The 29th edition of the Glasgow Jazz Festival, which runs from 24 to 28 June, brings together another strong mix of jazz, funk and soul as well as hosting the final of Young Scottish Jazz Musician on the opening night.

This year’s line up pulls in newcomers such as aptly large Scottish prog-funk band Fat Suit, emergent saxophonist Rachel Cohen, rising star US soul-jazz singer Jarrod Lawson, and keys/multi-instrumentalist Taylor McFerrin with drummer Marcus Gilmore, alongside established names such as award-winning Brit jazz-rockers Partisans, pianists John Taylor and Zoe Rhaman (both performing solo sets), the funky Hamish Stuart Band, the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, and acclaimed singer/pianist Liane Carroll. Young Scottish jazz stars performing include trumpeter Ryan Quigley and saxophonist Paul Towndrow’s ‘With Strings’ collaboration and an intriguing group featuring Scots pianist Euan Stevenson and powerful US tenorist Korey Riker.

Also appearing is US the power trio of virtuoso bassist Charnett Moffett, guitarist/pianist Stanley Jordan and heavy-hitting drummer Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, collectively known as the Nettwork Trio (pictured top), who explore an energetic take on free-flowing jazz-fusion. Concerts are held at venues across the city including Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, City Hall Recital Rooms, The Old Fruitmarket and the basement Rio Club, which will also host the festival’s official late night jam sessions.

– Mike Flynn


For full programme go to www.jazzfest.co.uk

Top US trumpeter Terence Blanchard, acclaimed piano trio Phronesis and bass boss Arild Andersen are all among the latest names added to this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival, which runs from 13 to 22 November at all major jazz venues and concert halls across the capital.

Trumpeter Blanchard, who cut his teeth with Art Blakey and has worked with Herbie Hancock as well as forging an acclaimed solo career as a bandleader and film composer, will appear with his new E Collective band who explore a vibrant mix of funk, soul and fusion jazz as heard on their new Blue Note album Breathless, headline the Barbican on 20 November. Norwegian bass virtuoso Arild Andersen celebrates his 70th birthday with a performance at Kings Place on 21 November, appearing with his top-notch sextet in a tribute to bass icon Charles Mingus who was a huge formative influence on Andersen. He joins a whole roster of top European jazz stars also appearing at Kings Place including tuba player, and fellow Norwegian, Daniel Herskedal, French bassist Stéphane Kerecki, Albanian singer Elina Duni with Colin Vallon, while the Polish Marcin Wasilewski Trio perform at Milton Court, Barbican.

Scandi-Brit trio Phronesis, who feature Danish bassist Jasper Høiby, Swedish drummer Anton Eger and English pianist Ivo Neame, make a welcome return to the Festival after their three-gig stand at the Cockpit Theatre in 2013 where they recorded their fourth album, Life To Everything. They are set to play the 600-seater Milton Court concert hall (22 November) that’s part of the revamped Guildhall School of Music in a special collaboration with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band performing new arrangements of their music scored by saxophonist/composer Julian Argüelles.

Further names added to the festival, for which Jazzwise is media partner, include a diverse selection of artists including the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (Rich Mix, 14 Nov), Courtney Pine and Zoe Rahman duo (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at The Globe, 15 Nov), singer Irene Serra’s -isq (at Hideaway), Neneh Cherry (Village Underground, 18 Nov), Grammy-nominated Cuban jazz pianist Alfredo Rodríguez (Wanamaker Playhouse, 15 Nov), plus ECM-signed pianist Julia Hülsmann with singer Theo Bleckmann (Milton Court, 22 Nov), and the Clark Tracey Quintet playing his father Stan’s Under Milk Wood Suite in its 50th anniversary year (check festival website for details). A special family show entitled Chapter 100 and a Dream (Wigmore Hall, 14 Nov), will feature rising star singer Emilia Mårtensson, accordionist Janez Dovč and percussionist Adriano Adewele.

These artists join those already announced including Cassandra Wilson; Kurt Elling; Jarrod Lawson; Melody Gardot; Cécile McLorin Salvant; Maria Schneider Orchestra; Nik Bärtsch; Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn; Andy Sheppard Quartet; Sons of Kemet; James Farm featuring Joshua Redman; Christian Scott and Derrick Hodge double bill; Average White Band and Kokomo double bill; the Britten Sinfonia with Eddie Gómez; Maceo Parker; Cuban pianist David Virelles; the Family Jazz All Stars with Juliet Kelly; trip hoppers Hidden Orchestra; Ibrahim Maalouf and Manu Katché double bill and a celebration of Paul Whiteman featuring Guy Barker, Keith Nichols and the Jazz Repertory Company.

– Mike Flynn

Full details and tickets at www.efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk

Edition Records, the Cardiff-based independent jazz label, has announced the signing of acclaimed British pianist Jason Rebello to the label for what will be his first ever solo piano album. Set for release in early 2016, the album will showcase Rebello’s considerable virtuosity and creative flair on acoustic piano – as he’s been demonstrating with his imaginative solo piano version of The Beatle’s ‘Blackbird’, which has been a highlight of his recent live shows.

Having first come to prominence in the 1990s with a string of albums on the BMG label, Rebello subsequently made countless world tours as a regular side man to Sting – stepping in to the band after the death of US pianist Kenny Kirkland in 1998 – going on to make three albums and tour with the singer for six years. Rebello then joined guitar legend Jeff Beck’s band for a further six years of touring as well as numerous sessions for the likes of Manu Katché, Carleen Anderson, Peter Gabriel and Chaka Khan. After such a long time as a sideman, Rebello made an emphatic return to jazz in 2013 with his eclectic song-led album Anything But Look, which was well received and featured the likes of bassist Pino Palladino and singers Jacob Collier and Omar. Rebello also became part of saxophonist Tim Garland’s progressive acoustic jazz band Lighthouse, whose last album, Songs to the North Sky, was also released on Edition.  

– Mike Flynn


For more info visit www.editionrecords.com

MICHEL-CAMILO1

Although the accusation that jazz musicians push technique, certainly in terms of the speed at which they can play, to heights of crude exaggeration, is sometimes valid, it should not be taken as gospel. The ability to execute brilliant ideas at high tempo is a form of exhilaration that is integral to the history of improvised music, and this quite astounding performance by the great Dominican pianist Michel Camilo is proof positive thereof. At times, particularly as the set reaches its climax, his hands simply blur before the eyes of an incredulous audience as the BPM count jumps from one chorus to the next.

A move into double time is one of the tried and tested elements of the montuno and descarga vocabularies of which Camilo has shown such a complete command since the mid 1980s but his shifts in velocity are mesmerising. Camilo converts, of which the man who yelled ‘El maestro’ for all an sundry to hear, are used to his head-to-toe deconstructions of anthems such as ‘Afro Blue’, yet they would not have been prepared for the verve with which he sets about Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo’s ‘Manteca’. The piece becomes a vehicle for one flourishing single note run after another, the great fluidity of the lines ensuring that the overall narrative movement is sensual rather than mechanical, as the rhythmic drive is sustained with the skill of a player whose ‘inner’ time clearly precludes the need for a drummer.

MICHEL-CAMILO2

Camilo’s left hand lines, often expanding from their original harmonic foundation into darting counter-melodies, also make a bass player redundant and if the excitement he generates in the company of usual accompanists such as Charles Flores or Anthony Jackson is notable then, so is the fullness of the sound the pianist produces in this solo setting. As the concert unfolds the reverberations of the block chords in particular become more pronounced, first and foremost because Camilo attacks the keyboard with a vigour that could wrest the word heavy from metal, without needing a tower of amplifiers as assistance.

He out Waldrons Waldron, volume wise. The spirited original ‘Island Beat’ and a snappy reading of ‘Take Five’ reinforce this impression, yet as much as Camilo stands proudly in the lineage of Latin jazz pianists that runs from Valdes to Ruiz via the Palmieris he is also a superlative blues player, and it is the element of deep yearning the music conveys that imbues even his most pyromaniac of improvisations with a communicative edge. ‘What’s Up’, the title track of his current album, proves a highlight of the evening for the sheer, unpretentious, child-like bonhomie it manages to conjure.

Therein lies the rub. While there is no doubt that Camilo is a virtuoso of the highest order the joie de vivre of his relationship with sound is irrepressible, pushing him to bring sly touches of humour to ‘old’ staples such as ‘Love For Sale’ and ‘I Got Rhythm’ that do not go unnoticed by a responsive audience. The spontaneous standing ovation that greets his final bow is not only a result of listeners dumbstruck with admiration. It is the sign of people whose spirits have been lifted.

– Kevin Le Gendre

– Yasuhisa Yoneda

TD-Ornette-001-151bw

One of the true jazz giants, Ornette Coleman, visionary pioneer of free jazz and an inspiration to so many musicians both inside and outside the genre, died on 11 June in New York of cardiac arrest at the age of 85.

Born on 9 May 1930 in Fort Worth, Texas, he took up alto saxophone age 14 and, initially influenced by Charlie Parker and the blues, played with R&B bands before a hostile reaction to his raw improvised ideas prompted a move to Los Angeles in 1952. Here he worked on his new freer approach to improvisation and, after recording his 1958 debut, Something Else! teamed up with trumpeter Don Cherry, pianist Paul Bley, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins and opened at LA’s Hillcrest Club where he laid the foundations of the sound that was to have a seismic impact on jazz. Initially with Tomorrow Is The Question for Contemporary, then with The Shape of Jazz To Come in 1959, the first in a string of ground- breaking albums for Atlantic, his music, despite divided reactions, ricocheted through the jazz world with a power and influence that’s as strong today as it was back then.

Coleman went on to record highly significant albums for Blue Note and Impulse!, record with Moroccan musicians and develop the rhythmic free-funk he called harmolodics, before collaborations with the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, Pat Metheny and Yoko Ono. In 2009 he curated the annual Meltdown festival at London’s Southbank, appearing with The Roots, Patti Smith and David Murray, and made his last UK appearance at the London Jazz Festival in November 2011 at the Royal Festival Hall, still hot-wired into the same restless spirit that drove him on in spite of encroaching ill health.

See page the July issue of Jazzwise (out on 25 June) for a fuller appreciation of Coleman’s work by Kevin Le Gendre.

Jon Newey

  – Photo by Tim Dickeson

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