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.

Robert Glasper - Element of Chance

Robert Glasper is trying to do what only a few brave souls have tried, to integrate hip hop with jazz. But unlike others who have failed to make the two different musical forms work together, his steady progress in this direction has achieved critical success in the States and beyond. With his new record, In My Element, he takes the most basic of jazz units, the trio, to use as his tool to take the music forward and make it live. Interview: Andy Robson

Keith Tippett - The Tipping Point

There are echoes of Centipede, that remarkable super sized free jazz orchestra, in the release this month of Keith Tippett’s Tapestry orchestra recording Live At The Le Mans (First Weaving). With an extraordinary coming together of heavyweight British and European free improvisers and the added fizz of a live performance, the old spirit of the great pianist Keith Tippett is there for one and all nearly 40 years after his career in music first began. Duncan Heining talks to Tippett about a renewed burst of creativity in his musical life and looks back with him to the 70s, a remarkable era when he and his band of brothers jammed at 30,000 feet on a specially charted plane.


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