Branford Marsalis - Home is where the heat is

Something to brag about? Well, that’s what Branford Marsalis would like you to think he has achieved on his latest release Braggtown. A white knuckle ride with drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts punishing his drums time and time again, especially on the tune ‘Blakzilla’ inspired by the music from the Japanese horror film Godzilla. But the latest recording by his seasoned band, whose line up is completed by bassist Eric Revis and pianist Joey Calderazzo, also exposes another melancholic side of Branford’s musical psyche, inspired by the unlikely Teutonic figure of Richard Wagner.

Abram Wilson - Ticket to ride

When trumpeter Abram Wilson made the move from his native New Orleans to London he had no idea about what was in store. From jamming in London jazz clubs, to working on Soweto Kinch’s Conversations With The Unseen, to developing his own albums Jazz Warrior and now Ride! the New Orleansian has come a long way in a short time. Andy Robson talks to Abram about the inspirations behind his new album, the effects of Hurricane Katrina on his hometown and finds out more from saxophonist Soweto Kinch who will share the stage at a high profile show with Wilson at this month’s London Jazz Festival.

Gilad Atzmon - Not strictly kosher

Larger than life, with an extraordinary view of jazz, philosophy and politics, the Israeli saxophonist Gilad Atzmon tells Stuart Nicholson about his new creation Artie Fishel, a Jewish Jelly Roll Morton with his own theories about where jazz was created. Atzmon explains why he turned his back on his Israeli heritage, after serving in the Israeli army, diagreeing with the political aspects of the Jewish state and instead actively supporting the Palestinian cause. It’s a stance that has caused his critics to accuse him of being a “self hating Jew” something which Atzmon in this remarkable interview faces head on.

Dave Holland - The big picture

Fêted at home and abroad, Dave Holland, is one of the most celebrated UK jazz musicians working on the upper reaches of the international touring circuit today. Having just turned 60 recently the bassist who famously joined Miles Davis after the trumpeter heard him playing in Ronnie Scott’s club, he went on to make a name for himself in an avant garde settings with cult group Circle and then on to a substantial recording presence on ECM. Duncan Heining looks back with Dave on his career, back to the fondly remembered London days at the Little Theatre Club, through the early days and recording highlights with his long running quintet and up to the present day with his new label highlighting the talents of his own big band. Colleagues John Surman, Jack DeJohnette and John Surman also give their views on just why Dave Holland is such as important presence on the scene today.

Ornette Coleman - Oceans Of Sound

One of the most surprising releases of the year has just slipped out on the run up to Christmas. A live album by Ornette Coleman, Sound Grammar, marks the first album by the great saxophonist and composer in 10 years. Featuring a two bass player line-up it signals a return to form for Ornette, and a chance once again to marvel at the innovative range of ideas pouring out of the Texan, now in his late seventies. In a rare interview, Kevin Le Gendre finds out from Ornette the background to the album and touches on his wider philosophical ideas and inspirations.

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