John Etheridge - Changing man

One of the most respected musicians of his generation John Etheridge has never been one to restrict himself to one musical context. His career has seen him in a multitude of musical situations from playing with Soft Machine to French violin legend Stéphane Grappelli to his Zappa project the Zappatistas and with classical guitarist John Williams. As the latest release by the Soft Machine Legacy band is released, Duncan Heining looks back with John on some career highs and one or two lows.

Gwilym Simcock - Keys to the city

The name Gwilym Simcock has been on everyone’s lips on the UK jazz scene over the last few years. The pianist emerged fully formed after a dazzling spell at music college with a firm classical and jazz grounding and then quickly found his feet winning prizes, playing with legendary jazz figures like Kenny Wheeler and Dave Holland and quickly making a reputation for himself as an extraordinary new talent, making him the most talked about pianist in the UK since the early days of Django Bates. Stuart Nicholson meets him in the recording studio as he prepares to move his career one step further on with the making of his first album.

Iain Ballamy - Mainstream Interruptus

Iain Ballamy emerged from the seminal 1980s big band Loose Tubes as one of the stars of his generation of UK jazz musicians. A dazzling soloist with a recognisable sound and a soft “English” sense of playing, equally capable of responding to the humour and eccentricity of his homeland as much as possessing the ability to deliver a Coltrane-inspired solo line just as a leading American player could do. As his solo career developed he made his name with the inspired records Balloon Man and All Men, Amen while also contributing to Bill Bruford’s Earthworks and Django Bates’ Human Chain as well as finding new directions with his Anglo-Norwegian group Food. In recent years his recording activity has dwindled to a trickle so it is with considerable anticipation that greets the release of his new record More Jazz in the company of his group Anorak out this month. But what has changed since Ballamy’s last outing? Interview: Stuart Nicholson

Rashied Ali - Interstellar Overdrive

As John Coltrane moved to the last phase of his career embracing the adventurous spirit of the New York avant garde, drummer Rashied Ali was there at the heart of his new thinking with his “multi-directional” drumming and non standard approach that altered the course of Coltrane’s music as it reached its great peak on the album Interstellar Space. Since Coltrane’s death Rashied Ali’s career has, like the course of the avant garde itself, seen its peaks and troughs alternating with periods of obscurity and glimpses of revived interest in this unique musician’s approach. Ahead of a run of dates in London this month, Rashied talks to Kevin Le Gendre

Julian Joseph - The Language of Truth

Pianist and composer Julian Joseph embarks this month on the premiere of his most ambitious project to date, a jazz opera called Bridegetower, commissioned by the City of London Festival and English Touring Opera, inspired in part by the 200th anniversary of the abolition of transatlantic slavery, with a libretto by writer Mike Phillips.

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