World of Jazz – 4th August 2011

This show looks at the work of Stuart McCallam – Manchester guitarist and member of the Cinematic Orchestra – and touches on the vibraphone in jazz, and the great drummer Art Taylor :

  • Donald Byrd – When Your Love Has Gone – Off to the Races :   Donald Byrd – one of the finest hard bop trumpeters of the post-Clifford Brown era – recorded prolifically as both a leader and sideman from the mid-’50s into the mid-’60s, mostly for the Blue Note lable, where he established himself  as a solid stylist with a clean tone, and a good melodic ear. This 1958 album proved to be one of his best sessions and with a brilliant supporting band of  — Jackie McLean (alto sax), Wynton Kelly (piano), Pepper Adams(baritone sax), Sam Jones (bass), Art Taylor (drums) — Byrd turns in one of his strongest recordings of the era.
  • Stuart McCallam – Lament for Levenshulme – Distilled : Manchester guitarist and composer Stuart McCallum is best known for his work with Cinematic Orchestra. The distinctive, ethereal and atmospheric sound of his guitar has been at the heart of their sound since 2004, including on the albums ‘Ma Fleur’ and ‘Live At The Royal Albert Hall’ and the award winning soundtrack ‘The Crimson Wing’. His own music influenced by jazz and DJ Culture is a distillation of many influences, creating a sound that is concentrated and distinctive. McCallum who admits to influences from Wes Montgomery to Bjork, Flying Lotus to Bon Iver and James Blake to Bill Frisell, as well as modern art, eschews over complicated harmonic and rhythmical structures in favour of a rich mix of electronica and improvisation enriched by elegant orchestral writing. Distilled, McCallum’s brilliant third album, and first for new label Naim, is a culmination of the music he has written over the last few year and the idea of ‘distillation’ is right at the heart of how the record was written. McCallum ‘sampled’ the best bits of his compositions, using them as the basis for further writing, before again sampling the results, and so on, until arriving at the perfectly distilled version of what he wanted to say. The result is a sublime slice of ambient-jazz-electonica with beautiful melodies and gorgeous soundscapes. But it isn’t just the process, McCallum’s own music is ‘distilled’: simple, memorable and melodic, minimalist and repetitive like modern dance music. His music owes as much to dance music as it does jazz. McCallum’s music thrives in the spaces between genres and on Distilled the improvisation is part of the compositional process. But it’s his use of technology that helps give the music its unique sound, be it looped instruments, samples, or his ethereal guitar McCallum utilises technology to create unique soundscapes, that are in equal part performance, composition and improvisation. It will be released on October 3rd.
  • Cinematic Orchestra – As the stars fall – Ma Fleur : led by composer/programmer/multi-instrumentalist Jason Swinscoe, this band merges modern urban dance, with jazz and cinematic music with great effect -this, the first album to feature Stuart McCallam, comprises a series of moody, evocative pieces.
  • Cal Tjader – Hip Vibrations – Hip Vibrations :  Cal Tjader recorded frequently for Verve during the 1960s, and this is one of his more unusual sessions. Instead of fronting his regular Latin group he plays arrangements by Benny Golson or Bobby Bryant, accompanied a band that includes Ernie Royal, Marvin Stamm, J.J. Johnson, Jerome Richardson, Mel Lewis, with either Ron Carter or Richard Davis on bass, and three different pianists: Herbie Hancock, Patti Bown, or John Bunch.
  • Bobby Hutcherson – Maiden Voyage -Happenings : Bobby Hutcherson’s first quartet album features the vibraphonist’s soloing abilities, matching him  with pianist Herbie Hancock, drummer Joe Chambers, and bassist Bob Cranshaw. An interesting reading of Hancock’s tune is the centre-piece to a fine album.
  • Art Taylor – Cookoo and Fungi – AT’s Delight : Although Taylor was one of the busiest modern second-generation jazz drummers, working in the studio with Coleman Hawkins, Donald Byrd, John Coltrane and many others, he only released five albums under his own name, of which this was the third. Conga player Carlos “Patato” Valdes joins Taylor and pianist Wynton Kelly and bassist Paul Chambers on three cuts including this calypso.  The horn men  are Stanley Turrentine on tenor sax and Dave Burns on trumpet.
  • Stuart McCallam – Distilled – Distilled : the album features McCallum on guitars and sampler alongside bassists Ira Coleman and Robin Mullarkey, harpist Rachel Gladwin (best known in the jazz world for her work with Matthew Halsall), drummer Dave Walsh, legendary Manchester based percussionist Chris Manis and Iain Dixon on woodwinds.
  • The Cinematic Orchestra – Transformation – Les Ailes Pourpres : from the songtrack to a Disney film about Flamingoes.
  • John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio – Soft Lights and Sweet Music : For his second album, John Coltrane (tenor saxophone) joined forces with his Prestige labelmate Red Garland (piano)  supported by a rhythm section of Paul Chambers (bass) and Art Taylor (drums) with this exquisite version of an Irving Berlin classic.
  • Dexter Gordon – Shiny Stockings – Gettin’ Around : Dexter spent the  mid-’60s period living in Europe coming back to the U.S. for the occasional recording session. His teaming with Bobby Hutcherson on this session was interesting in that at that time  the vibraphonist was already marking his territory as a maverick and challenging improviser – so how would this sit with Gordon’s traditional approach? Fear not –  the two principals prove compatible- they have a shared vision on what to deliver. Add the brilliant Barry Harris to this mix, plus Bob Cranshaw and Billy Higgins and you have a bit of a classic.
Click on the link to hear the show…..