Drummer and bandleader whose quintet became acclaimed for its smooth, sophisticated style of jazz
Like this page on Facebook for updates
Sunday 01 August 2010
Someone needs to write a book about Dudu Pukwana, the late South African alto-saxophonist who came to London as an exile from Apartheid and played sessions with John Martyn and Mike Heron as well as jazz.
Thursday 15 July 2010
Sunday 27 June 2010
For some 20 years, alto saxophonist Steve Coleman – the anti-Pope to Wynton Marsalis's pontiff, and what a choice that is – has been pursuing a credulous obsession with numerology.
Wednesday 23 June 2010
Given the crippling costs of keeping 15 musicians in gainful employ, big bands are largely a thing of the past. But this sumptuous performance by Wynton Marsalis's stellar unit was a reminder that an orchestra remains a vital resource to any jazz musician. It offers both power and precision. Since the early 80s the New Orleans trumpeter has been exploring and extending the heritage of acoustic jazz, using 30s swing, 40s bebop and 50s post-bop as templates for his own creations and this final night of a five-day residency at various venues in London presented a panorama of those vocabularies. There were arrangements of legends like Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson and Jackie McLean and there were also original pieces by JALCO members such as saxophonist Ted Nash. His Dali suite, set in the tripwire time signature of 13/8, was a highlight for the intoxicating swirl of the horns, which culminated in Nash's alto becoming a dramatic echo to a stabbing improvisation by trumpeter Marcus Printup.
However, the presence of British guest musicians also raised the bar. Vibraphonist Jim Hart, tenor saxophonist Jean Toussaint and pianist Julian Joseph all took hard swinging solos and vocalist Cleveland Watkiss was imperious on an express train rendition of McLean's "Appointment in Ghana", in which his scat choruses revealed a timbral richness and phrasal trickery that had the horn players nodding in approval. In a delicious passage of his solo, Watkiss quoted the first part of the theme of Thelonious Monk's "Green Chimneys" at lightning speed before twisting its harmony in an entirely new direction. Yet what became apparent throughout the evening was the relevance of big band music to other genres, simply because of its enormous sonic range.
On slow passages the ornate, rippling textures evoked ambient music, on faster numbers, as the brass plunged deep into the low register, there was funk aplenty, and when the whole ensemble was in full flow, there was a soundtrack in search of a movie. Decked out in sharp suits and seated in three rows under the Hackney Empire's proscenium arch, Marsalis's orchestra indeed offered a big-screen spectacle for eyes and ears alike.
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.
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ sign language interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 Mystery of Epping Forest 'big cat' is solved
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Australia: Gay marriage law reversed by high court less than a week after first weddings
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding