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December 2014

Pearls for December

According to Oscar Peterson

It’s the group sound that’s important, even when you’re playing a solo. You not only have to know your own instrument, you must know the others and how to back them up at all times. That’s jazz.

Oscar Peterson


Too many jazz pianists limit themselves to a personal style, a trademark, so to speak. They confine themselves to one type of playing. I believe in using the entire piano as a single instrument capable of expressing every possible musical idea. I have no one style. I play as I feel.

Some people try to get very philosophical and cerebral about what they’re trying to say with jazz. You don’t need any prologues, you just play. If you have something to say of any worth then people will listen to you.

Oscar Peterson

I don’t do something because I think it will sell 30 million albums. I couldn’t care less. If it sells one, it sells one

Click here for a video of Oscar Peterson Quartet featuring Joe Pass in Tokyo in 1987.

Who's This?

Who's This?


This American trumpet and flugelhorn player was born in Iowa in 1928. At four he moved to Phoenix, Arizona and at school started to play the piano, then moved on to bass tuba and violin before settling on cornet and then trumpet at the age of thirteen. Phoenix schools were segregated and no one at school could provide useful music lessons and so he taught himself to read music.

He moved from Los Angeles in 1945 and attended Jefferson High School where he met other musicians such as Sonny Criss and Ed Thigpen. He left high school and played with Horace Henderson, Horace Silver, Sonny Rollins and Gigi Grice.

He went on to join Gerry Mulligan's Quartet and formed the Jazztet with Benny Golson. In the 1960s he formed a trio with guitarist Jim Hall and bassist Steve Swallow.

He moved to Europe in 1968 and settled in Vienna but he continued to play elsewhere. He said in 1976 that "I'm traveling 90 percent of the time. I can live anywhere. It's just a matter of getting to the airport"

He was a musician who helped establish the flugelhorn as a jazz solo instrument and he died in 1999 in Manhatten from a heart attack.

Not sure? Despite his name, as far as we know he was not a painter nor an agriculturalist! Click here for a video of him playing with Jim Hall, Steve Swallow and Pete La Roca on drums in 1964.



NYJO Recruiting New Members for 2015

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) has announced that it is recruiting members for 2015. For the fourth year running, NYJO is NYJO Auditions poster inviting young musicians under the age of 25 with experience of playing big band jazz to apply for a chair in the band. Auditions will be held in Leeds and London in January 2015 and successful applicants would normally hold that position in the band for at least one year. If you are interested, you should be considering or beginning a career as a professional jazz musician.

You will work with Musical Director Mark Armstrong on some great music and give inspiring concerts (2014 highlights included a performance at Ronnie Scotts, the EFG London Jazz Festival and a tour to Germany). NYJO says: 'NYJO will help give you the training and skills for the world of professional music-making, if this is the path you choose. We will also be taking the music to a younger generation through school concerts and workshops.'

Click here for more information.



Parliamentary Jazz Awards

It is that time of the year when you have a chance to let your favourite musicians know you appreciate them by nominating / voting for them.Jazz services logo Brought forward because of next May's General Election, your nominations under the diffrent categories can be put forward until 12th December.

Arun GhoshThe awards will be made at the House of Commons on March 10th, 2015. This is the 11th year of the awards which have become a key event in the jazz calendar. Nominations are put before a panel of people from the jazz 'industry' which shortlists nominations for the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) to select the final winners. The awards are sponsored by PPL.

Arun Ghosh receiving his award for Instrumentalist of the Year in 2014.

We think that it is important to nominate your choices as, whether they win or not, this is a way of letting your nominees know you appreciate their work. Click here to make your nominations. The categories are:

Jazz Album of the Year; Jazz Vocalist of the Year; Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year; Jazz Ensemble of the Year; Jazz Venue of the Year; Jazz Media Award (magazines, journalists, websites); Jazz Education Award (to an educator or project); Jazz Newcomer of the Year; Services to Jazz Award.




Tony Milliner - My Favourite Things

Thad Jones - Mel Lewis Orchestra: Tow Away Zone

Tony MillinerThis month trombonist Tony Milliner chooses a Thad Jones / Mel Lewis track as one of his favourites. Tow Away Zone comes from the 1969 album Central Park North.

This was a progressive big band for the 1960s. Besides Thad (flugelhorn) and Mel (drums), Central Park North albumthe album features Benny Powell and Jimmy Knepper on trombones, Jerome Richardson, Jerry Dodgion and Joe Temperley (saxes) and Roland Hanna (piano). Listen out too for Richard Davis's electric bass.

The horns are strong on this track with flying saxophone solos. Thad Jones's arrangement as usual stands out and Mel's drumming drives the piece along.

Trombonist Jimmy Knepper was a good friend of Charles Mingus and worked with Mingus in the late 1950s and early 1960s on arrangements and transcriptions. Knepper developed Parkinson's Disease and died in 2003.

Central Park North was nominated for a 1969 Grammy award in the "Best Instrumental Jazz Performance - Large Group..." category.

Click here to sample the Central Park North album.



Jazz Services - A New Plan and The Passing of JazzUK Magazine

The organisation Jazz Services has announced it is about to embark on a comprehensive restructuring process. One aspect of this process is that its long-running magazine JazzUK has had to cease publication in its current form. Following the withdrawal of its Arts Council England Jazz Services logo(ACE) funding from 2015, Jazz Services has been consulting with the wider public, ACE and and other related parties and undertaking an organisational review.

JazzUKTo coincide with its 30th anniversary in 2015, Jazz Services will introduce a new business model with greater emphasis on artist and audience development, working in partnership with related organisations and groups to offer a more rounded support network to artists throughout their careers as well as contributing towards a healthy live scene for both artists and audiences. It’s core delivery programmes – such as its funding schemes and preparation for April’s JazzAhead event - will continue as normal until the end of the current funding period, but as part of the immediate streamlining process, the current incarnation of JazzUK has now ceased publication. However, for the past few years, JazzUK has enjoyed an extremely productive partnership with Jazzwise magazine to produce monthly live jazz listings, available on the Jazz Services website as the digital guide Gigs. As part of the more collaborative model proposed for Jazz Services in the future, discussions are currently in place to expand and develop this partnership further, with more details to be announced as they are available.
JazzUK’s editor John Norbury-Lyons said, “It’s a shame to have to close the magazine in its current form after so many issues ... I’d like to take this opportunity to give my sincere thanks to everyone who’s been involved in its production over the years.  In the meantime, the discussions with Jazzwise magazine are very encouraging and hopefully there will yet be a future for the JazzUK name as Jazz Services continues to evolve.”

Click here for the full press announcement.



Jazz Quiz

Another Year Charles Mingus

Question MarkAnother year is coming to an end, another starting. Seven days in a week, twelve months in a year - nineteen questions. Add the word 'year' to round it up to twenty and there are our quiz questions for this month. All you have to do is to work out the days and months from the questions. Easy (?). For example:

According to the tune, which night was Charles Mingus's prayer meeting?

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

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.



Early Acker

John Westwood has sent us details of this early recording of Trouble In Mind from the late Acker Bilk. The recording is a classic from the studios Acker Bilk Trouble In Mindof Doug Dobell for his '77' label featuring the talents of the Storyville Allstars. Recorded in London on 13th July 1957, it features Acker on clarinet and vocal, with Bob Wallis on trumpet, John R T Davies on trombone, Pete Gresham at the piano, Hugh Rainey on banjo, John Macey on string bass and the soon to be 'Cream' drummer, Ginger Baker.

This video is particularly poignant as it includes historic pictures and videos of Mississippi Delta Sharecroppers during the 1930s, both black and white, showing their harsh and destitute lifestyle.

Click here for Trouble In Mind.




Take Five Edition X

Lauren KinsellaThe Jerwood Charitable Foundation, PRS for Music Foundation and Serious are delighted to announce the latest creative jazz musicians to be selected for the professional development programme Take Five. The Take Five scheme aims to grow the artistic talent and business understanding of some of the UK’s most creative emerging jazz musicians. Now in its tenth edition, Take Five provides each artist with the special chance to discuss, explore and strengthen all aspects of their future careers.   The musicians selected for the scheme this year are:

Take Five Edition X will run from autumn 2014 to the summer 2015 and provides participants with one-to-one mentoring sessions to address their particular areas of need, as well a residential period exploring areas such as composition, performance, communications, business infrastructure and strategic direction. 

“Take Five has provided me with a unique opportunity to spend a prolonged period of time refining my artistic vision and planning its future trajectory, guided by supportive mentors with high-level expertise in a variety of immediately relevant fields….I feel exceptionally privileged to have been on the receiving end… its real value lies in the relationships that are formed – with Serious itself, with other musicians and with members of other organisations that support and facilitate vitally important artistic initiatives.  I am confident that over the coming years these relationships will help me to expand the horizons of my work, opening doors to opportunities throughout Europe and providing me with well-rounded artistic and professional advice along the way.” (Alex Roth, Edition IX)



Album First Released: 27th October 2014 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings


Max Luthert


Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Max Luthert (double bass), Gareth Lockrane (flutes), Duncan Eagles (tenor saxophone), Séb Pipe (alto saxophone, Matt Robinson (piano), Dave Hamblett (drums).
Max Luthert Orbital

I have heard this before somewhere.  Sure on this occasion there are different musicians, brand new compositions and it’s nicely produced in a good studio.  So I’ve reasonable reasons to hear this music again. I can give Orbital a few hours of my time even though it’s not a totally unknown quantity.

That’s how I heard this session when I first got to it.  I’ve never talked to Max Luthert, but initially it felt to me as if this is a bass player who has spent a lot of time listening to Dave Holland, both in terms of the compositions and the way he structures his own playing.  Big deal, so what!!  Dave Holland is a good place to come from.  Further down the ears and I start to pick up on some of the subtleties of Luthert’s sextet structure.  The way he places Gareth Lockrane’s flutes in the ‘arranged’ ensemble mix and how Séb Pipe’s alto horn is used as a foil to boost Duncan Eagles tenor propulsions.

Orbital, the title track, is a very tight arrangement.  It didn’t let me in at first.  The melody line is a puncher pulse which I count as a 7/4 figure over which the horns are asked to extemporise.  These guys know what they are doing yet it feels ‘clever’ rather than a personalised statement.  Maybe it’s me because by the end, Dave Hamblett’s dextrous drums work the time signature into the floor; great bass drum pattern for sure.

Max LuthertQuiet December begins with a Duncan Eagles tenor solo which is so damn lovely it aches for a longer break and more time to articulate.  It is followed by a short pensive, lyrical bass solo which ducks out before it’s said all that could be gained from the moment.  When reviewing music I am forever conscious that I’m listening to someone else’s ‘take’ on a situation.  I might have gone a different way if I’d been there.  That does not make me right and them wrong (or vice versa). Song and dance – extend the arm to the finger tip or bunch up tight to a fist.  This is their gig not mine, what I can say is that on this session Luthert doesn’t allow things to stretch, that’s how he wants it and I respect a clear perspective.  There are six musicians here because this is truly sextet music; nobody goes to waste and everybody is there for a reason.

Max Luthert
Photograph by Steve Pringle

For me Banrock Station is the best thing on this album.  It shifts along with a swift kick and a constant drill down from Dave Hamblett’s drums fuelling a bright clicking ride cymbal; Max Luthert allows himself room to drive the bassline hard.  The whole thing shoots from the hip as if looking for a party. By the time Gareth Lockrane’s flute opens the gate and sprints we are on to something.  He’s excellent, isn’t he?  Yeah, I like this guy operating at speed.  A grab-and-go shift to the piano break maintains the pace, finally folding into a short Hamblett percussion discussion. Banrock Station is the name of an Australian wine company.  Why not?  You’re not going to turn this down if Max Luthert’s coming to supper.    

Click here for an introductory video with Max explaining the background to the recording. Click here to sample the album.

Click here for Max Luthert's website.

Max Luthert will be touring the UK in January:

January 18th - Ashburton Jazz Club
January 19th - North Devon Jazz Club, Appledore
January 21st - Dempsey's, Cardiff
January 22nd - SoundCellar, Poole
January 23rd - Sheffield Jazz Club

Steve Day




The Alison Rayner Quintet Launches New Album In Brighton.

Alison Rayner

On Saturday 25th October, bassist Alison Rayner and her Quintet played to appreciative audience at The Verdict in Brighton

Deidre Cartwright

Alison Rayner, double bass.
Alison has run Blow The Fuse Records/Blow The Fuse Jazz Club in London since 1989, she has pointed out that it is the only jazz club in the country to consistently feature women jazz musicians. She also performs and records with, amongst others, Deirdre Cartwright's Group and the Chris Hodgkins' Quartet.


Deidre Cartwright, guitar.
Presenter of the BBC's Rockschool programme in the 1980s, Deirdre has released five albums with her group, played with American guitarist Tal Farlow and performed at numerous tours and jazz festivals. She co-runs Blow The Fuse.


The new ARQ album August was recorded live at The Vortex in London in 2013 and was released in October this year on Fuse Records. Click here to sample the album.

Steve Lodder


Steve Lodder, piano.
Steve Lodder recently released his own solo piano album, Tied Up With Strings (reviewed elsewhere on this page). Read more about him there. Diane McLoughlin


Diane McLoughlin, saxophone.
Diane studied composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Her 17-piece jazz orchestra Giant Steppes has performed throughout Britain;
including two concerts in the London Jazz Festival.


Photographer Brian O'Connor says: 'Despite being actively involved in the business for 40 years or more this, believe it or not, is the first recording to be issued under Alison's own name.  An excellent mix of self-penned compositions, plus one by the Beatles, it is, after listening to it, a shame she has waited so long.  The entire quintet is a tightly knit group of musicians who have worked together many times.  It shows in the finished result'.

Buster Birch


Buster Birch, drums.
Buster is a freelance musician. He is a member of several different acclaimed “world music” groups combining original compositions with traditional folk styles from Russia, Cuba and the Balkans. He is also co-director of The Original UK Jazz Summer School, a one week full-time residential jazz course for all ages that takes place at the end of July in Cardiff.


Brian O'Connor says: ''The launch of the CD at the Verdict was a resounding success, and bodes well for the tour that follows.  As the saying goes, ‘catch them if you can’.

Alison Rayner Quintet


The Alison Rayner Quintet

You will be able to hear ARQ playing in December at:

December 3rd - Vortex, London
December 7th - Wine Cafe, Oxford
December 16th - Jazz Electric Theatre, Guildford.

All pictures by Brian O'Connor, Images Of Jazz



The Yamaha Jazz Scholars - Free Download

In the past, a free CD has been attached to the cover of the December/January edition of Jazzwise Magazine. This year it is available as a Yamaha Jazz Scholars 2014download. Each year, seven of the colleges and conservatoires of music in the UK nominate one of their final year jazz scholars for this award which is celebrated at the Houses Of Parliament in an event supported by Yamaha, Jazzwise, PPL and the 606 Club and hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group.

The bursaries give financial help to the scholarship winners who are able to record some of their music with producer Andy Ross at Astar Studios near Manchester. The Yamaha New Jazz Sessions recording this year also features tracks by guest musicians Ryan Quigley, Geoff Warren and Riley Stone-Lonergan. The award winners you will hear are Scott Chapman, Tom Dennis, Ashley Henry, Utsav Lal, Dan Smith, Mark Lewandowski and Ed Haine.

The download is available exclusively from Jazzwise magazine - click here.



Album First Released: October 2014 - Label: Planet Arts / Pony Canyon


The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

Over Time: Music of Bob Brookmeyer


This is not the Bob Brookmeyer of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, but the later version of the trombone player at the time of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra and when he was musical director for the Mel Lewis Orchestra. All of the compositions are by Bob Brookmeyer with the exception of Hoagy Carmichael’s Skylark where Brookmeyer has written the arrangement.

Of the eight tracks, 2,3 and 4 are part of a Suite For Three and are almost mini-concertos in that the majority of these tracks are extendedVanguard Orchestra Over Time album solos. Oatts features Dick Oatts on alto sax; Scott has Scott Wendholt on flugelhorn and Rich showcases Rich Perry’s tenor saxophone. The remaining tracks are all ensemble pieces with shorter solos.

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is sixteen-piece unit based at The Village Vanguard in New York City where they play every Monday night. The band, founded by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis in 1966, features music mostly written by Thad Jones. They say: ‘We play various styles, from relaxing swing, 70's-style jazz-funk, ballads with complex harmonic structures, and avant-garde tunes with modern rhythms. In addition to the classic Thad Jones charts our library includes music of Bob Brookmeyer, Jim McNeely, Slide Hampton, Bob Minzter, Kenny Werner and others.’ (Pianist Jim McNeely is the ‘Composer In Residence’ and Dick Oatts is the 'Music Director’). The late Bob Brookmeyer had a long association with the band and wrote four of the pieces specifically for the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

Click here for a video of an interview with Jim McNeely about the album

The Over Time album was recorded in June of this year. ‘OverTime consists of four magnificent new arrangements written to highlight our band's great ensemble and soloists, three previously unheard statements Bob delivered to Mel Lewis in the early 1980s and Bob's Vanguard Jazz OrchestraGRAMMY award winning arrangement of Skylark featuring Dick Oatts.’

The Jazz Da Gama website applauds the album saying: ‘ … Suite for Three is a piece in three sections, and for three brass and winds is hair-raisingly dramatic for its content and execution. The voice of the horns is so elegant the music might have well said to have been sung here. Skylark, with its multiple textures is equally beautiful even in its resonant dissonances and Bob Brookmeyer’s arrangement of it might easily have said to be made up of latter day Renaissance polyphony. Such is its superb craftsmanship and timeless beauty. It is laudable to have such a varied selection of longish works composed by Mr. Brookmeyer on a single CD.’

Indeed this is correct in that three of the pieces are over ten minutes long giving time for the arrangements to explore different ideas and allow time for solos. XYZ, a sequel to Brookmeyer’s ABC Blues runs for fourteen and a half minutes. Jim McNeely says: ‘At The Corner Of Ralph And Gary (track 7) creates a pas de trios with Ralph Lalama (tenor sax), Gary Smulyan (baritone sax) and the ensemble, bobbing and weaving around each other.’

Click here to sample the album. Click here for the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra website where you can read more about them. 

Click here for a video of Bob Brookmeyer with the Orchestra.

Ian Maund



Preachin' The Blues

GVC (Great Voices of the Century) has released Preachin' The Blues, a memorial album to jazz harmonica player Cyril Davies. The 2 CD set includes five tracks recorded in 1963 with the Rhythm and Blues All Stars. The collection has been compiled by Roger Dopson and remastered by Peter J. Reynolds.

GVC say: 'Cyril Davies was perhaps the pivotal figure in the development of UK Blues and R&B, his pioneering work with Alexis Korner bCyril Davies albumetween the mid ‘50s and early ‘60s laying down the roots for a scene from which bands like The Stones later emerged. Sadly, his own life and career were cut tragically short in January 1964 when he died, suddenly and unexpectedly, of endocarditis.'

'This is the first anthology of Cyril’s work, it features virtually every track that Cyril is known to have played and/or sung on, ranging from a 1954 home recording to a clutch of tracks with The R&B All-Stars, cut in 1963 at the height of the British R&B/Beat Boom that, had tragedy not intervened, threatened to make him into a household name. Along the way, we encounter such important career milestones as his first official recording session, his genuinely ground-breaking partnership with Alexis Korner, and a veritable host of impossibly rare vinyl releases. It comes as a considerable shock to discover that one of the founding fathers of modern British Blues/R&B has yet to have his rather more vital career similarly anthologised. But that’s the way it is with Cyril Davies, whose incalculable influence on the scene hasn’t stopped many of his pioneering recordings languishing in the obscurity in which they were made, some fifty years ago. Finally, though, his seminal body of work is now assembled on this definitive collection.'

Click here for more information. Click here for our page on Harmonica Jazz written by Roger Trobridge.



That Track

Autumn Leaves

Did you know that everyone’s favourite pop singer of the moment, Ed Sheeran, has recorded a tune called Autumn Leaves? (click here), but it is not the song we are talking about.

Our song was first recorded in French. I guess most of us only know the English words, oblivious to the fact that the song was introduced as Les Jo StaffordFeuilles Mortes (The Dead Leaves) in 1945 with music by Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma and lyrics by the poet Jacques Prévert. To complicate it a little further, Kosma’s Hungarian title for the tune was Hulló Levelek (Falling Leaves).

Then along came Johnny Mercer who wrote the English lyrics in 1947. Jo Stafford, who was contracted to Capitol Records, founded by Mercer, was the first to sing the song in English and in accorde amicale, Autumn LeavesLes Portes de la Nuit poster became a standard in French and English, both as an instrumental and a vocal number.

Jo Stafford

Did you know that there is also a Japanese version called Kareha (枯葉) sung by Nat King Cole in his Japanese album version and 高英男 (Hideo Kou) – click here for a video of Nat Cole singing it in Japanese.

 We will not be testing you on this later.

The song first appeared in the 1946 film Les Portes De La Nuit (Gates Of The Night) starring Yves Montand. The movie was set in liberated Paris during the winter following the war.  Jean Diego meets up with his friend Raymond Lecuyer and then a tramp foretells that Jean will meet the most beautiful girl in the world. (They knew how to disguise fairy godmothers in those days). The same evening, lo and behold, Jean meets the beautiful Malou (one up to the tramp) but eventually discovers that Malou’s brother Guy was the one that gave Raymond away to the Gestapo. Click here for the scene where the tramp plays Les Feuilles Mortes on his harmonica.



C'est une chanson
Qui nous resemble
To tu m'aimais
Et je t'aimais

Nous vivions tous
Les deux ensemble
Toi qui m'aimais
Moi qui t'aimais


Chet Baker Let’s take a moment out to watch this video of Chet Baker and Paul Desmond playing Autumn Leaves (click here). Chet Baker (flugelhorn/trumpet), Paul Desmond (alto sax), Bob James (keyboards), Ron Carter (double bass), Steve Gadd (drums). It is suggested that this video is a composite of video and audio, but enjoyable and interesting none the less.

Chet Baker

The 1950s saw the song becoming more popular with recordings by Edith Piaf, Frank Sinatra (on the album Where Are You?), Andy Williams, The Coasters and Patti Page. Nat King Cole sang it, in English this time, over the title sequence of another film also called Autumn Leaves in 1956.



Mais la vie sépare
Ceux qui s'aiment
Tout doucement
Sans faire de bruit
Et la mer efface sur le sable
Le pas des amants désunis

That Columbia Pictures movie starred Joan Crawford and Cliff Robertson and told the story of Millicent Wetherby ‘…a middle-aged woman whose life is devoid of love and affection. Millicent's solitary existence changes when she encounters Burt Hansen a charismatic younger man. As Burt Autumn Leaves movie postersuccessfully woos her and wins her hand in marriage, rumours begin to surface that Millicent's new-found beau is in fact a deranged maniac. Things grow even more complicated for Millicent when a woman claiming to be Hansen's first wife Ray Nanceshows up.’ It seems that Burt’s mental health problems are the result of discovering his ex-wife is having an affair with his father!

Click here for a scene from the movie (If there is nothing on the telly you could click here to watch the whole movie with Nat Cole singing the title song).

Duke Ellington recorded Autumn Leaves in 1957 featuring Ray Nance on violin. IMDB writes: ‘Nance’s violin playing represented almost the total opposite of his trumpet playing, and he’s at his soulful best on Autumn Leaves where he plays an exquisite, emotional solo; he then fills along with vocalist Ozzie Bailey.' Click here to listen to the Ellington version with Ray Nance (a little crackly this version taken from the album Mood Indigo, but worth it for the pictures of Ray Nance and the Ellington orchestra).

The tune also appeared on the classic 1958 Cannonball Adderley album Somethin’ Else with Miles Davis, Hank Jones, Sam Jones and Art Blakey - click here.


The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold

Click here for a video of the amazing guitarist Stanley Jordan playing Autumn Leaves at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 1990 with Charnett Moffett on bass. As most of you will know, Stanley Jordan has developed a distinct guitar style. It is well explained by Wikipedia:

‘Normally, a guitarist uses two hands to play each note. One hand presses down a guitar string behind a chosen fret to prepare the noteStanley Jordan, and the other hand either plucks or strums the string to play that note. Jordan's touch technique is an advanced form of two-handed tapping. The guitarist produces a note using only one finger by quickly tapping (or hammering) his finger down behind the appropriate fret. The force of impact causes the string to vibrate enough to immediately sound the note, the volume can be controlled by varying the force of impact. Jordan executes tapping with both hands, and more legato than is normally associated with guitar tapping.’

‘A helpful analogy to visualize this technique is the distinction between a harpsichord and a piano. A harpsichord produces sound by plucking its strings, and a piano produces sound by striking its strings with tiny hammers. However, while notes produced on a harpsichord or piano sustain after the pick has plucked or hammer has struck, fingers must remain on a tapped note for the sound to continue. This similarity is what led Jordan to attempt such a technique in the first place; he was a classically trained pianist before playing guitar and wanted greater freedom in voicing chords on his guitar. Jordan's touch technique allows the guitarist to play melody and chords simultaneously. It is also possible, as Jordan has demonstrated, to play simultaneously on two different guitars, as well as guitar and piano.’


Leaves in Autumn

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall




Album Released: 10th November 2014 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings


Simon Purcell

Red Circle

Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us:

This debut album comes from Simon Purcell, a musician that headed up the band “Jazz Train” in the UK jazz boom of the 1980’s. He was a member of the Julian Arguelles Quartet and has performed with many leading musicians including Kenny Wheeler, Eddie Henderson and Red Rodney. He is currently Head of Jazz at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance and Music in London. This overdue album signals Simon’s Simon Purcell Red Circle return to a more active performing career after nearly 30 years of teaching.

Purcell’s quintet consists of Chris Batchelor playing trumpet; Julian Siegel on tenor and soprano saxophones; Simon Purcell on piano; Steve Watts on double bass (incorrectly listed as playing drums on the CD sleeve) and Gene Calderazzo on drums. All the musicians are individual and robust musical personalities having contributed to the UK’s creative music scene over the last 20 years. The way the tracks were recorded in one room without any real isolation between the instruments gives the album a “live“ feel. The bass and drums throughout are particularly good in my view providing a base on which the other musicians build.

All the tracks were composed by Simon Purcell and are instrumentals, except for a bonus track where Liane Carroll provides the vocals.  These tracks are, 1. Spirit Level; 2. Red Simon PurcellCircle - Enchantress; 3. Minos; 4.Answers for Job; 5. Pandora; 6. Dark Night; 7. Ithaca; 8.Maestros and Musos; 9. Ithaca (vocal version).

Click here for a video of the Simon Purcell Quintet playing Maestros.

The opening track has rhythmic piano and drums accented by the saxophone and the trumpet which reminds one of music from a certain 60/70’s TV series and Simon provides a nice piano solo. Track 2 is a slower number with a quietly driving melody and showcases solo’s from all the musicians. Track 6 felt loosely structured with some parts more enjoyable than others.

Simon Purcell

Most of the tracks are quite fast paced, however, Track 7, Answers For The Job, is possibly my favourite. It is a slower number with a solo piano intro with soft drums and bass contributing to the overall atmosphere. The rich, vocal version of Track 8 with Liane Carroll providing the words gives this composition a whole new dimension adding pace to it with some good sax and trumpet playing together with Simon’s piano.

Click here for a video of the Quintet playing Answers For The Job.

I found that I appreciated the musicality on this album after more than one intensive listening session, which I find with most modern/improv jazz playing.  These obviously experienced musicians feed from each other and often highlight others' solos or counterpoint them subtly to add substance and texture to the feel of the score.

Click here to sample the album.

Tim Rolfe



Full Focus


Beaker - Tyler Gilmore (electronics) and Alec Harper (saxophones).

Tyler Gilmore is a composer, electronic musician, and recording engineer from Wyoming now based in Brooklyn, New York. He has worked with many musicians, recorded two albums with his ensemble Ninth and Lincoln and composed for various projects. He won the 2009 ASCAP/Columbia College Commission in Honour of Hank Jones and won the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s Award in 2008, 2009, and 2010. His music has been performed internationally by groups including Jon Faddis’s Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the New England Conservatory Tyler GilmoreJazz Composer’s Orchestra, The Henry Mancini Institute Overture Orchestra, and others. His work is published by UNC Jazz Press and Minor Ninth Music. Tyler attended the University of Northern Colorado and the New England Conservatory, and is now based in Brooklyn, NY.

Tyler Gilmore

Alec Harper plays regularly with the London City Big Band. He graduated in 2012 with a First Class BMus (Hons) in Jazz Performance from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). In 2010 he received the Young Performers Award from UK Jazz Radio. Upon Graduation from Guildhall Alec was awarded a Concert Recital Diploma and won the prestigious Yamaha Jazz scholarship in 2012. Alec has been involved in the London jazz scene for some years now, performing with his own quartet and as a sideman at many venues including The Vortex, The Spice Of Life, Charlie Wrights and Oliver’s Jazz Bar. He recently travelled to Boston USA where he spent a year studying at New England Conservatory, and spent spending time in New York where he worked on the Beaker project with Tyler Gilmore.

The Beaker project is experimental improvisation. One of our reviewers, Steve Day, and Alec Harper consider the EP that has emerged from the Beaker project.

Alec Harper: Tyler and I formed a strong connection whilst playing together at New England Conservatory in Boston where we were both studying for a Masters degree. We are both influenced by experimental improvised music both acoustic and electric. We are also very interested in electronic groups like Sigur Ross that write songs with an often long feel with rich lush harmony and a soundscape feel. 

Steve Day: I only listened to this through twice.  The first time just listening, the second time writing these words and giving it another hearing. This sounds similar to Precision Electro-Acoustics by David Novak and James Fei (Maestros) who were coming out of Brooklyn, New York way back in 2001.  Perhaps it’s in the water in that part of the world.  Beaker, a cupful. I wonder whether Alec Harper wants us to review the process or the result?  What we’ve got is some interesting white noise masking reeds blowing an approximation, maybe melody, certainly music.  But it is not straightforward in any sense at all.  The process is computerised cut-up.  In the 1960’s The Beat poets cut up paper, this is cut up sound. John Cage cut up both.

Alec Harper


Alec Harper: In terms of a concept there wasn't really one. Not a concrete one at least. The process of improvisation is what brought us together. Myself on saxophone with all sorts of extended techniques (including playing the horn with no mouthpiece like a trumpet as featured on a lot of the EP). Tyler had sounds patched into a midi keyboard and also used many effects to manipulate or add to my sound, reverb, loops, harmonisers and other techniques and he also works with feedback loops to add layers to the improvisation. We certainly didn't have a vision to create anything completely original or unique and don't believe we have done that, but we want to be true to who we are and feel we had a strong sound together with very similar intentions of direction. It never felt hard to work together! 

Alec Harper


Steve Day: Beaker is all improvisation despite the tracks being numbered and divided between Song and Improv.  It’s built on layers.  We relate to the horn because it has pitch and key.  There are beats produced by electronic oscillation and we are asked to relate to harmony which is dissonance. Track four, Improv 3 is treated saxophone manipulation with all the current accoutrements of the electro playground; there’s a keyboard, distorted and frayed.  What is the difference in the naming of ‘Song’ and ‘Improv’ here?  I can’t hear any Steve Daychange in the process.  I don’t think it matters.  The result is momentarily experimental.  ‘Song’ assumes melodic elements, but here most of it is abstracted by noise.  Of course, noise can be worth listening to......

Steve Day

Alec Harper:  We started the recording process by simply recording long improvisations together. These tended to be quite long! We then went about choosing sections that we liked, passages that leapt out at us. Some of these sections appear on the record exactly as we recorded them and are labeled Improv 1/2/3 etc. We also took some short sections of improv and deconstructed them, sometimes created loops and added beats and then recorded more saxophone over the top in the form of melodies (like on Song 1). These tracks were all labelled 'Song' as they weren't purely improvised. 

Steve Day: Track six, Improv 4 is rhythm via controlled static. Track seven, Song 1.5 one long stretched note with interference. Track eight, Improv 5 A bent multi-note final with more electronic dissonant ‘harmonies’. 

Beaker video


Alec Harper: Putting the EP together was very interesting. We wanted to create one long piece and thought an EP would be a good place to start. We tried to put the different tracks together so the EP would flow and could be listened to in one go but there are a couple of tracks, like Song 2 for instance, which could perhaps be singled out and listened to on their own. 


Click here for Song 2 with its video from Beaker.



Steve Day: Look, I listened to this recording in a safe warm place.  I was not under pressure nor was I tense.  Had I been in a less positive environment my reaction would probably have been quite different.  As it was, I heard an experiment but not what I would call a breakthrough.  Beaker, better than no Beaker but others have drunk from this cup before.  No reason for Gilmore and Harper not to crackle and pop.  So what now?  You can’t really do it again, or can you? 

Alec Harper: We recently performed an EP launch in Brooklyn NY which was great fun and reflected on the EP sound and process with some 'Songs' from the EP performed live (not playing along with the tracks but building them live and playing the melodies with them) and then improvisations that were done there and then. This EP has a mixture of improvisations and beat based songs and we would like to explore both of those ideas more now perhaps creating an album of just songs or just a long improvisation. Who knows but this was our starting point. 

Beaker EP


Alec Harper: With regards to listeners for this album we would like anyone to be able to hear it. I feel the fact there are a few tracks (labelled 'Song' with a more beat orientated approach) mean that it could potentially appeal to people who aren't so used to hearing dense textural improvisations but it is probably an experimental album and not something that would feature at Ronnie Scott's for instance. I think it needs to be listened to with open ears and an open mind and not put in any genre but just received so not trying to latch on to melodies too much or thinking about what is happening but just trying to experience it in a sort of meditative way. It perhaps isn't the best train music but then some people have said they listen to it on the way to work so everyone is different. 

Steve Day and Alec Harper recommend listening to the EP as a whole and you can click here to sample / download the EP from itunes for £3.99 or the individual tracks separately.


Click here for Alec Harper's website: www.alecharpermusic.com : For further information about Beaker, Click here to contact Alec.

Click here for Steve Day's website: www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk




We played the gig in Korea last month.

The place was full of Seoul singers.

Tony Augarde




We continue our look at the banjo in jazz and the shameful discrimination against the instrument with so many jokes searching for a cheap laugh. For example: 'Saint Peter, wanting the new arrivals to feel at home, promised to spend some quality time with each one. He asked his first arrival of the day, "Hi! What's your IQ?" "150," he said."Great," said Peter, as he showed the man in, "we should get together tomorrow and discuss the Theory of Relativity for a while." He asked the next person, "What's your IQ?" "120," she said."Fine, fine," said Peter, "I'd love to take some time with you Wednesday to discuss current world politics." To the third person, he asked, "What's your IQ?" "42," drawled the fellow."Fantastic!" cried Peter, "I've been looking for years for somebody who could help me perform a banjo duet!" The message in this story? Banjo players go to heaven.

Trombonist Jackie Free points out that there is a new wave of banjo players coming through, even though Jackie's recommended, jaw-Sleepy Man banjo Boysdropping, video is folk rather than jazz music.
Will Tate banjo

The Sleepy Man Bano Boys video is of a bedroom practice of Earl Scruggs's Flint Hill Special with brothers Jonny Mizzone age 8 on banjo, Robbie Mizzone age 12 on fiddle, and Tommy Mizzone age 13 on guitar. Click here.

Not convinced yet? OK, try this video of Gregg Garrett on guitar and Will Tate on banjo playing Scrapple From The Apple. Garrett and Tate are part of the band 6 Mile Express, a group of four youths who have been playing since they were children. They were being featured at the Townsend Old Timers and Heritage Festival in 2011 - click here.




Album released: 24th November 2014 – Label: Whirlwind Recordings


Euan Burton

Too Much Love


Guitarist Cameron Skerrow reviews this album for us:

Ewan MacGregor, whiskey and golf. These, along with kilts, the bagpipes and Billy Connolly, are without a doubt some of Scotland’s most famous exports. Hang around long enough in any conversation concerning the country, and you’re almost guaranteed to hear one of them mentioned - or at the very least, alluded to. If you’re lucky, you may even be drawn into the politics of a recent vote that was just cast (or not,Euan Burton Too Much Love depending on which side you were on – but we won’t go into that here…).

Sadly, it is only generally amongst musicians that the Scottish jazz scene is ever discussed. Even then, it is usually because one of the participants in the conversation bears an intimate connection with it. Certainly, with every passing year, an increasing number of jazz students at England’s top conservatoires are Scottish themselves, having moved southward to study in the international hubs of London, Birmingham and Leeds. Many of these Scots, for example, can be found in such outfits as the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra (whose leader now directs his very own jazz course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). Other such ensembles include the ever-popular National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland, magnificently directed by Malcolm Edmonstone and Andrew Bain, two “ex-pats” who are world-class musicians and educators in their own right.

Glasgow-born bassist Euan Burton is one of many similar talents who, in their own way, continually raise the profile and international reputation of jazz in Scotland. Having initially studied at Birmingham Conservatoire, his resumé includes performances with the likes of New York stars Ari Hoenig, Will Vinson and Jonathan Kreisberg. His last album, Occurrences, received international acclaim, and his latest release, entitled Too Much Love, sees the bassist team up with Glasgow natives Adam Jackson (sax), Tom Gibbs (piano) and Alyn Cosker (drums). Burton himself states:

“The title comes from the notion that so many of the things that go wrong, or the mistakes people make, come from a place of either people having misplaced love or having so much love they don’t know how to deal with it and channel it properly. I guess it’s a rose-tinted way to look at certain darker and more upsetting aspects of life and this struck me as a good starting point for writing a new album, this idea of 'Too Much Love’ ”.

The album opens with the intriguing Prelude, which, after a brisk initial dialogue between saxophone and piano, quickly winds down to an Euan Burtonalmost ballad-like tempo, before experiencing a gradual surge in emotion as a result of confident soloing from all band members. The second track This World showcases Jackson’s captivating soloing skills, whilst at the same time, demonstrates Burton’s knack for creating strong and effective melodies, supported with simple yet emotive harmony. This is undoubtedly becoming something of a trademark of the bassist’s compositions, and is perhaps why the album retains a slight “Celtic” feel to it at times – despite the various changes in feel and texture, the resonance of the initial theme is never sacrificed. Other examples include the pensive and melancholic All That Is Left, as well as the optimistic closing Too Much Love.

Fading Memories is one of the more adventurous tracks on the album, at times recalling an Ornette Coleman influence with energetic detours in between statements of the original theme. The highlight of the album has to be the mysterious Rhapsody, which, just when the listener believes it to be over, launches into a joyful bass groove doubled on piano, providing a needed lift in mood and emotion.

Click here for the introductory video.

Jackson’s sound is something of a hybrid cross between Paul Desmond and Kenny Garrett, and acts as the band’s central voice, sensitively approaching the album’s memorable melodies, and is occasionally injected with more fire and vigour. Gibb’s effortless touch allows his comping ideas to remain both interesting and sympathetic to other band members throughout, his skills reaching far beyond the realm of bebop piano alone.

One complaint however, if you can indeed call it a complaint, is that there seems to be comparatively little of Burton’s own soloing on the album. It is of course necessary to argue that this is his album, filled with his compositions played by his band, so he may well not have felt obliged to leave any more of his fingerprints on this particular record, however it would have been nice to hear more of his own improvisations. Cosker adopts a similarly supportive role, preferring to contribute to the overall arc of each piece as it evolves. One might also say that it may have been nice to have the themes more evenly distributed among the other instrumentalists, as the saxophone does tend to dominate most of the melodies on this recording.

Overall, this is an album worth exploring, and will hopefully keep listeners’ attentions focussed on this talented and deserving young bass player as he continues to grow.

Click here to sample the album. Click here for Euan's website.

Cameron Skerrow
Click here for our profile of Cameron






Its difficult to remember when you haven't played it before.

Eugene Ormandy




The idea behind this item is to offer a 'taste' of a musician, singer or band that you might not have come across before. This Tastermonth, we spend time with ......

A Focus On France

In the UK we tend to be less aware of jazz coming out of neighbouring countries. That is not surprising as albums from the UK are probably more easily available, promoted more and bands easier to hear playing live.

The Babel record label has asked journalist Kevin Le Gendre to curate an album, Now’s The Time III: A Focus On France that brings us a taste of what is going on across The Channel and the result is a cornucopia of good music.

Now's The Time III albumAs the title suggests, there have been two previous albums from Babel that showcased the Americas, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Europe. This third album ‘places a loudspeaker on the improvised music of a single territory, France.’

Jazz has been around in France for a long time. These extracts from Kevin Le Gendre’s introduction to the album set the scene: ‘... Ragtime resonated in French cities in the ‘20s, the surrealist magazine Documents lauded the genius of Duke Ellington and American players, of which Miles Davis was the most iconic, later sojourned in the land with no prohibition on le bon Kevin Le Gendrevin. Eventually France produced its own hot club and from the founding fathers Grappelli and Reinhardt came such prodigies as Urtreger, Michelot, Tousques, Portal, Texier, Lourau and Mezzadri …'

Kevin Le Gendre

'The strength of this collection lies, as was the case with previous editions, in its stylistic diversity. Sonically, it is really a case of access all areas. Hence, to the putative question of what is French jazz, there is no quick and easy answer, for the differences rather than similarities in approach to improvised music are a defining feature of our play list.’

‘The album starts with a big band, the Orchestre National De Jazz, and ends with a duo, Marc Demuth and Sophia Ribeiro, and this movement from expansive, multi-layered, richly hued textures to spare, intimate, enticing tones is as good a leitmotiv as any for the range of music on Now’s The Time III. In between these two pieces are duos, trios, quartets, quintets, etc. The ensembles come in all shapes and sizes.’

Click here for a brief sample of the Orchestre National de Jazz playing Tongs Of Joy.

We shall try to give you a taster of one or two other examples of the music featured on the album.

‘Beyond its cosmopolitan character, French jazz has a wily imagination, and, as our selection makes abundantly clear, a certain way ofBenjamin Moussay conjoining intellect, emotion and provocation. On the one hand, there is the puckish metric intricacy of pianist Benjamin Moussay’s Hopalong and Lionel Belmondo’s 3+2+3, both of which explore approaches to time outside of 4/4.’ writes Le Gendre.

Click here to sample Benjamin Moussay's Hopalong from the album On Air. Click here for a video of the Benjamin Moussay Trio.

Benjamin Moussay

Click here to listen to Lionel Belmondo’s 3+2+3 from the album Clair Obscur.

Stephane Kerecki‘On the other hand, there is the pounding, ominous backbeat of Stéphane Kerecki’s Palabre or the stark, stuttering snap of Metal-o-phone’s Karter, two pieces bolstered by hard, rugged tonalities that serve as a timely reminder that improvised music can rival rock or electronic in terms of the ‘heaviness’ of its groove.’

Click here to listen to A L'air Libre also from the Stéphane Kerecki Houria album. The tune featured on the Focus On France album is Palabre. 'Houria bears the most obvious stamp of Kerecki's North African influences—it's an immediately engaging tune, with Kerecki and drummer Thomas Grimmonprez setting up a powerful, almost funky rhythm, over which Malaby's soprano and Matthieu Donarier's tenor weave around each other. Malaby's soprano sound resembles, at times, the late British saxophonist Elton Dean as it slips and slides around the melody. Palabre has a similar sound, but this time both Malaby and Donarier are on sopranos—Malaby's warm sound contrasting well with Donarier's brighter tone.' (YouTube).

Stéphane Kerecki

Click here for a video of Metal-o-phone playing Karter. 'Distortion, feedback, delay. All once the exclusive property of guitarists but no more, and their usage has opened up intriguing possibilities across the instrumental spectrum. In applying them to the vibraphone, Benjamin Flament has found sound something wild in the heart of an instrument so often typecast as polite and mannered. The bright colours have given way to darker matter, buzzing with overtones and ambiguous pitches, and spiritually connecting the vibes back to its distant relatives like the Javanese gamelan, Tibetan singing bowls and African thumb pianos.' (YouTube).

In all there are 13 tracks on the album from different bands / musicians. Now’s The Time III: A Focus On France was released on the Babel label on 24th November. Click here for more details.



Album First Released: October 2014 - Label: Leo Records


Darrell Katz and the JCA Orchestra

Why Do You Ride?


Steve Day reviews this album for us:

JCA Orchestra:  Darrell Katz (director, composer, guitar (track 1 only), Rebecca Shrimpton (voice; Hiro Honhuke, flute, EW), Alan Chase and Jim Hobbs (alto saxophone); Phil Scarff (tenor and soprano saxophone, clarinet), Dan Zupan (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet), Mike Peipman, Gary Bohan and Forbes Graham (trumpet), Bob Pilkington and  David Harris (trombone), Jim Mosher (French horn), Bill Lowe (tuba), Luther Gray (drums), Norm Zocher (guitar), John Funkhauser (double bass), Joe Doubleday (vibraphone), Mina Cho (piano), Ryan Edwards (percussion), plus: JCA Sax Quartet: Jeff Hudgins & Daniel Ian Smith (alto saxophone), Phil Scarff (tenor saxophone), DanDarrell Katz album Bosshardt (baritone saxophone).

The definition: A quintessential big band with inventive material and arrangements, a rhythm section who know their purpose, soloists with agility who can make ‘ever-so odd’ music come out easy, plus an exceptional singer, able to translate a Zen story into lucid sounding text for the tongue in a jazz orchestra which has both humorous and serious intent.  And when that voice tells you:  “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent.  It takes a touch of genius, and a lot of courage, to move in the opposite direction”, suddenly, I feel as if I’ve been spoken to by a woman of wisdom who I need to take notice of.

Rebecca Shrimpton.  Her presence on, Why Do You Ride? is, at least in part, my answer to her question.  Shrimpton’s voice takes Darrell Katz’s curious, sometimes baffling, compositions to a very special place.  There are others too: Joe Doubleday’s vibes, Bill Lowe’s tuba, Phil Scarff and the rest of the reeds are stunning.  Yes, and a couple of times when Norm Zocher’s guitar appears from out of the mix it grips the gut like a fresh red chilli.  I hope Darrell Katz and the Jazz Composers Alliance realise what they’ve given birth to with Why Do You Ride?  It would be a shame to see this piece of brilliance JCA Orchestrabecome lost in the scheme of things.

Click here for a taste.

The conception:  “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”  So states Rebecca Shrimpton, immediately after which the whole orchestra do everything at once.  Bracing, racing stuff; it is one of a number ironical happenings occurring throughout Why Do You Ride? and Wheelworks, the key compositions of this recording.  The sleeve notes are almost as entertaining as the music, though they do contain the occasional typo (which I don’t hear in the recorded evidence).  Here’s the scam, Darrell Katz collected a number of quotes from Albert Einstein which he planned to set to music.  He then found out that a lot of these so-called quotes were apocryphal, albeit sometimes closely related to Einstein.  He decided to press ahead with the project anyway, resulting in a mixture of maybe and might be.  Lessons to be learnt or not, as the case may be. The title track is a Zen story (authorship unknown), set to music by Katz.  It explores many different reasons for riding a bicycle, but only one brings the Zen master to his knees.  Buy the record and you’ll find out why, and pick up some classy chords structures into the bargain.

The summary:  I recognise some of these JCA names from the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra (reviewed on this website in August 2014); even Boston is a small township when it comes to musicians.  The Jazz Composers Alliance (JCA) has a long history, lots of famous names have been through its ranks.  It’s easy to check it out if you want to. Why Do You Ride? is the latest recording to come from this creative jazz pool of players and it really is a precious gem; a recording that’s going to stay with me.  I recommended it to a good friend of mine recently describing the JCA Orchestra as like listening to Philip Glass ‘swinging’ for his supper.  Some days later he emailed me back and said, “It’s a feast!”

Steve Day




David Nathan at the National Jazz Archive writes of Acker Bilk:

He was a really excellent musician and delightful man who gave a wonderful interview for us with Digby Fairweather a few years ago.

During this he mentioned his friend Bert Ogg who he reckoned was the unluckiest songwriter ever as he composed songs such as  “Trouble over Bridgewater”,  “I’ve got you under my sink” and the musical “Ryvita  !!!!!”



British Jazz Awards 2014

You might have voted a month or two ago for the British Jazz Awards categories. Despite being one of the oldest awards in the UK (this is their 28th year), they seem to receive less publicity than others. Organised by Big Bear Music in Birmingham, a list of nominees is put forward, but Karen Sharpvoters are able to include other names when they vote. The awards have no financial sponsor and perhaps that is one reason they receive less full-on publicity. This year, the award winners are:

Karen Sharp

Trumpet - Steve Waterman
Trombone - Mark Nightingale

Clarinet - Alan Barnes
Alto Sax - Soweto Kinch
Tenor Sax - Karen Sharp
Guitar - Jim Mullen
Piano - Dave Newton
Bass - Alec Dankworth
Drums - Steve Brown
Miscellaneous - Jim Hart (Vibraphone)
Vocals - Liane Carroll
Rising Star - Reuben James
Big Band - BBC Big Band
Small Group - Digby Fairweather's Half Dozen




Album first released: May 2014 - Label: Flying Dolphin Records


Ernie Watts Quartet

A Simple Truth

Saxophonist Ernie Watts has two Grammy Awards and in March this year received the Frankfurt Music Prize awarded for special achievements in music performance, composition, musicology, teaching, or service to music. In awarding the prize it was said that he 'was selected for his striking melodic saxophone style and his original tone language ...'. He has worked with Buddy Rich, Oliver Nelson, TheloniusErnie Watts A Simple Truth Monk and Charlie Haden.

Vic Arnold reviews this new album for us:

This recording was made in Cologne, Germany, in November 2013. It features Ernie Watts (tenor saxophone), Christof Saenger (piano), Rudi Engel (bass) and Heinrich Koebberling (drums).  A Simple Truth is described as "a concept album, a journey through a jazz day."  There are eight well recorded tracks commencing with The Sound Morning and passing through the day to conclude with The Sound Evening.  These two tracks, and track seven benefit from an orchestral backing for the tenor saxophone to improvise over. 

The music consists of a mixture of original material plus compositions by Keith Jarrett, Billy Ernie WattsChilds and Dizzy Gillespie, and it was this latter composer’s Bebop that I found to be the only track on the recording that I liked.

Click here for a video of the Ernie Watts Quartet playing A Simple Truth at the Unterfahrt Jazz Club in 2011.

All of the musicians perform very well, but, to me I found the recording was all rather too clinical and lacking in warmth. I am sure that lots of other listeners will not agree with my comments. 

Click here to listen to Acceptance from the album.

A lot of time and effort has gone into the art work for the cover, both in the overall design and also the photography, and I am sure that this latest recording by Ernie Watts and his Quartet will be well received by a lot of people.

Click here to sample the album.

Vic Arnold





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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.

Charlie Parker - The Best Of The Complete Savoy and Dial Recordings

There are many recordings of alto saxophonist Charlie 'Bird' Parker's music but this is a compilation that could be a good place to start as it Charlie Parker albumcovers some of his masterworks on the Savoy and Dial labels. An alternative might be the album Bird and Diz which pairs Charlie Parker with Dizzy Gillespie. Alto saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker (1920–1955), one of the greatest of all jazz soloists, was also one of the founders of bebop. Miles Davis once said, "You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker."

One commentator says of the Savoy / Dial compilation: 'These are unquestionably the recordings upon which the Charlie Parker genius and musical legacy must primarily rest, and the listener will not have to wade through dozens of alternate takes and false starts to discover the real Bird. The sound mastering, while distorted on a few tracks (the price of introducing more "presence" into the alto saxophone's sound), is the best I've encountered ... My disappointment at the omission of Donna Lee is compensated for by the inclusion of both Embraceable You (the celebrated version) and Night in Tunisia (but not the concert version with Diz containing the famous 4-bar break).'

Click here to sample the album (These appear to be well-reviewed albums through Amazon, but ask your local record store about alternatives).



Help With Musical Definitions No 6.

Piped Music

Music indigenous to the Scottish Highlands and Dagenham.

with thanks to Ron Rubin



Album Released: 24th November 2014 - Label: Sospiro Noir / Proper Note

Steve Lodder

Tied Up With Strings


The title of pianist Steve Lodder's new album is a little misleading as there are no strings anywhere in sight on this solo piano recording. Steve Lodder is a virtuoso pianist - Tied Up With Strings is an album that showcases the many aspects of the man, jazz, classical - a callingSteve Lodder Tied Up With Strings card that says 'I can play as you please'.

Steve Lodder has been a member of George Russell's Living Time Orchestra since the 1990s. He has toured with Carla Bley, Steve Swallow and Ernestine Anderson, played with Andy Sheppard, John Etheridge and Sarah Jane Morris and is currently touring with Alison Rayner.

Steve met saxophonist John Harle in the 1990s and this album is released under John's new Sospiro Noir label. Steve has collected together some of his favourite things for the album which opens with Retrove-Estample, improvisation on a 14th Century tune, followed by his own composition Cranbourne Chase. On the classical side, the 2nd movement of JS Bach's Italian Concerto has no improvisation and nor does William Byrd's Monsiers Alman. There is a really nice rendering of Jimmy Ruffin's Motown number What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted, and Lodder's Slipper's Waltz reflects a Bill Evans touch. Agua Na Cabeça is a Bossa Nova of which Steve says: ' ... literally water on the head.... sometimes it gets so hot in Brazil you search out any method of cooling down, cool bossa nova will do it. Having just travelled to Brazil, it brought back the memory of this episode in Rio; heat of an afternoon, gardener with a hose watering the plants, me asking for him to direct it at my head for a bit...'.

There were times when parts of this album reminded me of the jazz playing of André Previn in the 1950s and 1960s and the inclusion of straightforward JS Bach and William Byrd might seem strange bedfellows on an album with improvisations. The mix of styles is intriguing from the four-piano piece overdubbing of Resolve For Joanna to the free improvisation of MadeUp2. Stephen Graham at Marlbank says: '.. it’s an album of equal interest to both jazz and classical listeners and is easy to admire but perhaps could be a bit more involving'. Steve Lodder is a talented pianist who like A A Milne's verse about Jonathan Jo 'has a wheelbarrow full of surprises'.

Click here to sample the album. Click here for more details.

Click here for a video of Steve Lodder playing at the Royal Festival Hall in 2010. Click here for Steve Lodder's website.

Ian Maund                                     


Pocket Trumpet lamp


A Little Light Music

Was it back in the 1970s that people started melting down old 78rpm records to make bowls from them, and in the 1980s that place mats were being made from 45 rpm vinyl? I know I thought the melting of 78s was akin to burning books.

At least Alan Austin is keeping old musical instruments intact as he turns them into table lamps. Alan says: 'These beautiful handmade lamps give a new life to used musical instruments. Some of our instruments look as good as new while others have years of wear and tear giving them a lovely vintage appeal.'

As you might imagine, the price of the lamps is not cheap. I guess there might be divided opinions about the idea - I'd be interested to know what you think. You would, at least, be able to see what you were playing with the lamp on .....

Alan Austin's website is themusicallampcompany.co.uk.





Remembering Mick Clift

Chris Watford remembers trombonist Mick Clift whose profile you can read on the site if you click here.

‘I first met Mick Clift under strange circumstances.  Travelling down from Lincolnshire to Swindon to do some railway research, I stopped for a sandwich in a pub, and spotted a copy of Jazz Guide on the bar counter. I saw there was a local band playing at a village pub, so on my way back that evening, I dropped in to listen.  In the interval, I went up to the musicians, and as I had only just started playing clarinet again after a 20-year layoff through a serious illness, I asked who each was, in case I hadn't recognised someone who had once played with me.  None of them Mick Cliftwould tell me, fearing that as I was wearing a suit, I might be from the Inland Revenue, or the Performing Rights people.  The bald headed trombonist said to me "I don't mind telling you who I am - I'm Mick Clift, and I'm up here for the launch at the 100 Club of Ben Cohen's Hot Five ".   That would be in the summer of 1995, and a few months later Mick phoned me up from Cornwall, and asked me to send him copies of local newspapers as he was thinking of moving up to the Kettering area.’

Mick Clift at the first public performance  of the Augmented Dallas Dandies, in Swaffham, Norfolk, prior to an 8-session tour to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the classic recordings by King Oliver's Creole Jazzband in 1923.
Photograph courtesy of Chris Watford.

‘The first time we played together was at the Oxfam Stomp in Birmingham, the following January (1996). I'd forgotten what he looked like, and when I saw this bald headed old man, I though "He can't be any good, he's so old!" How wrong I was!  We got on well together, and having moved to the Kettering area, he was looking for a band to play with, so he joined my newly-formed Dallas Dandies, and stayed with me until he moved half way to Denmark - Skegness to be precise - at the end of 2000, which effectively forced him to leave my band.'

'During that time, we travelled together in my car to the various gigs all over the country, notching up over 100,000 miles together, so I got to know Mick pretty well.  Quite early on, he annoyed me on one of our journeys, and I said to him "You're aMick Clift with Dallas Dandies miserable old bastard, aren't you?", and he replied "That's what they called me at work before I retired!"  We got on really well after that, and he became my right-hand-man in the band for the next four years. His musical knowledge was substantial, and he was particularly good at the recorded work of Honoré Dutrey, which helped me when I decided to augment the Dallas Dandies with Mike Daniels on trumpet to do a fortnight's tour of the jazz clubs in a Tribute to mark the 75th anniversary of the recorded sessions by King Oliver's Creole Jazzband in 1998.  Margaret, the wife of my other trumpeter, Brian Craig, recorded some 8 hours on video of most of the sessions, and I am currently working on editing and transferring them to DVD.’

Mick Clift with Chris Watford's Dallas Dandies in the middle of Poole Bay, during the Swanage Jazz Festival, late 1990s. Left to Right :- John Arthy (bass); Mick Clift (trombone); Arthur Fryatt (drums-hidden);
Brian Craig (trumpet); Chris Watford (clarinet) and Bill Stotesbury (banjo).
Photograph courtesy of Chris Watford.

‘We kept in touch after he had retired to Skegness, and having joined a local brass band, he got my band a booking at the local Butlins camp in 2003. This was the last time I played with Mick, and the first time I played with trumpeter Bill Dickens, who had left the remnants of the Chris Blount band the previous summer after his old bandleading friend had passed away.  After the session, Mick and I agreed that Bill's playing was as if we were standing next to Elmer Talbert!  I retired from playing in 2004, but visited Mick occasionally when he was kind enough to copy tapes and CDs for me. A few months before he died, I phoned Mick up, but he was not his usual confident self, so I knew he wasn't well.  I went to his funeral, and was glad to see pianist Jon Penn had come over all the way from North Wales to represent the Ben Cohen Hot Five.’

‘Mick was a real character, and a tremendous help with running my band. Wherever we played, it seemed that someone in the audience knew him. On our way back from a gig, we would chat away to keep me awake at the steering wheel, but he would wait until I had forgotten to turn off the motorway, and then say to me "Weren't you supposed to turn off back there?", which usually meant a long detour - at 2 a.m. in the morning! His great schoolboy friend, Tony Parker, who also took up the trombone at the same time as Mick, once told me that Mick turned up one day with
a large bag of sweets, and Tony said "Can I have one please?", and Mick retorted " No, 'cos you asked ", and proceeded to scoff the lot!   They were great friends, but must have been a right couple of lads as youngsters!’       

Click here for a video of Mick Clift, Jon Penn, Geoff Over, Ben Cohen and Alex Revell playing The Georgia Grind at the Keswick Jazz Festival in 1998. We look forward to seeing / hearing the music Chris is editing of the Dallas Dandies.



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:

Acker Bilk

Acker Bilk - UK clarinettist and bandleader Bernard 'Acker' Bilk M.B.E. was born in Somerset and apart from a period in London, lived there for much of his life. He was a key figure in the British Traditional jazz revival and continued to play and tour with his Paramount Jazz Band until a year before his death. Many well-known UK jazz musicians passed through his band including Stan Greig, Al Fairweather, Mike Cotton, Bruce Turner, Johnny Mortimer and Ron McKay. His composition and recording Stranger On The Shore was a lasting popular music hit but his contribution to jazz will be remembered.

Click here for a video of Acker playing Corine Corinna with George Lewis in 1965 with a really nice piano solo from Stan Greig.


David Redfern



David Redfern - Born in Derbyshire, David Redfern's photographs have, for a long time, been displayed on the walls of Ronnie Scott's Club. Not only was he a respected music photographer, he counted a number of famous jazz musicians as his friends. He was an early explorer of taking jazz pictures in colour and began taking pictures of jazz musicians in the 1950s. Although he was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, he was still taking photographs until June this year. Click here to see some of David's photographs.





One From Ten

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

The Sirkis / Bialas International Quartet

Come To Me

Drummer and bandleader Asaf Sirkis is a busy and much sought after man. He has just finished his latest tour of the UK showcasing his latest album featuring vocalist Sylwia Białas with Frank Harrison on piano and keyboards and Patrick Harrison playing bass and chromatic harmonica.

Asaf SirkisBorn in 1969 in Petah-Tikva, Israel, Asaf came to London in 1999 and has continued to establish a reputation in the UK jazz scene as a respected drummer and composer. A wide variety of collaborations has led to an impressive back catalogue of recordings (which you can sample if you click here), the last being the enjoyable Shepherd's Stories in 2013.

Asaf Sirkis

This latest collaboration with Polish singer Sylwia Białas adds to the variety. Sylwia sings in Polish on the album but the English lyrics are supplied in the leaflet insert with the CD. Asaf and Sylwia share the credits for the music and lyrics. Born in Poland, Sylwia first sang with a band when she was just seven. She says: 'My main aim during studying music, was the ability to compose and transcribe my sound-imagination on the paper. I started to analize the way musicians play their instruments. To think as a drummer, bass player, horn player or anotherSylwia Bialas instrumentalist. To hear always the complete band playing a tune. My voice was the nearest and very direct instrument for me to use. That's why I like so much singing without the lyrics. I was always fascinated by the sound-range and rhythmical possibilities of different instruments and tried to learn to project their flexibility on my voice, that means to sing as an instrumentalist would do.'

Sylwia Białas

The title track, Come To Me, is a love song ‘Knot of bodies, Heat of the lips …’ starting out slowly with some beautiful piano following Sylwia’s vocal, and the gentle pace continues with Dreams Dreams, as dreamy as the title, with solos from bass and piano ‘Lost for words you linger Warm and snuggled In the scent of dreams …

Click here to taste Come To Me.

Come To Me albumWith Vortex, the tempo picks up a little for a lyric-less vocal by Sylwia and well-integrated playing by the band, Patrick Bettison’s bass laying a solid foundation leading to an well-judged fast-paced solo from Frank Harrison and ending with Asaf’s drum solo which I recommend you listen to through headphones for full effect.

Ismael is another slow track with Sylwia’s poetic lyrics ‘On the verge of the day Wearing grey shadows An exhausted angel sat Patching his broken dreams …’ As Harrison’s piano solo starts you are beginning to appreciate how well this band is working together, and here the harmonica comes with reminders of how Sting used the instrument in Ten Summoner’s Tales.

Click here for a taste of Ismael.

A Hymn opens with a repeating piano phrase behind the voice. I found this a track with some beautiful touches and a well-structured solo from Harrison and multi-tracking of Sylwia’s voice. Mandragora continues the slow pace, this time with a piano and harmonica beginning and a wordless voice that Asaf Sirkis and Sywia Bialastakes us into nice solos from Bettison’s bass and Harrison’s piano tied together neatly with Asaf Sirkis’s drums. The One : ‘Jeden świat Jeden cel Jeden myśl I wizja / One World One Goal One Thought  And Vision’, this time with lyrics and a track where the quality of Sylwia Białas’s voice is on show. Magnolia gives us more harmonica and another very effective percussion contribution from Asaf Sirkis.

Orbs has music by Asaf and lyrics by Sylwia. ‘Love continues Strangled with banality Lacking the right words ..’ but words that are savoured as is the piano solo over Asaf’s brush strokes. The album closes with Orgon another track where I appreciated the bass playing of Patrick Bettison and on this number, Frank Harrison’s keyboard, and the conclusion with Sylwia’s strange vocal notes leaves us wondering.

Overall, this is a gentle, sometimes dreamy, poetic album where the empathetic relationship between the players is a critical and a very evident factor in its success. The fact that Sylwia Białas sings in Polish is irrelevant to a non-Polish speaking audience as the essence is the voice; Sirkis and Bettison expressively tie the process together whilst making their own individual contributions and Frank Harrison shows us just how engaging his solos can be.

Click here for a video of the Quartet playing in Brighton in March this year. The picture quality is not good, but the sense of the album is captured.

Click here to sample the album.



Ten Recent Releases and Re-Issues


The Ten

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

kenny Barron Dave Holland The Art Of Conversation


1. Kenny Barron / Dave Holland - The Art Of Conversation - (Impulse)

[Click here to sample the album. Click here for review]



Shitley Horn album


2. Shirley Horn - At The Gaslight Square 1961 - (Solar)

[Click here to sample the album. Click here for more information]



Branford Marsalis album


3. Branford Marsalis - In My Solitude: Live At Grace Cathedral - (OKeh)

[Click here to sample the album. Click here for more information and samples]



Lester Young album


4. Lester Young - Blue Lester: The Complete Royal Roost Broadcasts - (Solar)

[Click here for details]



Mike Walker Stuart McCallum album


5. Mike Walker and Stuart McCallum - Beholden - (Shell-Like)

[Click here to sample the album. Click here for video]



Tubby Hayes album


6. Tubby Hayes - Tubby The Tenor / Tubby's Back In Town / Boston '64 - (Fresh Sounds) (2 CDs)

[Click here to sample the album]



Sirkis Bialas album


7. The Sirkis / Białas International Quartet - Come To Me - (SBPQ)

[Click here to sample the album and for more details.



Miles Davis Quintet album


8. The Miles Davis Quintet Featuring John Coltrane - All Of You: The Last Tour 1960 - (Trapeze) (4 CDs)

[Click here for details. Click here for review]



Geoff Eales album


9. Geoff Eales - Invocation - (Nimbus)

[Click here for details. Click here for a video of Geoff Eales discussing and playing from Invocation]



Jack Teagarden album


10. Jack Teagarden - Featuring Bobby Hackett, Bob Wilbur and Bud Freeman - (Solar)

[Click here for details - album released 15 December]






Kenny Clare

Alan Jones from Woy Woy in Australia writes: 'I was very interested in the piece about Kenny Clare in your November edition (part of an article about the National Jazz Archive working with Waltham Forest Borough to erect Blue Plaques for musicians who had lived there). I well remember him playing with the Rabin band at the Strand Lyceum and always went to hear it when I was on leave in London in the early fifties. The story was that, whilst doing his National Service,  Kenny also had a regular gig at the Samson and Hercules Ballroom in Norwich with the band led by the singer Dennis Hale. Later, Dennis Hale joined Oscar Rabin and when the band needed a drummer recommended Kenny Clare. He was signed to a three year contract.That’s how I heard it at the time but, of course, I can’t vouch for it personally.'

'I saw Kenny many times after that and got to know him  reasonably well. I was doing a summer season at the Palace Ballroom Blackpool when the Dankworth Big Band was at the Winter Gardens for about a month. I was always a great admirer of his work and still have video of the Clarke-Boland Band including the fabulous drum duets with Kenny Clarke.The last time I saw Kenny Clare was here in Sydney, Australia when he was on tour with Cleo Lane and John Dankworth.'


Spike Mackintosh

Michael Steinman is an American jazz blogger who has written to us about his 'falling under the spell' of the late trumpeter Spike Mackintosh. Spike, who played with Wally Fawkes Troglodytes, played trumpet on the Sandy Brown album Sandy's Sidemen. Michael has brought together a tremendous amount of information about Spike which you can read about if you click here. Scroll down the page for various recollections that have been sent to Michael and also to hear some of Spike's playing.


Rolling Back The Years

Phil Bird writes: 'The Fighting Cocks, Grey Horse, The Swan etc were also one of my first, underage, introductions to live Jazz. I was particularly interested in Ron Drakeford's piece (click here) especially about Lennie Williams from The Canal Street Jazzband. I saw Lennie play, top bar of The Railway, Norbiton, jamming with The Yardbirds (Metropolis Blues) and playing some blues on his trumpet/cornet with the band. It was like Trad meets Blues - maybe similar music routes anyway.'

'My card from this pub is shown elsewhere on this site (click here). It was just refreshing to read that I wasn't dreaming and that Eric and Lennie were friends. His trumpet playing really  added to their sound at the time and I was always sorry he didn't play again (to my knowledge). It was also good to see The Cardinal Wolesey get a mention. Often used to go to these sessions in the hall at the back. Trad Jazz and Blues bands. In those days you could park right outside, cars and scooters. Thank you for the memories.'


Michael Sherborne

Wendy Sherborne
writes: 'My Dad, Michael Sherborne (often spelt with a 'u' by mistake) was in Bill Brunskill's Jazzmen as the trombonist andBill Brunskill Ol Man Mose also played with Ken Coyler's Climax Band. I have some records they made still. I have heard him on Youtube sing 'Ol Man Mose' (click here), he is now 74 still alive and kickin'. He often talks of the Lord Napier pub and the trips to Canada, Germany, etc. on various tours with bands and playing with Monty Sunshine etc., but he never kept in contact with other band members after moving to South Wales in 1982. I think a few have passed away since. He isn't involved in music anymore and doesn't play the trombone any longer. Mick is on album cover - first from the right with the beard! If anyone has any information I would like to hear more about him.' Click here for our page on Bill Brunskill.



Album Released: October 2014 - Label: Weller Music Co.


Chris Weller

Chris Weller's Hanging Hearts


Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Chris Weller (tenor saxophone), Cole Degenova (keyboards), Devin Drobka (drums).

This CD came to me through the post from Ian at sandybrownjazz saying:  “... I would welcome a second opinion, please.”  It is a measure ofChris Weller's Hanging Hearts album the man that he believes other ears might pick up a buzz here.  Chris Weller’s Hanging Hearts - for sure, there’s plenty going on. The opening track breaks with a big roar; Mr Weller’s D Rover is powered from a sound similar to Peter Wareham’s tenor sax majestically ripping up Iggy on Acoustic Ladyland’s Last Chance Disco (Babel Records). 

Click here to listen to D Rover.

The Hanging Hearts are tenor saxophone, keyboards and drums; no bass.  What bassline they have comes from the bottom of their collective boom.  In my book, a good start.  Then I get to the Hanging Hearts’ treatment of Duke Ellington’s The Single Petal Of A Rose.  It’s nothing like The Duke, but Ellington was a generous man.  Take time to hear Weller’s tenor horn squeezed high on its essential upper register, an exquisite ballad blown with an adroit edge free of the twee prettiness that sometimes occurs on versions of Ellington’s slower material.  You’ve got to love a melody to be able to play it like this and you’ve got to understand the saxophone to achieve it.  On the CD version the Hearts don’t use piano, instead a big fat synth backdrops an expansive aural painting.  In just short of five minutes Weller and Degenova produce a little patch of daylight in a dark interior.

Click here for a video of the band playing The Single Petal Of A Rose.

Okay, then we reach Doo-Wop and Cole Degenova’s keyboards unzipped my ears.  He has been involved in ‘soul-jazz’ singing in the past, here he toughens up and gives the vocals a rest.  In Hanging Hearts his keyboards are constantly flexing the electricity afforded him.  On Wop he responds to Drobka’s smack rim-shots as if they both were duelling for space.  This three-piece are running close to the big ace Chris Weller's Hanging HeartsAmerican powerjazz ensembles like Spectrum Road (with Vernon Reid et al) and Medeski, Martin & Wood.  What follows on Early Bird has the Weller/Degenova axis literally plunged into its own chasm.  Devin Drobka’s drums are of necessity full-on tribal, so his two compatriots really have to ‘hang’ their sound on the barrage in their own backyard.  It’s a blast momentum, not just a case of making a lot of noise.  For sure the music is loud, intense stuff but there is a constant investigation of their own dark materials. Early Bird ends with Chris Weller stripping away residual R&B-punk parts to leave a nerve and plunder melody ‘close enough for jazz’ drawing on Larry Young’s mid-period Blue Note sessions. 

James Brown could have found some funk in Hanging Hearts.  These guys are from Chicago, the ghosts of legendary Windy City tenor players like Fred Anderson and Von Freeman blow through Chris Weller’s intentions.  He’s done the Berklee College of Music thing and Degenova’s been a soul-boy, with this album comes the time to shake awake the wider world.  What I hear is self belief played with strength and its there for the taking.

So back to the beginning; Ian at sandybrownjazz had an inkling my ears just might tingle, I’m glad he did.  I guess we’ll be hanging out together playing the Hearts sometime soon.

Click here for a sampler of the album. Click here for more about Chris Weller's Hanging Hearts.


Steve Day





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

with apologies to Chuck Berry (click here)

Can you help?

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



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.




Some December 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 - Thursday, 4th December - Rick Peckham (USA).

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

Dublin: National Concert Hall (NCH), Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2. www.nch.ie
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 31st December - Vince Mendoza celebrates NYE and Bacharach.

Dublin: Whelan's, 25, Wexford Street, Dublin 2. www.whelanslive.com

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 - Sunday, 14th December - National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland (afternoon).


Wales: Dempsey's, Cardiff , 15, Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BS. www.jazzatdempseys.org.uk


Lancashire: Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club, Atrium Cafe Bar, Clitheroe Castle Keep, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 1BA. www.rvjazzandblues.co.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 5th December - Alan Barnes Quartet.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne: The Jazz Cafe, 25 - 27 Pink Lane, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 5DW. www.jazzcafe-newcastle.co.uk
Gig Pick - Saturday, 6th December - Matt Anderson / Jiannis Pavilidis Duo.

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 - Thursday, 4th December - Stan Sultzmann Neon Quartet at Inkwell Arts.

Yorkshire: Jazz In The Spa, Boston Spa, Village Hall, High Street, Boston Spa. www.jazzinthespa.co.uk
Gig Pick - Saturday, 6th December - Swing Commanders.

South Yorkshire: Sheffield Jazz, Various venues in Sheffield. www.sheffieldjazz.org.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 5th December - Stan Sultzmann Neon Quartet.

Manchester: Matt and Phred's, 64 Tib Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1LW. www.mattandphreds.com
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 10th December - The Dave Luvin Group.

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

Essex: The Electric Palace, Harwich, King's Quay. Harwich. www.electricpalace.com

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

Essex: North Weald, North Weald Village Hall, CM16 6BU Essex
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, 3rd December - Savannah.

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

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


London: King's Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG. www.kingsplace.co.uk
Gig Pick - Saturday, 13th December - John Martin Quartet + Metamorphic.

London: Lume, Hoxton, The Long White Cloud, 151 Hackney Road, London E2 8JL. www.lumemusic.co.uk
Gig Pick - Thursday, 4th December - Splatter & Martin Speake/Malcolm Earle-Smith.

London: e17 Jazz, Walthamstow, Orford House Social Club, 73 Orford Road, Walthamstow, London E17 9QR. www.e17jazz.com
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 17th December - E17 Large Ensemble.

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 - Thursday, 11th December - London City Big Band

London: Ronnie Scott's Club, Soho, 47 Frith Street, London W1. www.ronniescotts.co.uk  
Gig Pick - Monday 15th - Saturday 20th December - Ray Gelato & The Giants.

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

London: The Forge, Camden, 3-7 Delancey Street, Camden, London NW1 7NL. www.theforgevenue.org
Gig Pick - Thursday, 4th December - Bad Ass Brass.

London: Chickenshed Theatre Jazz Bar, Southgate, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. www.chickenshed.org.uk

London: The Vortex, 11, Gillett Street, N16 8AZ. www.vortexjazz.co.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 19th December - Arun Ghosh: Winter Rasa.

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 (tpt) and Dave Eastham (alto / clarinet)

London: Little House, 1 Queen Street, London W1
Thursdays, 8.00 - 10.00 pm: Dave Burman (tpt) with Peter Shade (acc/piano) and Dave Eastham (sax).

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

London: 606 Club, 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0QD. www.606club.co.uk
Gig Pick - Sunday, 14th December - Sarah Jane Morris.

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 - Thursday, 4th December - Chris Ingham Quartet - 'Celebrating Hoagy'.

London: Putney, The Half Moon, 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1EU.
Dick Laurie's Elastic Band. FREE Admission, good food, easy parking, children welcome and plentiful public transport.
Next gigs: Sunday, 7th December and Sunday, 28th December - 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm


Kent: 144 Club, Nr Tunbridge Wells and Rochester, Finchcock's Musical Museum, Goudhurst, TN17 1HH. www.finchcocks.co.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 5th December - Zoe Gilby, Matt Gough and band.

Kent: The Roffen, New Road Rochester, ME1 1DX. www.144club.co.uk
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 3rd December - Zoe Gilby, Matt Gough and band.

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

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

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

Bristol: The Be-Bop Club, The Bear, Hotwell Road, Bristol, BS8 4SF. www.thebebopclub.co.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 12th December - Laura Jurd Quartet.

Somerset: Ilminster Arts Centre, The Meeting House, East Street, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0AN. www.themeetinghouse.org,uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 12th December - Steve Graham's Classic Jazz.

Dorset: Bridport Arts Centre, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NR. www.bridport-arts.com
Gig Pick - Friday, 12th December - Philip Clouts/Neil Maya - 40 Years of South African Jazz.

Cornwall: St. Ives Jazz Club, Western Hotel, Gabriel Street, St. Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2LU. www.stivesjazzclub.com
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 2nd December - Annika Skoogh Quartet.


Items Carried Over From Last Month

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


JazzAhead! Bremen, 2015

Despite their funding issues, Jazz Services will again be taking a stand at the 2015 event JazzAhead in Germany next April.

They say: 'Jazz Services is very pleased to announce that we will again be taking a stand at the annual JazzAhead! industry event, to be held JazzAhead! image in Bremen, Germany, from the 23rd-26th April 2015.'

'Our presence in previous years has provided UK-based jazz professionals with a valuable opportunity to attend as a co-exhibitor of Jazz Services, and to allow artists to apply for showcases.  Despite the situation regarding our funding beyond the end of March next year, we recognise that JazzAhead! is a vital part of our commitment to serving the UK jazz scene’s international interests.  We have also noted the concerns of many on the scene that they would not be able to attend without the platform our presence provides, and to this end we have made careful provisions to ensure we can go ahead with 2015’s event. We’re also delighted to bring on board Cathie Rae to facilitate our involvement.  Former Director of the Scottish Jazz Federation, Cathie has attended JazzAhead! herself many times in the past and will be working with Jazz Services to organise and arrange our stand and presence.  She brings with her a fantastic wealth of international experience, and her addition to the team helps to further strengthen our position as we continue working for British jazz music at home and abroad.'

'Full details, including how to join Jazz Services as a co-exhibitor, will be announced shortly and we look forward to helping champion British jazz overseas once again in April 2015.' 

For information about JazzAhead click here.


Jazz Talks In 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



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