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Set for release on 1st July, a two-disc release on the Verve label brings previously unheard recordings from Charlie Parker. The dates come from his sessions with Norman Granz between 1949 and 1952 and included with out-takes and false starts there are 58 'never listed' studio takes. Co-produced by jazz historian Phil Schaap, there are detailed session and track analyses in the liner notes. Schaap says of Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes: 'These previously unknown takes are a blockbuster, providing heretofore-unheard Bird improvisations in high fidelity.'
Some of the material was originally released on Mercury, Clef and Verve, but the new material features Bird's four and six piece groups, latin jazz with Machito and his Orchestra, orchestral string pieces and big band numbers with Oscar Peterson, Freddie Green and Ray Brown. The Golden Era BeBop Five are also here.There are also ten tracks from a project with Cole Porter that was never finished because of Bird's illness and death.
prnewswire.com says: 'Discovering previously unheard music is a consistent hope for serious jazz fans. Finding unreleased music from legends, especially those who departed far too early with their legacies incomplete, is a true joy; one of those legends whose every note leads to an adventure of innovation is the immortal Charlie "Bird" Parker ... Discovered in a cache of materials owned by a former associate of Norman Granz, the founder of Verve Records and visionary producer of these sessions, the newly discovered takes allow the listener inside the private domain between Parker and Granz as they developed some of the most important music in jazz.'
Click here for details.
Sam Leak Solo Piano
On 22nd May, Sam Leak played a solo piano gig at London's Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston. The video of selected pieces from the gig runs for about 8.45 minutes and is well worth spending that short time with - click here.
Sam Leak is a London-based jazz pianist known partly for his work with his band Aquarium but also for his playing with other bands in the UK. He has composed a number of extended suites for various ensembles including his big band, a quintet, and a piano duet with US pianist Dan Tepfer. He also co-leads a touring quartet with saxophonist Alex Merritt, a piano duet with Richard Fairhurst and a trio.
NYJO Sponsorship and Natixis
Jazzwise magazine reports that Natixis Global Asset Management has agreed a new corporate partnership with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra to the tune of £25,000 for 2016. The deal will support NYJO's education work.
Nataxis fund a 'Jazz Ambassader Project', launched in 2015 as part of an 'Ambassador Program' - a company initiative ' that focuses on supporting fundamental social services, including healthcare, housing, education and mentoring through strong partnerships, employee involvement, financial contributions, and leveraging various relationships for mutual benefit.'
They say: ' .. the Jazz Ambassador Project (is) a force that brings people together, connects cultures, unites communities and enhances the lives of individuals around the world. As a global asset management firm, we do business around the world with a wide array of clients within many different cultures. Jazz is a celebration of innovation, diversity, and a commitment to collaborating as an ensemble. There’s a lot we can learn from jazz.'
Natixis already sponsor the Newport Jazz Festival, the Festival's scholarship programme, and the Berklee Summer in the City / Beantown Jazz Festival. They encourage a concept of 'Ambassador' and invite anyone to become involved: 'You can help spread this message of innovation and community by becoming a Jazz Ambassador, like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and other jazz greats.'
'And you don’t need to be a jazz impresario or a diplomat to do it! Each and every one of us can apply the principles of jazz diplomacy in our daily lives, any time we face a challenging task. Maybe you need to improvise – to experiment. Maybe you need to listen more carefully to other members of your community. Finding a balance between individual freedoms and responsibility to your community is the foundation of jazz and the goal of the Jazz Ambassador Project.'
John Coltrane Mono Box Set
The idea has been to take six of the saxophonist's mono albums and let listeners hear the recordings as they first appeared. The albums are: Giant Steps; Bags & Trane; Ole Coltrane; Coltrane Plays The Blues; The Avant-Garde and The Coltrane Legacy. The albums have been re-mastered and come with their original artwork and labels. There is also a 32-page booklet with period photos and liner notes. If you buy the vinyl edition you also get a replica rendering of Coltrane's 7" single - My Favourite Things.
The release of the album coincides with the creation of a new documentary on Coltrane titled Chasin’ Trane, set to premiere later this year.
Saint John Coltrane Church Fund Raiser
Since 1971, the Church of Saint John Coltrane in San Francisco has provided a spiritual haven. It was founded on the idea of Coltrane's album A Love Supreme with the mission: 'To paint the globe with the message of A Love Supreme, and in doing so promote global unity, peace on earth, and knowledge of the one true living God.'
The church, which quotes St John Will I Am Coltrane as its inspiration has had to move its premises to another site at 2097 Turk Street, San Francisco CA 94115 and to raise money for the move, the Exploresound label is issuing a vinyl fundraiser. All proceeds from the record will go to benefit the Church and in helping them to pay for a new space. The release features live recordings from their Sunday mass and will be available on LP and Digital Download.
The church holds its mass each week: 'We encourage everyone to participate in the services by singing along, clapping your hands, and dancing. If you play an instrument, bring it. Get your praise on! Mass consists of Confession, the Coltrane Liturgy, Scripture readings, Hymns, Spirituals, and Preaching.'
Click here for a video promotional item. From this video, it is questionable whether readers will be interested in buying the recording, but the existence of the Church and its ethos might be of interest.
Click here for details of the church.
Click here for the Exploresound news item.
In August, Clare Teal will release her latest album Twelve O’Clock Tales, with a full orchestra and big band (93 musicians in total), conducted by Stephen Bell and arranged by world class composer and trumpet maestro Guy Barker and with celebrated jazz pianists Grant Windsor and Jason Rebello. Twelve O’Clock Tales, a lyric taken from Billy Strayhorn’s Lush Life, explores timeless classics penned by legendary musical storytellers of the last 100 years, and celebrates the giants of the Great American and British Songbooks together with Clare’s own original compositions.
From swing to ballads, the album reflects Clare’s versatility as a performer. She says: ‘This is our most ambitious project to date and being accompanied by the Hallé is an absolute privilege. To be in a room surrounded by 93 incredibly talented musicians wondrously lifting these stunning arrangements right off the page before your eyes makes for a great day out – to actually then add your own voice to the story is a dream come true’.
The song list includes ‘Secret Love’, ‘Feeling Good’, ‘The Folks Who Live On The Hill’, ‘I’ll Never Stop Loving You’, ‘Wild Is The Wind’, ‘It Might As Well Be Spring’, ‘Sans Souci’ and ‘Paradisi Carousel’. The Hallé is now in its 158th season and ranks among the UK’s top symphonic ensembles with acclaimed performances worldwide.
Click here to view an introductory video about the album.
Clare has been voted British Jazz Singer of the Year three times and also BBC’s Jazz Singer of the Year. She has been awarded the coveted Gold Badge by BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors), the Yorkshire Awards Arts & Entertainment Personality of the Year, and in 2015 an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music by the University of Wolverhampton.
Click here to listen to the album.
Twelve O’Clock Tales is released on MUD records on August 19th 2016.
Don't Call Me Clyde!
Subtitled The Jazz Journey Of A Sixties Stomper, clarinettist Peter Kerr's new book looks back over his time with the Clyde Valley Stompers. It is more than that however - Pete tells me: 'It's not an out-and-out jazz book as such, but equally a bit of social history, in so much as it charts how young people and their families lived in the years following WW2.'
The Clyde Valley Stompers were one of Scotland's premier jazz bands and creators of a phenomenon dubbed 'Stompermania'. In 1961, Pete was just 20 when he inherited leadership of the band when they moved to London. The following year they had a hit in the charts with their version of Prokofiev's Peter And The Wolf produced by George Martin in his pre-Beatles days.
The band went on to appear on television in the company of big names of the day and to record and appear in films. Pete's book looks back not just at the story of the band but at the friendships, hardships and itinerent nature of bands touring in those days.
We shall be reviewing the book in detail in a future issue but it is now available published by Oasis-WERP.
The book, a paperback, is available at £9.99. Click here for details.
[You are able to listen to the music at the same time as reading this article and without leaving the page if you click here. This will take you to the article on another page on our website where your computer might ask you to allow the music to play on the page. Alternatively there are links to the music on YouTube etc. in the article below].
There is a website (animalinyou.com) where you can answer nine questions and it will tell you which sort of animal they think you are like (if you try it, be careful not to click the advertisement arrows). You might turn out to be a Cottontail.
According to them: ‘Cottontail personalities are small, gentle individuals with a tendency towards shyness and whose instinct is to run at the first sign of danger. Their extraordinarily acute senses are well-developed and always on the lookout for any impending peril ... Almost all mammal personalities find them to be irresistibly attractive and they rarely need to employ their personal resources to succeed in their careers or relationships. Their quiet, solitary behaviour is often mistaken for timidness, but cottontails are actually quite aggressive in their search for resources.’
Here we are talking about the American Cottontail rabbit, genus Sylvilagus, elsewhere described as: 'having stub tails with white undersides that show when they retreat, giving them their name: "cottontails"... (they are) very sexually active creatures, and mated pairs have several offspring many times in all seasons, it is more likely than not that none will survive to adulthood. Those that do manage to avoid being eaten (by snakes and birds of prey), grow very quickly and are considered full grown adults at three months.’
Ben Webster is recognised as being one of the top swing tenor players (Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young were the others in the vanguard); his playing is described as ‘tough, raspy, and brutal tone on stomps (with his own distinctive growls) yet on ballads he would turn into a pussy cat and play with warmth and sentiment.’ One description says: ‘Webster had broad shoulders, a fine beaked nose, and imperious flanking bags under his eyes, and he radiated a powerful handsomeness. But in his last years he gained an enormous amount of weight; his legs gave out and he used a cane, and his playing became halting and even incoherent. Yet he never lost his sweetness.’
I find it difficult to link Ben Webster to the description of the Cottontail rabbit. And yet Ben's link to the Ellington tune is historic and enduring. Perhaps the link does not have any hidden meaning, it may be that Ben Webster just took a brilliant solo on the tune and the association stuck. Of course, that doesn’t help us in understanding why Ellington named the tune ‘Cotton Tail / Cottontail’ in the first place.’
Come on, Wail
That's Cotton Tail
The tune is based on the rhythm changes from Gershwin's I Got Rhythm. With its saxophone riffs and Webster’s solo it was first recorded by the Ellington band in 1940.
Click here to listen to Cotton Tail. Wallace Jones, Ray Nance, Cootie Williams (trumpets), Rex Stewart (cornet), "Tricky" Sam Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombones), Juan Tizol (valve trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet / tenor sax), Johnny Hodges (alto sax, soprano sax, clarinet), Otto Hardwick (alto sax, baritone sax), Ben Webster (tenor sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax), Duke Ellington (piano), Jimmy Blanton (bass), Sonny Greer (drums).
Staying with Ben Webster for a moment, one summary of the man that I like is in the New Yorker Magazine (click here). The article tells us much about the man and his playing: ‘Webster's ballads were intimate and cajoling, but never sentimental. Everything tightened when he played the blues. The breathiness vanished, and his phrases became short and hard; he preached and badgered. His ballads insinuated, but his slow blues were in your face.'
Click here for a video of Ben Webster playing Somewhere Over The Rainbow in the UK in the 1960s with Stan Tracey (piano), Rick Laird (Bass) Jackie Dougan (Drums).
'Webster swung irresistibly in medium tempos. His blues moved at a run, and if he played a thirty-two-bar song he would alter the melody discreetly in the first chorus, then elbow the melody aside, replacing it with pure blocks of sound. Fast tempos sometimes got away from him. He'd coast through his first chorus and, either angry or perhaps hungover, start growling, an abrasive sound that would finally end a chorus or two later with a shuddering, out-of-my-way tremolo. But sometimes this abrasiveness worked, as in Webster's celebrated roaring solo on Ellington's Cotton Tail.'
Click here for a video of the Ellington band playing Cotton Tail in the film Hot Chocolate with Whitey's Lindy Hoppers from Harlem's Savoy Ballroom, the emphasis here is on the dancing rather than Ben's solo, but it does give us a picture of the Ellington Orchestra at the time, even though it looks very 'staged'.
Ben Webster’s story as told in that New Yorker article describes one of many musicians who, despite their genius, saw their popularity wane as fashion in music changed: ‘In 1964, Webster, who had never been to Europe, was offered a month-long gig at Ronnie Scott's club in London. He went, and he never came back, thus joining the dozens of black American jazz musicians who immigrated to Europe in the fifties and sixties. His life had all but dried up (in America) ... he discovered almost immediately that he was relished not only in England but in Sweden and Norway and Denmark and Holland, and in due course he settled in Amsterdam ...
Click here for a video of Ben Webster playing Danny Boy in Denmark in 1965 with Kenny Drew (piano), Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), and Alex Riel (drums).
In 1969, Ben moved to Copenhagen, where he was shepherded by a nurse, Birgit Nordtorp. He worked almost steadily, but his drinking, which had begun to accelerate in the forties, was getting in the way. .. normally as sweet as cream, (he) became so fractious when he was drunk that he had long been known among American musicians as “the Brute.” He died in 1973 in Amsterdam.
The first lyrics for Cotton Tail were by Duke Ellington and clearly related to the Ben Webster’s solo
Come on, Wail
That's Cotton Tail
A little later, Jon Hendricks wrote alternative lyrics for the tune and picked up on the Cottontail rabbit theme. Interestingly, the cottontail is a native of America, but Hendricks based his lyrics on the Beatrix Potter story of Peter Rabbit who stole lettuces from the garden of Mr McGregor in Hawkshead in the Lake District. Peter Rabbit had brothers and sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail. The song was recorded by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. Click here for them singing Cottontail.
Way back in my childhood,
His mamma got worried
(Oh..) He knew his mamma is right.
The other rabbits say I'm taking dares, and maybe I'm wrong but who cares?
The lyrics are quite long (click here) and have some contemporary suggestions: '.. stealin' some root .. ', 'I'm a hooked rabbit! Yeah I got to cure a habit.' I doubt whether Hendricks was aware that a hundred years earlier the poet and opium addict Thomas de Quincey was just down the road from Hawkshead in Grasmere.
So what other references might be behind Ellington’s naming of the tune? There is an old African American folk rhyme called Molly Cottontail (or Graveyard Rabbit) that also includes the word ‘wail’:
Ole Molly Cottontail,
We also come across the term in The Cool Cottontail, the sequel to John Ball’s book In The Heat Of The Night. In this story, detective Virgil Tibbs finds himself at a nudist colony in Los Angeles where the victim (who was not one of the guests) is found floating dead in the pool. Set against this backdrop, 'the guests of the resort prefer guarding their secrets to solving the murder mystery, particularly when the investigating detective is black'. But here we are introduced to a quite different definition, (although I wonder?) ... In this book "Cottontail" is a person who covers their genitals when sunbathing, hence a white streak about the hips. "Cool" means "dead". It seems the term is not unusual in the world of nudism.
I can find little reference to Duke Ellington naming his 'Cotton Tail' tune with any sexual reference, but we have to take into account that encyclo.co.uk and others tell us that ‘Cottontail' is American slang for an attractive woman (while ‘Cotton Top’ is an old person), and the Playboy 'Bunny Girl' has a similar reference. 'Bunnies wore a costume called a "bunny suit" inspired by the tuxedo-wearing Playboy rabbit mascot, consisting of a strapless corset teddy, bunny ears, black pantyhose, a collar, cuffs and a fluffy cottontail.'
So one day when I was deep in the meal
Click here for a video of tenor saxophonist Frank Wess playing a swinging version of Cottontail with the Barcelona Jazz Orquestra.
It has been argued that Duke Ellington's Cotton Tail was more than just a successful, popular tune with a great solo. ‘It changed the face of jazz’ Gunther Schuller has written, ‘and foretold in many ways where the music’s future lay.’ The rhythmic inflections, melody line, and overall daring of the piece point ahead.... Ellington would continue to help lay the foundation for what would soon become known as bebop.”
We are taken in that direction with this version of Cottontail by the Polish band Larsen, Bukowski, Lemańczyk, Sowiński from their album Jazz Alone Together click here.
We end with this video of a very fast version of Cottontail with trumpeters John Faddis and Jack Sheldon scorching the number in 1985 on the Mervin Griffin Show click here.
You pick up what I say?
Son, he's got you on the run so you better find a quiet little corner where the farmer never comes.
BBC Proms 2016
As we reported last month, it looks as though jazz will have an increased presence in this year's Promenade Concerts in July and August.
Saxophonist YolandDa Brown will play as part of a Gospel Prom on 19th July. Iain Ballamy and Liane Carroll will be taking part in a celebration of Shakespeare's anniversary when they perform Duke Ellington's Such Sweet Thunder with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra on 5th August, and Jamie Cullum will be presenting an evening of late-night jazz with the Roundhouse Choir and Heritage Orchestra on 11th August.
Jacob Collier and vocalist/bassist Richard Bona will be celebrating Quincy Jones with Jules Buckley's Metropole Orkest on 22nd August, and the Sao Paulo Jazz Symphony will be playing Brazilian music from street sounds to avant garde on 24th August. Kamasi Washington will be playing on 30th August when his band is joined by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jules Buckley.
Click here for more information.
Jeff 'Two-Tone Boogie' from Preservers of Sound says: ‘I think that another who is worthy of mentioning is the great Stuff Smith. Stuff was not a great technical player but he sure could play some great tunes and improvise excellently’.
Violinist and vocalist Stuff Smith was born Hezekiah Leroy Gordon Smith in Ohio in 1909. His father, also a violinist, taught him and Smith always said that his main influence was Louis Armstrong. At age fifteen, he won a music scholarship to Johnson C. Smith University, where he studied classical violin. In the 1920s he played in Texas as a member of Alphonse Trent's band, but then moved to New York where at the Onyx Club he established his sextet which included trumpeter Jonah Jones, clarinetist Buster Bailey, pianist Clyde Hart, and drummer Cozy Cole.
Click here to listen to You'se A Viper from 1936.
In the 1930s he played with Coleman Hawkins, and the young Charlie Parker and later Sun Ra. Signing with the Vocalion label in 1936 he recorded as Stuff Smith and his Onyx Club Boys and continued to record for both the Decca and Varsity labels as well as being featured on the Nat King Cole Trio album, After Midnight.
Click here to listen to Stuff Smith, Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson playing Things Ain't What They Used To Be.
There was a time when Sun Ra was working with violinist Stuff Smith and his trio. During a rehearsal with Stuff, Sunny brought out his new tape recording deck that recorded on paper tape. Many of these brittle but quality sound recordings have been preserved. Sun Ra introduces this unusual recording of Deep Purple - click here where he talks about Stuff Smith before and after the music plays.
Apparently, Stuff was 'a devoted drinker and not exactly the easiest person to deal with, and frequently found himself at loggerheads with club owners, bookers, business people, and his fellow musicians, and his career suffered as a result.'
Despite some of his liaisons, Stuff was said to be critical of bebop and yet he was one the first violinists to use electric amplification techniques on a violin playing a "Vio-Lectric" model which was custom-built for him by the National Dobro Company. In 1965, Stuff Smith moved to Copenhagen and he performed actively in Europe. Stuff found European audiences and musicians to be very receptive to his style, and he hooked up with violinists such as Jean-Luc Ponty and Stephane Grappelli, as well as playing with other American expatriates. Probably as a result of his drinking, he had part of his stomach and liver removed. He died in Munich in 1967 and is buried in Jutland, Denmark.
Here is a video from 1965, two years before he died, with Stuff playing Bugle Call Blues in Denmark with 'The Montmartre Trio' - N.H. Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Kenny Drew (piano), Alex Riel (drums) - click here.
Click here for more about Stuff Smith.
Do You Have A Birthday In July?
The Neil Cowley Trio have revealed Grace, the first teaser from their forthcoming album Spacebound Apes, a collection of instrumental compositions that tell the mind-bending narrative of one man’s twisted journey of self-discovery. Neil is widely acclaimed as a composer of dynamic, cinematic music, and he has previously been described as being ‘a rare musical extrovert’ (The Guardian) and having ‘genuine vision’ (Sunday Times). His latest creation is a bold exercise in atmosphere and emotion – an ambitious multi-layered outing and a musically confident statement.
Grace is one of eleven tracks of this imaginative and thought-provoking tale. Spacebound Apes is a concept album inspired by the diaries of Lincoln, an everyday kind of guy who reflects on what could have been - an unfolding story of loss, fear and his ever increasing sense of mortality. A delicate, contemplative track, Grace “represents the moment that Lincoln is at his stillest and most introspective”, says Neil. Accompanying the single is a mesmeric video that portrays Lincoln’s feelings of loneliness.
Click here or on the picture above to listen to the beautiful track Grace.
Spacebound Apes is due for release on 16th September 2016 and the band will playe live at Union Chapel, London, on 27th October 2016.
Monty Alexander at Ronnie Scott's Club
It has been a while since Jamie Evans visited Ronnie Scott's club in Soho. He gives us his impressions going back there again in May to hear pianist Monty Alexander:
Until now, the last time I entered Ronnie Scott’s world-famous jazz club was in the late ‘80s. Guitarist Joe Pass was doing a solo season and played some terrific stuff. You have to be pretty good to sustain interest for a one-hour set playing solo guitar. In the ‘60s and ‘70s. I well remember turning up late to Ronnie’s; musicians who, in those halcyon days for jazz, had been gigging in the many pubs and small venues in the West End or had been doing theatre pit band work, were allowed in free in the later hours after showing a Musicians’ Union card or even carrying an instrument case (problem for me as a piano player!).
Later on, when I had “retired” myself but yearned to listen to top-class players, I tended to patronise the Bull’s Head, Barnes, which was easier for me to get to, and get home from, cheaper, and more homely. There, I heard some surprisingly eminent US names like Art Farmer, Bill Watrous, Charlie Rouse, Pepper Adams, Scott Hamilton and, of course, the best of British guys like Peter King, Stan Tracey and Don Weller.
I have loved Jamaican-born pianist Monty Alexander for over 40 years ever since I was absolutely blown away by the LP, We’ve Only Just Begun, featuring his best-ever backing duo - Eugene Wright (bass) and Bobby Durham (drums). That trio had the lot - technique in abundance, togetherness and transmitted a feeling of joy in every bar they played. So when I heard that Monty was doing a spell at Ronnie’s, I decided to go for a double - hear him live for the first time and make a long overdue visit to Frith Street.
The club has, of course, changed considerably in recent years since it was taken over in 2006, expanded and adopted a broader musical policy although the shades of Ronnie and his partner, Pete King, still hover in the background. Even the ghost of Jim Godbolt, keen-eyed like a heron in the reeds, shimmered at the bar. And it’s no good turning up on the night for a popular artist like Monty, paying your dosh and just wandering in. When I booked on-line, Monty’s sessions were nearly sold-out so I had to be satisfied with a restricted view seat. I had been informed that Monty would do two sets with a break, starting at 8:15 so I checked in at 7:45 and was surprised to find that the place was already full and my seat on a four-person bench was second along, meaning that a punter chomping at his dinner had to move into the aisle to let me in.The view wasn’t really restricted but my reasonably sized body certainly was, jammed between the chomper and an elderly couple also eating but in a more decorous manner.
I also discovered that Monty was only doing one set starting at around nine o’clock but in the meantime there was a first-class backing band which included the outstanding pianist James Pearson who is always a pleasure to hear. Apart from these very minor niggles everything about Ronnie’s was perfect - the view, the sound quality, the reasonable admission price and an excellent small carafe of Fleurie served by one of the pleasant and efficient waiting staff.
Soon, Monty’s bass man, Hassan Shakur and drummer, Jason Brown, were set up and from rear-stage, emerged Monty, now in his early ‘70s, elegant and jovial. The trio launched into Too Marvellous For Words (click here for them playing it in 2014) and it was an absolute delight to hear, what is for this listener, one of the bedrocks of jazz, a swinging piano trio demonstrating their class with effortless ease. As the evening progressed, Monty proceeded to demonstrate that although he is able to swing his butt off, he can also do a mean ballad with a gorgeous rendition of When I Grow to Old to Dream.
Although he left his home town of Kingston, Jamaica, as a very young man, Monty has never lost his lilting accent and between numbers kept us amused with gags and anecdotes. He’s probably said it a million times but towards the end he announced: “Thank-you for being a wonderful audience, ladies and gentlemen, and it is fantastic to be here in the greatest jazz club in the world, Ronnie Scott’s,’” and then as a mischievous aside “…I said that at the Blue Note two weeks ago.” That really brought the house down. He reminded us of his West Indian roots with a stunning Don’t Stop The Carnival which moved from calypso into hard swinging 4/4. I had heard him do that on video but live it was unbelievably good. The trio continually interacted with grins, laughter and joshing, reminding the audience of what a wonderful experience playing, listening to and watching jazz of the highest calibre can be.
Monty and his companions embodied joy and exuberance, combined with effortless skill and they took the audience with them. When it comes to jazz piano genius, Art Tatum passed the baton to Oscar Peterson who passed it on to Monty Alexander. An unforgettable evening.
Click here for a video of Monty Alexander playing Just In Time in 1978.
Two Ears Three Eyes
Neal Richardson and the Splash Point All Stars
In June, photographer Brian O'Connor also went to Ronnie Scott’s Club to hear the Splash Point All Stars. Splash Point Records, after whom the band was named, is one of the hats worn by pianist Neal Richardson whose album Better Than The Blues was released in 2014.
Now approaching his fiftieth birthday, Neal told the audience: 'You are a musician, producer, record company and jazz club owner, plus the purveyor of excellent jokes (according to me), and fast approaching your dotage. Also, Splash Point Records is just having its first successful year of operation (I think that coincides, fortunately, with only being in existence for one year). So just how do you celebrate your 50th birthday? For people who say it’s middle aged, just think of how many centenarians you know!'
Mark White and Denys Baptiste
'Playing songs from his album, Better Than The Blues, plus standards from the Great American Songbook, Neal has the engaging personality that manages to involve the audience in his enjoyment, whilst never letting musical standards slip. His son, Oscar was in the audience, celebrating his 8th birthday. He must be very proud of mum and dad. Roll on Neal’s 100th birthday.'
'This was my first proper visit to Ronnie’s since the change of ownership way back when. Yes, inevitably things have changed, but it was nice to see that the club has retained a feeling of the original, and of course unlike Pete and Ronnie’s day it cannot afford to be run as a charity. Long may it survive.'
All pictures © Brian O'Connor, Images Of Jazz
Some while ago, Rich Millett wrote saying: 'I live in Nashville, Tennessee and haven't been back to England in far too long. My uncle was Neil Millett and I know he played clarinet all around the same scene as those on your website, which I have read with interest. I believe he lived in the Bournemouth area. I have a recording that he played on by the Original Georgia Jazz Band ... but I find that I want to know more about my uncle. My uncle died some years ago, but as a fellow musician, I've always been intrigued to find out more about him and maybe even hear more recordings and see some photos of him in action.'
Since Rich wrote to us, a number of people have written to us and Neil's daughter, Susan Millett, has helped to tell Neil's story. At the time of going to press we still have to find pictures of Neil and hope we can include some shortly.
Clarinettist Neil Millett was born in Harlesden on July 31st, 1929. His mother was Grace Ada Quick and father Anthony Millett. His daughter, Susan, says: ‘My Mum, Pamela Parkes, and Dad met at the Bun Shop Jazz club in Berrylands, south west London. They both worked in west London aviation places, Mum at Faireys, and Dad was a technical illustrator (I think he went to Twickenham or Teddington art school). He worked for various aviation companies around London Airport, and also later at Ham. I have some of his technical drawings on tracing paper, amazing pre computer stuff. He was very keen and organised with his skills in this area. He continued this work until retirement, jazz always being alongside this and at least as important.’
‘I understand he learnt to play the clarinet (his main instrument) in about 1948 whilst he was on National Service. Just after I was born we lived in a caravan in Abbeyfields, Chertsey, My mother was the eldest of 8 and her family lived in Surbiton. I think my grandparents, or we, lived in Cranford for a while after our caravan. When I was very young, about two, the earliest memory I have is of having a day out with dad and visiting a friend who had a bee hive in his garden. There was a white picket fence. I asked Dad about this not long before he died but he had no memory of who this was. I recently had a look on Youtube at some of the Crane River Band footage and was amazed to see a picture of the "home" of the band, which had a white picket fence. Apparently behind the White Hart in Cranford. Anyone remember bee hives there? I suppose it could have been a wasps' nest .... It would have been about 1956/7. Dad was also a good friend of Sonny Morris, I believe.'
'Dad was in the Crane River Jazz Band, also the New Albemarle Jazz Band. He played with Ken Colyer - he played drum in the marching band album Ken produced and his feet are on the cover although he is hidden by his drum! Mum says he was in a band called the Wolverines (I know there were a few of these!) I noticed on your site that he set up his own band and was advertised as the Neil Millett band playing at Eel Pie Island in the late 50s.’
'Mum says in the early days in Hounslow we had Ginger Baker as a paying guest. We settled into a flat in Surbiton, having temporarily lived in Ealing in 1962 with a jazz friend couple of his. I remember Dad arriving back at the house in Surbiton with an enormous double bass. He was basically out all the time playing. He quite often went off to gigs in Germany or other places when they were young and married.’
Bass player Ron Drakeford recalls: 'Prior to moving to the South Coast, Neil was very prominent on the jazz scene in Kingston and the London area. He was a regular depper on clarinet with many bands and we used him often when I was with the Canal Street band. He played fairly regularly with Mole (Mo) Benn and had a club at Thames Hotel with Mole Benn at one point. As for recordings, I only am aware of one, and on that he is not playing clarinet. He (and Mole Benn) were in the line up on the 10inch LP Marching to New Orleans on Decca LF 1013 by Ken Colyer's Omega Brass Band. On that occasion Neil was playing the bass drum and Mole Benn on sousaphone. Both Neil and Mole often made the line up for various Omega gigs as did many other musos outside of the Colyer band. Neil Lived in Endesleigh gardens in Surbiton. The last time I saw Neil was when we did a gig together at Clapham Junction for Lew and Pam Hurd who were over touring U.K from Australia. That must have been mid to late sixties.'
Mick Brocking adds: 'I know that Neil started playing about 1950 with the Albemarle Jazz Band of Southall with Pat Halcox on trumpet. Pat left to join Chris Barber in 1954 (to replace Ken Colyer). I heard him play many times around the Kingston area in the late 1950s and early 1960s, notably at the Fighting Cocks in London Road (home of the Bill Brunskill and Canal Street bands) and with the Georgia band at the Grey Horse in Richmond Road. I recall him as a fine driving clarinet who could also play with great sensitivity. Personally he impressed as a very likeable extrovert, though a bit of a rogue with it. I was at his farewell bash at the Cocks on his leaving the area (late 1960s?) to live on the South Coast. He hired the hall on the first floor but omitted to pay the landlord! Some years later (1970s?) I heard that he was living and playing in Holland or Belgium probably with his close friend Andy Ford, the banjo player, who was also living there. They often played together in the Kingston/London area. I know that Andy was still playing with bands a couple of years ago and may well still be playing but I have not been able to contact him.'
Susan says: ‘I have to explain he was a very young dad (24) and mum just 19, when I was born in 1954, the eldest, of three, my brothers now aged 58, and 54. The reason I point this out is that Dad was a bit absent, in fact totally out of touch with our family between 1981 and about 1995, so I've been piecing stuff together myself. Most of his early young jazz days I was a small child, so I don't remember too much.’
‘In about 1964 Neil got work in Hampshire and moved us to Bournemouth, where he connected with an active jazz scene there and was playing with local bands, but he did go back to the Kingston area in the early 1970s and played regularly in The Original Georgia Jazz Band at the Grey Horse in Kingston. They recorded a live session there in 1973. I have a photocopy of the line up, and just after he died I discovered one member of the band (Geoff Cole?) regularly played in a Hackney Pub near me, I went along to see him, and met his wife. Dipper Duddy was one of the band members, but no longer playing in that pub so we didn't get to meet.’
Mick Brocking also has that Original Georgia Jazz Band album: 'I have just unearthed the sleevenotes for the Original Georgia Jazzband LP. Recorded at the Grey Horse on October 28th 1973 the personnel was Mick Burns (trumpet/cornet), Geoff Cole (trombone), Neil Millett (clarinet), Andy Ford (banjo), Geoff King (bass), Brian Dipper Duddy (drums). Guest drummer Lloyd Taylor is on a ragtime track. It says that "Andy Ford formed the band 18 months ago" / "Neil also plays alto and baritone saxes" and that "he has only been back in the London area for two years after having brightened up the Bournemouth jazz scene for six years" So he left Kingston in 1965 and when I heard the Georgia band it was in the early 1970s.
Bassist Neil Clifton adds: 'When I joined the Ian Bell Jazzmen in 1972, Neil Millett was a member of this band on clarinet and baritone. I don’t remember him playing alto. Like most members of the band, he could sup his pint and enjoy it. The Ian Bell Jazzmen were resident on Thursdays at the Grey Horse in Richmond Road, Kingston. The personnel of the band at that time was Frank Wilson (trumpet), Mike Hogh (trombone), Neil Millett (clarinet, baritone), Dave Rylands (piano), Rod Simmonds (guitar, banjo), Neil Clifton (bass), Ian Bell (leader, drums). Neil remained in the band for about a year after that but then left and I lost touch with him after that.'
Trumpeter Pete Batten also remembers Neil: 'About August 1973, I did an audition for a band that played every Sunday lunchtime at the Half Moon at Putney. The leader was a banjo player, John Green. His regular trumpet player, Daze Allen, was taking time off to cope with a bereavement – I think it was his mother. I got the job and soon met Neil Millett, who was a regular member of the band. At that time the band played in the front bar. The band became very popular and in January 1974 the session moved to the large hall at the rear of the pub. Daze Allen returned but John Green asked me to stay on. I was to play most of the lead trumpet while Daze would contribute solos and sing. It soon became obvious that his singing was a very important factor in the band’s growing popularity. Neil made a very important contribution on clarinet and baritone. He also brought along Geoff Cole to take over on trombone. At that time they were both members of the Georgia Jazz Band, which had a residency at the Grey Horse in Kingston. John Green then decided to further enlarge the band by adding another clarinet/sax player and asked Neil to play mainly baritone. The band quickly became very popular and began to pack the hall every Sunday. To my surprise, about May or June 1974, Neil announced that he was moving to Bournemouth. I am not sure, but I think he had been offered a good job. Although he was not a close friend, I did enjoy his company and his playing. The band at this time was called “John Green and his Snap Syncopators”. In 1981 it became “The New Dixie Syncopators”; it finally broke up in 1987. Geoff Cole was a leading member of the band until about 1982, when his other band commitments became too many. His playing and singing too were an important part of the band’s success.'
Half Moon, Putney
Carol Lowther adds: 'I remember Neil playing with my Dad, Roy 'Dace' Allen at the Half Moon Putney. My Dad was in touch with Neil and visited him in Amsterdam. Roy is now living in North Yorkshire, still playing two hours a day (the neighbours love him), he records tracks with a garage band and has just taken up playing the piano. Not bad for an 86 year old Snap Syncopator!'
Garry Crook says: 'Not sure if this is the same Neil Millett I knew in Amsterdam from 1984 to 1986 but it sounds like him."My" Neil Millett was working for Giltspur Engineering as a Technical Illustrator, but he was a clarinet player and had played jazz professionally. One thing he mentioned was that he had played on some Rolling Stones Albums, not sure if that is correct? I remember his 57th Birthday in Amsterdam, he was roaring drunk and the jazz band that was there invited him up on stage to play, he staggered up and then whilst sitting down proceeded to play a beautiful intro into a jazz piece on his clarinet. I remember him as a very humorous man, and have a few funny stories about him, sad to hear of his passing.'
Susan explains: 'In 1968, dad had left the family home in Bournemouth to work in Amsterdam. He did return regularly, but then dad moved to Germany around 1981 and he was no longer in contact. I think he also used to visit the Swanage Jazz Festival - he always mentioned seeing Chris Barber there. We all lost contact for a while until around 1994 when dad reappeared in Bournemouth after time abroad. He reconnected with the Bournemouth jazz scene and carried on playing until he died of a sudden heart attack in March 2001, having been ill for a while. His friends say he got up on stage as long as he could manage, which was about a year before died.’
Illustrator Martin King recalls: 'Originally from Bournemouth myself, I met Neil in the mid to late 70’s. We both worked as Technical Illustrators and whilst working on a contract for IBM in Hursley, Neil, myself and two others shared a house in St Thomas Street, Winchester. The house was originally the servants' quarters to the big house next door and was well positioned close to several pubs which we all used to enjoy. The owner of the house was horrified upon our arrival due to the quantity of musical instruments being carried into the house. My next meeting with Neil was in Germany. I was at work one day when the telephone rang. It was Neil phoning me from Wolfsberg (The home of VolksWagen) telling me of a job opportunity. I took him up on it and he kindly put me up for a few days until I got myself sorted. Neil played at many venues around the Wolfsberg and joined a local band called the Saratoga Seven (I think). I remember they made an LP and I think I still have a copy in the attic. Neil was friends with Acker Bilk and he used to go and meet up with him if he was touring in the area. I know Neil was estranged from his family at the time but I do remember him talking with pride of his son and daughter who I believe attended Slade School of Art. Neil was talented and always great fun to be around and I was sorry to hear about his sudden death.'
Banjo player Chris Mitchell says: 'I knew Neil from Kingston upon Thames days. He was playing with the New Crane River band, and afterwards formed his own band. I used to do his printing. Many years later, I was playing in Stuttgart in a club and, as you probably know, one looks around to see lookalikes. (There was a dead ringer for Terry Lightfoot in Zurich). I thought “He looks like Neil Millett”, and blow me, it was. He was working for Messerschmidt in the drawing office. He had his clarinet with him, and we enjoyed a good session on the bandstand and in the bar afterwards. I never saw him again. Andy Ford sent a email to say that Neil had passed away. It was good that I knew him'.
Susan Millett began to discover more about her father as she dealt with his belongings after he died: ‘Although he had recently moved from a small flat to one room, and had very little stuff, he had kept two address books, one the most recent and the earlier one very thrillingly from the 50s and 60s. For his funeral I rang everyone in both those books, it took hours but it was therapeutic, and I discovered very interesting stories .... the local band marched along at the funeral, it was great to meet them.’
If you remember Neil and would like to add to this Profile, please contact us.
Keswick Jazz Festival Changes
Last month Brian O'Connor wrote about the Keswick Jazz Festival that, after 25 years, is reducing its programme.
Brian said: 'The Keswick Jazz Festival has been an annual event now for approximately 25 years. It caters mainly for the Trad jazz section of the market with a sprinkling of mainstream acts. Possibly therein lies the seed of its demise in its present form, unless a miracle happens. The ever loyal audience for Trad has diminished in numbers due to the the passing of time, and of those remaining, their reluctance to accept a broader outlook coupled with ever increasing costs and sponsorship problems, has led to the whole project becoming unviable. As far as I can judge, to remain a multi-venue festival it needs to broaden its acceptance of other varieties of jazz, diluting but not ignoring the Trad tradition.'
'Then, as always, it needs more sponsorship. For many years there have been regular sponsors, and many thanks to them, but as mentioned before, with increasing costs, lack of funds is always a problem. Finally, as with all jazz festivals, it could do with more publicity in the mainstream way of life. A very uphill task. Although it will be sad if it is not rescued, all is not entirely lost. The Theatre has booked 4 days of jazz gigs next year as a form of mini-festival, and let us hope this proves to be successful. Quite a gamble and they deserve to succeed. The setting in the heart of the Lake District is an ideal place to enjoy the music, and take a holiday. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and wish them well.'
Responding on Facebook, Bob Ironside Hunt says: 'One of the major problems with both Bude and Keswick festivals was that every year they always used the same tired old bands and predictable "special" guests. With only a few exceptions each year the festivals were exactly the same. This isn't a sour grapes thing, because I was a member of one of those tired old bands... and in more recent times in a band that was a "special"... so special were we that we did Keswick EVERY year! It's a shame that there is lack of support etc., as the article says, especially as the festival was organised by a new young promoter this year, with many new faces. (And quite rightly the band I'm in didn't appear for the first time in probably 15 years ).... New bands, new faces. That's what these festivals need. Not wheeling out (sometimes literally) the same old faces whose audience has either snuffed it or can't afford to attend. Would like to add I rule myself out of the new bands/new faces bracket. Unlike many I could mention, I am happy to hand over to someone else younger than me and who has something to say on their horn, or in their arranging. Time for a big change folks. And I look forward to seeing how it pans out... Safe in the knowledge that I will not be involved!'
Harry Davison adds: ' I agree with you Bob. We need new faces new bands and youth if the wonderful sound we all love is going to continue Without them it will just fade away. Support young bands - the future is in their hands - help them all you can so people can continue to listen to the wonderful music for years to come when us old farts have long gone.'
Maureen Connolly has sent us this picture of 'Banjo George' Baron. The picture was taken in around 1957/58 with George playing Maureen's husband's (David Snell) Clifford Essex banjo. Maureen says: 'We are trying to find out more about the banjo as we have never seen another one like it. We are hoping to sell it and give the money to our son. We would love to know if anyone else remembers Banjo George, any anecdotes etc.'
If anyone is interested in the banjo, contact us and we will pass on your details to Maureen.
Last month we featured Duke Ellington's Sohisticated Lady as our Track Unwrapped (click here). Roger Trobridge writes with information from the Duke Ellington Music Society which says:
'There is an Adler-Ellington connection, as chronicled by Klaus Stratemann in "Day by Day and Film by Film." In 1934, The Ellington orchestra accompanied (Larry) Adler in a performance of Sophisticated Lady for the film "Many Happy Returns". Neither the orchestra nor Ellington are seen on screen, and the simple arrangement is by Jimmy Mundy. The Guy Lombardo orchestra was originally scheduled for the scene, but Adler insisted on using Ellington, who was on the Paramount lot to film "Murder at the Vanities." Stratemann's information comes from a January '63 Jazz Journal Adler interview.'
Debby Klein, godfather of Bill Kinnell of Nottingham's Dancing Slipper wrote in last month with her memories of Bill and the club (click here). Debby's father was cornettist Mick Gill and Debby has sent us this picture of Mick's band. Does anyone remember any of the musicians?
Debby says: 'I note the comment that Mick Gill's cornet style 'did not fit in' with Chris Barber when asked to play at short notice. Well, it wouldn't would it - me dad was a Revivalist, not a Traddie. Also, I don't really think he was that good a musician in retrospect! We idolised him at the time though.'
Wood Green Jazz Club
Lawrie Gordon writes: I saw the page on Wood Green Jazz Club (click here). I used to live at 295 High Road just four doors from the Fishmongers Arms. I was just 9 years old when we moved there. On a hot summer's evening my father used to take ice lollies and ice cream around the club with Art's permission and I used to accompany him. I heard all the greats at the time Nat Gonella, Dutch Swing College, Joe Daniels, if my memory serves me right and my particular favourite - Freddy Randall.
Ian Simms writes: 'In a recent issue, cartoonist Jim Thomson asked about violinist Dick Powell. When I asked if anyone remembered the hot swing nights at the Gigi and borscht and tears, I forgot to mention the fantastic Dick Powell. He drove down from his home in Oxford several times a week to Knightsbridge, a great guy as well as a fab hot swinger. Sadly, he passed away from cancer in the early seventies.'
Steve Lane and Rusty Taylor
Kate Turner asks: I was wondering whether you might be able to advise me where I could purchase a copy of Steve Lane and Rusty Taylor's Red Hot Peppers Azure AZMG17 please?
Please contact us if anyone can help Kate.
Dennis Price (trombone/piano)
Denise Knowelden writes: 'I'm looking for any information on Dennis Price, born in 1930 in Birmingham. He played trombone with Ronnie Mills and his Orchestra in 1956, then he became one of Tommy Steele's Steelmen, playing piano. From 1958 – 1960 he had his own Quintet at El Condor in Soho and then he was in The Polka Dots from 1960 – 1963.'
'Dennis moved to Australia in 1963 and remained there apart from a spell in the 1980s. He died in 2013. I’m hoping there might still be people around who knew him and remember him.'
Please contact us if anyone can help Denise.
Peter Mark Butler writes: www.jazzandjazz.com is dedicated to promoting jazz for Jazz Bands, Jazz Clubs, Jazz Festivals, Jazz Musicians and Jazz Fans. We aim to raise the profile of jazz and invite musicians, bands and fans to share news and views about jazz. We focus on jazz past and present, and especially on the emerging new generation of exciting young stars and bands and the exuberance of their fans. For further information about Jazz&Jazz on Facebook, our Facebook Jazzers Group, Twitter, Linkedin and Jazz&Jazz YouTubes please email: email@example.com
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National Jazz Archive Summer Jazz Event
On Saturday, 23rd July, Val Wiseman will be presenting her Divas Of Swing fund raising concert for the National Jazz Archive. Voted Top Jazz Vocalist in the 2011 British Jazz Awards Val Wiseman has been described as 'An appealing, stylish performer with a connoisseur's ear for repertoire', and for this gig she will be presenting her tribute to Anita O’Day, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.
The gig which will also feature Brian Dee, piano, Len Skeat, bass, and Eric Ford, drums will take place at 2.30 pm on Saturday 23rd July at Loughton Methodist Church, 260 High Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 1RB. Tickets are £15.
Click here for details.
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:
Jeremy Steig - American flute player who released his first album Flute Fever in 1963 at the age of twenty-one. In Greenwich Village in the late 1960s he began to combine his jazz with rock music and became leader of one of the first jazz rock bands, 'Jeremy and the Satyrs' “We decided that we’d invented jazz-rock,” Mr. Steig later recalled. “Of course, there were about 50 other people who had come to the same conclusion.” In the animated feature “Shrek Forever After” (2010), the fourth in the series of revisionist fairy-tale adventures based on his father’s creation, Mr. Steig provided the music played onscreen by the Pied Piper. Click here to listen to Jeremy Steig playing What's New with Bill Evans in 1969.
'Sir' Charles Thompson - American pianist born in Ohio originally working with various dance bands during the 1930s and began to make his name as an arranger - he would eventually arrange for Jimmy Dorsey and Count Basie. He joined Lionel Hampton's band before moving to Café Society in New York to play with Lester and Lee Young - it was Lester who christened him 'Sir'. He was also playing with Lucky Millinder, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins and Illinois Jacquet. 'Impresario John Hammond ... persuaded the Vanguard label to record such swing stars as the trombonist Vic Dickenson and the cornetist Ruby Braff, with Thompson alongside, a new movement christened “mainstream” by the British critic Stanley Dance took wing, and was seen as the antidote to the prevailing orthodoxies of bebop.' Click here to listen to Sir Charles Thompson playing Robbins Nest.
Not all jazz musicians who pass through the Departure Lounge are reported in the national press, so if you know of anyone's passing that we should mention, please contact us with a few words about them, or a local obituary if one is available.
One From Ten
We spend time with an album from our list of new and reissued recordings below.
The album was recorded in January 2016 at The Village Studio in Copenhagen, Denmark, Jasper's birth city. He moved to the UK in 2000 to attend the Royal Academy of Music and over the last sixteen years has emerged as one of the leading bass players on the jazz scene performing not just with Phronesis, first formed in 2005, but with a host of other leading musicians.
It is also important to understand the concept behind the album. Jasper says: 'My wish was to tell a story with a whole record, and to cherish that intimate relationship between an album and its listener that used to be commonplace, perhaps a return to the days when you would listen through from start to finish, again and again, until you grew to know every single note, space and emotion and it became part of your inner world, your personality even. Secondly, the titles and to some extent the writing are inspired by a brilliant book by Canadian author Naomi Klein called "This Changes Everything". The book talks about what we have to do to make sure that we don't devour this beautiful planet, along with all its natural resources. It discusses how we can seize this environmental crisis and transform our failed economic system to build something radically better for everyone.'
Folk Song opens the album with a solo bass introduction and then Laura Jurd's clear trumpet leading out into a haunting melody and through some collective, imaginative improvisation over a folk story that quietens to piano and back to trumpet led theme. The title track, Fellow Creatures, follows, again introduced by the bass. The trumpet and saxophone and then the piano interact above a solid working from bass and drums. There is a tendency to listen to the horns, but you need to hear what Corrie Dick is doing on drums too. There is a lot going on in this track and you appreciate what Jasper Høiby means about the need to listen again. World Of Contradictions at track 3 is introduced quietly by Will Barry's piano and then the saxophone and trumpet in unison. Jasper's bass is firmly in your consciousness and his short duo with piano is sensitive and melodic.
Click here for Jasper's website where you can listen to the track Fellow Creatures.
Track 4 is Little Song For Mankind and again there is a compelling piano and bass introduction. The horns are absent until later on this track and there is a chance to appreciate the fine interaction between piano, bass and drums. Song For The Bees comes next - with a busy opening from bass, saxophone and trumpet. I am listening to how well this album has been recorded and mixed with Corrie Dick's ticking drums placed just right and Jasper's bass work clearly appreciated. I really like the horns' song on this number. Tangible begins proudly with saxophone, trumpet and bass. The simple theme is repeated and then the bass solo reminds us why we're here, and once again bass and piano absorb our attention. I am loving Will Barry's piano contributions to this album. Collective Spaces is the shortest track on the album at just over 3 minutes and again the saxophone and trumpet conversations play out against a finely balanced bass and drums.
At track 8, Suddenly, Everyone. One by one the instruments join the theme but then come and go making their contributions along the way. Mark Lockheart takes a nice sax solo before handing the baton to Laura Jurd who gives us some excellent trumpet on this track. Jasper's bass solo is quietly accompanied by piano and drums, and then suddenly, everyone is in there before the bass closes the track. Before, another short track, brings an intriguing bass and low register sax introduction to what is primarily a bass and sax duet with a solo from Mark Lockheart. The album concludes its ten tracks with Plastic Island and some out-take talk as the tune starts. Bass and drums give a funky rhythm against which the horns work out with piano pop-ups. A fitting end to a fine album.
Fellow Creatures is full of compelling compositions and spot-on playing. It is recorded and mixed beautifully and I think it achieves everything Jasper Høiby intended for an album that works well from one track to another, and although it is satisfying on the first listen, can only benefit from hearing again.
The album is dedicated to Jasper's older sister, Jeanette, who sadly died earlier in 2016. It couldn't be a more fitting tribute.
Ten Recent Releases and Re-Issues
Jazz Talks: Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas
Dr Bob Moore has contacted us saying:'I am a member of the U3A (University of the Third Age) Jazz appreciation section. I now have given four talks to them on each of the following: Louis Armstrong, US swing bands of the 40's, Modern Jazz Quartet and Stan Kenton. I should say that I am not a profession speaker but I have reasonable knowledge of the subject. Now that I have given the talks, it is most probable that they will gather dust in a cupboard but if anyone local to me in High Wycombe is interested, I would be prepared to repeat the talk for free with possible expenses for petrol if far away.''The talks mainly simply require a good audio system plus someone to put on the CD's but the Kenton talk does included some excerpts from Youtube on the internet but these could be edited out. If I use the Internet it would require screen plus associated equipment. The talks take about 90 min and the usual format is general background on the artist or group followed by tracks from CD's.'If anyone would like to take up Bob's offer, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Similarly, Roy Headland who gives occasional talks to Norwich Jazz and Blues Record Club is offering to give talks with music to other groups in the Norwich area. A recent talk 'A Jazz Tour of Norwich and Norfolk' to an audience of 60 had the organiser saying: "Thank you for giving us such an informative and enjoyable evening,full of musical stars.The feedback was good and we hope to see you back with part 2." Other talks Roy has given include: Condon Jam Sessions; Clarinet Kings of Swing; Tommy Ladnier -"Mandeville to New York "; and a talk to Rotary on "The Winter Solstice" (their request) on Dec 21st which I managed to link in with Artie Shaw and called "The Shawtest Day"!
Roy's email address is: email@example.com.
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