The Cadogan Hall show will be on 15 October in London. Tickets. Blue Note have issued a news item about the signing (extract):

“Acclaimed guitarist Bill Frisell has signed with Blue Note Records and will release the first album under his own name for the legendary label with the arrival of his newest project HARMONY this Fall. Though his association with Blue Note stretches back nearly 3 decades to his appearance on John Scofield’s 1992 album Grace Under Pressure — and has included invaluable contributions to Blue Note albums by Don Byron (Romance With The Unseen), Ron Carter (Orfeu), Norah Jones (“The Long Day Is Over” from Come Away With Me), the collective project Floratone, and Charles Lloyd & The Marvels (I Long To See You & Vanished Gardens featuring Lucinda Williams) — HARMONY is Frisell’s bona fide Blue Note debut, an opportunity for jazz’s most storied label to document the work of “the most significant and widely imitated guitarist to emerge in jazz since the beginning of the 1980s, according to The New York Times.”

[full story via

Director Stanley Nelson has issued a statement on his film Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool. It will go into cinemas in the US in the autumn.

“The story of Miles Davis has often been told as the story of a drug-addled genius. You rarely see a portrait of a man that worked hard at honing his craft, a man who deeply studied and understood classical music. An elegant man who could render ballads with such tenderness, yet hold rage in his heart from the racism he faced throughout his life.

“He could be extremely generous, yet rescind that generosity on a whim. He could be shamelessly romantic with the women in his life, then unspeakably cruel. Miles was a man apart — in life, in love, in music — and there has never been a major documentary about this man who never looked back, rarely apologised, and changed everything we thought we knew about jazz, about music — several times in his career.”

Story and more via

From Sonero, which is a studio recording made over two days in March this year in Waterford, Connecticut, to be released on the Miel Music imprint in late-August the personnel is the classic Miguel Zenón quartet around for years and excellent live as a memorable Malta Jazz Festival appearance once attested. So, Miguel Zenón on alto saxophone is with Luis Perdomo, piano; Hans Glawischnig, double bass; and Henry Cole, drums. An innovator: Zenón is one of the greatest jazz alto saxophone players [see list] and a composer of note. Here the theme is Ismael (“Maelo”) Rivera (1931-1987) who Zenón describes as “... like Bird, Mozart, Einstein, Ali – he was that guy”. All arrangements are by the saxist who also acted as the producer.

Playing Monaghan town, in the Westenra, on 8 September: An incredible bluesman, widely acclaimed, Kenny Neal is out of Louisiana. ListenTickets


The full Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) award longlist is as follows: 

  1. Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert – Here Lies The Body

  2. Aidan O’Rourke – 365: Vol. 1

  3. Andrew Wasylyk – The Paralian

  4. Auntie Flo – Radio Highlife

  5. Brìghde Chaimbeul – The Reeling

  6. C Duncan – Health

  7. Carla J. Easton – Impossible Stuff

  8. CHVRCHES – Love Is Dead

  9. Edwyn Collins – Badbea

  10. Fatherson – Sum Of All Your Parts

  11. Fergus McCreadie Trio – Turas

  12. Free Love – Luxury Hits

  13. Graham Costello’s Strata – Obelisk

  14. Karine Polwart with Steven Polwart and Inge Thomson– Laws of Motion

  15. Kathryn Joseph – From When I Wake The Want Is

  16. Kinnaris Quintet – Free One

  17. Mastersystem – Dance Music

  18. Niteworks – Air Fàir an Là

  19. Sean Shibe – softLOUD

  20. The Twilight Sad – It Won’t Be Like This All The Time

The Fergus McCreadie Trio recently won a Scottish Jazz Award and were Parliamentary Jazz-nominated last year.  Their debut, all bright voicings, melodic, folky, containing a lilt to Turas that is never trite or too homely — the work of the McCreadie trio legislates all by itself. The title is a Gaelic word for “journey”. McCreadie, who writes the tunes, is with David Bowden on double bass and Stephen Henderson on drums in solid support and was cleanly recorded by Liane Carroll’s favourite producer/studio engineer James McMillan working from his own studio. 

The style and sense of flow of the tracks are very mature, and regards McCreadie it does not take a genius or very long at all to realise that the pianist has a huge technique: think Brian Kellock-meets-Gwilym Simcock. Less trad (eg in an Art Tatum sense) than Kellock and not at all jazz-rock (eg Metheny-like) going on prog (eg King Crimson) as is Simcock’s wont but landing in the common ground they share. 

When McCreadie moves full tilt into an improvisation it is completely Jarrett fluent circa My Song in terms of feel and composure, swings like the clappers and has a real passion to it sometimes aided by say on ‘The Set’ the metrical rigour and discipline of a reel. A fugue state of creativity reigns. 

The public vote is spread over three full days and opens on 12 August. The shortlist will be announced on 15 August. The award show itself will be held at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh on 6 September. SG.  

Jools Holland

The boogie-woogie pianist and widely touring bandleader who first gained fame with Squeeze, TV programmes The Tube on Channel 4 and Later... on the BBC, appears with his Orchestra to take to the stage of the Knocknarea Arena in Sligo town on Saturday 19 October. The date is the last of a short Irish tour that before heading to the north-west of Ireland is to visit the Spiegeltent, Wexford (16 Oct); Opera House, Cork city (17 Oct); and INEC, Killarney (18 Oct). 

From the heartlands of Greenwich and Deptford in south London: one of Jools Holland’s heroes spanning the Atlantic is Meade “Lux” Lewis.

2019 is a very auspicious anniversary: one of those years. Because later in October, scrolling back and falling 60 years ago Ronnie Scott’s opened in London. Second reason: Twenty years earlier Albert Ammons and Meade “Lux” Lewis 80 years ago were booked into a studio by Alfred Lion for his new at that time unnamed label Blue Note on 6 January 1939 at the radio station WMGM in New York city. Lewis four years prior to that had been found by producer John Hammond working at a car wash and soon placed Lewis and his earlier song ‘Honky Tonk Train Blues’ at the heart of a craze for boogie-woogie. Lion provided whiskey and tunes included ‘Boogie Woogie Stomp’ and Ammons and Lewis played 19 takes in all. In March that year Blue Note 1 came out featuring two of those takes: Lewis playing ‘Melancholy Blues’ and ‘Solitude’. Blue Note 2 issued at the same time had Ammons playing ‘Boogie Woogie Stomp’ and ‘Boogie Woogie Blues’. The rest, as people say, is jazz history. Stephen Graham 

See the sligolive website for the full line-up of artists across a number of genres. Festival dates are 18-28 October. 

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.