The funeral took place yesterday in Brighton in the North Chapel of Woodvale Crematorium of Tony Hall. Proceedings were conducted by celebrant Tora Colwill. Tony, a lovely, lucky, man, a music business legend, died on 26 June aged 91.
The congregation entered to ‘Golden Years’ performed over the PA by Loose Ends, then saxophonist Dave Angol played ‘Lush Life’ by Billy Strayhorn beautifully on the tenor.
After an introduction by Ms Colwill and ‘Friends’ by Arrival was played on the PA, Chris and Crecia Carr from Tony and his late wife Billie’s family spoke with feeling and emotion.
The Real Thing’s ‘Children of the Ghetto’ was then played and Chris Amoo from the number one hit Liverpool band spoke explaining how Tony had managed the band for 45 years and that he and his bandmates owed him everything. The next choice of music was perfect in context and captured the mood as it was the soaring Anita Baker rendition of ‘Giving You the Best That I Got’. Frank Collins of Arrival in a rich, warm, Scouse accent spoke again movingly of Tony. He said in a heartfelt way towards the end of his tribute his voice choked with emotion that he was in awe of Tony and spoke of how encouraging Tony was to him and his fellow Motown-loving musicians. Neighbours and friends Abe and Theano Marrache, Jazzwise editor in chief Jon Newey and accountant Simon Nixon who organised the funeral and filled a bus load of a travelling portion of the congregation at Brighton train station beforehand also spoke. Tony was a champion of the long time New York-based trumpeter Dizzy Reece who Tony produced for Blue Note records, the first British producer of the storied label and it was fitting that Monk classic rendered as ‘Round about Midnight’ included on the highly cherished album Blues For Trinity which was recently toured among other Reece repertoire by bandleader-pianist Trevor Watkis who was present at the service and who had only a short time beforehand spoken to Dizzy on the phone was heard as Tony’s coffin was committed. Dave Angol switched to soprano saxophone and played the moving Gordon Jenkins elegy ‘Goodbye’ complete with extensive improvisation. Tony’s spirit and huge influence lives on. Stephen Graham
Returning next year to tour in quartet mode once again with Pat Metheny, according to pianist Gwilym Simcock’s manager Christine Allen, and with a landmark solo piano album already out this year, the pianist sold out Ronnie’s last night for this first gig by his longstanding trio in several years. Simcock marked the occasion by writing some material for the festival and opened with ‘All Along’ a scampering tour de force. Next number ‘Victorville’ he told us was dedicated to bassist Yuri Goloubev’s interest in old aeroplanes. Later drummer Asaf Sirkis contributed the ballad ‘Portrait of a Woman’ and the second set encore was ‘How Deep is the Ocean’ Simcock prefacing the set after the intermission by telling us he had somehow ‘scalded’ his hand during the break which was a bit worrying but did not alter the quality of his formidable playing one tad. Looking tanned and speaking in a Steve Coogan-esque lightly traced Mancunian accent he bowed enthusiastically with the other two at the end having thanked the audience for listening.
Overall this was a dazzling display of effortless mastery. The trio’s take on Buster Williams’ ‘Christina’ was the runaway highlight of an engrossing evening that was full of skill and conversational insight.
Earlier the thumping techno LBT trio that Ronnie’s booker Paul Pace had talent spotted at Jazzahead this year rocked the room as the support act, the drummer even wearing ear protectors and necessarily so. The bar tender danced along like a sentry marking time contentedly to the metronomic beat.
The international piano trio festival continues tonight. This year’s headliner Kenny Barron, a giant of the music, also sold out at the weekend.
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) — released Blume on 2 August, having signed to Domino. Check out the woozy hard bop and Afrobeat-flavoured ‘Riverfest’ from the album, above.
To be released soon.
Works like a charm. From Gris Gris by Shake Stew to be released by Traumton Records in November. Great groove. One to wig out to. Initial impressions: sort of surfy guitar... later changing when the blissed out horns take up the response. Hipster flute then moves the whole thing into cruise control and a mighty vamp ensues. Kicks in completely when the flautist starts sort of simultaneously vocalising and deliberately overblowing. The jam feel is then really on and then steps back effortlessly by the end.
Interested in participating in the International Artistic Jazz Research Symposium this autumn in Vienna?
To be held in partnership with the Institute for Jazz Research at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz and the Jam Music Lab Private University for Jazz and Popular Music Vienna you have until 19 August to submit your ideas.
Inaugurating a network and according to its website looking at a range of academic interests including specifics of artistic jazz research and best practice models, proposals for contributions should include: title, name, institutional affiliation, country, type of contribution, abstract and a short CV. Speakers/panelists for the October event include Andrew Bain and Mike Fletcher from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Full details via the symposium website.
The great composer, saxophonist, professor, innovator Anthony Braxton appears with in his band in Dalston, east London at Oto: the acclaimed Sun Ra-inspired Alexander Hawkins on piano; Neil Charles, a member of Seb Rochford’s new band Pulled By Magnets, who also plays with Hawkins in his own acclaimed trio, on double bass; and, completing the line-up, the influential multi-directional Bourne-Davis-Kane player Stephen Davis on drums featured on each of the three nights. Dates are 19-21 January 2020. A series pass for all three nights is available. Anthony Braxton, above (Photo: Wikipedia). Tickets and full details.
As previously noted in these pages back in 2015, Ríoghnach Connolly let the music do the talking on Matt Owens’ The Aviators’ Ball with her spine-tingling version of the Appadlachian folk song ‘Black is the Colour (of My True Love’s Hair)’ covered famously by Nina Simone and Joan Baez in the 1960s, Cara Dillon and Christy Moore more recently. Ríoghnach [pronounced “ReeOna”] and The Breath (her duo with Stuart McCallum) have picked up BBC Folk Awards nominations. From County Armagh, and for some years since part of the Manchester music scene, she entered the spotlight for real as part of a duo on Carry Your Kin, which was her highest profile release and appeared on jazz-friendly world music label Real World and on which she teamed up with one of the north of England’s most creative jazz-into-electronica guitar stars Stuart McCallum who is pictured with Connolly, above.
Full list of nominations, below. (The awards ceremony will be held at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on Wednesday 16 October during the Manchester Folk Festival.)
Folk Singer of the Year
• Gwilym Bowen Rhys
• Lisa O’Neill
• Olivia Chaney
• Ríoghnach Connolly
Best Duo or Group
• Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
• Stick in the Wheel
• The Breath
• The Rheingans Sisters
The Horizon Award
• Brìghde Chaimbeul
• Kinnaris Quintet
• Kitty Macfarlane
• The Trials Of Cato
Best Traditional Track
• Factory Girl by Lisa O'Neill ft. Radie Peat
• Ffoles Llantrisant by VRï
• The Foggy Dew by Ye Vagabonds
• The Reedcutter’s Daughter by Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith
Best Original Track
• Blackbird by Lisa O'Neill
• I Burn But I Am Not Consumed by Karine Polwart
• Spells Out by Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening
• Scapa Flow 1919 by Kris Drever
• Ancora by Flook
• Heard a Long Gone Song by Lisa O’Neill
• Hide and Hair by The Trials of Cato
• Soar by Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
Musician of the Year
• Jenn Butterworth
• Mohsen Amini
• Sam Sweeney
• Seckou Keita
Worth getting on LP. Great interview, above, which ECM have put up to chime with the release of the 1998 album Khmer now reissued on vinyl.
Khmer is a bona fide classic it goes without saying but there it is anyway: said. Now on vinyl a format that does lend itself to the style and will enhance its organic characteristics given the format’s tactile and kinetic abilities. Khmer spawned the term “futurejazz”.
Once again the future is present tense given the way technology allows us to an extent certainly with reissues and format changes to imagine better and better.
TS Eliot sums up such thinking without making too much of a leap yet altering the context, place and era in Four Quartets, a classic of literary modernism, and it is worth quoting the first three lines: “Time present and time past/Are both perhaps present in time future,/And time future contained in time past.” A great work of art has that ability to hang in the air in a state of timelessness and Khmer certainly does exactly that and makes the listener alert in this instance to its, yes post-modern, world of sound and silence as a unity and enables a vanishing of the self to fully grasp its impact.
• Also perhaps of interest, this Nils Petter Molvær feature ‘Legends of the Fall’ published in 2013 when marlbank visited western Norway and Ålesund near the island of Sula (where NPM is from) ahead of the release of 1/1 and Switch and we went into the Ocean Sound Recordings studio at Giske, also met the great painter Ørnulf Opdahl, visited the Opdahl studio, and looked at some of Ørnulf’s paintings.