The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and special guests are to perform the music of Duke Ellington and George Gershwin at Scotland’s Ayr Jazz Festival before embarking on a short Scottish tour in tribute to the music of Jaco Pastorius.

The renowned ensemble is set to headline the opening night of the three-day Ayr Jazz Festival tonight, 24 October, with a programme, which pays homage to the two legendary composers and bandleaders of the jazz era. The orchestra will be joined by guest pianist Brian Kellock and will perform music from their critically acclaimed album In the Spirit of Duke – which sees it play standards from Ellington’s extensive repertoire – before giving a performance of George Gershwin’s classic jazz concerto, Rhapsody in Blue, which has been re-arranged especially for the SNJO by their leader/saxophonist Tommy Smith. For tickets and further details of the festival line-up go to www.ayrgaiety.co.uk.

Following their festival performance, the orchestra embarks on a brief tour playing the music of iconic bassist Jaco Pastorius. Best known for his work in 1970s fusion outfit, Weather Report, Pastorius also garnered acclaim in his own right for his innovative eponymous debut solo album, and subsequently went on to develop his reputation as an arranger and composer on a number of solo projects, most notably his Word of Mouth big band.

This three-night tour features brand new arrangements of Pastorius’ compositions from all stages of his career, written and performed by acclaimed virtuoso bass guitarist Laurence Cottle – who has previously performed the music with his own big band but never a full jazz orchestra. The ensemble will also feature brilliant flautist Gareth Lockrane and percussionist Marcio Doctor. The performances which are at Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh (Fri 7 Nov); Royal Conservatoire, Glasgow (Sat 8 Nov); and, The Gardyne Theatre (Sun 9 Nov), will be preceded by a pre-concert talk lasting 45 minutes.

– Steve Owen

For more info go to www.snjo.co.uk

Acclaimed jazz and rock photographer David Redfern, best known for his stunning pictures of some of the world’s best musicians, has died aged 78. His brother told close friends this morning of his death at his house in Uzes, France – Redfern had been scheduled to be taken to hospital on Thursday (where there was a bed reserved for him), but he didn't make it that long and died in his second home in France. Although he had been fighting cancer for the last couple of years, he had kept working. His wife Suzy was with him and there will be private funeral ceremony in France and a memorial service in London shortly. He is survived by three children – Mark, Bridget and Simon – and five grandchildren.

Redfern’s friend and fellow photographer Tim Dickeson confirmed the news of his death to Jazzwise earlier today, and paid tribute to David’s determination to continue working in spite of his illness:

“I was with David at Jazz a Vienne in July – we all helped him to work for a few days – carrying his bag and helping him in and out of the pit. I spoke to his friend Tim Motion who said that 'this marks the end of an era' and that he and David were lucky to have worked in a time where great jazz photography was recognised as an art form and photographers were rightly revered for their work. He was my great friend and we spent more than 10 summers working at the European jazz festivals together – he will be greatly missed not just by the photographic community but by hundreds of artists who looked to him for inspirational photography.” 

Redfern’s career began in the 1960s as London’s jazz scene was beginning to blossom, in particular capturing the stars of the Trad Boom including Kenny Ball, Chris Barber and George Melly. He went on to photograph countless jazz icons as they visited Ronnie Scott’s, including US stars Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald. He also spent a lot of time in America where he became a regular at big jazz festivals such as Newport, Antibes and Montreux – capturing the jazz greats in performance as well as rock musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan in their early pomp. He went on to publish his first photography book, Jazz Album, in 1980 and later that year at Frank Sinatra’s request, he stepped into Terry O'Neill's shoes as his official tour photographer.

Numerous exhibitions of his work followed and a second book, The Unclosed Eye, was published by Sanctuary Publishing in May 1999, with an expanded edition following in 2005. The book received great critical praise. He was also presented with The Milt Hinton Award for Excellence in Jazz Photography in 2007 in New York and more recently received a Parliamentary Jazz Award for Services to Jazz this year at a ceremony on the Terrace Pavilion at the Houses Of Parliament. His work will live on though Getty Images who purchased his Redferns Music Picture Library in 2008.

Writing on his website earlier this summer Redfern remained passionate about his lifelong love of photographing the world’s best musicians:

“Summer has seen me photographing four days at the Vienne Jazz festival, with such artists as Buddy Guy, the Tedeschi Truck band, Ben l'Oncle Soul, Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, to name a few.  Two days in Juan les Pins, with Imelda May, Joss Stone & the Fabulous Chick Corea with Stanley Clarke, there’s still plenty of great music around, many thanks to fellow photographers Tim Dickeson and Ed Hawkins for looking after me in the photo pits. Future plans include a Norwegian fjord cruise in the autumn, the London Jazz Festival in November and an exhibition at the new South Coast Jazz festival in the Shoreham Arts Centre in late January 2015. I was shocked and upset by the news of the sudden death of my friend writer Jack Massarik, we had some great times together, most memorable was a trip to Cuba in 1990, may he rest in peace. Thanks as ever to my lovely wife Suzy for her unfailing devotion and constant caring for me during this time. Keep the faith and live every day to the full, you just never know…”

– Mike Flynn

– Tim Dickeson – photo of David Redfern taken at Jazz a Vienne in 2012

In true experimental style, mixing two bands together to see what happens can lead to explosive results - none more so than when thrash/punk/noise-jazzers, World Service Project, collided with no-nonsense German power group, Zodiak Trio, at the Vortex as part of the Match&Fuse exchange programme.

 

World Service Project have earned a reputation for their disconcerting, quick-fire compositions and, as expected, dressed in their Droogish white shirts with braces and bowler hats, WSP’s occasional punky singing and the band’s incisive, stabbing dissonance rebelliously jangles the jazz nerve. This contrasts starkly with the composed stage presence of the brass and rhythm sections and it falls to lanky gang-leader and keyboard player, Dave Morecroft, to provide the breathless energy which mirrors the pacey music as he sweatily directs the band, shouting out the bar count before interjecting with screaming synth as the whole band changes direction like a flock of birds. It proves a whistle stop blast through songs from their aptly titled 2010 debut album, Relentless, and 2013 follow-up, Fire in a Pet Shop. The final song of their set, ‘Barmy Army’, chronicles Morecroft’s frustrated support of his local football club and starts with a jaunty rudimental march from drummer Liam Waugh which wafts of fat-bellied hooliganism with its rhythmic instrumental shout of “come and ‘ave a go if you fink you’re ’ard enough” - which sums up this fun-loving band’s incorrigible style.

 

Next on stage, Zodiak Trio also incorporate elements of sound design into their sets but sit on the jazz family tree closer to folk and fusion styles which allows the audience a chance to relax into their seats having sat on the edge during the previous act. Playing songs from their 2012 album, Acid, while still at the chaotic edge in places, the trio is less jabby punk more whammy-bar prog rock, dreamy electronica and aggressive-yet-intricate heavy metal – all emanating from guitarist Andreas Wahl’s tiny, futuristic headless guitar. Around this lush backdrop of sound, trumpeter John-Dennis Renken snakes a penetrating trumpet-line while drummer Bernd Oezsevim provides the cohesion, moving confidently between a range of dynamics and unusual time signatures into straightforward funk and rock. On the penultimate song, ‘Fotoalbum’, an ethereal number worthy of a Get The Blessing album, he is particularly impressive and displays creative mallet and brush-work to find unearthly metallic scrapings and flat thumps dampened by his elbow while still laying down a laid back but insistent groove.

 

In keeping with the philosophy of the event, for the night’s grand finale WSP rejoin to the stage for the collaborative piece - a fused rendition of Zodiak Trio’s ‘Nachteulen’ with bits of WSP spliced in. Although you can hear the joins there is a sense of fun on stage with both drummers sitting smiling behind the same kit and each band clearly enjoying the challenge of playing each other’s compositions. It’s obvious a real bond has been established between the bands who, despite the language barrier and fundamental differences in styles, have proved fluent in the jazz vernacular and make compelling Match&Fuse counterparts.


– Steve Owen

 

For more info go to www.matchandfuse.co.uk

 

Jazz-fusion drummer, Dave Weckl, is to mark 30 years of sponsorship with Yamaha Drums by holding a series of drum clinics and one-day intensive workshops at percussion shops and music venues around the UK in November. Best known for his work in Chick Corea’s Elektric and Akoustic bands, Weckl has worked with leading musicians including Mike Stern and George Benson as well as releasing a number of albums in his own name and as the Dave Weckl Band.

He has since gone on to develop a reputation as a music educator and the UK tour will see Weckl demonstrate his approach to drumming at a series of clinics and one-day intensive workshops for smaller groups, culminating at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London before taking the tour to the US.

Dates for the UK leg of the tour are: The Drum Centre, Dublin (intensive session Sat 22 Nov, clinic Sun 23 Nov); Manchester Drum Centre (clinic Sun 23 Nov); Drum Shop, Newcastle (clinic Tues 25 Nov); Rhythm Base, Glasgow (clinic Wed 26 Nov, intensive session Thurs 27 Nov); Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London (intensive session Sat 29 Nov, clinic Sun 30 Nov).

– Steve Owen

For further information see www.daveweckl.com

 

Avant jazz-rock three-piece Roller Trio are set to blast back into action with their eagerly awaited second album, Fracture, which they will self-release on their newly launched Lamplight Social Records label on 24 November. The band’s eponymous 2012 debut album saw the Leeds trio shoot into the limelight thanks to both a Mercury Prize nomination for ‘Album Of The Year’ and a MOBO Award nomination for Best Jazz Act. Building a fanbase through countless gigs – including a headline performance at Ronnie Scott’s and shows across Europe – the new material has been road tested and played extensively over the past two years.

Featuring saxophonist James Mainwaring, guitarist Luke Wynter and drummer Luke Reddin-Williams the band named Lamplight Social Records after the experimental music night Mainwaring promotes in Leeds, while the label will also release his new improv heavy Tipping Point project. The new material includes the single ‘High Tea’ and other live favourites such as the Indo jazz-rocker ‘Doris’ and Wynter’s brooding tune, ‘Splinter’. Roller Trio’s head-spinning blend of effortless-yet-tricky time signatures, barrelling sax and guitar riffs and Reddin-Williams’ relentless beat assault – all capped with blistering improvisation from all three band members – sounds even more refined and hard-hitting on the eagerly awaited new album.

The band play a short series of dates in the run up to the album launch in November – these include The Wardrobe, Leeds (23 October), The Vortex, London (24 October), The Bimhuis, Amsterdam (19 November) and Jazz In The Round at the South Bank Centre as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival (22 November). The new single ‘High Tea’ can be downloaded free from the Roller Trio Bandcamp page here or streamed below. See the December / January double issue of Jazzwise for an exclusive interview with the band – issue on sale 27 November.

– Mike Flynn

For more info go to www.rollertrio.com

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