LondonJazz in 2012 - the stats and the sadness



LondonJazz has had nearly 1.2 million page-views in 2012. The most-read page was the one which brought the biggest shock, the news of the death of Abram Wilson. The video above was of the second line parade in his memory through the streets of SE1 on July 25th. A foundation has been set up in his honour.  Videos from May like this one bring back memories of how sudden it all was.

There have been other major losses to the British scene, Pete Saberton, Tony Marsh, and these pieces have also been read by large numbers of people

Also high up in our statistics were the nominations for the Parliamentary Jazz Awards and the page listing our 56 previews and reviews of the London Jazz Festival. Plus as ever our venues list.

Most-read in December have been:

- Our news piece about the Mike Gibbs re-imagining of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon

- Liam Noble's wonderful piece about Dave Brubeck

- Chris Parker's 2012 CD Selection and the selections of  of our other writers

Read More...

Happy 86th Stan Tracey



The legend that is Stan Tracey CBE, recorded here at the Vortex in 2011, was out at the Bulls Head last night. Today, December 30th, is his 86th birthday. Many Happy Returns.

Read More...

Holiday Reading from Prague, Suffolk and Tokyo

Wire sculpture and Tyn Church, Prague
Photo Credit: Paul Louw
- There's an upbeat assessment of the year just gone from Prague Post feature writer Tony Ozuna.

- From deepest Suffolk, Sammy Stein shows the diversity and range of the music, zipping  around the world in a state-of the music piece for Allaboutjazz.

- The Wall Street Journal's Tokyo bureau reports on Blue Note vinyl selling like hot cakes in Japan.

Read More...

RIP Sir Richard Rodney Bennett (1936-2012)

Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. Photo Credit: Music Sales

It is particularly sad to hear of the death, peacefully, in New York, on Christmas Eve, of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett at the age of 76. We lose a unique figure in British music, in whose work so many strands of music peacefully co-exist.  There are several appreciations in Charlotte Higgins' report in the Guardian. There is a great article about his film score for the 1967 film Billion Dollar Brain which gets to the essence of his achievement HERE. We reviewed the fabulous, remarkable closing concert of his 75th birthday celebration in 2011. And there, always, unobtrusively, was what Chris Parker described  - in this review of Witchcraft with Claire Martin -  described as his "flawlessly eloquent piano playing." In sadness. 

Read More...

Colin Firth: "the jazz I'm always looking for - I never get that experience from real jazz"


Just when it's all getting festive, here's another gentle, disparaging put-down of jazz. I should get over it/ get a life/ get into the spirit of Christmas now, I know, I know. But, somehow, it feels necessary to capture this fleeting moment in British cultural life, as perceived from en haut, and to preserve it here:

Actor Colin Firth was waxing lyrical yesterday on the BBC Radio 4 programme Open Book with Mariella Frostrup, talking about Coming Through Slaughter the early fictional biographical sketch of Buddy Bolden by novelist Michael Ondaatje. The full programme is available here.

The discussion gets going around 8:20 in the recording...

Frostrup asks him: "You make it sound like music ..is there a relationship between words and music?"

He starts to warm to the subject:

This was the one in which I discovered experimentation.. a huge revelation to me....writing as jazz..working with a literary equivalent of jazz .. His literary protagonist Buddy Bolden ...about whom we know very little.. an imaginative experience of his music... battle between a hymn and the devil's music... .

Mr Darcy is now going at it hammer and tongs:

.....the writing is incredibly vital ..it delivers in fragments ....feels a bit like looking at old photographs ..experiencing ghosts of the turn of the century in New Orleans ...it delivers itself with a high level of impact all the time ..intensely sexual moments..refelective ..compassionate...

Oh yes. And then, at 10:26, the put-down, swiftly cut off by Frostrup, who needs to move on.
"It's the kind of jazz I'm always looking for, actually and I never get that experience from real jazz"

Read More...

Your next stop is Angel, Angel is the next stop



Jackson Mathod (trumpet), Chris Saunders (trombone), plus typical non-plussed London commuters.

Read More...

Cd Review: Amália Baraona MENESCANTANDO



Amália Baraona MENESCANTANDO
(Numérica- Num 1240. CD Review by Alison Bentley)


'...if we dream about our wishes, they become true,' wrote Brazilian composer Roberto Menescal to singer Amália Baraona this year; she'd asked him for help with her plan to record some of his songs. Menescal was there at the beginning of Bossa Nova and has written over 400 songs. Amália grew up in Brazil in the 70s, listening to him and her many other Bossa Nova heroes. She's now based in Croatia, and this beautiful homage to Menescal features a fine international band- Menescal himself even guests on two tracks.

Many of the songs are bright and blithe; comparisons with Jobim are inevitable, and Novas Bossas has shades of his Meditation. Italian pianist Bruno Montrone has contributed the thoughtful arrangements, here featuring Croatian multi-instrumentalist Dinko Stipanicev's sweet vibrato on clarinet, the tune framed by carefully-arranged phrases. The Pentasamba choir enhances Amália's gamine yet rhythmically complex singing in perfect unison.

O Barquinho is perhaps Menescal's most famous song, and the pulse imitates the sound of Menescal's attempts to get a broken fishing boat working again- Stipanicev's rhythmic guitar is superb. Amália sings with a beguiling mixture of insouciance and precision. She sounds a little like the newer wave of Brazilian singers, Joyce or Bebel Gilberto, but sings like herself. In Brasil Precisa Balançar, she uses the Portuguese language like a percussion instrument; the sounds fit so naturally with the Bossa rhythms, whilst sparking against the beat. Italian Dario Di Lecce's perfectly judged bass supports Fabio Delle Foglie's excellent drumming- everyone puts the rhythm first. Menescal's chord sequences are uplifting all by themselves, and the strong melodies hold everything together.

Feliz Ano Novo-Iemanjá da Silva, in 6/8, modulates upwards breathtakingly in the bridge, a fusion of bebop chords with Latin grooves. Montrone plays sensitive fills and a spine-tingling piano solo, with hints of bebop showing through. Ah Se Eu Pudesse ('Oh, if only I could... find our little boat and sail away...' ) is about the lost love between the late singer Nara Leão and lyricist Ronaldo Bôscoli. The chords reflect this; like Jobim's Corcovado, they rarely seem to settle into one key. The song Nara is a  Menescal/Joyce tribute to Leão, and it's the most affecting song on the album; it's a slow bossa, with Amália's airy vocals drifting down the dramatic octave leaps of the melody. There's some subliminal electronic treatment on the vocals, enough to enhance their dreamy, feathery quality. Menescal's lovely spacious guitar solo tumbles the notes together like the words.

These rarely heard songs feel as if they belong together. The musicians sound as if they trust each other: they play with a kind of musical and emotional alertness. Roberto Menescal: 'Amália is one of the good surprises that life has brought to me...'

Read More...

CD Review: Vasilis Xenopoulos & The Xtet - Loud City



Vasilis Xenopoulos & The Xtet - Loud City
(33JAZZ224. CD Review by Tony Heiberg)


Before he went on to win a Europe-wide saxophone competition for a scholarship to Berklee,  saxophone star Vasilis Xenopoulos, now resident in the UK, and making a major contribution to the scene here, was known by his fellow Greek musicians as "Mr. Real Book" in tribute to his already vast repertoire of standard and modern tunes. And I shouldn't be surprised if tunes from his band's new CD make it into the next edition of the Real Book because many of Vasilis' originals sound like instant classics. All of the musicians on Loud City are of world-class calibre as are the tunes and arrangements. Loud City will especially appeal to devotees of hard bop, funk and Blue Note recordings and there are echoes of bebop, Latin and swing music to be found here.

The album opens with a fast but catchy unison line from Vasilis and Nigel Price (guitar) on West End Groove then segues into swinging melodic solos from Vasilis and then Sam Gambarini on organ on a tune with a typically tight, well-thought-out arrangement.

EJF Theme Tune is funky with another catchy theme and contains one of the highlights of the CD: a duet featuring Vasilis and drummer Chris Nickolls. Chris is a masterful drummer with a unique tone and he establishes an extremely funky groove and effortlessly nails all the hits in the arrangement while Vasilis's solo outlines the chord sequence so strongly that the two musicians obtain a sound that is surprisingly full.

Street Dance is a samba with a beautiful melody and harmonic structure complimented by Chris's authentically rendered Brazilian rhythms. Nigel plays a superb solo as does Vasilis (on alto saxophone for this track) and Sam on organ.

And Now What is a gently memorable ballad soulfully played by Vasilis that contains a lovely short guitar intro from Nigel and melodic and sensitive solos from the guitarist and saxophonist before they play a brief duet on the outro.

The eponymous Loud City is funky with short double time swing sections and a catchy tune on which Vasilis overdubs two saxophone parts. Nigel makes full use of his wah-wah pedal and both play strong improvisations. The X Changes is a rhythm changes tune of a quality that would fit comfortably with bebop tunes by the likes of Bird, Rollins and Monk and features strong to-the-point solos from the entire band.

Ellis Can Dance is a funky minor blues with another memorable melody and swinging - ahem - X Changes... between Xenopoulos and Price. The tune then moves on to a tight ensemble section followed by an enjoyable organ extemporisation before returning to the theme.

For All The Lazy Sundays is the closer and begins with a 12/8 feel before moving into a '30's style swing section with melody lines that make witty allusions to classics from that era. Nigel plays another swinging solo, which the sharp-eared Vasilis picks up the last phrase of and runs with, in the splendid solo Xenopoulos plays to conclude a great CD.

Read More...

Nick Mason steps in to save Chas. Foote's

Foote's old premises in Golden Square,


Music Industry Professional (mi-pro.co.uk) reports that Chas E. Foote's, the musical instrument store founded n 1920, has been saved by the intervention of Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, in collaboration with Rob Wilson, the store's sales director. The store is no longer at Golden Square in Soho - those premises closed on 31st October. The store has already moved to 41 Store Street Bloomsbury.  Mason has explained the value of such stores, and his reason for getting involved thus: "It's more than an opportunity to buy an instrument. There's an opportunity to catch up with any new ideas from the manufacturers, new sounds that you simply can't appreciate online and, of course, to talk drums and equipment with an expert." The full report is here.  Footes are on Facebook, a page which carries special deals.

Read More...

Laura Cole's Little Woman, Lonely Wing blog - interviewing female musicians



Composer Laura Cole (above - with Metamorphic) wrote on her blog on Dec 9th

"I have decided I would like to share some thoughts and experiences of other women musicians and composers as part of this blog, as informal interviews, looking at their personal experiences as women involved in music-making in the UK today."


She has now posted her first two musician interviews with Kerry Andrew and Kate Westbrook.  

Little Woman, Lonely Wing Blog

Read More...

Tessa Souter - in London Feb 9 and 10



Beyond the Blue. Tessa Souter sings her own words to Frédéric Chopin's Prelude in E-Minor (op.28 no. 4). The title track of her new album based on classical themes, performed at Blue Note, NYC, with Kenny Werner - piano, Sean Smith - bass and Billy Drummond - drums.

Confirmed Pizza Express dates for her first gigs in London for two years are Saturday 9th Feb (two shows) and Sunday 10th Feb 2013, with not-to-be-missed pianist Lynne Arriale.

tessasouter.com

Read More...

We've got our Recent Comments Widget Back



Read More...

News: Liverpool to stage new Jazz Festival in 2013

The Capstone Theatre, Liverpool Hope University. Photo: JC Joel


A new International Jazz festival starts on the 28th of February to the 3rd of March 2013 at the Capstone Theatre at Liverpool Hope University featuring the Kit Downes Quintet, pianist/composer Robert Mitchell, and the Mercury prize winning Roller Trio.

The festival also features workshops and masterclasses from saxophonists Bobby Wellins, Tony Kofi and Graeme Turner.

Sunday night the closing headliner will be Courtney Pine as part of his House of Legends tour, the theatre also sees some free performances from Liverpool-born acts like Blind Monk Trio, White Canvas and GORP.

Neil Campbell of the Capstone Theatre said, “The Festival will be the first of its kind in Liverpool and will give the opportunity to bring together some of the most high profile national and international artists alongside some of the City's most creative local jazz musicians. Since beginning its ongoing series of jazz concerts two years ago, starting with a concert by sax legend Courtney Pine, The Capstone has staged concerts by some of the most interesting and excellent international jazz artists including Dennis Rollins, Neil Cowley, Zoe Rahman, Martin Taylor, Gwilym Simcock, Lighthouse, Jah Wobble, Stacey Kent, Kairos 4tet, Tigran, Eduardo Niebla, Phronesis, Portico Quartet and Tommy Smith. I think that through The Capstone's programme, Merseyside audiences are being given the opportunity to experience world class musicians who otherwise would not have performed in the City.

The full programme is:

Roller Trio

Thursday 28th February 2013, 7.30pm

£12.50

Martin Smith’s The Weave

Thursday 28th February 2013, 10pm

Free admission

Led Bib

Friday 1st March, 7.30pm

£12.50

GORP

Friday 1st March, 10pm

Free admission

Robert Mitchell

Saturday 2nd March, 2pm

£10

White Canvas

Saturday 2nd March, 4.30pm

Free admission

Kit Downes Quintet

Saturday 2nd March, 7.30pm

£12.50

Perri and Neil Quartet

Saturday 2nd March, 10pm

Free admission

Denys Baptiste’s Triumvirate

Sunday 3rd March, 3pm

£12.50

Blind Monk Trio

Sunday 3rd March, 5.30pm

Free admission

Courtney Pine House of Legends

Sunday 3rd March, 8pm

£17.50

SUNDAY WORKSHOPS LISTINGS

Taming the Saxophone - Tone Production- Bobby Wellins and Tony Kofi

Sunday 3rd March,

11:00

How to Improvise Effectively- Graeme Turner

Sunday 3rd March,

12:30

Tickets can be purchased from the box office on 0844 8000 410, on online at www.thecapstonetheatre.com

Read More...

News from Royal Welsh College: Tours starting Feb, Festival in May

Jazz Time at the RWCMD's new building in Cathays Park, Cardiff

There's a definite buzz about the jazz course at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, led by bassist Paula Gardiner, which has announced that it will be building on two existing initiatives:

 - the Friday night AmserJazzTime sessions involving students (Amser is Welsh for time) held in the foyer of the brand new building in Cathays Park which opened in June 2011
-  the Collisions programme involving professional ensembles.

The result will be a series of six tours taking in up to five venues in Wales starting in February 2013 - plus concerts back at RWCMD, and a three-day festival on the May 10-12 weekend.

FESTIVAL

- Press release: "The first AmserJazzTime Festival, which will run from 10-12 May 2013, will feature Norma Winstone, the Kit Downes Quintet, the James Taylor Quartet, Neil Yates Five Countries Trio, Stan Sulzmann's Neon and Mark Lockheart's Ellington in Anticipation, together with student performances in the RWCMD's Richard Burton Theatre and foyer throughout the weekend."

TOURING
- Touring will involve performances in five venues: Galeri Caernarfon, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Ucheldre in Holyhead, Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon and Gwyn Hall in Neath - and also back at RWCMD. It  gets going in February with a programme called Beautiful Anarchy with Paula Gardiner's Trio and the Royal Welsh College Jazz Ensemble. Further tours are planned running through to Autumn 2014.

The programme has financial support from the Welsh Arts Council and the Colwinston Trust.

www.rwcmd.ac.uk

Read More...

Happy Birthday Ludwig van Beethoven

Read More...

CD Review: Bobo Stenson - Indicum



Bobo Stenson - Indicum
(ECM 279 4575. CD Review by Chris Parker)


‘[T]he repository of half a century of the development of free jazz, in particular the European post-1960s kind, with its folk and classical leanings’ is New York Times writer Ben Ratliff’s take on Bobo Stenson, and this album, on which the Swedish pianist is joined by bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Jon Fält, might have been specially made to conform to this description.

In addition to three tasteful collective improvisations (wittily titled ‘Indikon’, ‘Indicum’ and ‘Indigo’), the trio also address a couple of tunes associated with Bill Evans (the US pianist’s own ‘Your Story’ – a tribute to the late drummer Paul Motian – and George Russell’s ‘Event VI’). a song by Danish composer Carl Nielsen (‘Oft Am I Glad’), a Norwegian hymn, a contemporary composition from Norwegian Ola Gjeilo (‘Ubi Caritas’), and material by the Argentine composer Ariel Ramírez, singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann (a protest song by the former East German dissident, ‘Ermutigung’ -– ‘The Encouragement’) and bassist Jormin.

If this makes the album sound diffuse and off-puttingly heterogeneous, though, it’s misleading: Stenson’s trio is one of the most focused and subtly interactive units in contemporary jazz, able to imbue a limpid folk tune with deep emotion one minute and freely improvise the next, as well as negotiating the tricksiest of time signatures with complete assurance.

Stenson himself has always had the most delicate touch, since coming to the wider jazz world’s attention with Jan Garbarek in the 1970s, and later with the likes of Charles Lloyd and Tomasz Stanko – not to mention his many fine albums as leader – and Indicum, while not necessarily the most immediately accessible of his recordings, is, like all his work, absorbing, serious-minded, but imaginative and vibrant.

Read More...

It happened at Ronnie's

Charlie Rouse, Jay Phelps. Photo Credit: William Ellis

Congratulations: From Jay Phelps' Facebook and Twitter today: A great BIG thanks to @officialronnies for helping me propose to my lady @co_kaleigh you ALL made it the most special night o my life!

Read More...

CD Review: Down To The Bone - The Main Ingredients

Down To The Bone - The Main Ingredients
(Dome CD 309. CD Review by Mark Ramsden)


Down To The Bone were formed in 1996 and have kept up a consistently high standard ever since, packaging their music as if it were American, a strategy that has paid off on both sides of the Atlantic. The Main Ingredients has the familiar keyboard-led glossy production, tasteful arranging - vibes, a very tight brass section, funky guitar - drums that might even have Jacob Rees-Mogg loosening one of his waistcoat buttons. Maybe.

Funk. Soul. Jazz. says their website which is the ingredients in the right order. Some call this Nu Soul. Lonnie Liston Smith and other American greats now being repackaged as Smooth are the chief inspirations. The more vintage amongst us may remember Shakatak or Swing Out Sister, who also combined jazz harmonies, soulful melodies and funk grooves, mellifluous earworm-laden tunes which cross over effortlessly to a pop audience - (both great bands, and still gigging). Staten Island Groove, (from the CD From Manhattan to Staten)  is the perfect prelude to empathic clubbing, or the best headphone accompaniment to long, slow distance jogging. You could even just listen to it. With contributions from a jazz master such as Neil Angilley there's plenty of cerebral candy, in addition to the beat which just won't quit. Staten Island Groove is as insistent as a cat demanding to know why you're not on tin-opening duties. Slick. Silky. Insidious. Killer groove, pleasure laden hooks, a Maceo-esque saxophonist leaving plenty of space.

Standout cut for me on The Main Ingredients is Universal Vibe



a lovely mellow trumpet theme, wistful minor chords, the usual shuffle of grooves and tone colours. Imaani contributes strong soulful vocals on Closer. South Side Overdrive is uptempo and frisky.

You can't please all the people all the time? They're making a pretty good stab at it. You'd have to be a dance-phobic Grinch to dislike this. Lovely stuff. 

Read More...

Interview: Robert Mitchell - CD The Glimpse and Leftitude Festival


We spoke to pianist Robert Mitchell about his upcoming solo piano album The Glimpse (released 18th February 2013 on Whirlwind Recordings, with a tour beginning at the Royal Festival Hall on 18th January 2013 ) and a corresponding festival, Leftitude at the Forge in Camden (20-21st March 2013) . The album combines through-composed pieces and improvisation.

LondonJazz: There is something very different about this album isn’t there?

Robert Mitchell: This is a solo piano album of music for left hand alone, and this came out of an interest now of a few years which was sparked by a lovely moment during a commission for a wonderful pianist (Ivo de Greef). I decided to challenge myself and write this classical tune for left hand alone and after about two weeks of panic, I started to really enjoy myself and I vowed to see if I could do the same thing involving improvisation as well.

LJ: And it leads you into a different kind of world doesn’t it? What are the implications of playing with just the left hand?

RM: I’m working on the perfect phrase to describe this (laughs), but it involves walking a tightrope; every decision and every detail has to be executed with more definite thought. There’s less room to be indecisive and that’s magnified even more in improvisation terms; every event, every turn you take in the solo becomes something you have to live with in an even larger form.

LJ: There was a real epiphany moment you had as a teenager when you were drawn to a different kind of music late one night?

RM:That would have been hearing Oscar Peterson on a large commercial London radio station at a very unexpected time, in terms of what they programme and when, but at the right time for me; I had been playing piano for 10 or 11 years at that point and it made sense, I could hear a lot of classical influence in his playing but the way it was being used was a revelation to me and that sparked me running to buy albums of his the very next day.

LJ: Going back to the album, you say you’ve dedicated The Glimpse (the album is launched on Whirlwind Records on D A T E ) to “those who have continued to perform the piano with a single hand after injury or illness.” Can you tell us a bit about that?

RM:There are a number of figures both in classical music history and jazz piano history who have done exactly that, the legendary pianist Paul Wittgenstein for example, who lost part of his right arm in WWI but returned to, not only develop a career (he was very famous in his day), but was also via inheritance, very able to commission some of the most famous composers of his day, of any day actually, so that would include: Ravel, Richard Strauss, Benjamin Britten, Korngold. They responded with just simply amazing music, not so much about it being performed only by the left hand, but really creative responses in each case.

LJ: And in Jazz?

RM: In Jazz, there are a variety of instances from Bud Powell being challenged by Art Tatum on the response of criticism for not really using his left hand much when he was performing. In general terms: through Bill Evans having to perform with trio at the height of one of his unfortunate drug addiction periods and onwards to people like Phineas Newborn, Kenny Drew Jr. and the recently passed away: Bora Bergman, an amazing innovative pianist, who dedicated a good deal of his ability to furthering his own left hand aptitude.

LJ: I notice in your diary, on 20th and 21st March (2013) there is something called a Leftitude festival

RM:Yes, it's over two days ( 20th and the 21st) I'll be performing on the 20th along with the wonderful classical pianist and scholar Clare Hammond, and on the previous day (the 20th) we have a great improvising pianist Pat Thomas and Ivo De Greef who was very involved in my initial interest a few years ago thanks to the commission I wrote for him so, a really lovely bunch and I thought I would give this a go. I have done a little piano festival before in London at the Pizza Express a few years ago but that was very definitely for two hands (laughs). So, as far as we are aware, this is a first.

LJ: And what you’ll do on your other concerts in the tour is that you’ll play one set of left hand won’t you?

RM:Yes! And one set with both, so it will be a mix of the music from the album, maybe a couple of left hand only things that didn’t make it as well, and then repertoire from my sort of recent past and maybe some audience-derived improvisations as well.

LondonJazz: And I gather you’re talking to Nicholas McCarthy is that right?

Robert Mitchell: Yes, [he is] a fantastic pianist who is the sole left-hand-only repertoire graduate of the Royal College in its history. He played in the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic games, and also the closing ceremony of the BBC Piano season. And he has had a deserving tv presence recently too. He will be interviewing some of the artists live on stage before the performances. He is also co-artistic director (along with myself) for subsequent editions of the festival. And he will of course perform ( in a future edition of Leftitude).

Robert Mitchell Music website and leftitudefestival.com- for more information , tickets and a newsletter. Robert Mitchell's solo tour is supported by Jazz Services, Arts Council of England and PRS For Music Foundation.

Read More...

NDR Big Band to premiere new arrangement of Dark Side of the Moon by Mike Gibbs



Mike Gibbs has announced, and NDR this morning confirm, that a new arrangement of Pink Floyd's 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon commissioned by the NDR Big Band will premiere in Hamburg in mid-May 2013, featuring guitarist Nguyen Le. 

Read More...

Kenny Wheeler's Mirrors will be first Edition /Gearbox vinyl release



Edition Records and jazz and blues vinyl specialists Gearbox Records have announced a new collaboration.

The first Edition new release to come out on Heavyweight 180g 12” Vinyl will be the premiere recording of Kenny Wheeler's Mirrors suite, with Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone and the London Vocal Project, directed by Pete Churchill,  to be released on 25th February 2013, followed by Birds, the new album by Marius Neset - with Ivo Neame, Anton Eger, Jasper Hoiby and Jim Hart.

Gearbox Records site / Edition Records Site / Press Release.

Read More...

Guardian Top Five Jazz Albums of 2012


John Fordham's Best Jazz Albums of 2012 is published this morning. UPDATE 18 Dec: we understand that the Guardian published the five in the reverse order from that intended by John Fordham...

5. All There, Ever Out - Alexander Hawkins (Babel)

4. Landing Ground - Laura Jurd (Chaos)

3. Wasted and Wanted - Michael Wollny's [em] (ACT)

2. Confirmation - Django Bates (Lost Marble)

1. Sleeper - Keith Jarrett (ECM)

Here's the piece

Read More...

I Saw Three Ships from Jacob Collier



News travels, and fast: the sharp antennae of Ottawa blogger Peter Hum alerted us via this post to some multi-instrumental high speed carolling from Royal Academy of Music jazz student Jacob Collier. There are already forty comments about it on his Facebook page

Read More...

News: Further Acts Announced for Love Supreme Festival



Three more acts have just been confirmed for the Love Supreme Jazz Festival which takes place at GLYNDE PLACE, EAST SUSSEX from Friday the 5th to Sunday the 7th of July 2013.

The acts are:

Robert Glasper Experiment, who were nominated for two Grammy awards last week for best R&B performance and best R&B album.

“Cant wait to come back to the UK and hit the incredible Love Supreme Jazz Festival with my Experiment band– UK is like a second home for us! Look forward to checking out the entire festival and seeing all my people." Says Glasper

Andreya Triana, The South East London singer who released her debut album in 2010 (Lost Where I Belong) that featured a collaboration with Bonobo and Fink.

Snarky Puppy, whose influences range from Jazz and Rock, to funk and world music.

Festival Director Ciro Romano says: “Artists like Robert Glasper Experience, Andreya Triana and Snarky Puppy reflect Love Supreme’s aim to programme a diverse and contemporary festival. Many of the acts we are booking to perform at the festival will not only draw on rich Jazz traditions, but also wider musical influences and styles such as hip hop, R&B, rock, soul and more experimental music”.

Tickets for the festival are on sale now, priced as follows:

3 Day Weekend (inc Camping)
Adults: £110
Juniors £60

3 Day Weekend (no Camping)
Adults: £100
Juniors £50

Day Tickets
Adults: £50
Juniors £30

Children 5 years and younger go free

Car Park: £10

Campervan Pitch: £50

VIP Packages are also available – see website for details.

Read More...

Other Contributors' Top Albums of 2012

Following on from Chris Parker's considerable list of his top albums of 2012, we asked some other contributors what their favourite albums of the year are. As with the Chris Parker piece, several of the images are clickable through to sound clips.

Alison Bentley:





 The Aruán Ortiz & Michael Janisch Quintet feat. Greg Osby - Banned in London


"What happens when such creative, dynamic musicians meet? Light the fuse and listen to the fireworks"


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jack Davies:


Dave Douglas Quintet - Be Still

"Dave Douglas' 'Be Still' must be one of the most honest, and unashamedly beautiful albums of 2012"



-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kit Downes:




BABs - Diving Bells

"Fun and unusual, with a great sound"
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Rob Edgar:


 John Butcher - Bell Trove Spools

"The best thing that can happen is for the listener simply to become immersed in his delicate, hypnotic and meditative sound-world."



Toufic Farroukh - Cinéma Beyrouth


"Farroukh is a fine saxophonist and also an accomplished builder of convincing narratives as a composer"

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Malcolm Edmonstone



Don Fagen - Sunken Condos

"Chosen for the distillation of jazz sensibilities within an an album which is primarily not improvised."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sue Edwards:



Avishai Cohen with Nitai Hershkovits - Duende

"A gem of an album I keep going back to again and again. The perfectly balanced acoustic duo seamlessly combine jazz, classical and folk genres...Avishai is forever discovering amazing young talent and this album introduces piano prodigy Nitai Hershkovits (who can be heard playing with Avishai at the Barbican on 7th May 2013.)"



Laura Jurd - Landing Ground

"This debut album deserves -at  least!- an honourable mention"

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alexander Hawkins:

Henry Threadgill - Tomorrow Sunny/The Revelry

"just listen to the SOUND the guy makes on alto."



Blue Notes - Before the Wind Changes

"a newly discovered album from one of the greatest groups in the history of our music…how could it not be in my list?!?"

Alexander Hawkins also picked Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers, see below in Dan Paton's selection.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alexa Von Hirschberg:



The Bad Plus - Made Possible

"The Bad Plus can’t put a pedal wrong"



George Crowley Quartet - Paper Universe

"Paper Universe deserves attention for Crowley’s engaging compositions and exceptional storytelling."



"The ultimate shout-out this year is to Troyka who, for me, encapsulate everything that is exciting about the London jazz scene. Their second album Moxxy is contemporary fusion to die for; dynamic, absorbing, vigorous and sexxy as hell."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Phil Meadows:

Jack Davis Big Band (self titled album)

"This big band debut plays host to some superb writing combining a host of moods, colours and fantastic instrumental performance.

Tom Gibbs - Fear of Flying

"An album with a personal touch, real flair and a true sense of beauty."



trioVD - Maze

"Chris, Chris and Chris combine for another installment of raw energy, distorted beats, and dense soundscapes in this inspiringly creative record"

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dan Paton:



Phronesis - Walking Dark

"Breathtaking interaction without the dominance of any one player, those brilliant, memorable spidery bass lines that seem to act as so much more than foundations, the relentless activity through which subtle melodies are interwoven."



Wadada Leo Smith - Ten Freedom Summers

"This is not merely an album - but the summation of an entire life's aspirations, a composition cycle that merges radical arranging with liberated improvising to stirring, moving effect, incorporating the triumph and the frustrations of the Civil Rights movement."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sebastian Scotney:
Brigitte Beraha - Babelfish


"A quietly irresistible CD, which gives the almost certain prospect that in two or three years, Brigitte Beraha is going to make a truly classic album."



Daniel Humair - Sweet and Sour


"This lineup was a definite highlight of the Jazzdor festival in Berlin. The legendary Swiss drummer is supported by some much younger associates all of whom coalesce into a unit capable of going in all directions and capture and define any mood. A richly varied album."



Herbie Tsoaeli - African Time

"Bassist Herbie Tsoaeli and his young band from Johannesburg showcased the tracks from this remarkable and addictive album at the Cape Town Festival in March.Tsoaeli has spent decades as sideman, but he also has a voice of great resonance, in all senses, which seems to speak from deep in the bass clef and from deep in the soul."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Geoff Winston





The big one is Scott Walker's Bish Bosch (4AD). Operatic in ambition, resolutely individual, esoteric and raw, this highly uncomfortable mirror of the times has been constructed with an awesome attention to detail. Walker's acutely controlled, melodic voice finds a platform within a flow of precisely defined acoustic spaces that encompass electronics, micro-acoustics, roughly cast guitar, brass, squealing violins and studio-recorded effects, including the well-reported clashing of machete blades.

There's even a tiny snatch of the Take Five rhythm. Walker's lyrics take on the mantle of true poetry, and pull no punches - 'take that accidentally in the bollocks for a start'. Complex, disturbing, they articulate the darkest aspects of humanity - alienation, warfare, torture, brutality, suffering, cruelty - but with the decaying beauty of a Pasolini or Fellini epic. 'I looked high and low for you. I guess I didn't look low enough.' The use of silence is rivetting, notably in the extended SDSS1416+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter). The drama and the imagination are tense, unpredictable - you never know what is around the next corner. It is a stunning album, unmatched, unique.






The one that caught me by surprise is Battles Dross Glop (Warp). The trio, Battles, invited 12 artists each to remix a track of their Gloss Drop album - originally on 12 inch singles, now compiled on a CD bursting with freshness. Each interpretation is imbued with a unique, inspired footprint. On some tracks the links are tenuous, others amplify the essence; raw material is rewoven to parallel designs. Silent Servant's remix of Inchworm flies off with a hefty dance undercarriage with engulfing atmospherics; EYE's remix of Sundome picks off its massive dub reggae root in a collage of crazy acoustic paving; Qluster's Dominican Fade has a gentle, dreamy nonchalance and Hudson Mohawke gets right to the point with an electro-hurdy-gurdy recasting of the catchy theme of Rose Bayce. Every track is a winner - frisky, fresh and intelligent all the way through.





In more conventional format, Gerd Dudek's Day and Night (psi records) struck a chord in the light of his masterly performance at the Vortex on the January night before the recording, where he demonstrated what a virtuosic sax player he is - connected, authoritative, with a wealth of experience in 'free' and conventional jazz - and what a great rapport he struck up with this quartet - Hans Koller, Oli Hayhurst and Gene Calderazzo - in their careful interpretations of 'favourite tunes', from Herbie Nichols to Bach, via Mingus, Ornette and Kenny Wheeler - all brimming with personality and flair. Lovely, because it wasn't trying to be 'record of the year'!


Read More...

Chris Parker's Annual CD Roundup

Chris Parker has compiled a roundup of his favourite albums of the year. Chris has only included any albums that he has reviewed. The links from the album titles are through to Chris's reviews. Some of the pictures are clickable through to Youtube and Soundcloud clips).

Album of the Year (by some distance – sheer perfection!)



Christine Tobin
Sailing to Byzantium
Trail Belle Records TRB02



Nine other UK favourites:



Blue Touch Paper
Stand Well Back
Provocateur PVC1042





Nikki Iles
Hush
Basho SRCD 38-2





Mike Osborne Trio
The Birmingham Jazz Concert
Cadillac SGCD 010/011





Michael Gibbs and the NDR Bigband
Back in the Days
Cuneiform Records Rune






Django Bates’ Belovèd
Confirmation
Lost Marble LM007






René von Grünig & Mark Wingfield
Cinema Obscura
Dark Energy Music (no catalogue number)




Barb Jungr
Stockport to Memphis
Naim naimcd179






Neon Quartet
Subjekt
Edition Records EDN1036






Food (Iain Ballamy/Thomas Strønen)
Mercurial Balm
ECM 370 9440



Five ‘foreigners’:




Tim Berne
Snakeoil
ECM277 8654






Fly
Year of the Snake
ECM 277 6644






Ernie Watts Quartet
Oasis
Flying Dolphin Records FD 1008






Keith Jarrett
Sleeper
ECM 370 5570






Jason Robinson
The Two Faces of Janus
Cuneiform Records Rune 311

Read More...