Jazz in Elsewhere

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John Abercrombie Quartet: Within a Song (ECM/Ode)

John Abercrombie Quartet: Within a Song (ECM/Ode)

Although we look back on the Sixties as being a decade of remarkable invention and vibrancy in jazz -- through Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman and into the early energy of free jazz -- here guitarist Abercrombie and his seasoned quartet pay a more considered and quiet tribute on material and ideas from that era. With saxophonist Joe Lovano,... > Read more

Interplay

27 Jun 2012

Fly: Year of the Snake (ECM/Ode)

Fly: Year of the Snake (ECM/Ode)

This sinuous, mysterious, rhythmic and back-to-the-bone album comes from a young trio which has impeccable pedigree. Saxophonist Mark Turner has played with numerous ECM artists (Dave Holland, Paul Motian) as well as Brad Mehldau, Billy Hart and James Moody; bassist Larry Grenadier came through Gary Burton's band to clock up work with Enrico Rava (he and Turner were on the... > Read more

Diorite

24 Jun 2012

AUCKLAND'S FIRST JAZZ CONCERT, 1950: Shedding some bloody light

AUCKLAND'S FIRST JAZZ CONCERT, 1950: Shedding some bloody light

The words have written themselves into the history of great New Zealand phrases in the same way as Peter Jones' comment after the 1956 Springbok test, or prime minister Jim Bolger's dismissive words about pollsters after the general election in 1993. For those those who were there on the night though, Peter Young's first words through the microphone in the Auckland Town Hall Concert... > Read more

I Can't Get Started

17 Jun 2012

Sheppard/Benita/Rochford: Trio Libero (ECM/Ode)

Sheppard/Benita/Rochford: Trio Libero (ECM/Ode)

This elegant and sinuously lyrical album features two generations of British jazz musicians; saxophonist Andy Sheppard who came to prominence in the post-Marsalis years in the Eighties alongside Courtney Pine in the vanguard of UK scene, and drummer/composer Seb Rochford (interviewed here) whose geometric style comes full of odd angles and accents which launched him into the spotlight more... > Read more

When We Live On the Stars

28 May 2012

Billy Hart: All Our Reasons (ECM/Ode)

Billy Hart: All Our Reasons (ECM/Ode)

Previously Elsewhere has sympathised with those for whom jazz can be a bewildering array of names, and specifically when it comes to groups on the ECM label who seem little more than temporary coagulations of talent. So this album which seems to appear under the name of drummer Billy Hart is just going to add to the confusion. Initially the group was named for the pianist (Ethan Iverson... > Read more

Nigeria

7 May 2012

Nathan Haines: The Poet's Embrace (Haven/Warners)

Nathan Haines: The Poet's Embrace (Haven/Warners)

At the launch of this classy album recently, the graphic designer Andrew B White -- who had done the cover for both this and Kevin Field's Field of Vision -- made an interesting aside. He noted that Haines' new album -- all acoustic -- sounded more like Field's previous one Irony, and that Field of Vision -- with electronic keyboards and vocalists -- sounded like Haines' previous albums.... > Read more

Offering

4 Apr 2012    1

PATTI AUSTIN INTERVIEWED (2012): Along came Jones . . . and Jacko

PATTI AUSTIN INTERVIEWED (2012): Along came Jones . . . and Jacko

Patti Austin laughs frequently, sounds a world removed from her diva-like peers, makes references to Snoop Dogg and Rod Stewart, and admits her career – now more than five decades long and which has taken her from the dance charts with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to Carnegie Hall – has been rewarding for her. Less so for the music industry which struggles to... > Read more

Cry Me a River

23 Mar 2012

KURT ELLING INTERVIEWED (2004): Moved by the spirit

KURT ELLING INTERVIEWED (2004): Moved by the spirit

There's a strange notion of what passes for singing these days. Blame Whitney Houston if you will, but watch any Idol show and singing seems to have been replaced by a kind of vocal calisthenics where notes are bent and twisted, tossed around with little care where they land, and stretched so that even the most simple phrase can take on an unnatural lifespan. This is singing as... > Read more

1 Mar 2012

KEVIN FIELD PROFILED (2012): The vision thing . . .

KEVIN FIELD PROFILED (2012): The vision thing . . .

Auckland jazz keyboard player Kevin Field has had a couple of major turning points in his career. One came when, at age 18, he realised he didn't want to pursue his classical piano studies to their logical conclusion, the other was more dramatic. “Headlights coming towards me, that whole thing.” In 2008, Field's car was hit by a drunk driver, his lung collapsed and he... > Read more

Ditto (featuring Nathan Haines)

20 Feb 2012    4

Various artists: Bossa Jazz (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

Various artists: Bossa Jazz (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

The highly regarded reissue label Soul Jazz -- see here for former treats -- again delves into Brazilian sounds of the late Sixties/early Seventies for a double disc which includes famous names like Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, Dom Um Romao, Sergio Mendes, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Baden Powell among others. And of course they were all young back then. Subtitled “The Birth of... > Read more

Anoiteceu

16 Feb 2012

Jack DeJohnette: Sound Travels (Shock)

Jack DeJohnette: Sound Travels (Shock)

The great jazz drummer -- who turns 70 this year -- shows no signs of either slowing down or repeating himself, and on the evidence of his performance of Miles Davis' tribute to Jack Johnson last year, his energy levels and creativity are also undiminished. This gentle album finds him exploring Latin styles (with singer/bassist Esmeralda Spalding), working with songwriter and keyboard... > Read more

Oneness

14 Feb 2012

COLIN HEMMINGSEN PROFILED (2012): With his heart in both camps

COLIN HEMMINGSEN PROFILED (2012): With his heart in both camps

In many countries, what Colin Hemmingsen has done all his life would not be considerd so unusual. But in New Zealand he has been a rarity, a musician who has had successful careers in both classical music and jazz. Hemmingsen was for many years the principal bassoonist in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra but also worked extensively playing jazz saxophone (tenor and soprano, he also plays... > Read more

Playing Defense

25 Jan 2012

Campbell, Rae, Dyne: Storm in a Teacup (Rattle Jazz)

Campbell, Rae, Dyne: Storm in a Teacup (Rattle Jazz)

For an album which swing as much as it edges towards fluid bop, this outing by guitarist Al Campbell, drummer John Rae and bassist Paul Dyne, teases you into it with the opener, Rae's rhythmical stop-start Just Me Just Me, during which you are never quite sure where it is headed. Campbell's guitar hits a repeated figure, then bends notes while Dyne (presumably) scratches his strings before... > Read more

No Show Blues

18 Jan 2012

Olivier Holland: Duets (Ode)

Olivier Holland: Duets (Ode)

Perhaps because it is a challengingly naked form, there has not been a great tradition in New Zealand jazz for duet recordings. In fact the only one that immediately springs to mind is Open Door by Frank Gibson and Mike Nock, and that was released in 1987. Open Door had some small advantage in the genre in that Gibson is a drummer so the pulse, such as it might be, could be held down.... > Read more

Song for Bommel

15 Dec 2011

Tim Hopkins: Seven (Rattle Jazz)

Tim Hopkins: Seven (Rattle Jazz)

As with the Rattle album Ancient Astronaut Theory by Dave Lisik (interviewed here) and Richard Nunns, I was invited to write the liner notes for this release on Rattle's jazz imprint. I was such a fine album, how could I refuse? So here is an expanded version of what appeared in the handsome CD sleeve . . .  “Jazz and freedom go hand in hand” 
– Thelonious Monk... > Read more

All Black and Blues

1 Dec 2011

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... > Read more

The Secret History of Islands

18 Nov 2011

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... > Read more

Phonology

8 Nov 2011

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... > Read more

31 Oct 2011

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... > Read more

Lullaby of Birdland

9 Aug 2011

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... > Read more

You Are Further and Further Away

8 Jul 2011