Recently I went to a performance by Thomas Stronen at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2016. It was simply an amazing, highly memorable experience and if you click the MixCloud tab (left) you can hear some of the tunes from the album Time Is A Blind Guide on which Stronen’s set was based.
The music was intense, spiritual, emotional jazz drawing upon classical, Far Eastern and traditional Norwegian influences. The combination of Lucy Railton on cello (not a common jazz instrument), Hakan Aase on violin and Ole Morton Vagan on double bass created a beautiful, warm, melodic sound – check the tune Pipa for an example of this. The subtle, precise drumming of Thomas Stronen, interacting with the flowing and adventurous piano of Kit Downes was mesmerising – listen to The Stone Carriers which was also featured on this week’s CJ. The album is on ECM and is very highly recommended.
Also on ECM is the album What was said by Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen with Afghan/German voice Simin Tander singing in Pashto and English accompanied by Jarle Vespestad on drums. This is another ECM group I have heard live this year – excellent too, but edged out by Thomas Stronen.
Also from Norway this week came LEO, (Love Exit Orchestra) featuring vocalist Sheila Simmenes whose many interests include jazz and Brazilian music and Lucky Novak, a quirky, original and experimental Norwegian band with a British saxophonist.
All the music this week was recorded in Europe and featured – with the odd exception – European musicians. This included more music available at Steve’s Jazz Sounds. For example, Spanish, a modal tune from Czech Republic saxophonist Ondrej Sveracek on his album Calm. This also includes US drummer Gene Jackson with a controlled, complex feature towards the end of the tune. Also, for the first time on Cosmic Jazz came the Cracow Jazz Collective, an eight-piece band featuring young Polish jazz musicians with compositions by pianist Mateusz Gaweda. Take a look at the No More Drama video for more from this exciting collective.
Doni Doni, the new record from Erik Truffaz, is still on the CJ ‘tables. This time, it was a contrast from his more ambient, relaxed and minimalist sounds. Finally, there was a chance to catch part of Archangelo from Raphael available on Spiritual Jazz 2. Raphael was a US pianist but the album was recorded in Belgium with Belgian musicians.
- Ondrej Sveracek – Spanish from Calm
- Cracow Jazz Collective – Polish Drama from No More Drama
- Thomas Stronen – The Stone Carriers from Time Is A Blind Guide
- Thomas Stronen – Tide from Time from Time is a Blind Guide
- Thomas Stronen – Everything Disappears 1 from Time is a Blind Guide
- Thomas Stronen – Pipa from Time is a Blind Guide
- Tord Gustavsen – Sweet Melting from What was said
- LEO (Love Extra Orchestra) – Don’t Get Me Wrong from preview copy
- Lucky Novak – Ornette from Up! Go!
- Erik Truffaz Quartet – Fat City from Doni Doni
- Raphael – Archangelo from Spiritual Jazz 2
Derek is listening to:
- Ed Motta – Overblown Overweight
- Sun Ra and his Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra – Sea of Sounds
- Mark Murphy – My Favourite Things
- Peter King – Shango
- David Rudder – Rally Round the West Indies
Neil is listening to: