01 March 2017: Polish jazz and more

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.

  1. The Steve McQueens – Seamonster from Seamonster
  2. Quincy Jones – Betcha Wouldn’t Hurt Me from The Dude
  3. Rudolph Johnson – The Highest Pleasure from Theo Parrish’s Black Jazz Signature
  4. Jerzy Malek – Many Miles Away from Gift
  5. Fresh Air Project – Letters & Leaves from Fresh Air Project
  6. Stanislas Slowinski Quartet – K2 from Landscapes
  7. Mammal Hands – Mansions of Millions from Animalia
  8. Otis Brown III feat Gretchen Parlato – You’re Still The One from The Thought Of You
  9. Takuya Kuroda – Afro Blues from The Rising Son

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Derek is listening to:

Neil is listening to: