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January 2018

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Shamie Roystonders

Shamie Royston n
with Tia Fuller's band at The Charlie Parker Festival, New York City, August 2017. Picture by Clara Pereira, Jazztrail

 


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

 

(Duke Ellington) was one of the few bandleaders who allowed me to bring in my own arrangements. They had to ask me three times because I thought, how am I going to bring in music alongside that written by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn? Juan Tizol said to me, 'You bring it in, he wants to hear some of your stuff.' So after coaxing me three or four times, I brought in 'The Hawk Talks' and 'Skin Deep' and he recorded them right away.

That recording of 'Skin Deep' to me was nothing but a guy playing drums, but I guess I got lucky. I drove drummers crazy with that because they thought that was me clapping my hands. It was not me. Al Foster, the great jazz drummer, said to me, 'Lou, I drove myself crazy trying to figure out how you did that.' I told him it was really easy, nothing to it because that's the band doing the clapping and they did it so well it sounds like one guy. But I didn't tell most drummers, instead, I let them go ahead and break their necks trying to do this!

 

Louie Bellson

 

When we recorded that in 1951 you didn't have stereo, it was hi-fi and Duke had already recorded 'The Hawk Talks' but he was a little bit wary about recording 'Skin Deep' because he wanted the listener to pick up on all the fast drum beats I was creating on the snare drum and the tom-toms. He didn't want that muddled sound. Finally, we were on the West Coast and this man, Bert Porter, who had Ampex Hi-Fi, recorded one of our concerts and when Duke heard the playback he said, 'Okay, everybody back down to that venue, we're going to record 'Skin Deep'.

Louie Bellson

From Bands, Booze and Broads by Sheila Tracy

 

Click here to listen to Duke Ellington, Louie Bellson and 'Skin Deep'

 


Name That Tune!

(Click on the picture for the answers)

 

Name the tune

 

 

 

Name the tune

 

 

 

Name the tune

 

 

Happy New Year

Bass Player

 

I hope 2018 will be a good year for you.

Caricaturist Jimmy Thomson has been touching base (sic) sending me this picture of a bass with a Santa hat, but now that Christmas is over and Santa is back at the North Pole taking a well deserved rest, what have you been doing about making New Year Resolutions?

 

A few suggestions:

 

§ Go out to a live gig if you haven't been for a while.

§ Pick a jazz era that you like and seek out a musician from that time that you haven't heard before.

§ Put into YouTube a key phrase (e.g. West Coast Jazz), see what comes up and listen to something you don't know.

§ Next time you listen to a piece of music, make a point of listening to what the bass player is playing.

§ If you enjoy a live gig, tell the band ... and then tell other people.

§ Make your own resolution regarding jazz and tell us what it was.

 

 

 

 

 

New Year Honours

Cleveland Watkiss

 

Many congratulations to jazz people who have been honoured in the Queen's New Year Honours Awards this year:

Nigel Tully - The head of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, which has inspired thousands of people including the late Amy Winehouse, has been appointed an MBE for his services to music.

 

Singer Cleveland Watkiss, has been awarded an MBE.

Cleveland Watkiss
Photograph by Mochles Sa

 

Bazil Meade, founder of the London Community Gospel Choir, Bazil Meade, has also been awarded an MBE.an MBE.

 

 

 

 

A Word Or Two About Reviews.

Like many other publications, Sandy Brown Jazz receives far more review albums from across the world than the website can handle. I am very lucky to have four excellent, regular volunteer reviewers but between us, we can only deal with a small number of reviews.

As from this month, we plan to prioritise reviews of albums by musicians based in the UK (including musicians from elsewhere who are based in the UK and UK musicians recording with others elsewhere).

For United States releases, we shall be sharing an album reviewed by Filipe Freitas our contact at JazzTrail in New York in our 'View Across The Pond' item. For European releases, broadcaster Peter Slavid will continue to pick his 'album of the month' for us in 'Continental Drift'. A selection of other releases that we are unable to review in full will be featured in our 'Choice Cuts, Slim Pickings' section where we link to more information about the albums selected. Click here for this month's Reviews section.

 

 

Swanage 2018 Confirmed

The funding of Jazz Festivals is a recurring challenge. I sometimes wonder why more local businesses don't contribute more widely as they usually benefit from the people who attend. Even small donations can accumulate. Swanage has proved that this year as it has run a successful crowd-funding project, fund raising activities and an early booking scheme. Eric Jackson has sent me a copy of the following letter from FestivalSwanage Jazz Festival logo Directer, Nigel Price:

'Through an incredible amount of support we managed to smash through the online ‘Kickstarter’ crowd funding campaign target. The Fibonacci guitar raffle was a huge success too and has helped to fill the coffers. As you know, we also held a fund raising concert at the Mowlem theatre in Swanage on the 29th of October featuring Martin Taylor and a great ten piece band, made up from many of the stars of UK jazz. It was a fantastic evening. There have also been many private donations. This means that we’ve managed to raise more than enough funds to ensure the festival remains to be enjoyed by us and future generations. The exact figure isn’t known yet as the various agencies haven’t taken their commission yet but it is definitely in excess of twenty thousand pounds! This doesn’t only mean that we can continue, it also means we can put in Swanageplace some of the changes I’d previously suggested, and book a festival line up that may have previously been considered impossible'.

'Thank you all for your support. Thank you too for your kind messages. I have read each and every one and many have been very touching. Forgive me for not replying to all of them. I have been so busy with organising the 2018 festival, and indeed fulfilling all my own commitments as a working musician, that it’s been impossible to find the time for anything else'. I’m truly grateful to those of you had faith in me and bought ‘early bird’ tickets. I realise there has been an almost unbelievably long time between you sending your cheques and the tickets being delivered and for that I apologise. That scenario was unavoidable as there’s been such a lot to sort out - taking over the directorship and transferring the bank account etc.'

 

 

Swanage Jazz Festival - Friday 13th, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th of July 2018 - and there is already a good line up of bands booked to play. Click here for more details.

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

There's No Business Like Show Business

 

This month we give you the titles of fifteen tunes that were written for shows or films and which have been recorded by jazz musicians. Are you able to identify the shows or films for which they were originally written?

 

Annie Get Your Gun poster

 

For example:

For which show or film was I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face written?

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

 

Worldwide Awards 2018: Vote for the Track, Album and Jazz Album of 2017

Gilles Petersons Awards

 

Worldwide FM, Gilles Peterson and Brownswood Music, have announced the launch of the official public vote for the Worldwide Awards 2018. You can have your say in the 'Track of the Year', 'Album of the Year' and 'Jazz Album of the Year' categories.

The Worldwide Awards are an annual celebration of the leftfield underground, set up to “celebrate a side of the music scene that often gets ignored”, as Gilles puts it. Drawn from the multitude of award categories presented on the night, the heavyweight Album of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year and Track of the Year awards were launched to the public vote on Thursday 14th December. Gilles has curated a long list of contenders for all categories and it’s up to you to decide who wins.

The voting season kicks off with a Worldwide Awards special on Worldwide FM on Thursday 14th December during Gilles’ Brownswood Basement show, where he’ll playing through the contenders for all three categories.

VOTING CLOSES MONDAY 8TH JANUARY 23:59PM. Click here for details.

 

 

 

Jazz As Art

One Hour
(If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight)


by the Mound City Blue Blowers

 

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

Coleman Hawkins

 

This month we wind back the years to 1929 for the music from The Mound City Blue Blowers featuring Coleman Hawkins and If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight. Like Red Nichols' Five Pennies, the Blue Blowers varied in number and personnel for their recordings and on this occasion the line up was: Red McKenzie (comb / kazoo); Eddie Condon (banjo); Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax); Pee Wee Russell (clarinet); Glenn Miller (trombone); Jack Bland (guitar); Pops Foster (bass) and Gene Krupa (drums). They somehow catch a melancholy that fits the title with the smoothness of Hawkins' tenor giving way to a slight lift from Pee Wee's clarinet followed by a nice solo from Glenn Miller. The Blue Blowers were co-founded by Red McKenzie and Jack Bland and McKenzie makes his contibution on kazoo or comb and paper at the beginning of this track.

Click here and see what you think.  

 

Leonid Afremov Jazz trio

 

 

 

Who's New?

Each year, Jazzwise magazine invites people in the jazz 'business' to suggest who they think we should be looking out for in the coming year. Here are the names that have been put forward this year. With a couple of exceptions, we have kept a record of who was suggested in past years and it is interesting to look back and see how many predictions have been realised - click here.

 

 

Arnauld Dolmen (drums)
Jonny Mansfield (drums and vibes) mentioned x 2
Mary Halvorson (guitar)
Colin Steele (trumpet)
Joe Armon-Jones (piano and keyboards)
James Beckwith (piano and keyborads - mentioned twice)
Yussef Dayes (drums - mentioned twice)
Alex Hitchcock (saxophone)
Tom Barford (saxophone)
Jeppe Zeeberg (piano)
Lasse Mørch (bass)
Yelfris Valdés (trumpet)
Sam Barnett

 

 

 

 

Sam Barnett (saxophone) (mentioned twice)

 

 


 

Sarah Tandy (piano)
David Virelles (piano)
Jason Stein (bass clarinet)Alexandra Ridout
David Austing Grey (piano)
Thomas Morgan (bass)
Tatiana Mayfield (vocalist)

 

Alexandra Ridout (trumpet)

 

 

 

 

Stephen Henderson (drums)
Cath Roberts (saxophone)
Dee Byrne (saxophone)
Rohey (vocalist)
Mali Hayes (vocalist)
Chris Mapp (bass)

 

Bands / Groups

 

 

Butcher Brown Quintet

Butcher Brown Quintet


Zenel Trio
Cesca
Shabaka
Triforce
Maisha (mentioned twice)

 

 

Binker and Moses


Binker and Moses


Afrobeat
SEN3
House Of Waters
Korhan Fatuci & Kara Orkestra
Hermia/Ceccaldi/Darrifourcq Trio
Grasshopper
Skeltr
Pablo Held Trio

 

 

 


Help With Musical Definitions No 42.

Spinet

Skill acquired by DJs

 

DJ

 

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

 

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

Photographer Brian O'Connor has again been capturing musicians in performance and shares with us some of his latest images.

 

Steve James and Englishman Adam (Franklin)

 

Steve James and Adam Franklin

 

 

Brian took these pictures of Bluesman Steve James at The Hawth in Crawley, Sussex in November 2017. Steve James plays a National steel guitar, mandolin and banjo. Growing up in New York City, he came to blues music through listening to his father's collection of records by Leadbelly, Josh White, Meade 'Lux' Lewis, etc. and on moving to Tennessee and then Texas he played with a variety of blues musicians.

His early recordings include Two Track Mind (1993), American Primitive (1994), and Art & Grit (1996) and Boom Chang (2000). Three years later Burnside released, Fast Texas, where James' own songs appeared as well as covers of work from Hop Wilson, Milton Brown, and Little Hat Jones. He continues to tour around the world and incorporates teaching sessions on guitar playing techniques.

 

Steve James

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for a video of Steve James singing Wet Clothes Blues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best known in the U.S. for his work in a duo with Seattle-based guitar master Del Rey, Englishman Adam Franklin accompanies himself on resonator guitar in multiple tunings in stylings ranging from claw-hammer and finger-picking to slide and doubling on ukulele. Not to be confused with a Brit with the same name who fronted the rock band Swervedriver, he’s the son of a jazz musician from Sussex who conducts frequent workshops.

 

Adam Franklin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for a video of Adam Franklin playing Catman Blues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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).

 

 

 

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].

 

Fraser Smith

 

Saxophonist and bandleader Fraser Smith was born in Birmingham, grew up in Wales and now lives in London. He left the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a first class degree and then went on to finish a Music Master’s Degree at Trinity Conservatoire. Influenced by the big Tenor Men of the last century such as Illinois Jacquet, Dexter Gordon, Lester Young and Hank Mobley, Fraser stays stylistically close to those jazz influences of the first half of the twentieth century and his original compositions channel the energy of the hard-bop movement.

His band, Fraser And The Alibis, are Fraser on tenor sax, Joe Webb (organ), Harry Sankey (guitar) and Gethin Jones (drums). The four originally met at the Royal Welsh College in Cardiff and have been together for a number of years playing their own compositions. They ‘channel the intensity and feel good effect of the swing and jive music of the dance hall era, combined with the intricacies and virtuosities of later jazz movements’. 

After playing approximately 400 gigs together over the last decade and with various bands at Ronnie Scott’s Club, Brecon, Birmingham, London, Cheltenham and Swansea jazz festivals they released their debut album in 2017 (reviewed on the website this month).

We caught up with Fraser for a Tea Break.

 

Fraser Smith

 

 

Hi  Fraser, tea or coffee?

Tea, every time, in the biggest cup you can find!

 

Milk and sugar?

Just milk.

 

So, you have a new album coming out. You and the Alibis have been going for a while – I think you met at college - how come you decided to bring it out now?


The world wasn't ready. No I'm joking!! Two main reasons: Firstly we needed to wait until we had the rep together as for most of that time we were playing standards and then in more recent years, more specific arrangements and covers of artists and classic organ quartets we love such as Baby Face Wilette, Jack McDuff, George Benson, etc. This period of learning informed all of our current rep, now most of our tunes are loosely based on classic organ quartet material, just with different melodies or slight alterations to the groove. The other thing was our just not feeling ready. Maybe it's a good thing, but I'm constantly comparing myself to the greats and didn't feel ready to commit anything to record. I still don't, but maybe that's all part of the self-critical nature that all musicians need to have regarding their playing. It got to a point though where to take the next step as a band, we needed something to promote!

 

Fraser and the Alibis

 

 

‘Fraser and the Alibis’ is an intriguing name for the band! Where did that come from? I don’t think you have alibis – or are those not your real names, and you're not wearing shades? 

Ah, that's an easy one. Its quite a new name. We were called the Applejacks for years and then I discovered after trying to show my friend our website that you couldn't find us online! There were about 6 other bands called the Applejacks, 20 restaurants, a My Little Pony, a cosmetic care company, a vets and just about every other kind of business on google search. We were on page 73 or something silly, so we renamed ...

Click here to listen a live performance of The Applejacks playing Sonny Rollins' Pent Up House two years ago with Fraser Smith, Joe Webb and Gethin Jones and Artie Zaitz on guitar.

 

Our mate Adrian actually came up with the name 'The Alibis' and I thought it was perfect. Sam Buterra (Louis Prima's sax player) is one of my favourites, and he ran a band called Sam Buterra and the Witnesses. I think the accessibility of their music for audiences, and the visible joy that comes across when they're performing is something that we strive for. They were best mates and had a lot of fun making the music they loved, whilst not taking themselves too seriously.

 

Click here for a video of Fraser and the Alibis playing On The Green at Sofar, London on March 31st, 2017.

 

I see. Although I guess the association with 'My Little Pony' could work if you wanted to encourage a young audience! Did you know there is a 'jazz theme' for MLP (click here)? Still, I agree The Alibis is a great, memorable name. Speaking of names, if you could ask two past jazz musicians to join the band for a gig, who would you invite?

Agh! not so easy. It'd have to be Charlie Parker. I know that's so obvious but throughout my adult life he's the constant that I always return to and each time I'm even more blown away, mesmerised, moved.I read the new(ish) biography 'Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker' by Stanley Crouch recently and finished it in two days. He just lived an unbelievable life, worked his ass off and sacrificed everything for his music. There is just so much musical information and language in his playing but it pours out of him so naturally, without ever feeling contrived.

Second, I'm not sure there are any jazz clubs left in the country that have a budget for a sextet and I haven't got enough ink in my printer to make charts, but .... Dexter Gordon. The band would be bored as hell, waiting for three saxes to take turns on every tune, but I'd probably just sit out Grant Greenand listen to those guys go at it. Same reasons for this wish, and also I've heard that Dexter was cool as hell. I'd love to soak up some of that energy. If for whatever reason Dexter was busy, it'd be Grant Green. Wow man, unbelievably beautiful music. Listen to him on Ike Quebec's Blue and Sentimental, the guitar solo is my favourite Grant Green at the moment (click here).

 

Grant Green
Picture from Wikipedia.


Great choice. I don't think Grant Green gets much of a mention these days. What would you get them to play? 

We'd play a set of Parker's bebop heads with a couple of standards thrown in, just so I could hear how its meant to be done and try and absorb some of that inspiration, excitement and musical intricacy that they seemed to have had limitless amounts of. I play these tunes every day of my life so to experience hearing it from the source would just be a dream come true. I actually get sad sometimes that I'll never hear those guys play live.

 

Click here for a video of guitarist Grant Green in 1969 in a unbroadcast footage recorded for French TV with Larry Ridley on bass and Don Lamond on drums.

 

Hob Nob, Bourbon, Garibaldi or Ginger  Biscuit?

Ginger Biscuit. come to think of it, I don't eat those often enough! 

 


Me too. Best dunking biscuit. Looking back over the past ten years or so, if I asked you ‘What one thing do you know now that you wished you knew then?’ What would you say?

Probably just 'chill out a bit'. I'm quite an anxious person, which is good in that I'm not lazy, but sometimes take things a bit seriously when actually everything is fine. 

 

 

Fraser and the Alibis

 

What gigs have you played recently?

We did a little launch tour of London/Bristol/Wales which was great fun. We visited our old music college, where the band was formed and gave a little workshop to the current students. It was nice being on the road if only for a few days, to sample what it must have been like back in the day. Except I guess now we have M&S services, Premier Inn and Starbucks, so I guess its a little different. 

I guess - whatever happened to the hard life on the road? What have you got coming up in 2018?

There are a few great little spots, some of them slightly off the beaten jazz track, but all attract great audiences and people of all ages dancing and digging the music. Hopefully another tour will come to fruition, if I can find some time to get to the computer! We've just lost a couple of our residencies in London - Servant Jazz Quarters are having DJs now on a Friday ... brings more people in, and Cable Café has had noise complaints, no drums allowed any more. So it’s back to the drawing board! These were our regular haunts but it will work out fine, just a period of transition, I need to get my sales hat back on and source some new venues!

 

From correspondence I've had, that seems to have happened to a few bands in the past couple of months. Who else have you heard recently that we should listen out for?

I saw two great gigs at the Ronnie's late show this week. Tuesday was Osian Robert's quintet, which did exactly what it said on the tin. Theyswung their asses off and brought the vibe.

Click here for a video of saxophonist Osian Roberts in 2016, on this occasion with Najponk (piano); Jan Feco (bass); Martin Schulze (drums)

Rachel Cohen

 

 

Last night I saw Rachel Cohen's quartet. They were sounding incredible ......

Rachel Cohen

 

 

 

QCBA

 

 

..... Oh and also the QCBA quartet. I caught them at Kansas Smitty's bar last month and was blown away. 

Click here to listen to QCBA (Quentin Collins / Brandon Allen) playing Oscar's Lullaby.

 

 

 

 

Another biscuit?

I think I've eaten them all!

 

Fraser and the Alibis album

 

Click here to listen to the complete debut album from Fraser and the Alibis

Click here for Fraser and the Alibis' website

 

Fraser Smith at Ronnie Scott's Club

 

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

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

Do You Have A Birthday In January?

 


Your Horoscope

for January Birthdays

by 'Marable'

 

 

Capricorn

 

Capricorn (The Goat)

21st December - 19th January

There are many planets in your sign this month. 60 percent of the planets are either there or moving through. This is a lot of Capricorn energy with all the good and bad points in focus.

As I said last moth, your management and organisational skills are good and so is your work ethic and patience, but as I warned in December, there is a danger that this could make you seem too 'business like', which could alienate you. Sometimes too much practicality can become 'impractiable'.

With the planetary movement in the Eastern section of your chart, you have plenty of energy. If there are things you want to change, now could be the time to tackle them. When the planets move to the West in a few months' time, these changes could be harder to make. So this is also a time to consider launching new projects.

A Lunar Eclipse on the 31st occurs in your 8th house of regeneration, so avoid dangerous situations then.

This year, with Saturn in your sign, it will strengthen your sense of duty and responsibility. Your 10th house is mostly empty, only short term planets move through here and that could signal a stable year for your career, but those of you who are writers could find much inspiration during 2018.

For you, click here for a video of Scott Hamilton and Andrea Pozza playing Richard Rodgers' I Could Write A Book in 2016.

 

 

Aquarius

 

Aquarius (The Water Bearer)

20th January - 18th February

Jupiter spends most of the year in your 10th house of career and it is looking as though the year ahead could be very successful, but it is worth bearing in mind that success can change other dynamics and relationships. Your 12th house of spirituality has been strong for some years and with Saturn coming into your chart, this could be increased this year.

This month, Pluto receives positive aspects from 8th to the 10th and on the 24th and 25th offering opportunites for success. In general, you are in a very independent kind of year, and especially so this month - for half the month, all the planets will be in the Eastern sector of the self. If you find you are having things your way, remember to smile - 'smile and the world smiles with you'.

A Lunar Eclipse on the 31st heralds some changes. It could be worth reducing your schedule then as you might find some relationships being tested. Good relationships survive, but they change as adjustments are made. The Lunar Eclipse could also mean changes with work, so the same applies; changes can be for the good even though adjustments are made.

Capricorns and Taurians can be known to favour tradition and the status quo. Aquarians will err on the side of the new. It is this virtue that brings progress in the world.

For you, click here for a video of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra playing Duke Ellington's Rockin' In Rhythm in 2012 . If you check out the band members you will see there are many of our successful young jazz musicians in the line up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Remembered

The tragic story of

Freddie Webster


 

[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].

 

Freddie Webster

Freddie Webster
picture from Joe Mosbrook website page (see below)

 

"I used to love what he did with a note. He didn't play a lot of notes; he didn't waste any. I used to try to get his sound. He had a great big tone, like Billy Butterfield, but without a vibrato. Freddie was my best friend. I wanted to play like him. I used to teach him chords, everything I learned at Juilliard. He didn't have the money to go. And in return, I'd try to get his tone".

Miles Davis.

Trumpeter Freddie Webster was born in 1916 and died at the age of 30 in 1947. Officially, he died of a heart attack. Miles Davis thought otherwise ....

Freddie Webster was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in a religious family. As a teenager he played in the Central High School band, but I wonder what his parents thought when he began to make a name for himself in the Cleveland jazz groups of the 1930s? By the end of the decade he had put together a 14-piece band to tour Northern Ohio. The band included his friend, pianist Tadd Dameron. Tadd claimed that it was Freddie who influenced his decision to pursue a career in jazz. It is interesting that Freddie's influence in his short life seems to have touched a number of people. Eventually Freddie left Cleveland and played with a variety of bands.

Click here to listen to the Earl Hines band playing St. Louis Blues.

He toured with Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines’ big band and then, in 1941, he went to New York where he hung out with Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Benny Harris and others at Dizzy’s apartment or at the Dewey Square Hotel in Harlem. Historian Leonard Feather has said that it was these sessions that would later lead to the first steps towards a new form of jazz that became known as bebop. When Freddie rejoined Earl Hines’ band later that year, the personnel included Charlie Parker (who was playing tenor then, not alto), Gillespie, Ray Nance, Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan. This was the legendary Hines band that has been called "The Incubator of Bop" but it was also playing during that long strike by the musicians' union against the recording companies, so unfortunately we don't have recordings available from that time.

As we know, the story of the birth of bebop developed as members of the Hines band jammed after hours at Minton’s Playhouse. Miles Davis, in his autobiography, said, "We was all trying to get our masters degrees and PhDs from `Minton's University of Bebop' under the tutelage of Professors Bird and Diz."

In 1942, Freddie joined the Lucky Millinder big band. Critic Barry Ulanov reviewed the Millinder band during a battle of the bands with the Jay McShann band at New York's Savoy Ballroom in February of 1942 and wrote, "Webster is a real find. He plays with a wonderful sense of structure giving all his choruses and half-choruses a discernible beginning, middle and ending. His favorite range is a low register projected with boldness and deepness. He doesn't restrict himself to low notes but makes long scoops from the middle and high registers to the bottom and then sails back up. He plays with an easy technique in perfect taste." Among the solos Webster recorded with Millinder was Bill Doggett's composition "Savoy."

Click here to listen to Freddie soloing with Lucky Millinder playing Savoy.

In April 1942 Freddie Webster also joined his friend Pee Wee Jackson in the Jimmie Lunceford band. It was while travelling with Lunceford that Freddie met Miles Davis and the two became great friends. Trumpeter Benny Bailey is reported as saying: ‘Freddie practically taught Miles. I know that because Miles told me that. In fact, there's a solo on a very early Charlie Parker record ("Billie's Bounce") in which Miles played Freddie WebsterFreddie's solo, note for note!’

Click here to listen to Billie's Bounce with Miles Davis who, apparently, was 19 at the time of this recording.

Freddie went on to play with Benny Carter before returning to New York in 1944 for the first recording session of the Billy Eckstine All-Star Band for the DeLuxe record label.

Click here for Benny Carter's band playing Love For Sale in 1943.

 

Freddie Webster
Picture from Indiana Public Media

 

A year later, Dizzy Gillespie recruited him for the trumpet section in his first big band. Dizzy later said: ‘Oh, man, we played this arrangement. I made an arrangement on `I Should Care.' I had the solo and I gave the solo to Freddie. I never played that solo no more. The arrangement was out of the band after he left!’

In July of 1945 Webster recorded his own composition, "Reverse The Charges," and "The Man I Love," with a quintet led by tenor saxist Frankie Socolow.

Click here to listen to Frankie Socolow and Freddie Webster soloing on The Man I Love. [Freddie Webster (trumpet) Frankie Socolow (tenor sax) Bud Powell (piano) Leonard Gaskin (bass) Irv Kluger (drums) NYC, May 2, 1945]

A year later, Freddie returned to Cleveland to play with Johnnie Powell. By now he was 29.  The band made one record for Paramount Records of Cleveland, "Perdido," featuring a trumpet solo by Webster. Freddie then joined his old high school friend, Tadd Dameron, who had formed an orchestra to record his composition "If You Could See Me Now" with 22 year old singer Sarah Vaughan.

Click here for Freddie with the Tadd Dameron Orchestra and Sarah Vaughan in 1946 and I Can Make You Love Me If You'll Let Me.

1947, the year Freddie died didn't start well. He was about to join the Count Basie Orchestra when apparently Basie asked him what his price was. Webster said, "After you've paid the rest of those guys, you and I split 50-50!" Webster never played with the Basie band!

In the Spring of that year Freddie went to Chicago to perform with saxophonist Sonny Stitt.

Officially he died of a heart attack in a room at Chicago's Strode Hotel on April 1st. In his autobiography, Miles, Davis claimed that Webster used heroin that was deliberately laced with something poisonous, possibly battery acid or strychnine; that the heroin was given to Sonny Stitt by one of the people that Stitt had physically assaulted to get money to support his heroin addiction, and who was out for revenge; and that Stitt had then passed the heroin on to Webster, not realising that it was poisoned.

I guess we'll never know for sure. Joe Mosbrook writes: 'There is little doubt that trumpeter Freddie Webster was one of the most influential performers in jazz in the 1940s and one of the most important jazz artists from Cleveland. But because of his early death and relatively few solo recordings, the Cleveland trumpeter is hardly known even by many ardent jazz fans'.

To read more about Freddie Webster:

'A Jazz History' by Joe Mosbrook a special WMV Web News Cleveland series, April 3, 1997

Freddie Webster: "The Best Sound On Trumpet Since Trumpet Was Invented" by Dan Miller 2008.

Freddie Webster

Picture from Dan Miller article on Freddie Webster

 

 

 

Video Juke Box

*Click on the Picture for the Video

 

 

Click on the picture to watch the video.

 

Anton Hunter Article XI

 

After too long a break, Anton Hunter's Article XI have a new album out. We shall review it next month, but in the meanwhile here is a reminder of the band from 2014 playing Retaken at the Vortex Jazz Club in London. Anton has been busy playing with other bands in the intevening years and Article XI has recently been on tour with Cath Roberts' Favourite Animals whose album we review this month.

 

 

 

 

Mezcla Jazz Nights At The Quay

 

We recently reviewed Mezcla's debut album (click here). I really enjoy their music and here they are in a 'BBC Introducing' video from Jazz Nights At The Quay playing Malarone Dreams, Sami's Tune,Volta and Happy Monkey Dance. [Joshua Elcock (trumpet), Michael Butcher (tenor sax), Alan Benzie (keys), Ben MacDonald (guitar), David Bowden (bass and compositions), Stephen Henderson (drums) and Steve Forman (percussion)].

 

 

 

 

Kavin Mahogany

 

Kevin Mahogany, who recently passed through the Departure Lounge (see below), is someone I had not really come across before. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Mahogany played baritone saxophone while growing up, performing with bands while in high school. He switched his focus to singing while attending Baker University. He mostly worked around in Kansas City during the 1980s. Here his impressive voice can be heard on My Foolish Heart and On Green Dolphin Street with the Ray Brown Trio [Kevin Mahogany (vocals), Ray Brown (bass), Larry Fuller (piano), George Fludas (drums)]

 

 

 

 

Hot Sardines Chicago video

 

The Hot Sardines cooking In Chicago. Here is a fun video of Bourbon Street Parade with the young Hot Sardines from New York City. In 2012, Robinson Home Products brought The Hot Sardines to Chicago to entertain booth visitors throughout the day. In a surprise performance, at the Cooking Theater they used cooking tools as instruments while the audience was awaiting Paula Deen's cooking demo. Look for: CIA wood stirring spoons, CIA saucier lid, Moso Bambooware turners, and the brightly coloured Squish large funnel.

 

 

 

Sam Leak and Dan Tepfer video

 

Pianists Sam Leak and Dan Tepfer introduce their new album Adrift due to be released in May. The composition was originally written for 2014's Steinway festival, held at London's Pizza Express Jazz Club. The success of this performance led the pianists to record the album at the Yamaha Showroom in Midtown New York in January 2016. The album will be released on Jellymould Jazz in May 2018.

 

 

 

Giant Steps animated music

 

 

Fancy playing John Coltrane's Giant Steps? If you can keep up with animated sheet music, give it a try!

 

 

 

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

 

 

New Glasgow Jazz Venue - The Merchant's House

 

Merchants House Glasgow

 

 

Rob Adams reports:

The Merchants House of Glasgow launches an exciting new series of jazz concerts on Sunday 11th February when saxophonist Paul Towndrow reimagines one of jazz’s landmark recordings, Charlie Parker with Strings. The concert, which will feature Scottish National Jazz OrchestraPaul Towndrow altoist Towndrow leading a sixteen-piece orchestra with a star-studded rhythm section, is the first of six planned so far to take place in the West George Street building’s magnificent Grand Hall with its captivating Victorian décor.

Glasgow-born Towndrow is one of the UK’s busiest jazz musicians. As well as featuring regularly with the SNJO and leading his own groups, he has worked with soul giant Ben E King, jazz horn quartet Brass Jaw, and American mavericks The Bad Plus, among many others. He has previously performed the 'Charlie Parker with Strings' repertoire very successfully at the Edinburgh Fringe and will be adding specially written new arrangements as he and the orchestra pay homage to some of the most iconic music in recorded jazz history.

Ian Dickson, Lord Dean of Guild at Merchants House, said: “We are looking forward immensely to staging these concerts, which are being held in support of the Merchants House Social Impact Partnership. The Grand Hall has hosted musical events, including jazz, over the years and we think it is an ideal setting for the music we have lined up. It’s a marvellously attractive venue that will allow us to stage most of the jazz concerts acoustically so that people will enjoy the music in its natural form.”

Tickets for the opening concert are available now from EventBrite. All concerts will begin at 8:00pm.

 

 

 

 

Looking Back

'Cooper'

Chris Macdonald

 

[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].

 

Clarinettist Alan Cooper, or 'Coops', is probably best remembered for his time with The Temperence Seven (The 'Temps'). He was a founder member of the band which had chart success in the early 1960s. Chris Macdonald, second clarinettist / saxophonist with the Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra shares some of his memories of 'Cooper'.

 

Alan Cooper Hay 1996

 

I first met Cooper when he played at a school dance at Wanstead County High School. It was our first ever with a "live" band! I think it was probably 1958. An interesting band - Bobby Mickleburgh (trumpet), John RT Davies (trombone), Tony Cash (alto sax), Cooper on clarinet, Hugh Gordon (our temp art master, who fixed the band) on guitar, Des Bacon (piano), Martin Fry (sousaphone), and Sid Pye (drums). When they returned the following year, no Cooper! Why? He was concentrating on the Temps (the "Funny Band", as he always called it!).

This was like a carrot - I looked for every single Temps performance I could find - Walthamstow Town Hall, Royal Forest Hotel in Chingford, Star and Garter by Kew Bridge ... and during the early 1960s I used to watch the "Sunday Band" - Bobby Kerr, Cooper, Frankie Tomes, etc., at the regular lunchtime session in Putney's Half Moon, then another pub down the road. 

During the middle '60s I even attended Cooper's art classes which he ran at Stepney Evening Institute with Peggy, his first wife. I stayed with Cooper at their house in Bolingbroke Grove, Wandsworth, universally known as the "Bolly", for weekends when he was with Clorinda (producing sons Boris, then Rollo). This house had been in the family of Thomas Crapper and the toilets and bathroom were a joy to behold!

 

Thomas Crapper toilets

 

We used to go out scavenging - his favourite places were empty, derelict houses in his area where we would liberate yucca plants for his garden - one of his passions. My mother presented him with three Peace roses (she worked on a big farm in Old Harlow, Essex, which grew roses for Harry Wheatcroft and Sam McGredy, and she was in charge of the production). Eventually, he dug those up and took them with him when he moved to the Twr in Hay-on Wye when he sold the Bolly house in 1993. Always his last call on Saturday afternoons was to the local butcher who used to save him all the scraps which went into his beloved, bubbling, never-empty soup vat on the kitchen range! I can never understand why we didn't get food poisoning!!!

We both had Austin A35 vans for transport! Cheap to run and easy to repair! He clued me up on cigarettes - 'always smoke Player's Weights - they went out when you put them down' - the perfect, economical gigster's fag!! I was working in the City from 1961 up to 1967 and used to go to the Rumboe, just down from the Old Bailey, where he used to play with the likes of André Beeson, Will Hastie and Bert Murray - interesting sessions...!!! 

In 1968/69 he worked regularly at the Lord Rookwood in Leytonstone with "Coop's Group" - John Farrell (piano), Pete Beresford (vibes) and Billy Loch (drums). Occasionally Alan Rogers would be the pianist, especially at the Seven Kings Hotel.

Click here to listen to Coop's Group in 1968 playing Sugar.

 

Alan Coopper at Hay 1996

 

We had a wonderful weekend at the Hay Jazz Festival at the end of July 1996, where he performed a couple of sets with Martin Litton on piano and Stanley Adler on cello, and I guested with Jerry Senfluk. Click here to listen to the Trio playing You Took Advantage Of Me. On another track, Alan Cooper plays Bix Beiderbecke's Davenport Blues on bass clarinet - click here.

I lost immediate touch in 1974 when I got my first teaching post in Havant, Hampshire and moved to Portsmouth. It was at that point he gave me one of his favoured Clinton System clarinets, which I have by my side to this day! After that, our meetings were less frequent, and later tended to be at Hay where he had set up a new "Bolly" with his third wife, Jenefer.

I know he played regularly with Jamie Evans (piano) at the Plough for many years before leaving London. He was very good at sending me postcards to keep in touch and his passing in 2007 was a very sad moment for British jazz. A major highly-respected character was lost ...

Click here for Jamie Evans' website 'Alan Cooper Remembered' where you will find more information and tracks by 'Coop'.

[Chris Macdonald continues looking back - click here].

 

 

Tomorrow's Warriors Extraordinary Showcase

Howard Lawes reviews the organisation's performances at the Royal Festival Hall's Clore Ballroom in December 2017.

In their 25th year (although some sources suggest they began in 1991) the Tomorrow's Warriors organisation and musicians who have passed through their development programmes have pretty much swept the board when it comes to awards and recognition of achievement in UK jazz. In the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, winners included Tomorrow's Warriors themselves for 'Jazz Education'; Nerija, Cleveland Watkiss and Shabaka Hutchins. Moses Boyd picked up a MOBO, Ezra Collective a UMA and co-founder Gary Crosby was presented with a BASCA award. Given the current success and up-beat predictions for the future careers of several Tomorrow's Warriors alumni anyone with an interest in spotting jazz stars of the future should surely have been at The Royal Festival Hall on a Sunday in December where the latest generation of up and coming jazz musicians were performing in the 25th Anniversary Extraordinary Winter Showcase.

 

Tomorrow's Warriors

 

After an introduction from artistic director Gary Crosby and a brief but informative film about learning with Tomorrow's Warriors, the music kicked off with the Junior Band which had Gabriel Jones on alto saxophone, Dominic Abrokwa on trombone, India Pascal on piano, Ygor Querino on double bass and JR Carlyon on drums. Members of the Junior Band are typically early teens with experience of playing jazz ranging from a few weeks to a couple of years. All of them played really well with some intelligent soloing but at the end of their set they disappointingly just wandered off stage without really acknowledging the audience.  Next up was a group of older musicians, generally Gary Crosby's mates, who played a very nice set including requests from the audience. A couple of younger musicians joined in, William Wood playing a mean tenor saxophone and Ezra Collective member Dylan Jones on trumpet.

Click here for a video of the Ezra Collective playing Enter The Jungle live at at Sofar, London in 2016.

The Tomorrow's Warriors Youth Ensemble consists of older teenagers and early twenty year olds with several years experience and some really impressive expertise. The music was introduced by drummer Cassius Cobson and the band started with Inner Urge, Donovan Haffner ably adopting the Joe Henderson role; There Will Never Be Another You had Joseph Oti playing trumpet in this tune popularised as a jazz standard by Chet Baker and Maddy Coombes added a swinging solo on tenor saxophone. A tremendous version of the Sonny Rollins classic Oleo had a great conversation going on between guitarist Francisco Garcia de Paredes and drummer Cassius Cobson and this very talented band, with Jonah Grimbley on piano and Jaques Jervis on double bass, finished off with Nothing Personal composed by Don Grolnick and featured on saxophonist Michael Brecker's debut album.

During the extended interval many of the young players amused themselves by jamming together in the Green Room and it was a joy to see and hear these really talented young musicians relishing the opportunity to play together as they do most weekends in the practice rooms of the Royal Festival Hall where Tomorrow's Warriors have been resident since 2009.  Talking of really talented young musicians it was great to see Moses Boyd who dropped in to help celebrate the anniversary.  Moses came through the Tomorrow's Warriors scheme about 10 years ago when they were based at the Spice of Life in Soho. Now he is enjoying a great deal of success as a professional musician leading the current Nerijasurge of young UK jazz musicians who are making a huge impact at the moment. In those earlier days there were less students than there are now but the same friendly, supportive environment was fostered by the tutors which Moses found so helpful.

 

Nerija

 

The second part of the showcase began with another film about a Tomorrow's Warriors initiative called The Jazz Ticket which is a schools-based music education project that brings together young musicians from across the UK to work with leading jazz professionals on a set of specially arranged compositions marking anniversaries of the birth of some really outstanding jazz musicians.

Click here to watch The Jazz Ticket film (5 minutes).

After the film, music was provided by the Tomorrow's Warriors Female Frontline, an all female band emphasising one of Tomorrow's Warriors founding principles which is to encourage female participation in the music industry.  This band is led by alto saxophonist Aleksandra Topczewska and includes young women aged between 15 and 22 playing a varied programme that began with the song Crazy Race by trumpeter Roy Hargrove, sung by the two vocalists Kasia Kawalek (who also plays flute) and Loucin Moskofian, with Lettie Leyland on trumpet.  Miles Davis' Jam Session from the Dingo film and album provided great opportunities for improvising solos supported by the rhythm section of Roella Oloro on piano, Nia Tilli on double bass and Alana Curtis on drums. Maddy Coombes stood out with her tenor saxophone.  The next number was Red Clay by Freddie Hubbard, featuring trumpet and piano and the set concluded with Strasbourg Saint Denis, another composition from Roy Hargrove that highlighted Jelly Cleaver on guitar and Oyin Ogunjobi on bass clarinet.

Click here for a video of the Female Collective band playing live in 2017.

The grand finale of the day was a performance of The Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky, arranged by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, performed by the Tomorrow's Warriors Youth Orchestra directed by Binker Golding. If anyone needed any further convincing of the quality of both the tutors and students within the Tomorrow's Warriors stable then this classic piece of music provided it.  This really is a major piece that any orchestra would find both challenging and gratifying.  As the suite is for a jazz, rather than a classical orchestra, there is more emphasis onMoses Boyd rhythm, brass and woodwind than strings. Unlike some other jazz arrangements of classical music the solos last for just a few bars, nevertheless pianist Jonah Grimbley, saxophonists William Wood and Maddy Coombes, Oyin Ogunjobi on bass clarinet, Mebrakh Johnson on clarinet and Zoe Pascal on drums demonstrated their virtuosity and the whole orchestra with Binker Golding ably conducting produced a great performance that was warmly applauded by the enthusiastic audience.

Moses Boyd

This was a wonderful day that clearly demonstrated the wealth of talent within the Tomorrow's Warriors organisation, both on stage and in the background.  Founders Gary Crosby and Janine Irons have rightly received much acclaim for their foresight in setting up the original music education and artist development programme and also for their continued enthusiasm that has seen their creation become a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England.  Clearly success breeds success for Tomorrow's Warriors, and while the music industry can seem like a mountain to climb, the young musicians on view today are gaining that huge advantage which Moses Boyd found so useful as he developed his career.

 

 

 

 

Forum

 

Cooks Ferry Inn

Clarinettist Alvin Roy follows up last month's correspondence about Cooks Ferry Inn in Edmonton:

'Apropos the article regarding the Cook’s Ferry Inn last month (click here). I remember doing a gig there with my trad band in the early sixties with Diz Disley as our featured guest.  I knew Diz vaguely, having met him at the 100 club but had never played with him and I wasn’t sure how he would fit in a band that had a banjo but as I recall, he played most of the evening as a Django style soloist. He joined us on the stage, after we had played a couple of numbers, clutching his guitar in one hand and a full bottle of brandy in the other. At the end of the night, he climbed down from the stage still clutching his guitar in one hand and a now empty bottle of brandy in the other. We were all astonished at his musicianship, while, at the same time, admiring his capacity to down a full bottle of brandy during the set. Quite a character!'

 

 

Chris Worrall - The Fox And Hounds, Haywards Heath, Sussex

Chris Worrall's son, Paul Worrall, writes:

'I was interested to find some information related to my late father on your website. Chris Worrall, the landlord of the Fox and Hounds as referenced in the Mike Collier profile page (click here), would have been 90 today. I was wondering if you have any further information or could point me to any other people/sites that might have further information on my Dad or jazz at the Fox? I was too young (born in '74) and sent to bed to remember most of the guests that stayed with us. I do recall standing in awe as Digby Fairweather took my plastic toy trumpet and played some incredible tune. I also remember being incredibly impressed when Americans would turn up. I don't know why, they just seemed exciting and like in the films! The Jazz days were very happy ones for my Dad and I'd love to see if there were any other trinkets of information available'.

Please contact us if you are able to help Paul with any information.

 

 

John Cole - Pianist

Jane Wilkins asks:

'I know this is a long shot but my husband was conceived by a John Cole at Bentwaters, Suffolk in 1963. His mum met John Cole at a dance on the base at Woodbridge. I think he was in Sandy Brown's Jazz Band at some point. We don't know much more. We have been looking for years and then I saw on Google that John Cole played harmonica for Sandy Brown. He was a black serviceman in the RAF. Obviously he might not be around now but we thought he might have had children. He did know about the pregnancy, but at the time my husband's mum was married to Roy Wilkins. Unfortunately Roy, was shot by the IRA when my husband was 5. His mum's name was Rosalind Wilkins and my husband, Lawrence, only found out that Roy was not his dad when he was 28. It means a lot to him if anyone can help with information about John Cole'.

(Ed: As far as I can see, John Cole was not a regular musician with Sandy Brown. There was a John Cole who played harmonica when Sandy played recorded 3 tracks with Folk band Alan Lomax and the Ramblers in London on the 2nd August 1956 and I expect that this is the reference Jane saw on Google, but I guess it is possible that a pianist / harmonica player, John Cole, sat in with the band at another time. If anyone can help with any further information for Jane, please contact us).

 

 

 

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Jazz In A Broad Way

Verona Chard Wimbledon poster

 

 

If you live in South West London, here are some enjoyable gigs coming your way at Wimbledon Theatre Studio Theatre and Bar on 28th January; 18th February and 25th March.

Advertised as an evening of 'sultry swing, funky beats, foot tapping originals and dance divining global tunes' vocalist Verona Chard is heading up a Jazz Jam - so bring your instruments or voice and join in or listen to 'tunes that will mesmerise and delight your soul'.

Not only is Verona Chard a popular vocalist (her album Fever - In Love With Shakespeare is always a good listen), but she has become very active in promoting accessible jazz events for children (the Musical Balloon Band) and adults.

These should be fun sessions. Click here for more details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

 

John Critchinson

 

John Critchinson - 'Critch' - an English jazz pianist born in London who started out as a part-time musician with Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes. He was a member of Ronnie Sctott's Quartet until 1995 and during that time he worked with many visiting American musicians. In the early 1980s he was associated with British jazz fusion. He recorded with Dick Morrissey and was a member of Martin Drew's Our Band and in 1995, John formed a quartet with Art Themen on saxophone, Dave Green on bass and Dave Barry on drums. When Ronnie Scott died in 1996, John formed the Ronnie Scott Legacy band with Pat Crumly on saxophone and flute. More recently he had been playing and recording with saxophonist Simon Spillett. Click here for John's website. Click here for a video of John with the Ronnie Scott Quintet playing Cantaloupe Island.

 

 

 

Kevin Mahogany

 

 

 

Kevin Mahogany - American vocalist from Kansas City influenced by saxophonists Ben Webster, Charlie Parker and Al Jarreau. He performed with musicians such as Elvin Jones and Ray Brown and made a number of recordings with people like Ralph Moore, Kenny Barron, Ray Brummond and Lewis Nash. In 1996 he portrayed the midcentury crooner Big Joe Turner in Robert Altman’s film “Kansas City.” He also appeared in “Jazz ’34: Remembrances of Kansas City Swing,” a companion film built around a jam session shot on the set of “Kansas City.” Click here for a video of Kevin Mahogany singing Duke Ellington's Satin Doll in a tribute to Clint Eastwood and his movies.

 

 

 

 

Keely Smith

 

Keely Smith - American singer born Dorothy Keely in Norfolk, Virginia who started out with Louis Prima's band. She was married to Prima until 1961. When they played Chicago in 1959, the critic Will Leonard wrote in The Chicago Tribune: “Louis Prima and Keely Smith may not put on the most aesthetic show in town. But, man, they put on the swingingest.” Keely had already begun a solo career during their marriage when she recorded the album I Wish You Love arranged by Nelson Riddle. She developed her solo career after her divorce from Louis, although it was interrupted for a period to raise her daughters. Sinatra signed her to his label, Reprise Records, and they recorded the duet So In Love in 1963, also arranged by Nelson Riddle. Click here for a video of Keely Smith and Louis Prima singing That Old Black Magic.

 

 

 

 

Sunny Murray

 

 

Sunny Murray - American drummer born in Idabel, Oklahoma. Described as an 'influential drummer who was among the first to define a personal style in the free-jazz idiom', he met pianist Cecil Taylor in 1960. He had worked with tenor saxophonist Rocky Boyd, and sometimes sat in with Jackie McLean and James Moody and then after his partnership with Taylor, went on to work with Albert Ayler. He moved to Europe in 1968 where he continued to play and record. Click here for a video of Sunny Murray, Elvin Jones and Art Blakey drumming in 1968.

 

 

 

 

Vincent Nguini

 

Vincent Nguini - Guitarist from the Cameroon best known for playing with Paul Simon's band but he was fluent in jazz, blues, salsa, samba, bikutsi and makossa from Cameroon, highlife from Ghana, juju from Nigeria, soukous from Congo and mbaqanga from South Africa, as well as Mr. Simon’s folk-pop. A fan of Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Wes Montgomery, he began his collaboration with Paul Simon after coming to New York City in 1987; they were introduced by the South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. Click here for a video of Vincent Nguini playing Dazzling Blue with Paul Simon in 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

Mundell Lowe

 

 

Mundell Lowe - American guitarist born in Mississippi. He played with Ray McKinley and Benny Goodman before becoming an NBC staff musician in 1950. During his career, he worked with Benny Carter, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald Johnny Hodges, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Lee Konitz and many others. Click here for a video of Mundell Lowe at a concert introduced by the late Louis Stewart in Dublin in 2008 playing Darn That Dream.

 

 

 

 

Barry Whitworth - UK trumpeter and bandleader. Peter Maguire writes: 'Barry was a major force on the northern jazz scene during the nineteen sixties onwards. He lived in Sheffield and outside of his musical interests was a successful businessman. The Barry Whitworth Quintette featured some of the most talented musicians of the era playing superbly executed hard bop. I do in fact have a CD of the band, some tracks recorded at the legendary Forty Three Club in Manchester and would be more than willing to send a copy to anyone who might like to hear just how top draw they were (click here to contact Peter). We do not currently have an obituary for Barry, but will add one if it becomes available.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Album Released: January / February 2018 - Label: Woodville Records

 

Alan Barnes and David Newton

Ask Me Now

 

Robin Kidson reviews this record for us::

Alan Barnes and David Newton, two stalwarts of the British jazz scene, have been collaborating on various projects for 40 years. Ask Me Now is their latest joint outing and features Barnes on clarinet, and alto, soprano and baritone saxophones; and Newton on piano. Together, they elegantly work their way through eleven pieces ranging from old standards to some less familiar tunes.

The sleeve notes nonchalantly tell us that the album was “recorded ‘round Ronnie Smith’s house, Watford on 12th and 13th July 2017” and, indeed, photos of the recording session on the sleeve show microphones,Alan Barnes and David Newton Ask Me Now musicians and instruments within the cosy domestic setting of stairs, halls and sitting rooms. This lends an appealingly intimate tone to the album, as if the musicians were performing in your own sitting room. You can almost hear them breathing – and what sounds like humming on occasion. It has to be said, though, that there is nothing home-made about the recording quality which is superb.

There is a freshness to the album which may also be partly a consequence of the recording context. Familiar tunes, like the Jerome Kern opening track, I Won’t Dance, are played as if they’d never been played before. The quality of the improvising is a factor here – both Barnes and Newton are skilled and imaginative improvisers who never allow themselves to settle into a complacent groove.

Another factor contributing to the fresh feel is the emotion which both musicians invest in their playing. Listening to Barnes’s lilting and passionate alto on I Won’t Dance, for example, is enough to convince you that, no, he won’t dance. Ever. But it is on clarinet, of which he is surely one of the modern masters, that Barnes can be at his most feeling and lyrical. On the Luiz Bonfa tune, The Gentle Rain, for example, his warm clarinet leaps and soars.

Even on baritone, which sometimes I find can be a cumbersome, rather cold instrument, Barnes hits the mood time after time – pleasantly melancholic on Billy Strayhorn’s Ballad For Very Sad And Very Tired Lotus Eaters; wistful but intense on the old standard, Little Man, You’ve Had A Busy Day; humorous and agile on the title track, Thelonious Monk’s Ask Me Now.   

But this is not the Alan Barnes Show with Newton providing the accompaniment. This is a genuine collaboration with both musicians interacting beautifully, their contributions knitting together to create constantly satisfying performances. On The Gentle Rain, for example, Newton’s arpeggios mimic the sound of said rain perfectly. On Ask Me Now, Newton is just as agile and imaginative as Barnes, and both capture the Monk-like Alan Barnes and David Newtonmood of the piece. The Harry Warren composition, You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me, sounds like the two musicians are having a far-reaching conversation with each other in the pub.

Barnes contributes one of his own compositions to the album: The Sun, The Sea, The Stars, And Me, originally composed for lyrics by Alan Plater. As a tune, it easily holds its own with the rest of the album, with an attractive bossa nova rhythm rendered superbly by Newton. Not to be outdone, Newton brings his own composition, Looking At You – coincidentally, another gentle bossa nova (and another memorable tune) – to the table.

The highlight of the whole album is a version of Duke Ellington’s The Mooche. Barnes plays some marvellously passionate and brooding clarinet, engaging with all the different moods and registers of the piece. Newton’s bluesy piano has touches of Ellington and Monk, but is mainly Newton. Both players manage to sound like a much bigger ensemble than a duo, locking together in a compelling performance which would surely have even impressed the Duke himself.

This album will be available on Woodville Records during January 2018 and more widely from February.

Click here for a video of Alan Barnes and David Newton playing The Song Is You in 2017 with Eryl Roberts (drums) and Ed Harrison (bass) - [Not on the album].

Click here for Alan Barnes' website. Click here for David Newton's website.

 

Robin Kidson

 

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Album Released: 24th February 2017 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings

 

Josephine Davies

Satori

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Josephine Davies (tenor & soprano saxophones);  Dave Whitford (double bass); Paul Clarvis (drums).

The inventive percussionist Paul Clarvis hasn’t crossed my path for a few years.  It’s probably a matter of where I’ve been, not him.  (His world’s bigger than mine.)  No matter, it’s great to rattle my ears again with his take on time.  Paul Clarvis smacks drumhead, rim and metal in a way that edges a band forward; like dodging dodgems.  There’s something Southend-On-Sea about him.  Here Mr Clarvis is in partnership with bassist Dave Whitford.  A man who is so damn linear he runs a continuous line straight through this session.  He couldJosephine Davies Satori lead you into tomorrow without you realising midnight had passed the witching hour.  Why, what’s on their agenda?  Josephine Davies.  A reeds player who is new to me.  Her soprano is both strong and smooth, her tenor a feed off all those names you already know, yet she definitely has her own way of doing stuff.  Dances the sound of her two horns into some very fine music.  Already the Satori session could be said to have raised the game, at least in the UK. 

The fact that Ms Davies has taken (what still seems like) a bold step and dispensed with ‘comping chords’ is to her credit.  No piano or guitar.  The Clarvis/Whitford team afford her all the clarity she needs.  Satori has got to rate as a debut classic, full of fine artistry and unfettered melodic investigations, brimming over with pleasure.  She name-checks Sibelius on the cover.  Okay, I wouldn’t know about that.  I’d checkmate Ornette and call it a day.

The opener, Insomnia is all melodic soprano, a nice taster.  Then you hit this short thing called Something Small played on a new voice tenor and it seems as if the leader has just opened the windows.  She might as well be reading poetry.  The saxophone is singing unaccompanied for the first verse then Mr Whitford’s bass begins following her note for note, and that man Clarvis is shaking his drum kit around the pair of them as if the party’s over and they’re making their way home through deserted streets where they’ve got the whole width of the road.  Josephine Davies is faintly awesome, dying a note the way Charles Lloyd used to.  She lets this Something Small bleed into the third track The Tempest Prognosticator (a 19th Century leech barometer – no, I don’t know either). To my ears it begins before the other has ended.  It doesn’t matter, that’s why Something Small is recorded, just play the track over and over again until you’ve convinced yourself it’s the tonic you’ve been searching for since the coming of the winter solstice. Then you can allow entry to The Prognosticator and wake up to the realisation that here is another whole composition turned into an experiment as powerful as medication.  A tight bass and drum duet leads into the tenor getting turned on until it swings and races through the non-existent ‘changes’ like Jarrett or someone similar had got hold of an invisible score and was playing them in silence.  I tell ya, she’s the real thing.  And this trio is exactly where she should be right now.  Ms Davies has been in the reeds ranks of both the Pete Hurt Orchestra and the London Jazz Orchestra.  Fine, but having some space around her is definitely what’s needed. 

Click here to listen to The Tempest Prognosticator.

It’s not always true that the longest cut is the deepest.  But I’m going to try and make that case for Snakes.  It’s not that Snakes is way ahead of the pack.  This album is consistently good from the git-go.  Snakes is singled out because it begins languid and loose, almost a casual slow blues pulled from the pocket; there’s Clarvis Josephine Davies trioworrying the cymbals, Whitford pulling off a bass line like he borrowed it and can’t give it back, and the tenor unthreatening and late-night.  But as the saxophone talks, it begins to speak of midnight’s demons and gradually unfolds into something close to Coltrane when he was still recording for Atlantic. It’s possible to position the saxophone with such a description.  But it really will not do.  Let’s start a new paragraph.

 

Click here to listen to Snakes.

 

 

This Satori album contains two takes of a composition called Paradoxy which are a straight nod to Sonny Rollins both in the title and recital, but Snakes has much bolder ambitions.  Josephine manages to squeeze through the gap in mere ‘homage’.  Her Snakes contain venom.  It is one of four tracks on the album recorded live at the Jazz Nursery at Southwark. Listen carefully and you can hear the audience respond to this ‘snake’ (a term Evan Parker used to use for his horn).  There’s a couple of other smart performances, Crisp Otter (say it fast and think of a famous America tenor player).  There’s an odd time signal, a theme which spreads out and then closes in on itself. I like the fact that a dedication can both invoke another player without paraphrasing them. 

The other key track is a spare twisting, circling thing called The Yips.  It runs the Davies soprano very close to the territory of Jane Ira Bloom.  Ms Davis allows the straight horn to sing through its full length.  The sound simply takes off.  And it’s here that the Clarvis/Whitford partnership becomes embedded.  There’s space given to a truly creative tangled percussion/single noted duet - all brushed snare smacks and flip flicks, double bass picking a line free of borders.  Yippee!

Click here to listen to Something Small.

I’m totally convinced.  Josephine Davies needs to hang onto this trio.  I hope to hear them again, live and on disk.  Someone put the word out – DAVIES, CLARVIS, WHITFORD. 

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Steve Day  www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

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Album Released: 1st October 2017 - Label: Self Released

 

Fraser And The Alibis

Fraser & The Alibis

 

Howard Lawes reviews this album for us:

This eponymous debut album from Fraser & The Alibis is the result of someone's Dad suggesting the band do a recording.  The group of erstwhile music students from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama met at college and have been playing together for around 10 years.  The band features Fraser Smith on tenor saxophone,  Joe Webb on Hammond organ, Harry Sankey on guitar and Gethin Jones on drums.  The albumFraser and the Alibis album has seven tracks and lasts twenty five minutes in total. 

Major influences for the band include tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon, guitarist Wes Montgomery and organist Jack McDuff; all musicians who were active around the 1960s during the hard bop and soul jazz era. This style of music came into being in reaction to both the cool jazz of the 1950s and rock and roll which was rapidly gaining popularity with young audiences at the time. Hard bop is dynamic and vigorous music with roots in gospel and blues and Fraser Smith & The Alibis happily embrace this genre with gusto, Joe Webb's Hammond organ in particular evoking giants of the style such as Jimmy Smith. All of the tunes are compositions by Fraser Smith.

Fraser Smith describes the music the band play as straight ahead jazz, in other words a melody (or head) establishing a chord progression that is typically repeated each time a band member plays a solo. This approach is commonly adopted in jam sessions and at jazz clubs and pubs where perhaps a visiting soloist plays with the house rhythm section and it is enjoyed by many jazz fans, particularly when the soloists are really good.  Luckily this band does have some really good musicians with a combination of instruments that provide excellent opportunities for some exciting music.

The first two tracks are classics of the straight ahead genre, entitled Dream and French Toast respectively. Both melodies have Smith's distinctive, burly saxophone providing the introduction and lively solos from saxophone, organ and guitar.  The next track is a blues, called B's Blues, and is the longest track on the album; Fraser and the Alibisthe title could indicate a link to BB King and the guitar does get the first solo.  Track 4, On The Green reverts back to the original format with another strong saxophone melody and some really good solo improvisations.

Click here for a video of Fraser and the Alibis playing On The Green at Sofar, London on March 31st, 2017.

Track 5, Breakout, raises the tempo considerably with a bebop style piece, energetic drumming and solos that really demonstrate the bands skill and versatility. Tracks 6 and 7, Boogaloo Stew and The Woods return to the straight ahead style which Fraser Smith and the band are passionate about. 

The straight ahead style of jazz and hard bop played by Fraser Smith & The Alibis was probably most popular in the 1960s and again from 1980s but is still enjoyed today by many and it is they who will most appreciate this album.  The album transfers your local jazz club into your living room and this may be an attractive option if winter tightens its icy grip and no one fancies venturing out of the house. The band is made up of some talented, energetic musicians who are making their way in the music world playing different styles of jazz in various bands, which is confirmed on the band website where it states that the band has an unrivalled repertoire of American songbook and classic popular tunes and that they have played at over 500 private and corporate events.  In view of this it is a little disappointing that the album is rather short and could perhaps have been improved with some extra tracks, maybe a ballad or two and some variations of tempo and rhythm. 

Click here to listen to the complete debut album from Fraser and the Alibis.

Click here for Fraser and the Alibis' website.

Click here for our 'Tea Break' with Fraser Smith.

 

Howard Lawes

 

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Album Released: 1st December 2017 - Label: Lake Records

 

Freddy Randall and his Band

My Tiny Band Is Chosen

The Parlophone Years : 1952 - 1957

 

Lake Records continue their retrospective collections by British jazz musicians with this compilation of tracks from trumpeter Freddy Randall and his Band. From the correspondence I receive, I know many readers have fond memories of the Freddy Randall band playing at venues such as Wood Green Jazz Club or Cooks Ferry Inn or from those who played with him such as Dave Keir and Gerry Salisbury, both who feature on this album.

As usual with Lake releases, Paul Adams has included informative liner notes, in this case looking back at the record labels that existed as the Trad boom grew in the 1940s and 1950s and how they responded to jazz. 'Parlophone on the other hand was the one label to embrace it from the word go' ..... 'Lyttelton and Randall produced two of the finest bands of the era. Freddy Randall did not achieve the fame and following Humph did, but given the number of records which were issued, they must have sold well enough to justify continuing withFreddy Randall My Tiny Band Is Chosen releases. In those days Freddy stuck doggedly to his Chicago / Condon / Spanier style: he was not frightened to use a guitar instead of a banjo and, like Humph, was prepared to use a saxophone'.

Freddy Randall was born in 1921 in Clapton, East London. At eighteen he was playing trumpet with the St Louis Four and with other bands as a sideman. After the War he led his own groups that would feature many top British jazz musicians such as Bruce Turner, Danny Moss and Brian Lemon, but he sadly gave up playing between 1958 and 1963 suffering from lung problems. He returned to the recording studio in the mid 1960s playing with Dave Shepherd and recorded for Black Lion Records in the early '70s. He passed away in 1999. at the age of 78. Click here for a full obituary for Freddy in The Independent.

In his liner notes, Paul Adams quotes Digby Fairweather as saying that Freddy played: 'in a style which varied at will from the direct punch of Muggsy Spanier to the more florid creations of Harry James and Charlie Teagarden ... his records of the 1950s period - for Parlophone's Super Rhythm Style - are great Jazz in any language'.

So here we have 24 tracks in all. 21 are from Parlophone and three 'from a very rare somewhat battered acetate and have never been issued before. In fact 'The recordings on the CD came from a variety of sources: original master tapes, 78 rpm discs, LP, EP and acetates ... the rarest sides are tracks 8, 9, and 10 (Smokey Mokes; The Sheik Of Araby and At The Jazz Band Ball) and they required the most work'. As you might guess, Paul Adams has produced the reproduction with care.

The first eleven tracks are from 1952 starting with a happy version of I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None Of My Jelly Roll and Freddy takes the vocal in a line up that includes Norman Cave, Bruce Turner, Lennie Felix, Lew Green, Ted Palmer and Lennie Hastings. Dark Night Blues is an interesting track with the effects introduced in the arrangement. Opening with Lew Green's guitar the use of muted brass make this a little different to the norm. Clarinet Marmalade romps away, as you might expect, punctuated by Norman Cave's trombone and with Bruce Turner interrupting before Norman takes his solo and Ted Palmer's bass duets with Art Straddon on piano. The Original Dixieland One-Step gets your feet tapping and has a nice, extended solo from Bruce Turner. If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight) has a sensitive clarinet introduction with Freddy then taking the vocal and following it with a straight trumpet solo before Norman Cave's trombone enters. (I now realise that I have not given due notice in the past to Norman's playing).

Billy Banks takes the vocals on Tishomingo Blues with a line up where David Fraser on piano, Bob Coram on guitar and Ron Stone, bass, replace Art Straddon, Lew Green and Ted Palmer. Banks has a distinctive vocal style and here again Norman Cave makes himself heard. The same line up play Walking The Dog, a dance step described by Banks in his vocal. Bruce Turner's clarinet is a joy 'walking that dog, boy'! 'Do that slow drag round the hall ... drop just like a dog'. Smokey Mokes, one of the rare tracks here, has call and response with the rhythm section solidly driving the band through a great track that exudes 'happy'. The Sheik Of Araby Freddy Randallripples in with David Fraser's piano leading into a clear Freddy Randall trumpet solo before trombone and clarinet come out the play, and then At The Jazz Band Ball is taken fast; played this fast even the teens of the time would have had a job dancing to it! The same band line up slows down somewhat for Sunday with nice ensemble interaction and a solo from Bruce Turner before Freddy cuts in. Norman's trombone and David's piano each take us back to the ensemble. Let me mention again the solid rhythm section that ties things together well.

 

Freddy Randall

 

The next three tracks introduce a different line up from 1955. Trumpeter Dave Keir plays trombone here; Al Gay (a charming, highly respected musician I only met once and sadly never heard play live) has the clarinet; Betty Smith is on tenor sax, Harry Smith on piano and bass, and Stan Bourke has the drums. They take the title track, a derivative My Tiny Band Is Chosen, with a storming solo from Freddy Randall and a short swinging burst from Betty Smith. They follow it with Hindustan with a weaving clarinet from Al Gay before Betty solos again. Al Gay has his solo turn as does Harry Smith on piano before the ensemble drives to the finish. W.C. Handy's Memphis Blues makes use of the front line in unison and Al Gay, Freddy Randall and Harry Smith take the solos. Another band change has Pete Hodge coming in on trombone, Syd Boatman at the piano and Jack Peberdy on bass for November Blues with Freddy on muted trumpet for a call and reponse beginning. Al Gay, Pete Hodge, Betty Smith and the muted Freddy take solos on this smooth version. Ja Da has Orme Stuart on trombone and Harry Smith is back at the piano. No mute to Freddy's cutting trumpet here and Al Gay's clarinet dances lightly before trombone, bass, piano and drums solo.

Another change for the next three tracks sees Eddie Thompson on piano for a welcome version of Sugar reminding us how good these musicians were. That Da Da Strain and Ain't Misbehavin' bring more good solos to old favourites. Esox and Jealousy bring an interesting change as trumpeter Gerry Salisbury takes over on bass! Gerry told me that Freddy Randall’s one-time piano player, Mike Bryan, phoned Gerry to say that he was starting up a band to play at the United States Air Force bases throughout France. Lennie Hastings, Tony Coe, and others had signed up but Mike needed a bass player – was Gerry interested? Gerry had just two weeks to learn. Mike offered Gerry an old string bass that was at Mike’s house, and two weeks later, Gerry went to France and stayed for six months playing with the band. Esox has some good solos at differing tempos.

Which brings us to the three 'bonus' tracks. These have much the same line up as the Billy Banks tracks from 1952 but without the vocalist and with Dave Fraser on piano. Avalon, Mood Indigo and New Orleans Masquerade are from battered acetates, not from Parlophone and are previously unissued. Lake Records have done an excellent job with the reproduction and with Bruce Turner's clarinet and Bob Coram's guitar on Avalon; Freddy's trumpet and Norman Cave's trombone on Mood Indigo and the Masquerade jauntily taking us out, these are welcome 'finds'.

If you remember Freddy Randall's band, this is a compilation worth having. If you don't remember Freddy Randall, this is not only a fine introdution to the bandleader but a great reminder of some early nuggets from British musicians who should not be forgotten.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Ian Maund

 

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Album Released: 4th December 2017 - Label: Luminous Label

 

Favourite Animals

Favourite Animals

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Cath Roberts (baritone saxophone); Sam Andreae (tenor saxophone); Anton Hunter (guitar); Seth Bennett (double bass); Johnny Hunter (drums); Dee Byrne (alto saxophone); Julie Kjaer (bass clarinet, flute); Tom Ward (bass clarinet, flute); Graham South (trumpet); Tullis Rennie (trombone).

When do ten Favourite Animals add up to five?  Roberts, Andreae, Bennett & 2 x Hunter’s are members of Sloth Racket (see our review archive).  The Racket is an improvising quintet led by baritone sax player Cath Roberts.  Over the last eighteen months they have begun to re-energise the process of spontaneous jazz composition/performance in the UK. This new larger version of Sloth Racket is an exciting development.  For sure if you’ve picked up on the quintet’s two previous albums Triptych and Shapeshifters you’re gonna dig thisFavourite Animals new Favourite Animals session.  But even if you found those first two precious gems a little demanding I’m suggesting you may well wish to consider this latest Cath Roberts project as a new start. 

Here comes the statement:  Favourite Animals is a brilliantly conceived big band construct, played by musicians who tip their tones to the Brotherhead of Breath, Keith Tippett’s The Ark, with a trace of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra somewhere down in the deep end.  There’s maybe even a smidgin of the great Loose Tubes in the mix.  For all that lineage, it is the FA’s who are now producing a radical contemporary music which is absolutely on the money.  The album was paid for by crowd funding; join the masses.  Favourite Animals comes very early in the year, but it makes January 2018 worth getting into; it’s a stunner!

Track one, Confirm Or Deny is undeniably ‘big’.  It steps out with a riff as huge as a dinosaur (no, this one is not extinct) and then creates space for flute/wind, reed smears to give us a whole rainforest of smaller Favourite invertebrates.  And I’m glad Cath Roberts gets in early with her baritone saxophone.  (Come ON, when do you get to hear a good bari exercising some discretion over proceedings?).  Anton Hunter’s guitar is bleeping his own spacey descriptions alongside the reeds and brass.  Plus, there’s that dinosaur riff building and fading providing a kind of compass point to the direction of travel.  The Drummer-Hunter forcefully batters his kit.  For a few bars it’s as if he’s joined the old Brecker Brothers.  Michael and Randy would have been scrambling for the open country if they’d ever been asked to get this close to a tight corner.  It’s the first track, eight minutes of creative mayhem, invention, and sheer joyous orchestrations and improv.  Already I’m congratulating the good people of the LUME collective for releasing these Favourite Animals from captivity.

Click here to listen to Confirm Or Deny.

The next fabulous track is called Unspeakable – I won’t let the title get in my way, because music like this gets to the core of what improvisation in contemporary orchestras is all about (and what it isn’t).  This is my interpretation, I don’t ‘speak’ for Cath Roberts or her crew.  The quality of Unspeakable comes direct from the interaction of the musicians, the ‘compositional’ element is in the form not the lines. It begins with Anton Hunter’s guitar, a simple chord shaping and theme setting the scenery, his brother Johnny logging the slow, slow pace of the piece with poised percussion positioning.  Everything else that is unveiled over the next eight-plus minutes grows out of these initial delicate conversational cadences.  Unspeakable doesn’t stay still, it isn’t soft focus ambient ‘Eno’, neither cathartic workout; every ‘Favourite Animal’ is on message. Reeds and brass almost shudder within their detailed front-line/backdrop of orchestration. Seth Bennett’s double bass ripples underneath the other nine like he’s had private information of the direction home.  A slightly extended Favourite Animalsversion cries out for contemporary choreography.  When it dies away, using crushed electricity coming off the Guitar-Hunter, I have to agree the performance has become Unspeakable.  The word ‘Magic’, simply will not do.

 

Click here to listen to Unspeakable.

 

What follows are three contrasting tracks.  Boiling Point is introduced by reeds, brass and an investigative double bass. Byrne, Roberts and Andreae’s reeds achieve every angle other than playing a straight line.  They know the score (that there is no score), and the flute/bass clarinet partnership of Kjaer and Ward begin a circle dance of their own. South and Rennie’s brass come to the boil just as the reeds gradually begin to pull out some long lines of form.  The Hunter brothers have also imperceptibly established contact.  The Boiling Point is cooking.  By the time the tentet reach thirteen minutes there is an arrival. The end is a lovely thing for sure but it’s how they got there that is the real fascination.  Off-World is a different pitch and only half the length of Boiling. It is built on ‘small’ sourced sounds.  The Art Ensemble of Chicago came to something close to Off-World two or three decades ago.  How any improvising ensemble harbour the tiny detail in their capabilities is surely an important facet of their art.  The AEoC were/are true pioneers of the longevity of maintaining a stable line-up over years, over decades, across continents, through marriages and death, in politics and out of politics, via reeds, brass, drum&bass and literally another hundred other instruments collected on the journey.  May it be that twenty years from now there will be a Favourite Animals continuum that tracks their journey too.  I’d suggest, it’s that important, this music.  The longevity.  And as such the discovery of the ‘smaller’ sounds – the scrapes and rattles, the overblows, the percussion of sax pads, the bringing together of the brittle wire in electricity, and the choices made in bringing them together give a sense of ‘fit’ to musicians and thus the music they make.  It’s an Off-World. The real world.

The final track is called Shreds and there-in lies the clue. Shreds is literally conceived out of Shreds of everything that has gone before. So it begins with that Confirm Or Deny riff from track one and goes on to reference aspects of Unspeakable, Boiling Point and Off-World.  By ‘shredding’ the music there is an element of re-cycling, in so doing the content has become a different thing.  To my mind Shreds could be said to be a long coda seeking to reframe the ‘bandbook’ without calling any of it into question.  I like the way it just ends.  It just stops.  No returning to the Confirm Or Deny riff, in fact not confirming or denying anything.  In doing so Cath Roberts gives validity to the whole five track performance. And I like that too.

Over the last couple of years the Cath Roberts/Dee Byrne Lume Collective (as well as the Martin Archer Discus Label in Sheffield) have really made their own ‘Giant Steps’ on the UK jazz scene.  The fact that none of these people figured in the ‘British Jazz Awards 2017’ should not be considered a problem unless you want to find one.  Often, okay very often, that’s just how it is.  It doesn’t take away from all those excellent musicians who did figure in the Awards listings.  But this I know, Favourite Animals are making a ‘mindset’ change not just a musical one.  In doing so they represent an immensely positive start to 2018.  Stay on board for the Luminous long game. Brilliant.

Click here for details and to listen to the album.

Steve Day  www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk 


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Album Released: 24th November 2017 - Label: APP Records

 

Peter Horsfall

Nighthawks

 

Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us:


This CD from Peter Horsfall is the first album under his own name, a horn player with the swinging Kansas Smittys collective; he puts down his trumpet to sing lead vocals on this 10 track album. Of these, 3 are short instrumentals, two are covers and the rest are original compositions. As with other musicians, the inspiration for the project was Edward Hopper’s painting “Nighthawks”. As Horsfall states “Edward Hopper’s painting ofPeter Horsfall Nighthawks the same name has always chimed with me. The lonely figures of the night time scene; the waiter working until the early hours, the man sat lonesome at the counter. Perhaps it is musicians who are the definitive nighthawks.”

The rest of the band comes from Horsfall’s fellow musicians in the Kansas Smittys House Band based in a bar of the same name located in Hackney, East London. They are saxophonist Giacomo Smith, pianist Joe Webb, Ferg Ireland on double bass and Pedro Segundo on drums. On track 8, Couldn’t Stop Loving You, David Archer plays guitar, and backing vocals are provided by Cherise Coryna Adams-Burnett and Renato Paris.

Click here for a video of Couldn't Stop Loving You.

The lyrics to the songs are reproduced in a booklet that accompanies the album and that has original artwork of three water colours by Cecile McLorin Salvant.

The opening title track is a fitting introduction to the ‘Nighthawks’ theme and features “breathy” vocals from Horsfall whilst the backing musicians echo the lyrics with especially good accompaniment from Smith on alto sax and Segundo on drums. The two covers are, Barry Harris’ Paradise and Duke Ellington’s Sunset & The Mockingbird which has a new lyric.

The compositions by Horsfall are: Then I Saw You, Secretly, Couldn’t Stop Loving You and This Is Goodbye. The 3 instrumental sections are entitled Interludes 1-3 and as they are interludes, they are very short, but I would have liked a touch more of these atmospheric and melancholy pieces. The closing track This Is Goodbye is also appropriately titled and the drums and double bass lend a gravitas to the finale.

Edward Hopper Nighthawks

 

This is not a CD that gets your foot tapping, nor is it the most uplifting, but it is different. There is a strong nightclub set feel with some of the lyrics and vocals taking you straight back to the 1930s or '50s (eg. Paradise).

 

Edward Hopper - Nighthawks

 

 

Horsfall’s voice is hard to categorise, some comment it is “bittersweet”, “plaintive” or gritty”, perhaps it is just unique. However, although the structure with its mix of vocals and instrumental interludes is dated in itself, there is a sense of modernising in the contemplation within the lyrics. The album title is well echoed in the desolation from the sound of the voice and lyrics which enhance the late night vibe.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Tim Rolfe

 

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Album Released: 7th July 2017 - Label: Rogue Art

 

Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core

Wild Red Yellow

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Larry Ochs (tenor & sopranino saxophones); Natsuki Tamura (trumpet); Satoko Fujii (piano, synthesizer); Scott Amendola (drums, percussion, electronics); Matthias Bossi (thunder drums; Chinese gongs, shaky flotsam, percussion); William Winant (timpani, roto-toms, percussion).

The Drum is the most basic and yet at the same time, one of the most sophisticated of instruments. What do you do with it?  You hit it!  Sound.  Hit it! Tap it. Stroke it.  One way or an other it carries the rhythm of the heartbeat.  It holds loops; on beat, off beat, rolls, fills, a single shot.  There are flicks and brushes on skin, heavy hands to touch-light.  The beat can be eternal, the beat can be a moment struck in emphasis.  Duke Ellington called one of his short epics A Drum Is A Woman (click here).   It became a controversial title because, for sure The Larry Ochs Wild Red Yellow Duke was using the phrase to carry the humanity of rhythm, but women (and men, adult and children) should not be beaten to obtain their sound.  I would suggest, the drum is an instrument that carries what we ourselves cannot hold, and therein lies its importance and fascination. 

When Larry Ochs originally formed his Sax And Drumming Core, the band was a trio including current kit drummer, Scott Amendola.  The focus was on the trade off between the leader’s horns and Mr Amendola’s percussion. Scott Amendola still has a central role within the Core but for Ochs the drum became so compulsive that he needed more beats than one person could produce - enter Matthias Bossi and William Winant on gongs, timpani, plus a massive collection of additional percussion.  Running in parallel with all this is the fact that Larry Ochs is also one of the original members of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, formed in 1977, who could be said to have their roots in John Coltrane’s later works like Ascension and Meditations. In other words, the period when Coltrane was piling on beats through the use of double drummers and percussionists.  Rashid Ali, his regular drummer, was being asked to multiply time and rhythm.  The music could not stop still; it was eventually played to the backdrop of a thickening of beats.  Of course the ‘twist’ is that Rova Saxophone Quartet, the band that ‘made’ Larry Ochs name, actually contains no percussion at all.

The essential premise of Wild Red Yellow is to connect drumming into the core of things.  If necessary, to run so many beats in different times and combinations that it becomes possible to trade off the ‘frontline’ of Larry Ochs’ tenor and sopranino saxophones / Natsuki Tamura’s trumpet / Satoko Fujii’s keyboards into multiple directions.  At any split second in the process, the direction of travel can be shredded into a number of routes at exactly the same time. 

The album only has three tracks, Omenicity, A Sorcerer’s Fate and Wild Red Yellow . Of the three, Sorcerer’s is the shortest at just over nine minutes, bookended by the big beast Omenicity and the title track, both weighing in at over twenty minutes each.  Already this description doesn’t need a conjurer to work out that the content of this Wild Red Yellow session is not for the faint hearted.  It demands acute concentration on the part of the musicians and, if you’re going to commit to the course of events, a lot from the listener too.  Can I recommend it to you?  You bet you I can.  Wild Red Yellow is like going on an intense fitness course at the gym. Damn hard work, not to be taken lightly, but once completed the result is a feeling of exhilaration.  It’s a whole body experience – what comes through your ears is ingested and then poured through your inner system of nerve endings, muscle and mind.  Jeepers! Drums are the thunder of the soul.  Or at least, something like that.

Sandy Brown Jazz featured Fujii and Tamura in my November review of Satoko Fujii’s celebratory album Aspiration along with trumpet icon, Wadada Leo Smith.  Here on the Ochs album Fujii plants both her synth and piano into the mix of Omenicity early. She spins the frontline for about thirty seconds before either Larry Ochs or Natsuki Tamura can bring their horns to the mouth.  The three percussionists are already spreading a blanket of sound and fury.  Even listening blind to vision it’s obvious there are at least three languages in action.  As for Satoko Fujii, rather like the omnipresent ‘ghost in the machine’, she unleashes her own withering whine of keyboards across the soundscape as if the ears have entered Hades-Under-Heaven.  Rarely does Omenicity ease the pace, just when it seems they may be applying the breaks, the whole ‘Core’ move into a new phase.  About fifteen minutes in there is a massive sheet metal sound which brings down an arpeggio of piano.  For a short while this internal shudder ushers in a massive dance between the Larry Ochsinnards of a grand piano and the drummers.  It could be fertility; it could be death; it could be some kind of ceremonial descent into crisis.  I don’t know what it is.  The Sax And Drumming Core have pulled down the lights and entered into a storm of their own making.  Larry Ochs dedicates this huge work to June Taymor (who directed The Lion King). Omenicity would scare Broadway Theatre.  A friend of mine who knows these things, tells me June Taymor is a brave producer.  Good.  Omenicity is bravery personified.

Back in 2009 at the Sigüenza Jazz Festival in Spain a member of the audience called the police to investigate the fact that the Larry Ochs Sax And Drumming Core were not playing jazz.  Once the law enforcement arrived, they too were mystified as to whether what was coming off the stage constituted the j-word.  Sandy Brown Jazz readers will be pleased to know that the final judgement was that Larry Ochs was found to be innocent of the crime of not playing jazz.  So, it’s a matter of factual accuracy that A Sorcerer’s Fate, the ‘short’ nine minute track, has official clearance to be reviewed on a ‘jazz’ website.  For sure I find it a golden nugget. 

In my view, Mr Ochs could present Sorcerer’s Fate to the Spanish authorities as a prima facia fact that he, and indeed the whole band, are jazz musicians.  Sorcerer’s starts with a tight pulse coming off the kit drum (I think it’s Amendola), with Bossi and Winant (or maybe some other combination) whipping and whooping additional percussion on the ‘on’.  Mr Ochs eases in his tenor horn, Fujii and Tamura sound like they’ve just turned up at Ronnie Scott’s and got away with it, and then Fate deals to the damned; it is obvious, the Sax And Drumming Core playing ‘jazz’ in disguise.  Nonetheless the track maintains something close to the evidence required.  I’d swear on its authenticity (sic).

The title track, Wild Red Yellow is another country.  Essential listening.  It is twenty minutes long.  It takes its time.  What begins as a platform so spare of clutter, utterly divorced of the big gesture yet full to the brim with creative detail, ends like it has traversed a mountain range.  This is dissection of sound. The bloom of a bell ringing. The hint of synth-electricity curling on trumpet breath.  Even when Ochs’ reeds come in advocating action he is somehow contained, given space, but contained nonetheless.  Produce a wasted note at your peril; Wild Red but not wilful.  Yellow with colour not green with envy.  It is an improvisation of manners. The final result is, in its own way, a beautiful story without words and narrative.  I don’t believe in perfection, but music like Wild Red Yellow makes me want to.

Finally, let’s give a mention to the sleeve notes written by master-craftsman jazz writer, Brian Morton.  They are worth the cost the album.  Over eight paragraphs Mr Morton sets out a hypothesis on the nature of “where does Asia” begin?  A profound short speculation on the socio interrelationship between the European, the American and the ‘Asiatic’.  I have not the space to devote a second ‘review’ to Morton’s concept.  I’ll therefore finish by quoting a small section which conveys a morsel of what’s on offer:

“If one quality of Asian cultures sets them apart from the European/American then it is a curiosity of language.  European tongues lack what might be called the ostensive case, the ability to put down “Dog” or “Tree” or “Stone”, and not imply a narrative: whose dog? in what landscape? is the dog peeing on the tree?  A quality of Asian art that troubles the Western eye is that the subject floats in the picture space without context.  It presents but doesn’t explain.  Larry Ochs’s music is often like that, and it is like that here.” 

There you have it, Wild Red Yellow floats.  If I’ve provided a little context for this floating, may this not detract from Brian Morton’s fascinating premise, or an album worthy of purchase.

Click here for details.

Click here for a video of Larry Ochs Sax And Drumming Core live at The White House 2009

 

Steve Day  www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

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View From Across The Pond

 

Filipe Freitas

 

 

Filipe Freitas runs JazzTrail in New York City with photographer Clara Pereira. They feature album and concert coverage, press releases and press kits, album covers and biographies. On the JazzTrail website you will find Filipe's other album reviews, concert reviews and interviews. They are valued contacts for Sandy Brown Jazz in the United States.

You can read more about Filipe and Clara in their 'Tea Break' item with us if you click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band

Body And Shadow

Brian Blade Body and Shadow

Brian Blade (drums); Myron Walden (alto saxophone, bass clarinet); Melvin Butler (tenor saxophone); Dave Devine (guitar); Jon Cowherd (piano, keyboards); Chris Thomas (bass). 

American drummer Brian Blade has conquered many jazz fans with his sophisticated technique, open nature, and instinctual rhythm. His unique touch, never too loud and never too soft, has played a crucial role in projects of likes such as Kenny Garrett, Joshua Redman, Mark Turner, David Binney, and Wayne Shorter. He also built an amazing reputation as a leader of the Fellowship Band, a 20-year endeavour that normally comprises two saxophones, one or two guitars, piano/keyboards, and bass.

Body and Shadow is Blade’s fifth album with this band, whose regular members include saxists Myron Walden and Melvin Butler, pianist/keyboardist Jon Cowherd, and bassist Chris Thomas. The novelty here is guitarist Dave Devine, a sure-footed Denver-based rock guru, who makes his debut in the group after Daniel Lanois, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Marvin Sewell and Jeff Parker have occupied the position in the past.

Click here to listen to Duality from the album.

Embracing identical methodologies as in the previous albums, yet cutting a bit in the improvisations in detriment of a more crafted textural work, the band opens with “Within Everything”, a melodious, unfussy piece that carries the lightness of a pop song entwined with the warm melancholy of Americana. I’m quite sure that both Joni Mitchell and Oasis would approve its atmosphere.

Brian BladeThe title track was divided into three parts according to the parts of the day. “Body and Shadow (Night)” upholds a flowing chamber jazz quality, enhanced by bass clarinet melodies (expertly handled by Walden), low-toned key vibes, and bowed bass. The guitar, whether translucent or distorted, fingerpicked or strummed, fits perfectly within the uncongested musical scenario. Conversely, the ‘Morning’ part increases the electrified sounds, getting a tangy indie rock bite, while the ‘Noon’ part is a stagnant electro-acoustic episode with emphasis on Devine’s guitar.

 

Brian Blade

 

Obeying a 7/4 time signature, “Traveling Mercies” is arranged with compassionate melodies and harmonies that bring some sadness attached. It rekindles the flame during the chorus, in a successful combination of genteel jazz and untroubled folk-rock, as if Joshua Redman has fused with Crosby, Stills, and Nash. The resplendent Christian hymn “Have Thine Own Way, Lord” is subjected to two opposite treatments. The first is ‘sung’ exclusively by Cowherd's harmonium, and the second devotionally orchestrated according to Blade’s categorical arrangement.

The syncopated rhythms that initiate “Duality” are also velvety. They are an integral part of a magical soundscape, which, even shifting along the way, maintains both the consistency and stability. The improvisations are further extended here, beginning with Cowherd, who pulls out interesting melodic lines over exuberant chord changes. Giving the best sequence to a short bridge, packed with horn unisons and counterpoint, it’s Walden who, taking advantage of the recently appeared balladic tones, makes his alto saxophone cry and beseech intensely within an outstanding, repeatedly motivic post-bop language. Holding an absolute control of tempo, “Broken Leg Days” closes the session, flowing elegantly while Blade's drumming brings together simple rudiments and dynamic rhythmic accentuations.

Click here to listen to Broken Leg Days.

Brian Blade, as stylish and generous as ever, continues to persuade, and Body and Shadow is another great personal achievement that also serves to commemorate two decades of a tight musical bond.

My Favourite Tracks: Traveling Mercies, Duality and Broken Leg Days.

Click here for details. Album Released: 17th November 2017 - Label: Decca (UMO)

Filipe Freitas

 

 

 

Continental Drift

Peter Slavid

 

 

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 each month he shares that with us. This month he looks back and chooses his favourite albums from 2017.

 

 

It's been an interesting year!  Some great new CDs from old favourites, and several bands that I've heard for the first time.  I'm pleased to say that here on Mixcloud I've been getting around 200 listeners to each show, and on thejazz.co.uk. I have listed my personal favourites here in alphabetical order, you can listen to them on www.mixcloud.com/ukjazz although the sequence on the radio programme is random.  This is a very personal selection reflecting my own taste rather than any attempt to be objective.

Many are multinational collaborations, but it's interesting to see where the music came from.  Mainly because of what I get sent, the list has 5 from UK, 5 from Italy, 5 from Germany/Austria Switzerland, 3 from Benelux, 2 from France, 2 from Scandinavia, 1 from Hungary. Almost all the CDs are from different labels with only three (Dodicilune, Clean Feed and Trytone) having two entries.

Equally Stupid album

 

 

Adam Fairhall - Friendly Ghosts  (EFPI) - UK
Alexander Hawkins – Unite[e] (self) - UK
AVA Trio - Music from an Imaginary Land (Trytone) – Italy/Turkey
Big Four + Quentin Ghomari- Seven Years (NeuKlang) - France
Binker & Moses - Journey to the Mountain of Forever (Gearbox) - UK
Cortex - Avant-Garde Party Music (Clean Feed) - Norway
De Beren Gieren - Dug Out Skyscrapers (SDBan) - Netherlands
Equally Stupid - Escape From The Unhappy Society (Eclipse) – Finland/Switzerland/IcelandHan Bennink album

 

 

Gianluigi Trovesi & Umberto Petrin - Twelve Colours and Synesthetic Cells (Dodicilune) -  Italy
Han Bennink – Adelante (ICP) - Netherlands
Kusimanten - Bleib Ein Mensch  (Leo) – Germany/Austria/Ukraine
Led Bib - Umbrella Weather (Rare Noise) - UK
Maria Merlino – Alos (Rudi Records) - Italy
Max Nagle Ensemble - Live at Porgy & Bess Vienna Vol.2 (Rude Noises) - Austria
Michel Godard/Ihab Radwan - Doux Desirs (Dodicilune) – France/Egypt
Miklós Lukács, Larry Grenadier, Eric Harland - Cimbalom Unlimited (BMC) - Hungary
Morgan Freeman - Blessed Virgin Mary’s Face-To-Face Encounter with the Divine Bullshit (Trytone) - Netherlands

 

Roots Magic album

 

 

 

Morten Schantz – Godspeed (Edition) - Denmark
Pasquale Innarella Quartet – Migrantes (Alpha Music) - Italy
Roots Magic - Last Kind Words (Clean Feed) - Italy
Shake Stew - The Golden Fang (Traumton) - Austria
Stefan Schultze - Ted the Bellhop (WhyPlayJazz) - Switzerland
Tommy Smith - Embodying the Light (Spartacus) – UK

 

 

 

 

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 .

 

 

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.

 

Norma Winstone Descansado

 

Norma Winstone - Descansado Songs For Films - (ECM)

Norma Winstone (vocals); Glauco Venier (piano); Klaus Gessing (bass clarinet); Heige Andreas Norbakken (percussion); Mario Brunello (cello).

'Ms Winstone's unerring ear for what is right for her has almost become part of her art. Here she has arrived at a selection of songs that perfectly suit not just the intimate approach she adopts with Venier and Gesing, but also suits their approach to accompanying her.' Jazzwise

Details :

 

 

 

Dudley Moore Trio Today

 

The Dudley Moore Trio - Today - (èl Records)

Dudley Moore (piano); Peter Morgan (bass); Chris Karan (drums).

'Of the eight cuts here that were recorded on the back of an Australian tour (1971), five are Moore originals and each has a verve of its own ... there's also a discipline in structure that underwrites his own compositions like 'Waterloo' that leaves you wanting more.' Jazzwise

Details : Review :

 

 

 

Tony Tixier Life Of Sensitive Creatures

 

Tony Tixier - Life Of Sensitive Creatures - (Whirlwind)

Tony Tixier (piano/composition); Karl McComas Reichi (double bass); Tommy Crane (drums).

Inspired as much by Maurice Ravel and Art Tatum as Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett or Aydin Esen, pianist Tony Tixier's debut piano trio release, 'Life of Sensitive Creatures', features his original work alongside inspired interpretations in a stimulating program which breathes beauty and ingenuity. The music includes the quaint 1920s Louis Armstrong stride-piano swinger "Tight Like This", the percussive pulse of "Calling Into Question" might readily invite a pop vocal. There's the limpid romanticism of Jimmy Van Heusen's classic "Darn That Dream" and a fascinating take on "Isn't She Lovely"

Album Trailer : Details and Sample : Review :

 

 

Jason Stein Quartet Lucille

 

Jason Stein Quartet - Lucille! - (Delmark Records)

Jason Stein (bass clarinet); Keefe Jackson (tenor saxophone, contrabass clarinet); Joshua Abrams (bass); Tom Rainey (drums).

'Chicagoan bass clarinetist Jason Stein flaunts a categorical, spirited sound that can be concurrently explosive and melodic. For the new outing, Lucille!, he reunites his exciting quartet to explore compositions he penned plus hard-groovin’ renditions of classics by Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Warne Marsh, and Lenny Tristano, in a sort of a conceptual follow-up to his previous album, The Story This Time, released in 2013'. Filipe Freitas, JazzTrail.

Details : JazzTrail Review :

 

 

Michael Zilber Originals For The Originals

 

Michael Zilber - Originals For The Originals - (Origin Records)

Michael Zilber (tenor and soprano saxophone); David Kikoski (piano); James Genus (bass); Clarence Penn (drums) + guests.

'Zilber prepared Originals for the Originals, a beautiful 11-track album that homages several jazz saxophone masters. Here, he explores the boundaries beyond those traditional melodies and harmonies that served him as an inspiration ... Zilber blends influences with purpose and insight without ever compromising his own creative voice. It’s time to pay attention to his many musical qualities and if you're not familiar with his work, start with this alluring past-present effort'. Filipe Freitas, JazzTrail

Details and samples : JazzTrail Review :

 

 

Brian Charette Kurrent

 

Brian Charette - Kürrent - (Self Produced)

Brian Charette (organ, electronics); Ben Monder (guitar); Jordan Young (drums, electronics).

'Kürrent, a riveting spiral of unprecedented modern fusion with reverence for the dandy sounds of the past, is likely the boldest record from Charette, a visionary artist to be followed very closely'. Filipe Freitas, JazzTrail

Details and Samples : JazzTrail Review : Video

 

 

 

Nick Fraser Is Life Long

 

Nick Fraser Quartet - Is Life Long? - (Clean Feed)

Tony Malaby (tenor and soprano saxophone); Andrew Downing (cello); Rob Clutton (double bass); Nick Fraser (drums).

‘Canadian drummer/composer Nick Fraser, a stalwart in the Toronto jazz scene targeted a sequence for his previous albums, Towns and Villages (Barnyard Records, 2013) and Starer (independently released, 2016), ... which feature exactly the same chord-less chamber quartet with Tony Malaby on saxophones, Andrew Downing on cello, and Rob Clutton on double bass. Is Life Long? comprises six intuitively connected tunes that, mirroring freedom, develop within mood-changing structural blocks.’ Filipe Freitas, JazzTrail.

Details and Samples : JazzTrail Review : Video

 

 

 

Hristo Vitchev Of Light And Shadows

 

Hristo Vitchev Quartet - Of Light And Shadows - (First Orbit Sounds Music)

Hristo Vitchev (guitar); Jasnam Daya Singh /Weber Iago (piano); Dan Robbins (bass); Mike Shannon (drums).

'The music presented here is the most adventurous and exploratory work that the guitarist has recorded so far'. 'Hristo is now looked upon as one of today's finest jazz guitarists ...His music has magic powers since he can bring listeners' emotions to a far deeper place ...' (Andrea Nardini: The Noodle Chronicel, Shanghai)

Details and Samples (samples expected January 2018) : Review :

 

 

 

Helen Humes The Helem Hume Collection

 

Helen Humes - The Helen Humes Collection 1927 - 1962 - (Acrobat)

Helen Humes (vocals) with various personnel including the orchestras of Count Basie and Harry James.

'Another of Acrobat's thoughtful and well-assembled 2 CD anthologies ... with some pleasant surprises ...' Jazzwise

Details and Samples : Background Details

 

 

 

 

Django Reinhardt Essential Original Albums

 

Django Reinhardt - Essential Original Albums - (Masters Of Music - 3CD Box Set)

Django Reinhardt (guitar) with various personnel.

His last studio sessions 1947 - 1953, including the Reprise Records LP Immortal Guitar, complete Decca & Blue Star sides and a 20 page booklet

Details :

 

 

 

Stan Kenton Concerts In Miniature 21

 

Stan Kenton - Concerts In Miniature (1953) Part 21 - (Sounds Of Yesteryear)

Stan Kenton and his Orchestra.

Over the years a number of CDs have been issued of compilations of snippets from the large number of "Concerts In Miniature" radio shows broadcast by Stan Kenton And His Orchestra. This December release covers recordings from the Topper Club, Cincinatti: The Casino, Hampton Beach and Lincoln Park Ballroom, North Dartmouth during 1953.

Details : More Background Information about the Hampton Beach concert and Sample.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some UK Jazz Venues

 

 

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

 

Dublin: 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: Eynsham, Swan Hotel, 21 Acre End Street, Eynsham, OX29 4PE. www.swaneynsham.net
First Thursday of each month, 8.00 to 10.30 pm, Free entry - The Alvin Roy Quartet.

 

Jazz London Live

 

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

 

 

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

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

London: LUME, www.lumemusic.co.uk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

London: Putney, The Half Moon, Putney , 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1EU.
Dick Laurie's Elastic Band. The band now plays the first Sunday and third Sunday of every month.
Sunday 7th January and Sunday 21st January - 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: East Side Jazz Club, Leytonstone Ex-Servicemen's Club, 2 Harvey Road, Leytonstone, London, E11 3DB eastsidejazzclub.blogspot.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.
Mel Henry's 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

Devon: - JAZZ NORTH DEVON - listing of Jazz Clubs in North Devon including the North Devon Jazz Club at the Beaver Inn in Appledore, www.jazznorthdevon.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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