Jazz in Elsewhere

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18 Dec 2008  |  3 min read

When my eldest son bought a one-way ticket to London and packed his bag, he brought over three boxes of vinyl for me to store. Over the weeks I picked my way through this eclectic treasure trove admiring his excellent taste, sometimes wondering where I had gone wrong (the Joey and John Travolta albums, were a joke, surely), his bizarre acquisitions (Spiderman and Wonder Woman albums?), and... > Read more

Wayne Shorter: Face of the Deep (from The All Seeing Eye, 1965)

LENNIE TRISTANO REMEMBERED: Jazz piano in a classical manner

17 Dec 2008  |  4 min read

Strange coincidences can be unnerving. They make you wonder if there isn’t a guiding hand behind the randomness of life. In late 2003 while unearthing some old vinyl I turned up an album I thought deserved a re-hearing. I put it by the stereo and promptly forgot about it. It was by American pianist Lennie Tristano. The thing was still there when someone asked for a copy for a... > Read more

Tsabropoulos, Lechner, Gandhi: Melos (ECM/Ode)

15 Dec 2008  |  <1 min read

On a first encounter you will think you won't get much bbq season play out of this melancholy, autumnal album of original pieces by pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos and interpretations of short compostions by Gurdjieff which come coloured by the lachrymose violincello of Anja Lechner. Song of Prosperity 1 sounds anything but. However there is a keen emotional intelligence here best heard in... > Read more

Tsabropoulos, Lechner, Gandhi: Vocalise

CHARLIE PARKER: If only . . .

15 Dec 2008  |  4 min read

The night I heard Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter had separated I went on a half serious, half parody, totally drunken Rod bender. I played all his Famously Scottish Songs (me‘n’Rod bellowing “here’s one Jacobite, won’t be home tonight” across 2am suburban streets), some of the old classics (I may have even dragged out the Jeff Beck album Truth for a blast of... > Read more

Bobo Stenson Trio: Cantando (ECM/Ode)

7 Dec 2008  |  <1 min read

Swedish pianist Stenson is one of those rare individuals who extends the contract of improvisation by deliberately drawing on diverse source material, which gives him and his musicians different starting points. This time out he pulls tunes from Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman, Alban Berg and Astor Piazzolla: so that's compositions by a trumpeter and saxophonist, a classical musician and a... > Read more

Bobo Stenson Trio: Song of Ruth

Nathan Haines and Friends: Music for Cocktail Lovers (Thom Music)

30 Nov 2008  |  <1 min read

Don't let the title fool you, this isn't some hipper-than-thou collection knocked off for a ready market of cool people. Nope, what is here is a very classy and beautifully realised collection of listenable jazz which errs to the unfamiliar and is delivered by an excellent band under the eye of producer Nathan Haines. Haines plays flute, some keyboards and sax (but isn't on every track)... > Read more

Nathan Haines and Friends: Give It Away

Dr Tree: Dr Tree (EMI)

20 Nov 2008  |  2 min read  |  1

When this album came out in the mid-Seventies jazz-rock fusion was at its peak and many otherwise sensible jazz musicians were wooed to the dark side. Few came out with any dignity (they just didn't get "rock") but Dr Tree from Auckland nailed it directly at a point where they were most comfortable; more jazz than rock because they were jazz musicians. The album was reissued in... > Read more

Dr Tree: Vulcan Worlds

NATHAN HAINES INTERVIEWED (2008): Cocktails, class and cool

8 Nov 2008  |  4 min read

About 45 minutes into the conversation in a noisy cafĂ© just around the corner from Neil Finn’s studio where he recorded his new album Music For Cocktail Lovers, Nathan Haines mentions casually that this is his seventh album. Murray Thom -- prime mover behind Music For Cocktail Lover and on whose label the album appears -- seems surprised to learn this. And then, typically, he shrugs... > Read more

Nathan Haines and Friends: Poinciana

EGBERTO GISMONTI: An interview, illustrated by Dylan Horrocks

7 Nov 2008  |  <1 min read

Some time in 1996 I did a phone interview with the guitarist Egberto Gismonti in advance of him appearing at an Arts Festival in Wellington which, for reasons of language and a poor connection, just didn't work out. There was no decent way to salvage the piece but then a thought occured. I contacted comic artist Dylan Horrocks whose work I had long admired and gave him the outline of what... > Read more

The Julia Hulsmann Trio: The End of A Summer (ECM)

3 Nov 2008  |  <1 min read

The prolific ECM jazz label has been getting a few notices at Elsewhere in recent months, but largely on the strength of its mid-price reissue of some excellent releases from its early catalogue such albums by the Gary Burton Quintet , Paul Motian and Bill Frisell. But of course ECM has an on-going series of contemporary releases, among them this (mostly) quiet, romantic and gentle... > Read more

The Julia Hulsmann Trio: Kiss From A Rose (written by Seal)

McCoy Tyner: Guitars (Half Note)

30 Oct 2008  |  <1 min read

This jazz giant will be 70 in December 2008 and can reflect on playing piano with the likes of John Coltrane in the 60s then a multi-faceted career as a leader, assimilator of world music possibilties, bands or albums with guitarist John Scofield, tenor players Joe Henderson and Joshua Redman, altoist Arthur Blythe and many other innovators. But you'd think he might be slowing down by now.... > Read more

McCoy Tyner: Passion Dance (with Marc Ribot)

The Gary Burton Quintet: Dreams So Real (ECM/Ode)

27 Oct 2008  |  <1 min read

Another in the on-going series of mid-price reissue of ECM albums from the vaults, this recording of material by Carla Bley comes from 1976, and vibes player Burton with a band of luminaries who went on to become major players and central to the ECM roster: guitarists Mick Goodrick and Pat Metheny, bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bob Moses. When this doesn't swing like very hip pendulum... > Read more

The Gary Burton Quintet: Vox Humana

Joe Lovano: Symphonica (EMI)

27 Oct 2008  |  1 min read

Those who were witness to the outstanding Auckland concert fronted by saxophonist Lovano and guitarist John Scofield might be right now looking for Joe albums: if so this maybe ain't the one you need. Where that concert had tension, strength'n'stretch, musical dialogues which sounded like those betweeen an erudite dinnertable conversationalist (Lovano) and an edgy, humorous man with... > Read more

Joe Lovano: Emperor Jones

JOE LOVANO INTERVIEWED (2008): Life is in the learning

19 Oct 2008  |  9 min read

At 55, Joe Lovano is one of the leading saxophonists of his generation, and has a career notable for its diversity. He has played straight ahead and swing, worked with Cuban musicians and orchestras, done an album of Sinatra songs, and has enjoyed two longtime musical relationships: one is with guitarist John Scofield whom he met at Berklee in the early 70s; the other is with drummer Paul... > Read more

JOHN SCOFIELD INTERVIEWED (2008): Has guitar, will travel . . . and travel, and travel

18 Oct 2008  |  7 min read

Looking back now it is hard to recall how it all started and who we should blame – but suddenly in the mid-70s there they were, electric guitarists spitting out notes faster than shells from an Uzi. “Fingers scampering across the fret board like a mouse on Meth,” was how Playboy described a 1975 Jeff Beck album, and the sheer speed of warp-factor five guitarists like John... > Read more

EGBERTO GISMONTI: Guitarist with a much-stamped passport

17 Oct 2008  |  3 min read  |  1

They say truth is where you find it. For Brazilian multi-instrumentalist and composer Egberto Gismonti it was there among the Indian peoples of the remote Xingu region of the Amazonian jungle back in the late 70s. For a month, far removed from the urban world he knew and with no common language other than music, Gismonti lived and played music with the Indians, particularly their chief... > Read more


11 Oct 2008  |  7 min read

A little over three years ago an American magazine profiled alto saxophonist David Sanborn and included a selected discography. It made terrifyingly impressive reading. Aside from almost a dozen albums under his own name – and a pretty high count of Grammy awards among them – there were the albums where he’d had a guest spot. That distinctive sandpaper sax you remember... > Read more


4 Oct 2008  |  3 min read

By rights, 71year old bassist/composer Charlie Haden shouldn’t be around in jazz today. Like so many of his generation he had a heroin addiction in the early 60s and often wouldn’t show up on the bandstand until midnight, and even then only be half there. But there’s also another reason. Haden was born in Shenandoah, Idaho – hardly a hotbed of jazz innovation –... > Read more

JOE LOVANO, A CAREER CONSIDERATION (2004): Sax in every direction

1 Oct 2008  |  4 min read

About a month ago I was in New York and spoke to Bruce Lundvall, head of the Blue Note label. Lundvall is a jazz man from way back and has been a major player in shaping careers. He worked the jazz catalogue at Sony back when it was called Columbia, left to start the Elektra Musician label for Warners and has been helming Blue note for two decades.  He signed Wynton Marsalis to Sony,... > Read more

ALAN BROADBENT INTERVIEWED: The art of time, and timing

25 Sep 2008  |  6 min read

To my horror recently, I realised it had been almost a quarter of a century since I first interviewed the LA-based expat jazz pianist Alan Broadbent. It was 1984 and he was briefly back in Auckland to play a show and record an album with New Zealand’s in-house rhythm section of drummer Frank Gibson and bassist Andy Brown. At the time I had founded, was editing and writing much of the... > Read more

Alan Broadbent Trio: Waiting for Charlie (from the 2007 album Over the Fence)