Greetings cards featuring jazz musicians

If you have been to a local jazz or ‘world music’ event and seen someone up the front drawing one of the musicians it was probably Jules. She loves the music and you can see this in the lively and expressive drawings which have emerged. The good news is that 13 of these drawings are now available as greetings cards. The drawings include La Cucina on the double bass, Bruno Piccinu on percussion, Pete Judge on trumpet and Pa Boro on kora and more besides. If you want to get hold of copies, e-mail Jules on:

Jules is one of the latest jazz enthusiasts to join the Cosmic Jazz radio community & she will be coming along to the ICR studio on 25 June 2009 from 8.00 – 10.00 pm to share some of her favourite jazz tunes with us.

Playlist – 9th April 2009

What’s so good about playing music on Cosmic Jazz each week is that we get to hear so much new stuff. Right now, there’s a buzz around Andy Sheppard’s new album – and it’s justified. His playing is confident and assured throughout; the grooves are relaxed but compact and the ECM sound (it’s his first on the label) is as pristine as always. Sheppard is joined by bassist Arild Andersen, guitarists Eivind Aarset and John Parricelli (two very different styles) and percussionist Kuljit Bhamra and he’s touring the album right now. We’ll be playing more from Movements in Colour over coming weeks.

It’s a similar story with Ravi Coltrane’s new CD – this confident music that shows just how much Coltrane has emerged from his father’s long shadow. Meanwhile, Jon Hassell’s new CD (also for ECM) breaks no new ground but is another characteristic distillation of wispy trumpet sounds with subtlely changing electonic treatments in the background.

Also on tonight’s show was an drum and bass influenced interpretation of Ornette Coleman’s classic Lonely Woman from Joshua Redman, more from percussionist Manny Oquendo and Gil Scott-Heron and a quirky rendition of Neal Hefti’s Batman theme from the irrepressible Sun Ra.

Neil tried being Robert Glasper as he mixed the original Maiden Voyage with Brad Meldau’s take on Radiohead’s Everything in its Right Place and Derek showed how cool Japanese band What’s Up? really are with a great track that belied its title.

More new music next week. Listen in to Cosmic Jazz every Thursday from 20.00 – 22.00hrs UK time.

1. Skream – Sub Island
2. Joshua Redman’s Elastic Band – Lonely Woman
3. Dee Dee Bridgewater – Children Go Round
4. African Dub – Midnight Movie
5. Ravi Coltrane – Coincide
6. Andy Sheppard – Bing
7. Manny Oquendo and Libre – Alabanciosa
8. Corey Wilkes – Drop It
9. Terence Blanchard /Donald Harrison – Are You Sleeping?
10. Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage/Brad Meldau – Everything in its Right Place
11. Lee Morgan – Fathead
12. Sun Ra – Batman theme
13. Quasimode (feat. Valerie Etienne) – Little B’s Poem
14. Tanya Winley – Vicious Rap
15. Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson – Peace Go With You Brother
16. Beat Out Shrine – Pinkie
17. John Coltrane – Inchworm
18. Marcos Valle – Escape
19. What’s Up? – That’s Not Cool At All
20. Jon Hassell – Time and Place

Playlist – 2nd April 2009

The programme began today with a tribute to the timbales player Manny Oquendo who died on 26 March 2009. Born in New York, Manny was for many years a prominent figure among the Latin musicians in the city. Like so many of these musicians he crossed the boundaries between Latin music and jazz. We will play more.

Our guest this week was Des Hart from the newly formed Ipswich Jazz Collective. We’ve put a link to their website on this blog. Des is a bass player and his choices reflected that – Kyle Eastwood (yes, he is the son of Clint) and his favourite Stanley Clarke. He also showed an inclination for 70s British/French jazz with a track from on an album which featured erstwhile Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, currently a Suffolk resident. Was this the route from rock which led Des to jazz? We think so…

Neil has a keen eye for important birthdays and played a birthday tribute to that soul/jazz great and founder of hip hop (?) Gil Scott-Heron, who once performed at Ipswich Corn Exchange to a sparse crowd. He’s been battling a cocaine addiction in recent years, but his last album Spirits (released in 1994) was a fine achievement. We’ve played the magnificent title track several times on the show – it’s a real reminder of how good Scott-Heron can be.

Breaking news! Cosmic Jazz will soon be going live again. Beginning on the 31 May 2009 the Cosmic Jazz Club will be playing out at Zing Wine Bar, Tacket Street, Ipswich starting at 20.00hrs. Entry is free and there’s even talk of a special cosmic cocktail to celebrate the event! The music will be our usual eclectic mix – but with a dance twist. Cosmic Jazz Club will then be live on the last Sunday of every month.

Alan Bramwell has started a new series called Jazz Greats broadcast on ICR from 17.00 – 18.00 hrs every Monday. It’s essential listening!!!

1. Manny Oquendo & Libre – Mejor Que Nunca: Salsa Jam
2. Herbie Hancock – Spank-a-Lee (live)
3. A Tribe called Quest – Jazz (We’ve Got It)
4. Protect the Beat – Intrepid
5. Sounds of the Unexpected – Elektrosjokkterapi
6. Tord Gustavsen Trio – Being There
7. Finn Peters – Atlas
8. Gong – Golden Dilemma
9. Rudresh Mahanthappa – The Preserver
10. Joe Zawinul & the Zawinul Syndicate – East 12th Street Band
11. Pharoah Sanders – Lonnie’s Lament
12. Kyle Eastwood – How Y’all Doin’
13. Quasimode – Down in the Village
14. Tim Garland Trio – Blue in Green (live)
15. Stanley Clarke – Indigo
16. Soil & Pimp Sessions – A I E
17. Pandora – Meheeco
18. Gil Scott Heron – Washington DC

Playlist – 26th March 2009

Due to illness this was a solo show from Derek. There were requests from two students that Neil had been working with that day – one for Fela Kuti and one for some dub – hence Water No Get Enemy and the African Dub track. Keep listening Dami and Jugdeep – and spread the word!

I was pleased, in particular, to play something by Sounds of the Unexpected, a Norwegian group that includes an ex-Brighton resident Tim Lowerin on saxophone. We have received a copy of their CD and like it very much. They describe themselves as a jazz group with a poignant sense of melody, mixing up a wide range of styles in the process – folk, Balkan, ska, flamenco and more. Check them on myspace: of the unexpected.

There was a taster for the BBC 4 programme on jazz records made in 1959 with tracks by Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus. Friday nights looks like being a jazz night on BBC4 for the forseeable future – coming up on Friday 03 April is Cool – an exploration of how American jazz culture spread round the world following release of that Miles Davis early classic album Birth of the Cool. I was also pleased to include a tune from the highly recommended new Ravi Coltrane album In Flux and some established favourites like Jose James, Wayne Shorter and Andrew Hill.

Des from the Ipswich Jazz Collective will share records with us on the next programme – 02 April – and listen out for Jazz Greats, a new show on ICR presented by Alan Bramwell from 17.00 – 18.00 hrs on Monday nights. Next week sees the birthdays of Gil Scott Heron and Herbie Hancock so catch some of their great music on the show.

1. Michael Brecker – Two Steps from the Edge
2. John Coltrane – AfroBlue
3. Wayne Shorter – Angola
4. Fela Anikulapo Kuti – Water No Get Enemy
5. Jose James – The Dreamer
6. African Dub – Lovers Serenade
7. What’s Up – That’s Not Cool at All
8. Sounds of the Unexpected – Her kommer superegoene
9. Ravi Coltrane – For Zoe
10. Dave Brubeck – Take Five
11. Roberto Roena – Take Five (Nicola Conte remix)
12. Charles Mingus – Slop
13. Andrew Hill – Compulsion
14. Indigo Jam Unit – Be
15. Russell Gunn – Del Rio (aka Anita)
16. Jarzinho Oliveira – Falso Amor

Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA at the Barbican, London 10 March 2009

The sound of the universe where space really is the place.

This was the night that the Barbican went truly cosmic and allowed the man from Saturn (or at least his newly appointed ambassador in the gap toothed shape of former Special Jerry Dammers) to visit some of his earthbound fans.

AliceColtrane01Dammers has been piloting his Spatial AKA Orchestra for a couple of years now but this was their major concert hall outing in London. Billed as Cosmic Engineering, the choice of music reflected Dammers’ interest in other ‘musical mavericks’ on the fringes of jazz – Sun Ra, Martin Denny, Alice Coltrane and ‘Sir’ Coxone Dodd were his unlikely partners in this journey through the spaceways.

To make this ambitious project happen, Dammers has chosen a big band lineup that’s conventional enough. Some of the leading players on the UK jazz scene have been brought together in a terrific frontline – Mercury nominee Zoe Rahman on Fender Rhodes and piano, Nat Facey (most recently with Empirical) on alto, Finn Peters on flute and Larry Stabbins, Denys Baptise and Jason Yarde on tenors. With the vocalists and percussionists this was a stage full – eighteen in total – and I wasn’t counting the various costumed mannequins less than artfully placed on the edges of the stage alongside Captain Scarlet’s spacecraft, African masks, a glitterball or two and assorted Arkana. Add to this a back projection screen which featured cheesy 1950s space travel images alongside rare footage of Sun Ra, Marshall Allen and others dancing around the Pyramids and the scene really was set.

As Dammers positioned himself in front of a bank of 1970s synthesizers – none of which did anything other than squawk and rumble – the band walked onstage through the audience just like the real thing – space costumes and Pharonic headdresses, flowing robes and painted masks.

SunRaNothingIsAs perhaps one of the few people in the audience who saw the very last visit of Sun Ra to the UK – at the Brixton Fridge in November 1985 – this looked and felt much like the real thing. And the band were convincing too. There might not have been enough solos of the calibre of Sun Ra’s longtime sidemen but Facey’s long and impassioned outing on a deep and dark version of Where Pathways Meet was awesome. This was Pharoah Sanders with the volume set at 11.

Classic Sun Ra tunes predominated – but there was also space for a twisted version of Nelson Riddle’s Batman theme, Salah Rageb’s Egypt Strut and Moondog’s Bird’s Lament. Throw in a couple of Alice Coltrane classics (including the hypnotic Journey in Satchidananda) and some Cedric Im Brooks and you have a mix made in – well – Saturn, I guess. Remarkably, it all came together: the band were authentically ragged in places, the sound mix was muddy and the graphics primitive but the experience was total. To mix the Specials’ Ghost Town with Ra’s Nuclear War was inspired and Alice Coltrane’s Armageddon managed to be both chilling and celebratory.

Dammers explicitly linked the Sun Ra cosmic sound to the deep jazzy grooves of Jamaican saxophonist Cedric Im Brooks (who always acknowledged his debt to Ra), the Cairo Jazz Band of Salah Rageb (who once dedicated a song to Ra) and Coxone Dodd (whose Studio One sound had Leroy Sibbles’ locked in basslines not a million miles away from the cyclical bass figures of Ronnie Boykin, the Ra bass player). Dammers seemed to have achieved the impossible: bringing all this passionate, deep and spiritual music together into a holistic soup that simply worked.

This wasn’t music for everyone but if you were new to the Sun Ra experience it was as close to the real deal as anyone is likely to get following Ra’s departure back to Saturn in 1993. Ending with – of course – Space is the Place, this was a concert experience that few would forget – even if they tried to. As they walked out of the hall they were met with the horn section who had gone out as they came in and who now put a smile on everyone’s face as they carried on playing more choruses of what is probably now the Sun Ra theme tune – “space is the place, yes space is the place…”

Playlist – 19th March 2009

As promised, tonight’s show featured a special mix of Sun Ra inflenced material – all music either played at the Spatial AKA Orchestra concert at the Barbican or linked to the man from Saturn in some way. Music included Alice Coltrane’s classic Journey in Satchidananda, a track from Jamaica’s Cedric Im Brooks (who consciously acknowledged the influence of Sun Ra on his sound), music from Egypt’s Salah Ragab who played in concert with Sun Ra at the pyramids outside Cairo, Monk’s masterpiece Well You Needn’t (which undoubtedly influenced Jerry Dammers’ arrangement of the Specials’ Ghost Town), a composition by New York street maverick Moondog and finally Sun Ra’s concert anthem Space is the Place.

The rest of the show featured new music from Japan, an extended cut from Lee Morgan’s last recording, three strage little tracks from Word Jazz maestro Ken Nordine and a current iPod favourite from Neil to end the show – Marcos Valle’s summery Escape. Derek’s inclusion of bassist Buster Williams’ tune Fortune Dance prompted Neil to find his vinyl copy of the great album from which this track comes – more in coming weeks!

1. Quasimode feat. Carmen Lundy – Object in the Mirror
2. Grant Green – Blues for Juanita
3. Donald Byrd – Kofi

Sun Ra special mix
4. Alice Coltrane – Journey in Satchidananda
5. Cedric Im Brooks – Silent Force
6. Salah Ragab – Egypt Strut
7. Thelonius Monk – Well You Needn’t
8. Moondog – Bird’s Lament
9. Sun Ra – Where Pathways Meet/Space is the Place

10. Hank Mobley – East of the Village
11. What’s Up? – Vanity
12. Tomasz Stanko – Suspended Variations II
13. Buster Williams – Fortune Dance
14. Ken Nordine – White/Flesh/Azure
15. Lee Morgan – In What Direction Are You Headed?
16. Jafrosax – In the Morning
17. Marcos Valle – Escape

Playlist – 12th March 2009

While Neil is still on re-entry after that sensational Spatial AKA gig at the Barbican on Tuesday, it seemed like time for what turned out to be a more reflective show this week. Derek’s iPod provided the inspiration for the incusion of Wynton Marsalis and Miles Davis, and live Quasimode is always welcome especially with the divine Carmen Lundy on vocals. A track from Tim Collinson’s new CD was a real highlight and we think we have found the inspiration for Common’s beautiful It’s Your World from his inspirational Be album. It’s the little known Nation/African Liberation Arts Ensemble who use the same children’s chorus of “Be what you want to be.”…

Also in the mix tonight was the astounding take on Ain’t Necessarily So from Grant Green, some powerful Michael Brecker on the Impulse label and a close out track from Jazzanova’s new release.

1. Wynton Marsalis – From the Plantation to the Penitentiary
2. Don Pullen – El Matador
3. Nicola Conte – The Nubian Queens
4. Grant Green – Ain’t Necessarily So
5. Quasimode feat. Carmen Lundy- Object in the Mirror (live)
6. Miles Davis – So What
7. Michael Garrick Sextet – Salvation March
8. Chick Corea – Night and Day (live)
9. Nation/African Liberation Arts Ensemble – Children
10. Tim Collinson Quartet – AfroBlue
11. Miles Davis – Mademoiselle Mabry (Miss Mabry)
12. Zakir Hussain – Zakir
13. Michael Brecker – Two Blocks from the Edge
14. Jazzanova – Rocking You Eternally (feat. Leon Ware and Dwele)

Next week, Neil will feature a special Sun Ra inspired mix and there will be new releases from Tim Garland, Nigel Price and the Keith Jarrett Standards Trio.

Playlist – 5th March 2009

Tonight we welcomed Stephen Mynott from the Milestones Jazz club in Lowestoft. Lots of big jazz names have passed through their doors over the years and it was a pleasure to have Stephen with us – together with his great choice of music. This included some old favourites like the Yorkshire group Back Door but also some performers new to us like the late Pete Jacobsen and Simon H Fell, both ex-Suffolk residents.

We all wanted to play tribute to the late and very great Ian Carr – jazz trumpeter, broadcaster and biographer of Miles Davis and Keith Jarrett. We have championed his music since the start of Cosmic Jazz in February 2008 and we shall continue to play the inspiring music of the Ian Carr/Don Rendell Quintet and Britain’s finest jazz-rock group, Nucleus. Three tracks tonight and more in coming weeks.

1. Persephone’s Jive – Neil Ardley, Ian Carr and Don Rendell
2. Jackie McLean- Melody for Melonae
3. Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet – Boy, Dog and Carrot
4. Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet – Shades of Blue
5. Peter Jacobsen – Microcosmo 1/Microcosmo 2/Microcosmo 3
4.Kahil El’Zabar’s Ritual Trio – Save Your Love for Me
5. Back Door – Vienna Breakdown
6. Barcode Trio – Meercat
7. Jerry Reed – Sittin’ on Top of the World
8. Salah Ragab and the Cairo Jazz Band – Neveen
9. Mark Murphy – We’ll Be Together Again
10. Beat Out Shrine – Pinkie
12. Tim Collinson – Magic Number
13. Sun Ra – I Could Have Danced All Night
14. Nation of Multiverse – African Village
15. Simon H. Fell – Part II
16. J Dilla – Over the Breaks/Simon H Fell (unknown)/Ornette Coleman – Lonely Woman
17. Patrick Naylor’s Sound Dial – Good Air

Neil is off to see Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA at the Barbican on Tuesday in a tribute to Sun Ra – watch out for a review soon.

Cosmic Jazz Festival News!

The first of the year’s big festivals kick off next month with the Gateshead International Jazz Festival from 20-22 March. It may be just a long weekend but organisers have packed in some big names – Courtney Pine, Guy Barker, Joshua Redman and an ECM double bill with Nik Bartsch’s Ronin and the Marcin Wasilewski Trio.

Neil from Cosmic Jazz went along last year and saw Robert Glasper’s amazing hip hop influenced trio – and got a chance to catch up with him afterwards. The new Sage Centre is a dramatic venue and if you’re not local to the north east you can have a look at what the Tyneside regeneration has done for the whole of this dramatic riverside area.

For more information, tickets and full listings call 0191 4334661 or check out the website at

For more great jazz try the Cheltenham Festival which this year is between 28 April and 04 May. New names are still being added, with latest recruits being clarinettist Don Byron and guitarist Pat Martino. Already confirmed are Jack deJohnette (see our feature article on this great drummer), Dave Liebman and two of our favourite trumpeters – Dave Douglas and Arve Henriksen. British artists at Cheltenham include Julian Arguelles, the Robert Mitchell 3io, and last year’s Mercury Music Prize nominees the Portico Quartet. Cheltenham uses a wide range of venues arond the town and there’s a great atmosphere across the whole week.

For more information, tickets and full listings go to the Festival website at

Listen to all these artists on Cosmic Jazz over the next couple of months.

Playlist – 26th February 2009

More great jazz tonight on the show kicking off with an amazing Sun Ra track from 1958. This music sounds 30 or more years ahead of its time. No one was making this kind of music then – and they’re still trying to catch up. We mixed this in with a track from the Heliocentrics first CD released in 2007 and a little touch of Brazil from Offworld – a suitable namecheck for DJ Smoothgroove’s great show on ICR – 6 -8 pm every Thursday.

We also played tribute to altoist Hank Crawford who died last week, wigged out with some deep jazz from Coltrane acolyte David S Ware and played some retro Japanese sounds from What’s Up? before ending with a jazz dance combination of Corky McClerkin and Jazzanova. Apologies to all listeners at the end of the show who after a couple of minutes of Mwele, Mwele heard just silence. A CD error was the problem – we’ll not be playing that track again.

1. Offworld – Black Magic Power Ride (Roc Hunter edit)/Sun Ra – Ancient Aethiopia/Heliocentrics – Sirius B
2. Horace Silver – The Jody Grind
3. Hank Crawford – Mr Blues
4. Max Roach – St Louis Blues
5. Hugh Masekela – Part of the Whole
6. Peter King – African Dialect
7. Lee Morgan – Capra Black
8. What’s Up? – Get into Trouble
9. David S Ware – Aquarian Sound
10. Miles Davis – All Blues
11. Don Pullen – Ah George, We Hardly Knew Ya
12. Indigo Jam Unit – Dooinit
13. Stacey Epps – Floatin
14. Corky McClerkin – Searchin’ for the Soul
15. Jazzanova – Mwele, Mwele (Here I Am) (Bugz in the Attic remix)

Next week look out for a tribute to trumpeter and jazz writer Ian Carr, who sadly died on 25 February, along with more classic Blue Note and Black Saint reissues together with the music choices of Stephen Mynott of Milestones Jazz Club.

Cosmic Jazz on Ipswich Online Radio