Sholto Byrnes: Talking Jazz
Friday 04 November 2005
Britain's premier saxophonist is still at it today, railing against the "jazz police" he thinks are ever-ready to caution him for deviating from the path of jazz purity. But much of the aggression has gone. This is as well, given that his new album Resistance has been very well received, despite it being as far from a purist's idea of a forward-looking jazz recording as is possible.
Anthemic songwriting - he admits the influence of The Beatles - stands alongside tracks indebted to the late Eddie Harris, thrashy, guitar-laden numbers and Seventies jazz rock. So far, so retro; the album, which he will showcase on a UK tour and at the London Jazz Festival, neither pays homage to the old tradition so important to the Marsalises, nor does it open up the new territory leading jazz musicians are supposed to seek out.
But Pine should not be censured. His mission now is to bring jazz to as wide an audience as possible, and even if some of his new material could justly be filed under "rock" were a vocalist to replace his soprano and tenor saxes, the jazz element is alive, well and roaring in his terrific, exuberant soloing.
This, it strikes me, is a better way to bring jazz to new audiences. No one could fail to be moved by his fiery improvisation, and improvisation is at the very heart of jazz. The other populist path - dressing up familiar tunes by having them performed by young singers who look good on Parkinson - fails to provide a real flavour of jazz, because none is a good enough improviser.
As for the retro charge, it could be said that Pine is helping to conserve the tradition, too; it's just that the period he partly looks to is a decade that acid jazz and hip-hop were happy to revisit, but mainstream jazz was not - the Seventies. There was the odd gem then, and some were in Eddie Harris's idiosyncratic output during that time.
Where is Harris's music now? Jamiroquai were pleased to sample the great Eddie, but his name is hardly hailed among the jazzerati. So Pine does us all a favour by taking a leaf out of Harris's quirky, but always funky, book.
Another saxophonist whose prime was in the Sixties and Seventies, and whom Pine is happy to admit nodding towards, is Stanley Turrentine, the possessor of one of the richest, raunchiest tones ever produced on the tenor sax. Turrentine was not averse to plumbing the depths of Seventies superorchestration, but he always remained at his core a jazz musician.
Some of Turrentine's laidback approach seems to have rubbed off on Pine. He sounds now like a man having a lot of fun, and it's infectious. The critics, he says, may stand at the back of the hall nursing their pints; he's playing for the crowd dancing in front of them.
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Lucy Hawking: Stephen Hawking's daughter writes impassioned open letter to Katie Hopkins about rights of disabled people
- 2 #NotGuilty: Second Oxford student writes of brutal rape by two men who then threw her in a bin as part of campaign against victim blaming
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
The C-Word - review: Sheridan Smith shines in a warm, honest adaptation of Lisa Lynch's book about living with cancer
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 4 - review: Sansa is in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history
May the Fourth Be With You: The internet celebrates Star Wars Day with new Twitter symbols and memes
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils