Lights and mirrors in a cinema in Stockholm, Sweden
Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Jazz in Elsewhere

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Tom Dennison: Zoo (Rattle Jazz)

Tom Dennison: Zoo (Rattle Jazz)

While it is admirable that jazz musicians put out their own albums (especially in New Zealand where the market is small), it is even more so that any start-up label -- especially in New Zealand -- would firmly get behind an art form which has an audience which redefines the word "minority". Rattle -- not a start-up label since it has been going 20 years, but only more recently... more >>

The Secret History of Islands

Alan Brown: Between the Spaces (Ode)

Alan Brown: Between the Spaces (Ode)

New Zealand keyboard player Alan Brown -- who has previously been in Blue Train and is currently in the Grand Central Band -- is on record saying that rather than writing a jazz album he wanted all his influences, classical to electronica and rock, to find their voice with his quartet for this release. And with saxophonist Nathan Haines guesting and string players alongside guitarist Andy... more >>

Phonology

NEILS-HENNING ORSTED PEDERSEN INTERVIEWED (2001): All basses covered

NEILS-HENNING ORSTED PEDERSEN INTERVIEWED (2001): All basses covered

Think jazz and you invariably think the saxophone. Or trumpet. Or piano. Rarely does the acoustic bass, that pulse and often warm soul of this difficult improvised art form, come to mind. And even if it did, who could immediately conjure up the staggeringly long name of Denmark's pre-eminent practitioner? Yet the CV of Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen lists performances alongside... more >>

Konitz, Mehldau, Haden, Motian: Live at Birdland (ECM/Ode)

Konitz, Mehldau, Haden, Motian: Live at Birdland (ECM/Ode)

A 2009 ECM superstar session where Lee, Brad, Charlie and Paul played standards (Lover Man, Lullaby of Birdland, Oleo etc) from which this finely wrought, sensitive selection was drawn. Pianist Mehldau offers exquisite, refined and sometimes dissonant solos which seduce or bring astringency in the turn of phrase. Some of this is so spare as to barely be there (Lover Man), at other... more >>

Lullaby of Birdland

The New Fuse Box: The Wakem/Nielson Project (LGW)

The New Fuse Box: The Wakem/Nielson Project (LGW)

A little clarifying chronology here might be useful when teasing out the threads of this Auckland jazz group. As I recall their debut album The Politiks of Jazz (just credited to Fuse Box) arrived in about 2000 and the group consisted of keyboard player Lindsay Wakem (who composed eight of the 10 tracks), guitarist Frans Huysmans, drummer Jason Orme and bassist Phil Scorgie.  That was... more >>

You Are Further and Further Away

MILES DAVIS; TUTU 25 YEARS ON: Hope you like my new direction?

MILES DAVIS; TUTU 25 YEARS ON: Hope you like my new direction?

Depending on when he was talking and the mood he was in, Miles Davis would claim to have changed the direction of music three – or four – times. No one would doubt the impact of Birth of the Cool, Kind of Blue and Bitches Brew – which might make the “three”. But the fourth? Although it didn't change the course of music as he might have wanted to... more >>

Miles Davis: Splatch

Mathias Eick: Skala (ECM/Ode)

Mathias Eick: Skala (ECM/Ode)

As mentioned in a review of one his earlier albums, The Door (here), Norwegian trumpeter Eick has an inclusive approach to his art and has played in many different contexts, from big bands to psychedelic rock groups and in small, introverted jazz outfits. This time out he gets in two drummers (very discreet, you'd hardly know it), electric bass and piano (and guests on sax, harp and... more >>

Matthias Eick: June

SONNY ROLLINS INTERVIEWED (2011): The old lion still prowling

SONNY ROLLINS INTERVIEWED (2011): The old lion still prowling

Gary Giddins, America's most authoritative jazz critic, said of tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins that he was “one of the last immortals, the most powerful presence in jazz today. He is its most cunning, surprising, and unpredictable improviser – the one musician whose infrequent concert appearances foster intense anticipation and heated postmortems”. Giddins wrote that... more >>

Various Artists: Chris Barber; Memories from My Trip (Proper)

Various Artists: Chris Barber; Memories from My Trip (Proper)

People like the great British bandleader/singer/trombonist and bassist Chris Barber were all but washed away when the British blues explosion and the Beatles/Stones et al came along in the early Sixties. As one associated with British jazz and blues, Barber -- by then terminally old because he was in his early 30s -- just seemed like a man from another era. And he was: Lonnie Donegan's big... more >>

Chris Barber and Rory Gallagher: Can't be Satisfied

Dave Lisik: The Curse of the Queen's Diamond (Rattle Jazz)

Dave Lisik: The Curse of the Queen's Diamond (Rattle Jazz)

Yet another fine addition to the Rattle Jazz imprint, this beautifully packaged album by Canadian-born, New Zealand-based trumpeter Lisik (and others) explores that profitable margin between chamber jazz and classical music. And in that he has unimpeachable assistance; Amy Rempel is on piano and her improvisations are at the heart here, bass clarinettist Colin Hemmingsen has always played... more >>

Dave Lisik: Mercy

TAL FARLOW (1921- 1998): Fading, like notes in the breeze

TAL FARLOW (1921- 1998): Fading, like notes in the breeze

It is a very curious thing that as pop and rock music -- which never used to argue for longevity -- are constantly excavating their pasts and delivering collections of their most minor or ephemeral talents, that jazz --- which Leonard Feather famously called "the classical music of the 20th century" -- is letting many of finest practitioners fade from memory. Guitarist Tal Farlow... more >>

Tal Farlow Trio: Yesterdays

Trombone Shorty: Backatown (Verve Forecast)

Trombone Shorty: Backatown (Verve Forecast)

This hot young trombonist, trumpeter and singer from New Orleans -- who plays the National Jazz Festival in Tauranga at Easter, and is interviewed here -- brings more than just the local funk and groove to his style. There is a gritty guitar part all over the urgent opener Hurricane Season here (and on the political/socially responsible Right to Complain, and metal-edged Suburbia) and he... more >>

Trombone Shorty: In the 6th

Vallon, Moret, Rohrer: Rruga (ECM/Ode)

Vallon, Moret, Rohrer: Rruga (ECM/Ode)

This is ECM piano trio jazz certainly, but young pianist/composer Colin Vallon brings something different and unusual to these 11 pieces, most of which are his originals or by drummer Samuel Rohrer. (There are two by bassist Patrice Moret). It is hard to put your finger on but you might say his playing has the pace, phrasing and emphasis of a conversation -- and it turns out Moret is a... more >>

Vallon, Moret, Rohrer: Rruga, variation

TROMBONE SHORTY INTERVIEWED (2011): Born to blow

TROMBONE SHORTY INTERVIEWED (2011): Born to blow

Troy Andrews – better known as Trombone Shorty – is one of the rising stars of the New Orleans jazz scene. But he had a head start, he was playing trombone in local brass bands when he was six. He attended the same arts college as Wynton and Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jnr, got out and played with rock bands (Lenny Kravitz, was with U2 and Green Day when they played... more >>

Trombone Shorty: Hurricane Season (from the album Backatown)

Samsom Nacey Haines: Oxide (Rattle Jazz)

Samsom Nacey Haines: Oxide (Rattle Jazz)

Although the names up top -- drummer Ron Samsom, guitarist Dixon Nacey and bassist Kevin Haines -- suggest a spare, piano-less trio, the guests here include guitarist Joel Haines, pianist Kevin Field, singer Chris Melville, Neville Grenfell on fluegelhorn and saxophonist Roger Manins. And these players must have waited all their lives for a local label like Rattle Jazz -- committed to, and... more >>

Samsom Nacey Haines: Locked (guitar solos by Joel Haines then Dixon Nacey)

Julia Hulsmann Trio: Imprint (ECM/Ode)

Julia Hulsmann Trio: Imprint (ECM/Ode)

While few would deny the gentle beauty of these trio recordings (and, not incidentally, the impressive playing of drummer Heinrich Kobberling), this too often suffers the fate of some similarly-conceived ECM albums: much of it just evaporates before your ears and it is only when applying diligent listening that it gives itself up to you. Hulsmann's compositions can be very attractive -- the... more >>

Julia Hulsmann Trio: Who's Next

THE VERVE LABEL: Fifty-plus years, and what's the forecast?

THE VERVE LABEL: Fifty-plus years, and what's the forecast?

Sometimes, if we are lucky we can be at historic events. But we might not realise it until later. If a historic event is the Foo Fighters first recording as a band -- and remember Dave Grohl did the band's debut album himself -- then I can immodestly claim to have been there. It was in a BBC studio in London, Pat Smear lit one after another beneath the No Smoking sign, while Grohl was... more >>

Joe Henderson: Miles Ahead (with John Scofield, Dave Holland and Al Foster, from the 1993 Verve albu

JACK DeJOHNETTE INTERVIEWED (2011): Two Jacks and a Miles

JACK DeJOHNETTE INTERVIEWED (2011): Two Jacks and a Miles

When fame called on Jack DeJohnette during his period in Miles Davis' innovative electric band of the late 60s and early 70s, he was ready for it. Acclaim outside their own world is unusual for jazz musicians, but DeJohnette had tasted it a few years previous in the Charles Lloyd Quartet which enjoyed that rarity, a jazz album which was a hit. Forest Flower, recorded live at the... more >>

Sonny Rollins Trio: Shadow Waltz (Solar/Southbound)

Sonny Rollins Trio: Shadow Waltz (Solar/Southbound)

Although now 80 and still playing at the time of this writing, the problem tenor giant Rollns has faced from the Sixties onwards is that no matter how great he plays, his every accomplishment is almost invariably compared to his exceptional work between 1955 and '58. That was when he recorded Saxophone Colossus, Way Out West, the set which became A Night at the Village Vanguard and Freedom... more >>

Sonny Rollins: Till There Was You

CHARLIE PARKER: A life and musical shards of light

CHARLIE PARKER: A life and musical shards of light

Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis in his characteristically clipped manner once observed that “the history of jazz can be told in four words: Louis Armstrong – Charlie Parker.” In offering those two names Davis highlighted two vastly different lives and two facets of genius. Armstrong was undoubtedly one of the great artists of the 20th century and, although his reputation as... more >>