Approaching the busiest time of year for releases, that is between now, with the odd lull or two and mid-November, which is a perfect time to check out new stuff and as the autumn progresses a chance to be mindful of some of the best reissues and archive releases around, listen to a track of the day: the Jackie/Dollie McLean homage ‘Three Points and a Sphere’ by the Curtis Brothers from their upcoming Truth Revolution Records quintet album, Algorithm.

Zaccai on piano with brother Luques, who plays double bass, plus drummer Ralph Peterson complete the rhythm section, and have Donald Harrison on alto saxophone and perennial hard bop connoisseur’s choice Brian Lynch on trumpet in the front line. I remember hearing alto great Jackie McLean (1931-2006) live at the Union Chapel in Islington back in the 1990s. Impressions that time remain vivid: ‘Three Points... Sphere’ resounds and conjures the essence. 


Set to open the New York film festival [29/07/19 update]. The Martin Scorsese directed big-budget hitman movie The Irishman is the first from the Raging Bull icon in a while. The pithy trailer has been around quite a few months. The tasty lead-off track from Sinematic has been on constant rotation in these parts for a few days since it appeared only last week and sets the bar high in terms of expectation in terms of the music on the film.

Look at the personnel on the listing tacked on to the YouTube track. Chris Dave is on drums, and bass star Pino Palladino (last heard enjoyably with José James)... well as reliable as ever, among the musicians. The “ooo ooo” backing vocals add a little length to the metre, and Van Morrison sounds very measured and, as the song progresses, lit up (“I got caught up in this wicked world,” that high line stretching up into a harsh blue note especially a beaut). 

Dig out The Last Waltz also if you have more time for full immersion and a trip to concert-music/documentary movie dreamland. That joins the dots appropriately. Robbie Robertson is effortlessly conversational, necessarily menacing and expressive as interlocutor. Blistering guitar break-out towards the tail end note too. It all falls into place. SG.

Come and Go

The third venue for performances of Come and Go by Samuel Beckett in a production by the Mark Morris Dance Group, this one en plein air. Cherry Island is a little strip of land, but not an island, running by the river Erne and the island of Enniskillen itself just over the fairly modern Johnston Bridge and close to the site of the new home of the South West College. 

Mark Morris

Cherry Island

Unamplified, only a slight wind and the sound of quiet traffic from the nearby roads whooshing by, this was a beautiful setting, lily pads behind the “stage” even. I sincerely hope this brand new production is picked up by big theatres such as the Barbican in London and in New York and nearer home into the west in Sligo or Galway should there be any plans to tour more. If not being there was always about capturing the now as ever. It did. Pitch perfect. So good. SG.

Mark Morris middle picture. Some of the audience and two of the cast, the third obscured, top. Above, the setting minutes before the 11am performance. See also: Steele Hall show. Photos: marlbank.

Previously trailed, now some official audio has been issued. As reported:

Called Spectrum and only the charismatic jazz-rock Japanese pianist Hiromi’s second solo piano release after Place to Be a decade ago this will be out in October on Telarc and tracks include ‘Mr. C.C.,’ an imaginary score for a Charlie Chaplin film.

Hiromi will be in the UK in November playing Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on 1 November and Southwark Cathedral, London on 2 November. 


Quad, by Samuel Beckett, with music composed by Ethan Iverson, premiered last night in a Happy Days/Banff-commissioned world premiere production by the Mark Morris Dance Group

The music amounts to a percussion piece performed by four musicians recruited locally. In terms of its style the music of Steve Reich sprung to mind in terms of rough navigation especially in the sharing of a certain affinity to repetition and ritual. 

In terms of the instrumentation the use of blocks and tiny bells were most significant and ultimately the beating of a drum. Tintinnabulation was kept to a minimum yet unmistakable and yet in a certain section, a highlight, possibly delivered a few times, was significant in its effects. 

Mark Morris sat — his audience in the Regal were dotted about approximately in the round — cueing some of the trickier sections, mainly just watching, and the actors did their dance, a walk, a dash, a circling, according to the mathematics of Beckett’s script.

Quad is a play about subtraction and yet the multiplication of the scurry and near collisions of the actors within the strictness of the metre, time and above all silence was achieved in what was a highly stimulating performance enhanced by the score.

— Stephen Graham 

Happy Days continues today, visit artsoverborders.comPhoto Enniskillen sky, towards last light: marlbank.  

Ätsch are a Dublin-based quartet formed by German guitarist Matthias Winkler three years ago at a time when he was studying music in Ireland. With Winkler are pianist Graham Bourke, bass guitarist Eoin O’Halloran, and drummer Hugh Denman. Ätsch have their own thing going on that draws on a number of different areas way beyond most jazz however they also circle on the centrality of certain mainstream styles that neither the words “modern” nor “progressive” tacked on as a prefix do justice. The intertwining nature of these border crossing explorations is what makes these fellas sound fresh. The tunes breathe big, clean air. Check the band live rehearsing in the video; and then immerse yourselves in the digital album itself or opt to stream. SG ****