Jazz in Elsewhere

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Marc Johnson, Elaine Elias: Swept Away (ECM/Ode)

23 Sep 2012  |  1 min read

Longtime followers of the ECM label will register that this one ticks any number of the right boxes: the line-up of pianist Elaine Elias, bassist Marc Johnson, drummer Joey Baron (a working trio in their own right) and tenor player Joe Lovano is one of those modest "supergroup" aggregations of talent which the label does so effortlesly. This is unashamedly lyrical, melodic music... > Read more

B is for Butterfly

Enrico Rava: On the Dance Floor (ECM/Ode)

24 Aug 2012  |  1 min read

Of all the tributes to Michael Jackson, this -- by the great jazz trumpeter Rava -- would seem the most unexpected. If Miles Davis were still alive we might not have been surprised by such an exploration of Jackson's tunes, but European Rava admits he only ever had passing acquaintance with Jackson's music. It wasn't until a few days after the singer-writer's death that he came home from a... > Read more

Little Susie

Kim Paterson: The Duende (Sarang Bang Records)

1 Aug 2012  |  1 min read  |  2

Auckland trumpeter Kim Paterson has been around for perhaps as long as most jazz listeners can recall but has been poorly represented on albums under his own name. In fact I'm scratching to think of even one . . . although he was on albums by such important groups as Dr Tree, Space Case and Jazzmobile of which he was a key member, and more recently has appeared alongside Gianmarco Liguori and... > Read more


Steve Kuhn Trio: Wisteria (ECM/Ode)

16 Jul 2012  |  1 min read

Elegance in piano playing is usually the description reserved for the exclusive use of reviewers about Bill Evans, but here Steve Kuhn makes a strong claim on thoughtful pieces such as the title track, Romance and the lovely Pastorale where (I am guessing, my CD came with no cover) bassist Steve Swallow plays a soft and enticing guitar-like melody. In fact, if it weren't for Joey Baron's... > Read more


John Surman: Saltash Bells (ECM/Ode)

29 Jun 2012  |  <1 min read  |  1

Sort of radio-without-pictures here from multi-instrumentalist John Surman who was scheduled to work with a photographer/filmmaker to document the area in Devon where he grew up. When that project didn't pan out Surman just continued to explore the idea though his music in pieces which reference specific places (Dartmoor, Plymouth Sound etc). With synthesiser frequently providing the... > Read more

Dark Reflections

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

27 Jun 2012  |  <1 min read

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


Fly: Year of the Snake (ECM/Ode)

24 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

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


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

17 Jun 2012  |  5 min read

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

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

28 May 2012  |  1 min read

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

Billy Hart: All Our Reasons (ECM/Ode)

7 May 2012  |  1 min read

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


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

4 Apr 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

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


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

23 Mar 2012  |  10 min read

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

KURT ELLING INTERVIEWED (2004): Moved by the spirit

1 Mar 2012  |  5 min read

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

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

20 Feb 2012  |  5 min read  |  4

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)

Various artists: Bossa Jazz (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

16 Feb 2012  |  1 min read

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


Jack DeJohnette: Sound Travels (Shock)

14 Feb 2012  |  1 min read

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


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

25 Jan 2012  |  6 min read

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

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

18 Jan 2012  |  1 min read

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

Olivier Holland: Duets (Ode)

15 Dec 2011  |  1 min read

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

Tim Hopkins: Seven (Rattle Jazz)

1 Dec 2011  |  2 min read

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