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Ronnie Scott's Instrument Amnesty
Saturday 11th July, 10am – 3.30pm
On Saturday 11th of July, Ronnie Scott's will be holding a Music Instrument Amnesty to collect unused music instruments and donate them to school aged children in the UK and overseas. The amnesty is organized in association with Sistema England and Music Fund. Donated instruments will be given new life in the hands of children and young people participating in ambitious 'social action through music' projects, in targeted communities in England and abroad.
Sistema England, founded by Julian Lloyd Webber, seeks to transform the lives of children, young people and their communities through the power of music making. It is part of an international movement inspired by El Sistema, the Venezuelan programme that benefits street kids through the creation of grass roots orchestras. The Ronnie Scott’s Music Instrument Amnesty will go some way to benefit some of the 3,000 children in Sistema programmes in 14 schools in London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Norwich and Telford. Overseas, the collected instruments will be given a second life through Music Fund who distribute to projects in international conflict zones from their base in Brussels. Music Fund is a humanitarian project that supports musicians and music schools in conflict areas and developing countries operating in Africa, the Middle East and Central America.
It’s an initiative that is especially dear to Ronnie Scott’s Managing Director Simon Cooke who said: “We at Ronnie’s are really pleased to lead this drive helping schools and education projects at home and around the World. Our standing in the jazz world puts us in a great position to ask musicians, our members and the public at large to help us help underprivileged kids by donating their unloved or used music instruments on July 11. This is the first of a few new charitable initiatives that the club will be embarking upon”.
Donors are invited to book an advance appointment and then pop in to the legendary Frith Street club anytime between 10am and 3.30pm on Saturday 11th July with the instrument they wish to donate. And while they wait for their instrument to be inspected and a tracking number issued - the donor is able to track their instrument to its final destination whether Newcastle, Liverpool or the war torn Middle East – they are invited to experience the iconic venue, perhaps rubbing shoulders with musicians who have graced the Ronnie’s stage who will be dropping their instruments off too! Ronnie Scott’s isn’t just offering a drop-off point for instruments though, as well as helping to collect and repair instruments, they will be working alongside the organisations both at home and abroad to inspire a young generation of aspiring jazz musicians.The club will arrange jazz workshops based on its hugely successful Big Band In A Day initiative that invites school kids into Ronnie’s to work with world class musicians in forming their very own big band!
Instruments can be booked in for donation via
Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year
Helena Kay has been named the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year at an event held at Glasgow's Rio Club as part of the Glasgow Jazz Festival at the end of June. The was described by The Herald Scotland 's reporter, Rob Adams said of the twenty-one-year-old saxophonist: 'It was the marvellously self-possessed Kay's sheer musicality, sure tone and beautifully expressed flow of ideas that stood out above all in a literally winning performance.'
Rob Adams goes on to say: 'All five finalists had their merits. Pianist Declan Forde played with both delicate bluesiness and a certain impudent, benign hooliganism. Trumpeter Sean Gibbs showed strong bebop feeling and guitarist John Patton the power to excite. Another pianist, Fergus McCreadie's measured, constructive improvising impressed (the judges nominated him, deservedly, runner-up).'
'Kay has been on this platform before, playing alto, and the naturally larger presence of the tenor saxophone added weight to the talent she's shown previously. She cited Sonny Rollins as an inspiration. Stan Getz's pacing was also detectable and another judge, himself a world class tenor saxophonist, Bobby Wellins would have heard a kindred spirit in the unhurried gracefulness of Kay's improvising.'
Click here to listen to the Meadows Orchestra conducted by Peter Evans playing R. Michael Meadows Suite No 4 - 'Bill Evans with Richard Michael on piano and Helena Kay playing soprano saxophone.
Young Jazz Musician of the Year Competition
The finals of this competition will take place at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho in September, but the finalists have now been announced.
Chris Maddock (saxophone)
The award, sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Musicians, is decided by the audience that attends a performance by the finalists on 27th September.
The evening will also see a Lifetime Achievement Award presented to percussionist and vocalist Frank Holder, who we have featured on this site a few times. Guyanan by birth, Frank has been active in British Jazz for 65 years, working with the Dankworth Seven, Tubby Hayes and Joe Harriott among many others.
Click here for Frank performing Lady Be Good with Hugh Ockendon on piano.
The Worshipful Company of Musicians is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. Its history dates back to at least 1350. It was originally a specialist guild for musicians, but the earliest official charter known was granted by King Edward IV to his minstrels in 1469. In 1500, the Fellowship of Minstrels was granted incorporation as the Musicians' Company by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, and the Company was given the right to regulate all musicians within the City. As you might expect, the Company no longer has the power to regulate music within the City but it continues to support musicians and musical education, awarding prizes, scholarships and medals.
Previous winners of the award include Michael Janisch, Nathaniel Facey, Laura Jurd and Tim Garland.
Mind Your Own Business
A large majority of jazz musicians are self-employed. Some work through managers or agencies, and whether they bring in enough to pay tax may be dependent on how much they earn through a variety of work during the year. Either way, it helps to have some knowledge of business, self-promotion and entrepreneurship.
Jazz Shapers is a one hour programme on the radio station Jazz FM hosted by Elliot Moss that is broadcast every Saturday morning. Elliot says: 'Of course, we play jazz. And soul. And blues. But on Jazz Shapers we also interview business people. It is our contention that the jazz greats share certain characteristics - their innovative ideas, their breaking with convention, their daring and their courage - with entrpreneurs and the shapers of business.'
Elliott Moss works for law firm Mishcon de Reya who sponsor the programme. Elliot continues: 'Co-creating a radio programme with Jazz FM was not the most obvious step a law firm would take. But as we started conversations with them, we started to get excited. Jazz FM's audience is full of people in the world of business - decision makers and influencers .... I've interviewed over 150 shapers: men and women of varying ages, from different backgrounds and in a huge array of industries. It goes without saying that each of these people is unique ... But they also have attributes in common. They have tons of energy. They are resourceful and brave, embracing and learning from their failures. They are quick learners. They have the courage of their convictions and dive headfirst into challenges ...'
Inspired by these interviews, Elliot wanted to share some of them. In partnership with the Creative Society, a youth employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries, they brought together the design agency October Associates and a group of unemployed young people aged between 16 and 24 keen for real work experience to bring together a collection of inspiration interviews from the programme. The result is The Shapers Project, a booklet with edited versions of the interviews that marry youthful creative ideas with inspirational business teachings. You can download podcasts of the interviews if you click here. For more about Business Shapers click here.
The chapter in the booklet that interviews bassist, composer, bandleader and owner of the Whirlwind Recordings record label, Michael Janisch is below.
Go With The Flow - Michael Janisch
'You let the moment of music-making take over and it is almost as if you are not there. It is just coming out of you.'
To hear, love and enjoy music is a natural state of being for me. It is what I have done every day since I was three years old. I feel a spirituality and passion when I am listening. I feel as if I can transfer that same emotion when I play. It is one of the great forces on the planet. Jazz For Babies came to be when my wife was pregnant. I wanted to play music to my unborn child. But I realised that music for babies was pretty shocking. It was either bland classical piano recordings or computerised soulless reinterpretations of rock tunes. But wouldn't you want to give a baby human-made music at the same level sonically and emotionally that we provide it for adults?
My business is a means to an end. In today's music industry, independent artists have the tools to take businesses into their own hands. We can accomplish the things we want to do: the things we dreamed about as children. The chances from agents and managers can be thin, so we have to create playing opportunities. That is what started me promoting my own events, and touring. This leads to your musicianship getting better and you want to release your music. But then you shop around for labels and you think: "I don't like the deal they are presenting. Why not start my own label?"
Starting a record label came naturally to me. I enjoy it because it is centred on music and as a result I play better concerts. It has led me to headline major festivals around the world. Agents take me seriously because I have spent more than a decade developing this.
You train your brain to get into 'the flow' when you are playing a long time. You just let the moment of music-making take over and it is almost as if you are not there. It is just coming out of you. I try to be in the flow even when I am not playing music. Similar to the enlightened state that Buddhism talks about, it is a combination of trusting yourself and of having put so many hours in on your instrument that you have transcended it.
In jazz we say we 'shedded the music'. Charlie Parker went to his woodshed and practised for 10 hours a day for years. So the phrase is "I've been shedding". Now I apply it to business. I say "I've been shedding the record-label business."
If you want to do anything well, you have to jump in. You have to completely jump into it. It is hard work. I am frank with musicians. I tell them that all teachers will say different things, but that in my experience you either work hard or it is not going to happen for you. There is no substitute for hard work.
Click here for the full interview with Michael Janisch.
The Passing Of Ornette Coleman
Steve Day writes:
In 2000 Ornette Coleman was playing a gig in Ireland. I was writing for Avant magazine and had just brought out a book, Ornette Coleman: Music Always. I was due to travel to Ireland for the magazine with my friend the photographer, Peter Symes to cover the concert. Just before we were due to go my mother died and I was unable to make the trip. Peter however not only took pictures and met up with Mr Coleman, he kindly took a copy of my book to give to Ornette and asked him to sign a copy for myself, explaining why I hadn’t come in person. Apparently Ornette began asking about my mother, who Peter didn’t know, though he remembered I’d once told him that in 1992 I had taken her to see Ornette Coleman play at the Royal Festival Hall. This apparently caught Ornette’s imagination and Peter found it difficult to move him on to other topic areas.
This quirky little personal story provides a measure of the man. His humility and humanity were as crucial a part to what made him the single most important figure in contemporary jazz, post the be-bop revolution, as his extraordinary core gift as a composer, improviser and musician.
There will be a lot written about Ornette Coleman being the founder of ‘free jazz’. And of course, his original white plastic Grafton alto saxophone did frighten the jazz establishment and everybody else – Sonny Rollins stopped playing in public for almost two years until he figured out the implications of what Coleman was doing. From the beginning, Ornette Coleman’s ‘freeing up’ of jazz came as a result of his innate gift as a composer. Despite all the early rubbish-talk of Coleman as a charlatan (“I listened to him high and I listened to him sober. I even played with him. I think he’s jiving, baby.” Roy Eldridge) his unique oeuvre of melodies (yes, tunes!) are now recognized as a huge rich depositary of music: The Blessing (1958), Lonely Woman, Una Muy Bonita, Turnaround (1959), Broadway Blues (1968), Dancing In Your Head (1975), Song X (1985), Latin Genetics, (1987) Monsieur Allard (1996) represent a fraction of the material available. Each one these incredibly intricate pieces was composed without being locked into key signatures, harmony and time.
Over the years other people have performed these classics imposing a framework of Western composition on them – Ornette Coleman never did. Nor did his early compatriots like Charlie Haden, Don Cherry or later fellow travellers like Bern Nix, James ‘Blood’ Ulmer and Jamaaladeen Tacuma.
Click here for Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell playing Street Woman in 1971.
When Ornette Coleman eventually started writing for string ensembles (Prime Design/Time Design) and orchestras (Skies Of America) he rejected pitch in favour of the direct line. Throughout his career his own violin playing deliberately turned dissonance into sound collage – performances such as Falling Stars, Snowflakes And Sunshine (1965) and Mob Job (1985) clash expectation and understanding whilst remaining totally riveting. They are germane to connecting with his rationale. Much later, post-new millennium ‘string’ explorations with Greg Cohen and Tony Falanga on basses and Denardo Coleman, drums, feel as natural as a minor chord.
Click here for Ornette Coleman Prime Time & Quartet paying In All Languages in 1987.
Ornette Coleman’s death even at the age of 85 is remarkable because, of all people, his mind was constantly in the future rather than the past. Last November 2014, New Vocabulary was released on System Dialing. Unsurprisingly and perhaps fittingly, many people didn’t know what to make of it. Ornette Coleman will forever be way out front.
Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk
Jazz Book Club Books
Sandy Pringle has moved - 'downsizing'. As he no longer has room for his collection of books from the Jazz Book Club he has asked if we can find homes for them.
The Jazz Book Club (JBC) was a publishing project of Sidgwick & Jackson, a London-based publisher. Herbert Jones, the editor, and a distinguished panel, selected the works. Sixty-six issues, and various extras were published from 1956 to 1967.
Sandy Pringle's books are all hard back editions and the jackets - the paper covers - have gone. They are some fifty years old and so some have a few brown age spots on some pages. Even so, there are many biographies and other works here including Blues Fell This Morning by Paul Oliver; Bugles For Beiderbecke by Charles H Wareing / George Garlick; Really The Blues by Mezz Mezzrow / Bernard Wolfe and Duke Ellington by Peter Gammond. There are 47 books in total.
Although the books are different thicknesses, to make life easy for me, if anyone is interested in any of the books I will post them out individually within the UK at £5 each to cover costs. Click here to see the list of books and how to go about obtaining them.
Buddy Rich - The Lost Tapes
Also out on the Lightyear Entertainment lable is a DVD of Buddy Rich and his Band entitled The Lost Tapes. This footage has been available before on VHS tape, but its significance is that it is Buddy Rich's last performance and filmed gig and is released on a DVD that takes as its focus the second set ending with the West Side Story medley. Writing in Jazzwise magazine, Andy Robson says: ' The bonus of this gig is that it was specially set up for filming ... eight cameras were used, and Rich's drum riser is of see-through plexi glass, including one beneath him so we see that kick drum in close up and the sweat literally rains down on us. In the DVD's extras, Buddy's daughter Cath advises viewers to 'grab some popcorn, sit back and be amazed'.
The information by Lightyear Entertainment says: Buddy Rich: The Lost Tapes is an historic preservation and restoration project. The producers recovered the masters from a 64257;re in 1990 and went about restoring the original surround sound track of the last concert Buddy Rich recorded before he passed away in 1987. This release follows the Emmy Award winning Channel One Suite and both concerts were recorded on the same night.
One viewer says: 'Buddy at his best. The producer's created a nightclub in a factory for this DVD and set up a number of cameras and special sound systems. Only a handfull of people were there for a magnificent performance by Rich and his band. The last ten minutes of this video has shots of him doing amazing work. The perspiration rolls off him as we watch from different angles. Even the commentaries are worth watching after you've viewed the concert. If you are a Buddy Rich fan this DVD is a definite must.'
Click here for more information.
The Jazz FM Awards 2015
Jazz FM made an inspired choice in booking John Thompson to host this year's awards. The actor, known for his role as the jazz club host in The Fast Show's TV comedy sketch, carried the event with humour and relaxed efficiency (click here to see him in role as Louis Balfour in the Jazz Clubs clips from The Fast Show - 'Great!').
The London-based radio station Jazz FM is celebrating its 25th birthday, so the Awards, in partnership with the organisation Serious and a variety of sponsors at the Vinopolis Great Halls venue near London Bridge was a celebratory affair. Time was also made to remember Richard Wheatly, a key, respected figure in the establishment of Jazz FM, who created the Awards and who died recently. Broadcaster Jon Snow presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to the legendary South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela who, with pianist Larry Willis, played a typically captivating version of Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out.
Other performances were from the outstanding House Gospel Choir, from Rebecca Ferguson who sang a number from her Billie Holiday tribute set, and from Soul Award winner, Jarrod Lawson. Lawson's performance was powerful and he deserves to be more widely publicised and heard - click here for a video of Jarrod singing The Point Of It All in a recording for Gilles Peterson's BBC show.
The winners of the various Award categories were:
Live Experience of the Year: Loose Tubes (Cheltenham Jazz Festival)
Breakthrough Act: Bill Laurance
International Jazz Artist of the Year: Gregory Porter
Click here for more details.
You Suggest : Dave McKenna
This month June Bastable and Duncan Ledsham suggest we taste the music of pianist Dave McKenna.
Dave McKenna was born in Rhode Island in 1930 and started playing piano early at the age of fifteen. By seventeen he was playing with Boots Mussulli (1947) and two years later with Charlie Ventura. He spent a year with Woody Herman before going into miltary service and then returned to Charlie Ventura's band.
He worked with a variety bands and musicians including Gene Krupa, Joe Venuti, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Bob Wilbur, Eddie Condon, and Bobby Hackett but he became primarily a soloist after 1967. McKenna performed with Louis Armstrong at the 1970 Newport Jazz Festival, and he was also known as an accompanist, recording with singers such as Rosemary Clooney and Tony Bennett.
Click here for a video of Dave McKenna accompanying Tony Bennett at a special recording from the Copley Plaza Hotel in 1982 in a programme that also featured Count Basie.
During the 1970s, Dave McKenna chose to play in clubs and hotels in his local area rather than travel extensively. His ten years at Boston's Copley Plaza Hotel ended in 1991 when the hotel was sold and the place turned into a cabaret venue.
Because of his fondness for staying close to the melody, McKenna often said, “I’m not really a bona fide jazz guy... I’m just a saloon piano player.” Regulars at the Copley Plaza Bar (now the Oak Room) rebuffed this modest remark by telling McKenna he was “just a saloon player” like Billie Holiday was “just a saloon singer”. He retired around the turn of the millennium due to increasing mobility problems brought on by his long battle with diabetes and he died from lung cancer in 2008.
Dave McKenna's style has been described as: 'relying on two key elements relating to his choices of tunes and set selection, and the method of playing that has come to be known as "three-handed swing". He liked to make thematic medleys, usually based around a key word that appeared in the titles, such as teach, love, women's names, dreams, night or day, street names, etc. He often combined ballads and up-tempo songs with standards, pop tunes, blues, and even TV themes or folk material.'
June Bastable recommends this album of Dave McKenna playing medleys of tunes by Harold Arlen and Fats Waller. You can hear the whole album if you click here.
'McKenna's renditions usually began with a spare, open statement of the melody, or, on ballads, a freely played, richly harmonized one. He often stated the theme a second time, gradually bringing more harmony or a stronger pulse into play. The improvisation then began in earnest on three levels simultaneously: a walking bassline, midrange chords and an improvised melody. The bassline, for which McKenna frequently employed the rarely used lowest regions of the piano, was naturally played in the left hand, often non-legato, to simulate an actual double bassist's phrasing. The chords were played using the thumb and forefinger of the right hand or of both hands combined, if the bass was not too low to make the stretch unfeasible. Sometimes he also added a guide-tone line consisting of thirds and sevenths on top of the bass, played by the thumb of the left hand. With his right hand's remaining fingers, he then played the melody, weaving it into improvised lines featuring colorful chromaticism, blues licks, and mainstream-jazz ideas. The result was the sound of a three-piece band under one person's creative control.'
Click here to listen to the album Dave McKenna at the Jazz Corner.
[You are able to listen to the most of 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].
When I first heard this tune called by the Dutch Swing College Band I could perhaps have been forgiven for thinking it was about a girl called Joyce from a town in Holland. After all, if there were tunes about mice living in a windmill in old Amsterdam, who could blame me for thinking Milneburg was in The Netherlands?
Rock my soul, with the Milneburg joys,
Wind the clock back to 1923 and we can hear Jelly Roll Morton playing the tune with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings under the name of The Friars Society Orchestra on the Gennett label – click here.
The name "New Orleans Rhythm Kings" did not initially refer to this group, but rather to a group under the direction of vaudeville performer Bee Palmer.
The New Orleans Rhythm Kings
The group included clarinettist Leon Roppolo who went on to recruit a band to play on the riverboats. That group included trumpeter Paul Mares. Mares wanted to move on from the boats and found the group an engagement at a club called the Friars Inn in Chicago. The engagement lasted for eighteen months with the group performing under the name "The Friar's Society Orchestra". They attracted the interest not only of a regular audience, but of other musicians including Bix Beiderbecke who often played with the band.
So, back to Milneburg. What do we know? The Old New Orleans website tells us:
‘In 1830, a railroad was built to connect New Orleans to the lakefront at Milneburg. The Pontchartrain Railroad was one of the first railroads in the country - only 23 miles of track had been laid in the United States when work began on the Pontchartrain line. It was constructed over miles of swampland that, until then, had been thought impassable. The work was extremely hard and the mortality rate for the workers was high, especially during outbreaks of yellow fever. By 1840, the railroad company had opened two hotels and two bathhouses in Milneburg. A trip on the train, pulled by a boisterous steam engine locals dubbed "Smoky Mary," was described by a visitor in the 1930's: "A mile from the city, we had left the city and all dwellings behind us and were flying through the fenceless, uninhabited marshes. At the lake, a quiet village of handsome hotels, cafes, dwellings, storehouses and bathing rooms burst at once upon our view. A village has grown up around the terminus, all the names of the owners, the notices and signboards being French."
‘From the 1830's to the 1930's, Milneburg was a popular place for dances and parties every weekend during New Orleans' long hot summers. Local musicians played everywhere - at private parties, clubs, cafes and saloons. Many of the musicians who played there in the early 1900s went on to become world famous as the early pioneers of jazz. Milneburg was a place where musicians of all races and cultures could gather to listen to each other and informally jam, so it was important in the development of New Orleans-style jazz.’. The Old New Orleans website is a valuable source for information and pictures of Milneburg – click here.
It seems that the neighbourhood now designated as "Milneburg" by the New Orleans Planning Commission is actually to the south and inland of the historic Milneburg. The boundaries according to local tradition can vary, with some saying Milneburg is located in the area bordered by the streets of St. Roch, Elysian Fields, Filmore and Mexico, while other groups state the area is much larger, going from Leon C. Simon to Filmore, and Elysian Fields to Franklin.
The types of homes in the area vary but single-family dwellings are the most common. There were only a few 'shotgun houses', a very popular style of housing in the city of New Orleans. I had never come across this name before. Apparently New Orleans architectural historian Samuel Wilson, Jr. suggested that shotgun style houses first originated in the Creole suburbs of New Orleans in the early 1800s. He also stated that the term "shotgun" is a reference to the idea that if all the doors are opened, a shotgun blast fired into the house from the front doorway will fly cleanly to the other end and out the back.
A Shotgun House
On the other hand, Professor John Michael Vlach has suggested that the origin of the building style and the name itself may trace back to Haiti and Africa in the 18th century and earlier. He claimed the name may have originated from a term 'to-gun', which means "place of assembly". The description, probably used in New Orleans by Afro-Haitian slaves, may have been misunderstood and reinterpreted as "Shotgun”.
Like the majority of New Orleans, the neighbourhood experienced major flooding during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Ev'ry time I hear that tune,
As you might expect, over the years many bands have recorded the tune either as Milneburg Joys or Milenburg Joys. Sampling a few, we start with this recording from 1925 by the Cottonpickers with some interesting notes by the Michael Laprarie who has shared it on YouTube - click here. Michael says:
‘You won't find a better example of 1920's hot jazz than this record, waxed August 21, 1925 at the Brunswick studios in New York City. This is an early "light ray" electrical recording, cut on a device that channelled sound through a horn to a small mirror, which vibrated when struck by the sound waves. The vibrating mirror projected a spot of intense light on a photoelectric cell, and the vibrations of the mirror caused the light to fluctuate as it struck the photocell, which in turn caused a variation in voltage across the cell. This voltage variation was then amplified and fed to the disc cutter. The poor sound quality inherent in this recording process caused Brunswick to abandon it after only a few months.
The musicians are Red Nichols (cornet); Mickey Bloom (trumpet/mellophone); Miff Mole (trombone); Chuck Miller (clarinet); Frank Trumbauer (C-melody sax); Rube Bloom (piano); Roy Smeck (banjo); Joe Tarto (tuba) and Ray Bauduc (drums).
Our next choice is a jump to this brief video which is a real teaser. It is a snatch of an extract of by Delmond Lambreaux playing and singing Milenburg Joys in a New York Jazz Club and it finishes frustratingly early. It is taken from an 2010 – 2013 American drama series called Treme that featured an ensemble cast and musical performances by several New Orleans-based artists. Click here.
Click here for an extract from the opening episode.
We end with this video of Andy Schumm and His Gang playing Milenburg Joys at the Putnam Museum, Davenport, Iowa on August 4th 2011, presumably as part of the annual Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival. Andy Schumm is playing on Bix's Bach Stradivarius Cornet and Dave Boeddinghaus on the Bix-family piano.
Andy Schumm (cornet),
John Otto (reeds),
Dave Bock (trombone),
Vince Giordano (bass sax/string bass),
Leah Bezin (banjo/guitar),
David Boeddinghaus (piano) and
Josh Duffee (drums) - click here.
U3A Study Day - 15th July
Mike Whitaker, National Jazz Adviser to the U3A Jazz Groups writes:
U3A (the University of the Third Age) is a country-wide organisation for people of (broadly) retirement age, devoted to self-directed study in a vast range of areas. One of these is Jazz Appreciation. On 15th July U3A is having a national Study Day.
The day will be led by Scott Stroman, Professor of Jazz at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Scott brings the Guildhall School Jazz Orchestra – 18 or so very talented young musicians. In the morning, Scott will explain aspects of jazz, using the band to illustrate his points – it’s a bit like sitting in on one of his tutorials. This time, amongst other things, Scott is going to talk about the role of section leaders and improvisation in both big band and small group setting.
After lunch, the band will play a concert of the music we saw analysed during the morning. Let me make it clear that while musicians will enjoy the day and get a lot out of it, it is not overly technical. Even if you can't tell your B flat from your treble clef, any jazz lover will enjoy this day.
The venue is the Kennedy Hall, at Cecil Sharp House, (home of the English Folk Dance & Song Society), 2 Regents Park Road, London NW1 7AY. The event begins at 11.00 am and will finish by 4.00 pm, with an hour for lunch. The cost is £20. There are still places available for U3A members and guests. Contact the U3A’s National Jazz Adviser, Mike Whitaker – email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01278 663492 for further details.
For the record, I should like to thank those people who volunteer each month to write album reviews for this page. Although I might use the word 'we' when writing What's New, most of you will know that it is just me here. Without the reviewers' help, and those people who write in, and those who write articles and send them to me, the site as it is would not be possible. Thank you.
We are able to look at a number of new albums in some detail and hopefully describe them for you so you know whether they might be of interest. In the feature 'The Ten', further down this page, I am also able to select some other albums where I have not received review copies or are yet to be released and there are usually samples where you can see how they sound.
Keeping half an eye on recording news, I see that trumpeter Gerard Presencer, pianist Jason Rebello and newly formed trio, Malija featuring Mark Lockheart, Liam Noble and Jasper Høiby have signed to the Edition label which promises some good music to come (click here for more information).
Malija (Liam Noble, Mark Lockheart, Jasper Høiby).
Elemental Music is re-issuing titles from the Xanadu Records catalogue from the 1970s as The Xanadu Master Edition Series. Six initial albums will include Albert Heath's Kwanza (The First); Barry Harris Plays Tadd Dameron; Jimmy Heath's Picture Of Heath; Al Cohn and Jimmy Rowles's Heavy Love; Sam Most's From The Attic Of My Mind and the Xanadu All Stars (including Al Cohn and Billy Mitchell) Night Flight To Dakar and Xanadu In Africa.
More titles will be released later this year. Click here for more information.
Babel are also releasing a number of interesting albums including guitarist Dan Messore's Indigo Kid II with Fistful Of Notes (which we will reviewing next month); Bruno Heining and Kristian Borring with Postcard To Bill Evans and Black Top #Two with Orphy Robinson, Pat Thomas and Evan Parker that we hope we shall also be able to feature as reviews here.
Dipper - Remembering Brian 'Dipper' Duddy
We recently reported that drummer Brian 'Dipper' Duddy had passed through the Departure Lounge. He has been fondly remembered by those who knew him and we have received a collection of photographs from various people that we share here.
Jim Susans writes: 'Sorry to read my old pal Dipper Duddy is in the departure lounge, we first met when we both worked at Watercraft Boatyard, East Molesey on the Thames in the 1950s. We used to practice in his parents' house in Island Farm Road. I then joined him on banjo in the Canal Street Jazz Band - the picture below was taken in 1958. I got married and moved to the south coast but we kept in touch and I last saw him at Amersham and Didcot jazz clubs with Vintage Jazz. I am still playing bass and sousaphone around South Oxfordshire. My condolences to his family, and kind regards to all ex-Canal Street Jazz Band musicians and friends.'
Photograph © Jim Susans
From left to right: Mick Hill. Jim Susans. Robin Davis. Dipper Duddy. Ron Drakeford. Pete Webb
Alex Johnson wrote to say: ' I am the partner of one Sarah Duddy, the daughter of Brian 'Dipper' Duddy a jazz drummer from the Surrey area (West Molesey) ... Sarah actually has very few pictures of her Dad playing and some that were once thought to be in lofts and drawers have sadly not turned up after the move from his long standing home in West Molesey .. Sarah would dearly love to have some images of him doing what he was born to do...' (Alex wrote a poem for Dipper's 70th birthday that has been published online - click here).
Photograph © Dave Stradwick
Dipper with Vintage Jazz:
We were able to put Alex in touch with Ron Drakeford who wrote about Dipper on the Kingston Jazz page of this website (click here). Ron in turn contacted Dave and Lesley Stradwick who were able to provide other photographs dating from about 1997 of the Vintage Jazz band then Sussex Jazz Kings and through to about 2010...The 'Stradders Various'.
Photograph © Dave Stradwick
Bass player Ron Drakeford remembers Dipper in his blog on Kingston Jazz saying: 'I was press ganged into the Canal Street Jazz Band by one Brian “Dipper” Duddy ... Brian went on to play with the likes of the Mac Duncan band and led the Georgia Jazzband which has been active on the scene throughout his life. Brian was replaced in the Canal Street band when National Service called, initially by Dave Preece and then by Lloyd “Bumsey” Taylor (Lloyd sadly died in Australia a few years back and was still playing there with the Unity Hall Jazzband - a local favourite of vocalist Carol Ralph.)
Ron sent this picture of the Canal Street Band:
Photograph © Ron Drakeford
Vintage Jazz used to play at Farnborough Jazz Club until 2012 when Dipper's illness prevented him from playing. The Club wrote: 'Friday, 16th March 2012, our audience learnt the sad news of our lovely Brian ‘Dipper’ Duddy is to retire early from drumming due to illness. Dipper has always brought fun to ‘Vintage Jazz’, inheriting the ‘boos’ from Dave Stradwick, a trait started by our ‘mafia’ table and resounded by the whole audience (and echoed by other clubs now), to show appreciation! Dipper would hold up his sticks with a certain gesture! Dipper’s situation will now end an era of a great band – the ‘dancers’ band – ‘Vintage Jazz’. They have been our house band, appearing every other week since 1991.'
We have put these details on a separate page about Dipper Duddy (click here). We should like to add to the page and so if you have any memories or information about Dipper, particularly from his earlier years, please contact us.
The Essential Album Collection
Which jazz albums make up a collection of classics? We 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.
Herbie Hancock - Headhunters (1973)
Head Hunters was Herbie Hancock's twelfth album and is a key recording in the introduction of Jazz Funk. In 2007, the Library of Congress added it to the National Recording Registry, which collects "culturally, historically or aesthetically important" sound recordings from the 20th century.
Fred Goodman says: 'Head Hunters was something different: a stripped-down date featuring reedman Bennie Maupin as the only horn player, and a funk-oriented rhythm section made up of Paul Jackson, Harvey Mason, and Bill Summers. Hancock traded in his sophisticated piano performances and complex compositions for simple melodies, slow-burn funk grooves, and light electric keyboard splashes.'
'The results, particularly on the tracks Chameleon and Watermelon Man, had a profound impact on other musicians, although critics charged Hancock with playing to the galleries. But the album has stood the test of time - something neither the wealth of Hancock's imitators nor his own subsequent albums in this vein have been able to do.'
Click here to listen to the album.
Two Ears, Three Eyes
Amina Figarova Sextet
Photographer Brian O'Connor went to this gig at The Watermill on the 4th June with his henchman, Derek Thomas. Derek writes:
Amina Figarova's New York Sextet flew in from Amsterdam for their UK gig at the Watermill, Dorking. The group played all original material by
Amina, compositions that skilfully used the rich blend of the three front-line instruments (flute, trumpet / flugelhorn, and tenor saxophone) to create long, atmospheric lines and colourful harmonies. The slow tunes had a haunting, ECM-type feel, but there were also some burning up-tempo tunes.
In her piano solos Amina played fast, spiralling lines which were endlessly inventive. On flute, Bart Platteau had a warm, expressive tone whilst Ernie Hammes played attacking trumpet and lyrical, mellow flugelhorn.
Johannes Mueller played fiery saxophone with a Coltrane influence. Bassist Rashaan Carter played complex bass figures interlocking with the ensemble and drummer Jason Brown had a busy, driving style which was never too loud and blended inperfectly.
The group received an enthusiastic reception from the Watermill audience, and Amina said it made it worth coming all the way to Dorking!
Pianist and composer Amina Figarova was born in Baku, Azerbaijan. She now lives in New York with husband, Bart Platteau, who plays flute in her sextet. In this video, Amina and her band join Eric Felten at Blues Alley, performing her original compositions and talking about her globe-hopping life as a jazz musician - click here. (Some of the musicians differ from those who played at The Watermill).
(Photographs © Brian O'Connor, imagesofjazz.co.uk)
Donald Maclean and The Life Of Me
Donald Maclean writes: 'In the postwar years in Scotland, after demob, I was the BBC's youngest producer. After being promoted to Aeolian Hall in London I produced, among other things, Jazz Club on Light Programme through the 50s and 60s, and after becoming leader of the team of 29 popular-music producers I selfishly kept for myself the production of jazz programmes, even after I moved to TV (where I produced the first "Come Dancing" programmes).
This allowed me, for instance, to bring to London my friend Sandy Brown from Edinburgh and to promote another clarinetist close friend, John Dankworth. (I had been a clarinet student at the Scottish National Academy of Music when recruited by the BBC as a 'Programme Engineer').'
Gerry Lupton writes:
'I run the U3A Jazz Appreciation Group here in Woking, Surrey, on a bi-monthly basis. We are a pretty social lot, with approx 60 members and musical tastes from 'Bunk to Monk' and beyond......last week we even arranged our own 'Riverboat Shuffle' on the back waters of the mighty Thames - not Mississippi! We have just commenced our summer recess, but in the past we have had film shows, quizzes and guest speakers including Jimmy Hastings (who lives locally) and Simon Spillet, who was great!'
'It would be nice if you could include a piece in the magazine about Simon's marvellous, recently published book on his musical hero - Tubby Hayes [The Long Shadow of the Little Giant]. Please forgive if you have already done so, I only started with your May issue.'
'We have also had owner of our local record shop - YES! we still have one. If you are ever in this part of the world, don't miss a visit to Bens Records in Guildford - stacked floor to ceiling with 2nd hand vinyl and CD's. Quite my favourite shop....'
Wood Green Jazz Club at the Fishmongers Arms
Brian Cook follows up his Photographic Memmory of Eric Silk from last month (click here) with these recollections of Wood Green Jazz Club:
'Friends and myself would visit the 'Fishmonger Arms' jazz club as often as possible. We would travel by trolley bus from the Highbury Corner area of Islington to Wood Green, Art Sanders (ex-commando) was usually at the entrance door looking for undesirables - just the man for the job - apart from Art and his wife Viv being the managers.'
'Sometimes myself and friends would go on stage and join in the bands. We would liked to have gone more often, but being apprentices there was evening classes twice a week, we were also interested in cycling and swimming.'
Photograph © Brian Cook - Sandy Brown at Wood Green Jazz Club in the 1950s
'Sometimes it got quite hot in the club. I remember one time when I felt quite faint and went outside for some fresh air where I passed out - no it was not the beer because us being apprentices could not afford to drink too much - anyway I passed out in front of Art. When I came round Art was helping me inside where he looked after me together with Viv, Art was a strict but fair man.'
'Then there were Sunday afternoons when the big bands like Ted Heath, Johnny Dankworth and others would be playing in the cinemas.'
London Jazz Club
Steve Castle writes: 'I have just been some programmes by my father that relate to evenings at the London Jazz Club (Mac's Rehearsal Rooms) in the late '40s (1948/49) where Humph seems to be an ever-present performer. I am wondering if this was the same venue as the Cy Laurie Jazz Club? I have a host of programmes along with tickets and some other memorabilia including a newsletter for the Humph Lyttelton Club in 1953 citing Sidney Bechet as president. I have inherited my parents' love of jazz and wondered if these items relate to the same place you write of?'
We have replied that our page on the Cy Laurie Club (click here) says that the Club was used by Mac's Rehearsal Rooms, but that possibly not every London Jazz Club broadcast came from there. Does anyone know?
Thank you to those people who have liked our Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook page and who have commented on posts. I hope that you have found the items there of interest. Using Facebook gives us a chance to share information that arrives between issues of What's New Magazine. If you do visit our Facebook page, please Like us and Share us with your friends. (If you are not on Facebook, please tell your friends about us anyway!).
Traditionally Speaking - Pete Ward and Eddie Edwards
The band rehearsal had finished about an hour before. They rehearse on an occasional basis, but usually discussions, gig dates, set lists, etc. are ongoing. The Sunset Cafe Stompers have a busy schedule throughout Dorset and Somerset with regular appearances and jazzbreaks.
Some had gone home – Mike Denham (piano and bandleader), Steve Graham (trumpet), Pete Middleton (trombone), Mike Betts (clarinet and tenor saxophone), John Coad (drums), but Pete Ward (bass) and Eddie Edwards (banjo) stayed behind to talk.
Pete had seen the page on this website about Kingston Jazz and had played with Norrie Cox's San Jacinto Jazzband in the early 1960s. Venues included the Fighting Cocks in Kingston and the Hampton Court Hotel, and in Windsor at the Star and Garter (later turned into a supermarket!). Eddie too had been around that part of the country in those early days. Both had picked up on jazz at school. Pete went to Slough Grammar School with trumpeter Dennis Jones before taking an electrical engineering course. Dennis had decided to learn to play jazz and put together a band. ‘You can be piano,’ he had said to Pete. They rehearsed at the North Star pub, where the piano was not very good, with Dave Burden (clarinet) and Michael Bradshaw (banjo). After a while, they moved to the Red Lion in Langley where the piano was worse! When a friend had a banjo for sale, Pete bought it.
Dennis Jones moved to the New Eagle Jazz Band in Wokingham and the two went their separate ways, with Pete playing at the Admiral Cunningham pub in Bracknell. A chance meeting with Neil Manders resulted in Pete playing banjo with the High Curley Stompers for about a year alongside John R T Davies and Ben Cohen. Meanwhile, around 1960, Dennis Jones had hand-picked a bunch of musicians and formed Preacher Hood's Jazz Missionaries, but Pete was only able to keep in touch with him on an irregular basis due to his own commitments. As frequently happened, National Service interrupted things and Pete went into the RAF where, on the upside, he learned telecommunications which put him in good stead for a job on discharge. 'I remember coming across Geoff Over during National Service,' Pete remembers. 'He was playing trombone with the local band, but he always did a banjo solo in the interval!' That is when he saw an advertisement for a double bass, an instrument he has lugged around ever since. Looking back, Pete says: 'In the early days with Norrie Cox, I was stopped by the police in Surbiton because my car was leaning heavily to one side. I explained that a double bass was a very heavy instrument, and was allowed to proceed. A week or two later the car was scrapped with a broken chassis!'
A long list of bands came and went for Pete over the following years when he was living in Maidenhead including those of Dave Morgan and Fred Shaw. Others followed when Pete moved to the West Country in 1966. Sitting in with the Phoenix Jazz Band in Bristol led to a regular position in Nigel Hunt's Jazz Band. As time progressed there were long stints with bands led by Martin Bennett, Gordon Hunt, John Shillito and Dennis Armstrong. Things came to a bit of a halt in 1992 when Pete was due to play in Lynton but, instead, landed up in hospital with a stroke. His doctor told him to change his lifestyle, so he gave up the day job! Several months of recuperation followed before he was able to get mind and body to work again but, to jump forward a bit, he ended up in 1998 in the Sunset Cafe Stompers band.
Eddie Edwards had gone to Chiswick Grammar School. There was a jazz band already at the school and a friend was interested in the music. Bill Greenow was in the same year and Eddie can remember him practising his clarinet fingering on a paintbrush in lessons. They would go to hear bands at the legendary Eel Pie Island on the Thames near Hampton Court in the days when there was no bridge across to the island and people would be ferried across to the club in a boat.
Eddie started out on trumpet, but when his friends started a skiffle group, he was given a banjo. ‘It was a zither banjo,’ Eddie says. ‘They used to call it a ‘ladies banjo’. But he was good enough to be asked to play with jazz bands in the Chiswick area when he left school, including Dave Evans’ band and depping with Steve Lane. By 1958 he was playing in the New Crane River band with Neil Millet. He too lived around the Kingston and New Malden area, played at the Fighting Cocks in Kingston and the Thames Hotel at Hampton Court (read more about these venues on our Kingston Jazz page).
‘We had all started off listening to the music that came out of America with Bunk Johnson and George Lewis,' Pete recalls, 'But more and more of my influences came from listening to the 'classic bands' of the 1920s, both black and white. Much of Preacher Hood's repertoire was along similar lines. I only ever played with Ken Colyer twice. On the first occasion I was reprimanded for playing too loud, but on the second he gave me a solo then turned around and applauded.'
As with Pete Ward, other bands followed for Eddie. If one could draw a ‘family history chart’ of jazz bands it would look pretty complicated. Trombonist Eric Allendale originated from the West Indies and Eddie spent enjoyable times in that band with Laurie Chescoe (drums) and Will Hastie (clarinet). He then moved on to Max Collie’s Rhythm Aces until joining drummer Tony Scriven’s band and then Mac Duncan’s band.
Eddie moved to the West Country in the late ‘60s and continued to play with the Cary Street band and Roy Pellet’s Hot Four. Eventually, Eddie depped with the Sunset Cafe Stompers and now that is his priority band, as it is for Pete Ward. He will play with other bands in the area, however, and it is not unusual to turn up with another band at a venue he played with the Stompers a week or two earlier.
Click here for a video of Eddie soloing on a nice version of Georgia with John Shillito's Select Four at the Bude Jazz Festival in 2011 - John Shillito (trumpet/vocals), Ken Rennison (reeds), Eddie Edwards (banjo) and Bob Jarvis (bass).
Despite the fact that Pete and Eddie are now both retired from ‘full time work’, they are both busy playing. Eddie averages one or two gigs a week and has, during one week, played eight. The gigs these days are in pubs, fetes, church halls and for weddings and fund-raising events. These gigs are all paid, and like any band, do not bring in a lot of money, but more than cover expenses. In March, the Stompers played at Cheap Street Church in Sherborne and helped to raise £1,885.
The Sunset Cafe Stompers have a comprehensive book of tunes, and leader Mike Denham has them in his computer in a database that selects a regular varied playlist. Mike also comes up with new arrangements although all members of the band tend to have a say. This way they can present a changing programme that stops themselves, and the audiences, getting bored playing and hearing the same old tunes.
Click here for a video of the Sunset Cafe Stompers playing Blame It On The Blues.
Both Pete and Eddie have come a long way since the days of Kingston jazz. The years between have seen them playing alongside some of the top names in British Traditional Jazz and have given them the experience that, with other members of the Stompers ensures their regular programme of around 35 advance bookings. Pete says: 'Reflecting on some 60 years of playing jazz, I feel that I've had something of a charmed life - always able to keep the jazz going alongside the day job, and with my late wife being so understanding and tolerant.'
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:
Ornette Coleman - American saxophonist initially influenced by Charlie Parker who worked obsessively on radically rethinking the relationship between melody, harmony and rhythm in jazz to set improvisation free.
See article above by Steve Day (click here).
Gunther Schuller - American composer, orchestral conductor and french horn player who worked with Miles Davis and the MJQ and developed a merge of classical music and jazz that he termed the 'Third Stream'. He was the author of two books: Early Jazz (1968) and The Swing Era (1989).
Click here to listen to Gunther Schuller and Jim Hall's Variants on a Theme of John Lewis (Django) with Eric Dolphy (fl), Robert DiDomenica (fl), Jim Hall (g), Eddie Costa (vib), Bill Evans (p), Scott Lafaro (b), George Duvivier (b) Sticks Evans (ds) and the Contemporary String Quartet recorded in New York City at the end of 1960.
Harold Battiste - American saxophonist from New Orleans where he taught music to young people. He formed the record label AFO (All For One) as a musicians' co-operative. On moving to Los Angeles he met “Mac” Rebennack and developed Rebennack's career as 'Dr John'. In 1989, he returned to New Orleans where he joined the Jazz Studies faculty at the University of New Orleans.
Click here for a video interview with Harold Battiste.
Johnny Keating - UK trombonist and arranger who worked with Ted Heath. In 1959 he returned to Edinburgh to set up the Keating School of Music, one of the first to teach the principles of big band, swing and jazz. Three years later he was back in London, fusing big-band sounds with the swirling world of jazz. He also composed and arranged for film and TV.
Click here to listen to Headin' North by the Ted Heath Orchestra composed by Johnny Keating.
Click here for our 'Who's Who' page.
Jazz Heritage and Blue Plaques
Mike Rose from the National Jazz Archive writes:
The London Borough of Waltham Forest in north-east London is close to the home of the National Jazz Archive in Loughton, Essex. Waltham Forest Council enthusiastically operates a Blue Plaque scheme which celebrates many aspects of local history and cultural heritage. For several years, the National Jazz Archive has been working with Waltham Forest to identify the residences of jazz musicians within the Borough, which covers Leyton, Leytonstone, Walthamstow and Chingford. This project is part of the telling of the Story of British Jazz that the Archive began during the 3-year period of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund 2011–14.
The Dankworth family with the blue plaque for John Dankworth
In 2013, Waltham Forest arranged for plaques to be placed on houses previously occupied by Sir John Dankworth and clarinettist Dave Shepherd. Sir John was one of the finest British jazz musicians and composers, whose work is known both by jazz fans and the public at large. In his career, Dave has played with Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan, Teddy Wilson, Digby Fairweather (the founder of the Archive), and many other renowned jazz performers. In September last year, a plaque was placed on the house in Leyton where trombonist Jackie Free, another of Dave’s band colleagues, spent his first 25 years and learnt the trombone at the local Boys Brigade. The Archive has the honour to hold a copy of a photograph taken in 1956 of Jackie performing with Louis Armstrong during his UK tour. Jackie’s Blue Plaque contains the dedication that Louis inscribed on the photo - 'A fine trombone man'.
Jackie Free's blue plaque
The sad loss of trumpeter and composer Kenny Wheeler at the end of 2014 delayed plans to unveil a plaque for him but his family gave the go-ahead for a low profile ceremony in January 2015. Although born in Canada, Kenny moved to the UK in 1952, and made an indelible mark on Britain’s jazz scene. He lived here for over 60 years, much of this time in Leytonstone where the plaque is located.
In the 1960s, Kenny played alongside Ronnie Scott, John Dankworth and Tubby Hayes, before recording a series of albums including Gnu High and Deer Wan in the 1970s. However, for many the 1990s were considered Wheeler’s career peak, when he released influential albums such Music for Large and Small Ensembles and Kayak. In 1997, he received critical acclaim for the album Angel Song, which featured Bill Frisell, Dave Holland and Lee Konitz. More recently, he became the founding patron of the Junior Jazz programme at the Royal Academy of Music and was the focus of a year-long exhibition by the Academy Museum. In a statement when Kenny’s passing was announced, Nick Smart, head of jazz at the Royal Academy of Music, paid tribute and described Wheeler as “one of the great musical innovators of contemporary jazz. Kenny was an important and much loved figure to the jazz department here at the Academy… His harmonic palette and singularly recognisable sound will live on in the memory of all who heard him and in the extraordinary legacy of recordings and compositions he leaves behind, inspiring generations to come.”
Dave Shepherd blue plaque
Following further detailed research, two more jazz musicians with reputations in the UK and around the world have been identified as spending part of their lives residing in Waltham Forest and worthy of Blue Plaque recognition. Kenny Clare was born and spent his early years in Leytonstone. Highly regarded by the likes of Buddy Rich, Kenny Clarke and Louie Bellson, Kenny began his playing career in his 1920s with the Oscar Rabin band before joining Jack Parnell. For an extended period in the 1950s and early 1960s he was featured with the John Dankworth and Ted Heath bands. In 1963 Kenny began playing drums with the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band and by 1967 he was regularly paired with Clarke in what became a two-drummer band for performances, concerts, and at least 15 recordings.
The list of singers and musicians that Kenny performed with include some of the jazz greats of the 20th century – Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Cleo Laine, Stephane Grappelli, Johnny Griffin, Harry James and many more. He died in 1984. Currently, negotiations are underway between Waltham Forest and the current owner of Kenny’s house in Leytonstone.
Kenny Wheeler's blue plaque
Born in Clapton in 1921, cornetist/trumpeter Freddy Randall lived in Chingford during the 1980s and at present, is the final nominee of the Archive. Following military service in WWII, Randall joined Freddy Mirfield & His Garbage Men. The Garbage Men included the young John Dankworth and recorded for Decca in 1944. In the late 1940s – early 1950s Freddy led his own band, featuring some of the UK’s finest jazz musicians. The Freddy Randall Sunday sessions at the Cooks Ferry Inn, Ferry Lane, Edmonton (run for the Cleveland Rhythm Club by Freddy's brother, Harry) have earned a legendary place in British jazz history. In 1956 Randall was the first British post-war jazz group to tour the United States – in exchange for the Louis Armstrong All-Stars. As previously stated, it was during Louis’s tour of the UK that Leyton-born Jackie Free, Freddy’s one-time trombonist, played alongside Louis. In 1958 Randall retired due to ill health and, after several ‘come-backs’, died in 1999.
The National Jazz Archive is delighted and privileged to join with the London Borough of Waltham Forest in recognising and celebrating these much loved jazz musicians who contributed greatly to the Story of British Jazz.
Can you help Identify another Blue Plaque Location?
Mike Rose continues: 'I have had the privilege to work alongside the Founder of the National Jazz Archive, Digby Fairweather, and the Design and Conservation Manager at Waltham Forest, in conducting the research on the fantastic jazz musicians who have lived in Waltham Forest, my home for the past 69 years. My love and enthusiasm for jazz was born at an early age as my older brother was a member of the Cleveland Rhythm Club. He regularly attended the Sunday sessions at the Cooks Ferry Inn. When I was a small child he would tell me about the performances of Freddy Randall, Beryl Brydon, Roy Crimmins, Bruce Turner, Archie Semple, Danny Moss, Lennie Felix and Lennie Hastings. It was only in later years that these names had any true meaning for me. There are many references both to these wonderful musicians and the Cleveland Rhythm Club available to read on line at the National Jazz Archive web site: www.nationaljazzarchive.org.uk. However, the help I’m looking for relates to another pub which, I believe, had an association with the Cooks Ferry Inn.'
The Heathcote Arms
'The Heathcote Arms is on Grove Green Road, Leytonstone E11 and I have vague memories of the upstairs hall being used as a jazz club during the 1950s. Of those who performed there I recollect the name of John Dankworth being mentioned. I also believe that Harry Randall, brother and one-time manager of Freddie, was involved with the club. However, my vague memories are not sufficient to make a strong enough case to approach Waltham Forest with a view to installing a Blue Plaque. If any readers can confirm the existence of the club, particularly a membership card or some physical evidence, I’d be delighted to take up the case for the Heathcote with Waltham Forest, as part of the Story of British Jazz. (I am aware that my good friend Clive Fenner ran the East Side Jazz Club from this location in later years before decamping first to the Lord Rookwood and then in 2014, to Tommy Flynn’s pub.)'
If you are able to help Mike with information you can contact him at email@example.com making the title of your email 'Blue Plaques'.
One From Ten
We spend time with an album from our list of new and reissued recordings below.
Saxophonist Howard Lawes reviews Ivo Neame's new album:
Ivo Neame graduated as a jazz pianist from the Royal Academy of Music in 2003 and has had a career as bright as the "Brilliant Ale" brewed by the Shepherd Neame family brewery. Apart from the bands that he has led Neame has also been a member of eleven other bands, probably reaching a zenith with Phronesis and their album A Life to Everything which has received widespread acclaim throughout the world. Phronesis, although led by bassist Jasper Høiby, is regularly referred to as a piano trio and was described by John Newey of Jazzwise as “the most exciting and imaginative piano trio since EST” (the Esbjörn Svensson Trio).
For this album Strata we have a quintet with Neame (piano, keyboard and accordion), Tori Freestone (saxes/flute), Jim Hart (vibraphone), Dave Hamblett (drums) and Tom Farmer (bass).
Click here for an introductory video.
The album starts with a track called Personality Clash, (presumably not referring to members of the band!), which has piano and vibraphone, each seeking to outdo the other at a fast pace before the calming influence of the saxophone is introduced. The title track, Strata, begins with single notes and chords, gradually builds as all the instruments join in and then continues with a fanfare-like saxophone theme; and as implied by the title this is a many layered piece, complex but great to listen to.
Click here for a video of the Quintet playing Strata at the SoundCellar in Poole in 2014.
OCD Blues has the saxophone taking a leading role while piano and vibraphone converse and mirror improvisations and then about five minutes in we get some very soft, tinkly notes on the piano and bowed vibraphone creating a mystical feel. Miss Piggy is a pleasant piece that probably has little to do with the anarchic Muppets and having heard OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?) Blues, we have Crise de Nerfs (which may be translated as 'nervous breakdown'), a track that highlights Jim Hart on vibraphone and Tori Freestone on flute.
Eastern Chant is a great piano trio piece with Neame, Farmer and Hamblett combining to great effect while Folk Song features Neame on accordion imparting a slight Balkan feel to the beginning and end of the piece while Freestone plays saxophone in a contrasting fashion as the rhythm changes to something quite different. The last track, Snowfall, effectively conjures up a winter landscape with saxophone winds and tinkly, piano key snow but also features a solo on Tom Farmer's double bass.
Click here for a video of Eastern Chant at the same Soundcellar gig as above.
This is a complex and interesting album which rewards repeated listening to discover its depth and subtleties and has plenty of Ivo Neame piano for those who know him best through Phronesis, but also some quality playing from other band members who come together as a very well drilled unit. The album launch gig at a packed Vortex Jazz Club in London was very well received where no doubt sales were enhanced because each purchase included a home-made chocolate brownie!
Click here to sample the album.
Ivo Neame Strata was released on 15th June on Whirlwind Recordings.
Ten Recent Releases and Re-Issues
On Tour This Month ...
Partisans will be touring the UK this summer following on from their 2015 Parliamentary Jazz Award win for Jazz CD of the Year (Swamp on Whirlwind Recordings). Co-led by two of the preeminent musicians of their generation, Phil Robson (guitars) and Julian Siegel (tenor sax & bass clarinet), the quartet line-up is completed by Thaddeus Kelly (bass) and Gene Calderazzo (drums).
Click here for the album introduction on YouTube
Saturday 4 July - Love Supreme Festival
George Chisholm - Gentleman Of Jazz
A Talk at the National Jazz Archive - Saturday 1 August 2015
George Chisholm was one of the great jazz trombonists this country produced, as well as a top-class comedy entertainer. He grew up in a musical family in Glasgow, and played in the 1930s with Benny Carter, Fats Waller and Coleman Hawkins. During and after World War II George played with the Squadronaires, and went on to a successful and varied career in jazz, alongside one in comedy, a combination that led him to work with everyone from Ambrose to Armstong, from Goodman to the Goons, from Sinatra to Superman. He was awarded the OBE in 1984 and died in 1997.
Bob Sinfield, radio presenter, actor and author, has written a biography of George, and will be talking about him, and his eventful and often hilarious double life as trombonist and comedian, and playing recordings of George’s music. Copies of Bob’s book will be available.
Venue: National Jazz Archive, Loughton Library, Traps Hill, Loughton, Essex IG10 1HD
Items Carried Over From Last Month
The following items appeared in the last magazine but may still be of interest to readers:
Wes Montgomery Guitar Contest
Resonance Records are looking for new guitar players aged 14 to 33. They are launching the Wes Montgomery International Guitar Contest and guitar players can send in audio and video demos to Indaba Music. The entries need to include a Wes Montgomery guitar cover and 2 other recordings. The closing date is 15th July. Finalists will be invited to play at a concert in New York's Merkin Concert Hall at an event hosted by Pat Martino. The organisers say: 'Wes Montgomery is arguably the most important and influential guitarist in modern Jazz History. In the span of his tragically short yet prolific recording career, Montgomery paved the way for generations of improvisational guitarists. Now, Resonance Records is teaming up with Indaba Music in search of this generation’s next great jazz guitarist.'
Entry details are as follows:
Click here for details.
Music In Schools
What is music provision like in schools in your area? In our experience it varies. There are primary schools where music is very active including the growth of choirs and chances to try out and learn different instruments. Secondary schools are probably more varied, not only do they have the examination curriculum to deal with and the consequent Ofsted ratings, but teenagers generally, although they are interested in music, are often not so inclined to put in the practice time unless they have a particular affinity to learning to play an instrument against all the competing social media and gaming activity.
Classical pianist James Rhodes has been challenging the provision of music in schools and the 'pitiful' resources for music education. 'There's zero budget (for music),' he said. 'And all the pressure has to be on numeracy and literacy. And if I was a head teacher I wouldn't transfer reources to music when Ofsted are coming because the only things they care about are hitting our targets for Maths and English.' He also criticises the minimal amount of time given to music in teacher training courses.
Last September, James Rhodes presented a television documentary in which he asked people to hand in unused instruments they had at home to be distributed to primary schools and he says over a million pounds worth of instruments were handed in. He has also launched a petition to increase music provision in schools and published a book Instrumental: Memoirs of Madness, Medication and Music (published on 28th May) where he describes how music helped him after a period of abuse by a teacher at his school. Reviewed in the Sunday Times on 31st May, Brian Appleyard writes: 'How he got to where he is now ...is a story of abject misery and quite staggering good luck ....but there can be no doubt that he is doing classical music a big favour by banging great works into the hyper-distracted heads of a young audience.'
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.Roy's email address is: email@example.com.
© Sandy Brown Jazz 2015