NEWS: Winners at 2017 JazzFM Awards Announced - Including Two Awards for the Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood
receiving the Album of theYear  award
Sebastian writes: 

For a jazz event this was a very star-studded night indeed. Two awards (Blues Album and Album of the Year went to the Rolling Stones, three of whom were there to accept them.

Among the presenters of awards was Sir Van Morrison. Georgie Fame and Laura Mvula performed, as did Donny McCaslin. Gina Miller who took the Conservative government and its "strong leader" to court over Brexit - and won -  also presented an award.

Evan Parker, presenting an award to Charlie Watts, rightly alluded to one of the unsung heroes of the night, bassist Dave Green, whose lifelong friendship with the Stones' drummer (chronicled recently here by The Jazz Podcast) formed the long-view backdrop of much of what we saw.

Jez Nelson presented the event, which was taking place on the centenary of the birth of Ella Fitzgerald.

2017 Nominees Complete List - Winners in Bold

BREAKTHROUGH ACT OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Yamaha
– Ashley Henry
– Nubya Garcia
WINNER – Yussef Kamaal

INTERNATIONAL JAZZ ARTIST OF THE YEAR Sponsored by Oris Watches
– Brad Mehldau
WINNER – Donny McCaslin
– Robert Glasper

Norma Winstone receiving her Vocalist of the Year award from
Tanita Tikaram

VOCALIST OF THE YEAR Sponsored by PRS for Music
– Carleen Anderson
WINNER – Norma Winstone
– Polly Gibbons

INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR Sponsored by Rathbones
WINNER – Nikki Yeoh
– Gwilym Simcock
– Tim Garland

BLUES ARTIST OF THE YEAR Sponsored by The Piano Bar Soho
– Bonnie Raitt
– Eric Bibb
WINNER – The Rolling Stones

SOUL ARTIST OF THE YEAR Sponsored by RCS
– Jordan Rakei
WINNER – Laura Mvula
– William Bell

JAZZ INNOVATION OF THE YEAR Sponsored by Mishcon de Reya
– Darcy James Argue
WINNER – Jaimeo Brown
– Moon Hooch

DIGITAL INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR Sponsored by Pollitt & Partners
– Dave Douglas – Greenleaf Music
WINNER – Gilles Peterson – Worldwide FM
– Jaimeo Brown – Transcendence: Work Songs




Shabaka Hutchings receiving his award
from Natalie Williams


ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Public Vote, Sponsored by Arqiva
– Anderson .Paak – Malibu
– Donny McCaslin – Beyond Now
– Gregory Porter – Take Me To The Alley
– Kurt Elling – The Beautiful Day
– Madeleine Peyroux – Secular Hymns
WINNER – The Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome



UK JAZZ ACT OF THE YEAR  - Public Vote, Sponsored by Grange Hotels
– Dinosaur
WINNER – Shabaka Hutchings
– Soweto Kinch

LIVE EXPERIENCE OF THE YEAR - Public Vote
– Ashley Henry Trio at Jazz Re:Fest, Royal Festival Hall
– Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles at Glee Club Birmingham
– Julian Arguelles with Frankfurt Radio Big Band, Django Bates & Steve Argüelles at Cheltenham Jazz Festival
WINNER – Orphy Robinson All Stars – The Bobby Hutcherson Songbook at St James The Great, London
– Roberto Fonseca Trio at Gateshead International Jazz Festival, Sage Gateshead
– Wayne Shorter Quartet at EFG London Jazz Festival, Barbican

PPL LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
– Recipient: Georgie Fame

IMPACT AWARD (for bringing jazz to wider audiences)
Recipient: Damien Chazelle


GOLD AWARD
– Recipient: Charlie Watts



The Jazz FM Awards 2017 is a partnership between Jazz FM and Serious and is made possible with the support of Mishcon De Reya, PRS For Music, Rathbones, Pollitt & Partners, Oris Watches, Grange Hotels, RCS, Denbies Wine Estate, Arqiva, Fever Tree, Yamaha, The Piano Bar Soho and PPL

LINKS : JazzFM Awards website
2016 Awards Results
2015 Awards Results
2013 Awards Results

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NEWS: Montreal Jazz Festival 2017 announces "Programme - Salles" (ticketed concerts, June 28 - July 8)


Montreal Festival 2013
Photo Credit Jean-Francois Leblanc/Montreal Int Jazz Fest


The Montreal International Jazz Festival has just announced its "Programme - Salles" i.e all the ticketed events programme.

What jumps forth at the reader from the list below is the festival's sheer vastness. And even this opulence of talent is -  in a sense -  just a part of the story, since the festival also has a) a huge free programme, and b) incorporates the programme of the city's two delightful small clubs Diese Onze and Upstairs.

We have listed by venue. Some things to flag up are:

-  a substantial British presence
- Bob Dylan
- just about every international and Canadian jazz name you might want to hear! 


Today's Press Release states:

Montreal, Tuesday, April 25, 2017 With 150 indoor concerts, 14 themed series presented in 11 concert venues, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal once again proves it is THE musical rendezvous of the summer! The 38th edition of the Festival, presented by TD Bank Group in collaboration with Rio Tinto from June 28 to July 8, reveals hos wonderfully the Festival wears its years, never ceasing to renew, innovate, enrich, diversify and deepen its offering… And so the curtain rises on a program brimming with jazz, of course, but also blues, folk, rock, pop, electronica and world music, in addition to displaying a new website and new colours thanks to its collaboration with the teams of Bleublancrouge and Baillat for the graphic design of this edition. It’s a high-calibre program, combining the most dazzling stars on today’s scene, artists at the zenith of their art, and streaking young comets to be discovered… 

A musical planet we will never stop exploring! But this is also an edition overflowing with styles and cultures, with over 17 countries represented, from Norway to Brazil, Armenia to New Zealand, including the UK, Cuba, Mali, Nigeria, Japan, South Korea, Argentina and, of course, Canada, from B.C. to Nunavut! Eleven days and nights of discoveries, passion, surprises and celebration! Tickets go on sale this Friday at noon. “What a joy it is to contribute again to the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, a world-class event, which brings so many music lovers together. As the Bank of Music, we made a commitment, 14 years ago, to support community programs for young people across Canada by offering, workshops, innovative educational programs and grants, as well as awards and scholarships in the field of music. We also sponsor more than 80 music festivals each year from coast to coast. This 38th edition will certainly be one of the fabulous ways to celebrate the 375th anniversary of Montreal”, says Sylvie Demers, Chair, Quebec Market, TD Bank Group.

FESTIVAL PROGRAMME - SALLES LISTED BY VENUE


Centre Bell

Bob Dylan and His Band (June 30, 8 p.m.)

Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts

- A reunion of the fusion group UZEB
- Pink Martini
- Alfredo Rodríguez
- Buddy Guy | Charlie Musselwhite | Steve Hill and Matt Andersen duo
- LA LA LAND in concert
- Melissa Etheridge | Joss Stone
- The O’Jays | The Four Tops
- Bobby Bazini, Summer Is Gone

Théâtre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts

- Robert Glasper Experiment, ArtScience
- Kendrick Scott Oracle
- Harlem Gospel Choir
- The Gipsy Kings
- The Stanley Clarke Band
- Buika
- Arturo Sandoval | Jane Bunnett and Maqueque
- Lisa Simone | Michael Kaeshammer
- The Barr Brothers, Bassekou Kouyaté & Amy Sacko
- Matt Holubowski

Maison symphonique de Montréal

- Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski
- John Scofield | Charles Lloyd & The Marvels
- Tigran Hamasyan, An Ancient Observer
- Colin Stetson
- Montreal Jubilation Choir, Glory Train
- Joshua Redman, Ron Miles, Scott Colley and Brian Blade
- Danilo Pérez trio featuring Adam Cruz and Ben Street
- Jean-Willy Kunz, L’orgue dans tous ses états
- Battle of the Bands IX: The Cab Calloway Orchestra vs. the Xavier Cugat Orchestra
- Jesse Cook

Métropolis

- Charlotte Cardin
- Serena Ryder
- Caravan Palace
- Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires
- Joey Bada$$ (Brooklyn rapper)
- The Strumbellas | Whitehorse (Canadian Folk-Rock)
- Groenland | San Fermin
- Serena Ryder

Club Soda

- SOMI
- Bokanté (Guadeloupe) with Michael League and Malika Tirolien
- Kandace Springs
- Jacob Collier
- Ron Sexsmith
- Flavia Coelho
- SOMI
- Rodrigo Amarante
- Morgan James
- Acid Arab
- Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles
- Squarepusher presents Shobaleader One
- Men Without Hats
- Portico Quartet | Binker & Moses (UK)
- Deluxe (France)
- Acid Arab (Paris)
- KROY, Scavenger | Geoffroy
-Tanya Tagaq
- BROS (Canada)

Salle Ludger-Duvernay, Monument-National

-Tony Allen
- Youn Sun Nah
- Ambrose Akinmusire
- Hiromi & Edmar Castaneda duo
- Christian McBride
- Roberto Fonseca, ABUC
- Gwilym Simock | Phronesis, UK Marathon
- Nicholas Payton
- Laurent Coulondre
- Lizz Wright
- Dave Douglas & Chet Doxas with special guest Carla Bley
- Harry Manx with Quatuor esca
- Tony Allen, Tribute to Art Blakey

Gesù

- The Bad Plus
- The Bad Plus with Rudresh Mahanthappa
- The Bad Plus with Kurt Rosenwinkel
- John Pizzarelli Quartet with Catherine Russell, Billy & Blue Eyes
- John Pizzarelli Quartet with Jessica Molaskey
- John Pizzarelli Quartet with Daniel Jobim
- Ravi Coltrane duo with David Virelles
- Ravi Coltrane Quartet with Adam Rogers, Yunior Terry, E.J. Strickland
- Ravi Coltrane Quartet welcomes Robin Eubanks and Jason Palmer
- Shabaka & The Ancestors
- Donny McCaslin
- Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet
- Bill Frisell Duo with Thomas Morgan
- Django Festival Allstars with Samson Schmitt, Ludovic Beier & Pierre Blanchard
- The Neil Cowley Trio
- Escalandrum & Elena Roger
- Harold López-Nussa trio
- Lorraine Desmarais trio plays Bill Evans
-L’Orchestre national de jazz with guests John Hollenbeck and Theo Bleckmann

L’Astral (Maison du Festival)

- Daniel Clarke Bouchard
- Christine and Ingrid Jensen with Ben Monder, Infinitude
- Jowee Omicil
- Andrea Lindsay, Entre le jazz et la java
- Hichem Khalfa Quartet
- Lucioles, Collectif Guillaume Martineau
- Misses Satchmo
- Parc X Trio
- Rachel Therrien, Pensamiento : Proyecto Colombia
- Parlor Social with Dessy Di Lauro x Ric’key Pageot (Los Angeles)
- Imany
- Xenia Rubinos
- Knower with Dennis Hamm, Sam Gendel, Sam Wilkes (California)
- Kurt Rosenwinkel, Caipi
- Bria Skonberg
- Aron Ottignon
- Too Many Zooz
- Ariel Pocock
- Shyre (Montreal)

Savoy du Métropolis

- Gabrielle Shonk
- Puma Blue (London UK)
- Harfang
- Siv Jakobsen

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REVIEW: Stefan Aeby Trio and Aki Takase /Rudi Mahall Duo at the Vortex (2017 Intakt Festival)

Accepting the applause at the end of Stefan Aeby's London debut as leader
L-R: Stefan Aeby, Andre Pousaz, Michi Stulz 


Stefan Aeby Trio and Aki Takase /Rudi Mahall Duo
(Vortex, 24th April 2017. Ninth night of Intakt Festival. Review by Sebastian Scotney - first half; and Tony Dudley Evans - second half)


This was the ninth night of twelve at the Intakt Festival. The first half presented a London debut as leader for Stefan Aeby, He has already popped up twice in the festival as a loyal member of bands led by Sarah Buechi and Christoph Irniger, but here the attentive Vortex audience was able to hear him on his own terms.

Aeby brings in processed sounds with the piano, he allows bassist Andre Pousaz (impeccable tuning) and drummer Michi Stulz (great sense of colour) to keep him anchored, but Aeby's real self-discipline is in never letting go of a melodic thread. I was reminded in the earlier part of the set by great and unflashy and unfailingly melodic Italian pianists like Rita Marcotulli or Giovanni Mirabassi. Yes, things were to got rockier and more electronic, but the sense of line and balance always remained.

It was a very well shaped set indeed. One might construct a theory - that Swiss artists will always know where the peaks are (like Paul Klee or Hodler drawing the Niesen). Whatever. Aeby's  intensity builds were incredibly  well judged, with all three trio members feeling them remarkably in synch and in balance, but rather than going out in a blaze of glory, this trio has a way of enjoying the view once they get to the top. the climaxes were followed by long, measured, thoughtful exhales.

Control, purpose, collegiality, respect, deep sense of civilisation. We might be describing the spirit of the Intakt Festival. But all of those were encapsulated in Aeby's end-of-set acknowledgements: before he got round to thanking his trio colleagues he made a point of singling out Ally who does the Vortex's sound.


Tony Dudley-Evans writes about the second set: 

The second set presented a most enjoyable duo performance with Aki Takase on piano and Rudi Mahall on clarinet and bass clarinet. They have played together for twenty years and the resulting ease with which they move from one mood to another is apparent. Each section moved from a tune through extensive free improvisation and back to the head, and tunes ranged from Moonglow, a medley of Dolphy tunes,

Green Dolphin Street and quirky originals from Aki or Rudi, often with similarly quirky titles in German which Rudi struggled to explain in English. Most striking was the way they added in a lot of humour, both in the music and in the whole presentation of the set. It thus combined tremendous playing from both performers with a lot of fun.

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CASSETTE REVIEW: Lucia Cadotsch - Speak Low Renditions


Lucia Cadotsch  - Speak Low Renditions
( www.luciacadotsch.bandcamp.com/yum and on cassette. Review by Tony Dudley-Evans)

Lucia Cadotsch is a Swiss vocalist based in Berlin whose album Speak Low with bass player Petter Eldh and saxophonist Otis Sandsjo, devoted to well-known songs such as Moon River, Don't Explain and Strange Fruit, had a rare straightforward beauty. The trio played two UK dates at the Vortex London and mac Birmingham (TDE Promotions) (REVIEW).

Cadotsch has followed it up with a new recording featuring a series of remixes.

The artists making the remixes come from quite different backgrounds: Trummerschlunk, Marc Neyen and Don Philippe mostly inhabit the dance floor world in Berlin; Julian Sartorius and Marc Lohr are drummers; Evelinn Trouble and Joy Fremong are singers; and Colin Vallon, Dan Nicholls and Petter Eldh, a member of the Speak Low trio who has two remixes under the name of Frans Petter, come from the contemporary jazz world.

The remixes add to the beauty and eery nature of the original tracks. Some take the music quite some away from the original, while others keep Lucia's voice and the instrumental passages more or less as they were, but add keyboard, drum, vocal or other sounds, The latter work particularly well.

Julian Sartorius' simple repetitive drum rhythm adds to the moving nature of Lucia's version of Don't Explain. Marc Lohr's remix of Strange Fruit with electronic backing strengthens Lucia's atmospheric rendition. Perhaps my favourite track has Evelinn Trouble adding a stunning vocal backing to Slow Hot Wind that draws on Evelinn's world of psychedelic rock. Marc Neyen's version of Moon River transforms the saxophone and bass sounds into a kind of ambient drone and adds drum and guitar to create atmospheric backing for Lucia's unaltered voice. Peter Eldh's version of Speak Low adds a very busy drum rhythm from Julian Sartorius.

The other approach is to make radical changes to the original versions thereby creating effectively a new piece of music. Trummerschlunk's version of Ain't Got No hardly makes use of the original for a long quirky and minimalist track with the voice very much in the background. Dan Nicholls' remix of Deep Song leaps about in a way that reminds of his Strobes group. Petter Eldh's other remix, Some Other Spring, is a much funkier track with the addition of drums and keys. Don Philippe adds a gentle hip hop rhythm to Moon River that works surprisingly well. Another favourite of mine is that by Joy Fremong who loops the voice in several layers that reminds of the Tuneyards group.

Colin Vallon takes a different approach from all the others by leaving unprocessed parts of Lucia's original recording of Don 't Explain, but interspersing other instrumental passages that build up the intensity of the song.

Overall, this album is sufficiently faithful to the original but brings something fresh to it.

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NEWS: German ECHO JAZZ Award Winners Announced

Eva Kruse
Photo credit: Bibbie Friman

The winners of the 2017 ECHO JAZZ Awards have just been announced: 

German Awards

Ensemble: Joachim Kühn New Trio
Singer: Lucia Cadotsch
Bass/ Bass Guitar: Eva Kruse
Brass instrument: Frederik Köster
Sax / Woodwinds: Daniel Erdmann
Drums Percussion: Diego Piñera
Piano/Keyboards: Michael Wollny
Guitar : Arne Jansen
Newcomer: Anna-Lena Schnabel

International Awards

Singer: Norah Jones
Ensemble: Branford Marsalis Quartet
Drums / Percussion: Antonio Sanchez
Saxophone/ Woodwind: Émile Parisien
Piano/ Keyboards Kenny Barron
Bass: Lars Danielsson
Brass instrument: Cuong Vu
Guitar: Charlie Hunter
Other instrument: Vincent Peirani
Large Ensemble: Marius Neset & London Sinfonietta
Bestseller: Gregory Porter

Special Prizes

American Jazz Heroes
E.S.T. Symphony

Further information and full details of the albums -  www.echojazz.de

The awards ceremony will be on 1st June 2017 at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg.


ECHO JAZZ is a joint production by the Deutsche Phono-Akademie, and the Kulturinstitut des Bundesverbandes Musikindustrie (BVMI)


LINKS: Our first mention of Anna-Lena Schnabel as a member of BuJazzO in 2012

CD Review of Frederik Koester Die Verwandlung

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REVIEW: Jazz Repertory Co. - The Golden Age of British Big Bands at Cadogan Hall,

The Golden Age Big Band
Photo credit: Paul Wood

Jazz Repertory Co. - The Golden Age of British Big Bands
(Cadogan Hall, 23 April 2017. Review by Peter Vacher)


Deep in the Leytonstone think-tank where the Jazz Repertory Company draw up their plans, great minds work tirelessly to devise new enterprises and projects, or as we know them, to create themed concerts designed to tickle the fancy of the Cadogan Hall’s happy band of faithful followers.

The skills and ingenuity of team leaders Richard Pite and Pete Long are crucial to these endeavours, each concert like a new book whose pages have yet to be turned. That these two musical magpies continue to come up with cleverly devised, thoughtful programmes may well be one of the small wonders of the age. And that of course brings us to their latest outpouring devoted to British big bands which debuted last Sunday.

Pete Long
Photo credit: Paul Wood

In a concert that lived up to the cliché of a game of two halves, the first took the largely populist route with the accent on vocal recollections, with everything from a George Formby favourite warbled by Spats Langham with ukulele accompaniment to a pair of duet s between the sweet-voiced Janice Day [who also had a neat solo turn on That Lovely Weekend] and Langham. All nicely done; even if the outstanding Pete Long orchestra was confined to playing second fiddle. No such caveat for Alex Garnett who took on the tenor role in the Coleman Hawkins/Jack Hylton version of Melancholy Baby with his usual creative tenacity, the band writing cleverly devised. Along the way, Fred Elizalde’s spirited 1928 chart for Crazy Rhythm had aged beautifully, with Jay Craig emulating Adrian Rollini on bass saxophone, followed by a rousing Harry Roy piece and then the climactic Bakerloo Non-Stop, from the days of Ted Heath, all brass and belligerence, with lead trumpeter Nathan Bray triumphant in the spotlight.

With Heath’s Hot Toddy’/’Swinging Shepherd Blues post-interval again exploring the popular, Stan Tracey’s Afro Charlie Meets The White Rabbit then offered a bracing-eye’s view of the jazz uplands with Garnett heard at length and in supreme form, every nuance explored, each short phrase cooked to perfection. Tracey’s unlikely collaboration with Acker Bilk came good with Long’s mellifluous clarinet rendering of Stranger on the Shore before we again reverted to the hit parade with trombonist Chris Dean’s pair of truly show-stopping vocals recalling the heyday of Matt Monro. Jazz-free but superbly done. Back into the premiership with two pieces culled from the Tubby Hayes big band pad; Parisian Thoroughfare giving trumpeter Freddie Gavita his chance to unwind a long, looping improvisation that had boppish élan as its trademark, before trumpeter Mark Armstrong [NYJO’s Musical Director] combined with Garnett on Suddenly Last Tuesday to provide the kind of heartening evidence that all was well on the jazz front. Brilliant chart, superbly executed, tremendous soloists.

Alec Dankworth
Photo credit: Paul Wood


Good, too to celebrate John Dankworth, especially since son Alec Dankworth was on bass, with the very catchy African Waltz and the cleverly-constructed Tomorrow’s World theme, this before a roaring tribute to NYJO itself with Bill Charleson’s demanding arrangement of My Old Man this allowing trombonist Callum Au to do some solo muscle flexing. Fast and furious, for sure.

So, a night of mixed endeavours and outcomes, straddling the twin peaks of chart success and jazz prowess. Might there have been room , say, for something of Lew Stone, Spike Hughes, Ambrose and Tommy Sampson, not to mention Vic Lewis? Perhaps another time.

The Golden Age Big Band
Photo credit: Paul Wood

THE BAND:


Pete Long [MD, cl, as]; Janice Day [voc]; Thomas Langham [voc/g]; Martin Litton [p]
Freddie Gavita, Nathan Bray, James Davison, Mark Armstrong [t, fgh];
Chris Dean [tb/voc]; Andy Flaxman, Callum Au [tb]; Mark Frost [b-tb];
Bob Sydor [ts, cl, f]; Alex Garnett [ts, cl, f]; Colin Skinner [as, cl, f, picc, sop]; Simon Marsh [as, cl, f]; Jay Craig [bs, cl, b-cl, bass-sax]
Alec Dankworth [b]; Richard Pite [d].

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NEWS: Durham BRASS Festival (9-16th July) / applications invited for Big Band Summer School

BBC Big Band
Photo courtesy of BRASS Festival


Durham’s BRASS Festival is in its eleventh year, but this year has a new addition:

For the first time, a Big Band Summer School run alongside the festival from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 July.

There will  be three bands: youth (up to 22 years), intermediate, and advanced, and applications are welcome from players of big band instruments of Grade 6 standard and above - there is no official closing date in the documentation but the organizers are recommending early application.

According to the press release, "the festival sets out to change perceptions about brass music and develop new audiences through a focus on new commissions and collaborative work, bringing together brass musicians, actors, theater makers, dancers, and technology."

This year's program includes a concert by the BBC Big Band dedicated to Dizzy Gillespie and the great big band leaders on, 13th July. The concerts are focused on the Gala Theatre and Durham Cathedral.

Led by American jazz trombonist Jiggs Whigham and members of the BBC Big Band, this summer school will focus on the music of the great brass big band leaders and is open to players of all ages and stages. The Summer School will provide musicians with the opportunity to work with director and trombonist Jiggs Whigham, lead trumpet Martin Shaw plus the rhythm section of Robin Aspland (piano), Jeremy Brown (bass) and Tom Gordon (drums).

In addition to the big band workshops, there will also be an opportunity to join the rhythm section, other course members, and visiting musicians, in two Big BRASS Jams as part of the Festival Fringe.

Durham BRASS Festival is presented by Durham County Council and Arts Council England

LINK: Big Band Summer School Applications
LINK: BRASS Festival Events

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FEATURE: Monika S. Jakubowska Jazz Photographer (Newsletter Prize Draw)

Self-portrait:
Photo credit: Monika S. Jakubowska/ msjphotos.co.uk


Sebastian writes 

Slowly but surely, the word about good people does get out. Photographer and graphic designer Monika S. Jakubowska works in a quiet and low-key way, but her work with jazz musicians is becoming better known.

She has done work for Alice Zawadzki, Asaf Sirkis, Shez Raja, Mark Fletcher and Fletch’s Brew (the album 39 & 47), Julian Arguelles (Tetra). “So far, all of my assignments have come via word of mouth and recommendations,” she says.

Monika is originally from Suwalki in North-Eastern Poland and has lived in the UK since 2006, moving here when she was around thirty.

When did the photography start? “My father is a musician and an amateur photographer..I started taking photos at the age of three!” LJN first came across some particularly uplifting work she produced of the skies over West London which we included in our International Womens Day supplement in 2015. (LINK)

Alice Zawadzki
Photo credit: Monika S.Jakubowska/ msjphotos.co.uk


The word-of-mouth recommendations of Jakubowska come with the sense of a person of integrity and seriousness. As Alice Zawadzki says about her: “For her, taking pictures seems natural as breathing, She takes photos most days. It is something she has to do .”

Shez Raja says: "Monika has taken some incredible photos at my live shows. She has an amazing talent for capturing the atmosphere, energy and human emotion in her images. I call her 'the photo ninja' because I rarely actually see her taking the photos whilst I'm playing!"


Shez Raja
Photo credit: Monika S. Jakubowska /msjphotos.co.uk


Jakubowska describes how she likes to work: “With my photographs I can put emotions into images just as writing puts emotions into words. I see stories in people,” she says. And when she describes the purpose, one senses a lack of ego: “ I like being of service to artists - giving back through photography.”

As she demonstrated when working for us recently at a gig by the Skelton Skinner septet – LINK - she is very good at capturing the moment, the musicians in action Alice Zawadzki has also described this:

“She is easy to work with, extremely professional, and she always brings a consistent energy, and pride in doing a good job. Never intimidating or judgmental.”



Artwork for the Julian Arguelles'album Tetra


DETAILS OF PRIZE DRAW: This week's newsletter prize draw is from Monika S Jakubowska and consists of a photo shoot: portrait/family portrait at a mutually agreed time within London,  and if the winner is a musician, a promo shoot of an artist/band or gig shoot .  (pp)

LINK / CONTACT: msjphotos.co.uk

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PREVIEW: Billy Marrows Octet/Sam Braysher Trio (Jazz Nursery at Iklektic, April 27th)

Photo: Steven Cropper/Transient Life

Winner of the Dankworth Prize for Jazz Composition in 2016,  Billy Marrows will be leading his octet in  music from his gamelan-influenced Gamelancaster suite alongside new original works in a double bill with Sam Braysher’s trio at Jazz Nursery

Billy was inspired by hearing gamelan on a trip to Java in summer 2016, and wrote a suite exploring concepts from gamelan.  The suite was written to fulfil a commission  from Lancaster Youth Jazz, and premiered  at the 2016 Lancaster Jazz Festival.

Since then, the music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Now via BBC Introducing.



The octet is in a  double bill with alto saxophonist Sam Braysher’s trio will also include the premiere of a new work for octet experimenting with counterpoint and canonic writing, entitled Scenes from the Underground.

PERSONNEL

Billy Marrows - guitar
Will Barry - piano
Will Harris - bass
Luke Tomlinson - drums
James Copus - trumpet
Tom Smith  - alto saxophone
Tom Barford  - tenor and soprano saxophones
 Olli Martin -trombone

LINK: Billy Marrows Octet/Sam Braysher Trio Tickets

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NEWS: 2017 EJN Adventurous Programming Award goes to Tampere Jazz Happening



The Europe Jazz Network has just announced that The EJN Award For Adventurous Programming 2017 will go to Tampere Jazz Happening.

The award will be officially made this Friday, 28th April, at jazzahead! in Bremen.

The jury's citation was:

“Tampere Jazz Happening for over 35 years now presents a strong programming with a sharp and adventurous profile. Maintaining a familiar approach and strong links with the local community, it established itself as a world-class event and one of the most edgy jazz festivals around. New projects and collaborations are established in every edition, often in the form of inter-generational and inter-gender dialogues. Young Finnish musicians have the opportunity to develop new ideas together with jazz legends and receive wide international exposure. The Festival has broad horizons, framed together in a coherent programme by one of the most characteristic promoters in Europe. All these reasons make Tampere Jazz Happening the perfect choice for the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming 2017!“

The EJN Award Jury 2017 consisted of:  Anne Erm (Artistic Director, Jazzkaar Festivals, Tallinn Estonia), Tina Heine (Artistic Director, Jazz & The City Salzburg, Austria), Martyna Markowska (Artistic Director, JazzArt Festival Katowice, Poland), Yahvé M. de la Cavada (music journalist, Spain), Reiner Michalke (Artistic Director, Stadtgarten Cologne, Germany)

Previous winners of the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming have been: Manchester Jazz Festival, UK (2016), Moers Festival, Germany (2015), Jazz em Agosto, Portugal (2014), Bimhuis,  Netherlands (2013) and 12 Points Festival, Ireland (2012).

LINK: Round-up review of Tampere Jazz Happening 2015

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UPDATE: Summer Season at Crazy Coqs

The Live at Zedel summer season brochure
Clockwise from top left: Joe Stilgoe, Amy Gwilliam(Mummy) ,
Steve Furst (Lenny Beige), Kerry Ellis, Jay Rayner


Sebastian writes:

This was my first visit to the new offices of Fane Productions. This young, rapidly changing company is now an independent company having spun off from United Agents. Since things have a habit of changing extremely fast, it was interesting to get an update of new developments:

1) AUDIENCES AT CRAZY COQS

Fane Productions has been now programming at Brasserie Zedel and Crazy Coqs since September 2016. Their objectives when they took over the programming were to broaden the programme, to increase the audience numbers, and to reach a younger audience.

On all three counts they appear to headed in the right direction: They are “well on track for 800 shows in the Crazy Coqs room this year.” The best attendances were a period of 25 days in March this year when both shows sold out every day, and when attendance year on year 60 % up year on year the highest ever numbers for any time since the venue opened in 2012.

The attempt to change the demographic has also been working. Whereas the typical audience member a year ago was in the 50 and 65 ahe bracket, there has been a big influx of people in the 30 to 45 age range The challenges they face? “To find ways to lure bigger names to an 80 seat venue.”

2) A NEW RECORD LABEL

The Live at Zedel label will launch shortly. Label manager James O'Driscoll recently joined the company. There is a 32 digital channel desk installed at the venue. The first release will be an EP and then an album by the Jay Rayner trio - album likely in September. The company see all kinds of potential..... More detail to follow,

3) JAZZ PRODUCTIONS IN OTHER VENUES

Fane Productions and Michael Parkinson's son are producing a show at Ronnie Scott's,  Parky the Man and His Music - June 11 which will have never previously seen video of musicians from the show. Parkinson was able to bring his own musical enthusiasms - notably jazz -  into the show and foster genuine live performance in a way that talk shows now mostly mimic with pre-recorded segments

4) JAZZ NAMES IN THE SUMMER SEASON AT ZEDEL

Judy Carmichael - April 25-29
Hailey Tuck - May 5, 12, 19, 26
Smittys Big Four - May 6, June 13, 20, July 20
Lucy Dixon - May 16, June 26, July 18, August 24
Joe Stilgoe and Friends - May 29 - June 04
(With Claire Martin, May 29, Natalie Williams, June 02)
Ian Shaw - June 14, July 15
Alice Zawadzki with Jamie Safir - June 24
Alison Jiear - July 9, 21 
(Alison Jiear - pronounced to rhyme with 'fire' is bringing an Ella Fitzgerald show. She has won an award for her role in Jerry Springer the Opera and is a regular with the touring Strictly band)
Beige Sings Diamond - August 03, 04
(Steve Furst is accompanied by the Malcolm Edmonstone Trio)

Link to the full program HERE

5) OTHER PROGRAMMING AT ZEDEL

We talked about their classical music strand . The biggest date so far was the orchestral concert which I reviewed for Tom Mcneill’s site The Prickle (LINK) . The next full orchestra date will be in July - details to follow.

LIVE AT ZEDEL WEBSITE

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NEWS/PREVIEW: The Warwickshire jazz scene gets lively (Winstone at Leamington 1 May; Garland at Kenilworth 19 May)


Jazz is still predominantly the music of the city, but some English shires have more to offer than others for the rural jazz fan looking longingly at the London listings but dreading that drive down the M1. Editor-at-Large Peter Bacon looks at what's coming up in the Shakespeare county.

The little, local, volunteer-run jazz club is alive and well in Warwickshire, where there are regular gatherings in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Kenilworth and Leamington Spa, as well as a refreshed jazz programme in the county's prinicipal city, courtesy of Jazz Coventry.
There are big-name visitors next month in the form of vocalist Norma Winstone and saxophonist Tim Garland. And the summer 2017 gig list for Stratford is looking particularly impressive.

Norma Winstone will be the guest of Warwickshire regulars Interplay, led by bassist Adrian Litvinoff. The group play on International Jazz Day which is also Bank Holiday Monday - 1 May at 7.30pm at The Restaurant In The Park in Leamington Spa's Jephson Gardens.

In addition to the Norma Winstone concert, there is a free public talk before the concert: Dr Roger Fagge, Associate Professor in Comparative American Studies, will be exploring Miles Daves and Doo Bop: Jazz meets Hip Hop at 5pm in The Studio in Jephson Gardens Glasshouse (no stone throwing, please!).

Tim Garland


Meanwhile, just down the road on Friday 19 May, the Kenilworth Jazz Club (KJC) will be presenting the Tim Garland Electric Quartet. This concert is given in association with Kenilworth Arts Festival and will be the first jazz gig in the newly refurbished St John's Parish Church in the town. KJC's David Logan says the church has had major modernisation with new seating, flooring, sound and lighting system - it might be a modest parish church but "it is a credible venue".

Later in 2017 Kenilworth Jazz Club will be presenting a solo concert by Gwilym Simcock during the the main Kenilworth Arts Festival week.

The Stratford Jazz Club celebrated its 30th birthday last year and is currently well ensconsed within Stratford ArtsHouse, though this year is expanding to include Riverside a little way along the Avon in Tiddington.

On the horizon in their fortnightly Wednesday evening gigs are: Alison Rayner Quintet (26 April), Jean Toussaint (10 May), Laura Jurd's Dinosaur (24 May), Kieran Garrett feat. Dave O'Higgins (14 June) and Jay Phelps (28 June).

At Jazz Coventry, which has said a sad farewell to one of its founders, William Shaw, who died earlier this month, the upcoming Thursday programme at its regular venue The Albany Club includes: the Dave Newton Trio with guest Nat Steel (29 April), the Annie Whitehead Quartet (25 May), and the John Etheridge Blue Spirit Trio (19 October).

To find out more about all these jazz clubs follow the links below:

LINKS

Leam Jazz

Kenilworth Jazz Club

Stratford Jazz

Jazz Coventry



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CD REVIEW: Tina May with the Andy Lutter Trio sings Mark Murphy - Café Paranoia



Tina May with the Andy Lutter Trio sings Mark Murphy -  Café Paranoia
(33 Records 256. CD Review by Peter Jones)


Five people were essential to the creation of this album, of whom one is the late Mark Murphy. Famously a disciple of Jack Kerouac, Murphy took up the latter’s concept of the Western haiku: not quite the same as the strict 17-syllable Japanese verse form, but a looser jazz version of it, in which an idea could be briefly expressed in English, and riffed upon.

Murphy came to know and work with the Munich-based German pianist Andy Lutter during the 1990s, and the two began sharing their mutual interest in jazz haiku, Murphy later faxing through his texts as a basis for some future music. The years passed, and nothing happened. Or at least, very little.

Thankfully, however, that future music is here on this album, sung instead by our very own Tina May, backed by Lutter’s trio. They recorded it in Munich, and received the great man’s blessing for its release shortly before his death in 2015.

And it needs to be said straight away that it’s been worth the wait. Café Paranoia is a complete delight, stuffed with great playing and gorgeous melodies from Lutter, with admirable support from Thomas Hauser on bass and Sunk Poschl on drums. Some of the material is tricky, yet May carries it off in a light, hip, effortless style, putting over Murphy’s quirky wit and wisdom with terrific panache. There’s delicacy and vulnerability here too. I have never heard her sing better.

Age only matters if one is a cheese, begins one of the haikus. It was a one-liner Murphy enjoyed telling at gigs later in his career. Sleepy people don’t declare world wars, begins another. Some of the lyrics are splendidly anarchic, making poetic sense but no other kind: Alas awaste-but keep all that in / the devastated street speed, thanks a lot.

There are many tracks, too many to count. Eight of them are haikus, often less than a minute long. Others, such as Less And Less (I remember less and less/ - except you baby) are fully-fledged songs, this one Murphy’s lament for his gradually dimming faculties. Two tunes, the extended Dance Slowly and Formerly Known As Moon, were recorded live. May and Lutter have also contributed a couple of their own Murphy-influenced numbers. And in a fabulous ‘they think it’s all over’ moment right at the end… but I’ll let you find out for yourself.

Peter Jones’s "This Is Hip: The Life Of Mark Murphy" will be published by Equinox in 2018.

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NEWS: Plaque to commemorate George Shearing unveiled at his former school

The new plaque unveiled yesterday - Photo credit: Paul Wood


A commemorative plaque to Sir George Shearing, instigated and organized by The Battersea Society was unveiled yesterday, Saturday 22nd April at Northcote Lodge School (26 Bolingbroke Grove, London, SW11 6EL), formerly Linden Lodge school for the blind, the school that George Shearing attended,- it moved from the site in 1964 to Wimbledon - writes Paul Wood.

The unveiling was made by Alyn Shipton with written tributes from Brian Kay, formerly of the Kings singers, Lady Ellie Shearing and Charlotte Kirwan , an ex-pupil of Linden Lodge, who shared her memories of playing a duet with George when he visited the school in 1962. The event was attended by a large number of George's family and relations -there was also music from pupils at Northcote Lodge School.


Jane Ellison MP‏, Jeanne Rathbone from the Battersea Society
and Alyn Shipton at the unveiling

The following is an extract from Alyn Shipton's speech at the unveiling, reproduced by by kind permission of the author:

"George Shearing - a pianist, jazz musician, bandleader, composer, and as all who knew him will testify, a great wit as well - is being commemorated today, not least because he was the first British instrumentalist to become a household name in the United States - the birthplace of jazz. That’s an achievement in itself, but particularly so as George was blind from birth, and learned many of his skills as a pianist here in this very building in the 1920s and early ‘30s, when it was the Linden Lodge School for the Blind.

It was a privilege to know George and to work with him on his autobiography, but it all began when we met in 1998 in the now long-vanished BBC music studio at Pebble Mill. The piano tuner had had a good lunch - so much so that it had somewhat affected his work. George said, “We’ll begin when the tuner has been to sort out this piano.” A sleepy voice from the corner said, “I have done!” George was by no means happy, and borrowed the tuner’s toolkit to get the central octaves properly in tune. And then we began. The idea was for George to play pieces from across his long career, but as he began with “Mighty Like the Blues”, the first piece he had ever played on the BBC 60 years earlier, it quickly became apparent that he was going to tell me his life story in music. And so he did, with pieces from his days with Claude Bampton’s All-Blind Orchestra, and from the time in World War 2 when George was playing alongside Stephane Grappelli. One piece I particularly remember was George’s solo “Delayed Action”, a musical portrait of the terrifying time-delay bombs that had fallen on London during the blitz, with a seemingly impossibly endless pause leading to a furious explosion of stride. I suggested it was a reworking of Fats Waller’s “Alligator Crawl”, and George laughed, eased into “Keeping out of Mischief Now” and then said, “Fats! I met him in London in 1938. He had hands like a bunch of bananas. When I shook hands with him I felt his fingers and they just kept going on and on…He could stretch a 13th!”

The programme was recorded, and afterwards George and his wife Ellie took me aside and said, this has been so much fun, how would you like to come over and turn these conversations into a book? And so for the next three summers, when George was at his UK home in Stow on the Wold, I’d pop over between his beloved radio broadcasts of test matches (which could not be interrupted) or his occasional concert dates in Britain, to carry on working on the book.

I learned of his life with Stephane Grappelli’s quintet during the war, and his subsequent move to the USA. Of the clubs of 52nd Street, of the particular kindness and generosity of Charlie Parker, the encouragement of Lennie Tristano and the harmonic adventures of Monk and Powell. And of the formation of his famous quintet, whose record of “September in the Rain”, George told me, had sold “upwards of 900,000 copies”. Of course by the time we met, it had passed the million, but he was always too modest to say so directly.The band was a landmark in so many ways, not just for its popular success, but for featuring a female instrumentalist, Marjorie Hyams, and a racially integrated line-up with John Levy and Denzil Best, both African-American, joining the rhythm section. George always said he was colour and gender blind when it came to jazz - and as his line-ups over the years suggest, he always just chose the finest players, including Gary Burton, Toots Thielemans, Al McKibbon, Louis Stewart, and a host more. And in his long and dazzling recording career, there were some great highlights, including work with Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, Joe Williams, the Montgomery Brothers, the Kings’ Singers (remembering George’s abiding love of classical music) and - above all Mel Tormé, whom George always said was the other half of his musical brain.

It is great to see so many people here today, including members of the Shearing family, and his many friends from the music world, including the most wonderful singer Ian Partridge, who, like George has given so many of us so much pleasure through the power of music. And so now it is my most pleasant duty to unveil this blue plaque to remember one of the most distinguished musicians this country has ever produced."

Northcote Lodge School. Photo credit: Paul Wood


LINKS:  Lullaby of Birdland, George Shearing's autobiography (with Alyn Shipton) at Bloomsbury Books
Guardian obituary of George Shearing by Peter Vacher 
Jon Carvell's 2015 feature remembering George Shearing
BBC Radio 3's Jazz Record Requests of 22nd April also featured requests for George Shearing

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Moor Mother plus Orphy Robinson and Pat Thomas at Cafe Oto

"An intense backwash of alarm." Moor Mother at Cafe Oto
Drawing by Geoff Winston. © 2017. All Rights Reserved


Moor Mother plus Orphy Robinson and Pat Thomas
(Cafe Oto, 18th April 2016; review and drawing by Geoff Winston)


Moor Mother is a voice for today and for the future. An angry, comprehending, uncomprehending voice. Reportage from the front line. Poet, artist, musician, sound collagist, and active Afrofuturist - raising questions of pre- and re-packaged historical propositions - Camae Aweya was raised in the projects in Maryland and is now based in Philadelphia. As Moor Mother, she articulates the rage and suffering experienced not only within the black diaspora but also by those without the means to resist or defend themselves against those with the tools and power of aggression. A voice also for women, and for those who are the disenfranchised victims - a voice for humanity in the face of inhumanity.

At a packed Cafe Oto she combined the power of music, words and technology to up the ante. Heavy drones, rib-shaking bass lines, judiciously chosen spoken word samples from historical events and community recollections created an intense backwash of alarm, conjuring the immediacy of violence, death and life which comprises the fabric of existence for so many in today's world.

A vital, energetic performer onstage, with command of theatrical tension, Moor Mother manipulated the electronic sound backdrop in front of projected abstract film sequences which threw her scrawled stage name across the screen while she recited and rapped to get the essence of her message across. She dubbed layer over layer, hitting the industrial noise zone with flashes of torrential disturbance, driving dance beats and raw drones. As she veered from static to hyperactive the sounds were as much the substance as was the poetry. And she avoided the easy pitfalls of cliche in articulating a demonstrably singular standpoint.

Pulling no punches, her focus was on inhumanity, injustice, on pointless barbarity, racism, political and domestic brutality. 'The count is up - not enough dead bodies.' And on recent events with global coverage: 'Did you see it? Did you see it? They call it the mother of all bombs.' On the misappropriation of history. 'We want our reality back.' 'We want our future back.' The hope is for the regaining of dignity and direction.

From the projects via art school Aweya found her multi-disclipinary voice and has gained recognition with arts awards including a 2015 Leeway Transformation Award and is a 2016 Blade of Grass Fellow for Socially Engaged Art. She has has worked with major arts institutions as well as being engaged in community and education programs and in Princeton's Ferguson is the Future conference. She has - under the radar - released over a dozen recordings since 2012, intriguing and dynamically layered and constructed, including a tribute to Sun Ra whom she admires. Given time, Moor Mother may well prove to be one of the most significant artists around.

First onstage in the evening Orphy Robinson and Pat Thomas delivered a powerful, imaginatively improvised set, pushing the envelope of electronics meets analogue, corralling crushing rhythms, deviant calypso beats, Sun Ra zone electronic extremes with intensely accelerated acoustic piano from Thomas and streaks of out-at-the edge vibes playing from Robinson.

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NEWS: BBC Proms 2017 Programme (with more jazz) released

Dianne Reeves (4th August)
The 2017 Proms prospectus is out today. General booking opens at 9am on Saturday 13th May.

The jazz and jazz-related Proms (more than in recent years...) are:

25th July Prom 15: The 'Godlike Genius' of Scott Walker

4th August Prom 27: Ella and Dizzy: A Centenary Tribute

11th August Prom 35 Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

15th August Prom 41: Philip Glass and Ravi Shankar - Passages

24th August Prom 53: Beneath the Underdog: Charles Mingus Revisited

25th August Prom 55: Classical Music of India and Pakistan

27th August Prom 57: Swing No End - Clare Teal / Guy Barker / Winston Rollins

15th September Prom 65: Stax Records: 50 Years of Soul with Jools Holland


At the press conference today the following themes emerged:

- The organizers are doing a first-time "relaxed" Prom targeted at children and adults with autism, sensory and communication impairments and learning disabilities as well as individuals who are Deaf, hard of hearing, blind and partially sighted (DETAILS)

- Classical music presented in new ways will feature the Aurora Orchestra's Beethoven Eroica from memory preceded by substantial exegesis, and a "Beyond the Score" session featuring the Halle Orchestra

- New venues are Wilton's Music Hall and Tate Modern. There will also be an excursion to Hull for Handel's Water Music

- Programming strands are the anniversaries of the Russian Revolution, the Reformation, the Independence of India and Finland (NB a Finnish Folk Prom) . And the Ella / Dizzy Centenaries.

LINK: Dianne Reeves was interviewed by Alison Bentley in 2015
Full Proms Season to browse

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PREVIEW / INTERVIEW: Daryl Runswick - (The Jazz Years double album release / 70th Birthday Gala Concert 6 June 2017)

Daryl Runswick
Photo credit: Ruth Rees

Daryl Runswick is a musician who defies definition. With a career spanning over 50 years, across every conceivable genre, and as a performer, composer and arranger, Daryl has proven that there really is such a thing as a “Master of all trades”. After a lengthy hiatus from the jazz world, he re-entered the scene with a vengeance bringing yet more innovation and virtuosity with his One Man Show back in 2006. His new double album The Jazz Years looks back at his active jazz performing years of the '70s and will be launched at a celebratory 70th Birthday Gala evening at Cadogan Hall on 6 June 2017. Interview by Leah Williams:


LondonJazz News: What is your earliest musical memory?

Daryl Runswick: I remember listening to my mother play Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata and looking up at the sheet music. It was before I could read music and I just remember seeing this flurry of black note runs and thinking that they must correspond to the thunderous chords I was hearing - totally wrong of course!

LJN: So you grew up in a fairly musical household?

DR: Yes, my father was also an amateur musician and composer. This is what made me realise from a young age that being such a thing as a composer was a possibility! He taught me how to play piano by the time I was five and then I moved onto cello when I was at school.

LJN: So how did you come to play the double bass?

DR: It was actually one of those random things. Somebody at school came up to me one day and said he was running a Trad Jazz band and they needed a bassist. He knew I played cello and apparently thought it was an obvious progression to the double bass! There was one lying around unused at school so I took it to my cello teacher and asked him how to tune it. He showed me and that was the first and last lesson I ever had on the double bass. I actually found out some time later that double bass players don’t use the ring finger on their left hand for playing but, because I’m self-taught, I never knew that. I might be the only bass player out there using all their fingers!

LJN: After that, it was on to Cambridge where you got a choral scholarship?

DR: Yes, that scholarship was a blessing but boy did I hate getting up early for it. I would get up, quickly get dressed and rush down to the chapel - then five minutes later I’d be singing! I was a bit lazy with it… It was at Cambridge that I also started composing and performing though when I got involved with the Cambridge Footlights.

LJN: How on earth were you able to narrow things down, and to decide what to include in the programme for your upcoming 70th birthday Gala concert at Cadogan Hall?

DR: I really wanted the programme to be as representative as possible of all the main aspects of my career: The King’s Singers, whom I’ve written much music for over the years, are performing; as well as London Voices (who I’ll be singing with); Aleksander Szram is performing the world premiere of my new Concerto for Piano and Nine Instruments. The Concerto is very much a hybrid: a classical piece with room for improvisation.

A lot of the pieces I write that aren’t jazz still involve a lot of improvisation. I don’t think it should be limited to that one genre. When I first started teaching at Trinity and encouraging classical musicians to improvise, I would get a lot of weird looks! Eventually though, students started to see the merit in it.

It’s also the launch of my double album, The Jazz Years, and so it seemed only right to include both some pieces from my earlier and later jazz years. Dame Cleo Laine is planning to attend, which will be fantastic. I’m hoping to persuade her up on stage, then – who knows?

LJN: Talking of Dame Cleo Laine, you spent the vast majority of your jazz years playing in her and John Dankworth’s band.

DR: It was about a decade and a half - 1970 to around 1983. Most of that was playing bass but for the last 18 months I played piano. They wanted their son, Alec Dankworth, to start playing bass in the band but didn’t want to get rid of me so offered me the chance to play piano instead. My first response was: “No thanks, I don’t think I can do that”. I played piano, sure, but I didn’t consider myself up to the task. As soon as I put the phone down though, I thought: “Am I crazy?! I’ve just turned down the chance to be Cleo Laine and John Dankworth’s pianist!” So I rang straight back and accepted. I spent the next six months wood-shedding and practising hours a day to get up to scratch. It was the opportunity that really shot my piano playing forward in the end.

LJN: After you finished with them in 1983, you finished with jazz altogether for a pretty long time. Why did you make that decision? Was it a conscious one or just the path you ended up taking?

DR: It was very much a decision I made on purpose. What I really wanted to do was become a composer. I’d had a great time playing the jazz scene but I wasn’t getting much chance to really write music and have it heard. I made a decision to draw a line under jazz, I even sold my double basses! I joined Electric Phoenix, an avant-garde classical band, who gave me the opportunity to really get into my composing. Through them I met so many amazing people in the classical world - Pierre Boulez and John Cage to name a couple - and it gave me the opportunity to become recognised as a composer.

LJN: Have there been any downsides to getting involved in so many different genres and projects over the years?

DR: Some journalists have commented in the past that the way I’ve moved between genres, etc, has held me back in terms of public fame or recognition. But, if it has, then I can honestly say that’s the only way it’s held me back. I've worked across the highest levels of so many music genres and had the chance to really expand my playing and composition, and to play with some amazing people, right from Frank Sinatra and Ornette Coleman to Paul McCartney and John Cage! I feel incredibly happy with the success I’ve had.

LJN: How was it that you found your way back to jazz music?

DR: From 2002 to 2005 I was totally off the music scene whilst I recovered from illness, which had been brought on by how busy I’d been, well, pretty much my whole life! For some reason or other, once I’d recovered - after almost 20 years away from it - I had this sudden yearning to go back to my jazz roots. That’s when my One Man Show was born. I had this idea of creating a whole show with just me playing every instrument and every part. I did the premiere at Cleo and John’s place, The Stables in Wavendon, and then toured it for three years. It became quite exhausting though; the trouble with a one-man show is that you’re on your own lugging all the equipment in and out every night!

LJN: So, what inspired you to release “The Jazz Years” now?

DR: It was actually the record label who approached me. I trawled through over a hundred recordings I had from those days and picked these 16 songs, all live recordings, that were from particularly great nights alongside some amazing musicians.

LJN: Is it true that you write a song each year for your wife on her birthday?

DR: Yes, yes it is. I started doing it in 2007 so this will be the tenth year. It was one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I’ve really got myself stuck and I have to do it every year (laughs)! I’m actually going to feature one of those songs as part of the extracts from my One Man Show at the Gala concert.

LJN: After the Gala concert, what other plans or projects have you got coming up?

DR: I’m going to go on holiday for a bit! The thing I’ve got on my mind for a next project though is to write an opera. I’ve never written a full-length two-act opera and it’s definitely something I’m keen to do. Just have to find someone who will put it on!

LJN: Coming back into jazz music, all those years later, is there anything that struck you about its progress or how it’s changed?

DR: What I really like about jazz music now is that people are really taking it all, the full breadth of it. There was a time when people rejected the fusion stuff, saying that the only true jazz was played on acoustic instruments in 4/4 swing but now it’s all being recognised and young musicians seem to be making use of all of this to create some really wonderful stuff. One musician I really rate is Gwilym Simcock; I love what he’s doing with the genre.

LINKS:
Buy tickets for Daryl’s Gala Concert here: Daryl Runswick Gala Concert

Buy The Jazz Years at all major retailers: The Jazz Years 

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PREVIEW: Westbrook & Company - Paintbox Jane (Vout-O-Reenees, London, 28/ 29 Apr)

Paintbox Jane
L-R: Marcus Vergette, Mike Westbrook, Kate Westbrook, Billy Bottle


Jane Mann writes: 

A joyful new jazz cabaret, Paintbox Jane, with words by Kate Westbrook and music by Mike Westbrook, is currently on tour. This is a small-scale jazz theatre piece in the tradition of previous Westbrook shows Platterback, Art Wolf and The Ass. It is billed as “a celebration of Raoul Dufy’s paintings and a meditation on the nature of Art in words and music”.

The Westbrooks, both of whom studied Art, have pondered the subject in various musical projects over many years. Indeed, vocalist and lyricist Kate Westbrook has a parallel career as a painter, recently exhibiting her painting series Diana and Actaeon in London.


 


The cabaret is performed by Westbrook & Company – Kate Westbrook, Martine Waltier and Billy Bottle, voices, Marcus Vergette, double bass, Alan Wakeman, saxophones, Mike Westbrook, piano and actor Tim Goodwin as Raoul Dufy. (Incidentally Marcus Vergette is also a practising artist – a sculptor. He has work around the country and abroad – in London his Harmonic Cannon, two bronze bells on an oak structure, is currently on public display at Trinity College of Music, Greenwich, which coincidentally holds the Westbrook Collection of scores).

The show is summarised by Westbrook & Company thus:

"On the sea wall in Nice, 
Raoul Dufy paints a portrait of his muse Jane. 
A troupe of singers and instrumentalists celebrate the painter in Waltz, Jazz, Blues and Repartee...
..Until the sun goes down and envelops the generous, sensual world of Monsieur Dufy."


I have had the good fortune to hear this piece in preview performances, and I can tell you it is a delight. There is indeed a lovely waltz, plenty of jazz, a tango, a powerful blues, (familiar to those who have heard Mike Westbrook’s recent solo piano work as Gaudy Bar), a lyrical ballad Sound of Caress, (also on the recent solo piano album Paris) and a samba too. The words conjure up vivid scenes, as befits a piece about a painter famous for his use of colour and line.

Few can convey joy like the Westbrooks, so if you want your heart lifted in these worrying times, go along to one of these performances of Paintbox Jane:

-  Sunday 23rd April 2017 in Exeter at the Barnfield Theatre Book Online HERE  
Tel 01392 271 808 

- Friday April 28th & Saturday April 29th 2017 in London at Vout-O-Reenees  
Tel 07753 702910  - Book Online for Friday HERE:  and Saturday HERE  

 - Saturday 6th May 2017 in Calstock, Cornwall at Calstock Hall, 
Email: admin@calstockhall.com Tel 01822 834418

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REVIEW: After You at Crazy Coqs

Liam Doyle (Chris) and Laura Tebbutt (Sarah)

After You 
(Crazy Coqs, 16th April 2017. Review by Tamsin Collison)

After You is the fourth musical from composer Alex Parker and book/lyric writer Katie Lam. Commissioned for Crazy Coqs, the basement cabaret bar at Brasserie Zedel in Piccadilly, this site-specific, 1-Act, 2-handed chamber musical traces the relationship arising from a brief encounter between Chris, a nightclub singer (Liam Doyle) and Sarah, an accidental member of his audience one night (Laura Tebbutt).

It's a simple idea, economically explored by the writers. On the plus side it's well-played, well-sung and at 60 minutes' running time doesn't outstay its welcome. Unfortunately, the fragmented, episodic structure means that the audience doesn't get to know the characters well enough to fully invest in their story. We watch events unfold with curiosity, but it is hard to care very much about the protagonists, despite the best efforts of the accomplished performers..

The score is tuneful and competent, and the lyrics are, for the most part, neat. Although, in Secrets, one of the show's best songs, it was unclear what secret the character was keeping or from whom, and the hero's signature song, London, isn't a strong enough number to show the audience his untapped professional potential. Martin Higgins' orchestrations for the 4-piece band (piano, violin, cello, guitar) are dextrous, the MD, Isaac McCulloch, directs operations with skill and energy, and the actors give polished performances, thankfully tailored to the intimate space, rather than overpowering their audience with West End belting, as so often happens in smaller venues. They are also to be congratulated on working around Doyle's broken collarbone, which was acquired just before opening night and required him to sport a sling throughout.

Overall, After You is a pretty flimsy show, but it was an enjoyable way to pass an hour, and Crazy Coqs should be commended for such an enterprising and interesting project. New music theatre writing needs to be nurtured and encouraged, so it's great to see a key London venue stepping up to the plate like this.

After You runs at Crazy Coqs until Saturday April 22nd. BOOKINGS

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Barry Guy, Howard Riley, Evan Parker, Maya Homburger, Jürg Wickihalder, Lucas Niggli at the Vortex (Intakt Festival, first night)

Howard Riley Trio at the Vortex Intakt Festival
Drawing by Geoff Winston. © 2017. All Rights Reserved


Barry Guy, Howard Riley, Evan Parker, Maya Homburger, Jürg Wickihalder, Lucas Niggli
(Vortex, 16th April 2017 - first night of 12-day Intakt Festival; review and drawings by Geoff Winston)

The opening night of the Intakt Festival at the Vortex, celebrating 33 years of the Intakt record label, was Barry Guy's night - three hours of non-stop playing in four different settings. The first was a duo with his partner, violinist Maya Homburger, which I caught the tail end of when augmented vigorously by drummer, Lucas Niggli. They then visited Biber's late seventeenth century masterpiece, Crucifixion Mystery Sonata, with relaxed authority and a sense of occasion.

As one of the festival highlights, Barry Guy proudly introduced a rare-as-hen's teeth reconstitution of the Howard Riley Trio, which he and Riley had inaugurated in the late 60s and maintained as an ongoing, occasional dialogue with various drummers, including, for their first recording, Jon Hiseman, and subsequently Tony Oxley. On this occasion, they were joined by Niggli, who, joked Guy, had only seen the music that morning!

Despite physical infirmity, once sitting at the piano, Howard Riley showed, as he did in duo with Keith Tippett a year ago (reviewed), that he has lost none of his acuity at the keyboard. In their three numbers, Howard Riley's incisive grasp of rhythm, structure and melody made a deep impression. Spare, considered, crisp and exploratory, Riley's style had echoes of Andrew Hill in its combination of concision and invention.

Complemented by Guy's empathetic bass work and the rigour of Niggli's invention, Riley imbued each finger stroke and chord with the clarity of intent, whether in the thoughtfully paced opener, littered with careful pauses and encrustations of notes, or the spiky, racier follow-on, marshalled to attack with confidently oblique, Monkish phrasing, allowing a dribbly, bluesy theme to take hold before retracing steps to revisit earlier thoughts.

For their encore Riley took off on a solo excursion, and not for the first time, reached in to the piano to flatten the wires and tap out a signal, while Guy chose his moment carefully to gently link up and follow the thread, finally to close on a slow slide down the fingerboard.

Evan Parker (left) and Barry Guy (right) at the Vortex Intakt Festival
Drawing by Geoff Winston. © 2017. All Rights Reserved


The great thing about quality improvisation is that it invites listening and close attention to all its twists and turns, which is exactly what the improvised duet between Guy and Evan Parker on tenor sax did, with Parker's sharp, confident tone and staccato phrasing blending with Guy's harmonics and bounced, lightly clattering variations as they passed the baton back and forth between them, building up and breaking down the structure with the crossfire of inspired initiatives.

The last setting had Guy teed up with Jürg Wickihalder on soprano sax and Niggli, razor-sharp on drums, to focus on the saxophonist's demanding, primarily upbeat compositions for the trio's brand new recording for Intakt, Beyond. Their fiery, fast-moving set had each musician at the top of their game with lightning quick responses, versatility and technical excellence at the heart of the enterprise. And it turned out that Guy's seventieth would be celebrated in a week's time, a birthday he shares with the younger saxophonist!

There are eleven more star-studded nights of the Intakt Festival at the Vortex. Link to programme

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