Contact Us

 

Sandy Brown Jazz
What's New
November 2017

What's New

Missed Something?
Our Archived Pages:
Reviews
Features
Tea Breaks
Tracks Unwrapped
Full Focus
People Profiles
Jazz Remembered
Photographic Memories
Forum
Information Requests
Jazz Venues

 

Click for this month's:
Album Reviews
Quiz
Departure Lounge
 
Follow us on Facebook
Join our Mailing List

Kendrick Scott

Pharoah Sanders
Kendrick Scott at the Blue Note, New York City, July 2017. Picture by Clara Pereira, Jazztrail



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

We had a rough passage with US trombonist Dickie Wells. We had been warned that he was a 'drunky-punky' ... My first intimation of these disasters was a call from Don Kingswell at London Airport, where he had gone to meet Wells ... his grave tone and description of Wells covered in blood from a drunken fall ... Wells pleaded that the tour be continued and promised to abstain from drink.

The Alex Welsh band, themselves renowned drinkers, were understandably fearful of their reputation and pressed for the tour to be cancelled. They were persuaded to continue ... Wells and the band had been booked to appear on a BBC show called 'Jazz 625'. The rehearsal, at the Shepherds Bush studio, was called at 11.00 a.m. At 11.30 I got an urgent call from Alex Welsh advising me to make haste to the studio. He could see that Wells had been drinking ...

Dickie Wells

 

When Wells left the dressing-room to rehearse with the band, I discovered a half bottle of whisky in his instrument case. Some of it had been drunk. I was in an agonising dilemma. If I left the whisky for him to finish, it might render him incapable. If I poured it away his prop would be taken from underneath him. I temporized, and emptied half the contents down the sink, resisting the temptation to pour the lot down my gullet. I replaced the bottle on its side so that the contents might not appear to have diminished ....

As it happened the show went well ... I rushed to the nearest pub and, putting drinks down me ... muttered curses on all alcoholic jazzmen.

At the end of the show our troublesome visitor came into the dressing-room, sighed, and said, 'Must get some sleep. Sure has been a hard day'. I was silently echoing these sentiments when he looked intently at me and said, 'Think you should do the same. You kinda look all-in,' and coolly, deliberately, he added, 'Guess all that liguor you been drinking won't do you much good, either.' I was rendered dumb.

From All This And Many A Dog by Jim Godbolt.

Click here for a video of Dickie Wells playing Bues in F in 1961 with Sir Charles Thompson (piano), Gene Ramey (bass) and Oliver Jackson (drums).

 


Name That Tune!

(Click on the picture for the answers)

 

 

Name the tune

 

 

 

Name the tune

 

 

 

Name the tune

 

 

 

The End Of Dublin's Oldest Jazz Club?

Artit's impression of JJ Smyth's proposals

Ollie Dowling in Dublin has seen proposals to change J.J. Smyth's, Dublin's oldest Jazz Club in Aungier Street, into accommodation. Writing in 'Fora' in October, reporter Killian Woods says: 'The jazz club above JJ Smyth’s pub in Dublin city centre was set up in 1980 by JJ Smyth, a former farmer who sold his lands in the Irish countryside to fund the purchase of the pub. Earlier this year, the pub was acquired by Kateo Investments, which is co-owned by Edward and Elaine Cawley, for a sum in the region of €1.4 million, according to property consultants CBRE. Planning documents recently filed with Dublin City Council show that Kateo Investments plan to replace the music venue, located on the first floor, as part of a redevelopment scheme to convert the upper levels of the building into short-term lets'.

Artist's impression of proposals for J.J. Smyth's

 

'The Aungier Street property has been used as a pub since the early 18th century, which makes it one of the capital’s longest continuous licenses. According to the pub’s website, the building is the birthplace of famous Irish poet Thomas Moore, author of The Minstrel Boy, and was a popular haunt of novelist and playwright Brendan Behan in the 1940s and 1950s. It is also proposed that parts of the existing structure will be demolished to facilitate two new additional floors being added to the building. Once complete, the building will contain 19 bedrooms, all of which will be let on a short-term basis'.

 

 

Jazz Photographic Exhibitions for November

Jim Grover exhibition

 

 

Alan John Ainsworth and John Watson are showing their photographs at The Gallery, 77 Cowcross Street, Clerkenwell, London EC1M. The Jazz Moment runs from 10th - 23rd November. Click here for details.

 

The Jazz Gig, featuring the images of Jim Grover will be at the Omnibus Theatre, 1 Clapham Common Northside, London SW4 from 1st November to 3rd December. Click here for details. To coincide with the exhibition, jazz concerts featuring guitarist Rob Luft (see Jazz As Art item below) and bass player Misha Mullov-Abbado, will also be held at the venue, as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival’s official line-up.

 

 

 

 

Swanage Jazz Festival

For the second year running, there have been concerns about the future of the Swanage Jazz Festival, but it seems the situation is being taken on by jazz musician Nigel Price who has volunteered to take up the role of Director for the Festival. Eric Jackson sends us details of aDeckchairs Kickstarter campaign led by Nigel who said that the sum of £15,000 had to be raised by November 1st. At the time of writing, pledges had reached £16,682 and so it appears that the target has been achieved. Other fund raising events have include a raffle of a Fibonacci guitar and a concert in Dorset that was held on 29th October.

The dates set for next year's Festival are 13th, 14th and 15th of July 2018. Nigel Price points out that the cost of the Festival will in the future be higher than previously to meet the cost of musicians, make improvements to tenting, comfort, etc and to meet VAT charges. Inevitably ticket prices will need to rise but that this would be preferable to standards falling. The projected ticket cost for 2018 is £112 for the three days. There is a reduction if you purchase an 'early bird' ticket, and it will help the organisers if people who plan to attend purchase their tickets well in advance.

Click here for more information about the Festival. Click here to read Annette Keen's article about her experience of Swanage Jazz Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Place The Face

 

This month's quiz returns to a topic people seemed to enjoy earlier this year. We give you fifteen faces of jazz musicians - can you identify them?

 

Face question mark

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

New Business Music Manuals from Chris Hodgkins

Trumpeter and bandleader Chris Hodgkins, former Director of Jazz Services and now a presenter on Pure Jazz Radio in New York and who since 2016 is part of the Secretariat team for the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group, has has just published three new manuals Chris Hodgkinsand revised three manuals on his Online Music Business Resource.

The three new publications are:

Where do you want to be? – a business planning manual for jazz music students and musicians, 

Guide To Music Organisations – Including Copyright, Royalties and IRCSs; a

A Quick Guide to Contracts for Jazz Musicians. 

The three manuals that have been revised are: 
Guide To Marketing Your Band;
 
Funding Tips;
 
Guide
To Getting Your Music On The Radio

All six manuals are available as free downloads from:  www.chrishodgkins.co.uk

 

 

 

Jazz As Art

Rob Luft

Riser

 

Rob Luft Riser

 

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

This month we feature the title track from guitarist Rob Luft's recent release Riser. The album, which has Rob in the company of four excellent young musicians Joe Webb (Hammond organd, piano, harmonium), Joe Wright (tenor saxophone), Tom McCredie (bass) and Corrie Dick (drums) is a joy. Go to the Jazz As Art page and play the title track while you scroll down to see eight art works that I think might go with the music.

 

Aubrey Beardsley painting

 

 

 

The Godfather Of British Jazz

The Godfather of British Jazz book

 

Clark Tracey's book about his father, Stan Tracey, is published in November by Equinox.

This is the first biography of jazz pianist and composer Stan Tracey CBE (1926-2013). Drawing on personal diaries, Stan’s many interviews over a career that spanned 70 years, and his own recollections of working with his father, Clark Tracey draws a picture of what made Stan Tracey a unique character in jazz music. In this very personal account, Stan’s wit and wisdom 'come shining through in abundance'.

The book begins with Stan’s memories of war-torn London and his first experiences of hearing jazz. As a teenager, he joined ENSA and the RAF Gang Show. During the next three years he played at more venues than many musicians do in a lifetime, including a period in the Middle East. Once demobbed, Stan befriended pianist Eddie Thompson, vibraphonist and drummer Victor Feldman and clarinettist Vic Ash and began his professional career. He toured with Kenny Baker’s band and the Kirchin Band before joining the Ted Heath Orchestra, after which he began recording under his own name. He was invited by Ronnie Scott to be the house pianist at Scott’s new club, where his legendary status grew in the next six years. He accompanied giants of American jazz such as Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Roland Kirk, Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard and many others. During this period he wrote and recorded the seminal album Under Milk Wood, which to this day remains his best-selling work. Stan left Ronnie’s club during a period of drug addiction and in the 1970s found himself penniless. His wife Jackie employed her skill in the music business and began presenting concerts to keep Stan afloat, while he found new musical friends in the free/improvised idiom of the time, such as Mike Osborne and Keith Tippett. Commissions for suites emerged and Stan’s writing skills found an outlet through the formation of his various groups that were to last for nearly thirty years. Stan’s achievements and awards are numerous and in many cases unique. As well as an OBE and a CBE, he received several lifetime achievement awards and in his last year was the first recipient of the Ivor Novello Jazz Award.

The book includes a complete discography of all commercial recordings featuring Stan Tracey, compiled by Stephen Didymus.

Click here for details.

 

 

 

 


Help With Musical Definitions No 40.

One-Step

Predecessor of Hip-Hop

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz on
Eel Pie Island


 

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

 

Eel Pie Island Hotel 1952

 

Brian Hackett welcomes us to Eel Pie Island in this brief piece of film (click here). His memory is of the 1960s and the music that was played there then - but the story starts much earlier.

Eel Pie Island in the river Thames at Twickenham was a musical mecca in the 1950s and 1960s. It is often referred to in relation to Rhythm and Blues, but Jazz was a key component of the music there for a time. The 'musical' part of the island centred on the Island's Hotel, sadly no longer there but you can see it in the above photograph.

In the 1920s and 1930s the hotel hosted ballroom dancing but it was in 1956 that trumpeter Brian Rutland, who ran a local band called The Grove Jazz Band, started jazz sessions at the newly reopened hotel. Sometime afterwards Arthur Chisnall took over the running of the club and continued to promote various jazz bands and then in the 1960s Rock and R&B groups became more prominent.

 

The Grove Jazz band 1956

 

Brian Rutland's Grove Jazz Band in 1956.

Brian Hannigan (piano), Peter Cohen (trombone), Richard Baker (banjo), Jim Abbiss (drums), Brian Rutland (trumpet), Mike Atterberry (clarinet).

Photograph courtesy of Brian Rutland.

 

Eel Pie Island had a 'reputation' and has been described as 'infamous' as well as 'famous'. For many parents, including my own, it was a 'no go area' as they were concerned about stories of drink and drugs. Others went despite their parents' concerns, and of course many jazz musicians played there. Until 1957 the only access to the island was by a hand-operated ferry that was hauled across using a chain on the riverbed and getting instruments and other kit across was cumbersome. It must have been equally diffucult for dance bands in the '20s and '30s. In 1957 a footbridge was built and apart from boats, that remains the only access to the island. As one person has said: 'There are two types of people: those who live on the island who don't want a car outside their door, and other people who choose not to live there because they do'. It seems as though some musicians' smaller cars squeezed across the footbridge as reeds player Brian Hills says: 'I remember Eel Pie Island well - very narrow bridge one could only just drive over to get to the club - if you had a smallish narrow car - Austin seven would do!'.

 

Clinging To A Mudflat film

 

Twickenham, at one time in Middlesex, is now part of the London Borough of Richmond. It is just over four miles from Hampton Court Palace by road and about ten miles by river.

 

Eel Pie

 

 

Dan Van Der Vat and Michele Whitby's book about Eel Pie Island, published by Frances Lincoln Ltd (click here) tells us:

'Eel Pie Island is the only inhabited island on the semi-tidal Thames. Its most famous contemporary resident, Trevor Baylis, OBE, inventor of the clockwork radio, has been heard to describe it (with some exaggeration) as "120 drunks clinging to a mudbank". Named for the favoured snack of Henry VIII, who was said to stop here on his way to and from Windsor ... in the middle of the twentieth century it was a venue for jazz and later English R&B groups, where the likes of Chris Barber or George Melly, and then the Rolling Stones or Rod Stewart, performed in the dance hall of the hotel. A surprising number of people all over Britain and beyond remember Eel Pie Island and its gigs - usually with a nostalgic smile.'

 

 

 

It is easy to forget that this is the largest inhabited island on the Thames and that it has about 50 houses with 120 inhabitants. It has a number of boatyards, businesses and artist studios as well as residential properties. The island's history has seen boatyards, studios and the hotel destroyed by fire at various times.

 

Trombone player Mel Henry remembers Eel Pie Island:

'Eel Pie Island brings back memories. I played there in the '50s - with the University College Jazz Band (only one of us actually went to U.C.). In those days, we had to get there on the chain ferry (no bridge). Our drummer lost some of his kit on the journey - not a good start. Then the piano in the old hotel was right in the crack - our pianist just sat in front of it all evening without playing a note. Finally, the landlord refused to pay us because of no piano player. The raucous crowd couldn't have cared less, even if none of us played a note! Much later, I was a G.P. in the area and one of my patients was a cello maker - lovely guy - he had a workshop on the island until it burnt down in a big fire in about 1990.'

The impressive dance floor at the hotel was presumably constructed for the early 1920s and 1930s dances but remained a highlight for later years. Craig Sams says: 'I remember seeing the Temperance Seven there in 1961 or 1962.  The maple sprung dance floor was ideal for skip jiving.  It gently heaved and dropped on every beat, ensuring that everyone danced on the beat, regardless of how good they otherwise were at dancing in time to music.  Just standing on it was enough to get you going. My memories of Eel Pie Island are a bit fuzzy, but no doubt other respondents will remember if the cost of crossing the bridge was 2d or 3d'.

Others remember paying 2d to a lady in a booth by the bridge, and Brian Hills says: 'Everyone attending had to have their wrist stamped with a blue ink stamp to say you had paid to get in!  I remember a silly pun - when one band member was winding up the amp volume and said 'Howzat?', the reply was 'Oh, that'll be ample'.

 

Eel Pie Island stage

 

This photograph of the stage at Eel Pie Island hotel courtesy of the Eel Pie Island Museum might well bring back memories for some.

 

Bassist Ron Drakeford sets the scene in those early days before the footbridge was built:

'The place was nearly always packed, and as it used to be a hotel, there were other rooms where the punters would lounge, drink, chat and indulge in who knows what. Not particularly elegant, but neither was the clientele! I would reckon about a good 200+ on a good night in attendance. If you can recall a school hall during assembly with wall to wall pupils then that  was a similar picture, but at least 50% bigger. Try going from the bar side to the other side with a pint and not spilling any! The trick was to get a pint and drink half at the bar!'

'The  dance floor was definitely sprung and with all the jivers in full swing you could not only feel the rise and fall, but see it too! Never knew of any rot or failures on the floor. Rather think Ron Rubin's bass incident happened on stage (see below). I certainly never had any such problems with the stage. Outside seemed to have as many  people as inside during summer evenings and the lush bushes hid who knows what activities! The last trolley bus back to Hampton Court left at around 11pm so there was usually a bit of a rush to catch it (along with other buses of course ending around the same time). Prior to the bridge it was therefore essential to get at the front of the queue for the ferry. Unfortunately those  at the front of the queue were at risk from the crowd rushing for the ferry. A slight nudge from the back meant everyone jumped down one step  and those at the front would be on the bottom steps which were inevitably submerged. A bit of a domino effect. I never encountered or witnessed any trouble during my excursions to the Island despite it's somewhat undeserved reputation. It really was the place to be for a rave'.

 

Opening night at Eel Pie Island

 

Opening Night At Eel Pie Island.

L-R: Peter Cowan (trombone); Brian Rutland (trumpet); Norman Gamer (clarinet); Jim Abiss (drums); Brian Godding (banjo); Brian Hannigan (piano).

Photograph courtesy of Brian Rutland.

 

Brian Rutland's was the first jazz band to play at Eel Pie Island and I am grateful to him for sending us these images and a copy of a letter he wrote to the Richmond Informer in 2007 in which he wrote:

'When my band, at the time called The Grove Jazz Band, started sessions at the Eel Pie Hotel in the mid-50s, we brought with us from the Barmy Arms a substantial following of young fans. Art students, university and law students, apprentices, young people from the fashion, acting, newspaper and advertising sectors - there was a really mixed and cosmopolitan cross section of the youth of the day. Arriving on the first night to start playing, we found the ballroom, which had not been in use for many years, full of broken chairs, tables and armchairs in various states of disrepair. Wallpaper was hanging off the walls, the place was covered in cobwebs and there were ladders everywhere. Before we could start playing we had to spend time cleaning up to make room for the band and the dancers. Most clubs depend for their success on the venue and the ambience created within, as well as the musicians and the mix of people attending. Eel Pie Island certainly had all these the ingredients and could hardly fail to be a success.

Now in 2017, Brian's band is still playing by the river at the Tattershall Castle on London's Victoria Embankment. Brian Rutland (trumpet), Roy Williams (trombone), Al Nicholls (tenor sax), Ted Beament (piano), Dave O'Brien (bass) and Denis Smith ( drums). Brian says: 'Amazingly there are still a number of folk that come to these sessions who were at the opening night at Eel Pie. Hardy bunch these Islanders!'

Opening night at Eel Pie Island

 

 

 

 

Opening night at Eel Pie Island.

'Most of the crowd had followed the band over from the Barmy Arms pub'.

Photograph courtesy of Brian Rutland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banjo player Don Coe points us to a comprehensive listing of bands who played on the Island from 1956 to 1970s click here '.... among whom, of course, was Sandy Brown. (Plus me with Bill Brunskill, The Jubilee JazzBand, Mole Benn, Ian Bell and a few others I cannot recall!' Says Don.

You can see from this informative listing how the music began to change around October 1962 when the programme begins to feature Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers; Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages and the Rolling Stones. In 1967, jazz was still played but was a much smaller part of the programme and by 1968, it had virtually disappeared from the listings.

In 1967, the Rank Organisation made this nine minute film about Eel Pie Island (click here). It features the Brian Green Jazz Band and you can get a very good idea of the dance hall, the atmosphere and number of people attending. The film looks at the Hotel's questionable reputation and introduces a positive side that grew from Arthur Chisnell's approach and the nature of the community that went there for the music.

Ron Drakeford adds:

'Much is a matter of record vis a vis the traditional jazz played by the "professional" tour bands at Eel Pie Island on a Saturday - Colyer, Bilk, Lightfoot, Charlesworth etc., but not much is recorded about the Sunday sessions where the Riverside Jazzband were in residence (I wonder how they came by that name?!). The band was a semi-professional outfit, some may have called them 'amateur'.The group was managed by John Mortimer and led by Alan Cresswell (Creswell?) on clarinet. Sometime around 1960 the two of them decided that there was little progress Eel Pie Islandbeing made musically and the trumpet player and trombone player were asked to step down. John Rodber was playing bass and probably sensing some turmoil, decided to take a sabbatical. I believe Dave Evans was playing drums and he also voluntarily stood down. This left a bit of a duo of clarinet and banjo, so other musicians were sought to fill the breach. Step forward the Canal Street Jazzmen! Mick Hill on trombone, Dave Preece on Drums and myself on bass. A competent trumpet player was  sourced elsewhere. Apart from the trumpet player the other players from the Canal Street band were supposed to be temporary until replacements could be found'.

'So the new "Riversiders" emerged without missing a Sunday gig. I stayed for about 6 months until Rodber came back, but Hill and Preece left the Canal Street band and permanently joined the  Riversiders. The band was well received mainly because it generated audience participation and the crowd felt part of the whole experience, so it was about  entertainment as well as jazz. All carried off with a laugh and a joke, mostly off the cuff. The band, well manager John Mortimer in cahoots with Cresswell, conspired to fix the Melody Maker Annual poll of 'best musicians'. I don't remember how they managed it, but they must have had access to a lot of Melody Maker copies and "bribed" the Sunday night crowd somehow. Needless to say the Riverside Jazzband members came among the top  musicians. Vote rigging without the internet no less!'

 

Various projects have taken place in recent years to research the story of Eel Pie Island. Over the summer and autumn of 2013, Aurora Metro Arts and Media, in association with Arts Richmond and the Eel Pie Club, produced a major arts and education project The Eel Pie Island Music Project about the extraordinary music history of Eel Pie Island in Twickenham (click here).  The project quotes Rod Stewart from his autobiography saying: “When you dressed up in your finery and carefully arranged your hair and set off for Eel Pie Island, you had that palm-tingling sense you were heading somewhere truly exotic…the place was its own country…a fantastically exciting destination, and the place where I really began to understand the power of rhythm and blues, when it’s done right.”

But as time went by, the condition of the building deteriorated. Pianist and bass player Ron Rubin recalls the point of his double bass disappearing through the floor. In 1967 the Hotel was forced to close as the owner was unable to meet the cost of repairs demanded by the police.  In 1969, it briefly opened as Colonel Barefoot’s Rock Garden with bands such as Black Sabbath, The Edgar Broughton Band, Stray, Atomic Rooster, Genesis and Hawkwind. It eventually became a squat and then in 1971, it burnt down ‘under suspicious circumstances’.Eel Pie Island tea towel

 

2017 saw the launch of a new documentary about the Island, Clinging To A Mudflat. The documentary film is an oral history that looks at all aspects of the island's story from interviews with residents and others and with archive pictures and footage. It has been produced by digital:works with sponsorship from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Richmond Civic Pride. digital:works is a charitable organisation run by Matthew Rosenberg and Sav Kyriacou. They say: 'digital:works is an arts and educational charity that works with communities, providing training and creative assistance to produce arts and media projects. We are committed to a participatory approach ensuring that those we work with have a major say in the direction of any given project. Creative arts are an exciting way for people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with and learn about a subject or issue.'

In this instance they have also worked closely with curator Michele Whitby at Eel Pie Island Museum. The Museum sells a number of commemorative products to help raise funds - their commemorative tea towel is a good idea and a way of supporting their work.

The fascinating documentary film of just under an hour is available to watch online free of charge - click here, although DVD copies are also available through the Museum. The middle section of the film deals with the music. The DVD only includes fragments of the interviews that took place, but you can listen to any of them in full if you click here.

We should like to add to our page Jazz On Eel Pie Island any other stories or memories people might have. Whether you played there or went there to hear the music - please contact us.

 

 

Jazz FM On The Up Again

Jazz FM radio reports that it has again increased its weekly reach - to 570,000 up 3% quarter on quarter and year on year.  'This is the second highest audience recorded in the last 3 years. Total listening hours have grown substantially to 2,292,000 up 38% quarter on quarter and 10% up year on year. 75% of all listening hours are now delivered by ABC1’s - the highest proportion ever recorded on Jazz FM. 55% of listeners liveJazz FM logo outside of London - consistent with last quarter - this compares with under 40% in Q1 2016, before Jazz FM re-launched nationally on DAB+'.

'Jaime Crick’s Breakfast Show has increased to a new record 159,000 listeners and Dinner Jazz with Mark Walker now attracts the highest audience of the week at 183,000 listeners. Nigel Williams’ Saturday morning audience has grown to 85,000 and is the top-rated show on Saturday and newcomer Anne Frankenstein has recorded substantial increases on both Saturday (up 60% to 69,000) and Sunday (up 44% to 42,000) afternoons. Sunday attracts the station’s highest audiences of the week with 191,000 listening across the day'.

Nick Pitts, Content Director, Jazz FM said “These results reflect the extraordinary response that we are seeing every day from our listeners. Our social metrics are consistently reaching record levels as we actively engage our listeners with the increasingly vibrant jazz scene across the UK.” 

 

 

 

Full Focus

Henry Spencer and Juncture

On The Bridge
and
Hopeless Heartless

from the album
The Reasons Don't Change


 

The idea behind our Full Focus series is to let the reader listen to a track from an album at the same time as reading the concepts behind the track as seen by the composer and the musicians involved.

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

 

The Reasons Don't Change album

 

Trumpet and flugelhorn player and bandleader, Henry Spencer, together with his band Juncture, released their debut album The Reasons Don't Change on the Whirlwind label in January 2017. In my review I described the album as 'outstanding' and 'engaging'. I wrote how it: '.... starts with a formidable trumpet solo. Within thirty seconds you are listening to Henry Spencer's technical skill, creativity and emotional expression - and you'll know that is why I use a word like 'outstanding'. The track also confirms that this is not just about Henry, but that he has with him talented musicians who have developed an understanding from working together over a number of years and who make their own valuable contributions'. Juncture are: Henry Spencer (trumpet, flugelhorn), Nick Costley-White (guitar), Matt Robinson (piano, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, melotron), Andrew Robb (bass), David Ingamells (drums), and the Guastalla Quartet - John Garner, Marie Shreer (violins), Agata Darashkaite (viola), Sergio Serra (cello) on one track.

I was not alone in my opinion. John Fordham in The Guardian wrote: 'Trumpeter/composer Henry Spencer is a recent conservatoire graduate, but his spectacular technique and strong musical character make him sound like an old hand' and allabout jazz.com described it as: 'A truly gorgeous record and early contender for Album Of The Year' - something to remember when voting for 2017 releases takes place in 2018.

In this month's Full Focus article, Henry Spencer talks about how he approached the music and in particular two tracks from the album: On The Bridge and Hopeless Heartless:

 

Henry Spencer

 

I wasn’t sure how to approach this. I couldn’t decide whether to go for the in-depth, school assignment-like, academic analysis of the two tracks from The Reasons Don’t Change, or talk about some of my general thoughts and approaches to music, playing and composing. I have mixed feelings about each option - so I think I’ll do a bit of both.

The music that I always go back to wanting to listen to, play and compose most is that which I find to be emotive and therapeutic, as well as artistically inspiring. I’ve always been drawn to music that is driven by sincere emotional intent and creative expression derived from genuine experience. For a while I actually wanted to be a singer-songwriter. This was probably because of how I found lyrics to be a raw and quite direct way of dealing with experience (and teenage angst). They allow us to be unambiguous and openly honest, and can be an accessible way to communicate sincere emotional expression.

I aim to approach instrumental music in the same way - with as much emotive clarity as if the music had lyrics. It’s an outlet with the same emotionally evocative intent. It’s a release. This intangible, abstract kind of expression goes beyond our ability to communicate with words. Without lyrics, it’s possible for the listener to engage with the music in a more personal way. The listener and performer are freer to interpret the Henry Spencermusic, relating it to their own personal experience. Even now, I often come up with lyrics as part of the writing process. It can be a useful way to help increase the ‘lyrical’ nature of the melodies and also to stay connected to the original motivation behind writing the composition.

As a composer/performer I view my challenge and responsibility as being to compel the listener to really follow, engage with and relate to the music’s narrative. Whether they understand or appreciate the theoretical or technical content is irrelevant. Each composition on The Reasons Don’t Change is a response to and my way of dealing with specific personal experiences. I don’t really want to say the exact motivations for writing each tune because I want the listener to be free to interpret and relate the music to their individual understanding.

My approach to improvising during performances is similar in a lot of ways to my approach to writing. I aim to build an engaging and emotive narrative but with the added spontaneity from constant listening and musical interaction with the other players. When writing, I always spend a lot of time thinking about the ‘sound world’ of each composition. The layering of parts, texture and instrumentation and the use of technology and production techniques, are all part of trying to best represent the composition’s original musical and emotional intent.
 
For the making of The Reasons Don’t Change a lot of consideration went into the sound production, both before and after the album recording sessions in the studio. Many, many hours were spent working with the producer, Paul Whalley, and the mixing/mastering engineer, Dave Darlington in New York. In fact, before the actual album recording sessions, we recorded every track in different studios around London. This meant we could explore and experiment with different ideas and production techniques. These production techniques, sometimes subtle, were used to enhance and not overwhelm each composition. They also allow space for the unpredictable, spontaneous improvisation and group interaction.
 
There are moments throughout the album where hints of production peek through the music. Such a moment is during the outro of ‘On The Bridge’ where we used a vintage ‘Space Echo’. There’s actually even footage of this. Click here for a short video from the studio of Paul Whalley and George Murphy (Studio Engineer) ‘printing’ the Space Echo track live.

 

Henry Spencer at Ronnie Scott's Club

 

 

ON THE BRIDGE

I approached writing this tune quite differently from the rest on the album. The whole composition uses practically only two chords (almost), but allows room for the musicians to add their own harmonic extensions or implications. This was not in any way a preconceived compositional decision or device, it just felt natural with the flow of the composition and adding much more harmonic detail felt unnecessary. The detail in the melody and the overall shape and development of the composition’s narrative was most important. The gradual building and varying of the dynamics and polyphony, during this through-composed track, is intended to draw in the listener.

The tunes in On The Bridge are examples of approaching writing as if there were lyrics, and of ‘sculpting’ the melody. Sorry, I really don’t mean to sound pretentious when using a word like ‘sculpting’, it’s just so often when writing music I find it’s a lot to do with chipping away at material, getting rid of the unnecessary information, until only what you really want to say is left. Even though the melodies are quite simple, a lot of consideration went into the smallest detail. Decisions were made (and revised) about every note’s placement and for how long it lasts within each phrase. This somewhat ‘OCD’ approach to composing (as well as the recording/production process) contrasts strongly with the mindset of being open to spontaneity and group interaction during the actual performance.

Click here to listen to On the Bridge.

 

HOPELESS HEARTLESS

This composition clearly contrasts with On The Bridge in a lot of ways, although the compositional approach to building the narrative and emotively drawing in the listener is the same.

There are aspects of this composition that correspond with ‘standard’ jazz tunes. The time-feel is 3/4 swing and the harmonic approach is both quite functional (particularly during the first half of the form) as well as being modal. The soloists also improvise over the same form as the ‘head’. This overall structure contrasts strongly with the through-composed approach of On The Bridge.

I arranged the main material by extending the introduction and outro. I also wanted to further enhance the flowing, lyrical and reflective nature of the composition by including strings as part of the ensemble. The strings add depth to the ‘sound world’, as well as to the harmonic and melodic detail.

Click here to listen to Hopeless Heartless.

 

A huge amount of work went into each individual track on The Reasons Don’t Change and during every stage – the composing, rehearsing, recording and production. I’m fortunate to know and work with incredibly talented musicians, producers and studio engineers.

Playing live is what this is all about. We went on tour with Henry Spencer and Juncture shortly after the album launch, and more touring is planned. I love and am always excited about how every performance goes in different directions.

With this being the first album released in my name, I was determined to make a strong artistic statement as I very much intend to keep on the regular output with composing, recording, releasing and touring. I’m really excited about sharing what’s coming next!

 

Click here for Henry's website.

Henry Spencer and Juncture will be playing at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA on November 10th during this year's London Jazz Festival.

 

Henry Spencer

 

 

 

Jazz Across Borders In Russia

The Ministry for Culture of Russia, the VI St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum and the Igor Butman Music Group are working together to present the first Russian jazz conference – Jazz Across Borders (JAB). The conference will be held on November 17th and 18th, 2017 at the St Petersburg 	State Academic ChapelState Academic Chapel in St. Petersburg. Jazz Across Borders will be held within the broader event of the VI St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum, organized by the Ministry for Culture of the Russian Federation, the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of St. Petersburg. The event features a trade conference, as well as cultural showcases and performances for the public.

“Creation of an extensive jazz forum in Russia is a quite anticipated step,” said Igor Butman, founder and artistic director of JAB. “Our country is rich with the talented jazz musicians and due to JAB, they will get a chance to make themselves known and to present their work to the largest international market players. Now it is possible to say for sure that the time for jazz and its development in all the areas of culture and education in Russia has come.” Performances include the JAB Showcases (featuring both Russian and international jazz artists), the Jazz Club night (evening shows at various nightclubs around St. Petersburg) and the JAB Gala, which will feature Kurt Elling, Igor Butman and the Moscow Jazz Orchestra in the Main Hall of the State Academic Chapel of St. Petersburg.

The event will combine those musical performances with a program dedicated to the business side of the jazz industry with panel discussions, roundtables, master classes and meetings. Among the confirmed participants in the business program are: Elling; John Beasley; Brice Rosenblum (Winter Jazzfest, NYC); Simon Cooke (Ronnie Scott’s Club, London); Jae Jin In (Jarasum Jazz Festival, South Korea); Carlo Pagnotta (Umbria Jazz Festival); Lee Mergner (JazzTimes); Larry Simpson (Berklee College of Music); Jana Herzen (Motema Music); and many others.

Click here for a video of Igor Butman and the Moscow Jazz Orchestra playing at the Jarasum Jazz Festival in 2015.

 

 

 

Tea Break

 

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

 

Filipe Freitas and Clara Pereira

Clara pereira

 

Clara and Filipe run JazzTrail in New York. Clara Pereira is a photographer and takes stunning images of musicians; Filipe is a writer and reports on jazz events and new album releases. They are valued contacts for Sandy Brown Jazz in the United States. Although they look quite serious in these photographs, when I met them I found them friendly, engaging and talented people.

Clara specialises in black and white photography and I regularly feature her images at the top of What's New. As she says on the JazzTrail website: 'At some point in her childhood, she really believed she was an alien. Instead, she became a photographer and graphic designer (with special powers) who couldn’t be more human since her joy comes from earthly things such as coffee, a glass of good red wine, and TV shows'.

Felipe was an electrical engineer in a previous life. He gets extremely happy whenever a bag of tortilla chips is around and his soul rejoices when he plays guitar. Filipe contributes album reviews to Sandy Brown Jazz, giving us an insight into the current American scene. On the JazzTrail website you will find his other album reviews, concert reviews and interviews.

 

Clara Pereira

 

 

 

Filipe Freitas

 

 

Both Filipe and Clara are originally from the Portuguese island of Madeira but moved to New York a few years ago. Although Portuguese is Filipe's natural language, I am often impressed by his written work, although he will apologise for his 'poor English'! They are both very involved in the New York jazz scene and in contact with many American and Portuguese musicians. I am grateful to them both for contributing to Sandy Brown Jazz.

Filipe has just returned from the Angra Jazz Festival in the Azores, so it seemed to be an appropriate time to catch them for a Tea Break - although with their being based in America, I guess we should call it a Coffee Break!

 

Filipe Freitas

 

Hi Clara and Filipe, tea or coffee?

Definitely coffee! Preferentially espresso, but any type will do.


Milk and sugar?

No, thanks.

 

Did you enjoy the Angra Jazz Festival in October? It is not a festival that many in the UK will know – where is it located?

AngraJazz was great, a well-organized festival that has been up for 19 years. The lineup included attractive names such as Charles Tolliver, Matt Wilson, and Jon Irabagon. It takes place in the beautiful city of Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal - a UNESCO world heritage. (Click here for Filipe's report on the Festival).

 

You have sent me Clara's picture of Charles Tolliver which I have placed at the end of our Tea Break - superb photograph!. I thought readers might like to see this video of his Big Band playing 'Round Midnight in 2013 (click here). The sound of his trumpet really touches me.

 

You both come from Madeira – New York is quite a change! What are your impressions of the city as a place to live and work now you have been there for a while?

New York is a pretty tough city compared to our hometown. Everything can be a struggle and the cost of living is insane. However, there are many more opportunities for us here in what we really love to do. The constant vibrancy of the city is stimulating. It can be tiresome sometimes, but it keeps you on your toes. If your structure allows, this is a city that will make you grow professionally and personally. Like they say: 'it will make you or break you'.




Smalls Jazz Club

 

Do you have favourite places to go to for jazz gigs?

We tend to go to smaller venues and there are some we really like - Cornelia Street Cafe, 55 Bar, The Jazz Gallery, Smalls, and The Stone, whose avant-jazz program is quite attractive.

Small's Jazz Club on West 10th Street in New York is a very small club (a basement, actually) located in the Greenwich Village and with a capacity of 60 people. Established in 1993, this venue remains one of the best places to see rising jazz talents performing, despite the loud noise we can hear sometimes. It's usually crowded and there's a bar inside.

Small's Jazz Club interior

 

 

Small's Jazz Club

 

I guess the London basement clubs that makes me think of are the 100 Club and the 606 Club but I think both are larger than Small's. From what you say, Small's seems to have quite an intimate atmosphere. Of course the 100 Club in Oxford Street used to be a key jazz venue but it stages very little jazz now. Ronnie Scott's Club used to be smaller and in 1959 was in a basement in Gerrard Street, but it moved to larger premises in Frith Street, Soho in 1965 where it could increase capacity to an audience of 250. The other basement club that no longer exists here was the Cy Laurie Club in Old Windmill Street opposite the Windmill Theatre. I believe that was the first jazz club to open in London. I guess The Jazz Nursery in London is comparable too as it features rising talent but it is located on an old ship, rather than in a basement. I have to say that there is something about basement jazz clubs that seems to 'go with the territory'. I wonder if people reading this in the UK know of similar basement clubs?

 

 

Honey cake


Hob Nob, Bourbon, Garibaldi or digestive biscuit?

We'll try a bit of each and also bring a moist honey cake, typical of Madeira island, to the table.

Great! I really like honey cake - I think it is called bolo de mel in Madeira? One of those cakes that gets made at Christmas but fortunately is around all year!

 

 

 

Jon Irabagon

 

 

Your photographs are stunning, Clara. What would you say you are trying to capture in a picture?

Thank you! When shooting a performance, I'm trying to freeze a moment of human expression, almost like attempting to capture the emotions and sounds of an improvisation/tune by trapping them in a frame.

 

I know saxophonist Jon Irabagon is an acquaintance of you both. I think your photograph of him describes what you are saying.

 

Jon Irabagon



[Click here for a video of the Jon Irabagon Quartet - Jon Irabagon (tenor saxophone); Luis Perdomo (piano); Rudy Royston (drums); Yasushi Nakamura (bass) -playing at La Usina del Arte in Buenos Aires in 2016].


 

 

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

I would invite John Coltrane since his huge spirituality, in addition to the musical creativity, always have touched me. And Frank Zappa, whose rebelliousness, social and political awareness, and consistently funny ways of saying serious things made me appreciate his music even more.


What would you ask them?

I wouldn't ask anything specific. I would enjoy their company, letting the conversation flow naturally.


Filipe, with all the many albums that are released, how do you choose the releases that you review for JazzTrail?

That is something I have to deal with every day. My choices are based on my personal taste within the styles I envisioned for JazzTrail. I look for modern creative jazz rather than mainstream, but always trying to find a proper balance between acclaimed and emerging artists. I'm happy to spread the word in favour of talented young musicians.



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

Currently I'm listening to new albums by Rudresh Mahanthappa, Jen Shyu, Wadada Leo Smith, Tom Rainey Obbligato, and also François Bourassa, a Canadian pianist who keeps surprising me at every listening. Yesterday (October 17th), I attended the CD release concert by drummer Jeff 'Siege' Siegel, and the musical spirit of his latest album is something I can identify with. Beyond the jazz genre, I constantly resort to my old pop/rock collection and lots of 80's. It helps me to break my routine while enjoying the music without having to be attentive to the details.

 

[Click here for a video of Prayer from Jeff Siegel's album King Of Xhosa featuring Feya Faku (fluglehorn); Erica Lindsay (tenor saxophone); Francesca Tanksley (piano); Rich Syracuse (bass); Jeff "Siege" Siegel (drums): Fred Berryhill (percussion)].

 

What are your future plans for JazzTrail?

Keep on working and growing in the hope of making JazzTrail an honest reference in the modern jazz universe. This applies not only to the album/concert reviews but also to the photography and album artwork.


Another biscuit?

Yes, please. Can we have more coffee?!

 

Charles Tolliver

 

Click here for Filipe and Clara's JazzTrail website.

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

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

 

Parliamentary Jazz Awards - The Winners

This year's Parliamentary Jazz Awards took place on Tuesday, 10th October. This year, the awards event was held not at the Houses of Parliament as has been the custom for some years, but at Pizza Express Live in Holborn. The nominees, shortlisted by a selection panel who represent a broad cross-section of backgrounds, were passed to judging members of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) who decided the winners. The awards have been running since 2005. APPJAG has 80 members from the House of Commons and House of Lords, across all political parties. Its aim is to encourage a wider and deeper enjoyment of jazz, to increase Parliamentarians’ understanding of the industry and issues surrounding it, as well as promoting jazz as a musical form, and to raise its profile both inside and outside of Parliament. The nominees and award winners (in red) were:

Parliamentary Jazz Awards shield

 

 

Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Georgia Mancio; Cleveland Watkiss; Alice Zawadzki 

Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Shabaka Hutchings; Jim Mullen; Tori Freestone 

Jazz Album of the Year: Dinosaur – Together As One; Shabaka Hutchings – Wisdom Of The Elders; Tim Garland – One

Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Partikel; Phronesis; Binker and Moses 

Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Corrie Dick; Ezra Collective; Nerija, Jacob Collier 

Jazz Venue of the Year: Watermill Jazz Club; Jazz Re:Freshed; PizzaExpress Live; Scarborough Jazz Festival 

Jazz Media Award: Jazzwise; Kevin Le Gendre; Chris Philips (JazzFM)

Jazz Education Award: Tomorrow’s Warriors; Jean Toussaint; Andrea Vicari 

Services to Jazz Award: Sue Edwards; Henry Lowther; Gary Crosby; Tony Dudley-Evans

Special APPJAG Award: Jim Mullen

 

 

 

 

Almost Famous

(A Parody Diversion)

'Baby' Sodds


 


Baby Sodds

 

Jazz drummer Warren ‘Baby’ Sodds was born to a privileged family. His father, Randy Junior, was State judge and in those early days of the twentieth century was often away from home in his duties around the state. He was a known to be a strict man in judgements, offenders could expect maximum sentences and there was little hope of appeal. That was ‘Sodd’s Law’.

As far as his family was concerned it was a different matter, he was a loving father. Warren was the youngest of three children, his parents and his much older sister and brother all called him ‘Baby’. His father played violin, his brother clarinet and his sister the harmonica, but none of them were particularly talented. For Baby it was different. While some children at the age of two banged wooden spoons on saucepans, his family noticed that Baby did it in time to the jazz music coming from the speakeasy across the street. Later, he would say: ‘I took a milk can and turned it over, then I found some old chair legs and made drumsticks out of them’.

By six, he was pestering his mother for a drum kit. ‘We must ask your Pa,’ his Mama said. Judge Randy Jr. was a devout Catholic - the family regularly sang hymns and prayed together. But the Judge, like his paternal forbears, had a weakness. His trips away found him seeking out the company of 'ladies of the night.' His grandfather, Randy, and his father, Randy Jr., had been the same. I guess it was a genetic hormonal thing. His Catholicism  and strict application of the law caused him great guilt and he felt the need to go to confession every week where the priest would tell him, 'You don’t have to be like the other Randy Sodds in your family’. His guilt caused him to compensate with his family and so Baby soon had a custom made drum kit suitable for his size.

By eight, Baby had talked his way into playing with Sonny Celestial’s band at the speakeasy. His Ma agreed as long as he was sat at the back of the band so he could not be seen and embarrass his father. His reputation grew.

A young trumpet player, Lewis Headstrong, was keen to put together a small, hot jazz band. He already had some kid who could play trombone and a guitar player, Jonny Sincere. His girlfriend, Jill, could play piano, but they needed a drummer. Stories of Baby Sodds' skill reached Lewis and one night he headed for the speakeasy where he was blown away by the small, hidden drummer’s playing. Outraged, and as headstrong as his name, Lewis climbed on to the stage and grabbed the microphone. ‘This is wrong! Nobody puts Baby in a corner!’ and turning to the drummer said: ‘Come with me, Baby, and play real hot jazz’.

After the gig, Baby left Sonny Celestial and began to play with the Lewis’ Hot Five. They were a sensation and soon had bookings around the County and then the State. Warren’s Ma started to get worried. Her other son and daughter had now left home and the Judge was increasingly away ‘on business’. Now Baby was away a lot of the time too, and in truth he was still only nine years old and not up to the pressures of being on the road. He would phone his Ma every other day, until one day, depressed and in tears she said: ‘Baby, won’t you please come home? You’ve left your Mama all alone. I have tried in vain to manage but I can’t go on any longer’. Baby’s playing started to deteriorate, partly because of the strain of touring and late nights, partly from anxiety about his Ma and partly because he was developing an underage drinking habit. In the end, Lewis had to say to him: ‘Baby, you gotta make a decision, Man’.

'It's hard, Lewis,' said Baby. 'I've had the time of my life, I've never felt like this before. You've been a great partner, who's not only a terrific player, but somebody who's taught me that there are people willing to stand up for other people no matter what it costs them. Somebody who's taught me about the kind of person I wanna be'.

So Baby decided to return home where his father found him work in a lawyer’s office and where they called him Warren. He would still play occasionally, but less so when he married and had four children. His eldest son, who he named Jonny after his brother, turned out to be a particularly fine clarinet player in the style of Cy Laurie. Warren 'Baby' Sodds eventually died after a series of strokes.

Baby Sodds' favourite tune: Etta James singing Don’t Get Around Much Any More and the line: 'Thought I'd visit the Club, got as far as the door, they'd have asked me about you Daddy ...'

 

 

 

Video Juke Box

*Click on the Picture for the Video

 

 

 

 

Andrew Bain Hope

 

 

A taste of Hope from Andrew Bain's new album Embodied Hope released on the Whirlwind label on November 10th 2017 and featuring Andrew Bain (drums), George Colligan (piano), Jon Irabagon (tenor saxophone) and Michael Janisch (double bass). 

 

 

 

 

 

Tradition Is A temple previewDarktown Strutters' Ball" - This is a Preview with Lucien Barbarin and Shannon Powell of an excerpt from Tradition Is A Temple: The Modern Masters of New Orleans, vol. I a motion picture of New Orleans music. Tradition Is A Temple explores New Orleans' unique musical culture and the fragility of tradition in the modern world. The movie weaves together intimate personal discussions shot over a four year span with once-in-a-lifetime studio performances by New Orleans greats, such as Shannon Powell, Lucien Barbarin, Jason Marsalis, Topsy Chapman, Steve Masakowski, Ed Petersen, Roland Guerin, The Tremé Brass Band and many more. This portrait of New Orleans music culture highlights the musician's upbringing, how tradition shaped their identity and continues to inspire young people today. The film reminds us that the music of New Orleans is the root of popular American music. Without this music, we have no Hip-Hop, no Rhythm & Blues, no Funk and no Rock n' Roll.

 

 

 

Johanne

 

If you have been wondering what singer Emelia Martensson has been doing recently, she has provided the vocals for this delightful short animated film, Johanne, from Dragonbee. As far as gigs are concerned, Emelia has UK gigs on: 2nd November - North Wall, Oxford/Monocled Man - Special guest Emilia Martensson; 15th November - The London Jazz Festival @The Vortex - Launch of the new Quintet/'Loredana'. 26th November - Cambridge Jazz Festival/Emilia Martensson Trio + Vocal Workshop. 9th December - Baldwin Gallery, Blackheath-London/Mixed Sessions by Cooknst. 15th December - The Crypt, London/Emilia Martensson Quartet

 

 

 

 

Clifford Brown video

 

 

Rare footage of trumpeter Clifford Brown. Apparently this is the only footage of Brown still available, which TV host Soupy Sales found in his garage in the mid-'90s. It includes a brief interview.

 

 

 

 

 

Ian Shaw Shine Sister Shine

 

Singer Ian Shaw will be releasing his new album Shine Sister Shine in November followed by a number of live dates. The album features new original songs that celebrate the women Ian Shaw has encountered through his work with refugees. One track, Keep Walking, is dedicated to an Eritrean woman who had escaped civil war in her country. Other tracks are by a selection of women including Joni Mitchell, Peggy Lee, Carly Simon and Gwyneth Herbert. The title track, on video here with the Citizens Of The World Choir was written with Tanita Tikaram.

 

 

 

 

New Yor Uba

 

 

Michele Rosewoman's "New Yor-Uba, A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America" features masters from the worlds of contemporary jazz and Cuban folkloric music. They are seeking support for their 35th anniversary with a 2018 CD release. 15% of funds raised go to to UNIDOS, a disaster relief fund for recovery In Puerto Rico and Mexico. Details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Have A Birthday In November?

 


Your Horoscope

for November Birthdays

by 'Marable'

 

Scorpio

 

Scorpio (The Scorpion)

23rd October - 22nd November

 

Last month I pointed out that 60 per cent of the planets are on the move and that for you they have been in your 12th house or moving through. You are very much your own person, having things your way - as long as you treat life with consideration.

This month the Moon might bring occasional stressful aspects, but they pass quite quickly so don't dwell on them. The 12th and 13th November could be good days for love and finance. Remember, love comes in many different forms and need not be necessarily the romantic kind, embrace it, whichever way it shows itself to you.

It is on the 22nd that the Sun enters your money house and people seem to be financially supportive. That could be the beginning of successful time ahead as in December Saturn moves out of your money house where he has been a drag for a couple of years, slowing things down. As he moves into your third house he will bring opportunities to organise your intellectual life - and a period to stop and think will pay dividends.

For you, click here for the Serge Chaloff and Boots Mussulli Quintet playing Love Is Just Around The Corner.

 

 

Sagittarius

 

Sagittarius (The Archer)

23rd November - 20th December

Sagittarians are sometimes noted for their higher intellects and their ability to grasp philosophical and spiritual concepts. That is demonstrated in your inclination to explore and look deeper into things. You have discovered that with understanding can come a generosity, a confidence to share.

Your planetary aspects in November underline this. In September the planetary power shifted from the social West to the independent East. This month and next the planetary power is moving into its maximum Eastern position with at least 70% of the planets in the East. The planetary power is moving towards you bringing support for your personal goals.

Your career has the opportunity to benefit from your deeper thinking and spiritual interests and might well take you outside your normal sphere where you could be meeting people who do not usually feature in your day to day life. These new contacts might well prove supportive in your projects so be aware of those opportunities.

For you, click here for a video of the Oscar Peterson, Barney Kessell and Niels Pedersen playing Watch What Happens at Ronnie Scott's Club in 1974.

 

 

 

 

 

Continental Drift

Peter Slavid

 

 

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

Each month Peter selects a CD of the month – looking especially for bands not well known in the UK - and has offered to share that with us. This month he features:

 

 

de beren gieren

‘dug out skyscrapers’

 

de beren gieren

 

Fulco Ottervanger (piano), Lieven Van Pée (bass), Simon Segers (drums)

This month's selection is one of the most original piano trios you are likely to hear.  It's the sort of band that should be appearing here in the UK on a regular basis in the way they already do all over Europe.  In fact they have only just completed their first ever short visit here.  This was a brief visit to Birmingham, Leeds, Marsden and London all over in a week.

Standing out in the world of piano trios isn't easy but De Beren Gieren (which means The Bear Shrieks) manage a unique sound with a sparkling wit and inventiveness. 

Ottervanger was born in Holland in 1984  but has lived in Ghent for the last 10 years.  He studied classical music and plays in pop and krautrock bands and for theatres, and he was recently appointed as the City Composer for Ghent.  You can hear classical and krautrock influences in the music as well as occasional glimpses of theatre.

Van Pée is a composer and sound engineer as well as being a powerful bass player and Segers is in several other interesting bands including the Ethiojazz Black Flower.  So all three are in their 30s but this is the band's sixth album, and it's worth checking out some of the earlier ones too.

There are a lot of terrific pianists around in the UK and in Europe, but for me, not so many really interesting trios.  Somehow these days there's a tendency to drift towards derivative arrangements. De Beren Gieren manage to avoid that trap and come up with a really fresh sound.

Click here for the trio playing Weight Of An Image which is fairly typical in its use of switching rhythms mixed with electronics.

Click here for details of the album.

 

de beren gieren

 

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

 

 

Jazz Goes Dutch Across the UK and Ireland

The biggest-ever celebration of jazz from the Netherlands in the UK and Ireland sees two of Europe’s most creative and exciting ensembles touring to venues in Bath, Belfast, Derry, Dublin, Cork, Wigan, Altrincham, Newcastle and Sheffield. 'Going Dutch' is an initiative by UK jazz advocates the Jazz Promotion Network and Dutch Performing Arts creating opportunities for audiences in the UK and the Republic of Ireland to experience a wide range of musicians who are making the jazz scene in the Netherlands - currently 'one of the most vibrant and vital on the planet'.

Following a series of visits to festivals and events in the Netherlands by Jazz Promotion Network members, who include broadcasters and ICP Orchestrajournalists as well as promoters and festival programmers, a programme of tours has been selected and with support from Dutch Performing Arts, JPN is administrating and promoting the event this autumn and throughout 2018.

 

ICP Orchestra

 

“We’ve already had some musicians over from the Netherlands to appear in concerts and at festivals over the summer by way of an appetiser,” says Nod Knowles, the former music officer with Scottish Arts Council and producer of Bath International Music Festival who is coordinating the Going Dutch project for the JPN. “The pianist Kaja Draksler made a big impression at Glasgow and Manchester Jazz Festivals for instance and Kaja, trumpet star Eric Vloeimans and the Tin Men and the Telephone, a piano trio that has brought the smart phone into the jazz tradition, will be back for more extensive visits in 2018. It was essential that promoters be able to witness musicians playing live to audiences, although digital opportunities complemented this experience, to really get a feel for what each musician and group brings to the stage, so Dutch Performing Arts’ input, in facilitating these visits and in supporting the tours, has been crucial. We honestly feel, though, that audiences are in for a treat.”

Click here for a video of the ICP Orchestra playing Thelonious Monk's Criss Cross.

The appeal of Dutch jazz, for Knowles and the JPN team, has long been in the musicians’ theatricality and willingness to engage with their audience as much as their virtuosity. The Instant Composers Pool Orchestra, which launches the autumn activity at the Lakeside Arts Centre in Nottingham on October 30, is renowned for its carnival approach to performances that range musically from ragtime to swing, bop to free jazz and classical. In drummer Han Bennink they have a master musician who is known for his anarchic humour but who can also cite gigs with jazz legends Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins and Wes Montgomery in some sixty years as a professional.

The ten-strong Instant Composers Pool Orchestra, which also features violinist Mary Oliver and cellist Tristan Honsiger, is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary and honours its guiding spirit, pianist Misha Mengelberg, who founded the ensemble with Bennink and who died earlier this year, during its tour. It is followed from November 26 by Kapok, a young trio comprising french horn, guitar and drums that is among the leaders of the Dutch indie scene as well as being lauded by jazz critics and audiences. “We’re working on a further eight tours for 2018, including the brilliant viola-tablas-guitar trio Nordanians, Estafest, four improvising musicians who have to be seen to be believed, and the pianist Dominic J Marshall, who is actually British but whose trio is among the rising stars of the Dutch scene,” says Knowles. “We’ll be announcing full details soon.”

ICP Orchestra plays Derry on November 2, Belfast (3rd), Dublin (4th), Cork (5th) and Bath (6th).
Kapok plays Wigan (lunchtime) and Altrincham (evening) on November 26, Bath (27th), Newcastle (28th) and Sheffield (29th).

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

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

 

The great Blues man, John Mayall is currently on tour with Jay Davenport (drums) and Greg Rzab (bass). Brian captured these images at a gig at The Hawth, Crawley on 17th October. The band has a busy schedule of UK dates during November - click here for details of where you can see them.

 

Click here for a video of the band playing Chicago Line at Kantine Köln in March

 

John Mayall

 

 

Jay Davenport

 

 

 

Jay Davenport

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Rzab

 

 

 

 

Greg Rzab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Liebman Dave Liebman

 

Brian also captured this image of the saxophonist Dave Liebman at the Watermill Jazz Club in Dorking on 3rd October where Dave was playing in the company of pianist Richie Beirach and guest vocalist Norma Winstone. Graham Thomas says:

'Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach have had a long-standing musical partnership since the 1970s and this showed in their easy communication on-stage, with hardly a word spoken between them.  They started with an arrangement of J.S. Bach’s ‘Sicilienne’, Liebman’s lyrical soprano sax sounding classical at first but then venturing into improvisation. At times he switched to tenor sax and demonstrated both a keen melodic sense (on ‘Moonlight in Vermont’) and an aggressively free post-Coltrane style (‘Paraphernalia’ by Wayne Shorter), always played with superb control and technique'.

 

Dave Liebman

 

'Richie Beirach’s piano showed his classical touch but also a powerful rhythmic sense, the beat always being maintained in his left hand while notes cascaded from his right. Both players breathed new life into ‘Round Midnight’, taking it from ballad territory to the outer reaches and back again, an amazing performance which truly had the ‘sound of surprise’. An added bonus was the guest appearance of Norma Winstone to sing her own lyrics to one of Richie’s tunes. The duo finished with Ornette Coleman’s ‘Lonely Woman’, an eerily haunting performance by Liebman on the wooden recorder'.

 

 

All pictures © Brian O'Connor, Images Of Jazz

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

 

 

 

Forum

 

Albert Hall

Mike Durrell noted our article about trumpeter Albert Hall in our Jazz Remembered slot last month (click here) and writes: 'Albert also had another brother - Ken Hall,  who played drums (I used to work with him with John Burch and Dick Morrisey in the  early 2000s).  He also played trumpet and would  bring his trumpet  (which had belonged to Albert) along to gigs sometimes  and play a couple of numbers'.     

 

 

 

Marion Williams

Marion Williams record

 

Stuart Ralls has written to say: 'I was interested in your article about Marion Williams (click here). I am a big collector of the Woolworth Embassy label. I have the singles you mentioned and also others when her name was changed to Marian Williams and then to Marilyn Lee presumably to avoid confusion with the American Marion Williams'.

Stuart has sent a list of the all the records he has by Marion / Marilyn, including the one shown on the left. He says: 'In terms of recording for Embassy Marion had a short career as she competed with Joan Baxter (ex Squadronaires) for recording time but she was still with the label in 1964. The vast majority of Embassy singers all had solid dance band backgrounds, such as Ray Pilgrim, Sam Browne, Kenny Bardell, Rita Williams, Benny Lee, Patti Forbes, Bob Dale and Penny Nicholls to name just a few. I would assume Marion's name change to
Marilyn Lee was inspired by her covering Brenda Lee's "All Alone Am I".

 

 

 

 

Venues

Clarinettist Alvin Roy writes: 'I have news that sadly reflects the continued decline in good venues that feature jazz music. The Rose Revived in Oxfordshire has ceased the regular Monday nights that featured my band “Reeds Unlimited”. The venue never publicised or promoted the band and is another prime example of a pub/restaurant, which is part of a large chain and whose managers appear to have no interest in the music and feel no need to promote something that presumably, to them, is a necessary evil imposed on them by head office. In turn, the “suits” running the HQ seem to be oblivious to the fact that any events taking place on their premises have to be advertised to the public and appear to not bother to ensure that the venue does just that.......inform the public. Surely only a modicum of common sense tells you that if nobody knows that the venue has a regular jazz night, then nobody will come. The people that did come on a regular basis, did so through “word of mouth” and as a product of the efforts of myself and the musicians to spread the word. This is not the first time that a jazz venue has ceased to function because of total apathy by the management and sadly it won’t be the last'.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Clark Tracey Quartet Play A Tribute To Stan Tracey

Award-winning drummer Clark Tracey brings his quartet to play a fundraising concert for the National Jazz Archive on 24th November in Walthamstow, North East London.

To celebrate what would have been Stan Tracey’s 90th year, Clark Tracey has written the definitive biography of his father (The Godfather of British Jazz), being published by Equinox Publishing. The concert will be part of the book’s launch and will feature Stan’s music and well-known Clark Traceyjazz standards. Stan was an important British jazz pianist and composer whose distinguished career spanned six decades.

Clark Tracey is one of the UK's premier jazz men with an international career as an outstanding composer, arranger and drummer. He has won Best Drummer in various awards five times, including the British Jazz Awards in 2016 and 2017. His group also features three other superb musicians: Art Themen (saxes) has a major reputation on the British jazz and blues scene, and has played tenor sax in many top jazz groups. Described by Dave Gelly as ‘One of the tiny handful of undeniably perfect jazz musicians’, he was winner of the British Jazz Award for tenor sax in 2008. Bruce Boardman (piano) has performed with many big names, run his own band, made numerous TV appearances and toured internationally. Andrew Cleyndert (bass) is best known for his work with the late Stan Tracey. He has also worked extensively with many other jazz greats, including Lee Konitz, Art Farmer and Conte Candoli.

Clark said: “I’ve had the pleasure of playing at fundraising concerts for the National Jazz Archive several times, so it’s great to be able to bring my own quartet to help raise funds for the Archive. It’s a wonderful resource for everyone interested in the history and development of jazz in this country.”

This concert is one of a series during 2017 to raise funds to support the work of the Loughton-based National Jazz Archive. The venue is the characterful arts centre, former Granada Cinema, Mirth, Marvel and Maud, 186 Hoe St, Walthamstow, London E17 4QH, five minutes’ walk from Walthamstow Central Station served by the Underground, Overground and numerous bus routes. The concert starts at 8pm and tickets cost £17.

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

 

 

Tommy Smith Plays Alone

Saxophonist Tommy Smith takes his latest project home this month with a concert on November 11th in Craiglockhart church, just a few miles from where he grew up on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Back in the summer Smith stepped out onstage at Rochester Jazz Festival in NewTommy Smith York to play his first ever “naked saxophone” concert, an experience he found “scary but exciting”. He had played onstage by himself many times before. In the early noughties he toured his Alone at Last project across the UK and further afield, working with soprano and tenor saxophones and samples of his late friend and collaborator Edwin Morgan’s poetry, while integrating natural sounds and special effects. He has also recorded alone, on his 2001 album Into the Silence, which saw him working with what was at one time the longest echo in the world in Hamilton Mausoleum.

The Rochester concert, however, was his first time “playing with no help”, as he puts it, in front of an audience and the response in the church-like ambience of Rochester’s Lyric Theatre, and in later reviews, told him his approach was on the right track. “I’ve seen some great saxophonists playing completely solo and even someone like Michael Brecker, who used awesome virtuosity and fantastic technique to prolong his compositions in that setting, played too many notes,” he says. “It’s a really big challenge and there’s the temptation to fill the space available because you’re exposed by the silence, but to me space is important. It gives you time to reflect on what you’ve just played and what you’re about to play. It lets the music breathe. If you just play constantly, for the audience it’s like listening to someone talking non-stop, twenty to the dozen, and that can just get annoying.”

Smith has since played another successful solo concert, in the aptly named “round church” in Bowmore on the whisky island of Islay in the Hebrides, and is now looking to play more of them. When the minister at Craiglockhart offered his church as a venue, Smith jumped at the chance to play in his home town.“It wouldn’t suit every venue,” he says. “But churches, particularly the older ones, were built to accommodate acoustic music and I really enjoy working with the room. I concentrate on melodies, some of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s, some from Scottish folk music and some of my own, and although it is like walking a tightrope, playing without a band, it’s really satisfying.”

As well as his solo concert, Smith is touring in the south of England this month with his old friend and “personal orchestra”, Brian Kellock. They play St George’s, Bristol on Thursday 16th; Wells Cathedral School on Friday 17th; Pizza Express, Dean Street (as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival) on Saturday 18th; Colchester Arts Centre on Sunday 19th; and Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham on Monday 20th.

 

 

 

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:

 

Grady Tate

 

 

Grady Tate - American jazz drummer and singer born in North Carolina. At thirteen he was mesmerised by the playing of Jo Jones. The story goes that afterwards, Jones invited him onto the stage and asked if he had brought his drumsticks with him. “No, sir,” Mr. Tate said, and Mr. Jones offered his own pair but whacked one of his hands with them. “That’s just a tiny bit of the pain that you’re going to get,” Mr. Jones said, “if you’re gonna pick these damn things up and use ’em.” He went on to work with Wild Bill Davis, Quincy Jones, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald and became one of the busiest sidemen in jazz, recording with stars like Jimmy Smith, Stan Getz, Clark Terry and Billy Taylor. Click here for a video of Grady with Dizzy Gillespie and others in 1985.

 

 

 

 

John Jack

 

 

 

John Jack - Born in Barnes, John Jack was a source of oral jazz history, as well as a trombonist, producer, promoter and enabler. After working as a travelling salesman for early indie labels including Carlo Krahmer’s Esquire promoting emerging British jazz stars such as Humphrey Lyttelton, Acker Bilk and Ronnie Scott, for three years (1965-1968) he managed Ronnie's club in Gerrard Street. In 1973, he set up the Cadillac record label with Mike Westbrook through which they enabled artists such as Joe Harriott, Stan Tracey and Mike Osborne.

Click here for an interview with John Jack on the Wall Of Sound website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Holder - As we 'go to press' I have received a message saying that singer and percussionist Frank Holder has passed through the Departure Lounge. There is no obituary available at this time, but if the information is confirmed, I shall include details in the next issue of What's New.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Album Released: October 2017 - Label: Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestra

 

The Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestra

Weapons Of Mass Distraction

 

Tommy Andrews, Phil Meadows, Riley Stone-Lonergan, Jonny Chung, Andrew Linham (saxophone, clarinet); Barney Lowe, Miguel Gorodi, Sam Warner, Matt Roberts, Andy Hall (trumpet and flugelhorn), Rosie Turton, Tom Green, Chris Saunders, Barney Medland (trombone), Tom Millar (piano), Rich Perks (guitar), Andrew Robb (bass), Dave Ingamells (drums).

Andrew Linham certainly knows how to write a good tune. If you like big band music played by some of the best young UK jazz musicians with tunes you will go away humming, then treat yourself (or a friend) to this one. After all, winter is coming. This is music to warm you and lift the spirit.

If you look through the list of musicians above, you should recognise many of them from their own bands or from playing with other key bands on the UK jazz scene. If you don't, I suggest you check them out further.Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestra Weapons Of Mass Distraction Getting them all together at the same time for this recording is an achievement in itself.

Andrew Linham is a multi-talented, award winning graduate of Leeds College of Music. He is formidable on the baritone sax; he composes, arranges and is involved in several bands including those he leads himself. He is also heavily involved in youth theatre and this year co-wrote a great version of The Wind In The Willows that was performed at the Queens Theatre, Hornchurch. He also has an infectious sense of humour that you will find reflected throughout this album. There are stories behind most of the tunes he has written. Take the track Waitress Winking as one example. Apparently Andrew was dressed for an event as a member of the group ABBA - white flared jump suit and high heels. Going to the bar in costume he got something in his eye and the waitress thought he was winking at her. Embarrassed, he then tripped over his high heels. The story is captured in the music for the track.

The arrangements are also intriguing. There seem to be so many aspects and references built seemlessly into the music. At one moment you are listening to a bolero rhythm and then guitarist Rich Perks is taking a Brian May Queen-like solo.

The album kicks off with Screaming Abdabs with Jonny Chung soon stepping out with a tenor saxophone solo while the band drives along behind. Phil Meadows takes the soprano saxophone solo and then Sam Warner the trumpet outing and already we are hearing the quality of the arrangement and musicianship.

Click here to listen to Screaming Abdabs.

Sharking In The Chalet slows things down with Tommy Andrews leading the catchy theme on soprano sax before others Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestrapick it up. The first solo comes in lightly from Tom Millar on piano until the full band emerges and then it is back to the soprano sax to beautifully weave its way before the band returns to the theme. I Arsque You This begins briefly with raucous voices and then the band stamps its way into the theme and it is Rosie Turton's trombone that surfaces for a solo.

Dinosaur Face is a lovely ballad and one of my favourite tracks because of all the elements built into it. The story behind it is an occasion when at traffic lights, Andrew Linham saw a couple kissing on one side of the road and on the other a woman whose face showed her disapproval.

There is a nice bass solo from Andrew Robb before a brief guitar intervention from Rick Perks leads into statements from several instruments until the whole band swells the music and finally the piano brings everyone down. A great arrangement. Pyrrhic Victory has solo bass that leads us into a tune that somehow reminds me of I Want To Be Like You from The Jungle Book movie but once again it would be misleading to tie the tune to one idea as there are a few woven in here. Tom Green has a chance to feature his trombone and Tommy Andrews his clarinet. Big Bertha's Quarter To Twos is more of a humorous interlude - it imagines Big Bertha in the early hours rather the worse for wear and having lost her shoes - naturally, there is a chance to bring in the baritone sax after Riley Stone-Lonergan hasAndrew Linham set the scene on saxophone.

Apples Aren't The Only Fruit questions whether apples were the only fruit in the Garden Of Eden - were there no bananas? The track opens with a funky guitar that leads into a full band that then gives way to a steaming solo from Andrew's baritone before Rich Perks' guitar soars away and Chris Saunders trombone lays down the rhythms. Imagine Earth Wind and Fire on stage in full flow. Don't Mention Janet riffs out with something like the Hot Lunch rhythms from Fame and it is Riley Stone-Lonergan's creative saxophone that plays away until the band drives out. Henchmen Live The Shortest Lives is a reflection on the short disposable lives of gangsters' henchmen in movies. Miguel Gorodi's beautiful flugelhorn, slow and reflective, is featured and reminds us what a truly excellent musician this guy is.

Andrew Linham

Waitress Winking I described at the beginning of this review. It has another catchy theme and like the final tune on this album is one you will remember. It works well enough without knowing the story behind it but it adds that extra element if you picture the event. Rosie Turton takes the trombone solo again and Andrew Linham the expressive saxophone solo that leads into an almost 'circus' image as the clown-like fall occurs.

I Remember Fenton is a beautiful ballad to end the album. Named after a retired bandleader Andrew worked with, Riley Stone-Lonergan's saxophone leads the band into a theme that will stay in your head long after the music ends, and Rick Perks' guitar takes the tune out just to make sure.

Click here to listen to I Remember Fenton.

Weapons Of Mass Distraction as a title for the album begs all sorts of puns, but it is sufficient to say this is an enjoyable, memorable, accessible album that deserves to be heard. And if you know someone who would like a little gem with a sparkling band for Christmas - here is your answer.

Click here for Andrew Linham's website and album purchase details.

 

Ian Maund

 

Back to top of page

 

Album Released: 15th September 2017 - Label: Discus Music

 

Deep Tide Quartet

See One, Do One, Teach One

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Martin Archer (tenor and sopranino saxophones, bass clarinet); Kim Macari (trumpet); Laura Cole (piano); Walt Shaw (percussion and live electronics).

This album is the third in the series of ‘Quartet’ albums that Martin Archer has released on the Discus label.  Not only is it a double CD package, this specific line-up is the one that Mr Archer is putting out on the road.  There’s also a note that states:  “We suggest you treat this collection as two separate albums to be heard atDeep Tide Quartet See One, Do One, Teach One different times.”  Taking them at their word I’m writing about disc B first.  Why?  When I first got into music I always began with the B-side – Stone Free, which backed Hendrix’s debut single Hey Joe, was definitely the real all-day anthem. Reelin’ Feelin’ Squeelin’ was the weirdly wonderful B-side to Soft Machine’s first (pop) ‘45’ Love Makes Sweet Music.

Put on Deep Tide Quartet’s B disk and the first thing you come up against is the gigantic drone of Song For Gato Barbieri; piano clanging against electronics and fuzz scraping in a vice.  Then comes Martin Archer, playing tenor saxophone instead of his usual (sic) alto.  And for sure he could almost get away with passing himself off as the authentic Argentinean tenor maestro at Passport Control - if it was solely down to the sound of his horn.  Heaven help the boy, this needs to be played as loud as your neighbours can stand it.  Awesome.

What comes next is the self titled Deep Tide, an improvisation which begins eerily, oscillating electrics which almost gradually disappear from the ear, except for a rippling drift like a tide washing up on shingle.  Tenor and trumpet enter debating nonsense, not so much arguing as feeding off each other’s amazement that they are in such deep water.  I first came across Kim Macari and her trumpet when she played with Archer on last year’s magnificent Story Tellers album.  Back then she had a longer surname.  The two horn deal of Deep Tide Quartet is one of the key ingredients of this new recording.  Archer/Macari squash up their harmonies together, often breaking out in a duet solo (if you get my meaning).  On DC Blues, they parade across the ears like a two-person cortege for ghosts.  The blues came to Sheffield and they called it the Deep Tide Horns. 

I Am Here/Phone#2 is ‘written’ by pianist, Laura Cole.  It sounds like an improvised investigation built on open doom chords.  There are all kinds of small sounds, a short exposé, comments and filigree, probably ‘cut-up’, plus Mr Archer’s sopranino comes into play along with a ‘treated’ tenor (at least I assume it’s had some sound manipulation).  This could be an extension of I Am Here/Phone#1 from disk A. It is the only track which has a title common to both ‘albums’.  They are related though they could be distant cousins. The Imploder, Fishers And Farmers, Twopenny Hitch, Crackerjacker Favours are all improvisations. They could be pre-composed but in fact ARE compositions in the sense that each is placed one after another, grafted together to make up a relationship.  The Imploder is almost a drum clinic; part Art Blakey, part Han Bennick, and I guess all Walt Shaw.  Laura Cole’s piano is... well, it implodes!  And Martin Archer even finds a melodic riff to add to the mix that might be a message from the Jazz Messengers. F&F and Twopenny Hitch morph into a dedicated Art Ensemble Of Sheffield; circular Sirus sopranino (F&F), low-fi electronics (Hitch). In Crackerjack Favours Laura Cole’s piano creeps up on the two horns.  She takes time tying a knot in which to bind them, only to find Mr Archer plays Harry Houdini, escaping with his tenor into another territory.  There’s a residue of music left in Walt Shaw and Martin Archerthe keyboard.  The piano talks under the trumpet as if translating what’s gone before.  Crackjack wins a prize. It ends without hurry, complete and utterly spellbinding.

 

Walt Shaw and Martin Archer
at the Safehouse, Brighton.

 

A word about Walt Shaw. He’s a long time wild card collaborator on Archer projects - Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere and Engine Room Favourites.  His percussion installation is usually somewhere between a vast, or small stack, of stuff to hit. Usually there’s no bass drum.  What a percussionist chooses not to use is as important as what he does.  Remember this is a quartet without a bass player.  One of Mr Shaw’s other regular bands is WHM, a trio with no bassist. The track Migration/Flight comes from his larger graphic score series Migration (see Shaw with the Birmingham Improvisers Orchestra).  The Deep Tide Quartet treat their particular Migration like opening a vein.  A hard scalded wound, scrapings through a contact mic, over-blown reeds, a form of exorcism with cheap rich pickings and no bottom; I love it. The final two minutes on the B disc is Wayne’s World.  It is a bright new day, melody with chords, time signature, a hummable refrain – and a fade out ending after a couple of minutes. It’s all that’s required. But of course this is not the end, I’ve been saving the A disc for that role.

The A disc begins with Just A Moment In Time a short Archer/Cole written-through composition played alone by Laura Cole, her piano peeling off the melody as if preparing to dive into the depths.  Which is exactly what she is about to do.  I can reveal that an hour later the whole Deep Tide Quartet bring disc A to a close with One More Moment In Time.  The same tune, still written through, still less than two and half minutes, and as conventionally beautiful as the Laura Cole solo performance which began the album (except for those of usKim Macari who, the day before, took matters into their own hands and played the B disc first.)  Between the two Moment ‘chamber’ pieces, the other nine tracks are all improvisations one way or another.  ‘Graphic scores’ are used for Kim Macari’s Arundel#1 and Arundel#2 as well as Walt Shaw’s The Anne Tree.  There’s a series of photographs used to direct the improv on I Am Here/Phone In Rice#1, and three additional Martin Archer tracks clearly have their roots in improv, with compositional elements added.  Two other tracks play-out as spontaneously evolving-in-any-direction improv.

 

Kim Macari

 

‘Graphic scores’ are an imprecise art.  They act as a visual stimulus but they don’t necessarily stipulate notes, keys and all the other condiments that make up music.  Graphics are starting blocks that signal the direction of creative ....improv.  And hey, Walt Shaw has no bass drum because he’s playing across the music not punctuating it with a predetermined time count (I didn’t ask him, but it’s what I hear).

I gotta tell yer, both these discs are one big adventure.  Disc B fires Song For Gato Barbieri as an accurate bull’s eye from the start.  It influenced my perspective on all that followed.  Disc A nurtures eleven tracks that grow out of their individual Moment(s) In Time.  ‘Each one’ is See One, Do One, Teach One, adding up to ‘Hear eleven ones’!  During the Sandy Brown Jazz 2017 summer Martin Archer provided the guest appearance in the Editor’s ‘Tea Break’ conversation.  It was, in my opinion, the most interesting chat we’ve had on the website.  The current crop of albums flowing out of his Discus label represent some kind of high.  Discus is to Sheffield what Motown was to Detroit, Blue Note to New York and ECM to Munich. I tell it like I hear it, See One, Do One, Teach One is yet another fabulous thing. Buy one.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Steve Day  www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

Back to top of page

 

Album Released: 25th August 2017 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings

 

The Gareth Lockrane Big Band

Fistfight At The Barndance

 

Robin Kidson reviews this record for us:

British jazz flautist, Gareth Lockrane, is involved in a variety of different projects and endeavours, one of which is leading his own big band. The band has around twenty members, including some of the cream of the current British jazz scene. Although Lockrane has recorded many times in a number of settings, Fistfight At The Barndance is the debut album of his big band. It has eleven tracks, all composed and arranged by Lockrane. That’s eleven tracks, 78 minutes worth of exuberant, joyful, upbeat straight-ahead jazz – even the ballads can’t contain themselves for long before a foot tapping beat breaks out.

In the sleeve notes, Lockrane lists his influences as “film music, rock, cop show funk, Indian raga sounds,Gareth Lockrane Fistfight At The Barndance gospel, soul and classical music”. “Cop show funk” is not a category you’ll find in many dictionaries of music but, after listening to the album, you’ll know exactly what he means. Some of the tracks do have the feel of theme tunes to American TV cop shows of the sixties and seventies. This is not to deride them – far from it; the era threw up a whole set of memorable tunes and Lockrane follows that honourable tradition with a vengeance. It’s no accident that Lockrane has a degree in film composition.

Click here for a video trailer for the album.

The first (and title) track is a case in point. It is a lovely piece of jazz-funk which could well have served as the theme of Starsky and Hutch or Ironside. Lockrane blows some agile flute and immediately displays his complete mastery of the instrument. There is also great Hammond organ playing from Ross Stanley. Barnaby Dickinson takes a beautifully judged solo on trombone. The track is a tribute to Lockrane’s late father who was an accomplished harmonica player and had a 6/8 blues riff up his sleeve which he imagined accompanying the said barndance fistfight. Lockrane uses the riff as the basis of the track.

The second track, Do It, is another upbeat piece with solos from Trevor Mires on trombone and Graeme Blevins on tenor sax; and some tasty guitar from Mike Outram. There is a particularly effective bit of call and response between the band and the percussion of Ian Thomas and Hugh Wilkinson. 

We’ll Never Meet Again is a lush ballad which could almost have come out of the swing band era of Tommy Dorsey and the like. One almost expects a Sinatra to suddenly burst into song – except that the tune veers off in unexpected, but constantly melodic, directions in a decidedly contemporary style. The beat quickens from time to time as if the band can’t help breaking out into faster rhythms and has to be restrained. There are virtuosic solos from Lockrane and Outram. On the Fly is back to cop show funk with solos from Lockrane, Steve Fishwick on trumpet and Paul Booth on tenor sax. Booth’s contribution in particular is admirably adventurous – not the sort of thing you would hear from a Tommy Dorsey band or on an Ironside-type theme tune. A word too for Ryan Trebilcock’s bang-on-the-beat bass.

Stutterfunk does what it says on the tin in a complex, more-is-more arrangement which the band carries off with aplomb. James Gardiner-Bateman takes a solo on alto sax; and Ross Stanley gets to channel his inner Jimmy Smith in some splendid Hammond organ.

Click here to listen to a live recording of Stutterfunk.

Forever Now is another ballad but with the band having once again to be kept on its leash. There is some neat interplay between Lockrane and Nadim Teimoori on flutes. Gareth LockraneTeimoori also takes a solo on tenor sax. Lockrane cites Oliver Nelson as an influence and there is something particularly Nelsonish about this track.

The intriguingly named Aby7innia is big band bebop at its best with more than a touch of Dizzy Gillespie (another Lockrane hero) in both the arrangement (fast and complex) and the playing (virtuosic). Even the title has a Dizzy feel to it. Henry Collins takes the Gillespie role in an inspired trumpet solo; and Graeme Blevins plays some nice tenor sax. Ian Thomas gets to shine on drums in a call-and-response sequence with the band in full flight. Roots is a striking piece of down-and-dirty bluesy funk, again with a nod to Oliver Nelson. Mark Nightingale, trombone maestro, takes a relatively long but characteristically brilliant solo. Outram plays some funky guitar; and Teimoori solos adventurously on tenor. Mel’s Spell was inspired by the playing of Mel Lewis and sees solos from Lockrane and Stanley (on piano).

Click here for a video of the band playing Mel’s Spell live.

One for Junia begins with Lockrane playing flute in an Indian style but it isn’t long before the band is let off its leash and moves comfortably into another piece of complex but melodic, upbeat, straight ahead jazz. Lockrane and Sam Mayne (on alto) take solos. The final track, 5B3 Boogie, is also the shortest track and is distinguished by eloquent solos from Steve Fishwick on trumpet and Richard Shepherd on baritone sax.

The whole album was recorded in just one day and is a joy from start to finish. It’s difficult to see how such life affirming music could provoke fistfights of any kind, least of all at a barndance – except perhaps between competing schools of barndance and jazz purists …

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

 

Robin Kidson

 

Back to top of page

 

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

 

Mike Daniels

Remembering Mike Daniels

The Mike Daniels Delta Jazzmen
The Mike Daniels Big Band

 

This new album from Lake Records is well titled as I know from discussion and correspondence how many people remember UK trumpeter and bandleader Mike Daniels. When he passed away a year ago (18th October 2016) one correspondent wrote to us recalling how: 'Back in 1957 I was frog marched into the smoke filled back room of the Star Hotel West Croydon by two friends. Mike Daniels and the Delta band were playing 'Hiawatha Rag' - the Watney's 'Red Barrel' beer flowed steadily, duffle-coated blokes and black-stockinged girls were leaping about in frenzied jiving styles and from then on I became totally hooked on Jazz clubs and Remembering Mike Daniels the Classic jazz style that Mike and the Delta band performed with such passion!'

Lake Records have again compiled a collection of classic UK traditional jazz with 20 tracks by Mike's Delta Jazzmen and 2 by the Big Band covering the years 1958 to 1965 with a variety of personnel and with informative liner notes as usual by Lake's Paul Adams. This is a 'Limited Edition' so it will only be around for a while. As Paul points out, Mike Daniels' recordings were also strangely limited - 'up until 1982 ... there had been six singles, one EP and one LP by the Delta Jazzmen and one LP by the Big Band. Apart from one single and one LP they were all for minority labels, some only producing 99 copies'. A further album was recorded for the American Stomp Off label in the 1990s. The material on this new CD 'comes from a variety of sources including most notably John R.T Davies and Jem Wilyman. Almost without exception it reveals good, quality performances by a band which knew how to play, was cohesive and packed a punch'.

Mike Daniel's Delta Jazzmen came together in 1948. During the 1950s they were reflecting the classic style of King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, early Louis Armstrong and a touch of Bix Beiderbecke. Their following grew during the 1950s with Mike happy to lead the band from within and their ensemble playing reliable. By 1956 they had established traditional jazz band instrumentation with Mike putting together the Big Band in the mid-1960s, but keeping the two bands going was not easy. Later in the 1960s, Mike moved to Majorca. He came back to play a few gigs with the band in 1985 and staged an annual gig for the band before he returned permanently to the UK in 1992. Another correspondent wrote to us saying: ''I last saw Mike at the Spice of Life pub, London, where the Delta Jazzmen had a Friday lunchtime session. The band didn't perform much after that and Mike eventually retired because he felt his playing was not as good as it should be. I admire that". Mike Daniels finally retired in 2013. Mike's singer Doreen Beatty does not feature on these instrumental recordings.

The tracks on the album are not all in date order, but taking them year by year: The six 1958 / 1959 tracks feature an early Delta Jazzmen lineup of Mike Daniels (trumpet); Gordon Blundy (trombone); John Barnes (clarinet); Des Bacon (piano, clarinet); Geoff Walker (banjo); Don Smith (sousaphone, double bass) and Arthur Fryatt (drums) playing I'm Coming Virginia (nicely paced à la Bix with some nods to that earlier recording), West End Blues (slow, with Gordon Blundy's drawn out trombone solo), Freeze 'n' Melt (fast and toe-tapping), Misty Morning (featuring Des Bacon on piano and Mike on muted trumpet), I'm In The Market For You and John Barnes' Busy Saying Nothing with a clarinet lead in and solo by the composer.

The 1960 sides Ponchartrain Blues and a fast You Made Me Love You have Geoff Over on banjo; Jelly Roll Morton's Froggie Moore is also taken at pace with John Picard featured on trombone and Morton's Shreveport Stomp is taken lightly without trumpet, trombone and banjo but with John Barnes clarinet and Des Bacon's piano carrying the number. From 1961, Geoff Walker returns on banjo for four of the five tracks and Mike DanielsTerry Thompson (clarinet, tenor saxophone) and Phil Franklin (drums) on the other. Sweet Mama swings out with a touch of humour; Louisiana has Gordon Blundy taking his trombone into a nice solo from Mike Daniels; The Chant is followed by Aunt Hagar's Children and then Duke Ellington's East St. Louis Toodle-Oo features the signature muted trumpet in a well-placed solo.

Three later 1963 tracks appear first on the album - High Life, Blues With A Feeling (with a fine trumpet solo from Mike Daniels) and Stevedore Stomp followed by You're Driving Me Crazy and Mable's Dream from 1962. It is interesting that they have been chosen to open the album as to me they have a distinctly different sound to the earlier tracks and I wonder if they come from a different source. The Temperence Seven of course had a recording hit with You're Driving Me Crazy a year earlier in 1961, I'm not sure that this arrangement betters it but the solos do.

The two Big Band Tracks from 1965 are What Do You Want Me To Do? and I'd Love It featuring Mike Daniels, John Chilton, Jake Spalding (trumpets); Ben Cohen (cornet); Keith Nichols, Trevor Adams (trombones); Jack Hughes, Chris Walker (alto saxophones, clarinets); George Bere, Terry Thompson (clarinets, tenor saxophones); Des Bacon (piano); Geoff Over (banjo); Don Smith (sousaphone, double bass) and Phil Franklin (drums). They work well to close the album with their 'full' sound, although the recording quality seems to me to have been 'well rescued' by Lake, but they do give us a sense of the change of direction Mike was developing before heading for Majorca.

Once again, Lake has brought us some important archive recordings from mid-century UK jazz. Listening again I really appreciated the playing of core members of the band including Gordon Blundy's trombone, Des Bacon's piano and of course Mike Daniels himself. The quality of playing of the Delta Jazzmen makes one wonder why there were not more recordings made. There are many admirers of Mike Daniels and I know that they will welcome this collection.

Click here for details and to listen to Sweet Mama, West End Blues and I'd Love It.

Ian Maund

 

Back to top of page

 

Album Released: 22nd September 2017 - Label: Trio Records

 

Nat Steele

Portrait Of The Modern Jazz Quartet

 

Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us:

This debut album consists of 9 tracks taken from the original repertoire of the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) which was formed in the 1950’s led by pianist/arranger John Lewis, and from 1955 also included vibraphonist Milt Jackson, Percy Heath on double bass and Connie Kay on drums.  The original 1950s band was famous for bringing jazz out of the clubs and into the concert hall with their mix of jazz and classical music.  The CD liner notes say that the “aim in making this album was not to produce a carbon copy of the MJQ, but to bring toNat Steele Portrait of the Modern Jazz Quartet life the vision” of the original MJQ.  After much discussion between the new members of the band, who are mostly bebop influenced, it was decided to use the MJQ’s earlier repertoire as this was predominantly bebop based.

The background to Nat Steele's Quartet dates back to 2009 when a band was founded by Michael Garrick OBE and called “MJQ Celebration”.  When Michael Garrick passed away in 2011, the double bassist Matt Ridley took over the role of leader until 2016 when Nat took control and reformed it as “Portrait of the Modern Jazz Quartet”.  Nat Steele is a self-taught vibraphonist and this new band consists of pianist Gabriel Latchin, double bassist Dario Di Lecce and Steve Brown on drums.  This album was made the day after their first gig at Ronnie Scott’s.  With so much material there was not time for multiple takes, so what you hear on the album in many instances is the first version that was recorded.  The album therefore has a joyous spontaneity about it much like a live recording.

The longest track is the full La Ronde Suite at 9 minutes 50 and the shortest is Cole Porter’s All of You arranged by John Lewis, as were most of the other tracks.  Dizzy Gillespie’s Woody ‘N’ You has a lively melodic swinging start with Nat on vibes, including piano and drum solos.  The Golden Striker has intricate bell like vibes with superb piano interludes.  

During the La Ronde Suite, each musician gets a chance to shine with a fast and furious piano start followed by an atmospheric and relaxed section from the bass, which then gives way to a fast and clear vibraphone with a catchy drum section prior to the blended finish.  Autumn in New York has beautifully soft brush playing, lyrical Nat Steelevibes, conjuring up leaves falling, with piano and bass carrying the melody softly through a totally relaxing number.  Occasional notes evoke traffic and city noise background without breaking the tranquil rhythm.

Click here to listen to Autumn In New York.

Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise, is another wonderful arrangement with a great bass solo.  In this track you can hear the musicians' sensitivity towards each other’s playing.  I’ll Remember April, is a faster track, with the piano and bass combining well before the vibes take up the melody which slows towards an abrupt end.  With Django there is a quiet haunting intro before the vibes pick up the pace which then slows again towards the end.  

Click here to listen to Django

Bag’s Groove is another catchy number by the great vibraphonist Milt Jackson, where obviously the vibes take centre stage.  Cole Porter’s All Of You is a slower paced track to close with an almost ethereal melody showcasing the vibes.

Click here for a video of a live performance of Bags' Groove by the band.

A great debut album, well balanced and with good musicians showing their playing ability throughout the album.

Click here for details.

Tim Rolfe

 

Back to top of page

 

Album Released: 15th September 2017 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings

 

Entropi

Moment Frozen

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Dee Byrne (alto sax and compositions); Andre Canniere (trumpet); Rebecca Nash (piano); Olie Brice (double bass); Matt Fisher (drums).

I missed out on Dee Byrne’s debut album New Era and so was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to wrap my ears around this follow-up.  I had a certain ‘concept’ in my head about Dee Byrne which now needs to be completely revised having spent time with Moment Frozen.  I had her filed along with Cath Roberts (from Sloth Racket etc).  Together they are the founding instigators of LUME – check out this pioneering collectiveEntropi Moment Frozen (click here). I had lazily assumed Byrne would be operating in the same territory.  This was foolish, Dee Byrne is her own person.  All eight tracks on Moment are written by her; each one is individual and could be filed under ‘new classic jazz’.  Each to their own, but there’s no sense of Roberts and Byrne being cut from the same cloth.  Why should there be?

The Moment Frozen opener, Stelliferous Era, is a wonderful explicit arrangement featuring the Byrne alto spacing the melody in a funky, melodic pas-de-deux carried by Andre Canniere’s trumpet, ‘the rhythm section’ grooving the ensemble in a way that is damn close to the old Dave Holland Quintet when the M-Base alto, Steve Coleman, regularly checked into Kenny Wheeler’s horns.  Running through the whole of Moment Frozen is a distinct design detail that is informed by Miles, Herbie, Holland and De Johnette. 

This Entropi session reflects a lot of listening to that zeitgeist era and converting it into a nu-cold sweat.  Call it L-Base, I’ll tell you what, it’s anything but ‘frozen’.  There’s the real treat of Rebecca Nash’s electric piano.  It paces the distance of Interloper while the two horns escape wild and free. 

Click here for a video of the band playing Interloper.

On It’s Time, the keyboard shakes down a strong solo in preparation for the Byrne/Canniere partnership to swap short stories in a series of breathtaking breaks.  Listen up, it’s the reason your mother gave birth to you, so that you could hear it. (Yes Fred, I exaggerate for the purpose of emphasis; a criticism that can’t be levelled at Dee Byrne and Andre Canniere who are the epitome of funky truth).

This whole album is a class act, but there’s one track here that stands out like a testimony to a 2017 jazz aesthetic that if the Mercury prize really meant anything Entropi would go to the front of the queue – In The Cold Light Of Day is an ‘epic’ which deserves the weight and interpretation of the word. What starts off as an Olie Brice bass solo, full of piquancy and slow drama, ends thirteen minutes later having laid out a quintet Entropiperformance which is both brittle in its gradual unravelling of each player's specific contribution, yet fluent in the direction to the mystery of its gaping finale.  The end cuts off like the planned Cassini crash into the surface of Saturn.  Not for the first time, Mr Canniere’s trumpet is a restrained symphonic masterstroke yet don’t ignore Dee Byrne’s alto; Sun Ra must have got involved from somewhere out in the ether and sent a sound like this to Byrne in order stir the air of their shared self-made universe. 

Why more people aren’t talking about her is another odd and dispiriting example of a malaise currently rife within the British jazz scene. On any serious analysis of what constitutes a British jazz sensation Dee Byrne should be a prize contender. In The Cold Light Of Day is essential listening; set aside some quality time to take in its dimensions.

When track number eight sweeps out through the hi-fi, it feels as if the ears have been gliding high.  We hit an air pocket just before energy burns, loses height and dissolves. Rebecca Nash takes an early solo which doesn’t get lost beneath its own complexity; an eloquent performance across a chord structure which has had some genuine thought applied.  There is no hint of a hidden ‘lift’ from the American Songbook.  We not left honing the practice of identifying Autumn LeavesLeap Of Faith is newly minted; and it is a beautiful natural performance measuring the restrained power of this ensemble.

Click here to listen to the band playing Leap Of Faith.

Technically Moment Frozen has a rich rounded mix by Alex Bonney.  The album was recorded at Wincraft Studios in Gloucestershire; I kid you not, it could be Rudy Van Gelder’s legendary old place, such is the potency of the tones and subtle clarity.  Dee Byrne has taken real care and attention in producing this fine session. My hope is that it will be repaid with appropriate recognition.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Steve Day  www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk 


Back to top of page

 

Album Released: 22nd September 2017 - Label: Mack Avenue

 

Christian McBride Big Band

Bringin' It

 

Filipe Freitas at Jazztrail in New York reviews this album for us:

Christian McBride (bass); Ron Blake (tenor sax, flute); Steve Wilson (alto and soprano sax, flute); Todd Bashore (alto sax, flute, piccolo); Carl Maraghi (bari sax, bass clarinet); Dan Pratt (tenor sax, flute); Freddie Hendrix, David Lee, Frank Greene, Nabate Isles (trumpets); Steve Davis, Michael Dease, James Burton, Joe McDonough (trombones); Douglas Purviance (bass trombone); Rodney Jones (guitar); Xavier Davis (piano); Melissa Walker (vocals); Quincy Phillips (drums).

Click here for a video introduction to the album.

Every record put out by the world-class jazz bassist Christian McBride is well worth checking out. After digging Live at the Village Vanguard with his trio, the bassist returns to the big band format with Bringin’ It, anChristian McBride Big Band Bringin It honourable follow-up to the 2011 Grammy Award winner The Good Feeling.

What does McBride bring us this time? Originals? Jazz standards? Elated post-bop classics? Well, the answer is 'yes' to all of that, and he does it with an impressive cohort of artists and outstanding soloists, many of them retrieved from the first experience, including saxophonists Ron Blake and Steve Wilson, trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, trombonists Steve Davis and Michael Dease, as well as pianist Xavier Davis and vocalist Melissa Walker.

Gettin’ To It, the first of three reshaped old originals by the bassist, flows with soulful energy, coloured with Rodney Jones’ funk-oriented guitar chops and filled with lots of jabs and hooks thrown in by the improvisers. Hendrix sounds magisterial in his brave trumpet ululations and then Jones applies all his bluesiness to an individual statement, well backed by a trombone/baritone ostinato.

Freddie Hubbard’s Thermo is a triumphant, engaging, post-bop vehicle for the soloists, who take us to the golden era of jazz without leaving aside the buoyant twists of modernity.

McBride’s remaining compositions, Youthful Bliss and Used ‘Ta Could, are both colourful but inhabit different worlds. The former, including a bass discourse with bright melody and groove, cultivates a post-bop idolization with occasional delicate ripples of soul and Latin for extra colour, while the latter is a celebratory waltz with plenty of Mingus’ moods. Another punch in the stomach arrives with McCoy Tyner’s Sahara, exuberantly set in motion by Quincy Phillips’ mallet drumming together with free-floating woodwinds, and then leaning on a 6/8 groove with vibrant horn unisons atop. Striking improvisations from piano and alto saxophone occur over Christian McBridemodal harmonic progressions while Phillips finishes off what he had started, resorting to his classy rhythmic deftness.

Click here for a video version of Used 'Ta Could played live at The Lincoln Centre with Wynton Marsalis.

Wes Montgomery’s groovy Full House starts with packaging all the original guitaristic steam in Jones’ well-measured solo, passing by Carl Maraghi’s magnetic baritone before the epic finale. The vivacity felt here opposes the more tranquil vibes of the jazz standards I Thought About You and In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning.

The vocal warmness of Ms. Melissa Walker is quite something on Djavan’s Brazilian hit “Upside Down” (the original version is called “Flor de Lis”), and also polishes up “Mr. Bojangles”, a tune by the American country artist Jerry Jeff Walker, here brought up with interesting rhythmic details and a leisurely swing.

Suffused with striking arrangements and turning the ensemble's grandiose sense of unity to its advantage, Bringin’ It is a tour-de-force album that substantiates how a modern big band can sound so stalwart and effulgent at the same time.

Click here for details and to sample the album

Filipe Freitas jazztrail.net

 

 

Back to top of page

 

Album Released: 2017 - Label: Libra Records

 

Satoko Fujii with Wadada Leo Smith, Natsuki Tamura & Ikue Moriik

Aspiration

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Satoko Fujii (piano); Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet); Natsuki Tamura (trumpet); Ikue Mori (electronics).

I own a stash of Wadada Leo Smith albums, at least half of which I shelled out for at a time in my life when the price of an album burnt the pocket.  The first one I purchased was the 1978 great black ‘white’ album, Divine Love on ECM.  Pre-dredlocks and the name ‘Wadada’ not printed on the cover.  It still occupies a special place in my home.  I think I got it a year after its release, from a little store that is now a burger bar. 

Early on Smith made a number of special recordings before he ever got to ECM.  I’m not going to be tempted to discuss those special Kabell label sessions or the AACM solo and ensemble projects.  Nor will we take into account the later power jewels of Yo Miles! with Henry Kaiser and the likes of Zakir Hussain and Greg Osby,Satoko Fujii Aspiration nor his incredible influential Golden Quartet.  I’ll fleetingly name drop the more recent triumphs of Ten Freedom Summers (2012) and America’s National Parks (2017); the acclaim that comes with being a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a Downbeat Critic’s Poll winner, the fact that last year he won the big deal, Doris Duke Artist Award.  If all goes according to plan Sandy Brown Jazz hopes to produce a special feature on Wadada Leo Smith in 2018; so let’s leave that detail till then.  Enough to say, Wadada is one mighty phenomenal musician.  That has to be the starting position with someone of his stature, even if he is a modest man.

Aspiration is, strictly speaking, a Satoko Fujii led session ‘featuring’ Wadada, Tamura and Mori.  Although the great Japanese pianist is exactly that - great, I guess even she has to cope with the magnitude of Wadada Leo Smith’s presence on this recording date. Be clear, we are entering into the territory of visionary giants.  Aspiration is well named, an album consisting of six complete compositions, each one germinated via on-the-spot improvisations out of which comes a flowering-reaching heights of soaring wind blown brass, a piano which at times sounds as if it has been given wings, all framed within Ikue Mori’s discreetly vital use of electronics.  The muse at play, produces a spire that towers tall.

Intent: The first sound is a lone gorgeous squashed trumpet note, the confidence behind the pitch is literally breathtaking.  Once two horns hit-on the phrasing it is as if the line is written with the same extended hand.  Not so, but sounds so.  Fujii’s concert piano entry is strong, like Beethoven.  It is not Beethoven.  Mori’s electronics zap across without fully filling the space. Space is the fifth member of this band.  We hear a signal of Intent.  Friends, we listen for the duration; we too will ride this imagination.  Here’s a pointer.  Of the many delights associated with Wadada’s technique is his fluency in killing a note.  He comes off the end of a phrase with the same amount of detailed deliberation that he came onto it.  For the listener it is as if we have been given music with a backdrop that has form, we could potentially physically embrace this language.

Liberation:  The shortest track, is at least half the length of each one of the other five. Again the Wadada trumpet is the central force, circling and imbibing air, bold yet at the same time barely ripe, a tone like a measured chant squeezed through a gap given up by Tamura’s horn, producing a soundstory, the narrative of which we can only guess at. Mori’s electrics tickle the senses; she is a colourist with electricity that could be the slip that covers ceramic. Satoko Fujii saves her entry - plucks but doesn’t touch the keys until a third through.  Stay with her.  She is there waiting, providing a quiet moment before crashing a massive chordal wave down onto the brass as if bringing Hokusai to life in an ocean of Liberation.

Floating: This really is the floater.  Tamura leaves it three minutes before he’s calling his ancestors.  Wadada Satoko Fujiidoesn’t make a sound until just short of five minutes into things.  Prior to the trumpeters, Ikue Mori has placed an ambient surface across the ears.  She is like an echo to Brian Eno Floating above a graduated drone within the inner harp of Fujii’s piano.  I think that’s how it works.  No matter, Floating is so damn holistic who does what is hardly the point.  Take in the sense of this act of four musicians in tune with each..... they are simply (!) able to suspend music as if it were an installation.  I think its Natsuki Tamura’s horn at the end, singing a melody that could have come from a lover’s heart.  Does that read as soft centred?  For me, he blows like a sonnet.

Aspiration:  The title track begins as a piano solo.  The nearest I know to this piece of the treasure trove is Marilyn Crispell.  I dare say I could be listening to Marilyn Crispell and then refer to Satoko Fujii.  Such references only tell us we are not alone.  I’ve heard it said before, being a creative musician can be such a lonely life.  This is nothing like the blues, nevertheless the pitch has the same core.  Wadada Leo Smith never lost his roots in the Mississippi Delta.  When it’s this good you carry a whole life with you.

Click here to listen to Aspiration.

Evolution:  The beginning of Evolution is extreme trumpet.  It could be Bill Dixon, but he’s dead and ain’t on this session.  It’s not Wadada Leo Smith, so it must be Natsuki Tamura.  Voice, and suck, press and pinch, bruise a blown diaphragm, acute mastery of embouchure; Mr Tamura takes a couple of minutes to evoke theWadada Leo Smith very beginning of life.  There’s the briefest of pauses before all four musicians play a melody from out of nowhere and take us into the evolving journey of species and antithesis! About half way through a virtuoso piano break evolves which could be the definition of what all know as the complete jazz piano tradition and Wadada frames it with a solo of his own that feels like it must be possible to make the sun more brilliant or the good earth run deeper – you know, organic, a rich seam of sound so beautiful it almost hurts. 

Wadada Leo Smith

Evolution leads into......
Stillness:  As the title suggests, this piece draws on microtonal music, again with Tamura (I think) setting the scene. Wisps of electric ‘rain’, the piano placing a chordal framework for the Wadada horn to initially speak about all the stuff that has come down from Hubbard, Booker Little and Brownie, Lester B and Miles, Cherry, and maybe even Dizzy in Tunisia when he was feeling sanguine.  It’s an evocation right at the end, conscious or unconscious, it’s a lovely way to finish.

Recently I’ve heard a lot of genuinely heartening, precious music.  This one is different.  It will reside with me, somewhere near to America’s National Parks and..... Divine Love.  Utterly staggering, one towering Aspiration that will enter the pantheon of what we understand to be exceptional life changing music.  It was probably just another ordinary day in a studio that had housed lots of sessions and then something absolutely extraordinary happened.  Thank you.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Steve Day  www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

Back to top of page

 

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

 

Tim Armacost

Time Being

 

Filipe Freitas at Jazztrail in New York reviews this album for us:

Tim Armacost (tenor saxophone); Robert Hurst (bass); Jeff Tain Watts (drums); David Kikoski (piano).

American saxophonist/composer Tim Armacost has established an enviable path within the populated jazz panorama both as a leader, sideman, and co-leader of groups such as the New York Standards Quartet and Brooklyn Big Band.

His newest outing, Time Being, is the first on the Whirlwind Records and features Robert Hurst on bass, Jeff Tain Watts on drums, and pianist David Kikoski who joins the trio only on a few selected tracks. The rich soundTim Armacost Time Being and vibrant timbre of the saxophonist is immediately patented on the opening tune, Alawain, a virile bost-bop excursion set up in trio where the levels of energy skyrocket. Hurst begins soloing upfront before falling into a hooky groove that sounds even catchier when in the company of Watts’ creative powerhouse drumming. On top of that, the bandleader weaves expressive phrases embellished here and there with Eastern colors.
 
The title track displays the dark-toned tenor working in synch with the bass. One can feel an apparent relaxation that finds resistance in the African arrhythmias of the fidgeting drummer, while the experienced bassist enjoys freedom, whether rambling with insouciance, whether swinging the old-fashioned way.

There are three distinct pieces baptized with the title Sculpture, each of them probing a sense of strange liberation within their structured experimentation. Sculpture #1: Phase Shift feels like a bop tune working in the guise of a modern improvisatory routine; Sculpture #2: Tempus Funkit swings more than funks, opting to ululate with tempo fluctuations; Sculpture #3: All the Things You Could Become in the Large Hadron Collider, the last track on the album, has a vibrancy that stems from Tim Armacosta (de)conversation between Armacost and Kikoski, which occurs with the harmonic progression of All The Things You Are as a point of departure. In tandem, they extract dizzying effects from their winged yet remarkably coordinated interplay.

Click here to listen to Sculpture #1: Phase Shift

Moods and paces are constantly altered from one tune to another. Thus, if The Next 20 delves into balladic zone, gaining contours of a jazz standard, especially by the action of Kikoski’s harmonic smoothness, 53rd St. Theme, based on Monk’s 52nd Street, calls for classic bop while tingling through slowdowns and accelerations in tempo.

The two non-originals are utterly exciting. Thelonious Monk’s Teo provides enough punch and accent, not only thriving with the unpredictable ideas that keep bursting from the bandleader’s instrument, but also with the eight-bar improvised exchanges between Watts and his peers. No less vigorous, Ornette Coleman’s Lonely Woman is subjected to a delightful arrangement, starting with Hurst and Armacost echoing the phrases of each other while Watts pushes forward with consistency by employing his typically unhinged rhythms.

Tim Armacost knows how to pull emotions out of his playing. This record authenticates him as an adventurous composer, and the last pair of songs described above show how imaginative he can be when tackling a classic tune.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Filipe Freitas jazztrail.net

 

Back to top of page

 

Choice Cuts / Slim Pickings

 

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

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

 

Monica Vasconceles The Sao Paulo Tapes

 

 

Mônica Vasconcelos - The São Paulo Tapes: Brazilian Resistance Songs - (Monica Vasconcelos)
Ife Tolentino (guitar); Liam Noble (piano); Andres Lafone (bass guitar); Yaron Stavi (double bass); Marius Rodrigues (drums). Produces by Robert Wyatt.
Details.

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Smith Trio with Kenny Burrell

 

 

Jimmy Smith Trio with Kenny Burrell - Complete 1957-1959 Sessions - (Phono 2 CDs)
Jimmy Smith (organ); Kenny Burrell (guitar); Art Blakey,Donald Bailey, Philly Jo Jones (drums).
Details and reviews:

 

 

 

 

 

Lauren Kinhan A Sleepin Bee

 

 

Lauren Kinhan - A Sleepin' Bee: A Tribute to Nancy Wilson - (Dotted i Records)
Band featuring: Andy Ezrin (piano); Matt Penman (bass); Jared Schonig (drums); Ingrid Jensen (trumpet)
Details and sample:Review: Listen to the title track.

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Note All Stars Our Point Of View

 

 

Blue Note All Stars - Our Point Of View - (Blue Note)
Robert Glasper (piano, electric piano); Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet); Marcus Strickland (tenor sax); Lionel Loueke (guitar); Derrick Hodge (bass, electric bass); Kendrick Scott (drums).
Details: Review

 

 

 

 

 

John McLaughlin Live at Ronnie Scotts Club

 

 

John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension - Live @ Ronnie Scott's - (AbstractLogix)
John McLaughlin (guitar); Gary Husband (drums, Fender Rhodes); Etienne M'Bappe (bass); Ranjit Barot (drums, konokol).
Details: More details and sample.

 

 

 

 

 

Ken Wiley Jazz Horn Redux

 

 

Ken Wiley - Jazz Horn Redux - (Krug Park Music)
Ken Wiley (French Horn), West Coast musicians featuring Chuck Findley and Gary Grant (flugelhorn and trumpet),  Dan Higgins (flute, alto flute, vocals), Bob Sheppard (mouthpiece, reeds, soprano and tenor sax), Mike Miller (acoustic guitar, strings), Wally Minko (piano), Trey Henry (electric and acoustic bass), Kendall Kay (cymbals, drums, sticks), Luis Conte (cymbals, percussion).
Details and sample: Review

 

 

 

 

Marius Neset Circle Of Chimes

 

 

Marius Neset - Circle Of Chimes - (ACT)
Marius Neset (tenor and soprano sax); Lionel Loueke (guitar, vocals); Andreas Brantelid (cello); Ingrid Neset (flute,piccolo, alto flute); Ivo Neame (piano); Jim Hart (vibraphone, percussion); Petter Eldh (double bass); Anton Eger (drums, percussion).
Details : Review 1 : Review 2
: Video Introduction

 

 

 

 

 

Harry South The Songbook

 

 

Harry South - The Songbook - (RAND Box Set of 4 CDs)
Harry South (piano, arranger), with various musicians including Tubby Hayes, Joe Harriott, Ronnie Ross, Ronnie Scott, Tony Coe, Alan Skidmore, Jimmy Deuchar, Humphrey Lyttelton, Keith Christie, Kenny Wheeler, Phil Seamen, etc
Details : Review

 

 

 

 

Nat King Cole Trio Zurich 1950

 

 

Nat King Cole Trio - Zurich 1950 - (TCB)
Nat King Cole (piano, vocals), Irving Ashby (guitar); Joe Comfort (bass); Jack Constanzo (bongos).
Details and sample : Review

 

 

 

 

 

Harold Mabern To Love And Be Loved

 

 

Harold Mabern - To Love And Be Loved - (Smoke Sessions Records)
Harold Mabern (piano); Eric Alexander (tenor sax); Nat Reeves (bass); Jimmy Cobb (drums); Freddie Hendrix (trumpet); Cyro Baptista (percussion)
Details and sample : Video :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information Requests


Long distance Information
Give me mention, then we'll see
Help me find a party ...

Chuck Berry Memphis

Can you help?

We regularly receive requests for information about musicians, music, etc. Responses sometimes come months after we have featured the request so we have started a separate page. Please click here to see if you can help ...



 

AngraJazz 2017

Filipe Freitas at JazzTrail tells us about his visit to AngraJazz Festival.

The 19th AngraJazz, which happens on the beautiful Terceira Island in the Azores, Portugal, ran from October 4th through 7th with renowned artists and a cozy, friendly atmosphere. The beautiful Centro Cultural e de Congressos de Angra do Heroísmo, a former bullfight ring transformed into a cultural center, was the stage for seven packed performances that brought the thrills of jazz in its most varied shapes to both unconditional devotees and occasional listeners of the genre.

For the very first time, the main event was complemented with ‘Jazz na Rua’, a program featuring jazz performances from Portuguese groups at smaller venues around the city. Joining the local bands, Wave Jazz Ensemble and Sara Miguel Quartet, was Mano a Mano, a guitar duo composed of the brothers Bruno and André Santos, who took the opportunity to introduce their new album Mano a Mano Vol.2

DAY  1, Oct 4

ANGRAJAZZ ORCHESTRA

On Wednesday, the local big band AngraJazz Orchestra opened the festival with 13 renditions of classic tunes composed/recorded by unavoidable jazz giants such as Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Tadd Dameron, Ella Fitzgerald, and Lena Horne (each one of them celebrating his/her centennial), plus the one-and-only big band wizard Duke Ellington.

Danish-born, Lisbon-based maestro Claus Nymark, who shared the musical direction with the Portuguese tenor saxophonist Pedro Moreira, conducted a collectively solid band that kicked in with Dameron’s “Lady Bird”, but insisted more on the Monk’s music. They embarked on a melodically sparse interpretation of “Bemsha Swing”, a warm harmonization of “Round Midnight”, a collective fun take on “I Mean You”, a slightly more conservative exposition of “Let’s Cool One”, and an ambitious arrangement of “Epistrophy”. Vocalist Sara Miguel lent her voice to a handful of tunes, including the celebrated “Honeysuckle Rose” and “Sweet Georgia Brown”, here shaped with the swinging verve and effusive arrangements popularized by Ella.

 

BAPTISTE TROTIGNON & MININO GARAY

For the second act of the night, we had an eclectic duo composed of the French pianist Baptiste Trotignon and the Argentine percussionist Minino Garay. Blending South American dynamics and a sophisticated straight-ahead jazz, the pair crafted a few interesting moments, mostly based on pieces from their 2016 album Chimichurri. The indefatigable rhythmic wallops of the pianist, left and right, attained an impeccable synchronization with the percussionist’s versatile manipulations.

After describing how the duo met in Buenos Aires, where both were playing at a jazz festival with their respective groups, Garay announced the beautiful tango “Sus Ojos Se Cerran”, a composition by Carlos Gardel that earned a few enthusiastic ‘bravo’.
Many of the extended tunes acquired forms of lyrical chants and unconfined rambles, here and there flavored with the suaveness of the bolero or the hasty propulsion of the Brazilian choro. Still, one of the most impactful moments of the well-received concert happened when Trotignon, exploring the broad tonal range of his instrument, veered into bluesy balladry and played a solo medley initiated with “The Nearness of You”.

 

DAY 2, Oct 5

CHARLES TOLLIVER TENTET

Also with Monk’s centennial in mind, the Charles Tolliver Tentet attempted to reenact the pianist’s historic 1959 Town Hall concert, but wasn’t so successful as many would expect, stirring mixed feelings with an uneven performance, the only one scheduled for Thursday, October 5th. Veteran pianist Kirk Lightsey, filling in for the first announced Stanley Cowell (absent due to prolonged illness), started the concert with a rubato solo rendition of “In Walked Bud”. A few minutes later, bassist Devin Starks and drummer Darrell Green joined him to redefine “Blue Monk”. The trio was then expanded into a quartet with the addition of tenor saxophonist Stephen Gladeney, who designed “Rhythm a Ning” with a fervent articulation.

The remaining members of the tentet thickened up the sonic textures from this point on, already under the direction of bandleader/trumpeter Charles Tolliver, who only picked up the trumpet once for a brief improvisation. While the adventurous alto saxophonist Todd Bashore and trumpeter Josh Evans reinforced the pungent first line of the horn section, the baritone saxophonist Patience Higgins, tuba player Aaron Johnson, and trombonist Stafford Hunter were entrusted with the deep-toned embellishments. Some tunes worked better than others, and the sheer intensity of “Thelonious” (featuring notable solos by Bashore and Evans) or the arresting, improvisation-less “Crepuscule with Nellie”, opposed to the not so effective celebrations of “Off Minor” or “Little Rootie Tootie”. The uncommunicative Tolliver, whose back was constantly turned to the audience, only introduced the musicians during the brisk closing tune, “Trinkle Tinkle”.

 

DAY 3, Oct 6

ENSEMBLE SUPER MODERNE

The Portuguese 8-piece Ensemble Super Moderne was in charge of the first set on Friday night, becoming a confirmation for the ones already familiar with their modern arrangements and personal sound, as well as a fantastic surprise for the ones (like myself) who were probing their music for the first time. The band has José Pedro Coelho on tenor sax, Rui Teixeira on baritone sax and bass clarinet, José Soares on alto sax, Paulo Perfeito on trombone, Eurico Costa on guitar, Carlos Azevedo on piano and synth, Miguel Angelo on bass, and Mario Costa on drums.
For their liberal conception, sonic layering, and timbral variety, the tunes were effectively absorbed, with the following deserving a special mention: “Modern”, an ingenious waltz adorned with succinct 4/4 swinging passages, sounded great for a detective story (Philip Marlowe style); “The Dreary Life of Pugnacious Cacti” conveyed a biting wit through an early collective cacophony but embraced noir-ish tones as soon as the bassist started his personal statement; and “Regui”, a piece that accentuates the contagious Jamaican groove at the same time that opens space for the profound intonations of the baritone and the wild gusts of the drummer.

 

MATT WILSON QUARTET

Brandishing all the genuine humor and outgoing posture that characterize his drumming and compositional style, the great Matt Wilson didn’t disappoint, providing a truly vibrant performance. He led a majestic quartet whose in-demand members are respected bandleaders themselves: longtime collaborator Jeff Lederer on tenor saxophone and clarinet, Kirk Knuffke on cornet, and Chris Lightcap on acoustic bass.
“Arts & Crafts”, featuring Lederer’s improvisational euphoria, immediately and unequivocally demonstrated the power, unity, and pliancy of the group. Butch Warren’s “Barack Obama” came next, illuminated by a stunning bass solo upfront and thriving with sparking horn movements over the refined brushwork of the bandleader.

Whether soloing individually or immersed in concordant polyphony, Lederer and Knuffke always achieved a winsome poise when exteriorizing ideas, regardless the contrast observed in their approaches.“Raga”, a piece from 2003, spread strong Oriental aromas in the room, serving as a showcase for Wilson’s inventive and highly expressive percussive techniques. In addition to the shakes, clangs, gongs, and mallet drumming employed here, the drummer stunned everyone when employing hip-hop snare drum scratches on “Man Bun”, a rock-inflected composition that reminded me of “Blister in the Sun” by Violent Femmes. Before that, Jon Irabagon had borrowed Lederer’s tenor to embark on a singular 3-horn blues ride with a rendition of “Pee Wee’s Blues”.

Wilson’s deep fondness of poet Carl Sandburg’s work was mirrored not only on the recent “Choose” (from his latest CD Honey and Salt), a military-like march packed with a sturdy avant-garde grip and striking improvisations, but also on “Bubbles”, a composition from 2012 in which he recited the poem of the same name. They closed the set with the exuberant rhythmic transitions and melodic transparency of “Thespian”, a piece written by the hard-bop pianist Freddie Redd. The attendants’ faces reflected satisfaction in what was the most balanced, and probably strongest day of the festival.

 

DAY 4, Oct 7

YILIAN CAÑIZARES QUINTET

The last day opened with the Cuban singer/violinist Yilian Cañizares, whose quintet features Daniel Stawinski on piano, David Brito on contrabass, Inor Sotolongo on percussion, and Cyril Regamey on drums and percussion. The positive energy, noble socio-political intentions, and musical generosity of the bandleader were totally recognized, yet the music, inhabiting a more accessible corner of the jazz spectrum, didn’t have a significant impact on me. Mostly drawing from her 2014 album, Invocación, and embracing a somewhat saccharine, mellow tone, Ms. Cañizares warmed the public with “Cancion de Cuña Para Dormir a un Negrito”, a tune based on the known poem by Cuban Luis Carbonell, “Donde Hay Amor”, a love song dedicated to her late grandfather, “Iya Mi”, a faded Latin pop exercise sung in Yoruba, and “Mapucha”, an anti-sexism tune featuring a zealous percussion juncture. Despite the talented musicians, I noticed a lack of peak moments and emotional crescendos throughout the performance, a fact that didn’t hamper a myriad of enthusiasts from cheering vehemently.

JON IRABAGON QUARTET

Closing the festival in a memorable way, the Jon Irabagon Quartet delighted the ones searching for strong emotions with tunes from the albums Behind the Sky and the upcoming Dr. Quixotic’s Traveling Exotics (due out early next year), as well as a couple of takes on American jazz classics. Backed by consolidated artists such as pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, and drummer Rudy Royston, Irabagon plunged into different jazz currents with the usual expansive posture and that incredible kicking sound that once was part of Chicago, and now often colors the New York jazz venues.

They kicked in with “One Wish”, a melodious combination of soulful post-bop artistry and pop balladry that naturally evolved into swinging motion during the section reserved for improvisation. On “Sprites”, after the staggering and occasionally polyphonic sax intro, we found the musicians responding to one another until Irabagon’s romping solo has been placed over the half-step minor chord changes of “Impressions”. Following the extrovert spontaneity of the bandleader, Royston explored drum sounds with unrestrained inspiration. A brand new jazz funk piece entitled “Emotional Physics” brought an effervescent “All The Things You Are” attached on its wings, while the ballad “Music Box Song” cooled down the room with its softer rhythmic constitution, but offered up, in turn, a fantastic bass solo filled with expressive slides and constructive plucks.

The quartet closed the 19th AngraJazz with “The Cost of Modern Living”, a dancing piece where the soul-jazz of Eddie Harris meets the Latin impulses of Joe Henderson. It was noticeable how Nakamura and Royston were having fun, especially after doubling the tempo to accommodate Perdomo’s solo. From behind the drum kit, Royston engendered another colossal intervention for a majestic finale. Everyone seemed euphoric and touched by the quartet’s modernistic charms.

Being my first time attending the festival, I was well impressed with the fantastic organization, the quality of the selected lineup, and the attentiveness of an enthusiastic audience that encompassed people of all ages.

 

 

 

Some UK Jazz Venues

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Jazz London Live

 

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

 

 

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

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

London: LUME, www.lumemusic.co.uk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

London: Putney, The Half Moon, Putney , 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1EU.
Dick Laurie's Elastic Band. The band now plays the first Sunday and third Sunday of every month.
Sunday 5th November and Sunday 19th November - 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Jazz Talks: Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas

Buckinghamshire:

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

Norwich:

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

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

 

Back to Top

Follow us on FacebookFacebook

© Sandy Brown Jazz 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archie Shepp

as

back to top