Following the announcement of the Arts Council England funding award for the Jazz South development programme, Turner Sims Southampton have commissioned the first ever audit of jazz across the region that stretches from Kent to Cornwall to Oxfordshire. Jazzwise, a partner in the initiative, wants to ensure that everyone active in the region's scene pitches in – and is offering a free year's subscription to the magazine – and a coveted Jazzwise T-shirt – to be awarded in a prize draw among all those who fill in the online survey, which is a key part of the audit.

Designed to establish an accurate and comprehensive picture of every aspect of the jazz scene in the region, the survey will collect information about musicians, promoters, venues, festivals, youth orchestras, education projects, labels – in fact anyone and anything connected with the music. Jazz South's programme promises to present new opportunities including touring, commissions, masterclasses, residencies and networking events. Through the audit, Turner Sims wants to ensure that they know who's doing what and where, to identify a comprehensive range of contacts and engage as many people as possible with Jazz South. After a competitive tender process (noted in previous Jazzwise news) Turner Sims has awarded the audit contract to music consultancy Arts & Parts, led by Europe Jazz Network Board member Martel Ollerenshaw.

For more information about the Jazz South audit and to find out how to enter the Jazzwise prize draw, simply go to www.jazzsouth.org.uk

Randy-Weston-Roger-Thomas

Like several prominent African-American jazz artists, pianist Randy Weston, who has died at the age of 92, had Caribbean heritage. Born and raised in New York to a Panamanian-Jamaica father and mother from Virginia, Weston chose to make Africa the foundation of his cultural and musical identity in a glorious career that spanned seven decades. The historical magnitude of Weston's life is summarised by the fact that he is one of the few people to have had conversations with Duke Ellington in the inter-war period and Jason Moran in the millennium, and just a week prior to his passing, Moran, when in London to rehearse for his forthcoming James Reese Europe project, waxed lyrical about both Weston's work and his socio-political stance.

Inspired by Africa as a source of ancestry, creativity and modernism Weston spent much time in Nigeria and in the late 1960s relocated to Morocco, where he ran a club. Weston was a giant of a man whose knees would jut conspicuously above the keyboard anytime he sat down to play, but he cut a very graceful figure. As a pianist Weston came from the wellspring of Ellington, Monk and Tatum, but went on to swim in his own stream of ideas when he explicitly brought both the pulse and sound of African drumming into his performances. The sharp percussive drive Weston drew from the keyboard was enhanced by the input of conga and djembe players on many of his recordings such as the stupendous early 1970s sets African Cookbook, Blue Moses and Tanjah. Yet, he was also capable of tremendous understatement too. His interpretation of Guy Warren's 'Mystery Of Love' is a magical piece of music, as much for the ambience Weston creates through the use of deeply resonant ascending chords that linger over a modal vamp as it is for the delicate improvisation, which is mindful of the poised, contemplative nature of the piece.

Weston's gifts as a composer in his own right are epitomised by the evergreen 'Hi-Fly', a samba-inflected number that has sunshine bursting from its melody, while his most ambitious orchestral work remains the seminal 1961 album, Uhuru Afrika. Bolstered by arrangements from trombonist Melba Liston, the suite was a bold statement on behalf of African liberation movements in the twilight of colonialism, and featured poetry by Langston Hughes as well as narration by Tuntemeke Sanga, a Tanzanian activist who lobbied the United Nations. The record, feted by the American jazz press, was banned in South Africa for its pro-black sentiment.

Weston's ongoing interest in large ensembles led to 2017's African Nubian Suite, but he was also a brilliant partner for saxophonists. He recorded The Healers with David Murray in 1987 and was last seen at the London Jazz Festival in 2014 with Billy Harper. Weston's solo set Blues To Africa is a touchstone for many pianists, while his great generosity and spirituality won the hearts and minds of many the world over.

Kevin Le Gendre
– Photo by Roger Thomas

Pianist Robert Mitchell releases a new five-track EP, Epiphany, on 21 September followed by a European and UK tour. The pianist's Epiphany 3 band of drummer Saleem Raman and bassist Tom Mason (above) will feature on the live dates, with acclaimed French saxophonist Julien Lourau joining the group for the album's launch at Pizza Express Jazz Club, London on 26 September.

Further trio-only dates are: The Stables, Wavendon (18 Sept); The Lescar, Sheffield (19 Sept); The Courtyard, Derby (21 Sept); Herts Jazz Fest, Letchworth Garden City (6 Oct); Arts Centre, Bridport (13 Oct); Parr Studios, Liverpool (16 Oct); Soundcellar, Bournemouth (18 Oct); Arts Centre, Ashburton (19 Oct); and Karamel, London (24 Nov).

Mike Flynn

Photo by Przemek Nowak

For more info visit www.robertmitchellmusic.com

 

When Oslo Jazz Festival was founded, back in 1986, it stood against the creeping modernisation of Norway's jazz scene. Early programmes were heavy on dixieland and bebop. In the festival's offices, the inaugural poster hangs beside a photo of Cab Calloway in white tie, grinning a Cheshire Cat grin, following an appearance in 1987. Nowadays the programme is considerably more open. Straightahead stars still feature – the festival's charter demands it – and this year's bill included Kenny Barron and Fred Hersch. But Sons of Kemet were also in town, along with numerous bands from Norway's trollish experimental scene.

On the final weekend, most of the gigs took place in Sentralen, an old bank recently transformed into a centre for arts and culture. It's an amazing venue – a mix of edgy and grand – all marble staircases and chandeliers, steel gantries and exposed brick. Portraits of purse-lipped bank managers hang in the bar. One of the performance spaces is the old vault – still guarded by the original metal blast doors, with bolts as thick as your arm. On Friday night guitarist Hedvig Mollestad (pictured top) made them shake. Standing alone in the middle of a dendritic sprawl of effects pedals she explored brutishness and beauty. Angular riffs, degraded by tremolo, crashed against the walls like chunks of masonry, tender jazz ballads drifted amongst doppler-warped growls and finger-picked blues lines brought echoes of rust belt Americana. The heaviest moments were like two punk bands soundchecking at once.

Jo-Berger

Solo sets were a theme of this year's programme. Armed with double-bass and looper, Arild Andersen opened his with an impressionist take on Ornette Coleman's 'Lonely Woman' – all brittle pizzicato and sonorous bowed fragments that bled ink into the room. A late-night duo set from bassist Jo Berger Myhre and Icelandic drummer and electroncist Ólafur Björn Ólafsson (above) was equally atmospheric. Ólafsson played thumping grooves, drones and jangly electronic loops as Berger Myhre added plaintive quarter-tone sweeps and ground his bow into the strings – producing sounds like the creaking, sub-bass groan of an icebreaker.

Danish guitarist Jakob Bro explored a tranquil soundworld over at the Nasjonal Jazzscene Victoria, a charming old cinema home to one of the city's main jazz clubs, but now tragically hidden behind the rashy bulk of a supersized TGI Friday's. There was a lovely looseness to the music, drawn from Bro's latest album, Returnings. It felt like everyone was wandering off on their own, expanding the soundscape in different directions. Palle Mikkelborg added vapor trails of trumpet and flugelhorn. Bro played woozy, Scandi-blues guitar lines and Jon Christensen gently flailed at his cymbals. Thomas Morgan's abstract bass solos were a highlight. I love the subtle tension he creates by hesitating over notes and the delicate way he plucks the strings.

The most open performance of all was a rolling, four-hour jam session run by local improv night Jazz In Khartoum. A theatrical duo called Agbalagba Daada (a Nigerian phrase that translates as "old wise men") came on first. Their set was like a wonderfully weird dream – nothing made sense, but you accepted it all the same and soaked up the sounds: the vocal shouts and the overblown trumpet lines that had the duo in fits of giggles, the rattles, the clacking stones segued with kisses and mouth pops, the primal drum beats, gusts of wooden flute and buzzing jaw harp grooves. It was richly expressive and above all fun, without a whiff of the self-serious pretension that sometimes accompanies free improvisation. There was a particularly brilliant moment when they tried to win back a crying child in the audience with a birdcall whistle.

I made several more discoveries in the Sentralen's atrium bar, where free Nordic Showcases were running throughout the weekend. There were a few visitors, including prodigious Scottish pianist Fergus McCreadie and his trio – who segued virtuosic modal burners into expressive ballads and plundered Scotland's folk tradition for silvery reels. And then there was the dubiously-named General Post Office (above) – a young quartet formed at Bergen's Grieg Academy, whose mix of savage free improvisation and rough-as-guts blues sounded like Peter Brötzmann, Cecil Taylor and Howlin' Wolf. Sax player Aksel Øvreås Røed shredded notes and maniac pianist Isach Skeidsvoll all but demolished his upright piano. With the boards removed, you could see the hammers flailing. It was a brilliant mix of in and out – wild and abrasive, yet steeped in blues tradition. I'm not sure what the reactionary authors of Oslo Jazz Festival's charter would have made it, but I was grinning a Cheshire Cat grin of my own.

Thomas Rees 

TD-Roy-Hargrove-42

This year was the 45th anniversary of Umbria Jazz and it proved to be one of its most successful with some 33,000 tickets sold to jazz fans who attended 250 concerts. The festival's organisers have long acknowledged that the main arena capacity of 5,000 seated or 7,000 standing is simply too big for the majority of jazz artists to fill. Thus, only three out of 10 shows there featured jazz artists, with the Quincy Jones 85th Birthday Concert (below), and two brilliant double-bills of Kyle Eastwood/Pat Metheny and Melody Gardot/Gregory Porter capable of filling the space.

TD-Quincy-Jones-71

Yet, the real beauty of Umbria Jazz lies in the intimacy of the smaller venues and also the Corso Vannuci, the main street of this hill town where the jazz programming centres on the Teatro Morlacchi and the Galleria National dell'Umbria.

Stand-out concerts at the Morlacchi included a burning set by trumpeter Roy Hargrove (pictured top) who gave everything from the outset, while his quintet, featuring Justin Robinson on alto sax, were immensely impressive. The Mingus Big Band were equally exciting and rabid – no prisoners taken here – with the force and relevance of the music belying its age. Their forthcoming residency at Ronnie Scott's in October is a must see.

TD-Lumina-16

Trumpeter Paolo Fresu played two shows – one with his well-known Devil Quartet and one with his new Lumina Project (above), the latter a piano trio plus voice and cello. Lumina is a concept album about light with its 10 pieces each titled 'Light' in 10 different languages. The album was conceived and produced by Fresu with compositions and lyrics by the band. It's an intriguing work, the cello and voice harmonising beautifully, with an outstanding performance from pianist Marco Bardoscia. The trumpeter joined the group for the last five pieces, while his ethereal flugelhorn playing was the icing on the cake.

Another top-notch performance came via vocal kingpin Kurt Elling, who was at his masterful best, with guest trumpeter Marquis Hill adding another dimension to the music.

TD-Vijay-Iyer-02

Probably the best show came at the end with Vijay Iyer (above) who featured tunes from his recent ECM album, Far from Over. This demanded concentrated listening with incredible playing from Steve Lehman (alto) Mark Shim (tenor) and Graham Haynes (cornet). Iyer interjected more mellow piano solos to add balance and context to his really deep and complex music.

Elsewhere, the Galleria Nationale dell'Umbria featured mostly solo piano and duets, the most enjoyable of which was Antonello Salis (piano, accordion) and Simone Zanchini (accordion, electronics), Their continuous set featured a melange of around 50 well-known tunes ranging from Zappa's 'I Am The Slime' to Ravel's 'Bolero' via Ennio Morricone's theme from the film 'The Good the Bad & the Ugly'. This was a joyous romp full of humour and alternative time signatures, all very cleverly and seamlessly sewn together.

The best of the solo piano sets came from Ethan Iverson (above), who played his first ever public solo concert, before which he admitted to the audience that he was 'slightly worried'. He needn't have been. All of the class and imagination you would expect in his playing from playing in The Bad Plus for years was there, all delivered with a convincingly deft touch.

Dan Kinzelman brought his Ghost Project to the festival: a very interesting combination of three saxes and one trumpet. Featuring through composed pieces with incidental percussion, the writing and playing different and interesting. I was lucky enough to watch a rehearsal of the show and the care and precision in the compositions was extraordinary.

The best set at the Galleria came from Gianluca Petrella (trombone, electronics) and Pasquale Mirra (vibes). A highly talented and inventive musician, Petrella has found an ideal partner in the brilliant Mirra – both musicians capable of stunning solos and chilled ensemble playing.

Story and photos by Tim Dickeson

Page 3 of 247

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Flying Machines Video Exclusive – ‘New Life’

Flying Machines Video Exclusive – ‘New L…

Guitarist Alex Munk returns in emphatic style with his hard-driving...

Read More.....
Elliot Galvin, Cherise Adams-Burnett and Fini Bearman for Elgar Room jazz fest nights

Elliot Galvin, Cherise Adams-Burnett and…

The Royal Albert Hall's venue-within-a-venue, The Elgar Room, has a...

Read More.....
EFG renews title sponsorship, Jazz Voice stars, Rymden and Jamie Baum for EFG London Jazz Fest

EFG renews title sponsorship, Jazz Voice…

The full programme for this year's EFG London Jazz Festival...

Read More.....
Tim Berne/Matt Mitchell Duo and Sheila Maurice-Grey vibe up The Vortex

Tim Berne/Matt Mitchell Duo and Sheila M…

There's a plethora of essential jazz nights lined up at...

Read More.....
Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2018 Nominees Announced

Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2018 Nominees …

The nominations have been announced for this year's Parliamentary Jazz...

Read More.....
Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet Video Premiere and Jazz Cafe Debut

Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet Video Premiere…

Polish bassist Wojtek Mazolewski brings his acclaimed Quintet to the...

Read More.....
Nils Petter Molvaer lights up Ystad Festival with magical dawn chorus

Nils Petter Molvaer lights up Ystad Fest…

For this year's Ystad jazz festival the spotlight was on...

Read More.....
Now Vs Now, Elephant9 and Geir Sundstøl shine at Punkt

Now Vs Now, Elephant9 and Geir Sundstøl …

As our world edges further into turmoil, the remote idyll...

Read More.....
Ray Carless wows with Windrush jazz celebration at The Vortex

Ray Carless wows with Windrush jazz cele…

The Windrush Scandal has been one of the biggest stories...

Read More.....
Shabaka Shakes Sons Loose At Saalfelden

Shabaka Shakes Sons Loose At Saalfelden

  Though Jazzfestival Saalfelden might not nestle between the likes of...

Read More.....
First Ever Jazz Survey Across The South Of England

First Ever Jazz Survey Across The South …

Following the announcement of the Arts Council England funding award...

Read More.....
Randy Weston 06/04/26 – 01/09/18

Randy Weston 06/04/26 – 01/09/18

Like several prominent African-American jazz artists, pianist Randy Weston, who...

Read More.....
Robert Mitchell Epiphany 3 for EP and tour

Robert Mitchell Epiphany 3 for EP and to…

Pianist Robert Mitchell releases a new five-track EP, Epiphany, on...

Read More.....
Hedvig Mollestad, Jo Berger Myhre and General Post Office shake up Oslo Jazz Festival

Hedvig Mollestad, Jo Berger Myhre and Ge…

When Oslo Jazz Festival was founded, back in 1986, it...

Read More.....
Roy Hargrove, Vijay Iyer and Paolo Fresu fire up Umbria Jazz 2018

Roy Hargrove, Vijay Iyer and Paolo Fresu…

This year was the 45th anniversary of Umbria Jazz and...

Read More.....
Cuong Vu’s Change In The Air with Bill Frisell – Video Preview

Cuong Vu’s Change In The Air with Bill F…

The September issue of Jazzwise is out now with an...

Read More.....
Birchall/Cheetham/Webster/Willberg Visit Vortex

Birchall/Cheetham/Webster/Willberg Visit…

Expect a bagful of bedlam when the free-wheeling Manchester/London-based quartet...

Read More.....
Sue Richardson lines up for inaugural Splash Point Jazz Fest

Sue Richardson lines up for inaugural Sp…

The first Splash Point Jazz Festival will take place in...

Read More.....
Jazz FM sold to Bauer Media Group

Jazz FM sold to Bauer Media Group

Jazz FM, which is broadcast nationally on DAB and recently...

Read More.....
Musson, Kjær and Marshall set for Iklectik date this weekend

Musson, Kjær and Marshall set for Iklect…

Three of the key figures on London's improv scene –...

Read More.....
Say A Little Prayer: Aretha Franklin 25/03/42 – 16/08/18

Say A Little Prayer: Aretha Franklin 25/…

  As far as monikers go, 'Lady Soul' may well have...

Read More.....
'A Great Day in Harlem' celebrates 60th anniversary

'A Great Day in Harlem' celebrates 60th …

Photographer Art Kane's legendary jazz photograph 'Harlem – 1958', commonly...

Read More.....
Zara McFarlane and Ayanna Witter Johnson for Kinch’s Flyover Show

Zara McFarlane and Ayanna Witter Johnson…

Soweto Kinch's free one-day arts festival, The Flyover Show, returns...

Read More.....
Steely Dan tributes and basses high at Sligo Jazz Project

Steely Dan tributes and basses high at S…

In a week of outstanding musical offerings in Sligo, perhaps...

Read More.....
Maria Schneider and Ensemble Denada meld mystery and drama with McCaslin at Molde

Maria Schneider and Ensemble Denada meld…

  Molde might be a small coastal town in western Norway...

Read More.....
John Zorn's Simulacrum project rewrite radical organ trio template at Jazz em Agosto

John Zorn's Simulacrum project rewrite r…

King Crimson and tech-death titans such as Cynic and Atheist...

Read More.....
Ron Davis lines up with Seonaid Aitken for SymphRONica Scottish sojourn

Ron Davis lines up with Seonaid Aitken f…

Canadian pianist Ron Davis (above left) has enlisted the Scottish...

Read More.....
Christian McBride’s New Jawn and Chick Corea Akoustic Trio create magic in Malta

Christian McBride’s New Jawn and Chick C…

If Valletta's sun-baked limestone is a constant reminder of Malta's...

Read More.....
Tomasz Stańko – 11 July 1942 – 29 July 2018

Tomasz Stańko – 11 July 1942 – 29 July 2…

In 2002, the Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stańko provided an answer...

Read More.....
Steve Coleman & Five Elements floor all comers with Mayweather-style beat magic

Steve Coleman & Five Elements floor …

They say that writing about music is like dancing about...

Read More.....
Archie Shepp, Herbie Hancock and Tuba Titans kick out the cool at Montreal Jazz Festival

Archie Shepp, Herbie Hancock and Tuba Ti…

Canadians are patronisingly characterised in the US as 'over-polite' but...

Read More.....
Wayne Shorter enters the multiverse with album and graphic novel

Wayne Shorter enters the multiverse with…

Iconic saxophonist Wayne Shorter is set to make a dramatic...

Read More.....
Nérija alumni illuminate Jazz Re:fest's Brighton Dome bonanza

Nérija alumni illuminate Jazz Re:fest's …

  Day-trippers pour out of the trains in their hundreds, heading...

Read More.....
Brötzmann Cocked To Blast At Third Brighton Alt Bash

Brötzmann Cocked To Blast At Third Brigh…

The south coast's premier experimental music symposium – the Brighton...

Read More.....
Szun Waves launch New Hymn To Freedom with live dates

Szun Waves launch New Hymn To Freedom wi…

Electronica jazz trio Szun Waves release their second album, New...

Read More.....
Donny McCaslin’s big Blow set for Scala

Donny McCaslin’s big Blow set for Scala

US saxophonist Donny McCaslin follows the breakthrough success of 2016's...

Read More.....


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@boomkatonline hey there, whose doing the UK press on this chestnut?
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@_Phil_Julian Have you been on the phone all this time?
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA