A documentary on Birmingham? Thanks but no thanks, I thought to myself while pondering the new series of Reimagining the City. Seriously, Birmingham? It's hardly Florence or Cairo or Cape Town. No one nudges their partner on a soggy January morning and says wistfully, "Darling, wouldn't it be just lovely if we could leave all this behind and disappear to Birmingham?"
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Sunday 20 June 2010
The woody – even Acker Bilk-ish – sound of a clarinet tootling Nino Rota's title-theme from Fellini's Amarcord against the clip-clop rhythm of double bass and plucked cello must be one of the most nostalgic musical experiences imaginable.
Saturday 19 June 2010
Sunday 06 June 2010
Soon, jazz like this won’t exist any more.
Sunday 23 May 2010
More great spiritual jazz from Manchester.
Sunday 16 May 2010
Impressive debut from young Bristol alto saxophonist (and Andy Sheppard-protégé) James Morton and his down-home quartet, with the excellent Dan Moore on Hammond organ.
Sunday 02 May 2010
Completely mad 1968 European free-jazz/acid rock mash-up, with French saxophonist Wilen (he played with Miles Davis) leading a double trio – one jazz, one rock – with Joachim Kuhn on keyboards and Aldo Romano on drums among the musicians.
Friday 30 April 2010
At what may be crossroads or turning-points in their self-directed paths, two of Britain's most inventive novelists have paused to consider the meaning of the art that they practise via a detour into another that they love: jazz. In the stories of Nocturnes, Kazuo Ishiguro harmonised the crises in his musicians' lives with a "twilight" mood of thwarted hopes and waning powers. In this, his tenth novel, Jim Crace at first seems to forsake his high-definition alternative worlds – the ideal European city of Six; the Biblical desert of Quarantine; the post-calamity wastes of The Pesthouse – for something more mundane. On the eve of his 50th birthday, Leonard Lessing – a middle-ranking jazz saxophonist becalmed on a "sabbatical" in his Middle-England home – finds himself caught up in a hostage-taking drama.
Sunday 25 April 2010
At an age when most of us would be happy if we could still get a spoon in our mouths, 82-year-old saxophonist Konitz took his young band into New York's Village Vanguard.
Sunday 11 April 2010
Friday 19 March 2010
With their gently melancholy wit and bittersweet harmonies, Ishiguro's five "stories of music and nightfall" feel much like the Broadway standards that inspire them.
Sunday 28 February 2010
Give some jazz musicians an orchestra to work with and you get scaled-up felt-tip sketches.
Wednesday 10 February 2010
To a certain generation of former furry freaks, now bald retro-rockers, Todd Rundgren inspires fierce devotion. The American eccentric's success as a producer, supervising sessions for the Ramones, Meat Loaf, etc, gave him financial independence. Hence, if he wanted to make something as off-kilter as A Wizard, A True Star, a concept album with no concept, he could. Now he's touring the LP for the first time – 37 years late. Rundgren may be an oddball, but there are 3,500 elders here who see him as a True Star. And they have a point.
Sir John Dankworth: Saxophonist who pioneered modern jazz in Britain and became a patron of music education
Tuesday 09 February 2010
One of the first British musicians to grasp the fundamentals of "modern" (post swing) jazz, the saxophonist Johnny Dankworth eventually surpassed his bandleading days to become a skilled composer of film music, a prominent patron of the arts and head of a burgeoning musical dynasty. It is unlikely that there was ever such a splendid husband and wife partnership in jazz as that engendered when Cleo Laine joined the Johnny Dankworth Seven in 1951 for £7 a week and which was reinforced when they eventually married in 1958.
Sunday 07 February 2010
Tributes were paid today to British jazz legend Sir John Dankworth after he died aged 82.
Sunday 07 February 2010
Reissue of a rare 1977 fusion album by the shamanistic Cherry (1936-95), the Ornette Coleman Quartet trumpeter.
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
- 1 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article