Bass-led progressive jazz group Wandering Monster are set to release their eponymous debut album on Ubuntu Music on 25 January 2019. Firmly established on the northern music scene, the band features Sam Quintana on double bass (above centre), Ben Powling on tenor saxophone, Calvin Travers on guitar, Tom Higham on drums and Aleks Podraza on piano and keyboards.

Exploring evocative moods, heavy-grooves and hook-laden melodies the band launch their album with an accompanying video for the Quintana-composed 'Samsara' – see the video below – and catch them on the following live dates: Zeffirelli’s, Ambleside (12 Jan);  Sofar Sounds, Newcastle (15 Jan); The Butterfly and Pig, Glasgow (16 Jan); The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh (17 Jan); Small Seeds, Huddersfield (18 Jan); Sela Bar, Leeds (album launch, 20 Jan); The Whiskey Jar, Manchester (21 Jan): The Spotted Dog, Birmingham (22 Jan);  Servant Jazz Quarters, London (24 Jan); The Be-Bop Club, Bristol (25 Jan); Kenilworth Jazz Club (4 Feb); The Gallimaufry, Bristol (6 Feb); Café Jazz, Cardiff (7 Feb) and Refu-jazz festival, Leeds (9 Feb). 

Mike Flynn

More info at www.samquintana.co.uk/wandering-monster

Watch the video for 'Samsara' here:

 

The unfeasibly warm November weather was matched by the heat generated by this small but perfectly formed festival 30km from Serbia’s capital Belgrade.

The opening night featured a blistering set from Gianluca Petrella joined for the first time by Italian compatriots Michelle Rabia (percussion, electronics) and the brilliant vibes player Pasquale Mirra. I saw Petrella and Mirra as a duo in the summer, which was great, but here with the added colouring and time keeping of Rabia, the set was on another level. Petrella is an ebullient player commanding the stage and coaxing the best from his band. However, Mirra almost steals the show: his solos are intoxicating, either playing unbelievably fast runs – his hands and mallets a blur over the vibraphone – or he can be subtle and soulful as he bends the notes around Petrella’s plaintiff trombone.

TD Rudresh Mahanthappa 35

Rudresh Mahanthappa also put in a huge shift. His current band the Indo-Pak coalition (above) featuring Rez Abbasi (guitar) and Dan Weiss (tabla) played songs from his Agrima album. For all the sweat and effort this trio seems to lack the fire and sheer power of his Bird Calls band and ultimately I left feeling a little disappointed, not in their individual playing but in the total musicality of the set.

The double bill of Ralph Towner (below) followed by the Oded Tzur Quartet left one in no doubt that jazz can still surprise and delight in spades. Towner, playing solo, is still the master of his instrument. At 78 his memory may not quite be what it was (he alluded to this in a pre-concert talk) but his ability to play and draw the audience into his quiet, delicate soundworld is undeniable. ‘Dolomiti Dance’ and ‘If’ were touching and ‘I Fall in Love Too Easily’ was just sublime. With the audience attentive and spellbound this was a beautiful concert.

TD Ralph Towner 17

The following performance was a real ‘wow’ moment. I knew nothing of the Israeli saxophonist Oded Tzur (below) but seeing that Nitai Hershkovits (former Avisahi Cohen sideman) was on piano one suspected it would be something special. Tzur has an incredibly different way of playing his sax – apparently stemming from his love and study of Indian music – he uses slow gentle blowing to generate a thin and ethereal sound which he can slide between notes – similar to a fretless bass glissando. Obviously a whole concert based on this one trick would be a little boring but Tzur is a master at bringing it in just at the right moment. The first song – slow and mournful introduces this sound – which Hershkovits took over on to the piano and the cross cultural marriage is made. Tzur can blow too, as can the rest of the band – Colin Stranahan on drums and Petros Klampanis on bass solid behind the two soloists up front. ‘Single Mother’ and ‘Whale Song’ are both beautiful and descriptive pieces - an ideal entry point for this fascinating music.

TD Oded Tzur 02

The last night of the festival brought together the Clayton-Hamilton Big Band and Cécile McLorin Salvant (picture top) as special guest. At the pre-concert talk John Clayton elaborated on how much work goes in shaping the music to fit the style of the singer and allowing room for them to ‘make the song personal’.

The first half of the concert gave the orchestra the chance to shine on their own but it was the latter part of the second half when Salvant took the stage that the evening really lit up. She’s a brilliant interpreter of the classics and with this excellent band behind her its not hard to see why she is probably the top female vocalist in the world today. Her choice of material is wide and refreshingly different - The Beatles ‘And I love him’, ‘Where Is Love’, from the musical Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton’s ‘I hate a man like you’, Ruth Brown’s ‘I Don’t know’ and Judy Garland’s ‘The Trolley Song’ – this was a great set beautifully delivered.

For a small city just a stones throw from Belgrade this is a gem of a festival – the venue is compact and intimate and the tickets a few euros each. The festival consistently books top quality artists and never fails to entertain the sell out audiences. The Pančevo Jazz Festival is always the first weekend in November.

Story and photos Tim Dickeson

 

Blues1

The blues is a lived and living truth, as much as a genre. It may be coded in chord changes and rhythms, but what precedes and follows these sounds, namely how people talk, think and act, means something. This gig is a potent, provocative event that underlines the blues as a foundation for progressive black culture, and though billed as Elaine Mitchener and Jason Yarde co-leading a band on a set of Vocal Classics Of The Black Avant-Garde, the overriding impression is that the mercurial, experimental, wanderlust character of pre-war ‘Negro’ folk music still decisively shapes its modernist outgrowths.

When Neil Charles’ walking bass and Mark Sanders’ deep shuffle on the drums mark a climatic moment in proceedings there is a clear reference to centuries-old rights of swing, yet this ageless strategy packs a mighty punch because of the way it is framed by the invention and emotional charge of these players and their colleagues, trumpeter Byron Wallen, pianist Alexander Hawkins, saxophonist Yarde and vocalist Mitchener. They convincingly show the blues as an artery within the flexible, mutative body of black music, where sonic and metric bloodstreams are thrillingly unpredictable, with a pulse that smartly follows Beaver Harris’ ideal of ‘ragtime to no time’. 

Mitchener’s mixture of guttural, gravelly textures and crystalline articulation; Yarde’s braying, bucking alto, almost an evocation on the horn of reggae’s dread warning that "de fence cyan hold, too much bull inna de pen", and his seamless unison playing with Wallen; Hawkins’ splintered motifs and timbral escarpments – all these starkly vivid sounds move in and out of focus as the band changes shape, scaling down to trios and duos before coming back up to a quintet. The years of shared experience of the players in many British ensembles tells.

The music is rooted in the fertile U.S. soil of AEC, Shepp, Dolphy and Jeanne Lee, among others, but there is a gutsy earthiness to the performance that is contemporary and personal. From the joyous, jockeying funk of the opener to the strains of fiery anger and misty tenderness that follow the commitment is unbowed. The appearance of American poet Dante Micheaux, who does a fine reading of Joseph Jarman’s 'Non Cognitive Aspects Of The City' among several other pieces, brings more substance to the table. But the crucial moment of the night is the shift on to black British territory, through the intoning of words of wisdom from West Indian warrior intellectuals, Stuart Hall, Louise Bennett and Sam Selvon. It is uplifting and empowering to hear this ‘colonisation in reverse’ amid such a dubwise tapestry of sounds, and connect these sentiments to the word Haiti that is stamped on Mitchener’s t-shirt. The world’s first republique negre is still paying the price for daring to resist European rule. That’s the blues.

Other significant details reveal the ensemble’s literal and lateral thinking. Mitchener repeats the mantra "the maximum capacity of this room is 180", but that may not be recognition of the fact that this gig is sold out. She seems more interested in locking us into congregation and reflection on how many souls, or nations of millions, it takes to move us forward beyond simplistic notions of black and white.

The evening ends with Yarde playing a ghostly recording of his alto on the fly, so we can savour a homemade memory for the fire next time.

Kevin Le Gendre
– Photo by Dawid Laskowski

Belgium may be better known for its beer than its jazz, but an upcoming event in Edinburgh is out to change that. While Paris and Copenhagen are widely viewed as European jazz centres – where once the likes of Dexter Gordon, Lester Young and Bud Powell used to live and perform – we often forget that Brussels has plenty of musical pedigree too. Belgium is, after all, the birthplace of Toots Thielemans, Django Reinhardt and Bobby Jaspar, and continues to produce outstanding jazz musicians. It is then of no surprise that Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival have teamed together with www.visit.brussels and Federation Wallonie Bruxelles to produce Thrill, a one-of-a-kind, three-day festival, featuring some of the hottest talent from Brussels.

Ten bands, featuring musicians from Belgium and Scotland will appear, offering a diverse range of bands, with varied instrumentation, styles and tone. From the Belgian side, artists include the Mâäk 5tet (above), unusually comprised of four horns and a drum – playing raw, interweaving melodic lines over a background of extended horn techniques and world music-influenced rhythms. Their bandleader, trumpeter Laurent Blondiau, describes Mâäk’s music as rich in its diverse influences, as the band have spent 15 years working with traditional African musicians from Mali, Benin and Morocco.

gig11 Aka Moon Danny Willems 2 copy

Trio AKA Moon (above) – famously inspired by the Aka pygmies of Central Africa – will also perform. The seasoned sax/bass/drums outfit makes the most of the freedom that comes from its chord-less line-up, with a focus on rhythmic interplay and powerful melodies. Among the Scottish contingent will be the Celtic folk-influenced Colin Steele Quintet and the up-and-coming STRATA. In the true spirit of collaboration, the newly-formed Thrill Sextet will amalgamate musicians of both Scottish and Belgian nationalities.

Thrill is a welcome new event, offering musical textures that are different from British and American jazz norms. As one of the festival organisers Fiona Alexander comments: “Belgian jazz offers a fresh approach, drawing on a huge range of world music influences. Thrill is a one-off, but we hope that the links between Belgium and Scotland will continue to grow and we are talking about future collaborations.”

– Gail Tasker

– Photos – Aka Moon © Danny-Willems – Mâäk Quintet © Klaas-Boelen

For more info visit www.thrill.brussels

Ra

The Sun Ra Arkestra – led by that indomitable intergalactic seer, Marshall Allen, who is 95 this year – touches down for their now traditional residency at Lewes Con Club courtesy of those enlightened folk at Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival. Catch the troupe performing cosmic classics in full astronomically-attuned attire on Sunday 21 and Monday 22 April.

Spencer Grady

For more details and ticket info visit www.dictionarypudding.co.uk

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Babelfish swim to Kings Place for Once U…

Acclaimed jazz-folk group Babelfish are set to launch their new...

Read More.....

Michael Janisch kicks out the jams for n…

Whirlwind Recordings label boss Michael Janisch (above centre) steps back...

Read More.....

Lost Miles Davis Rubberband album snaps …

Rubberband, a previously unissued 1985 album by Miles Davis, is...

Read More.....

Grégoire Tirtiaux and Gratitude Trio lea…

This is a festival where it’s possible to completely miss Kamasi...

Read More.....

Final Bow For The Night Tripper – A Trib…

Refuting the title of his biggest hit, ‘Right Place, Wrong...

Read More.....

Rossano Sportiello rounds out Harriet Co…

For 40 amazing years, the singer Harriet Coleman has presented...

Read More.....

Ronnie Scott’s rolls up to Royal Albert …

Ronnie Scott’s, the iconic London jazz club, will mark its...

Read More.....

Wollny Steals The Night As Moran Breaks …

The first thing to notice were the queues, over 200...

Read More.....

Steam Down, Emma-Jean Thackray and Leafc…

Stroud’s reputation as the alternative hippy hub of the Cotswolds...

Read More.....

Andrew McCormack returns with Graviton: …

Award-winning pianist Andrew McCormack storms back with the second volume...

Read More.....

Jazz Cafe sax summit kicks off second Lo…

Following its successful inaugural run last year, the London Saxophone...

Read More.....

McFerrin Moves Estonian Voices To Jubila…

The second half of Tallinn’s 10-day Jazzkaar festival was particularly...

Read More.....

Herbie Hancock, Terri Lyne Carrington an…

The line-up for this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival is...

Read More.....

Williams And Mancio Find Home With Subli…

  Kate Williams and her distinctive Four Plus Three, that’s her...

Read More.....

McBride, Porter, Reeves and Jazz At Linc…

Although it is a respected cultural event throughout the Caribbean...

Read More.....

Major unreleased Tubby Hayes Fontana alb…

Christmas comes early for fans of the late, great Brit-jazz...

Read More.....

Ripsaw Get Rolling

Baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts and guitarist Anton Hunter take their...

Read More.....

Cello Fellows Honsinger, Dixon & Lon…

The fifth annual Chicago Jazz String Summit took place at...

Read More.....

Bristol Jazz Fest launches Crowdfunder l…

The Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival has launched a...

Read More.....

Marcus Miller, Tim Garland and Leïla Mar…

The full line-up for this year’s Manchester Jazz Festival has...

Read More.....

Joshua Redman And Sosa Electrify Spirits…

After last year’s swelter, Cheltenham Festival offered a more temperate climate for...

Read More.....

Friedlander Frames Family Memories At Ka…

  If many contemporary jazz festivals opt for maximum numbers, gigs-wise...

Read More.....

Bonsai band bounce out for album and UK…

Progressive jazz five-piece Bonsai – formerly known as Jam Experiment...

Read More.....

Prieto Exhibits Latin Prowess, While Med…

This 30th edition of the Savannah Music Festival featured a...

Read More.....

Jazz 625 BBC4 Live broadcast and Free St…

With Cheltenham Jazz Festival set for a busy six days...

Read More.....

Steam Down Collective, Sons Of Kemet, Ca…

This year’s Jazz FM Awards ceremony took place at Shoreditch...

Read More.....

Ribot Leads Revolutionary Call At Jazz E…

Portugal’s premier experimental jazz bash, Jazz em Agosto, adopts a...

Read More.....

Cinematic Orchestra, Friday Arena and Ba…

The organisers of this year’s Love Supreme Jazz Festival, which...

Read More.....

John McLaughlin & The 4th Dimension …

  Kicking off this evening’s set with a high-octane crash through...

Read More.....

Terri Lyne Carrington, Joe Lovano and Lu…

This year’s EFG London Jazz Festival, its 27th edition, runs...

Read More.....

Stanley Clarke Captivates With Crowd-Sur…

As Return to Forever bass legend Stanley Clarke (pictured above) opened...

Read More.....

Bro, Seim and Gustafsson amid the Scandi…

  As a snapshot of the great charm of Vossa Jazz's...

Read More.....

Laura Mvula, Melt Yourself Down and Alin…

  Love Supreme continue to expand the brand by bringing an...

Read More.....

Empirical get set for Distraction Tactic…

Multi-award winning London four-piece Empirical release the second part of...

Read More.....

Thrice is the charm for APA Cole Porter …

Say what you like about America (and I frequently do)...

Read More.....

Blue Note President Don Was To Receive P…

Don Was, the President of the iconic Blue Note Records...

Read More.....

Making The Cut Mpu 300x500px

Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@OttoWillberg Oddly, that's also the title of one of his albums...
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
RT @mpjanisch: S/o to @Jazzwise for premiering the album trailer for my new record coming out Sept 6 on @WhirlwindRecord - shot in Studio 3…
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA