This was a solo show from Derek, with some help from Jacob. There were two themes to the show tonight. Firstly, tracks from jazz CD compilations including A Sense of Direction, African Spirits and the CD that comes with the current December/January edition of Jazzwise – The Yamaha New Jazz Sessions. I have only just received my copy, but from the first few samples that I have heard, I can tell you that it is definitely worth the cost of Jazzwise. I played the Gwilym Simcock tune A Typical Affair that mixes intricate piano with strong drumming – reminiscent of EST [Yes – adds Neil – a great track and a great example of the best of the new British jazz]. There was a brief introduction, also, to the long track by the Julian Joseph Trio at the end of the show.
The second feature was an intense five track extended feature on Japanese jazz. The brief for Jacob was to find me five tunes that he liked at the moment, but they still included some old favourites. The beginning of the mix was slower in tempo than we have come to associate with the genre, but by the end things were up tempo and hot. Japanese jazz as we have come to know and love it. Good, though, to have that time for calmer reflection at the start.
Tune in next week (4 December) for our Blue Note record exchange special with Alan Bramwell, who is currently presenting a series of programmes on ICR between 17.00 – 18.00 hrs on Monday nights. This series covers the story of Blue Note to celebrate the label’s 70th birthday. On 11 December we celebrate another 70th birthday – that of the pianist and jazz legend McCoy Tyner – which happens to be on that very day!!!
1. Sathima B. Benjamin – Africa
2. Michael White – Blessing Song
3. Grant Green – Ain’t it Funky Now
4. Brecker Brothers – Jacknife
5. Don Byron – “Auf einer Burg”
6. Gwilym Simcock – A Typical Affair
7. Soil & “Pimp” Sessions – Hahen
8. Quasimode – Raw Cotton Field (Live at Liquidroom)
9. Fumio Itabashi – Symphonic Poem “Watarase” with Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra feat. Yuki Kaneko
10. Sleep Walker – Kaze
11. What’s Up? – Telemundo
12. Abram Wilson – Pedal Herlin
13. Sabrina Malheiros – Terra De Ninguem
14. Cocoa Tea – Barack Obama
15. Azar Lawrence – Theme for a New Day
16. Julian Joseph Trio – The Reverend Back Home to Glory
Neil adds: Look out for our best of 2008 Christmas party show broadcast on Christmas Day with a bonus of more great music from 2008 on our New Year’s Day show. What were the best new releases and reissues you heard this year? Use the comment feature on the blog to let us know – then listen in and compare!
Sleep Walker returned to the Jazz Café on Sunday with a blistering set. Although a classic quartet lineup, their music is a loud, colourful synthesis of the best of soul jazz and Pharoah Sanders style spiritual vibes. There’s no samples and no electronic wizardry – just extended grooves that feature the soprano and tenor of Masato Nakamura and Hajime Yoshizawa on acoustic piano. Playing here to a largely young – and Japanese – audience they made club jazz deeply funky again.Live, Nakamura took on more of the sound of his obvious idol Pharoah Sanders with lots of overblowing on tenor and long, sinuous improvised lines on soprano. On record a tune like Brotherhood is more relaxed with trumpet and flute solos – here it was stripped down into a powerful remix that really worked.
Yoshizawa stretched out too, and on the Steinway grand at the Jazz Café (rather than the Fender Rhodes of their earlier Paris show at the Batofar) he created lyrical figures that gradually built into great grooves recalling the extended piano work on another one of Sleep Walker’s stand out tracks on CD, Eclipse.
Drummer Nobuaki Fujii was a revelation. His convincing rock style applied to a jazz sensibility allowed him to move effortlessly from straight 4/4 bombast into a swinging 3/4 jazz waltz – great solos too.
No vocalist at this set but – for me – this only tightened up their sound, allowing them to avoid obvious soul jazz clichés and create a new and deeper sound that was truly convincing. No ballads either and so no let up on the deep grooves. This focus on just one aspect of their music only made a more convincing case for Sleep Walker as one of the best of the current Japanese jazz groups.
For an idea of Sleep Walker’s power live, check out the Youtube clip on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood blog. Visuals and sound are poor but the energy comes across well.
Photos from the Jazz Café show below:
The usual range of jazz-inspired music but with a focus on some great new releases including Hajime Yoshizawa and Nightmares on Wax. Our music this week ranged from Lee Morgan to Monday Michiru, from Donald Byrd to Tony Allen and a couple of club jazz favourites – Canyon Lady and Loud Minority.
1. Cannonball Adderley – Soul Zodiac
2. Bullion – Get Familiar
3. Nightmares on Wax – Bringin’ It
4. UFO – Loud Minority
5. Joe Henderson – Canyon Lady
6. Hajime Yoshizawa – Open Door
7. McCoy Tyner – Message from the Nile
8. Horace Parlan – Home is Africa
9. Ernie Watts – Spirit Song
10. Lee Morgan – Exotique
11. Samuel Yurgo Mitiku – Ambassel in Box
12. Kira Nevis – Un Ete Sans Fin
13. Monday Michiru – A Calmaria
14. Hajime Yoshizawa – Time
15. Donald Byrd – The Emperor
16. Russell Gunn – Del Rio (aka Anita)
17. Lisa Shaw – All Night High
18. Tony Allen – Isle Nla