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June 2016

Click for this month's:
Ten New Releases
Gig Listing

On A Night Like This,
The Story Is Told
...

I was just nineteen, and this was the first time in my life, ever since I had started playing professionally, that I was unable to work ... Now and then I would wander into one of those little clip joints that used to line the side streets of certain sections of Greenwich Village ... Strangely enough I never got into any trouble. I say 'strangely enough' because these joints were operated on a basis to empty the customers' pockets ... The girls who worked in these traps - who were actually the bait by which customers were lured in to begin with - were called B-girls (what the B stood for I've never been able to learn). Their job was to sit with the customer, the sucker, ... and consume large quantities of 'champagne' - in reality nothing more than plain, or mildly spiked, ginger ale, for which the customer was charged champagne prices ...

 

Artie Shaw

 

I remember this one girl telling me about the various lines she was handed night after night, and how disgusted she got at times. ' ... these big men, these big oil-well millionaires from way out West, these phoneys who tell me how much they appreciate a nice girl like poor l'il ole me ... the first thing you know , they're going to buy me a mink coat and a big fancy car and set me up in my own penthouse on Park Avenue, and all I've got to do is be 'nice' to them ... do they think I was born yesterday? Listen I can spot one of those phoneys a mile off, I can even smell 'em by this time.' ...

I suppose my naive admission that I was dead broke must have been some sort of switch. In fact, there were any number of times when one or another of them wound up buying me drinks - and that, take my word for it, is quite a switch indeed.

From Artie Shaw, The Trouble With Cinderella, An Outline of Identity

 


What's This?

Name the instrument (click on the picture for the answers)

 

What's This?

As played by Adrian Rollini


What's This?

As played by Don Cherry, Bobby Hackett, Maynard Ferguson, Roy Eldridge ....
Click here for Don Cherry playing Bemsha Swing

 

What's This?

As played occasionally by Earl Hines, Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock ...

Click here to listen to Earl Hines playing the instrument at the beginning of Louis Armstrong's Hot Five 1928 recording of Basin Street Blues.

 

 

 

British Black Music Month

June is British Black Music Month, although in truth some activities organised by BritishBlackMusic.com/Black Music Congress (BBM/BMC) run British Black Music Monthduring May and July. As usual, there is a wide range of events open to everyone including:

 

June 9th - The AntiUniversity History of Black Music in Britain
June 15th - Talking Copyright Conference
June 23rd - Music Borrowing and Copyright
July 19th - Vinyl Memories: Talking Classic BBM Albums

Click here for the programme.

 

The AntiUniversity History Of Black Music In Britain on Thursday June 9th, 5.30-7.30pm at Hackney Museum, 1 Reading Lane, London E8 1GQ is free of charge but you need to book. Music industry and history consultant Kwaku will deliver an accessible, family-friendly audio-visual assisted presentation on black music making in the British Isles over two millennia, and will also show its engagement with patronage and the music industry. Click here to Register.

 

 

 

Chet Baker - Born To Be Blue

Following the recent screening of the Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead, director Robert Budreau's film about Chet Baker, Born To Be Blue, opensBorn To Be Blue poster in cinemas in July. Chet Baker is played by Ethan Hawke while Kedar Brown takes the Miles Davis role and Kevin Hanchard that of Dizzy Gillespie.

Talking to Empire magazine Ethan Hawke was asked about an earlier plan for a film about Chet in conjunction with director Richard Linklater. Ethan says: 'Yeah. I've been passionate about Chet for years. Around the time I was 30, we developed a project about early '50s Chet Baker. So Born To Be Blue felt like I was being offered the sequel to a film I never got to make, you know? But playing Chet in his forties is actually much more interesting for the actor. Like every rise-to-fame story, people are not that interesting when they're getting what they want. We all become a lot more interesting when we're failing.' (Hawke and Linklater had worked up a script in the early 2000's).

Born to be Blue is a re-imagining of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker's life in the 60's. On the Rotten Tomatoes website, people like it and it has been given an average rating of 7/10. They say: 'Ethan Hawke lights up the screen as jazz legend Chet Baker, whose tumultuous life is thrillingly re-imagined with wit, verve, and style to burn. In the 1950s, Baker was one of the most famous trumpeters in the world, renowned as both a pioneer of the West Coast jazz scene and an icon of cool. By the 1960s, he was all but washed up, his career and personal life in shambles due to years of heroin addiction. In his innovative anti-biopic, director Robert Budreau zeroes in on Baker's life at a key moment in the 1960s, just as the musician attempts to stage a hard-fought comeback, spurred in part by a passionate romance with a new flame (Carmen Ejogo). Creatively blending fact with fiction and driven by Hawke's virtuoso performance, Born to Be Blue unfolds with all the Born To Be Blue Ethan Hawkestylistic brio and improvisatory genius of great jazz.'

Click here for the trailer.

Empire asked Ethan Hawke whether he had learned to play the trumpet for the role? ; ' ... I've played guitar my whole life and I've goofed around with the trumpet but when I first started taking lessons I was incredibly discouraged about how difficult it was, and begged the director if he could put filming off to let me practise for a year .... (my trumpet teacher said) "If you had eight years, you wouldn't be anywhere near ready." So what I did was I learned about six to eight songs as well as I could, and I played them badly, but at least I learned the fingering and the embouchure.'

From the trailer the film looks very promising and Ethan Hawke has been applauded for his portrayal of Chet Baker, but like Miles Ahead, the reviews have been varied. Rex Reed in The Observer doesn't rate it at all, but Peter Travers in Rolling Stone does: '... you leave the film with a fuller understanding of who Baker was and what drove him ... This potent provocation of a movie says, yeah, Baker got lost, but look what he found.'

Born To Be Blue opens in UK cinemas in July.

 

 

 

Woody Allen's Café Society

Film director (and jazz clarinettist) Woody Allen's new film Café Society was shown at Cannes in May to mixed reviews. Invariably Woody Allen uses a jazz soundtrack for many, if not most, of his films and although I have seen nothing about the music in the reviews so far, the subject matter and the trailer make it clear this film will be no exception (see the trailer link below). For Café Society Allen has assembled a notable cast Cafe Society poster including Jesse Eisenberg, a young actor I have admired for some time, and he comes out well in the reviews. Kate Muir in The Times says: From his hunched, put-upon shoulders to his nervous, rapid-fire delivery, Eisenberg gives us vintage Woody.

'Set in the 1930s, Woody Allen's bittersweet romance Café Society follows Bronx-born Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) to Hollywood, where he falls in love, and back to New York, where he is swept up in the vibrant world of high society nightclub life. Centering on events in the lives of Bobby's colorful Bronx family, the film is a glittering valentine to the movie stars, socialites, playboys, debutantes, politicians, and gangsters who epitomized the excitement and glamour of the age' (rottentomatoes.com). Robbie Collin writing in The Telegraph and giving the film 4 stars says: “Live every day like it’s your last, and one day you’ll be right,” Evelyn (Sari Lennick) cousels her younger brother Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) near the start of Café Society, the new comedy from Woody Allen. It’s the Thirties, and Bobby has abandoned the sepia-tinted hubbub of the Bronx for the Technicolor vistas of Hollywood. For an ambitious but also directionless 20-something Jewish guy on the make, it’s sound, if pessimistic, advice.

Woody Allen continues to have his critics for his off-screen life. Writing in The Guardian, Melissa Silverstein refuses to see the film because of accusations about Allen's treatment of women, and the Daily Mail reports how the French host at the Cannes Film Festival made a joke about Roman Polanski and rape directed at Woody Allen (click here for the report and the video link).

Click here to watch the trailer for the film. Café Society will be released in the United States on 15th July but we shall probably have to wait a while to see it in the UK.

Whether there is a link between the film and the Café Society upon which pianist and composer Alex Webb's show Café Society Swing is based, I'm not sure. When Howard Lawes reviewed (and recommended) the show in our April issue he said: 'Café Society was a cabaret club opened by Barney Josephson in Greenwich Village, New York in 1938.  The format of the club was based on the "Kabarett" clubs in Germany which presented political satire as Cafe Society Swingwell as music and dance and it is ironic that as Josephson was opening his club in New York the clubs in Germany were being closed down by the Nazi Party.  The Christopher Isherwood novel "Goodbye to Berlin" and the Kander and Ebb Broadway musical "Cabaret" relate the events of the period in Germany.  Josephson opened Café Society Uptown in 1940 in Manhattan.'

'Josephson's clubs were the first in New York (and probably in the USA) to welcome both blacks and whites to the same shows - "I wanted a club where blacks and whites worked together behind the footlights and sat together out front" he is quoted as saying. The clubs were well known for supporting new talent and many up and coming singers, jazz musicians, dancers and comedians played there but they also presented established stars such as Billie Holiday, who was a regular performer. After World War 2 Josephson's brother Leon fell foul of the House Committee on Un-American Activities and the subsequent publicity had a drastic effect on the popularity of Café Society forcing them to close in 1948, just 10 years after opening.'

Click here for Howard's review of the show and catch it if you can (click here for a video clip from the show) - Café Society Swing will be at Watermill Jazz Club in Dorking on 14th June.

 

 

 

Women Make Music and the PRS Open Fund

The PRS for Music Foundation allocates grants under the projects Women Make Music and The Open Fund. Women Make Music supports the Dee Byrnedevelopment of outstanding women songwriters and composers of all genres and backgrounds at different stages of their career. The fund can support projects by women songwriters, composers, artists, bands and performers who are writing their own music.

The Open Fund supports the development of outstanding songwriters and composers of all genres and backgrounds and at different stages of their career. The funds support a huge variety of genres and projects.

Included in the grantees for this round of Women Make Music are Dee Byrne and Lauren Kinsella. Amongst recipients of The Open Fund are Swanage Jazz Festival, Moving On Music (Northern Ireland) and jazz musicians Trish Clowes, Byron Wallen, Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Ben Cottrell, Yazz Ahmed and John Harle.

Dee Byrne

 

Click here for more details. The next deadline for applications to The Open Fund and Women Make Music is Monday 13th June 2016 at 6pm.

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

In A State

This month's quiz challenges you with fifteen jazz-related questions to States in the USA. You can check how well you have done on the Answers page - don't forget to check your score. Glenn MillerQuestion Mark

 

 

For example: Pennsylvania 6-5000 is associated with Glenn Miller. The title is named after the telephone number of the Café Rouge in a hotel in which state?

 

 

 

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

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

Keswick Jazz Festival Changes

This year, Cumbria's Keswick Jazz Festival held at the Theatre By The Lake could be the last in its present form. The festival which ran from 12th Keswick Jazz Festivalto 15th May has been going for 25 years.

Keswick Jazz Festival has been the UK's largest and most popular celebration of traditional, New Orleans, swing and mainstream jazz. This year there were over 90 performances, with a further four days of concerts in the Theatre By The Lake preceding the main festival. 'Music from days of jazz when it began - Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and from the glory days of traditional jazz in the UK, to the fat and hip-swinging music of the New Orleans brass bands and Cajun style bands, also the jumping sounds of the jive bands, intimate  gypsy jazz, powerful and inspiring vocalists, hot pianists, cool saxophones, trumpets, trombones, banjos, clarinets... the list goes on.' A dance floor was created in at least one venue where the bands played for dancing, and dance tutors ran classes in the morning for beginners and intermediates. There were also jazz talks, jam sessions, guest sessions, a parade though the town, jazz services, music in local pubs and cafes as well as concerts in large and small venues in and around the town.

On the Keswick Jazz Festival Facebook page, they said: ' ... it will be the best ever, and possibly the last (in it's current form) ... Next year there will be four concerts in the main theatre and five in the studio running from 11th to 14th May. These will be advertised at this year's festival.'

As Annette Keen writes in the next article, Swanage Jazz Festival seems to be thriving. So why is Keswick changing? Brian O'Connor was at Keswick this year and offers these thoughts:

 

Keswick Jazz Festival Banner

 

'The Keswick Jazz Festival has been an annual event now for approximately 25 years.  It caters mainly for the Trad jazz section of the market with a sprinkling of mainstream acts.  Possibly therein lies the seed of its demise in its present form, unless a miracle happens.  The ever loyal audience for Trad has diminished in numbers due to the the passing of time, and of those remaining,  their reluctance to accept a broader outlook coupled with ever increasing costs and sponsorship problems, has led to the whole project becoming unviable. As far as I can judge, to remain a multi-venue festival it needs to broaden its acceptance of other varieties of jazz, diluting but not ignoring the Trad tradition.'

'Then, as always, it needs more sponsorship.  For many years there have been regular sponsors, and many thanks to them, but as mentioned before, with increasing costs, lack of funds is always a problem.  Finally, as with all jazz festivals, it could do with more publicity in the mainstream way of life.  A very uphill task. Although it will be sad if it is not rescued, all is not entirely lost.  The Theatre has booked 4 days of jazz gigs next year as a form of mini-festival, and let us hope this proves to be successful.  Quite a gamble and they deserve to succeed.' 

'The setting in the heart of the Lake District is an ideal place to enjoy the music, and take a holiday.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed and wish them well.'

 

 

 

Swanage Jazz Festival

Swanage Jazz Festival has received a grant from the PRS Open Fund (see news item above). Is it so different to Keswick?

Annette Keen writes:

Almost July, height of the British summer, with more public events on offer than probably any other month in the year. For some people it can only mean one thing: Wimbledon tennis. I quite like tennis, but for me July means the Swanage Jazz Festival. Now there are plenty of other jazz festivals happening this month, and I don't mean to decry any of them as I'm sure they are all splendid in their own way, but there is something very special about Swanage. And it all starts in a rather special way about twenty-five minutes from the town, if you're taking the car ferry from Sandbanks to Shell Bay. Suddenly, it feels like you're really going somewhere.

 

Swanage

 

If you've never been there you may not know that Swanage is the quintessential English seaside town. Set on a perfect little bay, with a three mile long sandy beach that descends gradually in a child-friendly way into calm waters, brightly painted pedalo boats and stripey deckchairs, it's picture-postcard pretty. There are little boats bobbing about on the sea, and a Victorian pier jutting out into it. Until a couple of years ago there was Ice Cream sandwicheven Punch and Judy on the beach but sadly the most recent Punchman retired in 2015. It's encouraging though to know that the local council are looking for a replacement, so if anyone reading is interested in a career change, the Punch and Judy concession is up for tender.

Swanage town is heroically stuck in the 1950s. It has a smattering of coffee shops and restaurants, fish and chippies, some interesting shops and many good pubs. There are no big supermarkets, no high street chains and no pedestrian-only shopping centres. It is essentially the same as it was when I went there as a child on family holidays, although I can't now find the shop where they sold delicious fat wedges of blackcurrant ice-cream sandwiched between wafers. The town boasts a steam railway and an open-top bus, and some swanky new beach huts along the prom.

The jazz festival (now in its 26th year) fills the town with people and music for three days. If you leave it too late you'll have a job getting a room to stay - many people do as I do and book for the following year when they pay their bill. Restaurants, pubs,Alan Barnes takeaways (yes there are some of those...) are busy throughout. British seaside towns have had a hard time of it in recent years, so it's no wonder that Swanage welcomes the festival back each year, it's good for business and that's good for the town.

Alan Barnes

What I particularly like about this festival is that you don't end up sitting in the same place all the time – there are four stroller venues nicely spread out and a flash of your wristband will get you into any of them. Two marquees, which host the bigger gigs, are perched on a grassy field overlooking the bay, and from here the route to the other venues cuts through the town in two directions – there is a shuttle bus available for anyone unable or unwilling to walk, although the distance is not great and the views are lovely. Local student bands entertain on the quayside and some of the pubs are free venues. Something of a carnival atmosphere pervades the town on festival weekend. It can be a bit hectic getting round all the gigs you've marked off in the brochure (there are overlaps), but at the same time it's a pretty relaxed vibe - you're at the seaside and there are ice-creams and bags of chips and exceptional jazz to enjoy.

The music policy at Swanage is '...an established mix of well-known names and some of the younger generation who are keeping jazz alive in Britain.'  Styles range from New Orleans to Dixieland to mainstream to contemporary. Something for everyone in fact. Keeping the whole thing afloat at the head of the Festival Board is Artistic Director Henry SpencerFred Lindop, ever-present throughout the weekend as he bikes from venue to venue. The President is Alan Barnes, who's played at every Swanage Festival to date. In 2012, after months of wet weather, the marquees had to be abandoned and last minute replacement venues organised. That threw the budgeting into turmoil and put the 2013 festival in jeopardy, but donations from fans and supporters saved the day and Swanage Jazz Festival emerged, a soggy phoenix, to a triumphant jazzy fanfare.

This year, we hope the weather holds. Music will range from the Dixieland of the Shooting Stars, Alex Welsh Remembered, and the Buck Clayton Legacy to the Kofi-Barnes Aggregation and many top musicians including Andy Panayi, Arun Ghosh, Tim Garland, Dave O'Higgins, Bobby Wellins, Art Themen, Henry Spencer and Juncture, Ian Shaw and Remi Harris as well as the Dorset Youth Jazz Orchestra and other student bands.

Henry Spencer

Of course there are other brilliant jazz festivals in the UK but maybe they don't all have the fringe benefits that Swanage does. If you haven't been there yet I urge you to try it. Go for the day or go for the weekend. I can't think of a good reason not to - unless of course you're related to Andy Murray, which is only barely excusable ...

Swanage Jazz Festival takes place from 8th to 10th July 2016. Click here for details.

Annette Keen is involved in artiste management and jazz club admin - but is still looking for a venue to re-start her own club. Click here for Annette's website.

 

 

 

 

New Tubby Hayes Recordings

Following the film Tubby Hayes: A Man In A Hurry and Simon Spillett's book The Long Shadow Of The Little Giant, Savage Solweig are releasing previously unissued recordings by Tubby made shortly before his death in 1973. Simon Spillett has written the liner notes for Split Kick - Live In Sweden 1972 (Savage Solweig SS-004) a recording of sessions in Gothenburg and Stockholm.

With rare photographs and with tracks such as Off The Wagon and Trenton Place, the recording also features some fine flute playing by Tubby. the album has been taken from professionally recorded live tapes and is released in co-operation with Swedish Radio. Simon Spillett says: "Of the recent Tubby releases, this one is among the best musically and sonically. It gives us an up-close opportunity to hear how worked away from his regular line-ups, as well as showcasing some of his finest flute work, something previous albums haven't focused on too much."

Split Kick - Live In Sweden 1972 will be released later this summer.

 

 

 

 

Tracks Unwrapped

Sophisticated Lady

 

[You are able to listen to the music at the same time as reading this article and without leaving the page if you click here. This will take you to the article on another page on our website where your computer might ask you to allow the music to play on the page. Alternatively there are links to the music on YouTube etc. in the article below].

 

They say into your early life romance came
And in this heart of yours burned a flame
A flame that flickered one day and died away
Then, with disillusion deep in your eyes
You learned that fools in love soon grow wise

 

Sophisticated Lady was composed by Duke Ellington and Irving Mills in 1932 and words were subsequently added by Mitchell Parish. The origin of the melody is sometimes a point of contention with Lawrence Brown claiming credit for the first eight bars and credit also being given to Toby Hardwick. However, it is said that Ellington's original conception for the piece was inspired by three of his grade school teachers: 'They taught all winter and toured Europe in the summer. To me that spelled sophistication'.

Click here for a video from the late 1960s of Duke Ellington's Orchestra playing Sophisticated Lady in Copenhagen featuring Harry Carney with a Audrey Hepburnbeautiful baritone saxophone solo and whose circular breathing shows how to hold a note.

Duke's school was in the U Street District of Washington D.C., commonly known as the U Street Corridor. Apparently, until the 1920s, when it was overtaken by Harlem, the U Street Corridor was home to the nation's largest urban African American community. 'In its cultural heyday, it was known as "Black Broadway", a phrase coined by singer Pearl Bailey.' During his childhood, the Ellington's lived on 13th street between T and S Streets. For many years, U Street has been central to Washington's music scene, with the Lincoln Theatre, Howard Theatre, Bohemian Caverns, and other clubs and historic jazz venues.

Click here for an estate agent's interesting summary video which describes the area and its history.

Wikipedia tells us that 'While the area remained a cultural center for the African American community through the 1960s, the neighborhood began to decline following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. The intersection of 14th Street and U Street was the epicenter of violence and destruction during the 1968 Washington, D.C. riots. Following the riots, and the subsequent flight of affluent residents and businesses from the area, the corridor became blighted. Drug trafficking rose dramatically in the mid-1970s, when the intersection of 14th and U Streets was an area of drug trafficking in Washington, D.C.'

Now, sophistication is returning to the Corridor as more than 2,000 luxury condominiums and apartments were constructed between 1997 and 2007.

Click here for a short video about U Street from a video series exploring how D.C. denizens show their sense of style. On D.C.'s historic U Street, "everyone is a style star."

 

The years have changed you, somehow
I see you now
Smoking, drinking, never thinking of tomorrow, nonchalant
Diamonds shining, dancing, dining with some man in a restaurant
Is that all you really want?
No, sophisticated lady,
I know, you miss the love you lost long ago
And when nobody is nigh you cry

 

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra first introduced Sophisticated Lady in 1933 with an instrumental recording of the song featuring solos by Toby Hardwick on alto sax, Barney Bigard on clarinet, Lawrence Brown on trombone and Ellington on piano. The recording entered the charts on the 27th May 1933, and stayed there for sixteen weeks, rising to number three.

Click here for the 1933 version by Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra that starts with Lawrence Brown's trombone introduction.

Ellington’s vocalist Adelaide Hall recorded two versions of ‘Sophisticated Lady’. In 1928, Adelaide had starred on Broadway with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in the show Blackbirds of 1928. It became the most successful all-black show ever staged on Broadway at that time and made Hall and Bojangles into household names. Adelaide Hall's part was originally cast for Florence Mills, but she died of pneumonia in 1927 before rehearsals started. Adelaide was chosen to take her place and the show became the hit of the season. Adelaide's performance of Diga Diga Do, created a Adelaide Hallsensation. When her mother went to see the show she was disgusted to see her daughter performing what she termed 'risqué dance moves', tried to stop the show and banned Adelaide from appearing in any future performances. Fortunately, mum was persuaded to change her mind and Adelaide returned the following day. Even so, it is reported that Lew Leslie, the show's producer was 'so concerned about race violence connected with the controversy surrounding Adelaide's performance that he took out a hefty insurance policy to cover the cast; the most heavily insured were the principals, Adelaide Hall and "Bojangles" Robinson.'

 

Adelaide Hall

 

Unfortunately I have been able to find either of the two versions Adelaide Hall recorded of Sophisticated Lady, but we have a video of her singing the song much later that we'll come back to. However, to get an idea of Adelaide in those early years, here she is singing and dancing in 1935 in a video short in which she follows an acrobatic act The Three Whippets and she in turn is followed by very young Nicholas Brothers - click here.

A year before Blackbirds of 1928, Adelaide Hall recorded Creole Love Call with Duke Ellington. They were both touring in a show called Dance Mania. The story is told that Duke had a new number, "Creole Love Call", which he included in his set. Adelaide later said, "I was standing in the wings behind the piano when Duke first played it. I started humming along with the band. He stopped the number and came over to me and said,Adelaide Hall 'That's just what I was looking for. Can you do it again?' I said, 'I can't, because I don't know what I was doing.' He begged me to try. Anyway, I did, and sang this counter melody, and he was delighted and said 'Addie, you're going to record this with the band.' A couple of days later I did". In David Bradbury's book on Duke Ellington he writes, 'When Duke was recounting the incident to a reporter he explained, "We had to do something to employ Adelaide Hall," and then added, "I always say we are primitive artists, we only employ the materials at hand … the band is an accumulation of personalities, tonal devices."

 

Adelaide Hall

 

The British Film Institute has this brief video of Adelaide Hall singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot in 1948 (click here). You can see why she could have sung Sophisticated Lady. This excerpt is taken from an unfinished film called 'A World is Turning', that was 'intended to highlight the contribution of black men and women to British society at a time when they were struggling for visibility on our screens. Only six reels of rushes remain, including scenes of Hall performing at London's Nightingale Club; filming appears to have been halted due to the director's illness.'

The only video I can find of Adelaide Hall singing Sophisticated Lady is this one where she appeared on the Terry Wogan TV show in 1984 (click here). A bit of a mystery surrounds information on the IMDb (International Movie Database) that records a documentary called Sophisticated Lady filmed in 1989 by directors David Mingay and David Robinson. It was a profile of Adelaide Hall and starred Adelaide and Benny Waters, but no information about the film seems to exist (click here). It would be interesting to know more about it.

As another miscellaneous 'factoid', according to William Zinsser in his book, Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs, the song Laura was born out of a disagreement between composer David Raksin and director Otto Preminger. Preminger wanted to use Eddie MillerSophisticated Lady as a theme in the film Laura, but Raksin felt it was wrong for the movie and wrote Laura in a weekend as a replacement.

For two different takes on Sophisticated Lady, here is tenor saxophonist Eddie Miller playing the tune in 1986 during the Cork Festival in Ireland. Yank Lawson introduces Eddie for a feature as part of a festival concert by the Bob Cats. Bob Haggart is on bass, Lou Stein on piano and Nick Fatool on drums. Eddie Miller had a tenor sax style similar to that of Bud Freemen. He started playing professionally in New Orleans when he was sixteen and went on to play with Ben Pollack and then Bob Crosby - (click here).

 

Eddie Miller

 

Now watch and listen to Thelonious Monk in this video of his Sophisticated Lady solo at the Berliner Jazztage, Berlin, Germany, on 7th November 1969 (click here). As one commentator says: 'Monk plays so perfectly, capturing the potential for dissonance in a piece without sacrificing elegance.'

Let's end with this version of Sophisticated Lady by bass player Christian McBride from a video made at the 2009 Festival de Jazz San Javier (click here). The piece starts with a great bass solo before pianist Peter Martin takes his solo. They then work the tune out between them. Ulisses Owens is on drums.

 

'Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.' (Audrey Hepburn)

 

 

 

 


Help With Musical Definitions No 24.

Drone

Jazz played robotically rather than by a musician
e.g. as in 'Flying Home (by remote control)' or Angel Eyes in the Skies.

Click here for our page of 'Alternative Definitions'. Send us yours ...

 

 

 

 

The Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The Parliamentary Jazz Awards are held each year in the Terrace Room at the Houses of Parliament. The room runs parallel to the river Thames - you can see the terrace in those pictures of the Houses of Parliament taken from the opposite side of the river. Getting to the room is a journey. Entry is by invitation and as you would expect, security is tight, much like at an airport where all metal objects are placed in a tray on a conveyor and you are screened while holding up your trousers because your belt is in the tray. There is then a walk to the room through an enormous,Houses of Parliament Terrace cavernous, stone lobby and I am wondering whether that was designed to make a man feel small, humbled. Turn left along a corridor where statues of the great and the good look down on you (don't blink!), across the Central Lobby where the political journalists 'talk to camera' and then down carpeted corridors serving busy committee and meeting rooms that say Parliament is not 'nine to five', and on towards the Thames.

As you walk, you feel the age and history of the building but not the enormous amount of wear and tear that is causing headaches for the government in how to deal with the maintenance and restoration work currently needed and the debate about moving elsewhere while work is done. The Parliamentary Jazz Awards might have a different venue in a year or two.

 

The Terrace - you can see the blue canopy above the outside the room.

 

The terrace room is smaller than the ballroom where the JazzFM Awards were held, and there is no separate bar room, although people do go outside on to the narrow terrace above the river to talk and meet. At one end of the room, the Ronnie Scott's All Stars band plays and a small Ronnie Scott's All Starsgroup gather round to hear Freddie Gavita's trumpet solo. In the middle of the room, a temporary stage is erected for the Award presentations. The room is packed with people meeting the award nominees, renewing old contacts and making new ones. I argued last month about how important I think these events are for musicians, jazz venues and activities and the jazz scene generally. A time for recognition of what is being achieved; an opportunity for a coming together of people who make the world of UK jazz happen.

 

The Ronnie Scott's All Stars
Picture courtesy of Hayley Madden / PPL

 

The Parliamentary Jazz Awards are promoted by a group of Parliamentarians. Parliament is much like a school or university in the way it has 'out-of-hours interest groups'. 'An All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) consists of Members of both Houses who join together to pursue a particular topic or interest. In order to use the title 'All Party Parliamentary Group', a Group must be open to all Members of both Houses, regardless of party affiliation, and must satisfy the rules agreed by the House for All Party Parliamentary Groups.' There are many, of which the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) is one. They are all included in a Register where their purpose and officers are listed - for example there is an All Party Parliamentary Football Club Group whose purpose is 'to play football and raise money for charity' and an All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer whose purpose is 'To keep cancer on the political agenda, monitor implementation of government initiatives, provide briefings to parliamentarians and ensure policy making is evidence based and patient centred.' The general public is usually unaware of these activities and the range of groups is interesting to see (click here).

The purpose of AAPJAG is 'To promote an appreciation of jazz music and to engage Parliament in an awareness of the issues facing jazz music, musicians and promoters.' Of course, there are other benefits from APPGs in that they bring together different members of the House ofJon Newey Commons and House of Lords from all political parties who have a common interest. The current joint chairs of APPJAG are Jason McCartney, M.P. for the Colne Valley  in West Yorkshire and Lord Colwyn (click here for our page on APPJAG). The Register also records any registrable (financial) benefits received by the Group and for APPJAG there are none. As with the JazzFM Awards, these events are funded by sponsors. Parliament makes the venue available 'with the permission of the Speaker' but other costs are met by supporting organisations such as PPLUK, the organisation that licenses recorded music in the UK.

Jon Newey
Picture courtesy of Hayley Madden / PPL

 

The band stops playing and after an introduction by Jason McCartney MP, and then this year's host, Jon Newey, Editor of Jazzwise magazine introduces the presentations. Unlike some other events, the audience is attentive and most of the nominees are present. It is quite an achievement to have so many talented jazz people rubbing shoulders in one place at a time - Liam Noble, Julian Argüelles, Ian Shaw, Liane Carroll, Jason Yarde, Evan Parker, Jacqui Dankworth ...... As the winners are announced, the band plays a few appropriate bars - a Scottish air for Dr Tommy Smith as he receives the award for Jazz Education. The award itself is a simple wooden wall shield, but the significance of the award is far from simple and I hope that Parliament and the sponsers enable the event to continue for years to come.

 

Award Winners

Picture courtesy of Hayley Madden / PPL

 

Lewis Wright

This year's Award winners were:

Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Emilia Mårtensson (click here for a video of Emilia singing Harvest Moon)
Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Alexander Hawkins (click here for a video of Alexander Hawkins with his trio)
Jazz Album of the Year: Julian Argüelles, Let It Be Told (click here for a video introduction for the album)
Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Empirical
Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Binker and Moses
Jazz Venue of the Year: Seven Jazz Leeds
Jazz Media Award: Jez Nelson, BBC Jazz on 3

Lewis Wright accepting the Jazz Ensemble award on behalf of Empirical
Picture courtesy of Hayley Madden / PPL


Jazz Education Award: Dr Tommy Smith
Services to Jazz Award: Mary Greig (for the Jazz In London gig list)
Special Awards: Michael Connarty and Evan Parker

 

Jason McCartney, M.P. told us: 'I came to appreciate Jazz through the Marsden International Jazz Festival in my constituency. It was wonderful to see such amazing musical talent in Parliament and as the Co Chairman of APPJAG I look forward to nurturing and celebrating this musical talent for many years to come.'

 

 

Binker and Moses

Nominated for both the JazzFM Awards and the Parliamentary Jazz Awards this year were the duo Binker and Moses. They went away with two awards from JazzFM - Breakthrough Act of the Year and UK Jazz Act of the Year and from the Parliamentary Awards with Jazz Newcomer of theBinker and Moses Year Award. Who are these guys?!

Click here for an interview with Binker and Moses at the JazzFM Awards.

Binker and Moses are tenor saxophonist Binker Golding and drummer Moses Boyd - two of the most exciting young jazz musicians on the thriving London jazz scene. Originally meeting through double bassist / educator Gary Crosby’s Tomorrow’s Warriors jazz development programme, they have played together in various large and small format groups including recording and touring extensively as members of Zara McFarlane’s band.

 

Binker and Moses at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards
Picture courtesy of Hayley Madden / PPL

 

Binker Golding leads his own quartet and is co-director of the Nu Civilisation Orchestra. Drummer Moses Boyd, was winner of the Worshipful Company of Musicians Young Jazz Musician Award in 2014.

Click here for a video of them playing Man Like GP from the album, Dem Ones which was released in May 2015.

In an interview with Stephen Graham last year, Binker said: '“Well, I first met Moses quite a while ago. I think through Abram Wilson and we became friends from the get go. Since then we’ve played in a number of groups together, most consistently Zara McFarlane’s band. So we’ve been on the road with Zara quite a bit the last few years which has given Moses and I a lot of time to experiment between soundcheck and performance. So we’d often play duo when we had that moment free and practise certain things. Over time the ideas we practised evolved and moulded into things, things that we developed into complete pieces of music. We then decided we should start doing duo performances to see if we could make sense of it in a performance context. We did that for a while, deemed it as a Binker Goldinggood idea, then a short while later Gearbox Records approached us with the idea of making an album after they heard some demos we recorded and put online.'

Click here for the video of Black Ave Maria from the album.

... and in speaking about their music on the album - '“It was very challenging. Simple in the sense that we knew what we wanted to do and how it should sound, but challenging in the same way that the gigs we do are challenging, meaning we want it to sound like music and not two musicians practising and that’s harder given the instrumentation. It helps that Moses and I are on Moses Boydthe same page. If we weren’t it would be an utter nightmare.'

'I think in this circumstance the musicians have to be practically custom-made for each other. In regards to liberation I’d say we started this ensemble for liberation. In my mind it’s a mild rebellion against jazz which is over composed with perhaps one or two too many instruments.

So we said: ‘We’ll practically get rid of all the instruments and strip it down and improvise rather than compose.’ The stripped down nature of it is one of the main attractions for us. Communication is very different when it’s just between two people.' (Click here to read the full interview and other interviews with them).

Click here to listen to In The Chambers of Pain (or: "Dem ones" live)

 

 

 

 

 

BBC Proms 2016

Albert Hall

It looks as though jazz will have an increased presence in this year's Promenade Concerts in July and August.

News is through that Kamasi Washington will be playing on 30th August when his band is joined by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jules Buckley. Iain Ballamy and Liane Carroll will be taking part in a celebration of Shakespeare's anniversary when they perform Duke Ellington's Such Sweet Thunder with the National Jazz Orchestra on 5th August, and Jamie Cullum will be presenting an evening of late-night jazz with the Roundhouse Choir and Heritage Orchestra on 11th August ...

... and there's more: Saxophonist YolandDa Brown will play as part of a Gospel Prom on 19th July; Jacob Collier and vocalist/bassist Richard Bona will be celebrating Quincy Jones with Jules Buckley's Metropole Orkest on 22nd August, and the Sao Paulo Jazz Symphony will be playing Brazilian music from street sounds to avant garde on 24th August.

Click here for more information.

 

 

 

Tea Break

 

Corrie Dick (Drums)

Corrie Dick

 

Drummer Corrie Dick comes from Glasgow but is now based in London. He graduated as a gold medal student from the jazz course at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. His awards include the BBC's 2013 Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year, the Scottish Jazz Awards "Up and Coming Artist" in 2012, and he has been nominated in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards several times including this year. He is an alumni of both the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland and has been mentored by the likes of Mark Guiliana, Kendrick Scott and Ari Hoenig as well as Ghanaian kpanlogo master Saddiq Addy, nephew of the legendary Mustapha Tettey Addy. He has also studied the traditional music of Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Benin and other parts of Africa alongside his prodigious creative companion, guitarist Rob Luft. Corrie plays in a number of bands both here and abroad and he released his debut album Impossible Things at the end of 2015.

 

Hi Corrie, tea or coffee?

Coffee, cheers Ian. Espresso if you do it? 


Garibaldi biscuit

 

No problem - Hob Nob, Bourbon, Garibaldi or digestive biscuit?

I have literally no idea what a Garibaldi is, will try that.

 

 

 


Buddy Rich, Max Roach or Paul Motian?

Max and Paul in equal measure.


Milk and sugar?

No, thanks.


What gigs have you played recently?

A bunch of stuff. I've been working on a solo show and doing a few local gigs - hoping to move that a bit more next year. Also plenty with the band from my album. I've also been playing regularly with Laura Jurd's band Dinosaur and a bit with Pete Wareham, 'Little Lions' (a collaborative trio with Matt Robinson and Joe Webb) and lots with Rob Luft - look out for that guy, jeez...

[Click here for a video of Corrie with Dinosaur playing Laura Jurd's composition Hardanger].

Corrie Dick

 


So what have you got coming up in the next few months?

Yeah I've got quite a lot, I have listed my gigs on my website (click here). Mainly I'm working towards a tour of the UK in August - September, I've got 17 dates booked and counting. And a few outside of the tour period too. I'm also thinking about my next move, I've got ideas that I'm really excited about - Little Lions is releasing it's first EP, Embers, on 17th June too.

[Click here for a video of Little Lions playing Turn Our Back at Dempsey's in Cardiff in 2015]

 

 

Corrie Dick Impossible Things

 

 

What’s the reaction been to the new album Impossible Things?

GOOD. People seem to like it, which is great. Part of the reason I play music is to connect with people, I consider myself very lucky that the music I feel connected with is something that others can get in on.

[Click here to listen to Soar from the album].

 

 

 

 

Broen

 

Is there anyone you have heard recently that we should listen out for?

There are some phenomenal bands coming out of Norway like Broen, Mopti and Moskus. Also this great drummer from Holland called Mark Schilders is making some great music.

Broen

 

 

Huw Bennett Quintet

 

Also this bassist/producer Huw Marc Bennet has a great project called Susso - look out for that album!

Huw Bennett Quintet

 

 

 

 

 

Another biscuit?

Yeah, why not 😊

 

[Click here for our review of Corrie's album Impossible Things. Click here for Corrie's website]

[Click here for Corrie Dick's Band Of Joy playing Annamarrakech at Oliver's in 2015]

 

Utah Teapot

 

 

 

Do You Have A Birthday In June?

 


Your Horoscope

for June Birthdays

by 'Marable'

 

Gemini

 

GEMINI (The Twins)

21st May - 20th June

Relationships might seem a little stretched at the beginning of the month, but take heart, there is improvement happening this month. Mars moved backwards out of your 7th house at the end of last month and will be in your 6th house for all of June.

This could well be a happy and prosperous month. On the 13th, as Mercury crosses your Ascendent and enters your 1st house, there is a shift in planetary power. Now the lower part of your horoscope becomes stronger than it has been all year, focus on your emotional wellbeing and ease off on pushing your career. The Sun in the money house suggests money from intellectual activities, writing, teaching, marketing for example. These are your natural strengths. Venus also in the money house indicates the importance of social contacts.

For you, click here for a video Dave Brubeck's In Your Own Sweet Way played by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Nice.

 

Cancer

 

CANCER (The Crab)

21st June - 20th July

The planetary power is now at its maximum Eastern position in your chart so personal power is now at its maximum too. This will be the same situation next month too, so use it wisely, in a few months time it might be more difficult to do so.

Your 12th house of spirituality became strong towards the end of last month and remains so until the 21st. This period of power and spirituality suggests a time for interior growth.Those already on a spiritual path will find their progress accelerated. As the Sun (also your financial planet) crosses the Ascendant on the 21st and enters the 1st house your interior growth will become evident and that could attract prosperity opportunities for you. Saturn is still retrograde this month, so there is no need to rush into anything. Remember, Cancerians go for feelings and tend to mistrust logic - the phrase 'follow your heart' could have been written for you.

For you, a video of Barry Harris and Tommy Flanagan with a piano duet of Thelonious Monk's Well You Needn't (click here).

 

 

 

 

'Dusty' Millar

Ron Drakeford has written a great page on this website looking back at jazz in Kingston-upon-Thames and the music and characters of past years there (click here where you also can listen to some of the jazz of the time). The page has set off memories for a number of people including Chris Mitchell who wrote about one 'character' from those days, 'Dusty' Millar: 'There was a guy called John ‘Dusty’ Millar who had been a promising trumpet player until he accidentally cut off his hand and terminated his career as a musician.  He would hold court in the Kenya Coffee House in Kingston on Friday and Saturday nights on a wide variety of subjects and most Sundays he would be a speaker at Speaker’s Corner on the platform of the National Secular Society, teasing his audiences about God and religion and encouraging atheistic thought (quite radical in those days).  He had a bookshop near Kingston Hill and a young son called Christopher.  Chris went on, as ‘Rat Scabies’, to form The Damned in around 1976. Dusty was a keen listener to jazz, though he no longer played ...   It would be interesting to see how many people who were on the Kingston scene would remember him. I first knew him in 1961 and we kept in touch until he died 10 years ago.'

Craig Sams remembers 'Dusty' and sent us this nice article:

'It is a paper that I wrote in 1963, when I was 18 and at university. It captures a smidgen of the Kingston Scene and the jazz scene, of which Dusty was an integral part ....

“Sir, your argument was originally proposed by  St. Anselm of Canterbury in 1053.  It is ambiguous, presumptuous and ridiculous for the following reasons…” 

The man on the National Secular Society stand at Marble Arch smiles and winks at his other listeners.  He looks older than his thirty-odd years.  Long locks from his large shock of silver-grey hair hang down over his ruddy face.  Every Sunday he speaks out against God and organized religion before what Churchill has called the orator’s most difficult audience.  He is always a success.

Originally Dusty was one of the most promising young trumpet players on the English jazz scene.  Then he lost his valve hand in an accident.  His career as a trumpeter cut short, he turned to the pursuit of lay politics, anti-clericalism, and “pop” philosophy.  He became the central figure of the Kingston coffee-house society.  A large number of Arabs and Afro-Asians who studied in Kingston met at the coffee-house, argued with Dusty, and generally ended up absorbing many of his ideas.  When he said that a true socialist government permanentizes itself by total nationalisation, the point was argued and discussed for days afterwards.  It is possible that some of the ideas that he promulgated were taken away to become, in some form, part of the programs and policies of the governments of the new nations.  Even in London, one of Dusty’s political “disciples” entered, ran in and won an election to a seat on the Surrey County Council as one of the few Labour representatives in the county.  Much of his campaign was based, not solely on Labour Party doctrines but on the teachings of Dusty Millar.

Only once have I seen the usually mild-mannered Dusty lose his self-control.  It was at a party at which the Rolling Stones, a popular Rhythm ‘n Blues group at the time, were present.  Instead of being the attractions of the party, they were part of a circle listening to Dusty in hot debate with an American Catholic girl.  Like a missionary speaking to a pagan, Dusty firmly analysed her beliefs and carefully made sure that there was no vestige of reason left when he had finished with them.  At last he could no longer be the cool, quiet reasoner.  Billy Sunday-like he stood up and shouted, “Why don’t you renounce your faith?”  Broken, the girl could only say humbly, “I believe, I believe.”

Confronted with this Dusty could only mutter a few apologies.  A few minutes later he left.  The next day he was on his stand at Hyde Park, still defying God to do something about him, to manifest Himself.  The words were the same, but the usual spark, the fervour and the zealous devotion were lacking.  His audience sensed this and their reactions were unenergetic.  It took him weeks to recover.

 

 

Jazz London Live

As Mary Greig retires from producing the Jazz In London gig listing and receives the Services to Jazz Award at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards (see above), a new online listing takes its place. Sarah Chaplin and Mick Sexton of LondonJazzLive say:

'JazzLondonLive is a new mobile digital resource aimed at the jazz community in London and the south east, devised specifically to fill the void left by the much-loved monthly printed booklet, which was produced continuously for the last 43 years. Sarah Chaplin and Mick Sexton are currently putting this app/website together, which goes live in its beta format on 1st June 2016. It will give people access to what’s on in the jazz world every day of the year all over London, as well as insights into who’s who in the London jazz scene, plus links to news and reviews, band personnel, tour dates, festival announcements and more.'

'If you would like to help make this happen, please support our crowdfunding campaign which runs until 10 July. We need to raise £10,000 to get the database built that will run behind the listings site in the long run, so every pledge helps – the rewards range from £2 to £2500.'

Click here for the JazzLondonLive website.

 

 

 

 

You Suggest

Bert Courtley

 


Jane Stobart, Kathy Stobart's neice, suggests we take a moment to listen to trumpeter Bert Courtley.

Jane says: 'All Night Long (1962) was certainly one of the worst films ever made but fortunately the story took place in a night club and they did at least get the jazz right. This clip features Dave Brubeck backed by four British musicians and offers a rare sight of wonderful Bert Bert CourtleyCourtley on trumpet. As you will no doubt spot, the editing of Raggy Waltz is nonsensical, showing certain musicians playing, when the soundtrack says otherwise!' - Click here.

The YouTube video text talks about Dave Brubeck's famous quartet, but clearly that is not who he is playing with here. Readers might be able to help me, but I assume that apart from Bert Courtley, it is Kenny Napper on bass, Allan Ganley, drums and Johnny Scott (?), saxophone.

Bert Courtley was born on September 11, 1929 in Moston, Manchester, England as Herbert Courtley. He was married to Kathy Stobart. He died on September 13, 1969 in Croydon, Surrey, England.

Ron Simmonds remembers Bert Courtley in an article held by the National Jazz Archive. In it, Ron says: '... He was a jazz trumpet player, pure and simple and he was happiest standing out the front in a small band, playing what he liked the way he wanted, free from all the restrictions and Bertrand's Bugle albumdisciplines of the big combination. He left Tommy (Sampson)’s band and went straight out with a small group got together by a young lady tenor-saxophonist by the name of Kathy Stobart. It must have been a case of love at first sight, I guess, between this tall, beautiful, fair-haired girl  and the fresh-faced, young blonde newcomer. It was enough, anyway, to keep them together when Kathy’s band folded and the two of them joined Vic Lewis’s big band ... Bert did about three years with Ken Mackintosh at Wimbledon Palais and then went on tour with Eric Delaney’s band ...'

'... Bert had one of those sharp, clear sizzling sounds on the trumpet; he would shut his eyes and hunch his shoulders up and play the most beautiful jazz you could imagine. In 1956 he became part of the Jazz Today unit, which toured Britain with Gerry Mulligan’s Quartet and later the Modern Jazz Quartet. Some of his colleagues in Jazz Today were Phil Seamen, Kenny Wheeler, Kenny Napper and Ed Harvey ... Bert made a solo record for Decca called “Bertrand’s Bugle” around this time. Then he was part of the Woody Herman Anglo-American Band, playing alongside Reunald Jones, Nat Adderley and Bill Harris. ...

Click here to listen to Bert and Founder Member from the album The Jazz Committee featuring Bert and Don Rendell. On the YouTube page Neil Yates says: 'Great to hear this. Bert was great. He never even gets a mention now. Sad. I love his laidThe Jazz Committee album back timing, beautiful phrases and sound.'

 

Bert Courtley, Eddie Harvey, Don Rendell, Pete Blannin, John Dougan

Ron continues: 'Then I left Ted Heath to join Dankworth’s band and Bert suddenly found himself in a totally unexpected situation, one he had never dreamed of: that of sitting in the Heath band playing the extremely demanding lead book.“I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to make it,” Ted told me one day after Bert had been in the band for a few weeks. “I don’t think he’s ever played lead before. But he knocks me out every night and he’s getting better all the time.” ....

'Bert became a studio musician, still keeping up his club dates too, though, until he suddenly became ill, lost some teeth and went through a very rough time indeed trying to get his embouchure back again. If a trumpet player has any trouble with his teeth he ought to realise that no dentist in the world will be able to replace them in anything like the same position without first having at hand an accurately-made impression of the originals. The first set Bert had made gave him so much trouble it was like starting to learn the trumpet all over again and I think this had a big bearing on the general deterioration in his health later on, that eventually led to his death.'

Click here to read the full interesting article by Ron Simmonds.

In 2000, Kathy Stobart gave an interview to Jazz Journal in which she also blamed the pressure of work with the Ted Heath band and Bert's increasing drinking. She said Bert started to feel ill, was taking all sorts of addictive, patent medicines, and finally he had to leave the band. After good pay working with Ted Heath, money became tight and in addition to working as a dep. with Humphrey Lyttelton, Kathy had to take a job as a demonstrator at Bill Lewington's music instrument store. 'The doctor told me that if Bert didn't look after himself he would kill himself. He succeeded!' she said. 'In September 1969 Bert died. It was two days after his 40th birthday.'

Jane Stobart Watching ii

 

 

Jane Stobart is an artist and printmaker axisweb.org/artist/janestobart 

 

 

 

Click here for our page of previous 'Your Suggestions'.
Please contact us with your suggestions of musicians who you think should be recognised more, with a few words saying why.

 

 

 

Preview

 

The Elliot Galvin Trio

Click here or on the picture to see a video of Blop from the album Punch by keyboard player Elliot Galvin, with Tom McCredie (double bass) and Elliot Galvin TrioSimon Roth (drums, percussion and glockenspiel). On the album Elliot plays piano, kalimba, melodicas, accordion, cassette player and stylophone. The album will be released on 29th July on the Edition Records label.

Elliot graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire in 2013 with a BMus (Hons) degree in Jazz Piano and later in 2014 with a Masters in Composition, winning the prestigious Gold Medal Competition as well as being named one of 2013’s Yamaha Jazz Scholars and receiving the Worshipful Company of Musician’s Silver medal award.

Elliot works regularly with trumpeter Laura Jurd and he is also involved in the 2016 Serious 'Take Five program'. The Elliot Galvin Trio was announced winner of the European Young Jazz Artist of the Year Award in Germany in 2014, the year they released their debut album Dreamland.


 

 

 

 

Forum

 

The Quality Of Music Is Not Strained

Alan Bond writes in response to a comment we included last month when we reported on new, clear recordings on YouTube of Louis Armstrong's and Duke Ellington's recordings (click here, here, and here). We quoted a report saying: 'Considering the poor quality of most early jazz records, these tracks are a rare treat for any fan of the pioneering New Orleans trumpet master....'

Alan writes: 'I would take you to task on your quote about most early jazz recordings being of poor quality as the word 'early' needs to be qualified. Granted that a lot of the accoustic recordings could have been better when seen from the modern viewpoint but I would say that we should feel ourselves lucky to have such a wealth of early jazz recordings and those from Victor, Columbia, Okeh and Vocalion are pretty good.  Robert Parker started a trend in the 1980s when he began digitally re-mastering some of this early stuff and I have to say that regardless of that, most of the vinyl I have has some pretty good quality transfers. Hot and Bothered by the Ellington band is one where I can detect no discernible difference so it is clear that the earlier transfers must have been made from the original masters by CBS and probably those of most of the others. I have a copy of the Columbia 10" LP of the ODJB recordings made in London in 1919 and 1920 and the quality of the recordings is pretty good all round especially considering the recording equipment of the time, state of the art as it was. Gennets and Paramounts are certainly not as good as those previously listed and the output of the Autograph label is pretty poor even by comparison with these two.

 

 

Neil Millet

Since we first shared Neil Millett's brother's request for information about Neil, we have received an increasing amount of information about the clarinet player and I am considering setting up a separate Profile page for him, so any other information from readers would be useful.

Martin King says: 'Originally from Bournemouth myself, I met Neil in the mid to late 70’s. We both worked as Technical Illustrator’s and whilst working on a contract for IBM in Hursley, Neil, myself and two others shared a house in St Thomas Street, Winchester. The house was originally the servants' quarters to the big house next door and was well positioned close to several pubs which we all used to enjoy. The owner of the house was horrified upon our arrival due to the quantity of musical instruments being carried into the house.'

'My next meeting with Neil was in Germany. I was at work one day when the telephone rang. It was Neil phoning me from Wolfsberg (The home of VolksWagen) telling me of a job opportunity. I took him up on it and he kindly put me up for a few days until I got myself sorted. Neil played at many venues around the Wolfsberg and joined a local band called the Saratoga Seven (I think). I remember they made an LP and I think I still have a copy in the attic. Neil was friends with Acker Bilk and he used to go and meet up with him if he was touring in the area. I know Neil was estranged from his family at the time but I do remember him talking with pride of his son and daughter who I believe attended Slade School of Art. Neil was talented and always great fun to be around and I was sorry to hear about his sudden death.'

 

 

Bill Kinnell and the Dancing Slipper

Debby Klein writes:

I checked out your website with great interest, when trawling for something about Bill Kinnell to refresh my memories. Bill was, bizarrely, my godfather.  But this can be explained as I am the daughter of Mick and Betty Gill, so I have many childhood memories of the Dancing Slipper and 'me dad going blowing'. 

We lived in West Bridgford as some will remember, in the 1950s as I was growing up. I well recall the 'Great Ben Webster incident' - there was a little sticker on our phone in the hall for many years, which proclaimed 'Ben Webster spoke on this phone' although I believe that what he said was rather slurred and along the lines of 'Sorry man, too much'.   I remember Johnny Johnstone, one of your correspondents, indeed I have a photo of him at our house in Eltham Road.  I also remember many other 'blowers' like Bruce Turner, Ray Crane, etc. They all used to visit us, and/or sleep on our front room floor. 

I note the comment that Mick Gill's cornet style 'did not fit in' with Chris Barber when asked to play at short notice. Well, it wouldn't would it - me dad was a Revivalist, not a Traddie. Also, I don't really think he was that good a musician in retrospect! I have a collection of his recordings on a CD and, er, it's an interesting archive rather more than entertainment!! We idolised him at the time though. Sadly he died young, in 1987.

I am sure some will also remember my vivacious young mother Betty, whose raison d'etre was Jive and Jazz 24/7. Sadly she too died, in 1995. They were both in their early 60s. Does anyone have any memories of my family? Now into my own 60s I'm trying to piece things together a bit……. and still listening to jazz.

Click here for our page on the Dancing Slipper in Nottingham.

 

 

Doreen Villiers

 

 

Harry Parry and Doreen Villiers

Last month we featured Harry Parry in our You Suggest article (click here).

Bob Ross, clarinetist from Dundee writes: 'A quick search reveals that Harry often featured Doreen Villiers in his band. Might this be her singing in the clip?'

Click here to listen to Doreen singing Don't Get Around Much Anymore with Geraldo and his Orchestra. Not a 'jazz' recording, but the personnel is interesting: Leslie Hutchinson (trumpet), Ted Heath (trombone), Nat Temple (saxophone), Ivor Mairants (guitar) ....

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Two Ears Three Eyes

Photographer Brian O'Connor was at the Watermill Jazz Club in Dorking to hear the Espen Eriksen Trio ...

 

Andreas Bye

Andreas Bye © Brian O'Connor

 

 

Espen Eriksen

 

The Watermill Jazz Club has been forced to move for the second time in it’s 25 years of existence.  The original home, the Watermill pub, burned down approximately 14 years ago.  Unable to wait for the restoration, and the probability of not being able to return, they were fortunate to be able to re-locate to the sports and social centre of the nearby Friend’s Provident Society.  Fate then struck again.  Multi-national company Aviva gobbled up Friend’s Provident and in asset stripping mode are busily saving money by closing down the entire site, including of course the sports and social club.

 

Espen Eriksen © Brian O'Connor

 

The task of finding another new venue proved to be very difficult.  There are not many venues in Dorking, and even less prepared to house a grand piano, the Watermill’s pride and joy.  The 'knight in shining armour' materialised in the form of the Betchworth Golf Club, being almost opposite the first venue, the pub.  Not only have they housed the piano, but they have made every effort to be accommodating, and have gone a long way to making the transition go as smoothly as possible. 

Gigs commenced at the beginning of May when I took these pictures of the Espen Eriksen Trio.  The other change is that gigs are now on a Tuesday instead of Thursday. 

 

Lars Tormod Jenset

 

Lars Tormod Jenset © Brian O'Connor

 

The Norwegian Espen Eriksen Trio was formed in 2007 and consists of Espen Eriksen (piano), Lars Tormod Jenset (double bass) and Andreas Bye (drums). Of their music they say: 'EET plays highly melodical and lyrical instrumentals with elements from Scandinavian folk and melancholia and shades of the deep woods. It´s definitely jazz, but their 'less is more' approach is in contrast to most of their contemporaries.' Their most recent album Never Ending January was released on the Rune Grammofon label in October last year. Click here for details and to sample.

Click here for a video of the Espen Eriksen Trio playing In The Mountains

 

Watermill Jazz Club is at Betchworth Park Golf Club, Reigate Road, Dorking RH4 1NZ - www.watermilljazz.co.uk

 

 

 

 

National Jazz Archive Summer Jazz Event

Val WisemanOn Saturday, 23rd July, Val Wiseman will be presenting her Divas Of Swing fund raising concert for the National Jazz Archive. Voted Top Jazz Vocalist in the 2011 British Jazz Awards Val Wiseman has been described as 'An appealing, stylish performer with a connoisseur's ear for repertoire', and for this gig she will be presenting her tribute to Anita O’Day, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.

The gig which will also feature Brian Dee, piano, Len Skeat, bass, and Eric Ford, drums will take place at 2.30 pm on Saturday 23rd July at Loughton Methodist Church, 260 High Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 1RB. Tickets are £15.

Click here for details.

 

 

 

 

Kind Of Blue Revisited

M iles Davis

Celebrating what would have been Miles Davis's 90th year (1926-1991) the Frank Griffith Sextet presents "Kind of Blue"- revisiting the Epochal LP". This will take place on 9th September at the Dorchester Corn Exchange featuring a world class sextet led by the USA tenor saxophonist. The band will include:

Canadian born but UK resident trumpeter, Jay Phelps, who has worked with everyone from Courtney Frank GriffithPine, Ray Brown, George Benson and Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra -Jay will be handling the Miles role. UK alto  saxophonist, Tony Kofi, who boasts appearances with Donald Byrd and the David Murray Big Band as well as a member of the World Sax Quartet since 2006 will  be the voice of Cannonball Adderley in the group.

Frank Griffith, in addition to playing and arranging for Ron Carter, bassist with Miles in the 1960s, has also arranged many Miles and Gil Evans pieces for vocalist, Jon Hendriks.

Frank Griffith

Acclaimed British jazzers, pianist Gareth Williams and bassist, Jeremy Brown and American drummer, Rod Youngs, (Gil Scott Heron), will round out this all star rhythm team.

The show was written and will be narrated by internationally recognised journalist, academic and Miles fanatic, Paul Lashmar, who is also a resident of Dorchester - so keep a keen eye out for him posting flyers in the area as the date approaches.

 

 

 

Departure Lounge

 

Information has arrived about the following musicians or people connected to jazz who have passed through the 'Departure Lounge' since our last update. Click on their names to read their obituaries where we have them:

 

Eddie Cook - Former Publisher and Editor of Jazz Journal magazine. Eddie's funeral will take place at St Mary's in Chigwell at 11.00 a.m. on Friday 24 June. Eddie will then be buried with his wife Janet in Brentwood. Eddie's daughter, Sarah, says: 'The years have gone by and dad has been out of the jazz world since 2009 when I sold the magazine but I do wonder if there are other people who know him and would want to attend?'

 

 

 

Joe Temperley

 

Joe Temperley - Scottish baritone saxophonist from Fife who started by playing in Glasgow dance bands. He joined Humphrey Lyttelton as a tenor saxophonist and it was Humph who suggested he change to baritone sax. Joe then moved to America where he played with Woody Herman, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis and in the Ellington legacy band after his hero Harry Carney died. In 1991, he joined Wynton Marsalis's Jazz At The Lincoln Center.

Click here for a video of Joe playing with the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra in 1996.

 

 

 

 

Paul McDowell

 

Paul McDowell - Born in London in 1931, 'Whispering' Paul McDowell found fame as singer with The Temperence Seven. When he was studying at Chelsea School of Art he took up the trombone and formed Paul McDowell and his Gentleman Ravers which later expanded to become the Temperence Seven. Their 1961 recording of You're Driving Me Crazy became a No. 1 hit and was soon followed by their recording of Pasadena. He went on to become a writer for television and an actor, mainly on TV.

Click here to listen to You're Driving Me Crazy (Producer George Martin's first No.1 UK hit before he took on The Beatles).

 

 

 

 

Tomita

 

Tomita - Isao Tomita was not a jazz musician but his pioneering work with electronic music led the way for many musicians to use that medium to take their music and improvisation forward. Born in Tokyo he studied at Keio University after a brief period in China. He 'became enraptured by Western classical music, along with jazz and pop, through radio broadcasts by the United States Army of occupation.' He bought a Moog Synthesizer from the United States and gradually extended his kit and his international reputation.

Click here for Tomita with Ravel's Pavane.

 

 

 

 

Buster Cooper

 

George 'Buster' Cooper - American trombonist from Florida who started out in his cousin's 16-piece band and then went to the Hartnett School of Music in New York. A friend of Cannonball Adderley, he joined the Lionel Hampton Orchestra where he met many other top jazz musicians, worked briefly with Benny Goodman and then, with his brother, formed their own band. He was invited to join Duke Ellington's Orchestra three times. He turned down the first two offers but joined Duke in 1962 alongside Lawrence Brown. After leaving Ellington he became a studio musician and played in big bands behind singers like Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

Click here for a video of Buster Cooper soloing with Lional Hampton's All Stars Big Band in 1981.

 

 

 

 

Michael Harper book

 

Michael S. Harper - American poet some of whose work focussed on jazz musicians such as John Coltrane and Dexter Gordon. In a preface to his poems in “The Norton Anthology of African American Literature,” he wrote, “My poems are rhythmic rather than metric; the pulse is jazz; the tradition generally oral; my major influences musical; my debts, mostly to the musicians who taught me to see about experience, pain and love, and who made it artful and archetypal.” A collection of his work was published under the title of one of his poems 'Dear John, Dear Coltrane'.

Click here where you can click on 'Look Inside' to see the list of poems in the book and read some of them.

A friend told me
He'd risen above jazz
I leave him there

(for Miles Davis)

 

 

Not all jazz musicians who pass through the Departure Lounge are reported in the national press, so if you know of anyone's passing that we should mention, please contact us with a few words about them, or a local obituary if one is available.

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Album Released: 8th April 2016 - Label: Blue Heron Records

 

Ehud Asherie

Shuffle Along

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Ehud Asherie, piano

I believe jazz is a profound music.  It springs out of a variety of circumstances.  I don’t take it lightly.  In my view (and this is hardly controversial), like so much of what is pitched within America, the roots of jazz are found in the cultural cut of what has happened to its Black population since the beginning of the old ‘New World’.  Not the full story perhaps, but certainly the central one.  This recording, Shuffle Along is part of the detail of the state of the art of piano in jazz.  Critically, Shuffle Along is about a pianist, Ehud Asherie, making a recording in 2015 of (and here comes the subtitle), Solo Piano Interpretations from Blake and Sissle’s 1921 Broadway Musical.  Before I go there, I’ll try to clarify the significance and the context.

The story of the piano in jazz is the length of a long involved and evolving history of music which I can’t tell well in one paragraph, but let’s do it anyway:  I’ll flag early ragtime, segue into Harlem stride piano, then tick off Chicago, New York, Philly and the minstrel effective coming from the transformation of dance bands into jazz orchestras, be-bop and hard-bop, digress through various revivals of so called ‘traditional jazz’ (New Orleans, Dixieland etc), the classism of the modal model, the whole-tone clusters of free jazz, possibly junk the keyboard and all its chords then bring it back centre stage to play the blues, turn electric, go fusion and, somewhere along this brilliant continuum, go way out across the Atlantic into the heartlands of old Europe and work our way throughEhud Asherie Shuffle Along the whole notated framework of scores and manuscripts.  If you’ve got this far, you already know the names of the key stylists so I won’t list them.  It’s breath taking, yet the piano is not a blown instrument, it is tuned percussion.

And that is the point, I am listening to this new, truly remarkable recording of tunes composed by the pianist Eubie Blake for the very first Broadway musical written by Black writers and performed by an all Black cast.  Ehud Asherie is not Black; he was born in Israel in 1979 and emigrated to the United States with his family when he was nine.  I don’t really care about that, what I know for sure is that Ehud Asherie is one of the most important piano players in America today.  I realise that what I am hearing on this new album is not a piano ‘style’ but the integrity of being a musician bound to an enduring keyboard history.  In 2016, without a word of a lie, I can easily say that Ehud Asherie has made the definitive contemporary piano statement in a jazz styling we know as ‘swing’ or ragtime.  Okay, I can say it, but Ehud Asherie’s album is so much more than that.  For me, irrespective of the obvious implications of the material itself, this solo piano recording is so vigorously articulated, so positioned and poised, so in the zone of extending great jazz improvisations, I cannot be doing with counting off all the influences.  Mr Asherie is beyond all that, what we have here is jazz piano of the very highest order.  The weight of this music is not in the past or even in the style, rather it is about the current currency of today.  Ehud Asherie is the real deal.

Those readers who picked up on my April review of Ken Peplowski’s Enrapture album will have a little prior knowledge of my enthusiasm for this pianist.  Now, in this solo setting, it is easy to just become enveloped by what is happening from the Asherie piano.  There are nine tracks and each one is a short, concentrated Ehud Asheriepresentation of all those original Eubie Blake ingredients procured and played as if Mr Asherie is handling precious objects.  The opening, Gypsy Blues, is a brave beginning; there is no obvious fancy dancing.  The title belies the sophisticated chord progression and lyrical melody line, his rendering is exquisite.  The touch is slightly louche with an unhurried delicacy which is rhythmically true.  Another word I want to use is ‘balanced’ – Ehud Asherie walks the talk, putting in an emphasis here and there, balancing the timbre but without any kind of drama, just folding the note, taking his time to snag the corners as he goes along.

Click here to listen to Gypsy Blues from the album.

There are two versions of I’m Just Wild About Harry, (I wonder if Manning Serwin copped a little of Harry when he wrote A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square a decade later?)  Asherie’s first version starts with a ripple but develops into a tour de force; again he doesn’t give the game away.  This is a pianist with everything to say but he has no need to say it all at the same time.

For me there are three truly stellar performances on the album; I’m Cravin’ For That Kind of Love, Bandana Days and If You’ve Never Been Vamped By A Brownskin.  (The title of the latter, if you don’t choose to unpack the context, is a hard moniker to reconcile in 2016.  I guess in 1921 it had a different kind of shock value as a Broadway song written by two Black songwriters.)  What these trio of tunes all have in common is a stride piano technique underlying the compositional framework; but at completely different angles. Ehud Asherie is playing sleight of hand.  On Cravin’, the innate beauty of the quirky melody is never passed over, yet there’s a lot more detail stuff going on. 

Click here for a video of Ahud Asherie playing Bandana Days live with Jon-Erik Kellso on trumpet.

My father brought me up listening to Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith, so I’ve always had a thing about how ‘stride’ breaks down.  Later, when I bought myself some ears of my own, I heard Jaki Byard’s piano alongside Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Charles Mingus.  I caught the way Mr Byard sneaked stride piano into the most unlikely places, I became completely hooked. And I know writers describing Ehud Asherie understandably want to touchstoneShuffle Along poster James P. Johnson and Art Tatum, but I think he’s closer to Byard. Take for example Bandana Days; it starts with a neat, really neat introduction.  It could be going almost anywhere other than the direction it actually takes.  Like Byard on Mingus’s version of Take The A Train, once Asherie gets into his stride he finds what he wants from it, takes it to town and then simply let’s go.  When Ehud Asherie plays Brownskin he rests on the rhythm but, all the time is folding in little individual masterpieces.  At no time does it sound like he’s showing off.  There is a natural pace to the proceedings, which Michael Steinman in his sleeve notes refers to as “the lost art of the Saunter”.

The final track on the Shuffle Along album is Love Will Find A Way.  On You-Tube there’s a memorable 1978 version of Eubie Blake in his 90’s, playing the tune in concert.  I recommend taking in both Asherie and Blake’s versions. Asherie’s 2015 ‘interpretation’ touches the eloquence of the material with a deep reading of what is, in effect, a lost song.  Off the top of my head I can’t remember another contemporary version.  Love Will Find A Way is certainly not the usual candidate for the old cliché American Songbook.  Here at the end of this brilliant album Ehud Asherie places pathos into the music, moving the piano-song into a slow, slow, orbit.  For me, it could stay on my system just continually going round.


Click here to listen to Hear Ehud Asherie playing I’m Just Wild About Harry solo (& other tracks). Click here for details and to sample.

Click here for Eubie Blake live in 1978 playing and singing Love Will Find A Way. Click here for Jaki Byard with Charles Mingus and Eric Dolphy live in Oslo 1961 and Take The A Train

 

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

 

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Album Released: 1st January 2016 - Label: Audiophile Records

 

Marlene VerPlanck

The Mood I'm In

 

June Bastable reviews this album for us:

It’s hard to believe that this is Marlene VerPlanck’s twenty-fourth album!  As before, this veteran vocalist mixes familiar numbers from the Great American Songbook with less well-known and/or less-played jazz standards plus Marlene VerPlanck The Mood I'm In some interesting pieces from new composers.

Marlene VerPlanck was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. She was married to trombonist and arranger J. William (Billy) VerPlanck for 54 years from 1955 until his death in 2009.

Following her debut album I Think of You with Every Breath I Take in 1955 at age 21, she worked as vocalist for Charlie Spivak’s band and later sang with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Her long and successful career also includes working as a studio backing vocalist and singing advertisement jingles.

Being the only remaining member of a New York quartet which specialised in reviving neglected songs, the other three members being Bobby Short, Mabel Mercer and Barbara Lea, Marlene VerPlanck continues to carry the torch in her search for unusual or new numbers.

As ever, the voice remains elegant and amazingly youthful, with perfect intonation, heartfelt interpretation of the lyrics, thrilling blue notes and several spot-on high notes. It is certainly remarkable how every word comes across, clear and sparkling.

Often working with New York-based musicians, on this album she is joined by her London contingent who have Marlene VerPlanckbeen with Marlene for six years and accompanied her on her recent successful tour of the UK, and they are: John Pearce (piano); Paul Morgan (bass); Bobby Worth (drums); Mark Nightingale (trombone) and Andy Panayi (saxophone/flute).

All these musicians have been carefully chosen for their superlative abilities, either in supportive backing, or rising to the fore as in, for example, some smooth trombone (surely a Teagarden influence here) on Me and the Blues; beautifully lyrical flute on Free and Easy and I Want to Talk About You; romantic and superb piano (Ellis Larkins coming through) on It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dream, Certain People and various other tracks; and Marlene herself hitting the high spots, e.g. G# in Certain People and Come On Strong!

But it would be really unfair not to mention in despatches the drums and bass “backroom boys” who strut their stuff, creatively supporting and thrillingly defying any superlatives this reviewer could provide.  The whole group is cohesive, spirited, relaxed, upbeat, cool and swinging!

The twelve tracks on this album are:

1.  The Mood I’m In (Paul Francis Webster, Pete King)
2.   Me and the Blues (Ted Koehler, Harry Warren)
3.   Free and Easy (Bobby Troup, Henry Mancini)
4.   It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dream (Duke Ellington, Johnny Hodges, Don George)
5.   Certain People (Ronny Whyte, John Bunch)
6.   I Want to Talk About You (Billy Eckstine)
7.   Come On Strong (Sammy Cahn, Jimmy VanHeusen)
8.   All Too Soon (Duke Ellington, Carl Sigman)
9.   It Started All Over Again/The Second Time Around ( Bill Carey/Carl Fischer/Sammy Cahn, Jimmy VanHeusen)
10. This Is Always (Mack Gordon, Harry Warren)
11.  My Kind of Trouble is You (Paul Vandervoort, Benny Carter)
12.  Too Late Now (Alan Jay Lerner, Burton Lane)

Composers to conjure with, you’ll agree!

Click here for a video of Marlene VerPlanck singing You Turned The Tables On Me in 2010 (not on the album).

Click here for details and to sample. Click here for Marlene's website.

 

June Bastable

June Bastable is the wife of the late jazz musician, Johnny Bastable. She is a writer and author of two books Some People and These People available from Amazon, Waterstones, etc.

 


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Album Released: 3rd June 2016 - Label: Splash Point Records

 

Alex Webb and the Copasetics

Call Me Lucky

 

Howard Lawes reviews this album for us:

The first thing that strikes you about this album is that the cover looks very similar to that of A Hard Day's Night released in 1964 by the Beatles and the second thing is - can it really be more than 50 years since the Beatles produced their seminal album with songs that those of us of a certain age can still remember with great affection? Alex Webb has an equal affection for the songs of the Great American Songbook and the opportunities this type of music provides for jazz singers to entertain their audiences.

The Copasetic Foundation (founded in 2013) exists to promote the understanding and appreciation of jazz and related music and clearly, the aim of this album is to bring new jazz songs to a wider public. Although the original Copasetics, formed in 1949 and whose president was the great American composer and arrangerAlex Webb and the Copasetics Call Me Luchy Billy Strayhorn, had slightly different ambitions there is clearly a common thread between the two organisations. Alex Webb is also a very good songwriter having written all but one of the songs on the album and on top of that he has persuaded a eleven different vocalists to sing the songs, cleverly matching vocalist with song to great effect. 

An interesting characteristic of the songs is that many are clearly influenced by those of the Great American Songbook and in the album notes Webb mentions the singer Betty Carter, composer and arranger Billy Strayhorn and trumpeter Chet Baker as well as a previous project of his, Cafe Society Swing. Cafe Society Swing is a musical show relating in words and music the history of Cafe Society in New York where the pioneering jazz singer Billy Holiday regularly performed and Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne and almost anybody who was anybody in 1940's New York jazz appeared.

Call Me Lucky is an all vocal jazz album featuring a host of rising and established singing stars as well as a  many instrumentalists with different musicians playing on different tracks. Click here for four brief videos introducing the album.

Track 1, It's Your Move and Track 11, Low Low Places have the very talented and versatile Vimala Rowe who recently starred in London performances of Cafe Society - Alex Webb cites Billy Strayhorn as his inspiration for the melancholic Low Low Places.  Track 2, Winter, is a joint composition between Webb and the multi-talented singer and cellist, Anyanna Witter-Johnson, the beautiful lyrics are complemented by some lovely guitar from Jo Caleb and cello from Witter-Johnson. 

Track 3, Me And My Crazy Ideas, features one of the three male vocalists, David McAlmont, whose haunting voice is perfect for this reflective song.  Track 4, is the amusing Bad Girls and features the internationally acclaimed China Moses who also sings Nothing But A Blues on track 9, her repartee with the fine horn section of the band and her words "Bad girls need loving too"  is more than likely to melt many a heart. 

Track 5, As If, is sung by Cameroon born Sandra Nkaké and transports the listener to a cosy and intimate jazz club while Winston Rollins plays a bluesy solo on trombone. The title track, Call Me Lucky, is a swinging love Cherise Corynasong, sung by UK born, New York based, Alexia Gardener with Freddie Gavita on trumpet. The second male vocalist is young Mancunian, Alexander Stewart, singing Infatuation, another love song, this time with Sue Richardson on trumpet.

 

Cherise Coryna

 

Track 8, Open the Windows (Tudo Bem) which means 'OK' in Portuguese is a cheerful song evoking summer sunshine and warmth sung by Tomorrows Warrior and Trinity Laban student Cherise Coryna, a young singer with a great future who can also whistle a happy tune.  Allan Harris, who has been likened to Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Nat "King " Cole sings Enough which certainly confirms that these comparisons are accurate while the band swings to great effect. The End Of The Affair, but not the last track, is sung by Jo Harrop who cites Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Billie Holiday as her inspiration but this latin tinged love song clearly demonstrates her own love of singing. Singer / pianist and UK jazz superstar Liane Carroll brings the album to a close with Words I Never Spoke, a seriously good song demonstrating Webb's remarkable songwriting ability.

Call Me Lucky is a really nice album that both confirms Alex Webb as a gifted songwriter and highlights the range and great quality of singing in the jazz music genre.  The album is released on Splash Point Records on 3rd June and is launched at Pizza Express, Dean Street, London on 7th June (click here for details).

Musicians by track are as follows : 

Piano - Alex Webb, Lianne Carroll (13), Raphael Lemmonier (9).
Bass - Miles Danso (2,3,7,8,12), Alex Davis (4,5,6,11), Andrew Cleyndert (1,10), Fabien Marcoz (9)
Drums - Sophie Alloway (2,3,7,8,12), Andy Chapman (1,4,5,6,10,11), Jean-Pierre Derouard (9)
Trumpet & flugelhorn  - Sue Richardson (7,8,12)
Trumpet - Freddie Gavita (1,4,5,6,10,11)
Trombone - Winston Rollins (1,4,5,6,10,11)
Tenor sax - Denys Baptiste (1,4,5,6,10,11)
Alto sax - Nathaniel Facey (1,4,5,6,10,11)
Guitar - Jo Caleb
Cello - Ayanna Witter-Johnson
Percussion - Andres Ticino
Whistling - Cherise Coryna

Click here for details and to sample when album is released.

Click here to listen to an earlier recording of Open The Windows sung by Angelita.

Howard Lawes

 

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Album Released: 29th April 2016 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings

 

Preston-Glasgow-Lowe

Preston-Glasgow-Lowe

Robin Kidson reviews this album for us:

Preston-Glasgow-Lowe are David Preston on guitar, Kevin Glasgow on six-string electric bass, and Laurie Lowe on drums. They have been playing together since 2012 and Preston Glasgow Lowe is their eponymous debut album.

The trio specialises in jazz rock with a strong electronic music dimension - as well as playing guitar, David Preston is also credited in the liner notes with “additional synthesizers, programming and mixing”. The result is a complex but richly textured sound picture in which it is sometimes difficult to pick out who is playing what – apartPreston Glasgow Lowe album from Lowe’s drumming, that is, which drives the music forward and makes for a listening experience which encourages vigorous tapping of feet. 

The trio’s jazz rock credentials are established with the very first track, Colour Possesses, which has insistent and compelling riffs enhanced by overdubs and interesting electronic effects. Two models come to mind – the first is minimalist classical music in the manner of, say, Steve Reich or Philip Glass; the second is seventies prog rock, with shades of Yes (and its underrated guitarist, Steve Howe), King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer – indeed, a sound is generated towards the end of the track which sounds just like Keith Emerson in full flow on organ.

Click here to listen to Colour Possesses.

Colour Possesses was written by David Preston, as were six of the other tracks on the album. With his guitar and synthesizer duties as well, it is tempting to see Preston as your main man but this would be misleading since both Glasgow and Lowe have plenty of opportunity to shine and add their own distinctive contributions. The second track, for instance, Elephant and Castle is a Kevin Glasgow composition with an attractive main  theme and some very impressive bass solo work.

Everything in Everything is one of the Preston pieces and features him really stretching out on guitar with some effective overdubs. The hummable main theme sounds like something you might hear in a James Bond film.

The Priory is by Glasgow and is one of the longest tracks on the album. It features some neat drumming from Laurie Lowe including an absorbing solo. Again, there is an insistent Steve Reich type riff which gradually changes to something quite frantic and discordant until the tension is gloriously released and a gentler tune takes over - rather like a threatening man suddenly becoming nice.

Track 5, Song to the Citadel, is a slightly softer piece which swings along very nicely with more excellent bass Preston Glasgow Lowework from Glasgow. Preston plays some fine guitar moving dazzlingly up and down the frets creating a pleasing liquid sound. The next track, C:/>PU (where do they get these names from?) is back to prog rock with an interesting staccato Morse Code motif, a complex tempo, and some loud rock guitar. Click here for a live performance of the piece.

Tracks 7 to 10 make up one extended piece called Within You. The first part is a skillful guitar solo from Preston embracing a variety of idioms – Spanish, classical, as well as different jazz guitar styles. This leads into the second part which is notable for a long drum solo which manages to grab and, more importantly, keep the listener’s attention. The final part is like a summary of all that’s gone before on the album with intriguing electronically generated sounds as well as the trademark riffs and prodigious playing. At times (and not only on this track), the three musicians almost seem to wallow in their virtuosity in the certain knowledge that they can do virtually anything with string, fret and stick.

The final track, The Anvil, is another Kevin Glasgow composition which feels like the trio has separated out the main components of its style so that a particularly jazzy first half is followed by a hard rock second half which is thrillingly frenetic.

All in all, then, Preston Glasgow Lowe is superb and accessible jazz rock played by three technically accomplished, but also brilliantly imaginative musicians. 

Click here for an introductory video. Click here for details and to sample.

Click here for more information about Preston-Glasgow-Lowe.

Robin Kidson

 

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Album Released: 5th February 2016 - Label: Strikezone Records

 

Stryker / Slagel Band (Expanded)

Routes

 

Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us:

Stryker and Slagle have been involved in each other’s projects and produced several albums as part of a quartet. On their latest recording, guitarist Dave Stryker and saxophonist Steve Slagle explore the 'Routes' they have travelled and the musical 'Roots' they have explored in their creative collaboration of several decades. The Stryker / Slagle Band is expanded to include some imaginative and innovative 4-horn writing by Steve Slagle inStryker Slagel Band Routes an all-original program, as well as a Mingus masterpiece.

As the notes explain, “what does change electrifyingly in this new project is that the Stryker / Slagle Band’s classic quartet goes to an expanded line-up with keyboard and three additional horns. Slagle has written brilliant, multi-textured, engaging flavourful horn arrangements that repay repeated listening. You keep hearing new things. Superb keyboardist Bill O’Connell is present on acoustic piano or Fender Rhodes on all but one track, and three ace horn players join the mix: Billy Drewes on tenor sax and bass clarinet, John Clark on French horn, and Clark Gayton on trombone and tuba. Since Stryker is often a single-line voice in the ensemble and Slagle doubles on alto and soprano saxophones and flute. Driving the band with constant, ripping energy are bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer McClenty Hunter, who also weigh in with riveting solos”.

I have possibly mentioned this before, but I like to have albums that contain photos of the musicians, some notes about the tracks with timings and a nice piece of artwork on the cover. Although I do download music from the internet, having the complete information package in a CD just adds to the listening pleasure and this album meets those requirements. The CD is made up of 9 tracks and all are by Stryker or Slagle except for the one Mingus composition, which is track 3, Self-Portrait In Three Colours.

Click here for an introductory video.

Kicking off we have City of Angels, Slagle’s homage to Los Angles where he was born and brought up. A rousing horn start flows into a great sax solo with Slagle giving the tenor sax a good workout before Stryker takes over with his guitar followed by a piano solo from Bill O’Connell. Nothin’ Wrong With It, is a change of tone and speed with some intriguing playing, some slow, some faster. There is some skilful bass clarinet from Drewes, backed by the percussion and guitar to a bright sharp ending.

Click here for a video of the recording of Nothing Wrong With It.

Then we have the Mingus track, Self-Portrait In Three Colours. As you would expect, the bass playing comes to Dave Strykerthe fore from Gerald Cannon but there is some sax (both tenor and soprano) to appreciate before Stryker’s guitar and O’Connell’s piano also get in on the act. This is a great rendition of a jazz classic and you could listen to it again and still find something to enjoy. The title track, Routes, swings along and the highlight for me was again, the guitar of Stryker complemented by the sax and keyboards with both a bass and piano solo masterfully demonstrating the range of tonal feeling from both instruments.

 

Dave Stryker

 

Slagle lived for eight years in Brooklyn in the neighbourhood of Ft Greene, and this is where he first started collaborating with Stryker and hence the title of the track is Ft. Greene Scene. This is fast and furious; a busy track full of verve, with the soprano sax going along at a pace before the guitar takes over followed by some nice keyboard work. The next track, Great Plains, goes back to Stryker’s Midwestern roots. It has a haunting atmospheric feel derived from the relaxed, reflective slow playing. The trombone and percussion playing also deserve a mention here.

The last three tracks are Extensity, Gardena and Lickety Split Lounge. The first two tracks here have virtuoso sax and guitar solos, whilst the third track has a bluesy feel with another great piano solo from O’Connell.

This is album shows how you can have two leaders in a band who complement each other so well in their playing, whilst the contribution from the other musicians makes the music more rounded, enriched and highlights the solo work.

Click here for details and to sample.

Tim Rolfe

 

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Album Released: 10th June 2016 - Label: 33Xtreme

 

Benet McLean

The Bopped And The Bopless

 

It was only a short while ago that I heard Benet McLean playing outstanding violin at Ronnie Scott's Club with Partikel's String Theory. Now here he is back on piano and vocals for an equally enjoyable album with Duncan Eagles (saxophone), Jonathan 'The Wolf' Harvey (bass) and Saleem Raman (drums). Various tracks are augmented with guests that include Gareth Lockrane (piccolo and flute), Noel Langley (trumpet), Ashley SlaterBenet McLean The Bopped And The Bopless (trombone), Jason Yarde (saxophone) and Isabella-Maria Asbjørnsen (harp).

Benet is known for piano playing that draws on a wide range of influences. Singer Ian Shaw has said: 'When Benet sings and plays, something so precise, virtuosic, soulful and swinging happens, it's almost unnerving.' And yet Benet trained at the Royal College of Music as a concert violinist, mentored by the likes of Yehudi Menuhin and he has performed with musicians such as Jean Toussaint and Sir Simon Rattle. This is his fourth album.

Benet's composition The Bopped And The Bopless opens the album with a saxophone riff that takes us into a vocal that (almost) makes me think of what it would be like if Donald Fagan were rapping, but Duncan Eagles soon takes his saxophone off into a solo until Benet's piano pulls you in with its energy, imagination and references. The end is a joyful 'all join in'. I Waited For You is the Gil Fuller number as arranged by Dizzy Gillespie with a solid opening that gentles into a slow, enunciated vocal by Benet with atmospheric 'sounds off'. Post-vocal the piano solo is a joy. The Planets is a short solo by its composer, bassist Jonathan Harvey, and the result is a multi-layered pleasure.

The Ruts' 1979 number Baylon's Burning takes us straight into a punk opening but then the piano and vocal rock out with full background underlay and some driving drumming by Saleem Raman that swells everyone into a full-Benet McLeanon outro. Benet's Lucy starts out with shades of Manhatten Transfer with wah-wah vocal over the top. I found this vocal introduction really effective and it leads nicely into a bass, piano and drums section before Benet sings and scats with piano rhythmically leading us out. Introduction To Polly is Isabella-Maria Asbjørnsen's brief harp introduction to Polly, a beautiful ballad by Benet on piano and and with lyrics that I wish had been printed in the liner notes.

The album ends with two Benet McLean compositions. Electric Bopland dischordantly riffs into a vocal that references the album title and takes us into a fascinating arrangement with pop-up contributions from the band and then everything slows down for Shizannah with a chorus based on Faure's Pavane. The vocals are clear but again I should have liked them in the liner notes. This is another considered, imaginative arrangement that works well and is better heard than described.

The Bopped And The Bopless is an inspired album with imaginative arrangements and that draws on a cornucopia of influences to deliver a truly satisfying listening experience. Early reviews from others suggest a mixed response, to which I can only suggest that the album deserves further listening. Hopefully more sampling will be available online for you to make up your own mind.

Click here for details and to sample when the album is released. Click here for Benet's website where you can also view his artwork.

Click here for a video of Benet and his band playing Electric Bopland live in 2013.

Ian Maund           

             

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Album Released: 6th May 2016 - Label: self release: www.noahpreminger.com

 

Noah Preminger

Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground

 

Jamie Evans reviews this album for us:

Noah Preminger (saxophone), Jason Palmer (trumpet), Kim Cass (bass), Ian Froman (drums)

Regarding personal taste in the field of painting, books, music and other forms of artistic endeavour most of us have a cut-off point, usually with age, where we feel we have become out of touch with an artist’s conception. In one of this reviewer’s favourite art forms, jazz, when the music went “free” from the late ‘60s onwards, I felt it had abandoned all the aspects that I found so appealing - swing, discipline, discernible patterns and sequences and,Noah Preminger Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground although, in its best manifestations, jazz was not usually all that popular, the “free” movement certainly alienated many former followers. But, hey, what did some critics say about Charlie Parker when he burst on the scene?

When Noah Preminger’s latest album arrived on my desk I viewed it with some trepidation. Noah, a 29-year-old US musician had already been given many critical plaudits since he cut his first CD at the age of 21 and has an impressive CV, having played and/or recorded with Billy Hart, Dave Holland, John Patitucci, Fred Hersch, Joe Lovano and many more fine musicians. 

What was of great appeal to these ears in this collection is the fact that Noah had chosen to go back to one of the primal forms of the music, the Delta Blues. As one would expect, the musicians here are all young (to this old stager anyway) and approach their art in a modern manner. 

Noah claims that the Delta Blues reflect all the characteristics he wants in his own playing - sincerity, story-telling and an urgency to get his message across and all the nine tracks here include the music of Willie Johnson, Bukka White, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson and more.

Nevertheless anyone expecting a pastiche of the old blues recordings with a touch of modernism will be disappointed because he has taken the soul and spirit of the music and played it in his own original way. 

Recorded at the Sidedoor Jazz Club in Old Lyme, Connecticut, but with no audience, Noah attempts to take the essence of the old bluesmen, who he admits, have absolutely nothing in common with his own life in 21st century America and attempts to emulate the feeling and sincerity of the old timers which he sees as lacking in so much modern music.

The quartet sticks to a conventional personnel format with the double bass usually anchoring the performances bebop-style while allowing soloists and percussion to take off into their own interpretations.

Click here for the introductory video.

The title track, Blind Willie Johnson’s Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground kicks off with a plaintive saxophone lament. For some reason the type of sax is never specified although it sounds like a tenor, strongly Noah premingerreminiscent of a Sonny Rollins throaty tone with echoes of Jimmy Guiffre. Noah and trumpeter, Jason Palmer, trade phrases with each other.

Another iconic song, Trouble in Mind, is a reverential treatment and is given the most conventional arrangement on the album. Superb trumpet work from Jason really gets inside what can be a clichéd composition. If I had a quid for every time I played this number in my active performance days I would indeed be rich. But it never sounded quite like this! 

Click here to listen tothe second track Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues.

I Am The Heavenly Way gets almost a hot gospel work-out and Jason once more blows up a tempest rather than a storm with his blazing technique. The delightfully named Black Snake Moan, a Blind Lemon Jefferson song, has a funky New Orleans feel to it while Future Blues enables Ian Froman to show his mettle with a rolling drum approach. 

The proceedings conclude with a hymn-like version of I Shall Not Be Moved.  This reviewer was surprised to learn that this was a Mississippi John Hurt song. It always appeared to be the anthem of political protest and was often sung on many protest marches - more Pete Seeger than Delta, one could say. Noah and the band approach the song with slow dignity and it is an appropriate ending to a fine collection of nine tracks.

My initial trepidation was completely dispelled and I found that casting aside any foregone conclusions I thoroughly enjoyed this homage to the sound and spirit of the Delta Blues. Without actually copying, the Preminger group managed to get inside and reflect an important phase of jazz music’s development. 

Click here for details.

Jamie Evans

Jamie Evans manages a website remembering the late clarinettist Alan Cooper - click here.

 

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Album Released: Spring 2016 - Label: Leo Records

 

Slava Ganelin, Alexey Kruglov, Oleg Yudanov

Us

Steve Day Reviews this album for us:

Vyacheslav 'Slava' Ganelin (piano, electronics); Alexey Kruglov (soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, bassett-horn, alto sax mouthpiece); Oleg Yudanov (drums, percussion).

At the end of last year I wrote a review of Russian New Music In China, Live In Shenzhen by Ganelin, Kruglov and Yudanov, I still haven’t been able to let go, and doubt that I will for many months to come.  However a full year has not yet gone by and the trio have released yet another concert.  This time recorded in Moscow at the DOM cultural centre in front of a home crowd who, unlike the Chinese audience, know very well what these threeGanelin Kruglov Yudanov Us musicians are capable of producing. It is a whole-through concert, no breaks just one unfolding performance using pre-written and improvised, commentary; plus two encores. 

Ganelin, Kruglov and Yudanov  have called the central track, That’s Us. And so it is.  Though of course, in structure (ie. whole-through ‘suite’), line-up (ie. keyboards, saxophones and percussion) and recording approach (ie. live concert as opposed to studio recording), this trio closely resembles the original band known as the Ganelin Trio or Ga-Ta-Che, as some people fondly refer to Slava Ganelin, Vladimir Tarasov and Vladimir Chekasin.  Via Leo Records, it was this trio that, at the end of the 20 Century, brought to the West an understanding of just how advanced the avant garde scene had become in Russia despite the limited access to support under the Soviet system.  This was all before Cold War relations had thawed, or at least before the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.  Okay, all that stuff needs to said.  Which is a shame in a way because what I really want to do is write about the new album, Us.

Sometimes, like the previous Shenzhen album, the old classic Ganelin Trio recordings, such as Catalogue and Ancora Da Capo, are difficult to manoeuvre around.  They have to be mentioned because of the enormity of their importance.  And on that note (sic) I suppose in 2016, Slava Ganelin would have made it easier for himself, and everybody else’s expectations, if his new band had been a quartet not a trio.  Personally I don’t think that is possible.  It is there in the deep inner intention of the man, he can’t escape it anymore than the listener can.  Slava GanelinWhat he plays today is still informed by the gravitas of his triangular music making – three musicians hitting off each other, turning predetermined structures into a spontaneous experience.

Slava Ganelin

For me the big achievers on the Us recording are Alexey Kruglov and Oleg Yudanov, who are positioned alongside Ganelin occupying the same roles as Vladimir Chekasin and Vladimir Tarvsov.  Press start and Vyacheslav Ganelin ripples something which is wonderfully discursive, almost casual in its creativity.  The fact that Kruglov curls his tenor horn out and under this easy, pensive piano introduction to produce a long, superbly elegant solo which sets the seal on everything that is to follow, demonstrates that Alexey Kruglov is a visionary and, importantly in this context, his own man.  When this mix of brilliance is eventually brought to an end at just before the ten minute mark it is Oleg Yudanov’s percussion which turns the tide. A spread of sound hit, hammered, struck, deftly flicked and beaten through with a touch which is almost tantric.  Oleg Yudanov was the drummer with Jazz Group Arkhangelsk (Archangel), the legendary ensemble that created a whole plethora of ‘new jazz’ in Siberia without bothering to advertise their actions in the West.  He is a master-drummer, who reminds me of the great Tony Oxley, in technique and rhythmic structure.  As far as I know, the two drummers have never met.

That’s Us is not epic in the way that the original Ganelin Trio nearly always were, but that does mean it does not provide a platform for stunning music.  This 21st trio is informed and knowledgeable, older certainly, experienced, even Alexey Kruglov has travelled his own distance, but they still employ shock tactics.  Never think you know what’s coming.  A third of the way through Ganelin produces a keyboard choir which sounds positively Transylvanian - an orgy of organ which has Kruglov and Yudanov dancing on top of the gigantic sound as if under a gothic spell.  Except it isn’t as crass as that; it is a perfectly placed interlude, and I found myself laughing out loud.  It is possible to laugh.  Later all three musicians will curve a serious three way dialogue which is totally mesmerising.  Although not credited on the sleeve, Slava Ganelin is using one of his many string instruments (it’s probably guitar, but I can’t be sure because he’s also using the piano interior).  Towards the end the pianist plays something which feels almost ancient and hymnal.  Throughout it all Alexey Kruglov is ‘soloing’ on his alto mouthpiece; squashed kisses, hisses and whispers.  It should sound ridiculous.  When I read what I’ve written down even I think it looks absurd on the page, but it isn’t to the ears: the solemnity of a chord structure againstAlexey Kruglov and Oleg Yudenov playful reeds refusing to pay homage, a percussion pattern which could have come from Africa rather than Siberia.  This is how it has always been with Slava Ganelin’s music.  We listen to a trio spiking in a humorous edge even in the face of what would seem to all intents and purposes sacred and profane.

 

Alexey Kruglov and Oleg Yudanov

At the very end, Alexey Kruglov finds one of his fabulous tenor solos that reaches out across all that has gone before.  This is in Moscow but it could be Nordic music, it could be anywhere in this world that knows the meaning of saxophone discovery.  Oleg Yudanov’s drums and cymbals are also there, piling on the fury and the fantastic.  I kid myself I have some awareness of at least part of the total journey this particular group of musicians have been on and this is as good as the best of it.  They finish and of course there is applause.

The two short(ish) encores that complete the album should not be written off as fillers.  Encore 1 is a decisive piano solo, complete with Ganelin’s old bassett keyboard still providing a rumbling bass-line.  Clearly this music has a compositional framework yet the performance explores beyond such boundaries.  Encore 2 is a drone circulating from Kruglov’s horns; piano and percussion gradually knit their own garment around it.  The beauty of the piece is that it retains the length of a miniature, a song without a voice pressed into less time than it takes to waste a prayer on sadness.  In their own quiet way these three musicians complete themselves, a stunning ending to a great concert.  So impressive.


Click here for Ganelin, Kruglov, Yudanov live in concert in Oslo (promo).

Click here for album details and to sample.

Click here for Ganelin, Kruglov, Yudanov playing live in concert in Moscow (full concert).          

 

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

 

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Ten New Releases / Re-Releases

 

One From Ten

We spend time with an album from our list of new and reissued recordings below.

Jason Palmer and Cédric Hanriot

City Of Poets


This French/American jazz exchange project (in association with the French-American Cultural Exchange and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation), has its overarching melodic frameworks based on Dan Simmons' literary themes of pilgrimage and the life stories of his prominent characters. So onJason Palmer and Cedric Hanriot City of Poets City Of Poets we have varied 'tales' from The Priest, The Soldier, The Poet, The Scholar, The Detective and The Consul, as well as mysterious four-armed, semi-organic creature The Shrike. American trumpeter Jason Palmer and French pianist/composer Cédric Hanriot have written the work for a quintet that includes Donny McCaslin (tenor saxophone), Michael Janisch (double bass) and Clarence Penn (drums). 

Released through Whirlwind Recordings on 20th May, City Of Poets is an improvisational concept  centered around Olivier Messiaen's 7 Modes of Limited Transportation and US author Dan Simmons' acclaimed, four-novel science fiction series Hyperion Cantos. It seems sufficiently intriguing to prompt further exploration of its background.

Palmer and Hanriot chose to restrict themselves to Messiaen's seven modes, each of which are Jason Palmerdefined by differently shifting degrees/intervals (though always symmetrical and each sharing the same beginning and ending reference point). Once the melodic structure was in place, Palmer explains, the harmonic and rhythmic content for each of the seven tracks arrived quite easily: "It was quite an exercise in creative periphery, the art of taking in literary work and creating musical work simultaneously."

Jason Palmer

Launched in 2014 and emphasising its cross-cultural ethos with concerts and masterclasses in the USA, UK and France, the work has taken on an energy of its own. From the colourful, two-horned vibrancy of The Priest's Tale (Mode II) to dusky piano/bass blues The Detective's Tale (Mode VII), this is music which shrieks spontaneity and whispers the work of imagination, reflecting the creative, cultural Cedric Hanriotroots of both its inspirers and realizers. Percussively piquant The Shrike (Mode I) revels in Palmer's blistering trumpet extemporisations, whilst Michael Janisch's supple, effected bass enhances the mystery of The Scholar's Tale (Mode III). The Soldier's Tale (Mode IV) swings coolly to Hanriot's pianistic deftness, and the broad landscapes of both The Poet's Tale (Mode V) and The Consul's Tale (Mode VI) throw the rich fluidity of McCaslin's tenor into the spotlight.

Click here to listen to The Poet's Tale (Mode V).

Cédric Hanriot

Whirlwind Recordings say: 'This recording, captured before a receptive, live audience at London's Pizza Express Jazz Club, expresses all the intended fervor and vigor of this original music and the excitement and freedom emanating from the quintet's sparky invention. To put a musical slant on the words of English philosopher Bertrand Russell, quoted in Dan Simmons' Hyperion: "Language serves not only to express thought but to make possible thoughts which could not exist without it."

Click here and scroll down to listen to other tracks from the album.

City of Poets was released on 20th May. We shall review the album in a future issue.

 

 

 

 

Ten Recent Releases and Re-Issues

 


The Ten

Our monthly ten suggestions of other new releases or re-releases.

(Although we might link to the digital albums to sample, the recordings are usually available as audio CDs as well where you might find more details).

 

Kenny Barron Trio Book Of Intuition

 

1. Kenny Barron Trio - Book Of Intuition - (Impulse)

[Click here for details. Click here for video. Click here for review]

 

 

 

 

 

Carla Bley Andy Sheppard Steve Swallow Andando El Tiempo

 

2. Carla Bley / Andy Sheppard / Steve Swallow - Andando el Tiempo - (ECM)

[Click here for details. Click here for review]

 

 

 

 

Charles  Mingus Complete 1960 Nat Hentoff Sessions

 

3. Charles Mingus - The Complete 1960 Nat Hentoff Sessions - (Essential Jazz Classics - 3 CD Box Set)

[Click here for details and to sample]

 

 

 

 

Jason Palmer Cedric Hanriot City Of Poets

 

4. Jason Palmer and Cedric Hanriot - City Of Poets - (Whirlwind)

[See One From Ten article above]

 

 

 

 

 

Sonny Criss Saturday Morning

 

5. Sonny Criss - Saturday Morning - (Xanadu Master)

[Click here for details. Click here to listen to the LP]

 

 

 

 

DeJohnette Coltrane Garrison In Movement

 

6. Jack DeJohnette / Ravi Coltrane / Matthew Garrison - In Movement - (ECM)

[Click here for details. Click here for video. Click here for information]

 

 

 

 

 

Billie Holiday Lester Young Complete Studio Recordings

 

7. Billie Holiday and Lester Young - Complete Studio Recordings - (Essential Jazz Classics - 3 CD Box Set)

[Click here for details]

 

 

 

 

Steve Kuhn Trio At This Time

 

8. Steve Kuhn Trio - At This Time - (Sunnyside)

[Click here for details and to sample. Click here for review]

 

 

 

 

Karin Krog John Surman Infinite Paths

 

9. Karin Krog and John Surman - Infinite Paths - (Meantime Records)

[Click here for details]

 

 

 

 

 

Gary Burton Quartet Genuine Tong Funeral

 

10. The Gary Burton Quartet with Orchestra - A Genuine Tong Funeral - (RCA Victor / Legacy)

[Click here for details and to sample. Click here for Part 1 and other parts]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

with apologies to Chuck Berry (click here)

Can you help?

We regularly receive requests for information about musicians, music, etc. Responses sometimes come months after we have featured the request so we have started a separate page. Please click here to see if you can help ...



 

 

 

Some UK Jazz Venues - Gig Link

 

 

It is impossible for me to include a list of all the gigs taking place during a month. I have decided to take an approach where I will list venues geographically and give you their website links so you can check what is going on in a particular area. If you would like me to include links to other venue listings, please let me know.

 

Dublin: JJ Smyth's, 2, Aungier Street, Dublin 2. www.jjsmyths.com

Dublin: Sugar Club, 8, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. www.thesugarclub.com

Dublin: National Concert Hall, Dublin 2. www.nch.ie

Dublin: Flanagan's (Basement) Piano Bar, 61 Upper O'Connell Street, Dublin 1. www.flanagansdublin.com

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

Wicklow: The Hot Spot Music Club, Harbour Lodge, Bayswater Terrace, Cliff Rd, Greystones, Co. Wicklow. www.thehotspot.ie

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

 

Scotland: The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen, 121 Gallowgate, Aberdeen, AB25 1BU. www.thejazzbar.co.uk

Scotland: Fife Jazz Club, The Woodside Hotel, Aberdour. email: fifejazzclub@yahoo.co.uk

Scotland: The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, 1a, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HR. www.thejazzbar.co.uk

Wales: Dempsey's, Cardiff, 15, Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BS. www.jazzatdempseys.org.uk

 

Newcastle-upon-Tyne: The Jazz Cafe, 25 - 27 Pink Lane, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 5DW. www.jazzcafe-newcastle.co.uk

Cumbria: Kendal Jazz Club, The River Bar, Hawkshead Brewery, Stavely Mill Yard, Back Lane, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 9LR. www.kendaljazzclub.co.uk.

Lancashire: Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club, The Grand Theatre, 18 York St. Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 2DL. www.rvjazzandblues.co.uk

Liverpool: The Capstone Theatre, Shaw Street, Liverpool, L6 1HP. www.thecapstonetheatre.com

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

Yorkshire: Wakefield Jazz, Wakefield (College Grove) Sports Club, Eastmoor Road, Wakefield, WF1 3RR. www.wakefieldjazz.org

Yorkshire: Jazz In The Spa, Boston Spa, Village Hall, High Street, Boston Spa. www.jazzinthespa.co.uk

South Yorkshire: Sheffield Jazz, Various venues in Sheffield. www.sheffieldjazz.org.uk

Manchester: Matt and Phred's, 64 Tib Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1LW. www.mattandphreds.com

Birmingham: Birmingham Jazz Listings www.jazzinbirmingham.co.uk

Hertfordshire: Herts Jazz Club, Welwyn Garden City, Screen2, Hawthorne Theatre, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6BX. www.hertsjazz.co.uk

Essex: The Electric Palace, Harwich, King's Quay. Harwich. www.electricpalace.com

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

Buckinghamshire: Amersham Jazz Club, Beaconsfield SYCOB FC HP9 2SE. www.amershamjazzclub.co.uk

Oxford: The Bullingdon, 162 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1UE www.thebullingdon.co.uk

Oxford: James Street Tavern, 47-48 James St, Oxford OX4 1EU.
Last Wednesday of each month, 8.45 pm, Free entry - The Trish Elphinstone Quintet.

 

London: Jazz London Live, Listings website for London and South East. www.jazzinlondon.live

London: King's Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG. www.kingsplace.co.uk

London: LUME, www.lumemusic.co.uk

London: Pizza Express, Soho, 10, Dean Street, London W1. www.pizzaexpresslive.com

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

London: Ronnie Scott's Club, Soho, 47 Frith Street, London W1. www.ronniescotts.co.uk  

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

London: The Forge, Camden, 3-7 Delancey Street, Camden, London NW1 7NL. www.theforgevenue.org

London: Chickenshed Theatre Jazz Bar, Southgate, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. www.chickenshed.org.uk

London: The Vortex, 11, Gillett Street, N16 8AZ. www.vortexjazz.co.uk

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

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

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

London: Omnibus, Old Clapham Library, 1 Clapham Common Northside, London, SW4 0QW. www.omnibus-clapham.org

London: 606 Club, 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0QD. www.606club.co.uk

London: The Bull's Head, Barnes, 373 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, London, SW13 9PY. www.thebullshead.com

London: Putney, The Half Moon, Putney , 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1EU.
Dick Laurie's Elastic Band. The band now plays the first Sunday and third Sunday of every month.
Sunday, 5th June and Sunday, 19thJune - 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm

London: The Hideaway, Streatham, 25 Streatham High Rd, London SW16 6EN. www.hideawaylive.co.uk

London: e17 Jazz, Walthamstow, Gnome House, 7 Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow, E17 6DS. www.e17jazz.com

London: The Jazz Nursery, St Mary Overies Dock, Cathedral Street, London SE1. www.jazznursery.com

 


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

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

Surrey: Guildford Jazz, 2 venues - Guildford and Godalming Rugby Club, Guildford Road, Godalming GU7 3DH (second Wednesday in month); Guildford Electric Theatre, Onslow Street. Guildford GU1 4SZ (Tuesday nights). www.guildfordjazz.wordpress.com

Surrey: Watermill Jazz, Dorking, Betchworth Park Golf Club, Reigate Road, Dorking RH4 1NZ. www.watermilljazz.co.uk

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

Sussex: Splash Point Jazz Club, Seaford, Splash Point Jazz Club Seaford at The View, Seaford Head Golf Club, Southdown Road, Seaford. www.splashpointmusic.com

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

Sussex: Splash Point Jazz Club, Brighton Marina, Splash Point Jazz Club at The Master Mariner, Inner Lagoon, Brighton Marina. www.splashpointmusic.com

Sussex: Chichester Jazz Club, Pallant Suite, 7 South Pallant, Chichester, PO19 1SY. www.chichesterjazzclub.co.uk

 

Gloucestershire: Cirencester, Kings Head Hotel, 24 Market Place, Cirencester GL7 2NR. www.kingshead-hotel.co.uk

Bath: Canary Gin Bar, 3 Queen Street, Bath.
Jazz Times Three. Click here for dates.

Bristol: The Be-Bop Club, The Bear, Hotwell Road, Bristol, BS8 4SF. www.thebebopclub.co.uk

Somerset: Ilminster Arts Centre, The Meeting House, East Street, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0AN. www.themeetinghouse.org,uk

Dorset: Bridport Arts Centre, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NR. www.bridport-arts.com

Dorset: Sound Cellar, Poole, The Blue Boar, 29 Market Close, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1NE, www.soundcellar.moonfruit.com

Cornwall: St. Ives Jazz Club, Western Hotel, Gabriel Street, St. Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2LU. www.stivesjazzclub.com

 


 

 

Jazz Talks: Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas

Buckinghamshire:

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 drbobmoore-inbiltec@supanet.com

Norwich:

Similarly, Roy Headland who gives occasional talks to Norwich Jazz and Blues Record Club is offering to give talks with music to other groups in the Norwich area. A recent talk 'A Jazz Tour of Norwich and Norfolk' to an audience of 60 had the organiser saying: "Thank you for giving us such an informative and enjoyable evening,full of musical stars.The feedback was good and we hope to see you back with part 2." Other talks Roy has given include: Condon Jam Sessions; Clarinet Kings of Swing; Tommy Ladnier -"Mandeville to New York "; and a talk to Rotary on "The Winter Solstice" (their request) on Dec 21st which I managed to link in with Artie Shaw and called "The Shawtest Day"!

Roy's email address is: royheadland@gmail.com.

 

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