This week’s Cosmic Jazz show, easily available via the MixCloud tab on this page, has three tunes to demonstrate the variety of contemporary jazz available from Norway.
The prompt came from Sheila Simmenes, who fronts the Love Extra Orchestra, and who contacted CJ. The band has a jazz core but Sheila herself has an interest in reggae and Brazilian music too – much in keeping with the Cosmic Jazz presenters! Sheila has worked in Brazil and with Brazilian musicians. I played the current single Darling, It’s Over, with a breathy vocal that seductively draws you in to listen before giving space for the band to feature too. Watch out for the new single Don’t Get Me Wrong coming out in March and find out more about the band here. We shall be featuring more from Sheila and her different musical projects in future shows.
Staying Norwegian, there was another tune from Bugge Wesseltoft. All the tunes on the recent album Bugge and Friends have an It in the title – this week it was Faz It. Wesseltoft intersects the worlds of jazz and electronica with ease, creating memorable melodies that spinout from programmed backgrounds. Check out this track from his collaboration with computer whiz, producer and remixer Henrik Schwartz. The final tune from Norway came from old friends of the programme Lucky Novak. This band is based in Oslo but has a British musician, alto player Tim Lowerson included in the band. They are original, experimental and unpredictable, A case of art school meets jazz? The tune I played this week – Kul’an – was by their standards quite conventional; it’s simply a beautiful piece of music. Check them out on this video – they look and sound like they just love playing.
I returned to Gregory Porter’s first album Water, where he sings and the musicians seem to play with greater freedom than on his later Blue Note albums. It was in respect and memory of Cheryl – a good friend of this programme – who once set up a memorable interview we held with him in which Porter – then just starting to become well known – answered our questions with interest, energy and grace.
St. Germain sounded a good prelude to the Bugge tune. Both are jazz inspired musicians using a blend of modern and traditional sounds and instruments. In St. Germain’s case it’s the blues of Lightnin’ Hopkins (here from the song You Caused My Heart to Weep), merged with traditional Malian kora sounds from Mamadou Cherif Soumano and behind it all the programming of Ludovic Navarre, the Parisian who is St Germain. You can hear Soumano on kora here playing live in a trio with bass and soprano saxophone. This is a beautiful musical combination that works.
The Polish contribution this week came from Vehemence Quartet (love the name!) who provided a fierce and forthright opening to the programme. There was also another tune from Nat Birchall’s stunning Invocations album and the show ended with a fiery contribution from Archie Shepp and Jeanne Lee blending blues and gospel sounds. This is the title track from a 1969 BYG album which will be difficult to find so check out the excellent Soul Jazz double CD compilation where you will find this tune and more great music from Don Cherry, Yusef Lateef, Richard Davis (the excellent track Dealin’) and many more.
- Vehemence Quartet – Gabry’s from Anomalia
- Gregory Porter – Black Nile from Water
- St. Germain – Real Blues from St. Germain
- Bugge Wesseltoft – Faz It from Bugge & Friends
- Love Extra Orchestra – Darling, It’s Over from single release
- Lucky Novak – Kul’an from Up! Go!
- Nat Birchall – To Be from Invocations
- Archie Shepp & Jeanne Lee – Blase from New Spirits: Radical and Revolutionary Jazz in the USA 1957-82
Derek is currently listening to:
- Airto Moreira – Aqui Se Puede
- Sweet Talks and A B Crentsil – Nawa To Be Husband
- Mark Murphy – Milestones
- Stanley Clarke (feat. Howard Hewett) – Heaven Sent You
- Burning Spear – Jah Is My Driver
Neil is currently listening to:
- Earth, Wind and Fire – Drum Song
- Jarrod Lawson – Music and Its Magical Way
- dZihan and Kamien – Rockit
- Max Richter – Spring 1
- Oddisee – That’s Love
Finally, it won’t have escaped regular listeners that here at CJ we are bonafide paid up members of the Charles Lloyd Appreciation Society. With a new band and a new album out this month, it seems appropriate to give listeners a chance to hear and see Lloyd performing this new direction live at NYC’s Lincoln Centre just two weeks ago. Charles Lloyd and the Marvels now features Bill Frisell on guitar and Greg Leisz on lap and pedal steel. The album – out on Blue Note – is called I Long To See You. Be prepared – the music really is rather different!