The history of collectives in jazz are nearly as old as the music itself. Formed by a kinship and unique bond, collectives often united players by their sound, style or approach. The Jazz Messengers, arguably the archetype for modern jazz collectives, served as a breeding ground, rites of passage for the then burgeoning voices, now architects, of this music—from Lee Morgan to Terence Blanchard— for nearly four decades, dating back to the early 1950s. These collectives not only identified for the larger listening audience who these distinctive and individual players were, but simultaneously, they were allies at the height of racism and politically challenging times, who ultimately shaped and challenged the artistic direction of modern jazz.

In the case of the newest collective R+R=NOW, their kinship lies in the fact that almost every member has been deemed as an "outlier" by jazz at large. As recognised players and bandleaders in their own right, their approach to jazz has always been regarded (and panned, by certain critics) as highly conceptual and individualistic. Fusing jazz with elements of electronic, trap, hip-hop and rock, R+R=NOW gathers the next crop of young players, taking a firm position on the validity of jazz's evolution into the new millennium.

As their full name suggests, 'Reflect+Respond=Now' creates music that speaks to the current and highly charged socio-political climate. With celebrated pianist Robert Glasper at the helm, he's gathered an arsenal of emerging and renowned players and composers, all of whom are keeping in the tradition of their jazz forefathers by broadening the scope of what this music can sound like and how it can enthral a new generation of listeners. "If you reflect what is happening and you respond to it, you have no choice but to be of now, of today," remarked Glasper prior to their two-hour-long set.

RR CelebrateBrooklyn 75

R+R=NOW also enlists the talents of Terrace Martin, renowned producer for Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg; Grammy-nominated trumpeter and bandleader Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (pictured above); Derrick Hodge, highly-respected bassist and longtime producer for Maxwell; drummer on the rise Justin Tyson; and DJ/producer/beatboxer Taylor McFerrin.

Making their debut at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn on Friday, 22 June, the evening could have been halted only by the threat of torrential rain showers, as the overcast of clouds hovered over the bandshell and the large droves of folks sprinkled all over Prospect Park.

The night got kicked off by a stirring pre-concert set from Haitian-American singer and multi-instrumentalist Paul Beaubrun, son of Theodore 'Lòlò' and Mimerose 'Manzè' Beaubrun of the Grammy-nominated, legendary Haitian band Boukman Eksperyans.

As the members of R&R=NOW walked onto the stage, their intensity and focus was palpable. Given the current state of affairs, most recently with families being separated at the border under the Trump administration, no time could be wasted in delivering their potent message, one that would resonate and be heard by all. Opening with 'Afro-Centric', from Joe Henderson's 1969 classic album Power to the People (Milestone), was not only an apropos choice, but also featured a prominent solo, originally delivered by Mike Lawrence on the recording, for trumpeter Scott to tackle. Initially impacted by technical feedback, eventually, Scott's signature ferociousness came through as he pushed harder during his solo, while backed by the rhythm section powerhouse of Hodge, Tyson and Glasper. This rhythmic thread was consistent and steadfast throughout much of the set, allowing for Scott, and Martin on alto saxophone, to fly above the night's overcast atmosphere.

The evening also marked the premiere of 'The Liberation Suite', a new work commissioned by BRIC. This highlights Glasper's penchant for arrangement and collaboration, allowing each player ample breathing room to fully demonstrate exactly what they're known for in this music. He understands that only when an artist is unencumbered, that is when they are truly "liberated" and can best express themselves. This allowed for Scott's melodic lines, which he undoubtedly offered his compositional input, to fully compel and resonate in ways that perhaps he hasn't been allowed to on recent solo efforts.

In fact, much of the set demonstrated that when given the appropriate "wings," so to speak, each musician can soar.

– Shannon J. Effinger

– Photos by David Andrako

R+R=NOW play Shepheard's Bush Empire, London tonight, 16 July.

The-Write-Stuff-Tia-Fuller-interveiwed-c-Emile-Holba

Budding music writers listen up! This year's Write Stuff music journalism course will return for its 16th edition, with workshops held at the Southbank Centre during the EFG London Jazz Festival's opening and closing weekends, on 17-18 and 24-25 November. Founded and organised by Jazzwise and festival producers Serious, the Write Stuff gives new jazz and improv music writers a valuable free opportunity to work with professional journalists to improve their writing skills, develop an understanding of music criticism and the workings of the music press and blogosphere, as well as getting to see a bunch of great concerts!

We're on the hunt for a new generation of younger writers aged 18-25, who will attain an Arts Award qualification following a successful completion of the course.

The workshops will include sessions on feature writing and live reviews by Jazzwise writer and BBC broadcaster Kevin Le Gendre; an insight into the history and development of the UK jazz and music press with Jazzwise editor-in-chief Jon Newey; and a workshop on online journalism and career development with Jazzwise editor Mike Flynn and an invited guest, alongside input from other writers and jazz industry figures. Several Write Stuff participants have gone on to have pieces published in The Guardian, The Wire and Jazzwise as well as work within the wider jazz and broadcasting industry.

This year's participants will have their work posted on both the Jazzwise and festival's websites, and one review considered to be of particular merit will be published in a subsequent issue of Jazzwise.

If you are interested in participating in the Write Stuff please submit by email a 300-word review of a recent gig/concert, together with a CV and full contact details to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 10 October 2018 with 'The Write Stuff 2018' in the subject line. Applicants must be aged 18 to 25 and be available in London on the following dates: Friday 16 November (evening); Saturday 17 – Sunday 18 November and Saturday 24 – Sunday 25 November.

Click here to visit the Serious website to apply for this year's courseto apply for this year's course

Photo by Emile Holba of saxophonist Tia Fuller being interviewed by Write Stuff participants

 

Last week's release of John Coltrane's The Lost Album: Both Directions at Once triggered a rush of Trane fever, with fans of the iconic saxophonist buying the album in such numbers that it charted at No.15 on the Official UK Album Chart.

Comprised of studio material that was thought missing until Coltrane's son Ravi discovered the tapes, the album's success represents Coltrane's highest ever chart position. LA saxophonist Kamasi Washington's latest album, Heaven And Earth, also charted in the Top 20 recently, debuting at No.13 (and topping the UK Record Store Chart and hitting No.2 in the UK Indie Album Chart) – offering more evidence of jazz's increased popularity.

Mike Flynn

See the July issue of Jazzwise for an in-depth look behind Coltrane's The Lost Album: Both Directions at Once

With an abundance of big names on the larger stages, Eddie Myer rounds up the stars of tomorrow who lit-up the Bandstand and Arena

Love Supreme Jazz Festival's six-year existence has run concurrently with the most recent revival of interest in UK jazz, and both seemed to have weathered the storms and be basking in the glorious sunshine last weekend. The Bandstand, programmed by New Generation Jazz in association with the Verdict Jazz Club, has been a small but vital part of things since the festival's inception; described as "the jazz conscience of the festival", its remit is to act as a platform for a range of artists who aren't as widely known as they deserve, and over the years they've given acts like Nerija, Nubya Garcia, and Ezra Collective their first Love Supreme showcases.

Friday night is New Generation Jazz night at Love Supreme, as they programme not only the Bandstand but also the Arena stage to welcome the first flood of festival goers. Kicking off the latter stage in style, Yakul brought a 10-piece band and a tight and powerful set of nu-soul and broken beat with echoes of Jose James and Dilla/Madlib, as frontman James Berkeley impressed with his confident charisma and floral leisurewear. French rockers Saults gave a powerfully energetic performance that rather missed its mark with the audience; the crowds returned for Abi Flynn (above) and her Jill Scott-influenced set of punchy contemporary soul; Flynn movingly breaking off her set to share her ongoing battle with cancer. Next up The Alex Hitchcock Quintet dazzled with a display of collective virtuosity, demonstrating that challenging acoustic jazz can hold it's own, and retain the crowds, in the midst of a backbeat-heavy lineup. By the time trombonist Tom Green's Brass Funkeys band came on the entire tent was packed to the back and heaving to their well-choreographed mayhem.

Over on the Friday Bandstand, sunny afternoon vibes prevailed as local stars Three Little Birds presented their swingingly-hip three-part jazz vocal arrangements and The Paul Richards Trio laid out immaculately summery nylon-string guitar flavours á la Charlie Byrd. A presentation by the Brighton Jazz School and a delirious dance-funk set by Giwha and the 1618 closed the stage.

WherePathwaysMeet 3

Saturday started on the jazz tip as Sonnymoon For Three gave an updated vision of the classic Rollins trio with dazzling interplay between Riley Stone-Lonergan on tenor and veteran sticksman Spike Wells. Multi-intrumentalist Charlotte Glasson delighted with a set of gently upbeat, sunny originals, with features for Mark Bassey on trombone and for the bandleader herself on musical saw; then South London collective Where Pathways Meet (above) laid out some lush cosmic jazz, their powerful grooves driven by Jake Long's drums and spiced with bubbling electronics and strong solos from the frontline that included Rosie Turton and James Mollison. Representing another strand of young UK jazz, the Rory Ingham Quartet showed their effortless virtuosity in a set of complex but accessible compositions originally written by JazzFm Rising Star award-winner Ingham for the Ronnie's Late Show. The faint strains of Level 42's thunderous pop-funk from the main stage did nothing to distract the crowds from pianist and elder statesman Roy Hilton's storming quintet set of classic hard bop arrangements, with impassioned solos from trumpeter Jack Kendon and Johnny Griffiths on tenor closing off the evening.

Tomorrows Warriors LWorms 1

SEN3 kicked off the early Sunday slot and drew an appreciative if somewhat hung-over audience for their free-ranging psychedelic jazz-rock under clear blue skies, with drummer Saleem Raman looking remarkably refreshed after his late-night slot at Jazz In The Round. Meg Cavanaugh followed with delightfully laid-back, intimate Americana; then Jonny Mansfield's Elftet crowded their 11-strong cohort around the Kenny Wheeler prize-winning leader's vibes and captivated the large crowd with their intricate arrangements, energetic solos and general air of boundless enthusiasm. Visiting US-based tenorist Peter Fraize joined forces with local keys supremo Terry Seabrook with a set of progressive but supremely funky organ jazz; drummer Peter Adam Hill took to the stage fresh from his sideman duties with Alfa Mist to lead his own intriguingly genre-blending quintet, featuring a memorable Bon Iver reworking in the setlist; and stage-closing honours went to Tomorrow's Warriors Female Frontline (guitarist Jelly Cleaver pictured above).In front of a field full of enthusiastic dancers of all ages, the colourfully clad band ripped through a set of groove-friendly modern standards, reaching out and connecting to the multi-generational crowd and sending a message of positive empowerment into the fading summer sky.

Eddie Myer

- Photos by Lisa Wormsley

The 40th edition of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival takes place from 13 to 22 July at venues around the city with a wide ranging programme. Big jazz names include Grammy-winning vocalist Kurt Elling; Indojazz super-trio Crosscurrents featuring tabla master Zakir Hussain and heavyweight jazzers Dave Holland and Chris Potter; compelling US trumpet star Keyon Harrold (above left) and the powerful New York sound of the Vijay Iyer Sextet (above centre).

The bevy of blues, funk and world names also appearing include Jools Holland Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Davina & The Vagabonds, Mud Morganfield, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, The Average White Band, Blind Boy Paxton, Curtis Stigers, Betty Lavette and Maggie Bell. New Orleans' tri-centenary is marked by a bounty of brass-led bands including Crescent city crew the Soul Brass Band, as well as the UK debut of the all-female trad jazz band Shake 'Em Up. UK and European artists also line-up in the form of Soweto Kinch, Zara McFarlane and Zoe Rahman, plus Czech pianist Vit Kristan and Norwegian saxophonist Harald Lassen.

There's an abundance of Scottish jazz stars on hand to mark this 40th edition too, with Martin Taylor, Carol Kidd, Brian Kellock and Tommy Smith, plus a Blues Gala with Maggie Bell, Bernie Marsden and Tim Elliott. It's also the 10th year of the festival's £120,000 EXPO fund, which has enabled the development of multiple projects, many of which will receive their world premiere at the festival. These include a chance to catch singer/violinist Seonaid Aitken (above right) appearing with the 24-piece Scottish Session Orchestra, conducted by Adam Robinson, (Assembly Rooms, 22 July) performing classic jazz songs from the 1930s, 40s and 50s; American clarinet player Evan Christopher lining up with The Scottish Swing Orchestra for a 'Kings of Swing' concert; Scandinavian group Haftor Medbøe dueting with Swedish pianist Jacob Karlzon and talented young Scots bassist Andrew Robb collaborating with Norwegian saxophonist Petter Wettre.

– Mike Flynn

For full listings and tickets visit www.edinburghjazzfestival.com

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