Late-March sees A Winter Light an experimental beyond genre album harnessing a deft sense of minimalism, a free form improv ethic and still, pristine melody that follows on from Sending Letters to the Sea (2009) and A Generous Act (2012).
The work of a collective circled around Karl Burke, Eileen Carpio, Sean Carpio, Mark Garry, Nina Hynes and Fabien Lesure and joined on this latest project, which was created at the Model Gallery in Sligo, responding to a Mark Garry exhibition and joined by musicians Oliver Alcorn, Claudia Schwab, Robert Stillman, Padraig Murphy and his brother the Peaky Blinders actor and musician Cillian Murphy.
Tracks on the Bluestack Records release are: A Winter Light, The Way We Know, As We Walked into the Field, Son, Raging Fire, above to appear on 12-inch vinyl, Changes, Her, Amazon, Mirrors, and, Gold.
Linger over the tender ‘Raging Fire’ as the song conjures a flickering spell that rises in an arc of prophetic hope toward a better life and however impossibly a serenity and strength fashioned in turmoil.
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.’ SG
The modern mainstream Joseph Leighton trio, guitarist Joseph Leighton from Derry with double bassist Jack Kelly from Ballyclare and drummer James Anderson from Portadown, opened the Irish jazz showcase at this year’s Brilliant Corners in Belfast.
Then it was the turn of adventurous singer Sue Rynhart from Dublin who appeared with pianist-percussionist Francesco Turrisi and double bassist Dan Bodwell and whose unique singer-songwriter style touches on konnakol and Kate Bush-like vocal improvisation. From Cork, trombonist Paul Dunlea with his multi-national quintet, pianist Leopoldo Osio, bassist Barry Donohue, tenor saxophonist Ben Castle who now lives in Ireland, and Scottish drummer Alyn Cosker was the easy pick of the night. Dunlea has a very soft and appealing tone, and a melodic sense reminiscent of Curtis Fuller a little in terms at least of the heritage style the sound and approach lands in, the horn arrangements had a lightly swinging life to them that avoided too much sentimentalism even with the use of an atmospheric mute and the group interplay was full of rhythmic ingenuity courtesy of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra’s Cosker.
Guitarist Joseph Leighton is a jazz performance student at Trinity Laban in London whose guitar teachers include Mike Outram and Hannes Riepler. His big jazz inspirations he told me are Jesse van Ruller, Peter Bernstein and David Lyttle, speaking before the gig in the nearby MAC at the first ever Irish meet and greet held for the Jazz Promotion Network whose board was convening later in the day the event co-hosted by Moving on Music, the Belfast promoter who runs Brilliant Corners, and the IMC, the leading jazz promoter from Dublin whose festival initiatives have included the award winning 12 Points and experimental Down with Jazz. Joseph also chatted a little about his neighbourhood jazz club local to Trinity in Greenwich, Oliver’s. Back home in Derry he plays regularly at Bennigan’s pub run by pianist John Leighton, which is at the heart of the local north west of Northern Ireland jazz scene and which has rapidly built up a more national profile and where local legend Gay McIntyre plays regularly as well as visiting stars including, in a springtime highlight, Kurt Rosenwinkel appearing with Michael Janisch and David Lyttle in trio. SG
Brilliant Corners, named after a Thelonious Monk classic album, has grown considerably since its first running and still happily retains its intimate scale. Acts coming up later this week are Kaja Draksler, Thunderblender, the Elliot Galvin trio, Brian Irvine Ensemble, David Lyttle trio, Jack Kelly trio, and Sons of Kemet whose Irish tour begins in Limerick city tonight.
Updated and corrected 08/03/18.
33 Jazz Mostly mainstream, straightahead, and vocals-led sounds.
Acid jazz in the 1990s introduced a genre-defining commercial blend of mod, soul-jazz and Hammond organ flavours that helped turn on a new generation and spawned its own sub-genre that updated “soul jazz”.
ASC Albums by Mike Westbrook, Julian Joseph and Steve Plews are included in the catalogue of this long-running label.
Audio B Run by bassist Malcolm Creese. Chamber jazz in outlook with a bop flavour.
Babel Current artist releases include Indigo Kid and III: Moment Gone in the Clouds.
Basho Home to The Impossible Gentlemen.
Brownswood Look out for Joe Armon-Jones.
Candid Championed the then unknown Jamie Cullum, signing the singer-pianist-songwriter.
Chaos Collective Back catalogue includes records by Laura Jurd and Corrie Dick.
Coffee and apple records Home to Kitty LaRoar and Simians of Swing.
Confront Mark Wastell’s adventurous improv label.
Destin-e Records Saxophonist and bass clarinettist Courtney Pine’s label. Choice items in the UK jazz legend’s back catalogue, still one of the biggest draws in concert halls, occasionally clubs, and festivals all over, include House of Legends, Song: The Ballad Book (2015) with pianist Zoe Rahman, and the self titled award winning debut album from Empirical then with Jay Phelps, Kit Downes and Neil Charles joining Nat Facey and Shaney Forbes, Courtney producing on that occasion and playing a bit. Maximum respect.
Diatribe Dons of the Dublin improv and alt.jazz scene. Their groundbreaking improv festival Éiríocht is in London this month
Diving Duck Ronnie Scott’s musical director pianist James Pearson and Scots jazz icon Jim Mullen are among label luminaries.
Downhome Records MOJO jazz writer Chris Ingham’s own label.
Efpi Champions of and home to the Beats & Pieces big band.
Ergodos A Dublin based label with an Irish traditional, forward looking jazz, and improv-inflected signing policy.
F-IRE Started originally by Barak Schmool.
FMR Dates back to the 1990s.
Foghorn Saxist Tony Bevan’s label. Late period Sunny Murray (RIP) features in the catalogue.
Gearbox Mainly vinyl.
Gondwana Mancunian spiritual jazz label.
Hep Trad, reissues and vintage.
Jazzizit Among the roster artists on saxophonist/producer Derek Nash’s long-running label are elegant singer Trudy Kerr.
Jazz on Film Records Selwyn Harris’ acclaimed jazz film soundtrack box set label.
Jellymould Expect a new album from Sam Leak and Dan Tepfer, together, among the upcoming releases.
The Leaf Label Pete Wareham’s Melt Yourself Down and Matthew Bourne’s Moog project are in the jazz section of the back catalogue.
Leo Veteran avant garde label that made its name before the Berlin Wall came down in those days specialising in the Soviet era avant garde as well as US free-jazz.
Lost Marble Django Bates’ label.
Luminous Artist-run label.
Lyte Brother Raymond by Jean Toussaint is new in May 2018.
Naim Roster includes Yazz Ahmed. Back catalogue features early Sons of Kemet, now releasing on Impulse!
Peter Edwards Music The Nu Civilisation Orchestra and Zara McFarlane pianist Peter Edwards’ own label.
Provocateur Mask Orchestra back catalogue is a feature.
Psi An Evan Parker-curated label.
RareNoise Roster includes WorldService Project and Jamie Saft.
Sospiro Classical music saxophonist and composer John Harle’s label.
Soul jazz Known for its well-curated compilations.
Spartacus Home to the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and Tommy Smith.
Specific Kent-based record distributor Proper’s in-house label.
Splashpoint Back catalogue includes Ian Shaw, Liane Carroll and Sue Richardson records.
Stoney Lane is a relatively new Birmingham scene label, pianist composer/arranger Hans Koller among the roster.
Traillbelle, the label of the great Irish singer Christine Tobin.
Trio Records Drummer Clark Tracey’s mainstream, bebop and hard bop label. Spang a lang. John Horler sides, soon.
Tru Thoughts Eclectic jazz inclined dance and DJ-inspired rare grooves galore rising up from a Brighton base.
Two Rivers Artists include Darwish.
Village Life Drummer Paul Clarvis’ discerning, eclectic, far sighted, jazz label.
Whirlwind Recordings A fast pace setting, groundbreaking hard bop and New Cool School label. Roster includes classy tenorist (London out of Nottingham) and occasional bassist Julian Siegel, affectionately known as “Wiggy”, in quartet mode.
The great Mulatu with his firing band – Cape Town
Cape Town International Jazz Festival 23 and 24 March
Gateshead International Jazz Festival 6-8 April
Cully Jazz Festival 13-21 April
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 27 April-6 May
Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2 May-7 May
Jazz sous les pommiers 5-12 May
Like a Jazz Machine 10-13 May
Moers Festival 18-21 May
Nattjazz 25 May-2 June
Elbjazz 1 and 2 June
Montreal International Jazz Festival 28 June-7 July
Love Supreme 29 June-1 July
Jazz à Juan 12-22 July
North Sea 13-15 July
Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival 13-22 July
Pori Jazz 14-22 July
Newport Jazz Festival 3-5 August
Jazz Middelheim 9-12 August
Berlin Jazz Festival 1-4 November
London Jazz Festival 16-25 November
Cloudmakers Five use a porous sound canvas of an approach that creates new space drawn from Cool, bebop and chamber jazz not only in the writing but factored in also in the expression. Experimenting with the present they make the future arrive earlier than it otherwise might however contrary to the laws of physics that may well be. Never obvious, overly attention-grabbing or derivative, instead they exist in a laboratory of the air in the moment.
JD Allen will not be playing the Brilliant Corners festival this week. The promoter Moving on Music is announcing details of refund arrangements later today. An expired passport put paid to the US sax ace travelling.
Coming up at the annual festival, which is centred on the Cathedral Quarter of the city centre of Belfast, is the Irish jazz showcase with Paul Dunlea, Sue Rynhart and, out of the pulsating Derry jazz scene, Joseph Leighton, above.
12 on 14, Warsaw WEBSITE
606, London WEBSITE
Agharta, Prague WEBSITE
Arthur’s, Dublin WEBSITE
A-Trane, Berlin WEBSITE
Bennigans, Derry WEBSITE
Berts, Belfast WEBSITE
Bimhuis, Amsterdam WEBSITE
Birdland, New York WEBSITE
Bix, Stuttgart WEBSITE
Blue Note, Milan WEBSITE
Blue Note, New York WEBSITE
Blue Note, Tokyo WEBSITE
Blue Note Jazz Club, Poznań WEBSITE
Blues Alley, Washington DC WEBSITE
Budapest Jazz Club, Budapest WEBSITE
Cafe Central, Madrid WEBSITE
Casa del Jazz, Rome WEBSITE
Clamores, Madrid WEBSITE
Dazzle, Denver WEBSITE
Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, Seattle WEBSITE
Dizzy’s, New York WEBSITE
Domicil, Dortmund WEBSITE
Duc des Lombards, Paris WEBSITE
Eastside Jazz Club, Birmingham WEBSITE
Esse, Moscow WEBSITE
Fasching, Stockholm WEBSITE
Greenmill, Chicago WEBSITE
Harris, Kraków WEBSITE
Jamboree, Barcelona WEBSITE
Jazzhus Montmartre, Copenhagen WEBSITE
Jazzkeller, Frankfurt WEBSITE
Jazz Standard, New York WEBSITE
Koko, Helsinki WEBSITE
L’Archiduc, Brussels WEBSITE
Loft, Cologne WEBSITE
Matt and Phreds, Manchester WEBSITE
Mezzrow, New York WEBSITE
Moods, Zurich WEBSITE
Nardis, Istanbul WEBSITE
Nova Jazz Cava, Terrassa, near Barcelona WEBSITE
Philly Joe’s, Tallinn WEBSITE
Pizza Express Jazz Club, London WEBSITE
Poetry Jazz Cafe, Toronto WEBSITE
Porgy and Bess, Vienna WEBSITE
Ptica, Belgrade WEBSITE
Regatta bar, Boston WEBSITE
Ronnie Scott’s, London WEBSITE
Smoke, New York WEBSITE
Snug Harbor, New Orleans WEBSITE
Spice of Life, London WEBSITE
Spin, Oxford WEBSITE
Stadtgarten, Cologne WEBSITE
Sunset-Sunside, Paris WEBSITE
The Blue Arrow, Glasgow WEBSITE
The Bulls Head, London WEBSITE
The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh WEBSITE
The Pit Inn, Tokyo WEBSITE
Unterfahrt, Munich WEBSITE
Victoria Nasjonal Jazz Scene, Oslo WEBSITE
Village Vanguard, New York WEBSITE
Vortex, London WEBSITE
Yoshi’s, Oakland WEBSITE
Zinc Bar, New York WEBSITE
Along Frith Street, above, pic © marlbank
Satire and still OK to laugh with on a serious level, this takes off via now long assimilated methods pioneered by the likes of Scanner pre-web to hurtle to an absurdist digital age responsive Han Bennink-like agit circus of necessary pause rather than dim conclusion.
Filtered via quartal harmony, spoken word slapstick, playback mischief and open beats it is improvising to thrill to and fun and one of the best albums I have heard so far in 2018 by a long way. Artist website