‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free’ and more from Bammi Rose and Adrian Reid
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.
On a Friday
Unveiled for the first time live in front of a receptive crowd at 229 The Venue last weekend the beguiling ‘On A Friday’ from indie four-piece DropPink, who played a blinder.
Madeline Bell blends beautifully with Paul Weller on the Modfather’s latest album
Listen above to the most talked about track so far from A Kind Revolution, just out from Paul Weller. Madeline Bell is on the album as a backing singer, Robert Wyatt also guests. (What’s not to like?) I am definitely a new-ish fan of hers since Singer: The Musical and Weller of course on and off since The Jam but only recently liking the Style Council which I never got at the time (he is one of the enduring musical greats beyond genre stating the bleedin’ obvious). I interviewed her back in 2015 just before she was doing a Ray Charles-themed big band show.
Singing since her teenage years in Newark, New Jersey Madeline toured with the musical Black Nativity eventually making her home in Britain and going on to become a backing singer for Dusty Springfield, later seizing the spotlight herself and having hits with the likes of ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’.
PP Arnold, above left, also a backing singer on the album, Weller, Madeline Bell. Pic via Twitter
We talked about Ray Charles that time for the interview published in londonjazznews.com and how she saw herself as a singer refusing categorisation. What matters is she is still singing incredibly well as you can hear on this brand new album which is picking up a lot of positive feedback whether as a backing singer or in the spotlight herself.
“When I arrived in the UK as a cast member of Black Nativity in 1962 I was a gospel singer, I knew nothing else. When I returned having signed with EMI in September 1963 I became ‘a pop singer,” she told me. “Then I worked for many years in London’s recording studios where I had to learn and sing backing vocals, lead vocals, harmonies, how to sing in different languages and styles, and discipline. I worked the clubs throughout the UK as a cabaret artiste. Then in 1987 Mr Ronnie Scott and Mr Pete King convinced me that it was time for me to step into jazz. They told me ‘you belong in Ronnie’s.’
“That’s when I became a jazz singer. I was doubtful, they were sure... I don’t try to sound or sing like any of my heroes. I was reminded in my early solo recording days that the world doesn’t need or want another Aretha Franklin, who was unknowingly singing jazz straight out of church. I love all styles, from Aretha to Amy Winehouse.”
Indie jazz labels
Babel Current artist releases include Free #3 by Black Top.