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April 2021

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Jack In A Box

Up Jumped Spring

What better way to welcome April than with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's jazz waltz Up Jumped Spring?

Click here to listen to Freddie playing his tune with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1962, or for a more recent version click here for a video of Jason Palmer and friends playing it in 2019.


 

International Jazz Day and Jazz Appreciation Month 2021

This year's International Jazz Day is 30th April. In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30th as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day is chaired and led by UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay and International Jazz Dayjazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz. International Jazz Day is the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month, which draws public attention to jazz and its extraordinary heritage throughout April.

International Jazz Day 'brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication. Each year on April 30th, this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change.'

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, all International Jazz Day organizers are encouraged to follow relevant local, regional and national public health guidelines when planning their events for International Jazz Day 2021. Virtual and other online events are welcome. Click here to register yours. Listings of events taking place in the UK are here and internationally here.

Or ... you could celebrate by digging out something you haven't heard for a while or listening to something new.....

 

 

 

 

 

Letter From America -
Difficulties in Sending CDs Promote The Growth Of Digital Sales

Leonardo Pavkovic runs the label Moonjune Records from New York City and sends out sample CDs of new releases. Shortly, he will be moving to Spain but has sent the following letter to the media in Europe, extracts from which might be of interest to readers. (I don't know how far the situation is the same for all labels):

 

Moonjune logo

 

Dear Friends In Music,

You are receiving promotional copies of Moonjune Records releases via my associate in Malaga, Spain. There was a big delay during the shipping of CDs to Spain from NYC, it took 6 weeks ... and instead of receiving CDs the first week of December, you are getting them now...... Sending physical promos from USA is becoming a major hassle for independent labels. While 4/5 of my promo list in Europe is very OK with HD digital files (24bit, via Bandcamp), I still like to send physical copies. (In January) we had another hike in postal prices in the USA. Sending one CD to UK is USD $15.44 and to the rest of Europe is $14.73.

On top of it, now postal service and Bandcamp automatically charges 20% VAT for all CDs bought by European buyers, additionally, some pay import duties. I always send packages marking CDs as promotioanl or gift items, but the sales of physical CDs from USA to Europe is down 40-60%, all indy labels are complaining. Distribution virtually doesn't exist for niche music, there are no stores anymore. Fortunately the digital sale of High Definition 24 bit albums on Moonjune's Bandcamp has skyrocketed, and all downloads are accompanied with digital booklet.

Tariffs, VAT, import duties, shipping costs, Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, and aging audience of certain kinds of music, are not helping at all the independent music business.

.....I will be moving permanently to Spain later this year after 31 years of NYC .... My main activity is still booking and management, not so much to do now, due to the COVID, but we all hope that the world will become again the world we used to know.

Leonard Pavkovic
Moonjune Records
www.moonjunerecords.bandcamp.com

 

 

Vinyl Sales Close In On CD Sales

On the 23rd March, BPI (The British Phonographic Industry) posted information on music sales in 2020 (click here). Extracts from the report say:

'Strong growth from streaming and vinyl, as the British public turned to music during the lockdowns, more than offsets the impact of the pandemic. The BPI, the association of independent and major record labels, today reports that UK recorded music revenue rose by 3.8% in 2020 to reach £1.118 billion .... Revenues from streaming fuelled much of the rise, growing 15.4% to £736.5 million, even as Zavvi Vinyl Starter collectionthe pandemic slowed overall growth. Physical revenues decreased only marginally by 2.6% to £210.3 million – helped by the spirited response of independent shops and specialist chains and their loyal customers to the lockdowns.  Climbing revenues from vinyl, boosted by online campaigns and purchasing, increased by nearly a third (30.5%) to £86.5 million – the highest total since 1989.  This helped to cushion reduced CD sales income, which, though still resilient, fell by 18.5%.'

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, said:

“The lockdowns inevitably affected financial results in 2020 but, unlike other parts of our industry which were hit very hard, the seamless connectivity of streaming and the enduring love of vinyl meant that recorded music was relatively insulated from its worst effects, and was still able to post growth. The ongoing increase in paid subscription streaming fuelled labels’ ability to continue investing in artists. The safe and rapid reopening of live venues is the music community’s critical first priority, but the resilience of recorded music demonstrates the important role it plays in people’s lives even in the midst of the COVID pandemic.”

“Vinyl’s exceptional performance despite retail lockdowns confirms its role as a long-term complement to music streaming. 2021 is likely to be the year in which revenues from LPs overtake those from CDs for the first time in well over three decades – since 1987. In addition to the immediacy and convenience of streaming, fans want to get closer to the artists they love by owning a tangible creation, and more and more of them are discovering how vinyl, or lovingly created CD box-sets, can enhance their experience of music.”

[Note: Once again Bandcamp is waiving its charges to musicians on the first Friday of the month. If you're looking to buy music, April 2nd is the day to shop and musicians will be very appreciative of your support - Ed]

 

 

Tough And Balanced Love

Sean Jones

 

 

In March, jazz trumpeter Sean Jones, President of the American Jazz Education Network, delivered an online President's address for students and educators generally and in relation to the situation with Covid 19. He discusses the educationalists' role in taking a critical approach to students' learning but at the same time encouraging students' development. "We need to find the balance between nurturing and reprimanding, we all need both right now .... To our students, the world needs you to be great ... It needs you to push through this time, because its going to be you that curates the sound for the next generations ..."

I think this video (just over 7 minutes), is relevant to the situation everywhere and well worth watching - click here or on the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Hot Club of Jupiter

 

 

Violinist Kit Massey introduces this 'teaser' video for a new album, Vs London, from The Hot Club Of Jupiter and the online launch on the 16th April. The Hot Club Of Jupiter is a band that reflects the sounds of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grapelli and the album includes London-themed tunes such as A Foggy Day and A Nightingale Sang In Berkelely Square.

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Turner video

 

 

1965 at the Antibes Jazz Festival and here is Bruce Turner and the Jump Band playing Christopher Columbus: Bruce Turner (alto sax): Ray Crane (trumpet); Ronnie Gleaves (vibraphone): Malcolm Rees (bass) and Johnny Armitage (drums). The notes also say that Brian Lemon is at the piano - he is either hidden or not featured on this number.

 

 

 

Sam Braysher video

 

 

Saxophonist Sam Braysher releases his new album Dance Little Lady, Dance Little Man on the 22nd April in the company of Jorge Rossy (drums, vibraphone and marimba) and Tom Farmer (bass). This is a taster video for the album, but there is also a single currently available of the track Heart and Soul which you can enjoy in this video, and which you can download here.

 

 

 

Bob Wilbur video

 

 

This video has Bob Wilbur playing soprano saxophone at the 1995 Mid-America Jazz Festival in St Louis with Derek Smith, Milt Hinton and Bobby Rosengarden. The tune is Bob Wilbur's original J J Jump dedicated to the UK jazz magazine Jazz Journal.

 

 

 

 

Chris Barber Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean

 

 

Chris Barber, who sadly died in March, swings in this Jazz 625 video with Ottilie Patterson from 1964 and Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean.

 

 

 

 

 

Down For The Count When I Fall In Love

 

 

The Down For The Count concert orchestra video of When I Fall In Love is taken from their new album At The Cold Stores to be released on 30th April. In this number, the swing orchestra features the voice of Hannah Castleman and the tenor sax of Alex Western-King.

 

 

 

 

Dr Lonnie Smith Sunshine Superman

 

 

I don't know whether this counts as a video, I guess it does being a 'visualizer', but this is Donovan's Sunshine Superman from Dr Lonnie Smith's new album Breathe with Iggy Pop taking the vocals.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

The Impact of Covid-19 On Musicians

The networking body ConnectsMusic has reached out to its 5000 members to conduct a survey of the impact of the Coronavirus on musicians. Their headline findings include:

●Since the March 2020 lockdown musicians’ earnings from live performance have slumped by over 90%
●92% of those surveyed have little or no live performances lined up in 2021
●83% of the musicians and music creators surveyed reported a significant reduction in earnings from recording
●84% of musicians and music creators surveyed have lost teaching work
●40% of the musicians and music creators surveyed are considering quitting the music industry

Whilst the public generally think of musicians in terms of live performance, musicians also earn money from recording, broadcast and publishing royalties, composition and teaching. The ConnectsMusic​ survey shows that musicians and music creators have lost significant portions of income from each of these. The closure of public entertainment facilities has meant that the public has switched to online entertainment instead. The ​ConnectsMusic​ survey shows that there has been an increase in music streaming, but there has not been a corresponding increase in royalty earnings to musicians and music creators (potentially demonstrating a manifestation of the reported issues with the streaming business model).

Click here for more about the survey and the detailed findings.

 

 

 

Jazz South Online Session With PRS Foundation

Jazz South logo

 

 

On 17th March 2021, Jazz South invited jazz musicians, promoters, producers and organisations across the UK for an online presentation and Q&A with Westley Holdsworth, Grants Coordinator at PRS Foundation. PRS Foundation is the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development. In this session Westley shared information about the funding opportunities for individual creatives and organisations and answered questions. You can watch the session here (38 minutes).


 

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

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

Sidney Bechet Coming Of Age

 

 

[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].

 

Sidney Bechet

 

 

'Well, there I was a musicianer: and before long I was going around seeing all the men, sometimes we'd go into the men's room and I'd see how they had themselves all wrapped up. Some of them had their privates bandaged and there'd be sort of a strong odour-like, something like that iodoform. I'd see that but I didn't say anything mostly. I'd ask maybe one of them sometimes, "What's that!" and he'd give me some answer. I never did know exactly, but I guessed that's what being a man was and I got to thinking. I wanted to be a man so bad: I had to have some disease! I did find out that much. I was all hot to have me a disease!

'One time I went home and I looked in the cabinet in the bathroom, thinking about that. I didn't know for sure how to get me a disease, Musterolebut I wanted anyhow to put something on myself and wrap myself up and then have them see me. I was going to show them I was something too.

'I looked around in the cabinet and I didn't find anything at first, nothing in particular, but I figured anything would do, so I finally got something down from the shelf - it was musterol. I looked at it; it smelled pretty much like the iodoform stuff my brother used to give in his dentist office, so I put it on.

'My God, that did it! I was fixed good! How that stuff did burn! I got it off just as soon as I could stop dancing from the pain, but was I sore. My mother heard me, and she came racing in. I just couldn't tell her what it was for, I had no way of telling her. I don't know what it was I said to her, but I never did tell anyone right up to now. That was my secret. But she did find out I had put it on and she made off like she thought I was going crazy. "What did you do that for?" she kept asking me in French. "Are you crazy?" She just couldn't understand.

'But after a while it stopped burning and I saw I was going to be all right; I began to feel different then. When I got around with the men, they couldn't help seeing me all bandaged up. They'd look at one another and they'd look at me. "What happened to you?" they'd say. "What you all gone and picked up?"

'And me, I just act like it was nothing. "Oh," I'd say, "I went with some gal." I was really feeling big those time.

Sidney Bechet

 

'But I still didn't know really. So much of how things were I didn't understand at all ...... I wanted to have a girl of my own. I wanted awful bad to be like the men. So when I was about fourteen - it was long after that time with the musterol - I saw a chance of getting myself a girl .....

'There was this girl I had seen around. She was pregnant. The fellow she'd been going with had just gone off and left her. ... so I figured I'd marry her. I figured I'd go tell her father I was the one who had done it....

'So one evening I went over to the house where she was living and I asked to talk to her father. He come out then and we sat talking for a while and I told him finally I was the father of the child. This was to be a man-to-man talk, I made him understand ....

'He didn't answer. He didn't say anything at all about what he was thinking .... he left me there and he went off and bought a gallon of wine .... we sat up most of the night, sitting there on the porch passing the wine back and forth ...... I'd never been used to so much wine and it sort of got my tongue loose. I told him all how sorry I was this thing had happened ..."I'm sure I can support a wife," I told him, man-to-man. "I'm working pretty regular," I said. "I earn seventy-five cents, a dollar a night in the district." .....

'That man, he let me go on, and when I was sound asleep he picked me right up in his arms and carried me home ..... and he put me to bed and he explained to (my mother) all about what I'd wanted to see him about.

"You tell him not to do anything like that again," he told her. "He's a nice boy, but he's sure deperate! ...........

From Treat It Gentle by Sidney Bechet

Click here for a video of Sidney Bechet in 1958 with André Reweliotty's band playing I Found A New Baby.

 

 

 

 


Anagram

BIDDY MIREALLE

(American vocalist who died in 1951 known as 'The Queen Of Swing' and 'The Rockin' Chair Lady')

Click here for the answer

 

 

 

 

Take Two

Easy Living

 

[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].

 

Easy Living poster

 

Easy Living was written by Ralph Rainger with lyrics by Leo Robin for the 1937 movie of the same name, although it was just an instrumental number in the film.

So our first Take is a fine instrumental video from the Bocciodromo Jazz Club in Vicenza, Italy in October 2020. The musicians here are Carlo Atti (tenor sax); Emanuele Tondo (piano); Marco Palmieri (double bass) and Oreste Soldano (drums). The video starts a few seconds into the tune, but nothing is lost from that - click here.

 

Living for you is easy living
It's easy to live when you're in love
And I'm so in love
There's nothing in life but you

 

In the movie Easy Living the son of a rich banker is determined to leave and make his own life. Meanwhile, the banker's wife has been spending vast sums of money on fur coats. Annoyed, the banker throws one of the coats off the roof of their house where it lands on Mary Smith who returns it, but is Easy Living stilltold to keep it and the banker buys her a new hat to compensate. This leads to rumours that Mary is his mistress and she loses her job. Nearly penniless, Mary begins receiving offers from people eager to cash in on her notoriety. One firm gives her an expensive sixteen-cylinder car, and hotel owner Mr. Louis Louis installs her in a luxury suite, hoping that this will deter the banker from foreclosing on his failing business.

Coincidentally, Mary meets the banker's son, John Jr, who is working at a restaurant. He gives Mary free food for which he is fired so Mary invites him to stay with her. Of course they fall for each other.

Meanwhile, as time goes on, her supposed connection to the banker has disastrous consequences for the stock market. A stockbroker asks her for inside information about the price of steel, Mary thinks he is talking about John Jr. who jokingly says the price is going down and as a result, everybody begins selling, just as the banker, John Senior, starts buying, causing his company to teeter on the brink of bankruptcy. When Mary, John Junior and John Senior finally get together and discover what is going on, John comes up with a bright solution - getting Mary to tell the stockbroker that the banker, John Sr., has cornered the market. Prices shoot up, the delighted father gives his son a job, and John Jr. proposes to Mary.

Click here for a clip from the movie.

 

I'll never regret the things I'm giving
They're easy to give when you're in love
I'm happy to do whatever I do for you

 

There are many versions of the song Easy Living including versions by Miles Davis and Clifford Brown but with Billie Holiday perhaps giving one of the best known vocal recordings, but our second Take on this occasion is another video instrumental from Art Blakey's band in 1965 featuring a lovely solo by trumpeter Lee Morgan. The band: Lee Morgan (trumpet); John Hicks (piano); Victor Sproles (bass) and Art Blakey (drums) - click here.

 

For you maybe I'm a fool, but it's fun
People say you rule me with one wave of your hand
Darling, it's grand, they just don't understand

 

There are those who might complain that I have not included a Take of a vocal version of Easy Living. That gives me the excuse to squeeze in Take Three at the risk of you thinking I favour the Sant Andreu Jazz Band (as if ...?!). Their video features the tenor saxophone of Scott Robinson and Andrea Motis sings the song - click here.


Living for you is easy living
It's easy to live when you're in love
And I'm so in love
There's nothing in life but you

 

 

 

 

The Grid

Our version of the popular panel game 'Only Connect'. The task is to sort the 16 names in the grid below into four groups of four connected names. Some names might seem to fall into more than one group, but there is only one complete solution.

 

Modernaires

 

Deep Creek
Bristol
Ulster
Blue Moods
St Davids
Modernaires
Upton
The Pearls
Grandpa's Spells
Brecon
Wigmore
Love Supreme
Sentimentalists
Usher
Skylarks
Tanktown Bump

 

Click here for the answers

 

 

 

 

Georgia Mancio and Alan Broadbent

The co-operation between vocalist Georgia Mancio and pianist Alan Broadbent has been fruitful for a number of years despite Songs of Alan Broadbent and Georgia MancioGeorgia being based in the UK and Alan in America where he is Professor of Jazz Studies at NYU. Together they have written a cornucopia of songs and as their 2017 album Songbook proved, people really like their work.

In March, they released a further album, Quiet Is The Star, but they have also published a book containing all of their songs written between 2014 and 2020. Although all 33 songs were co-written between 2014 and 2020, they actually span some 55 years. As Alan explains: “Every once in a while, melodic inspirations would pop into my head uninvited, expressing my inner feelings with just notes and chords but without words. That is, until they met Georgia Mancio. She has the same love for song as I do and knows the language they need to speak to the heart. She also found, word for word, note for note, solutions to my sometimes enigmatic titles and gave life to the sentiment they implied.”

The Songs of Alan Broadbent and Georgia Mancio book is available in both digital and physical formats (wire-bound to stay open!) from Georgia's website - click here. The 94-page volume is presented with the elegance and expanse of an art book: with clear lead sheets (in standard female keys),  Simon Manfield’s evocative artwork (pen and ink illustrations and watercolour landscapes) from both albums, Songbook and Quiet Is The Star, photos and song by song descriptions.

The album Quiet Is The Star was released on 27th March on Roomspin Records and we shall write more about it in our next issue. Details and samples are available here. In the meanwhile, click here for a taste of the album in this introductory video.

 

 

Georgia Mancio and Alan Broadbent

 

 

 

 

Paul Desmond and Audrey Hepburn

My thanks to Sue Slater for bringing this story to our attention.

 

Paul and Audrey graphic

 

Paul Desmond, saxophonist with the Dave Brubeck Quartet had a crush on film star Audrey Hepburn. The story has been told before, but the New Yorker has now told it in graphic images - click here.

Click here to listen to Paul's composition Audrey played by the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1954. [Paul Desmond (alto sax), Dave Brubeck (piano), Bob Bates (bass), Joe Dodge (drums)].

 

Paul and Audrey graphic

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Full Focus
Lullaby

by Daniel Kemshell

 

[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].

 

'Full Focus' is a series where musicians and others discuss a jazz track or tracks in detail. The idea is that you are able to listen to the track that is discussed as you read about it. This month guitarist Daniel Kemshell writes about his composition Lullaby.

 

 

Daniel Kemshell

Daniel Kemshell photograph by Iza Korzak

 

Guitarist Daniel Kemshell was born in Aberdeen, Scotland. He began playing drums when he was eight and then took up guitar, joining the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland when he was sixteen. In 2014 he enrolled on the Jazz course at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and during his time there became a bandleader and sideman on the local scene, spent a semester studying at the Jazz Institut Berlin (Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler) and developed his composing skills. Daniel graduated with first-class honours and was awarded the Jazz Performance Prize.

Click here for a video of Daniel playing Rose with the Izzy Shabani's band in 2017, [Christos Stylianides (trumpet); Daniel Kemshell (guitar); Tom Harris (keys); Shivraj Singh (electric bass); Izzy Shabani (drums)]. The band members have since gone their separate ways, but at the time their music was clearly impressive.

In 2018, Daniel moved to London where he has developed his musical career, working with a number of musicians in a variety of settings ranging from the Standard repertoire to electronic music and performing and recording with a variety of artists including Daniel KemshellXhosa Cole, Olly Chalk, Jasmin Kent Rodgman and Hansu-Tori’s In Search of Common Paradise.

In 2020, Daniel completed a Masters degree with distinction at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance - proudly supported as a Trinity College London Scholar and Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Award recipient. As an educator he has devised and co-led workshops with Cheltenham Festivals, Stretto Music and Trinity Laban’s Youth Summer Schools (Songwriting, Animate Orchestra). He is a featured presenter on Journeys, an online guitar tuition platform recently developed by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), and teaches guitar regularly in school settings and from his home in South-East London.

Daniel has been producing recordings of his own material, and has received support from the Birchfield Jazz Festival and Trinity GoDigiTL microgrant to produce solo recordings during the COVID-19 lockdown. A recent member of the Sounding Eye Collective, his recording work has also accompanied visual artist Shiyi Li’s work in the Thirteen Ways of Looking exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry (UK). We feature an item about part of this exhibition, Dreamerfly, elsewhere on this page, but you can watch a brief trailer video for the project here.

....and so to Lullaby. It is only three minutes long but it is an intriguing piece; the echo effect is dreamlike although not initially soothing as lullabies often are but as the music progresses that dreamlike effect brings an ambience to the piece as the solo guitar enters at about 1.13. Despite what Daniel says below about naming the tune, by the time the piece ends, I can understand why perhaps in his subconscious he thought of Lullaby, although possibly more a lullaby for adults than for babies. Listen to the music and then Daniel explains below in more detail how the end result was achieved.

Click here to listen to Lullaby.

 

I started writing Lullaby after a chance encounter of improvising what would become the opening measure of the tune. I think being in a cavernous basement room at the time probably influenced the character of the idea, but I actually called it Lullaby as a joke! It sparked my curiosity, and so I recorded it with my phone for future reference.

I made a transcription of the recording and noted the properties and intervallic relationships within the idea. When considering pitch-class set theory, I found that the consecutive intervallic movement from one note to the next could be exclusively defined using one of the following: interval classes ic1, ic2, ic4 and ic6.

 

Daniel Kemshall score

 

 

For those who are unfamiliar with the theory, I have provided a table of interval class equivalencies that outline the tonal counterpartsfor each interval class.

 

ic
included intervals
tonal counterparts
extended intervals
0 0 unison and octave diminished 2nd and augmented 7th
1 1 and 11 minor 2nd and major 7th augmented unison and diminished octave
2 2 and 10 major 2nd and minor 7th dimished 3rd and augmented 6th
3 3 and 9 minor 3rd and major 6th augmented 2nd and dimished 7th
4 4 and 8 major 3rd and minor 6th diminished 4th and augmented 5th
5 5 and 7 perfect 4th and perfect 5th augmented 3rd and diminished 6th
6 6 augmented 4th and diminished 5th  

 

The interval class ic0 (unison and octave) could also be found within the initial idea , however I neglected its presence at the time due to its static nature - no movement between different pitch classes. Following the analysis, I tasked myself with developing the idea by restricting consecutive intervals to one of the four interval classes defined - ic1, ic2, ic4, ic6. This was done for both the melody and bass parts independently, however I remember embarking on a trial-and-error process of constantly evaluating how the two parts sounded together. The process helped me settle on two parts that I felt were satisfying to my ears until they formed the 'final' version of the piece as it is now known.

 

Daniel will be putting up more tracks in the coming months with a plan to release a collection on Bandcamp. We shall let you know when this is available.

For anyone who would like to have the whole score for Lullaby, Daniel would be happy to send you a PDF file with it if you contact him through his website.

Click here for Daniel Kemshell's website and contact details

 

 

Daniel Kemshell

Daniel Kemshell photograph by Olivia Da Costa

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Well, What Do You Know?!

This month we give you fifteen jazz related questions to give your little grey cells a workout.
See how you get on?

 

Who is this

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Sarah Moule

Stormy Emotions

The Songs of Fran Landesman and Simon Wallace

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].

 

Sarah Moule

 

 

T.S. Eliot’s great modernist poem, The Wasteland, is an unlikely source of inspiration for a jazz song but American lyricist Fran Landesman had a marked literary bent and was able to spin the poem’s famous opening line, “April is the cruellest month” into Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most, a song which has become something of a jazz standard. With music by Tommy Wolf, it has been performed by some of the greats including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Barbra Streisand. Click here for what Ella made of it.

Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most came early in Fran Landesman’s career but she ended up writing the words to hundreds of equally striking songs. The definitive interpreter of her work has turned out to be British singer, Sarah Moule. Over the past twenty or so years, Sarah has recorded four well-received albums featuring many of Landesman’s songs. And now comes a fifth album, Stormy Fran LandesmanEmotions, recently released on the 33Jazz label. It is made up entirely of songs written by Fran Landesman in collaboration with Sarah Moule’s husband, Simon Wallace.

Fran Landesman had an interesting life. Born in New York City in 1927, she became involved in that city’s beat scene in the late 1940s. She married publisher Jay Landesman in 1950 and began writing song lyrics shortly afterwards in collaboration with Tommy Wolf. The partnership produced other memorable songs besides Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most including Ballad Of The Sad Young Men which has been performed by artists as varied as Sarah Vaughan, Roberta Flack, Shirley Bassey and Ian Shaw.

 

Fran Landesman

 

The Landesmans moved to England in 1964 and quickly became an established feature of 'Swinging London'. Their house in Islington was the scene of some legendary parties. The couple had a famously open marriage but which was clearly strong enough to last the distance - 61 years to be exact. They had two children – Cosmo, who became a well-known journalist in his own right, and Miles Davis Landesman, a musician.

Simon Wallace and Sarah MouleFran continued to write not only song lyrics but poetry as well. She published several poetry collections and became a performer of her work developing a half singing, half speaking style. But she also had a wider fame as a wisecracking bohemian celebrity always ready to épater le bourgeois, a reputation cemented when she appeared on Desert Island Discs in 1996 and chose a packet of cannabis seeds as her luxury item.

In 1994, Fran began collaborating with musician and composer, Simon Wallace. For the next eighteen years, the two would meet each week and write songs. The partnership became triangular when Simon Wallace’s wife, singer Sarah Moule, began performing and recording the songs.

Fran Landesman died in 2011, aged 83. She was writing and performing to the end.

Click here for a clip of her delivering Ballad of the Sad Young Men live at the 606 Club in April 2009 with Simon Wallace on piano, Miles Davis Landesman on guitar and Sarah Moule on backing vocals.

 

Simon Wallace and Sarah Moule

 

 

 

On the new Stormy Emotions album, Sarah Moule sings Fran Landesman’s lyrics backed by Simon Wallace on piano and keyboards, together with different combinations of various musicians:  bassists Mick Hutton and Neville Malcolm, drummers Paul Robinson and Rod Youngs, guitarists Nigel Price and Charlie Cawood, and saxophonist Mark Lockheart.

Click here for an introductory video for the album.

Sarah Moule

 

One wonders why Sarah Moule is not better known because on the evidence of Stormy Emotions, she has a fine voice. She sings with an American accent to fit lyrics which, after all, were written by an American, albeit one domiciled in Britain for many years. Her voice is marvellously expressive but never over the top. She perfectly captures both the meaning and feeling of the songs. Above all, her voice is crystal clear so you can hear every word of Landesman’s clever lyrics.

Landesman does sardonic, smart New Yorker very well but there is also sincerity and emotion in her songs too. The first track, for instance, Nothing Is Mine Now, movingly documents the moment when a relationship becomes so close that two people become one:

“Pray with me, sin with me, moan with me, grin with me
Love me with all of my scars
Rise with me, fall with me, hide from it all with me
Nothing is mine now, it’s ours”.

Sarah Moule times that last “it’s ours” to perfection and invests the two words with a superbly controlled emotion. Nothing Is Mine Now was the last song Landesman and Wallace wrote and was only finished on the day Fran died. It shows that, even at the last, she was still writing at the highest level.

 

 

 

Nothing Is Mine Now is followed by Are We Just Having Fun, a typical piece of Landesman’s hip and knowing humour. “Are we playing for keeps or just having fun?” It also shows off her skillful way with a rhyme:

“Is it the meeting of two minds
That’s producing this elation?
Is this the love we sing about
Or just a little too much medication?”

Mark Lockheart contributes some light touch but effective soprano sax.

Click here for a live version of Are We Just Having Fun with just Sarah and Simon.

 

Inevitably, the focus of Stormy Emotions is on Sarah’s vocals and Landesman’s lyrics but these would be nothing without Simon Wallace’s ability to find the right melodies for the words. Never That’s When is a song in which a woman wittily engages with a reluctant suitor: “When are you gonna show up meanest of men?” Wallace sets the words to a lovely bluesy tune rather like something Dinah Washington or Eartha Kitt might have sung in the 1950s. His arrangement is also spot on with the sound of an organ gently shadowing the piano. And finally, his playing is pretty good too - on Never That’s When, he takes a longish but accomplished solo on piano. Sarah Moule sings the words as the voice of exasperated experience and, once again, nails the final deep-felt punchline: “When will my heart forget you? / Never that’s when”.

Click here for a live studio performance of the track.

The fourth track, Close To Tears has another absorbing melody with an attractive gently Latin beat. It has the feel of one of those romantic James Bond film themes. The main feature, though, is some beautiful soprano sax work from Mark Lockheart.

A Magician’s Confession shows Landesman’s originality and a way with a conceit. The magician wonders why he can do all the tricks in the book but can’t bring back the past:

“I can pull a rabbit from a hat, I can make a lion disappear
I know several ways to skin a cat
But I can’t bring back the snows of yesteryear”.

The melody is a slow ballad which Sarah Moule sings beautifully.

Truly Unruly is upbeat with more sassy Cole Porter-ish lyrics. A sample:

“We won’t wonder or worry
No more ifs, ands or buts
Lets get truly unruly
And go nuts
Let’s not think of the future
Lets live just for today
I’ve invented a new game
Wanna play?”

The melody and arrangement fit the lyrics with Nigel Price’s electric guitar rounding things off nicely.

Simon Wallace does a big production number on After The Fall, with keyboards and Nigel Price’s guitar managing to conjure up a huge orchestral sound. It’s a ballad, more Shirley Bassey than strict jazz, but somehow it emerges as my favourite track of the whole album. Sarah Moule is more than equal to the task of handling the piece without resorting to any Bassey theatrics but still managing to convey the sincerity of the lyric. There is another great rhyme: “Winter is coming the nights grow bitter / No one my darling could call you a quitter…”.

Its back to swinging Ella Fitzgerald / Sarah Vaughan jazz with On Hold / Living in Limbo which joins together two different songs with similar themes. Click here for a live studio performance of the piece..

Fran Landesman and Simon Wallace

 

Time Is The Beast sees another almost perfect joining of lyric, melody and performance. The theme of the lyric is how time turns youthful beauty and ideals into weary old age: “Time is the beast feasting on Beauty’s face / Biting the dancer’s ankles / Trumping the hero’s ace”. The tune is fittingly slow and mournful, accentuated by Mark Lockheart’s bass clarinet burbling away in the background. Sarah finds just the right blend of world weary acceptance and regret.

For the most part, The Long Arm of Love is a fairly conventional love song but nothing is ever that conventional with Fran Landesman and suddenly she throws in a striking image: “Can love distract you from your high tech toys / And show you there are better games for girls to play with boys?”

Fool’s Gold is a bright, upbeat number with an interesting tune and some good work from Simon Wallace on piano and Mick Hutton on bass.

 

 

Fran Landesman and Simon Wallace

 

 

 

 

The album’s finale is the title track, Stormy Emotions. This was the first song which Fran Landesman and Simon Wallace ever wrote together. The performance is a simple duet with Simon on piano backing Sarah’s heartfelt vocals. The lyrics have all the characteristic Landesman touches – killer rhymes, deft and original use of language, a resigned acceptance that the world will never quite live up to expectations, but what the hell, and a touch of nicely sardonic humour:

“Though I’ve gained a little insight, lost my heart and sold my soul
I am still a rank beginner when it comes to self control
So don’t ever ring my doorbell I can’t see you anymore
‘Cause you get me so excited and we’ve played that game before”.

Stormy Emotions, then, is an album with a lot going for it: the wit and wisdom of Fran Landesman’s lyrics, the whistleability of Simon Wallace’s tunes, the skill of the musicians involved, the glory of Sarah Moule’s voice….. “I got lucky meeting Simon”, said Fran Landesman, “That he married Sarah Moule was a bonus. She’s the jazz singer par excellence.”  After listening to Stormy Emotions, the only response to that is: we all got lucky.

 

Click here for purchase details and samples of Stormy Emotions which is released on 3rd May. Click here for Sarah Moule’s website.

 

Sarah Moule Stormy Emotions

 

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

Chris Barber O.B.E.

Chris Barber

 

This picture of trombonist and bandleader Chris Barber, who passed away on the 2nd March, was taken back in 2012 by photographer Brian O'Connor of imagesofjazz.com.

The contribution that Chris made to jazz in the UK should not be underestimated. After time with Ken Colyer, Chris formed his own band in 1954 and became a key figure, if not the key figure, in the Trad jazz revival of the 1950s. It happened at a time when young people were receptive to a new kind of music other than the popular music of the day and the following the band had was enough to fill concert halls. I say 'was' but that level of popularity lasted until Chris retired in 2019. And his annual touring with his Jazz And Blues Band and then The Big Chris Barber Band was formidable.

You can read more about Chris and his life on the Chris Barber website - click here. Somehow, sadly, I never met Chris although I went with a gang from school to his early concerts and to a more recent concert in Bristol, so I was particularly touched when one day a few years ago I discovered he had 'liked' the Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook page.

Click here for a video of the early Chris Barber Jazz Band with the great voice of Ottilie Patterson on the Six Five Special TV programme.

Click here for an interesting video with Hugh Laurie interviewing Chris Barber which looks at Chris's role in bringing Blues musicians to the UK.Chris Barber album

 

In October last year, Lake Records released a double CD of the 1963 Chris Barber Band - A Jazz Club Session with Chris Barber's Jazz Band & Ottilie Patterson. The recording was transferred from tapes made by Alan Gilmore at the Elizabethan Hall in Nottingham. 'This previously unreleased CD from 1963 shows that development in place: alongside the standard Trad Jazz fare there are Gospel tunes, Duke Ellington material as well as two tunes by Kurt Weill and originals by Chris Barber himself. Blues singer Ottilie Patterson also broadens her Blues scope with songs by Memphis Minnie, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and a reworking of an old Bessie Smith song. Most of Chris Barber's 'live' recordings have been large concert ones, but this sees the band in a Jazz club setting, less formal with the band relaxed, on top form and enjoying itself. These excellent recordings come from those made by the late Allan Gilmour in Nottingham and are part of an on-going series by LAKE Records.' The album is still available through Amazon - click here.

 

The Chris Barber Big Band appeared a few times on the TV programme Later - with Jools Holland : here they are with Jubilee Stomp - click here. The date is not given but it would be prior to the passing of trumpeter Pat Halcox in 2013 who stayed with Chris's band since the beginning.

I guess we should also include the band's theme tune, sometimes played as they each came onto the empty stage - click here.

Let's fly down or drive down
To New Orleans.
That city has pretty
Historic scenes.
I'll take you parade you
Down Bourbon Street.
There's a lot of hot spots, you'll see lots of big shots,
Down on Bourbon Street.

 

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

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Shez Raja's

Tales From The Punjab

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].

 

Shez Raja

 

 

The kingdom of the Punjab in northern India was formed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh (known as 'The Lion of the Punjab') combining smaller, Sikh, Muslim and Hindu regions into a country large enough to withstand Afghan invasions and domination by the British East India Company. 

Although Ranjit Singh was a Sikh he established Lahore (birthplace of the Mughal emperor Shah Jehan) as his capital city and during Punjab maphis reign generated great wealth through trade to finance his all conquering Sikh Khalsa Army and repair previous war damage such as rebuilding the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar.  Through skillful governance, Ranjit Singh was able to preserve a greater degree of harmony among his mainly rural and multicultural population than had existed previously, but on his death in 1839 the kingdom lost direction and after two Anglo-Sikh wars in 1845-6 and 1848-9 it was annexed by the British and governed by the British Raj from 1858 until independence in 1947. 

The Sikh Khalsa Army numbered over 100,000 soldiers, predominantly Sikh but also Moslems, Hindus and European advisors who had been instrumental in modernising the force. The spoils of war included the Koh-i-Noor diamond, much prized by Maharaja Ranjit Singh but ceded to the British and now part of the British crown jewels. Although the Sikh Khalsa Army was disbanded after defeat by the British, many of the soldiers were recruited into the British Indian Army and distinguished themselves in two world wars. 

Shortly after the second world war the British relinquished control of the Indian sub-continent but partitioned it into India with a predominantly Hindu and Sikh population, and East and West Pakistan where the population was predominantly Muslim.  The Punjab itself was partitioned along the same lines leading to appalling loss of life as communities struggled to re-establish themselves.

Kipling Illustration

 

 

 

 

At the end of the 19th century Tales of the Punjab, written by Flora Steel and published in 1894 with illustrations by Rudyard Kipling's father, J. Lockwood Kipling,  provided English readers with an impression of Punjabi culture and folklore but there must surely be a question mark over how objective such a book, written by an upper-class, foreign woman could be. 

 

J Lockwood Kipling illustration from the tale Raja Rasalu: How He Killed The Giants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chandigarh Rock Gardens

 

 

 

Today the state of Punjab in Pakistan is industrialised and relatively prosperous. Its capital, Lahore, has also become a cultural centre and tourist destination with UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Lahore Fort and the Shalimar Gardens. Punjab state in India includes Amritsar but the capital city is Chandigarh, designed in part by Le Corbusier, and has been called the only successful perfect city in the world.

 

Chandigarh Rock Gardens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bass guitarist Shez Raja was born to a Punjabi father and English mother and was raised in the Wirral, just across the Mersey from Liverpool and talking to him on the phone his accent is much more northwest England than northwest Indian subcontinent.  Shez first visited his father's homeland more than twenty years ago and returning last year he noticed a considerable change, but luckily many traditions of the Punjab have survived in both Pakistan and India, not least the musical traditions of the region.

Shez's album, Tales From The Punjab, was recorded in Lahore just before the Covid-19 lockdown descended and Shez made it back to London with hours to spare.  The album is produced by Shez Raja, it was recorded live at bandleader Mekaal Hasan’s Digital Bhangra dancersInfidelity Studios in Lahore, Pakistan where it was also engineered, mixed and mastered by Mekaal Hasan. Apart from Shez Raja on bass guitar the album features Fiza Haider on vocals, Ahsan Pappu on bansuri (flute), Zohaib Hassan on sarangi (similar to a violin with three main strings but up to thirty-six sympathetic strings that vibrate in resonance with the tone of the main strings), Kashif Ali Dani on tabla and Qammar Abbas on cajon - the personnel representing a wide range both in age and musical heritage and a complete change from the normal Shez Raja band. The recording session was the culmination of a journey of discovery that Shez undertook to discover his musical and cultural roots.  

The hugely varied music of the Indian subcontinent may be divided into Hindustani (North Indian) and Karnatak (South Indian) and also as folk or classical, all having very long histories with folk music perpetuated mostly by oral tradition among communities while classical music has a more formal structure.  In the Punjab the most popular folk music was bhangra, often accompanied by dancing, particularly during family events such as weddings. 

 

Bhangra dancers

 

 

 

The theory and practice of classical music are perpetuated in gharnanas which may be thought of as centres of excellence that teach, mentor and support musicians. There are gharanas all over the Indian sub-continent and are often associated with singing but some specialise in instrumental performance including the Lahore and Amritsar gharanas whose alumni include the aforementioned tabla player Kahif Ali Dani and bansuri player Ahsan Pappu respectively.  Another tabla player associated with the Lahore gharana is Zakir Hussain, well known for his contribution to the indo-jazz genre through the Mahavishnu Orchestra and elsewhere.

North Indian music, like all music, has melody, rhythm and tempo but unlike much Western music there is considerable scope for improvisation and cycling through different elements.  Corresponding to the idea of melody, a raga is a pattern of notes selected from one of ten parent scales called 'thaats' but a pattern that varies as the melody rises or falls.  The word raga may be translated as 'colour' or 'mood' and this concept is fundamental to the sound of Indian music although of course all types of music can generate emotion within both players and listeners. Rhythm and tempo are known as 'tal' and are provided by the tabla, the first beat of a cycle is emphasised and called 'sam' which is useful as performances can be very long, and while they may start slowly, tempo, rhythm and melody can all change as the pace hots up.  Another essential part of this music is the 'drone' which provides a harmonic basis that other musicians in the band may relate to. 

Click here for an Introduction to Shez Raja's new album Tales From The Punjab.

 

Tales From The Punjab has six tracks, three composed by Shez Raja and featured on previous albums and three entirely improvised using all the elements of North Indian classical music.  Track 1, Angel's Tears comes from the Mystic Radikal (2010) album while Mantra and Maharajah are arrangements of tunes from Gurutopia (2016).  Most of the musicians in the band had not played together before and had never met Shez Raja; there was also a language barrier, but music is a universal language and during the first track, as each member of the new band is introduced with a solo, you just know this is going to be a great album.

In comparing the two versions of Angel's Tears what is striking is how much Shez Raja has assimilated from his studies of Punjabi musical heritage and how he has adapted his bass guitar playing.  There is no tradition of bass in North Indian music so he had to Shez Raja Tales From The Punjab albumbend the notes and use vibrato to make it sound more like an Indian instrument. 

Click here to listen to Angel's Tears.

Adventures In The City of Wonders, referring to Lahore, begins slowly with a drone and Raja's guitar dipping in and out of the pool of sound, others join in before Raja lays down a wonderful groove together with tabla and cajon followed by great solos from Zohaib Hassan and Raja himself, sadly the exotic improvisations end all too soon.  Mantra starts off in a similar vein to the original but then Fiza Haider changes from vocalising the tune to Punjabi traditional singing before being joined by sarangi and bansuri and the whole performance just sounds authentic.  The original version of Maharaja had an excellent solo from violinist Pascal Roggen but a violin only has four strings while as mentioned above, the sarangi can have many more and this gives a wonderful complexity to the sound which Zohaib Hassan takes full advantage of, once again the piece is over far too quickly. 

Click here to listen to Maharaja.

Maye Ni Main Kinu Akhan is an ancient Punjabi poem sung by Fiza Haider which together with a drone provides the basis for improvisations from bansuri and sarangi while the last track, Enlightenment, another improvised piece featuring Ahsan Papu and Shez Raja has a slightly melancholy feel to it and one that will resonate with the listener who will surely have wished that the album had gone on for as long as some of the legendary all-night raga performances. 

Shez Raja's previous album was called Journey To Shambhala, a mythical place of peace and harmony that can only be reached by the fortunate few and quoting Shez "the journey often holds as much wonder as the destination". It is fascinating to observe Shez Raja's journey through the world of indo-jazz, and now that he has travelled with authentic Punjabi musicians one wonders how things might develop. Shez mentioned that he has spent the Covid-19 lockdown profitably, spending time with his family, practicing a great deal, composing and preparing for further albums and it has been reported that another album in association with Meekal Hassan will be forthcoming. It is clear that Shez Raja has found the traditional ragas and talas and freely improvising with virtuoso Punjabi musicians in Lahore to be a magical experience; for the listener, the skill of the musicians and the sound of authentic instruments really elevates this album to a new highpoint in his career. 

Click here for details and samples of Tales From The Punjab.

 

Shez Raja

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Drum

for Dom Um Ramão

by Steve Day

 

Many thanks to Steve Day, poet and convenor of the band Blazing Flame, for this poetry tribute to drummer Dom Um Romão. Romão was a Brazilian drummer and percussionist well respected for his work with the band Weather Report, but he also recorded with a variety of other musicians including Cannonball Adderley, Jorge Ben, Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 and Tony Bennett. He was the percussionist Tom Jobim brought to the studio for the legendary album Jobim recorded with Frank Sinatra in 1967 for Reprise, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim. Romão died in Rio de Janeiro in 2005 shortly after suffering a stroke. Steve Day says: ‘Dom Um Romão was one of the great hand percussionists’ and an obituary in World Central Music makes reference to the variety of percussion used by Romão: ‘....I remember well his studio/rehearsal space/loft/club in New York City called “Black Beans.” It was indeed a gathering place for great music and times. Dom had a machine that I believe was for making shoes that he stored near the stage there. It had a gigantic wheel and Dom utilized it as a percussion instrument. This was during the heyday of the loft scene in New York City which was very exciting. Dom stored all of his percussion gear there and if he knew you, you could borrow whatever you needed......’

 

Dom Um Ramao

 

To do what they said they would
do, do do.
But don’t, don’t, don’t, can’t, can’t, can’t.
That is the way of it until the big hit
bounces once on the bass skin, twice on the shell,
overhear Ramão tell a quick grip rhythm
to tongue and groove repetition going
can, can, can, must, must, must
find a-finer point to
beat, beat, beat it up by playing stick fingers
from the wrist by hand drum.
Rub the thumb
torrent of touch and
go, go, go:
throb of godhead struck on nail tip and knuckle,
palm handling centre skin rim and the weight
of the heavy hand.
The right like a fated blurred percussion prayer
against the light left
adding interjecting talking drum to itself.

Come Sunday gospel thunder clap.
Come Monday take it back.
Come Tuesday spread layers of beats
to keep a whole week working toward Friday
and the Saturday samba sex pummelled out in
four, four, four - four
in an endless roll of index finger lick tricks
playing space and motion
into Boogie Woogie Waltz.

 

Click here to listen to Dom Um Romão and Weather Report playing Boogie Woogie Waltz

 

Weather Report album

 

 

 

 

Name The Tune

(Click on the picture for the answer)

 

Name the tune

 

Click here for other challenges to 'Name The Tune'

 

 

 

The Overnight Success

by Matt Fripp of Jazzfuel

 

Matt Fripp set up his own music agency and website, Jazzfuel, in 2016, since when he has  established a client base across many countries.  Although born in the UK, Matt is currently based with his family in Paris, France, but the international aspects of his work make little difference to his location. What is different about Matt and Jazzfuel is the information that he shares publicly on his website (click here). Matt has kindly agreed to share some of his thoughts as an agent with us from time to time.

 

The general public seem to love the idea of an 'overnight success'. And maybe for them it is overnight, but for the artist involved it inevitably follows years of making great music, promoting it, getting ignored, trying again, building great relationships and taking opportunities when they come up! And what is jazz 'success' anyway? Probably not fame and riches... Earning a living just by making Jazzfuelthe music you want? Getting paid to travel the world? Playing full venues of enthusiastic fans? What is it to you? I read somewhere recently that vocalist Gregory Porter was "a 20-year overnight success" which sounds about right...

Anyway, German festival promoter Tina Heine (who founded ElbJazz in Hamburg and now runs Jazz & The City in Salzburg) touched on this in an interview we just published at Jazzfuel (click here): "listen carefully, be interested in people – your colleagues, the audience, the artistic directors and club promoters – find common goals with them, partner, learn, participate, stay connected and curious. And things will develop.” - Tina Heine

It's of course less 'sexy', but more realistic. And, on the plus side, building something slowly and consistently generally means it's gonna last a lot longer too... In any case, the one 'trait' that ties together all the musicians that I've seen have success with gig booking, album releases, Spotify, Bandcamp, social media or anything else career related (aside from making great music of course), is that they decide on a plan and just doing the work! I hope you find something useful in Tina's interview and feel free to get in touch with me here at Jazzfuel if you have comments or questions.

I did a live seminar yesterday about running a DIY album release (timeline, singles, press outreach, promotion etc) and one question I had was this:"How can we get the attention of journalists in countries where we've never played"?

I can see why that might seem like an important consideration, because having a review in a 'foreign' country is a great way to get the attention of clubs and festivals there. But thankfully, in my experience, the majority of jazz journalists are reviewing an album purely based on how much they like it, rather than where the band is living.

As long as you...

  1. Write to them personally
  2. Show them that you know the specific styles of jazz they like
  3. Motivate them to check your record

...you're in with a chance.

I've not just seen this 'first hand' in our press outreach campaigns (where, for example, we've had reviews in Japan despite neither us nor the artist ever having worked there!) but I've also chatted to and interviewed journalists about this. One of these - with Polish journalist Krzysztof Komorek - is now online - click here. Krzysztof is not only the founder of the Donos Kulturalny blog, but also writes for major magazines, publications and radio including jazzpress.pl (where he is the online editor), JazzPRESS, Kino Jazz and Radio Jazz FM. He shares his experience and advice on reviewing jazz and I hope you'll find one or two nuggets of info that will help you have more success with your next release!

 

 

Lens America

Dr Lonnie Smith

Breathe

 

Dr Lonnie Smith

 

This photograph of Hammond B3 organist Dr Lonnie Smith was taken by Clara Pereira from JazzTrail at The Jazz Standard in New York City in 2018.

Dr Smith has a new album out, Breathe, on the Blue Note label with Iggy Pop [see Recent Releases]. Filipe Freitas from JazzTrail listens to it:

'The primary attraction of Dr. Lonnie Smith’s Breathe is the one-of-a-kind collaboration between the Hammond B-3 specialist and the rock monster Iggy Pop on two tracks, namely Timmy Thomas’ 1972 soul hit “Why Can’t We Live Together” and Donovan’s Dr Lonnie Smith Breathe albumpsychedelia pop-folk brew “Sunshine Superman”. Immersed in chill-out vibes, the former piece features the soloing capabilities of Smith, who goes strictly bluesy here, and guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg, who showcases all his rich lyricism and phrasal fluidity. They cast a generous light on the tune, despite of Iggy’s lugubrious vocal tone, which is a better fit here than on “Sunshine Superman”, a number that Smith recorded 50 years ago for his album Move Your Hand. The aforementioned pieces bookend a live album that doesn’t reach new heights or even the energy of its predecessor, All in My Mind (Blue Note, 2018). The music on both discs was culled from 2017 performances at Jazz Standard, by the occasion of Smith’s 75th birthday.

Click here for a video visualizer of Sunshine Superman.

'The absence of new originals is compensated for with a solo-less and rhythmically syncopated astral-funk take on Monk’s “Epistrophy”. However, two signature Smith compositions, “Bright Eyes” (made known by George Benson) and “Track 9”, are resurrected here with inspired appeal and vivid colors, partly due to the presence of a four-horn frontline that expands the trio format into a pliant septet. “Bright Eyes” relies on a sleek blend of jazz and soul laid down with a triple-metered flow, and becomes jubilant during John Ellis’ tenor improvisation. “Track 9”, in turn, combines a rock-driven rhythm with an open funk feel, having drummer Johnathan Blake probing multiple rhythmic variations and featuring a trio of horn stretches (Ellis, trumpeter Sean Jones and baritonist Jason Marshall). 

'If Smith demonstrates his soulful command of the blues on “Too Damn Hot”, then on the R&B-infused ballad “Pilgrimage”, he provides vast space for the voice of Alicia Olatuja.  In no way an embarrassment, the album still doesn’t transcend other central works by the organist.'

Click here to listen to Too Damn Hot.

 

 

 

Forum

 

Humph And The Klipschorns

Russell Medcraft writes: 'I followed Humphrey Lyttelton’s band from 1954 to 1966, visiting the 100 Club in Oxford Street regularly most weeks, and also at the Conway Hall sessions. At the interval time I used to go to the local pub with the band where we would chat about jazz music, bands, etc. When I was 21 years of age on 16th December 1957, I had invited the band to our house where I was Humph At The Conway albumliving with my parents. Due to a terrible fog Humph and some of the other members of the band were unable to travel out. Johnny Parker and Jim Bray both came on Johnny’s motorbike as they could navigate using a motorbike in that thick fog. 

They were all coming over to listen to their record of Humph At The Conway be played using a special corner horn loudspeaker made by a company called  VITAVOX, the speaker model being the remarkable VITAVOX KLIPSCHORN. This cost £145:00 at the time when my father Harry purchased it in 1952 (quite a considerable price then!). Johnny and Jim were taken by surprise when they Vitavox speakersheard the sound from the Klipschorn. We played various other bands’ records, and then Johnny played on our baby grand piano some of his favourite pieces including Bad Penny Blues.

Afterwards they walked across the road to the Goodwill public house for a beer, I had to stay behind just in case any other members turned up. They brought back with them a few bottles and we carried on with Johnny playing the piano and chatting until about 11:30pm.

The speaker units were made in the UK by Lowther Voight and the cabinets were made in Cricklewood under company name of VITAVOX. When using this loudspeaker it gave the same volume and sound as if the band was in the room with you, an astonishing reproduction of that sound. It was constructed using the folder horn technique for the 15 inch diameter bass unit, making this speaker cabinet 55% efficient, whereas normal speaker cabinets were 10% if you were lucky. The middle and treble frequencies were reproduced using VITAVOX own exponential flared horn driven by the pressure unit and enclosed behind a metal grille mounted inside the top of the cabinet.

They still manufacture an updated version of these speakers called the  Klipsch Klipschorn AK6 and priced at £17,500:00.

[Click here to listen to Elephant Stomp from the Humph At The Conway album and featuring Bruce Turner - it would probably sound much better with Klipschorn Speakers. Ed.]

 

 

Riverboat Shuffles and Johnny Parker

Eric Jackson adds these memories to our page looking back at Riverboat Shuffles (click here):

Louie Bellson Skin Deep

 

 

One memory is of a group of lads keeping pace on the towpath and shouting out their request for Skin Deep which was a big band drum feature popular at the time. [Click here to listen to Louie Bellson playing Skin Deep with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in the 1950s]

 

Captain Bligh

 

 

 

 

The other memory was turmoil  at one of the locks as the captain  emerged in full Captain Bligh mode to bellow 'get off my ship' to us  gaggle of squiffy revellers.

 

The Trad club in Bexhill are mute at the moment. One could wonder where this music is going. Promoters, fans, musicians all nearing dotage. Heigh  Ho. It is  60 years now so maybe a revival of the revival?

If you want to add to your Johnny Parker page (click here) he was at the Camden Head pub in Islington for quite a while on Thursday nights when the Trad boom collapsed. The pub at that time was very much a hard local and a bit edgy for outsiders. The whole area is now very much posher. Johnny had a discreet drummer and a very frequent sitter in was Paul Simpson, a clarinettist who had been in the Mick  Mulligan band.

 

 

 

 

Bill Reid - Bass Player

Stephen Reid asks whether any of his late father's band colleagues have memories they can share: 'I have been on your website and find it all very interesting. I am trying to find out more and  more about my father’s jazz days and what happened to his old band members (most of the Alex Welsh band died a while ago, of course). I did meet Terry Lightfoot a few times and my  parents stayed friendly  with the families of Dick (and Ray, his brother ) Smith  and Johnnie Richardson. Dick’s widow (Kay) came to my father’s funeral (La Vie en Rose  by his hero  Louis, Minder theme and Jeep’s Blues finished off by Woolly Bully were the tunes!). Anyway, perhaps someone knows of any relatives and especially Archie Semple’s (if he had any)? Here is a link to my father’s obituary - click here.

 

 

 

Aldermarston march 1960

 

Aldermarston March 1960

Chris Macdonald sends us this picture from the Aldrmarston March of 1960. Chris says: 'The photo of Eric Lister and Tony and Douggie Gray is, I’m almost positive, from the Aldermaston March 1960, as my late wife took the attached photo, which has the Grays in the same outfits, and the same kilted drummer!

From left to right we have Douglas Gray on pocket cornet, Martin Fry (Temps) on helicon, Tony Gray on slide trumpet, Jeff Nuttall (artist and author) on trumpet, and Dave Aspinwall on trombone.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reggie Dare and Harry Parry

Richard Goddard writes: 'On your Harry Parry page (click here), you link to a video (the second one on the page) with tentative names of the lineup. I can confirm that the tenor sax player is indeed Reg (usually Reggie) Dare. who was my honorary uncle - his mother Grace was my grandmother's best friend, and we often met him at his mother's flat in Shepherds Bush when I was a kid in the 50s. By then, he was mostly working the liners so was absent for months at a time - he was also a competent amateur magician and I think he probably used those skills on the ships too. I seem to remember that he retired from playing in the early 60s (lung problems, I think) and I think he died quite young around 1963/4. Thanks for the memory!'

 

 

Gerry Salisbury

Richard Nelson adds to our profile of trumpeter Gerry Salisbury (click here): 'My son Simon Nelson was learning cornet with a Norfolk brass band and at 12 years old he had taken a liking to the jazz records that were my passion. When he wanted to play jazz we looked for a teacher. Eventually we found Gerry Salisbury, recommended by bass player Gill Alexander. At first Gerry was doubtful about agreeing; because he could not read music he did not see how he could teach. Finally he was persuaded, and Gerry with great patience and by brilliant example taught Simon to use his ears, put aside the written music and develop as an improviser. Simon took the bandstand with Gerry at every opportunity and went on to form his own band “DixieMix”. When Gerry left for Spain and then France I took over the running of Dereham Jazz Club and it continued for another 22 years, finally shutting up shop in January 2020. That is Simon onstage with Jimmie Hastings and Gerry in the picture on Gerry's page from DJS when we were at Lyng Country Club. There are a lot of local musicians who are just waiting to see the back of covid restrictions so that a proper musical tribute can be organised to celebrate the music, life and times of professor Salisbury.'

 

 

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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.

 

Chris Barber

 

 

Chris Barber O.B.E - UK trombonist and bandleader who was a significant contributor to the revival of traditional jazz in the 1950s / 1960s, was mainly responsible for arranging the first UK tours of Blues artists Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Muddy Waters, and went on touring with his Jazz and Blues Band and The Chris Barber Big Band to large audiences until he retired in 2019. Click here for a video of Chris with Ottilie Patterson in 1964 and Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean. Obituaries: Guardian : Telegraph : Independent :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laurie Chescoe

 

 

Laurie Chescoe - A number of people have contacted us to say that UK drummer Laurie Chescoe has passed through the Departure Lounge. Laurie started his professional career in 1957 with the Teddy Layton Band and went on to play with Monty Sunshine, Dick Charlesworth, Bruce Turner’s Jump Band, Bob Wallis, George Webb’s reformed Dixielanders and then became a founder member of the Midnite Follies. He joined the Alex Welsh band in 1979 and worked in Alex’s band for two years right up to Alex’s untimely death. Since then Laurie has been working regularly in the Alan Elsdon Band, The Midnite Follies Orchestra, the Alex Welsh Reunion Band as well as leading his own band. Laurie joined Phil Mason’s All Stars Band in 2003 and worked with them up to Phil’s retirement in 2010. Laurie joined Bob Dwyer's Bix and Pieces in 2010. Phil Kent says: 'I knew Laurie well as he often sat in on drums when I was with Bob Wallis. Most of the time he was with Acker Bilk.' We do not have an obituary for Laurie or the date when he passed away (he was born on18th April 1933). Please let us know if you can help further. In most YouTube videos Laurie tends to be out of shot - here he is (well, his drums) with Phil Mason's All Stars and You Meet The Nicest People In Your Dreams - click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Len Skeat

 

 

 

Len Skeat - UK double bass player and brother of saxophonist Bill Skeat. Len was born in London's East End, played with Ted Heath's band, the band Velvet, and the Eddie Thompson Trio. He recorded with many jazz musicians including Mel Tormé, Ben Webster, Billy Eckstine, Lionel Hampton, Harry Edison, Digby Fairweather, Bill Watrous and others. Mike Durrell tells us that Len died from sudden heart failure while in hospital for a check-up (he had long on-going heart problems). Click here for a video of Len with Jim Mullen and Brian Dee in 2012 and I Can't Get Started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ralph Peterson Jr

 

 

 

Ralph Peterson Jr - American drummer and bandleader. In 1983, he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers as the group's second drummer for several years. He worked with many other musicians including Terence Blanchard, Tom Harrell, Roy Hargrove, Jon Faddis, Dewey Redman and Wynton Marsalis amongst many others. He began recording as a leader in 1988 with a quintet that included Terence Blanchard and Geri Allen, and moved to Canada before returning to Philadelphia. Click here for a video of Ralph soloing with Charles Lloyd's band in 1993. Obituaries: New York Times :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freddie Redd

 

 

 

Freddie Redd - American pianist born in New York City. He began playing the piano at a young age and took to studying jazz seriously when he was 18, after a friend played him a record of "Shaw 'Nuff" by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. He went on to play with Tony Grimes, Cootie Williams, Oscar Pettiford, Art Blakey, Howard McGhee, Milt Hinton, Charles Mingus and others and in the late 1950s he was invited to compose the music for The Living Theatre's New York stage production of The Connection, which was also used in the subsequent 1961 film. In both play and film he performed as an actor and musician. Click here to listen to Freddie, his trio and Jackie McLean playing Music Forever from The Connection. Obituaries: New York Times : JazzTimes : Jazz Journal :

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Recent Releases

Some Recent Releases

Please Note: ** Where we give links to albums from Bandcamp and the price is shown in dollars or other currencies, this is converted to pounds sterling if you click 'Buy' so you can check the price before you purchase.

 

 

UK

Georgia Mancio and Alan Broadbent - Quiet Is The Star

Solstice - Food For Thought

Group Sounds 4 & Five - Black & White Raga

Snowpoet - Wait For Me

 

 

America

Wadada Leo Smith / Douglas R. Ewart / Mike Reed - Sun Beans Of Shimmering Light **

Malnoia - Hello Future **

Logan Richardson - Afrofuturism **

Dr Lonnie Smith - Breathe

 

 

Europe and Elsewhere

Lucien Johnson - Wax // Wane

César Cardoso - Dice Of Tenors **

Dwiki Dharmawan - Hari Ketiga **

 

 

Re-issues

Jimmy Noone - The Apex Of Jazz Clarinet : 1923 - 1944

Roseanna Vitro - Listen Here

Benny Goodman - The Benny Goodman Small Bands Collection : 1935 - 1945

 

 

 

 

Georgia Mancio and Alan Broadbent - Quiet Is The Star
(Roomspin Records) - Released: 27th March 2021

Georgia Mancio (voice and lyrics); Alan Broadbent (piano and music)

Georgia Mancio and Alan Broadbents Quiet Is The Star

 

 

'Quiet Is The Star is the new album by vocalist/lyricist Georgia Mancio and Grammy-winning pianist/composer Alan Broadbent and the much anticipated companion to their 2017 Songbook. The album spotlights the purity and parity of the duo setting in 9 co-written songs exploring the ties we weave in life: sisterly, maternal, romantic, universal. One voice, one piano, one dialogue. Georgia’s deeply nuanced singing (“sublime, clarity and poise personified, intimate yet dynamic”, Jazzwise) is embraced by Alan’s rhapsodic solo piano, indicating the breadth of his musicianship, from accompanist to Big Band/orchestral leader. Recorded in late 2019, it re-unites with Songbook producer Andrew Cleyndert and artist Simon Manfield, whose bespoke watercolours perfectly accompany the subtle variations of mood. The album is released alongside 'The Songs Of Alan Broadbent & Georgia Mancio' – a book of 33 co-written works from both albums ('Songbook' and 'Quiet Is The Star') and many more besides.' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Listen to Let Me Whisper To Your Heart : Listen to I Can See You Passing By :

 

 

 

 

 

Solstice - Food For Thought
(Ubuntu Records) - Released: Digitally 16th February 2021/ CD & Vinyl: 26th September 2021

Tori Freestone (tenor sax, flutes); Brigitte Beraha (voice); Jez Franks (guitar); John Turville (piano); Dave Manington (double bass); George Hart (drums)

Solstice Food For Thought album

 

 

'Solstice is a collaboration between these six like-minded bandleaders and composers who share a common love of contemporary jazz, fine food and wine, resulting in an eclectic palate of influences from all around the world. After the success of their taster album, Alimentation, the long-awaited plat du jour album, Food for Thought, is a strong expression of the complex issues facing us at this time when many are pursuing various interests at home, such as baking, thinking and taking up a new creative hobby. With a melange of contemporary jazz - infused with a dash of spicy Brazilian and a smattering of folky fusion - the result could conceivably be a recipe for disaster. Instead, this is a concoction that promises to take you on an incredible journey through time/space/heaven/hell…and even the contents of your fridge.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Listen to Haven't Met You Yet : Listen to Hermetica :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group Sounds Four & Five - Black & White Raga
(Jazz In Britain) - Released: 29th December 2020

Henry Lowther (trumpet); Lyn Dobson (tenor sax); Ken McCarthy (piano); Ron Rubin, Jack Bruce (bass); Jon Hiseman (drums)

Black and White Raga

 

 

'Two sessions previously assumed either lost or unrecorded, by Henry Lowther’s and Lyn Dobson’s mid-sixties groups. Considered one of the missing links in the development of British free-form jazz. The Group Sounds Four session includes Jack Bruce, who contributes an original composition never otherwise recorded. Also features Ron Rubin, Ken McCarthy and Jon Hiseman. With comprehensive notes by Duncan Heining concerning the historical significance of these recordings.' (album notes). 'Taken from the Jon Hiseman tape archive Group Sounds Four (a broadcast from June 1966...) and Group Sounds Five (another broadcast, this time from November 1965 ....) is an important archival find. The group never recorded according to Lowther ....Moving effortlessly between open and closed forms, they may have been waiting for the latest Miles release of the period, but this music has a distinct imprimatur of strong musical personalities doing things their way.' (Stuart Nicholson in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Listen to Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise : Listen to Celebrity Stomp :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowpoet - Wait For Me
(Edition Records) - Released: 19th February 2021

Lauren Kinsella (vocals); Chris Hyson (piano, synths); Matthew Robinson (piano, synths); Josh Arcoleo (saxophone); Dave Hamblett (drums, except on ‘With You’); Lloyd Haines (drums on 'With You'); Alex Haines (guitar); Alice Zawadski (violin)

Snowpoet Wait For Me

'Wait for Me is the compelling new album by Irish vocalist and lyricist Lauren Kinsella and producer Chris Hyson. The London based songwriters have composed a truly captivating piece of work featuring storytelling at its core. Since the release of their first EP six years ago, they have been shaping their unique sound with a series of successful releases with each release seeing the group explore and expand within genre-fluid musical territories. Their third studio album suggests a deepening and maturity in the group’s sound and it is with this new release that the group shall connect further with audiences and fans worldwide. Wait For Me is a mantra evocation to explore the deeper questions of how we love, how we accept our faults and how we let go in a time of profound confusion. With a lyrical buoyancy echoed in both the music and text, Wait For Me offers protection and solace, advocating openness to adversity and a way to safely navigate great change. In a bold, flowing statement of self-identity, Snowpoet have produced a unique sonic experience in a style all their own. Their attention to every nuanced musical detail is precise culminating in an all-encompassing and inspiring work that celebrates their most definitive and creative album to date. They wear their influences lightly and with impeccable taste they weave their signature and evocative hook-like melodies, rich harmonic movements, flutters of emotive sung-spoken singing and thick, rich production to create an album that suggests repeated listening. As we move through intensely adverse times, creative and artistic freedom is paramount . With Wait for Me, Snowpoet’s music celebrates two like-minded souls that shine in a defining statement of the power of music, of creativity and of collaborative expression to demonstrate what is truly good about the world. This is genre-less creativity, boundless story-telling and open collaboration in its purest and most authentic form. It is truly beautiful.' (album notes). '....Every so often, Kinsella sings a note of such purity and personality that it feels like all hearts will burst with love on hearing it'. (Debra Richards in Jazzwise ***)

Details and Samples : Introduction to the album : Listen to The Wheel :

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Wadada Leo Smith / Douglas R. Ewart / Mike Reed - Sun Beans Of Shimmering Light
(Astral Spirits) - Released: 16th April 2021

Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet); Douglas R. Ewart (woodwinds); Mike Reed (drums).

Smith Ewart Reed Sun Beans Of Shimmering Light

 

'Sun Beans of Shimmering Light is a fantastic set of improvised music by trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, Jamaican-born woodwind player Douglas R. Ewart and drummer Mike Reed, all AACM musicians known for bringing a fresh perspective to any project. This special encounter happened in 2015, but, criminally, only now is being released on the Astral Spirits label. As a true sensory catharsis, the music takes several forms, sometimes going from delightfully descriptive to energetically dynamic. The opening track, “Constellations and Conjunctional Spaces”, wields contemplative, audacious and prayerful moments in a constant exchange of energies. By plunging their instruments in tonal contrasts, Smith and Ewart create beautiful effects during a dialogue that stirs passion.....“Super Moon Rising” assimilates extra percussion in the aesthetics, imposing the majesty of toms, cymbals and snare drum rolls in order to grapple with the fierceness and the projection of the trumpet. Ewart then skitters around between Eastern-patterned arches before expressing his final thoughts.....Each track churns with impressively cohesive ideas; all is improvised, nothing is disjointed. Hence, what Smith, Ewart and Reed do here resonates with musical assurance.' (JazzTrail)  

Details and Sample ** : Listen to Super Moon Rising : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

Malnoia - Hello Future
(Outside In Music) - Released: 19th March 2021

Jorn Swart (piano); Benni von Gutzeit (viola); Lucas Pino (bass clarinet).

Malnoia Hello Future album'Malnoia, an unorthodox trio led by pianist Jorn Swart that mixes jazz and chamber music, is presenting their new album “Hello Future”. Drawing on science-fiction film and literature, each track is accompanied by an original short story. Through colorful compositions, emotive improvisations, and the unique combination of piano, viola, and bass clarinet, the album explores what it means to be human in a technological age.' (album notes). 'Questioning what means to be human and the value of art in a technological age, the trio Malnoia - led by the pianist/composer Jorn Swart and featuring Benni von Gutzeit on viola and Lucas Pino on bass clarinet - releases their sophomore album, Hello Future, and fills it with carefully crafted scores that escort commissioned short stories about science fiction and the future. The trio boasts a boundary-leaping style with abundant lyricism, pointillism and contrapuntal movements, showing a masterful control over the flow of their music and its artful transitions. “First Ocean” blends tempered folk and contemporary chamber music in a seamless, enjoyable manner. There’s a practical urgency in the harmonic accompaniment that counterbalances the poignancy of the melody. The result does justice to a story, written by Swart himself, about a space traveler who has forgotten the smell, feel and sensation of the sea ..... “Prelude to Singularity” employs unwavering dreamy piano, euphonious viola scratches and ruminative woodwind sounds to sonically depict the story of a man who found out that the concert that most affected him emotionally had been created by an algorithm. The latter number precedes the suave closer, Vangelis' “Tears in Rain”, the sole non-original composition on the album, which served as an emotional intensifier of Roy Batty’s famous monologue in the sci-fi classic Blade Runner. All contrasting stylistic elements of Hello Future are woven together with a methodically organized discipline and filtered into a unique blend of music that has its charms. ' (JazzTrail)

Details and Samples **: Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to First Ocean : Listen to Tears In Rain :

 

 

 

Logan Richardson - Afrofuturism
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released 12th March 2021

Logan Richardson (alto saxophone); Igor Osypov (guitar); Peter Schlamb (vibraphone, keys); Laura Tagliatela (vocals); Dominique Sanders (bass); Ryan J. Lee (drums); Corey Fonville (drums); Ezgi Karakus (strings).

Logan Richardson Afrofuturism'Alto saxophonist, composer and producer Logan Richardson’s career has been marked by his deep engagement with the Black American improvised music tradition as much as by his fearlessly open-minded embrace of the contemporary sounds of the global diaspora and his keen gaze towards the future. His latest release AfroFuturism (his fifth solo album) synthesises all those elements together into a stunningly audacious statement that is epic in its scope while providing a deep, intimately personal view into its creator’s inner life. The core of the album is a series of towering alt-rock/trap/wonky beat soundscapes created Logan’s extensive range of keyboards, synthesizers and programming along with the latest iteration of his Blues People band - Igor Osypov on guitar and Peter Schlamb on vibes and keys, with Dominique Sanders on bass and sharing production duties, and the thunderously virtuosic drumming of Ryan J. Lee and Corey Fonville rounding out the rhythm team. Logan intersperses these with an array of diverse sonic interludes, scraps of found audio, unexpected, limpid pools of introspective strings performed by Ezgi Karakus and quiet glades of hushed balladry from long-time collaborator, vocalist Laura Taglialatela. Over all, his unmistakable keening voice on alto sax provides the constant narrative thread. “I was trying to get back deeper to the core of my artistic voice: using fresh production processes to mix in my interconnected influences and all the sounds I hear, while trying to find a sense of roots.” ' (album notes). 'Afrofuturism signals the 5th album release from alto saxophonist Logan Richardson, who summoned the most recent convening of his Blues People group to play two of the 14 tracks on the album. Born in Kansas, Missouri, and having lived in New York and three different European countries, Richardson is influenced by all kinds of music, but here he pivots away from his previous albums to engage in a more encompassing style that, even if not so triumphant, comes with important social messages. The album kicks off with the voice of vibist Stefon Harris on “Say My Name”, after which the aforementioned unit is called for “The Birth of Us”, a mid-tempo romp whose rawness is partially softened by the production. The formidable drumming of Ryan J. Lee joins a well-calibrated mass of synth and guitar. Together they spread the energy, which is given a considerable boost through Richardson’s explorations on the higher register...... Decidedly not the most vital work from Richardson, the uneven Afrofuturism will still find an enthusiastic niche audience. The thing is: ample eclecticism doesn't necessarily come into a favorable record. And that’s the case with this record.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples **: Introductory Video : Full JazzTrail Review :


 

 

Dr Lonnie Smith - Breathe
(Blue Note Records) - Released: 26th March 2021

Dr. Lonnie Smith (Hammond B-3 organ); Jonathan Kreisberg (guitar); Johnathan Blake (drums); Iggy Pop, Alicia Olatuja (vocals); John Ellis (tenor saxophone); Sean Jones (trumpet); Jason Marshall (baritone saxophone): Robin Eubanks (trombone).

Dr Lonnie Smith Breathe'Smith has recorded over thirty albums as a leader throughout his singular career, but his favorite setting to document his creativity is live. “It’s so hard to capture what I’m feeling at the moment in the studio,” he says. “Hearing me live is catching me playing in the moment. It’s a good vibe. It’s a loving situation.” Breathe is a companion to Smith’s 2018 trio album All In My Mind, which was recorded during the same celebratory week at the Jazz Standard, and was given a vinyl release last year as part of the acclaimed Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series. The 2016 album Evolution marked Smith’s Blue Note homecoming nearly 50 years after the organist made his first date for the label as a sideman on alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson’s 1967 classic Alligator Boogaloo. From 1968-1970 Smith recorded his own run of five soul jazz classics from his label debut Think! thru Live at Club Mozambique, both of which were recently reissued as part of the Blue Note 80 Vinyl Reissue Series. The spotlight playlist Dr. Lonnie Smith: The Finest features some of Smith’s greatest Blue Note tracks over the past 53 years.' (album notes). 'The primary attraction of Dr. Lonnie Smith’s Breathe is the one-of-a-kind collaboration between the Hammond B-3 specialist and the rock monster Iggy Pop on two tracks, namely Timmy Thomas’ 1972 soul hit “Why Can’t We Live Together” and Donovan’s psychedelia pop-folk brew “Sunshine Superman”.... The absence of new originals is compensated with a solo-less and rhythmically syncopated astral-funk take on Monk’s “Epistrophy”. However, two signature Smith compositions, “Bright Eyes” (made known by George Benson) and “Track 9”, are resurrected here with inspired appeal and vivid colors, partly due to the presence of a four-horn frontline that expands the trio format into a pliant septet.....In no way an embarrassment, the album still doesn’t transcend other central works by the organist.' (JazzTrail)

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Why Can't We Live Together : Listen to Bright Eyes :

 

 

 

 

Europe and Elsewhere

 

Lucien Johnson - Wax // Wane
(Deluge Records) - Released: April 1st 2021

Lucien Johnson (tenor saxophone); John Bell (vibraphone); Michelle Velvin (harp); Tom Callwood (double bass); Cory Champion (drums) Riki Piripi (percussion)

Lucien Johnson Wax Wane

'Distinguished New Zealand-born saxophonist and composer Lucien Johnson releases his latest album, Wax///Wane on Deluge Records and Spotify on April 1st, 2021. Wax///Wane is Johnson’s first digital release and features six compositions about the moon and other phenomena played by an unusual instrumentation. John Bell on vibraphone and Michelle Velvin on harp create shimmering, impressionistic landscapes while the muscular rhythm section of Tom Callwood on double bass, Cory Champion on drums and Riki Piripi on percussion provide gravity through their smouldering grooves. Johnson's saxophone, which Jazz in Paris has described as "lyrical as Coltrane, as powerful as Rollins," soars above the ensemble, adding mystique and aura to pieces that are collectively a study in light and shade. From Pukerua Bay on New Zealand’s North Island, Johnson has worked as a composer and multi-instrumentalist across musical styles, creating an audience in jazz and classical, electronic and experimental music. He has performed with a long list of luminaries from jazz and improvised music, including Ethiopian jazz pioneer Mulatu Astatke, pianists Marilyn Crispell and Jobic Le Masson, bassist Barre Phillips, drummer John Betsch, and saxophonists Steve Potts and Lol Coxhill. Johnson’s other notable accomplishments include winning Sound Designer of the Year and a nomination for Outstanding Composer at the 2017 Wellington Theatre Awards, and winning the Susan Rhind Award for his solo piano composition, Addis Nocturnes in Paris, in 2017. He has also composed for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Dance Company, and his work Strasbourg 1518 was performed at New Zealand Festival 2020 and is due to feature at the upcoming Auckland Arts Festival 2021.' (album notes)

Website, Details, Samples and Downloads :

 

 

 

 

César Cardoso - Dice Of Tenors
(Self-Released) - Released: 17th April 2021

César Cardoso (tenor sax); Miguel Zenón (alto sax); Jason Palmer (trumpet); Massimo Morganti (trombone); Jeffery Davies (vibraphone); Oscar Graça (piano); Demian Cabaud (bass); Marcos Cavaleiro (drums).

Cesar Cardoso Dice Of Tenors'This new album is the result of the intention of his mentor, César Cardoso, to seek new approaches, paths and ideas of composition and arrangement, through an extended formation. This ensemble has 8 elements, distributed by winds - tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, trumpet and trombone - and rhythmic section - vibraphone, piano, double bass and drums. Having already other projects with a quartet and a quintet and having written many arrangements for Big Band, the idea of this collective arose because it is different from what he has done and above all to challenge himself to present a record with its own identity and to approach the songs with innovation and freshness. For this album César Cardoso chose 8 songs, 6 of which are Jazz Standards made famous by some of the greatest tenor saxophonists - Hank Mobley, Benny Golson, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson -, and composed 2 original songs to complete the album. These arrangements contain new approaches and techniques, recently studied, with the intention of creating songs as if they were new ones but at the same time without losing the essence of the originals. In addition, one of the premises was to raise the musical level through harmonic, rhythmic and metric complexity, without losing the musical side, making everything as organic as possible.' (album notes). 'Taking best advantage of his arranging skills for big band and honoring some of his musical heroes, the 39-year-old Portuguese saxophonist César Cardoso trails an arresting musical path with his newest album, Dice of Tenors. With this purpose in mind, he gathered a supple octet in which he shares the frontline with two American horn mavericks, Miguel Zenón and Jason Palmer, and the Italian trombonist Massimo Morganti. The program includes two originals and six famous tunes whether penned or made famous by titanic reedmen such as John Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, Benny Golson and Dexter Gordon. Golson’s “Along Came Betty” arrives with an intricate reharmonization, thriving with a Latinized groove and metric adventure. It’s a wondrous jazz fantasy whose arrangement recalls the Dave Holland Quintet, in part due to the substantial presences of vibraphone and trombone ..... At the first sight, the familiarity of the track list may cause some bold listeners to turn up their noses at the disc. Yet, if that's the case, the ambitious arrangements and the apt execution are here to make them change their minds.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples **: Full JazzTrail Review : Introductory Video : Listen to Along Came Betty :

 

 

 

 

Dwiki Dharmawan - Hari Ketiga
(Moojune Records) - Released: 19th August 2020 [2 CDs]

Dwiki Dharmawan (acoustic piano, Mini Moog, Fender Rhodes, harmonium, occasional vocal & ambient noises); Boris Savoldelli (vocals, vocal effects, live electronics); Markus Reuter (Touch Guitars® AU8, live electronics); Asaf Sirkis (drums, cymbals, occasional ambient noise); with Jeremias Pah (voice & sasando track 6); Endi Pah (voice and tambur track 6); Jonas Mooy with Inggu Ndolu Art Group (voices, sasando, gong and tambu track 7).

DwikiDharmawanHariKetiga

 

'It was fifty years ago that Man first set foot on the moon. After stepping out of their spacecraft, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin bounced around in this strange gravity vacuum – gathering terrain samples, snapping photos, then planting a momentous flag, as they looked back into space at the place from which they came. Captured within their gaze, Earth appeared no more than thumb sized from so distant a perspective...... It could also be said that seeing the world from such a perspective had the net effect of raising our collective environmental/ecological conscience. One photo brought us to the realization of the habitat we all share, and our inherent duties to its preservation: in essence, the photo was a depiction of the ecological movement’s claims, and an impetus for positive action on our planet’s behalf..... Fast-forward to the present day: In May of 2017, a ship of mighty musical warriors joined forces for a meeting of kindred spirits. Departing from the La Casa Murada launchpad (adjacent to nearby Barcelona, Spain), they embarked on a freewheeling nomadic adventure across known and unknown borders of the musical universe – and beyond! In terms of direction, these sonic pioneers relied more on instincts than any cues from a map. The seeds were planted; an air of excitement was already cultivated, in anticipation of something new and supremely unique sprouting forth.... Their corporate voyage carried them through the labyrinths of alien-influenced, unpredictably imaginative musical terrain. Hari Ketiga is the logbook amassed during the exploration: an incredible array of nine tracks that weaves written scores together with full improvisation.' (Extract from extensive album notes).'

Details, Extensive Album notes, and Samples **: Listen to You'll Never Be Alone : Listen to The Deal :

 

 

 

Re-issues

 

 

Jimmy Noone - The Apex Of Jazz Clarinet : 1923 - 1944
(Retrospective) - Released: 8th January 2021

Jimmmy Noone (clarinet) with various personnel.

Jimmy Noone Apex Of Jazz Clarinet album

 

 

'Here is the best single-CD survey available of the classic jazz recordings made by one of the New Orleans all-time greats. Jimmie Noone (1895-1944) was, along with Sidney Bechet and Johnny Dodds, the finest of all the New Orleans clarinettists, blessed with an always lyrical tone, a remarkable technique and a deep appreciation of the blues. His records stand as significant milestones in the history of jazz. The Apex Of Jazz Clarinet is a fitting description of his work. The compilation follows his career from his first recording, with Ollie Power's Harmony Syncopators in 1923 (Play That Thing), through two decades to his final sessions with Kid Ory just before his death (High Society). The series of recordings Noone made in between, leading his own band from 1928 to 1940, are classics of their kind, including that memorable spell at Chicago's Apex Club when his band included Earl Hines exhilarating classics such as I Know That You Know, Four Or Five Times, Apex Blues, My Monday Date and his theme tune Sweet Lorraine' (album notes). 'Retrospective specialises in expertly curated compilations .. focussing on key stylists from traditional and swing eras. Hence this tribute to New Orleans clarinettist Jimmy Noone .. helpfully sub-headed 'His 26 finest' ...Hugely accomplished and influential in his day ... Noone's best work continues to impress and please' (Peter Vacher in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Roseanna Vitro - Listen Here
(Skyline Records) - Released: 12th February 2021

Roseanna Vitro (vocals); Kenny Barron (piano); Buster Williams (bass); Ben Riley (drums). Also joining in are Arnett Cobb (saxophone), Duduka Da Fonseca (percussion), Scott Hardy (guitar), and Bliiss Rodriguez (piano, on “Centerpiece”). Arrangements were supplied by Fred Hersch.

Roseanna Vitro Listen Here

 

 

'Vocalist ROSEANNA VITRO – performer, recording artist, educator and journalist – reissues LISTEN HERE, the debut album that launched her career. Featuring veteran pianist Kenny Barron, the project ushered into the spotlight a formidable new artist with chops and sensitivity in equal measure – a galvanizing spirit who, having already proven she could move live audiences, now certified her power on vinyl. Though this is a first recording, Vitro shows herself a mature jazz singer. Vitro decided to re-release LISTEN HERE because the time was right. She and her husband Paul Wickliffe, an accomplished sound engineer with a storied career, recently became grand- parents. Their perspective has changed. “It was time to take stock of my life and look back at my career,” she says. “Some of my earlier records were never transferred to a digital format, so they are no longer available. And many reviewers and DJ’s who have known me over the years have moved on. I think these early recordings stand the test of time, and I want to introduce them to a new generation.” (album notes). '...Vitro's impressive oeuvre is well worth investigating .. Listen Here is where it all begann, and is a hugely rewarding opening salvo in its own right.' (Peter Quinn in Jazzwise ****).

Details and Samples : Listen to the title track Listen Here : Listen to Centerpiece :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benny Goodman - The Benny Goodman Small Bands Collection : 1935 - 1945
(Acrobat) - Released: 15th January 2021 [3 CDs]

Benny Goodman (clarinet with various personnel)

Benny Goodman Small Bands Collection

 

'Clarinettist and bandleader Benny Goodman was one of the giants of the swing era, with his orchestra pioneering the genre in the late 30s and riding the big band wave through into the post-ear era. However, he also greatly enjoyed playing in more flexible small jazz groups, where his superb technique had more of a chance to shine. This great-value 70-track 3-CD set brings together a significant proportion, but excluding vocal performances, of the titles he recorded in Trio, Quartet, Quintet, Sextet and Septet environments the heyday of his swing orchestra , often recording with artists drawn from the current incarnation of his bands. It comprises recordings on the Victor, Columbia and Okeh labels, and not surprisingly features a host of significant jazz personalities, including Teddy Wilson, Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Christian, Cootie Williams, Count Basie, Red Norvo, Slam Stewart, John Kirby, Fletcher Henderson, Johnny Guarnieri, Georgie Auld and many more. Its a thoroughly enjoyable anthology of small band jazz that defies being categorised, ranging across both well-known standards and original compositions, and allows us to hear Benny and his colleagues swinging and improvising in some star-studded line-ups.' (album notes). 'On one level, this compilation gives a very informative bird's eye view of the Benny Goodman small groups over their first decade ... but given that they were recorded by RCA Victor and Columbia ... this set is somewhat let down from what would otherwise be four-star status by the quality of transfer and remastering. The yardstick for this is the 3-CD Complete RCA Victor Small Group Recordings set from 1997 .....' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ***)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

Some Other Pages on this Website:

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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