Cosmic Jazz live became another casualty of the British weather this week. Heavy snow and the forecast of more to come through the evening led to the cancellation of the live programme. An old programme did go out, however, so this could be an opportunity to listen again.
This week’s programme was enlivened and enriched by the visit of Pete who, despite the hostile weather, came all the way from Hertfordshire to share records with Derek. The programme began with a tribute to Harry Whitaker the pianist and creator of the Black Renaissance project who died recently. There will be more next week.
Pete’s selections are always interesting and I was left with the difficult task of making a response. Pete chose three records that featured vibes players: Bobby Hutcherson with his own group, Bill le Sage (someone I saw many times at the Bull’s Head in Barnes Bridge) on the Ronnie Ross track and Orphy Robinson who is featured on Jazz Jamaica. As in previous visits, Pete continued his campaign to have ska musicians recognised for their jazz skills. This time the evidence came from Don Drummond on Thoroughfare.
- Black Renaissance – Magic Ritual
- Steve Reid – Lions of Judah
- Andrea Pozza Trio – Nebulosa
- Bobby Hutcherson – Black Heroes
- Train Up – What is Wrong with Grooving
- Chico Hamilton – Strut
- Joe Henderson – Foregone Conclusion
- Ronnie Ross – Cleopatra’s Needle
- Colin Steele – Variation on a Dream
- Jazz Jamaica – Footprints
- Dee Dee Bridgewater – Soulville
- Don Drummond – Thoroughfare
- Rusty Bryant – Wildfire
- Dave Brubeck – Unsquare Dance
Another solo show from Derek as Neil is at the London Jazz Festival being tutored in the art of writing jazz reviews. The task last night was to pen a review of Gary Burton at the QEH and deliver it first thing this morning… Job done by 2am.
His impressions and reflections on six very creative days will appear on CJ in coming weeks and a slightly recrafted Burton review now appears elsewhere on the site.
This week had more live recordings than usual – Sonny Rollins at Montreux, Teruo Nakamura and Sadao Watanabe in Japan as well as live material from Miles Davis and Yusef Lateef. The Independent newspaper for the last two Fridays has featured some of the favourite live albums of both musicians and readers. The choices, particularly of readers, included some horrendous rock anachronisms.
CJ thinks they should listen to some live jazz recordings to find out how music can stand the test of time…
- Andrew Hill – Smoke Stack
- The Bennie Maupin Ensemble – Walter Bishop
- Teruo Nakamura – Unicorn Lady
- Sadao Watanabe – Paysages
- Miles Davis – It’s About That Time
- Bahama Social Club – King’s Wig
- JFR Quintet – Nairoo
- Mario Bondi – This is What You Are
- Archie Shepp – Syeeda’s Song Flute
- Yusef Lateef – Oscaralypso
- Sonny Rollins – The Cutting Edge
- Horace Parlan – The Book’s Beat
- Tabu Ley Rochereau – Na Nono
This week’s video is from Archie Shepp and Horace Parlan live at Montreux performing Shepp’s Mama Rose. Parlan’s right hand was crippled by polio as a child, but he used this apparent disadvantage to create a unique style. Watch out for the very sudden ending to this clip.
For more of the same, try the great duet album Goin’ Home.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXiBX9vBBUY&feature=related
A solo show from Derek that had some different sounds not heard on Cosmic Jazz before. There were three tunes from Japan, although one featured some distinguised guests from the USA. There was a different side to McCoy Tyner, with the late Phyllis Hyman on vocals, who I have known from a 12″ disco single in my collection (Riding the Tiger) not as a jazz singer. She did, however, sing with Pharaoh Sanders as well.
There was more scatting, this time from Betty Carter, who was a supreme exponent of the art, some offbeat sounds from Michael White to prove The Blessing Song is not the only interesting thing he has done – and even a touch of latin jazz from Johnny Blas who has a band with a mighty brass section including four trombones.
- Takeo Moriyama – Watarase
- String Band featuring Isao Suzuki – Nica’s Dream
- Michael White – Fiesta Dominica
- Betty Carter – Sounds
- Dave Holland Big Band – A Time Remembered
- Johnny Blas – Picadillo
- McCoy Tyner – Love Surrounds Us Everywhere
- Randy Weston – In Memory Of
- Terumasa Hino – Fuji
This week’s video clip is Terumasa Hino in action at the Mt Fuji Festival in 1989. He’s with Mulgrew Miller, Don Braden (check out his powerful solo in part one of this YouTube entry), Ira Coleman and Ralph Peterson.
- Bahama Social Club – King’s Wig
- Build an Ark – a.) How do we end all this madness? b.) Play the music
- Sound Advice – Night Thoughts
- Giancarlo Barigozzi – Pastoral
- The Rhythmatic Orchestra – African Mailman
- Sun Ra – The Satellites
- Sigurta Casa Grande – Eyes
- Jose James – Lay You Down
- Lester Bowie – For Fela
- Kenny Clarke – Big Bang
- George Duke – Sugar Loaf Mountain
- Bahama Social Club – Experience in Jazz
- Azymuth – Carambola
- Roy Haynes – I’m So High
- The Fiction Trio – Haitian Fight Song
This week Neil was away so it was a solo show from Derek. After the popularity of the title track last week, there was another one from the Randy Weston album Tanjah and a long overdue return to some Japanese jazz. Last week Neil had celebrated Fela Kuti’s birthday with a tune featuring Lester Bowie so this week it was Lester Bowie himself with a tune dedicated to Fela. Equinox and Peace Peace provided beauty and spirituality and there was an acknowledgement of Black History Month through Horace Parlan’s Home is Africa and Our Roots Began in Africa from Pharaoh Sanders.
- Lester Bowie – For Fela
- Maki Mannami – Stupid Girl
- What’s Up – I’ll Never Forget You
- John Coltrane – Equinox
- Bill Evans – Peace Peace
- Randy Weston – Jamaica East
- Horace Parlan – Home is Africa
- Nation of Multiverse feat. Monday Michiru – Butterfly
- Mario Biondi – Rio de Janeiro Blues
- Alice Coltrane feat. Pharaoh Sanders – Blue Nile
- John Surman – Dance
- Pharoah Sanders – Our Roots Began in Africa
The video this week is for Derek – It’s Italian vocalist Mario Biondi with This is What You Are:
A solo show from Derek tonight with a varied selection, including another track from our featured album Bitches Brew. For more on this contemporary jazz masterpiece, see the feature elsewhere on Cosmic Jazz.
- Art Blakey – Dat Dere
- Jackie McLean – Hootnan
- Horace Parlan – The Book’s Beat
- Rosa Passos – Lobo Bobo
- Jimmy Scott – They Say It’s Wonderful
- Eddie Harris – Freedom Jazz Dance
- Quasimode – Last Nine Days
- Henry Threadgill – Bermuda Blues
- Gene Ammons – Hittin’ the Jug
- Jack Pescod and the Barcode Trio – Coming to Get You
- Miles Davis – Miles Runs the Voodoo Down
Our videclip this week features the late and very great Jackie McLean. Jackie McLean is a favourite alto player here on CJ and we like this contemporary take on Appointment in Ghana from the great Jackie’s Bag album on Blue Note. Check out Cecil McBee’s bass solo and some typically propulsive piano from McCoy Tyner.
A solo show from Derek tonight with some classic tracks including the brilliant Black Renaissance, featuring pianist Harry Whitaker. What is there that hasn’t been said about this classic, recorded on Martin Luther King Day in 1976? Black Renaissance was almost lost for good when the master tapes were destroyed in a fire. It was finally properly released by Ubiquity Records and is now rightly regarded as a bonafide deep jazz masterpiece. Harry Whitaker, who – amonst other things – played those piano figures on Roy Ayers’ We Live in Brooklyn, Baby, gathered the best of the jazz musicians of his day and laid down just two long tracks that build and grow in an improvisational masterpiece that mixes spiritual soul jazz, poetry, rap and great solos from Azar Lawrence and Woody Shaw, all held together by the elastic bass of Buster Williams. If you don’t have this album, go out and buy it. You won’t be disappointed.
- Black Renaissance – Black Renaissance
- Carmen Lundy – All Day All Night
- Sadao Watanabe – Vichakani
- Jack Pescod & Barcode Trio – Pier
- Michael Brecker – Madame Toulouse
- Indigo Jam Unit – Pentagram
- Max Roach – Members Don’t Git Weary
- Gerardo Frisina – Saeta (part one)
- Charles Mingus – Theme for Lester Young (aka Goodbye Pork Pie Hat)
- John Coltrane – Afro Blue
Another solo Cosmic Jazz show from Derek but with Neil’s selections in there too. New music came from two DJ-compiled collections : Gilles Peterson’s Horo – a Jazz Portrait, featuring music from the great Italian label, and Adrian Gibson’s Music for Jazz Dancers, featuring tracks played at his legendary Messin’ Around sessions at London’s Jazz Cafe.
Also on the menu tonight was a great update on the Brazilian classic Nebulosa and a very impressive collaboration between nu soul outfit Fertile Ground and Italian club jazz maestro Nicola Conte. Enjoy this one – and dance!
- Fertile Ground/Nicola Conte – Yellow Daisies
- Stafford James – Costa bruciata
- Neil Cowley Trio – Stereoface
- Wallace Roney – Metropolis
- Monica Vasconcelos – A Terceira Margem do Rio
- Kenichiro Nishihara – Nebulosa
- The Soul Jazz Orchestra – Rejoice Pt. 2
- Dan Berglund – Sister Sad
- Frank Morgan – Wholey Earth
- Horace Silver – Safari
- Erik Truffaz – Anil
- Lester Bowie – For Fela
- Peter Herbolzheimer Combination & Brass (feat. Dianne Reeves) – Cherokee
- The Mike Westbrook Concert Band – Waltz (for Joanna)
This week’s video features music from Nicola Conte – his version of the song Sunshine can be found on the Other Directions album.
Oh – and congraluations to Michael Garrick on his well deserved MBE!
Neil has played music by the Norwegian jazz trumpet player Arve Henriksen on Cosmic Jazz and the tracks he selected have always sounded clear, uplifting and spiritual. So to discover that Arve Henriksen was booked for the 2010 Norfolk and Norwich Festival in the ancient and beautiful setting of Norwich Cathedral sounded like the perfect match between artist and venue.
The evening was a Friday and one of the first warm nights of the summer, the Cathedral was packed and the music started with a soaring piece featuring Henriksen and sampler/DJ Jan Bang. Sadly, that was as good as it got. For the next piece, The Voice Project Choir emerged from the sides with whispering sounds of precious and pretentious intensity that set the tone for the rest of the evening. They are a local amateur choir and it showed.
Whenever Henriksen played the trumpet the tone was delicate and inspiring, even Middle Eastern flavoured at times. The pity was the trumpet features were all too rare as he was often on vocals or conducting the choir. The music, although pretty at times, seemed to range from the ancient Christian choral tradition through to jazz and on to contemporary classical. It was hard to see how lovers of any of these genres would feel satisfied. There were a significant number of empty seats after the interval, although it must be said many gave rapturous applause at the end.
Eleven days later – on a cold Tuesday evening after the Bank Holiday – there was another trumpeter in Norwich. This time it was French Blue Note recording artist Erik Truffaz, with the beatboxer Sly Johnson and Philiippe Garcia on drums at Norwich Arts Centre. This is a band whose bookings include The Jazz Cafe, the Hay-on Wye Festival and the Brecon Jazz Festival and whose Paris Project CD is released on Blue Note, one of the greatest jazz labels of all time.
There were twenty-five people in the audience…
On the day, tickets had been reduced to £5 only, obviously to little effect. The band came on stage, looked around in bewilderment, and – as Truffaz noted – this was like a private party.
Those of us lucky enough to be at this private party had a rare treat. It was music to stretch and overlap boundaries but in a way that fitted together, in a way that was challenging and in a way that explored the limits of what is jazz. Sly Johnson with occasional vocals – and some sampling but mainly beatbox provided a forceful rhythm section along with the powerful and excellent drummer Philippe Garcia. There was constant engaging and almost playful interplay between the two.
Then there was Erik Truffaz. He was cool and said little. His playing was understated, delicate and precise but still powerful enough to be heard between the drums and the beatbox. On the quietest tune of the evening Goodbye Tomorrow – written by Sly Johnson – his trumpet playing was sheer, soaring, ethereal beauty. Truffaz sometimes recorded his playing and then played it back; at times he joined with the other tw0 – and sometimes he just sat out. There were no lavish, demonstrative solos. There was no need for them. This was not a night for the traditional jazz journey round the soloists.
But there was lavish applause at the end from all twenty-five of us. So track down the recordings on Blue Note and if you get a chance to see Truffaz live – don’t pass it up.