Jazz in Elsewhere

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Billy Hart Quartet: One is the Other (ECM/Ode)

19 May 2014  |  <1 min read

Although drummer Bily Hart seems to have been around since jazz was a young man -- he's now 73 and played in soul bands behind Otis Redding and others before seriously embarking on the jazz route -- this is only his second album for ECM after the rather patchy All Our Reasons in 2011. But despite being on hand in the past for some muscular Miles Davis funk (On the Corner), as well as... > Read more

Some Enchanted Evening

Tord Gustavsen Quartet: Extended Circle (ECM/Ode)

5 May 2014  |  1 min read

Norwegian pianist Gustavsen has made sometime entries at Elsewhere previously, his most notable being the exceptional Being There trio album (with bassist Harald Johnsen, drummer Jarle Vespestad) which was one of our Best of Elsewhere 2007 albums. But where that album was about quietude, this one with his quartet (now with bassist Mats Eilertsen plus saxophonist Tore Brunborg)... > Read more

The Prodigal Song

Vijay Iyer: Mutations (ECM/Ode)

29 Apr 2014  |  1 min read

Pianist Vijay Iyer is not one to undersell himself and is certainly a genuinely intellectual guy but, as Elsewhere noted previously, you shouldn't let that come between you and his music. The border between jazz and classical music has often been fairly porous, especially at the ECM label, and that's the region Iyer occupies with this collection of pieces, 10 of which are written for... > Read more

Mutations VII: Kernel

PETER BROTZMANN INTERVIEWED (2014): Freedom isn't frightening

22 Apr 2014  |  3 min read  |  1

German saxophonist Peter Brotzmann – on a short solo tour early next month – recalls the only other time he was here. In the Eighties he and bassist Peter Kowald offered their muscular, free-form jazz improvisation at a time when “there was no audience for this music in New Zealand”. “I remember playing Christchurch and after the concert – and it was... > Read more

Noise Like Wings

JOHN COLTRANE; BLUE TRAIN RECONSIDERED (2014): High-end hard bop, and popular

21 Apr 2014  |  3 min read

Although most of saxophonist John Coltrane's career was on Prestige and especially Impulse!, in September 1957 -- making good on a handshake promise the previous year -- he was loaned by Prestige to the Blue Note label. This was a practice which writer William Ruhlmann noted in his '95 Goldmine article on Coltrane's career, "a no more unusual matter in the small jazz world than the... > Read more

Lazy Bird

THE BLUE NOTE LABEL AT 75 (2014): Vision, visuals and visionaries in jazz

18 Apr 2014  |  3 min read  |  1

In early January 1939 Alfred Lion – a 30-year old emigre from Berlin who had moved permanently to New York just two years previous – took the boogie-woogie pianists Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons into a Manhattan recording studio he'd hired for the day. He could not have guessed that he was about to shape the future of jazz. Lion had little idea of how to... > Read more

Boy, What a Night (1963)

The Jac: Nerve (Rattle Jazz)

17 Apr 2014  |  1 min read  |  1

Although the idea of band growing out of a rehearsal outfit for staff and students at a music college doesn't exactly make the heart leap with anticipation, The Jac here are something quite different from your standard big band finding themselves on The Fake Book. A mid-sized ensemble -- an octet which means it can cut down to spacious arrangements or spark up the whole for a bit of a blast... > Read more


Takuya Kuroda: Rising Son (Blue Note/Universal)

14 Apr 2014  |  1 min read

This hot'n'cool young trumpeter -- originally from Kobe, Japan but latterly of Berklee then the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan -- came to attention when he appeared on albums by vocalist Jose James on the urban Brownswood label. James, also now signed to Blue Note, produces this label debut for Kuroda and as on previous outings the trumpeter and producer walk the... > Read more

Sometime Somewhere Somehow

GREGORY PORTER INTERVIEWED (2014): Grammy jazz gentle giant

7 Apr 2014  |  7 min read

Gregory Porter is a big man with a soft voice. The former linebacker from San Diego slipped sideways into music with the assistance of a mentor Kamau Kenyatta, got a part on Broadway in the cast of It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues and recorded two albums for small labels which were both nominated for jazz Grammys. Then in January this year he finally got the award when his debut album... > Read more

Liquid Spirit

Various Artists: The Best of Blue Note (Blue Note/Universal)

31 Mar 2014  |  1 min read

As mentioned previously, the Blue Note jazz label is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary with large reissue programme of remastered classic albums on vinyl (100 over the coming 15 months or so) and also looking to raise the profile of its artists both old and new. This double disc brings old and new together across 22 tracks (see full listing below) in a chronological collection whch... > Read more

Afro Blue

10 CLASSIC BLUE NOTE COVERS (2014): Making the music look good

24 Mar 2014  |  5 min read

As you read this, the Blue Note record label is celebrating it's 75th anniversary. The label synonymous with classic jazz -- which went some way to defining the way people understood jazz in the Fifties and Sixties -- has been going since 1939 when its founder Alfred Lion recorded pianists Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis in a New York studio. At the end of that year Lion was joined by his... > Read more

Right Now

Jonas Kullhammar Quartet: Lat Det Vara (moserobie.com)

10 Mar 2014  |  1 min read

I cannot tell a lie, I bought this for the cover when I spotted it in a record store in the old town of Stockholm . . . but am delighted I did. At the time I didn't even know it was a jazz album, let alone one by a guy who has won a stack of awards in Sweden and been nominated for Swedish Grammys.  I had not previously heard of tenor player Jonas Kullhammar or his quartet however... > Read more

Julaftonsfan (extract only)

Phil Davison: Straight, Bent and Uncut (iTunes)

31 Jan 2014  |  1 min read

When Adolphe Sax invented the instruments in the mid 19th century which bear his name, he could hardly have predicted just what musical diversity this family of horns would encompass. As an orchestral instrument it moved into dance bands, swing, allowed for the beautifully melodic tones of Lester Young, the furious experimentalism of Charlie Parker and the spiritual searching of John... > Read more

Brazil Nuts

MURRAY McNABB INTERVIEWED (1947-2013): The new man with the courage to make himself new

17 Nov 2013  |  9 min read

The plan would have been timely: a concert acknowledging the half century he’d known and played in bands with drummer Frank Gibson. But then everything changed. “They gave me a year, that was a year ago,” said 66-year-old keyboard player and composer McNabb about the cancer diagnosis he received. “So I’m going downhill gradually, losing weight. It’s... > Read more

Nick Granville Group: Refractions (Rattle Jazz)

14 Nov 2013  |  1 min read

Some months ago New Zealand guitarist Nick Granville answered our Famous Elsewhere Jazz Questionnaire on the strength of what was then his forthcoming album Refractions. Well, that album has now arrived so we direct you back to his answers here because it also gives you a potted biography of his creativity and past work, which means we don't have to do it again now. At that time... > Read more


The Swallow Quintet: Into the Woodwork (ECM/Ode)

25 Sep 2013  |  <1 min read

On paper, all the ingredients are in place here where the seniors - - the wonderful bassist Steve Swallow and extraordinary composer Carla Bley -- are united with the new generation: guitarist Steve Gardenas, tenor player Chris Cheek and drummer Jorge Rossy. But here Bley -- who plays organ rather than piano -- is almost inconsequential. So -- while this is the respectful career... > Read more

Suitable For Framing

JOEY DeFRANCESCO INTERVIEWED (2013): Always going to be this way

16 Aug 2013  |  4 min read

At his home in Phoenix, you might guess Joey DeFrancesco has a very large and crowded trophy room. For six years from 2003 – when he was just 32 – he topped the Downbeat poll as the best jazz organist, and other accolades (like Grammy nominations) just keep coming. Today, and he is still only 41, he seems like a senior statesman in jazz. But that's what happens when you... > Read more


MIKE STERN INTERVIEWED (2013): Guitar to the stars . . . and Miles beyond

5 Aug 2013  |  9 min read

Guitarist Mike Stern spent time in Miles Davis bands in the early Eighties at a time when Davis – having been absent from the scene – was making yet another comeback. You'd think that would be a wonderfully big tick to have on your CV – and as Stern says below, he loved the experience – but at the time most people, especially critics, were damning. After the... > Read more

Jean Pierre (extract only)

Terje Rypdal: Melodic Warrior (ECM/Ode)

24 Jul 2013  |  1 min read

We put this album here under "Jazz in Elsewhere" simply for the convenience of those who know Norwegian guitarist Rypdal's long career in that idiom. But a quick glance at the other performers -- the Hilliard Ensemble and a couple of orchestras -- tells you there is something a whole lot more ambitious going on. Rypdal -- who brings his glorious sustain and delay style to... > Read more

Song of Thunders

Ornette Coleman: Friends and Neighbors (Flying Dutchman/Border)

5 Jul 2013  |  2 min read  |  1

The day I interviewed Ornette Coleman -- the composer/jazz musician I place above all others for captivating and unpredictable music-- the stars seemed in a peculiar and happy alignment. I rarely get my photo taken with any musician I meet -- in fact I have one of me with an Elvis impersonator, I forget which, and that's it -- but on this day we were to meet in a photographer's studio near the... > Read more

Friends and Neighbors (vocal version)