Jazz breaking news: Pat Metheny and John Zorn talk about Tap: John Zorn's Book Of Angels Vol 20
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 09:11
Guitar icon Pat Metheny and revered saxophonist and composer John Zorn were recently interviewed on Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone on 6Music - talking about Metheny's newly released album Tap: John Zorn's Book Of Angels Vol 20 – listen to the full interview here thanks to our friends at 6Music. To read the full review of this album in Jazzwiseclick here to subscribe and get our June issue plus a fantastic FREE CD and access to our branded App
Jazz breaking news: Tia Fuller, The Three Bs and Hidden Orchestra for Edinburgh
Monday, 20 May 2013 14:44
The 35th annual Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, which runs between 19-28 July at venues across the city, mixes up new names, tradition, and innovation with a line up which includes fast rising saxophonist Tia Fuller (pictured), The Three Bs (Chris Barber, Acker Bilk and Keith Ball) in tribute to Kenny Ball, Jools Holland’s R&B Orchestra, plus the new Cross the Tracks strand featuring the beat-laden trip hop of Hidden Orchestra and Mercury nominated rapper Ghostpoet.
This year’s festival also includes Dinah Washington influenced singer/pianist Champian Fulton, and the Edinburgh Jazz Festival Orchestra performing works from Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts, while Muddy Water’s centenary is marked with a special concert featuring his eldest son, Mud Morganfield. The jazz festival also gets the city’s ‘festival season’ underway, bringing jazz to the streets and parks of Edinburgh for the Mardi Gras on Saturday 20 July and the second ever Edinburgh Festival Carnival on Sunday 21 July.
Jazz breaking news: Roy Haynes taps into the Fountain of Youth at Ronnie Scott’s
Monday, 20 May 2013 12:39
As the interval before the second set grows alarmingly long and concerned-looking staff vanish backstage, we start to fear the worst. It’s one of the wonders of the world, after all, that Roy Haynes (pictured left), the drummer who’s played with everyone – from Parker and Coltrane to Metheny, from a 1946 Southern tour with Louis Armstrong to Billie Holiday’s last club gig – is, aged 88, still on stage at all. And though his aptly named Fountain of Youth band all took long solos in that first set, when Haynes cut loose himself, it was ferocious, with nothing held back. Was that, finally, it? Is Haynes, though he must be supernaturally fit, lying exhausted backstage, incapable of anything more?
When he does emerge, the jury remains out as he chats at length, seemingly reluctant to drum. Alternately rambling and sharp, he’s on his own wavelength, much like Elvis’s 1970s gig soliloquies. “What did he mean?” he imagines us pondering. “What makes him special? Is his drumming really that good? The place was crowded…”
Finally, normal service is resumed, for a couple of songs. Then Haynes begins a solo, and sometime in the maybe 30 minutes that follow, his band realise they’ve become redundant. Haynes pulls every possibility from every inch of his kit: tapping and finely calibrating the hi-hat’s timbre and volume, while stilling its reverberation with his fingers; finding brittle tones on the kit’s edge, and placing an elbow on a drum to gently shift its sound. He appears to listen attentively as each element is tested, a showman letting us know he’s a scientist of the drum. Steady grooves regularly lead into thundering flurries so fierce his bass-pedal snaps. Faced with this handicap, he murmurs equably, “I’ll think up something else to play.” When someone breaks the spell with a gargling cough, he jokes, “I needed a rest anyway.” Twice he steps away for applause, then continues, and only in these final stretches does the solo’s resource start to flag. With no kit left unexplored, he plays himself, rapping on his leg, then tap-dancing.
I saw Art Blakey in his last year play similar tricks with his kit, and Antonio Sanchez is among the fine, younger drummers we’re blessed with today. But this was the greatest drumming I’ve seen. Was he any better at 28, or 68? A friend suggests that, for durability of genius, Haynes is giving Picasso competition.
And even then, that’s not it, as he leads a long sing-along on Kenny Rogers’ ‘The Gambler’. ‘You’ve gotta know when to hold ‘em,’ it goes, ‘know when to fold ‘em…’ Not ready to fold, Haynes asks the band if there’s a third set. On nights like this, he isn’t drinking from the fountain of youth so much as handing out generous doses from it. Maybe we do need it more than Roy Haynes. He's still the best drummer in the room.
Jazz breaking news: Carla Bley with Steve Swallow and Andy Sheppard, and Phronesis added for EFG London Jazz Festival
Friday, 17 May 2013 09:49
A rare UK appearance by the iconic trio of pianist and composer Carla Bley, bassist Steve Swallow and saxophonist Andy Sheppard (pictured left), who first performed together in 1993, is among the latest names to be added to the 2013 EFG London Jazz Festival, which takes place at all the capital’s major concert halls and jazz clubs from 15 to 24 November. Bley, who has a new album released by ECM in September, plays a special all-acoustic set with the trio at the Wigmore Hall on the festival’s closing night, Sunday 24 November. Also added to the festival, which celebrates its 21st birthday and is sponsored by Jazzwise, is a special three-concert performance by Phronesis at the Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone on 16-17 November, which will be recorded for a forthcoming live album on Edition Records.
There’s also a tribute to trumpeter, bandleader and educator Abram Wilson, who died in 2012, which will feature his band of pianist Reuben James, bassist Alex Davies and drummer Dave Hamblett, performing with Jason Marsalis, Jean Toussaint and saxophonist Keith Loftus at the Purcell Room on 20 November, while Gwilym Simcock plays a special solo concert at St Stephen’s, Hampstead on 19 November, and acclaimed Norwegian pianist Ketil Bjørnstad brings his Story of Edvard Munch project, with Kari Bremnes, to the Purcell Room on 21 November. These latest names are in addition to the headliners exclusively announced last month by Jazzwise, including Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Remember Shakti and Hugh Masekela.
Jazz breaking news: Andrew Plummer takes cutting edge school jazz-rock band to the next level
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:56
Singer and bandleader Andrew Plummer, best known for his snarling Tom Waits style vocals with the likes of World Sanguine Report, Bilbao Syndrome and Fringe Magnetic, is spearheading a radical prog-jazz school band project featuring a group of talented 11-16 year olds from Tottenham, north London. Named Rhythm Sticks (pictured left), the band features students from Park View School, a mixed comprehensive secondary school in the borough of Haringey, one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the UK, all playing adventurous progressive jazz-rock originals developed with Plummer and drummer Tom Greenhalgh over the last five years. The radical sound is matched in its creativity by a remarkable level of confidence among the musicians, all greeted with wild applause from their fellow students as seen on their YouTube live video from a school concert (see video below). It’s a bold ripost to the dull ubiquity of identikit post-X Factor style karaoke singing, as the band performs incredibly mature and engaging original music with a serious edge.
Entering the 2012 Music-For-Youth Festival, which enabled them to perform at various venues around the country, the group won two awards, and they’ve since decided to step things up a gear launching a Kickstarter crowd-sourcing project to raise funds for a professionally produced album pressed on to 1,000 CDs. Having generated a buzz online the band are already on target to have enough to record the album, and they plan to use any further funds to help pay for a five date UK tour in August 2014, and an album launch gig at a high profile London venue – the closing date for the Kickstarter campaign is 28 May.
Plummer, who leads the band on guitar, commented on the quality and high level of this project: “Even as a bandleader with other professional bands, this is truly one of the most exciting things I do!” The project also echoes some of the pioneering work late great British trumpeter Ian Carr did with his jazz workshop at the Interchange Arts Scheme, which helped mentor the likes of the Mondesir Brothers, Dave Okumu and Finn Peters – inspiring a young generation of musicians to experiment, improvise and embrace music from a wide range of sources, perform live and take risks musically.