Week ending 16 May 2020: jazz vloggers and YouTubers

Another week, another Cosmic Jazz. For those of us who like some jazz in our lives, these seem like particularly rich times. Of course, there is no real substitute for live music, but if you’re confined to home then this seems like the ideal time to explore the numerous jazz blogs, websites and Youtube videos out there. So – not really a virtual show this week but instead music inspired by my internet exploration of two of these vlogs.

We’re trawling that deep space online where you never know what you’ll find. Let’s begin with a virtual record store and review site – The ‘In’ Groove is a record store in Phoenix, Arizona that also supplies online, with owner Mike Esposito also taking time out to do video reviews – like this one about his favourite jazz records. Mike is a hifi retailer too and so his focus is on records that sound good – I like the anecdote of the listener who thought that Take Five sounded “too good.” Of course, all of Mike’s choices are of the audiophile variety but there’s some music here that all jazz fans should have. One interesting choice is from saxophonist Nathan Davis on the French Sam label – here’s a promo video for the 3LP live recording. Davis was one of those African-American jazz artists who found himself more accepted and respected in the postwar jazz scene in Paris. Woody Shaw and Kenny Clarke were also part of this set, and you can hear them with Davis on this lovely version of Sconsolato that didn’t make it onto Davis’ 1965 record Peace Treaty, an excellent album and now about to be reissued on the Sam label with that bonus track.

Mike also includes a Three Blind Mice record – a rare label to find in the UK but one revered here in Singapore. It hails from Japan and majors on incredible recording quality – one of my go-to stores here, The Analog Vault, has the Impex re-release box set available for SGD$330 – but it is a 6 record set… For a taste of audiophile nirvana, strap on your best headphones and listen to Aqua Marine from the Isao Suzuki Quartet. Also included in this Best of… list is (predictably) Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue (1959) and Thelonious Monk’s 1963 album Monk’s Dream. You can find both regular and audiophile titles at The Analog Vault and my favourite store here in Singapore, The Jazz Loft.

Ken Micallef reviews jazz records for Downbeat and Jazz Times magazines and also writes for Stereophile magazine. But perhaps he’s best known for his quirky, opinionated Youtube channel posts. His love of jazz is deep and knowledgable and the vlogs from his New York apartment are a great listen. Here he is extolling the virtues of some ‘jazz through the cracks‘ – records that are not well known but well worth a listen. There’s so many records here that are worth looking out for if you’re able to go crate digging. How about this lovely version of Chick Corea’s Litha on the first record Micallef mentions – Stan Getz’s Sweet Rain from 1967… Getz is with Corea on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Grady Tate on drums – what’s not to like? Micallef also features new jazz artists, in this instance flautist Nicole Mitchell. Her Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds album from 2017 is new jazz to explore. Recorded live at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Chicago in 2015, there’s an Art Ensemble of Chicago feel to the complex instrumentation, dominant percussion and attendant freedoms given to the players. Check out the opening track Egoes War for a taste of this brilliant, if challenging, record. Easier listening comes from another Micallef recommendation – pianist Tommy Flanagan’s Overseas album, recorded in Stockholm in 1957 and reissued thirty years later (with extra tracks) in 1987 on the Japanese DIW label. Flanagan’s take on Charlie Parker’s Relaxin’ at Camarillo just swings – and that’s Elvin Jones you can hear on brushes. Spend time with Macallef – you’ll learn a lot and come away with some great record recommendations.

Stereophile magazine itself is – of course – available in print and digital versions and there’s much in the latter to entertain any music lover. I particularly like the annual R2D4 (Records to Die For) lists with mini-reviews that encourage you to explore further – and often well outside your genre comfort zone. The best music writing is the kind that persuades you to listen and/or buy, and Stereophile writer do this – often rather too frequently for comfort…

As a New Yorker article from 2018 made clear, “vinyl offers the joys of possessorship: if you go to a store, talk to other music lovers, and buy a record, you are committing to your taste, to your favorite group, to your friends” – and I think that’s any record store buyer’s experience. It is not the same as the simple internet click to secure your latest download. Can you remember where you were when you bought a favourite download? It’s unlikely. In contrast, most vinyl lovers can remember clearly when and where they purchased their most treasured records. The New Yorker piece indicated that those young people buying vinyl now have joined up with two sets of people who never really gave up on the black wax: “the scratchmaster d.j.s deploying vinyl on twin turntables, making music with their hands, and the audiophiles hoarding their LPs from decades ago”. The result is a resurgent vinyl market that has been hit hard by the Covid-19 outbreak, but will hopefully bounce back so that more of us can enjoy that unique crate digging experience – perhaps best captured by this now iconic image from DJ Shadow’s essential 1996 album Endtroducing, which features two of his co-diggers and DJ associates in a record store in Sacramento, California. More great music next week here on Cosmic Jazz – and we leave you with a track from the magnificence that is Endtroducing – Building Steam with a Grain of Salt. Until next week, enjoy!

Neil is listening to…

Derek is listening to…

Week ending 09 May 2020: Covid deaths and new music

This week’s Cosmic Jazz stays with the virtual show format – click on the hyperlinks to listen to the show – and open up twice to listen and read simultaneously! This week, six artists from Neil reflect two more sad Covid-19 deaths but also provide music that’s uplifting and spiritual in scope.

First up is one of the most recent deaths from Covid-19 in the UK – Benedict Chijioke, more commonly known as rapper Ty, was one of the most eloquent musicians of his generation with a Mercury Music Prize nomination for his album Upwards in 2004. Check out Groovement (Part 1) and The Willing for an indication of why we think his work is comparable not just with his international peers but with the work of A Tribe Called Quest or De La Soul. The latter track features the distinctive trap kit sound of Tony Allen – as unmistakable as ever. You can explore much more of Tony Allen’s music in our previous post.

Detroit DJ Mike Huckaby was another recent Covid-19 victim. The phrase ‘taste maker’ is perhaps used rather too loosely, but Huck’s music choices were remarkably influential, not just in the US but in clubs around the world. Ever keen to encourage new talent, Huckaby ran DJ and production workshops in Detroit and beyond, mentoring upcoming talent with a generosity typical of his approach to music. Have a listen to The Jazz Republic for a taste of his deep house sound.

Sometimes a Twitter post or online article can start a search that yields unexpected rewards. I can’t remember how this one started, but I ended up with Maria Rita Stumpf and her Brasileira remixes. The original Brasileira album, released in 1988 and her first recording, was all but lost but has now been rediscovered and remastered. The music features and is inspired by one of Brazil’s ethnic minorities, the Kamaiura.

The complete album is available here on Bandcamp but have a listen to one of the standout tracks – Cantico Brasileira No. 3 (Kamaiura). This tune in turn led me to the remixes – just two tracks, of which this – the same Cantico Brasileira No.3 – is the second. The remix artist is Carrot Green – and here’s another of his stunning transformations, the hypnotic Ponto Das Caboclas from Camila Costa.

To avoid confusion, Cosmic Jazz points out that Maria Rita Stumpf and Maria Rita are not one and the same. Both are Brazilian singers but Maria Rita (full name Maria Rita Camargo Mariano is the daughter of famed singer Ellis Regina and pianist/arranger Cesar Camargo Mariano. Her self-titled debut album was released to some acclaim in 2004 – here’s the Milton Nascimento album opener, A Festa. Since then she’s released half a dozen albums, with 2008’s Samba Meu perhaps the most worthy of further investigation.

Hard bop tenor player Charlie Rouse had a ten year partnership with pianist Thelonious Monk but his own recordings are often surprisingly good too. A new discovery for me was the album Bossa Nova Bacchanal which – at first glance – might look like an attempt to cash in on that 1960s bossa nova craze. But the album is much more than this. For a start, there’s the players – Kenny Burrell on guitar, Willie Bobo on drums and Carlos ‘Patato’ Valdes on congas. The Haitian-influenced Merci Bon Dieu is a good example of the strengths of this record – it’s much more of a jazz than bossa album. Good luck on finding a vinyl copy of this record! Rouse is there on many of Monk’s classic Columbia recordings, including the superlative Monk’s Dream – an album that belongs in every jazz collection. The album opens with a new recording of the title track – check it out here.

DJ Gilles Peterson’s has been making good use of his lockdown situation by delving deep into his phenomenal record collection and presenting a selection of top 20s on his Worldwide FM radio channel. The Brazilian Jazz 20 was especially rewarding with all tracks worthy of your attention. I’ve listened to the programme four times already since it was broadcast earlier this month. Don’t think you’ve missed it either – you can catch up right here. Standout tracks? Too many to mention – but if you don’t know Dom Um Romao’s superb Spirit of the Times record on the Muse label (1975) then listen to Gilles’ choice The Angels and you’ll want to investigate further. Before this album was released, Romao was performing percussion duties in Weather Report – listen to him here on the sinewy Cucumber Slumber from Mysterious Traveller (1974) and with new bass player Alphonso Johnson up in the mix too.

Finally, in the mix this week was something new from Texan (largely) instrumental trio Khruangbin. With a name taken from the Thai word for airplane, their music can be described as a mix of funk, psychedelia, Iranian and Thai styles and – yes – a little jazz too. Their debut album The Universe Smiles on You was widely acclaimed and their sophomore release Con Todo el Mundo went on to be released in a special dub version Hasta el Cielo last year. Out in a few weeks will be their 2020 album Mordechai – from which the chart friendly Time (You and I) is the first release, out in June. The video features UK comedians Stephen K Amos and Lunda Anele-Skosana making sandcastles in some familiar London streets…

Neil is listening to…

Derek is listening to…

What was it about Tony Allen?

Tony Allen – the drummer who created the rhythm behind Afrobeat – died on 30 April in Paris aged 79. Brian Eno famously called him “perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived” – but not for the reasons you might expect. Tony Allen was not one to showboat or solo but he created a deceptively simple syncopation that became the infectious base for the most influential beat to emerge from the African continent – just called Afrobeat. Rather like the Winstons’ famous ‘Amen break‘ Tony Allen’s Afrobeat has shimmied its way around the world since its spiritual master Fela Kuti acknowledged that, “without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat.” The thing is – and in whatever context – when Allen played just a few opening bars, you knew that this immediately recognisable sound must be him.

Listen to a few examples just to prove the point. Sebastian Tellier’s La Ritournelle isn’t Afrobeat – but this could only be Tony Allen. Similarly, Charlotte Gainsbourg’s 5:55 is nowhere near it – but Tony Allen is unmistakeable. So how did this start?

Allen was born in Lagos, Nigeria and was largely self taught as a drummer. He had grown up listening to the dominant juju style, but American jazz was a big influence too – drummers Art Blakey and Max Roach in particular. When he came across the sounds of Ghanaian drummer Guy Warren (later known as Kofi Ghanaba), Allen realised that you could mix Nigerian and Ghanaian tribal drum rhythms with bop idioms. Soon he was hired by Sir Victor Olaiya to play drums with his Cool Cats group (left). Allen later gave a nod to the start of his drumming career on on the track Cool Cats from his 2017 album The Source.

When Fela Kuti invited Allen to audition for a new group he was forming the two soon became a partnership. “How come you are the only guy in Nigeria who plays like this – jazz and highlife?” Kuti asked him. The pair formed the Koola Lobitos group, playing a mix of highlife, traditional Yoruba music, jazz, funk, salsa and calypso driven by Allen’s polyrhythmic beats. Fela would later give this musical stew the name Afrobeat and with his dazzling arrangements, charismatic personality, and explicit human rights activism, Fela Kuti and Afrika ’70 could only succeed. The result was an unparalled period of creativity resulting in over thirty Fela albums that featured Allen but was ended by Fela’s ego and his control over rights and royalties. Allen took some key members of Afrika ’70 with him and the result was some fine recordings, including the superb N.E.P.A. (or Never Expect Power Only – the alternative acronym for the Nigerian Electrical Power Authority). Here’s When One Road Close as an example of this more punchy style – complete with dub effects too.

This experimentation was the start of a period in which Allen deconstructed Afrobeat, fusing it with electronica, dub and rap. But the jazz roots were never far away and in 2017 came Allen’s tribute to Art Blakey – and this Afrobeat take on the classic Moanin’ has that syncopated drum sound right there from the start. And as Allen continued to release albums that expanded on his Afrobeat origins his last release from March 2020 was a much delayed project with the late Hugh Masekela appropriately titled Rejoice – here’s the wonderful Slow Bones. Now, continue your celebration of the life and music of this true legend – choose any track from the list below. You won’t be disappointed.

More Tony Allen…

Week ending 02 May 2020: new jazz sounds

This week’s Cosmic Jazz reverts to our current virtual show format – three tunes from Neil and three from Derek. The current lockdown has encouraged more online purchasing, but we’d recommend using the independent sites and those where a higher proportion of the profit goes direct to the musicians themselves. For example, if you purchase any music in whatever format from Bandcamp on Friday 01 May, then 100% of that purchase price will go to the artists themselves. In the 30 days since the first 100% promotion, music fans have paid Bandcamp artists $14.29 million. With musicians in all genres unable to perform live, it’s a nobrainer. Check out all the jazz new releases here and support musicians through this difficult time.

First up this week is a track from the new release by UK tenor saxophonist Tony Kofi, Another Kind of Soul. It’s his tribute to Cannonball Adderley, and was recorded live at Luton’s Bear Club in 2019. The album features Andy Davies on trumpet, pianist Alex Webb, bassist Andrew Cleyndert and Alfonso Vitale on drums. The album is best heard in limited edition vinyl but is available in digital formats – check it out here on the Juno Records site.

Kofi has cited the work of Adderley as an early inspiration.  “The first recording I ever heard of Cannonball’s was of the Quintet with the opening track “Arriving Soon.” It opens with his lone saxophone. I was 17 and from that moment on, I was hypnotised as if the pied piper had called out to me. I swore that before I got a good technique on the saxophone, I would first acquire a voice that people could recognise and relate to. Cannonball’s sound is like a human voice. He had his own personal sound, which is like finding the rarest diamond that only belongs to you. His sense of rhythm was a revelation,” says Tony Kofi of the jazz giant. This record comes highly recommended by Cosmic Jazz – buy on vinyl for the real deal!

The setlist includes Adderley brothers classics like Things Are Getting Better, Work Song, Sack O’Woe, and boasts two originals. A Portrait of Cannonball explores Adderley’s breadth of style and was composed for the project by Alex Webb. Operation Breadbasket is a Kofi composition which pays tribute to Cannonball’s support of young jazz musicians.  Mercy, mercy, mercy!

Up next is something new from Blue Note – it’s the fruits of a collaboration between UK singer songwriter and beatmaker Tom Misch and drummer Yussef Dayes. What Kinda Music is not deep but it is good, relaxed listening. Check out the title track and lead single here.Some of the album feels like part of the South London jazz scene with saxophonist Kaidi Akinnibi and bassist Rocco Palladino in two of two tracks, Storm Before the Calm and Lift Off. It’s available in digital and analogue formats.

We’ve long been fans of the ensemble Maisha, led by drummer Jake Long. At last year’s Gilles Peterson-curated We Out Here Festival, UK headliner Gary Bartz performed with Maisha and the fruits of this collaboration were then developed into an album on the new UK-based direct-to-disc Night Dreamer label. The album will be released on the label on 29 May but you can check out the tracks Harlem to Haarlem (where the album was recorded) and Leta’s Dance right here, right now. Again, why not give your turntable a treat with this one and go for the vinyl option!

Polish pianist/composer Krzystof Herdzin has released an album entitled The Book of Secrets. It’s Volume 84 in the Polish Jazz series, started in 1965 by the state recording company. Herdzin is a veteran of the Polish jazz scene. He has released twenty albums and has appeared on other records across different genres of music. This album was recorded with a quartet, although there are other guests. It includes US saxophonist Rick Margitza, bass player Robert Kubiszyn and Cezary Konrad on drums. Time starts with Herdzin prominent on piano, gathering pace to quite some speed with Kubiszyn on bass also to the fore. Later Margitza appears from the shadows and trades with Konrad on drums and then the bass. It’s good, contemporary jazz.

Chandra Rule is a Chicago-born vocalist “rooted in gospel, but with a heart full of soul and a voice blessed with jazz”. She has collaborated with New York sax player Donny McCaslin and has performed as an opening act for quite a varied list of performers – Kamasi Washington, India Arie, Regina Belle and The Whispers. On her new album Hold On she’s backed by the Sweet Emma Band, a quintet of European jazz virtuosos. Chandra acknowledges “a sea of ancestral energy supporting me, guiding my flight” and describes Hold On as “a musical libation to them”.

Seven of the nine tunes on the album she says were “originally written and sung by unnamed and undocumented African-American mothers, fathers, workers, prisoners, preachers, sons and daughters.” Chandra has updated the lyrics to “support us through a new time”. tune Rosalie is raw, earthy, rootsy and pared down to essentials. A fitting, powerful and emotional testament to the origins of the music. Sweet Emma, incidentally was a renowned pianist and singer from New Orleans and, in a link with Neil’s choices, Nat and Cannonball Adderley dedicated their song Sweet Emma to her.

Maybe it is the times but I have been finding myself listening to some music on the soul/jazz borders. Some might find it too smooth, even sugary, but I am not afraid to confess a partiality for the music. My attention was drawn to a piece in the March edition of Echoes music magazine on US vocalist Lindsey Webster. I confess that perhaps the line under the photo indicating that she had just made an album with the man she recently divorced did encourage me to read further, but I was already aware of her. Previous references in Echoes through had already drawn attention to Webster’s music and so I was intrigued by the prospect of her new album, A Woman Like Me. Yes, it has ex-husband Keith Slattery on keys and he contributes to what is a highly polished and professional sound which combines remarkably well with the warmth and intimacy of Webster’s voice. Listen with an open mind to One Step Forward and you could enjoy it as much as I do.

Derek is listening to…

Neil is listening to…

Record store lockdown: UK and Singapore

These are difficult times for record stores around the world. On Cosmic Jazz we have always supported independent shops and suppliers. For them, Record Store Day is an important event in the calendar but this year the scheduled date of 18 April passed by with online orders only. Although a new date of 20 June has been scheduled, it’s unlikely that this will be able to be celebrated worldwide. For this post, Derek and Neil have selected three suppliers – for Derek that means two record stores in East Anglia, UK and one online record supplier while for Neil it’s three record stores in Singapore.

Steve’s Jazz Sounds has been a great supporter of the show over many years. It’s an online order source for many types of jazz but has a particular specialism in East European and Scandinavian jazz. Here you will discover many exciting artists you may never have heard of before and you will soon learn that excellent jazz is produced in countries all over Europe and beyond. We’ve found that out for ourselves and have made many discoveries resulting in artists that we now feature regularly on the show. Steve also runs an online soul music store too – not unsurprisingly called Steve’s Soul Sounds – with a similarly eclectic mix of music.

Derek has been a regular visitor to Soundclash in Norwich, a thriving independent record store. Currently closed as a result of the Coronanvirus outbreak, online orders can still be made through the website. Soundclash stocks a wide selection of left field music and vinyl is a speciality. The owner Paul has run the shop since 1991, working in another independent store before then. He has a wide knowledge of the music and is great at tracking down records not in store. Check out the queues outside the shop from a previous Record Store Day!

We last featured Vinyl Hunter on Cosmic Jazz in 2016 not long after the store had opened. Established by Rosie Hunter, it’s a family run record store and cafe. Following the success of the original store in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, Vinyl Hunter now has three outlets with a further store at the family home near Colchester and an urban specialist store in Tottenham, North London. All the staff are enthusiasts who love the music and it was, for example, quite a surprise to find such a rich selection of Brazilian vinyl in the Bury St. Edmunds store. Again, the shops are closed for now but online orders is the way to go. Vinyl Hunter also stock a range of turntables and vinyl systems, including from UK turntable specialists, Rega – based locally in Essex.

Meanwhile, in Singapore the interest in vinyl probably never went away. When he arrived here in 2016, Neil was involved in supporting a new listening cocktail bar called LongPlay. Located in the hippest corner of the city, LongPlay was the vision of a local hotelier and record collector and boasted an excellent sound system. Sadly ahead of its time, it became an (excellent) Japanese restaurant last year. But there are dozens of thriving record shops in the city and Neil has visited most of them. Some are dedicated to ‘previously loved’ discs while others focus on new vinyl and may well stock turntables or include a cafe too.

Neil’s favourite place to spend an afternoon is The Jazz Loft – a specialist jazz floor in the excellent Retrocrates vinyl store. Owner Cliff Yeo opened up The Jazz Loft in 2018 and this section specialises in jazz vinyl both old and new. If you’re looking for the best selection of classic jazz labels like Blue Note, Prestige, Muse and more then this is the place to come. Cliff is incredibly knowledgeable about jazz and makes regular forays to Japan’s independent record stores to replenish his stocks. There’s a current focus on the Blue Note Tone Poet and Blue Note 80 series of reissues, which we have promoted in Cosmic Jazz recently.

Like some other good record stores in Singapore, Cliff can provide new vinylistas with a complete turntable set up, again focusing on the excellent Rega turntables. The atmosphere is chilled and designed to focus on the music. You literally kick off your shoes (no outer footwear is allowed in the store) and enjoy the great music on a good playback system. Of course, like all the record stores we are focusing on in this feature, the Coronavirus outbreak has ensured that The Jazz Loft is currently closed but if you visit their Facebook page, you’ll currently get a daily update on what Cliff is playing at home along with a little of his jazz knowledge too.

One of the most high profile record stores in Singapore is the Analog Vault, located in the Esplanade concert hall complex. The Vault has a superb playback system – including a Linn LP12 turntable and Audio Note amplification and speakers and so you’d expect a good range of audiophile labels on display. Established by Singapore businesswoman Sharon Seet in 2015, the store also has occasional DJ sets and hifi promotions. If you’ve got a vinyl addiction, then the Bencoolen and Coleman Street areas of the city make good places to start your crate digging but, if you’re after a good coffee and an excellent choice of new hiphop wax, then head for Choice Cuts, the brainchild of DJ collective Matteblacc. It’s just up the road from The Jazz Loft and there’s also a good selection of contemporary jazz, Brazilian and African vinyl too. DJ Drem also cooks up some fine DJ sets, exhibitions and live bands.

London and other European cities have seen the recent rise of the jazz kissu – a longtime feature of life in Tokyo. We have featured these specialist jazz bars previously on Cosmic Jazz (see here) and have also included a recent Japanese jazz playlist, but you can also check out the excellent Tokyo Jazz Joints site for more on this deep aspect of Japanese culture. If you’re looking to find a good jazz kissu in London then try Brilliant Corners or Spiritland, which has recently expanded to include an outlet on the South Bank arts complex. For similar music bars around the world, check out those listed in this feature in the UK’s Independent newspaper.

Week ending 18 April 2020: Covid-19 and jazz deaths

Back to a regular, but virtual, Cosmic Jazz this week. There have been far too many Covid-19 related deaths around the world over the last few months. We mourn those who have passed and think of those left behind, but this post focuses on some of those in the jazz world who have been the recent victims of this global epidemic. There’s a lot of music in this week’s ‘show’ and a long read too. Why not open two CJ’s simultaneously and you can read and listen at the same time?

We start with the two most recently announced deaths – those of bassist Henry Grimes and saxophonist Guiseppi Logan. There are some fascinating parallels between these two jazz artists: both were involved in the free jazz scene on New York in the early 1960s and both vanished in the 1970s and were believed to have died. In 2008 Logan was spotted playing in a New York park and in 2002 Grimes was tracked down by a jazz fan in near destitution in a Los Angeles apartment. Like Miles Davis, Henry Grimes was a student at the Julliard School of Music in New York and had already established himself as a versatile bass player in the 1950s. He can be seen on Bert Stern’s Jazz on a Summer’s Day film at the Newport Jazz Festival of 1958. Just 22 years old, Grimes played with six different groups at the Festival – including Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk (you can see him in this brief clip of Stern’s from the film) and Lee Konitz. For more on the film and its relationship with American culture it’s worth reading Nate Chinen’s deep dive for WBGO right here. Grimes appeared on several great jazz records of this time, including two of my favourites – drummer Roy Haynes’ Out of the Afternoon (1962), which also included Tommy Flanagan on piano and Roland Kirk on saxes. Listen to the fantastic Moon Ray here.

Grimes was also on the earlier Lee Konitz album Tranquility (1957). The latter is a quiet masterpiece of which Jason Ankeny of Allmusic says: crafted with startling precision and economy, Tranquility extols the virtues of mood and shape with Talmudic zeal, towering astride thought and expression. …Rarely is music so profoundly cerebral also so deeply heartfelt. Both of these albums should be in your collection. Listen to the track Lennie Bird right here (likely a tribute to two huge influences, Lennie Tristano and Charlie Parker). Later in the 60s, Grimes was closely involved in the growing free jazz scene, appearing on records by Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor and and Archie Shepp.  He was the bassist on Pharoah Sanders’ Tauhid (1967). That’s him on a track I return to over and again – Upper Egypt, & Lower Egypt (Part 2) with its hypnotic Grimes bassline that’s first introduced around 9 minutes into the song. Younger readers may have come across this in samples from Herbie Hancock, J Dilla and Ras G. Pitched up, it was the bedrock of Mr Spock’s Words and Poets 12in single (if you can find it!). After Grimes’ return in 2002, musicians and fans offered help – most notably fellow bass player, William Parker who donated a green painted bass (nicknamed Olive Oil/Oyl) and soon Grimes was back in the recording studio. A notable early outing at this time was for trumpeter Dennis González in his excellent Rive Nile Suite album (2003). Check out Part II: the Nile runs through my heart. Grimes went on to record with dozens of noted jazz musicians including David Murray, Rashied Ali, Bill Dixon, Joe Lovano and Cecil Taylor. He appeared at numerous festivals and it’s calculated that he may have made up to 1000 appearances at live events since his return in 2003. Here he is (playing that green bass) at a benefit concert in 2012.

Sadly, Giuseppi Logan was not as lucky on his return.  He was a collaborator with Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders and Bill Dixon before recording two albums for the French ESP-Disk label (noted for its pioneering of free jazz) and his own quartet at the times was made up of pianist Don Pullen, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Milford Graves. The self titled album is not easy to find but, as ever, Youtube can help out – listen to Bleecker Partitia here. A considerable drug habit marginalised Logan, and then his erratic behaviour began to take its toll on his music. He was spotted in various locations in New York and was the subject of short films by Suzannah Troy as well as those who recorded him at one of his favourite places, Tompkins Square Park. His comeback record was released in 2010 – here’s a slightly rusty take on Miles Davis’ Freddie Freeloader that sounds rather more like a Sun Ra out-take. Logan died at a nursing home on 17 April.

The passing of alto great Lee Konitz two days earlier is especially sad. Konitz was the last surviving member of the revolutionary nonet that created Birth of the Cool in 1957 – here’s Gerry Mulligan’s Jeru from that album. The first great Miles Davis record, Birth of the Cool signalled a new post-Bop jazz sound and – until last week – Konitz was the only surviving member of that original nonet. Konitz was an incredibly open musician  – from his beginning with Lennie Tristano to his great later recordings with Brad Mehldau. En route, Konitz recorded with so many great names in jazz – Warne Marsh, Chet Baker, Jimmy Giuffre, Charles Mingus, Bill Evans, Elvin Jones, Henry Grimes, Paul Motian, Charlie Haden, Gary Peacock, Bill Frisell and countless others. Imagine playing with both Charlie Parker and Ornette Coleman… From Konitz’s late record for Blue Note with Brad Mehldau and Charlie Haden, here’s their extended version of the 1938 jazz standard Cherokee which Charlie Parker later used as the basis for his Ko-Ko.

Onto Wallace Roney, a trumpet player who died on 31 March and – uniquely – was the only jazz artist mentored by Miles Davis. With a rich, golden tone and a supple technique, Roney was the chosen trumpeter on Miles Davis’ final recording with Quincy Jones at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1991 where he supported Davis through familiar tunes like Summertime and Gone, Gone, Gone. But Roney was a fine performer in his own groups where he performed with some musicians on a fine series of albums for the Muse and Highnote labels. Some of the later Highnote albums (for example Jazz) featured turntablist DJ Axum alongside brother Antoine on saxes and wife and pianist Geri Allen. Here’s their version of Sly Stone’s Stand. Almost all of these albums are worthy of investigation with Intuition (1998) and Mystikal (2005) good places to start. Roney always attracted great musicians around him too – Kenny Garrett, Mulgrew Miller and Ron Carter appearing on the earlier albums and  Gary Bartz, Lenny White and Patrice Rushen on some later releases.

Whilst Ellis Marsalis may be more famous as the father of Branford and Wynton Marsalis, he recorded twenty albums of his own and featured (sometimes uncredited) on his sons’ recordings. Similarly guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli may not be so well known to more progressive jazz audiences but he featured on a wide range of records – perhaps, surprisingly, including Michael Franks’ Tiger in the Rain. Which brings us to producer Hal Wilner who died of Covid-19 complications on 07 April. Wilner was house music producer for Saturday Night Live but, more importantly, he was best known for a series of tribute albums that redefined the genre, include Amacord Nino Rota that featured a roster of jazz artists including Carla Bley, Michael Mantler, Bill Frisell and the Marsalis brothers. Here’s the Carla Bley Band with their take on Rota’s title music from the film .

Famously, Wilner linked Sun Ra with Walt Disney on the tribute album Stay Awake. I remember buying this record on its release in  1988 and enjoying pretty much everything from Los Lobos rollicking I Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book to Bonnie Raitt’s moving Baby Mine from Dumbo. But perhaps most bizarre was Sun Ra’s Pink Elephants on Parade, also from Dumbo, which was to encourage Ra’s full length tribute to Disney’s music on his 1995 live album Second Star to the Right. This post has been a reminder of some great music from superb jazz artists – now all sadly missed. Next week’s show will include more of the great new releases that continue to enrich the world of jazz. Until then, stay safe everyone.

Week Ending 11 April 2020: a Herbie special!

Wow! The ever youthful Herbie Hancock is 80 years old. The pianist and jazz ambassador was born on 12 April 1940 in Chicago. Like many jazz pianists, Hancock received a classical musical education, studying from age seven. Such was his talent that his first public recital at the age of 11 was of the first movement of a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Hancock’s first recordings were with trumpeter Donald Byrd in 1961 but it wasn’t long before Blue Note gave him his first date as leader – Takin’ Off in 1962 – and his first hit with the lead off track Watermelon Man. Regarded as one of the most accomplished debuts in jazz, Takin’ Off is now available as a Blue Note reissue under their Blue Note 80 series. The album caught the attention of the ever-shrewd Miles Davis who quickly incorporated Hancock into his new quintet. Hancock was only 23 at the time – new drummer Tony Williams was just 17.

While in Davis’s band, Hancock found time to record dozens of sessions for the Blue Note label, both under his own name and as a sideman with other musicians including Wayne Shorter, Grant Green, Bobby Hutcherson, Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard. Almost all of Hancock’s albums for Blue Note are outstanding – but particular mention must go to the 1964 outing – Inventions and Dimensions which included two Latin percussionists and featured one of my favourite Hancock compositions, the ostinato-driven Succotash. Of course, the most well known album of this period appeared the following year. Maiden Voyage is the archetypal Blue Note album and deserves to be in everyone’s collection. The title track is outstanding but there’s more to enjoy including the often covered Dolphin Dance. The personnel on this Blue Note is Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, George Coleman on tenor sax, Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums. Maiden Voyage has been covered by many artists including Grant Green on his Alive! album. You can hear this reflective version right here.

Like many jazz artists of the period, Hancock was keen to incorporate electric and then electronic keyboards and, after the R&B inspired Fat Albert Rotunda album from 1969, Hancock moved into fully electronic mode with a trilogy of recordings between 1971 and 1973 – Mwandishi, Crossings and Sextant. This new sextet comprised Hancock, Buster Williams on bass, drummer Billy Hart and a trio of horn players – Eddie Henderson on trumpet, Julian Priester on trombone and multireedist Bennie Maupin. Electronics pioneer Patrick Gleeson was included on the latter two albums and was instrumental (!) in the sound of such compositions as Rain Dance. Two albums with pretty much the same personnel  were recorded under trumpeter Eddie Henderson’s name and are equally worth exploring. Start with the excellent Mars in Libra from the Realization album (1973).

And then came the big breakthrough – the 1974 album Headhunters with four extraordinary tracks, including a radical reworking of Watermelon Man. That intro and outro sound was derived from a field recording of hindewhu music from the Ba-Benzélé tribe of central Africa. Percussionist Bill Summers had heard the music on an ethnomusicology LP, The Music of the Ba-Benzélé Pygmies (1966), by Simha Arom and Genviève Taurelle. The other three cuts are the standouts too, and the 15 minute long Chameleon was to become one of Hancock’s most well known compositions. The follow-up album Thrust from 1974 was almost a successful and just as good. Hancock moved in an ever-further commercial direction with Man-Child and Secrets, each of which contained more superb tracks. I remember buying Man-Child (on vinyl, of course) the moment it came out in 1975 and was blown away by the double bassline and horns in The Traitor.  Like many of Hancock’s albums, it’s one you can return to again and again.

A period of consolidation followed with some superb live albums that saw Hancock’s facility with reworkings of old Blue Note classics alongside more contemporary tracks. The album Sunlight signalled another change of direction though with Hancock – ever enthusiastic about new technology – using a vocoder for the first time. The album also featured iconic bass player Jaco Pastorius on the final cut Good Question. Whilst the subsequent disco-influenced Vocoder albums received a mixed reception, Hancock continued to record with a new version of his Blue Note style VSOP group before the next breakthrough – the first jazz hip-hop tune, 1983’s Rockit from the album Future Shock. Bass player and producer Bill Laswell was to feature significantly on this and three subsequent releases, ending with Perfect Machine in 1988. It would be Hancock’s last album for six years, as he concentrated on other projects. He re-emerged with Dis is Da Drum in 1994 – a curiously-titled and rather neglected album. There’s a debt to classic 90s hip-hop scratching rhythms – easily heard in the track Mojuba – but also some acoustic piano soloing too. Also from this period is the sometimes neglected New Standard album in which Hancock performs the same trick as his mentor Miles Davis was to do a few years later – reinventing pop and rock tunes as jazz standards. Prince in a jazz arrangement? Why not – listen to the excellent Thieves in Temple with the all star band of Michael Brecker on saxes, John Scofield on guitar, Dave Holland on bass, Jack deJohnette on drums and Don Alias on percussion.

A re-reading of Gershwin’s tunes in 1998 that featured a plethora of guest stars also turned out much better than expected and generated a world tour. Nowhere is the album more surprising than on Duke Ellington’s Cotton Tail, itself a reworking of I Got Rhythm. Wayne Shorter is outstanding. The electronic album that followed Gershwin’s World, Future2Future, turned out to be rather less successful and 2005’s Possibilities took the guest star quotient rather too far.

But help was at hand through Hancock’s longtime friendship with singer Joni Mitchell, herself no stranger to jazz. River: the Joni Letters was a real return to form. Guest vocalists, including Corinne Bailey Rae on the title track, were accompanied by some beautiful piano from Hancock. Mitchell herself made an appearance but Norah Jones and Tina Turner (on Edith and the Kingpin) were almost equally effective. The distinctive tenor solo on this track is (of course) by Wayne Shorter and Prince plays (uncredited) guitar. River justifiably won the 2008 Album of the Year Grammy Award.

Hancock appeared on the 2014 Flying Lotus album You’re Dead and his new album is eagerly awaited with likely contributions from Wayne Shorter, Kendrick Lamar, Kamasi Washington and – yes – Snoop Dogg. We will no doubt feature it here on Cosmic Jazz but, until then, here’s to Herbie Hancock – eighty years young!

Week ending 04 April 2020: virtual vibes

Cosmic Jazz stays virtual again this week – but we are exploring options and hope to bring you news soon. So this week it’s three tunes each – and a load of links to sustain your musical enjoying if you’re in lockdown anywhere around the world.

Derek started the show with some great bass lines from Andy González, a ubiquitous and distinguished New York musician who died recently. We have featured his music before on Cosmic Jazz – and that of his late trumpet playing brother Jerry González, both members of the great Fort Apache and Conjunto Libre and Grupo Folklórico Y Experímental Nuevayorquíno bands. Andy González died recently and we included a track from an excellent compilation as a tribute.  On this occasion he was the special guest of The Afro-Rican Ensemble on a version of Tangathe seminal Latin Jazz tune composed by Cuban-born New York Latin great Mario Bauza. See if you can find the compilation Viva Cubop Jazz: the Afro-Cuban Way released in 1999 on San Francisco-based Ubiquity Records – strongly recommended if you like Latin jazz. Two more compilations followed in the series. For more from the brothers González, listen to this great track from the Fort Apache band – Eighty One, recorded live at the Zurich International Jazz Festival in 1988. The album  from which it comes – Obatala – is highly recommended and yes, this is the Ron Carter/Miles Davis tune that’s featured on the album ESP. The record has one more ambitious Latin reworking of another great Miles Davis Quintet track – in this case, Nefertiti. If you’re not familiar with the beautiful original version – the title track on the great 1965 outing by the second Miles Davis Quintet – here it is.

Michal Martyniuk is a very accomplished pianist and composer who produces music of great maturity.  He was born in Poland but while he was young his parents moved to New Zealand. For the last ten years he has lived in New Zealand and travelled back and forth playing and recording with a number of fine musicians in both countries. His new album Resonate opens with Jazz Dance and we feature a live version of the track recorded at the Java Jazz Festival in 2017. The personnel on the album includes both Polish and NZ musicians: Jakub Skowroński on tenor, Kuba Mizeracki on guitar, Bartek Chojnacki on bass and Kuba Gudz on drums. The extra NZ recorded tracks feature Cameron McArthur on bass and Ron Samsom on drums. As always, check out the always excellent Steve’s Jazz Sounds for this album and much more new European jazz.

Noemi Nuti is a new name to me but this vocalist has just released her second album Venus Eye on the Ubuntu record label. Nuti was born in New York but is based in London, and is not only a singer but also harp player and composer. She has worked with pianist Andrew McCormack and has toured and supported other artists, including Brazilian Cosmic Jazz favourite Marcos Valle. On Venus Eye she is accompanied by five other musicians including Tom Herbert on bass and Gareth Lochrane on flute. Her cover of the Tori Amos song Cornflake Girl includes some great scat singing – here it is in a studio version (with some excellent piano from Chris Eldred). Why not compare with the original here if you’re not familiar with Tori Amos.

Neil’s three choices this week all celebrate the upcoming 80th birthday of Herbie Hancock on 12 April. There will be more Herbie music in future shows. There’s a lot of Hancock’s music that is well known to jazz listeners – whether the Blue Note magnificence of Maiden Voyage, the archetypal funk blueprint of Chameleon or the electro-jazz of Rockit – but Neil’s selections are all from the more obscure end of the Hancock spectrum. We begin with the improbable Hank Williams cover album from (now) Blue Note supremo Don Was. Forever’s a Long, Long Time features Herbie Hancock on piano – vocals are by Sweet Pea Atkinson.

Hancock also lent his distinctive piano skills to saxophonist Sam Rivers’ Blue Note album Contours. Check out the great solo on Point of Many Returns right here. The track also features Freddie Hubbard on trumpet along with Ron Carter on bass and Joe Chambers on drums. Recently reissued as part of the superb Blue Note Tone Poet series of audiophile albums, it’s worth getting hold of these superb pressings and gatefold ‘tip on’ record covers (where the artwork is stuck on to the thicker record cover.) The label’s boss Don Was brought the ‘Tone Poet’ Joe Harley (from Music Matters) on board to curate and supervise an ongoing series of reissues from the label. All records in the Tone Poet series are 180 gram new vinyl with silent surfaces and (in my experience) they often look and sound like the best versions currently available – other thank crazily expensive original editions (expect to pay £150.00 for the Rivers’ album, for example) . The Jazz Loft – my local (and excellent) jazz record store here in Singapore – has a great selection of both the Tone Poet and Blue Note 80 series of vinyl reissues and you should be able to find examples of these albums in any good independent jazz record store.

Now this is not exactly a lost album but you may find it hard to get a copy of drummer Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath’s Kawaida. If you can lay your hands on a copy you won’t regret it. Heath is more experimental than usual on this fine 1970 release for the O’Be label and he enlists a fine group to accompany him on these largely modal afrocentric influenced tunes. We could have chosen any of the tracks but went for the lengthy opener Baraka. The record includes great performances from Jimmy Heath on tenor, soprano and flute, Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, Buster Williams on bass, Ed Blackwell on percussion and Mtume (who composed all tracks bar one) on congas. For more from this great album, have a listen to Dunia – very much a vehicle for Don Cherry’s characteristic pocket trumpet sound.

  1. The Afro-Rican Ensemble – Tanga from Viva Cu-Bop! (Jazz the Afro-Cuban Way)
  2. Michal Martiniuk Quartet –  Jazz Dance from Resonate
  3. Noemi Nuti – Cornflake Girl from Venus Eye
  4. Orquestra Was – Forever’s a Long Long Time from Forever’s a Long, Long Time
  5. Sam Rivers – Point of Many Returns from Contours
  6. Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath – Baraka from Kawaida

Neil is listening to…

Week ending 28 March 2020: virtual sounds and memories

It’s virtual Cosmic Jazz again this week with our blog and music choices. Open CJ twice and you can read from one and listen on the  other!

Through jazz I discovered the music that I love were the words of Cameroonian sax player Manu Dibango. Sadly, he has died at the age of 86 from Covid-19. From a start with the seminal Congolese rumba group, African Jazz Dibango went on to release 44 albums over a lengthy career than included collaborations with the Fania All Stars, Fela Kuti, Herbie Hancock, Don Cherry and Sly and Robbie. What an eclectic mix! There are claims that his most famous tune Soul Makossa heralded the start of disco, and it was certainly a favourite at David Mancuso’s Loft from 1972 onwards. That ma-ma-se, ma-ma-sa, ma-ma-ko-sa refrain was replicated in Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ and within a few months of the song’s release over 20 different cover versions were available. Wikipedia lists almost 50 different songs with this take on ‘makossa’  – the Cameroonian dance style popularised by the Soul Makossa. Derek’s party choice, though, is the later Big Blow which is one for my box when playing out. Released in 1976, it still sounds as good and as danceable today – click on that link and get yourself moving. For Neil, it has to be 1984’s Abele Dance – one of his favourite 12in singles. Ironically, he was playing it at home in the UK in December and thinking back to live DJ sets where it surprised and delighted dancers in equal measure. Dibango’s infectious chuckles and expressions featured on many of his tracks – and they’re capable of generating big smiles everywhere they’re heard.

There is, however,  another great version of the Makossa tune – and that’s Reggae Makossa. There’s the same uplifting, swinging, jazzy sax but this time with a reggae beat, recorded in Kingston, Jamaica and New York and mixed in London. Manu leads with the vibes on this tune but Jamaican reggae rhythm kings Sly & Robbie are in there along with the Brecker Brothers on horn duties, Gwen Guthrie on vocals and a host of other distinguished musicians. It comes from the compilation album Choc ‘n’ Soul – tracks recorded by Dibango between 1978-89 and here’s the title track for you. You can find the album on the French label Fremeaux and Associes.

On a different front, but perhaps not entirely, comes more new music from Poland – sax player Wojciech Staroniewicz. He has been playing for over twenty years, starting with the Big Band Gdansk. His new album has an interesting title –  A’FreAK-aN Project – and it’s good.  The gently rocking/sax-led sound on this live take of the tune Moja Ballada suggests they might have admired Manu Dibango – check out the whole album. Tomasz Wendt is another Polish saxophonist from Gdansk but from a  much younger generation. The son of a jazz saxophonist, and a graduate of Wroclaw Academy of Music, Wendt has played with several artists we have featured on the show, including the magnificent Piotr Wojtasik. Wendt has a new album out called Chapter B – and we’ve featured the title tune in this week’s virtual show. Of course, at this time of near-worldwide lockdown, we urge you to support all the independent record stores you can. To find Staroniewicz, Wendt and other great European jazz, just check out the always excellent Steve’s Jazz Sounds.

The current coronavirus situation has led me to listen to records in my collection that I have not heard for some time – and certainly or maybe not as often as I should. Today it was the Viva Cubop series, of which I have three CDs. Cubop was set up in 1995 as the Latin jazz arm of Ubiquity records and from the the second album I chose a marimba and vibes player (definitely the instrument of the week!). Dave Pike emerged in the late ’50s and recorded with – among many artists – Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Paul Bley, Tommy Flanagan, Herbie Hancock and Clark Terry. San Dunga is crisp, fast-moving and definitely something to get you moving – and, if you find Manhattan Latin, the original album from which it comes – try not to be put off by that latin exotica cover…

Enjoy the music and stay safe.

  1. Manu Dibango – Soul Makossa from Soul Makossa
  2. Manu Dibango – Big Blow from Big Blow
  3. Mauy Dibango – Abele Dance (12in single)
  4. Manu Dibango – Reggae Makossa from Choc ‘n’ Soul
  5. Wojciech Staroniewicz – Moja Ballada from A’FreAK-aN
  6. Tomasz Wendt – Chapter B from Chapter B
  7. Dave Pike – San Dunga from Manhattan Latin

Neil is listening to…

Week ending 21 March 2020: CJ goes virtual…

Cosmic Jazz is recorded at a community centre/venue which has had to be closed because of the Covid-19 outbreak. There will be no live shows recorded there for some time. Here at CJ we are exploring the possibility of home recording, but until we can secure this, the CJ website will feature ‘virtual shows’, links to online videos, jazz news and record reviews. From time to time, we’ll include a few links to classic past shows too. To ‘listen’ to this week’s show, open up CJ twice and you can check out the blog and listen to the music at the same time! Enjoy our bumper crop of music and stay safe.

This week’s virtual show starts with the tune To Nowhere and Back from a new album by Czech saxophonist Ondrej Stveracek called Space Project. Check out a trailer for the new album here. The album might suggest some Sun Ra-inspired flight to the stellar regions but this is not the case – instead the music has a more conventional, hard bop and jazz-rock sound. To Nowhere and Back is one of the more restrained tracks on the album – relaxed, slow and melodic. The band includes Tomas Baros on bass, Klaudius Kovac on keyboards/synthesiser and features US drummer Gene Jackson. Like so much great jazz from eastern Europe, this album comes via our friends at online store Steve’s Jazz Sounds. Wherever you are in the world – and especially if (like us) you’re in lockdown – then you owe it to yourself to enjoy some new music from Steve. Also check out his Facebook page where you can open up some Youtube links and enjoy the music. Remember – especially in these difficult times – if you like what you hear, buy from  independent sites like Steve’s Jazz Sounds. We can’t recommend this site highly enough.

By contrast, the next choice is a UK/US collaboration. J Z Replacement  are an exciting, innovative and highly contemporary band. Their new album has the title Disrespectful – but it’s not to us here at Cosmic Jazz. The tune Displacement A features a long, fast and definitely sinewy sax lead from Zhenya Strigalev, with heavy backing from drummer Jamie Murray and bass player Tim Lefebvre. It is fast and furious stuff that will have your body moving, maybe even dancing. You can hear a live version of the track (Displacement B) right here. Better still, listen to – and buy – the album here on the group’s Bandcamp site here.

There has to be another selection from the highly important legacy of the late jazz pianist McCoy Tyner. Neil recommended the tune Ebony Queen from his 1972 Milestone album Sahara. The album has to be considered as one of his best. Tyner plays the piano with breathtaking speed that combines both power and subtlety and Sonny Fortune’s soprano saxophone provides a stirring, spiritual start to the track.  Calvin Hill is on bass and the superb Alphonse Mouzon features on drums.

The recent award winning Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool movie is now available to download from the BBC iPlayer site – check out the cinema trailer here. This superb film gives a chronological account of Miles’ musical career and explores his music and personality in real depth.  Birth of the Cool rightly emphasises Miles’ role as a musical innovator and style icon who – as he acknowledged in a famous anecdote – changed music (at least) five or six times.  Mademoiselle Mabry is, of course, titled after one of his muses Betty Mabry (who is interviewed at length in the film) and comes from the Filles de Kilimanjaro album. It’s a great example of the musical telepathy in that second great Miles Davis Quintet. The band included Tony Williams on drums (who joined as a 17 year old teenager), Dave Holland on bass, Chick Corea on electric piano and Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone. There is nothing that this band recorded that’s less than exceptional and you owe it to yourself to have at least some of these great albums in your collection. And never dismiss the Miles Davis’ last years – the music may not have been innovatory, but Miles’ touring band included the outstanding Kenny Garrett on alto sax. There are many live video versions of his take on Cindy Lauper’s Time After Time but this take from the 1989 Montreux Jazz Festival is one of the best sounding and most eloquent performances.

The final choice is an up-tempo number. Lettuce are a US soul/funk, occasionally jazzy US group that we have played previously on the show. Checker Wrecker comes from their forthcoming album and Resonate, and has that unique Washington DC sound. The official video features two GoGo music legends – Big Tony Fisher of Troublefunk and ‘Jungle Boogie’ Williams of Rare Essence. Surprisingly, there’s a link here with Miles Davis too – Ricky Wellman, drummer for legendary Go-Go band Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers is on that 1989 Montreux recording. You can catch both Wellman and Big Tony Fisher playing live with Chuck Brown here on the classic Bustin’ Loose.

  1. Ondrej Stveracek – To Nowhere and Back from Space Project
  2. J Z Replacement – Displacement from Disrespectful
  3. McCoy Tyner Ebony Queen from Sahara
  4. Miles Davis – Mademoiselle Mabry (Miss Mabry) from Filles de Kilimanjaro
  5. Lettuce – Checker Wrecker from Resonance

Neil is listening to…

Cosmic Jazz on Ipswich Online Radio