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 **** 

Common Practice cover

Look for Common Practice on ECM in late-September from the Ethan Iverson Quartet with Tom Harrell. The full personnel is: Ethan Iverson, piano; Tom Harrell, trumpet; Ben Street, double bass; Eric McPherson, drums. A live in the Vanguard album — the Village Vanguard is generally reckoned to be the greatest jazz club in the world for live jazz recordings. Track titles include ‘The Man I Love’, ‘Polka Dots and Moonbeams,’ Denzil Best’s ‘Wee’ + a brace of Iverson originals. Cover, top

Bristol-based jazz violinist John Pearce will debut with Just Friends in mid-September. He started playing at the age of 7, was awarded a bursary to the Royal Academy of Music to study with György Pauk and went on to study extensively with Nic Fallowfield and Bela Katona.

He says: “In more recent years I have focused on playing jazz and have found greater inspiration from horn players like Paul Desmond, Charlie Parker and Wynton Marsalis, distinguishing my playing from the more common gypsy jazz violin sound.” 

Just Friends is a quartet album of standards, Pearce joined by multi award-winning pianist David Newton, the Michelson Morley bassist Will Harris; and the Buddy Rich-loving, Kasabian drummer Ian Matthews.


Image result for shabaka marlbank

Interested in showcasing at OneFest? The ‘Apply to Play’ showcase prize is open until 6 August.

From the press release: 

“Mercury Prize nominee and superstar of British jazz, Shabaka Hutchings today opened the OneFest 2019 ‘Apply to Play’ showcase prize for grassroots talent

With the vision of overcoming one of the many overlooked obstacles faced by today’s emerging artists – the North/South divide – Shabaka Hutchings, curator of the award winning festival, OneFest, invites artists at grass roots level to apply to showcase at this year’s festival, which, for the first time, takes place across two cities; Sheffield and London.

Five successful applicants, hand-picked by Shabaka, will take to the stage at both Sheffield’s Leadmill and London’s EartH, forming part of OneFest’s daytime programming.  Aside from the live performance opportunities, winners will take part in a host of educational panels and workshops lead by inspirational music industry leaders.  Open to the public, these sessions include ‘Bridging the Gap, the North South Divide’, a workshop and Q+A with Shabaka, Business, & Funding Workshops, plus  ‘Let’s Keep the Conversation Going’ a further look at Mental Health support, and much, much more.  Speakers include John McClure (Reverend and the Makers) Shlomo , Thomas Haywood (The Blinders), Skinny Pelembe and more.  

Shabaka Hutchings said “‘Apply to Play’ has given me an opportunity to work on educating and expanding minds through the panels and workshops, as well as open doors for emerging bands to compete for a slot during the events. This is an element that was important to me when joining forces with the OneFest team. It’s incredibly important to me that the festival takes place in both the North and South, again breaking those unnecessary boundaries that have evolved within the music industry”

Applicants can ‘apply to play’ from July 26 –August 6th via Music Glue, through the OneFest website The competition is set to be fierce with the previous OneFest receiving an astonishing 800+ applicants. 

OneFest combines these daytime events with an exciting series of special one-off evening concerts across the two centres in London and Sheffield, all masterminded by Shabaka Hutchings.  Alongside showcases from emerging talent and special one-off collaborations, OneFest presents shows from young British talent including Maisha (featuring British Jazz wunderkind saxophonist Nubya Garcia),  Nat Birchall, Tom Skinner, Tom Herbert, Dave Okumu and Byron Wallen.  Full Line up to be announced.” 


The world premiere of this production by the Mark Morris Dance Group... Come and Go is about togetherness and apartness and the little betrayals, the secrets, tolerated or not. 

Commissioned by Happy Days in association with Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada, there in the Steele Hall of what used to be called Portora where Samuel Beckett went to school the saturation of image: ladies with their eyes covered by the brims of their hats, the ceremonial hands at the end told only part of the story. No eye contact is made, in the audience we never saw their eyes in Come and Go performed by Elisa Clark, Susan Weber and Teri Weksler.

First performed in English at the Peacock Theatre, Dublin in 1968 characters are FLO, VI and RU, the beginning an intimation of Macbeth “When did we three last meet?” What RU says next to this startling statement which could have gone anywhere is important and this production, revelling in silence, draws this out. “Let us not speak.” 

Little change is a theme in the writing as is concern about how someone is “Dreaming of... love.” All this is delivered through the Morris lens by an unsentimental filter. The three pairs of clasped hands resting on the three laps at the end are about solidarity and love.

In Catastrophe by contrast the deadpanned jokes (punning on light as in lighting a cigar/illumination as opposed to darkness as a riff) fly in strained and highly dangerous circumstances. Mark Morris himself who staged both plays performed the main role, a dictatorial director whose mood flits from firm instruction to tetchy frustration, helped by his assistant setting up the man and object of their attention (victim, saint, innocent however you see him) who was played like a martyr by the preternaturally still Rob Besserer.
Stephen Graham
Continues on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, various venues, Enniskillen. The Morris Group will also perform Quad (which will include music composed by Ethan Iverson) in an additional premiere.

Samuel Beckett, from a Jane Bown image, spray painted on to a shop shutter locally. Photo: marlbank

Arun Luthra’s Konnakol Jazz Project are on tour in August. Appearing with the New York-based tenor and soprano saxophonist/konnakol artist are, alternating on piano: the great Phronesisian Ivo Neame (19th & 20th); and tone totem Sam Leak (21st & 23rd) plus bassist Tom Mason and drummer David Ingamells. The all-important dates are: Monday 19th, Late Late Show, Ronnie Scott’s; Tuesday 20th Kansas Smitty’s, London; Wednesday 21st Oliver’s Jazz Bar, London; and on Friday 23rd at The Verdict, Brighton.

In the video above Luthra is with Thomson Kneeland on bass and Jordan Perlson on drums, pianist James Francies (who was touring with Pat Metheny as part of the Side-Eye “playing environment” this year in Japan), and mridangam player/konnakol artist Akshay Anantapadmanabhan.


Terry Riley’s Sun Rings, played by Kronos Quartet, ‘Beebopterismo’ from which is above, is to be released by Nonesuch on 30 August.