Jazz for Labour is presenting multi-award winning singers Liane Carroll and Claire Martin plus other jazz names over two nights at The Walrus in Ship Street, Brighton during this year's Labour Party Conference, which takes place at the Brighton Centre from 24-27 September.

Inspired by the big Jazz for Labour concert at the Barbican in February 2015, which starred Courtney Pine, Darius Brubeck, Claire Martin, Liane Carroll, Arun Ghosh and many others, the gigs will raise money for the local Labour Party as well as promote fairness and diversity in arts and music. Liane Carroll plus Terry Seabrook's Triversion and a jam session play on 25 Sept, and Claire Martin plus Julian Nicholas Band with special guests and a jam session will play on 26 Sept.

– Jon Newey

More details from www.thewalrusbrighton.com

 Millar

As the example of Artist Share amply demonstrates, crowdfunding initiatives apply as much to jazz artists as they do their peers in pop. At the end of this launch event for his debut album Unnatural Events, pianist-bandleader Tom Millar makes a point of acknowledging the Kickstarter campaign that partly enabled the recording to happen, and it feels very much like a reality check for the music industry in an age of shrinking budgets and diminishing returns. On stage, the figures are in a better state.

Millar's quartet has the premium of musicianship and technical prowess that is increasingly commonplace among millennial college graduates. Indeed the Royal Academy alumnus has very able support in double-bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado, drummer Jon Scott and guitarist Alex Munk. Each has sufficient skill to handle the demands of compositions that have a structural complexity that is anything but pedestrian. Millar's writing is part of a lineage of polished modernism whose building blocks are to be found in the holy trinity of Herbie, Chick and Bill Evans, but whose additional masonry has pleasing echoes of their scions, namely Pat Metheny and Brian Blade. At its highpoint the performance reaches a poetic, pastoral grace, notably on 'Azura Days', a piece that is defined by a lengthy, spiraling theme, played in tight unison by Millar and Munk, that resolves in short, singing phrases that glide swishly over a steady latinesque rhythm enhanced by Scott's crisp, clicking rimshots.

A similar attention to detail marks songs such as 'The Seafarer', and 'Park Hill', yet for all these undeniable plus points there are moments when the music is found wanting in terms of internal dynamics and emotional charge. Impressive as he is, guitarist Munk is given too much solo space, often taking a high-flying lead that is a touch overwhelming. Millar, by contrast, doesn't expand some of his improvisations enough to really wring the most out of the material, and a sense of restraint, if not timidity, in some of his phrasing lessens the impact of pieces where the intent is high energy. 'Power Chord Thing' is a case in point. The title is transparent but the promise of a hard edge in the groove doesn't materialise, as if the players just won't let go, toughen up and rock out as their command of the beat suggests they can. It makes you wonder what they could achieve if they were spurred on by a more experienced player or producer with a pedigree who can challenge and stimulate his charges, be it a Jason Yarde or a Django Bates, Millar's former tutor.

Interestingly, the moment when that convincingly happens is the arrival of vocalist Alice Zawadzki on a very finely wrought adaptation of Gerard Manley-Hopkins' 'Inversaid'. The poet's thought-provoking ode to the environment, penned with much vivid descriptive energy following a visit to a Scottish loch, translates into a series of undulating melodies and darting counter-lines that have the urbane beauty of Corea's interplay with Flora Purim in the first iteration of Return to Forever. Yet amid all of the sophistication there is a robust rhythmic undercurrent that is more stirring than anything else heard throughout the whole evening. Millar's quartet is a band with an obvious potential as well as talent, but as is the case with a number of artists in the early stage of their careers there is a developmental path stretching out before them.

How, and with whom they proceed to negotiate it should be interesting to observe.

– Kevin Le Gendre
– Photo by Emma Perry

Mats

Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson has trawled the archives of his online record-collecting grotto, Discaholic Corner, to collate a series of interviews with fellow artists who share his obsession for vinyl gathering. Issued via Marhaug Forlag publications, Discaholics!: Record Collector Confessions Volume 1, presents conversations with artists/hoarders including Brian Morton, Paal Nilssen-Love, Thurston Moore, Oren Ambarchi and Robert Crumb, plus 25 bespoke lists of Gustafsson's personally beloved platters, numerous illustrations and photos, as well as a unique one-sided seven-inch single with an exclusive track created using elements from the author's personal record collection.

– Spencer Grady
– Photo by Ziga Koritnik

For more info visit www.marhaugforlag.no

We'd love to know what you think of Jazzwise. We value the opinions and tastes of our readers as well as their listening, reading and lifestyle habits – so we're conducting a Reader Survey to ensure we reflect these in the best possible way in the magazine.

By completing the survey in full, you will be entered into a prize draw to win three stunning Bill Evans vinyl box-sets, including Some Other Time (2LP), Another Time (LP) and Top of the Gate (3LP) all released on Resonance Records – the first two of which are now sold out – so this a perfect chance to get your hands on them.

This survey has now closed. Many thanks for all your responses.

Leading UK pianist Zoe Rahman is set to head up the third edition of Band On The Wall's Jazz Directors series, with the band chosen from an open audition process to select an ensemble of emerging jazz talent. Following in the illustrious footsteps of Terence Blanchard and Chris Potter, Rahman will provide music for the ensemble that she wrote for a Guildhall School of Music and Drama project, alongside new material never previously performed live.

The open selection process has been completed and the musicians who successfully auditioned include many emerging talents from Tomorrow's Warriors, National Youth Jazz Orchestra, as well as alumni of the Royal Brussels Conservatoire, Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Cambridge University and Leeds College of Music. The band now includes alto saxophonist Aleksandra Topczewska, tenor saxophonist Arnaud Guichard, trombonist Daniel Mitchell, clarinettist Faye MacCalman, tuba player Hanna Mbuya, trumpeter James Brady, flautist Maria Rehakova, bassist Roz McDonald and drummer.

Commenting on the newly assembled band Zoe Rahman said, "I'm really excited to be working with such a fantastic group of musicians and I can't wait to share the stage with them. Many thanks to everyone who applied to work on this project, it was great to see such a wealth of talent out there."

They will be performing at the following dates and venues: More Music, Morecambe (19 Oct); Alhambra Studio, Bradford (20 Oct); Pyramid Studio, Warrington (21 Oct) and Band on the Wall, Manchester (22 Oct).

– Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.bandonthewall.org

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