Week ending 06 April 2019: more from Scandinavia + James Francies

Sometimes you play a tune on the show and it is so good that you have to play it again as soon as you can. Click the MixCloud tab this week and you’ll notice that we start with two wonderful tunes that ended last week’s show.

There are no apologies for this because the tunes in question are two beautiful, tranquil and awe-inspiring pieces from two groups led by young women jazz musicians. The first was Nursery Rhyme, from British pianist Sarah Tandy and her debut album Infection in the Sentence, currently receiving a huge amount of attention worldwide. Tandy is a remarkable talent and this debut album showcases both her writing and playing. The second tune was from Norwegian sax player Hanna Paulsberg, leading a Norwegian band with a guest Swedish trumpeter, Marcus Broo, who contributes a delicate and enchanting solo – as indeed does Sheila Maurice-Grey on the Sarah Tandy track. Paulsberg is the daughter of jazz drummer Hakon Paulsberg and a member of the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. She’s released four solo albums of which Daughter of the Sun is the most recent.

The Hanna Paulsberg Concept track is available via a free Norwegian sampler CD available with the April 2019 issue Jazzwise magazine and it was another article that inspired the next selection. This month the magazine has a feature on Norwegian sax player Jan Garbarek, which featured a selection of some of his best albums, including an excursion into an early music/jazz fusion outing with the Hilliard Ensemble choral group. The Garbarek tune selected for this week was particularly timely because it includes Danish percussionist/bandleader Marilyn Mazur, whose favourably reviewed new album Shamania features a group of female Scandinavian musicians. Garbarek’s Red Wind is the lead off track from one of his most contemplative albums, Visible World from 1995. Some of Garbarek’s most frequent collaborators appear on the record – Rainer Bruninghaus on keys, Eberhard Weber on bass and Manu Katche on drums.

The Scandinavian connections did not stop there as two tunes from the supergroup RYMDEN were featured on the show. The band is led by Bugge Wesseltoft on piano and keyboards, along with ex-EST members Don Berglund on bass and Magnus Ostrum on drums/percussion.  The disc is released on Wesseltoft’s Jazzman label. At times the music is dramatic, even loud, at other times it has a peaceful tranquility with Wesseltoft’s piano to the fore. The two tunes selected represented both sides of the record – the powerful The Odyssey and the more contemplative Homegrown. I have to admit to a preference for the latter.

Pianist/keyboard player James Francies was the next to receive the two tune feature – this time from his debut album Flight. Interesting it is too. The first tune is a surprise – a very different and original version of the Chaka Khan tune Ain’t Nobody with guest vocalist Kate Kelsey-Sugg. The second includes his regular bass player Burniss Travis II and also showcases Jeremy Dutton on drums. There’s also a feature for up and coming vibes player Joel Ross (who has his own Blue Note album coming out soon) along with outstanding sax player Chris Potter, whose recent album Circuits – released on the British label Edition – features Francies on keyboards.

There was a dip into the not-so-distant past to include Ludovic Navarre – aka St. Germain. A longtime master of cool fusion jazz/house sounds, Navarre’s self titled most recent release (from 2015) merged club styles and Malian musicians on balafon and kora. Hanky Panky is the jazziest of all the tracks on the album and with impeccable production values and some great music, this most recent St Germain album has been a Cosmic Jazz favourite since its release.

The show ended with a track from the James Brandon Lewis Trio’s No Filter. We love Brandon Lewis’s take on the sax, bass drums trio format and we’re going to feature his brand new album An UnRuly Manifesto in upcoming shows.

  1. Sarah Tandy – Nursery Rhyme from Infection in the Sentence
  2. Hanna Paulsberg Concept –Scent of Soil from Daughter of the Sun
  3. Jan Garbarek – Red Wind from Visible World
  4. RYMDEN – The Odyssey from Reflections & Odysseys
  5. RYMDEN – Homegrown from Reflections & Odysseys
  6. James Francies – Ain’t Nobody from Flight
  7. James Francies A Lover and a Fighter from Flight
  8. St. Germain – Hanky Panky from St. Germain
  9. James Brandon Lewis Trio – Say What from No Filter

Derek is listening to…..

Neil is listening to…

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