World of Jazz – 31st March 2011

Several long ones on this show so not so much to talk about – no specific focus this week just a few classics and some newer things

  1. David Murray – Fantasy Rainbow – For Aunt Louise – from 1995 David Murray doubles on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet and  features pianist John Hicks, bassist Fred Hopkins, and drummer Idris Muhammad.  Amongst the variety of styles on this  DIW release from Japan is the funky but free sensibilities “Fantasy Rainbow”.
  2. Mike Pride’s From Bacteria to Boys – Kancamagus – Betweenwhile – Bacteria To Boys is probably the closest band set up to where Pride has recorded an album that could be classed as straight ahead jazz – the band is Darius Jones – alto saxophone, Peter Bitenc -bass, Alexis Marcelo – piano,  and Mike Pride: drums.
  3. Count Basie and Duke Ellington – Segue in C – First Time! – In the summer of 1960 , Count Basie and Duke Ellington combined forces for the recording First Time! The Count Meets the Duke, each providing four numbers from their play books. With two orchestras in the same studio the immediate worry is that the sound would be too dense but this is an excellent recording as exemplified by the stand out track “Segue in C”.
  4. Kit Downes Trio – Golden – Golden – the first album providing plenty of evidence to support the growing reputations of this trio, led by Kit Downes, which has been together since 2005 when they were  studying at the Royal Academy of Music. The quality of writing and performance on this album  demonstrates their huge potential and ensures that the album itself was one of the finest debut recordings of 2009. Kit Downes – piano, Calum Gourlay – double bass and James Maddren -drums.
  5. Art Pepper – Here’s That Rainy Day – Renascence – a recording made at the famous West Coast club, The Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society in Half Moon Bay, California,  on September 28, 1975, this concert represents one of Pepper’s first live performances following the recording of his comeback album, Living Legend in August of the same year. He sounds remarkably different from his late 1950s recording. Returning after a  lengthy stay in prison –  the influence of John Coltrane loom large in this album.
  6. Magnus Öström – The Haunted Thoughts and the Endless Fall – Thread of Life – Magnus Öström’s debut as leader, after 15 years with the Esbjörn Svensson Trio. e.s.t. was one of the most successful jazz ensembles ever to emerge from Europe, gaining  critical acclaim and commercial success.  A hard act  to follow, and it’s to his   credit that, after some time away from music to reflect on his plans after Svensson’s tragic death in 2008, Öström has gathered a talented new band around him and created a fantastic modern jazz album.
  7. Meadow – Badger – Blissful Ignorance – this album has been out in Norway since late 2009, on the relatively small Hecca Records label. Any recording with a trio this fine deserved a bigger audience , and so comngratulations to  Edition Records who have  repackaged it, and given it broader international distribution.  John Taylor-piano, Tore Brunborg -saxophones, Thomas Strønen- drums.
  8. Magnus Öström – Ballad for E – Thread of Life – another track from the new album – this difference here is this just a trio with Pat Metheny and former e.s.t. band mate Dan Berglund with a beautiful hommage to their former leader.

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World of Jazz – 10th February 2011

A mix of old and new on this show …….

Bill Frisell & Vinicius Cantuaria – a couple of cuts from the new album “Lagrima Mexicales” – tunes that that evoke hispanic life in and around New York. Bill and Vinicius have worked together a lot – most notably on the Internationals album. What you get is the usuall Frisell wild mix of blues, country and electronic but this time with more of a latino feel.

Jadid Ensemble – the new album “Sigh of the Moor” is out on March 10th and you can see them at a free concert at the Royal Exchange in Manchester at 6pm on 11th February. Follows on nicely from the Frisell with a mix of hispanic and turkish idioms.

Stan Getz –  Getz was known as “The Sound” because of his warm, lyrical tone, his prime influence being the wispy, mellow tone of his idol, Lester Young. He recorded continually between the 1940s and the 1990s  “West Coast Jazz” – was recorded in Los Angeles in August 1955 with trumpeter Conte Candoli, pianist Lou Levy, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Shelly Manne.  In 1955 the stylistic differences between East and West Coast jazz was the topic of some debate, with critics and fans arguing vehemently over the two camps . The title of the album was a joke,  all musicians involved were originally from the East Coast and did not play in the laid-back, commercially profitable, cool style, as pigeonholed by some. Getz just happened to be in LA filming the Benny Goodman story.

Jaga Jazzist have moved from their modernist exploration of jazz into a more progressive/post rock style since their long lay off but there are still elements of jazz in their frenetic and repetitive playing. The new latest album “One Armed Bandit” could easily find itself tucked away in a rock collection and there are definate elements of Zappa type composition in the music.

Duke Ellington was the most important composer in the history of jazz as well as being a bandleader who fronted his large group continuously for almost 50 years. There is a great box set called “Masterpieces” which contains three CDs of his earlier compositions which is well worth checking out.

Dennis Gonzalez is a talented trumpeter who has recorded a consistently rewarding string of lesser-known dates, his playing is somewhere in-between advanced hard bop and free jazz. The 2009 album “A Matter of Blood”  is full of marvellous brooding work from  Gonzalez – easily one of the darkest, most powerful albums he’s ever recorded – thanks in part to an excellent lineup that features Curtis Clark on piano, Reggie Workman on bass, and Michael TA Thompson on percussion.

Led Bib – as featured on the last show another track from the new album from the young lions of the British Jazz Scene.

Bill Evans – the “Conversations With Myself” album was deemed as  controversial for no good reason other than the usual jazz purists getting hot under the collar because the pianist utilised the sound-on-sound technique of reel-to-reel tape recording available in the 1960s to play simultaneous twin pianos. N.Y.C.s No Lark is the sole Evans composition on the album.

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