Week ending 15 December 2018: from Poland to the UK

This week’s Cosmic Jazz starts in Poland with one of the long-established masters and then we test drive one of the many groups to make their debut in 2018. From that point on, it’s a UK-based show featuring some of the the many young British artists who have made such names for themselves in 2018.

As the programme went out live while the UN Climate Change Conference took place in Poland, it was fitting to start the show there. Polish Trumpeter Piotr Wojtasik has been on the music scene for thirty years and we love his music here on Cosmic Jazz. His latest record To Whom It May Concern (as with many Polish records the album and song titles are in English) sees him collaborate with musicians that he has played with over the years. It’s an international gathering – there is the Hungarian sax player Victor Toth, veteran pianist Bobby Few  from the US and Dutch bassist Joris Teepe. The album was recorded in France and is Wojtasik’s twelfth so far. We look forward to more.

Steve of Steve’s Jazz Sounds – the place you need to go to find all this excellent music – recommends the debut album from Follow Dices. Called Eternal Colors, Steve has made it one of his albums of the year and so naturally we had to play a track. The band are another of the many musicians emerging onto record from Poland with an unusual violin, double bass, drums and piano quartet. It’s jazz but with clear influences from Polish folklore. The result is an effect not dissimilar to the Nordic feeling that many ECM records have and a a translation from the Follow Dices’ site describe the music as sharing an intimate story in the mountain landscape, away from everyday life and the hustle and bustle. It may sound pretentious, but is actually an apt description. Check it out for yourself.

It was then over to Neil and some of the music that has been on his radar in 2018. We featured two tunes from US-born Sarathy Korwar, a percussionist making waves in the London jazz scene. His 2018 album Your East is My West is a live recording that is undoubtedly one of our top 20 records from this annus mirabilis for jazz . Korwar’s first album Day To Day was released on Ninja Tune and featured field recordings of Sidi musicians – descendants of African migrants in India. We loved it – but this new 2CD recording from the Church of Sound in London features a double quintet (much like the great Joe Harriott’s IndoJazz Fusion classic album) and includes covers of Alice Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders, Joe Henderson, John McLaughlin and Abdullah Ibrahim. We featured two tracks – an excellent take on McLaughlin’s Mind Ecology and a very different twist on the classic Pharoah Sanders tune The Creator Has a Master Plan. You can check out the original version of Mind Ecology from McLaughlin’s Shakti group here.

Korwar is currently mixing his sophomore album – an exploration of deep jazz, hip hop, electronics and his South Asian roots. It’s been recorded in London and Mumbai and features Mumbai rap artists – we can’t wait!

Our remaining choices come from that gene pool of great UK jazz artists who appear on each other’s albums. For example, bassist Daniel Casimir who was first up first with a track from his own solo release appears on the new album from Camilla George. His band includes guitarist Shirley Tetteh, who is also on the Camilla George album. We ended this sequence with a new 12inch from Joe Armon-Jones who has taken two tracks from his Starting Today album from this year and dubbed them out. It’s certainly a fluid and exciting scene in jazz right now.

  1. Piotr Wopjtasik – Backatcha from To Whom It May Concern
  2. Follow Dices – Eternal Colors from Eternal Colors
  3. Sarathy Korwar – Mind Ecology from Your East is My West
  4. Sarathy Korwar – The Creator has a Master Plan from Your East is My West
  5. Daniel Casimir – Escapee from Escapee
  6. Camilla George – Tappin’ the Turtle from The People Could Fly
  7. Joe Armon-Jones – Starting Today in Dub from 12inch single

Neil is listening to…

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