Fake Or Fortune Toulouse Lautrec Update
It’s a highly effective combination and the trio’s adventurous, noirish treatment of such familiar and popular material has cast many of their chosen songs in a whole new light. First to take to the stage were Speak Low, a trio named after the Kurt Weill song, led by the Zurich born vocalist and songwriter Lydia Cadotsch. The singer is also part of the groups Yellow Bird and Schneeweiss, the latter also including Eldh, but it’s the critically acclaimed “Speak Low” album, released in 2016, that has brought her to the attention of British jazz audiences. The first set concluded with another new tune, Farmer’s “Indifference Culture”, a kind of abstract ballad that was ushered in by a combination of bowed bass, shimmering vibes and gently piping alto with Forbes later joining in with softly brushed drums.
Another duo episode then saw an almost free jazz exchange between Schofield on tenor and a mallet wielding Weir at the drums, this eventually leading to a full blown drum solo from Weir. This was one of the quartet’s most adventurous “Re-Creations”, rarely can this most familiar of Gershwin tunes have been explored so radically, and at such length. Tonight’s version of Thelonious Monk’s “Well You Needn’t” was introduced by Weir at the drums, joined in dialogue by Agg’s bass, before Schofield sketched the familiar melodic hook on tenor sax. The saxophonist then stretched out further, probing deeply on tenor as Law conducted from the piano chair. The pianist then embarked on his own solo, underscored by Agg’s muscular bass groove and Weir’s fluid, loose timed drumming.
Di Biase was the group’s principal composer and the quartet also included the Italian pianist Antonio Zambrini plus the British musicians Michael Chillingworth and Jon Scott . Following the conclusion of the Golding / Galvin gig I made the short walk to the 100 Club and found that it was already rammed, a sign of the affection and esteem in which the Brotherhood are still held within the British jazz community. I met up with several friends who were also in attendance and the scene was set for a night of excellent music celebrating the music of Chris McGregor and the other South African musicians who made their home in London. Also from the recording “November” saw the quartet back in ballad mode on another piece that demonstrated Vanns’ gift for melody. A little sombre, but still beautiful, the song embodied the chilly beauty of an autumn day and incorporated gently eloquent solos from Palau on piano and the composer on guitar.
He also makes judicious use of a variety of effects pedals that enable him to loop and treat his sounds. Finally we heard the band departing from the album repertoire to deliver a funky, organ led, soul jazz version of Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode To Billie Jo”. Whittaker’s organ playing was sometimes reminiscent of Booker T. Jones as he shared the solos with Kofi and Fernsby, the latter again making effective use of his FX pedals. The last duo set of the day teamed Jones with Cardiff based alto sax specialist Glen Manby. A popular figure on the South Wales jazz scene Manby has performed regularly at Brecon Jazz Festival and also played a BMJ club set in the Melville’s main house in February 2016. In 2017 he released his début album “Homecoming” which featured a stellar band of London based musicians including Steve Waterman , Leon Greening , Adam King and Matt Home .
Sure they’re running a business, but club owners such as Nolan and Steve are some of the great unsung heroes of British jazz, providing places for top quality jazz musicians such as Elftet and the Bzhezhinska group to play in. Well done, gentlemen, and thanks too to all the musicians who helped to make this first Sunday of the Festival such a memorable day. This had been a lengthy, value for money performance packed with excellent playing and a fascinating collection of tunes.
Samba – The Samba originated in Africa, specifically Angola and Congo, and then came to Brazil via the slave trade, where the dance evolved in African religious and social communities, in the Eastern Brazilian state of Bahia. The Samba dance then spread and became immensely popular in Brazil, where it remains a dance of enormous national and cultural importance. Brazil is indisputably the home and world centre of excellence for Samba dancing, with millions participating in its many and various forms. Samba is also a very free style of dance that is adaptable for all sorts of interpretations and situations, and this has resulted in a wide variety of Samba variant dances across Brazil.
Here Rollins pulled rank and took charge, co-ordinating an audience clap along on his infectiously funky tune “Boneyard” as the concert ended in a party atmosphere. Solos here came from Aeddan on double bass, Creighton-Griffiths on synth, Rollins on trombone and Matt Williams with a suitably rousing drum feature. It was back to the Chube repertoire for “Interlude”, another tune from their eponymous EP. Here bass and drums were very much to the fore as Creighton-Griffiths coaxed a range of colours and textures from his keyboards. Dennis Rollins has also been a regular and popular visitor to BMJ having brought his Velocity Trio to both the Club and Festival in recent years.
Always keen to bring their music to the people Empirical have staged successful ‘pop up’ events before, playing in public spaces such as Old Street Underground Station in London and New Street Station in Birmingham. This despite the band not having the most portable of instrumental configurations with double bass , vibraphone and drum kit . Only alto saxophonist Nathaniel Facey has a comparatively easy time of it in the transportation stakes. Nest we heard a two part composition by Matwala on the themes of “frustration” and “action without words”, the work introduced by the composer’s unaccompanied bass. Lie played a more peripheral role adding wordless vocal melody lines to what was essentially an instrumental piece. Weir demonstrated his versatility with a very different solo, the ‘cry’ in his tone supplemented by some avant garde style harmolodics and pecking in a freely structured section.
In any event the Heaton group brought a modern and original slant to the genre by using their own words, mostly Heaton’s, rather than ‘setting’ those of other, more established poets. The first group to take to the stage was the quintet Mouth of Words, led by tenor saxophonist and composer Josh Heaton. The group also included Prado on double bass, Rachel Head on alto sax, Kumar Chopra on guitar and ‘returning hero’ (Heaton’s words) Breskal at the drums.
On Saturday November 1st 2011 the Birmingham based pianist and keyboard played an extraordinary eleven hour ‘piano marathon’ as part of that years Harmonic Festival. The music from that performance has just been released into the public domain for the first time as a kind of ‘digital box set’ and is available to purchase from Steve’s Bandcamp page . Besides the women Sammy has spoken to, several of whom I have reviewed, there are so many other talented female musicians out there and the Jazzmann has covered many of them, from Ingrid Laubrock to Alison Rayner to LUME founders Cath Roberts and Dee Byrne.
The band played one short set and one longer set, with the latter in particular tempting more and more dancers onto the floor, yes even me! So this wasn’t a gig for any great analysis, this was music about having a good time and living in the moment. He also has something of a following as a reggae artist and on the previous day had appeared on the bill at the One Love reggae festival in Bruton, Somerset. He and his band finished their show at Jazz Alley with a distinctive and crowd pleasing jazz/funk take on Bob Marley’s reggae classic “One Love” with a snippet of “Get Up, Stand Up” thrown in for good measure. As well as delighting audiences at home and abroad Wonderbrass has also released a series of excellent recordings, the majority of the them in the CD EP format that are both enjoyable and convincing in the home listening environment. Over the years Wonderbrass have collaborated with many leading jazz musicians including trumpeter Claude Deppa, saxophonist Jason Yarde, bassist Paula Gardiner and drummer Mark O’Connor.
Solos here came from Horton on violin and Luu on electric bass with Appiah rounding things off with a hard hitting drum feature. Next up, playing the grand piano, was the Swiss pianist and composer Nil Bartsch, a late addition to the Daylight Music programme. As an ECM recording artist he is a musician with an international reputation and a unique approach to music making that he describes as “zen-funk” or “ritual groove music”.