03 May 2017: another Cosmic Jazz mix

We try on Cosmic Jazz not to keep to formulas or restrict the genres of music we draw upon within a jazz framework. This week the show was less a mix of jazz related genres but more a mix of jazz styles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the end of the show I felt it was a strange mix – but one that had really worked. Listen up and see what you think – just click on the Mixcloud arrow left.

Edition Records is an exciting British jazz label with releases from the likes of Tim Garland, Phronesis and artists from continental Europe such as Morten Schantz. Among the very best of these is trumpeter Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur band. Possibly I have been a bit late to pick up on their self titled album Dinosaur released in 2016 –  but it was worth the wait. The tune Awakening had echoes of Miles Davis’ classic In A Silent Way but it is still a contemporary sound for our times. Elliot Galvin, the keyboard player with Dinosaur, leads a trio of his own and one of their tunes followed the Dinosaur tune.

I returned to some of the excellent music available from Steve’s Jazz Sounds, this time from Poland with US connections. Krzystof Popek is a well-established and respected Polish flute player, composer, band leader and record label owner. His Fresh Air album has what appears to be a well-established Polish tradition to invite musicians from other countries, in this case the US. Victor Lewis, George Cables and Cameron Brown are among those featured, as well as Cosmic Jazz favourite, the Polish trumpeter Piotr Wojtasik. Bass player Piotr Lemanczyk is another well-established Polish musician with 25 years of experience. Double Escape illustrates his professionalism, experience and the strength of his bass playing. Piamist Michal Wroblewski is from a different generation. His tune is soulful and spiritual – almost New Orleans comes to Warsaw.

I have had The Devotiona download album from US drummer John Lumpkin for a few months but not given it the attention it merits. Perhaps it is the opening bars of The Conqueror that have put me off, sounding a bit like some melodramatic rock blast, but once you get through that it is something else. I was mesmerised.

There is always room on the programme for jazz greats and this week there was Herbie Hancock from the classic Blue Note album Maiden VoyagePlaying The Eye of the Hurricane conjured up further Caribbean images to follow my last two weeks in Grenada. It all made me stop and realise just how good this album is. The quality of the sound, the musicianship, the strength of the rhythm section and – of course – Herbie Hancock’s timeless composition.

The other iconic jazz artist this week was pianist Andrew Hill. Probably not so well known as Herbie Hancock, at times he is more obtuse and Dedication is for me another of those tunes that does not have the most inviting of opening bars. However, once you are there it is a tune of intense spirituality. Andrew Hill was never predictable, and at times not the easiest to listen to but he is a perennial CJ favourite and unquestionably one of the greats. Add in that the album Point of Departure features the following musicians – Eric Dolphy, Joe Henderson, Kenny Dorham, Richard Davis and Tony Williams – and you can understand how the man commanded the greatest respect.

New York based singer Somi, whose music I adore, has a new album out. Until I acquire it I made do with her last album and her adaptation of a Fela tune featuring Beninoise singer Angelique Kidjo. Finally, and to complete the mix, there was another piece from New York, albeit a percussionist with a  Cuban heritage. Manny Oquendo is here performing with some of the elite from the Nuyorican Latin scene on a Latin classic, Rafael Cepeda’s Candela. Check out the man himself here in some bomba magic from New York’s Lincoln Centre sometime in the 1970s.

  1. Dinosaur – Awakening from Together As One
  2. Elliott Galvin Trio – 1666 from Punch
  3. Krzystof Popek – Letters and Leaves from Fresh Air
  4. Piotr Lemanczyk – Double Escape from Live at Club Zak
  5. Michal Wroblewski – Joyride from City Album
  6. John Lumpkin – The Conqueror from the Devotion
  7. Herbie Hancock – The Eye of the Hurricane from Maiden Voyage
  8. Andrew Hill – Dedication from Point of Departure
  9. Somi feat. Angelique Kidjo – Lady Revisited from The Lagos Music Salon
  10. Manny Oquendo – Candela from Mejor Que Nunca (Better Than Before)

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Derek is listening to:

Neil is listening to…

30 April 2017: International Jazz Day

Yes, today is International Jazz Day – your chance to see a jazz artist live, talk openly about jazz (!) and spin, download or stream some jazz music of your choice.

What will Cosmic Jazz be doing on IJD 2017? Well, I shall be flying to Brisbane, Australia and using the seven hours in the air to check out some of the music I’ve listed below. Why not join me?

Neil is listening to …

26 April 2017: Go flute and other funky things

This week’s show from Derek featured music sourced by co-presenter Neil, air-freighted in from his base in Singapore. You can hear it all – just press play to your left and sit back…

The playing order chosen by Derek was truly inspired, starting with a reflection of his recent stay in the West Indies, courtesy of Lunar 7 from Barbados. With more than a nod to the classic guitar sound of Isaac Hayes, African Bump was followed by a track from a 2014 compilation of Congolese music from consistently inspired German label Analog Africa. Multi-instrumentalist Georges Mateta Kiamuangana became a teen star in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) with his Kinshasa band OK Jazz in the late 1960s. He adopted his stage persona after mis-hearing the name of great American R&B saxophonist King Curtis as “Verckys”. You can hear the influence here – have a listen to the King Curtis classic Memphis Soul Stew to see what we mean. The Kingpins were truly some band – with Bernard Purdie, Cornell Dupree and Billy Preston and those Memphis Horns.

Onwards with the music of London remixer, DJ and flautist Tenderlonious from his excellent EP, On Flute and the cut Ghana which references west African styles with some cutting edge synth beats too. Staying on that African tip but over to – yes – Belgium for Ethiopian-inspired grooves from Black Flower. It’s a kind of Ethiodubjazz and it just works! You can listen to, download and buy the CD here on Bandcamp.

One of our favourites, Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label, celebrated its recent 10th anniversary with a compilation download. Derek picked out a couple of tracks – Shabaka Hutchings with his South African-influenced Ancestors group and pianist Tigran Hamasyan working with London-based sound artist duo LV.

Why McCoy Tyner in this selection? Well, Neil had chance to check out last month’s Singapore Jazz Festival. Centre stage were artists like Esperanza Spalding and Youssou N’dour but Gilles Peterson had brought over the aforementioned LV and also new UK tenor saxophonist Nubya Garcia whose band took on an inspired cover of Tyner’s classic modal masterpiece, Contemplation. You can see more of Garcia on this Red Bull See. Hear. Now feature. And finally, back to the flute, first with Ahmad Jamal and then on a taste of Peter Davis and Dan Biro’s London-based band Mysteries of the Revolution. At first glance Jamal’s album One looks like one of those late 70s middle of the road outings – but prepare to be enlightened. Yes, Jamal’s opening piano figure channels the Isley Bros. Summer Breeze, but there’s terrific piano work throughout and on the title track, yes, more flute – this time from LA sessionman David Crawford.

Mysteries of the Revolution usually sound like an inspired collision between the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Gong, Frank Zappa and Tony Williams’ Lifetime – a heady brew! Here though, and to end our flute-fest, it’s pretty much just Tenderlonious again on the track Pandinium from MotR’s recent You Turn Me On EP.  More from these artist in upcoming shows – check out Cosmic Jazz each week.

  1. Lunar 7 – African Bump from Message from the Islands of Barbados
  2. Verckys et l’Orchestre Veve – Bassala Hot from Congolese Funk Afrobeat & Psychedelic Rumba 1969-1978
  3. Tenderlonious – Ghana from On Flute
  4. Black Flower – Bones from Artifacts
  5. Shabaka and the Ancestors – Joyous from Brownswood 10
  6. LV feat. Tigran Hamasyan – Hammers and Roses from Brownswood 10
  7. McCoy Tyner – Contemplation from The Real McCoy
  8. Ahmad Jamal – One (Ahad) from One
  9. Mysteries of the Revolution – Pandinium from You Turn Me On

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Neil is listening to…

19 April 2017: Caribbean connection

I have just returned from three weeks in the beautiful, friendly, warm and music rich Spice Isle of Grenada. I have, therefore, heard more soca and reggae than jazz. This is reflected in what I am currently listening to (see list below) with Far From Finished by Voice, which won the February 2017 Soca Monarch title in Trinidad and Tobago’s 2017 Carnival, a particular favourite.

There is no soca or reggae in the programme but I was able to start the show with some Caribbean jazz links. The show began with an album we like from young British alto saxophonist Camilla George, whose father was born in Grenada. George’s quartet of young British-based musicians will be well worth seeing live – you can catch them here on the jazzre:freshed site. This was followed by a calypso-influenced piece from alto player Kenny Garrett who has been a great influence on Camilla George. She includes his Ms. Baja bossa influenced composition on her album Isang – you can find Garrett’s original on his excellent album Songbook from 1997.

Some jazz tunes did appear among my iPod shuffle songs while sitting on a verandah enjoying the sea breeze, two of which reminded me of just how good are the albums from which they came. I need say no more about Kamasi Washington but the Dhafer Youssef’s tune I heard reminded me how tranquil, spiritual and profound is his 2016 album  Diwan of Beauty and Odd. The superb trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is a guest on the record. The third in this sequence came from Belgian drummer Jelle Van Giel and his Group. The tune is modal, calming and deep – you could be forgiven for thinking you are listening to Matthew Halsall. Finally, the iPod brought more of Polish trumpeter Piotr Wojtasik and his album Old Land which has become a Cosmic Jazz essential.

The final two tunes on the show reflected my visits to Norwich, both past and in the future. Just before I went away I saw the excellent Norwich-based trio Mammal Hands who have now established a formidable reputation not only nationally but internationally. Their most recent recording Floa is highly recommended as a prime example of contemporary jazz that appeals to a wide age range. Finally there was Brad Meldhau, who I will see at the 2017 Norfolk & Norwich Festival on 18 May, followed by Dee Dee Bridgewater on the 20th.

  1. Camilla George Quartet – The Night Has A  Thousand Eyes from Isang
  2. Kenny Garrett – Calypso Chant from Do Your Dance
  3. Kamasi Washington – Re Run from the Epic
  4. Dhaffer Youssef – 17th Flyway from Diwan of Beauty and Odd
  5. Jelle Van Giel Group – A New Beginning from Songs For Everyone
  6. Piotr Wojtasik – Recognition, Understanding & Acceptance from Old Land
  7. Mammal Hands – Quiet Fire from Floa
  8. Brad Meldhau – Since I Fell For You from Blues and Ballads

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Derek is listening to…

Neil is listening to…

12 April 2017: old and new favourites

This week’s Cosmic Jazz was the last pre-recorded show from Derek
before his return from the Caribbean island of Grenada. It featured favourites old and new – including two Norwich-based artists, Mammal Hands and pianist Kit Downes. Cal Massey’s often recorded Assunta was here performed by flautist Krzystof Popek, in a group including US jazz stalwarts Kirk Lightsey, David Friesen and John Betsch. Compare with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s version of the tune from his Blue Note album Here To Stay.

The always excellent Trish Clowes was featured in a track from her acclaimed album Pocket Compass, and the show ended with two Far Out label favourites that we often return to at CJ – the excellent track Montag’s Dream from the Brazilian Otis Trio and fellow countryman Marcos Valle’s perennial Freio Aerodynamico from his comeback album Nova Bossa Nova.

  1. Mammal Hands – Kudu from Floa
  2. Kit Downes – Waira from Tricko
  3. Kit Downes – Tricko from Tricko
  4. Krzystof Popek – Assunta from Fresh Air Project
  5. Mateus Gaweda Trio – Timmy 3000 from Overnight Tales
  6. Trish Clowes – Question Mark from Pocket Compass
  7. Guilio Romano Malaisi – Looking Up from Unexpected Ride
  8. Otis Trio – Montag’s Dream from 74 Club
  9. Marcos Valle – Freio Aerodynamico from Nova Bossa Nova

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Neil is listening to…

05 April 2017: CJ favourites (alternate titles)

This week’s show included different tracks from albums that have featured before on CJ, but we began with a blistering take on the jazz standard There is No Greater Love from Chico Freeman, here playing with Polish guitarist David Kostka and his quartet. This standard dates from 1936, and has been interpreted by many jazz artists, including Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal and, of course, singer Billie Holiday.

It was followed by one of the most impressive of recent Polish records out of Steve’s Jazz Sounds. The Piotr Wojtasik album Old Land has the power and range to be regarded as something of a contemporary spiritual jazz classic. Trumpeter Wojtasik is playing with a couple of US heavyweight percussionists – Billy Hart and John Betsch and the depth of sound here is terrific. More Polish jazz from Stansilaw Slowinski and then a new to CJ track from Marcus Strickland’s ambitious Twi-Life group and the album Nihil Novi. This is Strickland’s first release on the now-revitalised Blue Note label under its direction from Don Was. Celestelude actually features clavinet rather than celeste but it also showcases some powerfully funky bass from co-producer M’shell Ndegeocello.

The show ended with a return to two much played records – the debut release from UK saxophonist Camilla George and a terrific reissue from Jane Bunnett, whose jazzy exploration of Cuban sounds on Spirits of Havana was rather unheralded at its initial release in 1993 but now, twenty five years later, comes in a much expanded 2CD reissue. Finally, a blast from the past with the African Jazz Pioneers, a group that dates from the 1950s but was revived by founder Bra Ntemi in the 1970s, going on to share the stage with Youssou N’dour, Nina Simone, Chick Corea and many more.

  1. David Kostka Quartet & Chico Freeman – There is No Greater Love from Love at Aquanet
  2. Piotr Wojtasik – Old Land from Old Land
  3. Stanislaw Slowinski Quartet – Lawina/Avalanche from Landscape
  4. Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life – Celestelude from Nihil Novi
  5. Camilla George – Mama Wati from Isang
  6. Jane Bunnett – Descarga a la Hindemith from Spirits of Havana
  7. African Jazz Pioneers – Riverside from African Jazz Pioneers

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Neil is listening to:

29 March 2017: world jazz dance special

This week’s Cosmic Jazz took a worldwide jazz dance trip – from Poland, through Japan, Ethiopia, New York and Argentina,  all ending up in Nigeria with the Afrobeat master Fela Kuti. It’s the kind of eclectic approach we like here at CJ and it certainly goes down well with live audiences.

The surprise in here might have been the lead off track from pianist Michal Wierba – but there’s no doubt that his excellent live Body Language album is a good place to start. Even the old warhorses St James Infirmary and Summertime dance along in his hands. Listen to this album either through the Bandcamp site or our good friends at Steve’s Jazz Sounds and you’ll understand why the next obvious action is to go out and buy this album for yourself.

We’ve featured Takuya Kuroda before on CJ and his Afro Blues (not Mongo Santamaria’s Afro Blue by the way) is always a good place to start listening to this fine young trumpeter. Off to Addis Ababa next and Ethiopian jazz icon Mulatu Astatke, here playing with UK band the Heliocentrics. Astatke will be back in the UK in September for two dates at the Barbican, London. Catch him if you can.

Across the Atlantic to the centre of NuYorican activity and two tracks that captured the Latin influence at the heart of NYC. The first from Puerto Rican trumpeter Ray Gonzales and the second from the Spanish Harlem Orchestra and their cunningly titled album Un Gran Dia en el Barrio which references the famous Art Kane photo of NY jazz musicians taken in 1958 on some Harlem brownstone steps (and reproduced below). There are too many jazz greats to name here but Benny Golson, Art Farmer, Art Blakey, Charles Mingus, Jo Jones, Gene Krupa, Hank Jones, Horace Silver, Sahib Shihab , Sonny Rollins, Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Dizzy Gillespie and – yes – Count Basie are all present.

Between these two performances sat the fiery Argentian tenor player, the late Gato Barbieri, in a performance from one of his finest albums on the Impulse! label. It was then back to Japan for two club favourites from the two groups Quasimode and Sleep Walker. Both emerged in Tokyo in the 2000s and became club favourites in Europe and Japan. Down in the Village is a composition by UK tenor player Tubby Hayes – check out his original version here. For more on one of the greatest British jazz artists, search out Simon Spillett’s inspirational biography and the excellent film A Man in A Hurry.

And so to Fela. Like some other musicians for whom one name is just enough (like Miles and Prince), Fela Anikulapo Kuti is a timeless legend whose influence on both music and resistance politics is profound. For more on this most prolific of musicians, watch the trailer for the excellent Finding Fela here.

  1. Michal Wierba – I Can Make The World Dance from Body Language
  2. Takuya Kuroda – Afro Blues from Rising Son
  3. Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics – Cha Cha from Inspiration Information
  4. Ray Gonzalez – El Swing from Yo Tengo Lo Que te Gusta
  5. Gato Barbieri – Viva Emiliano Zapata from Chapter III: Viva Emiliano Zapata
  6. Spanish Harlem Orchestra – Vale Mas Un Guaguanco from Un Gran Dia en el Barrio
  7. Quasimode – Down in the Village from Oneself Likeness
  8. Sleep Walker – Ai-No-Kawa from Sleep Walker
  9. Fela Kuti and Egypt 80 – Just Like That from The Two Sides of Fela

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Neil is listening to…

22 March 2017: from Chuck Berry to Mammal Hands!

JAZZ ON A SUMMER’S DAY [US 1960] FILM RELEASE BY GALAXY PRODUCTIONS/RAVEN FILM Date: 1960
The music of the late Chuck Berry was important to so many of us. Berry was no jazz musician – but he famously appeared at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival with jazz artists (including a delighted Philly Jo Jones on drums) playing Sweet Little Sixteen. Music from this event appears in Bert Stern’s celebrated Jazz On A Summer’s Day film. It’s available on a Charly Records CD along with a DVD of the film. That particular performance could well have had a lasting impact on Chuck Berry’s approach to promoters – apparently he was not the easiest artist to work with. You can hear from the recording how well  he was well received by the festival goers but, in response to his pelvic gyrations on the stage, festival promoter George Wein shouted out “disgraceful” and Berry was forced to leave the stage before his last number. Now that to me does sound disgraceful. Neil adds: For more on Berry and his lasting influence on music, read the ever enlightening Richard Williams here. My favourite Berry song? It’s a straight draw between Too Much Monkey Business and Memphis, Tennessee – both masterpieces of musical storytelling.

Last week I was part of a delighted crowd that saw Mammal Hands playing at the venue of their first-ever booking – Norwich Arts Centre. For two of the band this is also their home city. Mammal Hands are amazing: sax player Jordan Smart never rests, his brother Nick provides strong backing on piano and on drums and tablas Jesse Barrett ranges from the powerful to the subtly sublime. Moreover, the group demonstrate how jazz-related music can attract a predominantly young audience. See them live if you can and pick up their sophomore recording Floa on the ever reliable Gondwana Records out of Manchester.

Birnham is a Scottish CD pressing and packaging company who have released a number of their own albums. Whilst the artists may not be well known, CJ has enjoyed Unexpected Ride, the first release from guitarist Guilio Romano Malaisi. At the age of 18 he moved from a small Italian village to London and has stayed there ever since. He has paid his dues as a session musician and played gigs with high-profile singers. Most of his compositions on this album were written while he was between the ages of 18-20 and Randagio, the tune selected this week, when he was 18.

Polish bass player Piotr Lemanczyk is now a firm Cosmic Jazz favourite. This week he appeared twice in the different guises of his band Orange Trane. The first tune – About MV – featured British sax player Soweto Kinch and from its title and sound must reference Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage. The second came from the acoustic version of Orange Trane, and showcased Lemanczyk himself and superb vibes player Dominik Bukowski.

Jazzwise magazine is an essential monthly read for jazz enthusiasts. There are excellent comprehensive record reviews, interviews with artists and some inspiring playlists. Often as a bonus, there is a free CD and the April 2017 edition includes a sampler from the essential British jazz label Edition Records from which we featured two tracks. How good are Dinosaur, a group led by trumpeter Laura Jurd? Judge for yourself but on the evidence of Extinct alone they are top class. There was also an interesting tune from Norwegian pianist Eyolf Dale from his album Wolf Valley – the title is simply a translation of his name into English… Edition have gone from strength to strength in recent years – check out their current catalogue here and for a taste of the label’s sound buy Jazzwise or the Fiona Talkington Nordic-influenced sampler Northern Edition, released last year.

Norway often features prominently on Cosmic Jazz and there was even a Norwegian connection to the two British artists at the end of the show. Kit Downes was accompanied by cellist Lucy Railton, both of whom I saw perform in Norwich last year with Norwegian musicians led by Thomas Stronin. In the audience,  were the members of Mammal Hands and the connections go further as Kit Downes is also from Norwich. A Fine City it says as you arrive – but clearly now also for the music as well as its architecture.

  1. Chuck Berry – Sweet Little Sixteen (live) from Jazz On A Summer’s Day
  2. Mammal Hands – Hillum from Floa
  3. Mammal Hands – Think Anything from Floa
  4. Guilio Romano Malaisi –Randagio from Unexpected Journey
  5. Orange Trane feat. Soweto Kinch – About MV from Interpersonal Lines
  6. Orange Trane Acoustic Trio – Fugu from Fugu
  7. Dinosaur – Extinct from Together As One
  8. Eyolf Dale – Ban Joe from Wolf Valley
  9. Kit Downes – Tricko from Tricko

Neil notes: As I was adding to this blog, I learned of the death of alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe. We have featured Blythe’s unique tone on several recent CJ shows and I’ve chosen three tracks that capture his edgy vibrato that can still draw us back to jazz’s New Orleans heritage – including a fabulous version of John Coltrane’s Equinox from Blythe’s last album as leader in 2003. We may feature more from this underrated and sometimes neglected alto player in upcoming shows.

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Derek is listening to:

Neil is listening to…

15 March 2017: music from Piotr Lemanczyk

There appears to be a wealth of superb jazz musicians in Poland and we have featured a number of them on Cosmic Jazz. What’s also  interesting is the way they work with well known musicians from other countries and also welcome them into their bands.

The latter applies to Polish bass player Piotr Lemanczyk who has been active on the Polish scene for twenty-five years, both with his own groups and as part of others. It was a surprise to receive a recording from Orange Trane (for whom Lemanczyk plays bass) that includes British alto sax player Soweto Kinch as a guest artist. He features on Nyamaland and along with Lemanczyk is the exciting vibraphone player Dominik Bukowski. There was also a tune from Lemanczyk’s own group with the interesting title of Instead of Mops.

The programme continued a focus from the previous week with more from two artists appearing at the forthcoming Norfolk & Norwich Festival – Brad Mehldau and Dee Dee Bridgewater. The latter is one of the finest jazz singers of her generation and winner of several Grammy awards, most recently for her 2011 tribute album to Billie Holiday. This version of Mongo Santamaria’s classic Afro Blue comes from Red Earth, an album recorded in Bamoko with Malian musicians.

CJ this week had another tune from the recommended album by young British alto player Camilla George with her Quartet. Zara McFarlane, another young British jazz artist, is featured as a guest vocalist, and this offered an opportunity to play a tune from her last album If You Knew Her. Sometimes you forget how good records are and the atmospheric Move, a tune I had almost ignored, was a perfect example.

To end the show there was more from another Polish favourite, trumpeter Piotr Wojtasik and a final lively piece from Russell Gunn. Is it meant as fun? Is it satirical? Is it paying respect to history? I am not sure. That’s Cosmic Jazz for this week – the world of jazz in just one hour…

  1. Brad Mehldau – Since I Fell For You from Blues and Ballads
  2. Dee Dee Bridgewater – Afro-Blue from Red Earth
  3. Orange Trane – Nyamaland from Interpersonal Lines
  4. Piotr Lemanczyk – Instead of Mops from Live at Club Zak
  5. Camilla George Quartet feat. Zara McFarlane – Ms Baja from Isang
  6. Zara McFarlane – Move from If You Knew Her
  7. Piotr Wojtasik – Thanksgiving from We Want To Give Thanks
  8. Russell Gunn – Del Rio (aka Anita) from Ethnomusicology Vol 2

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Derek is listening to:

Neil is listening to…

08 March 2017: featuring the Camilla George Quartet

We like to spread the word through Cosmic Jazz about interesting young musicians when they step forward. This week it was the turn of Camilla George and her Quartet with their album Isang. My own links to and interest in the island of Grenada encouraged me to take an interest in George as her late father was from there and her mother from Nigeria. She studied at Trinity College of Music, where Jean Toussaint was a tutor and then played with Courtney Pine’s Tomorrow’s Warriors big band.  George plays alto saxophone and identifies Kenny Garrett as an important influence, hence the later inclusion of one of his tunes. Most tracks on her album are self-penned and she plays the alto with a rich and distinctive tone. Check also the delicate keyboard work from Sarah Tandy.

The Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2017 from 12-28 May – as in previous years – features some star jazz artists. This year the festival may well have done better than ever. On Thursday 18 May the Brad Mehldau Trio will perform at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, so in recognition the show this week included a tune from their latest album Blues and Ballads. The wide exposure and popularity of the Trio makes it easy to be dismissive but just hear that piano playing; it commands the utmost respect. Mehldau is also known as a remarkably inventive solo performer too. Check out his take on Nick Drake’s River Man (which also features on a couple of Mehldau Trio releases too) and then listen to Drake’s stunning original here.  Another jazz great on the N&N festival programme is Dee Dee Bridgewater. The last time she featured on Cosmic Jazz was as a vocalist on the essential Frank Foster album The Loud Minority. The tune this week was from her own album Love and Peace, a tribute to Horace Silver. Many well-known Horace Silver tunes are on the album, including The Tokyo Blues which featured on this week’s show. She has a new album and that will be featured in her live set at the festival. Jazzwise is an essential UK-produced monthly jazz magazine. From time to time the magazine includes a CD. The March 2017 edition included a CD from Barry Guy on Intakt Records. A few months back there was a compilation of New Jazz from Luxembourg. Interesting, individual and challenging it is too. Check the two tunes played this week. At either end of the show there were Cosmic Jazz favourites. Brian Jackson and Gil Scott-Heron played an extended live cut of Home is Where the Hatred Is and Haitian pianist Andrew Hill gave us another example of his unique music – what a deep, spiritual and intense way to conclude the show.

  1. Brian Jackson/Gil Scott-Heron – Home Is Where the Hatred Is from It’s Your World
  2. Camilla George Quartet – Song For Reds from Isang
  3. Camilla George Quartet – Mama Wati Returns/Usoro from Isang
  4. Kenny Garrett – Calypso Chant from Do Your Dance
  5. Dee Dee Bridgewater – The Tokyo Blues from Love and Peace
  6. Brad Mehldau – Cheryl from Blues and Ballads
  7. Khalife Schumacher Tristano – Los Indignados from Jazzwise New Jazz from Luxembourg, originally Afrodiziak
  8. Jeff Herr Corporation – Funky Monkey from Jazzwise Luxembourg, originally Layer Cake
  9. Andrew Hill – Dedication from Point of Departure

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Derek is listening to:

  • Jane Bunnett & The Spirits of Havana – El Rio
  • Lonnie Liston Smith – Expansions
  • Gato Barbieri – Carnavalito
  • Stanislas Slowinski Quintet – Lawina
  • Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life – Alive

Neil is listening to:

Cosmic Jazz on Ipswich Online Radio