Contact Us

 

Sandy Brown Jazz
What's New
May 2020

What's New

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

Delfeayo Marsalis

Delfeayo Marsalis, the trombonist in the famous Marsalis family, has released a new album Jazz Party. Delfeayo's father, pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr, passed through the Departure Lounge on the 1st April, 2020 at the age of 85 from pneumonia brought on by the Covid-19 virus. Ellis and Delfeayo remained based in their hometown of New Orleans where Delfeayo has been very involved in Education projects, leading his Uptown Orchestra and developing the history and the evolution of jazz in The Big Easy. This month, Howard Lawes writes about the family, Delfeayo's work and the new album release by the Uptown Orchestra - click here.

 

 

Musicians' Union Coronavirus Hardship Fund

The Musicians' Union has launched a hardship fund to help musicians during the coronavirus pandemic. They say: 'With £100,000 we could help 500 musicians facing genuine financial hardship. A little bit of support, when they need it the most. It's times like these we need musicians and the music they create the most. But too many are worried about how they will pay the bills during this crisis. That's why we Covid-19started the MU Coronavirus Hardship Fund. Providing small grants of £200 to provide urgent relief for musicians in genuine financial hardship. Within two hours of launching the fund, we had received more than two hundred applications from musicians worried about how they will keep the lights on. We expect our fund to run out by the end of the first week - that's why we're calling on you. We know it's a difficult time. But if you can, please donate. Your donations will go to Musicians' Union members who are facing genuine financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and its impact.'

One musicians wrote:'“I’m in the serious health condition category, so had to make a very very difficult decision to self isolate from the 16th. I’m 100% self employed. I’m already overdrawn as I had to make refunds to students who didn't want lessons online. I’m trying very hard to keep positive and have gone into proactive mode. I’m trying to think of innovative ways to do things online. But I don't know what's going to happen next"

Easter Monday (13th April) was UK Music Day and the JazzFM radio station was fundraising for the Musicians' Union to help support the jazz and music community. They said: 'The MU Coronavirus Hardship Fund is working alongside Help Musicians UK and PRS For Music to help as many musicians as they possibly can with funding and advice at this unprecedented and challenging time.'

Click here for details about contributing and applying for grants. This project will receive all pledges made by 18th May 2020 at 4:48pm

 

 

 

A Virtual Visit To The Jazz Centre UK

The Jazz centre UKFor those who have never visited the Jazz Centre UK in Southend, the lock down has given the Centre the opportunity to share a virtual tour in the company of its founder Digby Fairweather - click here. Of course, the Centre is closed at the moment, but when it re-opens, the video tells you about what you will find when you visit. In the meanwhile, you can find out more about the Centre on their website - click here.

Digby Fairweather opened The Jazz Centre UK in 2016 with a dream to ensure the past, present and future of Jazz music in the UK has a sturdy foundation. With a strong band of trustees and the support of Southend Borough Council, the Centre’s first heritage exhibition opened that February at the Beecroft Art Gallery; establishing the brand and foundation of the charity. Since then, The Jazz Centre UK has grown tremendously and has begun to fulfil that dream. Through achieving grants with the Heritage Lottery Fund, working with local businesses, charities and public support they have managed to expand their premises year on year.

 

 

 

 

The Eddy

Film director Damien Chazelle is about to return with another film about jazz. His gritty Whiplash and more whimsical La La Land are now followed by The Eddy, written by Jack Thorne who came up with the idea of following the lives of some expats struggling to keep a club afloat in Paris. The Eddy, a mini-series, starts on Netflix from 8th May. This means that it will only be seen by Netflix viewers, a shame for those of us who don't subscribe to Netflix, so we shall be dependent upon those of you who do to give us some feedback.

Jack Thorne is reported as saying: "It's a show about musicians. There is music in it, but the music is music that the band have written and that they're performing. It's not a musical." The composers of the music are Randy Kerber, orchestrator and keyboard player, and Glen Ballard - songwriter, lyricist and record producer. Damien Chazelle The Eddy film stillsays: "It started when (producer) Alan Poul approached me around the time I was premiering Whiplash at Sundance. Glen had gone to Alan with an idea about doing a show set principally in a jazz club in contemporary Paris."

Referring to documentaries such as Jazz On A Summer's Day and Straight, No Chaser, Chazelle says: 'These were documentaries about music performance where the cameras were still carving out what exactly they could do and what the relationship to the performers would be. We knew we were telling a fictional story, but the performance and the music had to have an authentically documentary element within that."

Click here for the Trailer.

The film features Randy Kerber (accordion) as the bandleader, Lada Obradovic (drums), Ludoviv Louis (trumpet), Jowee Omicil (saxophone), Damian Nueva Cortes (bass) and Joanna Kulig as the band's singer. She is quoted as saying: "I grew up in Poland wanting to be a jazz musician, but in Poland we don't have a lot of secondary music schools for jazz singers". She eventually went to the National Academy of Theatre and arts in Krakow.

The strapline for the series is: 'Elliot Udo, a once celebrated musician from New York, is running a small Jazz club called 'The Eddy' in a multicultural neighborhood in modern-day Paris. He is struggling to keep the club open, manage the house band and deal with his past. When he finds out that his partner is involved in questionable business practices things start to spin out of control'.

The series consists of eight episodes and will be released on Netflix on May 8th, 2020. Click here for an introduction.

 

 

 

 

Video Juke Box

*Click on the picture to watch the video or click on the picture of the Juke Box for 'pot luck'

 

 

Juke Box

 

 

Tom Green Septet My Old Man

 

The excellent Tom Green Septet is back with a new album, Tipping Point, released on the Spark! label on 17th April. Here they are recording their version of Joni' Mitchell's My Old Man for the album. [Tom Green - trombone; James Davison - trumpet / flugelhorn; Tommy Andrews - alto / soprano saxophones; Sam Miles - tenor saxophone; Sam James - piano; Misha Mullov-Abbado - double bass; Scott Chapman - drums]. Click here for Tom Green's article this month about the track Champagne Sky.

 

 

 

Stan Getz On A Slow Boat to China

 

 

Stan Getz plays On A Slow Boat To China in 1990 with Kenny Barron (piano) Alex Blake (bass) and Terri Lyne Carrington (drums). This is from a concert at Munich's Philharmonie Hall in Germany just eleven months before Stan Getz passed through the Departure Lounge.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuba Skinny Papas Got Your Bath Water On

 

 

Here's the uplifting Tuba Skinny again, this time with the Memphis Jug Band's Papa's Got Your Bath Water On. The singer is Erika Lewis, the trombone belongs to Barnabus Jones. If you fancy hearing the Hattie Hart and the Memphis Jug Band version of the song click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Henry Spencer and Juncture video

 

 

Henry Spencer and Juncture at the 2017 EFG London Jazz Festival play The Survivor And The Descendant from the album The Reasons Don't Change. During the Coronavirus lock-down Henry has been working on music for a new album - we look forward to that.

 

 

 

 

 

Juliet Wood Billie Holiday

 

 

Vocalist Juliet Wood sings Duncan Lamont's Billie Holiday. The number is on Juliet's 2019 album Sconsolato with John Crawford (piano), Andrés Lafone (bass) and Andrés Ticino (drums & percussion). [See Recent Releases].

 

 

 

 

 

Julian Marc Stringle Oh You Pretty Thing

 

 

Julian Marc Stringle has shared this video with The Dream Band playing Oh You Pretty Thing from 2013 at The Chickenshed in Southgate, London. The number is included in a forthcoming live album. Julian Stringle (clarinet), Dominic Ashworth (guitar), Neil Angilley (keyboards), Chris Dodd (bass), Mike Bradley (drums).

 

 

 

 

Louis Jordan video

 

 

Louis Jordan's Tympany Five have fun with Honey Chile in this undated 'Soundie'

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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].

Mavis Staples Crossing Over

 

Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples (Photo by Adam Bielawski)

 

In these extracts from the book Black Gospel, author Viv Broughton tells the story of the cost of success of the Staple family's music.

Staple Singers

 

'In 1950, Roebuck Staples strapped on his sixty dollar pawnshop guitar and presented three of his kids to the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Chicago where his brother Rev. Chester Staples was pastor. Cleotha, Pervis and Mavis sang country spirituals over the blues chords of Pop's guitar and the congregation, in their white shirts, slicked hair and fancy clothes started crying and wouldn't stop. There's something in the way the Staple Singers harmonised back then that immediately evoked memories of the old South for the hardened city exiles and the family group were immediately in demand around the Chicago churches.'

'..... When Yvonne and Mavis (Staples) were still at school, the family group were called to the studios of United Records in 1953 where they cut about eight sides. United only issued two of them - Sit Down Servant (issued as Won't You Sit Down) and It Rained Children, selling the rest off later to the Sharp and Gospel labels. Sit Down Servant was just another traditional spiritual on a two-bit label and it didn't set the world on fire. "It sold about 200, that first thing," said Roebuck. "They heard us - a lady from the record company - and liked us so we recorded. But the man who owned the company, he wanted us to do rock 'n' roll .... we wanted no part of rock 'n' roll. So he held us for two years on contract with that one record. ....."

Click here for a video of the Staple Singers and Sit Down Servant.

"The first Vee Jay record we made was If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again and as it sold 1,000, I thought Vee Jay was disappointed with us, so we were ready to quit. But Vee Jay said 'No, no, when will you be ready to go into the studio?' And I said 'I'm ready to go in now. So we went in and we made Uncloudy Day and it sold like rock 'n' roll!"

Click here to listen to Uncloudy Day.

'....There was always a degree of speculation about whether the Staple Singers would cross-over. One of the last recordings they did for Vee Jay was a version of the Tindley hymn Stand By Me which featured Mavis at her most impassioned and vibrant best. Had it beenStaple Singers Sharp record secularised and given a lush backing it would have halved the effect but doubled the sales potential ..... Another of the Staples' 1958 recordings This May Be The Last Time was stolen by the Rolling Stones and turned into big money.'

 

Click here to listen to the Staple Singers with This May Be The Last Time (If you listen to the words and look at this picture of the recording on the Sharp label, you will see that the original title was This May Be My Last Time)

Click here for an early video of the Rolling Stones with This Could Be The Last Time (date not shown).

 

'When they did finally make moves in a commercial direction, it wasn't at first into soul music but into folk. Bob Dylan went around for years eulogising over the group and especially over the voice of Mavis Staples ....'

'... Their material till then had been strictly devotional - either traditional spirituals or Roebuck's own gospel tunes. In 1967 they were persuaded to secularise the message - take out any direct references to God or Jesus, and substitute vague concepts of love and Staple Singersunderstanding. That way the label (Columbia) got themselves a saleable commodity and the Staples were able to convince themselves that they hadn't sold out. The first of (producer) Larry Williams productions was Why Am I Treated So Bad and it proved the label's point by entering the Hot 100.'

'.... Fame bought them the respect they deserved from the rest of the world but they were fast losing it from the church. In an incident remarkably similar to one experienced by Sam Cooke, Tony Heilbut describes how deeply their rejection was felt. 'On Thanksgiving Day 1969, they made a rare gospel appearance in Philadelphia, where Mavis' latest ballad was a smash hit. They went back to the same routine that had sustained them for years; the Staples are probably the only gospel group who still feature the same songs they sang in 1956. Mavis shook hands on Help Me Jesus and groaned with suffering on Tell Heaven I'm Coming One Day. Philadelphia remained very still. The girls walked off stage shyly and obviously hurt. But Roebuck wouldn't give up. "Listen church, you have to look out for yourself," he said strumming the guitar. "Don't nobody want to go to heaven more than I do, children, but we got to live down here too." The message was clear, but no 'Amens' resounded. Finally Roebuck brought Mavis back to sing Precious Lord. I've seldom seen her work harder. She was all over the audience, crying, roaring, running. Four ladies screamed, the least such effort deserved, but the rest of the church remained very still. The applause was barely polite as Cleotha led the entranced Mavis out.'

 

'Mavis always defends the move into commercialism, but she doesn't come across with any great conviction ..." ...I don't think the message in our lyrics has changed since those times. Sure, the beat's got harder, but the message is the same."

From Black Gospel: An Illustrated History of the Gospel Sound by Viv Broughton

 

 

 

PTracks Unwrapped

Call Of The Freaks

 

[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].

 

King Oliver Call Of The Freaks

 

The Call Of The Freaks is a really catchy tune but it has some interesting yet disturbing historic references.

It was composed by Paul Barbarin, drummer with King Oliver's band from 1925 to 1927. Paul was born in New Orleans where he was a member of the Silver Leaf Orchestra and the Young Olympia Band. He moved to Chicago in 1917 and worked with Freddie Keppard and Jimmie Noone before joining King Oliver. In 1927 the band went to New York, but Oliver disbanded it to do freelance jobs. In the later 1920s, King Oliver was struggling with playing his trumpet because of his gum disease, so others took the trumpet solos, including Louis Metcalf. King Oliver reunited the band in 1928, recording for Victor Talking Machine Company one year later.

Click here to listen to King Oliver's recording of Call Of The Freaks in 1929 with King Oliver (leader); Louis Metcalf (trumpet); J.C. Higginbotham (trombone); Teddy Hill (tenor sax); Charlie Holmes (alto sax, clarinet); Luis Russell (piano); Wiliam "Bass" Moore (bass); Paul Barbarin (drums). There were 2 takes of this recording for the Victor label, this is the second take.

I cannot discover for sure why Paul Barbarin chose The Call Of The Freaks as the tune's title, but we have a clue in this version of Call Of The Freaks by Red Nichols the following year, 1930 - click here. The introduction, transcribed from a Brunswick Heat radio series talks about how Red Nichols had been inspired by a visit to a circus. The disturbing pictures with the video set the scene.

 

Wikipedia sums up the story of circus and fairground Freak Shows:

'In the mid-16th century, freak shows became popular pastimes in England. Deformities began to be treated as objects of interest and entertainment, and the crowds flocked to see them exhibited ... As well as exhibitions, freak shows were popular in the taverns and fairgrounds where the freaks were often combined with talent displays. For example, in the 18th century, Matthias Buchinger, born without arms or lower legs, entertained crowds with astonishing displays of magic and musical ability, both in England and later, Ireland.....'American Freak Show

 

'It was in the 19th century, both in England and the United States where freak shows finally reached maturity as successful commercially run enterprises..... During the late 19th century and the early 20th century freak shows were at their height of popularity; the period 1840s through to the 1940s saw the organized for-profit exhibition of people with physical, mental or behavioural rarities. Although not all abnormalities were real, some being alleged, the exploitation for profit was seen as an accepted part of American culture. The attractiveness of freak shows led to the spread of the shows that were commonly seen at amusement parks, circuses, dime museums and vaudeville ....'

'The showmen and promoters exhibited all types of freaks. People who appeared non-white or who had a disability were often exhibited as unknown races and cultures. These “unknown” races and disabled whites were advertised as being undiscovered humans to attract viewers. For example, those with microcephaly, a condition linked to intellectual disabilities and characterized by a very small, pointed head and small overall structure, were considered or characterized as “missing links” or as atavistic specimens of an extinct race ....'

Click here for a short documentary from HBO in 1982 - Some Call Them Freaks.

 

 

 

'During the first decade of the twentieth century the popularity of the freak show was starting to dwindle. In their prime, freak shows had been the main attraction of the midway (a place at a fair or circus where rides, entertainment, and booths are concentrated), but by 1940 they were starting to lose their audience, with credible people turning their backs on the show. In the nineteenth century, science supported and legitimized the growth of freak shows, but by the twentieth century, the medicalization of human abnormalities contributed to the end of the exhibits' mystery and appeal. ..... During the start of the 20th Century, movies and television began to satisfy audiences' thirst to be entertained. People could see similar types of acts and abnormalities from the comfort of their own homes or a nice theater, they no longer needed to pay to see freaks. Though movies and television played a big part in the decline of the freak show, the rise of disability rights was the true cause of death. It was finally viewed as wrong to profit from others' misfortune: the days of manipulation were done .... '

I'd like to think that this is the case today, but it seems that we have not totally got rid of racism, antisemitism, etc. and there are still shows on television such as My 600lb Life and The Undateables. How far are these sympathetic documentaries that help us support people with different life experiences?

 

When King Oliver disbanded his Orchestra in New York City, pianist Luis Rusell set up his own band and Paul Barbarin joined him. In September 1929, they recorded the tune but now it was called The New Call Of The Freaks. Lyrics had been added that brought a different slant to the tune.

'Stick out your can, here come the garbage man.'

Click here for the Luis Russell version with Bill Coleman , Henry "Red" Allen (trumpet); J.C. Higginbotham (trombone); Albert Nicholas (alto sax, clarinet); Charlie Holmes (alto sax, soprano sax); Teddy Hill (tenor sax); Luis Russell (piano); Will Johnson (banjo, guitar); George "Pops" Foster (bass); Paul Barbarin (drums, vibraphone).

 

Garbage ManThe tune gradually became known as The Garbage Man. I noticed one comment on YouTube that said 'According to a documentary by the late George Melly, this is all very rude and doesn't necessarily involve the opposite sex. It's a great tune though!' Which brings us to a 1931 version by the Washboard Rhythm Kings - the first recording of the tune that I heard - click here. It starts with a knock on the door and the words:

"Garbage lady, stick out your can. Her come the grb man"
"No, get away from my door. I ain't got no garbage!"

 

By 1936 the Chicago band 'The Harlem Hamfats' were pushing the lyrics a little further

"Stick out your can
Can you take it?
Yeah man
Stick out your can, ain't nobody can stick it out like you can"

It came out on at least 2 albums - Let's Get Drunk And Truck and Those Dirty Blues (click here).

 

Here is the great Tuba Skinny band playing Garbage Man Blues in 2019 - click here.

 

In 1932, MGM released a movie called Freaks. The whole movie is on YouTube, but here is a short clip - click here. '... Filmed in Los Angeles in the fall of 1931, Freaks was given test screenings in January 1932 that received harsh reaction from audiences, who found the film too grotesque. In response to this, the 90-minute feature was significantly cut, and additional alternate footage was incorporated to help increase the running time. The final abridged cut of the film, released in February 1932, runs for only 64 minutes; the original version no longer exists ....' (Wikipedia).

One of the most successful films of 2017 was The Greatest Showman. Telling the story of circus man P.J. Barnum, it features a troupe of 'freaks' who eventually convince Barnum (Hugh Jackman) to re-build the circus after a fire. The movie brings empowerment to the troupe in this clip and particularly in the song This Is Me (click here - I can only find a version with the lyrics).

So how far the tune Call Of The Freaks has changed to become Garbage Man to forget its origins, I cannot say. Should we just forget how it started out?

The Call Of The Freaks is a good tune and should be played - click here for Bent Persson playing it at the Whitley Bay Jazz Festival, but when it is performed today as The (New) Call Of The Freaks, perhaps an introduction might acknowledge its origins?

 

 

 

 

Chasin' The Bird - A Charlie Parker Graphic Novel

Chasin The Bird novel image

The Hollywood Reporter tells us about a new graphic novel due out in the Autumn from Z2 Comics. Chasin' the Bird: Charlie Parker in California tells the story from '.....the arrival of Parker .... and Dizzy Gillespie in L.A. in late 1945, with the two bringing the sound of East Coast jazz - which is to say, bebop, the jazz genre Parker was integral in the creation of - to a residency in Billy Berg's iconic Hollywood jazz club.'

'It was the beginning of a two-year stay in California for Parker, which combined personal hardships and professional highpoint, including both being committed to a mental hospital for six months and recording some of his most groundbreaking work, including "Ornithology" and "Relaxin' at Camarillo," the latter a reference to his hospital stay.'

The Charlie Parker Estate and Peter Markowski from Z2 Comics has teamed up with trumpeter, jazz scholar and cartoonist Dave Chisholm to produce the novel. Chisholm has previous published the graphic novel Instrumental. Dave Chisholm is quoted as saying: "I am so thrilled and incredibly honored to have gotten the opportunity to write and draw Chasin' the Bird. My creative and professional life has basically consisted of a steady ping-pong between two obsessions of mine: music and comics."

"Needless to say, I've had the time of my life writing and drawing this book, which has turned into an incredibly personal and meaningful project. I am beyond excited to share this with the world and help spread the word about Bird's wonderful music.”

Chasin The Bird Charlie Parker In California

 

 

 

'Chasin' the Bird: Charlie Parker in California will be released in September, shortly after the centenary of Bird's birthday on August 29th. As with Z2's other musical biography releases, it will be accompanied with a flexidisc of rare music, details of which will be announced shortly.'

The book will also be released in a deluxe limited edition, with a vinyl 45" of the regular edition's flexidisc.

Click here for details and a preview..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

The Names Jazz Is Called

"Jazz - once a four letter word - still a four letter word"
(Ron Rubin, who passed through the Departure Lounge in April)

Over the years, as jazz has evolved, it has been given many names for its many styles. This month we give you clues to fifteen styles of jazz. How many can you identify?

 

Jazz sign

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

Covid-19 In New Orleans

Mardi Gras 2020According to this newscast from Sky News on 15th April, New Orleans has suffered a significant death toll from the Coronavirus - click here. The video queries whether the annual Mardi Gras celebrations should have gone ahead in Februray 'when tens of thousands of people spilled onto the streets of this city', but other gatherings were taking place in America and elsewhere in the world unaware of just how wide the panademic would be.

On 23rd April, Oliver Laughland in The Guardian newspaper (click here) wrote that the latest count of lives lost in the city was 632.: 'Even as the city mourns lost greats and its clubs are silent, musicians have taken to the streets with a special kind of concert....... The emptiness on Frenchman Street is illustrative of a city lamenting the loss of its culture of live music. Musicians who have performed for decades at these venues are now cooped up inside, rehearsing alone, hit hard by the loss of revenue and the elation of performing in front of crowds. Mourning those giants of the scene that were taken by the virus. And yet, for all the pain and the quiet, it is impossible to completely drown out melody here. Many musicians in the city have adapted to the temporary silence by holding online gigs, mobile concerts and internet New Orleans Mobile Music Boxrecording sessions. It is still possible to hear the sound of a lone trumpet emanating from a home or a violin echoing down streets ......'

'....On one recent humid afternoon, a few hundred feet from Frenchman Street, the distinguished vibrato of a single violin reverberated off wrought-iron balconies and the wooden facades of shotgun homes. In a marker of the creativity that punctuates life in this city, two young women, violinist Anna Roznowska and pedicab driver Sarah Grant, have taken matters into their own hands and begun performing mobile concerts. With Grant pedalling and Roznowska seated in the carriage, improvising a series of soaring riffs, the mobile concert wove through the streets of the Marigny, drawing people on to their doorsteps, their front lawns and the roadside, all standing at safe distances and listening.....'. Click here for a video.

'.... Micah McKee, a singer-songwriter who gigged about four nights a week before the pandemic, is essentially now locked inside, his asthma making him especially vulnerable to the virus. He records his own guitar and vocal tracks before emailing them to his bandmates to add their parts, and then mixes them together. When New Orleans edges closer to normality, he expects a creative outpouring. “Whenever we’re back, we’re going to be hitting it hard,” McKee said. “People are going to be so pent up and ready to dance. This has got to be, already, the longest time in New Orleans history that musicians have gone without jamming together.”

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Radha Thomas

A Case Of The Bangalore Blues

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].

 

Bangalore Blues album image

 

The music of India has had a significant influence on the development of jazz. It helps that there are certain similarities between jazz and Indian music: both, for example, place an emphasis on improvisation and both give a prominence to rhythm. An indo-jazz fusion really got underway in America and Europe in the 1960s following an upsurge of interest in all things Indian – its music, its philosophies, its art, indeed its whole way of life. In pop music, the Beatles, particularly George Harrison, were at the forefront in introducing Indian music, musicians and instruments into their work; and an Indian musician, Ravi Shankar, became a household name. Jazz musicians also began to absorb Indian musical influences into their work, notably John and Alice Coltrane, Yusef Lateef, John McLaughlin and Joe Harriott.

What is less known is that the traffic has not all been one-way and that Indian musicians have, in turn, been influenced by jazz. Also not well known is that India has its own flourishing indigenous jazz scene. One of the most prominent jazz musicians currently working in India, singer Radha Thomas, has recently released a little gem of an album on Indian label, Subcontinental, called Bangalore Blues on which she teams Taj Mahal Palace Hotelup with pianist Aman Mahajan. More of that later but first, it’s worth looking in a bit more detail at how Indian jazz has developed.

Indian jazz first got going in the 1930s in the big cities, particularly Bombay (now Mumbai) and Calcutta (now Kolkata). One stimulus was tours by American jazz musicians, some of whom – notably, Teddy Weatherford – settled in India for a while. Indian musicians began to take up the music including Chic Chocolate and Chris Perry. The Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay / Mumbai became one of the main venues in which live jazz could be heard played by both American and Indian musicians.

 

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

 

Many of the Indian musicians came from Goa where they had learned Western musical styles from the Portuguese who ruled Goa at the time. As well as playing live in hotels, the musicians also wrote and played jazz-inflected music for the burgeoning Bollywood film industry.

Indian jazz got a shot in the arm in the 1960s with the growing interest in Indian music amongst jazz musicians in the West. In Britain in particular, the indo-jazz fusion was led by Indian born musicians. A key figure here was John Mayer. Born in Calcutta in 1929, he came to Britain in 1952 to study at the Royal Academy of Music. He worked as a classical violinist and composer but in the late 1960s, he began to develop a synthesis between Indian music and jazz. He worked with saxophonist Joe Harriott with whom he formed the group Indo-Jazz Fusions. This included both jazz and Indian musicians and, for a while at least, the music produced was very popular. One of their pieces, Acka Raga, was used as the theme tune to a popular BBC quiz show, Ask The Family - click here.

Another key figure in the British indo-jazz fusion scene in the 1960s was Goan guitarist, Amancio D’Silva who moved to Britain in 1967 after establishing himself as a musician in India. In Britain, he played with both Mayer and Harriott as well as some of the other leading British jazz musicians of the day including Ian Carr, Stan Tracey and Norma Winstone. He developed his own indo-jazz fusion style. He died in 1996 but his music found a new audience when it was featured on Gilles Petersen’s Impressed compilations in the early 2000s. Click here to listen to D’Silva playing the sublime A Street in Bombay.

As we have seen, the British indo-jazz scene was part of a broader international trend which saw many jazz musicians incorporating Indian influences into their playing. One musician who took this further than most was British guitarist John McLaughlin who built a huge international reputation in the 1970s with his Mahavishnu Orchestra. The band played a very sophisticated brand of electronic jazz-rock but which was also shot through with Indian influences.

L Subramaniam

 

Indian musical influences have become so integrated into much of contemporary jazz that it often now goes unnoticed. A thriving jazz scene has also developed in India itself. Some of this is just straight jazz without any noticeable local influences. But Indian musicians in India have also experimented with their own fusion styles. An example is violinist Dr L. Subramaniam who has developed a reputation beyond India and has played with many of the top international jazz stars.

Click here for him playing his own composition, Conversations, live in India in 2003 with a band including Jean-Luc Ponty on violin and Billy Cobham on drums.

 

Dr L Subramaniam

 

 

But many of the big names in Indian jazz are little known outside their native country – bands like Syncopation, for example, or the Rajeev Raja Combine; and individual musicians such as Amyl Dutta, Ashwin Batish and Trilok Gurtu. As an example of what indigenous Indian jazz can do, click here for the Rajeev Raja Combine playing a piece called Cosmic Chant live.

These are just a selection of musicians from and in India who have contributed to the story of jazz, but one musician who constantly reminds us of India's influence is the charismatic clarinettist Arun Ghosh. Arun grew up in India as a child of Indian parents. He started out playing the recorder but by twelve, influenced by Courtney Pine, he was playing clarinet. He went to Cambridge University and then the Royal Northern College of Music studying musicology, and then developed his reputation as a jazz musician playing at the London Jazz Festival in 2007 with his Indo-Jazz Sextet which interpreted Bengali melodies with the means of jazz and urban beats. His debut album Northern Namaste included a variety of Indian instruments while his third album, A South Asian Suite, reflected the music of Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. In 2018 he received the Parliamentary Jazz Award for Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year. There are several videos to watch on YouTube (try Dagger Dance) but the one chosen here - the beautiful, poignant, Where Shall I Live Now? is from some time ago - click here.

 

Radha Thomas

Which brings us back to Radha Thomas and her latest album Bangalore Blues. Radah Thomas is well known in Indian jazz circles. She began her singing career in the seventies in a popular Indian rock band called Human Bondage. She moved to New York, spending 20 years there developing a career as a jazz singer. On returning to India in 1993, she continued her jazz career combining that with some success as an author and publishing executive. She has formed her own group, the Radha Thomas Jazz Ensemble (also known as UNK) which is one of the most popular jazz acts in India. On Bangalore Blues, however, she plays with only one other musician – Aman Mahajan, the pianist with UNK. Mahajan studied at Berklee but is now, like Thomas, based in Bangalore.

All seven tracks on Bangalore Blues have lyrics written by Thomas with the music composed by both Mahajan and herself. She has a distinctive voice – crystal clear and intimate. All her lyrics are in English and her years living in New York are reflected in an American accent on many of the numbers. The music is not particularly Indian – it is often just straight-ahead, Aman RahajanAmerican-tinged, sophisticated (and high quality) jazz and no worse for that. Occasionally, a specific Indian style comes through – on the first track, for example, The Morning After, Thomas begins with a type of Indian scat and there is a slight Indian vibe to the music. The song lyrics are anything but Indian, though. This is the way Thomas describes the song’s genesis: “After a night of drinking multiple gin and tonics in Lower Manhattan, I took a cab home controlling the urge to upchuck because I was wearing someone else’s outfit. The song is about the morning after the night before”. The style is New York /Frank Sinatra / One For My Baby (and one more for the road). Click here for this sophisticated video made of the song.

The Indian scat appears again on Would I Lie which also showcases Mahajan’s superlative piano playing. He plays both piano and Fender Rhodes keyboards on the track and takes a longer solo than on many of the other pieces. Click here to listen to Would I Lie.

 

The vibe of the music on the album may not be particularly Indian but the subject matter of the lyrics often is. Load Shedding, for example, is about the frequent power cuts in Bangalore. The contrast between the sophisticated lifestyle of the protagonist (and sung about in a sophisticated way) and the fact that the city cannot provide a continuous power supply is extremely well done. Click here for an atmospheric video of Load Shedding.

The lyrics of the title track, Bangalore Blues, also have an Indian theme with the singer living in snowy, rainy New York and imagining life back in warm and green Bangalore. Again, Mahajan excels himself with some soulful bluesy playing of both piano and Fender Rhodes. Click here for Radha and Aman (and dog!) playing Bangalore Blues live.

The whole album is only just over half an hour long but each track is a little jewel. Radha Thomas and Aman Mahajan certainly know how to write hooky tunes – I’ve been listening to the album for two or three weeks now and some of the melodies have wormed their way into my head. If this is what jazz from India can do, then more please.

Click here for more about Radha Thomas on her website. Click here for more details and samples of Bangalore Blues.

 

Radha Thomas and Aman Rahajan

 

 

 

 

Take Two

I Fall In Love Too Easily

[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].

I Fall In Love Too Easily was composed by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn in 1944. The following year it was featured in the film Anchor's Aweigh with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra (you can watch a clip of Frank singing it here). The song was nominated for a Best Original Song at the Oscars but lost out to Rogers and Hemmerstein's It Might As Well Be Spring. The story goes that Sammy Cahn has said of the conception of the sixteen-bar song: "This song was written one night in Palm Springs. When I sang the last line, Jule Styne looked over at me and said, 'So. That's it.' I knew he felt we could have written on, but I felt I had said all there was to say, and if I had it to do over, I would stop right there again."

Favourite recordings include those by Sinatra and Chet Baker, but for our first take, click here for a video of Gina Kanizsa (vocals); Istvan Fekete (trumpet) and David Lamm (guitar) performing the song in Budapest in 2017.

 

Gina Kanizsa (vocals); Istvan Fekete (trumpet) and David Lamm (guitar)

 

 

I fall in love too easily
I fall in love too fast
I fall in love too terribly hard
For love to ever last

My heart should be well schooled
'Cause I've been fooled in the past
But still I fall in love so easily
I fall in love too fast

 

For our second take, click here for a video of the song played by the Keith Jarrett Trio - Keith Jarrett (piano); Gary Peacock (bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums) - in Tokyo in 1993. Even on video, the sensitivity and emotion they capture is remarkable. One commentator on YouTube writes: 'This is among Keith's most beautiful improvisations - he plays it now and then in different guises - if you love this one then try the Blue Note version when he goes off on one of his magical eastern trips to Lord knows where. Believe me I have been watching and listening to Keith for over 20 years and seen him live on numerous occasions - this is among the trios greatest efforts and no words could do it justice - how could they its - music that only Keith can produce."

 

Keith Jarrett I Fall In Love Too Easily

 

In January 1983 Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette came together with producer Manfred Eicher for a recording session at New York's Power Station. The idea - revolutionary in an era when the idea of playing original material was all-important - was to simply make an album of jazz standards. Gary Peacock said: "We went in to do just one album but we came out with enough material for three. It was incredible. The only other pianist who had impacted on me that forcefully playing standards was Bill Evans when I worked with him. Then when we started playing standards on this date.... Whew! Talk about depth! It opens up a whole other level of experience." 'Having wrapped up two volumes of standards, the trio then moved into improvisational areas. The result: the album Changes. Three top flight albums recorded in one day! Not only that, the musicians had mapped out the area - from the Great American Songbook to free play - that they would continue to explore for the next quarter-century. ....the first volumes of "Standards" won album of the year awards around the globe.'

I Fall In Love Too Easily appears on the Standards Vol. 2 album (click here), but ECM released all three as a box set in 2008 - details here.

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

Adelaide Hall

 

Unable to take pictures at gigs at the moment, photographer Brian O'Connor looks back to a time when he used to accompany his friend journalist Stan Britt. Stan interviewed various people for the BBC and Brian took the photographs. In 1989 they went to interview Adelaide Hall::

 

Adelaide Hall

 

Naturally I was aware of Adelaide Hall, due mainly to the song Creole Love Call with Duke Ellington from 1927(click here).  Apart from that though I hadn't given her much thought.  Accessing artists such as her during pre-internet days was not easy for all the usual BBC reasons.  To be honest, when journalist friend Stan Britt said he was going to interview her (in 1989) I'll confess I didn't even realise she was still with us.  Not only that, she was living in a London apartment.  Would I accompany him?  Not to be missed I arranged for an extended lunch hour, again.  I worked in the retail camera trade at the time, and it was relatively easy to be 'between branches'.  No mobile phones requiring accessibility 24/7 combined with an ability to track your whereabouts.  Bliss!

The apartment was quite old, spacious, and comfortably furnished but not the sort of place one would expect to find a 'legend' in residence.  Stan had the ability to make his interviewees open up, and the following ninety minutes was filled with easy conversation and many memories.  It has all been recorded.  Hopefully, one day, this recording will re-surface courtesy to the British Sound Archive.  After the interview I do remember that it was suggested we have a meal.  Great, I thought, plush restaurant, venison, fine wine, on the house.  Didn't work out quite like that!

It seemed that money was short all around, and a Chinese takeaway was settled upon.  Conspiratorial looks were transferred between Stan and Adelaide, followed by two pairs of eyes settling on me.  I got the picture (oh dear!), saying with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, 'I'm on my way'.

So, it cost me a meal (it was pretty good) but let's face it, I'd spent a couple of hours in convivial circumstances with a living legend.  A small price to pay.  I'd also had the privilege of taking some informal photos.  The alternative would have been to stay at work trying to avoid selling a Kodak Disc camera (remember them?) to someone going on a world tour and who required David Attenborough quality.  No contest! 

Click here for a short video documentary during which Adelaide Hall talks about 1920s Harlem, the Cotton Club and recording Creole Love Call.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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].

 

Alex Hitchcock

 

Alex Hitchcock

 

 

Alex Hitchcock

 

 

Saxophonist Alex Hitchcock was born in London. His first instrument was the violin, but at nine he switched to alto saxophone. It was listening to Coleman Hawkins and Joshua Redman that caused him to turn to the tenor sax. Alex studied English at Cambridge, becoming part of the jazz scene in the city and director of the Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra. With them, he toured Istanbul before returning to London and the Royal Academy of Music where he first established his Quintet. He graduated in 2016. Alex formed a Quintet with James Copus (trumpet, flugelhorn); Will Barry (piano, fender rhodes); Joe Downard (bass) and Jay Davis (drums). The band won first place at the Conad Jazz Contest at the 2018 Umbria Jazz Festival and then embarked on a 15-date nationwide tour promoting their debut EP 'Live at the London and Cambridge Jazz Festivals' launched at Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho. They played Ronnie Scott's Club and the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, going on to play at the Royal Albert Hall and Jazz in the Round, as well as touring Spain, Hungary and Poland and appearing on BBC Radio 3, JazzFM and Hungarian television. The Alex Hitchcock Quintet released their album All Good Things in May 2019.

 

 

 

Tom Barford

 

Fellow tenor saxophonist Tom Barford, with whom Alex has co-operated in their new album, AuB, was winner of the 2017 Kenny Wheeler Prize, Tom was raised in a musical family and grew up surrounded by music, from Frank Sinatra to Louis Armstrong. He started the saxophone at the age of 9 but it wasn’t until a few years later that he developed a specific interest in Jazz. At sixteen, Tom joined the Junior Jazz Course at the Royal Academy of Music before going on to gain a scholarship place on the Undergraduate Jazz Programme at the Academy in 2013. He earned a First Class Hons degree in 2017. Tom released his Kenny Wheeler Prize album Bloomer on Edition Records in 2018.

 

 

 

For their new band, AuB, Alex and Tom have come together with two other respected musicians from today's jazz community, bass player Ferg Ireland and drummer James Maddren. Alex, Tom and Ferg also play synthesisers on the recording. This album is completely engaging. It opens with Not Jazz, a track we can listen to and that Alex talks about later in this article. The second track, Valencia starts out slowly and sensitively punctuated by Ferg's bass and here you begin to appreciate the fine interplay between the two tenors. Glitch picks up the tempo with bass and drums setting a scene until Alex's tenor sets a riff from which the saxes grow together and then emerge into a full band with a satisfying soundscape of synths and improvisation. Rufio is introduced by a bass solo over which the two saxes weave into a melodic conversation and an inventive saxophone solo outing.

Click here for a brief video introduction to the album.

Iceman has one sax riffing while the other leads the theme into a bass solo and then bass and drums state a pace for one tenor and then the other to explore before they finally come together and end at a full stop. Dual Reality, as you might expect, re-introduces that intuitive interplay between the two tenors, initially without bass and drums and then Ferg's bowed bass underlines the light saxophone flights that take us out of the piece. Doggerland has a strong bass rhythmic foundation right the way through a saxophone improvisation that echoes across the space and then Alex and Tom are back together again. I haven't mentioned James Maddren's drumming until now. As always, his playing is completely integrated with the music being played by any group he works with and on Doggerland we are particularly aware of what he is doing. Jazzwise wrote of a live performance of Doggerland:' "Doggerland’ unleashes Barford’s unyielding tone, filling the room as he thematically darts between bop and abstract language, juxtaposed by Hitchcock’s more earthy palette that dips and dives through explosive double-time runs against the agitation of Maddren’s beat. A vital element to AuB, Maddren’s drumming is a masterclass of inexhaustible tension and release." The album closes with Groundhog Tuesday. If you think of the movie Groundhog Day where someone gets caught in a time-loop, that is misleading, as like the rest of the album, the music takes us to more than one place, on the other hand, a time-loop that includes playing the album again sounds good to me.

AuB introduces us to an album and four musicians playing with great rapport that are well worth hearing. Hopefully we shall be able to listen to them live again in the not too distant future.

 

AuB band

 

AuB: Alex Hitchcock, James maddren, Ferg Ireland and Tom Barford
Picture by Dave Stapleton

 

Of course, in view of Coronavirus social distancing, I had to have a virtual Tea Break with Alex:

 

Hi Alex, what have you got there – tea or coffee?

Strong black coffee!

 

I have made a coffee with plenty of milk – I saw on the news that farmers are having to pour gallons of milk down the drain now that they can’t supply cafes, hotels and so on. How are you managing at the moment? It must be tough for all musicians with gigs cancelled?

It is tough and I think it will be for the foreseeable future. Government grants won’t last for ever and we have to hope venues survive. When lockdown ends there will probably be a period where money for the self-employed dries up but concerts and gatherings still aren’t allowed to happen. People are resilient and often bursts of creativity come out of crises like this, but people need to eat and pay rent first and foremost! Of course, that applies to people across the UK and across the world, not just musicians.

 

Have you heard how other musicians are managing? Presumably you are in touch with Tom Barford and others?

One of the really positive things to come out of the current situation is that it’s reinforced the sense of community we’re lucky to have. People are being really supportive of each other, pointing out lots of sources of financial help and other helpful information and opportunities. I’ve been in touch with lots of musicians – everyone is trying to cope in their own way, some are in relatively comfortable situations and others aren’t. You don’t necessarily think of music as a priority given a global context where thousands of people are losing loved ones, but there’s definitely comfort to be found if you’re lucky enough to be able to keep on practising and composing. Lots of musicians are collaborating remotely, and I’m looking forward to hearing all the music that I’m sure is being written at the moment at the end of lockdown.

 

 

AuBalbum

 

It is a bit of a challenge bringing out an album at the moment. Your new album with Tom, AuB, could still get plenty of plays through the media though. Edition Records will promote it but will you be promoting it through Facebook, etc. too?

It’s definitely a unique time to bring an album out but perhaps people will have more time and inclination to check out new music now, if they’re not already saturated! We’ll do our own promotion of course, which is really important in building a personal connection to an audience who will hopefully follow us for future releases, if they like the music. And then that’s complemented by Edition’s wide reach internationally, so we hope the music can find a natural audience and brighten up some people’s days over the coming months!

 

 

Alex Hitchcock and Tom Barford

 

 

Speaking of the album, how did you and Tom come up with the idea of a 2 sax band with bass and drums - that is pretty unusual?

There’s some precedent already – I know Tom cites Tenor Madness with Sonny Rollins and Coltrane, Sonny Meets Hawk with Rollins and Coleman Hawkins, and Sonny Side Up with Rollins and Stitt as important records for him. And more recently there’s Chris Cheek and Seamus Blake’s Bloomdaddies band, and of course Polar Bear in the UK. So I guess the lineup is a nod to all those heroes even if the album doesn’t sound anything like them! We wanted to keep the grit and drive you get with the harmony-less quartet but add colour from the synths and melodies that were almost earworms, but that still retained a bit of quirkiness and idiosyncrasy. It could have been a very ‘saxophoney’ album but I think we avoided that by being quite careful with the instrumentation and structures.

 

 

 

 

I see you played at Rat Records in London last year – bit of an odd setting? Not a large audience, but the child seemed quite intrigued?

Rat Records is just round the corner from me in Camberwell and I knew it because it’s a favourite crate-digging spot of my friends Joe Downard and Will Barry! It wasn’t actually a gig – they were just really nice about letting us set up and play in there. Dave Stapleton at Edition has been keen on taking the music a little bit outside where you might normally expect to see it and we thought setting up in that small but quite visually interesting place, as well as seeing who would wander in from outside while we were playing, was a good way to frame the music. Plus they’ve got some great records in there too, some of which you can pick out in the video! Ornette Coleman’s ‘This Is Our Music’ is right next to James’ head – we may or may not have positioned it there…

Click here for the video of Alex, Tom and the band at Rat Records last year.

 

If a past jazz musician had walked into the shop and asked to sit in, who would you like that to be and would you have played?

Charlie Parker, and I would have just been listening!

 

Which brings us, I guess to the name of the band – AuB – clearly not the Arts University of Bournemouth or the Apostolic United Brethren (although I suppose it could be the latter!). I understand that AuB (pronounced ORB) refers to the meeting and unity of two musical minds and instrumental sounds melded into one group sound. I’ve not come across that before?

Haha, so you’ve read the press release! We were thinking about Venn diagram terminology where ‘the union of’ two separate areas A and B is represented by ‘AuB’. And using the imagery of that as a way of suggesting that the individual elements keep their own distinct personality whilst also combining into a whole that blends both. We also like that it could stand for ‘Alex und Barford’.

 

 

That's clever! Sounds like you were spending time with Wang and Brandon from 2020's University Challenge! We can listen to the track Not Jazz – What’s that all about?! Ouroboros

 

The title is slightly tongue in cheek in that I was conscious that there are various different pressures surrounding an album release, the ‘framing’ of the music being one that I have a particularly hard time with. Obviously, the music on this album is in the jazz and black American music tradition, as is evident from the style and content of the playing as well as the instrumentation. You want to honour that tradition and at the same time you want to connect with as many people as possible through the music; you don’t want to compromise the music but there’s a certain pressure for it to be ‘accessible’, as far as that means anything. So those concerns can often make you second-guess how to shape the music even while you’re writing or playing it, at a point in time way before the music is released, so the process kind of feeds back on itself, like Ouroboros the snake eating its own tail. The suggestion that X or Y new band or album is ‘great, but not jazz’ is thrown around a lot at the moment which in itself is kind of meaningless, as well as patronising – and who is in charge of deciding what is and isn’t ‘jazz’ in any case?! You can probably tell my thoughts on this aren’t particularly ordered or consolidated, but Not Jazz is a nod to those kinds of uncertainty.

 

Click here to listen to Not Jazz.

 

I love that track! I know that Tom and yourself have a tour planned to promote the new album starting in May – what’s the plan now?

We still have dates in the diary for September and October, and who knows if we’ll be able to play those?! It’s hard to book gigs for 2021 at the moment because there’s so much uncertainty, and also venues understandably want to reschedule stuff that’s been cancelled first so there’s quite a bit of pressure on next year’s dates already. In the immediate future we’re focused on getting the album to as many people as possible and we might also use all this time to plan and write for the next recording…

 

I know a few people who are writing for new recordings. Once this is all over we should be in for a real treat of new music! What other plans have you got for your music once everything settles down again?

Hopefully I’ll release another album on Fresh Sound next year, if I can reschedule the recording, and that will have some really special guests I’m looking forward to working with. I’ve also got some exciting plans with the amazing French drummer Marc Michel (currently playing in Jasper Hoiby’s Planet B) for some recording and touring with some musicians from the US next year but that’s still in its infancy. I recorded albums with Matt Ridley and Joe Downard’s bands last year so I really hope to be able to tour with them. It’s a good opportunity to take time to think about what happens next, and if we’ll even be able to carry on in the same way as we were before!

 

I really like that version of I'm Travelling Alone you did with Marc Michel, Will Barry and Conor Chaplin (click here).

 

Who have you been listening to while you have been at home? Tell you what, I’ll play something then you can go and practise and I’ll make another milky coffee.

I’ve gone quite deep into Tigran Hamasyan’s back catalogue (the title tune from his album A Fable is a particular favourite) trying to understand something about his rhythmic approach and facility, which is on another level completely! I read a couple of really good interviews with Ron Carter on Ethan Iverson’s website so I’ve gone back to some of the albums he was on like Wes Montgomery’s So Much Guitar and the amazing Jaki Byard album Hi-Fly. Wayne’s album High Life from the '90s has been on heavy rotation because it’s so uplifting. And then three of my absolute favourite releases from the last year have been on Edition: Hope by Lionel Loueke and Kevin Hays, Ascent by Pablo Held and Nelson Veras, and Tineke Postma's Freya. It’s kind of amazing to be in that company on the label!

 

How to choose! There are some in your choices that I remember really struck me when they were released, A Fable and Hope for example, but I think I'll choose one I don't know so much about, that's Tineke Postma's Freya, I'm glad you have introduced me to them, they are amazing! Thanks for dropping in Alex, take care, stay well and lots of best wishes for the album. Let us know how things go.

 

Click here for a video of Tineke Postma's Freya playing Comprends at the Jarasum Jazz Festival in 2019

 

Click here for Alex Hitchcock's website.

Alex Hitchcock

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

 

Name The Tune

(Click on the picture for the answer)

 

Name the tune

 

Click here for other challenges to 'Name The Tune'

 

 

 

 

PFull Focus

Champagne Sky

From the album Tipping Point by the Tom Green Septet

 

 

[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].

 

Tom Green Septet

 

I cannot believe that it is five years since trombonist Tom Green and his Septet recorded their album Skyline. Writing about the album that February (click here), I closed by saying: 'By now you will have gathered that I like this recording. It may be early in the year, but for me this has to be one of the most enjoyable, satisfying and outstanding albums of 2015.' Tom wrote a 'Full Focus' article for us about the track Tom GreenEquilibrium at the time (click here), and it is great that he now does the same for the track Champagne Sky from the Septet's latest album, Tipping Point, released on the Spark! label in April, 2020.

 

Tom Green was the first trombonist to be admitted to post-graduate study at the Royal Academy of Music. He won the 2013 Dankworth prize for Jazz Composition, and Dame Cleo Laine has said of his work: 'Some of the most exciting original new music I have heard for a long time'. His music has been described as 'inspired by writers for large ensemble, thinking in long arcs, and in harmonies which are rich and full. The Septet in his sound world is not so much scaled up small group as scaled down big band, tight, unified ...'. Tom plays with a number of bands apart from his own including the popular Brass Funkeys and the Patchwork Jazz Orchestra.

 

 

Tom's Septet remains much the same as for the previous album - Tom Green (trombone/compositions); James Davison (trumpet/flugelhorn); Tommy Andrews (alto/soprano saxophones); Sam Miles (tenor saxophone); Sam James (piano); Misha Mullov-Abbado (double bass) and Scott Chapman (drums), although here Tommy Andrews replaces Matthew Herd who played on Skyline. Tommy toured with the band during the Skyline gigs and you can see him play 'in musical conversation' with Sam Miles in this video of the band playing DIY from that album at The Fleece Jazz Club (click here).

Has it been worth waiting five years for their second album? Oh, yes!

 

Tipping Point album

 

It starts out with the title track, Tipping Point, waltzing along unexpectedly slowly after the drum introduction and with the harmonies strong and with some fine saxophone work amongst the other contributions - click here to listen. The lovely Champagne Sky, which follows, we shall listen to later when Tom writes about it. Kaleidoscope continues to draw us in to this consistently engaging album with some nice interplay between saxophone and trombone, a captivating solo from Misha Mullov-Abbado's bass followed by Tom's trombone leading us back to the theme. Between Now And Never is a clever title for a lovely ballad opened by Sam James' piano and picked up by James Davison - this could well be film soundtrack stuff - and I know a track that I shall play a lot - click here for a video of Between Now And Never.

Seatoller is the longest track at 11.29 minutes It is partly an ensemble piece, partly an interplay between just the front line and then Sam James soloing on piano with the rhythm section when bass and drums return. I don't need to tell you about Tom's arrangement of Joni Mitchell's My Old Man because you can enjoy it in this video of the band recording the number - click here. Jack O'Lantern has a really nice arrangement and is another track you can listen to here. The final track Chorale is an instrumental chorale as the title says with Sam James' piano bridging the ensemble pieces and playing against Misha's bass.

 

This is an album for everyone; engaging compositions, great arrangements and talented musicians. It is a shame that the band's tour has been put on hold as they are very worth hearing live - but it will be worth the wait. That is one good reason to buy the album now, the other is summed up in Tom's comments on the music, written before the current Coronavirus epidemic: 'These compositions celebrate the importance of hope and positive action when addressing individual and global challenges. 20% of album sales will be donated to the charities Trees For Life: rewilding the Scottish Highlands by restoring the Caledonian Forest, and Cool Earth: working alongside rainforest communities to halt deforestation.'

Click here for details and samples of the album.

 

And so to Champagne Sky. Tom talks about the background and approach to the music as you listen to the track:

 

Champagne sunset

 

 

"I wrote this piece while on a composing retreat at Hawkwood College, a beautiful centre in the heart of the Cotswolds which has a fantastic artist residency program, bringing together many people across all disciplines to hide away for a week and work on whatever they want to. It was late November and we enjoyed one of those rare weeks of stunning weather that come around at that time of year – crisp clear days and amazing fiery sunsets over the Stroud valley. It became a ritual for all the artists on the residency to gather on the hill to watch the spectacular sunsets. I wrote this track to celebrate both the natural beauty of the location, and the meeting of like minds that is only possible in a special place like that.

Click here to listen to Champagne Sky

 

The tune has two themes: the first is a march-like theme in 4/4 which is initially stated by Sam James at the piano (0.35 in the track) then taken up by trombone and tenor sax. This tune is a simple and hopeful one, celebrating the importance of taking positive action in the face of global and personal challenges – themes that run through the whole album.

The second theme in contrast is a more reflective, rippling melody initially stated by Tommy Andrews on alto in duo with Sam James (1.44 in the track). For this composition I wanted to experiment with a melody that can work with two different underlying rhythmic feels. In this case the melody and chord changes can be written as four bars of 5/8 plus one bar of 4/8 (24 quavers). This can also be felt as 3 bars of 4/4 (also 24 quavers). The manuscript example shows this same melody written in both time signatures. To hear the difference between the two, at 2.00 in the track the melody is stated in the 5/8+4/8 feel by trumpet and trombone, whereas at 2.55 it is stated in the 4/4 feel, moving to the 5/8+4/8 feel at 3.02 when the saxes enter.

 

Champagne Sky Notation

 

After stating the melody explicitly in these two different feels, I wanted the band to be able to move freely between the two, particularly towards the end of the track as things build. We are so lucky to have Scott Chapman as our drummer, who always seems to be able to grasp anything that I throw at him and really make it his own. The bassline that fits under this melody fits with both feels – the lower notes in the bassline follow the chord changes which are in the 5/8+4/8 pattern, but the way the bassline is accented also fits with the melody in 4/4. Towards the end of the trombone solo, this bassline returns in 4/4 with Sam James at the piano stating staccato crotchets, which continue the 4/4 feel even as Scott at the drums and the rest of the band change feel into 5/8+4/8.

This superposition is something I wanted to experiment with further towards the end of the track where Scott has some time to shine for a short drum solo (6.18). I asked him to start in 5/8+4/8, and I gave him the challenge of ending up in a 4/4 feel by the end of his solo. He does this admirably and at 6.42 he manages to play a groove that is in both feels simultaneously! I love giving musicians a structure to play over like this when they have a solo – in this case some defined start and end points. There are many other places in the album where I use backings or changes in feel in order to push the improvisation of the musicians in some way – they are in control of their own improvisation but within certain parameters which I have set for them. I hope you enjoy listening to the track and that this gives you a deeper insight into what is one of the rhythmically more complex pieces on the album!"

Click here for Tom Green's website.

 

Tom Green Septet

The Tom Green Septet
L-R: Scott Chapman, Misha Mullov-Abbado, Sam James (seated), James Davidson, Tom Green, Sam Miles and Tommy Andrews

 

 


Directory of Alternative Musical Definitions

Neoromantic

A compositional style of the 20th century embodying the techniques and characteristics of the Romantic period (19th century) but incorporated into a 20th century idiom - or - Brian Ferry's Jazz Age album.

 

Brian Ferry Jazz Age

Click on the picture

Click here for more Alternative Definitions.

 

 

 

 

 

PDelfeayo Marsalis'

Jazz Party

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].

 

Delfeayo Marsalis

 

Each year in the USA the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowship is awarded to a small number of jazz musicians who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of what many regard as an uniquely American art form; exceptionally, in 2011 the whole Marsalis family of musicians was awarded a fellowship. The Marsalis family are unequivocally linked to the city of New Orleans, birthplace of jazz and also birthplace of father Ellis Marsalis Jr. and sons Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason, sadly Ellis Marsalis died there on 1st April this year after contracting Covid-19. 

The music and culture of New Orleans derives from its cosmopolitan history and climate.  Many nationalities have combined to influence the music, food and way of life; African-Americans developed jazz but Cajuns, Creoles, Europeans, Latin Americans and emigrants from the Caribbean were all part of the mix.  The climate of New Orleans is mild in winter and hot and humid in the summer, so people spend a lot of time outdoors with sports and games, having picnics, Saturday night fish fries and camping along the shores of Lake Ponchartrain.  From early days, their music has been good time music, dances in local halls were very popular as were (and still are) second line parades which include a brass band and exuberant dancers dressed in brightly coloured costumes. The iconic New Orleans jazz funeral parades feature a "first line" that includes the family and mourners while the "second line" follows on behind, the music played by the brass band having its own distinctive sound.

The very first commercial recording of music that came to be called 'jazz' was by the  Original Dixieland Jass (Jazz) Band in 1917.  Dixieland Jazz developed out of ragtime, blues, gospel and the New Orleans brass marching bands but it was Charles "Buddy" Bolden who is generally credited with playing early jazz style music in New Orleans. Buddy Bolden was a cornet player from a district of New Orleans called Uptown and his bands were much sought after to play at dances and entertain revellers in the city parks during the period from 1895; sadly in 1906 Bolden collapsed during a street parade and never played again.  Innovations Bolden introduced included the rhythm section of double bass and guitar and a front line of cornet, trombone and clarinet that played blues and improvised collectively.

That first recording by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band (ODJB), Livery Stable Blues, was followed in 1918 by Tiger Rag, but the ODJB were no longer resident in New Orleans, they moved north to Chicago in 1916 and then to New York where the recording took place. In 1919 the ODJB spent several months in London including a performance at Buckingham Palace for the royal family. Other musicians who Marsalis familybegan their careers in New Orleans such as Joe "King" Oliver, Kid Ory, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet and Jelly Roll Morton sought their fortunes elsewhere and further developed the New Orleans jazz style with Louis Armstrong's Hot Five from 1928 one of the most successful. As we know, many of their most recordings, including West End Blues, Basin Street Blues and St James Infirmary with Louis Armstrong's incredible solo performances set a new standard that moved away from collective improvisation and set the ground rules for so much jazz music that was to follow. In this video, Delfeayo's brother Wynton plays tribute to Louis' Potato Head Blues - click here.

 

The Marsalis family: (l-r) Ellis Jr., Wynton, Delfeayo, Jason, and Branford.
Photo by Jos L. Knaepen

 

It was only a few years later, in 1934, that Ellis Marsalis Jr. was born in New Orleans, and unlike many of his illustrious predecessors he remained there.  Ellis was an acclaimed jazz pianist but his greater achievement was probably his mentoring of young musicians. He was Director of Jazz Studies at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts High School, which was attended by his sons, and then he became Head of Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans. 

In this video, Ellis and Delfeayo travelled from New Orleans to Maryland to play at a concert at at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club and then talk to Eric Felton about their home town - click here.

 

Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis is the fourth of six sons born in 1965 to Ellis and Dolores Marsalis, older brothers Branford and Wynton and younger brother Jason have all become professional musicians,  two other brothers are Ellis III and Mboya. Ellis Jr. for many years entertained at the famous Snug Harbour Jazz Club on Frenchman Street in New Orleans and such was his popularity and influence that many of his protégés got their first commercial gig at the venue. Delfeayo must surely have Snug Harbor Jazz Clubenjoyed the support of his father and brothers in developing his musical career but as with any artistic family there must have been a desire to stand out from the crowd. 

 

Snug Harbor Jazz Club, New Orleans

 

Jeff Simon in The Buffalo News sums it up: "Delfeayo is in many ways the most fun of the Marsalises, he is the family trombonist and record producer and he seems to be the family wise guy too."  Delfeayo decided on the trombone after trying bass and drums and was inspired by J.J. Johnson and other trombonists from the great big bands of Duke Ellington and Tommy Dorsey.  He studied music, producing, and engineering at Berklee College of Music and made his initial reputation as a record producer starting in 1985.  His first album as a band leader was called Pontius Pilate's Decision which is perhaps not the catchiest of titles but notwithstanding that, the album made a great impression with a track called The Weary Ways of Mary Magdalene attracting particular praise - click here to listen to the track.

 

A more recent album that probably hints at Delfeayo's views on society is called Make America Great Again with the title track including a narration by actor Wendell Pierce.  Pierce took the lead role in a TV drama called Treme, named after a working class neighbourhood of New Orleans that was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina and then suffered in the ensuing chaotic response from the government authorities. Delfeayo has also worked as an educator for many years, composing jazz music specifically for young people,  lecturing in schools, serving as director of the Foundation for Artistic and Musical Excellence summer programme in Lawrenceville, New Jersey (1998-2002), founding the Uptown Music Theatre (UMT) in 2000, and implementing its Kidstown After School in three New Orleans grammar schools in 2009. 

Click here for Delfeayo working on a blues with a young trombone student.

To date, UMT has staged 12 of Delfeayo's musicals involving more than 2,500 young people from New Orleans.  His Swinging With The Cool School, an introduction to jazz for parents and their children, was premiered at Children's Hospital as an experimental music therapy programme in 2006. In this video from March 2020, just before social distancing hit New Orleans, the kids at UMT made this video - click here.

Delfeayo Marsalis formed the Uptown Jazz Orchestra in 2009 with the ambition of providing high class performances of great jazz orchestra pieces, either classic tunes composed by the likes of Duke Ellington, or more modern pieces that Delfeayo has composed himself or borrowed from other contemporary New Orleans jazz and brass bands.  They have a regular weekly gig at the Snug Harbour Jazz Club (where Ellis also regularly played). 

Click here for the Uptown Jazz Orchestra playing Charles Mingus' Moanin'

 

Delfeayo Marsalis Jazz Party

 

Their new album Jazz Party is accompanied by an information booklet that contains an introductory section from Delfeayo that puts the music into the New Orleans context and also allows him to express some views on modern American society.  Talking about how music identifies a country he says "Ironically, in America an ethnic group that has been dehumanized, disregarded and disenfranchised is the one most responsible for creating the intangible sound of liberty, freedom and democracy through music." The impact of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 on his beloved city and its aftermath ("The world witnessed chaos, confusion, vulnerability and hysteria on such a grand scale that its occurrence in our United States was unbelievable to some.") sounds like a vivid and bitter memory.

The title track of the album Jazz Party has Tonya Boyd-Cannon on vocals and a gospel style groove clearly designed to get you into the Jazz Party mood while Blackbird Special, which was originally recorded by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band in 1984, includes whistles, a baritone solo and a very tight yet frantic big band sound. 7th Ward Boogaloo, is inspired by Creole style music - click here, Raid On The Mingus House Party is a feast of polyphonic improvisation and according to Delfeayo is a  "song inspired by aspects of the social climate in America amidst steadily increasing social tensions - heightened by extreme political negativity, mass shootings and racial community divisions" - clearly a 'Jazz Party' may generate a darker mood.

 

Mboya's Midnight Cocktail, named after Delfeayo's autistic brother, features an amusing but totally one-sided chat up line from a friendly, female bartender played by Karen Livers accompanied by spiritual music that is instantly recognisable as originating in New Orleans and if added emphasis were needed the track So New Orleans is a rap by Dr. Brice Miller sharing his experiences and recollections. Following a tribute to the great trumpet player Roy Hargrove the next track, Let Your Mind Be Free, is a classic from another New Orleans band - the Soul Rebels Brass Band - with a really quite inspirational melody and freely improvised backings with an outstanding Soul Rebels Brass Bandgroove. Click on the picture if you would like to hear the Soul Rebels version of Let Your Mind Be Free.

The last three tracks all feature musical conversations between the different members of this great band with Caribbean Second Line (click here) not only highlighting the iconic second line parades of New Orleans but also the contribution to the music from Caribbean rhythms, while the instrumental version of  Mboya's Midnight Cocktail is a great example of the collective improvisation first conceived by Buddy Bolden.

 

Soul Rebels Brass Band

 

The album is dedicated to the memory of Delfeayo's mother, Dolores Ferdinand Marsalis, and it is a sad and unfortunate coincidence that his father, Ellis Marsalis Jr., passed away shortly after the album was released.  

 

Delfeayo Marsalis is clearly not shy of expressing his opinion, nor taking action to improve a situation he feels strongly about, whether it be family, education, politics or the musical heritage of New Orleans.  Two of his creations, the Uptown Music Theatre which has won many awards for its outstanding productions and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra are testament to his skill and leadership.  The Jazz Party album is a very enjoyable collection of jazz music with a constant New Orleans theme running through it. It was designed to lift the spirits in a time which for many Americans left a lot to be desired - given the current situation it is needed more than ever.

Click here for details and samples of Jazz Party by the Uptown Jazz Orchestra

 

Delfeayo Marsalis Uptown Jazz Orchestra

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens America

Jakob Bro

Photographer Clara Pereira and journalist Filipe Freitas from JazzTrail in New York were in New York City in The Village Vanguard in January where Clara took these pictures of Jakob Bro and Joey Baron before the world turned upside down with Covid-19. The Danish guitarist was appearing with his Quartet: bassist Thomas Morgan, drummer Joey Baron and tenor saxophonist Mark Turner

 

Jakob Bro

 

 

Filipe Freitas from JazzTrail wrote: ' ...... Jakob Bro, an esteemed ECM artist, filled the legendary NYC venue The Village Vanguard with his beautiful sustained chords and appeasing textural examinations .... Rounding out the quartet was tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, an intermittent collaborator whose poised lines flawlessly conformed the trio’s strange magic ....“Copenhagen”, an homage to the city where Bro lives, was depicted with as much sentiment as leisure. A welcome sense of openness was felt at once, with Morgan departing for an early emphatic solo...... Bro’s music is deeply fulfilling and this intimate first set was absolutely stunning.'

Based in Copenhagen, Jakob Bro is a former member of Paul Motian & The Electric Bebop Band and of Tomasz Stanko’s Dark Eyes Quintet. He has released 15 records as a bandleader including musicians like Lee Konitz, Bill Frisell, Paul Motian, Kenny Wheeler and Paul Bley. His awards are numerous from The Danish Music Award – New Danish Jazz Artist of the Year in 2003 to Downbeat's 66th Annual Critics Poll winner “Rising Star Guitar” in 2018.

His album Bay Of Rainbows with the above Quartet was released on the ECM label in 2018. Click here for Filipe's full review of the gig. Click here for Jakob Bro's website.

Click here for a video of Jakob's Trio playing Copenhagen at the Brorson's Church during the Winter Jazz Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark on February 7th 2019.

Each month we share Clara's photographs and Filipe's reviews. Readers might like this introduction to the couple who are currently in lock down in New York. They both appear in this home-made video with Filipe singing and playing guitar and of Clara who provided the video and pictures - click here. I particularly like Filipe's guitar solo towards the end of the video.

 

Joey Baron

 

 

 

Forum

 

The Fishmonger's Arms (Wood Green Jazz Club)

Veronica Crozier has stumbled across our page about the Wood Green Jazz Club that was once held at the Fishmongers Arms (click here) and writes: 'I spent many happy hours at the jazz club in the 1950’s.  I remember seeing Sandy Brown on numerous occasions.   I always enjoyed it when George Melly turned up there he was such a character.  Acker Bilk also played there a lot before he became ‘famous’.  I used to go to Les Aldrich record shop in Muswell Hill and ask if they had any records by Acker but they had never heard of him.  I came across this site quite by accident.  I am 78 now but it has been marvellous to recall my youth.'

[If you remember seeing George Melly, you might like to read Yvonne Mallett's Misty Eyed With Good Time George - click here].

 

 

Ain't The Gravy Good

Stuart McRae has come across our page on Kingston Jazz (click here) which brought back memories for him of the Georgia Jazz Band Georgia Jazz band tapesand the Grey Horse pub: 'I used to regularly go to the Grey Horse on a Sunday evening in the late '70s to hear the Georgia Jazz Band and thought you might be interested that I still have this double tape of the band. I think the faint lines have faded over time and only the thick lines remain. I decided the last three lines say “BY THE GEORGIA JAZZ BAND” and then on enlarging the picture, it says: "A TRIBUTE TO DUKE ELLINGTON BY THE GEORGIA JAZZ BAND”. The 22 tracks include The Mooche, Stevedore Stomp, Sweet As Bear Meat, It Don't Mean A Thing, St Thomas and Ain't The Gravy Good. There is no date or line up, but I must have bought it at a gig between 1977 and 1982. In those days, to get to the room at the back of the Grey Horse you walked through the bar and out the back. As far as I recall there were pub tables with chairs, maybe for around 30 people (I’m not sure, it was along time ago!) My impression was of a dim (and, in those days, smokey) room, with the stage at the back towards the right. We would arrive early to get a table and it filled up once the band started. Most of the songs I remember them playing are on the cassette, apart from St James’ Infirmary Blues.'

[I like the use of the 'Bisto kids' on the cover of this taped double album. It also includes tunes I had not come across before such as Sweet As Bear Meat and Ain't The Gravy Good. Stuart has been able to digitalise the tracks so that we can share some of them. Click here for the Georgia Jazz Band playing the title track: Ain't The Gravy Good. I shall put another track on the Kingston Jazz page in the future. It would be helpful to have more information about the Georgia Jazz Band, as Stuart says we don't have the personnel or date for the recording. Please contact us if you can help - Ed].


 

 

Albert and Cliff Hall

Sometime ago, we set up a page about the late trumpeter Albert Hall (click here) and a number of readers wrote in with their memories of him. In the article, we mentioned Albert's brother, Cliff, also a musician. Janet Kemm, Albert's neice (and Cliff's daughter) has been in touch with more information about Cliff:

'Albert was the eldest of 5 boys, all musical as their dad, my granddad, was a music teacher teaching brass.  Albert and my dad Cliff who is 79 now and still playing jazz gigs and writing music and doing arrangements for people were the only two professional musicians.  After Albert, came Alan who is now 89, and plays organ and brass. Henry who passed away a few years ago also played trumpet in the British Airways band. Then Cliff (my dad), and  then Ken, who also sadly passed away about 5 years ago.

My dad Cliff played as a session musician. He started in the Ray McVay band, then was Lonnie Donegan’s pianist, then with Cliff Richard for 5 years, Leo Sayer, and  then The Shadows for 20 years. He writes library music and wrote the little jazz piece at the beginning of Toy Story 2 - Episode 8 in the Pixar Luxo Jr series of shorts: Luxo Jr Goes Bowling with the little lamps (click here). Cliff was Top of the Pops resident pianist in the ‘70s early ‘80s and was also on the Des O’Connor show and Terry Wogan show. If you Google ‘Randy Crawford Almaz’ on ‘Top of the Pops’ it’s Cliff playing (click here). If you search my dad 'Cliff Hall Shadows' online it somehow gets him confused with another Cliff Hall, a black American jazz pianist - we’re not too good at all this IT stuff to manage to change it all!

[Click here for Cliff taking the piano lead on The Shadows’ Nut Rocker , the band’s take on the theme from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker A better example of Cliff's jazz style can be seen in this video of him at the Retreat Recording Studios (click here) - Ed.].

 

 

 

The Disappearance of Colin Symons

Over time, there have been a several enquiries about drummer and band leader Colin Symons.

Back in 2015, pianist Jamie Evans wrote: 'I was interested to see a mention of the singer Pam Heagren last month (see our page on Steve Lane - click here).  I worked with her quite regularly in the early-to-mid '70s in the Colin Symons band. 'This picture shows Pam and myself (circa 1973), possibly chatting after doing our regular voice/piano feature, "Crazy 'bout My Baby". I can't speak for Pam but I very Jamie Evans and Pam Heagrenmuch enjoyed those duets, as I am sure did the rest of the band who always seized the opportunity to quench their thirsts at the nearest outlet. Incidentally Pam rarely partook and the pint on the piano lid is mine not hers!'

'The Symons band was relatively successful and had a broad repertoire which went well beyond the trad/dixieland genre. Although the personnel was not entirely top-level, Colin always used trumpet players of the highest calibre including Alan Wickham, Ray Crane, Geoff Brown and Nick Stevenson.'

Jamie Evans and Pam Heagren
Picture courtesy of Jamie Evans

'I always got on well with Colin who was an engaging and charming man and not a bad drummer either. Inevitably we fell out big-time at one point but made up later, I am pleased to say. I heard many years after I lost touch with him that he had died young and try as I might I can't find any information relating to him. If anyone can add any facts or even hearsay I would love to hear from them.' 

Colin's name was then mentioned briefly in our Profile of clarinettist Neil Millett (click here) where banjo player Andy Ford is quoted as saying: .....'Neil Millett decided it was time to move on, so a new reed player had to be found .... at about the same time the Colin Symons band was disbanding and I met Harry Brampton, who agreed to join us.....'

Colin's name pops up again in our page on the Thames City Jazz Band (click here) where Jane Buller, the daughter of banjoist Jerry Withers, wrote: '..... I spoke to my sister last night - we were recounting some of the names of bands that Dad played in - Thames City, Imperial, Empty House Jug, Colin Symons, and with Sid Pye and Brian Green. He played regular sessions in various pubs which may be long since gone and Dad went from playing the banjo to the double bass'.

Now Tim Brown writes: 'I was interested to see references to Colin Symons. We both attended Warwick School from 1958 and established a traditional jazz band, the Storyville Stompers when we were about thirteen when we were good friends. Colin was a very enthusiastic, charismatic drummer and totally obsessed by jazz. I got chucked out of Warwick School when I was sixteen and we drifted apart. I have understand that Colin died when he was very young. The Storyville Stompers didn’t last very long, probably my fault as I was the manager! Colin was really the main performer and I can remember his spectacular long drum solos. As you say, this was the time of the trad jazz boom and I remember going with Colin to Kenny Ball concerts at the Coventry Hippodrome as well getting Louis Armstrong’s autograph. Colin was also very keen on swing, including Glenn Miller, which I did not enjoy. I have come across an interesting interview online from It’s Psychedelic Baby magazine (September 2017) with Lance Fogg, formerly of the group Complex. He also went to Warwick School and played in a trio with Colin, with whom he was clearly impressed. [In the article Lance says: '...My first “band” was a jazz trio – the Dave Wilmot trio – piano (Dave), bass (me) and drums (Colin). We played ragtime, Scott Joplin stuff. We made a recording at Dave’s house and had acetates made. I think I’ve still got one! Colin Symons on drums was amazing. He was only 14 going on 15 yet could play all Joe Morello’s stuff from Dave Brubeck’s recordings which was extremely complex jazz drumming. I often wonder if he managed to make it in the music business.....']

The only other reference I can find is in John Chilton's Who's Who Of British Jazz where there is another passing reference to Colin in an iten about cornettist Rod Mason who '....Left Acker Bilk in 1973, worked in drummer Colin Symons' band, then co-led with Ian Wheeler ......'

Tim Brown continues: 'It would be really helpful if you able to find any information about Colin. I think that he was living in Cambridge at one point and died in the mid 1980s.'

So ..... who remembers Colin Symons and can tell us more? Does anyone have any pictures of Colin? Please contact us if you do.

 

Raymond Doughty

Raymond Doughty

 

Last month, we shared correspondence from Dean Doughty who wrote: 'This is a long shot. I am tracing my family tree and my father's father called Raymond Doughty played alto sax in this record. “Deep Water” [Personnel: Harry Davis-bj-g dir. Hamish Christie-t-tb / Johnny Swinfen-Raymond Doughty-cl-as / Sid Brown-cl-ts / Oscar Rabin-bsx-vn-ldr / Alf Kaplan-p / Cecil Walden-d]. I have no idea what he looks like and neither does my father remember as he left at a very young age. There are loads of pictures on the internet of the Oscar Rabin band but I wouldn’t know which one's him ... Do you know? If you can help it would mean the world. we have no pictures at all of him.'

[Click here to listen to Deep Water].

We contacted David Nathan at the National Jazz Archive who searched their material and found that 'whilst Raymond gets a mention in Melody Maker in March 1934 & February & June 1939 – the latter with the Band of Irish Guards – I could not see any photo.' We asked if any readers have information that might help, please contact us.

Dean has now written again having found this picture and footage of Raymond with Oscar Rabin Orchestra playing Rural Rhythm in 1937 (click here) - Raymond is on alto sax and is also the guy on the right singing when the three gentlemen stand up.

 

 

 

 

Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook and Mailing List

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


Click here

 

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

 

 

 

Departure Lounge

 

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

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

 

 

Ron Rubin

 

 

 

Ron Rubin - UK pianist and bass player born in Liverpool and who played at the Cavern Club there before the Beatles. Over the years he was much in demand playing with a wide variety of bands including those of Sandy Brown and Al Fairwearther, Lennie Felix, Humphrey Lyttelton, Keith Ingham, Tony Coe and John Chilton's Feetwarmers with George Melly. Ron also published a number of books of musical limericks. Click here for a video of Ron with John Chilton and George Melly singing Hometown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dick Laurie

 

 

 

Dick Laurie - UK clarinettist who passed through the Departure Lounge on 10th April having caught Covid-19. His Elastic Band which over time included many top UK musicians, played regularly at The Half Moon in Putney. There is surprisingly little about Dick online and the only video of the Elastic Band that I can find is an extract from a gig that does not include a solo from Dick (click here). Perhaps more will emerge. (Photograph courtesy of Marcus Holt).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pete Gresham

 

 

Pete Gresham - Phil Kent tells us that 'Pete Gresham, who was the pianist in the early days with Bob Wallis - and with whom I played bass many times has sadly passed away today as a result of catching the Coronavirus. He will be sadly missed'. Pete was born in East Ham, London and joined Steve Lane's band when he was sixteen. He went on to play with the Storyville Jazzman, the band that Bob Wallis took over. Pete also worked with Monty Sunshine, Pete Strange, Digby Fairweather, Keith Smith, John Petters and Denny Ilett as well as leading his own band. Click here for a video of Pete playing Five Point Blues with the 'Muggsy Remembered' band in 1994. (We do not have more information about Pete at the time of writing).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellis Marsalis Jr

 

 

 

Ellis Marsalis Jr - American pianist born in New Orleans and father of jazz musicians Branford, Delfeayo and Wynton Marsalis. Ellis recorded almost twenty of his own albums and was featured on many discs with such musicians as David 'Fathead' Newman, Eddie Harris and Courtney Pine. He was a leading educator at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, the University of New Orleans, and Xavier University of Louisiana. As a teacher, he encouraged his students to learn from history while also making discoveries in music on their own. "We don't teach jazz, we teach students," he once said about his ability to teach jazz improvisation. Marsalis died at the age of 85 from pneumonia brought on by Covid-19. Click here for a video of the Ellis Marsalis Quartet playing at Jazz San Javier in 2016. New York Times obituary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bucky Pizzarelli

 

Bucky Pizzarelli - American jazz guitarist John Paul "Bucky" Pizzarelli, born in New Jersey, has died from the Coronavirus; his wife, Joan, also passed away from Covid-19 nine days later. He was the father of jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli and double bassist Martin Pizzarelli. The list of musicians he collaborated with includes Benny Goodman, Les Paul, Stéphane Grappelli, and Antônio Carlos Jobim. He joined the Vaughn Monroe dance band in 1944 and in 1952 became a staff musician for NBC, playing with Skitch Henderson. In 1964, he became a member of The Tonight Show Band on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. During his time spent performing for the Tonight Show, he accompanied guest bands and musicians playing through a variety of musical genres. Click here for a video of Bucky Pizzarelli playing Moonglow with Frank Vignola in 2012. New York Times obituary.

 

 

 

 

Lee Konitz

 

 

Lee Konitz - American saxophonist who played a wide range of styles, including bebop, cool jazz, and avant-garde. He worked with the Claude Thornhill Orchestra and Stan Kenton's Orchestra, with Lennie Tristano and was part of Miles Davis' Birth Of The Cool sessions. He was one of relatively few alto saxophonists of this era to retain a distinctive style. Like other students of Tristano, Konitz improvised long, melodic lines with the rhythmic interest coming from odd accents, or odd note groupings suggestive of the imposition of one time signature over another. Lee died from complications brought on by Covid-19. Click here for a video of Lee playing with Bill Evans in Denmark in 1965. The Guardian obituary. New York Times obituary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wallace Roney

 

 

 

Wallace Roney - American hard bop and post bop trumpeter who studied with Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. He was the only trumpet player Davis personally mentored. Wallace played at various times with drummers Tony Willimas and Art Blakey and became one of the most in-demand trumpet players on the professional circuit. He died from complications arising from Covid-19. New York Times obituary. Click here for a video of Wallace Roney plaing 'Round Midnight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jymie Merritt

 

 

 

Jymie Merritt - American double-bassist, electric-bass pioneer, band leader and composer. Merritt was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers group from 1957 until 1962. The same year he left Blakey's band, Merritt formed his own group, The Forerunners, which he led sporadically until his death in April. Merritt also worked as a sideman for blues and jazz musicians such as Bullmoose Jackson, B.B. King, Chet Baker, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie and Lee Morgan. JazzTimes obituary. Click here for a video of Jymie playing solos with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy Gonzalez

 

 

 

Andy González - American double bass player from the Bronx. He and his brother Jerry Gonzalez were founding members of Conjunto Libre and Grupo Folklórico y Experímental Nuevayorquíno. Andy played at various times with Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Eddie Plamieri and Kip Hanrahan. New York Times obituary. Click here for a video of Andy playing bass on Misty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryo Kawasaki

 

 

Ryo Kawaski - Japanese jazz fusion guitarist, composer and band leader, best known as one of the first musicians to develop and popularise the fusion genre and for helping to develop the guitar synthesizer in collaboration with Roland Corporation and Korg. His album Ryo Kawasaki and the Golden Dragon Live was one of the first all-digital recordings and he created the Kawasaki Synthesizer for the Commodore 64. During the 1960s, he played with various Japanese jazz groups and also formed his own bands. In the early 1970s, he moved to New York City, where he settled and worked with GilEvand, Elvin Jones, Chico Hamilton and others. Billboard obituary. Click here for Ryo Kawasaki playing Comes Night in 1980.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bootsie Barnes

 

 

Bootsie Barnes - American jazz saxophonist from Philadelphia who played with various musicians including Lee Morgan, Philly Joe Jones, Jimmy Smith, Don Patterson and Sonny Stitt. He continued to play in his home town and recorded his album "You Leave Me Breathless!" in 1995. He died as a result of the Coronavirus. The Inquirer obituary. Click here for a video of Bootsie playing in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

henry Grimes

 

 

Henry Grimes - American double bass player, violinist, and poet born in Philadelphia. he recorded and performed with many msuicians including Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Anita O'Day, Benny Goodman and Charles Mingus. He became interested in free jazz, playing with Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Albert Ayler and others. He released one album, The Call, as a trio leader in 1965. In the late 1960s, Grimes' career came to a halt after his move to California. It was commonly assumed Grimes had died; he was listed as such in several jazz reference works. Then Marshall Marrotte, a social worker and jazz fan, set out to discover Grimes's fate once and for all. In 2002, he found Grimes alive but nearly destitute, without a bass to play, renting a tiny apartment in Los Angeles writing poetry and doing odd jobs to support himself. He had fallen out of touch with the jazz world and was unaware Albert Ayler had died in 1970, but was eager to perform again. He stopped performing in 2018, with the onset of the effects of Parkinson’s disease and died at the age of 84 from complications of Covid-19. New York Post obituary. Click here for a short video documentary.

 

 

 

 

 

Giuseppi Logan

 

Giuseppi Logan - American reeds player from Philadelphia. He played alto and tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, flute, piano and oboe; he collaborated with Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders and Bill Dixon before forming his own quartet made up of pianist Don Pullen, bassist Eddie Gómez and percussionist Milford Graves. Beset with personal problems, Logan vanished from the music scene in the early 1970s and for over three decades his whereabouts were unknown; however, in 2008 he was filmed by a Christian mission group just after he had returned to New York after years in and out of institutions in the Carolinas. Around this same time filmmaker Suzannah Troy made the first of many short films of Logan practicing in his preferred hangout, Tompkins Square Park. Subsequently he was the subject of a major piece by Pete Gershon in the spring 2009 edition of Signal to Noise Magazine, which detailed the events surrounding Logan's "comeback" gig at the Bowery Poetry Club in February 2009. At some point around 2011 he was shot and ended up in a home in Far Rockaway, Queens. ref: The Devil's Horn seen on SKY Arys. Logan died at a nursing facility in Far Rockaway, Queens from Covid-19. WBGO obituary. Part 1 of a video documentary. Click here to listen to Giuseppi Logan playing Dialogue in 1964.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tony Kofi - Another Kind Of Soul : A Portrait Of Cannonball
(The Last Music Company ) - Released: 24th April 2020

Tony Kofi (saxophone); Andy Davies (trumpet), Alex Webb (piano); Andrew Cleyndert (bass); Alfonso Vitale (drums)

Tony Kofi Another Kind Of Soul

 

 

'BBC and Parliamentary Jazz Awards winner Tony Kofi 's Another Kind Of Soul traces the explosive music of Cannonball Adderley from his first session as leader in 1955 through his work with Miles Davis to the soul-jazz of the 1960s. Recorded live at Luton's Bear Club in 2019, .... This is the distilled version of two very special nights, immortalised by Paul Riley's recordings. The album is in digital format and also available in limited edition 180gm vinyl - the medium of Adderley's era - to best replicate the ambience of this remarkable live recording. The album is not called A Portrait of Cannonball as there is already one bearing that name by the great man himself. It is however, without a doubt, Another Kind of Soul by Tony Kofi. Kofi has performed with the World Saxophone Quartet, Clifford Jarvis, Courtney Pine, Donald Byrd, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Eddie Henderson,Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Ornette Coleman. The Guardian has described his improvisational skill as having "…an arrestingly raw power…" (album notes).

Details an Samples : Video introducing the original project : Listen to Stars Fell From Alabama : Listen to the title track :

 

 

 

 

 

 

AuB - AuB
(Edition Records) - Released: 29th May 2020

Tom Barford (saxophone); Alex Hitchcock (saxophone); Fergus Ireland (bass); James Maddren (drums)

AuB album

 

 

'AuB is the London based quartet, masterminded by two young saxophonists, Tom Barford and Alex Htichcock, musicians who are making huge waves as part of the next generation of virtuosic instrumentalists intent on doing things their way. AuB, pronounced ORB, refers to the meeting and unity of two musical minds and instrumental sounds melded into one group sound. Twin tenors tradition has had a long history but with AuB, it's the collaborative writing process and blending of sounds that drives their group sound. Together with bassist Fergus Ireland and drummer James Maddren, AuB melds contemporary Jazz sounds, an adventurous and risk-taking spirit with a degree of unpredictability, nuance and intense improvisation.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to Not Jazz : Video of band playing Iceman at Rats Records in London : Alex Hitchcock's Tea Break for Sandy Brown Jazz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinosaur - To The Earth
(Edition Records) - Released: 15th May 2020

Laura Jurd (trumpet); Elliot Galvin (piano); Conor Chaplin (double bass); Corrie Dick (drums)

Dinosaur To The Earth

 

 

'As they enter their tenth year of trumpet-led, improvisatory magic, Mercury-nominated Dinosaur present brand new material which reflects ten years of making music as a band. Dinosaur's latest offering finds them in a more acoustic setting, presenting brand new material that reflects on 10 years of miraculous interplay, whilst maintaining the sonic elasticity of their previous, more "plugged-in" album 'Wonder Trail'. Playing the compositions of bandleader and multi-award-winning composer Laura Jurd, Dinosaur explore Jurd's distinctive yet ever-evolving music with playful abandon and technical prowess. Over the past decade, they have earned a reputation as some of the best UK jazz musicians of their generation and played at some of the world's most iconic jazz festivals including North Sea, Molde and Montréal.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to Mosking :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Luft - Life Is The Dancer
(Edition Records) - Released: 17th April 2020

Rob Luft (guitar); Joe Wright (tenor saxophone); Joe Webb (hammond organ, piano); Tom McCredie (bass); Corrie Dick (drums); and Featuring: Byron Wallen (trumpet tracks 2 & 10) and Luna Cohen (vocals tracks 2 & 10)

Rob Luft Life Is The Dancer

 

 

'British guitarist Rob Luft returns with Life Is The Dancer, his second album following acclaimed debut Riser (2017). With the same line-up Life Is The Dancer confirms all the praise and promise of an artist of the moment and commands attention for its brilliance and originality. Rob Luft is a superstar in the making - a virtuoso, a band-leader, a composer of vibrant, original music and a captivating communicator. Life Is The Dancer is an eagerly awaited and anticipated release from a future star.' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Listen to the title track Life Is The Dancer : Listen to Berlin :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juliet Wood - Sconsolato
(Elsden Music) Released: 1st May 2020

Juliet Wood (vocals); John Crawford (piano); Andrés Ticino (percussion); Andrés Lafone (bass); Marisa Wessler (backing vocals - In These Shoes)

Juliet Wood Sconsolato

 

 

'This collaboration with three masters of Latin-flavoured Jazz - John Crawford (piano), Andrés Lafone (bass) and Andrés Ticino (drums & percussion) - overlays the flowing vocal lines with complex rhythms and an intriguing vibe. The title track, Sconsolato, is a heart-rending song of love and loss written by bassist Jimmy Woode and recorded in 1968 by Mark Murphy. Juliet’s carefully curated repertoire continues with musical gems such as Chelsea Bridge (Billy Strayhorn), Journey Within (Kenny Barron/Clare Foster), Midnight Sun (Lionel Hampton/Johnny Mercer), In These Shoes (Kirsty McColl et al.), Slow Hot Wind (Henry Mancini/Norman Gimbel) and two lesser known but beautiful Hoagy Carmichael tunes Lying to Myself and I Walk with Music. Also given a refreshing revival are Duncan Lamont’s bluesy Billie Holiday and the wistful Manhattan in the Rain. An up-tempo, percussive Fascinating Rhythm (Gershwin) completes this delightful collection.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Listen to Billie Holiday : Listen to In These Shoes :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tony Lee - Tony Lee With The Alvin Roy Band
(Self Produced by Alvin Roy) - Released: 25th February 2020

Tony Lee (piano); Alvin Roy (clarinet); George Oag (guitar); Danny Padmore (bass); Colin Seymour (drums)

Tony Lee With The Alvin Roy Band

 

 

'Tony Lee, who died in 2004, was a leading British pianist who played with some of the world's top musicians over a career spanning 40 years. This live session was recorded, on a portable home cassette recorder, at the Prince of Orange, Rotherhithe, London in 1988, when Tony guested with Alvin Roy's band. Consequently, the sound is not exactly of "Studio" quality but this rare recording captures the atmosphere of the night, the outstanding playing of Tony and the musical empathy that was shown by the other musicians. Tony was well known for his ability to absorb "Errol Garner" style, which is superbly illustrated on "The Way You Look Tonight" with its elaborate intro' but the remaining tracks are pre Tony Lee ... melodic and swinging.' (album notes).

Details : Purchase details : Listen to Blues For Bird : Listen to Lover Man :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America

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

 

Lynne Arriale Trio - Chimes Of Freedom
(Challenge Records) - Released: 28th February 2020

Lynne Arriale (piano); Jasper Somsen (bass); E.J. Strickland (drums); K.J. Denhert (vocals)

Lynne Arriale Chimes Of Freedom

 

 

'Chimes of Freedom' is Lynne Arriale's second album on Challenge Records and her 15th as a leader. Lynne is joined by renowned musicians, Dutch bassist/co-producer Jasper Somsen, drummer, E.J. Strickland, and guest vocalist, K.J. Denhert. In Chimes, her most passionate artistic statement to date, Lynne reflects on freedom, cultural diversity, and her wish that all refugee families may reach an inclusive safe harbour among the democratic nations of the world. This remarkable collection features seven of Lynne's original, deeply personal works. Lynne is known throughout the jazz world for the clarity, honesty and lyricism of her melodic lines, her virtuoso technique, and her genius for creating a synergistic environment around the trio, whose sound is greater than the sum of its parts. Lynne's albums have consistently topped the US Jazzweek Radio Charts and have appeared on numerous "Best Of" lists, including the New Yorker, United Press International, JAZZIZ, JazzTimes and Jazz History Online.' (album notes)

Details and Samples : Listen to Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child : Listen to Journey : Radio Interview with Lynne :

 

 

 

 

Andy Milne and Unison - The reMISSION
(Sunnyside Records) - Released: 10th April 2020

Andy Milne (piano); John Hébert (bass); Clarence Penn (drums)

Andy Milne The reMISSION

 

'Marking Milne’s first foray into piano trio performance, the album is a stunning shift in direction in the artist’s illustrious career. In late 2017, a life-changing cancer diagnosis forced Milne into a period of reflection over his fruitful career, a re-evaluation of his direction as an artist, and finally, remission. Added to the mix was an unexpected offer (which he accepted), for a full-time professorship from The University of Michigan. After conquering his diagnosis, Milne seized the opportunity to tackle a musical venture that he has always found exciting, and at times daunting: the powerful intimacy of the piano trio format. Juno award winner Milne brings a bold, imaginative sound to this pared down context, presenting fresh, original material written for this hallmark collaboration between himself, drummer Clarence Penn and bassist John Hébert ..... While Milne’s journey reflects a reversal of the jazz pianists’ time-honored practice of starting their careers with a trio and tackling larger configurations later, this decision has paid off by informing his trio sound with a structural and harmonic richness, and masterful interplay atypical to mainstream of the piano trio idiom.... (album notes). '.....the pianist embraces this Unison trio project with all his soul. He is found in great shape throughout the ten tracks of a record composed of eight originals - some of them purposely written for this trio - and two covers, which bookend the album .... The album title, The reMission, couldn’t be clearer, and Milne deserves compliments for both the remission of the disease he was diagnosed with and the mission accomplished with this gorgeous trio recording.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video introducing the band : Live video of Passion Dance :

 

 

 

Dayna Stephens Trio - Liberty
(Contagious Music) - Released: 28th February 2020

Dayna Stephens (tenor and baritone saxophones); Ben Street (acoustic bass); Eric Harland (drums).

Dayna Stephens Trio Liberty

 

 

'Well-versed saxophonist Dayna Stephens went for an appealing trio recording session with longtime collaborators, bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric Harland. These musicians were featured on Stephens’ very first recording, The Timeless Now (CTA Records, 2007), and one composition from that album - “Lost And Found” - appears on Liberty with a new outfit, passing a sensation of downtempo jazz without really being it. The warmly connected bass lines join the laid-back drumming to support the darkly wistful tones of Stephens, who, on this one, plays baritone sax with asserted pensiveness ..... Shaped with equal parts sturdiness and grace, the 11 tracks of Liberty, Stephens’ ninth recording as a leader and first trio output, flourish with invention, suspension, and resolution. Above all, the group brings emotion into play, building and releasing tension in a stylized fashion.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Listen to Planting Flowers : Listen to Kwooked Stweet : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Ted Poor - You Already Know
(Impulse! Records) - Released: 28th February 2020

Ted Poor (drums); Andrew D’Angelo (saxophone); Andrew Bird (violin); Blake Mills (guitar).

Ted Poor You Already Know

 

 

'Seattle-based drummer Ted Poor possesses a clear, detailed language that makes him a singular voice among fellow instrumentalists. He achieved wider notoriety after joining trumpeter Cuong Vu in his trio and 4-tet projects, embracing once more the leadership with this brand new outing, You Already Know. Comprising nine pieces that favor smartly arranged forms of interplay, the album features the gifted saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo, as well as violinist Andrew Bird and guitarist Blake Mills on one of the tracks. One doesn't have to wait long to witness the group’s constructive chemistry. “Emilia” opens the album with an intelligible conversational drum cycle that keeps going. Poor deals with each part of the drum kit with astuteness, extracting beautiful, contrasting tones that are not averse to scintillation. D’Angelo’s prayerful melodies rest over the effective piano comping that further brightens the Americana-suggested scenario. Everything seems so simple, detached of unnecessary complexities, that makes hard to believe how remarkably good it sounds ......I wish Poor were more prolific as a leader since his formidable aesthetics and minimalistic compositional adroitness make him one of the most diligent rhythmic colorists of our times.' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Video Introduction : Listen to Emilia : Listen to At Night :

 

 

 

Europe and Elsewhere

 

Stefano Travaglini - Monk
(Notami Jazz) - Released: 5th March 2020

Stefano Travaglini (piano)

Stefano Travaglini Monk

 

 

'Italian pianist Stefano Travaglini is accustomed to play solo, and he does it in a unique way. His newest solo album is called Monk, the sparkling follow up to Ellipse (Notami Jazz, 2017). As you can immediately guess, this recording consists in personal interpretations of pieces authored by the genius pianist Thelonious Monk. Over the course of this session, he flies freely, refusing imposed boundaries and configuring various combinations drawn from the modern classical and jazz idioms. This way, he enables Monk’s music to be smeared and smudged into new colors and shapes ..... The stirring and inventive take on “Round Midnight”, for example, is hair-raising. Loosened up in tempo but still keeping the wondrous sentiment and structure of the original, this piece is one of the most beautiful on the record .....With no cuts or edits, Travaglini’s free improvisation offers an expanded, progressive, third stream vision of Monk’s music.' (JazzTrail)

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yuri Honing Acoustic Quartet - Bluebeard
(Challenge Records) - Released: 20th March 2020

Yuri Honing (saxophone); Wolfert Brederode (piano); Gulli Gudmundsson (bass); Joost Lijbaart (drums)

Yuri Honing Bluebeard

 

 

'Yuri Honing has dedicated his new album to the gruesome heritage of Bluebeard, titlular character of the 17th Century French fairytale. The duke with the seven wives sybolizes other historic European figures such as Pablo Picasso, who conquered women and loved them, but also destroyed them; all these phases inspired his art. A sonnet by the first female Pulitzer Prize winner, Edan Milay, a variation on the fairy tale, forms the basis of the album Bluebeard.The relentless Bluebeard now has a soundtrack thanks to Dutch saxophone pride Yuri Honing. With his Acoustic Quartet, Yuri Honing has been celebrating international success for many years. As with his previous album Goldbrun, the release of Bluebeard will be followed by an exhibition at Museum De Fundatie in Zwolle, a 'Gesamtkunstwerk' of paintings, sculptures and music in collaboration with painter Mariecke van der Linden. Honing's awards include three Edisons and the Boy Edgar Prijs 2012, and he has worked with countless greats such as Pat Metheny, Charli Haden, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Paul Bley and Craig Taborn.' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video for Bluebeard Maze : Listen to She Walked In Beauty Like The Night :

 

 

 

 

Re-Releases

 

 

Nat King Cole - The Complete Nelson Riddle Studio Sessions
(Music Milestones) - Released: 6th March 2020 [8 CDs]

Nat King Cole (vocals, piano); Nelson Riddle (arranger, conductor) with various personnel including Mannie Klein, Pete Candoli, Sweets Edison (trumpet); George Roberts, Milt Bernhardt, Juan Tizol (trombone); Jack Dumont, Ted Nash, Joe Koch (reeds); Jimmy Rowles, Paul Smith, Lou Levy (piano); Irving Ashby, Barney Kessel (guitar); Joe Mondragon, Red Callander (bass); Archie Freeman, Alvin Stoller (drums) and others.

Nat King Cole Nelson Riddle Studio Sessions

 

'Limited edition 8CD deluxe box set featuring 216 tracks - issued for the first time ever on a single set. Includes a 40-page booklet with rare photos and memorabilia, updated liner notes and detailed discography. This monumental box set presents, for the first time on a single release, all the existing songs recorded by the great Nat King Cole with orchestras conducted and/or arranged by the equally great Nelson Riddle. Cole and Riddle started their extended collaborations in 1950 and continued to work together regularly for a whole decade until 1960, when Ralph Carmichael became Cole's main conductor. The songs are presented here chronologically in session order, and are accompanied by a comprehensive booklet including rare photos, memorabilia , and detailed information on the dates. Along with well know classics such as "Unforgettable" and "Mona Lisa", this collection presents dozens of rarely heard and hard to find songs which had never been issued before in their proper context.' (album notes). 'Hard on the heels of the excellent Hittin' The Ramp 1936-43 set on Resonance comes this exemplary package collating all Nat Cole's sessions with Nelson Riddle (and a final session with Ralph Carmichael at which Cole remade some of the early Riddle arrangements in stereo .... overall this makes a fine complement to the Resonance set as a rounded portrait of a very significant decade in Cole's career ...' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Digby Fairweather - Notes From A Jazz Life
(Acrobat) - Released: 2nd February 2020 [2 CDs]

Digby Fairweather (cornet) with various personnel.

Digby Fairweather Notes From A Jazz Life

 

'Cornetist Digby Fairweather has become one of the leading figures on the British jazz scene, both as a bandleader and sideman in other leaders bands, and as a writer and broadcaster, as well as being the founder and director of the charity Jazz Centre UK in Southend, aimed at promoting, preserving and celebrating the culture of jazz. As a cornetist, his style embraces many strands of jazz, being influenced by the likes of Nat Gonella, Louis Armstrong, Ruby Braff, Billy Butterfield, Bobby Hackett, and Red Nichols. This 33-track 2-CD set is a retrospective of his career to date, compiled by Digby himself, and with substantial booklet notes written by him. It comprises recordings from across his career, from his studio debut in 1971 through to 2012, and features recordings with a host of the top names in British jazz, including of course several by bands he has led under the names of Digby's Half Dozen and Digby's Fairweather Friends. Among the artists with whom Digby performs in this set are John Barnes, Roy Williams, Ron Russell, Keith Ingham, Fred Hunt, Chris Ellis, Brian Lemon, Pete Strange, Lennie Hastings, Stan Barker, Danny Moss, Martin Litton, George Melly and Wild Bill Davison. Its a musical overview of a significant career selected by the artist himself, and providing not only a showcase for his talents, but an entertaining insight into the British jazz scene across four decades.' (album notes). ' Blessed is the 74-year-old musician who is encouraged to compile a career retrospective, write a detailed autobiographical essay, and lives to tell the tale. This is exactly what happens here over the course of this double-CD dip into Digby's plentiful discography ..... So, milestones aplenty, great players alongside, contentment and overall, a sense of a sprited jazz journey well-travelled with, doubtless, plenty more surprises to come' (Peter Vacher in Jazzwise ****)

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny Hodges - Creamy
(Essential Jazz Classics) - Released: 1st November 2019

Johnny Hodges (alto sax); Clark Terry, Ray nance (trumpet); Lawrence Brown (trombone); Harry Carney (baritone sax); Billy Strayhorn (piano), Jimmy Woode (bass), Sonny Greer, Sam Woodyard (drums).

Johnny Hodges Creamy

 

 

'Presented here is the complete Johnny Hodges album Creamy (Verve MGV-8136), one of his best small group albums as a leader. In addition to Hodges, many important figures from the Duke Ellington band are also featured here, among them Clark Terry, Lawrence Brown, Jimmy Hamilton, Harry Carney, and the great Billy Strayhorn, who also contributes three compositions. Hodges’ following date as a leader, showcasing a very similar personnel, has been added as a bonus in its entirety. (album notes). 'Was a jazz album ever more appropriately titled? This EJC reissue of two of Hodges' mid-1950s Verve sessions is a perfect summary of what made the great Ellington altoist the revered voice he was ....should you only know Hodges from his apperances with Ellington this is a record that'll round out a great deal of the picture. It's simply classic jazz, 'mainstream' if you like, but shot through with the very essentials of the idiom.Very highly recommended' (Simon Spillett in Jazzwise ****)

 

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Parker - Five Classic Albums
(Avid Jazz) - Released: 27th March 2020 [2 CDs]

Charlie Parker (alto sax) with various personnel including Kenny Dorham, Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet); Al Haig, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, Hank Jones, Walter Bishop (piano); Tommy Potter, Curley Russell, Ray Brown, Teddy Kotick, Percy Heath (bass); Max Roach, Buddy Rich, Don Lamond, Roy Haynes, Art Tayler (drums) plus big bands and strings.

Charlie Parker Five Classic Albums

 

'AVID Jazz continues with its Five Classic Album series with a re-mastered 2CD release from Charlie Parker, complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details.“Bird & Diz”; “Big Band”; “With Strings”; “Charlie Parker Quartet” and “Plays Cole Porter’” At last, the wait is over, we hear you cry, again! AVID have finally inducted Charlie Parker into our Four Classic Albums “hall of fame”! In fact, you have waited so long and so patiently that we have decided to add in another album to make it Five Classic Albums! .... Ok, so we have taken our time in paying tribute to one of the greatest sax players who ever lived, but we wanted to get it right, we wanted to select the best albums that truly captured the huge talents of Charlie Parker. We didn’t want to give you just any ol’ bird! And we think with the selections we have chosen we furnished our feathered friend with five fine examples of his fabulous talents!' (album notes) '.......There are five albums here rather than Avid's usual four because two of them were 10-inch LPs: the self-explanatory Bird And Diz ... and the 1952-53 quartet set with Roach. These two are the highlights ...The closing small-group set of Cole Porter tunes ... is from Bird's last year and finds some songs better suited to him than others ...' (Brian Pristley in Jazzwise ****)

 

Details : Track listing :

 

 

 

 

Some Other Pages on this Website:

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

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

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

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

 

 

Back to Top

Follow us on FacebookFacebook

© Sandy Brown Jazz 2020

 

Click HERE to join our mailing list

 

 

 

-

 

 

Archie Shepp

as

back to top