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Quincy Jones Honoured
In July, the American producer / arranger Quincy Jones received an Honorary Doctorate from London's Royal Academy of Music.
The Academy said: ‘Quincy Jones is an impresario in the broadest and most creative sense of the word. His career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive, magazine founder, multi-media entrepreneur and humanitarian. As a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions. He has traversed virtually every medium, including records, live performance, movies and television. The winner of numerous Grammy Awards, he has been at the centre of the music and entertainment industry for over six decades, beginning with the music of the post-swing era and continuing in today’s high-technology, international multi-media hybrids. His humanitarian work over the past 50 years has helped to transform countless lives across the world.’
Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, added: ‘It is a great pleasure to welcome Quincy Jones to the Academy’s most prestigious club. Few musicians, in any era, have had such a consistent record of success — at the very highest international level — across such a long, varied and fruitful career.’
The Royal Academy is also welcoming two new Jazz appointments for the forthcoming academic year, 2015/16. Dave Liebman will be the Academy’s International Jazz Artist in Residence. Liebman was described by Downbeat Magazine as ‘among the most important saxophonists in contemporary music’, and he will spend a full week in residence at the Academy in January 2016. Activities will include a public masterclass at the Forge in Camden during that week. Larry Goldings will be the Academy’s new Visiting Professor for Jazz for 2015/16. A recording artist on piano and keyboards, and equally recognised as a composer and songwriter, Larry Goldings will work with Academy students on a range of projects.
A Tribute To Alex Welsh - Friday, 11th September
The Chickenshed Theatre Jazz Bar, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE is hosting this gig on 11th September, with a support act from 7.00 pm - 7.45pm and the main band from 8.30pm -11.15pm ( £17 on door or £15 in advance). The band for the main gig has seven young graduates from the Royal Academy, Trinity and Guildhall Schools of Music who have formed a dynamic group to re-create the musical magic that was the Alex Welsh trademark.
Led by James Davison on trumpet and vocals, the band features Tom Green on trombone, Liam Dunachie on piano, James Kitchman on guitar / banjo, Misha Mullov-Abbado on bass, and Scott Chapman on drums. Special guests will be former teenage Dixieland bandleader Julian Marc Stringle on clarinet and saxes, and the long-time star with the Alex Welsh Band, trombonist Roy Williams.
James tells us: 'I chose Alex because of one record that my dad and granddad put on every Christmas Day when I was younger. It was the Live in Dresden album. I think my dad always used to want to put it on as it features Roy Williams quite heavily and he is a trombone player himself and a big fan of Roy's. So I grew up listening to that kind of music but never really liked it, and then when I moved to London and went to Guildhall I 'saw the light' and remembered that particular album, starting listening to it again and decided that it was the best thing I'd ever heard!!'
'I loved Alex's trumpet playing; It was almost like Louis Armstrong! And his singing was great too. Roy's playing is absolutely phenomenal and I spent the next few years playing his solos on the album to all of my trombone playing friends and trying to play them on my trumpet. One day, whilst playing it to Tom Green, he and I decided to get some mates together and play some of the tunes on the album. So we did, and then we got some gigs ... etc etc. All of a sudden our piano player Liam rang me and said that his godfather Tim Lord is friends with Roy Williams and wants to put a gig on with us doing a 'Remembering Alex' concert with Roy as a special guest! So that happened and it was amazing. Berny Stringle came, as Julian was playing clarinet, and then he has decided to put it on at the Chickenshed!'
Jazz nights at Chickenshed were founded in 1994 by Berny and Julian Marc Stringle and have gone from strength to strength ever since. Based in North London, the Jazz bar offers a truly great jazz venue that is well known for the calibre of the musicians it attracts as it is for the quality of the sound and the intimacy of the venue.
Jazz North Introduces - Artephis
'Jazz North Introduces' is a scheme that provides young northern jazz artists with their first high-profile showcase performances and mentoring with leading UK jazz artists. Working in partnership with Northern jazz festivals, the 2015 winners will receive the opportunity to be showcased at five leading jazz festivals across the North. The band chosen for this year is Artephis, a Manchester quintet of students at the Royal Northern College of Music.
The group will receive mentoring and promotion opportunities and get to play at Lancaster Jazz Festival (19th September), Marsden Jazz festival (10th October), Southport Melodic Jazz Club (24th January), and Liverpool Jazz (28th February).
Artephis is made up of Aaron Wood, 21, trumpet/flugel, James Girling, 20, guitar, Ali Roocroft, 20, piano, Alasdair Simpson, 21, bass and Matt Brown, 20, drums. The band describes its approach as ‘forward looking and contemporary’. Since its formation twelve months ago, the quintet has been building a repertoire of original compositions and arrangements with the band members being committed to taking their familiar jazz quintet line up in new directions. Among its inspirations and influences are Christian Scott Quintet, Miles Davis Quintet, Wynton Marsalis and Pat Metheny.
Jazz Poetry at the 100 Club
The line-up includes John Hegley, The William Blake Klezmatrix Band including Jennifer Maidman, The New Departures All Stars including Pete Lemer, Annie Whitehead's World Music Workshop Band, singer-guitarist Vanessa Vie, Michael Horovitz and more to be confirmed. The gig is part of Poetry Olympics’s annual National Poetry Week.
The gig is from 7.30 pm to 12.00 am and tickets are £7.50 in advance or £10.00 on the door. Click here to book.
New Pat Metheny DVD
On 18th September, Pat Metheny's Unity Sessions will be available on DVD and Blu Ray.
With Pat leading, they wrap up a 150+ date world tour with an intimate studio performance filmed in a small New York City theater. Also included is a bonus feature that includes interviews with Pat and the band.
If you pre-order through the Pat Metheny webstore you can receive a free signed set list from The Unity Sessions.
John Taylor Memorial Concert Postponed
The memorial celebration of the life and music of John Taylor that had been planned for the 18th October at the Royal College of Music has been postponed to 2016. Pianist John Taylor suffered a heart attack on the 17th July whilst performing at the Saveurs Jazz Festival in Segré, France and although he was resuscitated at the venue, he died after being taken to a hospital.
Frank Griffith (saxophone, clarinet, composer, bandleader)
Hi Frank, tea or coffee?
Frank: Coffee, and plenty of it.
Hob Nob, Bourbon, Garibaldi or digestive biscuit?
Frank: Digestive biscuit with plenty of bourbon.
Sonny Stitt, Stan Getz or Albert Ayler?
Frank: I always say "When Sonny Blew Getz" to this question. Hard choice with the Sonny's but probably Getz for the variety of settings, arrangments and repertoire that he delved into.
Milk and sugar?
Frank: I avoid "the white death" at all costs, but yes, I like my java white.
What gigs have you played recently?
Frank: Ealing Jazz Festival in July. Pizza Express on Dean Street with Cafe Society Swing in August, Norden Farm Centre for the Arts with Tina May. Also, Finchcocks Musical Musuem in Tunbridge Wells with Roan Kearsey-Lawson.
What have you got coming up in September
Frank: 13th September - Devonshire Arms, Bedford. 20th September - Cafe Loco in Muswell Hill. 27th September - The Pheasantry in Chelsea both with Pete Mathews (songwriter).
Who else have you heard recently that we should listen out for?
Frank: Roy Hilton, fine pianist from Eastbourne. Vittorio Mura, young tenor saxist from Bedford who is completing his final year of the Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Course.
Frank: Biscuit???? You mean another little thought or gem? It is incumbent (necessary) for the musicians to create the opportunities and venues for the music. Do not expect it this to be the sole responsibility of non musicians. Now get to work!!
[Click here for our page on Frank Griffith. Click here for a video of Frank playing a fine solo on Speak Low from Jazz At The Movies with Joanna Eden - vocal, Chris Ingham - piano, Arnie Somogyi - bass, George Double - drums ].
[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].
I'm In The Seventh Heaven
Feel the way my heart keeps thumpin'
The first time I heard this song was on an old 78 rpm shellac Columbia record by Paul Whiteman's Orchestra from 1929 (Little Pal was on the other side, a number also recorded by Al Jolson 1929). It is quite simple and catchy - one of those numbers that digs itself into your subconscious. Every now and then it comes to the surface, cheerful and bouncy.
Here it is by 'The King Of Jazz' and his Orchestra recorded in New York on April 5th 1929 (click here). Bix Beiderbecke takes the two cornet solos. This was a time when Bix was not at his peak. He had been in the Rivercrest Sanatorium between December 1928 and January 1929 suffering from DTs caused by his drinking and had then gone back to his home town, Davenport in Iowa. He rejoined Whiteman on March 4th, 1929. A month later, they made this recording. A few days after that, Bix was in the studio with Frankie Trumbauer and a smaller group recording some nice solos on Wait Til You See Ma Cherie and Baby, Won't You Please Come Home.
On Seventh Heaven, The Rhythm Boys (Bing Crosby, Harry Barris and Al Rinker) take the 'vocal refrain', and I love the 'Whaa' after 'without the wings'. The Bix Society gives the personnel for the recording as:
Charles Margulis, Harry Goldfield (tp); Bix Beiderbecke, Andy Secrest (c); Boyce Cullen, Bill Rank, Wilbur Hall (tb); Frank Trumbauer, Chester Hazlett, Irving riedman, Roy Maier, Bernie Daly, Charles Strickfaden (reeds); Kurt Dieterle, Matty Malneck, Mischa Russell (vln); Roy Bargy, Lennie Hayton (p); Mike Pingitore (bj); Mike Trafficante (sb); Min Leibrook (tu); George Marsh (dm); Bing Crosby, Al Rinker, Harry Barris (voc):
The solos are interesting in that it is not Bill Rank and Frankie Trumbauer featured, but: Bix, straight mute & Charles Strickfaden, baritone sax (16) – Chester Hazlett, alto sax (8+4) – Bix, straight mute & Charles Strickfaden, baritone sax (8) – vocal trio (32) - Roy Bargy & Lennie Hayton, piano (16) – Kurt Dieterle (8)
Paul Whiteman was very supportive of Bix, keeping his chair in the band for him while he was unwell and unreliable. There is not much film footage available of Bix Beiderbecke, but here is a rare clip of him with Paul Whiteman's Orchestra in 1928 playing My Ohio Home in which Bix stands up to take a couple of short breaks (click here).
I'm in the seventh heaven
I'm In The Seventh Heaven was written by Lew Brown, Buddy DeSylva, Ray Henderson and Al Jolson and was featured in the 1929 Jolson film Say It With Songs. In this heart-wrencher, Al Jolson plays Joe Lane, a radio singer who kills a radio manager in a fistfight after learning that the man has made improper advances towards his wife. On his release from prison, Joe visits his son "Little Pal" at school and when Little Pal tries to follow Joe downtown, the boy is hit by a truck and becomes paralysed.
In this clip from Say It With Songs (click here), Joe prays his sick child will get well. His wife takes the recording of Little Pal from the record sleeve .... get your handkerchief at the ready. Little Pal was played by child actor, Davey Lee, who is 'best recalled as the young tyke with the Buster Brown hairstyle who crawled onto Al Jolson's lap while the star sang the best-selling song "Sonny Boy" in the early talking film The Singing Fool (1928).'
Say It With Songs did not do particularly well. One reviewer says: 'I think with the general description of this plot you get the idea of the general mawkishness (of the story). Director Lloyd Bacon doesn't try to control Jolson's incredible overacting for the camera. Those two factors were what mainly sank the film.'
She knows that I've got all the stuff, got all the things
So why 'Seventh Heaven'? What happened to Heavens two to six? For that matter, what happened to Heavens eight to ten, because we find another one at Eleven? Or rather 'at Half-past Eleven, when my idea of heaven is a nice cup of tea'. Come to that, why are all cups of tea 'nice'? I have never heard anyone talk about a 'nasty cup of tea'. 'Anicecuppatea' seems to have become part of the English language. Click here for a scene from 'Father Ted' where Mrs Doyle tries to persuade Father Ted and Father Jack to have a nice cup of tea.
'Seven' and 'eleven' of course are two of the few words that rhyme with 'heaven', but there is more to it than that. In mythology the 'seven heavens' refer to the seven divisions of the Heaven, the abode of immortal beings. Many religions refer to 'seven heavens'. The idea of seven heavens originated in ancient Mesopotamia. Sumarian incantations of the late second millennium BCE make references to seven heavens and seven earths. One thought is that the notion of seven heavens may have been derived from the magical properties of the number seven, like the seven demons or the seven thrones. In Hinduism, according to some Puranas, the Brahmanda is divided into fourteen worlds. Among these worlds, seven are upper worlds and seven are lower worlds. In the Jewish Talmud, the universe is made of seven heavens. In Islam, the Qur’an mentions the existence of seven samaawat customarily translated as 'heaven'.
In these belief systems, the ‘seventh heaven’ is usually the highest, the place where the Gods live. In early Sumarian poems there was a fellow named Gilgamesh. We are not sure whether he was just a fictional character or a Mesopotamian king, but whichever, he was pretty awesome. Allegedly, he was a demigod of superhuman strength (probably played by Brad Pitt) who builds the city walls of Uruk to defend his people and travels to meet the sage Utnapishtim, who survived the Great Flood. Anyway, Gilgy says to his chum Enkidu, in the ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’: "Who can go up to heaven, my friend? Only the gods dwell with Shamash forever".
It is there, perhaps, that we find violinist Joe Venuti and the honey-toned voice of Smith Ballew (click here). In the Whiteman version, the singer is having a 'heck of a time'. Here the singer is having a 'wonderful' time. Surely these are sanitised lyrics from what must originally have been, or was implied, as 'having a Hell of a time'?
In Judaism, ‘the Biblical authors pictured the earth as a flat disk floating in water, with the heavens above and the underworld below. The ‘ragiya’ (firmament), a solid inverted bowl above the earth, coloured blue by the cosmic ocean, kept the waters above the earth from flooding the world. (There was obviously a leak in Noah's day and occasionally across the Somerset Levels). From about 300 BCE the three-tiered cosmos was largely replaced by 'a newer Greek model which saw the earth as a sphere at the centre of a set of seven concentric heavens, one for each visible planet plus the sun and moon, with the realm of God in an eighth and highest heaven …’.
We can conclude that if you are in the seventh heaven you are probably a god and therefore have little chance of getting it together with ‘my baby’, or perhaps being a god, you can do as you please.
I'm in the seventh heaven
Now the lyricist goes off on tangent, unless they have gambling in Heaven, but that's crap. In this Nathan Detroit moment the singer has got lucky in the crap game throwing a seven with his dice. The dice game 'Craps' is also known as 'Seven/Eleven'. The English have to take responsibility for the origin of Craps from an early game called 'Hazards'. It may go back as far as the Crusades, but French gamblers who called it 'Crapaud' (meaning 'toad' because of the way people crouched over a floor) took the game to New Orleans where a high roller called Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville made it popular. During World War II, Craps became popular among soldiers, who often played it using an Army blanket as a shooting surface - known as the "army blanket roll".
I had no idea that the game of Craps is so complicated (click here). It would come as no surprise to find that it could be studied at university in a joint degree with Poker and Bridge.
Here is a video Francis Albert singing Luck Be A Lady Tonight in concertin concert with Quincy Jones conducting the Count Basie Orchestra with Basie on piano (click here).
'Seventh Heaven' has been the title of several movies, an American TV show, a Broadway musical by Victor Young and even a CD of 'calming music for relaxation, anxiety, sleep and panic attacks' (I'm not convinced!).
Click here for a toe-tapping version of I'm In The Seventh Heaven from Keith Ingham and Marty Grosz. Guitarist Marty Grosz is probably best known for his work with Bob Wilbur although he also worked with Kenny Davern, Dick Sudhalter and pianist Keith Ingham. On this recording they had a nine-piece band that included cornetist Peter Ecklund, Dan Levinson (on clarinet and C-melody sax), Scott Robinson (on clarinet, tenor, baritone and bass sax), violinist Andy Stein (who can sound very close to Joe Venuti), trombonist Dan Barrett, drummer Arnie Kinsella and either Joe Hanchrow on tuba or bassist Greg Cohen. In the 1960s, Keith Ingham played with Sandy Brown, Bruce Turner, and Wally Fawkes before moving to New York City.
See the way my feet keep jumpin' .....
She knows that I got all the stuff, got all the things
Jazz Journalists Association - Jazz Photo Of The Year
A couple of months or so ago, we reported that photographer William Ellis had one of his pictures shortlisted as one of five finalists for this year's Jazz Journalists Association Award. Sadly, William did not win. The picture that was selected was this one of pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Dave Holland by Andrea Palmucci.
South American Palmucci says: 'I was born in 1974 and I spend my life between Imperia, Rio de Janeiro and Jazz ... I still remember when, for the first time, Enzo (Obiso) showed me the hand of the man by Sebastião Salgado. There, I decided that my job and my passion would have coincided with photography! I worked for two years documenting the precocious health situation of the capital Carioca, investigated in many travel social reality through the eyes of children, a theme that I studied in Brazil with institutions that deal with Meninos de rua.'
'From many years I work with jazz music, photographing the sound of live concerts and international festivals. I think that a part people feels excited about seeing my pictures because all my effort is devoted to capturing the soul, the heart of the people, the core of the sound in the case of Jazz, the immensity of the landscapes. My aim is to convey the uniqueness of that intimate lifeblood to shake the ‘soul of the beholder. Why Jazz? The relationship between musician and instrument in the melodious improvisation is a magical combination, imponderable as visceral photographer musician because it is the only one to really feel the sacred fire of the instrument.' Click here for a gallery of Andrea Palmucci's pictures.
Bennie Maupin © William Ellis
New Merlins Cave
Richard Greatorex send us this picture of New Merlin's Cave, the famous London jazz venue that was in Margery Street, Clerkenwell (click here for our page on New Merlins Cave).
Richard says: 'The photo dates from the First World War, and shows Margery Street (Margaret Street) from the Amwell Street (Upper Rosoman Street). The original pub and neighbouring properties were demolished to make way for Charles Rowan House (built 1928-1930), but the original New Merlin's Cave must have closed some years earlier, as its successor was built 1921-2.'
If in the picture you look to the right of the pub, you will see across the road a building site, Richard points this out as the location of the second New Merlin's Cave when the original pub and neighbouring properties were demolished to make way for Charles Rowan House (built 1928-1930). Richard goes on to say: 'Perhaps, I should correct the “original pub” as the pub in the photograph was the third so named in Clerkenwell. The pub further back, corner of Margery Street/Fernsbury Street (Ann Street) was the “King William IV”, also demolished in the 1920s. The anti-aircraft gun in the foreground (inside the wooden construction being hosed by the man on the left) was located at the New River Head site of the Metropolitan Water Board.'
Click here for maps and early details of the area.
Alvin Roy (clarinet, composer, bandleader)
Hi Alvin, tea or coffee?
Hob Nob, Bourbon, Garibaldi or digestive biscuit?
Johnny Dodds, Benny Goodman or Jimmy Giuffre?
Alvin: Benny Goodman.
Milk and sugar?
Alvin: Tes please. Two lumps.
What gigs have you played recently?
Alvin: I played with “Reeds Unlimited” at the Bully (The Bullingdon, Cowley Road) in Oxford and with the Rod Kelly Quartet at the same venue.
What have you got coming up in September?
Alvin: In September I’ll be in Montpellier and then play a charity gig on September 20th with my quartet in Charney Bassett, Oxfordshire.
Who else have you heard recently that we should listen out for?
Alvin: Saxophonist Sue Greenway played with me recently..... lovely player and lovely person.
Alvin: No thanks one packet of digestives is enough.
That Fellow Paul Adams
In July this year Paul Adams, co-founder of Fellside Recordings Ltd who release jazz albums on Lake Records, was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Cumbria.
This is Paul’s second award this year, he had earlier been given a ‘Services To British Jazz’ award in the British Jazz Awards. The Fellowship award is “in recognition of his lifelong and outstanding contribution to education and to the folk and jazz music industry.”
Paul studied Educational Drama and Theatre Arts and later trained as a counsellor. After several years in education he became one of the leading practitioners for Pastoral Care in Cumbria and has also worked for The Prince’s Trust and Young Enterprise.
Fellside Recordings started as a hobby with day-to-day running in the hands of Paul’s wife, Linda, until Paul finally left teaching in 1997 and the company expanded rapidly. Next year Fellside celebrates being 40 years old. It has two main labels: Fellside (Folk Music); Lake (British Traditional and Mainstream Jazz).
In February 2016 Fellside will be co-hosting a three day Folk Music event with the Theatre By The Lake in Keswick to celebrate this anniversary.
You Suggest : Richie Kamuca
David Keen in Canada suggests we listen to Richie Kamuca saying: 'I put him up there with Stan Getz, he was such a marvellous player and a bit more edgy than Stan .. and virtually unknown. Notwithstanding he was on the west coast and died real young of cancer…'.
Tenor saxophonist Richie Kamuca was born in Philadelphia in 1930, and grew up in the East of America before moving to the West Coast where he played with Stan Kenton and Woody Herman – he became part of the later line-up of Herman’s ‘Four Brothers’ with Al Cohn and Bill Perkins.
Click here to listen to the cool West Coast sound of The Brothers playing Bill Potts Blixed. (Tenor saxophonists Al Cohn, Bill Perkins and Richie Kamuca with Jimmy Raney (guitar), Hank Jones (piano), John Beal (bass) and Chuck Flores (drums).
Richie’s early playing is compared to that of Lester Young, but working on the West Coast his style evolved in groups with Chet Baker, Maynard Ferguson and Shorty Rogers. In 1957 he was playing with the Lighthouse All-Stars and from 1959 to 1962 with Shelly Manne and his Men as well as leading recording sessions under his own name.
Click here for video footage of the Richie Kamuca Quintet playing Cherry in 1958. the personnel are: Richie Kamuca (tenor saxophone), Frank Rosolino (trombone), Scott LaFaro (bass), Victor Feldman (piano) and Stan Levey (drums).
In 1962 he moved to New York where he played with Gerry Mulligan and Roy Eldridge, and then, ten years later, returned to the West Coast to make studio recordings and work with local groups.
Shelly Manne and his Men at the Black Hawk
Click here for Richie Kamuca playing This Is Always from the 1959 album Shelly Manne and His Men At The Black Hawk: Joe Gordon (trumpet), Richie Kamuca (tenor sax), Victor Feldman (piano), Monty Budwig (bass) and Shelly Manne (drums).
As David Keen says, Richie Kamuca died of cancer, in Los Angeles, just before his 47th birthday.
There is an interesting Richie Kamuca album from 1977, the year when he died, called Drop Me Off In Harlem where Richie plays and sings the tune Dear Bix with just Herb Ellis on guitar and Ray Brown on bass - really worth hearing - click here. 'Cos your one of the favoured few, dear Bix, you're one of a kind'.
Two Ears, Three Eyes
Basil Hodge at The Watermill
Photographer Brian O'Connor was at The Watermill Jazz Club in Dorking in June to catch the Basil Hodge Quintet.
Brian's minder, guitarist Graham Thomas writes:
Basil Hodge introduced his Ten Pieces of Silver tribute gig by remarking that it was a year to the day since Horace Silver had died.
The quintet started with Blowing the Blues Away, with Tony Kofis alto sax and Quentin Collins trumpet blazing out the rapid melody in tight unison, followed by powerful solos from both players.
As the pace hotted up, Quentin Collins filled the room with his ringing, brassy trumpet sound and darting lines.
Basil Hodge provided contrast with a rippling piano style and some percussive phrases reminiscent of Horace.
On Nutville and Song For My Father, drummer Rod Youngs expertly supplied the latin-style groove integral to those tunes.
For the final tune, Psychedelic Sally, Rod Youngs and bassist Larry Bartley set up a wonderfully inventive bass and drums dialogue which brought the house down.
For Brian O'Connor's website where you can find a gallery of his jazz photographs click here: www.imagesofjazz.com
[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].
The idea behind our Full Focus series is to let the reader listen to a track from an album at the same time as reading the concepts behind the track as seen by the composer and the musicians involved. A few months ago we reviewed Skyline, the excellent album by trombonist Tom Green's Septet. The Septet has completed a very successful tour and the album has received acclaim from many critics.
Click here for a video of Tom introducing the album and talking about the band.
In this article, Tom talks about the track Equilibrium from the album. We recommend that you go to our separate page for the article (click here) where you can listen to the track at the same time as reading Tom's description, alternatively, you can read the article below and follow the link to hear the piece.
Equilibrium is the longest track on my album “Skyline” and is influenced by music from Spain and South America, particularly styles like flamenco and choro, a type of early 20th century popular music from Brazil. These styles use a very distinct type of harmony, and I wanted to explore this kind of sound by writing a piece for my Septet.
This group is my main compositional outlet, made up of four horns (trumpet, alto sax, tenor sax, and trombone) as well as rhythm section, and with seven musicians I can use a wide range of colours and textures in the pieces I compose. I also love writing for the individual musicians in the band and using their improvisation to shape the music.
I chose the title Equilibrium as the piece is all about balance, whether it is between different key centres, counterpoint and block harmony, rhythmic and free sections, or between dense chords and sections in open key. Almost all of the piece is based on just 8 bars of music in C harmonic minor, marked as ‘melody in Cm’ on the score, and I thought I would use this article to explain some of my composing process in turning 8 bars into a 13-minute long piece of music. The piece goes through lots of different keys as it evolves, and has quite a logical structure.
The rhythm section enter with the main 5/4 groove, with Scott Chapman playing hand-held shaker as well as drums to set up the Latin feel. On double bass and piano, Misha Mullov-Abbado and Sam James play the bassline in unison. The notes of the bassline are all on the beat, compared to the piano right hand which sits on the off beats, and the difference between the two gives some forward motion to the groove. The rhythm section always has to react to the melodic shape of the horn parts throughout the piece, and often has the very important job of controlling the dynamics and feel of each section.
Click here for a video of the band playing Equilibrium.
The first statement of the 8-bar melody starts with tenor and trombone in unison, one of my favourite sounds used by classic big band composers such as Duke Ellington and Sammy Nestico. For the second statement, a direct repeat, the tenor splits off in harmony below the trombone melody. In the last three bars of this second statement, the first modulation marked as “A” happens (see the score sheet), with the tune that started in C minor ending up in B minor. The way this modulation (and most of the modulations in the tune) happen is through the musical symmetry of diminished 7th chords (see the 'music theory aside' at the bottom of the page).
The third statement of the tune starts in B minor, and I wanted to start adding more horns at this point – the trombone and tenor are still playing the melody and harmony, but now the alto and flugel enter in unison on a new countermelody.
In the 4th bar there is another modulation “B”, which substitutes a D minor for a D major chord, and I wrote a new melody with a bit more movement to go with the new chords and new key. At this point I also wanted to venture outside harmonic minor harmony, and wrote 3 new bars with some more triadic chords leading to Fm.
I split the horns up differently in each section to mark each one out as distinct, and also to give things a bit of forward motion – for the fourth and final statement of the tune the flugelhorn finally takes the melody, with the tenor on the harmony part and the trombone and alto on a new countermelody.
Tom Green Septet horn section
I wrote the countermelody without thinking about time signatures or bar lines, so in order to have the melody and countermelody trade phrases, the main melody often has to wait a few extra beats while the countermelody finishes, leading to irregular bar lengths – I borrowed this technique from the late great Kenny Wheeler! This fourth statement uses the same chord sequence as the third statement (modulation “B”), from F minor leading back to B minor as the horns all finally join together in the climax. This is the end of the “head”. In terms of key shifts:
1st statement C minor
At this point, as James Davison’s flugel solo starts, I wanted things to settle down and have an absence of harmony, which has been quite relentless up to this point. The rhythm section play a pedal B, as the backings from the other 3 horns create a new chord sequence which is also used for the next section of the solo, alternating between B minor and D minor. After this new section I wanted to bring back the main thematic material, so at an appropriate point in the solo in D minor the melody returns as a solo backing, returning to the original chords but at half the speed. This leads to a climax and the same tritone modulation “B” as before, this time from D minor to Ab minor, for the saxophone solos.
James Davison and Matthew Herd
I decided to have the saxophones, Sam Miles on tenor and Matthew Herd on alto, trading 8 bar phrases and eventually playing together, as I wanted the piece to build to its largest climax at this point. I love using improvising musicians to shape a piece – it’s a tool in the jazz composer’s repertoire that classical composers don’t get to use. At the end of the section I wanted to make sure we got back to C minor, using the same chord sequences as at the start of the tune. I realised I could do this by just having two repeats of the “head in” chord sequence, and repeating the 3rd statement changes one more time:
1st statement Ab minor
Obviously this requires the saxophone players to be able to play fluently in all keys – I wanted them to build up during the solo to a climax and then as things get to their loudest, to allow them a chance to go nuts in a short “free” section.
Tom Green Septet by Ken Drew
After the saxophones calm down, the “head out” begins, with exactly the same key shifts as the “head in”. However, to avoid a direct repeat, and instead of having the same arrangement as before, I decided to have the band continue playing out of time for the first and second statements of the tune – the first statement is played by trombone answered by flugel playing a new counter-line, and the second statement with flugel + tenor answered by trombone + alto.
Then on the third statement (B minor) we get into tempo with a gradual speed up, and finally in the fourth statement (F minor) I decided to add one more surprise key change marked “C” at the end of the second bar. Using the same device as before, this time the C7b9 chord functions as an Eb7b9 chord to lead to Ab minor rather than back to F minor. Then modulation “B” leads a tritone away to D minor for the final chorale to end the piece.
I love getting the maximum amount of material out of a small amount of music, and use this in many of my compositions. In this case, just 8 bars evolved into the entire piece very organically. Although it’s one of our longest Septet tunes at 13 minutes, there are still enough sections for each musician to stretch out during their solos and play freely that we still really enjoy playing this piece on most of our gigs.
The Tom Green Septet on Equilibrium are:
Tom Green (Trombone/Compositions), James Davison (Trumpet/Flugelhorn), Matthew Herd (Alto/Soprano Saxophones), Sam Miles (Tenor Saxophone), Sam James (Piano), Misha Mullov-Abbado (Double Bass), Scott Chapman (Drums).
Reeds player Matthew Herd moved on from the Septet just before the tour and the impressive Tommy Andrews has continued in the alto and soprano saxophone role.
The Tom Green Septet play the London Jazz Festival 2015 at St James Theatre Studio on Monday 16th November click here for details.:
A short aside from Tom on music theory – a diminished 7th chord is made up of four notes a minor 3rd apart, for example, C, Eb, F# andA.Adding a D, F, Ab or B bass note these 4 notes become the major 3rd, 5th and minor 7th of a dominant chord with a flattened 9th (7b9) – for example adding a D bass note to the above diminished 7th chord will have F# as the 3rd, A as the 5th, C as the 7th and Eb as the b9th, creating a D7b9 chord. Because the notes of the diminished 7th are all a minor 3rd apart, a D7b9 chord is equivalent to F7b9, Ab7b9 and B7b9 chords, with the only difference being the bass notes. Using this principle it is possible to modulate smoothly from any of these four dominant chords to the tonic major or minor of ANY of the four dominant chords – so from D7b9 you would expect to modulate to G, but Bb, C# or E are also possible modulations which will work musically.
In this piece I decided to use this device a few times to break up the 8-bar melody in different places, leading to modulations to different key centres (marked as A, B, C on the music). In the first modulation “A” the D7b9 chord is used as a B7b9 chord to end up in E minor (rather than G major/minor). The following few new chord changes lead us to B minor, followed by 2 extra bars turnaround to establish the new key. Of course, using any of this theory is always dictated by ear – if it doesn’t sound good then no amount of music theory is going to help it sound better!
Jazzwise Celebratory Competition
September sees the 200th issue of Jazzwise magazine and to celebrate, they are running a competition where you could win 200 jazz CDs from the recent Warner Jazz Best Collection and the Fusion Best Collection 1000 series. The runner up will win 100 Warner CDs and the third prize is 50 CDs.
Jazzwise says: 'The albums have been remastered in 24 bit and have original front cover artwork and rear sleeve notes with Japanese liner notes and an obi strip around the spine, which is a feature of many Japanese releases.' The collection was devised in Japan as a major jazz reissue project by Warner between 2013 and 2014.
What do you have to do? Simply answer the question below and email the answer along with your name, address and email address to email@example.com with Warner Jazz Competition in the subject line. Or, post your answer to Warner Jazz Competition, Jazzwise, St. Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PB.
Question: Multi-reeds player Yusef Lateef recorded many fine albums for the Atlantic label. During the early 1950s he converted to Islam and adopted the name Yusef Lateef. What was his birth name?
a) William Evans
The first correct entry picked out of the hat wins the first prize and the next two correct answers win the 2nd and 3rd prizes. Normal competition rules apply, only one entry per person and mutliple entries will be eliminated. The closing date is 30th September.
Do You Remember The Fox And Goose in Ealing?
Roger Trobridge tells us: 'I recently spent a Wednesday lunchtime with, Julian, the General Manager of the Fox and Goose pub, Hanger Lane, in Ealing. It featured in the Cyril Davies story but it was the location of the Ealing Jazz Club run by Steve Lane with his band the Southern Stompers in the 1950s.
If anyone remembers the pub and can help Roger and Julian, please contact us. Sadly, Steve Lane passed through the Departure Lounge in August (see Departure Lounge below).
Freddy Randall and Memphis Blues
Mary Austin writes: 'Just reading this month's magazine and saw request re Freddy Randall and Memphis Blues.
Freddy was a friend of Bunny and me until the end of his life and we spent many happy hours with him when we lived in London and continued the contact after our move to Hampshire and his to Devon.
Memphis Blues is on a CD from Lake Records. : LACD123 and was recorded 19 July 1955.' (Click here for more information from Lake Records).
The GIGI Coffee Bar and Keith Cooper
Ian Simms asks if anyone remembers the GIGI Coffee Bar and Keith Cooper: 'I was nostalgically web-browsing names from my music past - George Baron, Tony Pitt, Alan Leat, Neville Skrimshire, Diz Disley - sadly nearly all gone now - and I was delighted to see photo of the Tattie Bogle (on our Banjo Jazz page - click here) where I sat in with the guys and the lovely Lois Lane, who's still going strong! I can never find any mention of the GIGI coffee bar on Finchley Road where they all came to sit in with resident guitarist Tony Lafrate who had the best right hand in the business and where I was lucky enough to sit in and get tutored. We were all Django fans and I'd been lucky enough to meet his brother Joseph in Paris in 1963. I wonder who else might remember the Gigi and those great Paris bistro-style nights? I still have Diz's old Colleti G40 guitar from the '60s - what a mellow tone it's developed over the years.'
'Is Keith Cooper still around? It'd be good to hear. Keith gigged for many years with the great Denny Wright - Stef's favourite rhythm player after Django died. The Gigi became a focal point simply because Tony Lafrate played there, he knew them all, was a superb rhythm player, very much a musician's man and 'Banjo' George was there 2 or 3 times a week, as was Les Muscutt - very sad to hear he too has passed away. I first went there in 1963 at 17 yrs and for the next 6 years learned "on the job" sitting in and gigging in Beaucham Place, where the Borscht and Tears was another venue with great guys dropping in. I gigged with the late Gerry Shepherd, whose son Pete is a well-known swing guitarist. I never took it up full time and nowadays I only play for myself after 3 operations on my hands. How ironic to end up damaged like my idol! Other names I recall: Lucien, a French guitarist who Gerry toured France with, a fantastic swing guitarist, and Alyosha, leader of the London Balalaika Ensemble. he was so good George said: "I throw my banjo at your feet". Sweet memories!!!'
Please let us know if any of these names bring memories for you.
West 11 - Wood Green Jazz Club / Studio 51 Club
Last month we raised a question from Joe Spibey, whose excellent website jazzonfilm.com is a comprehensive directory of jazz in film. He asked whether the Wood Green Jazz Club was shown in the film West 11.
West 11 was released on DVD in February. A 1963, Michael Winner, X certificate film it boasts a strong jazz soundtrack. Set in Notting Hill, 'then a seedy slum', Alfred Lynch plays Joe Beckett, a down-on-his-luck young man who is recruited into crime by Eric Portman as bad man Richard Dyce. Dyce persuades Beckett it will be in his interests to bump off Dyce's wealthy aunt for her money. Beckett travels to the old lady's house on the South coast, and prepares to murder her, but loses his nerve and in a struggle, accidentally pushes her down a flight of stairs, killing her anyway.
There are appearances by Ken Colyer and his band and Tony Kinsey's band, and Acker Bilk plays the title theme. Click here for the movie trailer. Click here for a jazz club scene where Ken Colyer's band arrives to play.
Pete Lay has written to say: 'In discussion with some members of Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen at the time of West 11 being released, said that Club 51 was recreated in the film studio.' June Bastable wrote with the same information.
Frank Griffith writes: 'West 11 is available from Amazon (click here) and they have it in stock at £6.50.'
Joe Spibey found the following information from David Meeker's website at the Library of Congress:
Eddie Toal Musical Memoir
Four years ago, singer Eddie Toal's wife, Irene, died from breast cancer at the age of 48. Eddie, a semi-professional singer from Glasgow says: 'Irene used to nag me about making a recording of old songs that we both loved but I just never got round to it. Well, now I have and it's for a great cause."
Eddie plans to raise funds for the Beatson Cancer Charity by giving away copies of Always In My Heart, his new CD, at gigs. He asks people to take the CD away, play it and if they like it, make a donation to the Irene Toal Tribute Fund via the Beatson Cancer Charity website. For this recording of sixteen well-known standards, Eddie is joined by trumpeter Bruce Adams, guitarist Jim Mullen, and pianist Brian Dee with his trio (Simon Thorpe, bass, and Bobby Worth, drums).
Eddie, who started singing after attending a jazz workshop run by singer Fionna Duncan in the 1990s has sung at the Glasgow Jazz Festival with the Sandy Taylor Trio and the Tim Barella Big band and currently performs at venues throughout the west of Scotland.
Click here for a video introduction to the album featuring Eddie singing My One And Only Love. Click here for the track list and to sample the album. The CD is available from the Beatson Cancer Charity (click here).
Jazz Book Club Books
There are still a number of Jazz Book Club books looking for a good home. Sandy Pringle has asked if we could pass on his collection of books from the Jazz Book Club. Several have been taken, but there are others that might still be of interest to readers.
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 Young Man With A Horn by Dorothy Baker; Burnett James's Essays On Jazz; Treat It Gentle by Sidney Bechet, Jack Teagarden by Jay D Smith and Len Guttridge, and John Clellon Holmes excellent novel The Horn.
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 still available and how to go about obtaining them.
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!).
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:
Tony Milliner - UK trombone player who played with the High Curley Stompers before joining Dave Carey's band. When Jeremy French left the Al Fairweather - Sandy Brown band in 1957, Tony replaced him and stayed with them until 1963. He continued with his own group, Mingus Music, co-led the London Jazz Big Band with Stan Greig and played with Alan Littlejohn, Alvin Roy, Alan Stuart and Willie Garnett. Click here for our page on Tony where you can also listen to some of his music.
Steve Lane - UK cornet player, guitarist, composer and arranger, Steve Lane led his own Southern Stompers jazz from 1950, and also led and recorded with his Red Hot Peppers and the VJM Washboard Band. He was an important part of VJM records in the late 50/60s. A very traditional jazz player in the Ken Colyer style, he established the Ealing Jazz Club in the Fox and Goose, Hanger Lane, Ealing in 1952.
Mickey Ashman - UK double bass player who initially worked with Jimmy Skidmore, Brian England and Tony Lofthouse and then in a trio with Chris Barber. Mickey went on to play with Mike Daniels, Humphrey Lyttelton, Chris Barber again, Eric Delaney, Lonnie Donegan's Skiffle Group, and from 1958 led his own band for seven years before working with Monty Sunshine, and then various bands including those of John Petters and Neville Dickey. Click here for a video of him playing at the Brean Jazz Festival in 2002. Click here to listen to him with Humphrey Lyttelton's band in 1954 playing Feline Stomp.
Harry Pitch - UK harmonica player who started out on trumpet and led a successful Count Basie style band in the 1950s when he gradually introduced the harmonica into his band. Active in London for more than 60 years he is also remembered for his playing with Jack Emblow. One of Larry Adler's favourite players, Harry became a leading studio player recording for films and TV including The Bridge On The River Kwai and Last Of The Summer Wine. He also played for many years with the Bucks, Berks and Oxon Big Band.
Click here for Harry, Jack Emblow and band playing Secret Love.
One From Ten
We spend time with an album from our list of new and reissued recordings below.
BBC Jazz Club Rare Transcription Recordings 1959 (Volume 1)
BBC Jazz Club Rare Transcription Recordings 1959 – 1960 (Volume 2)
Actually, two from ten this month. In the way that the BBC’s Jazz 625 programmes have found their way to video and YouTube, the BBC Jazz Club radio broadcasts of the 1950s and 1960s preserve some invaluable vintage recordings of jazz musicians of the time. These two albums from Vocalion capture some of the UK’s best loved musicians and bands; each volume has a spoken introduction by David Jacobs and at £5.99 each they are a snip.
On Volume One from 1959 (CDEA 6235), we find the Tony Kinsey Quartet, the Vic Ash Quintet, the Alex Welsh Band and the Dill Jones Trio and scattered amongst them, names such as Bill Le Sage, Harry South, Roy Crimmins, Archie Semple and Fred Hunt. Volume Two from 1959 and 1960 (CDEA 6242) boasts the Tony Crombie Band, the Eddie Thompson Trio, Mike Daniels and his Delta Jazzmen and the Lennie Felix Trio. Those who remember the bands of the time will welcome hearing people like the young Bobby Wellins, Tony Crombie, John Barnes, Doreen Beatty and Gerry Salisbury.
Reviewing the albums in Jazzwise magazine, Peter Vacher says: ‘The Welsh band was in its first heyday at this time, full of vim, the front liners properly integrated, Welsh punching home and Semple’s Pee Wee Russell influence evident, as Hunt’s piano kept swing uppermost.'
Reeds player Vic Ash was born in 1930. He was a favourite in the Melody Maker polls of the 1950s and at the same time hosted the Sunday Break radio show which discussed jazz and religion. He toured the U.S. in 1957 and returned to the UK to play with Vic Lewis in 1959. His ensemble was the only one representing British jazz at the Newport Jazz Festival that year.
Pianist Eddie Thompson was born in London in 1925. Like George Shearing, he studied at a school for blind people, and after recording with Victor Feldman, went on to work with Tony Crombie, Vic Ash, Freddy Randall and Tommy Whittle. He was the house pianist at Ronnie Scott’s club at the time of these recordings.
Click here to listen to Eddie Thompson Trio playing The Lamp Is Low from 1980 (not on the album).
From previous correspondence, I know that many readers have been supporters of Mike Daniels and Doreen Beatty, and I imagine that they will have something to say about Peter Vacher's comment in the Jazzwise review: ' ... The Daniels band was more run-of-the-mill, with Beatty's forgettable vocals another reminder of how it used to be and is no longer, thank God ...'
Ten Recent Releases and Re-Issues
Fred Hersch Celebrates
American pianist Fred Hersch celebrates his 60th birthday in October with a new album, Solo, and tour dates in September and October. Introducing the album, the word is: 'In many ways, Solo distills the essence of Hersch's pianistic expression. Recorded in a jewel-like Catskills church at the 2014 Windham Chamber Music Festival, the set evolves with a compelling internal emotional logic all its own, flowing through Hersch's familiar solo touchstones (Jobim, Ellingtonia, Monk, originals) that turn into vessels for his supremely graceful invention. His 10th solo recording, Fred Hersch Solo joins an illustrious collection of albums that started with his riveting 1994 addition to Concord Jazz's Live at Maybeck series.'
We look forward to reviewing the album.
For American readers, his tour dates are:
September 4 - Trio performance at the Chicago Jazz Festival
Dublin's New Basement Jazz Club
Flanagan's (Basement) Piano Bar opened in August at 61 Upper O'Connell Street. The doors open at 8.30 pm every Friday and Saturday night for music at 9.00 pm. Entrance is free and food is available until 10.45 pm. They say: Dublin gets a new basement jazz club this weekend, and we hope to fill it with music, musicians and fellow jazz fans. Our hope is that you will explore this subterranean jazz space as much as possible. Fans will descend the stairs, not sure of what to expect. Most will be ready to go straight in, and just dig it! The music captures them. The mood of the place holds them. It's all about the vibe. We want you to join in, to be part of it and to feel involved and support it.
Click here for their website.
Tina May and Nikki Iles on Tour in Scotland
Singer Tina May and pianist Nikki Iles tour Scotland in September in the run-up to celebrations of their twenty years making music together. The pair met when the pianist’s trio accompanied Tina May on gigs in Yorkshire in October 1995. They released their first album, Change of Sky, two years later and have gone on to work as a duo, in quartets and in especially well-received trios with both Tony Coe and Karen Sharpe.
May has long been established as one of the UK’s finest jazz vocalists. Recognised as a musician as much as she is as an intuitively outstanding interpreter of lyrics, she is completely in command of her material in whatever setting she finds herself, be it with a big band, a trio or a string quartet. Her relationship with the superbly resourceful Iles is particularly special, however, and has created an understanding which is much more than that of singer and accompanist: they are a team who respond to each spontaneously and create magic in the moment.
The songs they present range widely from afterhours intimacy to uptempo swingers, from the Great American Songbook to the chanson of Edith Piaf (May is a fluent French speaker) to blues, bossa nova and into the contemporary canon of Earth Wind & Fire and Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen. Add to their musicianship an engaging stage presence and May’s knowledgeable and wittily informed between-song chat, and you have an evening of jazz that’s superbly satisfying and thoroughly entertaining.
Their Scottish dates:
Michael Janisch's Paradigm Shift
Michael Janisch, bass player, composer, producer and owner of Whirlwind Recordings releases his new double-disc solo album Paradigm Shift on October 2nd and begins an extensive autumn tour from September to December with his new six-piece band.
Starting at The Vortex in Dalston, London on September 3rd where the session will be recorded for BBC Radio 3's Jazz Line Up, the tour visits Spain on September 9th before returning for gigs throughtout the UK.
Friday, 18th September - Book now for the NJA September fundraiser featuring The Jive Aces and Swing Museum.
7.30pm at Chingord Assembly Hall, Chingford, London. Tickets: £17 Booking: 020 8502 4701 or online
The Jive Aces
New Orleans, London, Memphis, Manchester... British Blues Before the 1960s
Saturday 26 September 2015,
National Jazz Archive,
Loughton Library, Traps Hill, Loughton, Essex IG10 1HD
Join blues researcher Lawrence Davies to discover the story of early British blues through the collections of the National Jazz Archive. Blues, 'hot' jazz and boogie-woogie became a vital part of the 1930s and 40s musical landscape. After the war, the emergence of 'traditional' jazz and skiffle set the stage for the first visits of African American blues musicians.
Lawrence Davies is a research student in jazz and popular music at King's College London. As well as sharing his recent research, Lawrence will discuss a number of important items in the Archive, and will play recordings of early British blues.
Items Carried Over From Last Month
The following items appeared in the last magazine but may still be of interest to readers:
Jazz 4 Jed
The 2015 Jazz4Jed Welsh bursary of up to £1000 is now open for applications with a closing date of 30th September.
The bursary is open to Welsh musicians of all ages. Set up in memory of Jed Williams, founder of the Brecon Jazz Festival and Jazz UK founding editor, the charitable organisation Jazz4Jed aims to
'... commemorate Jed William’s contribution to the development of Jazz in Wales, reflecting his staging a number of performances in Wales, at a number of venues, the programming to be as broadly based as Jed’s always was and, where possible, will also look to feature Welsh-based jazz musicians, new, and developing talent, both young and not so young; to develop and run diverse educational projects, including workshops, some leading to performances, and to generate sufficient income to establish a bursary and education scheme as a permanent legacy. The bursary to be aimed at musicians living and working in Wales.
Click here for details on how to apply and for the application form. Other details are also on the same Jazz4Jed website.
The Write Stuff
This initiative by Jazzwise magazine and the organisation Serious is a great opportunity for aspiring jazz writers to take part in a series of workshops and mentoring sessions during this year's EFG London Jazz Festival wich runs from 13th to 22nd November. The Write Stuff gives participants 'a valuable free opportunity to work with professional journalists to improve their writing skills and develop an understanding of music criticism and the workings of the jazz and mainstream music press and the blogosphere, as well as getting to see a bunch of concerts!'
If you are interested in taking part, you need to submit by email a 300-word review of a gig/concert that you have seen recently, together with a CV and full contact details by Monday 28 September 2015 to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'The Write Stuff 2015' in the subject line. Applicants must be 18 years old or over and be available in London on the following dates: Friday 13th November (evening); Saturday 14th - Sunday 15th November, and Saturday 21st to Sunday 22nd November.
Last year, Howard Lawes who reviews albums for Sandy Brown Jazz attended and says: 'Many of the successful applicants were young post-graduates starting out in the music industry but there were also a few older jazz enthusiasts who were looking to improve their techniques of writing about jazz in programmes, newsletters and all types of literature. Initial discussion with Kevin LeGendre concentrated on quality of writing and emphasised the importance of communicating information precisely in an accessible and readable style. Several examples were provided and discussed illustrating good and not such good reviews and highlighting the difficulties of getting a message across with as little as 200 words or even less. On the other hand long pieces must retain the interest of the reader and not wander off the point.'
'Another session with John Newey presented the interesting history of jazz journalism which started in the 1920's with titles such as "Melody Maker" and "Rhythm". Jazz music became increasingly popular and there was a corresponding increase in jazz journalism opportunities reaching a zenith in the decades after WW2 reflecting the popularity of dance bands and world famous musicians and at that time magazine circulations were measured in hundreds of thousands. In more recent times music tastes have changed with traditional print media being supplanted to a large extent, although not completely replaced by modern technology but Mike Flyn explained that there are still opportunities for jazz journalists and in particular those who embrace computer technology and the internet.'
'A really interesting session was a real, live interview with the Israeli born, New York based jazz musician Oran Etkin who was about to perform in the EFG London Jazz Festival. Oran proved to be the ideal interviewee with really interesting views on composing and playing jazz, the influence of world music and music education ... Kevin LeGendre rounded the course off re-iterating the importance of writing style, communicating with the reader and always being on the lookout for interesting opportunities in all types of media where journalism skills are important. Everyone agreed that the course had been informative, thought provoking and enjoyable and expressed their gratitude to Jazzwise and Serious for providing this unique opportunity.'
The Price Of Quality
There is a telling phrase in a report about music streaming in the Guardian newspaper in July: 'The boom is despite high-profile royalties disputes involving artists such as Taylor Swift, and concerns about sound quality.'
The report by John Plunkett said: 'The revolution in the way we listen to music has passed another landmark, as more than 500m songs were streamed online in Britain in a single week.' Of course it is nothing new that music streaming is gathering momentum. There have been 11.5bn streams in the year to date and more than 25bn forecast for the whole of 2015, up from 15bn last year. When YouTube is included, the total is expected to top 50bn. Tom Pakinkis, editor of Music Weeks is quoted as saying: 'Streaming is regarded as 'the future' by much of the music industry ... Spotify's last official paying subscriber count in June topped 20 million ... With the addition of Apple Music (launched in June), there's hope that growth will continue to accelerate and we''ll soon see streaming become a mass market proposition.' Deezer and Google Play are doing well and now Facebook is reported to be on the verge of launching its own service.
These figures seem to apply particularly to popular music. The questions arise as to whether jazz and classical music are going the same way? Are popular music listeners less bothered about quality? Is that music more transient? Not necessarily. A substantial amount of recorded jazz is available to download as mp3 files, so why not stream it? The other issue is that as the industry generally moves towards streaming, does that make the CD less financially viable? It happened with audio tapes which were pretty quickly overtaken by CDs and the equipment that they were played on.
There is the pertinent matter of artist royalties - Taylor Swift's stand was mentioned in John Plunkett's article and Neil Young has banned his back catalogue from streaming dubbing it the 'worst quality in the history of broadcasting.' The recent surge in vinyl and record deck sales also underlines the fact that there are a growing number of customers who are still interested in listening to all the qualities of a recording rather than a compressed piece of music where much is lost. Good recording engineers take a lot of trouble with jazz and classical music. Many listeners still like to have a physical format to play - someone recently wrote about the pleasure of going to the trouble of taking out an LP, putting it on and listenening to it rather than having easily sourced 'background' music. On the other hand, perhaps one of the challenges is to find a way of digitally transmitting music where all of the quality is preserved?
Hot House Takes Over ASBMS Music Sales
Hot House musical director, Jon Eno, writes:
Earlier this year the team at Hot House Music Schools Limited received a phone call from music industry favourite Ian Steele at the American Stage Band Music Service (ASBMS) asking whether they would be interested in “taking over” their sheet music sales. Having been friends for over 20 years, Hot House was delighted to be able to help “take on” the responsibilities of ASBMS. So on January 1st of this year the Hot House team found themselves in Essex collecting Ian’s stock of 15,000 pieces of specialist jazz sheet music. Since the turn of the year ASBMS has been rebranded to become Big Bang Music Limited and they are currently in the process of launching a new e-commerce website dedicated to selling specialist jazz sheet music. www.bigbangsheetmusic.co.uk will be coming on line sometime in August and the team at Hot House will be striving to provide the same outstanding service Ian did whilst running ASBMS.
So if you are needing Big Band charts, play-alongs, fake real books or just some archived Ellington charts, please do contact the Big Bang team. Stuart McCrone from Big Bang Music is keen to promote an inclusive ethos for the company “we believe that Ian’s company, ASBMS, was successful because it was by a musician for musicans, and this will continue to be our guiding philosophy. We are all musicians at Hot House and as such we know how important it is to help other musicians. I am delighted to say that any musician will receive an automatic 20% discount on prices and I hope that they will send us details of their work and band so we can have an idea of how great the jazz scene is in the UK.”
Big Bang Music also sell Big Band music stands that are manufactured right here in the UK. Details of these will also be available on the website: www.bigbangsheetmusic.co.uk sometime during August. In the meantime if you wish to contact Jon or Stu at Hot House please call: 07960 095 904 or email: email@example.com
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.
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." Roy's email address is: email@example.com.
© Sandy Brown Jazz 2015