Andy Sheppard - Five Alive

Andy Sheppard, with his debut album as a leader on ECM, featuring his new international five-piece group, Movements in Colour, is a turning point in the career of the saxophonist who first came to notice back in the 1980s when jazz was briefly undergoing a mini-boom. His first record in some years the record also marks a subtle change in Sheppard’s style, incorporating Indo-jazz and Eurojazz nuances which allows him to explore areas of interest in his music that he has been developing since his last albums for the Provocateur label. Duncan Heining talks to Sheppard about his hopes for the group and looks back with him on the highs and lows of his career so far.

Branford Marsalis - Changing Man

The Branford Marsalis Quartet is one of the longest-running most influential jazz groups on the scene today and more important than just longevity, continues to evolve its music, refusing to settle into a comfortable orthodox. The notion of change and challenging audiences is very much to the fore on the new album Metamorphosen and it’s something Branford Marsalis talks to Stuart Nicholson about ahead of dates at the Bath festival and Ronnie Scott’s in May.

Bill Bruford - Bowing Out

Bill Bruford surprised us all earlier in the year by announcing his intention to retire from active performance. Given that he’s only 60 next month, and by no means an ancient seer and in recent years an active bandleader and mentor to a new generation of jazz musicians the news will come as a disappointment to his many fans and those who have charted his playing back to the far distant days of the early years of Yes. Andy Robson talks to Bill about his reasons for this life change as Bill’s new autobiography hits the shelves.


It’s gifted to few, whatever their profession, to quit at the top of their game. For every Nasser Hussein, leaving Test cricket with a match winning ton, there’s a score of Muhammad Alis or Paul Gascoignes going one bout too far or tragically spiralling down the leagues as their talents decline in public view.

Bill Bruford would smile at the sporting similes. His preferred analogy, as pointed out in his own erudite autobiography, is with Max Roach. Roach was a boyhood hero for Bruford, the epitome of all that summed up the art of percussion. Elegant, effortless, economical. That description did for Roach and it was what Bruford aspired to. But fast forward through the decades and Bruford heard the master just before his death and “there was daylight” between Roach and his bassist. “How the mighty are fallen”, thought the now mature Bruford who perhaps caught a vision of his own potential decline and fall.

Yet there are always exceptions. Bruford himself recognises the genius of Roy Haynes, whom he saw perform as an 83-year-old and was still “the music”.

This is an extract from Jazzwise Issue #129 – to read the full article click here to subscribe and receive a FREE CD

Ravi Coltrane - Gold Blend

It’s a mature Ravi Coltrane that appears impressively on new album Blending Times. Recorded not long after the death of his mother Alice Coltrane, Ravi talks to Stuart Nicholson about his own approach often only seen within the prism of his father’s legacy. It’s a path that began with early on-the-road explorations with Elvin Jones and Steve Coleman coalescing into his early records for RCA and more recent work with Saxophone Summit.

Gilad Atzmon - The Ornithologist

Gilad Atzmon bids a none-too-fond farewell to George Bush with his new album, In Loving Memory of America, which, slightly surprisingly, takes Charlie Parker’s Bird With Strings project as its main focus. Yet typically Atzmon, surely the most politically and satirically inclined jazz musician anywhere on the planet, finds a new way forward for the bebop warhorses he uses as raw material. Andy Robson bunkers down with Gilad for a no-holds-barred discussion.

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