This week’s CJ is now available for you to listen to – just click on the tab left – or above on your mobile or tablet. The show featured music from Leandro (Gato) Barbieri and Miles Davis, who features in a new film out in the UK later this month. Barbieri, who died last week, was an Argentinian tenor saxophonist with a raw, fiery tone that was unmistakeable. We began with Oliver Nelson whose live Montreux date from 1971 featured Barbieri on the expansive Swiss Suite before diving into one of Barbieri’s Impulse! releases. The album Chapter Three: Viva Emiliano Zapata is a personal favourite and features superb arrangements by Cuban Chico O’Farrill. We chose El Sublime which does everything you could ask for in six minutes. If there’s one album to start your Barbieri journey, this could be the one. As we said on the show, it’s probably best to avoid some of the later ‘easier listening’ music – you’ll just wonder what all the fuss is about. We ended our tribute to Barbieri with another great track – this time his version of the Jorge Ben tune Maria Domingas from the album Under Fire (1971). And what a band – Lonnie Liston Smith is on piano and keyboards, John Abercrombie on guitar, Stanley Clarke on bass and Roy Haynes on drums. For a taste of the original, try this lovely (but extremely crackly) version from Brazilian TV in 1971. Jorge Ben’s backing band here is Trio Mocoto, who had a recent renaissance with their album Samba Rock – named after the style they pioneered in the 1970s and highly recommended by CJ. Listen to Mocoto Beat here.
We explored other music with jazz influences in the final part of this week’s show – starting with a brief tribute to Phife Dawg, late rapper with the influential A Tribe Called Quest. Butter samples Weather Report’s River People and is testimony to the dizzying quality of his rapping. Almost uniquely, ATCQ told lyrical stories – and never better than on this downtempo classic album The Low End Theory.
Our second feature this week celebrated the upcoming UK release (on 22 April) of actor/director Don Cheadle’s film Miles Ahead. This crowdfunded production has already received a lot of airtime – some of it controversial. Don Cheadle acknowledged, for example, that the film wouldn’t have been made unless there had been a white co-star involved – and so in came Ewan McGregor, playing a fictitious journalist investigating the disappearance of some studio tapes. You can watch the official trailer here. We began with a clip from the film soundtrack and followed it with one of the original tracks from the soundtrack album – Junior’s Jam which features pianist Robert Glasper, the musical director of this project. Don’t turn to this new release for an introduction to the music of Miles: only two of the original tracks are unedited (Frelon Brun and So What) but consider it a momento of the film. However, it’s worth noting that the film (and this soundtrack) don’t shy away from Davis’ More ‘difficult’ music – it’s endlessly frustrating to hear TV or radio features on the film that concentrate on A Kind of Blue only. Miles was so much more than this – and we’ll continue to feature the range of his music in upcoming CJ shows. Miles Davis remains not merely an icon of 20th century music but one of the greatest musical innovators of all time.
The new Blue Note release from GoGo Penguin has some excellent tracks – we featured one of the standout tracks, Smarra. Count Ossie is a Jamaican musical maven whose range of influences cover reggae, afrobeat, jazz and more. His excellent album Tales of Mozambique has just been re-released on the excellent Soul Jazz label – check it out if you can. 23 Skidoo seem to have been forgotten, but they were an influential British band active between 1979-2002 who still sound relevant today. Their most jazz-influenced release is the self-titled 23 Skidoo album from 2000 which features Pharoah Sanders on two tracks including Kendang.
We ended this week’s show with more conventional jazz from British saxophonist Tony Kofi – whose 2005 Thelonious Monk tribute All is Know is outstanding – and a last brief look at Miles Davis. There will be more next week…
Oliver Nelson – Swiss Suite from Swiss Suite
Gato Barbieri – El Sublime from Chapter Three: Viva Emiliano Zapata
Gato Barbieri – Maria Domingas from Under Fire
A Tribe Called Quest – Butter from Low End Theory
Don Cheadle as Miles Davis – Dialogue 1 from Miles Ahead Soundtrack
Robert Glasper et al – Junior’s Jam from Miles Ahead Soundtrack
Don Cheadle as Miles Davis – Dialogue 2 from Miles Ahead Soundtrack
Miles Davis – Back Seat Betty from Miles Ahead Soundtrack
GoGo Penguin – Smarra from Man Made Object
Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari – Nigerian Reggae from Tales of Mozambique
23 Skidoo – Kendang (feat. Pharoah Sanders) from 23 Skidoo
This week’s CJ features jazz old and new together with music from New Zealand, France and Brazil. To listen again, just click that left hand tab. The dramatic opening from Santana’s most openly jazz-influenced album Caravanserai started the show before we dipped into two tracks with the same bass riff – the first from Nat and Cannonball Adderley and the second from soul singer Donny Hathaway. The latter came from Hathaway’s epic live album – a real treasure of a record. There’s almost no video footage of Hathaway’s magnetic live performances but here he is with a fragment of The Ghetto. The quality is dire but to hear more of either his live performances at The Bitter End club in Manhattan or at the Troubadour in Hollywood look out for These Songs for You, Live! – a compilation of both performances together with Valdez in the Country from Hathaway’s appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1973. Fender Rhodes magic throughout. Both these opening tracks present a deep jazz groove – but then, so did most of the tracks on this week’s show.
Hammond hero Dr Lonnie Smith has a new (and well reviewed) album out on Blue Note – and so we celebrated this with Mama Wailer, the title track from his 1971 CTI/Kudu album before diving into a bonafide Blue Note classic from one of my favourite alto players, Jackie McLean. On the Nile comes from one of those sometimes overlooked Blue Note releases from the mid 1960s – Jacknife. This Charles Tolliver composition is a modal gem, featuring a young Jack deJohnette on drums. We cut into this track with something new from Auckland’s finest band, Fat Freddy’s Drop. It’s not jazz as we know it, of course, but there’s no doubting the levels of musicianship in this excellent new release.
Back to Africa and Egypt with another jazz classic from (appropriately) Pharoah Sanders – an edited version of the 16 minute Upper Egypt Lower Egypt from Sander’s Tauhid album before diving into the opening cut from GoGo Penguin’s Blue Note debut. The buzz about this band is global and we’ve been playing their contemporary take on the jazz piano trio since they began. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, check out this live version of the track we featured, All Res. Next up were two great vocalists – the yacht rock elegance of Ned Doheny in an acoustic demo version of his jazz club classic Get It Up For Love and then Gretchen Parlato live in New York with her beautiful twist on Simply Red’s Holding Back the Years. Amazingly, Doheny’s demo is delightfully fully formed. You can find this track on the Numero label’s excellent Separate Oceans compilation of Doheny tracks. One of the pleasure’s of Parlato’s recording is the always imaginative drumming of American Mark Guiliana, one of the most in-demand drummers of the moment: he’s worked with Brad Mehldau, Dave Douglas, Donny McCaslin and – of course, David Bowie. Another cover version came next – the Philippe Saisse Trio’s take on Steely Dan’s Do It Again. Saisse can always elevate his cocktail piano style into something rather more interesting: here he is doing the same kind of thing with Earth Wind and Fire’s September. We ended this week’s session with more latin-inflected jazz: the first from Tania Maria‘s Come With Me album from 1982 and the last a British remix of Dizzy Gillespie’s Manteca that appears on one of the Verve labels’s remix projects – sometimes patchy but always interesting. For more of the same, try this updating of Billie Holiday’s Speak Low.
Santana – Eternal Caravan of Reincarnation from Caravanserai
Nat Adderley Quintet – Make Your Own Temple from Soul of the Bible
Donny Hathaway – Voices Inside (Everything is Everything) from Live
Lonnie Smith – Mama Wailer from Mama Wailer
Jackie McLean – On the Nile from Jacknife
Fat Freddy’s Drop – Wheels from Bays
Pharoah Sanders – Upper Egypt Lower Egypt from Tauhid
GoGo Penguin – Al Res from Man Made Object
Ned Doheny – Get It Up For Love (demo) from Separate Oceans
Gretchen Parlato – Holding Back the Years from Live in NYC
Philippe Saisse Trio – Do It Again from The Body and Soul Sessions
Tania Maria – Sementes, Graines and Seeds from Come With Me
The trouble with broadcasting on a small community radio station is that facilities are limited. This week I had to pre-record the show because at the broadcast time the studio was required for training. I went to ICR earlier in the day to pre-record, had produced an hour of the show and was then told the studio was needed by others.. As I could not return later the last half hour of the show was added by the ICR station manager, thankfully a jazz fan.
I decided to make this an hour of contemporary jazz, largely from the UK, except for Goran Kajfes from Sweden and Ambrose Akinmusire from the USA. There were two tracks from the new Kairos 4-Tet Album Everything We Hold – one instrumental and the other with vocals. It’s a very varied album and the vocal are ambitious in their scope. Personally I prefer the instrumental tunes.
Neil adds: I think the vocal tracks on the new Kairos album are part of an interesting development in new British jazz. Kairos are fronted by saxophonist and composer Adam Waldmann, and are spearheading this mix of improvisation and songwriting, trying to balance powerful instrumental solos with the roundedness of the more traditional English songform. Waldmann began with Kairos Moment, an album that marked him out as a powerful new voice in British jazz (BBC), and as a precociously talented composer and player (All About Jazz). In 2011, their second release, Statement of Intent, led to the MOBO Award for Best Jazz Act and now in Everything We Hold Waldmann explores the art of song in more depth and with greater variety. Vocals come courtesy of Swedish singer Emilia Mårtensson, British neo-soul icon Omar, and emerging Irish singer-songwriter Marc O’Reilly. In places the music is reminiscent of John Martyn and Nick Drake – themselves no strangers to jazz tunings and inflections. Even the song titles themselves are reminiscent of this folk-jazz blend – Narrow Boat Man is not a million miles away from Drake’s River Man, itself a track covered by Brad Mehldau and others. Watch for more developments in this area. I really like Omar’s vocals on the track Song for the Open Road – and check out his own return to form on his excellent new album The Man.
The show ended with an extended track from Pharoah Sanders (from the 1974 Love in Us All album) and a taste of Marcos Valle from a recent release – 2010’s excellent Estatcia.
Kairos 4-Tet (feat. Emilia Martensson & Marc O’Reilly) – Narrow Boat Man from Everything We Hold
Ambrose Akinmusire – Confessions to my Unborn Daughter – from When the Heart Emerges Glistening
Goran Kajfes – Sarasvati from Album X
Roller Trio – Deep Heat from Roller Trio
Trish Clowes – Tangent from Tangent
Kairos 4-Tet – Reunion from Everything We Hold
Matthew Halsall – Cherry Blossom from Fletcher Moss Park
Larry ‘Stonephace’ Stabbins – Africa from Transcendental
Pharoah Sanders – Love is Everywhere from Love In Us All
Marcos Valle – Prefixo from Estatcia
Video this week comes from Goran Kajfes seen here last year leading his Subtropic Arkestra at the Nordic Jazz Festival on the roof of the House of Sweden in Washington D.C:
Tonight’s show included Take Three, a new feature where I play three tracks from a featured jazz artist. We started with one of the top Cosmic Jazz favourites – the wonderful Joe Henderson. From 1963 to 1968, Henderson appeared on nearly thirty albums for Blue Note, including five released under his name. Landmark albums he appeared on for the label include Horace Silver’s swinging and soulful Song for My Father, Herbie Hancock’s dark and densely orchestrated The Prisoner, Lee Morgan’s hit album The Sidewinder and tougher, more ‘out there’ albums with pianist Andrew Hill and drummer Pete La Roca. El Barrio is one of the best cuts from Inner Urge, one of Henderson’s best Blue Note albums – and the picture here is of an original 1965 LP cover (in mono too!). This is dark and intense music and yet much of it (including our choice) is accessible. The All Music guide review concluded perhaps the best Henderson recorded in his long and illustrious career, and stands easily alongside the best records of the era. The review site All about Jazz goes further: I consider it not only one of the best dozen Blue Note sessions ever released, I hear it as one of the major statements of jazz in the ’60s, actually recreating the political, economic, and social realities of the turbulent times more precisely than most recorded music of the ’60s in any style. An absolutely essential listen and a major masterpiece. So, at CJ we simply recommend that you go out and buy the album – we guarantee you will not be disappointed.
There was also a track in tribute to Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks who died at the beginning of May. Neil notes: Brooks was a Jamaican saxophonist and flautist whose jazz-influenced style graced many Studio One albums. Brooks was an old boy of the Alpha School in Kingston, Jamaica, alongside alumni like Don Drummond, Johnny Moore and Tommy McCook of The Skatalites and jazzmen Joe Harriott and Harold McNair, His own musical horizons – especially as far as jazz was concerned – were increasingly distant from restrictive commercial contexts and he eagerly accepted an invitation to visit a friend in the U.S. In Philadelphia, Brooks was awe-struck by the music and vibes of Sun Ra’s Arkestra. He was on the point of joining the commune when the birth of his second daughter necessitated his return to Jamaica. Though rocksteady the sound of the moment on the island, Brooks took up Ra’s challenge by starting The Mystics, to experiment with free jazz and poetry, African robes and dancers. During this period, Brooks’ long association with Studio One produced several hit singles before he set up The Light of Saba, a group that would go deep into aspects of African drumming. Taking leads from Hugh Masekela and Fela Kuti, the recordings of Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks and The Light of Saba delineated world music way ahead of its time. The band showcased a blend of African and US, Cuban and other West Indian influences – calypso and funk, rumba and bebop, nyabinghi and disco – all filtered through a reggae grounding. The 2009 Honest Jon compilation The Magical Light of Saba is the best place to start.
CJ followed this with two tracks by artists who were undoubtedly influences on Brooks – the aforementioned Sun Ra and another CJ favourite, Pharoah Sanders’ classic Astral Travelling.
Byron Morris and Unity – Sun Shower from Kev Beadle presents Private Collection
V.S. Quartet – A Pou Zot from Freedom Jazz France
Cedric Brooks – Ethiopia from Studio One Rockers
Sun Ra – Ancient Aiethiopia from Sun Ra: A Space Odyssey
Pharaoh Sanders – Astral Travelling from Thembi
Joe Henderson – El Barrio from Inner Urge
Joe Henderson – Canyon Lady from Canyon Lady
Joe Henderson – Johnny Come Lately from Lush Life
Jorge Ben – Lalari from Gilles Peterson Back In Brazil
Jorge Ben and Toqinho – Carolina Carol Bela from Brazilian Beats 1
Coherence Quartet – 530 from Coherence
Fredrik Kronkvist Sextet – Close Race from Improvised Action
Video this week comes from the one and only Pharoah Sanders, here performing live at The Jazz Cafe in London in 2011.
The show is back live and tonight features the new Jose James release No Beginning No End, the Gilles Peterson compilation Black Jazz Radio and the promised live version of Freddie Hubbard’s First Light.
After two weeks of excellent music brought to the show by guests, this week it’s was a solo show from Derek. There was music from the newly-released Spiritual Jazz 3 on Jazzman Records with tunes by Michel Roques and the Albert Mangelsdorff Quintet.Records in this series appear to be coming at a fast and regular pace – Spiritual Jazz 2was only released earlier in 2012. To complement the latest record there were contributions from Heikki Sarmanto and The Michael Garrick Sextet from Spiritual Jazz 2. All three compilations in this series come with a very strong recommendation from those of us associated with Cosmic Jazz.
British jazz featured strongly in the programme and I am pleased to provide more details on Ryan Quigley. He is a Scottish trumpeter, a member of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and Salsa Celtica. The tune played tonight Laphroag-ian Slip is the title track from his solo album, and maybe refers to what happens after too much of that Islay malt favourite…. Quigley has been described as “world class” by John Fordham, The Guardian jazz critic.
Michel Roques – Le Temps
Heikki Sarmanto – Duke and Trane
Albert Mangelsdorff Quintet – Sakura Waltz
Michael Garrick Sextet – Temple Dancer
The Kenny Clarke Francy Boland Big Band – The Wildman
Another show from Derek featuring some old favourites and more from newer releases too. Music included Donald Byrd’s take on a Herbie Hancock classic, an extended spiritual jazz classic from Pharoah Sanders and one of the late Gil Scott-Heron’s finest compositions, Lady Day and John Coltrane.
New music was represented by Jessica Lauren and Kenny Garrett both of whom have new albums well worth checking out.
Donald Byrd – Cantaloupe Island
Cuban Roots – Just Another Guajira
Pharoah Sanders – Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt
The Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet – Prayer
Dexter Gordon – Tanya
Jimmy Heath – Alkebu-Lan ( Land of the Blacks)
Gil Scott-Heron – Lady Day and John Coltrane
Soul Jazz Orchestra- Consecration
Jessica Lauren – The Name of Fela Will Always Stand for Freedom
Neil is back in China so it was a solo show from Derek. Following Neil’s tribute last week Derek made his acknowledgement of 50 years of Jamaican independence with Val Bennett’s version of the Dave Brubeck classic Take Five.
Derek found on his return to the ICR office a CD from Birmingham-based jazz musician and writer Steve Tromans. There was not time to listen properly in advance, but the title track of the CD Blue Room was given an airing and sounded interesting. There will be more from release this in future shows. The tune fitted well with the spiritual quality of the pieces from Azanyah and Pharoah Sanders – especially with a jet-lagged Derek feeling the need for some calm.
There was still a place for funky jazz from Patrice Rushen, Brazilian-tinged jazz from Azar Lawrence and recent material from the wonderful Esperanza Spalding, the cool Robert Glasper and that much-loved Cosmic Jazz favourite Carmen Lundy.
Patrice Rushen – Shortie’s Portion
Azar Lawrence – Novo Ano
Azanyah – I Will Surely Come Again
Pharoah Sanders – Thembi
Steve Tromans/J.J Wheeler – Blue Room
Sun Ra – Images
Val Bennett – Take Five (AKA the Russians are Coming)
Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Erikah Badu – Afro Blue
Cosmic Jazz this week really mashed up the music. New this week was the latest from Keith Jarrett – Sleeper, a reissue from 1979 of a concert in Tokyo with his European quartet, featuring Jan Garbarek on saxes, Palle Danielsson on bass and Jon Christensen on drums. This is a sensational double CD set that kicks off with the powerful Personal Mountains and then continues to entrance even those most familiar with Jarrett’s now huge recorded output. Check this out on Listen Again and judge for yourself.
The show began with German synth-rock and moved quickly into some British drum and bass jazz as a taster for the long Keith Jarrett track. More Jan Garbarek followed (here with Indian tabla master Zakir Hussain) before we heard two new pieces from John Surman and Christian Scott. Then it was time for Tony Allen – the man once described by Brian Eno as “perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived” – before we introduced to a real rarity from Jackie McLean and drummer Michael Carvin and concluding this section with Britches, a classic piece of drummer-led funk from the Meters.
Sampled drums from Roy Ayers’ Running Away featured on Mystery and then Pharoah Sanders roared in with Jitu. We played the glorious Monk’s Mood in full but just tasted the long track Capra Black (on what was to be Lee Morgan’s final album) and the show ended with Lee Konitz tackling Bartok and a moment of reflection from Billy Hart’s new album for ECM. Finally, we ended with the dubwise sounds of Bill Laswell, as remixed by Joe Claussell.
This week’s programme is one you cannot afford to miss on Listen Again. New visitor Alex came in with Cosmic Jazz regular Palma to provide an exciting, sometimes rare, mix of vinyl jazz. From Leroy Vinnegar onwards (bass player on dozens of Blue Note records and the man behind Eddie Harris and Les McCann on the perennial CJ favourite Compared to What), Alex provided an inspirational mix.There were Cosmic Jazz favourites – Roland Kirk, Carlos Garnett and Gill Scott-Heron, the latter with the song New York City, a celebration of life in the city that was made for his distinctive voice. Toby Cooper & Brick Street (about whom Alex knew nothing), Claudia & Mike Longo were all new and welcome additions to the Cosmic Jazz playlist.
What were my favourites? They were all good but I would choose the tracks by Rudolph Johnson (an artist previously brought to CJ by Palma), Leroy Vinnegar, Gil Scott-Heron, Roland Kirk, Carlos Garnett, Claudia, Ray Bryant and Monty Alexander. That is most of them anyway!
Robert Glasper Experiment feat Erikah Badu – AfroBlue
Havana Cultura feat Roberto Fonseca – La Revolucion del Cuerpo
Zara McFarlane – Feed the Spirit (The Children & the Warlock)