Follow us on Facebook
Would you like us to let you know each time this magazine page is updated?
Click HERE, send the email to us, and we will email you when an update is made.
Mercury Prize 2014
Both bands now have established positions in the jazz world and a strong following. Seb Rochford, Polar Bear's amazing drummer has been here before, once with an earlier nomination of Polar Bear and also with Basquiat Strings.
How will they do against Bombay Bicycle Club and Damon Albarn? Who knows, but the £20,000 prize would be useful. The awards take place at the Roundhouse in Camden on 29th October.
The organisation Jazz Services is arranging for a comprehensive review of their service following the withdrawal of their Arts Council England funding from 2015. Jazz Services says: 'We’re pleased to announce that Jazz Services has appointed consultants Bonnar Keenlyside to conduct an Organisational Review, in order to help us map out our future.'
'The review is fully supported and funded by the Arts Council England and will enable us to develop a new working model to help guide our future development, which will in turn allow us to apply for funding in order to continue our work. The recent input we’ve received, including contributions to our own survey, discussions on websites and social media, and the massive support shown by the public via musician Emily Saunders' online petition have all provided invaluable feedback that will help inform the review and will ensure that we remain focused on providing for the jazz sector as best we can.'
'To that end, we’d like to again thank everyone who’s taken part in these discussions in recent weeks. Your voices have been heard, and will contribute to our future and to the future of British jazz.'
Jean Wilson tells us about a tribute on Radio Israel to trombonist Roy Crimmins who passed through the Departure Lounge last month. The introduction to the programme (which starts with Ben Webster (?) That's All) and the commentary is not in English, but the piece about Roy, starting at 2.50 minutes in has tracks featuring Roy and part of the programme is in English.
You can listen to it if you click here. Well worth listening to and there are some nice examples of Roy's trombone playing.
A review of BBC Music Services is currently underway and you have a chance to say what you think about the coverage of jazz on the radio.
Kerstan Mackness makes the point: ’Jazz is already something of a pauper on the BBC - compared to classical and pop music at least, and I think there is a real danger of the music being further marginalised. With cuts meaning less hours and less budget for recordings and reporting. We can't afford for this to happen. But we're not entirely powerless - below is a link to the BBC Trust review of music services. Please make a submission about how you feel about jazz on radio. And please if you are able to speed the word then please do - if enough people share this, tweet about this, blog about this and generally spread the word then more and more people will have their say and hopefully the BBC will listen. After all they kept 6 Music because enough people shouted for it to stay - lets make sure they keep jazz on the BBC too!’
Is there enough? Should it be protected? How important do you think the BBC is to the jazz sector?
Community and Local Radio are providing some services and there is probably more in your area than you realise. Nobody would pretend that this is an alternative to a national jazz radio station, but there are people who are making time, often on a voluntary basis, to promote jazz either within a local radio 'on air' or through the internet where you can stream radio programmes or listen to them on your computer or tablet. Check out what is going on in your area and let us know if you have a favourite.
Trumpeter Chris Hodgkins who retired from the organisation Jazz Services earlier this year is presenting a weekly show in London called "Jazz Then and Now" on London Jazz Radio. The concept of the show is as Chris puts it “what it says on the tin”. Chris will be delving into the history of the music and present what is happening on the scene today with a watchful eye on British contemporary jazz. The show will run every Monday at 3pm and 8pm repeated on Wednesdays; and will complement nicely Todd’s Turntable by Todd Gordon which runs on Sundays at 12pm repeated Wednesday evenings.
Mike Whitaker is just one of the presenters on 10Radio, a community radio show in Somerset. Mike has a relaxed style and like many community radio shows, sounds like he is talking to a group of friends. Mike says: 'Sounds Like Jazz is broadcast on a Tuesday evening between 8.00 pm and 10.00 pm. It is repeated twice. There's a Night Owl repeat on the Saturday after the live broadcast, from 2 am to 4 am and another repeat on the following Thursday from 10 am to 12 noon. Repeats are more of a technical challenge than you might think and only a few of the 10Radio crew can do them. And I'm not one of them ! I mention this as repeats don't always turn out exactly right!' You can listen online to Sounds Like Jazz at: www.10radio.org .
Another of our correspondents, vocalist Grace Black (click here for a video of her singing Feeling Good), hosts a Scottish community radio jazz programme, The Jazz Lounge, on K107fm Community Radio on Sunday afternoons from 4pm to 6pm. Grace says: 'I am playing all the classics but also inviting Scottish and UK artistes to send me cds and MP3's so that I can showcase the vast array of talent that we have on the current jazz scene. People can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook by searching for The Jazz Lounge on K107fm.' This is another programme that is available online at http://www.k107.co.uk and some shows are also on Mixcloud.
Similarly, vocalist Jenny Green (website:Jenny Green sings) hosts a jazz programme on Ridge Radio in the Surrey area every Friday from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm in which she features and interviews jazz musicians www.ridgeradio.dreamhosters.com
In Australia, we are in touch with David Stevens, a UK jazz musician who once played with Sandy Brown and other well-known bands before he emigrated. David is one of six presenters who host a local radio jazz programme Midday Jazz which you can listen to online in the UK, although midday in Australia is the middle of the night here! If you are a nightfly you can find it here www.2rrr.org.au
Let us know about your local or community radio station, but in the meantime send in your comments to the BBC to let them know what you think about their Jazz programming. As Kerstan Mackness says: 'It’s is really important that we have our say at a time when there are cuts across BBC and jazz may be under threat.'
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!).
Album First Released: December 2013 - Label: Efpi Records
Johnny Hunter Quartet
Although this album was released at the end of last year, it is a good example of how a recording can be used as an effective introduction to a group of musicians - their 'business card'. There are six tracks on the album, all compositions by the leader, Johnny Hunter. Two are quite short (Interlude 1 and Interlude 2 playing at tracks two and five), and they are used as showcase solos first by the drummer and then by the bass player.
The band is Graham South (trumpet), Ben Watte (tenor saxophone), Stewart Wilson (double bass) and Johnny Hunter (drums).
Johnny Hunter (brother of guitarist Anton Hunter) is based in Manchester and is another talented young drummer establishing a name for himself in the UK jazz scene. His drums power the first track Five Stories High firmly stating his credentials whilst the rest of the band settle in with easy conversations between the trumpet and saxophone (click here to listen). For me, the third track, Mallard Ballard, is the 'go to' track on this album where Graham South and Ben Watte really show what they can do in their solos. (Click here to listen to Mallard Ballard).
Click here for a video introducing the band and the album.
Rivers Of Appropriation precedes Stewart Wilson's bass Interlude and in contrast to the short Interludes the album ends with the extended track Constantly.
Appropriations by the Johnny Hunter Quartet is available from Efpi Records (click here - where you can also listen to the track Rivers Of Appropriation).
This is a recording that signals potential. The Quartet is touring in November as part of a Jazz Services supported programme, so you would do well to try and catch them at one of the following venues:
November 6th: LUME @ Long White Cloud, London – 8pm £5
Despite their funding issues, Jazz Services will again be taking a stand at the 2015 event JazzAhead in Germany next April.
They say: 'Jazz Services is very pleased to announce that we will again be taking a stand at the annual JazzAhead! industry event, to be held in Bremen, Germany, from the 23rd-26th April 2015.'
'Our presence in previous years has provided UK-based jazz professionals with a valuable opportunity to attend as a co-exhibitor of Jazz Services, and to allow artists to apply for showcases. Despite the situation regarding our funding beyond the end of March next year, we recognise that JazzAhead! is a vital part of our commitment to serving the UK jazz scene’s international interests. We have also noted the concerns of many on the scene that they would not be able to attend without the platform our presence provides, and to this end we have made careful provisions to ensure we can go ahead with 2015’s event. We’re also delighted to bring on board Cathie Rae to facilitate our involvement. Former Director of the Scottish Jazz Federation, Cathie has attended JazzAhead! herself many times in the past and will be working with Jazz Services to organise and arrange our stand and presence. She brings with her a fantastic wealth of international experience, and her addition to the team helps to further strengthen our position as we continue working for British jazz music at home and abroad.'
'Full details, including how to join Jazz Services as a co-exhibitor, will be announced shortly and we look forward to helping champion British jazz overseas once again in April 2015.'
For information about JazzAhead click here.
Gerry Salisbury - My Favourite Things
This is the spot where trombonist Tony Milliner usually chooses one of his favourite tracks for us. Just for a change, trumpeter Gerry Salisbury takes a turn this month.
Gerry says: 'I have been tempted to get in touch with you about many things but I have many favourite tracks one of which is by Duke Ellington and although he is not one of my favourite bands, he has one or two tracks that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. One of these is the Newport 1956 Diminuendo In Blue and Crescendo In Blue where the tenor player, Paul Gonsalves, starts a bridge passage and gets carried away and the crowd get louder than the orchestra.'
Diminuendo In Blue and Crescendo In Blue were first written and recorded by Duke Ellington in 1937, and each appeared on opposite sides of a 78 rpm record. In 1956, Duke took his orchestra to the Newport Jazz Festival. It is said that Ellington’s career had been waning, but this historic concert put him firmly back on the map (if he ever left!). In fact, there are those like promoter George Wein who are brave enough to claim that this is "the greatest performance of Ellington's career... It stood for everything that jazz had been and could be."
What happened at Newport was a performance of two tunes Diminuendo In Blue and Crescendo In Blue linked by a 27-chorus tenor solo from Paul Gonsalves. You only have to listen to the audience reaction as this solo goes on to know just how inspiring it was. Paul had first played this bridge between the pieces in 1951 at Birdland and then again in 1953 in Pasadena. It is the 1956 Newport recording that has become 'jazz folklore’.
On this occasion the band was: Clark Terry, Ray Nance, Willie Cook, Cat Anderson (trumpet), Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson (trombone), Jimmy Hamilton, Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax), Johnny Hodges, Russel Procope (alto sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax), Jimmy Woode (double bass), Sam Woodyard (drums), Duke Ellington (piano).
Commentators say: ‘There’s no way anyone with a pulse can sit through this song.’ ‘This is one of the greatest jazz recordings in its history! If you can’t feel this … you’re not among the living! Timeless!’
Someone else comments: ‘Let’s not forget the role of drummer Sam Woodyard. He puts the fuel in this rocket ship!’
Gerry says: 'The drummer, Sam Woodyard, came over from Paris to play for me when they had a benefit for me at the100 club after my heart attack so it is a bit special to me.'
The Tommy Andrews Quintet stages its autumn tour in October and November featuring music from their excellent album The Crux (click here for a taster). Highly recommended.
You can hear them playing at:
2nd October - The Ent Shed, Bedford
16th October - The Spice of Life, Soho
28th October - Parr Jazz, Liverpool
31st October - Bebop Club, Bristol
3rd November – Jazz At the Oxford, Kentish Town
5th November - Dempsey's, Cardiff
23rd November - The Green Note, Camden
Album Released: 15th September 2014 - Label: Spartacus Records
Culloden Moor Suite
Bobby Wellins and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra
Saxophonist Howard Lawes reviews this album for us:
The Culloden Moor Suite was written by saxophonist Bobby Wellins and first performed in 1961. The music was inspired by an account, written by John Prebble, of the Battle of Culloden (1746) between the Jacobites and Hanoverians.
The Jacobites were led by Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) who claimed the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland for himself although as a Roman Catholic he was ineligible because the Act of Settlement of 1701 decreed that only Protestants could be monarch. The first Hanoverian King George I was only 52nd in line for the throne but his Protestantism was decisive. The Battle of Culloden was the last battle on British soil and the last attempt by the Stuarts to regain the throne.
The battle itself was quite short with the Hanoverians, led by the Duke of Cumberland, victorious, but the survivors who fought on the Jacobite side, many of whom belonged to Scottish Clans from the Highlands, were subjected to a bloody retribution. While Charles Stuart escaped “over the sea to Skye” and back to France a new regime took hold in Highland Scotland that sought to destroy the traditional culture and way of life of the Clans and which provokes bitter memories to this day.
Talking to Bobby Wellins he recalled his early music career which centred on London in the late 1950s after studying music at Chichester and in the RAF at Uxbridge. Bobby recalls playing with clarinettist Sandy Brown, although details of where and when are hazy, and with Laurie Morgan who had formed a band called the Contemporary Jazz Unit. 1959 of course was “the year that changed jazz” and Bobby remembers the influence of the likes of Miles Davis and Gil Evans in what must have been an exciting time for jazz musicians. The Culloden Moor Suite was performed at St Pancras Town Hall in November 1961 as part of a show called “New Jazz / New Poetry” (see Hard Bop Jazz Journal) and was considered “the high-spot of the evening”, scored for a full orchestra but with imported passages by a trio consisting of Wellins, Stan Tracey and Laurie Morgan. Out of this concert there emerged the regular New Departures Jazz-Poetry Septet, consisting of Wellins (tenor sax), Les Condon (trumpet), Tracey (piano), Jeff Clyne (bass), Morgan (drums), Pete Brown and Michael Horotvitz (voice). Another important figure in Wellins early career was promoter Victor Schonfield.
Since those early days Wellins has played with a great variety of ensembles, including in 1986, Rolling Stone Charlie Watts’s Big Band and very recently in a duo with Kate Williams which resulted in the acclaimed album Smoke and Mirrors. It comes as no surprise that he felt right at home with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra in this project to resurrect the Culloden Moor Suite in which his original score has been re-arranged and re-orchestrated by the young German composer Florian Ross to give it a contemporary style.
The suite consists of five parts which imagine events in chronological order starting with gathering the Clans together, inspiring the troops as they march, the battle itself and bloody retribution, the destruction of the Highland way of life and an epilogue. Gathering is a gentle, piece with a repeated refrain evoking perhaps the magnificent highland scenery that would be passed through to reach the battle site. March is far more upbeat starting with a conventional marching rhythm beaten on the drum but changes to incorporate a number of styles representing the variety of the combatants who included Scots on both sides along with the English and French. There are excellent solos from Wellins on tenor sax and Tom McNiven on trumpet playing some powerful high notes and lively interplay between orchestra and individuals. There are perhaps echoes of Ellington in the ensemble playing which is unsurprising given the recent In The Spirit of the Duke concert series.
Battle begins with a Steve Hamilton (piano) / Alyn Cosker (drum) duet and then a free style saxophone / drum duet followed by a conversation between saxophone and orchestra before the whole piece descends into barely organised chaos perhaps expressing the brutality with which the defeated survivors were treated after the short battle. Aftermath includes a ticking clock like piano accompanied by initially a surprisingly light and optimistic orchestra but towards the end the saxophone laments the passing of Highland culture and imposition of national government on the Highland region. Epilogue again begins with the ticking clock piano and includes some slow and soulful orchestral brass and saxophone but right at the end the original refrain resurfaces like a phoenix – who knows?
Click here for a video of Bobby Wellins and the SNJO playing Epilogue in 2011.
The Culloden Moor Suite is a wonderfully poetic piece of music born out of the drama of war and the innovative jazz that was prevalent in the 1960’s. This re-incarnation has received great acclaim at performances in Scotland and Bobby Wellins can feel justly proud of his composition.
Click here to sample the album.
Composition by Bobby Wellins.
Orchestrations and arrangement by Florian Ross
Tenor Saxophone Soloist: Bobby Wellins
My neighbour knocked on my door at 2:30am this morning, can you believe that, 2:30am?!Luckily for him I was still up playing my saxophone.
Mark Robertson has fairly safely subtitled his book ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told About Love … and Jazz (in Sunderland)’. I guess that has to stand as a challenge to other Sunderland authors.
This enjoyable book is not a page-turner crime novel, it is a gentle, well-written story of relationships set against a jazz background that the author knows well. Mark Robertson is a drummer. He describes his closest brush with fame when he ‘became’ the first drummer for legendary ‘Girls Aloud’ singer and X Factor judge Cheryl Cole. Mark says: ‘At the time, Cheryl was eight years old and performing in the Whitley Bay Am-Dram Panto. Twelve years on Ms Cole was well on the way to amassing a multi-million pound fortune, pausing only to perform at venues like Wembley Stadium. Mark Robertson was still in the north-east, playing jazz gigs for food and/or petrol money.’
Mark’s book centres on Kyle, a saxophonist with a local jazz band. The band plays for the food and/or petrol money in jazz clubs like those most of you will have visited. Kyle’s partner, Charlotte has supported him financially and practically for three years and her patience is wearing thin. The band members are clearly pictured – Andy, the drummer, whose ‘penchant for licentiousness had left him with two ex-wives and many on/off girlfriends.’ Barry at 42 plays keyboards and still lives with his mother: ‘He had only ever gone out with one girl, the daughter of one of his mother’s friends. It had lasted a week and although it hadn’t become a physical relationship he had still got himself thoroughly checked out by a doctor afterwards.’ Ludo is the bass player: ‘Every band had a member like Ludo, an explosion of curly hair, crumpled cheese-cloth shirts and Rizla papers who could be as oil on troubled waters unless he was bored, when he became as incendiary as a petrol tanker doing handbrake turns in a timber yard.’
Into this setting comes Harry Crabb, once a star saxophonist now divorced, living alone scraping together enough money to buy too much booze, and Dainty, Charlotte’s friend who can persuade Charlotte to do better with the handsome, rich, attentive work colleague, Ethan. At the edge is Craig, the autistic young man who worships Kyle as his saxophone teacher.
And so their lives change, but to what end?
Kyle ends up one night at Harry Crabb’s bed-sit rather the worse for wear: ‘Miles Davis’s wife, Mrs Davis … Mrs Davis, she wouldn’t say “Miles, you’ve finished recordin’ Kind Of Blue, the best selling jazz album ever, now do the washin’ up”. And if she did say “Do the washin’ up” he would say “Hey quit me, woman. I gotta write Sketches Of Spain before the 1960s happen”.
And the following morning, waking on Harry’s floor: ‘ … he stumbled out on unsteady legs and managed to find the communal toilet for Harry’s floor. Once inside, he hung over the “great white telephone” and called for God, hugging the porcelain bowl with both arms. This clearly was the bottom layer of Hell. As a communal toilet in a particularly run down block of bed-sits, nobody had the specific duty of keeping it clean …’
Then comes an unexpected gig … and you will have to read the book to see what happens.
Mark Robertson balances well the jazz and relationship elements of his story, both evolving as the tale unfolds, and there are some unexpected happenings along the way before the resolution.
The cover price of this paperback is £8.99 but you can download it for Kindle at £2.99. Click here for more information and reviews from a number of readers.
With Christmas creeping up on us, this would make a good gift idea for someone who likes both reading and jazz – or perhaps just treat yourself.
Album released: 15th September 2014 – Label: Dot Time Records
Back for a fifth year in October is Georgia Mancio's ReVoice! Festival.
The Festival features a glittering array of vocalists including CarmenLundy, Vinx and Lee, Sandra Nkake, Christine Tobin, Claire Martin, IanShaw, Liane Carroll, Gabrielle Ducomble, Joe Stilgoe and of course Georgia Mancio.
The Festival takes place from 9th to 20th October at the Pizza Express Jazz Club and the 606 Club in London, the Watermill Jazz Club in Dorking and The Hunter Club in Bury St. Edmunds.
Click here for more information.
This jazz Standard is a favourite of trombonist Tony Milliner and was going to be included in our ‘Tony Milliner’s Favourites’ slot, but I think it is worthy of more exploration, so let's take a more leisurely look at it here.
As far as the tune is concerned, it was written by Ray Noble in 1938. The wide variety of jazz musicians who have recorded it is testament to its appeal. Also called Indian Love Call it was originally intended to be part of a five-movement 'Indian Suite’, the other movements named Comanche War Dance, Iroquois, Seminole and Sioux Sue. These days, the proper nomination would be ‘Native American’ rather than ‘Indian’, but to avoid confusion we’ll continue with the original.
Cherokee sweet Indian maiden
Since first I met you I can't forget you
Cherokee sweet heart child of the prairie
Your love keeps calling my heart enthralling
In 1939, Billy May created an instrumental version of the tune for the Charlie Barnet Orchestra and it climbed to number fifteen in the pop charts. The Jazz Standards website tells us that ‘An extension of “Cherokee” titled “Redskin Rhumba” subsequently became Barnet’s theme song. According to Don Kennedy, host of the Big Band Jump radio show: ‘It was, of course, based on the plunger-muted trombones, but the “melody” was simply Barnet’s ad-lib tenor sax noodlings. That way, he told me, it could be expanded or contracted to fit any situation in a “live” remote.’
Redskin Rhumba is credited to Dale Bennett, a pseudonym for Charlie Barnet. Trumpeter Billy May was an arranger for the Charlie Barnet Orchestra until he joined Glenn Miller in 1940.
Click here for a video of Charlie Barnet and his Orchestra in an old 1944 ‘soundie’ playing Cherokee.
The various parts of Ray Noble’s Indian Suite are available as downloads and you can sample them if you click here.
Charlie Barnet was a very popular bandleader between 1939 and 1941 and Cherokee and Skyliner were the two numbers that established his place in the Swing era. In 1947 Charlie Barnet started to switch from Swing to Bebop but by 1949 he had retired, apparently having lost interest in music. He occasionally played brief tours but never returned full time to the business. There is an irony here in that it is claimed that Cherokee had not really become established as a Jazz Standard until in 1943 Charlie Parker had picked up the tune and recorded it. I wonder how far Barnet Charlie was influenced by Parker Charlie stealing his thunder?
Click here to listen to the Charlie Parker version.
Cherokee dreams of summtertime
Of lovertime gone by throng
My memory, so tenderly and sigh
The story of the Cherokee people and their place in American history is long and complex, with times of co-operative trading and times of dispute. It is thought that the Cherokee originally moved south in prehistoric times from the area of the Great Lakes. Like others from that area, they are an Iroquoian-speaking people. They settled mainly in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and East Tennessee. American colonist, Henry Timberlake, described the Cherokee nation as he saw it in 1761:
‘The Cherokees are of a middle stature, of an olive colour, tho' generally painted, and their skins stained with gun-powder, pricked into it in very pretty figures. The hair of their head is shaved, tho' many of the old people have it plucked out by the roots, except a patch on the hinder part of the head, about twice the bigness of a crown-piece, which is ornamented with beads, feathers, wampum, stained deer’s hair, and such like baubles. The ears are slit and stretched to an enormous size, putting the person who undergoes the operation to incredible pain, being unable to lie on either side for nearly forty days. To remedy this, they generally slit but one at a time; so soon as the patient can bear it, they wound round with wire to expand them, and are adorned with silver pendants and rings, which they likewise wear at the nose. This custom does not belong originally to the Cherokees, but taken by them from the Shawnese, or other northern nations.’
‘They that can afford it wear a collar of wampum, which are beads cut out of clam-shells, a silver breast-plate, and bracelets on their arms and wrists of the same metal, a bit of cloth over their private parts, a shirt of the English make, a sort of cloth-boots, and mockasons (sic), which are shoes of a make peculiar to the Americans, ornamented with porcupine-quills; a large mantle or match-coat thrown over all complete their dress at home...’
A version of Cherokee by Clifford Brown and Max Roach kicks off with true imagery (click here).
Most disputes between the tribes and between the tribes and settlers were about territory - does anything ever change? In 1756 the Cherokee were allies of the British in the French and Indian War. Serious misunderstandings arose quickly between the two allies, resulting in the 1760 Anglo-Cherokee War. King George III made a proclamation in 1763 forbidding British settlements west of the Appalachian crest, as his government tried to afford some protection from colonial encroachment to the Cherokee and other tribes. The Crown found the ruling difficult to enforce with colonists. After the Anglo-Cherokee War, bitterness remained between the two groups and in 1765, Henry Timberlake took three of the former Cherokee adversaries to London to help cement the newly declared friendship.
In the 19th century, George Washington sought to 'civilize' Southeastern American Indians through programs overseen by an Indian Agent, Benjamin Hawkins. He 'encouraged the Cherokee to abandon their communal land-tenure and settle on individual farmsteads, facilitated by the destruction of many American Indian towns during the American Revolutionary War ... The government supplied the tribes with spinning wheels and cotton-seed, and men were taught to fence and plow the land, in contrast to their traditional division in which crop cultivation was woman's labor. Americans instructed the women in weaving. Eventually Hawkins helped them set up blacksmiths, gristmills and cotton plantations.'
Wikipedia tells us that: 'A number of tribes traditionally adopted captives into their group to replace members who had been captured or killed in battle. Such captives were from rival tribes and later were taken from raids on European settlements. Some tribes also sheltered or adopted white traders and runaway slaves, and others owned slaves of their own. Tribes with long trading histories with Europeans show a higher rate of European admixture, reflecting years of intermarriage between Native American women and European men, often seen as advantageous to both sides.'
My sweet Indian maiden
One day I hold you
In my arm fold you Cherokee.
Of course Hollywood developed an industry of 'Cowboy and Indian' films where the 'white man' was the 'good guy' and the Indian the 'savage'. Sanitised characters like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry (the Singing Cowboy - click here) were popular images contrasting the ferociousness of the Indian 'braves'. That is until Ralph Nelson's 1970 film Soldier Blue caused a sensation by bringing an opposite view and showing a horrific attack on the Indians by American soldiers (There is a trailer to the film, but be warned, it does contain scenes of a massacre you are likely to find upsetting, so only watch it if you are prepared for that -click here). 'Indian maidens' were in most Hollywood movies were usually seen as innocents (and so suitable to be rescued by the 'white man'?).
Not only did Charlie Parker record a version of Cherokee, he also used it as the basis for his 1945 composition Ko-Ko (click here to listen toCharlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie playing Ko-Ko).
The number has been recorded over the years by musicians from Lionel Hampton to Stan Getz and sung by Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee and a host of others. Click here for Gene Krupa's version with a hectic drum solo, click here for a video of Sarah Vaughan singing Cherokee.
There is a video analysis of the score for Cherokee of more interest to musicians if you click here.
We end with a video of the Freddie Hubbard playing Cherokee in 1990 with Freddie Hubbartd (trumpet), Don Branden: (tenor sax), Benny Green (piano), Jeff Chambers (bass), Carl Allen (drums) - click here.
Which jazz albums make up a collection of classics? We suggest an album each month so that we can gradually build up a list - in no particular order. Do you have these? Click here for our Essential Albums page where you will find the suggestions that have been put forward so far.
The following description sums up the album well: 'When pianist Bill Evans died at the age of 51 in 1980, he had established a different approach to tackling the art of jazz piano. His view on improvisation encompassed a whole new outlook with regard to keyboard exploration, constantly rejecting the ugly or the inappropriate, always seeking the perfect and profound, encompassing great subtlety, sophistication, taste and reflection. His group featuring Scott LaFaro (bass) and Paul Motian (drums)was regarded as one of the most potent forces of its day; the line-up's final recording being 'Waltz For Debby', a disc emanating from a stay at New York's Village Vanguard in June 1961.' Others have said: 'This album is widely considered to be one of the best in the Evans canon, and the type of emotive interplay between the musicians that at some points seemed almost deconstructed has served as a model for piano trio play ... LaFaro died in a car accident just ten days after the live date at the Village Vanguard from which Waltz for Debby and its predecessor, Sunday At The Village Vanguard were taken. The loss of LaFaro hit Evans hard, and he went into a brief seclusion. When Evans returned to the trio format later in 1962, it was with Motian and noted bassist Chuck Israels.'
As well as the title track, the album included many jazz standards like My Foolish Heart, My Romance, The Way You Look Tonight, The Man I Love and I Got Rhythm.
Charles Lloyd: Arrows Into Infinity (ECM 5052 3780649 DVD) Produced and Directed by Dorothy Darr and Jeffrey Morse. Steve Day reviews and discusses this recent DVD that we mentioned last month:
In 1998 I wrote a book called Two Full Ears, on page 129 I closed a chapter on Charles Lloyd with the following paragraph: “When Charles Lloyd plays, I hear him stretch across all kinds of expectations, even his own history. ‘Brother On The Rooftop’, (the) final minutes dig into all the joyous possibilities of the tenor saxophone, pressing the sound at the top and bottom registers, making the theme spring meaning, quoting short phrases from his 60s repertoire, ‘Forest Flower’ and ‘Sombrero Sam’. The end could in fact be a beginning, the very last phrase stings ‘White Cliffs of Dove’, re-designing the melodic line that contains the words “Just you wait and see”. It seems extremely apt to me.”
Charles Lloyd did not give voice to “Just you wait and see” but he has continued to blow those notes through his horn, resulting in a wealth of music caressing the air. Sixteen years later we still ‘wait and see’ simply because each time he plays there is something profound to hear. Arrows Into Infinity is a film about a master-musician who I first encountered when I was a kid in Aldgate, London. Staring into the window at HMV I spotted the album cover of Charles Lloyd in The Soviet Union. Since then I have heard him play numerous times. They are among the best gigs haunting my memory bank. He is a player who is transformative of the noble Adolphe Sax invention. Mr Lloyd has that resonance; between sound and his own humanity. He would call it a gift.
'Arrows' gets mighty close to doing justice to a life lived with dignity and a music, so accurate in aim and delivery, that it penetrates the purpose of what it is to play in the first place. Arrows Into Infinity sets out the trip. The film has meticulously researched archive footage, literally an in-depth pictorial history lesson; relevant interviews that get to the core and respect for the art of it all. Yet what makes this documentary special is that we see and hear clarity in the music. This is music able to live with its own motives. Nor does it hide from the places that take an individual off-course. After Lloyd’s major triumphs in the 1960’s, placing his ‘jazz’ quartet in the same headlining gigs as rock bands like The Doors and Grateful Dead, he stopped in his tracks. The weaver of dreams ceased playing and went back home to California and stayed there. What good reason is there for blowing down the horn? The purpose of pursuance; lessons hard won, these are Lloyd’s words: “You can’t shot an arrow into infinity if you are always in motion, you have to pull the bow back, then you can fly forward.”
Dorothy Darr met Charles in 1968, they have been together one way or another ever since that epoch year ended. Her mood viewed photography is all over his discography. More than that, they have shared the minutia of the trip together. Her attention to detail in presenting Lloyd’s life is so tight you are compressed into what’s on offer.
Click here for the trailer for the DVD.
Sam Cooke’s prophetic song A Change Is Gonna Come has to feed into the mix. Lloyd never recorded it but he was there in the narrative, his life is touched by that song’s subject. The crippled soul of America, the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, civil rights and a summer of love that turned sour somewhere between the doors to the Fillmore Auditorium and the fields of Woodstock. Lloyd’s story back from self-imposed exile is as hard as it is heartening. The role of French pianist, Michel Petrucciani, who travelled from Europe to California to search out Lloyd in the hope that they would connect, and their eventual triumph at the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival.
A dharma of drummers regularly appear throughout the ‘Arrows’ storyline. In 1966 twenty-four year old drummer, Jack DeJohnette joined Lloyd’s quartet along with pianist, Keith Jarrett. DeJohnette and Jarrett have subsequently spent over forty years playing together in one form or another, notably in Jarrett’s ‘Standards’ Trio. However the roots of this partnership lie in the Charles Lloyd Quartet – his tunes Forest Flower and Sombrero Sam are equally their history too. Jack DeJohnette’s contributions to the film are critical. He went on to play with giants; Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Bill Evans, Sonny Rollins - wherever there is an innovator look for DeJohnette. In ‘Arrows’ DeJohnette describes the huge importance of Charles Lloyd; as a musician and as a man. There is an open willingness to put it on the slate because that is the state of things. But a significant part of the reason DeJohnette left Lloyd in 1969 to play in the Miles Davis band was that Charles Lloyd had lost his way, emotionally and musically. Drugs. Credit goes to the character of Lloyd, not only did he step back at the time to do something about the ‘tragic magic’, but here in this film he and Dorothy Darr encourage Jack DeJohnette to witness straight to camera that darkside. It is a brittle thin moment, stark as it is, as honest as it is. I ask myself why Keith Jarrett did not feel he could make a contribution to this film? But of course, I am not privy to such inner circle information.
‘Arrows’ also includes a recent visit to Ornette Coleman’s loft space in New York. The two great grey black peers of contemporary saxophone, born of a blues they were later to abstract, are filmed having a game of pool together. They are discussing drummers, "Was it Ed Blackwell or Billy Higgins playing on Ornette’s recordings with bassist Scott LaFaro?” Two peers on parallel roads arriving at different destinations, but not so far apart in terms of infinity. Robbie Robertson insightfully puts it this way: 'Ornette always was the “beautiful rule breaker”, whereas Charles Lloyd “didn’t like any rules at all".' That subtle difference is all important. Billy Higgins, the original drummer in Ornette Coleman’s Atlantic Records Quartet would, further down the line, become a close confidante, friend, muse, mantra-maker and percussionist to Charles Lloyd. And it’s true, thinking about it now, when I heard them perform together in 2000, a year before Higgins’ died, there was a sense that infinity was being measured out in music. A frail yet fabulous Billy Higgins beat a rattling snare drum to a tenor saxophone making bargains with the personal gods that reside inside a man’s head.
The current Charles Lloyd quartet, with Jason Moran, piano, Reuben Rogers, bass, and the extraordinarily gifted drummer Eric Harland, provide the continuing potency of this special music. Almost at the end of Arrows Into Infinity Jason Moran reminds us that these are the days when an era is soon to pass. Take your time with this already gone-classic DVD, watch it in one sitting and then go back to the ‘chapters’ selector. For once it is a useful device; there is much to ponder on here.
Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk
It is wonderful that we can see a video of these two great saxophonists playing together. The video comes from a concert in Germany in 1960. There is a debate about what the piano introduction is (played by Wynton Kelly?) although it is quite clearly Autumn Leaves, but despite the title of the video on YouTube, this is What's New played by Coltrane followed by Moonlight In Vermont played by Stan Getz. As one commentator says: 'おやすみなさい(-_-)zzz'.
Another commentator suggests that Paul Chambers bass 'dances around the (bass) high notes at 3.50 mins', but you need to listen carefully to hear it. Jimmy Cobb is on drums.
I'm with commentator Jordi González who says, and I'm sure you will agree: 'Ningún jazzfan puede perderse este encuentro entre dos gigantes del tenor.'
Click here for this month's video.
Album First Released: 21st October 2014 - Label: Hungry Bear Records
Steve Day reviews this album for us:
Eyeshutight: Paul Baxter (double bass, composer), Johnny Tomlinson (piano), Kristoffer Wright (drums).
Eyeshutight is a piano trio but not as you’d know it. They might not be looking but they have vision. Their publicity describes them as a ‘piano trio’ but the way this music plays out, why single out the piano? Paul Baxter, the bass player is the main composer, and it his playing which, for me, has the immediate drawing power. The deep swell coming off his instrument reminds me of the late, great Charlie Haden; his poise and position when he was working alongside pianists such as Hampton Hawes and Hank Jones. It is the act of pacing and placing notes within a space, letting them ring, methodically making a melody detach from its circumstances so the line is soloing as it cuts itself clean from where it began. Even with his eyes closed Mr Baxter is tackling his own twists and curves. But this is a trio, and in no way am I suggesting Tomlinson and Wright are slouching on the couch. Both get to these compositions completely, all three players run together. The piano/bass riffs often spring in unison, the drums pacing the pattern of the notes – it is not so much rhythm, more like a line spread out in repeat procedure.
The tracks Resonance and Re-sounds bookmark the beginning and end of this session, sampling the American comedian Bill Hicks. (Personally I’ve never come across this agile word trickster before but he’s weird enough to make me want to track him down.) What I do know is that when I first heard these two tracks they left-fielded my expectations. And I do like an experiment to jolt the ear, not merely mystify it. Baxter, Tomlinson and Wright have succeeded. Eyeshutight’s Resonance album is an interesting 55 minutes of playtime and new music. As a listener I kept my eyes wide open throughout. Hell, I don’t know why there are eight tracks listed on the sleeve but nine tracks on the disk. Nor do I understand Eyeshutight as opposed to Eyes-Shut-Tight. And I haven’t a clue why the cover states they are thanking God and Johnny’s Grandad. I guess sometimes it’s better not to look and simply open up your ears. A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind horse.
Click here to listen to Resonance from the album.
The Eyeshutight Resonance UK Tour:
21 October - Parrjazz at Frederiks, Liverpool
In 2007, Trevor Lee and Chris Flanagan set out on a project to research and record the story of the Festival Hall dance hall in Kirkby In Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, between 1950 and 1963. The results have been issued in eight booklets entitled 'Band Call', and the appearances, dates, personnel and profiles of the bands that played the Festival Hall make a fascinating historical record. Bands such as those of Ray Ellington, Tubby Hayes, Ivy Benson, Humphrey Lyttelton, Dick Charlesworth, Mike Daniels, Alex Wells and Sandy Brown all performed there at one time or another.
In April 2013, Chris Flanagan sadly passed through the Departure Lounge. Trevor Lee completed the work on Issue Seven - July 1958 to December 1959, and now Trevor has completed the project with Issue Eight which takes the story from January 1960 to November 1963.
Trevor writes: 'When Chris Flanagan brought his own inimitable style of writing, wealth of knowledge and insight onto the pages he added another dimension and I realised that we were producing a fitting tribute to the Saturday night patrons of the Festival Hall and an honest appraisal of the dance hall scene during the years when the popular music pendulum swung more rapidly than it had ever done before. To finish this series of 'Band Call' without Chris is the last thing I would have ever envisaged, his loss is as profound as ever ... Mary, his wife, has kindly let me have so much of his collection that his spirit and inspiration will be present in this final 'Band Call'.
As Trevor says, popular music had been changing. Issue Eight sees more of the 'pop' artists of the time appearing at the Festival Hall - Shane Fenton, The Tornados, The Avengers, Vince Eager, Tony Angelo ... but jazz bands were still being booked with appearances by Bob Wallis, Kenny Ball, The Jazz Committee, Mick Mulligan, the Leen Valley Jazzmen and the Eric Delaney Band which was the final record Trevor found of a dance at the Festival Hall on November 16th, 1963. The Festival Hall is now a leisure centre.
We thank Trevor and Chris for letting us share some of their entries in previous issues, and to give you an idea of some of the content in these booklets, we are sharing below an entry from Band Call Issue Eight about Nat Gonella and his Georgians. Copies of all eight issues of Band Call are still available at £3.00 each (including postage and packing) from Trevor Lee: email@example.com and money raised from sales is donated to the charity Rainbow Trust Africa.
With this project completed, Trevor plans to launch out on another. He says: ' My enthusiasm for the history of Asfield dance halls continues with the daunting task of tracing all the activity elsewhere around the area. The ballrooms and the bands from the 1930s to the 1960s. I have already a considerable amount of information but will always be pleased to hear from anyone who can help with more. We look forward to reading more of Trevor's work in the future.
Sometime during the evening of Saturday March 5th 1960, Nathaniel Charles 'Nat' Gonella, the highly innovative British musician of whom Louis Armstrong spoke as being the best trumpeter in England, stepped out on the stage of the Festival Hall, Kirkby In Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. The 'Notts Free Press' our local newspaper gave no special attention in heralding the hero of many up and coming jazz musicians of that time. For all intent and purpose, for Nat as well as the patrons, it was just another dance here.
Growing up from boy to man, he became intrigued by jazz and the trumpet playing style of Louis Armstrong in particular. A story with a local reference to this can be found in the book 'Georgia On My Mind - The Nat Gonella Story' by Ron Brown with Cyril Brown. I quote - 'I was in a touring revue called 'A Week's Pleasure' playing with Archie Pitt's Busby Boys, a band led by Bertini, when I heard a record featuring a young Louis Armstrong in a Nottingham record shop'.
Poster: Solo act - Nat Gonella, just before he reformed another band of 'Georgians', in a week of Variety - 1959 at the Queen's Theatre, Blackpool (Marie Lloyd was the daughter of the famous music hall singer).
Space will not allow me to trace his long career from Nottingham in the '20s to Kirkby 40 years later. Countless books relate the facts, but in 1960 he appeared with his new, six piece 'Georgians' formed in 1959. Players were Bobby Mickleburgh - trombone, Teddy Layton - clarinet, Lennie Felix - piano, Allan Duddington - bass, Lennie Hastings - drums.
It did surprise me to find two more visits to the Festival Hall that year, April 16th and August 13th. Nat died in 1998 at the age of ninety, ending the life of one of Britain's most eminent jazz musicians.
Album Released: 21st July 2014 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings
The New Straight Ahead
Vic Arnold reviews this album for us:
The quality of the recording is excellent, there are 10 tracks, two of which are very short Intro's and Outro's, and the total playing time is 50.47mins. If you like good swinging hard bop, then this recording may very well appeal to you. The music consists of a mixture of standards (When You Wish Upon A Star, Autumn Leaves) and compositions by Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk and Charlie Parker, plus I assume, some material composed by members of the Quartet (the sleeve note does not give this information).
Click here for an introductory video for the album.
All of the musicians perform to a very high standard as you would expect from a group who have been playing together for a number of years. I found that the music was interesting and easy and enjoyable to listen to. Two tracks that were for me outstanding were Monk's Misterioso and Parker's Ah-leu-cha. Misterioso certainly has an air of mystery about it.
I will end with a quote from the album that to me, sums up this group of musicians. "I can hear each guy doing his own thing, but you're doing it together."
Click here to sample the album.
with thanks to Ron Rubin
The idea behind this item is to offer a 'taste' of a musician, singer or band that you might not have come across before. This month, we spend time with ......
Vocalist Jay Clayton was born Judith Colantone (of Italian ancestry) in Youngstown, Ohio in 1941. At home, she heard the big band standards and started to play the accordion before turning to the piano. She went to Miami University in Ohio and as Lara Pelligrenelli writes: ‘ ... forged a mentoring relationship with saxophonist Steve Lacy. Through him, Clayton began to understand that she need not chose between standards and free music, that she could be influenced by the tradition and yet not bounded by it’.
Jay married percussionist Frank Clayton and together they started Jazz At The Loft at their home in 1967. Joanne Brackeen, Dave Liebman, Hal Galper and John Gilmore were just some of the visitors as Jay began to establish a reputation as an avant-garde singer.
By the 1970s she had recorded with Muhal Richard Abrams, John Fischer, Byron Morris and Steve Reich, and she was one of the first singers to record John Cage’s music and to incorporate poetry and electronics into her music. She has gone on to perform with Bud Shank, Charlie Haden, Lee Konitz, Fred Hersch and countless other jazz musicians.
She has led her own workshops since 1971, taught at the Cornish College of Arts in Seattle from 1981 and also taken her teaching to colleges in New York, Austria, Germany and Canada. Her book Sing Your Story: A Practical Guide for Learning and Teaching The Art Of Jazz Singing was published in 2001.
Jay Clayton's debut recording was All Out released in 1981. Click here to listen to her singing Random Mondays from the album.
She performs under the name of the Jay Clayton Project, works with other vocalists as Different Voices. and co-leads a trio, Outskirts, with drummer Jerry Granelli and saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom whose album Sixteen Sunsets we reviewed and recommended highly. She is currently on the jazz faculty at Peabody Institute for Music.
Writing in The Village Voice in 2004, Francis Davis said: ‘Clayton is still the most adventurous singer in jazz, a specialist in wordless improvisation who’s also expert in distending and finding new meanings in the melodies and lyrics of classic popular song’.
Quoting Lara Pelligrenelli again: ‘Her task for the present is to revive the numerous collaborations on which her career has thrived and create new ones in the offing. Taking her cue from the great saxophonist Eric Dolphy, who recognized the importance of playing with many different musicians, Clayton loves performing in a wide variety of settings.'
We end with this video of Jay Clayton singing with Danny Oore on beatboxaphone in 2012 (click here).
The Neil Cowley Trio kick off their 'Touch And Flee' tour with a video of the track Spakling (click here). The publicity describes it as: 'A rippling tune of drifting and oscillating arpeggiated melodies, Sparkling suggests a flash of glittering aura. Conceived during a soul searching year of scrapped albums and new directions, Cowley’s composition harnesses the power and emotion of the trio’s sound to create an elegant concert hall mediation.' Yes, well, let's just say it is enjoyable!
We really liked the Touch And Flee album when we reviewed it a few months ago, so the tour promises much. A competition comes with the video where you can win tickets for one of the shows which play around the country throughout the month starting in Bristol on October 1st.
1st October: Bristol, Colston Hall
3rd October: London, Barbican
4th October: Southampton, Turner Sims
8th October: Cardiff, The Gate Arts Centre
9th October: Brighton, Dome Corn Exchange
10th October: Oxford, SJE Arts at St JOhn The Evangelist Church
11th October: Gateshead, Sage
14th October: Birmigham, CBSO Centre
18th October: Manchester, RNCM
23rd October: Derry, Derry International Choral Festival
Album Released: 15th September 2014 - Label: Gondwana Records
Steve Day reviews this album for us:
Mammal Hands: Nick Smart (keyboards); Jesse Barrett (drums, tablas), Jordan Smart (saxophones).
This trio has a lot of influences. The trouble with influences is they sometimes hang you out to dry. You’re caught in a web of other people’s wonder rather than your own voice. I wouldn’t necessarily say these guys are trapped, there’s some air to breath here, but next time round they are going to have to climb the high hill. They call up the names of Steve Reich and Pharoah Sanders (if you’re going to drop that name you better get close to the target when you squeeze the reed) and ‘Irish folk music’, a cover-all description that stretches into a deep tradition. Ireland’s past is more than a long road and people like Willie Clancy carry a lot of history on their shoulders. I have no understanding as to why the Smart brothers and Mr Barrett call themselves Mammal Hands but they do. The trio have produced an interesting debut which tells you more about where they’ve come from rather than where they might go.
Start at the Smart beginning. Mansions of Million of Years, I like it. This piece takes its time, the piano putting out building blocks. Jesse Barrett’s brushes keep sweeping the surface of the drum heads, there’s a discipline in there before he eventually breaks to sticks. Jordan Smart’s soprano saxophone hits a vein at around 5 minutes that is worth waiting for, only to finish just when he begins to start talking openly. This is a player who needn’t be so concerned about naming names. A straight horn, pitched properly like this one, is worthy of conservation as it weaves and grieves for something far back in time. I just wish band pushed it forward, just a little. Track 3, Kandaiki is counting time again; fits and starts, signature swipes at an emphasis coming off the cymbals and the piano running away with its own loops. It’s a switch to tenor sax but like the soprano the same clarity, a texture, a blown breath that isn’t over reached, precisely pressed through the tube. As I hear it the sound is so clean with everything neatly packed away. Is that how we really live?
By now we know, because they have told the listener explicitly, there is some kind of expectation about themselves as a trio and their well paraded influences. We are dealing with composition, tweaked in the act of presentation. Little melodies pop out of the mix like your mum and dad on Sunday afternoons. “Hello son, how are you?” They provide comfort and instruction before going away again. A key track that makes me want to still keep an ear out for Mammal Hands is Tiny Crumb – it takes us through the melodies of the family visit fairly quickly, they don’t cut and run exactly but Barrett’s drums drive those Smart brothers into constructive exploration, the tenor blows perfect holes through their programming. They don’t exactly morph into a power trio but there is an urgency emerging which is good, it feels like a moment has come. Gondwana Records tell us this is “a powerful collective improvisation”; so it is, relative to what has gone before.
Leave home and take your domestic pets with you. Clear up after the dog. Listen to your own heart when you’re running, it is the best pacemaker you’ll ever have. Put on a fresh shirt. Something like that could be ‘Animalia’.
Click here to sample the album.
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:
Kenny Wheeler - Canadian trumpeter, bandleader and composer who moved to the UK in 1952 and became a key figure on the jazz scene. In the '60s he played with Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott and John Dankworth. In the '90s he released influential albums such Music for Large and Small Ensemble and Kayak. In 1997, he received critical acclaim for album Angel Song, which featured Bill Frisell, Dave Holland and Lee Konitz. He was the founding patron of the Junior Jazz programme at the Royal Academy of Music.
Click here for a BBC4 Omnibus programme from 1977 about Kenny Wheeler.
Gerald Wilson - American trumpeter, composer and bandleader from Mississippi who at the age of twenty joined Jimmy Lunceford's orchestra, then played with Benny Carter and Les Hite. He formed a big band with Ellington singer Herb Jeffries and worked with Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. He went on to tour with his big band in the US and Europe and hosted his own radio show.
Click here for Lyons' Roar by the Gerald Wilson Orchestra.
Joe Sample - American pianist who formed the band the Jazz Crusaders with drummer Nesbert "Stix" Hooper, the tenor saxophonist Wilton Felder and the trombonist Wayne Henderson in the 1960s. Inspired by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers they eventually became known just as The Crusaders and extended their music into 'jazz-funk fusion' and more popular recordings such as Joe Sample's compositions Street Life and One Day I'll Fly Away.
Click here for a video of The Crusaders playing Way Back Home, introduced by Joe Sample, at Montreaux in 2003.
One From Ten
Jon Turner at Broad Street Jazz specialist record shop in Bath selects an album for special mention from his list of new and reissued recordings below.
Jon says: 'This is one of a number of new Japanese re-issues on the Warner label that are not only well-priced, but are 24bit re-masters that make the sound fantastic. The notes inside the liner are in Japanese, but the original sleeve notes for the album are on the back, although you might need a magnifying glass to read them! The albums in this latest set of releases include discs by Lennie Tristano, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Barney Kessel, Shorty Rogers and many others.'
'I have picked out the Chico Hamilton album as it features an early Eric Dolphy before he 'became famous'. His playing here is less 'jaggedy' and this is typical Chico Hamilton of the time with cello and guitar providing a 'chamber' sound'
Click here for the Warner Jazz Re-Issue series. Gongs East! is due to be released later this month and so this picture is from an earlier release.
Chico Hamilton - Gongs East! is available from Broad Street Jazz at £5.99 plus postage.
Jon Turner introduces other albums in this month’s selection:
Wookey Hole Club, Somerset - 11th October
Some months ago we featured young pianist Mark Pringle's debut album in duo with John Law. Now based in Birmingham, Mark returns to his home county of Somerset with his Birmingham Conservatoire Trio which includes James Banner on double bass and Euan Palmer, drums.
Both Mark and James recently studied at the prestigious Conservatoire National Superieur in Paris, and Euan regularly appears around the UK in projects with his peers and more established musicians. Between them they have been fortunate to work with visiting artists Mark Turner, Dave Holland, John Taylor, Larry Grenadier and Danilo Perez. James has also played in support of Wayne Shorter and Wynton Marsalis, and Euan with Julian Siegel in Lluis Mather’s ensemble ‘The Trees’. The Trio will be playing Mark's original compositions.
It starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are priced at £5 each. To reserve in advance please call Paul Cannon of the Wells Jazz Collective on 01749 674913 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Album Released: June 2014 - Label: Zohomusic / Wienerworld
Latin Jazz Underground
Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us:
The musicians playing on this album are Mark Weinstein (concert, alto and bass flutes), Aruán Ortiz ( piano), Rashaan Carter (bass), Gerald Cleaver (drums) and Román Diaz (percussion). The arrangements are by Aruán Ortiz. The album consists of 8 tracks, one composed by Mark Weinstein, two by Ortiz, two by Sam Rivers, one by Eden Ahbez, one by Ornette Coleman and one by Andrew Hill.
Mark Weinstein has distinguished himself not only with an academic career but as an accomplished jazz musician. He started out with piano lessons at the age of six then learnt to play the trombone. He played and arranged salsa music but jazz was his main influence. He also played and toured with Herbie Mann and the big bands of Joe Henderson, Clark Terry and Lionel Hampton to name just a few. In the early 1970’s Mark took time out from his music to pursue an academic career and gained a Ph.D in philosophy, and became a college professor specialising in mathematical logic. He returned to music in 1978, this time playing the flute and has produced and recorded over a dozen albums since 1997 having, in total, 18 albums to his credit.
Mark was also part of the loft jazz scene in the '70s where jazz was played in some of the large ex-commercial lofts and even in some people’s homes. A lot of the music was free jazz, where musicians attempt to break down the conventions of jazz music by discarding fixed chord changes or tempos
Mark met Ortiz whilst recording a previous album and decided to take their shared language to another level on this album and it was Ortiz who suggested doing a tribute to the loft scene and Mark who wanted it to have an Afro-Cuban complexion. So this project was a perfect vehicle for the flutist and the Cuban pianist, including interpretations on compositions by Ornette Coleman, Sam Rivers and Andrew Hill.
The problem then was how to integrate Afro-Cuban percussion rhythms with free jazz. It is Diaz, who teaches Afro-Cuban percussion, with Cleaver, who has extensive free jazz credits, on drums, that form the base and bridge for the pairing of Weinstein and Ortiz’s playing. However, the flute in Cuban music has been used by stars that were around in the '70s such as Richard Egües and Melquíades Fundora.
The first track Gregorio’s Mood starts with a good Cuban beat with driving base rhythm with the flute keeping a steady musical story line that disappears and is then taken up by the piano. As it moves on to track two, Open or Close, we hear a repeated melodic refrain which is taken up by all the instruments, either together or separately. This is the only track to feature some vocals which have a distinctly African chant heritage. In Dance of the Tripedal the bass provides a solid start with the flute and piano taking over and providing several different and distinct rhythms which are played at a fairly hectic pace. The playing of Ortiz on this track illustrates how jazz and Cuban music can combine to provide something different yet interesting.
The tempo alters to quieter and slower on For Emilio with quality bass flute playing to its strengths from Mark and all musicians having a chance at a solo. Tete’s Blues features more very commanding percussion with some magical flute playing and the bass providing a steady slow background beat. The flute and piano then combine to up the tempo with a good drum solo. Nature Boy has a haunting flute melody with piano and percussion complementing the flute. A reflective piece which features strong Latin influences.
The tempo livens up again on track seven Mellifluous Cacophony which serves to illustrate how free jazz and Cuban music can make interesting bedfellows. There are masterful solos from flute and piano. Finally, with Mark’s Last Tune we get some virtuoso drumming and percussion with fast rhythms between solos – fluid flute and piano coming to the fore here.
The whole album is extremely interesting bringing outstanding musicians and experiments in music together much more successfully than many of the same genre. Well worth listening to carefully.
Click here to sample the album.
Some months ago, author Keiron Pim contacted us about a book he is writing on David Litvinoff. Keiron said:
Do you remember David Litvinoff? He was around the Soho jazz scene in the 1950s and '60s, a well-known face at Cy Laurie's and a friend of George Melly, who describes him in vivid fashion in his memoir Owning Up. Litvinoff was, wrote Melly, ‘The fastest talker I ever met, full of outrageous stories, at least half of which turned out to be true, a dandy of squalor, a face either beautiful or ugly, I could never decide which, but certainly one hundred percent Jewish, a self-propelled catalyst who didn’t mind getting hurt as long as he made something happen, a sacred monster, first class.’
Melly also mentions giving a lecture at the ICA on the subject of 'Erotic Imagery in the Blues', which descended into drunken chaos and culminated in Litvinoff manhandling the event's chairmen from the stage, stripping naked and belting out his own version of You've Been a Good Old Wagon. If you knew him, you'd probably remember him. Also, I'm keen to contact Victor Bellerby, whom I think had some dealings with Litvinoff. Does anyone happen to know of the Vic Bellerby who was a jazz critic and who chaired the infamous lecture at the ICA by George Melly?
I've been told David Litvinoff worked briefly as road manager to Mick Mulligan's band and he was a familiar figure in both Soho and Chelsea during those years, cultivating connections that spanned the worlds of music, art, journalism and criminality. He was born in the East End in 1928 and died in 1975. I'm writing a book about him, to be published by Jonathan Cape, and I would be extremely grateful if anyone who remembers him would get in touch. Any details can be of help, no matter how insignificant they might seem to you! Please call me on 01603 487679 or 07921 376656, email email@example.com or contact me via my website, www.keironpim.co.uk.
September saw comments on Facebook about the question 'Is anyone prepared to stand up for banjo players?' in response to our Banjoking page (click here).
Yvonne Probert, Louis Lince and Jim Douglas recommended listening to banjo players Spats Langham, Keith Stevens, Dave Morewood and Brian Mellor. Maggie Peplow said Louis Lince himself plays a pretty mean banjo. Christine Woodward said: 'I don't want to play in a band without a banjo player, and I don't want to listen to one either. Same with the brass bass.' Jim Douglas recalled that he used to work with the Clyde Valley Stompers predominantly on banjo and also several years with Bob Bates: '... but horizons expand. Louis and Henry Red Allen's taste encompassed all styles and who's going to argue with them? I also worked on a couple of gigs with Kid Ory on guitar and he was most complimentary as was Ken Colyer who Actually asked me to play guitar. Maybe my banjo playing stinks!'
Bob Kerr writes to tell us: 'I have my Jazz Festival on the 27th & 28th September in my little village of Stradbroke here in Suffolk - information on www.stradjazz.net after that we have for the Whoopee Band the Marsden Jazz Festival (near Huddersfield) 10th October, Dereham Jazz Club Norfolk on the 21st November and our Grand Christmas Show at the Half Moon in Putney London SW15 1EU on the 14th December.We started at the Half Moon in 1967 and have been playing there every year ever since.'
Help Me Information
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 ...
How can an unrecorded young big band that came together just three years ago sell out two main act shows at Ronnie Scott’s Club over a week before their performance in September? The word had got around from their monthly bookings at the ‘Spice Of Life’ in Soho that this is a tight, talented band of students and graduates from London’s jazz colleges that plays imaginative arrangements of music from the likes of Count Basie and Thad Jones and that is about as professional as you can get.
For their debut at Ronnie’s they had nationally acclaimed trombonist Mark Nightingale guesting and it was difficult to know quite who inspired who. Much of the credit for this set up is down to musical director and trumpeter Barney Lowe, not that long out of the Guildhall School himself. A visiting trumpeter from Seattle sitting beside me commented that ‘ ... he is a really good leader, he has the ability to make everyone around him look good ..’
Add in the talents of so many UK young bloods and it is a great bake off – saxophonists Tommy Andrews, Alec Harper, Sam Braysher and Nadim Teimoori excelled and the band and the audience did not allow Andrew Linham to end his baritone sax solo on Thad Jones’ Three In One until his breath finally ran out.
Mention should be made of trumpeter Miguel Gorodi’s extended solo on another Thad Jones number, Low Down, and of course Mark Nightingale whose solos were as good as you’d expect. The band benefits from having along two charismatic college graduate singers, Billy Boothroyd and Harriet Syndercombe-Court who know how to swing and had the audience and the band well on-side with numbers from the ‘Sinatra At The Sands’ album and the Diane Schuur songbook. Only Mark Nightingale took a solo on one of the vocal numbers, Deedle's Blues, and I should have liked to hear some of the other musicians let loose to solo on songs like Please Be Kind and A Lot Of Living To Do.
If, like others, you couldn’t get a ticket for Ronnie’s, catch the band at one of their Spice Of Life gigs.
The two final concerts in the National Jazz Archive 2014 series are set for October. The concerts are the last of seven this year to raise funds to support the work of the National Jazz Archive, and in particular the Heritage Lottery Fund project ‘The Story of British Jazz’.
Digby Fairweather by Merlin Daleman
Friday 24 October sees a grand reunion of the Great British Jazz Band, formed in the 1990s by trumpeter Digby Fairweather and the late Pete Strange and features Bruce Adams and Digby Fairweather (trumpets), Roy Williams and Chris Gower (trombones), Pete Long and Robert Fowler (reeds), Brian Dee (piano), Len Skeat (bass) and Pete Cater (drums). Founder-member Dave Shepherd will be dropping in to play a couple of guest-features.
Poll-winning singer Val Wiseman stars on Saturday 25 October in her show ‘Jazz Goes to the Movies’ – a celebration of jazz on film from the 1920s to the ‘noughties’. Val’s presentation has appeared at theatres and jazz festivals all over the UK. With her will be Digby Fairweather’s Half Dozen starring Julian Marc Stringle (reeds), Chris Gower (trombone), Dominic Ashworth (guitar) and Len Skeat (bass). The Half Dozen has won the British Jazz Award for top small group for eight of the last nine years.
Tickets for each show cost £15, or £28 for a combined ticket for both events. The venue is Loughton Methodist Church, 260 High Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 1RB, close to the Archive’s home in Loughton Library, where there is extensive parking, 1 km from Loughton Station on the Central Line, and served by numerous bus routes. Click here for further information.
The full programme is now online for this year's EFG London Jazz Festival which will take place from Friday 14th to Sunday 23rd November 2014. The organisation Serious says: 'With under two months until the EFG London Jazz Festival kicks off, it’s a great pleasure to announce that all events are on sale and online.
Here are some of the strands that are going to make 2014 a spectacular year for the Festival:
New music is the future for any genre and to continue our commitment to this ethos, 21 new pieces of work have been commissioned and will be premiered at the 2014 Festival. In new music, we relish the unknown, inspired by what the artists from previous eras have given the next generation.
BLUE NOTE CELEBRATIONS
Blue Note Records, the label perhaps most synonymous with jazz legends past and present are celebrating 75 years. The Festival plays host to some of the most exciting artists in the current Blue Note roster.
SOUTH AFRICA PROGRAMME
This year’s Festival looks at how South African jazz and its musicians have been inspired, how the music has flourished and what they have contributed to music world-wide. ‘South Africa 20 years on’ is one of our core themes, supported by a full programme of concerts, film and talks highlighting the breadth of talent and inspiration inherent in South African jazz.
Events organised as part of the South African Season in the United Kingdom. The South Africa-United Kingdom Season 2014 & 2015 is a partnership between the Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa and the British Council.
JAZZ VOICE OPENING GALA
Nothing sets the tone for an event quite like the opening night and only one show can create the perfect curtain-raiser to the 2014 EFG London Jazz Festival, the inimitable Jazz Voice. A true celebration of singing and song, this concert is arranged, scored and conducted by Guy Barker, who leads a 40-piece orchestra alongside an extraordinary line-up of vocal talent who we are thrilled to announce: Dee Dee Bridgewater, Emma Smith, Georgie Fame, Jacob Banks, Sachal, Kurt Elling and Vula Malinga. These artists will kickstart the Festival in spectacular style at the Barbican, Friday 14 November.
You can also view the complete Festival brochure online here.
Some October Gigs
It is impossible for us to include a list of all the gigs taking place during a month. I have decided to take an approach where we will look at venues geographically and give you their website links so you can check what is going on in a particular area.
I will choose some Gig Picks that you might find interesting - but check their website for other gigs. Where a venue doesn't have a website, then some details of what is taking place are included below.
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: Bord Gais Theatre, Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2. www.nch.ie
Scotland: Fife Jazz Club, The Woodside Hotel, Aberdour. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Lancashire: Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club, Atrium Cafe Bar, Clitheroe Castle Keep, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 1BA. www.rvjazzandblues.co.uk
Newcastle-upon-Tyne: The Jazz Cafe, 25 - 27 Pink Lane, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 5DW. www.jazzcafe-newcastle.co.uk
Liverpool: The Capstone Theatre, Shaw Street, Liverpool, L6 1HP. www.thecapstonetheatre.com
Yorkshire: SevenJazz, Leeds, Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, or Inkwell Arts, 31 Potternewton Lane Chapel Allerton, Leeds. www.sevenjazz.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
Norfolk: Norwich Jazz Jam, The Windmill, Knox Road, Norwich, NR1 4LQ. www.jazzjam.org.uk
Essex: The Electric Palace, Harwich, King's Quay. Harwich. www.electricpalace.com
Essex: The Headgate Theatre, Colchester, 14 Chapel Street North, Colchester CO2 7AT. www.headgatetheatre.co.uk
Essex: North Weald, North Weald Village Hall, CM16 6BU Essex
Buckinghamshire: Amersham Jazz Club, Beaconsfield Sycob FC HP9 2SE. www.amershamjazzclub.co.uk
Oxford: The Oxford Jazz Kitchen, The Crown, Cornmarket Street, Oxford . www.oxfordjazzkitchen.com
Oxford: The Half Moon, The Half Moon, St Clements, Oxford.
London: King's Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG. www.kingsplace.co.uk
London: Lume, Hoxton, The Long White Cloud, 151 Hackney Road, London E2 8JL. www.lumemusic.co.uk
London: e17 Jazz, Walthamstow, Orford House Social Club, 73 Orford Road, Walthamstow, London E17 9QR. www.e17jazz.com
London: Pizza Express, Soho, 10, Dean Street, London W1. www.pizzaexpresslive.com
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
London: Little House, 1 Queen Street, London W1
London: Jazz In The Round, The Cockpit, Marylebone, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH. www.thecockpit.org.uk
London: 606 Club, 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0QD. www.606club.co.uk
London: The Jazz Nursery, St Mary Overies Dock, Cathedral Street, London SE1. www.jazznursery.com
London: Putney, The Half Moon, 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1EU.
Kent: 144 Club, Nr Tunbridge Wells and Rochester, Finchcock's Musical Museum, Goudhurst, TN17 1HH. www.finchcocks.co.uk
Kent: The Roffen, New Road Rochester, ME1 1DX. www.144club.co.uk
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.
Surrey: Watermill Jazz, Dorking, Friends Life Social Club, Pixham Lane, Dorking, RH4 1QA. www.watermilljazz.co.uk
Sussex: Brighton Jazz Club,. www.brightonjazzclub.co.uk
Wiltshire: Bradford-on-Avon, The Fat Fowl,
Bradford on Avon,
Wiltshire BA15 1JX.
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
Cornwall: St. Ives Jazz Club, Western Hotel, Gabriel Street, St. Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2LU. www.stivesjazzclub.com
The following items appeared in the last magazine but may still be of interest to readers:
Peter Arnott's drama based in WWII started at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry from 13th to 27th September and moves on to Nottingham Playhouse from 3rd to 18th October. The Belgrade says: 'The jazz scene in 1930s’ Berlin was one of the most vibrant and exciting in the world – a time captured brilliantly in Kander & Ebb’s musical, Cabaret. But what happened to those talented singers and musicians as the Nazis’ grip tightened? The Nazis hated jazz – they saw it as decadent and impure. But one of them, Propaganda Ministry official, Karl “Charly” Schwedler, understood its true power. And he made it his mission to harness that power so the Nazis could use jazz as a weapon of war!'
'Propaganda Swing throws a spotlight on the gripping true story of ‘Charly and his Orchestra’. Featuring a fantastic swing band live on stage, this enthralling show reveals the characters behind the story of how some of the greatest German jazz musicians of the day entered into a Faustian pact with the Fascists – they could keep playing their beloved music at the price of seeing it corrupted for evil. Features some of the coolest jazz songs of the era, including It Ain’t Right, Makin’ Whoopee, You’re Driving Me Crazy, Nightmare, St Louis Blues, Big Noise from Winnetka, Tiger Rag, Minnie the Moocher, Lili Marlene and more. The captivating combination of WWII intrigue and drama set against a backdrop of glitz, glamour and Big Band swagger, makes Propaganda Swing the must-see show of the Belgrade’s autumn season.'
September sees the release in the UK of Woody Allen's latest film, Magic In The Moonlight. In recent years there have been differing opinions about Woody's movies. I really liked Midnight In Paris, but I was completely out-voted by last year's Blue Jasmine in which most people saw a real return to form by the director. One thing you can pretty much always guarantee is that the soundtrack of a Woody Allen film will have a good jazz soundtrack, and Magic In The Moonlight is no exception.
Magic In The Moonlight is described as: 'A romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional complications ensue.' It has, of course, already been released in America, and on the International Movie Database David Ferguson from Dallas says: 'One of the most prolific writer/directors since the end of the studio era, Woody Allen cranks a new script and film out every year. A few are great, while the others fall somewhere between highly entertaining and watchable. None would be considered a true dud. His latest is a bit fluffy and falls comfortably into the watchable category ... The lineup here is again quite impressive: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Eileen Atkins, Simon McBurney, Catherine McCormack and Hamish Linklater. They each perform admirably, but aren't enough to elevate the somewhat lackluster script. Ms. Stone and Ms. Atkins are especially enjoyable here.'
'Woody mixes his love of magic with his cynical religious views, and blends those with his too frequent older man/younger woman sub-plot. The scenes with Firth and Stone are fine, but their on screen banter would have been better served as Uncle and Niece than awkward rom-com aspirants. Despite this flaw, there remain some excellent lines and moments, plus a hand full of staggering shots from the south of France locale. The wardrobe and cars are stunning ... the film is set in 1928. ... Still, it must be noted that even at his least brilliant, Mr. Allen delivers films that are pleasant and watchable. We can live with that as we await his next masterpiece.'
Click here to watch the trailer for Magic In The Moonlight.
Emma Stone and Colin Firth in Magic In The Moonlight. Picture: Allstar
Writing in The Observer in July, Edward Helmore had seen the premier in New York. His article suggests that the film will do well despite the continuing sexual molestation allegations that Woody Allen denies. Of the movie, Edward Helmore says: ' Magic in the Moonlight, set on the Côte d'Azur in the 1920s and starring Colin Firth as a celebrated illusionist and Emma Stone as a would-be medium, comes in the wake of Midnight in Paris and To Rome with Love. ... the latest film is clearly highly personal. Allen briefly performed as an illusionist. He told the Observer the film was inspired by a story he had read about the fraudulent spiritualists that the illusionist Harry Houdini was committed to exposing. ... According to Firth, it would be mad not to exploit the years of craft contained in one directorial brain. "His writing, how he conceives characters and the plots he places them in, flatter actors," he said. Magic in the Moonlight, with Cole Porter's You Do Something to Me as its repeating soundtrack, also revisits the director's nostalgia for the elegance and aesthetics of past times.' (Click here for Edward Helmore's full article).
As for the jazz score, there are many gems, a gift to Woody in setting the action in 1928. Bix Beiderbecke is present several times playing Big Boy, Thou Swell, Sorry and At The Jazz Band Ball. Ruth Etting sings It All Depends On You, the California Ramblers play Sweet Georgia Brown, and there are tracks by Paul Whiteman, Sidney de Paris, Firehouse Five Plus Two, Ute Lemper and Nat Shilket. (Click here for the tracklist).
As David Ferguson says, Woody Allen delivers films that are pleasant and watchable. Magic In The Moonlight opens in the UK on 19th September.
South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim has been a key jazz musician for more than fifty years and in November he is playing a number of gigs in the UK. A quote from The Guardian newspaper says: ‘People don’t like Abdullah Ibrahim, they adore him, bestowing on him the devotion normally reserved for Nina Simone. When he plays, melodies tumble out effortlessly, as he slides from theme to theme like a laid-back South African reincarnation of Thelonious Monk.’
Abdullah Ibrahim Ekaya Septet
The tour dates are:
Abdullah Ibrahim: Ekaya Septet + New Trio – Saturday, 15th November – London, Royal Festival Hall
Abdullah Ibrahim: New Trio – Sunday, 16th November – Saffron Waldon, Saffron Hall
Abdullah Ibrahim: Solo Piano – Wednesday, 19th November, Gateshead, Sage Gateshead
Abdullah Ibrahim: Solo Piano – Thursday 20th November, Leeds, Howard Assembly Room
Click here for more information and to book tickets.
Alan Bond has sent us this link to the doctorjazz.co.uk website that carries a collection of World War 1 'draft cards' which include those of many of the famous New Orleans musicians of the time, chief among whom are Louis Armstrong, Johny Dodds, King Oliver and Bunk Johnson along with a host of other familiar names (click here).
The website has a .co.uk address, and appears to focus on Jelly Roll Morton with a wide selection of articles. It is nicely presented, but is not clear about where it is based. As Alan Bond says, it all makes fascinating, and revealing, reading.
There are informative essays about each of the musicians involved and the draft cards reveal clues to a range of facts. For example, the essay about Jelly Roll Morton says: '... Jelly Roll listed his occupation as “Actor” and his employer as the “Levi Circuit, San Francisco, Calif.” It was not unusual for featured musicians on the vaudeville circuit to list their occupation as an actor (for example, Bill Johnson and Eubie Blake). The “Levi Circuit” was actually Bert Levey Circuit of Independent Vaudeville Theatres, which operated, as an agent for vaudeville artists and independent theatres, from the Alcazar Theatre in San Francisco with branch offices in London, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Denver and Los Angeles.'
Pianist David Stevens, now retired and living in Australia, tells us about his encounters with a list of jazz musicians that most people only get to hear:
It all began when my then wife and I met a young photographer at a party somewhere in London, who we found out was the son of the legendary Mezz Mezzrow (his real name was Milton Mesirow).
When he heard we were planning a trip to Paris he said "You must look up my Dad", and gave us his phone number. In Paris, we duly contacted Mezz, and he proved to be a delightful fellow, telling us stories about his life, showing us round and introducing us to local musicians, who (unlike Eddie Condon) revered him. All went beautifully until one day, at a restaurant, I unwisely mentioned that I liked Charlie Parker. That did it. Mezz was on his feet, shouting abuse at me - much to the amusement of my wife and the other customers. He stalked out, and we didn't see him again.
Back in London, we met Milton junior once more. Of course he laughed at the Charlie Parker incident, saying "That's the way he is". He invited us to his 21st birthday at a flat in Hampstead, which we happily accepted. He said his godfather would be there. We looked blank. "You'll be glad to meet him" said Milton, "his name's Louis Armstrong". So that's how we met Louis, and the Allstars, who also came along to the party. It was at the end of a series of concerts they'd been doing in London.
I was chatting with Trummy Young, and asked how they were enjoying London when they weren't playing. Lots of parties and outings, no doubt? "Well, no", said Trummy, "We just hang around the hotel, play cards and watch TV."
Trummy Young and Louis Armstrong
I was amazed. Here were these famous guys, being cheered by huge audiences every night, but when they weren't playing there was no-one to talk to them. I resolved to do something about it when the next American jazz group was in town.
The next group was the Duke Ellington Orchestra. At their first concert, I looked at the faces. Johnny Hodges? No, he has his usual "I'll bite ya" expression. Lawrence Brown and Harry Carney looked pretty serious, too. But one guy was grinning most of the time, having a ball - Clark Terry, a trumpet player I much admired.
So next morning about 11 a.m., and with some trepidation, I phoned their hotel and asked to speak to Clark. Not a good move - obviously I'd woken him up and he sounded pretty pissed off. I stammered out an invitation for him to come round for a meal, and got a gruff "Gimme your number. I'll call you".
That's it, I thought. I've blown it. But a couple of hours later, I got a call from Clark, cheerful and friendly. "Yeah, love to meet you guys. Gimme your address". After that, for the rest of the Ellington band's stay, he was round at our house nearly every day, always cheerful and chatty, treating us like old friends.
David says: 'At least Buck, Roy and Clark are easily recognisable, even if the inscriptions aren't!'
A month or two later, the phone rang, and a deep voice said "Is this Dave Stevens? This is Buck Clayton". One of my friends, trying to trick me, I thought. "You can't fool me", I said, "Come on, who is it?". An uncertain voice said "Pardon me?" "Oh my God, I'm sorry", I said, "It really is Buck Clayton?" "Yeah", he said, "Clark Terry gave me your number".
So we got to meet Buck, and the members of his band visiting London, which included Buddy Tate, Dickie Wells, and drummer Herb Lovelle, all of whom we got to know and spent time with during
While chatting with Buddy Tate he asked me if I'd ever been to New York. "No", I said, "I hadn't really thought of it. I guess it would be pretty expensive staying there?" "Well", said Buddy, "I live with my family in Amityville, some way out of town, but I have an apartment in Harlem where I stay when I'm working (he'd had a long residency with his band at the Celebrity Club in Harlem). You could stay there".
Me, living in Harlem? I could have floated to New York on the clouds, no need for a plane.
Of course it was a marvellous week. Buddy introduced me to his friends, and people in the local bar, as "my friend Dave from London", so I was made welcome by them all. Quite apart from the musical side, I explored during the daytime, and, on one day, took a train to Greenwich Village and walked all the way back to Harlem.
The next visitor was Roy Eldridge. He was in a quintet accompanying Ella Fitzgerald in a series of concerts, which also included guitarist Les Spann and pianist Tommy Flanagan. We got to know Les Spann quite well, too.
Roy is a musician I've always admired. He was a lovely man, very warm-hearted and outgoing, though with no time for small talk. I learned not to make careless or casual remarks, or Roy would jump on me! He was often round at our house, and one day he said "I'm always eatin' your food, about time I cooked for you".
The inscription on the photograph reads: '"Best wishes to Lady Trixie and Lord David from your friend Roy Eldridge"
So he did. I wish I'd had the camera to hand when Roy, wearing a kitchen apron was cooking us what he called Hot Tamale Pie.
Sadly, they're all gone now, all except Clark, blind and without his legs. Poor Les Spann died at only 57, a derelict in the Bowery. But I still have some mementos, including a picture frame with autographed photos of Roy, Clark and Buck, and an LP by Clark and Buddy Tate, on which one track is called "20 Ladbroke Square', our London address (click here to sample the tune from the album Tate-A-Tate - Buddy Tate with Clark Terry).
[Dave Stevens hosts a jazz radio show in Australia Midday Jazz which you can listen to online at www.2rrr.org.au. The show goes out on Wednesdays from midday to 2.00 pm, currently that is around 3.00 am to 5.00 am in the UK, or at other times depending where you live and the time difference].
Jazzwise magazine still has openings for people looking for work experience as interns at its offices in St Jude's Church, Herne Hill, South London. The magazine is offering a series of monthly intern placements from January 2014 to January 2015. Interns will participate in all aspects of the magazine's preparation and production cycle and this opportunity will be of particular interest to people who want to pursue a career in journalism and jazz, have a keen interest and knowledge of the music and are currently studying or have completed a degree or educational course. Previous interns have gone on to work for music magazines, record companies, press agencies and radio production companies.
If you are interested, write to The Editor, Jazzwise, St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PB enclosing a CV and covering letter, or email to email@example.com.
Click here for the Sandy Brown Jazz Site Directory on our Home page.
The Directory includes regular features, articles, people profiles (let us know if you would like us to add a profile) and many other items including information about clarinettist Sandy Brown after whom this site is named.
© Sandy Brown Jazz 2014