Cosmic Jazz Feature 4. Jack deJohnette

deJohnetteDeJohnette is one of jazz’s most complete drummers. What’s so special about him? Let’s start with the number of people he has played with in his 40 year career – Miles Davis, Charles Lloyd, Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, John McLaughlin, David Murray, Lester Bowie, John Scofield and many more. Now add in his ability to combine free jazz styles with the deep groove of a complete funk drummer. Deepen the mix with his desire to experiment and yet maintain the tradition. Yes, deJohnette is a complete drummer – and he plays the piano and melodica too.

DeJohnette was born in Chicago in 1942. He first became known as a member of Charles Lloyd’s band. This A group featured Keith Jarrett on piano – a combination that was to surface again many years later in the Standards Trio. The drummer couldn’t have picked a moment to step into the limelight. In late 1966 the Charles Lloyd Quartet had played the Monterey Jazz Festival before going on to the Fillmore Auditorium in January of the following year. Fillmore was no ordinary date – the Quartet was opening for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and this was the start of Californian counter-culture. The Lloyd group had the distinction of recording the first ever live album at the Fillmore and this level of exposure was to change the way young audiences thought about jazz. Find out more about this period on the recently released double CD anthology Dream Weaver on Warner Jazz.

The live albums that emerged (predicatably called Love-In and Journey Within) were huge sellers and it wasn’t surprising that both deJohnette and Jarrett were to catch the eye of a jazz man famous for his talent spotting abilities. Miles Davis was on the cusp of a change in his sound. He made no secret of wanting to expand his musical palette and capture a new young market, and young guns like deJohnette and Jarrett were just what he needed. DeJohnette first appeared on Bitches Brew in 1970 – one of the most influential jazz albums ever released and he must certainly have been influenced by Davis’s recording practices. Calls to musicians would be made at very short notice and they would have very little or no idea what they were to record. Once in the studio, musicians were given just a few instructions – usually suggestions as to mood or tone. Davis liked to work this way; he thought it forced musicians to pay close attention to one another, to their own performances, or to Davis’s cues, which could change at any moment. DeJohnette must have been influenced by this freewheeling approach: he has continually sought new challenges in the music he has played, constantly creating new group combinations – from the jazz rock of Compost, the free blowing sounds of Special Edition and the timeless trio sounds of his work with Keith Jarrett and Gary Peacock in the Standards Trio. In his autobiography, Miles Davis said of deJohnette “he just gave me a deep groove that I love to play over.” For his own part, de Johnette has said:

“As a child, I listened to all kinds of music and I never put them into categories. I studied classical piano and listened to opera, country and western music, rhythm and blues, jazz, swing, whatever. To me it was all music and great. I’ve kept that integrated feeling about music, all types of music, and just carried it with me, and I’ve maintained that feeling in spite of this habitual attempt to try and keep people pinned down to a certain style.”

The diversity of deJohnette’s output since his time with Miles has been immense. He’s in demand as a special projects drummer, is the kitman of choice for many big names and he leads his own groups, many of which include the biggest names in jazz. Recently, deJohnette has even taken to making music as an aid to meditation. A couple of years ago, I saw him playing with a live group that accompanied the full length silent feature film about the world’s first black heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson.

So where to start with listening to this peerless drummer? Any choices will be personal but here’s a few places to begin – the track name is followed by the CD that you’ll find it on:

Charles Lloyd – Dream Weaver (The Charles Lloyd Anthology – Warner Jazz)
Miles Davis – Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (Bitches Brew – Columbia)
Jack deJohnette – India (Special Edition – ECM)
The Standards Trio – Autumn Leaves/Up for It (Up for It – ECM)

If you can’t get access to these tracks, don’t worry. We’ll be playing them on the show in coming weeks in the new year.

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Tune into Cosmic Jazz every Thursday between 8 and 10pm on www.icrfm.co.uk.

Playlist – 15th January 2009

1. Michel Petrucciani – Caravan (Matthew Herbert remix)
2. Mr Fingers – Can You Feel It?/Christian Prommer’s Drumlesson – Can You Feel It?
3. Dave Douglas – Ruckus
4. Bossa 3 – Nao Me Diga Adeus
5. Marilyn Mazur – Pathway/ Don Pullen – Jana’s Delight
6. Christopher Hollyday – Appointment in Ghana
7. Charles Lloyd – Dream Weaver Part 2. Dervish Dance
8. Joe Henderson – Felicidade
9. Kurt Elling – Nightmoves
10. Quasimode – Down in the Village (live)
11. Don Cherry – Universal Mother
12. Donald Byrd – Dixie Lee
13. The Detroit Experiment – Space Odyssey
14. Barcode Trio – Esbjorn
15. Art Farmer Quartet – Ad Infinitum
16. Grant Green – Hurts So Bad
17. Joe Lovano – Eternal Joy
18. Sleep Walker – The Southern Cross

Playlist – 8th January 2009

Our first lived show of the new year started with an hour long tribute to the great trumpeter Freddie Hubbard who died in December. We played music recorded under his own name but also tracks showing what a great sideman he was for big names such as Oliver Nelson (love that solo on Stolen Moments!) and Wayne Shorter. Hubbard recorded for Blue Note in the 60s – so don’t forget that you can hear more of his music at our Blue Note live DJ set at Saints in Ipswich on 04 February. There are more details in the news section in this blog.

After all that classic jazz we needed some new sounds – and what better than Christian Prommer’s jazz trio take on a great techno classic? It sounded great and led us into more left field music – nujazz, house and contemporary Japanese sounds.

We hope you like the mix – send us a comment with your thoughts.

1. Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage
2. Eric Dolphy – Gazzeloni
3. Oliver Nelson – Stolen Moments
4. Freddie Hubbard – Povo
5. Freddie Hubbard – Hub-Tones
6. Wayne Shorter – Angola
7. Bobby Hutcherson – Catta
8. Christian Prommer’s Drumlessons – Can You Feel It?
9. Nicola Conte – All Gone
10. Kurt Elling – I Like The Sunrise
11. Soil & “Pimp” Sessions – Red Clay
12. Flora Purim – Open Your Eyes You Can Fly
13. Roberto Roena – Take Five (Nicola Conte remix)
14. Makoto – Freedom Suite
15. George McCrae – I Got Lifted (Mischief Brew re-edit)
16. Quasimode – Giant Black Shadow
17. Donald Byrd – You and the Music

Cosmic Jazz goes live!

Yes – to celebrate Blue Note’s 70th birthday, Cosmic Jazz will be playing live.
On 04 February we will be DJing at Saints in Ipswich and playing a totally Blue Note set.
Expect old favourites and new remixes, together with lots of music that you might not have realised came from the Blue Note label.
The event starts at 8pm and costs just £5 with a tapas selection included.

Join us at Saints on St Peter’s Street, Ipswich for a special night of Blue Note music.

Saints – 01473 251438
1-3 St. Peters Street, Ipswich, IP1 1XB

Playlist – 1st January 2009

This programme included some tidying up from our Best of 2008 show, with records that inexplicably had been overlooked in that programme – for example Leucocyte – the last-ever album from EST following the death in 2008 of Esbjorn Svensson and the wonderfully relaxed and atmospheric album The Dreamer by José James. For most of the show, however, it was a New Year jazz party. At times, the outer limits of ‘jazz’ were reached but then that is what Cosmic Jazz does.

Listen to our first live show of 2009 when there will be a tribute to the great jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard who died on 29 December 2008. Keep in touch, also, to find out about our celebration of 70 years of Blue Note records at the Saints tapas bar in Ipswich.

1. José James – black eyed susan
2. Charles Lloyd – Booker’s Garden
3. Marcus Valle – Bar Ingles
4. Hector Lavoe (Louis Vega EOL remix) – Mi Gente
5. Sly Dunbar – River Niger
6. Miles Davis – Miles
7. Herbie Hancock – Blind Man, Blind Man
8. Ramsey Lewis – The “In” Crowd
9. Willis Jackson – Nuthern like Thuthern
10. Bobby Hutcherson (Kenny Dope remix) – La Malanga
11. Mr. Spock – Words and Poets
12. Crusho – Someone to Love
13. United Future Organisation – Moondance Chant feat. Abigail Grimsel
14. Marco di Marco – Take Off Nicola Cinte’s Campi’s Idea Version
15. Gerardo Frisina – Bluesanova
16. Makoto & Akra – Flying High
17. Marcelo D2 – Qua/E
18. African Jazz Pioneers – Nanto Sangoma
19. Lester Bowie – Rios Negros
20. Les McCann/Eddie Harris – Compared to What
21. EST – Premonition/Earth

Playlist – 25th December 2008

Cosmic Jazz does not go away for Christmas, although the show was pre-recorded.
There is plenty of sparkle as the show included some festive and celebratory tunes old and new. There was even a touch of Christmas jazz courtesy of a Verve album.

1. Jazz for Joy – Those Soulful Jingle Bells
2. Kenny Dorham – Mamacita
3. Harry Beckett – Fantastic Things
4. Tabu Ley with Afrisa International – Mongali
5. Nightmares on Wax – 195lbs
6. Luisito Quintero – Obagado, Obagado, Obagado, Abogodo, Abogodo, Abogodo
7. Luisito Quintero – Aquilas Coisas Todas
8. Hajime Yoshizawa – Waltz for Jason (re-edit of Banks of Four remix)
9. Charles Earland – Black Talk
10. Sidewinder – The Adventure
11. Hank Mobley – High Voltage
12. Gato Barbieri – Viva Emiliano Zapata
13. The Afro-Rican Ensemble – Tanga
14. Orlando Julius – Mapami
15. Nina Simone – Little Boy Blue
16. Kenny Garrett – Intro to Africa
17. Cannonball Adderley – Sticks
18. Jazztronik – Samurai
19. Joe Henderson – Blue Bossa
20. Val Bennett – Take Five
21. Marcia Arnold – Memory
22. Jazz for Joy – Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer

Alan Bramwell on Blue Note

bluenoteI have a lot to thank Grant Green for.

As a fan of soul and funk music I have always loved the guitarist’s funkier sides for many years without knowing much about him or his story. But, after reading Richard Cook’s Blue Note Records- the Biography I now have a much fuller picture of the “Great Green” as I call him. I learned how Blue Note founder Alfred Lion had given the young Green an opportunity to lead his first debut session in November 1960 – but then rejected the session as unsatisfactory even though it included the pianist Wynton Kelly and drummer Philly Joe Jones. It would be left on the shelf gathering dust for forty years. By the time it was released in 2001, Green had recorded thirty solo albums for the label, was recognised as a genius and had been dead for over twenty years.

It was Grant Green’s story that was partly my inspiration for a series of radio shows currently being broadcast on Ipswich Community Radio (105.7FM and www.icrfm.co.uk) on Monday between 5-6pm. They tell the story of this much loved record label, started by two German immigrants (Alfred Lion and Max Margulis) which was to become one the greatest and most recognisable brands in musical history.

All that happened seventy years ago and in 2009 Blue Note will celebrate 70 years of inspirational jazz music. Today – after many transitions, trials and musical fashions – the label remains a powerful force in jazz.

Of course its roster of artists is very different. In Alfred Lion’s day you wouldn’t see a single vocalist but instead the instrumental talents of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver, Kenny Burrell and the ubiquitous Art Blakey‘s Messengers were at the heart of Blue Note.
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Today the label is home to the most diverse range of artists a label could have – from vocalist Norah Jones to hip hop producer Madlib. Hundreds of rap artists have sampled Blue Note grooves over recent years, giving the label a hip profile with a new younger generation.

Within months of its launch, in May 1939, an early flyer described Blue Note as “a musical and social manifestation”. And that’s the spirit that current Director Bruce Lundval has skilfully managed to maintain. Blue Note lives!

[Blue Note covers by Reid Miles – graphic artist]

Alan Bramwell

Tune into Cosmic Jazz every Thursday between 8 and 10pm on www.icrfm.co.uk

Playlist – 18th December 2008 – Best of 2008

Our first ever best of the year show with some great tracks from 2008.

We started with the new CD from Harry Beckett, produced by dub maestro Adrian Sherwood. This is a really contemporary sound for the great Barbadian/British trumpeter and worked well followed by Nigeria’s Seun Kuti and the Ethiopian dub of the Dub Colossus project, led by Nick Page. Derek and I have really enjoyed a couple of the cover mount CDs from Jazzwise magazine this year – vocalist Ruby Wood’s version of Coltrane’s Africa featured on the latest one and so it seemed appropriate to follow with a contemporary classic – Jack deJohnette’s unique take on ‘trane’s India from one of the many ECM Touchstone reissues which came out this year.

New music from rising stars like Arun Ghosh and Jamil Sheriff was matched by brilliant new material from Holland and Arve Henriksen but there just wasn’t time for all our favourites in this two hour special. So, there will be more in our first live show of 2009 – including EST’s amazing Leucocyte, the live CDs from Charles Lloyd and Kenny Garrett and the dubstep collection Steppa’s Delight.

Listen in on 08 January for great new music from 2008, and on New Year’s Day extend the party mood with a jazz dance special!

1. Harry Beckett – Ultimate Tribute
2. Seun Kuti – Mosquito Song
3. Dub Colossus – Azmari Dub
4. Ruby Wood – Africa
5. Jack deJohnette’s Special Edition – India
6. Arun Ghosh – Bondhu
7. Zoe and Idris Rahman – Sanctuary
8. Claudia and Brazilian Octopus – Gosto de Ser Como Sou
9. Arve Henriksen – Migration
10. Tabu Ley with Onaza – Likambo ya Mokanda
11. Sleep Walker – Brotherhood
12. Quasimode – Raw Cotton Field (live)
13. Joe Zawinul – Scarlet Woman (live)
14. Celestine Ukwu and his Philosophers National – Okwukwe Na Nchekwube
15. Dave Holland – Pass It On
16. Jamil Sheriff Octet – The Happy Ending
17. Dave Douglas – Tough (live)
18. Hajime Yoshizawa – Yoake -Dawn-

Playlist – 11th December 2008 – McCoy Tyner 70th Birthday Special

When we discovered that it was McCoy Tyner’s 70th birthday today we had to do a feature. We’ve featured Tyner since the show began and his muscular, pounding style (especially in his Milestone recordings of the 70s) is always a great sound.

1. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
2. McCoy Tyner – Sahara
3. John Coltrane – My Favourite Things
4. McCoy Tyner – Horizon
5. McCoy Tyner – Indo-Serenade
6. John Coltrane – Song of the Underground Railroad
7. McCoy Tyner – Mode for Dulcimer
8. John Coltrane – Olé
9. McCoy Tyner – Groove Waltz
10. McCoy Tyner – Fly With The Wind
11. McCoy Tyner – Man From Tanganyika
12. McCoy Tyner – T ‘n’ A Blues
13. John Coltrane – The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost

Playlist – 4th December 2008 – Blue Note Special

This was our Blue Note show with special guest Alan Bramwell whose History of Blue Note programmes currently go out on ICR on Monday between 17.00 and 18.00 hrs. He’s half way through the series so there’s still plenty of great music to listen to! Alan chose some of his favourites and we added a few too – all showing the range and diversity of recordings for this most famous of jazz labels. If you want to find out more, check out Richard Cook’s Blue Note: the Biography, published in paperback by Pimlico or try and track down Francis Wolff’s greatest photos for the label in Blue Note: the Jazz Photography of Francis Wolff.

The music ranged from one of the first artists to record for the label – stride pianist James P Johnson – through to the more contemporary rap sounds of Pieces of a Dream mixed with classic tracks from John Coltrane, Art Blakey and Grant Green. Thanks again to Alan for an inspirational show – and look out for his own thoughts about Blue Note in our feature article.

1. Hank Mobley – No Room For Squares
2. Lee Morgan – The Rajah
3. Art Blakey – Amuk
4. John Coltrane – Blue Train
5. Grant Green – It Ain’t Necesssarily So
6. Rachelle Ferrell – My Funny Valentine
7. James P Johnson – After You’ve Gone
8. Donald Byrd – Lanasana’s Priestess
9. Wynton Marsalis (feat. Dianne Reeves) – Feeling of Jazz
10. Lo Borges – Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser
11. Dr. Lonnie Smith – Scream
12. Tommaso Starace Quintet – Keep Moving Please!
13. Horace Parlan – Us Three
14. Andrew Hill – Grass Roots
15. Pieces of a Dream – Mt Airy Groove
16. Sabu – El Cumbanchero

Youtube clips thisweek come from Horace Parlan playing with the Jackie McLean Quintet at the Mt Fuji Jazz festival in 1988 and Lee Morgan with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers playing the tribute to trumpeter Clifford Brown, I Remember Clifford from thirty years earlier. Listen to Lee Morgan’s tone and control and check out Parlan’s wacky style!

Just one click and you’re in – enjoy!

Jackie McLean:

Lee Morgan:

Cosmic Jazz on Ipswich Online Radio