Thursday 26 March 2020

These are strange times!

  I'll get around to the music in a couple of paragraphs, but as I write this I'm sat at home and able to listen to all the material that's still being sent to me. Unfortunately it's just me that's sat in splendid isolation with a record deck, CD player and an internet receiver. I decided late last week that isolation really was the best outcome for me, and I set myself a list of things to do that I'd always tried to get around to, and never have. Seven days in, and I have to admit that although I've made a start on one (the list is nine long) I'd rather listen to music than do them!
 This isolation coincided with the decision by the other Directors and me not to attempt any live broadcasting on Phonic FM until current events have resolved themselves. It's a real shame as there are things that we're aiming to do in 2020 that will further enhance the esoteric output of the station, but the public health of our presents is of paramount importance so our sustaining service is in operation, but just to note that with the material loaded on the machine you shouldn't hear the same tunes too often. Then there's the music I'm still receiving!
 It's been a strange start to 2020. Firstly, there's nearly always a lull twixt Christmas and New Year when new releases dry up, and January into February becomes a delve into a litany of old favourites and trusty classics. Not so, this year. The first new releases arrived on 6th January and have been pouring in ever since - a very gratifying situation as some of them are of a very high quality. I very much liked the Wolfgang Haffner album "Kind of Tango" which treads on some of the material that was recorded by Gary Burton on the album "Libertango" which came out in 2000, but adds some other compositions in the style of Astor Piazzolla.  There's also a new album by Byron Wallen which he's going to be touring in early May. (well maybe) It's a departure from what he normally plays - it's a quartet album - which is called "Portrait" and mixes some long tracks with some much shorter tracks examining his life and work - although it's not a retrospective! I also very much like the new Henrik Jensen followed by thirteen  album called "Affinity" Like Byron, Henrik was due to tour in support of the album, but that's all been put on hold, but I thoroughly recommend the album to listen to. Finally I really do have a penchant for Wolfgang Muthspiel and his new album "Angular Blues" is everything that I hoped it would be. He's back to a trio format, but interestingly the sound is much more forward than the usual ECM sound, perhaps because the album was recorded in Japan without the close attention of Manfred Eicher who mastered the album back in Germany. This is deeply satisfying and highly recommended.
I will try to keep you up to date with what I'm listening to whilst the current situation persist. Apart from that stay safe, and keep listening (to jazz, natch!)