Una Noche con Rubén Blades

Yes life offers up surprises in a must for latin-jazz and specifically salsa-swing fans the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis + singer, songwriter Rubén Blades with musical direction by the JALCO bassist Carlos Henriquez Una Noche con Rubén Blades (‘A Night with Rubén Blades’) has just been released. Bladian classics such as ‘Pedro Navaja’ – surprise in an edgy ‘Mack the Knife’ sense written into the rakish lyrics — that Rubén cooked up with salsa trombone deity Willie Colón famously on a hit Fania classic in the 1970s and ‘El Cantante’ making the cut on an unstoppable live set recorded in 2014. **** Out on Blue Engine 

Freer than before, the looseness makes things better and more convincing than In The Moment. What’s changed? 

Greater experience, better ideas — answers on a postcard puh-lease. Culled from NY-LON and Chi-town sessions the drummer composer is joined by among others harpist Brandee Younger, Ron Carter-esque bassist Dezron Douglas and Shabaka Hutchings on tenor saxophone. Released on 26 October. Think the 1990s sound of the Steve Coleman drummer Gene Lake as a rough signpost certainly in terms of technique and for the writing there is a gentle 1970s spiritual jazz feel to a lot of the sound moods. ****
Stand out track: a cinch: the bass heavy ‘Black Lion’ on an album that on one level is an unstoppably nuanced rhythmical masterclass, by another yardstick an escapist slice of wide screen dreamery. McCraven plays the London Jazz Festival on 24 Nov.

Billed as the first jazz conference in Ireland and to be held over three days the Dublin conference marks the centenary of the first documented jazz performance anywhere in the 32 counties. Keynote speakers are Krin Gabbard whose books include Better Git It in Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus; and Gabriel Solis author of Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall

More at www.documentingjazz.com


Hampstead Jazz Club -

An “all-stars” jam session opens a new chapter for the Hampstead Jazz Club in leafy north London replacing the erstwhile Lounge on the same site. The New End-located Hampstead Jazz Club hosts a jam session on 1 November “with all musicians associated with the club invited to showcase their talents.” 
Alex Webb, Ciyo Brown, Tony Momrelle and northern soul favourite Noel McKoy are among the line-up. 

Toot, Monk’s son and keeper of the flame: superconnected, respected, and an éminence grise within US jazz circles drummer T. S. Monk III with his sextet play the Cork jazz festival, Ireland’s top jazz festival, in Cork city this weekend. An absolute must if you are in the neighbourhood, an afternoon gig and not round midnight! Cancel all plans. Interest in the da is sky high as ever and just recently the splendid vinyl Copenhagen 1963 Mønk hit the US top 10 Billboard jazz chart literally metaphorically any “-ically” you care to brandish especially zoning therein for a moving piano solo treatment of Body and Soul as well as the deliriously infectious canter of ‘Nutty’. Speaking to the Lincoln Center jazz blog Toot filled us all in a bit last year about how his dad named some of his best known compositions after his family and friends: “He was crazy about his family and as such wrote tunes that he named after them. Crepuscule with Nellie for my mother. Skippy for Nellie’s sister. Jackie-ing for his niece. Pannonica for Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter. Green Chimneys and Boo Boo’s Birthday for my sister. Last but not least, Little Rootie Tootie for me.” Gig details 

To any jazzer getting going and who has picked up a bit of recognition, maybe displayed an award or two on the mantlepiece, or reserved them for the ‘Me: I’m Great’ shelf of the spacious trophy room currently holding only that crinkled but cherished cycling proficiency certificate so far, five significant questions need asking:

1/ Do you believe your own hype?
Are you still a student of the music, even when your student days are over?
Are you still humble?
Are you pushing on, questing?
Is DJ Big-Up, your biggest backer, super-sincere?

While you ponder, in the meantime, quick REALITY CHECK: Have a quick listen to Kenny Barron above whose quintet record Concentric Circles drawing on AfroCuban and hard bop traditions does not need, crave, or indeed get the Big-Up brand of hype and yet came out to delight this year and possibly enough sales to pave the way for another record preferably soon.  

Journeying deeper into the past, yes there is history, wisdom, the whole caboodle, rare qualities these days, try Sunset to Dawn made in the RCA studio in New York city put out by the still today fairly unfashionable Muse label on a 1973 LP, tracks are Sunset, A Flower, Swamp Demon, Al-Kifha, Dolores Street SF, and Dawn.

With our Ken is (collective album personnel) Sonny Rollins bassist Bob Cranshaw (The Bridge), Nasheet Waits’ father the ex-Andrew Hill drummer Freddie Waits (Grass Roots) on drums; Warren Smith (who five years earlier was probably the least known jazzer among quite a few to appear on Van Morrison masterpiece Astral Weeks) on percussion and his fellow M’Boomer Richard ‘Pablo’ Landrum on congas. 

If the answers to the above questions are 1/yes, 2/no, 3/no, 4/no, 5/no — my friend it is time for a rethink and the full Barron immersion treatment as a first step! More suggestions from the masters at work soon. 

Singer songwriter guitarist poet Sarah Gillespie, terrific live, anarchic, political, hard hitting and a whole lot more... think the playfulness of Camille O’Sullivan meets the earthy bluesiness of Bessie Smith and you are half way there, has quite a band in tow on the Kit Downes-produced Wishbones to be released in early-November by Pastiche Records. Before that, go hear, she plays live at the Purcell Room, London on 29 Oct. The new album band as well as Downes on piano and organ has Dinosaur’s Laura Jurd, the Holdsworthian guitar boffin Chris Montague, James Maddren on drums, Kit’s wife Ruth Goller from Let Spin on bass guitar and the tremendous burlesque talent Emma Divine on back up vocals. 


The opening of the refurbished Southend Jazz Centre takes us back to a sub-genre hyphenate in the early-2000s that somehow became dubbed “Parky-jazz” named after the jazz-loving talk show legend that is Michael Parkinson.

The acts Parky liked were then young hopefuls, and now big name, jazz-vocals wannabes such as Jamie Cullum and Clare Teal. Anyway still keeping up his support of the music Sir Michael was there to help relaunch the Southend Jazz Centre. Above Parky interviews Duke Ellington. 
ITV News has the story

Image result for gilles peterson wiki

From “Why now is the perfect time to get into jazz,” Gilles Peterson has excelled himself. Marlbank’s favourite gems from the interview

“The current jazz scene is really exciting because – as opposed to previous scenes – it’s got a confidence and is comfortable in doing it without any help.''

We somehow land in superhero territory. Hold on — Courtney Pine, in mondo Gilles, from a “previous scene”, actually pretty much larging it still the last time I looked, might have something to say about this. Ronnie Scott, entering ancient history for a moment, was pretty unexciting as well I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say. 
“Fundamentally they’ve gone out and done their own events and put on their own gigs, and have just been playing a lot.”

Those pesky jazz festivals and clubs are completely wasting their time.
“I’m looking forward to getting anthems out of the new scene, the tracks and everyone knows [sic] is British and that you can just play it in the club. It’s important to have anthems.” 
The words of a grown man!  


Well for years I have been loving his music and for years mispronouncing his name. 

The adorably homespun and very likeable podcast Uncle Paul’s Jazz Closet run by Paul Motian’s niece Cindy McGuirl and broadcast on WRFR, a community radio station in Rockland, Maine and made available as a podcast provides a repository for all things Paul from a keeper of the flame.

On the latest episode this week Cindy has digitised some old rehearsal tapes to include in the set list and listening to ‘Cathedral Song’ from 1984 has just about made my day. So tender: The ensemble creates its own sense of wistfulness that actually grabs you by the lapels and burns you on the inside just as much as some firestorm of an onslaught. Made during the most seemingly casual and unglossy of rehearsals that does not unless you know appear to be a rehearsal there is a great deal more in this podcast all of which makes me for one want for fear of missing out spool back to previous episodes to catch up.

Spread over nearly two hours the pod features either released material or private obscurities drawn from these tapes that Cindy has rustled up and which feature among others Joe Lovano, Jim Pepper and the now happily ubiquitous Bill Frisell.

Oh that pronunciation thing, let’s because we know go with the way Cindy says it. MO-shun or MO-tee-an — the truth is up there.