Jazz in Elsewhere

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JAZZ IN PRINT: A selection of useful biographies and references in jazz

2 Aug 2009  |  4 min read  |  1

Stastics are easy to refute. Current research shows 87.5 per cent of all statistics are made up on the spot, right? But some stats aren’t worth the trouble of arguing over. So let’s not dispute whether jazz commands about two per cent of its hometown market in the US (as Ken Burns said at the time of his insightful if controversial Jazz doco-series) or three per cent as Martin... > Read more

Charles Mingus: Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

JAZZ: A FILM by KEN BURNS (DVD): The never-ending story

20 Jul 2009  |  3 min read

The cartoon shows two old guys in the television room of a resthome. One says, "There's nothing left to live for." The other replies, "Yeah, there is. I'm watching the Ken Burns’ series on jazz and want to find out how it turns out." The joke - if there is one - is we all know how jazz turned out: the once universally popular music divided and subdivided into... > Read more

Duke Ellington: Blues for New Orleans (1970)

HORACE SILVER, JAZZ PIANO LEGEND: Fifty years of Peace, in our time

19 Jul 2009  |  3 min read  |  1

When I was at school, my dad wasn’t concerned about what marks I got. All he wanted to know was, ‘Where were you in the class?’ He figured while 82 per cent sounds impressive, if everyone else got in the 90s then you were in the bottom. That isn’t quite so impressive. The only thing worth knowing was the comparison. Well, comparisons are odious but inevitable.... > Read more

Horace Silver: Peace (1959)

JOHN COLTRANE AND MILES DAVIS: Genius at work and playing, 1955-61

15 Jul 2009  |  3 min read

For two people about to write themselves into music history, their credentials were not promising. Only a few years previously, the trumpeter was so hooked on heroin that he was almost unemployable and would often fail to show for concerts. The other was a little-known saxophonist whose career was sound but unspectacular. He had played in Dizzy Gillespie's small ensemble which had... > Read more

John Coltrane and Miles Davis: Two Bass Hit

CLEO LAINE INTERVIEWED (2005): Ain't nothin' like a dame

14 Jun 2009  |  4 min read

At 77 and with a career of almost six decades behind her, Cleo Laine admits she is slowing down a little. But not much. This year she is fully booked and that includes dates in Australia and New Zealand, as far as it is possible to get from her stately home in Buckinghamshire where she lives with her husband of 46 years, John Dankworth. Although widely recognised as a Britain’s... > Read more

DUKE ELLINGTON: A genius, but not that great?

30 May 2009  |  2 min read

Few statements about music can be delivered unequivocally, but here's one: Edward Kennedy Ellington was one of the greatest composers of last century. And of all time. And no discussion need be entered into. Other than to observe he didn't "compose" in the traditional sense: most of his best-known songs were written with collaborators, his instrument was an orchestra, and his... > Read more

Duke Ellington: Blues for New Orleans (from New Orleans Suite, 1970)

Diana Krall: Quiet Nights (Verve/Universal)

21 May 2009  |  1 min read

Popular though she might be, Canadian Krall (interview here) has been considered something of a lightweight jazz chanteuse and it has perhaps only been live when her piano playing comes into its own. But her 2004 album Girl in the Other Room (many of the lyrics co-written with her new husband Elvis Costello) was a great leap forward into more demanding material. On a first listen to this... > Read more

Diana Krall: Walk On By

JACQUES LOUSSIER AT 75: Bach and all that jazz

16 May 2009  |  2 min read  |  1

Jacques Loussier, who popularised jazz back when television was broadcast in black and white, says his career came about by accident. Half a century on from his first album and four decades-plus since his Play Bach series screened across the world in prime time, he still pays classical music in a jazz manner. “The people at the record company [Decca] said, ‘What can you... > Read more

Jacques Loussier Trio: Invention for Two Voices No. 8

Candy Dulfer: Funked Up Chilled Out (Heads Up/Elite)

8 May 2009  |  <1 min read

Consumer law revolves on the principle of "fitness for purpose" and you won't catch this saxophonist out on that score: this double disc is as it says on the cover, one disc of funked up and the other of . . . Well, it's all very Seventies however and "funked up" means disco-flavoured cuts and the "chilled out" isn't so much chill-out room music but sultry... > Read more

Candy Dulfer: Anything You Need (from Chilled Out)

Broadbent, Gibson, Smith: Together Again (Ode)

26 Apr 2009  |  1 min read  |  1

The title of this album might better be Together Again . . . At Last because it has been far too long since LA-based pianist/composer Alan Broadbent and bassist Putter Smith recorded with Auckland drummer Frank Gibson.  (It might not seem that long because their Over the Fence album of 1990 was reissued on Ode two years ago.) That said, they fit seamless together once more on this... > Read more

Broadbent, Gibson, Smith: Continuity

PHAROAH SANDERS INTERVIEWED (2004): Creative man without a masterplan

26 Apr 2009  |  5 min read

Pharoah Sanders proves to be not the easiest of interview subjects. But if he has a poor phone manner and doesn't sound interested in talking, you tend to forgive him because he's a jazz genius. Or at least an occasional genius, although one who has consistently alienated critics. Maybe because he has rushed in and is about to rush out we should be grateful for the 15 allotted minutes --... > Read more

Pharoah Sanders (with Bill Laswell and Foday Musa Suso: Kumba (1995)

DIANA KRALL INTERVIEWED (2000): Blonde ambition

26 Apr 2009  |  5 min read

Grammy-gathering jazz pianist and chanteuse Diana Krall is shameless about her musical taste. She's about to go on stage in Philadelphia with Tony Bennett, but is confessing about the music she's listening to on the tour. Not unexpectedly, she rattles off a few by jazz artists such as John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and Ella Fitzgerald, namechecks Johnny Mathis a few times, then ...... > Read more

Diana Krall: I've Got You Under My Skin

MONTY ALEXANDER INTERVIEWED (2002): Keys to Sinatra and Bob Marley

19 Apr 2009  |  5 min read

You can take the boy out of Jamaica, but you can't ... you know the rest. So maybe it should be no surprise that when jazz pianist Monty Alexander speaks, even after 40 years of living in America, those languidly drawn out vowels of his Kingston boyhood have remained intact. Even so, this longtime New Yorker sounds more like Bob Marley coming down a phoneline than you might have imagined.... > Read more

Monty Alexander: My Mother's Eyes (from the album Live at the Iridium, 2005)

Wynton Marsalis: He and She (Blue Note/EMI)

13 Apr 2009  |  1 min read

It must be difficult being Wynton Marsalis, having done it all (at least if you consider "all" being going backwards through jazz pre-Sixties and bringing the music to the current generations) you must find the search for new forms of expression quite awkward, especially if you limit your palette as he has done. His recent outing From the Plantation to the Penitentiary in which he... > Read more

Wynton Marsalis: A Train, A Banjo and a Chicken Wing

ENRICO RAVA AND NEW YORK DAYS: The trumpet calls the faithful

17 Mar 2009  |  2 min read

It’s disappointing and embarrassing that one encounter may put you off a musician for such a long time. Then, shame-faced, you crawl your way back later and have to concede everybody else was right. When I first heard The Band I was into loud rock’n’roll and these country music guys just seemed exceptionally dull and -- the worst crime in rock -- worthy. Well,... > Read more

Enrico Rava: Outsider

JOHN McLAUGHLIN INTERVIEWED (2009): Has guitars, will travel

16 Feb 2009  |  15 min read  |  2

"I'm still at the beginning of my life and career,” says 67-year old guitarist John McLaughlin. “I don’t really think much about what I’ve done, I don’t have much time to think about what I’ve done. “It’s a worn out phrase, but today is a brand new day and there is a lot to do -- but the great thing about music is you very quickly... > Read more

John McLaughlin: We Will Meet Again (from the album McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans, 1993)

Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette: Yesterdays (ECM/Ode)

9 Feb 2009  |  <1 min read

Arguably the greatest working jazz trio in the world today, pianist Jarrett, bassist Peacock and drummer DeJohnette once more look back for source material while remaining utterly contemporary in their approach. Just as they have done when delivering excellent interpretations of material from the Great American Songbook, here they re-invigorate swinging bebop (two Charlie Parker pieces,... > Read more

Jarret/Peacock/DeJohnette: You've Changed

JOHN SURMAN: The casually-dressed career

2 Feb 2009  |  2 min read

The European jazz label ECM rarely uses photos of musicians on its covers: usually they are blurry photos taken out a moving vehicle; monochromatic landscapes; eerily evocative imagery . . . They rarely have liner notes and cloak the music with an air of esoteric mystery. There might also be a more practical reason: most jazz artists aren’t as, shall we say, photogenic as many rock... > Read more

John Surman: The Buccaneers (with Jack DeJohnette, 1981)

JEFF BECK INTERVIEWED AND REVIEWED (2008): If truth be known

23 Jan 2009  |  9 min read  |  1

It might not be the first question you ask guitarist Jeff Beck -- it was actually my last -- but it does need to be put: “So Jeff, when you saw Spinal Tap did you think, “Oi, that geezer’s got my hair on?’ “ Beck, who has long had a reputation as a difficult customer -- but hasn’t proven so in this conversation -- laughs loud and long at the thought of... > Read more

Jeff Beck: Cause We've Ended As Lovers

CHICK COREA INTERVIEWED (2007): The restless quest for connection

27 Dec 2008  |  5 min read

After the long drought came the flood: just 10 days on from Herbie Hancock’s Auckland concert in early 2007 came that by Chick Corea, a keyboard player whose jazz career is equally long and diverse. For jazz lovers used to years between international artists of this calibre, these musicians connect to two great periods in jazz: Corea replaced Hancock in Miles Davis’ great late 60s... > Read more

Chick Corea: It Could Happen To You