Allay that nagging fear of missing out, and clock the state of the art ZuperOctave, that’s who: above left-right Little Big’s Aaron Parks on synths, Fender Rhodes electric piano and piano, leader Gilad Hekselman guitar and Kendrick (‘Oracle’) Scott on drums and pads.
Cardiff and London dates roll up this autumn as part of a wider European tour, full info about which here.
Tastemakers. Yes, tastemakers. Trade titles like to trot out that word a good deal when not working on a detailed pie chart about the latest mood app. I suppose everyone secretly thinks that they are a tastemaker. Bemonikered “tastemakers”, I kid you not, they do exist, often hidden under other job titles. Of course they are entitled to their tastes. However, the reality is that they are professional flipchart jugglers, spreadsheet magicians, three-piece suit connoisseurs, diamond geezers, members of several gyms, owners of extensive portions of Jeff Lynne’s back catalogue, readers of the runes or if their act bombs, ruins. That taste is theirs and theirs alone, often not shared by too many others apart from people in their direct employment.
True tastemakers are thin on the ground and actually here is the science bit you probably will not know that they have shaped your taste at all. Uncanny! Marketing mesmerists dream equally about word of mouth publicity as they do waistcoats however, the up to date status of their barnets and presence of lint on their otherwise spotless window sills are also pressing concerns.
Jazz is extremely niche despite all the Colin Welland-esque exaggerations when a few bands get talked up a bit in the States, tour over there and in Canada before returning for their next bread-and-butter nine-date tour of the East Midlands. Jazz tastemakers are not necessarily anyone that you have ever heard of or will possibly ever do such is their badger-like levels of introversion. Badgers, it is true, are not often to be seen DJ-ing unlike a few so-called tastemakers.
Final controversial word, taste is not hierarchical. Your pitiful much cooed over taste is no worse than anyone else’s because it is yours carefully acquired over the years trying to avoid what bitter experience has taught to avoid which is what tastemakers want to provide and actually giving you inordinate pleasure. Dear reader trust your taste, don’t let anyone foist theirs on you. That is all.
By Steve, down the garage taken from a Tannoy recording made on a Huawei P20 Pro translated from the original Flemish by a friend of the author’s later transcribed and lightly edited for sense by the marlbank typing pool team. Kindly submitted, thanks.
Whither the Withers? Well witter no more, the album confirmed for a 28 September release Lean on Me is a José James mass market aimed celebration of the ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ singer-songwriter’s back catalogue and very credible it is too going on sufficient glimpses so far. Bill Withers turned 80 in the mid-summer.
JJ has Pino Palladino (bass), remember his epic figure on ‘Trouble’, Kris Bowers (keys), Brad Allen Williams (guitar) and Nate Smith (drums) in the rhythm section at the heart of the sound among the collective personnel. And in a certain pride of place on an instantly familiar song ‘Lovely Day’ guest features soul goddess Lalah Hathaway. JJ already a big draw on both sides of the Atlantic, if Lean on Me works out he will be heading stratospheric and if not at the very least will consolidate his position as one of the world's very best jazz-influenced male singers. ‘Use Me,’ heard top, which was on the 1972 Still Bill album, is the sixth track. SG
Moving documentary Sunset and the Mockingbird which was successfully crowdfunded last year is the story of jazz pianist Junior Mance who is suffering from dementia and his love for manager and soulmate, Gloria Clayborne Mance. The pair met in the 1990s and married shortly afterwards.
Junior turns 90 on 10/10 (sharing a birthday with Thelonious Monk who was 11 years older), and is known for his work with Gene Ammons, Dinah Washington, Johnny Griffin and Dexter Gordon, and who remains an influence via his own trio records and stride and boogie-woogie touch on a host of today’s jazz notables including José James and Ethan Iverson.
Junior is on Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s ‘Spirits Up Above’ — sung by José James (on The Dreamer put out by Brownswood in 2008). Hone in, too, on the piano tracks especially of Harlem Lullaby reviewed here.
Junior began to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease six years ago and yet continued to play, up until his last public concert in 2016.
The film charts his gradual decline and struggle as life has become more difficult. Just listen going way back, there is a huge quality choice... to Junior with the great Sonny Rollins bassist Bob Cranshaw (The Bridge) and Speak Like a Child drummer Mickey Roker play ‘Blue Monk’ which was in New York City on Valentine’s day 1962 — and I am sure that you will agree, a joy. SG
Junior Mance Facebook link