Back in the day above in one of the best jazz albums of the 1990s. By Bill Bruford in a trio with the late career Bill Evans bassist Eddie Gomez and 12-string guitarist Ralph Towner, a perfect alignment of pastoral mood placed in an open space explored highly rhythmically in group interplay. Not only a progressive rock drummer legend Bill Bruford was significant too in the early careers of Iain Ballamy and Django Bates. Everything on this album worked and does not feel dated at all. The paint on the canvas is not there to dry instead it is to let us see.


Talk about rapport Now You Hear Me from contemporary classical (in the journalese vernacular aka “new music”) percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky – think Marilyn Mazur or Paul Clarvis the track above draws to mind – and the Frisell-Zornian jazz drummer Joey Baron is on Intakt Records, released last week. Buy at www.intaktrec.ch

Anthony Joseph at Keats House

The Kitch tour got off to a tremendous start at Keats House in Hampstead, north London, part of the Windrush 70 celebrations marking the first significant wave of migrants arriving from the Caribbean to the UK in the 20th century who disembarked from the Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks in Essex on 22 June 1948.

Poet singer writer Anthony Joseph’s fictionalised biography of calypsonian Lord Kitchener is published on the day of the 70th anniversary itself and ahead of the publication Anthony, above wearing a trilby, took part in a relaxed and highly informative onstage conversation with poet Hannah Lowe (in the photo top, left) and took questions from the audience, some of whom are pictured greeting Anthony just after the reading finished and before the book signing queue began to form.

These were evocative, vivid, poetic tales of Lord Kitchener, Mighty Sparrow, and the calypsonian universe spanning from the Caribbean to Kitch’s life in Manchester, and which also included Anthony’s recollection of the profound moment when he actually met Lord Kitchener as chance would have it in Port of Spain.

The tour continues in the Alhambra theatre for a Bradford Literature Festival appearance on 7 July when Anthony will be joined by alto saxophonist Jason Yarde who features on the new Joseph album People of the Sun. Anthony told me in a brief chat during the signing that the album which has been introduced with the trail of the infectious ‘Dig Out Your Eye’ will be released in September. SG

Further Kitch tour dates can be found on the Speaking Volumes website. 

Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra saxophonist/flautist, a founder member of legendary 1970s street funk Afrojazz pioneers Cymande Mike “Bammi” Rose, joined by Cymande pianist Adrian Reid on Nord keyboards continued their regular residency in the congenial and relaxed surroundings of the House of Tippler on London’s Lordship Lane in East Dulwich as World Cup fever began to grip the capital.

Performing after the Portugal v Spain game (a Portuguese supporter at the bar who had watched the match on television compared Ronaldo understandably to Eusébio) Bammi, you might remember hearing him for instance on Charlie Parker’s ‘Barbados’ from Jazz Jamaica’s excellent 1990s album Skaravan got into his stride when he switched from flute to tenor as the pair performed with a backing rhythm that introduced a light Caribbean twist on such early set numbers as Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’ and Billy Taylor’s joyous ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free’ and then with more of a carnival feel the classic ‘St Thomas’ synonymous with Sonny Rollins. Reid’s own album Nyanza Street I enjoyed a few years ago and it was somehow fitting even if completely by chance to hear the pianist south of the river. Photo + text: marlbank.
Mike Bammi Rose above left and Adrian Reid at the House of Tippler. 

PRELUDE TO A PLAYLIST
All the following selections are fairly new, seriously leading the way... yup... and unaired pretty much too.

A marginalisation of what some might call “art music”, “creative music” (as opposed to uncreative music...) or file under “avant” equally dismissively is alive and well but thankfully not the case at certain supportive venues, with specialist labels, online and yes among fans.

The thing is there is good and bad jazz and improvised music whatever the specific tilt towards a sub-genre is. It is highly subjective.

The audience has an appetite for new music so why not include some more free-jazz/experimental/avant whatever you like to call it in the mix, and not tuck it away in some specialist silo or graveyard Alaska of the night?

I think the tendency on radio is often to play a/.vocal jazz; b/. jazz that is heavily influenced by rock, classical music, hip-hop or soul; c/. reissues and d/. requests!

Hmmm all well and good. Actually not that much. And why because the new/old radio station in town is you dear reader – DJ Googler. And many, if not all of you, know as much as your average jock worried about his rota and the guy behind the glass if not more.

And finally you know what? You, like me, don’t have to stick to the playlist, please the guy with the spreadsheets, and listen to the pluggers. That, freedom, is significant. Enjoy. Not so much turn on, tune in, drop out the way things are counter everything the counter culture stood for as tune out. Now wheres that obsolete dial, anyway?  

Heard stage commandingly live at the Festival Hall Imagining Ireland concert in 2016, Camille O’Sullivan is confirmed for a late night Steele Hall Happy Days show on 3 August at the Samuel Beckett Festival – a considerable coup for DoranBrowne, the creative programmers at the heart of the festival.  

From the Camille O’Sullivan publicity material published on the Arts Over Borders site, “Her bold interpretations of everyone from Jacques Brel and Kurt Weill to Tom Waits and Nick Cave wring every drop of drama from a song and Beckett’s & Oscar Wilde’s old school of Portora is the perfect setting for her Parisian cabaret theatrical blend of spectacle, seduction and charm.” 


• Leading film (Tomorrow Never Dies) television (Prime Suspect) actor, Strictly dancer, and jazz vocalist/cornetist, Colin Salmon, will be reader-in-residence. 

For full details see the Arts Over Borders website.

The festival this year will also include a Yeatsian thread.

Tim Garland

At the Edition festival this was an unusual lunchtime opportunity to hear the ex-Chick Corea saxophonist Tim Garland along with Jason Rebello (formerly with Sting and Jeff Beck) and the distinguished jazz and classical Russian double bassist Yuri Goloubev (Gwilym Simcock).

The trio date chimed with the release of landmark release Weather Walker and took place during the Edition label’s 10th anniversary festival. The album also features a large string section and star German pianist Pablo Held who was also appearing at the club later in the day, the album recorded in Studios 1 and 3 of Abbey Road. “Movie magic, (but not as we know it!),” Garland has described it.

Full of interest imbued as it is with an English sense of melancholy and the blue sky of the endless horizons of contemporary jazz inspired by the English Cumbrian lake district and the intricacies of Garland’s compositional and arranging skill heard for instance earlier in his career on The New Crystal Silence, the title track of the new album was kept to last tucked in right at the end of the second set – and what a gloriously dark mood it conveys certainly one full of thought provoking reflection.

Earlier we also heard a fine composition by Jason Rebello called ‘Pearl’ featured on the pianist’s 2016 album Held but for me it was ‘Black Elk’ from Garland’s orchestral record Libra that was the pick of the concert.

Garland chose a variety of reeds instruments, soprano sax most significantly. His bass clarinet playing (“the random note generator” as he referred to the instrument jestingly) was colourful. Judicious use of electronics were fed into the sound for extra space during the set and his tenor playing was magisterial.

Rebello was on fine optimistic form, and his style now is certainly his own. His main influences of notably Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter have long since been assimilated and distilled into a driving style where harmonic accompaniment is lifted into solo space and you cannot see where the seams are.

Goloubev I suppose stole the show in a way without grandstanding. He was at the heart of the trio sound in several ways. Garland mentioned his arco capabilities borne from the double bassist’s classical orchestral background in Moscow and his musicianship is unerringly used in the service of the beauty of the music.

I first heard Garland in the 1990s when he played in the folk jazz group Lammas which featured the acclaimed poet Don Paterson who played guitar and singer Christine Tobin. The folk side of Garland’s writing has not left him and I suppose makes his music English in certain nuanced ways and adds to his specific compositional profile. Garland is also able to share the pulse across the trio and allows space for each of the instruments to contribute without distracting at all.

The set drew on the contrapuntal chamber jazz of Acoustic Triangle a little too.

A tender gig full of character by three masters at work and play.

Text + pic: Stephen Graham

Tim Garland among family and friends above at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, London