JD Allen will be appearing with his trio on Wednesday 7 March at Brilliant Corners in Belfast the 2018 line-up of which has been announced.

Released on 9 February. Jump up to speed; first, track backThe Band’s The Thing.

It is impossible to keep up with the prodigious output of reeds ruler Mats Gustafsson but I like to dip in and out and wish I could spend all day listening to his visceral no holds barred approach punctuated of course by a few breaks just to reset. 

Hearing him on his own or in The Thing, if you are into punkish free-jazz and improv especially live, was practically the closest thing an atheistically inclined agnostic like me gets to a religious experience.  People probably say the same thing from a rock point of view about Colin Stetson although I am not such a fan but acknowledge and do not wish to undervalue his prodigious technique that in some ways compares for all the right reasons with Gustafsson, although Ken Vandermark also springs to mind and I think I prefer Vandermarks overall concepts to Stetson’s probably because he is closer in style and has recorded with Gustafsson. 

The Swede on this adds wavy synths for super textural fibre and is with Didi Kern, a drummer I am not familiar with at all but someone, whose hybrid unbrutal (despite appearances!) multi-directional rocking approach splashes the cymbals around like water, I want to get to know more of on this hearing. Pick of the tracks: the inspiring, involving, buzzy, Fun Generator. Out now: link to the LP site 

Lately I have been reading Teju Cole’s novel Open City bought on impulse in a well stocked book shop which even puts on jazz as part of their evening programme of events – their No Alibis series returns in a few weeks. 

The book first published on this side of the Atlantic approaching eight years ago is set in New York and Brussels and the reason I mention it is that it is dotted with jazz references, not particularly crucial to the story but skilfully dropped in. 

A young doctor, the main character and narrator, has dinner with a fellow, older doctor who he met on the plane over from New York.  She advises him to ‘be sure to get Cannonball’s Somethin’ Else... that’s the great one of all his albums, a true classic.’  Julius duly promises he would. Nat Adderley, writer of ‘Work Song’ and brother of Cannonball the fictional doctor treated, as she did his brother and she and her husband through them later met other jazz musicians including Chet Baker. 

As for Cannonball the Copasetic Foundation has just received a grant from Arts Council England to launch ‘Portrait of Cannonball’ – a celebration of Cannonball’s music with Tony Kofi on  alto sax, Kind of Blue-featured Cannonball’s instrument, and Byron Wallen on cornet, Nat’s preferred horn, a favourite instrument going back to the early days of jazz as championed by Buddy Bolden no less. 

I thought I heard Cannonball say more like, the Portraiture group includes pianist Alex Webb, Andy Cleyndert or Daniel Casimir alternating on bass depending on the gig and drummer Alfonso Vitale plus a guest spot by award winning singer Deelee Dubé who will reference Cannonball’s work with Nancy Wilson, the group publicity points out. SG

The first show is on 2 February at London jazz club the Vortex. 

See Jeff Williams’ website for Lifelike detailsa late-April release from the Konitzianprimus inter pares in superlative company. 

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