JATT-1057w-ScottFriedlander

ECM Records chose experimental arts venue Roulette, in Brooklyn, to host a musical tribute to the memory of John Abercrombie, the great guitarist having died in August 2017. The label had gathered together an astounding collection of guest artists (collaborators and friends) to reinterpret his music under the banner Timeless: A Tribute To His Life And Music. Ralph Towner was beset by an acute ear infection in Rome, but everyone else was confirmed, and already in the house. Nate Chinen of NPR (National Public Radio) acted as MC, weaving in reminiscences and direct quotes from the guitarist's admirers, introducing a continuing two-hour-and-more sequence of small group combinations. Unsurprisingly, Roulette was at full capacity, with a queue stretching right along Atlantic Avenue.

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The first few numbers were very mellow and introverted, with Bill Frisell leading the way, partnered by Mark Feldman (violin), Thomas Morgan (bass) and Joey Baron (drums), for a set of delicate and expressionist moods. Nels Cline was up next, in more reined-in mode, with Peter Erskine (drums) and Marc Copland (piano) joining him, the latter doubling as the evening's musical director. The night was building up a softly loungey quality, until John Scofield and Baron returned, to play 'Even Steven', from 1984's Solar, which Abercrombie called 'the bebop album'. He was often dedicated to tranquil exploration, but also had his turbulent, grooving side. Scofield used the blues as a base, but edged them with cowboy frills, Baron broke out his power-hits. He had a big sound, even on the brushes, making tight exchanges with Scofield, the latter sticking around as saxophonist Joe Lovano, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Adam Nussbaum entered. They played 'Easy Reader' and 'Within A Song', the combination of Lovano, Scofield and Nussbaum facilitating a bombastic release. Hornmen Dave Liebman and Randy Brecker cooled down the proceedings, and then the show's final run also returned to a calm state as Frisell came back to deliver a pair of tunes from 1975's Timeless album, 'Ralph's Piano Waltz' and its title number, two of Abercrombie's best-known pieces.

Jack DeJohnette was an august presence, but his drumming was restrained and subtle, following the fiery flashes of Baron and Nussbaum. Also in the house were Evan Parker, Tim Berne (not playing) and ECM founder Manfred Eicher. Besides Abercrombie's undoubted significance as a jazz guitarist, time and again, his old friends alluded to his charming, yet slightly spiky, sense of humour, his generosity, and his self-deprecating wisdom. This was a man who was warmly loved by all of his peers, disciples and students. All proceeds from the concert went to a new scholarship in Abercrombie's name, and contributions are still being gratefully received.

– Martin Longley 
– Photos by Scott Friedlander

The new monthly concert series, Studio Jazz Thursdays, continues its monthly run at the Other Palace, the salubrious basement music venue beneath the Palace Theatre that's a stone's throw from Victoria Station in London. Promoted by JBGB Events, each night has a distinct theme, ranging across a wide variety of jazz styles.

So far featuring saxophonist Alan Barnes' Plays Duke Ellington, and pianist Chris Ingham's Music of Horace Silver with his Rebop band, things continue with esteemed pianist Darius Brubeck's Quartet (pictured, 10 May); soul-jazz singer Noel McCalla and Derek Nash's take on the Stevie Wonder songbook under the banner Some Kind Of Wonderful (14 June) while rising star trumpeter Freddie Gavita appears with his Quartet (12 July). Further jazz concerts at the Other Palace include the A Centruy of 100 Songs with two leading UK jazz singers Liane Carroll (3 May) and Elaine Delmar (7 June).

For full details visit www.theotherpalace.co.uk

TD-Snowpoet-32

On the last day of Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival, the snow fell. It didn't seem to deter the crowd, who buzzed around Colston Hall, listening to free gigs in the foyer and attending numerous ticketed shows in the venue spaces. Nor did it hinder the aptly named Snowpoet, who played an afternoon show in The Lantern hall, amid a festival lineup ranging from rocky Indo-Jazz clarinettist Arun Ghosh, to Clare Teal's mini big-band renditions of American standards. In this diverse context, it was hard to know what to expect from the young melodic storytellers, combining folk, pop and jazz, inspired by Björk, Sylvia Plath and John Cage.

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They began with a sound that would return over the set; soft, poppy, rock-jazz riffs, behind melodic vocal lines, with tenor sax in soft sync. As they diverged, Lauren Kinsella's more syllabic, sung phrases formed a nice melodic-rhythmic layer, subtly punctuated with Josh Arcoleo's delicate use of saxophone squeaks and tones. There was no sign that four of the six band members were later additions to a duo initially comprised of Kinsella and Chris Hyson. Today the sextet's multi-instrumentalism is an impressive asset; Hyson switched between bass, guitar and piano, Arcoleo between sax, bass and backing vocals, and Matt Robinson from piano to keyboard and electronics. Robinson's piano solos were precise and full of intention, mirrored in a carefulness and minimalism that encompassed the set. While the musicians wove a range of genres and poetry, textures and narrative, and evoked mystery and darkness, they were tight and neat, and 'clean'-feeling. At times, more unexpected harmonic and rhythmic changes spiced up the energy, along with use of electronics, moments of improvisation and part-spoken, poetic vocals. An almost a cappella version of Gillian Welch's 'Dear Someone' stood out, with Kinsella's lone voice morphing eerily and captivatingly into harmony via clever use of vocoder. But this group could stray further from the edges of safety, into the realms of risk to embrace the experimentalism and hints of franticness that were only occasionally touched.

– Celeste Cantor-Stephens
– Photos by Tim Dickeson

A new weekly jazz show, J to Z, is to replace Jazz Line-Up, with the first edition set to air on Saturday 7 April from 5-6.30pm, and continue each week in this time-slot. The programme will focus on the past, present and future of jazz and will be presented by the award-winning vocalist, Jumoké Fashola (pictured) alongside Julian Joseph and Kevin Le Gendre. The show will feature exciting new tracks, live sessions and exclusive recordings from European and UK jazz concerts every week, and also regularly hit the road to present jazz events and features from across the country.

Jumoké Fashola commented on joining the programme: "It is a total dream come true to be presenting J to Z on BBC Radio 3. I am looking forward to introducing our audiences to the finest jazz; incredible live sessions from some of the most uber musicians on the scene and getting a chance to delve into classic jazz archives. Jazz is an ever evolving, thrilling art form and I can't wait to share my passion with the listeners, whether they are just curious about jazz or already aficionados."

Alongside the radio show will be a series of J to Z podcasts, featuring jazz musicians discussing the musical moments that inspired them. They will also break down important recordings to focus on the drum break, chord sequence or trumpet solo that changed the way these musicians approach their own music. J to Z is produced by Somethin' Else for BBC Radio 3, who previously produced Jazz on 3 for 18 years, before Jazz Now took its Monday night slot in April 2016.

The programme is part of a refreshed weekend agenda's 'after dark zone', as announced by BBC Radio 3 controller Alan Davey, with other new shows announced include: Choir and Organ (1 April, 4-5pm) presented by the acclaimed baritone Roderick Williams, who discusses and presents organ and choral music and performances; Music Planet (6 April, 11pm -1am) covers music from across the globe, with classic tracks and new releases from roots-based music; Inside Music with Colin Currie (7 April, 1-3pm) will give listeners the chance to rediscover their favourite music with guidance from musicians; Drama on 3 (8 April, 7.30pm) will open with Henrik Ibsen's masterpiece The Wild Duck starring David Threlfall, and After Dark (21-22 April, 10pm, Mon-Fri) will launch its new late zone with a special week-long season, Night Blossoms, exploring the mysterious, counter-cultural and unexpected side of Japanese music and arts.

Gabrielle Wanda

For full details visit www.bbc.co.uk/radio3

John-ZornNick-Ruechel previewweb

Annual Lisbon jazz adventure, Jazz em Agosto, celebrates its 35th edition this year with a special programme, running between 27 July to 5 August, dedicated to the wonderfully esoteric soundworlds of New York composer, saxophonist and Tzadik label boss John Zorn. This will be the first time in Jazz em Agosto's history that the event will be devoted to the work of a single musician, celebrating this extraordinary artist whose eclectic and critically acclaimed output has left such an indelible mark on the music of our time.

The 18 concerts and five films featured at the host venue at Gulbenkian Foundation will capture the essence of Zorn's unique sonic universe, showcasing his own idiosyncratic material with performances from several of his own numerous and diverse projects, as well as by many of his regular collaborators and artists who continue to divine inspiration from his infectious and innovative creativity.

Kicking off with a special opening-night trio comprising of Zorn, Thurston Moore and Milford Graves, other highlights throughout the 10 days include showcases from Craig Taborn, the Mary Halvorson Quartet, John Zorn's Masada, Julian Lage, the John Medeski Trio, Ikue Mori, Kris Davis Quartet and Secret Chiefs 3.

– Spencer Grady

For more details and ticket info visit www.jazzemagosto.pt

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