Pretty novel idea, as part of the Ronnie Scott’s 60th Anniversary festivities spooling out this year, in that the club is to host a street party outside the club’s premises on Frith Street on Saturday 20 July. The confirmed line-up includes Pee Wee Ellis and his Funk Assembly, Nubya Garcia and a 7-piece latin-jazz band. Full details: here.
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Beefy brass and funked up Wu-Tang Clan from Steely Dan trumpeter Michael Leonhart.
Laid back samba from Duduka Da Fonseca and starry guests.
Airy electronica fashioned as if it were counterpoint by the very fine Aki Rissanen piano trio.
You may well search hard and long but may probably never find two more virtuosic musicians deliver a new album in a set-up which is so very unusual. Swiss-born harmonica wizard Grégoire Maret and Columbian harpist Edmar Castañeda however keep things loose and erect no barriers to listening and this is far from a showboating exercise because it is so bluesy and laidback from the off.
Tunes lean towards originals and gems like a stately version of ‘Our Spanish Love Song’ by Charlie Haden and the Brazilian standard ‘Manhã de Carnaval’ by Luiz Bonfá also make the cut. Guests are Béla Fleck, another once in a lifetime virtuoso, and fine singer Andrea Tierra do not crowd in too much. Maret has the unique ability to speak to you like a singer might and for instance on Tierra vocal track ‘Acts’ matches the singer in tenderness and kind. Castañeda keeps marvellous time and brings a gravitas to the record and when he opens up say on the Bonfá standard shows how natural an improviser he is. Tailor made for radio play this has a gentle easy listening appeal but there is more grit and meaning than a gentle, indulgent stroll and is a pleasure from beginning to end. SG. photo: ACT
He is the foremost jazz musician who writes for film, has picked up five Grammys along the way, and now Terence Blanchard has been named the first Kenny Burrell Chair in Jazz Studies at the UCLA [University of California at Los Angeles] Herb Alpert School of Music. The chair according to UCLA is a key component of the school’s new global jazz studies programme. “Terence’s accomplishments are impressive and astounding for their range,” says school of music Dean Judith Smith. “His commitment to educating the next generation of jazz artists and his devotion to illuminating social justice issues through his music embody our UCLA values and align with the mission of our global jazz studies program.”
Blanchard says: “I’m looking forward to educating new generations of jazz artists, not only as performers, but as teachers, producers and jazz scholars who understand the power of music to transform the worlds in which they engage.”
Mark 29 and 30 July in your diaries... they make for a couple of chances to catch one of the most swinging soulfully bluesy jazz saxophone masters in the ideal circumstances of a small jazz club situation.
Now in his eighties Houston Person has more than 75 albums under his own name on Prestige, Westbound, Mercury, Savoy, Muse, and is currently with High Note Records. He has recorded with Charles Brown, Charles Earland, Lena Horne, Etta Jones, Lou Rawls, Horace Silver, Dakota Staton, and many more.
His latest record is I’m Just a Lucky So and So, from which his version of ‘Willow Weep For Me’ can be heard above, is released on High Note at the end of July. Hear him with his organ trio at Pizza Express Jazz Club, London. Remember: you only really learn deep down as a player or as a listener by hearing and experiencing the masters live. Tickets.