Highlights include:

• Andy Scott: Mancunity – Thursday 23 May, across the city leading to St Ann’s Square
• Sarah Tandy Quintet + Skeltr – Monday 27 May
• Orphy Robinson All Stars: The Bobby Hutcherson Songbook – Sunday 26 May, RNCM Theatre
 Sanem Kalfa & George Dumitriu + Shahbaz Hussain & Helen Anahita Wilson – Saturday 25 May, International Anthony Burgess Foundation
• Werkha + Roller Trio – Sunday 26 May, The Bread Shed

Also to appear are Julian Siegel, Matthew Bourne and Keith Tippett, Tori Freestone, Marcus Miller, Jason Singh,  Tim Garland and Emilia Martensson (above). Dates are 23-27 May.
WEBSITE https://manchesterjazz.com/

From the swinging new album, New York Notes (Savant) on which Alan Broadbent is accompanied by bassist Harvie S and drummer Billy Mintz.

Material featured includes Gigi Gryce’s Minority, Little Benny Harris’ Crazeology, Tadd Dameron’s On a Misty Night and Lennie Tristano’s 317 East 32nd Street. Clifford Notes, and Continuity and Waltz Prelude are Broadbent originals.

I do not think that I have played any record more this year so far than Esja.

There is something compelling about its bittersweet ostinati and the grand musical world Hania Rani conjures out of so little.

Another record that does not rely on genre at all, it is hardly a jazz record in the usual sense but again will appeal to jazz fans as it will anyone into minimalism or electronica even. Esja has an introverted feel to it and manages to tap melody out of rhythm and mood, often the three forces combining to mesmerising effect, say on ‘Eden’, and rather than sliding into a dreamy haze has an edge to it that draws you back again and over again. 

Inhabiting Armenian traditional music via her sparse poetic sound singer-pianist-composer Areni Agbabian has a unique approach shaped a little by the percussion of Nicolas Stocker. 

An often sad sounding album, which, while it may well appeal to jazz fans, is not a jazz album in any obvious sense, was recorded in Switzerland two-and-a-half years ago.

Jazz FM

The winners of the Jazz FM awards were announced at a ceremony in London last night. They were:

Breakthrough Act sponsored by GHS Global Hospitality
Cassie Kinoshi
The Digital Award sponsored by Oanda
Louis Cole
The Innovation Award sponsored by Mishcon De Raya
Steam Down
Instrumentalist Of The Year sponsored by Savile Row Gin
Jean Toussaint
International Jazz Act Of The Year sponsored by Lateralize
Makaya McCraven
Soul Act Of The Year sponsored by RCS
Poppy Ajudha
Blues Act Of The Year sponsored by British Airways
Eric Bibb
Vocalist Of The Year sponsored by Denbies
Cherise Adams-Burnett
UK Jazz Act (Public Vote) sponsored by Cambridge Audio
Nubya Garcia
Album Of The Year (Public Vote) sponsored by Arqiva
Sons Of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile
Live Experience Of The Year (Public Vote) sponsored by Yamaha UK
Steam Down featuring Kamasi Washington
PRS for Music Gold Award
Jacob Collier
PPL Lifetime Achievement Award
Don Was and Blue Note Records

Scottish Jazz Awards

Nominations for the Scottish Jazz Awards have been announced. Voting opens today. A new industry award has been introduced for 2019, the Services to Scottish Jazz Award sponsored by Ticketmaster which will celebrate those working behind the scenes. A Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Help Musicians Scotland will also be presented at the awards ceremony with both winners chosen by the panel. All the winners will be announced at a ceremony at Glasgow’s Drygate on Sunday 9 June.

Rising Star Award sponsored by The Blue Arrow

  • Anoushka Nanguy

  • Graham Costello

  • Joe Williamson

  • Marianne McGregor

  • Matt Carmichael


Best Band Award sponsored by Musicians’ Union

  • AKU

  • Fergus McCreadie Trio

  • Graham Costello’s Strata

  • Scottish National Jazz Orchestra

  • Tenement Jazz Band


Best Vocalist Award sponsored by Whighams Jazz Club  

  • Ali Affleck

  • Carol Kidd

  • Georgia Cecile

  • Luca Manning

  • Rachel Lightbody


Best Instrumentalist Award sponsored by ESP Music Rentals

  • Brian Kellock

  • Graeme Stephen

  • Joe Williamson

  • Liam Shortall

  • Martin Kershaw


Best Album Award sponsored by Birnam CD

  • Fergus McCreadie Trio – Turas

  • Graham Costello’s Strata – Obelisk

  • Jim Mullen – Volunteers

  • Kevin MacKenzie, Mario Caribé, Alyn Cosker – The Ballad of Future Joe

  • Tom Bancroft – In Common

It is fitting in a way that Shalosh are now on the ACT label, the label that did so much to champion EST. Look out for Onwards and Upwards in June from the Israeli trio which in the manner of EST shares a liking for eclectic improvisation that draws not only on jazz but rock, pop and electronica along the way in an exciting blend.

Jeff Williams has been making classy records like this for years. If anything he gets better each time. He receives little hype nor you suspect does he want any.

A piano trio this time recorded in New York featuring trio arrangements of old numbers, Michael Formanek on double bass provides plenty of beefy support while Carmen Staaf on piano reminds me a little of the way Bruce Barth accompanies Jerry Bergonzi.

Williams has a very Paul Motian-like way about him sometimes and that sense of quiet fracture and splinter of stick on snare makes his sound very approachable and intimate. Be good to yourself and get this asap.