul book

Women musicians were prominent in this year’s Awards. Composer-arranger Maria Schneider, guitarist Mary Halvorson, multi-reeds player and clarinet specialist Anat Cohen, baritone saxophonist Claire Daly, soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom, flutist Nicole Mitchell and violinist Regina Carter won their respective categories. René Marie won Female Singer of the Year (Gregory Porter won Male Singer of the Year).
 
Other Awards winners include Composer of the Year, Ted Nash, Trumpeter of the Year, Brian Lynch, who also won the Record of the Year Award for Madera Latino – A Latin Jazz Perspective on the Music of Woody Shaw (Hollistic MusicWorks), and Krin Gabbard whose Better Git It In Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus (University of California Press) won Jazz Book of the Year.

In addition, two pianists won JJA awards for their work in media: Ted Gioia, recipient of the JJA’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism, who played jazz piano, taught and helped set up the jazz program at Stanford University, has composed piano works as well as written ten non-fiction books on jazz and served as editorial director of Jazz.com. Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus and diverse musical collaborations gets the Jazz Blog of the Year Award for Do The Math . You can see all the winners and finalist nominees for the 2017 Jazz Awards at www.JJAJazzAwards.org. The Awards presentation will take place on 6th June in New York City.


 
John Surman

 

Back in the UK, the 62nd Ivor Novello Awards took place on Thursday 18 May 2017 at the Grosvenor House, London. The Ivors celebrate, honour and reward excellence in songwriting and composing. Created by BASCA in 1956, they are named in honour of Ivor Novello, Britain’s most successful and distinguished theatrical composer at the time, and represent the pinnacle of musical achievement and peer recognition in the music industry.  The Ivors have been sponsored by PRS for Music since 1974. In addition to The Ivors Committee each nominated award category, with the exception of PRS for Music Most Performed Work, is judged by separate juries, which are entirely populated by songwriters and composers.

There are a range of categories receiving awards - television and film music, best contemporary song, etc. - but from the Jazz world, saxophonist John Surman won the Ivors Jazz Award. Soul singer Laura Mvula won the Album Award for her album The Dreaming Room. Click here for the list of winners.

 

 

 

 

 

Continental Drift

 

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

 

Han Bennink Trio

Adelante

Han Bennink Trio Adelante

 

Han Bennink - drums
Simon Toldam – piano
Joachim Badenhorst – clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor

 

Dutch drummer Han Bennink, who has just celebrated his 75th birthday has been an unrelenting creative force in jazz and improvised music since the early 60s.   With his long time collaborator Misha Mengelberg, who sadly died in March this year, he founded the Dutch ICP -  Instant Composers Orchestra which appeared recently at London's Vortex and at the Gateshead Jazz Festival.

Bennink has an instantly recognizable sound, brilliant with brushes, often injecting slapstick and absurdist humour into his performances – Han Benninkunsurprising given his early involvement with the Dada and Fluxus art movements.  

Bennink's style wide, running from conventional jazz drumming to highly unconventional free improvisation, for which he often uses whatever found objects happen to be onstage (chairs, music stands, instrument cases), his own body  and the entire performance space - the floor, doors, and walls.  His music too ranges from Ellingtonia to free improvisation.

This is Bennink's first settled trio for a long time. In the past he simply cropped up on albums with Eric Dolphy, Don Cherry, Paul Bley, and Cecil Taylor as well as with the ICP and many, many others.

The music here is a delightful mix moving from the beautiful Misha Mengelberg tune “De Sprong O Romantiek Der Hazen” through to other tracks that are free improvisation.  Toldam and Badenhorst are brilliant musicians in their own right.  Simon Toldam is an award winning Danish pianist with his own trio and orchestra; Joachim Badenhorst comes from a more experimental background and has recently launched his own label for experimental music. Click here for details.

Together they make up a trio that spans a variety of different styles with an appeal across the jazz spectrum.  No clips or videos are available but you can hear two tracks on my latest mixcloud show (click here).

Click here for a video of a drum solo on Han Bennink's 65th birthday.

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

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

 

Howard Alden

Howard Alden

 

Jazz up close and personal. Not easy to take photographs but Brian O'Connor managed to capture some images of this gig by the Howard Alden Quartet in May in the Cellar Room at the Red Lion in Betchworth, Surrey. The Quartet are: Howard Alden (guitar), Shane Hill (guitar), Pete Long (clarinet), Jackie Sampson (vocals, percussion).

Also at the gig was Graham Thomas who writes: 'Howard Alden played a 7-string guitar and was accompanied by Shane Hill on guitar, Jackie SampsonJacqueline Sampson on vocals and percussion, and Pete Long on clarinet. Shane had replaced his lowest 2 strings with bass strings, so that both he and Howard (with his low 7th string) were able to swap 'bass' duties as required.

Howard treated us to a dazzling display of guitar mastery, with virtuosic single-note lines combined with rich chordal textures, counterpoint and bass notes. He also played 3 solo tunes, including Tango el Bongo by George Van Eps, and a magical version of Stardust to finish the set. Shane Hill also took inventive solos, with high-speed runs alternating with chord solos reminiscent of Wes Montgomery at times.

Jackie Sampson

Jackie Sampson provided engaging vocals and well-balanced percussion, while Pete Long played hot, swinging clarinet solos and also some nice counter-melodies during the other solos. All in all a great evening, enhanced by the intimate atmosphere of the cellar room at the Red Lion.'

Howard Alden was born in California in 1958. At ten, he began playing harmonica, four-string tenor guitar and then four-string banjo. Impressed by the music of guitarists such as Charlie Christian and Barney Kessel he taught himself to play six-string guitar going to study jazz guitar at the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood with Herb Ellis and Joe Pass.

In 1979, Howard went to Atlantic City for three months to play in Red Norvo’s Trio but moved to New York City in 1982 to play an extended engagement at the Café Carlyle with pianist Joe Bushkin. With Dan Barrett he created the Alden-Barrett Quintet in 1985 playing the swing style he has adopted for most of his career.

Howard Alden recorded the guitar performances for Sean Penn’s character Emmet Ray in Woody Allen’s 1999 film Sweet And Lowdown, and taught Penn how to mime the performances for the film. Click here for a video clip from the movie. Howard was named Guitar Player of the Year, American Guitar Museum (2003) and was included in Downbeat’s Top 75 Guitarists in 2008.

 

Howard Alden Quartet

Howard Alden (guitar), Shane Hill (guitar), Pete Long (clarinet), Jackie Sampson (vocals, percussion).

 

Click here for a video Howard Alden playing Stardust at the Red Lion gig

 

All pictures © Brian O'Connor, Images Of Jazz

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

 

 

 

 

Photographic Memories

Alex Marshall

 

 

Alex Marshall now leads the popular Ulysses Jasz Band in Santa Barbara, California, but he remembers back to the time when his interest in jazz started with Sandy Brown:

 

Alex Marshall

Alex Marshall

 

Click here for a video introduction to Alex's Ulysses Jasz Band.

 

I have been receiving your sandybrownjazz email blog for some months now.  I enjoy the items you publish. You may be interested in my jazz history as it does involve Sandy, who figured prominently in my jazz enthusiasm.

I was an architectural student at The Edinburgh College of Art.  I think Sandy graduated the year before I enrolled.  At an Art College dance I met Valerie Jordan, who took me to hear the Sandy Brown Band.  Along with Sandy, there was Al Fairweather (trumpet), Bob ‘Bugsy’ Craig (trombone), Norrie Anderson (banjo), Dizzy Jackson (bass) and Stan Greig or Mike Hart (drums). The venues were Condon Club, West End Cafe and some Sundays at The India Buildings as well as Oddfellows Hall, where they held Jazz Band Balls.  Sean, then 'Tam' Connery was Wild Bill Davisonthe bouncer. Valerie and her friend Norma used to jive to the band wherever possible. I eventually became an acquaintance of Sandy's and spent an evening with Flo and him in their London apartment.  I also remember visiting Al Fairweather and his wife at their London home.

I took up guitar and banjo and started playing in the Art College trad band. My rhythm playing was later heard with many classic jazz ensembles in Edinburgh and Glasgow, including Edinburgh’s Charlie McNair Band and Glasgow’s George Penman Band.  I played many times with Sandy’s old sidemen, Bob Craig, Dizzy Jackson and Mike Hart.

I moved to London and was part of the jazz pub scene with The Earbrass & Franks duo, gradually developing into the seven-piece Howden’s Hotshots who, during a continental tour, played for a party at Salvador Dali’s Atelier in Port Lligat, Spain.  I also occasionally subbed in the Alex Welsh Band.  Sandy had passed on by then.

Wild Bill Davison

 

I moved to Santa Barbara, California in 1979, became friends with one of my other jazz heroes, Wild Bill Davison and played some local gigs with him. He had been told to quit whisky or die, so I rehearsed with him every week through the DT’s, for his scheduled gigs all over the world. What Stiff Pickle Orchestrastories I heard about Eddie Condon, Ed Hall, Pee Wee Russell, Bobby Hackett and the rest of the Condon Mob (The club was Mafia owned).

In 1981, I was a founder-member of a Gypsy Jazz band called Hot Club; played for an early jazz quartet - The Chelsea Players, and started a blues quintet called The Stiff Pickle Orchestra.

 

The Stiff Pickle Orchestra

 

Tommy Byrne, who owns a pub called The James Joyce in busy downtown State Street in Santa Barbara wanted to present a ‘Dixieland’ band in his pub, so I put together a Jazz Jam there starting in 1998.  We played for tips. It developed into an organised band and ULYSSES Jasz was born.

We are now in our 19th year playing to packed houses every Saturday night. Our lead trumpet is Curt Sletten (Jimmy Dorsey, Harry James, Aretha Franklin). My tenor and clarinet player, 87 year-old Londoner Bob Efford (star of the Ted Heath Orchestra), knocks out the crowd every Saturday with the energy of a twenty five year old, and we are now featured in the annual Jazz Jubilee by the Sea in Pismo Beach.

Click here for Ulysses Jasz featuring their singer, Hanna Ross, performing Deed I Do in May this year.

All started by Sandy Brown.

 

Ulysses Jasz Band

Ulysses Jasz Band

Alex Marshall

 

 

 

 

Forum

 

Ken Sims

Jon Critchley takes issue with the obituary for Ken Sims published in The Times and to which we linked last month in our Departure Lounge section. Jon says: 'What a ludicrous title:  Mellifluous he was not, and to say he was renowned for tickling trout and fluffing a note is churlish. I used to play 2nd cornet alongside Ken in the Northwest in the late 60s / early 70s and his version of why he had to leave Bilk’s Band bears no resemblance to the article.  And, (call me nitpicky if you want to), but I’m pretty sure that Ian Wheeler was not Acker’s clarinettist. Acker did that quite well himself!   Dear oh dear.  Ken was a stickler for accuracy and he would have hated this piece of nonsense. I think no one knew best about Ken than Ken himself, and I would refer you to his own version!  In “Just Jazz” magazine, October 2004 to July 2005, and July – August 2005, he documented his life in music.  That’s got to be the best source.  Also, Fred Burnett's website has a tribute page with recollections' (click here).

 

 

Sandy Brown Top Tunes

Dr John Latham produces the Sandy Brown Society newsheet posted out to members each month. He has recently been asking members which of Sandy Brown's recordings they consider to be 'the best' and in the June newsheet John shares the results. There are 12 that have been nominated, and as John says: 'What is striking is that of these, 8 are composed by Sandy himself!' Details of the recordings are included in the newsheet, but the 12 tunes are:

Everybody Loves Saturday Night; African Queen; Go Ghana; The Card; Wild Life; The Last Western; Harlem Fats; Portrait Of Willie Best; Two Blue; Get Happy; In The Evening and Eight.

I have linked to the 2 tunes that you can currently hear online. Everybody Loves Saturday Night is available on Spotify together with other tunes not included in the twelve listed above.

To subscribe to the Sandy Brown Society and receive the newsheet from Dr John Latham, write to him at 2, Church Meadow, Reynoldston, Swansea, SA3 1AF or ring him at Tel: 01792 390055. Annual subscriptions are: UK £9.00; Europe, U.S.A. and World £13 (US $20).

 

 

Albert Hall

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

 

 

St James Infirmary

Chris Batey writes about our article on St James Infirmary last month (click here): 'Great article and couldn't get the song out of my head. Weirdly my dad used to talk about St James  hospital in Birkenhead north end as it was close to where he was born. In an echo of the song's possible roots there was a sexual disease clinic there in 1917 - I read about it on the hospital archive website.'

Paul Adams of Fellside Recordings (who issue both Folk and Jazz recordings) says: 'Variants of the song crop up all over England and Ireland under different names (Soldier/Sailor Cut Down In His Prime, Locke Hospital, etc). There’s a West Country version which could also claim to be how it got to America (via Bristol and the slavers). In America it went two ways: into Jazz as St. James Infirmary and also taking on a new lease of life as a folksong, The Streets Of Laredo, Lee Tharin’s Bar Room, Tom Sherman’s Bar Room, Jones’s Saloon). Sometimes it’s handy doing Folk music and Jazz! There’s a fine version of Lee Tharin’s Bar Room sung by Hedy West on a Fellside CD.'

Julie Tippetts writes: 'Very interesting article......I wonder if you ever saw the 1988 BBC play The Luddites ..... I have found it on youtube and you might be interested in it because the music used, by Edward Williams, is based on an interpretation of the same, and similar songs .... I recorded these with Edward for the play (click here).' [The song comes in towards the end at around 47 minutes].

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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:

 

Ann Sneed

 

 

Ann Sneed - American pianist and promoter born in New York State. Founder of the not-for-profit organisation International Art of Jazz she set it up after not being able to hear jazz pianist Eddie Heywood over the noise of night club customers. With the support of the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission, the organisation started by bringing music into poor areas by the late 1960s. Eventually, the organisation expanded its concerts and educational efforts around the state. Among the musicians who played at the concerts were Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry, Billy Taylor and Marian McPartland, James Moody and the singer Ruth Brown. She closed the IAJ in 1999 believing that a state requirement that nonprofit arts groups make unemployment insurance payments for all independently contracted musicians would have put the organisation out of business.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

Miles Okazaki

Trickster

 

Saxophonist and guitarist Aaron Standon reviews this album for us:

Miles Okazaki (guitar), Craig Taborn (piano),  Anthony Tidd (bass), Sean Rickman (drums).

Miles Okazaki is an American musician based in New York City. He is known for his versatile approach to the guitar, his rhythmic approach to improvisation and composition, the variety of styles he plays and his work in contemporary music theory. He has received many awards as a guitarist throughout his early years, including being placed 2nd in the Thelonious Monk International Guitar Competition. He has taught guitar and rhythmic studies at the University of Michigan since 2013.

Writing about music invites comparisons, references to influences or stylistic similarities and writings about jazz has tended to enthusiastically accept that invitation.  But with Miles Okazaki’s Trickster I’m not so sure that such comparisons would be helpful. 

Genres are defined by their conventions; recognisable, recurring elements and structures.  The worst of what gets called 'jazz' plods through these conventions adhering to a prescribed set of ideas that do little more than present and commodify ‘cool’ or refer us back to some sort of heyday.  However, when alive and kicking, and at its best, jazz understands its own conventions and refuses to be constrained by them and, in this way, canMiles Okazaki Trickster be subversive.  If jazz is therefore about conventions, the question for any jazz musician is what to do with them. 

It’s clear from the outset that Miles Okazaki is a deep thinker as well as a skilled musician. His book The Fundamentals of Guitar sets out many of his ideas, techniques and obsessions and these are all present on Tricksters (also worth a look are the wonderful YouTube videos that accompany the book - are there any other guitar tuition videos that mention Fibonacci?).  The album revels in poly-pulses, counterpoint and mathematical logic and is clearly the product of a great deal of serious thought.

But Trickster is more than just a title; the notion is central to the music, which rejects simple solutions in favour of ambiguity.  This is emphasised in the sleeve notes with a quote (from Lewis Hyde) that challenges any reliance on binary opposition, because “…tricksters will cross the line and confuse the distinction.”    There is therefore a playfulness at work, there are slights of hand and misdirection, little is as it seems.

As a member of Steve Coleman’s Five Elements, Miles Okazaki seems to have fully embraced the M-Base approach, a “way of thinking about creating music”.  The concept emphasises personal growth, creativity and experience and draws upon myth, philosophy, science and culture, as roots into the creative process.  Trickster is true to this, exploiting all the elements that one might associate with M-Base: rhythm, improvisation, interplay and juxtaposition.  It also draws inspiration from a wide range of stories and myths, from an equally wide range of cultures, the compositions therefore offer a musical meditation on the metaphysical, on states of change and states of being.   

The compositions explore thematic ideas as well as structures, rhythm and harmony, all providing material that gives rise to intricate improvisation and interplay.  The themes reflect Okazaki’s guitar style and, despite the thought and analysis that has gone into their creation, feel like an improvisation that the whole group has collectively and spontaneously arrived at.  Structure is important to Okazaki. He points out in his sleeve notes that: “I’ve always believed that working within constraints focuses creativity”.  Dance is only possible because of the restrictions imposed by gravity and dance is fun because it appears to defy gravity.   On Trickster, the individual and collective improvisation creates incredible tension and considerable drama, slowly erupting from the theme and structure, exploiting its logic, embracing and defying its gravitational influence.  The conventions of jazz are here, but its doctrines have been thoroughly challenged, its dogma dispensed with.     

Click here for a video introduction for the album.

The musicians are clearly committed to the ideas and thinking behind the creative process, their contributions and skill totally attuned. On the aptly named Mischief, Okazaki explains that “Different people will hear the playful rhythm differently”.  Throughout the piece the acoustic guitar, the bass and drums provide a poly-pulse Miles Okazakiaccompaniment which provides ample space for Craig Taborn’s piano to unfurl its stories into the flow of complex rhythms. Taborn is perfect for the project and brings a seemingly effortless, tunefully rhythmic intelligence.

 

Miles Okazaki

 

The West, provides an eerie space for Sean Rickman’s drums, which sing and dance very effectively, evoking thunder and Black Elk’s ‘sacred clown’.  Throughout the album, the music deliberately sidesteps strict conventions of ‘lead’ instruments and ‘rhythm section’ so that each contribution is a unique contribution to the whole.   

Anthony Tidd’s bass is a restrained powerhouse, a counterpoint and, it must be said (in concert with Rickman’s drums), a real funk.  On Eating Earth, there is a restlessness to his playing, the piece deliberately refuses to settle but at the same time Tidd lays down a funky feel somewhere far beyond a groove; very much in all the pockets yet, somehow also suspended above them.  Cut this song through and you’d see its pattern repeated infinitely: “… the whole contained within the part”.

The Calendar builds slowly through a harmonic structure that expresses the journey of the moon, myths and Egyptian gods.  The guitar searching out the beacons and bouncing off the shifting mutations, becoming increasingly intense and complex, before waning. 

Trickster moves beyond many of the accepted conventions of jazz.   There is a very real sense of something very important existing amongst the flow of beautiful rhythms.  It’s as if the album were a beautiful mythical story, about rhythm and about complexity, told to a child.

Click here for a video of a live performance of the track Kudzu from the album.

Click here for details and to sample the album. Click here for more about Miles Okazaki on his website.

Aaron Standon

 

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Album Released: 28th October 2016 - Label: Spartacus Records

 

Bill Evans and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra

Beauty & The Beast

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Bill Evans (soprano & tenor saxophone - soloist);  Reeds: Martin Kershaw (alto), Paul Towndrow (alto), Tommy Smith (tenor, composer, arranger), Bill Flemming (baritone); Trumpets: Ryan Quigley, Ewan Mains, Lorne Cowieson; Tom MacNiven; Trombones:  Chris Greive, Kevin Garrity, Michael Owers, Lorna McDonald; Tuba: Andy McKreel; Rhythm Section: Steve Hamilton (piano), Kevin Glasgow (electric bass), Alyn Cosker (drums).

I wonder if Tommy Smith ever has a moment when he listens to Beauty & The Beast and wishes he’d taken on the soloist role himself?  He’d originally written the ‘jazz suite’ for David Liebman and for sure there’s a context.  Mr Liebman and Bill Evans have a similar saxophone pedigree (Miles Davis) and therefore synergy for this job.  Liebman had already performed a ‘version’ of Beauty & The Beast with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. 

Take a tour through Tommy Smith’s own story and we all know he’s not short of successful milestones himself.  But, we’re not talking racehorses here.  Sax players are not bred for the furlong.  Bill Evans (the saxophonist, rather than the pianist) is not given enough credit for his contribution to the 1981 Miles Davis live ‘comeback’ album We Want Miles. Listening to this live SNJO recording of Beauty & The Beast, no one can argue that Mr Evans doesn’t inject a sense of ferocious barnstorming elegance to the Dundee concert. Beauty and the Beast album Nonetheless, these days Tommy Smith must rank as an international soloist of an extremely high order and I’m not so sure he couldn’t have cut the cloth at least as sharp as his American guest.

Beauty & The Beast is divided into seven ‘parts’, and Part 1 shakes like one almighty earth-move.  William D. Evans scorches the ears, I mean really fires up the soprano, presses it close to an eclipse, but .... there’s also another truism about this superb live date; the total weight coming off Alyn Cosker’s drums and Kevin Glasgow’s bass guitar, is as heavy as hell’s cornerstone.  Electric bass counts for something positive.  Strewth, Glasgow/Cosker roll the rocks away like turning stones to tissue.  There are no light landings here.  Tommy Smith’s arrangements create a giant smack in the mouth which the SNJO exploit with a fabulous authentic funk, neither wasted nor superfluous.  Bill Evans has lined up with the Brecker Brothers Band as well as his own high energy Soulgrass outfit, but could they cut the Scots?  The closer the ears get to Glasgow/Cosker you know this is truly a Beauty & The Beast of a combination. 

Part 2 begins with Bill Evans’ soprano pouring out a touching-the-stars soliloquy against well scripted charts interpreted with genuine finesse by the orchestra.  The contrast to the opening is made all the more lethal because they don’t stay still.  Both composition and performance gradually take on power until the whole thing descends into a beautiful mesh of controlled chaos. The bridge into Part 3 opens into new territory.  Steve Hamilton’s piano positions a dense keyboard break.  Mind and hands extend the territory he’s been given setting Mr Evans up for one of his signature tenor solos.  Tommy Smith supporters will know that Hamilton has been one of his long-term collaborators.  There’s a ‘Bop’ unity that undoubtedly continues to exist somewhere Bill Evansin their collective psyche and it’s - Hard.  Hard won, hard fought, hard to ignore, containing no soft centre.  It needs a Bill Evans (or a David Liebman) to get on it, and once again Alyn Cosker has the whole declaration pinned down tight.

 

Bill Evans

 

The part of Part 4 that grips my ears is the acappella sax break which springs from an orchestral introduction.  Turn up the volume and witness a march into darkness that comes out the other side.  The break is a demon. It only lasts just over a minute and half, a great shame because for my money it should have gone on way beyond that. I’ve been listening to Bill Evans for decades, yet never heard him grab a moment to define his playing so deftly as he does here.  I don’t believe great music is ever really about a ‘performance’, eventually, almost inevitably, it has to be the ‘self’ siphoned through an instrument.  That’s how you have to hear Evan Parker or Bird, or Trane, Ornette, Braxton, Pee-Wee Russell and Getz.  And that’s how I hear Bill Evans on Part 4.  Once he’s scratched the surface with the unaccompanied solo, he uses it to drive into the rest of the Tommy Smith composition.  Half way through he produces a second solo as if seeking to grab his own spirit back from among the charts enacted underneath him.  It’s why I wonder what Mr Smith himself could have brought to this moment had he been his own soloist.  Hearing Bill Evans flying through this conduit is terrific, yet it feels like an act of tremendous generosity on the part Smith, the writer.

The shortest track is Part 5.  A class act, a shade short of four minutes. Grasp that fat tuba introduction; an arrangement Gil Evans might have come up with, then the tenor turns a phrase that spooks a solo into this ballad; a special ‘jazz’ trick of putting all the ingredients together (the chords, the harmonies, the melody) and curving them into an improvised variant. It’s a masterclass against a sophisticated arrangement designed with attention to detail.  And yes, I’m going to call it, Andy McKreel on tuba is a genuine colourist. 

The penultimate Part 6 grows out of the residue.  Once Bill Evans gets his head around the modest start of things he gathers up his made-for-measure mojo and cuts into the clarification of the reeds.  Hear the stonking solo. Hear it. Hear it !  This is what is supposed to happen. Part 7 is a soprano gift.  Set within a shimmering arrangement, the straight horn whispers and then pipes up like a bird at the top of the register.  Steve Hamilton’s piano is all grace and favour. The whole orchestra seal the deal.  And finally we get to hear the audience at Dundee’s Cair Hall applaud what has just gone down, damn right too.  I wish I’d been there. 

The sound quality of this ‘live’ performance is diamond.  It’s mixed and mastered by Jan Erik Kongshaug at Rainbow Studios, Oslo.  Those of you who have invested their ears in the ECM catalogue will know the name.  This Tommy Smith/Spartacus project has its own production values.  Jan Eik Konshaug has given him a cleanTommy Smith feed without blunting the edge; its high order audio. Here at Sandy Brown Jazz we got to Beauty & The Beast a little late.  The album was released in October last year.  An ace performance which has rather been over looked (odd since the cover design by Bill Evans has interesting graphics which grab the eyes).  There’s almost a sense of “let’s just put it out there and see what happens” about the whole thing.

 

Tommy Smith

 

The original tale of Beauty & The Beast dates back to the mid-eighteenth century.  There’s no reference to the subject on the sleeve, no attempt to equate tracks to the storyline.  For all practical purposes the album title is incidental, it might just as well have been called The Dundee Concert. Yet despite the sparse information and lack of linkage between title and subject matter it feels like a case of ‘let the music do the talking’.  Compositionally, the arrangements, the sheer orchestral bravado, as well as Bill Evans’ towering central spotlight, all add up to another special night out with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.  Tommy Smith is on a roll, a couple of years ago the SNJO’s Jeunehomme Mozart Piano Concerto album took up a lot of time in my ears, Beauty & The Beast is going exactly the same way.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Steve Day  www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

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Album Released: 22nd April 2017 - Label: BGMM

 

Brian Molley Quartet

Colour And Movement

 

Howard Lawes reviews this album for us:

Brian Molley (tenor and soprano sax, flute, clarinet and bass clarinet), Tom Gibbs (piano), Mario Caribe (double bass / guitar) and Stuart Brown (drums / percussion).

This new album is a pot pourri of tempo, style and musical key, just the thing for the aspiring musicologist toBrian Molley Quartet Colour And Movement get their teeth into, but as Brian Molley points out in the notes accompanying the album you don't have to be an expert to appreciate the music. 

On top of all this esotericism many of the twelve tracks have rather obscure titles; track 1 is called Electric Daisy, best known as one of the biggest electronic dance music festivals held in the USA; track 4, Pushkar Push refers to a city in India where thousands of camels are traded at an annual fair, and track 10, A Borboleta, translates as 'The Butterfly' and is a Brazilian Christmas carol. 

Molley (tenor and soprano sax, flute, clarinet and bass clarinet) and his band, Tom Gibbs (piano), Mario Caribe (double bass / giitar) and Stuart Brown (drums / percussion) hail from Scotland but have travelled to the USA (via Made in the UK) and India (British Council) which has led to direct influence and joint ventures with local musicians.

In October 2015 the Quartet made their first trip to India to perform at Jodhpur RIFF in Rajasthan. While there, they played their own music but also collaborated on a programme of new music with Rajasthani musicians from the Manganiyar Community. During the tour, the Quartet gave concerts in Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore. The quartet returned to Rajasthan to perform again at RIFF in 2016, working once more in collaboration with their Indian counterparts, Asin Khan Langa, Bhungar Khan, Sadiq Khan and Latif Khan. The combined groups also recorded an album of Molley’s original compositions fused with Rajasthani folk music. Journeys In Hand is scheduled for release in summer 2017. The group has been touring Colour And Movement Brian Molley in Indiaaround the UK through April and May 2017 and will return to India once again, to perform at Madras Jazz Festival, Chennai.

Click here to listen to the track Jacksonville from the album.

This album, the band's second, has each track with a different tempo and key. While it is obvious that some tracks have unusual tempos it is certainly beyond this reviewer's competence to identify them and anyway it would be a shame to spoil the plot. All the tracks are arranged by Molley and he has composed nine of them. 

For me it is track 7, Cheer Up Charlie, by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley which sums up this album; this is a sad song but it has a beautiful melody and Molley and the band play it with great sensitivity, giving us the sort of music that one never tires of, not overly sentimental but thoughtful and reflective.  Some of the other tracks on this album are Saanj In The Blue City with echoes of Bollywood, That Old Black Magic by Arlen and Mercer which is given a very sophisticated arrangement, and Duke Ellington's Solitude.

Click here to listen to Solitude.

In short, this is an album to keep dipping into, a friendly sort of album that will stay with you for a long time.

Click here for Brian Molley's website. Click here for details and to sample the album.

Howard Lawes

 

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Album Released: 28th April 2017 - Label: Froggy Records

 

Freddie Gavita

Transient

Freddie Gavita (trumpet / flugelhorn), Tom Cawley (piano), Calum Gourlay (bass), James Maddren (drums).

Some people's debut album takes quite a while to appear. That's not a bad thing - getting the right material, band and recording arrangements is worth waiting for. And so it is with Freddie Gavita's first album under his own name. The musicians he has recorded with are some of the best.

Freddie's own CV is inspiring - still young, he has been a member of Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra now for ten years, but this graduate from the Royal Academy of Music and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra has been leading his own band, working with Fletch's Brew and regularly plays with Ronnie Scott's Club house band - toFreddie Gavita Transient list just a few. He has also played with a list of known musicians as long as your arm: Joe Locke, Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzmann, Gregory Porter, Curtis Stigers, Paloma Faith .....

We first profiled Freddie and his music six years ago (click here). Born in Norwich in 1985, music has been around Freddie for years. At the time of our profile, Freddie told how his grandfather is a keen clarinettist and pianist and although he doesn’t play professionally ‘my mother cites him as the provider of the musical gene for my generation.’

'When I was seven I decided to take up the trumpet,' Freddie says. 'Actually, it was an accident. I thought the teacher said ‘trombone’ and I rather liked the sound of that, and was slightly surprised when he presented me with a much smaller mouthpiece! I’d been playing piano for a year and had already worked out the blues chord sequence from my Grade 1 piano book. My mum bought me a cassette of the Louis Armstrong Hot Fives and Sevens. Within a few months I could sing all of Louis’ solos from memory!'

Freddie met up with bassist Calum Gourlay and drummer James Maddren at the Royal Academy; he has also played with Tom Cawley's Quartet, and so the musicians on this album understand each other well. At the time of writing our Profile, we noted that as yet, Freddie had not recorded with his quartet – "I’d love to make a record with the guys", Freddie said, "it’s just a case of writing the right music and getting the guys together. I wouldn’t be interested in making something that wasn’t completely unique, so I feel it’s worth waiting to try and develop towards that. Yet again, money is an issue!" The money issue was resolved by Freddie finding 150 backers on Kickstarter to fund this album. Now he says: "This is the album I've always wanted to make. It captures the band in full flow and shows what I'm all about as a trumpeter and as a composer. There are no egos in this band, we're just four musicians listening intently to make each other sound as good as we can. It's the spirit of community that makes jazz great, and we're searching for this connection between us and also with the listener. We're taking risks, but we do it together in trust."

Click here for a video introduction to the album.

Strimming The Ham kicks off the album well with drums, piano and then trumpet and immediately the listener can hear how well co-ordinated the group is. By the time of Freddie's solo we are well onboard and know that his tone, technique and ideas are worth sticking around for. The following track, Turneround, is dedicated to trumpeter Richard Turner. Freddie says: 'I wrote the piece in memory of Richard Turner who sadly passed away five years ago. He was the first musician I met in London when I moved here; he was a beautiful soul; kind, generous, a real innovator on the trumpet and really made his mark on the scene in a short space of time.' We are treated to a solo from Calum Gourlay's double bass before Tom Cawley and Freddie bring in their compelling solos and James Maddren completes the solo sequences with his perfect, restrained contribution.

Click here for a video of a live performance of Turneround.

Like Turneround, all the compositions on this album are inspired by events, places and people that have had an effect on Freddie Gavita's life. We do not know who or what inspired Beloved at track 3, but it is a beautifully sensitive track. After an introduction, Freddie solos slow, feeling the notes as he goes before handing the tune to Tom's piano for a while. Which brings us to Yearning and an imaginative extended Freddie Gavitatrumpet solo before the piano takes the improvisation on into a short drum solo. At this point it is timely to give credit to the recording, mixing and mastering of Curtis Schwartz who has not only nailed the sound on this album, but allows us to fully appreciate the exquisite bass and drum work of Calum Gourlay and James Maddren. Sprezzatura is a happy tune that trips out with trumpet notes tumbling into a nice bass solo and then a trumpet / drums conversation to the outro.

The Vow starts with a bass and drum motif and then a slow, low trumpet, then piano, repeating a simple phrase over which the trumpet plays. Despite the simplicity, there is a warmth and feeling that carries forward into the trumpet explorations. The piano then feels its way with bass and light percussion through what becomes one of the longer tracks on the album at nearly nine and a half minutes - and worthy of the time it is given. Lion-O begins with James Maddren's cymbals and his solo drums return after trumpet and piano state the theme. At just under 4 minutes this is almost a 'bridge' between tracks. Iverson Oddity picks up the pace for a while behind the trumpet and then the piano solos into a trumpet journey that shows Freddie Gavita's range before Calum Gourlay brings in his bass for a while.

Pull Your Socks (Up) is the penultimate track, catchy, bright and lyrical with an equally light piano solo, bass and drums tripping along behind. The album closes with a blues, The Buffalo Trace, slow sensitive trumpet picked up by Calum's bass and Tom's piano solos. Just right.

Click here for a video of a live performance of Pull Your Socks Up. You can listen to The Buffalo Trace on Freddie's website's Music page.

Was this debut album worth the wait? Absolutely. Freddie was right to hang on until he had everything in place and the result is a testimonial to his and his band's talent. It will be an album I shall always look forward to playing again - I think you will too - buy it.

Click here for details. Click here for Freddie Gavita's website.

Ian Maund


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Album Released: 12th June 2017 - Label: Luminous

 

Sloth Racket

Shapeshifters

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Sloth Racket: Cath Roberts (baritone saxophone); Sam Andreae (tenor saxophone); Anton Hunter (guitar); Seth Bennett (double bass); Johnny Hunter (drums).

This is certainly one way to arrive at open-ended improv while using a standing start of four ‘compositions’:  Take the band out on the road, play five dates, give them some pointers, a bit of written ‘starter’ stuff, keep it all flexible and see what happens.  After which, travel back to Salford and record what you are left with.  Call the first track Edges and you are at least preparing everyone for what is going to be an incision.  It is one way of doing it and perhaps the methodology most likely to get ‘a result’.  There’s no fakery about this music.  Nothing false or simply dressed up to win votes.  You hear, what is.  If, as a listener, you are squeamish about a music that offers no compromise to ‘convention’, move on now to what you’re sure will tickle your fancy.  However, Sloth Racket’s second album Shapeshifters is well worth enquiry.  It literally sharpens up on the creative edge of improvisation.  It is not just about getting to somewhere else, it’s about embracing the Edges of each player’s own innovation. What does it feel like to place yourself in danger?  Scary, on a stage in frontSloth Racket Shapeshifters of an audience who doesn't necessarily know your modus operandi; do it again the next night, 100 miles further along the road having forced down yet another limp take-away pizza.  

Okay, the very beginning is reeds and bowed strings; they purr at the bottom and gradually straddle the middle as if stretching the gut.  And then strangely, so gently, tip into a melody which has no tonic and is brought to its own centre by what can only be an intense awareness of the gap between each component part.  Such a process demands a wry concentration on ‘the sound of things’.   In its own way this is instant orchestration.  I’d describe Cath Roberts as an audio alchemist who has mixed her own ingredients into a potent quintet setting.  By the time we are half way through I’m fixed on Anton Hunter’s guitar which is paring away the middle.  He can do ‘big guitar’, but not here.  Rather he’s creating this fine ripple of lines behind what is being left by the horns.  On the whole, Sloth Racket lay to waste any idea of rhythm section and soloists.  Hear the whole and you hear the point. 

Just when I believed they had reached the end of Edges, they actually had.  It felt like justice had been done.The way Tracking begins it seems as if Johnny Hunter (drums) and Seth Bennett (bass) are about to count time. To my ears, they don’t.  Instead they set up this drifting groove that moves across the surface, not randomly, but certainly in a way that is nudged into place by splitting the difference between them.  Mr J. Hunter flicks beats at his brother’s guitar like he’s been doing since they were kids.  Mr A. Hunter’s crushed chords are fuzzed with tiny circles of picked notes that stick to Sam Andreae’s tenor sax like flies.  They are literally tracking towards the baritone which emotes what amounts to a solo of gospel-gone-gothic.  Tracking is definitely worth a few instant repeat listens; five lines of improv up against one another close around composition. The third piece is titled Bark.  Funny, I don’t hear a dog, nor feel the surface of a tree.  It is not even hard, not in any firm sense.  Sloth Racket is a collective who can pass extremely light-as-a-feather sounds between each other to tantalising effect. Their first album Triptych was like that.  I wonder whether Sloth RacketCath Roberts did a lot of listening to the Art Ensemble of Chicago, who were/are jugglers of miniatures within the bigger picture.  And yeah, Roscoe Mitchell’s use of baritone might be a clue (or it might not).

Finally there are thirteen minutes of Shapeshifters, which moves through an adroit range of sound images.  Get about 3 or 4 minutes into the piece and it feels so concentrated.  There’s a switch to a double bass passage which shapes the frame of activity.  Seth Bennett has centred himself on this session (as he did with Martin Archer’s Sunshine! Quartet recording, reviewed last month).  Here he paves the way for Anton Hunter’s guitar to untangle a gift of strings.  We pass through waves of reeds, percussion and a melodic sonnet of multiple droplets of orchestration ..... until right at the end a ‘shape’ rocks out and completes on a neat four beats.  

For sure, the whole album is idiosyncratic.  Shapeshifters is a deliberate attempt to avoid the rules.  What rules exist are homemade.  Shift the shape because that is the rationale.  Not to shift means not to play ball.  This means rejection is a constant; shift what you have, don’t let it retain what was originally there.  It’s an abstraction. Now for me, on some front, abstraction is a given.  We are now in 2017, how can any of us, in any area of our lives, continue to deal out the day in same old way it’s been done for centuries?  It’s just not possible.  To some digital degree we all have to shift our shapes because the world we reside in is in flux.  And that is just the point; we live in a context.  Like all of us, Sloth Racket exist in a world where Picasso has already painted his lover at all angles within the same picture.  And James Joyce first wrote ‘free’ of the full-Barbara Hepworth Musicianstop a hundred years ago.  Virginia Woolf abstracted the pattern of The Waves in her novel of the same name way back in 1931, around the same time as Barbara Hepworth sculpted a musician who seemingly had no movement.  Sloth Racket are playing their gigs in a context, in the same bewildering country where the old Spontaneous Music Ensemble used to regularly shift a ton of music from the middle ground of Soho out to suburbia.   

'Musician' - Barbara Hepworth

 

Truly shifting the shape, especially when you are using the same ‘tools’ as those who have already stood in your shoes, becomes harder as time moves on, unless you can find a new context. So where does this leave Sloth Racket’s Shapeshifters?  I hear it as I hear it, and I perceive it to be a music I want to get close to.  Ms Roberts’ baritone has escaped Gerry Mulligan even if the ebb and flow has not quite shaken off Anthony Braxton and Pat Patrick, or possibly more to the point, Hornweb Saxophone Quartet who are much closer to home.  But on Tracking, the dark drone baritone of Cath Roberts surfaces against Sam Andreae’s tenor without recall to other people’s past.  And Shapeshifters is an achievement I’d want to cheer.  That intoxicating finale at the end of Tracking is beauty re-shaped. 

I don’t know of anyone who thinks the next decade is going to be easy.  Musically, and in every other way, it isn’t.  This is what I finish on: may we always continue to shift the balance towards creative new beginnings.  That is what I think this band are attempting; I for one need to continue to listen to where it’s going to lead.  For to lead somewhere, Sloth Racket surely will.

Click here for a video of Shapeshifters played live by Sloth Racket at The Vortex.

Click here for details and to sample Edges from the album. Click here for Sloth Racket's website.

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk         

 

 

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

 

Samuel Eagles' SPIRIT

Ask Seek Knock

 

Robin Kidson reviews this album for us:

It often seems these days that “fusion rules” and that the only way jazz can progress is by borrowing from other musical forms. This can produce some wonderful music but it can also dilute the jazz spirit to the extent it sometimes seems to disappear altogether. It’s good, therefore, to listen now and then to something contemporary which is unashamedly jazz. And it is straightforward, unadulterated jazz that’s provided by British alto saxophonist, Samuel Eagles and his band, SPIRIT, on Ask Seek Knock, their debut album onSamuel Eagles SPIRIT Ask Seek Knock Whirlwind. Joining Samuel Eagles in the band are his brother, Duncan (tenor sax), Sam Leak (piano), Ralph Wyld (vibraphone), Dave Hamblett (drums) and Max Luthert (bass). (For some reason, Luthert does not get a mention on the album’s sleeve). Also present on two of the eight tracks is tenor saxophonist, Jean Toussaint, who has been something of a mentor to Samuel Eagles.

The album kicks off with the upbeat Eternity Within My Soul, which, like all the other tracks is an original Samuel Eagles composition. It begins with the two saxes playing against a jagged riff provided by Sam Leak on piano with able support from the rest of the rhythm section. Both saxes dovetail nicely with each other, and then Samuel takes an effective solo on alto. Ralph Wyld on vibes also solos. The inclusion of a vibraphone in the sextet brings an interesting dimension to the music, and Wyld has a distinctive style as well as impressive technique.

The second track, Changed, Changing Still, is a slower, more reflective piece with an absorbing bass/vibes duet and another Samuels Eagles solo (well, it is his band). He has an attractive sound and improvises with skill and confidence.

Hear His Voice has a memorable melody and brings Jean Toussaint to the mix on tenor. Both he and Samuel Eagles take solos which go off in all sorts of interesting directions. They also engage in some collective and Samuel Eaglescompetitive improvisation.

Click here for a video of the band performing Hear His Voice.

Hope in the Hills was prompted by an adventure in Italy when the band’s bus broke down and nearby campsite owners came to the rescue providing accommodation, food and repairs. “We were stranded for four days in the most perfect place possible” says Eagles. An insistent piano riff drives the track forward over interesting shifts in rhythm and some moody sax.

The Twelve is another great tune with a lively solo from Sam Leak. Dreams And Visions Of The Son is the second track with Jean Toussaint. The piece moves through a number of different phases driven by a strong drumming performance from Dave Hamblett. Both tenor and alto interact to great effect.

Click here for a live performance of Dreams And Visions Of The Son. This was taped at last year’s London Jazz Festival and does not include Jean Toussaint.

The penultimate track, SPIRIT, is distinguished by a particularly imaginative solo from Samuel Eagles, and an absorbing interlude of call and response between piano and vibes.

The final (and title) track, Ask, Seek, Knock, sees the saxes playing against a repetitive piano riff. Wyld’s solo swings in the great tradition of the vibraphone in jazz.

 

Click here for a video of the band playing Ask, Seek, Knock live at the 2016 London Jazz Festival.

Samuel Eagles’ SPIRIT are on tour over the next few weeks. Dates include:

4th June: Southampton Modern Jazz Club
5th June: Komo, Guildford
13th June: Jazz Co-op, Newcastle
15th June: Sound Cellar, Poole
16th June: The Fleece, Colchester
22nd June: Inventions and Dimensions, Kingston
18th July: Spotted Dog, Birmingham

More details are on Samuel Eagles’ website - click here. Click here for more details when the album is released in July.

Robin Kidson

 

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Album Released: 1st March 2017 - Label: Self Release

 

Meg Morley

Through The Hours

Meg Morley is a professional Australian pianist-improviser living in London, primarily working as a full-time pianist with the English National Ballet School. On the strength of this solo EP, her venture into recording her jazz compositions and improvisations is packed with potential.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Meg began her studies as a pianist early with support from her mother, a professional singer. Meg completed a Masters degree at the University of Southern Queensland, where she was awarded Distinctions for the AMEB's A.Mus.A and L.Mus.A diplomas, won national competitions andMeg Morley Through The Hours bursaries, and performed with a professional Australian orchestra. She completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Jazz Improvisation at Melbourne's Victorian College of Arts and began teaching piano and improvisation at Melbourne Girls Grammar and Firbank Grammar whilst performing and playing for the Australian Ballet and the Australian Ballet School. She moved London in 2010.

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

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

Through The Hours, released in March, is a prelude to a new trio album of original compositions featuring Richard Sadler on double bass and Emiliano Caroselli on drums, to be released later this year. The five tunes, in total lasting almost 27 minutes, are a joy. Pianist Kit Downes sums up the album saying: "A beautiful collection of solo piano pieces - each one starting down a path that you think you know the end of, but then twisting into new and unexpected areas. Subtle voicings and elegant turns of phrase make this EP a reallyMeg Morley Drift absorbing listen."

The album begins with Rush Hour and yet it has a gentle, lyrical opening before a rumble in the bass leads to a hustle-bustle of notes until the piece slows to its ending. Drift lightly dances in, balletic, I guess, and I can imagine Meg playing this for one of the romantic silent movies at the Bioscope. The video chosen to go with it, however, stays with dance imagery.

Click here for a video interpretation of Drift.

In Your Shadow and its simple theme confirms the gentle, lyrical nature of this album that would live comfortably among Standards. If you need to lie back and relax, put this on. The penultimate track, Little Miss, picks up the tempo after a quiet start and I suddenly realise my foot is tapping as the number swings on whilst keeping faith with the overall character of the album. The title track, Through the Hours, closes the album, trickling in notes that continue their trickling over a bass motif, water over stone. It is the longest track at 7.35Meg Morley minutes and changes its flow over that time - I seem to have used a different analogy to the title, but there are chiming references in the tune that put me straight. And so it is with each of these tracks - the images that come are yours.

Meg says: 'Four of these pieces were originally created for an Australian tour with Australian composer-pianist Rae Howell in late 2015. The title track, Through the Hours, was written whilst living in a loft in Kennington near the river Thames where I could hear the chimes of the Big Ben through my window.'

This is an album that listeners will enjoy and come back to again. It is an excellent introduction both to Meg Morley's jazz and the trio album promised for later in the year. Through The Hours is launched on 7th June at 7.30pm at the 1901 Arts Club London.

Click here for details and to sample the album which is also available from CD BabyAmazon and iTunes.

Click here for Meg's website.

Ian Maund

 

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Album Released: 21st April 2017 - Label: Resonance Records

 

Polly Gibbons

Is It Me ...?

 

Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us:

Polly Gibbons is a talented singer/songwriter, confirmed by her nomination for Vocalist of the Year at the 2017 Jazz FM Awards and having supported George Benson and Gladys Knight on their tour last year, including two critically acclaimed performances at the Royal Albert Hall. Polly Gibbons Is It Me?

Her debut album, My Own Company, released in 2014 was followed by her 2015 recording, Many Faces of Love.  She has recently toured the USA and performed in leading UK jazz clubs, including Ronnie Scott’s. This latest album, Is It Me…? contains 11 tracks plus a bonus track, and three of the tracks are original compositions, with the rest a mix of standards.

As Polly Gibbons states: "This album is very exciting for me as it feels like my style is evolving.  It has seven horns on half of it, and also a wonderful quintet featuring James Pearson".

James Pearson is her collaborator (he co-wrote the 3 original tracks) and musical director.  I like his approach to the arrangments as in the example You Can’t Just… where as he explains, "“I like to keep it minimal while the singer is singing, maybe a few little textures and fills. There is always time for the band to shine."

To mention some of the band members besides James Pearson, on piano there is Tamir Hendelman, who has played with lots of stars including Barbra Streisand; Shedrick Mitchell on Hammond organ who played keyboards for Whitney Houston; Graham Dechter on guitar; Kexin Axt on bass; Ray Brinker on drums and on saxes and flute there are, Bob Sheppard, Brian Scanlon and Keith Bishop.

Click here for an introductory video.

The opening track is Thomas Dolby’s The Ability to Swing, and it does, with stand-out piano and sax solos and Polly’s vocal range demonstrated from the start.  The second track, You Can’t Just…, is one of the Polly Gibbonsoriginal compositions and whilst the lyrics are worth listening to with their gutsy vocals, the trumpet, guitar and sax all contribute to this number.  

Click here for a video live performance of You Can't Just ....

Gary McFarland’s Sack Full Of Dreams follows and is softer and gentler with good backing from guitar and organ.  Track 4 is the standard, Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams. Originally from the Depression era it is nonetheless back to swing here with uplifting vocals that complement the lyrics.  This cover version succeeds in its own right.  

We then have Wild Is The Wind which comes from a 1957 film about a love triangle on a Nevada ranch; with contemplative piano and complementary vocals producing a good atmospheric track.  Track 6 is a slightly slower than usual cover of Basin St. Blues with the bass getting a chance to solo as well as the trumpet.  This track has an interesting change of pace in the middle. Midnight Prayer gives Polly a chance to show her full vocal range with great organ accompaniment.  Other tracks are, Is it Me…? Pure Imagination, Aretha Franklin’s Dr. Feelgood, which contains a great guitar solo and clear vocals, I Let a Song Go Out Of My Heart and the bonus track Don’t Be On The Outside.

Click here to listen to Ability To Swing.

I think Polly’s voice can do justice to slow and faster numbers in a variety of styles.  The album has clear vocals with a good range although I personally prefer her singing softer numbers.  The album has a good mix of tracks with excellent cover notes by James Gavin and is well arranged and produced.

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

Tim Rolfe

 

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Album Released: 5th May 2017 - Label: ECM

 

Avishai Cohen

Cross My Palm With Silver

 

Filipe Freitas reviews this album for us:

Avishai Cohen, an intuitive Israeli trumpeter, is one of the most proficient voices of the creative jazz scene. Imagination and passion for exploration are constant aspects in his music, which also benefits from a deliberate openness and compositional adroitness.

Cohen, who has given the first steps at the age 10 while performing with the Young Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston and performed/recorded with saxophonist Mark Turner, pianist Kenny Werner, and keyboardist Jason Lindner. His versatility allows him to play with French-Avishai Cohen Cross My Palm With SilverIsraeli pop singer Keren Ann, the amazing rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Indian tabla master Zakir Hussain.

His second recording for ECM, Cross My Palm With Silver, is a 5-track delight that shines through the impeccable effort and rapport of a quartet with Yonathan Avishai on piano, Barak Mori on double bass, and the sought-after Nasheet Waits on drums.

Pulsating at a 3/4 tempo, Will I Die Miss? Will I Die? mixes sketches of Spain with Middle Eastern scenarios. Cohen plays the melody on a crystalline upper register, accommodating it on top of the relentless chordal arrangement of Yonathan. Nasheet appends his beautiful work on cymbals and the drumming bubbles with elegance while Mori sticks to his rhythmic task after uttering the melody. His textures, simultaneously warm and airy, are ideal for the trumpeter’s lucid laments. Although leisurely paced, Theme For Jimmy Greene exemplifies how to create and release tension with exceptional acuity. It feels crushingly emotional thanks to Cohen’s long notes within beautiful short phrases.

Click here for a video of Will I Die, Miss? Will I Die?

Wandering over a path that avoids major startles, 340 Down is a quiescent piano-less interaction. Only momentaneously, Mori comes to light with an ostinato that matches the last phrase delivered by Cohen. Shoot Me In The Leg boasts an introductory piano section where Yonathan serves up punctilious melody, complex swirling phrases, exquisite chords and arpeggios, and polyphonies, before settling in a cyclic arrangement of voicings. These are combined with bass and drums to better attend to Cohen’s exultant phrasing and pitch range. At this point, the quartet fascinates through a hallucinogenic momentum that penetrates straight into our brains. Yonathan brings cool comping ideas Avishai Cohenthroughout Cohen’s solo and then takes off to blur the line between melodic lines and harmonic underpinnings. The layers of sound are gradually reduced for the ending, and the bandleader ends up alone, centered on a melodic phrase that reappears cyclically.

 

Trumpeter Avishai Cohen (not to be confused with jazz bassist Avishai Cohen).
Photograph: Caterina di Perri/ECM

 

On the closing number, 50 Years And Counting, we find Cohen soloing with all his heart. His attacks are composed of intervallic refinement, majestic gestures, and visceral breakthroughs entailing non-stop emotional impact. In contrast, Yonathan inflicts melodic ideas expressed with a feathery stylishness in his improvisation. This piece lets us immerse in a state of zen, from which I didn’t want to wake up.

Defying convention, Cross My Palm With Silver embraces impressionism as it explores the edges of form and freedom. This is Avishai Cohen at the top of his game.

Click here for an introductory video.

Click here for details. Click here for Avishai Cohen's website.

Filipe Freitas jazztrail.net

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Album Released: 17th March 2017 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings

 

Kenny Warren Quartet

Thank You For Coming To Life

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Kenny Warren Quartet: Kenny Warren (trumpet); JP Schlegelmilch (piano); Noah Garabedian (double bass); Satoshi Takeishi (drums).

I don’t know much about any of these guys.  They’re based in Brooklyn.  Sometimes I get the impression the whole world’s decided to decamp to Brooklyn.  That’s assuming they can get into the USA in the first place.  The state of things hasn’t stopped this line-up playing a few dates in Tokyo recently.  2 X 2 men on a mission playing in tight unison; what I hear is totally linear movement.  The Kenny Warren Quartet are fast.  There’s an emphasis, the time, the dynamic; four instrument-voices play like one.  Each track is held in a common grip.Kenny Warren Quartet album  On that basis alone, all four display impressive technique.  I like the fact that Mr Warren stands with his trumpet and no other brass and no reeds; he’s got something to say and he says it. 

These are written through compositions which run into gripping solo work – think early Freddie Hubbard/Lee Morgan and then throw away the comparison.  Satoshi Takeishi’s drums are relatively busy, with tom-toms tuned super-tight. You can’t ignore him, but hey, I wouldn’t want to. Noah Garabedian has his double bass dug well in, plus pianist, JP Schleglmilch is a strong sharp suit.  I did some detective work around Kenny Warren and he’s got his trumpet in a number of projects.  This quartet could seal it for him.

The two opening tracks Stones Changes and Huge Knees are real burners. And Stones has a lovely non-flamboyant acappella trumpet précis acting as a blueprint for all that’s to come.  The solo horn’s few bars draw the ear in, relax that initial opening moment.  And then they’re off smoothly punching a refrain to the back of the Bunker Studios located between Hooper Street and Union Avenue. It might just as well be between the devil and the deep blue sea.  No fuss, fine stuff.  Music.

Click here for a video of Stones Changes.

Let’s talk the third track, Iranosaurus Rex.  For my money, this is the one that could pick up some attention. Not because of the name, though it’s a strange image mix that could have several interpretations.  (It may allude to the overall album title, Thank You For Coming To Life, I simply don’t know their intention.  Perhaps Persian prehistory, it’s a rich vein.)  But listen to the music, let it become the starting experience, offered without any gimmicks.  The piano introduction picks out an ephemeral elegiac melody which is ‘accompanied’ by blown breath through the trumpet.  Shhhhhhhoishhhhhh, a hint before the entrance of trumpet, bass and percussion join the keyboards in a Kenny Warren Quartetrecital of, what I can only interpret as a requiem. About half way through Mr Schlegelmilch is pressing out the melody, the keyboard becoming a precise bell, the trumpet ‘haunting’ the background.  They then change places; gradually the Takeishi/Garabedian team offer glancing blows to their compatriot’s slowly unfolding frontline.  The pace is nicely judged; Kenny Warren blowing through his horn once again towards the final ‘letting go’ of the music, which has entwined around them like a shroud. 

Although Iranosauras Rex is different to the rest of the album, it feels as if it has a place in this band.  In another era Wayne Shorter could have spoken his soprano through this performance and made it fit perfectly. The next two tracks, Hala Hala and Cheese Greater, are post-bop with that ‘whole group’ dynamic I referred to earlier.  I like the fact that Schlegelmich lays out occasionally to allow trumpet, bass and drums a non-choral space.  The pianist is also not above planting his own action centre stage.  In the middle of Hala Hala he cuts into the direction and drops the bop, turning the delivery into some tricky time changes until everyone free-wheels back to the starter’s signature.  Cheese Greater is a tightly overlapping performance with a couple of useful breaks featuring piano and trumpet, which on a good night probably attract woops and whistles.  I’d be with them.

The album’s finale is Every Moment Is Born Lives And Dies.  Yes, that’s the sum of it. This time, perhaps surprisingly given the tune’s title, it doesn’t feel like elegy.  If flugelhorn was involved I’d start making a pitch for Kenny Wheeler, but since the ‘Kenny’ in question is W-Warren and he’s playing trumpet I won’t, even though the great KW played sonic trumpet too.  Okay so Every Moment does have a smear of melancholia in the opening aesthetic, yet there’s a curve of buoyancy about the performance.  Intriguingly (and this apparent ‘straight’ jazz quartet produce a fair share of intriguing moments) the ending is brought up short.  Every Moment dies, the pulse, gone.

Whirlwind have found another fascinating recording from across the Brooklyn Bridge. At the moment, over in our side of the pond there’s new trailblazing trumpets like Laura Jurd and Rory Simmons, through to classic guys like Steve Waterman and Loz Speyer.  Kenny Warren should take the opportunity to come and look around and at the same time set up a few quartet gigs. His Thank You For Coming To Life is a serious session which really lightens up. Mr Warren, you’d win friends in the UK.  Meanwhile thanks to you for this impressive slice of life recording. 

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk 

 

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Album Released: 10th February 2017 - Label: Outside In Music

 

Nick Finzer

Hear & Now

 

Filipe Freitas reviews this album for us:

New York award-winning composer, arranger, and trombonist Nick Finzer, will certainly delight the admirers of both traditional and modern jazz with his new release, Hear & Now, a politically-charged body of work that envisions to make us aware of the turbulent days we’re living in.

To sculpt his third recording as a bandleader and composer, Finzer, who was mentored by the great Steve Turre at Juilliard and admits a fascination for the music of Duke Ellington, reunites the same sextet thatNick Finzer Hear & Now appears on his previous album, The Chase (Origin Records, 2014). According to another of his mentors, the highly respected Wycliffe Gordon, Nick is “a new voice in the pantheon of upcoming trombone greats in the making”. He is a constant presence at top jazz clubs and concert halls, where he frequently performs with Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; Lucas Pino’s No Net Nonet; Ryan Truesdell's Gil Evans Project; Bob Stewart’s Double Quartet, and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, among others.

The sonorous spells can be felt immediately in the opening tune, We The People, a stylish post-bop pleasure of rare quality and unmitigated class, whose blues connotations and arrangement bring us the best of Turre and Kenny Garrett. Its dimension is expanded with sparkling improvisations by Finzer, pianist Glenn Zaleski, and guitarist Alex Wintz, all of them mesmerizing in their gestures.

Click here for a video of the studio recording of We The People.

Transcendent piano chords give The Silent One the epithet of a prayer. Flowing with articulate musicianship, the tune presents a muscled rock guitar comping during Finzer's solo, and piano harmonic conduction for Lucas Pino to demonstrate how to make a saxophone solo sound interesting. The only cover in the recording Nick Finzeris Duke Ellington’s lullaby-ish Single Petal Of A Rose, a homage to Finzer’s key influence, which is melodically co-driven by Pino’s bass clarinet and bundled up in wha-wha effects.

Seated on the bass pedal of Dave Baron and the undeviating drumming of Jimmy MacBride, the clement Again And Again shows a perfect understanding between pianist and guitarist who succeed in the articulation of their interventions. It all ends up in a dauntless horn-led collective improv. Racing to the Bottom, another post-bop explosion, that does what its title calls out. The fast pace allows the soloists to adventure from one extremity of the scale to the other.

Unhurried breezes show up in a quasi-sequential triple dose with the demure New Beginnings, a marriage between jazz and avant-pop, Lullaby For An Old Friend, written for a friend who passed away, and Love Wins, a dainty hymn that celebrates marriage equality.

Click here for a video of the beautiful Lullaby For An Old Friend.

Superbly produced by Ryan Truesdell (Gil Evans Project), Finzer’s music feels alive, flaring up with colour and legitimacy within an assured direction. After listening to Hear & Now, it’s not difficult to conclude that Finzer deserves to be known as ‘21st Century’s trombone sensation’.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Click here for Nick Finzer's website. Click here for Filipe Freitas' interview with Nick Finzer.

Filipe Freitas jazztrail.net

 

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Album Released: 2017 - Label: Self-produced

 

The Button Band

Emilie

 

Andrew Button (guitar), Andrew Woolf (tenor sax), Dave Manington (bass), Marek Dorcik (drums).

Guitarist Andrew Button graduated from the Jazz course at Middlesex University in 2005 and went to New York to study with guitarist Brad Shepic. Back in the UK and based in London he has played with many contemporary bands and musicians including Gareth Lockrane, Jim Mullen, Led Bib, James Allsopp, ToriThe Button Band Emilie Freestone, Dave Manington, Tim Giles and NYJO, for performances in London’s West End and in many different rock and pop projects. He recently travelled to Kenya to play with many fine musicians in Nairobi. He has a regular Sunday lunchtime gig at Mirth, Walthamstow.

This is the Button Band’s second album, their self-named debut album was released in 2015. The title is named after Andy’s small daughter, Emilie. Founded in 2012, the band members have been playing together for a good while and this shows in their understanding of what each is doing, as those who have caught them on their recent UK tour will have discovered. All four members make regular appearances on the London jazz scene and the band was featured in the 2016 London Jazz Festival. They describe their music as: ‘ ... blends melodic content with sophisticated forms and incorporates elements of various genres from country, blues and South-African township jazz to angular post bop’. The music on the album is largely composed by Andrew Button.

As an introduction, click here for a video of the band playing Regroup from the album in St. Austell on their recent tour.

It is that Township flavour that is reflected in the opening track No No, saxophone and guitar duetting on the theme before the guitar solos, neatly accompanied by Dave Manington's bass, with the drums fitting easily behind until Andrew Woolf's saxophone solo takes over, initially languid and then exploring the theme until the guitar joins for the outro. The Leg begins with a bass solo before sax and guitar state the riffing theme and then take their solos and Dave Manington's bass leads towards an abrupt end. Apart from the solos, one of the things I particularly like about this album is the way bass and guitar work together while the drums underwrite what they do.

Click here for a video of the band playing The Leg.

Victorian Dogs at track three sways in with guitar and saxophone and the guitar work leaves its impression before bass and drums take over centre stage. What A Pity quietens the mood as the saxophone plays the The Button Bandgentle theme over a repeated guitar motif. Andy Button's guitar solos over busy drums until the saxophone returns.

Click here for a video of the band playing What A Pity in St Ives.

Regroup is another slow number that waltzes in to the saxophone. Guitar and bass again carry ideas forward and on this track the bass moves nicely with Andrew Woolf's very pleasing tenor solo. Brinkmanship begins with fast bass from Dave Manington intercepted by saxophone and bass. The 'angular post-bop' track works well after its slow predecessor with some fine guitar and saxophone work against Marek Dorcik's percussion. Nothing At All slows again with an attractive melody led by the saxophone and then steps out maintaining its light attraction through the solos that follow. Which brings us to the final, title track. Emily is the popular song composed by Johnny Mandel, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, the title song to the 1964 film The Americanization of Emily, but here it is Emilie for Andy's little daughter. Dave Manington's bass takes over the theme with a lovely, extended solo before the saxophone and guitar sing their songs.

Click here for a video of the band playing Emilie in St. Austell on their recent tour.

Emilie will be available as a CD through Andrew Button's website (click here) and in a few weeks time on itunes, and so it might not get early attention through publications and the general 'publicity machine', but it is a well recorded album that definitely should be heard more widely and confirms the credentials of a fine group of musicians.

Ian Maund

 

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Album Released: 19th April 2016 - Label: Not Two Records

 

Jones Jones

The Moscow Improvisations

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Mark Dresser (double bass); Larry Ochs (tenor & sopranino saxophones); Vladimir Tarasov (percussion).

‘Supergroup’ is old rock music terminology.  I know no one in Jones Jones thinks of themselves in those terms.  Nevertheless, each one of these musicians has been involved in critical groundbreaking music in important ensembles outside of double Jones.  The interesting thing is if you mention the classic Anthony Braxton Quartet (Braxton, Crispell, Dresser, Hemingway), the Rova Saxophone Quartet (Ochs, Ackley, Raskin, Voight) or the Ganelin Trio (Ganelin, Tarasov, Chekasin), despite the game-changing music produced by each of these bands, there’s no guarantee that people today will make the connection.  Pity, I can’t stress enough Jones Jones The Moscow Improvisations just how groundbreaking those three early 1980’s strands of history are to the development of the post-new wave of avant garde jazz today. Dresser, Ochs and Tarasov, otherwise known as 'Jones Jones', are no throw-back to past glories.  They inhabit our millennium as contemporary Global nomads.  They each have homes, they chose to travel. 

The Moscow Improvisations was recorded in September 2009 but only released almost exactly a year ago.  Neither the band nor the album has a mighty publicity machine behind them, not even a slightly mighty publicity machine.  Sometimes you just have to keep going.  (It’s worth noting that the Rova Saxophone Quartet have been doing that for 40 years with only one personnel change.)  For a variety of reasons I couldn’t get hold of a copy of The Moscow Improvisations recording until recently one fell into my lap.  Since then I’ve been plugged-in on a daily basis.  When the ‘keep going’ gets this good I have no choice other than to write about the result.

There is something about Vladmir Tarasov. He is a drummer with tremendous spread.  Listen to him and he seems to stretch across a distance of intuitive percussive possibilities, always landing on the right spot for exactly the right reason.  Yes, he’s about time and the rhythmic nudge.  Yes, he can ratchet up the dynamic to almost feral proportions yet never lose control.  But most of all it is his entire soundboard.  He can allocate each drum, cymbal and bell its own bespoke tonal circumference. His cymbal bowing has awesome tonal accuracy.  The ultra-high notes of double bass and bowed percussion sing in unison.  Later on, during the track, Jonesnost, the acoustic frequencies pitch into electricity though there are no wires, no Bluetooth, just the height of sound.

On the opening track, Ionization Jones, Tarasov and Dresser engage in non-verbal conversation.  This is not anything like a drum/bass rap.  Instead it is an extraordinary aural transaction which could be described as orchestral were it not for the difficulty in believing it could be so.  Larry Ochs doesn’t enter until about 3.25 Vladimir Tarasovminutes.  The first time I heard Ionization Jones I got a shock when I suddenly heard his horn emerge. I had been so absorbed in what Mr Dresser and Mr Tarasov were creating that I had missed Mr Ochs (and he’s a saxophonist with definite presence).  Once in the mix the squeezed sopranino leans on the ears as if offering a map as to where the other two members of Jones Jones are taking the ears.  On occasions this is a string quartet metamorphosed into an improvising trio – strung out on a double bass, an entire percussion section configured by a single soloist and a reeds maestro for whom ‘blowing’ is only part of his art (Larry Ochs is a recognised painter, but that’s not what I’m referring to). Together they roll notes and time, roll sound into a ball of string wound loosely around a world owned by all – or no one.  It’s simply all there to be heard.

But this foray into the art of sophisticated improv is by no means the full story. When the gate is opened on Perpetuo Mojo Jones there is Tarasov’s ride cymbal pinging 6’s and 7’s, leaving room for Larry Ochs’ tenor sax to come straight through eager as space travel.  Mark Dresser and Vladimir Tarasov become  wrapped up in the same movement.  It is almost as if there is an air pocket bursting among them.  The trio groan as a ripple from a gong burst.  Credit for part of the force of the momentum has to go to Mark Dresser.  He is a truly exceptional improviser and a catalyst, able to provide a complete breakdown of the double bass; all the component parts spiriting the muse of his protagonists.  His instrument speaks wood and wire through many languages.  Mr Dresser becomes interpreter, impersonator and real-time sound manipulator; a diviner of scales, a crack in the aural ceiling.  And whereas Ionization gave forth a huge abstracted rationale for detailed dialogue, in contrast Perpetuo Mojo has the ‘big violin’ on a pizzicato springboard.  It literally extends forward as if from a great height.  All these tracks are ‘live’ but the sound quality is crystal clear. Perpetuo Mojo is under five minutes in length, as near as this trio get to Ochs being ‘allowed’ the role of a tenor giant, but it’s not like that, not really.  Dresser and Tarasov ascend over this perpetual motion providing the second and third equal parts to the whole piece.  Right now, that’s how I hear it.

The Moscow Improvisations has a central performance.  Right in the middle there is Jones Tolstoyevitch Jones, a twenty minute stretch of continuous improv, double the length of Ionization, or for that matter the finalJones Jones track Dialectical Jones. It is actually timeless.  Leo Tolstoy’s zeitgeist novel, War And Peace is a tome by virtue of its character-driven narrative placed into the detailed ethics of consequence and history.  And so the Tolstoyevitch improv of the Jones Jones album is begun by Larry Och’s focused probing tenor, only to be detoured by his compatriots.  Such discoveries are spread out in three directions until finally ending back with Och’s horn settling old scores into a new one.  But as with the whole of The Moscow Improvisations, no one musician can be said to act alone.  Even when Mr Dresser or Mr Tarasov take off independently, producing huge individual soundscapes out of trio-activity there is always the sense of it being grafted onto the mythic ‘Jones’, this character they share in common.  Jones Jones is a ‘sound’ identity carrying a three-way creative musical passport which they improvise across borders.  They travel the distance, the name not only present in the tracks of their titles, but also in each ‘collective’ performance.    

The Moscow Improvisations deserves recognition for what it is, a landmark recording.  Sure, there are loads of words that could be written on the connection between these two radical Americans and the ex-drummer of a legendary Russian (Lithuanian) trio who in their own way contributed to breaking down walls between East and West.  At a time when so many people seem prepared to build barriers it is significant that Jones Jones, specialists in bridge building, are Anglo-American/Russian.  They are their own Diaspora, yet what we have here is a performance which goes beyond even that.  In my view it is another giant step forward.  Music like this is today and tomorrow.  Mark Dresser, Larry Ochs, Vladimir Tarasov are aural architects who play out the harmonies in the world’s dissonance – here is the articulated evidence.  I know, it’s a lot of words, but I mean them.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk 

 

 

Choice Cuts / Slim Pickings

 

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

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

 

Mose Allison I'm Not Talkin'

 

 

Mose Allison - I'm Not Talkin': The Song Stylings Of Mose Allison 1957-1972 - (BGP)
Mose Allison (piano and vocals) with various other personnel.
Details : Track listing and samples.

 

 

 

 

Yoko Miwa Trio Pathways

 

Yoko Miwa Trio - Pathways - (Ocean Blue Tear Music)
Yoko Miwa (piano), Will Slater ( acoustic bass), Scott Goulding (drums), Brad Barrett (acoustic bass track 8).

Details and Sample : Review : Video of live performance of Lickety Spit.

 

 

 

 

Chad Lefkowitz-Brown Onward

 

Chad Lefkowitz-Brown - Onward - (self release)
Chad Lefkowitz-Brown (tenor saxophone), Steven Feifke (piano), Raviv Markowitz (bass), Jimmy Macbride (drums), Special Guest Randy Brecker (trumpet - tracks 3 & 7)

Details and Sample : Review : Video of the title track

 

 

 

 

Joe Harriott Helter Skelter

 

Joe Harriott & Co - Helter Skelter : Live, Rare and Previously Unreleased Recordings 1955-1963 - (Acrobat)
Joe Harriot (alto sax), with the Joe Harriot Quartet and other groups.
Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Oliver Lake Right On Up

 

Oliver Lake featuring Flux Quartet - Right Up On - (Passin' Thru)
Oliver Lake (alto saxophone), Tom Chiu (violin), Conrad Harris (violin), Max Mandel (viola), Felix Fan (cello)

Details and sample : Review : Video of live performance of Hey Now Hey .

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew McCormack Graviton

 

Andrew McCormack - Graviton - (Jazz Village)
Andrew McCormack (keyboard, piano), Shabaka Hutchings (saxophone), Rob Mullarky (bass), Anton Egar (drums), Ralph Wyld (vibraphone), Eska (vocals).
Details : Video :

 

 

 

 

 

Loneliness Road album

 

Jamie Saft / Steve Swallow / Bobby Previte / Iggy Pop - Loneliness Road - (RareNoiseRecords)
Details and sample : Review : Listen

 

 

 

 

 

Andre Hodeir album

 

André Hodier - Essais Par Le Jazz Groupe De Paris - (Vogue / Legacy/Sony Music)
Details :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Billie Holiday Complete Decca Recordings

 

Billie Holiday - Complete Decca Recordings - (Essential Jazz Classics - 2 CDs)
Details and review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dayna Stephens Gratitude

 

Dayna Stephens - Gratitude - (Contagious Music)
Dayna Stephens (Baritone, tenor sax, EWI, Synthesiser, bass), Brad Mehldau (piano, tack piano), Julian Lage (guitar), Larry Grenadier (bass), Eric Harland (drums).
Details and sample : Review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carmen Lundy Code Noir

 

Carmen Lundy - Code Noir - (Afrasia Productions)
Carmen Lundy (vocals, piano, guitar), Patrice Rushen (piano), Jeff Parker (guitar), Ben Williams (bass), Kendrick Scott (drums), Elisabeth Oel (vocals).
Details and sample : Review : Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kurt Rosenwinkel Caipi

 

Kurt Rosenwinkel - Caipi - (Heartcore Records)
Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitars, bass, piano, drums, percussion, synth, voice), Pedro Martins (voice, drums, keyboard),Frederika Krier (violin), Andi Haberl (drums), Alex Kozmidi (baritone guitar), Mark Turner (tenor sax), Eric Clapton (guitar), Antonio Loureiro, Kyra Garey, Zola Mennenoh, Amanda Brecker (voice), Chris Komer (french horn).
Details and sample : Review
: Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jazz Festivals 2017

Tthere are a number of websites that carry details of when and where Jazz Festivals are taking place. The Jazz FestivalMay issue of Jazzwise Magazine also carries a comprehensive list.

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

allexciting.com carries information about festivals in Europe.

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

 

 

Some UK Jazz Venues

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jazz London Live

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

 

 

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

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

London: LUME, www.lumemusic.co.uk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

London: Putney, The Half Moon, Putney , 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1EU.
Dick Laurie's Elastic Band. The band now plays the first Sunday and third Sunday of every month.
Sunday, 4th June and Sunday,18th June - 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Jazz Talks: Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas

Buckinghamshire:

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

Norwich:

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

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

 

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