Leading lights of the resurgent Belfast mainstream and post-bop jazz scene are to play an all-dayer in July at Hill Street venue the Black Box in the Cathedral Quarter. The Scott Cowan Band, Dana Masters, Meilana Gillard, Linley Hamilton, the Michael Barkley Quartet, and Emmanuel Amaforte are all on the bill at Jazz Jamboree running from 3.30-11pm on Sunday 7 July.
Dana Masters above left, Linley Hamilton, and Meilana Gillard
Tickets are £10. More at www.blackboxbelfast.com
Chaos Collective leading light drummer Corrie Dick, Glasgow bassists Brodie Jarvie and Mark Scobbie, teenage trumpeter Sean Gibbs from Edinburgh, and at 15 the youngest of the five, pianist Fergus McCreadie, have just been announced as the finalists in this year’s Young Scottish Jazz Musician competition. The five will perform at an event in Aberdeen on 31 July to decide the winner who will be presented with a trophy by Aileen Campbell, Scottish minister for children and young people, and Fiona Bayne from sponsors Shell. Now in its seventh year the final will be recorded live for BBC Radio Scotland’s Jazz House programme.
Corrie Dick pictured above
Jonathan Finlayson & Sicilian Defense
Moment & the Message
Steve Coleman’s comet-like big band when it toured in the UK quite a few years ago now, never to return, included two young Californian trumpeters who are now ambassadors for the music especially at its cutting edge. One of those in that band on a highly memorable tour, Ambrose Akinmusire, was the first to emerge as an artist of startling originality. The other, Finlayson, who retains the link to the guru-like Coleman having passed through the New School and appeared in other bands led by such trailblazers of contemporary jazz as Ravi Coltrane, Steve Lehman, Vijay Iyer, and Jason Moran, is an equally exciting prospect who should be much better known on this side of the Atlantic as Moment & the Message clearly demonstrates. With an approach that recalls Ralph Alessi’s or the late Bill Dixon’s the nine tunes here go both inside and outside the tradition flavoured by an appealingly windswept, often very fast observational style. It’s cool to have a band named after a famously strategic opening chess move but equally when the band happens to include pianist-of-the-moment David Virelles who appeared in London in the spring with Tomasz Stańko and in Cheltenham with Ravi Coltrane. Virelles’ springy momentum and chordal sophistication Robert Glasper associate Damion Reid capitalises on at the drum kit, the latter’s an asymmetrical swinging style of some complexity (especially on a tune such as ‘Lo Haze’). The ballad ‘Ruy Lopez’ shows another side of Finlayson’s artistry, and like Ambrose Akinmusire Finlayson isn’t afraid to show his tender side. The quintet here is completed by bassist Keith Witty, and guitarist Miles Okazaki, the latter, like Finlayson, who also appears on Steve Coleman’s superb Functional Arrhythmias.
Anton Hunter Trio
Anton Hunter Trio
Turned down low, with a strong improv sensibility and a resemblance to the soundscapes of Bill Frisell on the surface, you could be mistaken and think this record came out of the New York downtown scene at a much earlier stage of Frisell’s career. Instead Hunter, who is best known as a key member of Manchester’s groundbreaking Beats & Pieces big band, is here in a fascinatingly alert trio with his brother, drummer Johnny Hunter, and bassist James Adolpho and together they gently probe and bypass altogether the Frisell modus operandi. Just five tracks long and a shade under three quarters of an hour in duration, you’ve got to listen hard. Yet the quiet passages have a page turner quality to them and yield their own rewards. With a slight electronic wash enhancing the guitar sound at times the album has a human quality despite its modernity (more a nylon string sound than steel in essence and even that’s deceptive). Fans of Jonny Greenwood soundtracks will I’d hazard a guess warm to the subdued demeanour the trio projects. The improvising built around slowly enfolding melodies and subtle key changes is plugged into scampering rhythms and scintillating off beats, and on ‘Tyven’ Johnny Hunter really gets to the core of the Tony Oxley-like percussion tradition deep within the DNA of much British early-1970s free improv. The earlier ‘Aire’, with its eery stillness, just another example of this fine trio’s very own particular and prevailing sound. SG
US release date of Live Today confirmed but no UK date so far
Best known for his work with Robert Glasper and Floetry, bassist Derrick Hodge’s debut for Blue Note has now been confirmed for an early-August release in the States. Titled Live Today the compositions either written or co-written by Hodge span modern jazz, hip-hop, R&B, gospel, and acoustic folk, according to the label. Rapper Common whose albums Be, Finding Forever, and The Dreamer/The Believer Hodge played on, Alan Hampton, Robert Glasper, Casey Benjamin, Marc Colenburg and Chris Dave plus keyboardists James Poyser and Aaron Parks join Hodge on Live Today plus saxophonist Marcus Strickland, trumpeter Keyon Harrold, and the American String Quartet among a large cast. Tracks are: ‘The Real’, ‘Table Jawn’, ‘Message Of Hope’, ‘Boro March’, ‘Live Today’, ‘Dances With Ancestors’, ‘Anthem in 7’, ‘Still The One’, ‘Holding on to You’, ‘Solitude’, ‘Rubberband’, ‘Gritty Folk’, ‘Doxology (I Remember)’, and ‘Night Visions (bonus track)’. Derrick Hodge above. Photo Blue Note / Chris Baldwin
Protesters march to the Lough Erne resort earlier this evening
In the 1960s jazz was at the centre of the anti-nuclear protest movement, and formed the soundtrack to many a CND protest. Times have changed, and there was hardly a blue note within earshot at the G8 protest march earlier today, which began at the back of Enniskillen library and proceeded out through the town and on to the Derrygonnelly Road towards the Lough Erne resort where the G8 meeting is taking place. The 500 or so protestors marching supported a range of causes most notably anti-fracking and anti-globalisation, with a separate protest on the river Erne in boats, and protesters also demonstrated at the Diamond in the town centre at lunchtime where jugglers and stilt walkers entertained the crowd. A range of bands united by the anti-fracking cause played on a stage erected at Head Street near the town library as buses arrived with protesters from Derry and Belfast. With local blues and boogie band Ronan McManus and the 2 Tone Blues Band headlining, the DMs, doom rockers Subordinate, the bluesy Atticus Finch, and Ivory Cutlery opening, the mellow crowd enjoying the afternoon sunshine warmed to Occam’s Blade’s rendering of conscious punk anthem ‘Alternative Ulster’ and the classic ‘Dearg Doom’ by Horslips from their 1973 concept album The Táin. The protesters will return from the police barrier at the resort’s perimeter fence later this evening.