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August 2014


 

Pearls for August

According to Blossom Dearie:

Suddenly the song's the thing
Fill your cup, come to the spring
And you'll stand so still
And you'll feel the thrill

Dusty Springfield

 

If Napoleon at Waterloo, la, la
Had an army of debutantes
To give the British the well known ooh-la-la
He'd have changed the history of France

Give Him The Ooh-la-la

Blossom Dearie

 

Life upon the wicked stage ain't ever what a girl supposes
Stage door Johnny's outraging over you with gems and roses
If some gentleman we talk with reason, I would cancel all next season
Life upon the wicked stage ain't nothin' for a girl

Life Upon The Wicked Stage

Rectangular is the hotel door
My true love tried to sneak through.
Rectangular is the transom
Over which I had to peek through.
Rectangular is the hotel room I entered angrily.
And rectangular is the wooden box,
Where lies my love neath the golden phlox.
They say he died from the chicken pox,
In part I must agree: one chick too many had he!

The Shape Of Things

Click here for a video of Blossom Dearie singing Surrey With The Fringe On Top from 1961.

 


Who's This?

Who's This?

This UK pianist/vocalist has a twinkle in his eye when he says: ‘I have a burning desire to take over the world in its entirety through the medium of jazz’. More seriously, he says: ‘I am passionate about bringing new younger audiences to jazz’. To that end, he regularly gives talks about jazz to young audiences at schools, universities and music festivals.

He is a graduate from Durham University and his writing is influenced by Thelonius Monk, Stevie Wonder, John Coltrane and Billy Strayhorn. He currently gigs with saxophonist Nathaniel Facey and he has played at Ronnie Scott’s, the 606 Jazz Club, Pizza Express and the London Jazz Festival.

 

Who's This?

 

His ‘TJ Quartet’ with Nathaniel Facey (alto sax), Alex Davis (double bass) and Dave Hamblett (drums) plays his original compositions and his 2011 album Jericho is named after an area of Oxford where he now lives.

He played at the Love Supreme Jazz Festival in July and he will soon be heading for Cambridge Modern Jazz Club in September and then the Scarborough Jazz Festival. He has just signed with Dot Time Records in Europe.

Not sure? Click here for a video of him playing Charlie Parker’s Confirmation with words by Stanley Cornfield and accompanied by Mark Crown- trumpet, Jamie McCredie – guitar, Philip Moll – bass and Jason Reeve – drums.
 
Click here for his website


 

Jazz Services Funding Dilemma

In July, Jazz Services heard that the funding it receives from Arts Council England (ACE) would not be renewed next year. Jazz Services is a key organisation in the UK for the support of jazz. It is a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) and it supports musicians financially in touring and recording, subsidises venues in promoting live jazz (including help to bring jazz to rural areas), publishes the magazine Jazz UK andJazz Services logo provides a host of other support services. The news has come as a blow, particularly to musicians whose work might otherwise not be heard by audiences across the country.

As a result of the ACE decision, an open meeting was convened by Jazz Services on the 9th July to talk with interested people about how to manage the situation. An online questionnaire is also available asking for your views regarding Jazz Services' activities and its ongoing development (click here). Vocalist Emily Saunders has also instigated a petition that now has many signatures, but more are still needed (click here). At the end of July, The Chair of Jazz Services wrote to ACE making a case for reconsideration of their decision. Ace gave a non-committal reply and meetings are continuing.

If you would like more details, we have put some information about the background to the situation, feedback on the open meeting and the correspondence between Jazz Services and ACE on a separate page (click here).

 



Recording Support Scheme

Whilst Jazz Services still have ACE funding until 2015, they have announced the first four groups to receive grants towards the cost of Dee Byrne's Entropirecording their debut albums. Each group will receive £1,500 towards the costs. The groups are:

 

Cervantes Quintet
The Great Mountain
Dee Byrne's Entropi (pictured)
Preston/Glasgow/Lowe

 

 

 

 

Jazz At The Proms

It is time once again for the Promenade Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London, all of which are broadcast on radio and twenty-eight of them on television.

Royal Albert HallThis is, of course, primarily a classical music affair founded in 1895 and properly known as the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts.

In recent years, the Proms have strayed here and there from their classical agenda and this year the jazz contribution comes mainly on Friday, 8th August at 10.15 pm with Battle Of The Bands hosted by Clare Teal with vocalist Gregory Porter, the Count Pearson Proms Band (James Pearson) and the Duke Windsor Proms Band (Grant Windsor). The concert will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2, but will also be screened on BBC4 on the 17th August.

Vocalist Laura Mulva sings on Tuesday, 19th August at 10.15 pm (BBC Radio 1) with Jules Buckley and the Metropole Orchestra, and trumpeter Guy Barker conducts a 70-strong orchestra for singer Paloma Faith at 10.15 pm on Friday 5th September (also screened later in the evening on BBC4 televison)

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Flower Show

Question MarkSummer is a floral showcase, and so is our quiz this month. Can you identify the flowers that are featured inWhat's this? our fifteen August quiz questions? For example:

 

In Good Time, The Piano Jazz of Marian McPartland is a film that contains a tune that is played as a tribute to her husband, Jimmy. It is originally a Scottish folk song with lyrics that begin: ‘O where and O where does your highland laddie dwell ..’ What is the title of the song?

 


If you think you know the answer, go to our quiz page and try to answer the other fourteen quiz questions and then check out the 'Answers' page where you will also find some interesting videos.

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

The Chosen

The Yamaha Jazz Scholars 2014

The Yamaha Jazz Scholarships, awarded in July, always give us an insight into the potential of tomorrow's jazz musicians, some of whom are already very active on the jazz scene. Each year, the conservatoires of music in the UK are invited to nominate one of their final year jazz scholars for this award. The scholars each receive a voucher for £1000 to put towards instruments and equipment at Yamaha Music London,Arun Ghosh band plus a chance to record their music at Astar studios for a sampler CD that is included with the December/January issue of Jazzwise magazine. The recording gives the scholars a 'calling card' they can use in their personal publicity.

The Scholarships are awarded in July at an event at Westminster hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group from the House of Commons and House of Lords in association with the music licensing company PPL, and the CD is launched later in the year at London's 606 Club in Chelsea. This year the awards were presented by Peter Ross from Yamaha and keyboard player and jazz educator Darius Brubeck.

Arun Ghosh Quintet
Picture courtesy of Tim Charles / PPL

The event also featured a set by the award winning clarinettist Arun Ghosh pictured here with a front line of Yazz Ahmed (trumpet) and Chris Williams (saxophone).

Yamaha Jazz Scholars 2014

This year's award winners, and names to look out for in the future, are:

Ashley Henry - (piano) - Leeds College of Music
Mark Lewandowski - (double bass) - Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Ed Haine - (tenor saxophone) - Birmingham Conservatiore
Dan Smith - (alto saxophone) - Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Tom Dennis - (trumpet) - Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Scott Chapman - (drums) - Royal Academy of Music
Utsav Lal (piano) - Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Picture courtesy of Tim Charles / PPL

 

 

Astar Again

For the second year running, Astar Studios in Heywood, Lancashire has been nominated for the Pro Sound Awards on the 25th September. Andy Ross and Astar Studios record the Yamaha Jazz Scholars each year for a free CD that is given away with Jazzwise Magazine to promote the work on the award winning musicians.

Astar were finalists last year in the Best Studio category of the Pro Sound awards, and this year they are finalists again alongside Snap Studios, Metropolis and Assault and Battery (Miloco).

The awards, which will be decided by the editors of the Intent Media music and technology titles, include Best Theatre Sound, Best Recording Production, Best Sound in Post-Production and 14 other awards, including the Grand Prix and Lifetime Achievement. Click here for the full list of finalists.

 

 

Kazimir Malevich

There is currently an exhibition at the Tate Modern of the work of Kazimir Melevich that runs until the 26th October. Who is he, you ask? Malevich was a Polish/Russian artist who was at the forefront of one of the avant-garde movements of the twentieth century. Not a jazz musician then? Kazimir MalevichWell, no, but I think he might have had something to say. Do I understand his work? Well, bits, perhaps. Do I like his work? Well, some.

Having visited the exhibition, it made me think about jazz music. Malevich was well able to paint life-like pictures, there are paintings of his mother, his father, himself and others that are pretty good. He then started to develop his work, exploring the ideas of the Impressionists, the Cubists and eventually establishing a form of painting he called Suprematism.

I think there is a parallel here with improvisation in jazz, the stretching of that improvisation and the term avant-garde applied to jazz music. In looking at the stages of the paintings in the exhibition, I think it helped my understanding of that parallel.

The exhibition says of Malevich's work: 'Malevich ... argued that "the artist can be a creator only when the forms in his picture have nothing in common with nature." Dismissing the artists of the past as mere 'counterfeiters' of nature, he declares: "Suprematism is the beginning of a new culture... Our world of art has become new, non-objective, pure. Everything has disappeared, a mass of material Malevich paintingis left from which a new form will be built."

'At the heart of Suprematism was colour, harnessed into geometric forms. Many of the compositions convey a sense of agitation and movement, of forms drifting together or apart, in a finely balanced tension between order and chaos, while the white background against which they float carries a suggestion of infinite space.' I was reminded of the work of Paul Klee which again for me parallels jazz music and the relationship of musicians and sound working together.

Suprematism 1915

The development of Malevich's work is set against the history of Russia, including periods of war, regime change and turmoil. As Stalin came to power 'official voices were already speaking out against avant- 1930garde art.' Eventually, Malevich's work became more simple until he abandoned painting, moving into architectural designs based on Suprematism, models based on buildings without a specific purpose or reason. When he later strated painting again, his work returned to naturalistic portraits and rural scenes, but within them, some of his geometric and Suprematist ideas remained.

Having travelled to Germany, Malevich was arrested on his return in 1930 and held for two months accused of being a spy. His friends destroyed many of his manuscripts, worried that they might be used against him. He died from cancer in 1935.

Mower 1930

I was reminded of a conversation with pianist / bass player Ron Rubin who told me that there was a time when he was 'into playing avant-garde jazz', but that he eventually felt a need to return to more melodic improvisation. It must be inevitable, as with Malevich, that some concepts encountered during times of musicians' experimentation will remain as elements of their future work.

I recommend the exhibition as I think it provides an interesting insight into how music and art have much in common.

'Malevich' is at The Tate Modern in London (not far from Waterloo / Blackfriars stations). Click here for more information.

 

 

 

Album First Released: July 2014 - Label: Motorik Recordings (CD/LP/digital)

 

Dylan Howe - Subterranean

New Designs on Bowie's Berlin

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Dylan Howe (drums), Mark Hodgson (double bass, Ross Stanley (piano, synths), Brandon Allen (tenor saxophone), Julian Siegel (tenor saxophone).  selected tracks: Nick Pini (double bass), Adrian Utley (guitar), Steve Howe (Koto).

Subterranean is Dylan Howe’s reworking of David Bowie material taken from his two counter intuitive Berlin albums, Low and Heroes.Dylan Howe Subterranean album  Major Tom, Ziggy and Diamond Dogs were all well behind the Pin-Up by this point. Bowie was in Berlin taking himself very seriously. 

The cuts Dylan Howe has chosen to work with were soundscapes even in their original form.  This is experiment built on experiment.  Subterranean is not the David Bowie popular songbook, instead it draws on the Bowie/Eno partnership, a more subversive move to capture sound and vision.  This was a transforming period for Bowie.  Look, no one seems to want to dwell on it, but by the end of the 70’s David Bowie’s White Duke moniker was caught up in fascist leanings that took a little while to drop.  Drop them he did, but not without difficulty.  The Low/Heroes material on Subterranean is utterly radical, both in the music’s origins and the way Dylan Howe has sourced his own teenage interest in a pop-god experimenter and brought it into his own subsequent ‘jazz’ aesthetic.  It may be easy on the ear but it isn’t easy.

Let’s be clear, Dylan Howe is a real drummer’s drummer; he’s a superb percussionist and a man who knows as much about Blue Note as he does Bowie in Berlin.  He links to another cerebral orchestrator of percussion.  Stomu Yamashta contributed music to the soundtrack of The Man Who Fell To Earth, Bowie’s 1976 film acting debut.  Like Howe, Yamashta hovered between improvisation and composition, his Red Buddha Theatre was a ground Dylan Howebreaking multimedia production using Japanese Noh, jazz-rock and mallet based percussion. Yamashta was himself eventually to fall; into a prog-rock dark hole.  He eventually gave it all up to become a Buddhist monk.

Click here for a video introducing the album.

Dylan Howe need not feel the same compulsion; Subterranean may contain old synthesisers sourced from the attic but the end result has real clarity of purpose.  Both All Saints and Warszawa take giant steps away from Bowie without breaking up the time and motion.  Warszawa begins on whirring crushed drones coming off Adrian Utley’s guitar; as the band hit the melodic line Howe is subtly flicking the sticks towards Brandon Allen’s entry.  When it comes, the tenor saxophone is a beautiful thing that runs the electricity down.  Okay, it’s very deliberately close to Coltrane’s Crescent; the saxophone and the subsequent piano ache in the space of this modal theme.  Ross Stanley’s hands are on electric keyboards yet it is his acoustic piano that is one of the real treats of this recording.

In 1977 when David Bowie and Brian Eno were recording Low and Heroes, the Berlin Wall was still an East/West divide.  The border was wired across concrete.  Now, in 2014 the whole of Berlin is like one big building site.  This thing isn’t over yet.  Dylan Howe’s Subterranean is a marker in a landscape.  It is exactly what it says it is, ‘a new design’.  Brave new world, or something like it.       

Click here to sample the album.

Steve Day

stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

Dylan Howe's Subterraneans are on tour this autumn:
September:
5th - Fleece Jazz, Colchester
10th - Drill Hall, Lincoln
11th - Bonnington, Nottingham
12th - Derby Jazz, Derby
13th - Hessle Town Hall, Hull
26th - The Verdict, Brighton
29th - King's Place, London
October
2nd - The Stables, Wavendon
3rd - Capstone Theatre, Liverpool

 

 

 

Tony Milliner - My Favourite Things

Tony Milliner

Al Cohn and Zoot Sims – What The World Needs Now

Supercohnzootsimsalisticsaxexpertidocious - if you play it loud enough ...

Tony’s favourite choice this month comes from the Al Cohn / Zoot Sims album Motoring Along and the Burt Bacharach composition What The World Needs Now. This whole album is a great example of two saxophonists at the top of their game in 1974.

Al Cohn and Zoot Sims were good friends. Both tenor players had been part of Woody Herman’s ‘Four Brothers’ and Al Cohn Zoot Sims Motoring Alongboth made their impression as part of the West Coast Jazz scene. They had been born within a month of each other in 1925, Zoot came from California, Al from New York. Together they made a partnership that became a jazz legend and on and off, they played together until Zoot died in 1985. Al died three years later.

Al Cohn led only four recording sessions between 1963 and 1974, and on Motoring Along the sax players are joined by pianist Horace Parlan, bass player Hugo Rasmussen and drummer Sven Erik Norregaard.

Click here to listen to What The World Needs Now (I am not quite sure to make of the pictures ‘paintpot2’ has used to go with this track, but you can listen best with your eyes closed anyway!).

There is a bonus this month in that Al and Zoot also recorded the track in 1968 on video for the Cool Of The Evening programme with the Stan Tracey trio (Stan Tracey on piano, Dave Green on bass and Phil Seamen on drums) – click here.


And now for the bad news – you are going to have to hunt to find a copy of this album. It is readily available as a download – from itunes or Amazon and there are copies of the LP available from various sellers online. CD copies, where they are available, can be expensive.

Click here sample other tracks from this marvellous album.

 

 

 

Gone With The Draft

Alan Bond has sent us this link to the doctorjazz.co.uk website that carries a collection of World War 1 'draft cards' which include those of many of the Jelly Roll Morton Draft cardfamous New Orleans musicians of the time, chief among whom are Louis Armstrong, Johny Dodds, King Oliver and Bunk Johnson along with a host of other familiar names (click here).

The website has a .co.uk address, and appears to focus on Jelly Roll Morton with a wide selection of articles. It is nicely presented, but is not clear about where it is based. As Alan Bond says, it all makes fascinating, and revealing, reading.

There are informative essays about each of the musicians involved and the draft cards reveal clues to a range of facts. For example, the essay about Jelly Roll Morton says: '... Jelly Roll listed his occupation as “Actor” and his employer as the “Levi Circuit, San Francisco, Calif.” It was not unusual for featured musicians on the vaudeville circuit to list their occupation as an actor (for example, Bill Johnson and Eubie Blake). The “Levi Circuit” was actually Bert Levey Circuit of Independent Vaudeville Theatres, which operated, as an agent for vaudeville artists and independent theatres, from the Alcazar Theatre in San Francisco with branch offices in London, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Denver and Los Angeles.'

 

 

 

Neil Cowley Trio Mission video


Mission - The Neil Cowley Trio

Last month we featured the excellent new album Touch and Flee from the Neil Cowley Trio.

Leah Roseanne and Oliver Samuel have created a quirkily beautiful abstract video for the track ‘Mission’' from the album that I think is really enjoyable.

Click here for the video track.  

 

 

 

 

Album Released: April 2014 - Label: Edjalen Music

 

Eddie Allen

Push

Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us:

There are no cover notes with this CD and not even a photograph of one of the musicians contributing, so I guess the music had to speak for itself. But somehow I liked the clean and stripped-back look of the cover for this CD.

The goal of this project was simply to create some good, “fun to listen to” music. One way to do this is with excellent musicians and with a combination of styles. The CD consists of 9 tracks all but one composed by Eddie Allen, except Who Can I Turn To which is by AnthonyEddie Allen Push Newley. The musicians are Eddie Allen (trumpet), Keith Loftis (tenor sax), Dion Tucker (trombone), Misha Tsiganov (keyboards), Mark Soskin (piano), Kenny Davis (acoustic bass) and E.J. Strickland (drums).

Eddie Allen is a skilled trumpeter and a lot more besides, so I think he was in a good position to meet the project’s objective. Eddie started his musical training in a Milwaukee junior high school band and went on to study music, theory and arranging at The Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and at The University of Wisconsin.  He then attended the William Paterson University of New Jersey attaining a Bachelor of Music degree.

His work around Chicago and the Milwaukee area covered a mixture of R&B, rock and jazz. He arrived in New York in 1981 and worked with many jazz greats, such as Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Carter and many others.

Eddie Allen bookHe has recorded and performed with, as well as composed for, Lester Bowie, Chico Freeman and Louis Hayes, Houston Person and Mongo Santamaria to mention just a few. Since 1994 been recording on his own for the Enjalen label. He currently leads a jazz quartet, a jazz quintet, an Afro-Cuban/Brasilian group called Salongo and a 16-piece big band.  Eddie Allen has also performed in the orchestras of Broadway shows and as an author he has written an instructional method book called An Introduction to the Bb Blues.

The tracks allow each musician at some point to come to the fore to show what they can do so the CD is not dominated by Eddie’s trumpet playing, good though it is.

Track 1 is called Nakia and starts with some upbeat piano playing which is then joined by the trumpet and sax which is complimented by keyboards and trombone with a clean ending. On track 2, Sacred Ground, I liked the slightly off-centre but very rhythmic beat, the keyboard playing which sounded like a vibraphone, and restrained brass and excellent piano by Mark Soskin. The third track, Caress, is a much slower track, with the bass providing the background beat, with the trumpet and trombone and then sax coming to the fore before joining together for the finale.

Hillside Strut follows, which is upbeat from the start and is aptly named. There is some good sax playing here with some nice keyboard work providing the variety. Track 5, is the classic Who Can I Turn To by Anthony Newley and has been covered by many other artists, Tony Bennett had a hit with his cover and even Van Morrison has covered it as well, so Eddie’s arrangement had a lot to live up to. It is aEddie Allen nice track with its late night feel, and a good track to listen to with a glass wine. Then comes Whispers in the Dark. It has a Latin beat and a big band style. I am not so keen on musicians “maxing out” with their instruments. Just because you can does not mean you should. This is a small personal niggle about Eddie’s trumpet playing on this track but the other musicians make up for it.

Track 7, is called With Open Arms and is another slower number, which includes some nice bass playing. There is some notable interplay between the trumpet and sax. Track 8, has an interesting title of Eve Deceived. The track starts with a strong beat and some strong bass playing. The trumpet playing is excellent and the track has an edgy feel to it perhaps pertaining to the title.The final track is the title track Push. The bass starts the track with the brass taking over with some nice keyboards before an abrupt end. It has a modern feel but tempered by strong melodic lines.

I think this CD achieves its objective. These are excellent musicians who seem to be having fun and they convey this to the listener, so I enjoyed the experience. 

Click here to sample some of the tracks from this album. Click here to sample the whole album.

Tim Rolfe

 

 

 

A Case Of Vinyl

Following our discussion about whether there is evidence of renewed interest in vinyl recordings (click here), trumpeter and Gondwana records owner Matthew Halsall has told Jazzwise magazine that vinyl releases from his label 'are making real headway, not just breaking even on pre-order sales, but also seeing shops who wouldn't stock his CDs, now taking both vinyl and CD.' Jazzwise also reports that Sister Ray, the independent record store in London's Berwick Street, is to open a new vinyl only store at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch focussing on new and used vinyl of all genres. Apparently most of the Ace Hotel rooms will be fitted with Rega vinyl decks.

It also came as a surprise when my grandson asked for 'an old record player' for his fifteenth birthday in July. He and his friends had been at the Rise record shop in Bristol when somebody brought in an old Dansette player. It was not easy to find a record player in a hurry, especially as he wanted one that played 45s and LPs and was portable and 'automatic with a spindle in the middle' - 'Do you know that Ed Sheeran has brought out his album on vinyl?' he said. Grandson was lucky, we found one in a local second-hand shop. Whether it is a novelty / passing phase remains to be seen!

 

 

Taster

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 Tastermonth, we spend time with ......

Three Singers Stateside

1. Barbara Levy Daniels - Love Lost And Found

Barbara Levy Daniels auditioned for ABC Paramount Records when she was just twelve. Ray Charles happened to be there at the time and said: ‘Sign her right away.’ That was over fifty years ago since when Barbara has made a number of singles and then followed a career as a psychotherapist. In recent years she has made the time to return to music and record two albums.

I like her latest album Love Lost And Found. How many times have I said how difficult it is for a ‘jazz singer’ to stand out amongst all those other singers around? The voice has to have something about it, the choice of songs needs to be made carefully and the accompaniment has to be better than ‘just alright’.

Barbara Levy Daniels albumSo why do I like this album? I find Barbara Levy Daniels’s voice is mature and confident with phrasing that is sensitive to the song and sympathetic with the musicians that play with her. She has chosen ‘standards’ that could be considered ‘safe’, but it also means that she has to perform them against a background of all those others who have sung them.

As for the musicians they work well together and with the vocalist. They are John DiMartino, pianist and Musical Director who takes a number of gentle solos, Paul Meyers (acoustic guitar), Boris Kozlov (bass), Shinnosuke Takahashi (drums) and Warren Vaché is present for eight of the thirteen tracks playing and soloing on cornet.

Publicity notes describe well  how: ‘A … transportive mode is created for It’s The Talk Of The Town. A torchy, grooving ballad with gently stride-ish piano and a muted cornet solo. There’s an afterhours feel of musicians playing for each other with the listeners as the fortunate bystanders. That late night vibe is also on hand for two other ballads. Carmichael and Washington’s lovely The Nearness Of You … and Mean To Me … a ballad in a bluesy swing groove…’

Warren Vaché provides a striking introduction to Willow Weep For Me and then follows it with a nice solo in the middle. The album closes with a slow take on For All We Know with a lead-in by bowed bass and shimmering cymbal.

Click here to sample the album.

[Barbara Levy Daniels Love Lost And Found was released on the Bldproductions Inc label in March 2014]

 

2. Kris Adams - Longing

Kris Adams is from Boston, Massachusetts. She began singing at an early age and as a young teenager was part of a touring children’s theater. She had her first professional gigs at the age of nineteen in Connecticut, singing in a latin-jazz band with the late saxophonist Tom Chapin. Kris left Hartford to attend Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory and released her first CD, This Thing Called Love in Kris Adams album1999 and her second, Weaver of Dreams in 2002. She currently teaches at Berklee and is author of the book Sing Your Way Through Theory (Hal Leonard).

Kris has shared the stage with Joe Lovano, Wayne Escoffery, Lee Musiker, Cameron Brown and Billy Drummond,and she has performed and given clinics in New England, New York, Los Angeles, Brazil, Germany and Italy, recently, at the Fara Sabina Jazz Festival.

Her style on the new album Longing is different to that of Barbara Levy Daniels. Her voice too is engaging but she is no torch singer. The songs she has chosen for this album include just one ‘standard’ – Cole Porter’s All Of You. The other ten songs are challenging and the challenge well-met. They include Joni Mitchell’s The Dawntreader that clearly reflects Joni Mitchell’s influence in the interpretation and arrangement, Steve Swallow’s Wrong Together; Once Upon A Summertime from Barclay, Legrand, Mercer and Marnay, and two numbers from Norma Winstone - The Glide (Ralph Towner / Norma Winstone)Kris Adams and the title track, Longing (Fred Hersch / Norma Winstone).

Click here for a video of Kris Adams singing Once Upon A Summertime.

Here is a larger accompanying ensemble, not all of them on every track: Tim Ray (piano), Eric Hofbauer (guitar), Paul Del Nero (acoustic bass), Fernando Huergo (electric bass), Mark Walker (drums), Greg Hopkins (trumpet and flugelhorn – who solos nicely on Wrong Together), Shannon Le Claire (alto saxophone and clarinet), Rick DiMuzio (tenor saxophone and clarinet), Bob Patton (flute and alto flute), Ben Whiting (baritone saxophone and bass clarinet), Fernando Drandao (flute and alto flute), Betrtram Lehmann (percussion) and Eugene Friesen (cello).

There is a fine interpretation of Mary Lou Williams’s What’s Your Story Morning Glory (not the song by Oasis) with a good saxophone solo and band arrangement. Eight of the arrangements are by trumpeter Greg Hopkins who deserves some of the credit for this album.

Click here to sample the album. Click here to read more.

[Kris Adams Longing was released on Jazzbird Records in November 2013]

 

3. Janice Borla


Whilst I enjoy each of these three vocalists in their own way, if I were forced to take just one of their recordings to a desert island, it would be those of Janice Borla. Christopher Loudon in Jazz Times says: ‘Among the best, boldest and most innovative vocalists around  … WorkingJanice Borla exclusively with Borla’s arrangements, the sextet exercises its fervent cohesion across a marvellously wide-ranging playlist … vocal-based jazz symbiosis rarely reaches such splendour’.

Before we look at her recording, click here for a video of her singing Frank Foster’s  Simone.

I have to admit that I am not usually a great fan of vocalese and scat singing, but Janice Borla’s arrangements cut through my prejudice with no trouble at all. Singers often take a song and the band plays in support of the singer. On her fourth album Promises To Burn (released in March) Janice follows the music and creates her own contribution alongside the band. The musicians are good and are given plenty of space. The Janice Borla Group are: Janice Borla (vocals), Scott Robinson (tenor saxophone and flute), Art Davis (trumpet and flugelhorn), John McLean (guitars), Bob Bowman (bass) and Jack Mouse (drums).

The track list gives an indication of the musical foundation of the album: Bill Evans’s Funkallero; Janice Borla album Joey Calderazzo’s Midnight Voyage; Bernstein’s Some Other Time; Lennie Tristano’s Lennie’s Pennies; Jack DeJohnette’s Silver Hollow; Don Raye’s You Don’t Know What Love Is (given a samba treatment); Bob Mintzer’s RunFerYerLife; and Tadd Dameron’s If You Could See Me Now.

Click here for a video of Janice singing Bill Evans’s Funkarello live.

Based in Illinois but singing across America, Janice Borla is Director of Vocal Jazz at North Central College, Illinois.  She founded the Janice Borla Vocal Jazz Camp and the concert series Hot Jazz – Six Cool Nites.

Click here to sample Promises To Burn.

Click here for Janice’s website where you can also sample her other recordings.

[Promises to Burn Album released: 4th March 2014 Label: Tall Grass Records]

 


The Write Stuff 2014

If you, or someone you know, is interested in writing about jazz, the new writers initiative, The Write Stuff, will be available again this year.

The series of workshops and mentoring sessions is held at London's Southbank during the EFG London Jazz Festival in November. FoundedThe Write Stuff and organised by Jazzwise magazine and the organisation Serious, producers of the Festival, the project gives new jazz writers a free opportunity to work with professional journalists to improve writing their skills and develop an understanding of music criticism and the workings of the jazz and mainstream music press. You also get to see a number of concerts!

Past participants have gone on to have pieces published in The Guardian, The Wire and Jazzwise. If you are interested, you should submit a 300-word review of a gig/concert that you have seen recently, together with a CV and full contact details by Monday, 1st September to learning@serious.org.uk with 'The Write Stuff' in the subject line. Applicants must be 18 years old or over and be available in London on: Friday 14 November (evening); Saturday 15 November, and Wednesday 19 to Sunday 21 November. Further information will be here.

 

 

Anton Hunter - Article XI

Why bother to write about a band and a piece of music which, if you missed it at the Manchester Jazz Festival or The Vortex in London, youAnton Hunter might not hear again for a while?

I'll tell you.

Anton Hunter. This talented guitarist and composer based in Manchester was commissioned to write Article XI, a brand new work, by the 2014 Manchester Jazz Festival. Based on the quality of this commission, you are very likely to hear much more about him in the future. In Manchester, Anton leads his own trio, who have been featured on BBC Radio 3. He is working on music for a saxophone quartet, and a duo called Ripsaw Catfish with baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts. He also plays with Beats and Pieces Big Band as well as being involved in a range of other projects. In 2007 he formed the free-improvisation organisation The Noise Upstairs.  Initially a meeting place and jam session for improvisers, it has grown to include events in Manchester and Sheffield. Anton runsregular workshops on a range of subjects and co-runs Efpi Records, a contemporary jazz record label, who also run regular gigs in Manchester and have links across Scandinavia.

The band. For the Article XI project, Anton chose particular musicians to be involved. They are drawn from various compass points of the UK and Scandanavia and some of their names may be unfamiliar south of the Watford Gap, but like Anton himself, the Article XI gigs have Article XIshowcased an outstanding quality of ensemble and improvised playing. The band are: Anton Hunter (guitar), Nick Walters and Graham South (trumpets), Richard Foote and Seth Bennett (trombones), Sam Andreae (tenor sax), Simon Prince (tenor sax + flute), Mette Rasmussen (alto sax), Cath Roberts (baritone sax), Eero Tikkanen (double bass), Johnny Hunter (drums). We hope to feature some of these impressive musicians in this magazine in the future.

Photograph by Peter Fay

The approach. The name Article XI is taken from Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights which 'protects the right to freedom of expression and association ...' The composition has improvisation at it’s core, aiming to draw the personalities of the musicians into the final outcome. Anton sent two or three bars of music to each musician and they were then asked to record an improvisation based on those themes. The recordings Anton received varied, some long, some short, but he worked with these to develop each of the nine sections that make up the composition, each featuring various of the musicians. You can read more about the musicians and the approach taken if you click here.

Bringing together these eleven musicians on a regular basis would be difficult as they all have their own commitments, but it would be a shame if this work were not to be heard again. Fortunately, the gig at the Vortex in July was recorded and we may see something emerge from that. In the meanwhile, all those involved in this project have put down a marker for the future.

Click here for Anton's website and to sample some of his other music.

 

 

That Track

Comes Love

Comes Love
Comes a rainstorm, put your rubbers on your feet
Comes a snowstorm, you can get a little heat
Comes love, nothing can be done

Hey Love. You don’t know what love is, but it walks in, it hurts, you fall out of it, you can be sick with it. You can spend time making it then it don’t live here anymore. It is a many splendored thing or tainted. Love is for sale. It can be the groovy kind, the Sunday kind, you can be thru with it or it can be here to stay. It is only falling for make believe, so you’ll never fall in it again, then just around the corner, Comes Love.

Comes a fire, then you know just what to do
Blow a tire, you can buy another shoe
Comes love, nothing can be done

Comes Love has become a standard. It was written in 1939 by Sam H. Stept with great lyrics by Lew Brown and Charles Tobias and it has Billie Holidaybeen recorded by countless singers and musicians since that time. Let's start with Billie Holiday’s recording from her 1957 Body And Soul album with Ben Webster (tenor sax), Barney Kessel (guitar), Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison (trumpet), Jimmy Rowles (piano), Red Mitchell (bass) and Larry Bunker (drums) - click here.

 

Billie Holiday

 

Some years ago, possibly around the time Noah was putting animals on the ark, I remember an English lesson at school. [Apropos of Noah, do you know why the ark was made of gopher wood? And was Noah vegetarian?]. Anyway, in this English lesson we were given two poems to compare, one was a Shakespeare sonnet, I cannot recall the other. We were asked to say which really characterised love. I chose the Shakespeare sonnet and was put down by the others who said it was too ‘romantic’, the other poem was apparently the one that more realistically describe love. So Shakespeare didn’t know about love!? Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day at Glastonbury?

 

 

Don't try hiding
'Cause there isn't any use
You'll start sliding
When your heart turns on the juice

 

Comes a headache, you can lose it in a day
Comes a toothache, see your dentist right away
Comes love, nothing can be done

Soon after it was written, Comes Love was recorded by Artie Shaw and his Orchestra with Helen Forrest providing the vocals (click here). This recording was apparently played in the background to the television series ‘The Sopranos’ in the episode where Uncle Junior shoots TonyRed Rose Soprano (click here for the video clip from the episode). Johnny Best takes the trumpet solo and Georgie Auld the saxophone solo.

Love is a serious business. You won’t find many jokes about ‘Love’. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: ‘Love is one of those jokes you have to be there to get’.  Not like ‘Sex’, where there must be more jokes about it than there are about mothers-in-law, and which I know, dear reader, you would not wish us to repeat here. Similarly, ‘Romance’ has its fair share of humour, often sugary sweet: like the boy who was about to leave, but before he did, he gave his girl a dozen roses. Eleven were real and one was artificial. He said to the girl: ‘Don’t cry, I will love you until the last one dies.’ Or things that we ‘do for love’: A guy and his girlfriend were walking down the street when she spotted a beautiful diamond ring in a jewellery store window. "Wow, I'd sure love to have that!" she said. "No problem, baby," he said, throwing a brick through the glass and grabbing the ring. A few streets later, his girlfriend was admiring a black leather jacket in another shop window. "What I'd give to own that!" she said. "Sure thing, darling," he said, throwing another brick through the window and snatching the coat. Finally, turning for home, they pass a Mercedes car dealership. "Boy, I'd do anything for one of those!" she said to her boyfriend. "Damn, baby!" the guy cries. "Do you think I'm made of bricks?"

 

Comes a heatwave, you can hurry to the shore
Comes a summons, you can hide behind the door
Comes love, nothing can be done

Click here for a video of Joni Mitchell singing Comes Love at a private party in 1998 featuring Brian Blade on drums, Larry Klein on Bass, Joni MitchellMark Isham on trumpet and Mark Leisz on additional guitars.


Joni Mitchell

Does love start with parents and children? The old children’s rhyme says ‘First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage’. Last year, Nina Davenport made a documentary film, First Comes Love, about being a 41 year old single woman who desperately wants a child and decides to find a sperm donor with the help of a gay friend, Eric. Rotten Tomatoes movie site says: ‘Nina is unflinching at exposing her inner and outer self as a case study. She's refreshingly frank and funny about the trials that women endure in order to get pregnant, give birth and manage the early years of parenting. After watching, you'll want to thank your mother.’ Click here for the trailer.

I recently heard about a friend’s five-year-old who asked her father if girls can marry girls as she loved her best friend, Chloe. Her father said they could. ‘Will we be able to have a baby?’ asked his daughter. ‘Well, you can,’ said her father, struggling, ‘but you would have to find a man to give you a seed.’ His daughter said: ‘Can you give me a seed, daddy?’ ‘No, I can’t,’ said her father. ‘But daddy, you are the only gardener I know ….’

 

 

Comes a heatwave, you can hurry to the shore
Comes a summons, you can hide behind the door
Comes love, nothing can be done


Comes the measles, you can quarantine a room
Comes a mousey, you can chase it with a broom
Comes love, nothing can be done


Let’s bring in the wonderful Stacey Kent singing Comes Love from her album Love Is … The Tender Trap - click here, and then compare it with New York Ska Jazz Ensemblethis version of Comes Love from the New York Ska Jazz Ensemble (click here) – ‘You gotta love it’ – ‘an impressive grouping of seminal ska musicians who come together for the singular purpose of marrying Blue beat and Be-bop.’

(If you like the sound, click here for a video of them playing Paul Desmond’s Take Five).

New York Jazz Ska Ensemble

That's all, brother
If you've ever been in love
That's all, brother
You know what I'm speaking of

To conclude, click here for a very excellent video of Wynton Marsalis playing Comes Love with members of the Jazz At The Lincoln Centre Orchestra.

Comes a nightmare, you can always stay awake
Comes depression, you may get another break
Comes love, nothing can be done


 

 

 

Album Released: June 2013 - Label: Enja Records

 

Albare

The Road Ahead

Vic Arnold reviews this album for us:                                                          
                                                       
This is a recording featuring a virtuoso jazz guitarist Albare and his quartet. Albare is the nom de guerre of Albert Dadon.  He was born in Morocco and raised in both Israel and France before moving to Australia.

Albare has been described as a guitarist with influences ranging from Wes Montgomery to George Benson plus a few others picked up on the way. The pianist and Albare's fellow composer is Phil Turcio who is Australian, and is an inventive musician who plays very well on thisAlbare The Road Ahead recording. Completing the quartet is bassist Yunior Terry from Cuba, and the Venezuelan drummer, Pablo Bencid.

Click here for a video about The Road Ahead.

The recording has ten tracks, but three of them have additional very short introductions. The tracks themselves range from 2.15 mins to the longest at 8.13 minutes. The majority of the tracks were written by Albare and Phil Turcio, the exception is a cover version of Stevie Wonder's Overjoyed, sung by a not very impressive vocalist, Allan Harris. The music varies between a slow and a medium tempo, and  is very relaxing.

The first track Road Ahead Part A has a Middle Eastern feel, as in fact does track 13, Road Ahead Part B which is the longest track on the recording. On several tracks Albare plays an E1 Moog guitar. This was a new instrument to me, look it up on Google for details of what it is and what it can do. It can sound like a conventional guitar, but it can and does make some unusual sounds. On tracks 4 and 5, Expectations and Heart To Heart, what sounds rather like a horn, is no doubt a E1 Moog.

Click here for a longer video from The Road Ahead tour.

Click here to sample the album.

If you enjoy guitar music played well, this could be for you, the sound quality is excellent and the E1 Moog adds something a little different to this very interesting and enjoyable recording.

In July, Albare played at The Spice Of Life in London, at the Marlborough Jazz Festival and in Denmark and Italy. In September and October he will be touring in elsewhere in Europe. Click here for his website.

Click here to sample a range of Albare's music.

Vic Arnold

 

 

 

Sketches Of Spain Revisited

The Miles Davis / Gil Evans recording of Sketches Of Spain sits amongst the classic jazz albums. It was one of a series of magnificent albums by Miles that included Kind Of Blue, Milestones and the other collaborations with Gil Evans, Miles Ahead and Gershwin’s Porgy And Bess – all in 1958. Sketches of Spain albumSketches Of Spain was recorded at the end of 1958 and beginning of 1959.

Gil Evans has said: ‘[We] hadn't intended to make a Spanish album. We were just going to do the Concierto de Aranjuez. A friend of Miles gave him the only album in existence with that piece. He brought it back to New York and I copied the music off the record because there was no score. By the time we did that, we began to listen to other folk music, music played in clubs in Spain... So we learned a lot from that and it ended up being a Spanish album. The Rodrigo, the melody is so beautiful. It's such a strong song. I was so thrilled with that.’

‘The Rodrigo’ is Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, or rather the Adagio, the second movement of that composition, previously a well-known guitar concerto. At this point it is worth taking a moment to visit this video of guitarist John Williams playing the Adagio with the BBC Symphony Orchestra so you know where all this has come from - click here.

On Sketches of Spain the Adagio takes up almost half the record. Miles plays both flugelhorn and trumpet on the recording. Apparently ‘Davis thought the concerto's adagio melody was "so Miles Davisstrong" that "the softer you play it, the stronger it gets, and the stronger you play it, the weaker it gets", and Evans concurred.’ Click here to listen to Miles and Gil’s interpretation of the Adagio. (This link is to the whole Sketches Of Spain album. I do not think this is a very good reproduction and best played quietly).

Initially, not everyone agreed on the success of the album. According to Wikipedia: ‘Martin Williams wrote that "the recording is something of a curiosity and a failure, as I think a comparison with any good performance of the movement by a classical guitarist would confirm". The composer Rodrigo was also not impressed, but royalties from the arrangement brought him "a lot of money", according to Evans.’

Side 1 of the album featured Concierto de Aranjuez (16.19 minutes), and Manuel de Falla’s Will o’ the Wisp (3.47). Side 2 had The Pan Piper (Alborada de Vigo) (3.52); and two compositions by Gil Evans: Saeta (5.06) and Solea (12.15). The album brought Gil Evans and Miles Davis the 1961 Grammy Award for Best Original Jazz Composition.

Now, in 2014, Orbert Davis (no relation to Miles) and the Chicago Jazz Philarmonic have released a revisitation of Sketches Of Spain to celebrate the orchestra’s tenth anniversary. Two numbers are based on the original recording, the Concierto de Aranjuez Adagio (of course) Orbert Davisand Gil Evans’s Solea.

Trumpeter Orbert Davis first played Sketches of Spain with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble in the 1990s. A particular challenge was to disregard the expectations of some purists that the original performance would be recreated. He said: ‘What Miles played is not intended to be duplicated. Miles reached past the technical aspects of his instrument and played from the depths of his soul. I took that approach to freely create during the improvised sections.’

Since then, Orbert Davis has visited Sketches and its influences a number of times. In this revisiting, he has arranged the two original tracks and added three of his own compositions Muerto del Matador, El Moreno and El Albaicín.

He says: ‘I elected to keep the essence of Gil’s woodwind orchestration intact (sans bassoon) while incorporating an entirely different approach with the rest of the ensemble. I reduced Gil’s brass section from 13 to 4 members, removed the harp, and expanded the role of the rhythm section … I chose to use El Albaicín as a showcase for our string quartet.’

Like the original, Concierto de Aranuez takes up a good proportion of the album, around 18 minutes. The first nine minutes are close to the original arrangement and as the album proceeds, I couldn’t help but feel that this was a shame. The second nine minutes of the Adagio and the tunes that follow capture the essence of Sketches Of Spain without trying to recreate it, and for me, that is far more successful. Orton Davis is a Sketches of Spain revisited albumfine trumpet player and in my opinion, his compositions achieve just what he sets out to do in revisiting the sense of the original album.

Click here for a video of Orbert Davis and the Philarmonic playing the fifth movement from the album live in Chicago.

The album cover is also worth a note. In the spring of 2014 the Chicago Jazz Philarmonic ran a competition in which students in the Chicago area were invited to interpret different visual aspects of Spanish culture: a matador, a flamenco dancer, and a mountain village scene. The winner was 14 year old saxophone player Jaylyn Scott from Orland Junior High School. Jaylyn was awarded a cash prize and will receive royalties from the sale of all related merchandies like posters, mugs and t-shirts.

Orbert Davis is currently an Associate Professor of music at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has performed with Wynton Marsalis, TS Monk, Stevie Wonder, Dr. John, Kurt Elling, Ernie Watts, Ramsey Lewis and  Grover Washington Jr. and has been involved in arrangements and on-camera performances for feature films such as "A League of Their Own" starring Tom Hanks, Madonna and Rosie,"The Babe", starring John Goodman and  "Road to Perdition" starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman where he also had a cameo appearance. Click here for a video of him talking about his work.

Fifty-four years on, it is good to be reminded of Sketches Of Spain and to revisit the feeling behind it with another Davis.Click here to sample Sketches Of Spain (Revisited).

 

 

Album Released: 3 June 2014 - Label: Reade Street Records

 

Charles Davis

For The Love Of Lori

Saxophonist Howard Lawes reviews this album for us:

Lori was the much loved wife of Charles Davis and this album is a tribute to her and to two musical colleagues, pianist Cedar Walton and trumpeter Kenny Dorham who have also died.  Charles himself is 81 and it is of course inevitable that as the years go by friends and loved ones will pass on.  Music is a great way of expressing emotion and dealing with grief and it is hoped that Charles Davis found support fromCharles Davis For The Love of Lori his fellow musicians and comfort while producing the album.

The music on the album is a mixture of well known tunes such as What’ll I Do? (Irving Berlin) and I’ll Be Seeing You (Sammy Fain / Michael Weiss); which was memorably sung by Billie Holiday with whom Charles Davis has played. This is straight-ahead jazz and the title track, For The Love Of Lori, was composed by Charles Davis.

The band is a sextet with Davis on tenor sax, Steve Davis on trombone, Rick Germanson on piano, David Williams on bass, Joe Magnarelli on trumpet and Neil Smith on drums.  This is a very competent band with good individual performances but their playing as a group lacks a certain polish which would no doubt come as they learn more about each other.  Several of the tracks start with the horns playing in unison for a few bars and then all the musicians have their own solo which makes for good relaxing music but may not be sufficiently exciting for modern ears. 

The title track is a gentle, melodic piece written and mainly played by Charles Davis but with a lovely solo contribution from Joe Magnarelli and perfectly supported by the piano playing of Rick Germanson.The album as a whole provides pleasant music, better suited to the background, and given its inspiration is not overly sentimental.  That Charles Davis continues to compose and play jazz at his age and in times of sadness is a tribute to him and we can all gain a little strength from that.

Howard Lawes

Click here to sample the album. Click here to listen to Charles Davis with a different line-up on another album Our Man In Copenhagen playing Ballad For Brew.

 

 

 

Help With Musical Definitions No 2.

Yerba Buena

Spanish for ‘Good Grass’

with thanks to Ron Rubin

 

 

Broken Blossoms - A tale of love and lovers set in 1919 Limehouse

Here is early notice of an exciting event happening on 13th September in Gillett Square in Dalston, London. There is to be a free outdoor screening of D.W. GRIFFITH’S BROKEN BLOSSOMS with live music by Orphy Robinson at 8.00 pm.

The Vortex Jazz Club, with Hackney Co-operative Developments/Gillett Square and Reel Islington present, D. W. Griffith’s silent masterpieceBroken Blossoms still Broken Blossoms with music scored and performed by Orphy Robinson, with Byron Wallen, Corey Mwamba and Emi Watanabi.

Click here for a video trailer.

The film, subtitled in the politically incorrect language of the day, The Yellow Man and the Girl, is a tale of temple bells sounding at sunset before the image of Buddha; it is a tale of love and lovers; and it is a tale of tears. A young man leaves China and arrives in London where he opens a shop. Life in the East End is hard for him as indeed for the other slum-dwellers: prostitution, drugs, cruelty, broken dreams and racial intolerance are the order of the day. The young man befriends a young girl who is mistreated by her bigoted fighter-boxer father, which leads to tragic consequences. The original story was part of a collection of stories called Limehouse Nights by English writer Thomas Burke, whose writings helped to establish the exoticism and notoriety of the Chinese presence in Limehouse during the interwar years. Relations between Chinese men and white women had become a national concern. The Chinese who lived in Limehouse were culturally isolated and predominantly male – perceived to be a threat to the social order.

Emi Watanabe

Emi Watanabe

Broken Blossoms was made in 1919 by the American film maker D. W. Griffith who also made the controversial Birth of a Nation, and Intolerance. All three are recognized as a work that is "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant". Known for his pioneering use of Orphy Robinsonadvanced camera and narrative techniques he was revered by a string of subsequent film makers such as John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Jean Renoir, Orson Welles, Sergei Eisenstein and others. For Broken Blossoms Griffith changed Burke’s original story to promote a message of tolerance as 1919 was a time of strong anti-Chinese feeling in the USA as well as Britain. Yet this message is disturbed by the presence of supposedly tender lines such as “What makes you so good to me Chinky?” Is this prejudicial attitudes disguised as Liberalism or is it perceptive social commentary? While the attitudes about race are outdated the film hits on themes that resonate today - poverty, cruelty, drugs, love, broken dreams, immigration, bigotry and racism.

Orphy Robinson

Rich with imagery and recurring motifs, the film is an excellent subject for a new music score in the hands of the musical director Orphy Robinson, which will also carry a strong improvised element. Imagine the East End of London 1919 meets Hackney in 2014, while much has changed some things don't. The Quintet: Orphy Robinson (saxophone / multi-instrumentalist); Byron Wallen (trumpet), Corey Mwamba (vibraphone, dulcimer, electronics and small instruments); Emi Watanabe (traditional Japanese Flutes such as Ryuteki, Nohkan and Shinobue) and Beibei Wang (percussion and piano).

There is a request to help with crowd-funding the event. To find out more about the event click here.

 

 

Mick Clift

Mick Clift played jazz trombone. It was not until 2011 that Todd Allen in Canada wrote asking us about what had happed to Mick.

An entry on The Free Library internet site (click here) says: 'Back in 1979 trombonist Mick Clift had to leave Ken Ingram's band in Birmingham because his work took him to Cornwall.... Mick Clift will blast out a musical goodbye to all his followers, at the Coach and Horses in Daventry on Thursday, before retiring to Skegness.'. The date of the 'musical goodbye' is a little unclear.

Ken Colyer albumGriff Thomas, Alex Revell, Greg Platt, Tony Quinn and David Braidley start to fill in some of the gaps.

David Braidley first came across Mick on a 1957 Decca EP by Ken Colyer's Brass Band, where Mick and Mac Duncan were the two trombone players. The album, Marching To New Orleans by Ken Colyer’s Omega Brass Band is still available, second-hand as an LP, or you can sample and download the tracks by clicking here.

Alex Revell remembers how: ‘Mick and I played together in Steve Lane's Famous Southern Stompers in late 1959/1960. Mick then played in my band with Chez Chesterman, Alan Thomas, Geoff Over, Geoff Blackwell, Bob Sinclair and Pam White - a fine singer - handling the vocals.’

David next heard of Mick soon after David 'came out of retirement' and started playing again. ‘The band I was with was gradually recruited to Ken Ingram's Society Syncopators; cornet, piano, clarinet, tuba, where they joined Mick in the King Oliver/Morton style band. His last gig with this band was, I think, a recording session for Norman Field's Neovox Cassette label. This must have been in the late 70s. I no longer can find the tape, but do have a CD copy of Ken Ingram CDa USA radio broadcast, on OKOM in 1979 of 'Our Kind of Music' which reviews the tape and plays some of the tracks.’

Tradjazzproductions, an American company, is selling a CD of Ken Ingram’s New Syncopators playing ‘King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band Classics'. The album features the two horn front line of Ken and Chris Mercer; trombonist Mick Clift; clarinetist John Osborne; Roger Catley - piano; George Linder-banjo; Chester Oakley-tuba and drummer Nick Ward. (click here).

David continues: ‘Mick left, moving south for the benefit of his wife's health and subsequently I replaced him in Ken's Ken Ingram's New Syncopatorsband, now called Ken Ingram's New Syncopators. As ever with Ken, he broke up the band, and it wasn't until the 1990s that he formed another 'Classic' band, Ken Ingram's Creole Jazzband, which performed up to Ken's death. Incidentally I was simultaneously a long term dep. in his Central City Jazzmen, while Nick Williams recovered from his heart surgery.’

 

Ken Ingram's New Syncopators: Roger Cattley (piano).  Des Hillier (banjo), Nick Ward (drums). Chez Oakley bbs. Dave Lind (clarinet), Ken Ingram (cornet), Chris Mercer (cornet), David Braidley (trombone).
Photograph © David Braidley.

 

David next met Mick in 1992 on Bourbon St. in New Orleans. ‘We then played together in Clive Wilson's Camelia Parade Band, parading from David Braidley & Mick Clift New OrleansBourbon Street to Jackson Square.  There is a (brief) video and a cassette recording (which isn't lost), plus a front page photograph in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, I'm on the left, Mick on the right.' 

'A couple of days later we were playing at Fritzell's bar on Bourbon Street with Nick Ward, Chris Mercer, Chris Reilley, Roy Kirby, Mick Unthank and others. Again there is a tape of some of this made by Mick's wife.’

David Braidley (left) and Mick Clift (right) leading the Camelia Brass Band
Picture courtesy of David Braidley.

 

‘I only met Mick again a few more times back in England, but he was with Chris Watford's Dallas Dandies and his Dixieland Thumpers for quite some time, possibly until  he stopped playing. He was also with the Ben Cohen bands, but these, I think were 'festival only' line ups.’

Alex Revell recalls that Mick moved to Cornwall where he started his own band. ‘The last band that Mick played in was the Ben Cohen Hot Five and Seven, from 1993 until Ben's death in 2002. Mick loved the Hot 5 and 7: 'A dream come true. The best band, by far, I've ever been in,' he was always telling me.’

‘The last time I played with Mick, and probably the last jazz gig he did, was a tribute to Ben at Bude in 2004, with Enrico Tomasso in place of Ben. I say 'last jazz gig,' because when he finally went up to Skegness, he joined a local brass/silver band. He delighted in telling me on the 'phone that he had been promoted to making the tea at their rehearsals - typical Mick. Mick was a beautiful trombonist, with a wicked sense of time - particularly in his two bar breaks.’

Mick eventually died in Skegness, although as yet we don’t have the exact date. Greg Platt remembers going to Mick’s funeral: ‘Lucky to play occasionally with him with John Paddon at Louth, and the odd gig elsewhere’. That funeral was somewhere around 2005. Griff Thomas recalls that Mick died a short time after the passing of Ken Ingram. The Club 90 website records that Ken died on June 11th 2005. In 2011, Tony Quinn wrote 'I was the percussionist in Ken Ingram's band from 1997 to 2002. Ken, of course, died about 6 or 7 years ago. My new band is The New Washboard Syncopators' (click here for The New Washboard Syncopators playing Beale Street Blues).

Alex Revell: ‘After losing touch with Mick for some years after my own band split up, he sent me a tape of him playing with the Ken Ingram Band. After playing it in the car, my then wife turned to me and said. 'You know, there's no-one plays the trombone like Mickie.' I think that sums him up. But he was a very talented man of many parts. I miss him and Ben more than I can say.’

[We should like to add to this profile of Mick if any readers have more information. We do not have a clear picture of him, so if anyone can let us have a copy, that would be helpful - Ed]

 

 

 

Album released: February 2014 – Label: Babel

 

Nick Smart's Trogon

Tower Casa

Writer and musician Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Nick Smart (trumpet, flugel), Chris Montague (guitar), Kishon Khan (piano), Denny ‘Jimmy’ Martinez (electric bass), Dave Hamblett (drums), Pete Eckford (percussion).

Smart in name, smart in sound.  Nick Smart plays trumpet and flugel horn.  He has a six piece band called Trogon; he’s the only memberNick Smart Tower Casa who is blowing a horn.  His decision to ride this music with a drummer plus a percussionist, rather than bringing in a reed player to pitch alongside his instrument tells us a lot about Nick Smart and the music he’s making on the Tower Casa album.

I’m listening, I’m writing, someone comes in the room: “Ah Steve, this is dance music!”  She leaves, swapping steps from heel to toe.  I’d been listening to the track Todi Or Not Todi.  There’s a fabulous trumpet break after which Chris Montague’s guitar cuts under in unison with Kishon Khan’s piano and a quirky percussion line sneaks out a tricky rhythm but.... of course, as my friend says, this is most definitely feet greeting dance music.  And there’s only one horn at a time because Nick Smart has put himself straight down the centre stage and the percussion is doubled because he needs this band to shake.

Okay so it turns out that Mr Smart is Head of Jazz at the Royal Academy.  Fair enough, it is a good job someone is.  From the Trogon evidence this Head knows where to find the heart.  Listen to the way he introduces Kenny Wheeler’s Kind Folk melody.  Smart spreads the tune out as if giving you a present. Kahn and Montague reform the harmonies as the guitar picks a quick bridge back to the Smart horn.  It’s brass.  It’s bold brass.  And it folds around those harmonies like a brass glove.  The first time I played this track I thought it was far too Nick Smart's Trogonclose to Kenny Wheeler’s own versions of the tune. (And there really is no point in playing facsimiles of other people music.)  This is most definitely Kind Folk as I know it, Trogon sound very close to Wheeler yet it truly does feel heartfelt.  There is more than ‘tribute’ going on here.

Nick Smart's Trogon (Trogon is named after the national bird of Cuba).

Click here for the band playing Kind Folk and Tower Casa and a video of them playing Todi Or Not Todi.

Tower Casa, runs with a deep trumpet/flugel seam and I for one am going to be keeping my ear to the ground to hear where Nick Smart takes things in the future.  Dance, hey why not?  But no one comes to this spot merely to get funky; I don’t think that’s Nick Smart’s intention.  Trumpet continues to be a centre stage instrument.  In academia who could possibly pick up the instrument without acknowledging the line between Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. That’s all documented and out in the open.  But there are a lot of other lines on the page.  I’m sure those kind folk at the Royal Academy also consider history making trumpet players such as Wadada Leo Smith, Lester Bowie, Bill Dixon and Jack Walrath.  They have to because music is about why you play not merely what you play.

Smart in name, smart in sound.  It may feel as if Nick Smart has already done a lot, but the truth is that around each bend there is a lot more road containing distance and decisions.  So why do you play?  Tower Casa has some answers.  There’s more to come.  

Click here to sample the album

Steve Day

http://www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

 

 

Video Of The Month

Different Drummer - Elvin Jones

This 1979 documentary about drummer Elvin Jones is suggested as 'mandatory viewing for drummers' by one commentator. Certainly theElvin Jones Different Drummer drumming and interview with Elvin Jones filmed in this video are worth watching. The introduction to the video says:

'Before we delve into Elvin Jones' life and career from a musicologist's standpoint, it is important (when available) to hear from these musicians themselves and those they worked with. Luckily in the case of prolific drummer Elvin Jones, film producer and director Ed Gray decided to make a documentary entitled Different Drummer: Elvin Jones in 1979 for PBS.'

'Though Jones is most well known for his work with innovators like Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and countless others, he also had quite an interesting youth both serving in the US Army and developing his musical chops in the Detroit music scene afterwards. The documentary in part looks at his earlier work that helped him develop a music sense in the church and in postwar Detroit. The documentary is only 30 minutes total, so we won't tell anyone if you break away for a quick lunchtime viewing!'

Click here to watch Different Drummer: Elvin Jones.

 

 

 

Facebook

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


Click here

 

 

 

Photographic Memories

Emily Dankworth by Brian O'Connor

Emily Dankworth

Photographs © Brian O'Connor

This month's photographic memory is a recent picture taken by photographer Brian O'Connor at the Watermill Jazz Club in Dorking on 17th July. Emily was singing at the Alec Dankworth Spanish Accents gig with Alec Dankworth, Demi Garcia, Chris Garrick and Mark Lockheart. Emily is the granddaughter of Cleo Laine and daughter of Alec, and Brian says: 'Emily has a fine voice and doesn’t attempt to sound like her grandmother, or aunt.  She sang mainly in Spanish, then finished with one standard in English.  Very clear singing and a good range.' Emily has sung in choirs all her life, and in 2011 studied Jazz vocals at the Guildhall School of Music. She sings in the acapella group Vive and has performed in the UK and Europe. She also works with her own group.

Click here for a video of Emily singing an edit of her gig with her Sextet at the Karamel Club in 2012.

Emily Dankworth

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

 


Win A CD

Thank you for the suggestions that you have been sent in.The idea is that if someone were searching for a list of albums to give them a good foundation for a jazz library, what should they include?

All we ask is for a couple of paragraphs about the album and what makes it a classic.

Some of you seem to have been suggesting your favourite albums of the moment rather than a 'foundation' collection. I shall keep these and perhaps we can move on in due course to another feature for them.

The winner for this month's suggestion is Vic Arnold who makes a case for a the Count Basie album The Atomic Mr Basie. Vic wins a copy of the CD Trichotomy - Fact Finding Mission.

Kris Adams LongingWe 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 key jazz albums and send us the name of another album and make your argument for why it should be included. 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 Longing by Kris Adams. (See our review in the Taster section above).

So, why not send us an email with your suggestion and your reasons for why you think it should be included. Click here for our contact details.

 

 

 

The Essential Album Collection

Which jazz albums make up a collection of classics? We ask you to suggest an album each month so that we can 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 Vic Arnold.

Count Basie - The Complete Atomic Basie (1957)

Vic recommends this album saying: 'The album is actually called The Complete Atomic Basie: E= MC2 = Count Basie Orchestra + Neal HeftiThe Atomic Mr Basie Arrangements. This was the first Count Basie recording that I purchased, in 1958, and it has, in my opinion never been beaten . Basie's recordings in the 1930's and 40's were labelled as being by his 'old testament' band. When he reformed his big band, his recordings were classed as 'second testament' or 'new testament' bands. This great recording is the best of the lot. It starts off with The Kid From Red Bank and Basie's piano is to the fore. The remaining 10 tracks all vary, from the magical sounding Flight of the Foo Birds, to Fantail and Whirly-Bird to the slow Li'L Darlin'.' 

'There are lots of opportunities for great reed and brass solo's and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis on tenor sax provides plenty of excitement. It is recorded in glorious Mono, and the cover of the album still looks awe-inspiring after 56 years! The CD that I have has 5 bonus tracks that were all arranged by Jimmy Mundy, all recorded in October 1957.' 

Click here to listen to the complete album.

 

 

 

 

One From Ten

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.

Annie Ross :

Loguerhythms – Songs From the Establishment/ Red Bird Dancing On Ivory

In choosing this release from Cherry Red as his pick of the month, Jon Turner from Broad Street specialist jazz record shop in Bath tells us that his customers will welcome the album. ‘This an album I have been asked about for a long time. It comes from the time of poetry set to jazz andAnnie Ross Loguerhythms people have considered it one of the best examples of that genre.’

Cherry Red Records describe the setting: ‘Christopher Logue wrote screenplays for The End Of Arthur’s Marriage, a Wednesday play directed in the mid-sixties by Ken Loach and for Ken Russell’s effervescent biopic of the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. As an actor, again for Russell, (Logue) took the roles of Cardinal Richlieu in (the film) The Devils and the poet Swinburne in the Monitor film about the pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti.’

‘Logue compiled / edited the columns True Stories and Pseud’s Corner for Private Eye, wrote a pornographic novel and protested with Bertrand Russell against nuclear weapons. His poem War Music was begun as a BBC commission toward a modern rendering of parts of Homer’s Iliad. The poem would become his pre-occupation Annie Rossfor more than four decades.’

‘Here, Logue’s poetry is set to jazz music arranged by Tony Kinsey and Stanley Myers and sung (to) brilliant effect by Annie Ross at Peter Cook’s Soho club, The Establishment. Ross was the logical choice for this; a friend, she had extraordinary power, timing and wit, established herself with some memorable solo recordings and in the finest jazz group of the day Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. In the opinion of many, Ross is the finest British female jazz vocalist of all time and her performance on Loguerhythms is surely amongst her best work, harnessing perfectly the nuances of Logues pithy invective.’

‘Loguerhythms was preceded in 1959 by the extended play recording, Red Bird: Jazz and Poetry, performed by Logue himself and based on a loose adaptation of Pablo Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems, recorded by George Martin with jazz arrangements by Tony Kinsey and Bill Le Sage. This edition combines Loguerhythms and Red Bird, making these extraordinary recordings available for the first time on compact disc.’

 [Click here to sample the album].

Annie Ross – Loguerhythms – Songs From the Establishment/ Red Bird Dancing On Ivory – (Cherry Red) is available from Broad Street Jazz at £9.99 plus postage.

 

 

 

Ten Recent Releases and Re-Issues


The Ten

Jon Turner of Broad Street Jazz specialist record shop in Bath gives us his choice of ten recent releases and re-issues.

Broad Street Jazz is a specialist jazz record shop where Jon is very happy to help you with advice on jazz recordings. You can click here to email him ot visit his website at www.broadstreetjazz.co.uk

 

Tubby Hayes album


1. Tubby HayesWithout A Song: Rare Live Recordings – (Acrobat)

[Click here to sample]

 


Fred Hersch album


2. Fred HerschFloating – (Palmetto)

[Click here to sample. Click here for review]

 

 

Black Top album


3. Black Top featuring Steve Williamson - # One – (Babel)

[Reviewed last month. Click here for video. ]

 

 

Charles Lloyd album


4. Charles LloydArrows Into Infinity – (DVD) (ECM)

[Click here for a trailer for the DVD. Click here for details]

 


Annie Ross album


5. Annie RossLoguerhythms – Songs From the Establishment/ Red Bird Dancing On Ivory – (Cherry Red)

[See One From Ten article above]

 



Dylan Howealbum


6. Dylan HoweSubterranean – New Designs On Bowie’s Berlin – (Motorik)

[See review on this page]

 

 

Mark Nightingale album


7. Mark Nightingale and Alistair WhiteThe Sound Of Jay & Kai – (Woodville)

[Click here to sample]

 

 

Gacoyne OHiggins album


8. Gascoyne/O’Higgins QuartetThe Real Note Vol. 2 – (Jazzizit)

[Click here to sample]

 


Gary Burton album


9. Gary BurtonDuster + Country Roads and Other Places – (BGO)

[Click here for information]

 

 

Stan Getz album


10. Stan GetzEngland 1958 / Chicago 1957 – (Solar)

[Click here to sample. Click here for information]

 

 

 

Click here for Broad Street Jazz’s New Releases page

 

 

 

 

Album Released: 2014 - Label: Self Release

Tom Donald Trio

In Transito

Tom Donald (piano), Eric Guy (bass) Gorka Díez (drums)

Last month we ran a feature on a project that pianist, composer and teacher Tom Donald is working on to break down the barriers between jazz, classical music and improvisation.

Tom has now released In Transito, a trio album recorded during 2012 and 2013. Before we come to the music, it is worth noting that the attractive, orange and black, double-fold CD cover with its separate folded insert is striking – except for the fact that it tells little except the names of the band members and the track list. Presumably this was intentional, but it is an opportunity missed to tell us more about ideas behind the album and the background of the people involved. Instead, we have a short comment beneath each track in the list that we are invited to interpret as we will.

Tom Donald Trio

The track list is interesting. There are six tracks, some quite long – Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage ('The circle begins from its unknown location …') that begins the album runs for nine minutes or thereabouts. This is followed by Chopin’s Prelude In C Minor ('The need for love and human fragility'). If you are unfamiliar with the piece it is the base for Barry Manilow’s (and later Take That’s) Could This Be Magic. As you might expect, Tom Donald’s interpretation is rather different, but it does take us back to the discussion in last month’s review of Paul Higgs’s album Pavane and the issue of how classical music lends itself to jazz interpretation. Logically, any piece of music is open to improvisation.

On In Transito, the third track, the traditional Deep River ('The scared and nostalgic river of our finest hours') is followed by Wayne Shorter’s Ju Ju ('Urban pleasures and superstition. Mystical and lustful speculations'). The album closes with Tales From Nowhere ('The ending and its final moments of meditation') by C Spiers and Tom Donald’s own composition In Transito ('The unknown passage to the next maiden voyage').

In Transito is primarily a feature for Tom Donald’s piano with Gorka Díez providing solid, unobtrusive drums and Eric Guy offering some nice bass solos. Tom’s style comes over as exploratory. On finding different motifs he will stay with them for some time either repeating them or varying the key and he has a tendency towards short fast runs in his playing.

Click here to listen to the album on Tom’s website.

Tom says: ‘When we recorded In Transito with Spanish drummer Gorka Diez I wanted to make a record that was blind to genre andTom Donald In Transito instead telling a story of life and living that stretches beyond the jazz norms. In Haider Rashid's groundbreaking culture documentary 'Silence, All Roads Lead to Music' that premiered at the Dubai film festival, I deviated from the urban jazz cliché introducing a spacious, tranquil sound that draws upon eclectic influences in a deeply personal way. I think musicians in cities make a big mistake by living too fast, you have to slow down to have anything to say.’ Click here for a video from the Gulf Film Channel about the concept.

Tom continues: ‘In the album, accepted notions of musical genre are challenged. Beginning with Herbie Hancock, the trio makes a transition through to Chopin before moving on to a traditional American spiritual, just an example of the captivating musical journey the audience is taken on reminding us of the power of music beyond category.’

Tom Donald is an award winning film composer and pianist often performing complete concert cycles of improvisation. Recently his compositions for film have won acclaim throughout Europe and The Middle East, including Haider Rashid's "The Deep” which recently won 2nd place at the Italian Globe Awards and Koutiba Al-Janabi's "Leaving Baghdad”. Tom has performed internationally at prestigious venues including Abbey Road Studios, National Opera Studio, BBC, Ronnie Scott’s, Sicily’s Horcynus Festival and the Dubai Film Festival.

In due course, the album will be available from Amazon as well as through Tom's website.

Ian Maund

 

 

Alanna (9) Takes The A Train

AlannaOnce again we can experience the simmering talent out there that promises much for tomorrow's jazz musicians.

Pianist Tom Donald (see review above) draws our attention to this marvellous video of Alanna Crouch, one of Tom's youngest students who recently took her Grade 5 Jazz Exam. Tom says: 'I don't think it will be long until she'll be releasing her own albums at this rate!'

He could be right.

Click here for a video of Alanna playing Take The A Train with Tom and take heart.

 

 

 

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 their obituaries where we have them:Temperence Seven

 

Brian Innes - Co-founder and percussionist with the Temperence Seven. He went to Chelsea Art College where the band was 'born', and they played for college dances and society events until John R.T. Davies joined in 1958 when they became more 'professional'. Eventually, Brian went into publishing but continued to play piano for the Orbis Publishing All - Stars. Click here for the Temperence Seven playing Pasadena.

 

 

 

Charlie Haden

 

Charlie Haden - American bass player born in Iowa. He was drawn to jazz after hearing Charlie Parker in 1951. He studied at Westlake College of Music in Los Angeles and went on to play with Art Pepper, Paul Bley, Hampton Hawes, Ornette Coleman (on the album The Shape of Jazz To Come) and with Keith Jarrett / Dewey Redman and Paul Motian. In 1969 he launched the Liberation Music Orchestra with Carla Bley and continued to play with numerous famous jazz musicians, last playing in London in 2009. Click here for a video of Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny playing Blues For Pat.

 

 

 

 

Paul Horn

 

 

Paul Horn - Born in New York and raised in Washington, Paul horn played piano at 4 and by 12 was playing saxophone. By the time he graduated from the Manhattan School of Music in 1953, he was specialising in flute and clarinet. He played with the Eddie Sauter - Bill Finegan Big Band, Chico Hamilton's West Coast Quintet and then became a Hollywood session musician. In 1962 he was the subject of a TV documentary The Story Of A Jazz Musician. Eventuall,y his interests took him more in the direction of World Music. Click here for part 1 of The Story Of A Jazz Musician.

 

 

 

 

Johnnie Gray

 

Johnnie Gray - UK saxophonist born in Coventry. He played with Ted Heath's 1945 Big Band and then Sydney Lipton's band at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. In 1952, he formed his own 10-piece band, Johnnie Gray and his Band of the Day, which toured Europe and America. When big bands started to decline, he opened an instrument repair shop, a booking agency and became a session musician recording with The Beatles, Nat King Cole and others. His band was the resident backing and for ITV's Spot The Tune. Click here for a video interview with Johnny when he was 91.

 

 

 

Kathy Stobart

 

Kathy Stobart - UK saxophonist who by 14 was playing with Don Rico's Ladies' Swing Band. During the 1940s in London she played alongside Art Pepper and Peanuts Hucko as well as broadcasting with the British AEF Big Band. After the War, she played with Art Thompson, Vic Lewis and Ted Heath and started her own band until she retired to bring up her family. In 1957, she was back deputising in Humphrey Lyttelton's band, returning as his regular saxophonist from 1969 to 1978. Teaching, she influenced a new generation of musicians including Orphy Robinson and Deirdre Cartwright. Her own groups broadcast on the BBC until 1985 when she moved to Devon and set up a student band in Exeter. She continued to play with Humph's band into the 1990s. Click here for a video of Kathy playing with Humphrey Lyttelton's band.

 

 

Forum

Twenty Minutes

Writing on Facebook, pianist Rick Simpson says: 'Sometimes I understand why the public mostly dislike jazz when I see people play a 20 minute long version of a tune (especially an utter dogmeat one like Beatrice/Minority/Solar). It just stops being remotely interesting or musical and I wish everyone would think about this shit. If it's boring for people in the band then it's DEFINITELY boring for anyone who's wandered into a club wondering what jazz is only to see that happening. I just think we need to always consider who we are playing to and never assume that they know what's going on in this music. Never assume that someone can hear choruses, or hear when you're playing out, or that they can tell the difference between a head and soloing or anything like that. I'm not asking anyone to dumb down the music but I think always keeping the audience in mind is crucial and polite.'

 

Big Band Venues in Germany

Can anyone recommend venues in Germany suitable for a superb young big band playing music by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Terry Gibbs, Bill Holman, Thad Jones, Sammy Nestico, etc.? Please contact us with any suggestions.

 

Soho in the Fifties

Trombonist John Jack writes:

I have just been alerted to your fascinating letter by a very long-standing mate from the golden Fifties of Soho  and its Jazz  tentacles in the outer world. He had read the piece about a sadly missed (one of all-too many) colleague/ fellow raver Sandy Sanders by his widow  Kathy (click here). I will pass over her addition of an irritating ‘s’ suffix to my name; and I must cast some doubts on the veracity of her recollections as to my vocal indulgences - what she may not have experienced  were my supporting bassist “uncle John Renshaw”  at a street corner adjacent to the Fighting Cocks.

Some Sunday evenings, when he would enter into his “revivalist Preacher mode" to bring salvation to the passing sinners and bring them back to the path of righteousness via the saving blessings of the ‘holy sounds of New Orleans music, which at that very moment was theirs to embrace just a few short steps away in the side room of Messrs Courage’s ale house performed with uttermost Dedication by the “reverent Bill Brunskill and his minstrels”.

For the sake of historical accuracy, during most of the Fifties I was a trombonist, jamming at many parties and all-night sessions and occasionally getting gigs at various colleges and such like venues. Whilst in the early months of national service up at Catterick  I depped for  Ed O’Donald  with Bob Barclay's Yorkshire Jazz Band on a Sunday afternoon Gig at the NAAFI club. A treasured memory is sharing the programme with a long-standing hero, Ken Colyer, at Wimbledon Art School; the climax of my playing career was a short spell with my friend  Ron Weatherburn  in the group he co-led with clarinettist Mac White  in  the Dusseldorf Bier bar.

Anyway, what I had initially started to contact you about was in regards  to an other long-time favourite trombonist, Ricco Rodreques. I last saw Ricco as part of an all-star, largely black  musician band that was amongst the multitude of groups that gave their services in a memorial concert a group of us presented to our much loved friend, Lol Coxhill, at the Cecil Sharp House in Camden. The band with Ricco plays regularly at Effra Hotel in Brixton and included trumpeter Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton, at one time a regular in Georgie Fame’s Blue Flames, saxophonist  Mike ‘Bammi’ Rose et al.   

 

 

Benoit Viellefon and his Orchestra - 'Mon Amour'

We have not heard this album, in fact it seems that there is a limited edition of 1000 copies available only through the band's website. Benoit Viellefon and the band play the music of the Swing era. You can listen to some of the music on the album if you click here where you can also find out more about the band.

 

 

Banjoking

Mike Durrell has written sending the cartoon below. I have replied saying that I, too, hate people who speak loudly on mobile phones in confined spaces!

Banjo in lift

"I am trapped in an elevator - wait, it gets worse."

 

 

 

Help Me Information
Long distance Information
Give me mention, then we'll see
Help me find a party ...

with apologies to Chuck Berry (click here)

Can you help?

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 ...



 

 

Album Released: June 2014 - Label: Leo Records

 

Aardvark Jazz Orchestra

Impressions

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Conductor, trumpet, piano, Mark Harvey;  woodwinds and saxophones, Arni Cheatham, Peter Bloom, Michael Heller, Tom Hall, Phil Scarff, Chris Rakowski, Dan Zupan; trumpets, K.C. Dunbar, Jeanne Snodgrass, Eric Dahlman; Trombones, Bob Pilkington, Jay Keyser, Jeff Marsanskis; bass trombone/tuba, Bill Lowe; guitars Richard Nelson, Peter Herman; piano, Lewis Porter; string bass, John Funkhouser,Aardvark Jazz Orchestra Impressions Victor Belanger; drums, Harry Wellott; vocalists, Grace Hughes, Jerry Edwards.  

Mark Harvey has been guiding the fortunes of his Aardvark Jazz Orchestra since 1973.  They come with their own history, as well as specifically that of the ‘American Jazz Orchestra’.  But Aardvark are not straightforward.  Sure they look pretty straight (shirt & tie, brushed hair, crease in the trousers), yet are hardly straight any other direction.  Initially they might even sound white collar but hell, their music can inflate and purposefully zoom out; just when you think they are cooling on something close to Billy Strayhorn, they abstract.  Vocally, in the brass charts, tonic to sonic saxophones, pitch; a smooth arrangement will crack open and shred the edge in fine detail.

And Mark Harvey has heavy duty credentials – he’s been around a lot of important creative musicians (name just a few): Sam Rivers, Jimmy Giuffre, Paul Lovens, Marilyn Crispell, Taylor Ho Bynum, Jacki Byard, and Jay Clayton.  Then curve off in another direction; Harvey is also a minister, founding a Jazz Arts Ministry within the United Methodist Church and is part of the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  So what’s that all add up to?  I really don’t know.  Perhaps it doesn’t matter. What I am absolutely sure about is that the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra is not risk adverse. They have people in this band that play damn serious.  It is not Lincoln Centre, Manhattan that holds the keys to the canon of the American jazz orchestra, in Cambridge, Massachusetts there is a big band burning beacons, and if it is in a church so-be-it.

Drums in a jazz orchestra have to guide, drive, and stake a claim on everything else that is happening.  It is a different thing to small group work.  For example: Rufus Thomas in the Ellington band used to gather up the horn and reed sections so they rested on the crest of the rhythm while he continued to cross with kick after hit after hit at each soloist.  The drum role (sic) of Paul Lovens in Alex von Schlippenbach’s Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra was to roll time out in multiple directions.  Whether he was scrapping the percussion barrel or hitting it in ticked-off time the fact is, he was (is) both a guide and a driver.  If Harry Wellott’s strikes come closer to Thomas, there Aardvark Jazz Orchestraare times on this recording when you know the Aardvark drummer knows as much about the freeway as the tight tangle beat of the backstreets.

The Impressions album is a series of live recordings that are pristine sharp across the whole orchestra.  And there’s a lot to hear.  The material is written by Mark Harvey and deals with the American dream in both its nightmares and its vision. The Journey takes us to the civil rights movement – the voice of Grace Hughes, like an all-knowing elegy, is everything you have ever understood about that struggle for social change; “such a long time”.  As we tune our ears into Bill Lowe’s bass trombone solo it feels like the earth moves; the band go low with Lowe.  The whole orchestra are down, down, down below the bottom of this subject matter.  The Lowe-man is a precious secret shared.  Another standout is Elemental which unfolds over sixteen minutes, again with a voice part, this time from Jerry Edwards.  Here song is stretched out of verse and chorus and built against blocks of sound.  It’s great music.

I haven’t got the space to say too much more, but they have.  Aardvark have an eloquence in their improvisation written inside the art of orchestration.  A pity Duke and The Count can’t hear where their great art has got to.

(We have not been able to find any samples online of the Orchestra's Impressions album, but click here and then scroll down to Aardvark Audio on the left to listen to some of their other work. Click here for a video of the Orchestra playing Duke Ellington's The Mooch back in 2009 - Ed).

Steve Day

stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk                                            

 

 

 

September Gigs for the National Jazz Archive

An Evening with Liane Carroll - Friday 5th September - 7.30 pm (doors 6.30 pm) - £15

Liane CarrollLoughton Methodist Church, 260 High Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 1RB

The National Jazz Archive continues its fundraising concerts with this concert featuring vocalist Liane Carroll.

'Liane Carroll is an authentic Diva and superb jazz pianist. She has worked with many great artists, and presents her own unmissable shows of the Great British and American songbooks she loves.'

 

The gig is followed the next day with

 

 

John Altman

 

John Altman's All-Star Jazz Party - Saturday, 6th September - 1.30 pm (doors 12.30 pm) - £15

Loughton Methodist Chuch,260 High Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 1RB

'Saxophonist John Altman’s career spans film scores to TV commercials. He has worked with everyone from rock stars including Van Morrison to James Tormé (Mel’s son) and a cavalcade of premier American jazzmen.'

You can buy a combined ticket for both concerts for £28.

Click here for more information.


 

Jazz Series Gears Up to be on the Edinburgh Fringe

The Playtime team, who stage weekly jazz sessions at the Outhouse in Edinburgh, have announced an expansion of activities during the city’s Fringe festival. The Outhouse is at 12a Broughton Street Lane.

Beginning with pianist Dave Milligan on Monday August 4, guests including saxophonist Julian Arguelles, organist and former Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year Pete Johnstone, and bassist Brodie Jarvie will feature in a programme that runs until August 21 in the Outhouse’s congenial, intimate loft.

Situated just round the corner from the city centre terminus of Edinburgh’s new tram system, the Outhouse has proved a popular Fringe jazz venue over the past few years, with American singers Barbara Morrison and Lillian Boutte among those who have enjoyed successfulDave Milligan residencies there, and the Playtime series will supplement similar residencies this year with early evening and late-night concerts.

Dave Milligan

Saxophonist Martin Kershaw, who launched the Playtime sessions with guitarist Graeme Stephen, bassist Mario Caribe and drummer Tom Bancroft as the resident band and who will also be appearing regularly during the Fringe run, said: “The loft is a really good space to play in and it’s allowed the regular team to develop new music as well as inviting people who happen to be in town to come and play. We had a memorable night with some visiting Ghanaian musicians and when one or more of the team can’t appear due to other work commitments, there’s a ready supply of players who are willing to step in and give the Thursday sessions continuity.”

The Fringe series also features Graeme Stephen directing new live soundtracks to silent films Nosferatu and Faust, keyboards player Paul Harrison and drummer Stuart Brown’s jazz-electronica project Herschel 36, and Stephen, trombonist Chris Greive and drummer David Harrison continuing the gleeful deconstruction of Led Zeppelin that Stephen and Greive began with maverick trio NeWt.

For full details of the programme log onto www.playtime-music.com

 

 

LCBB To Play Ronnie's

For some time now we have been telling you how good we think Barney Lowe's young London City Big Band is. Comprised of students and graduates from the jazz courses at the colleges of music, the arrangements, playing and solos are outstanding.

LCBB usually play once a month at The Spice of Life in Soho, but after a summer break, they are booked to play at Ronnie Scott's Club onLondon City Big Band Saturday 27th September. Click here for a video of the band playing Evil Man Blues.

Barney says: 'Being close to our anniversary month (October), we have decided to celebrate our three year anniversary a few days early and we are really excited to say that the fantastic Mark Nightingale will be joining us again on trombone. Mark featured with us in October last year at the Spice of Life. It was one of our most memorable gigs so far, so we had to invite him back again. 

Mark has established himself as one of Europe's leading jazz trombone players and is always in huge demand. He performs regularly with the BBC Big Band, Skelton Skinner All Stars and the John Wilson Orchestra. For this gig we will be performing almost an entirely new set of music, with charts from the Count Basie Orchestra along with his collaborations with Frank Sinatra and the Grammy Award winning Diane Schuur. The charts of Bill Holman and trumpet player Thad Jones will also be performed, with Mark Nightingale featuring as guest soloist. 

We are all extremely excited and hugely proud to have been given this opportunity, and it certainly promises to be the most exciting and prestigious gig we have ever performed. Needless to say, we would love nothing more than to see as many people supporting as possible. 

We will be performing 2 x 75 minute shows on the Saturday night (the same set on both shows). Doors: 18:00 (Support from Ronnie Scott's All Stars) Show 1: 20:30 - 21:45 / Doors: 22:30 Show 2: 23:15 - 00:30'

Tickets through the Ronnie Scott's Club website. Not to be missed.

 

EFG London Jazz Festival

Booking is now open for many events that will be taking place at the EFG London Jazz Festival which will take place from Friday 14th to Sunday 23rd November 2014.

Performers include The Bad Plus, Ian Shaw, Branford Marsalis, John Surman, Snarky Puppy and many more.

Click here for the Festival website where you will find more details.

 

 

Some August Gigs

 

 

It is impossible for us to include a list of all the gigs taking place during a month. I have decided to take an approach where we will look at venues geographically and give you their website links so you can check what is going on in a particular area.

I will choose some Gig Picks that you might find interesting - but check their website for other gigs. Where a venue doesn't have a website, then some details of what is taking place are included below.

 

Dublin: JJ Smyth's, 2, Aungier Street, Dublin 2. www.jjsmyths.com
Gig Pick - Thursday, 28th August - Phil Robson/ Hugh Buckley Quartet.

Dublin: Sugar Club, 8, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. www.thesugarclub.com
Gig Pick - Friday, 22nd August - Roy Ayres.

Dublin: National Concert Hall (NCH), Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2. www.nch.ie
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 20th August - Emilie Conway Quartet.

Dublin: Whelan's, 25, Wexford Street, Dublin 2. www.whelanslive.com

For other regular jazz sessions in Dublin contact Ollie Dowling from Quality Music Tel: 00 353 87 287855

Scotland: The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, 1a, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HR. www.thejazzbar.co.uk
Gig Pick - 11th, 12th 13th August - Brian Molley Quartet. The Quartet follows these gigs with a tour in Cumbria, Birmingham and Scotland, click here for dates.

Wales: Dempsey's, Cardiff , 15, Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BS. www.jazzatdempseys.org.uk
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 5th August - Capital City Jazz Orchestra.

Lancashire: Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club, Atrium Cafe Bar, Clitheroe Castle Keep, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 1BA. www.rvjazzandblues.co.uk
No gigs in August

Newcastle-upon-Tyne: The Jazz Cafe, 25 - 27 Pink Lane, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 5DW. www.jazzcafe-newcastle.co.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 15th August - Zoe Gilby Trio.

Yorkshire: SevenJazz, Leeds, Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, or Inkwell Arts, 31 Potternewton Lane Chapel Allerton, Leeds. www.sevenjazz.co.uk
(Includes: Seven Jazz Improvisation Group, Seven Jazz instrumental workshops and Seven Jazz Voices Choir).

Yorkshire: Jazz In The Spa, Boston Spa, Village Hall, High Street, Boston Spa. www.jazzinthespa.co.uk
Gig Pick - Saturday 9th August - Stephanie Trick + Paolo Alderighi plus the Daytones.

South Yorkshire: Sheffield Jazz, Various venues in Sheffield. www.jazzinthespa.co.uk (Closed until the autumn season).

Manchester: Matt and Phred's, 64 Tib Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1LW. www.mattandphreds.com
Gig Pick - Thursday, 28th August - The Jamie Brownfield Quartet.

Norfolk: Norwich Jazz Jam, The Windmill, Knox Road, Norwich, NR1 4LQ. www.jazzjam.org.uk

Essex: The Electric Palace, Harwich, King's Quay. Harwich. www.electricpalace.com
Gig Pick: Thursday, 21st August - The Bohem Ragtime Jazz Band from Hungary.

Essex: North Weald, North Weald Village Hall, CM16 6BU Essex
Third Saturday of every month - 12.30 pm to 3.00 pm. Jack Free's All Star Band with Jack Free (trombone), Peter Rudeforth (trumpet), John Crocker (clarinet), Tim Huskisson (piano), Murray Salmon (bass), Martin Guy (drums).

Buckinghamshire: Amersham Jazz Club, Beaconsfield Sycob FC HP9 2SE. www.amershamjazzclub.co.uk
Gig Pick: Wednesday, 20th August - Amy Roberts and Richard Exall Quintet with Jeff Barnhart.

Oxford: The Oxford Jazz Kitchen, The Crown, Cornmarket Street, Oxford . www.oxfordjazzkitchen.com
Jam Sessions every first Wednesday of the month, 8.30 pm - 11.00 pm with Trish Elphinstone (saxophones), Peter Dixon (guitar) and Tim Richardson (drums) at
The St. James Tavern, Cowley Road, Oxford

Oxford: The Half Moon, The Half Moon, St Clements, Oxford.
Last Wednesday of each month -
The Trish Elphinstone Quintet

London: Lume, Hoxton, The Long White Cloud, 151 Hackney Road, London E2 8JL. www.lumemusic.co.uk
No gigs in August.

London: e17 Jazz, Walthamstow, Orford House Social Club, 73 Orford Road, Walthamstow, London E17 9QR. www.e17jazz.com
No gigs in August.

London: Pizza Express, Soho, 10, Dean Street, London W1. www.pizzaexpresslive.com
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 5th August - Warren Vaché / Alan Barnes Quintet.

London: The Spice Of Life, Soho, 6, Moor Street, London W1. www.spicejazz.co.uk

London: Ronnie Scott's Club, Soho, 47 Frith Street, London W1. www.ronniescotts.co.uk  
Gig Pick - Friday, 29th - Sunday, 31st August -
Roy Ayres.  

London: The 100 Club, 100 Oxford Street, London W1D 1LL. www.the100club.co.uk (The 100 Club only occasionally stages jazz gigs these days)

London: The Forge, Camden, 3-7 Delancey Street, Camden, London NW1 7NL. www.theforgevenue.org
Gig Pick - Thursday, 7th August - The Session - Modern New Orleans jazz group formed by five of the most noteworthy members of the city’s up-and-coming generation of younger musicians. 7.30pm. Free.

London: Chickenshed Theatre Jazz Bar, Southgate, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. www.chickenshed.org.uk
No jazz gigs in August

London: The Vortex, 11, Gillett Street, N16 8AZ. www.vortexjazz.co.uk
Gig Pick - Thursday, 21st August - Evan Parker / John Russell / John Edwards.

London: Club Inégales, 180 North Gower Street (corner of Euston Street). www.clubinegales.com

London: Southampton Arms, Highgate Road, North London
Wednesdays, 8.00 - 10.00 pm: Dave Burman (tpt) and Dave Eastham (alto / clarinet)

London: Little House, 1 Queen Street, London W1
Thursdays, 8.00 - 10.00 pm: Dave Burman (tpt) with Peter Shade (acc/piano) and Dave Eastham (sax).

London: Jazz In The Round, The Cockpit, Marylebone, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH. www.thecockpit.org.uk

London: 606 Club, 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0QD. www.606club.co.uk
Gig Pick - Thursday, 14th August - Neil Angilley .

London: Putney, The Half Moon, 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1EU.
Dick Laurie's Elastic Band. FREE Admission, good food, easy parking, children welcome and plentiful public transport.
Next gigs: Sunday, 3rd August and Sunday, 31st August - 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm

Kent: 144 Club, Nr Tunbridge Wells and Rochester, Finchcock's Musical Museum, Goudhurst, TN17 1HH. www.finchcocks.co.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 1st August - Roan Kearsey-Lawson.

Kent: The Roffen, New Road Rochester, ME1 1DX. www.144club.co.uk

Surrey: Harri's Jazz, Shepperton, Bagster House, Walton Lane, Shepperton, TW17 8LP. www.harrisjazz.com

Surrey: Thames Ditton, The George and Dragon, High Street, Thames Ditton, KT7 0RY.
Every Tuesday - The Geoff Driscoll Quartet - Geoff Driscoll (sax), Alan Berry (piano), Mike Durrell (bass), Don Cook (drums) plus guests - 8.30 pm

Surrey: Watermill Jazz, Dorking, Friends Life Social Club, Pixham Lane, Dorking, RH4 1QA. www.watermilljazz.co.uk
Gig Pick - Thursday, 28th August - Reuben James Trio.

Sussex: Brighton Jazz Club,. www.brightonjazzclub.co.uk

Wiltshire: Bradford-on-Avon, The Fat Fowl, Silver Street, Bradford on Avon, near Bath, Wiltshire BA15 1JX.
Monthly residency by two very talented musicians, pianist John Law and saxophonist Nick Sorensen. 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm and admission is free

Bristol: The Be-Bop Club, The Bear, Hotwell Road, Bristol, BS8 4SF. www.thebebopclub.co.uk
(Closed until the autumn season)

Somerset: Ilminster Arts Centre, The Meeting House, East Street, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0AN . www.themeetinghouse.org,uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 22nd August -
Jean Toussaint with the Craig Milverton Trio.

Dorset: Bridport Arts Centre, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NR. www.bridport-arts.com
Gig Pick - Saturday, 2nd August -
Mike Westbrook Big Band - Rossini Reloaded

Cornwall: St. Ives Jazz Club, Western Hotel, Gabriel Street, St. Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2LU. www.stivesjazzclub.com
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 26th August - Marcus Vergette 5 -the Marsya's Suite


 

 

Items Carried Over From Last Month

The following items appeared in the last magazine but may still be of interest to readers:

 

Saving The BBC Big Band

Last October, we reported on a petition that was being organised to oppose financial cuts that might potentially threaten the BBC Big Band. Ewan Mains sends this update:

BBC Big Band'I just thought I would update you all on the petition and some fresh news on the BBC Big Band. Once again, huge thanks to you all for signing the petition - we made our voices heard. I'm very pleased to announce that in no indirect way, the BBC Big Band now have their very own official website and Twitter. I personally think this is a huge step forward for the band and it's followers as well as a sign of faith in the band from the BBC. The site will launch at 9am (GMT) on Wednesday 18th June and will be be a 'hub' where you can catch up with news on the band as well as any dates they are playing live concerts and broadcasts.'

'Click here for the new website. You can also follow them now on Twitter @BBCBigBand. Hopefully this is a huge positive step forward in increasing the public profile of the band. Once again, thank you for all your signatures, messages and efforts in helping to keep music live.'

 

 

And Then I Rang Clark Terry ...

Pianist David Stevens, now retired and living in Australia, tells us about his encounters with a list of jazz musicians that most people only get to hear:

It all began when my then wife and I met a young photographer at a party somewhere in London, who we found out was the son of the  legendary Mezz Mezzrow (his real name was Milton Mesirow).

When he heard we were planning a trip to Paris he said "You must look up my Dad", and gave us his phone number. In Paris, we duly contacted Mezz, and he proved to be a delightful  fellow, telling us stories about his life, showing us round and introducing us to local musicians, who (unlike Eddie Condon)  revered him.  All went beautifully until one day, at a restaurant, I unwisely mentioned that I liked Charlie Parker. That did it.  Mezz was on his feet, shouting abuse at me - much to the amusement of my wife and the other customers.  He stalked out, and we didn't see him again.

Trummy Young and Louis ArmstrongBack in London, we met Milton junior once more.  Of course he laughed at the Charlie Parker incident, saying "That's the way he is".  He invited us to his 21st birthday at a flat in Hampstead, which we happily accepted.  He said his godfather would be there.  We looked blank.  "You'll be glad to meet him" said Milton, "his name's Louis Armstrong".  So that's how we met Louis, and the Allstars, who also came along to the party.  It was at the end of a series of concerts they'd been doing in London.

I was chatting with Trummy Young, and asked how they were enjoying London when they weren't playing.  Lots of parties and outings, no doubt?  "Well, no", said Trummy, "We just hang around the hotel, play cards and watch TV."

Trummy Young and Louis Armstrong

 I was amazed.  Here were these famous guys, being cheered by huge audiences every night, but when they weren't playing there was no-one to talk to them.  I resolved to do something about it when the next American jazz group was in town.

The next group was the Duke Ellington Orchestra. At their first concert, I looked at the faces.  Johnny Hodges?  No, he has his usual "I'll bite ya" expression.  Lawrence Brown and Harry Carney looked pretty serious, too.  But one guy was grinning most of the time, having a ball - Clark Terry, a trumpet player I much admired.

So next morning about 11 a.m., and with some trepidation, I phoned their hotel and asked to speak to Clark.  Not a good move - obviously I'dDavid Stevens woken him up and he sounded pretty pissed off.  I stammered out an invitation for him to come round for a meal, and got a gruff "Gimme your number.  I'll call you".

That's it, I thought.  I've blown it.  But a couple of hours later, I got a call from Clark, cheerful and friendly.  "Yeah, love to meet you guys.  Gimme your address".  After that, for the rest of the Ellington band's stay, he was round at our house nearly every day, always cheerful and chatty, treating us like old friends.

David says: 'At least Buck, Roy and Clark are easily recognisable, even if the inscriptions aren't!'

A month or two later, the phone rang, and a deep voice said "Is this Dave Stevens?  This is Buck Clayton".  One of my friends, trying to trick me, I thought.  "You can't fool me", I said, "Come on, who is it?".  An uncertain voice said "Pardon me?" "Oh my God, I'm sorry", I said, "It really is Buck Clayton?"  "Yeah", he said, "Clark Terry gave me your number".

So we got to meet Buck, and the members of his band visiting London, which included Buddy Tate, Dickie Wells, and drummer Herb Lovelle, all of whom we got to know and spent time with during 
their tour.

While chatting with Buddy Tate he asked me if I'd ever been to New York.  "No", I said, "I hadn't really thought of it.  I guess it would be pretty expensive staying there?"  "Well", said Buddy, "I live with my family in Amityville, some way out of town, but I have an apartment in Harlem where I stay when I'm working (he'd had a long residency with his band at the Celebrity Club in Harlem). You could stay there".

Me, living in Harlem?  I could have floated to New York on the clouds, no need for a plane.

Of course it was a marvellous week.  Buddy introduced me to his friends, and people in the local bar, as "my friend Dave from London", so I was made welcome by them all.  Quite apart from the musical side, I explored during the daytime, and, on one day, took a train to Greenwich Roy EldridgeVillage and walked all the way back to Harlem.

The next visitor was Roy Eldridge.  He was in a quintet accompanying Ella Fitzgerald in a series of concerts, which also included guitarist Les Spann and pianist Tommy Flanagan. We got to know Les Spann quite well, too.

Roy is a musician I've always admired.  He was a lovely man, very warm-hearted and outgoing, though with no time for small talk.  I learned not to make careless or casual remarks, or Roy would jump on me!  He was often round at our house, and one day he said "I'm always eatin' your food, about time I cooked for you".

The inscription on the photograph reads: '"Best wishes to Lady Trixie and Lord David from your friend Roy Eldridge"

So he did.  I wish I'd had the camera to hand when Roy, wearing a kitchen apron was cooking us what he called Hot Tamale Pie.

Sadly, they're all gone now, all except Clark, blind and without his legs. Poor Les Spann died at only 57, a derelict in the Bowery.  But I still have some mementos, including a picture frame with autographed photos of Roy, Clark and Buck, and an LP by Clark and Buddy Tate, on which one track is called "20 Ladbroke Square', our London address (click here to sample the tune from the album Tate-A-Tate - Buddy Tate with Clark Terry).

[Dave Stevens hosts a jazz radio show in Australia Midday Jazz which you can listen to online at www.2rrr.org.au. The show goes out on Wednesdays from midday to 2.00 pm, currently that is around 3.00 am to 5.00 am in the UK, or at other times depending where you live and the time difference].

 

Work Experience at Jazzwise Magazine

Jazzwise magazine still has 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 letters@jazzwise.com.

 

 

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