Wednesday, October 23, 2019

JJ 10/59: Wheat from chaff

For some time now it has been our contention that far too many mediocre jazz records are being issued each month. Records which have little or no sales potential at all obviously spoil the picture for those...

World-class jazz masters for Teesside from Sunday

Following the success of its inaugural launch last year, the popular Sunday Jazz Weekender is set for a welcome return to Teesside, this time...

Obituary: Ginger Baker

The problem is that Ginger Baker rather early disappeared behind “Ginger Baker”, the flame-haired irascible who notoriously broke the nose of a documentary maker who was attempting...

Ginger’s jazz days

I was sorry to learn that Ginger Baker had died. He was in my band, The Storyville Jazzmen (later led by Bob Wallis) back in 1956-7. We were very much into purist...

JJ 09/89: Sun Ra – Cosmic Equation / The Sun Myth / Dancing Shadows

Way back when the New Thing was a young thing, these Heliocentric World recordings were pathfinders, an imbroglio of organised chaos in which the established big band frameworks — instrumentation and scoring — were bent and reshaped against the anvils of free improvisation and constantly changing tex­tures. Indeed, there is little here that is scored in any conventional sense; rather, the performances build and develop, subside and redevelop, as players receive spontaneous cues from Sun Ra himself. Such dangerous flirtations with chaos invite an anarchy that quite often neuters the inherent indi­viduality of a performance (eg, Cosmic Chaos, Outer Nothing­ness, Sun Ra & His Band), but sometimes the multilayered voices touch sublime heights, as on Dancing In The Sun. It is when the rhythmic ingredients are strongest, however, that the music is most telling — as in the often sinister Of Heavenly Things, the brilliant develop­ments of The Cosmos and else­where. There is much here that pits reeds against percussive playing by other instruments (piano, bass, trombones, other reeds); some even...

Brothers in jazz

The Mills Brothers formed their singing group in Piqua, Ohio around 1925, at first naming themselves Four Boys and a Kazoo. They...

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Green Book

Fifty-six years after LBJ officially ended racial discrimination in the USA with the pen-stroke that signed the Civil Rights Act, the years...