Week ending 30 March 2019: Scandijazz and more

The lead off tune for this week’s Cosmic Jazz was inspired simply by finding a record on my shelves and deciding it was time to play on the show. Check the show via the MixCloud (click on the tab left) to see if you  agree.

The record in question was Abbey Lincoln + Archie Shepp. Recorded in 1980 while Lincoln was on a European tour, the band included Archie Shepp on saxes, Hilton Ruiz on piano and Roy Burrowes, Shepp’s trumpeter from the Attica Blues Band. Look out for it with the original arresting cover drawing by German free jazz bass player Peter Kowald. The selected tune was Sophisticated Lady, a Duke Ellington number. The album also features an excellent take on Stevie Wonder’s Golden Lady and Lincoln’s own much recorded composition, Throw It Away. One of my favourite versions of this song can be found on the excellent Abbey Sings Abbey record – check it out here. I wanted to follow up and link with a contemporary vocalist, who also works with superb musicians and performs tunes from past catalogues. The choice went to award-winning singer Jazzmeia Horn with a tune taken from her 2017 album A Social Call – a record that announced her arrival on the world jazz stage, exudes sophistication and remains a personal and Cosmic Jazz favourite. And note how well her smoky voice works following Abbey Lincoln’s distinctive dark tones.

CJ has recently featured, in the main,  music that is uptempo, edgy and even loud. There was a quieter and more tranquil mood this week. A good example came from Pawel Kaczmarczyk and his Audiofeeling Trio. A pianist, described as one of Poland’s ‘young guns’ (although there seem to be quite a few of them) and as EST with Polish melancholy. With an earlier album dedicated to the memory of Esborn Svensson, this is perhaps not surprising but more obvious we think is inspiration from US pianist Brad Mehldau. Accompanied by bassist Maciej and drummer Dawid Fortuna, Kaczmarczyk brings a deep lyricism to tracks including his take on to Massive Attack’s Teardrop. Personal is indeed just that, and a record well worth investigating. Also from Poland came Schmidt Electric. A band led by trumpeter Piotr Schmidt, who has a PhD in music, lectures in jazz, has produced and/or performed on at least nine albums and from whom we heard a tune from his 2015 album with the great title Tear the Roof Off. If you’re new to Cosmic Jazz you may wonder where you can get this and other European jazz: the answer is easy – just explore the excellent Steve’s Jazz Sounds

The next part of the show has a strong Norwegian connection. The April 2019 edition of Jazzwise comes with a CD of jazz from Norway at Jazzahead 2019. Compiled by Music Norway it includes musicians representing Norway at the Jazzahead in Bremen, Germany – held this year between 13-29 April. The tune on the show, Scent of Soil, is a delight – subtle and gentle, with mysterious and surprising sounds.  It comes from the album Daughter of the Sun by the Hanna Paulsberg Concept with Swedish trumpeter Marcus Broo an invited guest. It left me wanting to hear more – what is on the rest of the album I wonder? For more of Hanna Paulsberg’s sound, watch her band playing Catalan Boy from the 2015 album Eastern Smiles.

The Norwegian link continued with an old favourite from drummer/percussionist Thomas Stronen with a band that included British musicians Kit Downes on piano and Lucy Railton on cello alongside Norwegian colleagues. The music on Time is a Blind Guide four years after release, still sounds as deep and as poignant as ever – highly recommended.

Our final Norwegian connection was from a new band with very deep Scandinavian roots – indeed, the band could be described as a supergroup, given that Norwegian pianist/keyboard player and record label owner, Bugge Wesseltoft invited the two surviving members of Sweden’s EST (Esborn Svensson Trio) – Dan Berglund on bass and Magnus Ostrom on drums/percussion – to join him in a new trio. RYMDEN is the name of the group and Reflections & Odysseys their first release on Wessletoft’s own Jazzland label. The music is atmospheric and at times dramatic – and with a touch of that familiar EST melancholy too! Three powerful musicians making very powerful statements.

Finally – and to complete the becalmed ambience of the music this week – came the beautiful and delicately played Nursery Rhyme from Sarah Tandy’s excellent debut album Infection in the Sentence. This album has received universal rave reviews and is highly recommended by Cosmic Jazz. Tandy’s supporting band members are Binker Golding on saxes, Sheila Maurice Grey on trumpet, Mutale Chashi on bass and Femi Koleoso on drums  You can buy the album here on Bandcamp – it’s available on vinyl, CD and download formats.

  1. Abbey Lincoln + Archie Shepp – Sophisticated Lady from Painted Lady
  2. Jazzmeia Horn – East of the Sun (and West of the Moon) from A Social Call
  3. Pawel Kaczmarczyk Audiofeeling Trio – Something Personal from Something Personal
  4. Schmidt Electric – Still Without from Tear the Roof Off
  5. Hannas Paulsberg Concept with Marcus Broo – Scent of Soil from Norway at Jazzahead/Daughter of the Sun
  6. Thomas Stronen – As We Wait For Time from Time is a Blind Guide
  7. RYMDEN – The Celestial Dog and the Funeral Ship from Reflections & Odysseys
  8. Sarah Tandy – Nursery Rhyme from Infection in the Sentence

Derek is listening to….

Neil is listening to…

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