Jazz in Elsewhere

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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

DAVID SANBORN, JAZZ AND ELSEWHERE SAXOPHONIST INTERVIEWED (1992): Where it's at, wherever "at" is at.

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

CHARLIE HADEN, JAZZ BASSIST AND COMPOSER: Like dreamers do . . .

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)

WYNTON MARSALIS INTERVIEWED (2000): Once more, back to the future

9 Sep 2008  |  6 min read

To refer to Wynton Marsalis as a jazz musician is to unintentionally diminish him. Certainly he plays jazz trumpet, has released a couple of dozen albums in the idiom, was the catalyst for and focal point of a renaissance of jazz in the 80s and is musical director for the prestigious Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in New York.Yes, Marsalis is a jazz man and proud of it.But that hardly accounts... > Read more

ORNETTE COLEMAN, DAVE BRUBECK AND ME: A Song For Guy

2 Sep 2008  |  17 min read  |  1

Ronnie Wickens was one of the last to leave my 50th birthday party at Portside. As I made for the door I looked back, and there he was at the bar chatting to -- maybe even chatting up -- a couple of girls in their 20s, friends of my sons' no doubt. Ronnie was somewhere past 60, but he still looked great. I don't recall what he was wearing that night but I always think of Ronnie in... > Read more

Frank Gibson's Parallel 37 (Ode)

27 Aug 2008  |  <1 min read

Auckland jazz drummer Gibson has had a career that stretches back to the late 50s and he made his debut at age 8 on the stage at the Auckland Town Hall playing a duet with his drummer dad. Since then he's played with everyone from Leo Sayer to Milt Jackson, and everywhere from Abbey Road and the Montreux Jazz Festival to some of the least attended clubs in Auckland. Quite some career.... > Read more

Parallel 37: Black Orpheus (Frank Gibson and Emily Remler)

Grammaphone: Grammaphone (Thoughtless)

25 Aug 2008  |  1 min read

Got to say when I went to school it was a big deal just to be in a band and the thought of making a record was beyond our comprehension -- which made Nooky Stott, drummer with Larry's Rebels, something of a distant (if slightly overweight) god to us. But times change (for the better) and these students from Auckland Grammar not only recorded, but produced a very impressive double disc in a... > Read more

Mathias Eick: The Door (ECM/Ode)

25 Aug 2008  |  <1 min read

On a blindfold test I doubt many who listen to Norwegian prog-rockers Jaga Jazzist would pick the trumpter leading this ECM set as the same guy from that big band. But Eick has popped up in many shapes:he has played alongside Chick Corea and in jazz orchestras, was a guest in the psychedelic rock band Motorpsycho and is a dab hand on guitar and vibes as well as trumpet. Here he pulls... > Read more

Matthias Eick: Porvoo

TOMASZ STANKO'S LONTANO CONSIDERED (2008): Emotion from a distance

1 Aug 2008  |  3 min read

Rock audiences have a forgivable problem with jazz groups: the membership of jazz outfits can just keep changing. If you like the Arctic Monkeys chances are you can expect the line-up not to change much over the years. Rock bands -- for the most part -- have an enviable stability which they guard jealously. Consider how long it took for Rolling Stone Ron Wood to be accepted as fully-fledged... > Read more

MILES DAVIS, ON THE CORNER RECONSIDERED (2008): The man with the bellbottoms

30 Jul 2008  |  3 min read

The cliche has become so embedded that hardly anyone questions it: “indie label good, major label bad”.   As with most generalisations it doesn’t support much scrutiny: small indie labels may be more comfortable for musicians because they know the boss, but they can also be woefully amateurish, financially incompetent and unable to get the music to the audience which... > Read more

RAVI COLTRANE INTERVIEWED (2007): First rays of the new rising son

28 Jun 2008  |  14 min read

If musical talent is in the genes then Ravi Coltrane was twice blessed: his father was the legendary tenor saxophonist John Coltrane whose spiritual and searching bebop redefined jazz in the late 50s and 60s; and his mother was the gifted pianist/composer Alice who played in her husband’s group and whose own creative contributions have perhaps been unfairly overshadowed by his... > Read more

RECORD PRODUCER JOHN SNYDER INTERVIEWED: Ethics, soul and a conscience . . . in the music industry?

19 Jun 2008  |  5 min read

English rock-writer Charles Shaar Murray had a neat, if rather obvious, line about the band Pop Will Eat Itself. If it was only pop that was eating itself, says Murray, then there would be more grounds for optimism. But at a time when music is more an industry than an art form – as Noel Gallagher observed, some bands only release music for the ringtones – a lot more than pop gets... > Read more

Ornette Coleman and Charlie Haden: Some Day (from Soapsuds Soapsuds on Artists House, 1978)

MILES DAVIS IN CONCERT REVIEWED 1988 : The Prince claims the crown

31 May 2008  |  3 min read  |  2

For even the most devout Miles Davis follower, it was difficult to anticipate what the legendary trumpeter would pull out for his one-only Auckland concert. Recent albums weren’t helpful – they sport different line-ups to the seven-piece outfit he was bringing – and overseas concert reports were divided between hagiographies and outright contempt. Nothing could prepare... > Read more