Jazz Thoughts #003

I guess the big question is can you mix serial electronica (Phillip Glass, John Adams or Steve Reich with synths) and jazz? John Surman has managed in the past and Anenon appears to have achieved that with his new release “Petrol” which, on balance, is more electronica than jazz, but there is enough saxophone in the mix to give it the legitimacy of the jazz label.

The new album by Ryan Keberle & Catharsis is now available via Greenleaf.  “Azul Infinito” features Ryan’s longtime band sounding great playing original compositions and songs by Pedro Giraudo, Sebastian Cruz, and Ivan Lins. As with the Anenon the emphasis is on serial repetition but this is a far busier affair with some exceptional contrapuntal interaction, maddening time signatures and changes and impressive playing.  Chilean singer Camila Meza is stunning throughout. There’s a strong South American vibe with some strong jazz structures. It’s a New York sound with an international feel.

“Amorandom” is the new major international release from Finnish pianist and composer, Aki Rissanen, described as a ‘rising star around Europe’ by Downbeat Magazine in 2015.
With Aki Rissanen piano, Antti Lötjönen bass and Teppo Mäkynen drums, this is quality music with a vital feel. Perhaps the long awaited successor to EST?

“One” is the new, highly energetic studio album from Tim Garland. Working with his regular collaborators Jason Rebello, Asaf Sirkis and Ant Law, the sax maestro has dug back into his past and re-examined his early interest in jazz-rock styles. With “One” Tim explores many of the influences that have guided him from the beginning, such as jazz-rock (his Canterbury roots); saxophone players from both sides of the Atlantic; the Celtic guitar music from long running project Lammas; the Latin and Spanish inflections that are so deeply a part of Chick Corea’s music; and a variety of rhythmic patterns learned from drum maestros Bill Bruford and Asaf Sirkis. It is released on 6th May 2016.

Pianist Gwilym Simcock will be playing some interesting a varied concerts this Spring ahead of the exciting tour planned with jazz legend guitarist Pat Metheny. Pat has picked Gwilym for his new quartet with Linda Oh (bass) and Antonio Sanchez (drums) to tour all round the world from May this year. Some of the Metheny dates have been announced, but many are still in the pipeline so I suggest you  keep checking his website for more information as it comes in.

Simock will be playing a solo concert at the Institut Francais in South Kensington on Saturday 19th March as part of their “All About Piano” Festival.  On 6th April Gwilym will be back at the Village Underground in Shoreditch with the City of London Sinfonia playing new arrangements of Miles Davis’ pieces from Sketches of Spain, Porgy and Bess, Miles Ahead and Quiet Nights and performing a new commission of arrangements of works by Bach. He will also be on tour in France with Celine Bonacina’s Crystal Quartet promoting her new album Crystal Rain. In the UK Gwilym will appear with top violinist Thomas Gould both at Kings Place and Chester Festival with a new Baroque project. On Thursday 28th April Gwilym will be at the St. James’s Theatre in Victoria with singer Norma Winstone MBE and just before he heads off on tour with Pat Metheny he will play three nights at the Pizza Express on 1/2/3 May. Details of these concerts will be announced shortly. More information on Gwilym’s website: gwilymsimcock.com

Snarky Puppy collected their second Grammy Award for ‘Best Contemporary Instrumental Album’ for their album “Sylva” with Metropole Orkest. While the collective take stock and look to their next project, Band on the Wall, Manchester presents shows with Snarky Puppy members across the UK this Spring as they tour their various solo projects. Keyboard player Bill Laurance plays at Band on the Wall, on 8th March and at The Wardrobe, Leeds on the 9th. Guitarist Mark Lettieri plays Band on the Wall, Hare & Hounds Kings Heath , XOYO, London and The Hope & Ruin, Brighton in April. And organist Cory Henry presents The Revival Project at St Philip’s Church, Salford, Union Chapel, London and Colston Hall, Bristol in May. Snarky Puppy aren’t the only Band on the Wall affiliated artist to have success at this year’s Grammys – American jazz bassist Christian McBride won ‘Best Improvised Jazz Solo’ award. Band on the Wall has hosted McBride twice previously and he returns to the venue alongside fellow bassist Edgar Meyer on 22nd March.




Fascinating Things : Issue 32

Short, sharp and sweet this time around with a handful of excellent new things appearing at the end of the week. Most of these will be featured in podcasts over the next few weeks.

Next Friday sees the release of the debut album from Cambridge alternative rock band Bouquet of Dead Crows , don’t be put off by the name, they are not a doom/death etc metal outfit but instead a very melodic band, with a strong dynamic sound. Available as digital and CD, it can be pre-ordered now.

‘Chip Off The Heart’ is Rah Rah’s second single off their upcoming album ‘Vessels’. Superior pop stuff,

UK Tour dates are:

08.12. London – The Islington
09.12. Liverpool – Studio 2
10.12. Preston – The Ferret

Manchester’s finest agit-pop foursome Ill are back with wacky video and fine single. I was especially struck by the excellent “Slithering Lizards”

A staple in Los Angeles avant-garde culture for years, Anenon is the newest addition to the Friends of Friends roster.  Anenon’s ‘Camembert’ EP is out now and will be followed by a full-length in 2016. ‘Camembert’ sees a collision of free jazz, ambient, hip hop and techno, all tied together with a deft touch and an air of whimsy.

Dave Graney has a second volume of demos from the 1980s and 1990s out called “Once I Loved The Oceans Roar”.  With 17 tracks and over 70 minutes of music this is a real bargain. It’s great to hear the early version of  both solo Graney and Coral Snakes tunes. Especially good is an early version of the fascinating “Dandies Are Never Unbuttoned”. Highly recommended.