Jazz in Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Unwind: Orange (Rattle, CD+DVD)

22 Nov 2018  |  <1 min read

The Unwind trio are bassist/educator Paul Dyne, pianist/writer Norman Meehan and saxophonist/international citizen Hayden Chisholm. That is quite an accumulation of jazz talent and, recorded at Orange Studios in Christchurch, these 10 pieces frequently attest to the ethos that less can be so much more. The three Meehan-penned openers for example are measured 2am ballads which are a very... > Read more

Miracle

CHARLES MINGUS RE-DISCOVERED, AGAIN (2018): The black saint of jazz past, and in the present

19 Nov 2018  |  3 min read

As with pop and rock, jazz artists go in and out favour with audiences. At Elsewhere we've essayed the case of Charles Lloyd and Dave Brubeck for example. Some certainly remain fixed in the firmament: John Coltrane and Charlie Parker for example. Others – Miles Davis perhaps the most obvious example – people pick and choose the period they prefer. Some like Sun Ra, Ornette... > Read more

Cecile McLorin Salvant: The Window (Mack Avenue/Southbound)

23 Oct 2018  |  1 min read

One of the finest, most entertaining, deeply moving and musically interesting concerts of jazz (and elsewhere) was by Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Auckland Town Hall in March, which we reviewed here. As you may see, this remarkable and award-winning singer (French mother, Haitian father, raised in Miami) has a wonderful musical reach from deep old blues and chanson to swinging jazz, show... > Read more

Wild is Love

Kamaal Williams:The Return (Black Focus/Border)

22 Oct 2018  |  1 min read

The title on this debut solo album by London keyboard player/composer Kamaal Williams probably refers to the sudden disbanding of the duo Yussef Kamaal (with drummer Yussef Dayes) and his wish to quickly pick up the remit of soulful and funky jazz with one ear on the fusion era and astral-inclined instrumentals and the other on the energy of hip-hop (as brought into play here by the exceptional... > Read more

LDN Shuffle

John Scofield: Combo 66 (digital outlets)

7 Oct 2018  |  1 min read

It must be strange to one day be a hot young guitarist and then a mere four decades on from your debut wake up and find yourself age 66. John Scofield (just “Sco” to everyone it seems) has filled in those decades with some exceptional work and played alongside many of the greats (Miles Davis, Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden among dozens) and recorded for Enja, Gramavision, Blue Note,... > Read more

I'm Sleeping In

Yellowjackets: Raising Our Voice (Mack Avenue/Southbound)

1 Oct 2018  |  <1 min read

LA's Yellowjackets have been making a kind of fusion jazz – sometimes erring towards MOR jazz-lite, less frequently to a more soul/r'n'b sound – for well over 30 years and have witnessed a large number of players passing through the ranks. In fact only keyboard player Russell Ferrante has gone the full distance. The current quartet edition also features Luciana Souza on... > Read more

Strange Time

Antipodes: Good Winter (Rattle)

28 Sep 2018  |  1 min read

The name of this sophisticated, snappy and keenly intelligent jazz ensemble refers to the fact its members are from separate hemispheres; New Zealand and Australia, and Europe. Worlds apart geographically but music transcends such distance and their clever arrangements for the sextet of rhythm section, guitar, piano, sax and trumpet pull towards a centre in post-bop, sometimes swinging... > Read more

Deep Thought

Johnson/Dreyer/Lockett: Any Last Requests (digital outlets)

24 Sep 2018  |  1 min read

Well, you have to be a very seasoned and confident trio to play in New York City and let the audience request material from the Great American Songbook . . . because that ain't no Fake Book but a wide and deep well of standards numbering in excess of 100. Expat drummer Mark Lockett (who has subsequently returned home) is part of this trio – with US bassist Jakob Dreyer and saxophonist... > Read more

Wojtek Mazolewski Quartet: Polka, Deluxe Edition (Whirlwind/Southbound)

16 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

Some clarification in anticipation of an immediate turn-off. This is not an album of polka music. Perhaps the heavily tattooed hands of young Polish bassist and bandleader Mazolewski might have alerted you to that anyway. Or the mohawk sported by pianist Joanna Duda on the inner sleeve. Also this is a slightly expanded reissue of an edgy but approachable jazz album which was first... > Read more

Krakow

Errol Garner: Nightconcert (Mack Avenue/Southbound)

9 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

Back in the Fifties some jazz albums imprinted themselves on the wider public consciousness: Big sellers like the Dave Brubeck Quartet's Time Out (1956), Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool ('57) and Kind of Blue ('59), and more than a few by Duke Ellington and Sarah Vaughan among them. And pianist Errol Garner's Concert by the Sea ('55) which was enormously popular and remains one of his... > Read more

No More Shadows

Lee Konitz and Dan Tepfer: Decade (usual digital outlets)

2 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

At 90, the great saxophonist Lee Konitz – among very few of his generation still standing – has played in almost as many styles of jazz (free to formal) as he has been on record labels (from Enja to Blue Note and ECM). And of course has played alongside many of his illustrious peers like Miles Davis, Lennie Tristano, Chick Corea, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Enrico Rava, Alan... > Read more

Through the Tunnel

Dog, No Dogs Allowed (Rattle)

25 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

The previous self-titled album by this (mostly) Auckland jazz quartet – a veritable supergroup of Rattle artists as we shall see – won the jazz album of the year award in 2014 . . . as we predicted. That said, it it was no great work of mind to anticipate that: With the line-up of Roger Manins (tenor sax), Ron Samsom (drums), Olivier Holland (bass) and keyboard player Kevin... > Read more

Jazz Attack

Grant Green: Funk in France; From Paris to Antibes 1969-1970 (Resonance)

21 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

The great jazz guitarist Grant Green – who had almost 30 albums on the famed Blue Note label, some released after his death in '79 – didn't live long enough to see the wave of acclaim when key figures in the acid jazz movement started bringing his name and music to a new audience in the Eighties, Nineties and beyond. Green's fluid, often single-string and melodic playing had... > Read more

Oleo

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