Musson

Three of the key figures on London's improv scene – tenor saxophonist Rachel Musson, alto saxophonist Julie Kjær and cellist Hannah Marshall – assemble their free jazz meets mutant chamber-music trio at Waterloo's Iklectik this weekend (Sunday 19 November).

Spencer Grady

For more details on this and other events visit www.iklectikartlab.com 

 Franklin

As far as monikers go, 'Lady Soul' may well have proved a heavy load to bear for many artists. Yet Aretha Franklin, who has died at the age of 76, became the unimpeachable incumbent, the absolute personification of the genre of music that flowered from black America and grew around the whole world.

As the daughter of a Baptist preacher from Memphis, Tennessee Franklin, who grew up singing in church, had credentials others could only dream of, and her great ability to recast the ecstatic, electric energy of gospel in a secular setting, following in the footsteps of one of her sources of inspiration, Ray Charles, produced a fine body of work. The albums she cut for Atlantic between the mid-1960s and late 1970s included such gems as I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved You, Spirit In The Dark and Young, Gifted & Black. Franklin's ability to phrase inventively, nuance her timbre and choose exactly the right moment to ratchet up her attack made memorable performances of songs such as 'Respect', 'Chain Of Fools' and 'Say A Little Prayer For You.' Her collaborations with the house bands from Muscle Shoals and Atlantic records, helmed by the great King Curtis, rank among some of the greatest in the entire history of popular music.

Having said that, she never completely discarded her gospel roots and the brilliant live album Amazing Grace became one of the biggest sellers of her career. Yet Franklin's early work as a jazz singer – she was signed to Columbia – is not to be dismissed and renditions of standards such as 'God Bless The Child', 'Skylark' and 'Misty' serve notice of her subtleties, as well as her power. Franklin continued to record up until last year, but her work was relatively inconsistent. One of her last musical golden periods was actually the early 1980s when she was produced by Luther Vandross and Marcus Miller. Two fine albums, Jump To It and Get It Right, underlined her place as a strong black woman fully deserving of all her propers in a world still marked by inequality.

Kevin Le Gendre

A-Great-day-In-Harlem

Photographer Art Kane's legendary jazz photograph 'Harlem – 1958', commonly known as 'A Great Day in Harlem', celebrates its 60th anniversary on 12 August and is the subject of new book, Art Kane: Harlem 1968, to be published in November.

In 1958, Kane pitched Esquire magazine with the idea of a photo shoot gathering together as many New York-based jazz musicians as possible. Esquire took the plunge and Kane put the word out to the jazz community via record labels, managers, agents and clubs to meet on 12 August outside a Brownstone house at 17 East 126th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues in Harlem at 10am, a time of day not that familiar to many night-owl jazz players.

Come the day, 57 musicians turned up, including big rollers such as Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Count Basie, Sonny Rollins, Lester Young, Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins and Pee Wee Russell to then up-and-coming names, Benny Golson, Marion MacPartland, Mary Lou Williams and Art Farmer. Some local children also blagged their way into the frame, Kane got his shot and the photo was published in Esquire's Golden Age of Jazz special issue in January 1959, subsequently becoming one of the most iconic photos in jazz history. Thankfully, the Brownstone house has survived the gentrification of the area over recent decades, though a large number of the musicians and Art Kane are long passed.

"There was going to be an unusual shooting of a photograph for Esquire magazine and I was going to be part of it." said Benny Golson. "I couldn't believe it! Nobody really knew me that early in my career. But zippo, I was there on the intended date. When I arrived, there were all of my heroes."

The book, Art Kane: Harlem 1958, is published by Wall of Sound Editions on 1 November 2018 and tells the story behind the photo together with outtake images from the shoot, as well as many of Kane's jazz portraits from the period, and includes Kane's original text, an introduction by his son Jonathan Kane and forwards by Quincy Jones and Benny Golson.

Jon Newey

Soweto Kinch's free one-day arts festival, The Flyover Show, returns on Saturday 18 August, 12.30pm- 9pm, at Hockley Flyover Underpass, Birmingham.

Founded by the acclaimed saxophonist, MC and BBC presenter, the event is set in the Hockley underpass in the heart of inner city Birmingham. The event has regularly featured many emerging and established artists with previous events featuring performances by Goldie, Maxi Priest, Ms Dynamite and Jamaican jazz guitar legend Ernest Ranglin.

Two fast rising female stars will appear this year in the form of award-winning singer songwriters Zara McFarlane and Ayanna Witter Johnson, as well as Kinch himself, all performing for the 6,000-strong crowd expected to attend the show. Multiple arts activities will also take place throughout the day with graffiti artists, performance poets and street dance crews scattered throughout the performance space. As Kinch states about the event: "Flyover Show breaks down [the] constraints of race, culture and class, bringing world-renowned acts right into the heart of our community."

Hockley is a deliberate choice of location, as an area often branded as rife with gun crime and racial tension. Kinch's response is to reframe these preconceptions to transform it into a place known for promoting creative opportunity and expression.

Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.facebook.com/TheFlyoverShow

In a week of outstanding musical offerings in Sligo, perhaps the apogee was Malcolm Edmonstone's arrangement of Donald Fagan's solo album The Nightfly, with a cracking big band rocking the audience. 'I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)' was a fitting anthem for the concert.
Opening the festival, vocalists Liane Carroll, Sara Colman, Emilia Mårtensson, trombonist Shannon Barnett, saxophonist Meilana Gillard joined Edmonstone (piano), John Goldsby (bass) and David Lyttle (drums), pumping fresh life into standards such as 'Honeysuckle Rose', the folk tune 'Never Will I Marry', an original in 9/8 time and Sara and Malcolm's moving version of James Taylor's 'Fire and Rain'.

On a subsequent night, electric bassists Federico Malaman and Henrik Linder, with Nicolas Viccaro (drums) and Scott Flanigan (piano), displayed outrageous technical proficiency and brilliant musicality, including funky versions of 'Little Sunflower', 'Giant Steps' and a tune whimsically referred to as a ballad...that was anything but!

After the electrifying first half, came a band described on their Facebook page as "neo-acoustic Celtic post-rock". Very capable musicians, the Olllam left me unmoved. Putting a snare/bass drumbeat against traditional Irish instrumentation has been done to much better effect elsewhere. The audience loved it, though.

The surprise concert of the week was Goldenhair, renowned Irish film composer Brian Byrne's response to a short book of poetry by James Joyce. Great, almost operatic arrangements laid the ground for wonderful piano work by the composer, with powerful vocals by William Byrne, Lucia Evans and the ever-wonderful Carroll. The band were terrific on 'Go Seek Her Out' and a barnstorming 'Why Have You Left Me Alone', based on a W.B. Yeats masterpiece. A funky 12/8 rendition of 'The Kiss She Gave to Me' closed another night of great music making.

The final concert by a faculty of towering international musicians meant that the title 'SJP All Stars', is a description without hubris. Ranging from duos to big band, the concert closed by reprising 'I.G.Y.' as our earworm for the following days.

– John Philip Murray

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