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July 2019

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Laura Jurd

 

Laura Jurd photographed at the Love Supreme Jazz Festival by Brian O'Connor. Laura has a new album coming out on the Edition label in July - Stepping Back, Jumping In
An exhibition of Brian's Images Of Jazz photographs
will be staged at the Hawth, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 6YZ from Tuesday 3rd September - Thursday 19th September 2019.
The exhibition celebrates 50 years of Brian taking pictures of jazz musicians (entrance is free). Click here for details.

 

 

 

NYJO Jazz Exchange

In June, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra announced 'the most exciting development in its 54-year history: the NYJO Jazz Exchange'. The two-year national project will encourage young professional musicians to' take charge of their artistic voice'. It will be funded by Arts Council NYJOEngland and the Peter Sowerby Foundation.

'For the first time, NYJO’s professional national programme will reach those seeking alternatives to the traditional jazz orchestra format, through the creation of a new ensemble. Launching in January 2020, the NYJO Jazz Exchange will empower ten musicians to identify their creative needs and drive their own professional careers. They will be supported by world-class mentorship, regular rehearsals, paid performances and masterclasses.

'Recruitment will welcome both nominated and self-nominated applicants, with particular focus on regions outside London. NYJO will work closely with the jazz community to identify suitable applicants. The first ensemble will be coached by award-winning instrumentalist, Orphy Robinson MBE. Multiple Jazz FM Award winner and founder member of the legendary Jazz Warriors Orphy works in a variety of forms including jazz, free improvisation and funk.

Orphy said: “It is a privilege to be leading the NYJO Jazz Exchange. This exciting new project will provide progressive professional opportunities to those who don’t identify with traditional musical education routes. As a young player, I would have benefited enormously from this scheme. The jazz scene is constantly changing, and it’s important that NYJO does too.”

Applications open this month (July) - For more information and to find out how to apply click here.

 

 

Stay Safe

It is sometime since I received one of those emails supposedly from a 'friend' saying they had been robbed and were stuck in a foreign county..... "please send money"! By now, most of us know about dodgy emails, but as there are a few about at the moment I thought it might be time for a reminder. A basic rule of thumb is 'if it looks dodgy - delete it, and don't open it'. There are some going round at present purporting to come from people you know but not containing a message, just a link to something. If I receive messages like that I always delete them without clicking on the link, so please don't send me anything without a written personal message, even if you have found a link to a great YouTube video.

Emails from myself at Sandy Brown Jazz always include a personal message - I never send out an email with just a link.

Emails sent out to those of you on my mailing list are sent at the beginning of the month to tell you when a new issue of 'What's New' is online (and occasionally again there is a follow up mid-month). These go out using a service called 'Mailchimp' where you can 'unsubscribe' at the bottom of the page if you no longer want to receive the emails. If you would like to join the mailing list - click here. My anti-virus software is regularly updated. Stay safe.

 

 

 

Queen's Birthday Honours 2019

Several people connected with jazz have received awards in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours announced in June:

 

Jacqui Dankworth and Cleo Laine

 

Jacqui Dankworth received an M.B.E. The singer, recording artist and actress received her award for services to Music.

Jacqui Dankworth with her mother Cleo Laine

 

Drummer and bandleader Clark Tracey received the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Music and the Promotion of Jazz.

 

 

 

Jon Eno of Hot House Music covering Derby, Leicester, Nottingham and Staffordshire also received a well-deserved BEM for services to Jazz Music Education.

 

Jon Eno and Hot House

Jon Eno and Hot House

 

and David Jones one of the founding directors of Serious, the producers of international music, received an OBE for services to Music and Culture. Amongst other activities he jointly created and developed the London Jazz Festival, which celebrated its 25th birthday last year

 

 

 

 

Video Juke Box

*Click on the Picture to watch the Video

 

 

 

Jacob Collier Moon River video

 

 

Jacob Collier continues to win awards for his music and creativity and his latest video - his version of ‘Moon River’ – is brimming over with both. Just scroll down the page on YouTube and see who has contributed to it!

 

 

 

 

Spirit Fingers Inside video

 

 

The LA band Spirit Fingers is in London in July as part of a 'whistle-stop' tour (Hadrien Feraud, bass; Dario Chiazzolino, guitar; Mike Mitchell, drums; and Greg Spero, piano/composer). Check out this video of them playing Inside live - one of the numbers on their album Being. Click here for London dates.

 

 

 

 

Cab Calloway Some Of These Days

 

 

I can't help but wonder whether this video of the 'Hi-De-Ho Man', Cab Calloway, playing Some Of These Days in 1937 has been speeded up? The trombone seems at the right speed but everything else - well, I'm not sure........

 

 

 

 

1930s Harlem video

 

 

....... and in this British Pathé video of Harlem in the 1930s, we are told that the speed has been corrected, which again makes me wonder about the Cab Calloway footage. This video has some valuable scenes of Duke Ellington and the Cotton Club that beautifully capture the time and place.

 

 

 

 

Tini Thomsen MaxSax

 

 

Here is an introduction to baritone saxophonist Tini Thomsen's band MaxSax - a compilation from their set at Jazzfest in Viersen. Tini drops by this month for a Tea Break to talk about her music - click here.

 

 

 

 

Alex Hitchcock Quintet Context

 

 

The Alex Hitchcock Quintet plays Context at the Pizza express Jazz Club in May 2018 [Alex Hitchcock (tenor saxophone); James Copus (trumpet, flugelhorn); Will Barry (piano, fender rhodes); Joe Downard (bass); Jay Davis (drums)]. Context was from their album Live At The London And Cambridge Jazz Festivals. Now they have a new album out, All Good Things [see Recent Releases] and Alex will be talking to us about it in a Full Focus article next month.

 

 

 

Hackney Colliery Band video

 

 

East London's Hackney Colliery Band plays Netsanet to a packed venue at Scala in London. They have a new album out Collaborations: Volume 1 [see Recent Releases].

 

 

 

 

Blazing Flame Brutus and Caesar

 

Blazing Flame Quintet / 6 play Brutus and Caesar recorded at The Factory, Bristol. A studio version of this music is available on their album Wrecked Chateau. Steve Day (voice, words); Peter Evans (electric violin); Mark Langford (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet);David Mowat (trumpet, flugelhorn); Julian Dale (double bass, voice) and Marco Anderson (drums). Steve Day says: 'Twitchy, pointed, it grabs the attention from the start.  Gradually the band put in all kinds of quirky in-fills enhancing this tale of jealousy and betrayal.  Its roots are in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and the performance is all cut and thrust.  Both violin and trumpet are as much storytellers as the voice – the saxophone and chorus brooding and descriptive.   Someone recently told the band that Brutus And Caesar was like listening to Velvet Underground playing for pleasure.  “We’re okay with that, it’s possible to see in the dark.”

 

 

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

 

 

 

Swanage Jazz Festival - 13th and 14th July

It is good to see that the Festival is running again this year after questions in previous years about it continuing. Last year guitarist Nigel Price stepped in as interim artistic director and this year a local team is organising the event. Whilst last year the event was held in marquees, this year a variety of venues around the Dorset coast are involved and as always, there will be a variety of trad, mainstream and modern jazz ensembles playing.

In 2016, Annette Keen wrote an article for us about Swanage Jazz Festival that set the scene beautifully (click here). In the article Annette wrote: '

Almost July, height of the British summer, with more public events on offer than probably any other month in the year. For some people it can only mean one thing: Wimbledon tennis. I quite like tennis, but for me July means the Swanage Jazz Festival. Now there are plenty of other jazz festivals happening this month, and I don't mean to decry any of them as I'm sure they are all splendid in their own way, but there is something very special about Swanage. And it all starts in a rather special way about twenty-five minutes from the town, if you're taking the car ferry from Sandbanks to Shell Bay. Suddenly, it feels like you're really going somewhere.

 

Swanage

 

If you've never been there you may not know that Swanage is the quintessential English seaside town. Set on a perfect little bay, with a three mile long sandy beach that descends gradually in a child-friendly way into calm waters, brightly painted pedalo boats and stripey deckchairs, it's picture-postcard pretty. There are little boats bobbing about on the sea, and a Victorian pier jutting out into it. Until a couple of years ago there was even Punch and Judy on the beach but sadly the most recent Punchman retired in 2015. It's encouraging though to Ice Cream wafersknow that the local council are looking for a replacement, so if anyone reading is interested in a career change, the Punch and Judy concession is up for tender.

Swanage town is heroically stuck in the 1950s. It has a smattering of coffee shops and restaurants, fish and chippies, some interesting shops and many good pubs. There are no big supermarkets, no high street chains and no pedestrian-only shopping centres. It is essentially the same as it was when I went there as a child on family holidays, although I can't now find the shop where they sold delicious fat wedges of blackcurrant ice-cream sandwiched between wafers. The town boasts a steam railway and an open-top bus, and some swanky new beach huts along the prom.

The jazz festival fills the town with people and music for three days. If you leave it too late you'll have a job getting a room to stay - many people do as I do and book for the following year when they pay their bill. Restaurants, pubs, takeaways (yes there are some of those...) are busy throughout. British seaside towns have had a hard time of it in recent years, so it's no wonder that Swanage welcomes the festival back each year, it's good for business and that's good for the town'.

 

 

 

Scottish Jazz Awards

The seventh Scottish Jazz Awards were presented in June. The awards ceremony is hosted as an independent event by the organisers of Glasgow Jazz Festival and supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland. Jill Rodger, director of Glasgow Jazz Festival and host of the Scottish Jazz Awards, said: ‘The Scottish Jazz Awards are about honouring some of the most talented and revered musicians in the industry. The public and the panel did not have an easy feat deciding which of Scotland’s exceptional jazz musicians should receive these awards – huge congratulations to everyone who was nominated, and to all of our winners. The recognition is richly deserved.’

This year the Scottish Jazz Awards teamed up with a new charity partner Help Musicians Scotland to spread awareness of their frontline services and to raise vital funds to empower Scottish musicians and those in the Scottish music industry.

The awards presented this year were for:

 

Marianne McGregor

 

 

Best Vocalist Award, sponsored by Whighams Jazz Club: Georgia Cecile

Best Instrumentalist Award, sponsored by ESP Music Rentals: Brian Kellock.

Best Band Award, sponsored by Musicians’ Union: Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.

Best Album Award, sponsored by Birnam CD: Fergus McCreadie Trio, Turas.

Rising Star Award, sponsored by The Blue Arrow, Marianne McGregor.

Marianne McGregor

Services to Scottish Jazz, sponsored by Ticketmaster: Jazz Scotland.

Lifetime Achievement Award, in association with Help Musicians Scotland: Martin Taylor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Jazz Families

This month we give you fifteen questions related to jazz familes - how many can you answer?

For example:

Saxophonist Jimmy and drummer Albert had a brother who played bass with the Modern Jazz Quartet. Who was he?

 

Who is this?

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

British Black Music Month

Organised by BritishBlackMusic.com/Black Music Congress (BBM/BMC), British Black Music Month seems to run for a bit longer than a month these days. This year it goes from 1st June to 31st July, and this year there is a focus on Reggae, but the regular Making Sense Of How The Music Industry Works event takes place on 27th July, 1.00 pm - 5.00 pm. Click here for details.

The introduction to the day says: 'This master-class is open to anyone with an interest in developing a career in the music industry.
It's aimed at the unsigned or do-it-yourself artist, musicpreneur, or those who provide artists, songwriters and producers with specialist Music Industry Knowledge postersupport. An opportunity to help you turn your new year's resolution into reality!

'Are you an aspiring musician? Do you want to work in the music industry? If you don't know your MU from your PPL, your PRS from your VPL, or your BPI from your AIM, then this master-class is for you! If you want to know more about your options for developing a career and generating an income for yourself through your passion for music - then this master-class is for you! This course amalgamates most of our short music industry courses (excluding Preparing A Music Business Plan Workshop). It shows how the music industry works, in order to join the dots by understanding the various careers within the music industry, the functions of the key industry organisations, income streams, and rights. The course is accessible, and requires no prior music industry experience or qualifications.

'It's led by music industry tutor Kwaku (BBM/BMC & BTWSC). Kwaku holds a Music Business Management MA, Media MA and an LLM in Entertainment Law. He has taught music industry courses from pre-degree levels at City & Islington College, City University London, to post-graduate level at University Of Westminster. He has guest lectured at University Of Hertfordshire and LIPA (Liverpool institute For Performing Arts). A qualified NVQ assessor, he's also designed and delivered BTWSC's accredited and non-accredited courses'.

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Jazz Voices

Cleveland Watkiss

 

Cleveland Watkiss

 

This year, that very fine vocalist Cleveland Watkiss celebrates his 60th birthday with a concert at the London Jazz Festival. On Sunday 24th November he will be at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with a retrospective of music from his extensive back catalogue along with his take on the Great Jamaican Songbook, featuring the songs of Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Delroy Wilson, and more. Cleveland will also be joined by an array of musical guests, drawing from his collaborators old and new – a who’s who list of the British-Caribbean musical legends including Orphy Robinson, Jason Yarde, Byron Wallen and Ayanna Witter-Johnson. Click here for a video of him singing Green and Gold from his gigs on the Great Jamaican Songbook.

Cleveland Watkiss was born to Jamaican parents in Hackney, East London, and was one of nine children. When he was 16, he entered a local singing talent competition, hosted by "FatMan" of FatMan Sound System (North East London Based Roots, Reggae & Dub Sound System) and won the competition twice. He went on to study at the London School of Singing and then to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Cleveland was one of the co-founders of the greatly respected Jazz Warriors big band, and his vocals can be heard on their debut album, Out of Many One People (1987), which won a video award in Japan. Cleveland was then entered for the Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards and was voted best vocalist for three consecutive years.

Other awards include winning the London Jazz Awards for Best Vocalist in 2010 and he has been voted Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards best vocalist for three consecutive years. In 2017 at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards he received the Jazz Vocalist of the Year award. He is also a nominee of the MOBO Awards in Best Jazz Act category. For his services to music Cleveland was awarded an MBE in the 2018 New Year Honours - he is a keen music educator, working as a voice instructor for SingUp, with workshops in venues/schools, colleges and universities around the UK.

Reviewing a solo performance at The Vortex, Ivan Hewett wrote in The Telegraph: "Cleveland Watkiss is such a restlessly curious musician, it's hard to know where to place him. He has sung with the Who and gospel choirs, he has appeared in straight-ahead jazz contexts and in drum and bass, he has worked with video artists, DJs, Indian percussionists, Japanese musicians. All these encounters have left their traces on him, as was clear from his solo gig at the Vortex. Just as important was the virtuoso way a reference to one musical style would morph into another".

YouTube has videos demonstrating the many styles of Cleveland Watkiss but I have chosen this video from 2018 of his singing Puttin' On The Ritz and Hit The Road Jack with the Apple Tea Jazz Band in Minsk, Belarus. - click here.

 

Cleveland Watkiss Hit The Road Jack

 

 

Click here for our Jazz Voices page.

 

 

 

Award For Nils Landgren

On 13th June, Swedish trombonist ‘Mr Red Horn’ Nils Landgren received the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) from the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier in recognition of his major contribution to the German music scene. The Nils Landgrenaward was presented by Hans-Jürgen Heimsoeth, the German Ambassador to Sweden, at the Ambassador’s official residence in Stockholm.

German audiences have embraced the trombonist from early stages in his career. Nils Landgren has also been artistic director of JazzFest Berlin first in 2001 and then again from 2008 to 2011 ; he has been artistic director of the JazzBaltica Festival since 2012; he has been a lecturer at the Musikhochschule (conservatoire) in Hamburg since 2006 and professor of jazz trombone there since 2014.

Through his roles as mentor, teacher, friend, promoter and as a supportive colleague on stage, Nils Landgren has had a decisive influence on the careers of countless young musicians. He consistently seeks out emerging jazz talent from all over Europe and has influenced the career development of musicians such as Esbjörn Svensson, Lars Danielsson, Ida Sand, Rigmor Gustafsson, Jeanette Köhn, Michael Wollny, Eva Kruse, Lisa Rebecca Wulff, Janning Trumann, Ingolf Burkhardt, Peter Weniger, Tini Thomsen and Nicole Johänntgen ... they have all benefited from a close association with Nils Landgren.

 

Click on the picture below for a video of Nils Landgren playing Silent Way with the NDR Big Band in 2007.
As one commentator says: 'His control is incredible'.


Nils Landgren Silent Way video

 


Directory of Alternative Musical Definitions

 

Tuba

Instrument for playing Roots music

 

Tuba

(Click on the picture)

Click here for more Alternative Definitions.

 

 

 

 

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

'When my father was a young man ... the musicianers were playing all among themselves, meeting mostly at one house, playing all night .... Sidney BechetYou know, there was one house where they all met, where my father got them all together. It was the section called 'back o' town'. We just called it 'back o' town'.

"Where're you goin'?"
"Oh, nowhere, just back o' town"

Sometimes in this house, they'd have contests like, they'd put a jug of wine in the centre of the floor and cut figures around it. 'Cutting figures', that's what it was called. They'd dance around this jug of wine, a whole lot of kind of steps, dance as close to it as they could and still not touch it or knock it over. The man who touched it, he'd have to go out and buy another gallon, buy more wine for everybody, the musicianers too - and then there'd be some more dancing. My father used to win a lot of prizes there. It wasn't no woman party. It wasn't nothing like that. There wouldn't be any women when these men got together. It was music and this cutting figures ..... Those bands, those days, there wasn't any piano to them: it was guitar, bass, violin, drum, trombone, cornet - that was the original orchestra.

People have got an idea that the music started in whorehouses. Well, there was a district there, you know, and the houses in it, they'd all have someone playing a guitar or a mandolin, or a piano ... someone singing maybe; but they didn't have orchestras, and the musicianers never played regular there ...'

 

From Treat It Gentle by Sidney Bechet

 

[Sidney Bechet's father was not a musician. He was a shoemaker in New Orleans. Sidney writes: 'But dancing - that was another thing - That was something he did himself: he could dance awful well, just dance himself on out. People got a pleasure out of watching him'].

 

 

Jazz Bars In London

Hidden Jazz Club

 

 

A website named 'Friday Drinks' has included some of their favourite jazz venues in London '... that have the right tone for any occasion. From Bethnal Green to Nottingham Hill, London gets jazzy with Jazz bars. Each Location brings individual charm and personality; creating the right vibe for any occasion ...'. Some of them might be new to you, such as The Hidden Jazz Club with gigs in Waterloo and Peckham. They also have venues in Tokyo, Barcelona, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco and offer free tickets for their gigs to young jazz musicians. Click here for details.

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow's Warriors Artist Development Programme

Howard Lawes writes telling us that this award-winning programme is asking for help:

The Free Young Artist Development Programme at Southbank Centre is under threat of closure in 2019 due to lack of funding. The Tomorrows Warriors appealprogramme helps aspiring young jazz musicians discover their magic and achieve their creative ambitions. Free access to this programme has proved crucial in nurturing the nascent talent and early careers of so many of the most exciting UK artists currently tearing up the international jazz scene. The outcome for musicians who have been on the programme is clearly reflected in this year’s Jazz FM awards where: Nuyia Garcia was named – UK Jazz Act of the Year (public vote) ; Cassie Kinoshi – Breakthrough Act of the Year ; Cherise Adams-Burnette – Vocalist of the Year ; Sons of Kemet, Your Queen Is A Reptile – Album of the Year (public vote); and Steam Down – Live Experience of the Year (public vote) & Innovation.

Founded by Janine Irons MBE, FRSA and Gary Crosby OBE and based at Southbank Centre in London, Tomorrow’s Warriors offers a pioneering, comprehensive programme of learning and training which, in Tomorrows Warriors appealparticular, champions and supports young people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, girls and those whose financial or other challenging circumstances would tend to lock them out of opportunities to pursue a career in the music industry. The core ethos of Tomorrow’s Warriors is 'each one, teach one', where each generation supports the next, sharing skills, passing on the legacy and building a vibrant, supportive community. All of the learning and training activities are FREE at the point of access, and always have been, so that no young person is excluded for financial reasons.

Now the programme is under threat of closure due to lack of funding. Arts Council England funds Tomorrow’s Warriors, but all the funds for artistic and educational activity have to be raised separately and the current programme costs around £200,000 a year. Arts Council England (ACE) have guaranteed to match fundraising up to £100,000, if this total is reached ACE will match it with a further £100,000 allowing Tomorrows Warriors to continue the programme free of charge to all young people, regardless of their financial circumstances. So far over £80,000 has been raised since October 2018 but there are only a few weeks left to raise another £20,000.

Please help us and get ACE to double your donation to keep the awesome talent coming through in 2019, and, if you are a UK tax payer you can Gift Aid your donation as this can increase your gift by 25% without costing you a penny more! Click here to donate. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Tracks Unwrapped

Sandu

by Clifford Brown


 

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

Clifford Brown

Clifford Brown ("Brownie")

 

This article has to be based on guesswork. I can find no information online about why Clifford Brown called his tune Sandu, and of course we cannot ask him. Nevertheless it is a great track with possibly interesting links and worth spending time with. Sandu is a 12 bar blues in Eb - a less common key for a blues.

Click here to listen to Sandu.

The tune came out on the 1955 Study In Brown album by Clifford Brown (trumpet) and Max Roach (drums) with George Morrow (bass); Richie Powell (piano) and Harold Land (tenor saxophone). Most of the tunes on the album are originals by Brown, Powell and Land but Billy Strayhorn's Take The A Train is included as is Ray Noble's Cherokee on which Clifford Brown's breakneck solo has become one of the most acclaimed in jazz.

Click here to listen to Cherokee.

Trumpeter Clifford Brown was born on 30th October 1930 in Wilmington, Delaware. He was one of four boys whose father, also a trumpeter, organised his sons as a vocal quartet. Clifford was fascinated by his father's trumpet and started having trumpet lessons at school when he was about ten. At thirteen, his father bought him his own trumpet; he began taking private lessons and at junior high school he joined a jazz group arranged by a teacher. Clifford went on to Delaware State University to read Maths but soon transferred to Maryland State College with its musical strand and he went frequently to Philadelphia for the music there. By now he was playing in the fourteen strong, jazz-oriented Maryland State Band.

In June 1950 after a gig, Clifford was seriously injured in a car accident. He was hospitalised for a year and afterwards he was limited to playing the piano for some months. For the rest of his short life he continued to suffer with his shoulder dislocating. Nevertheless, during his stay in hospital he was visited by Dizzy Gillespie who encouraged him to continue with his playing and eventually Clifford started to play professionally. He quickly became a respected jazz musician.

Clifford's interest in the music had been stimulated by meeting Fats Navarro when he was just fifteen. He shared 'Navarro's virtuosic technique and brilliance of invention. His sound was warm and round, and notably consistent across the full range of the instrument. He could Clifford Brown and Max Roacharticulate every note, even at very fast tempos which seemed to present no difficulty to him; this served to enhance the impression of his speed of execution. His sense of harmony was highly developed, enabling him to deliver bold statements through complex harmonic progressions (chord changes), and embodying the linear, "algebraic" terms of bebop harmony. In addition to his up-tempo prowess, he could express himself deeply in a ballad performance' (Wikipedia).

'Brownie' as he became known, recorded and performed with Tadd Dameron, J.J. Johnson, Lionel Hampton, and Art Blakey amongst others. He formed his own band with drummer Max Roach and their Quintet became established as one of the leading 'hard bop' groups, writing and playing their own music. When saxophinist Harold Land left the group, he was replaced by Sonny Rollins and the band shone ever brighter. Clifford did not 'do drugs or alcohol' and Sonny Rollins has said: "Clifford was a profound influence on my personal life. He showed me that it was possible to live a good, clean life and still be a good jazz musician."

 

Clifford Brown and Max Roach

 

Tragedy struck in June 1956 when Brownie and pianist Richie Powell set off to drive to a gig in Chicago. Richie's wife Nancy was driving so that the men could sleep, but it was night and raining when they reached the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It is thought that Nancy lost control of the car, which went off the road, killing all three in the resulting crash. Clifford Brown is buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery, in Wilmington, Delaware. He was just 24 years old.

His influence lived on through trumpeters such as Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan; he left behind a number of tunes that have become jazz standards; he had won the Down Beat critics' poll for 'New Star of the Year' in 1954, and he was inducted into the Down Beat "Jazz Hall of Fame" in 1972 in the critics' poll. Each year, Wilmington hosts the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. Brownie Speaks, a video documentary, is the culmination of years of research by Wilmington-born jazz pianist Don Glanden. The research included interviews with Clifford's friends, family, contemporaries, and fans. Glanden's son Brad edited these interviews, along with archival materials and newly shot video footage. The documentary premiered in 2008 at the "Brownie Speaks" Clifford Brown Symposium hosted by the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Brownie Speaks is available on DVD - click here for the trailer. There is little film archive footage of Clifford Brown - this video of him playing Lady Be Good and Memories Of You in 1955 is said to be the only film that exists - click here. The sound quality is poor but thankfully we still have his recorded music.

One of those numbers from Clifford Brown that became a 'jazz standard' is Sandu.

Let's start with another tune on an album from a year before - Daahood - from Study In Brown, with the same personnel line up. I had always taken the title to mean 'Daa hood' (the neighbourhood) but not so. There is interesting correspondence here about the origin of that tune. One writer, Idris, says: "He (Clifford Brown) named the tune after Talib Dawud, my father.  Dawud is the Arabic eqivalent of David, meaning "my beloved". They were trumpet-playing acquaintences in Philly in the early '50s, along with Diz and Lee".  In a later comment, Idris says: "To go a little further, there was the more well-known side of jazz musicians who used drugs, but there was also a very straight laced, spiritual crop of guys too, but you'll never hear about that.  A lot of these guys studied and some adopted Middle Eastern religions, including Diz and Art.  Coltrane was studying too, and it influenced his later music a lot".

Click here to listen to Daahood.

Idris later accepts a different explanation from a jazz historian who links Daahood to pianist Roosevelt Wardell: "Roosevelt "Daahoud" Wardell - Spirituality and music are often said to go hand in hand, but rarely are they merged as clearly as in the essence of pianist Roosevelt Wardell.  The descendent of a long line of clergymen dating back to pre-slavery Egypt, Mr. Wardell is perhaps best known by his family's spiritual name, Daahoud and as the subject of trumpeter Clifford Brown's famous composition by the same name. Mr. Wardell's musical training was informal; he taught himself and learned from the many family members who sang or played musical instruments. His inspiration for playing the piano at an early age came from his partially paralyzed brother. He vividly remembers sitting behind the old upright piano as his brother played and continuing the music himself when his brother took a break. After a few private lessons from a local music teacher and some training in public school, Mr. Wardell left his hometown of Baltimore to make his New York debut at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater in 1950 at merely age 16.  After a two-month stint at the Club Lido in New York, he returned to Baltimore to finish school, stopping here in Wilmington on his way.  Mr. Wardell returned to make Wilmington his permanent home in 1978 after many years of touring with musicians such as Mantan Moreland, Big Joe Turner, and Max Roach ......".

As for Sandu, recorded in 1955, there seems to be no reference linking it to another person, nor to people or places that fit 'S and U', so what follows is conjecture ....

Sandu is one of four districts of the Upper River Division of The Republic of Gambia in West Africa. The Gambia was a key location in the slave trade - 'As many as three million people may have been taken as slaves from this general region during the three centuries that the Gambia Slave postertransatlantic slave trade operated. It is not known how many people were taken as slaves by intertribal wars or Muslim traders before the transatlantic slave trade began. Most of those taken were sold by other Africans to Europeans: some were prisoners of intertribal wars; some were victims sold because of unpaid debts; and many others were simply victims of kidnapping ........'

 

Poster for sale of slaves Jufureh Slave Museum (Gambia)

 

'.... Europeans also figure prominently in Gambian history because the River Gambia is navigable deep into the continent, a geographic feature that made this area one of the most profitable sites for the slave trade from the 15th through the 17th centuries. (It also made it strategic to the halt of this trade once it was outlawed in the 19th century.) Some of this history was popularised in the Alex Haley book (1976) and TV series Roots (1977) which was set in the Gambia'. The book and television series are clearly too late to be linked to the tune. Slavery was abolished in the Gambia in 1906.

The Mandinka is the largest ethnicity group in The Gambia. 'More than 99% of Mandinka in contemporary Africa are Muslim. Between the 16th and 19th century, many Muslim and non-Muslim Mandinka people, along with numerous other African ethnic groups, were captured, enslaved and shipped to the Americas. They intermixed with slaves and workers of other ethnicities, creating a Creole culture. The Mandinka people significantly influenced the African heritage of descended peoples now found in the Caribbean, Brazil and the southern United States ..'

It might be possible that some of this history or people from the area were known to Clifford Brown, but there is no record of that.

 

For a fairly brief saxophone interpretation of Sandu - try this one by another 'Brown' - tenor saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown with Steven Feifke (piano); Raviv Markovitz (bass) and Jimmy Macbride (drums) - click here.

 

Sandu bottle

 

 

If we pick up on the spiritual interests of jazz musicians at the time Daahood and Sandu were written, another alternative is a pharmacuetical company named 'Sandu' that has marketed Ayurvedic products for over 100 years. There is a link here to 'the East (India)' and the 'Spiritual' : 'Ayurved' is an ancient healing system, wherein “Ayu” means "Life" and “Veda” means knowledge. Ayurveda originated as part of ‘Vedic Science’. 

The fundamentals of Ayurveda can be found in all the Vedic scriptures namely Rugveda, Atharvaveda, Yajurved and Samaved. This is an integral spiritual science devised to give a comprehensive understanding of the entire universe, which it sees as working according to a single law. In contrary to the popular misbelief, Ayurveda is not a mere alternative therapy but a way of life, which, if followed religiously, can help one attain a better physical, emotional, social and spiritual life. For curing diseases, Ayurveda insists on treating and eradicating the root cause of the ailment instead of satisfying the patient with symptomatic relief'. (details). Again, this is a very tenuous link.

 

 

 

Returning to links to people, 'Sandu' is a family surname, and so it is possible that Clifford Brown knew someone of that name. The 'Name Doctor' tells us that 'This name (Sandu) derives from the Ancient Greek name “Aléxandros (Αλέξανδρος)”, composed of two elements: “aléxō ‎(ἀλέξω)” (keep off, turn aside, guard, protect, defend, help) plus “anḗr ‎(ἀνήρ) andrós ‎(ἀνδρός)” (man “adult male”, husband). In turn the Alexander the Greatname means “defending men, protector of men”. This definition is an example of the widespread motif of Greek (or Indo-European more generally) names expressing "battle-prowess", in this case the ability to withstand or push back an enemy battle line. The name was one of the titles, "epithets", given to the Greek goddess Hera and as such is usually taken to mean "one who comes to save warriors".

Alexander The Great

 

The most famous person linked to this root is Alexander the Great, who created one of the largest empires in ancient history'. We know there was an 'Alexander' who had a Ragtime Band, but that is stretching links too far.

 

On YouTube there are many examples of people who have videod themselves doing covers of Sandu on various instruments, although it is a brave trumpeter who tries to equal Clifford Brown. There is even a Ska version. Having listened to many of these videos I have not been inspired to share them here, so I will leave you with one that did work for me. Click here for Scott Gilman (tenor sax); Dan Boissy (alto sax); Cengiz Yaltkaya (piano), Jeff Miley (guitar); Joseph Pernicano (bass) and Gary Gibbons (drums) recorded on the 28th January, 2015 at the Los Angeles Jazz Channel studio.

At the end of the day, there is no immediate evidence of why Clifford Brown gave Sandu its name ...... but perhaps someone knows or can find out more .....?

 

 

Clifford Brown

 

 

 

 

 

SOHO SOUNDS: JAZZ

Soho Sounds Jazz

The Copasetic Foundation is curating a new series of vocal jazz nights at Soho’s newest theatre, the Boulevard this autumn showcasing the cream of UK vocal talent with the house trio of Alex Webb (piano), Andy Champion (bass) & Pete Hill (drums). The Boulevard Theatre is situated at 6 Walker’s Court W1F 0BT(between Brewer and Berwick Streets) on the site of the old Raymond Revue Bar.  It has announced a lively late-night offering of music, comedy and cabaret running from Wednesday – Saturday straight after its nightly theatre shows.   SOHO SOUNDS: JAZZ will run every Wednesday night weekly from 6 November – 18 December and is the theatre’s new music night, showcasing the best UK and international performers in the theatre’s intimate and stylish setting.

For the first season, the Boulevard Theatre will recreate the swinging spirit of bohemian Soho with a jazz night curated in collaboration with composer, pianist and arranger Alex Webb.  Each week for Soho Sounds, a different prestigious guest singer will join the house band. Confirmed performers for the autumn include David McAlmont, China Moses, Jo Harrop, Vimala and singer-songwriter Anna Ross.

 

 

 

 

Jazz Clubs Worldwide

If you are thinking of going abroad on holiday, it might be worth checking out Peter Maguire's website of 'Jazz Cubs Worldwide'. The information on the site is now subject to subscription, but as well as Jazz Clubs, the database includes Festivals, Jam Sessions, Agents, Radio Stations and Magazines related to jazz. Click here for details.

 

 

 

 

 

Name The Tune

(Click on the picture for the answer)

 

Name the tune

 

Click here for our Name The Tune page

 

 

 

Utah Tea Pot

Tea Break

 

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

 

Katharina 'Tini' Thomsen

 

Tini Thomsen

 

German reeds player, composer and educator Katharina 'Tini' Thomsen is a busy woman. She deserves to be much better known in the UK and with the release of her albums Uphill Struggle - her 2018 debut album with Q4, and Shift, the third MaxSax album released in the Spring of 2019, that should help spread the word. She is also playing in this year’s Promenade Concerts which will give us the chance to hear more of her music.

On the Continent she has been building a strong following for her unique style of high-energy jazz-rock at festivals and venues across Europe. The highly respected North German Radio Big Band (NDR) and Hessischer Rundfunk Bigband (HR) have recorded and broadcast her music, and  Tini recently conducted  the Peter and the Wolf Project with the Swedish Norrbotten Big Band on an extensive tour.

You will see from her website (click here) that Tini started playing the saxophone at the age of 13 after falling deeply in love with Tony Curtis in the movie Some Like It Hot - that 1959 movie which also starred Jack Lemmon and, of course, Marilyn Monroe singing Running Wild - click here for a clip from the film .

Although Tini started out on the tenor saxophone, at fifteen she discovered that she could play lower by switching to the baritone and three years later she was playing bari in the Landesjugendjazzorchester in Hamburg and with the German Youth Jazz Orchestra. After two years studying jazz at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, she moved to Amsterdam in 2003 to study with Ferdinand Povel.

In 2005 an instrument with an even lower register, the bass clarinet, caught her attention, and she took the opportunity to study it as a second main subject with Erik van Deuren. In 2008 she finished her degree (saxophone), and in 2011 she finished her Masters degree in saxophone with distinction and with special note for composition. Composition has become a major part of her work and she has now received several awards for her compositions: from the Metropole Orchestra arrangers/composers workshop with Vince Mendoza in 2008; at the New Dutch arrangers contest in 2009 with a CD Recording, and in 2010 at the Bujazzo composers' contest, again with a CD recording.

Since her graduation in July 2011, Tini has been sought after as a freelance musician, arranger and composer and has performed across Europe with a wide range of ensembles including the Metropole Orchestra, the New Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra, the New Cool Collective Bigband, the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Incognito, The Temptations and Nils Landgren, the Ed Partyka Jazz Orchestra, Malte Schillers ‘Red Balloon’ and the MTV Unplugged sessions - the long list is on her website. She joined the late, great Dr John with a Dutch horn section for concerts at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival and Jazz in Middelheim; she has also played on the UK version of X Factor and is a committed educator running workshops and lessons.

Click here for a video of Tini playing Shorts Cuts with the New Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra.

 

She took time out to call in for a Tea Break:

 

Hallo Tini, thanks for stopping by. Can I get you tea or coffee?

Tea please. If possible prepared filtered water.  

 

Yes, I can do that. Milk and sugar?

God no!

Word is that you were originally from Germany and then moved to Amsterdam – where are you based now?

Yes, I´m from Germany, moved to Amsterdam and stayed almost 15 years but now I´m back in Germany since a short while. I originally planned to stay in Holland for half a year for an exchange during my study, which obviously got a bit out of hand. 

 

It might have got out of hand but it seems like it turned out to be pretty constructive. Is the music scene there very different?

The Dutch music scene is crazy! Every style you can imagine and lots of intense characters but everything in a rather small space. If you are a good player in the Netherlands you will soon play throughout the whole country, whereas in Germany it stays local a bit longer, just because of the size of the country. But at the moment everything is changing so quickly anyway (I sound old!) and people are more connected beyond borders. 20 years ago one could hear a difference in the style of a country. Not sure if I could do that nowadays. One thing never changes though:  Ask me who is playing what instrument from a group of musicians and I can almost 100% certainly point out the brass players.

 

Are there many jazz clubs in the city and do you have a favourite? And are there particular clubs that welcome jazz musicians from the UK and elsewhere?

Lantaren Venster

 

 

Do you need gigs? ;-) .........I´m afraid that I have to answer those questions with logistics and music industry stuff. My favourite jazz club is the one where I can trust the sound guy to make us sound good and where I can park my car very close to the stage.

Seriously. No great programming or hip interior design with instruments hanging on the wall can make up for the sentence "you looked great on stage but we couldn’t hear you at all", followed by a long walk back to the car park, where I´m stuck for the night  because I didn’t see the opening times properly (that happened by the way). Ah, and the food! In Rotterdam is a big Jazz venue (Lantaren Venster) that doesn't really have a great vibe but the food is cooked by a Brazilian Lady with a lot of passion. I love it there and play better after her meals. In Amsterdam of course is the Bimhuis with a lot of international programming, good parking and very good food as well as very good sound engineers. 

 

 

 

I have to say that the baritone sax is one of my favourite instruments, but it is a bit heavy to carry around. Do you take it on the metro?

I try to avoid public transport. Either people hate me for using up THEIR space and I rarely travel with just one instrument (the bass clarinet is mostly with me, too) or they ask why I didn't learn the piccolo flute. Other often heard questions are: "How heavy is that bag? How can a little girl like you play such a big instrument?" At which point I wish I had a piccolo and probably shouldn´t mention what I would do to them with it! Or one of my favourites: "My nephew is playing the cello, too".

That results in me basically living in my car and when I was still living in Amsterdam I got parking - (and speeding) tickets quite a lot. Before that I was riding the bike a lot in Amsterdam with the bari on my back, bass clarinet on the shoulder, clarinet and flute dangling from the steering and somewhere another bag with music and computer and a flock of guardian angels on every side. Now I live in the country side far faaaar away from any public transport or even bicycle paths.

 

I wish we had a photo of you on the bike and all geared up. Who would you say is your favourite bari player?

Ronny Cuber for the many notes and Stephen 'Doc' Kupka for the Hurumph. 

Click here to listen to Ronnie Cuber playing Passion Fruit.

 

And how much do you play your bass clarinet?

A lot.  7 out of 10 times as a combi.  Sometimes I get asked to play with classical ensembles which now scares the shit out of me. I used to do that much more often in Holland but now my sound doesn’t fit into the classical ideal any more. I did study classical main subject, you know. Also I own a contra bass clarinet and sometimes get asked to join a classical orchestra if the instrument is needed, for example once with Steve Vai as guest artist. Or the other day with the North German Radio Big Band and Randy Brecker. I had a pick up installed on the contra bass clarinet and during the concert the front of house sound engineer went crazy because he thought that a cable had broken while in fact it was just a healthy low, loud, beautiful sound of the contra bass clarinet….

 

Q4

Q4 - Tini Thomsen, Fiete Felsch, Björn Berger and Nigel Hitchcock

 

 

I love that story! Tell me more about your band Q4?

Nigel Hitchcock and I had the idea to reunite the famous sax quartet Itchy Fingers, which we did for a couple of gigs. Well, reunite meaning the men of the quartet Mike Mower and Nigel as original members plus two new members. That was all too complicated, mostly because 4 people living in 4 different countries wasn´t easy. So we continued with a Germany based quartet. Nigel and I equally contribute the tunes. His tunes have structure, logic and a lot of harmony, mine have some of the above, but mostly melody and a bit of a pop song approach. It works really great as a combination of our music styles. The other players are from the north of Germany and we hope to become rich and famous with it (tell me if my German "humour" doesn’t translate…).

 

Oh yes, it translates OK. I think it was UK saxophonist Ronnie Scott who quoted: “How does a jazz musician get one million dollars? He starts with two million dollars”. Perhaps 'Uphill Struggle' sums it up? At which point I have to say that I really like the Q4 debut album Uphill Struggle. Where did that title come from?

From the actual struggle of walking uphill, which we felt during the CD production. A lot went wrong in the process and it felt like climbing a high mountain on one foot against the wind. But we felt the satisfaction once we’ve reached the top and finally released the album.
("It´s all downhill from now on" we would joke!).

 

Click here to listen to The Hunt from Uphill Struggle.

 

And how about Shift – I think that is the third album from MaxSax?

Now that you mention it..... even more went wrong during the process of making that album as well. I´d like to believe that I have that much influence on anything …!  Yes it´s the third album and I think we have made huge progress since the first one. On the first one I didn´t have a band to start with, the second album was actually planned as a demo recording… and now after some years of experimenting with the sound and a baritone as a lead instrument we have found something that works, at least I think. 'Shift', as in we 'shift up a gear, buckle up' - people can sample it here.

Click here for a video of Tini with MaxSax playing Long Ride at the Bimhuis, Amsterdam in 2016.


Tony Curtis

 

 

Is it true that you started playing the saxophone at thirteen after falling deeply in love with Tony Curtis in the movie Some Like It Hot? He had a terrible English accent in that movie!

Yes, it´s true, I got 'inspired' by Tony Curtis. I´m sorry. And even worse - in Germany we were watching movies with German synchronisation. Ha! He sounded lovely on that version… 

Click here for Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon in a scene from Some Like It Hot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How much time did you get with Dr John at those concerts at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival and Jazz in Middelheim? What was your impression of him?

Oh he was lovely! And a bit scary. We even celebrated his birthday together. He didn´t like to hang with the band after the gigs but between the soundcheck and the gig we spent some time together. At some point he said that music is both a blessing and a curse at the same time. The curse is that he can´t stop. And so he did play until the very end..

It must be even more poignant now that he has passed away, but at the same time fantastic that you have those memories of him.

 

Click here for a video of Dr John playing Right Place Wrong Time at Montreaux back in 1995.

 

Michael BreckerWhat do you usually have in Amsterdam with your tea / coffee break? I have some biscuits here if you fancy one – bourbons, chocolate digestives, Hob Nobs ....?

Got any shortbread? If you haven’t got shortbread I´ll go for coffee (with a little bit of milk) and a cigarette. Unfortunately. 

 

I do have some shortbread tucked away, but you can have coffee if you like. If you could invite a past musician to play with Q4 – who would you invite, and what would you ask them during your tea break?

I would invite Michael Brecker, I would ask him to marry me in the tea break, and I would offer shortbread with it.

 

Michael Brecker

 

 

 

If you are desperate for a cigarette, pop out and have a puff and I'll see if Michael Brecker's spirit is free (and available).. In the meanwhile we check out Michael and Randy with the WDR Big band playing Strap Hanging ....

 

Click here for a video of Michael and Randy Brecker with the WDR Big Band in 2007.

 

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

Good question! Gwilym Simcock is gonna release an album with the North German Radio Big Band, crazy stuff.

What do you have planned for the coming months?

Bit of arranging, conducting and playing. Actually a good mix in the coming months. Ah, Nigel and me are gonna play at the BBC Proms. And once that’s done I´m gonna spend some months in Scotland over the winter where I will hopefully write a lot of music and practice my tits off. Can I say it like that?

 

You can say it like that, but there are probably better ways of practicing that are less physically disastrous. Can I say it like that? We'll look out for you in the Proms and you'll get plenty of shortbread in Scotland. There's some more left here if you fancy it?

Yes please! I talk too much anyway! 

 

Tell you what - I'll make the coffee and break out the shortbread while you play Petal - that has to be an ideal way of celebrating Scotland!

 

Click here for a video of Tini and Nigel Hitchcock playing Petal earlier this year.

 

Tini Thomsen

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

 

Lens America

Stephan Crump's Rosetta Trio

 

Stephan Crump

 

 

Bassist Stephan Crump pictured by JazzTrail's Clara Pereira at the Birdland Theater in New York on May 3rd. Stephan Crump's Rosetta Trio (Liberty Ellman and Jamie Fox on acoustic and electric guitar, respectively, was celebrating the release of the album Outliers (Papillon Sounds).

Filipe Freitas from JazzTrail writes: 'The way Crump breathes the music, feeling every single note with passion, is utterly contagious. He was so immersed in those exceptional sounds that he almost forgot it was time to conclude.' Click here for Filipe's full review.

Click here for details and samples of the album Outliers. Click here for a video of the band playing Synapse from the album.

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Andrew McCormack's Graviton
The Calling
To Adventure

by Robin Kidson

 

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

 

Graviton The Calling

 

 

"Soft and far the calling starts
and as it grows, his fate is shown.
Fast time runs the calling grows strong.
Eden is just where you live,
But something's changed,
It's not the same place.
Oh, GO NOW!
Oh, RIGHT NOW!
You are made for far more ......"

Pianist and composer, Andrew McCormack, categorises the music which his band Graviton plays as “prog-jazz”. That’s a new one on me. I remember prog-rock, of course, and rather liked the music of some of its exponents – yes and King Crimson, in particular. Prog-rock took the rhythms, instrumentation and attitudes of rock and combined them with elements taken from classical music, folk and jazz. Add to the blend some prodigious musicianship and the result was often quite brilliant music. There was also, it has to be said, a fair amount of pretentiousness and more-is-more excess, and the whole movement dissolved under the onslaught of punk.

In retrospect, some of the bands which traded under the prog-rock banner didn’t really belong there at all. If I listen now to old Soft Machine records, for example, I feel I’m experiencing straight contemporary jazz, not prog-rock. It’s also difficult sometimes to work out where prog-rock ends and jazz-rock begins. That’s the trouble with labels: yes, they can help us to simplify and therefore better understand a complex world, but it’s important to recognise their limitatons.

Which brings us back to Andrew McCormack and his “prog-jazz” label. Andrew was born in 1978, well after prog-rock’s glory days. He has had a varied career. In 2006, for example, he was the BBC Jazz Award’s Rising Star but has also written for the London Symphony Orchestra. He has recorded three albums with saxophonist Jason Yarde, performed with his own trio and, since 2007, has been a member of the Kyle Eastwood quintet. He formed Graviton in 2017 and they released their first (eponymous) album in that year. When writing the tracks on the album, Andrew admits he was listening to a lot of old prog-rock at the time including Bill Bruford, Gentle Giant and Genesis.

Click here to listen to Graviton in a live performance in 2017 of Escape Velocity from that first album.

 

"........Endless more to endure
More
You are made for far more than you think for.
More, far more.
More, far more.
Aahhhh, you'll miss the sky here.
But you must go on the same
The calling is too strong ......."

 

Graviton’s second album, The Calling, has recently come out on the excellent Ubuntu label. A favourite prog-rock device was the concept album with individual tracks having a common theme. Often, that theme would have something to do with the old hippy liking for myth and legend – Tolkien, King Arthur, Icelandic sagas, you know the sort of thing. McCormack has done something similar with The Calling. A booklet with the CD includes an elaborate explanation by Andrew of the album’s theme which “follows the classic hero’s journey…. 'the calling’ itself is the irresistible summoning to adventure which the hero cannot avoid without devastating consequences”.

McCormack plays piano on the album and has composed all of the tracks. He is joined by some superb musicians – Noemi Nuti (vocals), Josh Arcoleo (tenor sax), Joshua Blackmore (drums), and Tom Herbert (electric bass). Robin Mullarkey joins or replaces Herbert on electric bass on three of the ten tracks. Noemi Nuti has also written the lyrics to four of the tracks. In the old prog-rock tradition, those lyrics are set out in the CD’s booklet.

 

 

Knight


Painting by Olga-Tereshenko

 

".......Transformation's near,
The calling is clear
Overcome the line,
That your mind defines
So you will become far more!"

 

The Calling begins with Uroboros, “the pre-cosmogonic chaos….its meaning includes the infinite cycle of death and rebirth but also infinite possibility; everything and nothing at the same time”. It is a short brooding piece, mainly featuring piano and percussion with some very effective electronic augmentation.

The journey begins proper in the Walled Garden “which is the perfect balance between nature and culture… It’s a safe, protected place where the community happily live their lives, but the walls are not impenetrable”. Musically, the track introduces us to some of the album’s most striking features. First off is Noemi Nuti’s voice. Although born in the US, she trained in England and has absorbed that Norma Winstone English female jazz voice style whilst developing her own distinctive sound. On Walled Garden, she sings wordlessly in a way which clearly owes something to Norma Winstone but not  that much. Her interplay with Arcoleo’s sax is particularly original and effective.

A second feature is the use of infectious prog-rock riffs. Finally, Walled Garden shows us that McCormack can write with a vengeance. His tunes are often quite complex with changes in mood and tempo but always accessible; hummable, even; stuff to make your feet tap.

Click here to listen to Walled Garden.

Next up is the title track, The Calling, when “danger comes to the gates that the hero must go out to confront…the hero will heed the calling and must go on a perilous journey to discover the unknown world…” The track has lyrics written and sung with crystal clarity by Noemi Nuti. The piece alternates between jagged spikiness and a sometimes soaring smoothness but drives along most satisfyingly. Josh Arcoleo comes into his own particularly in some complex but absorbing interplay with Andrew McCormack's piano.

Click here for a performance of the track in the form of a promotional video for the whole album.

On his journey, the hero needs a Magic Mentor to guide him or her on their way. All the trademark stuff is on show on this track – the wordless singing, changes in tempo and mood, the complex but accessible tunes… Added to this is some nicely judged electronic enhancement (including some multi-tracking on the vocals) which is used sparingly and never overwhelms but is good at creating the various moods of the piece. Andrew’s skillful piano playing is well to the fore.

Crossing the Threshold is the next track, the threshold being “the point of no return” where the hero must go “into the unknown, risking all for the higher cause”. Again, electronics are used effectively and there is some crisp drumming from Joshua Blackmore. This is followed by the stand out track of the whole album, The King is Blind, which is a driving piece of prog-rock or jazz-rock or whatever you want to call it. If it had been released in, say, 1973, it might have been a hit – or at least had an airing on The Old Grey Whistle Test. Noemi Nuti is at her most expressive, singing her own lyrics with gusto. Just when you’re beginning to think, yes, this is really good but it isn’t really jazz, both Arcoleo and McCormack come in with solos which are most definitely jazz.

Click here for a brief extract from The King is Blind.

The hero must then negotiate the Fork in The Road: “Up one must go/Never down/A fork in the road” according to Nuti’s lyrics beautifully sung as usual. It is a slow, rather hypnotic piece with both sax and piano playing a memorable riff. On into the Belly of the Whale, “the Brienne of Tarthlowest, darkest place of self-discovery”. This has an upbeat rock rhythm, driven forward by Blackmore’s bang-on-the-beat drumming, and an insistent riff played against a wash of atmospheric sound – like being in the belly of a whale, one supposes.

The hero and the magic mentor “are then ready to face the ultimate challenge, the dragon of chaos!” as represented in the longest piece on the album, Dragon. Nuti’s wordless singing is thrillingly ethereal. Abrupt and often dramatic changes in mood and rhythm, with a series of jagged interludes, seem to mirror the fight with the dragon. Josh Arcoleo and Andrew McCormack take virtuosic straight-jazz solos.

The dragon is defeated and “the hero then returns to the walled garden transformed, more developed in consciousness and a more valuable member of his/her society”. This is marked by the final piece on the album, Returning, which has one of the most memorable melodies on an album full of memorable melodies. Once again, this has lyrics by Noemi Nuti. Towards the end of the track, she repeats over and over again the final words of the song “Coming home, returning; coming home returning..” to another trademark McCormack riff.

Brienne of Tarth

 

 

 

Summing up, “The classic hero’s journey” says McCormack, “has been the subject of much art and music throughout history and it speaks to us all on a collective level that we can intrinsically understand. I think part of the strong attraction that we have to these stories is that they can show us all a correct and meaningful way to be in the world”.

The Calling is a most satisfying and absorbing piece of work by a composer coming in to his own ably assisted by some supremely talented musicians. If this be “prog-jazz”, then let us have more.

Click here for a promo video with Andrew McCormack talking about the album together with footage of the band playing extracts from some of the tracks.

Click here for Andrew McCormacks’s website.

 

Andrew McCormacks Graviton

 

Graviton is playing some live dates over the summer:

1st July - The Whiskey Jar, Manchester
2nd July - The Flute and Tankard, Cardiff
1st August - 606 Club, London

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

As usual, photographer Brian O'Connor took his camera to gigs during June. Here is one of his images:

 

Bernie Holland

 

Bernie Holland

 

Guitarist Bernie Holland was playing with the Shane Hill Trio at Serendipity, Horley, Surrey on 14th June. The coffee house in Horley's High Street has now opened for live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Click here for a video of Bernie playing his composition Diamond Dust made famous by guitarist Jeff Beck. On his YouTube channel, Bernie has shared this clip videod from a 1968 television programme where he is accompanying Long John Baldry on Stormy Monday (click here).

Bernie says: "My very first professional gig was with Long John Baldry and this is a rare piece of film showing both of us appearing on the Bobbie Gentry Show - I was 20 years old when this was recorded in 1968 and I can be seen here doodling about on my Gibson 175D guitar. Apart from being a fantastic singer, Baldry had a razor-sharp wit and was a master of the anecdote. When Baldry passed away the world had to say goodbye to a unique talent. As Brian Auger once said "In the end it's not a matter of how talented you are - it's more a question of how great you are as a human being". Throughout my career I have worked with some major artistes (and no name-dropping here ok) some of them, like Baldry, I will remember with deep affection ..."

 

An exhibition of Brian's Images Of Jazz photographs will be staged at the Hawth, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 6YZ from Tuesday 3rd September - Thursday 19th September 2019. The exhibition celebrates 50 years of Brian taking pictures of jazz musicians (entrance is free). Click here for details.

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).

 

 

 

Goodbye iTunes

iTunes logo

It seems that you won't be able to 'Get It On iTunes' for much longer.

Apple have announced that after 18 years, iTunes will stop being supported as a download format in favour of its streaming services. Writing in the Radio Times Jonathan Holmes says: '.... Apple now heavily promotes its Apple Music service, which along with the company's Podcasts and TV apps, will take over iTunes' (slow and bloated) functionality on both Apple computers and handheld devices. What happens to your music collection? Your files and music will not be deleted; they will now be listed in the Apple Music library. However, the wider idea is that all the music you own or could want to listen to is already online as part of an Apple Music subscription (£9.99 / month) ..... Tech companies want you to abandon the idea of ownership - why buy, when you can just subscribe? - but streaming services come and go. When CDs arrived, many kept their record collection in the attic to enjoy again some day. They might have had the right idea: if it's all in the cloud, it's out of your control'.

Later, in the same edition of Radio Times, David Hepworth writes: '..... Don't worry. You'll get by. The things (iTunes) did in the past will, in the future, be done by other apps. What's truly significant about this announcement is that it signals the end of the shortest-lived era in the history of the music business: the download era. There is so little demand for downloads today that they're worth less than CD sales..... Essentially you no longer buy music, you rent it. Music is now a service industry, rather than a branch of the arts. Its basic unit of currency is no longer the album ... but the playlist, which has been put together by a brand, a person or, most likely, an algorithm. Playlists are mood-enhancement devices something even conceded by BBC Sounds, which now offers its own mixes to accompany your workout or help with your revision ....'

I cannot remember where I read it but a musician recently wrote something along the lines of how they spend a lot of money recording jazz in a recording studio and then hours working on it to get the sound right, only for people to listen to it on their phones where all the detail gets lost!

 

 

Stepping Into Vinyl

With the continuing interest in vinyl albums, the following correspondence in a national newspaper during June might be of interest. The newspaper runs an item where a reader writes in and other readers reply:

"I've just inherited my dad's vinyl collection - what can I get to play it on for less than £250?"

Dual 505 turntable

The replies:

 

"The budget definitely limits your options. Either eBay or a local second hand store are the best places to look. For the amp, ensure it has a phono input - the output level from a record deck is at a different level to a CD player. You can probably get a reasonable amp for less than £100 and OK speakers for just over £50. You will need fairly thick speaker cable. Also, get a mini-jack to phono cable as you can use an 'aux' channel on your amp to plug your phone in for Spotify or internet radio. Looking at eBay, there are a lot of vintage-style record decks in cases - avoid these. Look for a hi-fi brand from the 80s/90s such as Panasonic, Technics or Dual and budget for a replacement stylus. Good luck, and enjoy the records!"

Dual 505 Turntable

 

 

 

 

BandW DM601 speakers

 

 

"Let's see what's possible to put a smile on your face in memory of your Dad. Good news: you can put together a nice system for your budget from eBay. Here's what I found ... There's an Arcam Alpha 8 for £105 buy it now; a Dual 505 turntable for £55; and a pair of B&W DM 601 bookshelf speakers for £90. If you can get a Thorens turntable, go for it! Other amps are Rotel or Nad or possibly Cambridge Audio. For speakers, buy Mission or Kef or Tannoy, possibly Ruark. Buy some twin core power cable for your speakers. Get yourself a Bluetooth dongle to plug in to the Arcam and you can stream music from your phone - this set up will blow any streaming speaker out of the water. They are cheap on Amazon. Also get yourself a carbon fibre record cleaner (£10) for the dust on the records. Enjoy."

 

B&W DM 601 speakers

 

 

 

 

 

"I used to sell hi-fi a long time ago but I imagine the basic guidelines are the same:Arcam Alpha 8 amp
1 - Put your money into the turntable and the amp before the speakers. The best speakers in the world can't do anything for a poor-quality input except highlight its shortcomings. Note that for turntables, the body is just as important as the cartridge or arm - the whole thing is a cohesive system.
2 - Always listen to things to decide. You can basically ignore the technical specs - who cares about frequency range and the like if you don't like how something sounds?
3 - If you're going to test things, take your own music that you know well and take a good range of music - some setups work brilliantly for rock and pop but suck for classical and vice versa.
About £250 should get you something decent. Try Richer Sounds, or have a look on eBay. If going for eBay and you really want 'old school', something like a Dual or an Ariston Q-Deck were great basic turntables in their day that you'll definitely get for less tan £100. An early Rega will probably be a bit more but would also be good. Cartridge-wise, Audio Technica always offer good sound and value."

Arcam Alpha 8 amplifier

 

 

"It's very possible many of the records are worth a fair chunk of that £20 each. Check Discogs. Assuming you're willing to part with some of them, sell any that aren't to your taste and use the money to increase the budget a little, £500 is a bit more plausible."

 

 

 

Forum

 

In It To Win It

Saxophonist and bandleader Frank Griffith in Liverpool has started to send us some of his thoughts and we hope to include more in the future. If you find that they trigger thoughts for you, please get in touch (contact us):

"Many of us are familiar with the saying "If you're not a part of the solution you're part of the problem". After 40 years of trying to get a "leg up" in the Jazz Business I can't agree more with this tenet. Below are some of observations and advice in helping the cause of the music as well as getting oneself "on the map".

In these cyberworld days that we live in, musicians have more and more opportunities to promote their wares and make contacts with others of influence than before. These include other musicians, bandleaders, gig fixers and contractors, etc. When I began my "journey" in the early Frank Griffith1980s there were few means of contacting people outside of the telephone, post or meeting them in person. If one wasn't "discovered" or sought out by a record company there were few other ways to get a decent recording off the ground. Forming one's own record company was not the done thing in those days. This was largely due to the costs and limited access to the technology to do so. One of the advantages of the internet is that one can "set out his/her stall" to practically anyone via email, Facebook or other social media before trying to meet up with them.

Most musicians know the difficulty and awkwardness of approaching someone at a club or public place and giving them your speil on what you have to offer in that setting. They most likely, will have other matters on their mind (the gig, other people  waiting to chat to them, etc) and its possible that they won't be best pleased with that approach. I've had punters come up to me ten minutes before the gig starts and expect to meet with me about some proposal about a gig or project that they have in mind. Note to opportunists - if you insist on chatting to a performer (especially someone that you don't know) you'll get much a better reaction if you wait until after the gig and even then it should just be a matter of exchanging contact information and save the heroic speech until a later date, if that should emerge.

There are a number of agencies for gigs listings these days, both hard copy and online publications. Gone are the days though, of Time Out in London and The Village Voice in New York City - both of which included extensive listings often accompanied with brief blurbs of the performer, band, etc. While many of them will publish your listing free or charge, there are often difficulties in making contact with them and having your information published regularly. The same applies to press releases as many of the jazz magazines in the UK (Jazzwise, particularly) are very discerning and agenda driven about which press releases that they will run. The BBC and other leading UK jazz publications seem to champion the same jazz names over and over again to the detriment of the many others who deserve more exposure.

Another area that musicians can thrive with today is publicity via the internet. I clearly remember the 1980s/90s days when the only option of letting people know of your gigs was the costly and time taking task of posting flyers. This practice has pretty much been rendered extinct with email, websites, Facebook and other social media. I suppose though, that when one recieves a letter in their postbox  they are much more likely to actually open and read it as opposed to seeing a gig announcement in their inbox which can often lead to them letting it sink down into the netherworld zone or just deleting it before reading it. Fair enough!"

 

 

Dennis Price

Not In The Public Interest book

 

In 2016, Denise Knowelden wrote to us asking for information about her father, Dennis Price.

Patti Allen-Price writes: 'I believe a person was asking for information on my husband and Musical Director, Dennis Price. Dennis and I married in 1973 and were married until his death 40 years later in 2013. He worked with me in Theatre and TV in Australia, UK, and Europe during this time. His last performance was as my Musical Director in my production Theatre Royal which was in March 2013. We also did a cruise of the South Pacific in the April 2013 - Dennis died 3 weeks later. In my book Not In The Public Interest  there is further information on our careers and life.'  

[Details of the book are on Amazon but part of the introduction says: '.....This is the intriguing story based on the victim’s mother and co-writer, Patti Allen-Price, a well-known Australian performer, and her struggle to bring her daughter’s murderer to justice and a new theory as to why her killer walked free'. Ed]

 

 

 

 

Richard Grandorge and Brian Rust's 'Jazz Records'

Brian Rust Jazz Records

 

 

Alan Bond in Somerset writes: 'Back in the mid 1960s when we used to be regulars at Steve Lane's 'Southern Stompers' gigs at North Wembley, there was a chap that used to sell 78 rpm records each week and I bought several off him at very sensible prices. His name was Richard Grandorge and he was a mate of Brian Rust's and it was Richard who compiled the index for Brian’s 'Jazz Records'. Now this was in the days before computers and such and a couple of us went to Dick's place at Hayes End to collect a few records he had put by for us. When we got there, there were sheafs of paper dotted all over house and we wondered what they were all about and Dick said that he was compiling the index for 'Jazz Records.' I know it took him months and I also know that it caused a lot of arguments between him and his wife! Sadly, Dick was killed in a car crash in 1968, another nice chap who is sorely missed.

 

 

 

 

 

WBGO Radio

WBGO Radio

If you have internet radio or are able to stream music from the internet, John Slater writes: 'I don't know if this is likely to be of interest to you - there is a jazz radio station in New Jersey called WBGO which we listen to on the internet radio in our house nearly all the time.  It is unique among US radio stations in that they run no adverts whatsoever and very little chitchat etc and so it's nearly all music.  They are funded almost entirely by their listeners and have quite frequent fundraising days which can be tedious, but we like it anyway. The point about telling you all this is that this year is their 40th anniversary and there are a number of events they are promoting with some quite interesting background publicity'.  

Click here to listen and for details on the station's website.

 

 

 

 

 

Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook and Mailing List

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


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

 

 

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.

 

Dr John

 

Dr John - Born Malcolm John Rebennack - American pianist, guitarist, singer and songwriter whose music combined blues, jazz, boogie and rock and who became known for his New Orleans and voodoo. He was born in New Orleans in 1941, found inspiration in the minstrel tunes sung by his grandfather and a number of aunts, uncles, sister and cousins who played piano. His father owned an appliance store and record shop which exposed him as a young boy to jazz musicians. Later he began to perform in New Orleans clubs, mainly on guitar, and played on stage with various local artists. He joined the musicians' union at the end of 1957, with the help of Danny Kessler, and then considered himself to be a professional musician. He gained a following in the late 1960s after the release of his album Gris-Gris; won six Grammy Awards, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and in 2013 he received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Tulane University. Click here for a video of Jools Holland and Doctor John as the "Boogie Woogie Twins".

 

 

 

Geoff Nichols

Geoff Nichols - UK trumpet, tenor horn, vibes player and vocalist who was well known for forming, with clarinettist Ray Bush the Avon Cities Jazz Band in 1949. Based in Bristol they became very popular not just in the West Country, but nationally, playing venues such as London’s 100 Club. Geoff, with the band, became a major figure in the 1950’s traditional jazz revival, and the band also featured a skiffle band during the 1960s with Ray Bush (guitar/vocals); Geoff Nichols (double bass); Wayne Chandler (guitar) and Mike Hitchings (mandolin). Ray Bush moved to the USA in 1984 and Geoff went on to lead the Blues Notes band and his swing band, Good Vibes. The Avon Cities band continued until 2000. Geoff went on to play with the Somerset-based Darktown Strutters band. (We do not have a link to an obituary for Geoff). Fortunately there are a number of videos featuring Geoff on YouTube - click here for a video of the Avon Cities Jazz Band playing Take The A Train outside Bristol's legendary Old Duke jazz venue in 1977.

Alan Bond writes: "On my way home this evening I bumped into Tony James, who runs the Darktown Strutters, and he told me that Geoff Nichols, late of the Avon Cities Jazz Band, has passed away. Geoff was a lovely guy and such a musical talent, not only as a jazz musician but also as the writer of a number of rather nice classical pieces. He was the consummate all round musician and his vibraphone playing was a joy to listen to when he fronted his 'Good Vibes' band. He will be sorely missed. Geoff's funeral is to take place on 3rd July at 12.30 at Taunton Crematorium and there is a wake afterwards at The Meryan Arms House Hotel in Bishops Hull. As far as I know, Geoff passed away on the 7th or 8th of June. I have put in a request to Alyn Shipton for something to be played on Jazz Record Requests as tribute".

 

 

Dave Keir

 

 

Dave Keir - Scottish jazz multi-instrumentalist perhaps best know for playing the cornet, although he also played trombone, clarinet, etc. He played with Jock Turner's Jazz band, and then on cornet and trombone with Sandy Brown when Al Fairweather was in the Forces. He wen t on to play with Archie Semple, Mick Mulligan, Freddy Randall, Alex Welsh, Bruce Turner, Dick Charlesworth and others and led his own band, the Dave Kier Hot Five. Click here for our Profile page for Dave Keir. If anyone has memories of Dave or other photographs we can add to his Profile page, please contact us.

 

 

 

 

Lawrence Leathers

 

Lawrence Leathers - American drummer from Michigan who was a rising talent in New York’s straight-ahead jazz scene and had played on two Grammy-winning albums. He was found dead on a stairwell at the Bronx apartment building on East 141st Street where he lived, and two people were charged with assault in connection with his death. He attended the Juilliard School of music in 2007 and went on to spend most of the past decade playing in the backing trio for vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant - he is featured on two of her recordings. Click here for a video of Lawrence Leathers with George DeLancey's band playing Ears To the Ground.

 

 

 

 

Tony Glover

 

 

Tony Glover - American Blues harmonica player born in Minnestota. Better known as Tony "Little Sun" Glover, he was associated with "Spider" John Koerner and Dave "Snaker" Ray in the early 1960s roots revival. Together, the three released albums under the name Koerner, Ray & Glover. Glover was also the author of diverse "harp" (blues harmonica) songbooks and a co-author, along with Ward Gaines and Scott Dirks, of an award-winning biography of Little Walter, Blues with a Feeling: The Little Walter Story. Click here for Tony Glover and John Koerner singing Last Lonesome Blues in 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

Leon Redbone

 

Leon Redbone - born Dickran Gobalian - Cyprus-born Canadian-American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor specializing in jazz, blues, and pop classics. Recognized by his Panama hat, dark sunglasses, and black tie, he first appeared on stage in Toronto, Canada, in the early 1970s. In concert Redbone often employed comedy and demonstrated his skill in guitar playing. A self-taught musician, he played by ear, sometimes changing the chords of established tunes, never rehearsing with a band, and not following set lists. In one interview clarinetist Dan Levinson said: "I toured with Redbone for 12 years. We used to listen to early Crosby while we were on the road. [Redbone's] taste in music was more eclectic than that of anyone I've ever known -- it included Emmett Miller, Blind Blake, Paganini, Caruso ... Jelly Roll Morton, Ted Lewis, Mongolian throat singers .... and early Bing Crosby". (Photo by Kasra Ganjavi). Click here for a video of Leon Redbone playing Walking Stick in 1993.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

The Allure Of Miss Lee

Catherine Lima and her Quartet play a fundraising concert for the National Jazz Archive featuring the music of Peggy Lee on Saturday 27 July, in Loughton, Essex. Click here for details.

'Catherine Lima explores Peggy Lee’s rise from humble beginnings to her first big break as a singer with Benny Goodman through to her solo career as a singer/song writer and actress. The concert will feature hits such as ‘Fever’, ‘I’m a Woman’, ‘He’s a Tramp’, ‘Is That All catherine LimaThere Is?’ and some of Peggy’s lesser known songs from her 60-year career. Catherine Lima has been singing on the London jazz circuit since 2001. She is a charismatic and entertaining performer with a warm expressive tone which she uses expertly to create moods from sultry to joyous. Whether performing an intimate set with a duo or trio, or fronting a big band, her personality comes through with each song. She performs regularly at venues in North and East London and Essex and is a vocalist with the John Ongom Big Band and MOJO. Her album, Stories and Lies, was released in September 2017. Her Quartet features Paul Higgs on piano, Alex Field on guitar, Les Cirkel on drums and José Canha on bass'.

Catherine said: “Some of Peggy’s songs have always been in my repertoire, but with the centenary of her birth next year, I thought it was time to explore the extensive back catalogue of this troubled and very talented woman.”

The concert is at Loughton Methodist Church, 260 High Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 1RB, close to the Archive’s home in Loughton Library, where extensive parking is available. The Church is 15 minutes’ walk from Loughton Central Line Station, and close to numerous bus routes.

 

 

 

Ronnie Scott's Club 60th Birthday Celebration

Royal Albert Hall

 

The world-famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London is celebrating its 60th birthday with an all-star gala at the (slightly bigger) Royal Albert Hall on October 30th (the exact date it was opened in 1959 on Gerrard Street in Soho). Proceeds from the show will go to the Ronnie Scott’s Foundation, their music education charity which works with underprivileged children in the UK and abroad.

Star performers confirmed for the event include Georgie Fame with his special guests Sir Van Morrison and saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, plus there will be appearances from Kurt Elling, Courtney Pine, Madeleine Bell, Imelda May and Ian Shaw, all playing with members of the Ronnie Scott’s house bands. Co-owner of Ronnie Scott’s, Sally Greene OBE, told Jazz FM: "I am so proud to be a part of both Ronnie Scott's amazing history and its bright future. Over the past 60 years Ronnie's has welcomed many incredible artists; from legends of Jazz to lesser known rising stars. Our birthday at the Royal Albert Hall will be a unique evening showcasing our love of Jazz on a grand scale to our long-standing patrons and future generations of music lovers."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Cope - Gods Of Apollo
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 5th July 2019

Rob Cope (soprano saxophone); Elliot Galvin (piano); Rob Luft (guitar); Jon Ormston (drums)

Rob Cope Gods Of Apollo

 

 

'You don't often come across a concept for an album that's as unique as this. Rob has amassed a stellar quartet and recorded the first of ultimately what is to be a three-part trilogy, inspired by space. The debut is a tribute to the race to land the first man on the moon, bringing us with him in this breath-taking journey. The album uses archival NASA audio and travels from the first man made satellites in 1957 through to the final moon landing in 1972. It was recorded at Crown Lane Studios in Morden by John Merriman. Rob explains, "Gods of Apollo is like a film soundtrack, set to the original archival audio of the race to the moon. The album features the exceptional talent of Elliot Galvin, Rob Luft and Jon Ormston. I aimed to capture this excitement and add a new level of artistry to the voices of the astronauts." (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Jurd - Stepping Back, Jumping In
(Edition Records) - Released: 19th July 2019

Laura Jurd (trumpet); Raphael Clarkson (trombone Tracks 3,5,6); Alex Paxton (trombone Tracks 1,2); Martin Lee Thomson (euphonium); Soosan Lolavo (santoor); Rob Luft (banjo, guitars); Elliot Galvin (piano); Anja Lauvdal (synth, electronics); Conor Chaplin (double bass); Liz Exell (drum kit); Corrie Dick (drum kit); The Ligeti Quartet: Mandhira de Saram (violin); Patrick Dawkins (violin); Richard Jones (viola); Cecilia Bignall (cello - guest cellist).

Laura Jurd Stepping Back Jumping In

 

 

'Stepping Back, Jumping In is the new album from the British trumpeter, composer and creative force, Laura Jurd. With Stepping Back, Jumping In, Laura Jurd has created an eco-system full of sonic contrast, multiple layers and dimensions, with rigorous composition alongside improvisatory spaces. The result is dynamic, vibrant music that welcomes multiple listens, showcasing some of the most exciting composer-instrumentalists around today. With compositional credits Elliot Galvin, Soosan Lolavar and a co-composed piece by Norwegian musicians Anja Lauvdal & Heida K. Johannesdottir, and perfomed by some of the most exiting players on the British scene.' (album notes). 'The project was commissioned by King's Place, London as part of their 'Venus Unwrapped' series which created the opportunity to bring together some of Laura's favourite musicians from various musical backgrounds, ending up as a 14-piece ensemble featuring musicians and composers from the UK and Norway, all of whom are equally at home in the realms of improvised and contempoarary classical music. This group became the vehicle for five composers, including Laura, to write some extensive new works (Edition Records).

Details : Video : Laura Jurd Interview :

 

 

 

 

Alex Hitchcock Quintet - All Good Things
(Fresh Sound New Talent) - Released: 31st May 2019

Alex Hitchcock (tenor saxophone); James Copus (trumpet, flugelhorn); Will Barry (piano, fender rhodes); Joe Downard (bass); Jay Davis (drums)

Alex Hitchcock Quintet All Good Things

 

'Saxophonist Alex Hitchcock leads a powerhouse quintet that combines a compelling, adventurous ear for melody with virtuosic improvising. Their summer 2019 tour launches their first album All Good Things, released on the Spanish label Fresh Sound New Talent, renowned for introducing debuts by artists including Robert Glasper, Brad Mehldau and Avishai Cohen. The quintet features five of the most creative rising stars of the UK's jazz scene, who have already made their mark as sidemen with an impressive list of jazz luminaries ranging from Jasper Høiby through Chris Potter to Elliot Galvin. Influences range from the explosive energy of Kneebody and the complexity and nuance of Ambrose Akinmusire to European trailblazers Phronesis and Django Bates. This new body of work follows the release of the 2018 EP Live At The London And Cambridge Jazz Festivals - a vibrant collection of live recordings that gained extensive praise in discerning music circles, subsequently winning Hitchcock a Taking Off feature in Jazzwise Magazine, as well as an in-depth interview with fellow saxophonist Soweto Kinch on BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Now programme. Alex explains: 'We've tried to find a positive response to the division and uncertainty currently being felt across the UK and further afield. I've tried to write optimistic music that doesn't avoid subtlety and more challenging sounds, and has space for dissonance. Some of the songs are eclectic but this doesn't detract from a common thread and distinctive sound world running through the album, with strong melodies and virtuosic improvising holding it together.' (album notes). '... All Good Things is the clearest indicator to date of the stratospheric trajectory on which this super-talented quintet is indubitably heading. But in stark opposition to the truncated aphorism of its title, this album represents the beginning of what is bound to be a happily burgeoning future' (Roger Farbey in allabout jazz ****).

Details and Samples : Full Roger Farbey Review : Listen To Hamburg :

 

 

 

 

Anthony Strong - Me And My Radio
(Guaranteed! Records) - Released: 19th April 2019

Anthony Strong (vocals, piano, percussion) with various personnel including Nicholas Costley-White (guitar); Spencer Brown (bass), Andy Ball (drums)

Anthony Strong Me And My Radio

 

'10 years, 4 albums and over 300 shows since his debut release, British singer-pianist Anthony Strong has established a reputation as a charismatic singer, a swinging pianist and, above all, a consummate performer. His new album, 'Me And My Radio', is Anthony's very own 21st century mixtape; a collection of classics - old and new - carefully compiled for those who share his love of great music, regardless of style. From jazz & blues through to motown & soul, songs made famous by Louis Armstrong, Charlie Chaplin & Ella Fitzgerald sit alongside those by Stevie Wonder & Johnny Cash. And, amongst these gems, a sprinkling of originals which could easily have come from a bygone era. But whilst the repertoire is unashamedly old-school, the treatment is decidedly fresh. Ranging from intimate, all the way through to full big band and orchestra, this is a record full of colour, warmth and character. Following in the footsteps of the jazz greats who came before him, Anthony honed his craft on stage, performing - to date - more than 300 shows in 26 countries. From LA's Hollywood Bowl in the West, to Shanghai Jazz Week in the East, as well as many of Europe's leading theatres, jazz clubs and festivals. Of course, there have been many highlights along the way, including a support show with the legendary BB King, an appearance on German television, a front page on France's biggest daily newspaper, a 60-minute feature on America's NPR… But his profile today comes not via a major label campaign or a single lucky break, but by a decade of touring, performing and, above all, entertaining audiences. On 'Me And My Radio' Anthony takes the dynamism of his last album 'On A Clear Day' to new heights. With his British charm, intelligent arrangements and handpicked repertoire, this is an undeniably feel-good listen for 2019' (album notes). 'With irresistably catchy hooks and plenty of textural ear candy, Me And My Radio will satisfy even the most sweet-toothed listeners. Traversing everything from jazz and blues to soul and pop, Anthony Strong's personal mixtape illustrates his unerring skill at reinventing standards ....' (Peter Quinn in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Listen to You To Me Are Everything :

 

 

 

 

Tori Freestone Trio - El Mar De Nubes
(Whirlwind recordings) - Released: 31st May 2019

Tori Freestone (tenor saxophone); Dave Manington (double bass); Tim Giles (drums)

Tori Freestone Trio El Mar De Nubes'The natural phenomenon of the Canary Islands’ ‘sea of clouds’ is an exhilarating experience – a highland ascent which rewards with views across the shifting stratocumulus ocean surrounding El Teide (the highest point in Spain) and her neighbouring summits. It’s a landscape which has proved endlessly inspirational for tenor saxophonist and composer Tori Freestone, and a special impetus for El Mar de Nubes, her third trio album with double bassist Dave Manington and drummer Tim Giles. Those illusory impressions of sea and mountains focused Freestone’s thoughts on the concept of seeing the world from different perspectives. As such, they present a metaphor for this bond of creative minds to unearth the myriad possibilities in the saxophonist’s writing. Parallels were also discovered between her walks in ‘las montañas’ and Casper David Friedrich’s much-loved painting ‘Wanderer above a Sea of Fog’ (echoed in the album’s cover), including the story that some have viewed his work upside down, believing the clouds are waves and the water is sky. “At the close of 2017”, explains Freestone, “I blocked out time to stay in Tenerife, to be alone in the mountains where my thoughts flow freely; and I was there during the New Year when the supermoon was visible. To arrive in the alien landscape of El Teide on New Year's Day after viewing the sea of clouds en route was incredible, followed by the moon appearing brighter than the sun as the evening drew in due to the super moon being at it's strongest that particular day.” Over the following days, Tori noted down words which, in retrograde, came to inform the rhythms, modulations and harmonies of the title track and her new instrumentals on this album ..... The lyrical basis of Tori’s searching title track – “Standing alone, above a sea of clouds…” – is heard as she threads melodic lines amongst its undulating bass-and-percussion swell; and the split personality of ‘Hiding Jekyll’ is portrayed through overlapping rhythms and tempi. ‘Los Indianos’ (La Palma’s carnival) recalls the years touring as a violinist with Cuban bands, its vitality described by the saxophonist as “a vibey, messed-up calypso groove”; and new-year thoughts of the past and future are explored in the metric modulations of ‘La nochevieja’. Dave Manington’s impetuous ‘Hasta la vista’ adds boppish verve, and ‘El Camino’ creates freedom for imaginative saxophonic torrents. Sam Rivers’ elegant ‘Beatrice’, referencing Joe Henderson’s ‘The State of the Tenor’ release, is a standard the trio played early on in their formation with the two renditions of the sea shanty ‘Shenandoah’ (including a version featuring Freestone on violin and vocals) an old favorite from the leader’s folk-music beginnings with her family' (album notes). ' ....If her vocal version of Shenandoah is unsteady, Freestone’s two tenor sax interpretations of the song draw on her formidable tonal range, piper-like elisions, and balance of delicacy and bite. The Tori Freestone Trio’s evolution forges on (John Fordham in The Guardian ****). '.... The musical challenges of this chordless trio are easily matched by their exceptional skills and imagination ...' (Roger Farbey in allabout jazz ****).

Details and Samples : Listen to the Title Track : Full John Fordham Review : Full Roger Farbey review :

 

 

 

Hackney Colliery Band - Collaborations: Volume 1
(Veki Records) - Released: 7th June 2019

Various personnel plus guests including Dennis Rollins (trombone); Bugge Wesseltoft (piano); Pete Wareham (saxophone) [Click here for more]

Hackney Colliery Band Collaborations 1

 

'After the stunning success of their critically-acclaimed third album Sharpener, which reached number 3 in the jazz charts and number 14 in the independent music charts, London's brass juggernauts Hackney Colliery Band blaze back onto the scene with their first collaborative album, ushering in a whole new era for the band. Featuring collaborations with a host of key names in jazz and world music including amongst others the father of Ethio-jazz Mulatu Astatke, British jazz funk legend James Taylor, trombonist Dennis Rollins, UK saxophonist Pete Wareham and Beninese singer-songwriter and Grammy Award-winner Angelique Kidjo, Hackney Colliery Band have effortlessly transformed their explosive live energy into 11 original recordings that push the groove and form in an accomplished manner. On 'Collaborations: Volume One', writers Steve Pretty, Olly Blackman and Luke Christie have between them penned the outfit's most dynamic material to date. 'Mm Mm' (feat. Angelique Kidjo and Roundhouse Choir) merges Beninese grooves with wah pedal trumpet textures, and the rousing call-and-response between Kidjo's soaring vocal and the exhilarating choir adds a richness and depth to the composition' (album notes). 'Bugge Wesseltoft, Pete Wareham and Mulata Astatke are among the guests making their presence felt soloing with a decade-old East London big band that stick to back-to-basics jazz traditions while adding uplifting Afro-beat grooves' (Selwyn Harris in Jazzwise ***)

Details and Samples : Listen to Without You : Listen to Hypothetical : Video of the band playing live :

 

 

 

 

 

Fleur Stevenson - Follow Me
(Self Produced) - Released: 2nd July 2019

Fleur Stevenson (vocals); Pete Billington (piano); Raph Mizraki (double bass); Simon Price (drums)

Fleur Stevenson Follow Me

 

 

'Fleur Stevenson is a creative, imaginative singer and has worked with some of the top musicians including Gareth Williams, Brandon Allen and David Newton and Frank Harrison to name but a few. She has performed at major U.K. venues including Pizza Express Jazz Club, Ronnie Scott’s, the 606 Club and many more. Classically trained in trumpet and voice, she was a chorister as a young singer. Then Stevenson stood in for the singer in a local jazz band during rehearsal and realized she felt at home with jazz. She formed her own band and also founded Jazz Singer’s Night in Reading to encourage jazz vocalists. .... Fleur Stevenson’s Follow Me is incredibly easy on the ears. The musicality and arrangements are good, and Stevenson is in possession of a voice which has power – yet she has the control to drop down to a caress in a heart-beat. And she can scat; boy, can she scat! There is attention to detail in every track and very clear nods to the composers, yet each number is also imbued with originality ....’ (Something Else Reviews)

Details and Samples : Full Something Else Review : Preview :

 

 

 

 

 

America

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

 

Brandee Younger - Soul Awakening
(Self Produced) - Released: 7th June 2019

Brandee Younger (harp); Ravi Coltrane (tenor saxophone); Chelsea Baratz (tenor saxophone); Stacy Dillard (soprano saxophone); Antoine Roney (tenor saxophone); Sean Jones (trumpet); Freddie Hendrix (trumpet); Corey Wilcox (trombone); Nicole Camacho (flute); Niia (vocals); Dezron Douglas (bass); E.J. Strickland (drums); Chris Beck (drums).

Brandee Younger Soul Awakening

'Harpist Brandee Younger and her cohorts find a perfect balance in the repertoire that composes Soul Awakening, her fourth album as a leader, which was completed in 2013 but only now sees the light of the day. The lineup includes longtime collaborators such as saxophonists Stacy Dillard and Chelsea Baratz, drummer E.J. Strickland, and bassist Dezron Douglas, who produced the album. Additionally, there’s a bunch of special guests assisting the spiritual perspective of the bandleader’s music, always conducted with the intent to inspire. The album astounds in its overture with Douglas-penned “Soulris”, a spiritual modal journey founded on a formidable bass/drums groove (the drummer here is Chris Beck) and suffused with those positive vibes associated with John and Alice Coltrane. Their son, Ravi Coltrane, is the tenorist here, blowing some well-timed outside notes that take us over the moon. ... The colorful “Respected Destroyer” was many times included in the repertoire of New Orleans brass band The Soul Rebels. Following the modest beauty of Younger’s harp, we find Baratz sharp articulations on tenor, and then the crisp, clear tone and range of trumpeter Sean Jones. Everything takes place under Strickland’s hip-hop-flavored groove. Harpists Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane are paid tribute with renditions of their own pieces, “Games” and “Blue Nile”, respectively ...... Brandee Younger puts her own stamp on these compositions and magical moments, going from inward to the vastness of space, are instantly tracked down. What the heck kept this splendid work on the shelf for so many years?' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Soul Awakening : Listen to Soulris :

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Harrell - Infinity
(HighNote Records) - Released: 5th April 2019

Tom Harrell (trumpet, flugelhorn); Mark Turner (tenor sax); Charles Altura (guitar); Ben Street (bass); Johnathan Blake (drums); Adam Cruz (percussion - track 3).

Tom Harrell Infinity

 

'For this HighNote release, featuring a razor-sharp quintet with saxophonist Mark Turner and guitarist Charles Altura, Tom Harrell & company combine complex compositions, seductive rhythms, advanced harmonic concepts, vibrant solos and sheer inspiration in an album which transcends the jazz idiom. This is perhaps Harrell's most imaginative recording to-date, with the scoring for the piano-less, tenor sax and guitar front line ensemble sui generis among his work. When pianist Bill Charlap featured Tom Harrell at a recent gig with his trio at New York's Jazz Standard, he summarised the trumpeter's genius as concisely as anyone could. "It is our honor and privilege," he announced, "To share the bandstand with a man who is a living, breathing melody." (album notes). 'Ace trumpeter Tom Harrell’s new recording, Infinity, brims with uncomplicated structures, harmonic sophistication, nervy improvisations, and a mix of kaleidoscopic hard-bop and straight ahead post-bop influences. The album comprises ten Harrell compositions subjected to wonderful musical treatments by a hot quintet .... If the easy-listening “Folk Song” exhibits a gentle backbeat that produces cool and sophistication vibes, the time-shifting “Hope” offers percussive rattles and shakes, parallel melodies, rarefied reverb-drenched guitar, and an unforeseen bolero-ish routine that, in a flash, morphs into a vibrantly swinging locomotion. This is a clinical demonstration of Harrell’s compositional facility and inventiveness .... The trumpeter is an intelligent, exceptionally melodic sculptor who channels discipline and freedom to the right places for the most breathtaking effect. He is outstanding here, and so are his bandmates' (JazzTrail)..

Details and Sample : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

Sylvie Courvoisier / Mark Feldman - Time Gone Out
(Intakt) - Released: 5th July 2019

Sylvie Courvoisier (piano); Mark Feldman (violin)

Sylvie Courvoisier Mark Feldman Time Gone Out

'For almost 20 years, Sylvie Courvoisier and Mark Feldman have been continuously redefining the dialogue between Western and American music, improvisation and composition, tradition and modernity. The most diverse playing attitudes and atmospherics network in the alert reactions of the two players - dance, world-weariness, liberating noise, shrill jumping cascades, the confession of simple beauty. Their latest live release was described by the Frankfurtr Allmeinen Zeitung (FAZ) as one of the "original productions in jazz history". A duo that stands or falls with a special togetherness and a duo that lives from the spectacular playing, the immense technique, the grandiose joy of playing and the art of improvisation. The new CD Time Gone Out, recorded at the Oktaven Audio studio in New York, is a culmination of many years of collaboration. The album shows how her music has freed itself from any reference and plays in radical singularity: between power and restraint, energy and fragility, energy and softness. This precious art speaks in the present about the present, about our time and wanders into a distant, unpredictable future' (album notes). 'Pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and violinist Mark Feldman, two of the finest and consummate stylists of the New York avant scene, release a new set of bold music on Time Gone Out, twenty years after their first duo recording, Music for Violin and Piano. By turns literate and kinetic, the duo’s direction is never obvious and every little step feels like a secret unraveled....... The central piece on the album is the title track, “Time Gone Out”, a nearly 20-minute chamber creation that you may think of as an offbeat chorale with a streamlined approach and celestial bursts. You’ll find an immersive solo piano passage as well as blossoming violin messages appearing as cerebral modern classical incursions dramatized with interactive commitment. Moreover, there’s a poised compromise between hushed, ruminative moments and dynamic activity. Offering different dividends with each listening, this album encloses too many treasures to be discovered. The long-standing creative partnership between Courvoisier and Feldman is stronger than ever, taking us to a lot of unexpected places' (JazzTrail).

Details and Sample : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 


 

 

Jeff Williams - Bloom
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 26th April 2019

Carmen Staaf (piano); Michael Formanek (double bass); Jeff Williams (drums)

Jeff Williams Bloom

 

'It speaks volumes when the bustling opening track of drummer Jeff Williams’ new piano trio release, Bloom, is revealed as “just us warming up, getting our headphone mix together”! For that’s the remarkable, spontaneous quality which his partnership with pianist Carmen Staaf and double bassist Michael Formanek delivers across ten numbers individually penned by each, plus a Buster Williams interpretation. Jeff Williams has worked alongside Stan Getz, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, and John Abercrombie, in addition to leading his own groups for some time; and for the last few years, in the States, he has played in saxophonist Dan Blake’s quartet with pianist Leo Genovese and bassist Dmitry Ishenko. “One time when Leo was unavailable, Carmen stepped in, and I felt a real connection with her playing”, recalls the drummer. “We talked about the idea of a trio, after which I ran into Michael (we first met in the 1970s, gigging together in New York). That was the eureka moment – it bloomed outta nowhere, hence the album title.” Including new piano trio arrangements of earlier numbers, Jeff jests that he shares Thelonious Monk’s attitude (when the great piano man was asked why he plays the same tunes all the time) that “I want people to hear them!” The harmonic beauty of ‘Another Time’, for instance – originally recorded with two horns and bass – is enhanced, thanks to Staaf’s invention and the colourful refractions of Williams’ cymbals (including a1950s K Zildjan ride); and the furtive, chromatic, 7/8 propulsion of ‘Scrunge’ segues into impatiently-grooving ‘Search Me’. ...“I grew up listening to many piano trios, especially Ahmad Jamal’s from around 1958–1962 – so that influenced my playing. But there’s no fixed concept, and this was simply a case of ‘Let’s see what we can do with it’. I’ve always played with people who inspire me, enjoying the conversation, going into some depth; and often thinking about the musicians, rather than the instrumentation. So I hope Bloom will allow us to flourish in pursuing this trio further.” (album notes). 'The Ohio-born London-based drums veteran Jeff Williams is on a roll at the moment .... Williams' fifth disc with a piano-bass-drums trio is perhaps his strongest to date ...It's always a treat when the 'real thing' comes along and this particluar Jeff Williams trio is undoubtably that' (Selwyn Harris in Jazzwise ****).

Details and Samples : Listen to She Can't Be A Spy :

 

 

 

 

Europe and Elsewhere

 

Zhenya Strigalev and Frederico Dannemann - The Change
(Rainy Days Records) - Released: 28th June 2019

Zhenya Strigalev (saxophones, voice); Federico Dannemann (guitar, vocals); Luques Curtis (double bass); Obed Calvaire (drums)

Zhenya Strigalev and Frederico Dannemann The Change

 

 

'The two internationally renowned musicians met at the Royal Academy of Music over fourteen years ago and have performed together since Dannemann joined Strigalev's Never Group in 2016. The album represents major recent changes in the artists' personal lives - Strigalev moved back to Russia after a decade of developing his music in London and Dannemann returned to performance after years of teaching in Santiago. "The Change promotes the idea that we need to keep changing always. To not stay in the same place even if it is comfortable. Especially in jazz." says Strigalev "It's only 'right' when it keeps moving and changing. So by calling the project and album 'The Change' we also remind ourselves what we love about music and why we are doing it ......The unique thing about the album is that it covers lots of different spectrums of state of mind: calm, active. thoughtful, romantic, energetic, relaxed, focused!" (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video of The Change played live :

 

 

 

 

 

Re-Releases

 

Stan Getz - Stan Getz Plays the Blues
(Acrobat) - Released: 18th January 2019

Stan Getz (tenor saxophone) with various personnel including Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Edison, Roy Eldrige (trumpet); J J Johnson (trombone); Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax); Al Haig, Horace Silver, Oscar Peterson, Count Basie, Lou Levy (piano); Lionel Hampton, Cal Tjader (vibes); Herb Ellis (guitar); Ray Brown (bass); Stan Levy, Shelly Manne, Louie Bellson, Billy Higgins (drums).

Stan Getz Plays The Blues

 

' "I can play different styles and appreciate [other] styles", the great tenor saxophonist Stan Getz remarked in an interview in 1950, close to the dawn of his career as a soloist in his own right. At the time he made this observation, Getz was being hailed as one of the coolest of the new cool school, a glacial-toned improviser whose natural metier appeared to be stoic-faced interpretations of Great American Songbook ballads, the very epitome of the introspective, post-war construct that now labelled jazz high art rather than gutbucket entertainment. But there was and had always been another Getz, one who'd drunk deep from the roots-infused vintages pressed by his spiritual forebear Lester Young, a player whose solos never failed to contain a trace of the blues. Getz could play the blues as well as anyone, although jazz history books rarely ever make mention of the fact; in fact, one of his earliest recordings as a leader Crazy Chords proved just how well, the saxophonist and his band taking the sequence through all twelve keys, resulting in a 78rpm that many would-be tenor stars wore to a powder. By no means was this (to some ears definitive) statement the end of Getz's fondness for the most basic of all jazz's resources; quite the opposite, and as his career rocketed skyward in the 1950s, he always kept one foot firmly planted in the blues. This collection assembles no fewer than a dozen examples of Getz doing just that, kicking his heels in settings ranging from summits with fellow modern jazz icons like Dizzy Gillespie and Gerry Mulligan through encounters with swing era giants Count Basie and Lionel Hampton and onto a clutch of stellar examples of his own quartets and quintets, featuring then new stars such as Horace Silver and Jimmy Raney. The range of Getz's blues from the bop-meets-country allusions heard on his meeting with guitarist Herb Ellis to the near boogie-woogie mood struck on his session with piano titan Oscar Peterson is a reminder that far from being a monochromatic film-noir balladeer the saxophonist could play any part, in any style. I don't want to become stagnant, he once said. I can be a real stompin' tenor man' (CD album notes). '... Thank goodness Norman Granz was so keen to record Getz so often and always in the very best of company. Pure pleasure: definitely recommended' (Peter Vacher in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

Norma Winstone and John Taylor - In Concert
(Enodoc) - Released: 25th January 2019

Norma Winstone (vocals); John Taylor (piano).

Norma Winstone and John Taylor In Concert

 

'This duo recording of revered British jazz vocalist (and ECM Records artist) Norma Winstone and pianist John Taylor, is appearing on CD for the first time. It was recorded August 1988 at the Guildhall School of Music, London. They perform music by Leonard Bernstein, Steve Swallow, Egberto Gismonti and Ralph Towner, amongst others, with lyrics by Norma herself, Johnny Mercer and Margaret Busby. Norma Winstone was born in London and first attracted attention in the late sixties when she shared the bill at Ronnie Scott's club with Roland Kirk. Although she was known initially for evolving her own wordless approach to improvisation, her extraordinary versatility means she is equally at home with the standards repertoire, performing with small groups, orchestras and big bands. She was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2007 and has recorded extensively for ECM Records, her latest album 'Descansado: Songs For Films' was released in 2018' (album notes). 'Following a summer 1988 teaching assignment at the Guildhall School Of Music And Drama, singer Norma Winstone and pianist John Taylor got a short-notice request for a farewell duo concert at the college. This hour-long exercise in empathy, playfulness and dazzling techniques was the result .....' (John Fordham in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

Wes Montgomery - Back On Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings
(Resonance Recordings) - Released: 19th April 2019

Wes Montgomery (guitar); David Young (tenor sax); David Baker (trombone); Melvin Rhyne (organ); Earl Van Riper, Buddy Montgomery, John Bunch, Carl Perkins (piano); Monk Montgomery, Mingo Jones (bass); Paul Parker, Sonny Johnson (drums).

Wes Montgomery Back On Indiana Avenue

 

'Back on Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings' is a collection of previously-unissued recordings from jazz guitar legend Wes Montgomery captured live and in studio in his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana in the mid-to-late 1950s by renowned arranger/pianist Carroll DeCamp (Stan Kenton, Les Elgart). The deluxe 2CD set includes an extensive booklet with rare photos, essays by jazz scholar Lewis Porter and producer Zev Feldman, interviews with guitar icons George Benson and John Scofield, plus guitarist and Carroll DeCamp's nephew Royce Campbell and saxophonist/educator/publisher Jamey Aebersold. This is the sixth official Resonance release of previously-unissued Wes Montgomery recordings and fills in an important early piece of the jazz great's story' (album notes). '.... What's fairly certain is that these 22 tracks comprise some of the earliest surviving Wes on tape, recorded back in his hometown and pre-dating his Riverside signing but already showing a talent in full maturity ..... The only thing that may conceivably raise eyebrows is hearing him adopt Freddie Green's rhythm style from time to time on the pianoless items. Other than that, it's (consistently enjoyable) business as usual. Sound is variable, ranging from dull-grey to pin-sharp depending on the location, but as per their other issues, Resonance's packaging is first-class. A keeper' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ****).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Evans - Evans In England
(Resonance Records) - Released: 19th April 2019 [2 CDs]

Bill Evans (piano); Eddie Gomez (bass); Marty Morell (drums).

Bill Evans In England

 

 

'Evans in England' is a newly-discovered recording of the Bill Evans Trio featuring bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell captured live at the legendary Ronnie Scott's jazz club in London, England in December of 1969. The deluxe 2CD set includes an elaborate booklet with rare photos by photographers Chuck Stewart, Jean-Pierre Leloir and Jan Persson; essays by acclaimed jazz writer and author Marc Myers and producer Zev Feldman; plus interviews with Eddie Gomez, Marty Morell and filmmaker Leon Terjanian. This is the fourth official Resonance release of previously-unissued Bill Evans recordings and captures Evans in a peak period of creativity at the helm of what would become his longest lasting trio' (album notes). 'This selection of material recorded at Ronnie's may well be the best posthumous Evans discovered by Resonance Records but I can imagine it not seeming so to everyone. Those listeners in love with pianist's more dreamy side may be put off, not only by the energy on display but by the very up-front sound quality of many tracks ... that magnifies the immediacy of communication between the pianist and his accomplaces .... an absorbing archive issue'. (Brian Priestley in Jazzwise ****).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Other Pages on this Website:

Jazz As Art : Listen to a track while looking at a range of paintings we have chosen to go with the music.

The Tea Break : A musician or someone in the Jazz world generally takes time out to chat over a cuppa.

Jazz Venues Near You: Venues hosting live jazz in the UK. Please let us know of other venues together with their website addresses, or please also let us know if you discover any of the links on the page don't work.

Jazz Talks : People willing to give talks about Jazz to community groups. The geographical areas covered include Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Norwich.

 

 

 

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