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February 2018

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Minino Garayders

Argentinian percussionist Minino Garay at the Angra Jazz Festival
2017. Picture by Clara Pereira, Jazztrail

 


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

During the JATP tours of the late 1950s we all became aware and, obviously, concerned about Lester's continued drinking ...

... One night after one of the concerts, Ray Brown, Illionois Jacquet, and I decided as a gag to hide his 'Red Boy' (The Red Boy was the red plastic zippered case in which Lester carried his beloved bottle of gin). We hid it in the underneath compartment of the bus where the baggage is stored ....

... Everyone was aware of what had taken place and most of the troupe was sitting, silently expectant. Pres entered the bus laughing while making some aside to Roy Eldridge as he passed Roy's seat. He continued down the aisle to his seat and after settling his 'baby doll' (his saxophone) in a safe position he reached up for his bottle. He felt around the area above for a few moments and then enlarged his search to a bigger area as he moved towards the front of the bus. Someone asked him what he was looking for, and he replied that he had lost his Red Boy. The search now extended to the other side of the bus and by now had taken on an air of mildly controlled frenzy. He next proceeded to ask various members if they had seen his flask, and after receiving countless denials slumped into his seat with a look of total frustration and disbelief. He sat there half-audibly rationalizing what could possibly have happened, while intermittently asking various members if they had taken his flask.

 

Lester Young

 

Finally, his voice took on a more determined timbre and he started to philosophize on how rotten a person would have to be in order to mess with him by viciously infringing on his 'good feelings' and hiding his beloved Red Boy. His dissertation became even more impassioned and inflamed as he progressed with his dialogue until, in anger, he stopped short and said that he would wait a moment in order to give the culprit a chance to return his flask. After several moments that hung like heavy humidity, he got up out of his seat and said, "Well, whoever the dirty motherfucker is that's taken Lester's Red Boy" (pause and in a very lightened tone), "I want him to know that I am his mother's very best friend."

From A Jazz Odyssey - The Life Of Oscar Peterson by Oscar Peterson.

Click here to listen to Lester Leaps In with Lester Young, Oscar Peterson and JATP in 1953.

 


Name The Tune!

(Click on the picture for the answers)

 

Name the tune

 

 

 

Name the tune

 

 

 

Name the tune

 

Click here for our Name The Tune page

 

Jazz Leeds New Initiative

JazzLeeds has taken over from Seven Jazz. It is a new charitable organisation to support the development of jazz in the city of Leeds for the future and to provide a lasting legacy for the jazz history of the city. Seven Jazz has been the highly successful and Jazz Leeds logopopular voluntary jazz promoter based in Chapel Allerton in North Leeds since 2007. It has been winner of the best jazz club Jazz Yorkshire award, and in May 2016 they won the national Parliamentary Jazz Award at the House of Commons for the best UK Jazz venue .

JazzLeeds will run a busy programme of evening and Sunday afternoon concerts year round with international, national and regional artists, and a programme of instrumental workshops designed for people who want to learn more about the music or to play with other musicians. They promote “Jazz Café” jam sessions where people are encouraged to play and sing with support from high quality local rhythm sections, and the “Seven Jazz Voices Choir” meeting in Inkwell and tutored by Tessa Smith, has performed widely in the city.

JazzLeeds has recently started two festivals –the week long JazzLeeds Summer Festival taking place in July at city centre venues including the Wardrobe, the College of Music and Millennium Square, and the weekend Village Jazz Festival in North Leeds in September. Click here to read more about JazzLeeds.

 

 

Jazz Centre UK Expansion

Jazz Centre UK is an independent charity set up by trumpeter Digby Fairweather. It is a separate operation to the National Jazz Archive, also established by Digby, and houses several important jazz collections including those of Humphrey Lyttelton and jazz writer Peter Vacher. The Jazz Centre UK Digby FairweatherIt has been offered 4000 square feet of space at the Beechcroft Art Gallery in Southend-on-Sea and now includes an increasing collection of jazz on film, a 300 square foot 'Heritage Room' which is open to the public five days a week, and a Jazz Café.

From spring 2018 Jazz Centre UK will open a Media Centre with a collection of jazz on record that will feature wax cylinders, 78s, vinyl and downloads. There will be space for jazz workshops and perfomances by small groups, and they will have access to the Gallery's 110 capacity cinema for weekly screenings on jazz on film. Next year they plan a further extension to use a basement area conversion to set up performance and rehearsal space. This will also be used for educational and youth activities.

Patrons include Dame Cleo Laine, Sir Michael Parkinson, Sir Van Morrison, Simon Spillett and Alan Barnes. Jazz Centre UK says: '... we believe that the time has come to establish a visible cultural centre for the music, and that Southend-on-Sea - with its two 55-minute rail links to and from London and a newly-flourishing airport - is a viable location for the project. ... After fifty years of popular culture progressively dominated by rock music, jazz music has consistently continued to thrive. In the wise words of Britain's most literate and long-time ambassador, trumpeter Humphrey Lyttelton: "jazz is like a rockpool. When the tides of musical fashion come in the rock-pool is hidden for a while. But when the tides go out, there's the rock-pool again, brimming with life and activity".' Click here for the Jazz Centre UK website.

 

 

Rhythm & Reaction: The Jazz Age In Britain

Rhythm and Reaction image

This exhibition at Two Temple Place on London's Embankment runs from 27th January to 22nd April. It explores the ways that people in Britain responded to jazz in the period between the two World Wars with recordings, instruments, advertisements, photographs, sheet music and paintings. It is curated by Catherine Tackley, Professor and Head of Music at the University of Liverpool.

From the visit to the UK by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1919, through the dance band era with bands such as Jack Hylton's, the exhibition also reflects on the mixing of races during this time: 'The growing interest in jazz brought black and white musicians, artists and audiences together, and was crucial in influencing changes in British society, moving from stereotypes descended from the minstrel show to a more nuanced understanding of and interest in African American and black British culture'.

The organisers say: 'Rhythm & Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain will highlight how the new jazz sound in post-War nightclubs and dancehalls provided exciting and dynamic material for British artists.

Bold depictions of lively dancers by William Roberts and Frank Dobson, will be displayed alongside the Harlem-inspired paintings for which Edward Burra, one of Britain’s foremost Modernist painters, was well-known .... The exhibition brings together painting, prints, cartoons, textiles and ceramics, moving film, instruments and the all-important jazz sound, to explicitly examine the influence of jazz on British art, design and wider society'.

Alongside the exhibition is a series of complementary events including tours, lectures, workshops, music events, children’s activities and much more!

Click here for details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Whad'Ya Know?

 

This month we give you fifteen jazz related questions to exercise your little grey cells. See what you know ......

 

Round Midnight movie poster

 

For example:

Who was the composer of the 1944 jazz standard 'Round Midnight -
Dexter Gordon, Thelonious Monk or Betty Carter?

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

JAZZ GOES EAST

Lowestoft Jazz Weekend poster

 

 

Jazz will embrace Britain’s most easterly point in September, with the first ever Lowestoft Jazz Weekend.

The Festival, which takes place on September 14th, 15th and 16th, is promoted by former local MP and originator of the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, Bob Blizzard.

The Liane Carroll Trio (with Roger Carey and Russell Field) start the programme on Friday night. The headline act on Saturday is the Darius Brubeck Quartet (including Dave O’Higgins), while Ian Shaw tops the bill on Sunday.

East Anglian favourites, Gill Alexander; Jazz Unlimited (including guitarist Phil Brooke); and Pangaea complete the line-up.

The venue is the Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft, Suffolk, 01502 589726. Click here for details.

 

 

 

 

Jazz As Art

Henry Spencer and Juncture

Hopeless Heartless


From the Album The Reasons Don't Change

 

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.

 

Henry Spencer and Juncture The Reasons Don't Change

 

Henry Spencer and his band Juncture released their debut album The Reasons Don't Change on the Whirlwind label in January 2017. You can read our album review here. The tunes and arrangements had been carefully crafted over time - you can see some earlier live performances on YouTube. The album received excellent reviews. Allaboutjazz called it: "A truly gorgeous record and  early contender for Album of the Year." As it was released in January 2017, it is worth remembering that it will qualify for nominations for awards in the coming year, 2018.

The band are: Henry Spencer (trumpet, flugelhorn), Nick Costley-White (guitar), Matt Robinson (piano, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, melotron), Andrew Robb (bass), David Ingamells (drums), the Guastalla Quartet - John Garner, Marie Shreer (violins), Agata Darashkaite (viola), Sergio Serra (cello) are also present on the track we feature.

Henry does not describe the personal inspiration for the tunes he has written for the album, saying that he prefers the listener to arrive at their own interpretation. The title of this beautiful tune, Hopeless Heartless, might lead you to select particular paintings from the art works we include, but ignoring the title, the music could just as easily suggest a relaxed, peaceful setting as a someone 'hopeless or heartless'. So with the John Henry Yeend King painting below for example, is the woman on her way to milking or is she waiting for someone who might or might not come? Play the track, spend time with the nine paintings and see what you think.

Click here to listen to the music and view nine paintings and see which works for you.

 

John Henry Yeeland King painting

 

 

 

A Century of 100 Songs

"A Century of 100 songs" is a series of five Thursday concerts from February to June 2018 at the Studio in The Other Palace (12 Palace Street, London, SW1E 5JA) all at 8pm, showcasing 100 of the greatest songs of the 20th century, performed by and featuring five of the UK’s greatest singers of jazz and popular music.

The first is on 1st February with Claire Martin accompanied by Jim Mullen on guitar. Claire’s song selection includes: But Not For Me (George Gershwin);  How Long Has This Been Going On? (George Gershwin);  Secret Love (Fain and Webster);  Time After Time (Sammy Kahn / Jule Styne); and Weaver of Dreams (Victor Young / Jack Elliott).

 

Claire Martin and Jim Mullen

 

Click here to sample what's in store with the Claire Martin singing with Jim Mullen on guitar.

 

Forthcoming events in this concert series:
Tina May - March 1st
Jacqui Dankworth - April 5th
Liane Carroll - May 3rd
Elaine Delmar - June 7th

Click here for full information on all of the above shows.

 

 

 

Question

As a musician or member of the audience, what do you do when you get to a gig you have been looking forward to and find the majority of the audience talking loudly over their drinks and not at all interested in the music?

 

Crowd talking

 

Leave

Get the band to play louder

Say: 'I'm not bothered. That's just the way it is and the band is getting paid'.

Get as close as possible to the band and ignore the background noise.

Ask the manager to get people to stop talking or be quieter while the band is playing.

Only go to gigs where there is a separate room for the music.

Or ........... ?

 

 

 

 

 

New Programme Director Joins the Serious Senior Team

Pelin Opcin

 

Serious is an important organisation in the UK concerned with a variety of activities including producing live music events (including the EFG London Jazz Festival), offering access to inspirational musical experiences, workshops and training programmes in schools, and professional development for musicians.

Serious has made a number of new appointments this year including Pelin Opcin who joins the team in February as Director of Programming. Pelin has been the Director of Istanbul Jazz Festival, organised by Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, since 2005. After leading the UNESCO & Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Jazz Day celebrations in Istanbul, last year she joined the international advisory committee for International Jazz Day.

Pelin Opcin said: ‘I’ve been working in London on international projects for over 15 years, and I’ve always been inspired by the British music scene, so I’m thrilled to be joining Serious and helping to develop their national and international artistic programme’

 

Click here for more details about Serious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tracks Unwrapped
Sugar Foot Blues (Stomp)


 

[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].

Sugar Foot Blues was recorded by Fletcher Henderson's Band in 1925. It had started out with King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band as Dippermouth Blues in 1923, the tune variously credited to both King Oliver and Louis Armstrong (one of whose nicknames was, of course,'Dippermouth'). We read: 'Armstrong plays second cornet on the April 6, 1923, recording, with Honoré Dutrey on trombone, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, Lil Hardin on piano, Baby Dodds on drums and Bill Johnson on banjo and vocal. Oliver's plunger mute solo on first cornet became one of the most frequently-imitated solos of his generation ... The song is a strong example of the influence of the blues on early jazz. There is a twelve-bar blues harmonic progression, with frequent bent notes and slides into notes'.

Click here to listen to King Oliver's 1923 version.

We hear someone call out 'Oh play that thing!', a call that has stayed with Dippermouth Blues recordings ever since. There has been debate about Bud Scottwho initially made that call, with claims that it was either Bill Johnson or Bud Scott. Similarly there seem to be debates about whether Johnson was playing bass or banjo on the recordings.

 

Bill Johnson

Bud Scott

 

Ricky Riccardi analyses the options in a detailed article (click here) and quotes this passage from The Baby Dodds Story: 'as told by the drummer himself: “On one number I was caught very unsettled. That was ‘Dippermouth Blues'. I was to play a solo and I forgot my part. But the band was very alert and Bill Johnson hollered ‘Play that thing!’ That was an on-the-spot substitution for the solo part which I forgot. And that shows how alert we were to one another in the Oliver band. The technician asked us if that was supposed to be there and we said no. However, he wanted to keep it in anyway and ever since then every outfit uses that same trick, all because I forgot my part.”

 

Bill Johnson

 

 

'During Armstrong's tenure in the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, the song was recorded on May 29, 1925 in a new arrangement by Don Redman under the title Sugarfoot Stomp. After his departure, the Henderson Orchestra recorded the tune again as Sugarfoot Stomp on March 19, 1931'.

In The Oxford American Magazine, Cynthia Shearer writing in 2015 about Fletcher Henderson, said of his 1925 recording:

'If Henderson’s men had something to say, they had to say it with their instruments. This is why those solos often achieved the power of human voice, clarinets bubbling up out of the bass line to exchange witticisms with the trumpets. A tuba would burp along amiably, then suddenly assert its right to pontificate. “Sugarfoot Stomp” (1925) runs like a souped-up Model T with a creaky carburetor, syncopating about a half-hitch too fast. You can hear all the way into the future on that side: a barely containable twenty-three-year-old Louis Armstrong and a twenty-year-old Coleman Hawkins on tenor saxophone, each already in possession of a singular instrumental voice, with Billie Holiday’s dad, Clarence, keeping it all glued together with guitar. The effect is rollicking and wonderfully crunk'.

Click here to listen to Fletcher Henderson and Sugar Foot Stomp - 'Oh play that thing' is still in there..

The meaning of Sugar Foot (Sugarfoot) is generally seen as a 'term of endearment', and used towards either men or women. The Urban Dictionary says: 'Sugarfoot is a term for a sweetheart. A kind soul, who is a solid female friend and always has your back. When apart (in prison, across states/countries, down the street) she is the one you think of and its good feelings all over. You know, the kind that are all warm and fuzzy. Also, the kind of girl that will put money on your books and/or send you care packages to show you she cares and you are not forgotten."I got a letter and a package from my sugarfoot today. That girl deserves the world, she's such an angel"

Perhaps you wouldn't expect Sugarfoot Stomp at an English Pontin's Holiday Camp but click here for Italy's "King of Swing" - Emanuele Urso and his Orchestra playing at Pakefield in 2013.

Another unexpected version comes from the Ukraine. This video is from the 2017 show 'The Jazz Age' and features the Shiny Stocking Chorus Line. Sugarfoot Stomp follows their rendition of Oliver/Ellington's Creole Love Call - click here.

 

Sugarfoot Western

 

 

We still haven't quite sorted out the meaning of 'Sugarfoot'. 'Sugar' is well used for someone who is 'sweet', but what has that to do with a 'foot'? I haven't had much luck in answering that question. The name does appear again in a different context in the 1950s where it came to the big and small screens in two Westerns.

A television series 'Sugarfoot' featured a young correspondence-law student who travelled west in search of adventure. He was given the nickname 'sugarfoot' as he was one level below a 'tenderfoot'.

The 1951 movie 'Sugarfoot' was adapted from a Western novel by Clarence Budington Clelland and featured Randolph Scott 'streaking across the screen in a swirl of gunsmoke and glory'. Neither featured the jazz tune, but the use of the word 'tenderfoot' might help as that dates back to the mid 1800s in America and was used to describe a newcomer to the ranching and mining regions, unused to hardships.

It only helps, perhaps, in the way 'foot' has been added to the word 'sugar'.

 

 

 

Emanuele Urso might be Italy's 'King Of Swing' but we should not ignore Benny Goodman's version of Sugarfoot Stomp. There two very different versions. The first from 1937 has a smooth dancefloor approach and features a roll call of jazz musicians of the day - click here. The second version, from 1943, after Gene Krupa, Jess Stacy, Allan Reuss and Hymie Shertzer had returned to the band, is taken at speed - Sugarfoot Woody Woodpeckerclick here.

 

Back to the screen and another emergence of 'Sugarfoot', this time in Walter Lantz's Woody Woodpecker cartoons of 1954. This Sugarfoot is a horse - and once again, a 'sweetheart'. The only footage of Hay Rube that I could find seems to be dubbed in Swedish, but I guess with a cartoon, it doesn't matter too much - click here. Sugarfoot appears again, updated, in later Woody Woodpecker cartoons that are, you guessed it, Westerns, such as Wild Bill Hiccup.

 

As the tune and the story evolves so do performances. There are countless versions of Dippermouth Blues, so here is Wynton Marsalis and the Original Liberty Brass Jazz Band playing Dippermouth Blues in 1990 - click here , and here is a snatch where Dippermouth Blues emerged in the 2009 Disney film The Princess And The Frog - click here.

 

Oh play that thing!

 

 

 

The Jazz Photography Of Brian O'Connor - April Exhibition

 

Nicole Henry

Nicole Henry

 

Brian O'Connor has been taking photographs of jazz musicians since 1971 and this retrospective exhibition of his work will be on display at The Clocktower Cafe in Croydon from Tuesday 2nd April to Friday 27th April 2018. The exhibition, which will be opened by the Deputy Mayor of Croydon on Saturday 7th Apri,l has free admission and is open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Saturday.

Brian kindly shares with this website each month his photographs of recent gigs. Here is an opportunity to see some of the stunning photographs that he has taken over the years. You can read more about Brian here. His website Images Of Jazz has many of his pictures which are also worth seeing and an archive of his work is held at the National Jazz Archive in Loughton.

The Jazz Photography of Brian O'Connor 1971 - 2017 is at The Clocktower Cafe, Click Clock Gallery, 9 Katharine Street, Croydon, CR9 1ET.

 

Dexter Gordon

Dexter Gordon

 

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).

 

 

 

Portrait Of Cannonball

The Copasetic Foundation has received a grant from Arts Council England of £2,900 to help launch a new project ‘Portrait of Cannonball’ – a celebration of Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley’s music fronted by Tony Kofi (alto sax) and Byron Wallen (cornet).   The grant will help pay for arranging rehearsals, transport and PR; so far six dates have been booked for this narrated show (details of the first dates Portrait of Cannonball showbelow).  The group includes Alex Webb (piano), Andy Cleyndert or Daniel Casimir (bass) and Alfonso Vitale (drums); there is also a guest vocal spot by Deelee Dubé, exploring the memorable 1961 Cannonball collaboration with Nancy Wilson.

The project plays its first show at the Vortex in Dalston, London on Friday 2nd FebruaryClick here for tickets & information.

Thursday 1st March 2018 - ‘A Portrait of Cannonball’ comes to the Hideaway (2 Empire Mews, Stanthorpe Rd, Streatham SW16 2BF).  The group traces the explosive music of Cannonball from his first session as leader in 1955 through work with Miles Davis to the soul-jazz of the late 1960s. Click here for tickets & information.

Friday 16th March 2018 - ‘A Portrait of Cannonball’ travels to the Brighton Jazz Club to celebrate jazz giant Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley. Click here for tickets & information.

 

 

 

 

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].

 

Josephine Davies

 

Josephine Davies

 

Josephine Davies is an accomplished musician with a background that cannot help but enrich her approach to composition and playing. Born in the remote Scottish Shetland Islands that lie about 110 miles off the northern coast of Scotland, Josephine’s family moved to England where her interest in music grew and she trained as a classical flautist, and then an alto saxophonist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

In her second year she discovered John Coltrane’s album A Love Supreme. She changed her alto for a tenor and her focus to jazz. Not that she has neglected classical music, in fact she has widened her experience touring with classical saxophone quartets, trad-jazz bands and hard-bop combos. She has been awarded the Perrier Young Musician Award for best small jazz combo; she is resident tenor player and composer for the London Jazz Orchestra; she continues to be an ensemble and workshop leader at the Guildhall School and in 2016 was featured soloist on veteran saxophonist and composer Pete Hurt’s big band album A New Start. The album came second in the British Jazz Awards ‘Best New CD’ category. Josephine also holds a doctorate in existential philosophy and psychotherapy.

In 2017, her trio Satori with Dave Whitford (double bass) and Paul Clarvis (drums) released a much praised album which we reviewed here, and another album is in the pipeline.

 

Click here for a video of Josephine and Satori playing Cry live in December 2017. The composition was inspired by John Coltrane's protest song Alabama.

 

Josephine stopped by for a Tea Break:

 

Hi Josephine, tea or coffee?

Tea please. Any chance of an Earl Grey? 

 

Absolutely, Earl Grey, Lapsang Souchong ...... Milk and sugar?

Splash of milk, thanks.

 

I know we only reviewed your Satori album recently, but it came out a few months ago on the Whirlwind label. Have you been pleased with the response?

Yes, it’s been fantastic. Reviewers seem to have listened very closely to how we play as individuals and as a trio. Some have also recognized influences that I didn’t realize were there, in particular Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman, whom I listened to extensively through college but not much at all since. They both have this really joyful, wailing, melodic sense, even when the music gets pretty out there. It’s interesting that more than one reviewer has heard those influences in my playing even though I wouldn’t have consciously listed them as such – evidently something was captured for me way back then and stuck!

 

Satori

 

 

I like the idea of using the Buddhist word ‘Satori’ for the Trio – ‘a moment of enlightening presence and inner spaciousness away from the clutter of thought’, but I also think you pointed out in one interview that it really only comes out of a period of concentrated preparation or focus. I read too that Satori preparation uses ‘Koans’ - short anecdotes of verbal exchanges between teachers and students – perhaps that works in relation to the interaction in music too? How far have people picked up on the idea?

I came across the word Satori in ‘Free Play’, a book by Nachmanovitch that every musician and artist should have on their shelves. It’s in part about the interplay between craft and creativity and how one cannot exist without the other, so the disciplined practice, the craft, is essential in order that free expressive improvisation, the magic (or indeed enlightenment), can take place. You make an interesting connection between koans and musical interaction – it’s not something I’ve really thought about, but I’d argue both for and against linking the two, (which nicely reflects the paradoxical nature of a koan). They are intended to move the student from an analytic mind-set to an intuitive one, and this could be understood musically in terms of prefacing an improvisation with a written composition in order to drop into the unknown through the known. Conversely, there is a teacherly aspect to a koan that opposes the ethos of collaborative music making, so the analogy isn’t wholly fitting.

Yes - I guess I was thinking that musicians 'learn' and respond subconsciously within collaborative music making, but I don't know how far that constitues 'teaching' each other. I'm probably stretching the analogy a bit.

 

Click here to listen to Satori playing Paradoxy from the 2017 album

 

Hob Nob, Bourbon or Ginger Nut biscuit, or I think I have some Christmas cake left if you fancy that?

Oh cake please, I haven’t had any this Christmas (though I can’t say the same about mince pies).

 

I believe you come originally from the Shetland Islands. Did you get into music there and what opportunities were there that led you to London and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama?

Although I was born in Shetland, my parents moved back to England when I was very young so I didn’t start my musical life up there. But the members of my family and our friends who stayed in Shetland and Scotland are heavily involved in the traditional music scene, and I see lots of connections between this style of music and jazz. Improvisation is an important part of both forms, but there’s also a rhythmic element in common that’s hard to define. Apparently Dizzy Gillespie mistook the Scottish influence for African in some of Bobby Wellins’ work, and they had a wee disagreement about it!

 

 

Lil Hardin

 

I am guessing that if you could ask two past jazz musicians to join us for the tea break, you might invite John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins – or would you invite someone else?

I’d love to have met John Coltrane – there is so little interview footage of him that he remains a bit of a mystery. Obviously his music speaks for itself, but I wonder how he thought and felt about the different directions his playing took, and how his spiritual beliefs influenced his music.

Given that Rollins shows every sign of lasting forever, I’d like to also invite Lilian Hardin Armstrong – she was an incredible pianist, vocalist, composer, not to mention being responsible for her husband Louis’ dress sense! I’d want to ask her about her experience of being a woman, being black, and playing jazz in 1920s America.

That would would be a fascinating conversation. It seems that she was a strong character and 'an astute business woman' and in this brief biography (click here) it says two things, it describes her as 'A woman who, despite the constraints of racial tension and sexism, made a career for herself out of her awesome musicianship' but it also points out that she 'often reportedly said she imagined herself standing out of sight, at the bottom of a ladder, holding it steady for Louis as he rose to stardom'.

Yes, she is one of many remarkable women whose stories aren't part of mainstream culture, and jazz is certainly guilty of promoting the view that it has been more male dominated than history proves. We need to start paying attention to herstory too.

 

 

Looking back, if I asked you ‘What do you know now that you wish you knew then,’ what would you say?

That’s a big question. So many things, but mainly I wish I’d known how to listen to my instincts about sound, style and taste. I was so focused on learning how to play over functional harmony that I forgot about the creative aspect, and didn’t develop my own sound until very recently. Although I believe that understanding the fundamentals of jazz is crucial to depth and ability, I know now that one’s own voice is also crucial, which is what the spirit of jazz is all about.

 

What have you got coming up in 2018? I see you are planning to record a second album with Dave and Paul – will it be very different to the last one?

Yes, and in fact it will be James Maddren on drums which will automatically change the sound quite a lot. I’ve wanted to do a project with him for a while, and thought this next album would be a good opportunity (though I’m still considering the idea of both Paul and James together – Brigitte Berahawhat a sound that would be!) I think the music I’ve been writing for the second album has moved further along the path of unstructured trio interaction, and I hope that the Coltrane influence will be evident to listeners. We’re doing a small tour in February then recording in March, and I’m currently organizing an autumn tour to coincide with the release of the new album. I’m also writing for a new band with pianist Alcyona Mick and vocalist Brigitte Beraha. I’m setting some poems to music, some of which are by Shetland poets and use the Shetland dialect which really is a wholly different language. There’s a lovely lyricism to these poems that has influenced my writing and a folk element seems to have emerged organically, so it’s a nice contrast to Satori.

That's an interesting, varied programme. James is one of my favourite drummers, ever since I first heard him with Kit Downes' trio and I like the idea of Paul and James playing together. The poems set to music with Brigitte's voice is also a great idea. She is a busy woman and I see that she is with the band again on Dave Manington's new Riff Raff album.

 

Brigitte Beraha
Photograph courtesy of Brian O'Connor (imagaesofjazz
)

 

 

Helena Kay

 

Helena Kay

Rachel Cohen

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

 

Rachel Cohen and Helena Kay are both wonderful saxophonists I’ve heard recently, and would you believe that Rachel is also from the Shetland Islands!

 

(Click on the pictures for videos of Helena and Rachel playing)

 

Rachel Cohen

 

Another biscuit?

I’m afraid I’ve eaten too much cake.

 

Click here for a video of Satori playing Wabi-Sabi (the beauty of imperfection and impermanence) live in December 2017.

Click here to listen to other tracks on the first Satori album.

Click here for Josephine's website.

 

Josephine Davies

 

 

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

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

 

Helena Kay wins the Prestigious Peter Whittingham Jazz Award 2017

On 10th January 2018, the UK’s biggest independent music charity Help Musicians UK (HMUK) announced that young Scottish alto saxophonist and band-leader Helena Kay has won the coveted Peter Whittingham Jazz Award 2017 of £5,000.

The Peter Whittingham Jazz Award was established in 1990. The award is judged independently of HMUK and is awarded annually to emerging Jazz musicians and offers development funding to allow high potential artists to take their careers to the next level. Helena, originally from Perth, Scotland, is an exceptionally gifted alto saxophonist, former Young Scottish Jazz Musician Of The Year, jazz graduate Helena Kayand artist fellow of Guildhall School, as well as bandleader of KIM Trio. 

Helena said “Recording, releasing and promoting my debut album is a daunting and expensive prospect, but the support and guidance that this award provides will be a massive help in making it possible. It means a lot to have been selected for this prestigious award, given the reputation of the panel and previous winners; I'm very grateful and excited to get started.”

Claire Gevaux, Help Musicians UK Creative Director, added “The Peter Whittingham Jazz Award is open to all and has been won by a diverse array of incredible British jazz talent. And this year is no exception, Helena Kay has an exciting future ahead of her. Women are under-represented in jazz and through a series of programmes and initiatives including the Jazz Promoter Fellowship, HMUK will continue to work collaboratively to redress the gender imbalance by championing women in the music industry.”

Click here for Helena with drummer David Ingamells and bassist Ferg Ireland playing Taking A Chance On Love. Click here for Helena's website.

HMUK celebrates Women in Jazz, with a line of up of the two Peter Whittingham awardees Helena Kay’s KIM Trio and Jasmine Whalley’s Tȇtes De Pois. They will play alongside trumpeter Laura Jurd at an exclusive Jazz show curated by HMUK as part of Independent Venue Week at London’s 100 Club on Sunday 4 February. See www.helpmusicians.org.uk for more information.

An expert in survival medicine, Peter Whittingham was also a pianist. After his death in 1987 his family set up the award in 1990 in his memory and their connection with the award continues. The fund is open to emerging jazz musicians and groups who can demonstrate that they have the talent, innovative approach, and commitment to make a sustainable impact on the sector. The award is to be put towards creative development opportunities including recording, filming, touring, mentoring, showcasing and more. Applications for the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award will reopen in September 2018.  For more funding opportunities, see HMUK’s Creative Programme page.

 

 

Do You Have A Birthday In February?

 


Your Horoscope

for February Birthdays

by 'Marable'

 

Aquarius

 

Aquarius (The Water Bearer)

20th January - 18th February

 

Another eclipse is heading your way. After Lunar eclipses last month, the 15th brings a Solar eclipse that could test your relationships. I am not talking just about love relationships, friendships are in the mix too. It is the flawed relationships that are at risk, the strong ones will not be troubled.

So there could be some 'shaking up' this month, but fundamentally things are OK, you are still in your period of personal independence.

As far as your own finances are concerned, on the 18th both the Sun and Mercury enter the money house enhancing your financial intuition. However, you might find that a parent or parent figure is affected by the eclipse and needs to consider their financial situation, perhaps changing their financial plans. If they turn to you for advice, listen and discuss options with them, but it is for them to make their final decisions.

Aquarians tend to be clear thinkers and communication and intellectual interests are prominent until May. Use this opportunity to plan your career which is open to fulfilment through the main part of the year.

For you click here for Chet Baker and The Best Thing For You.

 

 

 

Pisces

 

Pisces (The Fish)

19th February - 20th March

 

As with Aquarians, the Solar eclipse on the 15th could bring change and some disruption. Although it could impact on several aspects of your chart, for you the impact is likely to be fairly benign. The eclipse takes place in your spiritual 12th house - your spiritual attitudes could change as well as changes in your teachings and teachers.

Look out for job changes or a change in financial planning - take your time and don't rush into speculation. For the past seven years Uranus has been in our money house, you might well have had to deal with some financial insecurity. Earnings might not have always been stable; sometimes high, sometimes low. Much of this should quieten down this year - and especially next year onwards. Uranus makes a major move out of your money house in May and enters your 3rd house of communication. He is there until November 6th

As Mercury and Jupiter are also impacted by the eclipse you could find that dramas are affecting family, career, parental figures or those you look to as role models. Things might be happening around you rather than directly to you. If this happens, use the intuition common to Pisces, a calm approach from you might be helpful.

For you, click here to listen to Oscar Peterson playing Easy Does It.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Remembered

Norman Cave


 

[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].

 

Norman Cave

Norman Cave
Picture by Harold Chapman

 

Reviewing a recent Lake Records release of music by Freddy Randall and his Band, I was reminded of the fine playing of trombonist Norman Cave. I thought it might be interesting to include an article about him in the 'Jazz Remembered' slot but I can find very little information about Norman online. Do you remember Norman? Can you add anything?

Click here for a video of Norman playing I Found A New Baby with Sid Phillips and Kenny Ball.

Fortunately, John Chilton recorded some information about Norman in his book 'Who's Who Of British Jazz', so we have something to start with. John's entry tells us that Norman was born in Liverpool, Lancashire on 2nd June 1925, and that he:

Played piano from childhood, took up the trombone and became part of the Salvation Army Band in Liverpool. He played trombone in the 7th Hussars band during Army service and after demobilization in November 1949, he joined Freddy Randall on piano, but switched to trombone with Randall from May 1950. Norman worked in Liverpool with Mrs Wilf Hamer's Band in late 1950 and 1951, then he rejoined Freddy Randall in July 1951. He was with Harry Gold for a year from autumn 1952, then two months with Freddy Randall in late 1953. Norman led his own band in 1953 and 1954, then worked with Sid Phillips from October 1954 until July 1957. During the late 1950s, 1960s and 1970s he worked with Betty Smith, Bernie Stanton, Bruce Turner, Danny Moss, Bobby Mickleburgh, Kenny Baker, Chick Mayes, Cyril Stapleton, etc. but in the late 1970s he worked mainly as a solo pianist or as an accompanist for singers. He moved to California in July 1981 where he continued to play on keyboards and trombone.

John Chilton's item only gives us information as far as 1995.

Mrs Wilf Hamer (Marie Daly) took over the band that played at the Grafton in Liverpool when her husband died from pneumonia. Trumpeter Ian Hamer and his brothers Stuart and George also began their musical careers at the Grafton Ballroom in Liverpool in the band run by their mother.

 

 

Sid Phillips band

 

The Sid Phillips Band at the Aberdeen Ballroom with Norman Cave on trombone.
Photograph courtesy of Sandy Pringle.

Sandy Pringle remembers the occasion pictured in this photograph: 'I was a GP and friendly with the manager of the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen. I played the trombone in a local dance band and in a jazz band. Norman Cave took ill and as I was on call that night I was sent for and advised him to stop playing, advice which he ignored!'

Click here to listen to Norman with Freddy Randall and his Band playing I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None Of My Jelly Roll in 1952.

The photograph by Harold Chapman at the top of this article is of Norman in the Mandrake Club in Meard Street, Soho. Harold Chapman, was named 'The Invisible Photographer' by Beat poet Allen Ginsberg because he 'sought to capture the scene as it actually happened, without staging or intervention'. Chapman was a significant figure during the 'Beat' generation time in Paris and in London. His own story is interesting in itself and you can read an interview with him here. His encounter with Norman Cave is remembered during the interview:

 

'From whom have you have learned the most secrets about the music & photo'?

'From music, Norman Cave, the trombone player, who used to come into the Mandrake Club in Meard Street, Soho, London, which was a Harold Chapmancrummy cellar dump where jazz musicians would gather after their gigs and hold informal jam sessions.  I particularly liked this venue as the complications of the licencing laws for alcohol in England were particularly bizarre.  After 11pm at night, which was the closing time of English pubs then, you could only get a drink if you bought a meal.  At the Mandrake they served a huge plate of salad which legally constituted a meal, so every time you wanted to have a drink, say, a pint of beer, you got a plate of salad.  Most of the salads sadly never got eaten nor were they intended to be, they were all scrapped at the end of the night’s session and probably ended up as pigswill.  So, as the place was always littered after 11 o’clock at night with salads, if one was discreet, one didn’t even have to buy a drink but simply helped oneself to two or three salads and had a large healthy meal! …'

 

Harold Chapman
Photograph by Claire Chapman

 

'One day, I was wandering around at dawn in Hampstead with my camera, looking for something to photograph in the deserted streets.  Having given up, I decided to go home about half past nine and much to my amazement who should be coming out of one of the houses, dressed in full evening dress, but Norman Cave.  “What on earth are you doing here at this time in the morning?”  “I have just come from my embouchure tutor after a gig.  I have to keep on learning all the time,” he said.  That taught me something I have remembered all my life and that is, every day I carry on trying to learn something new, practise a better way of holding the camera, breathing, etc., and even at 85 I know I don’t know very much but I will keep on trying to learn until the moment I drop dead'.

Click here to listen to a 78 rpm record with Norman Cave playing Dark Night Blues with the Freddy Randall Band.

If anyone can remember more about Norman, it would be good to expand this article. Please contact me if you have more information or memories.

 

 

 

Video Juke Box

*Click on the Picture for the Video

 

 

Click on the picture to watch the video.

 

Reuben Fowler Black Cow

 

 

The Reuben Fowler Big Band celebrates 40 years since Steely Dan's album Aja with this videod recording of Black Cow. Amazing personnel and a fitting tribute to Steely Dan.

 

 

 

 

Kit Downes Obsidian

 

 

Kit Downes has a new album out - Obsidian. Following his album Vyamanikal in which Kit and Tom Challenger recorded in 5 Suffolk churches in 2015, Obsidian finds Kit again playing organ with saxophonist Tom Challenger guesting on one track for this album released on the ECM label in January 2018.

 

 

 

 

Satchmo video

 

'We should get friendly. My name's Satchmo' ... and so starts this one and a half hour documentary video about Louis Armstrong. 'There are few people in this country, and around the world, who will not recognize the name. Louis Armstrong embodied 20th century American culture. No other performer of his era had such a profound effect as a singer as well as an instrumentalist. With over a dozen of his classic film performances, numerous television and concert performance as well as never before seen home movies and nightclub footage from 1935, this is the most comprehensive look at this American icon.

 

 

 

Elliot Galvin Red and Yellow trailer

 

 

Pianist / keyboards Elliot Galvin has a new Trio album out in January. Here is the trailer for Red And Yellow (there are flickering images at the start) . The album is reviewed in our Featured Releases section below.

 

 

 

 

George Lewis Running Wild

 

George Lewis and his New Orleans Jazz Band filmed in 1959 playing Running Wild in a German jazz club. George Lewis (clarinet), Kid Howard (cornet), Jim Robinson (trombone), Joe Robichaux (piano), Slow Drag Pavagau (bass) and Joe Watkins (drums).

 

 

 

 

 

Riff Raff Challenger Deep

 

Another new release is Challenger Deep by Dave Manington's Riff Raff featuring Tom Challenger and Brigitte Beraha. Here they are playing live at The Vortex last year. The album is due out in May.

 

 

 

 

Art Tatum video

 

 

'I am just a piano player, but tonight, God is in the house' - Fats Waller on Art Tatum. In this all too rare video, the Art Tatum trio is warming up to Tiny's Exercise. Art Tatum had limited sight in his left eye and had severe cataracts (blurred/cloudy vision) in his right eye. With Tatum here in 1943 are Tiny Grimes (guitar) and Slam Stewart (bass).

 

 

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

 

 

24th February - All-Day Jive at Worthing Assembly Hall

The Jive Aces

On Saturday 24th February, The Jive Aces present a 12-hour marathon of non-stop jive, swing and rock ’n’ roll at Worthing’s Assembly Hall. They invite you to jump, bop and stroll on the huge dance floor to five roots and vintage bands. There will also be various DJ's, vintage stalls, a bar and food available throughout the day. The line up this year features The Jive Aces, Mike Sanchez & The Portions, The Class of ’58, Aisha Khan & Her Rajahs and Bamboozle, plus DJs Mouse, Terry Elliott and Jivin’ Man.

The Jive Aces are renowned for their high-energy jump and spectacular stage show. Ian Clarkson (lead vocals, ukulele, trumpet), Big John Fordham (tenor sax, clarinet), Alex Douglas (trombone), Vince “Professor” Hurley (piano), Ken Smith (double bass) and Peter “Bilky” Howell (drums) have just returned home from a six-week USA tour. Their repertoire stretches from the timeless tunes of the swing era to the glitz of the Rat Pack, with a dash of rhythm & blues, swinging jazz and the roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll. They feature songs made famous by such greats as Louis Prima, Cab Calloway, Benny Goodman, Bobby Darin, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Jr. and Ella Fitzgerald along with a wide selection of originals taken from their albums.

Click here for a video of the playing In The Mood for a hall full of jivers. Perhaps more for jivers than a jazz gig, but if that includes you .....

 

Tickets for The Big Jive All Dayer at the Assembly Hall are available to purchase by calling the Worthing Theatres box office on 01903 206 206 and online at worthingtheatres.co.uk.

 

 

Going Dutch In Scotland Under The Surface band

 

The first Going Dutch tour to visit Scotland features 'Under the Surface', the new trio led by drummer Joost Lijbaart. Some might remember Joost with saxophonist Yuri Honing's trio, the group that spearheaded a revival in creating jazz adventures from pop tunes. Under the Surface is even more ground-breaking, a fascinating merging of European folk, jazz improvisation and trance music that was one of the highlights of Rotterdam Jazz Festival in October.

They play the Blue Lamp in Aberdeen on February 22, Eyemouth Hippodrome on February 23 and Glasgow's new jazz club, the Blue Arrow (opening soon) on February 24.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forum

 

 

British Jazz Bibliography

Richard Baker has compiled a British Jazz Bibliography. It is always a 'work in progress' as new publications emerge or are discovered all the time. Graham is trying to find out about publications from Norther Ireland and writes:

As a small diversion from the main part of the Bibliography I am still tracking down material about early bands in the 1940s in the regions away from the London area and the dominance of recordings there. One area which is proving really elusive is Northern Ireland. The two books in the Bib. which I have -- Michael Longley, Michael (ed.) “Causeway: The Arts in Ulster” and Brian Dempster’s “Tracking Jazz the Ulster Way” are both interesting but neither has a proper bibliography. No matter how hard I try I have not been able to track down jazz historians in the province who know something about the 1940s and 1950s. Sadly Brian Dempster died in 2015 so I can make no further progress there'.

If anyone can help, please contact Richard: - Richard Baker.

 

 

The Dancing Slipper, Nottingham

Mike Rees has seen our page on the Dancing Slipper Club in Nottingham (click here) and writes:

'I have great memories of the Slipper during the early 60s -  I was in the R.A.F at the time and was stationed at Newton. On Wednesday nights, one of my favourite groups  was the Graham Bond Organisation, with Ginger Baker on drums and Jack Bruce on bass. The great Americans I saw, not mentioned so far, were: Henry Red Allen, George Lewis, Don Byas, and of course, Ruby Braff. I also remember Long John Baldry and his Hoochie Coochie men, with a new young singer - Rod Stewart (7s 6d to get in). I also remember Tubby and his group visited several times - so it wasn't strictly a 'trad' club. The  group I enjoyed best, though was led by Alex Welsh - they always looked if they were enjoying themselves, and Alex was a world class player. Lennie Hastings kept great time and added a lot of humour'.

 

 

 

Broadcast Opportunity For Oxford Bands

Radio Cherwell

 

 

Mike Abbott writes: I produce some shows for Oxford's Hospital Radio Cherwell. One of the shows is The Oxford Band Show which features mainly local swing bands. If any local jazz bands of any size are interested in appearing on the show they can contact me directly.

Click here to contact Mike.

Click here for the Radio Cherwell website.

 

 

 

 

West Country Venues

Alan Bond writes: 'We are experiencing a little bit of a jazz revival in the West Country, with a club in South Molton which came to my attention in the middle of last year. Even better news is that they have opened an offshoot in Tiverton. Both venues are once a month and provide a variety of jazz. There is another run by Ivor Topp once a month at the Cotleigh Brewery in Wiveliscombe. I went over a few weeks ago to hear 'The Sopranos', a band run by Andy Leggett, once of the Phil Mason band. I had seen Andy on a few occasions when he sat in with the Darktown Strutters and this was too good a chance to miss. It was an excellent evening's entertainment. The Pebbles Tavern in Watchet also occasionally plays host to Andrew Barratt's rather nice little band'.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Are You Free?

It is frustrating that some information which used to be freely available online you now have to pay for. For our 'Departure Lounge' I used to be able to link to obituaries in the national press but increasingly, those newspapers that ran comprehensive obituary columns now need subscriptions. My apologies if you try a link and find that to be the case. I am currently looking to link to the information elswhere.

Similarly, I used to be able to access new releases on Amazon where you could sample some of the tracks. With some new releases, it now seems that Amazon want you to subscribe to Amazon Prime to be able to hear the tracks. Again, you will see that I am trying to link to samples elswhere.

As usual, Sandy Brown Jazz is free to read and free of advertisements!

 

 

 

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:

 

 

Max Collie

 

Max Collie - (I have only received this information from a message - I have not been able to verify it elsewhere through an obituary. Any other information would be welcome). Max Collie was an Australian trombonist born in Melbourne. Max led part time groups the Jazz Bandits (1948-1950) and the Jazz Kings (1950-1962). In 1962, he joined the Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band. When they visited England in 1963, he stayed, becoming a member of the London City Stompers. In 1966, he became the group's leader and they were renamed the Rhythm Aces. They released their first record in 1971 and in 1975 they won a world championship in traditional jazz against 14 North American jazz band. In 2013 he had suffered a stroke and lost the sight in one eye. Click here for the Rhythm Aces playing Dr Jazz in 1973.

 

 

 

 

Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela - Award winning South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer. He has been described as "the father of South African jazz." Born in KwaGuqa Township, Witbank, South Africa, Hugh took up the trumpet when he was fourteen after seeing the film Young Man with a Horn (in which Kirk Douglas played a character based on Bix Beiderbecke). His first trumpet, from Louis Armstrong, was given to him by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, the anti-apartheid chaplain at St. Peter's Secondary School. Masekela played music that closely reflected his life experience. The agony, conflict, and exploitation South Africa faced during the 1950s and 1960s inspired and influenced him to make music and also spread political change. After the Sharpville Massacre in 1960, he left the country and with the help of international friends was admitted into London's Guildhall School of Music. He later went on to the Manhattan School of Music. Eventually he collaborated with West and Central African musicians to reconnect with Southern African players when he set up Jive Records a mobile studio in Botswana and the Botswana International School of Music. Click here for a video of Hugh Masekela playing Coal Train (Stimela) in 1986.

 

 

 

Marlene VerPlanck

 

Marlene VerPlanck - American vocalist from New Jersey. She married trombonist, composer, and arranger J. William "Billy" VerPlanck in 1955, and he became her musical collaborator. She began performing as a teenager at the age of 19, and her debut album, I Think of You with Every Breath I Take, was released when she was 21, and featured Hank Jones, Wendell Marshall, Kenny Clarke and Herbie Mann. She sang with Charlie Spivak's band and later with the Tommy Dorsey and Tex Beneke bands. Marlene VerPlanck also sang backing for Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Mel Torme and Fank Sinatra. She last performed in December 2017 at a jazz club in New York City. Click here for a video of Marlene singing in Cardiff in 2016. Photograph courtesy of Brian O'Connor

 

 

 

 

Al McPake - guitarist who played with Sandy Brown's band in the 1950s but only recorded with Sandy and a band under Stan Greig's name in Copenhagen in September '57. Unfortunately these do not appear to be on YouTube to share. We have heard that Al has died on 16th January 2018 after a long illness and we would welcome more information about him. He told his friend John Sheppard that : 'He grew up in Leith, a suburb in the North of Edinburgh. He came to London in the '50s to pursue Jazz and started hanging out at the 2Is coffee bar where sometimes he sat in during the interval when the bands played there. He bumped into the leader of one of the bands on the tube. He thinks they were called the "Celtic Jazz Band" or something similar. He asked if he could sit in with them at a gig and the chap relied "you are in the band". He played with them for a few months but realised that they were not of the calibre he had aspired to. He then received a phone call from Flo (Sandy Brown's wife) who asked him if he would like to join Sandy's band. His reply was "I certainly would" .....'

 

 

 

Maurice Peress Ellington album

 

Maurice Peress - American conductor who worked closely with both Leonard Bernstein and Duke Ellington, and 'whose twin passions for jazz and classical music were reflected in his penchant for reconstructing important concerts from the past .... Mr. Peress’s children said they thought his love of jazz and interest in African-American influences in music really took hold when he was surrounded by black musicians in the Army ... he asked Ellington whether he had ever considered scoring his extended composition “Black, Brown and Beige” for symphony orchestra. The two worked together on that and other projects, capturing works that in some cases were ephemeral, tailored only to Ellington’s own band. One piece they worked on was “Queenie Pie,” a musical that remained unfinished at Ellington’s death in 1974. In 1986, Mr. Peress joined with collaborators, including George C. Wolfe and Ellington’s son, Mercer, to complete the work and stage its world premiere at the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia. Click here for some clips from a production of Queenie Pie.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Bain - Embodied Hope
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 10th November 2017

Andrew Bain (drums, percussion); Jon Irabagon (saxophone); George Colligan (piano); Michael Janisch (double bass).

Andrew Bain Embodied Hope

When I first became interested in jazz as an adolescent in the 1960s, British jazz seemed to suffer from a pronounced inferiority complex. The assumption was that, for the truly authentic product, one had to look to America. All began to change when Miles Davis recruited not just one British jazz musician but two – Dave Holland and John McLaughlin – for his band in the late sixties. Since then, British jazz has developed its own self-confident and distinctive voice, well able to compete - and collaborate on equal terms - with the best in America and beyond.

Andrew Bain’s new album, Embodied Hope, shows just how thoroughly British jazz has shaken off any inferiority complex, particularly in relation to American jazz. The album sees Bain, a Scottish born, Birmingham based percussionist leading three Americans in a recording made in the English Cotswolds for a British record company. And not just any Americans: Jon Irabagon on tenor saxophone is a rising star of American jazz. George Colligan on piano has a long established international reputation, winner of the 2015 Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll for keyboards amongst other accolades. Michael Janisch on double bass is one of a number of American musicians who have chosen to pursue their careers in the UK. He is also the owner of Whirlwind Recordings which is producing some of the best contemporary music around at the minute on both sides of the Atlantic. Andrew Bain himself has lived and worked in America with distinction.

Embodied Hope is a suite of eight pieces all composed by Bain around the theme of positive change in the fields of human rights, community and social transformation. Actually, Bain considers himself more as a writer of music for improvisers rather than “composer” – “like all good music written with improvisation in mind”, he says, “Embodied Hope starts with an idea and a vibe, as well as melodies, chord sequences, solo sections and as many boundaries as I want to provide. But apart from that, it’s all in flux and very much up to the band, even in terms of suite order, solo order, etc.”. To a listener unaware of the underlining theories, however, Embodied Hope is just high quality, straight ahead contemporary jazz with a strong, rhythmic pulse as one might expect from a band led by a drummer. And for all Bain’s emphasis on improvisation, there are some surprisingly good tunes to be found.

The album opens with Accompaniment, which Bain says was originally intended as a ballad, “but as we rehearsed, it became this classic Coltrane rumble-and-tumble, elevating it with some kind of higher energy”. Both Irabagon and Colligan take solos against a  gentle wash provided by Bain and Janisch, sounding slightly ominous on bowed bass. Irabagon’s sax is often attractively lyrical but with some striking patches of Coltrane intensity and strained notes. Colligan has a distinctive style and plays marvellously liquid runs of notes. The whole does have a Coltrane feel about it – think the Psalm section of A Love Supreme.

The second track, Hope, is an upbeat, rhythmic piece with a memorable melody. Irabagon builds his improvisations in a logical and compelling way with snatches of half familiar tunes. Colligan’s solo is all note filled virtuosity with a classical feel at times. Bain and Janisch provide a solid, sometimes rock, beat throughout which is guaranteed to set feet tapping.

Practice is another upbeat piece but with sudden changes in the beat from fast to very fast. Both Irabagon and Colligan get to stretch themselves in the faster sections, and Janisch provides some nimble bass. The next track, Responsibility has an intricate but attractive tune full of nice hooks and riffs with a touch of Dave Brubeck about it. Janisch gets to shine in an impressive solo; and Bain and Irabagon engage in some neat call and response. Surprise is notable for its sudden and abrupt (and therefore surprising?) changes in rhythm. Its stop-start feel is (again, surprisingly) very effective and keeps the listener’s attention throughout. Bain takes two solos, beautifully judged both in their textures and length.

The first part of Listening is back to the vibe of the first track, Accompaniment, with Janisch on bowed bass again. The improvisations are freer than some of the other tracks with a jagged feel and little bombs of discordance. It is almost as if the instruments were having a drunken conversation with the sax being whimsical and the piano, assertive and truculent. Then the beat picks up with something of a latin flavour, and both Irabagon and Colligan take dazzling solos. Towards the end, there is some engaging call and response between sax, piano and drums – back to a conversation although perhaps a little more sober and certainly more animated. Trust is another upbeat piece with a good tune. It segues into a reprise of Accompaniment and ends in a satisfying mélange of cacophonous sound. The final track is a brief reprise of Hope which fades in as if one has gradually opened a door to a joyous party. Then the party quietens down and peacefully finishes. It’s an effective, life-enhancing end to a life-enhancing and, yes, hopeful, hope-filled album.

Robin Kidson

Andrew Bain is touring with his Embodied Hope Quartet from 2nd to 15th April 2018. Details of dates are on his website.

Details and Samples : Video of Hope

 

 

 

 

Julian Costello Quartet - Transitions
(33 Jazz Records) - Released: 15th September 2017

Julian Costello (tenor and soprano saxophones); Maciek Pysz (electric and classical guitars); Yuri Goloubev (double bass); Adam Teixeira (drums and percussion).

Julian Costello Quartet Transitions

 

In the album's sleeve notes saxophonist Iain Ballamy says: 'What I hear is a set of music with a strong identity - with a thread running through it created by a group that has clearly played the music enough to be able to wield it in a playful way. The music is expressive (there is no module for expression to be seen on an undergraduate music course!) it ebbs and flows, accelerates and slows naturally in the only way a real band can'.

A good description by Ballamy. The music is appealing, warm, enjoyable, eloquent and varied from an international band now all based in the UK. The musicians co-ordinate comfortably within the arrangements leaving plenty of room for solos from Costello and Pysz. Recommended.

Ian Maund

Details and Samples : Video of Walking Through The Jungle : Listen to Earworm and Panettone : allaboutjazz review ****

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Series - Meerkat Parade
(Bandcamp) - Released: 12th December 2017

David Series (guitar and compositions); Huw Rees (keyboards); James Lindasy (double bass); Max Popp (drums).

David Series Meerkat Parade

David Series is an Edinburgh based guitarist whose debut album consists of 6 tracks composed by David. Although it may look a shorter album, 3 of the 6 tracks are over seven minutes long and another six and a half minutes in duration with only two less than four minutes.  David states that the compositions are modern jazz influenced by amongst others, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Julin Argüelles and Derek Trucks.  He has also created the colourful and quirky artwork that features on the album. There are no CD notes about the basis for the tracks, but they sure do have some quirky titles, like Oink, Hermwei and Mr. Frisbee.

The first track is called Herzog, with the intro featuring a melodic double bass which then provides the pulse with guitar and drums joining later.  There is also an interesting keyboard solo.  Mr. Frisbee has Popp on drums keeping everything going with some melodic interplay between keyboards and guitar and an inspired keyboard solo around the middle.  The changes in rhythm are interesting and well managed and this seems to be a theme on most of the tracks.  Oink, is possibly the track which shows Series' wonderful guitar playing at its best.  Gentle instrumental beginning with the guitar lead through the melodies building to a crescendo, and there is lots of interplay between superb keyboards and the aforementioned guitar. Hermwei is the longest track at 8 minutes 11 seconds where the entire band starts together but each breaks out and has a solo section.  Quieter, light guitar sections interspersed with a memorable keyboard solo feature on this track.  On Where’s Waltzy, the bass solo was of note.  The last track is Scoobie Snack, which has a soulful guitar start with bass before the pace picks up as everyone piles in, and again each of the band members produce some great solos.

This is a mostly a well-balanced and melodic album with lots of interaction between the musicians whoever is providing the lead or base rhythm and I did look forward to Series' guitar sections when listening to the album. 

Tim Rolfe

Details and listen to Album :

 

 

 

 

Anton Hunter - Article X1
(Efpi Records) - Released: 9th February 2018

Sam Andreae, Simon Prince, Mette Rasmussen, Cath Roberts (saxophones); Graham South, Nick Walters (trumpets); Seth Bennett, Richard Foote (trombones); Anton Hunter (guitar); Eero Tikkanen (double bass); Johnny Hunter (drums)

Anton Hunter Article XI

 

This album is two ends of a spectrum.  After just a couple of weeks percolating my ears, I have become caught up in its dropped curve – Article X1 is another superb ‘on-a-roll’ project from those busy Luminous people.  A very smart live sound from Alex Bonney and Dill Katz, straight from The Vortex in London, along with two tracks caught at the Manchester Jazz Festival.  Initially I couldn’t help feel slightly disappointed that Anton Hunter’s own asymmetrical guitar isn’t more centre stage in these performances.  (Mr Hunter is not some flashy stadium guitar-slinger.  Given the right context, his telecaster can merge a whole intake of crackle ‘n pop into a probing ascetic.  It’s not just the sound that is unique to him, but the deceptively casual way he cuts into an ensemble.)  On this Article X1 debut the Guitar-Hunter takes on the role of composition catalyst; an under-the-scene scope-shaper hovering beneath the action like a current off a cliff. Article X1 deserves a lot of attention.  This is the Sloth Racket/Favourite Animals team (check out previous reviews), plus others, on yet another important encounter.  Okay, it leaves me waiting for Anton Hunter’s ‘guitar’ album but I’m a man of patience, right now I’m listening to something else.  It’s multiple stars, let’s get on with it!

Retaken captures a glorious opening from the eleven musicians. Brass chords played like laying out a carpet.  It’s an unveiling of a harmonised melody which feels rich with very little; a morning tune played at night with sparse reeds and held notes.  It falls into a Nick Walters’ trumpet solo.  I don’t know why, but it initially reminded me of raga structure.  What I really like about Retaken is the fix it gets on that melody.  After eleven minutes (the number must be coincidental) it ends, compositionally well taken.  There’s form, there’s beauty, Nick Walters has spoken with something to say about the ‘sound’ of trumpet.  There’s a glimpse of guitar at the back of it just tipping off the structure.  Anton’s brother Johnny’s drums breaking up the beat, fetching and carrying it so things don’t come out straight.  And it ends the right way up, a glorious opening begets a glorious ending, and I know whatever else this is music not taken lightly.

Innards Of Atoms is the one track where the guitar kindles the flame, or to paraphrase the title, becomes the ‘innard’ within the atom.  The piece begins piping a repeat between brass and reeds.  After about three minutes, the ears ‘getit’, the Hunter brothers then enter just like I’ve heard them do on other sessions; they have an uncanny instinctive way of rolling in a dual direction.  It’s their almost blues-but-isn’t way of stringing the sound out.  See, it’s not so much soloing as listening to an explanation from the guitar, while all the time there’s percussion offering up some kind of agreement.  Yeah sure, try this, right....! tell me more, ok, ok, let me assist you a little, ah, I’m with u. And then perhaps, finally - let’s nail it.  Innards Of Atoms ends with all eleven players intact and playing a concentrated credo which takes on the form of an aural scientific study.  It’s artful, evolutionary and one of those performances you’re damn glad that the likes of Alex Bonney and Dill Katz were on hand to capture the Atoms.

There’s inventive title-ling of this material; how about I Dreamed I Spat Out A Bee? A description of an alto sax turning inside on itself. (Sure, Mette Rasmussen’s alto mouthpiece accuracy can b major when she’s not b-ing minor.) Or there’s C# Makes The World A Better Place, a nice sentiment.  This sharp ‘sea’ is an ocean free of plastic, as well as a drone tonic which opens up into a melody so transforming it truly does give off a feeling of positivity.  And the ‘litter’ of clicks and smearings, rattles and beats on a prepared snare only go to emphasise the inherent poignancy of the piece.  Then there’s the simple two word title, Peaceful Assembly, alluding to Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Both in content and context it has a close connection to Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra – the stellar trumpet solo could almost come from the horn of the great Michael Mantler when he’s having a good day.

The thing that really encourages me about Anton Hunter’s Article X1 recording is the cordial rapprochement inherent in the final track, Not The Kind Of Jazz You Like. It seems to me it signals something special.  Anton Hunter is a different ‘kind’ of guitarist/composer playing The Kind Of Jazz that, by his own admission, is possibly not ‘immediate’ to majority taste.  Not only are such considerations beside the point, he makes no apology, why should he?  Sure, he’s aware of his situation, but because the whole LUME scene is The Kind Of Jazz that leads to true exploration he is going to do it anyway.  The band move from squashed, crushed experimentation into the Drummer-Hunter driving the band forward in a welter of 4/4 for a short distance only to break the whole thing up in a dead-end of improv. From here the ensemble reappear out of the debris, with the Fender telecaster setting up a final trombone song for either Seth Bennett or Richard Foote (I wasn’t there so I’m not sure who is responsible and yes – Mr Bennett is usually playing double bass!). The Guitar-Hunter hits a play-out riff and it’s all over; until next time.

I hope that Anton Hunter is able to find the necessary mental fix to stay at the task he has set himself.  His presence on Martin Archer’s crucial 2016 album Storytellers was, for me, the green light.  Here, Article X1 is further dramatic evidence of his abilities.  Personally, I’m also keen to hear a recording from his trio.  I believe that could reveal even more than we’ve heard so far.  That was certainly the case with the American avant-garde guitarist Mary Halvorson, with whom Mr Hunter shares similar terrain.  May we all find some place for Peaceful Assembly; I’d urge anyone who really has an interest in any ‘kind of jazz’, to spend at least one evening taking in Anton Hunter’s direction. None of us can stand still, not unless we want to get run over.

Steve Day

Details and Samples : Video of I Dreamed I Spat Out A Bee ; Anton Hunter's website

Steve Day is a writer and poet and leads the band Blazing Flame. www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Cherrie Quartet - Joining The Dots
(Trio Records) - Released: 2nd February 2018

Mark Cherrie (steel pan); John Donaldson (piano); Mick Hutton (double bass); Eric Ford (drums) with guests: Dominic Grant (acoustic guitar); Dave O'Higgins (tenor saxophone); Nigel Price (electric guitar); Sumudu (vocals).

Mark Cherrie Quartet Joining The Dots

 

Mark Cherrie is one of the foremost steel pan players in the UK but it is unusual to hear the instrument in a jazz context. Perhaps the best known use of the steel pan as a jazz instrument is on the 1979 album Morning Dance by Spiro Gyra where it was played by David Samuels who went on to co-found the Caribbean Jazz Project, although in this band the steel pan was played by an Andy Narell.  Both these musicians were born in the USA whereas Trinidad is the ancestral home of the instrument invented by Anthony Williams who along with other members of the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra showcased the instrument at the 1951 Festival of Britain. Another member of the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra was Sterling Bettancourt who made his home in England and as well as being a pioneering musician went on to be a leading light of the Notting Hill Carnival where the steel pan has become so popular with large ensembles and marching bands.  Mark Cherrie's father Ralph played steel pan with Sterling Bettancourt and now Mark continues the family involvement with the instrument and has done for many years.

For his quartet Mark Cherrie has selected musicians with biographies that include involvement with many of the best jazz bands around, suffice to say that with John Donaldson on piano, Mick Hutton on double bass and Eric Ford on drums there is a wealth of expertise and experience but on top of that there are also special guests in the form of Dominic Grant on acoustic guitar, Dave O'Higgins on tenor saxophone, Nigel Price on electric guitar and Sumudu with vocals. In the album notes Mark Cherrie mentions that the band had never played together before entering the recording studio but this is not normally a problem for good jazz musicians and so it transpired. Cherrie comments on each track in the album notes and it would seem that this album is to some extent a Desert Island Disc compilation of tunes that have been important in his jazz journey. Of the thirteen tracks plus one reprise featured on Joining The Dots, only four are composed by Cherrie despite the fact that he has been a prolific composer of music for film and television over many years; other  compositions are by some of the great names in jazz and also jazz versions of rock and folk music.  All in all an eclectic mix of personal favourites from a genuine musician.

Cherrie's compositions begin with a tune called Morse Code, and of course the steel pan lends itself to providing the staccato notes of early telecommunication. Cherrie describes the track as the 'opening salvo' but it is not aggressive, just energetic with some nice saxophone from Dave O'Higgins.  The other Cherrie compositions are much more romantic, celebrating the birth of his son with October's Child, accompanying the vocals of Sumudu on Just Like Lovers Do and playing a lovely, latin style duet with Dominic Grant on acoustic guitar in Lost Summer.  The folk song is Scarborough Fair in which the steel pan sounds suitably plaintive for a song about a lost lover while for Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing the piano introduction is followed by Cherrie playing a strikingly evocative version of a song about love and dreams.  The jazz standards include Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage with plenty of cymbal from Eric Ford making it sound like a very rough crossing; Pat Metheny's When We Were Free in which John Donaldson's piano more than does justice to a piece which was one of the composer's favourites and the all too short Sippin' At Bells by Miles Davis and featuring Nigel Price on electric guitar in a duet with Cherrie. Also included is the tune which really turned Cherrie on to jazz music, the title being due to Dylan Thomas's immortal phrase Starless and Bible Black and which became part of the jazz canon via Stan Tracey's version of Under Milk Wood.  One of the best tunes on the album is the Nirvana rock anthem, Smells Like Teen Spirit, the band are really grooving with some great drumming from Eric Ford and Cherrie's arrangement is excellent.

This is a really enjoyable album featuring the steel pan which is rarely heard in jazz but which easily holds its own in the company of the more usual instruments. This eclectic collection of tunes lasting well over an hour is great to listen to and all the more interesting because it includes tunes that were written specifically for the steel pan as well as others of different genres that were not - a rare gem not to be missed.

Howard Lawes

Introductory Video (Morse Code) : Sample The Tracks : Website : Purchase

 

 

 

 

 

Elliot Galvin - The Influencing Machine
(Edition Records) - Released: 26th January 2018

Elliot Galvin (piano, keyboards, toys); Tom McCredie (double bass, guitar); Corrie Dick (drums, percussion).

Elliot Galvin The Influencing Machine

 

Terrific! Immediately my ears caught the trail and before I was finished with the first track, I knew I’d be there for the duration.  It’s a lesson, music is a connection.  Unless you can make it, even ‘good’ musicians just become a damn fly buzzing in your box.  It could be said the title of this recording, The Influencing Machine, makes a play for that idea.  It’s the third album Elliot Galvin has released under his own name and it’s already received a lot of interest. Mr Galvin is also the keyboard player with Laura Jurd’s band Dinosaur; I’m going to attempt putting aside what I’ve already taken in.  Punch, the previous Galvin album was a really neat thing, but The Influencing Machine runs it very close.

I’m going to cover the context because there is no way anyone can listen to what is going on here without realising there is something being said.  This session is threaded through with samples – sounds, spoken word and musical clippings.  If you are someone who is only here (hear) for the piano trio you might as well go find yourself a Bill Evans album and enjoy it; don’t bother with The Influencing Machine.  However, not bothering would be a mistake in my view.

The thread that runs through this brilliant conception is the life and times of James Tilly-Matthews whose story takes us back to the latter half of the 1700’s.... yet also plunges us straight back into our own world dilemmas.  It’s the kind of facts-based story you could read in a Robert Harris novel. Tilly-Matthews was involved in British and French spy networks.  A political activist, merchant .... and paranoid schizophrenic who believed he was being influenced by a ‘machine’ in order to undertake acts of espionage.  Okay, so the internet is currently responsible for hatching terrorism; well, Tilly-Matthews in the 18th century got there first. There’s no space here to debate this stuff, all that I can tell you is that Elliot Galvin makes an utterly convincing fist (and fingers) job of bringing all this together through music and samples.  And if you’re still with me, in amongst all that, there is a ‘piano trio’ buried within.  It’s just that they play beyond piano, bass and drums.  This, my friends takes us a hell of a lot further forward than the latest American Songbook regurgitation.  What does not get lost in all the studio edits is Elliot Galvin - one imaginative pianist and keyboard player.

The Influencing Machine consists of ten tracks.  I am going to pick out three which I find fundamental to what is going on here.  This approach should not distract from the other seven pieces which all offer surprises.  Even in the pathos of the very short final ‘goodbye’, Fountainhead, there is a beguiling moment.  It is in fact a compression of the starter track – New Model Army.  The NMA was Oliver Cromwell’s much vaunted professional fighting force of the English Civil War. They literally revolutionised the way combat troops were organised.  Here’s another link, when Charlie Haden in 1983 recorded his Liberation Music Orchestra for the first time on the ECM label (Ballad of The Fallen) one of the pieces quoted on the title track was The People United Will Never Be Defeated, originally based on the Chilean song by Sergio Ortega.  As I sat down to my first listen-through of The Influencing Machine there, right at the beginning, before anything else had happened, was that evocative melody making its presence felt as if it were a forgotten eulogy.  Played bitter/sweet by the piano through an oscillating bell, if you knew the connections it did what I guess it was meant to do; I felt strangely moved, at the same time apprehensive, yet completely focused.  If a musician is going to bring such strands together and use them as his starting position, what on earth is going to follow? Answer: the name ‘James Tilly-Matthews’ is writ large, and it becomes an album of intrigue.

Take for instance the third track, Red and Yellow. It begins with a funky piano riff given additional motivation by Tom McCredie’s defined double bass (he’s a strong protagonist throughout the whole session) squeezing his runs into tight corners.  Dinosaur’s drummer, Corrie Dick, completes the angular path feeding in odd fills, smart rolls and whole-drum-kit comment.  It could be weird Chic.  At heart Red and Yellow is a five minute theme with a clear form, yet it is spiked with ‘ghost’ samples of electronic speech that cross like interruptions from a past life, confabulated by stride and honky-tonk piano.  I guess my reason for picking it out is that this track is actually a dub ‘mix’, a technique which defines this session. Red and Yellow has no extensions; it has a beginning, a middle and an end.  On this occasion the frame serves a purpose. Every track on The Influencing Machine has its own retinue of sounds. Mr Galvin keeps control of them.  What could become a mere musical toy box is used with care.  This is an audio story with a narrative maintained throughout.

The central track is probably Bees, Dogs and Flies. It is the longest cut and passes through a continual haze of torn harmony.  Pieces of prepared piano, a hint of Hammond organ, hymnal quotes accompanied by percussion detritus, fragments of folk song, echoes of distant drumming; it cements itself into the consciousness like heat when baked into gravel.  This would be my download choice, though it hurts to hear it, like listening to Britten’s War Requiem or Billie Holiday’s March 1959 recording with Ray Ellis of All The Way.

On the strength of Elliot Galvin’s recommendation I went to my local library and got out the book, The Air Loom Gang: The Strange and True Story of James Tilly-Matthews and His Visionary Madness by Mike Jay. I pass on the recommendation to anyone who has got this far in this review. Here is an extraordinary album, bigger than it initially appears.  Certainly not easy, neither is schizophrenia.  It is dark territory made positive; music made anew.  This is how it is. Thanks.

Steve Day

Details and listen to the album : Video Trailer (there are flickering images at the start) : Elliot Galvin's website

Steve Day is a writer and poet and leads the band Blazing Flame. www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk 

 

 

American Releases

 

Mark Wade Trio - Moving Day
(Edition 46 Records) - Released: 19th January 2018

Tim Harrison (piano); Mark Wade (acoustic bass); Scott Neumann (drums).

Mark Wade Trio Moving Day

 

Mark Wade is a proficient double bassist and composer who has been playing in NYC for two decades, showing off his fluid, athletic sound. The follow-up to his widely recognized debut album, Event Horizon, is entitled Moving Day and like before, features a classic trio with Tim Harrison and Scott Neumann on piano and drums, respectively. Together, they achieve an impressive triangular tightness that can be heard without delay on the first track, the 6/4 post-bop wonder that gave the album its title. It kicks off with the pianist delivering an ostinato, which, minutes later, is reutilized by the bassist to install the groove. The bandleader, embarking on an effusive back-and-forth solo, discharges melody and rhythm with aplomb, and the energy doesn't faint when Neumann unleashes his clear-sighted chops over a rock-inflected vamp.

These soloists are furiously active again on “Wide Open”, a pretty straightforward tune with a catchy piano riff and a gorgeous rhythm that brings a scent of R&B and soul to the jazz-rock stamina that sustains its core. I thought of it as a crossing between Stevie Wonder and Chick Corea. Borrowing melody from Debussy’s “La Mer”, “The Bells” is an imaginative waltz encompassing glorious suspensions and a chamber-esque sparseness created by the bowed bass. On top of this musing, Harrison’s left-hand onrushes are perceptible on the lower register, bringing McCoy's technique to the mind. The coolness of the piano solo sparks nice melodies while the brushwork of the drummer is noticeable throughout the bass solo. Wade devised new shiny outfits for a couple of jazz standards, with “Another Night in Tunisia” being shuffled in tempo while maintaining the strong latin affinity present in Dizzy’s original, and “Autumn Leaves” being subjected to a successful reorganization to include Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage”. 

Virtuosity and creativity also reign on “Midnight in the Cathedral” in which the band plunges into a dense modal spirituality. Although honoring medieval music, I sensed it more like a mantra-based chant within a style that reminisces Alice Coltrane. With disparate natures, “Something of a Romance” and “The Quarter” are a medium-tense ballad and an elated march, respectively. The latter has a decompressing effect, displaying occasional bluesy flourishes and a more traditional flow that feels as humorous as the compositions of drummer Matt Wilson. With an impressive command of his instrument, Wade takes his tightly-knit acoustic trio beyond stereotyped formulas or just simplistic reinterpretations of known songs. Moving Day is a dazzling testament to his evolving artistry, where inventiveness is on full display.

Filipe Freitas - JazzTrail.

Introductory Video : Performance Video: JazzTrail Review

Filipe Freitas runs JazzTrail in New York City with photographer Clara Pereira. They feature album and concert coverage, press releases and press kits, album covers and biographies. They are valued contacts for Sandy Brown Jazz in the United States. You can read more about Filipe and Clara in their 'Tea Break' item with us if you click here.

 

 

 

 

Wes Montgomery - In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
(Resonance Records) - Released: 26th January 2018

Wes Montgomery (guitar); Harold Mabern (piano); Arthur Harper (bass); Jimmy Lovelace (drums) + guest Johnny Griffin (tenor saxophone).

Wes Montgomery In Paris

 

 

'Released as a deluxe 2CD-set and digital edition, In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording signals the memorable Paris concert by the super jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. The event took place at the Theatre des Champs-Elysées during his 1965 European tour ... It is bebop at its best, revealing that the guitarist’s sound is just as brilliant live as it is in the studio'.

Details and samples : JazzTrail Review : Video introduction

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wayne Escoffery - Vortex
(Alliance Import) - Released: 2nd March 2018

Wayne Escoffery (tenor and soprano saxophone); Dave Kikosk (piano); Ugonna Okegwo (bass); Ralph Peterson (drums).

Wayne Escoffery Vortex

 

 

'... shaped in an urgent, socio-political way that aims to (highlight) racism, bigotry, and hate in the US, (the album) is a tour de force and the title track exemplifies this better than any other track. It’s an attractive post-bop discharge whose kicking-and-screaming locomotion is absolutely stunning. The bandleader shows his magnificent soloing capabilities, showing an affinity to explore deeply and widely with irrepressible inventiveness and bristling provocation. Kikoski and Peterson don’t squander their chances to be noticed when called to intervene'.

Details : JazzTrail Review : Video - Wayne at Ronnie Scott's in 2016.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marta Sánchez Quintet - Danza Imposible
(Fresh Sound New Talent) - Released: 1st October 2017

Roman Filiu (alto saxophone); Jerome Sabbagh (tenor saxophone); Marta Sanchez (piano); Rick Rosato (bass); Daniel Dor (drums).

Marta Sanchez Quintet Danza Imposible

 

'Madrid-born pianist Marta Sanchez has been an influential voice on the New York jazz scene since she moved to the Big Apple seven years ago. Danza Imposible, couldn’t have been a better follow-up to Partenika (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2014), exceeding all the expectations by presenting music that challenges, intrigues, and bewilders.... Conquering her space with a triumphant confidence, Marta Sanchez, proves she is a top 21st-century composer. This seminal work takes us to unexpected places, radiating energy in its most varied forms and passages. This outstanding Danza is not Impossible at all!'

Details and Sample : JazzTrail Review : 'Nebulosa' from the album : Video

 

 

 

 

 

European Releases

 

AKA Moon – Now
(Instinct) - Released: 19th January 2018

Fabrizio Cassol (saxophone); Michel Hatzigeorgiou (bass); Stéphane Galland (drums)

AKA Moon Now

 

My CD of the month comes from across the channel in Belgium from a trio that almost never makes it over here and is probably a new name to most readers, despite having being one of the best known European improvising bands since an encounter with the AKA Pygmies some 25 years ago. This new album is typical of their style, and quite unlike most British jazz.  There are certainly influences from Steve Coleman's M-Base movement, and some of the early music from F-IRE and Loop collectives did have a similar approach.

The music is built on simple riffs and phrases, but is rhythmically complex and full of inventive and often ferocious improvisation. The collective interplay has patterns and rhythms constantly shifting between the different instruments. To celebrate their 25 years together the band has also released a 20 CD Box set. That may be a bit tough for newcomers but it does feature their collaborations with Indian, African, Balkan and other musicians, as well as other trio albums.

Peter Slavid

Listen to Persevering : Details : Purchase :

Peter Slavid hosts a monthly, 2 hour radio show at www.mixcloud.com/ukjazz and says: 'The programme has a very specific purpose. The show is entirely European and entirely modern'.

 

 

 

 

Thomas Strønen's Time Is A Blind Guide - Lucus
(ECM) - Released: 19th January 2018

Thomas Strønen (drums); Ayumi Tanaka (piano); Hakon Aase (violin); Lucy Railton (cello); Ole Morten Vagan (bass). 

Thomas Stronen Lucus


Norwegian drummer/composer Thomas Strønen, a member of the experimental jazz band Food, returns with a quintet variation of his Time Is A Blind Guide project. Entitled Lucus, the 11-track album features the collective’s core members: violinist Hakon Aase, cellist Lucy Railton, and bassist Ole Morten Vagan, plus a valuable new addition with the up-and-coming Japanese pianist Ayumi Tanaka sitting in for Kit Downs.

An ethereal chamber setting is immediately assimilated on the first track, “La Bella”, a reiterative meditation of great beauty that, suspended and static in nature, varies in intensity. All the compositions belong to Strønen, except this one ... it was with the idiosyncratic arrangement of “Wednesday” that the band captivated me the most, showcasing classical piano spells and beautiful folk melodies instilled by Aase ... Strønen gives his counterparts the freedom they need to totally connect with his spacious sense of composition, and Lucus lives from the harmony of their constant exchanges.

Filipe Freitas - JazzTrail

Video Introduction : Details and Samples : JazzTrail Review

 

 

 

Re-Releases

 

The Oscar Peterson Trio and Singers Unlimited - In Tune (Remastered Anniversary Edition)
(MPS) - Released: 17th November 2017)

Oscar Peterson (piano); George Mraz (bass); drummer Louis Hayes (drums) and Singers Unlimited.

Oscar Peterson Trio In Tune

 

 

'Peterson himself instigated the first contact between the Schwarzwald studio and The Singers Unlimited (TSU). That contact developed into a fruitful decade-long relationship; the Villingen studio's superb technology perfectly suited the sophisticated requirements of vocal artist and leader Gene Puerling. Recorded in 1971, In Tune was TSU's first album on MPS. It feeds off the languages of the two musical poles, whether it's in the swinging give and take of the opener, Sesame Street, or in the switch from the reverential orchestrally-layered choir intro to Peterson's sparkling play on It Never Entered My Mind'.

Details : Samples : Listen to Catherine; Sesame Street ; Here's That Rainy Day

 

 

 

 

 

Dinah Washington & Quincy Jones - The Complete Sessions (3 CD Box Set, Remastered original recordings)
(Essential Jazz Classics) - Released: 13th October 2017

Dinah Washington (vocals); Quincy Jones (director, arranger, conductor) and various personnel including Clark Terry, Joe Newman, Charlie Shavers (trumpets); Urbie Green, Quentin Jackson, Billy Byers (trombones); Lucky Thompson, Paul Quinichette, Budd Johnson, Jerome Richardson (reeds); Wynton Kelly (piano), Barry Galbraith (guitar), Milt Hinton (bass); Jimmy Cobb, Osie Johnson (drums).

Dinah Washington Quincy Jones The Complete Sessions

 

'This 3-CD, 73-track set presents, for the first time ever on a single edition, all existing sessions featuring the singing of Dinah Washington with bands conducted by Quincy Jones, who was also responsible for most of the arrangements on these dates. Ranging from 1955 to 1961, the sessions include the complete contents of the classic albums For Those in Love (Emarcy MG-36011), I Wanna Be Loved (Mercury SR-60729), and The Swingin’ Miss “D” (EmArcy MG-36104), along with various other tunes issued on singles. Contained here are her unforgettable renditions of “Mad About the Boy”, “Blue Gardenia” and “I’ll Close My Eyes” (the latter two were selected by Clint Eastwood for the soundtrack to his movie The Bridges of Madison County)'.

Details : 4* Jazzwise review of Feb 2018 'This 3CD set is an extremely efficient way to acquire all the Jones/Washington collaborations'.

 

 

 

 

 

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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 ...



 

 

 

UK Jazz Venues Near You

 

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

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

 

 

Jazz Talks: Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas

Buckinghamshire:

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

Norwich:

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

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

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