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August 2020

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Duke Ellington

It is great to see that live gigs are returning. Being without them has hopefully made us appreciate them more and encouraged us to support more live music as the situation changes. I have particularly missed hearing big bands and we might have to wait a little longer to hear them again. This caricature by Jimmy Thomson is a reminder. You can read more about Jimmy's art work here. In the meanwhile, the Duke Ellington Society UK (DESUK) is presenting a weekly show called Uptown Lockdown. It's on  Wednesdays at 5PM, UK time. Logon to the DESUK website- for more information.The programme consists of discussing matters Ellington and Strayhorn, playing  tracks as well as snippets of live playing. Alternatively, click here for the UK's Patchwork Jazz Orchestra playing Badger Cam in 2017.




Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund - Applications Close 3rd August

Exclamation mark


An Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund has been opened for applications for one week from Monday 27th July - closing Monday 03 August. This fund is aimed at venues who risk becoming insolvent by September 2020. Ongoing support for Grassroots Live Music is still available through National Lottery Project Funds until March 2021.

The £2.25 million Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund seeks to ensure the survival of grassroots music venues from now until 30 September 2020. This funding is available to venues whose main function is to present live music events for a public audience in the grassroots part of this sector. It’s open to live music venues across all music genres, and also to multi-arts venues that host other events and entertainment other than music within which music forms a major part of their activity.

Click here for details.



The Return of Live Gigs

On July 18th, the Prime Minister confirmed that from August 1, music venues, theatres and other performance spaces in England would be allowed to host indoor gigs with socially distanced audiences. Outdoor gigs had been given the go-ahead to start again in July. Indoor Jazz Face Maskvenues will have to be "Covid-secure". It means audiences will remain socially distanced at all times and with a raft of other measures expected to be implemented, such as regular deep cleans, reduced capacities, online ticketing and staggered performance schedules.


Jazz face mask from Amazon


The news is welcome, as is the £1.57 billion support grant announced by the Government, to "help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down,” but questions remain about whether a socially distanced audience will be commercially viable for a venue, whether people will feel safe to attend and how and to whom the support grant will be allocated.

It is reported that the move to allow indoor gigs in England represents a move into Stage Four of the government's previously issued roadmap:

  • Stage One - Rehearsal and training (no audiences and adhering to social distancing guidelines)
  • Stage Two - Performances for broadcast and recording purposes (adhering to social distancing guidelines)
  • Stage Three - Performances outdoors with an audience plus pilots for indoor performances with a limited distance audience
  • Stage Four - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (but with a limited distanced audience indoors)
  • Stage Five - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)


Ronnie Scott's Club


Ronnie Scott's Club in London is opening again for live performances from 1st August with a reduced audience and a range of safeguarding measures - click here for details. The move comes after careful consideration and a poll amongst the club’s members. As testament to their loyalty and the appetite to return to live music, tickets flew out when offered to members ahead of general release. Ronnie Scott’s will also join its Soho neighbours in the already buzzing vibe providing seated tables outside providing champagne and burgers.

Some venues have been opening for outdoor performances. Jazz Leeds have live jazz back at Seven Arts Leeds - not inside yet but they have been putting on live (socially distanced) jazz in the open air at Seven Arts courtyard. They say "We'll be featuring the best of  jazz from the great city of Leeds and of course the bar will be open. On Sundays you can buy street food at the cafe too!"

A new series of outdoor live music and comedy shows is launching at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire with a Sunday jazz and blues programme. Over the summer, the venue is offering a ‘Picnic at the Palace’ for groups of up to six people at tables or using deckchairs. Picnic hampers are included in the ticket price with a choice of meat, vegetarian or vegan selections sourced locally.

Other venues will be making their own arrangements, so keep an eye on what is happening in your area during August and September and support them where you can.



London Jazz Festival 2020

London Jazz Festival



Organisers of this Year's EFG London Jazz Festival are taking steps for the Festival to go ahead in November (Friday 13th to Sunday 22nd November), with some flexibility in place to allow for the situation that exists at the time.

The organisation will aim to bring together exclusive live concerts, a digital platform that streams live and bespoke content, new commissions, interactive creative engagement projects, rare archive recordings, films, talks, interviews, webinars and a series of broadcasts. The plan is for this to be a major live and digital event that 'lives in two worlds at the same time'.

More details will be available in September, but in the meanwhile click here for a report on the JazzFM website an a video interview with Pelin Opcin - Director of Programming at Serious, who produce EFG London Jazz Festival.




Oscar Peterson Train Station

 A petition has been opened to name a train station after Oscar Peterson in his home city of Montreal in Canada. Peterson was born and raised in St. Henri and he immortalized his neighbourhood in a song called Place St. Henri which was inducted into the Canadian Lionel Groulx stationSongwriters' Hall of Fame earlier this year as part of his Canadiana Suite of songs.

The petition reads, "our city should honour the incredible accomplishments that Oscar Peterson achieved by renaming Lionel Groulx metro station as Oscar Peterson metro station. This allows Montréal to celebrate the legacy of a man who has proudly represented our city on the international stage and allows our city to celebrate the beautiful cultural diversity and representation that black Montrealers bring to our city."


Jacqueline Montpetit, the mayor of the borough, said a Oscar PetersonCity committee is already looking at how Peterson should be honoured. She agreed that to find a suitable way to recognize the pianist. Campaigners say Peterson embodies the image of the great vibrant, multicultural metropolis open to the world. Over 18,500 people have signed it so far on


Oscar Peterson


"It's not a small thing to name something for someone; it's even more touchy to unname something," the mayor said. The station in question is named for Lionel Groulx, a Catholic priest and historian whose 'main focus was to restore Quebeckers' pride in their identity by knowledge of history'.

The City of Montreal issued a news release saying a committee will carefully study all suggestions on honouring Peterson before making a decision. City policy is that nothing can be renamed for someone until at least a year after that person's death.






Video Juke Box

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



Juke Box


Genmaicha video


Billy Marrows is guitarist with the great Patchwork Jazz Orchestra who very cleverly put together an EP from lockdown - The Light That Shines - that we included in June's Recent Releases, not a small undertaking for a large band. Billy has now made an equally imaginative video of his composition, Genmaicha, from the album. Featuring special guest Gareth Lockrane, the video tells the story of Billy's quest for a cup of Genmaicha tea, which is continuously sabotaged by Patchwork musicians who've taken over his flat and neighbourhood. It combines stop motion animation with the footage of the band recording at home. 





Ant Law Harvest video



Another British guitarist, Ant Law, is filmed here recording Harvest from his new album The Sleeper Wakes with Michael Chillingworth (alto saxophone & bass clarinet (on tracks 7 & 9); Ivo Neame (piano); Tom Farmer (acoustic bass); James Maddren (drums); Tim Garland (tenor saxophone (tracks 1 & 2); Adam Kovacs (percussion (tracks 1 & 2) [See Recent Releases]






Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins 1958


Here are Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young in 1958 Jumpin' with Symphony Sid. The formidable band on this occasion was: Charlie Shavers (trumpet); J C Higginbotham (trombone); Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young (tenor sax); Pee Wee Russell (clarinet); Harry Sheppard (vibraphone); Willie "The Lion" Smith (piano); Dickie Thompson (guitar); Vinnie Burke (double bass); Sonny Greer (drums). One YouTube commentator says: 'So beautiful and full of life -- and those who want to talk about Lester Young's "decline," and how he was "drinking himself to death," may be supported by the facts . . . but if you listen to the solo with your eyes closed and forget the dark mythology people love to create, it's such beautiful music -- not the music of the doomed, but the sound of a man who knows that pretty notes and swing will keep us alive forever even after our bodies no longer move.' There is more about Jumpin' with Symphony Sid here.





Trypl video



This introductory video is for a new album by Trypl, featuring the Latin Jazz of Ryan Quigley (trumpet); Trevor Mires (trombone); Paul Booth (sax); Alex Wilson (piano); Dimitris Christopoulos (bass); Edwin Sanz (percussion); Tristan Banks (drums). [See Recent Releases]. We shall be featuring more about this album next month.






Nat Gonella video



Trumpeter Nat Gonella and his Georgians were a very popular recording band in the 1930s and 1940s and as far as I know there is not much early footage of them online. This clip from a film from the 1930s gives a taste of the band, but some of their music on record is perhaps more interesting e.g. this recording of Basin Street Blues (click here).







Steam Down Etcetera



A' visualisation' rather than a video, here is the UK band Steam Down's interpretation of Wayne Shorter's Etcetera for the Blue Note Re:imagined album due out on September 25th.





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





National Lottery Project Grants - Apply Now

Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grant scheme has reopened. The Arts Council says: 'We've reopened the fund with a budget of £59.8 million available until April 2021. We have prioritised reopening this programme to help fund independent organisations, Arts Council England logocreative practitioners and freelancers as quickly as possible. Our supplementary guidance outlines what has changed to make the fund more responsive to the needs of smaller independent organisations and individual practitioners during Covid-19.'

There appear to be two categories applicable to music - Music Projects and Project Grants: Project Grants is open to applications for music projects from individuals, groups and organisations; Project Grants: Supporting Grassroots Live Music; Supporting Grassroots Live Music is part of Project Grants, with its own budget set aside for supporting organisations and individuals whose work focuses on the hosting and promotion of live music events in venues. You can download PDF files for advice and guidance here.

Jazz South would like to invite the South East and South West’s jazz and improvised music community to a special advice giving session to make sure everyone feels comfortable with the Jazz South logonew guidance, understands the application and decision making process and has a chance to ask any questions they have. They will be joined by two members of Arts Council England’s music team: Davina Christmas and Moragh Brooksbank who will:


  • Discuss the new guidance for applicants
  • Highlight the changes to the programme and what they mean for potential applications
  • Talk through some useful tips and things to remember to create strong applications
  • Answer any questions you have

Date and time: Tuesday 25 August 09.30-11.00am - Book your FREE tickets here





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

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


Stéphane and Django / Django and Stéphane


Reinhardt and Grappelli


It is interesting in these extracts from Ralph Gleason's book Jam Session, he uses the spelling 'Grappelly' rather than 'Grappelli' - over time both spellings have been used.

'Few in this country who avidly followed their Victor and Decca releases realized what a volatile little package this combination was. In the two stars, Grappelly and Reinhardt, there was enough explosive temperament to supply the Metropolitan Opera and a ballet company for a complete season, including matinées. Grappelly, elegant though penny-piching and somewhat superficial, was Django's opposite in nature, although they were perfect complements musically..... Some of the trouble arose because their records were variously issued for contractual reasons, as Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France or Stephane Grapelly and his Hot Four.

Click here to listen to the Quintette playing The Charleston in 1937.

The situation came to a head during the Quintet's first broadcast to the United States in 1937. On their bandstand in the Big Apple cabaret on Rue Pigalle (known as Pig Alley since the 1944 American invasion), the musicians grew tense as the time approached ...the American announcer went confidently into his introduction ....

"From Paris we now bring you the music of Stephane Grappelli and his Hot Four."

Django turned white with rage, jumped to his feet and began to stalk out of the studio. Only the humblest of apologies and a promise to correct the error before the end of the programme induced him to return ...

Click here for the band playing J'Attendrai Swing in 1939.

The group was playing in England when the war broke out in 1939. Stephane chose to remain in England .... all the others returned to France... (in 1943), tiring of Nazi occupied France, Django attempted to escape to Switzerland. A German patrol happened upon the café where he was to rendezvous with the guide. A search of his person revealed a letter from a Swiss impresario and a membership card from the British equivalent of ASCAP - the Performing Rights Society. Arrested immediately for espionage, he was taken for interrogation before a German major. The officer took one look, as the story has it, and said, "Reinhardt, old chap! What are you doing here?" It seems the major was an old German jazz fan who collected the Quintette's records before the war.....

In the latter part of 1945, he (Django) came to London for a reunion with Grappelly. Call it sentiment , call it patriotism - at any rate, when the two first sat down to improvise a bit, there was something of a psychic cue from somewhere. The first selection played was the Marseillaise - once through in a slow and noble march and then swung joyously. It was so superb that it was included in the first recording session at His Master's Voice where the Quintet needled wax for the first time since the war ....'

From Jam Session by Ralph J Gleason.

Click here to listen to Echoes of France (La Marseillaise)




Completing Jazz Studies in Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2020

This year, most students have had their courses disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Howard Lawes has been looking at what it has meant for students on some of the Jazz courses in the UK:

For jazz students completing their courses at universities and conservatoires the last few months are when it all comes together, examinations are sat, recitals performed and the final results determined leading to degree class and the winning of prizes.  Unlike a lot of academic study, performance art courses emphasise group activity such as dance, theatre and for musicians playing in orchestras and ensembles.  One of the memories for students graduating in 2020 will be the lockdown which meant working from home and missing out on physically mixing with others, so that for music students, technical innovation was required to facilitate any group performance and doubtless the word ‘Zoom’ entered the musical glossary.

In Scotland the only full-time degree level course in Jazz is provided at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.  The Jazz Department is headed by Professor Tommy Smith OBE who was kind enough to spend some time explaining how his department coped Tommy Smithwith the unprecedented circumstances posed by the pandemic.  The Jazz course only started in 2009 following a sustained campaign by Tommy Smith over many years. One of his star graduates is Fergus McCreadie who won the Parliamentary Jazz Award in 2019 for his album Turas and he accompanies Glaswegian Luca Manning on the album When the Sun Comes Out. Luca recently won the Parliamentary Jazz Award this year’s Best Newcomer.


Tommy Smith


The BMus Jazz course in Glasgow takes six students per year and lasts four years, Tommy emphasised the practical aspects of the course which includes Music Business in each year as well as subjects such as theory, performance, arranging, studio recording and website design.  Tommy sees the development of a range of skills as extremely important for a young, career musician and this year their innovation and self reliance stood them in good stead to deal with whatever problems the pandemic posed.  Extensive use was made of Zoom and Microsoft Team and a web portal was established to organise recordings of accompanied solos, feedback from staff and interactive assessments, and although the technology does not allow real-time ensemble playing, students were able to record parts which were shared with each other to construct an ensemble performance.

Apart from his own highly successful Jazz career Tommy Smith founded and leads the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra which together provide opportunities for big band performance for musicians of all ages and many Royal Conservatoire of Scotland alumni have participated - although of course this year concerts have been cancelled.  Each year prizes are awarded to students (click on the picture below for details) and this year James Mackay won the Joe Temperley Prize for Jazz Arranging, Richard Glassby won the George Duncan Prize for Jazz Composition and Matt Carmichael won the Fog Arts Prize for Jazz Improvisation.  


RCS Prizewinners 2020


James Mackay is a talented guitarist and improviser who arranged Benny Golson's Along Came Betty to win his prize.  While he draws upon a range of influences including rock, classical and traditional Scottish music, jazz is his main passion and his speciality. James MacKay said: “RCS has been especially helpful and supportive in recent months, and it’s thanks to this support that we as students have been able to continue working towards goals and prizes such as this.”  Richard Glassby has played with several bands including the Aberdeen Jazz Orchestra, the Aberdeen University Jazz Orchestra, The Houlies (Ceilidh band), Serial Chillers (Latin band) and Hamlet, a fusion jazz band. His RCS award recognises his suite of original music – What the Bop, Vehement, Eclipse, Corruption and In and Out.Richard said: “These pieces were a product of a great first year at the RCS where I’ve had the chance to work with some amazing musicians who have really brought my music to life.”  Marked as ‘one to watch’ by Jazzwise magazine last year, 20-year-old saxophonist and composer Matt Carmichael is one of Scotland’s most exciting young talents. He regularly performs under his own name at the likes of Ronnie Scott’s, Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Celtic Connections and has had airplay on BBC Radio Scotland, Jazz FM and BBC Radio 3.  Matt’s own tunes combine his love for jazz and folk, described as ‘music that’s beautifully sculpted and gorgeously melodic with an underlying sense of rhythmical power.’ His quartet features the award-winning Fergus McCreadie (piano), Ali Watson (bass) and Tom Potter (drums). They will record and release their debut album in 2020 thanks to the Peter Whittingham Development Award.

While a full time jazz course at undergraduate level is a relatively recent fixture in Scotland it has yet to arrive in Northern Ireland.  Jazz at postgraduate level is studied at Ulster University Magee Campus where students follow a MMus Creative Musicianship syllabus under the irrepressible Dr Linley Hamilton; it is also possible to study for a PhD in Music (Creative Practice and/or Contextual Studies). Trumpeter Dr Linley HamiltonLinley Hamilton has been a mainstay of the Northern Irish jazz scene for well over two decades as a jazz musician, jazz educator, jazz radio broadcaster, and not least, as an utterly tireless advocate of the music and kindly described the effect of the virus at his university.  


Dr Linley Hamilton


The last few months have seen extensive restrictions put in place due to COVID-19, and as such the University has had to follow the strict government advice which resulted in the cancellation of exams and the postponement of summer graduation ceremonies in June and July.  Teaching during the last few months has been on-line using Zoom and Microsoft Teams and a series of MS PowerPoint projects has been designed and produced with embedded audio which entails a considerable initial investment of time for preparation.  There has been some face to face rehearsal opportunity using protective screens but restricted to one day per week followed by a deep clean of the premises.  There has been no access to libraries and other university facilities so considerable use has been made of online publications. 

Despite the lack of undergraduate Jazz courses, jazz is enjoyed by students and staff at Ulster University.  A weekly series of lunchtime concerts entitled Music@One has featured the Ulster University Jazz Band (UUJB) that is made up of undergraduate and postgraduate students studying at Ulster University. Led by Dr Linley Hamilton and conducted by Lewis Hanlon, the ensemble rehearses weekly.  ConFusion is Ulster University’s newest Jazz ensemble, run by final year Music student and clarinettist, Ceara McErlean. Ceara will also be managing ConFusion as part of her second semester work placement. The ensemble has an ambitious programme, and is is diligently working towards performing music by key jazz musicians Tom Harrell, John Coltrane, Kenny Garrett and Linley Hamilton. ConFusion members include Linley Hamilton (trumpet), Ceara McErlean (clarinet), Lewis Hanlon (alto saxophone), David Scott FlaniganChancellor (piano), Kevin Mullan (guitar), Serenah Zitouni, Luke Fleming (guitar), John Hodge (bass guitar) and John Goodman (drums). Sadly, performances by these bands have been cancelled. 


Scott Flanigan


Conducting research at Ulster University at the moment is Scott Flanigan from Belfast, one of the foremost keyboard players on the Irish jazz scene and a member of the O'Higgins and Luft Quartet with Rod Youngs on drums who were nominated for a Parliamentary Jazz award this year.  Like many musicians, Scott is offering tuition through FaceTime, Skype and Zoom. Over the years PhDs have been awarded to County Armagh born drummer and MOBO nominee David Lyttle and County Down born Steve Davis whose career includes playing with the European Jazz Orchestra and icons of the free improvisation movement.

To be honest it would seem that although students have been deprived of the opportunity to play together, and in some cases deprived of exams and graduation ceremonies, the completion of courses and award of degrees has proceeded as well as could be expected. It will certainly not have been the final months at university that students would have wanted so we offer our sympathy and wish them all the very best for their future careers.





Name The Tune

(Click on the picture for the answer)


Name the tune


Click here for other challenges to 'Name The Tune'





Take Two

Doctor Jazz


[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].


Doctor Jazz poster


Doctor Jazz is one of those songs that has remained popular over many, many years. Perhaps because it is a good tune, but perhaps particularly because of the sentiments in the lyrics where the verse says it all. It seems especially appropriate as we begin to come out of Covid-19 lockdown.

It was written by King Oliver back in 1926. Some references say that the lyrics are by Walter Melrose, but other references say that Melrose included his name as co-composer simply because he was the music publisher, 'as was often his practice'. I am not including the King Oliver version in this Take Two, but you can listen to it here. That was an instrumental recording.

As far as the lyrics are concerned, most recordings go straight into the chorus, but here is the verse that introduces the song:


Everybody gets the blues now and then, and don't know what to do
I've had it happen many, many times to me [or before], and so have you.
But those days have gone and past, I found out what to do at last,
When I feel all down and out, You will hear me shout:


Wikipedia has a helpful paragraph about Jelly Roll Morton's recording, also from 1926: 'Doctor Jazz, as a record made by Jelly Roll Morton and his Red Hot Peppers in 1926, is a prime example of early New Orleans jazz counterpoint and collective improvisation. The number of special features, pre-written stop-time breaks and improvised solo passages in this record yield a tapestry of musical contrasts. Jazz was producing significant accomplishments in its other aspects, such as the development of the soloist, but the specifically New Orleans jazz style of collective counterpoint playing would reach its apotheosis here and in a few other 1926-7 Morton recordings.' I am not featuring Jelly Roll's recording either in this Take Two, but you can listen to it here. In this version we get the lyrics, sung by Jelly Roll, or at least the chorus.



Chorus: Oh, Hello Central, give me Doctor Jazz,
He's got just what I need, I'll say he has.
When the world goes wrong, and I've got the blues,
He's the man who makes me get out both my dancing shoes.


There are plenty of versions of Doctor Jazz to listen to on YouTube, including a rather restrained version (for him) by Woody Herman (click here). However, I have chosen two videos that in their own different ways, each convey a joyfulness in their performance.

The first is from 1961 by Lil Hardin Armstrong and Mae Barnes. It seems appropriate that Lil Hardin plays this King Oliver tune although by 1926 she was no longer with his band. Mae Barnes was a jazz singer, dancer and comic entertainer. She was responsible for introducing the Charleston dance to Broadway in the 1924 revue Runnin' Wild. After a career on Broadway and in variety, she was still recording in the late 1950s / early 1960s, including a self titled album with a group led by Buck Clayton. In this video she is putting everything into a performance of Doctor Jazz (click here).

The more I get, the more I want, it seems.
I page old Doctor Jazz in all my dreams,
When I'm trouble bound and mixed, He's the guy that gets me fixed,
Hello, Central, give me Doctor Jazz.


The second video is of the Oldfish Jazz Band busking in Bologna in 2017. Although very different, there is again that sense of joy that seems to convey itself to the passers by (click here).

Out of Berlin, the Oldfish Jazz band describe themselves as 'an international band of buddies that shares a passion for old time stompy jazz'. I should have included their 2016 album Here Comes The Garbage Man in my article uwrapping the tune Call Of The Freaks, but let's be grateful for their remedy here.





Poetry and Jazz

The Globalisation of Jazz:
Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Hero Trio

by Robin Kidson


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


Rudresh Mahanthappa Hero Trio


I wonder what Buddy Bolden or Jelly Roll Morton or any of those early jazz pioneers would have made of someone like Rudresh Mahanthappa? Widely regarded as one of the leading alto saxophonists of his generation, Mahanthappa wasn’t born in New Orleans or Kansas City but in Trieste, Italy in 1971. He wasn’t Italian or American, though; his father was a renowned theoretical physicist from India who travelled the globe with his work. So, Mahanthappa junior wasn’t brought up in Italy but in Boulder, Colorado where he absorbed the whole gamut of popular American culture from Sesame Street to Johnny Cash to jazz whilst still retaining an interest in his Indian heritage. Eventually he became a full blown, professional American jazz musician. Mahanthappa’s latest album, Hero Trio, was recorded in New Jersey but has been released by a British-based record label (Whirlwind Recordings) owned and run by an American bass player (Michael Janisch). The bassist of the Hero Trio is a Frenchman. Previous Mahanthappa albums have been released on the German ACT label. Rudresh Mahanthappa plays a Japanese saxophone (Yamaha) with French reeds (Vandoren)….

India, Italy, America, Britain, France, Germany, Japan; all go in to the international mix that is contemporary jazz. Of course, jazz went global a long time ago but it’s only when someone like Rudresh Mahanthappa comes along that one realises the extent of that Rudresh Mahanthappaglobalisation and how it increasingly impacts on both the artistic and commercial manifestations of the music.

As an aside, another thing which would surprise Buddy and Jelly Roll is what might be termed the academisation of jazz. So, Rudresh Mahanthappa didn’t learn his trade in night clubs or dance halls but in universities – specifically Berklee and De Paul in Chicago. As well as being a working musician, he is also Director of Jazz at Princeton University.


Rudresh Mahanthappa


But back to globalisation, one of its consequences is that jazz has absorbed influences from other forms of music and other cultures. Rudresh Mahanthappa sits firmly within the American modern jazz tradition but has also explored how that tradition can be fused with the classical music of his father’s land, India. He has travelled to India on several occasions to study Indian music particularly the Carnatic music of South India. In 2007, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship specifically to investigate how Carnatic music could inform and inspire American jazz: “My idea”, he said, “was to take that knowledge and really put it in a setting that has nothing to do with Indian classical music”.

The Indian influence was there right at the beginning of Mahanthappa’s career. He first came to prominence in the late 1990s working and recording with another Asian-American musician, pianist Vijay Iyer. They have collaborated together over many years in a number of different settings including just the two of them in a duo called Raw Materials. Their original brand of jazz has been well-received critically. It incorporates Indian influences but, in the words of The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, “these are comprehensively integrated into American jazz and other musical dialects which create a stunningly vivid synthesis”. Click here for Iyer and Mahanthappa playing The Preserver live in 2007 at the JVC Jazz Festival.

Mahanthappa’s take on Indo-Jazz fusion can be seen in a number of other projects, notably with the Dakshina Ensemble and the Indo-Rudresh Mahanthappa Bird CallsPak Coalition. The Coalition is a trio with Mahanthappa on alto sax, Rez Abbasi, (an American of Pakistani heritage) on guitar, and Dan Weiss on percussion. Click here for the trio playing Agrima live at the Litchfield Jazz Festival in 2017. Rock and electronica are in the mix here as well.

But, there are many more strings to Rudresh Mahanthappa’s bow than Indo-Jazz. Indeed, much of his work is straight ahead American jazz. He has steadily gathered a formidable reputation – since 2011, for instance, there have only been two years (2014 and 2019) when he has not been named alto saxophonist of the year in Downbeat’s Critics Poll. In 2015, he released Bird Calls, an album of his own compositions inspired by the greatest alto saxophonist of them all, Charlie Parker. This was album of the year in Downbeat’s 2015 Critics Poll. Click here for a live rendering of On The DL from Bird Calls.

Hero Trio is Mahanthappa’s sixteenth album as leader or co-leader. He plays alto and is joined by long-time collaborators, François Moutin on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. "The album," says Mahanthappa, “pays tribute to several of my greatest influences and inspirations. First and foremost, my path would not be possible without Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. This sentiment is obviously not unique to me. My goal in performing their work is to convey the timeless nature of their indelible impact through a contemporary lens.”

So, of the nine tracks on the album, three are Parker compositions, one of which is mixed in with a Coltrane number. A further two tracks are standards which formed part of Bird’s repertoire. However, it is the spirit of a third musician, Ornette Coleman, which often seems to hover over the album. Even the very notion of a pianoless trio owes something to Coleman whose work with David Izenzon on bass and Charles Moffett on drums in the 1960s was so influential. “Playing chordless trio”, says Mahanthappa, “you’re very exposed but you also have a degree of freedom that’s very special. There’s also a great history of piano trios that have a beautiful way of functioning like a single organism, and I wanted to capture that energy”.

Mahanthappa acknowledges the influence by including Coleman’s Sadness as one of the tracks on Hero Trio.  François Moutin takes the David Izenzon role and plays some haunting bowed bass. Mahanthappa’s alto is suitably wistful and mournful – weeping, almost – but the whole effect is quite magical.

Even on the Parker tracks, though, Mahanthappa often sounds more like Coleman than Bird. That comes through right from the first track, an arrangement of Parker’s Red Cross. Mahanthappa reworks this in a thoroughly Colemanesque way – “It’s been interesting for me”, he says, “to take things apart – we play the melody divided into three different sections that are really three different moods, but it felt really natural at the same time”. The end result shows off Mahanthappa’s dazzling technique, every bit as impressive as his heroes, Bird and Rudresh Mahanthappa Hero TrioTrane. His improvisations are wonderfully imaginative with a playfulness and humour that captures the spirit of Charlie Parker even if the playing style is much freer than the Master’s. That sense of humour permeates much of Hero Trio, even extending to the CD sleeve which shows the three Trio members dressed up as superheroes.

Click here for the Trio playing Red Cross:

The issue of influences on Hero Trio should not be overstated. Mahanthappa is far too interesting and innovative a musician to be a slavish follower of others. He is his own man with his own style as shown in his arrangement of the standard I Can’t Get Started. This formed part of Charlie Parker’s repertoire but Mahanthappa’s version is very different. He takes it slow and the theme is often only hinted at. Sometimes his improvisations stray a long way from the melody but the melody is still somehow always there.

Mahanthappa’s originality is to the fore on another standard (and another Parker favourite), I’ll Remember April. The arrangement is upbeat and jagged, laying into the tune and wrestling it into submission. Mahanthappa rattles off chorus after chorus full of invention and creativity but just about hanging on to the melody. The way he effortlessly builds his improvisations as if he is having a conversation or constructing an argument has something of Sonny Rollins about it. All of the attention is, of course, on Mahanthappa but a careful listen reveals Moutin and Royston doing creative and interesting things with the rhythm. Like Mahanthappa, both are absolute masters of their instruments.    

Click here for the Trio playing I’ll Remember April.

Two of the tracks on the album are arrangements of more modern numbers: Stevie Wonder’s Overjoyed, and Ring of Fire which June Carter Cash wrote with Merle Kilgore for her husband, Johnny Cash. These might seem strange choices for a jazz album but, for Mahanthappa, they bring back childhood memories: “Outside of the jazz world, I first saw both Johnny Cash and Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street as a child and have always found their work to be beautiful, humorous, pensive, and utterly joyful. They have played such a strong role in helping me to look beyond the illusory boundaries of genre…”
Overjoyed is played relatively straight. Moutin’s bass is well to the fore, often taking the piano part much like Izenzon in Ornette Coleman’s trio. Of the composers of Ring of Fire, Mahanthappa says “Like Dolly Parton, when you take a closer look at what they did compositionally you realise that it has a conversational flow, with odd length phrases and extra bars here and there, and I wanted to capture that freedom”. His arrangement brings out the mariachi feel of the original but also adds a slight calypso beat – shades of Sonny Rollins again. He never strays too far from the tune but when he does, his improvisations around the melody are compelling. The interplay with drums and bass is also impressive.

Click here for the Trio playing Ring of Fire.

The other tracks on the album include The Windup by Keith Jarrett which sees the Trio in particularly upbeat and playful mood, navigating a complicated tune with consummate ease; a short burst of Charlie Parker’s Dewey Square; and a mix of Parker’s Barbados and John Coltrane’s 26-2.

Globalisation has its discontents but, when it comes to the arts like jazz, the way in which its processes can bring people – artists, makers, entrepreneurs – together to create a productive synergy is surely a force for good. A work like Hero Trio would not have been possible without the forces of globalisation ensuring a collaboration between an Indian-American, a Frenchman and an Afro-American to produce American-style jazz on a British record label. As Rudresh Mahanthappa says in the album’s sleeve notes: “…music is a magical force that binds humanity”. And Hero Trio is a magical work of art of the highest quality which will surely see more of the glittering prizes brought to Rudresh Mahanthappa’s mantelpiece. 

For further details and samples for the Hero Trio album click here (the price is shown in dollars but is converted to sterling when you click on the 'Buy' link).

Click here for Rudresh Mahanthappa's website.


Rudresh Mahanthappa Hero Trio





Jazz Quiz

Place The Face

Jazz Guitarists

This month we give you pictures of fifteen jazz guitarists. How many can you identify?


Whi is this?


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].


Naadia Sheriff


Naadia Sheriff

Photograph courtesy of Naadia Sheriff


Pianist Naadia Sheriff grew up in Bolton in the North West of England. It probably all began when her mum bought her a toy piano and taught her three chords when Naadia was four and formal piano lessons started when she was seven – not of course on the toy piano. The bug bit early and Naadia joined every ensemble and band going and by fifteen she was earning money playing for amateur theatre productions, choirs and a ballet school.

Although jazz became an interest at about the same time, she was offered a place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London on their Classical Music course. That didn’t stop her hanging out at Ronnie Scott’s and the Vortex Jazz Club, but her course work kept her Naadia Sheriff Gnarly Hymnbusy with what she calls the ‘Classical Stuff’.

Shortly after graduating from Guildhall, Naadia was performing Saint-Saens’ Carnival  of the Animals  alongside fellow pianist Charlotte Wilson and the New English Orchestra. The performance toured venues including Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and the Birmingham Symphony Hall, but at the same time Naadia was practising jazz piano and badgering people for lessons. Jazz musicians including Nikki Iles, Pete Saberton and Jason Rebello responded and it is not surprising that Naadia went back to Guildhall for their Post Graduate Jazz Course.

In 2010, she released her first album Gnarly Hymn with her Quartet and soon after, began a fruitful collaboration with vocalist Kate Dimbleby. She acted as musical director for Nice Girls Don’t Sing The Blues which ran for 5 weeks at Hampstead’s New End Theatre. The show is a biopic of singer Dory Blood movie posterPrevin and the music was released as an album Beware Of Young Girls. The recording reached No. 3 in the ‘itunes Jazz chart’, the show received a 4 star review in The Times and ran for a three week stint in New York in 2015.   There were radio and television appearances and the duo appeared in the 2012 film Blood starring Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham and Mark Strong..

That was eight years ago and Naadia has been busy ever since, at least until the Covid-19 pandemic arrived. Now based firmly in London, she has been musical director for ‘Live’ theatre’s revival of C.P. Taylor’s play And A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square which was given four stars by a review in The Guardian; played a stint on The Rat Pack European tour; she is a founder member of trumpeter Yazz Ahmed’s Hafla Band, and she plays with the London Jazz Orchestra, Dave Manington’s Mingus Ah Um project; her own Quartet and has recently joined the band ISQ (the Irene Serra Quartet)  ... and inevitably she has played at those venues she used to visit as a student, including Ronnie Scott’s and the London Jazz Festival.

Naadia has also been developing an impressive collaboration with vocalist Lara Eidi, also a graduate from the Guildhall Post Grad Jazz Course. In March this year they presented an evening of powerful women’s stories for International Women’s Day, ‘a journey through song and time’. Drawing on their love of folk, jazz, musical theatre and original compositions, they told the stories and performed some of the most memorable songs of female singers and songwriters.

Last year, 2019, when her children’s school was unable to put on concerts, Naadia started 'Kids Concert Club'.  She began in a friend's living room with 10 young performers creating a relaxed and informal atmosphere with an emphasis on collaboration and support, and in January 2020, the Club received a grant from the National Lottery. The funding has meant they could move into a larger venue and collaborate with Pearl Home Records to record any performance straight onto vinyl. They were due to stage a concert in June, but of course all that has been postponed with plans to reschedule in 2021.

When school is not ‘out’, Naadia teaches piano at St Paul’s Girls School and Merchant Taylors Boys School and she has also worked extensively on the Jazz Course at Junior Guildhall and taught on the Music and Language For Life course in Wales.

During the hiatus caused by the Coronavirus, Naadia and her husband, jazz bass player Dave Manington, have been in East London home-schooling their children, including (I’m pleased to say) chocolate cake baking sessions.

Naadia took time out to join me for a socially distanced Tea Break.


Hello Naadia. Good to see you. It’s a shame it’s raining but we can sit in the conservatory. Tea or coffee?

Tea please, strong English Breakfast if you have it. 


The kettle's boiling. Grab a seat. I see you have brought your own mug. I have put hand sanitiser on the side, so help yourself. Milk and sugar?

Yes, as you can see, I’ve brought a fairly large travel mug. Thanks for the hand sanitiser!  just a drop of milk please and no sugar. 

Chocolate cake




There you go. I’ll put it on the table. Oh! You have brought some of that chocolate cake you made with your kids. That’s kind. How has it been with the home schooling during the Covid pandemic? Have you had any contact with your students at St Paul’s and Merchant Taylors?

Yes, I’ve successfully persuaded my son to make one of these every week so do keep a slab for later.  Home schooling during the pandemic has been hit-and-miss. Dave and I have two sons aged 12 and 11.  Freddie (the younger) mercifully went back to school at the end of June. 

I’ve had weekly contact with all my pupils on either Zoom or Teams and on the whole, it’s gone really well.  They’ve had a bit more time to practise which seems to have more than made up for the lack of actual face-to-face teaching. It will be good to get back to seeing them in real life though at some point. 






I was interested to see your video about LMFL – I think that stands for Language and Music for Life – in Wales, particularly because I recently came across the concept of the Suzuki method when I was talking to violinist Dominic Ingham. What did you think of the LMFL summer music course – understandably it has been postponed until 2021 now?

LMFL is a fairly unique Summer School, as things which start small and take on a life of their own often are. Aimed originally at older children who might want to study at a conservatoire in a country other than their own, it gave them the chance to work with teachers from various conservatoires and brush up on language too.  It now offers a tailored program to each individual who goes and is quite an amazing place.  The staff and children bond incredibly well and the standard of music making is very high at every level.  The age range has really expanded too and there’s a real family feel to it. I heartily recommend it to any child who is serious about music, particularly Classical. 


[Click here for a video of Naadia talking about her work at LMFL]


Your work with children seems to be quite important. What’s this about your Kids Concert Club?

The idea behind that is to put on  informal salon type concerts for children to play in.  At the time I started it, my own children’s school concerts had stopped happening due to lack of funding and  I’m really hoping we can put our next  concert on before too long. We had plans for a really good one in collaboration with some friends of mine who are sound artists and I’d won a little grant from the lottery for it which was such a boost! 


That slice of chocolate cake was delicious! I did get some biscuits in as well, some Garibaldis and some Hop Nobs if you fancy any, and do help yourself to some more tea / coffee.

I’ll definitely have another cuppa thanks! 


Beware of Young Girls album


So, winding back the clock a bit .... by the way, have you noticed how the word ‘so’ is creeping into conversations, a bit like ‘like’ if you see what I mean. People seem to be starting to use it to begin a sentence more and more or to give them a pause before answering aquestion .... anyway, so winding back the clock a bit, that series of shows you did with Kate Dimbleby really went down well. How did you two get together and how come you chose to focus on the life and music of Dory Previn?

I was recommended to Kate by Jonty Fisher who’s a mutual friend. She was just getting back into working after having children and so was I.  Working with her was a brilliant experience, full of fun and excitement and I learnt such a lot along the way. The Dory Previn show was born from the seed of an idea when we incorporated Lady With the Braid into our first show.  Kate has an amazing way of making things happen and before too long we were working with Cal McCrystal and Amy Rosenthal and taking it to New York. 



I was interested to read that the title song of your album Beware Of Young Girls was Dory Previn's 'sharp attack on Mia Farrow set to the melody of a traditional lullaby', after she had discovered Mia Farrow had an affair with Dory's husband, Andre Previn. That comes over in this video we can watch from the show..

[Click here for a video of Naadia and Kate performing Beware Of Young Girls]


Virginia Woolf



And now you have been working with one of my favourite singers, Lara Eidi. That recording you did of Anon is superb. I confess I only knew the name of Virginia Woolf and I had not come across A Room Of One’s Own. I was a bit embarrassed as a male friend knew all about it and my wife has been thinking of reading it again! Why did you choose that one for the International Women’s Day gig?

I’m so glad to have re-ignited an interest in Virginia Woolf.  A Room of One’s Own is a very special book I think. It’s surprisingly  relevant today and originates in a lecture she gave, so quite informal and witty in style.  I think Virginia must have been an incredible person to know.  The song came about because I happened to be reading it when Lara booked me for the International Women's Day gig and I’d been meaning to write something for us for a while.  It didn’t take very long and Lara was so committed to it from the start. She’s a wonderful person to work with. 


Virginia Woolf


[Click here for a video of Naadia and Lara performing an extract from Anon during lockdown]


That's quite a short taster video, but I love the full version. It is great that you have recorded it for people to buy from Bandcamp, and the full version includes a nice piano solo from you too as well as including Dave on bass.


[Click here for the full version]


A Room Of One's Own made me think about how important personal space is in itself, particularly with families in high-rise blocks during lockdown. Not everyone can have their own room but personal space is so important. The opposite must be the case for performing music where you do need to have an audience and other musicians to play with. How do other musicians you talk to think about how gigs will start up again, particularly as the government seems to suggest that doors can open again in August?

I think there’s a tentatively positive feeling emerging  that things will resume in some way. But no-one quite knows when  or how yet. Still, that’s better than the shock and dismay that everyone felt at the start of lockdown.  I’ve been amazed at how resourceful and enterprising the musicians that I know have been with finding ways to share their music.  Some have live-streamed, some have made videos, others are getting into recording and releasing music.  All these new skills that musicians are taking on board are really tricky and some fantastic new music is coming out of it. 


It’s a while since you recorded your album Gnarly Hymn – strange title? – but you have an album due out with ISQ – does that stand for Irene Serra Quartet? How was the tour going before it had to be postponed?

With Gnarly Hymn the two words either just inspired or described that composition, I can’t remember whether the tune or the title came first! Yes, ISQ is 'Irene Serra Quartet' I think, but I’m the newest member and I’ve never asked so I couldn’t swear it on my life!  The tour was going well. Irene is tireless in building up her audience. The music is great and Irene is a brilliant communicator.  I love her synth playing too. 


Fortunately, someone filmed the recording of Stone at Alice's Loft from that Requiem For The Faithful tour so we can see and hear what it is about for when the tour starts up again.


[Click here for a video of Stone].



Geri AllenI really like the variety of music you are involved in, and we just have to mention your playing with Yazz Ahmed. I first heard Yazz several years at the Posk Jazz Club in Hammersmith and have been knocked out by her playing ever since. If you could do a one-off outdoor gig with her next week, which tune would you choose? And if you could invite a past musician to sit in, who would that be?

Good Questions! I think the tune would have to be A Shoal Of Souls.  It’s a beautiful extended piece with a strong political message.  Let’s have Geri Allen to sit in. Not too far in the past but an important figure in jazz history nevertheless.  Maybe we could duet a little on  the  piano interlude in the middle of the piece  which would be quite an amazing experience. 

Geri Allen


That would be good to hear! I see that the A Shoal Of Souls is dedicated to all the people who have lost their lives crossing the sea in search of a better future, and Yazz's comments are interesting when she says: "The music is also inspired by Sufism, the idea of whirling and turning, falling into a trance, a dream. I see a mirror with the whirling turning ocean, a whirlpool of lost souls, of untold stories, talents and lives unfulfilled: joining together in the eternal dance and rhythm of a vast shoal of fish which seems to beat like a heart.”



[Click here to listen to A Shoal Of Souls]


So what lies ahead when things get back to the ‘new normal’, Naadia?

Well, I’m very excited about some song lyrics that I’ve been sent by Mike Jones of the band ‘Latin Quarter’ and there are further collaborations with Lara and Dave in the pipeline.  ISQ are releasing an EP of reimagined versions of songs and I arranged/remixed one of these early in lockdown so I’m looking forward to hearing all of that too. 


Sounds like you are going to busy, particularly when you are back teaching too! I think we should  share piece of your playing before Tea Break finishes, but there are several online to chose from – which do you fancy?

How about  Be Not Too Hard? The words are a poem about tolerance by Christopher Logue. This was originally set to music by Donovan for Joan Baez but I love the version on Kate Dimbleby’s album Love Comes Again. The other musicians on here are Sophie Alloway on drums and Jonty Fisher on bass. 


[Click here to listen to Be Not Too Hard].


That's a really poignant way to end a Tea Break! Thanks for stopping by, Naadia. Take care and stay safe. Hopefully you will soon be playing gigs again, but I guess the downside will probably be that you won’t any longer have time to make chocolate cake! 

Ha ha, thanks Ian! I’m hoping my sons will keep me in chocolate cake.  By the way, when you’re listening to Jazz, what is your favourite drink and food to accompany it?


Hmmm. I'm generally a coffee person during the day, and I probably drink too much when I'm typing or listening although I'm trying to decaff more. I guess it comes from taking my laptop and headphones to work in cafes where I can mentally shut myself away, and of course that has gone out of the window over the past few months. Other times I'm a tea person. English Breakfast first thing, but Earl Grey of an afternoon and there is nothing like the smell of Lapsang Souchong in the garden on a warm early evening. And food? During lockdown I have developed a taste for Sainsbury's Triple Berry Hot Cross Buns (No doubt other brands are available!), but I don't think that slab of chocolate cake you left with me will last long. I really must get out for some exercise later!


Thanks for having me for the Tea Break, Ian, it’s been a pleasure! 

Click here for Naadia Sheriff's website.


Naadia Sheriff

Photograph courtesy of Naadia Sheriff



Utah Tea Pot





Lens America

Linda May Han Oh

Wind the clock back a year to August 2019 before Coivid-19 brought a stop to gigs, and here is a photograph by Clara Pereira from JazzTrail taken at the Jazz Standard on East 27th Street in New York. Bass player Linda May Han Oh was playing with Cuban-born pianist Fabian Almazan's Trio with Henry Cole at the drum set. In his review, Filipe Freitas wrote 'It’s always gratifying to go back to the Standard, a wonderful room with a feel-good atmosphere, unbeatable performances, and nice people.....'. As with many other places they are currently closed but audiences will be looking forward to going back.


Linda May Han Oh


Born in Malaysia, Linda May was raised by Chinese immigrants in Western Australia and started to learn classical piano when she was four. At eleven, she began to play the clarinet and at thirteen, the bassoon. She played bass guitar in a high school band; and in 2002 she went to the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, where she picked up the upright bass and studied solo transcriptions by Dave Holland. Her thesis was on the classical Indian music rhythms in Holland's solos.

After more scholarships she moved to New York in 2008, where she completed her Master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music and released her debut album Entry with her own compositions and a cover version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers Oztrax, with the trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and drummer Obed Calvaire. Since then she has played with many notable musicians and in 2012 she worked with Fabian Almazan on the album Initial Here.

Click here for a video of Linda May Han Oh playing at Jazzahead in 2019 with Fabian Almazan (piano), Rudy Royston (drums) and Greg Ward (alto sax)

Her latest release, Aventurine, came out in 2019 on Biophilia Records. Linda May lives in Harlem and you can find out more about her through her website here.



Linda May Han Oh


Each month we share Clara's photographs and Filipe's reviews. Readers might like this introduction to the couple who have been in lockdown in New York. Here is Filipe at home performing Jorge Ben's Fio Maravilha (click on the picture)


Filipe Freitas






Directory of Alternative Musical Definitions

Modus Lascivus

Medieval name for the mode corresponding to c-major, which was avoided in church music, but widely used in secular music of the time e.g. secular music often played in pleasure houses in Basin Street such as that run byKate Townsend (Sister Kate) - click here for her story.


Kate Townsend


Click here for more Alternative Definitions.







PNiels Lan Doky

River Of Time

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].


Niels Lan Doky


Pianist Niels Lan Doky is something of a national treasure both in Denmark where he lives and which is the native country of his mother but also in his father's country Vietnam.  In the summer of 1998, Niels went to the Vietnamese capital Hanoi and for the first time, his father Thai travelled with him. This return to Vietnam was Thai's only visit to his old home in 53 years and it is recounted that the visit to Hanoi was a very emotional experience, made even more so as the current residents of Thai's house invited them in and they played music together.

Niels had long been fascinated by his Vietnamese roots and had established close bonds with some of the country’s leading music luminaries, performing concerts in Vietnam on a regular basis in prominent venues such as the Hanoi Opera and the Ho Chi Minh City Opera. In 1999, in collaboration with Vietnamese artists Quoc Trung and Thanh Lam, Neils Lan Doky released an album called Asian Sessions, an ambitious project that was applauded for its "marriage of Asian melody and Doky's increasingly Metheny / Mays-esque writing"  (Lyle Mays was a member of the Pat Metheny Group who together with Metheny composed and arranged much of the group's music, winning 11 Grammy awards in the process). In 2009 Niels Lan Doky travelled to Vietnam once more for the inaugural European Jazz Festival in Hanoi which has now become an annual music event sponsored by the European Union.

Incidentally Asian Sessions has been re-released for streaming this year along with two other Niels Lon Doky albums, Niels Lan Doky (1998) and Haitek Haiku (2001).

Niels Lan Doky's background is decidedly cosmopolitan, having been raised in Denmark but at a French school where he showed remarkable musical ability and he was able to enroll at Berklee College of Music in Boston at the age of just 17.  Lan Doky's contemporaries included Branford Marsalis, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Terri Lyne Carrington, Diana Krall and Tommy Smith, which must have been both daunting and inspirational in equal measure.  Lan Doky prospered and received The Oscar Peterson Award, The Count Basie Award, and The Boston Jazz Society Achievement Award along the way before graduating with honours in May 1984 with his degree presented by his hero Oscar Peterson. 

Lan Doky moved to New York, and released a string of great albums such as The Truth: Live at Montmartre (1987) with Bob Berg on tenor saxophone, Bo Stief on bass and Terri Lynne Carrington on drums and Storyville and Dreams (1989) with Bob Berg again, Randy Brecker on trumpet, John Schofield on guitar, Chris Minh Doky (Niels's brother) on bass and Adam Nussbaum on drums.  Lan Doky regularly travelled to Europe for festivals but in 1989 moved to France to live with his wife and twin children and focussed his burgeoning career in Europe. Evidence of his high status includes a commission by UNESCO to compose an original suite for the lunch in Paris of  UNESCO’s International Year of Biodiversity 2010. In 2013 Lan Doky moved back to Copenhagen having become joint owner the Jazzhus Montmartre which had reopened to great acclaim.


Jazzhus Montmartre




On her 70th birthday, April 16th, 2010 HM The Queen of Denmark knighted Niels Lan Doky as “Knight of the Order of Dannebrog (Ridder Niels Lan Doky International Jazz dayaf Dannebrog).” For the occasion, Niels developed an original piece to perform for the Queen on the day, titled “Langt højt mod Nord” (which would later be recorded on a 2014 album with Jeff Tain Watts and Ira Coleman called “Reunion”). 

In 2020 Niels Lan Doky's latest album is called River of Time, the title suggesting an ever changing series of experiences that is commonto everyone.  One of the tracks on the album is World Peace and in typical Lan Doky style the piece was performed live (but socially distanced) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen.

It was introduced by the Danish Foreign Minister in collaboration with Blue Note Japan’s JazzAuditoria and UNESCO to celebrate the UN's International Jazz Day on 30th April, which as Lan Doky remarks 'is the first International Jazz Day with no live jazz'.  The Foreign Minister, Jeppe Kofod expressed his appreciation for the music and noted that Jazz is "truly the international language of freedom and cooperation which is exactly what we need in the world today".  Click here or on the picture for a video of the occasion. The album itself was released online on 2nd April (UK digital release 29th May) following a series of daily live streamed performances by Niels called Live From Home and is available from all worldwide streaming platforms. 


Nioels Lan Doky River Of Time



The music on the album is also a bit of a journey. Lan Doky seems to be looking back with titles like Sita's Mood (named after his current partner) with a nod to Thelonious Monk, and Are You Coming With Me? (resembling Pat Metheny's Are You Going With Me) but it is also concerned for the future with titles such as World Peace and Hope 2020

Click here to listen to World Peace.


Greasy Sauce and Pink Buddha add a touch of mischievous humour with the latter title alluding to the western world's love affair with eastern philosophies, while Houellebecq was inspired by the controversial French author. 

Click here for a live performance of Greasy Sauce.



Accompanying Lan Doky on piano are two young Danish musicians, Tobias Dall on bass and Niclas Bardeleben on drums making the classic piano trio that has been so effective with some of Lan Doky's heroes such as Oscar Petersen and McCoy Tyner.  The music is always melodic with elements of soul, rock and blues but jazz is the primary feature with excellent solos not only from Doky but also Tobias Dall.  Niclas Bardeleben demonstrates his versatility on Are You Coming With Me? using mostly just a tambourine. Lan Doky was once criticised in the past for "lite-jazz" but River Of Time should certainly satisfy all but the most fanatical be-bop aficionados.

Click here to listen to Are You Coming With Me?

As an aside Niels Lan Doky's website (click here)  must have one of the longest and most comprehensive biographies of any musician on the internet and it really makes very interesting reading. 


Niels Lan Doky poster



A poster, depicting Niels Lan Doky by Mads Berg and commemorating a series of live streamed performances during the Covid-19 pandemic has been produced to raise money, half of which will be used to commission master classes from musicians whose income has disappeared and the other half to donate to the Spotify Covid-19 Music Relief Project (click here for details).


Click here for more details of the River Of Time album.








Jazz Remembered

Kenny Napper

About Time


[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].



Kenny Napper

Kenny Napper
(Photograph courtesy of Kenny)


Some years ago, this website received a number of queries about jazz bass player and arranger Kenny Napper.

Alan Jones first wrote from Woy Woy in Australia asking about Kenny: 'For sometime now I have been trying to discover the whereabouts of bassist / arranger Kenny Napper with whom I did National Service in the Royal Signals Band. He then played with Jack Parnell, John Dankworth and the Jazz Couriers, later moving to the Netherlands. I recently acquired a CD entitled ‘A Tribute to Kenny Napper’ which is a bit worrying. Can anyone shed a light on this? '

We found reference to Kenny on a Swiss Radio site that says: 'Kenny served in the Army and after demobilization worked with Jack Parnell (1953-54), after which he freelanced extensively through the 1950s with the top names of British modern jazz including Ronnie Scott, Don Rendell, Alan Clare, Stan Tracey, Tubby Hayes, Tony Kinsey and Tony Crombie. From March 1960 to January 1962 he was with the Ronnie Scott - Jimmy Deuchar Quintet. Subsequently with Johnny Dankworth and Ted Heath in 1965. After this he again worked with Dankworth (1967) and Stan Tracey (1966). Through the 1960s he also worked successfully as arranger and composer writing for films, television and radio. In the early 1970s he worked in Germany and Holland as composer and arranger.'


Click here for a video of the Tony Kinsey Quintet with Kenny Napper playing Jaffa Daze in 1964 [Les Condon (trumpet); Peter King (tenor sax); Gordon Beck (piano); Kenny Napper (bass); Tony Kinsey (drums)].


Eric Wilson from Gold Coast in Australia wrote expressing his interest, saying: 'My interest in Kenny Napper is purely selfish when, as a young aspiring bassist in the '50s, I heard him play and realised how awful my playing was! The other aspect is that we should honour musicians such as Kenny Napper for they were the pioneers of British post war jazz. If I was the mayor of London, I would erect a statue bearing all their names. Yes, their contribution was important culturally and they should never be forgotten'.


[Click here for another 1964 video by The Tony Kinsey Quartet with Annie Ross singing Farmer's Market. It is not clear whether Kenny is playing bass - I shall ask him].


Jeroen de Valk then wrote: 'Kenny was living in Holland during most of the '70s and '80s. He was staff arranger for the 50-piece Metropole Orchestra (a combination of a chamber orchestra and a big band) and working continuously. Often, he also conducted the huge band. He didn’t speak Dutch but most of the people over here speak English fluently and if they don’t, they try hard to learn. He was also teaching ‘harmony at the piano’ for at least two conservatories in Holland, which means he taught non-pianists to play chords at the piano. At a certain point, there was reportedly some vague conflict with the band and he concentrated more and more on teaching.'


[Click here for a video of the Dutch Concert Big Band playing Victor Schertzinger's Tangerine arranged by Kenny Napper].



Kenny Napper is still living in the Netherlands and in 2020 he wrote to us:

'At the age of twelve I was at a school with a thriving music department, two teachers and an orchestra in which I played the violin, alongside my main instrument, the piano. The music of Bach, Mozart and Chopin became the foundation of my musical life and then, as a teenager, I fell in love with Jazz and the Hollywood musicals featuring music by George Gershwin and Jerome Kern amongst others.

Because I have a natural bass ear I became a bass player and after completing my National Service, a freelance musician in London. In the world of Jazz my playing years were an experience in TIME, an adventure in TIME, but when playing written arrangements there were times when what I had to play did not flow, too many notes awkwardly written, all of which played a vital role in my years as a writer.

In 1969 I read a book on music, written by Spanish composer Roberto Gerhard in which I came across the following thought: 'You must remember Music takes place in TIME’, which could be seen as a truism or, bearing in mind that Einstein showed us the true nature of TIME, something to be wondered at.

Reading a book takes place in TIME but the words do not change their meaning according to how quickly or slowly you read them, nor in their meaning coloured by or given significance by TIME. TIME takes place in MUSIC.

On my website is to be found a selection of the best of what I wrote. A few words of explanation: The title ‘The Razzmatazz Me Blues’ is a play on ‘The Jazz Me Blues’ and ‘Sing Me A Choir’ has lyrics based on nursery rhymes.

Click here to listen to Kenny Napper's music on his website.

The word ‘arrangement’ has no fixed meaning and for me it means compound variations, melodic, harmonic and rhythmic, on a given theme. In Jazz you have that thing called Swing, without which it don’t mean a thing, but in all music there should be Flow and Forward Motion. My love for melody is to be found in ‘The Jerome Kern Medley’ played by the Rotterdam Filharmonic, a labour of love indeed.

Celebration’ is the summation of my life in Jazz and Classical Music and in it the pianist improvises on the piece, not on the chords, and the last eight bars of his solo are his version of what he has heard in the piece, that is the spirit of the improvised cadenza of olden times. Wonderful!

My great good fortune has been to have had my music played by so many fine musicians bringing it to life with their vitality and musicality. At the end of ‘The Lady In The Van’, Alan Bennett sits musing at his desk and makes the following observation: ‘You don’t put yourself into your writing, you find yourself there.’ Music to my ears! Whilst I was writing I was only aware of choosing the notes and only later did I realise that I’d been putting my heart and soul into it.

Writing for the Radio was a wonderful way to learn but no way to get heard so now – my website waits you - click here!

Happy Listening!' ........... Kenny Napper


Kenny Napper

Kenny Napper
(Photograph courtesy of Kenny)



Two Ears Three Eyes

Noemi Nuti


As he is unable to take pictures at gigs at the moment, we delve into the back catalogue of photographer Brian O'Connor for his regular slot on the website. This image goes back six months when Brian captured vocalist Noemi Nuti.


Noemi Nuti


Now based in London, Noemi was born and raised in New York to Italian parents.  She studied classical harp at Brunel University and jazz improvisation and composition at Trinity College of Music as a vocalist in 2009 with Anita Wardell, Nia Lynn, Pete Churchill, Simon Purcell, Liam Noble, Julian Siegel, Martin Speake and Barak Schmool, graduating with an MA in Jazz Performance in 2012.

She is a former member of the London Vocal Project led by Pete Churchill and lead singer of British Samba Band Rhythms of the City, Noemi has performed at numerous London venues, including Ronnie Scott’s, The Crazy Coqs, the 606 Club and Islington Assembly Hall, and toured the UK as well as further afield in Brazil.

In 2015, Noemi launched her Latin influenced debut album, Nice to Meet You, and in June 2019, the album Venus Eye with Chris Eldred (piano); Tom Herbert (bass); Emiliano Caroselli (drums) and special guests Gareth Lockrane (flute) and Quentin Collins (trumpet).

Click here for Noemi singing a great version of the Tori Amos song Cornflake Girl from the Venus Eye album.


Noemi Nuti


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






Poetry and Jazz

Photographic Memory
Stranded in New Orleans

by Eric Webster

Brian Carrick and Eric Webster


Banjo player Eric Webster sends us this picture to add to our page of 'Photographic Memories'.

It was 2010, and the New Orleans Times Picaynne / New Orleans Advocate carried the story:

Volcanic ash cloud strands foreign musicians in New Orleans

'British jazz musician Brian Carrick should be in Sweden on Friday, performing at the Alingsas Jazz Festival, which features Carrick on this year's poster. Instead, like other musicians who played the French Quarter Festival two weeks ago, Carrick, 67, has been stranded in New Orleans since last week's volcanic eruption in Iceland. Lingering ash clouds also prompted Europeans stranded on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean to cancel their plans to fly to New Orleans for the Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell, local hotel and restaurant managers say.

The Jazz Fest lineup required one change: British jazz reed player Sammy Rimington couldn't get a flight to New Orleans for his Sunday-afternoon Economy Hall Tent gig and was replaced by local singer Ingrid Lucia ...... Friday afternoon, when New Orleans trumpeter Leroy Jones plays his Economy Hall Tent gig, his audience will include friends from Denmark and Germany who originally came for French Quarter Fest, said festival spokesman Matthew Goldman, noting that they had worried that they couldn't stay the week in their hotels, which were fully booked for Jazz Fest ... in an odd tradeoff, hotel cancellations by Europeans stuck at home opened rooms for them for the weekend .....

"It's had quite an impact," said Buck, whose traditional jazz restaurant has been a draw for Europeans for 20 years. But the Palm Court has also buzzed for the past few weeks with the European musicians marooned here, from France, Great Britain and Scandinavia, said Buck, who has fed some of them and hired others for short gigs, to help defray hotel bills .... "You feel so sorry for them," he said. "But they're glad to be stuck here instead of in Houston or somewhere else."

Carrick spent part of Thursday jamming on clarinet with another stranded musician, banjoist Eric Webster, in the courtyard of their temporary French Quarter home, the Olivier House Hotel. Then, as he has done for the past week, Carrick spent the rest of his day on the telephone with airlines, where he tried to cajole frazzled airline reps into getting him a flight home as soon as the continent's virtual no-fly zone is lifted. Recently he was told that, because of backed-up airline schedules, the earliest he could fly home was May 29.

"It's a mess," Carrick said Thursday, as the hotel moved him to another room to make space for a Jazz Fest guest. But at least, he said, he's in New Orleans, a city that he has visited often since his first trip here in 1972. Other musicians caught the first leg of flights to Houston before the ash cloud covered Europe. They soon decided they'd rather be stuck in New Orleans instead and caught flights back, he said.......'

Eric Webster writes: 'I went to New Orleans on the 7th April and planned to return on the 30th so the newspaper story was not quite true about me being stuck there. My first week there, I stayed at John Richardson’s house in North Robertson Street and then shared a room with Brian in the hotel until he managed to fly and my final few days were spent in another hotel. That was my last time in New Orleans. I was very lucky this trip and had a gig at the Louisiana Music Factory with John Simmons and also a couple of gigs with a French/Canadian Band at Fritzels and Preservation Hall. It meant so much to me.'


Click here for our page of Photographic Memories.

Do you have a photograph that brings back a memory? Send us a copy and tell us the story.






Beatbox and Jazz

Following our article last month on Beatbox and Jazz, Francisco Castro Bernhard has sent this link to an interview with Bobby McFerrin on Beatbox Battle TV. Francisco says: "I feel he kind of created it without anyone noticing. I went to see him live with his a-capella band in the Munich Opera. I don't see much difference between what they did there and what is called today a beat-boxer. Just wondering if someone might see it the same way I see it?" I agree, I think the video captures the concept well (click here).




The Oscar Rabin Band

Dave Self picks up on our page about bandleader Oscar Rabin (click here) and writes: 'Firstly when I was 18 years of age I used to go to the Lyceum in London and see the Oscar Rabin Band and often wondered what happened to Marion Williams as she was a really good singer, but disappeared off the scene, and of course Mel Gaynor whose only one record for Decca was "Idle Gossip" . I also knew of the tragedy of David Ede drowning, (Oscar's Musical Director), and Johnny Worth who used to also perform in Oscar's band and of course, finally Johnny Greenslade, a fine piano player also with Oscar. (Dave Self jazz aficianado and now 82 years of age having been a broadcaster and follower of Jazz since the 1950's)' 



Charles Remue and his New Stompers Orchestra - Doctor Jazz

Having featured Doctor Jazz in this month’s Take Two article (click here) it was interesting to receive this link from John Westwood who says: ‘I came across what must be quite a rarity ...  I know nowt about the 'orchestra' but apparently they did a week at the Hammersmith Palais in 1927 and cut a CD's-worth of sides for the Edison Bell label, about which I know even less.’ This recording of King Oliver’s Doctor Jazz (click here) is by the hot Belgian band Charles Remue and his New Stompers Orchestra.

Alan Bond has been able to give a little more information clarifying that the personnel on the recording are Alphonse Cox (trumpet); Henri Leonard (trombone); Charles Remue (clarinet, alto sax, leader); Gaston Frederic (clarinet, tenor sax); Stan Brenders (piano)); Remy Glorieux (sousaphone) and Harry Belien (drums). Alan adds: 'Charles Remue played with Carroll Gibbons' Savoy Orpheans later on. Stan Brenders had his own band at one time but I don't think they ever recorded under his name. Like Django Reinhardt, he was Belgian.'

Does anyone know anything about more them?



New Merlin's Cave

Peter Rowlands has seen our page on the New Merlin's Cave venue (click here) and says: 'I have read the various comments on this pub, which I went to regularly to hear jazz in 1973/4. However, the comments only refer to the Sunday sessions, which I went to sometimes, but I more often went to a mid week evening session, which featured the same players as the Sunday session, (Turner, Chilton etc) although I can't recall George Melly ever singing at these sessions. It was always a good night, partly because it featured one of the great British jazz musicians of the time, Bruce Turner, who was always a joy to listen to. That is not to belittle John Chilton, who was a very good musician.'



Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook and Mailing List

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Departure Lounge


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

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



Annie Ross



Annie Ross - Born Annabelle Short in London she moved to America with her family when she was four and then went to live with her aunt in Los Angeles when her family returned to the UK. Under the name of Annie Ross she established her singing career when she left school. She wrote lyrics in 1952 that became known later as 'vocalese' and with Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks formed the trio Lambert Hendricks and Ross that recorded and toured widely. In 1964, she opened the club Annie's Room in London and also went on to appear in several films between 1972 and 1994. Her last album was To Lady With Love in 2014. Obituaries: New York Times : The Telegraph : The Guardian : For a video of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross singing Avenue C with the Count Basie orchestra in around 1959 click here.








Eddie Gale



Eddie Gale - American trumpeter born in New York. He played with Cecil Taylor, Larry Young, Elvin Jones, John Coltrane, Jackie McLean and Booker Elvin and others.  During the 1960s and 1970s, he toured and recorded extensively with Sun Ra, who influenced him greatly until Ra's death in 1993. After a yearlong stint as artist in residence at Stanford University, Gale moved to San Jose, California in 1972. New York Times obituary. Video of Eddie Gale with the All Star Band playing at San Jose (click here).





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.








Ant Law - The Sleeper Wakes
(Edition Records) - Released: 24th July 2020 (digital release only)

Ant Law (guitar); Michael Chillingworth (alto saxophone & bass clarinet (on tracks 7 & 9); Ivo Neame (piano); Tom Farmer (acoustic bass); James Maddren (drums); Tim Garland (tenor saxophone (tracks 1 & 2); Adam Kovacs (percussion (tracks 1 & 2)

Ant Law The Sleeper Wakes



British guitarist Ant Law’s new album ‘The Sleeper Wakes’ is a return to the spotlight for the talented musician and composer following his successful Edition debut ‘Life I Know’ in 2018. Loaded with infectious rhythmical hooks, lyrical flowing lines and progressive improvisation, this album is infused with the energy and accessibility that is introducing swarms of new fans to his music. The album reflects also the deeper interplay between the guitarist and the eclectic and diverse group of musicians who, with the deepest respect and honesty, have shaped this set into a sound that is distinctly Ant Law’s. This is an artist who is taking ever greater steps towards becoming an internationally significant guitarist, composer and bandleader. According to Ant Law “'The Sleeper Wakes' is the joyous flipside to 'Life I Know'. There's an emphasis on warmth here, in contrast to ‘Life I Know’ which was darker. Take for example a bright piece like ​ Harvest ​ from 'The Sleeper Wakes' versus ​ Laurvin Glaslowe​ from the old album. Or perhaps Swan Song​ versus The Act Itself​.” Which is interesting, considering that as the new album is about to be released, the world appears to be plunged into gloom. But then, as is demonstrated in the positive rainbow colours of the artwork, every cloud has a silver (or in this case, pink) lining, and as anyone who knows Ant Law, positivity isn’t exactly in short supply, and there’s always humour to undercut the serious business of creation (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video of Harvest : Video of The Sleeper Sleeps and The Sleeper Wakes : Listen to Swan Song :






Kansas Smitty's - Thing Happened Here
(Ever Records) - Released: 26th June 2020

Giacomo Smith (alto sax, clarinet); Pete Horsfall (trumpet); Alec Harper (tenor sax); Dave Archer (guitar); Joe Webb (piano); Ferg Ireland (bass); Will Cleasby (drums)

Kansas Smitty's Things Happened Here



'Drawing influence from over one hundred years of jazz history, from Django Reinhardt to Ahmad Jamal, and the vivid musical landscapes of Debussy and even Brian Eno, British seven-piece and residents/owners of East London venue/bar of the same name, Kansas Smitty’s combine journeying with cinematic textures on new album Things Happened Here via K7’s newly revived Ever Records imprint.' (album notes). 'Kansas Smitty's is a Hackney bar as well as a band, a musical utopia whose name was conjured from speakeasy pipe-dreams and the trad and gypsy tndencies of transplanted American leader Giacomo Smith .... Kansas Smitty's pull towards the past never congeals into wighty torpid, and finds inspiration between the European wars, not in easy Dixieland retro. Nor though does it pour hot, beating blood into its 20th century ghosts'. (Nick Hasted in Jazzwise ***)

Details and Samples : Video of Sunnyland : Video of album launch concert :







Zara McFarlane - Songs Of An Unknown Tongue
(Brownswood) - Released: 17th July 2020

Zara McFarlane (vocals);

Zara McFarlane Songs Of An Unknown Tongue


'Brownswood are delighted to present Zara McFarlane’s, Songs of an Unknown Tongue a masterful work that underlines her continuous growth as an artist. Zara’s fourth studio album pushes the boundaries of jazz adjacent music via an exploration into the folk and spiritual traditions of her ancestral motherland, Jamaica. The album is a rumination on the piecing together of black heritage, where painful and proud histories are uncovered and connected to the present. Partnering with cult South London based producers Kwake Bass and Wu-lu, Zara has created a futuristic sound palate, electronically recreating the pulsing, hypnotic rhythms Kumina and Nyabinghi – and the music played at African rooted rituals like the emancipation celebration Bruckins Party, and the lively death rites of Dinki Minki and Gerreh. These richly patterned electronic rhythms are balanced throughout by McFarlane’s distinctive, clear vocal tones, and vivid song writing. Zara’s critically acclaimed third studio album ‘Arise’ met with universal critical praise, and was supported by an impressive live tour performing at festivals such as Love Supreme, Field Day and SXSW. Zara is the winner of multiple awards including a Mobo, 2 Jazz FM Vocalist of the Year Award (2018 & 2015), an Urban Music Award, and Session of the Year at Worldwide Awards. Drawing respect from a wide range of artists, Zara has collaborated with Gregory Porter, Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd and Louie Vega. These new sonic explorations signal an exciting direction of travel for this innovative founding member of the UK’s vibrant homegrown jazz scene.' (album notes). 'Musically, lyrically, conceptually, in any number of ways Zara McFarlane's fourth studio album Songs Of An Unknown Tongue is a remarkable soul-stirring collection. It not only presents a fascinating exploration into the folk and spiritual traditions of her Jamaican heritage, but also .... shines a powerful light on the legacy of colonialism, empire and slavery ...' (Peter Quinn in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Listen to Native Nomad : Listen to Black Treasure :






Trypl - Trypl
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 21st August 2020

Ryan Quigley (trumpet); Trevor Mires (trombone); Paul Booth (sax); Alex Wilson (piano); Dimitris Christopoulos (bass); Edwin Sanz (percussion); Tristan Banks (drums)



'Ubuntu Music is delighted to announce the signing of TRYPL -- featuring the superb horn section of Trevor Mires (trombone), Ryan Quigley (trumpet) and Paul Booth (saxophones) -- for the worldwide release of their debut album, 'TRYPL'..TRYPL is a UK based Latin Jazz outfit co-founded by the horn section consisting of Trevor, Ryan and Paul. This is new and fresh original music, penned by these three esteemed musicians, along with special guest Alex Wilson (piano). The band is also joined by powerhouses Dimitris Christopoulos (bass), Edwin Sanz (percussion), Tristan Banks (drums) and Davide Giovannini (drums).Their professional credentials read like the Who's Who in today's music.The album was recorded at keyboard artist Steve Winwood’s Wincraft Studios in The Cotswolds. As Trevor Mires explains: "Having had the immense pleasure of doing many recordings and gigs together as a horn section, it soon transpired that we had all spent many of our formative years as professional musicians touring and recording with many great salsa, boogaloo, and merengue bands, both in the UK and around the world. Combined with our love for the Latin Jazz idiom, the fast paced, high impact and groovy seed for TRYPL was born.“We were lucky enough to record at the legendary Wincraft studios, Steve Winwood’s private recording studio. It’s a beautiful location, set in the picturesque countryside of The Cotswolds and it provided the perfect, inspirational setting to make and record music along with some of our favourite musician friends. “We each penned a few tracks. Some were written many weeks prior to the recording date and others were written between recording, eating, sleeping and drinking!“We hope you enjoy this album as much as we enjoyed making it…” (album notes).

Details : Further Details : Introductory Video : Samples when available :






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.



Matthew Shipp - The Piano Equation
(Tao Forms) - Released: 22nd May 2020

Matthew Shipp (piano)

Matthew Shipp The Piano Equation'Further honing a singular cosmic musical language, Matthew Shipp begins celebrating his landmark 60th year with this solo piano recording. 'The Piano Equation' is also the inaugural release from Tao Forms, a new label founded by drummer-improviser-composer - and longtime Shipp collaborator - Whit Dickey. Over more than half of his lifespan, Shipp has built up an unparalleled body of work and a wholly original musical language that only becomes more hyper-focused and distinctive with the passage of time. Shipp's abstract eloquence is on vivid display throughout 'The Piano Equation', which presents Shipp alone at the piano, brilliantly solving his higher-order musical mathematics, approaching each new unknown from unexpected vantage points as in some form of cubist algebra. Shipp builds his solo music in a cellular fashion, formed like the building blocks of human life out of disparate elements that combine and evolve in novel and fascinating forms. Eruptive Cecil Taylor clusters are mutated by the interstellar rays of Sun Ra's philosophising, then spiral earthward in taut, obsessive figures. Stride, swing and the avant-garde collide like so many elemental particles, the aftereffects radiating outward in increasingly complex and intricate formations. The scientific, the personal, the political and the fantastic co-exist throughout Shipp's work, melding in the radical vocabulary that the pianist employs on the album, which speaks with its own alien yet familiar logic. Fragments of melody coalesce and transform, dissolve or shatter into kaleidoscopic reveries. While some may have used the arrival of such a landmark occasion as their 60th birthday to look backwards, Shipp will spend the year continuing to move resolutely forward, further evolving a voice that is as intimately personal as it is cosmically adventurous.' (album notes). 'With unmatched style, pianist and improviser Matthew Shipp masterminds another solo offering where his fabulous command of timbre and texture brings creative ideas to fruition. The titles of the 11 pieces that comprise The Piano Equation indicate connections with mathematics and space phenomena, containing words like equation, void, vortex, hyperspace, signal and cosmic...... The freedom of playing solo is beautiful, and that can be deeply felt here. By exploring new places within his vast musical cosmos, Shipp takes us into a journey that emboldens the listeners’ imagination.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :






Ambrose Akinmusire - On The Tender Spot Of Every Calloused Moment
(Blue Note) - Released: 12th June 2020

Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet); Sam Harris (piano); Harish Raghavan (bass); Justin Brown (drums).

Ambrose Akinmusire On The Tender Spot Of Every Callosed Moment



'Besides being one of the most reputable conceptual thinkers out there, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is a prominent figure on the scene, modernizing the parameters of jazz and blues to create music that is utterly appealing and innovative. The 11 tunes comprising On The Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment, his sixth album as a leader, point to a well-defined direction that is very much Akinmusire’s line of action. The topic at the center of the album is the continual struggle endured by black people in America, which, according to the latest occurrences - including the murder of George Floyd and massive gentrification - finds itself in an opportune time to urge change on social issues...... The trumpet work by Akinmusire is absolutely fantastic throughout, cutting across the underlying textures with acerbic twist, painful consciousness, and a fair dose of abstraction. His self-possessed lyrical force is not within reach of common artists.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Roy : Listen to Yessss :






Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio - Angels Around
(Heartcore Records) - Released: 15th July 2020

Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar); Dario Deidda (bass guitar); Gregory Hutchinson (drums).

Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio Angels Around



'Owning an inimitable style, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel has a special gift for playing standards with expertise and passion, making them afresh. On his latest trio outing, Angels Around - with a strong assist from Italian bassist Dario Deidda and American drummer Gregory Hutchinson - he presents five notably selected standards that really make me want to revisit them again and again. The program is rounded out with two sinewy originals, one by Rosenwinkel and one by Deidda. Opening the album, Monk’s “Ugly Beauty” suggests an initial rock layer that soon evaporates, soaked in the mellow synth-effects of Rosenwinkel’s reverb-drenched guitar. The electric transferences provided by the guitarist always find a generous supportive from the well-oiled rhythmic engine of Deidda and Hutchinson....Rosenwinkel brings the full breath of his natural musicianship and spontaneity into this session. Despite the valid fusion works made recently (Caipi, Bandit 65), his true glory lies here, where the style is more direct and accessible and he reaches the apogee of his musical powers. This is a gem not to be missed.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Sample : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Ugly Beauty : Listen to Time Remembered :







Maria Schneider Orchestra - Data Lords
(Artistshare) - Released: 2020

Maria Schneider (composer, arranger, conductor); Steve Wilson (alto/soprano/clarinet/flute/alto flute); Dave Pietro (alto/clarinet/piccolo/flute/alto flute); Rich Perry (tenor); Donny McCaslin (tenor/flute); Scott Robinson (baritone/Bb, bass & contra-bass clarinets/muson); Tony Kadleck,Greg Gisbert, Nadje Noordhuis, Mike Rodriguez (trumpet/flügelhorn); Keith O'Quinn, Ryan Keberle, Marshall Gilkes (trombone); George Flynn (bass trombone); Gary Versace (accordion); Ben Monder (guitar); Frank Kimbrough (piano); Jay Anderson (bass); Johnathan Blake (drums/percussion).

Maria Schneider Data Lords'I am absolutely thrilled to embark on our recording project, Data Lords. In revisiting my past recordings, it’s easy for me to see how my music has always reflected the world around me. But these days, I feel my life greatly impacted by two very polarized worlds: the digital world, and the organic world. While one world clamors desperately for our constant attention, the other really doesn’t need any of us at all. Amidst the noise and the clamoring, it now requires great effort for us to take real breaks from the digital world so that we can fully access the organic world that sustains us. Feeling both of these opposite worlds represented in my recent music, I have decided to make this a two-album release reflecting these two polar extremes. In the digital world, data lords, who are in a race to amass the entire world’s information, hypnotize us with conveniences, endless information at our fingertips, limitless entertainment, “curated” content, and endless other enticements. While many of those things offer us wonderful tools that enhance our lives and societies in mind-bending ways, a vast number of the enticements numb our minds and lure us into submissiveness. And almost without fail, the enticements, tools and conveniences delivered to us by these data lords, force us into a Faustian bargain of bartering our personal privacy and individuality for these often fleeting benefits. With the additional consequence of less and less face-to-face contact and no real accountability, humans’ internal compasses that measure empathy, along with their sense of self and purpose, are often hijacked. Fueled by silicon chips, rare earth metals, energy-hungry server farms, this digital world often feels right out of a science fiction novel. In the natural world, magic is revealed if we intentionally divert our attention away from the virtual world long enough to embrace silence. Not long ago, the natural world was our only world. With a brain much freer of clutter, our minds could coast and daydream – a state of mind that produced many of our world’s greatest ideas. This space also left our senses keenly alert. Our eyes and ears were truly hungry for absorbing new artistic creations. And while far less music was instantly available literally at our fingertips, I think most of us remember longingly how intentional and deep our listening was. Many more people reveled in nature, and the myriad of mysteries one would encounter there, ignited questions and a search for meaning and purpose. A vacuum of space in our lives left humans reaching out to others for discourse and real connection. ... All I know is that I’m searching for sonic beauty in all of it, as well as searching for my own sense of balance between these two opposing worlds. Welcome to the Data Lords Project. I hope you’ll enjoy being a part of it and will revel in the music and our collective discourse and discoveries as well.' (Maria Schneider). 'While Maria Schneider's last album, the critically acclaimed The Thompson Fields, came in pastel shades, reflective moods and wistful evocation of an idealised 'Heimat', Data Lords, in contrast, releases what Schneider calls her 'inner beast' ... Quite simply, this is a classic, music that will be played, studied and enjoyed for decades to come.' (Stuart Nicholson in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples :





Europe and Elsewhere


Debbie Sledge - Sledge Sings Simone
(Inner Adventures) - Released: 10th July 2020 [Digital only at this stage]

Debbie Sledge (vocals); Niels Lan Doky (piano); Francois Moutin (double bass); Victor Jones (drums).

Sledge Sings Simone



'Nina Simone’s seminal voice and remarkable music stood up against racial injustice and carried forward American civil rights efforts for decades. Debbie's group, Sister Sledge, released the iconic song ‘We Are Family’ four decades ago, and it remains a universal anthem for diverse communities the world over. The intersection of Nina's brilliant music, with its defiant social outcry, and Debbie’s passionate call for unity through her healing voice, is something to truly cherish. Significantly, for these times, the performance was recorded in Denmark - a country where many African American musicians sought refuge during the height of the 1960s civil rights movement. Experience the intimacy, ambience and power of being there on that auspicious night. Sledge Sings Simone will be released to mark the period of the postponed Copenhagen Jazz Festival.' (album notes).

Details and Samples :








Dusan Jevtovic - If You See Me
(Self Produced) - Released: 20th March 2020

Dusan Jevtovic (guitar); Markus Reuter (Touch guitars® AU8, live looping); Bernat Hernandez (fretless bass); Gary Husband (drums); Special guest: Aleksandar Petrov tapan (Macedonian traditional drums)

Dusan Jevtovic If You See Me


'Some albums tease and caress as they envelop a listener in an enchanting embrace. Some albums just enthusiastically grip their audience by the collar and will not let go. Some albums like Dusan Jetovic’s If You See Me are able to satisfy in many ways and straddle both extremes. Frenzy and discord are set against and juxtaposed with musical passages that possess elegance and gentle harmony. If You See Me, has the rare ability to vigorously, bludgeon the senses and delicately stroke the emotions as it simmers, snaps, boils, and bristles with imaginative creativity. In tunes such as, the exciting Si Pooro, it possesses a feral unpredictability that quickens the pulse and heightens every aspect of the senses. On occasions, in tunes like Endings, it has a flickering fragile beauty that provides a reflective balm for the spirit. Therefore, this is an album that will soothe the heart, knuckle wrap the fingers, satisfy the mind and much more. ..... If You See Me is an important and exciting release. It should appeal to fans of instrumental jazz fusion music that enjoy albums that are intense and sometimes full of dark foreboding. Its enviable ability to convey a kaleidoscope of auditory moods offers a warm vision of green shrouded Balkan forests radiantly distorted by the ruddy glow of a summer haze. However, the menace of ink black clouds distantly perched on far away rock-strewn summits is never far away. Consequently, moments of tranquillity and reflection, aggression and gentleness, harmony and discord frequently merge and coexist. Jevtovic’s memorable compositions explore these feelings in an imaginative and original manner. This creates an album that is often utterly compelling and convincing in every way. (album notes).

Details and Samples : Intro Video of Walking Seven : Video of If You See Me : Listen to Si Pooro : Listen to Ending :







Dave Milligan - Memento
(Big Bash Records) - Released: 28th August 2020 [initially download only]

Dave Milligan (piano); Danilo Gallo (bass); U.T. Gandhi (drums)

Dave Milligan Memento'Scottish pianist Dave Milligan releases Momento, his first album since 2008, on Friday August 28th. Best known in the jazz world as the pianist and arranger behind the award-winning trumpeter Colin Steele’s success over the past twenty-five years and for his own acclaimed trio (described by The Guardian as “cracking”), Milligan is a musician of remarkable versatility.....The music on Momento resulted from meeting Italian bass and drums team Danilo Gallo and U.T. Gandhi on an international project with Colin Steele at Edinburgh Jazz Festival. Milligan enjoyed playing with the Italians so much that, when a Creative Scotland artists bursary allowed him to travel to Cavalicco in the Italian province of Udine, he booked two days in ArteSuono recording studio with engineer Stefano Amerio and invited Gallo and Gandhi to join him.... Over the two days, the trio recorded everything they played and with the expert recording of Amerio, who has worked on over forty albums for the prestigious ECM Records label, they finished up with twenty tracks, some completely improvised, some Milligan originals and some improvisations based on folk songs. ..... “Something changed for me over those few days in Italy – not so much in terms of my musical vocabulary or technique, but in terms of where the music comes from in performance, and allowing it to flow,” says Milligan. “As well as having great musicians and a great engineer to work with, the landscape around the studio is inspiring. When I arrived in Udine, I stood for a while on the balcony of my room and tried to take in the panoramic horizon that was the Alps. It was unexpected and breath-taking; particularly bathed as it was in the colours of a humid summer evening. A long way away - on so many levels - from the rolling hills of the Borders, where I grew up. But, for a moment at least, it felt like home.”' (album notes).

Details and Sample :







Harry Beckett - Joy Unlimited
(Cadillac Records) - Released: 7th August

Harry Beckett (trumpet, flugelhorn); Ray Russell (guitar); Brian Miller (piano, electric piano, synthesiser); Darryl Runswick (bass, bass guitar); Nigel Morris (drums); Martin David (congas)

Harry Beckett Joy Unlimited



'It’s been a real Joy to bring this long-lost classic back to life. There’s not much more can be said about Harry’s beautiful talent. He lifted the atmosphere wherever he played and was a gentleman, always softly spoken, but a presence in the room. I remember, as a callow youth, interviewing him for a sleeve note in the basement of Mole Jazz. He was thoughtful, listened to my questions and answered with a civility and intelligence they barely deserved. I’ve always thought Joy Unlimited one of his best albums. In fact, one of the best British jazz albums of the 70s, and one of the finest jazz rock albums full stop. It has never been reissued, and never released on CD or digitally, so this is an opportunity for the world to hear what a great player and composer Harry was. It will bring you joy-joy unlimited. Harry died 22 July 2010, ten years ago. We’d like to celebrate his life and dedicate this release to one of the finest black British artists of his generation.' (album notes).

Details and Sample :







Thelonious Monk - Palo Alto
(Impulse!) - Released: 31st July 2020

Thelonious Monk (piano); Charlie Rouse (tenor sax); Larry Gales (bass); Ben Riley (drums)

Thelonious Monk Palo Alto



'After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, racial tensions across the country rose. Palo Alto, a largely white college town in California, was not immune to the events of the day. Danny Scher, a rising junior at Palo Alto High School, had a dream to bring Thelonious Monk to Palo Alto to perform and help bring about racial unity in his community as well as raise funds for his school's International Committee. After somehow securing Monk's services to perform on Sunday, October 27, Scher initially had trouble selling tickets and convincing people that Monk was even going to show up. With many twists and turns along the way and several hundred people waiting in the school's parking lot to await Monk's arrival before purchasing tickets, the concert eventually happened and was a triumph in more ways that Monk or Scher could have imagined. This is a recording of that historic concert.' (album notes). '.... Despite the release over the years of one too many live Monk quartet recordings, this one turns out to be a pleasant surprise and, as they used to say, it's good enough to keep' (Brian Priestley in Jazzwise ****)

Details :







Stan Getz - Four Classic Albums (Fourth Set)
(Avid Jazz) - Released: 22nd May 2020

Stan Getz (tenor sax) with various personnel including Clark Terry, Doc Severinson (trumpet); JJ Johnson (trombone); Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone); Oscar Peterson (piano); Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Jim Hall (guitar); Ray Brown (bass); Connie Kay, Louie Bellson (drums)

Stan Getz Four Classic Albums Fourth Set


'AVID Jazz continues with its Four Classic Albums series with a re-mastered 2CD fourth set release from Stan Getz, complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details. Stan Getz with J.J.Johnson-'At The Opera House' (Mono and Stereo versions); 'Jazz Samba,' and 'Big Band Bossa Nova'. 'A fourth set by Stan Getz' we hear you cry, 'we knew he was great but four sets'? We at Avid are, of course, big fans of Mr. Getz and our three previous sets have been extremely popular. But there was something missing we thought, a selection from his great Brazilian influenced era. We have selected two of his finest and most popular albums from that era to represent what was to become a golden moment in the career of Stan Getz and one where he even went on to make the pop charts! We have coupled these classics with both recordings of the first time Stan Getz got together with the famed trombonist J. J. Johnson for what was to become one of the classic live jazz recordings in the catalogue. Both albums became known as 'At The Opera House' but in fact one set was actually recorded at The Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles while the other was recorded at the Opera House in Chicago. The Chicago set was recorded in stereo and contained five tracks while the Shrine set was recorded a week later in mono and contained six tracks. Our pairing of these two classic concerts together gives you a chance to compare and contrast two very different interpretations of a classic set and to witness two giants of jazz together for the first time and at the top of their game.' (album notes). '..... 'Mahna De Carnaval' and 'Chega De Saudade' are among Getz's best recordings, but then again everything on this release can be considered so. Recommended especially to newcomers to the saxophonist' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ****)

Details :






Teddy Wilson Trio - Revisits The Goodman Years
(Storyville) - Released: 29th May 2020 [vinyl release]

Teddy Wilson (piano); Jesper Lundgaard (bass); Ed Thigpen (drums)

Teddy Wilson Trio Revisits The Goodman Years



'Reissue of a 1982 LP by American jazz pianist Teddy Wilson, described by critic Scott Yanow as "the definitive swing pianist". Recorded alongside leading Danish bassist Jesper Lundgaard and US drummer Ed Thigpen. Besides his reputation as "the definitive swing pianist", Teddy Wilson is often remembered in terms of his collaborations. Having played on the records of names like Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman, Wilson's fingerprints are found on many of records that helped popularize and define swing in its glory years. In 1980, Wilson revisited the songs he had performed with Benny Goodman in the 1930s, delivering material that he had clearly mastered at this point and which gave a special look into the talents and sentiments of Teddy Wilson that played a primary role in the swing era. Teddy Wilson Trio 'Revisits the Goodman Years' sees Teddy Wilson re-portray the Benny Goodman small-group repertoire that Wilson had played with Goodman many decades before this Copenhagen session in 1980. It is a return to material that had stood the test of time while Wilson had lived a long career since his time with Goodman himself.' (album notes). 'The then 68-year old Wilson was in Copenhagen in 1980 .... The word impeccable is often used to describe Wilson's improvising posture but on this evidence, there was still plenty of vim and urgency on offer too. Never prolix or overlong, these joyous expositions, bass and drum spot-on, make this a delight to re-encounter.' (Peter Vacher in Jazzwise ****).

Details :






Ken Colyer - The Real Ken Colyer
(Cadillac Records) - Released: 20th July 2020

Ken Colyer (trumpet, vocals); Sammy Rimmington (clarinet); Geoff Cole (trombone); Johnny Bastable (banjo); Pat Hawes (piano, vocals); Ron Ward (bass); Pete Ridge (drums)

Ken Colyer The Real Ken Colyer



'Recorded live at The White Horse, Willesden, London, February 27, 1964. John Jack reissued this album in 2000 as part of a projected reissue of a number of 77 albums in honour of his friend and mentor Doug Dobell. Extra takes were added from the original session acetate. This is the first time the album has been made digitally available...... Doug gave this album its title personally. I don’t know whether it was The Real Ken Colyer, but it certainly is very good Colyer and I’m proud to have been a part of it. Sadly three of the participants and Doug himself are no longer with us. Pete Ridge, 1968; John Bastable,1985; Ken Colyer, 1988; and Doug Dobell 1987 have all “gone ahead” as Art Hodes used to say. It’s to the memory of these good friends that we dedicate this album.' (album notes by Pat Hawes).

Full 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.

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



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



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