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A little jazz appears among the albums of the year nominations for the 2021 HYUNDAI MERCURY PRIZE, namely Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra’s Promises and Nubya Garcia’s  Source. The double jazz representation may to some extent reflect the diversity dividend currently enjoyed by jazz, the Mercury PRs noting the shortlist shows “how diverse, vibrant and far-reaching British music continues to be”. The awards show is 9 September and will be featured on BBC radio and TV.

Jazz FM is broadcasting some of Les Tomkins’ interviews done for Crescendo and others and held and now supplied by the National Jazz Archive. Titled THE LOST TAPES and presented by Helen Mayhew, the series will feature, from 9-10 p.m., Art Blakey (25 July), Oscar Peterson (1 August) and Sarah Vaughan (8).

“The most influential drummer alive” says the Jazz Café. A great one, no doubt, and the man in question, BILLY COBHAM, plays at the north London venue on 1 October. The website says line up “Billy Cobham” but one may suspect a band will be in attendance.

Dave Frishberg, past master

The title of Dave Frishberg’s autobiography My Dear Departed Past tells you nearly everything you need to know about the pianist-composer, because like many of us of a certain age he is heavily into nostalgia. Sport, especially baseball is one of his passions and wistful memories about former ball-players are often sentimentally described in his compositions. The tour de force Van Lingle Mungo, for instance, is a hymn not only to Mungo (a Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher from 1931 to 1945) but also to the 36 former players cleverly name-checked in the lyric. Other baseball-themed songs over the years have included The Sports Page, Play Ball, Dodger Blue and Matty. He wrote Dodger Blue in 1977 to celebrate the Dodgers’ 20th anniversary in Los Angeles and Sue Raney sang it at the ball-park. On his 2005 Jazz Bakery recording Retromania he points out that the Dodgers had spent more time in Los Angeles than they did in Brooklyn. Matty is a deeply felt tribute to Christy Mathewson who...

John Pizzarelli: Better Days Ahead – Solo Guitar Takes On Pat Metheny

2020 has been a tough old year for most of us but for John Pizzarrelli it’s been an especially tragic one. Two weeks after...

Richard X Bennett: RXB3

Brooklyn-based pianist Richard Bennett describes his music as “bounce jazz”, and while that sounds trite, it is a surprisingly accurate label, for each track...

Judith & Dave O’Higgins : His ‘n’ Hers

A two-tenor escapade that, unusually, pits husband against wife. Not that there is much to be classed as a battle, any more than was...

I Ain’t Studdin’ Ya – My American Blues Story

Blues and soul performer Bobby Rush reflects that it took him over 50 years to become an overnight sensation. This is the paradox that...

Neil Ardley Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows: Live ’75

Admitting that this is previously unreleased music - the complete Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows suite as originally imagined by Ardley, over twice as long as...

Vincent Herring: Preaching To The Choir

This is the seasoned Herring’s fifth album as leader for Smoke Sessions and while it doesn't cover any new ground, the potential listener is...

Miguel Zenón: Law Years – The Music Of Ornette Coleman

Sixty-two years on from Ornette Coleman's startling album The Shape Of Jazz To Come, the shape of things in Miguel Zenón's tribute is Coleman...

Short for class

Should I ever be asked to nominate the definitive male cabaret performer my first instinct would be Noel Coward - unless I had seen...

Stan Tracey: From Stan With Love

Another thoughtful reissue from Clark Tracey, Andy Cleyndert and Resteamed Records, this couples the quartet’s With Love From Jazz with the big band’s We...

Kristin Korb: What If / Why Not

One of many special memories I have from the Ystad, Sweden Jazz Festival is of a standout performance in 2014 by the American, now...

Lester Young Quartet with John Lewis & Hank Jones: Collates

The 25 tracks on this generous compilation give the lie to the claim that after his release from the US army in 1945, Lester...

What’s new

A little jazz appears among the albums of the year nominations for the 2021 HYUNDAI MERCURY PRIZE, namely Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra’s Promises and Nubya Garcia’s  Source. The double jazz representation may to some extent reflect the diversity dividend currently enjoyed by jazz, the Mercury PRs noting the shortlist shows “how diverse, vibrant and far-reaching British music continues to be”. The awards show is 9 September and will be featured on BBC radio and TV.

Jazz FM is broadcasting some of Les Tomkins’ interviews done for Crescendo and others and held and now supplied by the National Jazz Archive. Titled THE LOST TAPES and presented by Helen Mayhew, the series will feature, from 9-10 p.m., Art Blakey (25 July), Oscar Peterson (1 August) and Sarah Vaughan (8).

“The most influential drummer alive” says the Jazz Café. A great one, no doubt, and the man in question, BILLY COBHAM, plays at the north London venue on 1 October. The website says line up “Billy Cobham” but one may suspect a band will be in attendance.

Dave Frishberg, past master

The title of Dave Frishberg’s autobiography My Dear Departed Past tells you nearly everything you need to know about the pianist-composer, because like many of us of a certain age he is heavily into nostalgia. Sport, especially baseball is one of his passions and wistful memories about former ball-players...

John Pizzarelli: Better Days Ahead – Solo Guitar Takes On Pat Metheny

2020 has been a tough old year for most of us but for John Pizzarrelli it’s been an especially tragic one. Two weeks after...

Richard X Bennett: RXB3

Brooklyn-based pianist Richard Bennett describes his music as “bounce jazz”, and while that sounds trite, it is a surprisingly accurate label, for each track...

Judith & Dave O’Higgins : His ‘n’ Hers

A two-tenor escapade that, unusually, pits husband against wife. Not that there is much to be classed as a battle, any more than was...

I Ain’t Studdin’ Ya – My American Blues Story

Blues and soul performer Bobby Rush reflects that it took him over 50 years to become an overnight sensation. This is the paradox that...

Neil Ardley Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows: Live ’75

Admitting that this is previously unreleased music - the complete Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows suite as originally imagined by Ardley, over twice as long as...

Vincent Herring: Preaching To The Choir

This is the seasoned Herring’s fifth album as leader for Smoke Sessions and while it doesn't cover any new ground, the potential listener is...

Miguel Zenón: Law Years – The Music Of Ornette Coleman

Sixty-two years on from Ornette Coleman's startling album The Shape Of Jazz To Come, the shape of things in Miguel Zenón's tribute is Coleman...

Short for class

Should I ever be asked to nominate the definitive male cabaret performer my first instinct would be Noel Coward - unless I had seen...

Stan Tracey: From Stan With Love

Another thoughtful reissue from Clark Tracey, Andy Cleyndert and Resteamed Records, this couples the quartet’s With Love From Jazz with the big band’s We...

Kristin Korb: What If / Why Not

One of many special memories I have from the Ystad, Sweden Jazz Festival is of a standout performance in 2014 by the American, now...

Lester Young Quartet with John Lewis & Hank Jones: Collates

The 25 tracks on this generous compilation give the lie to the claim that after his release from the US army in 1945, Lester...

Alan Barnes Quartet at Birmingham Jazz Festival

Now in its 37th year, the Birmingham, Sandwell and Westside Jazz Festival runs from this weekend until 1 August, presenting a large number of...
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John Pizzarelli: Better Days Ahead – Solo Guitar Takes On Pat Metheny

2020 has been a tough old year for most of us but for John Pizzarrelli it’s been an especially tragic one. Two weeks after having to cancel all his live shows, on 1 April, Pizzarelli lost his father Bucky, the renowned veteran swing guitarist, to the virus, aged 94. To make matters worse, seven later days and after his 60th birthday, his mother Ruth also succumbed to Covid. So within one week both his parents had passed away. As a practical therapy for coping with the pain of such a significant loss Pizzarelli naturally turned to music and specifically by interpreting and deconstructing the compositions of Pat Metheny, a guitarist whose music both he and his father had shared a common admiration for. By pure coincidence Metheny contacted Pizzarelli to convey his condolences and when Pizzarelli told him that he had been working on his tunes, Metheny sent him a whole swathe of his lead sheets, a collection that Pizzarelli described as a veritable “treasure trove”, enthusing that it was like “the holy grail to get...
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Still Clinging To The Wreckage 07/21

He was called “the indestructible Wild Bill”, and when he died at his home in Santa Barbara on 14...

Still Clinging To The Wreckage 06/21, part 4

Barney Bigard and Duke Ellington seemed to have an almost supernatural understanding as their partnership grew. Ellington's ability to...

Still Clinging To The Wreckage 06/21, part 3

As he took the alto solo Johnny Hodges's eyes swept the auditorium like beams from a lighthouse. The audience didn't know he was counting. "Eleven,"...

Still Clinging To The Wreckage 06/21, part 2

As a child Barney Bigard had at first resisted his family's attempts to point him to a career in music, choosing on his own...

Still Clinging To The Wreckage 06/21, part 1

Most of those of us who became aware of jazz in the 30s or 40s accepted as a fact that Duke Ellington's work was...

Notes played, bills & dues paid

“I’m tired of competition. I’m tired of tearing around making money . . . I wanted to find peace of mind.” (1) Let’s not hear it...

Obituary: Norman Simmons

Highly respected, especially by singers, throughout a long and fruitful career Norman Simmons was active as performer, composer, arranger and educator. He was born...

Obituary: Curtis Fuller

One of the best and most consistent hard bop soloists on the slide trombone, Curtis Fuller did not receive the full praise and recognition...

Obituary: Carol Fredette

Although she did tour, including some travels overseas, Carol Fredette chose to work extensively in the New York area and this, allied to relatively...

Obituary: Freddie Redd

Although he played piano as a child, it wasn't until he was 18 and serving in the military in Korea that Freddie Redd seriously...
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Ystad Sweden festival for early August

Following the Covid-hit Ystad 2020, this August the festival returns with much of its characterful force. Twenty-two concerts, four JazzKidz events, jam sessions hosted by Swedish drummer Cornelia Nilsson and her trio, major interviews with bassist Georg Riedel – the festival's guest of honour this year – and ACT producer Siggi Loch, both conducted at Ystads Konstmuseum by Susanne Rydén, CEO of Musik i Syd, and six Senior Jazz concerts delivered at local elderly care homes: all make for a vibrant and engaging programme at the scenically striking event, which this year features over one hundred artists in all....
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Buster Williams: Bass To Infinity

As deep as Buster Williams’ opening quote in this insightful film on his life is the seductive sound of his bass growling under his...
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JJ 06/91: Grant Green – The Complete Blue Note Recordings With Sonny Clark / Matador / Reaching Out

Grant Green never achieved the kind of profile enjoyed by such of his peers as Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell, but as this four-CD box set from Mosaic reaffirms, his best playing was often more rewarding and distinctive than theirs. Green's choice of material through his peak period in the early sixties reflected both his interest in bebop and in the then novel modal jazz. He is at his strongest on standard song forms, probably because he was thoroughly familiar with the har­monic frameworks involved and had acquired a repertoire of appropriate licks and phrases through a profound study of...

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