Jazz in Elsewhere

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Dog: Dog (Rattle Jazz)

29 Jul 2014  |  1 min read

And just when you thought local jazz releases could not get any better . . . The previously considered Rattle Jazz album Dark Light (by Jonathan Crayford, Ben Street and Dan Weiss) really set a high bar, but this one -- a prior release on the label, by just a few days at a guess -- sets its compass in another direction entirely. As a post-bop album with pianist Kevin Field and Roger... > Read more

Dicey Moments

DEXTER GORDON CONSIDERED (2014): It's time to Go again

28 Jul 2014  |  3 min read

In one iconic photo by Herman Leonard taken in New York in 1948, the cool of Dexter Gordon -- his cigarette smoke coiling up above him -- came to symbolise and codify the image of jazz for many. At that time Gordon was in his mid 20s and his tenor playing had already been heard in Lionel Hampton's band but more recently when he was playing and recording alongside Charlie Parker whose bebop... > Read more

Where Are You?

Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden: Last Dance (ECM/Ode)

23 Jul 2014  |  1 min read

What a sad set of coincidences, this duet album with pianist Keith Jarrett was released internationally two days after the great bassist Charlie Haden died. Now look at its title. And the final piece of the nine is their soft and considered treatment of a Gordon Jenkins tune . . . Goodbye. Haden was the arguably the most important and innovative (and musically daring) bassist of his... > Read more

Goodbye

Jonathan Crayford/Ben Street/Dan Weiss: Dark Light (Rattle Jazz)

6 Jul 2014  |  1 min read  |  1

Since Auckland's Rattle label signed a deal with Wellington's Victoria University Press (VUP) it has become alarmingly productive. Albums -- especially those on the Rattle Jazz imprint -- are starting to appear at what seems like one or more a month. But that's not a complaint because the label's standards are impeccably high, and this piano trio album lead by the multi-faceted Jonathan... > Read more

Galois' Candle

ATLANTIC JAZZ LEGENDS IN A BOX (2014): Cheap steps into giant jazz

23 Jun 2014  |  4 min read

In a recent informal conversation with an American singer, the topic turned to the old debate: vinyl, CDs or mp3s? She said, of course she preferred vinyl . . . but I sensed a hesitation in her voice and said as much. She laughed and then admitted . . . actually, she preferred CDs but you weren't supposed to say that because everyone talks about the superiority of vinyl. But, she... > Read more

Backlash

MARK DE CLIVE-LOWE INTERVIEWED (2014): Following his own beat'n'path

2 Jun 2014  |  14 min read

The day we speak to Mark De Clive-Lowe – expat keyboard layer, multi-instrumentalist, producer and remixer – it's in a Grey Lynn cafe and he is on a flying visit home. It's a Friday morning and he arrived just 24 hours previous from Japan where he'd played two shows, within eight hours he's going to back on a plane heading home to Los Angeles where he has lived for the past... > Read more

Brukstep

JOSHUA REDMAN INTERVIEWED (2014): Beatles, Bach and beyond

2 Jun 2014  |  3 min read

Joshua Redman – born in 1969 and the pre-eminent jazz saxophonist of his generation – sounds slightly embarrassed when it's suggested, given his age, he maybe had Kiss posters on his bedroom wall when he was at school? “Actually, I never got into Kiss,” he laughs. “It was Prince or Michael Jackson. The Police was a big band for me, and early hip-hop like... > Read more

Billy Hart Quartet: One is the Other (ECM/Ode)

19 May 2014  |  <1 min read

Although drummer Bily Hart seems to have been around since jazz was a young man -- he's now 73 and played in soul bands behind Otis Redding and others before seriously embarking on the jazz route -- this is only his second album for ECM after the rather patchy All Our Reasons in 2011. But despite being on hand in the past for some muscular Miles Davis funk (On the Corner), as well as... > Read more

Some Enchanted Evening

Cannonball Adderley: Somethin' Else (Blue Note/Universal)

7 May 2014  |  1 min read

The most commonly held opinion about this classic Blue Note album from 1958 by alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley -- his only album on the label -- is that he is outshone by his famous sideman Miles Davis (who wrote the bluesy title track). That's not entirely true but -- because Adderley was in Davis' band at this time -- there's no doubt Davis is on excellent form and very much the... > Read more

Dancing in the Dark

Tord Gustavsen Quartet: Extended Circle (ECM/Ode)

5 May 2014  |  1 min read

Norwegian pianist Gustavsen has made sometime entries at Elsewhere previously, his most notable being the exceptional Being There trio album (with bassist Harald Johnsen, drummer Jarle Vespestad) which was one of our Best of Elsewhere 2007 albums. But where that album was about quietude, this one with his quartet (now with bassist Mats Eilertsen plus saxophonist Tore Brunborg)... > Read more

The Prodigal Song

Vijay Iyer: Mutations (ECM/Ode)

29 Apr 2014  |  1 min read

Pianist Vijay Iyer is not one to undersell himself and is certainly a genuinely intellectual guy but, as Elsewhere noted previously, you shouldn't let that come between you and his music. The border between jazz and classical music has often been fairly porous, especially at the ECM label, and that's the region Iyer occupies with this collection of pieces, 10 of which are written for... > Read more

Mutations VII: Kernel

PETER BROTZMANN INTERVIEWED (2014): Freedom isn't frightening

22 Apr 2014  |  3 min read  |  1

German saxophonist Peter Brotzmann – on a short solo tour early next month – recalls the only other time he was here. In the Eighties he and bassist Peter Kowald offered their muscular, free-form jazz improvisation at a time when “there was no audience for this music in New Zealand”. “I remember playing Christchurch and after the concert – and it was... > Read more

Noise Like Wings

JOHN COLTRANE; BLUE TRAIN RECONSIDERED (2014): High-end hard bop, and popular

21 Apr 2014  |  3 min read

Although most of saxophonist John Coltrane's career was on Prestige and especially Impulse!, in September 1957 -- making good on a handshake promise the previous year -- he was loaned by Prestige to the Blue Note label. This was a practice which writer William Ruhlmann noted in his '95 Goldmine article on Coltrane's career, "a no more unusual matter in the small jazz world than the... > Read more

Lazy Bird

THE BLUE NOTE LABEL AT 75 (2014): Vision, visuals and visionaries in jazz

18 Apr 2014  |  3 min read  |  1

In early January 1939 Alfred Lion – a 30-year old emigre from Berlin who had moved permanently to New York just two years previous – took the boogie-woogie pianists Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons into a Manhattan recording studio he'd hired for the day. He could not have guessed that he was about to shape the future of jazz. Lion had little idea of how to... > Read more

Boy, What a Night (1963)

The Jac: Nerve (Rattle Jazz)

17 Apr 2014  |  1 min read

Although the idea of band growing out of a rehearsal outfit for staff and students at a music college doesn't exactly make the heart leap with anticipation, The Jac here are something quite different from your standard big band finding themselves on The Fake Book. A mid-sized ensemble -- an octet which means it can cut down to spacious arrangements or spark up the whole for a bit of a blast... > Read more

Marik

Takuya Kuroda: Rising Son (Blue Note/Universal)

14 Apr 2014  |  1 min read

This hot'n'cool young trumpeter -- originally from Kobe, Japan but latterly of Berklee then the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan -- came to attention when he appeared on albums by vocalist Jose James on the urban Brownswood label. James, also now signed to Blue Note, produces this label debut for Kuroda and as on previous outings the trumpeter and producer walk the... > Read more

Sometime Somewhere Somehow

GREGORY PORTER INTERVIEWED (2014): Grammy jazz gentle giant

7 Apr 2014  |  7 min read

Gregory Porter is a big man with a soft voice. The former linebacker from San Diego slipped sideways into music with the assistance of a mentor Kamau Kenyatta, got a part on Broadway in the cast of It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues and recorded two albums for small labels which were both nominated for jazz Grammys. Then in January this year he finally got the award when his debut album... > Read more

Liquid Spirit

Various Artists: The Best of Blue Note (Blue Note/Universal)

31 Mar 2014  |  1 min read

As mentioned previously, the Blue Note jazz label is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary with large reissue programme of remastered classic albums on vinyl (100 over the coming 15 months or so) and also looking to raise the profile of its artists both old and new. This double disc brings old and new together across 22 tracks (see full listing below) in a chronological collection whch... > Read more

Afro Blue

10 CLASSIC BLUE NOTE COVERS (2014): Making the music look good

24 Mar 2014  |  5 min read

As you read this, the Blue Note record label is celebrating it's 75th anniversary. The label synonymous with classic jazz -- which went some way to defining the way people understood jazz in the Fifties and Sixties -- has been going since 1939 when its founder Alfred Lion recorded pianists Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis in a New York studio. At the end of that year Lion was joined by his... > Read more

Right Now

Jonas Kullhammar Quartet: Lat Det Vara (moserobie.com)

10 Mar 2014  |  1 min read

I cannot tell a lie, I bought this for the cover when I spotted it in a record store in the old town of Stockholm . . . but am delighted I did. At the time I didn't even know it was a jazz album, let alone one by a guy who has won a stack of awards in Sweden and been nominated for Swedish Grammys.  I had not previously heard of tenor player Jonas Kullhammar or his quartet however... > Read more

Julaftonsfan (extract only)