A tribute to Ornette Coleman by saxophonist Tony Kofi who met and played with Ornette in his New York loft appearing with him on Jamaaladeen Tacuma’s For The Love of Ornette performing in this instance in classic Atlantic Records period quartet guise with ex-Andrew Hill sideman Byron Wallen, the Jazz Jamaica drummer Rod Youngs and Belfast scene free-jazz advocate bassist Alan Niblock, is a significant highlight of next month’s Brilliant Corners festival in Belfast – the gig takes place on Hill Street in the Cathedral Quarter at the Black Box during the evening of Tuesday 8 March.
Niblock indicates, speaking to marlbank on the phone, that the band will be playing both well-known Ornette Coleman compositions, very likely to include ‘Peace’ and ‘Lonely Woman’ and a range of lesser known gems.
Swiss piano trio Vein, hot Irish band OKO appearing with US avant heavyweight Tim Berne making his first Belfast appearance; the Scottish sax-piano duo of Tommy Smith & Brian Kellock, British quartet Dinosaur led by BBC New Generation artist trumpeter Laura Jurd, and Irish progtronicists Alarmist are among the mainly cutting edge bookings of the festival taking place from 5-12 March.
Artist in residence at the Northern Ireland festival, based at the MAC, drummer David Lyttle says: “I’m mentoring an ensemble of six young jazz musicians, all very good and from NI. They’ll be opening for Tommy Smith and Vein Trio.”
Venues are the Black Box, Crescent and Belfast Barge (the Confiance ship moored on the Lagan over by the Waterfront Hall), with a selection of arthouse jazz films including the new Robert Trujillo-produced Jaco screened at the BeanBag cinema heralding the gigs.
For further details and booking information plus the names of the remaining support acts still to be revealed see the Brilliant Corners site.
Tony Kofi clockwise from top left, Byron Wallen, Rod Youngs and Alan Niblock pay tribute to Ornette Coleman
Last updated 05/02/16Add a comment
- Published: Tue 12th Jan 2016 12:02:56
Touring widely with Pat Metheny this year in what amounts to a new career peak, pianist Gwilym Simcock features on a superb new release by the veteran classical music group Delta Saxophone Quartet to be launched on Tuesday.
Titled Crimson! following an earlier prog foray the quartet undertook themed around the music of Soft Machine, this latest album from the Deltas (above with Simcock on the right) is a tribute to the spinosaurus of progressive rock, King Crimson, and involves the commission of new music from Simcock reinterpreting Fripp and co’s music.
The quartet’s Chris Caldwell and long-time Impossible Gentleman Simcock bonded at a football match, according to label blurb found on Amazon UK, back of the net, who are displaying a 26 Feb release date. Tickets via the Pizza Express siteAdd a comment
- Published: Thu 4th Feb 2016 13:41:30
Sons of Kemet (l-r): Shabaka Hutchings, Theon Cross, Tom Skinner and Seb Rochford
Rising up, an inner urge, Sons of Kemet tour Ireland for the first time this spring with back-to-back dates in Dublin, Belfast and Cork.
By April it will be just over six months on from the release of the Seb Rochford-produced Lest We Forget What We Came Here To Do, the London band’s second album a few years on from their MOBO-winning stormer Burn now with a slight change in the line-up, Oren Marshall departing to play with Pigfoot among others, and the arrival of Theon Cross from Moses Boyd’s band, Exodus.
There’s still that remarkable drum interplay underpinning everything – Seb Rochford and Tom Skinner going hell for leather serving up highly complex room shaking patterns not forgetting to conjure rumbling dance floor grooves in the process – that move the band far from the confines of the concert hall to the sweatiest and stickiest of venues.
That knack of combining intellectualism and party fervour, and there are plenty of literary and political references strewn about in the tune titles, via Afro-grooves and eyes clamped shut free-form blowing from Shabaka Hutchings that is still a marvel to hear.
It’s a world away from conventional bebop-ordered jazz conventions and when Hutchings bumps and shoves his saxophone particularly beyond its natural register the band have more in common with free-jazz.
The inspiration of Count Ossie, Yusuf Lateef, and Mulatu Astatke and their influences are less obvious here than on Burn although Lateef’s proto world music-friendly sound drifts in somehow hovering like a guardian angel over Hutchings’ solo deep into ‘Mo Wiser.’ SGAdd a comment
- Published: Fri 5th Feb 2016 12:10:53
Paul Pace sang Jon Hendricks’ words written for Bobby Timmons’ classic call and response swinger ‘Moanin’’ pianist Steve Lodder here effortlessly supplying the required feel leading the rhythm section to open the latest Soho jazz Wednesday at the Spice of Life.
Lodder best known for his acclaimed work over many years with Andy Sheppard, bassist Dermot McNeill from the Human Revolution Orchestra, and Soft Machine Legacy drummer Nic France then backed support act singer Souz E. Cue, Zakian coming on to take the vocals microphone after a break, the trio added to by Zakian’s husband, baritone saxophonist Paul Bartholomew, the character all in his timbre.
Zakian’s style, wrapped around a Sinatra theme, was crisp and no-nonsense, technically very accomplished, capable of delivering plenty of light and shade, not reverting to romantic or even torch song cliché but delving into the dark where necessary and making the familiar ring brightly. On the very up ‘Makin’ Whoopee,’ which the singer recorded on her album Songs For Modern Lovers, she bounced off bassist McNeill who dribbled the groove like a basketball player to hoop the ball over and over again as the audience responded with smiles, Zakian’s reading suitably devil may care. Story and photo: Stephen Graham
Dermot McNeill and Laura Zakian, aboveAdd a comment
- Published: Thu 4th Feb 2016 09:26:28
After the sounds of the support act the Zacc Harris quartet playing ‘Maple Grove Two Step’ from the American guitarist’s 2012 album The Garden, the maraudingly disciplined pitch perfect Michael Janisch figure on bass receding, members of the Mingus Big Band began to emerge to make their way on to the just vacated bandstand.
Baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber was the first to surface getting set up over on the right gradually everyone coming on to the stage. Boris Kozlov in pride of place on bass over on the other side by the piano the band striking up ‘Stop Time Boogie,’ groove incorporated.
The Mingus band does not stand on ceremony and there’s plenty of chatter on stage and shouts of approval, hand claps, conversations, and when the solos hit the spot the band let everyone know, eye contact is all, tell it as it is, play as you come, make it count.
Philip Harper, later described by Kozlov as the “soul of the band,” set down his trumpet to come up front to sing the Baron Mingus-period ‘Baby, Take A Chance With Me’ in a Billy Eckstine-type croon, his register raked up. This vocal, silkier than Ku-umba’s heard on the Scotts stage with his fellow Mingusians in the past, was a big plus point early on.
Veteran bass trombonist, the dapper Earl McIntyre, before switching to tuba later, managed to slip to the space near the door by the bar to get the long view and read the sound in the room quietly tiptoeing back inconspicuously when the time came for his tuba part, his rapport with new pianist Theo Hill very strong as they played tricksier rhythm lines and dungeon-deep figures.
‘Little Royal Suite’ dedicated to Roy Eldridge (Little Jazz) was the most complicated of the charts and most musically nourishing, this outfit doesn’t rest on their Grammy-winning laurels by any means. Earlier ‘Reincarnation of a Lovebird,’ which in Mingus’ day, on one record at least, featured Eldridge, was both sensuous and compelling.
Hill, whose locked hands style and consummate taste in quiet passages has a lot of subtlety: that’s not easy given how firmly he has to play and how many switches in time and feel he has to navigate. Drummer Donald Edwards was superb. Enough said. The trumpet section whinnied and wailed, cups filled to the brim with expression, while up front in the sax line Mark Gross on alto stood out as did Wayne Escoffery on tenor sax who simply took the Wednesday first house home with him: what tone, what command, what ease on the bandstand.
Upstairs during the house switchover a few of the Mingus band sat down to have a bite to eat, the long running hard bop jam beginning just before they had to go back downstairs for the second house.
Led as ever by the popular Simians of Swing trumpeter Andy Davies who was joined by Benet McLean, or “the Buffalo,” as the velvet jacketed porkpie hat wearing Davies referred to the pianist affectionately, Birmingham bass prospect Daniel Casimir, whose sound is reminiscent of Karl Rasheed-Abel’s, and by drummer Mark Fletcher, athletic and magnetic.
A great surprise, that’s the joy of this weekly jam, was the addition of star guest alto saxophonist Soweto Kinch early on. The band kept it Sonny with ‘Tenor Madness’ to open and Kinch was flying, Davies harmonising later in the set on the hoof particularly well in tandem with Kinch on the perky bop anthem ‘Salt Peanuts’. Leeds singer Marlena Kelli, a Liane Carroll in the making perhaps, guested to bluesy effect on a nuanced ‘Nature Boy.’
At the bopera house, Benet McLean, Soweto Kinch and Daniel Casimir jamming upstairs in the bar. Story and jam pic: marlbank.Add a comment
- Published: Thu 28th Jan 2016 07:24:35
‘Nujazz’ innovator Bugge Wesseltoft is to make a fairly rare English appearance outside London and Manchester with a gig next month at the Turner Sims in Southampton.
It’s part of a small matching strand of concerts to hit the south coast concert hall over the next few months that also includes appearances by keyboardist Bugge’s fellow Norwegian Daniel Herskedal arriving with a trio and strings, and by pianist Tord Gustavsen whose quasi-liturgical step change of a new album is new.
Dates are 12 February, 20 February and 3 March respectively. The Turner Sims website has further detailsAdd a comment
- Published: Fri 15th Jan 2016 09:35:53