Week ending 28 April 2018: serious stories; serious music

The advantage of a show like Cosmic Jazz is that we have no restrictions. We have a jazz/jazz related formula but in terms of which music we play within that formula it can be of the present, it can be of the past – and we have no hesitation in playing tunes that are lengthy. This week’s show includes two tunes over ten minutes long, and two others with deep and serious stories to tell. All available, as usual, via the MixCloud tab on this site.

The Andrew Hill celebration continued with the title track from an essential album. Compulsion!!!!! (yes, that’s five exclamation marks) is a recognition of the African-American musical experience and the African roots of jazz and includes two percussionists. Listen, says Andrew Hill on the album’s sleevenotes, to what is called the ‘avant-garde’ and you can hear African kinds of rhythms. You can hear field cries. You can hear the basic roots of jazz. Hill’s Blue Note group on this 1966 recording is a seven-piece featuring Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, longtime Sun Ra stalwart John Gilmore on tenor sax, Cecil McBee on bass and Joe Chambers on drums. Compulsion is one of Hill’s best and well worth checking out.

Also digging into the roots is Nicholas Payton with his Afro-Caribbean Mixtape. Payton Payton is a trumpeter from New Orleans. He likes to tell a story and included in this long tune are references to other past musicians from New Orleans. It is another one of those contemporary records that stretches the boundaries: jazz is certainly in there but so is hip-hop and beats and the list of musicians on the album includes a turntablist. The tune on the show this week is simply left me in awe and wonder.

Someone else with a story to tell is Luis Nabiola, a Cuban-born sax player who moved to Costa Rica and then across continents to Poland. His album has the title Global Friendship which probably reflects his life experience of playing jazz in different places and with different musicians. His fellow musicians are Polish, the music is essentially jazz – but those Cuban roots are evident. Recommended and available from the ever-reliable Steve’s Jazz Sounds.

The longest tune title I have ever encountered (see below) must have a story to tell and sure enough it does. Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith has a record of works with a political statement and in America’s National Parks he celebrates the parks and identifies area that deserve to be included under this category. More deep, culturally significant contemporary music – and proof once more that instrumental music can address issues and make statements.

CJ this week ended with two tunes from compilations. Firstly, from an album of music never previously released in Europe. The superb, modal, spiritual music of J-Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz from Japan 1969-1984 celebrates one of the most creative eras in modern Japanese jazz and is available on the UK-based BBE label. It’s a celebration of the kind of music you can hear in the jazu kissa bars of Tokyo (see Cosmic Jazz w/e 07 April for more information) and then from an album released to celebrate an exhibition at the Tate Modern Gallery in London on American art in the age of Black Power.

  1. Andrew Hill – Compulsion from Compulsion!!!!!
  2. Nicholas Payton – #BAMboula from Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
  3. Luis Nabiola – Halito from Global Friendship
  4. Wadada Leo Smith – Sequoia/King’s Canyon National Parks: The Giant Forest, Great Canyon, Cliff Peaks, Waterfalls and Cave Systems from America’s National Parks
  5. Fumio Karashima – Little Island from J-Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz from Japan 1969-1984
  6. Sarah Webster Fabio – Sweet Song from Soul of a Nation: Afro-Centric Visions in the Age of Black Power

Derek is listening to…

Neil is listening to…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *