Acoustic Ladyland - Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

Acoustic Ladyland, the band that broke the mould back in 2001, was originally conceived in name if nothing else as a way of interpreting the groundbreaking music of Jimi Hendrix. Despite the name the band’s direction is not at all acoustic, indeed it is very loudly electric, full of menace and since the critically acclaimed , became an edgy post-No Wave outfit with an acute improvising ethic, and the godfathers of a new young UK jazz scene that’s been called anything from punk jazz to post-jazz or even death jazz. Saxophonist Pete Wareham, the guiding light behind the band, gears up for the release this month of . Interview: Selwyn Harris

The year is 2005, and just for one splitsecond moment you can believe that jazz could actually become the new rock ’n’ roll. Just two bands, Acoustic Ladyland and Polar Bear are in the public eye getting unheard of TV/radio exposure for musicians coming out of the jazz scene in recent times, elevated in status by TV appearances on Later with Jools and a Mercury Music Prize nomination. But not only that, they are also giving the alternative rock scene a run for its money in terms of pure adrenalin, originality and excitement. In the end of course, put in those terms, it was just another false dawn. We weren’t about to enter a new Jazz Age. But four years on, all has not been lost. Since then Acoustic Ladyland and Polar Bear have been responsible for opening the floodgates for a new wave of bands to fearlessly push the boundaries of jazz.

This is an extract from Jazzwise Issue #132 – to read the full article click here to subscribe and receive a FREE Warner Jazz CD

Christian McBride - Magnetic Force

Christian McBride debuts his new band Inside Straight with the slightly tongue-in-cheek title, this month. The foremost acoustic jazz bassist of his generation, and a pretty fine electric one as well, if recent touring with the Five Peace Band is anything to go by. McBride was a bright talent in a generation of fine players to emerge in the States at that time and the Philadelphian went on to make a successful solo debut on Verve in 1994. Since then he has alternated between acoustic, post-Weather Report and James Brown Ropeadope funk side projects and electric jazz-rock. Kevin Le Gendre talks to McBride about his approach to creating his new group which includes the distinctive sounds of the vibraphone courtesy Mack Avenue Records.

Jazz has a long tradition of bands that comprise several generations of players. The exchange of points of view, culture and above all energy produces startling results when the right personalities come together, old and young complementing rather than undermining one another.  Loosely related to this is the phenomenon of the group that comprises a respected teacher and several students, of which an obvious recent example is Anthony Braxton and his Wesleyan wünderkinder .

Bass virtuoso Christian McBride has taken a similar course with his new project, a quintet. One of the key members of the outfit, the vibraphonist Warren Wolf, is actually a former charge who went streaking ahead in the precocious talent stakes. “Yeah, he is an old student of mine from a jazz summer camp that I’ve been teaching on,” McBride tells me over the phone from his home in New York. “And he was so far ahead of everybody else that I said ‘one of these days I will give you a gig and you can take that to the bank!’ So we got a gig at the Village Vanguard and I called Warren, as planned, and some of the other guys that I hadn’t played with for a while.”

 This is an extract from Jazzwise Issue #132 – to read the full article click here to subscribe and receive a FREE Warner Jazz CD

Stanley Clarke - Songs Of Experience

Bassist Stanley Clarke made an indelible mark on jazz history with Return To Forever in the 1970s and has since gone on to become a major star at jazz festivals around the world, reuniting successfully with Chick Corea, Lenny White and Al DiMeola last year. In demand as a film composer Clarke has, nonetheless, had his career peaks and troughs along the way with a number of less successful projects failing to make the impact that he once would have made. But new album, featuring Clarke on double bass, could well be a return to form. As Andy Robson discovers, it’s an older, wiser Clarke who talks openly about his new approach to life after a painful divorce, how he finds himself in a new America now Barack Obama is President, which Clarke marks with a special composition.

“Whaddya mean Bill Bruford’s retired? He’s a year younger than me. You know what I’m gonna do? Now write this down: I’m going to call him for a session. We’ll see how ‘retired’ he is.”

One thing’s certain: Stanley Clarke has no ambition to hang up the bass or shred his compositions. “Musicians never retire. We get tired. But we don’t retire,” he says, as he laughs down the phone from his hill-top California home. “I remember Keith Jarrett doing his ‘retirement’ concert. I was there going ‘Oh yeah, sure man’ — he’s still out there.”And you bet still ‘out there’ is Clarke, who has “so many albums” coming out of his head he doesn’t know “what to do with them all.” 

This is an extract from Jazzwise Issue #132 – to read the full article click here to subscribe and receive a FREE Warner Jazz CD 

John McLaughlin and Chick Corea - Peace Breaks Out

When the Five Peace Band debuted in England last year at the London Jazz Festival it was clear from the majority of the reviews of the concert that Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride and Vinnie Colaiuta, had pulled off something quite spectacular.

It wasn’t just that the concert marked a reunion of Chick Corea and John McLaughlin playing together after 40 years but it also was the excitement of a new band that managed to capture the essence of the moment and a special period of creativity when the pair worked with Miles Davis on In A Silent Way. In a Jazzwise exclusive , Chick Corea, John McLaughlin and Kenny Garrett talk to Stuart Nicholson as the Five Peace Band Live double album is released

According to The New York Times, it was comedian Robin Williams who coined the phrase, “If you can remember the 1960s, then you weren’t there.” But both Chick Corea and John McLaughlin have good reason to remember the 1960s and what’s more, they’ve got pretty unassailable evidence they were there. Ask them where they were between 10am and 1.30pm on 18 February 1969, and they will tell you Columbia’s Studio B in New York city. The reason why they remember the occasion so well is that they took part in a recording called In A Silent Way by Miles Davis that just happened to change the course of jazz history.

This is an extract from Jazzwise Issue #131 – to read the full article click here to subscribe and receive a FREE Warner Jazz CD

Partisans - On Your Side

Partisans are that very good thing, an unclassifiable band. They can’t comfortably be seen just within the prism of jazz-rock because they draw on a variety of other influences that feed their creativity.

The quartet – Julian Siegel on saxophone, Phil Robson, guitar, Thad Kelly, bass, and Gene Calderazzo, drums – has a loyal fan base that has extended the lifetime of the group way beyond the short-lived nature of many jazz bands. More than 13 years on from their beginnings, Partisans talk to Duncan Heining about how new album By Proxy got made and their craving for a live album

We’re one Partisan short of a mission. Bassist Thad Kelly lives in semipastoral bliss in the Forest of Dean and couldn’t make it. But saxophonist Julian Siegel, guitarist Phil Robson and Gene Calderazzo, the band’s drummer, gather to talk on a spring evening outside the Vortex in London. Partisans – they dropped the ‘The’ to avoid confusion with a Welsh punk group of that name – are about to release By Proxy, their fourth album, and mark this with a tour that continues this month.

Their previous record, Max, featured special guests, trumpeter Chris Batchelor along with Jim Watson on Hammond B3 and percussionist Thebe Liepere. But how does By Proxy differ from its predecessors? “Well,” says Julian Siegel, “ Max was a really nice experience with all the guests but with this one we wanted to capture the basic essence of the group and the way it plays together. We had thought about doing a live record and this is about as live as we could be in the studio.”

This is an extract from Jazzwise Issue #131 – to read the full article click here to subscribe and receive a FREE Warner Jazz CD



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