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December 2017

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Dayna Stephens

Pharoah Sanders
Dayna Stephens with Eden Ladin's band at The Jazz Gallery, New York City, September 2017. Picture by Clara Pereira, Jazztrail

On A Night Like This,
The Story Is Told

Late in '27 sometime, Bix suddenly fell into town ... He came backstage with Bing Crosby (Bing was singing in Whiteman's trio, The Rhythm Boys ...). The first thing he said ... was, "Come on, let's go get a drink." Down through the Loop he led us, along State Street, until just off Lake Street we met up with a ... store that looked like it had been condemned before the Chicago fire. A peephole slid open, an eye appeared in the hole and gunned Bix; then the door swung open like a switch-blade. I guess the mug of that bottle baby was known to every peephole attendant in the Western Hemisphere.

Mezz Mezzrow.

People often asked me what Bix was like ... He was very reticent. His main interest in life was music, period. It seemed as if he just existed outside of that. I think one of the reasons he drank so much was that he was a perfectionist and wanted to do more with music than any man possible could. The frustration that resulted was a big factor, I think.

Jimmy McPartland.


Bix Beiderbecke


Bix had a miraculous ear ... There'd be certain things he'd hear in ... modern classical music, like whole tones, and he'd say why not do it in a jazz band?... Music doesn't have to be ... put in brackets ...We would often order a score of a new classical work, study it, and then request it from the St. Louis Symphony. And we'd get ourselves a box ... when they did a program we all liked ... We'd haunt them to play scores we wanted to hear. Stuff like The Firebird ...

Without a doubt, music was all Bix lived for. I remember we used to have a Sunday afternoon thing at the Arcadia ... the band would complain about the extra work, but Bix would really look forward to it. He said he liked to see the kids dance ... do things like the Charleston ... because the kids had such a fine sense of rhythm. And in their way, the kids knew what Bix was doing ... something different ...

Pee Wee Russell

From Remembering Bix by Ralph Berton. Click here for Bix Beiderbecke and There Ain't No Land Like Dixieland To Me.


Name That Tune!

(Click on the picture for the answers)


Name the tune




Name the tune




Name the tune




We Wish You .....

Lara Eidi Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

My best wishes to everyone for Christmas, Hanukah, Omisaka or whichever celebration you might have at this time of the year, with this informal video of Lara Eidi singing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - click on the picture. It also gives me the chance to thank you all for your visits and contributions to this website during 2017.

It also gives me the opportunity to share Lara Eidi's recently recorded, beautiful version of what might appear at first sight to be a Christmas song. But Thad Jones and Alec Wilder's A Child Is Born, sung here by Lara with Ed Rice on piano, is about hope, love and new beginnings. Click here. Discover the voice of Lara Eidi.


Lara Eidi





Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel

Woody Allen Wonder Wheel


Woody Allen seems to be directing and releasing a new film every year now and we can usually expect a jazz score with most of them. His latest movie, Wonder Wheel comes to screens in December. It is equally usual for there to be a variety of opinions about his films these days - Wonder Wheel reviews collect anything from 2 stars in The Guardian to 3 or 4 stars elsewhere.

Starring Jim Belushi, Juno Temple, Justin Timberlake and Kate Winslet and set in 1950s Coney island, Wonder Wheel features Ginny (Kate Winslet), a bored waitress whose dream of becoming a professional actor has long been buried underneath a daily routine that involves a job she hates, a son she tires of and a husband, Humpty (Jim Belushi), she resents. Ginny is keeping a secret: a passionate affair with a lifeguard/poet Mickey, played by Justin Timberlake. The story becomes even more complicated with the shock arrival of Humpty’s estranged daughter, Carolina (Juno Temple), who is on the run from her mobster husband and who also takes a liking to Mickey.

Click here for the trailer. At the moment, I only know that the soundtrack includes Jo Stafford singing You Belong To Me (click here), but I expect more.






Young Jazz Musician Of The Year - Will Barry

Congratulations to Will Barry who has received the Musicians' Company Young Jazz Musician of the Year Award. Will is a 25 year old pianist,Will Barry drummer and percussionist who recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Music. The Master of The Musicians’ Company, Sir Roger Gifford, presented Will with his award at the Pizza Express Jazz Club on the 22nd October.

Will Barry has performed as part of numerous projects internationally, most prominently with Phronesis bassist Jasper Høiby’s group ‘Fellow Creatures’ in Istanbul, Germany, Denmark, Holland and also extensively in the UK. Whilst living in Spain, Will appeared alongside Mario Rossy, Madison McFerrin and Perico Sambeat as well as Cuban musicians Julio Montalvo, Yoel Paez and Issac Delgado Jr, performing in Barcelona, Alicante and Madrid and recording for students at Berklee College of Music in Valencia.

As well as receiving the Award, during October he was also playing gigs with Sam Braysher, Shane Forbes, Jo Harrop and Tony Kofi, Flying Machines and others.

Click here for a video from 2016 with Will playing Fall From The Sky with Will Harris (double bass); Matt Anderson (saxophone), Tal Janes (guitar) and Jay Davis (drums).

Other finalists for the Award were James Copus trumpet, David Dyson drums, Lluis Mather saxophone, Shirley Tetteh guitar and Tim Thornton bass.

Click here for Will Barry's website.






Jazz Quiz

True or False


This month's quiz gives you fifteen jazz 'facts' - but are they true or false?
See how many you can work out.


Speak no evil


For example:

After Jelly Roll Morton's grandmother found out that he was playing jazz in a brothel, she kicked him out of her house. He said: 'When my grandmother found out that I was playing jazz in one of the sporting houses in the District, she told me that I had disgraced the family and forbade me to live at the house. ... She told me that devil music would surely bring about my downfall, but I just couldn't put it behind me'.

True or False?

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.





Maxwell Knight – MI5’s Greatest Spymaster and Jazz Man

Yvonne Neblett writes about the intriguing Maxwell Knight:

A  man who keeps a bear as a pet and takes it for walks on a leash, a man whose fashionable flat in Chelsea was also home to a baboon called Bimbo, several grass snakes, an Indian mongoose and so much more from the natural world, is remarkable by anyone’s standards. And Maxwell Knight bookthere’s more. The man in question was Maxwell Knight (1900 – 1968), widely believed to have been MI5’s greatest spymaster.

He had even more claims to uniqueness. He wrote detective stories. His first novel, written under his own name was ‘Crime Cargo’ (1934). He had a penchant for villains’ names like ‘Fingers Reilly’ and ‘Lobo the Killer’. Yet this seeming hard-headed individual could shed tears over the death of a monkey that he had failed to bring through pneumonia. He believed that being a naturalist – indeed he presented wildlife programmes for BBC Television and was spoken of in the same breath as David Attenborough -  taught him the patience to wait and watch, clearly an essential skill when picking future spies.

But 'M', as he was inevitably known in the Service, and who became an inspiration for John Le Carre’s Jack Brotherhood in A Perfect Spy (and ever heard of a certain character in the James Bond stable?) had yet another intriguing side to his many talents. He was a keen follower and even an exponent of jazz. He took clarinet lessons from Sidney Bechet and created his own jazz band during the jazz surge of the Thirties. He called it London’s first small, hot combination. And it probably was – he would have accepted nothing less.

More recently it has come to light that he and a consultant surgeon friend also enriched the then Brompton Sanitorium by playing along to their favourite jazz recordings on their clarinets. Adept as ever at choosing the right person for the job, 'M' could rely on his secretary, who knew about the workings of a gramophone, to adjust its pitch to match that of his clarinet.

To prove how important the jazz scene was to Britain’s greatest Spymaster one can simply refer to his choice of records when he appeared on Desert Island Discs on the then Home Service during the '60s. They included:

Jelly Roll Morton – King Porter Stomp
Bing Crosby and Mary Carter –The Waiter, the Porter and the Upstairs Maid
Original Dixieland Jazz Band – I’ve Lost My Heart to Dixieland
Sidney Bechet and His New Orleans Footwarmers – Preachin’ Blues
Mildred Bailey and Her Alleycats – Downhearted Blues
Jack Teagarden – Junk Man.

[Click here to listen to the Jack Teagarden Orchestra playing Mildred Bailey's Junk Man in 1934 with Jack Teagarden (trombone); Charlie Teagarden (trumpet); Benny Goodman (clarinet); Frank Trumbauer (c melody sax); Casper Reardon (harp!); Terry Shand (piano); Art Miller (bass) and Herb Quigley (drums)]

His book choice was The Cambridge Natural History and his luxury, a microscope.

For the full, fascinating biography of Maxwell Knight, go to the excellent book by Henry Hemming, Maxwell Knight, MI5’s Greatest Spymaster published by Preface Publishing in May of this year.



Jazz As Art

Screaming Ab Dabs

From the album
Weapons Of Mass Distraction
by the Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestra


Weapons Of Mass Distraction album



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

This month we feature the track Screaming Ab Dabs from the excellent Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestra's recent album 'Weapons Of Mass Distraction'. Go to the Jazz As Art page and play the title track while you scroll down to see eight art works that I think might go with the music.



African Dancers




British Jazz Awards 2017

The results of this year's British Jazz Awards have been announced by Big Bear Music. Now in their 31st year, the Awards were set up to help the best musicians, bands and album releases get the recognition they deserve. A panel of fourteen from the jazz community sifted through the 5000+ votes with the following results:

Trumpet: Winner: Freddie Gavita; 2nd Place: Laura Jurd; 3rd Place: Enrico Tomasso; 4th Place: Bruce Adams; 5th Place: Steve Fishwick

Trombone: Winner: Mark Nightingale; 2nd Place: Denis Rollins; 3rd Place: Ian Bateman; 4th Place: Adrian Fry; 5th Place: Andrew Mackenzie

Clarinet: Winner: Alan Barnes; 2nd Place: Pete Long; 3rd Place: Julian Marc Stringle; 4th Place: Mark Crooks; 5th Place: Shabaka Hutchings

Karen SharpAlto Sax: Winner: Soweto Kinch; 2nd Place: Alan Barnes; 3rd Place: Nigel Hitchcock; 4th Place: Derek Nash; 5th Place: Sam Mayne

Tenor Sax: Winner: Karen Sharp; 2nd Place: Alex Garnett; 3rd Place: Art Themen; 4th Place: Robert Fowler; 5th Place: Tommy Smith


Karen Sharp
Photograph courtesy of Brian O'Connor


Piano: Winner: Nikki Iles; 2nd Place: Dave Newton; 3rd Place: Zoe Rahman; 4th Place: Gareth Williams; 5th Place: Craig Milverton

Guitar: Winner: Martin Taylor; 2nd Place: Remi Harris; 3rd Place: Nigel Price; 4th Place: Jim Mullen; 5th Place: Mike Walker

Double Bass: Winner: Alec Dankworth; 2nd Place: Dave Green; 3rd Place: Simon Thorpe; 4th Place: Andrew Cleyndert; 5th Place: Calum Gourlay

Drums: Winner: Clark Tracey; 2nd Place: Winston Clifford; 3rd Place: Steve Brown; 4th Place: Matt Home; 5th Place: Alyn Cosker

Miscellaneous Instrument: Winner: Ross Stanley (Organ); 2nd Place: Karen Sharp (Baritone Saxophone); 3rd Place: Alan Barnes (Baritone Saxophone); 4th Place: Jim Hart (Vibraphone); 5th Place: Amy Roberts (Flute)

Vocals: Winner: Clare Teal; 2nd Place: Tina May; 3rd Place: Claire Martin; 4th Place: Georgia Mancio; 5th Place: Brigitte Beraha

Rising Star: Winner: Rory Ingham (Trombone); 2nd Place: Alexandra Ridout (Trumpet); 3rd Place: Nubya Garcia; 4th Place: Camilla George; 5th Place: Fergus McCreadie

Big Band: Winner: Scottish National Jazz Orchestra; 2nd Place: NYJO; 3rd Place: Echoes of Ellington; 4th Place: Beats & Pieces; 5th Place: Gareth Lockrane Big Band

Small Group: Winner: Nigel Price Organ Trio; 2nd Place: Digby Fairweathers Half Dozen; 3rd Place: Tipitina; 4th Place: Brandon Allen Six; 5th Place: Remi Harris Trio

New Album: Winner: Woodville Records: "The Lowest Common Denominator" - Gilad Atzmon/Alan Barnes; 2nd Place: JVG Productions: "It's Always 9:30 in Zog" - Dave O'Higgins; 3rd Place: Explore Records: "Golden Moments" - Bruce Adams/Craig Milverton; 4th Place: Gearbox Records: "Journey to the Mountain of Forever" - Binker & Moses; 5th Place: Whirlwind Recordings: "Fistfight At The Barndance" - Gareth Lockrane Big Band

Reissue Album: Winner: Lake Records: "Dusts off the Archives" - Humphrey Lyttelton; 2nd Place: Rhythm and Blues Records: "The Songbook." - Harry South; 3rd Place: Harkit Records: "Change of Setting" - Tubby Hayes & Paul Gonsalves; 4th Place: Acrobat Music: "Helter Skelter" - Joe Harriott; 5th Place: Miles Music: "After The Rain" - Alan Skidmore

And last but by no means least, this year's Services To British Jazz Award goes to Chris Barber, for keeping a full touring band on the road for nearly 70 years!






Mondo Jazz – Taking International Jazz To The United States

Filipe Freitas at Jazztrail in New York tells us:

Mondo Jazz, is a new radio programme hosted by Italian-turned-New-Yorker Ludovico Granvassu (Founder and Editor-in-Chief of All About Jazz Italia). The programme has a mission of showcasing international jazz that's not readily available on the US airwaves. Starting on November 15, 2017, the show will broadcast on Wednesdays from 10 p.m. to midnight via Radio Free Brooklyn

Perhaps there is an opportunity here for UK musicians to get their music heard more widel?.

Ludovico Granvassu says: '

“When I first moved to the United States I was surprised that, in the country where the customer has unlimited choices, I could go to aMondo Jazz logo supermarket and find 80 different brands of cereal, but in a record store the selection of jazz albums was much narrower than in record stores in Oslo, Tokyo, Brussels, London, Rome, Paris, etc. It was therefore not surprising that the playlists of the major radio stations was equally narrow. How could it be that, in the land which gave birth to this music, jazz fans had fewer options than jazz fans from anywhere else in the world? I quickly realized that whereas record stores and radio stations abroad naturally featured albums from the US, since jazz was born in the US, they also featured albums by international jazz musicians since there are thriving jazz scenes everywhere, which produce excellent artists. These foreign artists were virtually unknown in the US and absent from American airwaves.

“My mission with Mondo Jazz is to share some of my favorite international artists with US jazz fans to widen their listening options. Needless to say there will be plenty of US jazz on my program, in an attempt to show the continuity that exists between the US and the international jazz scenes. Mondo Jazz is dedicated to the proposition that jazz is a language that originated in the US but is now spoken all over the world in various, at times very strong, accents and dialects, which make it a rich resource for rewarding sonic explorations. In the end, I hope to give a small contribution towards making barriers (across music-genres and nationalities) meaningless, and show that all that matters is people, the beauty of their music and the emotions it can generate."

Click here for more details: Mondo Jazz or Ludovico Granvassu – Mondo Jazz (for playlists)





Help With Musical Definitions No 41.




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




Making Sense Of How The Music Industry Works

A BBM/BMC knowledge-boosting Workshop in Association with Akoben Awards - Saturday, 20th January 2018: 1.00 pm to 5.00 pm in Harrow.

Please note £30 discounted deal available until Dec. 31 2017 or with use of Promotional Code whilst spaces are available. This master-class is open to anyone with an interest in developing a career in the music industry. It is aimed at the unsigned or do-it-yourself artist, musicpreneur, or those who provide artists, songwriters and producers with specialist support.


Music Industry Knowledge workshop

If you don't know your MU from your PPL, your PRS from your VPL, or your BPI from your AIM ... If you want to know more about your options for developing a career and generating an income for yourself through your passion for music - then this master-class is for you!

The course amalgamates most of the BBM/BMC short music industry courses (excluding Preparing A Music Business Plan Workshop). It shows how the music industry works, in order to join the dots by understanding the various careers within the music industry, the functions of the key industry organisations, income streams, and rights. The course is accessible, and requires no prior music industry experience or qualifications. It covers:

  • Music Industry Ecosystem
  • Copyright
  • Contracts
  • Music Publishing
  • Record Label Management
  • Releasing A Record
  • Licensing
  • Trade Bodies & Collection Organisations
  • Income Streams
  • Online World

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

Click here for details and to book. The page also gives details of the location and a way of contacting the organiser for more information.




Tea Break


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


Tom Green


Tom Green


Tom Green graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2013 with a first class MA degree in Jazz Trombone and Composition and almost immediately took his Septet on tour around the UK. Tom already had a degree in Physics from Cambridge where he had also spent a good Tom Green Septetdeal of time playing jazz, but it was at the Academy that he acquired his 1930s King 2B Silver Tone trombone. ‘My music teacher in Cambridge rang to say it had turned up in a Cambridge music shop,’ says Tom. ‘They don’t come along very often. It is a great instrument but it has an extra counterweight to balance the heavy weight of the bell. I also have a bass trumpet – quite a rare instrument pitched an octave lower than a regular trumpet to practice valves, but I don’t use that much, I mainly use my slide trombones – the Silver Tone and another 1940s King 2B.’


Click here for a video of the Tom Green Septet playing Equilibrium from their album Skyline.


In 2013, Tom was awarded the Dankworth Prize for Jazz Composition. Dame Cleo Laine has said of Tom’s work: "I’ve been involved in jazz for more than 60 years and this is some of the most exciting original new music I have heard for a long time. Tom’s writing has complexity, depth and intensity but above all a strong melodic thread ... played with fantastic energy and a true band sound".

As we discover from our 'Tea Break' conversation, Tom has gone on to explore an increasing number of projects over the following four years ...


Hi Tom, tea or coffee?

Earl Grey if you've got it!


Certainly have. I have a soft spot for 'the Earl'. I don't like the Lady Grey though. Milk and sugar?

Plenty of milk please. 


It seems ages since your Septet album Skyline came out, but it was only two years ago and you don’t seem to have stopped! Of course the Brass Funkeys album is out now, but what else have you been doing?

Lots! After my Septet tour I wanted a bit of a break from that band to explore new things - I've been doing some writing for big bands including a piece called Badger Cam that won the Eddie Harvey Award last year. I wrote it during a composing residency at a fantastic place called Hawkwood College in Gloucestershire. I'm also part of Andrew Linham's Jazz Orchestra. We have just released our new album Weapons Of Mass Distraction, and I've been on tour in Switzerland and to New York with a European big band project called the Euroradio Jazz Orchestra. I've also got plenty of new material for my Septet that I will record and release at some point (watch this space) but the Brass Funkeys is taking up most of my time at the moment, as well as my label Spark! and the Patchwork Jazz Orchestra too.


Now that's a busy schedule! I really enjoy the Brass Funkeys album Rabble Rouser, by the way. The band has been going for a while and this is their second album. What is the idea behind the band? How did you all get together in the first place?

The band has been going almost seven years now and started while we were all students at Cambridge University. We knew each other fromThe Brass Funkeys Rabble Rouser the university jazz orchestra, and when Rob who is usually a trumpet player saw a battered old sousaphone on eBay he decided to buy it on a whim - since we had the instrument we had to start a band! We're still using the same instrument today - it's definitely part of our sound. We've always loved New Orleans marching bands and we started off playing Just a Closer Walk, Fly Away and all those traditional tunes. Now we try to play a lot of original music composed by all the band members and that's definitely the focus of our new album.


Click here for a video of the Brass Funkeys playing Bizness.



You have been on tour with the Funkeys – how did that go?

We had a brilliant sold-out launch gig at Rich Mix in September, and since then it's been great to be able to play some public gigs around the country and reach new crowds - we do plenty of summer festivals regularly but it's quite new for us to play more alternative venues in places other than London. We've been up to Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds recently and had some really fun gigs up there and a lovely warm Northern reception. Our next gig is at Ronnie Scott's on 10th December to finish the tour off.



That will be a treat for the Ronnie's audience. Were there any memorable moments on the tour?

Driving to deepest darkest Cornwall during the height of storm 'Brian' in a van was certainly quite eventful!


Buddy Bolden




If you could ask two past jazz musicians to join the Brass Funkeys for a gig, who would you invite and why? 

I'd love to ask Buddy Bolden along - he was really the predecessor to Louis in New Orleans trumpet but there are no recordings of him at all. Wouldn't that be great to play alongside someone that nobody alive today has ever heard! Then probably Louis - who wouldn't want to play alongside him!


Buddy Bolden







Hob Nob, Custard Cream, Garibaldi or digestive biscuit?

Garibaldi please. Or one of those chocolate bourbons I can see hiding at the bottom of the tin!


Darn! I was hiding the bourbons for later, but seeing it's you ....! On top of everything else, you are running the Spark! label with drummer J J Wheeler. How has that been?

We've had three releases on the label since my Septet album, and have at least two planned for next year. The idea behind the label is to make it easy for young artists to get their music out there without giving away their creative freedom, rights or profit to the record labels, and to make it easy to get through the lengthy process of going from recording to release. Recently we've had pianists Sam Watts and Tom Millar release very different albums on Spark! - it's really gratifying to see that we're directly helping to get new music out there that might never have seen the light of day otherwise.


We've reviewed both Sam and Tom's albums, and as you say, it is great they have seen the light of day. What else is on your horizon – that is if you have time for anything else?!

The next big project is recording the mighty Patchwork Jazz Orchestra which we've got booked in for December - the band is a real collaborative effort and we'll have music by at least 8 different composers on the album which is really exciting.


Patchwork Jazz Orchestra


Click here for a video of the Patchwork Jazz Orchestra playing Tom's composition Badger Cam in May 2017.



I look forward to that. Who else have you heard recently that we should listen out for?


I've been listening to a lot of folk music recently including a couple of bands called Lau and Kan, who fuse loads of elements usually found in modern jazz with folk, including odd time signatures and non-standard song structures.


Click here for a video of Kan playing Mangatakk.


I try and listen as widely as I can - I've also gone back to listening to a lot of classical music recently. I particularly love Sibelius as his music always conjures up images of landscapes to me (my personal favourite currently is a piece of his called "Pohloja's Daughter").


Click here to listen to the Sibelius tone poem, Pohloja's Daughter.


Another biscuit - there are a few chocolate bourbons left?

Go on then...


Click here for Tom Green's website.

The Brass Funkeys album Rabble Rouser is currently available - click here for our review of the album.

Click here
to listen to Goblins from the Brass Funkeys' Rabble Rouser


Tom Green



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


Utah Tea Pot




MOBO Awards 2017

Since its inception in 1996, the MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) Awards has become one of Europe’s biggest Music Award ceremonies recognising and honouring the artistic and technical achievements of exceptional British and international talent in the musical fields of Hip Hop, MOBO logoGrime, RnB/Soul, Reggae, Jazz, Gospel, and African music.

This year, the Awards took place in Leeds on the 29th November. From the Jazz scene, nominees Moses Boyd with MOBO Awardincluded vocalist Cleveland Watkiss; drummer Moses Boyd; Afro-Cuban singer Daymé Arocena; Mr Jukes from the former Bombay Bicycle Club and saxophone /keyboard player Terrace Martin (Herbie Hancock / Kamasai Washington).

And the winner of the Best Jazz Act was ..... Moses Boyd. It is the second time the 25 year old drummer has won the award – his first came in 2015 with his long-time collaborator Binker Golding. Click here for a video of Moses playing Solo - X Live at the Brass and Crimson (45 mins).

Beyond the awards, MOBO supports undiscovered talent in music via The Connect and MOBO UnSung, and across the wider creative industries via the MOBO Season and MOBOvation Talks, alongside their newly established charity, MOBO Trust, which aims to support young people in the creative industries via a MOBO Fund and an all-new MOBO Academy.

Click here for the MOBO website.





Jazz Remembered

Dudley Moore


[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].


Dudley Moore

Photograph by ITV/REX


When you are 'multi-talented' there must be a number of factors that dictate which of those talents result in your being remembered. It might partly be because of choices you make, partly because of what others choose to remember and very often simply the way things pan out.

For Dudley Moore, I guess he will be primarily remembered as a comedian and an actor, rather than a musician, but it does make you wonder 'what if .......?'

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore


That is to take nothing away from his talent as an actor or comedian. His partnership with Peter Cooke is historic. With the recent record price of $450 million taken at auction for a Leonardo Da Vinci painting, here is a video of them trying not to laugh during 'The Art Gallery' sketch (click here).

Inevitably, perhaps, we forget that Dudley Moore was also a talented musician.

Dudley Moore C.B.E. was born in London in 1935 and brought up in Essex. He was short at 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m) and was born with club feet needing extensive hospital treatment and, ‘coupled with his diminutive stature, made him the butt of jokes from other children. His right foot responded well to corrective treatment and had straightened itself by the time he was six, but his left foot became permanently twisted and consequently his left leg below the knee was withered. This was something he remained very self-conscious of throughout his life’, so it is strange that in one of his most remembered sketches he plays a one-legged man auditioning for the part of Tarzan.


At eleven ‘Dud’ won a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where he studied harpsichord, organ, violin, musical theory and composition. He rapidly developed into a highly talented pianist and organist and was playing the pipe organ at local church weddings by the age of 14.

From Guildhall he went on a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford where he studied music and composition, developed a love for jazz and soon became an accomplished jazz pianist and composer. He began working with such leading musicians as John Dankworth and Cleo Laine.

Beyond The Fringe In 1960, he left Dankworth's band to work on Beyond the Fringe.


He had met Alan Bennett in the Oxford Review, the university comedy group that started in the 1950s that would become the launch pad for many of the country’s comedians and actors including Rowan Atkinson, Richard Curtis, Michael Palin, Katherine Parkinson and Al Murray. His music continued in his writing for the comedy review Beyond The Fringe.

Click here for a video from Beyond The Fringe with a Beethoven Sonata parody.


Dud’s partnership with Peter Cook continued but ran into trouble through Peter Cook’s drinking ‘in 2009, it came to light that, and at the time, three separate British police forces had wanted them to be prosecuted under obscenity laws for their "Derek and Clive" comedy recordings’.


During the 1960s he formed the Dudley Moore Trio, with drummer Chris Karan and bassist Pete McGurk. McGurk sadly committed suicide in June 1968 and  Peter Morgan joined the group as his replacement. Click here for the Trio including Pete McGurk playing Waterloo around Dudley Morre Trio1965.


In this 1966 video from the Peter Cook / Dudley Moore programme No Only But Also he plays Close Your Eyes with vocalist Marion Montgomery - click here.


In another video from 1971, the Trio has Peter Morgan on bass playing Song For Suzy - click here.


Dudley Moore said that his principal musical influences were Oscar Peterson and Erroll Garner, and in one interview he recalled the day he finally mastered Garner's unique left-hand strum and was so excited that he walked around for several days with his left hand constantly playing that cadence. The Trio performed regularly on television and made a number of recordings. He composed the soundtracks for the films Bedazzled  (1967), 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia (1968), Inadmissable Evidence (1968), Staircase (1969), The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1978) and Six Weeks (1982).


Cleo Laine and Dudley Morre Smilin Through


In 1981 Dudley Moore recorded Smilin' Through with Cleo Laine - click here to listen to When I Take My Sugar To Tea and by 1984, Dudley was the pianist for this one and a half hour concert at the Hollywood Bowl of Jazz And Gershwin videod here. Ray Brown was on bass and Nick Ceroli on drums.


In 1992, Dud appeared on the Noel Edmund's House Party programme where he reprised his 'Beyond The Fringe' Beethoven Sonata parody - click here, but by 1995, ‘Dudley Moore's film career was on the wane and he was having trouble remembering his lines, a problem he had never previously encountered. His difficulties were, in fact, due to the onset of the medical condition that eventually led to his death. Opting to concentrate on the piano, he enlisted pianist Rena Fruchter as an artistic partner. They performed as a duo in the US and Australia. However, his disease soon started to make itself apparent there as well, as his fingers would not always do what he wanted them to do. Further symptoms such as slurred speech and loss of balance were misinterpreted by the public and the media as a sign of drunkenness’.



In April 1997, Dudley Moore was admitted to a  New York hospital, where he was told that he had calcium deposits in his brain and irreversible Dudley Moorefrontal lobe damage, and in September he underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery in London and  suffered four strokes.

On 30 September 1999, Moore announced that he was suffering from the terminal degenerative brain disorder progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), (some of the early symptoms being so similar to intoxication that he had been reported as being drunk), and that the illness had been diagnosed earlier in the year.

In November 2001, Moore was appointed a Commander of the Order of The British Empire (CBE). Despite his deteriorating condition, he attended the ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 16 November to collect his honour in a wheelchair.

Dudley Moore died in New Jersey on the morning of 27 March 2002 at the age of 66, as a result of pneumonia secondary to immobility caused by the palsy. His close friend, pianist and music critic Rena Fruchter was holding his hand when he died, and she reported his final words were, "I can hear the music all around me".

This final video is from Not Only But Also in March 1965 with Peter Cook, the Dudley Moore Trio, T-Bone Walker and Peter Sellers playing Goodbye - click here.


Dudley Moore




Video Juke Box

*Click on the Picture for the Video



Click on the picture to watch the video.


Gilad Atzmon Spirit Of Trane video


An introductory video for the album The Spirit Of Trane in which Gilad Atzmon,The Orient House Ensemble and the Sigamos String Quartet pay tribute to John Coltrane. Gilad Atzmon is currently on tour playing in December at The Lighthouse, Poole; Grimsby Jazz; Fleece Jazz Club Stoke by Nayland; and Stratford Upon Avon Arts House. Robin Kidson reviews the album in this month's review section below.






Jack Kerouac and Steve Allen


Jack Kerouac and Steve Allen 1959: This is said to be the only known motion picture of Beat Generation writer and icon Jack Kerouac reading his own work as Steve Allen plays the piano. Jack and Steve also made an album with Jack reading his work. Click here for Jack's 'Charlie Parker'.







Fraser and the Alibis


Fraser And The Alibis have just released their first album and we shall review it next month. Here they are playing On The Green at Sofar, London on March 31st, 2017. Great straightahead jazz. The Alibis have being playing together for a while having originally met at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. They are: Fraser Smith (tenor sax); Joe Webb (organ); Harry Sankey (guitar); Gethin Jones (drums). Click here for their website.






Mark Cherrie Morse Code


Here is a video of Morse Code from the forthcoming album Joining The Dots from the Mark Cherrie Quartet due out in December. Mark Cherrie plays jazz steel pan and here he is in the company of John Donaldson (piano); Eric Ford (drums) and Mick Hutton (double bass). We shall review the album in a future issue.





Hubert Laws Sophisticated Lady


Flautist and saxophonist Hubert Laws was born on November 10, 1939 in Houston, Texas. His music covers a wide range of genres; he has worked with classical orchestras, small jazz combos, and even the jazz poet Gil-Scott Heron. He is regarded as one of jazz’s best flute players. In this 10 minute video he plays Sophisticated Lady and Corcovado with guitarist Russell Malone.




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




“Alexa – Play Jazz FM”

You might have 'smart' technology that allows you to talk to 'Alexa'. Alexa is an 'intelligent personal assistant' developed by Amazon, capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, Amazon Echo Dotand other real time information, such as news. Alexa can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation system.

Most devices with Alexa allow users to activate the device using a wake-word (such as Echo); other devices (such as the Amazon app on iOS or Android) require the user to push a button to activate Alexa's listening mode. In November, Jazz FM became the first UK national radio station to launch an Alexa skill that allows anyone to listen directly to the station’s entire output. Previously, saying “Alexa – open/play Jazz FM” would have taken the listener to Tune-In. Now, saying the words, uses the latest AI technology to provide direct access to personalised greetings from the presenters and the highest quality live audio feed. It also seamlessly integrates ad insertion supported by Jazz FM’s advertising tech partner Adswizz.
Over time the Alexa skill will enable listeners to explore all of Jazz FM’s specialist programmes and catch up with earlier programs by simply speaking a voice command. Users can access the new Alexa skill by enabling it in their Alexa app or by saying “Alexa – enable Jazz FM skill.”
Jazz FM’s Content Director Nick Pitts said “Smart speakers are expected to be this year’s biggest selling Christmas gift.  Our Alexa skill gives our tech-savvy listeners not only a way to listen to our programmes but also to interact in a totally unique way with our output”.




Jazz Clubs Worldwide app

Jazz Clubs Worldwide App


Peter Maguire, who for many years has published the website Jazz Clubs Wordwide, has now introduced an app for Android. So wherever you are, if you want to find some jazz, the app on your phone can help.

Jazz Clubs Worldwide has a database covering 7 Continents. 76 Countries. 30 American States. Lists: City. Club. Address. Telephone. Website.

It lists Jazz Festivals in 38 European Countries and other Festivals including the USA; Canada; Oceania; Asia; Africa; Middle East; Caribbean and South America detailing the Festival, Month, City, Telephone and webiste.

The app costs £1.59 - click here for details. Click here for information on the Jazz Clubs Worldwide website.






Do You Have A Birthday In December?


Your Horoscope

for December Birthdays

by 'Marable'




Sagittarius (The Archer)

23rd November - 20th December

In November, I saw that during that month, and now in December too, the planetary power is moving into its maximum Eastern position with at least 70% of the planets in the East. The planetary power is moving towards you bringing support for your personal goals. Now the situation moves on because when the Sun entered your 1st house on the 22nd November, you began one of your personal pleasure periods. There could be a happy and prosperous month ahead.

OK, love might be a bit complicated at the moment, and that's down to Mercury's retrograde motion. There could well be delays and glitches in your love life but things should settle down after the 23rd, so hang on in there.

Another good omen is that on the 21st, Saturn moves out of your sign where it has been for more than two years. During that time, while you have been trying to get things together, it has left you with rather a serious outlook on life. Now you can return to being your natural sunny Sagittarius self.

The planetary power is now below the horizon of your chart; you have done well and people recognise that. Now is the time to focus on your next projects and to take things forward in the year ahead.

For you, here is the Horace Silver Quintet playing Strollin' click here with Blue Mitchell, Eugene Taylor, Junior Cook and Roy Brooks.





Capricorn (The Goat)

21st December - 19th January

In the past few months your sign has reflected your spiritual side. Now things are about to change and whatever enlightenment you have experienced needs to be put into practice. On the 21st, Saturn, the ruler of your horoscope, moves out of your 12th house and into the 1st house - your own sign. The Sun will also cross your Ascendant and enter your 1st house on the 21st. Saturn only changes signs every two to two and a half years and this move will strengthen you.

It is likely that your organisation and management skills will become stronger, but a word of warning - don't become too cold, too 'business like', as this could alienate you from others. The juggling act of keeping friends and colleagues could be difficult as your planetary power is now at its maximum Eastern position, supporting you rather than others, so make the moves you need to create your personal happiness but be aware of others too.

Uranus, your financial planet is still moving backwards, but properity is happening, albeit slowly and with some delays. Take care not to overspend.

Pluto has been in your sign since 2008 and will be there for some time to come giving a gradual transformation of your image and personality to the person you want to be, your ideal self.

For you, here is Lester Young playing You Can Depend On Me in 1956 click here with Vic Dickenson, Roy Eldridge, Teddy Wilson, Freddie Green, Gene Ramey and Jo Jones.





Mike Daniels, Freddy Randall and Steve Lane

Lake Records have released three albums by each of these highly respected and fondly remembered UK traditional jazz musicians.

Remembering Mike Daniels


Remembering Mike Daniels is released on 1st December and we reviewed the album last month (click here). As I said in the review, this is a collection of classic UK traditional jazz music with 20 tracks by Mike's Delta Jazzmen and 2 by his Big Band covering the years 1958 to 1965 with a variety of personnel and with informative liner notes as usual by Lake's Paul Adams. This is a 'Limited Edition' so it will only be around for a while. As Paul points out, Mike Daniels' recordings were also strangely limited - 'up until 1982 ... there had been six singles, one EP and one LP by the Delta Jazzmen and one LP by the Big Band. Apart from one single and one LP they were all for minority labels, some only producing 99 copies'. A further album was recorded for the American Stomp Off label in the 1990s. The material on this new CD 'comes from a variety of sources including most notably John R.T Davies and Jem Wilyman. Almost without exception it reveals good, quality performances by a band which knew how to play, was cohesive and packed a punch'. ..... The quality of playing of the Delta Jazzmen makes one wonder why there were not more recordings made. There are many admirers of Mike Daniels and I know that they will welcome this collection. Click here for more information and to sample some tracks.



Freddy Randall My Tiny Band Is Chosen



Freddy Randall and his Band - My Tiny Band Is Chosen covers Randall's Parlophone years and is also released on 1st December. Paul Adams says: 'Freddy Randall along with a couple of other notables went down the Chicago/Dixieland route personified by the Eddie Condon bands in the USA. Randall’s fiery trumpet playing was admirably suited to the style and Freddy Randall’s hard-driving band was one of the best of its kind. Many legends of British Jazz passed through the ranks of the band over the years and this selection presents the cream of the recordings made for Parlophone between 1952 and 1957'. Click here for more information and to sample some tracks. We shall review the album in January.




Steve Lane Plays Vintage Music



Steve Lane Plays Vintage Jazz Music has Steve's Famous Southern Stompers, his red Hot Peppers and the VJM Washboard Band (click here for our Profile of Steve Lane). Paul Adams at Lake Records says: 'Never content to simply carbon copy the originals, Steve Lane would put his own stamp on the tunes whilst remaining true to the genre. Steve never turned professional, but a whole host of musicians who would make music their living served an apprenticeship in Steve’s bands. This, the second of our CDs featuring Steve Lane, reveals that, despite a changing personnel, it was a hot, tight little band with a distinctive feel to it. Click here for details and to sample tracks. This album is also released on 1st December and we shall review it in a future issue.



Here are three collections by three trumpet/cornet players and bandleaders that will bring back memories for many traditional jazz enthusiasts. The Mike Daniels and Steve Lane albums are Limited Editions.





Looking Back

Jazz in South West Essex – 1957-1974

Chris Macdonald


[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].


Clarinettist Chris Macdonald continues to look back at his life in jazz and hopefully brings back memories for other readers:

School was the start! When I went to Wanstead County High School in 1955 there were at least three pupil jazz bands in existence, and when I got my first clarinet in 1957 I managed to talk my way into one of them, not feeling too intimidated at being the “new boy” and certainly the youngest! It was a curious mix of serious jazz fans, and a couple who 'fancied the idea'. Material was, in retrospect, a little advanced, as it seemed to be aimed at the sort of Vic Dickenson Septet idea, but we enjoyed having a go. We had trumpet, trombone/piano, clarinet, alto sax, guitar, tea-chest bass, and drums.


Chris MacDonald School Band


School Band circa 1958

Chris Macdonald (clarinet); Dave Cresswell (trombone / piano); Fred Empny (alto sax); Tony Petterson (trumpet);? (tea chest bass); ? (guitar); “Nenny” Knight (drums).

Photo courtesy of Chris Macdonald


By that time I had bought my first jazz record – Bad Penny Blues by Humph, quickly followed by a Chris Barber Jazz at the Festival Hall 1956 EP, from which I copied Monty Sunshine’s solo on Tight Like That – my parents were amazed!

[We don't have the 1956 version of Tight Like That but I am fortunate in having the 1954 version on the Barber's Best EP which is also available on YouTube and you can listen to Monty Sunshine's solo on that if you click here. Ed]

A big change came when somebody discovered the Miles Davis Porgy and Bess album, at which point things stepped up a notch, or so we all thought, and we spent hours copying Summertime, trying to get the voicings right! I suspect it sounded much the same as it always did – not very good!

By that time my school chum Teddy Fullick was having “proper” lessons on his trumpet, and we discovered a couple of others in our year group who were interested in something a little less complicated than the Miles Davis recording. Off we went – trumpet, clarinet (and alto sax by that time), guitar, young lady pianist, and drums. We were caught “practising” in the music room one day by our music master who thought he would step in and “help”, and the next thing we knew we were reading his arrangement of I’m In The Mood for Love and playing in Friday morning assembly in front of the whole school!!! Terrifying – and still not very good!!!

Outside of school, things were happening as well. I had met a trombone owner at the local tennis club who had “connections”, and in 1960, that led me to join my first proper band which rehearsed on Sunday afternoons in people’s houses (Mums and Dads providing interval tea and toast!), and shortly after, gigs started to appear – not much cash but plenty of opportunity and exposure at Young Conservative dances and local sports clubs – Trad was the music of the day, of course!

This band was called the Kansas City Seven, and consisted of Andy Naylor on trumpet (who had a posh Armstrong Siddelely saloon car), myself on piano, clarinet, soprano and alto, another alto player (Dave  ?), Stephen P. Christian on banjo and drums, Dave Reekie on guitar, and occasionally Bob Peters on trombone. We had no bass player, but somebody knew a bass player who had a home-made 3 string bass (sisal, fishing line and one proper bass E string). He was roped in and was quickly provided with a proper 3 string bass for £10!


Chris Macdonald Kansas City 7


Kansas City Seven – circa 1962 – Woodford Green - “Soapsud Ball”

Bill Bickers (washboard); John Arthy (bass); Dave ? (alto); Andy Naylor (trumpet); Stephen P Christian (drums and fag); Dave Reekie (banjo and fag); Chris Macdonald (clarinet).

Photo courtesy of Chris Macdonald


Our first gig arrived – an interval session at the Bald Faced Stag in Buckhurst Hill for the local Young Conservatives dance - we were paid 10/- each! When the evening arrived we were all rather nervous, especially our new bass player who I found in the Gents, swallowing aspirins (he felt sick!), and tying up his fingers with Elastoplast and Sellotaped bandages! Our time arrived – we trooped up on to the stage and kicked off the first number (Streets Of The City, I think). Within a minute of starting I became aware of something white waving about behind me – I turned round and there was our bass player's bandages quickly unravelling as he was plucking his strings...! Disaster for him – bloody fingers ensued, but we did get through our 30 minutes! That bass player was one John Arthy, who retired as a professional bass and brass bass player and leader of the Pasadena Roof Orchestra in 1999!


Chris Macdonald with the Kansas City 7


Chris Macdonald (alto, clarinet, C soprano and cravat!) with Bill Bickers (washboard); John Arthy (bass); and Andy Naylor (trumpet).

Photo courtesy of Chris Macdonald.



This band continued for some time, with our peak performance at the 1961 Young Conservatives Regional Annual Ball at the Seymour Hall in Marble Arch, playing opposite one of the Joe Loss outfits. Another daunting experience - we had arrived at the back door and were ushered on to the stage behind closed curtains in order to set up. We had no idea what to expect once those curtains were open! When our time came, the curtains opened very slowly and we were about 6 feet up in the air. The dancers stood and looked at us, and then surged forwards – I personally felt like running for my life, but we stuck to it and they soon started to jig about, then dance – PHEW!

My next band for a time in 1961/62 was the Woodford Valley Jazzmen, run by drummer Geoff Gilbert from Pitton in Wiltshire. I muscled my way in on piano and 2nd clarinet, alongside clarinet and alto player Roy Rhodes, an avid jazz collector and well-known in that field. Rex O’Dell, and then Mick Hickey filled the trombone seat, Tony Parnell was a very proficient banjo player (his excellent feature was Take Your Pick), with a trumpet player called Cliff (?), and bass player known as “Pud”, who was eventually replaced by John Arthy. We did a regular weekly gig at our club in Woodford Green, as well as a pub gig in South Woodford, and other regular events like the Walthamstow Carnival. A good, solid band with a good sound.


Woodford Valley Jazzmen


Woodford Valley Jazzmen – Walthamstow Carnival – 1962

Roy Rhodes (clarinet); Geoff Gilbert (drums, leader); Cliff ? (trumpet); Tony Parnell (banjo);
“Pud” ? (bass); Chris Macdonald (clarinet); Rex O’Dell (trombone).

Photo courtesy of Chris Macdonald


Time came to move on and I found myself briefly circa 1963 on piano with the Frog Island Jazz Band at their residency at the King Edward VII in Stratford Broadway. Excellent band, and still is! Rob Fullalove, all round good chap as boss, on tuba, John Whitehead on cornet, Ray Joughin on trombone, Bernie Stutt (I think) on clarinet, Jim Finch on drums (later replaced by Chris Marchant), and Dave Price on banjo to complete the line-up. My place was eventually taken by Keith Durston (whom I had met in completely different social circumstances a couple of years before – and I didn’t know that he even played then!). Four of those people are STILL with today’s Frog Island Band!

Other bands around the area at the time were Keith Nichols’ New Sedalia Jazz Band, his Levity Lancers (with Mac White on reeds, Bob Taylor on trumpet and sousaphone, Keith on piano and sousa at the same time, with occasional trombone), and a traps player known as “Albert Dock International”! Keith was also involved in the unique Arnold J Lovelace and his 1922 Jazz Hounds (!). Bob Taylor was also running his own band in another pub in Stratford. Then there was the Hodgson Bros’ East Side Stompers, the New Era Jazzband (with Alan Gresty and George Tidiman), in which John Arthy continued to cut his teeth, and the Johnny Gooding Band, resident for a time at the Lord Rookwood in Leytonstone, featuring Brian Masters on banjo, with Dave Petty on clarinet and tenor sax .Amongst our own little fraternity we also had the Ian Grant Jazzmen, and the New Imperial Stompers.



Maryland Jazz Band


Maryland Jazzmen – Green Man Leytonstone – c1968

John Sirett (bass); John Parry (trombone); Jim Redfern (cornet); Dave Jenkins (drums);
Dave Price (banjo), Chris Macdonald (alto)

Photo courtesy of Chris Macdonald


I did also spend a few months playing with John Maddocks’ Black Bottom Stompers on alto…

1965 was a decisive musical year for me. As stated in my earlier article on Eric Silk (click here), it was in his club that my embryonic Creole Dance Orchestra was to emerge. I had been working in the City in accountancy, and I was doing a three night/42 hour week as a Proof Reader/Linotype Operator for the New Daily newpaper at Tileyard Press in Kings Cross, and I was free all day from Thursday morning to late afternoon the following Monday on a regular basis. I got myself a barman job in my local in Loughton, the Gardener’s Arms, and one day a builder came in and asked if I knew anybody who would be interested in a couple of boxes of old 78s for 10/-. They turned out to be mainly British and American 1920s and 1930s dance bands. I bought the lot! And I listened and listened – here was the basis for my Creole Dance Orchestra. So, I started handwriting arrangements, gradually augmenting the single arrangement of King Oliver’s Olga which we had been rehearsing. That is really something for another future article, so I’ll leave that there till later…

There were a couple of New Orleans-style marching bands that I was involved in at that time. The first was Mike Casimir’s Paragon Brass Band, led by his brother with  resplendent multi-coloured brolly – the players included Mike on trombone, Tony O’Sullivan on trumpet, Mike Poynton (I think?) also on trombone, Dave Lob on white, fibreglass sousaphone (c/o Boosey & Hawkes!), and Fred Stead, whom I had met on the Aldermaston marches, on snare drum. The second band was the rather more informal Imperial Brass Band and tended to work on November 5th for the Epping bonfire night parade – it was made up of the usual suspects from local bands, and we all had a good time! The last one I remember in particular. We were parading down Epping High Street, with two small boys running along beside us throwing things at us! It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that John Arthy told me that his sousa wasn’t working properly and he decided to give it a bath! Out floated a large handful of  dried up worms! The youngsters had obviously been flicking them into John’s sousa bell, laughing riotously… From that moment on John put a net over the bell when the occasion deemed it necessary!

My first gig abroad was in 1968 with another band from South Woodford run by trombonist Mike Lovell, with Jim Redfern on cornet (who had been one of the Melody Maker prize winners to meet Louis at Batley Variety Club). It was a booking at an International Beer Festival in Antwerp. We were booked to do three sets between 9pm and 6am. We were opposite a Belgian rock group, who were considerably older than ourselves, very smartly dressed but not uniformed, and who had reel-to-reel taped orchestral backing – very impressive, until we realised at the beginning of their second set that they only had one set prepared and they did it three times!!! The event was supposed to be organised by Brewmaster, but we found to our delight that the bar in which we were playing was selling Stella, at that time not available in England. However when we ordered up and tried our first pint it became apparent that it was Brewmaster coming out of the taps!!! What a long night that was!

In 1969 I married and moved from Loughton to Harlow New Town where we had a flat on the strength of my wife’s teaching job! NO JAZZ AT ALL!!! I had to look elsewhere! Epping was close by and there was a little band playing there in Winchelsea House who I went to see – they were the Washboard Syncopators, and I was shortly invited to join to replace clarinet player (and later emerged as a famous cave diver), Sid Perou.


Washboard Syncopators


Washboard Syncopators – circa 1970 – Romford Golf Club

Jim Diebel (washboard/traps); Dave Wood (trombone); Dugald Ferguson (banjo); Graham Booth (cornet); Brian Willis (piano); Steve Howlett (tenor); Chris Macdonald (alto).

Photo courtesy of Chris Macdonald


Click here to listen to the Washboard Syncopators playing Canal Street Blues.


The Washboards had started in 1953 as a washboard, piano and kazoo trio and had reached the lofty heights of winners of the regional Top Skiffle Group Awards in 1954. These three were Jim Diebel (washboard), Brian Willis (piano), and Humph Weston on kazoo and vocals. By the time I joined in 1966 or so they had been augmented by Dave Ruffle (bass), Dugald Ferguson (banjo), Graham Booth (cornet), Dave Wood (trombone and slide trumpet) and Steve Howlett (clarinet and tenor). This was a very interesting band for me because they were looking outwards to a more adventurous repertoire, to include some Ellington and McKinney’s material – right up my street. The only snag was the fact that some couldn’t read the dots. This was overcome by serious, concentrated rehearsal and we were soon digging deep into new territory for us all. We had the advantage of a regular pub venue, the Red Lion, Margaretting, where we could air our new found tunes to a massively packed house – sometimes we had trouble to find space to play! Landlord Gordon Worthy and his wife, Hazel, were very keen on jazz, and plied us with awful Ridley’s beer during the session, and with the dreaded pork pie and coffee at closing time! But they were just so good to, and for, us!

One or two of this band had “connections” too, and in 1970 we found ourselves one Sunday morning setting up in the Rolling Stones’ studio in the Olympic Studios complex in Barnes. This was a first for all of us, but nerves aside, we produced our first eight-title 12” LP and we were very pleased with the outcome, although in retrospect it is littered with “mistakes” and more than a few rough edges. It did, however, capture the spirit of the band. Steve Howlett departed then, to be replaced by Dave Petty on clarinet and tenor, late of the aforementioned Johnny Gooding Band. At that point Dave Ruffle went part-time and was partnered by a young bass player whose name escapes me! The band improved as time passed and we returned to the Olympic Studios in 1973 to produce our second album, It Don’t Mean A Thing…, which featured significantly better performances, despite one or two intonation problems – and more nerves! This album featured 14 tracks, all done in one take, with a cross-section of standards and other tunes. I still think it’s a good effort for a lowly Essex “Territory” band!


Click here to listen to the Washboard Syncopators in 1973 playing Blues With A Feeling.


In August 1974 I left to take up my first teaching post in Havant, Hampshire, and sadly had to leave both the Washboards and the Pasadena Roof Orchestra (again, more about that later!!!).

[Chris Macdonald continues looking back - click here].




Continental Drift

Peter Slavid



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

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



Hans Hassler

wie die zeit hinter mir her


Hans Hassler album


Hans Hassler is a fascinating character.  He was born in Switzerland in 1945. He studied accordion, clarinet, piano, guitar and as a sound engineer. In the '60s and '70s he toured in folk, dixieland and pop groups.  Then in the '90s he started playing in various modern jazz groups including the Vienna Art Orchestra.  His previous solo CD (just called “Hassler”, also on Intakt Records) was one of my favourite CDs of 2014.

I really like the sound of the accordion in jazz and there are an increasing number of European musicians who are using it.  Hassler plays a button accordion – an instrument that looks fiendishly complicated. Some of the CD is completely free improvisation, sometimes folk melodies creep in, sometimes you can hear conversations between the two hands, sometimes it sounds like an orchestra. It can be quite intense – and then it can be playful.

Hans Hassler


What you can hear all through this CD is  a master musician using the full range of his instrument, and this video gives a fair impression of the range of sounds. Click here for a video of Hans Hassler playing the accordion in 2015.

Click here to listen to the album. Click here for details.

Peter Slavid broadcasts a monthly programme of modern jazz focussing entirely on Europe and the UK at and on various internet stations including .




Two Ears Three Eyes

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


Nicole Henry and her band played the Ropetackle Arts Centre at Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex on 8th November.

Brian says: 'I’d not heard of vocalist Nicole Henry until it was announced that she was to perform the opening gig at the London Jazz Festival.  I then found out that two days before, the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham-by-Sea had gained the distinction of booking her for a UK debut performance with Chris Ingham (piano); Paul Higgs (trumpet); Arnie Somogyi (bass) and George Double (drums).



Nicole Henry



Brian continues: 'Nicole has a powerful voice, great range, and with total control, she covers jazz standards, blues, the American Songbook and cabaret.  From ballads to a belter, she can perform the lot.   I find it hard to understand why she is not better known over here.  That will surely change now.  She is really a good entertaining live performer, and for once someone who is very visually expressive. Well done the Ropetackle'. 


George Double




George Double













Click here for a video of Nicole in 2010 singing the ballad Teach Me Tonight.


Chris Ingham




Chris Ingham













Click here for a video of Nicole in 2013 singing At Last.


Nicole Henry grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where she sang in school and at church, and studied cello and ballet, eventually graduating from the University of Miami. In an interview with CBS Miami in 2014 she quoted Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan as her inspiration. Nicole has a career both as a singer and an actor, and she has appeared in commercial acting roles and voiceover assignments. Her passion for singing was recognized when the Miami New Times named her “Best Solo Musician 2002”.

In 2004, Nicole released her debut CD, The Nearness of You, on Banister Records. The song Teach Me Tonight reached No. 1 in Japan and was named HMV Japan's 'Best Vocal Jazz Album of 2005'. Her 2008 album The Very Thought of You reached No. 7 in Billboard's jazz chart and her 2011 release Embraceable reached the Top 20 on jazz and U.S. smooth jazz radio charts.

In 2012 she made her San Francisco debut at a private event and at The Razz Room. Sean Martinfield of The Huffington Post wrote  "Nicole Henry emerges hands down as this generation's First Lady of Jazz. In 2013, she won the "Soul Train award" for "Best Traditional Jazz Performance".


Arnie Somogyi





Arnie Somogyi











Click here for a video of Nicole singing Bill Withers' Use Me in Malaya in 2013










Nicole henry band


Chris Ingham, Nicole Henry, Arnie Somogyi, Paul Higgs and George Double


Click here for Nicole Henry's website.


All pictures © Brian O'Connor, Images Of Jazz

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






Rod Marshall and the Anchor Inn, Brighouse


The Anchor Brighouse


Peter Maguire from Jazz Clubs Worldwide writes: Rod was the slim build, flute playing, landlord of The Anchor Inn, and totally passionate about jazz; I played there for several years in the seventies. Rod featured resident bands and presented at regular intervals the crème de la crème of the British jazz scene.

It is astonishing now to recall on one particular dark and rainy Tuesday evening I was able to take in not one but three venues within a range of less than a couple of miles. First pub - Red Price. Pub two - a local band. Then the Anchor Inn - Barbara Thompson.

The late Joe Harriott was a regular face during the last few months of his life. I was never quite sure why he suddenly appeared on the local scene. Rod Marshall provided him with some of the support he badly needed and Rod's wife Phyllis was her usual beneficent self.

It was an amazing venue and certainly enriched my jazz life and that of many other jazz fans and jazz musicians. The photograph below is of the Joe Markey Band featuring the late Ronnie Ross and his lady of that time, Toni Cooke, on French Horn.  Happy days.


The Joe Markey Band





Eel Pie Island

We have received a lot of interest in last month's article about 'Jazz On Eel Pie Island' (click here)

Maggie Atterbury writes: I had not read the November issue until spurred on by Brian Rutland this morning.  I am the widow of Michael Atterbury who is in the first photo of the  Eel Pie Island article.  Mike played with The Grove Jazz Band from about 1955 until 1958 when they disbanded.  Brian reformed the band in about 1962 and again it ran for about four years.  The third incarnation happened in the early ‘70s.  Michael was always the preferred reed player, originally only on clarinet but goaded on by Brian, he eventually became proficient on soprano, alto and tenor sax.  His final years as an active band member were with The Denise Lawrence Band.


The Grove Jazz Band

Brian Rutland's Grove Jazz Band in 1956.

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

Photograph courtesy of Brian Rutland.

I used to be the chief mover and shaker of the Woking Jazz Circle until I moved to rural Wiltshire.  I was the founder and benign dictator of the Woking Jazz circle for 22 years until we moved to Wiltshire in 2008 where I  still promote some concerts in my local, superb church. To date I have participated in various Jazz BBQ`s, promoted Sammy Rimington`s Band, Clarinet Maestros, Rossano Sportiello and, next year, I hope to feature Howard Alden, guitar.  I am a supporter of The Malmesbury Jazz Society and shall be there this coming Saturday when Ron Rumbol`s Band, featuring Cuff Billett, are the guests.


Bass player Ron Drakeford adds: 'I forgot to mention one important factor which added to the ambience at the Island, namely the lighting. It certainly wasn't Blackpool illuminations by any stretch of the imagination!  As you could well imagine, the lighting was subdued save for stage and bar areas. Not so much one could not make out peoples' faces or see what one was doing, but  I think they got the balance about right for the punters area including dance floor. The place was a bit dilapidated as you have commented, but obviously not condemned. Might be different these days give modern requirements Health and Safety-wise though.


Peter Phipps remembers: 'I used to go most Friday, Saturdays, and to the folk sessions in the bar on Sundays. Being at school in 1950s, I was not flush with pocket money or proceeds of a butcher's round, so often stayed at the door talking to Arthur and Chas, eventually taking a turn at l'Auberge Coffee Barstamping the punters with pass outs when they came in. Eventually they would allow me in for the final set!'

'Chas who does not get a mention in the article, worked at the NPL during the week on sound technology (I think it was to do with submarines). I had a quality reel-to-reel tape recorder and between us (Chas came over to my parent's house in Hounslow) we pieced together an Acker tape for interval music, made up from Bilk's late night sessions at The Island. I still have my copy, somewhere!'  


l'Auberge coffee bar.


'After the Jazz, we often went back to the l'Auberge coffee bar in Richmond, but if there was a whisper of a party, a vast number of Islanders would troop from Twickenham, to wherever the venue was. I can remember getting to Molesey, probably on the bus, to a house in a crescent. The family were Norwegian, and they were away leaving the daughter on her own. She had been mad enough to announce the gig, and the Island arrived there en masse. There was a certain amount of mayhem and bedrooms got used behind locked doors.  In the small hours of the morning there was a phone call from the airport from returning parents. Apart from the destruction and total mess, one couple secure behind locked door would not exit and so, in the end, I climbed the porch, went through the window, and got them out. Then we had to start a clean-up, having dispersed Islanders onto the streets! My girlfriend was the girl’s friend, so reluctantly I was involved in the clean- up ....but no breakfast,Punting on the Thames because by that time the cupboard was bare. Her parents were not best pleased!'

'During this period there was sometimes jazz above the Fox in Church Street - they seemed to be Twickenham Art School gigs. Much later, I went to a Stones gig at the Island. It was mad.  People were forming a pyramid almost to the ceiling and were not standing still. Who could to that music?'

'Before I became a regular visitor to the jazz gigs, I can recall from a guy at Isleworth Penguins called Brian and his tales of when the police raided. They jumped in to the Thames and swam to the Ham/ Petersham side. On the Island slightly upstream from the Hotel, there was Brocks tearoom, and on a Wednesday afternoon we would hire a punt from Hammerton's on the Twickenham side and get to the Island where you could drink a pint of tea. We used to jump from the punt and swim in the river. The boat owners would not have been impressed, had they seen their punt drifting along unattended. It was always returned safely, as there was a deposit to be returned.'

'I knew Brian Rutland when he played above The Swan in Old Isleworth, Wednesday nights as The Grove Jazz Band. He too was still at School!'  



Cooks Ferry Inn

David Greenshields writes to add his memories to our page on Cooks Ferry Inn:

I lived in Edmonton for the first 23 years of my life, being born in 1947. My best friend's dad used to tell us of the jazz lunchtimes at The Cooks Ferry on Sundays when we were quite young.

Then when I was about 14 or 15, I don’t remember the year precisely, we heard that they were going to start a Rock n Roll night on Sunday nights. The group of lads that I went around with decided to go and see what it was like. All of us were members of the Sea Cadet Unit that was about 100 yards upstream of The Cooks Ferry on the River Lea on the opposite bank. That first night there were so few people there that the group kept commenting about there being nearly as many people on stage as in the hall. The management that night issued all of us there with a membership card and told us that it would be lifelong. Unfortunately we still had to pay to go to all of the dances. From that time I attended every Sunday night and occasional Mondays for the R&B and Blues music. However, in September 1964 I went off to sea as an officer cadet in the merchant navy and never went back there so missed some of the greatest names.

I wish I had paid more attention to the names of the bands playing when I did attend as I can see from other writers that I must have seen some bands that became very famous later. Being in my mid teens during this period, trying to dance with and chat up the girls there was my main concern, especially for the slow numbers, and that is why I didn’t pay enough attention to the bands.






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Jazz In A Broad Way

Verona Chard Wimbledon poster




If you live in South West London, here are some enjoyable gigs coming your way at Wimbledon Theatre Studio Theatre and Bar on 28th January; 18th February and 25th March.

Advertised as an evening of 'sultry swing, funky beats, foot tapping originals and dance divining global tunes' vocalist Verona Chard is heading up a Jazz Jam - so bring your instruments or voice and join in or listen to 'tunes that will mesmerise and delight your soul'.

Not only is Verona Chard a popular vocalist (her album Fever - In Love With Shakespeare is always a good listen), but she has become very active in promoting accessible jazz events for children (the Musical Balloon Band) and adults.

These should be fun sessions. Click here for more details.






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:



Barry Whitworth - UK trumpeter and bandleader. Peter Maguire writes: 'Barry was a major force on the northern jazz scene during the nineteen sixties onwards. He lived in Sheffield and outside of his musical interests was a successful businessman. The Barry Whitworth Quintette featured some of he most talented musicians of the era playing superbly executed hard bop. I do in fact have a CD of the band, some tracks recorded at the legendary Forty Three Club in Manchester and would be more than willing to send a copy to anyone who might like to hear just how top draw they were (click here to contact Peter). We do not currently have an obituary for Barry, but will add one if it becomes available.



John Hendricks


Jon Hendricks - American jazz singer and songwriter from Ohio who became well known for the development of 'Vocalese' - the use of words to match note for note a jazz tune and improvisation. Together with Dave Lambert and Annie Ross, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross became perhaps the most famous exponents of that style of singing. In his early years, Art Tatum was his accompanist; he wrote songs for Count Basie; lived in London for a while before returning to the US where he taught classes in jazz history at the University of California, Berkeley, and California State University at Sonoma. He went on performing into his early 80s. Click here for a video of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross singing Every Day I Have The Blues in 1959 with Joe Williams, Count Basie (piano), Freddie Green (guitar), Ed Jones (bass), and Sonny Payne (drums).






Mike Carr


Mike Carr - UK jazz organist, pianist and vibraphone player born in South Shields and brother of trumpeter Ian Carr, who joined Mike in his band the EmCee Five, a band that played in the style of the Jazz Messengers. Mike went on to play with many UK and American jazz musicians both in the UK and abroad including Dizzy Gillespie, Art Farmer, Illinois Jacquet, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Benny Waters, Johnny Griffin and singer Jimmy Witherspoon. Click here for a video of Mike Carr with Dave Cliff (guitar) and Harold Smith (drums).






Lou Gare




Lou Gare - UK free-jazz saxophonist born in Rugby. He worked with music ensemble AMM and played with musicians such as Eddie Prévost, Mike Westbrook, Cornelius Cardew, Keith Rowe and Sam Richards. He was a member of Synchronicity (Richards, David Stanley, Sarah Frances) from the 1990s through to 2002 and played throughout the Southwest and toured the Czech Republic. Click here for a short homage to Lou Gare. Click here for a video of Lou improvising.







Frank Holder



Frank Holder - We heard about the passing of Frank Holder just as we 'went to press' last month and can now link to his obituary. Singer and percussionist Frank Holder was born in Georgetown, British Guiana (now Guyana). In 1944 he volunteered for the RAF and travelled over on a troop ship. 'Steeped in all things British, Frank found that he knew more about “your kings and queens” than his fellow RAF recruits. He sang with all the service bands he could before persuading the great West Indian trumpeter Leslie “Jiver” Hutchinson to sign him as a band singer in 1948'. From 1950, he worked with the Johnny Dankworth Seven before moving on to play with Tubby Hayes, Kenny Graham and Joe Harriot. Later, he became a general performer as well as working with jazz combos. In the 90s, Mainstem records released three albums by Frank: The Artistry of Frank Holder, I Love Being Here With You; and Ballads, Blues & Bop. He continued to perform up until the week before he died. Click here for a video of Frank playing Satin Doll with guitarist Shane Hill. (Photograph courtesy of Brian O'Connor).





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







Album Released: 29th September 2017 - Label: Troubadour Jass Records


Delfeayo Marsalis

Kalamazoo - An Evening With Delfeayo Marsalis


Howard Lawes reviews this album for us:

When it comes to jazz dynasties some you could name include the Coltranes and the Brubecks but when it came to awarding the US National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master honour this was given uniquely to the whole Marsalis family in 2011, Ellis, Wynton, Delfeayo, Jason and Branford.  Delfeayo Marsalis is an internationally acclaimed trombonist, composer, producer and educator and in 2016 he won Best of the Beat awards for himself as contemporary jazz artist and for his album Make America Great Again as BestDelfeayo Marsalis Kalamazoo Contemporary Jazz Album. That album has been described as "a soundtrack for America's current social climate and Make America Great Again runs the gamut of emotions from gutbucket to grandiose, New Orleans brass band funk to classic big band swing" and "With a rollicking big band that plays with an attitude that would make Duke Ellington proud, this is a wily protest record showing how much of what goes on today is lip service".

Kalamazoo - An Evening With Delfeayo Marsalis is Delfeayo Marsalis's seventh album and the first one to be recorded live. It is called Kalamazoo because it was recorded there at the Dalton Center Recital Hall, Western Michigan University. Apart from Delfeayo Marsalis on trombone the band features Ellis Marsalis Jr. (Delfeayo's father) on piano, Reginald Veal on bass and Ralph Peterson on drums. 

Education and history are all important to Delfeayo Marsalis and earlier in the day Delfeayo had held a masterclass for local children and pictures of this are included in the album notes. He is patently of the opinion that part of the strength of jazz is that older musicians teach younger musicians and pass on a special insight which informs future performance.  Many of the tracks on this album are classic standards made famous by the great jazz bandleaders of the past, the first is Tin Roof Blues, played originally by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings in 1923 and then later by Louis Armstrong. On this album the style is very laid back which provides a great opportunity to demonstrate that slow jazz can be just as great as fast jazz. 

Autumn Leaves has been recorded many times and famous versions include those of Bill Evans and Cannonball Adderly; it is one Delfeayo Marsalis's favourites and he notes that the chord progressions are easy to listen to and it's one of the few minor-key songs that sounds happy.  Track 3 is My Funny Valentine, forever associated with Chet Baker's voice and trumpet. This is a very thoughtful version with father and son combining beautifully to produce something which is both tender and romantic.

Other classics are track 5, If I Were A Bell, from the musical Guys and Dolls; previous versions have been by Delfeayo MarsalisMiles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald, and track 7 It Don't Mean A Thing by Duke Ellington; both tracks have Ellis Marsalis playing major solos in a light hearted style while Delfeayo's solos are the more considered. In apparent contrast there is the theme tune from the children's TV programme Sesame Street (which not everybody knows is actually a 12-bar blues!).  The Secret Love Affair was composed by Delfeayo Marsalis. It deals with the plight of African Americans in 1935 and the abuses they suffered during the dominant culture; it is an 11-bar blues with alternating major and minor keys and the trombone perfectly evokes a mood of struggle and adversity. 

Track 8 is an amusing introduction to track 9. Blue Kalamazoo is a spontaneous composition, improvised with no rehearsal or advanced planning and includes Christian O'Neill Diaz on vocals and Madison George on drums who were the only members of the audience brave enough to participate and of course they received huge applause.

The last track is another classic, Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans, original played by Louis Armstrong in 1947 and which the band plays like a lullaby, Delfeayo using his mute to create a wah-wah sound in his solo.

This warm, friendly album by a top class quartet is a lot different to Delfeayo Marsalis's previous album where he led the Uptown Jazz Orchestra. The highlight has to be Delfeayo's trombone playing and it is interesting to hear how this instrument sounds playing famous tunes which have generally been played with other instruments.  This CD may well be the perfect seasonal gift for trombone players and those that prefer their jazz to be recognisable and familiar.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Howard Lawes


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Album Released: 3rd November 2017 - Label: ECM


Django Bates’ Belovèd

The Study Of Touch


Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Django Bates (piano); Petter Eldh (double bass); Peter Bruun (drums).

In the late 1970s I caught a young Django Bates in a couple of early gigs with a band led by a fine soprano/tenor/baritone player called Steve Mulligan.  For me, they were one of those youthful combinations that somehow get logged in the memory.  At the time, these two musicians made me feel like the earth had moved.  It was obvious even then that Django Bates was hyper good; a Bill Evans-touch and a Gil Evans-head.Django Bates Beloved The Study Of Touch He went on to form the legendary Loose Tubes, became a winner of the prestigious Danish Jazzpar Prize, a composer of totally original ‘jazzworks’ and a significant presence in Europe.  He has performed with everybody from Dudu Pukwana and Bill Bruford, to George Russell and Tim Berne. As for Steve Mulligan, I know he’s still around, I met him briefly at The Vortex this year.  And if the stars had been in the right galaxy I should be writing about him too.  Ah, c'est la vie.

Django Bates’ Belovèd has been in existence almost ten years now.  Mr Bates was teaching at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen and met Petter Eldh and Peter Bruun.  Together they produced the Beloved Bird album in 2010 and two years later Confirmation.  Both tipped hats to Charlie Parker.  Last summer Manfred Eicher at ECM took Belovèd to Norway to spend time in Jan Erik Kongshaug’s famous Rainbow Studios in Oslo.  The result is The Study Of Touch.  Right now the Django Bates Saluting Sgt. Pepper album, recorded with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, has been getting all the media profile, but I’ll say this: when the dust has settled and DB’s recording career is accessed in definitive detail (and that day will surely come) the year 2016 when this was recorded is going to be remembered for The Study Of Touch

This time out there is only one Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker title, Passport, which jumps with a seductive vigour.  It’s possible to play a potential ‘Yardbird’ alto solo inside your own head to Belovèd’s version of Passport.  The great Bird would have whooped at his own opportunities presented by this short homage, probably stretching it out even further on Bates’ follow-up track Slippage Street.  Of the total of eleven tracks, five were previously on the Confirmation album.  That might at first seem perverse, but not so.  Sadness All The Way Down, Giogiantics, Little Petherick, Senza Bitterness, We Are Not Lost, We Are Simply Finding Our Way and Peonies As Promised are all totally reworked variants of those titles from the 2014 album.  The Belovèd bandbook is in a continuous state of development, nothing is final, everything is adapted, nothing is static. This is demonstrated by the fact that the album is bookended by Sadness All The Way Down and its smiling relative Happiness All The Way Up which is most definitely not any kind of identical twin. 

There are a couple of versions of Peonies As Promised around if you go looking.  The skeleton melody of Peonies can never be completely As Promised, not unless the undertaking was that this particular bouquet always comes in different colours.  Out of the versions I know, the one on The Study Of Touch is the definitive despite coming in at under five minutes. Maybe it’s the compression that opens this touch study into truly speaking its romanticism yet it doesn’t give the whole game away. Tender but tough.  I track Petter Eldh’s double bass line to the point where it feels like Charlie Haden is among us.  Eldh runs a little curve into the corner at the end of his lines, just enough to make it feel that Peter Bruum’s brush strokes on the snare are both gentle, yet decisive.

Click here for a video of Peonies As Promised played live.

A word about the title track, the longest on the session though it doesn’t feel overtly stretched.  Touch is exactly as the title describes.  In Peter Høeg’s novel Borderliners, the character Biehl says this:  “When I speak, you should listen, first and foremost to my pauses.  They speak louder than my words.”  The piano entry on The Study Of Touch comes down on a four note phrase and holds it; hands hover and there’s a pause. Eldh and Bruum fill in the space with ‘touch and go’ flicks of air which merge into music.  Double bass and piano produce a line in unison and gradually let it lengthen.  A cunning little funk spasm writes a signature that balances out the recital whilst returning to those four ‘paused’ notes.  Yes, it’s lyrical; it’s a Study that holds sway, more importantly it gradually builds back into itself.  The original four note phrase provides the architectural strength.  It is art of the piano delivered with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of self-knowledge.  A musician only gets to play like this if time has been on their side. Leftfield, right mind. 

This is the album every musician aspires to make; the one that truly identifies the sheer quality of their contribution as a major player.  The Study Of Touch is up there in the pantheon of all those great piano trio albums that act as milestones in the jazz canon.  Not because it is related to Bill Evans’ Live At The Village Django Bates BelovedVanguard or Keith Jarrett’s At The Blue Note collection, or in a whole different set of perspectives, Oscar Peterson’s terrific Night Train, which is often given short shrift, Paul Bley’s barely noticed Memoirs, Geri Allen’s unjustly ignored Twenty One, the first Ovary Lodge album from Tippett, Babbington and Perry that has all but disappeared, Monk’s Underground, a magnificent session which rarely gets a mention, or The Duke’s controversial Money Jungle. And that’s without getting into the labyrinth of arguably the current most radical ‘piano trio’, the Australian band, The Necks. The Study Of Touch is important precisely because it is Django Bates.  He has sat in front of ECM’s founding fathers, Manfred Eicher and Jan Erik Kongshaug, lifted the lid and produced an evolving study of classic piano trio music that is unique to himself.  It is a beautiful thing.

Click here for a video introduction to The Study Of Touch.

The whole Study Of Touch session is the album Manfred Eicher played to Anoar Brahem when he recommended Django Bates as pianist for the Blue Maqams album (also reviewed this month).  It comes as no surprise to me that Mr Brahem needed little convincing.  I assume that if you’ve got as far as reading this review you must have a vague interest in jazz piano.  Come on, it’s December, give yourself a Christmas gift, Touch is a treat.  I don’t know whether you deserve a prezzie, Django Bates doesn’t mind either way.  This album convinces on every level.  Start your new year resolution here.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Steve Day


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Album Released: 27th October 2017 - Label: Fanfare Jazz


Gilad Atzmon And The Orient House Ensemble

The Spirit Of Trane


Robin Kidson reviews this record for us:

This year marks the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane’s death. With the possible exception of Philip Larkin (“metallic and passionless nullity” was one of the nicer things he had to say about him), Coltrane has had a pretty good press. Indeed, in my opinion there is a form of writing about Coltrane whose main characteristic isGilad Atzmon The Spirit Of Trane hyperbolic hagiography rather than sober critical reflection.

You don’t have to buy in to the hyperbole, though, to recognise that Coltrane was a superb and interesting musician whose influence can be seen all over contemporary jazz. There are also many John Coltranes – from the pop lyricism of My Favourite Things, for example, to the hippy spirituality (or “long-winded and portentous demonstrations of religiosity”: Larkin again) of A Love Supreme; from the Blue Note hard bop of Blue Train, to the free jazz of Ascension.

Gilad Atzmon’s new CD, The Spirit of Trane, is a tribute to John Coltrane’s more lyrical side, the Coltrane of ballads, the sentimental Coltrane. Atzmon mainly plays tenor and soprano sax on the album and is joined by Frank Harrison (piano), Yaron Stavi (bass) and Enzo Zirilli (drums). Several of the tracks also feature the Sigamos String Quartet (Ros Stephen and Marianne Hayes (violins), Felix Tanner (viola) and Laura Anstee (cello)).

The album kicks off with Duke Ellington’s In a Sentimental Mood. Coltrane played this on his 1962 collaboration with the Duke. Atzmon plays soprano sax, an instrument Coltrane made very much his own.  There is a marvellously lush string accompaniment which sounds like a full orchestra rather than a quartet. The whole has a touch of Charlie Parker With Strings about it and, sure enough, it turns out that Bird’s work with strings was an early influence on the young Atzmon. Yaron Stavi plays a short but very effective solo on bass. Atzmon’s timing and dynamics are spot on and the whole is a beautifully conceived piece of music which could be appreciated by jazz and non-jazz fans alike – even P. Larkin might have liked it.

Click here for a video of Atzmon and the other musicians playing In A Sentimental Mood.

Track 2 is another ballad, the Bronislaw Kaper standard, Invitation, which Coltrane played on the album Standard Coltrane. Atzmon takes up the tenor on this one, and there is some notable playing by Frank Harrison on piano. The string arrangement is wonderfully judged – a gentle wash behind the main ensemble.

The third track, Minor Thing, is the longest on the album (11 minutes plus) and also perhaps its centerpiece. It is an original Atzmon composition and pays tribute to the A Love Supreme phase of Coltrane’s career. There is no string accompaniment. Atzmon plays tenor but there are also short multi-instrument interludes – either double tracked or Atzmon 'doing a Roland Kirk'. It has a complex rhythm and the playing is much freer than on the other tracks. Frank Harrison takes a solo in his own distinctive style. Despite its length, the piece is an absorbing one which compels throughout.

The Mal Waldron composition, Soul Eyes, brings in the strings once again in another lush arrangement. A word here for Ros Stephen who wrote all the superb string arrangements on the album. It might be a heresy to say this but Coltrane’s tone could be a little….harsh (“nasty”, according to Larkin). Atzmon’s tone on both tenor Gilad Atzmonand soprano is much smoother, even on his freer improvisations. He still retains, however, something of Coltrane’s technical facility, that ability to race up and down the scales.

Blue Train is one of Coltrane’s more memorable compositions and Atzmon’s version on Track 5 is a worthy homage. It is one of the more upbeat pieces on the album with Atzmon back on soprano – and impressively so – and some nicely judged playing from Harrison.

Another famous Coltrane composition, the ballad, Naima, is the highlight of the whole album with Atzmon’s soprano soaring above yet another beautiful string arrangement. Again, Charlie Parker With Strings comes to mind. The whole piece serves to emphasise what a marvellous tune Naima is.

The third Coltrane composition on the album, Giant Steps, sees both Atzmon and Harrison really stretching out with some brilliant and imaginative improvising. Atzmon never just copies Coltrane but manages to convey, yes, the spirit of Coltrane in his own style.

The final track is the Jimmy McHugh ballad, Say It (Over and Over Again), and is a summary of what makes The Spirit of Trane such a satisfying listen: lush string arrangements, warm but virtuosic playing by Atzmon (on tenor for this track), lyrical piano from Frank Harrison, and discreet, bang-on-the beat from bass and drums. 


Click here for a video introduction to the album.   Click here for details and to listen to Soul Trane.

Gilad Atzmon is playing some live dates with the Oriental House Ensemble in December including:

Friday, 1st December: Lighthouse, Poole
Wednesday, 6th December: Grimsby Jazz, Grimsby
Friday, 8th December: Fleece Jazz Club, Stoke-by-Nyland, Suffolk
Wednesday, 13th December: Stratford Arts House, Stratford-on-Avon

Robin Kidson


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Album Released: 21st June 2017 - Label: Mezcla / Bandcamp





Michael Butcher (saxophone); Joshua Elcock (trumpet); Ben MacDonald (guitar); Alan Benzie (keys); David Bowden (bass and compositions); Stephen Henderson (drums and percussion).

Originally from London, bassist David Bowden moved to Scotland in 2011 to study on the Jazz course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He graduated with first class honours, won the 2015 Yamaha Jazz Scholarship award, and with the band Square One, won the Peter Whittingham Award that same year. In 2017Mezcla album David was named the BBC Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year.

His main musical focus currently is leading the acclaimed world/jazz fusion ensemble ‘Mezcla’ for which he composes the music, much of which is influenced by his time studying music in Ghana. The band is drawn from some of Scotland’s gifted jazz musicians who fuse influences from West Africa to Latin America and beyond. Mezcla's music ‘is distinguished by its uplifting melodies, shimmering textures, and visceral improvisation’. David is also a member of the Fergus McCreadie Trio and has played with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Fat-Suit, Doscan, the Don Paterson Situation and the Enrico Zanisi Trio.

The band released this self-titled debut EP at the Glasgow Jazz Festival and it has been featured on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 3. The four tracks, Chrysalis, The North Cape, Happy Monkey Dance and Malarone Dreams bring us a taste of a good 26 minutes of the band's music.

Chrysalis opens the album with percussion and bass rhythms and hints of West Africa before the keyboards add a smooth texture to the theme. The saxophone then quietly weaves, the trumpet makes a slow statement over a few bars and the rhythms return. This is excellently co-ordinated music. The lyrical, tripping keyboard solo from Alan Benzie follows, hands over to another lyrical solo from the sax and all the while drums, guitar and bass keep the underlying rhythms rolling until the band restate the theme. The rhythms return to close the track.

Click here to listen to Chrysalis.

The North Cape has the bass swelling out of drums with lone snatches of trumpet, the music fades to a quiet keyboard before swelling again and Michael Butcher's saxophone brings a variety of sensitivities to its solo. MezclaBen MacDonald's guitar gets a chance to take an extended enjoyable outing until the theme returns quietly and a light lone keyboard closes.

Happy Monkey Dance is well named. It has the drums setting the dance rhythm as the catchy theme comes in with its West African High Life steps and Ben MacDonald's guitar takes an extended fast and dextrous solo that eventually gives way to Joshua Elcock's trumpet joined in time by saxophone and keys. Underneath, David Bowden's bass holds the thing together, and then it is over to Stephen Henderson to shine on his drum kit before the theme closes down the dance.

And then Malarone Dreams. Guitar slow with bass and percussion, heralding a dreamy combination of trumpet, saxophone and keys. The trumpet wistfully solos over bass and keyboards, the riff picked up by the guitar. Alan Benzie's keyboards lightly explore ideas until the rest of band join with the theme gradually fading as the EP ends.

The fact that this is just an EP with 4 tracks might mean that it doesn't get the attention it deserves, and yet for a fiver (and only £4 digitally!), it is worth every penny. The compositions are so enjoyable and the arrangements well thought through so that the flavours of the music are tasteful. The musicians blend the ingredients so that you appreciate the complete dish. In Spanish, 'Mezcla' can mean a 'mixture' as in 'The chef used a delicious mixture of ingredients' hence my analogy. Other bands, musicians and tunes have been named 'Mezcla' and David Bowden's music is a worthy reflection of the Latin Jazz from Cuba that many people will enjoy. I hope there will be a full CD coming somewhere down the line, but in the meanwhile, taste and savour this.

Click here for details and to listen to the album.

Click here for David Bowden's website.


Ian Maund


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Album Released: 27th November 2017 - Label: Marquetry Records


Tony Woods Project

Hidden Fires


Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us:

Hidden Fires is the fourth album from the Tony Woods Project; it has no liner notes and there are 8 tracks, with the longest being 12 minutes.  Of these 8 tracks, 7 were composed by Woods and the 8th is based on a traditional folk song but arranged by Woods.

Click here for a video of the band playing Hidden Fires on the Ayala Show in 2016.

The previous albums have more or less the same musicians since the Project was formed in the mid-nineties with Robert Millett on vibes/marimba, Andy Hamill on bass, Mike Outram on electric guitar, Milo Fell on drumsTony Woods Project Hidden Fires and Tony Woods on a range of wind instruments including the penny whistle.

Tony Woods, a saxophonist and jazz educator with his wife, singer Nette Robinson, is also a member of the south-west London jazz collective Way Out West.  He has frequently performed with Michael Garrick both live and in the recording studio in large and small ensembles.  Some of the tracks have a folk feel and this may be because Woods is the son of renowned folk musician and concertina player Rollo Woods.  As Woods says, “One thing I try to achieve with this music is the sense of narrative, not in terms of words, but more that the music is going somewhere, so there’s a narrative thread in the written tunes and also the improvisations.  And that’s whether it’s in a free, abstract way or over the chord changes”.

The opening number Queen Takes Knight has a clarinet that weaves through the melody played by the other band members until the vibes take over.  I like this track but cannot pin down why I do.  This is followed by Igneous Rock, and the start reminded me of an Irish jig before morphing into much slower and thoughtful playing with Woods showing his skill and the range of his playing as it picks up pace.  The excellent vibes playing in the slower interludes seem to pull the melody apart and put it back together again.  The contrast between the faster and slower pace work well. 

Bonfire Carol is a traditional, dark folk song which is beautifully arranged here by Woods into a slow rich evocative melody.  Metamorphic, starts with a melody played on a penny whistle with a contrasting bass solo Tony Woods Hidden Firesand is a nice breezy number. It has a mix of musical styles and instruments which climax into a joyful end.  Gargantus and Pantagruel are based on comic stories by Rabelais and were commissioned for an art exhibition at the Walton Riverhouse.  Gargantus has a nice slow smokey sax with a constant slow beat of a drum and with the vibes and guitar both contributing to the melody as it progresses, ably helped by interesting bass melodies.  On this track, however, the musical story has an improv. ending which is a stark contrast to the rest, yet this is possibly the most narrative track for me.  With Pantagruel, this again has a folksy feel in parts and a dance feel in other parts but gets very “modern” as it is played.  

The title track, Hidden Fires, has a lively interplay between the sax, vibes and guitar before the sax takes over with powerful playing by Woods prior to the percussion taking the lead.  This is a mellow track with an uplifting ending.  The last track is called Firelight with haunting vibraphone, clear clarinet and the bass making this a relaxing lyrical number with which to conclude the set.

There are a number of tracks here that have great contrasts between hard/fast and slow/soft playing which makes for a great listening experience and some unusual bass melodies contrasting with the higher registers of the wind instruments.  I found it difficult to pick a favourite track, but the starting track and the ending track topped and tailed the album well and all of this album merits much repeat playing.

Click here for details.

Tim Rolfe


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Album Released: 6th October 2017 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings


Rez Abbasi

Unfiltered Universe


Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Rez Abbasi (electric guitar); Rudresh Mahanthappa (alto saxophone); Vijay Iyer (piano); Johannes Weidenmueller (double bass); Dan Weiss (drums); Elizabeth Mikhael(cello).

In January 2015 I reviewed Rez Abbasi’s acoustic album, Intents and Purposes on the Enja label.  I liked it a lot.  The recording nagged at my ears off-and-on for months.  He took John McLaughlin’s Resolution, a Mahavishnu Birds Of Fire track, and set the piece up unplugged.  I’d keep on going back to Mr Abbasi’s acoustic version.  It sparks, yet at the same time I kept hearing an electric guitarist trying to get out.  Rez Abassi Unfiltered UniverseI independently hunted out his albums Things To Come and Suno Suno and the electricity of Rez Abbasi caught fire, I became totally convinced.  With the release of Unfiltered Universe here’s the aural proof, Rez Abbasi is one mega serious musician.  Miles Davis might have married him if he’d thought it would have got the guitarist into his later-band line-ups.  As it is, the presence of Rudresh Mahanthappa’s alto and Vijay Iyer’s piano provide perfect foils.  Bob Dylan once wrote, “You can’t buy a thrill”, Steely Dan agreed with him; I’m here to tell you, shell out on Unfiltered Universe, there are thrills aplenty, it will repay the investment.

The opening line of Propensity grabs at the gap of expectation.  The hook is immediate, followed quickly by Mahanthappa’s exquisite alto break speaking volumes (play it loud).  The Abbassi guitar stings as it gradually takes over.  Consummate stuff.  The two musicians are somehow wired up to an identical muse.  Where Mahanthappa raps his reed through ever circling arpeggios both musicians talk truth to the moment.  After Mahanthappa, the guitar wades in on repeat riffs.  Except this is a different voice, and Rez Abbasi has suddenly found space to string his own interest in ‘Carnatic music’ into knots binding so tight no one is going to untie him. 

The Tunisian oud player, Anouar Brahem has just released an album on ECM (also reviewed this month) with Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette and Django Bates.  Their album, Blue Maqams takes a different path at ‘filtering’ their context within an East/West fusion perspective.  Both albums succeed.  Both cover a massive distance.  But unlike Brahem’s session, which shadow dances ‘blue’ into ‘blues’ yet goes down deep into both territories, Rez Abbasi’s Propensity cuts straight through tradition.  His electric guitar, plus Mahanthappa’s alto sax, are surgically equipped to by-pass Carnatic whilst at the same time acknowledging its presence.  They draw from the tradition but play right into their own agenda.  And let’s not overlook bass, drums, piano, and the cello wildcard; the ensemble hold onto the action as if gripped by force of circumstance.  They seemingly have no choice but to become the catalyst of whatever Abbasi gives them.  By the time Vijay Iyer takes a short piano break Propensity has already burnt all the bridges between this band.  Almost a shocking start, the sheer physicality of this beginning is moveable, it asks something of the listener.  Initially, how do you respond to such viral music?

Click here to listen to Propensity.



(Carnatic music is from Southern India.  It is traditionally centred around a vocalist, often using violin and a tambura drone.  Percussion is usually via the mridangam rather than tabla.  The mridangam is a double headed hand-drum played across the lap.  Because the Carnatic form is derived from vocal composition, the ‘improvisation’ turns on a different (though related structure) to that of the more familiar sitar/tabla raga form associated with Indian virtuosos like Ravi Shanker and Vilayat Khan.  On Unfiltered Universe Rez Abassi draws inspiration from the Carnatic music tradition but doesn’t attempt a hybrid. There’s ‘nuance’, but what I actually hear is ‘jazz’.  If catching traditional Carnatic music is of interest I’d recommend a listen to Aruna Sairam.)



A title track usually carries a name for good reason.  I like this one.  I can’t be sure of the meaning but Unfiltered Universe is a slow blast and the moniker offers us infinite possibilities.  The track begins with hardly anything, then a refrain filters through, a lyrical twist of Iyer and Mahanthappa paralleling a fragile melody line with Elizabeth Mikhael’s cello providing a deepening undercurrent.  Her presence on this recording is not central, yet there are key moments throughout the album when her cello surges into a space as a lightening rod to the activity of others.  She is ambient-positive, not a tambura drone exactly, yet she chords dissonance into harmony and out the other side.  A subtle shift, a lift, a drop, it makes for a fine musical membrane. The double U titletrack has two smart solos. Rez Abbasi goes first, his guitar pierces with a deliberation; the epitome of refinement.  The other solo break from Vilayat Khan is all nudge and flow.  In a short space of time it ripplesRez bassi and speaks the length of the jazz tradition.  Recorded last year, nonetheless, his work on this album could almost be a dedication to Geri Allen (who died in June this year).

Unfiltered Universe is not just infinite possibilities, it suggests a mix of multitudes, rather than a firewall, there’s a willingness to bring ‘stuff’ on.  There’s one short track, under two minutes in length; Thoughts is solo electric guitar sounding like an alto horn.  This is an articulate ‘effects’ platform.  A guitar can harness electricity like no other instrument.  Mr Abbasi gives us his instant Thoughts.  It’s like a few wise words left in the air as someone walks out of the room.  The evidence is here; Rez Abbasi doesn’t ever ‘take over’ his own album, rather he’s playing the whole band, particularly Rudresh Mahanthappa.  These two musicians are in unison to a common denominator.

For me the key performance here is Turn Of Events.  Another title that speaks to the content.  For sure there are significant prewritten compositional elements in this piece, it also contains its own nod to Carnatic discipline.  Yet this intensely orchestrated shape of ‘jazz’ (yes, I’ll use the word) largely ‘turns’ on internal ‘events’ – the spontaneous interplay between all six musicians. I suppose one of the things I like about it is each player's apparent ability to stand back from their own input whilst at the same time being totally unafraid to ‘turn’ the tables when required.  A good example is when Abbasi and Mahanthappa swap currency with each other – horn to strings, strings to horn, unwinding the melodies without unravelling them.  Know what I mean? You don’t have to break the thread in order to untie the knot.

Rez Abbasi has put together a rash of fascinating bands over the last few years.  This one has got to rank with the best of them.  There are seven tracks on this session, each one has an individual unity whilst at the same time segueing into each other to make up a collective fifty-two minute Universe of adventure. Take the trip.

Click here to listen to Thin King from the album.

Click here for details and to sample the album.

Steve Day 

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Album Released: 16th November 2017 - Label: Young Turks


Kamasi Washington

Harmony Of Difference


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

Kamasi Washington (tenor saxophone); Ryan Porter (trombone); Dontae Winslow (trumpet); Cameron Graves (piano); Brandon Coleman (keyboards); Miles Mosley (acoustic bass); Thundercat (electric bass); Ronald Bruner Jr. (drums); Tony Austen (drums).

After the enormous acclamation received with the triple-album The Epic in 2015, Los Angeles saxophonistKamasi Washington Harmony Of Difference Kamasi Washington returns with Harmony of Difference, an EP that showcases six compositions deftly arranged to encompass such different styles as post-bop, smooth jazz, psychedelic soul, funk, and gospel.

For this concise (total time is 31:54) yet impactful body of work he relies on many of the bandmates who helped him to conceive The Epic, namely, trombonist Ryan Porter, pianist Cameron Graves, keyboardist Brandon Coleman, acoustic bassist Miles Mosley, electric bassist Thundercat, and drummers Ronald Bruner Jr. and Tony Austen. Trumpeter Dontae Winslow is the new addition here, replacing Igmar Thomas, while leading vocalist Patrice Quinn joins the influential choir that enriches “Truth”, the 13-minute spacey opus that closes the record.

Click here for a video for Truth.

Despite sharing an identical melody as the opening tune “Desire”, set as an ambient soul-jazz trance with chill-out harmonies and cool solos, this piece is expanded with additional sonic layers that include an 8-piece string section, guitar, vibraphone, flute, an extra sax (alto), and stately vocals. Embracing a fully-fledged symphonic poise, the tune revolves around the melody at first but speeds up conveniently for Kamasi’s solo, favourably challenged by guitarist Matt Haze’s pretty annotations and Graves’ responsive and diametrically opposed harmonic layouts. In the final section, ornamental guitar and dreamy horn ostinatos function as pigment intensifiers.

Only sinning for their too short duration, the remaining compositions trigger instant empathy and connection, Kamasi Washingtonrevealing the strong bond between Kamasi and his peers. If “Humility” is a demonstrative spiritual exaltation suffused with plenty of joy and excitement and featuring fervent if succinct improvisations from piano, trumpet, and tenor, “Knowledge” is a seductive, danceable manifestation of the spirit, propelled by sweet-tempered funky bass lines and a fulfilling patterned rhythm. The improvisations belong to Ryan Porter and the bandleader.

Perspective” boasts an outlandish, hypnotic intro before settling in a zone dominated by R&B and retro funk. It will make you clap your hands. As usual, the melody in the chorus is simple and attractive, a procedure also followed on “Integrity”, an unanticipated 100% Brazilian samba song with cuíca sounds included and a hard-driving groove.

Kamasi Washington, whose music remains passionate and poignant, exteriorizes his musicality with feeling and manages to attract followers from opposite sides of the jazz spectrum. He does this with a deep understanding of the past and an eye in the future.


Click here for details and to sample the album. Click here for Jazztrail review.

Filipe Freitas


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Album Released: 13th October 2017 - Label: ECM


Anouar Brahem

Blue Maqams


Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Anouar Brahem (oud); Dave Holland (double bass); Jack DeJohnette (drums); Django Bates (piano).

Anouar Brahem first crossed my path when my partner bought Madar, his second ECM album, which he recorded with Jan Garbarek and Ustad Shaukat Hussain in 1992.  The oud dates back to the 9th century and Anouar Brahem’s Madar was my first introduction to the instrument.  Sometimes I take a while to catch up.  I don’t think we actually put our ears to it until midway through that final decade of the 20th century. Since Madar we’ve been a long way with the oud.  If you’re interested in the breadth of the instrument’s historical perspective, I’d particularly recommend Adel Salameh’s The Arab Path To India with Salameh on oud and KAnouar Brahem Blue Maqams Sridhar playing sarod.  However, right now we have Blue Maqams, and this album represents a different place. 

If you know Anouar Brahem’s playing then I gotta tell yer, Blue Maqams is unlike anything else you’ve heard from the maestro to date. And if Mr Brahem is new to you this is the perfect place to begin.  An unusual statement to make when you consider this is now his eleventh album for ECM. I make it due to the presence of Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette.  It’s the first time Mr Brahem has involved a bass and drum team on one of his recordings (Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen were featured on Khomsa, but not throughout, and not in with the same intent).  Holland and DeJohnette cover a lot of ground, yet there’s always a hint of a serious contemporary jazz ascetic, and Blue Magams represents an object lesson in what constitutes a sublime line into the art of drum/bass eloquence. 

In reality Anouar Brahem has started all over again.  He’s positioned himself inside a ‘J-word’ quartet, albeit one that is working outside boundaries.  And to complete this act of transformation he has added the piano of Django Bates.  It’s a ‘chess’ move that might have people slowly shaking their heads in disbelief.  Shake no more.  Django Bates brings to this session, a considered lyrical certainty that opens up the music to all kinds of interpretations.  Not only is it necessary to reappraise Brahem, on the evidence here, Django Bates himself is deserving of a mighty new assessment.  He offers both an instant insight into Anouar Brahem’s intentions whilst at the same time fitting into the Holland/DeJohnette partnership like his name was Chick Corea.

Click here for a video introduction to the album.

Actually, to listen to the way Mr Bates falls into his lone three minute plus solo entry to The Recovered Road To Al-Sham, he’s at a place I haven’t heard Corea, or even Jarrett, inhabit in recent years.  A slow rhythmic repeat of the left hand against the right hand’s pointed potent melody is positively cosmic.  You can tell Bates is lucid and on the right ‘road’ because when Anouar Brahem’s oud eventually picks up the theme from him it is as if the pianist has already understood the pathos of the melody.  Django Bates has done the work, leaving the oud to grasp a visceral improvised soundscape from this setting.  We get buzzing drones, quick licks, plucked long deep lute lines of storytelling angling into the bottom of the unfretted neck.  I’d hesitate to call this a ‘jazz’ solo but I guess there are guys who would.  When Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette finally enter for Anouar Brahem bandthe last quarter of this performance they transform The Recovered Road into so-subtle funk.  It is Tunis turned into Manhatten (Avatar Studios, 441 West 53rd Street to be precise).  Unlike the Anouar Brahem I know from Madar, Thimar, and certainly not Astrakan Café, this is a new landscape and one that I welcome.

Blue Maqams begins with the appropriately named Opening Day, and although initially commencing with unaccompanied oud this already feels taut.  There’s a harder pluck/more ‘guitar’ gut (it isn’t, but I’m talking impressions).  There’s a short interlude in the middle with just piano and oud harmonising the melody, and it’s the keyboard that offers romanticism.  This oud is splitting hairs, coming on New York, touching a tougher place. The final cradle of this composition has the full quartet literally Opening up the Day. Look for it and you’ll hear it.  It’s a bold and brilliant start.

La Nuit gets a gold star for its introduction.  Mr Bates circling and rippling through and across Brahem’s picked variant melody, pinging and holding the notes; Holland and DeJohnette adding eggshell cracks into the mix.  (I wonder if anyone has ever told Jack DeJohnette how good he is at grace-glancing off cymbals?  They must have after all this time.)  The initial focus of La Nuit is piano and oud, but put an ear to how Holland and DeJohnette hold sway on their entries.  It’s like feeding the mystic, throwing accurate punches in darkness. I like a big shout for sure, yet La Nuit reminds me it’s the poise in the moment that really provides the breath.  And it’s the breath that keeps us all alive.

'Maqams'?  A melodic scale (mode).  The title track has the oud picking a maqam against a wisp of DeJohnette.  When I first heard Anouar Brahem all those years ago spilling beans into Ustad ShaukatAnouar Brahem Hussain’s tablas - Sebika or Jaw. Oh, it was thrilling stuff; still is.  But you know, twenty years on, to hear this laid back pull-off PLUCK pick into the Jack DeJohnette swish and pulse, it makes me feel like asking what took them so long?  DeJohnette beats across the oud.  He stops. The oud continues and then the super drummer is back, not being ‘super drummer’, just hitting it damn right. 


Anouar Brahem
Photograph by Adel Brahem




Another fine thing about this new session is that Brahem quotes from his past without carrying on living there. Bahia is a track originally featured on Astrakan Café.  When Mr Brahem begins his re-enactment for Blue Maqams it doesn’t sound too far from the Caf, even singing the melody softly as he did on the original.  But that’s not where it stays, in comes David Holland’s sonorous double bass binding around the hook, and those funky drum patterns emerge; the oud stretches forth as if given renewed strength.  Old men look back; wise men see their past and then walk forward. 

Django Bates does not contribute to Bahia.  Not so with the other past ‘quote’, Bom Dia Rio, recognisably Bates. For me, Bom Dia Rio is the track which places Django back into the tango and positions Anouar Brahem within the ‘jazz’ canon. It begins rather like Bahia. The oud alone, a desert whispering voice, and then Bates, Holland and DeJohnette enter like the evening tide - the swell, then the wave that sweeps all before them.  There’s a classic Dave Holland solo circulating drum beats – for a few minutes it could be any one of those diamond quartets he has led over the last forty years. Except that what builds from the bass solo is serious J-word oud coming on wonderfully strung out (for certain, he’s been listening to guitarist Kevin Eubanks with Holland).  This is nu-oud. Transformative.  And underneath Mr Bates is fabulously inspiring; doing what really ace jazz pianists do – setting up the ensemble while at the same time playing their own gobsmacking variant that makes you want to keep pressing the repeat button.  It’s a nine minute study in empathetic group playing and really it could have been double the length. 

I guess things had to make way for Persepolis’s Mirage, built on a tightly disguised blues pedal point.  There’s a strong figurative piano break here too.  Right now it sounds like a career best – but hey, it’s Django Bates, and I could think of a few that come into that category.

Look, this album has nine tracks and that means nine reasons why you definitely need to check this session out.  A true meeting of minds.  Blue Maqams takes the ears to places they haven’t been to before, whilst at the same time there’s aural recognition of what’s going on.  Anouar Brahem has visionised a great album and then gone right ahead and recorded one.  Tunis, Manhatten, Chicago, Beckenham, maybe Munich too, it’s all there.  Now disregard the place names and just switch onto awesome music.

Click here for details.


Steve Day


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Choice Cuts / Slim Pickings


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

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



Gregory Porter Nat King Cole & me



Gregory Porter - Nat King Cole & Me - (Blue Note)
Gregory Porter (vocals) plus various personnel.
Details and Sample :
Review : Video Introduction






Billy Lester Trio Italy 2016



Billy Lester Trio - Italy 2016 - (Ultra Sound Records)
Billy Lester (piano); Marcello Testa (bass); Nicola Stranieri (drums)
Details and sample : Review :





Miles Davis and Bill Evans complete studio and live masters



Miles Davis and Bill Evans - Complete Studio & Live Masters - (One Records Box Set, 3 CDs)
Miles Davis (trumpet); Bill Evans (piano); CannonballAdderley (alto sax); John Coltrane (tenor sax); Paul Chambers (bass); Jimmy Cobb (drums) plus on some tracks Red Garland (piano); Philly Jo Jones (drums) and Michel Legrand Orchestra.






Ella Fitzgerald Live At The Concertgebouw 1961



Ella Fitzgerald - Live At The Concertgebouw 1961 - (Fondamenta)
Ella Fitzgerald (vocals): Lou Levy (piano); Herb Ellis (guitar); Wilfred Middlebrooks (bass); Gus Johnson (drums).
Details :






Indigo Kid III Moment Gone In The Clouds



Indigo Kid III - Moment Gone In The Clouds - (Babel Label)
Dan Messore (guitar); Gareth Lockrane (flute); Calum Gourlay (bass); Tim Giles (drums).
Details and Sample :






Brad Garton and Dave Soldier The Brainwave Project



Brad Garton and Dave Soldier - The Brainwave Music Project - (Mulatta - available January 2018)
Dave Soldier (musician/neuroscientist): Brad Garton (composre//computer musician); Dan Truman (hardanger fiddle); Margaret Lancaster (solo flute); Terry Pender (mandolin); William Hooker (trap drums).
Details and sample : Click here for details about this experimental project based on brainwaves :






Peggy Lee with the Benny Goodman Orchestra



Peggy Lee - Peggy Lee With The Benny Goodman Orchestra : 1941-1947 - (Acrobat, 2 CDs)
Peggy Lee (voacls), Benny Goodman (clarinet) and various personnel.
Details and Sample :






Ambrose Akinmusire A Rift In Decorum



Ambrose Akinmusire - A Rift In Decorum : Live At The Village Vanguard - (Decca - UMO)
Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet);  Sam Harris (piano); Harish Raghavan (bass); Justin Brown (drums).
Details and sample : Jazztrail review : Listen to 'Moment In Between The Rest' from the album :







Maciej Obara Quartet Unloved



Maciej Obara Quartet - Unloved - (ECM)
Maciej Obara (saxophone);  Dominik Wania (piano); Ole Morten Vagan (bass); Gard Nilssen (drums).
Details and sample : Jazztrail review :







Nat King Cole The Complete Nelson Riddle Studio Sessions



Nat King Cole - The Complete Nelson Riddle Studio Sessions - (Music Milestones - Box Set, 8 CDs )
Nat King Cole (vocals) plus various personnel including Harry 'Sweets' Edison (trumpet); Jimmy Rowles (piano); John Collins (guitar); Charlie Harris (bass); Lee Young (drums).
Details : Review




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Some UK Jazz Venues



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


Dublin: JJ Smyth's, 2, Aungier Street, Dublin 2.

Dublin: Sugar Club, 8, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2.

Dublin: National Concert Hall, Dublin 2.

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

Dublin: Whelan's, Wexford Street, Dublin 2.

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

For other regular jazz sessions in Dublin contact Ollie Dowling from Quality Music Tel: 00 353 87 2878755 or


Scotland: The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen, 121 Gallowgate, Aberdeen, AB25 1BU.

Scotland: Fife Jazz Club, The Woodside Hotel, Aberdour. email:

Scotland: The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, 1a, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HR.

Wales: Dempsey's, Cardiff, 15, Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BS.


Newcastle-upon-Tyne: The Jazz Cafe, 25 - 27 Pink Lane, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 5DW.

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

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

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

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

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

Yorkshire: Jazz In The Spa, Boston Spa, Village Hall, High Street, Boston Spa.

South Yorkshire: Sheffield Jazz, Various venues in Sheffield.

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

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

Birmingham: Birmingham Jazz Listings

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

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

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

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

Buckinghamshire: Amersham Jazz Club, Beaconsfield SYCOB FC HP9 2SE.

Oxford: The Oxford Wine Cafe, 38 South Parade, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7JN

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

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

Oxfordshire: Witney Jazz, Burwell Hall, Thorney Leys, Witney OX28 5NP.


Jazz London Live


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



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

London: King's Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG.

London: LUME,

London: Pizza Express, Soho, 10, Dean Street, London W1.

London: The Spice Of Life, Soho, 6, Moor Street, London W1.

London: Ronnie Scott's Club, Soho, 47 Frith Street, London W1.  

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

London: The Green Note, Camden, 106 Parkway, Camden, London NW1 7AN.

London: Chickenshed Theatre Jazz Bar, Southgate, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE.

London: The Vortex, 11, Gillett Street, N16 8AZ.

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

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

London: Jazz In The Round, The Cockpit, Marylebone, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH.

London: Omnibus, Old Clapham Library, 1 Clapham Common Northside, London, SW4 0QW.

London: 606 Club, 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0QD.

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

London: Putney, The Half Moon, Putney , 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1EU.
Dick Laurie's Elastic Band. The band now plays the first Sunday and third Sunday of every month.
Sunday 10th December and Sunday 24th December - 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm

London: The Hideaway, Streatham, 25 Streatham High Rd, London SW16 6EN.

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

London: East Side Jazz Club, Leytonstone Ex-Servicemen's Club, 2 Harvey Road, Leytonstone, London, E11 3DB

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


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

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

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

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

Surrey: The Grey Horse, Kingston-Upon-Thames, 46 Richmond Road, Kingston-Upon-Thames, KT2 5EE.

Surrey: The Barley Mow, Shepperton, 67 Watersplash Road, Shepperton, TW17 0EE.

Kent: The Roffen, New Road Rochester, ME1 1DX.

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

Sussex: Brighton Jazz Club,

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

Sussex: Chichester Jazz Club, Pallant Suite, 7 South Pallant, Chichester, PO19 1SY.

Hampshire: Fleet Jazz Club, The Harlington Centre, 236 Fleet Rd, Fleet GU51 4BY (every 3rd Tuesday each month - except August). &


Gloucestershire: Cirencester, Kings Head Hotel, 24 Market Place, Cirencester GL7 2NR.

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

Bristol: The Be-Bop Club, The Bear, Hotwell Road, Bristol, BS8 4SF.

Bristol: Future Inns, Cabot Circus, Bond St S, Bristol BS1 3EN.

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

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

Dorset: Bridport Arts Centre, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NR.

Dorset: Sound Cellar, Poole, The Blue Boar, 29 Market Close, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1NE,

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



Jazz Talks: Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas


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


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:


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Archie Shepp


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