We try on Cosmic Jazz not to keep to formulas or restrict the genres of music we draw upon within a jazz framework. This week the show was less a mix of jazz related genres but more a mix of jazz styles.
By the end of the show I felt it was a strange mix – but one that had really worked. Listen up and see what you think – just click on the Mixcloud arrow left.
Edition Records is an exciting British jazz label with releases from the likes of Tim Garland, Phronesis and artists from continental Europe such as Morten Schantz. Among the very best of these is trumpeter Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur band. Possibly I have been a bit late to pick up on their self titled album Dinosaur released in 2016 – but it was worth the wait. The tune Awakening had echoes of Miles Davis’ classic In A Silent Way but it is still a contemporary sound for our times. Elliot Galvin, the keyboard player with Dinosaur, leads a trio of his own and one of their tunes followed the Dinosaur tune.
I returned to some of the excellent music available from Steve’s Jazz Sounds, this time from Poland with US connections. Krzystof Popek is a well-established and respected Polish flute player, composer, band leader and record label owner. His Fresh Air album has what appears to be a well-established Polish tradition to invite musicians from other countries, in this case the US. Victor Lewis, George Cables and Cameron Brown are among those featured, as well as Cosmic Jazz favourite, the Polish trumpeter Piotr Wojtasik. Bass player Piotr Lemanczyk is another well-established Polish musician with 25 years of experience. Double Escape illustrates his professionalism, experience and the strength of his bass playing. Piamist Michal Wroblewski is from a different generation. His tune is soulful and spiritual – almost New Orleans comes to Warsaw.
I have had The Devotion, a download album from US drummer John Lumpkin for a few months but not given it the attention it merits. Perhaps it is the opening bars of The Conqueror that have put me off, sounding a bit like some melodramatic rock blast, but once you get through that it is something else. I was mesmerised.
There is always room on the programme for jazz greats and this week there was Herbie Hancock from the classic Blue Note album Maiden Voyage. Playing The Eye of the Hurricane conjured up further Caribbean images to follow my last two weeks in Grenada. It all made me stop and realise just how good this album is. The quality of the sound, the musicianship, the strength of the rhythm section and – of course – Herbie Hancock’s timeless composition.
The other iconic jazz artist this week was pianist Andrew Hill. Probably not so well known as Herbie Hancock, at times he is more obtuse and Dedication is for me another of those tunes that does not have the most inviting of opening bars. However, once you are there it is a tune of intense spirituality. Andrew Hill was never predictable, and at times not the easiest to listen to but he is a perennial CJ favourite and unquestionably one of the greats. Add in that the album Point of Departure features the following musicians – Eric Dolphy, Joe Henderson, Kenny Dorham, Richard Davis and Tony Williams – and you can understand how the man commanded the greatest respect.
New York based singer Somi, whose music I adore, has a new album out. Until I acquire it I made do with her last album and her adaptation of a Fela tune featuring Beninoise singer Angelique Kidjo. Finally, and to complete the mix, there was another piece from New York, albeit a percussionist with a Cuban heritage. Manny Oquendo is here performing with some of the elite from the Nuyorican Latin scene on a Latin classic, Rafael Cepeda’s Candela. Check out the man himself here in some bomba magic from New York’s Lincoln Centre sometime in the 1970s.
- Dinosaur – Awakening from Together As One
- Elliott Galvin Trio – 1666 from Punch
- Krzystof Popek – Letters and Leaves from Fresh Air
- Piotr Lemanczyk – Double Escape from Live at Club Zak
- Michal Wroblewski – Joyride from City Album
- John Lumpkin – The Conqueror from the Devotion
- Herbie Hancock – The Eye of the Hurricane from Maiden Voyage
- Andrew Hill – Dedication from Point of Departure
- Somi feat. Angelique Kidjo – Lady Revisited from The Lagos Music Salon
- Manny Oquendo – Candela from Mejor Que Nunca (Better Than Before)
Derek is listening to:
- Orange Trane feat. Soweto Kinch – promo video
- Henry Purcell – Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary
- Taurus Riley – Parables
- Dele Sosimi – E Go Better
- Camilla George Quartet – The Night has a Thousand Eyes (live)
Neil is listening to…