Produced by John Patitucci, bass guitarist Gwizdala has Clarence Penn on drums, Philip Dizack on trumpet, and Ruslan Sirota on piano on his upcoming album The Union. Look for it at the end of June.
Buxton Water have enlisted drummer Moses Boyd for their latest TV ad campaign which hit screens on 3 June, and follows stories of resilience and determination from three up and comers from the worlds of music, sport, and dance: ballerina Georgie Rose-Connolly, rower Josh Bugajski, and Boyd, best known for his band Exodus, duo with Binker Golding and working with singer Zara McFarlane.
Check it out.
There is so much to like here, the arranging certainly, the bags of optimism for sure, huge talent, and sheer creativity are there in great abundance. However, I think it is fair to say that Elftet does not all quite hang together as an album, a whole crowd of ideas maybe needing a bit more space and some canny pruning back.
Award winning vibist Jonny Mansfield however manages to inject a little heat into the chamber jazz-like settings and certainly in the way the horns respond (having a guest like Chris Potter on one track does no harm either) lifts the album to new heights.
As proof that Mansfield is a name for the future Elftet certainly succeeds. But I bet his next album will have a good deal more clarity and not be so intent on packing everything including the kitchen sink in. Caveat aside for now: sit back and prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of a listen. SG. Out now.
Full personnel: Ella Hohnen-Ford - Vocals & Flute; James Davison - Trumpet & Flugel; Tom Smith - Alto, Tenor Sax & Flute; George Millard - Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet & Flute; Rory Ingham - Trombone; Dominic Ingham - Violin; Laura Armstrong - Cello; Oliver Mason - Guitar; Jonny Mansfield - Vibraphone & Composition; Will Harris - Double Bass & Electric Bass; Boz Martin-Jones - Drums. Guests; Chris Potter - Tenor Sax (track 2); Gareth Lockrane - Flute (track 4); Kit Downes - Hammond Organ (track 9).
Just adding an example track (updated 21 June) from one of the jazz-vocals events of the year in prospect. As previously reported with eight original songs Love and Liberation is to be released just as the earlier A Social Call was on the Concord label. It is striking listening to ‘When I Say’ how intuitively Horn inhabits that boisterous rollercoaster of a Betty Carter sound.
Horn who will be appearing with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra for dates this autumn, click for more information, has pianists Victor Gould and special guest Sullivan Fortner on the Chris Dunn-produced album plus tenor saxophonist Stacey Dillard and trumpeter Josh Evans, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer/singer Jamison Ross.
Covers on Love and Liberation are Jon Hendrick’s ‘No More’ , Erykah Badu’s ‘Green Eyes’, Rachelle Farrell’s ‘Reflection of My Heart’ duetting with drummer/singer Jamison Ross, and Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Mercer’s ‘I Thought About You.’
It is a 27 August launch date at Pizza Express Jazz Club for Travel Sketches, new on the Ubuntu label from Steve Winwood saxophonist Paul Booth.
With the Booth quartet of Steve Hamilton piano, Dave Whitford on bass and Andrew Bain on drums most of the tunes are originals plus a cover of Peter Gabriel's ‘Don't Give Up’ is included. Booth is on the faculty and performs this summer at the Sligo Jazz Project.
New Soho venue Boulevard Theatre on the site of the old Raymond Revue Bar has announced a late-night offering of music, comedy and cabaret running from Wednesday-Saturday straight after its nightly theatre shows. Soho Sounds: Jazz will run every Wednesday night weekly from 6 November-18 December showcasing the best UK and international performers. The house trio will be Alex Webb (piano), Andy Champion (bass), and Pete Hill (drums). For the first season, composer, pianist and arranger Alex Webb will curate the night. Confirmed performers for the autumn include David McAlmont, China Moses, Jo Harrop, Vimala Rowe and singer-songwriter Anna Ross.
Engrossing free jazz listen from the Christina Dahl Quartet and their new album Quintesse to be released on the venerable Storyville album at the end of this month. Saxist Dahl is joined by guitarist Niclas Knudsen, Nils Bosse Davidsen, on bass & cello, and Espen Laub von Lillienskjold on drums playing Dahl compositions.
Quite taken by this, Mattson 2 are a psychedelic jazz duo comprising identical twin brothers Jared and Jonathan Mattson. The guitar-drums ’n’ moody vocals toting outfit have supported GoGo Penguin on tour in the States and Paradise just released is making waves in the US. Uncannily you could be into indie rock, or see yourself as a Yo La Tengo or Coltrane fan (they do their own out-of-the-ballpark take on A Love Supreme live), and get something different out of this. Only a matter of time before they play the UK, surely.
PRS Foundation and the Steve Reid Foundation have announced that the next deadline for the Steve Reid Innovation award is 8 August. It is an initiative for emerging artists worth up to £1,500 to assist with creative goals and career development and including mentoring from an experienced, successful working artist. Open to anyone based in the UK who writes and performs their own music and is currently unsigned and unmanaged. Submit links to your music as well as a three-minute video which explains your career to date, and how funding and mentoring would help with your creative development via: http://bit.ly/SRIAapply with the final deadline for submissions of Thursday 8 August 2019, 6pm.
Brazilian singer-pianist Eliane Elias has a new orchestral project just announced which is to be released in the late-summer.
Love Stories sung mostly in English, features three original compositions plus seven arrangements of songs made famous by Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim. ‘Baby Come To Me’, above, the Rod Temperton song recorded in a hit version by Patti Austin and James Ingram in 1983 also makes its smoochy presence felt.
With Elias on the album, which is to be released by Concord at the end of August, are Marcus Texiera on guitar and Edu Ribeiro, Rafael Barata and Celso Almeida on drums – plus her core collaborators, her husband co-producer and bassist Marc Johnson and co-producer Steve Rodby. The orchestrations are by long-term associate Rob Mathes. Roberto Menescal guests on ‘Little Boat.’
Elias (photo above: Bob Wolfenson/Concord) plays the London Jazz Festival this year appearing at the Barbican on 22 November.
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.
Pianist Zac Gvi returns this summer with a smart new Thelonious Monk-themed album on the F-IRE label.
Called Monk Spent Youth it features Ben Davis (cello), Fred Thomas (drums, bass, prepared piano) and Gvi on piano, bass clarinet, organ, toy piano. The album was recorded by Alex Bonney at Greenway Studios and Heath Street Baptist Church in Hampstead, and mixed and mastered by Bonney. The launch will be on 13 August at the Vortex in London.
At least a couple of times a year I go out to see an unreconstructed blues-rock guitarist called Pat McManus who has incredible chops but does not play jazz, only getting close when he opens up on a Hendrix-like run. I often wonder standing in front of his power trio how it would sound if he played jazz. It probably would not work in the same way. However this guy Olli Hirvonen (photo: Luke Marantz) can do the sort of things I want with a guitar and this summer the guitarist who used to be on the Edition label and who has won a high profile Montreux Jazz Guitar competition judged by John McLaughlin switches to US indie Ropeadope returns with Displace. I have been listening to the album, which I must say is superb, this morning but cannot share anything for the time being: maybe something will turn up on YouTube or Bandcamp and if so I will add a track or two.
It is pretty compulsive stuff kitted out with gutsy McLaughlin-like jagged lines full of intensity and strength. The 30-year-old Finn is in a quartet setting with pianist Luke Marantz, bassist Marty Kenney and drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell. Playing a Fender Jazzmaster solidbody electric guitar there is something completely organic about his sound, full of a very modern sounding jazz without being remotely avant garde but with that spiky sound going on that commands attention. Hirvonen started studying classical guitar in Finland when he was 9, studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and at Manhattan School of Music in New York where his creative world opened up and he began to move away from bebop to the sounds of the likes of Nels Cline and Lee Ranaldo. Next time I hear Pat McManus I will be thinking of Hirvonen and wondering if when the Finn was into Deep Purple years ago he sounded anything like Pat. Look for the record in late-August. SG.
The National Jazz Youth Orchestra has announced details of a new scheme called the NYJO Jazz Exchange which is a two-year national project which NYJO says is about “encouraging young professional musicians to take charge of their artistic voice.”
To begin next year ten musicians will be supported by mentorship, regular rehearsals, paid performances and masterclasses with the first ensemble to be coached by vibist Orphy Robinson MBE, pictured above.
The initiative is funded by Arts Council England and the Peter Sowerby Foundation.
Austrian saxophonist, flautist, bandleader and educator Karlheinz Miklin died on Saturday afternoon following a stroke. He was 72. The Carinthian culture minister and governor Peter Kaiser expressed his deepest sympathy to Miklin’s family and said that Carinthia has lost an inspirational cultural ambassador.
Miklin appeared in numerous projects, including with Albert Mangelsdorff, Art Farmer, Mark Murphy, Horace Parlan, Mel Lewis and Barre Phillips and appeared at festivals all over Europe during a long career. From 1983 to 2000 he led the jazz department of the Graz University of Arts.
I will be updating my pick of the year so far soon to add Carib. It is one of those albums where everything just gels.
To be frank I had forgotten about Sánchez in recent years. I used to like his gutsy, powerful, natural sound a lot in the 1990s and interviewed him once for a long forgotten magazine called Jazz on CD.
Somehow however contemporaries like Danilo Pérez have become much higher profile. The Puerto Rican taps his homeland and Haiti for inspiration that connects with his 1990s self on albums like The Departure. Sánchez also manages to make the connection between the Caribbean and the US a seamless one, Dizzy Gillespie knew how to do that years ago and that style still makes sense.
The album has its poignancy. Sánchez says: “This album is in memory of my father Dimas and especially my late wife Karla. After a great deal of research and listening to Haitian music, Karla encouraged and helped me take a trip to Haiti. It was an incredible and intense experience, seeing everyday people’s struggles. She felt like it was important that I had this direct contact with Haitian culture. I feel like this recording wouldn’t have been possible without her wisdom, sensibility and love. Even if she wasn’t physically around when I was in the studio, she was constantly present in many different forms and definitely a key component of this album’s vibe.”
Check Carib out above: drummer Obed Calvaire, guitarist Lage Lund, bassist Ricky Rodriguez, and pianist Luis Perdomo who plays the Fender Rhodes on just under half the 11 tracks join the saxist. It is simply a thrill. SG
It is quite preposterous really how much pitch bending courtesy of guitarist Mark Wingfield is going on here... and it is also quite staggering how much empathy and sheer power he and long time Billy Cobham and John McLaughlin keyboardist Gary Husband generate. Tor & Vale is out next month and going by the generous example of the lead-off tracks will make the jazz-rock & prog fan in your life inordinately happy.
Dedicated to Umberto Eco, a friend of accordionist Gianni Coscia, Eco’s 2004 novel The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana inspired reedist Trovesi and Coscia on this new record to be released by ECM on 21 June. Listen to New Orleans classic ‘Basin Street Blues’ above.
Radically different from any album you will hear on current release This Land Abounds With Life (Biophilia) is essentially a piano trio album but you hardly realise. Pianist Fabian Almazan with his wife Linda May Han Oh (acoustic/electric bass) and Henry Cole (drums) shape a strong Cuban theme, and there is a certain power and widescreen compositional vision (a little birdsong too!) that make this stand out. It avoids trio clichés and has a strong percussive fix that contributes to the wealth of ideas on the album. Almazan is an extraordinary pianist and this album underlines that fact once again.
Great booking for the Soho Jazz Festival, back on again next month, with saxophone legend the 90-year-old Benny Golson who is also one of the most significant composers in jazz appearing, his work including ‘Whisper Not’, ‘Stablemates’ and ‘I Remember Clifford’. Dates are 12 and 13 July. Check out the rest of the festival running from 5-15 July too, Melissa Aldana and Joel Ross, Lew Tabackin and Goldings/Bernstein/Stewart also appear. Details.
This blasts out of the speakers. Worth saying, so much contemporary jazz is pretty quiet. A lot of production has gone into this record by trumpeter Theo Croker, samples and spooky echoes abound. Croker has great tone and a sense of attack on the track above and if you like Christian Scott you will probably enjoy his similar approach. Bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Kassa Overall are used well and Irwin Hall on alto sax gives the front line firepower, I’d prefer the album as fully instrumental my only caveat, none of the vocals contributions really connected with me. However, the Elew feature at the end on the pulsating ‘The Messenger’ really shows where Croker’s heart lies, beefy hard bop with a moody edge and if the whole album was as compelling as this then even better.
Interpretations of Brel crop up surprisingly often on jazz vocals album. This goes a step further and gathers a stellar crop of singers for a Larry Klein produced songbook album to mark the 90th anniversary of the great Belgian singer-songwriter’s birth. Melody Gardot, Madeleine Peyroux, Marianne Faithfull, Thomas Dutronc, etc etc are all included. Not everything hits the bull’s eye but Gardot steals the show. Out on Decca.
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.”
Terence Blanchard above, photo: Henry Adebonojo
To produce his version of ‘Moon River,’ Jacob Collier recorded himself singing 5,000 times and asked more than a few Huckleberry Friends to send a video of themselves singing the word “moon” in the key of B-flat. Chris Martin, Charlie Puth, Tori Kelly, David Crosby, Kimbra, Daniel Caesar, Merrill Garbus, JoJo, Darwin Deez, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Hans Zimmer, Steve Vai, Ty Dolla $ign and Lianne La Havas were just some of the respondees. ‘Moon River’ is from Djesse — Volume 2 to be released in July.
A mouthwatering limited edition 2LP set featuring a bonus 7-inch single of the track ‘Paradise’ is being put out by Rhino. Rubberband dates back over 30 years but was never released. The entire 11-song Rubberband album will make its debut finished off by the original producers and Davis’ nephew, Vince Wilburn, Jr., who played drums on the original sessions for the album in 1985-86. Vocals from Lalah Hathaway and Ledisi have been layered over Davis' trumpet and keyboard sessions. Look for the release in September.
1. Rubberband Of Life – featuring Ledisi
2. This Is It
4. So Emotional – featuring Lalah Hathaway
5. Give It Up
7. Carnival Time
8. I Love What We Make Together – featuring Randy Hall
9. See I See
10. Echoes In Time/The Wrinkle
A rather beautiful treatment of a number of Robert Schumann pieces, original material, and even that sentimental old favourite ‘Besame Mucho’ in the paired down setting of a duo: clarinettist Gabriele Mirabassi and pianist Enrico Zanisi who recorded in an Italian winery, part of a series close to their label’s heart.
A very delicate performance but containing plenty of life, the duo display rapport and sensitivity. It is all quite moving in a way. Go get this: it’s a surprise treat and a textbook example of how music from a number of sources can come together and make perfect sense. SG
More info at the CAM Jazz site.
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) — are to release Blume on 2 August, having signed to Domino. Check out the woozy hard bop and Afrobeat-flavoured ‘Riverfest’, above.
Pretty fresh sounding new pianist Olly Chalk here, check him out, who with alto sax star John O’Gallagher, bassist Sam Ingvorsen and drummer Gwilym Jones launch their album Scathed Citizens this summer.
Chalk was a winner of the Peter Whittingham Development Award in January 2018. Scathed Citizens has an adventurous progressive outlook that sits well with the style of Matthew Bourne.
Hear Chalk at the Vortex on 21 August.
Joe Stilgoe does not take himself too seriously and that characteristic sense of humour and love for retro jazz surfaces once again this time as he tackles the dreaded 1980s, when pop did its very best to eat itself! The Heat Is On: Swinging the 80s with his big band arranged by Evan Jolly features songs you never really expected to be jazzed up such as ‘The Heat Is On’, ‘Glory Of Love’, ‘When The Going Gets Tough’ and ‘St Elmo’s Fire’ for goodness’ sake. Singer-pianist Stilgoe, son of witty That’s Life entertainer Richard Stilgoe, has already sold out Ronnie Scott’s for his 30 June show coming up when the album is released on the Silva Screen label.
A busy year of releases for bassist Mats Eilertsen 2019 is proving to be. I enjoyed And Then Comes the Night back in February and now the if anything even more hardcore release Reveries and Revelations on the folk-inclined Hubro label. To be frank I am not immediately taken by ‘Tundra,’ the heavily produced lead-off track but it is worth being patient with. Personnel includes a guesting Geir Sundstøl on guitar and banjo, Eivind Aarset guitar, Per Oddvar Johansen drums, Thomas Strønen, drums, and Arve Henriksen trumpet. Eilertsen provides the tunes and variously plays double bass, electric bass, acoustic bass guitar, guitar, harmonium, and keyboards. “An experimental score for some yet to be realised film,” the label suggests. Hmmm, wishful thinking no doubt but Eilertsen is worth spending quality time with in what is proving a bumper year of releases for him.
Impressive sounds from singer Quiana Lynell in an accessible mix that takes in Love Unlimited/Chaka Khan’s ‘Move Me No Mountain,’ Irma Thomas’ ‘Hip Shakin’ Momma’ and Donny Hathaway’s ‘Tryin’ Times’. Cyrus Chestnut on piano steers the band well and there is a heartland command of ‘Come Sunday/I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free)’. If your tastes yearn for a jazz with a twist of soul then A Little Love is perfect listening among the current crop of releases.