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Still Using Windows XP On Your Computer?
A couple of months ago we reported that Microsoft is planning to withdraw its support for its XP operating system from April 8th this year. The word seems to be that if you are still using XP, Microsoft will no longer be making updates that support the system, rendering it vulnerable to viruses and attacks, even if you have a virus protection programme.
So far, we have not come across any proposals to solve this issue apart from updating your computer with a different system (if it has the capacity), or replacing the computer.
Click here for an article in The Telegraph on the situation. Click here for the notice from Microsoft. Click here for a more detailed article. The computer magazine Computeractive has been running a series of articles on the alternatives that they suggest are open - Buying a new Windows 8 computer, upgrading to Windows 7 (if your computer has the capacity), changing away from Windows to Linux as your operating system, etc. None of these are without issues of cost or technology.
Interestingly, the magazine also ran a survey about their readers' intentions. By February, 26% said they no longer used XP, 41% said they would go on using XP, 16% would upgrade to Windows 7, 5% would upgrade to Windows 8 and 12% said they would change to the Linux operating system (there is no indication about the number of people who replied, only the percentages).
The organisation Serious is arranging another Big Sing and the call is out for singers who would like to join the workshops on 5th and 6th April.
'Join our Serious Big Sing with Randolph Matthews and perform in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. Led by renowned vocalist Randolph Matthews, we are pleased to announce a new Serious Big Sing taking place on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 April 2014. Join our pop-up a cappella choir for two days of workshops, where you will learn some quirky covers arranged by Randolph, plus develop your vocal skills, performance technique and even try a bit of beatboxing!'
'Following the workshops with Randolph on the afternoon of Sunday 6 March, you'll perform as part of the opening events in the south of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. The weekend of activity in the park is free for everyone to attend so your family and friends can come and see you perform and find out what’s in this fantastic new park'.
'Singing experience welcome. Open to age 14+. Under 16s must be accompanied by a participating adult.You must be able to commit to the following dates and times:
Saturday 5 April 10:30 - 16:30
Sunday 6 April 10:30 - 17:00
Places on our Serious Big Sing are FREE but ticketed
Book your place now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org : The telephone number for Serious is: 020 7324 1880
Jazz Services, the UK's jazz support organisation, is seeking an experienced individual for the role of Advertising Manager for their bi-monthly magazine JazzUK. For more information on the role and for details on how to apply, click here.
In March, the Sunday Times carried an item about 24 year old drummer Jason Barnes from Georgia who lost his lower right arm in a freak electric shock accident and thought his ambition to become a professional drummer had ended. Two years on, he now has a new prosthesis that can hold not one but two drumsticks.
The prosthesis was designed by Gil Weinberg at the Georgia Institute of Technology who was reported as saying: 'I had previously done no work embedding robotics into humans but he was devastated by his accident and I couldn't say no'.
By tensing his muscles, Jason is able to control the angle of the stick and speed of movement. As a second step, the design incorporates a second stick 'that has a mind of its own' with a computer and microphone so it can listen to the rhythm Jason and any other musicians are playing and improvise.
Jason says: 'With the robotic prosthetic, the speeds are pretty much endless. Having a third stick is like playing with an extra person and gives more creativity'.
Click here for a video of Jason talking about his experience and with footage of his playing.
Tony Milliner - My Favourite Things
Tony’s choice of favourite track this month comes from Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. 'This track comes from the recording Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster and is one that you must listen to until the end,' says Tony. 'This is a classic album where two of jazz's great tenor saxophonists come together for a historic session'.
The personnel are: Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophone),
Ben Webster (tenor taxophone),
Oscar Peterson (piano),
Herb Ellis (guitar),
Ray Brown (double bass) and
Alvin Stoller, Stan Levey (drums). From a session recorded in 1957, the numbers were issued on two albums. There is now a release that contains the complete classic album Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster, as well as the other six tunes from the session, originally issued on different Hawkins’ albums and long out-of-print anthologies.
As a further bonus, four tunes are added from sessions recorded on both the previous and the same day by each saxophonist alone with the same rhythm section. The sessions end with each player presenting his own reading of “Ill Wind”.
Stuart Broomer has written: 'Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster first met at a Kansas City jam session at which Hawkins finally encountered his match in local tenors Webster, Herschel Evans, and Lester Young. The all-night meeting has become the stuff of legend (and a continuous thread in Robert Altman's film Kansas City, though there it's reduced to two tenors). Recorded by Norman Granz, this 1957 meeting supports the two with fine accompaniment that includes Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, and Herb Ellis. The material includes the great "Blues for Yolanda," with a honking, squeaking solo that suggests Hawkins is the father of all R&B tenor saxophonists as well as those in jazz, while "Rosalita" has an engaging Latin beat. There's also plenty of room for the two to display their ballad art, but there's no real competition between the two big-toned, gruff tenorists, each a mature artist enjoying the highest challenge a peer might offer'. (Click here for more information).
Click here to listen to Cocktails For Two.
Trombonist Mel Henry picked up on correspondence about the Centre 42 Big Band (see Forum below) and tells us that Ben Watt, the son of pianist Tommy Watt, has just written a family memoir, Romany and Tom, which has been well reviewed and has lots of information about Tommy. Ben is also a musician as well as being an author and a DJ.
The book, published by Bloomsbury at £14.99, is introduced with:
'Ben Watt's father, Tommy, was a working-class Glaswegian jazz musician, a politicised left-wing bandleader and a composer. His heyday in the late fifties took him into the glittering heart of London’s West End, where he broadcast live with his own orchestra from the Paris Theatre and played nightly with his quintet at the the glamorous Quaglino's. Ben's mother, Romany, the daughter of a Methodist parson, schooled at Cheltenham Ladies' College, was a RADA-trained Shakespearian actress, who had triplets in her first marriage before becoming a leading showbiz columnist in the sixties and seventies. They were both divorcees from very different backgrounds who came together like colliding trains in 1957'.
'Both a personal journey and a portrait of his parents, Romany and Tom is a vivid story of the post-war years, ambition and stardom, family roots and secrets, life in clubs and in care homes. It is also about who we are, where we come from, and how we love and live with each other for a long time'.
Click here for more information.
Album released: 7 April 2014 – Label: Babel
When we featured Emilia Mårtensson in our Taster slot last month, I confessed that I have a soft spot for her voice. Her 2012 album And So It Goes with pianist Barry Green and guests caught my attention, and I have been looking forward to her new album, Ana, that is released this month.
Ana is named after Emilia’s Slovenian grandmother. It is a mix of influences with interpretations of tracks by Jamie Doe, Barnaby Keen and Emine Pirhasan, a homage to seventies song-writers like Joni Mitchell, a working of Paul Simon’s Everything Put Together Falls Apart, and the Swedish folk songs that are still embedded in her music, despite Emilia having been based in London since coming to Trinity College to study music in 2000.
The clarity of Emilia’s voice captures you from the first track, Jamie Doe’s Harvest Moon, which you can hear if you click here. The arrangement matches the vocals nicely with Barry Green’s piano and a backing that involves the double bass of Sam Lasserson (prominent on the album), Brazilian Adriano Adewale’s percussion and the Fable String Quartet (Kit Massey and Paloma Deike, violins, Becky Hopkin, viola, Natalia Rozario, cello).
The title track, Ana, is gentle as a slow waltz with some nice piano from Barry Green and a string arrangement by Sam Crowe. Barnaby Keen’s Learnt From Love with its bass and strings introduction has hints of Joni Mitchell. Emine Pirhasan’s tender Tomorrow Can Wait has an intense exit; the traditional Swedish folk song När Som Jag Var På Mitt Adertonde År (When I Was In My Eighteenth Year) follows with Emilia’s voice set simply against bass and percussion; saxophonist Joe Henderson’s Black Narcissus with lyrics by Emilia is one of my favourite tracks in that I particularly like the arrangement, her interpretation and the piano solo by Barry Green. Paul Simon’s Everything Put Together Falls Apart retains the composer’s influence with its timing and credit is due to Barry Green’s playing; a few bars of Ana is then reprised as a lead-in to Moffi’s Song with children’s voices faintly in the background and the very brief Vackra Manniska (Beautiful Kingdom?) takes us out of the album with a two-tracked vocal that has a folk/gospel feel..
I find that Ana is, on the whole, a gentle album, beautifully sung and full of different textures. The lyrics matter a lot on this release and although Emilia’s voice and interpretation is quite clear, I wish the lyrics had been available in print with the album.
Click here for a 12 minute 'behind the scenes' video looking at the making of the album in which Emilia and others talk about the music and you get a taste of the content. Click here for more information and to sample the tracks on the album.
Ana was launched on 4th March at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in London, and Emilia will be performing at the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday 3rd April.
Congratulations to trumpeter Henry Spencer and trombonist Tom Green for being amongst the winners of this year's Help Musicians UK Emerging Excellence Award. We have featured both Henry (click here) and Tom (click here) on the website over past months. Help For Musicians UK were previously known as the Musicians Benevolent Fund.
Tom Green will be using the award to take his Septet into the recording studio. Tom says: 'We are recording our debut CD at the end of April at Real World Studios. Look out for the release and tour dates towards the end of the year'. Tom and some of the band head for Tunisia this month for a workshop and concert series for International Jazz Day (30th April), as a joint project with the Jazz Club de Tunis and Vanguard Orchestra in New York.
Henry Spencer tells us that he will be using the money to go towards making films of his band, Juncture, playing with a string quartet and also towards the cost of promotional videos for their album. Henry Spencer and his band will be playing two sets at The Spice of Life (click here) on 8th May. Click here to listen to Juncture playing three of Henry's recent compositions.
Click here to see the full list of 27 award winners (not all jazz musicians).
If you would like to apply to become an Emerging Excellence artist, the next round of applications will open on 1 May 2014. Click here for information.
Rob Adams reports that jazz promotions are returning to Nairn in Scotland. Once renowned for high quality jazz concerts and an annual jazz festival that saw musicians including Stanley Turrentine, Gene Harris, Benny Green, Scott Hamilton and Warren Vache appear in the small seaside town in the Scottish Highlands, Nairn was left without any regular live jazz when promoter and jazz festival founder Ken Ramage died in 2011. Now a group of enthusiasts is hoping to renew the town’s jazz reputation through the recently formed Jazz Nairn, promoting concerts and working towards the jazz festival’s return.
Italian pianist Rossano Sportiello, a popular visitor to Nairn during Ken Ramage’s time, plays the first concert on Thursday May 8 at Nairn Community and Arts Centre. The National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland, with guest saxophonist Gordon McNeill, follows on July 17.
Get The Blessing - Quiet
Having toured during March, Get The Blessing have put up a video for Quiet, one of one of the tunes I particularly like from their album Lope And Antilope. (click here).
Album Released: 17th March 2014 - Label: Trail Belle Records
A Thousand Kisses Deep
Last month we recommended that you try to catch Irish singer Christine Tobin’s A Thousand Kisses Deep tour to small venues around the UK. I was fortunate to hear her in a small but packed village hall singing songs from her new album with Phil Robson, guitar and Dave Whitford, bass. The tour is still taking place and, after playing in Berlin and Athens in April, heads for Scotland in May where Christine will visit Aberdeen, Dundee, Wick, Kilbarchan, Edinburgh, Dunfermile and Stirling. Click here for her live dates.
Christine Tobin moved to London in 1987 and studied at the Guildall School of Music. She began her solo career in 1995 and won the British Composer Award for her 2012 album Sailing To Byzantium in 2012.
Christine’s new album A Thousand Kisses Deep celebrates the work of Leonard Cohen and really brings his lyrics to life with the meaning she brings the songs. The album includes Phil Robson and Dave Whitford but with the addition of Adriano Adewale (percussion), Huw Warren (accordion), Gwilym Simcock (piano) and Nick Smart (trumpet) on various tracks.
Beautifully recorded, the lyrics are clear and the instruments well-balanced. Huw Warren’s accordion adds atmosphere on four tracks and on Hey That’s No Way To Say Goodbye Adewale adds interesting percussion that sounds like a rainstick beside Robson’s gentle guitar and excellent bass playing from Whitford. It should be said that I find Phil Robson and David Whitford’s playing on this album a joy.
Anthem is just Christine’s voice with Gwilym Simcock’s piano and the two work perfectly togethe,r gently and lyrically working with the words to the song.
Christine says: ‘I love the poetry and beauty of Leonard Cohen’s songs and I made this recording so I could share my passion for his words. You Know Who I Am is a song that I first heard when I was ten years of age. It has been with me for most of my life now, and I feel its presence like an old friend’.
John Fordham in the Guardian gives the album 4 stars and says: ‘An ear for poetry, a jazz sensibility that invests casually strewn phrases with ambiguities, a balladeer's patience partly inspired by Billie Holiday – these qualities and plenty more make the Dublin-born singer-songwriter Christine Tobin ideal as a Leonard Cohen interpreter. After exploring his classics for years, she has finally devoted an album to him. Like Cohen (who brought violins, mandolins and organs to his 2013 tour), Tobin appreciates the importance of wrapping subtle instrumental tones around the merciless lyrics – in this case Phil Robson’s guitar (bluesy on Tower of Song, African on Suzanne, jazzy on the title track), Huw Warren’s's borderline-abstract accordion, Dave Whitford’s warmly recorded bass and Adriano Adewale's soft percussion .... It's a heartfelt gift for Cohen in his 80th birthday year'.
In Jazzwise magazine, Peter Quinn says: '... these are interpretations that shimmer with beauty and insight'.
Click here to sample the album.
In February, vocalist Kurt Elling performed with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow. An Evening with Kurt Elling - Syntopicon, produced some great music and fortunately some of it is available on this YouTube video where they play and sing Love / Beauty : Lock Tay Boat Song.
The SNJO is, as usual, directed by Tommy Smith. The arragement of this traditional music is by Florian Ross with lyrics by Sir Harold Boulton.
This is a beautiful performance and we urge you not to miss it - click here.
Image by Getty
The Scotsman newspaper said of the concert:
'Jazz singers are not in short supply these days, but genuinely great ones are always a rarity to treasure. Kurt Elling is undoubtedly in that category, and the latest phase of his ongoing collaboration with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra will live long in the memory .......The singer has a glorious gift for narrative to augment his formidable technical and expressive qualities, which extended to the rather unlikely encore, a beautiful version of the Loch Tay Boat Song, arranged by Florian Ross, which Elling learned from hearing The Corries sing it. The tendrils of influence are indeed far reaching'.
Would you like to join readers Steve Day, Carew Reynell and Vic Arnold in reviewing new releases? New albums usually come with publicity information that will give you details about the band and the backgound to the recording. We should welcome people who have an open mind, listen to the tracks on the album and write a description of what you hear - not necessarily a technical description, or whether the album is 'good' or 'bad' - different people like different things, but of course, if you like it, say so and say why.
I am usually able to link reviews of new albums to samples of tracks online so that readers can then get a taste of the album when they read your review.
If you would be interested in reviewing an album, please contact me and let me know if you have a particular jazz interest.
Hey - Watermelon Man
Hey - Watermelon Man
Bring me one that rattles when you lug it
One that's erd and juicy when you plug it
Do you understand - Watermelon Man
Watermelon Man was written by Herbie Hancock but you might also be familiar with the version by Maynard Ferguson. Whichever camp you come from, the number first came out in 1962 on the Herbie Hancock debut album Takin’ Off, a hard bop Blue Note album with shining improvisations by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon.
Click here to hear the original from the Takin’ Off album
Hey - Watermelon Man
Hey - Watermelon Man
Hot and bothered need a little cooling
When I hear your call I start to drooling
Do you understand - Watermelon Man
Interestingly, Watermelon Man was written to help sell the album, the first commercial piece Herbie had ever composed. It worked. A single reached the top 100. The following year, Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaría released the tune as a Latin pop single where it shot up to number 10 in the pop charts. Santamaría’s recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of fame in 1998.
There was a debate about whether Herbie had ‘sold out’ by writing a commercial number but he argued that the sixteen bar blues based on a piano riff was ‘structurally one of his strongest pieces due to its almost mathematical balance’. Either way, it paid his bills for five or six years. He radically re-worked the tune, combining elements of funk, for the album Head Hunters in 1973.
Click here for a video of Herbie Hancock playing a much different version of Watermelon Man on the Elvis Costello show.
Ooooh, watermelon man
Ooooh, watermelon man
'Cause he's got the best melons in the land
He's a real good watermelon man!
The origins of Watermelon Man have a romantic tinge. Herbie Hancock said: "I remember the cry of the watermelon man making the rounds through the back streets and alleys of Chicago. The wheels of his wagon beat out the rhythm on the cobblestones." Oh that it was always so! Selling watermelons can be a far more risky business.
In July of last year, the New Yorker newspaper reported that: ‘On one of the hotter days of the year, a fifty-six-year-old Chinese farmer named Deng Jiazheng rode a tricycle, with his wife, from their village to the nearby city of Chenzhou, in the south-central province of Hunan. The couple had come to hawk a cartload of homegrown watermelons, and they set up their stall along a scenic stretch near a river, where visitors were plentiful and competition scarce. Not long after they arrived, a group of the urban-management force known as the chengguan approached to shoo them from the spot, where such unlicensed peddling was apparently banned’.
‘For the offense, Deng was fined a hundred yuan—about sixteen dollars—surely the equivalent of a day’s work for the couple. To compound the indignity, a member of the chengguan helped himself to four watermelons before leaving, shoving Deng’s wife aside when she opposed the theft. A little while later, just as the couple was setting up shop in another location, yet another squad of chengguan surrounded the stall. A physical altercation ensued, and quickly escalated. Then, in the words of local authorities, Deng, suddenly and without provocation, “dropped dead.”
The chengguan are an Urban Management Law Enforcement force, they support the police in tackling low-level offences in cities and have become unpopular with the Chinese public after a series of high-profile violent incidents.
The event caused an outcry on the internet with people posting protests on China’s microblogs and anti-chengguan protests taking place in Linwu county, Chenzhou, where the incident took place. By December 2013, BBC News reported that four Chinese security officials have been jailed for "intentional injury” and were given prison terms ranging from three to eleven years.
Ooooh, watermelon man
Ooooh, watermelon man
They are just as well as they can be,
Makes you almost want to eat the seed
Going back to the safety of Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters version of Watermelon Man, this time he arranged the tune with synthesizers and a funk influence with an additional eight bars.
Herbie said to Down Beat magazine: "In the popular forms of funk, which I've been trying to get into, the attention is on the rhythmic interplay between different instruments. The part the Clavinet plays has to fit with the part the drums play and the line the bass plays and the line that the guitar plays. It's almost like African drummers where seven drummers play different parts". On the intro and outro of the tune, percussionist Bill Summers blows into a beer bottle imitating hindewhu, a style of singing/whistle-playing found in Pygmy music of Central Africa.
Click here to listen to the Head Hunters version.
The tune has been recorded over two hundred times. Jazz lyricist Jon Hendricks set words to the composition and recorded it on Jon Hendricks Recorded in Person at the Trident (1963). Hendricks was a prominent practitioner of the technique known as 'vocalise' - creating lyrics for jazz instrumental themes. Hendrick's version was also cut by Manfred Mann to be released on the UK hit EP, The One in the Middle and on the US release of their album The Five Faces of Manfred Mann (1965). Click here for the Manfreds with blues man and now broadcaster Paul Jones singing and playing harmonica.
Canadian Maynard Ferguson, he of the high notes, came to prominence with Stan Kenton’s band in the 1950s. With Kenton, he won the Down Beat reader’s poll as Best Trumpeter in 1950, 1951 and 1952. In 1953 he left Kenton for Hollywood where he played for numerous film tracks including The Ten Commandments. By 1956 he was missing live performance (he had played some gigs under aliases whilst contracted to Paramount) and so he became the leader of the fourteen-piece Birdland Dream Band, a band that engaged many jazz musicians including Joe Zawinal and Jaki Byard.
Did you know that in 1969, Maynard moved to the UK to a house just outside Windsor in the small village of Oakley Green? He had two houses while he was in the UK, the final one being a three-story house down by the River Thames. He signed for CBS Records in England and formed a big band with British musicians. The band's repertoire included original compositions as well as pop and rock songs rearranged into a big band format with electronic amplification. The band released recordings on the four "MF Horn" albums, which included arrangements of the pop songs MacArthur Park and Hey Jude.
Click here for a video of Maynard Ferguson playing Watermelon Man live in Vienna in 1967 – not a very good picture, but it gives a comparison to the Herbie Hancock version.
Now here’s a version worth seeing. This video (click here) is from Miles Davis’s later period (1991) and has Miles Davis (trumpet), Herbie Hancock (keyboards), Bill Evans (sax), Kenny Garrett (sax), Foley (guitar), Al Foster (drums) and Richard Patterson (bass).
Listen out for the Kenny Garrett alto solo. Miles takes the tune out very simply and as one commentator says: ‘Didn’t know you could chew gum and play trumpet at the same time’!
I leave you with this lowdown recording of Watermelon Man by singer Dee Dee Bridgewater (click here) from the album Jazz A Saint Germain (It looks as though this album is available as an Australian import if you click here)
Ooooh, watermelon man
Ooooh, watermelon man
I would buy one everyday
If you'd only come the way, yeah
'Cause I really dig
Kathy Sanders was once married to drummer and London jazz club owner Sandy Sanders. Now retired, living in Devon and better known as Kate, she is a member of the Exeter Jazz and Blues Society. In a series of articles she looks back at those early days when she discovered jazz. The first article appeared last month and can be found if you click here.
In the economic climate in the fifties, most jazzers who could afford cars had old bangers. There were some exceptions. I remember when Kenny Ball got lucky and got a Jag. He gave us a lift to Cook's Ferry Inn and I was frightened witless by the speed. A notable car-owner was Jim Bray, who appropriately conveyed his double bass in a Rolls Royce.
A vintage car may have been responsible for altering the course of my life. When Sandy Sanders approached me in the Blue Posts behind the 100 Club and invited me to a party, he said: 'I've got a car'. That was it. I was in love! Bessie (Smith) was a 1927 Hillman, registration number GU 113, with the handbrake on the driver's right, a running board and with the magical capability of stretching to accommodate a whole band, their instruments and me. I, (then only two thirds my present size and weight) was usually body surfing across several pairs of knees in the back seat.
Bessie was capacious enough for a Honeymoon. Memories include that of Sandy backing her, fully laden with hooting musicians ACROSS a zebra crossing and of his being poured into her one New Years Eve after a party way out in the country, still protesting that he had seen dragons crawling up the fireplace! He drove all the way home on the wrong side of the road with me hanging out of the passenger window as look-out, as he was scared of going into the ditch on the left. Fifty years on, I can still remember how my stomach muscles un-knotted with relief as we crossed Hammersmith Bridge, nearly home.
Bessie was older than we were and when her starting-dog gave up she had to be parked on a hill, or I had to push. When she passed away Sandy went stupid and replaced her with an Austin Ruby, acquired in a straight swop with the brand new electric razor I had just bought him to celebrate the removal of his beard. I was furious! I never liked that car and when she was towed up on to Hampstead Heath and set on fire, GOOD RIDDANCE!.
Is my memory correct? Was it Bob Wallis who made a big play of struggling to remove his glass eye, then dropping it in your beer? It was all pretence. He actually carried a marble up his sleeve, but even when people eventually twigged it was a marble in the bottom of the glass, many a pint was left standing.
Bruce Turner was known for his absent-mindedness, his eating habits, and for wearing coms (combinations). That was thermal underwear, but all-in-one, like an outsized babygrow. The story goes that members of the band were worried when they were due on and Bruce hadn't returned from the toilet, the search party found him struggling. He couldn't quickly do what he had to do as the coms were on back-to-front!
Both of these stories are hearsay and they did not originate with me.
Then there was Johnnie Jacks, very involved in recorded jazz, though I don't remember that he played at all. At a party in the house where the owners were away, we had considerately rolled up the carpet. After a sleep, Johnnie appeared, wrapped in the fuzzy brown, real felt underfelt! He knew the filthiest of songs, which he used to sing in the back of our car, as sweetly as though they were nursery rhymes.
We displayed some odd behaviour ourselves. After a few months of marriage, Sandy Sanders decided he needed a night out with me. He arrived home legless and stinking. Next morning I couldn't waken him to go to his day job as a motor mechanic. His hair was very long, thick, curly and greasy from being under cars (no showers then and the landlady allowed us only one bath a week). As he lay in the well-known drunken stupor, I cut his hair - all I could reach, right down to the scalp. He was lying on his left side, so I couldn't get to that bit. I went off to work, unrepentant though a little apprehensive. When I sneaked home, the beast was laughing. He went to work and on gigs for several days, bald on one side and long-haried on the other and seemed very pleased to boast that his wife had done it.
To be continued next month .......
The idea behind this item is to offer a 'taste' of a musician, singer or band that you might not have come across before. This month, we spend time with ......
Hoagy - The Chris Ingham Quartet
Pianist and vocalist Chris Ingham played with the Flanagan Ingham Quartet in the 1990s, the decade that saw him record two albums, Zanzibar and Textile Lunch. Click here to sample Textile Lunch, Click here to sample Zanzibar. David Nathan described Textile Lunch as being: ' .... built around a Barry Gifford description of a journey to Jack Kerouac's hometown of Lowell, MA. The four-piece mini-suite (tracks six through nine) "Textile Town" expresses Gifford's protagonist's quest for Kerouac, with the first stop on the search reflected by "Moody Street," the beat author/poet's address. What follows is a march around the formerly flourishing but now aging city, visiting spots where Kerouac might hang out. Each of the "movements" in the suite offers assurance that this stop will be successful, and then disappointment when it isn't ... Formed in 1995, the Flanagan Ingham Quartet has received positive reactions from jazz critics and, much more importantly, the public. It has worked such important venues as Ronnie Scott's famous jazz watering hole as well as various jazz festivals. The group delivers the permutations of bop and early post-bop jazz in a refreshing and engaging way'.
Today, Chris is a record producer, an author (The Rough Guide To Frank Sinatra – click here) and jazz piano and voice tutor at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. He leads the house trio at Jazz At The Hunter Club in Bury St. Edmunds where he has accompanied many notable musicians, and he is the musical director of the popular film song repertory quintet Jazz At The Movies. Click here to listen to Jazz At the Movies and for more information about them.
Click here for a video of the Chris Ingham Trio playing But Not For Me with trumpeter Sue Richardson at The Hunter’s Club.
When I saw that Chris has released a new album, Hoagy, I was swayed before I ‘opened the packet’. I like the ‘distressed’ look of the album cover, I love the tunes of Hoagy Carmichael, and Clive Davis in the Sunday Times said the album was ‘lovely’. Is it? Yes. I think ‘lovely’ is appropriate. This is an enjoyable album with fine playing from the Quartet. The bass of Rev. Andrew Brown and drums of Russell Morgan put down a reliable foundation to Chris Ingham’s piano and engaging vocals and Paul Higgs’s excellent trumpet playing that catches the mood of Hoagy’s time without plagiarisation – for example on the tune Dear Bix, Paul does not attempt to copy Bix Beiderbecke’s style as many might.
This is very much a vocal album and one of the joys is that is has introduced me to songs by Hoagy Carmichael that I don’t know. The standards are there – opening with a happy version of Riverboat Shuffle - Skylark, Georgia On My Mind, Old Buttermilk Sky, Lazy Bones, Stardust, but I was not familiar with the tunes and lyrics to Old Man Harlem, Baltimore Oriole, Memphis In June (with a nice solo from Paul Higgs) and Dear Bix. Bix Beiderbecke was, of course a close friend of Hoagy Carmichael and Hoagy’s first child was named Hoagy Bix Carmichael. There is one track, Huggin’ And Chalkin’ written by Hayes and Goell but known for Hoagy’s performance, that made me smile in that it tells of the singer hugging a rather large woman, chalking where his arms can reach and then meeting someone coming the other way. Click here to listen to Hoagy’s version.
Giving the album four stars in the London Evening Standard, Jack Masserick says: ‘It was London’s loss when Chris Ingham relocated to leafy Norfolk. One of Britain’s best singer-pianists, he sounds cooler than ever these days with former Shakatak drummer Russ Morgan, big-toned Paul Higgs on trumpet and the Rev Andrew Brown, a committedly soulful player, on double bass. Together they pay sophisticated tribute to that laconic part-time movie actor, full-time hipster and almost incidental pianist-singer-songwriter of genius, Hoagy Carmichael. …without ever descending into parody, Ingham’s laidback voice and no-nonsense keyboard fills make charming work of them all’.
Click here to sample the album Hoagy which is released on the Downhome label.
Chris Ingham says: ‘Hoagy was always the hippest guy in the room. Coolly apart from the central action, but all-seeing, all-understanding and always on hand to offer pithy philosophies to the hapless protagonists. And when he played and sang his mysterious, dreamy, amusing songs, people stopped for a moment and listened, felt something and changed a little …. We’ve resisted the temptation to re-invent the wheel here. Get too clever with stuff that’s already clever, you could end up with something stupid. Controls were set for the heart of the song and we just played, felt something, changed a little ..’
Last month, we brought you a video of the wonderful child pianist Joey Alexander. As a prelude to this month's video, Dave Burman send us this video of another child prodigy (!?) - click here for a smile.
Alvin Roy draws our attention to this video. Alvin says: 'I saw this trio in New York - mind blowing!' Hiromi will be playing at the Cadogan Hall in London from 13th to 15th April. Click here for information.Pianist Hiromi Uehara was born in Japan in 1979. This video comes from the 2011 Garana Jazz Festival with Anthony Jackson on bass and Simon Phillips on drums - I'm afraid I cannot translate the rest for you, but the music speaks for itself! Her website says:
'Although a mesmerizing instrumentalist in her own right, Hiromi enlists the aid of two equally formidable players for this project, bassist Anthony Jackson (Paul Simon, The O'Jays, Steely Dan, Chick Corea) and drummer Simon Phillips (Toto, The Who, Judas Priest, David Gilmour, Jack Bruce). Jackson had previously played on a couple tracks from each of Hiromi's first two albums, Another Mind in 2003 and Brain in 2004, but they had never recorded an entire album together. "I've always been a huge fan of his bass playing," she says. "I've always liked playing with him, and I was very happy that we finally had the chance to make an entire album (Voice 2011) together."
Thank you to those people who have liked our Facebook page and who have commented on posts. I hope that you have found the occasional 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. For Facebook -
Boots Baker sends us these pictures from a programme of a gig by Acker Bilk and Mike Daniels.
Boots says: Since the mid-90s I've been playing trombone with Mike Daniels' Delta Jazzmen, attempting to fill the illustrious shoes of Gordon Blundy and later Jeff Williams. Mike has now sadly finished with running a band. Some years ago a fan at a club (I think it might have been Colchester) gave me this old programme. It might be of interest to your readers.
We have just selected the Mike Daniels part of the programme, the Acker Bilk part we will save for another time.
It is always interesting to see that many old programmes never carried details of the year, and often not the date when gigs or concerts took place. This is probably because the printing costs did not run to individual programmes for every gig.
This concert carried the title New Orleans Parade and was presented by Jazzshows Ltd, a well known jazz promoter, back in the day. Where and when the concert(s) took place is unknown.
Do you have a photograph that triggers a jazz memory for you? Perhaps it would trigger memories for other people too? We'd like to hear from you and the photo doesn't need to be a work of art as long as you can make out the detail. You could either email a JPEG copy of the photo to us or if you would prefer, post it to us and we could copy it, and send the original back to you. (Click here for our contact details).
Have you checked out our page of Photographic Memories? There is now quite a collection that are well worth a look. Click here
Congratulations to David Stevens who wins this month's competition with his suggestion of Duke Ellington - The Blanton Webster Band for our Essential Albums collection. If you also entered, we shall carry your suggestion forward to go with the entries for our next issue.
We would welcome your entries for next month. What do you have to do? Simply take a look at our Essential Albums page where we are building a list of suggested jazz albums that everyone should have in their collection, and send us the name of another album you think should be included and why. Click here for the Essential Albums page where we add one album a month.
If we choose your suggestion next month, we shall send you the prize CD. If your entry is not chosen, all is not lost, we'll simply carry your entry over and include it with the entries for the following month.
The prize CD this time is the The Impossible Gentlemen album Internationally Recognised Aliens (click here for the album review).
So, why not send us an email with your suggestion and why you think it should be included. Click here for our contact details.
Which jazz albums make up a collection of classics? We ask you to suggest an album each month and gradually build up a list - in no particular order. Do you have these? Click here for our Essential Albums page where you will find the suggestions that have been put forward so far.
This month's essential album is suggested by David Stevens:
David says: For most of us, I think (although perhaps not the younger generation) any list of Essential Albums must include Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. They began their most creative years at about the same time - the first Louis Hot Five recording was in 1925, Duke's first recording of East St Louis Toodle-oo in 1926. But Ellington was still writing new music up to the time of his death in 1974, and this makes it difficult or impossible to select his most "essential" album. However, I think most Ellington aficionados would pick the so-called Blanton/Webster band of 1940 and 1941. The title is a misnomer, as Jimmy Blanton, who created a completely new approach to jazz bass playing, and tenor giant Ben Webster were only two of the ten great soloists in the band during those years, and let's not forget the outstanding contribution of composer/arranger Billy Strayhorn (Gil Evans once said "All I wanted to do was write like Billy Strayhorn").
Impossible to list all my favourite tracks, as there are so many of them: Johnny Hodges glorious alto on Never No Lament, Cootie Williams's amazing trumpet on Concerto For Cootie, Webster's classic solo on Cottontail, Tricky Sam Nanton's ferocious trombone on Ko-Ko (a classic, of which I have a 38 page analysis by an eminent musicologist) and the superb Harlem Airshaft and Jack The Bear. Pardon my superlatives, but these performances deserve all that and more.
Clarinettist, artist and caricaturist Jimmy Thomson sends us this historic photograph of Sandy Brown playing with Archie Semple (clarinet), John Semple (trumpet) and Stu Crockett (trombone) and Alex Balmforth writes about the legendary Scottish clarinet player Archie Semple.
© Jimmy Thomson
Jimmy's photograph comes from around 1948 and shows the young Semple brothers, Archie and John, with an equally young Sandy Brown, before his later recognisable beard, and with trombonist Stu Crockett to the right of the picture. Archie at this time would have been twenty years old.
Alex Balmforth writes:
‘Complex Character’ is an overused phrase when writing on the subject of jazz musicians, however in the case of Archie, I can think of no more an appropriate axiom. Born in 1928, Archie came to London in 1952 from his native Edinburgh and firstly joined the chaotic Mick Mulligan band before in early 1953 leaving for the Freddie Randall mob – then finally in 1954 making his defining career move to the Alex Welsh Jazz Band, where he was to stay until his desperate nervous breakdown on stage at the Richmond Jazz Festival in 1964, but this is to anticipate …
Archie’s style embraced two main influences, Ed Hall and later Eddie Condon’s regular clarinettist, Pee Wee Russell. Curiously these two fine musicians had similar characters, both were highly sensitive, nervous men and crucially both were incurable alcoholics. Although Alex Welsh, in later life made up for the deficiency, when he moulded his first band he was allegedly a censorious tee-totaller and was to rebuke Archie on several occasions for drunkenness. And similarly Archie on a number of occasions responded by going for days without a drink, and then suddenly he would get incandescently pissed.
As Alex’s reputation grew, he began touring extensively, latterly inviting many US musicians to tour with his band, and in 1964 he was to invite Archie’s hero Pee Wee Russell. The story now conflicts, depending on who you ask, however consensus has it that Pee Wee owned several of Alex’s recordings and was aware of Archie’s style, although Pee Wee recognised that the similarities to his own playing were self-evident, he accepted it was not slavish copy. At the first rehearsal Pee Wee evidently thought Archie was 'taking the Michael' and made his thoughts clear … Although the two men were later reconciled and became friends, nevertheless many believe it was this confrontation that was to contribute to Archie’s breakdown.
In 1964 on the stage of the Richmond Jazz Festival, Archie was to suffer a catastrophic nervous breakdown.
Subsequently Archie was to make a couple of comebacks, but he eventually faded from the scene and in January 1974 was to die in penury of chronic alcoholism.
In 1962 Archie was to record a solo LP with Johnny Scott directing and remains today a fine example of its genre, additionally the eclectic Doug Dobell’s recording company, 77 Records, produced a fine LP, until recently unobtainable, happily this omission has now been rectified and has recently been remastered and re-issued.
© Alex Balmforth
Jon Turner at Broad Street Jazz specialist record shop in Bath selects an album for special mention from his list of new and reissued recordings below.
Choosing this Julian Argüelles album as his ‘recording of the month’, Jon Turner from Broad Street Jazz specialist record shop in Bath says: ‘Guys who have been around for a while in the UK are sometimes neglected by the jazz press these days. That can be a shame as Julian Argüelles is a fantastic musician with a top-notch band. This album is ‘jazz for grown-ups’, intelligent and sophisticated. It might not be ‘trendy’, but it is cerebrally interesting and certainly worth attention’.
Julian’s first album Phaedrus was released in 1990 since when he has gone on to record many successful albums. He has recently completed four years with the Franfurt Radio Big Band and as a soloist performs with countless well-known jazz musicians. He holds regular positions at the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College of Music in London and the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. His Octet is currently Ensemble in Residence at the University of York.
Writing in The Guardian about the new album Circularity, John Fordham says: ‘ …. there are no jazz cliches in this fine set, for all its accessible idiomatic familiarity – and the fact that he's fronting a trio comprising John Taylor on piano, Dave Holland on bass and Martin France on drums clinches the recommendation….This is world-standard small-band postbop.’ (Click here for the review).
Click here for Julian's website where you can sample Circularity.
Broad Street Jazz has the CD at £12.99 plus postage. (Click here).
Album Released: 14 vFebruary 2014 - Label: www.jennygreensings.com
Caught A Touch Of Your Love
Jenny Green is an established singer in the Surrey area performing regularly at the Leatherhead Theatre Bar on the last Friday of the month, usually with Sean Hargreaves or Jonathan Vinten on piano, who both appear on this album. For these and other of Jenny’s upcoming gigs click here.
Jenny also presents a weekly jazz programme on Fridays for Ridge Radio community station from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm playing jazz recordings across the range of jazz styles.Click here for Ridge Radio.
She has now produced her debut album Caught A Touch Of Your Love with arrangements by Sean Hargreaves. The songs she has chosen bring us an interesting variety of music from the standards of Vernon Duke (Taking A Chance On Love), Harry Warren (The More I See You) and McHugh and Loesser (Let’s Get Lost) to Oscar Brown Jr’s Hum Drum Blues and Burt Bacharach’s Always Something There To Remind Me and lesser-known numbers such as Caught A Touch Of Your Love and I Told You So. Hum Drum Blues is a good choice to open the album as it gives Jenny and the band free range and is a nice reminder of the great Oscar Brown Jr.
For the album, Jenny has brought together an impressive band that in addition to Hargreaves and Vinten includes Neville Malcolm (bass), Winston Clifford (drums) Bryan Corbett (trumpet and flugelhorn), Ed Jones (tenor, alto and baritone saxes), Trevor Myers (trombone) and on specific numbers, Duncan Lamont (tenor sax) and Richard Shelton (vocals).
This is a straightforward, enjoyable album that will appeal to Jenny’s many followers and will introduce her to others. You can taste the album if you click here where you can listen to Caught A Touch Of Your Love, The More I See You and Always Something There To Remind Me.
For those of us who have been keeping an eye on trumpeter Bryan Corbett’s career, his playing on Taking A Chance On Love is a fine addition to his CV (Jenny should put this one up on Soundcloud too).
Click here for Jenny Green’s website.
Musicweb International is a really useful website that has many reviews of albums and DVDs going back to 2003 and is always worth a visit. You can give it a try by clicking here.
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 their obituaries where we have them:
Duncan Campbell - Tony Augarde tells us that trumpeter Duncan Campbell passed through the Departure Lounge in December: 'He was best known for playing in Ted Heath's orchestra - and for his uproarious falsetto singing. I knew him when he and I played in Humphrey Carpenter's band called Vile Bodies, which had a residency at the Ritz in London for some years. I quite often drove him to and/or from his home in Ickenham and I enjoyed his humour and devil-may-care approach to life. Like his fellow Scot, Tommy McQuater (another wonderful man who also played for Vile Bodies), Duncan could drink for Britain. When he was playing in the band and had 16 bars' rest, he often took out a miniature of whisky to imbibe surreptitiously. But he was a magnificent trumpeter'.
Dr Thomas L Hyatt - George Wheeler tells us about trumpeter Tom Hyatt who passed through the Departure Lounge on 28th February - 'Tom was serving with the United States Air Force and in the early eighties was fronting the Queen City Jazz Band in Denver, Colorado, He was then posted to RAF Bentwaters in Suffolk where he played with many local musicians from Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. Following his posting back to the USA he played trumpet with The Barbary Coast Dixieland Band. In recent years in Cincinnati, Tom was co-leader with the trombone player Dick Haldeman of a band called Bone Voyage, a title derived from the fact that Tom also played valve trombone and their vibraphone player also played valves trombone and trumpet. Tom also played vibraphone, sang and was a classically trained pianist.
Tom with the Barbary Coast Dixieland Band
Tom was my neighbour in Suffolk in 1987and although we never met again, we were in touch with each other until he was taken ill three weeks ago. He is still fondly remembered by all his musician friends in East Anglia. One in particular was the clarinet player Tim Densham from Suffolk who on his frequent trips to the US would sit in with the band, several of these were recorded. Click here for a video of the band playing Corner Pocket at the Cactus Pear restaurant were they were resident for seven years. I have recordings from Tom's days with the Queen City Jazz Band, the Barbary Coast band and Bone Voyage including a DVD of their concert at Xavier University in 2007. I would be quite happy to share this with anyone who was interested.'
Joe Mudele – UK bass player born in London. In the 1940s he joined the Tito Burns Sextet of which Ronnie Scott and John Dankworth were both members. In 1948 with Scott and Dankworth, but calling himself Joe Muddel, he was one of the Club Eleven members who started playing bebop and he got to sit in with Charlie Parker and Max Roach. Over the years that followed he played with many musicians and formed his own band in 1951 before going on to be a popular session musician. Until very recently he continued to play jazz at Bexley Jazz Club on Monday nights. Click here for a video with an all-star line-up including Alan Barnes, Derek Nash and Alec Dankworth playing Lover Come Back To Me at Bexley to celebrate Joe's 90th birthday in 2010. Click here for a video of just 12 seconds at the Vaughan Room with Joe playing alongside Digby Fairweather (trumpet) and Rodney Mendoca (piano).
This month, Steve Day reviews three new albums for us. Steve says: 'review is opinion. I am literally writing a ‘view’. This time I have chosen to group three recordings together because, although at first sight they aren’t coming from the same place, each one tells a different story about what is currently going on within ‘jazz’:
Album First Released: 13 February 2014 - Label: Acoustical Concepts Records AC-48
Adam Unsworth, Byron Olson, John Vanore
Adam Unsworth (French horn), John Vanore (trumpet, flugelhorn), Bob Mallach (tenor saxophone), Bill Mays (piano); Mike Richmond (bass), Danny Gottlieb (drums) with the Philadelphia reeds & strings, New York reeds & strings. Byron Olson (arrangements and conducting).
If the great American composer Aaron Copland had written a ‘jazz suite’ today it might have sounded something like Balance. The reeds and strings sing like Appalachian Spring, the horns purr in the way Copland could voice arrangements. When in 1949/50 Gunther Schuller and Gerry Mulligan led Miles Davis into the Birth of The Cool, Copland’s Spring had already sprung five years before. It could be argued ‘the cool’ became a blind alley for Davis. Maybe, but Miles Davis and his compatriot, Gil Evans were long distance travellers and so is this review.
Time to listen up, there’s more going on here. The track Tilt tilts Danny Gottlieb’s drums, throwing a percussive curved ball across Byron Olson’s clean arrangements. Gottlieb always was a great cymbal player. Bill Mays’ piano is allowed to upset the balance. Mays spent time with Gerry Mulligan’s band; he makes it count for something. One Last Fling has piano, bass, drums, tenor sax and trumpet literally scoping up the temperature. What was ice cold ‘cool school’ reverberates with heat.
Back at the Birth, French horn and flugelhorn were critical to ‘The Cool’ and they are crucial to Balance.
Unsworth and Vanore respectively are at the centre of this recording. They are good, though I’m not sure how either of them would respond to a more spontaneous arrangement. Today that’s not their task, on balance what my softened-up ears first heard as a string-driven thing distilling classic jazzy Americana goes a bit deeper than that. Balance is a grounded Philly/New York session with a subtle Gil Evans-like probing of tight scores which enable the balance to shift.
Good stuff here, ready to be improvised. So I’m going to switch from Aaron Copland to the great Canadian, British domicile, composer and horn player, Kenny Wheeler who is 84 this year. I’d give him the Balance band as a birthday present. There’s a balance to be struck. In my view, the composition is the starting place not the end product. Who needs product?
Click here to listen to the title track.
Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk
Album First Released: 31 January 2014 - Label:Traumton 4599
David Helbock's Random / Control
Think Of Two
David Helbock (piano, melodic, percussion, toys, electronics), Johannes Bar (trumpet, flugelhorn; tuba, sousaphone, didgeridoo, electronics and more), Andreas Broger (tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, percussion, electronics).
And so to David Helbock’s Random/Control; three guys who play a lot of instruments between them, including flugelhorn. All three of them also use electronics. If you aren’t interested in electricity literally sparking acoustic instruments, then forget this. That would be a pity.
Ten years ago Kenny Wheeler spent a creative period with Springheel Jack, an English collective operated by John Coxon and Ashley Wales inhabiting similar territory to Helbock’s encounter with Johannes Bar and Andreas Broger. Both Random and Control are in evidence on Think of Two.
Interestingly, for a project that wears its modernity on its sleeve, the application of control is the real route to the action rather than anything random. There are five tracks that come from Thelonious Monk. Although Helbock, Bar and Broger are most definitely playing with electronics inside these pieces, there is reverence in the ‘execution’ (whichever meaning you attach to the word).
Their Round Midnight is not too far away from Miles Davis’ blown ballad interpretation. And although Pannonica and Think Of One are real contemporary travellers’ tales they retain a sense of perverse theatre that is all Monk.
The second set of starting blocks on Think of Two come from Hermeto Pascoal, including an under-a-minute sample slice of the Brazilian musician’s fracturing flute. My personal knowledge of Pascoal does not go much beyond Miles Davis’ Live Evil. David Helbock knows more and makes me want to. And Broger’s flute is one of the treats on this recording.
There is a lot going on here, controlled for sure, but heaped on like Christmas in spring. I like Helbock’s approach, I’ll come back again sometime.
Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk
Album First Released: February 2014 - Label: Leo Records LR691
Hanuman Jazz Quartet
Fabio Martini (Eb, Bb & alto clarinets), Marco Franceschetti (tenor, soprano saxophones), Stefano Solani Webindra (double bass), Danilo Sala (drums, objects).
At the end of the day which CD am I taking home? In 1959 Ornette Coleman formed a quartet without a piano. A little later the fabulous Pee Wee Russell got his clarinet around Coleman’s tune Turnaround in another piano-less quartet. And yes, Kenny Wheeler’s trumpet was in a similar quartet with Anthony Braxton. Today my money is with the Italians, the Hanuman Jazz Quartet’s Soundhousing: clarinet, saxophone, bass and drums. Fabio Martini’s collection of clarinets (Eb, Bb & alto) is an assortment of delight.
Clarinet is an instrument that should have some significance to people reading this website. I have no idea what Sandy Brown would have made of Fabio Martini; some people might consider there is a big chasm between them. I don’t think so. Pee Wee Russell didn’t think he and Ornette were so far apart. Martini is in the virtuoso business, a serious soloist with a sense of discreet humour, who is continually shaping the undervalued alto Eb into wonderful extended playing on this beautifully modest album which wears its experimentation lightly but with purpose.
Extensions are the game plan here for all four players. What I am listening to is ten tracks; pre-written melodies and key, the nuts and bolts of music – and then the players ‘extend’ that which is given and take it to other places. There is mutuality, a shared act of improvisation not contained in verse, chorus, bars, or time. The interactive drumming of Danilo Sala takes a lot from the great Tony Williams; spreading four to four on the hi-hat whilst at the same time re-designing the beat throughout the rest of the kit. It’s pulse and contradiction, and it’s the art of drumming. Marco Franceschetti’s tenor saxophone has a solo on the title track, Soundhousing, which puts velocity wind throughout all the rooms.
Hanuman is quartet music, descriptive of interactive composition. Random/Control is studio improvisation tipping a hat back to a 20th century Monk whilst seeking a place in a different century entirely. In America there is always a balance to be struck. Listen with open ears.
A little late, happy birthday Mr Wheeler.
Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk
Eric Jackson writes to us following Vic Arnold's positive review lat month of the new album The Grapelli Album by Tim Kliphuis. Tim Kliphuis, who trained on the road with the fiery European gypsies playing Django Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz, was winner of the International award at the Scottish Jazz Awards in 2013. Click here for information about the album.
Eric Jackson says: 'With reference to Vic Arnold's review of the Tim Kliphuis CD of Grapelli music you may be intersted to know there is a DVD of this group plus David Newton in 2011 in the beautiful setting of Iford Manor. The brief details give a web site www.ifordrecordings.co.uk and it is apparent that at that time there was an annual festival of classical music plus one jazz event'.
Click here for a video from the DVD.
Steve Glenister writes:
'I’m ‘only’ 45, but I found this in my Dad's stuff and thought it might bring a smile to your face'.
'Thanks for writing your blog about the Jazz scene in Kingston. It’s great to read about the place my Dad obviously went to back in the 50s'.
John Westwood was taken with a radio programme put out by the BBC about the Twelve Bar Blues and decided to save it. He has given us a link so that you can download if you click here to listen to the 30 minute programme. If you choose 'Open', the programme takes a few minutes (about 2 - 3 mins) to download to the player on your computer (e.g. Media Player).
Including an interview with Chris Barber, the programme pointed out that the twelve bar blues 'is the DNA of popular music. Three chords played in a set sequence over twelve bars. .... The twelve bar is an American invention. It was originally taken up by rural blues musicians. The first commercial example was W.C. Handy's 'St Louis Blues'. Then it became the staple of the New Orleans jazz repertoire, the big bands, Chicago blues. And in the fifties, just about every other pop song was written around the twelve bar chord sequence. Nick Barraclough has played a few twelve bars in his time. In this programme he talks to bluesologists, a couple of jazzers and a banjo player about why the twelve bar works so well. They illustrate what can be done with this simple sequence and how much fun it can be to mess with it.'
Last month we shared a message from Alan Dowie about Bob Craig, trombonist with the early Sandy Brown Band. Alan wrote:'I have just read an article on the sandybrownjazz website about Bob Craig, a jazz musician from Edinburgh. The reason I came across this was that I was searching for a Robert Craig who painted a picture of Edinburgh signed 1968 and lived at 44 Vandeleur Avenue, Edinburgh. This seems to be the same person. 'Do you know if he was an amateur painter? The picture is signed. It was framed by John Mathieson and Co., 20 Frederick Street, Edinburgh who were highly reputable picture restorers and framers in the New Town in Edinburgh.'
Susan Enefer in Canada has replied to say the the artist was Bob Craig Senior, Bob's father. Susan writes:
Bob Craig's younger brother, Bill, is a friend of mine at the White Rock Traditional Jazz Society http://www.whiterocktradjazz.com, so I asked him if his brother had also been a painter. He says no, but their father, also called Bob, was. As Bill doesn't have a computer I'm sending you his handwritten notes which you can use/edit as you see fit ...
Bob Craig Junior never did anything except blow his trombone, make home-brewed beery whiskey and polish his priceless collection of 78s, which he would clean with black boot polish or some other devil's brew. However, when some shady characters broke into their house, guess what they stole? ...the records.
Bob Craig Senior (also my dad) Robert Craig had a life of bad decisions. Firstly, he volunteered for the First World War by fudging his age, which taught him a lesson. When the Second World War broke out they nailed him for another six years, since he was just barely under forty years old, and he had already had enough of war. In the period between the two wars and starting from the bottom to the top my dad had practically owned the well known watering hole called Craig's Bar up the Bridges. This all went down the drain when my dad was away and conscientious objectors or shady characters were in charge and stealing all they could.
My dad painted all his life but, due to the horrible weather in Scotland, he seemed to miss the sunny days and he would give away his good paintings to someone in the family. Later in life he became president of the Scottish Sketching Association and had a few paintings hung in the Royal Scottish Academy. Some of his best paintings were of two/three-masted sailing ships, which were in Edinburgh for some sailing event, and were instantly bought by the Lord Mayor of London. One of the ships was called The Winston Churchill.
[Click here for our profile of Bob Craig].
Last month, Alan Bond wrote saying:
I was transferring some of my stuff from cassette to CD and I came across one side by the above band which I think I recorded from one of Humprey Lyttelton's 'Best of Jazz' shows. According to Tom Lord's TJD online the personnel is :-
Bobby Pratt, Bert Courtley, Derrick Abbott, Les Condon (trumpets) Keith Christie, Gib Wallace, Bobby Lamb, Bill Geldard (trombones) Johnny Scott (alto sax) Tommy Whittle, Eddie Mordue, Bobby Wellins (ten sax) Ronnie Ross (baritone sax) Tommy Watt (piano) Malcolm Cecil (string bass) Bobby Orr (drums).
Most of the names are familiar but I have never heard of Gib Wallace, Bobby Lamb, Bill Geldard or Eddie Mordue before and I wondered if anyone had come across any information on any of these guys. By coincidence, I was at a session with Geoff Nichols' 'Good Vibes' band in Minehead recently and I was chatting to a chap who told me that Derrick Abbott was a cousin of his but he hadn't seen him for at least forty years. It's amazing how these people come out of the woodwork - must be something about Jazz.
This one side I have by the '42' is C Jam Blues and is one of four issued on Columbia 45 rpm singles, of all things (Columbia DB 7050 & DB 7275). They were recorded in the spring of 1963 but don't appear to have been re-issued at all. Any information on the band or any re-issues would be appreciated.
Tony Middleton replies:
Centre 42 band played at the Centre 42 in London. Gib Wallace (Canadian? ex. Dankworth); Bob Lamb (ex. Parnell; Heath; Trinity Big Band; Lamb/Premru Orchestra). Bill Geldard (ex. Rabin; Dankworth; Heath), Eddie Mordue (ex. Winstone - married Julie Dawn); Kenny Grahame.
Mel Henry has also written to say:
With regard to the contribution regarding the Centre 42 Big Band, Bobby Lamb was an Irish trombonist and composer. I have an album of the Bobby Lamb - Ray Premru Orchestra recorded at Ronnie Scotts in 1971.
Help Me Information
with apologies to Chuck Berry (click here)
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We regularly receive requests for information about musicians, music, etc. Responses sometimes come months after we have featured the request so we have started a separate page. Please click here to see if you can help ...
There are some festivals that look bigger and better this year, testament to the fact that they are popular and proving that jazz is alive and well throughout the UK.
Check which festivals are within striking distance of where you live and perhaps try out something different this year. Click here for a list of UK Jazz Festivals and for festivals further afield.
The 5th Ribble Valley Jazz Festival will be held over the first Bank Holiday weekend in May (1 - 5 May 2014).
Based mainly in the beautiful market town of Clitheroe It features over 35 bands, 325 musicians, a Blues Stage, various workshops and a street festival in Clitheroe on Saturday of the Bank Holiday. Bands/Artists include Dennis Rollins, NYJO, Snake Davis, Camerata Ritmata, Marley Chingus etc.
For more information please ring 07870 908 159, email email@example.com or visit the website www.rvjazzandblues.co.uk
Why not make a weekend of it? There are many very good hotels and B and B's in Clitheroe and the surrounding area. Also its a real foodie area with many excellent restaurants and pubs.
With support from the supermarket Waitrose as headline sponsor, Sodbury Jazz Festival has a more extensive programme this year that will also include Blues. Co-organiser Mark Lloyd commented “What began as little more than a one-day event has grown to cover four days. The support from Waitrose has been a great boost to this year’s event and underlines the importance of the Festival to the town”. “Our aim is to bring top artistes to the town because it costs so much to attend a concert in Bristol or Bath”, says Stuart Hobday, one of the organisers. “We intend to continue to bring the highest standard of musicians that we can to play in Chipping Sodbury”
The programme of music kicks off on Thursday 5th June and includes music from the Eddie Martin Trio, Sinead McCabe with New Orleans Update, Zoot Money, Papa George, Chris Farlowe and the Norman Beaker band, and Sunday sees a special service to be held at St. John The Baptist Church. Here a combined choir drawn from local churches will be performing ‘A Little Jazz Mass’ written by Bob Chilcott.
Chipping Sodbury Jazz & Blues Festival takes place on 5th to 8th June. Click here for the full programme and other details.
The Best of Blue Note Records UK Tour in June
Friday 20 June - Harrogate Festival
Saturday 21 June - Cambridge, Corn Exchange
Sunday 22 June - Basingstoke, The Anvil
Monday 23 June - Manchester, Bridgewater Hall
Tuesday 24 June - Birmingham, Symphony Hall
Thursday 26 June - Bristol, Colston Hall
Friday 27 June - Edinburgh, Usher Hall
The iconic jazz record label Blue Note turns 75 in 2014. The irresistibly swinging Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and its musical director Wynton Marsalis celebrate an anniversary that embraces the entire history of modern jazz from bebop to the dancefloor, performing big band arrangements of unforgettable classics from the treasure trove of a label that’s been home to a host of major jazz stars down the decades – Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Art Blakey, Horace Silver and Bud Powell, to name but a few.
For full tour information click here.
Some April Gigs
London City Big Band
Wednesday, 23rd April 2014 - at the Spice of Life at 7.30 pm with music at 8.00 pm - £10 / £8 concessions / £5 students.
The following items appeared in the last magazine but may still be of interest to readers:
You can now listen online to a collection of podcasts from Radio 4 ‘From Armstrong to Zappa - music documentaries from the Radio 4 archive bringing you a brand new episode each week’.
The documentaries are varied including programmes on Leonard Cohen, Folk music, Charlie Watts and Fleetwood Mac, but amongst them are occasional jazz-related topics such as The Armstrong Tapes and Great Lives – Nina Simone.
It is worth keeping an eye on the site to see what comes up in the future.
Click here for Radio 4 On Music
Our thanks to Alvin Roy for this invaluably guide as to whether you are a Real Musician:
When you realise that the cheers from the audience after a particularly difficult passage are for a sports play on the big screen TV over the bar, and that in fact, no one is listening to you.
When the gig you drove 200 miles to make a pittance, and had to pay for a hotel room, is later referred to as your "summer tour".
When your most sincere, heartfelt comments are made by people that are drunk and who won't remember you in the morning.
When someone seeks you out to complement your playing as the "best sax player they have ever heard", and you're the trumpet player.
When you realise that a small piece of equipment - such as a wireless mike you need - will take months of weekly gigs to pay for.
When you have to add money out of your pocket to find a sub, because no one will cover you beyond what you are paid.
When you are told that you must play until the very end of when you were contracted for, when your only audience is the bartender.
When the guy collecting money at the door for the band's performance makes twice over the course of the evening as you do as one of the band members.
When people who are drunk tell you that what you are doing is absolutely great and the best thing thing they have ever seen or heard, but refuse to pay more than £6 at the door.
When someone calling the cops for noise is a good thing. You get to go home early and you still get paid.
When you have, for several years, been paid the same amount for a gig, but are afraid to say anything about it for fear that you might lose the gig.
When you spend more at the bar than you get paid for the gig.
Jazzwise magazine still ha openings for people looking for work experience as interns at its offices in St Jude's Church, Herne Hill, South London. The magazine is offering a series of monthly intern placements from January 2014 to January 2015. Interns will participate in all aspects of the magazine's preparation and production cycle and this opportunity will be of particular interest to people who want to pursue a career in journalism and jazz, have a keen interest and knowledge of the music and are currently studying or have completed a degree or educational course. Previous interns have gone on to work for music magazines, record companies, press agencies and radio production companies.
If you are interested, write to The Editor, Jazzwise, St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PB enclosing a CV and covering letter, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for the Sandy Brown Jazz Site Directory on our Home page.
The Directory includes regular features, articles, people profiles (let us know if you would like us to add a profile) and many other items including information about clarinettist Sandy Brown after whom this site is named.
© Sandy Brown Jazz 2014