Spitalfields Music’s Summer Festival, which runs 6-21 June, brings a vibrant international programme to East London in celebration of early and contemporary music and features two key performances by clarinettist, composer and associate artist, Arun Ghosh. He will be appearing with his expanded 12-piece ensemble the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, who will perform the world premiere of Ghosh’s Spitalfields Suite, a symphonic poem exploring the histories and experiences of immigration to Spitalfields (Shoreditch Church, St Leonard’s, 7 June).

He then performs in his ‘Tales of Tradition & Trade’, which will amalgamate the spirit of traditional work, music hall and pub songs for an evening of interactive communal music-making (Wilton’s Music Hall, London, 12 June). Other highlights include Brazen Hussies featuring Women sing East and their extraordinary leader, Laka D recreating some of their favourite jazz, punk and folk songs, and the Club Inégales band with special guests including Evan Parker and Byron Wallen improvising avant-garde, jazz and contemporary blues styles.

For full festival listings go to spitalfieldsmusic.org.uk


Were it not for the pink neon sign outside, or the hastily hung photographs of jazz greats on the walls, you would think that you were in the wrong place. With its mirrored pillars, mustard coloured paintwork and patterned wallpaper, Sala Clamores feels more like a neglected working men's club than a top draw performance space in a European capital city. But if this first experience of a Madrid jazz venue didn't quite match my expectations, the music – from veteran Sardinian trumpeter Paolo Fresu and pianist Dino Rubino – easily exceeded them.

Appearing as one of the headline acts in city-wide music festival Festimad, the duo have only been performing together since 2012, yet they displayed the kind of sensitivity and communication that usually comes from a far longer musical relationship. Trading ideas and basking in the warmth of Fresu's flugelhorn, they segued between playfully rendered standards, including 'My Funny Valentine' and 'Almost Like Being in Love', lilting Rubino originals, and the odd Breton folk song.

Improvisations displayed a similar blend of old and new. At times, Fresu's elegant lines were pure Chet Baker, yet they took unexpected turns with touches of dissonance and sudden leaps in intensity as they broke into the upper register. Accompanied by the click of Fresu's ringed finger on the side of the flugel, Rubino unfurled classic bebop phrases that whispered of the blues, unleashing cluster chords and fistfuls of notes on up-tempo numbers before slipping back into the groove.

Fresu's subtle use of electronics added another dimension to the performance, allowing him to layer and counterpoint his lines while decorating and rounding-off melodies with gentle reverb and puffs of air. Though at times a little clichéd, it provided a welcome change of texture and the only truly misjudged moment of the set was a guest feature from comic Hispano-Italian pop sensation Tonino Caratone who had been lurking in the audience. His strained, over-amplified, vocals on 'Guarda Che Luna' elicited grimaces from around the room, and there was audible relief when we quickly returned to the gently swinging melodies and rolling piano chords of the Italian duo.

Filing out in the early hours, there was a contented buzz among the audience and with my mind on the music I hardly noticed the frayed yellow curtains behind the stage, the crudely painted quavers on the air ducts, or the bewildering abundance of fire extinguishers. With acts of this quality, Sala Clamores can get away with it.

– Thomas Rees @ThomasNRees (story and photos)

 

trish-clowes-enulsion300Saxophonist Trish Clowes launches the third installment of her Emulsion mini-fest tonight as it takes over east London venue Village Underground for two nights from 28 to 29 May. First launching at the Vortex two years ago, then moving to Kings Place in 2013, this third edition continues Clowes’ mission to bring jazz and classical musicians together via a vibrant mix of high-wire improv and specially commissioned music from UK names and international guests.

With funding from Arts Council England and PRS for Music Foundation, Emulsion III features Food, the ECM-signed duo of saxophonist Iain Ballamy and drummer Thomas Strønen, Clowes’ own group Tangent, Luke Styles’ contemporary classical group Ensemble Amorpha, contemporary vocal group Juice, Dan Nicholls’ Strobes + ByramArt (that combines beat-heavy electronica and improv with projected visuals) and the Emulsion Sinfonietta.

The PRS funding has enabled two new commissioned works: one from guitarist Chris Montague and Clowes for the Tangent group, the second for Ballamy/Strønen’s Food, both of which will be premiered at Emulsion III. The event will be recorded by BBC Radio 3 for Jazz On 3 and Hear and Now programmes.

– Mike Flynn


For more info go to trishclowes.com/projects/emulsion

 

 

Kongsberg-Tubaloon-rdo
Jazzwise
and Master Travel have combined to present a jazz tour of Norway, the tour leader, Charles Alexander, introduces the sights and sounds of the up-coming trip

I was delighted when Jazzwise and Master Travel invited me to be Tour Leader of their Nordic Sounds tour in July. I first visited Norway in the late 1980s on a walking holiday and found it to be one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. It was easy to see why the rugged grandeur of its mountains and fjords, the clear northern light, its long coastline and challenging climate would be reflected in the work of so many of its many writers, artists and musicians.

My first introduction to Norwegian jazz was through the early-1970s debut albums of Jan Garbarek and guitarist Terje Rypdal. Both of these young musicians shared certain distinctive characteristics – a unique sound on their particular instrument, the unhurried pace of their music, an absence of any bebop clichés, and a sense of dramatic tension and release. Although both were talented improvisers, their musical language was far removed from that of the American jazz of the period or, indeed, of the growing European free jazz music scene. Later in the 1970s I invited the Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen to present his trio at a Jazz Centre Society concert at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, possibly the first Norwegian jazz musician to lead his own group in the UK. Since then, Andersen has never stopped touring internationally, while Garbarek has enjoyed a stellar career. The latter in particular has inspired successive generations of Norwegian musicians to find their own creative voice and today the ears of the world are increasingly drawn to the evocative original music emanating from this small country.

The Nordic Sounds Tour offers us an opportunity to listen to Arild Andersen’s quartet at the Kongsberg Jazz Festival, which celebrates its 50th anniversary during our visit. Alongside Arild Andersen will be the Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson, the Norwegian saxophonist Bendik Hofseth and the legendary US drummer Billy Hart, plus a special guest whose identity remains a closely guarded secret. Other artists at Kongsberg during our visit include Dave Holland’s Prism, Joshua Redman, Jan Gunnar Hoff and the powerhouse saxophone trio of Peter Brötzmann, Evan Parker and Joe McPhee.

After two days of music in Kongsberg, the Nordic Sounds Tour then winds its way by road and the world’s steepest railway through beautiful mountain landscapes including the Hardangervidda Mountain Plateau towards the fjord village of Fläm. Here we cruise by boat to the world’s deepest fjord, Songefjord, staying overnight in the delightful mountain village Ulvik. From there we sail along the coastline to Bergen where, among other pleasures, you may visit the house of composer Edvard Grieg.

There is an optional tour extension to Denmark (8-12 July) where we visit Copenhagen, one of Europe’s celebrated jazz cities, and Aarhus which hosts a wonderful informal jazz festival in its cosy cafes, bars and open-air in its parks and squares.

The Nordic Sounds tour is a wonderful opportunity to hear some great jazz in two countries famed for their musicality and for the beauty of their landscapes and the charm of their towns and cities.
For full information on the tour go to www.mastertravel.co.uk

Charles Alexander

 

podcast-logoThis month's podcast – Jazzwise #18 – accompanies the May 2014 edition of the multi-award winning publication. Hosted by magazine editor Jon Newey and radio presenter Chris Philips each month it's an informed and passionate look at what's featured in the pages.

This month there's news, review and music from Led Bib, Loose Tubes and Ambrose Akinmusire plus talk of this year's Jazzahead gathering in Bremen with music from Marc Cary and Elephant9 who appeared to great acclaim. As usual Jon Newey adds in some personal favourites from his ongoing quest to secure rare vinyl records.

Jazzwise #18 by Chris Philips on Mixcloud

 

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