- Michal Wierba – I Can Make The World Dance from Body Language
- Tukuya Kuroda – Afro Blues from Rising Son
- Mulatu Astatke & the Heliocentrics – Cha Cha from Inspiration Information
- Ray Gonzalez – El Swing from To Tengo le que te Gusta
- Gato Barbieri – Viva Emiliano Zapata from Chapter III
- Spanish Harlem Orchestra – Vale Mas Un Guaguanco from Un Gran Dia en el Barrio
- Quasimode – Down in the Village from Oneself Likeness
- Sleepwalker – Ai – No – Kana from Sleepwalker
- Fela Kuti & Africa 70 – Just Like That from The Two Sides of Fela
The music of the late Chuck Berry was important to so many of us. Berry was no jazz musician – but he famously appeared at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival with jazz artists (including a delighted Philly Jo Jones on drums) playing Sweet Little Sixteen. Music from this event appears in Bert Stern’s celebrated Jazz On A Summer’s Day film. It’s available on a Charly Records CD along with a DVD of the film. That particular performance could well have had a lasting impact on Chuck Berry’s approach to promoters – apparently he was not the easiest artist to work with. You can hear from the recording how well he was well received by the festival goers but, in response to his pelvic gyrations on the stage, festival promoter George Wein shouted out “disgraceful” and Berry was forced to leave the stage before his last number. Now that to me does sound disgraceful. Neil adds: For more on Berry and his lasting influence on music, read the ever enlightening Richard Williams here. My favourite Berry song? It’s a straight draw between Too Much Monkey Business and Memphis, Tennessee – both masterpieces of musical storytelling.
Last week I was part of a delighted crowd that saw Mammal Hands playing at the venue of their first-ever booking – Norwich Arts Centre. For two of the band this is also their home city. Mammal Hands are amazing: sax player Jordan Smart never rests, his brother Nick provides strong backing on piano and on drums and tablas Jesse Barrett ranges from the powerful to the subtly sublime. Moreover, the group demonstrate how jazz-related music can attract a predominantly young audience. See them live if you can and pick up their sophomore recording Floa on the ever reliable Gondwana Records out of Manchester.
Birnham is a Scottish CD pressing and packaging company who have released a number of their own albums. Whilst the artists may not be well known, CJ has enjoyed Unexpected Ride, the first release from guitarist Guilio Romano Malaisi. At the age of 18 he moved from a small Italian village to London and has stayed there ever since. He has paid his dues as a session musician and played gigs with high-profile singers. Most of his compositions on this album were written while he was between the ages of 18-20 and Randagio, the tune selected this week, when he was 18.
Polish bass player Piotr Lemanczyk is now a firm Cosmic Jazz favourite. This week he appeared twice in the different guises of his band Orange Trane. The first tune – About MV – featured British sax player Soweto Kinch and from its title and sound must reference Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage. The second came from the acoustic version of Orange Trane, and showcased Lemanczyk himself and superb vibes player Dominik Bukowski.
Jazzwise magazine is an essential monthly read for jazz enthusiasts. There are excellent comprehensive record reviews, interviews with artists and some inspiring playlists. Often as a bonus, there is a free CD and the April 2017 edition includes a sampler from the essential British jazz label Edition Records from which we featured two tracks. How good are Dinosaur, a group led by trumpeter Laura Jurd? Judge for yourself but on the evidence of Extinct alone they are top class. There was also an interesting tune from Norwegian pianist Eyolf Dale from his album Wolf Valley – the title is simply a translation of his name into English… Edition have gone from strength to strength in recent years – check out their current catalogue here and for a taste of the label’s sound buy Jazzwise or the Fiona Talkington Nordic-influenced sampler Northern Edition, released last year.
Norway often features prominently on Cosmic Jazz and there was even a Norwegian connection to the two British artists at the end of the show. Kit Downes was accompanied by cellist Lucy Railton, both of whom I saw perform in Norwich last year with Norwegian musicians led by Thomas Stronin. In the audience, were the members of Mammal Hands and the connections go further as Kit Downes is also from Norwich. A Fine City it says as you arrive – but clearly now also for the music as well as its architecture.
- Chuck Berry – Sweet Little Sixteen (live) from Jazz On A Summer’s Day
- Mammal Hands – Hillum from Floa
- Mammal Hands – Think Anything from Floa
- Guilio Romano Malaisi –Randagio from Unexpected Journey
- Orange Trane feat. Soweto Kinch – About MV from Interpersonal Lines
- Orange Trane Acoustic Trio – Fugu from Fugu
- Dinosaur – Extinct from Together As One
- Eyolf Dale – Ban Joe from Wolf Valley
- Kit Downes – Tricko from Tricko
Neil notes: As I was adding to this blog, I learned of the death of alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe. We have featured Blythe’s unique tone on several recent CJ shows and I’ve chosen three tracks that capture his edgy vibrato that can still draw us back to jazz’s New Orleans heritage – including a fabulous version of John Coltrane’s Equinox from Blythe’s last album as leader in 2003. We may feature more from this underrated and sometimes neglected alto player in upcoming shows.
Derek is listening to:
- Chuck Berry – Reelin and Rockin
- Mammal Hands – Kandaiki
- Sir Edward Elgar – The Dream of Gerontius
- Piotr Lemanczyk – Follow The Soul
- Lonnie Liston Smith – Astral Travelling
Neil is listening to…
There appears to be a wealth of superb jazz musicians in Poland and we have featured a number of them on Cosmic Jazz. What’s also interesting is the way they work with well known musicians from other countries and also welcome them into their bands.
The latter applies to Polish bass player Piotr Lemanczyk who has been active on the Polish scene for twenty-five years, both with his own groups and as part of others. It was a surprise to receive a recording from Orange Trane (for whom Lemanczyk plays bass) that includes British alto sax player Soweto Kinch as a guest artist. He features on Nyamaland and along with Lemanczyk is the exciting vibraphone player Dominik Bukowski. There was also a tune from Lemanczyk’s own group with the interesting title of Instead of Mops.
The programme continued a focus from the previous week with more from two artists appearing at the forthcoming Norfolk & Norwich Festival – Brad Mehldau and Dee Dee Bridgewater. The latter is one of the finest jazz singers of her generation and winner of several Grammy awards, most recently for her 2011 tribute album to Billie Holiday. This version of Mongo Santamaria’s classic Afro Blue comes from Red Earth, an album recorded in Bamoko with Malian musicians.
CJ this week had another tune from the recommended album by young British alto player Camilla George with her Quartet. Zara McFarlane, another young British jazz artist, is featured as a guest vocalist, and this offered an opportunity to play a tune from her last album If You Knew Her. Sometimes you forget how good records are and the atmospheric Move, a tune I had almost ignored, was a perfect example.
To end the show there was more from another Polish favourite, trumpeter Piotr Wojtasik and a final lively piece from Russell Gunn. Is it meant as fun? Is it satirical? Is it paying respect to history? I am not sure. That’s Cosmic Jazz for this week – the world of jazz in just one hour…
- Brad Mehldau – Since I Fell For You from Blues and Ballads
- Dee Dee Bridgewater – Afro-Blue from Red Earth
- Orange Trane – Nyamaland from Interpersonal Lines
- Piotr Lemanczyk – Instead of Mops from Live at Club Zak
- Camilla George Quartet feat. Zara McFarlane – Ms Baja from Isang
- Zara McFarlane – Move from If You Knew Her
- Piotr Wojtasik – Thanksgiving from We Want To Give Thanks
- Russell Gunn – Del Rio (aka Anita) from Ethnomusicology Vol 2
Derek is listening to:
- Maurice Durufle – Requiem
- Bitty McLean – Walk Away From Love
- Ebo Taylor – Heaven
- Zara McFarlane – Police and Thieves
- Andrew Hill – Time Lines
Neil is listening to…
We like to spread the word through Cosmic Jazz about interesting young musicians when they step forward. This week it was the turn of Camilla George and her Quartet with their album Isang. My own links to and interest in the island of Grenada encouraged me to take an interest in George as her late father was from there and her mother from Nigeria. She studied at Trinity College of Music, where Jean Toussaint was a tutor and then played with Courtney Pine’s Tomorrow’s Warriors big band. George plays alto saxophone and identifies Kenny Garrett as an important influence, hence the later inclusion of one of his tunes. Most tracks on her album are self-penned and she plays the alto with a rich and distinctive tone. Check also the delicate keyboard work from Sarah Tandy.
The Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2017 from 12-28 May – as in previous years – features some star jazz artists. This year the festival may well have done better than ever. On Thursday 18 May the Brad Mehldau Trio will perform at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, so in recognition the show this week included a tune from their latest album Blues and Ballads. The wide exposure and popularity of the Trio makes it easy to be dismissive but just hear that piano playing; it commands the utmost respect. Mehldau is also known as a remarkably inventive solo performer too. Check out his take on Nick Drake’s River Man (which also features on a couple of Mehldau Trio releases too) and then listen to Drake’s stunning original here. Another jazz great on the N&N festival programme is Dee Dee Bridgewater. The last time she featured on Cosmic Jazz was as a vocalist on the essential Frank Foster album The Loud Minority. The tune this week was from her own album Love and Peace, a tribute to Horace Silver. Many well-known Horace Silver tunes are on the album, including The Tokyo Blues which featured on this week’s show. She has a new album and that will be featured in her live set at the festival. Jazzwise is an essential UK-produced monthly jazz magazine. From time to time the magazine includes a CD. The March 2017 edition included a CD from Barry Guy on Intakt Records. A few months back there was a compilation of New Jazz from Luxembourg. Interesting, individual and challenging it is too. Check the two tunes played this week. At either end of the show there were Cosmic Jazz favourites. Brian Jackson and Gil Scott-Heron played an extended live cut of Home is Where the Hatred Is and Haitian pianist Andrew Hill gave us another example of his unique music – what a deep, spiritual and intense way to conclude the show.
- Brian Jackson/Gil Scott-Heron – Home Is Where the Hatred Is from It’s Your World
- Camilla George Quartet – Song For Reds from Isang
- Camilla George Quartet – Mama Wati Returns/Usoro from Isang
- Kenny Garrett – Calypso Chant from Do Your Dance
- Dee Dee Bridgewater – The Tokyo Blues from Love and Peace
- Brad Mehldau – Cheryl from Blues and Ballads
- Khalife Schumacher Tristano – Los Indignados from Jazzwise New Jazz from Luxembourg, originally Afrodiziak
- Jeff Herr Corporation – Funky Monkey from Jazzwise Luxembourg, originally Layer Cake
- Andrew Hill – Dedication from Point of Departure
Derek is listening to:
- Jane Bunnett & The Spirits of Havana – El Rio
- Lonnie Liston Smith – Expansions
- Gato Barbieri – Carnavalito
- Stanislas Slowinski Quintet – Lawina
- Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life – Alive
Neil is listening to:
- Theo Parrish – Chemistry
- Solange – Cranes in the Sky (DJ ‘the Boss’ Lewis chopped and screwed remix)
- John Ellis – Unidentical Twins
- Miles Davis – Tatu (part 1)
- Digable Planets – Flying High in the Brooklyn Sky (with Wah Wah Watson and Lester Bowie)
This week’s programme, available to listen via the MixCloud tab, begins with something really quirky and different. It may not be, though, to the taste of every jazz lover. Neil brought back from Singapore music from The Steve McQueens. They have a charismatic, upfront vocalist, the tunes are varied and they sound as if they have a lot of fun playing their music. I should imagine that live they are highly entertaining. [Neil: they are! This album was produced by Bluey from Incognito whom The Steve McQueens supported at UK’s O2 in 2015. The charismatic vocalist is Eugenia (Ginny) Yip.] The tune this week was the title track from their most recent album.
Neil also left a tune by Quincy Jones. Have we played him on Cosmic Jazz before? I am not sure, if not, it was long overdue. [Neil: We certainly have played QJ on CJ previously – including the excellent title track from the album Gula Matari – check it out below.]
From time to time we like to return to labels and/or artists from the past that we admire. The Black Jazz label is a perfect example. It is a label which has attracted DJs such as Theo Parrish and Gilles Peterson to issue compilation albums. The Rudolph Johnson tune this week was from the Theo Parrish collection.
Polish jazz has been a regular feature in the programmes. What a wealth of jazz talent there is in that country. Many of the artists have managed to reach out beyond the borders of their country but some have not. Steve’s Jazz Sounds has played a fantastic role in making the music available to UK and wider audiences.
Jerzy Malek got another play, this week from the album Gift. New to the show, though, was the Fresh Air Project led by long-established Polish flute player Krzystof Popek. He has on his album the wonderful Polish trumpeter Piotr Wojtasik (whose album Land we have featured and loved on CJ) and also the veteran US pianist George Cables.
Stanislaw Slowinski, who we played last week, manages to change pace on a tune, not always something I enjoy, without disturbing the feel of the tune or the enjoyment of the listener. K2 was from his debut album released in December 2016. If you’re not sure about how the violin works in contemporary jazz, just listen to Slowinski powering through this track, ably accompanied by the superb drumming of Max Olszewski.
For the last section, it was a return to ‘newish’ music we love. Mammal Hands from Norwich (whom I hope to see in their home town on 17 March at the city’s Arts Centre); Otis Brown III with exquisite vocals and piano from Gretchen Parlato and Robert Glasper respectively; and, finally, Japanese trumpeter Takuya Kuroda whose 2016 release Zigzagger will doubtless be featured soon on the show.
- The Steve McQueens – Seamonster from Seamonster
- Quincy Jones – Betcha Wouldn’t Hurt Me from The Dude
- Rudolph Johnson – The Highest Pleasure from Theo Parrish’s Black Jazz Signature
- Jerzy Malek – Many Miles Away from Gift
- Fresh Air Project – Letters & Leaves from Fresh Air Project
- Stanislas Slowinski Quartet – K2 from Landscapes
- Mammal Hands – Mansions of Millions from Animalia
- Otis Brown III feat Gretchen Parlato – You’re Still The One from The Thought Of You
- Takuya Kuroda – Afro Blues from The Rising Son
Derek is listening to:
- Piotr Wojtasik – Circle
- Donald Byrd – Cristo Redentor
- Rudd, Saft, Rodwell & Pandi – Strength & Power
- Glen Washington – There Is a Joy
- Arvo Part – Te Deum
Neil is listening to:
A mixed show this week of the old and the new-ish with some Cosmic Jazz favourites included. Click the MixCloud tab to enjoy the show.
Florian Pellisier is a French pianist who leads a quintet including tenor, trumpet/flugelhorn, double bass and drums, with a guest vocal and trumpet on one tune from Leron Thomas, who we always remember from his guest appearance on Zara McFarlane’s last album. Their music is warm, modal and comforting. It’s perhaps not the most challenging you will ever hear, but is a really good listen nonetheless.
Soul jazz is still with us again this week in the form of pianist/Fender Rhodes player Walter Bishop Jr. with Soul Turnaround from Soul Village. This inevitably led to a repeat of the tune Soul Village from Blue Mitchell that I have been enjoying so much.
There were more links. Excellent Swedish composer and saxophonist Jonas Kullhammer has worked with many famous musicians including Mulatu Astatke, Goran Kajfes, Chick Corea, Jason Moran – and Carlos Garnett, sent us on a Journey To Enlightenment in a record of its era, but one that still holds up.
Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is something special. He played on last year’s Dhafer Youssef album which we have been featuring in recent weeks. This week, though, he was the leader. Akinmusire plays with great sensitivity and it was quite fitting that he should appear on Youssef’s mystic music providing a spiritual depth (and really interesting album titles too).
The show ends with a return to Cecile McClorin Salvant who illustrates, like Gregory Porter, that the best vocalists have top-rate instrumentalist to support them but also that they give plenty of space for the musicians to feature in their own right.
- Florian Pellisier Quintet – Cap de Bon Esperance from Cap de Bon Esperance
- Walter Bishop Jr – Soul Turnaround from Soul Village
- Blue Mitchell – Soul Village from Feeling Good
- Jonas Kullhammer – Hommage to George Braith from Gentlemen (original motion picture jazz track)
- Carlos Garnett – Journey to Enlightenment from Journey to Enlightenment
- Ambrose Akinmusire – Confessions to my Unborn Daughter from When the Heart Lies Glistening
- Cecile McClorin Salvant – Something’s Coming from For One to Love
Derek is listening to…
- Miles Davis – Concierto De Aranjuez
- Quasimode – The Land of Freedom (live)
- Spanish Harlem Orchestra – Sacala Baillar (live)
- Michal Wierba – Summertime
- Dhafer Youssef – Diwan of Beauty and Odd (Okeh promo video)
Neil is listening to…
This week’s show is a mixture of styles, moving from soul jazz, to jazzy soul, to Brazil to the European avant-garde. All in an hour-long show!
Neil drew my attention to the death of record producer, composer, performer and hip-hop sampled supremo David Axelrod. Of particular interest to Cosmic Jazz is his work and friendship with Cannonball Adderley from 1964 until Adderley’s death in 1975. Featured in the programme are two tunes Space Spiritual and Walk Tall. The titles say it all; the former uplifts you towards the heavens, the second is a proud, dignified and important statement. They left me greatly moved and spiritually enriched as I sat listening to them. Axelrod has had more influence on the current mixing of hip hop beats with jazz than probably any other producer. In many ways, this is surprising as his work is full of grand symphonic gestures that allow the music to range from huge orchestral chords to intimate motifs. It’s not what you expect hip hop artists to use as source material. But they did – and perhaps the most obvious example was Dr Dre’s The Next Episode which sampled the Axelrod track The Edge. Of course, then came DJ Shadow and the masterpiece album that is Endtroducing. The use of Axelrod’s The Human Abstract in the epic Midnight in a Perfect World was pure genius. As an excellent feature by Nate Patrin on the Pitchfork site notes, Aside from Isaac Hayes, virtually nobody’s compositions could hit that sweet spot between “beautiful music” opulence, uncannily strange pop-psychedelia, and deeper-than-deep soul quite like Axelrod. True.
There were two more tunes from the Feeling Good compilation of our other producer focus, Bob Shad. Shad did not have the unique sound world of David Axelrod but the range of record labels and artists he worked with was huge. We chose the scatting Barry Miles and the soulful Maxine Weldon – an interesting contrast.
The slice of Brazil included in last week’s show made me search for more and gave me the chance to play something from the back catalogue of two British labels that have done so much to promote Brazilian music in Europe and around the world – Far Out and Mr. Bongo respectively. The Friends From Rio interpretation of the Milton Nascimento classic Vera Cruz was particularly strong on the jazz playing and singer Ive Mendes has a naturally sultry, jazzy sounding voice.
The return to the ever-wonderful Kamasi Washington Epic album was another reference to a tune that appeared on my shuffle songs during the week. It’s an original interpretation of a jazz standard, Ray Noble’s Cherokee with Patrice Quinn providing great vocals. Noble was born in England but moved to New York in 1934 where he had a very successful dance band. It was bebop maestro Charlie Parker who first took the chords of Cherokee and turned them into Ko-Ko – probably the first ever recorded bebop composition (1945).
There was a lively interpretation of another classic tune Summertime from a Polish quintet led by pianist Michal Wierba, recorded in the studios of Polish radio in 2015. Then it was time for some intense, challenging music. Firstly, Didrik Invaldsen, a Norwegian trumpet player leading an ensemble of Norwegian and Czech musicians. There is a powerful, brass sound to the music, it is complex and engaging and at times, the sax player and drummer seem almost to compete yet remain part of the whole. Check the bass lines at the end of the tune. There is more strong bass playing in in the choice of another tune from Delusions, the album of the Wojcinski/Szmanda Quartet, comprising three Wojcinski brothers and drummer Szmanda. As mentioned last week, this album is highly recommended.
- Cannonball Adderley – Space Spiritual from Walk Tall
- Cannonball Adderley – Walk Tall from Walk Tall
- Barry Miles – Scatbird from Feeling Good: Funk, Soul & Deep Jazz Gems from Bob Shad
- Maxine Weldon – Right On from Feeling Good: Funk, Soul & Deep Jazz Gems from Bob Shad
- Friends From Rio feat Celia Vaz – Vera Cruz from Friends From Rio 2
- Ive Mendes – A Beira Mar (Sao Benitez Lush Mix) from Brazilian Beats 3
- Kamasi Washington Cherokee from The Epic
- Michal Wierba – Summertime from Body Language
- Didrik Ingvaldsen – Circle Music Part I from The Expanding Circle
- Wojcinski/Szmanda Quartet – No Context from Delusions
Derek is listening to:
- Jonas Kulhammar Quartet – A Love Supreme
- Jerzy Malek – Stalgia
- Sonny Rollins – St. Thomas
- Erik Truffaz Quartet – Siegfried
- Fredrik Kronkvist – Monk Vibes
Neil is listening to…
Record producer Bob Shad was an American record producer and record label owner responsible for the creation of Mainstream Records and EmArcy among others. The sounds he recorded covered a huge spectrum including funk, soul, blues and jazz. The December 2016 edition of the Black Music monthly magazine Echoes included an excellent article by Kevin Le Gendre on Bob Shad and a review of a new compilation album featuring selected recordings on the Mainstream label. The impressive list of artists on this record includes Sarah Vaughan, Art Farmer, Clark Terry, Hadley Calman, Carmen McRae and the two artists featured on the show this week – Shelley Manne and Blue Mitchell – the latter with a classic soul jazz gem!
But this week’s show began, as promised last week, with the wonderful Polish trumpeter Jerzy Malek and the title tune of his album Stalgia but played in full this time. There’s a strong resemblance in the trumpet theme of the title track to the music of CJ favourite Tomasz Stanko but the arrangement is all his own. There was reference, once again, to two artists that appeared among my iPod shuffle songs during the week – Jazz Semai from Turkey and a Brazilian jazzy beats special from Maf Drum, a tune that had previously passed me by but woke me up and rejuvenated me when I heard it. The latter comes from an extended series of Brazilian compilations, now on its tenth release, called Sister Bossa: cool jazzy cuts with a Brazilian flavour. These aren’t easy to get hold of now – Amazon will charge you £163.60 for the first in the series – so just enjoy the music here on Cosmic Jazz!
There was more of the Polish jazz available at Steve’s Jazz Sounds. This included a quarter of three brothers named Wojcinski playing trumpet, bass and piano and a drummer called Krzystof Szmanda. This is tough, uncompromising free and improvised jazz with space for soloists and strong bass lines and impressively complex work on the drums running throughout. The album Delusions is highly recommended.
There was another play for Polish jazz minimalists LAM (more upbeat this time) and a first play for the Pit Dahm Trio with Harmen Fraanje. Pit Dahm on drums is from Luxembourg, pianist Harmen Fraanje from the Netherlands, sax player Charley Rose from France and Lennart Heyndels on bass is from Belgium.
- Jerzy Malek – Stalgia from Stalgia
- Blue Mitchell – Soul Village from Feeling Good: Funk, Soul & Deep Jazz Gems, The Supreme Sound of Producer Bob Shad
- Shelley Manne – Mask from Feeling Good: Funk, Soul & and Deep Jazz Gems, The Supreme Sound of Producer Bob Shad
- Jazz Semai – Kay Yolu from Spiritual Jazz 5: The World
- Wojcinski/Szmanda Quartet – Flood from Delusions
- Pit Dahm Trio with Harmen Fraanje – Vilnius from Omicron
- Maf Drum – Cuiquina from Sister Bossa: cool jazzy cuts with a Brazilian flavour
- LAM – LAM 3 (part two) from LAM
Note on the first of Derek’s choices this week. The Dhafer Youssef is a sample of all the tracks on the new album. For a more detailed portrait of the making of the record check out this promo documentary.
Derek is listening to:
- Dhafer Youssef – Diwan of Beauty and Odd
- Orchestra Baobab – Autorail
- Estrellas de Arteito – Guanguanco A Todos Los Barrios
- The Ruts – In A Rut
- Henry Purcell – Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary
Neil is listening to…
At a time when there are worldwide celebrations of the 80th birthday of US minimalist composer Philip Glass it was appropriate that the music on Cosmic Jazz this week should include two pieces of music from Polish groups inspired by this movement.
The first of these came from LAM, a trio led by Waclaw Zimpel – a clarinet player – with Krzysztof Dys on piano and Hubert Zemler on drums. The influences on the music they play stretches way beyond jazz. US minimalism is definitely up there in music that is modern, tranquil and absorbing. The other example came from a Polish quintet Minim Experiment – a reference to this movement even in their name and the title of the somewhat melancholic tune on the show Minm (Epilogue). As so often with these sounds that may not be too familiar outside Eastern Europe, Steve’s Jazz Sounds has been our valued source.
The rest of the show was the usual worldwide mix of the old and the new. Two Cosmic Jazz favourites opened the show with first up the long and jazzy extended version of Feminina, an essential tune from Brazilian artist Joyce. This version is the only (very) limited release from an aborted album project under the direction of arranger Claus Ogerman. Joe Farrell provides the spirited flute solo, Mike Manieri is on vibes/marimba and the ubiquitous Nana Vasconcelos can be heard on percussion. Wayne Shorter followed with a tune strong on complexity and meaning in really quite an understated way. This comes from Shorter’s last 1960s Blue Note album, Odyssey of Iska. It’s another all star lineup, including the late and much missed Alphonse Mouzon on drums.
Martin Sjostedt is a Swedish bass player who has played with many musicians from Scandinavia and beyond, including Joe Lovano and Maria Schneider. Or rather that is how he is usually known, except that on the album Whereabouts he appears as a piano player alongside a German trumpet player and a Swedish tenor. Good it is too.
Several of this week’s selections came from music Neil left behind for me to play and this included the tune from young British multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger etc. etc. Jacob Collier. What innovative, exciting and unpredictable music.
The show ended with a truly wonderful piece of music from Polish trumpeter Jerzy Malek leading a quintet of Polish and US musicians. They are Stephen Riley on tenor, Peter Wylezol on piano, Michal Baranski bass and Eric Allen drums. Check the wonderful piano lead from Wylezol followed by the rapturous trumpet from Malek. The tune has to be played again – maybe even next week.
Back this week is our listening to… feature with music from both Derek and Neil. Check out the hyperlinks below and see and hear what we’re listening to.
- Joyce – Feminina from unreleased album Natureza
- Wayne Shorter – De Pois Do Amor O Vazio (After Love Emptiness) from Odyssey of Iska
- LAM – Lam 1 (Part 1 ) from LAM
- Minim Experiment – Minim (Epilogue) from Dark Matter
- Martin Sjostedt – Bueno from Whereabouts
- Jacob Collier – Hajanga from In My Room
- Jerzy Malek – Stalgia from Stalgia
Derek is listening to:
- Jah9 – Avocado
- Blue Mitchell – Soul Village
- Camilla George – Mami Wata
- Yabby You – Give Praises
- Carmen Macrae – Feeling Good
Neil is listening to:
This week’s CJ was a last chance for Neil to cram in some of his current listening before he heads off to Singapore. We started with more tracks from recent albums – the 2015 sophomore release from bass player Ben Williams and that excellent collection of Sun Ra singles on the Strut label which emerged at the end of last year.
We followed this with a real delight. Creating a convincing remix of the iconic A Love Supreme has to be one of the tougher remix assignments, but skinnerbox has achieved the near impossible with his take on Coltrane’s finest work. Of course, this isn’t the real thing, but it undoubtedly captures the spirit and grace of the original. Well worth hearing in its 14 minute entirety too – listen on Soundcloud here. Take in that cool twist on McCoy Tyner’s piano at 8:25 onwards.
It made sense to follow skinnerbox with another remix project – this time from Kiwi musician and producer Mark de Clive-Lowe who has put together a very convincing melange of Blue Note tracks into an impressive two part remix. You can download Part 1 of the project here for free, or buy a limited edition vinyl version from Bandcamp, Juno and other outlets. Want more new de Clive-Lowe? Then check out a track from his latest release in Neil’s listening choices below.
You might have through the next track on the show was part of de Clive-Lowe’s project (especially as we didn’t credit it on air!), but this was in fact vibesman Dave Pike, giving a refreshingly contemporary twist to the classic Besame Mucho. What really lifts the track is the drum break – shades of Joe Morello’s break on Take Five I think, but – whatever – Walter Perkins achieves something great here.
It was time to check out two singers I never tire of hearing, Mark Murphy and Gregory Porter. I’ve written elsewhere on this website about Murphy: his lyrical invention, rich tone and perennially cool demeanour will ensure he will remain one of the key jazz vocalists. I chose the excellent take on Milton Nascimento’s Nada Sera Como Antes that is one of the many killer tracks from the Muse years, although it doesn’t feature on the recently released compilation from Soul Brother Records. Instead, you can find it on the excellent Songbook collection or the indispensable 1984 album Brazil Song.
And – in many ways – Gregory Porter has inherited something of the Murphy mantle. There’s the tone, the space he gives his band and – something special – his own songs. Murphy was a genius at vocalese – the art of adding lyrics to existing jazz tunes or solos – but Porter is a great songwriter too. Don’t Be a Fool is an excellent example from his 2016 release Take Me to the Alley. Porter is an enigma: whilst much of his music might function as pop music it resolutely isn’t in the arrangements, extended solos and (sometimes) challenging lyrics that don’t seem to put off his huge popular demographic. That’s right – no sell out!
We ended the show with some fun from Marcos Valle. He composed the soundtrack to a film portrait of 1970s Brazilian F1 driver Emerson Fittipaldi and if you’re unfamiliar with the huge sideburns of Brazil’s finest pre-Senna driver you can see the opening credits of Roberto Farias’s film here. We played the title music from the film but the complete soundtrack is also available on YouTube.
Before this came two jazz originals – neglected alto player Arthur Blythe and iconic pianist McCoy Tyner. The huge rolling wave that is Tyner’s Horizon and the rollicking Blythe original Down San Diego Way are both tunes that stay in the memory long after they’ve ended. Both are ones you will want to hear again – so check out the Listen Again feature on this week’s show and enjoy the music.
- Ben Williams – Black Villain from Coming Of Age
- Sun Ra – Mayan Temple from Sun Ra Singles
- Skinnerbox – A Love Supreme from Bandcamp download
- Mark de Clive-Lowe – extract from Blue Note Remixed from Bandcamp download
- The Dave Pike Quartet – Besame Mucho from Pike’s Peak
- Mark Murphy – Nothing Will Be As It Was Tomorrow from Songbook
- Gregory Porter – Don’t Be A Fool from Take Me to the Alley
- McCoy Tyner – Horizon from Horizon
- Arthur Blythe – Down San Diego Way from Lenox Avenue Brengakdown
- Marcos Valle with Azymuth – Fittipaldi Show from O Fabuloso Fittipaldi original film score
Neil is listening to: