Click the MixCloud button this week to catch some great tunes from the past, some contemporary Polish jazz, a trip to Brazil via Japan and the latest from Charles Lloyd.
The Pharaohs is one of the tunes that came up on my iPod this week which prompted selection for the show. It is one of those great up-tempo vocal tunes that cross over from soul to jazz and back again with a touch of gospel along the way. Another classic piece came from Jimmy Heath who got a full airing this week after being cut short because of time in the last show.
Contemporary Polish jazz came from drummer Piotr Budniak and his Essential Group whose album provides ‘simple stories about hope and worries’, Serious philosophical stuff and great music too! There was also a tune from pianist Prezmek Raminiak and the jazz fusion ensemble Moon Hoax.
Brazil was represented by Milton Nascimento and a tune he wrote Cravo e Canelo (cloves and cinnamon). There are some other excellent interpretations of this tune including one on the first Friends From Rio album. A highlight of the show, however, was a Brazilian tune recorded at Sony Japan in 1974 with a Brazilian singer Sonia Rosa and a Japanese bandleader Yuja Ohno. It was available only to those who bought a Sony stereo at the sales fair in Tokyo in 1974. It is a perfect Brazilian dancefloor jazz extended piece that left me wondering why it has taken me so long to pick up on it.
Finally, another highlight from the latest album by Charles Lloyd who is now signed to Blue Note. It is a live recording from the Jazztopad Festival Wroclaw Poland. This week’s YouTube clip is of Wild Man Dance, the title tune of this album.
The Pharaohs – FreedomTime from Freedom Rhythm and Sound
Jimmy Heath – Hands Up! Feet Down! fromThe Gap Sealer
Przemek Raminiak – The Locomotive from The Locomotive
Piotr Budniak Essential Group – Wyplata Po Terminie from Simple Stories about Hope and Worries
Moon Hoax – Moon Hoax from Moon Hoax
Milton Nascimento – Cravo e Canela from Milton
Sonia Rosa and Yuja Ohno – Casa Forte from Brazilian Beats 4
Charles Lloyd – Flying Over the Odra Valley from Wild Man Dance
What is jazz? As with so many kinds of music, definitions are often fruitless. We prefer to think of a jazz sensibility – the way that jazz has always taken inspiration from the music around it. Tonight’s show features some of those influences and our video this week takes this to the next stage…
We began with the invocation that opens rapper Guru’s Jazzamataz recording and whilst we heard no further direct links between rap and jazz on the show, the influence of remix culture, Brian Eno and David Bowie’s Berlin phase, drum and bass, hip hop drumming, Brazilian rhythms, oriental modes, orchestral sounds, Greek folk music and West coast rock. It’s all here in this week’s Cosmic Jazz.
Guru – Introduction from Jazzamataz Vol 1
David Bowie – Subterraneans from Low
Dylan Howe – Subterraneans from Subterranean: New Designs on Bowie’s Berlin
Melanie De Biasio – The Flow (Hex remix) from No Deal Remixed
Yusef Lateef – Plum Blossom (rework) from Brasil Bam Bam Bass
Sonzeira – The Mystery of Man (4Hero remix) from Brasil Bam Bam Bass
Charles Lloyd – Flying Over the Odra Valley from Wild Man Dance
The New Jazz Orchestra – Dusk Fire from Le Dejouner Sur L’herbe
Ed Motta – 1978 from AOR
Quincy Jones – The Twitch from Quintessence
Hadley Caliman – Cigar Eddie from Hadley Caliman
Video this week comes from Australian trio The Necks. Their recent London appearance at the Village Underground in Shoreditch was one of the most exciting concerts I’ve ever attended. That may sound like a contradiction in terms when I add that their trademark sound is a long form minimalist melting pot of shimmering percussion, dark bass drones and endless ostinato piano figures.
About 20 minutes in (and still on the first piece) the music was literally breathtaking: from my edge of the stage vantage point I found myself having to consciously breathe, such was the hypnotic force generated by the extraordinary sounds from this piano, bass and drums trio. The music is simultaneously loud and quiet, soft and hard, intense and tranquil. The only way is to understand these apparent contradictions is to listen for yourself – preferably live and from the front row!
I returned this week from three weeks on the wonderful island of Grenada in the Caribbean. I heard lots of reggae and soca but the jazz I heard was limited to my iPod. So, the choices for this week’s show included some of the tunes that caught my attention as well as a nod to the Caribbean, to Neil and to some live music I missed while away. If you want to hear this week’s selection, just press the Mixcloud tab. You’ll not be disappointed.
I missed both Matthew Halsall and Mammal Hands both at a local venue and on tour – but I heard from a son who saw the Sheffield performance that it was amazing. Online reviews seem to be giving the same message. What more can you say?
The Theo Parrish Black Jazz Records compilation was probably the highlight of the music that appeared on my iPod. I don’t know how to tell you enough that this is a wonderful must-have record. It’s widely available so go out and buy a copy for yourself. Some Cosmic Jazz favourites appeared on the show this week too, namely Esperanza Spalding, Zara McFarlane, Carmen Lundy and Gregory Porter – who was also on British television again this week.
The Charles Lloyd choice was for Neil who persuaded me that I needed to listen to his music, after which I wondered why it had taken me me so long. What a line-up there was for this record! Charles Lloyd, Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee and Jack DeJohnette. Wow!
Ernest Ranglin was my Caribbean link. The title track Below The Bassline from the album of the same name was released on what Island called their Jamaica Jazz label and the presence of Monty Alexander on piano and melodica is evidence enough of its jazz credentials. Many Jamaican musicians of that era, including Ernest Ranglin himself, grew up immersed in jazz sounds and learnt to play through jazz groups. At the beginning of the tune Ira Coleman’s bass seemed to disturb the IO Radio speakers but it was soon sorted. A bass-heavy, jazzy, reggae tune and a beautifully recorded, understated album that is required listening.
The Awakening – Jupiter from Theo Parrish’s Black Jazz Signature
Esperanza Spalding – Radio Song from Radio Music Society
Matthew Halsall and the Gondwana Orchestra – Falling Water from When the World Was One
Mammal Hands – Tiny Crumb from Animalia
Zara McFarlane – Woman In The Olive Groves fromIf You Knew Her
Ernest Ranglin – Below The Bassline from Below the Bassline
The Charles Lloyd Quartet – Bird Flight from Dream Weaver
Carmen Lundy – When Will They Ever Learn from Soul to Soul
Belatedly, it’s time for Cosmic Jazz’s roundup of the best of 2013, listen here on Mixcloud. Later will be a more detailed post on CJ’s favourites of the year coming up, but here’s the first part of our highlights of the year. We feature nine of the best – a selection of new releases and reissues. Horace Silver’s wonderful Gods of the Yoruba track comes from a 2013 Japanese only reissue of one of Silver’s last releases and features a blistering tenor sax solo from Larry Schneider.
By the way, there’s an odd one out in this week’s list – Max Rocci’s Greenleaf Street is actually from an excellent 2011 compilation release but it just snuck in… There will be more great new music in next week’s show.
Derrick Hodge – Live Today (feat. Common) from Live Today
Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran – God Only Knows from Hagar’s Song
Mark de Clive Lowe and the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra – Money (Don’t Let It Catch Ya) from Take the Space Train
Dave Holland’s Prism – The Empty Chair (for Clare) from Prism
Kenny Garrett – Chucho’s Mambo from Pushing the World Away
Goran Kajfes Subtropic Arkestra – Okwukwe Na Nchekwube from The Reason Why Vol. 1
Max Rocci – Greenleaf Street from Italo Funk Experience
Mahavishnu Orchestra – One Word (live) from Complete Columbia Albums Collection
Horace Silver – Gods of the Yoruba from Silver ‘n’ Percussion
Cosmic Jazz started with two presenters – Neil and Derek – trading records, exchanging comments and reacting to each other’s music, in most cases excited by each other’s choices – but not always. Neil has been away for much of the time recently and Derek has missed this weekly dialogue about music It was wonderful, therefore, to welcome Martin Burley to the show this week as a guest who could provide a well informed and stimulating commentary on all of the selected records and also give a few surprises along the way.
Martin presents a show of global sounds on ICR FM on Tuesday afternoons but also has an interest in and love of jazz music. He is a musician and to get the insights of a practised bass player and watch his immersion in the music as he listened to it was a great joy and resulted in a truly uplifting programme.
There was a nod to Martin’s love of global beats with Derek choosing the title tune from the new Mr. Bongo re-release Shango by the Ghanaian saxophonist Peter King – jazz was definitely an important part of his music. Martin replied with Zubop Gambia, recorded live at one of the Peppery Productions that Martin organises.
There were surprises too – Corinne Bailey Rae sounding almost like a jazz singer on Herbie Hancock’s version of the Joni Mitchell song River and Bill Frisell delivering a surprisingly soulful version of Sam Cooke’s important and pioneering tune A Change is Gonna Come. Another musician who has played at one of Martin’s events was the trumpeter Shanti Paul Jayasina. Round Trip from his albumsurprisinglymanaged to sound minimalist but complex and exciting. It was a great choice.
Martin always has an ear for a good bass player and was excited by the bass and piano on Charles Lloyd’s Booker’s Garden, a Cosmic Jazz favouritechosen by Derek because the quartet is due to appear at the Barbican on 28 April. Martin even managed to slip in some of his own bass playing on Ska-Kestra 1’s version of the Charlie Mingus classic Haitian Fight Song, recorded live at the Brighton Festival a few years back.
We exchanged our love of record shops, appropriately just before the annual Independent Record Store day two days later. Martin gave a plug for Wells in Southwold which combines being a photography shop at the front (a sight almost as rare as record shops these days) with an eclectic selection of jazz, world and classical music at the back. Martin informed us there are bargains to be had there at the moment, as there was when I last visited the shop. I played a tune from Eastern Soundsby Yusef Lateef, which is one of several jazz CDs which can be currently bought for only £5 at Soundclash Records (see link below) in Norwich.
Next week Derek presents a solo show and on 2 May there is another rare jazz groove spectacular from Alex and Palmer who sit in again on the show. This will be another show not to miss (see comments on their 11 April show).
On a week when I completed reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace it was appropriate to go back in history, as well as play a tune entitled Napoleonfish. I am always trying to catch up with records I have meant to play, tunes I had forgotten about and artists that have not featured on Cosmic Jazz for some time. The mission continued on this week’s show. The ‘historical’ sequence began with Andrew Hill, long a CJ favourite, but whose tunes have not been played for some time. The track Flight flowed very nicely from the two Polish jazz tunes that preceded it. Was he an influence? I’ve no idea but suspect he might have been.
A test of a presenter’s/DJ’s skill is how successful you are at changing the mood and/or tempo of the music. I felt it was time for a change after Abdullah Ibrahim’s Whoza Mtwana but after such a moving, powerful and spiritually uplifting piece was it right to go to the Brazilian-inflected jazz-dance party time piece of Mario Biondi’s Rio de Janeiro Blue? Well, that is what I did – judge for yourself.
Another influence on the choice of music for the programme is things that have appeared via the shuffle option of my iPod. One such tune was Go Slow by Fela Anikulapo Kuti, which I prefaced with the excellent Jessica Lauren and her track The Name of Fela Will Always Stand for Freedom, from her 2012 self titled release. Go Slow when I heard it was not one of the Fela tunes I recognised; but it is great.The Go Slow refers to the permanent snarl-up of the Lagos traffic which is symbolic of the progress of officialdom throughout Nigeria The track is available on one of the best of Fela’s 1970s albums, Roforofo Fight. Recommended for the title track too, and a wonderful Fela slow jam called Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am.
Since playing this I have been in touch with and old friend, and former Sunday league football team colleague, who knew Fela and his family and once did an interview with him for the Guardian at his celebrated club and compound outside Lagos, The Shrine. He reports that each October there is a Felebration with various cultural events surrounding the maestro and then a big gig up at The Shrine, which my friend has attended and tries to get to every year. Apparently, Fela’s son Seun plays there on the last Saturday of each month and there is always a big crowd. The big news on Fela is that his complete works were re-released in one box set by Wrasse Records last year – and even if you many Fela discs already there will still be much to discover. To play Sun Ra after Fela seemed to be a perfect match of two of music’s greatest revolutionaries.
I hope you enjoyed the show, or enjoy it if you are about to listen on Mixcloud. Comments on this blog are always welcome.
A-Kineton – Bleak Sun
Tomek Grochot (feat. Eddie Henderson) – Napoleonfish
Andrew Hill – Flight
Kenny Barron – Other Places
Charles Lloyd Quartet – Mirror
Max Roach Plus Four – Juliano
Abdullah Ibrahim – Whoza Mtwana
Mario Biondi – Rio de Janeiro Blue
Wilson Simonal – Nem Vem Que Nao Tem
Esperanza Spalding (feat. Joe Lovano) – I Can’t Help It
Jessica Lauren – The Name Of Fela Will Always Stand For Freedom
It’s a love thing! This week’s Cosmic Jazz featured more new music from Wayne Shorter, four tracks with ‘love’ in each title, and two tracks from the new Black Jazz anthology from Gilles Peterson. We also play tribute to trumpeter Donald Byrd who died earlier this month. Dr Byrd was a jazz educator as well as leading Blue Note artist and accusations of ‘sell out’ in the 1970s were – in our view – certainly misplaced. So we’re featuring music from all stages of his lengthy career in jazz – enjoy!
We also featured a rarity from alto sax player Jackie McLean in duet with percussionist Michael Carvin. The lengthy De I Cohmalee Ah went down a storm at our most recent live set – see what you think via Listen Again. We know that one of our loyal listeners went and bought the CD immediately – it’s called Antiquity, and you can find it on the Steeplechase label. That’s CJ this week!
Gene Russell – Black Orchid
Henry Franklin – Beauty and the Electric Tub
Grant Green – I Wish You Love
Wayne Shorter – Flying Down to Rio
Donald Byrd – Elijah
Donald Byrd – Black Byrd
Donald Byrd – Think Twice
Donald Byrd – Onliest
Jackie McLean and Michael Carvin – De I Comahlee Ah
Charles Lloyd and Billy Higgins – Supreme Love Dance
Bill Evans – Spartacus Love Theme
Chet Baker – I Fall in Love Too Easily
Charlie Hunter – Creole (feat. Mos Def)
Video this week had to come from Chalres Lloyd – in anticipation of his upcoming duo release with Jason Moran and a London concert later this year in April. Here he is with his stellar quartet and a beautiful reading of Brian Wilson’s Caroline No:
A solo show from Derek for this week’s CJ included music from the new Carmen Lundy release Changes, two tracks from the substantive record When the Heart Emerges Glistening – released to great acclaim last year by Ambrose Akinmusire – and more from Esperanza Spalding’s latest record Radio Music Society. A visitor to the studio requested Polish jazz, so trumpeter Tomasz Stanko got a play and there were two echoes of the previous week’s selections from Alex – Claudia from Brazil and Leroy Vinnegar playing bass on the live from Montreux classic Compared to What from CJ favourites Les McCann and Eddie Harris.
Ambrose Akinmusire – Henya Bass Intro/Henya
Jack DeJohnette – New Muse
Carmen Lundy – Love thy Neighbour
Esperanza Spalding feat. Lalah Hathaway – Endangered Species
Tomasz Stanko Quartet – Lontano
Charles Lloyd Quartet – La Colline de Monk
The Maynard Ferguson Sextet – To and Fro
Les McCann & Eddie Harris – Compared to What
Claudia – Deixa O Morro Cantar
Nicola Conte – Like Leaves in the Wind
Gregory Porter – Work Song
Gregory Porter – 1960 What?
Carmen Lundy – A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
A show this week supported by Neil through the supply of music from Trio Libero, with UK’s Andy Sheppard, together with a new release from US vocalist Dwight Trible. Sheppard’s new ECM release is a quiet, unassuming record in the label’s house style and Trible is in the great tradition of US vocalists like Andy Bey and Leon Thomas.
CJ also featured more from the recently released Spiritual Jazz Vol II Europe and a Nat Adderley’s Work Song in a new version from Gregory Porter’s sparkling new release. Expect to hear more from both albums in coming weeks.
There was a guest appearance from Alan Bramwell, presenter of the forthcoming series Giants of Jazz on ICR. You can hear the first programme on Monday 26 March at 16:00 GMT. Alan has carried out meticulous research on the artists he will present and combines wide knowledge with enthusiasm for the subject. Interestingly, New York tenor player Albert Ayler provided Alan with the greatest fascination – in terms of both his music and tragic life story. Angels, though,could be described as one of his more accessible pieces – you can find it on the essential Impulse! release Live at Greenwich Village, a two CD set which has to feature some of the most haunting, personal music in all of jazz. Pianist Ahmad Jamal provided a jazz trio masterclass, Dorothy Ashby offered a rare outing for a jazz harpist and an old Cosmic Jazz favourite Charles Lloyd ended the show.
CJ this week featured a sequence of three tracks from the new Portico Quartet release, Chick Corea’s live tribute to pianist Bill Evans and an exclusive from Norways’s SOTU and their forthcoming album out on 18 February.
As always, the music covered the complete spectrum of jazz – from ambient and avantgarde, from Japan to France and from piano trio to jazz vocal. Enjoy!
Charles Lloyd – Tribal Dance
Rodney Kendrick – Ganawa in Paris
Portico Quartet – Window Seat/Ruins/Spinner
SOTU – Ein Styggeleg Hund
Erik Truffaz – Siegfried
Bill Evans – Spartacus Love Theme
Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez and Paul Motian – Peri’s Scope