Jazz in Elsewhere

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JOHN COLTRANE'S LOST ALBUM (2018): Four guys walk into a studio in New Jersey . . .

5 Jul 2018  |  3 min read

In the half century since his death (in 1967), the music of John Coltrane has inspired, charmed and challenged musicians, jazz aficionados and even worked its way into the language of hip-hop and more edgy contemporary r'n'b. In his growth, Coltrane went through many changes and when he died at just 40 there seemed so much more to come. Two years before he had wound up his “classic... > Read more

Untitled Original Demo 11386 (take one)

Kamasi Washington: Heaven and Earth (Young Turks)

25 Jun 2018  |  3 min read  |  1

When composer/saxophonist Kamasi Washington announced himself with the magisterial triple CD The Epic in 2015, many were impressed by the ambition and scope (it was indeed epic in both) as much as by how Washington integrated a considerable number of black American music – jazz which reached from bop to astral aspiration but also soul, funk and more -- into what seemed like a unified... > Read more

Sumo: Shiko (Rattle)

22 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

While it has been common enough for the graduates in, and tutors of, jazz from the universities in Wellington and Auckland to be acknowledged on albums here at Elsewhere, this one – which features a large revolving door ensemble – is of musicians drawn mostly from the Ara Institute in Christchurch, many of whom have made (or are making) names for themselves overseas. And in a... > Read more

Smoking Gun

ONE WE MISSED: Umar Zakaria: Fearless Music (usual digital platforms)

18 Jun 2018  |  3 min read  |  1

Elsewhere has occasionally written about the self-marginalisation of New Zealand jazz, notably with regard to the annual New Zealand Music Awards. Many years ago the jazz czars decided to withdraw from the annual (televised) awards ceremony and do their Album of the Year Award within the more narrow confines of the jazz world, at the Tauranga Jazz Festival and latterly at the Wellington... > Read more

Suite Melayu; Masri

Espen Eriksen Trio with Andy Sheppard: Perfectly Unhappy (Rune Grammofon/Southbound)

21 May 2018  |  1 min read

For those who remember when Andy Sheppard appeared – alongside Courtney Pine, Ronny Jordan, Loose Tubes, Django Bates and others – as one of the new wave of British jazz musicians in the Eighties it will doubtless come as a surprise that the young man is now 61 with a dozen or so albums under his own name and many, many more with the likes of Carla Bley, the late John Martyn, George... > Read more

Indian Summer

Aquaserge: Deja-Vous? (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

7 May 2018  |  1 min read

Here's one to have you racing to a web search because this French outfit can hardly be called a household name, although it seems they've been around for a decade, played in 10 countries, have won praise from Uncut and The Wire, and their last album Laisse ca etre was in a number of best of 2017 lists. They are also the subject of new doco, of the kind that might appear in a film festival.... > Read more

C'est pas tout mais

AN EVENING IN 1965 WITH ORNETTE COLEMAN (2018): Another British 'Judas' shouter in the audience

23 Apr 2018  |  4 min read

Among the many pleasures of Record Store Day – not the least seeing the smile and relief on the faces of store owners as the credit cards get swiped – is the rare and unusual albums which find release. The coloured vinyl versions of familiar albums is a crock designed to gouge wallets and little more – as I said to one owner at this RSD, “we mustn't judge artists by... > Read more

GRG67: The Thing (Rattle)

23 Mar 2018  |  1 min read  |  1

The jazz tutors in the School of Music at the University of Auckland are among the best musicians in the country, and the most respected and well connected. Take saxophonist Roger Manins for example. A simple search at Elsewhere sees him on albums with Mike Nock, Kevin Field, Ron Samsom, his own trio (with Mostyn Cole and Reuben Bradley), Phil Broadhurst, in bop or jazz orchestra... > Read more

Dark Bright

Elephant9: Greatest Show on Earth (Rune Grammofon/Southbound)

9 Mar 2018  |  1 min read

It has been some while since we introduced the Rune Grammofon jazz-and-elsewhere label out of Norway. And with this return bout we warn immediately that Elephant9 – a trio of psycho-keyboards, furious bass and jackhammer drums – are probably not for the faint of heart. This is jazz as a power trio, and Elephant9 is apparently considered Norway's best live band. On the... > Read more

Actionpack1

Ella Fitzgerald: Ella at Zardi's (Verve/Universal)

21 Jan 2018  |  1 min read

Last year was Ella's. It was the centenary of her birth in Virginia and 21 years after her death. Between those two points the great Ella became one of the most sophisticated, classy and convincing jazz singers of all time, one who could get as deep inside a lyric as Frank Sinatra, could improvise in a scat style like the best instrumentalists and was a role model, a civil rights... > Read more

Cry Me a River

Chisholm/Meehan/Dyne: Unwind (Rattle)

12 Jan 2018  |  1 min read

Wellington pianist/author/teacher and composer Norman Meehan has appeared a few times at Elsewhere but bassist Paul Dyne, once a mainstay of New Zealand jazz in Sustenance during the Eighties and intermittent recording projects since, not quite as often. And expat composer/saxophonist Hayden Chisholm just the once. But it is Chisholm's nuanced, melodic and sometimes classically... > Read more

Inebriate Waltz

Cecile McLorin Salvant: Dreams and Daggers (Mack Avenue/Southbound)

6 Nov 2017  |  1 min read

Although this Grammy-winning jazz singer is probably on very few people's scanner right now, no doubt that will change in the run-up to her appearances at the New Zealand Arts Festival in Wellington and the Auckland Festival next March. With a small group – and studio strings in a few places – she here spreads her considerable vocal and lyric writing talents across two... > Read more

Runnin' Wild

David Friesen Trio: Another Time Another Place (Rattle)

10 Oct 2017  |  1 min read  |  1

The release of this album recorded live in Auckland in late 2015 could not be more timely because American bassist Friesen is about to tour again (dates below) with guitarist Dixon Nacey and drummer Reuben Bradley who are on hand here. Friesen is a Major Player in the US jazz scene, has a list of album credits under his own name as long as your outstretched arms, and has played on... > Read more

Sailing

Kamasi Washington: Harmony of Difference (Young Turks)

9 Oct 2017  |  2 min read  |  1

As befits a jazz player, composer and arranger whose debut was a triple CD set entitled The Epic – and covered ground from hard bop through soul and funk to Claire de Lune – Kamasi Washington is a Big Picture guy, very much of the old school where jazz had albums entitled The Creator Has A Master Plan (Pharoah Sanders), Ascension (John Coltrane) and The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse... > Read more

Humility

JANE IRA BLOOM CONSIDERED (2017): An artist going beyond place and time

9 Oct 2017  |  2 min read

Even in the broad church that is jazz, soprano saxophonist/composer Jane Ira Bloom from Boston has stood out. The early Eighties, for example, found her beginning her explorations of electronics as applied to her soprano, and later in that decade she was the musician commissioned by NASA Arts Programme for which she wrote and performed three pieces across which she deployed sax,... > Read more

One Note From One Bird

Jim Langabeer: Secret Islands (Rattle)

31 Jul 2017  |  1 min read

Two things immediately come to mind with this exceptional, challenging and rewarding album: Given his manifest talent which he has gifted to others' albums why has Jim Langabeer's name so rarely appeared as a leader on New Zealand albums? (Is this his first?) And that while this improvised music clearly has reference points in jazz it does not overtly appear on the Rattle Jazz... > Read more

The Big Smoke

10 RARE FREE JAZZ ALBUMS I'M PROUD TO OWN (2017): Abstract arts from the past

30 Jun 2017  |  12 min read

Every month dozens of reissues across many genres – sometimes well annotated compilations, often reissued albums in replicas of the original artwork – appear. These days you can find obscure rural blues and Sixties psychedelic albums, the complete works of some folk singer who is barely a footnote in a reference book and much more without too much difficulty. But if there... > Read more

MILES DAVIS : SKETCHES OF SPAIN REVISITED (2017): Jazz at the interface of classical music

8 May 2017  |  4 min read

When Miles Davis entered Columbia Records’ New York studio in November 1959 with composer/arranger Gil Evans and producer Teo Macero to record the material for the album Sketches of Spain, the trumpeter was not on completely unfamiliar territory. He had seen and heard flamenco music, doubtless knew the explorations of Spanish music by Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus and others,... > Read more

Song of Our Country (take nine)

Julia Hulsmann Trio: Sooner And Later (ECM/Ode)

8 May 2017  |  <1 min read

It has been almost a decade since German pianist Hulsmann’s trio impressed mightily with the emotionally still and evocative The End of A Summer, but also about six since we found her Imprint album mostly evaporated without leaving much of an impression. This new outing – only her sixth for the label since ’89 – finds her back in the trio format after other... > Read more

From Afar

KENNY BARRON INTERVIEWED (2017): Time makes a wine

10 Apr 2017  |  8 min read

Speaking from his home in rainy New York, 73-year old jazz pianist, composer and educator Kenny Barron sounds like he's possessed of the energy someone half his age. He is genial, quick, witty, looking forward to flying to Chicago the following day to play in an Oscar Peterson tribute . . . and clearly remembers his first paying gig. It was in his hometown of Philadelphia almost six... > Read more

Prayer, the Kenny Barron Trio, 2016