Taken from Yo Soy la Tradición (Miel Music) to be released in September listen to the compositional flair of ‘Milagrosa’ by saxophonist Miguel Zenón joined by the Spektral Quartet. Chamber jazz, and Puerto Rican folk and religious traditions feed into the sound. Zenón is one of the world’s greatest saxophonists joined by the acclaimed Spektral Quartet [Clara Lyon, violin; Maeve Feinberg, violin; Doyle Armbrust, viola; and Russell Rolen, cello] who are based in Chicago. I’d stick my neck out and say that this is a hot prospect for a Grammy. Certainly it is fresh and has a life force to it rare in chamber jazz hybrids.

Combo 66

More on what we know so far about the new John Scofield band album.

Quick recap as previously reported the album is called Combo 66 – and features Sco with pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Vicente Archer, and drummer Bill Stewart. “Gerald has a beautiful touch and though he is quite modern, his touch reminds me of Hank Jones or Tommy Flanagan,” says John Scofield doing promo for the album.

One track was inspired by not one but three musical giants: Herbie Hancock, Paul Simon and Miles Davis:

Years ago, I did a record and a tour with Herbie Hancock, for his album, The New Standard. He had this arrangement of ‘Scarborough Fair’ and I really liked the chords. I used those chords and then wrote a melody which was reminiscent of a lick that Miles used to play. So, between Herbie and Miles and Paul Simon’s ‘Scarborough Fair’, I called this ‘Icons at the Fair’.”

Combo 66 cover

Sco is 66 hence the name of the band which gigged in New York city back in April for club dates. Track list in full: Can’t Dance, Combo Theme, Icons at The Fair, Willa Jean, Uncle Southern, Dang Swing, New Walzo, I’m Sleeping In, King of Belgium, and bonus track for Japan, Ringing Out. ‘King of Belgium’ is dedicated to Toots Thielemans who died just two years ago.  

Combo 66 top left to right (photo: Nicholas Suttle) Gerald Clayton, Bill Stewart, John Scofield, and Vicente Archer. The album cover is above. A September release through Universal.

Bradbury Street

Squaring up to the future... Gillett Square in Dalston, home to the Vortex, awaits refurbishment of the existing workspaces and addition of 500m2 extra workspace in a mezzanine extension” on the Bradbury Street side. The architects say: “Our proposal aims to maximize the potential of the existing building, while creating new spaces and further animating the square within which it lies.”

The individuality and human scale of Bradbury Street will by the overbearing look of the mock-up completely disappear. Will everyone be as thrilled as Hackney Cooperative Developments (who the Vortex rents off) were when Hackney Council’s planning committee approved the plans? “A win for Dalston” they claim in a spirit of optimism despite a lot of local opposition over the last few months. Hearts and minds more like it will take longer to win over. SG       

Later this year It will be 10 years exactly since Freddie Hubbard died. The trumpeter passed away in California on 29 December 2008, at the age of 70.

There will be a lot of tributes in a number of ways of course celebrating his legacy in words at least and most probably a continuity whether conscious or not out there on bandstands the world over of his music: that tone, that dazzling facility at speed, that spirit even on a pop song which he then made his own as a jazz instrumental, remember his version of ‘Fragile’? 

More so, what about his compositions, Red Clay chief among them? Quite. Beyond categorisation, just historic and bandstand bound.

David Weiss and The Cookers are the keepers of the flame as an aggregation, a constellation of elders and masters.  

While Hubbard is seen quite rightly as a hard bop hero — currently holder of that position, the heavyweight Hubbardian Jeremy Pelt — Hubbard was on some avant classics as well, lest we are too selective: he was on John Coltrane’s late period masterpiece Ascension, and he was on Eric Dolphy’s Out To Lunch to name but two of these. So, without further ado let’s listen to the avant side of Hubbard and explore more.

Hone in perhaps most on the Free Jazz clip from 5 mins and 40 seconds, actually listen to it all if you have time. After all what we loosely call very generally “free jazz” began at least in a literal sense synonymously Ornette if not historically as Free Jazz. SG