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July 2015


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

 

According to his autobiography, Charles Mingus bumped into Bobby Fischer at Bellevue Hospital.

Charles Mingus

There was a boy sitting across the table from me, reading a book on mathematics - I could see the equations and symbols. I saw him walking around earlier that morning - very tall and gangly, sandy haired, only about eighteen years old. I later learned he was a champion chess player and spoke seven languages. He was a genius, I guess. His parents had him committed, he told me, but he didn’t say why. He didn’t seem to mind. He was quiet and good-natured and always busy doing something. When he saw me looking at him he asked if I wanted to play a game of chess and he brought out his board. I showed him what I had just wrote.

He looked very thoughtful, and said, "I don’t have time to hear everything, but I’m interested in music and keep abreast of what’s happening. It’s odd you say you haven’t been productive. It seems to me you have several - Let’s see -" and he counted in his head - "I’d say six or seven albums that came out last year. That isn’t bad." I was amazed, but he was right, and I realised last year seemed like ten years ago to me.

Bobby Fischer

He checkmated me three times in a row, and I could see he was getting bored, so I went back to my bunk and tried to write some poetry. A good title came to my mind. ‘Nice Of You To Have Come To My Funeral’.

 



Who's This?

Who's This?

 

Probably the most famous jazz musician to come out of South Africa, he was born in in Kwa-Guqa Township. He took up the trumpet after seeing the film Young Man With A Horn and his first trumpet was given to him by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, the anti-apartheid chaplain at St. Peter's Secondary School.

With some school friends, he formed the Huddleston Jazz Band, South Africa's first youth orchestra. He was helped by Trevor Huddleston and international friends such as Yehudi Menuhin and John Dankworth, who got him admitted into London's Guildhall School of Music. During that period, he visited the United States, where he was befriended by Harry Belafonte. He attended Manhattan School of Music in New York, where he studied classical trumpet from 1960 to 1964. He plays cornet, trumpet and flugelhorn, and he composes and sings.

In the 1980s, he toured with Paul Simon in support of Simon's album Graceland, which featured other South African artists such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Miriam Makeba, Ray Phiri, and other elements of the band Kalahari, which he recorded with in the 1980s.

 

Who's This?

 

He has continued to play music influenced by his life experience reflecting the conflicts faced in South Africa and the hardships of its black population, and at 76 he continues to play. In June he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Jazz FM 2015 Jazz Awards.

Not sure? Click here for a video of him performing Coal Train in 1986.

 

 

 

Ronnie Scott's Instrument Amnesty

Saturday 11th July, 10am – 3.30pm

On Saturday 11th of July, Ronnie Scott's will be holding a Music Instrument Amnesty to collect unused music instruments and donate them to school aged children in the UK and overseas. The amnesty is organized in association with Sistema England and Music Fund. Donated instruments will be given new life in the hands of children and young people participating in ambitious 'social action through music' projects, inRonnie Scott's amnesty targeted communities in England and abroad.

Sistema England, founded by Julian Lloyd Webber, seeks to transform the lives of children, young people and their communities through the power of music making. It is part of an international movement inspired by El Sistema, the Venezuelan programme that benefits street kids through the creation of grass roots orchestras. The Ronnie Scott’s Music Instrument Amnesty will go some way to benefit some of the 3,000 children in Sistema programmes in 14 schools in London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Norwich and Telford.  Overseas, the collected instruments will be given a second life through Music Fund who distribute to projects in international conflict zones from their base in Brussels.  Music Fund is a humanitarian project that supports musicians and music schools in conflict areas and developing countries operating in Africa, the Middle East and Central America. 

It’s an initiative that is especially dear to Ronnie Scott’s Managing Director Simon Cooke who said: “We at Ronnie’s are really pleased to lead Ronnie Scott's Clubthis drive helping schools and education projects at home and around the World.  Our standing in the jazz world puts us in a great position to ask musicians, our members and the public at large to help us help underprivileged kids by donating their unloved or used music instruments on July 11.  This is the first of a few new charitable initiatives that the club will be embarking upon”.

Donors are invited to book an advance appointment and then pop in to the legendary Frith Street club anytime between 10am and 3.30pm on Saturday 11th July with the instrument they wish to donate. And while they wait for their instrument to be inspected and a tracking number issued - the donor is able to track their instrument to its final destination whether Newcastle, Liverpool or the war torn Middle East – they are invited to experience the iconic venue, perhaps rubbing shoulders with musicians who have graced the Ronnie’s stage who will be dropping their instruments off too! Ronnie Scott’s isn’t just offering a drop-off point for instruments though, as well as helping to collect and repair instruments, they will be working alongside the organisations both at home and abroad to inspire a young generation of aspiring jazz musicians.The club will arrange jazz workshops based on its hugely successful Big Band In A Day initiative that invites school kids into Ronnie’s to work with world class musicians in forming their very own big band!

Instruments can be booked in for donation via
http://www.ronniescotts.co.uk/performances/view/2862-the-ronnie-scotts-music-intrument-amnesty or email fatine@ronniescotts.co.uk 

 

 

 

Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year

Helena Kay has been named the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year at an event held at Glasgow's Rio Club as part of the Glasgow Jazz Festival at the end of June. The was described by The Herald Scotland 's reporter, Rob Adams said of the twenty-one-year-old saxophonist: 'It Helena Kay was the marvellously self-possessed Kay's sheer musicality, sure tone and beautifully expressed flow of ideas that stood out above all in a literally winning performance.'

Rob Adams goes on to say: 'All five finalists had their merits. Pianist Declan Forde played with both delicate bluesiness and a certain impudent, benign hooliganism. Trumpeter Sean Gibbs showed strong bebop feeling and guitarist John Patton the power to excite. Another pianist, Fergus McCreadie's measured, constructive improvising impressed (the judges nominated him, deservedly, runner-up).'

'Kay has been on this platform before, playing alto, and the naturally larger presence of the tenor saxophone added weight to the talent she's shown previously. She cited Sonny Rollins as an inspiration. Stan Getz's pacing was also detectable and another judge, himself a world class tenor saxophonist, Bobby Wellins would have heard a kindred spirit in the unhurried gracefulness of Kay's improvising.'

Click here to listen to the Meadows Orchestra conducted by Peter Evans playing R. Michael Meadows Suite No 4 - 'Bill Evans with Richard Michael on piano and Helena Kay playing soprano saxophone.

 

 

 

Young Jazz Musician of the Year Competition

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

 

They are:

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

Elliot Galvin

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

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

Frank Holder

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Let's Get Quizzical

Who's This?Question Mark

Quizzical - defined as: (of a person's expression or behaviour) indicating mild or amused puzzlement.

Synonyms: Puzzled, Perplexed, Baffled, Mystified, Questioning, Curious (take your pick!)

This month, our quiz brings you fifteen questions of which either you know the answers or you they leave you puzzled, perplexed, baffled, etc.....

For example:

Which jazz pianist named Arthur is being described here: ‘From infancy he suffered from cataracts (of disputed cause) which left him blind in one eye and with only very limited vision in the other. A number of surgical procedures improved his eye condition to a degree but some of the benefits were reversed when he was assaulted in 1930.’

 

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

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

Mind Your Own Business

A large majority of jazz musicians are self-employed. Some work through managers or agencies, and whether they bring in enough to pay tax may be dependent on how much they earn through a variety of work during the year. Either way, it helps to have some knowledge of business, self-Jazz FM logopromotion and entrepreneurship.

Jazz Shapers is a one hour programme on the radio station Jazz FM hosted by Elliot Moss that is broadcast every Saturday morning. Elliot says: 'Of course, we play jazz. And soul. And blues. But on Jazz Shapers we also interview business people. It is our contention that the jazz greats share certain characteristics - their innovative ideas, their breaking with convention, their daring and their courage - with entrpreneurs and the shapers of business.'

Elliott Moss works for law firm Mishcon de Reya who sponsor the programme. Elliot continues: 'Co-creating a radio programme with Jazz FM was not the most obvious step a law firm would take. But as we started Elliot Mossconversations with them, we started to get excited. Jazz FM's audience is full of people in the world of business - decision makers and influencers .... I've interviewed over 150 shapers: men and women of varying ages, from different backgrounds and in a huge array of industries. It goes without saying that each of these people is unique ... But they also have attributes in common. They have tons of energy. They are resourceful and brave, embracing and learning from their failures. They are quick learners. They have the courage of their convictions and dive headfirst into challenges ...'

Inspired by these interviews, Elliot wanted to share some of them. In partnership with the Creative Society, a youth employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries, they brought together the design agency October Associates and a group of unemployed young people aged between 16 and 24 keen for real work experience to bring together a collection of inspiration interviews from the programme. The result is The Shapers Project, a booklet with edited versions of the interviews that marry youthful creative ideas with inspirational business teachings. You can download podcasts of the interviews if you click here. For more about Business Shapers click here.

The chapter in the booklet that interviews bassist, composer, bandleader and owner of the Whirlwind Recordings record label, Michael Janisch is below.

 

 

Go With The Flow - Michael Janisch

'You let the moment of music-making take over and it is almost as if you are not there. It is just coming out of you.'

Michael JanischTo hear, love and enjoy music is a natural state of being for me. It is what I have done every day since I was three years old. I feel a spirituality and passion when I am listening. I feel as if I can transfer that same emotionJazz For Babies when I play. It is one of the great forces on the planet. Jazz For Babies came to be when my wife was pregnant. I wanted to play music to my unborn child. But I realised that music for babies was pretty shocking. It was either bland classical piano recordings or computerised soulless reinterpretations of rock tunes. But wouldn't you want to give a baby human-made music at the same level sonically and emotionally that we provide it for adults?

My business is a means to an end. In today's music industry, independent artists have the tools to take businesses into their own hands. We can accomplish the things we want to do: the things we dreamed about as children. The chances from agents and managers can be thin, so we have to create playing opportunities. That is what started me promoting my own events, and touring. This leads to your musicianship getting better and you want to release your music. But then you shop around for labels and you think: "I don't like the deal they are presenting. Why not start my own label?"

Starting a record label came naturally to me. I enjoy it because it is centred on music and as a result I play better Whirlwind logoconcerts. It has led me to headline major festivals around the world. Agents take me seriously because I have spent more than a decade developing this.

You train your brain to get into 'the flow' when you are playing a long time. You just let the moment of music-making take over and it is almost as if you are not there. It is just coming out of you. I try to be in the flow even when I am not playing music. Similar to the enlightened state that Buddhism talks about, it is a combination of trusting yourself and of having put so many hours in on your instrument that you have transcended it.

In jazz we say we 'shedded the music'. Charlie Parker went to his woodshed and practised for 10 hours a day for years. So the phrase is "I've been shedding". Now I apply it to business. I say "I've been shedding the record-label business."

If you want to do anything well, you have to jump in. You have to completely jump into it. It is hard work. I am frank with musicians. I tell them that all teachers will say different things, but that in my experience you either work hard or it is not going to happen for you. There is no substitute for hard work.

Click here for the full interview with Michael Janisch.

 

 

Album released: 23rd May 2015 - Label: phee.com

The Patrick Hayes Electric Ensemble (PHEE)

Back To The Grove


Originally from Bournemouth, Patrick Hayes studied Jazz Trombone at the Royal Academy of Music, London and Studio Music and Jazz at the University of Miami - Coconut Grove in Miami is the location behind the title of his new album Back To The Grove. He has performed and recorded with a wide range of pop and jazz musicians including Phil Ramone, the James Taylor Quartet, Gerard Presencer and Guy Barker,Patrick Hayes Back To The Grove and the bands he has played with are equally varied and include NYJO, the London Jazz Orchestra, the London City Big Band, Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, University of Miami Concert Jazz Band, Troyk-estra and Glenn Miller UK. His experience of playing with big bands is clearly evident on this album.

Back To The Grove is Patrick’s debut album under his own name. Of the seven tracks, five are his own compositions. You Get The Picture is a John Scofield number and Estate is by Bruno Martino. As for the musicians on this album, they vary track by track having been recorded at various times during 2014, but the talent Patrick has pulled in is formidable. Some top-of-the-pile UK musicians appear including James Gardiner-Bateman (saxophone), Reuben Fowler and Tom Walsh (trumpet), Matt Robinson (keyboards), Gareth Lockrane (flute) and two of my favourite unsung singers – Harriet Syndercombe-Court and Billy Benjamin Boothroyd.

Click here for an introductory video to the album

Crackin’ The Whip opens with percussion and bass and leads into a catchy, funky ensemble out of which James G-B emerges with a nice solo that sets things up for Rob Luft’s electric guitar, by now you are clapping or foot tapping. The band joins in again to drive along with drums and congas and effective touches of electronica. This is an impressive opening track and John Scofield’s You Get The Picture keeps up the pace so we almost have a segue from one piece to the next. Ed Richardson’s drums are key to these and other tracks that follow. Matt Robinson’s Fender Rhodes carries this second track along and again Rob Luft shows us how an electric guitar can lift a piece while the band holds thePatrick Hayes energy underneath.

Click here for a video of Crackin’ The Whip filmed at the album launch.

Back To The Grove has the brass and woodwind creating atmosphere, the percussion telling us this has a Latin touch and then a lovely flute solo from Gareth Lockrane confirming the fact. I love Reuben Fowler’s short flugelhorn solo that follows. As the tune slows, Patrick Hayes takes a trombone solo until the background vocals echo the title. Bruno Martino’s Estate swells its entrance into Billy Boothroyd’s vocal. If you have never heard Billy sing, here’s your chance. Why this guy has not recorded his own album beats me. Matt Robinson takes the central piano solo and for this track we have a large ensemble with violins and cellos filling out the arrangement.

Click here for Back To The Grove live.

Night In The Gables upbeats the Latin with a ‘Pow’ and Harriet Syndercombe-Court’s vocal precedes a lovely flute solo from Gareth Lockrane, breaking for a percussive episode from Jonathon Ormston, Alice Angliss and Ed Richardson. Safe In Berlin slows for a great duo introduction from Laurence Ungless (bass guitar) and Rob Luft (electric guitar) and Patrick Hayes and Rob Luft solo effectively on trombone and guitar. The album ends with Barkham, where a steady percussion brings in shades of Shaft, Earth Wind and Fire and Weather Report until James Gardiner-Bateman takes an alto-saxophone solo that shows why he is so much in demand these days.

Click here to listen to Safe In Berlin

In my opinion, Back To The Grove is a ‘must have’ album. It will have wide appeal, it is joyous and  uplifting, and the enthusiasm of the musicians is tangible. No small credit is down to the stunning arrangements by Patrick Hayes and by Reuben Fowler for You Get The Picture. If the Patrick Hayes Electric Ensemble has more in their catalogue, bring it on.

Click here for a video of PHEE playing We Can Work It Out (not on the album) live at the Jazz Cafe London.

The album is available from phee1.bandcamp.com

Ian Maund

 

 

 

The Passing Of Ornette Coleman

Steve Day writes:

In 2000 Ornette Coleman was playing a gig in Ireland. I was writing for Avant magazine and had just brought out a book, Ornette Coleman: Music Always. I was due to travel to Ireland for the magazine with my friend the photographer, Peter Symes to cover the concert. Just before we were due Ornette Colemanto go my mother died and I was unable to make the trip. Peter however not only took pictures and met up with Mr Coleman, he kindly took a copy of my book to give to Ornette and asked him to sign a copy for myself, explaining why I hadn’t come in person. Apparently Ornette began asking about my mother, who Peter didn’t know, though he remembered I’d once told him that in 1992 I had taken her to see Ornette Coleman play at the Royal Festival Hall. This apparently caught Ornette’s imagination and Peter found it difficult to move him on to other topic areas.

This quirky little personal story provides a measure of the man. His humility and humanity were as crucial a part to what made him the single most important figure in contemporary jazz, post the be-bop revolution, as his extraordinary core gift as a composer, improviser and musician.

There will be a lot written about Ornette Coleman being the founder of ‘free jazz’. And of course, his original white plastic Grafton alto saxophone did frighten the jazz establishment and everybody else – Sonny Rollins stopped playing in public for almost two years until he figured out the implications of what Coleman was doing. From the beginning, Ornette Coleman’s ‘freeing up’ of jazz came as a result of his innate gift as a composer. Despite all the early rubbish-talk of Coleman as a charlatan (“I listened to him high and I listened to him sober. I even played with him.  I think he’s jiving, baby.” Roy Eldridge) his unique oeuvre of melodies (yes, tunes!) are now recognized as a huge rich depositary of music: The Blessing (1958), Lonely Woman, Una Muy Bonita, Turnaround (1959), Broadway Blues (1968), Dancing In Your Head (1975), Song X (1985), Latin Genetics, (1987) Monsieur Allard (1996) represent a fraction of the material available. Each one these incredibly intricate pieces was composed without being locked into key signatures, harmony and time.

Over the years other people have performed these classics imposing a framework of Western composition on them – Ornette Coleman never did. Ornette ColemanNor did his early compatriots like Charlie Haden, Don Cherry or later fellow travellers like Bern Nix, James ‘Blood’ Ulmer and Jamaaladeen Tacuma.

Click here for Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell playing Street Woman in 1971.

When Ornette Coleman eventually started writing for string ensembles (Prime Design/Time Design) and orchestras (Skies Of America) he rejected pitch in favour of the direct line. Throughout his career his own violin playing deliberately turned dissonance into sound collage – performances such as Falling Stars, Snowflakes And Sunshine (1965) and Mob Job (1985) clash expectation and understanding whilst remaining totally riveting. They are germane to connecting with his rationale. Much later, post-new millennium ‘string’ explorations with Greg Cohen and Tony Falanga on basses and Denardo Coleman, drums, feel as natural as a minor chord.

Click here for Ornette Coleman Prime Time & Quartet paying In All Languages in 1987.

Ornette Coleman’s death even at the age of 85 is remarkable because, of all people, his mind was constantly in the future rather than the past. Last November 2014, New Vocabulary was released on System Dialing.  Unsurprisingly and perhaps fittingly, many people didn’t know what to make of it. Ornette Coleman will forever be way out front.

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk       

 

 

 

 

Jazz Book Club Books

Sandy Pringle has moved - 'downsizing'. As he no longer has room for his collection of books from the Jazz Book Club he has asked if we can find homes for them.

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

Sandy Pringle's books are all hard back editions and the jackets - the paper covers - have gone. They are some fifty years old and so some have a few brown age spots on some pages. Even so, there are many biographies and other works here including Blues Fell This Morning by Paul Oliver; Bugles For Beiderbecke by Charles H Wareing / George Garlick; Really The Blues by Mezz Mezzrow / Bernard Wolfe and Duke Ellington by Peter Gammond. There are 47 books in total.

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

 

 

 

 

Album Released: 25th May 2015 - Label: Wienerworld

 

Buddy Rich

Birdland

June Bastable reviews this album for us:

The eleven rare, previously unreleased and all-original tracks on this compilation were recorded at a number of venues on a portable tape deck, with various attachments and a couple of mics, by Alan Gauvin (alto/soprano/flute), a member of the Buddy Rich "Killer Force" bandBuddy Rich Birdland during the late 1970s. Gauvin made these recordings not for posterity, but merely to hear how he came across in such hallowed company.

It's so marvellous when you think that, all these years later, they were rediscovered and dusted off to provide the background music to Whiplash, the 2015 Academy Award-winning film.  Since then, it has become the most downloaded Buddy Rich album in recent history.

All the musicians on this superlative collection are masters of their chosen instruments, which is why Buddy Rich coined the name "Killer Force" for this, his all-time favourite band, stating publicly it was "the best he ever had".  Personally, I would be hard-pressed to pick any one of the musicians out. The piano parts are intricate and thrilling, the trumpets soar, saxophones sob, trombones glide, the bass pulses through, and, of course, Buddy Rich drives the band, not just keeping time, but blending his drums with one or more of the other instrumentalists.

Well, OK, OK - if I AM pressed, I would concede that Barry Keiner (piano) on Just Friends and CTA;  Keiner again on I Hear a Rhapsody having a kind of musical battle with Buddy (to the amusement of the audience); the cascading trumpets on Three Day Suckers, all stand out and Buddy Richstay in the memory. However, this album is so packed with goodies that I felt like a child in FAO Schwartz: spoilt for choice indeed!

It's a lot of fun spotting quotes of other tunes amongst the complex arrangements, and there are several on this album: for example,  Mairsie Doats (loving the humour) and Honeysuckle Rose pop up during Just Friends; then, imagine the thrill when Hot House suddenly and briefly appears on CTA. Make it your business to find these - and more...

Most of the numbers on this album are familiar: the eponymous Birdland; Milestones; Mexicali Nose; Just Friends (a heartbreakingly beautiful  rendition); CTA; God Bless the Child; I Hear a Rhapsody; and the glorious Parthenia, composed and arranged by another great drummer, Shelly Manne, which is probably my favourite out of all these eleven tracks.

Finally, some people believe that the drum-kit is the least musical of all the orchestral instruments but, as aficionados of this genius maestro will say, Buddy's drums sing!!

And how amazing it is that this great man never learned to read music!

Click here to sample the album.

June Bastable

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

 

 

 

Buddy Rich - The Lost Tapes

Also out on the Lightyear Entertainment lable is a DVD of Buddy Rich and his Band entitled The Lost Tapes. This footage has been available before on VHS tape, but its significance is that it is Buddy Rich's last performance and filmed gig and is released on a DVD that takes as its focusBuddy Rich The Lost Tapes the second set ending with the West Side Story medley. Writing in Jazzwise magazine, Andy Robson says: ' The bonus of this gig is that it was specially set up for filming ... eight cameras were used, and Rich's drum riser is of see-through plexi glass, including one beneath him so we see that kick drum in close up and the sweat literally rains down on us. In the DVD's extras, Buddy's daughter Cath advises viewers to 'grab some popcorn, sit back and be amazed'.

The information by Lightyear Entertainment says: Buddy Rich: The Lost Tapes is an historic preservation and restoration project. The producers recovered the masters from a 64257;re in 1990 and went about restoring the original surround sound track of the last concert Buddy Rich recorded before he passed away in 1987. This release follows the Emmy Award winning Channel One Suite and both concerts were recorded on the same night.

One viewer says: 'Buddy at his best. The producer's created a nightclub in a factory for this DVD and set up a number of cameras and special sound systems. Only a handfull of people were there for a magnificent performance by Rich and his band. The last ten minutes of this video has shots of him doing amazing work. The perspiration rolls off him as we watch from different angles. Even the commentaries are worth watching after you've viewed the concert. If you are a Buddy Rich fan this DVD is a definite must.'

Click here for more information.

 

 

 

 

Album Released: 22nd June 2015 - Label: Purple Stiletto Records

 

Juliet Kelly

Spellbound Stories

 

Harriet Syndercombe-Court reviews this album for us:

UK vocalist Juliet Kelly's latest project Spellbound Stories is her fourth album and is a set of songs based on some of her favourite novels. For Kelly, one of the things that drew all of the novels together was that they all involved some element of magic, mystery and the supernatural. Something that she tried to bring out in the arrangements and which also includes tracks mixed by Seb Rochford and Dilip Harris. The albumJuliet Kelly Spellbound Stories features pianist Nick Ramm, bassist Oli Hayhurst and drummer Eddie Hick.  

Click here for a video introduction.

Spellbound Stories is an album, which was born from a love of reading as a child. Having read the tale of Juliet’s Greek adventure creating Forbidden Fruit, which was to be the beginning of the album, I was thrilled to hear it. The originality of forming an album, each song, inspired by a favourite book, sparked an interest in me.

The sound on the album connects both early jazz and the more modern edge of the genre. The balance is satisfying, I never find myself wanting more of one or the other. Kelly is clearly a fan of an irregular time signature, but this doesn’t get in the way of the lyrical content or the soloist intentions.

Click here to sample Little Things from the album.

The reverb soaked opening of Ghosts is a highlight of Spellbound Stories. Kelly’s voice overwhelmed my ears to the point where it took me a while to realise I was holding my breath. The last thing I was expecting to hear was a traditional ballad. The wordless melody is situated beautifully in the middle of the album. Just having Kelly’s voice stripped back made me appreciate its beauty once again. Nick Ramm’s playing is exquisite, his solo is delicate and dedicated.

Magic and Mystery does what it says on the tin.  It took me back to watching ‘The Magic Roundabout’. I enjoyed the colourful images that Kelly’s composition brought me as I listened. Manjeet Singh Rasiya plays tabla on this piece, it’s effortless, yet has such a powerful place on the track.

Spellbound Stories ends with Forbidden Fruit.  Juliet Kelly has written this solid tune with a hint of darkness. It’s a satisfying finisher.

Click here to sample Wuthering Heights from the album.

I would love to see this album performed live, not only because I imagine Juliet really lights up the stage, but also because, I want to know more about each story behind each track.

Click here to sample the songs from a live performance at The Forge in London.

Click here for more details.

Following the album launch at The Pizza Express Jazz Club on 18th June, Juliet Kelly will be at:

15th September - The Stables, Milton Keynes
19th September - Queen's Hall, Hexham, Northumberland
16th October - Urban Art Bar @ The Red Lion, Birmingham

 

Harriet Syndercombe-Court

Harriet Syndercombe-Court is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, a session and backing vocalist and teacher.
The Diamond Skyline Orchestra and Pandoras Jukebox

 


 

 

The Jazz FM Awards 2015

Jazz FM made an inspired choice in booking John Thompson to host this year's awards. The actor, known for his role as the jazz club host in The Hugh MasekelaFast Show's TV comedy sketch, carried the event with humour and relaxed efficiency (click here to see him in role as Louis Balfour in the Jazz Clubs clips from The Fast Show - 'Great!').

The London-based radio station Jazz FM is celebrating its 25th birthday, so the Awards, in partnership with the organisation Serious and a variety of sponsors at the Vinopolis Great Halls venue near London Bridge was a celebratory affair. Time was also made to remember Richard Wheatly, a key, respected figure in the establishment of Jazz FM, who created the Awards and who died recently. Broadcaster Jon Snow presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to the legendary South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela who, with pianist Larry Willis, played a typically captivating version of Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out.

Hugh Masekela

Other performances were from the outstanding House Gospel Choir, from Rebecca Ferguson who sang a number from her Billie Holiday tribute set, and from Soul Award winner, Jarrod Lawson. Lawson's performance was powerful and he deserves to be more widely publicised and heard - click here for a video of Jarrod singing The Point Of It All in a recording for Gilles Peterson's BBC show.

The winners of the various Award categories were:

Live Experience of the Year: Loose Tubes (Cheltenham Jazz Festival)
UK Jazz Act of the Year: GoGo Penguin
Album of the Year: Dianne Reeves - Beautiful Life
Jarrod Lawson

Breakthrough Act: Bill Laurance
Instrumentalist of the Year: Shabaka Hutchings
Jazz Innovation of the Year:  Jason Moran

Jarrod Lawson

International Jazz Artist of the Year: Gregory Porter
Blues Artist of the Year: Dr John
Soul Artist of the Year: Jarrod Lawson
Vocalist of the Year: Zara McFarlane
Lifetime Achievement: Hugh Masekela

Click here for more details.

 

 

 

 

You Suggest : Dave McKenna

This month June Bastable and Duncan Ledsham suggest we taste the music of pianist Dave McKenna.

Dave McKenna was born in Rhode Island in 1930 and started playing piano early at the age of fifteen. By seventeen he was playing with Boots Mussulli (1947) and two years later with Charlie Ventura. He spent a year with Woody Herman before going into miltary service and then returnedDave McKenna to Charlie Ventura's band.

He worked with a variety bands and musicians including Gene Krupa, Joe Venuti, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Bob Wilbur, Eddie Condon, and Bobby Hackett but he became primarily a soloist after 1967. McKenna performed with Louis Armstrong at the 1970 Newport Jazz Festival, and he was also known as an accompanist, recording with singers such as Rosemary Clooney and Tony Bennett.

Click here for a video of Dave McKenna accompanying Tony Bennett at a special recording from the Copley Plaza Hotel in 1982 in a programme that also featured Count Basie.

During the 1970s, Dave McKenna chose to play in clubs and hotels in his local area rather than travel extensively. His ten years at Boston's Copley Plaza Hotel ended in 1991 when the hotel was sold and the place turned into a cabaret venue.

Because of his fondness for staying close to the melody, McKenna often said, “I’m not really a bona fide jazz guy... I’m just a saloon piano player.” Regulars at the Copley Plaza Bar (now the Oak Room) rebuffed this modest remark by telling McKenna he was “just a saloon player” like Billie Holiday was “just a saloon singer”. He retired around the turn of the millennium due to increasing Dave McKennamobility problems brought on by his long battle with diabetes and he died from lung cancer in 2008.

Dave McKenna's style has been described as: 'relying on two key elements relating to his choices of tunes and set selection, and the method of playing that has come to be known as "three-handed swing". He liked to make thematic medleys, usually based around a key word that appeared in the titles, such as teach, love, women's names, dreams, night or day, street names, etc. He often combined ballads and up-tempo songs with standards, pop tunes, blues, and even TV themes or folk material.'

June Bastable recommends this album of Dave McKenna playing medleys of tunes by Harold Arlen and Fats Waller. You can hear the whole album if you click here.

'McKenna's renditions usually began with a spare, open statement of the melody, or, on ballads, a freely played, richly harmonized one. He often stated the theme a second time, gradually bringing more harmony or a stronger pulse into play. The improvisation then began in earnest on three levels simultaneously: a walking bassline, midrange chords and an improvised melody. The bassline, for which McKenna frequently employed the rarely used lowest regions of the piano, was naturally played in the left hand, often non-legato, to simulate an actual double bassist's phrasing. The chords were played using the thumb and forefinger of the right hand or of both hands combined, if the bass was not too low to make the stretch unfeasible. Sometimes he also added a guide-tone line consisting of thirds and sevenths on top of the bass, played by the thumb of the left hand. With his right hand's remaining fingers, he then played the melody, weaving it into improvised lines featuring colorful chromaticism, blues licks, and mainstream-jazz ideas. The result was the sound of a three-piece band under one person's creative control.'

Click here to listen to the album Dave McKenna at the Jazz Corner.

Duncan Ledsham is the creator of the Dave McKenna Appreciation Society, an offshoot of Facebook (click here).
June Bastable's latest book of short stories, These People, is out now.

 

 

 

 

Album Released: 25th May 2015 - Label: Basho Records


Liam Noble

A Room Somewhere

Tim Rolfe reviews this album for us.

This is Liam Noble’s second solo recording in 20 years. Liam has worked in a vast range of contexts including as a sideman on award winning projects with Julian Siegel, Christine Tobin and Mark Lockhart as well as in a transatlantic ensemble with Zhenya Strigalev. He now feels that it is time to strike out alone again. The CD has a photo of Liam accompanied by a colourful toy parrot. Liam’s explanation of hisLiam Noble A Room Somewhere companion is as follows: 'I have always been slightly ambivalent about publicity photographs. A portrait only occasionally reveals anything of the person in the picture. I decided I needed an accomplice, a kind of visible version of the internal me – something like a macaw. Hopefully, because I am in the picture people will recognise me, and because the macaw is in the picture they will get the gist of the music.” He states: “I deliberately avoided writing any music for this session. I liked the idea of a solo record where improvisation is at the heart of it."

The album consists of 4 improvisation tracks - Major Major, Now, I Wish I Played Guitar and Now and Then which is an overdubbed track and so a 'double improvisation'.  Several tracks are themed around other instruments being interpreted by the piano; some more obviously than others. The album also has Liam’s take on a number of jazz standards e.g. Round Midnight, as well as the title track Wouldn’t It Be Lovely…to have a Room Somewhere from My Fair Lady

Click here to listen to Round Midnight.

We also have Paul Simon’s Tenderness, Kenny Wheeler’s Sophie and even one classical number - Elgar’s Salut D’Amour.  Overall, Liam’s influences seem to range across the whole spectrum of musical tastes - at times the music reminded me of Liam NobleErik Satie. It takes a brave and accomplished musician to deliver on such an eclectic mix of melodies. His approach, Liam says, to some of these standards, is akin to skiing down a slalom course when most of the poles have been removed and the rest replaced at random.

The first track, Major Major is dark and mysterious with lots of bass notes reminding me of a drum solo and is cleverly simplistic. Moving on to the title track, Wouldn’t It Be Lovely, this starts with only snatches of the recognisable melody until the near the end of the track, when the full melody emerges. This is a refreshing and modern take on a well-known tune that branches off into something new.

With Six White Horses, Liam cleverly imitates a banjo playing the tune on the piano, which is especially obvious at the start and later nearer the conclusion of the track. Paul Simon’s Tenderness, is the slowest track and is a wonderfully sympathetic version. Liam’s playing has a light feel which conveys gentle emotion through the melody. Liam’s interpretation of Sophie has his playing skipping over and around the notes of the melody, hiding and revealing it in turn.

Click here to listen to Six White Horses.

Other tracks are Directions (Zawinul), There is No Greater Love (Jones/Symes) and Body and Soul (Heyman/Sour/Eyton/Green). I liked the playing and the humour conveyed in the interpretations of some of these standards. Let us hope it is not another 20 years before we have another solo album Liam Noble.  

Click here to sample the album.

Tim Rolfe                            

 

 

 

 

A little boy was complaining to his friend,

"My mom won't let me watch public television anymore!"
"Why not?" his friend asked incredulously.
"Because it has too much sax and violins!!"

 

 

 

Tracks Unwrapped

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

Milneburg Joys

 

When I first heard this tune called by the Dutch Swing College Band I could perhaps have been forgiven for thinking it was about a girl called Joyce from a town in Holland. After all, if there were tunes about mice living in a windmill in old Amsterdam, who could blame me for thinking Milneburg was in The Netherlands?

Rock my soul, with the Milneburg joys,
Rock my soul, with the Milneburg joys,
Play 'em mama, don't refuse,
Separate me from the weary blues,



Click here for a video of the Dutch Swing College Band playing Milenburg Joys in 1960

It gets even more confusing when you find that the tune is spelt 'Milenburg Joys' or 'Millenburg Joys'. Written by Jelly Roll Morton, he called it ‘Milneburg’. Milneburg is a settlement on the banks of Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans where Elysian Fields Avenue ends.  It was named Lake Pntchartrainafter the Scot, Alexander Milne, who developed the land in that area. In the 1700’s it had been called ‘Port Pontchartrain’ because of its location. It was local people who started calling it ‘Millenburg’, the only reference to Port Pontchartrain that survived was the "Port Pontchartrain Lighthouse" and then that was taken out of operation in the 1920s.

Wind the clock back to 1923 and we can hear Jelly Roll Morton playing the tune with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings under the name of The Friars Society Orchestra on the Gennett label – click here.

Milenberg Joys is, in part, the same tune as Golden Leaf Strut, with the omission of Jelly Roll's name as composer for the latter. The Gennett New Orleans Rhythm KingsRecording Studios were located at the southern end of the Starr Piano Company factory in Richmond, Indiana, between a railroad overpass. On many occasions recording was interrupted when trains passed by the recording studio. The Friars Society Orchestra was: Paul Mares (cornet), George Brunies (trombone), Leon Roppolo (clarinet), Jack Pettis (C-melody sax), Glen Scoville (alto and tenor sax), Don Murray (tenor sax), Jelly Roll Morton (piano), Bob Gillette (banjo) and Ben Pollack (drums). C. Martin (tuba or sousaphone) is also named but I can find no other reference to this musician.

The name "New Orleans Rhythm Kings" did not initially refer to this group, but rather to a group under the direction of vaudeville performer Bee Palmer.

The New Orleans Rhythm Kings

The group included clarinettist Leon Roppolo who went on to recruit a band to play on the riverboats. That group included trumpeter Paul Mares. Mares wanted to move on from the boats and found the group an engagement at a club called the Friars Inn in Chicago. The engagement lasted for eighteen months with the group performing under the name "The Friar's Society Orchestra". They attracted the interest not only of a regular audience, but of other musicians including Bix Beiderbecke who often played with the band.

So, back to Milneburg. What do we know? The Old New Orleans website tells us:

‘In 1830, a railroad was built to connect New Orleans to the lakefront at Milneburg. The Pontchartrain Railroad was one of the first railroads in the country - only 23 miles of track had been laid in the United States when work began on the Pontchartrain line.  It was constructed over miles of swampland that, until then, had been thought impassable.  The work was extremely hard and the mortality rate for the workers was high, especially Milneburg Trainduring outbreaks of yellow fever. By 1840, the railroad company had opened two hotels and two bathhouses in Milneburg. A trip on the train, pulled by a boisterous steam engine locals dubbed "Smoky Mary," was described by a visitor in the 1930's: "A mile from the city, we had left the city and all dwellings behind us and were flying through the fenceless, uninhabited marshes.  At the lake, a quiet village of handsome hotels, cafes, dwellings, storehouses and bathing rooms burst at once upon our view.  A village has grown up around the terminus, all the names of the owners, the notices and signboards being French."

‘From the 1830's to the 1930's, Milneburg was a popular place for dances and parties every weekend during New Orleans' long hot summers.  Local musicians played everywhere - at private parties, clubs, cafes and saloons.  Many of the musicians who played there in the early 1900s went on to become world famous as the early pioneers of jazz.  Milneburg was a place where musicians of all races and cultures could gather to listen to each other and informally jam, so it was important in the development of New Orleans-style jazz.’. The Old New Orleans website is a valuable source for information and pictures of Milneburg – click here.



Hey, hey, hey, hey,
Sweet girl, syncopate your mama.

All night long, with that Dixieland strain,
Play it down, then do it again,


It seems that the neighbourhood now designated as "Milneburg" by the New Orleans Planning Commission is actually to the south and inland of Shotgun Housethe historic Milneburg. The boundaries according to local tradition can vary, with some saying Milneburg is located in the area bordered by the streets of St. Roch, Elysian Fields, Filmore and Mexico, while other groups state the area is much larger, going from Leon C. Simon to Filmore, and Elysian Fields to Franklin.

The types of homes in the area vary but single-family dwellings are the most common. There were only a few 'shotgun houses', a very popular style of housing in the city of New Orleans. I had never come across this name before. Apparently New Orleans architectural historian Samuel Wilson, Jr. suggested that shotgun style houses first originated in the Creole suburbs of New Orleans in the early 1800s. He also stated that the term "shotgun" is a reference to the idea that if all the doors are opened, a shotgun blast fired into the house from the front doorway will fly cleanly to the other end and out the back.

A Shotgun House

On the other hand, Professor John Michael Vlach has suggested that the origin of the building style and the name itself may trace back to Haiti and Africa in the 18th century and earlier. He claimed the name may have originated from a term 'to-gun', which means "place of assembly". The description, probably used in New Orleans by Afro-Haitian slaves, may have been misunderstood and reinterpreted as "Shotgun”.

 

Like the majority of New Orleans, the neighbourhood experienced major flooding during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

 

Ev'ry time I hear that tune,
Good luck says I'll be with you soon,
That's just why I've got the Milneburg joys.

 

As you might expect, over the years many bands have recorded the tune either as Milneburg Joys or Milenburg Joys. Sampling a few, we start with this recording from 1925 by the Cottonpickers with some interesting notes by the Michael Laprarie who has shared it on YouTube - click here. Michael Red Nicholssays:

‘You won't find a better example of 1920's hot jazz than this record, waxed August 21, 1925 at the Brunswick studios in New York City.  This is an early "light ray" electrical recording, cut on a device that channelled sound through a horn to a small mirror, which vibrated when struck by the sound waves. The vibrating mirror projected a spot of intense light on a photoelectric cell, and the vibrations of the mirror caused the light to fluctuate as it struck the photocell, which in turn caused a variation in voltage across the cell. This voltage variation was then amplified and fed to the disc cutter. The poor sound quality inherent in this recording process caused Brunswick to abandon it after only a few months.

Red Nichols

The musicians are Red Nichols (cornet); Mickey Bloom (trumpet/mellophone); Miff Mole (trombone); Chuck Miller (clarinet); Frank Trumbauer (C-melody sax); Rube Bloom (piano); Roy Smeck (banjo); Joe Tarto (tuba) and  Ray Bauduc (drums).

 

Our next choice is a jump to this brief video which is a real teaser. It is a snatch of an extract of by Delmond Lambreaux playing and singing Milenburg Joys in a New York Jazz Club and it finishes frustratingly early. It is taken from an 2010 – 2013 American drama series called Treme that featured an ensemble cast and musical performances by several New Orleans-based artists. Click here.

The series took its name from Tremé, the  neighbourhood of New Orleans, and begins three months after Hurricane Katrina as the residents,Treme logo including musicians, chefs, Mardi Gras Indians, and other New Orleanians, try to rebuild their lives, their homes and their unique culture in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane.

Click here for an extract from the opening episode.

We end with this video of Andy Schumm and His Gang playing Milenburg Joys at the Putnam Museum, Davenport, Iowa on August 4th 2011, presumably as part of the annual Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival. Andy Schumm is playing on Bix's Bach Stradivarius Cornet and Dave Boeddinghaus on the Bix-family piano.

Andy Schumm (cornet), John Otto (reeds), Dave Bock (trombone), Vince Giordano (bass sax/string bass), Leah Bezin (banjo/guitar), David Boeddinghaus (piano) and Josh Duffee (drums) - click here.

 

 

 

 

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

 

Charles Evans

On Beauty

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Charles Evans (baritone saxophone); David Liebman (soprano saxophone); Ron Stabinsk (piano); Tony Marino (bass).

On Beauty was recorded in Pennsylvania last year. Before I heard it I noted that the previous recording by the same line-up was called Subliminal Leaps. It is a title so damn similar to Giant Steps, John Coltrane’s seminal game-changing album from 1959, it cannot be coincidence. Anyone who places himself in such company must be confident about what they are doing. The name ‘Charles Evans’ didn’t mean anything to me. I’d missed him.There’s so much going on its possible to become distracted. Yet when I took my first glance at the blackCharles Evans On Beauty and white photograph on the sleeve of On Beauty it grabbed my interest. A muted portrait using light and shadow; a side shot of a head and shoulders of a saxophone player, caught in the moment before beginning to play.

Later there were no reservations. The first three minutes of this album contain the finest baritone saxophone playing I have ever heard recorded. I had started the car, put the CD into the slot and was confronted with something amazing, three minutes of unaccompanied virtuoso baritone saxophone under the title of Introduction. From the start it was obvious what I had to do. I stopped the car in a lay-by and didn’t move again until the end of the final track. Sure, I was now late, but l heard On Beauty for the first time and, well .... it was, to my ears, beautiful.  Stunning, to encounter baritone saxophone, a difficult instrument, played across the whole range of reeds to the point of elegance and grandeur. Harry Carney, Gerry Mulligan and Pat Patrick all have a place in the baritone story – and now Charles Evans is creating new ground for the telling of the sequel. Best not to hesitate, this is unquestionably a crucial recording.

The acappella prelude to Introduction segues into the full quartet. There is nothing standard about this band of four. From the beginning they conceive themselves as two duets at any one time, though the instrumental composition of each duet varies at key points. David Liebman originally came through to a wider international public with Miles Davis in the 1970s, he is now a celebrated maestro of the soprano saxophone, alongside him is Ron Stabinsky, piano and Tony Marino, double bass. And if the drum-less line-up sounds rather chamber-jazz, the music could be said to fit that kind of description in places.  I am slightly wary of the term in this context, because despite the ‘ceremony’ attached to these performances, the formality of feeling is not rigid nor held in traction to a manuscript, yet it most definitely concedes to form.

Charles Evans is taking his quartet into a deep, daring place of extemporising new music out of a combination of precise composition and detailed improvisation.  The fact that he chooses to refer to these pieces as Movement I, Movement II (totalling IV), complete with Interlude I, Interlude II and finishing with the closer Ending Beauty, demonstrates both the continual strict pace of these performances as well as their erudite nature.  Ending Beauty is a culmination, a gathering up of all that has gone before.  The mutual support, the interaction of four individual voices, the blown, the plucked, the struck; the tight weave of their finality, and at the closing down of this recorded recital, Ron Stabinsky’s piano evokes a sense of the ending of beauty. How can that be?  Click here to listen to Ending Beauty.

Nowhere in any of the material that I’ve read concerning Charles Evans have I found reference to Zadie Smith’s 2005 novel On Beauty. Charles EvansStrange, the British writer won the Orange Prize for Fiction for the book back in 2006. Set in the academia cultural fog of a fictionalised Harvard University called Wellington, the story is a critique of class, gender and racial politics. Of course, I don’t actually know whether Ms Smith’s novel is known to Mr Evans. It should be. Consider this: Ornette Coleman famously named a gloriously fragile ballad, Beauty Is A Rare Thing. You’ll find it on the This Is Our Music (Atlantic) album. Zadie Smith’s novel could in part be about the rarity of beauty in our everyday lives. Quite how much Zadie Smith was aware of Ornette Coleman’s tune, again, I’ve no idea. I guess she did, she’s hip to the trip.  The whole ethos of her book is that what constitutes ‘beauty’ is not an agreed formula.

Charles Evans’ album is dense harmonically. It peels off patterns in the upper register of his horn so that he and David Liebman are joined in a surprising unity of breath for two horns at the opposite end of the sonic spectrum. In my book they sound beautiful together, however, I don’t like Abba and other people do. Soprano and baritone saxophone are not usually considered musical partners. Here they travel a long journey together (and not for the first time), it is as if they emanate from the same place of situ. The characters, Howard Belsey and Monty Kipps from Zadie Smith’s story do the distance too, but empathy is a weak solution for these fictionalised fellow travellers.  

Before finishing with this review I would encourage readers to find time to click onto YouTube and hear the Charles Evans Quartet playing the title track from Subliminal Leaps, recorded live in concert a year prior to On Beauty - click here. The performance has the same acute presence; the overwhelming detail coming off the two saxophones and parallel piano/double bass duet is what makes for Giant Steps, Subliminal Leaps or indeed, On Beauty. Call it what you will. This is how great music eventually becomes a mysterious encounter; true beauty is a place where you run out of words.  

Click here for a video of Charles Evans talking to David Liebman about On Beauty.

Click here to sample the album.

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk                      

 

 

 

 


Help With Musical Definitions No 13.

Orchestration

A musical arrangement cut off in its prime

 

 

 

 

U3A Study Day - 15th July

Mike Whitaker, National Jazz Adviser to the U3A Jazz Groups writes:

U3A Study DayU3A (the University of the Third Age) is a country-wide organisation for people of (broadly) retirement age, devoted to self-directed study in a vast range of areas. One of these is Jazz Appreciation. On 15th July U3A is having a national Study Day.

The day will be led by Scott Stroman, Professor of Jazz at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Scott brings the Guildhall School Jazz Orchestra – 18 or so very talented young musicians. In the morning, Scott will explain aspects of jazz, using the band to illustrate his points  – it’s a bit like sitting in on one of his tutorials. This time, amongst other things, Scott is going to talk about the role of section leaders and improvisation in both big band and small group setting.

After lunch, the band will play a concert of the music we saw analysed during the morning. Let me make it clear that while musicians will enjoy the day and get a lot out of it, it is not overly technical. Even if you can't tell your B flat from your treble clef, any jazz lover will enjoy this day.

The venue is the Kennedy Hall, at Cecil Sharp House, (home of the English Folk Dance & Song Society), 2 Regents Park Road, London NW1 7AY. The event begins at 11.00 am and will finish by 4.00 pm, with an hour for lunch. The cost is £20. There are still places available for U3A members and guests. Contact the U3A’s National Jazz Adviser, Mike Whitaker – email mjo.whitaker666@btinternet.com or phone 01278 663492 for further details.

 

 

 

On Record

For the record, I should like to thank those people who volunteer each month to write album reviews for this page. Although I might use the word 'we' when writing What's New, most of you will know that it is just me here. Without the reviewers' help, and those people who write in, and those who write articles and send them to me, the site as it is would not be possible. Thank you.

We are able to look at a number of new albums in some detail and hopefully describe them for you so you know whether they might be of interest. MalijaIn the feature 'The Ten', further down this page, I am also able to select some other albums where I have not received review copies or are yet to be released and there are usually samples where you can see how they sound.

Keeping half an eye on recording news, I see that trumpeter Gerard Presencer, pianist Jason Rebello and newly formed trio, Malija featuring Mark Lockheart, Liam Noble and Jasper Høiby have signed to the Edition label which promises some good music to come (click here for more information).

Xanadu All Stars albumMalija (Liam Noble, Mark Lockheart, Jasper Høiby).

 

 

Elemental Music is re-issuing titles from the Xanadu Records catalogue from the 1970s as The Xanadu Master Edition Series. Six initial albums will include Albert Heath's Kwanza (The First); Barry Harris Plays Tadd Dameron; Jimmy Heath's Picture Of Heath; Al Cohn and Jimmy Rowles's Heavy Love; Sam Most's From The Attic Of My Mind and the Xanadu All Stars (including Al Cohn and Billy Mitchell) Night Flight To Dakar and Xanadu In Africa.

More titles will be released later this year. Click here for more information. Indigo Kid II Fistful Of Notes

 

 

Babel are also releasing a number of interesting albums including guitarist Dan Messore's Indigo Kid II with Fistful Of Notes (which we will reviewing next month); Bruno Heining and Kristian Borring with Postcard To Bill Evans and Black Top #Two with Orphy Robinson, Pat Thomas and Evan Parker that we hope we shall also be able to feature as reviews here.

 

 

 

 

 

Album Released: 11th May 2015 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings

 

Partikel

String Theory

Robin Kidson reviews this record for us:

At the heart of most good jazz is a good tune. That’s why jazz returns for inspiration over and over again to the old standards which, whatever else may be said of them, always deliver a good tune. One of the many strengths of Partikel’s new release, String Theory, is that it’s packed with memorable original melodies, most of them composed by the group’s leader, Duncan Eagles.

Partikel is a trio with Eagles on saxophones, Max Luthert on bass and Eric Ford on drums. On String Theory, their third album, they are joinedPartikel String Theory by a string quartet with Benet McLean and David Le Page on violins, Carmen Flores on viola and Matthew Sharp on cello. Eagles says that:

“…I did not want to use the strings as just backing or padding. I wanted the string quartet to be as involved as possible and have a number of opportunities for the two ensembles to interact and improvise together.”

He carries this off brilliantly. Throughout the album, there is no sense that the strings are an add-on – they are integrated fully into the music. Indeed, Benet McLean often takes a solo and has all the makings of a superb jazz violinist.

Like much contemporary jazz these days, String Theory tumbles over into other genres, including rock, western classical music (the string quartet helps here) and Indian music – Eric Ford uses a tabla on some of the tracks to great effect. There is always a powerful rhythmic pulse, however, and a focus on strong, easily understood melodies.

The album opens with Clash of the Clans – Part 1, which intersperses an upbeat rock theme with a slower, more gentle melody in a way which is constantly absorbing. Eagles improvises confidently; and Benet McLean takes a Grappelli-like solo on violin. Clash of  the Clans – Part 2 (Seeking Shadows) sees the trio on its own and has some reflective bass solo work from Max Luthert, together with Eagles on soprano sax and an electronically generated echo sounding very Jan Garbarek. Clash of the Clans – Part 3 (Midnight Mass) brings the strings back, playing a lovely lyrical theme, the sort of thing you might hear on Sunday afternoons on Radio 2. This is disturbed, however, by some free jazz work between sax and strings. This intelligent mixing together of genres and tempi within single pieces is a feature of many of the tracks and is another of the album’s strengths.

The fourth track, Shimmer, again contrasts a staccato, upbeat theme against a slower, more lyrical one. McLean plays a solo which stretches the violin a bit beyond Stephane Grappelli. The next track, Introduction to the Buffalo, is a Benet McLean composition which is also played by him on solo violin and is straight (and very good) contemporary classical music. The Buffalo itself is the stand out track of the whole album. It has a distinctive Indian feel to it with Eric Ford playing the tabla as well as a conventional drum kit. The main theme sounds something like that classic of British jazz, Black Marigolds (composed by Michael Garrick - now there’s a man who could write a tune - and performed by the Don PartikelRendell/Ian Carr Quintet). Eagles plays soprano sax and sounds at times uncannily like Don Rendell. He plays a beautiful solo accompanied first by tabla and bass, and then the strings. McLean also plays a great solo, making the violin sound as if it was invented on the sub-continent.  

Bartering with Bob is played by the trio alone and is a piece of hard bop, with a raw, very live feel and includes impressive solos from all three musicians. The River is another carefully thought through piece which conjures up a river on a summer’s day. Eagles makes his soprano sax sound almost flute-like at times and the strings are particularly effective with some swooping, note-bending playing Wray Common has Ford back on tabla but the whole piece has an English pastoral feel to it. Vaughan Williams himself might have been proud of some of the writing for strings and, like The River, “all the live murmur of a summer’s day” is brought to life. But there is also some spiky jazz in there and, once again, the piece benefits from the tension between different musical styles.

Body and Soul is the old Johnny Green standard given the full Partikel treatment with Indian and classical music flavours. Cover is clean West Coast cool jazz played by the trio itself. The final track, The Landing, takes us back to territory explored in Track 1 with a touch of rock, ethereal electronics, and more excellent improvisation from Eagles.  

Click here for an introductory video.

String Theory manages to be both accessible and innovative at the same time, a trick which much contemporary jazz often finds difficult to pull off. It is constantly interesting and holds the attention from beginning to end.

Partikel also have their own website - click here.

Robin Kidson

 

 

 

Dipper - Remembering Brian 'Dipper' Duddy

We recently reported that drummer Brian 'Dipper' Duddy had passed through the Departure Lounge. He has been fondly remembered by those who knew him and we have received a collection of photographs from various people that we share here.

Jim Susans writes: 'Sorry to read my old pal Dipper Duddy is in the departure lounge, we first met when we both worked at Watercraft Boatyard, East Molesey on the Thames in the 1950s. We used to practice in his parents' house in Island Farm Road. I then joined him on banjo in the Canal Street Jazz Band - the picture below was taken in 1958. I got married and moved to the south coast but we kept in touch and I last saw him at Amersham and Didcot jazz clubs with Vintage Jazz. I am still playing bass and sousaphone around South Oxfordshire. My condolences to his family, and kind regards to all ex-Canal Street Jazz Band musicians and friends.'

 

Canal Street Jazz band

Photograph © Jim Susans

From left to right:  Mick Hill. Jim Susans. Robin Davis. Dipper Duddy. Ron Drakeford.  Pete Webb

Alex Johnson wrote to say: ' I am the partner of one Sarah Duddy, the daughter of Brian 'Dipper' Duddy a jazz drummer from the Surrey area (West Molesey) ... Sarah actually has very few pictures of her Dad playing and some that were once thought to be in lofts and drawers have sadly not turned up after the move from his long standing home in West Molesey .. Sarah would dearly love to have some images of him doing what he was born to do...' (Alex wrote a poem for Dipper's 70th birthday that has been published online - click here).

 

Dipper Duddy

Photograph © Dave Stradwick

Dipper with Vintage Jazz:
Back row: Harry Brampton (clarinet and alto sax), John Shelley (trombone and vocals), Ted Smith (banjo)
Front row Dipper Duddy (drums), Dave Stradwick (trumpet and vocals), Terry Knight (double bass), Jack Russell (dog)

We were able to put Alex in touch with Ron Drakeford who wrote about Dipper on the Kingston Jazz page of this website (click here). Ron in turn contacted Dave and Lesley Stradwick who were able to provide other photographs dating from about 1997 of the  Vintage Jazz band then Sussex Jazz Kings and through to about 2010...The 'Stradders Various'.

 

Dipper Duddy

Photograph © Dave Stradwick

Bass player Ron Drakeford remembers Dipper in his blog on Kingston Jazz saying: 'I was press ganged into the Canal Street Jazz Band by one Brian “Dipper” Duddy ... Brian went on to play with the likes of the Mac Duncan band and led the Georgia Jazzband which has been active on the scene throughout his life. Brian was replaced in the Canal Street band when National Service called, initially by Dave Preece and then by Lloyd “Bumsey” Taylor (Lloyd sadly died in Australia a few years back and was still playing there with the Unity Hall Jazzband - a local favourite of vocalist Carol Ralph.)

Ron sent this picture of the Canal Street Band:

Canal Street Jazz men

Photograph © Ron Drakeford

Vintage Jazz used to play at Farnborough Jazz Club until 2012 when Dipper's illness prevented him from playing. The Club wrote: 'Friday, 16th March 2012, our audience learnt the sad news of our lovely Brian ‘Dipper’ Duddy is to retire early from drumming due to illness. Dipper has always brought fun to ‘Vintage Jazz’, inheriting the ‘boos’ from Dave Stradwick, a trait started by our ‘mafia’ table and resounded by the whole audience (and echoed by other clubs now), to show appreciation! Dipper would hold up his sticks with a certain gesture! Dipper’s situation will now end an era of a great band – the ‘dancers’ band – ‘Vintage Jazz’. They have been our house band, appearing every other week since 1991.'

We have put these details on a separate page about Dipper Duddy (click here). We should like to add to the page and so if you have any memories or information about Dipper, particularly from his earlier years, please contact us.

 

 

 

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.

Herbie Hancock - Headhunters (1973)

Herbie Hancock Headhunters

Head Hunters was Herbie Hancock's twelfth album and is a key recording in the introduction of Jazz Funk. In 2007, the Library of Congress added it to the National Recording Registry, which collects "culturally, historically or aesthetically important" sound recordings from the 20th century.

Fred Goodman says: 'Head Hunters was something different: a stripped-down date featuring reedman Bennie Maupin as the only horn player, and a funk-oriented rhythm section made up of Paul Jackson, Harvey Mason, and Bill Summers. Hancock traded in his sophisticated piano performances and complex compositions for simple melodies, slow-burn funk grooves, and light electric keyboard splashes.'

'The results, particularly on the tracks Chameleon and Watermelon Man, had a profound impact on other musicians, although critics charged Hancock with playing to the galleries. But the album has stood the test of time - something neither the wealth of Hancock's imitators nor his own subsequent albums in this vein have been able to do.'

Click here to listen to the album.

 

 

 

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

 

Ivo Perelman and Whit Dickey

Tenorhood

 

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Ivo Perelman (tenor saxophone), Whit Dickey (drums).

Ivo Perelman plays tenor saxophone. He is a true technician. His comprehension of his own bodily function (breathing, blowing, sucking, finger placement – lungs, stomach) in relation to the instrument feels deafening. The earth moves under him. Ivo Perelman approaches concerts and recordings not with tunes, he uses no predetermined plan other than not to use one. Whatever the line-up, whoever his compatriots are on the day in question, either alone or with others, Ivo Perlman explores a period of time in a room unencumbered by composition; what went before, what comes later are not the concern. This is not a new art form, this has been a dedication over decades. Whatever else he may play in a private space, in performance or in recordings the principle holds true, the immediate sound is without reference to pre-composition. Me, andIvo Perelman Tenorhood other people like me, and no doubt others who are not like me but who are still interested in Ivo Perelman, will have had the opportunity to hear hundreds of such performances. The man is a frequent flyer. 

The drummer, Whit Dickey has been on many journeys with Ivo Perelman in all sorts of combinations. Tenorhood is certainly not their first set of duets together. So what makes this one different to all the other times these two men have set out on an unplanned journey together? Just because people have the same travelling companions, even if they take the same route, difference is multiple. I don’t know the circumstances, but what I hear is an intense study between two men engaged in instant composition in the same place without regard to anything other than each other. Drums and cymbals paced out like plotting a track, tenor saxophone spoken for like the human voice.These are utterly convincing performances.

However, it is a decision taken after the recording that I find perplexing. Tenorhood makes a change to Ivo Perelman’s usual rationale, he names five out of the six tracks after famous iconic tenor saxophone players. Hank Mobley, Ben Webster, John Coltrane, Albert Ayler and Sonny Rollins are name checked within the five titles, the sixth track, Tenorhood is perversely a short, snappy, rather classy signature-style drum solo from Mr Dickey. Neil Tesser, who writes the sleeve notes, has a good stab at trying to link what is going on under the titles For Mobley and For Webster to their particular dedicatees, however the truth is neither track has much to do with the names on the titles in terms of style or reference points. And although it is relatively easy to make links in relation to For Coltrane, For Ayler and For Rollins, this is due to the fact that Perelman’s own regular pallet contains elements of all three players. As Neil Tesser states: “He hadn’t planned on celebrating either his instrument or the fraternity it has inspired.  And he didn’t conceive these improvisations with the dedicatees in mind...”  

Interestingly Mr Perelman didn’t choose to name his contemporary tenor peers who regularly play in the context of spontaneous extemporary music (people like John Butcher, Peter Brötzmann, Paul Dunmall and Charles Gayle). Perhaps they are far too close. For me, Ivo Perelman Ivo Perelmandedicating a huge cavern of sound balanced across an extended octave range has not much to do with Ben Webster, whose own tenor touch, though large, grew from the chord and settled on a ballad like a bee collecting nectar from a flower. Both valid approaches to playing a tenor saxophone, but with little in common. Hank Mobley on the other hand operated almost exclusively within the hard-bop genre. He made his name with the Jazz Messengers and recorded regularly for the Blue Note label. I doubt that Mobley would have ever cut it with Perelman. Naming other tenor players becomes a distraction – Ivo Perelman is his own man, and whether it’s the great Sonny Rollins or the roaring rant of Peter Brötzmann, the great strength of all these players is in their individuality.

Based on the evidence of the music alone, Tenorhood is another opportunity to hear a dramatically recorded encounter between a brilliant shift-the-riff percussionist and a tenor player versed in playing beyond the boundaries of his instrument. Together they endeavour to come to the art of improvisation without any pre-arranged baggage. Unfortunately in my view, Ivo Perelman’s ‘after the event’ decision to name-drop other saxophone titans as track titles gets in the way of the individuality of the music he had so sought to arrive at without pre-conceptions. It feels like he fell into his own trap.         

Click here for a video of Ivo Perelman, Walt Dickey and Michael Bisio live at the Vision Festival in 2012

Click here to sample the album.

Steve Day www.stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk

 


 

Two Ears, Three Eyes

Amina Figarova Sextet

 

Amina Figarova

 

Photographer Brian O'Connor went to this gig at The Watermill on the 4th June with his henchman, Derek Thomas. Derek writes:

Amina Figarova's New York Sextet flew in from Amsterdam for their UK gig at the Watermill, Dorking. The group played all original material by Ernie Hammes

Amina, compositions that skilfully used the rich blend of the three front-line instruments (flute, trumpet / flugelhorn, and tenor saxophone) to create long, atmospheric lines and colourful harmonies. The slow tunes had a haunting, ECM-type feel, but there were also some burning up-tempo tunes.Rahsaan Carter

Ernie Hammes

In her piano solos Amina played fast, spiralling lines which were endlessly inventive. On flute, Bart Platteau had a warm, expressive tone whilst Ernie Hammes played attacking trumpet and lyrical, mellow flugelhorn. 

Johannes Mueller played fiery saxophone with a Coltrane influence. Bassist Rashaan Carter played complex bass figures interlocking with the ensemble and drummer Jason Brown had a busy, driving style which was never too loud and blended inperfectly.

Rahsaan Carter

The group received an enthusiastic reception from the Watermill audience, and Amina said it made it worth coming all the way to Dorking!

Graham Thomas
https://www.youtube.com/user/grahambop

Pianist and composer Amina Figarova was born in Baku, Azerbaijan. She now lives in New York with husband, Bart Platteau, who plays flute in her sextet. In this video, Amina and her band join Eric Felten at Blues Alley, performing her original compositions and talking about her globe-hopping life as a jazz musician - click here. (Some of the musicians differ from those who played at The Watermill).

(Photographs © Brian O'Connor, imagesofjazz.co.uk)

 

 

 

Forum

Donald Maclean and The Life Of Me

Donald Maclean writes: 'In the postwar years in Scotland, after demob, I was the BBC's youngest producer.  After being promoted to Aeolian Hall in London I produced, among other things, Jazz Club on Light Programme through the 50s and 60s, and after becoming leader of the team of 29 popular-music producers I selfishly kept for myself the production of jazz programmes, even after I moved to TV (where I produced the first "Come Dancing" programmes). This allowed me, for instance, to bring to London my friend Sandy Brown from Edinburgh and to promote another clarinetist close friend, John Dankworth.  (I had been a clarinet student at the Scottish National Academy of Music when recruited by the BBC as a 'Programme Engineer').'

'After 30 years in the Beeb I quit, went to Management College, and joined EMI  (in its heyday) where I spent 13 years creating new-media businesses worldwide, retiring as a Deputy Chairman 29 years ago.'

'Jazz is one of the threads in the 17 blogs of my 2009 online memoirs www.the-life-of.me'

 

 

Woking U3A

Gerry Lupton writes:

'I run the U3A Jazz Appreciation Group here in Woking, Surrey, on a bi-monthly basis. We are a pretty social lot, with approx 60 members and Tubby Hayes Simon Spillet bookmusical tastes from 'Bunk to Monk' and beyond......last week we even arranged our own 'Riverboat Shuffle' on the back waters of the mighty Thames - not Mississippi! We have just commenced our summer recess, but in the past we have had film shows, quizzes and guest speakers including Jimmy Hastings (who lives locally) and Simon Spillet, who was great!'

'It would be nice if you could include a piece in the magazine about Simon's marvellous, recently published book on his musical hero - Tubby Hayes [The Long Shadow of the Little Giant]. Please forgive if you have already done so, I only started with your May issue.'

'I haven't started putting the winter programme together yet, but I anticipate some more live music (hopefully), but I have difficulty in finding a slot, as our members are always anxious to make their own presentations, usually on a specific jazz theme, e.g. record labels, instruments, 'can women play jazz' (?!!) etc.'

'We have also had owner of our local record shop - YES! we still have one. If you are ever in this part of the world, don't miss a visit to Bens Records in Guildford - stacked floor to ceiling with 2nd hand vinyl and CD's. Quite my favourite shop....'

 

 

 

Wood Green Jazz Club at the Fishmongers Arms

Sandy BrownBrian Cook follows up his Photographic Memmory of Eric Silk from last month (click here) with these recollections of Wood Green Jazz Club:

'Friends and myself would visit the 'Fishmonger Arms' jazz club as often as possible. We would travel by trolley bus from the Highbury Corner area of Islington to Wood Green, Art Sanders (ex-commando) was usually at the entrance door looking for undesirables - just the man for the job - apart from Art and his wife Viv being the managers.'

'Sometimes myself and friends would go on stage and join in the bands. We would liked to have gone more often, but being apprentices there was evening classes twice a week, we were also interested in cycling and swimming.'

Photograph © Brian Cook - Sandy Brown at Wood Green Jazz Club in the 1950s

'Sometimes it got quite hot in the club. I remember one time when I felt quite faint and went outside for some fresh air where I passed out - no it was not the beer because us being apprentices could not afford to drink too much - anyway I passed out in front of Art. When I came round Art was helping me inside where he looked after me together with Viv, Art was a strict but fair man.'

'Then there were Sunday afternoons when the big bands like Ted Heath, Johnny Dankworth and others would be playing in the cinemas.'

 

 

London Jazz Club

Steve Castle writes: 'I have just been some programmes by my father that relate to evenings at the London Jazz Club (Mac's Rehearsal Rooms) in the late '40s (1948/49) where Humph seems to be an ever-present performer. I am wondering if this was the same venue as the Cy Laurie Jazz Club?  I have a host of programmes along with tickets and some other memorabilia including  a newsletter for the Humph Lyttelton Club in 1953 citing Sidney Bechet as president. I have inherited my parents' love of jazz and wondered if these items relate to the same place you write of?'

We have replied that our page on the Cy Laurie Club (click here) says that the Club was used by Mac's Rehearsal Rooms, but that possibly not every London Jazz Club broadcast came from there. Does anyone know?


 

 

Album Released: 18th May 2015 - Label: Lake Records

 

Andy Schumm and The Bix Project Band

Bix Off The Record

This is another in the Vintage Recording Project series on Lake Records. Paul Adams at Lake says: ‘It was suggested that we devote a CD to the music of the jazz legend, Bix Beiderbecke. We didn't want it to be another band rehashing Bix's "greatest hits" so it was decided to Bix Off The Record look at tunes we know Bix played, but never recorded and some tunes current at the time which he might have played. With a number of leading exponents of Vintage Jazz congregating for the Classic Jazz Party in Whitley Bay we persuaded six of the musicians to stay behind and make this recording’.

‘The result turned out to be hugely satisfying with some top-notch playing: Andy Schumm is one of the finest interpreters of Bix's music anywhere in the world and he is given superb support from Kristoffer Kompen on trombone, Mauro Porro on reeds, David Boeddinghaus on piano, Frans Sjöström on bass sax and Josh Duffee on drums’.

Banjo Player Eddie Edwards has listened to the album and writes:

As described on the cover "original recreations of unrecorded performances". Six excellent musicians brought together to simulate the sound of Bix. The result (having listened to original recordings by Bix) is very good. Jazz is traditionally a dance music and this fits that mould perfectly. The recording quality is also excellent.

If you are a Bix fan this is an interesting and enjoyable C.D., however some jazz fans may find the music too arranged. There are 15 tracks, some well known and some not so well known. I listened to them in the car and also on a very good hi-fi. system, and both times I was attracted to track 10, O Katharina, described in the leaflet which accompanies the C.D. "the album's romp track".

In conclusion, if you are a Bix fan, go for it. If not, try to hear a track or two first. In any case it is an excellent C.D.

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

Eddie Edwards     

Click here for a video of Andy Schumm and the band playing Angry in a programme of What Bix Could Have Played at the Whitley Bay Festival in November 2014.

 

 

 

 

From the piano I was counting off a tune in a quartet with clarinet/sax player Country Thomas. I said, "One, two,..." and looked at Country, who held his clarinet down by his side. I stopped counting and said, "Country, are you ready?" He answered, "You were only up to two."

Al Stevens

 

 

 

Facebook

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


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Traditionally Speaking - Pete Ward and Eddie Edwards

The band rehearsal had finished about an hour before. They rehearse on an occasional basis, but usually discussions, gig dates, set lists, etc. are ongoing.  The Sunset Cafe Stompers have a busy schedule throughout Dorset and Somerset with regular appearances and jazzbreaks.

Some had gone home – Mike Denham (piano and bandleader), Steve Graham (trumpet), Pete Middleton (trombone), Mike Betts (clarinet andPete Ward tenor saxophone), John Coad (drums), but Pete Ward (bass) and Eddie Edwards (banjo) stayed behind to talk.

Pete had seen the page on this website about Kingston Jazz and had played with Norrie Cox's San Jacinto Jazzband in the early 1960s. Venues included the Fighting Cocks in Kingston and the Hampton Court Hotel, and in Windsor at the Star and Garter (later turned into a supermarket!). Eddie too had been around that part of the country in those early days. Both had picked up on jazz at school. Pete went to Slough Grammar School with trumpeter Dennis Jones before taking an electrical engineering course. Dennis had decided to learn to play jazz and put together a band. ‘You can be piano,’ he had said to Pete. They rehearsed at the North Star pub, where the piano was not very good, with Dave Burden (clarinet) and Michael Bradshaw (banjo). After a while, they moved to the Red Lion in Langley where the piano was worse! When a friend had a banjo for sale, Pete bought it.

Pete Ward

Dennis Jones moved to the New Eagle Jazz Band in Wokingham and the two went their separate ways, with Pete playing at the Admiral Cunningham pub in Bracknell. A chance meeting with Neil Manders resulted in Pete playing banjo with the High Curley Stompers for about a year alongside John R T Davies and Ben Cohen. Meanwhile, around 1960, Dennis Jones had hand-picked a bunch of musicians and formed Preacher Hood's Jazz Missionaries, but Pete was only able to keep in touch with him on an irregular basis due to his own commitments. As frequently happened, National Service interrupted things and Pete went into the RAF where, on the upside, he learned telecommunications which put him in good stead for a job on discharge. 'I remember coming across Geoff Over during National Service,' Pete remembers. 'He was playing trombone with the local band, but he always did a banjo solo in the interval!' That is when he saw an advertisement for a double bass, an instrument he has lugged around ever since. Looking back, Pete says: 'In the early days with Norrie Cox, I was stopped by the police in Surbiton because my car was leaning heavily to one side. I explained that a double bass was a very heavy instrument, and was allowed to proceed. A week or two later the car was scrapped with a broken chassis!'

A long list of bands came and went for Pete over the following years when he was living in Maidenhead including those of Dave Morgan and Fred Shaw. Others followed when Pete moved to the West Country in 1966. Sitting in with the Phoenix Jazz Band in Bristol led to a regular position in Nigel Hunt's Jazz Band. As time progressed there were long stints with bands led by Martin Bennett, Gordon Hunt, John Shillito and Dennis Armstrong. Things came to a bit of a halt in 1992 when Pete was due to play in Lynton but, instead, landed up in hospital with a stroke. His doctor Eddie Edwardstold him to change his lifestyle, so he gave up the day job! Several months of recuperation followed before he was able to get mind and body to work again but, to jump forward a bit, he ended up in 1998 in the Sunset Cafe Stompers band.

Eddie Edwards had gone to Chiswick Grammar School. There was a jazz band already at the school and a friend was interested in the music. Bill Greenow was in the same year and Eddie can remember him practising his clarinet fingering on a paintbrush in lessons. They would go to hear bands at the legendary Eel Pie Island on the Thames near Hampton Court in the days when there was no bridge across to the island and people would be ferried across to the club in a boat.

Eddie Edwards

Eddie started out on trumpet, but when his friends started a skiffle group, he was given a banjo. ‘It was a zither banjo,’ Eddie says. ‘They used to call it a ‘ladies banjo’. But he was good enough to be asked to play with jazz bands in the Chiswick area when he left school, including Dave Evans’ band and depping with Steve Lane. By 1958 he was playing in the New Crane River band with Neil Millet. He too lived around the Kingston and New Malden area, played at the Fighting Cocks in Kingston and the Thames Hotel at Hampton Court (read more about these venues on our Kingston Jazz page).

‘We had all started off listening to the music that came out of America with Bunk Johnson and George Lewis,' Pete recalls, 'But more and more of my influences came from listening to the 'classic bands' of the 1920s, both black and white. Much of Preacher Hood's repertoire was along similar lines. I only ever played with Ken Colyer twice. On the first occasion I was reprimanded for playing too loud, but on the second he gave me a solo Eric Allendalethen turned around and applauded.'

As with Pete Ward, other bands followed for Eddie. If one could draw a ‘family history chart’ of jazz bands it would look pretty complicated. Trombonist Eric Allendale originated from the West Indies and Eddie spent enjoyable times in that band with Laurie Chescoe (drums) and Will Hastie (clarinet). He then moved on to Max Collie’s Rhythm Aces until joining drummer Tony Scriven’s band and then Mac Duncan’s band.

Eric Allendale.

Eddie moved to the West Country in the late ‘60s and continued to play with the Cary Street band and Roy Pellet’s Hot Four. Eventually, Eddie depped with the Sunset Cafe Stompers and now that is his priority band, as it is for Pete Ward. He will play with other bands in the area, however, and it is not unusual to turn up with another band at a venue he played with the Stompers a week or two earlier.

Click here for a video of Eddie soloing on a nice version of Georgia with John Shillito's Select Four at the Bude Jazz Festival in 2011 - John Shillito (trumpet/vocals), Ken Rennison (reeds), Eddie Edwards (banjo) and Bob Jarvis (bass).

Despite the fact that Pete and Eddie are now both retired from ‘full time work’, they are both busy playing. Eddie averages one or two gigs a week and has, during one week, played eight. The gigs these days are in pubs, fetes, church halls and for weddings and fund-raising events. These gigs are all paid, and like any band, do not bring in a lot of money, but more than cover expenses. In March, the Stompers played at Cheap Street Church in Sherborne and helped to raise £1,885.

The Sunset Cafe Stompers have a comprehensive book of tunes, and leader Mike Denham has them in his computer in a database that selects a regular varied playlist. Mike also comes up with new arrangements although all members of the band tend to have a say. This way they can present a changing programme that stops themselves, and the audiences, getting bored playing and hearing the same old tunes.

Click here for a video of the Sunset Cafe Stompers playing Blame It On The Blues.

Both Pete and Eddie have come a long way since the days of Kingston jazz. The years between have seen them playing alongside some of the top names in British Traditional Jazz and have given them the experience that, with other members of the Stompers ensures their regular programme of around 35 advance bookings. Pete says: 'Reflecting on some 60 years of playing jazz, I feel that I've had something of a charmed life - always able to keep the jazz going alongside the day job, and with my late wife being so understanding and tolerant.'

 

 

 

Album Released: 18th May 2015 - Label: Whirlwind Recordings

 

Phil Robson

The Cut Off Point

 

The essence of this album from guitarist Phil Robson is how well do guitar and Hammond organ work together? The positive answer has come to me by the time I hear track two, Second Thoughts, a lyrical piece composed by Phil. In fact, the majority of tracks are written by Phil Robson, the exception being Dave Liebman’s Dimi And The Blue Men..

Phil Robson has released other solo albums and as well as being a member of the band Partisans, has played beside Kenny Wheeler, MarkPhil Robson The Cut Off Point Turner, Billy Hart, Barbara Streisand, Django Bates and in his regular work with singer Christine Tobin. On The Cut Off Point he is joined by Ross Stanley on Hammond organ and Gene Calderazzo on drums. They had toured together last summer putting together the material for this album, described as ‘influenced by the jazz eminence of Pat Martino, Wes Montgomery and John McLaughlin, but also with a heavier rock-grooving predilection.’ Writing in The Guardian, Dave Gelly says: ‘You soon get used to the absence of a bass, although a bit more punch in that department from the mighty B3 Hammond Organ might have helped.’ I didn’t find this, I thought the Hammond substituted well for the bass.

After a fast Thief, the opening track, the gentler Second Thoughts and the Liebeman interactive piece, Dimi And The Blue Men, Vintage Vista sounds more unstructured until a theme emerges from the guitar which explores the instrument’s character against the organ’s backdrop textures.

Astral, at track 5, described as having ‘lofty spatiality’, surges away with Phil and Ross taking turns with some nice solo contributions and Gene Calderazzo takes his Phil Robsonturn in front too, a chance to acknowledge the sympathetic drumming throughout the album. The track was written with the late Kenny Wheeler in mind.

Click here for a video of the Trio playing at The Fleece during their tour last summer. The first tune, Lament, is not on the album but they follow it with The Cut Off Point and Vintage Vista.

The Cut Off Point, the title track, is mooted as having ‘effervescent angularity’. Whatever. For me it has a beautiful, quiet guitar opening reminding me of Here’s That Rainy Day but moving into its own territory, and here the underlying Hammond again sets the atmosphere as Phil Robson plays some beautiful laid back guitar. The Hammond emerges letting Ross Stanley follow the mood. A worthy title track.

Which leaves two other Robson compositions, Berlin and Ming The Merciless. Berlin has that ‘rock-grooving predilection’ that squeezes music from both guitar and organ while Ming is not nearly as merciless as the title suggests and completes a satisfying album.

Phil Robson says: ‘I always loved the organ trio tradition and wanted to be part of it for many years, but I was waiting for the time when I felt I could really bring my own thing to it and with the right people. With this band and album, I really felt I’d reached that time.

Organ trios are not everyday fare in today’s jazz menus, but this one is a plat du jour.

Click here to listen to sample tracks from the album

Click here for more details and to listen to the opening track, Thief.

Ian Maund


 

 

Departure Lounge

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

Ornette Coleman

 

Ornette Coleman - American saxophonist initially influenced by Charlie Parker who worked obsessively on radically rethinking the relationship between melody, harmony and rhythm in jazz to set improvisation free.

See article above by Steve Day (click here).

 

 

Gunther Schuller

 

Gunther Schuller - American composer, orchestral conductor and french horn player who worked with Miles Davis and the MJQ and developed a merge of classical music and jazz that he termed the 'Third Stream'. He was the author of two books: Early Jazz (1968) and The Swing Era (1989).

Click here to listen to Gunther Schuller and Jim Hall's Variants on a Theme of John Lewis (Django) with Eric Dolphy (fl), Robert DiDomenica (fl), Jim Hall (g), Eddie Costa (vib), Bill Evans (p), Scott Lafaro (b), George Duvivier (b) Sticks Evans (ds) and the Contemporary String Quartet recorded in New York City at the end of 1960.

 

 

Harold Battiste

 

 

Harold Battiste - American saxophonist from New Orleans where he taught music to young people. He formed the record label AFO (All For One) as a musicians' co-operative. On moving to Los Angeles he met “Mac” Rebennack and developed Rebennack's career as 'Dr John'. In 1989, he returned to New Orleans where he joined the Jazz Studies faculty at the University of New Orleans.

Click here for a video interview with Harold Battiste.

 

 

Johnny Keating

 

Johnny Keating - UK trombonist and arranger who worked with Ted Heath. In 1959 he returned to Edinburgh to set up the Keating School of Music, one of the first to teach the principles of big band, swing and jazz. Three years later he was back in London, fusing big-band sounds with the swirling world of jazz. He also composed and arranged for film and TV.

Click here to listen to Headin' North by the Ted Heath Orchestra composed by Johnny Keating.

 

 

Click here for our 'Who's Who' page.

 

 

Album released: 5th May 2015 - Label: Headspin Recordings

Goran Kajfeš Subtropic Arkestra

The Reason Why Vol. 2

Steve Day reviews this album for us:

Goran Kajfeš (trumpet); Per ‘Rusktrask’ Johansson (baritone, alto & soprano saxophones, clarinet, flutes); Jonas Kulhammar (tenor & soprillo saxophone, clarinet, flute); Jesper Nordenstrom (keyboards); Andreas Soderstrom (guitars); Reine Fiske (electric guitar, keyboards); Robert Ostlund (electric guitar, keyboards); Johan Berthling (electric & acoustic bass); Johan Holmegard (drums, percussion); Jose Gonzalez (voice).

The Reason Why Vol 2 (and yes, there is a volume 1 if you want to seek it out) is by the Goran Kajfeš Subtropic Arkestra; initially I thought this Swedish based band’s use of the ‘Arkestra’ moniker referenced Sun Ra. It doesn’t, not really, these guys are far too organised. No matter,Goran Kajfes The Reason Why Vol 2 Sun Ra’s open secret was always to leave a certain amount of things to chance, travelling the spaceways was full of ups and downs. This Subtropic Arkestra is World Music not Space Music. Listening to the Goran Kaifes Subtropic Arkestra they possibly have a closer affinity to Don Cherry. Catch the trumpter’s 1970/80 work when he was mixing with people on the Swedish scene like Bernt Rosengren and Maffy Falay. Throughout most of this period Mr Cherry was based in Stockholm and Skane in the north of the country. 

Actually, the description of Don Cherry being ‘based’ anywhere is almost a contradiction in terms, the man was a nomad, a world traveller, a great non-African Griot of a musician, capable of drawing down music from all over the globe. A music that started out with Ornette Coleman travelled to a place in his head that defined the term ‘multiculturalism’. Don Cherry arrived somewhere way beyond terminology. So, here we have fellow trumpeter Goran Kajfeš aspiring to a similar facility; to meet people of other cultures and connect with their indigenous rhythms, scales, harmonies and, probably most importantly, their vibe. The Subtropic Arkestra is picking up from Brazil, Turkey, the Cameroons, the Balkans and Uncle Sam’s USA. And whilst I don’t think anyone is claiming that Goran Kajfeš is running as decisive a dance as the mighty Don Cherry, nevertheless, the Subtropic Arkestra are intent on getting to party at a festival near you. I wouldn’t turn up my nose or turn off my ears to such an invitation.

The Reason Why Vol 2 kicks off with Dolkuz Seki/Esmerim, a melody credited to Don Cherry’s old drummer Okay Temiz. I don’t think I know the original version though it doesn’t surprise me that it is an Okay Temiz tune. Okay was much better than ‘okay’, he used to swing an improvisation as if re-writing Klezmer for a Turkish wedding soundtrack (which he probably was). Having said that, the Subtropics don’t hang around either, North Africa beckons and Esmerim would stand up to strutting stuff down in an old bazaar in Casablanca. A funky electric bass pumps more than simply the scale, the drums rotate a clatter of drop rolls between your feet yet stay firmly on the four on the floor, there’s a jive about the guitar. This is dance music, albeit with a top-line of nifty horns and a generous sandwich of fizzing keyboards straight down the middle. No one is pretending to have found eternity but I am sure the Arkestra could keep this up well past midnight and meet me in the wee-wee hours.

On New Track we arrive in the Cameroons but the rhythm party quickly inhabits a funky city that Goran Kajfeš has found in his imagination. The groove is broken into, shaken and then left to carry the frontline. Kajfeš’ trumpet is a real pierce-through-gold sound, riffing and blasting, with Goran Kajfesthe reeds issuing forth like a much bigger sax section. It does not prepare you for what follows. The prize draw on this recording is Milton Nascimento’s A Lua Girou. It changes the pace and places the Subtropic Arkestra in a very different territory. Melody as a brass chant; Goran Kajfeš shows the real strength of the voicing’s brimming off his trumpet as well as the multiple reeds carried between Per ‘Rusktrask’ Johansson and Jonas Kulhammer (who at one point plays a soprillo, a curved piccolo sax). The plaintive Brazilian melody doesn’t go anywhere, it stays put, piling up harmonies. Even in the midst of a party it is possible to play music that provides an explanation. Is this the reason, why? I assume Goran Kajfeš has the answer to that question. It feels on A Lua Girou something is being asked of the listener. Goran Kajfeš’ band plunder the melody like a pushy, playful ensemble with serious intent.

Grizzly Bear is an American indie guitar band. By the time the Subtropics have reached a cover of the American band’s song Yet Again they are on the home straight. The Subtropics have found themselves an anthem they can make their own. The horn fanfare bursts like vibrant Township music. Johansson’s baritone saxophone solos over the top of what sounds like Californian surf-music reverb guitar before doubling back to the brass arrangement and ringing it of some more power. Lighten up, it’s fun, the final track and worth seeking out. Why? I’ll tell you. It’s the same principle as Miles Davis taking a piece of popular fluff like Bye Bye Blackbird written in 1926 and thirty years later turning it into a neat jazz classic alongside John Coltrane on the Round About Midnight album. It’s just that in the Subtropics case, they didn’t wait thirty years to liberate Yet Again; they give the chords and harmonies a good day out, a massive improvement on the original. And if it is not exactly classic, it surely rocks the house.

Click here to listen to Yet Again.

The Reason Why Vol 2 is the 2015 version of the Subtropic Arkestra. Catch them now because having listened to this album I think it is very possible that Goran Kajfeš is going to take them to even higher places. Perhaps outer space figures on their itinerary after all.

Click here for a video of the Subtropic Arkestra playing live.

Click here to listen to Miles Davis playing Bye Bye Blackbird


Steve Day    
stevedaywordsandmusic.co.uk   
 

 

 

 

Jazz Heritage and Blue Plaques

Mike Rose from the National Jazz Archive writes:

The London Borough of Waltham Forest in north-east London is close to the home of the National Jazz Archive in Loughton, Essex. Waltham Forest Council enthusiastically operates a Blue Plaque scheme which celebrates many aspects of local history and cultural heritage. For several years, the National Jazz Archive has been working with Waltham Forest to identify the residences of jazz musicians within the Borough, which Dankworth familycovers Leyton, Leytonstone, Walthamstow and Chingford. This project is part of the telling of the Story of British Jazz that the Archive began during the 3-year period of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund 2011–14.

The Dankworth family with the blue plaque for John Dankworth
Photograph courtesy of National Jazz Archive

In 2013, Waltham Forest arranged for plaques to be placed on houses previously occupied by Sir John Dankworth and clarinettist Dave Shepherd. Sir John was one of the finest British jazz musicians and composers, whose work is known both by jazz fans and the public at large. In his career, Dave has played with Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan, Teddy Wilson, Digby Fairweather (the founder of the Archive), and many other renowned jazz performers. In September last year, a plaque was placed on the house in Leyton where trombonist Jackie Free, another of Dave’s band colleagues, spent his first 25 years and learnt the trombone at Jackie Free blue plaquethe local Boys Brigade. The Archive has the honour to hold a copy of a photograph taken in 1956 of Jackie performing with Louis Armstrong during his UK tour. Jackie’s Blue Plaque contains the dedication that Louis inscribed on the photo - 'A fine trombone man'.

Jackie Free's blue plaque
Photograph courtesy of National Jazz Archive

The sad loss of trumpeter and composer Kenny Wheeler at the end of 2014 delayed plans to unveil a plaque for him but his family gave the go-ahead for a low profile ceremony in January 2015. Although born in Canada, Kenny moved to the UK in 1952, and made an indelible mark on Britain’s jazz scene. He lived here for over 60 years, much of this time in Leytonstone where the plaque is located.

In the 1960s, Kenny played alongside Ronnie Scott, John Dankworth and Tubby Hayes, before recording a series of albums including Gnu High and Deer Wan in the 1970s. However, for many the 1990s were considered Wheeler’s career peak, when he released influential albums such Music for Large and Small Ensembles and Kayak. In 1997, he received critical acclaim for the album Angel Song, which featured Bill Frisell, Dave Holland and Lee Konitz. More recently, he became the founding patron of the Junior Jazz programme at the Royal Academy of Music and was the focus of a year-long exhibition by the Academy Museum. In a statement when Kenny’s passing was announced, Nick Smart, head of jazz at the Royal Academy of Music, paid tribute and described Wheeler as “one of the great musical innovators of contemporary jazz. Kenny was anDave Shepherd important and much loved figure to the jazz department here at the Academy… His harmonic palette and singularly recognisable sound will live on in the memory of all who heard him and in the extraordinary legacy of recordings and compositions he leaves behind, inspiring generations to come.”

Dave Shepherd blue plaque
Photograph courtesy of National Jazz Archive

 

Following further detailed research, two more jazz musicians with reputations in the UK and around the world have been identified as spending part of their lives residing in Waltham Forest and worthy of Blue Plaque recognition. Kenny Clare was born and spent his early years in Leytonstone. Highly regarded by the likes of Buddy Rich, Kenny Clarke and Louie Bellson, Kenny began his playing career in his 1920s with the Oscar Rabin band before joining Jack Parnell. For an extended period in the 1950s and early 1960s he was featured with the John Dankworth and Ted Heath bands. In 1963 Kenny began playing drums with the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band and by 1967 he was regularly paired with Clarke in what became a two-drummer band for performances, concerts, and at least 15 recordings.

The list of singers and musicians that Kenny performed with include some of the jazz greats of the 20th century – Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett,Blue plaque Kenny Wheeler Cleo Laine, Stephane Grappelli, Johnny Griffin, Harry James and many more. He died in 1984. Currently, negotiations are underway between Waltham Forest and the current owner of Kenny’s house in Leytonstone.

Kenny Wheeler's blue plaque
Photograph courtesy of the National Jazz Archive

Born in Clapton in 1921, cornetist/trumpeter Freddy Randall lived in Chingford during the 1980s and at present, is the final nominee of the Archive. Following military service in WWII, Randall joined Freddy Mirfield & His Garbage Men. The Garbage Men included the young John Dankworth and recorded for Decca in 1944. In the late 1940s – early 1950s Freddy led his own band, featuring some of the UK’s finest jazz musicians. The Freddy Randall Sunday sessions at the Cooks Ferry Inn, Ferry Lane, Edmonton (run for the Cleveland Rhythm Club by Freddy's brother, Harry) have earned a legendary place in British jazz history. In 1956 Randall was the first British post-war jazz group to tour the United States – in exchange for the Louis Armstrong All-Stars. As previously stated, it was during Louis’s tour of the UK that Leyton-born Jackie Free, Freddy’s one-time trombonist, played alongside Louis. In 1958 Randall retired due to ill health and, after several ‘come-backs’, died in 1999.

The National Jazz Archive is delighted and privileged to join with the London Borough of Waltham Forest in recognising and celebrating these much loved jazz musicians who contributed greatly to the Story of British Jazz.

Can you help Identify another Blue Plaque Location?

Mike Rose continues: 'I have had the privilege to work alongside the Founder of the National Jazz Archive, Digby Fairweather, and the Design and Conservation Manager at Waltham Forest, in conducting the research on the fantastic jazz musicians who have lived in Waltham Forest, my home for the past 69 years. My love and enthusiasm for jazz was born at an early age as my older brother was a member of the Cleveland Rhythm Club. He regularly attended the Sunday sessions at the Cooks Ferry Inn. When I was a small child he would tell me about the performances of Freddy Randall, Beryl Brydon, Roy Crimmins, Bruce Turner, Archie Semple, Danny Moss, Lennie Felix and Lennie Hastings. It was only in later years that Heathcote Armsthese names had any true meaning for me. There are many references both to these wonderful musicians and the Cleveland Rhythm Club available to read on line at the National Jazz Archive web site: www.nationaljazzarchive.org.uk. However, the help I’m looking for relates to another pub which, I believe, had an association with the Cooks Ferry Inn.'

The Heathcote Arms
Photograph courtesy of Mike Rose

'The Heathcote Arms is on Grove Green Road, Leytonstone E11 and I have vague memories of the upstairs hall being used as a jazz club during the 1950s. Of those who performed there I recollect the name of John Dankworth being mentioned. I also believe that Harry Randall, brother and one-time manager of Freddie, was involved with the club. However, my vague memories are not sufficient to make a strong enough case to approach Waltham Forest with a view to installing a Blue Plaque. If any readers can confirm the existence of the club, particularly a membership card or some physical evidence, I’d be delighted to take up the case for the Heathcote with Waltham Forest, as part of the Story of British Jazz. (I am aware that my good friend Clive Fenner ran the East Side Jazz Club from this location in later years before decamping first to the Lord Rookwood and then in 2014, to Tommy Flynn’s pub.)'

If you are able to help Mike with information you can contact him at enquiries@nationaljazzarchive.org.uk making the title of your email 'Blue Plaques'.

 

 

 

You don't seem very impressed. Why don't you all hold hands and see if you can contact the living?

Ronnie Scott at his club to an unenthusiastic audience

 

 

 

 

One From Ten

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

Ivo Neame

Strata

Saxophonist Howard Lawes reviews Ivo Neame's new album:

Ivo Neame graduated as a jazz pianist from the Royal Academy of Music in 2003 and has had a career as bright as the "Brilliant Ale" brewed by the Shepherd Neame family brewery. Apart from the bands that he has led Neame has also been a member of eleven other bands, probably reaching a zenith with Phronesis and their album A Life to Everything which has received widespread acclaim throughout the world. Phronesis, Ivo Neame Strataalthough led by bassist Jasper Høiby, is regularly referred to as a piano trio and was described by John Newey of Jazzwise as “the most exciting and imaginative piano trio since EST” (the Esbjörn Svensson Trio).

For this album Strata we have a quintet with Neame (piano, keyboard and accordion), Tori Freestone (saxes/flute), Jim Hart (vibraphone), Dave Hamblett (drums) and Tom Farmer (bass).

Click here for an introductory video.

The album starts with a track called Personality Clash, (presumably not referring to members of the band!), which has piano and vibraphone, each seeking to outdo the other at a fast pace before the calming influence of the saxophone is introduced.  The title track, Strata, begins with single notes and chords, gradually builds as all the instruments join in and then continues with a fanfare-like saxophone theme; and as implied by the title this is a many layered piece, complex but great to listen to.

Click here for a video of the Quintet playing Strata at the SoundCellar in Poole in 2014.

OCD Blues has the saxophone taking a leading role while piano and vibraphone converse and mirror improvisations and then about five minutes in we get some very soft, tinkly notes on the piano and bowed vibraphone creating a mystical feel.  Miss Piggy is a pleasant piece that probably Ivo Neamehas little to do with the anarchic Muppets and having heard OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?) Blues, we have Crise de Nerfs (which may be translated as 'nervous breakdown'), a track that highlights Jim Hart on vibraphone and Tori Freestone on flute.

Eastern Chant is a great piano trio piece with Neame, Farmer and Hamblett combining to great effect while Folk Song features Neame on accordion imparting a slight Balkan feel to the beginning and end of the piece while Freestone plays saxophone in a contrasting fashion as the rhythm changes to something quite different. The last track, Snowfall, effectively conjures up a winter landscape with saxophone winds and tinkly, piano key snow but also features a solo on Tom Farmer's double bass.

Click here for a video of Eastern Chant at the same Soundcellar gig as above.

This is a complex and interesting album which rewards repeated listening to discover its depth and subtleties and has plenty of Ivo Neame piano for those who know him best through Phronesis, but also some quality playing from other band members who come together as a very well drilled unit.  The album launch gig at a packed Vortex Jazz Club in London was very well received where no doubt sales were enhanced because each purchase included a home-made chocolate brownie!

Click here to sample the album.

Ivo Neame Strata was released on 15th June on Whirlwind Recordings.

 

 

 

Ten Recent Releases and Re-Issues

 


The Ten

Our monthly ten suggestions of new releases or re-releases. (Although we might link to the digital albums to sample, the recordings are usually available as audio CDs as well).

 

Patrick Hayes Back To The Grove

 

 

1. Patrick Hayes Electric Ensemble - Back To The Grove - (phee.com)

[See review above. Arrangements are being made for the album to be available through Amazon, etc]

 

 

 

Ivi Neame Strata

 

2. Ivo Neame - Strata - (Whirlwind Recordings)

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

 

 

 

 

Babelfish Chasing Rainbows

 

 

3. Babelfish - Chasing Rainbows - (Moletone Records)

[Click here to sample. Click here for review]

 

 

 

Kurt Elling Passion World

 

 

4. Kurt Elling - Passion World - (Concord Jazz)

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

 

 

 

Tim Warfield Spherical

 

 

5. Tim Warfield - Spherical: Dedicated to Thelonious Sphere Monk - (Criss Cross Jazz)

[Click here to sample].

 

 

 

Juliet Kelly Spellbound Stories

 

 

6. Juliet Kelly - Spellbound Stories - (Purple Stilletto Records)

[See above review. Click here for video introduction]

 

 

 

Frank Sinatra Tommy Dorsey album

 

 

7. Frank Sinatra - Complete Studio Recordings with Tommy Dorsey - (One Records) - 4 CDs

[Also available as download - click here to sample].

 

 

 

Don Ellis album

 

 

8. Don Ellis - How Time Passes / New Ideas / Jazz Jamboree '62 - (Fresh Sound)

[Click here to sample].

 

 

 

Buddy Rich Birdland

 

 

9. Buddy Rich - Birdland - (Lobitos Creek Ranch)

[See review above. Click here to sample]

 

 

 

Paul Riley Into View

 

 

10. Paul Riley Quintet - Into View - (Jellymould)

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 ...



 

On Tour This Month ...

Partisans

Partisans will be touring the UK this summer following on from their 2015 Parliamentary Jazz Award win for Jazz CD of the Year (Swamp on Whirlwind Recordings). Co-led by two of the preeminent musicians of their generation, Phil Robson (guitars) and Julian Siegel (tenor sax & bass clarinet), the quartet line-up is completed by Thaddeus Kelly (bass) and Gene Calderazzo (drums).  

Click here for the album introduction on YouTube

Saturday 4 July - Love Supreme Festival
Wednesday 5 August - Manchester International Jazz Festival
Saturday 8 August - Brecon International Jazz Festival
Sunday 30 August - Norwich Jazz Weekender 
Monday 31 August - The Highgate Jazz with Soul Festival 

 

 

George Chisholm - Gentleman Of Jazz

A Talk at the National Jazz Archive - Saturday 1 August 2015 George Chisholm

12.30pm, £5

George Chisholm was one of the great jazz trombonists this country produced, as well as a top-class comedy entertainer. He grew up in a musical family in Glasgow, and played in the 1930s with Benny Carter, Fats Waller and Coleman Hawkins. During and after World War II George played with the Squadronaires, and went on to a successful and varied career in jazz, alongside one in comedy, a combination that led him to work with everyone from Ambrose to Armstong, from Goodman to the Goons, from Sinatra to Superman. He was awarded the OBE in 1984 and died in 1997.

Bob Sinfield, radio presenter, actor and author, has written a biography of George, and will be talking about him, and his eventful and often hilarious double life as trombonist and comedian, and playing recordings of George’s music. Copies of Bob’s book will be available.

Venue: National Jazz Archive, Loughton Library, Traps Hill, Loughton, Essex IG10 1HD
Tickets: W: www.nationaljazzarchive.org.uk/events T: 020 8502 4701 E: events@nationaljazzarchive.org.uk

 

 

 

Album Released: 7th April 2015 - Label: 3 Knocks Entertainment

 

Frederico Britos presents The Hot Club of America

When Grappelli Meets Latin America

 

Vic Arnold reviews this album for us:

The main man on this recording is a very versatile Uruguayan violinist Frederico Britos. The music played is the style of The Hot Club of France and the musicians are from various parts of Latin America.  They are Frederico Britos (violin), Jorge Garcia (guitar), Felix GomezFrederico Britos album (piano), Edwin Bonilla (percussion), Renyel Rivero (bass) and Carlomagno Araya (drums).  In addition to these 6 there are a further 16 musicians who guest on a number of tracks on this recording. One of the guests is the singer Cecile McLorin Salvant who sings La Vie En Rose in English and French. 

Click here to listen to Dark Eyes from the album.

The music that has been chosen will be familiar to all those people who have been brought up on the music that was played and recorded by "Le Quintette du Hot Club de France", but the Latin Americans have put their own interpretation to it. As an example, there was no piano on most of the original recordings, but it has been put to good use on this recording. However, what some people will miss is the lack of a powerful guitarist in the Reinhardt mould. That is not to say that the guitarist on this recording is not very good, he is a fine player, but there are too few solos and not very much interplay with the violin.

The first track that sets the mood for the album is The Sheik of Araby and there follows a further 11 tracks, all recorded in the same vein.

Click here to listen to The Sheik Of Araby.

Tracks include Djangology,  Honeysuckle Rose and no collection would be complete without a version of Nuages. I found the music enjoyable, and also sufficiently different to the original so that it had a fresh sound to it. Having said that, it is probably a recording that people who love Latin American music would prefer to dance to, rather than sit and listen to. An enjoyable recording.

Click here to sample the album.

 

Vic Arnold

 

 

 

Some July 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 - Wednesday, 22nd July - Emilie Conway Quartet featuring double bassist Marcos Varela (NYC).

Dublin: Sugar Club, 8, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. www.thesugarclub.com
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 1st July - Beck’s Rhythm Series Bill Laurance Project.

Dublin: Purty Kitchen, Monkstown. www.purtykitchen.com
Gig Pick - Thursday, 9th July - The Gina Jazz & Legendary Louis Stewart.

Dublin: John Field Room, National Concert Hall, Dublin 2. www.nch.ie
Gig Pick - Thursday, 2nd July - Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Wicklow: The Hot Spot Music Club, Harbour Lodge, Bayswater Terrace, Cliff Rd, Greystones, Co. Wicklow. www.thehotspot.ie


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

 

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

Scotland: The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, 1a, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HR. www.thejazzbar.co.uk
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 8th July - The Ant Law Trio.

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

 

Wales: Dempsey's, Cardiff, 15, Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BS. www.jazzatdempseys.org.uk
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 14th July - Mark Lawrence Quartet.

 

Lancashire: Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club, The Grand Theatre,18 York St., Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 2DL. www.rvjazzandblues.co.uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 3rd July - Nicola FarnonTrio.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne: The Jazz Cafe, 25 - 27 Pink Lane, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 5DW. www.jazzcafe-newcastle.co.uk
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 28th July - The Jonathon Silk Big Band.

Liverpool: The Capstone Theatre, Shaw Street, Liverpool, L6 1HP. www.thecapstonetheatre.com
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 14th July - Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

Yorkshire: Seven Jazz, Leeds, Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, or Inkwell Arts, 31 Potternewton Lane Chapel Allerton, Leeds. www.sevenjazz.co.uk
(Includes: Seven Jazz Improvisation Group, Seven Jazz instrumental workshops and Seven Jazz Voices Choir).
Gig Pick - Sunday, 5th July - Riley Stone-Lonergan Quartet - 1.30 pm at Inkwell Arts.

Yorkshire: Jazz In The Spa, Boston Spa, Village Hall, High Street, Boston Spa. www.jazzinthespa.co.uk
Gig Pick - Saturday, 18th July -Stephanie Trick + Paolo Alderighi.

South Yorkshire: Sheffield Jazz, Various venues in Sheffield. www.sheffieldjazz.org.uk
Closed for summer. Next gig Friday, 2nd October - Kit Downes Trio.

Manchester: Matt and Phred's, 64 Tib Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1LW. www.mattandphreds.com
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 15th July - Blind Monk Trio.

Birmingham: Birmingham Jazz Listings www.livebrum.co.uk/events/jazz
Gig Pick - Friday, 18th July - Mark Pringle Quartet. Red Lion (Hockley)

Essex: The Electric Palace, Harwich, King's Quay. Harwich. www.electricpalace.com
Gig Pick - Thursday, 23rd July - Bohem Ragtime Jazz Band.

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, 29th July - Amy Roberts and Richard Exall Quintet.

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, 25th July - Nigel PriceOrgan Trio.

London: LUME, Hoxton, The Long White Cloud, 151 Hackney Road, London E2 8JL. www.lumemusic.co.uk
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 16th July - Nick Costley-White & Bleep Test.

London: Pizza Express, Soho, 10, Dean Street, London W1. www.pizzaexpresslive.com
Gig Pick - Monday, 6th July - Oli Rockberger.

London: The Spice Of Life, Soho, 6, Moor Street, London W1. www.spicejazz.co.uk
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 8th July - Emily Wolff and Emily Dankworth 'Summer Grooves'

London: Ronnie Scott's Club, Soho, 47 Frith Street, London W1. www.ronniescotts.co.uk  
Gig Pick - Friday, 31st July - Archie Shepp Quartet.

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

London: The Forge, Camden, 3-7 Delancey Street, Camden, London NW1 7NL. www.theforgevenue.org
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 8th July - Pete Churchill album launch 'Stories To Tell'. .

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 - Monday, 27th July - Tori Freestone Trio.

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

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

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

London: Omnibus, Old Clapham Library, 1 Clapham Common Northside, London, SW4 0QW. www.omnibus-clapham.org
Gig Pick - Sunday, 5th July - Oren Marshall: Voyage of Discovery .

London: 606 Club, 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0QD. www.606club.co.uk
Gig Pick - Monday, 13th July - Alex Hutton Trio CD Launch .

London: The Bull's Head, 373 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, London, SW13 9PY. www.thebullshead.com
Gig Pick - Saturday, 25th July - Peter King Quartet.

London: Putney, The Half Moon, 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1EU.
Dick Laurie's Elastic Band. The band now plays the first Sunday and third Sunday of every month.
Sunday, 5th July and Sunday, 19th July - 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm

London: e17 Jazz, Walthamstow, Orford House Social Club, 73 Orford Road, Walthamstow, London E17 9QR. www.e17jazz.com
Gig Pick - Wednesday, 29th July - Nick Tomalin Quartet featuring Steve Fishwick.

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

 

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

Kent: The Roffen, New Road Rochester, ME1 1DX. www.144club.co.uk
Gig Pick - Wednesday 8th July  - Vasilis Xenopoulos

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

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

Surrey: Watermill Jazz, Dorking, Friends Life Social Club, Pixham Lane, Dorking, RH4 1QA. www.watermilljazz.co.uk
Gig Pick - Thursday, 9th July - Julian Argüelles Septet.

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

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

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

Bristol: The Be-Bop Club, The Bear, Hotwell Road, Bristol, BS8 4SF. www.thebebopclub.co.uk
Club closed until September.

Somerset: Frome, The Grain Bar, Frome, Somerset, . www.cheeseandgrain.com/bar

Somerset: Ilminster Arts Centre, The Meeting House, East Street, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0AN. www.themeetinghouse.org,uk
Gig Pick - Friday, 24th July - Tommy Smith and Brian Kellock.

Dorset: Bridport Arts Centre, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NR. www.bridport-arts.com
Gig Pick - Saturday, 18th July - Mike Westbrook and Company: The Uncommon Orchestra.

Dorset: Sound Cellar, Poole, The Blue Boar, 29 Market Close, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1NE, www.soundcellar.moonfruit.com
Gig Pick - Thursday, 9th July - The Noemi Nuti Band.

Cornwall: St. Ives Jazz Club, Western Hotel, Gabriel Street, St. Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2LU. www.stivesjazzclub.com
Gig Pick - Tuesday, 21st July - Mike Westbrook and Company: The Uncommon Orchestra.


 

Items Carried Over From Last Month

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

 

Wes Montgomery Guitar Contest

Resonance Records are looking for new guitar players aged 14 to 33. They are launching the Wes Montgomery International Guitar Contest and Wes Montgomeryguitar players can send in audio and video demos to Indaba Music. The entries need to include a Wes Montgomery guitar cover and 2 other recordings. The closing date is 15th July. Finalists will be invited to play at a concert in New York's Merkin Concert Hall at an event hosted by Pat Martino. The organisers say: 'Wes Montgomery is arguably the most important and influential guitarist in modern Jazz History. In the span of his tragically short yet prolific recording career, Montgomery paved the way for generations of improvisational guitarists. Now, Resonance Records is teaming up with Indaba Music in search of this generation’s next great jazz guitarist.'

Entry details are as follows:

  • Contestants must be between the ages of 14 and 33

  • Applicants must provide three audio samples of their performance - selections must contain a cover of one of the Wes Montgomery songs provided in the playlist, and 2 additional songs (see creative brief for full details)

  • Total performance time for all three submissions combined should not exceed 10 minutes.

Click here for details.

 

Music In Schools

What is music provision like in schools in your area? In our experience it varies. There are primary schools where music is very active including the growth of choirs and James Rhodes Instrumental chances to try out and learn different instruments. Secondary schools are probably more varied, not only do they have the examination curriculum to deal with and the consequent Ofsted ratings, but teenagers generally, although they are interested in music, are often not so inclined to put in the practice time unless they have a particular affinity to learning to play an instrument against all the competing social media and gaming activity.

Classical pianist James Rhodes has been challenging the provision of music in schools and the 'pitiful' resources for music education. 'There's zero budget (for music),' he said. 'And all the pressure has to be on numeracy and literacy. And if I was a head teacher I wouldn't transfer reources to music when Ofsted are coming because the only things they care about are hitting our targets for Maths and English.' He also criticises the minimal amount of time given to music in teacher training courses.

Last September, James Rhodes presented a television documentary in which he asked people to hand in unused instruments they had at home to be distributed to primary schools and he says over a million pounds worth of instruments were handed in. He has also launched a petition to increase music provision in schools and published a book Instrumental: Memoirs of Madness, Medication and Music (published on 28th May) where he describes how music helped him after a period of abuse by a teacher at his school. Reviewed in the Sunday Times on 31st May, Brian Appleyard writes: 'How he got to where he is now ...is a story of abject misery and quite staggering good luck ....but there can be no doubt that he is doing classical music a big favour by banging great works into the hyper-distracted heads of a young audience.'

Click here to listen to James Rhodes talking about the issue and for details of the petition. Click here for information about the book.

 

 

Jazz Talks: Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas

Buckinghamshire:

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

Norwich:

Similarly, Roy Headland who gives occasional talks to Norwich Jazz and Blues Record Club is offering to give talks with music to other groups in the Norwich area.Roy's email address is: royheadland@gmail.com.

 

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