Enjoying a richly fertile period of creativity at the moment, with for instance After Life striking in its originality in the joy of its reworking of freebop, Noah Preminger is back this autumn with what seems like, just a hunch, a new high watermark, Zigsaw: Music of Steve Lampert. Marlbank asked Noah to introduce the new project and Steve has also kindly contributed a few words in addition.
“It’s difficult to put into words just how meaningful this record is to me, but after 25 years of playing saxophone, travelling the globe as a performer and having recorded 14 albums as a bandleader, I’ve never been so excited as I am now about the release of Zigsaw: Music of Steve Lampert. The band members on Zigsaw are some of the most innovative, swinging and inspiring improvisers and the piece really features all of us in an extraordinary way.
“I met Steve Lampert at a gig in Greenwich Village around 2010 and we immediately struck up a deep friendship. Listening to and recording Steve’s music has given me a fuller perspective on the relationship between improvisation and composition, deepening the richness of my musical palette. I’m so thankful to Steve for the energy and love he put into creating such a magical piece. I hope listeners will hear the complexities and relatability of the composition, as well as the fierceness and depth of the improvisation.”
Steve Lampert adds: “‘Zigsaw’ was joyfully composed in response to a request from Noah Preminger and is dedicated to him. The piece is a metaphor for dreams I’ve had, sometimes of surreal character, which zigzag along in puzzle-like continuities. Stylized episodes return in these dreams but they always bear a transformed content somewhat like jigsaw puzzle pieces which have similar or even identical shapes while presenting differing parts of the overall image to which they contribute.”
After Sligo coming up this week the next big Irish jazz gathering is at the tail end of September. News of what is on this year is filtering out in dribs and drabs.
The Sarah Gillespie quintet, Ant Law quartet, Beats and Pieces, part of an Irish tour, and the Darius Brubeck quartet (led by the son of Dave Brubeck building towards the launch of Live in Poland) are among the artists to appear.
The festival website is hard to navigate. Mooch about there for more of what is planned up. More importantly this is a very strong line-up by the looks of it.
Last word: see the tickets page for a good smattering of gigs.
I like this story, run on a local website in Madison, Wisconsin, about the naming of “Richard Davis Lane” after the great Out to Lunch and Astral Weeks bassist. The latter album would not conjure the same spell if Davis had happened not to be on it. He contributes to some of its most intimate moments, seemingly getting on a deep level what Van is singing. As for Out to Lunch, well Dolphy is a God and this was his best album. Hugely demanding in terms of its beat and ever shifting feel, again impossible to appreciate without Davis, it continues to inspire great bands like Empirical and fans old and new the world over. SG
Not so much a candidate more a shoo-in, I’ll do an updatable list soon, for inclusion in the best UK jazz albums of the year state of play.
Why so good? Well, the composition puts shreds of a whole bag of styles in the mixer and finds texture and passion. There is quite a lot of free form experimentation, there is also a good deal of trad jazz, exotic easternisms, Americana even thrown in. The shape of the tunes is really clever: you cannot guess what is coming next. Above all Jurd is original. I would hesitate to compare her in terms of sound to anyone. By the way she does not sound in terms of tone or timbre like Kenny Wheeler, which a lot of great Britjazz trumpeters do through love as much as anything else. I am sure she could play a homage to him if she wanted to and it would be thought-provoking but might upset people who would want an impersonation. (People also make the comparisons with Miles Davis, or did earlier in her career. Forget that because it is completely not apt.)
What I do hear in her playing, just impulsive thoughts but hey as valid as anything, include some sort of distant brass band retooled in an avant laboratory. Read Richard Williams’ blog on Jurd. Above all listen and pick up a copy of Stepping Back, Jumping in (on the Edition label and out now) [**** RECOMMENDED]. SG
Have a listen to the moving lead-off track from Hypermetros, out in late-September. Cult status suits Oddarrang well. Looks like the legend will grow that bit bigger, listening to this. SG
From In Need of Love which will be released by Elektra/Warners in September.
Birmingham City University has awarded singer Laura Mvula an honorary doctorate.
An alumna of the university where she studied composition, she will receive the honour from the university’s Chancellor actor Sir Lenny Henry on 23 July.
“I'm humbled and delighted to be receiving such an immense honour. From primary school through to Conservatoire studies, Birmingham — with its richness and diversity — was the soil in which the seeds of my formative years of music were sown. The Conservatoire gave me the tools and confidence to experiment and express myself. It’s incredible to think that from this wonderfully inspiring place, so many amazing opportunities have been mine and I have developed into the artist I am today — and am still growing. I’m so grateful,” she said in response to the news.
In the autumn Laura’s song ‘Sing to the Moon’ will feature in the 2019 Last Night of the Proms live TV broadcast concert, with Sakari Oramo conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, at the Royal Albert Hall.
Barb Jungr, big on the cabaret circuit and who has a strong jazz element to her work particularly evident, above, has a new album Bob, Brel & Me to be released on 6 September via Kristalyn/Absolute. From it the cracking single ‘Rise and Shine’, she has co-written with Level 42’s Mike Lindup and boisterously arranged with brassy support, has just come out. Yep: it flies.
Edition Records are to release five Julian Argüelles back catalogue albums next week, amounting to one of the most significant UK jazz reissue projects this year, most of these are unavailable right now and include his classic Babel period. The albums are:
Phaedrus (Ah Um 1990) Personnel: Julian Argüelles - tenor/soprano, John Taylor - piano, Mick Hutton - bass, Martin France - drums.
Home Truths (Babel label 1995) Personnel: Julian Argüelles - tenor/soprano, Mike Walker - guitar, Martin France - drums, Steve Swallow - electric bass.
Scapes (Babel label 1996) Personnel: Julian Argüelles - saxes, clarinets, recorders, keyboards and handclaps Steve Argüelles - percussion and drums.
Skull View (Babel label 1997) Personnel: Django Bates - tenor horn, Ian Dixon - bass clarinet, tenor sax, Mark Bassey - trombone, Mario Laginha - piano, Mike Walker - electric, acoustic guitars, Steve Watts - double bass, Martin France - drums.
Inner Voices (TOAP 2009) Personnel: Julian Argüelles soprano, tenor, baritone and contrabass saxophones; clarinet and bass clarinet; piccolo, flute and alto flute; mouth harp, saxophone percussion, prepared piano and voice.
Check out a sunny lead off track from the accessible soul-funk-jazz outfit Souljazz Orchestra who return with a new studio album Chaos Theories to be issued by Strut on 13 September before playing Jazz Cafe, London on 16 October and Sugar Club, Dublin on 17 October. If you like Was (Not Was) this might make your day.
One of the big highlights of the Sligo Jazz Project this year is the appearance by the Jaco Pastorius-inspired bass guitarist Michael Pipoquinha and his quartet.
Pipoquinha emerged as a teenage prodigy. His technique and natural flair, which stun, it is no exaggeration to say, bassists and general listeners the world over, uses in part a thumb-plus-three-finger technique as a part of his style.
“We strive to present brilliant young and emerging jazz talent in Sligo each year,” says Sligo Jazz Festival director Eddie Lee, “and always have an eye on the Internet for great music. For example we have hosted Christian Scott, Avishai Cohen and Andreas Varady in past years and many young UK jazz artists like Trish Clowes and Laura Jurd.
Michael Pipoquinha, above, photo: Celso Volfe, will be appearing at the Hawk’s Well theatre in Sligo with Pedro Martins, guitar, Leonardo Montana, piano, and Adriano DD, drums/percussion.