Jazz in Elsewhere

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

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Dave Wilson: Ephemeral (Thelonious Records/bandcamp)

11 Dec 2023  |  <1 min read

With a string quartet and quintet, Wellington saxophonist Wilson brings out a provocative, enjoyably challenging and thoroughly engrossing collection of charted and improvised pieces. There is multi-layered energy to burn on the opener Speak to Me of Yesterday and Tomorrow (Elusive as the Dead) – all lower case – which weaves its way towards the electric version of Ornette... > Read more


THE VERVE LABEL AT 50 (1994): Great music, bad maths

17 Nov 2023  |  1 min read

When there is time, Elsewhere will be sourcing a rich vein of its archival material which was published in various places during the Eighties and Nineties which are not available on-line. These will most often be reproduced as they appeared in print. Some may be a little fuzzy in the reproduction but we think the story or interview are worth it for researchers or fans. Best read on a... > Read more

Defne Şahin: Hope (digital outlets)

13 Nov 2023  |  1 min read

To some small extent local listeners might have been down this narrow path previously with Matthew Bannister (as One Man Bannister) setting of some Emily Dickinson poems to music on his album The Saddest Noise. Bannister's project was a folk/pop album taking Dickinson's words into his songs, this album by Berlin-raised jazz singer Şahin (of Turkish parents) is a much more sophisticated... > Read more

Lake/Landaeus/Osgood: Spirit (digital outlets)

13 Oct 2023  |  1 min read

The great American saxophonist Oliver Lake might be in his early 80s and have won a Guggenheim Fellowship 30 years ago, but somehow he hasn't been accorded that senior statesman role, the likes of Pharoah Sanders have achieved. Perhaps that's because Lake has been so much harder to get to grips with. He has recorded dozens of albums under his own name, everything from free jazz to... > Read more


Dark Hall: Dark Hall (digital outlets)

30 Aug 2023  |  1 min read

We've had to do our homework on this but, on the basis of a sample track sent our way, we were very happy to do so. This is what we've learned. This adventurous funky jazz quartet were formed in '92 by the metal bassist Steve Di Giorgio who has worked with Testament, Megadeth and many others (but references Jaco Pastorius as an influence), saxophone/flute player Flamp Sorvari and... > Read more

Changing Weather

Miles Davis: Turnaround; Rare Miles from The Complete On The Corner Sessions (Sony/digital outlets)

26 Aug 2023  |  1 min read

When Elsewhere wrote at length about The Complete On The Corner Sessions six-CD box set last year we noted that in '72 when Miles Davis started pulling musicians together for what would become the street-funk On The Corner, no one had much idea what the trumpeter might have in mind. Among the crew who came and went were  guitarist John McLaughlin, Colin Walcott and Khalil Balakrishna... > Read more

Benjamin Gisli Trio: Line of Thought (Fjordgata Records/digital outlets)

23 Aug 2023  |  1 min read

By chance I had heard of this young pianist from Iceland whose name was mentioned in a conversation last year in Stockholm when learning about Sweden's late pianist Esbjörn Svensson (whom I hadn't heard of). I remembered because – preconceptions abound here – I hadn't thought someone from Iceland would be called “Benjamin”. So when this debut album... > Read more

Line of Thought

Paul Dunmall New Quartet: World Without (577 Records/digital outlets)

19 Aug 2023  |  <1 min read

The astonishingly prolific British jazz and free improv saxophonist Paul Dunmall has released something like 100 albums under his own name with the likes of Marcus Stockhausen, Keith Tippett, Andrew Cyrille and others, and has been a sideman to Johnny Guitar Watson, Roswell Rudd, Richard Thompson and many more. He now turns up on the uncompromising 577 Records out of New York with guitarist... > Read more

World Without (edit)

COLTRANE AND DOLPHY, DISCOVERED (2023): Pushing at the Gate

7 Aug 2023  |  2 min read  |  1

When Thelonious Monk said “freedom and jazz go hand in hand” he was making a political observation, but also telling us something about the nature of jazz creativity. Jazz allows its creators a freedom unavailable in most other musical idioms. But, as with Abstract Expressionism, the far reaches of jazz creativity can leave the audience behind. Those who want... > Read more


JAZZ AS IT'S MEANT TO BE: (2023): Come and see the real thing . . .

28 Jun 2023  |  3 min read

Earlier this year under the heading The Jazz Conundrum, Elsewhere considered just how difficult jazz was to promote. Proper jazz, the improvised stuff. We noted many so-called jazz festivals – like the Waiheke Jazz Festival this year – are padded out with artists firmly in the pop and rock category and not even close to something we know as jazz, which we loosely defined as... > Read more

Tania Giannouli: Solo (Rattle/digital outlets)

12 Jun 2023  |  1 min read

Greek pianist/composer Tania Giannouli has had a long association with Auckland's Rattle label, this being her fifth release through them. She has recorded with taonga puoro artist Rob Thorne and Rattle's Steve Garden on Rewa in 2018, with her own ensemble, and her trio album In Fading Light (piano, trumpet and oud, no rhythm section) was one of our Best of 2020 albums. As far back a... > Read more

The Circling Sun: Spirits (Soundways/digital outlets)

4 Jun 2023  |  1 min read

The drummer/producer Julien Dyne and saxophonist Cameron Allen have appeared a number of times at Elsewhere in different contexts, from Avantdale Bowling Club and free jazz to emotionally yearning material. Here they are part of the illustrious Auckland collective The Circling Sun which takes spiritual flight through Latin influences, the Coltranes John and Alice, a touch of Sun Ra, the... > Read more

Spirits, Part 2

Richard X Bennett, Matt Parker: Parker Plays X (BYNK/digital outlets)

29 May 2023  |  1 min read

When Brooklyn-based composer and keyboard player Richard X Bennett contacted Elsewhere almost a decade ago we were immediately curious, his New York City Swara album was inspired by his immersion in the classical music traditions in India when he studied in Mumbai. That he'd also played in a Greek band, a Japanese club and in a New Orleans band made him of great interest. We had him... > Read more

Joy Comes in the Morning

Ralph Towner: At First Light (ECM/digital outlets)

7 Apr 2023  |  1 min read

Acoustic guitar master Ralph Towner has been on the prestigious ECM for more than five decades, his debut for the label back in 1972 with Trios/Solos. On that album for some pieces he had bassist Glenn Moore, tabla player Colin Walcott and oboe player Paul McCandless of the band Oregon which he'd founded a couple of years previous. Oregon – 30 albums listed on Towner's website... > Read more

Danny Boy

Neill Duncan with The Devil's Gate Outfit: Phantom Tones (KiwiJahzz/bandcamp)

25 Mar 2023  |  1 min read

Saxophonist Neill Duncan (who died in December 2021) was a mainstay of Wellington's Braille collective in the Eighties, that revolving door of musicians who appeared in various line-ups as different bands, although all sharing similar members and an experimental jazz ethos. Which means Duncan's name would be familiar from the Primitive Art Group, Four Volts, Six Volts, Rabbitlock... > Read more

Phantom Tones

Dixon Nacey/Kevin Haines: Conversations (digital outlets)

15 Mar 2023  |  1 min read

Guitarist Dixon Nacey and bassist Kevin Haines should be familiar to Elsewhere readers, particularly from Rattle albums with drummer Ron Samsom which we have reviewed. But here – in part prompted by some teaching research Nacey was doing for MAINZ where he now teaches after a period at the University of Auckland – they step out as a duo on an album with an appropriate title.... > Read more

THE JAZZ CONUNDRUM (2023): At the interface of styles

12 Mar 2023  |  3 min read

Programmers and promoters of jazz know the problem: it's “jazz”. The word defies convenient definition: for some it's swinging entertainment, for others an intellectual art demanding studious consideration. Jazz is also a minority music, so festival organisers frequently schedule pop and rock bands on their programme, particularly those appealing to an older demographic.... > Read more

THE FOX REPORT (2023): Crazy like a Rodger

11 Mar 2023  |  1 min read  |  1

Few New Zealand musicians have pursued their career with more tenacity than trombonist, composer and teacher Rodger Fox who celebrates half a century as a professional musician. Fox has lead his Rodger Fox Big Band, a training ground for talent, for more than four decades. A few years ago a concert audience in Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre was asked how many had passed through the band's... > Read more

Bloom/Helias/Previte: 2.3.23 (digital outlets)

5 Mar 2023  |  1 min read

Saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom and bassist Mark Helias have been on something of a roll lately with their 2021 album Some Kind of Tomorrow (one of that year's best at Elsewhere). Elsewhere singled out her duet of the same year Tues Days with drummer Allison Miller and also the earlier Wild Lines with Helias, pianist Dawn Clement and drummer Bobby Previte where they improvised on poems... > Read more


Mark Lockett: Swings and Roundabouts (Thick Records/digital outlets)

30 Jan 2023  |  1 min read

As someone who has listened to the great Ornette Coleman for decades but heard very little of his influence in jazz in the Eighties and Nineties, it's pleasing that in the 21st century there seems to have seen a real interest. Today his shapeshifting and bouncing melodic lines from the late Fifties/early Sixties seem to be as much an influence – possibly even more so – than... > Read more