All posts by Derek

Playlist – 24th June 2010

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.

  1. Black Renaissance – Black Renaissance
  2. Carmen Lundy – All Day All Night
  3. Sadao Watanabe – Vichakani
  4. Jack Pescod & Barcode Trio – Pier
  5. Michael Brecker – Madame Toulouse
  6. Indigo Jam Unit – Pentagram
  7. Max Roach – Members Don’t Git Weary
  8. Gerardo Frisina – Saeta (part one)
  9. Charles Mingus – Theme for Lester Young (aka Goodbye Pork Pie Hat)
  10. John Coltrane – Afro Blue

Playlist – 10 June 2010

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!

  1. Fertile Ground/Nicola Conte – Yellow Daisies
  2. Stafford James – Costa bruciata
  3. Neil Cowley Trio – Stereoface
  4. Wallace Roney – Metropolis
  5. Monica Vasconcelos – A Terceira Margem do Rio
  6. Kenichiro Nishihara – Nebulosa
  7. The Soul Jazz Orchestra – Rejoice Pt. 2
  8. Dan Berglund – Sister Sad
  9. Frank Morgan – Wholey Earth
  10. Horace Silver – Safari
  11. Erik Truffaz – Anil
  12. Lester Bowie – For Fela
  13. Peter Herbolzheimer Combination & Brass (feat. Dianne Reeves) – Cherokee
  14. 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!

Henriksen and Truffaz – two trumpeters in Norwich

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.

Playlist – 27 May 2010

A solo show from Derek as Neil was called away at the last moment.  It did give a chance to include, once again, some Japanese jazz (Indigo Jam Unit and Sadao Watanabe) and some gentle and delicate singing from Brazil (Flora Purim and Rosa Passos).  The day before had been the birthday of Miles Davis so a track from Miles was an obvious choice and the beautiful intensity of Effi by Max Roach from the album Members Don’t Git Weary suggested we should feature this album over the next few weeks.

  1. Miles Davis – Hand Jive (Second Alternate Take)
  2. Indigo Jam Unit – Trailer
  3. Jackie McLean – Action
  4. Sadao Watanabe – Mtoto
  5. Flora Purim – Preciso apprender a ser so
  6. Rosa Passos – E Luxo So
  7. Jose James – Desire (Moodyman remix)
  8. Max Roach – Effi
  9. Roland Kirk – The Call
  10. Lou Donaldson – Gravy Train
  11. Eddie Harris – Listen Here
  12. Dexter Gordon – Soy Califa
  13. The Soul Jazz Orchestra – Mr. President

The video feature this week is Flora Purim in 1969 with an all star lineup for French television – Stan Getz, Stanley Cowell, Miroslav Vitous and Jack de Johnette.  I wonder whether this group ever recorded?  If you know, let us know!

Playlist – 13 May 2010

Derek has been again to that wonderful independent record shop in Norwich – Soundclash Records in St. Benedict’s Street (  It has reggae, it has Latin, it has music from African countries but it also has a superb selection of jazz on vinyl.  What other record shop do you know that has a vinyl section solely dedicated to Sun Ra records?

The latest acquisitions that Derek played this week included a 1973 live recording from Roy Brooks and the Artistic Truth – a band  who used jazz as expression of their Afrikan-American heritage – and a more recent 2008 recording from Germany, by Jerger Kluge’s Deep Jazz.  To prove once again that jazz has a very wide coalition, Derek also added in the new 12″ single from Quantic and his Combo Barbaro.

Spreading the net yet further, Neil added a track from Canada’s Soul Jazz Orchestra, music from Don Cherry and Latif Khan and a Trinidadian steel pan band playing Fela Kuti.  We had a great time on the show this week – and we hope you really enjoy the music.

  1. The Soul Jazz Orchestra – Mamaya
  2. Roy Brooks and the Artistic Truth – Eboness (Kwanza)
  3. Don Cherry and Latif Khan – Air Mail
  4. Lever Brothers Gay Flamingoes – Egbi Me O/Black Man’s Cry
  5. Jerker Kluge’s Deep Jazz – Heaven and Earth
  6. McCoy Tyner – Love Samba
  7. Quantic and Combo Barbaro – New Morning (slow version)
  8. Django Bates – My Little Suede Shoes
  9. Dinah Washington – All of Me
  10. Ahmad Jamal – Footprints
  11. The Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet – Garrison 64
  12. Food – Becalmed
  13. Le Granda Kalle, Don Gonzalo, Manu Dibango – Africa Boogaloo

This week’s video is some rare footage of Don Cherry (surely a world music pioneer?) in concert sometime in the 1960s with South African Johnny Dyani on bass and Turkey’s Okay Temiz on percussion.

Playlist – 29 April 2010

There are times on the radio, as in life, when things somehow do not go quite right.  This was one of those weeks.  It was probably the first time ever that Michael Garrick and the Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet have had one of their tunes looped in the radio and it was not because I saw Overtones of a Forgotten Music or Garrison 64 as potential club dance mixes.  The tracklisting on the blog kept mysteriously disappearing and the The Barcode Quartet record – a new white label gift from the father of two band members – was placed in the CD player before I noted its title.

The programme featured music from two continents – Europe and Africa. There were similarities and differences across the continents but there were also similarities and differences among countries within the continents.  Once again the Oscar Sulley and Gyedu-Blay Ambollah showed that you do not need to be classified as a jazz musician to have a jazz sensibility.  From the other continent, Colin Steele of Scotland demonstrated his unique ability to fuse traditional Scottish music with jazz.

Neil will be back next week.  After the events of this week his return will be particularly welcome.

  1. African Jazz Pioneers – Nonto Sangoma
  2. Michael Garrick – Overtones of a Forgotten Music
  3. The Tony Benson Sextet – Ugali
  4. Colin Steele – Bacharach on Loch Winnoch
  5. Mulatu Astatke – Yekatit
  6. Barcode Quartet – Coming to Get You
  7. Abdullah Ibrahim – Whosa Mtwana
  8. Sounds of the Unexpected – Eins, Zwei, Drei, Vorbei
  9. Henri Texier – Go I
  10. Oscar Sulley & the Uhuru Dance Band – Bukom Mashie
  11. Jan Garbarek – All Those Born With Wings, 3rd Piece
  12. Nicola Conte – Nubian Queens
  13. Gyedu-Blay Ambollah & his Creations – Akoko Ba
  14. The Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet – Garrison 64

Playlist – 15 April 2010

The programme welcomes a long-standing Cosmic Jazz listener Pete from Hertfordshire.  He is very knowledgeable about jazz and much other music and helps us out when we need information about musicians and records.

Derek and Pete played Radio Ping-Pong – an approach pioneered by the late Charlie Gillett, whereby you select a record and your partner has to think of another tune that connects to play next.  This should not pre-planned  and this show was  totally spontaneous.

The game started with the track Laughter by Norman Connors (an under-rated jazz musician?) which led to Celebration from the South African pianist Bheki Mseleku.   This brought in cross-continental connections between jazz on the continents of north and south America and the continent of Africa; with a brief diversionary reference to Inverness.

The second set opened with Eventually by Ornette Coleman which led naturally to the theme of time and ended with Round Midnight. The game selections also managed to highlight the jazz influences and connections of artists such as The Fania All-Stars and Prince Buster.

It was a hectic time in the studio and a night such as this always leads to regrets about records that are not  in the box.  It was definitely, though, great fun.  It always is when Pete pays a visit.  I think any umpire would declare that he made the match-winning selections.  Give it a listen and judge for yourself!

  1. Jose James – Beauty
  2. Kenny Dorham – Trompeta Toccata
  3. Norman Connors – Laughter
  4. Bheki Mseleku – Celebration
  5. Letta Mbulu – Afro Texas
  6. Carlos Garnett – Banks of the Nile
  7. Gato Barbieri – El  Sertao
  8. Luisito Quintero – Quintero’s Jam
  9. Fania All-Stars – Lamento de un Gualiro
  10. Ornette Coleman – Eventually
  11. Gary Burton – On the Third Day
  12. Patrice Rushen – Haw Right Now
  13. Yusuf Lateef – A Long Time Ago
  14. Prince Buster – City Riot
  15. Jimmy McGriff – Round Midnight

Playlist – 08 April 2010

Cosmic Jazz welcomes ex-ICR presenter Smoothgroove for the first half hour of  the show.  His shows often revealed his jazz influences and although the sounds may not be from the traditional jazz lexicon, they demonstrate the far-reaching impact of this musical form that we love so much.

The rest of the show featured music from some excellent recent Blue Note, Soul Brother and Impulse compilations.  Special guest next week is regular listener and music guru Pete who wlll trade tracks with Derek while Neil is in China.

  1. Art Ensemble of Chicago – Old Time Religion
  2. Mr. Scruff & Heidi Tatum – Fresh Moodles
  3. Floating Points – People’s Potential
  4. Red Rack’Em – All I Ever Wanted
  5. Floating Points – Love Me This Way
  6. Aaron Jerome  – Subtrat
  7. Kyle Hall – Rundown
  8. John Coltrane – Afro Blue
  9. Joe Henderson – Foregone Conclusion
  10. Alice Coltrane – Galaxy in Satchidananda
  11. Yusuf Lateef – Brother John
  12. Max Roach – Man from South Africa
  13. McCoy Tyner – Man from Tanganyika
  14. Azar Lawrence – Force of Nature

There’s no Youtube clip this week (that can’t be uploaded from China!) but the feature will be back in a few weeks time.

Playlist – 24 December 2009

Did anyone spot the mistake in my first comments?  Let us know through Comments if you did.

It was corrected later but there were so many jazz anniversaries in 2009 I mention numbers without thinking about which anniversary I am talking about.  I must do better.

The Jackie McLean track made a great starter. The tempo rose in the Latin section with Kenny Dorham getting things in the swing and Dexter Gordon’s Soy Califa possibly being the greatest mover. I am not sure that we have played either Jimmy McGriff or Jimmy Smith on Cosmic Jazz before but the uptempo format of this programme provided the perfect opportunity. There certailnly was no room for squares as Hank Mobley reminded us and the classic Moanin‘ by Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers remains the perfect jazz dancefloor number.

A merry Christmas and prosperous New Year to all Cosmic Jazz listeners and website visitors. We hope you will stay with us in 2010; we still have lots of music left to play and we have some guests lined  up who will bring their own selections into the studio to both entertain and inform us.

The jazz journey is a long and never-ending one.

  1. Jackie McLean – Hootman
  2. Lou Donaldson – Gravy Train
  3. Kenny Dorham – Mamacita
  4. Grant Green – Mambo Inn
  5. Dexter Gordon – Soy Califa
  6. Joe Henderson – El Barrio
  7. Jimmy McGriff – All About my Girl
  8. Freddie Hubbard – Cunga Black
  9. Jimmy Smith – Back at the Chicken Shack
  10. Hank Mobley – No Room for Squares
  11. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers – Moanin’
  12. Horace Silver – Safari

Next week’s New Year’s Eve show is our review of the best of 2009.  Look out for a Cosmic Jazz feature coming up on our favourite music of the year.  We’ll be back with you live for our first show of 2010 on 07 January.

Christmas Eve December 24 Preview

To show that Cosmic Jazz has not forgotten that 2009 was the 7oth anniversary of Blue Note, Derek will present a Blue Note Christmas Party.  There is, however, a health warning: it will make you move and probably dance – definitely one for those in the party spirit.

There will be Latin bits from Grant Green, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Dorham and Joe Henderson.  There will be Hammond organ from Jimmy McGriff and Jimmy Smith. Inevitably, there will be Hank Mobley, the epitome of the Blue Note sound, telling us what every jazz fan knows i.e. there is No Room for Squares.  At the end, there is the tune beloved of every jazz dancer from  Camden Town to Brighton, the uplifting and energising Moanin‘ by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Be there or be…