Contact Us

 

Sandy Brown Jazz
What's New
February 2019

What's New

Missed Something?
Our Archived Pages:
Featured Releases 2017
Featured Releases pre 2017
Tea Breaks
Tracks Unwrapped
Full Focus
People Profiles
Jazz Remembered
Photographic Memories
Forum
Information Requests
Click for this month's:
Recent Releases
Quiz
Departure Lounge
Video Juke Box
 
Follow us on Facebook
Join our Mailing List

Alina Bzhezhinska

Click here Jazz harp player Alina Bzhezhinska photographed by Brian O'Connor at the Watermill Jazz Club in Dorking, Surrey during January. Alina and her quartet (Tony Kofi, saxophone; Larry Bartley, bass and Joel Prime, drums) were playing the music of John and Alice Coltrane. CLICK HERE for a video of the band playing Alice Coltrane's Something About John Coltrane. The band continues to tour during February and March - CLICK HERE for details.

 

 

Jazz At The Grammys

 

Cecile McLorin Salvant

Cecile McLorin Salvant at the 2018 Grammys

 

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held on February 10, 2019, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The ceremony will Tony Bennett and Diana Krallrecognize the best recordings, compositions, and artists of the eligibility year, which ran from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018.

The nominations include categories for jazz, soul, R&B, blues, American roots music and production. This year Tony Bennett and Diana Krall are nominated for their recent duets album Love Is Here to Stay, and Gregory Porter is nominated for his Nat King Cole And Me project in the best vocal jazz album category. Lalah Hathaway is nominated three times – for best R&B performance, best traditional R&B performance and best R&B album, while Marcus Miller is nominated for best contemporary instrumental album Laid Black; other nominations in this category are Steve Gadd, Simon Phillips, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and Julian Lage. 

The vocal jazz category includes nominees Kurt Elling, Freddy Cole, Kate McGarry, Raul Midon and last year’s winner Cecile McLorin Salvant. Arranger Vince Mendoza clocks up three nominations for his work with both Raul Midon and Gregory Porter, while the Netflix Quincy Jones documentary, Quincy, produced by his daughter Rashida is up for best music film.

 

 

 

Green Book

 

Green Book movie still

 

The film Green Book is a contender for awards at this year's Oscars. It has already picked up awards at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January where Mahershala Ali, who plays Don Shirley, a classical pianist taken through the southern states of America by a white driver (Viggo Mortensen), won 'Best Supporting Actor' . Checking out the trailer, Shirley also plays jazz in the movie. Based on a true story, the story line goes:

'In 1962, Tony "Tony Lip" Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), a tough bouncer, is looking for work with his nightclub closed for renovations. The most promising offer turns out to be the driver for an African-American classical pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) for a concert tour into Green Book movie picturethe Deep South states. Although hardly enthused at working for a black man, Tony accepts the job and they begin their trek armed with The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide for safe travel through America's racial segregation. Together, the snobbishly erudite pianist and the crudely practical bouncer can barely get along with their clashing attitudes to life and ideals. However, as the disparate pair witness and endure America's appalling injustices on the road, they find a newfound respect for each other's talents and heart to face them together. In doing so, they would nurture a friendship and understanding that would change both their lives'.

Click here for the trailer.

A review in The Guardian says: ' .....It’s fun to see Mortensen go all in with what could have gone disastrously: a full-blooded comic character, complete with a gut and a thick Italian-American accent. He’s better than the trailer suggests, the performance feeling less like an impression and more like the lived-in portrayal of a larger-than-life man. Ali’s natural elegance and poise make him a perfect choice for the role and, in a just world, his collection of natty suits would earn a best costume design nomination come January. There’s a great poignancy in watching a man so dignified suffer through the trials presented in front of him and Ali’s face is frequently heartbreaking, conveying the hurt, quiet fury and disappointment at how he’s perceived by much of white America. While Mortensen’s role is the showier of the two, Ali’s stays with us longer .....'.

Click here for a video with those involved talking about making the movie.

Green Book is released in the UK on 8th February although there might be some earlier showings. The Oscars (Academy Awards) are on 25th February.

 

 

 

Sgt. Pepper's Jazz

Last month, a number of jazz musicians recreated and re-interpreted the Beatles’ 1967 album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ on A Day In The Life albuma new album A Day In The Life: Impressions of Pepper. British Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings and his band The Ancestors play ‘Good Morning Good Morning’; US drummer Antonio Sanchez performs the opening title track; bassist Miles Mosely (from LA’s West Coast Get Down) plays ‘Lovely Rita’; Mary Halvorson takes on 'With A Little Help From My Friends' and Sullivan Fortner 'When I'm Sixty-Four'.

The Verve record label says after five decades this is a great chance to revisit an album that “remains the gold standard of musical innovation”, Danny Bennett, President & CEO says “The record not only changed the course of musical history but defined a generation and remains timeless. Each artist was given the challenge to create a work that would push the musical envelope by presenting an impressionistic rendering of a favourite song from ‘Pepper’. I’m proud to say that what you hear are enduring interpretations wholly original, which more than exceeded my expectations.”

Click here to listen to some of the title track.

A Day In The Life: Impressions of Pepper, is available on CD, mp3 and vinyl (click here for details), with the album notes saying 'Some of today's most exciting up and coming and established jazz artists pay homage to the iconic Beatles record. Musicians were given the challenge to create loose interpretations of these songs, and the result is impressionistic, avant-garde takes on tracks like "Getting Better" and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds".

 

 

 

Name The Tune

(Click on the picture for the answer)

 

Rocking Chair

 

Click here for our Name The Tune page

 

 

Netflix Plays Soul For Kids

An animated adventure series has been made by Netflix with Smokey Robinson advising as Executive Music Producer. It features classic songs from the legendary 1960s Motown soul label given a modern twist and is aimed at pre-school children.Motown Magic still picture

 

'Each episode of the series will draw inspiration from classics covered by contemporary artists, including hits made famous by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Supremes and more. It tells the story of eight year old Ben and his friends Angie and Mickey, who discover that creativity and magic as they revive vibrancy to their fictional Motown city and learn life lessons along the way'.

Click here for the trailer. Click here for a mash up from the show.

Most episodes run for 15 minutes, with episode 1 playing a little longer as 'On a mission to find his special talent for a school project, young Ben finds a magical paintbrush and opens the door to another world'. Show creator Josh Wakely says the soulful music is key to the show and he wants to make sure that kids are still talking about Motown music in 20 years’ time. ‘Motown Magic’ is available to stream on Netflix now - click here for details and for information on the episodes included in Series 1.. 
 

 

 

Farewell Michel Legrand

Three-time Oscar winner, five-time Grammy Award-winning writer, pianist, singer, arranger and bandleader Michel Legrand passed through the Departure Lounge on 26th January.

Michel Legrand

Born in Paris in 1932, Michel went to the city’s conservatoire age 10 and studied classical piano, but when he was sixteen, he went to a Dizzy Gillespie concert and decided to concentrate on jazz. In his twenties, he travelled to the USA were he met and collaborated with Bill Evans, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and many others.

Click here to listen to The Dream from the Michel Legrand / Miles Davis album Dingo.

Michel Legrand went on to be at the forefront of the French new wave, 'collaborating with Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Demy, with whom he invented a new genre of film music, blurring the barriers between jazz, classical music and easy listening. His early scores included ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg’ (1964) and ‘The Young Girls of Rochefort’ (1967), both Oscar-nominated, but his major win came in 1968 with ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ and the song ‘Windmills of your Mind’ which remains a jazz standard'.

Click here for a video of Michel Legrand playing L’été 42 (The Summer Of '42 / The Summer Knows) in 1976.

Only last year, Michel was working on music for two movies, and still touring with his big band. He last appeared in the UK with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in September, and had plans to return with the Ronnie Scott’s Orchestra this September. Click here for more about Michel.

 

 

 

February's Video Juke Box

*Click on the Picture to watch the Video

 

 

 

 

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra The Boy Roy

 

 

The Patchwork Jazz Orchestra plays James Davison's The Boy Roy in Italy in 2018. The band has its debut album - The Adventures Of Mr Pottercakes coming out on 1st March and is on tour during February and March - click here for the tour dates. (For the album, see Recent Releases section - click here).

 

 

 

 

 

Wandering Monster Samara video

 

 

Sam Quintana's Wandering Monster play Samara from their January 2019 release (see Recent Releases section - click here) with Ben Powling (tenor saxophone); Aleks Podraza (piano, keyboards); Calvin Travers (guitar); Sam Quintana (double bass); Tom Higham (drums).

 

 

 

 

Buddy Bolden documentary video

 

Wynton Marsalis tells the story of Buddy Bolden in this short documentary that 'traces the life and decline of the man who started 'the big noise' - the first New Orleans jazzman Buddy Bolden. Buddy Bolden was born in the Crescent City in 1877 the year Reconstruction ended. There's only one known photograph of Bolden and no recordings of his playing exist. According to legend he was responsible for creating the jazz beat, and maybe he did'

 

 

 

 

 

Duncan Eagles Quartet Folk Song video

 

 

Duncan Eagles plays Folk Song from his February album release Citizen with his quartet featuring David Preston (guitar), Matt Robinson (piano), Max Luthert (bass) and Dave Hamblett (drums). The band is on tour during February and March - click here for dates. (see Recent Releases section for details of the Citizen album - click here)

 

 

 

 

Wolfgang Muthspiel Where The River Goes

 

 

The Wolfgang Muthspiel Quintet play Where The River Goes, the title track from their recent album on the ECM label (click here for Howard Lawes' article). Wolfgang Muthspiel (guitar), Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet), Brad Mehldau (piano), Larry Grenadier (double bass) and Eric Harland (drums)

 

 

 

 

Buzzy played by JJ Johnson and others

 

 

Introduced by J J Johnson, this video of Charlie Parker's tune Buzzy features: Sonny Stitt (alto sax), Howard McGhee (trumpet), JJ Johnson (trombone), Walter Bishop (piano), Tommy Potter (bass) and Kenny Clarke (drums).

 

 

 

 

 

Harry James Green Onions video

 

 

The Harry James band swings Green Onions back in 1965. Buddy Rich is the drummer and along with Harry on trumpet, YouTube commentators credit Red Kelly (bass), Corky Corcoran (tenor sax), Robert Achilles (clarinet), Jack Percival (piano), Joe Cadena (trombone).

 

 

 

 

 

Urbie Green video

 

 

Trombonist John Mason wrote to us about his friendship with the late Urbie Green and how he arranged for Urbie to play gigs in the UK. I'm surprised at how little live footage there is of the great trombonist on YouTube, but this video, a trailer for a documentary 21 Trombones, has footage of Urbie talking and playing.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

My Story

This month we give you fifteen questions based on the life stories of jazz musicians and one jazz venue - see how many you can identify.

 

Who is this

 

For example:

'I Play As I Please' is the autobiography of which famous UK trumpeter, bandleader and broadcaster? He followed it with another, 'Second Chorus'.

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

Richard Turner - A Life In Music

British trumpet player Richard Turner died tragically at the age of 27. Martin Hummel at Ubuntu Music tells us of a documentary about Richard due to be released in April. Martin says: “The film captures the emotion, love and respect for this most talented man.” Richard's life has been documented in a touching short film by Rob Cope, a London-based saxophonist/composer/educator, who interviewed friends and family concerning the young trumpter who suffered a ruptured aortic aneurysm while swimming.

Richard Turner had graduated from the Royal Academy of Music's Jazz course. One of the Richard Turner A Life In Musicgreat talents of his generation, Richard played with indie band Friendly Fires and Gary Husband’s Drive. Richard Turner: A Life in Music charts the young trumpeter’s life and musical achievements through interviews with his friends, family and contemporaries. The film will be premiered at the Royal Academy of Music/London and Leeds College of Music in April. It will be released worldwide in May 2019.

The film aims to preserve and illuminate Richard's musical legacy to a wider audience and features stars of the British and American jazz scenes, including Gerard Presencer and John Escreet. The film was funded through donations by members of the London jazz community to commemorate Richard’s life. In addition, £3,500 was raised in April 2017, which included a fundraising performance from Richard’s band, Round Trip.

Click here to listen to Richard playing extracts from Round Trip's 2011 debut album. Click here for a trailer for the film.

 

Film Premier Dates:
9th April – Leeds - Leeds College of Music
11th April – London - Royal Academy of Music

 

 


Directory of Alternative Musical Definitions

 

Money

 

Harmony

Payment to a band after a gig

 

Click here for more Alternative Definitions.

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Invisible Sounds
For Kenny Wheeler

by Robin Kidson

 

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

Robin Kidson reflects on a new album Invisible Sounds: For Kenny Wheeler by Ingrid Jensen and Steve Treseler:

 

Kenny Wheeler

 

In the early 1970s, I was a student at the London School of Economics. In retrospect, I spent too little time studying economics and far too much time as chair of the School’s Jazz Society.

Each term, the Society put on a wide range of concerts involving the cream of the London jazz scene at the time. I remember there was a nucleus of versatile musicians who used to appear in various combinations. So, the Kenny Wheelermembers of, say, the Mike Osborne Octet were essentially the same people, give or take, who would turn up a few weeks later as part of the Mike Gibbs Big Band or the Brotherhood of Breath – people like Osborne, Alan Skidmore, Chris Spedding, Mike and Chris Pyne, Harry Beckett, John Stevens – and a Canadian trumpeter called Kenny Wheeler. 

Kenny Wheeler always came well dressed and groomed but conventionally so – he may even, heavens above, have worn a tie occasionally. He was quite diffident and shy. But when he played, he was absolutely sure of himself without in any way being arrogant or wanting to hog the stage. At the time, I hadn’t heard anything like it – not Miles or Dizzy or Don Cherry or Ian Carr or any of the other trumpet players I’d come to admire - with a clarity and easy virtuosity which could apparently play any style from free to mainstream.

Kenny Wheeler was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1930. He moved to Britain in 1952 where he became a jobbing jazz musician playing with a number of different jazz groups throughout the fifties and sixties, most notably in John Dankworth’s band. Dankworth encouraged Wheeler’s composing ambitions and, in 1969, released Windmill Tilter, a concept album based around the Don Quixote legend with all tracks composed by Wheeler. Click here for The Cave of Montesinos from that album.

Wheeler’s reputation both, as trumpeter and composer, steadily grew and, in 1975, he began a long association with Manfred Eicher and his ECM label. The first main fruit of this was the album, Gnu High, featuring Keith Jarrett, no less, on piano in his last session as a sideman. In 1977, ECM released Deer Wan which Wheeler intimated was his favourite album. Again, it featured some illustrious sidemen – JanAzimuth Garbarek, John Abercrombie, Ralph Towner, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette.

In 1977, Wheeler came together with singer, Norma Winstone, and pianist, John Taylor, to form the band, Azimuth which also recorded for ECM and lasted, off and on, into the nineties. Norma Winstone often sang with Wheeler in other collaborations. Part of her repertoire is a form of wordless singing which isn’t exactly scat – it’s much smoother than that and genuinely sounds just like another instrument.

Azimuth was just one of the many settings in which Wheeler played and wrote throughout his career. He was just as much at home playing and writing for big bands as with smaller groups. This aspect was highlighted in an edition of the BBC TV arts programme, Omnibus, in 1977. Click here for an extract which includes some footage of his big band in full glorious swing. Incidentally, it says much for his reputation in the seventies that even the notoriously jazzphobic BBC felt able to devote a whole programme to him.

Wheeler’s skills in working in big band settings are shown most clearly in the critically acclaimed Music For Large and Small Ensembles, released by ECM in 1990. It features both John Taylor and Norma Winstone as well as some of the other big beasts of the international jazz scene such as Evan Parker, John Abercrombie, Dave Holland, Peter Erskine… the list goes on. The Guardian’s John Fordham called this Wheeler’s “…greatest triumph – a fusion of North American folk music, abstract jazz, and imaginative expansion of the tone-palette and harmonic resources of a jazz lineup”. Click here for an extract.

Throughout his career, Kenny Wheeler often explored the freer boundaries of jazz. He played, for example, with the Spontaneous Jazz Ensemble and Alexander von Schlippenbach’s Global Unity Orchestra; and from 1971 to 1976, was part of Anthony Braxton’s Quartet. Click here for him blowing up a storm with Braxton at Montreux in 1975. The bassist is Dave Holland, another musician with whom Wheeler often collaborated.

The interest in free jazz often came out in his compositions in which he gave musicians a high degree of improvisational freedom: “Everything I do,” he said, “has a touch of melancholy and a touch of chaos to it. I write sad songs and then I get the musicians to destroy them.”

Kenny Wheeler died in September 2014 at the age of 84. Now, a later generation of musicians has come together to play Kenny Wheeler’s music and celebrate his legacy. Canadian-born trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and Seattle-based saxophonist Steve Treseler have recently released an album on the Whirlwind label called Invisible Sounds: For Kenny Wheeler. They take seven Wheeler compositions and offer Invisible Sounds albumnew interpretations without straying too far from the originals. They are joined by Geoffrey Keezer (piano), Martin Wind (double bass), and Jon Wikan (drums).

Ingrid Jensen has been steadily building an international reputation for a number of years. In a memorable phrase, The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, called her trumpet tone “highly distinctive, like oiled silk”. Treseler is a younger, less well known musician but his work is being increasingly acclaimed. Both musicians have been heavily influenced by Kenny Wheeler. Treseler says that “the news of Kenny’s death had a big effect on me and I reached out to Ingrid about putting together a tribute concert, and that conversation evolved into making a record. Ingrid and I are both devoted Kenny fans and we both had the opportunity to work with him in person”. When asked once about current trumpet players he admired, Kenny Wheeler named Ingrid Jensen.

Jensen and Treseler approach their project with gusto, confidence and virtuosity. Treseler makes an interesting point about interpretations of Wheeler’s music: “Sometimes players approach it quite delicately, not getting the energy and power, but with this rhythm section, we weren’t risking being too precious – it became hard-hitting and grooving”. That hard hitting grove is heard straightaway in the opening track, Foxy Trot, from Wheeler’s 1984 ECM album, Double Double You. The band is joined by Ingrid’s sister, Christine, on soprano sax. The whole is an exciting, up tempo performance driven along by a compelling riff and featuring some boisterous solos. Typical of Kenny Wheeler compositions, all the bits seem to fit together perfectly. The album finishes with a live performance of Foxy Trot (click here).
   
On two of the album’s tracks, 546 and Gentle Piece/Old Ballad, the band is joined by vocalist Kate Jacobson who does a good job in providing some Norma Winstone-style wordless singing which so often featured in Kenny Wheeler’s work. 546 is also notable for some fine piano from Geoffrey Keezer. Gentle Piece/Old Ballad is an amalgam of two separate Wheeler compositions and features some nice trumpet/sax interplay as well as  interesting sound effects from both Jensen on trumpet and Martin Wind on bass.

Old Time (from Wheeler’s last ECM album, Songs For Quintet released in 2015) is another up-tempo, exuberant live recording. Kind Folk has Jensen at her lyrical best with virtuosic, note-filled playing and some particularly nice freer touches of which Wheeler would surely have approved. You can hear the track if you click here.

 

Ingrid Jensen and Steve Treseler

Everybody’s Song But My Own is a showcase for Treseler, with his solo displaying touches of melancholy and touches of chaos as well as something approaching just sheer joy. Where Do We Go From Here has the whole ensemble gently swinging along in its well-oiled way.

Two short tracks on the album are not Wheeler compositions – Duet is by Treseler and, as the name suggests, is a memorable sax-trumpet duet. Ingalude, is a slow, atmospheric, and beautifully played piece written by Jensen.

The last word belongs to Steve Treseler who says of Kenny Wheeler, “He’s unmistakable – in a category of one. You have jazz styles like swing or be-bop, and some artists are just their own thing, like Mingus, Ellington, Monk – and Kenny has got that. Defined by a host of elements, not least the haunting timbre of his instrument and that ECM spaciousness, he really developed his own harmonic language. Invisible Sounds has given us a deeper understanding of his music, with our own stamp on it. If more people discover Kenny Wheeler as a result, that’s all good with us”. And Amen to that.

Ingrid Jensen and Steve Treseler

 

Click here for a trailer of the album with Jensen and Treseler talking about the recording and their love of Wheeler’s music, together with extracts from some of the tracks. For further details of Invisible Sounds, and how to get hold of it, click here.

 

 

 

 

Jazz As Art

Kit Downes Trio

Madame

 

 

When you listen to music, you sometimes conjure images in your mind. Our Jazz As Art series invites you to listen to a piece of jazz and as it plays, scroll down the page and see which of the pieces of art I have chosen comes closest to the pictures in your mind. Hopefully, this will introduce you to recordings and art works you might not have spent time with before. You need to go to another page to play the music and see the images - click here. (I think this only really works if you spend time with each painting)

 

Kit Downes Trio Golden

 

The tune Madame comes from the Kit Downes Trio's album Golden from 2009. Introduced by the bass of Calum Gourlay, Kit's piano duets for most of this track while James Maddren's drums are very much in the background. Kit, Calum and James met during their time at the Royal Academy of Music and over the past ten years, these three muscians, who had already established themselves by 2009, have gone on to be key players in the UK jazz scene in a variety of projects. To hear any one of them play live is a joy. If you get the chance to hear them, take it. Click here for details of the album Golden.

Go to our Jazz As Art page, play the tune and scroll slowly down through the pictures I have chosen to go with the music (I think this only works if you spend time with each painting). See what you think.

Click here for Madame on the Jazz as Art page.

 

George Sala painting

 

 

 

 

Blue In Green - 6th February

Blue In Green drawing

An evening of live jazz with a visual art element.

Based at the Gallery Café in Bethnal Green, Blue in Green showcases emerging jazz musicians and has artists create work in response to the music. With these selected artists leading the way, the audience is also invited to sketch during the performances, regardless of their level of ability! This regular night aims to provide a platform for great jazz and give the visual artists involved an opportunity to create work spontaneously, whether it’s capturing a musician in action or just creating something inspired by the music in real time.

Every event produces a handful of paintings and many drawings, which collectively serve as a colourful and varied record of the night. So please join them at their next show, even if you’re new to jazz, and enjoy a beverage or two whilst having a good doodle.

Blue in Green returns to the Gallery Cafe for another evening of jazz and art on Wednesday, 6th February from 7.30 - 10.30 p.m, this time with the Sam Braysher Trio. As always, the Sam Braysherhouse band will kick things off and the audience is encouraged to make art as the bands play.

Alto saxophonist Sam Braysher received critical acclaim for his recent debut album Golden Earrings (Fresh Sound New Talent Records, 2017), a duo recording with the New York pianist Michael Kanan, and their accompanying UK launch tour. His new trio project sees him presenting thoughtful takes on a diverse repertoire, ranging from Dexter Gordon to Gershwin; incidental numbers to Disney. The group's sound is informed by the groovy ensemble concepts and arrangements of Ahmad Jamal, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins. Sam is joined by an exceptionally swinging London rhythm section: Dario Di Lecce (George Garzone, Sara Dowling) on double bass and Josh Morrison (Stacey Kent) on drums.

 

Sam Braysher
Photograph by Dave Hamblett

 

 

The Gallery Cafe is at St. Margarets House Settlement, 21 Old Ford Road, London, E2 9PL.

Click here for details and to book. The Blue in Green Facebook page is here.

 

 

 

Jazz Voices

Georgia Mancio

 

Georgia Mancio

Georgia Mancio (Picture by Dave Ohm)

 

Georgia Mancio has been nominated in the category of Best Jazz Vocalist year after year in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards and British Jazz Awards. She has five albums to her name and her 2017 album Songbook, co-written with pianist Alan Broadbent, received much acclaim. Georgia's latest project,  Finding Home, co-written and led with pianist/composer Kate Williams received a 4 star review from The Guardian for its debut performance and will be released as an album with accompanying tour in the spring.

Now based in London, Georgia produces music that embraces a wide-ranging jazz repertoire alongside influences from her Anglo/Italian/Uruguayan heritage and her own writings.

In 2010 Georgia launched her own international voice festival - ReVoice! - in association with the Pizza Express Jazz Club. To date Georgia has produced 5 annual editions of ReVoice!, performing 44 sets herself and presenting over 160 artists. Collaboration is a key element to Georgia's work and over the past two years she has followed ReVoice! with a project she calls Hang, a series of bespoke collaborations and new writing featuring the cream of the UK’s jazz, latin and improvised music scenes again at Soho's Pizza Express Jazz Club.

There are a number of tracks from Georgia's albums on YouTube, including an introductory video to the Songbook album, but I have chosen this video of her singing The Last Goodbye from Glasgow's 'Jazz Nights At The Quay' series from 2017 - click here.

 

Click here for Georgia's website and here for her gigs around the UK this year.

Click here for our Jazz Voices page.

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Jazz In Arabic Culture
Part One

by Howard Lawes


 

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

 

As befits a major international festival the EFG London Jazz Festival gives audiences the chance to hear music from all over the world. During the 2018 Festival, Arts Canteen promoted a series of concerts at the Rich Mix venue in Shoreditch featuring artists from the Arab World. Arts Canteen is an organisation that specialises in giving emerging Arabic artists a platform for them to gain exposure while also bringing enjoyable and enriching experiences to audiences and in 2017 it won an award from the Arab British Centre.  

The first concert introduced the Harfoush Jazz Band which is based in London but Egyptian jazz vocalist Ahmed Harfoush sings some of the great songs from 1950s and 1960s Egypt adding swing and latin jazz rhythms, as part of the band’s music project titled ‘The Egyptian Jazz Projekt‘.  The band recreates timeless classics from a golden age by Egypt’s most popular performers such as Abdel Wahab and Abdel Halim, their repertoire also includes favourites from the great American songbook. Ahmed Harfoush is a very charismatic performer with a touch of the Sammy Davis jr about him and the sold out audience responded enthusiastically with dancing and applause.

Click here for a video of the HarfousH Jazz Band performing the classic Kan Agmal Yome by Egyptian composer/singer Mohamed Abdel Wahab in 2016. The band includes Ahmed, Harfoush (vocals); Alex Bryson (piano); Ian Marcus (double bass); Gethin Jones (drums); Simon Mohammad Hasaballah's brass bandMarsh (clarinet). Arrangement by Rami Attallah.

Egypt has a long history of enjoying popular music. A 2017 article in Al Jazeerah World reports that more than 150 years ago, a musician started a band in Cairo's Mohammed Ali Street, a hub for Arab musicians, belly dancers and instrument makers, near the opera house, cinemas and theatres. Mohammad Hasaballah's brass band became so popular that it gave birth to an entire musical genre, which still resonates with Egyptians today. 

Hasaballah was a clarinet player in a military band at the time of Abbas Helmi, a Khedive of Egypt under the Ottoman Empire. He was taught by Italians and when he retired from the army, he set up his own band.  Celebrated as "the people's music", "Hasaballah was an important development," says Mohammed Shabana of the Popular Performance Department at the Academy of Arts. "They transformed music from its formal, western-style into popular music."  

A new generation of musicians has picked it up and found new ways to keep Hasaballah alive by adapting it with new instruments and rhythms. It keeps the street style but gives it a modern twist.  "We adopted the [Hasaballah] line-up of trumpet, trombone, bass and snare drums … but have just added the jumble", says Abdel Azim Mohammed, a member of the Hasaballa Marching Band. "Everything we play is jazz. Different rhythms create different styles of music, like funk and salsa. We play funk and salsa". Shabana says that the legendary Hasaballah "managed to carve his name and his band into the collective Egyptian, artistic memory".  

Click here for a video about Mohammad Hasaballah's brass band and how it influenced the music that followed.

The King of Jazz in Egypt (as he is affectionately known) is Mohamed Mounir, a singer of classical Egyptian, Nubian and blues as well as jazz, his lyrics are noted both for their philosophical content and for their passionate social and political commentary.  Mounir's collaborators Behdad Babaei and Navid Afghahinclude band-leader Yehia Khalil, poet Abdel Reheem Mansour and the Nubian musician and singer Ahmed Mounib and they are credited with introducing jazz music to many Arab listeners. 

 

The Persian Duet gig at Rich Mix featured Iran’s most innovative tombak (goblet drum) maestro Navid Afghah and seh-tar (four string lute) master Behdad Babaei, the performance included parts of the duet’s latest album, The Silver Stream of Moonlight. Navid Afghah's creativity and pioneering style of playing poly-rhythmic patterns on a single-headed drum has made him one of the most sought-after tombak players of Iran while Behdad Babaei is one of Iran’s leading seh-tar players. This music, apparently some of which was improvised, is rather exotic and unusual to western ears but nevertheless fascinating, there were many Iranians in the audience who clearly enjoyed it while the skill and dexterity of the musicians was mesmerising.

Behdad Babaei and Navid Afghah

Click here for a video of Navid Afghah and Behdad Babaei playing in Belgium in 2013.

 

 

 

Karaj Collective

 

Another gig featured further Iranian musicians but this time the music fused Persian tradition with modern styles. Artists were Pouya Mahmoodi with Karaj Collective, Parham Bahadoran and Shohreh Khaatoon, Tannaz Abbassioun and special guest Hamed Nikpay.  Pouya Mahmoodi is an Iranian singer and guitarist based in London whose music highlights the influence of West Africa, Afghanistan and India on Iranian regional traditions.

 

Karaj Collective

 

Karaj Collective present improvisation and fuse jazz and blues with Kurdish, Azeri, Afghani and Armenian folk music.  Hamed Nikpay is a singer and multi-instrumentalist who has re-arranged traditional Persian music into flamenco and jazz styles.

Click here for a video of Sari Galin based on an ancient Azeri/Armenian melody played by Pouya Mahmoodi with the Karaj Collective.

 

 

Amira Kheir

 

Sudanese-Italian singer Amira Kheir is based in London and sings in Arabic, English and Italian, Kheir has brought her unique style of 'Sudani Jazz' to some of the world’s biggest festivals and stages including the 2018 EFG London Jazz Festival. As a singer and songwriter, Kheir draws from her own multicultural background to create music that explores themes of home, belonging, love, human evolution and transcendence. Her music and latest album, Mystic Dance, is a spiritual journey, evocative of Northern Sudan’s desert landscape and a celebration of its ancient culture, but cognisant of the necessity to build bridges between different communities, it is also an urgent call for peace, love and unity.  On the same bill Yara Lapidus, a singer born in Lebanon but now living in Paris, performed songs from her new album Indefiniment, which was recorded at London's Abbey Road studios with 43 musicians.

 

 

Click here for a video of Amira Kheir singing Kullu Wahid for BBC News Africa in 2010.

 

Lebanon has proved to be fertile ground for nurturing musicians who have been drawn to jazz. Lebanese saxophonist and percussionist Toufic Farrouhk was a musician in his native country, moving to France to study in 1985 while continuing to collaborate with compatriots Ziad Rahbani, his mother the singer Fayrouz and Marcel Khalife. In 2001, he formed his first group, Toufic Farroukh and the Absolut Orchestra, composed of 9 musicians of different nationalities, with whom he performed in prestigious festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland and others. 

Click here for a video of excerpts from Toufic Farroukh and The Absolut Orchestra's performance at the Dubai International Jazz Festival.

 

Toufic Farroukh and the Absolut Orchestra


Toufic Farroukh and the Absolut Orchestra

 

In 2015, the website http://www.elanthemag.com carried an article where they said: 'During the Cold War (1946-1991?), the world was engulfed in an ideological and political stand-off while the United States struggled with its pro-democracy image abroad. Perceived by many countries as  a culturally bereft, segregated, military giant  the United States needed some major damage control for it’s image; and something powerful to combat the perceived threat of communism in the middle east. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the United States representative from Harlem and a jazz fan, came up with  a brilliant act of foreign diplomacy to show the world the “real Americana.” Instead of symphony orchestras and ballet companies to represent American culture abroad, why not send jazz bands on international tours?'

'They didn’t send just any bands; they sent Dizzy Gillepsie, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and a host of other brilliant and influential Jazz musicians. These musicians were inspired by the culture of the region and worked local flavor into their performances and even in subsequent recordings.  People in the region noticed and warmed to the Americans and the inclusivity and open minded nature of their music. Thanks to these creative artists, “Jazz Diplomacy” movement was a swinging success globally, but especially in the Middle East .....'

To be continued next month ...

 

 

 

Utah Tea Pot

Tea Break

 

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

 

Peter Kerr

 

Peter Kerr

 

Clarinettist Peter Kerr is now a best-selling author, but back in the day, he was a member of the Clyde Valley Stompers. The Stompers were led in the 1950s by trombonist Ian Menzies and Pete was brought in to replace clarinettist Forrie Cairns. Eventually, Ian Menzies left and Pete took over leadership of the band. The Clydes were one of the most popular bands during the 'Trad Revival', not just in their native Scotland, but in the rest of the UK and beyond, recording, touring and appearing on television and in movies. Peter's personal story and that of the Clydes is in his very readable, interesting book Don't Call Me Clyde (2016).

Peter went on to become a freelance producer - the recording of Amazing Grace by the Scots Dragoon Guards in 1972 became the biggest-selling instrumental single of all time. The recordings he produced were from a variety of genres but included amongst them were albums by Alex Welsh and his band. Still based in Scotland, Peter also ran his own farm in East Lothian until, at the beginning of the 1980s, he and his family moved to Mallorca to take on a run-down orange farm. He started to write. His Mallorcan-based travel books - Snowball Oranges, Mañana Mañana (Now published as One Mallorcan Summer), Viva Mallorca! and A Basketful of Snowflakes sold worldwide and have been translated into fourteen languages. Snowball Oranges won a bronze prize in the 2002 American 'Book of the Year' Awards and Mañana Mañana was shortlisted for for the WH Smith 'Book of the Year' Awards.

Peter eventually returned to Scotland and a steady stream of books have followed. Peter put down his pen to join me for a Tea Break ....

 

Hello Peter, Good to see you. Can I get you a coffee or tea?

Coffee, please, Ian. Decaff, if poss.  I have a low swingng-on-chandeliers threshold.

 

Milk and sugar?

Just a squirt of milk, please. Semi-skimmed, if poss. Watching the cholesterol levels these days as well.

 

Looking back, Peter, I believe you had your own band before you joined the Clyde Valley Stompers?

Oh, you mean the Hidden Town Dixielanders - the band was named after its home town of Haddington, the old East Lothian market town with a valley location that, it is claimed, once caused it to be referred to as 'The Hidden Town'.

 

 

Hidden Town Dixielanders

 

The Hidden Town Dixielanders

L to R: Jack Blair (trombone), Kimber Buglass (trumpet), Jim Douglas (guitar), Bob Sandie (drums), Pete Kerr (clarinet), John Logan (bass).

 

It’s a while now since the high rolling days of the Clyde Valley Stompers. They were a top band during the high times of traditional jazz. How did you come to be involved?

It was early 1961, not long after my twentieth birthday. The Clydes, having outgrown the Scottish jazz scene (in commercial terms at least), were shifting their base from Glasgow to London. Their clarinettist Forrie Cairns opted not to make the move, and I was asked to take his place. I'd just returned to Scotland after spending two months in Germany with my own band, and as we had no work lined up, I was extremely glad of the offer. Ian Menzies, the trombonist-leader of the Clydes, had heard a couple of singles my band had recorded the previous year, and must have thought I was worth taking a chance on.  Even although I was the first east-of-Scotland musician to join the staunchly Glaswegian Clydes, everything worked out fine.

OK, they beat me up a few times, just so I'd know my place, but they were careful not to break my fingers.  But seriously, it was the start of a few extremely eventful but mainly enjoyable years, during which I became leader of the band and did my bit, aided and abetted by a succession of really fine musicians, to help the Clydes achieve unprecedented success, hitting the charts with our George Martin-produced single of 'Peter and the Wolf' and even featuring in a couple of popular British movies of the time.

 

The Clyde Valley Stompers

The Clyde Valley Stompers in Cologne in 1960

Back row:  Pete Kerr (clarinet), a Turkish waiter, Frank Holder (ex-Dankworth cabaret guest), Mrs Holder, Alex Shaw (piano) and Ian Brown (bass). 
Front row: Andrew Lauder (trumpet), George Crockett (drums).  Missing is Jim Douglas (guitar/banjo) who was behind the camera.

 

 

Click here for an extract from the film It's All Happening starring Tommy Steele in which the Clydes play Casbah - the line-up is: Pete Kerr (clarinet), Malky Higgins (trumpet), Pete Hodge (trombone), Jim Douglas (guitar), Bix Duff (piano), Ron Mathewson (bass) and Lennie Hastings (drums)

Unfortunately, success generated financial tensions between the band and its management company, which heralded the end of the Clyde Valley Stompers - ironically, at the height of their hard-won fame.

Click here for a video of The Clyde Valley Stompers playing Peter And The Wolf - on the Morcecombe and Wise Show in 1962, the Clyde Valley Stompers climbed to a high of No.25 with their Parlophone recording.

 

 

You wrote a book about the band – ‘Don’t Call Me Clyde’, subtitled ‘Jazz Journey of a Sixties Stomper’ – what are your two favourite anecdotes from the book?

Peter Kerr Don't Call Me Clyde book

 

The book, which is also an affectionate recollection of life during the austerity-gripped years following the Second World War, does chronicle the ups and downs of my time with the Clydes, including details of what actually brought about the band's untimely demise. But the good times far outweighed the bad, and there were plenty of laughs along the way.

One such involved Alex Shaw, the exceptionally gifted Edinburgh pianist, who, while playing with my own band in a jazz club in Mannheim, Germany, was suddenly gripped by a coughing fit. It was on a gala night during the local Karneval celebrations, and the club was packed with people following the Karneval Queen, her 'Princesses' and attendant local dignitaries on a round of the city's night spots. In mid-cough, Alex sneezed, and his false teeth shot skittering across the dance floor like a pair of runaway clams. A plague of mice darting around their feet wouldn't have elicited more screams from the Queen and her ladies-in-waiting, or spurred them more readily into a Teutonic version of a right old East End knees-up. And the band played on - though only just!

On another occasion, when the Clydes were preparing to go on stage during a jazz band jamboree at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester, I noticed the tip of my clarinet reed was slightly frayed. The usual way of fixing this problem was to burn off the offending 'frills' with a match, using a penny as a template. I didn't have any change on me, so I asked the rest of the boys if anyone had a penny I could borrow. Our pianist Bert Murray, who was noted for his acerbic sense of humour, dipped into his pocket and threw me a two-shilling piece. 'Here's two bob,' he said, 'burn the whole f****n' instrument!'  Laughs all round.  I thought Bert had been kidding, but I took comfort from the knowledge that, in any event, he had insulted many better musicians than me in his time. Also, I helped myself to the last laugh by trousering his two bob bit!

 

 

Did you have another band after The Clyde Valley Stompers disbanded?

Yes, I led Pete Kerr's Scottish All-Stars for a while from 1964. If memory serves me right, I think that all of these guys, with the possible exception of Mike Scott (trumpet) were actually roll-overs from the Clydes.

 

 

Peter Kerrs Scottish All Stars

Pete Kerr's Scottish All-Stars

L to R: Mike Oliver (piano), Pete Kerr (clarinet), John McGuff (trombone), Mike Scott (trumpet), Jim Douglas (guitar), Billy Law (drums) and Ron Mathewson (bass).

 

 

In some ways, the time of Ball, Barber, Bilk and the Clydes seem long past, and yet Chris Barber at nearly ninety is still touring and drawing large audiences, why do you think that is?

Chris Barber

 

 

For a start, he must be blessed with an exceptionally robust constitution, although he must also have looked after himself more carefully than many other jazzers have done while attempting to cope with work schedules less daunting than his. Also, for someone who did so much to influence the way mainstream popular music has since developed by providing an early platform for such relatively obscure genres as Skiffle and Blues, he has never lost touch with his own musical roots, while never shying away from exploring other avenues either.  I suppose his enduring appeal to audiences over so many decades is largely down to the fact that he knows what they want and is genuinely happy to provide it, but without compromising his own tastes and standards. There's an honesty there that audiences recognise and appreciate. Not to be ignored, though, is the fact that he has always surrounded himself with good musicians, and their long-lasting relationships with him are testament to a mutual respect that is rare indeed.

 

 

People tend to forget that Chris Barber plays double bass as well as trombone - you talk about his work with different genres, did you know that he recorded Muddy Waters' I Can't Be Satisfied with guitarist Rory Gallagher for his Memories Of My Trip album in 2011? - click here.

Do you have a favourite past jazz clarinettist you wish you could have met?

There are several, but topping my list would be Benny Goodman.  He was not only a superlative jazz man, but also an absolute master of his instrument, and a truly original stylist whom many have tried to emulate.  I didn't kid myself I'd ever get anywhere close to matching his artistry, but I did listen to him avidly when I was starting out on clarinet, and I still play his records regularly - particularly the early small group material.

 

If there had been the chance to play a duet with him, what tune would you have played?

Memories of You would be the one. It's an attractive melody, a perfect showcase for Benny Goodman's flawless tone and technique, and a tune I actually had the temerity to play as a clarinet feature myself. So at least I know how it goes, and would be able to find appropriate places to tootle away inconspicuously while Benny turns on the magic.

Click here for a video of Benny Goodman playing Memories Of You in Japan in 1980.

 

I’m forgetting my manners! Would you like a biscuit? Let’s see – I have some chocolate digestives, but they might be a bit stale, or there are some ginger nuts that are fresh, a few Hob Nobs or some Garibaldis? I don’t suppose you are into the deep fried Mars bars that apparently emerged from Scotland?

I have to confess that I've never tried a deep fried Mars Bar, Ian. It's not that I don't think it would go OK with the chips, but I reckon there would be a definite gastronomic clash with the pickled onions. Besides, I'm watching my sugar intake at the moment as well. But I do fancy a biscuit, and of the tempting selection on offer, your ginger nuts look most salubrious. Great dunkers, too, I'm told?

 

Ginger nuts have been my favourite dunkers since I was a child! I recently watched a documentary on television saying how the growth of snacking is contributing to obesity in the UK, but I'm sure that if you dunk a biscuit it must dilute it a bit? Are you still playing your clarinet, or are you mainly writing now?

Haven't blown the clarinet in earnest since I puffed out a few trills on a Krankies' album I was producing back in 1982. I wrote their 'Fan-dabi-dozi' song too, you know.  Anyway, moving on ... truth is that all the other things I tackled to try and make a living since leaving the jazz scene in the mid-60s - like record production and farming in Scotland (simultaneously), then growing oranges in Mallorca - left me neither time norAlex Welsh opportunity to play music, even as a hobby.  All the same, it took years to get the buzz of playing jazz and its associated comradeship out of my system.

I've been a published author since 2000, and it's a solitary job - the other end of the creative spectrum from playing in a band - but, with deadlines of a book-per-year to meet, it's another occupation that demands total commitment and unstinting dedication of time. That's been the story of my life in many respects, and I count myself lucky for it.  Teaches you to keep on your toes and not to let the grass grow under your feet.  For instance, during the twenty years that I was involved in record production (as a Scotland-based freelance for several UK and US majors), budgets for most of the ten or so albums a year I had to supply in order to earn a reasonable crust dictated that each album had to be completed in two three-hour sessions. Everyone had to know what they were doing, and I think the results were all the sharper for it. While variety was the spice of life musically, with artists ranging in style from Andy Stewart and Jimmy Shand to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the aforementioned Krankies, the one regret I had was that there weren't more opportunities to record jazz: the only examples being three studio albums I produced in Edinburgh with the Alex Welsh Band - At Home with Alex Welsh, Alex Welsh and his Band '69 and The Alex Welsh Dixieland Party (all EMI) - goodies every one, with the band in top form. All I had to do to 'produce' the results was help the lads feel relaxed, set the balance and sit back and enjoy the music. Happy days!

Alex Welsh

 

Click here to listen to Lester Leaps In from the album Alex Welsh And His Band.

 

'Making them feel relaxed' seems to have worked! You have now become a pretty successful writer. How would you describe your style?

I don't really see myself as an author at all, just a teller of wee stories that seem to roll on and self-develop until they end up as a book, always Peter Kerrwith a sprinkling of humour and a feel-good ending.  I never have a pre-conceived plot, preferring to sit down in front of the computer in the morning and see what comes to mind. Maybe it's something that harks back to my jazz-playing days - improvisation and all that.  Spookily, particularly with fiction, the characters, once established, tend to write themselves anyway; I just have to keep an eye on them and make sure they don't misbehave too much. That said, it can be hard work writing books that (hopefully) are easy to read and come across as having flowed from the pen. In attempting to achieve that end, I tend to go over and over and over every sentence, paragraph and page as I write. The aim is to find, not just the right combination of the right words, but to set them to a rhythm that, in jazz terms, swings a bit.  I can't define that exactly, but I know when it happens - and it can be extremely elusive, believe me.

 

Peter Kerr
Photograph courtesy of Toun Cryer magazine

 

Another common denominator with my jazz musician days is the requirement to go 'on the road', the length and breadth of the UK and sometimes far beyond.  But instead of performing in jazz clubs and concert halls with six other guys to lean on, I have to entertain audiences as a 'solo', chatting about my books in situations as varied as small libraries, big book festivals and even cruise liners. I found it a bit daunting at first, but I've grown to really enjoy being given the opportunity to meet folks who have read my books and to get their feedback. It's extremely rewarding, all part of an endless learning curve, and always a lot of fun.

 

 

The Other Monarch Of The Glen by Peter Kerr

 

 

The Other Monarch Of The Glen’ came out last year? What is it all about?

This has been described as a quirky Caledonian caper. It's actually a comedy-laced yarn about two middle-aged wide boys from different rungs of the social ladder, who happen to be invited at the same time to a castle on the banks of Loch Ness by Lord Strathsporran, the seriously-skint local laird.

The story is set at the start of the grouse-shooting season, and our two heroes find themselves in the company of a motley mix of fellow guests of various nationalities, all of whom are paying through the nose for the chance to bag a few birds. Fortune seems to favour the devious duo when an opportunity arises to pull off what promises to be an extremely lucrative scam.  Consequently, Lord Strathsporran finds himself embroiled in a complicated scenario that is further compounded by amorous attractions crossing social barriers faster than a smart grouse would wing it off the moors at daybreak on the Glorious Twelfth. Chicanery stalks the corridors of Strathsporran Castle. But who's conning who? And what's all this got to do with jazz? Well, not a lot, until the background of the two central characters is revealed and they find they have a lot more in common than they could ever have imagined.

 

 

 

 

 

Have you got another book in the pipe line?

Goblin Ha

 

 

I'm currently tackling my first fantasy effort, a complete departure from anything I've written before. Genre-jumping is a trait in authors that publishers are wary of, but I've never been a fan of pigeon holes, which is maybe another throwback to my time as a jazz musician. I find it stifling to be hemmed in by 'classifications', and for inspiration I rely on having different paths to head down. Not an attitude easily accepted by the book-business establishment, perhaps, but I'd be faking it if I tried to be any other way. And, as with jazz fans, the book-reading public can spot a phony a mile away. The idea for this book came from a ruined castle called Goblin Ha', near my home in East Lothian. I'm not sure if I'll be able to fit some jazz content into the world of bogeymen and elves, but stranger things have happened in the story so far.  Hmm, I wonder if a could conjure up a cameo spot for Erroll Garner...?

 

 

 

I read in The Scotsman that 'Yester’s Goblin Ha’ lies beneath the ground and can be entered via a doorway at the castle’s northern end. Many who have ventured down over the years have spoken of a sinister presence stalking the site, and a general feeling that they are not welcome'. Perhaps it is haunted! As for Erroll Garner, you could always play Misty! You are obviously still interested in jazz – who do you listen to these days?

Thanks to the internet (and there's no jazz-dedicated site more comprehensive than your own), it's relatively easy to access what's currently being played and by whom, as well as being treated to some rare gems resurrected from the past. However, these days most of my listening is done while I'm working - i.e. background music to the click of computer keys and the clunk of brain cells - so easy-listening piano jazz fits the bill nicely. Now that I think about it, the people I currently listen to in that regard are pretty much the same ones I was listening to fifty years ago: pianists like Teddy Wilson, Oscar Peterson and 'The Elf' himself, with even a blast of Albert Ammons if I need an energy boost. Also, horn man Wild Bill Davison produced some smooth 'wallpaper' with strings attached, and, to quote Eddie Condon, 'that doesn't bother me' either when I'm working.

When there are no writing distractions to get in the way, I still get a kick out of listening to Dixieland. As Bing Crosby said, there's nothing like Dixieland to brighten up the cloudiest of days - or words to that effect. And the albums I listen to most are the likes of Jack Teagarden and Bobby Hackett's 'Jazz Ultimate' and 'Coast Concert', along with Eddie Condon's Jam Session Coast to Coast' and Jammin' at Condon's'. They involve a real star-spangled array of some of the best-ever exponents of the idiom - Ed Hall, Peanuts Hucko, Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity, Wild Bill, Billy Butterfield, Matty Matlock, Nick Fatool et al. Undeniably all-American, of course, yet the one recording I've listened to and admired more than any other over the years features predominantly British musicians: 'That Old Feeling' was recorded in London as a clarinet duet by Sandy Brown and Archie Semple back in 1959, with Fred Hunt on piano, Jackie Dougan on drums and Canada's Jack Fallon on bass. I sing its praises, not because the two front men happened to hail from the same part of Scotland as myself, but simply because I think it is a unique example of classy, understated jazz elegance. Not strictly Dixieland? That's right, but who needs pigeon holes anyway?

Click here to listen to That Old Feeling with Sandy Brown and Archie Semple.

 

Well, I better let you get back and sharpen your quill and refill your ink bottle. I think I might play some Erroll Garner, 'The Giant Elf'. Would you like another biscuit before you go?

Thanks, Ian - very kind of you. And, um, I reckon I've limited myself to the healthy option more than enough for one day, so just lob me one of your deep fried Mars Bars, please.  But, hey, no offence ... hold the pickled onions, eh!

 

Click here for Peter's website.

 

Peter Kerr

 

Photograph courtesy of Toun Cryer magazine

 

 

 

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

 

Scott de Martinville

 

' ..... The year was 1853. In a little bookshop on rue Vivienne, a man was sitting in a chair, reading.

The man, a thirty-six year old typesetter Éduard - Léon Scott de Martinville, was proofreading a physics manuscript. He turned a page and was struck by a diagram of sound waves. Fascinated by these curling lines, he began dreaming of a machine.

After chewing over the question for years, he came to a simple but ingenious conclusion - just copy nature. His sound-writing machine would have to be a type of mechanical ear attached to a pen. A barrel-shaped receptor would capture incoming sounds, the way the outer ear directs sound into the eardrum. Two elastic membranes would reproduce the work of the eardrum; a system of levers would replicate the three minute bones in the middle ear that transmit vibrations from the air to the liquid interior. A boar's hair attached to the end of this mechanical ear would engrave the vibrations on a glass suerface blackened with soot.

On March 25, 1857, Scott de Martinville deposited a design with the French Academy of Sciences. Later that year he was granted a patent for his phonautograph, a sound-writer, the earliest known sound-recording device.

Scott de Martinville lacked the skills to build a working prototype, so he found a craftsman, Rudolph Keonig .... The two men met spradically .... until on April 9, 1860, the earliest known recording of a human voice was engraved in soot on a glass surface. Prophetically, its inventor didn't speak but sang Au Clair De La Lune ..... '

 

Phonautograph

From Cowboys And Indies, The Epic History of the Recording Industry by Gareth Murphy.

For more about Éduard - Léon Scott de Martinville click here.

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Where The River Goes
Wolfgang Muthspiel Quintet

by Howard Lawes


 

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

 

Wolfgang Muthspiel

 

Click here for a brief introduction to Where The River Goes.

 

For decades, if not centuries, the music of Austria has been dominated by the classical composers such as Mozart, Haydn, Liszt, Mahler and the Strauss family.  In the first half of the 20th century Arnold Schoenberg, who was associated with the German expressionist movement and who emigrated to the USA in 1934 to escape persecution from the Nazi party, composed innovative, modernist music which incorporated atonality and used the 12 tone technique (whereby all the notes in a chromatic group are employed more or less equally). Schoenberg's music was considered avant-garde and like Stravinsky he used techniques also employed by jazz musicians but there was very little common ground between him and jazz composition. 

Another Austrian classically trained musician, born in 1932,  and who emigrated to the USA in 1959 with a music scholarship from the Berklee College of Music, was Joe Zawinul, one of the pioneers of jazz fusion, a collaborator with Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter and founder in 1970 of the jazz super-group Weather Report whose most famous album Heavy Weather with the seminal track Birdland was released in 1977.

Click here for a video of Weather Report playing Birdland at the 1978 Stadthalle Offenbach Concert with Joe Zawinul (keyboards), Wayne Shorter (saxophones), Jaco Pastorius (electric bass) and Peter Erkskine (drums). 

A recent document published by Music Austria called Jazz in Austria highlights the continuing healthy state of jazz in Austria as follows:

'It is the vast musical diversity that distinguishes today’s Austrian jazz scene, providing acclaim and attention well beyond the country’s borders. Regardless of subgenre, be it based on more traditional routes, larger or smaller instrumentations, experimental or avant-garde niches, unconventional or genrecrossing music: all are characterized by liveliness, innovation, and creativity. In terms of artistry and musical skills, the Austrian jazz scene easily ranges among the world’s finest.' 

'The dissolution of the Vienna Art Orchestra clearly left a void, but this was filled fairly quickly by the Jazz Big Band Graz. Under the guidance of Heinrich von Kalnein and Horst Michael Schaffer, the Jazz Big Band Graz has been active since the early 2000s and has since been expanding the classic big band sound with various new musical facets (“Urban Folk Tales”). Working in a similar field, just Wolfgang Muthspielslightly more experimental, is the ensemble Studio Dan, which originated from the Jazzwerkstatt Wien and its surroundings and combines chamber orchestra and big band sounds. Led by Daniel Riegler, the ensemble has collaborated with renowned international stars, such as guitarist Elliott Sharp. The jazz scene in western Austria is also quite vibrant, as is evidenced by the activities of the Jazz Orchestra Vorarlberg, which was founded by Martin Franz and Martin Eberle.  Beyond the VAO, a number of other creative jazz artists were able to achieve international renown'.

Wolfgang Muthspiel

'These include, among others, the guitarist and head of the label Material Records, Wolfgang Muthspiel, who launched his career in New York and later spearheaded various successful projects in Austria (including the solo project “Vienna Naked”, the Wolfgang Muthspiel Trio featuring Larry Grenadier, and his collaboration with Jeff Ballard).

The document contains much more information including a section on New Female Bandleaders, Promoters and Venues, Labels, Publishing and Distribution, Media and Broadcasting, Festivals, Booking Agencies, Musician Websites and Ensemble Websites.

 

Wolfgang and Christian Muthspiel

 

As Joe Zawinul was establishing himself in America, back in Judeburg, Austria, two brothers were born into the musical Muthspiel family, Christian in 1962 and Wofgang in 1965. Christian began piano lessons at the age of 6 and trombone at 11, he studied both classical and jazz music at college in Graz before moving to Canada to continue his musical studies at the School of Fine Arts in Banff. Wolfgang also started music lessons at 6 but preferred the violin switching to classical guitar at age 14, he also left Austria to study but at the New England Conservatory in New York and Berklee College of Music in Boston on a full scholarship where he studied under jazz guitarist Mick Goodrick.

 

Wolfgang and Christian Muthspiel
Picture by Werner Maresch from Christian's website.

 

In 1985 Wolfgang and Christian released the first of three Duo Due albums featuring free jazz inspired by the likes of Ornette Coleman but recorded in Europe; Christian had returned home and from 1995 to 2004 was a key member of the Vienna Art Orchestra, formed in 1977 by Mathias Rüegg, playing a combination of contemporary, classical and jazz music.

 

 

 

Click here for a video Wolfgang playing Hanging Out In Den Haag with the Vienna Art Orchestra in 2000.

 

Wolfgang stayed in America for longer and soon established a reputation as a distinctive guitarist, much in demand as a sideman working with a wide range of musicians including pioneering vibraphonist Gary Burton, celebrated Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, bassist Gary Peacock and saxophonist Dave Liebman among many others.

Wolfgang took part in Youssou N’Dour's 2007 documentary Return To Goree (6 minutes: click here) which illustrates the origins of jazz and how it has flowed out across the world. He says: 'The truth is in the music, it is not in what I'm saying or what I'm thinking'.

During the 1990s, while living in America, Wolfgang Muthspiel featured on several albums either as leader or sideman, he also continued to work with his brother, recording in Austria, issuing albums such as CY, in 1998, inspired by the artist Cy Twombly. In 2000, Wolfgang Dhaffer Youssef and Wolfgang MuthspielMuthspiel founded Material Records, a label specialising in jazz, song, and classical music and including several albums featuring Wolfgang and early projects with his brother Christian. Other artists include Norwegian jazz vocalist Rebekka Bakken, Tunisian oud master Dhafer Youssef  and his guitar tutor from Berklee, Mick Goodrick.

Click here to listen to Sand Dance from the Wolfgang Muthspiel / Dhafer Youssef album Glow.

Wolfgang Muthspiel has blossomed into a guitarist of world renown, having won international competitions for both classical and jazz guitar and has been compared favourably with great jazz guitarists such as Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell and John Scofield. Muthspiel has been described as part of a new generation of artists who deliberately reinterpret the pioneering work of great masters like Django Reinhardt (1910-1953), Charlie Christian (1916-1942) and Jim Hall (1930-2013).

Since 2013 Wolfgang Muthspiel has featured on the ECM record label, the first album being Travel Guide as a member of a co-operative trio with fellow guitarists Ralph Towner and Slava Grigoryan. In 2014, Muthspiel made his ECM leader debut with Driftwood, featuring two top American jazz players - bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Brian Blade. Lyrical, grooving and atmospheric by turns, Driftwood saw Muthspiel exploit the rich sonic qualities of the guitar and with the track Joseph he paid tribute to Joe Zawinul, a true trailblazer for Austrian jazz musicians.

Click here to listen to Joseph.

 

Wolfgang Muthspiel's latest album on ECM is Where The River Goes featuring Wolfgang Muthspiel (guitar), Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet), Brad Mehldau (piano), Larry Grenadier (double bass) and Eric Harland (drums). This is the same line-up as on Muthspiel's previous, highly Wolfgang Muthspiel Where The River Goesacclaimed album Rising Grace and Where The River Goes carries the story forward. The album, recorded at the remote but inspiring Provencal Studios La Buissonne in February 2018 was produced by Manfred Eicher. Tracks on this album include For Django, not a re-interpretation of the music of Django Reinhardt (mentioned as one of Muthspiel's projects) but a piece dedicated to British pianist Django Bates and the flamenco tinged Buenos Aires, the city where Muthspiel recorded part of his Vienna World Song Cycle. 

Click here to listen to For Django.

The eponymous first track beautifully evokes the flow of a river, beginning with a watery, pastoral passage conjuring a Wind in the Willows type waterscape where Muthspiel plays solo, and as we move downstream each band member is introduced with Akinmusire immediately recognisable playing a lovely fanfare until the river eventually disappears in a combined crescendo.  Descendants is a beautiful melody, introduced by Akinmusire and then passed around the others who re-interpret it until just over half way through, Brian Blade interjects with some muscular drumming; the rest of the band react in unison with a dramatic response which completely changes the nature of the piece.  Most of the tracks are composed by Muthspiel except Clearing which is a combined effort from the whole band, a sort of conversation which one can well imagine happening in the bucolic surroundings of Studios la Buissonne, and Blueshead which was composed by Brad Mehldau. The last track, Panorama is a short, reflective, blurring of the lines between classical and jazz guitar sensitively accompanied by Brian Blade.

Click here to listen to Blueshead.

 

This is a really outstanding album by one of the best jazz guitarists around supported by an exceptional band. Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is excellent and provides just the right brassy foil to Muthspiel's dulcet chords.

Click here for a video of the title track - Where The River Goes.

Click here for Wolfgang Muthspiel's website. Click here for details of the album.

 

Wolfgang Muthspiel Quintet

 

 

 

Lens America

 

Joe Sanders

Bassist Joe Sanders photographed by Clara Pereira from JazzTrail in New York.

 

Bassist Joe Sanders was playing with Ben Wendel's 'The Seasons Of Jazz' at the Jazz Standard in New York City in December.

Filipe Freitas at JazzTrail writes: 'Vancouver-born, Brooklyn-based saxophonist Ben Wendel took a virtuoso quintet to perform at Jazz Standard, where he presented music from The Seasons, a key album in his career and one of the highest moments of 2018. In 2015, Wendel found inspiration in Tchaikovsky’s conceptual work of the same name, writing 12 contemporary pieces to be performed as chamber duets with master musicians of his choice. The pieces were posted on YouTube at that time and had never been released on record until two months ago when the Motéma Music label made it available. Except for Israeli-born guitarist Gilad Hekselman, who was featured on the CD, all the other musicians on the venue's bandstand were a novelty, with pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Joe Sanders, and drummer Mark Guiliana filling in for Aaron Parks, Matt Brewer, and Eric Harland, respectively ...... The ones who were familiar with The Seasons, just realized that this material is as powerful played live as it is on the recording; as for the others, they were obviously enthralled by the band’s extraordinary dynamism and sound'.

Click here for a video of the band playing July from the album The Seasons but with Matt Brewer on bass.

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

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Jazz Remembered
Pat O'Malley

by Jeff Duck


 

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

 

Pat O'Malley

 

Click here for Pat in his early days with Jack Hylton and their 'hot' version of Happy Feet. He is accompanied by two other voices to emulate the Paul Whiteman version with The Rhythm Boys.

So 2019 is here, these articles have been an interesting exercise for me. Giving me a deeper insight into the various artists I have written about and a bigger interest into past characters of the British entertainment business. How funny that the subject of this Musical Missive, Pat O'Malley, although born in Burnley in Lancashire, England to an Anglo-Irish family, spent most of his Pat O'Malleylater years working in America after making a large number of British recordings!

Vocalist Pat O’Malley, born on March 15th 1904 was a singer and character actor. His singing career started in the early 1920s appearing in shows around the northern UK music hall circuit. It was in 1925 that Pat joined Jack Hylton and his Orchestra.

Click here to listen to Pat singing Little White Lies with the Jack Hylton Orchestra in 1930. I don't know what movie the accompanying video comes from. The band includes Paul Fenoulhet (trumpet and trombone) and Billy Ternent (tenor sax) both who became bandleaders in their own right.

One of Pat’s early popular recordings as principal singer with the Hylton line-up was a 1930 tribute song to aviator Amy Johnson titled Amy, Wonderful Amy. Pat started a solo singing career in 1935 alongside his work with the Hylton Orchestra.

According to the website http://feriados2018.site, 'On February 25, 1930, Hylton also recorded a different and longer ‘concert’ arrangement (of the tune Body And Soul) which was issued on a 12-inch 78. Libby Holman introduced this great standard in the 1930 Broadway revue “Three’s A Crowd.” The Paul Whiteman orchestra released what was purportedly the best-selling 1930 recording of the song and the later Coleman Hawkins treatment is considered a jazz classic. The original 78rpm single was issued on HMV B-5777 - Body And Soul (Heyman-Sour-Green) by Jack Hylton & his Orchestra, vocal by Pat O’Malley, recorded in London February 7, 1930'.

Click here to listen to Body And Soul.

and here is the Coleman Hawkins version - click here.

We are reminded that Jack Hylton's '... good reputation allowed him to make contacts with famous jazz artists of the time, hence the reason he was credited for bringing Duke Ellington to England in 1933. This overall success allowed Jack Hylton's band not only to entertain people in Britain, but also abroad. The band frequently had what were called 'continental tours' which made it famous in various places in Europe, especially in France'.

Sometime near the end of 1935, Pat and Hylton went to America with the plan to make various recordings with American musicians, there are rumours that when Hylton returned to England Pat stayed in America. However I do believe that Pat returned a few days after Hylton to say his farewells to his family, friends and fellow artists.

By now, Pat was becoming established as a solo vocalist outside of the dance band scene - click here for a Pathé video of him singing the ballad Orchids To My Lady. A young lady accompanies him on a piano. Information suggests that this is Pat's future bride - Margaret Mullen from Scotland.

The website http://www.r2ok.co.uk has a number of photographs of Pat with Jack Hylton and writes of the film On The Air - In The Air: 'In the film you will see the band waiting on the steps to board the plane. Sonny Farrar (banjo) at the top of the steps and Pat O’Malley (guitar) just below him. The whole band playing that “Swingy Little Thingy” song. Then they board the plane, still playing and Pat gives a nod to the camera. When on board there is another glimpse of Pat playing his tenor guitar. For later American tours Jack Hylton seems to have got Pat to double up as vocalist/guitarist when he left Sonny Farrar in charge of the band in England'. (Click here for the film).

Pat returned to America before the start of World War II and was soon employed as a voice-over player and actor in various roles on television and film. Pat changed his professional name to J. Patrick O’Malley (soon to be shortened to J. Pat O’Malley) to avoid any Pat O'Malleyconfusion with the already working and recognised American actor Pat O’Malley; to add to the confusion the Australian-born actor John P. O'Malley was also active in the film industry at the time.

After the war Pat kept busy with voice-over work, mainly for Walt Disney. He was highly regarded by Disney as a voice coach as well as a talented voice-over actor. In 1946 he provided the voice of Br'er Fox in Song of the South (1946) when James Baskett was unavailable. Click here for an extract from Song of the South. He played all the parts including Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Walrus, the Carpenter, and Mother Oyster in the “The Walrus and the Carpenter” segment of Alice in Wonderland in 1951 and many other film and television roles followed including Lassie Come Home as the character “Hynes”; a sheriff in the series The Adventures of Kit Carson from 1951 to 1955, and in 1964 Pat played many voice-overs in the film Mary Poppins. The actor Dick Van Dyke attributed his 'cockney' accent to Pat as his voice coach. In 1967 he voiced Colonel Hathi (the elephant) and the vulture Buzzie in The Jungle Book.

Click here for the Dawn Patrol / Elephant Smash extract from The Jungle Book.

The “Twilight Zone” series played a big part in Pat’s life in the 1960’ as he played many different roles in many episodes. In 1963 to 1964 Pat also appeared in eight episodes of “My Favourite Martian” before returning to “The Twilight Zone”. Acting work in TV continued in the early 1970s with also some comedy acting, but with a fragility from his increase in age, acting roles were shortened but continued until Pat’s last TV role in the series “Barney Miller” in 1981.

Pat O’Malley passed away in California on February 27th 1985 of cardovascular disease shortly before his 81st birthday. Pat left behind him over 400 British recordings, Some with Hylton and some as a solo artist, and many filmed television and movie roles. Pat will always be remembered for his twinkling eyes, warm smile and friendship to many.

Pat O'Malley's career took a different path after his days with Jack Hylton, but it is worth remembering his contribution to those 'dance band days'. I guess Ain't That The Way It Goes (click here).

 

Pat O'Malley Ain't That The Way It Goes

 

 

 

 

Do You Have A Birthday In February?

 


Your Horoscope

for February Birthdays

by 'Marable'

 

Aquarius

 

Aquarius (The Water Bearer)

20th January - 18th February

You are still in a period of personal independence but it is not quite so strong as last month because Mars is on the move on the 14th, but things are still stronger than they might be later in the year so think about whether you want to take the initiative with things now - it could be more difficult later.

When Mars moves, he will move into some stressful alignment with you. Your energy levels could drop for a while, but this should only be temporary. There is a 'super full Moon' on the 19th when she is at her perigree (her closest point to the Earth) and that should give a boost.

There is also a suggestion that you will become more aware of your financial situation and opportunities around this time. Mercury will have entered your house on the 10th and the Sun's presence there signals opportunity for social contacts and joint ventures. Take note of your intuition and hunches, even when these come in dreams or unexpected ideas.

For you, click here for a video of Dave O'Higgins, Mike Gorman and the band playing the Jerome Kern / Dorothy Fields number Pick Yourself Up from the Astaire / Rogers movie Swing Time.

 

Dave O'Higgins video pick yourself up

 

 

Pisces (The Fish)

19th February - 20th March

 

Pisces

 

February looks as though it could be a happy and prosperous month, so take the time to make the most of it. All the planets, with the exception of the Moon - and then for only part of the time, are in the independent Eastern sector of your chart. This is not usual so you feelings of personal independence could be particularly strong.

What does this mean for you? Well, it looks as though the outcome could be down to how you use those feelings. Self-esteem and self-confidence can be directed into energy and health and into achieving things you set your mind to. Create the conditions that make you happy.

After the 3rd there is only one long-term planet in stressful alignment - Jupiter - and even Jupiter's adverse aspects appear to be mild. Your 12th house of spirituality is powerful until the 19th, and even after that Neptune continues to be in your sign so those spiritual influences will still be there.

Mars, your financial planet, is moving with Uranus from the 11th to the 14th. This might well bring unexpected financial changes but you can handle these. And relationships? Mercury, your love planet, moves into your own sign on the 10th paving the way for not necessarily romantic, but also new, positive social relationships.

For you, click here for George Benson with Nat King Cole's Straighten Up And Fly Right.

 

George Benson Straighten Up And Fly Right video

 

 

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

Photographer Brian O'Connor took his camera to gigs recently. Here are some of his images:

 

Alina Bzhezhinska Quartet

In January, Brian went to the Watermill Jazz Club in Dorking, Surrey where the Alina Bzhezhinska Quartet (Tony Kofi, saxophone; Larry Bartley, bass and Joel Prime, drums) were playing the music of John and Alice Coltrane. Click here for a video of the band playing Alice Coltrane's Something About John Coltrane.

 

Alina Bzhezhinska

Alina Bzhezhinska

 

Based in the UK, Alina Bzhezhinska is an exciting and dynamic harpist. She has played at the European Parliament, at the Queen’s 80th-birthday celebrations at Balmoral Castle and at the King of Thailand’s birthday celebrations in Bangkok. Alina studied at the F. Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland (Masters in Arts), and The University of Arizona, USA (Masters in Music Performance). 

In the classical field, she has performed with many major European orchestras including the Young World Symphony Orchestra, the National Opera in Warsaw and the Scottish Opera, but she has also collaborated and recorded with leading jazz musicians, including Django Bates, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Shabaka Hutchings. Her duo with award-winning jazz vocalist Niki King  performed as a support act for Gregory Porter and her Quartet appeared at the London Jazz Festival 2017 in a triple bill performance along with Coltrane-specialist Denys Baptiste and the legendary saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. This project was nominated for a JazzFM Award for  best Live experience of Larry Bartleythe year. Alina is a harp tutor at Goldsmiths University, London.

Gerard Sands writes of the gig at the Watermill: 'Had you asked me a week ago to name jazz harpists I would probably have been forced to start and finish with Alice Coltrane. Regular Sandy Brown Jazz readers may know of others but to that very short list I can now at least add Alina Bzhezhinska.

Mention of Alice Coltrane is relevant because Bzhezhinska’s quartet have recorded an album, Inspiration, dedicated to Alice and her husband John, and tonight’s performance consisted largely of material from that album. Thus we had compositions by Alice such as Wisdom Eye, Blue Nile, Los Caballos and, to close, Journey In Satchidananda - and by John with After The Rain, and also Joe Henderson’s Fire which had featured Alice on his classic album The Elements.

Larry Bartley

We were also treated to several of Bzhezinska’s own compositions. These were generally lighter in tone and more straight-forwardly melodic. My favourites among these were Spero (Hope), For Carol - a lament for a former teacher and friend who had succumbed to cancer, and Lemky - about a displaced tribe in Bzhezhinska’s native Ukraine and intended to convey a message of perseverance.

Switching between soprano and tenor saxes Tony Kofi ably took the parts of Henderson, John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders on the covers and simply of himself on the newer material, he impresses me every time I see him play. Bassist Larry Bartley achieves a gorgeous woody tone on his instrument and stylistically reminded me a little of Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Joel Prime swung where appropriate and used an array of percussion instruments to add texture at other times. Bzhezhinska’s own playing was fluid, producing sheets of sound when I could hear her but was unfortunately rather drowned out when the band was in full flight. She’s also a charming and very engaging compère.

As ever, thanks are due to the organisers of the Watermill Jazz Club for their hard work in keeping this wonderful local venue in operation, and for their eclectic booking policy which allows us to experience such variety within the broad spectrum that is jazz.

The band continues its tour during February and March - click here for details.

Click here for Alina's website. Alina's jazz quartet album Inspiration was released by Ubuntu Music in June 2018 . 

 

 

Gypsy Dynamite

On the 18th January, Brian was at the Ashtead Jazz Club to catch the band Gypsy Dynamite with Dominique Durner (vocals), Filippo Dall'Asta (guitar), Giulio Romano Malaisi (guitar), Nick Lenner Webster (bass) and Daniele Antenucci (drums). Click here for a video of Gypsy Dynamite with When You're Smiling at Brasserie Zédel, London in 2017.

 

 

Dominique Turner

Dominique 'Dom' Durner

 

 

Giulio Romano Malaisi

 

 

Brian says: 'It was a super gig with a packed house in a very informal setting and excellent stage lighting.  Gypsy Dynamite, with a fairly fluid personnel (apart from the guitarist) have been on the scene for a few years now, but are new to me.  Any group that can do a medley of Tainted Love and Hit the Road Jack, followed by Jungle Book's I Wanna Be Like You get my vote!

 

Giulio Romano Malaisi

 

 

.... and the Rev. Mary Britt, who was also at the gig adds: 'This was an impressive gig with members of the ‘Gypsy Dynamite’ collective.  First class musicianship and a varied programme, with twenty numbers packed into two and a half hours that gave both great value and real excitement. Their joy was infectious and the dynamic vocalist Dominique Durner, who sang in at least 3 languages, was a witty and a compelling  MC too.  Numbers included  ‘Love Is All That I Can Give’,‘Putting On The Ritz’ and ‘Bona Sera Senorina’ and were delivered with drive, energy and with a generous share of dazzling solo riffs particularly from guitarist Gulio Malaisi. A joyful evening.  Go see!'

The Gyspsy Dynamite website (click here) says: 'The soul of Gypsy Dynamite, Filippo and Giulio explode onto stage with sizzling guitar, unique and fresh arrangements of traditional Gypsy swing, Italian and Spanish music and memorable ‘million sellers’... Gypsy Dynamite style! ​

The band was originally formed as a duo by Giulio Romano Malaisi and Filippo Dall'Asta in London in 2012.  As well as performing regularly in the UK, they have toured in France, Italy, Malta and Russia, and played at many illustrious venues including the House of Parliament, Brasserie Zedel, Tower of London, Union Chapel, Novikov, the Century Club, Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec, Le QuecumBar, The Forge, Gaucho, Cahoots, The Hideaway and the Green Note. The duo often team up with prodigy guests from London's top music scene, expanding their lineup up to a 6-piece band.  

Click here for the band's February and March dates.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Photographic Memory

 

Sandy Brown at terminus Hotel

 

Trombonist John Mason sends us this picture of clarinettist Sandy Brown with the Rigden-Legon band from 1966. John says:

‘Sandy was a regular guest at The Terminus Hotel Jazz Club, Gravesend, playing with the Rigden-Legon Jazz Unit.  Sessions were every Sunday evening, 7.45 – 10.30. After a couple of visits Sandy got friendly with Bill French the landlord,  from then on Sandy would appear around 6pm to play darts with Bill, along with scotch and bitter, he was always jolly by the time to play!

'I started the jazz club at the Terminus in 1961 with a three band rota; Trevor Jeavon`s Jazzband, The Excell Jazzband and the Rigden-Legon Jazz Unit. By 1964 I booked guests, George Chisholm, Sandy Brown to play with the Jazz Unit and the Tony Coe-John Picard Quartet and Sounds by Nine, led by Eddie Bayfield piano including trumpeter Dave Holdsworth..

'The Rigden-Legon Jazz Unit was a fine mainstream band led by Freddy Legon (ex Humphrey Lyttelton) and Reg Rigden (ex George Webb`s Band) including John Lee on tenor. I handed over the club in 1967 and it went avant garde and downhill.                                       

'By 1969 I formed my own band, John Mason`s Jazzmen, with Bob Whetstone (trumpet), John Lee (tenor sax), Bernie Holden (clarinet), Mike Jeffersion (piano), Freddy Legon (guitar), Doug Confrey (bass) and Phil Franklin drums). This band continued in some form for over 30 years. After Bob Whetstone emigrated to Australia in 1974, Alan Wickham, Digby Fairweather, Mike Cotton or Nick Stevenson played on trumpet. 

 

John Mason's Jazzmen

John Mason's Jazzmen at the Old Gravesendians HQ. Tivoli House. Gravesend

Ken Barton (bass). John Mason (trombone), John Lee (tenor sax)  Bernie Holden (clarinet), Bob Whetstone (trumpet),  Fredy Legon (guitar),  Mike Jefferson (piano) ....drummer arrived late!

 

'In 1969 I got a regular session at the Old Gravesendians Club, I contacted George Melly and persuaded him out of retirement, he performed with us many times during the following 3 years (£20 a time), it was certainly not John Chilton who did this as is often claimed!  George enjoyed this revival and did suggest we turned pro with him but we all had good day jobs hence John Chilton`s Feetwarmers.  In the 1990s I started an annual `Terminus` reunion. These stopped 3 years ago, too many deaths and me moving to South Devon.

'In the 1980`s I became friendly with Urbie Green, I organised his UK tours in the ‘80s and ‘90s, playing with him in the USA on his 80th birthday (Urbie died on 31st December 2018). Meanwhile I joined the Franglais Jazz Band in France, playing several times a year, ongoing.  A great band I enjoyed very much, just before moving South West, I formed with John Lee (tenor sax), Ernie Cranenburgh (guitar), Roger Curphy (bass) and Mick Brooks (drums)'.

If you have a photograph that brings back a memory, send it to us with your recollection of the event. Click here for our page of Photographic memories.

 

 

 

Forum

 

Paul Barbarin

David Braidley writes about one of the videos featured in last moth’s Video Juke Box (click the picture):

'You have a short clip of Paul Barbarin playing for which you seem to have little information. This came from a TV programme 'Art Ford's Paul Barbarin videoJazz Party' broadcast on Christmas Eve 1958. The play list was:-  Basin St., The Saints, Buddy Bolden's Blues, Careless Love, Bucket's Got a Hole in it, and High Society.

The line-up:  Punch Miller, Peter Bocage (trumpets); Louis Nelson (trombone); George Lewis (clarinet); Alphonse Picou (violin, and clarinet on High Society); Emma Barrett (piano); George Guesnon (banjo and vocals) Alcide Pavegeau (string bass) and Paul Barbarin (drums). I found it on 20sjazz, in their New Orleans section as Buddy Bolden Tribute, Parts 1 & 2'.

'Incidentally, I cannot recommend 20sjazz too highly. Likewise, I recommend Sandy Brown Jazz to other jazz lovers. We try to out do each other in the Quiz (click here) as gentle exercise'.

 

 

Jazz Novels

Clive Feckner adds to our recommendations for Jazz Novels (see our Jazz Fiction page here). Clive says: 'I am not sure whether you are intending to have 'Jazz novels' as a theme, but I have just finished 1929 by Frederick Turner, a fictionalised (I guess) story of Bix Beiderbecke's last few years...brilliant!! You get them all, Tram, Duke, Satchmo, Paul Whiteman, Al Capone. It is beautifully written and a joy as well as an exciting read'.

1929 by Frederick TurnerWith a byline 'A novel of the jazz age', the introductory notes say: 'Presents a fictional account of jazz artist Bix Beiderbecke's early jams at a Capone-controlled casino, gruelling cross-country tours, disastrous cinematic efforts, experiences during the stock market crash, and his final musical efforts'.

One reviewer on Amazon writes: 'One really doesn't know where to begin. 1929 starts in modern times, as the fictional graveside recollections of a former Al Capone Mob driver and mechanic of his late friend, the legendary Bix Beiderbecke. It then careens through the "Roaring 20's", following Bix's descent into alcoholism, illness, and eventual death in a wildly scattershot pattern. In reading this book one wonders just how many of the stories related are apochryphal, and how many ended up in letters, diaries, memoirs, and biographies. The recollections of Charlie Chaplain, Buster Keaton, Paul Whiteman, Bing Crosby, Frankie Trumbauer, Hoagy Carmichael, Louis Armstrong, Clara Bow and many others are here. The richness of the material excuses the sometimes roundabout storytelling, and details about needle beer, "smoke" (a denatured alchol drink that killed thousands), and a hundred other matters that haven't mattered since the end of prohibition show the writer to be very knowlegable about the details that were then concerns for the alligators and flappers of the speakeasy era......'

Click here for details.

[I'd welcome more recommendations of jazz novels to add to our Jazz Fiction page - Ed]

 

 

Bruce Turner - Trombone

John Mason writes: An old friend, Derek Paramour (related to Norrie) a sax player, ran the jazz club at Queen Mary College, London in the mid 1950s.  Derek has lived in Germany for many years and when he visited 4 years ago, he gave me some jazz books including Bruce Turner's autobiography. Just this week I found in the book some letters from Bruce confirming that he wanted to play trombone. He rehearsed each week with the college band - had to be early as he played with Humph in the evenings.  Derek recalled that Bruce would turn up with his trombone, which had no case, in the leg of a corduroy trouser leg with a knot tied in the bottom! Only Bruce or Spike Milligan could do that! I wonder if anyone else can recall Bruce the trombone player?

 

 

 

Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook and Mailing List

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


Click here

 

There is no charge for the Sandy Brown Jazz website.
You can join our Mailing List - click here - and I will send you an email each time a new issue of What's New comes out.

 

 

 

 

100 Years of Jazz Piano from the James Pearson Trio

 

James Pearson Trio

 

 

On Saturday, 9th February, in Loughton, Essex, pianist James Pearson, with Sam Burgess (bass) and Chris Higginbottom (drums), present a history of jazz piano, featuring Oscar Peterson, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton, Erroll Garner, Bill Evans and many, many more.

The event is a fundraiser for the National Jazz Archive. James said: “It seems very appropriate to bring my trio to present a concert telling the story of jazz piano to help raise funds for the Archive, which itself covers the history of jazz. We’re looking forward to it!”.

The concert will include a tribute to the late Brian Browning, in thanks and recognition for the generous legacy he left to the National Jazz Archive in his will. There will be a display of some of the photos he took at the East Side Jazz Club, Leytonstone over the years. The concert is at Loughton Methodist Church, 260 High Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 1RB, close to the Archive’s home in Loughton Library, where extensive parking is available. The church and the archive are about a kilometre away from Loughton Station on the Central Line, and are also served by numerous bus routes. The concert starts at 2.30pm and tickets cost £15.

For details and to book tickets click here or phone 020 8502 4701.

 

 

 

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.

 

Mike Hart

 

 

Mike Hart M.B.E. - Scottish drummer and banjo player born in Inverness but who grew up in Edinburgh. He went to Edinburgh's Royal High School as did Sandy Brown, Al Fairweather and Stan Greig. He played with Sandy's band in the 1950s , joined Charlie McNair's band and went on to form a number of bands under his own leadership including Mike Hart's Blue Blowers, the New Society Syncopators and the Scottish Jazz Advocates. He set up the Edinburgh Jazz Festival in 1978 and remained director of the Festival for 25 years.

 

 

 

 

 

Michel Legrand

 

 

 

Michel Legrand - French composer, arranger, conductor and jazz pianist born in Paris. Michel went to the city’s conservatoire age 10 and studied classical piano, but when he was sixteen, he went to a Dizzy Gillespie concert and decided to concentrate on jazz. In his twenties, he travelled to the USA where he met and collaborated with Bill Evans, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and many others. He wrote over 200 film and television scores and won his first Oscar for the song "The Windmills of Your Mind" from the 1968 movie The Thomas Crown Affair. Click here to listen to The Dream from the Michel Legrand / Miles Davis album Dingo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alvin Fielder

 

 

Alvin Fielder - American drummer born in Mississippi and initially influenced by Max Roach. He was a founder member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Black Arts Music Society, Improvisational Arts Trio/Quartet/Quintet, and was a founding faculty member of the Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp. He played with Sun Ra, Eddie Harris, Fred Anderson, Roscoe Mitchell and Kidd Jordan amongst others. Click here for a video of Alvin Fielder with Kidd Jordan (tenor sax) and Joshua Abrams (guitar) in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Jarman

 

 

Joseph Jarman - American saxophonist, clarinettist, composer and Shinshu Buddhist priest born in Arkansas but who grew up in Chicago. He was one of the first members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Amongst others, he played with Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Fred Anderson, Charles Clark and Christopher Gaddy. Jarman stayed with the Ensemble until 1993, when he left the group to focus on his spiritual practice, "a cleansing process" he stated. Click here for a video of Joseph with the Art Ensemble Of Chicago at the Berlin Jazzfest in 1991.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Williams

 

John Williams - American jazz pianist born in Vermont. In 1945, he embarked on a six-month tour with Mal Hallett's band, having not yet completed high school. In the 1940s he played with Johnny Bothwell and Teddy Kotick, gigged with Charlie Parker in 1950, and after serving in the Korean War enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music. 'His associations around this time included Charlie Barnet, Stan Getz, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims (and others). He recorded two albums as a leader for EmArcy Records in the mid-1950s. 'Disillusioned with the jazz life in New York, Williams decided to move to Florida, where he played for a time as a pianist in Miami Beach. He was a regular performer at an annual music festival in Hollywood, Florida, where he played with many well known jazz musicians. Click here for Marc Myers JazzWax tribute. Click here for John Williams playing Have You Met Miss Jones with Stan Getz in 1953.

 

 

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.

 

 

 


Some Recent Releases

 

UK

Wandering Monster - Wandering Monster

Nick Malcolm - Real Isn't Real

Chris Ingham Quartet featuring Mark Crooks - Stan

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra - The Adventures Of Mr Pottercakes

Empirical - Indifference Culture

Duncan Eagles - Citizen

 

 

America

Preston Glasgow Lowe - Something About Rainbows

Greg Ward presents Rogue Parade - Stomping Off From Greenwood

Ken Thomson - Sextet

Joe Lovano - Trio Tapestry

Christian McBride's - New Jawn

Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow, Bobby Previte - You Don't Know The Life

 

 

Europe and Elsewhere

Jasper Blom Quartet - Polyphony

Nypan - Big City

Florian Ross Quintet - Swallows And Swans

 

 

Re-Releases

Nat Gonella - The Nat Gonella Collection: 1930 - 1962

Ivie Anderson - The Ivie Anderson Collection 1932-46

Jimmy Smith - Four Classic Albums

The Ronnie Scott Trio - On A Clear Day 'Live' 1974

 

 

 

 

Wandering Monster - Wandering Monster
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 25th January 2019

Ben Powling (tenor saxophone); Aleks Podraza (piano, keyboards); Calvin Travers (guitar); Sam Quintana (double bass); Tom Higham (drums).

Wandering Monster album

 

'Well established on the northern music scene, the band features Sam Quintana on double bass, Ben Powling on tenor saxophone, Calvin Travers on guitar, Tom Higham on drums and Aleks Podraza on piano and keyboards. Wandering Monster received the Jazz North Introduces award for 2016/2017. The band has performed at a number of UK festivals including Manchester Jazz Festival and Liverpool International Jazz Festival. The music juxtaposes the harmonic sophistication and improvisational approach of jazz with the rhythmic complexity of modern rock and metal resulting in a sound that is intense, yet dynamic, sensitive and spontaneous. “My early musical experiences saw me playing bass guitar in rock and metal bands. In my late teens I developed a love for jazz, which intensified when I moved to Leeds and started studying the double bass,” explains Quintana. “The musicians that inspired me to start writing for a group were those who blend the jazz and rock genres, the likes of Dave Holland, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Tigran Hamasyan being at the top of my list of influences.”  Quintana’s compositions reflect the ‘inner monsters’ we can all possess at some point in our lives. “’The Rush Begins’ and ‘Tuco’ let the band show off their raucous side and explore themes of anxiety, anger and frustration, whereas in contrast ‘Sweetheart’, ‘Emöke’ and ‘Happy Place’ are gentler and more reflective, delving into themes of grief, loss and nostalgia,” says Quintana. ‘Samsara’, the opening track, takes us on a journey of re-invention that sees its initial motif reappear under a different guise after a passage of intense collective improvisation'. (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video of Samsara : Video of The Rush Begins : Sam Quintana's Wandering Monster website :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nick Malcolm - Real Isn't Real
(Green Eyes Records) - Released: 11th January 2019

Nick Malcolm (trumpet); Alexander Hawkins (piano); Olie Brice (double bass); Ric Yarborough (drums); Emily Wright, Marie Lister, Josienne Clarke, Lauren Kinsella (vocals).

Nick Malcolm Real Isnt Real

 

 

'Nick Malcolm releases his 3rd album with his 2010 core Quartet of Alexander Hawkins, Olie Brice and Ric Yarborough on 1st February 2019. The result of an extended musical process and journey, Real Isn’t Real materialises from recording studio in 2015, returning to the studio in 2017, and 2018 electronic overlays. Real Isn’t Real reveals, after only a few notes, the identity of each of these distinct players, and their ability to play with time and freedom, structure and improvisation. On ambitious compositional and lyric duty (apart from 'Grass Remembers'; words by W.B. Yeats), Nick has written a song to highlight the particular vocal and musical qualities of each of the featured vocalists, Emily, Marie, Josienne and Lauren – who he has worked closely with over the years in varying contexts, of jazz, soul, folk and improvisation respectively. Five Spiral pieces surround the four songs, deconstructing the musical material of the preceding through improvisation. The album finishes with Spiral V – Dissolve, a choral epilogue that dissolves into an electronic montage. Real Isn’t Real tracks Nick’s musical interests of recent years, and points his way ahead'. (album notes).

Details and Samples : Click here for an audio selection :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Ingham Quartet featuring Mark Crooks - Stan
(Downhome Records) - Released: 10th February 2019

Chris Ingham (piano); Mark Crooks (tenor saxophone); Arnie Somogyi (double bass); George Double (drums).

Chris Ingham Quartet Stan

 

'From the late 1940s to the early 1990s, tenor saxophonist Stan Getz was one of the great, individual instrumental artists in jazz. As jazz itself went through many phases, Getz as a player was remarkably consistent, producing album after album of poetic, swinging music. While his accompaniments were elaborately varied, Getz's playing was always unmistakeable, characterised by his singing, luminescent tone, his unmatched facility for elegance, passion and lyricism and an almost supernatural melodic creativity .... However, for a man who could have toured lucrative Greatest Hits shows for most of his career, his choices both in the material that he tackled and the musicians with whom he associated, show a notably intrepid attitude. Stan thrived on challenge and was dedicated to keeping his music fresh and vital, rarely taking the easy option. The result is a musical legacy among the richest in jazz. On Stan, the Chris Ingham Quartet presents twelve pieces associated with Stan Getz as a companion to their live presentation Getz: A Musical Portrait' (album notes).

Details : Video Introduction : Tour Dates :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra - The Adventures Of Mr Pottercakes
(Spark! label) - Released: 1st March 2019

James Davison, Adam Chatterton (trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet); James Copus, Tom Dennis (trumpet, flugelhorn); Kieren McLeod, Tom Green, Jamie Pimenta (trombone); Yusuf Narçin (bass trombone); Matthew Herd (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Sam Glaser (alto saxophone); Alex Hitchcock, Sam Miles (tenor saxophone); Tom Smith (baritone saxophone, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet); Liam Dunachie (piano, Hammon Organ); Rob Luft (electric guitar); Misha Mullov-Abbado (double bass, electric bass); Scott Chapman (drums).

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra The Adventure of Mr Pottercakes

 

'The Adventures of Mr Pottercakes is the debut album by Patchwork Jazz Orchestra, a London-based millenial big band that has no leader but various composers; it includes influential young musicians on the UK jazz scene such as James Copus, Tom Green, Alex Hitchcock, Rob Luft and Misha Mullov-Abbado. Ideas for the group began forming in early 2014 and in November that year the 17 piece band made its debut to a sell out audience at the EFG London Jazz Festival. After winning the Peter Whittingham Award in 2015, the band has hosted their own 'Patchwork' nights, engaging new audiences at unusual spaces across London such as The Others in Stoke Newington. "Many of us grew up listening to and playing big band music, but opportunities to perform new material are few and far between," explains Spark! label boss and trombonist Tom Green. "Patchwork Jazz Orchestra was born from a desire of a number of us to write and play new music in a regular group, and the band has since evolved an identity of its own, both collaborative and completely diverse in musical styles." The music ranges from luscious and sweet melodies to broad walls of sound, from drum and bass to funeral marches, from fairytale ballads to calypso. "All eight tracks on the album have different stories and influencies behind them and are the musical visions of seven composers, but all share the same excitement and joy we get out of communal music making," says Green. Drawing on the wealth of history of the big band format, Patchwork Jazz Orchestra has revamped it into a well-oiled machine that embraces a modern day philosophy of music making'. (album notes).

Details : Video of Badger Cam played live : Video of The Boy Roy played live : Patchwork Jazz Orchestra Website : Upcoming Live Gigs :

 

 

 

 

 

Empirical - Indifference Culture
(Empirical Music) - Released: 16th November 2018

Nathaniel Facey (alto saxophone); Lewis Wright (vibraphone); Tom Farmer (double bass); Shaney Forbes (drums)

Empirical Indifference Culture

 

'Marking the first release under the band’s own label, Empirical Music, Indifference Culture is the first of a two-part EP set of compositions that deal with the social evils, culture wars and political upheaval that have become the ‘new normal’ of life in 2018. With their unique commitment to group improvisation and musical risk-taking, this set of music retains the band's quartet format and captures the exhilarating intensity of Empirical’s live performances, which the band have honed through performing more than 130 live sets in the informal setting of their ‘Pop-up Jazz Lounge’. Tom Farmer recalls the recording process: ‘We went into the studio soon after one of our pop-up residencies. After such an intense run of gigs we were completely fired up and it was a case of ‘’let’s just play!’’’ Shaney Forbes explains further: ‘Even though the four us have been playing music together for more than ten years, we are still always excited to explore the creative possibilities that come out of our instrumentation and the fact that all four of us contribute to the music. It actually feels like we’ve only just begun that exploration.’ ' (album notes). 'A decade into its present incarnation, British quartet Empirical continue to hold true to the values of Ornette, Coltrane and the 1960s avant garde - and to the principle, declared on their website, that they treat jazz "as a search rather than a destination". This half-hour EP is a crisp summation of how skilful, soulful and thoughtful this fine ensemble continues to be .... Fine original music with exemplary improvisational craft to express it'. (John Fordham in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Audio Introduction : Listen to Celestial Being : Listen to Non Verbal Language :

 

 

 

 

 

Duncan Eagles - Citizen
(Ropeadope) - Released: 15th February 2019

Duncan Eagles (tenor and soprano saxophones), David Preston (guitar); Matt Robinson (piano); Max Luthert (bass); Dave Hamblett (drums).

Duncan Eagles Citizen

 

'Last year’s release from Ollie Howell was sublime and powerful, so it was a no brainer when band member and saxophonist Duncan Eagles hit us up about his solo project. Classically trained on piano, Duncan picked up the sax at 16 and has only looked forward. His new studio album is titled Citizen, a reference to his feeling of inclusion in a global society. The vibe is relaxed as the album opens, and soon builds in complexity as Duncan tells his story on the sax with clarity and feeling. The band brings seemingly effortless communication as the compositions flow like water across the countryside.' (Ropeadope records). '.... Eagles first came to prominence with his trio Partikel. Four albums and extensive worldwide touring provided a platform for Eagles to find and develop his musical voice ..... Riad was written after a week in Marrakesh. "One of the most striking things about that place is the peace of the riads (town houses built around a courtyard or garden) in the middle of the carnage of the souks. I used this as the basis for the tune. An intense melody builds and builds to a sudden drop of calm that comes from nowhere and then before you realise you are back into the carnage again." ....In the title track Eagles endeavours to capture the feeling of what it means to be someone living on this planet and the responsibilities that come with that. ".......When performing and improvising on this song, and throughout the album, I'm looking to create something that is hopeful and optimistic within a challenging and dense framework." (album notes). Duncan Eagles is on tour through February and March performing music from the album with David Preston (guitar), Matt Robinson (piano), Max Luthert (bass) and Dave Hamblett (drums).

Pre-order details and sample : Details on Amazon when available : Listen to the title track Citizen : Video of Folk Song with the quartet : February and March Tour Dates :

 

 

 

America

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

 

 

 

Preston Glasgow Lowe - Something About Rainbows
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 7th December 2018

David Preston (guitar); Kevin Glasgow (bass); Laurie Lowe (drums).

Preston Glasgow Lowe Something About Rainbows

 

'Riding the loftiest cirrus of boundary-leaping improvised music, guitar fusion trio Preston Glasgow Lowe follow up their eponymous 2016 Whirlwind debut recording with 'Something About Rainbows' - a prismatic collection of original compositions which combine intricate, thunderous energy with aesthetic, harmonic grace. And while LA-based photographer Josh Rose's minimal 'industrial rainbow' cover art reflects the album's often darker vibe, guitarist David Preston, six-string bassist Kevin Glasgow and drummer Laurie Lowe also uncover fresher sunlit colours in their latest writing and experimentation. Preston Glasgow Lowe's intermeshing hues become alluring as each of these seven tracks develop. In 'Fumes', three overlapping time signatures provide the foundation for its chordal iridescence, propelled by Kevin Glasgow's agile bass and Laurie Lowe's rapid-fire percussion. Glasgow's hard-hitting 'Something About Rainbows' is unabashedly heavy, with gritty, overdriven bass octave pedal riffs underpinning outrageously breakneck guitar; and Lowe's audacious drumming throughout exemplifies the bassist's observation that "Laurie constantly blows our mind, as there are so many notes going by." The band's emphasized sense of contrast is heard vividly in wispy miniature 'May', where Preston's crystalline guitar melodies float above delicate, high-register bass chords and feathery cymbals. The technically precise, unclassified artistry of Preston Glasgow Lowe resonates with wide-ranging audiences, and the trio responds enthusiastically to live performance invitations from as far afield as Japan. There's certainly sonic gold to be found within 'Something About Rainbows' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video : Listen to Truex :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Ward presents Rogue Parade - Stomping Off From Greenwood
(Greenleaf Music) - Released: 11th January 2019

Greg Ward (alto saxophone); Matt Gold (guitar); Dave Miller (guitar); Matt Ulery (bass); Quin Kirchner (drums).

Rogue Parade Stomping Off From Greenwood

 

'Saxophonist Greg Ward has been a ubiquitous presence in the Chicago jazz scene for some years now. He is a terrific bandleader, composer, and arranger and his sophomore Greenleaf album, Stomping Off From Greenwood, features a new quintet with guitarists Matt Gold and Dave Miller, bassist Matt Ulery, and drummer Quin Kirchner. Together, they are Rogue Parade. The record opens with “Metropolis”, an exciting ode to New York and Chicago, cities that are in the heart of the bandleader. Things are kept intensely contemporary throughout the route, and from its epicenter, located midway between a busy free-funk and floor-filling electronica, branches out guileless breakbeats, rolling guitar ostinatos, and expressive melody. The quieter passages resemble a melodic symphonic rock, oozing into atmospheric moments where the guitarists entwine textural work ..... The band transforms “Stardust”, a jazz standard, into a feel-good pop/rock experience with waltzing cadences. Its energy is extended to “Sundown”, whose initial languid tone is reinforced by a detached backbeat and guitar fingerpicking. The song rises amiably, setting a determined yet relaxed mood with circular harmonic movements and plenty of melodies ..... In this recording, Ward’s appealing jazz-centered music takes several directions, achieving cohesiveness as a whole. Regardless of the ambience, his improvisations stand out, eventually ramping up to elevated levels of adventure while seeking new outfits to dress the jazz according to our days' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Introductory Video : Listen To The Contender :

 

 

 

 

 

Ken Thomson - Sextet
(Panoramic Recordings) - Released: 7th September 2018

Ken Thomson (alto saxophone, clarinet); Anna Webber (tenor saxophone); Russ Johnson (trumpet); Alan Ferber (trombone); Adam Armstrong(bass); Daniel Dor (drums).

Ken Thomson Sextet

 

'Alto saxophonist/clarinetist Ken Thomson, a reputable member of New York’s Bang on a Can All-Stars and Asphalt Orchestra, squeezes excellent ideas into Sextet, an album that often swirls post-bop with classical elements. He plays alongside a wonderful set of horn players that includes tenorist Anna Webber, trumpeter Russ Johnson, and trombonist Alan Ferber, and a rhythm section that glues everything together with Adam Armstrong on bass and Daniel Dor on drums. Dominated by rich polyphony, Gyorgy Ligeti’s “Pasacaglia Ungherese” opens the recording in the classical fashion. The wide tonal range leans on melancholy here, contrasting with “Misery Is The New Hope”, in which drums and bass hold together to set a hasty, urban pace enlivened by relentless rhythmic accents in an unquiet contrapuntal activity. After the bandleader’s solo, mostly shaped within the boundaries of the implicit harmony, Johnson promotes dynamism in the call-response communication established between him and elements of the horn squad ......Thomson guides the crew with a firm pulse and sheer ambition, assuring that the arrangements hybridize genres with a personal musical stylization and influential narrative force. Sextet is a solid effort' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Introductory Video : Video of Resolve played Live :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Lovano - Trio Tapestry
(ECM) - Released: 25th January 2019

Joe Lovano (tenor saxophone); Marilyn Crispell (piano); Carmen Castaldi (drums).

Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry

 

'The great saxophonist Joe Lovano has appeared on a number of ECM recordings over the last four decades, including much-loved albums with Paul Motian, Steve Kuhn and John Abercrombie. Trio Tapestry is his first as a leader for the label. It introduces a wonderful new group and music of flowing lyricism, delicate texture, and inspired interplay. Lovano and pianist Marilyn Crispell are in accord at an advanced level inside its structures. “Marilyn has such a beautiful sound and touch and vocabulary,” Joe enthuses. Drummer Carmen Castaldi, a Lovano associate of long-standing, also responds to the trio environment with sensitivity, subtly embellishing and detailing the pieces. Lovano: “We play together like an orchestra, creating an amazing tapestry. I brought in the material, but there’s an equal weight of contribution, creating music within the music, and harmonizing it in a really special way.” Trio Tapestry, released on CD and on 180g vinyl with a free download code, was recorded at New York’s Sear Sound studio in March 2018, and produced by Manfred Eicher'. (album notes). 'Grammy-award winning composer/saxophonist Joe Lovano makes his debut on the ECM Records with Trio Tapestry, a new project that integrates the highly expressive pianism of Marilyn Crispell and the inspiring drumming of Carmen Castaldi. Adopting a democratic posture, the group has the pianist and the drummer contributing in an intense way to shape Lovano’s compositions into something uniquely intimate and beautiful. The opener, “One Time In”, a one-on-one conversation between saxophone and percussion, bristles with deliberately prayerful melodies, unpredictable percussive trajectories, and bright gongs ......... The creativity and adaptability of Lovano and his peers stimulate Trio Tapestry to endlessly pique our interest with a lucent musicality from which we don’t want to be apart'. (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Introductory Video : Listen to Samples from the Album :

 

 

 

 

 

Christian McBride's - New Jawn
(Mack Avenue) - Released: 26th October 2018

Marcus Strickland (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Josh Evans (trumpet); Christian McBride (double bass); Nasheet Waits (drums).

 

Christian McBride New Jawn

'If there's one thing the acclaimed bassist Christian McBride knows, it's that when it comes to grit there's no better resource to draw from than his own hometown, Philadelphia. So, McBride turned to one of the city's most beloved colloquialisms to christen his latest project, Christian McBride's New Jawn. On the band's eponymous debut, these four stellar musicians - including trumpeter Josh Evans, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, and drummer Nasheet Waits - ably walk the razor's edge between thrilling virtuosity and gut-punch instinctiveness. "I was looking for a new challenge," says McBride of the birth of the New Jawn. "I don't get the chance too often to play in a chordless group. Every major group I've been a part of for the last ten years, whether it's been with Pat Metheny or Chick Corea or my own projects, there's been nothing but chords. So, I wanted to see what happens if I just pull the chords out altogether." The result is a surprisingly bracing and adventurous outing for McBride. A world-renowned bassist regularly lauded as a musician who can do anything, he proves it yet again by venturing into new territory. New Jawn runs the gamut of stylistic approaches, from deep-rooted swing to daring abstraction, singular blues to exquisite balladry. At the core of it all is McBride's trademark sound, robust and embracing, agile and inventive'. (album notes). 'Philadelphia-born Christian McBride, one of the most fluid and fluent jazz bassists in the world, debuts a new quartet, New Jawn, whose name derives from Philly jargon and can be translated as ‘new joint’. The quartet affiliates - saxophonist Marcus Strickland, trumpeter Josh Evans, and drummer Nasheet Waits - contribute with two compositions each to a colorful song list that also admits Wayne Shorter’s “Sightseeing”. The group’s eponymous album spreads thrillingly fresh ideas that surge with infectious energy and grandiose conviction. A great example of that is the opening tune, McBride’s “Walkin’ Funny”, which blends the exhilaration of Lee Morgan’s melodies with asymmetric notions of rhythm and collective improvisatory effervescence that refuses any commercial approach in favor of creative freedom ..... Communicating with countless details and peculiarities, these cats prove they dominate the jazz idiom from end to end'. (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to The Middle Man : Video of The Ballad Of Ernie Washington played live at the Malta Jazz Festival :

 

 

 

 

 

Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow, Bobby Previte - You Don't Know The Life
(Rare Noise) - Released: 25th January 2019

Jamie Saft (keyboards); Steve Swallow (electric bass); Bobby Previte (drums).

Saft Swallow Previte You Dont Know The Life album

 

'Over the last three decades, visionary keyboardist, producer and composer Jamie Saft has made a career out of reinvention. His genre-obliterating range is evidenced by the stunningly diverse innovators with whom he's collaborated a list that includes John Zorn, Beastie Boys, Bad Brains, John Adams, Iggy Pop, Donovan, and The B-52s. Now, on his third RareNoise outing with avant-jazz greats Steve Swallow and Bobby Previte, Saft shifts his iconoclastic focus to the organ trio tradition. You Don't Know The Life finds the trio engaging in uniquely electrified explorations of original compositions, free improvisations, and generation-spanning standards. (album notes). 'What an amazing sound Jamie Saft exudes from the Baldwin electric harpsichord on “Re: Person I Knew”. Rocking and grooving like if Sun Ra had joined forces with Deep Purple, this fresh take on the Bill Evans’ tune welcomes you to You Don’t Know Life, the third effort of the keyboardist with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bobby Previte. The organ-centered album is a tempting combination of improvisations, standards, and Saft originals. The three free improvisations almost don’t feel like such, considering that they naturally preserve backbone stability and follow a specific direction ........ This disc is a solid, accessible offering. It doesn't particularly feel like a shift in mindset, but rather a fun sculptural exploration of the organ trio format' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Ode To A Green Frisbee :

 

 

 

 

Europe And Elsewhere

 

Jasper Blom Quartet - Polyphony
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 25th January 2019

Disc 1: Jasper Blom (tenor saxophone); Bert Joris (trumpet); Jesse van Ruller (guitar); Frans van der Hoeven (double bass); Martijn Vink (drums)
Disc 2: Jasper Blom (tenor saxophone); Nils Wogram (trombone); Jesse van Ruller (guitar); Frans van der Hoeven (double bass); Martijn Vink (drums)

Jasper Blom Quartet Polyphony

 

'A lustrous double album showcasing just why Jasper Blom is one of the Netherlands’ most prominent, forward-thinking saxophonist-composers in contemporary jazz, Polyphony documents two sold-out live concerts from his quartet at Amsterdam’s BIMHUIS in collaboration with two special solo artists – trumpeter Bert Joris and trombonist Nils Wogram. Blom has been performing in different line-ups for over twenty years with guitarist Jesse van Ruller, bassist Frans van der Hoeven and drummer Martijn Vink; and as this band since 2006, they have released four studio albums. But Jasper Blom isn’t a musician for standing still: “A few years ago, I began experimenting with the idea of guest soloists, inviting US saxophonist Dick Oatts and the late Italian trumpeter Marco Tamburini. That started me thinking about the project in a more structural way.” His creativity is centered around a fascination with mediaeval polyphony. “It’s an intuitive process”, he reveals, “often starting with a fragment of, say, a 500-year-old manuscript, maybe only a couple of bars; and then I mold it, adding or removing elements.” The first set features the quartet’s longtime friend Bert Joris; and Nils Wogram, in the second set, has been on Blom’s radar for years as a particularly original player, composer and improviser: “I’m a fan, and his freer approach is a good match for my music.” The saxophonist revels in that extra voice to write for, more polyphonically, while maintaining improvisational space. “Most of my experimentation begins from the question, ‘What if…?’, with the band reinterpreting my ideas – an exciting way of getting beyond the realm of what I first imagined.” And that phrenology model on the album cover? Owned by a neuroscientist friend and displaying terms such as ‘ideality’, ‘contructiveness’ and ‘self criticism’, it’s seen by Blom as a metaphor or ‘road map’ for what musicians can encounter. ...................... “I now think about my band as a flexible unit, either as a quartet or moving in all kinds of directions”, says Jasper Blom, “so it feels natural to have a fifth person there, and to work with a variety of timbres. It’s great to have the opportunity to take the listener into these different worlds in Polyphony.” (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introduction : Listen to Decidophobia : Listen to Running Gag :

 

 

 

 

Nypan - Big City
(Losen Records) - Released: 5th October 2018

Oyvind Nypan (guitar); Ben Wendel (tenor saxophone); Taylor Eigsti (piano); Joe Martin (bass); Justin Faulkner (drums).

Nypan Big City

 

 

'Norwegian guitarist Oyvind Nypan traveled to New York City with the dream of recording his own tunes with some of his favorite music makers. And the dream came true and with a happy ending, which is the album in question, suggestively entitled Big City and featuring eminent musicians such as saxophonist Ben Wendel, pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Justin Faulkner. For a quintet that had never played together before, there’s a gluing essence in their musical narrative and an exceptional energy associated with the city. This is particularly noticeable not only on the opener, “The Greeting”, which combines a cool bass groove, exquisite backbeat, and mercurial solos by Wendel and Nypan, but also on “Come What May”, an elated post-bop with labyrinthine spirals and expeditious diagonals, and “Grasstopper”, a playful if twisted blues with bop fragments and hard-swinging eruptions. Both these tunes bridge tradition and innovation with an infallible sense of freshness .... Big City marks an important next step in the continuing evolution of Nypan, a gifted guitarist who deserves more opportunities to shine. I’m glad that New York and its musicians gave him what he needed for now' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to The Greeting : Listen to Grasstopper :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florian Ross Quintet - Swallows And Swans
(Toy Piano Records) - Released: 25th November 2018

Florian Ross (piano); Kristin Berardi (vocals); Matthew Halpin (saxophones); Dietmar Fuhr (bass); Hans Dekker (drums).

Florian Ross Quintet Swallows and Swans

 

 

'Florian Ross is a German pianist, composer, and arranger whose debut as a leader goes back to 1998. Since then, he has dedicated much effort and attention to small and large ensembles, but you could still find him arranging pieces for Martial Solal with WDR Big Band and Craig Brenan, orchestrating for the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, or playing Hammond in Nils Wogram’s Nostalgia project. Presently, he put together a cross-country, inter-generational quintet, featuring Australian singer Kristin Berardi, Irish saxophonist Matthew Halpin, and Dutch drummer Hans Dekker. Rounding out the group is German bassist Dietmar Fuhr, a longtime co-worker. The resultant output is a 12-track record entitled Swallows & Swans. Deliciously nuanced in tempo and rhythm, “Midway” is first introduced by Dekker’s brushes, to which piano cascades and voice/saxophone unisons are gradually added. Not being a ballad, the tune, nonetheless, surrounds itself by a velvety smoothness that is maintained even after the flow is rearranged ..... Taking simple and direct routes for most of its duration, the album comes to an end with a glossy voice-piano duo version of the traditional Irish song “The Lark In The Clear Sky”.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Introductory Video :

 

 

 

Re-Releases

 

Nat Gonella - The Nat Gonella Collection: 1930-1962
(Acrobat) - Released: 12th October 2018 (4 CD Box Set)

Nat Gonella (trumpet) with bandleaders including Roy Fox, Billy Cotton, John Kirby and various musicians from his Georgians bands.

Nat Gonella collection

 

'Trumpeter and bandleader Nat Gonella was the first real star of British jazz, beginning his career with the bands of Billy Cotton, Roy Fox, Lew Stone and Ray Noble in the early 30s before forming his own touring band ‘The Georgians’ in April 1935. Playing in the style of Louis Armstrong, he became a headlining concert attraction in the UK, recording two singles a month after he signed to EMI’s Parlophone label in 1935. In 1939 he was one of the first British jazzmen to visit the USA, where he recorded and performed with major names of the era. He subsequently led his big band, the ‘New Georgians’, through much of the 1940s and when traditional jazz experienced a boom in popularity during the later 1950s formed his ‘Georgia Jazz Band’, participating in the music’s new-found popularity as one of its elder statesmen until 1963. In later years he continued performing in Britain and Europe until his death in 1998. This great-value 96-track 4-CD set, marking the 20th anniversary of his untimely death (as well as the 110th anniversary of his birth), has been compiled to provide the first comprehensive overview of the first three decades of his career. It has been researched by celebrated British jazz cornetist and writer Digby Fairweather, who has written the 12,000-word booklet to annotate the anthology. The collection includes recordings with Billy Cotton, Roy Fox, all of Gonella’s principal recordings (both solo and with his Georgians and New Georgians), rare broadcast materials and long-unheard reissues of later 1950s sessions by his Strong Arm Men, Georgia Jazz Band, Doug Richford’s London Jazzmen and his full (and long-deleted) ‘Autobiography’ album ‘The Nat Gonella Story’ from 1961. It provides a thoroughly entertaining showcase for one of the great personalities of British jazz who was one of the true pioneers of the genre on this side of the pond. (album notes) 'Another of Acrobat's exemplary 4 CD career surveys, this one tracks Nat from Roy Fox and Billy Cotton via various iterations of georgians to his 1960s bands. But the greatest find are the four sides cut with John Kirby in NYC in 1939, where Nat holds his own with Billy Kyle, Buster Bailey and Benny Carter' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise)

 

Details, Track Lists and Samples :

 

 

 

 

Ivie Anderson - The Ivie Anderson Collection 1932-46
(Acrobat) - Released: 8th August 2018

Ivie Anderson (vocals) with the Duke Ellington Orchestra [2 CDs]

Ivie Anderson Collection album

 

'Throughout his 50+ year career with his Orchestra, Duke Ellington featured many vocalists, but none of them fit the band as well as Ivie Anderson, who was on and off with the Duke from the “Jungle Band” days of 1932 to the sophisticated swing days of the post WWII era. Even better, Ellington’s greatest band, the one from 1939-41 had Anderson as the featured singer, therefore solidifying her importance and signature sound with the band. During the Big Band era, every leader had to have a vocalist to “sell the hits,” so ladies such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Helen Ward and Helen Forrest became as big a star as the bands themselves. Anderson held her own, possessing an earthy ‘girl next door’ delivery that could work in both the uptempo swing numbers as well as the torchier material. Her 1932 debut with Ellington produces a definitively buoyant “It Don’t Mean A Thing” with Anderson shouting out over Wellman Braud’s bouncy bass line. Other 30s pieces such as “Ebony Rhapsody” are works of art, while she also delved into popular ditties such as “When My Sugar Walks Down the Street” and “Oh, Babe! Maybe Someday.” Both her and Ellington reached an apotheosis in 1940 with Anderson and Ellington producing a wrenching “Solitude,” an agonizing “Stormy Weather” (with Johnny Hodges glowing on the alto sax” and reaching her zenith on a sparkling “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good.” She also was good with bluesy material, swinging gently on the fun “Five O’Clock Whistle” and getting down and dirty on “Rocks in My Bed.” The last few songs have her with the likes of Willie Smith/as, Buddy Collette/bar and Ceele Burke’s Orchestra, delivering some deep blues on “Empty Bed Blues” and “Big Butter and Egg Man” before she retired from the scene. This lady is a forgotten star in what is considered the greatest of all big bands with a surfeit of stars..' (Amazon reviewer). ' For the most part this excellent set charts Anderson's 10-year career as Duke Ellington's vocalist, adding four tracks from late in her short life when she was an LA restaurant owner ....' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise *** ).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Smith - Four Classic Albums
(Avid Jazz) - Released: 5th October 2018

Jimmy Smith (Hammond organ) with various personnel [2 CDs]

Jimmy Smith Four Classic albums

 

'AVID Jazz continues with its Four Classic Album series with a re-mastered 2CD second set release from Jimmy Smith, complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details 'The Sermon'; 'Crazy! Baby'; 'House Party' and 'Midnight Special' We don't think we would find many detractors if we were to say that our latest guest artist is probably the most famous jazz Hammond organist in the world. Mr Jimmy Smith, or to give him his rightful name The Incredible Jimmy Smith spent his formative years in the early 1950s in R&B bands playing piano and dabbling with the Hammond organ. After hearing Wild Bill Davis he made the permanent switch to the Hammond and was soon discovered by Blue Note supremo Alfred Lion. Smith was incredibly prolific, (hmm, perhaps that's where the name came from?), recording over forty sessions for Blue Note in a period of just eight years. He made many classic albums and we at AVID think we have snagged four of his best! Here's a few of the names on these swinging platters. Tina Brooks, Lou Donaldson, George Coleman, Lee Morgan, Kenny Burrell, Art Blakey, Curtis Fuller, Donald Bailey and Stanley Turrentine' (album notes). 'This is Smith at the height of his powers on Blue Note between 1957 and 1960, and with the larger bands on The Sermon and House Party; we also have the great quartet with Kenny Burrell, Stanley Turrentine and Donald Bailey on Midnight Special - what's not to like?' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise **** ).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ronnie Scott Trio - On A Clear Day 'Live' 1974
(Acrobat) - Released: 11th November 2018

Ronnie Scott (tenor sax, soprano sax); Mike Carr (organ); Bobby Gein (drums)

Ronnie Scott Trio On A Clear Day album

 

'The United Kingdom, 1974: a time of the 3-Day Week, of snap-general elections and Glam Rock: a nation rocked as much by strikes and IRA bomb blasts as by Abba and Mud: a country in which overhung Sixties optimism was finally giving way to crisis-driven Seventies reality. Much the same could have been said of Ronnie Scott that year too. Indeed, when he and his band took to the stage of a tiny pub in the backwaters of Wiltshire on a spring evening in 1974, a one-night stop on an exhaustive nationwide tour, he was in the midst of perhaps the most turbulent time of his life. Amid fractious personal relationships and an ongoing battle with depression, and surrounded by a jazz scene whose very fabric had changed unrecognisably in a few short years, Scott nevertheless remained one of the UK's great jazz catalysts a central figure around whom much of what was considered newsworthy within the idiom still concentrated. At forty-seven, the saxophonist was no longer chasing the music's cutting edge; instead he had forged a style very much his own, one which tipped its hat to many of the good and the great who'd graced his own Soho club, but which now boasted even greater authority, maturity and individuality than ever before. And, despite his off-stage tribulations, he was happy with his band, a hitherto rare instance of a Scott-led line-up lasting more than a few years. Supported by organist Mike Carr and drummer Bobby Gein, he tore the roof off the White Hart, whose 'Jazz at The Icebox' presentations were a magnet for West Country jazz fans, probably unaware that what was undoubtedly just another night's work for him and his hard-grafting colleagues was being caught on tape. Issued here for the first time, this recording captures Scott doing what he did best: playing no-holds-barred jazz, minus the pressures that came from being a frontman for his own club, or acting as 'support act' to his many American guests. As such, it reveals a Ronnie Scott rarely heard on record, an instrumentalist in full-flow, sounding relaxed yet forthright, and making a mockery of the notion that art must mirror life. Scott may have been sailing stormy waters elsewhere but On A Clear Day finds him at the eye of a creative hurricane. 'Ronnie is one of our finest jazz musicians and saxophonists, period.', wrote one Melody Maker reviewer that same year, a declaration fully borne out on this album. Packaged with period photos, reminiscences by some of those present on the night, and an in-depth booklet essay by award-winning saxophonist Simon Spillett, this album makes a powerful case for a long-overdue re-evaluation of Ronnie Scott, jazz musician, doubly so in featuring two rare examples for his oft-overlooked soprano saxophone work (album notes). 'Scott kept a trio going for a decade or so, at first with Tony Crombie on drums, later succeeded by the young South African, Bobby Gein. This previously unreleased session dates from a period in 1974 when the trio was out on tour .... Treat this as a valuable example of a Scott line-up that allowed him to play as he pleased, unfettered and fruitful' (Peter Vacher in Jazzwise *** ).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

UK Jazz Venues Near You

 

Click here for our page of venues hosting live jazz in the UK.

Please let us know of other venues together with their website addresses, or please also let us know if you discover any of the links on the page don't work.

 

 

Jazz Talks: Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas

 

Surrey and around:

Mike Forbes is a member of the Woking Area U3A and active in the Jazz Appreciation Group. He ha’s given presentations to other groups and is willing to travel in Surrey and surrounding areas to give his talks, which consist of music tracks with commentaries. Rather than focus on a particular jazz group or soloist he takes a theme and follows it chronologically from early to modern jazz. Topics include: Women in Jazz; Is There Less Improvisation In Jazz Than We Think?; Twelve Bars; Time After Time; Best of Buddies; and, as an exception to the rule, Unexpected Satchmo. No payment required although a little towards cost of travel would be appreciated. Just a CD player (and PA if it’s a very big room) is all that’s needed.

email: jmike210@gmail.com

 

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.

Back to Top

Follow us on FacebookFacebook

© Sandy Brown Jazz 2019

 

 

 

-

 

 

Archie Shepp

as

back to top