STILL RUNNING TO EVEN HOPE TO STAND STILL I only heard Kyron Bourke for the first time this year back in bleak January and enjoyed his low tones and bohemian style although was distracted that against the odds ultimately auspicious night in Berts by an old merchant seafarer I got chatting to while trying to listen who related mostly appealingly to be fair some of his nautical tales however scuttled a bit by his inordinate and overloud length.
Bourke was not even billed that night and was an unannounced surprise addition joining Scott Flanigan in the second set, and impressed me most on a soothing ‘My One and Only Love’, a tender ‘Time after Time’ and later, best of all a sprezzatura treatment that coaxed out the soft and sensuous Chet Baker-esque murmurs needed on ‘I Fall in Love Too Easily’.
Kyron used to run the much appreciated Teatro intimate eaterie on Botanic Avenue and continues to curate the remarkable 7-night per week jazz bookings at the cherishable Berts (which is sort of a Ronnie Scott’s for local jazzers).
In January look out for Kyron’s band The Sazeracs when they play Belfast festival Out To Lunch. This single issued in a new version is not sentimental despite surface appearances and has the right jazz connotation to survive all the Christmas mush and schmaltz and is really quite touching. Think the spirit of Mark Murphy, the triumph of the underdog, blues in the night — light a candle but this spirit won’t go out any time soon.
Vortex founder David Mossman has died. On Twitter Oliver Weindling of the Vortex related the sad news: “David Mossman, who started Vortex Jazz in 1988, died peacefully last night. An un(der)sung hero of the London jazz scene for all the encouragement he gave.”
A huge loss, David was always a friendly face and enthusiastic supporter of free-jazz and improvised music and did more than most to establish its presence in a day-to-day manner on the London scene when in some quarters improv could not get a look-in. He built a community.
I remember going to the old place in Stoke Newington and his face would light up the room. It still did when the club moved to Dalston.
He gave his all to the musicians he promoted and a who’s who of players with global, national and local reputations performed under his gaze.
I never knew him that well but Barb Jungr and me shared some good times with him I remember judging together at the Perrier awards down at the 606 club I suppose it was the late-1990s and the last time I saw him sat downstairs over a few meatballs in the Dalston club where he still was often seen on the door at weekends when he decamped from Margate was a few years ago and he was in good spirits and as enthusiastic as ever. That is how I will remember him: an individual who made a big difference against the odds. I believe in recent months he has battled cancer.
His influence and achievements at the Vortex will live on. For now the serene Music for David Mossman by three of the greatest improvisers, Evan Parker, Barry Guy and Paul Lytton, released earlier this year by Intakt serves as a requiem and a celebration of a generous spirit and champion of the music. Condolences to his family and friends.
What we enjoyed most this year.
1/ MARCH 2018 Chris Potter’s Underground, Ronnie Scott’s, London
2/ NOVEMBER 18 Jerry Bergonzi quartet, Pizza Express Jazz Club, London
3/ SEPTEMBER 18 Stacey Kent, Ronnie Scott’s, London
4/ NOV 18 GoGo Penguin, Royal Albert Hall, London
5/ SEPT 18 Daniel Karlsson trio, Spice of Life, London
6/ AUGUST 18 Camille O’Sullivan, Steele Hall, Enniskillen
7/ SEPTEMBER 18 Girls in Airports, Pizza Express Jazz Club, London
8/ JUNE 18 Tim Garland and Weather Walker, Pizza Express Jazz Club, London
9/ NOV 18 Liran Donin, Agile Rabbit, London
10/ SEPT 18 Matt Carmichael Quartet, Vortex, London
A transgressive take on the “organ” trio. We are not talking chopped liver.
Sunny? Oh no we do not always like sunny. The sunniness is speckled with a darker shadow instead thanks to these guys.
Somehow Moran, the Claudia Quintet vibist, has managed to inject an element of doubt which is one of the most significant aspects of an avant jazz record along with the fact that all clichés are if not banned completely frowned upon.
Moran, someone the sadly deceased Village Voice decided “plays the vibraphone like a speed-chess master” is with the great Gary Versace, again a wayfaring mate of the Claudia Quintet who does not think that he is the reincarnation of Jimmy Smith like most organists usually do. Instead he seems to have cooked up a tumble of zany diagonal lines that, forgive me for hallucinating, swing upside down spiced by jagged offbeats and the right kind of heat to really entice Ingrid Laubrock drummer Tom Rainey who makes the rhythms stir it up and really rouse his arse.
Released on Diskonife (no, me neither) I will not bang on interminably... you will be wigging out to this: promise. SG
Here’s what we picked out, some from the jazz categories; some from beyond.
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album:
“Love Is Here To Stay” —Tony Bennett & Diana Krall
“My Way” — Willie Nelson
“Nat “King” Cole & Me” — Gregory Porter
Standards (DELUXE) —
THE MUSIC…THE MEM’RIES…THE MAGIC! —
Best Contemporary Instrumental Album:
“The Emancipation Procrastination” — Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
“Steve Gadd Band” — Steve Gadd Band
“Modern Lore” — Julian Lage
“Laid Black” — Marcus Miller
Best Urban Contemporary Album:
“Everything Is Love” — The Carters
“The Kids Are Alright “— Chloe x Halle
“Chris Dave And The Drumhedz” — Chris Dave And The Drumhedz
“War & Leisure” — Miguel
“Ventriloquism” — Meshell Ndegeocello
Best Improvised Jazz Solo:
“Some Of That Sunshine” — Regina Carter, soloist
“Don’t Fence Me In” — John Daversa, soloist
“We See” — Fred Hersch, soloists
“De-dah” — Brad Mehldau, soloist
“Cadenas” — Miguel Zenón, soloist
Best Jazz Instrumental Album:
“Diamond Cut” — Tia Fuller
“Live In Europe” — Fred Hersch Trio
“Seymour Reads The Constitution!” — Brad Mehldau Trio
“Still Dreaming” — Joshua Redman, Ron Miles, Scott Colley & Brian Blade
“Emanon” — The Wayne Shorter Quartet
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album:
“All About That Basie” — The Count Basie Orchestra Directed By Scotty
“American Dreamers: Voices Of Hope, Music Of Freedom” — John Daversa Big Band Featuring DACA Artists
“Presence” — Orrin Evans And The Captain Black Big Band
“All Can Work” — John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble
“Barefoot Dances And Other Visions” — Jim McNeely & The Frankfurt Radio Big Band
Best Latin Jazz Album:
“Heart Of Brazil”— Eddie Daniels
“Back To The Sunset”— Dafnis Prieto Big Band
“West Side Story Reimagined”— Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band
“Cinque”— Elio Villafranca
“Yo Soy La Tradición” — Miguel Zenón Featuring Spektral Quartet
Another safe list with mainly very well known names and stocked full of veterans and the great and the good. Put it another way the Grammys are only a rough, rough indicator of what really is going on out there quality wise globally in contemporary jazz. There is very little here that reaches out beyond the US to the UK and the wider European scene (which is usually dominated by the likes of the ECM label) does not feature much unless you really peer closely which is odd given the acclaim a lot of Euro jazz receives in leading US jazz publications and websites. Stylistically too avant jazz, which is a huge constituency within world jazz, gets hardly a mention at all and that is just one significant tranche of a sub-genre missing although this neglect is not new. In Grammyland jazz tends to swing a bit more than in some notions of the music and that shows how out of step with a whole range of post-swing jazz styles the awards are. It is surprising too that Kamasi Washington album Heaven and Earth is not in the running. Finally, some categories like “best contemporary instrumental album” are clumsily named and continue to need clarification rather than stand obviously for what they are designed to represent. SG
Best Jazz Vocal Album:
“My Mood Is You” — Freddy Cole
“The Questions” — Kurt Elling
“The Subject Tonight Is Love” — Kate McGarry With Keith Ganz & Gary Versace
“If You Really Want” — Raul Midón With The Metropole Orkest Conducted By Vince Mendoza
“The Window” — Cécile McLorin Salvant [above]
Best American Roots Performance:
“Kick Rocks” — Sean Ardoin
“Saint James Infirmary Blues” — Jon Batiste
“The Joke” Brandi Carlile
“All On My Mind” — Anderson East
“Last Man Standing” — Willie Nelson
Best Instrumental Composition:
“Blut und Boden (Blood and Soil)” — Terence Blanchard, composer (Terence Blanchard)
“Chrysalis” — Jeremy Kittel, composer (Kittel & Co.)
“Infinity War” — Alan Silverstri, composer (Alan Silvestri)
“Mine Mission” — John Powell & John Williams, composers (John Powell & John Williams)
“The Shape of Water” — Alexandre Desplat, composer (Alexandre Desplat)
Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella:
“Batman Theme (TV)” — Randy Waldman & Justin Wilson, arrangers (Randy Waldman Featuring Wynton Marsalis)
“Change The World” — Mark Kibble, arranger (Take 6)
“Madrid Finale” — John Powell, arranger (John Powell)
“The Shape of Water” — Alexandre Desplat, arranger (Alexandre Desplat)
“Stars and Stripes Forever” — John Daversa, arranger (John Daversa Big Band Featuring DACA Artists)
Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals:
“It Was a Very Good Year” — Matt Rollings & Kristin Wilkinson, arrangers (Willie Nelson)
“Jolene” — Dan Pugach & Nicole Zuraitis, arrangers (Dan Pugach)
“Mona Lisa” — Vince Mendoza, arranger (Gregory Porter)
“Niña” — Gonzalo Grau, arranger (Magos Herrera & Brooklyn Rider)
“Spiderman Theme” — Randy Waldman, arranger (Randy Waldman Featuring Take 6 & Chris Potter)
Best Album Notes:
“Alpine Dreaming: The Helvetia Records Story, 1920-1924” — James P. Leary, album notes writer (Various Artists)
“4 Banjo Songs, 1891-1897: Foundational Recordings of America’s Iconic Instrument” — Richard Martin & Ted Olson, album notes writers (Charles A. Asbury)
“The 1960 Time Sessions” — Ben Ratliff, album notes writer (Sonny Clark Trio)
“The Product of Our Souls: The Sound and Sway of James Reese Europe’s Society Orchestra” — David Gilbert, album notes writer (Various Artists)
“Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981” — Amanda Petrusich, album notes writer (Bob Dylan)
“Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by WIlliam Ferris” — David Evans, album notes writer (Various Artists)
Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical:
Best Music Film:
“Life in 12 Bars”— Eric Clapton, Lili Fini Zanuck, video director; John Battsek, Scooter Weintraub, Larry Yelen & Lili Fini Zanuck, video producers
“Whitney” — (Whitney Houston), Kevin Macdonald, video director; Jonathan Chinn, Simon Chinn & Lisa Erspamer, video producers
“Quincy” — Quincy Jones Alan Hicks & Rashida Jones, video directors; Paula DuPré Pesmen, video producer
“Itzhak”— Itzhak Perlman, Alison Chernick, video director; Alison Chernick, video producer
“The King” — (Elvis Presley), Eugene Jarecki, video director; Christopher Frierson, Georgina Hill, David Kuhn & Christopher St. John, video producers
A new album by acclaimed saxophonist composer bandleader Trish Clowes is in the offing for 2019. Trish explains a little to marlbank about what we can expect: “We’re bringing out a new My Iris album on Basho in the spring, we have a launch gig at the Pizza Express Dean St on May 7th (there’ll be other dates too). We played/previewed two of the new tracks at the Barbican a couple of weeks ago when we supported Avishai Cohen, ‘Lightning Les’ and ‘Free to Fall’. One of the tracks on the album is live, recorded whilst we were on tour in Ireland earlier this year.” SG
Ross Stanley, above left, James Maddren, Trish Clowes and Chris Montague performing on an earlier occasion in the Pizza Express Jazz Club, London. Photo: Dannie Price.