The 40th edition of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival takes place from 13 to 22 July at venues around the city with a wide ranging programme. Big jazz names include Grammy-winning vocalist Kurt Elling; Indojazz super-trio Crosscurrents featuring tabla master Zakir Hussain and heavyweight jazzers Dave Holland and Chris Potter; compelling US trumpet star Keyon Harrold (above left) and the powerful New York sound of the Vijay Iyer Sextet (above centre).

The bevy of blues, funk and world names also appearing include Jools Holland Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Davina & The Vagabonds, Mud Morganfield, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, The Average White Band, Blind Boy Paxton, Curtis Stigers, Betty Lavette and Maggie Bell. New Orleans' tri-centenary is marked by a bounty of brass-led bands including Crescent city crew the Soul Brass Band, as well as the UK debut of the all-female trad jazz band Shake 'Em Up. UK and European artists also line-up in the form of Soweto Kinch, Zara McFarlane and Zoe Rahman, plus Czech pianist Vit Kristan and Norwegian saxophonist Harald Lassen.

There's an abundance of Scottish jazz stars on hand to mark this 40th edition too, with Martin Taylor, Carol Kidd, Brian Kellock and Tommy Smith, plus a Blues Gala with Maggie Bell, Bernie Marsden and Tim Elliott. It's also the 10th year of the festival's £120,000 EXPO fund, which has enabled the development of multiple projects, many of which will receive their world premiere at the festival. These include a chance to catch singer/violinist Seonaid Aitken (above right) appearing with the 24-piece Scottish Session Orchestra, conducted by Adam Robinson, (Assembly Rooms, 22 July) performing classic jazz songs from the 1930s, 40s and 50s; American clarinet player Evan Christopher lining up with The Scottish Swing Orchestra for a 'Kings of Swing' concert; Scandinavian group Haftor Medbøe dueting with Swedish pianist Jacob Karlzon and talented young Scots bassist Andrew Robb collaborating with Norwegian saxophonist Petter Wettre.

– Mike Flynn

For full listings and tickets visit www.edinburghjazzfestival.com

Doyen of the music press for half a century and a highly-valued and much-loved writer for Jazzwise for the past 14 years, Roy Carr died from a heart attack in hospital in the early hours of 1 July 2018 aged 73. Born in Blackpool in 1945, Roy's father Tony Carr was a musician with connections to the big-band scene and wrote the hit big-band instrumental 'March of the Mods' for the Joe Loss Orchestra in 1964. The tune was also used as a TV theme and covered by Roy's R&B group, The Executives, who released a number of singles for both EMI/Columbia and CBS between 1964 and 1969, including the highly collectable 'Tracy Took A Trip', banned by BBC Radio One in 1968.

An ardent jazz fan, Roy had started writing reviews for Jazz News in the early 1960s and continued freelance writing again in the late 1960s for the NME, joining as a staff writer in 1970. He built a reputation as a clued-up scribe whose insider knowledge of the music business as a gigging musician gave him a certain edge as the paper became the go-to music weekly. He was part of the core team that relaunched NME in 1972 as a serious music weekly under the editorship of Alan Smith and subsequently Nick Logan to reflect the counter-cultural driven change in music and the influence of the more in-depth Melody Maker, Sounds and the then UK underground press, such as IT and Friends. It was a giant leap away from NME's previous lightweight pop panderings and soon it was selling over 200,000 copies a week with a readership of a million and top line writers such as Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray and Ian MacDonald.

As Carr's reputation as an incisive writer with a dry, mischievous sense of humour rose he landed a gossip column, Hello Sailor, as well as big name interviews with names such as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie. Roy compiled NME's flexi-discs and compilation tapes that were hugely popular with its readership, and, in addition to becoming a prolific album liner-note writer across jazz, rock and soundtracks, he authored books on The Beatles and Rolling Stones in The Illustrated Record Series, as well as acclaimed jazz titles, The Hip: Hipsters, Jazz and The Beat Generation and A Century of Jazz. Roy was eventually moved upstairs to become executive editor at IPC of NME, Melody Maker and Vox, the forerunner to Uncut.

Roy was one of the longest serving staff on what is now known as the 'golden days' of the UK music press from 1963 until the late 1990s, when its huge influence and reach stretched worldwide. With NME's weekly sales now a shadow of its former self and MM and Sounds closed, he viewed the way it had cheapened its approach, ditching editorial depth and credibility for pop frivolity, with a mix of sadness and anger. He retired from IPC in the mid-2000s aged 65 and took up my offer as a freelance reviewer on Jazzwise in September 2004, where he returned to his first love, jazz writing, with a discographer's eye for detail and sharp recall of decades of interviews and barroom chats with everyone from Miles Davis and Chet Baker to Art Blakey and Jimi Hendrix.

I'd known Roy since I worked on Sounds music paper and last spoke to him four days before he died. He was in hospital awaiting an angioplasty following a minor heart attack a day earlier. "I'm alright", he said with a wry chuckle in his voice. "They'll probably fit a stent and I'll be out in a few days. Send me the next batch of album reviews, but no Chet Baker releases." A reference to the sheer avalanche of Baker reissues and inferior compilations rather than 'Mis'Tah Chet' himself, who Roy absolutely loved.

Our thoughts are with Roy's wife and family. We shall miss him madly.

Jon Newey

Pharoah Sanders LWorms 1

"I've already had my mind blown once today," a geezerish head of a certain age tells his friend. "By that woman there." The cause of his expanded horizons, Nubya Garcia, sits smiling in sweet disbelief nearby. A queue for her signature which takes 30 minutes to dissipate is snaking from a record stall which has just been stripped of her latest EP with locust-like ruthlessness. Outside, it's high summer in England, that rare and precious season when blue skies stay unbroken for weeks during June's longest days, retaining the heat and light. In the beautiful Sussex village of Glynde, the weather is a particular gift, which seems to keep on giving whenever Love Supreme is in town. Garcia's rise is part of a youthful resurgence in UK jazz which the festival has supported during its six years, and is now in its own high season. This fresh talent's correspondence with veterans including Pharoah Sanders, Tony Allen and Dave Holland is this year's story.

Nubya Garcia LWorms

The expansion of both Love Supreme and jazz's horizons is shown by Garcia's presence in an Arena tent which has doubled its capacity to 4,000. She looks exhilarated by the scale of an audience whose enthusiasm pushes her band to escalating heights. Her sax solo seems to accompany the Malian desert sounds of Songhoy Blues as they drift in from the Main Stage. When her band's final high-speed storm detonates, Joe Armon-Jones swirls and slides over the keys with deliberately blowsy excess, and Garcia spans her broad tenor range. The decisive moment comes when Armon-Jones meets Femi Koleoso's trip-beats in abstract drum'n'bass-derived shapes more glisteningly beautiful than any of the cold new corporate towers of their London home. Complex yet gut-punch-direct, the crowd greet it as a victory. And a mind is blown.

Over in the Big Top, they are followed by Tony Allen in majestically melodic mood. Long-time observers bemoan a dimming of the 77-year-old's Afro-beat fire. He is still the polyrhythmic heartbeat of tunes from his Art Blakey tribute The Source, whose soul-jazz traverses 20 years of rhythm evolution without breaking sweat, as a mother and daughter sway in a similarly generation-spanning dance. His sextet's muscular brass and lilting guitar operate in mellow balance with the afternoon sun. 

"Fela Kuti is the king of Nigeria," we're told soon afterwards. "I want you all to party like Nigerians!" Allen might agree with the sentiment, but we're back with the London scene, listening to Femi Koleoso, who has returned to the Arena with Armon-Jones and Ezra Collective. They play the high-energy Afro-beat its inventor Allen now largely eschews, with Armon-Jones again flying high.

Ezra Collective LWorms 1

We might expect many things from Pharoah Sanders, as the white-suited, bearded prophet of spiritual jazz makes his curved-backed, shuffle-skanking way to the stage. Roaring "Oi-oi!" like an Essex geezer would be low on the list, but Sanders at 77 is inscrutably impish. Gene Caldarazzo's press-rolls give his band steaming power when in modal unison. The leader blows forcefully, but rarely, one gentle scream sinking down to a softly burnished tone. His potent closing statement to 'The Creator Has A Master Plan' is less memorable than his lushly romantic approach to the ballad 'A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square', showing how far he's travelled from his 1960s provocations with Coltrane.

Sunday morning dawns at Glynde's soulfully open-minded village church with a reading of a fitting Islamic poem, 'Cast All Your Votes for Dancing'. Ian Shaw follows this in the Big Top with his secular prayer for inclusion and change, 'Shine'. Yazz Ahmed then brings ghosts of electric Miles to her meditative, ritualistic, transporting British-Bahraini music. When a bumper Big Top crowd gathers for Dave Holland/Zakir Hussain/Chris Potter, Hussain's percussion is a sort of sequel to Ahmed, as Ezra was to Allen. His tabla dexterity is the jagged flint on which Holland's equally fleet-fingered bass funk bounces and sparks. Their most intense, rocketing exchange, snaked around by Potter's sinuous soprano sax, is triumphant.

Yazz Ahmed LWorms

Steve Winwood's hammering Hammond grooves on a wonderful, Traffic-heavy set show it doesn't really matter what you call rock music which has all jazz's improvisatory virtues, and early 1960s R&B fire. Mavis Staples' radically loving civil rights soul is a tireless blessing, met in sentiment by a simultaneous set by Keyon Harrold. Ending a soulfully introspective solo, the trumpeter from racially schismed Ferguson, Missouri says: "We shall overcome, right? One day."

In its happy accidents and sacred confluences, Love Supreme still lives up to its name.

– Nick Hasted
– Photos by Lisa Wormsley 

Chelsea music venue, Under the Bridge, will play host to several essential dates as part of next month's 10-day Innervisions festival. These include hyperactive Japanese jazz crew Soil & 'Pimp' Sessions who unleash there high-intensity take on post-bop (5 July), followed closely by the revamped US trio The Bad Plus (above right) who appear with newly recruited pianist Orrin Evans alongside original bass and drum dynamos Reid Anderson and Dave King (6 July). And former James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley and his hard-grooving band, The New J.B.'s, also appears (7 July).

There's also a chance to hear hugely acclaimed bassist/singer songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello (top left) perform songs from her sublime new covers album, Ventriloquism, which features spellbinding downtempo takes on songs by Prince, TLC, George Clinton, Janet Jackson and Sade (11 July).

Further Innervisions dates include Incognito (Roundhouse, 7 July); Moonchild/Alpha Mist/Eris Lau (KOKO, 6 July); Lalah Hathaway (KOKO, 8 July); Bugge Wesseltoft/Henrik Schwarz/Dan Burglund (Union Chapel, 5 July); Christian McBride's New Jawn (Union Chapel, 12 July); Janet Key & Carroll Thompson (Under The Bridge, 14 July) and Werkha + Richard Spaven Trio (100 Club, 10 July).

Mike Flynn

For full details visit www.innervisionsfestival.com

hyg2014-07-12lowres17 page image

Connoisseurs of craft ales and well-crafted extemporisation, rejoice!

Another series of South London's premier beer shop blowouts have been scheduled. That's right, BRÅK's monthly improvised music nights run by Cath Roberts, Colin Webster and Tom Ward, continue into the second half of 2018 with a stellar new season of shows taking place at Brockley's booze emporium, waterintobeer. Line-ups are still being finalised, but guests already confirmed include contrabass clarinet specialist Heather Roche, saxophone behemoth Alan Wilkinson, formidable double-bass diablo Dominic Lash (pictured) and live action painter Gina Southgate.

Performances take place on 28 July, 8 September, 3 November and 15 December.

Spencer Grady

For more details visit www.brakbrakbrak.co.uk

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