Sandy Brown Jazz

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Beatbox and Jazz



Alem beatboxer



Some time ago in the UK, APPJAG (the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group) had an arrangement with Yamaha to sponsor Scholarships to emerging jazz musicians. A musician was nominated each year by each of the major conservatoires of music and they received a financial grant from Yamaha which they used to record, to promote their bands, etc. The Scholars were also given the opportunity to record a sample of their work at Astar Studios and Jazzwise magazine released a limited edition compilation CD, ‘The Yamaha New Jazz Sessions’, of those recordings with their magazine, and the 606 Club in Chelsea hosted an evening where the Scholars played.

Back in 2008, Ruby Wood, a vocalist from West Yorkshire, was nominated for a scholarship by Leeds College of Music. When she played at the 606 Club, for one of her numbers, John Coltrane's Africa, she introduced a beatboxer friend to join the band. The result was unusual and really impressive. Fortunately the number was recorded for the cover CD, although the beatbox percussion is less effective in the recording than it was hearing it live.


Listen to Ruby and Africa.




I talked to Ruby at the time (click here) but as the years passed I have lost touch with her. The memory of that number with the beatbox percussive effects has remained with me and since then I have not come across any other bands that have involved beatboxing.

The music created by Yancarlos Sanchez who uses mouth trumpet with a beatbox (KalimbaModel - Hugh Tracey Alto Kalimba with pickup), is amazing, but this is not the use of beatbox with jazz that I am talking about.





Similarly, saxophonist Derek Brown has used a beatbox effect through his saxophone, but that is different again. Here he is with fellow saxophonist Jeff Coffin playing Brother.




The nearest I have found to the effect I am writing about is this video from the French band Jazz Beatbox Project. JBP is mainly a meeting of three exceptional musical personalities: Alfio Origlio, pianist and jazz composer, brings to the trio his own creations and singular musical atmosphere, Stéphane Edouard, percussionist, strongly influenced by indian and occidental music, and Alem, elected beatbox world champion, quintessence of urban culture. There is more information with the video from 2017:




It would be interesting to know whether any readers have come across beatbox used as percssion in jazz and whether there are other examples we can share. Please let me know if you have.

Francisco Castro Bernhard has sent this link to an interview with Bobby McFerrin on Beatbox Battle TV. Francisco says: "I feel he kind of created it without anyone noticing. I went to see him live with his a-capella band in the Munich Opera. I don't see much difference between what they did there and what is called today a beat-boxer. Just wondering if someone might see it the same way I see it?"

I agree, I think the video captures the concept well.







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Jazz Violins and Cellos
Jazz Oboe
Video Juke Box
Jazz As Art

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