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May 2021

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Maypole dancers

This Dance Around The Maypole painting by Peter Jackson is described in the text as When England Became Merry Again (click on the picture for details) . "Villagers dance round the maypole outside the village church as musicians play merry tunes. The locals would have been celebrating Charles II ascending to the throne ...". As we go into May we are looking forward to our own 'Restoration'.

So to welcome May, click here for a video of the Kyle Simpson Jazz Collective playing Lovely Month Of May.


 

Jazz Covers Book

Jazz Covers book

Published by Taschen GmbH, a new hardback book about jazz record covers by Joaquim Paulo was released on 5th March. JazzCovers is described as 'Part design history, part trip down musical memory lane, this anthology of jazz album artwork is above all a treasure trove of creative and cultural inspiration. Spanning half a century, it assembles the most daring and dynamic jazz cover designs that helped make and shape not only a musical genre but also a particular way of experiencing life.'

'From the 1940s through to the decline of LP production in the early 1990s, each chosen cover design is distinct in the way it complements the energy of the album's music with its own visual rhythms of frame, line, text, and form. To satisfy even the most demanding of music geeks, each record cover is accompanied by a fact sheet listing performer and album name, art director, photographer, illustrator, year, label, and more.'

Its author, Joaquim Paulo is a consultant for major labels and directs a number of radio stations in Portugal. He started collecting vinyl at 15, and flies to London, Paris, New York and Sao Paulo to enrich his collection of over 25,000 LPs. He lives and works in Lisbon and dedicates his free time to recovering old and rare recordings. Editor Julius Wiedemann studied graphic design and marketing and was an art editor for newspapers and design magazines in Tokyo before joining TASCHEN in 2001. His titles include the Illustration Now! and Record Covers series, as well as the infographics collection and books about advertising and visual culture.

The book is available online through various booksellers: W H Smith have it at £40, Amazon at £33.69. Amazon customer reviews are here.

 

 

 

Parliamentary Jazz Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2021. With the difficulties experienced by musicians and venues over the past year it is even more encouraging to them for us to recognise the contribution they make to jazz in the UK. Entries are open to anyone with the final deadline set for midnight on Tuesday 14th May 2021. Click here to make your nomination.

The categories for nominations are:

APPG logo

 

 

Jazz Album of the Year (released in 2020 by a UK band or musicians).
Services to Jazz Award (to a living person for their outstanding contribution to jazz in the UK). 
Jazz Newcomer of the Year (UK-based artist, musician or group with a debut album released in 2020).
Jazz Education Award (to an educator or project for raising the standard of jazz education in the UK).
Jazz Media Award (including broadcasters, journalists, magazines, blogs, listings and books).
Jazz Venue of the Year (including jazz clubs, venues, festivals and promoters).
Jazz Ensemble of the Year (UK-based group who impressed in 2020).
Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year (UK-based musician who impressed in 2020).
Jazz Vocalist of the Year (UK-based vocalist who impressed in 2020).
Lockdown Innovation Award.

 

 

The awards are organised by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG). APPJAG currently has over 116 members from the House of Commons and House of Lords across all political parties. Their aim is to encourage wider and deeper enjoyment of jazz, to increase Parliamentarians’ understanding of the jazz industry and issues surrounding it, to promote jazz as a musical form and to raise its profile inside and outside Parliament. The Group’s officers as at the Annual General Meeting on 22nd March 2021 are Co-Chairs, John Spellar MP and Lord Mann; Secretary, Sir Greg Knight MP; Vice Chairs, Alison Thewless MP and Chi Onwurah MP; the Treasurer is Ian Paisley MP. Officers are Lord Colwyn and Sarah Champion MP.

The Parliamentary Awards celebrate and recognise the vibrancy, diversity, talent and breadth of the jazz scene throughout the United Kingdom."These awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the talents and energies of the great musicians, educators, promoters, record labels, jazz organisations, blogs, jazz magazines and journalists who keep jazz flourishing, in spite of the challenges they faced in 2020”. 

 

 

 

The Definitive History Of Jazz In Britain on Jazz FM

It’s been over 100 years in the making, but a new landmark ten-part series finally lands at Jazz FM looking at the history of jazz Clive Myrieacross the UK.

Starting in 1919 when the ‘Original Dixieland Jass Band’ visited London’s Hippodrome for the first official performance of jazz music in the union, the series takes us on a journey of the genre in Britain. The programme will explore how jazz evolved over the decades, ending up where we are today with a thriving British jazz scene that is the envy of the world.

'The Definitive History of Jazz in Britain is hosted by award-winning BBC journalist and presenter Clive Myrie who cites jazz music as one of his passions in life. Every week he’ll explore each decade, from the 1920s to the present day, with archive audio, reconstructions, and expert insight from a who’s who of guests.The programme, produced by MIM (Made In Manchester), has been created courtesy of another Audio Content Fund win for the UK’s jazz, soul and blues station.

The series broadcasts every Sunday at 9pm from 4th April to 6th June - click here to listen and catch up on previous episodes.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Claret and Clegg The Collection

 

 

 

Guitarist Alban Claret and trumpeter Evan Clegg play the title tune from their new album The Collection. The album line-up includes saxophonist Duncan Eagles, Luke Fowler (bass) and Kuba Miazga (drums). [See Recent Releases]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avishai Cohen Two Roses trailer

 

 

Introductory video for Avishai Cohen's latest album, Two Roses, recorded with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. [See Recent Releases]

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Barber's Amateur Bands slide show

 

 

Chris Barber's Amateur Bands 1949 - 1952. This slide show from Ed Jackson, first uploaded in 2008, includes photos and music before the formation of Ken Colyer's Jazzmen and Chris Barber's Jazz Band. In the comments that follow, drummer John Westwood says: "I was next to Pat Halcox, but off that picture. This video doesn't show the band that was playing Gatemouth; if you're interested, you can see some details of that session here."

 

 

 

 

 

Norah Jones Don't Know Why

 

 

It's hard to believe that Norah Jones introduced the song Don't Know Why over ten years ago! Here she is singing it in Amsterdam in 2008. Norah has now released a new album of live performances 'Til We Meet Again - out on 16th April - and a brief introduction to is here.

 

 

 

 

 

Roy Mor After The Real Thing

 

 

Israeli pianist Roy Mor plays After The Real Thing - the title track from his upcoming album out on 21st May on the Ubuntu Music label.

 

 

 

 

 

Trish Clowes Ross Stanley Time

 

 

Saxophonist Trish Clowes and pianist Ross Stanley duet on Time in October 2020. Many congratulations to Trish who has recently been appointed as an Associate Artist at the Wigmore Hall in London for the next 5 years. She and Ross played a concert that was streamed from there on 13th April and that is available to watch here (1 hr 17 mins).

 

 

 

 

Wynton Marsalis Sweet George Brown

 

 

The Wynton Marsalis Quintet performs a swinging interpretation of Sweet Georgia Brown, featuring Mark O'Connor (violin) and Frank Vignola (guitar) from Jazz At Marciac back in 2010. Wynton Marsalis (trumpet); Dan Nimmer (piano); Walter Blanding (sax); Carlos Henriquez (bass); Ali Jackson (drums)

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Full Stream Ahead?

One of the results of the Covid restrictions has been that musicians and others have developed the art of live-streaming Montreaux Jazz Festival postermusic, either from their own homes or elsewhere using more technical expertise. As gigs open up again it will be interesting to see how far streaming becomes an additional way of watching and listening to gigs and something we get used to.

Take this year's Montreaux Jazz Festival. Jazzwise magazine reports that the Festival 'has unveiled a plan for a hybrid event to 'future proof' its programme against the unpredictability of events such as a global pandemic in the years ahead. It's a sign of how many other festivals will be looking to adapt post Covid-19, and even expand to reach a global audience through live streamed concerts, as well as ticketed in-the-flesh shows ......

'For its 55th edition, Montreaux organisers have brokered an exclusive livestream deal with Canadian music media and technology company Stingray and its streaming service ...The livestreams will be available to watch free of charge to anyone across the world while the festival has also announced the launch of its MJF Spotlight initiative to showcase and develop the next generation of musical talent ....'

Click here for more details.

 

On the other hand, click here for a backstage video interview with Maria Schneider in 2017 at the Newport Jazz Festival about why she thinks streaming services are not the answer.

 

 

 

 

Dragons' Den

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.

 

Dragons Den

 

Now, why am I writing about a TV show for entrepreneurs?

Wherever you're based in the world, I'm pretty sure there's an edition of a show where budding entrepreneurs pitch to a panel of Jazzfuelinvestors for funding. It's called Dragons Den in the UK and Shark Tank in the USA.

Anyway, I ended up watching a bunch of these on Youtube the other day and realised something: The most successful pitches of course needed to have a good business plan and customers, but they also needed to have a compelling story. Without 'the story' the investors kinda stopped paying attention.

It's very similar as a musician: you of course need to be making great music and building a fanbase (Bandcamp, Facebook, mailing list etc), but if you don't have that 'why' (aka the story) to share, it's much harder to build up that momentum and find success.

If someone visits your Facebook / website / Instagram / Bandcamp it helps if they have a quick idea of what you're about. If not, it's an interesting thing to work on...

  • Figuring out your ideal fans
  • Putting together the content (words, images, video) that communicates your story
  • Deciding where & how to reach fans, promoters, labels, journalists, and anyone else that matters to you

If that sounds like it might be helpful or interesting for your project, you can find out more information on the Jazzfuel website.

 

 

 

 


Anagram

HARD LINE ACHE

(Double bass player who passed away in 2014)

Click here for the answer

 

 

 

 

Tuba Skinny and Maria Muldaur - Let's Get Happy Together

I know from feedback that many readers like the Tuba Skinny band, well, here is a 'marriage made in heaven' .... Tuba Skinny and vocalist Maria Muldaur have got together to record a new album coming out on 7th May. As a reminder, we featured Maria Maria Muldaur and Tuba SkinnyMuldaur's album Don't You Fell My Leg (The Naughty, Bawdy Blues of Blue Lu Barker) a while back (click here). Here is what the new collaboration is all about:

 

When Maria Muldaur discovered the music of Tuba Skinny she learned that just like herself, these musicians study, play and immerse themselves in early blues, jazz and jug-band music of the 20s and 30s. Listening to their albums, Maria came to the conclusion that “they were not just playing a marvelous repertoire of cool tunes with great skill and authenticity, but somehow channeling the very atmosphere and vibration of that bygone era.”

Just prior to the Covid Pandemic in January 2020, Maria asked Tuba Skinny to collaborate in a showcase performance at the International Folk Alliance Conference in New Orleans. It was so well received that an album was immediately conceived and recorded later that year, with the title track summing it all up: Let’s Get Happy Together.

Performing 12 songs as close as possible in feeling to the original recordings, Tuba Skinny and Maria Muldaur breathed life into rarely heard gems from this incredible era. Maria Muldaur’s 55-plus year career is a long and adventurous odyssey through the forms of American Roots Music: Blues, Jug Band, Bluegrass, Jazz and Appalachian “Old Timey” Music. Over 42 albums Maria has been nominated 6 times for Grammy Awards, as well as for Blues, Folk and Roots awards. She has been recognized at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis for many of her Stony Plain releases over the years, and is the 2019 recipient of the “Lifetime Achievement Americana Trailblazer Award” from the Americana Music Association.

The album will be launched online (YouTube and Facebook) from the Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Hall in Louisiana, the same day that the album is released on Stony Plain Records.

Click here to listen to the title track: Let's Get Happy Together. The album will be available from Bandcamp but can also be pre-ordered here.

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

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

Bird At Dial

 

 

[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].

The following is taken from memories recounted by Ross Russell. Ross became a convert to the 'new sound' of jazz in the mid-forties and soon afterwards started the Dial record company, for which Charlie Parker made some of his earliest and finest recordings:

 

cHARLIE pARKER AND rOSS rUSSELL

Charlie Parker and Ross Russell

 

My background had been in the jazz classics - Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong. Just after the war I opened a record store in Hollywood, intending to sell these kinds of records (The Tempo Music Store - Ed). Without going into the background, the store became a battleground between "mouldy figs" and hipsters, with the hipsters coming out on top after a few months. We ended up selling a Ross Russell Tempo Music Storelot more records by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker than we did of, say, Duke Ellington or Benny Goodman. The Dial label was an outgrowth of the store ...

 

Ross Russell's Tempo Music Store

 

The first Dial recording date was to be the Dizzy Gillespie - Charlie Parker band which had come into Billy Berg's club in Hollywood, during the first month of 1946, I believe. We planned to have a rehearsal before the date. It took place at sort of a little offbeat studio in Glendale, California, which was part of some kind of a religious network. It was actually in a wing of a church in a little park - almost a Grey's "Elegy" setting. But it certainly didn't look the way the owners intended when this rehearsal got going. The word had gotten around over the hip grapevine, and the studio, which was fairly roomy, was jammed; nobody could move around. It was full of these hip types - they were something pretty new to me in 1946.

The band at this rehearsal was not exactly the one at Berg's. There were a couple of changes: Charlie Parker, Dizzy, Milt Jackson and Lucky Thompson formed the front line, just as they did at the club. Al Haig was pianist at the club, but George Handy, the pianist and arranger, had come to this rehearsal. He had signed the contract and was getting the musicians together. Then the band was filled out with Ray Brown on bass, Stan Levy on drums, with an added starter in Arvin Garrison's guitar. Lester Young was Charlie Parker and Miles Davisalso supposed to be on the date, but he never did get there.

At this rehearsal, we had the studio for at least three hours, and during that time, we actually recorded one thing that was later released on Dial, a version of "Diggin' Diz". But the confusion was terrible. The hippies who jammed the studio kept interfering with the musicians and the engineers, and I was too inexperienced to get the situation under control.

 

Click here to listen to the Diggin' Diz recording.

 

One other little incident impressed me at this rehearsal. One person who came to the studio was a man with a reputation in Europe as a concert artist, I believe a violinist. He knew quite a bit about recording, and he had agreed to come over as a friendly advisor to help me over the rough spots of my first recording. He was standing up there in the monitor room looking out through the glass, scowling, and trying to dig the scene - all the musicians tuning up and all the hipsters walking around. Bird finally got the horn unpacked and got his strap on and put the horn to his mouth. I remember my classical friend was standing there, and, all of a sudden, these notes started to fly out of the alto saxophone like machine gun bullets, and the man sort of staggered - he took two or three backwards steps as if someone had suddenly shot him. And he cried out, "Who is that?" He'd just never heard anything like it.....

 

Charlie Parker and Miles Davis

 

...... We did the first official date with Charlie Parker, the "Ornithology" and "Night In Tunisia" date, two or three months after the date with Dizzy ......and Bird felt very happy in having Miles Davis, who must have been in his early twenties at the time. Miles had come to Los Angeles with one of the traveling bands - probably Billy Eckstine's band - and, as I recall, he had left it there .....

On this date there were no other people in the studio at all. We had learned our lesson .....'

From Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker by Robert George Reisner

Click here to listen to the Ornithology recording and perhaps imagine what Ross Russell's classical violinist friend experienced!

 

 

 

 

The Grammys 2021

Grammy Award

 

 

The Grammy Award, originally called the Gramophone Award, is an award presented by the Recording Academy to recognise achievement in the music industry. A Grammy is considered one of the four major annual American entertainment awards, along with the Academy Awards (for film achievements), the Emmy Awards (for television achievements), and the Tony Awards (for theatre and Broadway achievements).

The 2021 63rd Grammy Awards were streamed internationally on 14th March. As you might expect, the awards cover a wide range of categories. The Jazz categories and the winners this year are:

 

 

Best Improvised Jazz Solo - Chick Corea for All Blues - A Track From: Trilogy 2 (Chick Corea, Christian McBride & Brian Blade)

Best Jazz Vocal Album - Kurt Elling for Secrets Are The Best Stories [Click here for a preview video]

Best Instrumental Album - Trilogy 2 (Chick Corea, Christian McBride & Brian Blade) [Click here for a preview video]

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album - Data Lords by the Maria Schneider Orchestra [Click here for a video of Maria talking about the album]

Best Latin Jazz Album - Four Questions by Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra [Click here for Arturo talking about the album]

A full list of categories, nominees and winners is here.

 

 

 

 

 

Take Two

Jump For Joy

 

[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].

 

Jump for Joy poster

 

Fare thee well land of cotton.
Cotton lisle is out of style,
Honey chile
Jump for Joy

In 1941, Duke Ellington wrote a stage revue that opened at the Majan Theatre in Los Angeles on 10th July. With the title Jump for Joy it ran for nine weeks with 122 performances.

It was particularly significant as, totally different to other revues of that time, it was very outspoken about racial issues, as we can see Duke Ellington Mayan Theatrefrom the lyrics to the title song. Other songs included Same Old South ("It's a regular children's heaven / Where they don't start to work until they're seven"); I Got A Passport From Georgia (And I'm Going to The USA) ("Goodbye Jim / And I do mean Crow") and Uncle Tom's Cabin Is a Drive-In Now as well as the Standard I've Got It Bad And That Ain't Good.

The production team received protestations and death threats but Duke Ellington described it later in his life as "the first 'social significance' show".

However, the musical also received rave reviews, and apparently Orson Welles and Charlie Chaplin considered buying the show, but were refused, 'as the show was collaborative in nature and the writers did not want it to be owned.' Despite its original success, "it never made it to Broadway, but it made it to history".

You can read much more about the show here, including: '...The inspiration came from a late-night party, a convergence of Hollywood glamour and nascent civil-rights activism with one of America's greatest jazz orchestras. In the summer of 1941, as Americans warily regarded a world war that seemed to be edging ever closer to their shores, Duke Ellington staged what he would later call "the first 'social significance' show," Jump for Joy. Jump for Joy was an all-black musical revue that Ellington said "would take Uncle Tom out of the theater and say things that would make the audience think." It featured the Ellington orchestra in its so-called "Blanton-Webster" years, playing at the peak of its powers, and up-and-coming African-American performers such as the actress Dorothy Dandridge, the blues singer Big Joe Turner, and the comedian Wonderful Smith. The poet Langston Hughes contributed a sketch entitled "Mad Scene From Woolworth's," and Ellington collaborator Billy Strayhorn took a significant hand in scoring the show......'

Click here for a brief documentary with one of the writers, Sid Kuller, and Duke Ellington talking about the show.

 

Don't you grieve little Eve
All the hounds I do believe
Have been killed
Ain't 'cha thrilled?
Jump for Joy

 

The first of our two 'Takes' features the popular UK clarinettist Adrian Cox with Denny Ilett (guitar), David Newton (piano) and Ferg Ireland (double bass) playing Jump For Joy in a live stream from Gun Hill studios in August 2020 (click here).


Have you seen pastures groovy?
Green pastures was just a technicolor movie

Our second 'Take' is big band version by Tarpon Springs Jazz Ensemble from April 2020 (click here). This is a virtual recording of the sort we have seen during the Coronavirus outbreak. These videos cannot be easy to edit and put together but they have achieved the 'joy' of the tunes title and there are some interesting performances - check out the scat singer. The Tarpon Springs Jazz Ensemble is one of five nationally accomplished performance ensembles within the Tarpon Springs Leadership Conservatory for the Arts in Florida. What started out as an after-school program 26 years ago has developed into a daily in-school curricular performance ensemble and combo that performs over 20 times a year. They say: "This project wasn't about performing perfectly. It was about coming together and creating music again as a musical family and giving our students something to strive for. Each student performed and recorded themselves on their phones or computers. The audio and video was mixed and edited by one our senior students, Sammy Hanson with guidance from our director, Mr. De León. Recording in this manner presents all sorts of challenges. But it was all worth it to be together again even if just through a video screen."

When you stomp up to heaven and you meet old Saint Pete
Tell that boy
"Jump for joy"
Step right in
Give Pete some skin and
Jump for Joy

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Doc Cheatham

 

 

Theodore Navarro
Theo Croker
Chairman Of The Board
Pete King
April In Paris
Ronnie Scott
Doc Cheatham
Kansas City 7
Gerrard Street
Nicholas Payton
Milton Rogers
Stardust
Hartzell Parham
Afrique
Frith Street
Edward Hayes

 

Click here for the answers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Sam Braysher

Jazz Standards and The American Songbook

 

 

[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].

 

Sam Braysher Trio album

 

It is good to have a new album released by saxophonist Sam Braysher - Dance Little Lady, Dance Little Man reflects what you might expect from a musician who has a wide appreciation of the music in its many forms. In the world before Covid-19, you would have found Sam playing in small groups and in big bands in the London area and elsewhere. He also has the initiative to collaborate with other well-known musicians outside the UK. His previous 2017 album, Golden Earrings, was a successful duet excursion with the respected American pianist, Michael Kanan.

This time, his Trio includes Jorge Rossy and Tom Farmer. Catalan drummer Jorge Rossy is known for his work with Brad Mehldau, Lee Konitz, Chick Corea, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Wayne Shorter, Tom Harrell, Carla Bley and Joshua Redman. He is also a highly melodic vibraphone and marimba player, and his ability to switch between sticks and mallets gives the trio an extra degree of versatility. Double bassist Tom Farmer is one of the UK's in-demand musicians and part of the band Empirical. He can also be heard with artists as diverse as Anoushka Shankar, Joe Stilgoe, Ant Law and Ivo Neame.

Click here for a short introductory video.

Sam says: "It was a real honour to record with Jorge and Tom, both of whom I have looked up to for a long time. As always, I tried to choose an interesting selection of tunes for this set, including some that are rarely played by jazz musicians, although I hope a few of these might at least sound familiar. With the Great American Songbook material in particular, I aimed to learn it deeply Sam Braysher Trioby consulting the original sheet music where possible and learning the lyrics. The three of us of course have a multitude of influences between us, but when preparing these arrangements I was vaguely thinking about the approaches to standard material of Sonny Rollins (especially on the album The Sound of Sonny), Thelonious Monk and Ahmad Jamal.”

Each album has an fascinating playlist of tunes you know and others you are less likely to know, and the variety makes for interesting listening. Golden Earrings includes tunes such as Dancing In The Dark, a medley of Irving Berlin's numbers, Charlie Parker's Cardboard and finishes with Way Down Yonder In New Orleans. The new album Dance Little Lady, Dance Little Man, released on the 22nd April 2021, includes the Gershwins' Shall We Dance, Rodgers and Hammerstein's This Nearly Was Mine, and Dexter Gordon's For Regulars Only, along with Sam's own composition, Pintxos.

You can see a pattern here - tunes from the Great American Songbook and a love of jazz 'standards', but the test is whether musicians can do something interesting with tunes people know well.

Take Heart And Soul from the new album. Sam says: 'Heart and Soul, available as a single, is an interesting song with music by Hoagy Carmichael and lyrics by Frank Loesser. It's not a number that is played loads by jazz musicians (although I was certainly influenced by versions by Bud Powell and Barry Harris), but you might recognise it as a piece that is played (in simplified form) by beginner pianists, like this - click here.' I wonder how many musicians and non-musicians have played this theme on the piano in the same way that we learned Chopsticks? Sam starts the piece on saxophone replicating that simple approach and then, gradually, the Trio take it forward and explore the composition's possibilities.

Click here for a video of Heart And Soul.

Sam says above of Heart And Soul that it is 'not played loads by jazz musicians' and that goes for a number of other songs that he 'rediscovers'. How many people remember Walter Donaldson's catchy Little White Lies or recognise Reflection from the animated movie Mulan? Sam proves that jazz musicians can do good things with a good tune.

During lockdown Sam has been writing and teaching including an online talk about Jazz and the Great American Songbook to students at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Sam has sent me a summary of the talk and although there is not room for us to include all the information about various composers and examples of their music that Sam shared with the students, the summary displays a comprehensive understanding of the music that we find in his playing:

 

"Jazz standards are tunes that are commonly played by jazz musicians, and which a jazz musician might reasonably be expected to know from memory. Generally, they have become well-known amongst our community because of one or more famous recordings made by jazz musicians.

Sam Braysher

 

The majority of the jazz standard repertoire can be divided up into two main categories:

1. Compositions by jazz musicians, which were always intended to be played by jazz improvisers (e.g. Airegin, Scrapple From The Apple, Woody ‘n’ You, Giant Steps, etc).

2. Songs from the American Songbook, which were, generally speaking, not originally composed as jazz tunes, but have nevertheless been adopted by jazz musicians. It includes lots of tunes you are probably familiar with (There Will Never Be Another You, Body and Soul, All of Me, Bye Bye Blackbird, etc).

 

It’s the second category - standards from the American Songbook - that we’re looking at here. The American Songbook is not a literal book, but rather a loose body of work by lots of different composers who wrote songs for musical theatre, film or stand-alone pop songs between (approximately) the 1910s to the 1960s. This golden age of American songwriting roughly coincided with what many consider to be the “golden age of jazz”.

There is a long history of jazz artists interpreting popular songs, dating back to 1917 (and probably earlier), when the Original Dixieland Jazz Band played Indiana on the very first jazz recording. Since then, most major jazz musicians have dealt with the American Songbook, at least to some extent.

Why? Many classic jazz musicians loved the American songbook because it was the popular music their generation grew up with. Between the 1930s and late ‘50s, the harmonic and structural language used in jazz compositions and popular songs was fairly similar, so jazz improvisational language rooted in bebop and swing (and beyond!) tends to work well over this material. Plus, these songs are considered timeless works of art, and the possibilities with regards to interpreting them are endless.

Most songs have a verse, which is essentially an introduction. Lots of these are now all but forgotten, although some are still commonly played (e.g. Stardust, Lush Life, Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most). The chorus is the main section of the song - the part we tend to be familiar with, and which jazz musicians generally play over.

 

Things you might like to think about when playing standard songs:


● No matter how you ultimately want to interpret the tune, learning the melody thoroughly is a good place to start. The authentic sheet music (PDFs can often be found online) can really help you learn it exactly as the composer wrote it. Otherwise, you could find a non-jazz recording with a strict statement of the melody to help you learn it really accurately. The website Second Hand Songs is very useful for this.

● Try to at least become familiar with the lyrics, even if you ultimately forget them. Lots of great jazz musicians always learnt the words to the songs they played.

● The true essence of a song is in the melody and lyrics. The harmony is an accompaniment and is more open to interpretation. Check out a range of jazz recordings: think about which chords you like, and be aware of what changes other people might play.

● You can also find extra details in the sheet music, which might add depth to your performance of a song: a verse that no-one plays, a written interlude, harmony that is completely different to the ‘standard’ changes.

● Are you interpreting the song, or someone else’s interpretation of the song? (There’s not necessarily a correct answer to this but it’s worth thinking about).

 

“I like to learn the songs from sheet music ‘cause I like to know exactly note-for-note the way the songwriter wrote it, with his bass notes, his original chords, and then make my changes from that foundation…There might be one bass note or one chord that the songwriter put in there that is just right for that situation. Better than any substitute chord. And that’s why I just like to check it out with the sheet music, even if I make the changes later.” Teddy Wilson

 

Sam's notes about 'verse' and 'chorus' reminded me that, at times, readers have corrected me when I have written about the Great American Songbook. I used to call the 'verse' the 'Introduction' and thought the 'chorus' was the piece in the middle of the song - as you would find in a pop song ot church hymn. Sam explains: 'It is confusing because with lots of song forms (e.g. modern pop songs, and I think church hymns as well, as you say) we tend to alternate between verse and chorus, but that’s not really the case with Songbook-type songs. The contrasting bit that you’re referring to is the “bridge”, the “middle eight” or the “B section”. Occasionally I think it might also be called the “channel”, but I believe that’s an antiquated Americanism. Lots of these songs (just talking about the chorus now) have an AABA structure. So the whole chorus is 32 bars, comprising four eight-bar sections. The A sections all have the same melody and harmony (although different lyrics each time), while the B (the bridge) is completely different, to provide a contrast. It’s still part of the chorus though. So, in My Funny Valentine the bridge is 'Is your figure less than Greek? Is your mouth a little weak? When you open it to speak Are you smart?' Hope that makes sense!'

Now I know!

And so to finish, here's another single Sam has put out from Dance Little Lady, Dance Little Man. The song One Note Samba is again a number we all know, another tune that begins simply and then gives musicians a chance to, as they say on TV talent competitions, "make it their own" - as Sam does with this whole, enjoyable album.

Click here for a video for One Note Samba.

Details of Dance Little Lady, Dance Little Man are available on Sam's website here.

 

Sam Braysher

 

 

 

The Longest Drum Solo

Drum solo quote

 

with thanks to clarinettist Alvin Roy

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

McCoy Tyner and the Rain

by Clara Pereira

 

For some time now, photographer Clara Pereira in New York has been letting us share her stunning photographs of musicians playing in the city's jazz venues. The contact with Clara and jounalist Filipe Freitas at JazzTrail helps us to keep up to date with gigs and musicians in the USA. I thought it would be interesting to ask Clara to tell us about one of her photographs:


McCoy Tyner

 

When I was asked to write about one of my photographs, I first thought I would pick one portrait, a good one of the many concerts I photographed, but the story that kept coming to mind was the concert of McCoy Tyner.

In the summer of 2016, on June 4th, I attended SummerStage (which is the largest free performing arts festival in New York City) in association with the Blue Note Jazz Festival, for “The Legends Honor McCoy: McCoy Tyner Quartet / Ron Carter / Roy Haynes.” I was so happy to get the chance to see them play live and to photograph the concert, especially McCoy Tyner, and I was not alone, the field was packed with fans, all ages, waiting for the legendary pianist to step on stage.

The evening began with Ron Carter’s performance, it was still daylight and the weather was nice. We were all enjoying the music. It was followed by Roy Haynes, who also entertained the audience with some tap dancing, not bad ah!

During Haynes' performance the weather changed and rain poured from the skies with no forgiveness.  My first reaction was to protect my camera and then I thought the audience would flee and maybe we wouldn’t get to see McCoy Tyner after all. Some discomfort and a bit of disappointment was settling in, but then, when I turned my camera to the crowd and saw that people were staying put, soaking wet, but holding to their spots, I knew not even the rain would ruin that night. After all it was a chance to see McCoy Tyner playing live.

In spite of the rain, the stage and the audience welcomed McCoy Tyner for a great moment of live jazz in Central Park. He walked up the stage steps slowly but once he sat at that piano, he released his music, and just like that you could see on people's faces that the rain was no bother at all, the hearts were warm.

 

McCoy Tyner concert

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

But Who Knows Where Or When?

This month we bring you fifteen jazz related questions. How many can you answer?

 

I Leonardo

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

 

Utah Tea Pot

Tea Break

 

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

 

Georgia Mancio

 

Georgia Mancio

 

Georgia Mancio is one of the UK's most popular jazz vocalists - witness the number of interviews and reviews there have been over the past month for Quiet Is The Star, her latest release with pianist Alan Broadbent, and for the book that has been published of their music. Here is just one of those interviews with fellow vocalist Lara Eidi that tells us more about the album.

Georgia's parents are Italian.They met and married in the UK and Georgia was born in England, so she is presumably Anglo-Italian - "though I just prefer to say European these days!", she says. Her father was a technical translator but also an artist and photographer, and her mother a retired Italian language and literature teacher. In one interview with Jazzwax Georgia said: "I was brought up bilingual, surrounded by artwork by my dad and by others and by great food, books and music. My parents gave my older sister and me a very creative outlook and appreciation for all the arts."

Georgia studied classical flute for a while although she really wanted to sing, but her grandparents, both classical pianists, suggested she should take time for her voice to mature before rushing into training. Taking their advice, she didn't start singing until she was nineteen and singing seriously when she was twenty three. By then she had become hooked on recordings by great vocalists such as Sinatra, Betty Carter, Carmen McRae, etc. She learned their songs by heart and took note particularly of the way they expressed their music.

Eventually, Georgia left home and went travelling. On her return, as she told Jazzwax, "I wound up studying film-making while waitressing part-time at Ronnie Scott's jazz club in London. Ronnie's was the best schooling. In my five years there, I heard the finest international and local musicians. I also learned that art was a living, breathing, sweating, messy, ugly, beautiful thing, not just the stuff of records, movies and dreams. Over the years, I learned to sing on the job, with answers to my questions provided by listening to inspiring musicians."

Georgia released her debut album, Peaceful Place, in 2003 with an impressive line-up of musicians - Gareth Lockrane (flutes), Tim Lapthorn (piano), Andrew Cleyndert (double bass), Ernie Cranenburgh (guitar), Allison Neale (alto sax),  Chris Wells (percussion) and the late Dave Colton (guitar). The album was a success and has been followed by seven others; Quiet Is The Star is the latest and her second with Alan Broadbent who worked with her on the 2017 album Songbook.

Click here for a video of Georgia and Alan recording That Time Of Year from Quiet Is The Star - an excellent example of Georgia's clarity, timing and care for the lyrics

From 2010-2014 Georgia produced her 'ReVoice! Festival' in association with the Pizza Express Jazz Club. Across 5 multi-venue editions she presented over 160 artists including: Rebecca Parris, Tuck & Patti, Raul Midon, Gregory Porter (his first UK booking), Beady Belle, Carleen Anderson, Carmen Souza, Karin Krog and Diana Torto/Kenny Wheeler/John Taylor and performed 44 sets herself. The event was captured in an album, but this promotional video gives a taste of what ReVoice! was all about - click here.

Since 2017 she has gone on to produce 3 editions of her new series, 'Hang', showcasing her ever-evolving creativity as a curator and collaborative kudos and versatility with artists including Ian Shaw, Liane Carroll, Nigel Price, Nikki Iles, Alina Bzhezhinska, Gareth Lockrane, Trish Clowes and Tom Cawley. Click here for an introduction to the last Hang! in 2019 before Coronavirus disrupted everything.

As lock-down eases and gigs begin to resume, it will be great to have the chance to hear Georgia sing live again. In the meanwhile, the Quiet Is The Star album is a joy.

If My Heart Should Love Again is one of my favourite tracks from the album. We can listen to it and see the lyrics in this video - click here.

Georgia Mancio and Alan Broadbent

 

As a lyricist, the words she writes and sings are clearly important to Georgia and she and Alan Broadbent clearly have a close rapport in bringing together words and music, despite Alan being based in America. He has said, “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.”

Their book 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.

 

I caught up with Georgia for a virtual tea break:

Hi Georgia, its really good to be able to check in with you for a tea break - tea or coffee?

Hi Ian, when it comes to coffee I’m a fussy Italian but I'm happy with strong English Breakfast tea!

 

I'll make a note of that next time and let you order the coffee! I have mentioned your new album Quiet Is The Star and also the book a few times on my website and from what I can see you are getting a good response. How is it going?

Quiet Is The Star album

 

I’ve been very moved by the response actually. Both projects came out of such an intense time for everyone - to channel the loss we have all felt this last year into something positive and creative has been a life saver and to have people respond to the purity of our intent has meant such a lot.  

 

I can understand that. I know the concept behind the album has been to explore the ties we weave in life, what led you to that idea?

Honestly, we recorded the songs we were both most drawn to without thought of an album arc at the time. Only in putting it together some months later was it clear that the concept was already there. That makes it feel very authentic to me, especially as the subjects and subject matter of all the songs are so personal. I don’t think we were reaching for anything: the writing, song selection and album production truly reflect where we were at.

 

 

Listening to the lyrics, I think the songs will resonate personally with a lot of people. I was wondering, do you have a favourite track from the album? I guess it could be that you have a favourite in terms of your lyrics and another for Alans music?

My two favourites are the title track and All My Life. Quiet Is The Star may well be my favourite of all our songs because of its (apparent) simplicity, which I think is actually pretty hard to do! All My Life was written maybe three weeks before we recorded it and as soon as I heard it, I cried. I could feel all the emotion and depth Alan had poured into it: it was a really profound experience. And it’s about my sister so was always going to be magical.

All My Life is a really lovely song - we can listen to it here - I can understand why you cried!

 

 

People must have asked you how you manage to collaborate so effectively with Alan, with you being based here in the UK and Alan in America? How does that work?

Well obviously it’s not the most convenient in terms of playing and sometimes I wish we could just go through songs together. But I guess what the geographical set up has done, is inadvertently focus the songwriting. It allows each of us the space to work on our part so that we create a stronger statement when we join them together. And because we are used to working remotely, we have not only been less affected by this last year, it’s actually been a really productive time.

Savoiardi biscuits

 

It is a shame we cannot meet up for this conversation due to the Covid restrictions otherwise Id offer you a biscuit or something. What would you have chosen? I have got into Borders Lemon Drizzles since Adrian Cox introduced me to them when he dropped in.

Well that’s a tricky one because my biscuit choices have been somewhat complicated of late. I worked through most of the Mulino Bianco repertoire on my recent trip to Italy so today, I’ll go for the very sugary Savoiardi.

I'm learning as much about biscuits during these tea breaks as I am about people's music! We call Savoiardi 'Lady's Fingers' and I really like them in tirimasu. I like it too that they are apparently 'boudoir biscuits'!! It seems that they originated in the late 15th century at the court of the Duchy of Savoy and were created to mark the occasion of a visit by the King of France. It was later that they were called Savoiardi and became recognized as an "official" court biscuit. I must admit that I have never come across them in a boudoir but I can see that they would go perfectly with tea taken 'properly' in a teapot and china cups!

 

It has been tough during lock-down, but have you been able to listen to anyone else you would recommend that we look out for in the future?

I discovered two wonderful New York based vocalists Samara Joy and Lucy Yeghiazaryan: both so rooted in classic jazz tradition but also very fresh at the same time.

There are some more recent videos by Lucy on YouTube, but although the sound quality is not so good, I discovered this video of her with the Maniacs from three years ago singing Honeysuckle Rose at Smalls in New York City, it swings nicely - click here. But to bring us more up to date, a video uploaded this year has her singing Robbin's Nest with the wonderful pianist Emmet Cohen who I discovered recently - click here.

 

What are you planning for the time when the government road map opens up for live gigs again? Will you be able to tour with the album?

We haven’t made any plans yet: it still feels pretty precarious organising something of that magnitude right now. Obviously I’d love to get back to Ronnie’s, where we launched our previous album Songbook in 2017 and hopefully some European dates too. Right now though, any chance to play live feels like it will be a celebration, so let’s hope we can all do so safely soon.

 

 

Dave Colton

 

If you could could tour and include any past musician to join you, who would it be?

Our community just lost a very special musician, the guitarist Dave Colton, who was a friend and colleague for 20 years so I would just love to play with him again. And I often ran through my and Alan’s songs with him and am so pleased he got to hear the new album and see the book and give me his seal of approval.

Dave Colton
Photograph courtesy of Brian O'Connor images of jazz.

 

What would you want to talk to him about during the tea break?

Ah well that was the beauty of working with Dave because not only was he a deeply soulful musician, but you really could chat to him about anything: from the mundane to the profound! These last few years we ranted about Brexit a lot together (as staunch Remainers) and he always had good practical advice as well as a kind, empathetic ear. I will really miss him.

 

 

We'll raise a cup of tea to Dave then, Georgia, and to all those other people we have missed but will meet again. Thanks for dropping in, Georgia. Many of us are looking forward to hearing you again when gigs restart. In the meanwhile, why don’t you choose something for us to play out with? 


How about Samara Joy with Pasquale Grasso, ‘Stardust’? - click here

Nice choice - and how about choosing a couple of lines or so from your lyrics for us to think about?

These are some of the lyrics from Quiet Is The Star:

As I close my eyes, I see the sky, I watch the birds go by.
They seem to tell us, we too can find: which way to follow, which ties to bind.

Perfect! - and that also gives us the chance to listen to that beautiful title track - click here.

 

Georgia Mancio

 

Click here for Georgia's Website. Click here for details and samples of Quiet Is The Star.

 

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Remembered

Tony Scott

 

[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].

 

Tony Scott

 

Trombonist Mel Henry suggests that we take some time out to remember Tony Scott. Mel recalls the occasion when he jammed with Tony:

Tony Scott with Charlie Parker

 

'It was a long time ago. In the early '70s I used to hang out at the old 606 Club which was a smoky little subterranean den at 606 Old Kings Road. The format was totally informal, just a place where the guys would jam until very late. One night a weird bloke and his mate dropped in. He was bearded, totally shaven head, and dressed all in black. I was particularly impressed by his neck chain with a little horn (cornicello ). His friend said he was Ian Henry – no relation, but coincidentally, like myself, a former doctor. The guy in black was Tony Scott, THE Tony Scott, who shared an apartment with Charlie Parker for a year. I asked to sit in with them, and we played some remarkable music for a few numbers. Ian Henry was seriously good on the club’s beat-up old piano, and Scott was sensational – the loudest clarinettist I’d ever heard (including Sandy Brown ). A night to remember.'

Tony Scott was born Anthony Joseph Sciacca in Morristown, New Jersey, in 1921. He attended Juilliard School from 1940 to 1942 and in the 1950s he worked with Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. He also had a young Bill Evans and Paul Motian as side-men on several albums released between 1957 and 1959. In the late 1950s he won on four occasions the Down Beat critics poll for clarinettist in 1955, 1957, 1958 and 1959.

 

[Click here for a video from 1958 with Tony playing Blues For An African Friend with Billy Taylor (piano), Earl May (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums), Doc Severinsen (trumpet), Jimmy Cleveland (trombone), and Mundell Lowe (guitar).]

 

Wikipedia helps us with the story: 'Tony was known for a more "cool" style on the instrument than his peer Buddy DeFranco who often played a more aggressive bebop style. Despite this he remained relatively little-known as the clarinet had been in eclipse in jazz since the emergence of bebop. In 1959 he left New York City, where he had been based, and abandoned the United States for a time. In the 1960s he toured South, East, and Southeast Asia. This led to his playing in a Hindu temple, spending time in Japan, and releasing Music for Zen Meditation in 1964 for Verve Records. In 1960 a Down Beat poll for Japan saw readers there name him best clarinetist Tony Scottwhile the United States preferred Buddy DeFranco. Tony did a Japanese special on Buddhism and Jazz, although he continued to work with American jazz musicians and played at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1965. In the years following that he worked in Germany, Africa, and at times in South America.'

Click here for a video of Tony introducing and playing Blues For Charlie Parker in Prague in 1968 - [there are a number of other videos from that gig on YouTube which also featured Sandy Brown in a later section]

'He settled in Italy in the 1970s, working with Italian jazz musicians such as Franco D'Andrea and Romano Mussolini. He also played the part of a Sicilian-American Mafia boss in Glauber Rocha's film Claro (1975).'

 

Tony Scott at Montreaux in 1970
Photograph by Roberto Polillo

 

By the mid-1970s Tony had grown the beard Mel Henry remembers. Click here for a brief video of Tony with guitarist Franco Cerri and Scat in 1977

In later years he began showing an interest in Electronica and in 2002 his Hare Krishna was remixed by King Britt as a contribution to Verve Remixed.'

This very brief video from 2006 has Tony with the band Kneebody playing Caravan and with Tony starting to talk about 'jazz' before the video cuts out - click here.

Tony Scott died of prostate cancer in Rome in 2007 at the age of 85.

 

In 2010, a documentary film by the Italian director Franco Maresco about the life of Tony Scott was released titled Io sono Tony Scott, ovvero come l'Italia fece fuori il più grande clarinettista del jazz (English: I am Tony Scott. The Story of How Italy Got Rid of the Greatest Jazz Clarinetist). The film is available here (2 hrs 8 mins) The commentary is in Italian but also has Tony speaking in English.

In 2018 the Erodot Project played this lovely Blues For Tony Scott (click here) videod at the Auditorium Parco della Musica with Chiara Salvati (dance), Bob Salmieri (tenor sax), daf Alessandro de Angelis (piano), Marco Loddo (double bass), Giampaolo Scatozza (drums) and Carlo Colombo (percussion).

But perhaps we can end this brief memory of Tony Scott by rewinding back to 1956 and listen to Tony's Orchestra backing Billie Holiday and Some Other Spring recorded in New York City. The players here are Charlie Shavers (trumpet), Tony Scott (clarinet, arranger), Paul Quinichette (tenor saxophone), Wynton Kelly (piano), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Aaron Bell (bass) and Lenny McBrowne (drums) - click here.

 

Tony Scott

 

 

 

Name The Tune

(Click on the picture for the answer)

 

Name the tune

 

Click here for other challenges to 'Name The Tune'

 

 

 

 

30th Anniversary of the Founding of

Tomorrow's Warriors

Part One

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].

Part Two of this article by Howard Lawes will be in our June issue.

 

Tomorrows Warriors

 

In 1954 the American drummer Art Blakey formed a band called the Jazz Messengers and popularised an exuberant style of jazz known as hard bop but which incorporated traditional music genres such as blues, gospel and African percussion.  Whether by design or serendipity the Jazz Messengers, over a period of 30 years, became a nursery for aspiring jazz musicians who not only acquitted themselves admirably with Blakey but who went on to form their own bands and establish outstanding careers of their own - examples from the 1950s include Lee Morgan and Wayne Shorter while in later years both Wynton and Branford Marsalis were members.  

Art Blakey visited London in 1986 to perform at the Camden Jazz Week where the music was complimented by the IDJ dancers - who danced a style of jazz dance that developed within the Black communities of London and was described by historian Jane Carr as a mostly underground movement of marginalized Black people seeking their own means of expression and freedom - click here. Like Blakey, a drummer, John Stevens, provided mentoring to aspiring British jazz musicians in the UK and one who benefitted from his guidance was Courtney Pine who was able to accompany Art Blakey on tour.  Pine released an album, Journey To The Urge Within (1986) with considerable success, winning a silver disc for selling more than 250,000 copies while members of the band who play on the album became known as the 'Jazz Warriors', one of those musicians was bass player Gary Crosby. Gary CrosbyDuring the 1980s there was a period of renaissance of interest in jazz and the Jazz Warriors certainly struck a chord with a new jazz audience. Around the same time another acclaimed large collective called 'Loose Tubes' received considerable attention and the accolade of a BBC Proms concert in 1987. 

Click here for Part 1 of a documentary about Art Blakey and the Jazz Warriors.

 

Gary Crosby

 

Like Pine, Gary Crosby was born in London with Caribbean heritage, he enjoyed the ska and reggae music of that region and also the jazz guitar of his uncle, Ernest Ranglin who, with Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander, is featured in this link - click here. Trained as an electrical engineer, Crosby also played bass and became a member of the Jazz Warriors, now a collective of musicians that had been established through a community organisation promoting Black music and culture in London called Abibi Jazz Arts. The Jazz Warriors showcased most of the best Black jazz musicians of the time, many of whom went on to enjoy successful, independent careers with national and international recognition, their music included influences from throughout the African diaspora such as funk, reggae and township and they produced the album, Out Of Many, One People (1987). Both the Jazz Warriors and Loose Tubes were able to practice at a venue in Newington Green, North London known as the Jazz Cafe and owned by Jon Dabner. In 1990 Dabner took on much bigger premises in Camden Town, also called the Jazz Cafe, but sadly this venture Jazz Jamaicawas to prove unsuccessful.  Nevertheless, as Gary Crosby recounts, while the club operated he was employed in the house band backing internationally renowned musicians and was also permitted to use the large stage for practice and jam sessions.

 

Jazz Jamaica

 

In 1991 Gary Crosby formed two bands, Nu-Troop and Jazz Jamaica. Nu-Troop has been called "a conscious attempt to imitate Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers". The 1980s and early 1990s was a rather bleak period in the UK following a worldwide recession from 1980-1983,  inflation, failed businesses and austerity disproportionately affected Black communities with unemployment among Black British males exceeded 30% in the early 1990s.  It was in this context that Crosby, who had been associated with training electrical engineering apprentices, diversified into mentoring young musicians to provide opportunities for what had become a very disaffected generation and Tomorrow's Warriors was born. At around the same time, the band Nu-Troop became professional in 1994, while Jazz Jamaica specialised in classic and modern jazz alongside traditional music from the Caribbean. Inspiration came from saxophonist Joe Harriott, who arrived in the UK from Jamaica in 1951 and pioneered free-form jazz, through Ernest Ranglin to Courtney Pine.  The band included distinguished musicians such Rico Rodriguez, Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton, Michael ‘Bammie Rose’ and Tony ‘Groco’ Uter.

The first album from Jazz Jamaica was released in 1993 with album cover art work by photographer Janine Irons.  Janine worked in finance in the City of London, forsaking a career as a singer in a funk band for something less interesting (but better paid) and photography was her hobby. Their precise recollection of events differs but Gary and Janine tell me that they met at the Union Janine Irons and Gary CrosbyChapel in London in 1993 at an event to celebrate Jamaican Independence Day. The event featured Cedella Booker (mother of Bob Marley). A third band became J-Life in 1997. Nu Troop was for the more experienced musicians while the name J-Life was adopted by another group who had previously been known as Tomorrow's Warriors.

 

Janine Irons MBE and Gary Crosby OBE

 

While Tomorrows Warriors started as a jazz workshop with Crosby successfully directing the artistic side of the organisation, Janine Irons developed the professional image and business know-how to survive in the infamously competitive music industry and initially it was their own money that kept the operation afloat. However Gary and Janine were on a mission to use music, specifically jazz music, to improve the lives of young people, and although their efforts were directed primarily towards the Black community and to inspire young women, their jam sessions were open to all. They adopted a philosophy of 'demystify,  democratise, and diversify'; to demystify jazz and show that it was accessible to all, to democratise giving everyone the opportunity and to diversify thus encouraging young people of all colours and gender to participate in an activity largely dominated by white males.  Another concept was "each one, teach one", that is to say, as musicians advance and prosper they should pass on their knowledge and skills to those following along behind.

Eventually, with the help of Arts Council funding, Nu Troop produced a demo disc intended for promoters, but the lack of interest from established record labels persuaded Crosby and Irons to start their own label which they called Dune Records, named after a book that happened to be in their bookcase. The first album on the new label was called Migrations (1997) by Gary Crosby's Nu Troop with a striking picture of Gary by Janine on the album cover. The title refers to the movement of African people across the World, either forced by others or seeking a better life for themselves and one particular track composed by Crosby entitled Gorée Island refers to the island in Senegal which was used to process slaves on to ships for the journey across the Atlantic Ocean.  The album had Tony Kofi and Denys Baptiste on saxophones, Neil Yates on trumpet, Alex Wilson on piano, Gary Crosby on double bass and Robert Fordjour on drums.

Click here to listen to Gorée Island.

 

J Life album

 

The second album on the Dune Record label was called Tomorrows Warriors Presents from the band J-Life which, as explained in a 1998 article in Jazzwise magazine, was called J-Life rather than Jazz Life because in the 1990s jazz was considered by many to be old-fashioned and not worth listening to.  The collective that played on the album (each musician playing on at least one track) was Alex Wilson, Andrew McCormack and Robert Mitchell on piano, Jason Yarde and Denys Baptiste on saxophones, Sean Corby on trumpet and flugelhorn,  Johnathan Enright on trombone,  Dave Okumu on guitar,  Oroh Angiama on bass,  Owen Uwadiae and  Darren Taylor on double bass, Tom Skinner and Daniel Crosby on drums, Philip Harper on percussion and Julie Dexter on vocals. J-Life enjoyed considerable success winning the International Jazz Federation 16th European Jazz competition at Leverkusen, Germany and the 1998 Perrier Award for Young Jazz Ensemble of the Year, as well as Julie Dexter winning the Perrier Award for Young Jazz Vocalist of the Year. Gary Crosby described J-Life as playing "with the heart of yesterday, the ear of today and eyes on tomorrow" and Julie Dexter described the hard work they had to put in having secured a weekly residency at Rhythmic in Islington after leaving the Jazz Cafe in 1995. Not to be outdone in 1998 Nu-Troop won the award for Best International Ensemble at the Jazz à Vienne Concours International d’Orchestres in France.  

Over the next few years Tomorrows Warriors and Dune improved their status and visibility, Tomorrows Warriors providing the training, mentoring and performance experience while Dune concentrated on artist development, marketing, publicity and fund-raising, but both Gary and Janine were fully aware that all this effort would be of little consequence without an audience for the product being sold.  Audience development results from publicity and performance which in turn comes through exposure in the music press, radio, television and social media, funding via sponsors, donation and institutional funding (arts councils, artist development), and revenue.  It can be exhausting and demoralising for young artists who despite exceptional musical talent are unable to access the audiences that will provide them with an income. Luckily for the members of Tomorrows Warriors, Gary and Janine were able to relieve them of at least part of the work that artists need to do to progress.  Examples include a 2001 Nu Troop gig in Nottingham awarded a 5 star review in the Guardian and 3 years of funding from Greater London Arts negotiated by Janine, while in 2002 Dune records celebrated its 5th birthday being described as the most critically acclaimed independent label in the UK, with Denys Baptiste winning a clutch of awards and Jazz Jamaica winning the BBC Jazz Award for best band.

Nothing succeeds like success and Tomorrows Warriors were appearing on the same bill as American jazz stars such as Wayne Shorter and Wynton Marsalis.  Festivals such as the 2004 Ealing Jazz Festival showcased Dune musicians with Robert Mitchell, Denys Baptiste, Soweto Kinch, Jazz Jamaica and Tomorrows Warriors all performing on the same day while in 2005 Jazz Britannia, a three-part history of British jazz that was shown on BBC television featured Warriors, old and new, including Courtney Pine, Gary Crosby, Soweto Kinch, Byron Wallen, Tony Kofi, Alex Wilson, Julian Joseph, Cleveland Watkiss and Omar Puente. In 2006, Janine Irons completed the Clore Leadership Programme Short Course on Cultural Leadership and, also in that year, was appointed MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the music industry.

2007 was a big year in Black history as it was the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slave trading by the UK, although it took until 1833 to start actually emancipating slaves. Courtney Pine was commissioned to compose a piece of music for the occasion which was performed and recorded at the Barbican Hall, London in October.  The band was the Jazz Warriors and the resulting album entitled Afropeans (2008) included many members of Tomorrows Warriors and featured Courtney Pine, Nathanial Facey, Shabaka Hutchings, Jason Yarde (woodwind), Chris Storr, Byron Wallen, Jay Phelps (trumpets/flugelhorns), Harry Brown (trombone), Samuel Dubois (alto/bass steel pans), Ayanna Witter-Johnson (cello, voice), Omar Puente (electric violin), Femi Temowo (acoustic/electric guitar), Alex Wilson (acoustic piano), Darren Taylor (double bass) and Robert Fordjour (drums). 

Click here to listen to We Are A Warrior from the Afropeans album.

Also in 2007 Gary Crosby won the BBC Jazz Award for services to jazz and in 2009 was awarded the OBE, but in between these two events, in 2008, he established the Tomorrows Warriors Jazz Orchestra with the challenging ambition of re-creating The Queen's Suite, composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn following Ellington's meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in 1958. Pianist/composer Peter Edwards led the orchestra and such was the enthusiasm from both audiences and musicians that Crosby decided that the orchestra should be established as a permanent ensemble known as the Nu Civilisation Orchestra to distinguish it from  the Tomorrows Warriors Jazz Orchestra which continued as an ensemble for younger musicians. 

Click here for a video of the Nu Civilisation Orchestra playing Binker Golding's Half Close Your Eyes.

And it didn't take long for the youngsters to experience their own success when the Tomorrows Warriors Biggish Band won the under 19 category in the Yamaha Jazz Experience Ensemble competition at the 2010 Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Also in 2010 Tomorrows Warriors was awarded National Portfolio Organisation status by Arts Council England which as well as providing some financial security, recognised them as a leading organisation in their field, with a collective responsibility to protect and develop our national arts and cultural ecology.  This they were better able to achieve as, after several years of using the music room at the Spice of Life in Soho, they were able to take up permanent residence at the Royal Festival Hall in London's South Bank Cultural Centre. At about the same time Dune Records released its last album by the band Rhythmica evoking memories of the Islington venue where Tomorrows Warriors had played.

Click here to listen to Turner's Dream from the 2020 Rhythmica album.

To be continued .....

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

Jo Harrop

 

Jo Harrop

 

Photographer Brian O'Connor of imagesofjazz.com took this picture of vocalist Jo Harrop back in 2019 when she played a gig with guitarist Shane Hill and saxophonist Jo Fooks at Serendipity in Horley High Street, Surrey..

Jo Harrop has a new album The Heart Wants coming out in September with Paul Edis (piano), Debs White (violin 1 & fixer), Dave Larkin (violin 2, Will Hillman (viola), and Julia Graham (cello) and a single from the album has been released in April - click here for details and to listen to If I Knew.

Jo says: '“Like every other musician, my diary was empty, and I was sitting around feeling a bit lost with no gigs on the horizon. Instead of losing myself in daily life, I had space to think, and pretty soon I found myself writing the songs for this album without even really knowing it. It was the most incredibly creative time of my life.”

 

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).

 

 

 

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra - Where Rivers Meet

 

Maria Rud

Maria Rud
Photograph by Douglas Robertson

 

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra presents its most ambitious, multi-dimensional event to date taking place online from May 12th to 15th.

Where Rivers Meet celebrates the blues-driven, unfettered expression, spirit and excitement of jazz’s 1960s revolutionary “New Thing” through music and live visual art filmed in the architecturally striking setting of Edinburgh’s 12th century St Giles Cathedral. Combining the visionary musical ideas of saxophonists Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman and Anthony Braxton with the arranging talents of American pianist-composer Geoffrey Keezer, Tommy Smith, Paul Towndrow and Paul Harrison, the project features four outstanding saxophone soloists and the vividly expressive creations of Russian painter and multi-media artist Maria Rud.

Smith (tenor saxophone), Towndrow (alto), Konrad Wiszniewski (tenor) and Martin Kershaw (alto) take the solo spotlight on potent suites of Ayler, Coleman, Redman and Braxton’s music respectively as Rud responds with characteristically rich, soulful images. Scottish National Jazz Orchestra

 

"This concert is all about expression, the deepest emotion of our inner voice,” says Smith. “To reach that space where we summon heart and spirit, the soloists must bare their souls – that was the challenge and the achievement of much of the best of the free jazz of the 1960s and beyond. And that's what we're after here."

The seeds of Where Rivers Meet were sown when Smith, the SNJO’s founder and director, met Maria Rud at an event in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh in 2012. Rud, discovering Smith’s passion for the visual arts, as evinced by his 1995 quartet recording, Azure, inspired by the Catalan painter, printmaker and sculptor Joan Miró, suggested that they might one day work together. Nine years later, they are adding to the SNJO’s extensive body of internationally regarded work with a piece that resonantly captures the meeting of music, art and individual and collective creativity.

Maria Rud says:"For me, Where Rivers Meet is one of the most creatively challenging projects I’ve worked on to date. The depth and the improvisational nature of the music awakens new imagery. To collaborate with Tommy Smith and SNJO in St. Giles Cathedral with its interior as a “canvas” is a great creative privilege." 

 

Where Rivers Meet is available online from 12 - 15 May at 7.30 pm each night. To buy tickets and watch online click here.

 

 

 

 

Lens America

Ivo Perelman

 

Ivo Perelman

 

This photograph of saxophonist Ivo Perelman was taken by Clara Pereira from JazzTrail at The Manhattan Inn in Brooklyn in 2016. Ivo Perelman is usually a busy musician and prolific recording artist and back in 2016, Filipe Freitas from JazzTrail wrote: 'In a few months, the highly expressionist saxophonist is going to release another five albums on Leo Records, entitled “The Art of the Improv Trio - Volumes 1 to 5”.

Ivo is a Brazilian free jazz saxophonist born in São Paulo. In his youth, he learned to play guitar, cello, clarinet, trombone, and piano, concentrating on tenor sax since the age of 19. He attended the Berklee College of Music for one semester and then dropped out, moving to Los Angeles in 1986. Perelman released his first album in 1989, which featured Peter Erskine, John Patitucci, Airto Moreira, Eliane Elias, and Flora Purim as guests. Over the years his albums have featured collaborations with a long list of other musicians.

Ivo has now released a special edition box set featuring a book, CD and Blue Ray DVD with pianist Matthew Shipp and a documentary about his work will be appearing in film festivals around the world: “Ivo Perelman : A Musical Storyteller” (Leonel Costa, 2020). For a taste of their music, click here for a video of Ivo and Matthew playing in Austria in 2019.

Click here for details of the special edition box set released on 1st April.

 

 

 

Forum

 

Protest Marches And Jazz Bands

Aldermarston march 1960

 

Last month, Chris Macdonald sent 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.'

 

Eric Jackson saw the picture and writes: 'These protest marches nearly always had a parade band to lift the spirits. CND and Anti Apatheid were two of them and the musicians were usually based on a core from the Colyer band plus others from that persuasion. Clarinettist Neil Millett and trombonist Dave Cutting were usually in the mix.

 

 

Ken Colyer

 

 

 

I enclose some snaps ..... Ken Colyer is at Tafalgar Square after a CND rally and Pete Dyer is on trombone leading the other band ...There are probably some anecdotes to be had from bands at funerals .. but not from me.

Pete Dyer trombone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Langtoun Jazz Festival

Vocalist and broadcaster Grace Black in Scotland writes: '2020/2021 has been a very difficult time for musicians so Langtoun Jazz are kicking off a year of activities with a virtual festival to showcase 6 bands. Performances will be prerecorded on video to be shown on Facebook and Twitter from 25th to 27th June. (www.facebook.com/langtounjazz and www.youtube.com/c/LangtounJazz).

The acts appearing are: Fiona Ross Septet : Guido Spanocchi Sextet : Cro Roberts Acceptance Band : Richard Michael & Family : Gem Trio : and Blind Allick Solo Guitar.

An application has been made to Creative Scotland to cover fees that match MU rates and the group have launched a Kickstarter campaign where patrons can get some nice rewards in return for their donations.

 

 

Ziggy Ludvigsen

Alexander Teglbjaerg in Sweden has written enquiring about Ziggy: 'I found your site and your writing about Mike Hogh. You mention Ziggy Ludvigsen. I'm curious about this performer. It seems he was involved in producting music books during the 1970s. I guess you don't really know the answer to this but I have two questions: Do you know Ziggys first name? Do you know if Ziggy still is alive?'

[I have contacted Mike Hogh who remembers Ziggy as a tenor saxophone player but is unable to answer Alexander's questions. Mike's wife has kindly searched the internet for more information but we are still unable to discover Ziggy's first name or whether he is still around. Can anyone help? - Ed]

 

 

 

Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook and Mailing List

Thank you to those people who have liked our Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook page and who have commented on posts. I hope that you have found the items there of interest. Using Facebook gives us a chance to share information that arrives between issues of What's New Magazine. If you do visit our Facebook page, please 'Like' us and 'Share' us with your friends. Facebook


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You can join our Mailing List - click here - and I will send you an email each time a new issue of What's New comes out.

 

 

 

Departure Lounge

 

Information has arrived about the following musicians or people connected to jazz who have passed through the 'Departure Lounge' since our last update. Click on their names to read more about them.

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

 

Malcolm Cecil

 

 

Malcolm Cecil - British jazz bassist, record producer, engineer and electronic musician. Born in London, he was a founding member of the Jazz Couriers and went on to play with Dick Morrissey, Tony Crombie and Ronnie Scott. With Cyril Davies and Alexis Korner he was an original member of Blues Incorporated. He then collaborated with Robert Margouleff in TONTO's Expanding Head Band, a project based on a unique combination of synthesizers which led to them collaborating on and co-producing several of Stevie Wonder's Grammy-winning albums of the early 1970s. The TONTO synthesizer was described by Rolling Stone as "revolutionary". Click here for a video about Malcolm Cecil and TONTO. Obituaries: Telegraph, New York Times ,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bertrand Tavernier

 

 

 

Bertrand Tavernier - French director, screenwriter, actor and producer whose film his film Round Midnight won several awards including an Oscar for Best Music (Original Score) in 1987. Click here for a trailer from the film. Obituaries: Telegraph, Guardian,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Sam Braysher Trio - Dance Little Lady, Dance Little Man

Down For The Count - at the cold stores

Living In Shadows - Living In Shadows

Tommy Smith - SoLow

 

 

America

Miguel Zenón - Law Years : The Music Of Ornette Coleman **

Jennifer Wharton's Bonegasm - Not A Novelty **

Tom Rainey Obbligato - Untucked In Hannover **

Vijay Iyer - Uneasy

 

 

Europe and Elsewhere

Alban Claret & Evan Clegg - The Collection

AvishaiCohen - Two Roses

 

 

Re-issues

Tommy Flanagan - In His Own Sweet Time

Jim Hall - Jazzpar Quartet + Four

Wes Montgomery - The NDR Hamburg Studio Recordings

Paul Dunmall, Keith Tippett, Philip Gibbs, Pete Fairclough - Onosante

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Braysher Trio - Dance Little Lady, Dance Little Man
(Unit Records) - Released: 22nd April 2021

Sam Braysher (alto sax); Tom Farmer ( bass); Jorge Rossy (drums, vibraphone, marimba)

Sam Braysher Trio Dance Little Lady Dance Little Man

 

 

'Sam Braysher’s new trio album, Dance Little Lady, Dance Little Man, sees him accompanied by a truly world class rhythm section, and presenting thoughtful new takes on a diverse repertoire of songs from the Great American Songbook and jazz canon, ranging from Dexter Gordon to Gershwin incidental numbers to Disney. The London-based alto saxophonist received international critical acclaim for his debut album, a duo project with the New York pianist Michael Kanan, which was called ‘delightful and surprising’ by Dave Gelly in the Observer. Catalan Jorge Rossy is one of the most revered drummers of his generation. Best known for his stint with the hugely influential Brad Mehldau Trio, he has also played with Lee Konitz, Chick Corea, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Wayne Shorter, Tom Harrell, Carla Bley, Joshua Redman, and countless others. He is also a highly melodic vibraphone and marimba player, and his ability to switch between sticks and mallets gives the trio an extra degree of versatility. Double bassist Tom Farmer is one of London’s most charismatic and in-demand musicians. As well as making up one quarter of the MOBO award-winning British jazz band Empirical, he can be heard with artists as diverse as Anoushka Shankar, Joe Stilgoe, Ant Law and Ivo Neame.' (album notes). '......A triumph of intelligence and sentiment from all in this subtly stand-out recording, with a deceptive simplicity that reveals new depths with each listen.' (Eddie Myer in Jazzwise ****)

Details : Video for Heart And Soul : Video for One Note Samba : Article in this website :

 

 

 

 

 

Down For The Count - at the cold stores
(Down For The Count Records) - Released: 30th April 2021

Down for the Count Concert Orchestra featuring the City String Ensemble

Down For The Count At The Cold Stores

 

 

 

'"At The Cold Stores" is a beautifully recorded new release featuring the sounds of Down for the Count's 28-piece Concert Orchestra. Recorded in January and September 2020 at The Cold Stores in Kent, UK, the album evokes the sounds of the Capital Studios orchestras of the 1950s - whose beautiful sounds catapulted artists like Frank Sinatra and Nat 'King' Cole to worldwide fame. On this track, we've recreated some classic jazz recordings and also introduced new arrangements of jazz standards written by us - two by our conductor Mike Paul-Smith, and one by our trumpeter Simon Joyner. Featuring the wonderful string players of City String Ensemble, this album is a must for any fans of jazz and swing music.' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Video for When I Fall In Love : Video of the launch for the album (1 hour 28 mins) :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living In Shadows - Living In Shadows
(Evening Play Records) - Released: 4th December 2020

Zoë Gilby (vvocals); Andy Champion (double bass, keyboards, drums, programming, cello); Mark Williams (guitar); Paul Edis (piano); Graeme Wilson ( tenor sax track 1), baritone sax track 7); George Milburn (mandolin track 2); Emma Fisk (violin track 5).

Living In Shadows album

 

 

 

'Vocalist Zoe Gilby (Parliamentary Jazz Vocalist of the year 2019) along with multi instrumentalist Andy Champion have embarked upon a brand new project, Living In Shadows. Their distinctive sound, follows in the tradition of great English alt pop and progressive rock whilst also reflecting their background in jazz.' (album notes).  'Four years in the making, this eight-track album from the husband and wife pairing of award-winning vocalist Zoë Gilby and multi-instrumentalist Andy Champion, scores highly for its strikingly distinctive sound-world, a multi-layered mash-up of all pop, prog and jazz which scrambles musical categories in rich and fascinating ways .....' (Peter Quinn in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tommy Smith - SoLow
(Spartacus Records) - Released: 27th February 2021

Tommy Smith (tenor sax)

Tommy Smith SoLow

 

 

'These five short solo saxophone tracks are slightly different from anything you've heard before. The idea behind this, especially Songs of the Martyrs, was directly inspired by experiencing and listening to Psalm singing live, on the Isle of Lewis, in the Scottish Hebrides; music, which is one of the branches of 'call and response'.' (album notes). '......Reimagined by Smith, the choir-like effect is evoked by multi-tracked saxes with Smith's lone voice communing in call-and-response-like episodes that conjure out of the mists the hazy outline of Jan Garbarek. This is haunting, beautiful stuff' (Stuart Nicholson in Jazzwise ***)

Details and Samples : Listen to Song Of The Martyrs :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Miguel Zenón - Law Years : The Music Of Ornette Coleman
(Miel Music) - Rele
ased: 12th March 2021

Miguel Zenón (alto saxophone); Ariel Bringuez (tenor saxophone); Demian Cabaud (bass); Jordi Rossy (drums).

Miguel Zenon Law Years

 

'I remember hearing Ornette Coleman’s music for the first time late in my teenage years, while still living in Puerto Rico. I had just fallen in love with Jazz around that time, and even though my access to music or information in general was limited (this was the pre-internet mid-90s), I was always hungry for knowledge. So, when a friend played me a tape of The Shape of Jazz to Come and I heard the first couple of notes to Ornette’s “Lonely Woman,” I didn’t know what to think. I just kind of stood there, mesmerized and in shock, trying to figure it out. What was this music? Even within my limited knowledge I could tell it displayed many of the rhythmic intricacies I heard in Be-Bop and some of the pedal point-type harmony I found in the music of Coltrane and Miles. And yet it was entirely different than anything I had heard before. So, I listened some more, then found other albums of his and listened to those as well. Before I knew it, I was hooked on Ornette for good. Even though the term “Free Jazz” is often used in reference to Ornette and his music (I guess in allusion to the fact that his work didn’t necessarily rely on set harmonic progressions as platforms for improvisation), his music is far from chaotic or unhinged. There is freedom there, and lots of it. But there’s also a deep sense of cohesiveness and structure. And, above all, melody: beautiful and inspired melodic lines that serve as springboards for everyone involved.......' (album notes). 'The influence of alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman in modern jazz is as clear as daylight, and his groundbreaking music has become a tremendous inspiration for so many musicians. The chameleon-like Puerto Rican altoist Miguel Zenón is vary aware of this, being grateful to the free jazz pioneer, who would have turned 91 this year, for having opened his ears and mind for something more than just the traditional ways. On this live recording, captured at The Birds Eye Jazz Club in Basel, Switzerland, Zenón revives Ornette’s music with a magnetic vibrancy and huge respect for his work ....Law Years is a jubilant celebration of Coleman's legacy; its contagious joy is as plain as the nose on your face.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples **: Listen to Broken Shadows : Listen to Free :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Wharton's Bonegasm - Not A Novelty
(Sunnyside Records) - Released: 23rd April 2021

Jennifer Wharton (bass trombone); John Fedchok (trombone); Alan Ferber (trombone); Nate Mayland (trombone); Michael Eckroth (piano, Fender Rhodes); Evan Gregor (bass); Don Peretz (drums).

Jennifer Whartons Bonegasm Not A Novelty

 

'Bass trombonist Jennifer Wharton might be considered by many as a unicorn in the world of music. In decades from the not-too-distant past, it was a rarity to even have a woman in prominent jazz bands and orchestras, but to have a bass trombone-slinging woman as leader was thought extraordinary. In efforts to highlight her perceived position as a rara avis, Wharton took it upon herself to not only raise the profile of women instrumentalists but also that of her chosen horn (and its smaller cousins) ..... The overwhelming response to Bonegasm’s music was astounding, cementing Wharton’s assertion that this assemblage was no flash in the pan but an important exponent of shaping the trombone’s primacy in jazz music. Bonegasm’s new recording, Not a Novelty, wears its intentions on its sleeve, or perhaps more appropriately, tattooed on its arm. .....' (album notes). 'The versatile bass trombonist Jennifer Wharton manages to give her instrument a rare major role in a contemporary jazz group....The album sails off with "BonGasmo", a feel-good expedition that finds the sweet spot where modern jazz meets traditional Cuban music. The piece, written by Eckroth for the Havana-based Orquestra Akokán, is enriched with piles of rhythmic accents and slippery curves, having the guest percussionist Samuel Torres focused on his craft to propel it with the right feel. Another Cuban-infused piece is pianist Manuel Valera’s “La Otra Mano”, and we can also spot a great deal of Latin jazz on the Ayn Inserto-penned “Blue Salt”, a shapeshifter that suggests a delicious bop feel before mutating into a lush Latin fantasy with modal flair. Wharton plays with soul until a swinging groove is installed, buoying up Fedchock’s solo......If you like your jazz with multiple flavors and clever arrangements, then you have many good reasons to go for this one.' (JazzTrail)

Details and Sample : Introductory Video : Listen to Face Value :

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Rainey Obbligato - Untucked In Hannover
(Intakt Records) - Released: 16th April 2021

Ralph Alessi (trumpet); Ingrid Laubrock (saxophones); Jacob Sacks (piano); Drew Gress (bass); Tom Rainey (drums)

Tom Rainey Obbligato Untucked In Hannover

 

'With Untucked in Hannover, Tom Rainey's top-notch quintet Obbligato presents a third album of a collection of jazz standards – with Jacob Sacks on piano replacing regular pianist Kris Davis for this live recording. Wonderful jazz tunes like Stella by Starlight or I Fall in Love Too Easily are interpreted in an open dialogue with stunning joy of playing and improvisation. And though standards are the modus operandi of Obbligato, their approach is intended to be less conventional, less reverential and certainly less solo-centric than many other bands that tackles with Standards. Obbligato sometimes plays with the essences of famous jazz standards in an implied way, sometimes in a teasing and mysterious way, but always in a tantalizing way."Close your eyes, imagine sitting in the front row of your favorite jazz club, sit back and enjoy Obbligato playing pieces from the Great American Songbook in a way you've never heard them before: and by one of the most inventive and inspiring live bands of the last decade," writes Laurence Donohue-Greene in the liner notes.' (album notes). 'The third installment in the catalogue of Tom Rainey Obbligato is a live recording composed of pieces of the Great American Songbook previously recorded by the quintet. Yet, these were reshaped anew for a 2018 concert at Jazz Club Hannover, Germany, which featured the band’s regular members - saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, trumpeter Ralph Alessi, bassist Drew Dress and Rainey on drums - with the exception of pianist Kris Davis, who was replaced by Jacob Sacks. “If I Should Lose You” initiates the set with loose melodic contours and contrapuntal piano over the clearly swinging posture offered by the brushed drums and hopping bass lines. Alessi’s muted trumpet jumps into the fray with optimum aesthetic results, while Rainey’s rhythmic elucidations, near the end, become excitedly busy at times and gracefully restrained during others......The group concludes with a nearly free-bop reading of Jerome Kern’s “Long Ago and Far Away”. What makes this record so satisfying comes in large measure from the distinctive sound and sense of liberation conveyed by each musician. Their ability to transform notably known songs into something imaginatively new is strongly valued.' (JazzTrail)

Details and Samples **: Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to If I Should Lose You : Listen to Stella By Starlight :

 

 

 

 

Vijay Iyer - Uneasy
(ECM Records) - Released: 9th April 2021

Vijay Iyer (piano); Linda May Han Oh (double bass); Tyshawn Sorey (drums)

Vijay Iyer Uneasy

 

'Vijay Iyer presents a powerful new trio, in which he is joined by two key figures in creative music, Tyshawn Sorey and Linda May Han Oh. "We have an energy together that is very distinct. It has a different kind of propulsion, a different impulse and a different spectrum of colours". Repertoire on 'Uneasy', recorded at Oktaven Audio Studio in Mount Vernon, New York in December 2019, includes Iyer originals written over a span of 20 years, plus Gerri Allen's "Drummer's Song" and a radical recasting of Cole Porter's "Night and Day." (album notes). 'The musical genius of post-modern jazz pianist Vijay Iyer reaches new heights on Uneasy, his fourth trio album and sixth release on the ECM Records as a leader/co-leader. Having forged a revolutionary path in jazz, Iyer continues to break new ground, this time benefiting from the rhythmic wonders of a new trio with the drummer Tyshawn Sorey, a longtime partner, and the bassist Linda May Han Oh, with whom he recorded in 2011 for the Dave Douglas Quintet.  The music takes a more jazzified route here, in the sense that it’s intrinsically connected to tradition and form, detaching from that free-er and experimental side presented in his works with Craig Taborn and Wadada Leo Smith. Composed over a span of 20 years, some of the pieces strive to bring sociopolitical predicaments and disorders in America to the human conscience......The pianist also squeezes in the jazz standard “Night and Day” and Geri Allen’s “Drummer’s Song”. The former, inspired by McCoy Tyner’s piano work in Joe Henderson’s version, flows in a peripatetic 7/8 bliss; while the latter number, a tribute to the late influential pianist and mentor who composed it, links African folk tradition with imaginative post-bop via groove. Many moments of pleasure come out from listening to this record, in which the virtuosity of the three musicians involved is constantly put at the service of the music.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Video for Combat Breathing : Vijay Iyer talks about the album : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Europe and Elsewhere

 

 

Alban Claret and Evan Clegg - The Collection
(Self Release) - Released: 7th May 2021

Alban Claret (guitar); Evan Clegg (trumpet); Duncan Eagles (tenor sax); Luke Fowler (bass); Kuba Miazga (drums)

Claret and Clegg The Collection

 

'A shared love of bebop and composition discovered at a fortuitous meeting at the Tate Britain, set guitarist Alban Claret and trumpeter Evan Clegg on a path leading to the May 2021 release of their debut album The Collection. After playing together for some time, the duo decided to put pen to paper to create a collection of compositions. Creative sparks flew at a thunderous pace and they quickly built a repertoire of original material rooted firmly within the jazz tradition yet remaining at once compelling and accessible to listeners. Their powerful delivery of snappy tunes along with confident improvisational passages clearly reflect the influences of Charlie Parker, Lennie Tristano and Miles Davis. The Collection opens with the title track, a catchy up-beat original blues that makes a bold statement and showcases proficiency in taking a standard form in an entirely new, surprising direction. ‘Unprescribed Playfulness’, by far the most prolific composition on the recording uses winding melodies to create a unique texture in turn providing a launch pad for the remarkable sound of Duncan Eagles who intensifies the track with soaring improvised lines culminating in an explosive climax taking the solos back to the form. Other tracks on the recording provide fitting tributes to their influences; ‘Al A Parker’ to Charlie Parker, ‘Get Al In Town’, ‘Mind Block’ to Lennie Tristano and ‘Winter Pace’ to modern jazz compositions. The Collection is a highly anticipated debut release representing a confident, honest and pure collaboration and one that is sure to put Alban and Evan firmly on the map.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Video Introduction : Video of Al A Parker played live :

 

 

 

 

Avishai Cohen - Two Roses
(naïve/believe) - Released: 16th April 2021

Avishai Cohen (bass, voice); Mark Guiliana (drums); Elchin Shirinov (piano); with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

Avishai Cohen Two Roses

 

'Avishai Cohen had been dreaming of this experience for over a decade. Two Roses is the result of a long process, with his trio and his collaboration with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Hanson, Cohen proves that this foray into classical music was not a passing whim but rather a sincere expression of his desire to remain free from the boundaries of “genre” — a term he admits to loathing. Cohen’s music is an intricate tapestry of global and historical influence. A master of Afro- Caribbean music, Cohen has absorbed its complexity to the point that it has had an enduring impact on the rhythmic designs he creates for his trio, and a lasting effect on his musical contemporaries. “Playing and singing one’s own music with a symphony orchestra is something special, it’s an experience that is as strong as it is specific,” says Cohen. Cohen did not embark on this adventure alone. His trusted trio includes two musicians for whom he is full of praise. Azerbaijani pianist Elchin Shirinov, who appeared on Cohen’s previous record, Arvoles, plays with lyricism and clarity. And New Jersey – native drummer Mark Guiliana, with whom Cohen revolutionized the trio’s approach in the 2000s, protects the groove and rhythmic sharpness specific to Cohen’s music. And of course, there are the 92 talented women and men of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.“An orchestra has its own rhythm,” he explains. “Of course, 92 people won’t play a beat like two or three people would. There’s a kind of inertia, which you have to get used to, and you have to understand how they breathe. It’s like a horse, at once beautiful, powerful and delicate. “When you listen to this record, it feels like embracing a journey, entering my world, in a deeper and denser way,” he says. On Two Roses, the only things that count are performance, emotion and the personal expression of a citizen of the world who sees music as his only true homeland.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Introductory Video : Listen to Almah Sleeping : Listen to Morenika :

 

 

 

 

Re-issues

 

 

Tommy Flanagan - In His Own Sweet Time
(Enja) - Released: 2021

Tommy Flanagan (piano).

Tommy Flanagan In His Own Sweet Time

 

'Previously unreleased solo recording from American jazz piano great Tommy Flanagan, from October 9th, 1994 at the Birdland Jazz Club in Neuburg on the Danube in Germany, playing on a Bösendorfer Grand Piano. This is the story of a concert, which almost didn't happen. A story of a culture shock that struck somewhere between an American metropolis and a Bavarian small town. A story of a strong woman, who wants to shelter her husband at any price. And a story of a very special recording, which slumbered in the archives for over 26 years and would see the light of day for the first time. Now that the legendary solo recording has been released the happy end is perfect. A quiet, deliberate, wonderful final point closes the incredible career of Thomas Lee Flanagan, who everybody called Tommy, and who passed away on November 16th, 2001.' (album notes). 'It's a little known fact that Tommy Flanagan played solo for five minutes in a Soho restaurant in 1993 and apparently it was just as unlikely that he agreed to do this solo concert the following year in a small town in Bavaria on the back of an all-star German tour ...There is very little unaccompanied Flanagan on record ...But, if you're looking for inadequacies here you'd have to look pretty hard.' (Brian Priestley in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Hall - Jazzpar Quartet + Four (Remastered)
(Storyville Records) - Released: 19th March 2021

Jim Hall (guitar); Chris Potter (tenor sax); Thomas Ovesen (bass); Terry Clarke (drums); + The Zapolski String Quartet (track 4-6): Alexander Zapolski, Jacob Soelberg (violin); Iben Bramsnæs Teilmann (viola); Vanja Louro (cello)

Jim Hall Jazzpar Quartet plus Four

 

'When the late guitarist and composer Jim Hall emerged triumphant in 1998, it was because his name evoked the most unanimous praise, out of the dozens of artists who had come up for discussion. Already at that point, his career had covered more than 40 years and evoked past associations with people such as Chico Hamilton, Jimmy Giuffre, Sonny Rollins and Art Farmer, plus the fact that they had some of their most interesting and unusual groups when Jim Hall happened to be in them. Some of his other frequent but less regular collaborators, like Paul Desmond, Gerry Mulligan, Bill Evans or Ron Carter, also clearly chose him for the stimulation to be gained from the experience. What these great artists (and many more) found in Hall was a player of great sensitivity and intelligence, to whom the idea of cooperation was second nature but whose approach was completely individual. This duality is not unique within a jazz framework, but the truth is that many jazz players do not manage to be simultaneously identifiable and compatible with others. Personality is obviously the key factor, and Jim’s can perhaps be described as confident but self-effacing. Musically, that translated into a style which was both cogent and laconic – which makes a lot of sense but not a lot of noise – and it’s this combination that lends itself to taking on board others’ ideas and complementing rather than contradicting them. In band terms, it bestows the possibility of being a leader through example, without being either too malleable or too dictatorial........' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Listen to Purple Haze: Listen to Chelsea Bridge:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wes Montgomery - The NDR Hamburg Studio Recordings
(Jazzline Classics ) - Released: 2021 (CD, LP and Blue Ray)

Wes Montgomery (guitar); Hans Koller (alto sax, tenor sax); Johnny Griffin, Ronnie Scott (tenor sax); Ronnie Ross (baritone sax); Martial Solal (piano); Michel Gaudry (bass); Ronnie Stephenson (drums).

Wes Montgomery NDR Hamburg Studio Recordings

 

 

'The American guitarist Wes Montgomery was one of the greats of jazz. For all friends of this style-defining musician and beyond, Jazzline presents the NDR Hamburg Studio Recordings for the first time and thus never before published. In addition to Wes Montgomery, the musicians Johnny Griffin, Ronnie Scott, Ronnie Ross, Martial Solal, Hans Koller, Michel Gaudry and Ronnie Stephenson took part in this session. A fascinating line-up! There is also a 34 minute Blu-ray of the band's rehearsals as a bonus, which includes five of the tracks. In the spring of 1965 this outstanding guitarist had only three more years to live, as in 1968 Wes Montgomery passed away after suffering a heart attack. The European concerts, particularly the happy hours spent at the NDR-Jazzworkshop on April 30, 1965 in Hamburg, were probably among the best memories Wes Montgomery had of himself and of the great art he mastered so well. Simply a must have album!' (album notes). 'This is the kind of reissue that will delight jazz enthusiasts and discographical anoraks alike .. as welcome as it is hard swinging. Gorgeous stuff. Go buy!' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Dunmall, Keith Tippett, Philip Gibbs, Pete Fairclough - Onosante
(577 Records) - Released: 16th April 2021

Paul Dunmall (tenor and soprano saxophones, fife, bagpipes); Keith Tippett (piano); Philip Gibbs (guitar); Pete Fairclough (drums)

Onosante album

 

 

'Originally recorded in 2000 for a small 100-copy release, Onosante has become a 4-track improvisational project suspended in time. Performed by Paul Dunmall (Saxophones, Fife, Bagpipes), Keith Tippett (Piano), Philip Gibbs (Guitar) and Pete Fairclough (Drums), the album is a deeply creative testament to collaboration, with particularly interesting instrumentation and a characteristic warmth. The compositions are complex but never crowded, conveying a poetic ease between the performers, in what Dunmall calls “a revelation,” and “a mini-masterpiece of improvised music.” This release marks the 20-year anniversary of its first publication, the memory of Keith Tippett’s recent passing and the first of many releases from legendary UK musician Paul Dunmall later this year on 577 Records. Onosante will be available in CD and digital editions on April 16, 2021.' (album notes). '....From the opening moments of Song And Dance And, with its tropical evocation of flute and m'bira conjured by Dunmall's fife and Phillip Gibbs' guitar, to the hushed closure of Manosante the music has a compelling dramatic listenability ....' (Tony Benjamin 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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