Jazz in Elsewhere

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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)


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


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