Having been longlisted it has just been announced that the Fergus McCreadie trio have made the shortlist for the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award. The full shortlist is:

Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert: Here Lies The Body

Andrew Wasylyk: The Paralian

Auntie Flo: Radio Highlife

C Duncan: Health

Carla J. Easton: Impossible Stuff

Fergus McCreadie Trio: Turas

Free Love: Luxury Hits

Karine Polwart with Steven Polwart & Inge Thomson: Laws of Motion

Kathryn Joseph: From When I Wake The Want Is

Mastersystem: Dance Music (public vote)

Each shortlisted album has won a guaranteed minimum prize of £1,000. 

 

Tickets have gone on sale for the Button Factory appearance of Ezra Collective in Dublin this autumn. First on marlbank’s radar in 2016 alerted by their gospel, rap, driving bop and reggae flavoured EP Chapter 7 on which Zara McFarlane guested, the collective surfacing back then were all newcomers: Dylan Jones on trumpet, James Mollison, tenor saxophone, Joe Armon-Jones on piano, TJ Koleoso on bass, and leader Femi Koleoso on drums. This year the pace has quickened considerably in terms of their profile especially when ‘Quest For Coin’ from their album You Can’t Steal My Joy made an impact in late-April. The Dublin gig is on 25 November. Tickets.

Looking ahead to the Brilliant Corners festival in Belfast, dates, according to its director Brian Carson above: “In 2020 will be 29 February to 7 March.” 

OK. I read an article earlier titled “Britain’s jazz scene is in full swing” and disagreed with it.

Here are the relevant points why. The article runs in bold italic type, my notes on it are in plain non-bold type.

The idea behind this exercise is to amplify what is worthwhile and explain the inadequacies of what is not, in a challenging spirit of analysis, something that is often lacking in the day-to-day cycle of publication. Reddit it ain’t.

Jazz died in 1959. At least, that’s what New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton wrote in 2011 as part of a series of tweets that riled jazz lovers the world over.
The author has picked a well known controversialist to begin with. Payton prefers the term “BAM” [Black American Music] to “jazz”. 
It later transpired that he meant jazz the word (which, he reckoned, was ‘a label forced upon musicians’) rather than jazz the genre. Semantics aside, Payton struck a chord. He fired up what many people for many decades have assumed to be an ever-shrinking band of jazz aficionados.
The author places himself on the side of musicians. However, the controversial intent dissipates rather here so negating the beginning. 
In fact, there has been an increasingly cool end to the jazz catalogue in America for at least the past 20 years. Pianist Robert Glasper and saxophonist Kamasi Washington are two figureheads of this stateside jazz renaissance, which is characterised by a liberal use of synthesisers and drum machines.
“In fact” meaning “indeed”; “cool” is misused here and rendered meaningless. Why 20 years only? Surely jazz has always been cool to use it in its correct sense? [Ergo in the 1920s, “cool” was already known as a term of approval and even reverence. Check the song ‘Cool Kind Daddy Blues’ for instance.] Oh, the worst clanger here: most jazz musicians run a mile from drum machines or use them very advisedly.  
In the UK, ears have taken longer to prick up beyond all but the most committed circles. Now, though, a jazzy storm is blowing through Britain. Some say it started in 2003 on London’s Portobello Road, at Mau Mau Bar. A weekly night called Jazz Re:freshed began offering a space apart from the stalwarts of the London jazz scene — the likes of Ronnie Scott’s and the 606 Club in Chelsea. Here, players were free to experiment and perform as they wished.
I think this is wishful thinking and just a way to introduce the interviewed speaker.
Around the same time, digital recording and publishing technology meant that musicians could capture and share material. Since winning an Arts Council grant in 2014, Jazz Re:freshed has turned into a label which promotes this body of work all over the world.
So exaggerated.
‘Jazz is having its time in the sun,’ says Justin McKenzie, the label’s artistic director. He attributes this in part to the fact that jazz has learned from rock and pop, where artists seek to brand themselves: ‘It’s not enough just to put music out. You need to be the music, you need to represent the music.’
Point of view only and fair enough. But do artists seek to brand themselves as described, really, truly?
The eclectic range of styles that Jazz Re:freshed set out to champion now defines the UK jazz scene. Seed Ensemble, which has strong Afrobeat underpinnings, was nominated for a Mercury Prize last month, and many more groups featuring influences ranging from Indian folk to ‘dark dub’ are playing at summer festivals.
There are several UK jazz-indie labels out there who have received Mercury nominations over the years (eg Dune, Basho, Babel). Fact. Jazz styles have been happily hybrid and inclusive of many other musics reaching back to the 1960s at least.   
 
Renowned DJ and impresario Gilles Peterson has given a push to the trend. He features many of the UK’s up-and-coming acts on his BBC 6 Music show on Saturday afternoons, has given the stage to them at his annual summer festival in the south of France, and even offers mentoring services.
Peterson has rightly given jazz a push. Not everyone however subscribes to his DJ-centric vision. 
But ‘it would be unfair to give people with a platform all the credit’, McKenzie says. For many years before the current cool, organisations such as Tomorrow’s Warriors, a jazz education outfit, provided the real bedrock of the UK jazz resurgence.
Big claim. Only partly true.
Now, it’s not just London that is enjoying this blast of new music. Bristol, Leeds, Brighton and Manchester are all developing distinctive scenes; and a similar new wave is sweeping Scotland. In Glasgow, where the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has been offering formal education in jazz for only a decade, a committed — if small — set of young musicians is blending elements of traditional music with selected tenets of jazz. The result is virtuosos such as Fergus McCreadie who, at 22, sold hundreds of seats at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival this year. Reports of jazz’s death, it seems, have been greatly exaggerated.
It would be interesting to know about “the distinctive scenes” mentioned. Seems vague. SG.

Article appeared in The Spectator, link.

EST

A public never heard before concert recording by the Esbjörn Svensson Trio made in their homeland of Sweden is to be released for the first time. Issuing label ACT describes it as: “A concert for the ages: The release of e.s.t. live in Gothenburg brings listeners the previously unreleased recording of a concert to which Esbjörn Svensson (d.2008) referred in his lifetime as one of the best that his trio ever did. In this 2001 recording, e.s.t. played tracks from the albums From Gagarin’s Point of View and Good Morning Susie Soho. There is even one track, ‘Bowling’, which has never been released on CD before.” HMV Germany indicate a 25 October release date. Magnus Öström, above left, Esbjörn Svensson, Dan Berglund.  Photo: Tobias Regell/ACT.

Recorded on the road in the Western Sahara and Mauritania in October and November 2018, with additional recording in Tamanrasset, Algeria in December 2018 and at Abogi and Delta studios in Paris during January-February 2019, tracks heralding Amadjar by the great desert blues exponents par excellence, Tinariwen — are now online. To be released by Anti Records on 6 September. 

 

Worth your close listening attention: the first stirrings from Playing The Room by trumpeter Avishai Cohen and pianist Yonathan Avishai recorded in Lugano almost a year ago and to be issued on ECM early next month. 

The question in the headline above is on a topic that needs addressing.

Playlists, the popular ones are on sites such as Spotify and Apple, are one entry point to new jazz. Sometimes DJs also publish their playlists.

If you are a playlist person especially currently when “singles” are everywhere you may also be somehow residually an “album” sort. However, given the direction of travel at the moment and the lack of time that most people possess which often proves insufficient to keep up with new jazz and proves a struggle even to wade a little in the water, the chances are your “album” side is less evident than your playlist dominant routine preference.

Looking at playlists, some of these are very long indeed and tell very little about anything out of context. Only a few are actually full of brand new releases. Some contain tracks that have been around for months. Above all they are marketing driven however curated.

Do we listeners want to listen to something that is commercially popular? Sometimes but not always, may well be one response.

To flip that on its head if something fails to sell do we want to listen to something unpopular? Sometimes but not always is also a possible response in all likelihood.

Crucially jazz listeners need a complete album to listen to for the full story. Playlists, basically compilations put together for consumer or social, mood, lifestyle, channel, entertainment reasons, do not offer this ability. 

The answer then to the headline is “not really”. The question needs asking however and returning to as tech continues to change and playlists continue to be an important factor in the route to jazz listening and developing a love and knowledge of the music. They are, however, far from reliable be-all and end-alls in other words. 

Galway Jazz Festival logo

Full schedule:

wednesday/dé céadaoin 2nd october/
deireadh fómhair
1.00pm cormac mcCarthy trio o’Donoghue theatre, NUIG free
free
6.00pm the jazz ambassadors pictúir pálás €10.00 buy tickets
7.30pm in flow nuns’ island theatre €10.00 buy tickets
8.00pm bat walk galway cathedral free
free
9.00pm cormac mcCarthy trio blue note free
free
 
  time event venue price tickets
Thursday/
Déardaoin
3rd October/
Deireadh Fómhair
1.00pm david lyttle black gate cultural centre €7 On The Door
5.00pm books to die for / songs to live for                                            charlie byrne’s bookshop free
free
6.00pm official festival opening the kitchen free
free
7.00pm jazz from a window the blue note free
free
7.30pm in flow nuns’ island theatre €10 buy tickets
8.00pm lauren kinsella - saoirse an taibhdhearc €16.50 buy tickets
10.00pm zrazy black gate cultural centre €11.50 buy tickets
 
  time event venue price tickets
Friday/
dé hAoine
4th October/
Deireadh Fómhair
1.00pm Úna monaghan and pauline scanlon black gate cultural centre €7.00 On The Door
5.00pm anna mullarkey workshop an taibhdhearc €8.00 buy tickets
6.00pm Úna monaghan kieran moloney music shop free
free
6.00pm blue groove trio blue note free
free
7.00pm matthew berrill / Neil O'Lochlann / Dan Walsh                        salthouse free
free
7.30pm in flow nuns’ island theatre €10.00 buy tickets
8.00pm andreas varady trio an taibhdhearc €16.50 buy tickets
9.30pm house trio + colm o’Hara il vicolo free
free
10.00pm renaud garcia fons / claire antonini black gate cultural centre €36.50 buy tickets
11.00pm anna mullarkey / matthew berrill electric €6.00 buy tickets
 
  time event venue price tickets
Saturday/
dé Sathairn 
5th October/
Deireadh Fómhair
11.00am–10.00pm pop up record shop mick lally theatre free
free
12.00pm johnny taylor trio massimos free
free
12.00pm roxy's head is melted mick lally theatre €11.50 buy tickets
1.00pm róisín mulliez black gate cultural centre €7 On The Door
2.00pm joe O'Callaghan coffeewerk and press free
free
2.30pm bog bodies mick lally theatre €11.50 buy tickets
3.00pm chris montague workshop maoin cheoil na gaillimhe €10 buy tickets
4.00pm trish clowes / ross stanley cava bodega free
free
4.30pm lise-lotte norelius / soren runolf mick lally theatre €7 On The Door
5.00pm aengus hackett / barry donohue / matthew jacobson salthouse free
free
6.00pm brian fleming kieran moloney music shop free
free
7.00pm trish clowes - my iris mick lally theatre €11.50 buy tickets
9.00pm disconauts bierhaus free
free
9.30pm kaja draksler / eve risser mick lally theatre €11.50 buy tickets
10.00pm fixity black gate cultural centre €15.50 buy tickets
10.00pm house trio + richie buckley il vicolo free
free
11.00pm celaviedmai electric €8.00 buy tickets
 
  time event venue price tickets
Sunday/
dé Domhnaigh
6th October/
Deireadh Fómhair
11.00am art of the tree-o st. nicholas’ collegiate church grounds free
free
12.00pm emilie conway - the smashing red kite’s blues mick lally theatre €5.00 On The Door
12.00pm london gay big band electric €16.00 buy tickets
2.00pm joe O'Callaghan coffeewerk and press free
free
2.00pm dermot dunne universal free
free
2.00pm GJF ensemble masterclass with neil yates black gate cultural centre free
free
3.00pm sue rynhart trio mick lally theatre €7.00 On The Door
3.00pm london gay big band electric €16.00 buy tickets
3.00pm emilie conway / aengus hackett / damian evans salthouse free
free
3.30pm GJF@GUH - johnny taylor trio galway university hospital free
free
4.00pm darragh hennessy universal free
free
4.00pm dermot dunne tartare free
free
5.30pm daniele di bonaventura loam €16.50 buy tickets
6.00pm johnny taylor universal free
free
7.30pm house trio + neil yates il vicolo free
free
8.00pm nils økland st. nicholas’ collegiate church €16.50 buy tickets
10.00pm derrick mckenzie (dj set) il vicolo free

The festival website address for full details is galwayjazzfest.ie