Confront Recordings maintain their recent run of form by issuing the debut album from American cellist Seth Parker Woods. The four-cut collection, asinglewordisnotenough, constitutes a raw summit of electronically-emboldened mutant murals, with Woods in kinetic form as he takes on compositions scored by George Lewis, Edward Hamel, Michael Clarke and Pierre Alexandre Tremblay.
Woods performs these pieces at midday today, as part of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
Saxophonist Trish Clowes returns with her new group project, My Iris, early next year releasing an album of the same name on 13 January on Basho Records and several tour dates. The four-piece group includes guitarist Chris Montague, Hammond player/pianist Ross Stanley and drummer James Maddren, drawing inspiration also from the concept of an iris opening and the kaleidoscopic range of sounds the band are exploring, not to mention the Wayne Shorter song 'Iris'.
Completing Clowes' busy January will be the fifth edition of her contemporary classical-meets-jazz and improvisation Emulsion Festival – which takes place at MAC (Midlands Arts Centre), Birmingham on 27 January. The one-day event features performances by My Iris, the Emulsion Sinfonietta plus an opening set from some of Birmingham's leading improvisers. Clowes is hoping to expand the event through a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to bring in additional guests – such as saxophonists Iain Ballamy and Joe Wright – and commission more new music alongside works already written specially for the festival by Hans Koller, Percy Pursglove and Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian.
My Iris tour dates are: Pizza Express Jazz Club, London (album launch, 17 Jan); The Gateway Education & Arts Centre, Shrewsbury (18 Jan); Arts Centre, De Montford University Campus, Leicester (19 Jan); Wakefield Rugby Club, Wakefield (20 Jan); Hidden Rooms, Cambridge (26 Jan); MAC, Birmingham (27 Jan).
Acclaimed trumpeter, arranger and bandleader Guy Barker will be presenting a stellar seasonal Big Band special and several surprise cameos at the Royal Albert Hall on 11 December.
Barker recently showed off his wide-ranging orchestral arrangements for the Jazz Voice opening gala of the EFG London Jazz Festival, and his RAH concert will explore favourite Christmas songs given a swinging jazzy twist. Chief among the guests will be Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Kurt Elling, a longtime friend and collaborator of Barker's, whose recent album The Beautiful Day, his debut for OKeh records, finds him interpreting the likes of 'We Three Kings and 'Same Old Lang Syne'.
MOBO-winning saxophonist Soweto Kinch will appear as a soloist, as well as actor/singer Clarke Peters, best known for his leading role in cult US cop drama The Wire and musical Five Guys Named Moe, while vocal group Accent will enhance the programme with their lush choral vocals. The evening will be co-presented by jazz singer and broadcaster Clare Teal, who will also perform several songs, while Incognito vocalist Vanessa Haynes is also set to appear.
Newly formed jazz-prog-folk group Solstice are set to release their debut album, Alimentation, on Two Rivers Records on 9 December – with a live launch at Dalston's Vortex Jazz Club on 7 December. Comprised of some of the UK's leading jazz musicians the group features singer Brigitte Beraha, guitarist Jez Franks, pianist John Turville, saxophonist/flautist Tori Freestone, bassist Dave Manington and drummer George Hart. With playful titles such as the intriguingly titled lead single 'Ultimate Big Cheese' and 'Avocado Deficit', the album mixes with sophisticated yet accessible melodically-led originals which the band will be playing on their extensive 2017 spring/summer tour.
Dates are: Vortex, London (Dec 7, album launch); RWCMD Cardiff, Wales (27 Jan + workshop); Hidden Rooms, Cambridge (30 Mar); Red Lion, Birmingham (31 Mar, + workshop) Ambleside, Zefferillis (1 Apr); The Fleece, Suffolk (7 Apr); The Stables, Wavendon (2 May); Bonington Theatre, Notts (28 May); Arts Centre, Colchester (4 June); Repton School, Derby (7 June); Broomhill Arts Centre, Devon (8 June); Bridport Arts Centre, Dorset (9 June); Calstock Arts Centre, Cornwall (10 June); Ashburton Chapel Arts, Devon (11 June); Treriefe House, Penzance (12 June); St Ives Jazz Club, Cornwall (13 June); Leicester Jazz, Leicester (15 June) and Worksop College, Notts (21 June).
Charlie Haden's LMO legacy lives on in the hands of his regular collaborator Carla Bley and with the active support of Ruth Cameron, his widow. It was Cameron who spoke from the stage before this performance at Cadogan Hall, reminding the audience of Haden's original intentions for his orchestra and identifying the pieces that were to be played. She then name-checked the musicians one by one, with the frail-seeming Bley silent, conducting and playing her occasional piano interludes.
The first piece was a sumptuous reworking of 'Blue and Green' with Bley's soft, elegiac harmonies, Darek Oles' bass solo momentarily recalling Haden's unique qualities, trumpeter Michael Rodriguez's solo highlighted, this just the first of his many superb interjections. 'Not In My Name' gave Loren Stillman's Desmond-like alto due prominence, projected over waves of sound, the atmosphere quite solemn. 'Time Life' from the band's new album, brought the tenor of Tony Malaby to the fore, his solo languorous at first, the emotion quite palpable, with drummer Matt Wilson heard at length.
It was the special combination of 'America The Beautiful' with Ornette Coleman's 'Skies of America' that moved us most, the ensemble playing poised and careful, reverential in tone, rising into turbulence before gradually moving into free-form, and then subsiding, Seneca Black's trumpet quite direct. Then followed Bley's rather wonderful version of 'Amazing Grace' featuring trombonist Marshall Gilke's single, resolute blast and more of Malaby's sanctified tenor plus soulful guitar from the very impressive Steve Gardenas. Haden's 'Song for the Whales' opened with bowed bass noises and cymbal scrapes, Malaby and Black combining quite beautifully as Wilson brought the piece to an end with more whale-like sounds.
Bill Frisell's 'Throughout' was the encore, marked by Bley's mesmeric piano figures and the soft sounds of the tenor duo, Malaby and Chris Cheek, the writing like a chorale, the final chords as lovely as anything heard that night, underpinned by Vincent Chancey's French horn and the bubbling beauty of Earl McIntyre's tuba.