You can hear this week’s show by clicking the Mix Cloud tab. Do not be put off by a short interruption early on from music that’s nothing to do with Cosmic Jazz. That was a slight technical aberration which luckily I was able to sort quickly. Apologies for this – and particular apologies to Sarah Tandy whose music was playing at the time. Stick with the show and check out lots of fantastic jazz, old and new.
Sometimes you hear on record, or see live, a musician who makes you sit up and take notice. This happened to me when I heard the Camilla George Quartet album Isang. It was confirmed when I saw the band live at the Cambridge Jazz Festival and even more so when I saw Maisha in a Spiegeltent at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. The musician in question was piano/keyboard player Sarah Tandy. When you see her live, you won’t see any apparent fanfare or attention-seeking gestures, yet she weaves the most incredible, intricate and unpredictable musical patterns, whether it is via delicate moments on the piano or more funky beats on the keyboard. It is great news that she now has her own music released on her debut Infection in the Sentence album. Not surprisingly, there were more tunes from it on this week’s show – we played the final three tracks from the album to complement the first three tracks in a previous show. We can confidently predict Infection in the Sentence (btw – a quote from an Emily Dickinson poem) will be one of the jazz/jazz-related music albums of the year in 2019. If you like what we have played on Cosmic Jazz you need to own this album. Find it here on Bandcamp.
To fulfil a recent commitment on the show to re-visit the past and also because it made an interesting contrast, it was back to the UK in the 1960s. If Sarah Tandy is part of what is happening in the current British jazz scene, the Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet were part of what was significant and important on the British jazz scene in the 1960s. Dusk Fire still stands proud today as a moving, intense and spiritual piece composed by pianist Michael Garrick. Along with Ian Carr (trumpet/flugelhorn), Don Rendell (sax, clarinet and flute), Trevor Tompkins (drums) and Dave Green (bass) the quintet is a testament to what is now the long-standing worth of UK jazz.
There were more contrasts between past and present from the 1970s to 2018. There seem in recent years to have been a succession of ‘undiscovered’ or neglected releases from the 1970s. Last year one such was a re-issue of The Lightmen and their record Free As You Wanna Be. The band was led by Houston drummer Bubbha Thomas. As a musician, journalist and radio presenter he was active in the civil rights movement in Houston. His 15-minute clusters of jazz on his radio show went down well with his listeners but not the station managers. He was fired. Bubbha’s response was to detail his plight in a pamphlet, the front cover of which asked Why do racists fear jazz?
The contrast was to the current international jazz superstar Kamasi Washington. He was in London recently and one of my sons was there for the Brixton show. He was ecstatic about the performance. I could not make it so the next best thing was to include a tune on the show from The Choice, the hidden third CD of his 2018 release Heaven and Earth. The warmth and power of the music radiates through with every note.
There was no particular reason for the next few selections, except that the music is good. Carmen Lundy is a Cosmic Jazz regular but I it’s been a while since we played Monica Vasconcelos. Brazilian-born but a UK resident, she performs contemporary and classical Brazilian tunes with a jazzy feel and sings with a delicate but joyous voice. Mudanca is a tune written by her and keyboardist Steve Lodder from her album Nois. Seek out this and her other releases for more Brazilian magic.
The final tune came from Poland via a sax player, arranger, composer, educator and player in ensembles of Polish and US musicians, namely Irek Wojtczak. Kiej Jo Ide W Pole is from his album Play it Again. The title of the album is in English, but interestingly, the titles of the tunes are not. So often on many of the Polish music we play, the tunes and album titles are both in English. Do the musicians and/or the record labels feel they have to do this? It would be interesting to know.
- Sarh Tandy – Timelord from Infection in the Sentence
- Sarah Tandy – Light/Weight from Infection in the Sentence
- Sarah Tandy – Snake in the Grass from Infection in the Sentence
- Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet – Dusk Fire from Dusk Fire
- The Lightmen – Talk Visit from Free As You Wanna Be
- Kamasi Washington – My Family from The Choice/ Heaven & Earth
- Monica Vasconcelos – Mudanca from Nois
- Carmen Lundy – Soul to Soul from Soul to Soul
- Irel Wojtcask – Kiej Jo Ide W Pole from Play it Again
Derek is listening to…
- Kyoto Jazz Massive – The Brightness of These Days
- Fumio Itabashi – Watarase
- Soil & Pimp Sessions – Summer Goddess
- Johan Wagenaar – Levenszomer, Op 21 (Summer of Life)
- Art Ensemble of Chicago – Ohnedaruth
Neil is listening to…
- Ronettes – Be My Baby
- Sweet Daddy Floyd – I Just Can’t Help Myself
- Quantic – Atlantic Oscillations
- McCoy Tyner – Message From the Nile
- The Comet Is Coming – Summon the Fire