At last: to be released by DeepMatter on 20 September voilà PYJÆN: after a lot of promise on the singles so far. Leaning towards prog jazz-rock (Polar Bear at the jazziest end, Dream Theater the proggiest) on their latest sounds, but with a very individual and fresh attitude.
The five-piece: Dani Diodato, guitar; Dylan Jones, trumpet; Ben Vize, saxophone; Charlie Hutchinson, drums; Benjamin Crane, bass; arrived first on the marlbank new band radar last year when they were touring. As mentioned back then: They can do hard blowing Brecker-esque tenor, Byron Wallen-like trumpet, wiry guitar, rapport, flow, ladlings of Afrobeat, an energetic pulsing undertow to boot: these guys are not afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves. A London five-piece formed via friendship and study at the Trinity Laban conservatoire in Greenwich. Vize is a new star in the making. Surely his and their profile will soar given a bit of luck. There is also a lot of stimulating heat rising from the drums. Hutchinson makes me want to listen to a bunch of Greg Bissonette solos. Yep, it cooks.
While they can do all the above the direction is clearly more in a unique prog-jazz space and moves that style on a bit since the last innovations were made by World Service Project. Could PYJÆN be the Colosseum of 2019? Tremble at that crazy prospect.
Concord are leading the way at the moment with release after quality release from quite a number of big and upcoming names. Long may it continue. The latest to drop online is promo for Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber Fusion with the deliciously incendiary ‘Ha Ha Hotel’ from Eleven, to be issued in late-September. Not at all smooth jazz by the way. There is a funky James Brown-like undertow in the response to the flying jazz-rock soloing here, the tempo completely ramped up.
Blue World by John Coltrane will be released by Impulse! on 27 September. Featuring Coltrane with Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner, recorded in 1964, this has not been issued commercially before by an official label. According to Pitchfork the album was: “Recorded at New Jersey’s Van Gelder Studios, the 37-minute session was made at the request of Canadian filmmaker Gilles Groulx, who had asked Coltrane to soundtrack his film Le chat dans le sac.”
Press release follows:
An unreleased and never-before-heard 1964 recording by John Coltrane and his Classic Quartet, Blue World, will be released by Impulse!/UMe on 27 September. It features new recordings of earlier works which, in an almost unprecedented move, they reinterpreted for this session, recorded at Van Gelder Studios.
The album will available on CD, vinyl LP and digitally, and is previewed by the release of the title track, which is now available:
The recordings were made in June 1964, in between the sessions for Crescent and A Love Supreme. Coltrane had been approached by a filmmaker in Quebec, Gilles Groux, who was planning to make his film Le chat dans le sac, a love story set in Montreal that had political overtones.
Groulx was a devoted Coltrane aficionado, and via his connection with bassist Jimmy Garrison, he approached the great jazz figurehead with the idea of Coltrane recording the film’s soundtrack. Remarkably, he agreed.
Sp it was that he went into the studio with Garrison, Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner to revisit and reinterpret some of Coltrane’s earlier works. The session was recorded on quarter-inch analog mono tape and mixed by the great jazz engineer Rudy Van Gelder on 24 June. Groulx, who had been present at the session, took the masters to Canada to use in Le chat dans le sac, but only included ten minutes from the 37-minute recording.
Kevin Reeves at Universal Music Mastering in New York has now mastered Blue World from the original analog tape. The lacquers for the new release were cut at Capitol Studios by Ron McMaster.
Devotees and new admirers will hear both Coltrane’s creative progression and the consistent, interactive sound that had become the signature of the Classic Quartet by 1964. The album is also a window into a fascinating and hugely significant period in Coltrane’s musical evolution, set in between two of his most transcendent recordings. Crescent was released in July, and A Love Supreme the following January.
Crepuscule In Nickelsdorf (Intakt Records) by Trance Map+: Evan Parker, Matthew Wright, Adam Linson, John Coxon and Ashley Wales, is a seven part mix of field recordings, samples from cassettes, turntable scratching and live processing of Evan Parker saxophone recordings. Think of the tracks, recorded in Austria on 22 July 2017, if you like as somehow figuratively conjuring a 21st century Turner electroacoustic seascape transmogrified to forest in a void far from home because all sense of reality is upended in the churning turbulence of dreams. Quite brilliant, especially in the practically patented use of upper beyond-ledger line partials by Parker — all sounds are hugely organic in the mix. SG *****
The Love Stories opener is a version of Frances Lai’s theme song from the 1966 Claude Lelouch directed film Un homme et une femme — in English A Man and a Woman. The Brazilian Elias remains firmly and even more resolutely an easy listening jazz singer on this latest album. At concerts it is also, worth noting, her pianism, an effortless Evansiana, proved overwhelmingly on Something for You: Eliane Elias Sings & Plays Bill Evans that can and often does steal the show. However, her singing style is a masterclass in softness. The bossa absorbs her.
Hear Eliane Elias at the EFG London Jazz Festival this year. She appears at the Barbican on 22 November.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.