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September 2015


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

In a small town on the West Coast of America a young trombone player was working at an informal night spot with a small combo. He noticed that a couple of unshaven guys at the bar wearing old fishing clothes were laughing at his crude attempt to play Tommy Dorsey's theme song I'm Getting Sentimental Over You.

"What's so funny?" he asked them. "If you think it's so easy you come up here and try it!"

One of the guys said, "Okay," and took the trombone from the surprised young man. "Where do you blow, in here?" he said, and proceeded to play Dorsey's solo flawlessly.

When the young trombonist expressed amazement, the fisherman said, "Hell, anybody can do that!"

 

Lloyd Ulyate

 

He called to his friend at the bar, "Hey, Joe, come over here and try this!"

His friend walked over, took the trombone and repeated the performance. He handed the instrument back to the astonished youngster and the two fishermen left the bar talking over possibly buying one of those things. The poor kid may never have found out that he had been put on by vacationing Los Angeles studio trombonists Joe Howard and Lloyd Ulyate.

Click here for a short but sweet track from Tutti's Trombones including Joe Howard and Lloyd Ulyate. Click on the picture above for a video solo by Lloyd.



Who's This?

 

Who's This?

 

Born in Louisiana, in 1891, he came to New Orleans in his teens. Within ten years he was leading a trio playing violin and upright bass in Storyville.

He moved to Chicago in 1917 and then on to New York where he worked with Wilber Sweatman’s band and then joined Duke Ellington where he was thought to be the first to use the ‘walking bass’.

It has been said that his vigorous melodic bass playing, alternately plucking, slapping, and bowing, was an important feature of the early Ellington Orchestra sound in the 1920s and 1930s influencing many other bass players to use the slap style of string bass playing. He also doubled on tuba, but his upright bass playing popularised the instrument with dance bands of the time.

In 1936 he was playing and recording with the Spirits of Rhythm group and got together with clarinettist Jimmy Noone to manage a club in Harlem, but the club was short-lived. Before re-joining Ellington for a while in 1944, he played with a variety of bands including those of Hot Lips Page and Sidney Bechet, eventually joining Kid Ory’s band in 1956 where he stayed for many years. He died in 1966.

He was a distant relative Branford and Wynton Marsalis.

Not sure? Click here for his 'musical Portrait' from Duke Ellington's 1970 New Orleans Suite.

 

 

Quincy Jones Honoured

In July, the American producer / arranger Quincy Jones received an Honorary Doctorate from London's Royal Academy of Music.

The Academy said: ‘Quincy Jones is an impresario in the broadest and most creative sense of the word. His career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive, magazineQuincy Jones receives Doctorate founder, multi-media entrepreneur and humanitarian. As a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions. He has traversed virtually every medium, including records, live performance, movies and television. The winner of numerous Grammy Awards, he has been at the centre of the music and entertainment industry for over six decades, beginning with the music of the post-swing era and continuing in today’s high-technology, international multi-media hybrids. His humanitarian work over the past 50 years has helped to transform countless lives across the world.’

Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, added: ‘It is a great pleasure to welcome Quincy Jones to the Academy’s most prestigious club. Few musicians, in any era, have had such a consistent record of success — at the very highest international level — across such a long, varied and fruitful career.’

The Royal Academy is also welcoming two new Jazz appointments for the forthcoming academic year, 2015/16. Dave Liebman will be the Academy’s International Jazz Artist in ResidenceLiebman was described by Downbeat Magazine as ‘among the most important saxophonists in contemporary music’, and he will spend a full week in residence at the Academy in January 2016. Activities will include a public masterclass at the Forge in Camden during that week. Larry Goldings will be the Academy’s new Visiting Professor for Jazz for 2015/16. A recording artist on piano and keyboards, and equally recognised as a composer and songwriter, Larry Goldings will work with Academy students on a range of projects.

 

 

 

A Tribute To Alex Welsh - Friday, 11th September

The Chickenshed Theatre Jazz Bar, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE is hosting this gig on 11th September, with a support act from 7.00 pm - 7.45pm and the main band from 8.30pm -11.15pm ( £17 on door or £15 in advance). The band for the main gig has seven young James Davisongraduates from the Royal Academy, Trinity and Guildhall Schools of Music who have formed a dynamic group to re-create the musical magic that was the Alex Welsh trademark.

Led by James Davison on trumpet and vocals, the band features Tom Green on trombone, Liam Dunachie on piano, James Kitchman on guitar / banjo, Misha Mullov-Abbado on bass, and Scott Chapman on drums. Special guests will be former teenage Dixieland bandleader Julian Marc Stringle on clarinet and saxes, and the long-time star with the Alex Welsh Band, trombonist Roy Williams.

James Davison

James tells us: 'I chose Alex because of one record that my dad and granddad put on every Christmas Day when I was younger. It was the Live in Dresden album. I think my dad always used to want to put it on as it features Roy Williams quite heavily and he is a trombone player Alex Welshhimself and a big fan of Roy's. So I grew up listening to that kind of music but never really liked it, and then when I moved to London and went to Guildhall I 'saw the light' and remembered that particular album, starting listening to it again and decided that it was the best thing I'd ever heard!!'

'I loved Alex's trumpet playing; It was almost like Louis Armstrong! And his singing was great too. Roy's playing is absolutely phenomenal and I spent the next few years playing his solos on the album to all of my trombone playing friends and trying to play them on my trumpet. One day, whilst playing it to Tom Green, he and I decided to get some mates together and play some of the tunes on the album. So we did, and then we got some gigs ... etc etc. All of a sudden our piano player Liam rang me and said that his godfather Tim Lord is friends with Roy Williams and wants to put a gig on with us doing a 'Remembering Alex' concert with Roy as a special guest! So that happened and it was amazing. Berny Stringle came, as Julian was playing clarinet, and then he has decided to put it on at the Chickenshed!'

Alex Welsh

Jazz nights at Chickenshed were founded in 1994 by Berny and Julian Marc Stringle and have gone from strength to strength ever since.  Based in North London, the Jazz bar offers a truly great jazz venue that is well known for the calibre of the musicians it attracts as it is for the quality of the sound and the intimacy of the venue.

This should be an excellent gig. To book telephone Box Office 020 8292 9222, email bookings@chickenshed.org.uk or visit www.chickenshed.org.uk

 

 

Jazz North Introduces - Artephis

'Jazz North Introduces' is a scheme that provides young northern jazz artists with their first high-profile showcase performances and mentoring with Artephisleading UK jazz artists. Working in partnership with Northern jazz festivals, the 2015 winners will receive the opportunity to be showcased at five leading jazz festivals across the North. The band chosen for this year is Artephis, a Manchester quintet of students at the Royal Northern College of Music.

The group will receive mentoring and promotion opportunities and get to play at Lancaster Jazz Festival (19th September), Marsden Jazz festival (10th October), Southport Melodic Jazz Club (24th January), and Liverpool Jazz (28th February).

Artephis

Artephis is made up of Aaron Wood, 21, trumpet/flugel, James Girling, 20, guitar, Ali Roocroft, 20, piano, Alasdair Simpson, 21, bass and Matt Brown, 20, drums. The band describes its approach as ‘forward looking and contemporary’. Since its formation twelve months ago, the quintet has been building a repertoire of original compositions and arrangements with the band members being committed to taking their familiar jazz quintet line up in new directions. Among its inspirations and influences are Christian Scott Quintet, Miles Davis Quintet, Wynton Marsalis and Pat Metheny.

Click here for the video Introducing Artephis. Click here to listen to three of their numbers on Soundcloud.

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Cuckoo In The Nest

Question Mark

This month, our quiz brings you the personnel of fifteen bands - but someone should not be there! CanWho's this? you spot the 'intruder'? If you can also name the person who should be there, give yourself an extra point. Who is the 'cuckoo in the nest'?

 

For example, who is the 'cuckoo in the nest' here:

Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax), Urbie Green (trombone), Bill Crow (bass), Gus Johnson (drums)

Here's a clue

 

 

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

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

Jazz Poetry at the 100 Club


These days, the 100 Club in London's Oxford Street seems to be less of a jazz venue than it once was, but on the 8th October, Michael Horovitz Jazz Poetry Superjamwill be introducing his Jazz Poetry Superjam at the club.

The line-up includes John Hegley, The William Blake Klezmatrix Band including Jennifer Maidman, The New Departures All Stars including Pete Lemer, Annie Whitehead's World Music Workshop Band, singer-guitarist Vanessa Vie, Michael Horovitz and more to be confirmed. The gig is part of Poetry Olympics’s annual National Poetry Week.

The gig is from 7.30 pm to 12.00 am and tickets are £7.50 in advance or £10.00 on the door. Click here to book.

 

 

 

 

New Pat Metheny DVD

On 18th September, Pat Metheny's Unity Sessions will be available on DVD and Blu Ray. Pat Metheny video


Featuring Pat Metheny, Chris Potter, Ben Williams, Antonio Sanchez and Giulio Carmassi this exciting, visually intimate video features newperformances of music from the Grammy winning “Unity Band”, the expansive “Unity Group KIN(←→)”, and touchstones from the entirety of Pat's music catalog. These performances serve as a rare visual documentation of some of the best music of Pat’s ever expanding career.

With Pat leading, they wrap up a 150+ date world tour with an intimate studio performance filmed in a small New York City theater. Also included is a bonus feature that includes interviews with Pat and the band.

If you pre-order through the Pat Metheny webstore you can receive a free signed set list from The Unity Sessions.

Click here for a preview video selection. Click here for more details.

 

 

 

 

Album Released: 31st July 2015 - Label: Spartacus Records

 

Scottish National Jazz Orchestra
with Makoto Ozone


Jeunehomme Mozart Piano Concerto No. 9 K-271

 

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: Makoto Ozone (piano); Calum Gourlay (acoustic bass); Alyn Cosker (drums); Martin Kershaw (clarinet, alto saxophone); Ruaridh Pattison (alto & soprano saxophone); Tommy Smith (flute, tenor saxophone); Bill Fleming (baritone saxophone): Tom Walsh, Cameron Jay, Tom MacNiven, Lorne Cowieson (trumpets); Chris Greive, Phil O’Malley, Michael Owers (trombones).

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra’s Jeunehomme Mozart Piano Concerto No.9 K-271 is enthralling listening, holding you like a page-turning book, there is a need to know what is coming next.  I put the disk in the player expecting polite fusion and received a frisson of sound and glory. From conception right through its spellbinding execution this music speaks boldly.

Michael Clark in his liner notes states: “This arrangement and orchestration of (Mozart’s) Jeunehomme .....is unquestionably a jazz record”, he’s absolutely on the button in the particular, although it is rather like saying that Count Basie’s The Atomic Mr Basie or Ellington’s Far EastSNJO Jeunehomme album Suite are jazz records. Of course they are jazz records, the more important fact is that they are the big band in the definitive, great aural orchestrations of song form and improvisation. It is no exaggeration to place Jeunehomme in the same category.

Certainly in terms of UK classic big band events: from Mike Westbrook’s Celebration to the Loose Tubes 1984 self named debut, to Keith Tippett’s Centipede’s Septober Energy through to the London Jazz Composers’ Orchestra’s Ode via Kenny Wheeler’s Music For Large & Small Ensembles, Jeunehomme is there in the list of the great and the good, no doubt about it.

Over the years I’ve caught Tommy Smith’s tenor saxophone at various gigs and recordings. He is undeniably a player with a certain elegance. I’ve always liked what I’ve heard without falling off my chair. Here, after all these years, in my living room tonight, comes the great irony; Tommy Smith and his orchestra thunder through my speakers producing music which will stay with me forever. Ladies and gentlemen, this is truly a classic orchestral jazz recording destined to be recognised as such albeit, with its origins in a Mozart concerto. Whatever you think about Wolfgang Amadeus this is, as Michael Clark says, “a jazz record” certainty, and Makoto Ozone must take credit for his huge contribution throughout and yes, for placing Smith in the centre of this project.

Click here for Makoto Ozone’s introduction to the Jeunehomme recording (scroll down to the video).

The 1st Movement is clever. It starts out like a pleasant walk in the park, then after a couple of minutes the horns burst as if to indicate their presence. Ozone’s piano presents Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.9 as short melodic prelude before Smith comes in squeezing a smear of a solo out of his tenor horn across ‘the changes’. There is an edge on him. Five minutes in and already there is a distinct feeling that these guys are on the case. The tenor sax is a troubling spirit of distinction, it drops down to make way for a double bass entry that asks little of Amadeus, yet Ozone positions the orchestrations right on the score so that when he begins his own short improvised keyboard investigation Ozone both leaves the dots and returns on top them like the musical gymnast he is.

Things get even better. Tommy Smith’s entry into the 2nd Movement is sourced way beyond Mozart. Maybe nearer Bobby Wellins’ Culloden Moor, or simply close to Tommy Smith’s own private place of refuge. His tenor sax is a superb slow burn soliloquy which holds two minutes so deliberately still and purposeful I feel as if I have heard a secret unravelled before me. When Makoto Ozone’s piano eventually descends he draws back on the concerto’s original motif settling the ears. The arrangement then folds out to a second reeds entry, this time from Ru Tommy SmithPattison placing his straight horn soprano somewhere close to the pitch of the great Sidney Bechet and that dry, precise placement of notes which used to emanate from Steve Lacy’s instrument. He rightly receives applause from the audience at Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh; the moment is like a light being switched on. By this time we are halfway through the second movement and Ozone comes up and out of the piano concerto line and describes something quite sublime. I can’t tell you what it is, you need to hear it for yourself.

Tommy Smith
Photograph by Colin Robertson courtesy of www.tommy-smith.co.uk

Makoto Ozone subtitle’s the 3rd Movement’s Rondo as Presto Be-Bop, it is too and then some. Hell, it roars like three trombones, four trumpets and five reeds are freeing the Bird. Classic bop, first the piano introduction, second, the ensemble beam on the theme, back to the soloist with Ozone managing to place a few bars of Harlem ‘stride’ piano into the mix, Tom Walsh’s trumpet singing and ringing against a smart horn arrangement and then, the drums. For obvious reasons Mozart never wrote for drum kit but the way this 3rd Movement works Alyn Cosker’s drumming hits high after high. When he finally breaks cover at about 11 minutes it is to demonstrate what in fact has been obvious all the way through this recording, that kit has snapped at the back of this jazz orchestra and motored subtle swing out of a 18th Century riddle.

Right now I’ve not read what anyone else has said about this recording other than the afore mentioned Michael Clark, who wrote the sleeve notes. I don’t know anyone else who has heard it. I am like a man who has seen a rare bird but there is no one else to ratify the sighting. Of course, these days it would be easy to track down some other reviews but I don’t need to do that. I know what I’ve been listening to over the last few days, Jeunehomme will be milestone album for both Tommy Smith and Makoto Ozone, this is a very special recording.

Click here to sample the album.


Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 

 

 

John Taylor Memorial Concert Postponed

The memorial celebration of the life and music of John Taylor that had been planned for the 18th October at the Royal College of Music has been postponed to 2016. Pianist John Taylor suffered a heart attack on the 17th July whilst performing at the Saveurs Jazz Festival in Segré, France and although he was resuscitated at the venue, he died after being taken to a hospital.

 

 

 

Tea Break

Frank Griffith (saxophone, clarinet, composer, bandleader)

Frank Griffith

 

Hi Frank, tea or coffee?

Frank: Coffee, and plenty of it.

Hob Nob, Bourbon, Garibaldi or digestive biscuit?

Frank: Digestive biscuit with plenty of bourbon.

Sonny Stitt, Stan Getz or Albert Ayler?

Frank: I always say "When Sonny Blew Getz" to this question. Hard choice with the Sonny's but probably Getz for the variety of settings, arrangments and repertoire that he delved into.

Milk and sugar?

Frank: I avoid "the white death" at all costs, but yes, I like my java white.

What gigs have you played recently?

Frank: Ealing Jazz Festival in July. Pizza Express on Dean Street with Cafe Society Swing in August, Norden Farm Centre for the Arts with Tina May. Also, Finchcocks Musical Musuem in Tunbridge Wells with Roan Kearsey-Lawson.

What have you got coming up in September

Frank: 13th September - Devonshire Arms, Bedford. 20th September - Cafe Loco in Vittorio MuraMuswell Hill. 27th September - The Pheasantry in Chelsea both with Pete Mathews (songwriter).

Who else have you heard recently that we should listen out for?

Frank: Roy Hilton, fine pianist from Eastbourne. Vittorio Mura, young tenor saxist from Bedford who is completing his final year of the Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Course.

 

Vittorio Mura.


Click here for Roy Hilton playing Tadd Dameron's The Squirrel with the Dave Cliff Quintet.

 

Another biscuit?

Frank: Biscuit???? You mean another little thought or gem? It is incumbent (necessary) for the musicians to create the opportunities and venues for the music. Do not expect it this to be the sole responsibility of non musicians. Now get to work!!

[Click here for our page on Frank Griffith. Click here for a video of Frank playing a fine solo on Speak Low from Jazz At The Movies with Joanna Eden - vocal, Chris Ingham - piano, Arnie Somogyi - bass, George Double - drums ].

 

Utah Teapot

 

 

 

 

Album Released: 24th April 2015 - Label: Alan Benzie Trio

 

Alan Benzie Trio

Travellers' Tales

Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us:


Even before I listened to this first album from talented Scottish musician Alan Benzie, I felt I might be in for a treat as the artwork on the CD cover was very inspired indeed.

Alan Benzie actually started out playing the violin as an 8 year old and in his teens switched to the piano. Benzie was the first winner of theAlan Benzie Trio Travellers' Tales Young Scottish Musician of the year in 2007 and went on to study at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, becoming the first British musician to win the Billboard Award. The album was recorded with the other members of the trio, Andrew Robb, on bass and Marton Juhasz on drums. All the tracks are composed by Benzie and his inspiration was his travels, the landscape of his native Scotland and Japanese animation. The music has its roots in European and American jazz with influences from impressionist piano music, Scottish and Japanese folk and film music. As Benzie says: "... all the tunes have a story behind them. Glass, From A to B and Old Haunts are informed by direct experience and my reflections on them and are grounded in the real world. A Wandering Mist and Frog Town On The Hill are very much the realm of the traveller in my head, and hence quite fantastical.”

There are ten tracks on the album, some short and others long, and Benzie plays on a Steinway borrowed from Neil McLean. The recording and mixing by Stuart Hamilton and the mastering by Calum Malcolm add to the quality of this production from Castlesound studios in Scotland.

As the day starts with dawn, so does this album with a track called appropriately Hazy Dawns.  It is a quiet opening with brush work on drums and cymbals from Juhasz and short repeated melodies from Benzie giving an impression of a slow, misty daybreak in Japan. This is followed by Glass with Robb’s bass taking the lead with complex melodies from Benzie and good light cymbal work from Juhasz. After a stirring bass solo from Robb, the whole piece picks up speed but ends in a quieter lyrical slowing down.

Click here to listen to Glass played at a live performance.

From A to B follows on without much of a gap and I nearly thought it was part of the previous track but the tempo changes to softer piano and brushes with occasional bass interventions. Piano solos from Benzie abound and the complementary playing by the other Alan Benzie Triomembers of the trio gives excellent support.

Click here for a video of the Trio playing From A to B.

Leaf Skeletons is a beautiful short and lightly played piano solo from Benzie. As Benzie states on the CD cover notes, “I like to think of the longer tunes as resembling diary entries, quite narrative in style. The shorter ones are perhaps more like images, just a glimpse of a moment in time” and this track is one of those intense brief images.

Marton Juhasz, Alan Benzie and Andrew Robb

Frog Town On The Hill has a dance type melody (perhaps a Latin or Calypso? overtone) emphasised by Juhasz’s hand drumming with solos from bass and piano which are like a dialogue.

Click here for the video of Frog Town On The Hill.

Old Haunts has an old fashioned, old world feel, and cascading notes on the piano along with the excellent accompaniment by bass and percussion give the tune a laid back evening atmosphere. Western Embers is a short track with a slow piano solo and a haunting melodic line which leads directly into a longer track called A Wandering Mist. This track has lovely cymbal and bass playing which highlights how well these musicians play as a trio, each musician having small feature sections which are worked into the overall composition.

Midnight Café has a bluesy feel and is an appropriate title to a relaxed track. The last track is Stony Shore and this has to be the most Scottish sounding of all these tracks. The cymbal work gives the impression of the waves with the rise and fall of the piano melodies flowing over and round the stones on shore and Robb on bass providing timely deeper movements.

For some, this album may be a bit light on improvisation, but for me this has to be one of the best debut albums for some time from a young musician (Benzie is still only 25). The other members of the trio are classy too and they do all work well together; they must be great to see and hear at a gig.

Click here to sample the album.

Tim Rolfe

 

 

 

 

Help With Musical Definitions No 15.

Suite

Praise for a solo or a piece of music

 

 

 

 

Tracks Unwrapped

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

I'm In The Seventh Heaven

 

Feel the way my heart keeps thumpin'
Notice how my two eyes shine
See the way my feet keep jumpin'
Jumpin' with joy, I'm some lucky boy

 

The first time I heard this song was on an old 78 rpm shellac Columbia record by Paul Whiteman's Orchestra from 1929 (Little Pal was on the other side, a number also recorded by Al Jolson 1929). It is quite simple and catchy - one of those numbers that digs itself into your subconscious. Every now and then it comes to the surface, cheerful and bouncy.

Here it is by 'The King Of Jazz' and his Orchestra recorded in New York on April 5th 1929 (click here). Bix Beiderbecke takes the two cornet solos. Bix BeiderbeckeThis was a time when Bix was not at his peak. He had been in the Rivercrest Sanatorium between December 1928 and January 1929 suffering from DTs caused by his drinking and had then gone back to his home town, Davenport in Iowa. He rejoined Whiteman on March 4th, 1929. A month later, they made this recording. A few days after that, Bix was in the studio with Frankie Trumbauer and a smaller group recording some nice solos on Wait Til You See Ma Cherie and Baby, Won't You Please Come Home.

Bix Beiderbecke

On Seventh Heaven, The Rhythm Boys (Bing Crosby, Harry Barris and Al Rinker) take the 'vocal refrain', and I love the 'Whaa' after 'without the wings'. The Bix Society gives the personnel for the recording as:

Charles Margulis, Harry Goldfield (tp); Bix Beiderbecke, Andy Secrest (c); Boyce Cullen, Bill Rank, Wilbur Hall (tb); Frank Trumbauer, Chester Hazlett, Irving riedman, Roy Maier, Bernie Daly, Charles Strickfaden (reeds); Kurt Dieterle, Matty Malneck, Mischa Russell (vln); Roy Bargy, Lennie Hayton (p); Mike Pingitore (bj); Mike Trafficante (sb); Min Leibrook (tu); George Marsh (dm); Bing Crosby, Al Rinker, Harry Barris (voc):

The solos are interesting in that it is not Bill Rank and Frankie Trumbauer featured, but: Bix, straight mute & Charles Strickfaden, baritone sax (16) – Chester Hazlett, alto sax (8+4) – Bix, straight mute & Charles Strickfaden, baritone sax (8) – vocal trio (32) - Roy Bargy & Lennie Hayton, piano (16) – Kurt Dieterle (8)

Paul Whiteman was very supportive of Bix, keeping his chair in the band for him while he was unwell and unreliable. There is not much film footage available of Bix Beiderbecke, but here is a rare clip of him with Paul Whiteman's Orchestra in 1928 playing My Ohio Home in which Bix stands up to take a couple of short breaks (click here).

 

I'm in the seventh heaven
It's easy to guess, my baby said yes
I know I've just thrown a great big seven
For she is the prize, what lips and what eyes

 

Say It With Songs movie poster

 

I'm In The Seventh Heaven was written by Lew Brown, Buddy DeSylva, Ray Henderson and Al Jolson and was featured in the 1929 Jolson film Say It With Songs. In this heart-wrencher, Al Jolson plays Joe Lane, a radio singer who kills a radio manager in a fistfight after learning that the man has made improper advances towards his wife. On his release from prison, Joe visits his son "Little Pal" at school and when Little Pal tries to follow Joe downtown, the boy is hit by a truck and becomes paralysed.

In this clip from Say It With Songs (click here), Joe prays his sick child will get well. His wife takes the recording of Little Pal from the record sleeve .... get your handkerchief at the ready. Little Pal was played by child actor, Davey Lee, who is 'best recalled as the young tyke with the Buster Brown hairstyle who crawled onto Al Jolson's lap while the star sang the best-selling song "Sonny Boy" in the early talking film The Singing Fool (1928).'

Say It With Songs did not do particularly well. One reviewer says: 'I think with the general description of this plot you get the idea of the general mawkishness (of the story). Director Lloyd Bacon doesn't try to control Jolson's incredible overacting for the camera. Those two factors were what mainly sank the film.'

 

 

 

She knows that I've got all the stuff, got all the things
She thinks that I'm angel enough without wings
And that's why I'm in the seventh heaven, heaven
Having a heck of a time

 

So why 'Seventh Heaven'? What happened to Heavens two to six? For that matter, what happened to Heavens eight to ten, because we find another one at Eleven? Or rather 'at Half-past Eleven, when my idea of heaven is a nice cup of tea'. Come to that, why are all cups of tea 'nice'? I have never heard anyone talk about a 'nasty cup of tea'. 'Anicecuppatea' seems to have become part of the English language. Click here for a Muhammed's Paradisescene from 'Father Ted' where Mrs Doyle tries to persuade Father Ted and Father Jack to have a nice cup of tea.

'Seven' and 'eleven' of course are two of the few words that rhyme with 'heaven', but there is more to it than that. In mythology the 'seven heavens' refer to the seven divisions of the Heaven, the abode of immortal beings. Many religions refer to 'seven heavens'. The idea of seven heavens originated in ancient Mesopotamia. Sumarian incantations of the late second millennium BCE make references to seven heavens and seven earths. One thought is that the notion of seven heavens may have been derived from the magical properties of the number seven, like the seven demons or the seven thrones. In Hinduism, according to some Puranas, the Brahmanda is divided into fourteen worlds. Among these worlds, seven are upper worlds and seven are lower worlds. In the Jewish Talmud, the universe is made of seven heavens. In Islam, the Qur’an mentions the existence of seven samaawat customarily translated as 'heaven'.

Muhammed's Paradise

In these belief systems, the ‘seventh heaven’ is usually the highest, the place where the Gods live. In early Sumarian poems there was a fellow named Gilgamesh. We are not sure whether he was just a fictional character or a Mesopotamian king, but whichever, he was pretty awesome. Allegedly, he was  a demigod of superhuman strength (probably played by Brad Pitt) who builds the city walls of Uruk to defend his people and Smith Ballew travels to meet the sage Utnapishtim, who survived the Great Flood. Anyway, Gilgy says to his chum Enkidu, in the ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’: "Who can go up to heaven, my friend? Only the gods dwell with Shamash forever".

It is there, perhaps, that we find violinist Joe Venuti and the honey-toned voice of Smith Ballew (click here). In the Whiteman version, the singer is having a 'heck of a time'. Here the singer is having a 'wonderful' time. Surely these are sanitised lyrics from what must originally have been, or was implied, as 'having a Hell of a time'?

In Judaism, ‘the Biblical authors pictured the earth as a flat disk floating in water, with the heavens above and the underworld below. The ‘ragiya’ (firmament), a solid inverted bowl above the earth, coloured blue by the cosmic ocean, kept the waters above the earth from flooding the world. (There was obviously a leak in Noah's day and occasionally across the Somerset Levels). From about 300 BCE the three-tiered cosmos was largely replaced by 'a newer Greek model which saw the earth as a sphere at the centre of a set of seven concentric heavens, one for each visible planet plus the sun and moon, with the realm of God in an eighth and highest heaven …’.

We can conclude that if you are in the seventh heaven you are probably a god and therefore have little chance of getting it together with ‘my baby’, or perhaps being a god, you can do as you please.

 

I'm in the seventh heaven
It's easy to guess, my baby said yes
I know I've just thrown a great big seven
For she is a prize, what lips and what eyes

 

Now the lyricist goes off on tangent, unless they have gambling in Heaven, but that's crap. In this Nathan Detroit moment the singer has got lucky in the crap game throwing a seven with his dice. The dice game 'Craps' is also known as 'Seven/Eleven'. The English have to take responsibility for the origin of Craps from an early game called 'Hazards'. It may go back as far as the Crusades, but French gamblers who called it 'Crapaud' (meaning 'toad' because of the way people crouched over a floor) took the game to New Orleans where a high roller called Bernard XavierKeith Ingham Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville made it popular. During World War II, Craps became popular among soldiers, who often played it using an Army blanket as a shooting surface - known as the "army blanket roll".

I had no idea that the game of Craps is so complicated (click here). It would come as no surprise to find that it could be studied at university in a joint degree with Poker and Bridge.

Here is a video Francis Albert singing Luck Be A Lady Tonight in concertin concert with Quincy Jones conducting the Count Basie Orchestra with Basie on piano (click here).

'Seventh Heaven' has been the title of several movies, an American TV show, a Broadway musical by Victor Young and even a CD of 'calming music for relaxation, anxiety, sleep and panic attacks' (I'm not convinced!).

Keith Ingham

Click here for a toe-tapping version of I'm In The Seventh Heaven from Keith Ingham and Marty Grosz. Guitarist Marty Grosz is probably best known for his work with Bob Wilbur although he also worked with Kenny Davern, Dick Sudhalter and pianist Keith Ingham. On this recording they had a nine-piece band that included cornetist Peter Ecklund, Dan Levinson (on clarinet and C-melody sax), Scott Robinson (on clarinet, tenor, baritone and bass sax), violinist Andy Stein (who can sound very close to Joe Venuti), trombonist Dan Barrett, drummer Arnie Kinsella and either Joe Hanchrow on tuba or bassist Greg Cohen. In the 1960s, Keith Ingham played with Sandy Brown, Bruce Turner, and Wally Fawkes before moving to New York City.

See the way my feet keep jumpin' .....

 

She knows that I got all the stuff, got all the things
She thinks that I'm angel enough without wings
And that's why I'm in the seventh heaven, heaven
Having a heck of a time

 

 

We've got a sensational new group playing at the club for the next two weeks....tenor sax player Stan Getz is back and is joined in the front line by the jazz violinist Stuff Smith.....It's called the Getz stuffed quintet...

Ronnie Scott

 

 

 

Jazz Journalists Association - Jazz Photo Of The Year

A couple of months or so ago, we reported that photographer William Ellis had one of his pictures shortlisted as one of five finalists for this year's Jazz Journalists Association Award. Sadly, William did not win. The picture that was selected was this one of pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Dave Holland by Andrea Palmucci.


JJA Photo of the Year 2015

 

South American Palmucci says: 'I was born in 1974 and I spend my life between Imperia, Rio de Janeiro and Jazz ... I still remember when, for the first time, Enzo (Obiso) showed me the hand of the man by Sebastião Salgado. There, I decided that my job and my passion would have coincided with photography! I worked for two years documenting the precocious health situation of the capital Carioca, investigated in many travel social reality through the eyes of children, a theme that I studied in Brazil with institutions that deal with Meninos de rua.'

'From many years I work with jazz music, photographing the sound of live concerts and international festivals. I think that a part people feels excited about seeing my pictures because all my effort is devoted to capturing the soul, the heart of the people, the core of the sound in the case of Jazz, the immensity of the landscapes. My aim is to convey the uniqueness of that intimate lifeblood to shake the ‘soul of the beholder. Why Jazz? The relationship between musician and instrument in the melodious improvisation is a magical combination, imponderable as visceral photographer musician because it is the only one to really feel the sacred fire of the instrument.' Click here for a gallery of Andrea Palmucci's pictures.

William Ellis's picture was a fine portrait of Bennie Maupin. Click here for our profile of William Ellis with a selection of other pictures. Click here for William's website.

 

Bennie Maupin

Bennie Maupin © William Ellis

 

 

 

Album released: 28th August 2015 - Label: Edition Records

 

Misha Mullov-Abbador

New Ansonia

 

Since he graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, the talented bass player Misha Mullov-Abbado has quietly been building a respectedMisha Mullov-Abbado New Ansonia reputation in the jazz community. Now he releases his first album on Dave Stapleton’s Edition label and on New Ansonia he is in the company of friends, people he plays with regularly – Matthew Herd (alto saxophone), Tom Green (trombone), Jacob Collier (piano) and Scott Chapman (drums) with James Davison (trumpet and flugelhorn), Nick Goodwin (electric guitar), Viktoria Mullova (violin) and Matthew Barley (cello) on some tracks. Misha also plays French horn and bass guitar on the album. Just looking at the range of instruments gives us a clue to the depth of this production – the album has been produced by Misha in partnership with pianist Julian Joseph. As far as technical merit is concerned, the recording and mixing reflect the skills of Alex Killpartrick, and he knows what he is doing – this album demonstrates why he is so sought after. The sound is really well balanced so that you can fully appreciate each instrument's contribution.

Misha is the son of the late Italian conductor, Claudio Abbado and Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova. He was winner of the 2014 Dankworth Prize for jazz composition and the 2014 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize. He co-runs the Patchwork Jazz Orchestra and plays with the Tom Green Septet, Ralph Wyld’s Mosaic, the Tom Millar Quartet and the Liam Dunachie Quartet and his compositions have appeared in various prestigious places including the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Ballet School and his Clarinet Concerto was permiered in Cambridge by Joseph Shiner.

So much for the pedigree, what about the album? New Ansonia is an absolute delight.

Except for September, all of the music is by Misha and the voice of his double bass on the album is compelling. The first track, Circle Song, starts with birdsong introducing piano and bass. It draws you in from the beginning. The rest of the band picks up the melody and then Misha takes a beautiful, lyrical bass solo that establishes his credentials early in the set. Matthew Herd follows with an equally lyrical solo on alto sax before the band wraps things up for the coda. Lock, Stock and Shuffle, changes the tempo and swings out from the start. This is big band in a small package. Matthew Herd takes an early alto solo and takes off impressively until Jacob Collier trips in lightly with his piano, gradually building the piece before handing over to Scott’s drum kit.

Click here to listen to Circle Song.

Real Eyes Realise Real Lies at track three slows things down. The arrangement is full and textured with James Davison’s flugelhorn added to Misha Mullov-Abbado bandthe front line. Jacob Collier takes a nice piano piece that leads into Tom Green’s smooth, round trombone solo. The title track, New Ansonia, changes the mood yet again with underlying rhythmic Earth Wind and Fire touches - more of them later. Bass and piano solos make effective explorations and the trombone insists on a firm beginning to the end. There is no space between tracks 4 and 5 as New Ansonia morphs into the strangely named Satan, Oscillate My Metallic Sonatas. The track juggles mood and dynamics in an impressive arrangement that needs to be absorbed as a whole.

Ode To King Michael has an even stranger opening with horse whinney and voice but develops into an intriguing mixture of styles before merging into the very poignant Heal Me On This Cloudy Day. I love Misha's French horn on this track stating the theme and the arrangement that brings in Viktoria Mullova’s violin and Matthew Barley’s cello and which does justice to a beautiful composition that Misha wrote for his father’s funeral.

Yes, the penultimate track, September, is that Earth Wind and Fire number brilliantly arranged for this jazz group whilst retaining its original sense but making room for the individual instruments to express their own creativity. Misha’s bass solo is outstanding and perfectly supported by Scott Chapman’s percussion.

Click here for a video of the quintet playing September at the 606 Club in 2014.

Which takes us to Just Another Love Song, an almost eleven-minute satisfying conclusion to the album. Opening with just the bass for the first minute and a half, the piano joins with a gentle, romantic theme picked up by trombone and saxophone as the tune builds, subsides and passes sensitively from trombone to saxophone, builds again, settles, builds, moves to bass, piano and drums, builds with the full ensemble, and fades.

Click here to listen a selection from the band playing Just Another Love Song, Heal Me On This Cloudy Day and Real Eyes Realise Real Lies at The Elgar Room.

This debut album is a testament to a very talented bassist, composer, arranger and bandleader. New Ansonia is a pleasure, it has a persuasive, satisfying appeal that should lead to Misha Mullov-Abbado reaching the wide audience he deserves.

Click here to sample New Ansonia.

The band will be touring this autumn, make a note in your diaries:

September 12th – King’s Place, London (album launch)
September 20th – Peterborough Jazz Club
September 30th – Sheffield Lescar
October 2nd – Bradford JATP
October 21st – Dempsey’s, Cardiff
October 23rd – Bristol Be Bop Club
November 20th – Bath Burdell’s Yard
November 22nd – Deal Lighthouse
November 28th – Coventry Jazz Festival
December 9th – St Edmund’s London (City Music Foundation Series)

Ian Maund

 

 

New Merlins Cave

Richard Greatorex send us this picture of New Merlin's Cave, the famous London jazz venue that was in Margery Street, Clerkenwell (click here for our page on New Merlins Cave).

 

 

New Merlins Cave

 

Richard says: 'The photo dates from the First World War, and shows  Margery Street (Margaret Street) from the Amwell Street (Upper Rosoman Street). The original pub and neighbouring properties were demolished to make way for Charles Rowan House (built 1928-1930), but the original New Merlin's Cave must have closed some years earlier, as its successor was built 1921-2.'

If in the picture you look to the right of the pub, you will see across the road a building site, Richard points this out as the location of the second New Merlin's Cave when the original pub and neighbouring properties were demolished to make way for Charles Rowan House (built 1928-1930). Richard goes on to say: 'Perhaps, I should correct the “original pub” as the pub in the photograph was the third so named in Clerkenwell. The pub further back, corner of Margery Street/Fernsbury Street (Ann Street) was the “King William IV”, also demolished in the 1920s. The anti-aircraft gun in the foreground (inside the wooden construction being hosed by the man on the left) was located at the New River Head site of the Metropolitan Water Board.'

Click here for maps and early details of the area.

 

 

 

Tea Break

Alvin Roy (clarinet, composer, bandleader)

 

Alvin Roy

Hi Alvin, tea or coffee?

Alvin: Tea

Hob Nob, Bourbon, Garibaldi or digestive biscuit?

Alvin: Digestive.

Johnny Dodds, Benny Goodman or Jimmy Giuffre?

Alvin: Benny Goodman.

Milk and sugar?

Alvin: Tes please. Two lumps.

What gigs have you played recently?
Sue Greenway

Alvin: I played with “Reeds Unlimited” at the Bully (The Bullingdon, Cowley Road) in Oxford and with the Rod Kelly Quartet at the same venue.

What have you got coming up in September?

Alvin: In September I’ll be in Montpellier and then play a charity gig on September 20th with my quartet in Charney Bassett, Oxfordshire.

Who else have you heard recently that we should listen out for?

Alvin: Saxophonist Sue Greenway played with me recently..... lovely player and lovely person.

Sue Greenway

Another biscuit?

Alvin: No thanks one packet of digestives is enough.

[Click here for our page on Alvin Roy. Click here to listen to Alvin playing his composition Blues For Sandy (Brown) with Roger Barnes (piano), Pete Billington (bass) and Mark Doffman (drums) ].

 

Utah Teapot

 

 

 

 

That Fellow Paul Adams

In July this year Paul Adams, co-founder of Fellside Recordings Ltd who release jazz albums on Lake Records, was awarded an HonoraryPaul Adams Fellowship Fellowship from the University of Cumbria.

This is Paul’s second award this year, he had earlier been given a ‘Services To British Jazz’ award in the British Jazz Awards.  The Fellowship award is “in recognition of his lifelong and outstanding contribution to education and to the folk and jazz music industry.”

Paul studied Educational Drama and Theatre Arts and later trained as a counsellor. After several years in education he became one of the leading practitioners for Pastoral Care in Cumbria and has also worked for The Prince’s Trust and Young Enterprise.

Fellside Recordings started as a hobby with day-to-day running in the hands of Paul’s wife, Linda, until Paul finally left teaching in 1997 and the company expanded rapidly. Next year Fellside celebrates being 40 years old. It has two main labels: Fellside (Folk Music); Lake (British Traditional and Mainstream Jazz).  

In February 2016 Fellside will be co-hosting a three day Folk Music event with the Theatre By The Lake in Keswick to celebrate this anniversary.

 

 

 

 

 

Album Originally Released: 6th July 2015 - Label: Rufusalbino Records

 

The Weave

Knowledge Porridge

Saxophonist Howard Lawes reviews this album for us:

Liverpool band "The Weave" led by trumpeter Martin Smith have recently released their second album called Knowledge Porridge, a title which even after spending a lot of time with internet search engines defies comprehension but is somehow interesting and entertaining andThe Weave Knowledge Porridge perhaps that's why it is a good title.  In fact it is derived from the lyric of a song called I.O.U., released in 1990, by the Liverpool band "The La's".

The band includes two brass players, guitar, double bass and drums, and for the album are joined by two pianists, vibraphone, percussion, vocals, more guitars and two cellos.  The album content is eclectic and one gets the impression that in true Liverpool style the band and their supporters are a community of friends and relatives; both trumpeters' mums are credited on the album, one for the artwork and the other for "all the love and humour".

The album gets off to a lively start with Rob Stringers's rocking piano and Tilo Pirnbaum's drums on a track called The Pogo, co-written with the late Jimmy Carl Black (drummer with Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention); the trumpeters join in with a catchy, dance tune, firstly in unison and then in lively conversation.  Trumpet Ear is a swinging piece with entertaining solos by Anthony Peers and Martin Smith on brass, Andrzej Baranec on piano and Anthony Ormesher on guitar.  I'm In Your House starts with a brass duet and introduces Vidor Norheim on vibraphone while the next track Our Day On The Mountain really highlights what is possible with brass instruments evoking such North of England traditions as the works brass band and annual outing.

Track 5, Evolve and Expand features vocalist Luciana Mercer from the acclaimed trio, "Stealing Sheep", who also plays acoustic guitar. 

Click here for a brief video extract of Evolve and Expand.

The next track, Para Parrot, was composed by double bass player Hugo Harrison is a swinging number featuring great solos from Rob Stringer on piano, Hugo himself and Tony Peers on flugelhorn.  Credit for composing the next track, My Fathers, includes Konstatinos Lagogiannis as well as Smith and Ormesher and has the feel of a Mexican The Weavelament about it. Not on Your Nelly starts off as an Irish jig, trumpets replacing the fiddle to good effect and features Stuart Hardcastle on percussion. 

The title track is the penultimate one on the album and is a mix of styles including a form of tango and the spoken word by Anthony Peer and is illustrated with an off the wall video - click here.  

The final track, Princess Salami Socks, features Michael Head on acoustic guitar with Georgina and Jonathan Aasgaard on cello and may also be listened to with video accompaniment by Laura Spark in the form of a dance - click here.

There is a wide range of music on this album, a lot of very good jazz interspersed with other titbits which will lead the interested listener off at a tangent but above all it is entertaining.

The album is available from Bandcamp - click here for details and to sample. It is available to download, as a limited edition CD and limited edition LP.

Further information can be found at The Weave's website - click here

Howard Lawes

 

 

 

 

You Suggest : Richie Kamuca

David Keen in Canada suggests we listen to Richie Kamuca saying: 'I put him up there with Stan Getz, he was such a marvellous player and a bit Richie Kamucamore edgy than Stan .. and virtually unknown. Notwithstanding he was on the west coast and died real young of cancer…'.

Tenor saxophonist Richie Kamuca was born in Philadelphia in 1930, and grew up in the East of America before Richie Kamuca The Brothersmoving to the West Coast where he played with Stan Kenton and Woody Herman – he became part of the later line-up of Herman’s ‘Four Brothers’ with Al Cohn and Bill Perkins.

Richie Kamuca

Click here to listen to the cool West Coast sound of The Brothers playing Bill Potts Blixed. (Tenor saxophonists Al Cohn, Bill Perkins and Richie Kamuca with Jimmy Raney (guitar), Hank Jones (piano), John Beal (bass) and Chuck Flores (drums).

Richie’s early playing is compared to that of Lester Young, but working on the West Coast his style evolved in groups with Chet Baker, Maynard Ferguson and  Shorty Rogers. In 1957 he was playing with the Lighthouse All-Stars and from 1959 to 1962 with Shelly Manne and his Men as well as leading recording sessions under his own name.

Click here for video footage of the Richie Kamuca Quintet playing Cherry in 1958. the personnel are: Richie Kamuca (tenor saxophone), Frank Shelly Man at the BlackhawkRosolino (trombone), Scott LaFaro (bass), Victor Feldman (piano) and Stan Levey (drums).

In 1962 he moved to New York where he played with Gerry Mulligan and Roy Eldridge, and then, ten years later, returned to the West Coast to make studio recordings and work with local groups.

Shelly Manne and his Men at the Black Hawk

Click here for Richie Kamuca playing This Is Always from the 1959 album Shelly Manne and His Men At The Black Hawk: Joe Gordon (trumpet), Richie Kamuca (tenor sax), Victor Feldman (piano), Monty Budwig (bass) and Shelly Manne (drums).

As David Keen says, Richie Kamuca died of cancer, in Los Angeles, just before his 47th birthday.

There is an interesting Richie Kamuca album from 1977, the year when he died, called Drop Me Off In Harlem where Richie plays and sings the tune Dear Bix with just Herb Ellis on guitar and Ray Brown on bass - really worth hearing - click here. 'Cos your one of the favoured few, dear Bix, you're one of a kind'.

 

 

Two Ears, Three Eyes

Basil Hodge at The Watermill

Photographer Brian O'Connor was at The Watermill Jazz Club in Dorking in June to catch the Basil Hodge Quintet.

 

Basil Hodge

Basil Hodge

 

Brian's minder, guitarist Graham Thomas writes:

Tony Kofi

Basil Hodge introduced his Ten Pieces of Silver tribute gig by remarking that it was a year to the day since Horace Silver had died.

The quintet started with Blowing the Blues  YoungsAway, with Tony Kofi’s alto sax and Quentin Collins’ trumpet blazing out the rapid melody in tight unison, followed by powerful solos from both players.  

Tony Kofi


Then Tony Kofi displayed a rich, dark tone in the lower register on his ballad feature Peace.

As the pace hotted up, Quentin Collins filled the room with his ringing, brassy trumpet sound and darting lines. 

 

Basil Hodge provided contrast with a rippling piano style and some percussive phrases reminiscent of Horace. 

 

Rod YoungsQuentin Collins

 

On Nutville and Song For My Father, drummer Rod Youngs expertly supplied the latin-style groove integral to those tunes. 

Quentin Collins

 

For the final tune, Psychedelic Sally, Rod Youngs and bassist Larry Bartley set up a wonderfully inventive bass and drums dialogue which brought the house down.


I spoke to Rod Youngs afterwards and he said that he tries to create ‘something special’ every time he plays.  It’s safe to say that the Basil Hodge Quintet created plenty of special moments during this concert.

 

Larry Bartley

Larry Bartley

 

For Brian O'Connor's website where you can find a gallery of his jazz photographs click here: www.imagesofjazz.com

 

 

Al in Copenhagen:
"Al, have you tried the Elephant beer?"
"No man, I drink to forget."

Phil Woods on Al Cohn

 

 

 

Full Focus

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

Tom Green

Equilibrium

The idea behind our Full Focus series is to let the reader listen to a track from an album at the same time as reading the concepts behind the track as seen by the composer and the musicians involved. A few months ago we reviewed Skyline, the excellent album by trombonist Tom Green's Septet. The Septet has completed a very successful tour and the album has received acclaim from many critics.

Click here for a video of Tom introducing the album and talking about the band.

In this article, Tom talks about the track Equilibrium from the album. We recommend that you go to our separate page for the article (click here) where you can listen to the track at the same time as reading Tom's description, alternatively, you can read the article below and follow the link to hear the piece.

 

Equilibrium is the longest track on my album “Skyline” and is influenced by music from Spain and South America, particularly styles like Tom Greenflamenco and choro, a type of early 20th century popular music from Brazil. These styles use a very distinct type of harmony, and I wanted to explore this kind of sound by writing a piece for my Septet.

This group is my main compositional outlet, made up of four horns (trumpet, alto sax, tenor sax, and trombone) as well as rhythm section, and with seven musicians I can use a wide range of colours and textures in the pieces I compose. I also love writing for the individual musicians in the band and using their improvisation to shape the music.

Tom Green

I chose the title Equilibrium as the piece is all about balance, whether it is between different key centres, counterpoint and block harmony, rhythmic and free sections, or between dense chords and Misha Mullov-Abbadosections in open key. Almost all of the piece is based on just 8 bars of music in C harmonic minor, marked as ‘melody in Cm’ on the score, and I thought I would use this article to explain some of my composing process in turning 8 bars into a 13-minute long piece of music. The piece goes through lots of different keys as it evolves, and has quite a logical structure.

 

The rhythm section enter with the main 5/4 groove, with Scott Chapman playing hand-held shaker as well as drums to set up the Latin feel. On double bass and piano, Misha Mullov-Abbado and Sam James play the bassline in unison. The notes of the bassline are all on the beat, compared to the piano right hand which sits on the off beats, and the difference between the two gives some forward motion to the groove. The rhythm section always has to react to the melodic shape of the horn parts throughout the piece, and often has the very important job of controlling the dynamics and feel of each section.

Misha Mullov-Abbado

 

 

Click here for a video of the band playing Equilibrium.

 

The first statement of the 8-bar melody starts with tenor and trombone in unison, one of my favourite sounds used by classic big band composers such as Duke Ellington and Sammy Nestico. For the second statement, a direct repeat, the tenor splits off in harmony Equilibrium Study Scorebelow the trombone melody. In the last three bars of this second statement, the first modulation marked as “A” happens (see the score sheet), with the tune that started in C minor ending up in B minor. The way this modulation (and most of the modulations in the tune) happen is through the musical symmetry of diminished 7th chords (see the 'music theory aside' at the bottom of the page).

 

The third statement of the tune starts in B minor, and I wanted to start adding more horns at this point – the trombone and tenor are still playing the melody and harmony, but now the alto and flugel enter in unison on a new countermelody.

 

In the 4th bar there is another modulation “B”, which substitutes a D minor for a D major chord, and I wrote a new melody with a bit more movement to go with the new chords and new key. At this point I also wanted to venture outside harmonic minor harmony, and wrote 3 new bars with some more triadic chords leading to Fm.

I split the horns up differently in each section to mark each one out as distinct, and also to give things a bit of forward motion – for the fourth and final statement of the tune the flugelhorn finally takes the melody, with the tenor on the harmony part and the trombone and alto on a new countermelody.

 

 

 

Tom Green Septet

 

Tom Green Septet horn section

 

I wrote the countermelody without thinking about time signatures or bar lines, so in order to have the melody and countermelody trade phrases, the main melody often has to wait a few extra beats while the countermelody finishes, leading to irregular bar lengths – I borrowed this technique from the late great Kenny Wheeler! This fourth statement uses the same chord sequence as the third statement (modulation “B”), from F minor leading back to B minor as the horns all finally join together in the climax. This is the end of the “head”. In terms of key shifts:

 

 

1st statement C minor
2nd statement C minor > B minor (key shift “A”)
3rd statement B minor > F minor (key shift “B”)
4th statement F minor > B minor (key shift “B”)

 

James Davison

 

At this point, as James Davison’s flugel solo starts, I wanted things to settle down and have an absence of harmony, which has been quite relentless up to this point. The rhythm section play a pedal B, as the backings from the other 3 horns create a new chord sequence which is also used for the next section of the solo, alternating between B minor and D minor. After this new section I wanted to bring back the main thematic material, so at an appropriate point in the solo in D minor the melody returns as a solo backing, returning to the original chords but at half the speed. This leads to a climax and the same tritone modulation “B” as before, this time from D minor to Ab minor, for the saxophone solos.

James Davison and Matthew Herd

 

 

 

Sam MilesMatthew Herd

 

I decided to have the saxophones, Sam Miles on tenor and Matthew Herd on alto, trading 8 bar phrases and eventually playing together, as I wanted the piece to build to its largest climax at this point. I love using improvising musicians to shape a piece – it’s a tool in the jazz composer’s repertoire that classical composers don’t get to use. At the end of the section I wanted to make sure we got back to C minor, using the same chord sequences as at the start of the tune. I realised I could do this by just having two repeats of the “head in” chord sequence, and repeating the 3rd statement changes one more time:

Matthew Herd

Sam Miles

 

 

1st statement Ab minor
2nd statement Ab minor > G minor
3rd statement G minor > Db minor
1st statement Db minor
2nd statement Db minor > Cm minor
3rd statement C minor > F# minor
3rd statement F# minor > C minor

 

Obviously this requires the saxophone players to be able to play fluently in all keys – I wanted them to build up during the solo to a climax and then as things get to their loudest, to allow them a chance to go nuts in a short “free” section.

 

Tom Green Septet

Tom Green Septet by Ken Drew

 

After the saxophones calm down, the “head out” begins, with exactly the same key shifts as the “head in”. However, to avoid a direct repeat, and instead of having the same arrangement as before, I decided to have the band continue playing out of time for the first and second statements of the tune – the first statement is played by trombone answered by flugel playing a new counter-line, and the second statement with flugel + tenor answered by trombone + alto.

Then on the third statement (B minor) we get into tempo with a gradual speed up, and finally in the fourth statement (F minor) I decided to add one more surprise key change marked “C” at the end of the second bar. Using the same device as before, this time the C7b9 chord functions as an Eb7b9 chord to lead to Ab minor rather than back to F minor. Then modulation “B” leads a tritone away to D minor for the final chorale to end the piece.

I love getting the maximum amount of material out of a small amount of music, and use this in many of my compositions. In this case, just 8 bars evolved into the entire piece very organically. Although it’s one of our longest Septet tunes at 13 minutes, there are Tom Green Skyline albumstill enough sections for each musician to stretch out during their solos and play freely that we still really enjoy playing this piece on most of our gigs.

 

 

The Tom Green Septet on Equilibrium are:

Tom Green (Trombone/Compositions), James Davison (Trumpet/Flugelhorn), Matthew Herd (Alto/Soprano Saxophones), Sam Miles (Tenor Saxophone), Sam James (Piano), Misha Mullov-Abbado (Double Bass), Scott Chapman (Drums).

Reeds player Matthew Herd moved on from the Septet just before the tour and the impressive Tommy Andrews has continued in the alto and soprano saxophone role.

Click here for our review of Skyline. Click here for our profile of Tom Green.

The Tom Green Septet play the London Jazz Festival 2015 at St James Theatre Studio on Monday 16th November click here for details.:

Click here to buy Tom’s album “Skyline” at his website: www.tomgreenmusic.com

 

A short aside from Tom on music theory – a diminished 7th chord is made up of four notes a minor 3rd apart, for example, C, Eb, F# andA.Adding a D, F, Ab or B bass note these 4 notes become the major 3rd, 5th and minor 7th of a dominant chord with a flattened 9th (7b9) – for example adding a D bass note to the above diminished 7th chord will have F# as the 3rd, A as the 5th, C as the 7th and Eb as the b9th, creating a D7b9 chord. Because the notes of the diminished 7th are all a minor 3rd apart, a D7b9 chord is equivalent to F7b9, Ab7b9 and B7b9 chords, with the only difference being the bass notes. Using this principle it is possible to modulate smoothly from any of these four dominant chords to the tonic major or minor of ANY of the four dominant chords – so from D7b9 you would expect to modulate to G, but Bb, C# or E are also possible modulations which will work musically.

In this piece I decided to use this device a few times to break up the 8-bar melody in different places, leading to modulations to different key centres (marked as A, B, C on the music). In the first modulation “A” the D7b9 chord is used as a B7b9 chord to end up in E minor (rather than G major/minor). The following few new chord changes lead us to B minor, followed by 2 extra bars turnaround to establish the new key. Of course, using any of this theory is always dictated by ear – if it doesn’t sound good then no amount of music theory is going to help it sound better!

 

 

 

Album Released: 3rd February 2015 - Label: BassKat Music

 

Katie Thiroux

Introducing Katie Thiroux

 

June Bastable reviews this album for us:                                                    

Being born into a musical family gave Katie Thiroux a flying start in her chosen profession. By the age of four she was taking violin lessons, and at the age of eight had switched to acoustic bass and, in addition, had begun exploring jazz and classical vocal styles. Amazingly, by the age of ten she was performing leading roles in the LA Opera and Opera Pacifica!

During her studies with Tierney Sutton and, later, John Clayton, she was presented with the Los Angeles Jazz Society Award “Shelly Manne New Talent” and the Phil Ramone Presidential Scholarship to Berklee College of Music.  While at Berklee, Katie Thiroux performed with esteemed musicians such as Branford Marsalis, Greg Osby, Dr Billy Taylor and others. She later taught at Berklee International School inIntroducing Katie Thiroux Ecuador, Quito. Returning to her native Los Angeles, she completed a Masters of Jazz Bass from California State University of Long Beach on full scholarship.

In 2013 she formed The Katie Thiroux Quartet with a dazzling array of talent: guitarist Graham Dechter (Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Eliane Elias, Michael Buble), saxophonist Roger Neumann (Anita O'Day, Woody Herman) and drummer Matt Witek (Larry Fuller, John Pizzarelli Quartet). This debut album was produced by Grammy award winning drummer Jeff Hamilton, engineered by Grammy Award winner Steve Genewick and mastered at Capitol Records by Grammy Award winner Ron McMaster.

Ms Thiroux brings a breath of fresh air to the genre: she is exciting and original, a multi-talented jazz phenomenon, not only as an acoustic bassist, but as a captivating singer and gifted composer. Katie’s bass-playing is in the rich-toned, energetic and melodic Ray Brown tradition, driving and leading the other musicians to ever greater heights of improvisation. Her vocals are intricate, thoughtful, fluid and seemingly-effortless, with unexpected and arresting Katie Thirouxcadences, particularly on Track 2: Don’t Be On The Outside. Her incandescent scat-singing on this track is as thrilling and uplifting as that of the glorious Ella in her heyday!

The up-tempo vocal on The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else is reminiscent of Anita O’Day’s immortal interpretation of Tea for Two.  And her solo bass-and vocal on Wives and Lovers is an extraordinary display of virtuosity.

Click here to listen to Wives And Lovers.

And as for Katie Thiroux’s inspired and tuneful composing, there are three original Thiroux pieces on this album: Ray’s Kicks (a bass solo dedicated to Ray Brown), Rosebird (based on Earl Hines’s Rosetta and Charlie Parker’s Yardbird) and the wonderfully haunting Can’t We Just Pretend (very Duke Ellington). In fact, Can’t We Just Pretend is such a memorable melody that it cries out for someone to compose a set of torchy lyrics (if they haven’t already!?) – the final five notes just fit the title. Surely this number will enter the annals of jazz standards? Remember you read it here first!

Click here to listen to Can't We Just Pretend.

Her backing musicians interact sympathetically, and yet creatively in their own right: and this reviewer laughed out loud at the misleading intro to A Beautiful Friendship. Listen and see if you spot the cheekily witty quote from My Sweetie Went Away.

Yes, the Katie Thiroux quartet dovetails beautifully, displaying a deep affinity and chemistry born of a fifteen hour jam session prior to their decision to begin recording – and now, it’s as if it was meant to be!

Click here to sample the album.

For more information on Katie’s musical background, experience and future plans, visit her website: click here.

 

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


 

 

 

Jazzwise Celebratory Competition

September sees the 200th issue of Jazzwise magazine and to celebrate, they are running a competition where you could win 200 jazz CDs from the recent Warner Jazz Best Collection and the Fusion Best Collection 1000 series. The runner up will win 100 Warner CDs and the third prize is Jazzwise Magazine September 201550 CDs.

Jazzwise says: 'The albums have been remastered in 24 bit and have original front cover artwork and rear sleeve notes with Japanese liner notes and an obi strip around the spine, which is a feature of many Japanese releases.' The collection was devised in Japan as a major jazz reissue project by Warner between 2013 and 2014.

What do you have to do? Simply answer the question below and email the answer along with your name, address and email address to competitions@jazzwise.com with Warner Jazz Competition in the subject line. Or, post your answer to Warner Jazz Competition, Jazzwise, St. Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PB.

Question: Multi-reeds player Yusef Lateef recorded many fine albums for the Atlantic label. During the early 1950s he converted to Islam and adopted the name Yusef Lateef. What was his birth name?

a) William Evans
b) William Emmanuel Huddlestone
c) William Lateef

The first correct entry picked out of the hat wins the first prize and the next two correct answers win the 2nd and 3rd prizes. Normal competition rules apply, only one entry per person and mutliple entries will be eliminated. The closing date is 30th September.

 

 

 

Forum

Do You Remember The Fox And Goose in Ealing?

Roger Trobridge tells us: 'I recently spent a Wednesday lunchtime with, Julian, the General Manager of the Fox and Goose pub, Hanger Lane, in Ealing. It featured in the Cyril Davies story but it was the location of the Ealing Jazz Club run by Steve Lane with his band the Southern Stompers in the 1950s.

Julian is interested in the musical history of the pub and we had some photos of Cyril and Steve's band playing at the pub. I was there with Colin Kingwell who played trombone in the band at this time. We established that the room where they played had been a skittle alley but has now been replaced by a conference room and the new kitchen.

One of the photos was interesting but we could not pin down where it was. It shows the band at the time and a sign pointing to the club room. It would be good to find out who remembers the club and how the pub was laid out.

The pub has changed a lot and is now a successful hotel/pub next door to Wembley - you can take a tour on their website if you click here.

If anyone remembers the pub and can help Roger and Julian, please contact us. Sadly, Steve Lane passed through the Departure Lounge in August (see Departure Lounge below).

 

 

Freddy Randall and Memphis Blues

Mary Austin writes: 'Just reading this month's magazine and saw request re Freddy Randall and Memphis Blues.

Freddy was a friend of Bunny and me until the end of his life and we spent many happy hours with him when we lived in London and continued the contact after our move to Hampshire and his to Devon. Memphis Blues is on a CD from Lake Records. :  LACD123 and was recorded 19 July 1955.' (Click here for more information from Lake Records).

 

The GIGI Coffee Bar and Keith Cooper

Ian Simms asks if anyone remembers the GIGI Coffee Bar and Keith Cooper: 'I was nostalgically web-browsing names from my music past - George Baron, Tony Pitt, Alan Leat, Neville Skrimshire, Diz Disley - sadly nearly all gone now - and I was delighted to see photo of the Tattie Bogle (on our Banjo Jazz page - click here) where I sat in with the guys and the lovely Lois Lane, who's still going strong! I can never find any mention of the GIGI coffee bar on Finchley Road where they all came to sit in with resident guitarist Tony Lafrate who had the best right hand in the business and where I was lucky enough to sit in and get tutored.  We were all Django fans and I'd been lucky enough to meet his brother Joseph in Paris in 1963. I wonder who else might remember the Gigi and those great Paris bistro-style nights? I still have Diz's old Colleti G40 guitar from the '60s - what a mellow tone it's developed over the years.'

'Is Keith Cooper still around? It'd be good to hear. Keith gigged for many years with the great Denny Wright - Stef's favourite rhythm player after Django died. The Gigi became a focal point simply because Tony Lafrate played there, he knew them all, was a superb rhythm player, very much a musician's man and 'Banjo' George was there 2 or 3 times a week, as was Les Muscutt - very sad to hear he too has passed away. I first went there in 1963 at 17 yrs and for the next 6 years learned "on the job" sitting in and gigging in Beaucham Place, where the Borscht and Tears was another venue with great guys dropping in. I gigged with the late Gerry Shepherd, whose son Pete is a well-known swing guitarist. I never took it up full time and nowadays I only play for myself after 3 operations on my hands. How ironic to end up damaged like my idol! Other names I recall: Lucien, a French guitarist who Gerry toured France with, a fantastic swing guitarist, and Alyosha, leader of the London Balalaika Ensemble. he was so good George said: "I throw my banjo at your feet". Sweet memories!!!'

Please let us know if any of these names bring memories for you.

 

 

West 11 - Wood Green Jazz Club / Studio 51 Club

Last month we raised a question from Joe Spibey, whose excellent website jazzonfilm.com is a comprehensive directory of jazz in film. He asked West 11 movie posterwhether the Wood Green Jazz Club was shown in the film West 11.

West 11 was released on DVD in February. A 1963, Michael Winner, X certificate film it boasts a strong jazz soundtrack. Set in Notting Hill, 'then a seedy slum', Alfred Lynch plays Joe Beckett, a down-on-his-luck young man who is recruited into crime by Eric Portman as bad man Richard Dyce. Dyce persuades Beckett it will be in his interests to bump off Dyce's wealthy aunt for her money. Beckett travels to the old lady's house on the South coast, and prepares to murder her, but loses his nerve and in a struggle, accidentally pushes her down a flight of stairs, killing her anyway.

There are appearances by Ken Colyer and his band and Tony Kinsey's band, and Acker Bilk plays the title theme. Click here for the movie trailer. Click here for a jazz club scene where Ken Colyer's band arrives to play.

Pete Lay has written to say: 'In discussion with some members of Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen at the time of West 11 being released, said that Club 51 was recreated in the film studio.' June Bastable wrote with the same information.

Frank Griffith writes: 'West 11 is available from Amazon (click here) and they have it in stock at £6.50.'

Joe Spibey found the following information from David Meeker's website at the Library of Congress: Personnel on Camera: The leading character makes several visits to a mock-up of the Studio '51 Club but the band consists of sideliners miming to Ken Colyer and his Band.

Soundtrack Personnel: Inc: Roy Willox, alto sax; Harry Klein, baritone sax; Acker Bilk, clarinet; Stanley Black, piano; Ray Dempsey, guitar; Martin Slavin, vibraphone; Arthur Watts, acoustic double bass; Kenny Clare, drums.
The Tony Kinsey Quintet.
Ken Colyer and his Band.

 

 

 

 

Album Released: 7th July 2015 - Label: Sunnyside Records

 

Laszlo Gardony

Life In Real Time

Robin Kidson reviews this record for us:

Laszlo Gardony is a jazz pianist who was born in Hungary and studied music at the Bela Bartok Conservatory in Budapest. He won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in 1983 and, after graduation, stayed on in America. He came first in the Great American Jazz Piano Laszlo Gardony Life In Real TimeCompetition in 1989. He has a long and distinguished CV which includes playing with the likes of Miroslav Vitous, Dave Holland, Tommy Smith and David “Fathead” Newman. He is now a Professor of Piano at Berklee.

Life in Real Time is eight tracks recorded live at the Berklee Performance Centre last September. Gardony is joined by five other musicians, most of whom are on the Berklee faculty: Yoron Israel (drums), John Lockwood (bass), and no less than three tenor saxophonists – Bill Pierce, Don Braden and Stan Strickland. Strickland also plays bass clarinet on a couple of the tracks.

The album is mainstream contemporary jazz at its best. It is beautifully recorded (chapeaux to the recording engineer, Alex Rodriguez) in front of an enthusiastic audience. Most of the tracks are Gardony compositions – and most are upbeat, foot tapping crowd pleasers. The presence of a live audience encourages the musicians – particularly the saxophonists – to stretch themselves and compete with each other in an “anything you can do, I can do better” spirit which makes for some very exciting music.

Things get off to a rousing start with Bourbon Street Boogie. It has a memorable main theme with a touch of Horace Silver about it. Both Bill Pierce and Don Braden take confident, technically accomplished solos. Gardony also plays a short solo which mixes boogie woogie with a bit of Mr. Silver again.

Click here for a video of the sextet playing Bourbon Street Boogie live.

Breakout begins with an absorbing drum solo which builds slowly from a gentle start to a tour de force of sound and tempo. There is a pause before the main theme is played very briefly and then Braden and Pierce take turns to play blistering, competitive solos which briefly lapse into some Ayler-type squawking. Gardony takes a liquid, light fingered solo with some nice interplay between piano, drums and bass. The whole piece finishes with a great cacophonous, crowd pleasing climax ending on one sustained note.

The third track, Gemstones, has a rock-latin beat with a foot tapping, head rocking theme which brings us back to Horace Silver territory. Bill Pierce and Gardony take the solos – Gardony, in particular, shows off all his virtuosity with playing that gradually builds into something very Laszlo Gardonyexciting but melodic and full of intriguing sounds. The piece finishes with all three saxophonists improvising together – it could go very wrong but, somehow, it doesn’t.

Laszlo Gardony

Lullaby of Birdland is the old George Shearing standard taken at a slightly slower and heavier tempo than usual with a distinct latin tinge. Both Braden and Gardony take solos which play around the main theme in an original and imaginative way.

Next up is an arrangement of the old spiritual, Motherless Child, taken at quite a lick; Gardony’s arrangement was apparently inspired by the Richie Havens version performed at Woodstock. Stan Strickland plays bass clarinet on the piece and takes a solo.

Now, the bass clarinet has had a bit of a chequered history in jazz and has never really caught on. Its most celebrated exponent was Eric Dolphy; and Miles Davis featured a bass clarinet on Bitches Brew. More recently, Courtney Pine has taken up the instrument. To me, the bass clarinet has always seemed too ponderous an instrument for jazz. However, Strickland’s playing comes close to changing my mind. His fingering is agile and he makes it sound a much lighter instrument than, say, Dolphy. His solo has some lovely swoops down into the instrument’s rich lower register.

Click here to listen to Motherless Child.

The next track, New Song, also features Strickland on bass clarinet. At times, he uses it very effectively as part of the rhythm section. His solo is light and subtle for the most part and the playing in the lower register makes a very mellow and satisfying sound. There is some (mercifully short-lived) Dolphy-type honking but, on the whole, Strickland’s bass clarinet work is one of the highlights of the whole album. The track also has a memorable main theme; and a clear and confident solo from John Lockwood on bass.

The Other One is an upbeat blues with more competitive sax solos, including one from Stan Strickland showing he can hold his own on tenor sax as well as bass clarinet.

The final piece, Out on Top, takes us back to the Horace Silver, rock-latin feel of earlier tracks. It has quite a complicated rhythm and quite a complicated main theme. Don Braden takes a sustained and imaginative solo where he pushes himself to ever greater virtuosic heights. Gardony responds with an equally exciting solo before the track ends in another improvised cacophony (not without humour) from the saxophones which gradually slows down to a nice finish. The audience applauds enthusiastically.

Click here to sample the album.

Click here for more information about Laszlo Gardony on his website.

Robin Kidson

 

 

 

Eddie Toal Musical Memoir

Four years ago, singer Eddie Toal's wife, Irene, died from breast cancer at the age of 48. Eddie, a semi-professional singer from Glasgow says: Eddie Toal Always In My Heart'Irene used to nag me about making a recording of old songs that we both loved but I just never got round to it. Well, now I have and it's for a great cause."

Eddie plans to raise funds for the Beatson Cancer Charity by giving away copies of Always In My Heart, his new CD, at gigs. He asks people to take the CD away, play it and if they like it, make a donation to the Irene Toal Tribute Fund via the Beatson Cancer Charity website. For this recording of sixteen well-known standards, Eddie is joined by trumpeter Bruce Adams, guitarist Jim Mullen, and pianist Brian Dee with his trio (Simon Thorpe, bass, and Bobby Worth, drums).

Eddie, who started singing after attending a jazz workshop run by singer Fionna Duncan in the 1990s has sung at the Glasgow Jazz Festival with the Sandy Taylor Trio and the Tim Barella Big band and currently performs at venues throughout the west of Scotland.

Click here for a video introduction to the album featuring Eddie singing My One And Only Love. Click here for the track list and to sample the album. The CD is available from the Beatson Cancer Charity (click here).

 

 

 

Album Released: 29th June 2015 - Label: Leo Records

 

Actis Dato Quartet

Earth Is The Place

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Carlo Actis Dato (tenor & baritone saxophone, bass clarinet); Beppe Di Filippo (soprano & alto saxophone); Matteo Ravizza (double bass); Daniele Bertone (drums, percussion).

I’ve always liked Carlo Actis Dato since I first encountered his dexterous horns nearly twenty years ago as part of the magnificent Italian Instabile Orchestra. When his Atipico Trio brought out their recording Allegro Con Brio ((Leo Records CD LR 400) in 2004 I got to write the liner notes. Carlo Actis Dato has clocked up a large amount of recordings for Leo, he’s also made a stack for the Italian label Splasc(h). What Actis Dato Quartet Earth Is The Place I do know is this: Earth Is The Place steps out like a brand new reason for bringing out another album. This band has all the vitality of a heady street pageant.

Click here for a short sample.

Ah, how quickly I fall into the trap, writing the kind of ‘rattlesnakes’ the front cover warns of. It’s easy to get caught up in the whole joyous paraphernalia of performance that goes with Actis Dato, to the point where it is possible to miss out on the seriously subtle interplay between four musicians of character. For instance the opening passage of Kerala has double bass and percussion carefully weaving baritone saxophone and soprano saxophone into a melodic thread, as if the two reeds were delicate gold embroidery. Contrast this piece with the opening two tracks Immigrati and Gipsy Cembalon which place the quartet in the mix between samba and tango and a liberal jaunt of calypso.

Carlo Actis Dato and his long time compatriot Beppe Di Filppo can often appear like jokers when in fact their music retains a grounded intent, albeit theatre is never far away. The title Earth Is The Place is a reference to Sun Ra’s Space Is The Place. Another musician whose dress sense and descriptions always belied the Mardi Gra’s procession.

For instance the party that opens the first track, Immigrati, has at its central hub a roaringly rejoiner, this twisted tangle of a tenor solo becomes press-ganged by percussion. The pace is never dropped but the dialogue, what is actually coming out of the frontline, is closer to the confessional than these fun and games suggest. Likewise Correva L’anno initially sounds as if its birth place is a backstreet bazaar yet the quartet convert their cause to multi directional percussion spread across some fiery debate. The tactic is also applied to Himba, where what is beaten out is a touch-and-go treasure, hand drum to cymbal, rimshot to brush stroke. In-between all these bright melodies, seemingly Actis Dato Quartetbounced straight out of Actis Dato’s head, there is this desire to constantly change tack. It’s impossible to ignore these guys, the implication of the next question is already being asked in what is currently happening.

Click here for a video of the band playing Himba.

At just over 70 minutes in length Earth Is The Place is value for money. But it doesn’t feel long for the sake of it. At track 9 we have already gone through the fifty minute mark; 1 20 Sosia Saddam begins with a bowed bass solo, deep dark wood wired.  It has to be heard; a sonorous song without the need for words. The music cannot possibly stop at this point. As the piece stretches into a longer form there are the sounds of the human voice; shouting, banging, the drum making a mark in the ground, a torn baritone scrap of a repeated melodic fragment is left out in the alto wind like some old prayer flag. I’m not able to explain Actis Dato’s thinking behind this piece, explanation is not necessary, it is compelling listening.

The very final track, number 11, is also the shortest on the album. Titled Shadows, it evolves a final drum kit tour-de-force from Daniele Bertone. Again the piece feels purposeful, as if it has to be included. Behind the intense batterie of percussion the horns evoke an Albert Ayler refrain, the whole thing twists and turns into a I-feel-finished finale. An honourable ending to another deliciously maverick recording.

Carlo Actis Dato is a one off, there’s nobody else who quite does it the Dato way. Humour, sure, quirky, undoubtedly, but that stuff always leads somewhere else, plus his bass clarinet and baritone sax can crack open a joke and reveal a harder centre. The quartet with Matteo Ravizza and Daniele Bertone has only been around for the last few years, the original band with Enrico Fazio and Fiorezo Sordini (bass and drums) can still be found on You Tube. If the Carlo Actis Dato Quartet is new to you I recommend going straight to Earth Is The Place. Other planets may be available at a later date.

Click here for a video of the band rehearsing Albania.

Click here for details and the track listing.


Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk   
           

            


 

Jazz Book Club Books

There are still a number of Jazz Book Club books looking for a good home. Sandy Pringle has asked if we could pass on his collection of books from the Jazz Book Club. Several have been taken, but there are others that might still be of interest to readers.

The Jazz Book Club (JBC) was a publishing project of Sidgwick & Jackson, a London-based publisher. Herbert Jones, the editor, and aJazz Books distinguished panel, selected the works. Sixty-six issues, and various extras were published from 1956 to 1967.

Sandy Pringle's books are all hard back editions and the jackets - the paper covers - have gone. They are some fifty years old and so some have a few brown age spots on some pages. Even so, there are many biographies and other works here including Young Man With A Horn by Dorothy Baker; Burnett James's Essays On Jazz; Treat It Gentle by Sidney Bechet, Jack Teagarden by Jay D Smith and Len Guttridge, and John Clellon Holmes excellent novel The Horn.

Although the books are different thicknesses, to make life easy for me, if anyone is interested in any of the books I will post them out individually within the UK at £5 each to cover costs. Click here to see the list of books still available and how to go about obtaining them.

 

 

 

I have a good friend who hates jazz – he describes it as follows”. “Six or seven blokes in a pub all playing at once until they take turns to try and prove it’s not them who can’t play.

Bob Fowler via Mike Rose

 

 

Facebook

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


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Departure Lounge

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

 

Tony Milliner

 

Tony Milliner - UK trombone player who played with the High Curley Stompers before joining Dave Carey's band. When Jeremy French left the Al Fairweather - Sandy Brown band in 1957, Tony replaced him and stayed with them until 1963. He continued with his own group, Mingus Music, co-led the London Jazz Big Band with Stan Greig and played with Alan Littlejohn, Alvin Roy, Alan Stuart and Willie Garnett. Click here for our page on Tony where you can also listen to some of his music.

 

 

 

 

Steve Lane - UK cornet player, guitarist, composer and arranger, Steve Lane led his own Southern Stompers jazz from 1950, and also led and recorded with his Red Hot Peppers and the VJM Washboard Band. He was an important part of VJM records in the late 50/60s. A very traditional jazz player in the Ken Colyer style, he established the Ealing Jazz Club in the Fox and Goose, Hanger Lane, Ealing in 1952.

 

 

Mickey Ashman

 

Mickey Ashman - UK double bass player who initially worked with Jimmy Skidmore, Brian England and Tony Lofthouse and then in a trio with Chris Barber. Mickey went on to play with Mike Daniels, Humphrey Lyttelton, Chris Barber again, Eric Delaney, Lonnie Donegan's Skiffle Group, and from 1958 led his own band for seven years before working with Monty Sunshine, and then various bands including those of John Petters and Neville Dickey. Click here for a video of him playing at the Brean Jazz Festival in 2002. Click here to listen to him with Humphrey Lyttelton's band in 1954 playing Feline Stomp.

 

 

 

 

Harry Pitch

 

Harry Pitch - UK harmonica player who started out on trumpet and led a successful Count Basie style band in the 1950s when he gradually introduced the harmonica into his band. Active in London for more than 60 years he is also remembered for his playing with Jack Emblow. One of Larry Adler's favourite players, Harry became a leading studio player recording for films and TV including The Bridge On The River Kwai and Last Of The Summer Wine. He also played for many years with the Bucks, Berks and Oxon Big Band.

Click here for Harry, Jack Emblow and band playing Secret Love.

 

 

 

 

 

Album Released: 21st July 2015 - Label: Origin Records

Nick Finzer

The Chase

 

American trombonist Nick Finzer went to The Eastman School of Music and was mentored by Wycliffe Gordon before he relocated to New York City where he gained a Masters Degree from the Julliard School of Music. This is his second recording as leader and he says: 'I wanted Nick Finzer The Chasethis album to focus on the personalities of the band. I write to challenge myself, but I made sure that on this recording there would be plenty of room to highlight these incredible players. We've all known each other for so long and/or crossed paths so often in our careers that a special relationship has developed between us that I think you can clearly hear. I may compose the music but I want everyone involved to bring their own ideas and feelings to it. There's so much more to this music than what's just on the page. Being open to the contributions of others is how it comes alive.'

Vic Arnold reviews this album for us:

Nick Finzer is not a name that I am familiar with, however, he may very well have a legion of followers. The following musicians appear on this, his latest recording.  Nick Finzer (trombone), Lucas Pino (alto and tenor saxophones, and bass clarinet), Alex Wintz (guitar), Glenn Zaleski (piano), Dave Baron (bass), and Jimmy Macbride (drums). 

Click here for a video of the band playing The Chase from the album.

There are 11 tracks on the recording, all composed by Nick Finzer. Nick is a familiar face in the contemporary jazz scene and he has played in Ryan Truesdell's Gil Evans Project as well as working with such people as Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Frank Wess and Lewis Nash. 

While the standard of playing on this recording is very good, and some of the compositions are enjoyable, there are some that did not work for me. Steadfast and Search For A Sunset both feature Lucas Pino on bass clarinet and in my opinion this instrument does not do any favours to the two compositions. Others hear these two tracks differently. One review says: 'On “Steadfast,” he pairs his muted trombone with Pino’s bass clarinet, producing rich, velvety melodies that dissolve over the top of Macbride’s brushed snare. On “Search For A Sunset,” he aligns Wintz’s guitar and Pino’s tenor saxophone in a dense harmonic passage that moves in gentle, deliberate steps beneath his own poignant trombone solo.' Unfortunately we can only share the samples of these tracks for you to make up your own mind.

The first track, Life Happens is very enjoyable with some good playing by all of the musicians and While You're Gone has got some interesting muted trombone.

Click here for a video of the band playing the album track All Hype.

Perhaps with the release of this recording other musicians may feature the trombone on a more regular basis. It does seem at present to be an overlooked instrument.  I do think that there is enough good jazz on this album for it to do well, and I hope that it gets the publicity it deserves, despite my statement that to my ears, some of the tracks could have been a little livelier.  If you like the trombone and this style of contemporary jazz, give it a listen, you will probably be pleasantly surprised.    

Click here to sample the album.

Vic Arnold          


 

 

 

One From Ten

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

BBC Jazz Club Rare Transcription Recordings 1959 (Volume 1)

BBC Jazz Club Rare Transcription Recordings 1959 – 1960 (Volume 2)

 

Actually, two from ten this month. In the way that the BBC’s Jazz 625 programmes have found their way to video and YouTube, the BBC Jazz Club radio broadcasts of the 1950s and 1960s preserve some invaluable vintage recordings of jazz musicians of the time. These two albums fromBBC Jazz Club Rare recordings Vol 1 Vocalion capture some of the UK’s best loved musicians and bands; each volume has a spoken introduction by David Jacobs and at £5.99 each they are a snip.

On Volume One from 1959 (CDEA 6235), we find the Tony Kinsey Quartet, the Vic Ash Quintet, the Alex Welsh Band and the Dill Jones Trio and scattered amongst them, names such as Bill Le Sage, Harry South, Roy Crimmins, Archie Semple and Fred Hunt. Volume Two from 1959 and 1960 (CDEA 6242) boasts the Tony Crombie Band, the Eddie Thompson Trio, Mike Daniels and his Delta Jazzmen and the Lennie Felix Trio. Those who remember the bands of the time will welcome hearing people like the young Bobby Wellins, Tony Crombie, John Barnes, Doreen Beatty and Gerry Salisbury.

Reviewing the albums in Jazzwise magazine, Peter Vacher says: ‘The Welsh band was in its first heyday at this time, full of vim, the front liners properly integrated, Welsh punching home and Semple’s Pee Wee Russell influence evident, as Hunt’s piano kept swing uppermost.'

Reeds player Vic Ash was born in 1930. He was a favourite in the Melody Maker polls of the 1950s and at the same time hosted the Sunday BBC Jazz Club Rare recordings Vol 2Break radio show which discussed jazz and religion. He toured the U.S. in 1957 and returned to the UK to play with Vic Lewis in 1959. His ensemble was the only one representing British jazz at the Newport Jazz Festival that year.

Pianist Eddie Thompson was born in London in 1925. Like George Shearing, he studied at a school for blind people, and after recording with Victor Feldman, went on to work with Tony Crombie, Vic Ash, Freddy Randall and Tommy Whittle. He was the house pianist at Ronnie Scott’s club at the time of these recordings.

Click here to listen to Eddie Thompson Trio playing The Lamp Is Low from 1980 (not on the album).

From previous correspondence, I know that many readers have been supporters of Mike Daniels and Doreen Beatty, and I imagine that they will have something to say about Peter Vacher's comment in the Jazzwise review: ' ... The Daniels band was more run-of-the-mill, with Beatty's forgettable vocals another reminder of how it used to be and is no longer, thank God ...'

Click here for details of Volume One. Click here for details of Volume Two. The albums are also available from Amazon, but at the time of writing, no track samples were available.

 

 

 

Ten Recent Releases and Re-Issues

 


The Ten

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

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

 

Misha Mullov-Abbado New Ansonia

 

 

1. Misha Mullov-Abbado - New Ansonia - (Edition Records)

[See review above]

 

 

 

 

Liane Carroll Seaside

 

 

2. Liane Carroll - Seaside - (Linn)

[Click here to sample nearer to when the album is released on 18 September. To be reviewed next month]

 

 

 

 

Terri Lyne Carrington Love and Soul

 

 

3. Terri Lyne Carrington - Mosaic Project: Love And Soul - (Concord Records)

[Click here to sample. Click here for video introduction. Click here for review]

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Heath Picture Of Heath

 

 

4. Jimmy Heath - Picture Of Heath - (Xanadu)

[Click here to sample. Click here to listen to Bruh' Slim. Click here for review]

 

 

 

 

Tom Hewson Trio Treehouse

 

 

5. Tom Hewson Trio - Treehouse - (CamJazz)

[Click here to sample nearer to when the album is released on 2nd October]

 

 

 

 

SNJO Jeunehomme

 

 

6. Scottish National Jazz Orchestra with Makoto Ozone - Jeunehomme Mozart Piano Concerto No 9. K.271 - (Spartacus)

[See review above].

 

 

 

 

Ahmed Jamal Live In Marciac 2014

 

 

7. Ahmed Jamal - Live In Marciac August 5th 2014 - (Jazz Village)

[Click here to sample. Click here for review. Click here for video]

 

 

 

 

BBC Jazz Club recordings

 

 

8. Various Artists - BBC Jazz Club Rare Transcription Recordings 1959-1960 Volumes 1 and 2 - (Vocalion)

[See One From Ten article above]

 

 

 

 

Loose Tubes Arriving

 

 

9. Loose Tubes - Arriving - (Lost Marble)

[Click here to sample. Click here for video introduction]

 

 

 

 

Mike Osborne Dawn

 

 

10. Mike Osborne - Dawn - (Cuneiform Rune)

[Click here to sample. Click here to listen to An Idea. Click here for review]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

with apologies to Chuck Berry (click here)

Can you help?

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



 

Album released: 7th August 2015 - Label: Wasp Millionaire Records

 

Shatner's Bassoon

Shansa Barsnaan

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Shatner’s Bassoon: Oliver Dover (alto, tenor, baritone saxophones, bass clarinet, trumpophone, vocals); Craig Scott (electric guitar); Johnny Richards (organ, prepared piano); Michael Bardon (electric bass); Andrew Lisle (drums, percussion); Joost Hendrickx (drums, samples, percussion, live electronics).

Shatner’s Bassoon design a fascinating friction in their soundscape but the visual image in the packaging that comes with it warrants closing your eyes. I’d say the best way to approach Shansa Barsnaan is to take the music from the top and let it cover you like a blanket. Absorb it,Shatner's Bassoon Shansa Barsnaan you won’t sleep, or at least only as a state of ‘sound-a-sleep’; the shake, the sample, the experiment will take over. When you get to the end, press repeat and give it another go. 

If you’re not careful Shatner’s Bassoon has too many distractions. Sometimes it is best to leave well alone. The artwork is a brash flash of day-glow, a cut-out clown drawn for a fairground sideshow. Give him his due, a beat-bard like John Cooper-Clarke has a dark suit and has always worn shades from birth, these guys I’m afraid are attempting to be more colourful characters. Their titles speak like playground language; Fringe In My Eyes, Thighs In Disguise or Bruce Lawn Part ii: Arms Like A Mirage; joke or jest, seriously stupid? Perhaps someone else would be rolling around in laughter, as it is I would prefer to keep such a recording in a brown paper bag and leave the words to run out of time. But I would keep the recording.

The music really is an experimental soundscape, one I wouldn’t dismiss too lightly. By the time Shatner’s Bassoon have got to the previously mentioned Fringe In My Eyes etc. they are clicking on a full-on improv technique that is truly exploratory. The band themselves are fans and cite their influences freely. Frank Zappa and John Zorn come as no surprise and I suspect you can add some English radicals in there as well: Derek Bailey, Fred Frith and Black Top, Henry Cow, the Pop Group and Dub Reggae. I haven’t checked all their distractions on social media because what this review is about is the sound that is coming off Shatner’s Bassoon’s Shansa Barsnaan not whether they’ve listened to Get The Blessing (I suspect they have). For instance in the middle of Boat Comforts Part ii we are wading through samples clashing with real time, thunder drumming, piano improv via John Cage to Cecil Taylor, a rattling tin-can, an echo of gongs and bells and a soundtrack of keyboards that maybe hark back to before the war but in fact are very, very ‘now’. Boat Comforts Part ii moves on from its own place, not simply the influences of others.

Click here to listen to Boat Comforts and The Real Shim Lady played at Manchester Jazz Festival.

Another quirky thing about these Bassoon people is the use of two drummers. The idea is more common than you would think. Duke Ellington, Ornette Coleman, and rock bands like the Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead, all had double drum kits at different periods. Shatner’s Shatner's BassoonBassoon seem to use the set up as the centre of gravity. A track like The Ballad of Long Egg is led by bass clarinet surrounded by clanging percussion and scratch electronics yet all the time there is brushes playing snare drum patterns. Two percussion, different purposes. The track that follows, Inspector Fargone, is the opposite, unison time played out on two kits, Zappa-like, tight as a fist with the heart skipping a beat.

Click here to listen to The Ballad Of Long Egg played live at The Vortex.

At the very end, track 13, we come to a song. Until this point the rare bit of voice that has turned up has been treated and sampled. Will You Be My Friend? comes clean, a repeated question sung straight without resort to camouflage. An acoustic piano places the chords and melody with all the solemnity of an epilogue. After all their dissonance, the carving up of the colourful clown, the watts of what and why-for, the band reach the point where the human voice has a question to ask. Just as the real time larynx of Tom Waits joined a taped ‘tramp’ sampled in the final stages of Gavin Bryars’ Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, so sings Shatner’s Bassoon in the guise of The Armley Pure Charmers Choir, a question requiring a reply. Is this what we are left singing in the Facebook generation, Will You Be My Friend?  So it appears. This is a band made up of an array of its own underground influences, yet in this final fading moment I feel they have elucidated one of the sad facts of everyday-life-on-the-line.

I’m glad the band considered sending a copy of Shansa Barsnaan for review by Sandy Brown Jazz. In doing so I assume they believe they have a connection with the basic ethos of the website and for my part, strangely enough, so do I.

Click here for details on Bandcamp. Click here for the Shatner's Bassoon website.

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk
 

 

 

Happenings ...

Fred Hersch Celebrates

American pianist Fred Hersch celebrates his 60th birthday in October with a new album, Solo, and tour dates in September and October. Introducing the album, the word is: 'In many ways, Solo distills the essence of Hersch's pianistic expression. Recorded in a jewel-like Catskills church at the Fred Hersch2014 Windham Chamber Music Festival, the set evolves with a compelling internal emotional logic all its own, flowing through Hersch's familiar solo touchstones (Jobim, Ellingtonia, Monk, originals) that turn into vessels for his supremely graceful invention. His 10th solo recording, Fred Hersch Solo joins an illustrious collection of albums that started with his riveting 1994 addition to Concord Jazz's Live at Maybeck series.'

We look forward to reviewing the album.

Fred Hersch
Photograph by Matthew Sussman

For American readers, his tour dates are:

September 4 - Trio performance at the Chicago Jazz Festival
September 9 - Trio Performance at Bucknell University
October 15 - 18World Premiere of Rooms of Light, a song cycle for stage featuring words by poet Mary Jo Salter, commissioned by Peak Performances, Montclair State University
October 20 - 25 - A Week at the Village Vanguard with his trio
October 29 - Solo Concert at Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory

 


 

Dublin's New Basement Jazz Club

Flanagan's (Basement) Piano Bar opened in August at 61 Upper O'Connell Street. The doors open at 8.30 pm every Friday and Saturday night for music at 9.00 pm. Entrance is free and food is available until 10.45 pm. They say: Dublin gets a new basement jazz club this weekend, and we hope to fill it with music, musicians and fellow jazz fans. Our hope is that you will explore this subterranean jazz space as much as possible. Fans will descend the stairs, not sure of what to expect. Most will be ready to go straight in, and just dig it! The music captures them. The mood of the place holds them. It's all about the vibe. We want you to join in, to be part of it and to feel involved and support it. 

Click here for their website.

 

 

Tina May and Nikki Iles on Tour in Scotland

Singer Tina May and pianist Nikki Iles tour Scotland in September in the run-up to celebrations of their twenty years making music together. The pair met when the pianist’s trio accompanied Tina May on gigs in Yorkshire in October 1995. They released their first album, Change of Sky, two Nikki Iles and Tina Mayyears later and have gone on to work as a duo, in quartets and in especially well-received trios with both Tony Coe and Karen Sharpe.

May has long been established as one of the UK’s finest jazz vocalists. Recognised as a musician as much as she is as an intuitively outstanding interpreter of lyrics, she is completely in command of her material in whatever setting she finds herself, be it with a big band, a trio or a string quartet. Her relationship with the superbly resourceful Iles is particularly special, however, and has created an understanding which is much more than that of singer and accompanist: they are a team who respond to each spontaneously and create magic in the moment.

The songs they present range widely from afterhours intimacy to uptempo swingers, from the Great American Songbook to the chanson of Edith Piaf (May is a fluent French speaker) to blues, bossa nova and into the contemporary canon of Earth Wind & Fire and Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen. Add to their musicianship an engaging stage presence and May’s knowledgeable and wittily informed between-song chat, and you have an evening of jazz that’s superbly satisfying and thoroughly entertaining.

Rob Adams

Their Scottish dates:
3rd September - The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
13th September - Birnam Arts Centre
14th September - Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
16th September - Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline
17th September - Nairn Dunbar Golf Club
18th September - Lyth Arts Centre, near Wick
19th September - Hospitalfield House, Arbroath

 

 

 

Michael Janisch's Paradigm Shift

Michael Janisch

 

 

Michael Janisch, bass player, composer, producer and owner of Whirlwind Recordings releases his new double-disc solo album Paradigm Shift on October 2nd and begins an extensive autumn tour from September to December with his new six-piece band.

Starting at The Vortex in Dalston, London on September 3rd where the session will be recorded for BBC Radio 3's Jazz Line Up, the tour visits Spain on September 9th before returning for gigs throughtout the UK.

Click here for details of the tour. Click here to listen to a preview of the album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jive Aces


National Jazz Archive Fund Raiser - The Jive Aces

Friday, 18th September - Book now for the NJA September fundraiser featuring The Jive Aces and Swing Museum.

7.30pm at Chingord Assembly Hall, Chingford, London. Tickets: £17 Booking: 020 8502 4701 or online

The Jive Aces

 

 

 

New Orleans, London, Memphis, Manchester... British Blues Before the 1960s

Saturday 26 September 2015, 12.30pm, National Jazz Archive, Loughton Library, Traps Hill, Loughton, Essex IG10 1HD
Tickets: £5 Booking: 020 8502 4701

Join blues researcher Lawrence Davies to discover the story of early British blues through the collections of the National Jazz Archive. Blues, 'hot' jazz and boogie-woogie became a vital part of the 1930s and 40s musical landscape. After the war, the emergence of 'traditional' jazz and skiffle set the stage for the first visits of African American blues musicians.

Lawrence Davies is a research student in jazz and popular music at King's College London. As well as sharing his recent research, Lawrence will discuss a number of important items in the Archive, and will play recordings of early British blues.

 

 

 

 

Some September 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
Gig Pick - Saturday, 19th and Sunday, 20th August - Michael Janisch's Paradigm Shift.

Dublin: Sugar Club, 8, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. www.thesugarclub.com
Gig Pick - Sunday, 13th September - Larry Coryell.

Dublin: John Field Room, National Concert Hall, Dublin 2. www.nch.ie
Gig Pick - Friday, 11th September - Jazz Sketches on Sondheim.

Dublin: Flanagan's (Basement) Piano Bar, 61 Upper O'Connell Street, Dublin 1. www.flanagansdublin.com
Gig Pick - Friday, 4th September - Tania Notaro..

Wicklow: The Hot Spot Music Club, Harbour Lodge, Bayswater Terrace, Cliff Rd, Greystones, Co. Wicklow. www.thehotspot.ie
Gig Pick - Friday, 25th September - Gina Jazz with Louis Stewart.


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

 

Scotland: The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen, 121 Gallowgate, Aberdeen, AB25 1BU. www.thejazzbar.co.uk
Gig Pick - Monday, 17th September - Elliot Galvin Trio.

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

Scotland: The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, 1a, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HR. www.thejazzbar.co.uk
Gig Pick - Thursday, 10th September - Mark Pringle Trio.

Scotland: Glasgow Art Club, 185 Bath Street (at Blythswood Street), Glasgow, G2 4HU www.bridgejazz.co.uk

 

Wales: Dempsey's, Cardiff, 15, Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BS. www.jazzatdempseys.org.uk
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 15th September - Michael Janisch's Paradigm Shift.

 

Lancashire: Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club, The Grand Theatre,18 York St., Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 2DL. www.rvjazzandblues.co.uk
Gig Pick - Sunday, 6th September - Mark Lewis Trio with Wilf Nuttall (this gig is at The Spread Eagle Inn, Sawley, near Clitheroe BB7 4NH.)

Newcastle-upon-Tyne: The Jazz Cafe, 25 - 27 Pink Lane, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 5DW. www.jazzcafe-newcastle.co.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 18th September - Alice Grace Quintet

Liverpool: The Capstone Theatre, Shaw Street, Liverpool, L6 1HP. www.thecapstonetheatre.com
Gig Pick - Thursday, 1st October - Matthew Halsall and the Gondwana Orchestra.

Yorkshire: Seven Jazz, Leeds, Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, or Inkwell Arts, 31 Potternewton Lane Chapel Allerton, Leeds. www.sevenjazz.co.uk
(Includes: Seven Jazz Improvisation Group, Seven Jazz instrumental workshops and Seven Jazz Voices Choir).
Gig Pick - Sunday, 13th September - Elliot Galvin Trio - 1.30 pm at Inkwell Arts.

Yorkshire: Jazz In The Spa, Boston Spa, Village Hall, High Street, Boston Spa. www.jazzinthespa.co.uk
Gig Pick - Saturday, 19th September - Budapest Ragtime Band.

South Yorkshire: Sheffield Jazz, Various venues in Sheffield. www.sheffieldjazz.org.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 2nd October - Kit Downes Trio.

Manchester: Matt and Phred's, 64 Tib Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1LW. www.mattandphreds.com
Gig Pick - Thursday, 17th September - Jamie Brownfield Quartet.

Birmingham: Birmingham Jazz Listings www.livebrum.co.uk/events/jazz
Gig Pick - Monday, 28th September - Diana Krall. Symphony Hall.

Essex: The Electric Palace, Harwich, King's Quay. Harwich. www.electricpalace.com
Gig Pick - Thursday, 24th September - Sammy Rimington's International Band.

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

Buckinghamshire: Amersham Jazz Club, Beaconsfield SYCOB FC HP9 2SE. www.amershamjazzclub.co.uk
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 2nd September - Jackie Free and the Chicagoans.

Oxford: The Bullingdon, 162 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1UE www.thebullingdon.co.uk
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 29th September - Alvin Roy's Reeds Unlimited (Free admission)

Oxford: The Oxford Jazz Kitchen, The Crown, Cornmarket Street, Oxford . www.oxfordjazzkitchen.com
Jam Sessions every first Wednesday of the month, 8.30 pm - 11.00 pm with Trish Elphinstone (saxophones), Peter Dixon (guitar) and Tim Richardson (drums) at
The St. James Tavern, Cowley Road, Oxford

Oxford: The Half Moon, The Half Moon, St Clements, Oxford.
Last Wednesday of each month - The Trish Elphinstone Quintet.

 

London: King's Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG. www.kingsplace.co.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 11th September - Ayanna Witter-Johnson.

London: LUME, Hoxton, The Long White Cloud, 151 Hackney Road, London E2 8JL. www.lumemusic.co.uk
Gig Pick - Sunday, 6th September - Mark Pringle's 'Moveable Feast' and Rebecca Nash.

London: Pizza Express, Soho, 10, Dean Street, London W1. www.pizzaexpresslive.com
Gig Pick - Saturday, 26th September - Claude Diallo Situation.

London: The Spice Of Life, Soho, 6, Moor Street, London W1. www.spicejazz.co.uk
Gig Pick - Thursday, 24th September - London City Big Band.

London: Ronnie Scott's Club, Soho, 47 Frith Street, London W1. www.ronniescotts.co.uk  
Gig Pick
- Friday, 18th September - Ian Shaw
and his Trio with special guest Miguel Gorodi.

London: The 100 Club, 100 Oxford Street, London W1D 1LL. www.the100club.co.uk (The 100 Club only occasionally stages jazz gigs these days)
Gig Pick - Thursday, 8th October - Jazz Poetry Superjam. (See article above).

London: The Forge, Camden, 3-7 Delancey Street, Camden, London NW1 7NL. www.theforgevenue.org
Gig Pick - Thursday, 17th September - Katya Sourikova.

London: Chickenshed Theatre Jazz Bar, Southgate, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. www.chickenshed.org.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 11th September-
A Tribute To Alex Welsh (see item above).

London: The Vortex, 11, Gillett Street, N16 8AZ. www.vortexjazz.co.uk
Gig Pick - Saturday, 5th September - Christine Tobin.

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

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

London: Jazz In The Round, The Cockpit, Marylebone, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH. www.thecockpit.org.uk
Gig Pick - Monday, 28th September - Noel Langley's Edentide Ensemble,Binker and Moses, On The Slide.

London: Omnibus, Old Clapham Library, 1 Clapham Common Northside, London, SW4 0QW. www.omnibus-clapham.org
Gig Pick - Sunday, 20th September - Seafarers.

London: 606 Club, 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0QD. www.606club.co.uk
Gig Pick - Saturday, 26th September - Gilad Atzmon.

London: The Bull's Head, 373 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, London, SW13 9PY. www.thebullshead.com
Gig Pick - Sunday, 27th September - NYJO Nonet Legends of Jazz : Duke Ellington.

London: Putney, The Half Moon, 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1EU.
Dick Laurie's Elastic Band. The band now plays the first Sunday and third Sunday of every month.
Sunday, 6th September and Sunday, 20th September - 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm

London: e17 Jazz, Walthamstow, Orford House Social Club, 73 Orford Road, Walthamstow, London E17 9QR. www.e17jazz.com
Back in the autumn.

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

 

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
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 9th September  - Duncan Lamont Senior.

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

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

Surrey: Watermill Jazz, Dorking, Friends Life Social Club, Pixham Lane, Dorking, RH4 1QA. www.watermilljazz.co.uk
Gig Pick - Thursday, 10th September - Gwilym Simcock and Michael Wollney

Sussex: Chichester Jazz Club, Pallant Suite, 7 South Pallant, Chichester, PO19 1SY. www.chichesterjazzclub.co.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 18th September - Allison Neale Quintet with Nathaniel Steele.

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

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

Wiltshire: Bradford-on-Avon, The Fat Fowl, Silver Street, Bradford on Avon, near Bath, Wiltshire BA15 1JX.
Monthly residency by two very talented musicians, pianist John Law and saxophonist Nick Sorensen. 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm and admission is free

Bristol: The Be-Bop Club, The Bear, Hotwell Road, Bristol, BS8 4SF. www.thebebopclub.co.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 25th September - Empyreal 4TeT.

Somerset: Ilminster Arts Centre, The Meeting House, East Street, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0AN. www.themeetinghouse.org,uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 11th September - The Neil Burns Trio with Steve Waterman.

Dorset: Bridport Arts Centre, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NR. www.bridport-arts.com
Gig Pick - Friday, 25th September - Philip Clout's Jazz Cafe: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra with Sam Merrick.

Dorset: Sound Cellar, Poole, The Blue Boar, 29 Market Close, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1NE, www.soundcellar.moonfruit.com
Gig Pick - Thursday, 24th September - Michael Janisch's Paradigm Shift.

Cornwall: St. Ives Jazz Club, Western Hotel, Gabriel Street, St. Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2LU. www.stivesjazzclub.com
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 22nd September - The Ronnie Scott Quintet with special guest Ian Shaw.


 

Items Carried Over From Last Month

The following items appeared in the last magazine but may still be of interest to readers:

 

Jazz 4 Jed

The 2015 Jazz4Jed Welsh bursary of up to £1000 is now open for applications with a closing date of 30th September.

The bursary is open to Welsh musicians of all ages. Set up in memory of Jed Williams, founder of the Brecon Jazz Festival and Jazz UK foundingJed Williams editor, the charitable organisation Jazz4Jed aims to

'... commemorate Jed William’s contribution to the development of Jazz in Wales, reflecting his staging a number of performances in Wales, at a number of venues, the programming to be as broadly based as Jed’s always was and, where possible, will also look to feature Welsh-based jazz musicians, new, and developing talent, both young and not so young; to develop and run diverse educational projects, including workshops, some leading to performances, and to generate sufficient income to establish a bursary and education scheme as a permanent legacy. The bursary to be aimed at musicians living and working in Wales.

Jed Williams

Click here for details on how to apply and for the application form. Other details are also on the same Jazz4Jed website.

 

 

The Write Stuff

This initiative by Jazzwise magazine and the organisation Serious is a great opportunity for aspiring jazz writers to take part in a series of workshops and mentoring sessions during this year's EFG London Jazz Festival wich runs from 13th to 22nd November. The Write Stuff gives The Write Stuffparticipants 'a valuable free opportunity to work with professional journalists to improve their writing skills and develop an understanding of music criticism and the workings of the jazz and mainstream music press and the blogosphere, as well as getting to see a bunch of concerts!'

If you are interested in taking part, you need to submit by email a 300-word review of a gig/concert that you have seen recently, together with a CV and full contact details by Monday 28 September 2015 to learning@serious.org.uk with 'The Write Stuff 2015' in the subject line. Applicants must be 18 years old or over and be available in London on the following dates: Friday 13th November (evening); Saturday 14th - Sunday 15th November, and Saturday 21st to Sunday 22nd November.

Last year, Howard Lawes who reviews albums for Sandy Brown Jazz attended and says: 'Many of the successful applicants were young post-graduates starting out in the music industry but there were also a few older jazz enthusiasts who were looking to improve their techniques of writing about jazz in programmes, newsletters and all types of literature. Initial discussion with Kevin LeGendre concentrated on quality of writing and emphasised the importance of communicating information precisely in an accessible and readable style.  Several examples were provided and discussed illustrating good and not such good reviews and highlighting the difficulties of getting a message across with as little as 200 words or even less. On the other hand long pieces must retain the interest of the reader and not wander off the point.'

'Another session with John Newey presented the interesting history of jazz journalism which started in the 1920's with titles such as "Melody Maker" and "Rhythm".  Jazz music became increasingly popular and there was a corresponding increase in jazz journalism opportunities Howard Lawesreaching a zenith in the decades after WW2 reflecting the popularity of dance bands and world famous musicians and at that time magazine circulations were measured in hundreds of thousands. In more recent times music tastes have changed with traditional print media being supplanted to a large extent, although not completely replaced by modern technology but Mike Flyn explained that there are still opportunities for jazz journalists and in particular those who embrace computer technology and the internet.'

Howard Lawes

'A really interesting session was a real, live interview with the Israeli born, New York based jazz musician Oran Etkin who was about to perform in the EFG London Jazz Festival.  Oran proved to be the ideal interviewee with really interesting views on composing and playing jazz, the influence of world music and music education ... Kevin LeGendre rounded the course off re-iterating the importance of writing style, communicating with the reader and always being on the lookout for interesting opportunities in all types of media where journalism skills are important.  Everyone agreed that the course had been informative, thought provoking and enjoyable and expressed their gratitude to Jazzwise and Serious for providing this unique opportunity.'

 

The Price Of Quality

There is a telling phrase in a report about music streaming in the Guardian newspaper in July: 'The boom is despite high-profile royalties disputes involving artists such as Taylor Swift, and concerns about sound quality.'

SpotifyThe report by John Plunkett said: 'The revolution in the way we listen to music has passed another landmark, as more than 500m songs were streamed online in Britain in a single week.' Of course it is nothing new that music streaming is gathering momentum. There have been 11.5bn streams in the year to date and more than 25bn forecast for the whole of 2015, up from 15bn last year. When YouTube is included, the total is expected to top 50bn. Tom Pakinkis, editor of Music Weeks is quoted as saying: 'Streaming is regarded as 'the future' by much of Vinylthe music industry ... Spotify's last official paying subscriber count in June topped 20 million ... With the addition of Apple Music (launched in June), there's hope that growth will continue to accelerate and we''ll soon see streaming become a mass market proposition.' Deezer and Google Play are doing well and now Facebook is reported to be on the verge of launching its own service.

These figures seem to apply particularly to popular music. The questions arise as to whether jazz and classical music are going the same way? Are popular music listeners less bothered about quality? Is that music more transient? Not necessarily. A substantial amount of recorded jazz is available to download as mp3 files, so why not stream it? The other issue is that as the industry generally moves towards streaming, does that make the CD less financially viable? It happened with audio tapes which were pretty quickly overtaken by CDs and the equipment that they were played on.

There is the pertinent matter of artist royalties - Taylor Swift's stand was mentioned in John Plunkett's article and Neil Young has banned his back catalogue from streaming dubbing it the 'worst quality in the history of broadcasting.' The recent surge in vinyl and record deck sales also underlines the fact that there are a growing number of customers who are still interested in listening to all the qualities of a recording rather than a compressed piece of music where much is lost. Good recording engineers take a lot of trouble with jazz and classical music. Many listeners still like to have a physical format to play - someone recently wrote about the pleasure of going to the trouble of taking out an LP, putting it on and listenening to it rather than having easily sourced 'background' music. On the other hand, perhaps one of the challenges is to find a way of digitally transmitting music where all of the quality is preserved?

 

Hot House Takes Over ASBMS Music Sales

Hot House musical director, Jon Eno, writes:

Earlier this year the team at Hot House Music Schools Limited received a phone call from music industry favourite Ian Steele at the American Stage Band Music Service (ASBMS) asking whether they would be interested in “taking over” their sheet music sales. Having been friends for over 20 years, Hot House was delighted to be able to help “take on” the responsibilities of ASBMS. So on January 1st of this year the Hot HouseStu Big Bang Music team found themselves in Essex collecting Ian’s stock of 15,000 pieces of specialist jazz sheet music. Since the turn of the year ASBMS has been rebranded to become Big Bang Music Limited and they are currently in the process of launching a new e-commerce website dedicated to selling specialist jazz sheet music. www.bigbangsheetmusic.co.uk will be coming on line sometime in August and the team at Hot House will be striving to provide the same outstanding service Ian did whilst running ASBMS.

Stuart McCrone

So if you are needing Big Band charts, play-alongs, fake real books or just some archived Ellington charts, please do contact the Big Bang team. Stuart McCrone from Big Bang Music is keen to promote an inclusive ethos for the company “we believe that Ian’s company, ASBMS, was successful because it was by a musician for musicans, and this will continue to be our guiding philosophy. We are all musicians at Hot House and as such we know how important it is to help other musicians. I am delighted to say that any musician will receive an automatic 20% discount on prices and I hope that they will send us details of their work and band so we can have an idea of how great the jazz scene is in the UK.”

Big Bang Music also sell Big Band music stands that are manufactured right here in the UK. Details of these will also be available on the website: www.bigbangsheetmusic.co.uk sometime during August. In the meantime if you wish to contact Jon or Stu at Hot House please call: 07960 095 904 or email: bigbangmusicuk@gmail.com

 

Young Jazz Musician of the Year Competition

The finals of this competition will take place at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho in September, but the finalists have now been announced. Elliot Galvin

 

They are:

Chris Maddock (saxophone)
Elliot Galvin (piano)
Mark Kavuma (trumpet)
Tom White (trombone)
Adam King (bass)
Ed Richards (drums)

Elliot Galvin

The award, sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Musicians, is decided by the audience that attends a performance by the finalists on 27th September.

The evening will also see a Lifetime Achievement Award presented to percussionist and vocalist Frank Holder, who we have featured on this site Frank Holdera few times. Guyanan by birth, Frank has been active in British Jazz for 65 years, working with the Dankworth Seven, Tubby Hayes and Joe Harriott among many others.

Frank Holder

 

Click here for Frank performing Lady Be Good with Hugh Ockendon on piano.

The Worshipful Company of Musicians is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. Its history dates back to at least 1350. It was originally a specialist guild for musicians, but the earliest official charter known was granted by King Edward IV to his minstrels in 1469. In 1500, the Fellowship of Minstrels was granted incorporation as the Musicians' Company by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, and the Company was given the right to regulate all musicians within the City. As you might expect, the Company no longer has the power to regulate music within the City but it continues to support musicians and musical education, awarding prizes, scholarships and medals.

Previous winners of the award include Michael Janisch, Nathaniel Facey, Laura Jurd and Tim Garland.

 

Jazz Talks: Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas

Buckinghamshire:

Dr Bob Moore has contacted us saying:'I am a member of the U3A (University of the Third Age) Jazz appreciation section. I now have given four talks to them on each of the following: Louis Armstrong, US swing bands of the 40's, Modern Jazz Quartet and Stan Kenton. I should say that I am not a profession speaker but I have reasonable knowledge of the subject. Now that I have given the talks, it is most probable that they will gather dust in a cupboard  but if anyone local to me in High Wycombe is interested, I would be prepared to repeat the talk for free with possible expenses for petrol if far away.''The talks mainly simply require a good audio system plus someone to put on the CD's but the Kenton talk does included some excerpts from Youtube on the internet but these could be edited out. If I use the Internet it would require screen plus associated equipment. The talks take about 90 min and the usual format is general background on the artist or group followed by tracks from CD's.'If anyone would like to take up Bob's offer, you can email him at drbobmoore-inbiltec@supanet.com

Norwich:

Similarly, Roy Headland who gives occasional talks to Norwich Jazz and Blues Record Club is offering to give talks with music to other groups in the Norwich area. A recent talk 'A Jazz Tour of Norwich and Norfolk' to an audience of 60 had the organiser saying: "Thank you for giving us such an informative and enjoyable evening,full of musical stars.The feedback was good and we hope to see you back with part 2." Roy's email address is: royheadland@gmail.com.

 

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