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March 2015


Pearls for March

According to the lyricist in this month's Who's This?

 

What makes every Englishman
A fighter through and through?
It isn't roast beef, or ale, or home, or mother
It's just a little thing they sing to one another
Stiff upper lip, stout fella
Carry on, old fluff
Chin up, keep muddling through ..

Stiff Upper Lip

 

Britannia

 

 

Got a little rhythm, a rhythm, a rhythm
That pit-a-pats through my brain;
So darn persistent,
The day isn't distant
When it'll drive me insane.
Comes in the morning
Without any warning,
And hangs around me all day.

Fascinatin Rhythm

 

I say it with regret, But you're out of date;
You ain't heard nothin' yet, till you syncopate.
When the going is rough, You will find your troubles all have flown,
If you warble your stuff, Like the moaning of a saxophone.
Just try my recipe, And I'm sure you'll agree,
That a little jazz bird Is the only kind of bird for me.

Little Jazz Bird


Who's This?

Who's This?

This month we turn to a lyricist who was involved in many numbers that are part of the jazz repertoire and tunes that are staples of the Great American Songbook. Songs such as Someone To Watch Over Me, The Man I Love, But Not For Me, A Foggy Day, Embraceable You and I Can’t Get Started. Who is this?

Born in New York City in 1896, he was a shy boy, the elder of two brothers. The family home was in the centre of the Yiddish Theatre District, on the second floor at 91 Second Avenue, between East 5th Street and East 6th Street and the family went to the theatres often. At High School he wrote for several school newspapers and magazines but then dropped out of City College. He worked in his father’s Turkish baths until he was signed by Alex Aarons to write the songs for a show Two Little Girls In Blue in 1921. Three years later he wrote the lyrics for the show Lady Be Good and went on to write the lyrics for many more shows working with Jerome Kern, Kurt Weill, Harold Arlen and George Gershwin.

Who's This?

Pictured right with George Gershwin (left)

His work with Arthur Schwartz on the disappointing 1946 show Park Avenue led him to write: "Am reading a couple of stories for possible musicalization (if there is such a word) but I hope I don't like them as I think I deserve a long rest." He did write lyrics for the Betty Grable film The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947), Billy Wilder’s movie Kiss Me Stupid and the Judy Garland film A Star Is Born (1954).

It is said that he was 'a joyous listener to the sounds of the modern world... He had a sharp eye and ear for the minutiae of living.' He noted in a diary: "Heard in a day: An elevator's purr, telephone's ring, telephone's buzz, a baby's moans, a shout of delight, a screech from a 'flat wheel', hoarse honks, a hoarse voice, a tinkle, a match scratch on sandpaper, a deep resounding boom of dynamiting in the impending subway, iron hooks on the gutter."

He died in California in 1983. Not sure? Click here to listen to him talking about George Gershwin.

 

 

 

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 are sponsored by PPL and will be presented by well-known broadcaster Moira Stuart on 10th March.

The nominations are:

Laura Jurd

Laura Jurd

Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Alice Zawadzki, Georgia Mancio, Norma Winstone MBE and Zara McFarlane;

Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Jason Yarde, Laura Jurd and Phil Robson;

Jazz Album of the Year: Partisans Swamp, Julian Argüelles Circularity and Tim Garland Songs to Simon Purcellthe North Sky;

Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Engines Orchestra, Loose Tubes and Partisans;

Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Blue-Eyed Hawk, Elliot Galvin Trio and Peter Edwards;

Jazz Venue of the Year: Manchester Jazz Festival, Spice of Life and St Ives Jazz Club;

Jazz Media Award: Jazz on 3, BBC Radio 3, London Jazz News, www.londonjazznews.com and The Jazz Breakfast.

Jazz Education Award: Dr Tommy Smith, National Youth Jazz Orchestra and Simon Purcell; and

Services to Jazz Award: Chris Hodgkins, Evan Parker and Mike Gordon.

Simon Purcell

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 


 

 

Fifty Years Of 'Under Milk Wood'

Robin Kidson looks back over the years since Stan Tracey's Under Milk Wood:

March 2015 will see the fiftieth anniversary of the recording of one of the classics of British jazz. On March 14th 1965, Stan Tracey took his Stan Tacey Under Milk Wood albumQuartet into the Lansdowne Studios in London and recorded his jazz suite Under Milk Wood. Tracey once described how the suite came about:

“I had the opportunity to record the Quartet and was searching for an idea on which to base the music. It happened that I had the recording of Dylan Thomas’ play “Under Milk Wood” which I’d heard a few times and was quite knocked out with. And then, in the romantic tradition, I was lying in bed and thinking about what to hang the Quartet recording on, and I thought about “Under Milk Wood”. I immediately got out of bed, settled down with the book and the album, and as I was going through I jotted down ideas for titles. By the time I’d got to the end of the play I’d got all the titles worked out and just went on from there – writing for the titles and for the characters.”

Over the years, Under Milk Wood has established itself as a landmark in the evolution of British jazz. It is seen as one of the first pieces which had a distinctive British feel to it rather than being an imitation of American idioms. A modern listener, fifty years on, might find that claim difficult to understand. Yes, it’s a great piece of modern jazz but whether there is something uniquely British about it (apart from being written and played by Britons) is a moot point. Tracey’s piano style, for example, is taken straight from American models – Thelonious Monk with a dash of Duke Ellington. It is A+ Monk but Monk none the less. And there is more than a trace of Stan Getz about the playing of Bobby Wellins, the saxophonist on the recording. Most of the individual elements of the Suite are wonderful melodies played with confidence and panache; and the solos – particularly from Wellins – are lyrical and imaginative. But, to a modern Stan Traceyear, they still belong to a distinctively American tradition.

There is one towering exception to this. The second track of the Suite is called Starless and Bible Black and it is a work of genius. Even today, it still sounds fresh and innovative. It transcends musical boundaries – it is great music rather than just great jazz. It begins with drums and piano establishing a dark, menacing mood in a most un-jazz like way. Then Wellins comes in and plays one of the great jazz solos – wistful, sensual, imaginative. You can almost hear his breathing and the saxophone keys pressing against their pads. It is difficult to imagine any American jazz musician of the time (or, indeed, any other time) writing or playing anything like it.  

Stan Tracey

Click here to listen to Starless and Bible Black.

I once saw a live performance of the suite. It was some time in the late seventies at the Chichester Festival Theatre. Stan Tracey was the supporting act for Woody Herman and, together with his Quartet, performedStan Tracey Under Milk Wood album Under Milk Wood. The Welsh actor, Donald Houston, read relevant excerpts from the Dylan Thomas original play. The use of a narrator served to bring the individual elements of the suite together into an organic whole – something missing from the original recording which sometimes sounds like disparate tracks bearing little relationship both to each other and to the original play. Again, Starless and Bible Black is the exception. It captures perfectly what we feel it must have been like at night on the streets of Llareggub or up in Milk Wood. Subsequent recordings and performances of the piece often include a narrator.

Under Milk Wood – or, rather, Starless and Bible Black – received a new lease of life around its fortieth anniversary ten years ago. The track was included on one of Gilles Peterson’s successful “Impressed” compilations of British jazz released in 2004; and featured prominently in the BBC’s “Jazz Britannia” series in 2005. 
 
Fifty years has taken its toll on the four men who went into the Lansdowne studio back in 1965. Jackie Dougan, the drummer, died in 1973; Jeff Clyne, the bassist, in 2009. Stan Tracey himself passed away in December 2013 at the ripe old age of 86. Only Bobby Wellins is left. But we still have the fruits of their collaboration, and on 14th March, I for one will be taking out my copy of Under Milk Wood out, playing it, and remembering their shining moment.   

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Let's Get Quizzical

Who's This?Question Mark

Time for the March Jazz Quiz. This month, fifteen general questions about jazz to get you taxing your brain or your investigatory instincts. For example:

 

In his radio broadcasts of 1935 and 1936, who was introduced as ‘The Rajah Of Rhythm’ –
Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey or Ben Pollack?

 

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.

 

 

 

 

New Films On The Horizon

 

Tubby Hayes - A Man In A Hurry

Tubby Hayes A Man In A Hurry

 

Last month we reported on the documentary film (DVD) due to be released later this year about saxophonist Tubby Hayes. Tubby Hayes – A Man In A Hurry is expected to air in late summer. The documentary by Mark Baxter and Lee Cogswell is narrated by actor Martin Freeman and features exclusive interviews with people who knew Tubby, worked with him, were influenced by him, people from the music industry and fans.


Click here for the trailer.



 

Miles Ahead

Also later this year the film Miles Ahead is due to come to cinemas. Starring and directed by Don Cheadle, the film looks at the two days Don Cheadle as Miles Davis leading up to Miles Davis’s comeback in 1981 with flash-backs to 1955-56 and including his relationship at the time with his first wife Frances Taylor Davis (played by Emavatzy Corinealdi).

Ewan McGregor joins the cast as Dave Brill, Jeffrey Grover plays Gil Evans, and Herbie Hancock and Robert Glasper were also involved in making the film.

Click here for a video of Don Cheadle introducing the movie.

The New York Times reported on the film under the heading ‘Middle Aged Man Without A Horn’  – you can find out more if you click here.

 

 

John Coltrane

Another documentary about John Coltrane is also scheduled for later in the year. Director-writer-producer John Scheinfeld, who has previously made Ravi Coltranedocumentaries about John Lennon and Brian Wilson says the goal is to humanize instead of glorify Coltrane. ‘Most of the books attempt to analyze his music. We'll make the film different by showing the impact the music made. He's like the Beatles in that he never repeated himself; he found what worked and moved on. He had a restless creativity, and that, to me, is quite admirable.’

Ravi Coltrane

Music and film producer Spencer Proffer brought Coltrane's son Ravi on board as a consultant in February 2012. Ravi Coltrane says: ‘The John Coltrane story is simple. He worked his ass off, going to gigs and then coming home to practice. [Proffer and Scheinfled's] hearts are in the right place. They're film people, not jazz people, so I think it allows for a fresh take. What excites me is how this one artist affected so much outside the realm of music. It's about vision and discipline.’

It is hoped to have the movie ready by the end of 2015 with premiers in 2016.

 

 

 

Album First Released: 9th March 2015 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings

 

Phil Donkin

The Gate

 

With the release of his album The Gate on 9th March, bass player Phil Donkin is on tour through the UK. Is he worth going to hear? Yes, I should certainly say so.

The personnel for the album are saxophonist Ben Wendel, pianist Glenn Zaleski, drummer Jochen Rüeckert and bassist, composer, leaderPhil Donkin The Gate album Phil Donkin. Unfortunately Rüeckert is not available for the tour but don't let that put you off; the formidable James Maddren will be sitting in for the first two dates and Colin Stranahan for the rest.

So what can you expect? Some tight small group playing with lyrical offerings from saxophonist and pianist and an underlying presence of a creative bass and steady, sometimes exploratory drums.

Click here for an introductory video.

The album is twelve tracks long over an hour and twelve minutes. All of the tunes are compositions by Phil Donkin except Introspection by Thelonious Monk and the concluding Prelude No 23 in F Major by Shostakovich. It was recorded in Brooklyn in 2013.

Opening fairly gently with La Jurone, Wendel and Zaleski take their solos and Donkin winds up the piece with a bass solo. The second track, Macon Groove, also shows us that we are going to hear Phil Donkin soloing through the album. This tune is named after the street in Brooklyn, New York City where Donkin lived when he moved there from London. The tune 'displays his ability to play an extremely nimble melody, somehow resonant of Warne Marsh and Lennie Tristano.' Wendel and Zaleski take enjoyable bop solos . Track three, The Gate, is slow and beautiful - I love Ben Wendel's saxophone solo on this number and Glenn Zaleski plays along with some minimal but unpredictable piano until he picks up the tune. Donkin jumps into Introspection with bass and drums and this piece 'particularly shows some of the rhythmic subtelties that Donkin is known for, as well as his uncanny ability to glide effortlessly through forms Phil Donkinand time changes with poise, elegance and muscularity' and I would add that Jochen Rüeckert also makes an effective contribution on this track.

Phil Donkin
(picture by Lena Ganssmann)

Rather than working my way through the whole twelve tunes, I would pick out Butterfingers which starts out with Donkin bass-picking and Wendel saxophone-picking beside him with a brief nod to All The Things You Are before the saxophone sets out to explore the tune. One For Johnny at track nine starts with a walking bass line and then the saxophone strolls alongside the piano, then Zaleski wanders off light-footed on his own path before the saxophone ambles back in. The album ends with a classical composition by Shostakovich. This is nice. Prelude No 23 in F Major features Donkin's bass over the piano and saxophone. I don't always like the way classical pieces are arranged for jazz, but these short 2.50 minutes work well for me.

Phil Donkin says: 'I wanted to create a programme of music that anyone can enjoy, but doesn't dumb down to a notion that non-jazz audiences need to be condescended to. I think good music regardless of genre communicates on a human level, and the dividing forces that have been created artificially by the music press and industry now dictates how people are allowed to enjoy and receive music. I think that notion is wrong and I want my music to defy it.'

I like this album. If you get the chance to go to one of the gigs, take it.

Click here to sample the album.

3rd March - Poole, Sound Cellar - 8:30pm.
4th March - Cardiff, Dempsey's - 9:00pm.
5th March - Nottinghamshire Bobington Thetre - 8:00pm.
6th March - Sheffield Jazz - 8.30pm.
10th March - London Pizza Express Jazz Club - (album launch)
11th March - Birmingham, Urban Coffee - 8:00pm.
12th March - Oxford, The Spin.
13th March - Wakefield Jazz Club - 8:30pm.

Ian Maund


 

 

 

Point Of View - Miles Davis's Blind Listening Test

In 1964, DownBeat magazine interviewed Miles Davis and asked him to comment on some music through a 'blind listening' exercise. The ideaMiles Davis was to see if he could pick out musicians from the way they played. His comments were direct and took no prisoners, his response to some of the music played is surprising in retrospect.

Rob Brockway gives his point of view on Miles's comments:

'The jazz world is rife with sweeping, childish assessments of musical quality. Miles Davis embodies it in this fascinating piece, slagging off records left, right and centre as if he is God and his judgment is sacred, and it carries through to the present day when, for example, it's nothing extraordinary for one commentator to accuse Vijay Iyer of having "no touch, no tone, no melody". What's 'no touch' meant to mean? Does he literally drop his hand to the keyboard and miss? Everyone's entitled to dislike something and say why, but dismissing it entirely, making all opposition wrong, creates more problems than it solves.'

Click here to read what Miles Davis said. What is your view?

 

 

 

 

Tony Milliner - My Favourite Things

Neil Ardley - Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows

Tony MillinerThis month trombonist Tony Milliner chooses a track from Neil Ardley's Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows album.

Tony says: This is a complex album from Neil Ardley using six notes in Rainbow 4 and then six others to form twelve note groups, such as the riff in 5. The clarinet solo by Tony Coe on Rainbow 4 is incredible.'

Click here to listen to Prologue and Kaleidoscope 1.

Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows completed a trilogy by Ardley that started with The Greek Variations and then Symphony of Aramanths. Judged by Essential Jazz records as one of the 500 best albums, Kaleidoscope Neil Ardley albumOf Rainbows uses the 5-note scale of Balinese gamelan music. The Guardian has said that ‘it is notable for its elliptical, emotional tunes … still "accessible", with pretty melodies, catchy riffs and retro grooves, but it wouldn't work without a tough compositional skeleton,’ and they also draw attention to ‘a ravishing saxophone solo from Barbara Thompson.’

Click here for Kaleidoscope 4.

The personnel on the recording include: Neil Ardley (director, synthesizer) : Ian Carr (trumpet, flugelhorn) : Barbara Thompson, Tony Coe, Brian Smith, Bob Bertles (saxophone, woodwind) : Neil ArdleyPaul Buckmaster (cello) : Ken Shaw (guitar) : Geoff Castle, Dave McRae or John Taylor (electric piano, synthesizer) : Roger Sutton (bass guitar) : Roger Sellers (drums) : Trevor Tomkins (percussion).

Neil Ardley

Neil Ardley was born in 1937 in Wallington, Surrey, England. He was educated at Wallington County Grammar School and Bristol University, where he took a degree in chemistry in 1959. He began to take a practical interest in music at the age of 13, when he started to learn the piano, and later took up the saxophone, playing both instruments in jazz groups at the university. The Observer newspaper has said: ‘Kaleidoscope of Rainbows is a classic, not just of British jazz, but of 20th-century music.’

Click here for Rainbow 7 and Epilogue.

Click here to sample the album.


 

 

 

Jazz Musician – A juggler who uses harmonies instead of oranges.

Anonymous

 


 

 

That Track

Flight Of The Foo Birds

A man went to Africa to do some game hunting. While there, he hired a young native to accompany him as his guide. Soon, a large flock of birds flew overhead and the hunter took aim. The guide grabbed his arm and said “Oh, no! Those are foo birds and to shoot one means terrible things will happen to you!” The man decided that this was just a superstition, ignored the warning, and shot one down.

The Atomic Mr Basie albumA moment or two later, the rest of the flock returned and pooped all over him. He yelled at the guide: “Please get me some water to wash this mess off”. The boy said “Oh no! To wash the crap of the foo bird off means sudden death immediately!” Again the hunter ignored the warning, found water and got cleaned off. Sure enough he dropped dead then and there. The moral of this story is “If the foo shits, wear it. ”

Which has nothing, or everything, to do with Neal Hefti’s composition that flew out of the Atomic Mr Basie album. Click here for a video of the Basie band playing Flight Of the Foo Birds in 1965.

Although it is great to see the band in action, I do wonder if this is a true recording of the tempo if you compare it with the original recording (click here).

There are various debates about where the idea of Foo Birds came from – it is quite possible, of course, that Neal Hefti just liked the words.

One suggestion is that the term comes from the word ‘foo’ that emerged in the early 1930s, firstSmokey Stover used by cartoonist Bill Holman in his Smokey Stover (The Foo Fighter) cartoon strips which were run daily in the Chicago Tribune. Smokey Stover's catch phrase was "where there's foo, there's fire". Smokey wears bright red (or yellow) rubber boots and a clownish striped "helmet" (always worn back-to-front), which he sometimes ties to his nose with string, in lieu of a chinstrap. His trademark helmet also features a prominent hole in its hinged brim, which he occasionally uses as an ashtray for his lit cigar.

Although most of the sequences in the strip (and the occasional comic book) centre on Smokey's escapades with the Chief, the loose "plots" and situations are mainly a framework to display an endless parade of off-the-wall verbal and visual humor. Smokey rides ‘an impossible two-wheeled “Foomobile” (a single-axle fire engine which resembles a modern Segway with seats, or an independent sidecar).’

A novelty song based on Smokey Stover - 'What This Country Needs Is Foo', with words and "FOOsic" by Mack Kay, was recorded by Eddie DeLange and His Orchestra on Bluebird Records in 1939. Holman illustrated the cover for the sheet music. If you must, click here to listen to the recording with Elisse Cooper taking the vocal.

Other suggestions of derivation are a Foo Fighter - a WWII term for a class of unidentified flying objects seen from warplanes over both European and Pacific areas at the time. I see that the rock band Foo Fighters are headlining at Glastonbury this year. The words ‘Foo’ and ‘Bar’ are also apparently used by computer programmers who get them from ‘FUBAR’ -' f**ked up beyond all recognition'. A computer programmer might understand "Foo Bird" to mean - "any kind of bird you might think of will do here"...The acronym ‘FUBAR’ has been Annie Hall imagearound in the military since at least 1944 - perhaps Hefti originally wrote it as "Flight of the FUBAR" but cleaned it up to put it on the record sleeve? – but that is pretty unlikely.

Woody Allen used the Count Basie recording in his classic 1977 film Annie Hall. If you have never seen the film or would like a reminder, click here for a video compilation of some of the scenes.

Over the years Flight Of The Foo Birds has become a popular tune, particularly in the repertoire of young big bands. Apart from its heritage, the tune, taken at a variety of tempos, offers a good opportunity for ensemble playing and for solos.

We stop off first with the Bath Spa Big Band Society playing the number last year with a nice,Bath Spa Big Band s hort saxophone solo along the way (click here).

Bath Spa University Big Band



Our second stop is the Sant Andreu Jazz Band from Barcelona whose conductor looks Neal Heftifrighteningly like J K Simmonds character, Fletcher, in the movie Whiplash. This is a very capable young band with a short alto saxophone solo near the beginning that I enjoyed (click here).

Neal Hefti

I have to say that I am surprised that there is not more impressive video footage online from other bands performing the number.

Flight Of The Foo Birds is one of those memorable numbers that has carved out its place in the jazz story and deserves repeated visiting. It makes us remember just how much musicNeal Hefti contributed in all his writing from the Batman Theme and Barefoot In The Park to the enduring Li'l Darlin' and Splanky. Thank you Neal.

 

 

 

 

Album First Released: 6th October, 2014 - Label: Clavo Records

 

The Clare Fischer Big Band

Pacific Jazz

Pianist Rob Brockway reviews this album for us:

Click here to listen to the Clare Fischer Trio playing Nigerian Walk.

I don't hear much about Clare Fischer. He's little known amongst the pantheon of post-bop gods, and yet Herbie Hancock drew so heavily on his ideas that he has said “I wouldn't be me if it wasn't for Clare Fischer”. A classmate of mine travelled to California one summer to study arranging with him, and returned to tell me how the man's crunchy harmonies were 'my sort of thing', but as a jazz student I was up to my Clare Fischereyeballs in listening suggestions and it's taken me until now to check him out in earnest. Sadly, in the few years between, Fischer died, and his big band record Pacific Jazz is released posthumously.

Clare Fischer

The album rounds off a sixty-five-year career in jazz and pop music, stretching from Detroit, Michigan where he wrote for vocal quartet The Hi-Lo's in the 1950s to his final days in Los Angeles. In his youth he played piano on records by Bud Shank and Joe Pass, and since gathered his jazz credentials playing and arranging for Dizzy Gillespie, Art Pepper, Donald Byrd and Stan Kenton. A fair part of his work was with electric keyboards, and his astuteness to the onward march of time allowed him to extend his career into pop and soul, where he was responsible for many of the orchestral backdrops on recordings of Prince, Paul McCartney and Celine Dion. As a leader, he carved himself a niche in latin jazz (particularly with his group Salsa Picante in the 1980s) and large-ensemble writing, on which he collaborated for the latter half of his career with his son Brent Fischer. Clare and Brent's partnership finally produced this Pacific Jazz album.

The first thing evident after the drum fill into their version of Cherokee is Clare's colourful palette of harmonies; he takes Ray Noble's tune, traditionally a fast, joyful swinger, and squeezes it through his own array of dissonances that manages nonetheless to keep the song's light spirit. There is harmonic intrigue in every single track, whether originals like Passion (written when he was only sixteen) or material from Duke Ellington (Cotton Tail and a delicate Mood Indigo) and the Beatles (an alarmingly dark Eleanor Rigby). Brent has clearly woven muchClare Fischer Pacific Jazz of his father's knowledge into his own style; in the booklet, he calls their relationship “an epic journey that would gradually allow me to see music from his unique perspective”. He pays tribute with his own compositions New Thing and Son of a Dad, showing a more modern, funky edge than Clare's work not light-years away from the Yellowjackets and Brecker Brothers.

Funk, swing and ballads alike, these people care deeply about feel and groove. The various rhythm sections give the ensemble a buoyancy that can make the densest harmonies seem easy and casual. Their synth-ridden soundscape harks back somewhat to the 1980s, but although I prefer my jazz more acoustic, I found the beat too infectious to make a problem of it. The horns are on tight form throughout, athletic at times but always honouring the Fischers' orchestrations with a sensitive blend of sound (a favourite passage of mine is the final head of Mood Indigo, giving the melody to Bob Carr's plaintive bass saxophone with a thin cushion of woodwind above). There are bigger surprises, too: Son of a Dad has Rob Verdi honking cheekily up through the floorboards on contrabass sax, and perhaps the boldest move comes in Sad About Nothing Blues when trumpeter Carl Saunders and trombonist Scott Whitfield put their duelling horns down and continue with their voices; the band falls out from under in mid-chorus and leaves them to scat bass lines for each other, before powering back in with a vengeance. Just when I've started to second-guess a tune's trajectory, a humorous touch like this throws me right off course.

Soloists are not short of opportunity. There are a couple of cases as in the opening Cherokee where, for me, the improv falls short of the written material in terms of interest, but there are plenty of enjoyable spots elsewhere: Steve Huffsteter plays a deeply lyrical flugelhorn solo on Blues Parisien, veteran tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard spins out inventive lines over the final Ornithardy and, of course, Clare's keyboard work shines. His playing shows a whole other set of influences than his writing: the percussive touch and comic use of space nod to Monk and Ahmad Jamal; the melodic lines have a logic in common with Lennie Tristano; his carefully harmonised solo rendition of Gershwin's I Loves You Porgy, though he might have denied it, does remind me of Bill Evans.

Clare Fischer, with all his invention and individuality, was clearly a unique musician whose skills are belied by his modest fame. Plenty who have outdone him in renown, like Hancock, have undoubtedly taken leaves out of his manuscript book, and his contribution stretches far beyond jazz into popular music, so that few people in the Western world have not probably heard records touched by his orchestrations or influenced by his style. Pacific Jazz marks the end of a long career, and here, with his son and a crowd of trusted performers, he is remembered with an album that maps out his imagination in enough detail to be enjoyed both by avid fans and newcomers. I'd rather like to get that lesson now, but his music will have to do, and here it is in a neat, elegant package.

Click here to listen to Eleanor Rigby.

Click here to sample the album.

Rob Brockway

 

 

Who's New

Each year, Jazzwise magazine asks a number of people in the jazz scene which musicians we should look out for in the year to come. It is reassuring that the list is always quite long. Apart from one year that we missed, we have kept a record of the names put forward back as far as 2008 and it is quite interesting to look back and see who has been included (click here).

So who has been suggested as those we should look out for in 2015?

 

Dominic J Marshall (piano - named twice)
Moses Boyd (drums - named twice)
Tori Freestone (saxophone)
Jake Labazzi (trumpet)
Leo Richardson (saxophone)
Rachael Cohen (saxophone)
Jamie McCredie (guitar)

Jamie McCredie

Jamie McCredie

Emile Parisien (saxophone, France)
Krokofant (band, Norway)
Brandon Allen (saxophone)
Steve Fishwick (trumpet)
Henry Armburg Jennings (trumpet)
Hedvig Mollestad (guitar, Norway)
The Hot Sardines (band, USA)
Chris 'Daddy' Dave (drums)
Eliane Correa & En El Aire Project (band)
Premature Burial (band)
Elen Andrea Wang (bass, vocals)
The Grip (band)

David Austin Grey & the Hansu-Tori band
Fat-Suit (band)
Olivia Trummer (vocals)
Andrew Woodhead (piano)
Conor Chaplin (bass)
Mak Murtic & Mimik Ensemble (Croatia)
Shalosh Trio (band, Israel)
Misha Mullov-Abbado (bass)
Kyle Shepherd (piano, South Africa)
Pablo Held (piano, Germany)
Percy Pursglove (trumpet)
Hannes Riepler (guitar)
Anton Hunter (guitar)
David Virelles (piano, Cuba/New York)
Alice Zawadski (violin, vocals)

Alice Zawadzki

Alice Zawadzki

 

Phil Meadows (saxophone)
Lewis Wright (vibraphone)
Utsav Lal (piano)
Jon Rume Strøm (bass, Norway)

 

 

 

Finding Trad

Anthony Abel continues his look back to his early introduction to jazz and the escapades that went with it:

I went to Cy Laurie's club several times during the 60s, unfortunately the man himself had gone mystic and departed for India so I never got to see him. No visit would have been complete without ogling the pictures on display outside the Windmill Theatre, very tame by today's standards, but enough to inflame a 16 year old back then. I can't be sure who I even saw playing at Cy's, but I can remember the terribly sticky floor and so muchSix Bells Chelsea smoke that made my eyes water. The heat emanating from all the bodies crammed in there made it a relief to get out again.

There were some strange characters in the area in those days, one chap was called Pete The Brolly, he always carried one. I kept meeting him at various parties over the years. Smokey Shrover was another and a chap with the rather exotic name of Dido Plum.

The Six Bells in Chelsea was one of my favourite places. Jazz was played upstairs on a Saturday night, I even had a membership card, it had a picture of Flook on it, drawn by Wally Fawkes I believe. I saw Humph there several times until he started experimenting with mainstream and had Bruce Turner on sax in the line up. It sounds rather daft now but I considered him a traitor and the Six Bells just lost its appeal. We all used to go down to the Café Des Artistes in Radcliffe Gardens off the Fulham Rd afterwards where there was always somebody who knew of a party we could crash.

The Six Bells, Chelsea
Photograph courtesy of Roger Kinsey ©

Then my friend and I discovered the Jazz Boat moored on the river at Kingston. It always surprised me how many people used to cram on there. The bands were left with very little room, and it was not wise to be too near the trombonist and risk getting hit by the slide. The drink was served from the ticket booth, only Watneys Red Barrel though.

After that it was always Eel Pie Island on a Saturday night, what a fantastic place that was. I saw Ken Colyer there and Acker Bilk, how that floor used to bounce when we stomped. One night on the way out a friend bet me 5 shillings I would not jump off the bridge into the river. Of course I did and enjoyed it so much I went back on the bridge and did it for nothing. There was a police car parked on the Twickenham side and the policeman just watched and laughed. The downside of that was I had to travel all the way back to Sydenham dripping wet.

Another Saturday on the island Bryan and I gate-crashed a party in a boathouse, a very upmarket affair. They had huge cheeses with candles for lighting. I was hungry and cut an enormous slice out of one to eat, the host was furious as apparently the cheeses were on loan and had to be returned intact, needless to say we were roughed up and ejected.

The Crown in Morden was another favoured venue, run by Steve Duman, a welcoming host who let us get away with some rather bad behaviour, he just looked the other way. The bands were always first class, I must have been pretty drunk because I can't remember any of the lineups, may have been Mike Cotton Band or Terry Lightfoot. Bryan and I used to hitch hike all over to see bands. We went down to Brighton often with our blanket rolls on our backs, Bonnie Manzies Chinese Jazz Club was our destination usually.

Prior to going to the club we used to frequent the Lorelei Coffee bar in the Lanes, then a wine bar that sold draught Merrydown and Mead, powerful stuff.

Georgie FameWe were always short of money after that and could not muster up the entrance fee for Uncle Bonnie's so we used to rush up to him as if we were old friends shouting "Uncle Bonnie we are here again". He always was pleased to see us and let us in for nothing, "chop chop velly good" was the response from him. The last time we were there Georgie Fame was playing and I had a bit of a barney with his drummer and we were thrown out, never to return. We used to sleep under the pier after those nights, we never got moved on by the police but they did roust out the other dossers. We were completely without funds in the morning so we decided to try begging. We both took one side of the street and managed to collect 12 shillings between us. We went to the beach to divvy up the spoils and were approached by a policeman. He said he had seen what we were up to and told us we had an hour to get out of Brighton.

Georgie Fame

It must have been on a Saturday as we decided to go to the Isle Of Wight as we had heard of a club at the Starlight Ballroom at the end of Ryde Pier. We arrived there by a very roundabout route, that happened often when hitching lifts. The band playing were The Clyde Valley Stompers, with Fionna Duncan. I've always been a great fan of the band and Fionna's singing was always a joy to hear. The club owner was a chap called Leo, and unfortunately my pal Bryan said something rather suggestive to the woman he was with. It turned out it was his wife and we were ejected from the club for insulting her. I was with another girl and we spent the night on the beach, I don't know where Bryan went. In the morning I started looking for him fruitlessly so I went to the pier head and asked the chap on duty if he had seen anybody who looked like me? "No mate" was the reply. I went up and down the seafront for about an hour to no avail and decided to try the pier again. I asked the same question and the man said "Yes, he was here about an hour ago looking for you". It took me a little time to realise that it was me he was talking about, he had seen me twice! I did eventually find Bryan passed out in a shop doorway. It took us until early evening to get back home. I was on a dating site some years ago and a woman emailed me asking me if I went to the Black Cat club in Sydenham in the 60s, I said I did and she replied that her eldest son looked like me, she sent me a picture of him. A spitting image. Ah those heady days of free love where anything goes.

Click here for a video of the Clyde Valley Stompers playing Peter and the Wolf in 1962. [Does anyone have a picture of Fiona Duncan? - I have been unable to find one. Ed.]

I was an avid reader of the Melody Maker in those days and they published a list of gigs countrywide. There was a Jazz Festival advertised atMelody Maker Earlswood just outside Birmingham which we both decided to go to. We set out on a Friday night, taking the underground to North London to hitch a ride up the M1. We got there when a crowd was queuing for admission. There was not a huge crowd attending, unlike music festivals these days and one could easily see the bands at close quarters. A few local bands were billed, but best of all were Johnny Dankworth with Cleo Laine, and a real treat The Clyde Valley Stompers with Fiona Duncan. Hearing her sing Salty Dog was well worth the journey. It was a long haul back home and we got to the outskirts of London in the early morning.

As we had walked some distance we were both pretty tired so we got in our sleeping bags and dossed down outside Chalk Farm underground entrance, it was still closed and gated but there was a steady flow of warm air coming up, very comfortable. The station staff roused us when the station opened and we went on our way, I phoned work to say I was not to well and would not be in that day. When I got to work on the Tuesday I was called into the sales manager's office. He asked me had I recovered enough for work, and what had kept me from coming in on the Monday.

I replied that I thought I may have been coming down with the flu. He replied, looking rather angry "Perhaps you will explain the fact that our receptionist saw you asleep outside Chalk Farm underground station yesterday morning?" What could I say, he was working himself into a rage and beetroot red. He said "I'll give you a choice, you can resign or I'll sack you". I said "Suit yourself, I don't care". At that point I honestly thought he was going to come across the desk at me, he was shouting at the top of his voice "Get out! get out!" and he had the office manager eject me Jo-Ann Kellyfrom the building. Jobs were plentiful in those days and I was once again employed at the end of the week.

The Trad scene started to fade after a while and I decided to go to Australia, I was there for nearly a year working in a fairground, never got to work the dodgems though which was my ambition. I lost contact with my partner-in-mayhem Bryan shortly before I went, which is a shame because we did have enormous fun. I could write loads of other high jinks we got up to unrelated to Traditional Jazz. Incidentally we both went out with Pamela Kelly who went on to sing blues as Jo-Ann Kelly, what a fabulous voice she had but died tragically of a brain tumour several years ago.

Jo-Ann Kelly

One high spot though, after many years silence Bryan phoned me out of the blue last week, I'm really pleased he did as we share many memories, as you can imagine!

Click here to listen to Jo-Ann Kelly singing Louisiana Blues in 1969.

To be continued ....

Click here for Anthony's previous articles.

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

 

 

 


Help With Musical Definitions No 6.

Xylophone – Small toy musical instrument often given as gifts to children
who show their appreciation by playing the stupid thing constantly,
over and over, all day long; see also ‘drums’.

Anonymous

 

 

 

 

Full Focus

Dave Manington's Riff Raff

Agile

[You are able to listen to the track Agile discussed by Dave Manington at the same time as reading this article 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 is a link at the end of this article and you can listen to the track there].

Bass player Dave Manington is one of the founders of the Loop Collective, the e17 Jazz Collective and is currently writing new music for several new projects. He has composed for and led his own septet, trios, and quartet, whilst also contributing music to many other people’s albums. His acclaimed debut quartet album Headrush was released on Loop Records in 2008.

His band Riff Raff is a dynamic ensemble of young musicians featuring vocalist Brigitte Beraha (Bablefish, Kenny Wheeler.), pianist Ivo Neame (Phronesis) who also contributes occasional accordion, saxophonist Tomas Challenger (Brass Mask, Outhouse, Red Snapper), guitarist Rob Updegraff (Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, Zigaboo Modeliste) and drummer Tim Giles (Iain Ballamy, Kenny Wheeler, Art Farmer).

 

Riff Raff

 

Riff Raff’s album Hullabaloo was released in 2013 and was followed by a successful UK tour. Dave says:

Dave ManingtonThe starting point for the music is often collective improvisation but compositionally it draws on as wide a range of styles as possible. Folk, electronic music and contemporary classical influences are added to the mix with complex jazz harmonies and rhythms. Several compositions feature lyrics written by Brigitte Beraha and on other tracks she sings wordless vocals, often harmonizing with the sax line to great effect.

Dave Manington

The writing process for me can follow many different paths; the elements of a composition can be put together in any order, taken to pieces again, and recombined. If I get stuck writing a melody, I’ll try changing the feel, key or tempo. If I’m still stuck, I’ll reharmonise it, or write a bassline, or a countermelody. Something will sound good and get me going again. The tricky bit is being good at editing. Sometimes the scrap of melody I started with ends up being the weakest part of the Brigitte Berehacomposition. I have to be quite self-critical and ruthlessly cut out the bits that don’t work. I have to be willing to pretty much start again from a new angle, basing the piece instead around a nice chord sequence I happened upon, or a groove that happened in the 15th bar perhaps.

Brigitte Bereha

Once I am happy with the basis of a composition, I like to live with it for a while, play it on a few different instruments, loop sections of it, and bring it to rehearsals to get people to play it and see what their playing suggests to me about the directions the piece could develop. I record rehearsals and listen back to us playing. Then I rewrite the tune. I like to imagine it’s just another “jazz standard” or a tune by someone else and then I’ll arrange it. I’ll try and write an intro, maybe try some chord reharmonisations, perhaps write a different section to solo on, maybe a specific ending or coda. Eventually I’ll settle on a version I like.

This recorded version of Agile is probably at least the 10th incarnation of a tune. The computer programme “Sibelius” is a fantastic tool which enables musicians like me to spend hours tweaking and editing a composition without having to write out 6 new parts by hand every time I want to change something (or getting through another bottle of tippex – remember that?).

For me, you can hear the influence of Claudia Quintet, Mingus, Polar Bear, Pierre de Bethmann, other Loop collective members and many contemporary jazz composers who I feel close to in this tune.  I like the energy of it and the way Tim phrases the groove on the drums. I hope that it makes sense when you listen to it and doesn’t sound clever for the sake of it because the grooves were worked out as organically as possible and not by mathematics.

In the end, you don’t want to be counting when you’re listening to music, just enjoying the overall effect, the melodies, the groove, the textures, whatever attracts you. It’s a subjective thing after all. 

 


Agile music


Agile began life with the main groove/rhythmic figure. I made a drum loop to play along to, and then I would improvise with it and record myself playing variations, taking the idea through several different keys and time signatures to see what would work best. I recorded the bassline above and then played guitar along to it until I came up with a part that worked. Once I’d got a few ideas I used the best versions as the basis for the different sections of the music. I then subsequently composed the melodies and countermelodies over the top which make up the main ensemble section.

 

Agile music


Tom Challenger

This next main variation was originally the backing for the saxophone solo, but after playing the tune a few times we settled on it as the climax for the solo instead.

Tom Challenger

 

We play “free” at first and follow Tom's sax. It's collective improvisation with a lot of input from the rest of the band but he leads the way and it's more his solo than anyone else's. We try and follow his suggestions and sudden changes of pace and together we gradually start to hint at his bassline, which is eventually cued in by Tom at the end of his solo and forms the cue to go on into the next section.

 

 

Agile music


After a reprise of the opening section the piece hits a sudden change and goes into a metric modulation. This was my third variation on Ivo Neamethe original bassline and the music changes to a 9/8 triplet feel. Ivo plays a fantastic solo over this section.  

In the arranging stage I added a backing line for vocals/sax and a coda where the riff changes key for the final 2 times. It’s nice to write a bit of an unexpected twist at the end of a piece sometimes! I always put thought into the start and end of each tune, it’s easy to think “it’s fine, we can come up with an ending as we’re playing” but really if you want it to work well, confidently and cleanly each time you need to write a proper intro/outro. I also felt the bare vocal/sax line launching into groove at the very start was a strong beginning and good way to start the album.

Click here to listen to Agile (or click here to read the article again while you listen).

The band will be playing the following venues in the near future. Catch them if you can:

Monday, 30th March 2015 - Dave Manington's Riff Raff @ The Oxford
Tuesday, 31st March 2015 - Dave Manington's Riff Raff @ Newcastle Jazz Cafe 
Wednesday, 29th April 2015 - Dave Manington's Riff Trio @ e17jazz  Walthamstow, London E17

For more about Dave Manington, click here for his website: www.davemanington.com

Click here to sample the full album Hullabaloo by Dave Manington’s Riff Raff.

 

 

 

Album First Released: 26th January 2015 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings

 

Alex Garnett's Bunch Of Five

Andromeda

 

Saxophonist Howard Lawes reviews this album for us:

Alex Garnett's Bunch of 5 are a quintet of fine musicians that certainly delivers the punch implied from the name.  Apart from Garnett himself, tenor saxophone is played by American Tim Armacost who has extensive experience not only of the New York jazz scene but with musicalAlex Garnett album ventures in India and Japan. Liam Noble on piano, is excellent as ever and brings to the band his extensive experience of accompanying such great tenor saxophonists as Tim Whitehead, Bobby Wellins and many more.  London based, American record producer Michael Janisch is on double bass and Royal Academy of Music graduate James Maddren on drums.

Andromeda is only the second album by Alex Garnett as band leader although of course he has played in many great bands and supported many other musicians touring the UK and abroad for more than 20 years.  His first album, Serpent was described by John Fordham in the Guardian as an "unexpected gem" and "tightly swinging, updated hard bop" and Andromeda carries on in a similar vein with new compositions and two new arrangements of old favourites. 

There are eight tracks with just over 60 minutes of playing time.  So Long has a good melody inspired by Benny Golson and nice solos from each saxophone in turn.  Charlie's World is dedicated to 2 year old Charlie Garnett and begins with what could be a saxophone rendition of  a squeaky toy or the cry of a child; piano and double base provide some calming influence before the saxophones return improvising around the catchy theme.  Title track Andromeda is dedicated to our neighbouring galaxy; there is a leisurely Latin feel taken up first by the piano and then by some mellow saxophone before both saxophones play in chorus demonstrating the special sound that comes from two tenor saxophones playing together.

Alex Garnett Bunch Of FiveThe mischievously titled Delusions of Grandma is a fast tempo piece featuring a conversation between the two saxophones which seems to lead to an argument that is resolved by a drum solo.  Early Autumn is a classic piece, first played by Stan Getz in Woody Herman's "Second Herd" and Garnett and Armacost have come up with a really beautiful version for this album.  Her Tears  is a gently rocking, recent Garnett composition featuring another great piano solo and duetting saxophones while Holmes really swings with a toe-tapping tune evoking the hustle and bustle of the city.  The final track, I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm by Irving Berlin, arranged by Garnett, is a high speed treatment of this well known tune and demonstrates the virtuosity of all the band members. 

It is clear that Alex Garnett excels at both playing and composing great jazz music - the only pity is that he hasn't had the time to produce more than two albums.  However he does play regularly at Ronnie Scott's and other venues and should be well worth a visit.

Click here to sample the album.

Click here for Alex Garnett's website.

Howard Lawes

 

 

 

 

The Jazz Grammys 2015

The 57th Annual Grammy Awards were held on February 8, 2015, at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, California. The Grammy nominations were open for recordings released between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2014. Originally called the Gramaphone Award, it is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry. The awards cover a wide variety of music. This year, UK singer Sam Smith received four awards. The annual ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The first Grammy Awards ceremony was held on May 4, 1959, to honour the musical accomplishments by performers for the year 1958. There are a number of Jazz categories in the awards and this year's winners were:

 

Chick Corea Trilogy

 

Improvised Jazz Solo
Fingerprints,Chick Corea

Jazz Instrumental Album
"Trilogy," Chick Corea Trio

 

Dianne Reeves Beautiful Life

 

Jazz Vocal Album
"Beautiful Life," Dianne Reeves



Life In The Bubble album

 

Large Jazz Ensemble Album
"Life in the Bubble," Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band

 



Offense Of the Drum album

 

Latin Jazz Album
"The Offense of the Drum," Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra


 

 

 

 

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.

Bessie Smith album

Bessie Smith – 1923 - 1933

Bessie Smith, 'The Empress Of The Blues'. As one person writes: 'Bessie Smith was, and is, without parallel. She had a huge powerful rich contralto voice that could range from smooth to harsh, she had perfect pitch, and her control was total. The 22 tracks on this CD include Bessie Smith with basic accompaniment of a solitary piano, also with various instruments added such as cornet (e.g. with Louis Armstrong on St Louis Blues) and clarinet, and with jazz ensembles and full jazz orchestration. At all times, and as appropriate to the mood, Bessie Smith brings her sensitive originality to all the blues melodies expressing sadness and meloncholy as well as humour.'


Click here to sample the album. Click here to see Bessie in the film St Louis Blues in 1929. Click here to listen to Bessie and Louis Armstrong playing Careless Love Blues in 1925.

 

 

 

 

Album released - 2nd February 2015: Label - Ninety Nine Records

 

Eyebrow

Garden City

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Eyebrow: Paul Wigens (drums, percussion, violin), Pete Judge (trumpet, electronics, tuba), on two tracks only: Jim Barr (baritone guitar, bass guitar & bass pedals).

Pete Judge plays trumpet in Get The Blessing.  The quartet rightly made a big impact this time last year with a recording called Lope andEyebrow album Antilope, a bright, tight thing which I decided to buy over the counter on a whim.  I’m still listening.  Some people said ‘Lope’ doffed a jazz hat to Ornette Coleman.  Not me.  In my view this was a band that had said ‘goodbye’ to their influences.  Since then I’ve done some work myself with Jim Barr, the bass player with that blessed four-piece.  Mr Barr also turns up on two tracks on this Eyebrow recording.  Okay, so I have a very slight connection with these musicians.  You can keep that in mind if you want to, but in my book Garden City will make its own way in the world whatever my words come up with. 

See, Garden City is New Build.  A contained composition constructed from improvisation across seven tracks.  The best way of listening to this album is as a whole rather than as separate pieces.  Titles like Thaw and Scrim are indicators of movements within a larger construct, Paul Wigens marking the passage of time with precise percussion figures.  The opening Blind Summit begins with a multiple electro-trumpet fanfare, percussion rolling and tolling as if making space for itself.  Then the full drum-kit entry comes with a balancing act on four beats.  It signals the beginning of a bass-drum guideline through an ambient electro-sound board.  Later on Lustre, Paul Wigens’ clever use of shakers and tom-tom beats turns rhythm into a second melodic line.  This is New Build, a new way of approaching spontaneity in the studio.    

Track four is Mr Choppy, I’ve no idea to whom the title refers, what I do know is that the trumpet that comes in over the top of Paul Wigens’ thirty-seven second drum intro is sonic.  It is double-tracked, or something like it, delayed and played against itself.  It would take a Techy to tell you.  The fact is the music is so damn beautiful; the reason why the power of sound can literally speak not simply play to us. Judge judges it too, the poignancy of the phrasing is fibril, teased to ease its own tension.  Kenny Wheeler could take his horn to such an improvised setting (Springheel Jack comes to mind,) and I guess Miles Davis’ Tutu is also an influence.  Eyebrow are beyond all that, this is truly their Eyebrowthing.  Paul Wigens is nothing like a ‘jazz drummer’ but his artful beat-breaks are his alone.  They are not what we would expect and what we expect is not what this music requires.  Here there is a trumpet needing little else other than an audience’s ears.

Click here to listen to Mr Choppy from the album.

I took track four almost at random, so I’ll finish with Pinch Point, because it is the final place to go on this recording.  The squeezed pinched point that gives admittance to a note through a bell of brass.  If you are interested in contemporary trumpet playing you need to hear what is going on at this point.  Pete Judge is playing the essence of the melody, the part left after fragmentation, the fragility of a squeezed phraseology.  This guy is not a big blower.  Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman’s trumpeter and compatriot, played a small pocket cornet, it looked squashed and sounded squashed.  Judge’s horn looks conventional but sounds as if the air it contains is thick with essence.  At this point music becomes extremely personal and I don’t intend to put words in his mouth but this is small detail written extremely large.

Click here to listen to Pinch Point.

The title, Garden City refers to Bristol; the roads cross here, urban and urbane, the countryside seen from the city centre.  Paul Wigens and Pete Judge have made a recording which is both elegant wasteland and industrially green; electronic, patterned with beats yet oddly blow-able.  Right now it feels like essential listening.      

Click here for a video of Eyebrow playing live. Click here to sample the album.

 

Steve Day
stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk   

 

 

Forum

Colin Seymour

Garry Capon has written trying to track down an old friend. Garry says: ‘Hi, I have no idea if you can help but here goes. I wonder if you have ever heard of a jazz drummer by the name of Colin Seymour? I knew Colin back in '92 - '93 when we worked together in Weybridge - we were both Engineers. Colin however played drums .... jazz drums. He played often back then in the 606 club in Lotts Road, Fulham and at the Bull’s Head pub in Barnes, West London. I hung out with him - he was a great bloke, very unassuming but clever. He lived just behind the Bull’s Head in I think Catherine Road. We lost contact and this was pre mobile phone days (remember them)  but I would like to get in contact. I guess Colin would be about seventy now.'

Please contact us if you can help.

   

Big Joe Turner and Humphrey Lyttelton

In the first of two queries we hope someone can help with, Chris Duff in Canada writes:

There was a very strange session I attended around 1965/66 (I think!).  Humphrey Lyttelton and his band had been booked to play in a large ballroom which, if memory serves, was below street level in a building somewhere in the vicinity of the Scala Theatre in Tottenham Court Road, London.  I’m sure it was Joe Turner fronting the band.  The strange thing is I was the only one there!  No one else turned up.  Humph and Joe played for a couple of hours and I was the only one applauding.  I would love to know if anyone has knowledge of this gig and can confirm I wasn’t dreaming!

 

Les Wood

In his second message, Chris Duff writes: 'An old jazz friend from Sussex was enquiring recently about clarinettist Les Wood.  Les came from Sussex and was a popular member of the local jazz fraternity in the 1960s.  He was a member of the original Bob Wallis Storyville Jazzmen and could be seen later guesting with many Sussex bands from The Fourteen Foot Band to the New City Jazzmen.  He had a strange habit of disappearing from time to time.  I have a note datelined January 1969 that he was coming out of retirement (again!) to lead  a new quartet, with Gerald Geogehan (banjo), John Boyett (bass) and Geoff Simkins on drums.  They played a few weeks at the King & Queen, Brighton.  That’s about the last we’ve heard of him.'  Can anyone help?

 

Finding Trad

Sue Reid has seen Anthony Abel's article on Finding Trad (click here) and writes: 'I have just read Anthony Abel’s article and found it fascinating. I used to live in Selsdon but moved up to the Wirral where I spent my teenage years doing much the same thing. There was wall to wall traditional jazz in those days and we saw all the good bands up here. It was a great life then and I went out with a bass player from one of the local bands for quite a time and have recently become a jazz singer myself at this late stage in my life. But, as you will be aware, traditional jazz is fading fast as so many of the players and the audience are leaving us. The youngsters are not really interested in it (with exceptions of course) but modern jazz continues to have its place and many of them know The American Song Book numbers, which is something to be grateful for.'

 

 

 

 

(The harpsichord sounds) like two skeletons
copulating on a corrugated tin roof.

Sir Thomas Beecham

 

 

 

Album Released: 2nd February 2015 - Label: Salvo Sound & Vision


Charles Mingus

Live In Europe 1975 (CD and DVD)

Tim Rolfe Reviews this album for us.

This is another release in the Sound and Vision series following on from the Stan Getz CD and DVD which was reviewed last month. Unlike the one on Stan Getz this CD and DVD have different material except for one track that is different musically, as it has guest musicians.

The musicians are Charles Mingus (bass), Don Pullen (piano), Dannie Richmond (drums), George Adams (tenor sax, flute and vocals), and Jack Walrath (trumpet).  These five were the line-up for the two albums, Changes One and Changes Two produced in 1974. Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax) and Benny Bailey (trumpet) guest on the last two tracks on the DVD.  The majority of the numbers were composed by MingusCharles Mingus CD & DVD except the last one on the CD and DVD.  

The package contains a booklet that has some good notes on Mingus. There are 9 tracks on the CD and 5 on the DVD.  The track that is on both is Goodbye Pork Pie Hat. I do not think you can compare the sound on the CD with the sound on the DVD. The majority of the tracks on the CD were produced in the studio whilst the DVD was recorded at a live performance 40 years ago. I listened to the CD through a full hi-fi setup and although the DVD has a number of sound choices (as did the TV), it was still coming through a large format TV with small speakers, perhaps a sound bar would have helped or filtering the sound through the hi-fi system - but you could spend all weekend fiddling with the combinations rather than listening to the music! Bearing in mind that this was recorded 40 years ago, you have to make allowances, even if you cannot hear clearly what Mingus is saying on the introductions to the numbers on the DVD.  

The visuals on the DVD were okay for 1975 but sometimes lacked sharp focus and some basic errors that you do not see these days (e.g. numerous shots of camera crew). Sometimes also the clarity of the brass was not as good as the bass and piano. The original DVD film lists the musicians after each number and the last track had to be individually selected from the playlist as it did not play automatically as part of the overall programme, which made it curiously, more like a bonus track.

The track listings are CD: Pithecanthropus Erectus, Tijuana Gift Shop, Haitian Fight Song, Reincarnation of a Love Bird, Better Get Hit in your Soul, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Moanin’, Gunslingin’ Bird, and I’ll Remember April (Live). On the DVD, the tracks are Devil Blues, Free Cell Block F ‘tis Nazi USA, Sue’s Changes, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat and Take the ‘A’ Train.

As Charles Mingus is one of the most important and prolific figures in 20th century music, he is generally referred to just by just his surname Gerry Mulliganas with other notable musicians of the period. Charles Mingus had a mix of races for grandparents and I wondered if this influenced the range of music that he produced and which fitted no racial or cultural stereotype at the time. He was classically trained and also taught composition at the State University of New York.

My favourite track seems to be the one on both the CD and DVD, Mingus’s Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, his tribute to Lester Young, a slower “bluesy” number rightly featuring the tenor sax of George Adams. This is obviously a requiem piece but furnished with a nicely structured and measured melody.  On the DVD there are some good solos from all, especially the guest musicians, Gerry Mulligan and Benny Bailey who’s playing really added to the depth of the piece.

Click here for the Goodbye Pork Pie Hat video on YouTube.

Another track to note on the DVD is Devil Blues, where George Adams provides raspy and dry vocals and a curious sound made by his tongue like a North African woman does during a celebration.

Sue’s Changes, is an intriguing and lengthy track featuring changes of pace (slow and fast sections) as well as changes of style. There is a good trumpet solo and a wonderful interlude with piano and bass playing beautifully together as a combo. During these solos andCharles  Mingus combinations the other musicians even had time to “light up”, how times have changed!

Click here for the video of Sue's Changes. Click here for Devil Blues.

On the CD, the first track Pithecanthropus Erectus, provides a nice, quiet, mysterious start with each instrument joining and leaving, followed by a discordant passage of improvisation dissolving into a trumpet solo. There is also a complementary piano and bass combo with intricate melodic sections. The constant changes in pace keep you listening. With the 4th track of the CD, Reincarnation of a Love Bird, we have an interesting intro with all musicians playing the same melody, followed later with an intricate saxophone solo from George Adams.This track has a strong flow which is unusually neither fast nor slow. Another CD track of note is the last one, I’ll Remember April, the only live recorded track, and which features the usual fast pace of the band with their favoured brass section start and an outstanding piano solo aided by the strong bass beat keeping all the musicians in line.

Overall I think the package is good value and I enjoyed most of the tracks on the CD and DVD.

Click here for details.

Tim Rolfe                            

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

Album released: 6th January 2015 - Label: Capri Records / Indie Japan

The Jeff Hamilton Trio

Great American Songs Through The Years

Imagine the scene. You and some friends have gone to a restaurant. In one corner is a jazz trio; piano, bass and drums. They are playing tunes you recognise. After a while, a friend leans across the table. “The pianist is good. I think I’ll buy their CD.”

One way to make a sure an album will be popular is to fill it with Standards and this album has many. Although it is called American SongsJeff Hamilton Trio Great American Songs Through The Years, the years in question do not include more contemporary music. Another way to make it popular is to play those tunes well without making them too outfield, and that is the case here too.

American Jeff Hamilton is the drummer for this working trio that has played together for more than ten years. Jeff is also co-director of the Clayton-Hamilton Jass Orchestra and has worked with Ray Brown, Oscar Peterson and Diana Krall. Tamir Hendelman, born in Israel and now based in America, is the pianist and Christoph Luty the bass player. The album mainly features the pianist, but there is some good solo playing from Luty, and Hamilton has his solo spots too.

This is not the first album from the Trio, From Studio 4 Cologne Germany in 2013 received some good reviews and with other albums by the Trio is available as a download.

Jeff Hamilton TrioThe tracks include: Falling In Love With Love; Tenderly; The More I See You; It Could Happen To You; Someone To Watch Over Me; Thou Swell; You Took Advantage Of Me; I Thought About You;  All Or Nothing At All and How Long Has This Been Going On.

It Could Happen To You is an interesting arrangement in that the tune is taken fast. I was not sure that this would work, but it does. All Or Nothing At All is similarly taken at a fairly fast pace.

Someone To Watch Over Me has an interesting arrangement with Christoph Luty playing the full Introduction as a bass solo before taking out his bow to ease into Tamir's piano taking up the melody. Similarly Luty's solo bass leads us into I Thought About You. This is a relaxed, experienced trio playing some well-loved tunes imaginatively and accessibly.

Click here for a video of the Trio playing Isn't It Romantic back in 1997.

Great American Songs Through The Years is the result of an arrangement between Capri Records and All Art Promotions in Japan to license the CD and is a limited edition of 2,500 copies. At £19.61 from Amazon it is rather expensive, but Capri Records are trying to negotiate with Japan for the album to be available as a download like others from the Jeff Hamilton Trio.

Click here to sample the album.

Ian Maund

 

 

 

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).

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. 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.

For further details and booking: www.nationaljazzarchive.org.uk/events. Tel: 020 8502 4701: email - events@nationaljazzarchive.org.uk

 

 

Album First Released: 17th February 2014 - Label: Capri Records

 

Charles McPherson

The Journey

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Charles McPherson (alto saxophone); Keith Oxman (tenor saxophone); Chip Stephens (piano); Ken Walker(bass); Todd Reid (drums).

Charles McPherson has been a modest man throughout his entire career.  He’s not about to change that.  On this session, under his own name, he generously elects not to play on one track in order to highlight the skills of tenor saxophone player, Keith Oxman, who helped arranged the gig in the first place.  ‘Other people’ always seem to figure.  Talk ‘Charles McPherson’ and it’s not long before two other people with the same first name crop up in conversation: Mingus and Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker. 

McPherson’s alto sax was the ‘ghost horn’ used on Clint Eastwood’s film Bird, a fine biopic of Charlie Parker.  As for McPherson’s time withCharles McPherson The Journey album Charles Mingus, it was at the point when the great bassist/composer was also working with celebrated reed players like Eric Dolphy and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.  No one set out to make it so, but such stellar musicians surrounding McPherson tended to mask the exceptional talent of the ‘modest man’. 

McPherson is an A-List player; he can hit fast intricacies on Bebop classics (witness his skilful race-around Bird’s Au Privave on this new recording), play tender ballads with an edge (the duet with pianist Chip Stephens, I Should Care is a study in style, with the content seemingly pulled casually out of the ether).  He also writes and extends his own compositions, for example the title track here, The Journey.  It sounds effortless, exceptionally so.

In some ways this session came along like one hundred and one others, it looks like an everyday jazz story.  Famous soloist, now in his later years, hits town, in this case Denver, teams up with local band, plays a gig, gets involved in some workshops, records material that everyone brings to the table and ... moves on.  And yes, that is often the way of things. But, no one should be under the misapprehension that fine music cannot come out of such regular on the road encounters.  Here Todd Reid and Ken Walker, drum and bass, are sharp and inventive, most definitely not going through the motions. And neither is Chip Stephens; this pianist is not ‘bar room’ – he is a big inventive theatre, improvising time and space; swing, swept into verse and chorus with everything to play for.  As for Keith Oxman’s tenor saxophone, it’s a brilliant foil for Charles McPherson, still the star soloist.  A modest man, who at 75 finds it the perfect timing to let the genie deliver straight through his curved horn.

I wasn’t planning to begin the year with this self effacing legend of the alto saxophone but I’m very pleased to have spent time listening to this recording date from Denver.  Sometimes unwrapping the unassuming can produce a box of delights.
  
Click here to listen to The Journey. Click here for the trailer for the biopic film Bird with Charles McPherson’s alto saxophone soundtrack and Forest Whitaker acting the role of Charlie Parker.

Click here to sample the album.

Steve Day
stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk         



 

 

Banjoking

Nat Piccirilli

You might like jokes about the banjo, but there are those who are dedicated to the instrument. YouTube brings us this video of a banjo player who can banjo up a storm at 92 years old. Nat Piccirilli is a Rhode Island musician. He plays guitar, violin, mandolin and banjo. He's also an accomplished winemaker, gardner and golfer. Nat's been married to his wife Frances for over 66 years. He's played with Bob Hope and actor Jack Lemmon and for President George Bush at his home in Maine. He continues to play as a member of The Aristocats, who have been entertaining Rhode Islanders for years. Those who captured him on video say: 'Nat is a Rhode Island treasure and we were thrilled to sit down and speak with him about his music.'

Click here for the video. Bela Fleck

 

 

But if you think that is the story of banjo today - think again. Here is a video with Béla Fleck in interview and performance with the Flecktones - this can make you rethink your ideas about the banjo in jazz completely - click here. Béla Anton Leoš Fleck was born in 1958. He is an American banjo player now widely acknowledged as one of the world's most innovative and technically proficient musicians on the instrument.

So joking aside. Try this, then visit our Banjoking page (click here).

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this place, it's just like home, filthy and full of strangers.

Ronnie Scott at his club.


 

 

 

 

Two Ears, Three Eyes

Photographer Brian O'Connor takes his camera to another jazz gig and once again shares with us some of the images he has taken:

 

Goldings, Bernstein and Stewart

 

These pictures were taken of a gig at The Watermill Jazz Club in Surrey on 15th January 2015. Graham Thomas went along with Brian and writes:

The Watermill was sold out for the last gig in the UK tour of the Larry Goldings-Peter Bernstein-Bill Stewart trio.  There was a real buzz in the venue, with over 30 musicians in the audience, including Alec Dankworth, John Critchinson, Nigel Price, and many others. 

Peter Bernstein

Peter Bernstein

Peter Bernstein was born in New York City on September 3, 1967. He began playing piano when he was eight but switched to guitar when he was thirteen, learning the instrument primarily by ear. He studied Jazz at Rutgers Universite with Ted Dunbar and Kenny Barron and then completed his degree at The New School in New York City, where he met and studied with one of his mentors and influences, Jim Hall, and the two have played together as a duo over the years since then.

In the 1990s, Peter was a leading figure in contemporary jazz, playing with many musicians including Joshua Redman, Jimmy Cobb, Lee Konitz, Roy Hargrove and Joe Lovano. He is known for his clean, warm guitar tone and his lyrical melodic lines. In 2008, Peter became part of The Blue Note 7, a septet formed to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Blue Note Records. Click here for a video of Peter Bernstein playing Darn That Dream with Randy Johnston.

 

The trio soon built up an intense groove and maintained it for the rest of the evening.  Peter Bernstein produced a glowing tone on the guitar, building his solos with singing phrases and dramatic runs down the fingerboard. 

Larry Goldings

Larry Goldings

Larry Goldings was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He studied classical piano until the age of twelve, and then at High School he attended a programme at the Eastman School of Music. He studied with Ran Blake and Keith Jarrett and on moving to New York in 1986, attended a newly formed jazz program at The New School and studied with Jaki Byard and Fred Hersch. While still a college student, he embarked on a worldwide tour with Jon Hendricks and worked with him for a year. A collaboration lasting almost three years with guitarist Jim Hall followed.

From 1988, he was featured with several bands, and his own trio with guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart. His first release was Intimacy Of The Blues in 1991. He has released ten or more albums since then, and has appeared as a sideman on hundreds of recordings. In 2007, Larry Goldings, Jack DeJohnette and John Scofield received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Jazz Instrumental Album Individual or Group for their live album, Trio Beyond - Saudades.

Goldings' compositions have been recorded by many musicians and his musical arrangements and original songs also appear on several James Taylor albums, including October Road, James Taylor at Christmas, One Man Band, and Covers. Click here for a video of Larry playing with the John Scofield Organic Trio in 2013.

 

Larry Goldings displayed his mastery of the Hammond organ, with orchestral introductions blending all the different sounds of the mighty instrument, like a painter mixing his colours.  Centre-stage, drummer Bill Stewart kept up a powerful and varied percussion texture, with superbly structured solos. 

Bernstein, Golding and Stewart

Among the tunes played were: Jive Coffee, Every Time We Say Goodbye, Why Wouldn't You (a lyrical new tune by Peter Bernstein), Tincture (by Bill Stewart).

The audience loudly demanded an encore, at which Larry Goldings quipped 'Unfortunately we don't know any more tunes, how about a Q. and A. session instead?'  Then Peter Bernstein played a soft chordal introduction, leading the trio into a relaxed and soulful 'Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You', leaving everyone in a mellow mood.  Let's hope the trio return to the UK soon!

Bill Stewart's father was a trombonist, and his first and middle names are a tribute to jazz trombonist Bill Harris. Bill grew up in Iowa. He is a largely self-taught drummer and began playing at the age of seven. At high school he played in the school orchestra and went to a summer musicBill Stewart camp at Stanford Jazz Workshop where he met Dizzy Gillespie. After graduation, he went to the University of Northern Iowa and then William Paterson University where he played in ensembles directed by Rufus Reid and studied drums with Eliot Zigmund and Horace Arnold. He met Joe Lovano while still in college and made his first recordings, with saxophonist Scott Kreitzer and pianist Armen Donelian while still in school.

Bill Stewart

After college, Bill Moved to New York playing with John Scofield's Quartet and in the trio with Larry Golding and Peter Bernstein. He worked with Maceo Parker from 1990 to 1991, touring and recording on three of Parker's albums. The association led to Stewart's gig with james Brown, who told Stewart that there "Ain't no funk in Iowa!". Another close associate is pianist Kevin Hays. The Kevin Hays Trio has recorded five CDs and toured internationally. Musical associations with Lee Konitz, Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny have also established his reputation.

Wikipedia describes his drumming style as being: '... distinguished by its melodic focus, and its polyrhythmic, or layered character. To describe someone's drumming style as "melodic" would mean there is a sense that you could "hum along" with discernible linear phrases which tell pieces of a story, akin to a vocalist, pianist, or saxophonist. Stewart's improvisations favor the development and layering of motivic ideas over the raw generation of excitement or display of technical prowess. Stewart has great touch, or dynamic precision, so that his ideas are articulated with an exactness and clarity.' Click here for a video of Bill Stewart talking about his playing at The Modern Drummer Festival in 2008 together with clips of his playing.

The gig at the Watermill Jazz Club was also significant in the audience that it attracted. Brian O'Connor says: 'What a gig.  Packed audience of about 130, and at £25 a time that takes some going for a jazz club in a social hall. The audience contained a galaxy of British jazz talent.'

Watermill Audience

 

Front Row, Left to Right: Dave Warren, Kathryn Shackleton, Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings, Bill Stewart, Ann Odell, Nat Lambson, Imogen Ryall and Dave Cliff.

Second Row, Left to Right: Nat Steele, Paul Hobbs, Pete Whittaker, Gary Wilcox, Dave Barry,  Robbie Robson, John Turville, Josephine Davies, Paul Whitten, Terry Seabrook, Andy Trim, John Critchinson, Kate Williams, Alec Dankworth, Stan Sulzmann, Bobby Worth, Ross Stanley and Dylan Howe.

Back Row, Left to Right: Pete Cater, Steve Wetherall, Phil Hopkins, Iain Sutcliffe, Nigel Price, Dorian Lockett, Janette Mason, Andrea Vicari, Shane Hill, Matt Home and Roger Hind

All images © Brain O'Connor, Images of Jazz (www.imagesofjazz.com).

 

 

 

Album released - 16th February 2015: Label - Whirlwind

Ant Law

Zero Sum World


Here is a new album that I like. London-based guitarist Ant Law plays regularly with bands that including those of Tim Garland, Jason Robello, Gwilym Simcock and Asaf Sirkis. He is also known as a pioneer of the ‘perfect fourths’ tuning system. On this, his second album, he has brought together a group of well-respected UK musicians – Michael Chillingworth (reeds), Ivo Neame (piano), Tom Farmer (bass) and James Maddren Ant Law album (drums) and they tested out the content of this album extensively on tour before going into the studio. In concept, Zero Sum World sounds complicated. The music sounds good.

 The ‘Zero Sum Game’ comes from mathematics or economics where the gain of one player is offset by the loss of another player, equaling the sum of zero. For instance, if a person plays a single game of chess with someone else, one person will lose and one person will win. The win (+1) added to the loss (-1) equals zero. In a Zero Sum World, no one can profit without someone else’s loss. So is it a ‘concept album’? Ant Law says: ‘Zero Sum World for me is balanced – some of the music is dense and dissonant – there are moments where the entire band improvises freely together. At other times (like the start of the album) only one instrument is playing at any given time. There’s some swing and a blues too amongst the other less standard forms. In this way the album is a concept album, as indicated by the title.’

The title track opens the album gently with reeds joined at a slow tempo by bass and drums followed by piano and guitar creating some rich textures as the sound increases and then falls away. Prelude features Ant Law’s guitar with bass and drums, a lyrical piece that morphs into Waltz where piano and saxophone dance giving way to nice solos from Ivo Neame, Tom Farmer and Ant Law. Mishra Jathi is a South-Indian rhythm piece. Law’s compositions have been described as ‘often tricksy and rhythmically shifting’ and that is so here – a good thing, which Chillingworth and Neame explore well. I like the way Michael Chillingworth briefly uses the bass clarinet at times to add colour during tracks on this album.

Those who read this website already know of my respect for drummer James Maddren who makes an important contribution to this album Ant Lawwith his ability to provide complex and sympathetic percussion.

Asymptotes (a geometric term) has the guitar fooling me into thinking the word means It Could Happen To You, but not for long, Ivo Neame’s piano takes the tune away with fast fingers. Parallel People works its way into a steady bass riff against which the saxophone and drums run alongside each other. Triviophobia is apparently about taking things too seriously, in particular the arts, and especially music. This is a foot-tapper with an extended guitar solo that draws you in. It is a long piece at 8.20 minutes that allows the saxophone to take over as all the while, drums and bass keep the toes tapping on. Leafcutter and Symbiosis 14:21:34 grew out of the idea of multiple rhythms co-existing, as with symbiosis in biology (Ant Law studied Physics at Edinburgh University). There is melting-pot of changing rhythms here – I’d doff my cap to James Maddren if I wore one, and as Chillingworth picks up the clarinet with guitar in partnership the sounds change too. The initial Folk feel of Symbiosis soon moves elsewhere. Monument is the longest track at almost nine-and-a-half minutes and a tribute to international guitarist Ben Monder with whom Ant Law has studied. Blues is a well-chosen track to end on, well-underwritten by Tom Farmer's bass, Ivo Neame's bluesy piano and saxophone and guitar wrapping things up.

I find this a satisfying album, varied, interest-holding, and demonstrating the team talents of very able musicians with something to say. The album signposts Ant Law as a worthy composer and guitarist, and here, I think, he has the right ingredients.

Click here to sample the album.

The band played some gigs during February but other dates are due to follow in May:

1st - Stoke by Nayland Hotel, 18 The Causeway, Sudbury, CO10 5JR
8th - The Fisher Theatre, 10 Broad Street, Bungay, NR35 1EE
11th - Kenilworth Rugby Football Club, Glasshouse Lane, Kenilworth, CV8
15th - The Red Lion UAB, Warstone Lane, Birmingham, B18 6NG
19th - The White Swan, Swan Street, Leeds, LS1 6LG
20th- Bonington Theatre, High Street, Arnold, NG5 7EE
22nd - Capstone Theatre, Shaw St, Liverpool, L6 1
23rd - Zeffirelli's, Compston Rd, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9AD (FREE)
24th - The Royal Clifton Hotel, Promenade, Southport, PR8 1RB
28th - Mau Mau Bar, 265 Portobello Rd, London, W11 1LR

Ian Maund

 

 

 

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:

 

Clark Terry

 

Clark Terry – Legendary American trumpeter born in St Louis, Missouri, who worked with Lionel Hampton, Charlie Barnet, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and others as well as leading his own groups. Although right-handed, he taught himself to manipulate the valves with his left hand too, and could even play the trumpet upside down with the backs of the fingers of either hand. A close friend of Miles Davis, it was Clark Terry who introduced Miles to the flugelhorn.

Click here for a video of Clark Terry playing In A Mellow Tone on flugelhorn. Click here for a 53 second video him playing trumpet on Straight No Chaser.

 

 

Jim Galloway

Jim Galloway - Mike Walmsley writes: 'Jim was an internationally known soprano, tenor and baritone saxophonist from Scotland, playing mostly in Toronto. He was always a pleasure to play with and listen to. He had a wicked sense of fun and humour.' Jim Galloway was born in Ayrshire in 1936. He went to Glasgow School of Art in 1954 at which time he started to play clarinet.

After playing with Alex Dalgleish, he formed his own band the Jazzmakers in 1961 then moved to Toronto, Canada in 1964. There he established his reputation as a saxophonist and bandleader. He returned to Scotland on a number of occasions, playing gigs like the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, and in Canada hosted a radio programme and acted as a booking agent for Café des Copains. Click here for a video of Jim and his Wee Big Band.

 

Frankie Randall

 

Frankie Randall - Pianist and singer who was Frank Sinatra's personal pianist as well as recording in his own right. Born in New Jersey, he started playing piano at the age of seven and after graduating with a degree in Psychology, started playing at Jilly's Nightclub. There he met Sinatra in 1964 and Sinatra helped him to record and appear in film. By the early 1970s, Randall was playing in an all-star jazz band in Los Angeles led by Pat Rizzo, who also played saxophone for Sinatra and was part of the Sinatra circle. Frankie's last recording was the 2001 album Right Now that featured a number of arrangements given to him by Sinatra. Click here to listen to him sing a tribute to Frank.

 

 

 

Bunny Briggs

 

Bunny Briggs – American percussionist and tap dancer born in Harlem and described by Duke Ellington as ‘the most superleviathonic, rhythmaturgically syncopated, tapsthamaticianismatist’. Inspired by Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson he started performing as a child and his career developed through working with big bands, in movies and in clubs and theatres. In 2002 Briggs was given a doctorate in performing arts by Oklahoma City University, and was inducted into the Tap Dance Hall of Fame.

Click here for a video of Bunny dancing with Duke Ellington's Orchestra in David Danced Before The Lord in the 1960s with Jon Hendricks taking the vocals. Click here for a movie clip with Bunny and Charlie Barnett and The Singing Telegram in the 1940s.

 

 

 

 

One From Ten

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

Courtney Pine / Zoe Rahman

Song (The Ballad Book)


It is not out until the 16th March, but as he goes on tour in the UK, Courtney Pine’s new duo album with pianist Zoe Rahman sounds full of promise. Courtney Pine Song albumSong (The Ballad Book) is his sixteenth studio album and here he plays an interesting selection of intimate ballads on bass clarinet, accompanied only by MOBO Award winning pianist, Zoe Rahman.

Courtney Pine has been playing, re-inventing and exploring since his first album in the 1980s. Over the years in between he has been honoured with an OBE and a CBE for services to music, as well as numerous other awards. In April 2014 he joined Herbie Hancock and many other jazz ‘stars’ for UNESCO’s globally televised concert in Osaka to celebrate International Jazz Day, and released the album House Of Legends, chosen as Album Of the Year by Jazzwise magazine. Many of us will have seen his Jazz Warriors gigs full of talented musicians and playing to packed houses. Now he brings everything down to just himself and British / Bengali pianist Zoe Rahman who herself is steadily becoming a significant presence in jazz here and elsewhere.

Courtney Pine has said: “I have always wanted to record a collection of my favourite ballads and there is nothing like performing in a duet for bringing out the intimacy of great songs”. These ten ballads in question are wide ranging: Beatrice, A Child Is Born, Courtney Pine and Zoe RahmanAmazing Grace, Come Sunday, One Last Cry, Intro, A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square, Through The Fire, Song and One Day We’ll All Be Free, compositions by Pine himself as well as Donny Hathaway Edward Howard, Duke Ellington, Sam Rivers, Thad Jones and Brian McKnight.

What does Jazzwise magazine say about the album this time? Alyn Shipton awards it four stars and calls it ‘reflective and beautiful’ with ‘a reverence for the songs’. Come Sunday starts with vintage record effects but then becomes a mix of ‘the sensuous and the questing.’ Shipton picks out Amazing Grace that explores ‘the extreme’s of the bass clarinet’s range within a performance of exceptional control’ and A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square where Pine ‘manages to find a captivatingly sumptuous tone in the instrument’s middle range’ and ‘Rahman’s delicate, thoughtful accompaniment.’

Click here to sample the album nearer to the release date.

It sounds as though it will be worth buying tickets early as Courtney Pine and Zoe Rahman set out on tour:

March:
13th - St Mary’s Church, Kent
14th - St George’s, Brighton
19th - Kings Place, London
22nd - RNCM, Manchester
April
9th - St Georges Hall, Bristol
10th - St Mary’s in The Castle, Hastings
22nd - The Stables, Wavendon
May
2nd - Alnwick Playhouse, Northumberland
3rd - Woodend Barn Arts Centre, Banchory, Scotland
4th - Town Hall, Middlesbrough
5th - Arts Centre, Pocklington
6th - Brewery Arts Theatre, Kendal
16th - Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden
26th - Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline
June and July
12th June - Key Theatre, Dunfermline: 31st July - House, Jersey

 

 

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).

 

Jack DeJohnette album

 

1. Jack DeJohnette - Made In Chicago - (ECM)

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

 

 

Engine Orchestra album

 

2. Engine Orchestra + Phil Meadows Group - Lifecycles - (Engines Imprint)

[Click here to sample. Click here for review]

 

 

Ella Fitzgerald CDs

 

3. Ella Fitzgerald - Live In Paris 1957-1962 - (Fremeaux)

[3CD box set. Click here for details and comments]

 

 

Rudresh Mahanthappa album

 

4. Rudresh Mahanthappa - Bird Calls - (ACT)

[Click here for details. Click here for article. Also available in vinyl]

 

 

Courtney Pine album

 

5. Courtney Pine with Zoe Rahman - Song - (The Ballad Book) - (Destin-E)

[Click here to sample when released]

 

 

Django Reinhardt CDs

 

6. Django Reinhardt - Five Albums Originaux - (Warner)

[5 CDs. Click here for details. Click here for more detailed information including personnel]

 

 

 

Emily Saunders album

 

7. Emily Saunders - Outsiders Insiders - (The Mix Sounds)

[Click here to sample. Click here to listen to Outsiders Insiders]

 

 

Gil Scott Heron album

 

8. Gil Scott-Heron - Free Will - (BGP)

[Click here to sample. Click here to listen to Free Will]

 

 

Mulligan Meets Webster CD

 

9. Gerry Mulligan / Ben Webster - Mulligan Meets Webster - (Masterworks)

[Click here to order. Click here to listen to Blues In B Flat]

 

 

Art Pepper Ted Brown Free Wheeling

 

10. Art Pepper and Ted Brown - The Complete Free Wheeling Sessions - (Phoenix)

[Click here to sample]

 

 

 

Help Me Information
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with apologies to Chuck Berry (click here)

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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 - 17th March 2015: Label - Manitoba / Cellar Live

Curtis Nowosad

Dialectics

Vic Arnold reviews this album for us:

This is Curtis Nowosad's second album and it is labelled "straight ahead jazz", or as the liner notes call it "neo hard bop". 

Click here for a video of the band playing Dialectics.

The group consists of Curtis Nowosad (drums), Jimmy Greene (tenor and soprano saxophones), Derrick Gardner (trumpet), Steve Kirby (acoustic bass), and Will Bonness (piano).  There are nine tracks on the recording, one written  by Wayne Shorter, one by Thelonious MonkCurtis Nowasad album and the last track is a version of I Remember You, a pop hit from the 1960s recorded by Frank Ifield. The recording plays for forthy-nine minutes.

Most of the tracks are the work of  Curtis Nowosad. Curtis is currently studying and performing in New York. Drummer, composer, and bandleader he ‘became recognized as the face of a new generation of jazz players in Winnipeg, playing in a variety of situations, as well as lending his talents to other genres. His debut album, The Skeptic and the Cynic, was released in late 2012 and he recently recorded with pianist Kenny Barron in Brooklyn, New York.’

Click here for a video of the band recording Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil for the Dialectics album featuring Derrick Gardner's trumpet and Jimmy Greene on tenor saxophone.

If your taste in jazz is hard bop, neo or not, I am sure that you will find much to enjoy here. The quintet are all very competent musicians and they all come from  Winnipeg , Canada.  They have been playing together in various configurations since 2009. Of the tracks that I found most enjoyable, Gleaning and Dreaming features the soprano saxophone played in a mellow manner. I like this instrument but it can sound very strident in the hands of some players. 

Gleaming and Dreaming was picked up by the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra last December. Click here for a video of their first read-through conducted by Jim McNeely, and with a soprano saxophone solo by Matt Woroshyl.

But what of the title Dialectics?  The liner notes state that track 3, Dialectics, is 'a hexatonically-inspired funk groove that practically shouts' Modern Jazz'.  So, now you know.  Of the other tracks they all have something to offer and apart from the fore-mentioned Gleaming and Dreaming, I did find track I Remember You enjoyable, perhaps listening to the tune brought back memories from the 1960's although I never did rate Frank Ifield too highly .

Click here for Curtis's website. Click here for the album.

Vic Arnold      

 

 

On Tour - The Tom Green Septet

The Tom Green Septet continues with a successful tour during March featuring their new, highly regarded album Skyline.

Tom Green Septet

Click here for more about the album.

Click here for our Profile of Tom Green.

The Septet is currently on tour - catch them if you can. Matthew Herd's place is being taken on this tour by the very excellent Tommy Andrews. Tom's blog on the tour is on his website - click here.

Tom Green Septet at Burdall's Yard in Bath in January with Miguel Gorodi (trumpet), Sam James (keyboard), Tom Green (trombone), Misha Mullov-Abbado (bass), Tommy Andrews (saxophone) Sam Miles (saxophone), Scott Chapman (drums)

Photograph © Nick Davis Abacus Photography


March
4th - Sheffield - The Lescar
5th - Manchester - Matt and Phreds
6th - Bradford - JATP Jazz
13th - Birmingham - Symphony Hall Foyer (5.00 pm)
27th - Colchester - Fleece Jazz

 

 

 

The Silver Project - Edinburgh

Drummer Kevin Dorrian writes: 'The Silver Project  will be launched at Whighams Jazz Club, Whighams Wine Cellars,  Edinburgh, on Sunday 15th March. The Silver Project is effectively the band JazzMain augmented by trumpet and flugelhorn player Ewan Mains. Nick Gould The Silver Project poster(saxophone), Steve Grossart (piano), John Hay (Bass), Kevin Dorrian (drums). It pays homage to the music of Horace Silver, 'sticking to the script' of his fantastic output - including Liberation Brother, Nica's Dream, The Cape Verdean Blues and many many more. You'll find more on the website (click here), especially created for this collaboration between five Scottish jazz musicians   

When Horace Silver once wrote out his rules for musical composition (in the liner notes to the 1968 record, Serenade to a Soul Sister), he expounded on the importance of “meaningful simplicity.” The pianist could have just as easily been describing his own life. For more than fifty years, Silver has simply written some of the most enduring tunes in jazz while performing them in a distinctively personal style. It’s all been straight forward enough, while decades of incredible experiences have provided the meaning.

Now hear those tunes come alive with Scotland’s very own tribute to his legacy and his life with a journey through his extensive catalogue. Our goal is not only to emulate the styles of the bands and musicians Horace Silver played in and worked with, but also to bring the music a freshness, to give this enormous talent to the Jazz and music world a fitting tribute.

Working our way though classics such as ‘Song for my Father’, ‘Sister Sadie’ and 'Nica’s Dream’ all the way to some less well known melodies like the beautiful ‘Peace’ and ‘Liberated Brother’, the sheer clarity of Silver’s writing shines through.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Some March 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, 22nd March - Richie Buckley Quintet.

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

Dublin: National Concert Hall (NCH), Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2. www.nch.ie

Dublin: Whelan's, 25, Wexford Street, Dublin 2. www.whelanslive.com
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 11th March - Tom Rainey.

Dublin: Hot Spot Music Club, Greystones Harbour. www.thehotspot.ie
Gig Pick - Sunday, 22nd March - Proteus Jazz Band. 4.00 pm Free.

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


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 - Wednesday, 4th March - Trio HSK (Ant Law, Rich Harrold, Richard Kass).

 

Wales: Dempsey's, Cardiff , 15, Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BS. www.jazzatdempseys.org.uk
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 4th March - Phil Donkin's The Gate.

 

Lancashire: Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club, The Grand Theatre,18 York St., Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 2DL. www.rvjazzandblues.co.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 6th March - Sirkis / Bialas International Quartet.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne: The Jazz Cafe, 25 - 27 Pink Lane, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 5DW. www.jazzcafe-newcastle.co.uk
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 31st March - Dave Manington's Riff Raff.

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

Yorkshire: SevenJazz, Leeds, Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, or Inkwell Arts, 31 Potternewton Lane Chapel Allerton, Leeds. www.sevenjazz.co.uk
(Includes: Seven Jazz Improvisation Group, Seven Jazz instrumental workshops and Seven Jazz Voices Choir).
Gig Pick - Sunday, 8th March - 'Jamie Taylor's Outside Line' at Seven Arts.

Yorkshire: Jazz In The Spa, Boston Spa, Village Hall, High Street, Boston Spa. www.jazzinthespa.co.uk
Gig Pick - Saturday, 21st March - Amy Roberts / Richard Exall Quintet.

South Yorkshire: Sheffield Jazz, Various venues in Sheffield. www.sheffieldjazz.org.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 27th March - Andrew McCormack 3 + Mark Lockheart.

Manchester: Matt and Phred's, 64 Tib Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1LW. www.mattandphreds.com
Gig Pick - Thursday, 5th March - Tom Green Septet.

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 - Friday, 6th March - Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble.

Essex: The Electric Palace, Harwich, King's Quay. Harwich. www.electricpalace.com
Gig Pick - Thursday, 19th March - Hugh Rainey.

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, 11th March - Laurie Chescoe's Reunion Band.

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 - Thursday, 19th March - Courtney Pine Presents Song (The Ballad Book).

London: Lume, Hoxton, The Long White Cloud, 151 Hackney Road, London E2 8JL. www.lumemusic.co.uk
Gig Pick - Thursday, 12th March - Alex Bonney Quartet.

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

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

London: The Spice Of Life, Soho, 6, Moor Street, London W1. www.spicejazz.co.uk
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 25th March - Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestra.
Gig Pick - Thursday, 26th March - London City Big Band.

London: Ronnie Scott's Club, Soho, 47 Frith Street, London W1. www.ronniescotts.co.uk  
Gig Pick - Saturday, 14th March - Dr John and the Nite Trippers.

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

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

London: Chickenshed Theatre Jazz Bar, Southgate, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. www.chickenshed.org.uk
Gig Pick - Friday 27th March -
Alec Dankworth presents 'World Spirit'.

London: The Vortex, 11, Gillett Street, N16 8AZ. www.vortexjazz.co.uk
Gig Pick - Saturday, 28th March - Bobby Wellins.

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

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

London: Jazz In The Round, The Cockpit, Marylebone, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH. www.thecockpit.org.uk
Gig Pick - Monday, 30th March - Stickchops feat. Orphy Robinson, Anthony Kerr and Clark Tracy.

London: 606 Club, 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0QD. www.606club.co.uk
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 25th March - Antonio Forcione and Adriano Adewale.

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 - Saturday, 28th March - The Peter King Quartet.

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, 8th March and Sunday, 15th March - 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, 15th March - Tom Green Quartet.

London: Harrow Arts Centre, Uxbridge Road, Hatch End, HA5 4EA. www.harrowarts.org
Friday, 27th March - Tina May Sextet.

 

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, 19th March - Jean Toussaint JT4.

Sussex: Brighton Jazz Club, www.brightonjazzclub.co.uk
Gig Pick - Saturday, 28th March - John Taylor Trio featuring Julian Arguelles.

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

Somerset: Ilminster Arts Centre, The Meeting House, East Street, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0AN. www.themeetinghouse.org,uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 6th March - Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier.

Dorset: Bridport Arts Centre, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NR. www.bridport-arts.com
Gig Pick - Friday, 13th March - Charlie Hearnshaw and Philip Clouts.

Dorset: Sound Cellar, Poole, The Blue Boar, 29 Market Close, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1NE, www.soundcellar.moonfruit.com
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 3rd March - The Phil Donkin Quartet.

Cornwall: St. Ives Jazz Club, Western Hotel, Gabriel Street, St. Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2LU. www.stivesjazzclub.com
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 3rd March - Will Butterworth Quartet.


 

Items Carried Over From Last Month

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

Louis Armstrong's Desert Island Discs Found

It was back in 1968 that Louis Armstrong was interviewed by Roy Plomley on the BBC programme Desert Island Discs. It had been thought that tapes of the programme had been lost, but a copy on reel-to-reel tape has turned up in Louis' own personal collection. The collection of around 750 tapes that was carefully catalogued and indexed by Louis himself is kept at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in New York. The recording is now available Louis Armstrongfor the first time since its original broadcast. The find is down to Terry Teachout who wrote a biography about Louis in 2010 called Pops.

In the programme, Louis tells Roy Plomley about his upbringing in an orphanage and how he learnt to sing in church. Unusually for the programme these days, he chooses five of his own records to take to the desert island. For his luxury item, he chooses his trumpet and for his book, his own autobiography. 'Sometimes you've got to pat yourself on the shoulders,' he says. He adds 'I don't want to fool around with snakes and trees, I'm a city boy after all.'

Cathy Drysdale, the series producer, says: 'When we were originally putting the archive together, the Louis Armstrong programme was one of those we thought "if only that existed somewhere", but despite our best efforts it just didn't turn up. He is so charming, his voice is just thrilling.'

Click here to listen to the programme. Click here for a news article in the Guardian.

 

 

Tubby Hayes - A Celebration

Saxophonist, composer and bandleader Tubby Hayes would have been 80 years old in 2015. To mark his birthday year there are to be a number of events celebrating his music. Tubby was born in St. Pancras, London on the 30th January 1935. He was playing the piano when he Tubby Hayeswas ten and took up the saxophone a year later. He once said: 'I always used to listen to swing music in the early 'Forties and, in fact, I was just a kid at the time. I did not really intend becoming a tenor player, though I always liked tenor. I think maybe Dizzy influenced me more than Parker because he was sort of more accessible, he caught your attention more. As far as my influences over the years are concerned, Getz was it at one stage in the proceedings, and later Rollins, Coltrane, Hank Mobley and, to a lesser degree, even Zoot.'

Tubby joined Kenny Baker's sextet when he was sixteen, and went on to play with a number of big bands before forming his own Octet in 1955. From 1957 to 1959 he co-led the Jazz Couriers with Ronnie Scott. Ronnie is reported to have said: 'This little boy came up, not much bigger than his tenor sax. Rather patronisingly I suggested a number and off he went. He scared me to death.' After a career that established him as one of the UK's favourite jazz musicians he died in 1973 during a heart operation at the age of thirty-eight.

A special Tubby At Eighty concert was held at Ronnie Scott's Club at lunchtime on 1st February with Simon Spillett, John Critchinson, Dave Green, Spike Wells and special guest Bobby Wellins. Simon Spillett's biography The Long Shadow Of The Little Giant - The Life, Work and Legacy of Tubby Hayes is to be published on 25th March. Acrobat records have released a recently discovered live recording of Tubby at The Hopbine from February 1972, Symphony: The Lost Session, and a documentary film Tubby Hayes - A Man In A Hurry is due to be released this year.

 

Women Make Music Grant

FPRS Women Make Music logoor the fourth year, the Performing Rights Society (PRS) grant scheme Women Make Music is open for applications. Financial support of up to £5,000 is available to women musicians to create new music in any genre. This can range from classical, jazz and experimental music to urban, electronica and pop.

Through the scheme support is available to individuals and organisations / groups including solo performers, solo songwriters or composers, promoters or event producers, bands / ensembles / orchestras, local authorities, schools, etc.

The application deadline is 1st April 2015 for projects happening from 1st May 2015.

Click here for more information.

 

 

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.

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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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