The Kitch tour got off to a tremendous start at Keats House in Hampstead, north London, part of the Windrush 70 celebrations marking the first significant wave of migrants arriving from the Caribbean to the UK in the 20th century who disembarked from the Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks in Essex on 22 June 1948.
Poet singer writer Anthony Joseph’s fictionalised biography of calypsonian Lord Kitchener is published on the day of the 70th anniversary itself and ahead of the publication Anthony, above wearing a trilby, took part in a relaxed and highly informative onstage conversation with poet Hannah Lowe and took questions from the audience, some of whom are pictured greeting Anthony just after the reading finished and before the book signing queue began to form.
These were evocative, vivid, poetic tales of Lord Kitchener, Mighty Sparrow, and the calypsonian universe spanning from the Caribbean to Kitch’s life in Manchester, and which also included Anthony’s recollection of the profound moment when he actually met Lord Kitchener as chance would have it in Port of Spain.
The tour continues in the Alhambra theatre for a Bradford Literature Festival appearance on 7 July when Anthony will be joined by alto saxophonist Jason Yarde who features on the new Joseph album People of the Sun. Anthony told me in a brief chat during the signing that the album which has been introduced with the trail of the infectious ‘Dig Out Your Eye’ will be released in September. SG
Latest live review: Tim Garland and the Weather Walker trio
At the Edition festival this was an unusual lunchtime opportunity to hear the ex-Chick Corea saxophonist Tim Garland along with Jason Rebello (formerly with Sting and Jeff Beck) and the distinguished jazz and classical Russian double bassist Yuri Goloubev (Gwilym Simcock).
The trio date chimed with the release of landmark release Weather Walker and took place during the Edition label’s 10th anniversary festival. The album also features a large string section and star German pianist Pablo Held who was also appearing at the club later in the day, the album recorded in Studios 1 and 3 of Abbey Road. “Movie magic, (but not as we know it!),” Garland has described it.
Full of interest imbued as it is with an English sense of melancholy and the blue sky of the endless horizons of contemporary jazz inspired by the English Cumbrian lake district and the intricacies of Garland’s compositional and arranging skill heard for instance earlier in his career on The New Crystal Silence, the title track of the new album was kept to last tucked in right at the end of the second set – and what a gloriously dark mood it conveys certainly one full of thought provoking reflection.
Earlier we also heard a fine composition by Jason Rebello called ‘Pearl’ featured on the pianist’s 2016 album Held but for me it was ‘Black Elk’ from Garland’s orchestral record Libra that was the pick of the concert.
Garland chose a variety of reeds instruments, soprano sax most significantly. His bass clarinet playing (“the random note generator” as he referred to the instrument jestingly) was colourful. Judicious use of electronics were fed into the sound for extra space during the set and his tenor playing was magisterial.
Rebello was on fine optimistic form, and his style now is certainly his own. His main influences of notably Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter have long since been assimilated and distilled into a driving style where harmonic accompaniment is lifted into solo space and you cannot see where the seams are.
Goloubev I suppose stole the show in a way without grandstanding. He was at the heart of the trio sound in several ways. Garland mentioned his arco capabilities borne from the double bassist’s classical orchestral background in Moscow and his musicianship is unerringly used in the service of the beauty of the music.
I first heard Garland in the 1990s when he played in the folk jazz group Lammas which featured the acclaimed poet Don Paterson who played guitar and singer Christine Tobin. The folk side of Garland’s writing has not left him and I suppose makes his music English in certain nuanced ways and adds to his specific compositional profile. Garland is also able to share the pulse across the trio and allows space for each of the instruments to contribute without distracting at all. The set drew on the contrapuntal chamber jazz of Acoustic Triangle a little too. A tender gig full of character by three masters at work and play.
Tim Garland among family and friends above at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, London
Simcock & Goloubev Reverie at Schloss Elmau ACT **** RECOMMENDED
There’s a Slavic atmosphere in Gwilym Simcock’s solo phrasing on ‘Pastoral’ in just a note or two that almost conjures Komeda's ‘Svantetic’ at the beginning of Reverie at Schloss Elmau that’s new, a tantalising prelude to this quite beautiful duo record.
Yet the surroundings are familiar as it’s a return to the imposing Bavarian retreat of Schloss Elmau for the pianist snowy in the album picture and where the Impossible Gentlemen player found himself recording in March with bassist Yuri Goloubev and where Simcock recorded his solo album Good Days at Schloss Elmau, released in 2011. On Reverie… there’s a selection of material written separately by both Simcock and bassist Goloubev, who also joins Simcock on April 2014’s expansive chamber orchestral Instrumation release.
Reverie... is an intimate immaculate record rhapsodic, heartfelt, and true, the piano/bass format ideal for a chamber jazz setting, as Jasmine, Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden’s subtle duo explorations released in 2010, went some way to prove. Clues in the track titles lead directly and naturalistically to the prevailing sentiments and moods at work, instrumentals that evoke without a hint of varnish lost romance, “shades of pleasure”, and above all wistful day dreams, the reverie in the title. Goloubev has gorgeous Miroslav Vitous-like tone and sumptuous melodic resource and the excellent sound quality of the album enhancing the natural reverb at the Schloss is its match, while Simcock plays in a style that is way beyond the manifestations of the virtuoso that he has long been recognised as. There’s an instinctive ease and joy in his playing say in the exuberant Jarrett-esque flourishes of ‘Antics’, and above all the ‘flow’, to adopt the title of the seventh track, so rarely experienced on record.