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December 2018

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Courtney Pine and Omar

 

Saxophonist Courtney Pine will be presenting his project Black Notes From The Deep with special guest, vocalist Omar, at the Bradshaw Hall, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on 7th December.

Click here to listen to the track Rules from the album. C

 

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

The following is from the book 'The Baroness' by Hannah Rothschild. 'The Baroness' was Pannonica de Koenigswarter, 'Nica', the heiress who befriended jazz musicians and in particular Thelonious Monk.

 

'Roy Haynes has clear memories of Nica and Monk sweeping into the club every night: 'Her arrival was preceded momentarily by a whiff of her favourite perfume, Jean Patou's 'Joy', a scent powerful enough to cut through any cigarette smoke.

 

 

Nica and Monk

 

'Thelonious was usually very late. We were supposed to start at nine. Sometimes he would get there eleven or even later with the Baroness. They would walk in together and go right back into the kitchen, that was the hangout, and start making hamburgers. Sometimes Monk would come right in there and lie down on the table and go to sleep. He wouldn't even talk, you know. Nica was responsible for getting him to the club but getting him on stage was not easy. When he was ready to wake up and play, he would come up and play his heart out'.

'Bundled up against the winter cold in a huge fur coat, Nica was often surrounded by a group of admirers. She sat in her favourite spot nearest the stage with a Bible on the table in front of her: the good book was a flask of whisky in disguise ....'

From The Baroness: The Search For Nica The Rebellious Rothschild by Hannah Rothschild published by Virago.

Click here to listen to Thelonious Monk introducing and playing Pannonica, the tune he dedicated to Nica.

 

Name The Tune!

(Click on the picture for the answers)

 

Name the tune

 

 

Name the tune

 

 

Name the tune

 

Click here for a full page of Name The Tune.

 

 

 

A London Dance - New Movements In Jazz

London-based fashion house 'Farah' has filmed a new, short (just under 7 minutes) documentary celebrating the vibrant young jazz scene that’s A London Dancebeen breaking through over recent years in London. They point out that fashion and music are intrinsically entwined, long associated with underground culture and they are “shining a spotlight on this renaissance moment for the genre”. 

They say “Experimentation and cross-pollination of sounds and style is at the heart of this new type of jazz and there is a unifying sense that the scene is the star and the artists are a part of something far bigger than its component parts. It is brave, confident, diverse and collaborative and the defining sound of the UK underground right now.”

The film is produced by Hector Aponysus, an editor and producer as well as an artist who has performed live at the ICA, Boiler Room and Just Jam, and is titled ‘A London Dance - New Movements In Jazz’. It features some of the key players on the scene today including Ezra Collective, Kamaal Williams, Maxwell Owin, Wu-Lu, Theon Cross, Poppy Ajudha and Joe Armon-Jones.

Click here to watch the documentary.

 

 

 

Jazz Centre UK logo

Jazz Centre UK Extension Opens

Some while ago we mentioned trumpeter Digby Fairweather's project to open a UK Jazz Centre in Southend-on-Sea. The Centre started small but has grown and now with performance space and somewhere for people to hang out, in addition to its archive and research facility, the extended premises in the Beechcroft Centre on Southend's main road were officially opened on 20th October.

Sir Michael Parkinson, the Centre's Senior Patron, 'cut the ribbon' together with Southend's town Mayor and the Humphrey Lyttelton band played two sets (the Humphrey Lyttelton Collection is based at the Centre). Other treasures to be found there include Humph's trumpet and desk; Sir John Dankworth's first piano; Spike Robinson and Jimmy Skidmore's saxophones, and an art gallery, multi-media centre, cinema and library. Other patrons include Dame Cleo Laine, Paul Jones, Simon Spillett, Alan Barnes and Jools Holland

Click here for more details.

The National Jazz Archive, also founded by Digby Fairweather, continues to be based at Loughton in Essex.

 

 

 

Music Education

In recent times we have heard from various sources of the problems surrounding reduced funding for music in schools. On the 10th October, The Independent newspaper carried a report with the sub-heading 'We are in danger of music becoming the preserve of families who can afford private tuition' (click here). They added that 'councils would be forced to reduce the services of centrally employed teachers (CETs), such as music tutors, if they were asked to meet the cost of an additional pay rise of one to 2.5 per cent (for classroom teachers). The Local Goverment Association .... said stretched councils cannot take on the cost. Currently there are nearly 5,000 CETs who either provide direct Music Educationteaching to children, or who play key roles in supporting education professionals. At least half of them teaching music'.

Yvonne Mallett reminds us of how far we have come since some of us went to school and how valuable musical education can be:

'Some people have all the luck! And I must be one of them. I live in a time and place where I can go and hear some of the best live jazz on the planet. Free. I'm talking about performances by jazz students at some of the top music colleges, including the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy of Music, both in London. It's tough for students aiming to join these institutions so they are already brilliant and dedicated. While they continue with their studies, under some of the very best-known jazz musicians as tutors, they are happy to present their considerable talent to eager audiences.

'Having recently spent three consecutive afternoons listening to student combos, from trios to big bands, at the Guildhall School, I fell to thinking about how music lessons were long ago when I was at school and how unlikely those lessons were to have inspired anyone to musical appreciation, let alone a career. Of course the school was, for those times, an average all-girls school and the music lessons were enough to put anyone off the subject for life. Needless to say, the word 'jazz' 1943 music classwas never spoken. Every week the teacher wrote a music score on the blackboard. Then we were instructed to transpose it into another key using academic information previously drilled into us. We never actually heard the music represented so the exercise was essentially a maths lesson.

'In an effort to inculcate some musical appreciation she would play us, once a term, a scratchy old 78rpm record of the Erlking, a horror poem by Goethe, put to heavy-handed, over-dramatised music by Schubert and sung, with some bravura, by the master German opera singer of his day, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. We would groan inwardly. Our teacher's main claim to fame seemed to be that her husband, a musician, had once won a competition run by a national newspaper to write an additional verse to that great classic, 'Who Killed Cock Robin'. To be fair, the teacher did make some attempt at live music by offering recorder lessons. The recorder was not a popular instrument and neither, it seems, were the lessons. Once in the class the only way to get out of it was to take drastic measures and accidentally break your instrument. (Amazing how clumsy some of those girls turned out to be!).

A music teacher leading a music ensemble in an elementary school in 1943

 

'Now I sometimes wonder how many youngsters in schools like mine might have become meaningfully involved with music, whether as musicians themselves or as fans, had they enjoyed a better start. What were music lessons like in your school?'

 

 

 

 

December's Video Juke Box

*Click on the Picture for the Video

 

 

Click on the picture to watch the video.

 

Lester Young Mean To Me

 

 

Lester Young really swings the 'old favourite' Mean To Me on "Art Ford's Jazz Party", September 25, 1958.

 

 

 

 

Helena Kay KIM Trio

 

Helena Kay's KIM Trio launch their new album Moon Palace in December. The Trio - Helena Kay (saxophone); Ferg Ireland (double bass) and David Ingamells (drums) - play L and D from the album which is released on 7th December. (See Recent Releases for more information). The band is on tour during December (click here for details).

 

 

 

 

Jacob Collier With The Love In My Heart

 

Jacob Collier has unveiled the first music video from his massive new project Djesse - a 40-song, 4-volume exploration of the mind of one of music’s finest young talents.  The music video is for the first single “With The Love In My Heart” and was filmed in Japan.  A whimsical maze of mirrors, the video captures the essence of Jacob - a vibrant musical polymath.  As he traverses this lush, otherworldly landscape he foreshadows all that Djesse has to offer. Jacon will be on tour in the UK in February 2019.

 

 

 

Adrian Rollini Trio

 

 

The Adrian Rollini Trio plays The Girl With The Light Blue Hair in 1948 with Adrian Rollini (vibraharp, tubular bells); Allen Hanlon (guitar) and George Hnida (double bass).

 

 

 

 

 

Brass Funkeys

 

 

The dynamic Brass Funkeys play a live session for JazzFM. If you have never seen this band put it on your New Year 'to do' list. Basing their music on New Orleans marching bands they bring their own contemporary style and interpretation to tunes that rock your boots.

 

 

 

 

 

Tommy Smith Quartet

 

 

The Tommy Smith Quartet [Tommy Smith (tenor sax); Peter Johnstone (piano); Calum Gourlay (double bass), Sebastiaan de Krom (drums)] play a 33 minute set from their current album Embodying The Light, a tribute to John Coltrane.

 

 

 

 

 

The Jazz Trance

 

 

 

'The Jazz Trance' -Thanks to Gail Ford for sharing this clip from The Mighty Boosh.

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to visit the Video Juke Box choices from the past six months.

 

 

British Jazz Awards 2018

There are a number of Jazz Awards that take place during the year - we have reported on the Jazz FM Awards and the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in previous months. Each of them tends to reflect a different approach based on the criteria for nominations, the shortlisting and the public votes that are invited.

The British Jazz Awards, sponsored by Big Bear Music, received votes from 5500 people this year. The four nominations in each of the 16 categories were selected by a group of respected figures within the Jazz community, and voters had the chance to vote for any musicians not nominated but who they considered worthy of a placing as a ‘write-in’ vote – the highest placed of these from each category are included in the final listings.

This year's award winners were:

Alexandra Ridout

 

Trumpet - Enrico Tomasso
Trombone - Mark Nightingale
Clarinet - Alan Barnes
Alto Sax - Alan Barnes
Tenor Sax - Karen Sharp
Piano - Dave Newton
Guitar - Jim Mullen
Double Bass - Dave Green
Drums - Winston Clifford
Vocals - Claire Martin
Micellaneous Instrument - Courtney Pine (soprano sax)

Rising Star - Alexandra Ridout

Small Group - Kansas Smitty's House Band
Big Band - Gareth Lockrane Big Band
Best New Album - Woodville Records: Ask Me Now - Alan Barnes and Dave Newton
Best Re-issue Album - Upbeat Recordings: Sir Humph's Delight - Humphrey Lyttelton

Click here for information on the shortlists and judging panel.

Click here for a video of Alexandra Ridout playing Jerome Kern's Yesterdays at the finals of the BBC Young Musician Jazz Award in 2016 with Gwilym Simcock (piano); Yuri Goloubev (bass) and James Maddren (drums).

 

 

 

 

BBM 2019 January New Year Music Industry Knowledge-Boosting Workshop

BBM logo

 

 

Are you an aspiring musician? Do you want to work in the music industry? If you don't know your MU from your PPL, your PRS from your VPL, or your BPI from your AIM, if you want to know more about your options for developing a career and generating an income for yourself through your passion for music then this master-class could be for you!

This BBM workshop takes place on Saturday 19th January 2019, from 1.00 to 5.00 pm in Harrow.

 

 

 

Topics covered include:

  • Music Industry Ecosystem
  • Copyright
  • Contracts
  • Music Publishing
  • Record Label Management
  • Releasing A Record
  • Licensing
  • Trade Bodies & Collection Organisations
  • Income Streams
  • Online World

    Click here for full details and for booking arrangements.

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz Quiz

Now Here's The Question ...

 

Try the fifteen questions in this month's jazz quiz .........

 

Louis Armstrong

 

For example:

In the Harry Potter stories a ‘Muggle’ is someone who was not born to a magical family.
In the 1930s and '40s ‘Muggles’ was slang for – what?

 

Click here for the Jazz Quiz.

 

 

 

 

 


Directory of Alternative Musical Definitions

 

Sforzando

Tune dedicated to Zando

 

Click here for more Alternative Definitions.

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

The Journey of Lionel Loueke

by Howard Lawes

 

[You are able to listen to the music at the same time as reading this article and without leaving the page if you click here (recommended). This will take you to the article on another page on our website where some computers 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].

 

Lionel Loueke

Lionel Loueke
Photograph by Jean-Baptiste, Millot

 

The musical career of Benin born Lionel Loueke is one of those heart-warming rags to riches stories that inspire aspiring musicians all over the world.  He was born in Benin, a west African country neighbouring Togo to the west and Nigeria to the east.  Historically this group of countries, amongst others, was called the 'Slave Coast' from the 16th to 19th centuries and during this period it is estimated that three million or more Africans were sold into the slave trade and shipped to the Caribbean and South America by European slave traders. After slave trading was abolished, the country was governed by France. From 1892 it was named 'French Dahomey' and gained independence in 1960 as the Republic of Dahomey. The early years of this fledgling republic were turbulent and during the period 1975 to 1990 the People's Republic of Benin was governed by a Marxist military council; in 1990 the country was renamed the Republic of Benin.

Guitarist Lionel Loueke was born in 1973 and life in the People's Republic for him may well have left a lot to be desired - economic activity was nationalised, professionals deserted the country and riots broke out.  But Lionel would have been able to hear the traditional music of his region, including the percussive Ewe music, Vodun and poly-rhythmic folk music. He initially sang and played percussive instruments but was able to buy a guitar at age seventeen and having demonstrated his musical aptitude left Benin to study at the recently founded National Institute of Arts in Cote D'Ivoire.  Later he transferred to Paris to study at the American School of Modern Music in 1994 and then to the USA. Lionel Loueke The Journey Interestingly some of the music the young Lionel Loueke heard as a teenager included samba rhythms that had been imported from South America by freed slaves returning to their homelands and also jazz through the recordings of George Benson.

Lionel Loueke's new album, The Journey, begins with a track called Bouriyan, (a Brazilian inspired festival), highlighting the ethnic origins of his family who were part of an Afro-Brazilian community living in the coastal town of Ouidah. Following his studies in Paris, Loueke was successful in gaining a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA and then the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles until 2003. 

The second track on the album is called Molika which is a word formed from the names of Loueke's three children who are no doubt growing up in a very different environment to that of their father.

Click here for a video of Molika.

Although the album is called The Journey it is not about travelling overland or through life, but rather it describes observations, asks questions and makes social comment in a series of vignettes. The album notes refer to "a musical journey where the point of departure is known but the destination is an enchanted mystery".  Vi Gnin (My Child) is a tribute to migrants fleeing their war torn countries searching for a new life, some of whom perish during the sea voyage,  Mande is a tribute to the Mande peoples, famed for their music and oral tradition, and Kaba (Sky) is a song marvelling at the sky, the sun and the stars. Some tunes are simply called Hope or Life while others ask questions such as Bawo (How) with words "How, How have we come to this? Modern day slavery and climate disruption push Humanity to the roads of exile." 

Click here for a video of a live performance of Vi Gnin.

Clearly Lionel Loueke has strong feelings about disadvantaged groups of people in the world and he uses his unique style of song and musicianship to draw our attention to their plight.  There is a fine tradition of protest and social comment from African jazz musicians and Lionel Loueke is following in the footsteps of the likes of Hugh Masakela, Miriam Makeba, Fela and Femi Kuti, many of whom moved to the USA to escape persecution or worse. Since Loueke himself moved to the USA, he has become a successful musician in his own right and also through collaborations with many of the outstanding jazz musicians of the day including Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter. Loueke has performed with other African musicians such as Angelique Kidjo who also hails from Benin and Miriam Makeba who was born to Swazi and Xhosa parents in South Africa.  Loueke's style is hugely influenced by African traditional music, particularly the region where he grew up but also other parts, including South Africa from where the vocal clicking technique of the Xhosa people originates.  The music on the album is overwhelmingly calm, more than one track sounds like a lullaby, having a sublime quality, and while the songs are sung in African languages there is a definite sense of protest even if you don't understand the language.

Click here for a video of a live performance of Dark Lightning.

The Journey is Lionel Loueke's seventh album as leader and while most of his recordings have been on the prestigious Blue Note label this is released by the French label, Aparte.  Loueke plays guitars, percussion and sings; each track is imbued with its own character, songs are in different languages and the accompanying musicians change each time. The other artists performing on the album are bassists Pino Palladino and Massimo Biolcati; clarinettist Patrick Messina; cellist Vincent Segal; violinist Mark Feldman; keyboards player Robert Sadin; saxophonist John Ellis; peul flautist Dramane Dembele; trumpeter Etienne Charles, and percussionists Cyro Baptista, Christi Joza Orisha and Ferenc Nemeth. The list includes not just jazz musicians, but classical players and performers of traditional African and Brazilian music.

The last track on the album is called The Healing which Loueke sings solo and without his guitar, the words mean "Let us seek within ourselves the peaceful solution that will free us from suffering"; he leaves this sentiment hanging in the air.

Click here for a video introduction to the album.

Click here for details of the album. Click here for Lionel Loueke's website.

 

Lionel Loueke

Lionel Loueke
Photograph by Jean-Baptiste, Millot

 

 

Novel Jazz

Last month I shared six jazz-related novels (not biographies) that I have enjoyed and that you might like (click here). In each instance I gave a link to Amazon where you can read various reviews and often look inside the book and listen to some of it being read, but you could equally check out other sites such as Waterstones, or pop into your local bookshop or library. Some of these books are also available on Kindle.

Clive Feckner has written suggesting two more novels to add to the list (let us know if you would recommend other jazz novels):

The Vinyl Detective

 

The Vinyl Detective by Andrew Cartmel (Titan Books)

'He is a record collector - a connoisseur of vinyl, hunting out rare and elusive LPs. His business card describes him as the "Vinyl Detective" and some people take this more literally than others. Like the beautiful, mysterious woman who wants to pay him a large sum of money to find a priceless lost recording on behalf of an extremely wealthy, yet shadowy, client. So begins a painful and dangerous odyssey in search of the rarest jazz record of them all...'

Click here to look inside the book and to listen to some of it being read.

 

 

 

Twelve Bar Blues

 

Twelve Bar Blues by Patrick Neate (Penguin)

'Spanning three continents and two centuries, Twelve Bar Blues is an epic tale of fate, family, friendship and jazz. At its heart is Lick Holden, a young jazz musician, who sets New Orleans on fire with his cornet at the beginning of the last century. But Lick's passion is to find his lost step-sister and that's a journey that leads him to a place he can call 'home'. Meanwhile, at the other end of the century, we find Sylvia, an English prostitute, and Jim, a young drifter. They're in search of Sylvia's past, lost somewhere in the mists of the Louisiana bayou. Patrick Neate has written a story that straddles time and space, love and friendship, roots and pilgrimage and everything between. Poignant and hilarious, it will hook you - like a favourite tune - till the end'.

Click here to look inside the book and to listen to some of it being read.

 

 

 

Elsewhere Being Read ....

Clive Feckner also recommends:

 

But Beautiful by Geoff Dyer

 

But Beautiful : A Book About Jazz by Geoff Dyer (Canongate Books)

'Lester Young fading away in a hotel room; Charles Mingus storming down the streets of New York on a too-small bicycle; Thelonius Monk creating his own private language on the piano... In eight poetically charged vignettes, Geoff Dyer skilfully evokes the embattled lives of the players who shaped modern jazz. He draws on photos and anecdotes, but music is the driving force of But Beautiful and Dyer brings it to life in luminescent and wildly metaphoric prose that mirrors the quirks, eccentricity, and brilliance of each musician's style'.

 

 

 

 

and saxophonist Sam Braysher recommends:

 

 

Four Lives In The Bebop Business

Four Lives In The Bebop Business by A.B. Spellman (MacGibbon & Kee).

Sam says: 'A.B. Spellman’s Four Lives in the Bebop Business is divided into four sections, each one portraying a key figure in the 1960s jazz avant garde: Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Herbie Nichols and Jackie McLean. Each section acts as a mini biography, featuring interviews with the musicians in question and with family members and musical associates. The interviews were conducted in New York City in the mid 1960s, a time when jazz was starting to be hit economically by the popularity of rock ‘n’ roll and pop music, and when the scene was still dealing with the impact of Ornette and his followers’ new and innovative music. The book gives an interesting snapshot of what life was like as a jazz musician at that time, and how things have changed. I was struck, as a jazz musician in 2018, how a couple of the profiles described how barren things had been for the artist in question, save for the odd four or six week-long run at a particular club. I have no doubt that those guys had things infinitely tougher than I do in a multitude of ways, but most jazz musicians I know nowadays could only dream of even a week-long engagement in a single jazz club! ......'
Click here
to read Sam's full review.

 

 

 

Lens America

Michael Wimberley

 

Drummer Michael Wimberley photographed by JazzTrail photographer Clara Pereira in November in New York City where he played with saxophonist Avram Fefer and bassist Sean Conly in a 'Sound It Out' concert series, an avant-jazz program curated by music journalist and producer Bradley Bambarger.

Filipe Freitas of Jazztrail writes: 'The spectacular pirouettes of well-versed saxophonist Avram Fefer found solid ground in the tight work by Sean Conly and Michael Wimberly on bass and drums, respectively. Although drawing mostly from his trio albums, Ritual (2009) and Eliyahu (2011), the saxophonist kicked off with “BC Reverie”, an old piece for bass clarinet, which he commanded with a gutsy liveliness. However, while talking to him after the concert, he disclosed a problem with his bass clarinet, which, I believe, no one in the audience noticed ..... The audience was already fascinated, but the peak of the concert coincided with the gracious final piece, “Essaouira”, an exotic fusion of avant-garde jazz and West African music inspired by a visit to Morocco in 2001 and the Gnaoua Festival .... (click here for the full review).

Click here for a video of Michael Wimberley playing with Avram Fefer and, on this occasion, Michael Bisio on bass, at the New York City Free Jazz Summit in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

Thelonious Monk Institute Becomes Herbie Hancock Institute Of Jazz

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, established in 1986 in Washington DC, will change its name in 2019 to become ‘The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz’. The decision was made following a request by representatives of the Monk Estate regarding the continued use of Thelonious Monk’s name. The Board of Trustees announced the news following a conversation with representatives of the Monk Estate. Monk Institute logo Apparently the decision was unanimous, as they praised the legendary pianist and 14-time Grammy winner for his “immense contributions to and impact on music, education and humanity”. Herbie Hancock has been the Chairman of the Institute for the last 15 years, he’s a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and founder of International Jazz Day held every April 30th. Herbie excused himself from the meeting while the Board discussed the matter.

The Institute’s mission is to offer the world’s most promising young musicians college level training by internationally acclaimed jazz masters and to present public school music education programmes for young people around the world. All of the Institute’s programs are provided free of charge to students, schools and communities worldwide. The Institute says its mission is 'to preserve, perpetuate and expand jazz as a global art form, and utilise jazz as a means to unite people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities'.

Herbie Hancock said, 'Having the Institute named in my honor is tremendously humbling and represents a profound moment for my family and me. I’m looking forward to continuing in my role as Institute Chairman and carrying on and expanding the organization’s important worldwide Herbie Hancockjazz education and humanitarian initiatives. We have been searching for ways to increase the Institute’s impact musically as well as address humanitarian issues where we can make a difference. We will continue teaching the history and importance of jazz, its traditions and improvisation, along with exploring new directions and horizons for the future. Of utmost importance to the Institute and our programs is to highlight the ethics of jazz, which are humanitarian in nature'.

 

Herbie Hancock

 

Mr. Hancock and the Board of Trustees express their appreciation to Thelonious Monk, Jr. and the Monk family for everything they have done for the Institute over the past 30 years, and for helping to launch the Institute’s many education programs.

For more information click here.
 

 

 

 

 

Avon Blues - A Jazz Fantasy

by Lionel King

 

 

[You are able to listen to the music at the same time as reading this article and without leaving the page if you click here (recommended). This will take you to the article on another page on our website where some computers 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].

 

River Avon Bridge

 

The Stratford Herald recently carried reports of tourists complaining about losing a night’s sleep while staying in a B&B near Charlecote, Warwickshire. The matter is being taken seriously by the English Tourist Board. The aggrieved pair, an American academic and his wife, heard someone playing a tenor saxophone.
 
 “It sounded wonderful at first, coming through the open window from far away in the darkness but it went on all damn night for God’s sake!  No one else heard it.  The landlady thought we were mad.”

Memories have been stirred of similar unexplained occurrences in the area dating back forty years. A forlorn-looking individual, with a gaunt, expressionless countenance is reported to have been seen in several instances staring at musical instruments through shop windows for hours on end in various Warwickshire towns. At the Leamington Jazz Festival in 1979, a tenor sax player captivated Saxophonistenthusiasts at a fringe event at The Dun Cow.  After playing solo for an hour, he promptly left without identifying himself.  Witnesses recalled a man in his late 20s, perhaps older, clad in a sombre dark grey suit, his Brylcreamed hair parted neatly down the middle in 1930s style.  Despite the technical intricacies of the jazz numbers he played, he demonstrated complete mastery of his instrument and effortless breathing control. His facial expression was immutable throughout. Festival organisers suggested he was one of many musicians whose services had to be turned down through lack of sponsorship or that he was a talented amateur, eager to take part in this prestigious event.

A retired policeman wrote to The Warwick Observer later, recalling an incident in the 1960s. Two traumatised poachers had turned up to the station where he was on desk duty in the middle of the night, freely confessed to their nefarious activities and reported having just seen ‘a spectral clerical gentleman’ playing a musical instrument, standing on a tiny island in the river Avon. They were not taken seriously.

 

In the 1980s, an intrepid electronics student from Lanchester College, having heard something of the poachers’ story and other rumours, camped out near Guy’s Cliffe. He saw no apparitions but heard music which he captured on a cassette recorder. The late Humphrey Lyttelton, jazz musician, broadcaster and a leading authority on jazz history, studied the tape. He was given no Ghostly figureinformation about the circumstances in which it had been recorded.  His verdict was that it appeared to be the work of a highly accomplished musician, playing unaccompanied in a distinctly rhapsodic, personal style, influenced by the American saxophone virtuoso of the 1930s and ‘40s, Coleman Hawkins. He remarked on the unknown musician’s faultless technique on his extended renditions of the jazz standards, Ive Got To Sing A Torch Song, It’s The Talk Of The Town, Blue And Sentimental, Indian Summer and Avon Blues, among others.

Humph commented on the haunting, ethereal tone of the music, which he suggested was recorded by a river in the open air. He specified passages in which lapping water could be heard, also the muffled cry of waterfowl, and that the latest modern sound filtering equipment would erase such extraneous noises without damaging the quality of the music. Humph’s verdict was that they represented original recordings by a saxophonist unknown to him.

These opinions appeared in the Jazz Rag many years ago and might well have been forgotten, but for the wider publicity arising from the happening at Charlecote. Leaving aside speculation about ghosts, hallucinations, restless spirits or in this sceptical age, what are described as a paranormal phenomena, it is apposite to recall here the verifiable details of a romantic tale of the 1930s of star-crossed Warwickshire lovers about which readers may draw their own conclusions.

 

Rebecca Witherington-Manners, nee Vernon, born near Preston Baggot in 1906, was related on her mother’s side to the Earls of Warwick. Both before and after a runaway early marriage to Jack, her womanising, gambling, drug addict husband, she had been prominent on the London social scene. There, with her marriage already on the rocks, she met up again with Harold ‘Hal’ Hobson, a childhood sweetheart.  Hal went up to Oxford to study Divinity but his heart was in music, particularly the new jazz from the USA.  He abruptly abandoned his studies to join a dance band. Like Rebecca, he married young and in haste.  His wife Sybil, a former debutante, had soon exhibited signs of mental instability and later, after injuries sustained in a car accident, she became a morphine addict.

Hal’s career flourished. Obliged to play in the ‘sweet,’ heavily commercial dance bands of successively Debroy Summers, Jack Jackson and Jack Hylton, and never out of well-paid employment, Hal was frustrated at being unable to develop his talents as a jazz tenor sax soloist. In a Melody Maker interview he revealed his ambition to lead a band with a declared jazz policy, along the lines of top American bands of the day. Visiting American musicians of the 1930s with whom he played in ’after hours’ jam sessions, urged him to migrate to the USA where opportunities abounded for talents like his in the burgeoning Swing Era.

Eventually, exhausted by the relentless nightly grind of playing trite popular songs for dancers, despairing of ever finding lasting happiness with Rebecca, and stricken with remorse when his wife was finally committed to hospital, Hal gave up music overnight in 1938. He had been about to record with the legendary but short-lived British all-star jazz group, The Heralds of Swing.  He resumed Army chaplainhis interrupted divinity studies at Oxford University, being ordained a Church of England priest shortly before the outbreak of World War II. He joined the Army immediately as a padre, serving six years abroad, unable to return home, first in the Battle of France, then North Africa and finally in the long Italian Campaign, where colleagues reported he displayed reckless courage and total disregard for his personal safety. Once back in England, he learned that Sybil had died three years earlier, the authorities having failed to contact him during his absence. His many letters to her were returned unopened.

With the return of peace, the Rev. Hal Hobson served as a curate in various rural parishes in his native Warwickshire before being appointed to a living near Alveston, Stratford-upon-Avon. His bishop, something of a jazz buff himself, urged him to play his sax for fun at social gatherings but Hobson steadfastly refused, claiming he no longer owned an instrument. His housekeeper later revealed he spent hours listening to jazz classics from his vast collection.

On the death of her widowed father in 1951, Rebecca had inherited the family estates. She joined the board of a commercial television company as a director and was employed in a PR role, for which her continuing high public profile admirably suited her. In 1956, Rebecca agreed to make a solo flight over the North Polar route for an episode in a prodigiously expensive series on the theme of courage and endurance. She took off in an obsolescent aircraft, dangerously over-loaded with extra fuel for the non-stop haul to Anchorage in Alaska. A radio signal was picked up as she passed Thule in Greenland, still heading north, after which all contact was lost. 

Deep in the peaceful Warwickshire countryside, an erstwhile popular and dutiful parson, whose love affair with the missing Rebecca had been long forgotten by both media and public, would doubtless have heard of her disappearance. A parishioner observed that the Rev. Hobson had become prematurely aged and his sermons diffuse and incoherent. He neglected his pastoral duties, his behaviour increasingly unreliable and eccentric. One evening in the mid-summer of 1959, he failed to return from his regular evening riverside walk. Two years passed before a skeleton was found trapped in a weir near Tiddington. Positive identification proved impossible, though months later, dredging operations nearby turned up an instrument case containing a saxophone. So, as in the case of his beloved Rebecca, the location of a final resting place remains unknown. 

There the sad tale ends, or very nearly. In 1991, a Russian Orthodox nun, recently released after years as a political prisoner in a Siberian gulag, informed journalists she had once shared a cell with a beautiful, proud, defiant English-speaking woman known to her companions as ‘Becca’, who boosted captives’ morale, earning grudging respect even of the camp guards. And shortly before this article went to press, it was announced that a compilation album with the title “Classics of British Jazz” is to be released. It will include four immortal tracks, recorded posthumously by the Avon, by Hal Hobson. 

..........................................

 

Sarah McKenzie sings Moon River at the 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival with guitarist Andrew Marzotto (click the picture below). Beautiful despite a slight lyric mistake (before someone points it out).

 

Sarah McKenzie

 

 

 

 

Isle Of White Musicians' Handprint Project

 

Isle Rocks 50 project

 

Sculptor Guy Portelli is creating a sculpture commemorating 50 years of the Isle of Wight Festival with handprints of musicians and those associated with the Festival over the years. The on-going piece of sculpture was on show at Tapnell Farm over the August 31st weekend, where the first festival was held in 1968. This is a two year project that will be completed in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1970 festival, one of the major events in music history.

The proposal is to create a piece of sculpture 8ft wide by 5ft deep. Over the 50 years the Isle Of Wight Festival has had four geographical sites and the mosaiced handprints will radiate out from each location in chronological order, so that it becomes a historical document in itself.

The Brading Roman Villa on the Isle Of Wight, has some of the best Roman mosaics in the country, created in the 2nd century AD. The project contues the art of mosaicing into a third millenium. It is proposed that panels from the sculpture will be taken into schools to introduce the art of mosaicing and discussing the history od the Isle Of Wight Festival.

The project organisers say: 'Musicians - what we need are the hand outlines of the musicians who have performed at the IOW Festival since 1968'. Click here for more details.

 

Mick Fleetwood leaves his handprint for the project

Mick Fleetwood handprinting

 

 

 

 

Jazz As Art

Hey! Young Fella!

by Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang's Blue Five

 

When you listen to music, you sometimes conjure images in your mind. Our Jazz As Art series invites you to listen to a piece of jazz and as it plays, scroll down the page and see which of the pieces of art I have chosen comes closest to the pictures in your mind. Hopefully, this will introduce you to recordings and art works you might not have spent time with before. You need to go to another page to play the music and see the images - click here. (I think this only really works if you spend time with each painting)

 

Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang

 

Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti

 

This month we roll back the years to the 1933. On the 28th of February that year, violinist Joe Venuti and guitarist Eddie Lang led this 'Blue Five' into a recording studion in New York - the others were Jimmy Dorsey (trumpet, clarinet, alto saxophone); Adrian Rollini (bass sax, hot fountain pen, piano and vibraphone) and Phil Wall (piano). Writing the liner notes to one Venuti/Lang/Rollini compilation, Nöel Hendrick said: 'These tracks are notable for the way in which they exploit the versatility of Rollini on bass saxophone, hot fountain pen and vibraphone, whilst Jimmy Dorsey, best known as an alto-sax and clarinet player also contributes some tasty trumpet work'.

Hey! Young Fella! was a popular tune of the day, written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields for the 1933 musical film Dancing Lady starring Joan Crawford and Clark Gable. The film featured the screen debut of dancer Fred Astaire, who appeared as himself. The full lyrics are here, but we can get a taste of the song's theme (here, 'rubbers', of course, is the American word for 'wellington boots'):

You had nothing to sing about
The days were dreary and wet
Had no sunshine to sing about
And lots of rain to forget

Hey, young fella
Better close your old umbrella
Have a glorious day
Throwing rubbers away
'Cause it ain't gonna rain no more

Play the tune and scroll slowly down through the pictures I have chosen to go with the music (I think this only works if you spend time with each painting). The track is quite short so you might need to play it twice. See what you think.

Click here for Hey! Young Fella! on the Jazz as Art page.

 

Dancing In the Rain

 

 

 

World Heart Beat Academy

World Heart Beat Academy in Wandsworth, South London, is trying to raise money towards the cost of a new auditorium. For £1 a year for 50 years, they have been awarded a building in the regeneration area of Nine Elms at Embassy Gardens.They have £375,000 already pledged and are aiming to raise an additional £50,000 for the building costs.

'Believing in the power of music to transform lives, the World Heart Beat Academy creates educational experiences where young people are inspired to achieve excellence in a vast array of musical forms. The World Heart Beat Music Academy is a specialist world music academy for young people in London, which not only brings and teaches music from all over the world but also provides disadvantaged youth with instruments and tuition ..... Learning and playing music with others enables young people to feel that they are a part of something, something that nobody can take away from them. This confidence translates to other areas of their life, giving them the freedom to make choices and to be happy and successful adults'.

Their Honorary patrons include jazz pianist Julian Joseph, Russian guitarist Boris Purushottama Grebenshikov and Rezwana Choudhury Bannya, one of the leading Ranbindra Sangeet artists in both Bangladesh and India.

Click here for their website.

 

 

Utah Tea Pot

Tea Break

 

[You are able to listen to the music at the same time as reading this article and without leaving the page if you click here (recommended). This will take you to the article on another page on our website where some computers 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].

 

Joe Williamson

 

Joe Williamson

 

Now based in Glasgow, Joe Williamson is originally from ‘south of the border’ where he grew up in a local folk music community, took up the guitar, and joined a young rock band. His interest in jazz came with his discovery of Miles Davis’ ‘Kind of Blue’ album and it was not long before Joe was taking lessons from the respected guitarist Mike Walker. After playing with local big bands and jazz workshops, at eighteen, Joe enrolled on the jazz degree programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, led by internationally acclaimed saxophonist Tommy Smith. He was awarded an undergraduate scholarship, and became a member of the prestigious Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra (TSYJO).

Joe graduated in 2016 and was awarded the Joe Temperley Prize for Jazz Arranging. Since then he has become recognised as a key jazz musician in Scotland and increasingly to a wider audience. In December 2015, one of the bands in which he plays, Square One, had already received the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award, which funded their debut album In Motion, released in October 2016 along with an international Square Onetour. 2016 also saw Joe commissioned by the Glasgow Jazz Festival to write a new piece celebrating the festival's 30th anniversary – it was featured in the festival's '30 under 30' showcase. Joe is a prolific composer, writing much of the music for Square One, as well as pieces for larger ensembles that have been performed live on BBC Radio Scotland, and featured in the Royal Conservatoire's festival of original music.

The following year, 2017, Joe was a finalist in the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year competition. The winner that year was Dave Bowden, Square One’s bass player, but Joe was back amongst the finalists this year, 2018, when he received the award.

 

Square One

 

 

 

Click here for a video of Square One playing Jazz Nights On the Quay for BBC Radio Scotland in 2017.

 

As Square One planned their second album, they did so in collaboration with the US tenor and soprano saxophonist Andy Middleton. Born in Pennsylvania, Andy has been playing saxophone since the age of nine. He has played with the big bands of Bob Mintzer, Lionel Hampton and Maria Schneider. He has led his own quartet for many years and since 1991 he has recorded 9 albums as a leader featuring Ralph Towner, Dave Holland, Kenny Wheeler, Joey Calderazzo and others. In 2006, Andy moved to Vienna, Austria, to teach at the Music and Arts Square One Double BindUniversity of the City of Vienna.

The new Square One album, Double Bind, is out now with 5 of the 9 compositions by Andy Middleton and the musicians from Square One – Joe Williamson (guitar), Peter Johnstone (piano), Dave Bowden (bass) and Stephen Henderson (drums) - providing the others. It is an enjoyable, varied album that opens lyrically with Andy Middleton's soprano sax playing Stephen Henderson's Carson, a well chosen beginning that draws the listener in. It swells to a close after an extended piano solo from Peter Johnstone and then slows things down for Middleton's Salton Sea. Most of the tracks on the album play for a good seven minutes or so giving plenty of opportunity for solos and arrangements, and Johnstone's Into The Orient with a subtle oriental hint runs for around eleven minutes with an intriguing, complex, changing arrangement.

Some tracks, like the title Double Bind with its consistent bass and drum underlying differing approaches to the theme by sax, guitar and piano, and Dave Bowden's beautiful Winter Walk I responded to immediately while other tracks bring rewards with a second hearing. On the oddly named Dog Breath everyone gets to share a spotlight and I really enjoyed Joe Williamson's guitar on his own composition, Lock 21. The final track, City Of Spies was recorded live in Tobermory and would be well placed behind any John le Carré movie. Andy Middleton, who proposed the collaboration, joined Square One for a tour in March 2018 before recording the album and his contribution to the compositions and the music is all you would expect.

It is immediately noticeable how well Andy Middleton and the others fit creatively together. Square One is already a successful, talented contemporary jazz ensemble from whom we shall certainly be hearing more.

 

I caught up with Joe for a Tea Break

 

Hi Joe, I should be offering you champagne seeing that you are the 2018 Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year and that Square One has a new album out, but I’m afraid I just have tea or coffee. Which would you prefer? I could do the tea in a bone china cup .....

Hi Ian! Coffee would be lovely, thank you.

 

Milk and sugar?

Just milk, please!

 

I believe the Young Jazz Musician finals took place at the Glasgow Jazz Festival – how did the final go, and did they decide the winner at the event? Did you have to make an acceptance speech?

Yes, the final took place at Drygate Brewery on the first night of the festival. It was a really fun night - I'm not just saying that because I won! The other four finalists - Fergus McCreadie (piano), Luca Manning (vocals), Matthew Carmichael (tenor sax), and Conor Murray (bass) and I are all good friends, and we've all played together many times in one group or other, so it was great to hear everyone present themselves. The winner was decided by a panel of judges, including Ian Shaw and scottish saxophonist Martin Kershaw, and some promoters from across the UK. Fortunately, I didn't need to give a speech, though I was asked to play another tune.

 

I know you have worked with Luca - there are some nice videos on YouTube - I particularly like Distance (click here) - it is such a sensitive piece and the way you both approach it is quite moving. Speaking of awards, Square One received the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award in 2015; you followed that up with the album In Motion in 2016, and then Square One’s bass player, Dave Bowden, was named last year’s Young Scottish Jazz Musician! That is quite an impressive achievement. Do you think that the awards and the first album have helped to draw attention to the band and its musicians?


I must add that our pianist, Peter Johnstone, was also Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year back in 2012! These awards provide a valuable platform for us to promote ourselves and our music - it's a great way to get the attention of promoters and the press! The Peter Whittingham award provided us with the funding to create our first album, which really got the band off the ground - so that was invaluable. 

 

So now you have the new album out – ‘Double Bind’, with compositions by all members of the band and your guest, saxophonist Andy Middleton. Why did you choose ‘Double Bind’ as the title?


'Double Bind' is one of Andy Middleton's compositions - I can't remember why he called it that, but it seemed like a fitting title for a collaborative album!

 

Andy Middleton

How did Andy become involved?

A little background on Andy - he's American, and lived in New York for a time, and now lives in Vienna, where he teaches at the Conservatory. Over his career, he's worked with many great musicians - Kenny Wheeler, Dave Holland and the Maria Schneider Orchestra. I first met Andy when he came to teach a workshop when I was in my 4th year of study at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow in 2015. I was able to have a private lesson with him and he gave me some guidance on the composition of the music which would eventually end up on the first Square One album. After that, we just happened to run into each other by chance when we were both at the Silesian Jazz Festival in Katowice, Poland. Square One was performing, and Andy was judging a composition competition. We recognised each other, and Andy came to see us play. We then hung out that night, having some deep conversations about jazz and the state of music in general! We kept in touch after that, and Andy proposed we collaborate. Several hundred emails and a Creative Scotland grant later, Andy joined us for a tour of Scotland and a recording session back in March, which became the album Double Bind!.

 

 

 

 

I should have offered you a biscuit or something with your coffee! I have some Garibaldis, a few chocolate digestives, some Bourbons – or some rather nice Scottish shortbread – or are you into the deep-fried Mars bar scene, I read that originated in Scotland?

I'm a fan of shortbread! I've never tried a deep-fried Mars bar, and I don't intend to ...!

 

 

Jazz Bar Edinburgh

The Scottish jazz scene is thriving right now. How far do you think Scottish musicians still need to have a strong presence in London?

Yes, the Scottish scene is really thriving - there are several generations of musicians performing and writing some really fresh, exciting music. Glasgow has a wonderful scene, there are many great up and coming players who I'm sure will be bigger names before long - pianist Fergus McCreadie (YSJM Finalist, but also finalist in BBC Young Jazz Musician - the final is very soon, Good Luck!), drummer Graham Costello - check out his band Strata - it's kind of like Steve Reich meets Roller Trio meets Zu, and it's enormous fun (I'm not just saying that because I'm in the band). It goes without saying that London is important, as there's an incredible wealth of talent and many well-known clubs and high-profile performance opportunities there, and as a result, so much more media attention. It's certainly a boost to be on the radar of influential promoters, radio producers and journalists down there. 

That said, things are growing quickly up here. There's a brand new jazz club in Glasgow called the Blue Arrow, hosting jazz 3 nights a week, as well as the long-established Jazz Bar in Edinburgh, doing 7! There are jazz festivals in every major city, and a great team at BBC Scotland who do great work promoting local musicians - not to mention the Jazz Degree course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, which provides such a great platform for young Scottish Musicians, and attracts musicians to Scotland - like me, I'm originally from North East England! The scene is growing fast, and the infrastructure (promoters, gigs, radio, press), is growing to support it. Exciting times indeed. 


 

If you could ask a past jazz musician to join Square One for a gig, who would you invite?

I'm not sure if this counts as a 'past jazz musician' - he's only retired, not passed away, but I'd love to play with Gary Burton. He's such a master of improvisation - also, I love vibes! There aren't enough vibraphonists around (come to Scotland, please!). I really enjoy playing with pianists - guitar and piano together can be controversial in jazz groups, but I love the rich polyphony you can get. Add in a THIRD chordal instrument - that would be great fun indeed! 

 

What number would you choose for them to play with you, and what would you ask them during the band’s tea break?

I'd probably ask to play one of Steve Swallow's tunes - Ladies in Mercedes, Falling Grace or Eiderdown. Beautiful compositions, and I love his recordings of them! Gary has worked with so many great guitarists - Pat Metheny, Julian Lage and Mick Goodrick to name a few, it would be great to ask him about them!

 

[Click here for a video of Steve Swallow playing Ladies In Mercedes in 1989].

 

What other gigs have you played recently?

As I mentioned, I play in a group called Graham Costello's Strata. It's a six-piece (tenor sax, trombone, guitar, piano, electric bass and drums), led by drummer Graham Costello. We studied together - Graham's a remarkable composer. He's a big fan of minimalism, the greats like Steve Reich and Philip Glass, but also has a background in indie noise-rock, and went to jazz college - I challenge you to name me someone with more diverse influences! Strata combines all these, and then some - hypnotic grooves, euphoric wall-of sound rock-out moments, meditative interludes and some unbelievable improvisation. Debut album 'Obelisk' is coming out in February! I've also started a new group called Animal Society, which combines my love of progressive, groove-heavy british nu-jazz (it's so hard to define these things... so that'll do for a description) such as Roller Trio and Troyka, a fondness for heavy rock (Audioslave, Tool) and touches of folk. We're recording an EP in December and will be releasing some singles early next year.

[Click here for a video taster of Strata playing STOIC]

 

What have you got planned for Hogmanay and the New Year?

A nice peaceful break!

 

Not too many people first footing over your doorstep then! Who else have you heard recently that we should listen out for?

Well, there's so much great stuff going on in Scotland that EVERY jazz fan should listen out for - saxophonist Harry Weir leads a trio called AKU! danceable groove-heavy self-titled 'Doom-Jazz' (finally, jazz with a sense of humour!) for fans of Shabaka Hutchings, Theon Cross and anyone who likes a good time. Our bassist David Bowden leads a 7-piece group called Mezcla, drawing on African rhythms and featuring some of Glasgow's finest. David writes beautiful melodies! Also, there's a great songwriting parnership up here, vocalist Georgia Cécile and pianist Euan Stevenson, who write beautiful, memorable songs and are currently selling out gigs in Scotland's festivals. Check out Georgia's debut single 'Come Summertime', which is out now!

Readers can click here for a video of Georgia Cécile singing Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years with Euan Stevenson on piano and Douglas Whates on bass - it made my spine tingle as she sings 'Four in the morning ....' - they work so well as a trio.

 

Another biscuit?

Don't mind if I do.

 

Click here for details of the album Double Bind and to sample the tracks. Listen to the title track Double Bind.

 

Click here for Joe Williamson's website. Click here for the Square One website.

 

Joe Williamson

Joe Williamson
Photograph by Tommy Smith

 

Utah Tea Pot

 

 

 

Do You Have A Birthday In December?

 


Your Horoscope

for December Birthdays

by 'Marable'

 

Sagittarius

 

Sagittarius (The Archer)

23rd November - 20th December

 

It looks as though Sagittarians should have a good month ahead - I hope you enjoy it. The planetary power is in its maximum Eastern position, there is only one other planet in the West, and this is likely to support your confidence and independence.

Your health and energy are encouraged by your health planet's move into your 12th house on the 2nd so treat your body well without overdoing things.

On the 21st the Sun enters your money house making it stronger and as the Sun travels with Saturn from the 25th to the 31st, this should be even more beneficial. Mercury is your career planet and his move into your 1st house brings opportunity too.

However, if everything seems to be going your way, don't become too self-satisfied and neglect the support you can give to other people.

For you, click here for a video of the John Scofield Trio playing Someone To Watch Over Me.

 

John Scofield Trio video

 

 

Capricorn

 

Capricorn (The Goat)

21st December - 19th January

 

Independence is signalled for Capricorns this month as it is for Sagittarians and your feelings of independence are likely to continue into January. At least 80 per cent of your planetary power, and at times 90 per cent, is in the east so you could well be having things your way. Other people should be respected even though you do not feel you need their approval at the moment.

You are also in a strong spiritual period until the 21st. This could be a good period to look into the spiritual dimensions of health, perhaps changing your diet or trying a detox period. Saturn and Pluto in your sign also favours consideration of a healthy eating regime.

Relationships appear to be stable - your social enthusiasm should be strongest from the 7th to the 22nd as the Moon waxes, but even then the 24th could be a good day for relationships as although the Moon is waning, she will be at her perigee (her closest distance to earth).

For you, click here to listen to the Miles Davis Quintet playing Just Squeeze Me.

 

Miles Davis Just Squeeze Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Ears Three Eyes

Photographer Brian O'Connor took his camera to gigs recently. Here are some of his images:

 

 

Dave Chamberlain

 

 

The James Scannell Trio ...

... played at the Three Horseshoes, Knockholt, Kent on 30th October with James Scannell (saxes and clarinet), Simon Woolf (keyboards and one vocal) and Dave Chamberlain (bass).

Brian says: ‘James Scannell is a new name to me.  Apparently he has been a resident in Germany for 20 years, making only occasional appearances here.  This recent UK tour has been organised by his friend, Simon Woolf, to whom much credit should go.  Organising tours is a full time occupation in itself. James has a lovely tone, and his playing on Jobim's Wave brought back memories of Stan Getz. 

The entire evening was mainly a trawl through the Great American Songbook, (and none the worse for that) beautifully played in a relaxed and enjoyable style.  Simon on keyboards was also new to me, and yes he ventured into singing on one number.  A warm, friendly, relaxed evening, with a definite 'feel good' feeling'.  Come back again soon, James'.

 

 

Dave Chamberlain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Binker Golding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lorraine Baker's Eden .....

... played at The Brunswick, Hove, West Sussex on the 7th November with Lorraine Baker (drums); John Turville (piano); Binker Golding (saxophone) and Paul Michael (bass guitar).

They were touring with Lorraine’s new album – read more about it in the article written by Robin Kidson on this website last month – click here.

 

 

Binker Golding

 

 

 

 

Pictures © Brian O'Connor, Images Of Jazz. Brian O'Connor's hard back book, packed with hundreds of photographs is now available. It can be obtained from Brian at: Brian O’Connor, 48 Sarel Way, Horley, Surrey RH6 8EW. Tel: 01293 774171. Email: info@imagesofjazz.com. The book is priced at £25 plus £4.95 post and packing (UK).

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry and Jazz

Jazz Remembered

Oscar Rabin

by Jeff Duck


 

[You are able to listen to the music at the same time as reading this article and without leaving the page if you click here (recommended). This will take you to the article on another page on our website where some computers 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.

 

Oscar Rabin

 

 

Oscar Rabin was born in Riga, Latvia’s capital city on April 26th 1899 to a family of Jewish origin. Oscar Rabinowitz moved to England as a young child with his family, changed his name to Oscar Rabin and eventually became an accomplished band leader whose first instrument was the violin. After winning a scholarship in his teens Oscar attended the Guildhall School of Music. He was a shy, reserved person, described as 'short and fat', and not particularly suited to being a 'front man'. In the early 1920s he formed a small dance band called The Romany Five which could often be heard playing at the Palais de Dance in Derby as well as other popular dance halls and clubs.

In time, the band expanded and Oscar moved from playing the violin to playing the bass saxophone. It was singer/actor Harry Davis who fronted the band as compère and conductor.

Click here to listen to The Romany Five with vocalist Elsie Carlisle (recorded as 'Brockman's Band') and Deep Water. The musicians are: Harry Davis (banjo, guitar, director); Hamish Christie (trumpet/trombone); Johnny Swinfen, Raymond Doughty (clarinet, alto sax); Sid Brown (clarinet, tenor sax); Oscar Rabin (bass sax, violin, leader); Alf Kaplan (piano); Cecil Walden (drums).

Beryl Davis

 

After a number of personnel changes a change of name was called for and the Romany Five became the Oscar Rabin Band. They were resident at the Hammersmith Palais and the Astoria, Charing Cross Road for most of the 1930s with their first recordings released in 1933. During the early and mid-1930s there were further changes to the band's line-up and it was around this time that actor Sam Kydd started his career as the band's M.C. By the start of the second World War the Oscar Rabin Band had become one of the most popular and best known British dance bands, often away from London on national tours. Oscar’s main job was to run the business side of the band, Harry Davis who occasionally played guitar, was excellent as the front man and great with audience. Oscar was more often thought of as just a player in the band by the public but certainly not by the band members.

 

Beryl Davis

 

 

Click here for a video of the band playing Rural Rhythm in 1937. Beryl Davis is singing here when she was just 14 / 15 years old. Harry Davis is the guitarist and Oscar Rabin is conducting.

The band had a busy touring schedule during the 1940s plus regular gigs at some of the UK’s top clubs and dance halls. This was followed by a three month residency at Mecca’s Lyceum Ballroom in London’s The Strand in the 1950s, a residency that was extended to last over five years and which consisted of six afternoon and six evening performances a week. Harry Davis’s daughter Beryl was a singer of small fame in the early fifties but would sing with the band occasionally along with other session singers. As time went on Beryl gained more experience, became quite popular with the public and went on to sing with various other bands including Geraldo's, and the Sky Rockets Dance Orchestra. She sang for British and Allied troops during World War II, and when Glenn Miller discovered her in London, she also sang for the Army Air Force Orchestra. She also performed and recorded with Django Reinhardt in Paris.

Click here to listen to Beryl again, this time singing I Ain't Got Nobody from a compilation album Dancing The War Away. I think the 'Diane' here is Oscar Rabin's wife Diane Rabin, but I have been unable to verify this.

Harry Davis left Oscar in 1953 leaving England to live in California with his daughter and her husband; Harry was quickly replaced by the band's alto and clarinnettist David Ede.

 

Oscar Rabin brass section

 

 

 

 

 

Oscar Rabin's brass section:

Left to Right - Ronnie Heasman, Bobby Banstead, Ken Wray, Jack Waters and Roy Simmonds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1950s were just as busy as the 1930s and 1940s and included the Rabin Band's longest running BBC radio series, the highly successful "Go Man Go", which ran weekly for 4 years. Oscar was not only a talented musician and business man, he was also very apt at noticing and plucking talented players and singers from obscurity, giving many a player and singer their first chance and a push in the right direction. Saxophonist Roy Bull, who played for Oscar for a number of years, is reported as saying: "My memories of the Oscar Rabin days are all very pleasant ones as Oscar himself was one of the most kindest people I have ever met, and certainly the best band leader for whom I ever worked."

Oscar would always have high standards for his players and singers to reach, with players sometimes numbering up to sixteen with sometimes two or three singers. Well-known musicians who played in the band included Ken Mackintosh (alto sax); Ken Wray (trombone); Eric Jupp (piano / arranger); Kenny Clare (drums); Don Rendell (tenor sax); Jimmy Deuchar (trumpet) and Arthur Greenslade (piano / arranger).

 

Kenny Clare

 

 

 

 

Kenny Clare

 

 

 

 

 

 

It might not be generally known that the late comedian Bernard Manning was at one time with the band as singer and compère.

 

 

Oscar Rabin Band 1959

 

Oscar died in London in 1958, but his band continued under the leadership of David Ede and the management was taken on by Bernard Rabin (Oscar’s son). They held a residency at Wimbledon Palais from the late 1950s through the early 1960s. After the Ray Pilgrimdeath of David Ede in the mid-sixties, drowned in a sailing accident off Blackpool, the Oscar Rabin band was disbanded; fortunately the name Rabin continued in the music world with the Mike Rabin Band, led by Oscar's grandson.

 

Ray Pilgrim

 

Vocalist Roy Pilgrim spoke often of his association with The Oscar Rabin band. “As teenagers in the fifties we would go dancing every week to a big band at various ballrooms ... including The Oscar Rabin band at the Lyceum London and at the Wintergardens Blackpool. Little did I know that one day I’d be singing with them! I sang with them for almost four years from December 1958 to September 1962, in fact the whole time I was at university. It was an incredible feeling for me as a raw new singer to be singing in front of a full orchestra of the finest musicians both in the ballroom and in concerts such as the Royal Albert Hall, and of course some 200 BBC radio broadcasts as well. My contract with them expired at the end of 1961 and they wanted me to extend it, but I couldn’t because I knew I was due to graduate in the Summer of 1962 and would be starting a new career outside of music. For the last nine months our agreement was based on nothing more than handshakes”.

A very fitting comment to the way The Oscar Rabin band worked even after his death.

Click here to listen to the Oscar Rabin Band playing At The Woodchoppers' Ball from a compilation album The Big Band Dance Hits 1930 - 1940.

More information about the Oscar Rabin Band is held by the National Jazz Archive (click here).

 

 

 

Forum

 

 

Wood Green Jazz Club

Eric Jackson writes: I have been reading through your Wood Green pages and whilst I am still on this mortal coil thought I would augment a little. I have not seen it mentioned but before Art Saunders started the club he ran a rhythm club (pure Trad) at the Pymms Park Inn in Upper Wood Green cardEdmonton. I enclose a photo of a Wood Green membership card stamped on the reverse '1950'. The band mentioned was led by Reg Rigden on trumpet. Reg had previously been in the band led by George Webb and Owen Bryce in South East London. The rest of the front line were Charlie Connor on clarinet and Harry Brown on trombone - late of the Lyttelton band.

Peter Pohl mentions the Wood Green Stompers. The WGS were a band originally called The Lea Valley (or was it New River?) Band who after an audition were offered a gig on the understanding that they changed their name to that of the club. The band at that time was led by Terry Lightfoot and other members were Alan Thomas on piano and on trombone, John Picard, who became a long term member of the Lyttelton band, succeeding Keith Christie.

Ian Davis mentions the old boy who sang Rocking Chair. He was Geoff Watts and there is an anecdote in one of George Melly's books concerning him. This relates to the perching of the diminutive and disabled Watts on a stool to sing when his manhood was trapped in a painful position!

 

 

Future Of Swanage Jazz Festival

Last month we reported that a meeting would be held in Swanage about the future of the Jazz Festival. Nigel Price, who had stepped in to organise the Festival in 2018 now puts forward a proposal for a Kickstarter campaign for next year's Festival.

Nigel writes: 'The 2018 festival was fabulous but it didn't do as well as expected on the financial side. This is no fault of my own. I would not have done much differently if I had the time again. If we’d have got just another thirty people in, it would have broken even...

' I will not be directing the festival in 2019. I will make a further statement about this in due course and when I do I'm sure everybody will understand why I cannot move forward with it. I will however do as much as I can to leave the door open for future festivals and this includes Swanage Jazz festivalpreserving the current company infrastructure; the company name, the bank account, the website, the mailing lists, the accounts etc. Everything. There is a plan for the future of the festival and I feel a huge responsibility to hand over a working model to the future director/s. It's the right thing to do'.

'The festival is in a bit of debt though and I cannot afford to pick up the bill with my own personal money. Being a jazz musician, I am not rich and the only way I could avoid this cost is to shut the company down meaning all of the current infrastructure would be lost. There are two main bills: The VAT bill of £2752 and the PRS licence bill of £2609.06 plus an accountancy bill of £348 and another little one of 20 quid. That's a total of £5729. I have set up a ten month payment plan to pay off the VAT bill but the PRS bill is also now due and I just can't cover it. There's £1362.94 left in the account, £950 still owed by those companies who advertised in the brochure and I've already paid one instalment of £275.21 That's a total of £3588.15 The difference is £3140.91 It's not a massive amount of money to find but it'd certainly knock me down for a while so if you can give me a hand here I'd really appreciate it. Any donations over and above this will be left to the future organisers.  I'd like to walk away from this at least knowing that I am cheerfully and willingly passing on the baton to those who wish to continue. You have to know that I did everything I could have to make the festival a success and I thank all those people who helped for their kind support'.

Click here for more details.

Nigel's appeal illustrates what is involved in organising the jazz festivals many people enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

Sandy Brown Jazz Facebook and Mailing List

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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You can join our Mailing List - click here - and I will send you an email each time a new issue of What's New comes out.

 

 

 

Jazz South Applications - December 14th Deadline

A reminder that applications for Jazz South's 'Platform South' support scheme close on 14th December.

Platform South is a new open application scheme to support jazz musicians from the Jazz South region to perform across that region. The Turner Sims Southamptonscheme aims to 'strengthen artists’ offer, enabling them to engage new and existing promoters, encourage promoters to book as widely as possible and develop jazz audiences across the sector'.  Performances by artists selected for the Platform South scheme will be subsidised by a set amount per musician, which reduces the financial risk to promoters and encourages them to book high-quality artists from the region.
 
Jazz South has secured sufficient funds for two rounds of the scheme over the period of the Jazz South project and Round 1 is open for applications now.   The available funding will provide places for six bands in Round 1, each with the opportunity of six supported gigs.  Selected bands will kick off with marketing advice and support and a public showcase performance at Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival in March 2019. Jazz South welcomes Platform South applications from a diversity of artists of all genders and all ages, and from all backgrounds and communities of ethnicity, disability or any other cultural or personal characteristics.  The key to success on Platform South will always be musical excellence.

Downloads: Full details on Platform South are available here where you can download the Guidance Notes, FAQs, and Application Form, etc.  The deadline for applications is 14 December.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Roy Hargrove

 

 

Roy Hargrove - American hard bop trumpeter born in Waco, Texas. He was discovered by Wynton Marsalis when Marsalis visited the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. One of his influences was saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman. Moving to New York, he played with Bobby Watson, Mulgrew Miller, Joe Henderson, Stanley Turrentine, Johnny Griifin, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Stephen Scott and others, and won two Grammy awards. Click here for a video of the Roy Hargrove Quintet playing Strasbourg St Denis.

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Peerless

 

 

 

Brian Peerless - Tony Middleton writes: Brian Peerless who worked with me at Dobell's and promoted many jazz stars on British tours (WGJB, Scott Hamilton, Kenny Davern etc etc) died last week (week commencing 19th November).

We have no obituary or other details of Brian's passing at the time of this issue of What's New, but this picture comes from the Chelsea Public Programme website that has details of a talk Brian gave about Dobell's.

 

 

 

 

Not all jazz musicians who pass through the Departure Lounge are reported in the national press, so if you know of anyone's passing that we should mention, please contact us with a few words about them, or a local obituary if one is available.

 

 

 

Cherise Adams-Burnett Round Midnite

Saturday 15 December at Soho’s Zedel Cabaret room.

Cherise Adams-Burnett

 

The Alex Webb Trio with special guest Cherise Adams-Burnett are playing at Soho’s Zedel Cabaret room, as part of the ‘Round Midnight’ series.  Playing from around 11.00pm until 12.30am, the show will be completely free of charge with no reservation required - entry will be on a first come, first served basis.

Still in her early 20s, ex-Tomorrow’s Warrior Cherise Adams-Burnett has 'quickly becoming recognised as a fiercely talented vocalist and musician'. She has collaborated with many established artists and groups including the Nu-Civilisation Orchestra, Clare Teal, China Moses and Ashley Henry. For several years, Adams-Burnett has been the vocalist for the highly inventive group Trope. She will be singing with Alex Webb (piano), Andrew Cleyndert (double bass), Alfonso Vitale (drums).

Click here for more information.

 

 

 

'Women In Jazz' Exhibition at The Barbican until 31st December

Women in Jazz exhibition

 

Women In Jazz exhibition

 

A reminder that this exhibition is at the Barbican in London until the end of the month.

The exhibition forms part of the Barbican’s current theme ‘The Art of Change’ and is one of the events being held during 2018 to celebrate the National Jazz Archive's 30th anniversary.

The exhibition, staged by the National Jazz Archive, is ‘a celebration of the past, present and future’. Chairman Paul Kaufman says they wanted to pay particular attention to instrumentalists across the spectrum such as Valaida Snow, Esperanza Spalding, Kathy Stobart and Deirdre Cartwright.

It marks 100 years of jazz in Britain, with a steady and important increase in contributions from women over that time. The exhibition features photos, posters, journals, video and memorabilia from the Archive. It’s free and runs until 31st December.

NOTE: The Barbican Music Library is on Level 2, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. It is within walking distance of a number of London Underground stations, the closest being Barbican, St Paul’s and Moorgate. The nearest train stations are Liverpool Street and Farringdon. Bus route 153 runs directly past the Barbican. Free bicycle spaces and paid car parking spaces are available. Opening times are: Monday and Wednesday 9.30am–5.30pm, Tuesday and Thursday 9.30am–7.30pm, Friday 9.30am–2pm, and Saturday 9.30am–4pm.

 

Click here for details.

 

 

 

ANGRAJAZZ 2018, ANGRA DO HEROÍSMO,TERCEIRA ISLAND, AZORES, PORTUGAL

This is a condensed report by Filipe Freitas of JazzTrail about the annual Angra Jazz Festival in Portugal. For Filipe's full review, click here.

From October 3 through 6, JazzTrail relocated to the Portuguese city of Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira Island, Azores, to cover the 20th anniversary of AngraJazz, an important occasion not only for the local people and the country but also for the jazz sphere itself. Mounted by an admirable and attentive organization, the four-day event was a showcase for a set of national and international jazz groups - three large ensembles, one trio, and three quartets. A jazz photography exhibition and public jazz concerts throughout the city (Jazz Na Rua) were associated acts of the event. The festival dealt with an unexpected setback when jazz singer Jazzmeia Horn cancelled her performance, being replaced in the last minute by New York-based Chilean guitarist/vocalist Camila Meza.

The Hot Clube de Portugal Jazz Orchestra, launched in 1991, was the sole performance scheduled for the inaugural day. Under the zealous musical direction of Luis Cunha, the 17-piece ensemble interpreted songs by the Portuguese composer Antonio Pinho Vargas with Gonzalo Rubalcaba Trioarrangements from several of its members. The local band, AngraJazz Orchestra, also presented the integral pieces that compose its debut album. Despite revealing the expected limitations associated to a small island (its members are mainly from Terceira island), the ensemble, whose musical direction is shared by Pedro Moreira and Claus Nymark, incorporated some interesting ideas like merging the folkloric sound of the traditional 15-string guitar of the region with typical jazz arrangements. The local people were visibly proud of their jazz orchestra.

 

Gonzalo Rubalcaba Trio

 

The second night of the festival closed with the vertiginous rhythms and tempos of Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and his trio, which includes fellow countrymen Armando Gola on electric bass and Ludwig Afonso on drums. Displaying a remarkable agility with both hands and a masterful command of the post-bop and Afro-Cuban idioms, Rubalcaba captivated the audience since the very first minute through Pat Metheny’s “Hermitage”, which was delivered with superior melodic and rhythmic sensibilities. The pianist ended the concert with one of his most emblematic compositions, “Nueva Cubana”, leaving everyone in the room with a smile on the face and overflowing with energy.

Click here for a video of the Angra Jazz Orchestra in 2017.

British saxophonist Andy Sheppard opened the third day of the festival, leading his European quartet in an interesting atmospheric session with Italian guitarist Marco Tindiglia, French bassist Michel Benita, and Scottish drummer Sebastian Rochford. All of them worked on stage to find that desired wide space that characterizes Sheppard’s music and makes it breathe.

If Sheppard leaned more on intimacy and reflection, then American pianist Billy Childs, also playing in quartet, paddled in the opposite direction through a vigorous performance saturated in color. He shared the stage with saxophonist Steve Wilson, bassist Alex Boneham Andy Sheppard Quartet(replacing Hans Glawischnig), and drummer Christian Euman (replacing Eric Harland). All tunes were drawn from last year’s Grammy-winner album Rebirth, except “Aaron’s Song”, a ballad written for his son in 2005

 

Andy Sheppard Quartet

 

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, a two-time Grammy-nominated 18-piece big band that took us to exquisite and sublime orchestral places, provided us with the most exciting performance of the festival. After American jazz singer Jazzmeia Horn had cancelled her performance due to family matter two days prior to the expected arrival, Chilean-born, New York-resident Camila Meza accepted the last-minute challenge and travelled to the Azores to gig with musicians she had never played before. The quartet included Jazzmeia’s bassist and drummer, Barry Stephenson and Henry Conerway III, respectively, and Darcy James Argue’s pianist Adam Birnbaum. With a single rehearsal, these adaptable musicians learned the eight tunes, originals included, selected by the versatile and very communicative Ms. Meza. Ms. Meza led this improvised quartet with a positive, professional attitude and didn’t disappoint the ones who trusted her.

Click here for a video of Billy Childs talking about and playing Backwards Bop from the album Rebirth. Click here to listen to the album track.

It’s well worth it to travel to Angra do Heroísmo, UNESCO’s World Heritage site, to explore the island and vibrate with arresting jazz music. Happy 20th anniversary, AngraJazz!

 

 

 

 


Some Recent Releases

 

UK

Mike Durham's International Jazz Party 2017 - Pleasure Mad

Helena Kay's KIM Trio - Moon Palace

Square One - Double Bind

Gabrielle Ducomble - Across The Bridge

Jessica Radcliffe - Remembrance

Duke Ellington - In Coventry 1966

Sara Dowling - Two Sides Of Sara

 

 

America

Mark Masters Ensemble - Our Métier

Jacob Sacks - Fishes

Myra Melford's Snowy Egret - The Other Side Of Air

NYSQ (New York Standards Quartet) - Heaven Steps To Seven

Chris Pasin - Ornettiquette

Harriet Tubman - The Terror End Of Beauty

 

 

Europe and Elsewhere

Amaro Freitas - Rasif

Raul Midón with the Metropole Orkest - If You Really Want

Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & Ole Morten Vågan - Happy Endlings

 

 

Re-Releases

John Coltrane Quartet - Africa / Brass

Django Reinhardt - The Best Of Django Reinhardt

Ella Fitzgerald - Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie

Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra - Gillespiana

Ike Quebec - Four Classic Albums

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Durham's International Classic Jazz Party 2017 - Pleasure Mad
(Lake Records) - Released: date not given

Mike Durham and various international musicians

Mike Durham Pleasure Mad

 

'A common criticism of reproductions of Vintage Jazz is that many of the original recordings from the 1920s and '30s are readily available, so why try to recreate them? Most people associated with the Classic Jazz Party would agree with that, but that’s not what the Party is about. It is about giving people the opportunity to experience what these bands might have sounded like ‘live’ in their day, recreated by musicians who are experts in their field and – dare we say it – sometimes better jazzers than some of the originals.‘Pleasure Mad’ is a brand-new 2-CD album comprising selected highlights recorded live in hi-fidelity stereo at the 2017 Party. It represents a snapshot of  what’s on offer at the Party; the wide spectrum of classic jazz performed in 2017 included  King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, The Young Benny Goodman, Jabbo Smith, Luis Russell’s Orchestra, The Original Dixieland Jazz Band and Bennie Moten. ‘Pleasure Mad’ includes numbers from concerts themed on all of these great artists, and many others besides. Ultimately the album captures what the Party is all about – why musicians come from all over Europe, the USA and even Australia to take part, and why dedicated fans return year after year' (album notes)

Details : Further Information : Video Andy Schumm band : Video Jam Session : Video Spats Langham band :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helena Kay's KIM Trio - Moon Palace
(Ubuntu Music ) - Released: 7th December 2018

Helena Kay (saxophone); Ferg Ireland (double bass); David Ingamells (drums)

Helena Kay KIM Trio Moon Palace

 

'Fresh from winning Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year in 2015 and the 2017 Peter Whittingham Jazz Award, emerging saxophonist Helena Kay releases her debut album, Moon Palace, on Ubuntu Music. Moon Palace takes its title from a Paul Auster novel of the same name. It features a selection of Kay's original compositions which evoke the various places and experiences that inspired them, from the leafy streets of Muswell Hill, north London ('Strawberry Terrace') to the jazz Mecca that is Greenwich Village, Manhattan ('Perry Street'). "I wrote Perry Street after my first visit to New York, and named the tune after the street I stayed on for the two weeks I was in the city. I heard a lot of amazing music while I was there; it's an incredibly inspiring place to be," says Kay. "I love the Larry Goldings/Peter Bernstein/Bill Stewart Trio: some of the tunes they play encapsulate a gritty, American (to my ears!) sound, and I wanted to capture that attitude in my own tune Perry Street". Moon Palace also reflects Kay's love of the jazz tradition with her quirky arrangement of Charlie Parker's 'Kim' and her moving solo rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's beautiful ballad 'Stardust'. Kay leads KIM Trio with David Ingamells on drums and Ferg Ireland on double bass. "I met David Ingamells at Guildhall: he was in fourth year when I was in first year. I love his swinging and playful playing, especially in a trio setting," explains Kay. "Dave introduced me to Ferg. He is a virtuoso on the bass; every time I play with him he pushes me to play better. Dave and Ferg make a great team." (album notes). The band is on tour during December (click here for details).

Details (and Samples when available) : Video Strawberry Terrace played live : Video L and D played live :

 

 

 

 

Square One - Double Bind
(Square One / Bandcamp) - Released: 24th November 2018

Joe Williamson (guitar); Peter Johnstone (piano); David Bowden (double bass); Stephen Henderson (drums & percussion); with special guest Andy Middleton (tenor and soprano saxophones).

Square One Double Bind

 

 

'This international partnership brings together two generations of musicians from very different backgrounds - award-winning Scottish quartet Square One and leading Vienna-based saxophonist Andy Middleton (USA). Andy first met Joe whilst teaching a masterclass at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2016. Later that year, they ran into each other by chance at the Silesian Jazz Festival in Katowice (Poland), where Andy saw the band perform, and soon after proposed a collaboration. In March 2018, Andy joined Square One for a tour of Scotland and two days in the studio to record this album' (album notes).

See Tea Break article with Joe Williamson in this month's What's New : Details and Samples : Listen to Double Bind :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gabrielle Ducomble - Across The Bridge
(MGP Records) - Released: 28th October 2018

Gabrielle Ducomble (vocals); Nicolas Meier (guitar); Nick Kacal (double bass); Richard Jones (violin); Saleem Raman (drums) plus guests Bill Mudge (piano); Fausto Beccalossi (accordion).

Gabrielle Ducomble Across The Bridge

 

 

'Belgian-born and London-based chanteuse Gabrielle Ducomble is gifted with an irresistible voice. Obvious comparisons can be made (and usually are) to the great Edith Piaf or at a pinch, a jazzier Mireille Mathieu, but this does Ducomble a disservice since she exudes her own unique vocal charm. Across The Bridge follows in the footsteps of Ducomble's first two albums, J'ai Deux Amours (2011) and Notes From Paris (2014), remaining stylistically true to form to its predecessors. In common with the previous two albums she is accompanied by master guitarist Nicolas Meier, who has again co-produced the record with Ducomble ... (Roger Farbey, allaboutjazz). 'Across The Bridge features twelve original compositions that embrace contemporary jazz, chansons, tango and Lating rhythms, telling stories and reflecting on the mems of nature, art, social justice and ideology ... (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video of Like A Bridge Across Your Heart sung live : Full Review by Roger Farbey 3.5* :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessica Radcliffe - Remembrance
(Ubuntu Music) - Released: 30th November 2018

Jessica Radcliffe (vocals); Tom Dennis (trumpet); Sam Jones (piano); Joe Downard (bass); Will Glaser (drums)

Jessica Radcliffe Remembrance

 

'A unique and powerfully empathetic portrayal of the impact of the First World War, Remembrance transcends boundaries and the definitions of genres and does what arts do best - expresses life's truths." (Issie Barratt, award-winning composer & educator). As 2018 draws to a close, vocalist and composer Jessica Radcliffe releases her debut album, Remembrance, marking the end of the First World War centenary. Based on her in-depth study of the devastating event through music, poetry, reports, letters and other historical documents, Radcliffe's original compositions and arrangements create a moving tribute. Radcliffe began composing the music for The Remembrance Project in her final year at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. "When the WWI centenary rolled around in 2014, I realised that I knew little of nothing about the conflict, and, having enjoyed studying the poetry of the Great War for A Level English, challenged myself to compose some pieces for my composition module," explains Radcliffe. The pieces 'Remembrance', 'Dulce Et Decorum Est', 'There's A Long, Long Trail A-Winding'. 'Over The Top' and 'And When They Ask Us', made up Radcliffe's final performance, for which she received a First. The album was completed following an emotional visit to the Western Front. "I wanted to walk in their footsteps and see all of these places I'd been reading about for a year come to life. I wanted to present something entirely focused on the humanitarian struggles during the conflict. "Remembrance draws on a range of influences and styles form all aspects of Radcliffe's musical journey as well as some of the most poignant literature from the conflict. 'Dulce Et Decorum Est', one of Radcliffe's favourite poems by Wilfred Owen for the strikingly onomatopoeic language is a directed group improvisation; for the title track Radcliffe re-harmonised The Last Poet and set a section of Robert Laurence Binyon's poem 'For The Fallen' and the music echoes the music of the classical composers of the time, Vaughan Williams' (album notes).

Details and Sample : Video Introduction : Video of Dulce et Decorum live : Video of Little Boy Lost live :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duke Ellington - In Coventry 1966
(Storyville Records) - Released: 22nd June 2018

Duke Ellington (piano) with Cat Anderson; Cootie Williams; Herbie Jones; Mercer Ellington (trumpet); Lawrence Brown; Chuck Connors; Buster Cooper (trombone); Jimmy Hamilton; Russell Procope; Johnny Hodges; Paul Gonsalves; Harry Carney (reeds); John Lamb (bass); Sam Woodyard (drums); George Webb; Cliff Adams Singers (vocals).

.

Duke Ellington In Coventry 1966

 

'During the year of 1966 Duke Ellington was touring Europe. Duke Ellington's sacred concerts had many incarnations, more than the three on the commercial records: The First (1965), The Second (1968) and The Third (1973). At concerts Ellington often made changes in the proceedings, left out some numbers, and played others, and altered the succession of numbers played. This was evidenced at Coventry Cathedral on a winter's Monday, February 21st 1966. The Coventry concert had its centerpiece in In The Beginning God , but apart from that it was no ordinary sacred concert: Two numbers, Come Sunday and Tell Me It's The Truth would have a vocal on the issued record and in other performances of A Concert of Sacred Music the previous year, but were purely instrumental here and the two numbers following In The Beginning God had no connection to a religious theme. With him on that day in Coventry Cathedral were some highly professional British vocalists, The Cliff Adams Singers and the baritone singer George Webb, giving the performance a special quality, which the band acknowledged by playing on the top of their game. The concert was filmed for TV, and part of it was telecast. Two numbers were regrettably omitted from the TV production, but are on this album, a powerful version of Light (Montage) from Black, Brown And Beige, and the above-mentioned Come Sunday. The concert also includes a premiere and only performance of a new Ellington composition Come Easter, a premiere of another new Ellington piece West Indian Pancake, and one of the first performances of a piece which would become an important part of many concerts during the following years, La Plus Belle Africaine' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Sara Dowling - Two Sides Of Sara
(Self Release / Bandcamp) - Released: 10th August 2018

Sara Dowling (vocals); Gabriel Latchin (piano); Bill Mudge (organ).

Sara Dowling Two Sides Of Sar

 

 

'I was very expressive as a cellist. It was a whole new world being able to extemporize with words and melody. No lady in jazz did it better than the stylish Anita O’Day who also gave me the courage to tackle those faster tempos. It’s obvious to say that Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday were heavy influences too. There’s no other way of saying it, If you’re a jazz singer and you’re learning repertoire, you’ve got to start with Ella. She’ll teach you everything you need to know. Billie will remind you that you’ve got to be true and real and mean every word you sing. Then along came Nancy Wilson and Betty Carter of which all these women have been tremendous teachers to me through the recordings they have left with their legacy' (Sara Dowling). 'Sara Dowling is a London-based ex-virtuosic cellist who got the bug for time-honoured Ella-influenced jazz singing about a decade ago. Her epiphany has probably triggered the kind of heartfelt commitment needed to stand out in an oversubscribed sub-genre, as demonstrated by these intimate straightahead duos ......' (Selwyn Harris in Jazzwise ***)

Details, Samples and Listen to I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry : Sara's website :

 

 

 

 

America

 

Mark Masters Ensemble - Our Métier
(Capri Records) - Released: 21st September 2018

Mark Masters (composition, arrangements, conductor); Mark Turner (tenor saxophone); Oliver Lake (alto saxophone); Gary Foster (alto saxophone); Tim Hagans (trumpet); Dave Woodley (trombone); Bob Carr (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet); Anna Mjoll (vocals); Craig Fundyga (vibraphone); Putter Smith (bass); Andrew Cyrille (drums); and more.

Mark Masters Ensemble Our Metier

 

'The eight Masters compositions featured on the album showcase some of the most adventurous creative improvising musicians in jazz today: Andrew Cyrille, Mark Turner, Oliver Lake, Tim Hagans, Gary Foster, Dave Woodley, and Putter Smith. In addition, Masters incorporates the unique voice of Anna Mjoll as an orchestral colour, mixing with the instrumental waves in wordless swirls of sound. The ensemble that supports these improvisers includes Scott Englebright and Les Lovitt (trumpet), Stephanie O'Keefe (French horn), Les Benedict and Ryan Dragon (trombone), Jerry Pinter, Kirsten Edkins and Bob Carr (woodwinds), Ed Czach (piano), and Craig Fundyga (vibes). The group's big band sound is augmented by bass clarinet and vibes giving the project, at times, an ethereal personality. On this album, Masters applies his prodigious talent for painting brilliant, complex, and satisfying jazz landscapes. This is the composer/arranger's eleventh project for Capri Records (album notes). 'American bandleader and trumpet player Mark Masters has been establishing a reputable career mostly with works released on Capri Records. Our Métier, his new album on that label, comprises eight originals specifically composed for an elite of top-notch soloists .... Masters has the entire band having fun with his compositions and arrangements where the presence of jazz tradition is as important as it is the modern infiltration. The aesthetics of his music, built with passages that alternate between the adventurous and the predictable, have the soloists carrying much of the flame' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Listen to the title track Our Métier : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Jacob Sacks - Fishes
(Clean Feed) - Released: 28th Spetember 2018

Jacob Sacks (piano); Ellery Eskelin (tenor saxophone); Tony Malaby (tenor and soprano saxophones); Michael Formanek (acoustic bass); Dan Weiss (drums).

Jacob Sacks Fishes

 

'Pianist/composer Jacob Sacks has been an important voice in the adventurous jazz with the stamp ‘made in New York’. Although revealing dynamic writing skills, he doesn't record as much as a leader, preferring to disseminate his irresistible sonic zest in projects of likes such as David Binney, Dan Weiss, and Eivind Opsvick or co-leading duos (with singer Yoon Sun Choi) and quartets (Spirals, 40Twenty, Two Miles a Day). The exceptions to this rule are his quintet albums Regions (1999) and No Man’s Land (2013). Always leaning on the avant-garde without neglecting traditional forms and sounds, Sacks now convenes a pungent new quintet with provocative saxophonists Ellery Eskelin and Tony Malaby, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Dan Weiss, the only one who remained from the former group. Released on Clean Feed label, Fishes features eleven tracks, five of which are sketchy, relatively short collective improvisations with Carnegie in the title. The ambiguity of these sonic canvases usually comes from two disparate melodic threads created by the reed players, fulminant single-note drives and disarming chords that sometimes lead to whimsical piano textures, and an unimposing bass-drums flux. .... The creative ideas take either seductively cerebral or emotionally spontaneous forms. Even though it carries some complexity, Fishes is still an approachable outing from an adventurous pianist in full bloom and at the helm of his own group' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Carnegie Echos Kent :

 

 

 

 

 

Myra Melford's Snowy Egret - The Other Side of Air
(Firehouse 12 / Red Distribution) - Released: 2nd November 2018

Myra Melford (piano); Ron Miles (cornet); Liberty Ellman (guitar); Stomu Takeishi (bass guitar); Tyshawn Sorey (drums).

Myra melford The Other Side Of Air

 

'Myra Medford, a singular pianist, composer, and bandleader (Be Bread, Trio M, Snowy Egret), continues to depict new landscapes and narrate interesting stories with innovative sounds. On The Other Side of Air, the members of Snowy Egret - a quintet featuring Ron Miles on cornet, Liberty Ellman on guitar, Stomu Takeishi on bass guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums - create unpredictable fusions within the legitimate compositional aesthetic of the pianist. The virtuosity and intuition of the group are immediately perceptible on the opening track, “Motion Stop Frame”. The attractive melody, either uttered in unison or counterpoint, is laid over a stealthy bass groove that anchors further sonic layers. Miles and Melford find the space they need for their respective impromptu discourses; the former enjoys a serene, more rudimentary backing, whereas the bandleader reacts particularly colorful by engaging in busy single-note trajectories, patent rhythmic figures, and harmonic chains filled with tension ..... The tight structures of this jazz-influenced new music encapsulate a fluid amalgam of composition and improvisation that strikes you with the force of thunder. This is another elegant work from an accomplished pianist' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Small Thoughts:

 

 

 

 

 

NYSQ (New York Standards Quartet) - Heaven Steps To Seven
(Whirlwind Recordings) - Released: 21st September 2018

Tim Armacost (saxophone); David Berkman (piano); Ugonna Okegwo (bass); Gene Jackson (drums).

NYSQ Heaven Steps To Seven

 

'Building on the significant success of their sixth release, 'Sleight of Hand' (Whirlwind, 2017), the New York Standards Quartet presents another coruscating showcase of reimagined, classic songs on 'Heaven Steps to Seven'. Saxophonist Tim Armacost, pianist David Berkman and drummer Gene Jackson present individual arrangements full of characteristic inventiveness; and, for the first time in the studio, they are delighted to document bassist Ugonna Okegwo's relationship with the band, a regular on their US tours. It's a recording of remarkable finesse, once again refracting kaleidoscopic colours across old favourites and less-familiar treasures from the jazz heritage. Having played together for so long, Armacost highlights two key facets: "One is to discover a beautiful standard you haven't heard before; the other is finding something well known, then portraying it differently. So we honour the tradition of this music, representing it authentically, but also creating environments which feel new." The breadth of the detailing is remarkable - from Armacost's vamping, fast-walking-bass take on Leonard Bernstein's "Tonight" to Gene Jackson's boisterously arrangement of Cole Porter's "I Love You". Recorded off the back of a week-long tour, the first-take immediacy of these eight sparklers is evident' (album notes).

Details and Samples : Video Introducion : Review by Roger Farbey 4.5* :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Pasin - Ornettiquette
(Planet Arts Recordings) - Released: 19th October 2018

Chris Pasin (trumpet); Adam Siegel (saxophone); Karl Berger (piano, vibraphone); Ingrid Sertso (vocals); Michael Bisio (acoustic bass); Harvey Sorgen (drums).

Chris Psin Ornettiquette

 

'Chris Pasin is a proficient trumpeter who feels equally comfortable in the avant-garde and straight-ahead jazz currents. When listening to the ecstatic Ornettiquette, his fourth album as a leader and a gorgeous tribute to Ornette Coleman/Don Cherry conjoint work, it’s hard to remember that his versatility made him collaborate with celebrated singers such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, and Sarah Vaughan. To achieve the adventuresome fluidity required for a tribute of this kind, Pasin hired competent musicians, two of which had worked together with Coleman and Cherry in the past, namely, vocalist Ingrid Sertso and pianist/vibraphonist Karl Berger. While the bandleader teams up with alto saxophonist Adam Siegel in the frontline, the foundation is entrusted to bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Harvey Sorgen, who effortlessly disseminate swing and shuffle rhythms throughout the recording ....The blues-based free bop of “Tomorrow Is The Question”, the balladic intonations of “Just For You”, and the linear bop curves of “When Will The Blues Leave” can be enjoyed in this recording, however, no Coleman composition sounds better than “Jayne”, which overflows with joy and emotion while carrying an inherent Latin touch. If Berger harmonizes it with heart and extemporizes with inspiration after responding to his colleagues’ provocations, then Siegel flies high with a swaggering, raucous tone adorned here and there with cheeky squeaks. By blending freedom and lyrical intensity with panache, Pasin and his bandmates provide us with ear-catching moments that are colorful and jubilant at the same extent. Ornettiquette is a competent revival of classic avant-jazz from the late ‘50s and early ‘60s (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review : Listen to Just For You : Video :

 

 

 

 

 

Harriet Tubman - The Terror End Of Beauty
(Sunnyside Records / Alliance Import) - Released: 23rd November 2018

Brandon Ross (guitar); Melvin Gibbs (electric bass); JT Lewis (drums).

Harriet Tubman The Terror End Of Beauty

 

'The runner dashes toward the cliff's edge, his hang glider's wings rattling above. He has reached the crest and, before he can think to stop, he is falling. For those few seconds before the wind mercifully sweeps him away, he is in a freefall, in a state of exhilaration, heightened awareness and, perhaps, terror. Yet, he has committed himself and had to push through the fear in order to soar. // The members of Harriet Tubman find this an apt analogy for their musical approach. For over two decades, guitarist Brandon Ross, bassist Melvin Gibbs and drummer JT Lewis have thrown themselves into making music that is sans genre, infective and overpowering. Their years of experience playing alongside and driving many of the improvised music, jazz and rock's most celebrated ensembles have prepared them to run this gauntlet, The Terror End of Beauty (album notes). 'Powerhouse trio Harriet Tubman (named after the African-American slave turned abolitionist and political activist) - Brandon Ross on guitar, Melvin Gibbs on bass, and JT Lewis on drums - continues to trail an audacious path in modern music without confining themselves to a particular genre. Notwithstanding, jazz, blues and rock, in its written and improvised forms, can be considered their strongest motivations, especially if we take a closer look to their newest album The Terror End of Beauty, a great addition to the Sunnyside Records’ catalogue .... By intelligently interspersing moments of opaque obscurity and sheer beauty, Harriet Tubman achieves a perfect balance in its incisive and concise writing. The record, not too dense but not too immediate, never refrains in emotion and rewards in abundance after multiple listenings' (JazzTrail).

Details and Samples : Full JazzTrail Review :

 

 

 

 

 

Europe and Elsewhere

 

 

Amaro Freitas - Rasif
(Far Out Recordings) - Released: 19th October 2018

Amaro Freitas (piano); Henrique Albino (baritone sax, flute, bass clarinet); John Elton (bass); Huge Medeiros (drums, percussion).

Amaro Freitas Rasif

 

'In the sweltering North-Eastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco lies the coastal city of Recife, where Amaro Freitas is pioneering the new sound of Brazilian jazz. For the prodigious young pianist, the spirit of his hometown runs deep. From the Afro-Brazilian maracatu born on the sugar plantations of slavery, to the high intensity carnival rhythms of frevo and baião, Amaro's heavily percussive approach to jazz is as indebted to these Pernambuco traditions as it is to Coltrane, Parker and Monk. As with many of the greats before him, Amaro began playing piano in church aged 12, under the instruction of his father, leader of the church band. As his natural talents became obvious, the young prodigy quickly outgrew his father's instruction. He won a place at the prestigious Conservatório Pernambucano de Música but had to drop out as his family could not spare the money for the bus fare. Undeterred, Amaro gigged in bands at weddings and worked in a call centre to fund his tuition. The transformative moment came at age 15 when Amaro stumbled across a DVD of Chick Corea concert, "he completely blew my mind, I'd never seen anything like it but I knew that's what I wanted to do with a piano". Despite not actually owning a piano, Amaro devoted himself to studying day and night – he would practice on imaginary keys in his bedroom, until eventually striking a deal with a local restaurant to practice before opening hours. By the age of 22 Amaro was one of the most sought-after musicians in Recife and resident pianist at the legendary jazz bar Mingus. It was during this time he met and begun collaborating with bassist Jean Elton and the pair went in search of a drummer. "We kept hearing about this crazy kid who was playing in 7/8 or 6/4, we knew we had to meet him". Hugo Medeiros joined, and the Amaro Freitas Trio was born. "I want to show the simplicity of music, to break the stigma that the piano is for a particular social class. Yes, it's a difficult instrument, which many people do not have access to, but with it you can express everything." Following his critically acclaimed debut album Sangue Negro (black blood), the title of his sophomore release Rasif is a colloquial spelling of Amaro's home town. A love letter to his native northeast, Amaro explores its traditional rhythms through the jazz idiom, employing complex mathematical patterns reminiscent of some of the most challenging works by fellow Brazilian masters Hermeto Pascoal, Egberto Gismonti and Moacir Santos. Preferring to see the piano as a though it were a drum with 88 unique tones, Amaro's intelligence and emotion intertwine on every track, from album opener 'Dona Eni': a scorching reconstruction of the baião rhythmic structure, played in seven measures instead of two, to the serene homage to the coastal reef and its ecosystems on the title track 'Rasif'. 'Aurora' is a suite of three parts, representing the sun's journey from the light and soft of the rise, to the aggressive dissonance at its midday zenith and descending chromatic cadences as the sun sets. Due for an Autumn release on Far Out Recordings, Rasif sees Amaro Freitas take a deserved step onto the world stage. Having already made a name for himself in Brazil, Amaro and his phenomenal band will embark on their first European tour later this year.All compositions by Amaro Freitas' (album notes). 'A real find this ..... Breathtaking stuff from a rising A-lister' (Jane Cornwell in Jazzwise ****)

Details and Samples : Review : Listen to Rasif : Listen to Mantra :

 

 

 

 

 

Raul Midón with the Metropole Orkest - If You Really Want
(Artistry Music) - Released: 14th September 2018

Raul Midón (vocals, guitar) with the Metropole Orkest strings and horns.

Raul Midon If You Really Want

 

'The New York Times has called Raul Midón "a one-man band who turns a guitar into an orchestra and his voice into a chorus." Now, with his exciting album 'If You Really Want', Midón's voice and guitar ride the waves of an actual orchestra: the acclaimed Metropole Orkest. The Grammy Award-winning Dutch ensemble has collaborated with artists from Al Jarreau and Elvis Costello to Laura Mvula and Snarky Puppy. Midón - who earned his first Grammy nomination for 'Bad Ass and Blind', (Artistry Music, 2017) worked hand in glove on 'If You Really Want' with another renowned Grammy winner and frequent Metropole Orkest collaborator: conductor-composer-arranger Vince Mendoza. He created beautifully dynamic arrangements, inspired not only by the singer-guitarist's melodies, harmonies and rhythms but by his lyrics, too. Alongside fresh versions of six favourites from past Midón albums, it features four previously unrecorded songs. Midón performed in National Public Radio's popular "Tiny Desk Concert" feature, with NPR prefacing the broadcast by saying: "Raul Midón lives in a world of sound - blind since birth, Midón's interpretation of his surroundings is borderless. He sings with the passion of the best classic soul singers, and his instrumental chops stand alongside the most accomplished jazz musicians." (album notes). '....this collaboration with one of Europe's most progressive orchestras, Metropole, casts him in a new light, which should do nothing other than enhance his artistic credibility. Blessed with a stirring, soulful voice and smart rhythm guitar technique, Midón is much more than another of the world's many Stevie Wonder wannabes ..... his repertoire and execution are that of an artist who has set his own very high standards of artistry' (Kevin Le Gendre in Jazzwise *** ).

Details : Introductory Item : Video :

 

 

 

 

Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & Ole Morten Vågan - Happy Endlings
(Grappa / Odin Records) - Released: 8th November 2018

Ole Morten Vågan (bass, compositions); Elvind Kvernberg (trumpet); Øyvind Brække (trombone); Fredrik Ljungkvist, Epsen Reinertsen (tenor sax, clarinet, bass clarinet); Ririk Hegdal (alto sax, bass sax clarinet); Oscar Grønberg (piano); Ståle Storløkken (organ); Gard Nilssen, Hakon M. Johansen (drums); Sofia Jernberg (vocals); Ola Kvernberg (violin).

Trondheim Jazz Orchestra Happy Endings

 

'Trondheim Jazz Orchestra is one of the most important and creative jazz ensembles in Norway. During the course of the last seventeen years, the orchestra has had a great number of exciting projects with Norwegian and international jazz profiles such as Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, Erlend Skomsvoll, Eirik Hegdal, Sofia Jernberg, Maria Kannegaard, Kim Myhr, Jenny Hval, Stian Westerhus, Ståle Storløkken, Kristoffer Lo and Marius Neset. The orchestra belongs to the Mid-Norway Centre of Jazz who initiates and organises new projects. The orchestra is operated as a musicians' pool, so that the orchestra changes as to instrumentation and size from project to project. This gives room for great width in the repertory. The musicians that have been involved in the orchestra are among Norway's most famous jazz profiles. Happy Endlings is TJO’s twentieth album. Artistic director of the project is Ole Morten Vågan, who composed the material, plays bass on the album and who co-produced it with Midtnorsk Jazzsenter. Vågan’s connection with TJO is longstanding – he played on the albums We Are (2005), Wood And Water (2008) and What If? (2009)' (Trondheim Jazz Orchestra website). 'The size of the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra varies from project to project ... Here it performs in mid-band mode, liberally sprinkled with rising young Norwegian jazz stars. In this ambitious two-disc set Vågan's tight compositional control holds the attention from start to finish ...' (Stuart Nicholson in Jazzwise ****)

 

Details and Samples : Video : Trondheim Jazz Orchestra website :

 

 

 

Re-Releases

 

John Coltrane Quartet - Africa / Brass
(State Of Art) - Released: 21st September 2018

John Coltrane (tenor sax, soprano sax); McCoy Tyner (piano); Reggie Workman, Art Davies (bass); Elvin Jones (drums); plus Eric Dolphy and brass ensemble.

John Coltrane Quartet Africa Brass

 

 

'This CD contains all of the music recorded during the Africa/Brass sessions with the sole exception of a third take of “Africa” which was left out due to time limitations (it was recorded during the first session and was the first attempt at the song). The original LP Africa/Brass (Impulse AS-6) consisted of tracks 1-3 of this edition, while tracks 4-6 were issued on its sequel The Africa Brass Sessions, Vol.2 (AS- 9273). “The Damned Don’t Cry” and the initial version of “Africa” omitted here were first issued on a compilation LP titled Trane’s Modes' (album notes) 'Still exciting after all these years .... On the surface, its certainly a case of saxophonist-plus-big-band - despite Dolphy's presence, the only soloists are the members of the regular quartet .... The only thing missing from the present 75-minute programme, by comparison with Impulse!'s Complete Africa/Brass Sessions reissue, is the 'first version' of 'Africa' from the May session, but the two majestic takes from June are perhaps sufficient for those approaching this material for the first time'. (Brian Priestly in Jazzwise).

Details and Samples :

 

 

 

 

 

Django Reinhardt - The Best Of Django Reinhardt
(State Of Art) - Released: 21st September 2018

Django Reinhardt (guitar)

The Best Of Django Reinhardt

 

 

'This compilation, made by renowned jazz critic Ralph J. Gleason, puts together some of the very best items of Django’s vast discography' (album notes). 'Well, if you forgive the abscence of 'Nuages' this comes close to the definitive Reinhardt anthology, and if you only have one Django album in your collection, this probably ought to be it ...' (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise **** ).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ella Fitzgerald - Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie!
(Poll Winners) - Released: 30th September 2018

Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Lou Levy (piano); Herb Ellis (guitar); Stan Levy (drums) and others.

Ella Fitzgerald Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie

 

 

'This edition presents the complete classic album Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! (Verve V64053), which coupled two superb small group sessions featuring Ella Fitzgerald with pianist Lou Levy, guitarist Herb Ellis, and drummer Stan Levey, among others. As a bonus, we have added four more studio tracks by Ella backed by Levy, as well as a complete live 1954 performance in Hartford' (album notes). 'This original Verve album (here with 9 bonus tracks) had Ella on top form with Lou Levy ... who encourages her to tackle the Billie Holiday repertoire, but with rewarding differences ... (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise **** ).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra - Gillespiana
(Essential Jazz Classics) - Released: 30th September 2018

Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Ernie Royal, Joe Wilder, John Frosk (trumpet); Urbie Green, Frank Rehak, Britt Woodman (trombone); Julius Watkins, Gunther Schuller, Jimmy Buffington, Al Richman, Morris Scott, William Lester (french horn); Don Butterfield (tuba); Leo Wright (alto sax, flute); Lalo Schifrin (piano); Art Davis (bass); Chuck Lampkin (drums); Jack Del Rio, Willie Rodriguez (percussion).

Dizzy Gillespie Gillespiana

 

'The complete original LP Gillespiana (Verve BMGV8394), the first of many collaborations between Dizzy Gillespie and Argentinean pianist Lalo Schifrin. In addition to his role as the band’s pianist, Schifrin also composed the complete “Gillespiana” suite. A week after the studio session, the “Gillespiana” suite was performed live in Paris in a quintet format. Four of the five movements from that concert have been added here as a bonus, allowing us to compare the orchestral and small group versions' (album notes). 'This session marks the moment when Lalo Schifrin took over from Junior Mance as Dizzy's pianist in the quintet, bringing with him new ideas and a fresh repertoire. Gillispiana was conceived as a concerto grosso, in which the trumpeter's quintet played as the group of soloists and a massed big band brass section formed the ripieno ensemble ..... EJC have wisely decided .. to add a Paris concert .... that urges one to acquire this reissue even if the Verve original is already on hand (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise **** ).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

Ike Quebec - Four Classic Albums
(Avid Jazz) - Released: 5th October 2018 (remastered original)

Ike Quebec (tenor sax) with various personnel

Ike Quebec Four Classic Albums

 

Albums: 'AVID Jazz continues with its Four Classic Album series with a re-mastered 2CD second set release from Ike Quebec, complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details 'Blue And Sentimental'; 'It Might As Well Be Spring'; 'Heavy Soul' and 'Bossa Nova Soul Samba' Welcome back Ike Quebec! 1945-1961, that's a long time between releases! So what happened to the great tenor saxophonist? Sadly an all too familiar story of the decline of big band jazz audiences followed by serious drug problems. Ike Quebec had quite an extraordinary split career which either end you look at was remarkable for the jazz men he played with. The early years in the 1940s gets you Hot Lips Page, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Carter, Cab Calloway, Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge. While the comeback years of the 1960s courtesy of friend and great fan Alfred Lion at Blue Note gets you Grant Green, Paul Chambers, 'Philly' Joe Jones, Sonny Clark, Louis Hayes, Freddie Roach, Milt Hinton, Al Harewood and Kenny Burrell' (album notes). 'Four of the tenorists great Blue Note albums in one package, these run the gamut from the almost straightahead Blue and Sentimental .. via the organ quartet ... to the Bossa Nova Soul Samba ... - all essential Quebec (Alyn Shipton in Jazzwise **** ).

Details :

 

 

 

 

 

UK Jazz Venues Near You

 

Click here for our page of venues hosting live jazz in the UK.

Please let us know of other venues together with their website addresses,
or please also let us know if you discover any of the links on the page don't work.

 

 

Jazz Talks: Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Norwich Areas

 

Surrey and around:

Mike Forbes is a member of the Woking Area U3A and active in the Jazz Appreciation Group. He ha’s given presentations to other groups and is willing to travel in Surrey and surrounding areas to give his talks, which consist of music tracks with commentaries. Rather than focus on a particular jazz group or soloist he takes a theme and follows it chronologically from early to modern jazz. Topics include: Women in Jazz; Is There Less Improvisation In Jazz Than We Think?; Twelve Bars; Time After Time; Best of Buddies; and, as an exception to the rule, Unexpected Satchmo. No payment required although a little towards cost of travel would be appreciated. Just a CD player (and PA if it’s a very big room) is all that’s needed.

email: jmike210@gmail.com

 

Buckinghamshire:

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

If anyone would like to take up Bob's offer, you can email him at drbobmoore-inbiltec@supanet.com

 

Norwich:

Similarly, Roy Headland who gives occasional talks to Norwich Jazz and Blues Record Club is offering to give talks with music to other groups in the Norwich area. A recent talk 'A Jazz Tour of Norwich and Norfolk' to an audience of 60 had the organiser saying: "Thank you for giving us such an informative and enjoyable evening,full of musical stars.The feedback was good and we hope to see you back with part 2." Other talks Roy has given include: Condon Jam Sessions; Clarinet Kings of Swing; Tommy Ladnier -"Mandeville to New York "; and a talk to Rotary on "The Winter Solstice" (their request) on Dec 21st which I managed to link in with Artie Shaw and called "The Shawtest Day"!

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

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