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March 2017

Click for this month's:
Quiz
Jazz Venues


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

His manager has recalled: "I once spent the night at his house, and when I woke up, I saw Monk at the piano composing while the radio on top of the piano was blasting away, playing hillbilly music." Monk does not, however, work on a daily schedule. When he feels 'right' he will compose. He won't force himself. When he does work, as Dick Katz observes, "he works very hard, very intensely. He has a lot of fragments in his mind that he'll keep coming back to in the process of composition, and he's always especially concerned about getting the bridge (the 'inside', he calls it) for his songs. The inside, he insists, has to make you appreciate the outside."

A few years ago, when Nellie (his wife) was quite sick, Monk began to release some of his worry in music, and worked doggedly at Crepuscle With Nellie, one of his most tender compositions. It took him a month before he worked out the 'inside' he felt was right ....

 

Thelonious Monk

 

... Thelonious can be challenging in other ways than music. "I used to have a phobia," says Nellie, "about pictures or anything on a wall hanging just a little bit crooked. Thelonious cured me. He nailed a clock to the wall at a very slight angle, just enough to make me furious. We argued about it for two hours, but he wouldn't let me change it. Finally, I got used to it. Now anything can hang at any angle, and it doesn't bother me at all."

Click here to listen to Crepuscle With Nellie.

From The Jazz Life by Nat Hentoff.
Sadly Nat Hentoff passed through the Departure Lounge in January.

 


Name That Tune!

(Click on the picture for the answers)

 

Rainy Day fund

 

 

Diner

 

 

Night school board

 

 

Previously Unreleased Louis Armstrong Recordings

Louis Armstrong

Dot Time Records has announced a partnership with the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc. This newly established agreement will include four previously unreleased productions from the archives of Queen's College, which houses the Louis Armstrong collection. The releases will be part of the Dot Time Records 'Legends' series. Jerry Roche, who heads the Legends Series for Dot Time Records, was in search of undiscovered gems by Armstrong and was stunned by what he found when researching the archives.

"When I heard this music by Louis Armstrong", said Roche, "I was totally overwhelmed. Producing this music would mean people could connect again with the greatness of Louis Armstrong." Roche who will be producing this series of never before commercially released music said, "I made it my mission to make the music available." The productions will be available in CD, Vinyl and Digital formats. A special collector's edition will also be available.

Photograph courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum.

Oscar Cohen, who was Louis Armstrong's manager and is the sole and exclusive agent for the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc. and the estate of Louis Armstrong said, "We are so happy to be working with Dot Time Legends to bring more of Louis Armstrong's beautiful recordings to the world, to hear the music and feel the love".

The first will be released mid May and will feature a 1950 studio recording. This 55 minute recording was recorded in San Francisco, California on January 20, 1950 by the Standard Oil Company for their radio show, “Musical Map of America.” The recording was episode 19, “Musical Story of New Orleans,” and featured Armstrong, Jack Teagarden and Earl Hines. For reasons not known, the broadcast was never made and Armstrong was given the acetate discs of the sessions. Future releases will feature selections of recordings of concerts that date back to the 1950s and '60s, including the 1957 South American Tour, which will be a double CD release. Some of the musicians that performed with Louis on these concerts were Jack Teagarden, Earl Hines, Cozy Cole, Edmond Hall and Trummy Young just to name a few.

 

 

Bop Apocalypse: Jazz, Race, The Beats, And Drugs

We have not received a review copy of this book by Martin Torgoff, but it looks interesting. Available from Amazon, the book is described there:

'The gripping story of the rise of early drug culture in America, from the author of the acclaimed Can't Find My Way Home with an intricate storyline that unites engaging characters and themes and reads like a novel, Bop Apocalypse details the rise of early drug culture in America by Bop Apocalypseweaving together the disparate elements that formed this new and revolutionary segment of the American social fabric. Drawing upon his rich decades of writing experience, master storyteller Martin Torgoff connects the birth of jazz in New Orleans, the first drug laws, Louis Armstrong, Mezz Mezzrow, Harry Anslinger and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, swing, Lester Young, Billie Holiday, the Savoy Ballroom, Reefer Madness, Charlie Parker, the birth of bebop, the rise of the Beat Generation, and the coming of heroin to Harlem.'

'Aficionados of jazz, the Beats, counterculture, and drug history will all find much to enjoy here, with a cast of characters that includes vivid and memorable depictions of Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Jackie McLean, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Borroughs, Jack Kerouac, Herbert Huncke, Terry Southern, and countless others. Bop Apocalypse is also a living history that teaches us much about the conflicts and questions surrounding drugs today, casting many contemporary issues in a new light by connecting them back to the events of this transformative era.'

'At a time when marijuana legalization is rapidly becoming a reality, it takes us back to the advent of marijuana prohibition, when the templates of modern drug law, policy, and culture were first established, along with the concomitant racial stereotypes. As a new opioid epidemic sweeps through white working- and middle-class communities, it brings us back to when heroin first arrived on the streets of Harlem in the 1940s. And as we debate and grapple with the gross racial disparities of mass incarceration, it puts into sharp and provocative focus the racism at the very roots of our drug war. Having spent a lifetime at the nexus of drugs and music, Torgoff reveals material never before disclosed and offers new insights, crafting and contextualizing Bop Apocalypse into a truly novel contribution to our understanding of jazz, race, literature, drug culture, and American social and cultural history.'

Click here for an interview with the author. Click here for purchase and other details.

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Place The Face

Face Question Mark

This month we challenge you with fifteen portraits of jazz musicians to identify.

For Example, who is this?

Who's This?

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

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

The 2017 Jazz Grammys

February saw the 59th Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, hosted by James Corden. As the media reported widely, Adele was the Grammy Awards logobiggest winner of the night with five trophies, including Album of the Year for 25, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year for Hello. Interestingly, as of this year, recordings released solely through streaming services were eligible to enter the award process. The award for Best Music Film went to The Beatles: Eight Days a Week The Touring Years, which if you haven't seen it, I certainly recommend.

The categories and nominations for Grammy Awards are many and cover far more areas than we usually see in the headlines. In the Jazz category, the winners were:

Best Improvised Jazz Solo - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry – John Scofield, soloist
Best Jazz Vocal Album - Take Me to the Alley – Gregory Porter
Best Jazz Instrumental Album - Country for Old Men – John Scofield
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album - Presidential Suite: Eight Variations on Freedom – Ted Nash Big Band
Best Latin Jazz Album - Tribute to Irakere: Live in Marciac – Chucho Valdéz

The UK's young Jacob Collier won two Grammys for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella for You and I from his acclaimed album In My Room (click here to listen to You And I) and another for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals (for Flintstones - click here for video)

Click here for details of all the awards.

 


 

 

 

Jazz Remembered

Don Lawson

 

Don Lawson

Lionel King has written a comprehensive Profile of the career of drummer Don Lawson for us that you can read on a separate page if you click here, and where you will find a number of examples of Don playing. Titled Don Lawson - Modern Jazz Musician, the article begins:

'Don Lawson, percussionist, one of the dwindling company of survivors of the earliest days of the modern jazz scene in London, sadly passed away last year.  His recording career from jazz enthusiasts’ points of view spanned the comparatively short period of 1952-59 in which he was associated with virtually all the foremost British musicians and visitors from overseas who pioneered modern jazz in this country.'

'Born in Ladbroke Grove, London on July 7th 1930, his first professional engagement was with Kenny Graham’s outfit, The Afro Cubists, in September 1951.  He claimed that before joining this now legendary group he had virtually no experience outside a few dance gigs and had received no formal tuition.  Invited to sit in, his natural talent was noted by Graham, ten years his senior. An invitation to join officially came within days.'

Don became resident drummer at Studio 51 and recorded for a number of labels and with several groups, including those of Don Rendell, Keith Bird, Ken Moule, Dill Jones, Don Harper and Frank Horrox as well as accompanying many visiting jazz musicians.

Click here to listen to Don Lawson with Don Rendell on You Stepped Out Of A Dream. You will find other examples with Don's story in the main article.

What we haven't been able to find are more pictures of Don Lawson that we can include with Lionel's article. Can anyone help? If you can, please click here to let us know.

Click here for our page of 'Jazz Remembered' articles.

 

 

 

Flamenco Sketches

Robin Kidson sends us his recent poem 'Flamenco Sketches'. Robin says: 'It's a poetic evocation of Flamenco Sketches which is the last track on the Miles Davis album, Kind of Blue. The poem puts into words thoughts and images generated by listening to the track. This has been one of my favourite pieces of music for a very long time. Some of the images come from various visits to Southern Spain over the last few years; others arise from an interest in Spanish history, particularly around the time of the Civil War.'

Click here to listen to Miles Davis and Flamenco Sketches.

 

Flamenco dancer

In Spain, Bill Evans is still playing on,
And John Coltrane is blowing autumn leaves,
A dancer taps a beat upon the ground,
She stamps so hard her feet begin to bleed.

Miles Davis picks a scab upon his lips,
And Cannonball applies a balm of sorts,
A guitar breaks into a thousand bits,
The rebels hiding in the hills are caught.

Paul Chambers plucks a string, in Spain, in Spain,
The bass reverberates across the hills,
The shadow of a hand spreads like a stain,
The baying crowd is waiting for the kill.

 

 

Spanish Civil War

 

And Jimmy Cobb makes drum and cymbal swish,
The dancer gently sways across the square,
The click of castanets, the lovers’ kiss,
A wailing calling penitents to prayer.

Men and women are lined up to be killed;
Flamenco blood flows downward to the sea;
The terracotta land grows redder still;
The bill is paid for longing to be free.

 

 

 

Miles Davis Kind Of Blue

 

 

 


Help With Musical Definitions No 33.

 

Heavy Metal

Baritone Sax.

Gerry Mulligan video

Gerry Mulligan Quartet - Jazzfestival Bern 1990
(click the pic. sound comes on in a couple of seconds)

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

 

 

 

 

 

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].

 

Trish Clowes

 

Trish Clowes

Photograph by Curtis Schwartz

 

Trish Clowes started playing piano when she was four, often making up her own tunes as she went along. Over time, her love of playing and composing developed an affinity with the saxophone and a place at London’s Royal Academy of Music. In 2015 she won a BASCA British Composer Award; she has appeared on television as part of BBC Proms Extra as well as making radio broadcasts, and she has released four albums; we recently reviewed her latest excellent album, My Iris (click here for the review).

In May 2012, with funding from the PRS for Music Foundation, Trish curated her first Emulsion festival featuring ECM artist Iain Ballamy. The event has been successful to the point where it has resulted in four subsequent festivals and has grown to travel beyond London where Trish is now based. Emulsion is a cross-genre music festival offering a platform for contemporary composition and improvisation. Emulsion V recently My Irisconcluded Trish’s My Iris tour at the Midland Arts Centre in Birmingham, and featured special commissions for the Emulsion Sinfonietta from Hans Koller, Percy Pursglove, Joe Cutler and Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian and was hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenter Fiona Talkington.

 

The Trish Clowes Quartet:
Chris Montague (guitar), Trish Clowes (saxophone), James Maddren (drums) and Ross Stanley (piano and Hammond organ).
Photograph by Dannie Price

 

Trish has been commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to compose a new piece for the BBC Concert Orchestra and this will be performed as part of a family concert later in 2017. Other ongoing projects include the GLOW quartet with pianist Gareth Williams and Under Your Wing, a song-based project with vocalist Norma Winstone and guitarist Mike Walker (The Impossible Gentlemen).

Trish Clowes has recently been appointed at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama as a professor of jazz saxophone and improvisation.

I managed to catch Trish for a tea break.

 

Hi Trish, tea or coffee?

Ooo coffee please...


Milk and sugar?

Neither for me thanks.


I have noticed that some people are not sure how to pronounce your name 'Clowes', whether the 'ow' is like in 'Now's The Time' or whether it should be pronounced 'Close' as in 'Close the first set' .....?

Well, although both of those would be logical assumptions, it's actually pronounced 'Clues' - way to remember, "Give us a clue..."


Trish Clowes My Iris

 

You have been getting some great reviews for your album My Iris. Is it very different to your last album, Pocket Compass?

In some ways yes, some ways no. There are the obvious personnel differences ... And it has been such a great experience bringing on board Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian, currently composer in residence with the London Symphony Orchestra, to write a piece for us. There are lots of new things on this record for me... and it feels like the start of something, not just a standalone recording. Chris, Ross and I spent a long time developing the material as a trio before adding James at the beginning of last year ... and so we really played around with roles in the band, textures etc. So when James joined us it was interesting to see what spaces he would occupy ... it changes things for everyone having a slightly unusual line-up.

[Click here for an introductory video to My Iris. Click the picture for some extracts from the album].

 

James Maddren


 

James Maddren
photograph by Curtis Schwartz

 



 

How did the tour go? Were there any memorable gigs or happenings?

Memorable happenings ... yes, for sure ...! Perhaps I can't mention al l of them here ... ha ha! But musically, there were so many special moments - I was so excited to play every night, to see/hear what might happen ... I also twisted my ankle pretty badly, just before our Shrewsbury gig (2nd gig of the tour). James had to get frozen peas for me which stayed on my foot for the whole London-Shrewsbury journey ... I spent much of the tour hobbling around with an ankle that changed colour daily!! Bruise is still there ... Ouch.

[Click here for a video of Trish's Quintet playing On / Off at Pizza Express in 2015. In this video, Gwilym Simcock is at the piano and Calum Gourlay is the bass player].




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

Duke Ellington and Mary Lou Williams.

Mary Lou Williams


What would you ask them?

Well, I'd like to hear them just talk to each other really ... But I guess, with Duke, he had such a vision for his music and musicians from the outset and throughout his life ... And Mary Lou ... wow, her influence on the musicians around her, her playing and compositions, the successes other musicians achieved because of the directions she pushed them in ... talk about breaking glass ceilings ... I mean ... with people like that, you let them dictate the direction of conversation!!

Mary Lou Williams



[Click here to listen to Mary Lou Williams playing It Ain't Necessarily So from her album Black Christ Of The Andes]

 

Hob Nob, Bourbon, Garibaldi or digestive biscuit?

Unfortunately I can't eat any of those as I have annoying food intolerances (real ones) but I can eat those soft Italian Amaretti biscuits, so next time I'll bring those along!!


What is happening with Emulsion?

Now there's a question! Exciting times actually, we just had the 5th edition in Birmingham and the combination of personalities on this last oneTrish Clowes Emulsion was brilliant - there was a lot of empathy on the stage.

I now have a partner in crime to help me run Emulsion, saxophonist Tom Harrison ... and new music specialist/radio presenter Fiona Talkington is also part of the team in an advisory capacity (and she hosted the event in Birmingham) ... so I finally have the support I need to sustain it longterm. It takes a lot out of me, but I found this last edition extremely energising... So we're already plotting and dreaming for the next one.

[Click here for more about Emulsion]

Emulsion Project
Photograph by Dannie Price



What else have you got coming up this year?

More playing with pianist Gareth Williams and our band GLOW, more writing and dates for My Iris (playing at the Sage on April 2nd for the
Gateshead International Jazz Festival) and I also have a new commission for the BBC Concert Orchestra. There are a few other things bubbling
away too...

[Click here for a conversation between Gareth Williams and Trish about their music].

 

 

Helena Kay Kim

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

In the UK, pianist Ashley Henry, bassist Daniel Casimir, saxophonists Meilana Gillard, Helena Kay and Camilla George (who has just brought out her debut album, I think your readers are already familiar with her work), trumpeter Freddie Gavita (who is also about to bring out his debut record). 

[Click here for a video of Ashley Henry playing Herbie Hancock's Chan's Song].

[Click here for our review of Camilla George's album Isang]

Ambrose Akinmusire

 

 

From across the pond, if you're not aware of Ambrose Akinmusire's Quartet yet, with Sam Harris, Harish Raghavan and Justin Brown, they all totally blew me away when I heard them live recently. They are playing in London in July at Ronnie Scotts I think.

Ambrose Akinmusire

 


 

Another coffee?

I think I better switch to Peppermint tea...

 

[Click here for a video of the Trish Clowes Quintet playing A Cat Called Behemoth at the Pizza Express in 2015].

[Click here for Trish's website]

 

Trish Clowes

 

Click here for more Tea Breaks

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

Georgia Mancio and Alan Broadbent’s Songbook


On 2nd April at Gateshead International Jazz Festival and 3rd April at Ronnie Scott’s Club, singer / lyricist Georgia Mancio and pianist, composer and arranger Alan Broadbent will launch their album, Songbook, with Oli Hayhurst on double bass and Dave Ohm Songbook Alan Broadbent and Georgia Mancio on drums/percussion. The album will be released on 23rd April, Alan Broadbent’s 70th birthday.

Alan Broadbent was born in New Zealand on 23rd April 1947. He has worked with so many jazz musicians, people like Woody Herman, Chet Baker, Bud Shank, Irene Kral, Charlie Haden ... the list goes on. In the early 1990s he was part of Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable... with Love album, and wrote an orchestral arrangement for her second video with her father, Nat King Cole, When I Fall in Love, which won Alan his first Grammy for "Best Orchestral Arrangement Accompanying a Vocal". His second Grammy was for an orchestral accompaniment written for Shirley Horn of Leonard Bernstein's Lonely Town. He is Diana Krall's conductor for her occasional orchestra concerts and he wrote six string arrangements for Paul McCartney's album Kisses on the Bottom (click here for a video of My Valentine). In the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours Alan was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to jazz.

Georgia Mancio says: ‘About 20 years ago, when I worked at Ronnie's, Simon Woolf recommended I listen Alan Broadbent and Georgia Mancioto Irene Kral as I was just starting singing. That led me to the sublime duo albums she made with Alan Broadbent. In 2012 I sent Alan an email asking if he ever wanted to do any UK gigs with a singer totally unknown to him! That led to some duo gigs the following year and later the start of our songwriting partnership.’

Since then, Georgia has established herself as a major jazz singer and runs her own international voice festival - ReVoice! Alan Broadbent invited Georgia to write a lyric for The Long Goodbye – a piece originally conceived for Charlie Haden’s Quartet West. One song led to another and over nine months they reimagined some of Alan’s earlier recorded work (Just Like A Child, The Journey Home, One For Bud); brand new creations (Hide Me From The Moonlight, Lullaby For MM) and even a piece composed by Alan when he was just 17 years old (Where The Soft Winds Blow).

Click here for an introductory video from a live performance at Pizza Express Jazz Club.

Although both have enjoyed other collaborations, this will be the first time Alan’s music has been heard entirely with words and it is Georgia’s first full collection of original writings. We look forward to reviewing the album in a future issue.

 

 

 

 

Tracks Unwrapped

Laird Baird

 

[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].

Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker

Charlie 'Bird' Parker's classic tune Laird Baird was recorded by the Charlie Parker Quartet in New York City on 30th December 1952 with Charlie Parker (alto sax), Hank Jones (piano), Teddy Kotick (bass) and Max Roach (drums). The recording was released in 1953 on the Verve label. Bird Blues

 

It is an example of what became known as 'Bird Changes', a unique version of the 12-bar blues that he also used in tunes such as Blues For Alice and Si Si. Technically, he uses a series of sequential II-V or secondary II-V progressions.

Bird Blues in Bb

 

 

On the sleeve notes for a 1977 LP reissue, Bob Blumenthal writes: 'Nothing gets in the way of Parker's genius here - ideas come in flashes, effortlessly, and everything he conceives is articulated on the horn. Laird Baird with its quicksilver alto choruses, is enriched by the impeccable and increasingly melodic drums of Max Roach .... As always Hank Jones is elegant and lyrical, a model of grace without pressure.' There is less information around about bassist Teddy Kotick except that he was a regular sideman with many of the leading figures of the 1940s and 1950s, including Charlie Parker, Buddy Rich, Artie Shaw, Horace Silver and Bill Evans.

Click here to listen to Laird Baird.

 

Laird Baird was dedicated to Baird, Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker’s son with Chan Parker. Chan, a dancer in New York City, was born Beverly Dolores Berg, but she was also known as Chan Richardson and Chan Parker. Chan and Charlie were never married. In 1950, when Chan moved in with Charlie she was divorced and already had a daughter, Kim, from her marriage to musician Bill Heyer. Charlie also dedicated a composition to Kim, and that too has become a jazz classic, perhaps even more so than Laird Baird. Click here to listen to Kim. As we shall see, life mirrors music in the prominence of Baird and Kim.

Charlie and Chan also had a daughter, Pree, who was born in 1951. Baird was born in 1952. Sadly, Pree died in 1954 of cystic fibrosis. As Chan was to say later, not much had been know of the disorder in those days and the death of the two year old was devastating to the family. As Charlie Parker himself died a year later in 1955, four year old Baird would have remembered little about his father.

When Baird was born in 1952, that also coincided with an occasion when Bird was playing in Detroit and he encountered his first son, Leon, by his marriage to Rebecca Ruffin. The youngster, who was about eleven at the time, knew very little about his father either as apparently neither his mother nor his Parker familygrandmother, Addie, ever talked to him about Charlie. Clearly, the early 1950s were significant years as far as Bird's children were concerned and a particularly difficult time for Chan. Things had never been straightforward for the relationship anyway; Charlie's frequently upredictable drug and alcohol abuse and sharing an inter-racial relationship in those days can't have been easy.

We should remember that Charlie had two other wives before he and Chan got together - Geraldine Scott and Doris Syndor. Charlie never divorced Doris. It would be easy to get sidelined in this article about Charlie and Chan's various relationships and the repercussions on them from his death. Certainly the disputes that arose as to who should have what of Charlie's after he died were fraught. What is worth noting at this point is that despite everything that followed, Baird's obituary says that it was Baird who received the royalties from Charlie's music as he was the only surviving child of Charlie Parker.

This picture of a family Sunday dinner in 1953 appears on the Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors site and gives us a rare glimpse of Baird. Right to left: Pree on Charlie Parker's lap, Aunt Rae, Chan, Baird, Kim, Uncle Jimmy, Aunt Janet.

 

 

Asked later by Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors about Bird's relationship with Baird and Pree, Kim said: 'My mother was very upset because Pree was sickly. They didn’t know what cystic fibrosis was then – they hadn’t given it a name. At that time, cystic fibrosis had not been isolated as a disease, so it had no name. She died at 2½ of pneumonia. My mother would be upset at Bird because he would pay attention to Baird andBird, Chan and Bairdme, and he would not pay attention to Pree. I think he was afraid of her vulnerability because she was sickly. My mother said to him, “Baird has a middle name. You wrote a song for Baird. You wrote a song for Kim. Why didn’t you write a song for Pree? Pree doesn’t have a middle name.” You know, he died almost a year to the day after Pree died.

KCJA: You had a really cohesive family unit, where you would have Sunday dinners. It seems to me that phase of the relationship is when Bird and Chan were very tight. When did you first notice they were drifting apart?

Kim: I was often shipped uptown to my grandmother’s, so I knew something was afoot. I remember my mother coming home from the hospital after Pree died. Pree died five times. Her heart stopped in the taxi, and in the hospital, and then she finally succumbed. Bird was in California. My mother probably called my grandmother to come and stay with me and Baird while she took Pree to the hospital. But I remember my mother, just remember her sobbing, sobbing.

The site also carries this picture of Bird, Chan and Baird in Washington Square, New York, after the death of their daughter Pree.

 

Two years after Bird's death in 1955, Chan married saxophonist Phil Woods and moved to France, where she spent much of the rest of her life. She died in 1999 and we can read her obtuary in The Independent here. So what happened to Baird? As Charlie and Chan were estranged at the time of Bird's death, Baird probably went on living with his grandmother.

In interview (click here) Kim Parker said: '.... my sister (Pree) died and then everything sort of fell apart. That was the year before Bird died. My sister died in March 1954 and Bird died in March 1955. That was pretty downhill. .... My mother moved us to New Hope, Pennsylvania thinking a change of scene would be beneficial for everyone. My mother was completely devastated by the death of her daughter and Bird. ... When Bird died we were living with my grandmother in Lumberville, Pennsylvania. Bird didn’t actually know where we lived. My mother had moved us and my mother was working, checking coats at a jazz club in Trenton, New Jersey. She was not at home, my grandmother was babysitting, when we got a call from an uncle - saying that Bird was dead. My grandmother lived on what later became known as Swing Street - 52nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenue - I was shipped off there after my father died. ......'

 

Returning to the tune, the now unavailable www.jazz.com quoted Marcus Singletary saying that Laird Baird ‘... contains quite a few awesome solo passages by the jazz legend even though the music is less visual than is normal for a player whose reputation rests upon his pushing of musical boundaries. The tune is played at mid-tempo, and, while slower tunes usually require some form of intensity to validate them, this one lacks it.’ Singleton thinks that the recording sounds more like a rehearsal take: ‘the tune follows a predictable pattern: solo piano improvisation starts it, followed by open, swing-time hi-hats and a round of ensemble solos …. An indistinct Parker riff bookends the solos, and listeners are left without a sense of why the saxman was regarded as a creative genius… it sounds like the group knocked this off in under ten minutes. Unfortunately, you will not consider this track amongst the top hundred in the Charlie Parker canon.’

Whatever Marcus Singleton thought, (and I enjoy the recording far more than he does), Laird Baird has remained a popular track and still appears on Charlie Parker record compilations. It is always going to be difficult to better the original, nevertheless here is a version played by Walter Bishop with The Charlie Parker Memorial Band in Frankfurt in 1991 (click here).

 

As to the choice of name, both 'Laird' and 'Baird' are intriguing. I have not been able to find out why Charlie and Chan chose ‘Baird’ for a name. It’s similarity to ‘Bird’ is interesting as is its similarity to ‘Bairn’ the Scottish name for a child. There is certainly a Scottish link to ‘Baird’ - Baird is primarily a boy's name of Gaelic, Scottish and Irish origin. It is used as a first name although it is more commonly a surname (e.g. Logie Baird). Perhaps Charlie or Chan heard a Scot pronounce 'Bird' ... we shall probabaly never know, I have not come across them having any Scottish links.

So what do we know about the name 'Baird'?

Interestingly, the meaning of ‘Baird’ is "a poet, one who sings ballads" – you can see the connection to the English word "Bard". As a surname, Baird is also primarily Scottish. An old legend says that the Baird family obtained their lands in Scotland when one Baird rescued King William (a Scots king from 1165 to 1214) who was being attacked by a wild boar. King William ‘the Lion’ was also known by the nickname Garbh, "the Rough". He was only named ‘The Lion’ after his death because the chronicler John of Fordun called him the "Lion of Justice". While the validity of the legend of the rescue from the boar is uncertain, the Baird family did obtain lands in Aberdeenshire.

Of course, the Scottish link is also there in the word ‘Laird’. 'Laird' is often seen as a Scottish equivalent to the English word ‘Lord’, but there is a difference. Did you know that you can become a Laird quite easily?

A ‘Laird’ is primarily a Scottish landowner. We read ‘The term ‘laird’ has generally been applied to the owner of an estate, sometimes by the Become A Lairdowner himself or, more commonly, by those living and working on the estate. It is a description rather than a title, and is not appropriate for the owner of a normal residential property, far less the owner of a small souvenir plot of land. It goes without saying that the term ‘laird’ is not synonymous with that of ‘lord’ or ‘lady’.  ... Historically, the term ‘bonnet laird’ was applied to rural, petty landowners, as they wore a bonnet like the non-landowning classes.’

Apparently, you can become a Laird for under £20.00. There are websites where you can purchase your own Highland Estate (or plot of land) and you or someone you love ‘can be a Lord, Lady or Laird of your very own Scottish estate’. Although the websites clearly confuse the titles, it seems that they sell you a patch of land in Scotland enabling you to become a ‘Scottish landowner’. We’re not sure what the Scots think of that (but we can guess!). However, if Baird Parker were still alive, perhaps someone should buy him a big chunk of land.

Perhaps then, it is coincidental that in 1995, Stephen Scott (piano) and Christian McBride (bass), both Scottish surnames, recorded a nice version of Laird Baird on a Roy Hargrove Trio album Parker's Mood (click here) - Hargrove sits this one out.

So what of the boy and man who was named Baird Parker? Not much.

References to Baird Parker on the internet do not help very much. I once read a comment that he had been killed in the Vietnam War, and there is an undated, anonymous entry on www.answers.com that says: ‘I once spoke to Baird's sister, Kim. He is alive and living somewhere in the greater Philadelphia area. The rumor is that he is seemingly afflicted with his father’s addictions. Sad really, I do remember him as a talented musician and friend. I've recorded at his place in Lansdale, PA, he's working a store with a studio run by a partner, Guilio Kitao. He does have similar problems as alluded above, but still seems to be faring okay. My kid likes him well enough, and he still likes to play.’

The reference to Philadelphia seems correct as we read that Baird died at the age of 61 in Philadelphia in March 2014. On forum.saxontheweb.net, someone writes: 'Just want to let the forum know that Baird Parker, son of Charlie Parker and Chan Richardson Parker Woods died on March 23 at Lansdale Hospital in suburban Philadelphia. He was 61 years old and the cause of death was kidney, liver and respiratory system failure. He was the last surviving child of Bird and sole recipient of Royalties acquired by the music of Charlie Parker. Baird played guitar and was running a recording studio with a friend in Pennsylvania for some years.'

'Of photos I've seen of him he looked like a 50/50 split of Chan and Bird I could see both of there (their) features in his face. Kim Parker had on Chan, Charlie and Kim Parkerher website a photo of Baird, but the photo was removed later - when I saw it he looked a LOT like Bird in that particular photo, albeit lighter complexioned and he had a beard. Sadly, he's also had substance abuse problems which have lead ultimately to his relatively early passing.'

This picture of Chan, Charlie and Kim appears on the website Bird Lives, but here again, there is little mention of Baird.

The Philadelphia Enquirer reported: 'Charles Baird Parker, 61, of Lansdale, the sole surviving child of the jazz saxophone great Charlie "Bird" Parker, died Sunday, March 23, at Lansdale Hospital of kidney, liver, and respiratory failure. News of Mr. Parker's death was released by his attorney, Albert Oehrle. Mr. Parker's father died in 1955 at age 34 while in mid-career as a jazz soloist. He helped create bebop, characterized by quick tempos and improvisation. His mother, Chan Woods, a dancer, died in 1999.'

There must be those who remember Baird Parker, but their memories do not seem easily available on the internet. We have a few clues as to his character from the above, but not much about what sort of person he was.

With more than a little scepticism on my part, perhaps we could trurn to Kabalarian Philosophy for a clue. The Canadian Encyclopedia has called the Kabalarian Philosophy the world's smallest religion. Founded in the 1930s by Alfred J. Parker, 'this philosophical religion teaches the Kabalarian PhilosophyMathematical Principle relating mathematics, language, name, mind, and Consciousness. The Philosophy teaches that 'the name, being composed of mathematically ordered symbols of language, represents a mathematical formula that influences an individual's entire life. They teach that name is the means by which the abstract forces of Consciousness are brought into form through these name formulas.' The Kabalarians offer 'Name Reports' to validate this teaching, and balance names to bring these forces into harmony. They teach that 'unbalanced names adversely influence health, limit success, and disturb one's overall happiness, harmony, and balance.' As I understand it, they will analyse your character from your name and if you want to change your character, help you find a name that will change it. ' The service is not free.

Nevertheless, Kabalarian Philosophy tells us what it thinks the character is of the name 'Baird'. 'The first name, Baird, makes you self-reliant, creative in practical ways, and an independent diligent worker. You work best alone making your own decisions as it is not always easy for you to respond to the advice and direction of others as you feel the need to be in control. You enjoy the simple pleasures of life especially activities that take you outdoors. You have a few good friends who enjoy similar activities. Living much within your own thoughts and finding it challenging to communicate easily with others, you are, at times, too candid and honest in your assessment of situations. You feel this separation from others and would give anything to be always lighthearted and friendly instead of serious and shy. This influence of this name can adversely affect the health of the heart and lungs because of self-consciousness, sensitivity, and lack of verbal expression.Tension also centres in the head affecting either the eyes, ears, sinuses, or teeth.'

[I do not advocate that anyone spends money with the Kalabarians. Their ideas seem similar to those of Numerology whose journal says: 'They derive their teachings from a yogic system named yantra yoga.  However really they are watering down the precision of that system for the sake of financial gain and keeping their organization alive. Their organization has been hit by numerous scandals. It’s the usual thing with cults and cult leaders – sex scandals involving the leaders with multiple girls raised in the group, raised in groupthink.  Legal action was taken and the leader was found guilty as charged.  Further court cases are in the works.']

 

And so we are still left with many unknowns about Baird and the tune Laid Baird. More information is probably out there if someone wanted to unwrap things further. In the meanwhile, we can continue to enjoy the tune and remember that Bird wrote it for a little boy born before the family fell apart.

We sign off with this Japanese video of Laird Baird played by a young band, Otsuka ? in 2015 - click here. The video is of the complete gig, Laird Baird starts at 11.05. (Can anyone help with the text translation?).

 

 

 

 

Video Juke Box

Click on the Picture for the Video

 

 

 

Louis Armstrong Back Home Again in Indiana

 

Louis Armstrong and his All Stars in 1965 playing Back Home Again In Indiana. Louis Armstrong formed his six-piece All Stars in 1947 and they often used Indiana as their opening number. Here we have: Louis Armstrong (trumpet), 'Big Chief' Russell Moore (trombone), Eddie Shu (clarinet), Billy Kyle (piano), Arvell Shaw (bass) and Danny Barcelona (drums).

 

 

 

 

Kurt Rosenwinkel Caipi Project

 

Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel released his new album Caipi in February. The album band includes Eric Clapton on guitar but here is a live performance from December with Kurt (guitar, keyboards, voice), Pedro Martins (guitar, keyboards, voice), Olivia Trummer (piano, keyboards, voice), Frederico Heliodoro (bass, voice), Antonio Loureiro (percussion, voice) and Bill Campbell (drums).

 

 

 

 

America Northumberland

 

 

'America Northumberland'. A short film by Diane Taylor. Robin Kidson who wrote the poem Flamenco Sketches in this month's issue, describes the influence of America on him as a youth in Northumberland in the 1960s.

 

 

 

 

Jacob Collier Flintstones

 

 

In case you missed it in the news item above, this is Jacob Collier with Flintstones for which he has won this year's Grammy Award for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals

 

 

 

 

 

Blazing Flame King Of The Rain

 

Studio video from Blazing Flame recording King Of The Rain for their new album Set List Shuffle. Julian Dale (double bass, cello), Peter Evans (5 string electric violin), Anton Henley (drums and percussion), Steve Day (voice, words, percussion), Mark Langford (tenor sax, bass clarinet). You can catch the band playing live:
Wednesday 29th March 2017 - The Greenbank Hotel, Bristol BS5 6DP 8.00
Wednesday 5th April 2017 - The Vortex, London N16 8AZ  8.00


 

 

Miguel Zenon Cantor

 

This is Cantor from saxophonist Miguel Zenón's new album Tipico. The album is his 10th recording and features his usual quartet with Luis Perdomo (piano) , Hans Glawischnig (bass) and Henry Cole (drums). Click here for details and to sample the album.

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Have A Birthday In March?

 


Your Horoscope

for March Birthdays

by 'Marable'

 

Pisces

 

PISCES (The Fish)

19th February - 20th March

When the Sun entered your sign in February, you entered one of your yearly pleasure peaks and this continues until March 20th, so make the most of it. Look for opportunities to take advantage of offers and openings that come your way.

The good news too is that on the 20th the Sun enters your money house and your financial intuition is sharpened. A partnership or joint venture could present itself this month.

In your chart, Venus is ruling your 3rd house. Venus is the planet of communication and she makes one of her rare retrogrades on the 4th, so make sure your communications - emails, letters, etc. are clear so that people understand what you mean. Don't be afraid to ask questions if you are unclear about something and check out any doubts you might have.

That retrograde of Venus also applies to communication about financial matters - Mars is on the move too and it comes into your house on the 10th. Your intuition about financial matters may be sharpened from the 20th, but until then, be prepared for any deals that seem to go backwards and prosperity seeming to slow a bit. Take the opportunity to research things properly.

For you, here's Fats Waller with T'Aint What You Do (It's The Way That You Do It) - click here.

 

.

Aries

 

Aries (The Ram)

21st March - 20th April

Aries is the activist of the zodiac. Aries like to get things done but can sometimes lose sight of the consequences for themselves and others. Aries can have a faith in themselves that others might envy, it can carry them through some of the real challenges in life and they can be creative thinkers. A downside can be that they can also get bored quickly and find it difficult to stick with a project until the end.

Basically, March is a happy month for you. Venus enters your sign on the 3rd and stays there for the month, but there is a hiccup on the 4th when Venus is retrograde and things could seem to slow down, not easy for the active Aries, but try to be patient. Treat it as a 'refreshing pause' and take care not to be impatient and become careless in your decision making. As the latter part of the month approaches things begin to change.

From the 20th your 1st house becomes packed with planets and this is when you should enter a period of energy, charisma, strength and independence. Take advantage of this time and look for opportunities to change uncomfortable aspects of your life, later on in the year you might find it more difficult.

For you click here for Dizzy Gillespie's Shaw Nuff.

 

 

 

 

Profile

Lara Eidi

 

[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].

 

 

LarA eIDI

 

I first met Lara Eidi in the summer of 2016 at the final recital for her Master’s degree at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama. I was impressed. At the time I wrote: ‘Lara Eidi is one of those singers who connects with the audience as soon as she starts to sing. Perhaps psychologists can explain the gift – and it is a gift – personality? a love for what she is doing? an empathy with the music and the band? knowing she can take her great voice where she wants it to go? Whatever it is, it gained her a distinction and an appreciative audience at her final recital.’

It is now some months later in 2017 and I am meeting again with Lara at the small but excellent Buhler & Co café in Walthamstow. At the end of last year she went to Athens, but now she is back. The UK should be pleased!

Lara Eidi describes herself as being of ‘Greek, Lebanese and Canadian ethnicity’. What that means is that Lara was born in Athens where her father moved from Lebanon and her mother is Canadian Lebanese. This is reflected in Lara’s interest in music that crosses genres; she studied jazz at the Guildhall, but her background and approach embraces a wider perspective.

Her father plays guitar and also sings, but that is the music of Bob Dylan and Jethro Tull. Her mother paints and writes stories, and Lara’s Billy Eidiyounger brother plays drums and guitar. The only other family member who pursues music professionally, however, is Lara’s uncle, Billy Eidi, a classical pianist based in Paris. Billy trained to be a doctor but at the point of qualifying rang his father to say that he could not follow that route. He wanted to be a musician. His father was as supportive as Lara’s family has been in her decision to become a musician.

Click here for a video of Billy Eidi playing Liadov’s beautiful Berceuse op.24 n.2 In Sol Bemolle Maggiore.

Lara was playing piano by the age of eight and has gone on to play to degree standard. She also sang in the school’s classical choir at Kodaly Conservatoire. The school was equally supportive of music staging choir and theatrical productions. When Lara was eleven, there was a competition between school choirs to take part in a production of Bizet's Carmen. Kodaly Conservatoire won the competition and perhaps Lara’s ‘Eureka moment’ came when she was cast to lead the children’s choir in the production. ‘I was coached by one of the leading ladies,’ Lara recalls. ‘Not just in singing, but in all the aspects of theatre, even down to how to deal with dressing room protocols.’ The experience was a turning point.

On leaving school, Lara took a Gap Year and then pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature. Looking back, she thinks that was valuable in her approach to song writing. She had continued to sing, found a voice coach, Karen Solomon, in Athens who, together with Lara’s determination, finally led to Lara deciding to pursue music professionally when she returned from her studies in St Andrews, Scotland.  ‘Looking back,’ she says, ‘I think that really helped with my creative writing and song writing.’

Returning to Greece, Lara taught English as a foreign language but contact with renowned international Greek singer Maria Farndouri led her to sing with the gypsy jazz quintet, Hot Club of Greece, who played gypsy jazz in the style of the original Hot Club of France. It was there she Lara Eidi Triorealized she loved the improvisational aspect of jazz and knew she wanted combine it with the folk music of her upbringing.

Working as a backing singer as well as solo artist, she began writing and arranging her own songs and building up contacts with other musicians. One of these was cellist and collaborator Stavros Parginos with whom she started her duo project and performed frequently at the Lebanon Music Festival. Later guitarist Giotis Paraskevaidis joined them to form the trio.

Meeting a sound engineer who encouraged them to record, Lara self-produced and self-funded her debut EP recording, Little People, in 2012. She describes the album as ‘Music for the People’ - ‘The music speaks for those whose voice has been drowned out by society; whose thoughts of hope are shadowed by a dominance of power.’  Writer Andrea Vermark described Lara's voice and music as: "Sincere, heartfelt. It was then that I realised that music runs through Lara’s veins. It is not just something she does, but it is a part of her very being, far more than just an intense passion."

Click here to listen to Opened Eyes from the album.

Her second EP, Tell It Like It Is, followed in 2014. The band’s music was described as: ‘...  developing their folky sound into something more experimental and contemporary. As they are not your typical four piece band, they used their talents as multi-instrumentalists and at every Lara Eidiperformance gained the respect of their audience by sounding like a small jazz-folk-pop ensemble, backed by Lara on voice, chorus loops, piano, acoustic guitar, Stavros on the cello, loops, and Giotis on guitars, loops, and beatboxing.’

Click here for a video of Lara singing a cover of Be My Husband, a song by one of her favourite singers, Nina Simone. The video was recorded with Stavros and Giotis on a rooftop in downtown Athens.

Tell It Like It Is received good reviews and a cover of Pharrell Wiliams song Happy was picked up for airplay - click here for the video of Happy.

Lara thought it was time to take her career a step forward. She applied for the Jazz Voice course at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama and was accepted. It was where she first came across the inspirational jazz singer, Ian Shaw. Lara remembers her first meeting where he asked her to sing Evergreen. She clearly made an impression as Ian has stayed in touch with Lara, inviting her to sing at his November 2016 An Evening Of Words And Music concert in support of refugees. Lara’s version of Mongo Santamaria's Afro Blue can be seen on video - click here. Lara’s arrangement of the song opens with an Arabic taxim introduction and ends with her own extra verse and original lyrics.

During her time at Guildhall, where she also took a leadership course and continued with developing her piano and writing, Lara learned much from the School’s tutors and visiting tutors amongst whom were Lee Gibson, Malcolm Edmonstone and Liane Carroll. She was also playing at various function and other gigs and beginning to realise that she wanted to use her voice to bridge jazz, folk and other music. Click here to watch a video of Lara with Giotis Lara Eidion guitar singing Errol Garner’s Misty at a private function in Athens.

I have already mentioned the impression Lara made at her Final Recital at the Guildhall. We can see the event on video (click here), but it is unable to really capture the atmosphere of the occasion and the charisma that was evident in a performance that gained her a distinction in her Master’s degree. The other musicians here are other students from Guildhall: Edwin Ireland (bass), Charlotte Keeffe (trumpet) and Adam Teixeria (drums) and Jamie Saffiruden, a regular accompanist for Ian Shaw and a well known musician on the current jazz scene, is the pianist.

When the course finished, Lara returned to Greece, but decided that she wanted to return to London, so in 2017 she has come back and is teaching at the City Academy as a voice tutor covering a range of genres and developing her interest in the theatrical side of music. She is involved with a Gospel workshop and putting together a duo with singer Andri Antoniou, as well as working on a project with trumpeter Charlotte Keefe. Lara plans to be touring with a trio and is working on new material for a further album, and if possible she would like to collaborate with an orchestra to develop some of her music.

Lara Eidi is a singer whose talent stands out. If you have the opportunity to hear her sing, take it. We shall let you know when Lara releases her next album.

 

Lara Eidi

 

 

 

Nat Hentoff In Interview

Nat Hentoff, American historian, novelist, jazz and country music critic, and syndicated columnist for United Media sadly passed through the Departure Lounge in January this year. I have used a quotation from one of his books at the top of this page in our 'On A Night Like This' item.

Nathan Irving "Nat" Hentoff was the jazz critic for The Village Voice from 1958 to 2009. He then moved his music column to The Wall Street Journal, which published his work until his death. He wrote not just about Jazz but also on many issues included in the American Constitution'sNat Hentoff with Monk Rowe First Amendment which 'prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.' He often wrote on First Amendment issues, vigorously defending the freedom of the press.

Hentoff was wrote widely including colums for Down Beat, JazzTimes, Legal Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Progressive, Editor & Publisher and Free Inquiry. He was also a staff writer for The New Yorker, and his writing was published in The New York Times, Jewish World Review, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Commonweal and in the Italian Enciclopedia dello Spettacolo.

Click here (or on the picture) for an interesting 20017 interview with Nat Hentoff by Monk Rowe for the Fillius Jazz Archive at Hamilton College (57 minutes).

 

 

 

 

Continental Drift

 

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

 

Equally Stupid

Escape From The Unhappy Society

(Eclipse Music)
 

Equally Stupid

 

Sigurdur Rögnvaldsson (Iceland) - baritone guitar;
Pauli Lyytinen (Finland) - tenor, bass and alto saxophone, effects, synthesizer;
David Meier (Switzerland) – drums.

 

The last month has seen an unusual profusion of high quality jazz/rock/fusion albums, with top quality CDs from Krokofant, Morten Schantz and Led Bib amongst others.  Any of those would more than qualify as a CD of the month, but all are from established bands and well knownEqually Stupid Escape From An Unhappy Society musicians.

Equally Stupid is much less known, certainly here in the UK.  They have only been going for a few years and this is only their second CD.  None of the musicians are well known, although David Meier will be familiar to some from his work with Schnellertollermeier (who will be coming to the Cheltenham Jazz Festival this year)  and also in Trio Riot with our own Sam Andrea.

This is a band that some might call a power trio, with clear influences from prog-rock and fusion and if that was all it did I would probably have picked a different CD.   Certainly some of the tracks are straightforward heavy weight jazz-rock.  But I think there is more to this band – and probably still more to come. There's an interesting use of electronics, plenty of complexity in the rhythms, and some really nice melodies mixed in with some free improvisation too.

If you like your jazz chilled and smooth then I'd avoid this CD – it's hot and full of sharp edges – just how I like it.

The stand-out track for me is Paranoia.  Have a listen to it (click here) where you can also buy the download or a full CD. You can also sample it here.

Equally Stupid was founded as a duo in 2009 by Finnish saxophonist Pauli Lyytinen and Icelandic guitarist Sigurdur Rögnvaldsson, both of whom enjoyed playing energetic and rhythmical music. The duo served that purpose; Equally Stupid’s music is powerful and furious, with fast and often complicated melodies that still remain melodic. Equally Stupid played a few gigs in Scandinavia in 2009 but then laid low for a few years. As a result of Pauli and Sigurdur’s attempts to revitalise Equally Stupid, David Meier, a Swiss experimental jazz/rock drummer, joined them early in 2013. David, with whom Sigurdur had been playing in other projects, proved to be the perfect drummer for the band.

Their website is a little out of date, but you can read more about them if you click here.

 

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

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

Simon Spillett Quartet

 

Alec Dankworth

 

Alec Dankworth

 

In February, photographer Brian O'Connor went to a fundraising gig for the National Jazz Archive in Loughton, Essex, and took these pictures.

Simon Spillett's Quartet was featuring: Simon Spillett (tenor saxophone); John Critchinson (piano); Alec Dankworth (bass) and Clark Tracey (drums).

 

Simon Spillett

 

Tony Andrews was there too and describes the event:

'It is difficult to define what constitutes 'The Perfect Afternoon'. A Full House at The National Jazz Archive Fundraiser held at The Loughton Methodist Church with The Simon Spillett Quartet got about as close to perfection as is physically possible. The band with Simon on tenor Sax, John Critchinson on piano, Alec Dankworth on double bass and Clark Tracey at the drms took us back in time to the era of Tubby Hayes and captured the '60s magic with amazing accuracy.'

 

Simon Spillett

 

'I was around in the '60s so I can bear witness to the authentic atmosphere. The band played eight very varied tunes, some ballads, other up tempo numbers and my favourites were Weaver of Dreams and a tune unfamiliar to me called Lament, by J.J Johnson.'

[Click here to listen to J J Johnson playing Lament with Milt Jackson and Ray Brown].

 

 

John Critchinson

 

John Critchinson

 

 

'The audience was enthralled with the whole experience of being transformed back in time and so was I. A truly Perfect Afternoon and for such a good cause which needs all the support it can get from every Jazz Fan in The UK.'

 

 

 

Clark Tracey

 

 

 

'Simon Spillett really is an amazing musician who can be classed amongst the best. I believe Tubby Hayes would be so proud to know his music and history is in such capable hands.'

Clark Tracey

 

 

 

 

 

[Click here for a video of the Sonny Rollins Trio playing Weaver Of Dreams in1959]

[Simon Spillett is the author of The Long Shadow of the Little Giant: The Life, Work and Legacy of Tubby Hayes - click here]

 

Simon Spillett Quartet

 

 

All pictures © Brian O'Connor, Images Of Jazz

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

 

 

 

 

Forum

 

Riverboat Shuffle

Pete Ward writes: 'In Alex Revell's photo (click here), the un-named riverboat musician appears to me to be Bernie Newland. He was certainly in the London area at that time. I came across him again in the Taunton area in the '60s, and again in the Bristol area in the '70s.  I understand that he went to live in Germany sometime later, but I'm told that he is no longer alive.'

 

 

Sandy Brown and The Ramblers

Geoff Spooner asks: 'Do you know where I can get a recording of Sandy Brown playing with Alan Lomax, Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl British Traditional Jazz at a Tangent i.e. The Ramblers. I particularly want their version of Hey Lula?'

Sandy Brown was present on this recording session from 2nd August 1956, as was bassist Jim Bray. The full personnel was: Alan Lomax (guitar, vocal); Peggy Seeger (banjo, vocal); John Cole (harmonica); Bryan Daly (guitar); Jim Bray (bass); Alan Sutton (washboard); Ewan MacColl (vocal) and Shirley Collins (vocal). They recorded 3 tracks that day with Sandy: Hard Case; Dirty Old Town and Oh! Lula. According to Sandy Brown's discography, a fourth track, Railroad Man, did not include Sandy.

The tracks Oh! Lula and Railroad Man are available on a compilation album from Lake Records - British Traditional Jazz - At A Tangent Vol.2 (click here).

Hard Case is on a number of compilation albums (click here), but I have been unable to find Dirty Old Town on a current issue.

 

 

Dave Evans

Chris Watford writes:

"I was very sad to learn of the death of that fine New Orleans-style drummer, Dave Evans. On a number of occasions around the turn of the century, he helped me out when my regular drummer, Jerry Card, was unavailable for my New Orleans Standard-Bearers' gigs. Dave could always be relied upon to produce an authentic and steady beat, and was not one to want to take flashy drum solos, which suited my idea of a George Lewis-style band ensemble sound."

"If you type into Google "Chris Watford's New Orleans Standard-Bearers on You Tube" (click here), it should take you to a track "Black Cat On The Fence", which shows Dave amongst some of his ex-Ken Colyer friends, namely my regular banjoist Bill Stotesbury and Geoff Cole depping on trombone as he often did at that period. This track was taken from a DVD of part of a session at Runnymede Jazz Club in February 2002, and if anyone wants a copy, just email me at chrisexe@btinternet.com ."

 

 

Art Woods

Peter Cook says: Reading with interest re Art Wood (click here), the eldest of The Woods boys, Ted Woods was drummer with Colin Kingswell Jazz Bandits and later formed Ted Woods River Boys and youngest Ronnie Woods now of Rolling Stones fame. I was just browsing past contacts starting with Barry Kerswell and up came the names Jim Willis, Gerry Waite, Mike Waldron and many others, Ray Smith - piano, Eddie Harper - piano, Lenny Hastings - sax, Brian Sidaway - clarinet, Mike Messenger - Sousa, Reg Squires - double bass, Pat Halcox - trumpet etc etc.  (I also worked with Bert Fawkes, father of Wally Fawkes) I was known as 'Pete the Jiving barman' from The Viaduct Inn, Hanwell, west London and used to follow the jazz scene including Steve Lane at the Norfolk Arms, Wembley as well as many other jazz club venues at that time. Countless tales but sadly I am not a musician.

 

 

Sandy Brown Photograph

Sandy and Coops

 

David Binns, Sandy's partner at Sandy Brown Associates, writes: On the page about Sandy (click here), it says: “David (Keen) noticed a photograph on the wall of the channel ferry. 'I did a double take 'cos I was pretty sure it was Sandy (Brown) - if you look closely you can see a copy of (his book) The McJazz Manuscripts in his hands - the question is, who's in the picture with him and why is it on the wall of, I assume, the dining room on the Ferry?”

You will see with the photograph that we think the other person in the photograph could be Alan Cooper ('Coops') of the Temperence Seven, but David Binns says: 'Sandy is  on the right but the book cannot be The McJazz Manuscripts as this was published after Sandy died.'

 

 

 

La La Land

Last month I wrote about my disappointment with the movie La La Land (click here) . Since then, I have seen it again and although the friends I went with really enjoyed it, my disappointed remained unchanged. Since then, it film has won Oscars for Best Leading Actress and Best Director, although it did not win the Oscar for Best Picture, that went to Moonlight, in my opinion a better film. However, I applaud Director Damien Chazelle who once again has brought some jazz to the silver screen and I hope it will inspire him to make other movies like his excellent Whiplash.

Mike Rose wrote in response to my comments last month: 'I was spurred on by ‘What Did You Think Of La La Land?’. I too am always suspicious about rave reviews and was very upset by the news that ‘jazz is dying’. A reviewer in the Observer picked-up the line and repeated it La La Land still imagewith some negative force. She also made a second error regarding Myrna Loy and I spent a few days fuming and intending to write and read her fortune. Apathy finally got the better of me and I didn’t bother.' (Rex Reed wrote: 'The dialogue gains sparkle when he goes ecstatic about keeping the dying art of jazz alive in the style of his idols, Louis and Bird and Monk and Miles, and the instrumental passages, where he simulates playing jazz riffs with the drive and swing of Bill Evans, are downright thrilling.' Chazelle is quoted as saying: ... the two "feel like the closest thing that we have right now to an old Hollywood couple," akin to Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and Myrna Loy and William Powell.')

'I enjoyed the movie but then as the main influence was The Umbrellas of Cherbourg which is in my top five all-time movies, there’s little wonder. I think the answer to the ravings is that it is a main stream film with stars who are very popular and the studio really got behind its promotion. It’s like so much popular culture. Singers, musicians, artists etc. etc get the full media treatment when you know there are far better examples who the world never hears off. ‘Do you like jazz? Well, I love Kenny G!’'

 

 

 

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Putting the Hip into Eyemouth Hippodrome

Rob Adams tells us about Scotland’s newest jazz venue, Eyemouth Hippodrome which has been given funding from Creative Scotland – the Scottish equivalent of the Arts Council of England - to support a season of concerts by Scottish musicians. The former seamen’s mission in the small harbour town in theEyemouth Hippodrome Scottish Borders is in its second full year as a music venue and has successfully presented jazz musicians from America, Italy and India as well as players from the home scene in an intimate listening environment.

“We were aware when we started up the venue that there was no history of jazz or even of much live music in Eyemouth,” says Paula Tod, an artist originally from Leeds who along with her architect husband, Ian, is developing the Hippodrome as a hub for jazz and roots music and visual art exhibitions. “There used to be a Borders branch of the jazz promoting organisation Platform that operated in Hawick and Melrose but that was a long time ago so we were really starting from scratch as far as building an audience is concerned.”

One of the key aspects of the Hippodrome philosophy is that the music and the musicians come first. In addition to offering a performing space where the audience is there to listen, the Tods take care to look after their performers. Musicians are given dinner before the gig in the couple’s flat above the venue and there’s another flat adjacent to the Hippodrome that can accommodate touring musicians overnight. The Tods’ son is a professional drummer based in Manchester, so they are very well attuned to musicians’ needs. With the help of a friend who has contacts in the jazz world the Tods were able to tap into tours by Italian guitarist Simone Gubbiotti and Berlin-based American pianist Louis Durra. They were Nigel Clarkalso able to attract Konrad Wiszniewski and Euan Stevenson, co-leaders of the Scottish group New Focus, to play a duo gig in Eyemouth, which is about an hour’s drive down the coast from Edinburgh.  

“People were amazed that they could see and hear such great musicians up close and personal in a small place like Eyemouth,” says Paula. “There were comments to that effect on social media and it made us think that we were getting something right. We don’t treat the venue as our living room but it does have that kind of feel to it, I suppose, only a bit bigger. It’s comfortable and – we hope – welcoming and audiences respond to that intimacy.”

Nigel Clark

The Scottish season begins with guitarist Nigel Clark on Saturday, March 11. Currently based in Dublin, Glasgow-born Clark, who was recently on tour with Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis and has just released an album with Irish singer Colette Cassidy, will present his solo nylon string guitar arrangements of jazz standards alongside classics from Santana and the Beatles. Saxophonist and former Jazzwise magazine One to Watch Brian Molley will appear with his quartet at the Hippodrome on April 29, with Edinburgh collective Playtime and Peter Whittingham Jazz Prize winners Square One following on May 13 and June 3 respectively.

“We have plans beyond that but we’re keeping those to ourselves for the moment,” says Paula Tod. “But we’re certainly keen to bring more jazz and more people to hear it into the Hippodrome.”

 

 

 

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:

 

Svend Asmussen

 

Svend Asmussen - Danish jazz violinist, one of the first from Scandinavia, who played with Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. Inspired by Joe Venuti and Stuff Smith, he led a small group in Copenhagen that went on to open for many visiting jazz stars. He recorded with Stéphane Grappelli, Ray Nance, pianist John Lewis and the vibraphonist Lionel Hampton amongst others. He passed through the Departure Lounge in February at the age of 100. Click here to listen to Svend with Duke Ellington playing Don't Get Around Much Anymore.

 

 

 

Al Jarreau

 

Al Jarreau - American vocalist born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His ability for bebop-derived wordless scat singing reflected his admiration for Jon Hendriks, and he could also mimic the sounds of all manner of instruments. He performed regularly with the pianist George Duke, and also formed a duo with the guitarist Julio Martinez. The pair’s popularity at Gatsby’s club in Sausalito led Jarreau to make music his career in 1968. He moved first to Los Angeles to work at high-profile haunts including Dino’s and the Troubadour, and on his move to New York began to appear on the TV shows of Johnny Carson and David Frost, and to work regularly at the Improv comedy club.

He made a number of recordings and in the '90s focussed his work on the recording studio – winning another Grammy for the R&B-oriented Heaven and Earth (1992), and enlisting a cast of jazz stars including the saxophonist David Sanborn under the direction of the producer/bassist Marcus Miller for Tenderness (1994). Click here for an amazing video of Al Jarreau vocalising Take Five in 1976.

 

 

 

Larry Coryell

 

 

Larry Coryell - American guitarist born in Galveston, Texas. Remembered for his work on the fusion of rock and jazz. He worked with Gary Burton, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins as well as leading and recording with his own band. In 1972 he formed the Eleventh House, a fusion band that included drummer Alphonse Mouzon and that 'emphasized complex, thunderous compositions and flashy, rapid-fire solos'.

Click here for a video of Larry Coryell with John McLaughlin and Paco De Lucía - Meeting of the Spirits.

 

 

 

 

 

David Axelrod

 

 

David Axelrod - American producer, arranger and composer who mixed jazz and soul music, working with Harold Land on the 1960 album The Fox, seen as an outstanding example of hard bop. He joined the staff of Capitol Records as an executive, focused on developing talent and helped to create what he said was the first black music division at a major label. He also worked with the saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, who was familiar with Mr. Axelrod from The Fox. He produced Adderley’s biggest hit, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, in 1966, and continued to work with him for a decade.

 

 

 

 

Barbara Carroll

 

Barbara Carroll - American pianist and singer born in in Worcester, Massachusetts. Sometimes called 'the first lady of jazz piano' she performed regularly at Birdland in Manhattan. 'When she moved to New York in 1947, a friend arranged her first booking under the name Bobbie Carroll, never mentioning her gender until it was too late to get anyone else.' A friend of Tony Bennett, she was a major interpreter of the songs of Cole Porter, Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh, and Stephen Sondheim. Click here for a video of Barbara accepting the 2003 MAC Lifetime Achievement Award and playing/singing One Morning in May by Hoagy Carmichael and Mitchell Parish.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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Album Released: 25th November 2016 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings

 

Escape Hatch featuring Julian Argüelles

Roots Of Unity

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Julian Argüelles (saxophones); Ivo Neame (piano); Andrea Di Biase (double bass); Dave Hamblett (drums).

I casually glanced at the note from Ian, What’s New editor, and saw the title Roots Of Unity.  I assumed I was in for a roots reggae/jazz session – ‘Roots’ and ‘Unity’ are central to Jamaican reggae.  Okay, I salute the memory of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and the great body of roots reggae music ..... but that has got nothing whatsoever to do with what’s going on here.  Roots of Unity, as the overall album title, refers to “....any complex number that gives 1 when raised to some positive integer power n.”   I readjust my thinking.  This is where we truly begin. The title track is composed by the creative magnet that is Ivo Neame, the superb UK pianist takingEscape Hatch Roots of Unity time off from the international no-borders piano trio, Phronesis. The other key composer within Escape Hatch is the bassist, Andrea Di Biase.  Both of these guys are into numbers.

When it comes to the use of numerical ideas in music, one of the long time core catalysts has been Anthony Braxton.  Those of you familiar with Mr Braxton’s territory of composition might assume he has some influence on this session which is literally ‘rooted’ in a binary centre.  As far as I can detect he doesn’t.  This session by the trio, Escape Hatch (Ivo Neame, Andrea Di Biase and Dave Hamblett), with the addition of classy saxophone extraordinaire Julian Argüelles, owes about as much to Professor Braxton as they do to reggae.  Where The Professor piled numerous systemised compositions in parallel within a single performance, Escape Hatch seek “an overarching accessibility” through “complexity and underlying logic”.  Anthony Braxton certainly favours complexity, but has never been too concerned with “accessibility”, whereas Ivo Neame and Andrea Di Biase pay little attention to parallel numbering, preferring the challenge of – one.  

The power of the mathematical, like the air we breathe, is always present.  For the most part, we just get on with it.  Having spent two paragraphs saying what Roots of Unity isn’t, my advice is to come to this utterly compelling music by not getting hung up on the “positive integer power n.”  Rather, open the ears to the truly enormous possibilities of interplay offered up by this fabulous jazz quartet.  They present nine compositions, five as sublime extended workouts, four as short-form performances.  A brand new classic jazz session, and I’m going to find it impossible not to keep coming back to it for months to come.

Dave Hamblett is a drummer who I noted down in my book years ago.  I’ve got to tell you, this sounds to me like the band that he’s been aching for.  He projects such a constant residue of rhythms across this album there is absolutely no mess to clear up.  He can afford to deliver his own drumming unencumbered by the need to cover the soloist.  Time is metered out, broken down, counted, subtracted, spread out like a polished fine dance.  His fit with Andrea Di Biase’s double bass is a unifying presence throughout.  On the incisive spread which makes up the track Resignation, Hamblett presses on the action like a man hitting the peak of the high mountain whilst setting out not to attract attention to himself. He does, only by virtue that he cannot be denied his place.  The clicks come as he pirouettes around the centre beat, hustling Di Biase’s pull-off bass strings, getting underneath Neame’s piano investigations, lifting the lid on a cracking melody.

Look, let’s start at the starter.  The longest track is Hysterical Revisionism, at over ten minutes, the longest track.  It contains just about everything. A short smouldering piano prelude which leads into Julian Argüelles's floating saxophone like it’s going to stay on top for the duration, but it gives way to a pattern of crossed chords which I cannot interpret for you, except to say they open up an early piano solo which is so separated and sure of its strength it eventually crumbles back into the quartet like an athlete finishing first.  And what’s so Hysterical is that everyone just carries on revising the Revisionism.  Mr Argüelles is working a lot with Neame right now.  He is producing the next Phronesis album for Edition Records.  It is obvious that the two men share a chemistry.  Hysterical Revisionism demonstratively makes the case for Escape Hatch to retain this quartet line-up into the future.

Click here for Hysterical Revisionism, track 1 on Roots of Unity

Perhaps for me the track that seals the deal is Today, Tomorrow, Never, a ballad commentary “on (the) migrants’ struggle for a better life”.  A sorrowful, yet heartening musical statement, that feels strong and positive, assured in its own  articulation within the clutter of half-truths and lies now clouding the current climate.  I guess the presence of the word Never in the title gives an indication of how limited is the optimism felt by composer, bassist Andrea Di Biase.  Yet the Quartet’s performance is so free of superfluous ornamentation.  Here on Roots Of Unity, both piano and reeds ripple a potency out of their own take on what’s going on.  This is an instrumental affirmation that doesn’t require words to speak with insightfulness.  Perhaps it is the close fit of the titles, but there are echoes of one of Ornette Coleman’s late-period melodic masterstrokes, Yesterday,Dave Hamblett Today And Tomorrow.  He recorded several versions but the one he did with pianist Geri Allen had a bold delicacy.  The future as a place of hope was a constant theme for Mr Coleman.  And I hear it here too; in the final piano break of Escape Hatch’s Today, Tomorrow, Never Ivo Neame brings a certain determination into play.  I acknowledge the Coleman connection might only be in my head, not theirs.  Nevertheless, Mr Di Biase and Mr Neame arrive at a similar place.  Even when music is contained by numbers it cannot help but be an impression.

One of the strengths of this album is that each track is allowed to take the length of time it takes.  So that the previously mentioned Hysterical Revisionism, plus the title track, and others like Moonbathing and La Strega, stretch out their development in sways of flux and influx, whereas History Repeating and Common Multiple are brief, they make their point and then close down.  The former, a reprise variant of Revisionism’s chord structure, the latter a resolute fix on the root of Roots Of Unity.  They are indicators, giving clues to what’s going on without saying twice what is already said perfectly well once.  Brevity demonstrates a mark of confidence in themselves and the listener.  This IS Escape Hatch.

Roots Of Unity is a recording that reveals additional information the longer the ears are given over to it.  There is an inner equation here that adds up to more than the sum of its parts.  Whatever Phronesis has waiting round the corner, it cannot take away from the fact, Roots Of Unity album is outstanding.  (Plus, special gold star to Dave Hamblett, drums.)

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Click here for a video of a club gig in Oxford with the Escape Hatch Trio March 2016

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

 

 

Album Released: 24th February 2017 - Label: Efpi Records

 

Madwort Saxophone Quartet

Live At Hundred Years Gallery

 

Robin Kidson reviews this album for us:

The saxophone is the jazz instrument par excellence. Its fluidity and tonal range make it ideal for the rhythms, moods and improvisatory nature of the music. An additional advantage is that it comes in a number of different forms with musicians being able to choose options from soprano down to baritone and beyond. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the idea of having an ensemble made up solely of saxophones is one which has established a place in jazz. The concept usually takes the form of a saxophone quartet with combinations of alto, tenor and baritone. The most high profile is probably the World Saxophone Quartet which has included top class saxophonists like David Murray amongst its members, but there are also more avant garde ensembles such as ROVA; and mainstream groups like the 29th Street Saxophone Quartet.

All these bands are American but now comes a British version of the concept in the form of the Madwort Saxophone Quartet. Live at Hundred Years Gallery is their debut album. The Quartet is led by Tom Ward on alto and includes Andrew Woolf on tenor, Chris Williams (alto and soprano), and Cath Roberts (baritone). WardMadwort Saxophone Quartet Live album is also the composer of all eleven tracks on the album. As with so many jazz musicians these days, all four Quartet members are involved in a multitude of other bands and projects.

Tom Ward says that the Quartet is “about exploring the saxophone as a percussion instrument, taking the players to their limits and creating a state of concentration, excitement and danger…” Most of the tracks on the album work by one or more of the instruments (usually including Cath Roberts’s baritone) generating a rhythm, and the other instruments then playing on top of that in intricate contrapuntal patterns and improvised solos. The whole effect is innovative, often mesmeric and always absorbing.

The album kicks off with After Joshua which introduces the listener to the complex rhythms and interactions of the Quartet’s music. It is an up tempo piece with a staccato beat and an effect rather like a train gradually drawing to a halt, then starting off and getting all its working parts going - then stopping again.

The second track, Maps, has a contemporary classical feel at times, a reminder that the saxophone quartet is something with which classical music composers have experimented. It also has some brief free jazz with a very pleasing effect when the more structured and melodic themes of the piece gradually re-emerge from the undifferentiated, multi-instrument noise.

Click here for a video of a live performance of Maps.
 
Birds is a wonderful evocation of individual and collective bird song which Messiaen himself might well have created. Creeping Commercialism is a frenetic piece which conjures up images of cities like New York complete with squeaking car horns and a sort of Mad Men sensibility. The freneticism continues with Shard which has a repetitive, staccato theme gradually and subtly changing in a manner reminiscent of the minimalism of a Steve Reich or Philip Glass.

Click here for a video of the Quartet playing Shard live.

On the Opening of a Dwarf Sunflower is taken at a slower pace than many of the other tracks and is more melodic and conventional. It is also very short but beautiful in its own way. Chresmomancy is back to complex interplay and staccato themes with the instruments almost sounding at times as if they’re imitating people having a conversation – or an argument. Mad Giant Bee is a splendid piece of wild, free jazz which sounds like…well, a mad bee, and is not without humour.

Sieve of Eratosthenes is named after a technique for determining prime numbers and presumably reflects Tom Ward’s interest in mathematics. It has two quite distinct parts, the second of which brings the baritone sax to the fore. Cath Roberts plays very effectively against a repetitive pattern from the other instruments which gradually gets louder and more intense, until it dissolves into a brief, multi-instrument free-for-all.

Madwort Saxophone QuartetIslands in the Green has an attractive, plaintive theme which is repeated throughout whilst a complex pattern is gradually built up around it. You can see the Quartet playing Islands in the Green live here.

The final track is Handbuilt By Robots which begins by setting up a sort of shimmer of saxophones. This grows louder and more intricate until, gradually, something more rhythmic and jaunty emerges. The playing becomes quieter and quieter until the instruments are hardly playing at all - and then the track ends. It’s an impressive finale to a most interesting and satisfying album.
 
Although the album was recorded live, there is strangely no applause. Indeed, there is very little extraneous noise at all, a tribute to Alex Bonney who has done a fine job in recording, mixing and mastering the whole thing.

For further details – including how to buy the album – click here for the Efpi Records website where you can also sample the track AfterJoshua.

Click here for the band's website.

The Quartet is currently touring. You can catch them at Plink Plonk, York Tavern, Norwich on 1st March; A Little Bit of Nothing, Derby on 2nd March; IKLECTIK, London on 5th March; and the Wonder Inn, Manchester on 6th March.

 

Robin Kidson


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Album Released: 24th February 2017 - Label: Jihyemusic

 

Jihye Lee Orchestra

April

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Jihye Lee (voice, composer); Elzbieta Brandys (flute); Shannon LeClaire (alto sax, clarinet, flute); Allan Chase (alto & soprano sax); Rick DiMuzio (tenor & soprano sax, clarinet); Bob Patton (tenor sax, clarinet); Bob Patton (tenor sax, clarinet); Ben Whiting (baritone sax, bass clarinet); Bijon Watson, Jeff Claassen, Rich Given, Greg Hopkins (trumpets); Sean Jones (flugelhorn); Jeff Galindo, Rick Stepton, Artie Montanar (trombones); Peter Cirelli (bass trombone); Bruce Bartlett (guitar); Alain Mallet (piano); Jiri Nedoma (piano on Sewol Ho); John Lockwood (double bass); Mark Walker (drums); Ricardo Monzon (percussion).

There are some great ‘jazz’ orchestras that have come out of Boston in the last few decades.  Two of the best, the JCA Orchestra and the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, are fuelled by original composer/arrangers, Darrell KatzJihye Lee Orchestra April and Mark S. Harvey respectively.  I am not going to tell you that the Jihye Lee Orchestra is as up there with those guys, on the other hand neither should this album be dismissed as a debut which only promises greatness at a later date.  This is now and April comes early.  April is as April is; a breakthrough into spring.

For the poet T.S. Eliot, April was “cruellest month”.  In April 2014 the Korean Swol ferry sank and 300 passengers were killed.  Although Jihye Lee takes this terrible tragedy as her central theme, the April album possesses a form of bitter-sweet renewal.  Across the six extended compositions she orchestrates a eulogy with heartfelt positivism. 

Encounter the first track April Wind (actually written prior to the Sewol sinking) and immediately the performance feels assured.  I don’t really know, but I detect the influence of Kenny Wheeler’s brilliant arrangements for his own extended work, Music For Large And Small Ensembles.  Wheeler’s voicings for Norma Winstone on that recording are echoed here in Ms Lee’s use of wordless vocals, in addition, Sean Jones’ flugelhorn on You Are Here (Every Time I Think Of You) is pure ‘Kenny’ precision.  The live Youtube version of April Wind is almost preferable to the one on the disk.  The Youtube band are students and the arrangement is slightly more compressed, yet it feels as if it cuts deeper.  Drummer, Tiago Michelin snaps the kit with more clout than Mark Walker on the recording. It’s a critical factor in a jazz orchestra, keep the drummer on it.  That’s why Kenny Wheeler brought the powerful Peter Erskine into his ‘large ensemble’, and why Ellington and Basie name-checked guys like Rufus Jones and Papa Jo Jones. 

Click here for the video of April Wind.

The recorded personnel are drawn largely, though not exclusively, from the faculty of Berklee College of Music, who deserve credit for getting behind this first big-band recording by Jihye Lee.  Prior to coming to America, Jihye Lee had previously only been involved in South Korean folk and popular music.  Ms Lee is already making headway fast.  The writing and composing are as much a product of her new found experience and the integration of the ‘written’ and the ‘impromptu’ (the nuts and bolts of jazz orchestration) are, for the most part, convincing.  The three central extensions, Sewol Ho, Deep Blue Sea and Whirlwind have gravitas in the groove.  Clearly pianist Alain Mallet, reeds player Rick DiMuzio and the withering alto / lithe clarinet of Shannon Jihye Lee OrchestraLeClaire, are all prime contributors.  They certainly aren’t shy to solo, I’d have liked to have heard more from them.  I got the most out of this album when I turned the volume up all the way.

Look, there are a couple of niggles I have with the recording.  The first, visually, the second, musically.  I know, I know, sleeve covers should eye-catch.  Okay, so Jihye Lee is younger than the rest of the orchestra and she’s got a slinky red dress but she’s the only posed ‘visual’ used - in three different versions.  For an album based around a massive tragic event it seems I’m being told different things. And musically?  In places it’s all a bit Berklee, not enough Jihye Lee.  What people like Carla Bley, Maria Schneider and Darrell Katz don’t bring to the score is completion.  In my opinion there needs to be room to move.  Don’t tell the musicians everything.  The full story should never appear on the manuscript.  Listen to any Gil Evans’ arrangement for Miles Davis and you’ll hear deliberate cracks and spaces.  I wonder if Berklee ever discuss European orchestrators, like Alexander Von Schlippenbach or Keith Tippett?  Or if they need to stay home-grown, how about getting down with arrangers like John Zorn and Butch Morris? 

All that aside, there’s enough on April to keep me engaged.  When I whack up the volume on Sewol Ho it leaps into life.  Half way through Jeff Galindo breaks forth a terrific surge of sound, positioning his trombone on top of Greg Hopkins’ trumpet.  It seems to me Mr Galindo is a one-man masterclass in getting through to the blues.  And later when Ben Whiting (bass clarinet) and Shannon LeClaire (Bb clarinet) turn in a counterpoint it becomes a close run thing as to who is leading who. 

Click here for Sewol Ho.

Of the orchestrations, Deep Blue Sea holds the jewel; just over 3 minutes in, Rick DiMuzio takes a tenor saxophone solo cradled within a sublime setting. For me, Whirlwind is the standout performance, chiefly because it carries a number of different moods which knit together with kinetic energy.  There’s a daring piano break across a punching Bernstein-like orchestration followed through by Rick DiMuzio’s tenor stepping forward to capture the climate of the piece.

Click here for the video of Deep Blue Sea.

April demonstrates this is a band leader with ideas. The actual writing is the strongest attribute.  This is no time for any of us to sit still.  Jihye Lee is on to something.  I guess she could do the logical thing and be tempted into film scores.  With a debut like this, she will probably have the sharks and sirens offering all kinds of inducements.  And for sure, it’s a medium that sometimes produces spectacular results. Economically, putting a new authentic creative jazz orchestra on the road right now is not easy, especially with the social temperature at freezing.  The fact is that I think that's where Jihye Lee will find what is beyond.  May April be your spring. 

Click here for details and to sample the album. Click here for the CD details.

 

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

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Album Released: 9th December 2016 - Label: Two Rivers Records

 

Solstice

Alimentation

 

Tori Freestone (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute); Brigitte Beraha (voice); John Turville (piano); Jez Franks (guitars); Dave Manington (bass); George Hart (drums).

Although only released in 2016, this recording comes from a studio session in December 2014. These are skilled musicians who know each other well from the East London music scene, but some also lead their own bands or play and record with other ensembles. The play list here is also a bit like an 'American supper' whereSolstice Alimentation the musicians have brought their own compositions to the party.

'Alimentation' is defined as 'The act or process of giving or receiving nourishment' and the band says how 'they have now come together united by a shared love of music and food to write and eat collectively'.  They have a unified sound drawing on influences from Brazil, New York, and France such as Hermeto Pascoal, Edward Simon and Pierre de Bethmann, whilst retaining a uniquely British identity.  Their culinary and musical explorations come together with the release of this debut album and it is not surprising therefore that the first two tracks are called Ultimate Big Cheese and Mourning Porridge.

Click here for a trailer video for the album

And so the first course is Dave Manington and Brigitte Beraha's Ultimate Big Cheese opening warmly with Brigitte's voice drawing you in and Tori Freestone's flute floating behind the Brazilian flavours before she serves up a beautiful solo. A well considered opening track that tells you it is worth staying around for the rest of the meal. Mourning Porridge is a contribution from pianist John Turville. I have heard Jez Franks play guitar before, but his solo on this track caught my attention and Brigitte and Tori, this time on saxophone, together build a bridge to a nice bass solo from Dave Manington. The Anchor Song is the only 'borrowed' piece, originally by Björk, it is arranged by Dave Manington and opens with a sensitive solo piano. Brigitte's voice and Tori Freestone's sax then work through this beautiful folk song with the band picking up the pace for the second part and another bass solo from Dave Manington. Dave Manington deserves credit for this arrangement, but then the arrangements on this album generally are out of the top drawer.

Click here for a video of The Anchor Song played live in Salisbury.

I am just three tracks in of the nine and I can already tell you this is an album well worth your attention.

Jez Franks's Tilt arrives at track four. It is his guitar that trickles in the number but he is soon joined by the others for an initial jaunty piece that makes way for a clear, wordless voicing from Brigitte Beraha and a fine solo from John Turville's piano with bass and drums nicely placed in the mix. A word here for the engineering and mixing - for example, listen, if you can, to the way George Hart's drums are placed at the end of the final track, Unspoken, where they are busy, and you are aware of their effectiveness, but they don't overpower the band. Tori Freestone's first recipe for the feast is Avocado Deficit. Simmer slowly to start with piano and saxophone and then add voice. Bring to the boil. Thoughtfully placed in the middle of the album, the mood changes with slightly angular composition and I like the taste of Tori Freestone's truly scrumptious saxophone solo. SolsticeBrigitte Beraha brings Her Words, Like Butterflies, another folk-based song where the words at times reminded me of Joni Mitchell, and John Turville delights again with his piano solo.

At track 7, Tori Freestone's Universal Four comes in lightly like a sorbet and behind Brigitte's recurring vocal riff the mix allows you to pick out the contributions of the others - if we stay with the food analogy, it is like being able to taste the different background flavours. Drummer George Hart, whose solo has taken us out of the previous track, brings along Solstice as his contribuition to the menu. 'They danced by the light of the moon' sings Brigitte. Initially this sounds like poetry set to music but the music swells until John Turville's piano takes a dance on its own before Jez Franks enters with a powerful guitar solo and the band bring the piece to a discordant end that eases away with faint percussion. Which leaves us with Brigitte Beraha's Unspoken where voice and guitar bring that taste of Brazil again as Brigitte sings of 'that cycle of life'. Jez Franks takes a guitar solo that once more makes me really appreciate his contribution to this album. Tori Freestone also returns with a fine saxophone solo as a lagniappe before the ensemble gathers together, collect their coats and make their way home.

Alimentation does just what it sets out to do - build some fine music by talented musicians around a concept. Returning to that food analogy, it is well cooked and mixed with many interesting flavours and served with style.

Click here to listen to The Ultimate Big Cheese. Click here to sample the album

Click here for the Solstice website. Click here for their tour dates which include:

March 3rd, Hadleigh Old Fire Station, Hadleigh, Essex
March 27th, Mirth, Marvel and Maud, 183 Hoe St, Walthamstow
March 29th, Bulls Head, Barnes
March 30th 8pm: Cambridge Modern Jazz Club Hidden Rooms, 7b Jesus Lane, Cambridge CB5 8BA
March 31st, (time tbc) Workshop at Birmingham Conservatoire  Paradise Place, Birmingham B3 3HG
March 31st, 8pm The Red Lion, Birmingham  95 Warstone Ln, Birmingham B18 6NG
April 1st Zeffirellis, Ambleside Compston Rd, Ambleside LA22 9DJ
April 7th, 8pm The Fleece, Suffolk Keeper's Ln, Leavenheath, Colchester CO6 4PZ

 

Ian Maund


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Album Released: 5th December 2016 - Label: Phia Records

 

The Jeremy Lyons Ensemble

The Promise Of Happiness

 

Howard Lawes reviews this album for us:

Jeremy Lyons collected together a dectet of musicians for the first Brilliant Corners jazz festival in Belfast in 2014, however his debut album, Vestige, featured just a quartet.  BBC Radio Ulster Jazz presenter Linley Hamilton described him as "key to the development of jazz in the province; a force for change, a creative generator of original music". 

Lyons studied jazz at Leeds College of Music and Middlesex University and is now based in London. The music for his second album, The Promise of Happiness, has been many years in the making, partly inspired by his Jeremy Lyone The Promise Of Happiness time living and working in South Korea. although there is little trace of any explicitly Korean music in the album, and he has returned to a bigger band format.

This time, an eleven piece band playing on the album is led by Jeremy Lyons (soprano and tenor saxophone) and includes regular members of  his London based quartet, Ben McDonnell (guitar) and Buster Birch (drums), colleagues from university days, Hans Koller (piano) and Dave Whitford (double bass) and other very well regarded, London based musicians, Tom Harrison (flute and alto saxophone),  Jon Shenoy (clarinet and tenor saxophone), Noel Langley (trumpet and flugelhorn), Yazz Ahmed (trumpet and flugelhorn), Patrick Hayes (trombone) and Sarah Williams (tuba and bass trombone). 

All the tracks on the album were composed by Jeremy Lyons, and the titles suggest a long journey over a long period of time starting with Tattletale (meaning 'tell-tale' and written in 1996), New Openings, Shinbu (a Japanese word relating to military might), Disquiet, Upward Lift, So Long, Suwon (a regional capital city of South Korea), The Promise of Happiness and Old Haunt Revisited (written in 2015). 

The first track features solos from Noel Langley on trumpet and Hans Koller on piano, the main theme of the piece lacks an easy melody, is reminiscent of bells ringing, and the large band provides some pleasing harmonies and backing to the solos.  New Openings starts with a lovely rhythmic piece which is soon replaced by a contrasting theme. Dave Whitford provides a nice solo on double bass followed by the alto sax of Tom Harrison backed by just the rhythm section, the rest of the band join in towards the end but the sax has the last Jeremy Lyonsword. The next track starts with a repeated and rather frantic motif from the piano while Jeremy Lyons' tenor sax solo seems to be a calming influence; backing from the band is in unison and slowly dies away to a peaceful conclusion. 

 

Jeremy Lyons

 

Disquiet features a solo from Patrick Hayes on trombone sounding fabulous over an afro-cuban type rhythm and a conversation between Buster Birch on drums and the rest of the band.  The next track, Upward Lift, starts with an appropriately optimistic theme, followed by solos from Ben McDonnell on guitar and Jon Shenoy on tenor sax interspersed with some big band style harmonies. 

So Long, Suwon features Yazz Ahmed on flugelhorn and although the piece starts with some reflective piano from Hans Koller, the flugelhorn is just the right instrument to convey the sadness involved in leaving a place or person that has meant a lot and Ahmed plays it beautifully.  The title track has Jeremy Lyons changing to soprano sax, there is another guitar solo from Ben McDonnell and the piece reaches a dramatic climax with the whole band sounding impressive.  The album finishes as it startedJeremy Lyons Ensemble with a piano solo from Hans Koller whose playing throughout the album is interesting and inventive, and there are some nice harmonies from the band.

All the tracks have been arranged by Lyons and he has shared out the solos very equitably with every member of the band, except Sarah Williams, getting at least one solo, and only Lyons himself, Koller and McDonnell playing two. Given the quality of the musicians, the solo improvisations do not disappoint, as for the album as a whole there are sections where this biggish band delights, generating drama and  excitement and more of this would be welcome; there is certainly promise and it is to be hoped that Jeremy Lyons's music generates even greater happiness in the future.

Click here to listen to the album.

Further details at www.jeremylyons.co.uk, the album is available as a download from bandcamp, cdbaby, amazon and itunes.

 

Howard Lawes     

 

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Album Released: 24th January 2017 - Label: Marksman Productions

 

Mark Whitfield

Grace

Filipe Freitas reviews this album for us:

Mark Whitfield (guitar); Davis Whitfield (piano); Mark Whitfield Jr (drums); Yasushi Nakamura (bass); Sy Smith (vocals).

Mercurial guitarist Mark Whitfield got the jazz world’s attention during the '90s, when the New York Times considered him ‘The Best Young Guitarist in the Business’. Despite speaking a vocabulary of his own, his style is still influenced by his mentor George Benson, the one who recommended him to the organist Jack McDuff. Mark not only has collaborated with jazz legends such as Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, StanleyMark Whitfield Grace Turrentine, Ray Charles and Jimmy Smith, but also with recent stars like Sting, Chris Botti, Diana Krall, and Roy Hargrove.

Incursions on soul-jazz, hard-bop, and fusion can be easily spotted in Mark’s style. However, he doesn’t stick to a particular style, also venturing himself in the rock music territory with sporadic performances with Dave Matthews' Band. Only three years after his graduation at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Mark started recording for major labels such as Warner Bros. and Verve. Released on the latter label, his 1994 album True Blue got critical acclaim and displayed an all-star lineup composed of Branford Marsalis on saxophones, Kenny Kirkland on piano, Nicholas Payton on trumpet, Rodney Whitaker on bass, and Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts on drums. Prior to that recording, he had the privilege to be joined by jazz monsters like Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, and Jack DeJohnette in Patrice (Warner Bros., 1991).

After sharing the stage so many times with his two sons (also Berklee graduates), Mark decided to record his 12th album, Grace, with them. The Japanese bassist Yasushi Nakamura, who won the title ‘honorary Whitfield family member’ from the patriarch, joins the pianist Davis Whitfield and the drummer Mark Whitfield Jr. The Yasushi Nakamurabrothers' names were also announced for trumpeter Freddie Hendrix's upcoming concerts and the drummer was summoned by pianist Orrin Evans for his latest album #knowingishalfthebattle.

Grace was released on Mark’s own label, Marksman, just like his previous Songs Of Wonder, a softhearted celebration of Stevie Wonder’s hits, featuring trumpeter Chris Botti and guitarist John Mayer.

Comprising only originals, the new recording kicks in with the straight-ahead Afro Samurai, a fusion cocktail made of funk, R&B and jazz. If Mark shows rapid reflexes, Davis exceeds all the expectations with an excitingly groovy solo. All the spirit of the blues is put into the 32 bars of Blues D.A.. While Mark configures the theme, Davis and Nakamura improvise emotion.

Yasushi Nakamura

Marks’ guest, Sy Smith, offers her vocal skills in the title track, Grace, a pure contemporary R&B creation with polyrhythmic feel. Despite the sugary taste, it was Double Trouble that satisfied me most through its props and embellishments flying over a swinging bass line. Here, the impulsive drumming of Mark Jr. becomes unstoppable, even during Mark’s brisk improvisation. At the minute five, a change of mood takes effect and a modal approach is put in practice before the final step.

Click here for a video of the Whitfield Family Band playing Grace at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April 2016.

Momentarily suspending the high impetus, Space Between Us, a slow-moving waltz is laid down. The band then plunges into a gripping crossover jazz with Fortress, where the joyous tones are directly connected with the addition of well-designed funk-rock elements. The beautiful, rich melodies are superimposed on the hot rhythms in a multi-colored celebration of past and present.

The ‘family’ is perfectly connected in Grace, mixing the wisdom of experience with the irreverence of the youth. Synergy is their key for success and I'm sure Mark doesn't regret giving this opportunity to his gifted sons. Long live the family!

Click here for details and to sample the album.

 

Filipe Freitas jazztrail.net

 

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Album Released: 24th February 2017 - Label: Spartacus Records

 

The Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra

Effervescence

 

Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us:

Produced by Tommy Smith. Reeds: Helena Kay (alto/clarinet), Adam Jackson (alto), Samuel Tessier (tenor), Michael Butcher (tenor), Heather Macintosh (baritone). Trumpets: Tom Walsh, Sean Gibbs, Joshua Elcock, Christos Stylianides, Cameron T Duncan, Tom Clay Harris. Trombones: Michael Owers, Liam Shortall, Kevin Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra EffervescenceGarrity, Richard Foote. Rhythm Section: Joe Williamson (guitar), Fergus McCreadie, Pete Johnstone (piano)
David Bowden (acoustic bass), Stephen Henderson (drums).


Effervescence is the third album from a young Scottish jazz orchestra under Tommy Smith’s sure direction. The album has photos of the musicians presented in bright bursts of colour, but there are no track notes.  However, there is a full list of the 20 musicians that make up sections of the orchestra.

The album has 8 tracks, 7 of which are by some of the greats in jazz (e.g. Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Chick Corea, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie) and one which is an original composition (Tam O’Shanter) from the pen of trumpeter/composer Sean Gibbs.  

The skills of respected arrangers Florian Ross and Christian Jacob have worked their magic on Jerome Kern’s The Way You Look Tonight, Chick Corea’s Humpty Dumpty and Bud Powell, and Miles Davis’s Nefertiti.Other tracks include Woody Herman’s Apple Honey, Benny Golson’s Blues March, and Dizzy Gillespie’s Things To Come.

It has been fourteen years since the inception of the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra (TSYJO) and in that time the orchestra has been a platform for some of the most exciting young jazz musicians in the UK. This Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestraalbum follows that pattern as the present ensemble includes multiple award-winners and critically acclaimed individuals who have already won recognition and approval from fans, commentators and their peers.

The soloists are given plenty of room and opportunity to show their skills on all 8 tracks, albeit sometimes more briefly than you may wish, and for these younger musicians to show this much confidence and accomplishment this early in their careers means that you forget the ‘youth’ label and concentrate on the musicianship instead.

All the tracks were enjoyable to listen to and it is hard to pick a favourite, be it the guitar of Joe Williamson on Humpty Dumpty and Tam O’Shanter to the tenor sax of Michael Butcher on Apple Honey and Nefertiti, the drums of Stephen Henderson on various numbers but in particular on Humpty Dumpty and Things To Come, or the trumpets of Sean Gibbs and Christos Stylianides on Blues March, to the bass of David Bowden.  I also liked the piano playing of Fergus McCreadie and Pete Johnstone.  

The variety of pace from furious Things To Come to the more sedate Nefertiti and the excellent arrangements for the orchestra give the numbers extra shots of modern life and showcase individual members to advantage. An excellent blend.

The orchestra’s current members’ energy and enthusiasm will ensure that the future of jazz is alive and well.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Click here for the Orchestra's website.

 

Tim Rolfe

 

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Album Released: 2017 - Label: Independent Release

 

Noah Preminger

Meditations On Freedom

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:


Jason Palmer (trumpet); Noah Preminger (saxophones); Kim Cass (double bass); Ian Froman (drums).

This is what the American tenor sax player Noah Preminger has written on the album cover of Meditations On Freedom:  “At this time of disruptive and divisive change in our nation, I felt compelled to create these jazz meditations .....  We hope this work generates reflection on the fragile and precious freedoms we must fight to preserve and extend to everyone who lives in this country.” 

As long ago as 1958 Sonny Rollins felt similarly ‘compelled’ to write The Freedom Suite; a year later Charles Mingus did the same with Fables Of Faubus and later still, Coltrane, Alabama. They weren’t looking to politicise but sometimes we end up with little choice in the face of society’s undoing.  Noah Preminger’sNoah Preminger Meditations on Freedom Meditations are not verbal.  This album draws on the edifice of jazz and blues through nine tracks, five are self-composed. 

To my ears Sonny Rollins hangs over this session like a guiding principle.  Whether the material is self-written or drawn from the popular music songbook matters not.  The crucial ingredient is where it should be, in the playing.  Each one of these performances is turned into the equivalent of a deep sorrow-song.  So, it has come to this, America has to once more play the blues for real; a country at the crossroads.  Like Sonny Rollins before him, Noah Preminger finds himself ‘compelled’ to act.  Which means in their case, pick up the horn and blow.    

The first time I heard Mr Preminger was early last year when I reviewed his album Pivot which focused on the music of the old blues maestro, Bukka White.  At the time I described White as “.... a tough man in harsh times and it was all there in his music.”  What a difference a year makes.  I am now listening to Mr Preminger again, still in a band with the exact same compatriots.  They are now the guys in harsh times, and it shows in this exceptional album of hard and brittle music. 

They begin with a reading of Bob Dylan’s Only A Pawn In Their Game.  It sets the premise of this album.  A Dylan song might seem an obvious place to start given the intention of the album.  Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come arrives as the third track, another lone rider still trying to find the truth of its own statement.  Here the obvious has no place.  The best of it all, the heartening truth about the Noah Preminger Quartet is they never simply just play the damn thing.  They are serious jazz reflectors – they take a melody and reach down into it and pass the shape of the contents through a process of refraction.  Rarely does it stay as written.  Here, Only A Pawn is absolutely not ‘only’, rather it is a fully conceived meditation which connects body, mind and soul through a tenor sax and trumpet duet on the first verse before linking up bass to drums and delivering on the heart of the matter.  It is so deliberately slow, poignant to the point of secular prayer, a sound like men asking for another chance to live again.  Asking it for themselves rather than anyone else, asking it through their instruments, asking their own inner understanding to recognise the validity of saxophone, trumpet, bass and drums. I had to press pause after the first hearing.  How can you not but wait when you have just heard a band weep through music?

To my knowledge, surprisingly Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come was never played by Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra.  Nevertheless the Noah Preminger Quartet bring a mini-version of the Haden orchestral project to this great song.  Until now I had never realised how close Preminger’s tenor is to Dewey Redman’s.  Preminger and Palmer pour through it like a river checked by stones and chasms.  Last year Jason Noah PremingerPalmer’s trumpet adorned his City Of Poets session with Cédric Hanriot.  Now his playing on Meditations On Freedom tightens his fix on things. I am already signed up to saying that (in my opinion) Jason Palmer is currently the number one trumpet player in the USA.  And that’s no punt against Wynton, I like the guy.  It’s just that Mr Palmer has managed to get past the Miles Davis legacy in a way that few others have.  Miles Davis weighs heavily on the shoulders of every trumpet trekker in the Beloved country.  Like Don Cherry before him, Palmer takes the by-pass and gets around The Man.  There’s a short track on Meditations called Women’s March which has the trumpet skipping across it as if this is child’s play, which it certainly isn’t.  Truly it’s a delightful, fast pick-me-up.

 

Noah Preminger

 

The central track on this session is Noah Preminger’s own study in stillness, Mother Earth.  Like Only A Pawn In Their Game, it is treated like an in-and-out breath exercise, a meditation in every sense of the word. Kim Cass, double bass, and Ian Froman’s percussion provide a transforming sense of balance on a soliloquy which holds little internal pace of its own.  Another band might have taken the decision to dispense with a rhythm section.  Fabulously, that wasn’t the case here.  Bassist and drummer count for something, in every sense.  I played Mother Earth to a close friend of mine who rightly pointed out that the absence of piano in the line-up meant bass/drums act like a guide to the two horns, not with notes or chord structures, but by intuitively extending the length of the melody (which contains a hint of Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely).  The whole performance is stretched out at differing lengths.  It’s a superb improvisation. 

Meditations On Freedom cannot be dismissed as just a hastily put together response to a political situation.  It’s not like that at all.  I don’t need to comment here.  It is clear to me that Meditations On Freedom is one treasure trove of a jazz response to current times – and yes, you can trace a history back to Sonny Rollins and beyond if you want.  That may be so, we know history as history, not as a mediator’s bargaining chip, nor even a guru’s meditation, history has gone and this is where we are today. I’d recommend getting your ears close to this session.  As far as I know, it’s only available through Noah Preminger’s website (click here).  I wouldn’t let that put you off.

Click here for the Noah Preminger Quartet (Preminger, Palmer, Kass, Froman) playing Dark Was the Night, Cold Was The Ground from their earlieralbum (not on Meditations On Freedom).
 
  

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk


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Album Released: 26th August 2016 - Label: Decca

 

Nels Cline

Lovers

Filipe Freitas reviews this album for us:

Innovative, ingenious, and thought-provoking are all suitable descriptive words to define the 61-year-old American guitarist Nels Cline. With an instinctive inclination to explore, Cline has consolidated his position as one of the most exciting contemporary guitarists and bandleaders out there. His career embraces a variety of styles and projects, and his busy schedule includes recording with the brand new Big Walnuts Yonder andNels Cline Lovers Eyebone, and performances with Scott Amendola Band and at the Alternative Guitar Summit (solo).

A few years ago, he was shaping the progressive folk-jazz of Quartet Music, probing modern creative directions alongside Tim Berne and Vinny Golia, offering robust layers to the alternative country-rock of the Chicago-based band Wilco, blowing our minds with his subliminal avant-garde group Nels Cline Singers, and roaming unrestrictedly with his fellow, and much different guitarist, Julian Lage, with whom he associated in 2014 to record Room. Lage is part of the all-star ensemble gathered by Cline to perform in Lovers, his debut on Blue Note Records.

Under the conduction of trumpeter-arranger Michael Leonhart, the recording session counted on stars such as vibraphonist Kenny Wollesen, violinist Jeff Gauthier, horn players Seven Bernstein, Ben Goldberg, and Alan Ferber, harpist Zeena Parkins, bassist Devin Hoff, and Nels’s twin brother Alex Cline in the drummer’s chair. The very personal selection of songs conveys an unexpected romanticism, so atypical of Cline's former projects.

Click here for an introductory video for the album.

Besides a few beautifully orchestrated standards such as Glad to Be Unhappy, Secret Love, Why Was I Born?, and Invitation, which was immaculately arranged with sounds and rhythms associated with Sun Ra, the recording brings us five originals by the bandleader. Hairpin & Hatbox captivates due to a sweet melody placed on top of balmy harmonies, while the dreamy The Bond, interlacing acoustic and electric sounds, ends with a chord progression proper of a pop song.

Click here for a video of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's Why Was I Born?

Other rich interpretations of compositions from disparate artists are included: Jimmy Giuffre’s blues-rooted Cry Nels ClineWant starts with a solo guitar ostinato, gradually being thickened with background layers of instrumentation; Sonic Youth’s Snare, Girl is handled with a tribal rhythm, straight melody, and psychedelic vibes; Gabor Szabo’s 6/4-metered Lady Gabor, spiced by Zeena Parkin’s harp, flows assertively with groove.

Completely divergent in mood It Only Has To Happen Once, a song by the eclectic duo Ambitious Lovers, is propelled by steady beats, gaining a chill-out mood and a propensity for tango in the same line of Thievery Corporation.

This is one of those typical cases where the past is brought into the present with completely different colors, blurring the line of time and genre. Nels Cline's conscientious dedication to this album is quite evident. Shifting musical tastes, polished arrangements, and a combination of textures and flows, are put to work in Lovers, providing safe listenings.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Click here for Nels Cline's website.


Filipe Freitas jazztrail.net

 

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Albums Released: 15th January 2017 - Label: Freetone Records

 

Langford, Gibbs, Skerman, Anstey, Kirkbride

Exchange

Steve Day reviews this album for us:     

Mark Langford (bass clarinet, tenor saxophone); Phil Gibbs (electric guitar); Roger Skerman (drums); Paul Anstey and Hugh Kirkbride (double bass).

Mark Langford who plays reeds on this album is a friend of mine.  Let’s get that out of the way.  It is as it is.  So what?  Here is another statement as clear as the sun rising, if you are interested in UK collective ‘jazz’ improvisation you are going to want to hear this recording.  I put inverted comas around the word ‘jazz’ because after all these years I’ve become sensitive concerning its usage, I endeavour to choose the word with care –Langford, Gibbs, Skerman, Anstey, Kirkbride there are no pre-composed ‘tunes’ on Exchange.  What is heard comes scrambled through the skills of the participants.  Each of the eight pieces is the result of their spontaneous interactive development and is rooted in all that came out of the 1960’s clash within the new-wave of avant-garde jazz.  So if you need a peg on which to place it historically, an obvious one is the mercurial work of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Albert Ayler, who were not only operating out of ‘jazz’ but correspondingly pushing at the boundaries of contemporary ‘art’ music. 

That all took place around fifty years ago, histories are useful only up to a point.  Exchange is new millennium music and the second release on the Freetone label.  Just as the first album, Fringe Music, took its title from a Bristol music venue, likewise Exchange.  In both cases, the words go beyond a sense of place. 

An instant Exchange of ideas between players is a key ingredient within an improvised music where no prior composing is involved.  There has to be a constant ‘flow’ of information; through dynamics, pitch, rhythmic displacement, emphasis, volume and intention, as well as rejection.  Improv demands immediate listening, selection, reaction, creation and an Exchange between all contributors.  The ‘demand’ is counterintuitive, a passive act of freedom.  How free are we within any action any of us undertakes?  How do musicians assimilate the whole sound in situ, on the spot?  Listening to the long circling improv of Stream, it is possible to glimpse five musicians taking on a collective act of spontaneous performance.  It is a high order encounter.  There is no attempt to retain this music other than through the recording of it.  To try to transcribe it would be a waste of time because all the worth is bound up in the essential essence of its instant creation.  You can’t reproduce what is only momentarily present.  Any attempt to write ‘the dots’ on a manuscript would result in ..... dots, not music.

Over the album’s whole 40 minutes, Langford, Gibbs, Skerman, Anstey and Kirkbride undertake a genuine transference of ideas.  By the time Phil Gibbs hurls his electric guitar into the colossal uncharted feedback of Trag, he has established sufficient understanding and trust to hold the centre ground.  Perhaps, even for the listener it is unsurprising that on Fizzle, the follow-through track, it is the Anstey and Kirkbride bass duo which eventually opens out the encounter.  Years ago, the great tenor player Archie Shepp used the phrase ‘Fire Music’ to describe jazz improvisation.  Mr Shepp was alluding to not only the political moment (Civil Rights), but also to the creative action, the act of playing serious impromptu music.  Bright, hot, dangerous even, magnetic to the senses, relevant to the time of its burning.  Yet ultimately, ‘fire’ leaves behind only a charred remains.  Mark LangfordRecording such encounters go some way to saving the moment.  Rather like taking a photograph, it is not the reality itself but a representation of it.  I would suggest this is another aspect of the Exchange Langford, Gibbs, Skerman, Anstey and Kirkbride sign-up to.  The shortest track on Exchange is Chaser a beautiful duet between Hugh Kirkbride and Paul Anstey.  The two double bass in stereo separation, way beyond any manuscript score reading, totally tuned to a dual muse.  It isn’t difficult. It’s just a delightfully positive encounter.   

 

Mark Langford

 

Mark Langford, Phil Gibbs and Paul Anstey all played on the earlier Fringe Music. The change of line-up for Exchange - placing Hugh Kirkbride’s additional bass and the flexible drum kit of Roger Skerman directly alongside electric guitar and tenor sax/bass clarinet is a terrific boost.  The bass duet at the centre; a low rubble never far from the surface.  Bowed, picked, balanced, they recall the path forged in the late 1970’s by the UK’s legendary John Stevens, who with his electric band, John Stevens’ Away (an off-shoot of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble [SME]) created a narrow access route into the notoriously difficult area of ‘free music’.  Personally I never heard it as ‘notoriously difficult’ but I acknowledge many did.  Away’s use of both double bass and electric bass guitar placed an emphasis on pulse which was not always present in SME.  Here, the double, double bass version of Anstey and Kirkbride make for a similar narrow space to squeeze through, and it reveals a close encounter. 

Mark Langford currently plays with the super-electric violinist Peter Evans in Blazing Flame Quintet, but back in the day he was a founder member of Bristol Music Coop which had a similar ethos to the Stevens muse.  As for Paul Anstey, his history is closely associated with the hard-bop of Spirit Level, a band from almost the same period.  The fact is none of these musicians look back.  In the last decade Mr Anstey has taken his double bass into the heart of ‘open’ improvisation and partnered guitarist, Phil Gibbs, well known for his association with tenor sax ‘giant’, Paul Dunmall.  Mr Gibbs is probably the musician who has ‘travelled’ the longest distance in the last twenty years.  Initially a ‘rock’ guitarist who came to ‘jazz’ via John McLaughlin, he has reached an ‘inner’ virtuosity, labelling him is superfluous.  On Exchange he is all things to everyone but always, essentially his own voice.

Exchange travels through a phenomenal level of interplay.  Mark Langford is undoubtedly out there on his own among his peers.  He should be far better known nationally.  The bass clarinet is not an easy reed, to produce extended detailed soloing requires enormous fortitude as well as personal vision.  Hear Deep End; to follow Langford’s lines dropping into the abyss through that long black stick is to touch the bottom of the ocean.  The full depth.  It’s like you suddenly find yourself as the aural witness to a passage of private angst made public.  Exchange is not your ordinary-Joe encounter.  It always takes time to feel comfortable with a stranger.  Okay, as I said, Mark Langford is my friend.  I have to put that aside, the fact of the matter is this ensemble have produced the kind of recording which could do for 2017 what Cath Roberts’ Sloth Racket album, Triptych did for collective improv in 2016.  I can say that easily, and I’ve never met Cath Roberts. 

Click here for details and to sample the album      

Click here for examples of Mark Langford’s playing on Soundcloud. Click here for a written interview with Phil Gibbs.


Steve Day  www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

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Choice Cuts / Slim Pickings

 

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

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

 

 

Kris davis Duopoly

 

Kris Davis - Duopoly - (Pyroclastic Records)
Kris Davis (piano),  Bill Frisell (guitar), Julian Lage (guitar), Tim Berne (alto saxophone), Don Byron (clarinet), Craig Taborn (piano), Angelica Sanchez (piano), Billy Drummond (drums), Marcus Gilmore (drums).
Details and Sample : Review

 

 

 

Ella and Louis: The Complete Norman Grantz Sessions

 

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong - Ella and Louis: The Complete Norman Grantz Sessions (3 CDs) - (One)
Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocals), Ella Fitzgerald (vocals), TrummyYoung (trombone), Ed Hall (clarinet), OscarPeterson, Billy Kyle (piano), Herb Ellis (guitar), Ray Brown, Dale Jones (bass), Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Barrett Deems (drums).
Details

 

 

 

Paul Dunmall Brass project Maha Samadhi

 

 

Paul Dunmall Brass Project - Maha Samadhi - (SLAM Productions)
Paul Dunmall (tenor sax), Percy Pursglove, Aaron Diaz, Alex Astbury (trumpet), Dave Sear, Josh Tagg (trombone), Josh Palmer, Jo Sweet (tuba), Ollie Brice (bass), Tony Biacno (drums), Ed Bennett (conductor).
Details and sample.

 

 

 

Duncan Lamont Big Band As If By Magic

 

Duncan Lamont Big Band featuring Kenny Wheeler - As If By Magic ... - (Jellymould Jazz)
Yasmin Ahmed, Tom Rees-Roberts, Noel Langley, Martin Shaw (trumpets), Andy Wood, Alistair White, Richard Edwards (trombone), Pete North (bass trombone), Andy Panayi, (alto saxophone, piccalo, flute), Paul Jones (alto sax), Jimmy Hastings, Jamie Talbot (tenor sax), Duncan Lamont Jr. (bass sax), Brian Dee (piano), Chris Laurence (bass), Ralph Salmins (drums), Frank Ricotti (vibraphone, xylophone, percussion) guest Kenny Wheeler (flugelhorn).
Details

 

 

 

 

Abbey Lincoln Golden Lady

 

Abbey Lincoln - Golden Lady featuring Archie Shepp - (Inner City Records)
Abbey Lincoln (vocals), Archie Shepp (tenor sax), Roy Burroughs (trumpet), Hilton Ruiz (piano), Jack Gregg (bass), Freddie Watts (drums).
Details and sample when available.

 

 

 

 

Billie Holiday The Last Albums

 

Billie Holiday - The Last Albums - (Essential Jazz Classics)
Lady In Satin, Last Recording plus a 1958 Newport set and broadcasts from Los Angeles, New York, London and Boston - 2 CDs
Details

 

 

 

 

Curtis Stigers One More For The Road

 

Curtis Stigers with the Danish Radio Big Band - One More For The Road - (Concord Jazz)
Curtis Stigers (vocals) and the Danish Radio Big Band.
Details and sample.

 

 

 

 

Miroslav Vitous The Bass

 

Miroslav Vitous - The Bass - (BGO)
Miroslav Vitous (bass), Joe Henderson (tenor sax), Herbie Hancock (piano), John McLaughlin (guitar), Jack DeJohnette (drums).
Details.

 

 

 

 

Jazz haunts and Magic Vaults album

 

Various Artists - Jazz Haunts & Magic Vaults: The New Lost Classics of Resonance Records, Vol. 1 - (Resonance)
Anthology of various groups including Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra; The Three Sounds; Larry Young; Wes Montgomery; Bill Evans Trio ...
Details and sample.

 

 

 

 

Jonah Jones Broadway and Holywood Hits album

 

Jonah Jones Quartet - Broadway And Hollywood Hits (2 CDs) - (Essential Jazz Classics)
A re-release collection of 4 albums by Jonah Jones (trumpet) on which he performs classic Broadway and movie themes recorded for Capitol between 1957 and 1962 together with a bonus thematic album I Dig Chicks , on which every song refers to a woman's name, and three other bonus tracks.
Details.

 

 

 

 

Lou Rawls with Les McCann Stormy Monday

 

Lou Rawls with Les McCann - Stormy Monday - (American Jazz Classics)
Lou Rawls (vocals) with various personnel including Les McCann (piano), Leroy Vinegar (bass) and Ron Jefferson (drums).
Details
- Sample.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 ...



 

 

Oxfordshire's 7th Annual Charity Jazz Concert

Sunday, 5th March 2017 - The Exeter Hall, Kidlington, Oxfordshire. - Doors 7.00 pm for 7.30 start.

Clarinettist Alvin Roy tells how these Jazz Concerts all began:

I suppose it all started in 1995. I had travelled down from London for a day’s fishing at an Oxfordshire lake and whilst driving home, I suffered a heart attack but managed to continue driving and got myself to the John Radcliffe Hospital and as I got out of my car, I went into cardiac arrest. The hospital saved my life and when I returned to London, I decided to organise a charity fishing competition  and also a jazz concert at London’s famous 100 club, on behalf of the British Heart Foundation.

I moved to Oxfordshire in 2000 and when  a local jazz trumpeter died in 2010, the family  requested donations to the "Friends of the John Radcliffe Hospital". At the time, my band, "Reeds Unlimited", were playing a regular Sunday night at the, now defunct, Lord Nuffield club and  I organised a special jazz evening which raised money for the hospital. The following year, I was approached by a jazz fan whose son had died of Alvin RoyCrohn’s disease and he asked me to help him put on a concert at the Exeter Hall in Kidlington to raise money for the charity. I contacted many of the musicians I knew and  they all readily agreed to take part in the event, which meant  that I had several guitar players, pianists, drummers, bass players and front line instrumentalists, all of whom wanted to play on the night. So I came up with the idea of putting certain musicians together to form a band, giving them a name and letting them "jam" together. Jazz is one form of music that can be created by musicians playing together with little or no rehearsal and as they all were very good players, I knew this method would work. In the end, I ended up with four bands formed from the pool of musicians.  “Guitar Summit” was one band that started this way and who have since gone on to play many gigs in Oxfordshire.

After the concert, all the musicians told me how much they’d enjoyed the evening  and as they’d all given their services for free, this was extremely gratifying and heart warming. Their enthusiasm persuaded  me to agree to arrange another charity concert at the same venue the following year and as I had become chairman of the Oxfordshire Jazz Federation, I continued to organise the subsequent concerts through their auspices. Some of the charities to benefit from this annual event are the British Heart Foundation, the Sobell Centre, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease.

This year’s concert is the 7th to be held and is on behalf of the Motor Neurone Disease Association. The doors open to the public at 7 pm with the concert starting at 7.30 pm. Tickets on the door are £8, which is ridiculously cheap considering the quality and high standard of the musicians who are taking part. This year we’re featuring “Big Colors” (that’s how they spell their name) which is Oxfordshire’s premier big band, comprising the best players in the County and led by David Shiers. The second band appearing is the “Soprano Summit Legacy Band” which has been put together by me as a tribute to the famous American band and who’ll also be appearing in concert on March 17th at the Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot.

I’m grateful to David Carugo and his students from Brookes University, who each year, have provided the lighting and sound for all the concerts and I trust that this year’s event will be as successful as the previous ones.  I hope and expect a full house on the night, which has a twofold effect: more money for the chosen charity and an appreciative audience for the musicians who, as they are all playing for nothing, deserve some accolade for their performance.

 

 

 

Bright Sparks Shine Spotlight On Local Talent

Rob Adams in Scotland writes:

Glasgow’s Spark Trio is the latest Scottish band to stage its own events. In the wake of successful examples including the Playtime collective in Edinburgh, the trio begins a new monthly series in the Griffin Bar in Glasgow’s Bath Street on Monday 6th March. The first gig will showcase their own compositions and arrangements of jazz standards and future dates will feature prominent players from the Scottish scene guesting with the trio. Following their own gig, organist Paul Harrison, guitarist Joe Williamson and drummer Stephen Henderson, have scheduled Spark Trio appearances by Brass Jaw and Scottish National Jazz Orchestra alto saxophonist Paul Towndrow on 3rd April and saxophonist and Jazzwise 'one to watch' 2014, Brian Molley on 8th May.

“The idea is to bring in players that Glasgow audiences might not get a chance to hear in a full concert very often,” says Williamson who also plays with Henderson in Peter Whittingham Jazz Award 2015-winning quartet Square One. “Paul Towndrow, for example, plays in town several times a year with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra but he hasn’t had a gig of his own here in more recent times.” The trio offers prospective collaborators a blend of youth and experience. Harrison is a multi-faceted keyboards player who has worked across virtually the whole spectrum of jazz, having played in drummer Ken Mathieson’s Classic Jazz Orchestra, featured alongside Dave Liebman in the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and accompanied singer Carol Kidd. He has also recorded as a solo pianist and currently leads both the electro-acoustic group Sugarwork and Trio Magico, his celebration of Brazilian pianist-guitarist-composer Egberto Gismonti.

Spark Trio: Stephen Henderson, Joe Williamson, Paul Harrison

 

A generation younger, Williamson and Henderson are nonetheless coming up quickly, the former having already appeared with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra in its Frank Sinatra centenary tribute with Kurt Elling, and the latter is gaining a reputation as the pianist’s choice of drummer as he plays in the trios of both former Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year Alan Benzie and Peter Whittingham Jazz Award winner 2016, Fergus McCreadie.

“There’s a history of jazz happening at the Griffin over the years,” says Williamson. “So it’s a familiar venue to the local jazz audience and we’re hoping that they’ll turn out to hear to these top players working in an intimate environment.”

 

 

JAZZLONDONLIVE Now On iOS for Apple Users.

Jazz London LiveSarah Chaplin and Mick Sexton from Jazz London Live database of venues and gigs in the London area say:

'Back in May 2016, two musicians Sarah Chaplin and Mick Sexton, decided to produce a lively new online listings resource for the jazz community using a free Wordpress template, with the intention of filling the void left by the printed monthly booklet that had been the go-to information source for jazz in London for the past four decades. Having launched the JAZZLONDONLIVE website, the pair began talking to friends and acquaintances on the jazz scene, and quickly realised that while the website was useful, a mobile app running off a proper database might be an even more handy way of delivering‘always in your pocket’ information on gigs, venues, artists, festivals etc, meaning that punters could access it all more quickly and conveniently, whether or not they were connected to the internet.'

'Following the release in November 2016 of the Android app, this week sees the eagerly awaited release of the iOS version of the JAZZLONDONLIVE app on iTunes, covering over 100 venues, around 1000 gigs and a growing roster of jazz artists each month, and enabling subscribers to access listings for London and the South East either by date, by venue or by artist. What’s more, after doing market research, the app may now be downloaded free of charge. At a later date, we may introduce a paid premium option enabling user customisation if feedback indicates this is desired. The app connects directly to Google Maps to see a venue’s location, directly to a venue’s website or ticketing site to book tickets, and also allows users to share gig details with friends and social media or phone a venue directly from the app.'

 

 

 

Some UK Jazz Venues

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jazz London Live

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

 

 

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

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

London: LUME, www.lumemusic.co.uk

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

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

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

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

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

London: The Forge, Camden, 3-7 Delancey Street, Camden, London NW1 7NL. www.theforgevenue.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Bath: Widcombe Social Club, Widcombe Hill, Bath, BA2 6AA
Jazz Times Three. Every 2 weeks. 8.00 pm onwards. www.widcombesocialclub.co.uk.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Jazz Talks: Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas

Buckinghamshire:

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

Norwich:

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

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

 

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