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April 2015


Pearls for April


Size isn't everything. Never stop doing little things for others. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.

Pianist 'Tiny' Parham was born in Winnipeg. 'In early 1927 Parham split to form his own band and that's where things start to get interesting. His very first recording as a solo band leader is a version of Jim Jackson's huge hit, Kansas City Blues (whose lyric: "It takes a rocking chair to rock, a rubber ball to roll …" often has it marked out as the first ever rock'n'roll record).'


Tiny Parham


'It was Friday evening, 21 March 1952, in Cleveland, Ohio, and they were about to witness history being made.The crowd was angrily demanding entry to a performance featuring a radical new music movement that was about to sweep the nation. Pandemonium. The world's first ever rock concert - the Moondog Coronation Ball - was about to end in turmoil after it had barely begun.'

'Headlining the Moondog Coronation Ball that night 60 years ago was Paul Williams and his Hucklebuckers, supported by Tiny Grimes and his Rockin' Highlanders, the Dominoes, Varetta Dillard and Danny Cobb. Tickets were $1.50. One of the few photos from the event shows the men in flannel suits, saddle shoes and fedora hats, while the immaculately coiffed women wear dresses with pinched-in waists and high heels. It is all a far cry from the ripped jeans, merchandise T-shirts and untamed hairstyles sported by rock fans of later years.'

 

The reputation of a man is like his shadow; it sometimes follows and sometimes precedes him, sometimes longer and sometimes shorter than his natural size.



Who's This?

Who's This?

Born Milton Rajonsky in 1924 in Massachusetts, this trumpet player was a pioneer of West Coast Jazz and one of the first to feature the flugelhorn. It is generally believed that his nickname was given at high school due to his size. In a novel it was suggested that he was a jockey when he was young but I have found no other reference to this in fact, there seems to be little information about his early years.

After playing with Will Bradley and Red Norvo, he joined the Woody Herman band in 1947 and then moved to play with Stan Kenton in 1950. Recordings in the 1950s with Shelly Manne, Art Pepper and André Previn showed his experimental talents which led to the recording with his own 'Giants' band of Martians Go Home and Martians Come Back.

By the mid-1950s he was becoming better known as a composer and arranger - his band was responsible for the soundtrack of the Frank Sinatra film The Man With The Golden Arm. He left the jazz scene in the 1960s and arranged music for television programmes such as The Partridge Family and Starsky and Hutch, but picked up his trumpet again in 1982 when his first gig was with Britain's National Youth Jazz Orchestra. He died in 1994 in California.

Not sure? Click here for a video of him playing flugelhorn on Time Was with his Giants in 1962. (I think you will like this).

 

 

International Jazz Day - 30th April 2015

In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30th as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day is chaired and led by Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General, and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz. The Institute is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning, promoting and producing this annual celebration.

International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to 'celebrateHerbie Hancock and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication'. Each year on 30th April, Jazz is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change.

Herbie Hancock

International Jazz Day is the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month in America,  which draws public attention to jazz and its extraordinary heritage. The United Nations and UNESCO now both recognize International Jazz Day on their official calendars. Last year, Osaka, Japan served as the Global Host City. The day’s festivities began with 6 hours of free jazz education programmes at Osaka School of Music where musicians, journalists, philanthropists and educators came together to deliver workshops, lectures, master classes, panel discussions and more.

This year Paris will be the Host City. An evening concert at UNESCO Headquarters will feature performances by Dee Dee Bridgewater, prodigious young Chinese pianist A Bu, Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, South African Hugh Masekela, Marcus Miller, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter and many more. It will be streamed worldwide from Paris - you can click here to watch it on 30th April. In London The Human Revolution Orchestra play a special concert ‘Ode to the Human Spirit 2015’ with American guest trombonist the internationally renowned Robin Eubanks, at The Union Chapel in Islington, North London.

Click here for more information.

 

 

New Vinyl Releases for International Jazz Day

Edition Records have announced that they are to release 2 vinyl albums to coincide with International Jazz Day on 30th April.

Phronesis Life To Everything

 

To celebrate Phronesis’s 10th anniversary, Edition Records are producing a special edition 2 LP vinyl release of their internationally acclaimed album Life To Everything including three bonus tracks recorded live at Copenhagen Jazzhouse. Phronesis will launch the vinyl album at their ‘Pitch Black’ concert at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival on May 1st 2015. The album, recorded live in London, was nominated for ‘Best Jazz Act' at the MOBO Awards.Verneri Pohjola Bullhorn

 

Click here to sample Life To Everything.

Finnish trumpeter Verneri Pohjola has embarked on his journey from a star-in-the-making to fully-fledged European jazz star. His latest album, Bullhorn, was recently described by Jazzwise Magazine as taking ‘its place among the truly finest albums of recent times’. Verneri Pohjola launched his ‘Bullhorn’ album at The Finnish National Theater, Helsinki on 22nd March.

Click here to sample Bullhorn.

 

 

 

New Orleans In The 1920s On Video

Bob Snelling brings our attention to this collection of brief video clips of New Orleans in the 1920s (click here). It may be short, but it gives an New Orleans in the 1920sauthentic flavour of the city at the time. Mike Scott, who recently wrote about the rediscovered footage on YouTube says: 'Whether in your Mamere's picture albums, in art galleries and museums, or, yes, even in your local newspaper, you've doubtlessly gazed with a certain amount of delight at sepia-toned photos of New Orleans dating from the city's 1920s Jazz Age. What you probably haven't seen, however, is very much film footage from the era.'

'That's for a good reason. While the city was home to what is considered the country's first permanent, for-profit movie theaters -- that would be Canal Street's 400-seat Vitascope Hall, which opened in 1896 -- film cameras were still relatively new-fangled things in the 1920s. Bulky, expensive and difficult to operate, they weren't the sort of gizmo to which ordinary people had access -- and certainly not the sort of thing they carried around in their pockets, as they do today.'

'But recent footage of the Big Easy purportedly dating to the city's Jazz Age heyday recently surfaced on the Internet, and it's a mesmerizing thing to watch. Running just more than three minutes -- and set to the sound of Hoagy Carmichael's song "New Orleans" -- (the video then continues to an item about the Ford motor company. Ed) the silent footage shows tantalizing glimpses of life in the city at the time. Among other things, we get scenes of Jackson Square; wrought iron balconies; a streetcar rumbling its way past the what appears to be old Strand Theatre, which operated at the corner of Baronne and Gravier streets; horse-drawn Carnival floats -- and hats, hats, hats.'

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Jazz At The Movies
Anatomy of a Murder poster

Question Mark

Time for the April Jazz Quiz. This month, fifteen general questions about jazz in films. For example:

 

In the 1959 Otto Preminger film Anatomy Of A Murder, which bandleader provided the score. It was his first score for a Hollywood film. The bandleader played a character called Pie-Eye in the film. Was it Count Basie, Duke Ellington or Quincy Jones?

 

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.

 

 

 

London Jazz Festival 2015

London Jazz Festival logoIs it really that time already? It seems like only yesterday that the 2014 Festival was taking place! Tickets for this year's EFG LondonJazz Festival started to go on sale at the end of March.

There are some great names emerging in the programme for this year - including:

Kurt Elling, Cassandra Wilson, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Nik Bärtsch, Sons of Kemet, James Farm (featuring Joshua Redman, Aaron Parks, Matt Penman and Eric Harland), Maria Schneider Orchestra, Jarrod LawsonAverage White Band & Kokomo, Jazz Repertory Company presents Paul Whiteman, Britten Sinfonia with Eddie Gomez and the opening gala Jazz Voice.  

Click here for the EFG London Jazz Festival website.

 

 

 

European Jazz Festivals 2015

The website www.jazzfests.net gives a comprehensive, month-by-month programme of Jazz Festivals in Europe - click here.

 

 

Paul Whiteman: The King of Jazz - Bix, Bing and Rhapsody in Blue

As part of this year's EFG London Jazz Festival, the Jazz Repertory Company is presenting this show on Sunday, 22nd November at the Cadogan Hall in London.

Jazz Repertaory Company logoForward information tells us: 'It’s been over 40 years since a complete programme of the music of Paul Whiteman has been heard in London. Back in 1974 Keith Nichols collaborated with Bix Beiderbecke expert Dick Sudhalter and presented Whiteman’s music with his trademark authenticity and expertise. Now Keith is back with a 26-piece orchestra (including half a dozen violins) and a programme that features jazz piano titan Nick Dawson in Rhapsody in Blue (conducted by Ronnie Scott’s Big Band director Pete Long), jazz trumpet star Guy Barker as Bix and Thomas ‘Spats’ Langham (who toured the UK as Bing Crosby in 2014) returning to the role he has made his own.'

Paul Whiteman collage'Paul Whiteman’s gigantic orchestra was the biggest thing in popular music in the USA of the roaring twenties. The band was earning an astonishing $65,000 a week in 1927 and in that year Whiteman hired the legendary cornetist Bix Beiderbecke along with other big names such as sax star Frankie Trambauer, violinist Joe Venuti and guitarist Eddie Lang. The band scored four Number 1 hits in 1927 and the distinctive sound of ‘Bix’ and ‘Tram’ added an exciting new jazz flavour to the music of this musical behemoth. This concert features such classic hits of the 20’s as Dardenella, That’s My Weakness Now, Singin’ The Blues Till My Baby Comes Home, There Ain’t No Sweet Man Worth The Salt Of My Tears and Because My Baby Don’t Mean Maybe Now.'

The concert includes Rhapsody In Blue: 'No tribute to the astonishing career of Paul Whiteman would be complete without including this masterpiece with which he’ll be forever associated.'

Click here for more information. Click here for a video of the Keith Nichols Paul Whiteman Orchestra playing Because My Baby Don't Mean 'Maybe' Now last November - Spats Langham takes the vocals.

 

 

 

Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2015

Now in its eleventh year the Parliamentary Jazz Awards are the premiere awards in the UK jazz calendar and are voted for by the public online with a shortlist of nominations subsequently voted for by a selection panel of jazz industry figures. Judging members of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) then chooses the winners. The awards, sponsored by PPL, were introduced by well-known broadcaster Moira Stuart, and presented by a variety of significant figures, including Dame Cleo Laine, on 10th March.

The award winners were:

Laura Jurd

Laura Jurd

Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Norma Winstone MBE
Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Laura Jurd
Jazz Album of the Year: Partisans Swamp
Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Engines Orchestra
Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Peter EdwardsPeter Edward Moira Stewart & Ken Clark MP
Jazz Venue of the Year: St Ives Jazz Club
Jazz Media Award: London Jazz News
Jazz Education Award: National Youth Jazz Orchestra
Services to Jazz Award: Chris Hodgkins
Special Award: Peter Ind

 

Moira Stuart, Peter Edwards and Ken Clarke MP
Picture courtesy of Hayley Madden PPL

 

 

 

 

Album Released: 12th March 2015 - Label: Self Release

 

Sam Rapley

Fabled

Fabled: Sam Rapley (saxophone / clarinet), Matt Robinson (piano), Alex Munk (guitar), Conor Chaplin (bass), Will Glaser (drums).

Since Sam Rapley graduated from the Royal Academy of Music he has been busy playing with bands such as Troykestra and Teotima and Sam Rapley Fabledwriting the score for the independent film Duet, which was accepted into the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. We first came across Sam before he started at the Royal Academy and even at that stage in his career the potential was clear (click here for our Profile of Sam).

Sam formed the band Fabled in 2014 from a group of friends who themselves are each playing regularly on the UK jazz scene. Sam says: 'We have found a unified and unique way of interacting with each other, born through the years of collaborative music making. Taking inspiration from Debussy, Tom Jobin, Sarah Vaughan and Bon Iver, the group explores the wealth of textures, harmonies and grooves available in the traditional quintet setting.'

This might only be a four-track EP, but it is worth every minute and puts down a strong marker for reeds player Sam Rapley.

The first track High Mayfield immediately draws you in with the band giving way to Alex Munk's guitar before Sam brings in a lyrical saxophone before passing the baton to Matt Robinson's piano. Then it is Conor Chaplin's bass in tandem with interesting guitar work from Alex. Finally the band wraps up this attractive tune fading out with guitar, saxophone and piano.

Click here to listen to High Mayfield.

Sam RapleyThe tune Tears comes in two parts. Part one begins with a tinkling piano and then this time Sam enters on delicate clarinet and it is the clarinet that carries most of this wistful track. Will Glaser's drums are sympathetic and piano and guitar do just what they need to do to underwrite the theme. When the guitar enters at about 5 minutes in, the emotion heightens as Alex draws in the rest of the band to wring out the tune. Part two is a shorter piece that starts quietly with piano with Sam joining in to develop a motif that expands as the band takes it to the end

Click here to listen to Tears Part One and Tears Part Two.

Yellow Card has Sam back on solo saxophone for the introduction. The band emerge quietly before Matt's piano explores the theme giving way to saxophone again firmly underscored by drums and bass, and Sam pushes the tune before settling back to take the band out together.

Click here to listen to Yellow Card.

Click here to listen to the album.

I find this an engaging EP that is well worth hearing and that signposts the way to more good things to come.

Fabled is available on iTunes and Bandcamp for download and the CD is available through Sam Rapley's website at www.samrapleymusic.co.uk

Fabled will be playing on:

5th May at Spotted Dog, Birmingham
28th June at Omnibus Arts Centre, Clapham, London

Ian Maund



 

 

 

Tony Milliner - My Favourite Things

Irving Fazola - My Inspiration

Tony Milliner

For this month’s track, Tony picks a recording from 1938 by clarinet player Irving Fazola. My Inspiration is a composition by bassist Bob Haggart, Ray Bauduc and Nappy Lamare and Tony points to a description of Fazola’s playing by Charles Fox in the sleeve notes to Tony’s LP: ‘ …a full tone and decorative style, very Irving Fazolamuch in the tradition of Jimmy Noone.’

Irving Fazola, Faz, was born Irving Prestopnik in New Orleans, it is said that the name he adopted ‘Fazola’ came from ‘fa, sol, la’ – ‘one of those fa sol la guys.’ Another story is that Louis Prima told him ‘Fazola’ meant ‘beans’ (i.e being cool) in Italian. When Ben Pollack’s band came through New Orleans in 1935, Faz joined them as they travelled on to Chicago and New York. He played with Gus Arnheim and Glenn Miller before joining Bob Crosby’s band in 1938.

By 1943 he was back in New Orleans where he said he was comfortable, but he became obese and drank heavily. He died of a heart attack in 1949. He was 36.

One admirer of Fazola is clarinettist Pete Fountain who sat in for Faz at the Opera House the night Fazola died. Apparently Pete has Faz's Albert System clarinet, but says that the odor of garlic that comes from the horn when it warms up makes it virtually impossible to play even after having been reconditioned by the factory. 

There are a few reproductions of this recording on YouTube, this one doesn’t have the pictures to go with it, but it is a reasonable reproduction to listen to - click here. Alternatively, click here to listen to another less clear reproduction but with a fascinating collection of photographs.

Tony Milliner has been unwell recently and we hope he will be feeling better soon.

 

 

 

Al Capone visits a jazz club and asks one of his bodyguards to request the band leader to play 'Come Rain or Come Shine' for him. The broken-nosed hoodlum walks over to the pianist and says: "Mr. Capone wants you to play 'Come Rain or Come Shine'. But if you know what's good for you you better play both of them."

 


 

Palpitation

You kids gotta learn about time.

Sonny RollinsSonny Rollins, man, he knew about time. Sonny could play a downbeat, and walk out of the club. He'd stroll into Binky's, you know that coffee house on the corner of Squid Street and 32nd, and maybe sit in on a little blues but then he'd make his way down to the basement, where there was an old girl telling fortunes. All this time, his heart's a-beating the pulse.

Sonny says, "I want to know why I play this music."

The gal sighs, looks him up and down, and shuffles the deck. She deals out three cards. His heart's in his mouth, but it ain't rushing a single beat. She takes the first and turns it over. Two of coins. She checks him out again, more quizzically this time. "You betcha don't do it for money."

She turns the next. The Lovers. His heart sits back on the beat a little, wistful; doesn't drop the tempo though. "And Tarot Cardyou sure as hell don't do it for love." Sonny's eyes narrow. Not so thrilled about that one.

One more card, and the answer is his. His pulse gets urgent, like Blakey. All those years. He spent a day practising each note on his horn; a month took him from the cavernous bottom to the lofty reaches, then he did it all over again. With solemn grace, the lady turns the card.

Death.

She meets his eye. "Rest easy, chile, it ain't like that. It means change. The answer is yours if you look inside your heart."

His heart's tied up though, spang-a-langin' flawlessly through the twentieth chorus of 'Existentiality' down the street and refusing to tell its secret. He wails inside, stands and bolts up the stairs, not leaving her even a dime. Out the door, down the road ... his eye is fixed on that beating heart, squeezing and probing, trying to keep time too, and then he sees it; for a moment, it's beautifully, terribly clear. His heart drops a beat, and he scoops to catch it. Just as soon, the answer's gone. He shakes himself loose, slinks back into the club, smacks into the top of the head like he'd never left, and he has no idea why.

[Rob Brockway - writings].

 

 

Clifford Brown Sonny Rollins album

Clifford Brown and Sonny Rollins - Plus Four + At Basin Street

This new release on the Masterworks label is a re-issue of two studio albums from 1956 first recorded on Prestige and EmArcy. The personnel includes Clifford Brown (trumpet), Sonny Rollins (tenor sax), Richie Powell (piano), George Morrow (bass) and Max Roach (drums).

Writing in Jazzwise magazine, Roy Carr says: 'There may have been a smattering of (mainly live) posthumous releases, but this is where the legend was carved in stone ... No excuses, if you don't already possess these recordings then go out and get 'em now!'

Click here to sample. Click here for the album on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

Album Released: 1st December 2014 - Label: RN Records


Circus FM

Circus FM

Tim Rolfe Reviews this album for us.

Circus FM consists of a collaboration between Scottish singer Flora Munro, guitarist/songwriter Roger Niven, and session drummer Graham Walker.  On this particular EP there are a number of guests, who are respected session musicians including Brad Lang (bass), Gary Plumley (sax), and from Jools Holland’s R & B Orchestra, Derek Nash (sax), Winston Rollins (trombone) Circus FM album and Chris Storr (trumpet).

Flora is a session singer and performer who was influenced by the sounds of the 1920’s from an early age.  Her voice, though suited to jazz, is enriched by influences from a love of funk, soul and R & B. Roger and Graham started playing together in bands in the north of Scotland then moved to London with progressive rock band “A Million People”.  When the band split, Roger returned to Scotland and has been involved in a wide variety projects with diverse styles, whilst Graham worked as a London-based session drummer touring and recording with Gary Moore, George Harrison, Mick Jagger and BB King.

This EP showcases the musicianship and connection between these three.  The four tracks, all written by Roger, are: The Day’s Too Dark, Man Down, Deja Blue and the final track which is released as a single, It’s All Good.

The Day’s Too Dark, starts with some lovely and evocative sax playing which has a “bluesy” feel whilst Flora’s voice is very plaintive, clear and does justice to the lyrics. Man Down has some clever lyrics, employing the dark humour that the west of Scotland is known for, including the double entendres.  The accomplished guitar work complements the voice with some subtle drumming keeping the piece together.

Deja Blue - This song highlights Flora’s voice with a quiet classy guitar accompaniment and restricted drumming and has a ‘late evening’ feel. It’s All Good is the fastest of the tracks, with lively percussion, good organ and bass playing, with some wonderful solos.  Flora’s voice joins in for some quick melody and then leaves the instruments to enjoy themselves.

This EP punches above its weight, with good musicians, writing, recording and production belying their professed session musician status.  I hope this taster will lead to another longer project from these three.

Click here to sample the album.

Tim Rolfe                            

 

 

 

That Track

Just A Gigolo

Just A Gigolo
I'm just a gigolo
And everywhere I go
People know the part I'm playing

I don’t think I have ever, knowingly, met a gigolo, but then I lead a sheltered life. Come to that, I have never paid someone ‘Ten Cents A Dance’ American Gigoloand I guess that is a more well-known tune. So, how would I recognise a gigolo if I saw one?

Thank goodness for Wikipedia to guide me: A gigolo, they say, is 'a male escort or social companion who is supported by a woman in a continuing relationship, often living in her residence or having to be present at her beck and call. The gigolo is expected to provide companionship, to serve as a consistent escort with good manners and social skills, and often, to serve as a dancing partner as required by the woman in exchange for the support. Many gifts such as expensive clothing and an automobile to drive may be lavished upon him. The relationship may include sexual services as well, when he also would be referred to as "a kept man". The term gigolo usually implies a man who adopts a lifestyle consisting of a number of such relationships serially, rather than having other means of support.’

Paid for every dance
Selling each romance
Oh, what they're saying

The Urban dictionary is more direct: ‘A male prostitute equivalent to a high-class call girl; gigolos service wealthy women, as opposed to servicing homosexual men like most male prostitutes do. Gigolos sometimes receive gifts in lieu of payment for services, for example a Rolex or a Mercedes’. Fading Gigolo poster

 

So – look out for men who can dance, drive a Mercedes, wear a Rolex, and service women. It looks as though the word emerged in the 1920s as a male alternative to the French word ‘gigolette’.

But I think we need a visual introduction. Click here for the trailer to the funny 2014 film Fading Gigolo written by, directed by and starring the excellent John Turturro. Woody Allen, Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara are along for the ride, and we get a taste of the Just A Gigolo tune. Sadly the film did not do well at the box office. In the story, Dr. Parker, a wealthy dermatologist, mentions to her patient Murray (Allen) that she and a woman friend, Robbie, wish to experience a ménage à trois and asks if he knows a willing man. Murray, whose used bookstore has failed, convinces his friend and former employee Fioravante (Turturro) to take the gig, as both are short of money. Soon, they build a thriving gigolo trade with Murray as the pimp, but all does not go as planned when Fioravante falls in love.

Fancy the job? Well, to start with you need to know how to dress. Click here and Richard Gere will show you how in this clip from the 1980 film American Gigolo.

The tune Just A Gigolo is best known from the 1936 recording by Louis Prima where it is sung merging into I Ain’t Got Nobody, but its history goes deeper. The song "Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo", was an Austrian composition from 1928 by Leonello Casucci with lyrics by Julius Brammer. It was performed in Germany in 1929 by several orchestras and emerged in other countries with their own translations.Click here for a video of Louis Prima and his band performing the number.

The concept behind the song describes the social collapse in Austria after the First World War. The singer remembers himself as a soldier in uniform but who now has to earn a living as a hired dancer. ‘The music features a simple melodic sequence, but nonetheless has a clever harmonic construction that highlights the mixed emotions in the lyrics, adding a nostalgic, bittersweet effect.’

Chappell & Co commissioned lyricist Irving Caesar to come up with an English version. Caesar took out the Austrian references in the verse although the verse is included in a 1931 version by Bing Crosby but the song this time is set in France:

 

It was in a Paris cafe at first I found him.
He was a Frenchman, a hero of the War,
But war was over and here's how peace had found him,
A few cheap medals to wear and nothing more.
Now every night in the same cafe he shows up
And as he strolls by ladies hear him say
'If you admire me, hire me, a gigolo who knew a better day.'


The same year, 1931, saw this recording by Louis Armstrong who picks up the pace half way through with his trumpet solo - click here. Monk Just a Gigolo

 

If we have not grabbed your attention so far with this tune. Stop and check out this version of Thelonious Monk playing Just A Gigolo from Clint Eastwood’s movie Straight No Chaser - click here.


What’s that? Still too slow for you? If you want a swing version, click here for a video by Daniel Boaventura. I don’t personally like the scat, but it does swing.

 

There will come a day
When youth will pass away
What will they say about me

 

Did you hear about the rich woman who asked an inventor to design a gigolo robot for her? The inventor tested the robot on a first woman who reported back that her evening with the gigolo robot had been a great success. Testing the robot a second time, the second woman reported back that the robot had behaved perfectly and the evening had been entirely wonderful. The robot came back wearing a Cartier watch and with a Gucci Man Bag hanging across his shoulder. The next day, the inventor delivered the robot gigolo to the rich woman who immediately took it to her bedroom. After three hours, the inventor started to become worried, thinking that perhaps Betty Boop cartoon imagethe robot had malfunctioned and killed the woman. Taking a chance, he opened the bedroom door only for him to see the woman chasing the robot up and down yelling: ‘Come here you liar, if your battery is down, how come you are running?’

In 1932 a Betty Boop cartoon appeared in which Betty introduces Irene Bordoni singing Just a Gigolo. Ignore the beginning, the cartoon starts swinging one minute in and ends with a singalong! Click here.
David Bowie in Just A Gigolo
In this educational article on The Gigolo, we think that we should complete your introduction to gigolos with this film clip in which Marlene Dietrich interviews David Bowie for his services - click here. Just A Gigolo, a 1978 film directed by David Hemmings, returns to the original background to the song. After World War I, a war hero returns to Berlin to find that there's no place for him--he has no skills other than those he learned in the army, and can only find menial, low-paying jobs. He decides to become a gigolo to lonely rich women. The theme song is performed by Marlene Dietrich and Irving Caesar gets a mention in the film credits for the lyrics.

David Bowie was not pleased with the film and is reported to have said in an interview with New Music Express: "Oh well, we've all got to do one [bad movie] and hopefully I've done mine now." Mind you, I would not be surprised to learn that David Bowie has a Rolex watch and drives a Mercedes.

When the end comes I know
They'll say "just a gigolo"
As life goes on without me

 

 

 

 

 

A Music Business For A Grand

Got a music industry idea? Fancy a start-up grant? Aged 18-30? How far can a grand (£1000) get you? If you fancy a challenge and think you can create a viable music industry project or business with a maximum of £1000 in a 50/50 joint venture, then you can submit a business BBM BMC logoproposal in a competition being run by BBM/BMC (British Black Music / Black Music Congress) in association with Akoben Awards. The closing date is 11th May.

What do you have to do? You are asked to submit a business proposal (maximum of 4 A4 pages) outlining organisational (human/skills), financial (money/cash flow forecast) and marketing (promotion) plans for a music industry-related business idea/project as a 50:50 joint venture with BBM/BMC. Applicants must show that they can actualise the idea or project within a 6 month timeframe and with a maximum cash investment of £1000.  2 grants of a maximum of £1000 each are available. There are no interviews - decisions will be based solely on submitted business proposals. There is a £1 registration fee.

Click here for full details which you should read before taking part, or email editor@BritishBlackMusic.com, subject heading: A Music Business For A Grand.

 

 

 

Album Released: 10th February 2015 - Label: Hot Cup Records

 

Jon Lundbom and Big Five Chord

Jeremiah

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Jon Lundbom (guitar); Jon Irabagon (soprano saxophone); Bryan Murray (tenor & balto! saxophones), Moppa Elliott (bass), Dan Monaghan (drums) + Justin Wood (alto saxophone, flute); Sam Kulik (trombone).

These guys aren’t kidding. To offer us the name of a biblical old testament prophet as a CD title, then complete the trick by providing aJon Lundbom album medley of traditional ‘Wiccan Prayer Songs’ arranged from a collection by “America’s leading authority on witchcraft” is, well, at least not your everyday Gershwin. 

Jon Lundbom and his band Big Five Chord are from Brooklyn. They crash and burn their way through the opening track The Bottle as if their business is jazz as a new found way of sanctifying the art of harmolodics (Ornette Coleman’s take on dissonance).  There are chords here you wouldn’t find in a reef knot; by the time Lundbom hits the spiky guitar solo-thing I’m already completely won over.  But it doesn’t end there, the guitar seizure is quickly followed by Bryan Murray emptying the bile of the balto! saxophone all over the studio floor.  What a marvellous mess!  A balto! saxophone?  The exact definition is not available but it sounds beautifully ugly. 

Click here to listen to The Bottle from the album.

Next up the Big Five Chord propel themselves into the slightly more orthodox, less troubling Frog Eye, with all the confidence of men who have met the ghost of Jerry Myer somewhere down in late night Brooklyn.  We are only two tracks into Jeremiah and I appreciate why the old prophet may have wept.  There is a straight horn soprano sax interlude that corners the instrument into a curve that isn’t of its own making.  Brilliantly it sets things up for plucky sophisticated ‘jazz’ guitar solo that must have been invented in the dark.  This is music founded in Americana blues and then twisted as surely as right and wrong can become left and right.

Click here to listen a live recording of Frog Eye.

On Scratch Ankle we get a lot more than five chords – the band bursts forth from a fairly tight arrangement into a dance and a half of majors and minors; everyone is talking at once whilst at the same articulating a common story.  A band can only make this successful if somewhere inside the throng there is a mutual understanding of what constitutes their music.  ‘Ankle’ ends with trombone and reeds pressing out a Jon Lundbon & Big Chord Fivetorrent of their own testament, strangely, totally logical even to an outsider.

Click here to Scratch Ankle played live.

Get as far as the fourth track, First Harvest, and things take on a very different note.  The thunder and lightning softens to pale blue to be replaced by a rich, yes, let’s say rather elegant orchestration of a melody.  It is scored and offered up, then carefully given back to us by some subtle horn combinations and harvested with care and attention by Bryan Murray’s tenor sax.  I could stay here a lot longer than eight minutes.

Another change is in the air once the Weccan Prayer Song Medley comes round.  The title is likely to be a reference to Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting by Charles Mingus though there is nothing stated in the Lundbom package confirming the connection.  However, my ears tell me it must be so – an extraordinary double bass solo inhabits the ‘Weccan Prayer’, as if the great bass player had been raised from the dead, which is just the kind of jive Mingus would probably have been up for.  Interestingly the track preceding ‘Prayer Song’ is Lick Skillet which is constructed from extended trombone playing techniques produced by guest musician, Sam Kulik.  Jimmy Knepper, who played trombone in the Mingus band, would have had something to say on the subject of this breath and lip sync.  Probably positively rude, and that’s a compliment.  The fact that Kulik also provided the arrangement for the Weccan Prayer Song Medley says to me that Jeremiah The Prophet keeps good company.

Jeremiah ends with a live track called Screamer.  That title doesn’t do it justice; this is not heavy metal overload.  To my ears it doesn’t scream so much as simply take Jon Lundbom’s guitar twice round the block looking for a way home.  ‘Simply’ might seem an odd description for such a mercurial player and band leader. Throughout most of Jeremiah Lundbom’s axe is central, always doing stuff without grandstanding the show.  Screamer is an opportunity to hear Jon Lundbom and his sidekick, Bryan Murray, blow some guitar and tenor sax together; simplicity only in the sense of intention.  It works, as does the whole caboodle. Not your regular prophetic sermon, hell, I didn’t fall asleep in the pew.  The Big Chord Five is the apocalypse gone voodoo.  Keep listening.

Click here to sample the album.

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk   

 

 

 

 

 

Full Focus

 

Early Bird - Charlie Parker's Cherokee

 

[You are able to listen to the music discussed by Sam Braysher 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].

Our thanks to saxophonist Sam Braysher who discusses Charlie Parker's recordings of Cherokee.


I’ve been learning the Charlie Parker solo from Cherokee recently (Click here for Sam Braysher's transcription). It was recorded in 1943, towards the start of Bird’s career and, although his style is plainly not yet fully formed, it is one of my favourite examples of his playing. The early years of bebop are not especially well documented due to the American Federation of Musicians’ recording ban between 1942 and ’43, and so this bootleg Charlie Parkerfeels like a particularly important glimpse at both the development of that nascent movement, and the early growth of Parker himself. 

Accompanied by Efferge Ware on guitar (although it has also been suggested that the guitarist could be Leonard ‘Lucky’ Enois) and Little Phil Phillips on drums, Bird flies through the changes of Ray Noble’s notoriously challenging Cherokee. There is little in the way of improvised interaction here: Phillips is barely audible, while Ware chugs away relentlessly in four, and can be heard playing slightly simpler changes than Bird at some of the ends of the A sections, such as in bars 77-80.
 
However, Parker doesn’t need any help in constructing a solo that is virtually perfect in its melodicism – the lines in bars 87-90 and 129-135 – to give just two particularly lovely examples - and apart from a brief reference to Noble’s theme in the opening 16 bars, the entire recording comprises him blowing, with neither of the other two musicians taking a solo.

Click here to listen to the 1943 recording of Cherokee.

The alto saxophonist’s beat is incredibly strong, even at the age of 22 or 23, and playing along with the recording, for me, only makes this more apparent. The whole thing is imbued with an incredibly joyful sense of swing, which perhaps stems from his years playing nightly gigs for dancers in the raucous, mob-controlled Kansas City of the 1930s from his mid-teens.
 
The influence of the swing era saxophonists seems to be more obviously present here than in his later work and, indeed, Bird quotes Charlie Parker and Dizzy GillespieLester Young’s Tickle Toe in I Found A New Baby, one of the other tracks that was recorded at the same session. Ethan Iverson, in an excellent four-part essay on Bud Powell (click here), describes Parker and Powell as combining  ‘the maximum amount of folklore with the greatest level of discontinuity’. He also states that ‘Bird and Bud play the changes, of course.  But it's how they don't play the changes that makes them High Bebop’

Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie

 
It seems to me that if we compare this recording with, say, Ko-Ko, another look at the Cherokee sequence from only two years later in 1945, the earlier solo outlines the chord changes more religiously while lacking this ‘discontinuity’ that Ko-Ko seems to exemplify (if I’ve correctly understood Iverson’s use of the word). Perhaps that is why the 1945 recording is considered by many to be the first true example of recorded bebop.

Click here to listen to Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie playing KoKo.

Of course, this mystical ingredient of bebop is something that is almost impossible to put into words: the 1943 Cherokee sounds different somehow to Parker’s later works, but is still instantly identifiable as Bird: intricate, chromatic lines abound and there are some phrases that crop up in both, such as the line he plays in the bridge of the second chorus of both solos (bar 97 of Cherokee).
 
Another interesting comparison is with this 1942 recording of the same tune.

Click here to listen to Charlie Parker playing Cherokee in 1942 at Monroe's Uptown House.

We hear lots of the same material from the 1943 version (although he is certainly improvising with that material), and the first part of the bridge of the third chorus (bar 161) also appears almost note for note in the earlier version. By all accounts he was practising this tune obsessively during this period (it was certainly considered difficult at the time, largely due to its fast tempo and the number of less familiar keys it cycles through in the bridge, and apparently many musicians steered clear of it entirely), and this particular line seems almost like an impressive ‘set piece’ that had been been worked out and practised in advance.
 
This fascinating 1940 recording of Oh Lady Be Good features an even younger Bird: the ‘discontinuity’ and the language that he built in later years is even less in evidence, while the influence of Lester Young is more plain to hear. Of course, it is well known that Parker learnt the classic 1936 Pres solo on this tune, Gershwin’s Oh Lady Be Good!

Click here to listen to Charlie Parker at the age of 20 playing Lady Be Good. Sam Braysher

 

Along with Cherokee and I Found a New Baby, there are two other tracks from the 1943 session – Body and Soul and My Heart Tells Me, and it goes without saying that both are very much worth hearing.

Incidentally, I’ve also just finished reading Stanley Crouch’s excellent Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker, which looks at Bird’s early years up until a few years before this recording was made. Featuring interviews with people who knew Parker as a young man, including many which Crouch began conducting in the early ‘80s, the book sheds some real light on the roots of one of jazz’s most mercurial soloists.

© Sam Braysher

Sam Braysher

Click here for Sam Braysher's website

 

 

Album Released: 9th March 2015 - Label: Self Release

 

Mike Parker’s Unified Theory

Embrace The Wild

 

Bass player and bandleader Mike Parker is a native New Yorker who moved to Poland a few years ago, setting up home in Krakow where he has brought together some very talented jazz musicians. Embrace The Wild comes over to me as a bop-grounded album upon which the musicians grow their own. I find it very listenable, satisfying and very worthy of repeated playing. Highly recommended.

Mike Parker’s Unified Theory: Mike Parker (double bass), Dawid Fortuna (drums), Bartek Prucnal (alto saxophone), Slawek Pezda (tenorMike Parker album saxophone), Cyprian Baszynski (trumpet).

Kobra Kai Dance Remix has solid bass and drums underneath a give and take between the saxophones with the trumpet along for the ride. The saxophone solos then take off imaginatively and dance over the ever-solid rhythm section. Riffs into discord see the trumpet re-enter and everyone does their own thing and still the bass and drums keep that undercurrent firmly in place. The piece, Mike Parker’s take on 8 themes from 3 compositions by Bartek Prucnal, finally riffs down.

Hopped-Up-Pop is a slower piece. The bass on this album is clearly present, constructively so, and Mike Mike ParkerParker takes a solo on this track that shows his talent for underpinning a band that lives up to its ‘unified’ name on well thought through arrangements. Cyprian Baszynski’s trumpet sounds good. Mike says that this is “My imagined story of a man in the later years of his life reminiscing about all the fun and excitement of his youth.”

Hermit The Dog is also introduced by bass and drums and then the close-knitted saxes and trumpet travel in parallel. The saxophone solo that follows could be the album title, embracing the wild, but still showing fine controlled playing. Now Dawid Fortuna drives his drums against the bass until the band riffs in and trumpet and saxes interweave.

Sendoff For Sendak surprises with a bowed bass slow introduction, then the bow is put aside as a gentle tenor saxophone takes up the theme, joined by the alto and then the trumpet. The piece is a tribute to children’s author Maurice Sendak (Where The Wild Things Are) and a musical homage to Ravel and Mingus. The saxophones and trumpet see us out.

Click here for a video of Sendoff For Sendak played live.

Piwa i Bona is dedicated to Krakow party culture and in particular to ‘a party at the infamous Jadro Jazzu’. This is a bass-driven vehicle for Cyprian Baszynski’s fine trumpet solo with saxes riffing behind until the wild party begins, stopping eventually for a superb bass solo with handclaps.

Click here for a video of the band playing Piwa i Bona.

All Saints comes in three movements. Mike says this is “a reference to Polish religious devotion, haunting statues of Jesus’s Apostles, the summoning of the dead, and a tribute in three movements to ‘musical saints’ Maurice Ravel, John Coltrane and Miles Davis”. The trumpet emerges from a wistful horn introduction in part one, the pace picks up in part two with Slawek Pezda taking the first solo fast and Dawid Fortuna taking the second solo on drums. Part three slows back down for a gentle Ravelesque, trumpet-led, seven minute, absorbing finale.

Fine band. Fine album.

Click here to sample the album. Click here for a video of Mike Parker's Unfied Theory playing in Krakow.

Ian Maund

 

 

 

Album Reviews

As from this month, I shall be archiving our album reviews on the website. It will take a while to catch up with adding past reviews to the page, but you will be able to look back at current and previous reviews if you click here.

 

Record Store Day

The 18th April celebrates the eighth annual Record Store Day. The day aims to focus attention on independent record stores and also to recognise the growing interest in vinyl. Record Store Day started in 2007 when over 700 independent stores in the USA came together to Record Store Daycelebrate their unique culture. The UK followed suit. Organisers say: 'This is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, meet & greets with artists, DJ's, in store quizzes and many other events.' Berwick Street, Soho will be transformed into a mini music festival for Record Store Day to celebrate the culture of independent records stores in and around Berwick Street.

Click here for a video about Record Store Day.

Jazzwise Magazine carries details of some special vinyl releases that co-incide with the day including a previously unreleased 1959 recording of Wes Montgomery from an Indianapolis jazz club, a second release from Concord Records of the Miles Davis The Prestige 10-inch Collection, The Curtis Full Quintet's Bluesette album and Jaco Pastorius's Anthology: The Warner Bros. Years.

Click here for the Record Store Day website.

 

 

 

 

Album Released: 15th January 2015 - Label: Rondette Jazz

 

The George Gee Swing Orchestra

Swing Makes You Happy

Tim Rolfe Reviews this album for us.

This is George Gee’s 8th album and he has led bands for over 30 years.  This album on a new label contains 19 tracks from George Gee and his collaborator and musical director, the composer/arranger and trombonist David Gibson who provides five original compositions and undertakes all the arrangements, plus three tracks from Chick Webb’s repertoire.  As George states “David and I are truly kindred spirits who agree that swing is a living, growing and evolving art form”.  Other band leaders have achieved an orchestral sound with only five or six horns, the key to which is a combination of dynamic arrangements and horn men with big, bold sounds.  The orchestra here consists of aGeorge Gee album nine-piece ensemble.  Additional to these nine are two vocalists, who feature on nearly half of the tracks on the album.  A strong influence on Gee and Gibson is their love and respect for Count Basie.  The orchestra does follow in the Basie tradition (he was George’s mentor) with relentless swing, unfettered exuberance and perfect execution.  There are four songs here associated with Basie, three of which utilise John Dokes’ vocals.

The band consists of George Gee (Bandleader), David Gibson (Musical Director and trombone), Hilary Gardner (vocals), John Dokes (vocals), Ed Pazant (alto sax), Michael Hashim (tenor sax), Anthony Lustig (baritone sax), Andy Gravish (trumpet), Freddie Hendrix (trumpet), Steve Einerson (piano), Marcus McLaurine (upright bass) and Willard Dyson (drums).  Together they produce a larger than you would have thought sound with good clear vocals.  All the solos are well played backed by the bass and drums.  So overall, I liked the mix of vocals and instrumental solos, particularly the baritone sax playing.

As you would expect with “swing” all the tracks are fairly fast paced and real “foot tappers”.  In this case, they are all short and bouncy numbers very reminiscent of the “big band era” utilising all the instruments but with a modern clean and clear sound. The 19 tracks, range in playing time from 2 minutes 28 seconds to 6 minutes 22 seconds which adds up to about 69.5 minutes in total for this album.  So it is value for money if you like your jazz to have that big band sound.

To try to comment on each track would mean repeating myself as there are good performances from the vocalists and all the musicians when they undertake their solos on the tracks and they all play together as a very tight group under George’s leadership. Tracks I found of note were:

Track 2, Bedrock, composed by David Gibson with a lovely piano solo from Steve Einerson and sax solos from Pazant and Lustig and track 6, I Knows which again features the piano of Steve Einerson with Marcus McLaurine’s bass. Track 12 is an instrumental version of the Sinatra classic It Was A Very Good Year with a superb tenor sax solo, and it made a welcome change from the usual versions. Track 13, That’s No Joke, has great solos from Lustig on baritone sax and Gibson on trombone, and track 18 A Tribute to Someone featuring the trumpet of Hendrix with a slower and sweet melody was also very noteworthy.

It is difficult to find something original to say about swing, but this album will make a joyful contribution to keeping it alive and exposing it to wider audience.

Click here to sample the album. Click here for an introductory video.

Tim Rolfe                            

 

 

 

Finding Trad

This month, Anthony Abel concludes his look back to his early introduction to jazz and the escapades that went with it. Anthony ended his recollections last month at the point where he left England for Australia. He was not 'banished' or 'transported for life' for crimes undertaken in the UK although, as we have read, he and his friend Bryan inevitably seemed to end up being caught after some transgression or another. Anthony's story about Finding Trad reads very much like a 'Rites Of Passage', and I wonder how many at that time had jazz as the background to their youth?

Anthony writes:

In March 1962 not long after our 'great toilet roll theft', the National Front, the forerunner of the BNP were holding a rally outside the curry house in question in West Street Croydon, a deliberate provocative act guaranteed to inflame the owners. The then leader of this obnoxious party was aTransported for life sign chap called Colin Jordan who was to be the speaker. A good crowd had gathered including a great number of protesters against this racist rant.

Bryan and I decided to go one better and pelt the speaker with tomatoes. The uproar was a sight to behold, fists flying, press cameras flashing and the police trying to maintain order. I was grabbed by a policeman, cuffed and arrested and so was Bryan. We appeared before the magistrates on the Monday and were both fined £5 for breaching the peace. At the time I was working at a company where my mother was a director, she duly informed the manager that I wouldn't be in that day as I was not well. Unbeknown to her my picture in the arms of a policeman had been taken by a cameraman from The News Of The World and one of the warehouse staff at the company had pinned it on the notice board for all to see. It caused her so much embarrassment that I was told not to return to work again. It stopped Jordan's speech, but unfortunately not my mother's when she got home. That woman had no sense of humour at all, my father and I had a laugh about it in secret.

I was talking to my pal Bryan last night and he told me he was drinking with Johnny Bastable in the Fighting Cocks in Kingston the night Johnny Alexis Kornerwas run down by a bus and killed, a real tragedy. Incidentally Bryan was in an antique business with the also deceased Brian Hetherington who played drums for Ken Colyer for a year or so.

I think it was in the last months of 1964 when I went to Australia. By then the clubs I used to go to were shutting due to lack of audiences, indeed I recall my last visit to the Croydon Jazz Club when there were not many more in the audience than there were members of the band. I had fallen out with Bryan at that time and was very disillusioned with my job and the social scene.

By the end of 1966 I was back in the UK and as far as I could see the Trad boom was well and truly over. I did try to recapture past glories by visiting folk clubs, which were far too sedate for my taste. I did frequent several R&B gigs around the West End seeing  Long John Baldry, Alexis Korner and John Mayall, but the atmosphere in those places was totally different, as were the audiences. There always seemed to be an undercurrent of violence there. Long gone were the days where people were of a far gentler disposition as they all seemed to be in the Trad days. I married when I was 24 and we shortly after had a son together, and all ideas of clubbing were impossible.

Alexis Korner

The best years as far as I was concerned were from 1959 to 1963, from the age of 15 to19 years old. I have had plenty of good times and bad since then but I can honestly say without looking through rose tinted glasses that those five years into the 1960s were the best years of my life. I'm really glad that I am back in touch with Bryan again as we speak often and reminiscing about those days is a delight for both of us.

Click here for Anthony's previous articles.

Please contact us if Anthony's memories trigger memories for you.

 

 

 


Help With Musical Definitions No 7.

Soprano

Gangster's girlfriend who wants to be a singer.

 

 

 

 

 

Album Released: 4th March 2015 - Label: Two Rivers Records

 

Calum Gourlay

Live At The Ridgeway

A solo double bass album is not a frequent discovery amongst new releases but this recording by Calum Gourlay is the exception. It will be of particular interest I imagine to other bass players and those who have an affinity with the bass in jazz music, but certainly worth a listen byCalum Gourlay Live At The Ridgeway everyone. The recording was made during a live performance in Calum’s home in London in December 2014 and the audience response is clearly appreciative. The album is one of the two first releases by the Two Rivers Records label

Calum Gourlay is originally from Glasgow and I first came across him some years ago when he, keyboards player Kit Downes and drummer James Maddren formed the outstanding Kit Downes Trio on leaving the Royal Academy of Music in 2008. The three had built up a close relationship during their time in London and that came across strongly both in their work together and as individual musicians. Each has gone on to play a major part in today’s UK jazz scene and Calum is much in demand playing with a number of key bands including the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra,  John Scofield, Martin Speake and many others.

Ornette Coleman’s Ramblin’ opens the set and showcases Calum Gourlay’s talent in bringing different textures to the piece, and Chairman Mao by fellow bassist Charlie Calum GourlayHaden follows before Calum plays my favourite of the eight tracks with an interpretation of Thelonious Monk’s Rhythm-a-Ning with a multi-paced improvisation that lives up to the title. Next up is another Monk track, Monk’s Mood, which together with a later track, Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now are slower numbers allowing the bass to take its time feeling its way through the music.

The two compositions by Calum himself work well. What Is This Thing Called Life? Is a steady, rhythmic, enjoyable number, but it is Hendrix that fascinates. Hendrix is a bowed, almost-avant-garde, yet still accessible piece that creates an interesting soundscape, quite different to the rest of the album.

The final track, Duke Ellington’s Solitude, is a splendid choice to complete the recoding that illustrates Calum’s imaginative interpretation of the piece as the track progresses. You can listen to a version of Calum playing Solitude if you click here – and I would recommend that you do as it gives a flavour of what you might expect from an interesting album.

Here is an intriguing solo album by one of today’s talented jazz musicians that demonstrates why he is held in so much respect by so many.

Calum Gourlay - Live At The Ridgeway is available here where you can listen to Ramblin' and samples of Chairman Mao and Both Sides Now.

Ian Maund

 

 

 

 

Forum

Peter Shade

 

Peter Shade

Dave Burman writes: 'These have been enquiries from time to time about Peter Shade. I've known him for rears and he played with me in Poland recently on vibes. They provided the vibes which I am glad were all good!! He can be seen with me on Youtube - click here.'   

 

 

 

Fionna Duncan

In Anthony Abel's continuing story of 'Finding Trad' (click here) we asked last month whether anyone had a picture of Fionna Duncan to go with the article. The response we received showed that there is a lot of affection out there for the Scottish singer. Next month we plan to share the pictures that were sent to us as part of an article about Fionna. If you have any stories about Fionna that we might include in the article, please contact us.

 

 

Thames Hotel, Kingston and Ron Wills

Noreen Wills writes from Australia: 'I’ve just been looking at your blog about the jazz scene in an around Kingston on Thames in the 1950’s and 1960’s (click here). I grew up in the area and remember going to the Thames Hotel in the early 60’s.  My friend and I used to go on two different nights; Jazz on one night (Mondays I think) and Rock-pop on Friday’s.  My memories are vague (its a long time ago) and wonder if you confirm that this venue hosted music events other than jazz during this period.  (I’m researching for a biography I’m writing).  I do remember it was a great venue, full of atmosphere. I also noted your reference to a gig at the Hinchley Wood College (in Esher) in the mid 50’s and wonder if you knew or knew of my brother Ron Wills who was a student there around that time.  He went on to be a senior sports journalist on Fleet Street.'

Please contact us if you can help.

 

 

Colin Seymour

Clarinettist Alvin Roy writes: 'In the Forum section, Gary Capon was asking about the drummer Colin Seymour. Here is a link to a video from theAlvin Roy band100 club with Colin on drums. The late Alan Littlejohn (trumpet), Matt Mathewson (piano) and George Oag (guitar) are in the line up together with Digby Fairweather (trumpet) and Mick Hutton (bass) (click here).'

'I would point out that Digby, myself, Mick Hutton and hopefully Colin Seymour are still around......in body, if not in spirit....it's the others who, sadly, are no longer with us.'

[This is a fine piece of archive footage with some historic figures from the UK jazz scene and highly recommended viewing from a time when jazz lived at the 100 Club. Ed.]

 

 

 

Album Released: 10th February 2015 - Label: Daedalus Records

 

Adam Birnbaum / Doug Weiss / Al Foster

Three Of A Mind

 

Robin Kidson reviews this record for us:

Adam Birnbaum is a pianist based in New York. For the past six years, he has been an integral part of the Al Foster Quartet. Foster was the drummer with Miles Davis in the latter part of the trumpeter’s career, and has also recorded with the likes of Sonny Rollins and McCoy Tyner.

Birnbaum has recorded several albums under his own name. Three of a Mind is his latest offering and he is joined by his boss, Al Foster, on drums and Doug Weiss, the bassist with Foster’s Quartet. The album is very carefully not labelled as the work of the Adam Birnbaum Trio (or, even, the Al Foster Trio) – all three musicians get equal billing – but it is clearly Birnbaum’s show and he has written all but two of theBirnbaum Weiss Foster Three Of A Mind album’s nine tracks.

Reading Birnbaum’s CV brings home just how much jazz has changed in the last thirty or so years. Born in Boston in 1979, his first interest was classical music. He graduated from Boston College with a degree in computer science but spent much of his time practising piano – increasingly, jazz piano. He then went to the Juilliard School in New York where he was one of the first graduates of the School’s new jazz programme. In 2004, he won the American Jazz Piano Competition and became the American Pianists Association Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz. In 2006, he received the first ever “Special Mention” prize at the Martial Solal Jazz Piano Competition in Paris.

So, no more learning your trade in sleazy night clubs or dingy theatres. No more endless practising in the woodshed. Jazz is now very much part of the Academy with degree courses, fellowships and formal competitions. And there is a touch of the Academy about Birnbaum’s playing – technically proficient, precise, clean – but he can also swing and improvise. Above all, he can write a good tune.

One of his most intriguing compositions on the album is Dream Song#1: Huffy Henry. This is an excerpt from a longer piece, Dream Songs, a suite “made possible by a New Works grant from Chamber Music America” (there you go, the Academy again) and inspired by John Berryman’s poetry. It is a spiky, edgy blues, with subtle changes in mood from sinister to playful, which captures some of the spirit of Berryman’s poems.

The opening track on the album is the upbeat Binary which has a distinctive rock rhythm and develops nicely to make a satisfyingly cohesive whole. This is followed by Dream Waltz, a slower but still gently swinging piece with more than a touch of Bill Evans about it. Indeed, there Adam Birnbaumare several times on the album when you feel you could be back in the Village Vanguard in 1961 – and that’s a compliment, not a sneer.

Click here to listen to Binary.

Thirty-Three is an angular blues piece with a complex theme and a nod to Thelonious Monk. Rockport Moon is an elegant, beautifully played ballad. Stutterstep is foot tapping piano trio jazz at its best though it is a shade too long and exhausts itself before the end. Kizuna is another upbeat tune with a slight Latin feel.

Adam Birnbaum

The two pieces not composed by Birnbaum are by Al Foster. Brandyn is named after the drummer’s son and has a complicated time signature with changes of mood and tempo allowing all three musicians to show off their considerable virtuosity. Parts of it sound a bit like the Modern Jazz Quartet minus Milt Jackson. Ooh, What You Do To Me, the final track, romps along very satisfactorily with drums more to the fore than on the other pieces.

Weiss and Foster give unobtrusive support throughout. They play some short solos but they are heard to greatest effect in some marvellous interplay between all three musicians. This takes the form of imaginative call-and-response sequences, or passages when no one voice is to the fore but all three blend seamlessly and satisfyingly together. The interplay on Dream Waltz is particularly memorable. That sort of group improvisation can only come from musicians who are used to playing with each other night in, night out. It is the most distinctive feature of the whole album and can sound spookily psychic at times – three of a mind indeed.   

Click here to sample the album.

Click here for a video of the trio playing Three For One (not on the album) live in Israel.

Further information – including samples of some of the tracks – can be found on Adam Birnbaum’s website: click here.

Robin Kidson

 

 

 

Jim Mullen: Technique Should Be The Servant, Not The Master

Thorbjørn Sjøgren in Denmark shares with us his interview with guitarist Jim Mullen:

On an evening a couple of years back, I was visiting the London pub “The Bull’s Head” in the southwest part of the English capital. They have been presenting jazz for half a century, almost as long as Ronnie Scott’s, actually. Guitarist Jim Mullen was playing, fronting a quartet which included piano player John Critchinson, playing a fine selection of not too overdone standards. Buying his then-recently released CD, we got to talk and he told me that he had a daughter and two grandsons in Copenhagen.

During the following months I bought several of his CD’s, and one night my wife asked me “wouldn’t it be nice to try to set up a few gigs for him here?” Mullen quickly agreed to that, we got Brian Kellock (piano) and Hugo Rasmussen (bass) to go along, and for four days they played theirJim Mullen 2 socks off. Fast forward to a year later, and I’m sitting with Jim Mullen at his hotel in Copenhagen. He is 68, white-haired, six feet three, and broad-shouldered…:

“A few months back I started going to a gym and paying more attention to my meals. Now it’s more about vegetables and meat, and less about rice, pasta, and white bread. I simply felt I was in getting into bad shape, which is not too good when you’re at my age.”

For many years Jim Mullen has been living in central London, but he was born and grew up in one of the poor parts of Glasgow…. “I was part of the baby boom, which I’m sure you had in Denmark, too. I was born on November 26th, 1945, just one day before Randy Brecker. Growing up there at that time….well, there was a great austerity. There was rationing, going on until I think, 1953. That’s not what I heard my parents talk about, I remember it well. I went with my mother to the Social Security where we got these big round tins of dried milk, dried eggs, dried orange juice…just add water… and we had something called The Rag Store, almost like a pawnbroker’s thing, where my mother sometimes sold some of our clothes, so we could get food on the table, but we were not allowed to tell my dad, who was a very hard-working man, as he’d have been completely mortified that this should be necessary."

"He was a carpenter, and a very good one. He actually tried to make me a guitar at one point, about that time I had started bugging him. He succeeded in making the body, I remember I found he had a woodworker’s magazine on how to make a guitar, but guitar making takes years to learn….and finally I was allowed to buy a guitar, on payments. I had a newspaper route… Many working-class families had a piano, but the poor, almost ghetto-like part of Glasgow’s east end, where I grew up, we didn’t have pianos there, and a guitar was a cheap replacement. It was a time when families would entertain themselves, I was a teenager before we got a TV. Families were singing together in the evening, and if you didn’t have a piano you could learn a few chords on the guitar pretty quick. Well, this wasn’t the reason I bought it, but I had started listening to skiffle music…Lonnie Donegan…he was also from Glasgow.”

“There was something democratic to music. Everybody contributed what they could. Recently my 95-year old mother told me that when she put me to bed, she offered to read me a story, but I would rather have her sing to me. She was always singing along with the radio, singers like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Tony Bennett doing all the great, classic evergreens. When I got into jazz, I almost felt that these songs had gotten into me by some sort of osmosis. I have a lot to thank my mother for.”

Jim Mullen“When I was around ten I had a slightly older friend, living next door. One day he played me some records by guitar players…Barney Kessel, Tal Farlow, Barry Galbraith, Jimmy Raney, Mundell Lowe…cats who played in studio bands and were playing jazz for fun. I was like crazy, I knocked his door, “Can I hear some of that music again ?” … "Oh, I’m with my girlfriend, come back next week…". That was the beginning of the process and that made me fall in love with this strange and crazy music.”

“Music is an abstract art, actually. You rely on your feelings. It’s not like a painting, where you can see the brushstrokes, or a poem. Somebody once described music as ‘the poetry of tonality’ and that is a great expression. I’ve always been fascinated by how a particular configuration of notes can hit you like a ton of bricks. Often music reduces me to tears, it can be incredibly moving, I’m not ashamed to say that. That’s the way I feel about the CD that my girlfriend, Zoë Francis, just recorded. She’s surrounded by a handful of Britain’s best musicians and they really work for her. She really gets into the songs and her singing really gets a boost. I never completely understood why music can hit you this way. But with me it’s not only jazz. I’m a great fan of Verdi and Puccini. Partly, you might say that some music has an almost iconic character, known all over the world and able to pass on moods like loss, homesickness, lost love, etcetera. Take a song like Danny Boy….”

“I guess I’m from the last generation of completely self-taught players. Where I grew up, there were no music teachers who could correct my mistakes. Actually I am left-handed, but I play right-handed now. The plectrum slipped out of my hand so I got used to using my thumb. Gives me a slightly warmer sound, but it also means that I can only do downstrokes. So I tell my students to listen to what I play, but not copy my technique, as it’s not very practical. The only chance at that time to have serious teaching was the Scottish Academy of Music, and to get in there, you’d have to be very talented and have had private lessons. Well, it’s like learning a foreign language: you learn some words, some phrases, and little by little you learn to communicate. But that doesn’t make you a poet. You don’t get to that level until you’ve learned to express your feelings. And of course there has to be a reason that you want this, plus a wish to be able to express your most sincere feelings in this language. As a jazz musician you have an obligation to try to personalize your expression. If you’re honest in what you do, you can have a personal voice even though you’re not an original. Each generation only has a few originals, but lots of fine, personal interpreters. You mentioned  Johnny Griffin a moment ago. He’s a good example: Not a great original, but a wonderful interpreter.”

“Me, I’ve always been attracted by emotional musicians: Miles Davis and Charlie Parker when they were playing ballads, John Coltrane in his early years when he was the most soulful melodist….and I am a huge fan of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Bing Crosby. Also Fred Astaire…he really knew how to sing a song. Later in life I met Tony Bennett. I was playing with Claire Martin and he was standing in the wing of the stage. When we finished he had some very precise and insightful remarks. Most big stars are not at all interested in the local boys, but Bennett was different. And I still play with Claire, with her I got into scatting the lines I was playing at the same time. Like George Benson. But the  audience wanted to hear my singing and not my playing, so I stopped doing that. But  sometimes I use it when I’m doing workshops: Try playingClaire Martin and, at the same time, sing what you play, what you want to express. It’s the same process, and if you have a certain ability on your instrument, you should be able to do it. That will help you focus…”

 

[Click here for a video of Claire Martin singing Getting High in 1998 at the 606 Club with Jim taking the guitar solo]

Claire Martin
© Brian O'Connor

 

Rewind….back to Glasgow in the early sixties, when Jim Mullen didn’t have any idea what to do professionally, when school was over….

“My dad tried to get me an apprenticeship as a carpenter, but that didn’t work out, as I couldn’t hammer a nail into a piece of wood without everything being a disaster. So for a couple of years I had a no-future office job. I had started playing the bass, but then I got into journalism. I never thought of music as a profession….and there were many more newspapers then, but I often worked nights, which is not very good for a young man. I taught myself bass playing pretty quick, four beats to the bar, it wasn’t  that difficult. And during these years we saw the release of all the great Blue Note records…Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Grant Green…state of the art music… But I couldn’t find a piano player who was able to accompany me the way Herbie or McCoy did it, so I went back the guitar, left journalism, and moved to London.”

“The musical menu was rock music for a couple of years until I hooked up with Brian Auger, a  really fine pianist and organ player. I was with his band for a couple of years. We played loud, and I developed a tinnitus that is still bugging me. This was the time of fusion music, but basically Brian was playing bebop phrases with a powerful backbeat. After that I hooked up with Dick Morrissey, a fine English saxophone player, and we got in touch with a Scottish band, The Average White Band, which was enormously popular around that time. Their two saxophone players were both crazy about Morrissey, and they wanted to make an album together with us. But Dick was the most un-ambitious musician I ever met. He felt Kokomono need to become famous, and playing little, humble pub-jobs satisfied him perfectly. I got the offer to join in, actually I’d had my share of rock, for me it had been going on for four or five years and it’s not the sort of music you want to play all your life. Dick was getting fed up with it, too, for years he’d been playing with the very successful band IF, and during a New York tour he had heard Phil Woods at the Village Vanguard, and for him this became the turning point. I had had the same sort of experience when, touring with Kokomo. I heard a wonderful trio in a hotel bar. We talked and Dick asked me how I felt about the music of Stanley Turrentine, George Benson, Cornell Dupree, The Jazz Crusaders, etcetera, and I just said “Yeah, I love it.”.

Kokomo

[Click here to listen to Kokomo playing Anytime with a guitar solo in the middle of the track. Kokomo returned to the Half Moon in Putney in 2014. Click here for a video of them singing I Can Understand It. Jim takes a great guitar solo at about 3.50 mins. They are playing the Komedia, Brighton - Wednesday 1st April and at The Band on the Wall - Manchester on Friday 3 April 2015].

“Around that time I owned my guitar and a suitcase. I was sleeping on the floor with a friend who had a house in Wimbledon, ready for demolition. I was thirty years old and I had nothing, and I seriously considered leaving music and going back to journalism. But we went to New York and made the album with The Average White Band for Embryo which was an Atlantic sub-label. The record was released and then withdrawn after six weeks, a few moments after it had gotten favorable reviews. That was a ‘wake up to reality’, yeah, lost in the shuffle. Dick went to Sweden,Jim Mullen Burns where he knew a girl, and I went back to London, but we got together again and formed a small band that kept going successfully through fifteen years. Dick was a very original saxophone player. Sadly, he died in 2000."

"I played sideman gigs until, a couple of years later, I put together a quartet together with Gareth Williams, Mick Hutton, and Gary Husband. We were together for a couple of years, but two years ago I ran into Mick and we agreed upon trying a reunion. You know, sometimes memory can play funny tricks, but in this case it was just like going on from the point where we had left ten years earlier. We got to record a couple of CD’s, of which BURNS sold fairly well…. I’ve received several awards, but most of them are just a diploma or a thing to put on the shelf. Recently I received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Scottish Jazz Federation, but the day they wanted to give it to me, I was scheduled to go into the studio with Incognito, a fusion band I’ve also been playing with, and I couldn’t afford to cancel that date, so I had to get a colleague from Edinburgh to go and accept it on my behalf. And, by the way, Incognito has an offspring, Citrus Sun, led by a very creative producer and guitarist, Jean Paul Mauninck, that plays a sort of smoother, more accessible jazz."

[Click here for a video of Citrus Sun playing Love Has Come Around a tribute to Donald Byrd]

" Since 2000 I also had my organ trio with Mike Gorman and Matt Skelton, and we’ve released half a dozen CD’s. And I play function gigs, where nobody listens, but the money is fine. You have to be pragmatic. You can’t pay many bills with the 50 pounds or so that you are paid for a jazz gig at a small café. But then, it’s often that sort of gig that keeps you alive, artistically. And for the rest of the year, well, my book is not packed, but there are several festival and club gigs ahead, so…it’s OK. And I love accompanying singers. I still play with Claire Martin, and Elaine Delmar Jim Mullen Catch My Driftcalls me whenever she can afford an extra man on a gig….”

We are about to pick up Brian Kellock and head for the first gig, tonight it is Toldkammeret in Helsingør, but before we do that, there is time for the inevitable question: Which guitar players (if any) are regularly in Jim Mullen’s CD player at his London home? “Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, and George Benson. Fantastic musicians, each of them has his own way of doing things. Wes didn’t use a plectrum, either. And among the slightly younger players I really appreciate Peter Bernstein.”

[The Jim Mullen Organ Trio album Catch My Drift was released in March 2014. Click here to sample it]

© Thorbjørn Sjøgren. Thorbjørn Sjøgren is a Danish writer who has worked as a music librarian from 1970 to 2008 and as a reviewer for the Berlingske Tidende (1988-1994) and politics (1994-2002). He has worked for Radio Jazz since its inception in 1987 and the magazine Jazz Special since its inception in 1992. He is a contributor to a number of encyclopedias and reference books. This article was first printed in Jazz Special magazine, issue 138 (April, 2014). Jazz Special has been released bi-monthly since 1992.

 

 

 

 

Album released - 23rd February 2015: Label - MGP Records

 

Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier

Chasing Tales

 

Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier are impressive guitarists. The imaginative title of their latest release, Chasing Tales, is a play on telling stories and the way the two work together on this duo-guitar album. This is a follow-up album to their 2012 album Travels To The West.

Most of the twelve tracks are compositions by either Pete or Nicolas, and the sleeve notes helpfully tell us the order in which the guitarists take solos on each track. A graduate of Leeds Jazz College in the1980s, Pete Oxley moved to Paris for ten years and returned to the UK in Chasing Tales album1997. Two years later, in partnership with drummer Mark Doffman and Raph Mizraki, Pete set up Oxford’s contemporary jazz club ‘The Spin’ and formed the house band for the club. His other releases have been The Play Of Light in 2002 with Argentinean guitarist Luis D’Agostino folowed in 2006, by a further, live album Double Singular. Pete leads the band Curious Paradise.

Nicolas Meier is a Swiss guitarist based in the U.K. where he has played with a long list of well-known jazz musicians. His compositions draw on a love of Turkish, Eastern music, Flamenco and Tango all mixed with jazz. His Trio with special guests released the album Kismet in 2013 and with a larger band, From Istanbul To Ceuta With A Smile in the same year.

This album will appeal to many listeners. Variety comes not just from the different composition styles Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meierbut also from the range of guitars used by the duo. We hear nylon string, steel, slide, acoustic, fretless, baglama and glissantar guitar across the album, and again the instruments are notated on the sleeve notes in relation to the solos. Take The Bridge that has the 'wha' of Nicolas's glissantar behind Pete's synth, steel, slide and nylon. Breezin' On has a fretless solo and synth, steel and nylon chasing each other, slowing to a Pat Metheny-tinged touch followed by almost 'verbal' synth. Pete Oxley's Chasing Kites has an attractive, melodic Latin flavour and the only composition not by either guitarist, Uzun Ince Bir Yoldayim (by A. Veysal) brings us Turkey and the East to end the album.

Click here for a video interview about the album where you can also hear some of the music.

There is the perhaps inevitable, occasional squeak of guitar string that might for some interrupt the flow, but I found that Chasing Tales was rewarded by repeat listening. The sleeve notes say: '... there was a great spontoneity about this project: in a rush of energy the music was written, arranged, rehearsed, recorded, mixed and mastered within three months. Now allow these tales to unwind in the imagination of your mind ...'

Click here to sample the album.

Ian Maund

 

 

 

The Essential Album Collection

Which jazz albums make up a collection of classics? We suggest an album each month so that we can gradually build up a list - in no particular order. Do you have these? Click here for our Essential Albums page where you will find the suggestions that have been put forward so far.

Woody Herman - The 3 Herds

Woody Herman The 3 HerdsWoody Herman was an American jazz clarinetist and saxophonist and big band leader who led various groups called "The Herd". Herman was one of the most popular of the 1930s and 1940s bandleaders. His bands often played music that was experimental for its time. His music combined the beautiful sound of the leader with the innumerable talents of the group members, both playing and arranging. Many of them went on to become big names in jazz.

This edition compiles the complete original LP The Three Herds (CL592), which was Herman s own selection of some of his hits from the period of 1945 to 1954. Fourteen extra tracks from the same period have been added as a bonus. Includes 20-page booklet. The compilation features Shorty Rogers, Pete Candoli (trumpet), Bill Harris (trombone), Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Serge Chaloff, Herbie Steward, Flip Phillips, Bill Perkins, John LaPorta (reeds), Jimmy Rowles (piano), Red Norvo (vibraphone), Chuck Wayne, Billy Bauer (guitar), Chubby Jackson (bass), Dave Tough, Buddy Rich, and Don Lamond (drums), among others.

Click here to sample this album which is also available as a download.

 

 

 

 

 

Actually you should have been here last week ... Somebody should have been here last week ..... We had the bouncers chucking them in ....... A guy rang up to ask what time the show started and we said "What time can you get here?" .... the band was playing 'Tea For One' and the audience was on it's foot ..... It was two hours before we found out the cashier was dead .....

Ronnie Scott

 

 

 

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Album released: 2015 - Label: Self Release

Pete Neighbour

Back In The Neighbourhood

Vic Arnold reviews this album for us:

This is an interesting recording and certainly it is one that contains a wealth of good old fashioned swinging jazz. Pete Neighbour plays clarinet very much in the Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw style with perhaps a touch of Buddy Defranco. Although Pete was born in Great Britain, he now lives in South Carolina and he spends much of his working year entertaining on cruise ships run by the Silversea luxury line.Pete Neighbour album There are 12 tracks on this recording, all of them are well known jazz standards, and the quality of the music is very high.

The musicians are, Pete Neighbour (clarinet); Nat Steele (vibraphone); David Newton (piano); Jim Mullen (guitar); Tom Gordon (drums) and Andrew Cleyndert (bass). On two tracks, You Make Me Feel So Young, and What Will I Tell My Heart?, the featured  vocalist is Louise Cookman.

The recording starts and ends with two bright and breezy toe tappers, I Want To Be Happy and After You've Gone. There are some tracks taken at a slower tempo and they are also very good, especially Boulevard Of Broken Dreams and Duke Ellington's wonderful Come Sunday from his Black Brown and Beige suite.

I found that Nat Steele's vibraphone playing is really outstanding, he sounds more like Milt Jackson to me than Lionel Hampton, but whoever he sounds like, his playing certainly adds colour to the recording. All of the musicians play very well and in my opinion there is not a track that I did not enjoy. If you like your jazz to be honest swinging and tuneful, look no further than this excellent recording of Pete Neighbour and his friends, you will not regret it.  

Click here for more information and to sample the album.

Vic Arnold. 

 

 

New Kid On The Beat

If anyone wonders whether there are any new drummers waiting in the wings, take a look at this video that one of our readers has found 3 year old drummer(click here). It is amazing that at three, a child can play like this.

As someone says, this 3-year-old boy Lyonya Shilovsky is 'casually being a boss on the drums while playing with the Novosibirsk Symphony Orchestra. He enthusiastically beats along with a giant smile on his face, completely unaware that: 1. It's kinda a big deal to be playing with an orchestra, and 2. He's totally owning it.'

'Watch as the boy stays ecstatic and dedicated for the entire performance. Even when he loses a drum stick at the 1:02 mark, he quickly retrieves it and keeps pounding along as if nothing happened.'

Lyonya from Novosibirsk appeared on the Russian talent show 'Minute Of Fame' in 2014. Eventually, he leaves his drum kit to receive a bouquet of flowers and take a well-earned bow. The impressive performance took place at the New State Concert Hall of Arnold Katz in Novosibirsk in February 2014 but footage only surfaced online some months later.

 

 

 

 

Classic Jazz from Dave Shepherd for the National Jazz Archive

An afternoon concert on Saturday, 11th April features clarinettist Dave Shepherd with his Quintet. This concert is one of a series during 2015 to Dave Shepherdraise funds to support the work of the National Jazz Archive.

Dave was voted Britain’s best jazz clarinettist four times between 1990 and 2000. During his long career, he has played with American jazz legends such as Teddy Wilson, Bud Freeman, Yank Lawson, Ruby Braff, Wild Bill Davison and Barney Kessel. He led his own groups, including the Freddy Randall / Dave Shepherd Jazz All Stars, and the Pizza Express All-Stars for more than 20 years.The Quintet features the excellent Roger Nobes (vibes), John Pearce (piano), Paul Morgan (bass), and Stan Bourke (drums). The venue is Loughton Methodist Church, 260 High Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 1RB, close to the Archive’s home in Loughton Library, where there is extensive parking. It is 1 km from Loughton Station on the Central Line, and served by numerous bus routes.

Dave Shepherd said: “The National Jazz Archive does great work in preserving the history of our music. It’s a pleasure to bring my group to play to help raise funds to support it.” The concert starts at 1.30pm, and tickets cost £15.

Click here for further details and booking.

 

 

Album Released: 13th April 2015 - Label: Whirlwind

 

Mikkel Ploug Trio

At Black Tornado

 

At Black Tornado is the seventh album by Mikkel Ploug either as a member of a band called "Equilibrium" or the "Mikkel Ploug Group".  Whereas Equilibrium is a band with voice and horns to complement Ploug's guitar, the trio is made up of long-standing collaborators Jeppe Skovbakke on double bass and Sean Carpio on drums.  Details of previous recordings can be found if you click here.

At Black Tornado sounds rather a dramatic title for the album until you realise that this is simply the name of the recording studio. The windMikkel Ploug At Black Tornado theme continues as the album is being released by Whirlwind Records and the picture on the CD case shows wind turbines behind a canoeist but this seems to be as far as the wind theme goes, the reason for the canoeist is unclear.  All the tracks are composed by Mikkel Ploug except Comacina Dreaming which is by Joachim Badenhorst (horn player in Equilibrium).

Click here for an introductory video.

The album was recorded in a single session with the musicians playing together as if they were playing to an audience rather than in a studio.  The first track Waking Up is a very relaxed piece, slightly reminiscent of Albatross by Fleetwood Mac and flags up the fact that this album is a fusion of styles rather than simply jazz. 

Click here to sample 1.37 minutes of Waking Up.

The title of the second track, Comacina Dreaming, refers to a dream that the composer had while staying on an island in Lake Como in Italy and in this case the music has a strong melody and brings to mind something from "The Shadows" (a classic instrumental band of the 1960s).  Track three called North begins with minor chords and simple rhythms on the guitar but proceeds to highlight improvisations on the double bass; and the following track, The Arch is a short track based on harmonies that were recorded in a church, featuring free expression from all three musicians and it would have been interesting to have more to see how this approach develops. 

Major Flows is an up-tempo, rock style number that features solos from both double bass and guitar, whilst track six, West, starts in dramatic fashion with double bass and drums pounding out ominously, but being barely more than two minutes long the listener is left wanting more just as it finishes. The title of the seventh track, Orange, is a reference to the way the composer visualises chords as colours with orange mixed from cheerful red and yellow and Drops, is an example of onomatopoeia in that the word describes the sound of the music; both tracks have a nice repartee between drums and guitar while the double bass maintains an up-tempo rhythm throughout with a definite swing style on the latter track.

The next track is called The Rowing Club and introduces a finger picking guitar style while the penultimate track on the album, Clear Thought slows the tempo again promoting a reflective mood.  The final track, Belo, refers to the town of Belo Horizonte in Brazil where the composer performed in 2013; the music seems to include short snatches from other tunes and is perhaps a summary of influences.

Unfortunately there is no information on the CD case to give any insight into the music but quoting from the Whirlwind Records website, Mikkel explains the background to the album as  "The album was a sort of homecoming for us; a zone that occurs when the three of us come together and make music. It was also time for us to record again as a trio and focus our attention on that sound. We've done a lot of playing with wonderful musicians over the years, but for this record we wanted to document just the three of us and our development as a unit with our own identity. We're not in a rush with the music and we're very content in each other's company while still surprising and inspiring each other every time we play— it's a great situation to be in. I feel all this comes through in the music." So clearly a very personal musical statement but audience members or album buyers may be left wondering what to make of it all.

The Mikkel Ploug Trio started a short tour of the UK on 23 March with an excellent gig for a very enthusiastic audience at The Oxford, Kentish Town Road in London.  Mikkel Ploug is a very good jazz guitarist and the interaction between him and the other band members amply demonstrated the deep understanding they have of each others' playing.  Jeppe Skovbakke on double bass played some very interesting solos himself and Sean Carpio on drums was the model of a thoughtful and considerate drummer keeping the volume at just the right level. Talking to the band before the show, their mutual respect for each other was very evident; despite playing various forms of music with other Mikkel Ploug Triobands they most enjoy playing together and experimenting with different styles.  Talking about the album they hope that their music will appeal to a wider audience without having targeted any particular section and so there is less solo improvisation on the album than at the live gigs because they wanted to highlight the trio playing together rather than any one member of it. Talking about other guitarists that he admires Mikkel Ploug unsurprisingly listed Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell but others, less well known included Kurt Rosenwinkel and Ben Monder.  

The next night they played a set at Ronnie Scott’s Club supporting the Bireli Lagrene Gypsy Project, a Django Reinhardt influenced band led by guitar viruoso Bireli Lagrene.  The contrasting styles of Mikkel Ploug and Bireli Lagrene proved to make an interesting night and the sold-out club, looking forward to Lagrene's strong rhythms and masterful solo improvisations gave warm applause for Ploug's thoughtful, melodic playing.  

For jazz fans At Black Tornado could probably be improved by including some additional, typical jazz content and having heard the band play live it is clear that they are very capable of well crafted solos and improvisations but it may be that the uncomplicated and subtle melodies as recorded on the album will appeal to a wider audience which will give them the greater exposure and recognition that they deserve.

Click here to sample the album.

Howard Lawes

 

 

 

 

Banjo Jazz

As we know there are three groups of people.

Group one - those who think the banjo is a joke. This is for you:

A man was walking around Dover when he happened upon a little antique shop, so he went in and took a look around. Way up on a high shelf he saw a little brass mouse figurine, and he really liked it. He asked the owner how much it was, and the guy said, "It's £20 for the mouse, and £50 Mousefor the story that goes with it." Well, the man didn't care about any old story, he just liked the little brass mouse, so he paid the guy £20 and walked out with the mouse in a brown paper bag. As he was walking home, he noticed the figurine was hollow with two little holes. Holding it up to his mouth, it made a melodious whistle. No sooner that he started, he was being followed by three little mice. When he stopped, they stopped. When he turned left, they turned left. "Whoa, this is creeping me out," he thought. As he walked, the mice were joined by more mice, until our hero looked like the Pied Piper. He started to run, and he wound up at the edge of Dover's White Cliffs. All the mice in town are right behind him. He is so freaked out that he throws the bag with the brass mouse over the cliff and into the water, and all the little mice jump after it, fall into the ocean, and drown. "Man, this is weird!" he says. He goes back to the antique store, and the owner doesn't seem surprised to see him. "Ahhh, you've come back to hear the story!" he says to our dilapidated hero. "No, man," says he, "I was just wondering if you have any little brass banjo players?"

Group two are those who value the banjo in classic jazz. This is for you.

Click here to listen to the Wilbur De Paris band playing Beale Street Blues with Eddie Gibbs on banjo. The full line up is: Wilbur DeParis Wilbur De Paris album(trombone), Sidney DeParis (trumpet), Omer Simeon (clarinet), Don Kirkpatrick (piano), Eddie Gibbs (banjo) and Freddie Moore (drums) recorded at Jimmy Ryan's, New York City in May 1952, a bonus track on a Wilbur De Paris album Wilbur De Paris Live In Canada 1956.

Eddie Gibbs was born in 1908. He began playing banjo seriously in the 1920s with Wilbur Sweatman, Eubie Blake and Billy Fowler. From 1937 he was with Edgar Hayes, touring Europe in 1938, joined Eddie South's band in 1940, and thn moved on to play with Luis Russell, Claude Hopkins and Cedric Wallace. He started playing bass with a trio at the Village Vanguard but returned to playing the banjo in the 1950s. After playing both bass and banjo in the 1960s he retired in the 1970s and died in 1994.

Woody Allen used a Wilbur De Paris track of I Found A New Baby with Eddie Gibbs on banjo in the 1995 film Mighty Aphrodite (click here to listen).

Then we come to group 3 - those who recognise the talent of today's banjo players.

John Jack writes: 'As rambled I through the banjo section (click here) I was brought up short by a passing mention in the piece  on the Tatty Boggle to the "late Les Muscatt". I first encountered Les  when he became part of the Dobells tribe; his wife  worked  with Teresa  Kendel, later Teresa Chiltern of blessed memory, in Collets, a few floors below my flat, which was  immediately opposite the Kendell's  in Charing Cross Road, so we would  sometimes shout across, or at least wave!!.'

'The Muscatts lived  round the corner in Lyle Street and we tended to often end up at one or others’ pad to continue a evening’s roistering. After Les moved to America to work in the Red Garter bar circuit, initially in New Orleans, he also took part in some classic recording sessions. I Eugene Chadbournebelieve they then moved to the West Coast. It's now a long while since I had any news of them. I do hope the mention of Les now being the "late" is unfounded - would appreciate knowing.'

Eugene Chadbourne

'I also notice no mention of my long time favourite who is still working the international club scene, the demon Eugene Chadbourne, scourge of country 'n' western bars, the avante garde clubs, and guitarist / banjoist extraordinaire. Click here for a video of Eugene and a rocking banjo playing Roll Over Berlusconi in 2009.'

'He turns up about once a year either at the Vortex and / or the Cafe Oto in Dalston. He hasTuba Skinny & Shotgun Jazz band lots of records on his own label, Fireant, which are full of surprises; like for example "Jesse Helms Busted with Pornography” the C&W Opera by Eugene Chadbourne and friends including Lol Coxhill.'

'By the way, soprano virtuoso  Lol  often gigged with fretless banjo player Gerry Fitzgerald, another  name perhaps not familiar to you. Must 'pling' off now as it's soon time to dash to Dalston for Charly Hart and his merry minstrels at the Vortex.'

Tuba Skinny and the Shotgun Jazz Band

Alan Bond also shares this video (click here) of two young bands, Tuba Skinny and the Shotgun Jazz Band, each with their banjo players, joining forces to play Over In The Gloryland at the Bix Festival at Racine, Wisconsin in March. Happy bands. Happy music.

 

 

 

The Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestra

Award winning reeds player Andrew Linham is taking his big band on a 'mini-tour' in London during April. This is a good chance to catch a bigAndrew Linham band loaded with young talent. Andrew believes that enjoyment is a large part of entertainment so his bandleading is fun as well as introducing some of his own amazing compositions and arrangements. Numbers like Apples Are Not The Only Fruit will get feet tapping and his pastiche based on Dante's Inferno is not what one would expect.

Highly recommended if you can make any of the following venues. We shall be featuring Andrew in next month's What's New.

Click here for a video of the band playing Eli And The Monobrow.

 

Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestra logo

Saturday, 18th April - 7.30 pm - St Luke's Church, Upminster, RM14 1LD - £8 / £5

Sunday, 19th April - 12.30 pm - The Gunnersbury Tavern, W4 5RP - £10

Tuesday, 21st April - 7.30 pm - The Great Northern Railway Tavern, Hornsey, N8 7QB - £5 / £3

Sunday, 26th April - 2.00 pm - Ivy House, Nunhead, SE15 3BE - Free

 

 

 

General Custer and his aide were in the fort. The aide said, "General, I don't like the sound of those drums." From over in the hills a voice yells, "It's not our regular drummer."

 

 

 

The National Jazz Archive - The Story Of British Jazz Project

Three years ago, the National Jazz Archive in Loughton, Essex, received match funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to make its resources more accessible. With support from Essex County Council and voluntary contributions the Project has achieved:National Jazz Archive

    • storing and conserving more than 40,000 archive items (journals, photos, posters and programmes)
    • cataloguing more than 4300 books
    • cataloguing more than 600 journals to series level along with 36 personal and seven photo collections
    • scanning and digitising numerous journals, photos, posters and programmes for direct access via the redesigned website, which includes a timeline of British jazz, over 360 interviews, and cross-curricular learning resources
    • organising more than 30 talks, open days, exhibitions, concerts, community events and family activities
    • training volunteers in storage, preservation and cataloguing skills.
    Much of this information is now available online. Lesley Walker, Project Monitor for the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Over the past three years I have watched the National Jazz Archive develop into an active and lively organisation with properly catalogued and managed collections, reaching out to a much wider audience including their local communities. There is now a greater awareness within and beyond the jazz community of the Archive and its activities and ‘The Story of British Jazz’ makes the collection accessible to people everywhere.”

    Click here for more information.

     

     

     

     

    Album released: 2nd December 2014 - Label: RM Records

    Rogier Telderman Trio

    Contours


    Steve Day reviews this album for us:

    Rogier Telderman (piano, composition); Guus Bakker (double bass); Tuur Moens (drums, percussion).

    The Rogier Telderman Trio are based in the Netherlands, this is a new record label, and Contours is the first recording they have released.  Recorded last August, it comes in a smart, clever cover, the whole package has attention to detail.  Here’s my detail:  At home in the evening we were sat with a couple of glasses of wine, the CD had arrived in the post that morning, the previous day our new “music hub” had been installed.  Okay, let’s play Contours on this fancy sonic system.  We listened right the way through and still had wine left in the bottle.  Immediately afterwards we put on Changes by Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, released by ECM Records way back in 1984. And finished the bottle.

    Why did I get out the Jarrett immediately after a single listen to the Rogier Telderman Trio album?  I hadn’t wrapped my ears around MrRogier Telderman Contours album Jarrett’s Changes for a long time, but I remembered this much; the Keith Jarrett Trio had built its reputation on playing ‘standards’ but this particular session was based on three of his own compositions extended through improvisation.

    This is not what Rogier Telderman is doing, his nine self-composed tracks are far more tightly arranged than Jarrett’s, though it is still possible to hear Telderman exploring the possibilities of how fixtures can become flexible.  Take a tune like Minor Conspiracy which comes with a complete written-through melody, chord structure and a prominent bass-line.  It’s scored for sure, yet for a short while the Trio take it beyond the arrangement.  It is in that delineated quest for spontaneity that I find the most interesting playing and where, to my ears, this Trio will find its future strength.  The tune that follows it, Sketch, could come from somewhere close to Debussy.  And when, at the end of the piece, Rogier Telderman is playing off a single melodic fragment, he is touching its pulse in the same way as Keith Jarrett when he rides a riff as it emerges out of a detailed design of variants.

    Click here for a video introduction to the album.

    Like Jarrett’s relationship with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, there is an empathetic quality to Rogier Telderman’s trio. Guus Bakker’s bass is recorded superbly.  Although we are aware there is a score of line and dots underpinning these performances, Bakker is able to resonate a hold on the notes coming off his instrument.  The bassist maintains a spirit of adventure that the pianist is able to exploit.  Guus Bakker is new to me, he’s very good.  Likewise, drummer Tuur Moens.  There is a really liberating section in what I think is the key track on the album, Strange Place.  The pianist introduces the piece using the repetition of a single ‘bell’ note that paves the way for a careful examination of where that tonic can delineate a melody.  It is eventually broken into by Bakker’s bass, introducing a clever motif which then gets extended by the pianist into a neat play-off, repeating the clipped phrase figure while the Rogier Teldermanpopping percussion creates a break-up backdrop beating against the time-count.  Interestingly, the track that follows Strange Place is called Slippers (Telderman has described his music as ‘comfortable’, I guess the image fits).  In actual fact Slippers predicates the same idea as Strange Place, at one point passing through an unaccompanied piano centrepiece only to finish with a piano/double bass hook, strung out by drums, cymbals and Tuur Moens’ grasp of the dramatic piling on more pressure.

    Rogier Telderman

    I have come back to this album many times since my initial play-through, enriched with added-Jarrett.  I have since put the American back in his box and let the Dutchman tell his own story.  Perversely Rogier Telderman’s album begins with a farewell; the opening track is called Goodbye, Monsieur Belkin.  Therefore, using the same premise, I will end with the beginning.  Initially Goodbye, Monsieur Belkin sounded merely pleasant. I was disconcerted with how ‘comfortable’ it sounded (as in ‘easy listening’).  This was before I came across Mr Telderman’s own use of the word.

    Click here to listen to Goodbye, Monsieur Belkin.

    The more time I gave the album the more I appreciated its positive brittle grandeur and thankfully, the less comfortable (and ‘easy’) it became.  For me, the piano trio occupies a pivotal place in jazz and contemporary music.  This generation’s class-act exponents (Craig Taborn, Vijay Iyer, Alexander Hawkins – to name just three) are exposed artists, working in a demanding arena asking much from both themselves and their audience.

    The Roger Telderman Trio could become a huge crossover band.  Essentially that melodic centre has the potential to win over hearts and minds residing in the middle of the road.  In the middle could be described as a strange, rather awkward place and, for me, not one to hang around in for long.  A big name pianist like Brad Mehldau, like Keith Jarrett before him, has demonstrated that it need not be that way.  There is enough evidence on this debut album to suggest that Rogier Telderman, Guus Bakker and Tuur Mouens, can divert to their own contours.  Goodbye is just the beginning.  Au revoir.   

    Click here to sample the album.

      
    Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk


     

     

     

    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:

    Orrin Keepnews

     

    Orrin Keepnews - American record producer born in the Bronx in 1923. Initially the editor of a jazz magazine, 'The Record Changer', he launched Riverside Records in 1953 with Bill Grauer. In 1955 they signed Thelonious Monk followed by others including Sonny Rollins, Wes Montgomery, Cannonball Adderley and Bill Evans. Keepnews received Grammy awards for his notes to albums by Monk and Evans. In 1963, Grauer died and Keepnews started the Milestone label in 1966, later selling it to Fantasy Records which he joined as head of jazz. Fantasy was taken over by Concord in 2007, Keepnews resigned and launched his last label, Landmark. He died on 1st March 2015. Click here for a video of Orrin Keepnews talking about recording Sonny Rollins.

     

     

     

    John Renbourn

    John Renbourn - UK guitarist born in London, John was playing banjo at the age of five. At Kingston Art College he became interested in the music of Big Bill Broonzy and other great Blues players but his leaning was towards folk music and opportunities to stretch that with other influences. He teamed up with Bert Jansch and their album Bert and John included a version of Charles Mingus's Goodbye Pork Pie Hat. Jam sessions at the Horseshoe in Tottenham Court Road resulted in the formation of Pentangle with singer Jacqui McShee, bass player Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox. 'Their gentle mix of styles couching traditional songs in blues and jazz arrangements struck an immediate chord far beyond the folk world.' Click here for a video of John Renbourn and Stefan Grossman playing Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.

     

     

     

     

    One From Ten

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

    Wes Montgomery

    In The Beginning

    On the 6th April the Resonance label releases these two albums from the guitarist's early years. At the time - 1949 to 1958 - Wes Montgomery worked as a welder for a maker of radio parts and gigged during the evenings and nights sometimes getting home at 5.00 am and being back to work at 7.00 am. He frequently led a band with tenor saxophonist Pookie Johnson in which his brothers Buddy (piano) and Monk (bass) alsoWes Montgomery In The Beginning played. Much of this release comes from this band, recorded at the Turf Bar and the Missile Room in Indianapolis.

    The following year, 1959, that year when so much happened in jazz, Cannonball Adderley introduced Wes to Riverside Records. This collection shows the potential that Adderley spotted.

    Resonance say: 'This deluxe 2-CD set includes 26 newly discovered live and studio recordings. The set includes a complete 1955 Epic Records session produced by Quincy Jones, newly discovered 78 RPM sides with Wes as a sideman recorded for Spire Records (1949), a live recording from the home of Ervena Montgomery, Indianapolis (1956), live recordings from the Turf Club (1956), the Missile Lounge (1958) in Indianapolis, and the C&C Music Lounge in Chicago (1957).'

    'In the Beginning features extensive liner notes, and meticulously designed artwork that have become Resonance Records' trademarks. The 2-CD version includes a 55-page booklet of liner notes by journalist and noted jazz historian and biographer Ashley Kahn, legendary producer Quincy Jones, guitarist Pete Townshend of The Who, alongside rare never-before-published photos from The Montgomery Estate and friends in Montgomery's native Indianapolis. Since Wes Montgomery's passing in 1968, only two other albums of predominantly unreleased material have been released - Willow Weep for Me (Verve, 1968) and Echoes of Indiana Avenue (Resonance, 2012). Resonance Records is pleased to introduce the third such archival offering with In the Beginning.'

    Click here to sample the albums that are also available as mp3 downloads.

    Wes MontgomeryOn the morning of June 15, 1968, Wes woke up at his home in Indiana and said to his wife that he didn't feel well and then collapsed with a heart attack. He was 45 years old and had just come back from a tour with his quintet. Indianapolis has named a park in his honour.

    Click here for a fascinating video of Wes Montgomery playing a concert in 1965, just three years before he died. It shows just what a marvellous guitarist he was but also gives us an insight into the person as he and the other musicians discuss the music. One person says of the video: 'I really enjoy the planning between songs, actually - you can watch them building something in progress.  I usually don't see this, so it's a treat for someone like me, who is not a jazz musician.' Another person says: 'Wes Montgomery's style has been copied by thousands of jazz guitarists over the past 4 decades, so it's possible that you are hearing a bit of Wes in everything out there.'

    Click here for another video of him playing 'Round Midnight introduced by Humphrey Lyttelton.

     


     

    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).

     

    Darius Brubeck Quartet album

     

    1. The Darius Brubeck Quartet - Cathy's Summer - (Gathering Forces GFM)

    [Click here to sample. Click here for information].

     

     

    Avishai Cohen From Darkness

     

    2. Avishai Cohen Trio - From Darkness - (Razdaz)

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

     

     

     

    Andy Sheppard Surrounded By Sea

     

    3. Andy Sheppard - Surrounded By Sea - (ECM)

    [Click here to sample. Click here for a preview of the live launch].

     

     

     

    Snarky Puppy Sylva

     

    4. Snarky Puppy and Metropole Orkest - Sylva - (Impulse!)

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

     

     

     

    Tubby Hayes Rumpus

     

    5. Tubby Hayes Big Band - Rumpus - Live In North Finchley, London 1969 - (Savage Solweig)

    [Click here for details].

     

     

     

    Wes Montgomery In The Beginning

     

    6. Wes Montgomery - In The Beginning - (Resonance)

    [Click here to sample. See One From Ten article above].

     

     

     

    Stacey Kent Ao Vivo

     

    7. Marcus Valle and Stacey Kent - Nice To Meet You Ao Vivo - (Sony Music)

    [Click here for information. Click here for an interview with Marcus Valle].

     

     

    Wolfgang Haffner Kind Of Cool

     

    8. Wolfgang Haffner - Kind Of Cool - (ACT)

    [Click here to sample. Click here to listen to Hippie from the album].

     

     

     

    Dinah Washington For Those In Love

     

    9. Dinah Washington - For Those In Love - (American Jazz Classics)

    [Click here to sample. Click here to listen to You Don't Know What Love Is].

     

     

     

    Mose Allison The Complete Recordings

     

    10. Mose Allison - The Complete Recordings 1957 - 1962 (5 CDs for £8.99) - (Enlightenment)

    [Click here for information].

     

     

     

     

    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 - 26th January 2015: Label - Leo Records

     

    Helen Bledsoe and Alexey Lapin

    Ghost Icebreaker

     

    Steve Day reviews this album for us.

    Helen Bledsoe (flute); Alexey Lapin (piano).

    Helen Bledsoe is a classical flute player with credentials, she plays with the renowned ensemble Musikfabrik who are based in Cologne. If you are interested in contemporary music and composition – Harry Patch and beyond, you are likely to have come across Musikfabrik, they did dates in the UK last year. As for Alexey Lapin, he’s a Moscow based pianist, an improviser, though not exclusively.Ghost Icebreaker album

    I’d suggest that music should not be marketed in tight boxes – this CD recorded live in St Petersburg in December 2012 has something to offer ears which have been exposed to jazz and might, just might, be up for hearing musicians explore improvisation not from the starting point of the blues, or a standard from the American songbook, or a mode or riff, but simply from the potential afforded by the instruments involved. Helen Bledsoe is a virtuoso flutist with a vast technical vocabulary. With Ghost Icebreaker she’s left the score at home, she stands before us with her instrument and a pianist imbued in the art of improvisation. Given that’s the scenario, check it out, its maybe worth one more paragraph and a three sentence summary at the end.

    I am assuming that the seven tracks presented on Ghost Icebreaker are in the order they were performed Helen Bledsoelive in concert. It sounds probable. The first piece, Snow is an introduction. Bledsoe and Lapin have played together off-and-on for ten years but they don’t take each other for granted. Snow is a ‘Good evening’, a taut enquiry of each other; the final, shortest track, Into Thin Air appears to be an acknowledged resolution. The forty minutes in-between these two pieces offer an intense, brittle foray into the possibilities of the piano and flute. If-you-will, a conversation using breath, finger placement, precise dexterity, tuned percussion on black and white keys, scale, melodic fragmentation, enquiry and imagination; what you build up you breakdown, what is broken down is reformed, give and take, backwards and forwards. Isn’t that what the great Bebop genius Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker was doing as Igor Stravinsky sat in the audience on 52nd Street cheering him on? Well, almost. For me, the real treat in listening to Bledsoe is the tremendous control she has over her instrument, one that is notoriously difficult in all dynamics. That control gives both her and Lapin a vast pallet for improvisation.

    Helen Bledsoe and Alexey Lapin are not asking for anything from us other than open minds. In 2015 that could be consider a big ‘ask’. These are not easy times for ‘open minds’. Give Icebreaker a break; thank goodness some sounds still make us shiver with pleasure.

    Click here for Ghost Icebreaker on Leo Records. Click here for a video of Helen Bledsoe demonstrating flute technique. Click here for a video of Helen Bledsoe and Alexey Lapin playing Impromptu no. 8 for Flute and Piano. Click here for Helen Bledsoe's website.

    Steve Day    
    stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk   
     

     

     

    Frank Holder’s Sextet at Pizza Express

    Lunchtime on Sunday, April 26th, the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Dean Street, Soho will be the place to celebrate Frank Holder’s 90th birthday.Frank Holder Frank is one of the very few still-performing jazz musicians to have played on the London Jazz scene that followed the Second World War. His enthusiastic singing and conga playing featured in the bands of Leslie Hutchison,  Joe Harriott, John Dankworth, Ronnie Scott and Duncan Lamont as well as more recently his own Latin American band, Paz.

    The gig at Pizza Express Jazz Club starts at 1.30 pm with doors opening at midday. Frank will be accompanied by Stan Robinson (saxophone), Geoff Castle (piano), Shane Hill (guitar), Val Manix (bass) and Les Cirkel (drums).  Entrance £12.00. Click here for the Pizza Express website. Click here for more about Frank.

     

     

    Chris Hodgkins – New Album and Tour

    Trumpeter Chris Hodgkins recently retired after 29 years as the Director of Jazz Services, the national support charity for jazz music and musicians.  During his time at the organisation, he was honoured for his Services to Jazz at the 2002 BBC Jazz Awards and in July 2013 at the British Jazz Awards. In March this year he was awarded the Services to Jazz Award at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2015.  Despite his Chris Hodgkinssuccesses championing British jazz he still found the time to play himself, and as a musician released several great albums with his various groups

    In September last year Chris Hodgkins returned to Wales to record an album of originals, standards and one or two tunes from the archives. For the past 7 years Chris, on his visits to Wales, has worked with Dave Price on piano and Erika Lyons or Ashley John Long on bass. All three joined him on the album and the result is Back In Your Own Back Yard which we plan to review in our next issue.

    Chris Hodgkins (picture by Martin Dayleman)

    “Aside from two originals and the poignant Black Butterfly, the repertoire suggests a formulaic Mainstream set that one might hear at a jazz party. But that narrow assumption vanishes once the music begins, for Chris, Dave, Erika, and Ashley offer serene yet searching chamber jazz, refreshing improvisations on familiar songs.” (Michael Steinman, Jazz Lives).

    April Tour Dates

    12th - Hanbury Arms, Caerleon Uskside, Newport NP18 1AA – 5.30 pm
    14th - The Angel * Grosmont, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, NP7 8EP -  8.00 pm
    15th - Queens Head * St James Street, Monmouth, NP25 3DL – 8.00 pm
    16th - Café Jazz * -  St. Mary’s Street, Cardiff, - 8.00 pm

    * With Dave Price (piano) and Ashley John Long (bass)
    ** With Steve Tarner (bass)

     

     

     

    Frome Jazz Club Moving

    The Jazz Club at Frome in Somerset has been obliged to find a new local venue. From April onwards, Frome Jazz Club will be on the 3rd Sunday of each month, 7-10 p.m.at Frome's The Grain Bar.  All events will still be free entry, and now with the added attraction of mezze and local beers. The grand re-opening on Sunday 19 April features pianist John Law. Until now, Frome Jazz Club has used Facebook to advertise its listings, but the move to The Grain Bar, a regular music venue, will allow the Bar's website 'events' page to include the Jazz Club gigs.

     

     

    New Jazz Venue For Cirencester, Gloucestershire

    Pianist John Law tells us: 'On Friday March 27 a stylish new jazz club started up in Cirencester. The opening act was a quartet featuring the great Andy Sheppard! It's going to be every last Friday of the month. taking place in the beautiful surroundings of the Vaulted Cellar Lounge at the Kings Head Hotel, 24 Market Place, Cirencester GL7 2NR. Doors open 7.45 pm and gigs start 8.00 pm, finishing 10.30 pm. Tickets are £10/£8 concessions in advance and £11/£9 on the door. You can order tickets via the Ticket Hotline on 01285 700900 or call in person at the hotel.'

    The gig on 24th April features Jake McMurchie's Michelson Morley.

     

     

    Some April 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 - Sunday, 5th April - Louis Stewart Quartet.

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

    Dublin: National Concert Hall (NCH), Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2. www.nch.ie
    Gig Pick - Friday, 10th April - Tomasz Stanko Quartet (Poland).

    Dublin: Whelan's, 25, Wexford Street, Dublin 2. www.whelanslive.com
    Gig Pick - Monday, 20th April - Portico.

    Dublin: John Field Room, National Concert Hall, Dublin 2. www.nch.ie

    Dublin: Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin 4. www.hughlane.ie
    Gig Pick - Sunday, 12th April - Alexander Hawkins . midday. Free.

    Wicklow: The Hot Spot Music Club, Harbour Lodge, Bayswater Terrace, Cliff Rd, Greystones, Co. Wicklow. www.thehotspot.ie
    Gig Pick - Saturday, 25th April - Stella Bass celebrates the birth of Ella Fitzgerald.


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

     

    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 - Sunday, 19th April - Tim Armacost Quartet.

     

    Wales: Dempsey's, Cardiff , 15, Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BS. www.jazzatdempseys.org.uk
    Gig Pick - Wednesday, 8th April - Tom Harrison Quartet.

     

    Lancashire: Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club, The Grand Theatre,18 York St., Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 2DL. www.rvjazzandblues.co.uk
    Gig Pick - Friday, 10th April - Arun Ghosh Band.

    Newcastle-upon-Tyne: The Jazz Cafe, 25 - 27 Pink Lane, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 5DW. www.jazzcafe-newcastle.co.uk
    Gig Pick - Friday, 17th April - Paul Skerritt Band.

    Liverpool: The Capstone Theatre, Shaw Street, Liverpool, L6 1HP. www.thecapstonetheatre.com
    Gig Pick - Wednesday, 22nd April - Gwilym Simcock.

    Yorkshire: SevenJazz, 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, 19th April - Corey Mwamba / Dave Kane / Joshua Blackmore at Inkwell Arts.

    Yorkshire: Jazz In The Spa, Boston Spa, Village Hall, High Street, Boston Spa. www.jazzinthespa.co.uk
    Gig Pick - Saturday, 11th April - Laurie Chescoe's Reunion Band with Roy Williams.

    South Yorkshire: Sheffield Jazz, Various venues in Sheffield. www.sheffieldjazz.org.uk
    Gig Pick - Friday, 24th April - Laura Jurd Quartet.

    Manchester: Matt and Phred's, 64 Tib Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1LW. www.mattandphreds.com
    Gig Pick - Thursday, 16th April - Jamie Brownfield Quartet.

    Norfolk: Norwich Jazz Jam, The Windmill, Knox Road, Norwich, NR1 4LQ. www.jazzjam.org.uk

    Birmingham: Birmingham Jazz Listings www.livebrum.co.uk/events/jazz
    Gig Pick - Wednesday, 29th April - Emilia Martensson.

    Essex: The Electric Palace, Harwich, King's Quay. Harwich. www.electricpalace.com
    Gig Pick - Thursday, 16th April - Clarinette Marmelade.

    Essex: The Headgate Theatre, Colchester, 14 Chapel Street North, Colchester CO2 7AT. www.headgatetheatre.co.uk

    Essex: North Weald, North Weald Village Hall, CM16 6BU Essex
    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, 22nd April - Len Baldwin's All Stars.

    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 - Saturday, 11th April - Tori Freestone Trio.

    London: Lume, Hoxton, The Long White Cloud, 151 Hackney Road, London E2 8JL. www.lumemusic.co.uk
    Gig Pick - Thursday, 30th April - Gus Garside/Annie Kerr & Byrne/Nash/Pursglove.

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

    London: Pizza Express, Soho, 10, Dean Street, London W1. www.pizzaexpresslive.com
    Gig Pick - Wednesday, 18th April - Madeline Bell and Ian Shaw 'Good Friends'.

    London: The Spice Of Life, Soho, 6, Moor Street, London W1. www.spicejazz.co.uk
    Gig Pick - Thursday, 16th April -
    Benoit Viellefon and his Orchestra.
    Gig Pick - Thursday, 30th April -
    London City Big Band.

    London: Ronnie Scott's Club, Soho, 47 Frith Street, London W1. www.ronniescotts.co.uk  
    Gig Pick - Tuesday, 14th April - 'Under Milk Wood' Suite with Clarke Tracey.
    Gig Pick - Tuesday, 28th April - Andrew Robb Trio.

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

    London: The Forge, Camden, 3-7 Delancey Street, Camden, London NW1 7NL. www.theforgevenue.org
    Gig Pick - Wednesday, 1st April - The Super C Big Band: Trumpet Summit.

    London: Chickenshed Theatre Jazz Bar, Southgate, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. www.chickenshed.org.uk
    Gig Pick - Friday, 24th April -
    The Clarinet Maestros. Ken Peplowski and Julian Marc Stringle with Craig Milverton’s Trio, featuring Sandy Suchodolski (bass) and Nick Milward (drums).

    London: The Vortex, 11, Gillett Street, N16 8AZ. www.vortexjazz.co.uk
    Gig Pick - Wednesday, 1st April - Ben van Gekder with the Kit Downes Trio
    Gig Pick
    - Thursday, 2nd April - Alec Harper, Andrea Nicodemou, Mark Sanders.

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

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

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

    London: 606 Club, 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0QD. www.606club.co.uk
    Gig Pick - Saturday, 18th April - Dave O'Higgins.

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

    London: The Bull's Head, 373 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, London, SW13 9PY. www.thebullshead.com
    Gig Pick - Tuesday, 21st April - The Humphrey Lyttelton Band.

    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, 5th April and Sunday, 19th April - 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm

    London: Omnibus, Old Clapham Library, 1 Clapham Common Northside, London, SW4 0QW. www.omnibus-clapham.org
    Gig Pick - Sunday, 12th April - The Dixie Ticklers.

     

    Kent: 144 Club, Nr Tunbridge Wells and Rochester, Finchcock's Musical Museum, Goudhurst, TN17 1HH. www.finchcocks.co.uk

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

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

    Surrey: Thames Ditton, The George and Dragon, High Street, Thames Ditton, KT7 0RY.
    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, 2nd April - Zoe Rahman Trio.

    Sussex: Brighton Jazz Club, www.brightonjazzclub.co.uk
    Gig Pick - Saturday, 11th April - Marius Neset Quintet.

    Gloucestershire: Cirencester, Kings Head Hotel, 24 Market Place, Cirencester GL7 2NR. www.kingshead-hotel.co.uk
    Gig Pick - Friday, 24th April - Jake McMurchie's Michelson Morley.

    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

    Bath: The Jazz Cafe, Kingsmead Square.
    Every Friday - Jazz Times Three - Terry Veale (guitar), Bill Lynn (bass), Mel Henry (trombone) - from 7.00 pm

    Bristol: The Be-Bop Club, The Bear, Hotwell Road, Bristol, BS8 4SF. www.thebebopclub.co.uk
    Gig Pick - Friday, 24th April - Mark Lawrence Quartet.

    Somerset: Ilminster Arts Centre, The Meeting House, East Street, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0AN. www.themeetinghouse.org,uk
    Gig Pick - Friday, 17th April - Tina May, Alan Barnes, Mark Nightinglae and the Craig Milverton Trio.

    Dorset: Bridport Arts Centre, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NR. www.bridport-arts.com
    Gig Pick - Friday, 24th April - Fleckd..

    Dorset: Sound Cellar, Poole, The Blue Boar, 29 Market Close, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1NE, www.soundcellar.moonfruit.com
    Gig Pick - Thursday, 9th April - The Tom Harrison Quartet.

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


     

    Items Carried Over From Last Month

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

    New Concert Hall For London

    Plans are in hand to explore the idea of a new state-of-the-art concert hall in London. The government has announced a grant of £1 million for the Sir Simon RattleBarbican to lead a six-month feasibility study into the proposal. Most of the capital’s concert halls at the Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall and the Barbican have been criticised for their acoustics and a new venue would need to meet modern expectations. It is expected that funding for a new hall would come mostly from the private sector and the cost is estimated at over £200 million.

    Sir Simon Rattle

    The site of the Museum Of London, not far from the Barbican is being considered as one option with the Museum moving elsewhere. The new hall would be expected to provide educational facilities and share its music throughout the UK using digital facilities. Sir Simon Rattle, currently with the Berlin Philarmonic, has said that he would consider moving to the London Symphony Orchestra if better facilities were available.

    A concern arises from the wording in one report that says: ‘If the new hall is built, the Barbican …would keep its existing venue but develop it more for non-classical music and other events.’ This appears to suggest that jazz would not be seen as a suitable genre to play at the new venue, and that seems unjust. Click here for more information.

     

    Blazing Flame Blow

    At the end of January, Steve Day took the band Blazing Flame to a studio in Bristol to film. Steve is a poet, a writer and a vocalist who has described himself as an aquired taste. His vocal style is distinctive. The band has played together before, so there is an understanding between the members and only limited rehearsal took place for a session based on improvisation.

    The resulting film footage looks and sounds impressive, but we need to start by listing the musicians who make up Blazing Flame. There is a lot of talent here. Pianist Keith Tippett and vocalist Julie Tippetts should need no introduction given their long and respected international contribution to improvised music and they bring their experience to this recording. Aaron Standon, alto saxophone and Peter Evans, electric violin make breathtaking contributions, and Fiona Harvey, electric bass, and Anton Henley, drums, anchor the rhythm section.

    The film was made by Bristol film maker, Steve Gear, the recording by Jim Barr (bass player with Get The Blessing) at J&J Studio. They bothBlazing Flame deserve credit for the result. All the tunes recorded and filmed are freely available on YouTube.

    The band previously recorded an album High Mountain Top, but Steve Day says: 'This time I wanted visuals of the band.  Playing gigs is difficult for an ensemble like us.  I don’t say it’s never going to happen but the circumstances would have to be quite special.  But what we can do is set up something in a studio which is ‘live’.  Quit overdubs and endless re-takes; bring new material into spontaneous performances which hopefully find their own audience out there in the ether.'

    Apart from the main theme, the music is entirely improvised, something that comes over effectively from the way the film is made. Steve again:

    'I wrote ‘Blow’ for Aaron Standon and Peter Evans, it is the first track in the new filmed series.  The Bird Architects are a quartet that Aaron and Peter have been playing in for decades. For me the ‘Bird Architect’ description is an exact fit for Aaron.  Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker defined the alto saxophone, he literally was Bebop and beyond.  Aaron’s playing is drawn to scale, a true architect of Bird’s legacy. I’m a writer – words.  This is not a casual conversation, I believe in the poetry of language; the poetry inside words is crucial. Even in those dark moments, within Blazing Flame I am fundamentally having fun mentally, with the art of spontaneous music making running parallel with my prewritten words.  In a way ‘Blow’ is about that process.'

    Click here to watch and listen to the film of the band playing Blow. Other videos from the session will be seen to the side of the YouTube page.

     

    Blow © Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

    I heard a horn
    on His Master’s Voice
    play with a force
    leaving me no choice,
    I had to put
    my ear to the ground,
    an alto sax
    with a sonic sound.
    Designer-solo
    from the Bird Architect:
    connect Charlie Parker,
    Renzo Piano select.
    There’s a whoosh in the wind
    and a wind in the whoosh;
    I wouldn’t separate them
    even if I could......
    Blow.

    Flickering stars
    pricking at the air;
    the dark damns vision,
    as the Birdman stares
    out from prison
    searching for the sound 
    of Parker’s  ‘Constellation’
    blowing ‘Homeward Bound’.
    There’s a perfect pitch
    and an accurate aim,
    squeezed from the reed
    comes a blazing flame;
    fire in the belly,
    heating up the head.
    There’s only one word
    needing to be said.....
    Blow.

    A violin,
    sinfonia spy,
    deep code breaker
    without a word of a lie.
    Solid wood fiddle
    wired to a box,
    everybody knows
    electricity rocks.
    Be-Bop the lot
    improvising time
    drawn to scale
    with dots on the line.
    The Bird Architect
    isn’t who he seems,
    he speaks so quiet
    until he has to scream......
    Blow.

     

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

    Jazz Weekends

    Tony and Denise Lawrence will be arranging their Jazz Weekends again in 2015. From March to November they book places in hotels around the UK with jazz entertainment provided.

    As an example, in Bournemouth at the Wessex Hotel on West Cliff, three nights dinner, bed and breakfast including a five-course gala dinner will cost £209 per person with Kevin Grenfell's Jazz Giants featuring Matt Palmer, John Maddocks Jazzmen, and the Denise Lawrence Band with Ron Drake providing jazz in the ballroom during the evenings. Other weekends take place at Shrewsbury, Windsor, Dawlish, Banbury, Cheltenham, Lyndhurst and Stratford Upon Avon.

    Click here for more details.

    Site Directory

    Click here for the Sandy Brown Jazz Site Directory on our Home page.

    The Directory includes regular features, articles, people profiles (let us know if you would like us to add a profile) and many other items including information about clarinettist Sandy Brown after whom this site is named.

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