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July 2016

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

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

 

It didn't take me long to notice that everybody in the entertainment business made it a point to dress sharp ...The guys that dressed to kill always got the good jobs. There were no such things as band uniforms then ... Now I'm going to give you the correct lowdown on how we all dressed in olden times ...

First, we'll take the overcoat because that was the first garment the customers would see you in - in the cold season ... I favored a blue melton overcoat and suit to match. You could get a melton in blue, gray or brown ... My overcoat alone cost roughly 150 dollars - it could be pawned for a hundred bucks when new ...

For dressing up I always wore a derby or a twenty-five-dollar Stetson hat with a soft brim. Derbies appealed to me because they were worn by the English, the rabbis, and members of my Masonic lodge. I found that by pulling the derby down in front it gave me mental poise while in action on the piano ...

 

Willie TheLioan Smith

 

I usually paid around a hundred dollars for my suits at Bromberger's. It was customary for entertainers to have at least twenty-five suits - you couldn't wear the same suits too often ... The style was full or box-back cut, square shoulders, and a padded lining. My pants were tight with long, peg-topped fourteen inch cuffs ...

One of the most important features of our attire was the shirt - when you worked with your coat off it was the policy to have a real fancy silk shirt ...

Although we didn't show it like the gals did, we also all wore silk underwear. Yes sir, the colorful ladies around those places inspired us to tiptoe on all fours to compete with their feminine poise. Many of us carried a cane to balance our stride ... If we had diamonds, we flashed them. Some like the late Jelly Roll Morton wore diamond fillings in their teeth. I recall one tickler ... who even had a diamond set in one of his bulldog's teeth ...

 

From Music On My Mind by Willie The Lion Smith

 


Who's This?

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

Who's This?

 

Who's This?

 

Who's This?

 

 

 

Unheard Bird

Set for release on 1st July, a two-disc release on the Verve label brings previously unheard recordings from Charlie Parker. The dates come fromUnheard Bird album his sessions with Norman Granz between 1949 and 1952 and included with out-takes and false starts there are 58 'never listed' studio takes. Co-produced by jazz historian Phil Schaap, there are detailed session and track analyses in the liner notes. Schaap says of Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes: 'These previously unknown takes are a blockbuster, providing heretofore-unheard Bird improvisations in high fidelity.'

Some of the material was originally released on Mercury, Clef and Verve, but the new material features Bird's four and six piece groups, latin jazz with Machito and his Orchestra, orchestral string pieces and big band numbers with Oscar Peterson, Freddie Green and Ray Brown. The Golden Era BeBop Five are also here.There are also ten tracks from a project with Cole Porter that was never finished because of Bird's illness and death.

prnewswire.com says: 'Discovering previously unheard music is a consistent hope for serious jazz fans. Finding unreleased music from legends, especially those who departed far too early with their legacies incomplete, is a true joy; one of those legends whose every note leads to an adventure of innovation is the immortal Charlie "Bird" Parker ... Discovered in a cache of materials owned by a former associate of Norman Granz, the founder of Verve Records and visionary producer of these sessions, the newly discovered takes allow the listener inside the private domain between Parker and Granz as they developed some of the most important music in jazz.'

Click here for details.

 

 

 

 

Sam Leak Solo Piano

Sam Leak

On 22nd May, Sam Leak played a solo piano gig at London's Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston. The video of selected pieces from the gig runs for about 8.45 minutes and is well worth spending that short time with - click here.

Sam Leak is a London-based jazz pianist known partly for his work with his band Aquarium but also for his playing with other bands in the UK. He has composed a number of extended suites for various ensembles including his big band, a quintet, and a piano duet with US pianist Dan Tepfer. He also co-leads a touring quartet with saxophonist Alex Merritt, a piano duet with Richard Fairhurst and a trio.

Sam's trio will be launching their Autumn 2016 UK tour with a main set performance at the Ronnie Scott's International Piano Trio Festival on August 20th. Click here for Sam's website.

 

 

 

 

NYJO Sponsorship and Natixis

Jazzwise magazine reports that Natixis Global Asset Management has agreed a new corporate partnership with the National Youth Jazz NatixisOrchestra to the tune of £25,000 for 2016. The deal will support NYJO's education work.

Nataxis fund a 'Jazz Ambassader Project', launched in 2015 as part of an 'Ambassador Program' - aNYJO company initiative ' that focuses on supporting fundamental social services, including healthcare, housing, education and mentoring through strong partnerships, employee involvement, financial contributions, and leveraging various relationships for mutual benefit.'

They say: ' .. the Jazz Ambassador Project (is) a force that brings people together, connects cultures, unites communities and enhances the lives of individuals around the world. As a global asset management firm, we do business around the world with a wide array of clients within many different cultures. Jazz is a celebration of innovation, diversity, and a commitment to collaborating as an ensemble. There’s a lot we can learn from jazz.'

Natixis already sponsor the Newport Jazz Festival, the Festival's scholarship programme, and the Berklee Summer in the City / Beantown Jazz Festival. They encourage a concept of 'Ambassador' and invite anyone to become involved: 'You can help spread this message of innovation and community by becoming a Jazz Ambassador, like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and other jazz greats.'

'And you don’t need to be a jazz impresario or a diplomat to do it! Each and every one of us can apply the principles of jazz diplomacy in our daily lives, any time we face a challenging task. Maybe you need to improvise – to experiment. Maybe you need to listen more carefully to other members of your community. Finding a balance between individual freedoms and responsibility to your community is the foundation of jazz and the goal of the Jazz Ambassador Project.'

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Who?

This month's quiz challenges you with fifteen questions starting with the word Who ...?

You can check how well you have Who's this? done on the Answers page - don't forget to check your score.

Question Mark

 

 

For example: Who was the blind piano player who wrote the jazz standard 'Lullaby Of Birdland'?

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

John Coltrane Mono Box Set

John Coltrane Mono


Here's one for the aficionados. On June 10th Rhino Records released The John Coltrane Atlantic Mono Boxed Set, available on CD and vinyl.

The idea has been to take six of the saxophonist's mono albums and let listeners hear the recordings as they first appeared. The albums are: Giant Steps; Bags & Trane; Ole Coltrane; Coltrane Plays The Blues; The Avant-Garde and The Coltrane Legacy. The albums have been re-mastered and come with their original artwork and labels. There is also a 32-page booklet with period photos and liner notes. If you buy the vinyl edition you also get a replica rendering of Coltrane's 7" single - My Favourite Things.

The release of the album coincides with the creation of a new documentary on Coltrane titled Chasin’ Trane, set to premiere later this year.

Click here for news item. Click here for details and to sample.

 

 

 

Saint John Coltrane Church Fund Raiser

Since 1971, the Church of Saint John Coltrane in San Francisco has provided a spiritual haven. It was founded on the idea of Coltrane's album A Saint John Coltrane Church logo Love Supreme with the mission: 'To paint the globe with the message of A Love Supreme, and in doing so promote global unity, peace on earth, and knowledge of the one true living God.'

The church, which quotes St John Will I Am Coltrane as its inspiration has had to move its premises to another site at 2097 Turk Street, San Francisco CA 94115 and to raise money for the move, the Exploresound label is issuing a vinyl fundraiser. All proceeds from the record will go to benefit the Church and in helping them to pay for a new space. The release features live recordings from their Sunday mass and will be available on LP and Digital Download.

The church holds its mass each week: 'We encourage everyone to participate in the services by singing along, clapping your hands, and dancing. If you play an instrument, bring it. Get your praise on! Mass consists of Confession, the Coltrane Liturgy, Scripture readings, Hymns, Spirituals, and Preaching.'

Click here for a video promotional item. From this video, it is questionable whether readers will be interested in buying the recording, but the existence of the Church and its ethos might be of interest.

Click here for details of the church.

Click here for the Exploresound news item.

 

 

 

 

 

Preview

Clare Teal
and the Hallé Orchestra
'Twelve O'Clock Tales'

 

Clare Teal Twelve O'Clock Tales

 

In August, Clare Teal will release her latest album Twelve O’Clock Tales, with a full orchestra and big band (93 musicians in total), conducted by Stephen Bell and arranged by world class composer and trumpet maestro Guy Barker and with celebrated jazz pianists Grant Windsor and Jason Rebello.  Twelve O’Clock Tales, a lyric taken from Billy Strayhorn’s Lush Life, explores timeless classics penned by legendary musical storytellers of the last 100 years, and celebrates the giants of the Great American and British Songbooks Clare Tealtogether with Clare’s own original compositions.

From swing to ballads, the album reflects Clare’s versatility as a performer. She says: ‘This is our most ambitious project to date and being accompanied by the Hallé is an absolute privilege.   To be in a room surrounded by 93 incredibly talented musicians wondrously lifting these stunning arrangements right off the page before your eyes makes for a great day out – to actually then add your own voice to the story is a dream come true’.

The song list includes ‘Secret Love’, ‘Feeling Good’, ‘The Folks Who Live On The Hill’, ‘I’ll Never Stop Loving You’, ‘Wild Is The Wind’, ‘It Might As Well Be Spring’, ‘Sans Souci’ and ‘Paradisi Carousel’.  The Hallé is now in its 158th season and ranks among the UK’s top symphonic ensembles with acclaimed performances worldwide. 

 

Click here to view an introductory video about the album.

Clare has been voted British Jazz Singer of the Year three times and also BBC’s Jazz Singer of the Year. She has been awarded the coveted Gold Badge by BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors), the Yorkshire Awards Arts & Entertainment Personality of the Year, and in 2015 an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music by the University of Wolverhampton. 

Click here to listen to the album.

Twelve O’Clock Tales is released on MUD records on August 19th 2016.

 

 

 

Don't Call Me Clyde!

Don't Call Me Clyde!

Subtitled The Jazz Journey Of A Sixties Stomper, clarinettist Peter Kerr's new book looks back over his time with the Clyde Valley Stompers. It is more than that however - Pete tells me: 'It's not an out-and-out jazz book as such, but equally a bit of social history, in so much as it charts how young people and their families lived in the years following WW2.'

The Clyde Valley Stompers were one of Scotland's premier jazz bands and creators of a phenomenon dubbed 'Stompermania'. In 1961, Pete was just 20 when he inherited leadership of the band when they moved to London. The following year they had a hit in the charts with their version of Prokofiev's Peter And The Wolf produced by George Martin in his pre-Beatles days.

The band went on to appear on television in the company of big names of the day and to record and appear in films. Pete's book looks back not just at the story of the band but at the friendships, hardships and itinerent nature of bands touring in those days.

We shall be reviewing the book in detail in a future issue but it is now available published by Oasis-WERP.

The book, a paperback, is available at £9.99. Click here for details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tracks Unwrapped

Cotton Tail

 

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

There is a website (animalinyou.com) where you can answer nine questions and it will tell you which sort of animal they think you are like (if you try it, be careful not to click the advertisement arrows). You might turn out to be a Cottontail.

According to them: ‘Cottontail personalities are small, gentle individuals with a tendency towards shyness and whose instinct is to run at the firstCotton Tail rabbit sign of danger. Their extraordinarily acute senses are well-developed and always on the lookout for any impending peril ... Almost all mammal personalities find them to be irresistibly attractive and they rarely need to employ their personal resources to succeed in their careers or relationships. Their quiet, solitary behaviour is often mistaken for timidness, but cottontails are actually quite aggressive in their search for resources.’

Here we are talking about the American Cottontail rabbit, genus Sylvilagus, elsewhere described as: 'having stub tails with white undersides that show when they retreat, giving them their name: "cottontails"... (they are) Ben Webstervery sexually active creatures, and mated pairs have several offspring many times in all seasons, it is more likely than not that none will survive to adulthood. Those that do manage to avoid being eaten (by snakes and birds of prey), grow very quickly and are considered full grown adults at three months.’

Ben Webster is recognised as being one of the top swing tenor players (Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young were the others in the vanguard); his playing is described as ‘tough, raspy, and brutal tone on stomps (with his own distinctive growls) yet on ballads he would turn into a pussy cat and play with warmth and sentiment.’ One description says: ‘Webster had broad shoulders, a fine beaked nose, and imperious flanking bags under his eyes, and he radiated a powerful handsomeness. But in his last years he gained an enormous amount of weight; his legs gave out and he used a cane, and his playing became halting and even incoherent. Yet he never lost his sweetness.’

I find it difficult to link Ben Webster to the description of the Cottontail rabbit. And yet Ben's link to the Ellington tune is historic and enduring. Perhaps the link does not have any hidden meaning, it may be that Ben Webster just took a brilliant solo on the tune and the association stuck. Of course, that doesn’t help us in understanding why Ellington named the tune ‘Cotton Tail / Cottontail’ in the first place.’

 

Come on, Wail
Wail, Cotton Tail
Benny Webster, come on and blow for me

That's Cotton Tail

 

The tune is based on the rhythm changes from Gershwin's I Got Rhythm. With its saxophone riffs and Webster’s solo it was first recorded by the Ellington band in 1940.

Click here to listen to Cotton Tail. Wallace Jones, Ray Nance, Cootie Williams (trumpets), Rex Stewart (cornet), "Tricky" Sam Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombones), Juan Tizol (valve trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet / tenor sax), Johnny Hodges (alto sax, soprano sax, clarinet), Otto Hardwick (alto sax, baritone sax), Ben Webster (tenor sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax), Duke Ellington (piano), Jimmy Blanton (bass), SonnyBen Webster Greer (drums).

Staying with Ben Webster for a moment, one summary of the man that I like is in the New Yorker Magazine (click here). The article tells us much about the man and his playing: ‘Webster's ballads were intimate and cajoling, but never sentimental. Everything tightened when he played the blues. The breathiness vanished, and his phrases became short and hard; he preached and badgered. His ballads insinuated, but his slow blues were in your face.'

Click here for a video of Ben Webster playing Somewhere Over The Rainbow in the UK in the 1960s with Stan Tracey (piano), Rick Laird (Bass) Jackie Dougan (Drums).

'Webster swung irresistibly in medium tempos. His blues moved at a run, and if he played a thirty-two-bar song he would alter the melody discreetly in the first chorus, then elbow the melody aside, replacing it with pure blocks of sound. Fast tempos sometimes got away from him. He'd coast through his first chorus and, either angry or perhaps hungover, start growling, an abrasive sound that would finally end a Duke Ellington Orchestrachorus or two later with a shuddering, out-of-my-way tremolo. But sometimes this abrasiveness worked, as in Webster's celebrated roaring solo on Ellington's Cotton Tail.'

Click here for a video of the Ellington band playing Cotton Tail in the film Hot Chocolate with Whitey's Lindy Hoppers from Harlem's Savoy Ballroom, the emphasis here is on the dancing rather than Ben's solo, but it does give us a picture of the Ellington Orchestra at the time, even though it looks very 'staged'.

Ben Webster’s story as told in that New Yorker article describes one of many musicians who, despite their genius, saw their popularity wane as fashion in music changed: ‘In 1964, Webster, who had never been to Europe, was offered a month-long gig at Ronnie Scott's club in London. He went, and he never came back, thus joining the dozens of black American jazz musicians who immigrated to Europe in the fifties and sixties. His life had all but dried up (in America) ... he discovered almost immediately that he was relished not only in England but in Sweden and Norway and Denmark and Holland, and in due course he settled in Amsterdam ...

Click here for a video of Ben Webster playing Danny Boy in Denmark in 1965 with Kenny Drew (piano), Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), and Alex Riel (drums).

In 1969, Ben moved to Copenhagen, where he was shepherded by a nurse, Birgit Nordtorp. He worked almost steadily, but his drinking, which had begun to accelerate in the forties, was getting in the way. .. normally as sweet as cream, (he) became so fractious when he was drunk that he had long been known among American musicians as “the Brute.” He died in 1973 in Amsterdam.

The first lyrics for Cotton Tail were by Duke Ellington and clearly related to the Ben Webster’s solo

 

Come on, Wail
Wail, Cotton Tail
Benny Webster, come on and blow for me

That's Cotton Tail

 

A little later, Jon Hendricks wrote alternative lyrics for the tune and picked up on the Cottontail rabbit theme. Interestingly, the cottontail is a native of America, but Hendricks based his lyrics on the Beatrix Potter story of Peter Rabbit who stole lettuces from the garden of Mr McGregor in Hawkshead in the Lake District. Peter Rabbit had brothers and sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail. The song was recorded by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. Click here for them singing Cottontail.

 

Peter Rabbit

Way back in my childhood,
I heard a story so true
of a funny bunny stealin' some root from a guy that he knew.

His mamma got worried
She told the bunny one day
Better watch for the farmer, heed what I say or he'll blow you away.

(Oh..) He knew his mamma is right.
So why don't he do what she say?
Maybe he just don't dig it
Or maybe a habit, or 'cause he's a rabbit.
....

The other rabbits say I'm taking dares, and maybe I'm wrong but who cares?
I'm a hooked rabbit! Yeah I got to cure a habit.

 

 

The lyrics are quite long (click here) and have some contemporary suggestions: '.. stealin' some root .. ', 'I'm a hooked rabbit! Yeah I got to cure a habit.' I doubt whether Hendricks was aware that a hundred years earlier the poet and opium addict Thomas de Quincey was just down the road from Hawkshead in Grasmere.

So what other references might be behind Ellington’s naming of the tune? There is an old African American folk rhyme called Molly Cottontail (or Graveyard Rabbit) that also includes the word ‘wail’:

Ole Molly Cottontail,
At night, w'en de moon's pale;
You don't fail to tu'n tail,
You always gives me leg bail. (to run away)
....
Ole Molly Cottontail,
You sets up on a rotten rail!
You tears through de graveyard!
You makes dem ugly f hants (ghosts / spirits) wail.

 

John Ball The Cool Cottontail

 

We also come across the term in The Cool Cottontail, the sequel to John Ball’s book In The Heat Of The Night. In this story, detective Virgil Tibbs finds himself at a nudist colony in Los Angeles where the victim (who was not one of the guests) is found floating dead in the pool. Set against this backdrop, 'the guests of the resort prefer guarding their secrets to solving the murder mystery, particularly when the investigating detective is black'. But here we are introduced to a quite different definition, (although I wonder?) ... In this book "Cottontail" is a person who covers their genitals when sunbathing, hence a white streak about the hips. "Cool" means "dead". It seems the term is not unusual in the world of nudism.

 

I can find little reference to Duke Ellington naming his 'Cotton Tail' tune with any sexual reference, but we have to take into account that encyclo.co.uk and others tell us that ‘Cottontail' is American slang for an attractive woman (while ‘Cotton Top’ is an old person), and the Playboy 'Bunny Girl' has a similar reference. 'Bunnies wore a costume called a "bunny suit" inspired by the tuxedo-wearing Playboy rabbit mascot, consisting of a strapless corset teddy, bunny ears, black pantyhose, a collar, cuffs and a fluffy cottontail.'

 

 

 

So one day when I was deep in the meal
that farmer pulled a big "creep and steal"
came at me with a big shot gun, and did I runnn!
.......
So hit the gate better be ready to wail
And when you do, you show the man your tail.
.......I've heard the old story
One rabbit's foot will bring luck.
But they're much more lucky, luckier, natch, if that rabbit's attached!

 

Click here for a video of tenor saxophonist Frank Wess playing a swinging version of Cottontail with the Barcelona Jazz Orquestra.

It has been argued that Duke Ellington's Cotton Tail was more than just a successful, popular tune with a great solo. ‘It changed the face of jazz’ Gunther Schuller has written, ‘and foretold in many ways where the music’s future lay.’ The rhythmic inflections, melody line, and overall daring of the piece point ahead.... Ellington would continue to help lay the foundation for what would soon become known as bebop.”

We are taken in that direction with this version of Cottontail by the Polish band Larsen, Bukowski, Lemańczyk, Sowiński from their album Jazz Alone Together click here.

We end with this video of a very fast version of Cottontail with trumpeters John Faddis and Jack Sheldon scorching the number in 1985 on the Mervin Griffin Show click here.

 

You pick up what I say?
Hard head rabbit, if you keep your habit.
Your mamma told ya when you hop, that if you stop to cop the crop.
He gets salty & guns for you
because carrots and you make a very good stew.

 

Mr McGregor

 

Son, he's got you on the run so you better find a quiet little corner where the farmer never comes.
You got plenty patches so you snuggle in between them,
Dig what I mean, cottontail you gotta keep your bean.

 

 

 

 

 


Help With Musical Definitions No 25.

Modulation

Mad about Lambrettas, Paul Weller and The Jam.

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

 

 

 

 

BBC Proms 2016

Albert Hall

As we reported last month, it looks as though jazz will have an increased presence in this year's Promenade Concerts in July and August.

Saxophonist YolandDa Brown will play as part of a Gospel Prom on 19th July. Iain Ballamy and Liane Carroll will be taking part in a celebration of Shakespeare's anniversary when they perform Duke Ellington's Such Sweet Thunder with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra on 5th August, and Jamie Cullum will be presenting an evening of late-night jazz with the Roundhouse Choir and Heritage Orchestra on 11th August.

Jacob Collier and vocalist/bassist Richard Bona will be celebrating Quincy Jones with Jules Buckley's Metropole Orkest on 22nd August, and the Sao Paulo Jazz Symphony will be playing Brazilian music from street sounds to avant garde on 24th August. Kamasi Washington will be playing on 30th August when his band is joined by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jules Buckley.

Click here for more information.

 

 

 

 

You Suggest

Stuff Smith

 

 

Stuff Smith

 


'You Suggest' is our regular item where readers can suggest spending a little time with jazz musicians they feel have been neglected in recent years.

Jeff 'Two-Tone Boogie'  from Preservers of Sound says: ‘I think that another who is worthy of mentioning is the great Stuff Smith. Stuff was not a great technical player but he sure could play some great tunes and improvise excellently’.

Violinist and vocalist Stuff Smith was born Hezekiah Leroy Gordon Smith in Ohio in 1909. His father, also a violinist, taught him and Smith always said that his main influence was Louis Armstrong. At age fifteen, he won a music scholarship to Johnson C. Smith University, where he studied classical violin. In the 1920s he played in Texas as a member of Alphonse Trent's band, but then moved to New York where at the Onyx Club he established his sextet which included trumpeter Jonah Jones, clarinetist Buster Bailey, pianist Clyde Hart, and drummer Cozy Cole.

Click here to listen to You'se A Viper from 1936.

In the 1930s he played with Coleman Hawkins, and the young Charlie Parker and later Sun Ra. Signing with the Vocalion label in 1936 he recorded as Stuff Smith and his Onyx Club Boys and continued to record for both the Decca and Varsity labels as well as being featured on the Nat King Cole Trio album, After Midnight.

Click here to listen to Stuff Smith, Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson playing Things Ain't What They Used To Be.

 

There was a time when Sun Ra was working with violinist Stuff Smith and his trio. During a rehearsal with Stuff, Sunny brought out his new tape Stuff Smith onyx clubrecording deck that recorded on paper tape. Many of these brittle but quality sound recordings have been preserved. Sun Ra introduces this unusual recording of Deep Purple - click here where he talks about Stuff Smith before and after the music plays.

Apparently, Stuff was 'a devoted drinker and not exactly the easiest person to deal with, and frequently found himself at loggerheads with club owners, bookers, business people, and his fellow musicians, and his career suffered as a result.'

Despite some of his liaisons, Stuff was said to be critical of bebop and yet he was one the first violinists to use electric amplification techniques on a violin playing a "Vio-Lectric" model which was custom-built for him by the National Dobro Company. In 1965, Stuff Smith moved to Copenhagen and he performed actively in Europe. Stuff found European audiences and musicians to be very receptive to his style, and he hooked up with violinists such as Jean-Luc Ponty and Stephane Grappelli, as well as playing with other American expatriates. Probably as a result of his drinking, he had part of his stomach and liver removed. He died in Munich in 1967 and is buried in Jutland, Denmark.

Here is a video from 1965, two years before he died, with Stuff playing Bugle Call Blues in Denmark with 'The Montmartre Trio' - N.H. Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Kenny Drew (piano), Alex Riel (drums) - click here.

Click here for more about Stuff Smith.

 

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.

 

 

 

Do You Have A Birthday In July?

 


Your Horoscope

for July Birthdays

by 'Marable'

 

Cancer

 

CANCER (The Crab)

21st June - 20th July

This looks like being a good month for you. The planetary power is still strong but as I said last month, use it wisely, in a few months time it might be more difficult to do so.

When things are going so well there is often a risk of boredom so don't be surprised if the cosmos, in its infinite wisdom, throws a few challenges your way to keep you on your toes.

On the 22nd, the Sun, the financial planet enters the money house and this suggests you begin a yearly financial peak so look at your financial situation and take care to plan ahead and manage your finances for the future.

Last month the planetary power shifted from the upper to the lower part of your Horoscope and your career goals are on track.

In summary, now is the time to gather strength ready for your next push ahead.

For you, here is Charlie Parker with Now's The Time (click here).

 

 

Leo

 

LEO (The Lion)

21st July - 21st August

Your 12th house of spirituality became powerful on June 21st and will remain so until the 22nd July so expect a time of spiritual experiences. You could come to understand that spiritual experiences can actually have a profound impact on the practical side of life and if you are open to them, practical issues can fall more easily into place.

On the 12th, Venus crosses the Ascendant and enters your 1st house - this might well signal career opportunities coming your way. In this aspect too, be open to them and grasp them as they come.

On the 22nd, the Sun, the ruler of your Horoscope, crosses the Ascendant and enters your 1st house. This can signal a strengthening of your self-confidence and self-esteem. Next month is also looking good, so make the most of these opportunities.

For you, here is a video of Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee duetting on Nice Work If You Can Get it - click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Preview

Neil Cowley Trio - 'Grace'

 

Neil Cowley Trio Grace

 

The Neil Cowley Trio have revealed Grace, the first teaser from their forthcoming album Spacebound Apes, a collection of instrumental Neil Cowley Triocompositions that tell the mind-bending narrative of one man’s twisted journey of self-discovery. Neil is widely acclaimed as a composer of dynamic, cinematic music, and he has previously been described as being ‘a rare musical extrovert’ (The Guardian) and having ‘genuine vision’ (Sunday Times). His latest creation is a bold exercise in atmosphere and emotion – an ambitious multi-layered outing and a musically confident statement.

Grace is one of eleven tracks of this imaginative and thought-provoking tale. Spacebound Apes is a concept album inspired by the diaries of Lincoln, an everyday kind of guy who reflects on what could have been - an unfolding story of loss, fear and his ever increasing sense of mortality. A delicate, contemplative track, Grace “represents the moment that Lincoln is at his stillest and most introspective”, says Neil.  Accompanying the single is a mesmeric video that portrays Lincoln’s feelings of loneliness. 

Click here or on the picture above to listen to the beautiful track Grace.

Grace is available as a download now and can be streamed from all major digital stores. You can also read Lincoln’s story so far here.

 

Spacebound Apes is due for release on 16th September 2016 and the band will playe live at Union Chapel, London, on 27th October 2016.

 

 

 

 

Monty Alexander at Ronnie Scott's Club

It has been a while since Jamie Evans visited Ronnie Scott's club in Soho. He gives us his impressions going back there again in May to hear pianist Monty Alexander:

 

Until now, the last time I entered Ronnie Scott’s world-famous jazz club was in the late ‘80s. Guitarist Joe Pass was doing a solo season and played some terrific stuff. You have to be pretty good to sustain interest for a  one-hour set playing solo guitar. In the ‘60s and ‘70s. I well remember Monty Alexander noticeturning up late to Ronnie’s; musicians who, in those halcyon days for jazz, had been gigging in the many pubs and small venues in the West End or had been doing theatre pit band work, were allowed in free in the later hours after showing a Musicians’ Union card or even carrying an instrument case (problem for me as a piano player!).

Later on, when I had “retired” myself but yearned to listen to top-class players, I tended to patronise the Bull’s Head, Barnes, which was easier for me to get to, and get home from, cheaper, and more homely. There, I heard some surprisingly eminent US names like Art Farmer, Bill Watrous, Charlie Rouse, Pepper Adams, Scott Hamilton and, of course, the best of British guys like Peter King, Stan Tracey and Don Weller.

I have loved Jamaican-born pianist Monty Alexander for over 40 years ever since I was absolutely blown away by the LP, We’ve Only Just Begun, featuring his best-ever backing duo - Eugene Wright (bass) and Bobby Durham (drums). That trio had the lot - technique in abundance, togetherness and transmitted a feeling of joy in every bar they played. So when I heard that Monty was doing a spell at Ronnie’s, I decided to go for a double - hear him live for the first time and make a long overdue visit to Frith Street.

The club has, of course, changed considerably in recent years since it was taken over in 2006, expanded and adopted a broader musical policy although the shades of Ronnie and his partner, Pete King, still hover in the background. Even the ghost of Jim Godbolt, keen-eyed like a heron in the reeds, shimmered at the bar. And it’s no good turning up on the night for a popular artist like Monty, paying your dosh and just wandering in. When I booked on-line, Monty’s sessions  were nearly sold-out so I had to be satisfied with a restricted view seat. I had been informed that Monty would do two sets with a break, starting at 8:15 so I checked in at 7:45 and was surprised to find that the place was already full and my seat on a four-person bench was second along, meaning that a punter chomping at his dinner had to move into the aisle to let me in.The view wasn’t really restricted but my reasonably sized body certainly was, jammed between the chomper and an elderly couple also eating but in a more decorous manner.

I also discovered that Monty was only doing one set starting at around nine o’clock but in the meantime there was a first-class backing band which included the outstanding pianist James Pearson who is always a pleasure to hear. Apart from these very minor niggles everything about Ronnie’s was perfect - the view, the sound quality, the reasonable admission price and an excellent small carafe of Fleurie served by one of the pleasant and efficient waiting staff.

Soon, Monty’s bass man, Hassan Shakur and drummer, Jason Brown, were set up and from rear-stage, emerged Monty, now in his early ‘70s, Monty Alexanderelegant and jovial. The trio launched into Too Marvellous For Words (click here for them playing it in 2014) and it was an absolute delight to hear, what is for this listener, one of the bedrocks of jazz, a swinging piano trio demonstrating  their class with effortless ease. As the evening progressed, Monty proceeded to demonstrate that although he is able to swing his butt off, he can also do a mean ballad with a gorgeous rendition of When I Grow to Old to Dream.

Although he left his home town of Kingston, Jamaica, as a very young man, Monty has never lost his lilting accent and between numbers kept us amused with gags and anecdotes. He’s probably said it a million times but towards the end he announced: “Thank-you for being a wonderful audience, ladies and gentlemen, and it is fantastic to be here in the greatest jazz club in the world, Ronnie Scott’s,’” and then as a mischievous aside “…I said that at the Blue Note two weeks ago.” That really brought the house down. He reminded us of his West Indian roots with a stunning Don’t Stop The Carnival which moved from calypso into hard swinging 4/4. I had heard him do that on video but live it was unbelievably good. The trio continually interacted with grins, laughter and joshing, reminding the audience of what a wonderful experience playing, listening to and watching jazz of the highest calibre can be.

Monty and his companions embodied joy and exuberance, combined with effortless skill and they took the audience with them. When it comes to jazz piano genius, Art Tatum passed the baton to Oscar Peterson who passed it on to Monty Alexander. An unforgettable evening.

Click here for a video of Monty Alexander playing Just In Time in 1978.

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

Neal Richardson and the Splash Point All Stars

 

Neal Richardson

 

In June, photographer Brian O'Connor also went to Ronnie Scott’s Club to hear the Splash Point All Stars. Splash Point Records, after whom the band was named, is one of the hats worn by pianist Neal Richardson whose album Better Than The Blues was released in 2014.

Denys Baptiste

Now approaching his fiftieth birthday, Neal told the audience: 'You are a musician, producer, record company and jazz club owner, plus the purveyor of excellent jokes (according to me), and fast approaching your dotage.  Also, Splash Point Records is just having its first successful year of operation (I think that coincides, fortunately, with only being in existence for one year). So just how do you celebrate your 50th birthday?  For people who say it’s middle aged, just think of how many centenarians you know!'

 

Denys Baptiste

Sue Richardson

 

 

Sue Richardson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark White and Denys Baptiste


Brian says: ' Neal nailed it in one by having a gig at Ronnie’s.  Hugely enjoyable with a first rate line-up, a full house was treated to just over two hours of excellent musicianship from Neal Richardson (piano, vocals); Denys Baptiste (saxophone); Mark White (trumpet); Sue Richarson (trumpet, vocals); Mark Nightingale (trombone); Helen Sherrah-Davies (violin); Andy Drudy (guitar); Nigel Thomas (double bass) and Alex Eberhard (drums) with guests Mark Cherrie (steel pan) and Paul Cavaciuti (drums).

 

Mark White and Denys Baptiste

 

'Playing songs from his album, Better Than The Blues, plus standards from the Great American Songbook, Neal has the engaging personality that manages to involve the audience in his enjoyment, whilst never letting musical standards slip.  His son, Oscar was in the audience, celebrating his 8th birthday.  He must be very proud of mum and dad.  Roll on Neal’s 100th birthday.'

 

'This was my first proper visit to Ronnie’s since the change of ownership way back when.  Yes, inevitably things have changed, but it was nice to see that the club has retained a feeling of the original, and of course unlike Pete and Ronnie’s day it cannot afford to be run as a charity.  Long may it survive.'    

 

Splash Point All Stars

 

All pictures © Brian O'Connor, Images Of Jazz

 

 

 

 

Profile

Neil Millett

 

Some while ago, Rich Millett wrote saying: 'I live in Nashville, Tennessee and haven't been back to England in far too long. My uncle was Neil Millett and I know he played clarinet all around the same scene as those on your website, which I have read with interest. I believe he lived in the Bournemouth area. I have a recording that he played on by the Original Georgia Jazz Band ... but I find that I want to know more about my uncle. My uncle died some years ago, but as a fellow musician, I've always been intrigued to find out more about him and maybe even hear more recordings and see some photos of him in action.'

Since Rich wrote to us, a number of people have written to us and Neil's daughter, Susan Millett, has helped to tell Neil's story. At the time of going to press we still have to find pictures of Neil and hope we can include some shortly.

Clarinettist Neil Millett was born in Harlesden on July 31st, 1929.  His mother was Grace Ada Quick and father Anthony Millett.  His daughter, Susan, says: ‘My Mum, Pamela Parkes, and Dad met at the Bun Shop Jazz club in Berrylands, south west London. They both worked in west London aviation places, Mum at Faireys, and  Dad was a technical illustrator (I think he went to Twickenham or Teddington art school). He worked for various aviation companies around London Airport, and also later at Ham. I have some of his technical drawings on tracing paper, amazing pre computer stuff.  He was very keen and organised with his skills in this area. He continued this work until retirement, jazz always being alongside  this and at least as important.’

‘I understand he learnt to play the clarinet (his main instrument) in about 1948 whilst he was on National Service.  Just after I was born we lived in a caravan in Abbeyfields, Chertsey,   My mother was the eldest of 8 and her family lived in Surbiton. I think my grandparents, or we, lived in Cranford for a while after our caravan.  When I was very young, about two, the earliest memory I have is of having a day out with dad and visiting a friend who had a bee hive in his garden.  There was a white picket fence.  I asked Dad about this not long before he died but he had no memory of who this was.  I recently had a look on Youtube at some of the Crane River Band footage and was amazed to see a picture of the "home" of the band, which had a white picket fence.  Apparently behind the White Hart in Cranford.  Anyone remember bee hives there?  I suppose it could have beenKen Colyer Omega Jazz Bnad album a wasps' nest ....  It would have been about 1956/7.  Dad was also a good friend of Sonny Morris, I believe.'

'Dad was in the Crane River Jazz Band, also the New Albemarle Jazz Band. He played with Ken Colyer - he played drum in the marching band album Ken produced and his feet are on the cover although he is hidden by his drum!  Mum says he was in a band called the Wolverines (I know there were a few of these!)  I noticed on your site that he set up his own band and was advertised as the Neil Millett band playing at Eel Pie Island in the late 50s.’

'Mum says in the early days in Hounslow we had Ginger Baker as a paying guest.  We settled into a flat in Surbiton, having temporarily lived in Ealing in 1962 with a jazz friend couple of his. I remember Dad arriving back at the house in Surbiton with an enormous double bass. He was basically out all the time playing. He quite often went off to gigs in Germany or other places when they were young and married.’

Bass player Ron Drakeford recalls: 'Prior to moving to the South Coast, Neil was very prominent on the jazz scene in Kingston and the London area. He was a regular depper on clarinet with many bands and we used him often when I was with the Canal Street band. He played fairly regularly with Mole (Mo) Benn and had a club at Thames Hotel with Mole Benn at one point. As for recordings, I only am aware of one, and on that he is not playing clarinet. He (and Mole Benn) were in the line up on the 10inch LP Marching to New Orleans on Decca LF 1013 by Ken Colyer's Omega Brass Band. On that occasion Neil was playing the bass drum and Mole Benn on sousaphone. Both Neil and Mole often made the line up for various Omega gigs as did many other musos outside of the Colyer band. Neil Lived in Endesleigh gardens in Surbiton. The last time I saw Neil was when we did a gig together at Clapham Junction for Lew and Pam Hurd who were over touring U.K from Australia. That must have been mid to late sixties.'

The Grey HorseMick Brocking adds: 'I know that Neil started playing about 1950 with the Albemarle Jazz Band of Southall with Pat Halcox on trumpet. Pat left to join Chris Barber in 1954 (to replace Ken Colyer). I heard him play many times around the Kingston area in the late 1950s and early 1960s, notably at the Fighting Cocks in London Road (home of the Bill Brunskill and Canal Street bands) and with the Georgia band at the Grey Horse in Richmond Road. I recall him as a fine driving clarinet who could also play with great sensitivity. Personally he impressed as a very likeable extrovert, though a bit of a rogue with it. I was at his farewell bash at the Cocks on his leaving the area (late 1960s?) to live on the South Coast. He hired the hall on the first floor but omitted to pay the landlord! Some years later (1970s?) I heard that he was living and playing in Holland or Belgium probably with his close friend Andy Ford, the banjo player, who was also living there. They often played together in the Kingston/London area. I know that Andy was still playing with bands a couple of years ago and may well still be playing but I have not been able to contact him.'

 

Susan says: ‘I have to explain he was a very young dad (24) and mum just 19,  when I was born in 1954, the eldest, of three, my brothers now aged 58, and 54.  The reason I point this out is that Dad was a bit absent, in fact  totally out of touch with our family between 1981 and about 1995, so I've been piecing stuff together myself. Most of his early young jazz days I was a small child, so I don't remember too much.’

‘In about 1964 Neil got work in Hampshire and moved us to Bournemouth, where he connected with an active jazz scene there and was playing with local bands, but he did go back to the Kingston area in the early 1970s and played  regularly in The Original Georgia Jazz Band at the Grey Horse in Kingston.  They recorded a live session there in 1973. I have a photocopy of the line up, and just after he died I discovered one member of the band (Geoff Cole?) regularly  played in a Hackney Pub near me, I went along to see him, and met his wife.  Dipper Duddy was one of the band members, but no longer playing in that pub so we didn't get to meet.’

Mick Brocking also has that Original Georgia Jazz Band album: 'I have just unearthed the sleevenotes for the Original Georgia Jazzband LP. Recorded at the Grey Horse on October 28th 1973 the personnel was Mick Burns (trumpet/cornet), Geoff Cole (trombone), Neil Millett (clarinet), Andy Ford (banjo), Geoff King (bass), Brian Dipper Duddy (drums). Guest drummer Lloyd Taylor is on a ragtime track. It says that "Andy Ford formed the band 18 months ago" / "Neil also plays alto and baritone saxes" and that "he has only been back in the London area for two years after having brightened up the Bournemouth jazz scene for six years" So he left Kingston in 1965 and when I heard the Georgia band it was in the early 1970s.

Bassist Neil Clifton adds: 'When I joined the Ian Bell Jazzmen in 1972, Neil Millett was a member of this band on clarinet and baritone. I don’t remember him playing alto. Like most members of the band, he could sup his pint and enjoy it. The Ian Bell Jazzmen were resident on Thursdays at the Grey Horse in Richmond Road, Kingston. The personnel of the band at that time was Frank Wilson (trumpet), Mike Hogh (trombone), Neil Millett (clarinet, baritone), Dave Rylands (piano), Rod Simmonds (guitar, banjo), Neil Clifton (bass), Ian Bell (leader, drums). Neil remained in the band for about a year after that but then left and I lost touch with him after that.'

Trumpeter Pete Batten also remembers Neil: 'About August 1973, I did an audition for a band that played every Sunday lunchtime at the Half Moon at Putney. The leader was a banjo player, John Green. His regular trumpet player, Daze Allen, was taking time off to cope with a bereavement – I think it was his mother. I got the job and soon met Neil Millett, who was a regular member of the band. At that time the band played in the front bar. The band became very popular and in January 1974 the session moved to the large hall at the rear of the pub. Daze Allen returned but John Green asked me to stay on. I was to play most of the lead trumpet while Daze would contribute solos and sing. It soon became Half Moon Putneyobvious that his singing was a very important factor in the band’s growing popularity. Neil made a very important contribution on clarinet and baritone. He also brought along Geoff Cole to take over on trombone. At that time they were both members of the Georgia Jazz Band, which had a residency at the Grey Horse in Kingston. John Green then decided to further enlarge the band by adding another clarinet/sax player and asked Neil to play mainly baritone. The band quickly became very popular and began to pack the hall every Sunday. To my surprise, about May or June 1974, Neil announced that he was moving to Bournemouth. I am not sure, but I think he had been offered a good job. Although he was not a close friend, I did enjoy his company and his playing. The band at this time was called “John Green and his Snap Syncopators”. In 1981 it became “The New Dixie Syncopators”; it finally broke up in 1987. Geoff Cole was a leading member of the band until about 1982, when his other band commitments became too many. His playing and singing too were an important part of the band’s success.'

Half Moon, Putney

 

Carol Lowther adds: 'I remember Neil playing with my Dad, Roy 'Dace' Allen at the Half Moon Putney. My Dad was in touch with Neil and visited him in Amsterdam. Roy is now living in North Yorkshire, still playing two hours a day (the neighbours love him), he records tracks with a garage band and has just taken up playing the piano. Not bad for an 86 year old Snap Syncopator!'

Garry Crook says: 'Not sure if this is the same Neil Millett I knew in Amsterdam from 1984 to 1986 but it sounds like him."My" Neil Millett was working for Giltspur Engineering as a Technical Illustrator, but he was a clarinet player and had played jazz professionally. One thing he mentioned was that he had played on some Rolling Stones Albums, not sure if that is correct? I remember his 57th Birthday in Amsterdam, he was roaring drunk and the jazz band that was there invited him up on stage to play, he staggered up and then whilst sitting down proceeded to play a beautiful intro into a jazz piece on his clarinet. I remember him as a very humorous man, and have a few funny stories about him, sad to hear of his passing.'

 

Susan explains: 'In 1968, dad had left the family home in Bournemouth to work in Amsterdam. He did return regularly, but then dad moved to Germany around 1981 and he was no longer in contact.  I think he also used to visit the Swanage Jazz Festival - he always mentioned seeing Chris Barber there.  We all lost contact for a while until around 1994 when dad reappeared in Bournemouth after time abroad. He reconnected with the Bournemouth jazz scene and carried on playing until he died of a sudden heart attack in March 2001, having been ill for a while.  His friends say he got up on stage as long as he could manage, which was about a year before died.’

Illustrator Martin King recalls: 'Originally from Bournemouth myself, I met Neil in the mid to late 70’s. We both worked as Technical Illustrators and whilst working on a contract for IBM in Hursley, Neil, myself and two others shared a house in St Thomas Street, Winchester. The house was originally the servants' quarters to the big house next door and was well positioned close to several pubs which we all used to enjoy. The owner of the house was horrified upon our arrival due to the quantity of musical instruments being carried into the house. My next meeting with Neil was in Germany. I was at work one day when the telephone rang. It was Neil phoning me from Wolfsberg (The home of VolksWagen) telling me of a job opportunity. I took him up on it and he kindly put me up for a few days until I got myself sorted. Neil played at many venues around the Wolfsberg and joined a local band called the Saratoga Seven (I think). I remember they made an LP and I think I still have a copy in the attic. Neil was friends with Acker Bilk and he used to go and meet up with him if he was touring in the area. I know Neil was estranged from his family at the time but I do remember him talking with pride of his son and daughter who I believe attended Slade School of Art. Neil was talented and always great fun to be around and I was sorry to hear about his sudden death.'

Banjo player Chris Mitchell says: 'I knew Neil from Kingston upon Thames days. He was playing with the New Crane River band, and afterwards formed his own band. I used to do his printing. Many years later, I was playing in Stuttgart in a club and, as you probably know, one looks around to see lookalikes. (There was a dead ringer for Terry Lightfoot in Zurich). I thought “He looks like Neil Millett”, and blow me, it was. He was working for Messerschmidt in the drawing office. He had his clarinet with him, and we enjoyed a good session on the bandstand and in the bar afterwards. I never saw him again. Andy Ford sent a email to say that Neil had passed away. It was good that I knew him'.

Susan Millett began to discover more about her father as she dealt with his belongings after he died: ‘Although he had recently moved from a small flat to one room, and had very little stuff, he had kept two address books, one the most recent and the earlier one very thrillingly from the 50s and 60s. For his funeral I rang everyone in both those books, it took hours but it was therapeutic, and I discovered very interesting stories .... the local band marched along at the funeral, it was great to meet them.’

If you remember Neil and would like to add to this Profile, please contact us.

[See also our pages looking back at jazz in Kingston upon Thames and Bill Brunskill]

 

 

 

Forum

 

Keswick Jazz Festival Changes

Last month Brian O'Connor wrote about the Keswick Jazz Festival that, after 25 years, is reducing its programme.

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

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

Responding on Facebook, Bob Ironside Hunt says: 'One of the major problems with both Bude and Keswick festivals was that every year they always used the same tired old bands and predictable "special" guests. With only a few exceptions each year the festivals were exactly the same. This isn't a sour grapes thing, because I was a member of one of those tired old bands... and in more recent times in a band that was a "special"... so special were we that we did Keswick EVERY year! It's a shame that there is lack of support etc., as the article says, especially as the festival was organised by a new young promoter this year, with many new faces. (And quite rightly the band I'm in didn't appear for the first time in probably 15 years ).... New bands, new faces. That's what these festivals need. Not wheeling out (sometimes literally) the same old faces whose audience has either snuffed it or can't afford to attend. Would like to add I rule myself out of the new bands/new faces bracket. Unlike many I could mention, I am happy to hand over to someone else younger than me and who has something to say on their horn, or in their arranging. Time for a big change folks. And I look forward to seeing how it pans out... Safe in the knowledge that I will not be involved!'

Harry Davison adds: ' I agree with you Bob. We need new faces new bands and youth if the wonderful sound we all love is going to continue Without them it will just fade away. Support young bands - the future is in their hands - help them all you can so people can continue to listen to the wonderful music for years to come when us old farts have long gone.'

 

 

Banjo George

Maureen Connolly has sent us this picture of 'Banjo George' Baron. The picture was taken in around 1957/58 with George playing Maureen's husband's (David Snell) Clifford Essex banjo. Maureen says: 'We are trying to find out more about the banjo as we have never seen another one like it. We are hoping to sell it and give the money to our son. We would love to know if anyone else remembers Banjo George, any anecdotes etc.'

If anyone is interested in the banjo, contact us and we will pass on your details to Maureen.

 

Banjo George Baron

 

 

 

Sophisticated Lady

Last month we featured Duke Ellington's Sohisticated Lady as our Track Unwrapped (click here). Roger Trobridge writes with information from the Duke Ellington Music Society which says:

'There is an Adler-Ellington connection, as chronicled by Klaus Stratemann in "Day by Day and Film by Film." In 1934, The Ellington orchestra accompanied (Larry) Adler in a performance of Sophisticated Lady for the film "Many Happy Returns". Neither the orchestra nor Ellington are seen on screen, and the simple arrangement is by Jimmy Mundy. The Guy Lombardo orchestra was originally scheduled for the scene, but Adler insisted on using Ellington, who was on the Paramount lot to film "Murder at the Vanities." Stratemann's information comes from a January '63 Jazz Journal Adler interview.'

 

 

Mick Gill

Debby Klein, godfather of Bill Kinnell of Nottingham's Dancing Slipper wrote in last month with her memories of Bill and the club (click here). Debby's father was cornettist Mick Gill and Debby has sent us this picture of Mick's band. Does anyone remember any of the musicians?

 

Mick Gill and his Imperial Jazz band

 

Debby says: 'I note the comment that Mick Gill's cornet style 'did not fit in' with Chris Barber when asked to play at short notice. Well, it wouldn't would it - me dad was a Revivalist, not a Traddie. Also, I don't really think he was that good a musician in retrospect! We idolised him at the time though.'

 

 

 

Wood Green Jazz Club

Lawrie Gordon writes: I saw the page on Wood Green Jazz Club (click here). I used to live at 295 High Road just four doors from the Fishmongers Arms. I was just 9 years old when we moved there. On a hot summer's evening my father used to take ice lollies and ice cream around the club with Art's permission and I used to accompany him. I heard all the greats at the time Nat Gonella, Dutch Swing College, Joe Daniels, if my memory serves me right and my particular favourite  - Freddy Randall.

 

 

 

Dick Powell

Ian Simms writes: 'In a recent issue, cartoonist Jim Thomson asked about violinist Dick Powell. When I asked if anyone remembered the hot swing nights at the Gigi and borscht and tears, I forgot to mention the fantastic Dick Powell. He drove down from his home in Oxford several times a week to Knightsbridge, a great guy as well as a fab hot swinger. Sadly, he passed away from cancer in the early seventies.'

 

 

Steve Lane and Rusty Taylor

Kate Turner asks: I was wondering whether you might be able to advise me where I could purchase a copy of Steve Lane and Rusty Taylor's Red Hot Peppers Azure AZMG17 please?

Please contact us if anyone can help Kate.

 

 

Dennis Price (trombone/piano)

Denise Knowelden writes: 'I'm looking for any information on Dennis Price, born in 1930 in Birmingham.  He played trombone with Ronnie Mills and his Orchestra in 1956, then he became one of Tommy Steele's Steelmen, playing piano.  From 1958 – 1960 he had his own Quintet at El Condor in Soho and then he was in The Polka Dots from 1960 – 1963.'

'Dennis moved to Australia in 1963 and remained there apart from a spell in the 1980s. He died in 2013. I’m hoping there might still be people around who knew him and remember him.'

Please contact us if anyone can help Denise.

 

 

 

Jazz&Jazz Website

Peter Mark Butler writes: www.jazzandjazz.com is dedicated to promoting jazz for Jazz Bands, Jazz Clubs, Jazz Festivals, Jazz Musicians and Jazz Fans. We aim to raise the profile of jazz and invite musicians, bands and fans to share news and views about jazz. We focus on jazz past and present, and especially on the emerging new generation of exciting young stars and bands and the exuberance of their fans. For further information about Jazz&Jazz on Facebook, our Facebook Jazzers Group, Twitter, Linkedin and Jazz&Jazz YouTubes please email: peter@jazzandjazz.com

 

 

Follow Us On Facebook

Thank you to those people who have liked our Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook page and who have commented on posts. I hope that you have found the items there of interest. Using Facebook gives us a chance to share information that arrives between issues of What's New Magazine. If you do visit our Facebook page, please Like us and Share us with your friends. (If you are not on Facebook, please tell your friends about us anyway!). Facebook


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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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:

Jeremy Steig

 

Jeremy Steig - American flute player who released his first album Flute Fever in 1963 at the age of twenty-one. In Greenwich Village in the late 1960s he began to combine his jazz with rock music and became leader of one of the first jazz rock bands, 'Jeremy and the Satyrs' “We decided that we’d invented jazz-rock,” Mr. Steig later recalled. “Of course, there were about 50 other people who had come to the same conclusion.” In the animated feature “Shrek Forever After” (2010), the fourth in the series of revisionist fairy-tale adventures based on his father’s creation, Mr. Steig provided the music played onscreen by the Pied Piper. Click here to listen to Jeremy Steig playing What's New with Bill Evans in 1969.

 

 

 

Sir Charles Thompson

'Sir' Charles Thompson - American pianist born in Ohio originally working with various dance bands during the 1930s and began to make his name as an arranger - he would eventually arrange for Jimmy Dorsey and Count Basie. He joined Lionel Hampton's band before moving to Café Society in New York to play with Lester and Lee Young - it was Lester who christened him 'Sir'. He was also playing with Lucky Millinder, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins and Illinois Jacquet. 'Impresario John Hammond ... persuaded the Vanguard label to record such swing stars as the trombonist Vic Dickenson and the cornetist Ruby Braff, with Thompson alongside, a new movement christened “mainstream” by the British critic Stanley Dance took wing, and was seen as the antidote to the prevailing orthodoxies of bebop.' Click here to listen to Sir Charles Thompson playing Robbins Nest.

 

 

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

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Album Released: 20th May 2016 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings

 

Jason Palmer and Cédric Hanriot

City Of Poets

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Cédric Hanriot (piano); Jason Palmer (trumpet); Donny McCaslin (tenor saxophone); Michael Janisch (double bass, electric bass), Clarence Penn (drums).

Trumpeter, Jason Palmer is becoming a regular feature in Sandy Brown What’s New.  Last month Jamie Evans caught him in a review of the Noah Preminger album, Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground.  In January I City of Poets albumhad also reviewed a Preminger and Palmer album, Pivot.  Both sessions are rooted in the delta blues.  Bukka White, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Robert Johnson might initially appear to be a long way from Olivier Messiaen’s 7 Modes of Limited Transportation, which forms the musical structure of City Of Poets.

I admit I’m in slightly deep water here, and I wouldn’t class myself as a strong swimmer.  We are talking about seven different symmetrical intervals each sharing the same reference point for both the beginning and end.  And yes, it’s somewhat more complex than that - hey, I can’t be writing a book.  The point is the blues also contains a central tenet, that the beginning and end curve toward each other over a specific count.  Granted, sometimes it becomes very unspecific, which is exactly what happens on City Of Poets.  This Quintet play the earth, it is a total triumph.  I can make such a statement without hesitation because this band (born out of a French/American jazz exchange project) is a genuine cracker.

The French pianist Cédric Hanriot is new to me, but I’m now going to enjoy finding out more.  On City Of Poets he has the hands of the catalyst.  Hanriot is up there with Ehud Asherie; among the very top of the current crop of creative piano maestros.  His lead partner here, the outstanding Jason Palmer, is talk of the town.  And Donny McCaslin, the sax player on David Bowie’s bow-out album Black Star is a revelation.  That album is going to be Cedric Hanriothis calling card, yet here on The Soldier’s Tale he produces an extended solo that is utterly crushing, as complex as mathematics, as direct as a green light.  It is beyond the Black Star

 

Cédric Hanriot

 

Clarence Penn is one of those flexible classy drummers that beats like you breathe.  His Intro at the git-go on The Priest’s Tale is pulse snapping from the first count.  Break after break he cracks, simply driving forward.  Which of course brings us to Michael Janisch.  Over the last few years he has created such a strong scene, not just around his own playing (he is a constant deliverer of dangerous double bass – witness the opening gambit of his Intro to The Detective’s Tale), but in his ability to freshen up creatively the whole business of producing new jazz in and out of the UK.  This recording belongs easily as much to Janisch as it does to Palmer and Henriot.  Mr J and I are not buddies but City of Poets is already my album of the year (so far). 

Whereas Palmer and McCaslin hang out at the 55 Bar in New York, the City Of Poets session was recorded at London’s Pizza Express Jazz Club, a similar low lit basement with nice acoustics.  I guess it was not the most obvious venue to choose, nevertheless it has proved to be a good choice and I’m sure Michael Janisch had a lot to do with it.

The compositions all take their inspiration from characters in Dan Simmon’s four novels in the Hyperion Cantos series.  I’m reviewing the music, not the novels, but I’d recommend them for further investigation.  Track three, Intro to The Poet’s Tale contains a completely sumptuous trumpet solo which introduces The Poet's Tale proper.  The word ‘contains’ is exactly how it sounds; cupped, cradled, held up as a precious object.  It curls through Messiaen’s Limited Transportation system as if you didn’t know the technique was there.  Palmer The Poet is brass, he pours forth constructing an edifice. The English Romantic poet, John Keats figures in the Dan Simmons’ Jason PalmerHyperion mix.  I have not foggiest idea how much Jason Palmer is actually into Keats, who is commonly quoted with the phrase “A thing of beauty is a joy forever...”, but his solo in this relatively small London jazz club is certainly an example of beauty.  ‘Forever’ suggests an extremely long survival rate, at least we have it recorded.

 

Jason Palmer

 

My favourite track: Cédric Hanriot plunges into The Scholar’s Tale with almost Wagnerian proportions, others will know better than me how that sits with Messiaen.  The piano lifts with tremendous gravitas, a fantastic cavernous sound captured by the engineer, Luc Saint-Martin, inside the low ceiling basement, subsequently mixed by Alex Bonney; it is propelled with power through my speakers.   The Scholar’s Tale is an unfolding composition, propositioned by subtle moves throughout all five musicians.  By the end Cédric Hanriot places the group with a tantalising enquiry of improv within a score. 

Donny McCaslin is a saxophone gift – his reed partnership with Palmer’s trumpet feels classic.  Palmer is the burnished long line, Mr McCaslin, literally a breathtaking harmoniser.  Donny McCaslin carries an internal flame which acts like a beacon.  Later, on The Detective’s Tale he gets into a complex interaction with his compatriots, twisting circles within those Messiaen intervals.  Mr Caslin does a lot of studio ‘session-work’.  You would expect well-honed professionalism, he is much more than that.  The construction here is total engagement, the saxophone voices with dexterity, a bold interrogation of the music.  His soloing on The Consul’s Tale is wide open, generous too, by the time Jason Palmer puts his purchase on the composition all he has to do is elucidate the content.  He does it with ease.  Gold stars too for the Janisch and Penn partnership who underpin proceedings as if this is their regular gig.  It could get that way.

Click here to listen to Hyperion Mode VI (The Consul's Tale).

Look, City Of Poets is a 2016 state of the art jazz quintet line-up.  By the time they hit the final track, The Shrike, they are transformative, just like the character in Simmons’s book which provides the title.  Right now Jason Palmer is making a lot of recordings, he’s going to be big news.  Catch him on City Of Poets.  You might have missed the gig at Pizza Express, that’s no reason to miss out on the music altogether.  To quote Keats: “thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad in such ecstasy!”  How’s that?

Click here for details and to sample (particularly the Intros).

Click here to listen to other tracks from the album.

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

 

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Album Released: 15th April 2016 - Label: Flying Dolphin Records

 

Ernie Watts Quartet

Wheel Of Time

 

June Bastable reviews this album for us:

Born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1945, Ernie Watts began playing the saxophone at age 13, and from 1965 studied at the Berklee College in Boston with the aid of a Downbeat scholarship after a brief time at West Chester University. He had the distinction of being invited to tour with Buddy Rich during the 1960s and later visited Africa with Oliver Nelson’s band. He appeared regularly for 20 years on The Tonight Show with Doc Severinsen, andErnie Watts Quartet Wheel Of Time Watts’s distinctive sound can be heard on Grease; Night Court; The Color Purple (clarinet); Tootsie and The Fabulous Baker Boys, in addition to many of Marvin Gaye’s albums during the 1970s and countless R & B and pop sessions for such as Cannonball Adderley, Whitney Houston, The Rolling Stones and Frank Zappa. He has won two Grammy Awards as an instrumentalist.

It was in the mid-1980s that Watts returned to jazz once more, recording and touring with German guitarist and composer Torsten de Winkel, drummer Steve Smith and keyboardist Tom Coster.  He was invited to join Charlie Haden’s Quartet West after Haden had heard Watts play the Michael Columbier piece Nightbird (written for Watts) at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Watts’s association with Haden led to a recording with the Charlie Haden Quartet West, and he has also collaborated with vocalist Kurt Elling whose album Dedicated to You won a Grammy Award in 2010 for Best Jazz Vocalist Album.

And we, the listeners, must continue to be grateful for Watts’s decision to return to his jazz roots, as evidenced by his new album Wheel of Time: such beautiful sounds, ensemble and solo, issue therefrom, this time with Watts Ernie Wattson tenor saxophone, more than ably accompanied by his superlative sidekicks, Christof Saenger (piano); Rudy Engel (acoustic bass) and Heinrich Koebberling (drums).  The Ernie Watts Quartet have been together for more than fifteen years!

So here we have the Latin-inspired L’AguaAzul, the thoughtful You and You, a laid-back Andi’s Blues, the nostalgic A Distant Light, the fast and furious Velocity (a quote from Tea for Two popping up), the calypso-style Goose Dance, the powerful Joe Henderson composition Inner Urge, the dreamy Letter from Home, and the smoky and atmospheric Wheel of Time (Anthem for Charlie) (a heartfelt tribute to long-time associate and friend, Charlie Haden, who passed away in July 2014).

If this reviewer were pressed to choose a favourite, it could well be Saenger’s L’Agua Azul for its Latin rhythms, or then again, it might be Watts’s Velocity with its frantic sax, relentless piano, driving bass and rim-shot drums, or the beautifully melodic Letter from Home, or any one of the others!  “Spoilt for choice” springs to mind!!

Four of these tracks are Ernie Watts originals, with one each by his three accompanists, as follows:

  1. Letter from Home (E. Watts)
  2. A Distant Light (E. Watts)
  3. Inner Urge (Joe Henderson)
  4. Andi’s Blues (R. Engel)
  5. L’Agua Azul (C. Saenger)
  6. You and You (H. Koebberling)
  7. Velocity (E. Watts)
  8. Goose Dance (A. Farrugia)
  9. Wheel of Time (Anthem for Charlie) (E. Watts, M. Seales)

 

Click here for details and to sample.

[At the time of this review there are a few videos on Youtube of the Quartet live playing numbers from the album but the sound quality is poor].

The Ernie Watts Quartet tours Europe twice a year, and Watts is often a featured artist in Asia, in addition to playing summer jazz festivals worldwide.  His record company Flying Dolphin Records produces Watts’s own music with his US quartet as well as his European band.

Click here for the Ernie Watts 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: 29th September 2015 - Label: Bandcamp

 

Ochion Jewell Quartet

VOLK

Howard Lawes reviews this album for us:

Band members are Ochion Jewell (tenor saxophone), Amino Belyamani (piano), Sam Minaie (bass) and Qasim Naqvi (drums).  Lionel Loueke (guitar) guests on tracks 7 and 8.

It would be convenient to suggest that the title of this folk music inspired album says it all and it is fascinating to speculate why the German word volk is used and also, why VOLK is in capital letters? We do not know. Ochion (pronounced 'ocean') Jewell says: "Folk music is not music for music's sake, these traditions mean more thanOchion Jewell Quartet VOLK that.  You have music that's been written for weddings and funerals and war and for when a boy becomes a man. This music seems to really mean something to the people and defines something about their culture, rather than just being music you can sell tickets for."  

Jewell was born in Kentucky, famous for its Appalachian folk music and Bluegrass which has roots in music from the British Isles and incorporates elements of Afro-american jazz, but it seems that very little of this tradition existed in the area where he was raised. Jewell first studied classical saxophone at the University of Louisville but moved to the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), with its Herb Alpert School of Music, where he was able to experience a very extensive range of musical styles and cultures from all over the World and where he met his future band members.

The Ochion Jewell Quartet's first album was released in 2011 entitled First Suite for Quartet; VOLK is the second album with the same line-up and was released in 2015.  Another element of the back-story to VOLK is that it was financed from a settlement received following Jewell's wrongful police arrest and detention in New York which left him suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The music on the album is divided into four suites, each of which is inspired by music from different parts of the world.

The first suite has two tracks. The first, inspired by Andalusian pentachord music, is called At The End Of The World, Where the Lions Weep which may be a quote from the film A.I. where the speaker goes on to say "Here is the place where dreams are born"; the second is called Pathos / Logos, two Greek words that mean a feeling of pity or sadness and the principle of divine reason respectively. These feelings or concepts set the scene for the album, the music of these first two tracks, while not freely improvised, is certainly avant-garde and although Jewell's saxophone takes a leading role all the musicians have opportunities to shine which they take with alacrity.

Click here for a video of the band in the studion playing At The End Of The World, Where the Lions Weep.

The second suite of four tracks starts with a piano (played by plucking the strings) and mournful saxophone playing the beautiful melody of a Finnish folk song called Kun Mun Kultani Tulisi (Shall My Darling Come?) and tells the story of a woman waiting for her lover in vain. Next is a lively Irish jig with lots of drum and bass and a strong rhythm which dissipates after a few minutes to be replaced by a lovely bass solo from Sam Minaie, which in turn is replaced by a bluesey, swinging saxophone solo from Ochion Jewell who then passes the baton to Amino Belyamani for some excellent straight ahead piano and finally a crashing finale.

The third and fourth tracks in this section are composed by Jewell, Pass Fallow, Gallowglass, a Scottish style song about a warrior class where bagpipes are replaced by the bowed bass of Sam Minaie who duets with the saxophone while Radegast, from eastern Europe evokes a pagan festival in the style of Stravinski's Rite of Spring, lots of percussive piano playing, wailing saxophone and primitive energy. 

Click here for a video of Radegast.

The next section features the wonderful guitar playing of Lionel Loueke and the focus moves to Northwest Africa Ochion Jewellwith Gnawa Blues, real foot-tapping stuff designed to get you dancing, lots of call and response phrases where the musicians communicate with each other. Fans of this type of music could travel to Essaouria in Morocco where there is an annual world music festival and lots of Gnawa music. The Master is a Jewell, 10-bar blues, composition, described by him as "in your face hard bop", incorporating the exciting drumming of the Ewe people of West Africa where different size drums represent different members of the family and great solos from Jewell and Loueke. 

The last section, or suite, begins with the unmistakable refrain of Oh Shenandoah played on bowed bass and saxophone and announces that the international tour is over; piano with drum brushes take up the melody of this very well known song.  The last track is Black Is The Colour (Of My True Loves Hair) played beautifully and with little embellishment by Jewell alone, a little like a lone piper on a mountain in Scotland where the tune is believed to have originated.

This album is brimming with beautiful and interesting music and while there is a general theme inspired by world folk music, there is a great deal of excellent jazz as well as the occasional hint of Ochion Jewell's, and other band members' classical music education.  Jewell has highlighted the international nature of his musicians with Belyamani from Morocco while Minaie has Persian and Naqvi, Pakistani roots.  All are now based in New York and one can only hope that the band will travel to the UK in the not too distant future.

Click here for details and to sample. Click here for more information on Ochion Jewell's website.

 

Howard Lawes

 

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Album Released: 27th May 2016 - Label: Gondwana Records

 

Mammal Hands

Floa

Robin Kidson reviews this album for us:

Mammal Hands is a British trio made up of Nick Smart on piano, Jordan Smart on saxophones, and Jesse Barrett on drums and tabla. Floa is a follow up to their debut album, Animalia, released on the Manchester-based Gondwana label some 18 months ago.

Like so many young European bands, Mammal Hands leaven the jazz in their music with a number of other influences. According to their publicity material, these influences include Sufi and shamanic African trance music, Irish and Eastern European folk music, Steve Reich and Philip Glass, and contemporary electronica. The band,Mammal Hands Floa though, is much more than the sum of its influences – it has managed to meld all these different forms into a highly individual music which is also accessible, rhythmically exciting and completely absorbing.

At the heart of their music is the use of repetitive, often hypnotic riffs – rather like the repetitive patterns in the minimalist music of Reich and Glass. The riffs include some very attractive melodies – the band certainly knows how to write a good, memorable tune. The opening track, Quiet Fire, for example, has lovely, lilting melodies which are played through a series of riffs gradually modulating and changing. Both sax and piano play these riffs – sometimes, the same riff, sometimes a different, contrapuntal riff. There is some improvisation by the sax on top of the riff but this is limited. Even so, Jordan Smart plays some marvellous yearning and wistful Garbarekian sax on the track.

Click here to listen to Quiet Fire.

The next track, Hillum, also has attractive melodies with a strong folk music feel. The music gradually increases in tempo and volume to a frantic yet controlled climax before returning to the main theme played hypnotically over and over again. These repetitions could be boring but are actually highly effective and utterly absorbing.

Hourglass sees Jordan Smart on soprano sax. There is a particularly effective passage where he plays and improvises with a slight eastern flavor against a repetitive, gradually changing pattern played on piano. The sax becomes more and more free but still stays within the spirit and arc of the music. The use of the tabla by Jesse Barrett emphasises the eastern feel.

Click here for a video of the band playing Hourglass.

Think Anything has a Dave Brubeck vibe – Take Five and all that. There are some more great melodies and Mammal Handsriffs; and a piano solo which becomes ever more complex. The whole piece, like so many of the tracks on the album, fits together in a most satisfying way.

In the Treetops apparently started life as a pattern tapped out on a metal stool top. The sax, urged on by some compelling drumming, plays a staccato riff against which the piano and a string section create a more languid mood. The whole piece has an African feel and is meant to conjure up the forest canopy and looking over the treetops. Eyes That Saw the Mountain is another folk influenced piece with the drums making something of a rock beat. Jordan Smart plays some blistering soprano sax.

Kudu is named after a type of African antelope and the trio play melodies and riffs which jump from theme to theme rather like an antelope. The piece builds to a crescendo where the sax improvises frantically against an equally frantic piano/drum riff as if the antelope is running scared from some predator. It is a most effective piece of music – the stand out track of the whole album.

Click here to listen to Kudu.

The Falling Dream is a short piece “influenced by hip-hop sampling techniques, using looped patterns…” and echoing the wistful mood of some of the other tracks. The final track, Shift, is almost a summary of what’s gone before – hypnotic riffs, effective changes in tempo, folk and eastern music influences, superb technical skill, great melodies….. It’s an appropriate finale to a most absorbing set of original contemporary music played with skill and flair by three musicians most definitely going somewhere.

Click here for details and to sample. Click here for more information on the band's website.

 

Robin Kidson

 

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Album Released: 24th June 2016 - Label: Cadiz Music

 

Stu Brown

Stu Brown's Twisted Toons (Vol.2)

 

Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us:

Glasgow Based drummer and composer, Stu Brown, released his critically acclaimed debut album, The Stu Brown Sextet, Twisted Toons – The Music of Raymond Scott in 2009, a tribute to the maverick bandleader, composer, inventor and electronic music pioneer. Brown’s follow up release, Twisted Toons Vol. 2, features an expanded line up including his current live septet of Daniel Paterson (violin), Tom MacNiven (trumpet, slide trumpet and lap steel guitar), Brian Molley (tenor sax, clarinet, and flute), Martin Kershaw (clarinet, bass clarinetStu Brown and alto sax), Paul Harrison (piano, keyboards, synths, fart samples(!), and Mario Caribe (double bass) with special guests Emma Roche on flute and piccolo and Allan McKeown on acoustic guitar and ukulele.

Twisted Toons Vol. 2 delves deeper into the world of cartoon soundtracks including the pioneering work of Carl Stalling, whose brilliantly detailed scores accompanied the antics of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Co., as well as the equally ground breaking music of Scott Bradley, which underscored the slapstick violence of Tom and Jerry and the Tex Avery cartoons. Most of this music has never been recorded or performed live since the original cartoons were made.

Stu Brown spent many hours watching cartoons, listening to soundtrack reissues and painstakingly transcribing some of his favourite scores. There are 17 tracks on the album; some pretty short, but still enjoyable as you can be taken back to when you first heard these in your youth at the cinema or when they were repeated on television. Some of the tracks are complete scores, such as Zoom and Bored from Roadrunner and Mouse For Sale which is from Tom and Jerry.

The CD, in keeping with the music, has a cartoon look with notes on each track and short biographies of the original composers, Carl Stalling and Scott Bradley. I will not critique each track, some of which are mere snippets of toon, but here is a complete track listing:

 

Stu Brown's Twisted Toons Vol 2


1. The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down (Loony Tunes Theme);
2. Powerhouse (Carl Stalling Style);
3. Carl Stalling Jungle Medley;
4. Like Strange (Music cue from Ren and Stimpy);
5. Goblins in the Steeple;
6. Holiday Playtime (Ren and Stimpy again);
7. Mouse For Sale (Tom and Jerry Score);
8. Rabbit Fire/Screwball Wabbit Theme;
9. Creepy Walking Theme;
10. Zoom and Bored (Roadrunner Score);
11. Hawaiian Beach (From Spongebob Squarepants);
12. Tales From The Far Side;
13. Huckleberry Robot;
14. Dixieland Droopy (Droopy Score);
15. Happy Go Lively (Ren and Stimpy);
16. Porky in Wackyland (Porky Pig Score);
17. Merrily We Roll Along (Merrie Melodies theme).


An unusual example is Goblins In The Steeple which has a quirky yet catchy rhythm with some lovely keyboards, sax and brass sections standing out and an exceptional clarinet section. Mouse For Sale is a tale in a melody with many changes of lead instruments / pace / mood all with an underlying main melody augmented by a carStu Brown horn! Rabbit Fire is another quirky melody broken by some lovely sax and keyboard solos.

Hawaiian Beach features trumpeter Tom MacNiven’s debut on lap steel guitar, and he made a good job of playing it, you could have been in Hawaii! Zoom and Bored belies its title as there is nothing boring about this fast paced atmospheric track featuring violin, trumpet and clarinet to great effect. Tales From The Far Side even features the voice as an instrument with some very haunting violin passages mounting to an edgy mid-section and yet a gentle finish.

Dixieland Droopy is a rollercoaster of fast Dixieland passages broken by slower dance sections and these changes of pace were beautifully interspersed. Needless to say, Porky in Wackyland is just that! Lots of strange instrumental interruptions (including voice and fart noises), there is nothing straightforward here until it ends in a classic ‘big movie’ style.

The first track and last track are both short and bookend the album nicely with a well-known rousing intro and a very well-known finish too. All in all, this is an entertaining (and clever) album which gives the mistaken impression that you are listening to a whole orchestra rather than the band listed above. This is fun with a great variety of quick change rhythms and pace from all the instruments featured.

Click here for details and to sample.

Click here for a video of Stu Brown's Raymond Scott Project The Penguin from an earlier outing in 2008.

Tim Rolfe

 

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Album Released: May 2016 - Label: Leo Records

 

Blazing Flame

Murmuration

 

Steve Day (voice, Thai drum, rattle, bells, pebbles, H20-percussion), Keith Tippett (piano), Julie Tippetts (voice, rattle), Aaron Standon (alto saxophone), Peter Evans (5 string electric violin), Julian Dale (double bass, cello, singing bowls), Anton Henley (drums, percussion) special guest Bill Bartlett (flute on tracks 3, 5, 6, and 12).

Steve Day is a writer and a poet. His published books include Ornette Coleman: Music Always and Two Full Ears: Listening to Improvised Music. He contributed the chapter Free Jazz to Masters of Jazz Saxophone,Blazing Flame Murmuration edited by Dave Gelly, and he produces liner notes for labels such as Leo, FMP and Splasch. He reviews new albums regularly for this website and is currently writing a book about the Russian jazz group, the Ganelin Trio. Murmuration is also his fourth album and his second with his group Blazing Flame. A busy man.

For this album he has, once again, brought together a formidable group of jazz improvisers including the internationally respected Keith Tippett and Julie Tippetts, the outstanding saxophonist Aaron Standon and violinist Peter Evans, and on some tracks the flute of Bill Bartlett. Julian Dale and Anton Henley provide their completely empathetic contributions to the work and I particularly like the way Julian Dale's bass has been used and balanced in the mixing.

If you search for 'Blazing Flame' and 'Murmuration' you will probably find it categorised under the 'Avant Garde' label, whatever that might mean these days. One thing is certain, it should not be labelled 'Easy Listening', the work requires your attention. The music is improvised around Steve Day's poetry. Thankfully the words are provided with the album and you will need to read and think about them to Peter Evansgrasp their meaning. Steve delivers the words in a spoken / sung voice that you might find an acquired taste. In the past, his voice has been likened to that of Tom Waites, but as the album progresses you recognise is distinctiveness and it works well in conjunction with the gifted voice of Julie Tippetts. The title track plus Bed Of Straw at track 2 and In Darkness at track 7 are sung by Julie Tippetts.

The album opens with Off The Coast of Fukishima. Steve Day appropriately describes Keith Tippett's piano break after the first verse as being 'like a sudden thunder storm and it hangs there rumbling as if time has stood still.' Aaron Standon's saxophone interacts nicely with Keith Tippett's piano and Julian Dale's bass goes on to pair effectively with Peter Evans's violin.

Peter Evans

Click here to listen to Off The Coast Of Fukishima.

Bed Of Straw is a short track that has Julie Tippetts's great voice weaving its way above the violin. As Steve Day says: 'Julie sang Bed Of Straw in one take .. It certainly doesn't have anything like a 'blues' form though the effect is the same. Julie brings her own power to the song, which is about the fragility of safety .. it is just Julie creating a moment of sorrow, the strings weep with her'. Child And Adult at track 3 has Steve and Julie above bass and drums telling of the streetwise child - 'Age is never an excuse, it is merely a milestone. Sometimes the wisdom of children dissipates as people grow older'.

Murmuration, the title track, is based on the word given to the swarming of starlings above the Somerset levels. It opens with an interaction between piano, bass and violin that I find completely effective in describing the gathering and swooping of these birds and when Julie Tippetts's voice enters it too floats and soars until the piano, bass and violin again gently close the piece. Edgehill, the first battle of the 1642 English Revolution in which it is believed 1,500 people were killed, is a reflection on the horror of that battle with marching drums under Steve's words and Bill Bartlett's flute. The track progresses to descriptive mêlée of 'free' improvisation but inSteve Day which each musician seems 'in tune' with each other.

Portrait Of Dora Maar is a reflection on the portrait of the photographer painted often by Picasso. Steve and Julie's voices trade lines and Aaron Standon paints in saxophone colours. In Darkness begins quietly with Julie Tippetts's voice above the bass and with Keith Tippett's piano making statements, and Peter Evans's violin weaves its way into the closing bars. Aaron Standon's alto flies into Jay at track 8 with Steve and Julie staccatoing the lyrics with drum, piano and violin: 'A jay keeps clear of magpies, squawking and making such a fuss ....A 'J' stands for jazz, Body and Soul, Night and Day, Round Midnight came the owl, in the morning came the jay. '.

 

Steve Day

 

The Ripple Effect begins with ripples and with violin and bass introducing Steve's poem. Stone Circle is another take on a previously recorded track and it opens with a nice alto solo above percussion and Steve and Julie's voices tell of stone circle, druids, solstice, equinox and the passage of time until they hand back the track to saxophone, violin, bass and percussion. Now Put On The Pink is a brief, unaccompanied piece for two voices, an affirmation towards the LGBT community, whilst the final track, Ceremony, has an atmospheric, satisfying closure to the album from piano and violin.

Vittorio, reviewing the album for the Italian Music Zoom says: 'Poetry and music come together in a single set ... The words and music make for a hard impact which is out of the ordinary ... The atmosphere is charged with tension, giving an additional depth to the lyrics.'

Considering how rarely the Blazing Flame musicians come together, I think that Murmuration shows a natural affinity between them. On this album the group has achieved a compatibility between words and music, between the musicians themselves and through the mixing that makes the album well worth spending time with.

Click here for details. Click here for Steve Day's website.

Ian Maund           

             

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Album Released: 24th June 2016 - Label: Storyville

 

The Danish Jazz Quartet

On The Road

 

Jamie Evans reviews this album for us:

Leif Juul Jørgensen (clarinet), Jesper Lundgaard (bass), Søren Kristiansen (piano), Alex Riel (drums).

When this CD hit my in-tray I admit to a feeling of some glee. The Danish Jazz Quartet consists of clarinet and rhythm section. In my past musical life, 30-odd years  were spent working in a clarinet trio or quartet line-up quiteDanish Jazz Quartet On The Road often so this was like giving my cat a bowl of double cream.

The album was recorded live in Germany late last year in front of an enthusiastic audience and the repertoire and style of the music are about as “straight-ahead” as you can get which is fine with this reviewer. It was a pleasure to hear some good, honest and uncomplicated jazz.

Clarinettist Leif and drummer Alex are both in their mid-70s but you’d hardly know it when they kick off with that fine old jam session stalwart Undecided

Bass player Jesper is younger but like the above pair has had the benefit of working in Copenhagen, a city which like Paris, has hosted many top American musicians for decades, giving local lads a chance to listen, learn and even play with some legendary names.

Pianist Søren, the “baby” of the group at 54, has developed a post-bop style on top of his classical training and has accompanied the likes of Art Farmer and Harry Edison.

Mopping their brows, after the Charlie Shavers vehicle, the boys launch into If I Had You which is taken at a Danish Jazz Quartetromping lick. An out-of-tempo clarinet intro. clearly shows Ed Hall’s strong influence on Leif although his tone tends generally to be more Artie Shaw.

The quartet’s only nod to a more modern era is Oscar Pettiford’s Bohemia After Dark where Alex is given his head in a dramatic drum solo.

Despite a little confusion over the key at the beginning, Lullaby of Broadway features some nice piano from Søren and showcases his more modernistic approach. He declares that after being an Oscar Peterson devotee for most of his career he has recently incorporated more lyrical phrasing, influenced by Bill Evans.

Mean to Me and Lady be Good are both jazz standards. Perhaps familiarity sometimes hides what excellent numbers they are and the group treats them with the respect they deserve.

These experienced Danish professionals don’t attempt to re-invent the wheel every other chorus - they play to their strengths - a listenable and likeable selection of numbers in the mainstream tradition.

Click here for details. Click here for the band's website.

 

Jamie Evans

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

 

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Album Released: 27th May 2016 - Label: Strut Records

 

Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids

We Be All Africans

Steve Day Reviews this album for us:

Idris Ackamoor (alto saxophone, voice); Bajka (voice): plus a much larger personnel unidentified.

This summer Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids album, We Be All Africans is a treat to savour.  Spin it at a party and everyone will still be dancing at dawn.

Click here to listen to an introduction to the album.

Alto sax player Idris Ackamoor formed the original Pyramids with Margo Simmons in the early 1970s.  Simmons played flute, she was good too.  They met as students in Ohio, formed a band (as you do) and left America for Paris (the Art Ensemble of Chicago, along with a multitude of other Black American musicians, had alreadyIdris Ackamoor & The Pyramids made the journey).  Once in Europe Ackamoor and Simmons travelled on to Africa for what they described as a ‘cultural odyssey’.  This first version of The Pyramids were over before the 1980s had even begun though not before recording three albums one of which, King Of Kings, I remember passing through my vinyl collection around the time my first child was born.  She is now an adult and, Clive, I think it may have ended up at your place.  Who knows, I’m sure we don’t.

Mr Ackamoor went on to San Francisco and formed an extensive theatre, music and dance project in the Bay Area which is still operating decades later.  As it seems to be the way of things, a band that was a band can become a band again if you hang around long enough.  By 2012 there was evidence of interest in Idris Akamoor’s 1970’s recordings.  He reformed The Pyramids and they are back touring again.  I can’t tell you the precise line-up on We Be All Africans because that kind of detail doesn’t seem to be available right now.  What I do know is that it was recorded in Berlin in 2015 with an Asian singer/poet called Bajka.  I’d like to also be able to give details of the grandstanding percussion ensemble who shake and carry this music with ease but I can’t with any certainty.  There’s kit drums, a range of hand-drums, marimba, someone playing mbira (who actually knows what they’re doing with it), all kinds of rattles and maracas.  Listen up to We Be All Africans, and for the moment at least, rely on your ears to tell you what’s there.

The title track is a repeat refrain, as light on the ears as it is on the feet.  And I don’t mean that it has no depth.  It is a song of the Diaspora.  There is Akamoor’s grainy alto plotting the swing of the thing, just like Dudu Pukwana did on those early recordings with Chris McGregor and The Blue Notes way back in Durban, South Africa before they exiled to Europe in the 1960s.  There’s also a neat violin solo that makes a strong play up and into the groove, slicing the beaten and the blown, giving the voices a chance to chase the air.  It is the title track, the opening track, and it defines The Pyramids message – go back far enough and there is Africa.

Track 2 is Epiphany, and for me this is where I could spend a lot of time. There’s no vocal, this is Idris Ackamoor the saxophone player, bolstered by a band with a big electric bass (it’s not Richard Bona, but it could be), popping space synth, more horns and a chorus of drums which are still echoing Africa.  Rather than Pukwana, there is a touch of Carlos Ward about this.  Ackamoor parades a lyrical melody that gets well beyond simply being tuneful.  Later, on the track Clarion Call, he breaths a similar hypnotic melodic strand as if it were an Idris Ackamoor We Be All Africansunguarded confessional moment.  Ah, but on Epiphany, as the title suggests, there’s an element of discovery, renewal, a re-telling of the music each time they hit the theme.  There’s also a funky little break where the whole band swagger and stagger beats and high notes, a modest manifestation but one which carves out carousal.

Click here to listen to Epiphany.

They close down even tighter on drum conversations on Rhapsody In Berlin.  This music is not taking place in Lagos, instead they are close to the Brandenburg Gate.  A sense of place is perhaps what this record is all about.  Africa is not just a continent, it’s a sense being.

The other central track on this recording points to another strong influence.  Silent Days begins with the words, “Walking in a galaxy, through the universe”; suddenly Ackamoor and Bajka sound as if they have stepped straight out of one of Sun Ra’s travelogues, no wonder Gilles Peterson has picked up on them.  The great June Tyson, who sung with the early Sun Ra Arkestra, is tight into Bajka’s delivery.  The unison singing on Silent Days could fit like a space suit in the Marshall Allen version of the Arkestra which is still touring, still soaring today.

I will be hanging on to We Be All Africans.  Of course it comes with references to other musicians but that doesn’t hold back the core message.  It is dance music, with some deep saxophone holding forth.  It has a narrative of how one Black American who spends most of his time in San Francisco can still hang out for Africa, for France and Germany, and for the whole wide world in which we live and breathe.

At a time when some people want to raise our borders, this joyous affirmation of a “common cradle” of humanity is refreshing.  Hail, Nigeria’s Fela Kuti, South Africa’s Blue Notes, Dudu and Dyani.  Hail, Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masekela, Kippie Moeketsi, Miriam Makeba, the Rail Band from Mali, the great drum master Tony Allen, Manu Dibango and Jonas Gwangwa.  Hail them all, and hail Idris Ackamoor and Strut Records for bringing out this great positive slice of life.

Click here for details and to sample.

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

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Album Released: 17th June 2016 - Label: www.peteredwardsmusic.co.uk

 

The Peter Edwards Trio

A Matter Of Instinct

 

Peter Edwards (piano / Fender Rhodes); Max Luthert (bass); Moses Boyd (drums)

Since graduating from Trinity Conservatoire in London in 2009, Peter Edwards has been racking up the awards. He was nominated in the MOBO Awards for 'Best Newcomer' and then picked up the Jazz FM Award forPeter Edwards Trio A Matter Of Instinct 'Breakthrough Act' in 2015 along with the Parliamentary Jazz 'Newcomer' Award. Drummer Moses Boyd has echoed that in 2016 picking up the same two awards in his duo with saxophonist Binker Golding. Max Luthert, the third member of the trio, is much sought after for his work as a bass player. With Edwards he is part of Zara McFarlane's band and his associations are many, in particular his co-leadership of Partikel. With all these gongs and plaudits the portents for Peter Edwards's second album following 2014's Safe And Sound are good.

The album brings us eight tracks, all written by Peter Edwards. Samba City takes us straight into a fast, catchy Latin number with a brief bass/drum duet after the piano outing and some nice drum work from Moses Boyd. The ballad Loved Ones, a light, lyrical, romantic piece, was written to recognise the support Peter has received from family and friends. At track 3, Groove Swing Funk ripples out and contains all the elements in the title, and now you can hear why the pianist's playing attracts attention.

Click here to listen to Groove Swing Funk.

We get The Runaround at 4, the tune morphing in fast from the track before and packed with pianistic ideas. Moses BoydMoses Boyd's drums feature towards the end - I like his work on this album. Peter Edwards switches to Fender Rhodes for the title track, A Matter Of Instinct, another attractive composition with elements of Latin/Funk. The move to electric piano works well here bringing a change of texture.

Click here for a video of the Trio in the studio playing A Matter Of Instinct.

Flying High again has Latin rhythms beneath another light, lyrical piece with some swinging piano from Edwards. Down But Not Out is a beautiful, slow ballad in waltz time, charged with feeling, and here Max Luthert's bass is just right as it enters for a solo. Written Max Luthertby Peter Edwards about facing adversity, this composition begs for recognition of being a 'Standard'. And so the final track, Escape Velocity, takes us out with a riff and a final taste of piano, drums and bass into fade.

Click here to listen to Down But Not Out.

There is no doubt that Peter Edwards writes and plays appealing, lyrical music. His background with Tomorrow's Warriors, his work with Abram Wilson's quartet and his compositions and arrangements for vocalist Zara McFarlane all contribute to the heart of this album. A Matter Of Instinct is pretty sure to be a popular album. If I have a query it is about the mixing where I would have liked the level of the bass and drums to have been reduced slightly, but each to his own.

Peter Edwards says: "So much of music is about instincts. I've faithfully followed my own instinctive musical voice when devising each track on this album."

Click here to listen to the album. Click here for purchase details and to sample.

The Trio are playing at:

Thursday, 28th July – Manchester Jazz Festival
Thursday, 4th August – Mau Mau Bar, London

 

Ian Maund

 

 

 

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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.

Jasper Høiby

Fellow Creatures


Where do I start?! Possibly with the list of musicians, all of them out of the top drawer: Jasper Høiby (double bass and composer), Mark Lockheart (saxophone), Laura Jurd (trumpet), Will Barry (piano) and Corrie Dick (drums). Say 'Jasper Høiby' and one thinks of his trio work with pianist Ivo Neame and drummer Anton Eger in Phronesis, or with Kairos 4tet; this time he pulls together a different combination to play a range of his compositions. He says: 'With this project it was very important for me to explore things that I wouldn't be able to with Phronesis and so, Jasper Hoiby Fellow Creaturesalthough I still think the record has things in common with the trio, it is also in many ways, an attempt to break away and try new ground with this band. The music here may seem less explosive at first, but I hope some of its subtlety and richness will be revealed by repeated listens.'

The album was recorded in January 2016 at The Village Studio in Copenhagen, Denmark, Jasper's birth city. He moved to the UK in 2000 to attend the Royal Academy of Music and over the last sixteen years has emerged as one of the leading bass players on the jazz scene performing not just with Phronesis, first formed in 2005, but with a host of other leading musicians.

It is also important to understand the concept behind the album. Jasper says: 'My wish was to tell a story with a whole record, and to cherish that intimate relationship between an album and its listener that used to be commonplace, perhaps a return to the days when you would listen through from start to finish, again and again, until you grew to know every single note, space and emotion and it became part of your inner world, your personality even. Secondly, the titles and to some extent the writing are inspired by a brilliant book by Canadian author Naomi Klein called "This Changes Everything". The book talks about what we have to do to make sure that we don't devour this beautiful planet, along with all its natural resources. It discusses how we can seize this environmental crisis and transform our failed economic system to build something radically better for everyone.'

Folk Song opens the album with a solo bass introduction and then Laura Jurd's clear trumpet leading out into a haunting melody and through some collective, imaginative improvisation over a folk story that quietens to piano and back to trumpet led theme. The title track, Fellow Creatures, follows, again introduced by the bass. The trumpet and saxophone and then the piano interact above a solid working from bass and drums. There is a tendency to listen to the horns, but you need to hear what Corrie Dick is doing on drums too. There is a lot going on in this track and you Jasper Hoiby Fellow Creatures bandappreciate what Jasper Høiby means about the need to listen again. World Of Contradictions at track 3 is introduced quietly by Will Barry's piano and then the saxophone and trumpet in unison. Jasper's bass is firmly in your consciousness and his short duo with piano is sensitive and melodic.

Click here for Jasper's website where you can listen to the track Fellow Creatures.

Track 4 is Little Song For Mankind and again there is a compelling piano and bass introduction. The horns are absent until later on this track and there is a chance to appreciate the fine interaction between piano, bass and drums. Song For The Bees comes next - with a busy opening from bass, saxophone and trumpet. I am listening to how well this album has been recorded and mixed with Corrie Dick's ticking drums placed just right and Jasper's bass work clearly appreciated. I really like the horns' song on this number. Tangible begins proudly with saxophone, trumpet and bass. The simple theme is repeated and then the bass solo reminds us why we're here, and once again bass and piano absorb our attention. I am loving Will Barry's piano contributions to this album. Collective Spaces is the shortest track on the album at just over 3 minutes and Jasper Hoibyagain the saxophone and trumpet conversations play out against a finely balanced bass and drums.

At track 8, Suddenly, Everyone. One by one the instruments join the theme but then come and go making their contributions along the way. Mark Lockheart takes a nice sax solo before handing the baton to Laura Jurd who gives us some excellent trumpet on this track. Jasper's bass solo is quietly accompanied by piano and drums, and then suddenly, everyone is in there before the bass closes the track. Before, another short track, brings an intriguing bass and low register sax introduction to what is primarily a bass and sax duet with a solo from Mark Lockheart. The album concludes its ten tracks with Plastic Island and some out-take talk as the tune starts. Bass and drums give a funky rhythm against which the horns work out with piano pop-ups. A fitting end to a fine album.

Fellow Creatures is full of compelling compositions and spot-on playing. It is recorded and mixed beautifully and I think it achieves everything Jasper Høiby intended for an album that works well from one track to another, and although it is satisfying on the first listen, can only benefit from hearing again.

The album is dedicated to Jasper's older sister, Jeanette, who sadly died earlier in 2016. It couldn't be a more fitting tribute.

Fellow Creatures is released on the Edition Records label on 15th July as a CD and download. I recommend it to you. Click here for a brief video introduction. Click here for details and to sample.

Ian Maund

 

 

 

 

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).

 

Jacob Collier In My Room

 

1. Jacob Collier - In My Room - (Quest Records)

[Click here for details and to sample. Click here to listen to the album (each track has a brief NPR ad preceding the music). Click here for a video of Jacob playing the In My Room.

 

 

 

Barry Guy The Blue Shroud

 

2. Barry Guy - The Blue Shroud - (Intakt)

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

 

 

 

 

Alexander Hawkins Leaps In Leicester

 

3. Alexander Hawkins & Evan Parker - Leaps In Leicester - (Clean Feed)

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

 

 

 

 

Jasper Hoiby Fellow Creatures

 

4. Jasper Høiby - Fellow Creatures - (Edition)

[See One From Ten item above]

 

 

 

 

Paul Desmond Easy Living

 

5. Paul Desmond - Easy Living - (RCA Victor/Legacy)

[Click here for details. Click here to listen to the title track. Click here to listen to more tracks].

 

 

 

 

Jazz At The Philarmonic 1958 - 1960

 

6. Jazz At The Philarmonic - 1958-1960 Live In Paris - (Freméaux & Associés - 3 CDs )

[Click here for details. Click here for a video of Indiana from a 1960 concert featuring Roy Eldridge, Benny Carter, Don Byas, Coleman Hawkins and Jo Jones].

 

 

 

 

Jane Monheit The Songbook Sessions Ella Fitzgerald

 

7. Jane Monheit - The Songbook Session: Ella Fitzgerald - (Emerald City Records)

[Click here for details and to sample. Click here for review. Click here for a video of Jane Monheit singing Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye in a studio session].

 

 

 

 

Vimala Rowe John Etheridge Out Of The Sky

 

8. Vimala Rowe / John Etheridge - Out Of The Sky - (Dynamic Music)

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

 

 

 

 

Sarah Vaughan Live At Rosy's

 

9. Sarah Vaughan - Live At Rosy's - (Resonance Records - 2 CDs)

[Click here for details and to sample. Click here for a video introduction. Click here for more details and to listen to I'll Remember April].

 

 

 

 

Michel Petrucciani Both Sides Live

 

10. Michel Petrucciani - Both Worlds Live - (Dreyfus - 2 CDs + DVD)

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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: The White Hart, 162 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1UE
From 28th September 2016: Last Wednesday of each month, 8,30 to 11.00 pm, Volunatry donations
- Oxford Kitchen Jam Session

Oxford: James Street Tavern, 47-48 James St, Oxford OX4 1EU.
First Wednesday of each month, 8.45 to 11.00 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, 3rd July and Sunday, 17th July - 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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