Jazz in Elsewhere

Interviews, overviews and reviews of interesting historic and contemporary jazz musicians and music.

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Wojtek Mazolewski Quartet: Polka, Deluxe Edition (Whirlwind/Southbound)

16 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

Some clarification in anticipation of an immediate turn-off. This is not an album of polka music. Perhaps the heavily tattooed hands of young Polish bassist and bandleader Mazolewski might have alerted you to that anyway. Or the mohawk sported by pianist Joanna Duda on the inner sleeve. Also this is a slightly expanded reissue of an edgy but approachable jazz album which was first... > Read more

Krakow

Errol Garner: Nightconcert (Mack Avenue/Southbound)

9 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

Back in the Fifties some jazz albums imprinted themselves on the wider public consciousness: Big sellers like the Dave Brubeck Quartet's Time Out (1956), Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool ('57) and Kind of Blue ('59), and more than a few by Duke Ellington and Sarah Vaughan among them. And pianist Errol Garner's Concert by the Sea ('55) which was enormously popular and remains one of his... > Read more

No More Shadows

Lee Konitz and Dan Tepfer: Decade (usual digital outlets)

2 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

At 90, the great saxophonist Lee Konitz – among very few of his generation still standing – has played in almost as many styles of jazz (free to formal) as he has been on record labels (from Enja to Blue Note and ECM). And of course has played alongside many of his illustrious peers like Miles Davis, Lennie Tristano, Chick Corea, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Enrico Rava, Alan... > Read more

Through the Tunnel

Dog, No Dogs Allowed (Rattle)

25 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

The previous self-titled album by this (mostly) Auckland jazz quartet – a veritable supergroup of Rattle artists as we shall see – won the jazz album of the year award in 2014 . . . as we predicted. That said, it it was no great work of mind to anticipate that: With the line-up of Roger Manins (tenor sax), Ron Samsom (drums), Olivier Holland (bass) and keyboard player Kevin... > Read more

Jazz Attack

Grant Green: Funk in France; From Paris to Antibes 1969-1970 (Resonance)

21 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

The great jazz guitarist Grant Green – who had almost 30 albums on the famed Blue Note label, some released after his death in '79 – didn't live long enough to see the wave of acclaim when key figures in the acid jazz movement started bringing his name and music to a new audience in the Eighties, Nineties and beyond. Green's fluid, often single-string and melodic playing had... > Read more

Oleo

JOHN COLTRANE'S LOST ALBUM (2018): Four guys walk into a studio in New Jersey . . .

5 Jul 2018  |  3 min read

In the half century since his death (in 1967), the music of John Coltrane has inspired, charmed and challenged musicians, jazz aficionados and even worked its way into the language of hip-hop and more edgy contemporary r'n'b. In his growth, Coltrane went through many changes and when he died at just 40 there seemed so much more to come. Two years before he had wound up his “classic... > Read more

Untitled Original Demo 11386 (take one)

Kamasi Washington: Heaven and Earth (Young Turks)

25 Jun 2018  |  3 min read  |  1

When composer/saxophonist Kamasi Washington announced himself with the magisterial triple CD The Epic in 2015, many were impressed by the ambition and scope (it was indeed epic in both) as much as by how Washington integrated a considerable number of black American music – jazz which reached from bop to astral aspiration but also soul, funk and more -- into what seemed like a unified... > Read more

Sumo: Shiko (Rattle)

22 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

While it has been common enough for the graduates in, and tutors of, jazz from the universities in Wellington and Auckland to be acknowledged on albums here at Elsewhere, this one – which features a large revolving door ensemble – is of musicians drawn mostly from the Ara Institute in Christchurch, many of whom have made (or are making) names for themselves overseas. And in a... > Read more

Smoking Gun

ONE WE MISSED: Umar Zakaria: Fearless Music (usual digital platforms)

18 Jun 2018  |  3 min read  |  1

Elsewhere has occasionally written about the self-marginalisation of New Zealand jazz, notably with regard to the annual New Zealand Music Awards. Many years ago the jazz czars decided to withdraw from the annual (televised) awards ceremony and do their Album of the Year Award within the more narrow confines of the jazz world, at the Tauranga Jazz Festival and latterly at the Wellington... > Read more

Suite Melayu; Masri

Espen Eriksen Trio with Andy Sheppard: Perfectly Unhappy (Rune Grammofon/Southbound)

21 May 2018  |  1 min read

For those who remember when Andy Sheppard appeared – alongside Courtney Pine, Ronny Jordan, Loose Tubes, Django Bates and others – as one of the new wave of British jazz musicians in the Eighties it will doubtless come as a surprise that the young man is now 61 with a dozen or so albums under his own name and many, many more with the likes of the late Carla Bley, the late John... > Read more

Indian Summer

Aquaserge: Deja-Vous? (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

7 May 2018  |  1 min read

Here's one to have you racing to a web search because this French outfit can hardly be called a household name, although it seems they've been around for a decade, played in 10 countries, have won praise from Uncut and The Wire, and their last album Laisse ca etre was in a number of best of 2017 lists. They are also the subject of new doco, of the kind that might appear in a film festival.... > Read more

C'est pas tout mais

AN EVENING IN 1965 WITH ORNETTE COLEMAN (2018): Another British 'Judas' shouter in the audience

23 Apr 2018  |  4 min read

Among the many pleasures of Record Store Day – not the least seeing the smile and relief on the faces of store owners as the credit cards get swiped – is the rare and unusual albums which find release. The coloured vinyl versions of familiar albums is a crock designed to gouge wallets and little more – as I said to one owner at this RSD, “we mustn't judge artists by... > Read more

GRG67: The Thing (Rattle)

23 Mar 2018  |  1 min read  |  1

The jazz tutors in the School of Music at the University of Auckland are among the best musicians in the country, and the most respected and well connected. Take saxophonist Roger Manins for example. A simple search at Elsewhere sees him on albums with Mike Nock, Kevin Field, Ron Samsom, his own trio (with Mostyn Cole and Reuben Bradley), Phil Broadhurst, in bop or jazz orchestra... > Read more

Dark Bright

Elephant9: Greatest Show on Earth (Rune Grammofon/Southbound)

9 Mar 2018  |  1 min read

It has been some while since we introduced the Rune Grammofon jazz-and-elsewhere label out of Norway. And with this return bout we warn immediately that Elephant9 – a trio of psycho-keyboards, furious bass and jackhammer drums – are probably not for the faint of heart. This is jazz as a power trio, and Elephant9 is apparently considered Norway's best live band. On the... > Read more

Actionpack1

Ella Fitzgerald: Ella at Zardi's (Verve/Universal)

21 Jan 2018  |  1 min read

Last year was Ella's. It was the centenary of her birth in Virginia and 21 years after her death. Between those two points the great Ella became one of the most sophisticated, classy and convincing jazz singers of all time, one who could get as deep inside a lyric as Frank Sinatra, could improvise in a scat style like the best instrumentalists and was a role model, a civil rights... > Read more

Cry Me a River

Chisholm/Meehan/Dyne: Unwind (Rattle)

12 Jan 2018  |  1 min read

Wellington pianist/author/teacher and composer Norman Meehan has appeared a few times at Elsewhere but bassist Paul Dyne, once a mainstay of New Zealand jazz in Sustenance during the Eighties and intermittent recording projects since, not quite as often. And expat composer/saxophonist Hayden Chisholm just the once. But it is Chisholm's nuanced, melodic and sometimes classically... > Read more

Inebriate Waltz

Cecile McLorin Salvant: Dreams and Daggers (Mack Avenue/Southbound)

6 Nov 2017  |  1 min read

Although this Grammy-winning jazz singer is probably on very few people's scanner right now, no doubt that will change in the run-up to her appearances at the New Zealand Arts Festival in Wellington and the Auckland Festival next March. With a small group – and studio strings in a few places – she here spreads her considerable vocal and lyric writing talents across two... > Read more

Runnin' Wild

David Friesen Trio: Another Time Another Place (Rattle)

10 Oct 2017  |  1 min read  |  1

The release of this album recorded live in Auckland in late 2015 could not be more timely because American bassist Friesen is about to tour again (dates below) with guitarist Dixon Nacey and drummer Reuben Bradley who are on hand here. Friesen is a Major Player in the US jazz scene, has a list of album credits under his own name as long as your outstretched arms, and has played on... > Read more

Sailing

Kamasi Washington: Harmony of Difference (Young Turks)

9 Oct 2017  |  2 min read  |  1

As befits a jazz player, composer and arranger whose debut was a triple CD set entitled The Epic – and covered ground from hard bop through soul and funk to Claire de Lune – Kamasi Washington is a Big Picture guy, very much of the old school where jazz had albums entitled The Creator Has A Master Plan (Pharoah Sanders), Ascension (John Coltrane) and The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse... > Read more

Humility

JANE IRA BLOOM CONSIDERED (2017): An artist going beyond place and time

9 Oct 2017  |  2 min read

Even in the broad church that is jazz, soprano saxophonist/composer Jane Ira Bloom from Boston has stood out. The early Eighties, for example, found her beginning her explorations of electronics as applied to her soprano, and later in that decade she was the musician commissioned by NASA Arts Programme for which she wrote and performed three pieces across which she deployed sax,... > Read more

One Note From One Bird