Wednesday, 20 June 2018

June marks a half way point in the year and I've only managed one post! Of course I have excuses - mainly to do with Phonic's 10th birthday celebrations - which was great! All day live music, storytelling, art work, drama and a special 'Music is Murder' workshop as well as a conference for local Community Radio Stations. Course it helped that the weather was just right, not too hot, but balmy enough to sit around and if you so chose, talk nonsense whilst drinking with like minded people who listen to the station. If you came - thanks! If you weren't there - well we're determined to do something similar (though obviously not 10th birthday related) soon.
  In the meantime lots of great stuff that will be vying for attention at the end of year listings.
I'll mention five here, in the hope that I can post again before the end of June with some more.

Jean Toussaint All-start 6tet; Brother Raymond. 

It all sounds so effortless, but of course, it isn't. Toussaint has been able to pick a crop of particularly empathetic musicians, including one of my favourites Dennis Rollins to record a tribute recording dedicated to his late Brother Raymond. It's a good idea of where British jazz is in 2018, assured and distinctly following its own eclectic development of some very British roots. Highly recommended.

Agnes Gosling; Cacador. 
(Sorry Agnes, still not got to grips with those cedillas) A listener suggested that I listen to this album, otherwise it would have passed me by. Good shout! Songs in English and Spanish from a lady who now resides in Rotterdam ( I think). It's a well chosen, beautifully sung, collection of songs that has insinuated itself into my consciousness. Highly recommended! [as well]

Hugh Masakela: Masekela '66-76 

Somehow I've never really got into his later material but this triple CD set, recorded as the title suggests during a 'lost' decade is ample proof that he could not only play a mean horn, but also choose superb musicians to back him. It's a 3 CD set and contains the whole of two albums recorded in '73-'74 that have never made it onto CD before. It's joyous stuff that made me want to get up and dance a lot of the time (and that doesn't happen too often nowadays)

Walter Smith III; Twio

An unexpected pleasure. Mostly a simple trio setting (except when Joshua Redman leaps in on tracks 3&9) with a guest bassist on some tracks I the form of Christian McBride and with Eric Harland on drums. Tunes from a mixture of sources (Thelonious Monk to Gigi Grice) but given an individual treatment on an album that continues to impress. Relatively simple stuff brilliantly done.

Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas; Scandal.

A quintet outing that gives up more with each listening. Douglas' trumpet playing is an amazing foil for Lovano's sax playing (he plays tenor and soprano saxes), but special mention for the rhythm section, especially pianist Lawrence Fields (new to me) who does an amazing job. It sounds as though the session was a thoroughly relaxed.

So those are the first five. Question is, will I manage to make good on my promise to ad more by the end of June. I have, at the time of writing just 10 days to do it!

Friday, 27 April 2018

Edge of Jazz Blog

Quite often there's a post Christmas lull as far as jazz releases are concerned, but not this year! Quite apart from that I've found myself caught up in playing tracks from albums that somehow escaped my attention in the latter part of 2017. It's also gratifying that a couple of them are recommendations from listeners that I'm sure that I'd otherwise have missed. Three that spring to mind are;

"Living in twilight" : Ariel Pocock.

I'd never heard of Pocock before a listener recommended my this album. It's not her first album that was "Touchstone" in 2015 ( I missed that one as well!). She's Canadian but now seems to live and work in the 'States'. This is a piano trio album that illustrates here strength both as a writer and a player and I'd thoroughly recommend having a listen.

"Life of sensitive creatures" : Tony Tixier.

This seems to have been released so close to Christmas that I completely missed it. It's another piano trio album, but the styling and the playing is completely different to the Aerial Pocock album I mentioned above. He includes a couple of standards as well as the majority being self compositions. Highly recommended.

"Bricks": Charles Pasi.

Blue Note France sneaked this one out. As a general rule Blue Note seem to be expanding their roster of artists to include those who are at the very "edge of jazz" (sorry!) Pasi is an American and quite how he got caught up by a French label I have no idea. He is a harmonica player as well as a piano player and singer, and the harp gives a sound that marks this out as a left of centre release.

I wrote this in late February, and meant to post it then. So apologies if it makes little sense at the end of April. Normal(ish) posts should get under way in early May, though I don't know why I keep promising and not producing! There'll be an update to new releases, an appraisal of the new Arts Centre at Ashburton and more details about Phonic's 10th Anniversary party being held at the Phoenix in Exeter.