Friday 28 August 2015

Update to main website:

Because of some changes that I'm making to the main part of the website the weekly playlist will be appearing as part of the blog on 1st September & 8th September. They will then be displayed as part of the "archive" on the site in the normal way. I'm sorry if this causes difficulties, but I'm a slow and only partially proficient web builder! In the meantime look out for some more albums that seem likely to be challenging for a place in the end of year Edge of Jazz Top 10. Normally there's a real dearth of new releases during July and August, but 2015 has proved to be exceptional.

Thursday 6 August 2015

August album update

Rather more quickly than expected, here are the albums released since April 2015 that'll be helping to shape the Edge of Jazz end of year playlist. Elsewhere in the blog you can find out what was making it in early 2015- and these are current "likes";

"All in" Beats and Pieces Big Band: 

In this day and age it's incredibly difficult to get together and record a big band album that gets taken out for promotional gigs. This band has done both and is an excellent reminder of why big bands can be so exciting to listen to (and watch). All the tracks are written by Ben Cottrell the musical director, except for a versi9on of David Bowie's "Let's dance". It's an aural treat and one that deserves to be listened to in full at one listening. Very impressive!

"String Theory" Partikel;

The three piece are an impressive unit on their own, but on this album they've recruited a string quartet to fill out the sound. It changes the ambience completely and works really well. I saw the group with just Benet McLean who wrote the arrangements playing violin. Considering that he says that piano is his first instrument it's a real testament to his ability that it's all so seamless. I interviewed Duncan eagles about the album and the playing and you can find it on the Edge of Jazz Mixcloud page. Very impressive!

"Flow" Drifter:

Quite how this band ended up on Edition records is a story in itself, but the quality of the writing and playing makes it both easily accessible and also quite challenging. The quartet (with the exception of drummer Teun Verbruggen) wrote all the material and interplay between piano and saxophone is tight and interesting. It rewards repeated plays.

"Strata" Ivo Neame:

Those familiar with his existing catalogue of work will find this an album that pushes some boundaries further out. Neame is joined by an interesting array of musicians including vibes player Jim Hart and sax player Tori Freestone. The result is an intriguing mixture of the unexpected and strong tunes, all written by Ivo himself.  It's a fascinating expansion of boundaries, an indication of even more to come and a very enjoyable and satisfying album.

" Fist full of notes" Indigo Kid II:

Quite why guitarist Dan Messore allowed this album to appear under a nom-de-plume is difficult to fathom. That it demonstrates a whole slew of differing facets of his outstanding ability and draws together an excellent group (which includes Trish Clowes on Tenor Sax in a much more relaxed frame of mind than on her recent album) is self-evident. It's a work that repays several listens, and hopefully presages more to come from the enigmatic guitar player.

"Welcome to my World" Joyce Elaine Yuell :

Listeners will know my predilection for what used to be called soul, and when it's got elements of jazz added in, and contains such strong material it's likely to get heavy play on the show. The fact that it was recorded in Italy, with Italian musicians doesn't detract from the fact that this Cuban born singer has an excellent voice and some wonderful phrasing as well. All the material, irrespective of writers, is in English, and it's a wonderful antidote to all those (mainly British female singers) who claim to have 'soul'. Well worth a listen!

There will undoubtedly be more albums to pick from as the Christmas period approaches, but this year has been a particularly strong one for releases and long may it continue.

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Crikey! It's been a long time, for which I can only apologise. There's been an enormous amount happening as well as some stunning events, and at the time of posting, they just keep coming. There's also been some stunning new music, as well as some very welcome re-releases of material I never thought I'd see again.
It seems pretty pointless in reviewing Love Supreme 2015, so I'd just advocate that if its possible you make plans to go in 2016, and advance tickets shoild be on sale really soon.
I also "discovered" another favourite venue, and it's close to us here in Exeter. I was invited to see Partikel at St Lawrence's Chapel in Ashburton. Not only was the concert excellent - even if they only had one of the four players who appears on the album "String Theory" playing at the date. The whole concert was recorded and has become available (though only in part and there is more to follow) on Soundcloud. They have a whole slew of events that are coming up between now and the end of the year, and if you look for "Ashrton Live" on a search engine or follow on @ashburtonlive on Twitter you can find out more. Even more exciting (potentially) is that the Methodist Chapel in Ashburton is up for sale and there is a group of people who are looking to purchase it. Further details of this as it becomes available.
As for the music I'm playing and have really enjoyed- that will have to wait until my next posting (assuming that it's rather less delayed than this one has been!). In the meantime a reminder that I tweet @phonicjazz, and that some (not all) programmes can be found in full on the Mixcloud website by following links to the Edge of Jazz or by going to the Phonic.FM page and finding what else gets broadcast on the station.