Jazzwise can exclusively announce that MOBO-winning contemporary jazz group Empirical is set to take a radically open approach to developing music for their next album over six-nights at iconic London bookshop Foyles from 26 to 31 January 2015. The shop’s move to a new architecturally stunning location at 107 Charing Cross Road, that opened its doors on 7 June this year, now features a 200-capacity Auditorium performance space that Empirical plan to use in collaboration with in-store record shop Ray’s Jazz for the project.

The new music takes inspiration from the idea of ‘connection’ – that has also influenced the way the spacious new design of the shop allows customers to engage with books and culture through events such as this. The band intends to explore this too, “both the personal and musical connection between the members of the band but more importantly the connection between band and audience.” The new music will feature on the band’s fifth album that will be recorded the week after the residency and follows their eponymous debut in 2008, Out ‘n’ In (2009), Elements of Truth (2011) and Tabula Rasa (2013). The group still feature the long-running line up of saxophonist Nathaniel Facey, vibist Lewis Wright, bassist Tom Farmer and drummer Shaney Forbes.

Also drawing inspiration from the way 1960s jazz bands would do a run of gigs – rather than single dates at a venue – the twist here will be that every gig is free entry with the audience invited to discuss and give feedback on the music to the band in the shop’s café after the gigs. The band has commented: “it is a great opportunity to directly contribute to the making of our new work, so come and connect!”

Empirical will perform brand new music everyday for six days in the Foyles Auditorium, from 6.30pm on 26-31 January 2015.

– Mike Flynn

For more info go to www.foyles.co.uk/events

love-supreme-albumThe 50th anniversary of John Coltrane’s iconic album, A Love Supreme, is set to be celebrated in style on both sides of the Atlantic this coming week with concerts in London and San Francisco. The latter features saxophone icon’s son Ravi Coltrane (pictured top) and a stellar group of his US contemporaries including electric bassist Matthew Garrison (son of Jimmy Garrison who played on the original album), guitarist Adam Rogers, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and drummer Marcus Gilmore. The group will be performing on 13 December at the SFJAZZ Center, California in a bold contemporary exploration of the album that’s set to reflect the original’s sense of adventure as well as its deep spirituality.

A Re-envisioning Of John Coltrane’s Love Supreme is also set to take place at the Union Chapel, Islington, London on the album’s actual recording date of 9 December when it was laid down in a single day at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey in 1964. The Enlightenment Ensemble will perform this newly expanded take on the album with the same group that performed at James Lavelle’s Meltdown earlier this year to great acclaim. The 15-piece band brings together a huge range of UK-based jazz talent and is led by flautist Roland Sutherland who has also written the extended, through-composed versions of the songs on the album, adding strong African and Indian elements via percussionists, tabla and kora.

The band features bata drummers – Adé Egun Crispin Robinson, Dave Pattman and Oli Savill – tabla/santoor player Ansuman Biswas, vocalist Juwon Ogungbe, drummer Mark Mondesir, bassist Neil Charles, pianist Nikki Yeoh, MD/xylophonist Orphy Robinson, keyboardist Pat Thomas, tenor saxophonist Steve Williamson and kora player Tunde Jegede.  

– Mike Flynn


For more info go to agmp.ticketabc.com/events/a-love-supreme/



Rising star US pianist Bobby Avey sets out on a five date tour of the UK this week with a stellar all-American line up that includes renowned saxophonist Miguel Zenón, in support of his latest album Authority Melts From Me, which was released on Whirlwind Recordings earlier this year.

The highly atmospheric album is inspired by Avey’s visit to the small Haitian village of Soukri, where he recorded a traditional Vodou Ceremony, which he used for the rhythmic base for this hour-long suite of music that pays homage to those involved in the Haitian Revolution. The band that’s featured on the album mostly appear with Avey on the tour and includes virtuoso Puerto Rican saxophonist Zenón, guitarist Ben Monder and drummer Jordan Perlson plus UK-based US bassist and Whirlwind label boss Michael Janisch.

The tour also includes three masterclasses from the band, which will take place at Birmingham Conservatoire (5 Dec), Trinity Laban Conservatoire (8 Dec) and Leeds College of Music (10 Dec). Tour dates are: Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, London (4 Dec); CBSO Centre, Birmingham (5 Dec); The Albert, Bristol (7 Dec); Band On The Wall, Manchester (9 Dec); and Leeds College Of Music, Leeds (10 Dec).

– Mike Flynn

For more info go to www.whirlwindrecordings.com

Piano trios, don’t cha just love ’em! Reports that the past decade’s deep infatuation with the format was beginning to fade would appear to be somewhat premature given the results of the Jazzwise Albums of the Year Critics Poll 2014, where three piano trios are placed firmly in the top five positions.

At number two, Phronesis’ highly kinetic live album of new material, Life To Everything, cements them as today’s preeminent Scandi-Brit piano trio as they continue to expand their horizons in Europe, America and beyond. But it was the Michael Wollny Trio’s dark, subconscious journey through dreamworlds, Weltentraum, that took pianist and composer Wollny’s increasingly inspired vision to a new level of performance and imagination, and grabbed a well deserved Album of the Year accolade in our annual poll, where 10 points are awarded to first place down to one point for 10th place.

Congratulations also to Christine Tobin and her superb interpretations of Leonard Cohen’s songs, A Thousand Kisses Deep, which nailed the number three spot. And for the second year running, Miles Davis tops the Reissues/Archive chart – but when Columbia turn out archive projects as magnificent as this Fillmore set, who’s to argue?

TOP 20 NEW RELEASES 2014

1 Michael Wollny Trio Weltentraum ACT

2 Phronesis Life to Everything Edition Records

3 Christine Tobin A Thousand Kisses Deep Trail Belle


TOP 20 REISUES AND ARCHIVE 2014

1 Miles Davis Miles at the Fillmore – Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol 3 Columbia Legacy

2 Herbie Hancock The Warner Bros Years 1969-72 Warner Rhino

3 Sun Ra and His Arkestra In the Orbit of Ra Strut

To see all the results and the full New Release and Reissues/Archive Top 20s click here to subscribe, save money and get a great EST CD Free

The line up has been announced for the 11th edition of the Gateshead International Jazz Festival that takes place at the Sage Gateshead from 10-12 April 2015, and includes an impressively diverse bill topped revered UK big band Loose Tubes and US stars David Sanborn, John Scofield and Joshua Redman. The programme features a wide range of artists from the cutting edge to the likes of popular acid jazz Hammond crew James Taylor Quartet, soul-jazz singer Ruby Turner and rising star US singer/keyboardist Jarrod Lawson.

Anarchic 21-piece band Loose Tubes (above) made an emphatic return this year with a series of triumphant performances including dazzling headline concerts at Cheltenham and Brecon jazz festivals and a much-talked about week at Ronnie Scott’s. Their appearance at Gateshead goes some way to dispelling rumours that Brecon was going to be their last ever gig, and with the line up still featuring many founding members including Django Bates, Iain Ballamy, Ashley Slater, Chris Batchelor and Eddie Parker, and sounding better than ever, let’s hope 2015 sees more from them. The group headlines the closing night’s programme with support from Andy Sheppard and Rita Marcotulli.

Celebrated US saxophonist David Sanborn appears as part a double bill with American guitar guru John Scofield who is joined by British-born, New Orleans-based pianist Jon Cleary on a set of blues, gospel and jazz. Stellar sax man Joshua Redman also appears with his trio of Reuben Rogers and Greg Hutchinson, and superb hard-driving bebop septet The Cookers are another welcome addition to the programme.

alice zawadzkThere are plenty of top British names on the bill too with a performance of the late great Stan Tracey’s timeless take on Under Milk Wood led by his son Clark Tracey on drums and saxophonist Bobby Wellins, while virtuoso pianist Gwilym Simcock performs his ‘Move!’ suite with the Royal Northern Sinfonia. A new generation of leading female jazz artists also appear throughout the festival including rising star singer/violinist Alice Zawadzki (pictured), Northeast singer Zoe Gilby, a trio of saxophonists
Cath Roberts, Rachel Musson, Julie Kjaer and cellist Hannah Marshall.

There are experimental sounds too from cult Australian trio The Necks, compelling Norwegian saxophonist turned operatic tenor Håkon Kornstad and his new project, the brilliantly irreverent Dutch trio Tin Men and the Telephone and edgy powerhouse UK big band Beats & Pieces play music from their hotly anticipated new album.  

The full programme is as follows

FRIDAY 10 APRIL

Hall One, 7.30pm

Double Bill: David Sanborn plus John Scofield and Jon Cleary

Hall Two, 7.30pm

Stan Tracey’s Under Milk Wood

Hall Two, 10.30pm

Jarrod Lawson

Northern Rock Foundation Hall, 10.45pm

Tenor Battle: Jazz vs Opera with Hakon Kornstad

SATURDAY 11 APRIL

Hall Two, 2 pm

Gwilym Simcock and Royal Northern Sinfonia

Northern Rock Foundation Hall, 2.30 pm

Tin Men and The Telephone Family Show

Hall One, 7.30pm

Double Bill: Ruby Turner and James Taylor Quartet

Hall Two, 8pm

Joshua Redman Trio

Northern Rock Foundation Hall, 7.45pm

Women Make Music Double Bill: Zoe Gilby and Alice Zawadski

Hall Two, 10.30pm

The Necks

Northern Rock Foundation Hall, 10.45 pm

Beats and Pieces

SUNDAY 12 APRIL

Hall Two, 2pm

The Cookers

Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, Jaleel Shaw, David Weiss, George Cables, Cecil McBee and Billy Hart Northern Rock Foundation Hall, 2.30pm

Tin Men and The Telephone

Hall One, 7.30pm

Loose Tubes plus Andy Sheppard and Rita Marcotulli

Northern Rock Foundation Hall, 7.45 pm

Women Make Music 2 Sloth Racket & Musson-Kjaer-Marshall


– Mike Flynn

For more info go to www.sagegateshead.com

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