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July 2018

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Jelly Cleaver

 

Guitarist Jelly Cleaver photographed by Brian O'Connor. Jelly Cleaver is part of Tomorrow's Warriors - Female Front Line who were playing at Caterham Jazz Festival on 7th June 2018.

 

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

 

I have always thirsted for abandon. Just as yoga promised release from physical impediments, so improvisation promised abandon to musical impulse. Thus, Ravi Shankar followed the gypsies and, in course of time, Stephane Grappelli, the great jazz violinist followed Ravi Shankar, successive mentors on a journey to spontaneity ....

 

Yehudi menhuin and Stephane Grappelli

 

I was introduced to Grappelli through his recordings, which so impressed me that a few years ago I persuaded him to play with me.

Again, my part was prepared in advance (by Max Harris, an excellent musician), but in our recordings sessions Grappelli never repeated himself; each 'take' he played differently, as the inspiration of the moment suggested. He is a man I envy almost as much as I love him, who off the cuff can use any theme to express any nuance - wistfulness, brilliance, aggression, scorn - with a speed and accuracy that strech credulity.

If we pursue our joint sessions long enough, I may, even at my advanced age, learn the knack of improvising. It is a process that cannot be hurried, however, nor can I give it the time it requires; so at present I am content with the role of novice, happy to take what jazz can teach me ...

 

From 'Unfinished Journey' by Yehudi Menhuin (1977)


Name The Tune!

(Click on the picture for the answers)

 

Name the tune

 

 

Name The Tune

 

 

Name The Tune

 

Click here for our Name The Tune page

 

 

 

The Queen's Birthday Honours 2018

Orphy Robinson

 

Jazz musicians recognised in this year's Queen’s Birthday Honours list published in June included vibraphone player, bandleader and arranger Orphy Robinson and trombonist Dennis Rollins who were both awarded MBE’s, while pianist and broadcaster Julian Joseph received an OBE. Other honours from the world of music included Gillian Moore (Director of Music at London’s Southbank Centre) and Kanya King (CEO and founder of the MOBO Awards); both women receive CBE’s.

Orphy Robinson

Orphy Robinson told JazzFM: 'It was a bit of a shock with this very official looking envelope – I thought ‘what have I done!?”. He received the award for his contribution to British Jazz, but also his work in the community. “I’ve mainly been putting music back into Hackney where I grew up” he says “I’ve always worked with the community there with projects, and I led the music at the Hackney Empire for about 15 years and we’ve had fantastic success with the young people coming through there who have gone off to do RADA, or West End Shows or make their own groups. I’m also lucky enough to have worked in music education up and down the country.”

 

 

 

 

Expansion For Manchester's Band On the Wall

The Band on the Wall venue in Manchester is to receive £1.65million for their planned expansion. The city council has approved plans for the club to take over and refurbish the derelict Cocozza building at the rear of the property, allowing the venue to increase from 350 to 500 capacity. There will also be a kitchen, terrace bar and mini-cinema. The Cocozza is one of the few remaining structures from the Victorian Smithfield Market in the North East of Manchester City Centre.

Band On The Wall Manchester

 

Speaking to Jazz FM, Gavin Sharp, CEO of Inner City Music said:  “Band on the Wall has worked closely with Arts Council England for many years. The welcome news of a successful stage two Capital funding will help transform Band on the Wall into a world-class space for music performance, education and cultural engagement for the people of Manchester and further afield. The Capital funding will allow Band on the Wall to significantly enhance its facilities for learning and participation activity and performance, and the expanded building will be a space for the public to experience both music from around the world, and participate in programmes that explore and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the local area.”

The planned learning complex will include a rooftop Audio/Visual suite to involve young people and education participants to create new work engaging with international touring artists. Band on the Wall is actively looking for supporters to help make the expansion happen – click here for more details.

 

 

 

Nina Simone Lived Here

Nina Simone's home has been named a 'National Treasure' by the United States’ National Trust for Historic Preservation. The property in Tyrone, North Carolina has been bought by four African American artists who want to maintain Simone’s legacy. The three-Nina Simones Houseroom, 660-square foot clapboard pier and beam house had fallen in disrepair but now a campaign to preserve the building is being undertaken through the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

This is the house where Nina Simone taught herself the piano (from age 3), performed in public for the first time (at the neighbourhood church where her mother preached), and where she experienced the constraints placed on black females in the rural South - a theme that would deeply inform her music and political activism.

“The artistic and social impacts of Nina Simone reach every corner of the world, and her birthplace is an important symbol of that legacy,” said Joshua David, president and CEO, World Monuments Fund. “We are proud to join forces with the National Trust and other partners to underscore the global cultural significance of the Nina Simone House and help ensure it can become a beacon for future generations.”

If the project is a success, the US National Trust says they’re looking to secure other buildings of musical significance, including R&B label King Records in Cincinnati, and John Coltrane’s house in New York, where the legendary saxophonist wrote A Love Supreme.

Click here for more details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Place The Face : Hats and Hair Styles

In the Quiz this month we picture fifteen jazz personalities with distinctive hats or hair styles.
How many people can you name?

 

For example - who is this?

 

Who is this?

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

Jonny Mansfield Awarded 2018 Kenny Wheeler Prize

In June, the Royal Academy of Music and Edition Records announced that vibraphonist and composer Jonny Mansfield has been awarded Jonny Mansfieldthe 2018 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize. The annual prize, now in its eighth year, is awarded to a graduating jazz musician at the Royal Academy of Music who demonstrates excellence in both performance and composition. Mansfield wins an exclusive recording session of a proposed album on the Edition Records label which will be released in 2019.

Edition Records boss Dave Stapleton commented: ‘As the music industry continues to evolve and change at an unprecedented rate, it’s hugely rewarding for us to have an opportunity to help develop and guide these young, talented and vital artists of the future. Jonny Mansfield is a musician of real depth and maturity, both as an instrumentalist and composer. Jonny also has the ability to recognise the wider challenges facing him and approach them with drive and determination to pursue a career in this music. To succeed in the 21st Century music industry requires all-round skill and talent, which Jonny has in abundance.’

Jonny Mansfield is a 22-year-old vibraphonist, drummer and composer based in London. He began studying at the Royal Academy of Music in 2014 after being awarded the Colin Murray Scholarship. He has been leading his own ensembles, composing and performing, predominantly with his band ‘Elftet’ and collaborative trio ‘Crescent’, as well as performing as a sideman in other bands with the Alberto Palau Quintet, Tom Smith’s Geko, Oliver Mason Quintet, Jam Experiment, Treeclimbers, Rory Ingham’s Quartet and Dom Ingham’s Sextet. Jonny also regularly performs with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, who recently toured Germany and are playing at the BBC Proms this summer. Recently, Jonny performed in a quintet led by Gareth Lockrane at the 606 club playing the music from the film The Small World of Sammy Lee and toured the north of England with Chris Potter as part of a Band on the Wall project. In autumn 2018, Jonny will be undertaking a 15 date tour with Elftet around the UK.

Click here to listen to Wings by Jonny with Elftet.

 

 

 

Jazz As Art

Nick Costley-White Quartet

Thinky Pain

from the album Detour Ahead

 

 

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

 

Nick Costley-White

Nick Costley-White is a popular guitarist on the London jazz scene. He graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2011 with the highest mark in his year and was awarded the Yamaha Scholarship for Outstanding Jazz Musicians. He has performed with some of the country's most renowned jazz musicians such as Martin Speake, Stan Sulzmann, Steve Fishwick, Jeff Williams and composer John Warren, touring in the UK, Europe, Australia and South America. He leads his own quartet and has been part of other successful musical projects as a contributing musician. His music is varied from playing classic jazz with the Dixie Ticklers to contemporary jazz with Snowpoet. He is featured on nine studio albums, including A New Start by UK sax veteran Pete Hurt, (2nd place in the 2016 Jazz awards New Release category) and Fini Bearman’s Burn the Boat (2nd in Jazzwise “Best Albums of 2016”).

Now, in July 2018, Nick releases his debut album, Detour Ahead, in the company of his usual Quartet members - Matt Robinson (piano); Conor Chaplin (double bass) and Dave Hamblett (drums) - all of them busy musicians with other bands too. Detour Ahead opens by catching ubiquitous attention with a well known Standard - Cole Porter's Just One Of Those Things and the style of the Quartet is soon appreciated. Six of the eight tracks are Nick's compositions, including the engaging Swing State that starts with bebop riff and swings into the title track, Herb Ellis's Detour Ahead. The order of the recordings is well considered resulting in a varied programme, and the gentle Detour Ahead leads perfectly into the longest track on the album, Thinky Pain, which we consider here. For this track, Sam Rapley joins the Quartet on bass clarinet. The tune is a tribute to the American comedian and guitarist Marc Maron who in October 2013, released his first hour long special via Netflix titled, Marc Maron: Thinky Pain.

From the outset, we can appreciate that Nick Costley-White is an accomplished musician whose sensitive, melodic guitar playing paints pictures.

'The solo intro explores an open palette of clustered chords,' explains Nick. 'The rhythm section (augmented now with bass clarinet played by Sam Rapley) joins the guitar with a steady travelling pulse whilst the polytonal theme is slowly unwrapped and explored through further improvisations. The final section strips us back down to just the double bass and gradually all the instruments, harmonies and rhythms are stacked on to one another, building a rich and beautifully dissonant sound world. As if from nowhere, the final chord is struck, peacefully resolving all tensions'.

 

Go to the Jazz As Art page, play the track and then scroll down to see paintings I have chosen to go with the music -

(I think this only really works if you spend time with each painting) - click here.  

 

Nick Costley-White Detour Ahead

Detour Ahead is released on the Ubuntu label on 13th July 2018.

 

 

 

 

Video Juke Box

*Click on the Picture for the Video

 

 

Click on the picture to watch the video.

 

Ray Estaire Save Your Love For Me

 

In June, Ray Estaire performed her Final Recital for her degree course at the Guildhall School Of Music and Drama. She is about to tour with The George Michael Story show but I hope we can hear more of her special, talented jazz singing in the months to come. Here is a taste from a couple of years ago as she sings Save Your Love For Me with pianist Neil Birse

 

 

 

 

Birdland and the Palladium Ballroom video

 

Birdland And The Palladium Ballroom - In this 10 minute video, Slim Gaillard and Tito Puente reminisce about the heyday of Birdland and the nearby Palladium Ballroom in the 1940s and 50s. Apparently, Slim explains how Birdland was not named after Charlie Parker. At the time of this video, the venue was named the Kit Kat Klub: ' .... we would be inside of the Kit Kat Klub showing you how Birdland was, but, the ladies in there are not dressed and they wouldn't allow us to photograph until four in the morning ....'.

 

 

 

 

Pete Lee The Velvet Rage video

 

Pianist Pete Lee plays his beautiful composition The Velvet Rage live with the Amika strings. This is the title tune from his new album released in June. The Velvet Rage, takes its inspiration from Alan Downs’ book of the same name; Pete’s piece celebrates progression in diversity in 2017, with a special dedication to ‘Alan Turing’s Law’, as well as marking 50 years since the passing of the decriminalisation laws via the Sexual Offences Act of 1967.

 

 

 

Pie High video

 

 

Pie High - this video from 1959 has Bud Powell (piano), Clark Terry (flugelhorn), Kenny Clarke (drums) and Pierre Michelot (bass) playing at the Club St Germain in Paris.

 

 

 

 

Jon Hiseman Western Promise video

 

 

Drummer Jon Hiseman who sadly passed through the 'Departure Lounge' in June soloing on Western Promise.

 

 

 

 

 

Slowly Rolling Camera Juniper trailer

 

Trailer for Juniper, the latest album for the band Slowly Rolling Camera - Dave Stapleton (keyboards); Deri Roberts (electronics); Elliot Bennett (drums) with Stuart McCallum (guitar); Neil Yates (trumpet); Nicolas Kummert (saxophones); Mark Lockheart (saxophones); Aidan Thorne (double bass); Tom Barford (tenor and soprano saxophone); James Copus (trumpet); Sam Glaser (alto saxophone).

 

 

 

 

Muggsy Spanier video

 

 

Muggsy Spanier At The Jazzband Ball- There is not very much video of trumpeter Muggsy Spanier, pianist Joe Sullivan, clarinettist Darnell Howard or bassist Pops Foster, so, as the words with the video say, this meeting in a 1960s San Francisco TV studio under the guidance of host Ralph Gleason is a real treasure.

 

 

 

 

Yelena Eckemof Desert video

 

 

Pianist Yelena Eckemoff plays music from her recent album Desert, and she and her band - Paul McCandless (oboe, English horn, soprano sax, bass clarinet); Arild Andersen (double bass); Peter Erskine (drums and percussion) - talk about the recording.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Tracks Unwrapped

Manteca

 

[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 is a link to the music on YouTube etc. in the article below].

Manteca was co-written by Dizzy Gillespie, Chano Pozo and Gil Fuller in 1947. According to Gary Giddings writing in the Village Voice, it is "one of the most important records ever made in the United States". It is certainly one of the early Afro-Cuban jazz numbers that first became popular in the late 1940s. According to Wikipedia: 'Afro-Cuban jazz was considered bebop-oriented, and some musicians classified it as a modern style. Afro-Cuban jazz was successful because it never decreased in popularity and it always attracted people to dance to its unique rhythms. Gillespie's most famous contributions to Afro-Cuban music are the compositions "Manteca" and "Tin Tin Deo" (both co-written with Chano Pozo)'.

If you look for a definition of 'Manteca' you will find that it is the Spanish word for butter, peanut butter or lard. In Italy it is a soft, creamy cheese. But if you look beneath the surface, it is also a slang word for 'marijuana'. In one online blog, someone asks: '....I was recently interpreting for a defendant who said he used to sell "Manteca". I understand it is some type of illicit drug, but which one? and where is it called like that?' A reply said: 'Street names associated with heroin include: "black sugar", "butter", "tecata", "H", "white powder", "white lady" and, in English, "smack", "skag" and "junk".'

Click here to listen to Dizzy Gillespie with Manteca featuring Chano Puzo from 1947

Interestingly, Manteca is also a city in San Joaquin County, California. 'In 1873, the Central Pacific Railroad laid track directly through the area. The residents wanted to refer to their new train station as "Cowell Station", but there was already a Cowell Station near Tracy. The residents agreed to change the name of the community, Manteca mapchoosing "Monteca" as the new name. This was misprinted as "Manteca" (Spanish for lard) by the railroad, and the misspelled version was eventually accepted as the name of the town. This misspelling thus became a town joke that would be laughed at throughout generations to come ...'

Ironically, the city also has a number of drug rehab. centres! One says: 'If use of drugs or alcohol is damaging your relationships, Manteca, CA has a number of great drug abuse centers to help you or someone you love. Whether addicted to Clonazepam, opiates, painkillers or alcohol, we can help you connect with rehabilitation to get the best help available. You can even find private or exclusive treatment in Manteca to make rehab as easy as possible' .... and another: 'Drug and addiction abuse is a highly prevalent issue in Manteca, CA. To solve this crisis problem, the city has a His Way Recovery program which is a Christian-based, faith-based method to addiction treatment. This centre is a successful one and offers long-term residential services. Furthermore, it can be paid using self-pay or through insurances'.

Apparently, in 1947, Gillespie asked Mario Bauzá, an Afro-Cuban jazz musician, to recommend a Cuban percussionist for his big band. Bauzá had been hired as lead trumpeter and musical director for Chick Webb's Orchestra, and it was during his time with Webb that Bauzá met fellow trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie as well as bringing into the band Ella Fitzgerald. In 1938 Bauzá joined Cab Calloway's band and talked Calloway into hiring Dizzy Gillespie. Bauzá went on to work with Dizzy for several years after he left Calloway's band in 1940. 'The fusion of Bauzá's Cuban musical heritage and Gillespie's bebop culminated in the development of 'cubop', one of the first forms of Latin jazz. In 1941, Bauzá became musical director of Machito and his Afro-Cubans, a band led by his brother-in-law Machito.

In response to Dizzy's request for an Afro-Cuban musician, Bauzá suggested Chano Pozo, a rough-living percussionist already famous in Cuba. They began to work Pozo's Cuban-style percussion into the band's arrangements ... (Dizzy's) band was touring in California when Pozo presented Gillespie with the idea for the tune (Manteca). It featured a bridge of two eight-bar trumpet statements by Gillespie, percussion patterns played by Pozo, and horn lines from Gillespie's big band arranger Walter "Gil" Fuller. According to Gillespie, Pozo composed the layered, contrapuntal guajeos (Afro-Cuban ostinatos) of the A section and the introduction, while Gillespie wrote the bridge. Gillespie recounted: "If I'd let it go like [Pozo] wanted it, it would have been strictly Afro-Cuban all the way. There wouldn't have been a bridge. I thought I was writing an eight-bar bridge, but after eight bars I hadn't resolved back to B-flat, so I had to keep going and ended up writing a sixteen-bar bridge."

Click here for Dizzy Gillespie talking about composing Manteca with Chano Pozo. "It was similar to a nuclear weapon when it burst on the scene. They'd never seen a marriage of Cuban music and American music like that before."

Chano Pozo and Dizzy Gillespie

Luciano "Chano" Pozo González was born in Havana to Cecelio González and Carnación Pozo. He grew up with three sisters and a brother, as well as his older half brother, Félix Chappottín, who would later become one of the great Cuban soneros (an improvising lead singer in salsa music). The family struggled with poverty throughout Chano's youth. His mother died when Chano was eleven, and Cecelio took his family to live with his long-time mistress, Natalia, who was Felix's mother.

'The family lived for many years at El África Solar (Africa neighborhood), a former slave quarters, by all accounts a foul and dangerous place, where it was said even the police were afraid to venture. In this environment criminal activities flourished, and Chano learned the ways of the street as means of survival. He dropped out of school after the third grade and earned a solid reputation as a rowdy tough guy, big for his age and exceptionally fit. He spent his days playing drums, fighting, drinking, and engaging in petty criminal activities, the latter of which landed him a stint in a youth reformatory'. Chano's reputation grew among the people each year, not only because of his physical prowess as a dancer, drummer, and success with women, but for the compositions he wrote for Carnival (Wikipedia).

 

Chano Pozo with Dizzy Gillespie

 

In 1947 Chano moved to the USA in search of a better life and joined Dizzy Gillespie, but just a year later, he was shot and killed on December 2, 1948 in the El Rio Bar at 111th St and Lenox Avenue in Harlem. Pozo's killer was a local bookie named Eusebio "Cabito" Munoz. Pozo had accused Cabito of selling him poor quality marijuana and Cabito retaliated.

Poor Chano Puzo video

 

The event is featured in the 2012 award winning animation film Chico and Rita. Click here for the short clip Poor Chano Pozo.

There are a number of documentary films about Chano Puzo online, but unfortunately for many of us they are in Spanish (?) e.g. this 1hr 14 minutes documentary film The Legacy Of Chano Puzo (click here).

Before we leave Chano Puzo we should also acknowledge his other famous contribution to the Dizzy Gillespie repertoire - Tin Tin Deo. In this video of the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet from 1958, this is basically a bass / trumpet duet (click here).

 

According to Wikipedia, 'Because mainstream jazz audiences are generally not aware of the innovations of Machito's band, "Manteca" is often erroneously cited as the first authentic Latin jazz (or Afro-Cuban jazz) tune. Although "Tanga" preceded "Manteca" by several years, the former is a modal descarga (Cuban jam), lacking a typical jazz bridge, or B section, and is not well known enough to be considered a jazz standard.

Click here to listen to Machito and His Afro Cubans with Tanga.

By the late 1940s saxophonist Charlie Parker was also experimenting with Latin influences and he teamed up with Machito to record a number of tracks including No Noise, Mango Mangue, Okiedoke, and a 17 minute Afro Cuban Jazz Suite. These are probably not the recordings for which Charlie Parker will be best remembered but click here for a recording of some alternate takes of Okiedoke.

When Gillespie first began experimenting with Afro-Cuban rhythms, the bebop pioneer called the subgenre cu-bop. The piece refers to racial tensions in America; Gillespie is heard singing, "I'll never go back to Georgia". In 1965, the Joe Cuba Sextet got their first crossover hit with the Latin and soul fusion of "El Pito (I'll Never Go Back To Georgia)". The "Never Go Back To Georgia" chant was taken from Dizzy Gillespie's introduction to this seminal Afro-Cuban tune, "Manteca".

You can hear the chant on this recording of Manteca from the Dizzy Gillespie Band at the Newport Jazz Festival (Click here).

It seems that Manteca has influenced a number of other compositions. The Blues guitarist Bobby Parker had a hit with the tune You'd Better Watch Your Step in 1961. He said: 'I started playing the riff on my guitar and decided to make a blues out of it'. Click here for a video of him playing the number at the Silver Spring Blues Festival in June 2013

Watch Your Step was performed by several bands in the 1960s including Dr Feelgood and on stage by the Beatles in 1961 and 1962, and, according to John Lennon, it provided a musical basis for both their songs I Feel Fine and Day Tripper. Click here for a video of The Beatles with I Feel Fine.

Over the years Manteca has become a 'Jazz Standard' with various interpretations. Click here for Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz At The Lincoln Centre Orchestra playing it in 2016 - Bobby Allende takes the solo on the congas.

Finally, from the 2017 International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert, here is a video of Manteca played by Yaroldy Abreu (percussion), Till Bronner (trumpet), Igor Butman (saxophone), Roberto Fonseca (piano), Antonio Hart (saxophone), Takuya Kuroda (trumpet), Yandy Martínez (bass), Carlos Miyares (saxophone), Julio Padrón (trumpet), Eduardo Sandoval (trombone), Oliver Valdés (drums), Oscar Valdés (percussion) and Emilio Vega (Co-Musical Director) - click here.

 

Peanut Butter Man

 

And finally, finally, beware of getting a taste for 'manteca', 'lard', 'butter' or 'peanut butter'. In the movie Meet Joe Black, Brad Pitt personifies Death in a man's body, come to take Bill Parrish a media tycoon, but Joe begins to take an interest in life on earth and at one point, discovers peanut butter - click here.

 

 

 

 

Lens America

Ralph Peterson

 

Drummer Ralph Peterson photographed by JazzTrail photographer Clara Pereira in June at the Jazz Standard in New York City.

 

Filipe Freitas from JazzTrail writes in his review of the gig: ' ... Drummer Ralph Peterson gigged for two days with his trio at Jazz Standard in Midtown’s Manhattan and JazzTrail was there on Tuesday, June 12th, to cover the second set. Joined by the current Bad Plus pianist Orrin Evans and the adventurous bassist Luques Curtis, Peterson homaged the late pianist Geri Allen on the day she would celebrate 61 ......'.

Click here for a video of the Ralph Peterson Quintet (Ralph Peterson (drums); Steve Wilson (alto sax); Terrence Blanchard (trumpet); Geri Allen (piano) and Phil Bowler (bass) playing Be-Bop Skerony in 1989.

 

 

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. 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].

 

Alyn Cosker

 

Alyn Cosker

 

Drummer Alyn Cosker was born and raised in Ayr, Scotland. He began studying drums when he was thirteen and in 1995, won a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music. Instead, he decided, to stay in Scotland and studied music at Strathclyde University where he graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in 'Applied Music'. Alyn told journalist Rob Adams that drums were not his first instrument .... 'His dad, Jim, played piano and encouraged Alyn to follow suit, but after beginning piano lessons at the age of six, he found too many extra-musical attractions until his older brother, also Jim, took up the drums. At school in Ayrshire there was a band called the Dream Teddies, whose drummer, Ross Cooney, Cosker remembers as “the coolest guy on the planet.” Here was a role model and as soon as Jim senior realised that Alyn was serious about emulating his local hero, drum lessons were arranged ...'.

Another early role model was Buddy Rich, as Rob Adams discovered when the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra played a tribute to the late drummer and bandleader. Alyn 'has been in awe of Rich since his father showed him a video of Rich guesting with Frank Sinatra (click here), just after Cosker took up the drums at the age of thirteen. He has listened to Rich’s recordings avidly, studied videos and DVDs of him in action andAlyn Cosker Lyn's Une found both solace and healthy doses of reality in going back to his favourites. So when the SNJO’s director, Tommy Smith, brought up the idea of a Rich tribute, Cosker was over the moon. Then he remembered those listening sessions when he’d thought he was making good progress, only to be brought back down to earth with a bump, and almost had a panic attack. “I can remember my dad putting on that Sinatra video for the first time and just not being able to believe what I was seeing and hearing,” says Cosker of Rich whose career began at the tender age of eighteen months as Traps, the Drum Wonder and included spells with Artie Shaw and Tommy Dorsey in the big band era as well as gigs and recordings with fellow jazz icons Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Art Tatum'.

Alyn became a regular feature in the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra in 2004 and continues to be their regular drummer. Through the SNJO, and following his own solo music career, Alyn has worked alongside many professional artists throughout the world. Some of these include Tommy Smith, Jim Mullen, Courtney Pine, Larry Carlton, Bheki Mseleku, Annie Ross, Frank Gambale, Clare Teal, Brian Kellock, Joe Locke, Laurence Cottle, Mark Nightingale, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, David Liebman, Gary Burton, Geoffrey Keezer, Arild Andersen, Makoto Ozone, Randy Brecker, Branford Marsalis, Bob Mintzer, Benny Golson, Mike Stern, Bobby Wellins and saxophonist Bill Evans.

In 2009, Alyn released his first solo album Lyn’s Une for Linn Records with Ross Hamilton (bass) and David Dunsmuir (guitar) plus special guests. Click here for a video from Lyn's Une featuring Alyn's drum solo. Following the albums great success and Alyn’s solo career developing, he has released his latest album KPF this year with musicians Steve Hamilton (piano), Colin Cunningham (bass) and David Dunsmuir (guitar) and various other outstanding world renowned musicians. 

Apart from his regular commitments with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, you only have to look at Alyn's discography to appreciate how busy he is. We caught up with him for a Tea Break:

 

Hi Alyn, tea or coffee?

Hi, I'm very much a ‘Tea Jenny’…..so Tea.

 

I hadn't heard of a 'Tea Jenny'! I read that it's a Scottish term for someone who drinks a lot of tea or 'someone who is fussy about tea'. Milk and sugar?

Yes please.

 

Alyn Cosker KPF

 

So, your new album KPF is out! How has it been received?

It’s been going really well. Audiences have really taken to the material from KPF and there has been some lovely feedback and reviews about the album. It took a couple of years to make with scheduling all the special guests, etc. So it was really lovely to finally get it out there.

 

I see the title comes from a family story .....?

Its based on my fiancée Kirsty’s family story. When she was a little girl her grandad had a car with the registration plate that contained “KPF” in it. He always said it stood for Kirsty’s Pretty Face. Kirsty really inspired me to do another album so its a little thank you. 

 

 

 

Talking of track titles, I am intrigued by the tracks Hee Haw Twice and Shoogly Paw! What’s all that about?

I’m drawn to use titles that I hear from other people. Hee Haw Twice was inspired by my friend Andy Strachan whom I’ve known since nursery school. I was living in my hometown of Ayr for a few years between 2011 and 2015 and practising for a very musically challenging project. As I was walking back to my flat I bumped into Andy (a fine musician himself), in relaying how difficult I was finding the project, he replied it would be “Hee Haw Twice” for the likes of me. Shoogly Paw is a phrase coined by my future father-in-law. When watching virtuoso players playing very fast lines on their instrument, he describes their hands as a ‘Shoogly Paw’. A brilliant description in my mind.

 

How is Jazz doing in Scotland? There always seems to have been those musicians who move down to London and others who decide to stay in Scotland. I get the impression that the jazz scene is thriving ‘north of the border’ these days and I wonder how far that is down to the driving force of people like Tommy Smith? 

Jazz is doing brilliantly in Scotland. There has always been an amazing pool of musicians here. This continues to grow with time and through figureheads such as Tommy Smith running the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) Jazz Course, the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Richard Michael working with Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra, Paul Towndrow running RCS Junior Jazz Course, Malcolm Edmonstone and Andy Bain running National Youth Jazz Orchestras, Brian Molley and Allon Beauvoisin running Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra, Pauline Black running Aberdeen University Big Band and many others. Because of this there is an amazing pool of young players coming through. All of whom are arranging their own gigs, jam sessions etc. Its really wonderful to see!

 

Click here for a video of Alyn's Quartet rehearsing Oh Dear from the Lyn's Une album in 2017.

 

Are there particular jazz venues people might not know about?

The Blue Arrow in Glasgow is a great club. It's relatively new but fingers crossed it will keep flourishing. Jazz At The 78 is a great Sunday night gig/jam session on Kelvinhaugh Street run by the fantastic bass player Euan Burton. Also, the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh as well as the Blue Lamp in Aberdeen are legendary.

 

Blue Arrow Jazz Club Glasgow

 

Blue Arrow Jazz Club, Glasgow

 

 

You have been with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra for some time and their recording output has been of very high quality. Jeunehomme featuring Makoto Ozone; In The Spirit Of The Duke ..... Do you have a favourite recording by SNJO?

Each album I’ve played on has been a great experience. Two personal favourites are Rhapsody in Blue and American Adventure. Rhapsody in Blue is a favourite as it was the first album I recorded with the band. Brian Kellock (as always) plays his very colourful socks off. American Adventure was a personal highlight for a few reasons. It had always been a dream to record in a New York Studio as I'm really inspired by a lot of the great session drummers such as Steve Gadd, Steve Jordan, etc. Also, getting the opportunity to record with so many of my musical heroes on one session was really quite surreal at the time. Such an amazing experience. 

 

Click here to listen to Yes Or No from the SNJO album American Adventure featuring Alyn Cosker and Joe Locke.

 

 

Hob Nob, Bourbon, Garibaldi or digestive biscuit?

Garibaldi….because David Garibaldi is a legendary drummer (I really prefer a Bourbon….Sorry David!).

 

Jaco Pastorius

 

There are some great guest musicians on your album – Joe Locke (vibes); Eddi Reader (vocals) and Tommy Smith himself. If you could have asked two past jazz musicians along, who would you have invited and why? 

Yeah, as well as Joe, Eddi and Tommy we have : Fraser Anderson (vocals), Rachel Lightbody (vocals), Kirsty Johnson (accordion), Adam Bulley (mandolin), Fiona Hamilton (fiddle), Chas Mackenzie (acoustic guitar), Laurence Cottle (bass), Marcio Doctor (percussion) and Paul Towndrow (alto saxophone). Also at the core of it is my amazing band with Steve Hamilton (keys), Davie Dunsmuir (guitar) and Colin Cunningham (bass). It was a thrill to have my dad (Jim Cosker) play piano on the track Eddi sings on.

That’s a good question. Michael Brecker and Jaco Pastorius are two musical heroes I would have loved to have played with. Both really open-minded musicians who really pushed the boundaries of their instruments and music in general.

 

Jaco Pastorius

 

 

 

What gigs have you got coming up?

I'm running around working with lots of amazing people. I'm also doing some gigs with my band over the coming months promoting KPF. Edinburgh Jazz Festival on the 20th of July at the Jazz Bar, The Drygate in Glasgow on the 22nd of October, Pizza Express Dean Street on 20th of November, Catsrand New Galloway on the 14th of December.

 

Who else from Scotland do you think people should be listening out for?

There are literally hundreds of names I could mention. One musician that definitely is worth mentioning is the incredible alto saxophonist Adam Jackson. A fantastic musician with endless creativity and soul.

 

Click here to listen to Adam Jackson playing Rhapsody from the album Too Much Love with Euan Burton's band - Euan Burton (double bass); Adam Jackson (alto saxophone); Tom Gibbs (piano) and Alyn Cosker (drums).

 

 

Another biscuit?

Deep fried Tunnocks teacake.

 

Deep Fried Tunny Tea Cake

 

I found this picture by Pete Lidell of the traditional Scottish chocolatey treat online. Reactions online were mixed: one person said: “If this were posted elsewhere with the caption ‘Doctors removed this from my body last night,’ I would have believed it.” and Pete himself says: “I have to admit it tasted much better than I expected and those who tried it were pleasantly surprised!”

People should listen to your KPF album - they will be 'pleasantly surprised' too!

 

Click here for a video of the band playing at the launch of KPF in Glasgow during March 2018

Click here to sample KPF which is also available through Alyn Cosker's website (click here) or listen through Spotify.

 

 

Alyn Cosker

 

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

 

 

JOURNEYS IN HAND - A MUSICAL FUSION FROM SCOTLAND AND RAJASTHAN

The Brian Molley Quartet with the Asin Langa Ensemble

16th August, 20:00, Stereo, Glasgow 
17th and 18th August, 20:30 @ The Jazz bar, Edinburgh, EH1.
19th August, 15:00, Dunoon Burgh Hall, Dunoon Jazz Festival, PA23




This unique collaboration between Glasgow’s Brian Molley Quartet and the Asin Langa Ensemble from Jodhpur, presented as part of the Brian Molley Journeys In Hand poster'Made in Scotland Showcase 2018', combines music from Scotland and India to create a distinctive and remarkable fusion of styles. The desert rhythms of Rajasthan blend with jazz, Scottish folk and music from around the globe in this exhilarating meeting of musical minds.

BMQ were formed in 2012 by Glasgow-based saxophonist Brian Molley. International touring highlights have included ‘Made in the UK’ at Rochester International. Jazz Festival 2015, WhyNot JazzRoom NYC and Madras Jazz Festival 2017.

The project began life in Rajasthan in 2015 when both groups performed together for the first time to much acclaim at Jodhpur RIFF before a short tour in India. The collaboration was developed further when the Brian Molley Quartet returned to Rajasthan in 2016 to perform with Asin’s group once again, recording Journeys in Hand, an album of original compositions fused with Rajasthani folk songs in a custom-built desert studio.

Click here to listen to a track by the collaboration.

Asin Langa is hailed as a virtuoso vocalist of the Sindhi Sarangi, combining a rare musical artistry with a vast repertoire of traditional songs and Sufi poetry. Asin represents an amazing lineage of musicians and is a skilled collaborator having worked with Kavitha Krishnamurthy and L Subramaniam, Jeff Lang and numerous other international artists.

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

Adrian Cox Quartet - Profoundly Blue : A Tribute To Edmond Hall

 

Edmond Hall

Edmond Hall

 

Photographer Brian O'Connor went to this gig at the Watermill Jazz Club, Betchworth Park Golf Club, Dorking, Surrey on 5th June 2018 with Gerard Sands who describes the event. 'Clarinetist Adrian Cox brought his Quartet (Adrian Cox, clarinet and vocals; Joe Webb, piano; Simon Read, double bass and Gethin Jones, drums) for a programme they called 'Profoundly Blue'.

'This week’s concert at the Watermill Jazz Club was unusual, the four youngest people in the room (the band) performed a concert of music older than most of the audience.  Clarinettist Adrian Cox is an enthusiast of the great New Orleans players of the '40s and '50s and at present is touring a show featuring his recreations of the music of one such great, Edmond Hall. Cox is accompanied in this by Joe Webb on piano, Simon Read on double bass and Gethin Jones on drums, all of them with an ability and a feel for the music which belies their relative youth. Playing in this style felt perfectly natural for them all'.


Adrian Cox

Adrian Cox

 

 

'The program of musical selections took us through Hall’s varied career, from his time spent as a sideman with such notaries as Claude Hopkins, Billie Holliday, Teddy Wilson and Louis Armstrong through  to his own career as a band leader and recording artist in his own right. There was particular emphasis on Hall’s '50s albums Petite Fleur and Rumpus on Rampart Street, with which I was previously unfamiliar but which I ordered online first thing the next day.

Click here for a brief video clip of the Quartet playing Hallelujah.

'Cox is an engaging speaker and gave us a brief but entertaining introduction to each tune, explaining it’s significance within Hall’s discography and also what the music meant to him personally.  His own enjoyment of playing and his admiration for his fellow musicians was clearly evident. He also sang on a couple of numbers. All of the band were excellent but special mention should be made of pianist Webb, playing in a style reminiscent of Art Tatum or Oscar Peterson and worthy to be compared with them. Music seemed to flow effortlessly from him, at tempos ranging from ballads to the ridiculously quick. He was quite phenomenal. Put altogether this was a splendid evening’s entertainment and went down a storm with the audience. We hope for a speedy return with their next project'.

 

Click here for the band playing You Made Me Love You at Tad Newton's Walnut Tree Jazz Club in January.

 

Simon Read

Simon Read

 

All colour 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).

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Johannes Berauer : Out Of Austria

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. 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].

 

Johannes Berauer

 

Austria isn’t immediately a place one associates with jazz; classical music, of course, but jazz….? And yet, one of the titans of modern jazz – Joe Zawinul – was born and bred in Austria so perhaps we should not be so ready to dismiss the country as some sort of jazz backwater. A worthy successor to Zawinul has now emerged from Austria and is starting to make a name for himself on the international stage: composer and pianist Johannes Berauer. His latest album, Hourglass, will be released on the Basho label on 20th July.

Like Zawinul, Berauer studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He also attended the New England Conservatory of Music where one of his teachers was Bob Brookmeyer. His instrument is the piano but it is as a composer and arranger that he is becoming best known. Like many jazz musicians, particularly in Europe, Berauer successfully works in other musical genres. His classical music compositions have been performed and recorded by orchestras and chamber music groups in Austria and beyond. He acted as orchestral arranger and musical director for the Tunisian oud player, Anouar Brahem’s recent ECM release, Souvenance. And he collaborated with the sarod virtuoso, Soumik Datta on The King of Ghosts, a silent movie project which has been widely performed, including concerts in which Berauer conducted the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. A recording of the project was released in 2017 on the Globe Music label.

Berauer has incorporated influences from these other genres into his jazz oeuvre. His Vienna Chamber Diaries project, for example, is an impressive blend of classical music and jazz. A recording of the project was initially released in 2013 on Material Records and a Volume 2 came out earlier this year on Lotus Records.

Click here for an extract from Volume 1.
 
The pianist on that video is Gwilym Simcock, one of the brightest stars in the current jazz firmament. Berauer and Simcock have formed a close musical relationship – “... he is such a fantastic musician”, says Berauer, “I love the way he interprets harmony and the way he flows with time”. Simcock also plays piano on Hourglass along with Thomas Gould (violin), Mike Walker (guitar), Martin Berauer (electric bass), and Bernard Schimpelsberger (percussion).

Hourglass is much more straight ahead jazz than Berauer’s other projects. It has a strong rhythmic pulse, some great tunes, virtuosic playing and a joyous, accessible spirit. All ten tracks were composed by Berauer who says that “many influences that fascinate me and shaped my Johannes Berauer Hourglassmusical world in the past popped up in these pieces, like Bach’s counterpoint, Messiaen’s sense for harmony, Indian rhythm language or M.C. Escher’s paradox view of reality”. From a jazz point of view, much of the album has a jazz-rock feel – think Mike Gibbs or even Joe Zawinul himself; indeed, tracks such as Nocturne or Invention would not be out of place on a Weather Report album.

However, Hourglass is much more than the sum of its influences. One factor that gives the album its uniqueness is the imaginative use of the violin. Jazz has never really taken to the fiddle despite the efforts of Stephane Grappelli and Jean-Luc Ponty. It takes a composer like Johannes Berauer with his experience of classical music forms, to be able to write effective jazz for the violin; and a virtuoso like Thomas Gould also with a background in classical music (leader of the Britten Sinfonia, for example) but with an almost instinctive feel for the rhythms and improvisational dynamics of jazz, to play it.

Berauer is also able to integrate his experience of non-Western musical forms better than most. Indian influences are particularly prominent. It comes as no surprise to learn that Berauer, his brother, Martin and Bernhard Schimpelsberger visited India together 15 years ago. Schimpelsberger has become a specialist in Indian music, even designing his own bass drum to make it sound like a tabla. His percussion on Hourglass is one of the factors that contributes to the Indian feel, particularly on a piece like East, which also includes some striking konnakol Indian rhythmic chanting.

Berauer cites the artist, M.C. Escher as an influence. It might be difficult to imagine how a visual artist’s work can take a musical form but much of the music on Hourglass, particularly the final track, Spiral, is constantly moving towards a climax which never seems to arrive, either going up or down in a never ending spiral – just like some of Escher’s most popular work, in fact.

 

M C Escher artwork

M C Escher - Stairway

 

To get an idea of the sort of music on Hourglass, click here for a video of a performance of one of the tracks, Keep Up.

It is now just over 10 years since Joe Zawinul died back in his native Vienna. One can’t help feeling that the world will be hearing a lot more in the next few years of Johannes Berauer, another jazz innovator, another blender and blurrer of genres, another man out of Austria.

Click here for a short film of Johannes Berauer talking about Hourglass.

Click here for details of Hourglass on the Basho Records website or click here to sample the tracks when the album is released on 20th July.
Click here
for Johannes Berauer's website.

 

Johannes Berauer

 

Johannes Berauer is touring the UK with his Hourglass band later in the year. Current dates are:

1st September: Zeffirelli’s, Ambleside
4th September: Watermill Jazz Club, Dorking
5th September: Kings Place, London
6th September: Stapleford Granary, Cambridge
6th December: Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester
7th December: The Attenborough Centre, Leicester

 

 

 

 

Do You Have A Birthday In July?

 


Your Horoscope

for July Birthdays

by 'Marable'

 

 

Cancer

Cancer (The Crab)

21st June - 20th July

 

Last month, the signs indicated prosperity. This month Mercury will spend the entire month in the 2nd house, suggesting that your financial intuition can be working well. This might prove to be a useful time to get down to your marketing and PR.

Mars, your career planet, spends most of the month, from the 9th onwards, pulling you into areas that are new ground for you, and two eclipses shake things up and keep life interesting.

The Solar Eclipse on the 13th occurs in your own sign - take it easy over this period. The events that take place at this time will show you what is needed. The Lunar Eclipse of the 27th occurs in your 8th house. It could impact on your self image and this could be a time to take stock and decide what image you want to project. With the Sun moving into your money house as well, this tends to favour activities that appeal to young people - including music.

These 'shake ups' could bring happy career opportunities - a time for challenges and opportunities.

 

Dexter Gordon Whats New

 

For you, click here for a video of Dexter Gordon playing What's New in Holland in 1964 with George Gruntz (piano); Guy Pedersen (bass) and Daniel Humair (drums).

 

 

Leo

Leo (The Lion)

21st July - 21st August

 

This should be a happy month for you, but the two eclipses that take place could bring changes that you might question in the short term but in the longer term can work out well.

The Solar Eclipse of the 13th occurs in your 12th house of spirituality. This could cause you to question teachings and practice. Much of this is just psychic flotsam and jetsum caused by the eclipse, but it can cause you to reassess and redefine yourself, and that need not be a bad thing.

The Lunar Eclipse on the 27th occurs in your 7th house of love and also has a strong effect. It might test a relationship or work partnership. Good relationships survive these things; confused situations can be clarified during a shake up and are all the better for it. It is flawed relationships that are really put to the test, and clarification can help sort those out too.

You are having more eclipses than usual to deal with this year and opportunities for change recur, another Solar Eclipse occurs on the 11th August, so if you haven't taken time to reassess your situation in July, it could happen then. From the 22nd July you are in the best period of your year for changing irksome situations.

 

All The Things You Are video

 

For you, click here for a video of John Lewis and Hank Jones playing All The Things You Are.

 

 

 

 

Trad Jazz Trumpeter Needed in Somerset

The Draktown Strutters

 

 

Alan Bond tells us: 'I was talking to Tony James, the bass player with the Darktown Strutters, yesterday (16th June) and he was telling me that the band's trumpet player Geoff Nichols continues to be unwell ..... Geoff is now 85 and clearly, his age is a factor. He has not played with the band since late last year and it seems likely that he will have an enforced retirement. With that in mind, the band is looking for a trumpet player in the Alex Welsh mould and I was hoping you would be able to mention the fact in SBJ next month in case there are a few trumpet players lurking in the woodwork. The band has a gig at the 'bottom' Ship Inn at Porlock Weir for the beer festival in August and it seems they had a dep trumpet player for the gig but he apparently has other commitments. In the meantime the band is being led on a temporary basis by the brilliant Andy Leggett on various reeds'.

Click here for the Strutters' website and contact details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Ivo Neame

Looking Back From Moksha

by Howard Lawes

 

[You are able to listen to the music at the same time as reading this article and without leaving the page if you click here. 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].

 

Ivo Neame

 

 

Ivo Neame graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2003 having specialised in playing saxophone under the tutelage of Martin Speake, Steve Buckley and Barack Schmool.  In earlier years he had played percussion, sang as a chorister in Canterbury Cathedral and as a teenager was obsessed with Miles Davis and his contemporaries.  Latterly at RAM and increasingly after graduating, he chose the piano as when he accompanied Norwegian trumpeter Audan Waage at a gig in Hoxton, London in 2005.  Neame joined the Loop Collective, an organisation based at a pub called The Oxford in Kentish Town, London that was formed and still exists to support jazz musicians to collaborate, compose, perform and record. [The Oxford has recently changed ownership and re-opened as The Oxford Tavern].

In 2007, which must have been a very busy year, Ivo played saxophone with Jim Hart's band Gemini on the album Emergence, and piano on three other albums, Getting Giggy by the Andrew Davies Quartet; Different Smile by Kaz Simmons and Swirls And Eddies by his own trio. The BBC's Paul Sullivan described Emergence as a "sparkling foray into 21st century jazz" but unfortunately Swirls And Eddies received a rather less enthusiastic reaction from reviewers.  In the same year a band called Phronesis led by bassist, RAM graduate and Loop Collective member Jasper Høiby released an inventive, yet accessible album called Organic Warfare that had well-built melodies and strong grooves. By 2009 Høiby had joined Neame's band and Neame had joined Phronesis as the pianist and the rest as they say, is history.

The 2009 Phronesis release Green Delay received great reviews with the Guardian's John Fordham calling the music 'infectious' and Selwyn Harris in Jazzwise referring to them as 'a vigorous, rhythmic unit' and in a separate article, included the band as part of the 'burgeoning London jazz scene'.  In the same year Neame was still playing alto sax on the album Narrada by Jim Hart's band Gemini, but in his own band, now a quartet with a young James Maddren on drums, his piano playing was "blossoming" and "Herbie Hancockish" according to John Fordham in the Guardian reviewing the album Caught In The Light of Day.  In an article in Jazzwise (November 2009) by Andy Robson, Ivo Neame with a nod to his latest album compared jazz musicians to vampires - "they come out at night, sunshine scares them and they suck the life-blood from great jazz traditions", he also describes his approach to writing  - "I think it's fun if there is a bit of a scene set, a narrative. Jazz can be a bit abstract so that's why on each song there's a few differing elements. I go for different textures, differences, contrasts: I don't want to be stuck in the same atmosphere as you often are in a straight ahead instrumental. The 'head' form can be so predictable so I try to be different. It's one of my many preoccupations".  In the same interview Neame berates the London jazz scene and discusses the paradox that jazz musicians typically face which is to raise the profile of jazz without selling out.

The next few years continued Ivo Neame's rise in fame, recognition and technique. 2010 saw the release of the album Alive by Phronesis which was garlanded with awards from Jazzwise and MOJO magazines.

Click here for a video introduction to the album Alive.

 

Kairos 4tet

 

In the following year the band Kairos 4tet, with Neame playing piano, won the MOBO award for Best Jazz Act. In early 2012 there came a fine album from the young saxophonist and RAM graduate, Josh Arcoleo, with Ivo Neame on piano and Neame's young ally James Maddren on drums and Calum Gourlay played double bass. Later that same year there were nominations for Best Album from the Parliamentary Jazz Awards for Walking Dark by Phronesis, UK jazz instrumentalist of the year from Jazz FM and the award of Best Jazz Act from the London Awards for Art and Performance for Phronesis.

 

Kairos 4tet - Jon Scott, Jasper Høiby, Ivo Neame, Adam Waldmann

 

Ivo Neame's own band expanded to an octet to produce an album called Yatra (meaning 'procession' or 'pilgrimage') with Tori Freestone playing flute and tenor saxophone, Jason Yarde on alto saxophone, Jon Shenoy and Shabaka Hutchins on clarinets and Dave Hamblett on drums joining the regulars, Jim Hart and Jasper Høiby while Neame plays accordion, alto saxophone and clarinet as well as piano. With so many great instrumentalists Yatra was clearly an ambitious project that must have required a huge amount of composing and arranging work on Neame's part, particularly as his style, as he mentioned in his 2009 interview, is to make the composition more interesting than the head followed by everyone doing a solo model. While he pretty much succeeded, some reviewers, given the quality of the musicians, probably hoped that the music might soar to even greater heights. 

Click here for a video introduction to Yatra.

Meanwhile Phronesis released Walking Dark, an album of great personal significance to Jaspar Høiby as the title refers to the blindness that has afflicted his sister, and to share some sort of impression of blindness the music was initially performed in the dark. While in previous Phronesis albums Høiby had done all the composition, in this case duties were shared and while this might have led to a lack of consistency, in fact the members of the band know each other and their music so well that the same high quality just kepts on coming. 

Click here to listen to some of Walking Dark.

In 2013, Ivo Neame became an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, an honour given to alumni who make a significant contribution to the music profession.  The year also brought another collaboration between Neame and the outstanding Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset in the form of the album Birds; other members of the band are, perhaps unsurprisingly in the interwoven world of jazz, Jim Hart on vibraphone, Jasper Høiby on double bass and Anton Eger on drums. Neame had actually been touring with Neset to play music from Neset's previous album, Golden Xplosion, although the pianist on the original recording was the renowned Django Bates. Both of these albums received great acclaim with 5 star reviews in the Guardian newspaper. Kairos 4tet also released Everything We Hold, a beautiful album featuring Neame not just on piano but also harmonium, accordion and bass clarinet, together with a large and eclectic group of musicians and vocalists while fellow Loop Collective member and double bassist Dave Manington with the band Riff Raff released Hullabaloo, a collection of polyphonic jazz with Neame once again revelling in the opportunity to play a variety of instruments with contributions on piano, keyboards, Fender Rhodes and accordion.

The following year saw Ivo Neame collaborate with another young band led by US trumpeter Andre Canniere to produce the album Coalescence and in his review John Fordham describes Neame's piano as 'some of the most confidently imaginative playing he has Phronesisrecorded'. Phronesis, having been nominated for the MOBO Best Jazz Act went on to record Life To Everything at the aptly named Cockpit Theatre, an amphitheatre that was crammed with hugely excited fans during the London Jazz Festival. Having successfully toured in Europe, Japan and the USA and been described as 'one of the most exciting bands on the planet' by Jazzwise editor Jon Newey, Phronesis seemed to be on a mission to fulfil the ambitions talked about in interviews - to engage with the audience, to undermine those naysayers who claim jazz is over-intellectual or cacophanous and to provide great entertainment. Popular and critical reaction was overwhelmingly positive with the album being placed 2nd in the Jazzwise Albums of the Year 2014 Critics Poll. As well as all this excitement, Ivo Neame was appointed principal lecturer in jazz piano at Leeds College of Music, perhaps just as exciting in a different way.

 

Phronesis

 

 

 

 

Click here for a video of a live performance by Phronesis of Abraham's New Gift from Life To Everything.

In 2015 there was a new collaboration with guitarist Ant Law on the album Zero Sum World; another amazing album from Marius Neset called Pinball and a fourth album called Strata from Neame's own band, now reduced to a quintet with Tori Freestone, Jim Hart, Tom Farmer on bass and Dave Hamblett on drums. The musicians on Strata are all well known to each other and the artistic empathy is apparent from the confidence with which composition and improvisation are joined. In Adrian Pallant's review, Neame describes the developmental unpredictability: 'We interpret these pieces as we play them, so that the music is a dynamic, evolving entity. Once the rug has been pulled away, the tune might take on a new identity, ending up with a different feel, mood or tempo… The contributions of the band members are vital, as they all help shape the character of the music.'

Click here for a video featuring the title track of Strata.

The last few years have seen no let-up in Neame's frenetic activity, 2016 brought a new album from Phronesis called Parallax recorded at the iconic Abbey Road studios. In an article in Jazzwise in 2011 Neame expressed his admiration for the Steinway 'D' piano at Abbey Road studios so he must have been in seventh heaven to finally have the opportunity to use it. Once again the album had critics marvelling at the bands inventiveness, skill and technique and noting the witty titles such as Neame's OK Chorale. Marius Neset's Snowmelt is played by a quartet with Neame on piano, Petter Eldh on bass and Anton Eger on drums supplemented with the London Sinfonietta conducted by Geoffrey Paterson and is a hugely ambitious project that succeeds magnificently. The pairing of a jazz band with jazz orchestra had provided one of the stand-out events of the 2015 London Jazz Festival when Phronesis with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band played arrangements by Julian Arguelles, and then Arguelles on saxophones joined Neame with Andrea Di Biase on bass and Dave Hamblett on drums to form a band called Escape Hatch to release an album called Roots Of Unity. Neame also played on Andre Canniere's album, The Darkening Blue.  The recording of Julian Arguëlles's arrangements of Phronesis music with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band was released as an album called The Behemoth, the name highlighting the irony of a band which had always been a compact piano trio expanding into something a great deal larger. Phronesis undertook a highly successful tour of North America culminating with a highly acclaimed performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival.  This was followed by a performance of The Behemoth with the New Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra at the North Sea Jazz Festival.  A further project in 2017 featuring Ivo Neame was the latest Marius Neset album, Circle Of Chimes, described as his darkest, most melancholic composition yet.

2018 heralded the 10th anniversary of Edition Records who have released many of the albums by Phronesis, Kairos 4tet, Marius Neset and Ivo Neame's own bands. In celebration of this, Phronesis played all five of their trio albums at Pizza Express, Soho over the period 14th -17th June.  I was able to meet Ivo Neame just prior to the performance of Organic Warfare, Phronesis's first album on which the piano was played by Magnus Hjorth. As Phronesis have a policy of not reading music during performances, Neame had to learn all eleven tracks of the album Ivo Neame Mokshafor the first time and as he ruefully observed it is the pianist who has the most notes to learn.  As well as preparing for this mammoth performance, called Deja Vu, Neame has released his fifth album, Moksha. The band, now a quartet, has Neame playing acoustic piano, fender rhodes, mellotron, hammond organ and nord lead synthesiser; George Crowley on tenor saxophone; Tom Farmer on double bass and James Maddren on drums. 

Taking its title, Moksha, from Hindu philosophy, the Sanskrit Moksha refers to salvation and liberation of the soul through music. The word was also used as the title of a book by Aldous Huxley that Neame encountered. Neame's interest in Carnatic music - an Indian musical system defining melody and rhythm in a different way to traditional western music, inspired compositions over more than 10 years and which have now been brought together into the one album.  In combination with the songs Neame has also employed a wider range of instruments than usual, including electronic, to generate a different sound. Neame stressed that it is very important to him that his music should continually develop using new ideas and exploring new techniques. 

Listeners familiar with Ivo Neame's earlier work will notice immediately that the first track, Vegetarians, has both a solid groove and synthesiser setting the scene for music which is great to listen to and retains all the essential elements of contemporary jazz. 

 

Click here for a video of the band playing Vegetarians.

The second track Moksha Music, is a name shared with a UK organisation that promotes the art and culture of the Indian subcontinent. However, the style of the track is by no means recognisably Indian, but Neame's exciting piano solo and subsequent conversation with Crowley's saxophone is wonderful in any language. The introduction to the track Laika has an ethereal quality leading to a challenging staccato passage which is a little reminiscent of Marius Neset's Birds before James Maddren on drums seems to take charge, sparring alternately with Crowley and Neame on a variety of keyboard instruments, a really interesting track.

Click here for a brief video taster of the band playing Laika.

The slow tempo Outsider effectively evokes a feeling of melancholy with the double bass of Tom Farmer taking a major role, while the final track Blimp begins with reflective piano from Neame that becomes increasingly jagged and powerful, Crowley supplies a persistent and seemingly quarrelsome motif while Maddren adopts a moderating influence.

Moksha is a really enjoyable album with lots of new ideas that will keep the listener entertained even after several repeats. Ivo Neame provides George Crowley with an excellent vehicle with which to demonstrate his tenor sax expertise, while Neame's old bandmates Tom Farmer and James Maddren are the ideal rhythm section to complement Neame's always inventive piano and keyboards.  In the 2011 Jazzwise interview Ivo Neame said "I see music as a language and I’ve always been fascinated by languages and the way people express themselves. For me, improvising feels very similar to speaking French or Italian. I think about music a lot, or I’m usually singing something or other inside my head. It expresses emotions so purely – and there’s no room for bullshitters! I love it when music moves me to tears, when the musician is able to cast his or her spell over the listener.” 

Click here for a video of Moksha Music.

It goes without saying that Ivo Neame is a remarkable musician at the top of his game,  he is certainly casting a spell over jazz lovers throughout the world and will undoubtedly have moved many to tears of joy.  


Ivo Neame Moksha band

 

James Maddren, Tom Farmer, Ivo Neame, George Crowley

 

Finally, click here for a piano solo from 2016 with Ivo Neame playing El Mar after a poem of the same name by Pablo Neruda.

 

 

 

 

Forum

 

Daniel John Martin - Jazz Violin

Daniel John Martin


Daniel writes: 'I was just reading your article on jazz violin (click here) a few minutes ago and enjoyed doing so very much. My name is Daniel John Martin. I was born in Congleton near Manchester and I tour the UK twice or three times a year. The rest of the time I am based in Paris in the artist's quarter of Montmartre from where I tour Europe and France. My latest opus will be out next autumn. I co-lead an acoustic quartet alongside world-renowned guitarist "Romane". We have recorded a repertoire of my compositions written specially for Romane. [Click on the picture for Daniel and Romane playing After You've Gone]. We came to play together at the Liverpool Philharmonic and the London-Soho Pizza express last February. I have just got back from Preston where I was invited to play alongside American guitar player M J Harris ...... [click here for a video of Daniel playing Django Reinhardt's "Daphne" live at the "Petits Joueurs" in Paris with Tchavolo Schmit and Tony Landauer].

 

 

 

 

Dave Castle

Elsa Wright contacted us to say: ‘David introduced me to Jazz in the 1950s in Berkhamsted and we lost touch many years ago. He had such a profound influence on my love of Jazz I have never forgotten him.  The attached cutting from Who’s Who of British Jazz (2nd. edition ) is all I have come up with so far.  I am wondering if he is still teaching and playing somewhere?  I should dearly like to catch up with him before we both get any older  It may be the case that we have lost him and this is where I hope you could help?’

John Chilton’s Who’s Who of British Jazz tells us that David Richard Castle was born in Trinidad in 1939. He moved to England in 1947. He played clarinet and saxophones led his own Quartet in London and played with John Picard, Humphrey Lyttelton, Fat John Cox, Alexis Korner, Mac Macalister, Eric Delaney and Ronnie Dunne. He then seems to have moved to Sweden where he played and taught.
If anyone knows of Dave, please contact us.

 

 

 

Before The 606 Club

In May, we congratulated the 606 Club in Cheslea on its 30th birthday, but apparently the club is older than it looks. Last month, trombonist Mel Henry wrote: 'Although Steve Rubie took over the club in the mid '70s, it was formerly run by a sometime actor, Steve Cartright before he disappeared to the South of France. I first knew the club even before then, when it was called Davina's - the first time I sat in was with the Morgan James duo!!' (Mel Henry plays regularly with 'Jazz Times Three' in the Bath area). We asked if anyone else remembered the club in its former life and Ian Simms writes:

'Mel Henry reminisces about the 606 club when it was Davina's. I too remember it, from the same era as the GiGi coffee bar I wrote about in your "information requests". Davina was a french chanteuse - her Autumn Leaves was electrifying - and I knew Colin James well (Morgan James duo). I believe he previously partnered Keith Cooper, who we researched earlier. Lots of actors,and well known faces dropped by in the early hours and once I found myself sitting opposite one of Sinatra's ex-wives (Ava Gardner). Those were the days!!'

In 2015, Ian had asked hrough our Information Requests whether: '... anyone remembers the GIGI Coffee Bar and Keith Cooper: 'I was nostalgically web-browsing names from my music past - George Baron, Tony Pitt, Alan Leat, Neville Skrimshire, Diz Disley - sadly nearly all gone now - and I was delighted to see photo of the Tattie Bogle (on our Banjo Jazz page - click here) where I sat in with the guys and the lovely Lois Lane, who's still going strong! I can never find any mention of the GIGI coffee bar on Finchley Road where they all came to sit in with resident guitarist Tony Lafrate who had the best right hand in the business and where I was lucky enough to sit in and get tutored.  We were all Django fans and I'd been lucky enough to meet his brother Joseph in Paris in 1963. I wonder who else might remember the GiGi and those great Paris bistro-style nights? I still have Diz's old Colleti G40 guitar from the '60s - what a mellow tone it's developed over the years.'

'Is Keith Cooper still around? It'd be good to hear. Keith gigged for many years with the great Denny Wright - Stef's favourite rhythm player after Django died. The GiGi became a focal point simply because Tony Lafrate played there, he knew them all, was a superb rhythm player, very much a musician's man and 'Banjo' George was there 2 or 3 times a week, as was Les Muscutt - very sad to hear he too has passed away. I first went there in 1963 at 17 yrs and for the next 6 years learned "on the job" sitting in and gigging in Beaucham Place, where the Borscht and Tears was another venue with great guys dropping in. I gigged with the late Gerry Shepherd, whose son Pete is a well-known swing guitarist. I never took it up full time and nowadays I only play for myself after 3 operations on my hands. How ironic to end up damaged like my idol! Other names I recall: Lucien, a French guitarist who Gerry toured France with, a fantastic swing guitarist, and Alyosha, leader of the London Balalaika Ensemble. he was so good George said: "I throw my banjo at your feet". Sweet memories!!!'Keith Cooper

Keith's son, Dominic, who lives in America contacted us to say that towards the end of 2015 he visited Keith who is now in a care home in Battersea.

Dom sent us some photographs of Keith playing solo and one of him with Diz Disley. 'I passed on Ian Simms's your good wishes and he smiled. He is up and down these days, so that was a good sign.' 

Keith Cooper
Photograph © Dominic Bloomington

 

 

 

 

 

Keith Cooper and Diz Dizley

 

Keith with Diz Disley
Photograph © Dominic Bloomington

 

Dom also gave us links to a track on Soundcloud with Keith playing Together Again For The First Time with Keith Cooper - Vocals & Rhythm Guitar; Diz Disley - Lead & Rhythm Guitar; Clive the Jive - Double Bass; Roger Limb - Backing Music (click here). The track list is on the page.

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Collier

Pete Simkins writes and sends us three photographs to add to our page on Mike Collier:

 

Benny Simkins band with Mike Collier

Photograph courtesy of Pete Simkins

Mike Collier with the Benny Simkins Band at the King and Queen, Brighton, on a Sunday evening in 1976-1977, during our long Sunday-evening residency at the pub.  Roy Bower (trumpet), Mike Collier (trombone), Bernie Godfrey (drums), Alan Kennington (bass), Benny Simkins (my Dad, on tenor sax) and me (Pete Simkins) on piano.

 

'I enjoyed the piece on trombonist Mike Collier (click here). I first met Mike in 1964, when  my brother Geoff (then a drummer) and I used to sit in with the Fourteen Foot Band at the Fox and Hounds, Hayward Heath on Sunday evenings.  My tenor-sax playing Dad, Benny, and I were two of the 'angels' who contributed financially to the Sussex Jazz Society, helping Mike to present a series of legendary American guests at the pub - including Red Allen, Ed Hall and Teddy Wilson in the 1960s.

Some ten years later, in 1976, Mike replaced Geoff Hoare in my Dad's own outfit, the Benny Simkins Band (in which I played piano), remaining with the band until it folded upon Dad's death in 1982.  During this period Mike helped to back another series of outstanding American guests, such as Dick Cary, Buddy Tate, Pee Wee Erwin, Benny Waters and Johnny Mince, and he was on the band's recordings for Bruce Bastin's Flyright label when we backed Billy Butterfield and Yank Lawson'.

 

Mike Collier with  Billy Butterfield

Photograph courtesy of Pete Simkins

Mike Collier (right) and Roy Bower (centre) with American trumpet legend Billy Butterfield (left) during our recording session with Billy at Worthing on 7 November 1977.  The album was issued by Flyright records under the title Watch What Happens.  It was later issued in the States by George Buck on the Jazzology label.

 

Mike Collier with Billy Butterfield

Photograph courtesy of Pete Simkins

This picture was taken at the same session and shows Randy Colville (clarinet) with Mike Collier and Billy Butterfield.

 

[If any reader has a further photograph(s); memories or details of recordings that include Mike, please get in touch - Ed]

 

 

 

 

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Jazz Remembered

Neil Millett

 

 

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

Some time ago I published an article about the late UK clarinettist Neil Millett. Since then, with the help of his daughter, Sue, and other readers, I have been able to expand the article and to include some examples of Neil's music:

 

 

Neil Millett and Chas McDevitt

 

Chas McDevitt and Neil Millett with the Crane River Jazz Band 1955-56
Photograph courtesy of Chas McDevitt

 

Some while ago, Rich Millett wrote saying: 'I live in Nashville, Tennessee and haven't been back to England in far too long. My uncle was Neil Millett and I know he played clarinet all around the same scene as those on your website, which I have read with interest. I believe he lived in the Bournemouth area. I have a recording that he played on by the Original Georgia Jazz Band ... but I find that I want to know more about my uncle. My uncle died some years ago, but as a fellow musician, I've always been intrigued to find out more about him and maybe even hear more recordings and see some photos of him in action.'

 

Click here to listen to Neil Millett with the Original Georgia Jazzband playing High Society in 1973.

 

Clarinettist Neil Millett was born in Harlesden on July 31st, 1929.  His mother was Grace Ada Quick and father Anthony Millett. His daughter, Susan, says: ‘My mum, Pamela Parkes, and dad met at the Bun Shop Jazz club in Berrylands, south west London. They both worked in west London aviation places, mum at Faireys, and  dad was a technical illustrator (I think he went to Twickenham or Teddington art school). He worked for various aviation companies around London Airport, and also later at Ham. I have some of his technical drawings on tracing paper, amazing pre-computer stuff.  He was very keen and organised with his skills in this area. He continued this work until retirement, jazz always being alongside this and at least as important. I understand he learnt to play the clarinet (his main instrument) in about 1948 whilst he was on National Service'.  

 

 

The Albermarle Jazz Band

The Albermarle Jazz Band?
Photograph © Susan Millett

Pete Lay and Ron Drakeford believe this is a picture of the Albermarle Jazz Band with Neil Millett (clarinet), Pat Halcox (cornet) and Colin Kingwell (trombone). They have not been able to identify the other musicians - can anyone recognise them?

 

Mick Brocking recalls: 'I know that Neil started playing about 1950 with the Albemarle Jazz Band of Southall with Pat Halcox on trumpet.

Neil married young; he was twenty-four and his new wife was just nineteen.

'Just after I was born we lived in a caravan in Abbeyfields, Chertsey,' Susan Millett continues.   'My mother was the eldest of 8 and her family lived in Surbiton. I think my grandparents, or we, lived in Cranford for a while after our caravan.  When I was very young, about two, the earliest memory I have is of having a day out with dad and visiting a friend who had a bee hive in his garden.  There was a white picket fence.  I asked dad about this not long before he died but he had no memory of who this was.  I recently had a look on YouTube at some of the Crane River Band footage and was amazed to see a picture of the "home" of the band, which had a white picket fence.  Apparently behind the White Hart in Cranford.  Anyone remember bee hives there?  I suppose it could have been a wasps' nest ....  It would have been about 1956/7.  Dad was also a good friend of Sonny Morris, I believe.'

Click here for a video of the Crane River Jazz band playing Just A Little While To Stay Here with the white picket fence Sue mentions later in the video.

'Dad was in the Crane River Jazz Band, also the New Albemarle Jazz Band. He played with Ken Colyer - he played drum in the marching band album Ken produced and his feet are on the cover although he is hidden by his drum!  Mum says he was in a band called the Wolverines (I know there were a few of these!).  I noticed on your site that he set up his own band and was advertised as the Neil Millett band playing at Eel Pie Island in the late 50s.’

 

Ken Colyer's Omega Brass Band

 

 

Ken Colyer's Omega Brass band recorded Marching To New Orleans in 1958.

Bass player Ron Drakeford recalls: 'Prior to moving to the South Coast, Neil was very prominent on the jazz scene in Kingston and the London area. He was a regular depper on clarinet with many bands and we used him often when I was with the Canal Street band. He played fairly regularly with Mole (Mo) Benn and had a club at Thames Hotel with Mole Benn at one point.

As for recordings, I only am aware of one, and on that he is not playing clarinet. He (and Mole Benn) were in the line up on the 10inch LP Marching to New Orleans on Decca LF 1013 by Ken Colyer's Omega Brass Band. On that occasion Neil was playing the bass drum and Mole Benn on sousaphone. Both Neil and Mole often made the line up for various Omega gigs as did many other musos outside of the Colyer band'.

 

 

 

 

 

Marching to New Orleans is available on itunes and you can listen to it if you click here.

 

 

Neil Millett with Ken Colyer

 

Neil Millett with George Lewis and Ken Colyer
Photograph © Susan Millett

Pete Lay and Ron Drakeford suggest the trombonist is Mac Duncan.

 

 

Susan Millett: ... 'Mum says in the early days in Hounslow we had Ginger Baker as a paying guest'. Susan says, 'We settled into a flat in Surbiton, having temporarily lived in Ealing in 1962 with a jazz friend couple of his. I remember Dad arriving back at the house in Surbiton with an enormous double bass. He was basically out all the time playing. He quite often went off to gigs in Germany or other places when they were young and married.’

Susan says: ‘I have to explain he was a very young dad (24) and mum just 19,  when I was born in 1954, the eldest, of three, my brothers now aged 58, and 54.  The reason I point this out is that Dad was a bit absent, in fact  totally out of touch with our family between 1981 and about 1995, so I've been piecing stuff together myself. Most of his early young jazz days I was a small child, so I don't remember too much.’

Mick Brocking adds: 'I heard him play many times around the Kingston area in the late 1950s and early 1960s, notably at the Fighting Cocks in London Road (home of the Bill Brunskill and Canal Street bands) and with the Georgia band at the Grey Horse in Richmond Road. I recall him as a fine driving clarinet who could also play with great sensitivity. Personally he impressed as a very likeable extrovert, though a bit of a rogue with it'.

 

Grey Horse pub Kingston

 

Mick Brocking recalls: 'I was at his farewell bash at the Fighting Cocks on his leaving the area (late 1960s?) to live on the South Coast. He hired the hall on the first floor but omitted to pay the landlord! Some years later (1970s?) I heard that he was living and playing in Holland or Belgium probably with his close friend Andy Ford, the banjo player, who was also living there. (In fact, as Andy says below, they never met during this period). They often played together in the Kingston/London area. I know that Andy was still playing with bands a couple of years ago and may well still be playing but I have not been able to contact him.' Ron Drakeford says: 'The last time I saw Neil was when we did a gig together at Clapham Junction for Lew and Pam Hurd who were over touring the U.K from Australia. That must have been mid to late sixties.'

 

 

Crane River Jazz band

 

Photograph courtesy of Susan Millett / Chas McDevitt
Chas McDevitt believes the musicians are: Neil Millett (clarinet); Chas (banjo- obscured); Mole Benn (trumpet) and Johnny Mortimer (trombone).

 

It was after Neil died that Andy Ford wrote to Neil's children. Neil's daughter, Susan, has a copy of the letter which includes some of Andy's memories:

'I first met Neil in the late fifties and then in the early sixties we played in the same band with Sonny Morris.We had a regular gig on a Sunday night in Windsor and quite often I used to come to ... Surbiton to pick up Neil. As far as I remember Neil did not drive in those days. He was working at Drawing and Tracing in Tolworth and when we played at one of the Company's functions, he introduced me to the girl who became my wife ... Later in the sixties my job took me up to Yorkshire and I lost contact for a few years. Then in the early seventies I returned to London and formed my own band with Neil playing clarinet and Sonny Morris on cornet. At this time Neil was living in New Malden in the same house as Mole Benn. Nothing lasts for ever and eventually my job took me to Belgium and we lost contact again. In the intervening years I heard tell of him working in Holland; but our paths vever crossed. Then along came the nineties and Neil was back in England living in Bournemouth. Since then we have met a few times, had the odd chat on the phone, done gigs together in other people's bands and of cource exchanged Xmas cards. He was a good friend and I shall miss him, he liked a pint of beer, produced some wonderful drawings and always had a twinkle in his eye ..

 

Susan continues: ‘In about 1964, Dad got work in Hampshire and moved us to Bournemouth, where he connected with an active jazz scene there and was playing with local bands, but he did go back to the Kingston area in the early 1970s and played regularly in The Original Georgia Jazz Band at the Grey Horse in Kingston.  They recorded a live session there in 1973. I have a photocopy Neil Millettof the line up, and just after he died I discovered one member of the band (Geoff Cole?) regularly  played in a Hackney Pub near me, I went along to see him, and met his wife.  Dipper Duddy was one of the band members, but no longer playing in that pub so we didn't get to meet.’

Banjo player Andy Ford recalls in an article for Just Jazz magazine: 'Through (Brian Duddy) I met Derek Metcalf, the landlord at the Grey Horse, Kingston. The Grey Horse had a large billiards room at the back which was no longer used for its original purpose. Derek agreed we could use the room at no charge, provided we accepted that customers would use the room to gain access to the gentlemen's toilet. I originally formed the Georgia Jazz Band as a rehearsal band, and the earliest diary entry I have is the 30th March, 1972 - the line-up at that time was Neil Millett (clarinet), Brian Duddy (drums), Sonny Morris (trumpet), Geoff King (bass), Ron Vango (trombone) and Andy Ford (banjo) ....'

 

Neil Millett

 

'...During this early period some of the Grey Horse clientele used to sit in the back room and listen to us rehearsing. Derek Metcalfe asked if we minded, and we said no, provided they didn't mind us playing the same tune more than once. This situation changed very quickly, and in a very short period of time we had a regular audience coming to the pub specifically to see the band. At some point we also started to be paid, and our rehearsals had now become public performances. Apart from the residency at the Grey Horse, by the end of 1972 the band also had a residency at the Stanhope, in Gloucester Road ....'

'Brian Duddy had a Ferrograph tape recorder and he often recorded sessions of the band at the Grey Horse, using a sigle, strategically placed microphone. Some of these recordings were very good. On this basis we decided to produce our first LP, a live recording at the Grey Horse on 28 October, 1973. I still have the master tape for that first LP produced by John R.T. Davies.

'The record sold very well and the band was successful, but nothing stays the same for ever. Neil Millett decided it was time to move on, so a new reed player had to be found .... at about the same time the colin Symons band was disbanding and I met Harry Brampton, who agreed to join us.'

 

Click here to listen to Neil with the Original Georgia Jazzband playing Dusty Rag in 1973.

 

Mick Brocking also has that Original Georgia Jazz Band album: 'I have just unearthed the sleeve notes for the Original Georgia Jazzband LP. Recorded at the Grey Horse on October 28th 1973 the personnel: Mick Burns (trumpet/cornet), Geoff Cole (trombone), Neil Millett (clarinet), Andy Ford (banjo), Geoff King (bass), Brian Dipper Duddy (drums). Guest drummer Lloyd Taylor is on a ragtime track. It says that "Andy Ford formed the band 18 months ago" / "Neil also plays alto and baritone saxes" and that "he has only been back in the London area for two years after having brightened up the Bournemouth jazz scene for six years" So he left Kingston in 1965 and when I heard the Georgia band it was in the early 1970s.

Bassist Neil Clifton adds: 'When I joined the Ian Bell Jazzmen in 1972, Neil Millett was a member of this band on clarinet and baritone. I don’t remember him playing alto. Like most members of the band, he could sup his pint and enjoy it. The Ian Bell Jazzmen were resident on Thursdays at the Grey Horse in Richmond Road, Kingston. The personnel of the band at that time was Frank Wilson (trumpet), Mike Hogh (trombone), Neil Millett (clarinet, baritone), Dave Rylands (piano), Rod Simmonds (guitar, banjo), Neil Clifton (bass), Ian Bell (leader, drums). Neil remained in the band for about a year after that but then left and I lost touch with him after that.'

 

Trumpeter Pete Batten also remembers Neil: 'About August 1973, I did an audition for a band that played every Sunday lunchtime at the Half Moon at Putney. The leader was a banjo player, John Green. His regular trumpet player, Daze Allen, was taking time off to cope with a bereavement – I think it was his mother. I got the job and soon met Neil Millett, who was a regular member of the band. At that time the band played in the front bar. The band became very popular and in January 1974 the session moved to the large hall at the rear of the pub. Daze Allen returned but John Green asked me to stay on. I was to play most of the lead trumpet while Daze would contribute solos and sing. It soon became obvious that his singing was a very important factor in the band’s growing popularity. Neil made a very important contribution on clarinet and baritone. He also brought along Geoff Cole to take over on trombone. At that time they were both members of the Georgia Jazz Band, which had a residency at the Grey Horse in Kingston. John Green then decided to further enlarge the band by adding another clarinet/sax player and asked Neil to play mainly baritone. The band quickly became very popular and began to pack the hall every Sunday'.

'To my surprise, Neil announced that he was moving to Bournemouth. I am not sure, but I think he had been offered a good job. Although he was not a close friend, I did enjoy his company and his playing. The band at this time was called “John Green and His Snap Syncopators”. In 1981 it became “The New Dixie Syncopators”; it finally broke up in 1987. Geoff Cole was a leading member of the band until about 1982, when his other band commitments became too many. His playing and singing too were an important part of the band’s success.'

Susan explains: 'In 1968, dad had left the family home in Bournemouth to work in Amsterdam. He did return regularly, but then dad moved to Germany around 1981 and he was no longer in contact.  I think he also used to visit the Swanage Jazz Festival - he always mentioned seeing Chris Barber there.  We all lost contact for a while until around 1994 when dad reappeared in Bournemouth after time abroad. He reconnected with the Bournemouth jazz scene and carried on playing until he died of a sudden heart attack in March 2001, having been ill for a while.  His friends say he got up on stage as long as he could manage, which was about a year before died.’

 

Half Moon Putney

The Half Moon, Putney

 

Carol Lowther adds: 'I remember Neil playing with my Dad, Roy 'Dace' Allen at the Half Moon Putney. My Dad was in touch with Neil and visited him in Amsterdam. Roy is now living in North Yorkshire, still playing two hours a day (the neighbours love him), he records tracks with a garage band and has just taken up playing the piano. Not bad for an 86 year old Snap Syncopator!'

Garry Crook says: 'Not sure if this is the same Neil Millett I knew in Amsterdam from 1984 to 1986 but it sounds like him."My" Neil Millett was working for Giltspur Engineering as a Technical Illustrator, but he was a clarinet player and had played jazz professionally. One thing he mentioned was that he had played on some Rolling Stones Albums, not sure if that is correct? I remember his 57th Birthday in Amsterdam, he was roaring drunk and the jazz band that was there invited him up on stage to play, he staggered up and then whilst sitting down proceeded to play a beautiful intro into a jazz piece on his clarinet. I remember him as a very humorous man, and have a few funny stories about him, sad to hear of his passing.'

Illustrator Martin King recalls: 'Originally from Bournemouth myself, I met Neil in the mid to late '70s. We both worked as Technical Illustrators and whilst working on a contract for IBM in Hursley, Neil, myself and two others shared a house in St Thomas Street, Winchester. The house was originally the servants' quarters to the big house next door and was well positioned close to several pubs which we all used to enjoy. The owner of the house was horrified upon our arrival due to the quantity of musical instruments being carried into the house. My next meeting with Neil was in Germany. I was at work one day when the telephone rang. It was Neil phoning me from Wolfsberg (The home of VolksWagen) telling me of a job opportunity. I took him up on it and he kindly put me up for a few days until I got myself sorted. Neil played at many venues around the Wolfsberg and joined a local band called the Saratoga Seven (I think). I remember they made an LP and I think I still have a copy in the attic. Neil was friends with Acker Bilk and he used to go and meet up with him if he was touring in the area. I know Neil was estranged from his family at the time but I do remember him talking with pride of his son and daughter who I believe attended Slade School of Art. (Susan actually studied Fine Art at the prestigious Hornsea College of Art). Neil was talented and always great fun to be around and I was sorry to hear about his sudden death.'

Banjo player Chris Mitchell says: 'I knew Neil from Kingston upon Thames days. He was playing with the New Crane River band, and afterwards formed his own band. I used to do his printing. Many years later, I was playing in Stuttgart in a club and, as you probably know, one looks around to see lookalikes. (There was a dead ringer for Terry Lightfoot in Zurich). I thought “He looks like Neil Millett”, and blow me, it was. He was working for Messerschmidt in the drawing office. He had his clarinet with him, and we enjoyed a good session on the bandstand and in the bar afterwards. I never saw him again. Andy Ford sent a email to say that Neil had passed away. It was good that I knew him'.

 

New Crane River Jazz band

 

Neil Millett with the New Crane River Jazz Band 1955-56 (obscured: Chas McDevitt (banjo); Sonny Morris (cornet); Mole Benn (trumpet).
Photograph courtesy of Chas McDevitt

 

Susan Millett began to discover more about her father as she dealt with his belongings after he died: ‘Although he had recently moved from a small flat to one room, and had very little stuff, he had kept two address books, one the most recent and the earlier one very thrillingly from the 50s and 60s. For his funeral I rang everyone in both those books, it took hours but it was therapeutic, and I discovered very interesting stories .... the local band marched along at the funeral, it was great to meet them.’

If you remember Neil and would like to add to this Profile, please contact us.

 

Neil Millett

 

Neil Millett outside the Wessex Tales restaurant in Bournemouth shortly before he passed away.
Photograph © Susan Millett

 

 

 

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:

 

Big Bill Bissonette

 

Big Bill Bissonette - American jazz trombonist, drummer and producer who was a strong advocate of New Orleans music. He led the Easy Riders Jazz Band and founded the Jazz Crusade record label. On his drumset sat the wooden ratchet used by Baby Dodds on his famous drum instruction recordings; he used a slapstick made for him by Kid Thomas Valentine and one of Jim Robinson's mouthpieces sat on a shelf in his living room. Click here to listen to Bill playing Just A Closer Walk With Thee.

 

 

 

 

Eddy Clearwater

 

 

Eddy Clearwater - Mississippi-born Chicago bluesman who billed himself as “The Chief” and often performed in a feathered headdress. A self-taught musician, Mr. Clearwater played guitar left-handed and upside down. His music merged his rural Mississippi upbringing with the aggressive attack of West Side Chicago blues and a deep admiration for Chuck Berry. His Native American regalia and songs like Reservation Blues paid tribute to his grandmother, who he said was a full-blooded Cherokee. Click here to listen to Reservation Blues.

 

 

 

 

 

Lorraine Gordon

 

 

 

Lorraine Gordon - American advocate of jazz and owner of the Village Vanguard jazz club in Greenwich Village, New York City.  In 1942 she married Alfred Lion, co-founder of Blue Note Records. In the 1940s, Gordon and Lion recorded the works of jazz artists such as the clarinetist Sidney Bechet and pianist Thelonious Monk. In 1949 she married Max Gordon, owner of the Village Vanguard club in New York. Established in 1935, the club gained a reputation among jazz musicians in the late 1950s and became a fashionable place to record live performances. After Max Gordon's death in 1989, she assumed ownership and management of the club.

 

 

 

 

 

Jon Hiseman

 

 

Jon Hiseman - English drummer, recording engineer, record producer and music publisher. In the mid-1960s Hiseman played in sessions such as the early Arthur Brown single, Devil's Grip. In 1966 he replaced Ginger Baker in the Graham Bond Organisation and also played for a brief spell with Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. He then joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in 1968 playing on the iconic album Bare Wires. In April 1968 he left to form what has been described as the "seminal" jazz rock/progressive rock band, Colosseum. Hiseman subsequently played in jazz groups, notably with his wife, saxophonist Barbara Thompson, with whom he recorded and produced over fifteen albums. In 2017 Jon Hiseman formed a new trio band called JCM. The band recorded an album Heroes late in 2017 and it was released in April 2018. JCM began touring on 7 April 2018. Click here for a video of Jon Hiseman's drum solo on Western Promise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Murphy

 

 

Matt Murphy - American blues guitarist born in Sunflower, Mississippi, and educated in Memphis, Tennessee, where his father worked at the Peabody Hotel. Murphy learned to play guitar when he was a child. He worked with Memphis Slim and recorded with Chuck Berry, Sonny Boy Williamson and Etta James. He gave a memorable performance in 1963 on the American Folk Blues Festival tour of Europe with his Matt's Guitar Boogie. Freddie King is said to have once admitted that he based his Hide Away on Murphy's playing during this performance. In the 1970s, Murphy associated with harmonica player James Cotton, recording over six albums. Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi attended one of their performances and subsequently asked Murphy to join the touring band of The Blues Brothers. Murphy also appeared in the Blues Brothers films. Click here for a video of Matt Murphy with Memphis Slim on piano and Willie Dixon, double bass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebecca Parris

 

 

Rebecca Parris - American jazz singer who, during her career, appeared with Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Wynton Marsalis, Gary Burton and Dizzy Gillespie. Known as 'Boston's First Lady of Jazz', she performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, Oslo Jazz Festival and the International Floating Jazz Festival. She won the Boston Music Awards nine times. Click here for a video of Rebecca Parris singing Darn That Dream.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 


Some Recent Releases

 

UK

Nick Costley-White - Detour Ahead

Pete Lee - The Velvet Rage

Slowly Rolling Camera - Juniper

Roller Trio - New Devices

Karen Lane - Passarim

Fervour - Taking Flight

 

 

America

JD Allen - Love Stone

Matt Penman - Good Question

Yelena Eckemoff - Desert

Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow - Music In My Mind

Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp - Oneness

 

 

Europe

Logan Richardson - Blues People

Pablo Held Trio - Investigations

Johannes Berauer's - Hourglass

 

 

Re-Releases

Peggy Lee - Four Classic Albums

Oscar Peterson and Fred Astaire - The Astaire Story

Lee Wiley - Nights In Manhattan + Sings Vincent Youman and Irving Berlin

Cannonball Adderley - Them Dirty Blues

Miles Davis - In Person At The Blackhawk, San Francisco

Duke Ellington - The Complete Ellington Indigos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nick Costley-White - Detour Ahead
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 13th July 2018

Nick Costley-White (guitar); Matt Robinson (piano); Conor Chaplin (double bass); Dave Hamblett (drums); plus Sam Rapley (bass clarinet)

Nick Costley-White Detour Ahead

 

'Leading British guitarist Nick Costley-White releases his debut album, Detour Ahead, this summer .... The album portrays the quartet's musical journey, beginning with performances that draw from the American Songbook tradition and travel through to a more modern aesthetic, inspired by the surroundings of London's exciting jazz scene. "The diversity of people playing and writing at such a high standard in London is very inspiring to me and I feel really lucky to have three such musicians in my band," explains Costley-White. "What's crucial for me in this group is that the musicians play in a contemporary style that is routed in the fundamentals of playing traditional jazz harmony and rhythm. The melding of these two aspects is what I try to balance when writing music specifically for these players. Through this process I hope to express my own voice .....' (release information).

Details and Sample : Thinky Pain track in Jazz As Art Article : Introductory Video : Nick Costley-White's Website with September to November 2018 tour dates :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pete Lee - The Velvet Rage
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 29th June 2018

Pete Lee (piano); Josh Arcoleo (saxophone); Alex Monk (guitar); Huw Foster (bass); Ali Thynne (drums) with The Amika Strings - Laura Senior (violin); Rich Jones (violin and jazz violin); Lucy Nolan (viola); Peggy Nolan (cello); plus Simmy Singh violin on Stavanger.

Pete Lee The Velvet Rage

 

 

'Pete Lee graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2012 ... In 2017 he toured Japan and the UK with artists Gabrielle Aplin and Tom Walker and he has toured UK jazz festivals with Alice Zawadzki .... In July 2017 (Pete's band) was commissioned by the Manchester Jazz Festival to celebrate the 'decriminalisation of sexual offences law which pardoned LGBTQ individuals of historical criminal offences. The Velvet Rage is (his) debut album ....Lee is recognised for imaginative, virtuosic piano playing that draws effortlessly on his love of jazz, classical and folk music. From the pop grooves of the opening track Writer's Block to the rich beauty of The Velvet Rage and Stavanger .... The Velvet Rage reveals that he is an equally gifted composer'. (release information).

Details and Samples : Video of The Velvet Rage played live : Pete Lee's website (where 'X' opens rather than closes the page).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slowly Rolling Camera - Juniper
(Edition Records) - Released: 6th July 2018

Dave Stapleton (keyboards); Deri Roberts (electronics); Elliot Bennett (drums) with Stuart McCallum (guitar); Neil Yates (trumpet); Nicolas Kummert (saxophones); Mark Lockheart (saxophones); Aidan Thorne (double bass); Tom Barford (tenor and soprano saxophone); James Copus (trumpet); Sam Glaser (alto saxophone).

Slowly Rolling Camera Juniper

 

 

'Juniper is the emphatic and uplifting third album from Cardiff based Slowly Rolling Camera and their strongest and most impactful statement yet. Masterminded by Edition label boss, Dave Stapleton, producer Deri Roberts and drummer Elliot Bennett, Juniper fuses expansive jazz grooves with rich cinematic soundscapes ... With a history of working together since they met at music college in Cardiff 15 years ago, the trio share a vision but bring together a diverse and unique set of influences .... Juniper anchors new instrumental roots whilst bringing together a dynamic instrumental team of ex-Cinematic Orchestra guitarist Stuart McCallum, bassist Aiden Thorne and Belgian saxophonist Nicolas Kummert .... The new music sustains their lush aural trajectory, evoking comparisons with the Cinematic Orchestra, blending strong melodies, big grooves and surprising turns of phrase ....' (release information).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video :

 

 

 

 

 

Roller Trio - New Devices
(Edition Records) - Released: 22nd June 2018

James Mainwaring (saxophones, programming); Chris Sharkey (guitar, electric bass, synths and programming); Luke Reddin-Williams (drums, synths).

Roller Trio New Devices

 

'New Devices is the 3rd album from Leeds-based trio and Mercury Prize nominees Roller Trio .... their sound is modern and gritty, pushing sonic boundaries to their limits. Switching the feel of a tune in a heartbeat from edgy improv to anthemic power riffs to reverb-swamped note storms....The music is dark, gritty and urban - menacing bass lines underpinned by squalling improvising from guitar and sax ulimately uplifting fulfilment'. (release notes). 'Comparisons are useless when faced with such an innovative and iconoclastic band, but there are clearly some detectable influences. "Decline Of Northern Civilisation," for example, in its opening bars exhibits shades of Terry Riley's "Poppy Nogood And The Phantom Band" and also compares with the ostinato / tape loop section of Mike Ratledge's "Out-Bloody-Rageous" from Soft Machine'sThird. But the sheer energy of that track and others throughout the album also recalls the instrumental elements of King Crimson. Yet, the overall sound is a thousand miles from these prototypes .... . this third Roller album demonstrates moments of captivating dynamism and haunting beauty'. (allaboutjazz).

Details and Samples : Listen to Decline Of Northern Civilisation : Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Lane - Passarim
(33 Jazz) - Released: 15th June 2018

Karen Lane (vocals); with various personnel including Gareth Lockrane (flute); Rob Luft (guitar); Graham Harvey (piano, keyboards); Steve Watts (bass); Andrea Trillo (drums).

Karen Lane Passarim

 

 

'On 'Passarim' vocalist Karen Lane focuses on her love of Brazilian music visiting Brazilian standards, and some slightly more obscure repertoire, singing in both Portuguese and English. Lane's band features some of London's finest musicians, including flutist Gareth Lockrane and guitarist Rob Luft. She adds some real authenticity by inviting two London based native Brazilian's into the line-up: Rio born bass player Ricardo Dos Santos (Tania Maria, Leny Andrade, Edison Machade, João Donato) and completes the line-up, with internationally acclaimed percussionist from Bahia, Anselmo Netto. Originally from Perth Australia, Lane has been resident in London for the last 18 years and released five albums to critical acclaim. Arriving in London in 1999, she focused her energies on jazz and established herself as a respected recording artist. Her debut album 'Once in a Lifetime' (33 Jazz, 2002) garnered the positive reviews and radio play in the UK, Japan, USA and Canada'. (release notes). 'There's saudade, subtelty and feeling aplenty in this fine sixth album from the London-based Australian vocalist Karen Lane .....' (Peter Quinn in Jazzwise 3*)

Details and Samples : Listen to Passarim : Introductory Video :

 

 

 

 

Fervour - Taking Flight
(Self Release) - Released: 5th April 2018

Sean Gibbs (trumpet); Ben Lee (guitar); Andy Bunting (piano); Nick Jurd (bass); Euan Palmer (drums)

Fervour Taking Flight

 

 

'Taking Flight is the debut album from Fervour. The band is led by esteemed trumpeter Sean Gibbs (known for his work with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Young Pilgrims, Calum Gourlay Big Band, Birmingham Jazz Orchestra and many more), and features some of the UK's most exciting musicians. They play original music which draws on influences from across the jazz tradition alongside the earthy grooves of blues, rock and more. The album is presented in a stunning 4 panel digipak, designed by David Stanley. Herald Scotland - 'Gibbs' music has bags of personality and his soloing is full of ideas, now cool and reflective, now fast and assertive, now downright mischievous. His band go with him all the way and add their own thoughts and commentaries...' (release notes). '.... Typical of much contemporary jazz coming out of Scotland, the playing is of a high standard and has an unfashionably optimistic vibe, with Gibbs' rounded tone and articulate, extroverted solos suggesting he's a fan of Wynton ...Though it's a long way from the jazz cutting-edge, Gibbs' young fogeys make a joyful noise all the same'. (Selwyn Harris in Jazzwise 3*)

Details : Samples :

 

 

 

 

American Releases

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

 

 

JD Allen - Love Stone
(Savant Records) - Released: 29th June 2018.

JD Allen (tenor sax); Liberty Ellman (electric guitar); Gregg August (acoustic bass); Rudy Royston (drums).

JD Allen Love Stone

 

 

'Boasting a magnificent sound as well as a beautiful, fluid language, tenor saxophonist JD Allen embraces jazz ballads from the past in his new Savant release, Love Stone, the excellent follow up to last year’s Radio Flyer. If there is something about Charles Lloyd in the way he declares “Stranger in Paradise”, a song popularized by Jimmy Smith, then he shows off an effective pitch control in the pure classic tradition of Sonny Rollins on “Until the Real Thing Comes Along”. All those marvelously deep notes are imprinted on our minds, uttered with warm tones and infallible precision. They uplift the spirit. ...... In a quietly revolutionary mode, JD deftly reimagines familiar tunes with a sharp, affective, and pragmatic vision. The pristine glow of his saxophone brings us back the joy of listening to these sweet old songs. Tradition has its place in the modern jazz and this impressive album is probably what your ears have been aching for'. (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Penman - Good Question
(Sunnyside Records) - Released: 29th June 2018

Mark Turner (tenor saxophone); Will Vinson (soprano saxophone); Aaron Parks (piano, rhodes); Nir Felder (guitar); Matt Penman (acoustic bass); Obed Calvaire (drums).

Matt penman Good Question

 

 

'Matt Penman was born in New Zealand but his hearty bass pizzicato and triumphant groove have been enriching the New York jazz panorama since 1995. Besides being an attentive bandleader, Penman contributes to prestigious bands such as SF Jazz Collective and James Farm, and collaborated with respected artists like Joshua Redman, Chris Cheek, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Aaron Goldberg. For each tune on Good Question, Penman asked a musical question to his bandmates and their responses were transformative and conversational. For instance, “Copeland” describes an aural safe haven from the traumas of modern life with an effective combination of jazz elegance and lullaby-ish folk melody. .... With the dominant thrust coming from the pliant rhythm section, the scenario becomes auspiciously enticing for the soloists, whose improvisational creativity is poured out with eager determination and a fertile imagination. Moreover, great compositions deserve wonderful musicians and Good Question is a good example of that'. (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Yelena Eckemoff - Desert
(L&H Productions) - Released: 4th May 2018

Yelena Eckemoff (piano); Paul McCandless (oboe, English horn, soprano sax, bass clarinet); Arild Andersen (bass); Peter Erskine (drums, percussion).

Yelena Eckemoff Desert

 

 

'It is amazing how the desert can be so intensely vivid and musically inspiring. Anouar Brahem, Zakir Hussain, and Rabih Abou-Khalil often invoked it in their respective world-fusion styles. Now is the Russian-born, North Carolina-based pianist Yelena Eckemoff, who musically describes those vast landscapes of yellow sand, starry blue skies, and orange sunsets. For that purpose, she convened three world-class musicians - multi-reedist Paul McCandless, bassist Arild Andersen, and drummer Peter Erskine - and invites us to take a trip with them into the exuberant world of the Arabian sultans. .... The cumulative wisdom of the musicians simmers well throughout this enticing conceptual album, serving to translate complex compositions into traveler songs of sheer beauty and apparent facility. ... Never too smooth, never too aggressive, the album offers the possibility and the pleasure of discovering new places. The classy compositions presented here conjure up the great mystic of the desert. The music feels like finding a precious oasis.' (JazzTrail).

Details : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow - Music In My Mind
(OA2 Records) - Released: 18th May 2018

Shawn Maxwell (alto saxophone, clarinet, flute); Dee Alexander (vocals); Victor Garcia (trumpet, flugelhorn); Chad McCullough (trumpet, flugelhorn); Corey Wilkes (trumpet); Matt Nelson (piano, rhodes); Patrick Mulcahy (electric bass); Junius Paul (acoustic and electric bass); Tim Seisser (electric bass); Phil Beale (drums); Stephen Lynerd (vibraphone); Kalyan Pathak (percussion).

Shawn Maxwells New Tomorrow Music In My Mind

 

 

'Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow returns two years after the release of their eponymous album on OA2 Records. The new CD, Music in My Mind, features ten electric originals performed by the original septet ... plus a few new additions that envision diversification through their personal approach to sound. ... Maxwell and his associates dabble in a colorful urban jazz that stews with heat. Adopting a feel-good posture that rejects any kind of pessimism, the band provides the listener with ear-pleasing melody, lively interactions, and catchy orchestrations'. (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp - Oneness
(Leo Records) - Released: 20th April 2018 (3 CDs)

Ivo Perelman (tenor saxophone); Matthew Shipp (piano).

Ivo Perelman Matthew Shipp Oneness

 

'The telepathic articulation between tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp, two free spirits in the art of music-making, is quite obvious and grows stronger on Oneness, a triple album with 33 improvised tracks, which all together, offer more than two hours of searching music. In this sonic adventure, the interactions never feel a debate, but rather a well-reasoned conversation. The nature of the pieces often become visual, stimulating our imagination for mysterious interplanetary routes or energizing earthy expressions defined by an organic blend of avant-garde jazz, art-folk elements, and contemporary classical incursions. The duo always finds new ways to surprise, reinventing lines and textures through spontaneous ideas. .... The extemporizations sometimes hinge on an initial idea or just flow briskly with refractory intervallic leaps and opportune chromaticism. No hesitation. No redundancy. No preconception. Pure exploration and inspiration. The album reflects what these longtime collaborators and wonderful musicians can do. One saxophone, one piano, and oneness of mind and purpose are everything they need'. (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

European Releases

 

Logan Richardson - Blues People
(Ropedope) - Released: 12th April 2018

Logan Richardson (alto saxophone); Justus West (electric guitar); Igor Osypov (acoustic and electric guitars); DeAndre Manning (electric bass); Ryan Lee (drums).

Logan Richardson Blues People

 

 

'The American saxophonist Logan Richardson, based in Paris since 2011, released interesting albums in the past to make us curious about his next steps. Shift, his Blue Note debut, was recorded with the illustrious Pat Metheny, Jason Moran, Harish Raghavan, and Nasheet Waits, while the new album, Blues People, released on Ropeadope, features a new band whose exploration of sound allows a sensible coexistence between post-bop, blues, hard rock, hip-hop, and electronica. Throughout the 14-song repertoire, he fuses all these genres, gaining a unique perspective through the involving musicality of the guitarists Justus West and Igor Osypov, electric bassist DeAndre Manning, and drummer Ryan Lee. Together, they reflect on the past and present of black people's lives ..... Conceptual and diversified, Blues People has Richardson finding new paths while transcending genres. His fourth album may not be a career peak, but it's great to see him probing new directions in search of originality'. (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pablo Held Trio - Investigations
(Edition Records) - Released: 13th April 2018

Pablo Held (piano); Robert Landfermann (double bass); Jonas Burgwinkel (drums).

Pablo held Trio Investigations

 

 

'Crafted with an alluring blend of elegance, lyricism and sophostication, Investigations is an album that perfectly fuses tradition with modernity, familiarity with exploration and poised nuance with passion and energy ..... Regarded as one of the most talented and adventurous pianists and improvisors in Europe, Pablo Held releases his .. 10th album .. his first for British imprint Edition Records'. (release information). 'The complex title perfectly characterises Pablo Held's compositional approach. Here he utilises light and shade to mix swathes of tranquillity with petulant stabbing phrases accompanied by equally sharp drum retorts. However, and this is crucial, the piece flows together seamlessly ...... The trio gel together as well as any jazz unit could hope to aspire and even exude something of the near-supernatural compatibility of the legendary Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette line-up ....' (allaboutjazz).

 

Details and Samples : Review : Video of Investigations Played Live :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johannes Berauer's - Hourglass
(Basho Records) - Released: 20th July 2018

Thomas Gould (violin); Gwilym Simcock (piano); Mike Walker (guitar); Martin Berauer (bass); Bernhard Schimpelsberger (drums, percussion and Konnakol).

Johannes Berauer Hourglass

 

'Johannes Berauer is one of the most productive and diverse young composers in Austria. He navigates effortlessly through musical styles such as classical avant-garde, jazz and world music. He was recently orchestral arranger and musical director for Oud master Anouar Brahem on his last ECM release “Souvenance”. With Indian Sarod virtuoso Soumik Datta he co-composed the music for the silent movie project “King of Ghosts” originally for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, then the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. An album of this music performed by the City of London Sinfonia has just been released by Shakespeare’s Globe. “Johannes manages to connect 21st Century innovation with Jazz music to great success. I see a long and productive musical life for him — very, very gifted.” (Bob Brookmeyer). Gwilym Simcock, member of Pat Metheny’s current quartet, and Mike Walker who played with virtually everyone from Kenny Wheeler to Dave Holland are two of the finest musicians of the jazz scene. Violinist Thomas Gould has been described as “one of the most talented and charismatic British violinists of the younger generation” excelling in both classical and contemporary repertoire as well as Jazz. He is director of the Britten Sinfonia. Likewise, Martin Berauer and Bernhard Schimpelsberger are two of the leading young musicians of Austria. Martin, living in Paris, is especially known for his expertise in the field of world music, and Bernhard, based in London, has built a reputation as a master of Indian Rhythms, which lead him to collaborations with artists like Akram Khan or Anoushka Shankar'. (release notes).

Details and Samples : Article by Robin Kidson for Sandy Brown Jazz :

 

 

 

 

Re-Releases

 

Peggy Lee - Four Classic Albums
(Avid) - Released: 6th April 2018 (2 CDs)

Peggy Lee with various personnel from the albums 'Dream Street'; 'The Man I Love'; 'Jump For Joy' and 'Blues Cross Country'.

Peggy Lee Four Classic Albums

 

'Re-mastered 2 CD release from Peggy Lee, complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details .... 'we wanted to select the best albums that truly captured Miss Lee's huge vocal talents. Peggy Lee spent most of her recording career at Capitol Records which she joined in 1947. She had a short break between 1952-56 where she recorded for Decca, and ironically made one of her greatest albums 'Black Coffee' (AVC876). We feature three albums for her Capitol years, a couple of classics arranged by the legendary Nelson Riddle, 'Jump For Joy' and 'The Man I Love' which also features conducting duties by that other rather famous Capitol Records artist, Mr Frank Sinatra! These two are joined by another classic 'concept' album 'Blues Cross Country' arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones. To round off our selections we feature the extraordinarily intimate 'Dream Street' recorded by Peggy for Decca in 1956. And if you need any further proof of the regard Peggy Lee was held in by the jazz fraternity, take a look at some of the names that appear on our selections. Harry 'Sweets' Edison, Pete Condoli, Mel Lewis, Shorty Rogers, Bud Shank, Bob Cooper, Bill Perkins, Lou Levy, Max Bennett, Benny Carter and Buddy Collette. Oh and did we mention Nelson Riddle, Frank Sinatra and Quincy Jones?!' (release notes).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Oscar Peterson and Fred Astaire - The Astaire Story
(Essential Jazz Classics) - Released 25th April 2018 (2 CDs)

Fred Astaire (vocals) with Oscar Peterson (piano) group including Charlie Shavers and Flip Phillips.

Oscar Peterson and Fred Astaire The Astaire Story

 

 

'The complete classic set The Astaire Story (Mercury MGC 1001/4). Originally a four-LP deluxe box set, it was conceived by producer Norman Granz to showcase the singing talents of the great Fred Astaire in a jazz context, backed by an all-star small group conducted by pianist Oscar Peterson. The project spanned Astaire's then 20-year long movie career presenting a selection of songs by composers such as Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, which he had premiered in his various films in the 1930s and 1940s. The set was conceived in the typical Granz jam session style, with plenty of instrumental solos, and on some tracks, Astaire was recorded tap dancing on a big wooden block'. (release notes).

Details, Samples and Customer Reviews :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lee Wiley - Nights In Manhattan + Sings Vincent Youman and Irving Berlin
(Jackpot) - Released - 23rd February 2018 (Limited Edition, Original recording remastered)

Lee Wiley (vocals) with Bobby Hackett, Joe Bushkin, Stan Freeman, Cy Walter plus assorted strings.

Lee Wiley Nights In Manhattan

 

'Celebrated singer Lee Wiley (1908-1975) was extremely popular from the 1930s to the 1950s, during which time she recorded with some of the most important jazz names from the period. Presented in their entireties on this set are Wiley's splendid LPs Night in Manhattan (Columbia CL-656) and Sings Vincent Youmans & Irving Berlin (Columbia CL-6215/16) ... which were first issued individually with eight tracks each (on the latter two Wiley is backed by the piano duet of Stan Freeman and Cy Walter) ... This edition also includes two rare bonus tracks originally issued on the 1956 Columbia LP The Wide, Wide World of Jazz (RCA Victor LPM-1325), which was an anthology featuring various artists'. (release notes). 'What comes across is her flawless delivery and pitch, producing a very personal interpretation of some great standards'. (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannonball Adderley - Them Dirty Blues
(Elemental Music / Jazz Images) - Released: 1st April 2018 (Limited Edition, Original recording remastered)

Cannonball Adderley (alto sax); Nat Adderley (cornet); Bobby Timmons, Barry Harris (piano); Sam Jones (bass); Louis Hayes (drums).

Cannonball Adderley Them Dirty Blues

 

 

'.... he knew exactly how to present himself to the listening public. Though a prolific recording artist, it's Cannonball's association with the New York-based Riverside label and producer Orrin Keepnews that many see as his most productive and this, his new Quintet's second album, is one of his finest representations from this period ...' (Roy Carr in Jazzwise 4*).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miles Davis - In Person At The Blackhawk, San Francisco
(Poll Winners) - Released: 23rd March 2018

Miles Davis (trumpet); Hank Mobley (tenor sax); Wynton Kelly (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); Jimmy Cobb (drums).

Miles Davis In Person at the Blackhawk

 

'As a Hank Mobley completist, this ranks at the top of my Miles' sessions. It's a revelation to hear Mobley's natural, un-enhanced sound as captured by the Columbia engineers. Even more noticeable to me as a pianist, is the sound of Wynton Kelly's Steinway (also featured on "Freddie Freeloader" from "Kind of Blue"). The RVG piano is a sound that many listeners have grown up with--on Blue Note, Prestige, Impulse, etc. But to this pianist, it's become dull and uninspiring--lacking in frequencies, overtones and natural resonance. The sound of a Steinway or Bosendorfer--or for that matter, the personal touch of the player--should not be effaced by the choices of the engineer. Hank Mobley's absolutely stellar solo on "Bye Bye Blackbird"--on which he follows Miles' 2 choruses with 4 of the most beautifully constructed, soulful and emotive choruses ever heard from a Selmer Mark VI--is reason enough to own this collection ("Bye Bye Blackbird" is called by Miles only on Friday Night)'. (customer review). 'It's hard to realise now, but this was the first ever live album that Miles released ...In addition to its historical valye, it has some dynamite playing from an extrovert Miles ... If you don't know this material already, don't hesitate now'. (Brian Priestley in Jazzwise).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Duke Ellington - The Complete Ellington Indigos
(Pollwinners Records /Intermusic) - Released: 27th April 2018

Clark Terry, Willie Cook, Cat Anderson, Shorty Baker (trumpet); Ray Nance (trumpet, violin, vocals); Quentin Jackson, John Sanders, Britt Woodman (trombone); Jimmy Hamilton, Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges, Rock henderson, Paul Gonsalves, Harry carney (reeds); Duke Ellington (piano); Jimmy Woode (bass); Sam Woodyard (drums); Jimmy Grisson, Ozzie Bailey (vocals).

Duke Ellington The Complete Indogos

 

'Recorded in 1957, several months after the band's triumph at Newport, this is Ellington and his gorgeous soloists in all their splendor. It comes as no surprise at all that the original LP album is constantly sold at steep prices. You may already own the Columbia Masterworks edition - the one with the altered cover and consisting entirely of alternate versions. That one was quite a farrago, and not really convincingly sounding. It also omitted Ellington's unknown "The Sky Fell Down", a song with some striking similarity with "Solitude". Written 20 years earlier, it would presumably have become a standard. Not just because of this is this disc a real bargain buy. It offers alternate takes of six songs, two other Ellington compositions - "Commercial Time" and "Love", former only available on a French sample LP. (customer review). '..... Gonsalves fans will treasure a breathy 'Where Or When'. Six alternate takes give an insight into how this compilation of Duke at his most laidback came about, and overall it is a welcome opportunity to reassess an album that tends to be overlooked, just because almost everything else the band touched at this period was so uniformly excellent'. (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise 4*)

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UK Jazz Venues Near You

 

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Jazz Talks: Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas

 

Surrey and around:

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

email: jmike210@gmail.com

 

Buckinghamshire:

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

If anyone would like to take up Bob's offer, you can email him at drbobmoore-inbiltec@supanet.com

Norwich:

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

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

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