Contact Us

 

Sandy Brown Jazz
What's New
September 2020

What's New

Missed Something?
Our Archived Pages:
Tea Breaks
Tracks Unwrapped
Full Focus
People Profiles
Jazz Remembered
Photographic Memories
Forum
Information Requests
Click for this month's:
Recent Releases
Quiz
Departure Lounge
Video Juke Box
Tea Break
Follow us on Facebook
Join our Mailing List

Count Basie Through His Own Eyes

 

COUNT BASIE THROUGH HIS OWN EYES - On 11th September, Eagle Vision are releasing two documentaries celebrating Count Basie 'Through His Own Eyes' and Ella Fitzgerald 'Just One Of Those Things'. The documentaries will be released on digital formats. We will give a link when one is available, or search for them online from 11th September. Count Basie: Through His Own Eyes is a revealing biography of this jazz pioneer, the film uncovers his inspirations and passions, as well as his private and family life. Director Jeremy Marre layers the film with a wealth of home movies and photo albums, underscoring Basie’s conversations of his relationship with wife Catherine (whose work in African-American causes placed her at the side of Martin Luther King) and his protective, undying love for his daughter Diane, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The film features rare performances with Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis Jr., and more. Click here for a preview.

 

 

Jill Scott

 

Jill Scott As 'The Queen Of Gospel' In A New Movie

The multi-Grammy winning neo-soul and R&B legend Jill Scott is set to take up the role of playing the "Queen of Gospel" Mahalia Jackson in a new biopic - Mahalia! The film, which is being produced by the Grammy-winning rapper Queen Latifah and the Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx (who received an Oscar for playing Ray Charles in 2004 film Ray), is based on Darlene Donloe's novel Mahalia Jackson. The star team have reportedly secured the rights to Jackson’s entire musical catalogue for the film, which will document her musical and activist life. In a social media post, Jill Scott claimed, "Every story about Mahalia Jackson is worth the watch. I feel stupendously honored."

Announcing the news, Queen Latifah said, "This is such an incredibly important story to tell and we’re thrilled to work with Jamie on the project...and and to share Mahalia’s inspiring journey to becoming the Queen of Gospel music." Holly Carter, who is one of the executive producers of the film stated, “I believe Ms. Scott was a godsend and will be absolute perfection in the lead role.”

Click here for more details.

 

 

 

Green Shoots

It was good to see that pianist Alex Webb was able to start playing with a live band to a live audience in August. "Mind you, after all this time I hardly knew which end of the piano to blow down ... ", he says. "I suppose like every jazz musician - every musician? - in the UK, I Alex Webb Trio Boisedaleswas beginning to wonder if I was ever going to play live again.  The last time I'd played live was February 26th; gigs which were rescheduled for April were rescheduled for September and are now being rescheduled for some time in 2021."

"Then I got a call from the London's Boisdales restaurant, which has had a long-standing live jazz policy, to put together an instrumental trio for a Sunday lunch on 2nd August - the weekend that Ronnie's was supposed to re-open, too.  I'd been asked to put together a drummerless group so I reached out to a great guitarist I'd never had a chance to work with, Nigel Price, and bass virtuoso Andy Cleyndert.  And guess what - they were both free. Well, in a manner we've come to expect, at the last minute the rules were changed and the gig was cancelled, Ronnie's re-opening likewise. "

"We were rescheduled for the 16th but it wasn't until we walked out on the restaurant's little stage that I quite believed it was really going to happen - my first gig in six months! An unremarkable occasion in a sense - three sets of standards to a room of diners - but it felt so good, and if you're going to put something together at short notice, you can't go too far wrong with musicians of that calibre.  We were swinging.  We were back there the following Sunday and then I'm playing there with one of my all-time favourite singers, Jo Harrop. on Tuesdays 15th and 29th September, with Neville Malcolm on bass (click here for details).  Let's hope this is the start of something, because until now looking in my diary's been making me go snow-blind ..."

We look forward to the time when Alex's Copasetic Foundation can also start staging live shows again. As a reminder click here for a video of Work Song from their show Portrait Of Cannonball featuring Tony Kofi, Byron Wallen and Deelee Dubé.

Other gigs are due to start in September including at Crazy Coqs, 20 Sherwood Street, London, W1F 7ED, and Jazz Leeds. Look out for the beginning of live gigs near to you and support them if you can.

 

 


Jazz On A Summer's Day Re-Release Jazz On A Summers Day poster

 

JazzFM reports that Bert Stern's classic film of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival Jazz On A Summers Day has been re-released in August via the online platform Kino Marquee, having recently undergone a full 4K restoration.

'Featuring performances by Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Anita O’Day, Dinah Washington, Chico Hamilton, Mahalia Jackson and more, Jazz On A Summer’s Day features perhaps the most historically significant segment of the film - and possibly its least jazzy portion - is the appearance of rock & roll pioneer Chuck Berry, backed with some bemusement by Count Basie’s rhythm section.'

Due to the restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, the film is released in "virtual cinemas" supporting independent art houses.

Click here for the trailer. At the time of writing, the film does not appear to be available for streaming from a UK source, but please let me know if you find otherwise. Keep any eye on streaming and DVD sources. It is available from the USA e.g. The Loft Cinema.

 

 

 

 

 

Video Juke Box

*Click on the pictures to watch the videos..... or Click on the picture of the Juke Box and see what comes up.

 

 

Juke Box

 

 

Jazzmeia Horn video

 

The amazing Jazzmeia Horn became the centre of attention for saxophonist and bandleader Tommy Smith in late July / early August as he edited the Texas-born, New York-based vocalist's performance of her song Free Your Hand with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra at the Usher Hall last year. The result was the orchestra's second video release which was launched with a world exclusive broadcast on Jazz FM and a special arrangement with The Times online. More SNJO videos might follow.  

 

 

 

 

 

Don Rendell Ian Carr Pavane

 

 

My thanks to David Edmondson for a reminder of Ian Carr and Don Rendell. Here they are at the Antibes Jazz Festival in 1968 playing Pavane with Michael Garrick, Dave Green and Trevor Tomkins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Olatuja Soki

 

 

Bass player, composer and arranger Michael Olatuja released a new album in June Lagos Pepper Soup, which bursts with guest performances. This video of Soki from the album features vocalist Dianne Reeves and guitarist Lionel Loueke. [See Recent Releases and this article by Robin Kidson].

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martin Taylor and Tony Kofi

 

From the many socially distanced performances videod during the Covid 19 restrictions here are two. The first is by guitarist Martin Taylor and saxophonist Tony Kofi who co-operated to film thieir version of Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?.

 

 

 

 

 

Zem Audu Bamijo

 

 

The second is by saxophonist Zem Audu. Born in Nigeria, Zem grew up in the UK, graduated from Trinity College of Music in 2008 and was awarded a Yamaha Jazz scholarship. Zem has since moved to America where he has steadily built up his career. In this video, Zem goes outside to play Bamijo, he says: '2020 has been a crazy year so far. These daily music meditations have helped me, may they help you too. Stay creative, stay inspired!'

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Crosby video

 

 

Here's the Bob Crosby Orchestra from 1938 playing for dancers at the Island Road Casino. Crosby and Kay Webber take the vocals and the video features Don Lawson (trumpet), Eddie Miller (sax), Bob Haggart (bass) and Ray Bauduc (drums).

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Ella Fitzgerald - The Lost Berlin Tapes Ella The Lost Berlin Tapes

A newly discovered recording of Ella Fitzgerald is set to be released, Ella - The Lost Berlin Tapes, after it was found in a collection of records belonging to her late manager Norman Granz, the founder of the Verve label.

The live concert captures Ella with her jazz trio: pianist Paul Smith, bassist Wilfred Middlebrooks, and drummer Stan Levey on stage at the Sportpalast in Germany in March 1962.

'The First Lady of Song Returns to Berlin, Home of Her Legendary Concerts. Recorded in 1962 but NEVER released, hear the most popular jazz singer of all time deliver an iconic performance at Sportpalast Berlin for the first time. This recording finds Ella and her band at the top of their game recorded in HIGH FIDELITY STEREO. With only two songs repeated from her hit record “Mack The Knife” two years earlier, this undiscovered recording stands on its own.' (Verve Records).

Ella - The Lost Berlin Tapes will be released on October 2nd 2020 on CD, vinyl and MP3 download. Click here for pre-release details.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

Roy Eldridge
Let Me Off Uptown

 

Roy Eldridge

Roy Eldridge

 

'Other white bandleaders were now hiring other black stars, as well, and dealing as best they could with the trouble their new men often encountered on the road. Artie Shaw canceled thirty-one one-nighters in the South rather than give in to a contract that required him to seat Lips Page a minimun of fifteen feet from the rest of the band ... and Gene Krupa was briefly jailed for punching a Pennsylvania restaurant owner who had allowed all of his men except Roy Eldridge through the door ...'

'For all his power and combativeness, Eldridge was also a proud and sensitive man. In the end the effort required to maintain his composure in the face of the daily indignities he experienced as the sole black musician in a white band would prove more than even he could bear:

Roy Eldridge and Gene Krupa

 

"I knew I'd have to be awful cool; I knew all eyes were on me .... All the guys in the band were nice, and Gene [Krupa] was especially wonderful [but when] we headed west for some one-nighters, winding up in California, that was when the trouble began. We arrive in one town and the rest of the band checks in. I can't get into their hotel, so I keep my bags and start riding around looking for another place, where someone's supposed to have made a reservation for me. I get there and move all my bags in .... then the clerk, when he sees I'm the 'Mr Eldridge' the reservation was made for, suddenly discovers that one of their regular tenants just arrived and took the last room.... By the time that has happened night after night, it begins to work on my mind, I can't think right, can't play right....."

"When we finally got to the Palladium in Hollywood I had to watch who I could sit at tables with. If they were movie stars who wanted me to come over, that was all right; if they were just jitterbugs, no dice. And all the time the bouncer with his eye on me .... I had to live way out in Los Angeles while the rest of the guys stayed in Hollywood ... I got to brooding .....Then it happened. One night the tension got so bad I flipped. I could feel it right up to my neck while I was playing 'Rockin' Chair'. I started trembling, ran off the stand, and threw up. They carried me to the doctor's. I had a 105 fever; my nerves were shot".

 

Click here to listen to Roy playing Rockin' Chair with the Gene Krupa Orchestra.

 

...Things got worse in the South. In Norfolk, Virginia, Eldridge and the white singer Anita O'Day had to perform their hit duet 'Let Me Off Uptown' from opposite sides of the stage. He found himself barred from the men's room and expected to make do with a bucket ... '

Click here for a video of Roy, Anita and the Gene Krupa Orchestra together in 1942 with Let Me Off Uptown.

'He loyally stayed with Krupa till that band broke up. In 1944, he accepted an offer to join Artie Shaw and again met with trouble in California ...

"Some of the guys who knew I liked Mexican food suggested that we go to a little Mexican joint. When they refused to serve me, all the other guys walked out with me, but it all started to put me in that mood again. [Then] I went to the place where we were supposed to play a dance and they wouldn't even let me in .... 'This is a white dance,' they said, and there was my name right outside. When I finally did get in , I played that first set, trying to keep from crying .... Man, when you're on the stage you're great, but as soon as you come off, nothing. It's not worth the glory, not the money, not worth anything. Never again!"

In fact he would join Krupa five years later. By then, thanks in part to his courageous pioneering, integrated bands were no longer so great a novelty and conditions on the road had at least begun to change ....'

From: Jazz - A History Of America's Music by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns

 

Roy Eldridge Anita O'Day and Gene Krupa

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

Peter King

Photographer Brian O'Connor sends us these pictures and his memory of meeting saxophonist Peter King who sadly passed through the Departure Lounge in August:

 

Peter King

 

The year was 1985.  Peter had just been interviewed by my good friend Stan Britt.  I had been unable to go with him to take a few photos, due to work interrupting my leisure hours.  It was therefore arranged for me to visit Peter at his home in, I believe, Putney, to remedy the matter.

Accompanied by another friend, Graham Thomas, we descended on his abode early one evening.  We knocked on the door.  Nothing.  Knocked again.  Nothing.  After the third or fourth time it became apparent that the house was indeed occupied.  Eventually a hazy shape materialised behind the frosted glass in the door frame.  Slowly but surely it opened. We had both arrived after work, dressed in suits.  Through the glazed window in the door we probably appeared to be quite a frightening sight for anyone allegedly committing a misdemeanour.

A rather hesitant Mr. King inched his head out into the open, whereupon we identified ourselves and our purpose.  The following quote approximates what he replied:

“Bloody hell, thank goodness for that.  I thought it was the rozzers.”

The following photo session and chat revealed that one of Peter's main interest outside jazz was aeroplanes, both model and  full size.  In one of the photos you can actually see that he is reading an aeroplane magazine.   Who'd have thought it? A very sad departure, and the era from which he came has lost another one of the now few remaining icons.

 

Peter King

 

Click here for a video of Peter King playing three years earier in 1982. The tune is Peter's composition Blues For S.J. with Dick Pearce (trumpet) and Spike Wells (drums) and it is suggested that the pianist is John Horler and the bass player Dave Green, but others might know for sure.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Take Two

My Old Man

 

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

 

Joni Mitchell Blue

 

Joni Mitchell's song My Old Man appeared on her fourth studio album, Blue. The album is a classic. Wikipedia summarises the milestone recording well: 'Today, Blue is generally regarded by music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time; the way Mitchell's songwriting, compositions and voice all work together are frequent areas of praise. In January 2000, The New York Times chose Blue as one of the 25 albums that represented "turning points and pinnacles in 20th-century popular music". In 2012, Blue was rated the 30th best album ever made in Rolling Stone's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time", the highest entry by a female artist ... In July 2017, Blue was chosen by NPR as the greatest album of all time made by a woman.'

The NPR claim might be argued, but nevertheless, the album produced some fine songwriting by Joni including Little Green, Carey and A Case Of You. More about the album can be found in the Wikipedia article (click here). Joni herself commented: "The Blue album, there's hardly a dishonest note in the vocals. At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world and I couldn't pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defenses there either."

Joni's recording of the song My Old Man is worth hearing a few times. There is a video of her singing it in a BBC recording (click here), but you can listen to the track from the album here.

 

My old man
He's a singer in the park
He's a walker in the rain
He's a dancer in the dark
We don't need no piece of paper
From the city hall
Keeping us tied and true
My old man
Keeping away my blues


My Old Man does not appear to have been widely recorded by jazz musicians, but its potential is evident from the two recordings chosen here.

The first is a video of the Tom Green Septet recording the number for their new and excellent album Tipping Point, released in April 2020. It is a shame that the Coronavirus has put on hold any touring by the band but when one day you get the chance to hear them, take it. The band is: Tom Green (trombone); James Davison (trumpet/flugelhorn); Tommy Andrews (alto/soprano saxophones); Sam Miles (tenor saxophone); Sam James (piano); Misha Mullov-Abbado (double bass) and Scott Chapman (drums).

Click here for the Tom Green Septet and My Old Man.

 

Tom Green Septet My Old Man

 

He's my sunshine in the morning
He's my fireworks at the end of the day
He's the warmest chord I ever heard
Play that warm chord, play and stay baby
We don't need no piece of paper
From the city hall
Keeping us tied and true
My old man
Keeping away my blues

But when he's gone
Me and them lonesome blues collide
The bed's too big
The frying pan's too wide



Our second 'take' on My Old Man is quite different. This is a recording by trumpeter Dave Douglas from 1997/8 with Bill Carrothers (piano); James Genus (acoustic bass) and Billy Hart (drums) from the album Moving Portrait. Dave Douglas moved to New York in 1984, initially working with jazz and funk bands on the street while finishing a degree in music at New York University's Gallatin Division in 1986. From 1987 to 1990, he went on an international tour with Horace Silver, Vincent Herring, Dr. Nerve and the Bread and Puppet Theatre. In 1994, he produced his first album under the name of his trio: Tiny Bell Trio. Since then, he has been touring the world with his own groups. He is also a member of John Zorn's Masada and plays on records by Myra Melford, Anthony Braxton, Don Byron, Uri Caine, Cibo Matto, Sean Lennon, Fred Hersch, Mark Dresser and Tim Berne. 'As a composer and trumpeter, Dave Douglas explores paths outside traditional jazz and experiments with e.g. Hindustani music, mixing together Western and Indian instruments.' Dave Douglas new album Dizzy Atmosphere has recently been released.

 

Click here for Dave Douglas and My Old Man.

 

Dave Douglas

 

Then he comes home
And he takes me in his loving arms
And he tells me all his troubles
And he tells me all my charms
We don't need no piece of paper
From the city hall
Keeping us tied and true
No, my old man
Keeping away my blues

 

Joni Mitchell

 

 

 

Sean Connery Legacy

Scottish saxophonist, bandleader and educationalist Tommy Smith reminds us that Sir Sean Connery made a significant contribution to Scottish education including music. Sean Connery celebrated his ninetieth birthday in August. Born in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh in his early days Sean could be found working as a milkman, a lifeguard at Portobello Swimming Baths and as a model at the Art College where he posed for Sandy Sean ConneryBrown trumpeter Al Fairweather (Al and Sandy were both at the Art College).

What perhaps is less known is the reminder that Tommy Smith draws to our attention from an article in The Times:

' .... It turned out that, in comparison to Commander Bond's bravado in defeating the evil Blofeld, the actor's own efforts have been relatively undemonstrative, but an educational charity he founded in 1971 has helped hundreds of Scots fulfil their potential. He used his entire $1.2 million fee for Diamonds Are Forever, his sixth Bond film, to establish the Scottish Internation Educational Trust. It funds people from all walks of life, from budding cinematographers and promising young musicians to lawyers, scientific researchers and environmentalists. Ginnie Atkinson, the trust chairwoman, said that because Sir Sean was self-taught, he learnt the value of a proper education.' The article goes on to say: '... Every six Tommy Smithmonths or so, the board meets to allocate awards of up to £2,000 to about 20 people to help them attain a master's-level degree or equivalent, or to help with a special project. As the impact of coronavirus has kicked in, demand has reached a new high and (in September) the trustees will be asked to select the lucky few from 96 applicants. For years until his retirement ... Sir Sean took the keenest interest in every application ... Those who came through include Tommy Smith, the jazz saxophonist ...'.

Tommy says: 'When I was 16, the Scottish International Education Trust that Sir Sean Connery established using his entire fee of £1.2 million from the last Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever, entrusted to me a large sum of money to go to the USA and study jazz at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. I will be forever grateful for their generosity and belief. After returning to Scotland I tried my best to assist jazz education and develop a National jazz orchestra. My tuppence worth is nothing compared to Sean's but we all do our little bit for society and the arts. A truly Happy 90th Birthday to Sir Sean Connery, for he has given more gifts to young talented Scots than anyone.'

As a highly respected musician, educator and ambassador for jazz, Tommy Smith has contributed far more than 'tuppence worth'! In case you missed it in our Video Jukebox above, click here for Tommy leading the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and Jazzmeia Horn with Free Your Hand in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Michael Olatuja's
Lagos Pepper Soup

by Robin Kidson

 

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

 

Michael Olatuja

 

Whirlwind Recordings, the London-based record label founded by American musician, Michael Janisch, celebrates its 10th birthday this year. Over its first decade, it has been the conduit for some of the best and most interesting contemporary music around – and not just in the UK but globally. The label, which has released over 150 albums all told, has resisted the notion of a distinctive “Whirlwind Sound” and has instead cultivated a most welcome eclecticism, offering a product noted for its diversity as well as its quality.

As an illustration of that diversity, in the space of a few days in June, Whirlwind released two very different albums: Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Hero Trio and Michael Olatuja’s Lagos Pepper Soup. Hero Trio (reviewed on this website last month) is a piece of small group acoustic jazz in the American tradition of Parker, Coltrane and Coleman. By contrast, Lagos Pepper Soup employs a huge mix of performers and resources, including a string orchestra, to produce something which is still recognisably jazz but also incorporates influences from a wide range of other sources.

Click here for an introductory video for Lagos Pepper Soup.

Whirlwind’s variety of output reflects how multi-faceted jazz has become in the twenty-first century. Multi-faceted might also describe the life and career of Lagos Pepper Soup’s creator, Michael Olatuja. Born in London, he was raised in Lagos where his mother, Comfort Bola Olatuja, was a business woman and restaurant owner. He returned to the UK to study at Middlesex University and also began performing on the London jazz scene. A move to New York to study at the Manhattan School of Music eventually led to him settling in that city and establishing a successful music career.

The bass is Michael Olatuja’s instrument and his skill and versatility have earned him an enviable reputation. He has worked in all sorts of genres from straight jazz to soul and pop, accompanying artists ranging from Terence Blanchard and Kurt Elling to Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan. Playing in the pit bands of Broadway musicals such as Frozen  is yet another arrow to the impressive Olatuja bow. In 2009, he released Speak, his first album as a leader. This saw him working with a range of musicians includingMichael Olatuja Lagos pepper Soup the UK's Jason Rebello and Jean Toussaint. Speak was followed in 2011 by The Promise, a collaboration with his then wife, singer Alicia Olatuja.      

And now, in 2020, we have Lagos Pepper Soup which marks a significant step up in Olatuja’s musical development and profile. It is an album with a lot going on. It involves, for example, a lot of musicians. Olatuja has assembled a core band of himself on electric and acoustic bass, Aaron Parks (piano), Etienne Stadwijk (keyboards) and Terreon Gully (drums). Other musicians augment this core including a fifteen piece string orchestra on five of the twelve tracks. The album was recorded over five years in studios in New York and London so different tracks have different musicians playing on them. A final layer to the mix is the presence of a number of guest stars. Olatuja’s wide experience and reputation has given him a large network of impressive contacts and he has been able to call upon the likes of Regina Carter, Dianne Reeves, Laura Mvula and Joe Lovano to appear on the album.

There are also a lot of influences at work on the album which shifts through different genres with impressive ease. One influence becomes apparent on the very first track of the album, a short introductory piece called Even Now Prayer. It features only three musicians - Olatuja on electric bass, Stadwijk on keyboards and Gully on drums - but a big sound is generated as if a much larger ensemble is involved. The track has a Weather Report feel to it, and Olatuja channels his inner Jaco Pastorius. Other tracks on the album also bear Weather Report traces, and Olatuja’s compositional skills (he wrote most of the tracks on the album) and his ability to write complex but catchy tunes bring to mind Joe Zawinul.

A catchy tune is what comes next on the album with its title track, an exuberant piece of Afrobeat featuring Benin-born, New York based Angelique Kidjo on vocals and some stirring guitar work from Lionel Loueke also from Benin. Tip for listeners: it sounds great on headphones. Click here for the “official music video” of the track which is very slick but also captures the spirit of the piece. Here too is a brilliant, more jazz-inflected live performance of the title track, Lagos Pepper Soup, featuring Thana Alexa on vocals and some different musicians from the recorded version - click here.

The mood changes on the third track, The Hero’s Journey. One of Olatuja’s objectives for the album is to take the music of the three cities that have made him – London, Lagos and New York – and create something he calls 'Cinematic Afrobeat': “What you hear”, he says, “is a blend of three major cities: it’s a celebration of life and I wanted to make it sound like a soundtrack for a movie that hasn’t been made yet – maybe the next Black Panther movie”. The Hero’s Journey is the track which perhaps comes closest to achieving Dianne Reevesthat cinematic vision. The string orchestra is brought into play in a lush sweeping theme which one could imagine gracing a movie – not, perhaps the next Black Panther movie, more a Disney blockbuster. Olatuja has raided his impressive list of contacts and obtained the services of one of the top studio arrangers around, David Metzger, responsible for the orchestrations for Disney movies like Frozen and The Lion King. Violinist Regina Carter is the guest soloist and her improvisation soars beautifully over the theme.

 

Dianne Reeves

 

We come back to music influenced by West African rhythms and themes with the next track, Soki. The beat is derived from a Nigerian rhythm called woro – “a lot of African countries have their own version of it”, says Olatuja, “and what I love about Soki, which means “a little while” is that it also features woro styles from Mali, Cameroon and Senegal. It’s more like a Pan-African 6/8”. Yet another big star, Dianne Reeves, sings the words in Yoruba in her strong expressive voice. The string orchestra is to the fore again in an arrangement by Jason Michael Webb. Olatuja’s melody is both interesting and catchy and will effortlessly drill its way into your brain. Click here for the official video of Soki.

 

Next up is Ma Foya, meaning “Don’t Fear”, which Olatuja composed with Anna Omak. Olatuja switches from electric to the acoustic double bass and stretches out with some impressive solo work. He also provides “percussion and claps”. Stadwijk is on keyboards and the guest soloist is New York harpist, Brandee Younger. The tune is upbeat and infectious but also curiously soulful. Click here for the video.

Brighter Day was written by Olatuja with Kate Kelsey-Sugg. It features the string orchestra in another lush and cinematic arrangement by Joseph Joubert who also conducts. (Incidentally, Joubert is the conductor on all the album’s orchestral tracks). The piece has a complex but memorable, foot-tapping  tune, and the guest artist who sings the lyrics is Laura Mvula, another star from the A-List. Troy Miller, a friend from Olatuja’s London days, takes the drum chair. Click here for the video (on which, rather disappointingly, you don’t actually see Laura Mvula).

Shadows Fade is a ballad composed by Olatuja and Onaje Jefferson. Jefferson, who has a beautiful, soulful voice, also sings the lyrics. It has the feel of a high end pop/soul song but it also includes a solo from Olatuja which is straight ahead contemporary jazz. Aaron Parks gets the chance to show what he can do with a well-judged piano solo. The next track, Home True was written by British pianist, Robert Mitchell, who was something of a mentor to Olatuja in his formative London years. Mitchell also plays piano, Gregoire Maretkeyboards and moog on the track. Becca Stevens sings the lyrics, and Olatuja and Terreon Gully make up the rest of the personnel. It is a compelling piece of contemporary jazz with a complex, rather jagged rhythm but all, particularly Becca Stevens, are up to the challenge.

Bola’s Song is a tribute to Olatuja’s late mother, Comfort Bola Olatuja. Indeed, the whole album, and some of the other individual tracks, are dedicated to her memory. It is another of the cinematic tracks with the strings arranged by Jon Cowherd. The guest artist is Grégoire Maret, whose atmospheric wailing harmonica often makes the piece sound like the theme to a western. There is some particularly effective interplay between the harmonica and the vocals of Camille Thurman. The piece shifts through different moods from introspective and wistful to upbeat and hopeful. Mivakpola takes us back to straight, Weather Report-tinged jazz. The piece was composed by Lionel Loueke who plays guitar on the track and sort of hums in the background. The track, though, is made memorable by some fantastic drumming by Gully, and Olatuja’s skillful and compelling electric bass.

 

Grégoire Maret

 

More jazz on the penultimate track, Leye’s Dance, which features the great Joe Lovano on tenor sax. The tune is based around a Nigerian rhythm called fuji and is taken at a cracking pace. Lovano falls in with the beat and spirit of the piece and Magatte Sow is particularly effective on talking drum. The final track is Grace, which is partly an expression of Olatuja’s strong Christian faith. It’s a gently upbeat and joyous jazz ballad with a complex but coherent tune played by an acoustic quintet. Olatuja plays acoustic bass but stays largely in the background allowing the other four musicians to shine: Aaron Parks (piano), Terreon Gully (drums), Samir Zarif (tenor sax) and Michael Aarons (guitar).  “Thinking as a producer, says Olatuja, “I wanted different textures…So I was very conscious of dynamics. I really wanted some songs to sound epic, and the small ensembles to sound like a whisper. So I ended with Grace because it sounds like a benediction. And I feel that there’s been a lot of favour shown to me on this project, because of the way people came together: their hearts, their attitudes, made me feel that there was something bigger happening”.

Click here to listen to Grace.

Soup as a dish works by taking a number of different ingredients and mixing them together into a single whole. It can go wrong of course if the ingredients are defective or poorly chosen and the cook isn’t up to much. Michael Olatuja took a lot on in creating his own brand of Lagos Pepper Soup. Mixing together all those complex ingredients could so easily have resulted in the proverbial dog’s breakfast. Instead, Olatuja has managed to take all those elements - musicians, influences, genres, rhythms, logistics - and, with the help of a clear vision, sparkling tunes and some pretty impressive support, produce a dish which is spicy, refreshing and nutritious.


Click here for details and samples of the album. For more infomation about Lagos Pepper Soup (Bandcamp gives the price in dollars but this is converted to sterling if you choose to purchase). Click here for Michael Olatuja’s website.

 

Michael Olatuja

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Rodgers and Hart

The songs of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart have always provided a source of rich material for jazz musicians. We know their songs like the back of our hands - or do we? This month we give you some lines from fifteen Rodgers and Hart songs - how many can you identify?

 

Rodgers and Hart

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

Utah Tea Pot

Tea Break

 

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

 

Jonny Mansfield

 

Jonny Mansfield

 

 

Born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, percussionist, vibes player, composer and bandleader Jonny Mansfield grew up surrounded by music – his parents are both musicians and classical and jazz music have been a natural soundtrack to him at home. Jonny and his older brothers all went Elftet albumto Chetham’s School of Music and by the time he went to the Royal Academy of Music, Jonny was already playing with the National Youth Orchestra, the Verbier Festival Youth Orchestra and National Youth Jazz Collective. He graduated from the Royal Academy with a first class BMus degree.

Since then, Jonny has led or been part of various jazz ensembles. In Summer 2019, he released a debut album with his impressive eleven piece ensemble 'Elftet' following a fourteen date UK tour funded by the Arts Council. More of them later.

He is also a founding member of ‘Bonsai’, who have released two albums and who have toured extensively in Europe. Their most recent album was released in May 2019 on the Ubuntu Music label. Bonsai Bonsai Club albumwas nominated for a Parliamentary Jazz Award in June 2020 in the Jazz Newcomer category.

 

Click here for the track Tin from the Bonsai Club album:

 

Jonny has been the recipient of several awards including the Tebbut Exhibition Award, the Richard Turner Award, a Scott Philbrick Jazz Scholarship and the Principals Award from the Royal Academy of Music and in 2018, he was awarded the Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize. Jonny subsequently signed with Edition Records to release his Elftet album featuring Chris Potter, Gareth Lockrane and Kit Downes.

As a composer, Jonny has written works for his own projects and for other performers. Notably, he was commissioned by Marsden Jonny Mansfiel;dJazz Festival to write an hour-long suite setting poems by the Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage. This was recorded for a BBC 3 'Jazz Now' broadcast and was subsequently nominated for an Ivors Award in the ‘Best Large Ensemble Jazz Composition category. Jonny was also commissioned to write a vibraphone and trombone duo for London Symphony Orchestra principals - Neil Percy and Peter Moore. This was premiered at LSO St. Lukes by Peter and Neil.

More recently, Jonny has been writing and creating new original music with a new project called ‘Florilegium’, a trio with Will Barry on keys and Boz Martin-Jones on drums. Since Florilegium’s first UK tour was cancelled due to Civid-19, Jonny has been producing some of the Florilegium tracks featuring vocalists including long-time collaborator Ella Hohnen-Ford.

Back in 2014, Jonny attended the 'Reaching Out' course at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. The focus of this course was to develop ideas on how engage new audiences as well as learning how to better communicate with all age ranges. From this course, Jonny has become a keen educator delivering workshops and teaching all abilities across the UK. He has led workshops at Chetham's School of Music, Aberdeen and Leicester Universities as well as being commissioned to write new works for their jazz ensembles. Jonny recently started teaching vibraphone at Leeds College of Music.

 

 

In August 2020, Jonny set himself the challenge to compose, record, mix and master a whole album in a day 'to capture this strange unique time in music and reflect some of the feelings generated from lockdown'. The album is called Portrait and it features Jonny playing vibraphone, drum kit, percussion, pandeiro, piano, korg minilogue, Critter & Guitari organelle and vocals - click here for details and to sample the album.

 

JonnyMansfield

 

 

Jonny called by for a tea break .......

 

 

Hi Jonny, thanks for stopping by, what can I get you – tea? coffee?

ooo Tea please! 

 

Milk and sugar?

Milk but no sugar for me please

Haryington Cheese Shop

 

You were in Derbyshire during that really hot spell in August, did you get many of those spectacular storms?

Yes I spent a couple of nights in Derbyshire with my parents who take their caravan all over, we made full use of Hartington's cheese shop and thankfully missed out on those storms, especially as I was sleeping in the tent! 

 

That cheese shop sounds impressive in the way they are making and promoting local cheeses. As for the freak storms, I hear people say they are down to global warming, but my theory is that it’s Neil Hefti and Count Basie up in heaven working out new arrangements. It must be one of the only places where a big band can play at the moment during the Covid situation.

Speaking of big bands. I remember first hearing your big band when I came across a video of Ellie Bignall singing Love You Madly with the band – do you remember that one?

 

Ah yes! That was a lot of fun! Those big band recording days are what I've really missed during this lockdown period. Everyone cramming into a room far too small and sticking up a bunch of microphones and a camera, doing a couple of takes then going for a big lunch and catching up with everyone.

Click here for Ellie Bignall singing Love You Madly with the Jonny Mansfield Big Band.

We did another one more recently where we recorded one of my tunes, Little Lights and tunes by Tom Barford and Billy Marrows. I've learnt so much from these recording days, and really grateful for all the musicians that have been involved.

Click here for a video of the Big Band playing Little Lights.

 

That's a nice number, Little Lights. You just squeezed that one in before Coronavirus arrived! I see too that you managed to compile a video of the big band playing Billie’s Bounce during these strange Covid days – when was that originally filmed? It comes over well the way you have put it together.

Ah, thank you! Yes, that was a real hotchpotch. It was all recorded separately but pre-covid, apart from the trumpets that were recorded together. That was the first time I've done a big band arrangement of a standard but really gone to town with it so I was keen to get a recording of it together. The video came much later and after seeing many lockdown videos on social media I used my limited video skills to try and put something a little different together. 

Click here to watch Billie's Bounce.

 

I see there is a trombonist in the band, Harry Maund, with the same surname as mine! I must make contact with him sometime and find out whether he is a distant relation! You have been so busy leading up to 2020 that it must have hit you quite hard when the Covid lock down came in?

He he! I think you must be, both interested in jazz. Harry is a monster musician, we've spent a good amount of time on Zoom recently looking at composition together, he's a beautiful writer. It was hard and a shock to have so many exciting projects dragged from under my feet. I was specifically looking forward to Dom Ingham's quintet tour, my debut Florilegium UK tour, a gig in Brussels with Yazz Ahmed's quartet (filling in for the incredible Ralph Wyld) and some quartet gigs with Gareth Lockrane, Conor Chaplin and Luca Caruso.  

 

The Florilegium project is currently on hold – that’s a strange name for a band – where did that come from? 

Yes, hopefully a memorable strange name. The name came from the project - I wanted to write a full set of floral tune arrangements - some arrangements more like re-compositions (like Syringa) and other lighter arrangements. Other tunes in the set include Strayhorn's Ella Hohnen-FordThe Single Petal of a Rose, Grant Green's Jean de Fleur and Flor de Lis by Djavan. While we can't play at this time I've been getting some more arrangements together for that project so looking forward to playing again with Will Barry and Boz Martin-Jones. 

 

Click here for a video of Syringa put together with Ella Hohnen-Ford singing in the background in June.

 

Ella Hohnen-Ford
Photograph courtesy of Hayley Madden

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m looking forward to hearing that album. I was pleased to see that Ella Hohnen-Ford is singing on it – I haven't met her but she sings in Threebop with Luca Manning and Rosina Bullen, and I have featured the video of her singing Falling with Elftet a few times. Falling is a lovely piece and a different approach to that old lullaby Golden Slumbers

Great me too! Yep Ella's great! I'm constantly inspired by her and she is a monster musician who I'm always grateful to work with. Falling is a really old tune of mine, and it was written with Ella in mind to sing it. I'd heard and loved the Beatles' version but hadn't connected the lyrics until after setting Falling to it. 

Click here to listen to the beautiful Falling.

 

Do you fancy a biscuit or two with your tea? I’ve got some chocolate Hob Nobs, some Garibaldis and some Borders Lemon Drizzles that Adrian Cox got me hooked on when he was here recently.

I'd love a Garibaldi please! 

 

Here, do help yourself. Of course the other thing you have done is to record the Portrait album. Is it really true that you put that all down in one day? What inspired you to do that?

Yep! ha ha! Portrait was me trying to keep busy in lockdown! Maybe a bit extreme but a big learning lesson and a lot of fun. It's true - all in a day! Composed, recorded, mixed and mastered in a day! I intended to wake up at 5am but I couldn't sleep so I think I started around 3am, I'm not able to play between 9am-9pm so until then I recorded all the synth and keyboard tracks through headphones, They made up a lot of the basis for the compositions and I could figure out where the vibes would fit in. 

 

Does that mean that the compositions are all spontaneous, or are they pieces you had stored away from the past?  Some of the tracks, like Sanctuary, are quite short but completely absorbing, while others like Speak are longer and give you the chance to do more with them .... and you have used an amazing range of instruments, some of which, like the guitari organelle,  I must confess I don’t know about?

Going into the day I had a list of compositional processes' - Sanctuary was 'a chorale starting in D minor then cadencing in F, Eb and Db'. That gave me the springboard to explore within these parameters. There were two tunes that I wrote or started writing that I didn't manage to finish. I hope to record them in a more relaxed environment soon. I was keen to keep the album interesting with different textures of instruments and song lengths. The Organelle is a little synth that can do so many weird and wonderful things! It's only small, about the size of a dozen egg box, but packs a punch! 

Click here to listen to Sanctuary.

 

The Critter & Guitari Organelle - click on the picture to listen to it.

Organelle

 

Something else people should hear is the great video of John Taylor's  Clapperclowe you did with Jim Hart on marimba and vibraphone. I really love that. It is a great testament to how musicians can continue to play together at the moment. How on earth did you achieve that?

Thank you! That was so much fun to make. Jim first inspired me to take jazz vibes seriously and taught me through my time at the Academy. He's been my main inspiration throughout my career. Clapperclowe was really fun to make and a challenge! I did the arrangement and sent it over to Jim with a rough vibes part. He then recorded the marimba part and sent it back for me to add on the proper vibes part then mix it and sent it back to Jim for him to master. It was a extremely rewarding process and it got me back into practicing hard parts, which is something that has become easy for me to shy away from. 

 

Click here for the video of Clapperclowe with Jonny and Jim Hart.

 

If you could do a virtual video recording with a past jazz musician, who would you choose and what would you play?

Ooo tricky one, I'd love to have met Cannonball and played tunes or played with Bill Evans on his tunes. 

 

I was really interested to read about the Verbier Reaching Out course in Switzerland. I take it that is part of their Academy project? I think you went on its first year - what did you think was special about it? Is it just classical music? I see they were advertising it again for 2020 but I assume it has been postponed like many events.

That was an incredible course! Completely blew my mind. I'd previously been to Verbier for an orchestral course. It's such a beautiful place and the festival is so well run. The Reaching Out section of the festival is centred around developing new audiences and figuring out how to connect with audiences better. It was great fun and the scenery certainly encourages open mindedness and a perfect learning environment. The course was taught by some amazing tutors - Rob Adediran from London Music Masters, Gary LeBoff who's a sports psychologist - he talked a lot about managing projects and breaking down ambitions into small tasks. Karen Zorn, who is now head of the Longy School of Music, talked to us about the outreach course that she set up at the Frost School of Music. The Frost School project in Florida is supported by donors that allows the school to collaborate with local public schools, charter schools, and community centers. Graduate students and undergraduate music mentors provide free music lessons and after-school music instruction in economically disadvantaged areas throughout the region. Tim Carroll also did sessions with us on public speaking, he was the director at The Globe theatre and is now director at the Shaw Festival. At the time, maybe I was a bit young to fully benefit from the course, but I think it gave me a whole new perspective on creating music and developing a community through music. 

 

I presume you are due to be back teaching in September or October, Jonny. Are you looking forward to that? How are they going to handle it at the various colleges? Will a lot of teaching be virtual or are they planning for actual classes on site? Have you had to come up with new ideas about how to approach teaching?

Actually, this September I'm starting a postgraduate course in Psychology. It's a one year course and I thought now would be the time to do it whilst gigs aren't happening. I have some private teaching which I'm looking forward to continuing, I love teaching and I learn so much from it myself. I've had the pleasure of teaching an amazing vibes student at Leeds College of Music called Samantha Binotti, she's a great musician and I can't wait for her to release her own music. In terms of teaching online, I've had to learn to leave more space in the lesson, and I've started making PDF's of what we've covered in lessons so we're both on the same page. 

 

Samantha Binotti has put a video on YouTube of her playing Milt Jackson's solo from They Can't Take That Away From Me - we can see what you mean - click here.

 

Who else have you been listening to during lock down? Tell you what, if you fancy another quick tea before you go, see if you can find some of their music to play while I put the kettle on.

He he! I'll take a coffee this time thanks! I've been listening to Dom's album some more, feels like an age since we recorded it. I love the video Sam Dye did for Fall, he's also an amazing trombone player but here's the full version ... with the vibes solo! Also I've been listening to Immanuel Wilkin's debut album on Blue Note, such an inspiration. 

Listen to Fall on Dominic Ingham's recent album Role Models with Jonny's vibes solo - click here.

 

I agree with you about that Fall track, it is outstanding, and the Immanual Wilkins album is good too - people could listen to the Grace and Mercy track to find out more.

Thanks for dropping by Jonny. We’ll check in with your website and Facebook page to see what else you have going on over the coming months – sounds to me like it is going to be a really productive time, particularly when things start to open up again.

 

Thanks for having me Ian, hope to see you soon

 

Click here for Jonny's website and click here for his Facebook page.

 

Jonny Mansfield

 

 

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

 

Name The Tune

(Click on the picture for the answer)

 

Name the tune

 

Click here for other challenges to 'Name The Tune'

 

 

 

Jazz As Art

Frank Teschemacher

Trying To Stop My Crying

 

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

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.

For our Jazz As Art feature this month we can listen to the track Trying To Stop My Crying by Wingy Manone with clarinettist Frank Teschemacher. Click here for our Jazz As Art page - play the tune, scroll down through the paintings and see what you think.

(I think this only really works if you spend time with each painting or scroll through them a few times)

 

Frank Teschemacher

 

Perhaps it is because he died in a car accident in 1932 when he was just twenty-five that clarinettist and alto sax player Frank Teschemacher is less well-remembered than some other musicians from the 1920s Chicago-style of jazz. Nevertheless, because 'Tesch' recorded with some of those better remembered, there are plenty of recordings he made with people like Eddie Condon, Wingy Manone, Wild Bill Davison and others that we can still listen to - many of these are available now on YouTube.

Frank was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1906. He was largely self-taught and started playing the clarinet professionally in 1925 when he was nineteen. That means just six to seven years of playing lay ahead of him. As well as the clarinet and alto Frank also played banjo and violin (most of the Austin High kids learned violin).

His family had moved from Missouri to Chicago where Tesch became one of the 'Austin High School Gang' of five musicians from the school that included Jim Lanigan (piano), Jimmy McPartland (cornet), Dick McPartland (banjo, guitar), Bud Freeman (C-Melody sax) and Frank. Tesch was sixteen then and Jimmy McPartland only fourteen. 'In 1927, Eddie Condon recorded the Austin Frank teschemacher 1928High Gang as the "Mackenzie-Condon Chicagoans". These recordings catapulted the young musicians into the spotlight and they all subsequently developed acclaimed careers in New York.'

Tesch's influences are said to have included Bix Beiderbecke, Johnny Dodds and Jimmy Noone, and it has been said that he in turn influenced a young Benny Goodman, but in many ways that is by the way, we should listen to Frank for his own work. He was critical of his own music. Mezz Mezzrow is quoted as saying: 'The poor guy was so confused, and confused himself so much, that he played his records over and over again, then got hold of them and threw them to the floor so that they smashed into smithereens.'

When the Great Depression came in 1929, Tesch earned a living with Jan Garber's sweet dance orchestra playing violin. Gigs sometimes took him to New York City, around the U.S. Midwest, and he also took a job in Florida with Charlie Straight. On the morning of March 1, 1932, Tesch was a passenger in a car driven by Wild Bill Davison when they were involved in an accident from which Tesch died. His old school mate Bud Freeman said: 'Teschemacher was a great creative artist who had not developed enough before he died to make any great records.' That doesn't mean his work is any less rewarding to hear.

The tune I have chosen for this Jazz As Art feature is Trying To Stop My Crying with Frank Teschemacher playing with Joe 'Wingy' Manone and his Club Royale Orchestra in December 1928 - Wingy Manone (cornet, vocals); Frank Teschemacher (clarinet); George Snurpus (tenor sax); Art Hodes (piano); Ray Biondi (guitar) and Augie Schellange (drums). The song is by Ray Biondi and C J Miskelly.

You might expect from the title and the lyrics that Trying To Stop My Crying is a sad song and perhaps you can hear a hint of regret, but on the whole I think Manone and the band are having a party with it. Tesch, Wingy Manone and Art Hodes all take solos over a firmly rooted bass drum from Augie Schellange.

So play the music, scroll down the page and see which paintings work for you - click here.

 

Joyce Chan painting

 

 

 

 

 


Directory of Alternative Musical Definitions

Mouth Organ

Tongue

 

Will Galison video

Click on the picture

 

Click here for more Alternative Definitions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trypl Timee

Latin Jazz

by Howard Lawes

 

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

A new album, Trypl, featuring Trevor Mires (trombone), Ryan Quigley (trumpet) and Paul Booth (saxophone) brings an impressive, enjoyable, contemporary approach to Latin Jazz for the 2020s. Howard Lawes looks back at the early story of Latin Jazz and how Trypl can lift our spirits today in a time of Coronavirus.

Click here for an introduction to the new Trypl album.

 

The phrase ‘Latin Jazz’ is typically used to describe a fusion of Latin American dance rhythms and jazz, Latin America being those countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean where Latin (or Romance, i.e. Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese) languages are spoken.

Some of the best known Latin American dance rhythms are tango from Argentina, samba and bossa nova from Brazil and cha cha cha, mambo, rumba and salsa from Cuba and unlike the swing triplet pattern familiar to jazz musicians, the beat in Latin music is paired and syncopated.  Rhythms that occur very frequently in much Afro-Cuban music are the son clave and rumba Machito and his Afro Cubansclave, repeating patterns of five beats in two bars, and it is rhythms such as these which make the music so distinctive and good to dance to.  Bands that play this music employ a variety of percussion instruments such as conga and bongo drums, timbales, maracas, cowbells, guiros, cabasa and claves (two hardwood sticks) to generate an irresistible, polyrhythmic groove which provides a wealth of opportunity for jazz musicians to converse, improvise or just use as a basis for melody.

 

Machito and his orchestra

 

Jazz musicians incorporated elements of Latin American music into their playing from the earliest times, Jelly-Roll Morton referred to a "Spanish tinge", using syncopated rhythms to make the music more interesting, but it wasn't until the early 1940s that an orchestra comprised of musicians from Cuba and Puerto Rico was formed in New York led by Machito and his arranger brother Mario Bauza.  International relations between Cuba and the USA had long been complicated but both countries were allies during WW2 which perhaps smoothed the path for Machito and the Afro-Cuban Orchestra to successfully bring Afro-Cuban jazz to the attention of US music audiences and it wasn't long before bandleaders such as Stan Kenton and Dizzie Gillespie, inspired by percussionist and composer Chano Pozo, adopted Latin American rhythms for their own music such as Cuban Carnival (Kenton, 1947) and Manteca (Gillespie, 1947).  Click here for a video of Dizzy Gillespie playing Manteca with the Kenny Clarke / Francy Boland Big Band in 1970. The late 1940s provided some of the best music from Machito and his Afro-Cuban Salseros either without guest jazz artists or withTito Puente bebop icons such as Charlie Parker.

Tito Puente, born in New York of Puerto Rican parents and having served in the US Navy during WW2 took advantage of a government scheme called the G I Bill which provided money to enable ex-servicemen to re-establish themselves in civvy-street.  Puente used the money to study music and after a spell with Machito he set up his own band releasing some exceptional music for dancing such as Cuban Carnival (1956) and Dance Mania (1957) and apart from laying the foundation for the salsa craze to come, he popularised styles such as mambo and cha cha cha. 

Tito Puente

 

His most famous composition, Oye Como Va, was adopted by Santana and memorably played at Woodstock in 1969. Here is a video of Santana playing Oye Como Va (click here).

While Tito Puente played timbale, the Cuban Mongo Santamaria played bongos, first with Puente and then with the Cal Tjader Band, he popularised styles such as boogaloo and later salsa.  Santamaria's most famous tune was Herbie Hancock's composition Watermelon Man but Santamaria's own 1959 composition, Afro Blue, with optional lyric by Oscar Brown Jr has been covered by John Coltrane and Robert Glasper with recent vocal versions by Eryka Badhu and Esperanza Spalding.  Click here for John Coltrane playing Afro Blue.

Cuba also produced its own song writers such as Osvaldo Farres, a prolific composer whose romantic songs have been performed by some of the most famous singers throughout the world.  One of his most famous songs is Quizás, Quizás, Quizás (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps) while another, Tres Palabras (Three Words), helped double bassist and band leader Charlie Haden win a Grammy in 2001.

 

We can listen to Tres Palabras played by guitarist Kenny Burrell and featuring Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax) and Tommy Flanagan (piano) - click here.

Afro-Cuban Jazz is one of the original forms of Latin Jazz highlighting links with the rhythms of Africa, however relations between Cuba and the USA deteriorated badly following the Russian attempt to install missiles in Cuba in 1962 and anything to do with Cuba fell out of favour. The breakdown of relations between the USA and a Cuba that aligned with communism during the Cold War of the 1960s resulted in an embargo of Cuba. Musicians were unable to travel (although Osvaldo Farres and his wife managed to emigrate to the USA in 1962), and in Cuba they were encouraged to promote traditional music at the expense of jazz and rock and roll that were seen as ideologically unsuitable. However after several years of unsustainable ideology, which went so far as to consider the electric guitar and the saxophone as "imperialist instruments", the Cuban regime softened their attitude to jazz and allowed it to be played, as long Paquito D'Riveraas it was mixed with Cuban music. This change led to the founding of the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna in 1967 which performed at Expo 67 in Montreal, although apparently not all band members were allowed to travel due to fears that they would defect.

In 1973 following dissatisfaction with the limits placed on the Orquesta repertoire by the government, pianist Chucho Valdes and percussionist Oscar Valdes formed a new band called Irakere that included trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera. Irakere created a sound that fused jazz with a variety of influences including the rhythmic Cuban tradition. In fact, as illustrated by the tune Misa Negre (Black Mass) from the 1979 album Irakere, the improvisation, arrangement and virtuosity, particularly of Chucho Valdes himself, placed the band among the best of jazz, winning awards and appearing at jazz festivals in the USA and Europe.  Almost inevitably the band soon lost some of its founding members to the USA and Chucho Valdes himself established a glittering solo career.

 

Paquito D'Rivera

 

In the USA the Dominican Republic-born Johnny Pacheo became one of the most influential figures in Latin music. Having become a successful musician and band-leader playing pachanga music (i.e. son montuno and merengue) in 1964 he became co-founder of Fania Records with American Jerry Masucci and released a series of successful albums of Latin music by different bands, particularly designed for dancing, which were branded as ‘salsa’.  In 1967 Pacheo brought together many of the most successful musicians to form the Fania All Stars playing "salsa" music, releasing their first album in 1968 and going on to release many albums for nearly thirty years using a continually changing line-up. Such music was extremely popular in clubs and dance halls alongside rock and roll. Live performances sold out at huge stadiums and in Kinshasa, DRC, they supported the the 1974 boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. In 1976 Fania Records released an album featuring UK multi-instrumentalist Steve Winwood called Delicate & Jumpy and in the same year the Fania All-Stars played at the Lyceum in London along with Winwood. In 1979 they played at the Havana, Karl Marx Theatre as part of Havana Jam alongside jazz stars Weather Report, Jaco Pastorius and John McLaughlin as well as Irakere and other local Cuban musicians as part of an effort to ease tension between the USA and Cuba.

Click here for a video of the Fania All Stars and Dinamita.

 

Latin Jazz has never gone away. One source of reference is the website Latino Life which covers a whole host of 'things Latin' including Latin music. Click here for an article by Alex Wilson listing his Top Ten Latin Jazz Albums.

 

Trypl

Now Trypl is a new band that has come together to record an album of Latin Jazz. While the band might be new, the three musicians in the band have a wealth of experience between them. Trevor Mires on trombone was a member of the jazz funk bands Jamiroquai and Incognito, recording and touring with both for a number of years. Trevor is currently trombonist/arranger for Sir Tom Jones, and recently toured with Randy Brecker’s European Big Band, as well as recording with Radiohead. Ryan Quigley has appeared as a lead and guest principal trumpeter with the Grammy-winning Metropole Orkest, the Halle Orchestra, the Berlin Staatskapelle, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the BBC Scottish Symphony and Royal Scottish National Orchestras, the RTE Concert and Symphony Orchestras, and the BBC Big Band. Ryan is a winner of a Parliamentary Jazz Award (Ryan Quigley Sextet), Scottish Jazz Award (Brass Jaw) and a UK Jazz Services Promoters Choice Award.  Paul Booth is the in-demand sax man on today’s music scene. His ability to blend into any musical surrounding coupled with his talents as a multi-instrumentalist has led to him being regularly chosen to perform with many well-known artists. Paul has toured, performed and recorded around the world with The Eagles, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Van Morrison, Jamiroquai, Gregory Porter and many more. 

 

All three musicians were playing in the Ryan Quigley Big Band supporting the Average White Band's Hamish Stuart which was just about the last gig at Ronnie Scott’s before the Covid-19 lockdown in London. Complementing the horn section are a number of exceptional musicians in their own right;  Alex Wilson (piano),  Dimitris Christopoulos (bass), Edwin Sanz (percussion), Tristan Banks (drums) and Davide Giovannini (drums), full details of the credits for all the musicians can be found here.

 

 

 

Trypl

 

Talking to Ryan Quigley by phone he explained that having played together with Trevor and Paul several times they soon discovered a mutual love of Latin Jazz and created Trypl to provide a showcase for this particular style of groovy, danceable, romantic jazz.

Having been born in Derry, Northern Ireland Ryan moved to Glasgow to attend university and was exposed to the salsa music phenomenon.  Glasgow twinned with Havana in 2002, bringing together two great world cities famous for their music but before that Ryan Quigley was lead trumpet in the band Salsa Celtica playing its own unique blend of Latin American Salsa with Scottish and Irish flavours and who played on the 2001 album El Aqua de La Vida (The Water of Life - pseudonym for Scotch Whiskey). 2020 is the 25th anniversary of the founding of Salsa Celtica who are as popular as ever in Scotland and with salsa fans around the world, and perhaps Trypyl hope to emulate their success.

It is surely a coincidence that the album Trypl was recorded at Stevie Winwood's Wincraft Studios, Winwood having played with the Fania All-Stars in London in 1976. The first track on the album, BoJo, is dedicated to two of the technicians at the studios, who it is immediately obvious from the clarity and balance of the sound, have done a great job with the recording. Click here to listen to BoJo. Nodge is a tune to wake you up in the morning, it has some great high register trumpet playing before pianist Alex Wilson cuts loose Trypl albumfrom his montuno to spar energetically with percussionist Edwin Sanz. Click here to listen to Nodge. The next track, Bailar Toda La Noche (Dance All Night), composed by Ryan Quigley is a tribute to the Fania All-Stars and their pianist in latter years Eddie Palmieri. Click here to listen to Bailar Toda La Noche.

The dancing theme carries through the album and is emphasized on the multi-coloured album cover by a striking silhouetted dancer reminiscent of a Matisse cutout.  The next track, El Viaje Al Sur (The Road ToThe South) starts with a simple, repeated melody that serves as an introduction to some fabulous solo percussion while Scallywag, composed by Alex Wilson, starts as a very fast and demanding piece that really demonstrates the quality of the band, slowing down for delightful trombone and flute solos before speeding up for a colossal finale.  Click here to listen to Scallywag.

Ryan Quigley's second composition, Pasado Olvidado (Forgotten Past) is a nostalgic piece that he says reminds him of the enjoyable time he spent playing Latin Jazz some years ago while the next track, Tres Parabras (Three Words) by Osvaldo Farres, the only piece not composed by one of the band, is a beautiful rumba with haunting solos, ideal for that last dance with someone special.  Click here to listen to Tres Parabras. The last two tracks are Sacudido No Revuelto (Shaken Not Stirred), a cocktail of Latin rhythms including samba and tango and Here We Go, a big band sound that conjures up the sense of a journey. Click here to listen to Here We Go. A ‘journey’ is what the album Trypl has been about in that it has travelled around Latin America highlighting the wonderful music of the region and fusing it with some great jazz from really exceptional musicians.

Latin Jazz with its high tempo, syncopation and sparkle demands a lot from musicians and every member of Trypl really delivers making it impossible for the listener to sit still. The album Trypl has been a while in the making and frustratingly, due to Covid-19 of course, the planned tour of clubs and festivals to launch the album has had to be postponed. It is everyone's fervent hope that bands will be able to perform live gigs before too long and a Trypl gig playing Latin Jazz is going to be a real party, why not use the time to learn some Latin American dance steps for maximum enjoyment?

Click here for more about the band Trypl. The album was released on 14th August - click here for details and samples.

 

 

 

 

Lens America

Sara Serpa

 

Sara Serpa

 

Originally from Lisboa, Portugal, Sara Serpa is a singer, composer and improviser now based in America. This picture of her was taken Sara Serpa Recognitionby Clara Pereira from JazzTrail when Sara was singing at Cornelia Street Café in New York in 2016.

Sara is inspired in her work by literature, film, visual arts, nature and history. As a leader, she has produced and released ten albums, the latest being Recognition, released in June 2020. A singular multi-disciplinary work that traces the historical legacy of Portuguese colonialism in Africa through moving image and sound, Recognition features Zeena Parkins (harp), Mark Turner (saxophone) and David Virelles (piano).

Reviewing the album for JazzTrail (click here), Filipe Freitas writes: ' ...... The music was specifically composed for a silent movie that resulted from an assemblage of Super-8 footage captured in Angola and found in Serpa’s family archives ..... Filled with pungent atmospheres and urgent messages, Recognition challenges the listeners by blurring any and all genres with authenticity and resolve. Serpa’s command of her voice is ravishing and her compositional prowess keeps evolving from record to record.'

We can watch the trailer for the film here. Details of the album and samples of the music are here (Bandcamp gives the price in dollars but this is converted to sterling if you choose to purchase).

 

Click on the picture below for a short interview with Sara about the project.

Sara Serpa interview video

 

 

Each month we share Clara's photographs and Filipe's reviews. Readers might like this introduction to the couple who have been in lockdown in New York. Here is Filipe at home playing a bossa nova - Djavan's Avião (Aeroplane)

(click on the picture)

 

Filipe Freitas

 

 

 

 

Missing The Big Bands?

 

 

There'll be Foo Birds over
The white cliffs of Dover
Tomorrow, just you wait and see ...

 

White cliffs of Dover

Click on the picture.

More about Foo Birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forum

 

National Jazz Archive Book Sale

The National Jazz Archive has been raising funds through a sale of jazz books donated by Michael Brocking, Tony Farsky and John Sturgess. So far over £1,200 has been raised for the Archive. More books are available for sale and another selection of over 60 fascinating jazz biographies and memoirs, books on big band and swing, New Orleans, jazz guitar, songwriting and popular song can be seen online. There are also more than 20 books by well-known jazz writers and critics – including some rare first editions.

Click here for details of books in which you might be interested.

 

 

Oscar Rabin and Marion Williams

Mike Rabin, Oscar Rabin's grandson, writes: 'Just been reading your piece about the Oscar Rabin Band (click here). Thought I could clear up a query about the vocalist, Diane, possibly being Oscar’s wife. In fact she was the wife of Oscar’s son, Bernard Rabin, who represented the Band as manager, and eventually created the Rabin Agency, which was eventually incorporated into the Mecca entertainment company. I am Mike Rabin (son of Bernard and Diane) and was privileged to know my Grandfather Oscar Rabin, until his untimely death at 58 years of age. I would like to thank you for putting his story out there. Apart from being a very successful Band leader, he was also an extremely kind man, whose wisdom and wit I still recall fondly to this day.'

Brian in Hong Kong is in the process of setting up an audio channel on YouTube under the pseudonym of Honest 'Arry's Go Man Go Channel featuring the music of Oscar Rabin, Marion Williams and David Ede. There is already a good selection of well recorded music. Brian says: 'Marion is a superb artist. I’ve listened to this episode probably more than a hundred times over the last half century and never cease to be astounded by her artistic mastery. It’s sad that she didn’t become more prominent and I’d love more people to hear her.' Click here to explore Brian's channel.

 

 

Charlie Parker Centennial

Charlie Parker

 

 

August saw the centennial of the birth of saxophonist Charlie Parker who was born on 29th August 1920 in Kansas City.

Phil Kent sends us this link to a 37 minute programme on Milwaukee's 'Fresh Air' radio programme where they look back over Bird's story with Terry Gross speaking to Max Roach, Red Rodney and Jackie McLean.

You can either read the text of listen to the programme here.

 

 

 

 

Brum Trad Jazz

David Braidley writes: 'Your readers may be interested to have a look at the website  Birmingham Traditional Jazz Musicians. There are hundreds of interesting and historic photographs of Midlands musicians from 1950s onward, plus other memorabilia.

 

 

An Evenin' At The Gin Mill with Ken Colyer

Evenin At The Gin Mill sleeve

 

John Westwood picked up on the Ken Colyer album that we included in Recent Releases last month and writes: 'Nice read this month ends with the review of the Cadillac KC reissue, which prompted me to dig around my odds 'n' sundries. Probably the rarest of Ken's recordings is Doug Dobell's 77LP24 of which I believe only 100 copies were pressed to avoid the dreaded 100% Purchase Tax of the day.  Because he was under tight contract to Decca at the time Ken plays under the pseudonym 'Kenneth Coleman' (a bit transparent that, eh?)  

In case you haven't heard it,  here's a download - click here. John Clarke (piano) solos on the starred tracks and John Mason plays bass and Colin Bowden drums.

The tracks are:

Put Me In The Alley
R-G Bar-G Boogie *
Frankie And Johnnie
Twinklin' Rag *
Freight Train Blues
J.C. Stomp *
Careless Love
Head Hunters Boogie*
Trouble In Mind

 

 

 

 

Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook and Mailing List

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


Click here

 

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

 

 

 

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 more about them.

When this page first started, links to newspaper obituaries were free. Then increasingly advertisements were added and now many newspapers ask for a subscription to read a full obituary. Where possible, we initially link to a Wikipedia page which is still free of charge, but we also give links to newspaper obituaries in case you want to read them.

 

Peter King

 

 

Peter King - English saxophonist and clarinettist born in Surrey. In 1959, at the age of 19, he was booked by Ronnie Scott to perform at the opening of Scott's club in Gerrard Street, London. In the same year, he received the Melody Maker New Star award. He worked with Johnny Dankworth's orchestra from 1960–1961, and went on to work with the big bands of Maynard Ferguson, Tubby Hayes, Harry South, and Stan Tracey. He also played in numerous small groups with musicians such as Philly Joe Jones, Zoot Sims, Dick Morrissey, Tony Kinsey and Bill Le Sage and many, many others and he was a member of Charlie Watts' Tentet. King was also a leading figure in the international aero-modelling world. He competed successfully in major competitions and has written extensively about the subject. Click here for Peter King soloing on Lush Life in 2003. Obituaries: Jazzwise :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Grossman

 

 

Steve Grossman - American saxophonist born in Brooklyn. A  jazz fusion and hard bop saxophonist he was Wayne Shorter's replacement in Miles Davis' jazz-fusion band. From 1971 to 1973, he was in Elvin Jones' band and in the late 1970s, he was part of the Stone Alliance trio with Don Alias and Gene Perla. The group released four albums during this period, including one featuring Brazilian trumpeter Márcio Montarroyos. The albums also feature an array of other musicians. They went on to release three live reunion albums during the 2000s. Click here for a video of Steve Grossman playing Star Eyes in 2007. Obituaries: New York Times : JazzTimes : Jazzwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helen Jones Woods

 

Helen Jones Woods -  American trombone player born in Mississippi and who was most renowned for her performances with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. She was inducted into the Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame in 2007. In her 1940s heyday, young Helen Elizabeth Jones was in the top female jazz band in the United States. From an early age, Woods was fascinated by the slide motion of the trombone. She started playing with the group when she was only 11 years old, when it was still the "school band" of Piney Woods Country Life School in Mississippi. Helen was one of six surviving members of the band interviewed in the 1986 documentary film International Sweethearts of Rhythm. After the band dissolved in 1949, Jones moved to Omaha where she briefly played in the Omaha Symphony Orchestra before being fired once the orchestra realized she was not white. Helen dies as a result of the coronavirus. Click here for a variety of video clips from the International Sweethearts Of Rhythm. Obituaries: New York Times : JazzTimes : Washington Informer :

 

 

 

 

 

Gloria DeNard

 

Gloria DeNard - American vocalist born in New York. A graduate from the Juilliard School Of Music she was the recipient of numerous awards for her ceaseless dedication to her community and the arts. She received the New York City Council Citation for Community Service and the Community Arts Service Award of the 23rd Precinct, plus proclamations from Congressmen, Senators and Governors. In 1967, she established Manna House Workshops that began as a monthly coffee house in the basement of Ascension Church in East Harlem. Music became the major focus and the workshops were moved to a storefront, where economically disadvantaged neighbours could be served. In 1970, with funding from Riverside Church and Chemical Bank, DeNard purchased the building at 338 E 106th Street, in Manhattan and Manna House had a permanent home. The center is a beacon of light in a blighted neighborhood, where students learn the creative power within through music education and concert presentations in East Harlem and the greater New York area. For three generations, the school has prepared hundreds of children for Middle School at Juilliard and for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Click here for a video documentary about Gloria and the Manna House Workshops. Obituaries: World NewJ

 

 

 

 

Joe Segal

 

 

Joe Segal - American founded the Jazz Showcase in 1947 in Chicago, Illinois and was the club's owner until his death. Following his military discharge, Segal moved to Chicago, enrolled in Roosevelt College on the G.I. Bill and worked at different jazz venues around the city. In 1947, he worked with his classmates, Gus Savage, who was chairman of the Social Actvities Committee for Roosevelt, and Bennett Johnson to organize a weekly jam session. They presented jazz greats such Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Sonny Rollins and many others. For the next ten years he organized live jazz sessions on the school's campus featuring musicians he met working at various local jazz venues. Beginning in 1957, Segal ran his showcase shows in what he later estimated was 63 different locations over the years. Obituaries: Chicago Tribune : New York Times : Downbeat : Jazz Times :

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allison Neale - Quietly There
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 11th September 2020

Allison Neale (alto saxophone); Peter Bernstein (guitar); Dave Green (bass); Steve Brown (drums)

Allison Neale Quietly There

 

 

'Allison Neale is an alto saxophonist on the UK jazz scene. She is influenced by the US West Coast altoists of the 1950s like Art Pepper, Paul Desmond and Bud Shank. Allison has previously released four albums including 'Melody Express' with Dave Cliff, 'Blue Concept' with trumpeter Gary Kavanagh and 'I Wished on the Moon' with vibraphonist Nat Steele, and 'Then and Now' with UK baritonist Chris Biscoe. 'Quietly There' Allison's latest recording features the international jazz superstar Peter Bernstein from New York on guitar, plus Dave Green on bass and Steve Brown on drums. 'Quietly There' was recorded at Angel Studios. The album was inspired by Allison's and Peter's love for the music and the musical partnership of Jim Hall and Paul Desmond, particularly as both Peter Bernstein and Dave Green played together with Jim Hall.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Split Kick : Listen to Midnight Sun :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nubya Garcia - Source
(Concord Jazz) - Released: 21st August 2020

Nubya Garcia (tenor sax); Joe Armon-Jones (piano, keyboards); Daniel Casimir (bass); Sam Jones (drums) plus guests.

Nubya Garcia Source

 

'Award-winning saxophonist and composer Nubya Garcia announces her debut album SOURCE, to be released August 21, 2020 on Concord Jazz. Produced by Garcia herself in collaboration with celebrated producer Kwes (Bobby Womack, Solange, Nerija), the album is announced after the release of lead single “Pace” and a rousing live performance on the BBC’s 2020 Glastonbury Experience. SOURCE explores a multidimensional jazz sound layered with soul, afro-diasporic sounds and hints of dub-step along the way. The title track, Source (out now) arrives reworked in steamy dub overtones, blending together reggae, jazz and myriad sounds from her youth. The sweltering heat generated in the track’s bass-lines and Garcia’s militant sax, place the track as a paean to personal power. Reflecting on what makes her feel powerful, she notes that it’s also about “being ok with reaching out to people and supporting one another”. In 2018, Garcia won the Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year Award and the Sky Arts Breakthrough Act of the Year Award, followed by the 2019 Jazz FM UK Jazz Act of the Year Award.' (album notes). '... Her debut album, which follows two EPs and albums with Maisha and the septet Nérija, is a sonic self-portrait that reflects her Afro-Carribean heritage and her expanding musical horizons .... Garcia's best and most varied work so far.' (Thomas Rees in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Listen to Together Is A Beautiful Place To Be : Video for Pace played live :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jay Phelps - Raw & Unreleased
(Self-Released) - Released: 1st May 2020

Jay Phelps (trumpet); Rick Simpson (piano); Mark Lewandowski (bass); Shane Forbes (drums)

Jay Phelps Raw & Unreleased

 

 

'Trumpeter, composer, band leader, educator and writer – Jay Phelps has performed with some of the world’s top names. With an instantly recognisable warm and projecting tone, Canadian born Phelps is a household name on the Jazz scene in the UK and his international presence is steadily growing. Jay Phelps Raw & Unreleased EP is music recorded in 2015 that never made it on an album, but finally being self-released now.' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Listen to Angel : Listen to Tormented : Video for Angel :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josephine Davies - Satori: How Can We Wake?
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 9th October 2020

Josephine Davies (tenor and soprano saxophones); Dave Whitford (double bass); James Maddren (drums)

Josephine Davies Satori How Can We Wake

 

'Josephine Davies continues to assert her unique presence across the crowded landscape of international jazz with the latest release from the acclaimed trio project that she has been developing since 2016 under the name of Satori. This latest iteration reunites her with two of the UK’s most uncategorisable talents: both Dave Whitford on bass and James Maddren on drums combine a fearsome level of accomplishment with a fearless appetite for improvisation that makes them the perfect partners in this venture. ‘Satori’ is a Buddhist word meaning a moment of presence and inner spaciousness away from the clutter of thought, and this recording captures a particular moment of presence as the band perform a suite of pieces, poised in the space between composition and the mindful spontaneity of collective improvisation, before a rapt audience at the Oxford Tavern in Kentish Town. Taking the writings of the Indian sage Patanjali as an inspiration, Davies created the pieces for How Can We Wake? as sets of melodic and rhythmic parameters for the trio to explore in the heat of the present moment.  “What happens between us in the trio is more and more based on group collaborative improvisation: the tunes are more wanting to reflect different states of being rather than specific set musical ideas. Dave and James are such incredibly creative musicians, and that’s taught me as a composer to realise that less can be more - they’ve both got such strong individual sounds. James has so many different voices and creates a constant movement around me as I play, and Dave has an amazing deep, grounded bass sound. They are magical!”  On this remarkable recording Satori combine forces to create an inner space filled with melody, rhythmic freedom and empathetic interplay.' (album notes).   

Details and Samples : Introductory video : Listen to Duhkha: pervasive dissatisfaction : Listen to Ananda: bliss :

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Harrison - Adventures From Home
(Self Release) - Released: 1st September 2020

Paul Harrison (piano, synthesisers, production, mixing, mastering, artwork, design, video engineering and editing).

Paul Harrison Adventures From Home

 

 

'Recorded at the artist's home in summer 2020, "Adventures From Home" takes a broad sweep across the history of jazz piano, with a selection of solo pieces and improvisations. The result is exploratory and spontaneous whilst being carefully curated, an accessible but interesting set covering Duke Ellington to Carla Bley and the artist's own compositions. Most of the pieces are intimate solo piano recordings, and as one might expect, one or two tracks are augmented with synths and electronic production touches. Following on from 2013's "Ten Play Ten", this is a document of the progress made by a musician who continues to develop and push boundaries.' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Video for Loro : Video for Never Let Me Go : Listen to Don Quixote :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judith & Dave O'Higgins - His 'n' Hers
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 23rd October 2020

Judith O’Higgins (tenor saxophone) & Dave O’Higgins (tenor saxophone), Graham Harvey (piano), Jeremy Brown (bass) and Josh Morrison (drums).

Judith & Dave O'Higgins His 'n' Hers

 

''His 'n' Hers' affectionately pits Mr and Mrs O’Higgins against each other as in the movie, Mr & Mrs Smith... In reality, this is a swinging “tough tenors” band in the good humoured tradition of the great Johnny Griffin - Eddie Lockjaw Davis group, who made nine albums together between 1960 and 1962. But what Griffin and Davis did together was not a competition, however apparently combative. It was collaboration, mutual inspiration, and special because of both the similarity and contrast of the two protagonists. The eponymous His’n’Hers recording has been prepared specifically for vinyl. The appeal of this medium was to present something considered and well programmed in an elegantly digestible format. Pour yourself a glass of wine and listen to Side 1, whilst perusing the large-scale cover art and familiarising yourself with the tune titles and personnel. Then, 18 minutes later it will be time for a refill and you’ll be lured into hearing what Side 2 brings. An LP requires careful programming on the part of the artist, in the same way as a good set at a gig. The track order is crucial and, due to the nature of the medium, often listened to in the intended order. The CD format can be the musical equivalent of the “all you can eat” buffet - too much for one sitting! In addition, the tactile, analog nature of the 12” disc encourages focused engagement, not ripping onto a digital device for shuffled play in the background. The recording was made with a “new meets old” aesthetic: inspired by the 50s and 60s Rudy Van Gelder recordings in terms of transparency and natural fidelity, but also with a nod to contemporary sonic developments. The O’Higgins have been on a mission for 10 years or more now to create a jazz friendly, ribbon mics, spill-and-all recording environment and JVG Studio gets better all the time.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Introductory Video : Listen to Hanky Panky :

 

 

 

 

Meraki - Meraki
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 28th August 2020

Jacky Naylor (piano); Nick Jurd (double bass); Jonathan Silk (drums)

Meraki album

 

 

'Meraki is the brainchild of young pianist and composer Jacky Naylor. Forged in Birmingham, it includes Double Bassist Nick Jurd (Soweto Kinch), and BBC Radio Scotland Young Jazz Musician of the Year, Jonathan Silk (Forj/Mike Fletcher). Meraki was born out of their desire to play complex contemporary music, inspired by the great European jazz trios. 4 years in the making, their debut album was recorded at Real World Studios directly after their April 2019 ACE funded UK Tour. The trio effortlessly travels through the various moods, emotions and complexities of Naylor’s original music, whilst dynamically interacting.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video for Simple Things : Video for 9 Lives : Listen to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde :

 

 

 

 

 

 

America

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

 

 

Christian Sands - Be Water
(Mack Avenue) - Released: 17th July 2020

Christian Sands (piano, keyboards, voice, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B2); Yasushi Nakamura (bass); Clarence Penn (drums) + Marvin Sewell (guitars); Marcus Strickland (tenor sax, bass clarinet); Sean Jones (trumpet, flugelhorn); Steve Davis (trombone). String Quartet - Sara Caswell, Tomoko Akaboshi (violin); Benni von Gutzeit (viola); Eleanor Norton (cello).

Christian Sands Be Water

 

'Pianist Christian Sands' stunning third full-length recording for Mack Avenue Music Group captures and establishes him as a forceful leader in composition and conceptual vision. On 'Be Water', Sands takes inspiration from water's tranquillity and power and muses on the possibilities offered by echoing its fluidity and malleability. For this recording, Sands has reunited with bassist Yasushi Nakamura and saxophonist Marcus Strickland, and is joined by trumpeter Sean Jones, trombonist Steve Davis, guitarist Marvin Sewell, drummer Clarence Penn. Through ten gorgeous and thrilling pieces, Sands alternately conjures the serenity of a sun-dappled lake and the drama of a relentless thunderstorm. Just embarking on his 30s, Sands has already enjoyed a remarkable career trajectory, touring and recording with Christian McBride's Inside Straight and Trio, as well as collaborating with the likes of Gregory Porter and Ulysses Owens.' (album notes). 'American pianist/composer Christian Sands has a striking new album in which he leads a flexible band composed of his core trio plus guests. Sands, who has made a name for himself as a creative composer and virtuosic player both as a leader and member of Christian McBride’s Insight Straight trio, takes inspiration from the fluidity and malleability of the water to traverse new ground. He shapes his music like water and fills the structures through clever sonic routes that often tweak expectations. Be Water contains 10 tracks, all originals with the exception of a gospelized trio version of Steve Winwood’s folk-rock song “Can’t Find My Way Home”...... Sands' accomplished compositional style helped configuring Be Water with absorbing musical moments. This is clearly my first pick from the pianist's catalog.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Introductory Video : Listen to Can't Find My Way Home.

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Olatuja - Lagos Pepper Soup
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 12th June 2020

Michael Olatuja (producer, arranger, composer (except 8,10), electric bass, synth bass (1), percussion (5) ; Aaron Parks (piano 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12); Etienne Stadwijk (keyboards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11); Terreon Gully (drums except 5, 6): Troy Miller (drums 6); Magatte Sow (percussion 2,3, 4, 6, 9,11); Femi Temowo (guitar 6); Herve Sambe (guitar 11); Michael Aarons (guitar 12): Camille Thurman (voice 9,12); Thana Alexa (voice 3); Ayanna George (backing vocals 2,3,4); Cassondra James (backing vocals 2,3,4): Rasul A-Salaam (backing vocals 2,3,4); Samir Zarif (tenor and soprano saxophone 8,10,12); Alicia Olatuja (vocal arrangement 4); 'Lagos Pepper Soup' String Orchestra (3,4,6,7, 9); Joseph Joubert (orchestra conductor 3,4,6,7, 9) and (orchestration 6 & 7); David Metzger (orchestration 2); Jason Michael Olatuja Lagos Pepper SoupMichael Webb (orchestration 4); Jon Cowherd (orchestration 9).

Featured Artists: Angelique Kidjo - voice (2); Dianne Reeves - voice (4); Laura Mvula - voice (6); Becca Stevens - voice (8); Regina Carter - violin (3); Lionel Loueke - guitar (2, 4, 10); Joe Lovano - sax (11); Robert Mitchell - piano (8); Onaje Jefferson - voice (7); Brandee Younger - harp (5); Grégoire Maret - harmonica (9)

Michael Olatuja’s musical development has taken place across three continents, in the heart of three of the world’s greatest cities. After a childhood in Lagos absorbing the Yoruba culture of his Nigerian family, followed by teenage years performing and studying on the booming London jazz scene, Michael’s talent bloomed when he arrived in New York to study at the Manhattan School of Music. His unique breadth of talent, grounded in the strong musical traditions of his homeland, has earned him first-call status across a range of genres from pop to gospel to Broadway to top-flight jazz, and along the way he’s filled his contacts book with a impressive and eclectic range of talent.
For 'Lagos Pepper Soup', his second solo release, Michael picked a core band of Terreon Gully, Aaron Parks and Etienne Stadwijk, and then enlisted the talents of Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, Regina Carter, Joe Lovano, Laura Mvula, Lionel Loueke, Grégoire Maret, Becca Stevens, Brandee Younger, Robert Mitchell, Onaje Jefferson, and top studio arrangers David Metzger, Joseph Joubert and Jason Michael Webb to realise his vision of what he calls Cinematic Afrobeat - “What you hear is a blend of three major cities: it’s a celebration of life, and I wanted to make it sound like a soundtrack for a movie that hasn’t been made yet - maybe the next Black Panther movie.” (album notes).

Details and Samples (dollars convert to sterling if you purchase); Video of Brighter Day featuring Laura Mvula; Video of Soki featuring Dianne Reeves and Lionel Loueke : Article by Robin Kidson :

 

 

 

 

 

Kenny Warren Trio - In The Heat
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 10th April 2020

Matthias Pichler (bass); Nathan Ellman-Bell (drums); Kenny Warren (trumpet)

Kenny Warren Trio In The Heat

 

'Brooklyn based trumpeter Kenny Warren’s wide-ranging, adventurous musicality has led him on diverse explorations across the musical landscape, from jazz to Americana and from folk to free. His new record In The Heat features a suite of compositions that he wrote for bassist Matthias Pichler (Wolfgang Muthspiel, Lorenz Raab) and drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell (Olli Hirvonen, Yuhan Su). This trumpet-led version of the classic trio format was chosen to maximize the potential for freedom for these accomplished and unclassifiable improvisers. “I've always been interested in writing music that can be played with the same feeling of abandon that you get from free playing. It's difficult because as soon as you put a note on paper, you set up an expectation in the minds of the players which can pull you away from the moment. The fun part is in the tension created by resisting that pull, while still being ready to jump or slide or drift to the next zone when the music calls for it." The titles reflect the personal, unfiltered nature of the project, drawn from the cut-up lines of a poem capturing a creative moment in Warren’s life, composing in his summer NYC apartment...... In The Heat is the sound of an artist bringing together the many strands of his creative personality, using the flexibility of the trio format to write without boundaries, and trusting to the perfect understanding between his collaborators to improvise without fear. Like a good hang with old friends, these three strike a balance between pouring their hearts out and just kicking back and having a good time.' (album notes).

Details and Samples (dollars convert to sterling if you purchase) : Listen to Pen In Hand : Listen to One Room In My Mind :

 

 

 

 

 

Quinsin Nachoff - Pivotal Arc
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 7th August 2020

Quinsin Nachoff (tenor saxophone); JC Sanford (conductor); Michael Davidson (vibraphone); Mark Helias (bass); Satoshi Takeishi (drums, percussion); Jean-Pierre Zanella (piccolo, flute, clarinet, soprano sax); Yvan Belleau (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Brent Besner (bass clarinet); Jocelyn Couture (trumpet I); Bill Mahar (trumpet II); David Grott (trombone); Bob Ellis (bass trombone); Molinari String Quartet: Olga Ranzenhofer (violin I); Antoine Bareil (violin II); Frédéric Lambert (viola); Pierre - Alain Bouvrette (cello)

Quinsin Nachoff Pivotal Arc

 

 

'Saxophonist and composer Quinsin Nachoff’s career to date has delivered a boundary-crossing body of work that’s consistently unpredictable, fearlessly innovative, breathtakingly accomplished, and full of creative passion, constantly increasing its scope to encompass ever greater horizons. His new album Pivotal Arc presents his most ambitious project yet: bringing together virtuoso violin soloist Nathalie Bonin with a jazz-inflected unit comprising two established giants of the NY scene, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Satoshi Takeishi, and the stunning young vibraphone player Michael Davidson, and adding a wind and string ensemble conducted by JC Sanford for a concerto that boldly mixes written and improvised sections. A contemporary string quartet performed by the renowned Molinari String Quartet and the extended title piece round out the album. The result is three diverse long-form works that flow naturally together, demonstrating Nachoff’s equally heartfelt facility with the free-flowing language of jazz improvisation, the depth and rigour of classical composition and the direct melodicism of folk forms.....' (album notes).

Details and Samples (dollars convert to sterling if you purchase) : Introductory Video : Listen to String Quartet - Movement I)

 

 

 

 

 

Rez Abbasi - Django-shift
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 28th August 2020

Rez Abbasi (fretted and fretless acoustic guitars); Neil Alexander (organ, electronics and synthesizers); Michael Sarin (drums)

Rez Abbasi Django shift

 

 

'Rez Abbasi has established an enviable reputation over the course of his fourteen album releases as leader: not simply as one of the finest guitarists of his generation, but also as a musical alchemist with the ability to parlay his continent-crossing range of influences into consistently fresh and innovative compositions and reframings of the tradition. His deep musicality has been applied with equal conviction to contemporary New York acoustic jazz, the Qawwali and Indian Classical traditions of South Asia and the heady fusion sounds of the 1970s, each time applying the filter of his own musical personality to deliver inimitable results. Commissioned to present a project on Django Reinhardt from the Freight & Salvage’s Django Festival in California, he boldly redefined his engagement by turning the focus away from Django, the codifier of the Sinti guitar vocabulary, and on to Django, the composer. For Django-shift Abbasi keenly listened to Django’s full catalogue of music before choosing seven of his original pieces and two classic tunes that Django was greatly associated with. The arrangements were soon created for a contemporary trio format, with Neil Alexander on organ and electronics and Michael Sarin on drums. The results give a fascinating and original insight into an often overlooked attribute of Django’s genius........' (album notes).

Details and Samples (dollars convert to sterling if you purchase) : Introductory Video : Listen to Django's Castle : Listen to Swing 42 :

 

 

 

 

Europe and Elsewhere

 

Javier Subatin - Variaciones
(Self Released) - Released: 2020

Javier Subatin (guitar); Pedro Moreira (tenor saxophone); João Paulo Esteves da Silva (piano); André Rosinha (double bass); Diogo Alexandre (drums).

Javier Subatin Variaciones

 

'Argentine guitarist/composer Javier Subatin is currently based in Lisbon, where he’s been very active in the last three years - the guitarist released two records and just put together the Composers & Improvisers Community Project, a global community of independent musicians whose main plan is to fight the hardships brought by the covid-19 crisis through Patreon. His sophomore album, Variaciones, is seen as a natural extension of the 2018 debut CD, Autotelic, a duo collaboration with Portuguese pianist João Paulo Esteves da Silva plus guests. Besides the pianist, whose intricate work fits hand in glove with Subatin’s solution of composed and improvised segments, this new work features saxophonist Pedro Moreira, bassist André Rosinha and drummer Diogo Alexandre. “Solo#3”, which opens the record, comes flavored with the subtlety of classical music and the strength of contemporary jazz. The integration between piano and guitar is rock-hard, and before the guitarist steps forward - his exquisite fingerpicking draws sharp reactions from Alexandre behind the drum kit - there’s a passage filled with polyrhythmic haziness in which the instruments dance with unabashed freedom....... It’s impossible not to notice an ecstatic chapter where a fast-paced rock meets a hip Latin-American groove. Subatin has here a compositionally strong work.' (JazzTrail)

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video of Solo #3 : Video of Prelude :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re-Releases

 

 

Miles Davis - The Lost Septet
(Sleepy Night Records) - Released: 31st July 2020

Miles Davis (trumpet); Gary Bartz (soprano and alto sax); Keith Jarrett (keyboards); Michael Henderson (bass); Ndugu Leon Chancler (drums); Don Alias, James Mtume Foreman (percussion)

Miles Davis The Lost Septet

 

'From the label that brought you Miles Davis: The Lost Quintet comes the follow up album and next in this amazing trilogy Miles Davis: The Lost Septet! On a Double CD! The Lost Septet, this 7 piece never recorded in the studio but we are lucky that they did a European tour in October/ November 1971... this is one of the best performances from Wiener Konzerthaus, in Vienna, Nov 5th. 'Miles last recording in the studio was the Jack Johnston album although he was still going through more changes in music, slowly moving on to more of a rock sound than jazz and his friendship with Jimi Hendrix was a big influence. We were as intense as any rock band and just as loud .'. Gary Bartz. Miles was playing music on this tour from various albums.. In a Silent Way , Bitches Brew also Jack Johnston and his soon to be released Live Evil which was made up of studio and live tracks from the Cellar Door gig, which was released the day before the final tour date in Nov 17th 1971. The band now had more of a Rock background and Miles was playing with a wah wah pedal as it made him sound more like a guitar and where in the older days he played in the middle register he heard more high notes, Miles playing style would reflex that.' (album notes). '....Miles was in good shape from his boxing, was drug-free and had just won the Downbeat and Playboy polls, and was enjoying his life ... Like much of Davis' live electric music, it is good in parts ... Even so, this is a valuable piece of the puzzle of how Davis' music from 1969-75 evolved prior to his drug-fuelled furlough from the music.' (Stuart Nicholson in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

Erroll Garner - Magician
(Mack Avenue) - Released: 15th May 2020

Erroll Garner (piano); Norman Gold (organ); Bob Cranshaw (bass); Grady tate (drums); Jose Mangual (congas); Jackie Williams (percussion)

Erroll Garner Magician

 

 

'The eleventh album of the Erroll Garner 'Octave Remastered Series' is here - a collection of music that is among the most important in the history of jazz. One new remastered album will be released each month through until June 2020. The selections Garner committed to tape in the fall of 1973 include what may be some of his best original compositions, alongside a series of timeless contemporary takes on American Songbook classics. Though it would turn out to be the final studio album of his life, it makes clear that Garner was continuing to innovate on his distinctly individualistic style, and surely would have for decades to come.' (album notes). '.... As he launches into an atonal opening to Bacharach and David's 'Close To You' , there's a sense he might be stepping into new and dangerous territory, but after a few bars we relapse into the comfortable mainstream groove of much of Garner's later work, complete with a rash of Latin conga accompaniment....Garner never disappoints in his ability to swing even the best known tune into submission.' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ***).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joe Harriott Quintet - Swings High
(Cadillac Records ) - Released: 25th March 2020

Joe Harriott (alto sax, leader); Stu Hamer (trumpet); Pat Smythe (piano); Coleridge Goode (bass); Phil Seaman (drums)

The Joe Harriott Quintet Swings High

 

 

'A reissue of the Melodisc album, recorded 20 June 1967, featuring Joe getting back to the hard bop of his 50s recordings. With a great band, featuring Coleridge Goode and Phil Seaman, Joe rocks through a selection of standards. As Coleridge says in his notes "Joe plays so fiercely on the record that at times it seems as though he is about to blow his alto apart". The CD and vinyl issues are now out of print, but here for the first time in glorious downloadasound is The Joe Harriott Quintet, swinging high!' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Polka Dots And Moonbeams :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Other Pages on this Website:

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

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

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

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

 

 

Back to Top

Follow us on FacebookFacebook

© Sandy Brown Jazz 2020

 

Click HERE to join our mailing list

 

 

 

multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, arranger, and film and television producer.-

 

 

Archie Shepp

as

back to top