|1.00pm||david lyttle||black gate cultural centre||€7||On The Door|
|5.00pm||books to die for / songs to live for||charlie byrne’s bookshop||free||
|6.00pm||official festival opening||the kitchen||free||
|7.00pm||jazz from a window||the blue note||free||
|7.30pm||in flow||nuns’ island theatre||€10||buy tickets|
|8.00pm||lauren kinsella - saoirse||an taibhdhearc||€16.50||buy tickets|
|10.00pm||zrazy||black gate cultural centre||€11.50||buy 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.
The question in the headline above is on a topic that needs addressing.
Playlists, the popular ones are on sites such as Spotify and Apple, are one entry point to new jazz. Sometimes DJs also publish their playlists.
If you are a playlist person especially currently when “singles” are everywhere you may also be somehow residually an “album” sort. However, given the direction of travel at the moment and the lack of time that most people possess which often proves insufficient to keep up with new jazz and proves a struggle even to wade a little in the water, the chances are your “album” side is less evident than your playlist dominant routine preference.
Looking at playlists, some of these are very long indeed and tell very little about anything out of context. Only a few are actually full of brand new releases. Some contain tracks that have been around for months. Above all they are marketing driven however curated.
Do we listeners want to listen to something that is commercially popular? Sometimes but not always, may well be one response.
To flip that on its head if something fails to sell do we want to listen to something unpopular? Sometimes but not always is also a possible response in all likelihood.
Crucially jazz listeners need a complete album to listen to for the full story. Playlists, basically compilations put together for consumer or social, mood, lifestyle, channel, entertainment reasons, do not offer this ability.
The answer then to the headline is “not really”. The question needs asking however and returning to as tech continues to change and playlists continue to be an important factor in the route to jazz listening and developing a love and knowledge of the music. They are, however, far from reliable be-all and end-alls in other words.
|wednesday/dé céadaoin 2nd october/
|1.00pm||cormac mcCarthy trio||o’Donoghue theatre, NUIG||free||
|6.00pm||the jazz ambassadors||pictúir pálás||€10.00||buy tickets|
|7.30pm||in flow||nuns’ island theatre||€10.00||buy tickets|
|8.00pm||bat walk||galway cathedral||free||
|9.00pm||cormac mcCarthy trio||blue note||free||
|1.00pm||Úna monaghan and pauline scanlon||black gate cultural centre||€7.00||On The Door|
|5.00pm||anna mullarkey workshop||an taibhdhearc||€8.00||buy tickets|
|6.00pm||Úna monaghan||kieran moloney music shop||free||
|6.00pm||blue groove trio||blue note||free||
|7.00pm||matthew berrill / Neil O'Lochlann / Dan Walsh||salthouse||free||
|7.30pm||in flow||nuns’ island theatre||€10.00||buy tickets|
|8.00pm||andreas varady trio||an taibhdhearc||€16.50||buy tickets|
|9.30pm||house trio + colm o’Hara||il vicolo||free||
|10.00pm||renaud garcia fons / claire antonini||black gate cultural centre||€36.50||buy tickets|
|11.00pm||anna mullarkey / matthew berrill||electric||€6.00||buy tickets|
|11.00am–10.00pm||pop up record shop||mick lally theatre||free||
|12.00pm||johnny taylor trio||massimos||free||
|12.00pm||roxy's head is melted||mick lally theatre||€11.50||buy tickets|
|1.00pm||róisín mulliez||black gate cultural centre||€7||On The Door|
|2.00pm||joe O'Callaghan||coffeewerk and press||free||
|2.30pm||bog bodies||mick lally theatre||€11.50||buy tickets|
|3.00pm||chris montague workshop||maoin cheoil na gaillimhe||€10||buy tickets|
|4.00pm||trish clowes / ross stanley||cava bodega||free||
|4.30pm||lise-lotte norelius / soren runolf||mick lally theatre||€7||On The Door|
|5.00pm||aengus hackett / barry donohue / matthew jacobson||salthouse||free||
|6.00pm||brian fleming||kieran moloney music shop||free||
|7.00pm||trish clowes - my iris||mick lally theatre||€11.50||buy tickets|
|9.30pm||kaja draksler / eve risser||mick lally theatre||€11.50||buy tickets|
|10.00pm||fixity||black gate cultural centre||€15.50||buy tickets|
|10.00pm||house trio + richie buckley||il vicolo||free||
|11.00am||art of the tree-o||st. nicholas’ collegiate church grounds||free||
|12.00pm||emilie conway - the smashing red kite’s blues||mick lally theatre||€5.00||On The Door|
|12.00pm||london gay big band||electric||€16.00||buy tickets|
|2.00pm||joe O'Callaghan||coffeewerk and press||free||
|2.00pm||GJF ensemble masterclass with neil yates||black gate cultural centre||free||
|3.00pm||sue rynhart trio||mick lally theatre||€7.00||On The Door|
|3.00pm||london gay big band||electric||€16.00||buy tickets|
|3.00pm||emilie conway / aengus hackett / damian evans||salthouse||free||
|3.30pm||GJF@GUH - johnny taylor trio||galway university hospital||free||
|5.30pm||daniele di bonaventura||loam||€16.50||buy tickets|
|7.30pm||house trio + neil yates||il vicolo||free||
|8.00pm||nils økland||st. nicholas’ collegiate church||€16.50||buy tickets|
|10.00pm||derrick mckenzie (dj set)||il vicolo||free|
The festival website address for full details is galwayjazzfest.ie.
In a word to answer the question above, plenty. Site to bookmark for instance: Dublin promoter IMC runs an Irish scene listings service. The list at the moment details regular Dublin jazz jam sessions at the Grand Social and Arthur’s on Mondays, an improv special with trombonist Paul Dunlea, above, in Cork at the Crane Lane on Tuesdays and a host of other gigs dotted around Ireland. The website address is here.
• Another listings site Jazz Ireland is also available for a bird’s eye view of the ever developing scene.
Look for the latest from the distinguished trumpeter Wallace Roney setting the autumn agenda big time in a classic hard bop direction first listens suggest. To be issued on the High Note label as summer fades into early autumn when the full album is out saxophonist Emilio Modeste, pianist Oscar Williams II, bassist Paul Cuffari, and drummer Kojo Odu Roney are on Blue Dawn, Blue Nights made at Van Gelder’s in New Jersey. Guitarist Quintin Zoto and drummer Lenny White complete the album collective personnel.
Wallace Roney emerged from the Ali’s Alley scene as a teen. With Miles he appeared on Miles and Quincy Live at Montreux. Roney is and remains a global force to be reckoned with. These sonic glimpses underline that. The countdown begins.
“The nominations have today been announced for the 2019 Parliamentary JazzAwards, organised by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) with the support of PizzaExpress Live.
The nominees include a broad array of jazz talent from the UK jazz scene.
The award categories reflect the ever-increasing scope of talent from within the UK’s jazz scene: Jazz Vocalist of the Year; Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year; Jazz Album of the Year; Jazz Ensemble of the Year; Jazz Newcomer of the Year; Jazz Venue of the Year; Jazz Media Award; Jazz Education Award; and the Services to Jazz Award.
Following the online public vote for the Awards, the shortlist was then voted upon by a selection panel, who represent a broad cross-section of backgrounds united in their passion and knowledge of jazz. The winners, chosen by judging members of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG), will be announced at the awards ceremony at PizzaExpress Live, Holborn, London on Tuesday 3rd December 2019.
Kelvin Hopkins MP, Co-Chair of APPJAG, said: “These shortlists demonstrate the wealth of talent and commitment that exists in the British jazz scene. Now in its 15th year, the Parliamentary Jazz Awards honours the best of British jazz. MPs and Peers in the All Party Group are delighted to host another ceremony at Pizza Express Live and we are extremely grateful to PizzaExpress Live for supporting the event.”
Jazz Vocalist of the Year
Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year
Jazz Album of the Year
Sons Of Kemet – “Your Queen Is A Reptile”
Adrian Cox – “Profoundly Blue”
Fergus McCreadie – “Turas”
Jean Toussaint – “Brother Raymond”
Jazz Ensemble of the Year
London Vocal Project
Gareth Lockrane Big Band
Jazz Newcomer of the Year
Jazz Venue of the Year
Marsden Jazz Festival
Bebop Club, Bristol
Watermill Jazz Club, Dorking
Verdict Jazz Club, Brighton
Jazz Media Award
Kevin Le Gendre
Ian Mann – Jazzmann
Jazz Education Award
Services to Jazz Award
Dame Cleo Laine”
Marlbank asked what the dates are, in which city they will take place, and if there will be a separate jazz event as in some recent years. Henk Elzenga, a director of the MOBOs replied by email: “We are hoping to bring the Awards back in November – we are working on it and will need to know soon. A day and venue have been pencilled in yet funding is the challenge. Not sure at this point what and if we can do anything around gospel and jazz specifically for that same reason.” SG
Remember how Rymden appeared so stirringly earlier this year? Cast your minds back.
Dan Berglund, above left, Bugge Wesseltoft and Magnus Öström whose Reflections and Odysseys was an 8 February release. In terms of tick boxes: yes to absorbing metrical investigation, lots of electricity, big bass and energetic drums. No however to navel gazing and ponderous pomposity which often bedevils prog-jazz.
This style is the antithesis of ambient Nordic spaciousness and it is a busy sound. On a tune like ‘Pitter Patter’ however you can source the sound back to say Chick Corea because Wesseltoft using the Rhodes electric piano knows that terrain inside out and manages to sound ahead of the game even when the sound of the Rhodes is everywhere this last decade.
‘The Lugubrious Youth of Lucky Luke’ is probably the most EST-like of all the tunes, a slow ballad that takes its time to unfold after a folk-ish opening melodic mood is established by Wesseltoft on piano with almost a country lilt to it.
‘Homegrown’ in a major rather than minor mood at the end is a beauty and shows this band are not afraid to use warm and rich melody, cadences to die for, to their advantage without being at all twee.
If you are an EST fan you will see how time is a healer and how too Bugge Wesseltoft is the perfect person to harness the beauty of that band and paint new pictures with the spirit and all that heart. Everything glues together which may have been the hope but certainly to these ears is the reality. SG
Rymden are headliners on the final night of this autumn’s Punkt held over 5-7 September.