Tag Archives: Charles Lloyd

10 February 2016: Norway and more

This week’s Cosmic Jazz show, easily available via the MixCloud tab on this page, has three tunes to demonstrate the variety of contemporary jazz available from Norway.

shela simmenesThe prompt came from Sheila Simmenes, who fronts the Love Extra Orchestra, and who contacted CJ. The band has a jazz core but Sheila herself has an interest in reggae and Brazilian music too – much in keeping with the Cosmic Jazz presenters! Sheila has worked in Brazil and with Brazilian musicians. I played the current single Darling, It’s Over, with a breathy vsheila simmenes darling its overocal that seductively draws you in to listen before giving space for the band to feature too. Watch out for the new single Don’t Get Me Wrong coming out in March and find out more about the band here. We shall be featuring more from Sheila and her different musical projects in future shows.

Staying Norwegian, there was another tune from Bugge Wesseltoft. bugge wesseltoft and friendsAll the tunes on the recent album Bugge and Friends have an It in the title – this week it was Faz It. Wesseltoft intersects the worlds of jazz and electronica with ease, creating memorable melodies that spinout from programmed backgrounds. Check out this track from his collaboration with computer whiz, producer and remixer Henrik Schwartz. The final tune from Norway came from old friends of the programme Lucky NovakThis band is based in Oslo but has a British musician, alto player Tim Lowerson included in the bugge wesseltoft henrik schwartzband. They are original, experimental and unpredictable,  A case of art school meets jazz? The tune I played this week – Kul’an – was by their standards quite conventional; it’s simply a beautiful piece of music. Check them out on this video – they look and sound like they just love playing.

I returned to Gregory Porter’s first album Water, where he sings and the musicians seem to play with greater freedom than on his later Blue Note albums. It was in respect and memory of Cheryl – a good friend of this programme – who once set up a memorable interview we held with him in which Porter – then just starting to become well known – answered our questions with interest, energy and grace.

st germainSt. Germain sounded a good prelude to the Bugge tune. Both are jazz inspired musicians using a blend of modern and traditional sounds and instruments. In St. Germain’s case it’s the blues of Lightnin’ Hopkins (here from the song You Caused My Heart to Weep), merged with traditional Malian kora sounds from Mamadou Cherif Soumano and behind it all the programming of Ludovic Navarre, the Parisian who is St Germain. You can hear Soumano on kora here playing live in a trio with bass and soprano saxophone. This is a beautiful musical combination that works.

The Polish contribution this week came from Vehemence black fire new spirtQuartet (love the name!) who provided a fierce and forthright opening to the programme. There was also another tune from Nat Birchall’s stunning Invocations album and the show ended with a fiery contribution from Archie Shepp and Jeanne Lee blending blues and gospel sounds. This is the title track from a 1969 BYG album which will be difficult to find so check out the excellent Soul Jazz double CD compilation where you will find this tune and more great music from Don Cherry, Yusef Lateef, Richard Davis (the excellent track Dealin’) and many more.

  1. Vehemence Quartet – Gabry’s from Anomalia
  2. Gregory Porter – Black Nile from Water
  3. St. Germain – Real Blues from St. Germain
  4. Bugge Wesseltoft – Faz It from Bugge & Friends
  5. Love Extra Orchestra – Darling, It’s Over from single release
  6. Lucky Novak – Kul’an from Up! Go!
  7. Nat Birchall – To Be from Invocations
  8. Archie Shepp & Jeanne Lee – Blase from New Spirits: Radical and Revolutionary Jazz in the USA 1957-82

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charles lloydFinally, it won’t have escaped regular listeners that here at CJ we are bonafide paid up members of the Charles Lloyd Appreciation Society. With a new band and a new album out this month, it seems appropriate to give listeners a chance to hear and see Lloyd performing this new direction live at NYC’s Lincoln Centre just two weeks ago. Charles Lloyd and the Marvels now features Bill Frisell on guitar and Greg Leisz on lap and pedal steel.  The album – out on Blue Note – is called I Long To See You.  Be prepared – the music really is rather different!

09 December 2015: best of 2015 part 1

st germainThis week I needed to start the programme with a tune from an album that is not a jazz record but is one that I love and cannot stop playing. Sure, there are elements of jazz in the record but there is also electronic programming and, most importantly, the sounds of Senegal and Mali flowing throughout the recording. I am talking of the 2015 release of Ludovic Navarre better known as St. Germain and St. Germain is the title of this new record. It is truly rooted in the eclectic spirit of Cosmic Jazz; I am sure any of our followers and listeners will love it – essential. For a different take on the first single released from the album, try this Atjazz remix of Real Blues.

The UK magazine Jazzwise has published its Albums of the Year 2015the epic4 in the December 2015/January 2016 edition. I played four tunes from albums that appear in that list and which we have featured this year. Top of the Jazzwise list and probably high on any jazz lovers list for 2015 was Kamasi Washington’s triple CD The Epic. I chose the opening track from CD1 which exemplifies the mix of large orchestral sounds with spiritual, choral voices that is a distinctive feature of the album. Ironically, it hasn’t featured at all in Grammy nominations which have just been announced. Washington was one of the stars of two sell out shows at the London Jazz festival this year – for a taste of the festival listen to this podcast.

I was delighted to see a favourite record of mine, Ahmad Jamal’s Live in Marciac at No. 6= in the chart. I have said, played and written so much about this record that I will not add more. The same goescharles lloyd for Charles Lloyd whose Wild Man Dance is at 4=. Finally, to complete my quartet of tunes and to make a neat combination of two from long-established jazz greats and two from young artists who should be around for years to come, I played Cecile McLorin Salvant who is at 6= alongside Ahmad Jamal. She has the ability through her vocal delivery to make a familiar song sound fresh, unique and original in its presentation and is backed by top-rate musicians. The record has been a surprise and a delight to me.

This edition of Jazzwise has published a Top 20 list of new releases and a Top 20 list of reissues. There are many more great albums on these lists and we’ll be featuring more in future shows. Buy the magazine to find out more and check out articles – including one on Kamasi Washington. A conversation at the end of last week with someone who has played music with saxophonist Steve Williamson persuaded me to play a tune from Black Top which features Steve Williamson alongside Orphy Robinson and Pat Thomas. Watch them on our video below. Here they play at the Jazz in the Round shows at the Cockpit Theatre, London. Finally, to continue our mission to feature Polish jazz musicians the show ended with a piece from the wonderful, flowing pianist Michal Wroblewski.

  1. St. Germain – Family Tree from St. Germain
  2. Kamasi Washington – Changing of the Guard from The Epic
  3. Ahmad Jamal – Sunday Afternoon from Live in Marciac
  4. Charles Lloyd – Flying Over the Odra from Wild Man Dance
  5. Cecile McLorin Salvant – The Trolley Song from For One to Love
  6.  Black Top – Nubian Archaic Step Dub from #One
  7. Michal Wroblewski – Warsaw Blues from City Album

24 November 2015: jazz icons live

This week’s CJ featured only four selections – but what powerful performances they were! We began with John Coltrane performing live at Temple University in 1966 from a recording that john coltrane offeringfinally emerged last year on Impulse! Records. The saxophonist was relentlessly exploring his music during the last the last two years of his life, frequently deploying extra musicians in expanded groupings. On this night in Philadelphia, he had some additional musicians on stage – a couple of extra saxophone players he knew from the area as well as Umar Ali, Algie DeWitt, and Robert Kenyatta on percussion. But they don’t really intrude into the the performance – Coltrane himself is at the heart of it (there was, after all, only one microphone recording all of this) and the performance is full of explosive atonal blowing – as you can hear on the 26 minutes of Crescent.

As the excellent Pitchfork review attests, ‘trane’s playing is unbearably intense, the brittle shrieking egged on by someone yelling “Hey!” in the background. Melody and harmony are sacrificed at the altar of texture and feeling, anger and joy bleed into sadness. Once in a while you can hear a cowbell in the background, and you get a glimpse of what it might have been like to be here on this night. “

Next up was Miles Davis, perhaps the most iconic of all jazz artists and another restlessly exploring musician. Coltrane didn’t embrace the growth of electric music in jazz in the way that his one time boss did – the intensity of his playing didn’t need any additions. But by the time of this second live track in 1970, Miles was fully electric,bitches brew live playing his trumpet through a wah wah pedal and using two electric keyboards on stage. This performance is from the Isle of Wight Festival where Davis shared the bill with such artists as Chicago, Joni Mitchell, the Doors, Sly and the Family Stone and Jimi Hendrix. This was exactly the audience Miles wanted to bring his new music to and this was to be the biggest audience (600,000 people) ever played to by a jazz artist. The first ten minutes of the continuous set is a version of Bitches Brew, released the previous year as as a double vinyl album.

CJ next played Charles Lloyd whose 1966-68 quartet featured Keith Jarrett on piano, who was earlier heard wreaking havoc on a Fender electric organ with Miles Davis. But this 2007 band is altogether different. Lloyd is very much the elder statesman here leading his rabo de nubeyoung band through a set of mostly Lloyd originals at a Basel concert. Here on CJ we come back to this recording time and again – why? It’s probably the centrepiece of Lloyd’s many recordings for the ECM label and a great place to begin to investigate his music. He had recorded several albums for the German label by time this one was released in 2008 and here he invests several earlier tracks with a new spirit thanks to a superb band. High school classmates Eric Harland on drums and Jason Moran on piano are joined by Reuben Rogers on bass and each pushes their leader to new heights of improvisation. Start with Rabo de Nube and you’ll want to experience all of Lloyd’s work with this astonishing quartet.

The final track in this very special show came from an artist that Miles Davis had huge respect for. Ahmad Jamal, now , is here jamal marciacrecorded last year at the Marciac festival in France. Another elder leader invigorated by a young band featuring bassist Reginald Veal,  percussionist Manolo Badrena and drummer Herlin Riley, this live show (available with a DVD) captures warmth and good nature of a band who know how to work around Jamal’s quirky take on both standards and originals. Check out our video below which shows Jamal revisiting his Poinciana original in Paris in 2012 with this same quartet.

  1. John Coltrane – Crescent from Offering: live at Temple University
  2. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew from Bitches Brew Live
  3. Charles Lloyd – Migration of Spirit from Rabo de Nube
  4. Ahmad Jamal – Sunday Afternoon from Live in Marciac

Playlist – 23 September 2015: Charles Lloyd and more

More new jazz from Scandinavia on tonight’s show along with a touch of afrobeat influenced jazz and another Cosmic Jazz essential track.

This week’s CJ essential is the most played Charles Lloyd track on the
imagesshow. We’ve featured it many times since its release in 2008 and we’ll continue to – it’s that good. For us, the standout track is Booker’s Garden, Lloyd’s tribute to his childhood friend and classmate, the trumpeter Booker Little who died tragically young at the age of 23. Little was a player who straddled the hard bop and free jazz worlds not unlike Lloyd – he appeared on Coltrane’s Africa/Brass, Max Roach’s We Insist! Freedom Now and Eric Dolphy’s Five Spot club albums, for example.

Rabo de Nube was recorded in Basel during the band’s European tour in 2007 and with the best incarnation of Lloyd’s groups on the ECM label. The first key element is pianist Jason Moran whose very physical, percussive style with style is all over this music. There’s the hard-blowing Prometheus, on which Lloyd and Moran are pushed towards free jazz by Eric Harland’s exceptional drumming. Sweet Georgia Bright has been recorded by Lloyd several times but never like this. Here it showcases Lloyd’s powerful tenor playing whereas our featured cut Booker’s Garden is a workout for some beautifully lyrical alto flute. But partway through, the groove deepens and in comes Moran with a breathtaking piano solo – you can actually feel him making decisions about where to go.  But this isn’t to forget the contribution from bassist Rueben Rogers and drummer Harland who hold the whole together with a pulsating backbeat. Listen to the track on Rabo de Nube if you can but if not, check out this different but similarly powerful version recorded in 2011. Here’s the groove cuts in at 8:00 and although the whole track is both more restrained and reflective (and incomplete) than the recorded version there’s still a tangible energy. The four remaining long tracks on the album are all equally good, with the title track a version of Cuban balladeer Silvio Rodriguez’s famous song . Fore more remarkable interplay between Lloyd and his quartet listen to Ramanujun – or, indeed any of the other cuts on this outstanding album.

It appears that – like many jazz artists who have earned their bus passes – Lloyd’s sense of adventure is greater than ever and, as he nears his eighth decade, he shows no signs of slowing down. He was a highlight at the 2014 London Jazz Festival and this year he played the WOMAD Festival here in the UK. Catch him if you can.

We have featured Kamasi Washington since the release of his first
the epic4album, the 3CD monster The Epic, and in May we provided a link to the launch concert in Los Angeles. Washington plays at this year’s London Jazz Festival in November but the gig is already sold out – so for a two hour taste of what you’ll be missing, here’s that Jazz Night in America show from earlier this year.

  1. Jachna and Buhl – Miles Space from Synthomatic
  2. John Lumpkin – The Conqueror from The Devotion
  3. Joanna Koncharczy – More from More
  4. Stockholm Jazz Orchestra – The Oracle  from Today
  5. Charles Lloyd – Booker’s Garden from Rabo de Nube
  6. Kamil Pitrowicz Quintet – Birth from Birth
  7. Jimi Tenor and Tony Allen – Three Continents from Inspiration Information

Playlist – 02 September 2015

This week Cosmic Jazz  on The MixCloud tab has its usual eclectic mix of jazz old and new from Poland, Belgium, Norway, the USA and Cuba.

  1. Marek Mahnowski – Alone from Alone
  2. Jelle Van Giel Group – The Truth from Song For Everyone
  3. Bugge Wesseltoft – Play It from Bugge and Friends
  4. Dayme Arocena – Don’t Unplug My Body from Nueva Era
  5. Janet Lawson Quintet – You Promised from Janet Lawson Quintet
  6. Kamasi Washington – The Next Step from The Epic
  7. Charles Lloyd – Bird Flight from Dream Weaver

Playlist – 24 June 2015: music for mind, body and spirit

There had to be music from Ornette Coleman this week. The two tunes played were both recorded in 1959, a year in which he helped to create a jazz revolution. Ramblin’ (featuring ‘that’ bass coda from Charlie Haden) was not released until 1960. There is no need to add more about Ornette – just read the excellent post from Neil below this playlist here on the Cosmic Jazz site. There is, however, an amazing YouTube clip below of Ornette playing Dancing In Your Head on saxophone, violin and trumpet with his band Prime Time.

There was more fine East European jazz available from Steve’s Jazz Sounds. Slovakian pianist Pavel Morochovic has produced a strong, at times quirky and highly recommended album The Awakening. The spoken word at the end of Vicious Circle, the tune I played, comes as quite a surprise but a fascinating one. Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, accompanied on his current album Polin by Ravi Coltrane, should require no introduction to Cosmic Jazz listeners. RGG are a little different. A chamber jazz trio with each member having equal status, according to their record label they play music “dedicated to the recipient of the active intellect” and listening to their music requires you to “dedicate your full attention”. I can see what they mean – but judge for yourself.

We are still playing tunes from the Charles Lloyd Blue Note album Wild Man Dance. Charles Lloyd is one of the artists who is always appearing on our playlists. I find with all his music that even if the first notes don’t grab your attention you will soon find yourself being drawn in through mind, body and soul.

Towards the end of the show things got more up-tempo, beginning with one of the better tunes on the Spiritual Jazz 6 compilation from Byron Morris. There was a nod to the jazz dance floor from the Japanese band United Future Organisation and the show ended with some strong words and emotions from Carmen Lundy – another ever-present on Cosmic Jazz. If you do not know her work, you need to check it out.

  1. Pavel Morochovic Trio – Vicious Circle from Awakening
  2. Ornette Coleman – Congeniality from The Shape of Jazz to Come
  3. Ornette Coleman – Ramblin’ from Change of the Century
  4. Charles Lloyd – Lark from Wild Man Dance
  5. RGG – Crucem Tuam from Aura
  6. Tomasz Stanko (feat. Ravi Coltrane) Gela from Polin
  7. Byron Morris and Unity – Sunshower from Spiritual Jazz 6
  8. UFO – Loud Minority from Jazzin’ 91-92
  9. Carmen Lundy – Kindred Spirits from Soul to Soul

Playlist – 20 May 2015: the world of jazz

Click the MixCloud button this week to catch some great tunes from the past, some contemporary Polish jazz, a trip to Brazil via Japan and the latest from Charles Lloyd.

The Pharaohs is one of the tunes that came up on my iPod this week which prompted selection for the show. It is one of those great up-tempo vocal tunes that cross over from soul to jazz and back again with a touch of gospel along the way.  Another classic piece came from Jimmy Heath who got a full airing this week after being cut short because of time in the last show.

Contemporary Polish jazz came from drummer Piotr Budniak and his Essential Group whose album provides ‘simple stories about hope and worries’, Serious philosophical stuff and great music too! There was also a tune from pianist Prezmek Raminiak and the jazz fusion ensemble Moon Hoax.

Brazil was represented by Milton Nascimento and a tune he wrote Cravo e Canelo (cloves and cinnamon). There are some other excellent interpretations of this tune including one on the first Friends From Rio  album. A highlight of the show, however, was a Brazilian tune recorded at Sony Japan in 1974 with a Brazilian singer Sonia Rosa and a Japanese bandleader Yuja Ohno. It was available only to those who bought a Sony stereo at the sales fair in Tokyo in 1974. It is a perfect Brazilian dancefloor jazz extended piece that left me wondering why it has taken me so long to  pick up on it.

Finally, another highlight from the latest album by Charles Lloyd who is now signed to Blue Note. It is a live recording from the Jazztopad Festival Wroclaw Poland. This week’s YouTube clip is of Wild Man Dance, the title tune of this album.

  1. The Pharaohs – FreedomTime  from Freedom Rhythm and Sound
  2. Jimmy Heath – Hands Up! Feet Down! from The Gap Sealer
  3. Przemek Raminiak – The Locomotive from The Locomotive
  4. Piotr Budniak Essential Group – Wyplata Po Terminie from Simple Stories about Hope and Worries
  5. Moon Hoax – Moon Hoax from Moon Hoax
  6. Milton Nascimento – Cravo e Canela from Milton
  7. Sonia Rosa and Yuja Ohno – Casa Forte from Brazilian Beats 4
  8. Charles Lloyd – Flying Over the Odra Valley from Wild Man Dance

Playlist – 22 April 2015: jazz/not jazz?

What is jazz? As with so many kinds of music, definitions are often fruitless. We prefer to think of a jazz sensibility – the way that jazz has always taken inspiration from the music around it. Tonight’s show features some of those influences and our video this week takes this to the next stage…

brasil bam bam bassWe began with the invocation that opens rapper Guru’s Jazzamataz recording and whilst we heard no further direct links between rap and jazz on the show, the influence of remix culture, Brian Eno and David Bowie’s Berlin phase, drum and bass, hip hop drumming, Brazilian rhythms, oriental modes, orchestral sounds, Greek folk music and West coast rock. It’s all here in this week’s Cosmic Jazz.

  1. Guru – Introduction from Jazzamataz Vol 1
  2. David Bowie – Subterraneans from Low
  3. Dylan Howe – Subterraneans from Subterranean: New Designs on Bowie’s Berlin
  4. Melanie De Biasio – The Flow (Hex remix) from No Deal Remixed
  5. Yusef Lateef – Plum Blossom (rework) from Brasil Bam Bam Bass
  6. Sonzeira – The Mystery of Man (4Hero remix) from Brasil Bam Bam Bass
  7. Charles Lloyd – Flying Over the Odra Valley from Wild Man Dance
  8. The New Jazz Orchestra – Dusk Fire from Le Dejouner Sur L’herbe
  9. Ed Motta – 1978 from AOR
  10. Quincy Jones – The Twitch from Quintessence
  11. Hadley Caliman – Cigar Eddie from Hadley Caliman

Video this week comes from Australian trio The Necks. Their recentthe-necks-open-cover_1 London appearance at the Village Underground in Shoreditch was one of the most exciting concerts I’ve ever attended. That may sound like a contradiction in terms when I add that their trademark sound is a long form minimalist melting pot of shimmering percussion, dark bass drones and endless ostinato piano figures.
About 20 minutes in (and still on the first piece) the music was literally breathtaking: from my edge of the stage vantage point I found myself having to consciously breathe, such was the hypnotic force generated by the extraordinary sounds from this piano, bass and drums trio. The music is simultaneously loud and quiet, soft and hard, intense and tranquil. The only way is to understand these apparent contradictions is to listen for yourself – preferably live and from the front row!

Playlist – 11 February 2015: music on my iPod

I returned this week from three weeks on the wonderful island of Grenada in the Caribbean. I heard lots of reggae and soca but the jazz I heard was limited to my iPod. So, the choices for this week’s show included some of the tunes that caught my attention as well as a nod to the Caribbean, to Neil and to some live music I missed while away. If you want to hear this week’s selection, just press the Mixcloud tab. You’ll not be disappointed.

I missed both Matthew Halsall and Mammal Hands both at a local venue and on tour – but I heard from a son who saw the Sheffield performance that it was amazing. Online reviews seem to be giving the same message. What more can you say?

4PAN1TSPBThe Theo Parrish Black Jazz Records compilation was probably the highlight of the music that appeared on my iPod. I don’t know how to tell you enough that this is a wonderful must-have record. It’s widely available so go out and buy a copy for yourself. Some Cosmic Jazz favourites appeared on the show this week too, namely Esperanza Spalding, Zara McFarlane, Carmen Lundy and Gregory Porter – who was also on British television again this week.

The Charles Lloyd choice was for Neil who persuaded me that I needed to listen to his music, after which I wondered why it had taken me me so long. What a line-up there was for this record! Charles Lloyd, Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee and Jack DeJohnette. Wow!

Ernest Ranglin was my Caribbean link. The title track Below The below the basslineBassline from the album of the same name was released on what Island called their Jamaica Jazz label and the presence of Monty Alexander on piano and melodica is evidence enough of its jazz credentials. Many Jamaican musicians of that era, including Ernest Ranglin himself, grew up immersed in jazz sounds and learnt to play through jazz groups. At the beginning of the tune Ira Coleman’s bass seemed to disturb the IO Radio speakers but it was soon sorted. A bass-heavy, jazzy, reggae tune and a beautifully recorded, understated album that is required listening.

  1. The Awakening – Jupiter from Theo Parrish’s Black Jazz Signature
  2. Esperanza Spalding – Radio Song from Radio Music Society
  3. Matthew Halsall and the Gondwana Orchestra – Falling Water from When the World Was One
  4. Mammal Hands –  Tiny Crumb from Animalia
  5. Zara McFarlane – Woman In The Olive Groves from If You Knew Her
  6. Ernest Ranglin – Below The Bassline from Below the Bassline
  7. The Charles Lloyd Quartet – Bird Flight from Dream Weaver
  8. Carmen Lundy – When Will They Ever Learn from Soul to Soul
  9. Gregory Porter – Hey Laura from Liquid Spirit

Playlist – 08 January 2014 Best of 2013 (part one)

Belatedly, it’s time for Cosmic Jazz’s roundup of the best of 2013, listen here on Mixcloud. Later will be a more detailed post on CJ’s favourites of the year coming up, but here’s the first part of our highlights of the year. We feature nine of the best – a selection of new releases and reissues. Horace Silver’s wonderful Gods of the Yoruba track comes from a 2013 Japanese only reissue of one of Silver’s last releases and features a blistering tenor sax solo from Larry Schneider.

By the way, there’s an odd one out in this week’s list – Max Rocci’s Greenleaf Street is actually from an excellent 2011 compilation release but it just snuck in… There will be more great new music in next week’s show.

  1. Derrick Hodge – Live Today (feat. Common) from Live Today
  2. Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran – God Only Knows from Hagar’s Song
  3. Mark de Clive Lowe and the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra – Money (Don’t Let It Catch Ya)  from Take the Space Train
  4. Dave Holland’s Prism – The Empty Chair (for Clare) from Prism
  5. Kenny Garrett – Chucho’s Mambo from Pushing the World Away
  6. Goran Kajfes Subtropic Arkestra – Okwukwe Na Nchekwube from The Reason Why Vol. 1
  7. Max Rocci – Greenleaf Street from Italo Funk Experience
  8. Mahavishnu Orchestra – One Word (live) from Complete Columbia Albums Collection
  9. Horace Silver – Gods of the Yoruba from Silver ‘n’ Percussion