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

Paul Dunlea

In a word to answer the question above, plenty. Site to bookmark for instance: Dublin promoter IMC runs an Irish scene listings service. The list at the moment details regular Dublin jazz jam sessions at the Grand Social and Arthur’s on Mondays, an improv special with trombonist Paul Dunlea, above, in Cork at the Crane Lane on Tuesdays and a host of other gigs dotted around Ireland. The website address is here.
• 
Another listings site Jazz Ireland is also available for a bird’s eye view of the ever developing scene.

 

Look for the latest from the distinguished trumpeter Wallace Roney setting the autumn agenda big time in a classic hard bop direction first listens suggest. To be issued on the High Note label as summer fades into early autumn when the full album is out saxophonist Emilio Modeste, pianist Oscar Williams II, bassist Paul Cuffari, and drummer Kojo Odu Roney are on Blue Dawn, Blue Nights made at Van Gelder’s in New Jersey. Guitarist Quintin Zoto and drummer Lenny White complete the album collective personnel. 

Wallace Roney emerged from the Ali’s Alley scene as a teen. With Miles he appeared on Miles and Quincy Live at Montreux. Roney is and remains a global force to be reckoned with. These sonic glimpses underline that. The countdown begins. 

 

From the press release:

“The nominations have today been announced for the 2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards.The Awards, organised by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) with the support of PizzaExpress Live.

The nominees include a broad array of jazz talent from the UK jazz scene.

The award categories reflect the ever-increasing scope of talent from within the UK’s jazz scene: Jazz Vocalist of the Year; Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year; Jazz Album of the Year; Jazz Ensemble of the Year; Jazz Newcomer of the Year; Jazz Venue of the Year; Jazz Media Award; Jazz Education Award; and the Services to Jazz Award.

Following the online public vote for the Awards, the shortlist was then voted upon by a selection panel, who represent a broad cross-section of backgrounds united in their passion and knowledge of jazz. The winners, chosen by judging members of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG), will be announced at the awards ceremony at PizzaExpress Live, Holborn, London on Tuesday 3rd  December 2019.

Kelvin Hopkins MP, Co-Chair of APPJAG, said: These shortlists demonstrate the wealth of talent and commitment that exists in the British jazz scene. Now in its 15th year, the Parliamentary Jazz Awards honours the best of British jazz. MPs and Peers in the All Party Group are delighted to host another ceremony at Pizza Express Live and we are extremely grateful to PizzaExpress Live for supporting the event.”

Jazz Vocalist of the Year

Claire Martin

Georgia Mancio

Cherise Adams-Burnett

Zoe Gilby

Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year

Brian Kellock

Nikki Iles

Jason Rebello

Josephine Davies

Jazz Album of the Year

Sons Of Kemet  – “Your Queen Is A Reptile”

Adrian Cox – “Profoundly Blue”

Fergus McCreadie – “Turas”

Jean Toussaint – “Brother Raymond”

Jazz Ensemble of the Year

Ezra Collective

London Vocal Project

Gareth Lockrane Big Band

Jazz Newcomer of the Year

Xhosa Cole

Fergus McCreadie

Luca Manning

Jazz Venue of the Year

Marsden Jazz Festival

Bebop Club, Bristol

Watermill Jazz Club, Dorking

Verdict Jazz Club, Brighton

Jazz Media Award

Jazzwise Magazine

Kevin Le Gendre

Ian Mann – Jazzmann

Jazz Education Award

Pete Churchill

Jamil Sheriff

Nikki Iles

Services to Jazz Award

Henry Lowther

John Fordham

Dame Cleo Laine”

Marlbank asked what the dates are, in which city they will take place, and if there will be a separate jazz event as in some recent years. Henk Elzenga, a director of the MOBOs replied by email: “We are hoping to bring the Awards back in November – we are working on it and will need to know soon. A day and venue have been pencilled in yet funding is the challenge. Not sure at this point what and if we can do anything around gospel and jazz specifically for that same reason.” SG 

Remember how Rymden appeared so stirringly earlier this year? Cast your minds back. 

Dan Berglund, above left, Bugge Wesseltoft and Magnus Öström whose Reflections and Odysseys was an 8 February release. In terms of tick boxes: yes to absorbing metrical investigation, lots of electricity, big bass and energetic drums. No however to navel gazing and ponderous pomposity which often bedevils prog-jazz.

This style is the antithesis of ambient Nordic spaciousness and it is a busy sound. On a tune like ‘Pitter Patter’ however you can source the sound back to say Chick Corea because Wesseltoft using the Rhodes electric piano knows that terrain inside out and manages to sound ahead of the game even when the sound of the Rhodes is everywhere this last decade.

‘The Lugubrious Youth of Lucky Luke’ is probably the most EST-like of all the tunes, a slow ballad that takes its time to unfold after a folk-ish opening melodic mood is established by Wesseltoft on piano with almost a country lilt to it.

‘Homegrown’ in a major rather than minor mood at the end is a beauty and shows this band are not afraid to use warm and rich melody, cadences to die for, to their advantage without being at all twee.

If you are an EST fan you will see how time is a healer and how too Bugge Wesseltoft is the perfect person to harness the beauty of that band and paint new pictures with the spirit and all that heart. Everything glues together which may have been the hope but certainly to these ears is the reality. SG 

Rymden are headliners on the final night of this autumn’s Punkt held over 5-7 September. 

A digital format piano and alto saxophone duo album recorded at Trinity Laban in south east London towards the end of 2016 is on release. ‘Majolica’ is a taut beginning grounded by Maguire’s very abstract sense of harmony. The pianist begins ‘Smooth Your Feathers’ in a more gentle, ruminative and balladic way: Martin Speake typically Konitz and Ornette Coleman-like in the sense not necessarily of timbre but in the jagged overlapping saxophone lines he creates.

‘Just One Look’ continues the conversational approach while ‘Prana’ is more celebratory, a fanfare from Speake to begin. Then ‘Mellow Eightpence’ is so quiet at the beginning and a memorable very pretty initial theme is developed straight off: the duo seem to be freest here in the ultimate sense of playing and not thinking... and yet are so lucid and creative.

‘Six Sisters’ again sits in simple melody and goes quiet as if time and silence (often the ultimate desire to achieve in every kind of music making either as means or outcome) are forefront in the mind’s eye.

‘Eau de Nil’ and later ‘Different Roads’ are where the album really gets interesting in terms of the piano lines. The Bley-esque Maguire thrives on the homespun aspect to ‘The Next Stage’ and we are back to the Konitz universe to an extent on ‘Wounded Landscape’ but Speake takes it a step further and this track is a wilderness of bass lines and rampaging bar-vaulting fourths and eighths juggling illusive atonality or tonality in its grandeur.

‘Dottles’ is free improv in the plinky plonky sense should you choose to use that phrase advisedly — I am being as accurate as possible and not pejorative — and as for the final five tracks: where they work best is when they find a simple theme which they often do and ornament it. ‘Armistice Sorry To Be Me’ is superb (‘Green Light’ the only weak track in an album of 16 tracks) and ‘Embrace’ finds Speake — think beyond style in a Britjazz timeline of alto sax icons: John Dankworth; Joe Harriott; Speake; Soweto Kinch — at his epic best. SG

Available via Bandcamp ***

The line-up for the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the Soho Jazz Week on the Soho-Live site is now available.

Wed 11 September 
Artists include Ashley Henry, Jo Harrop and Cherise Adam Burnett. Full list
Thurs 12 September
Artists include Christian Brewer, Aydenne Simone and KoKo Collective. Full list
Fri 13 September
Artists include Andy Davies, Quentin Collins, Kitty la Roar and her trio. Full list

The Soho.Live Jazz Week website is here.

RECOMMENDED

From the upcoming 16 August release of Crepuscule In Nickelsdorf by Trance Map+: Evan Parker, Matthew Wright, Adam Linson, John Coxon and Ashley Wales.

A seven part mix of field recordings, samples from cassettes, turntable scratching and live processing of Evan Parker saxophone recordings collective personnel are: Evan Parker, soprano saxophone; Matthew Wright, turntable, live sampling; Adam Linson, double bass, electronics; John Coxon, turntable, electronics; Ashley Wales, electronics. Think of the tracks so far as somehow conjuring a 21st century Turner electroacoustic seascape in a void far from home, all sense of reality upended in the churning turbulence of dreams.

Nerija

Enjoying critical acclaim and now experiencing initial sales success, Nérija top the UK official jazz & blues album chart — a significant achievement. 

Nérija are Nubya Garcia (tenor saxophone), Sheila Maurice-Grey (trumpet), Cassie Kinoshi (alto saxophone), Rosie Turton (trombone), Shirley Tetteh (guitar), Lizy Exell (drums) and Rio Kai (bass). Blume was released on 2 August.

Check out the woozy hard bop and Afrobeat-flavoured ‘Riverfest’ from the album, above. 

Try these sounds from the Mario Pavone Dialect Trio, the bassist in a cooperative trio on the title track of Philosophy (issued by Clean Feed) recorded in the studio last summer in New Haven, Connecticut, with pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Tyshawn Sorey. Swings ferociously in a loose open style, a great deal landing within the freebop idiom. Snap this one up. **** RECOMMENDED 

Nathan Carter

Country singer Nathan Carter appeared on the second night of Shoreline and came on stage after the rain. 

Carter, from Liverpool who lives in Enniskillen, and who is the biggest star in Irish country music and has been for quite a few years, wrote a song about Enniskillen called ‘Island Town’ and it was fitting that he was here on the island itself on a big stage in front of several hundred people inside the castle grounds, a place itself mentioned, in the song lyrics:

The lights of the castle walls/they flicker across the water/and it seems to me/they have a life of their own.

Carter, top, photo: marlbank, singing ‘Island Town’ a ballad to add to the town’s own tower of song: the latest since the lively ‘Fare Thee Well Enniskillen’ was famously rendered by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. Stephen Graham 

11-15 September Lancaster jazz festival

27-29 September Herts jazz festival

27-29 September Limerick jazz festival 

2-6 October Galway jazz festival

11-13 October Marsden jazz festival

24-28 October Guinness Cork jazz festival

15-24 November EFG London jazz festival

Harish Ragahavan

Produced by Walter Smith III Harish Raghavan makes his debut as a leader — a quintet affair the bassist-composer joined by vibist Joel Ross, drummer Kweku Sumbry, pianist Micah Thomas, and altoist Immanuel Wilkins. The recording is titled Calls for Action and is to be issued by Whirlwind this autumn.

Harish Raghavan, publicity photo above

 

Via Pyroclastic Records Superbigmouth involves the collective might of two bands Bigmouth and Superette [geddit?] combining as one to play new original music by Chris Lightcap.

Musicians are: Craig Taborn on organ, piano, Wurlitzer; Tony Malaby on tenor saxophone; Chris Cheek also on tenor; Jonathan Goldberger and Curtis Hasselbring on guitar; leader-composer Chris Lightcap on bass guitar; with Gerald Cleaver and Dan Rieser on drums.

For the best of Lightcap in recent years, one example springs to mind so think back to Plymouth released in 2014 and on which Wisława, December Avenue Stańko legend Cleaver also contributed. Look for Superbigmouth in October.

The relevant date for the Patricia Barber Soho Pizza Dean Street jazz club debut is 19 November falling during the EFG London Jazz Festival. Joining the singer pianist in her trio are Patrick Mulcahy on bass and Nate Friedman on drums. Tickets.  

Friday 13 September will be the release date of the upcoming live album Reflections, Transformations, Improvisations by flautist bandleader Eddie Parker’s Debussy Mirror Ensemble. Tracks are: La Chevelure, De Soir, Little Shepherd, Claire de Lune, X-Boite a Jou Jou, Eventail, Syrinx, si doucement perdue, and Il Pleut. The ensemble made up of a dozen players spanning the classical and jazz disciplines was put together last year to mark the centenary of the death of Debussy for a series of gigs and spawned this recording made into their debut album.  

Have a listen to the deeply soulful brutally honest ‘Simple Man’ a cover of a number by Pops Staples & the Staples Singers. Close your eyes you may also want to go to dig out your old Bill Withers records suitably inspired, believe me.

The latest promo made publicly available on YouTube by the issuing label is drawn from the upcoming Robert Randolph and the Family Band album, Brighter Days which is to be released on 23 August.

I enjoyed ‘Have Mercy’ put out in May which remains a bit of a must and the more engrossing of the two tracks, a heartfelt take refuge message song because it is gospel after all shaped by a laidback groove to die for. Sacred steel specialist Randolph and his band worked with producer Dave Cobb on Brighter Days. The Family Band features Robert’s cousins bassist Danyel Morgan and drummer Marcus Randolph along with his sister, vocalist Lenesha Randolph. Both tracks are utterly convincing even beyond the gospel genre (maybe within, people have their own notions so it is hard to gauge reaction there) and for sure appeal to jazz fans if I am at all typical. 

— Stephen Graham 

From True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter by the New Orleans singer-pianist to be released by Verve on 25 October.

Appearing during and part of the EFG London Jazz Festival at the Cadogan Hall, London, on 17 November note that Good Hope by the Crosscurrents trio is released in October. Tickets.

From Here & Now released by Los Angeles label Ghost Note Records. David Binney is known as an avant saxophonist and composer and has a sizable international jazz club-attending following. Catch up for instance by hearing his enjoyable guest spot on Joe Locke Subtle Disguise track ‘Red Cloud’ last year where he got the energy level right up. His vocals side is lesser known but is only a small part of the complete picture because he chooses on the album to multi-track electronics, burning sax, synths, vocals, bass, guitar, and he has a number of guests as part of the sound who include man of the moment drummer Louis Cole on one track, Jacob Richards on two, Pedja Milutinovic on a couple and bassists Logan Kane and Pera Krstajic also on a couple each. The album, which has a roving post-jazzrocktronica gleam to it early listens digging deep suggest, was recorded in the States both on the east and west coasts and in the Balkans: over in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. 

At the Proms this summer look out for the Jules Buckley curated and conducted Nina Simone-themed “Mississippi Goddam: A Homage To Nina Simone” featuring soul singers the multiple Grammy nominated Ledisi and Rolling Stones backing singer Lisa Fischer. Buckley, a Proms regular, conducts the Metropole Orkest from the Netherlands. The Albert Hall concert is on Wednesday 21 August and will be shown on BBC Four TV on Friday 30 August and aired on Radio 2 at a date to be decided. More details.  

 

Hard boppers and Blue Note heads rejoiced at the prospect of the Dizzy Reece Routes In Jazz tribute tour this year. Byron WallenRalph MooreWillie Jones IIIDezron Douglas and bandleader Trevor Watkis (above) combined to pay sincere homage to the great trumpeter whose style and taste endures down the generations. The English dates of the tour did well. Sadly Tony Hall who produced the classic Blues in Trinity — recorded in a London studio and not Paris as reckoned for years following on from its 1959 initial release — passed away recently. However, the Reece legend grows bigger by day and the tour moves this autumn to New York where Dizzy Reece lives, with an October date scheduled for Dizzy’s, as in Diz — nestled within Jazz at Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle. Tickets.

The organisers write:

“Over 15 venues will showcase more than 250 artists across 45 ticketed shows.”

Look out for the full programme tomorrow.

Dates are 11-14 September.

The Soho.Live Jazz Week website can be found here.

From a Patrick Zimmerli composed and arranged album performed by saxophonist Joshua Redman and Brooklyn Rider. Briefly, what you might be interested in knowing as you listen and scroll: The eight compositions are from a suite; that suite, which amounts to (in record terms) a concept album is about light; they were premiered at top chamber (and occasionally jazz) venue Wigmore Hall in London close to Cavendish Square five years ago; album personnel include bassist Scott Colley and drummer Satoshi Takeishi.

In terms of style listen to Redman album Walking Shadows to get in the zone if you have time first. If you are familiar with that direction: no worries. (If you were not it was a Brad Mehldau produced ballads-heavy album characterised by an orchestral ensemble shaped around a core jazz quartet.)

Zimmerli is from New York and also works in Paris while Brooklyn Rider are a musically curious chamber ensemble who choose repertoire from many styles and who released The Butterfly with Martin Hayes. Sun on Sand is to be released in October by Joshua Redman’s long time label, the Warners distributed major label imprint Nonesuch.

Under half an hour in length yet pretty vital listening for anyone into drums, in other words and not only but also anyone into jazz at a deep level. Never mind the width feel the quality: if you think that an album ought to be 70 minutes long you will not be short changed it is worth adding.

Dave Smith, well known on the jazz scene, for instance marlbank caught him back in 2014 with Strobes, Dan Nicholls’ group that also featured the guitar and electronics of Matt Calvert plus the pin sharp visuals of Screwgun label graphic artist Stephen Byram on the big screen behind them. The rapport between all three that time was immediate and Smith came into his own all guns blazing. 

Beyond the jazz world and, maximum kudos among rockers, Dave Smith is also known for touring with Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant’s acclaimed Americana-loving globetrotters. 

Live at The Vortex Solo Drums + Electronics 11.11.17 recorded during the London Jazz Festival is a different kettle of fish entirely. A solo drums album labour of love it is on one level a specialist thing but a wider audience ought to get it too. N.B the electronics do not get in the way too much, they really just act as a kind of sonic ceremonial incense or put another way the radar screen on which the rhythms can be viewed spanning an ocean of sound. Antonio Sánchez in his score for Birdman which was solo drums entirely changed things in recent years because he made it plain to a non-specialist movie audience (if not the Oscar rulers who chin stroked the superb music out of contention in the end) the notion that a drum solo or number of such thereof are valid as composition.

Live at the Vortex... similarly tells a story; there is a certain arc to the abstraction of percussion; and a thought process at play which is most significant. Shut your eyes and listen. You will get something out of this that you have never heard before. And yet you may not be able to put that feeling into words but the feeling will exist and release vivid impressions that will remain with you, pulsing. Just released. Available via Bandcamp. ****  

Rico and Lol Coxhill

Rico Rodriguez above left with Lol Coxhill (photo: Cordelia Weedon)

Guitarist Cris Gill recalls and pays tribute to Rico, the great Specials and Jazz Jamaica trombonist who Cris played together with in Rico & His Band

“I met Rico about thirty years ago in London in the late 1980s when Rico made a surprise guest appearance with the band I was playing guitar in at the time — a ska band called The Trojans (formed by Gaz Mayall, son of blues musician John Mayall). The Trojans were performing in the Tabernacle in Notting Hill, west London, and we had a large band room to prepare for the gig. When I arrived for the gig I was shocked to find Rico there warming up and doubly shocked to hear Charlie Parker lines.

“Apart from the joy of playing with Rico I was delighted to have the chance to talk with him about music and his interest in jazz, the first of many illuminating conversations during our friendship over the years. I discovered that Rico and I had a shared interest and admiration for many of the same great jazz artists from Count Basie with Lester Young and Freddie Green to Charles Mingus, John Coltrane and many great artists from the early to mid twentieth century.

“I had been born into a jazz and blues filled household in 1960; my father was a band leader (Mick Gills Imperial Jazz Band) and part of the late 1940s post-war Trad Jazz revival in England. From as early as I can remember there was usually music playing in the house, either from my parents’ collection of jazz and blues records or from jam sessions in the living room. I had discovered Ricos music when his LP Man From Wareika (1977) was first released and arrived in the record shop I was working in, my stepfathers jazz specialist music store Peter Russells Hot Record Store in Plymouth.

“When Rico decided to form his own new band, around 1990 (his first since the 1970s), and he wanted me to be a part of it playing guitar — I was honoured. This band performed and recorded over five years or so under the name Rico & His Band. Later during this period Rico was also a member of Jazz Jamaica but Rico often said to me that his band was more like a family to him and that some of the happiest times for him were when playing with his own band, with the rare musical freedom it provided. The set included many jazz songs/tunes, as well as Ricos own originals. Rico loved to keep it realduring gigs and would often quickly brief the bass player before starting into a tune which most of the band had never played or heard before; these spontaneous arrangements are some of my most memorable and enjoyable musical highlights.

“Ricos recognisable sound attracted the attention of many successful artists and his magical sound can be heard on many commercial recordings over several decades. One rare crossing of musical paths was when the great British jazz saxophonist Lol Coxhill sought out Rico and sat in on several gigs. Once whilst sound checking, Rico and Lol were playing a medley of Caribbean tunes together, some of which I recognised. After the sound check I asked Lol how he knew so many of the tunes he was playing with Rico, Lol replied ‘Ive never heard them before…’ The gigs with Lol were always remarkable.

“During that time Rico appeared many times with The Trojans, including a tour of Japan, and on several recordings. Ricos deep understanding of rhythm and his finesse with melodic timing added a unique majesty to the sound of the band with his inspirational solos always being the high point.

“By way of my personal tribute to Rico I feel very fortunate indeed to have been a part of Ricos music for a few years and to have enjoyed a friendship from which I learned so much about music, wisdom and life.”

The funeral took place yesterday in Brighton in the North Chapel of Woodvale Crematorium of Tony Hall. Proceedings were conducted by celebrant Tora Colwill. Tony, a lovely, lucky, man, a music business legend, died on 26 June aged 91. 

The congregation entered to ‘Golden Years’ performed over the PA by Loose Ends, then saxophonist Dave Angol played ‘Lush Life’ by Billy Strayhorn beautifully on the tenor. 

After an introduction by Ms Colwill and ‘Friends’ by Arrival was played on the PA, Chris and Crecia Carr from Tony and his late wife Billie’s family spoke with feeling and emotion. 

The Real Thing’s ‘Children of the Ghetto’ was then played and Chris Amoo from the number one hit Liverpool band spoke explaining how Tony had managed the band for 45 years and that he and his bandmates owed him everything. The next choice of music was perfect in context and captured the mood as it was the soaring Anita Baker rendition of ‘Giving You the Best That I Got’. Frank Collins of Arrival in a rich, warm, Scouse accent spoke again movingly of Tony. He said in a heartfelt way towards the end of his tribute his voice choked with emotion that he was in awe of Tony and spoke of how encouraging Tony was to him and his fellow Motown-loving musicians. Neighbours and friends Abe and Theano Marrache, Jazzwise editor in chief Jon Newey and accountant Simon Nixon who organised the funeral and filled a bus load of a travelling portion of the congregation at Brighton train station beforehand also spoke. Tony was a champion of the long time New York-based trumpeter Dizzy Reece who Tony produced for Blue Note records, the first British producer of the storied label and it was fitting that Monk classic rendered as ‘Round about Midnight’ included on the highly cherished album Blues For Trinity which was recently toured among other Reece repertoire by bandleader-pianist Trevor Watkis who was present at the service and who had only a short time beforehand spoken to Dizzy on the phone was heard as Tony’s coffin was committed. Dave Angol switched to soprano saxophone and played the moving Gordon Jenkins elegy ‘Goodbye’ complete with extensive improvisation. Tony’s spirit and huge influence lives on. Stephen Graham

Image result for ronnie scotts marlbank late spot

Returning next year to tour in quartet mode once again with Pat Metheny, according to pianist Gwilym Simcock’s manager Christine Allen, and with a landmark solo piano album already out this year, the pianist sold out Ronnie’s last night for this first gig by his longstanding trio in several years. Simcock marked the occasion by writing some material for the festival and opened with ‘All Along’ a scampering tour de force. Next number ‘Victorville’ he told us was dedicated to bassist Yuri Goloubev’s interest in old aeroplanes. Later drummer Asaf Sirkis contributed the ballad ‘Portrait of a Woman’ and the second set encore was ‘How Deep is the Ocean’ Simcock prefacing the set after the intermission by telling us he had somehow ‘scalded’ his hand during the break which was a bit worrying but did not alter the quality of his formidable playing one tad. Looking tanned and speaking in a Steve Coogan-esque lightly traced Mancunian accent he bowed enthusiastically with the other two at the end having thanked the audience for listening. 

Overall this was a dazzling display of effortless mastery. The trio’s take on Buster Williams’ ‘Christina’ was the runaway highlight of an engrossing evening that was full of skill and conversational insight.

Earlier the thumping techno LBT trio that Ronnie’s booker Paul Pace had talent spotted at Jazzahead this year rocked the room as the support act, the drummer even wearing ear protectors and necessarily so. The bar tender danced along like a sentry marking time contentedly to the metronomic beat.

Stephen Graham

The international piano trio festival continues tonight. This year’s headliner Kenny Barron, a giant of the music, also sold out at the weekend.

Nerija

Nérija — Nubya Garcia (tenor saxophone), Sheila Maurice-Grey (trumpet), Cassie Kinoshi (alto saxophone), Rosie Turton (trombone), Shirley Tetteh (guitar), Lizy Exell (drums) and Rio Kai (bass) — released Blume on 2 August, having signed to Domino. Check out the woozy hard bop and Afrobeat-flavoured ‘Riverfest’ from the album, above. 

Other acts in addition to saxophonist Soweto Kinch in the Rye jazz and blues festival line-up include Rumer, Lucky Peterson, Liane Carroll, JTQ, Earl Okin and Theon Cross. Dates are 22-26 August. Website. (corrected 7 Aug 2019)