Today’s afternoon listening is in tribute to Perry Robinson, the clarinettist who died last week aged 80. Influenced by Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry as a sideman he played in the Henry Grimes trio composing the title track of The Call. He was on classic Archie Shepp 1967 record Mama Too Tight and Annette Peacock’s 1972 RCA release I’m The One. Obituary, in German, via the Badische Zeitung.

“Ages” away, falling a few weeks before the Brexitian day of shame: but this is a no-brainer. Guaranteed there will be nothing better on down the Dog and Duck or even The Case Is Altered, Eastcote’s finest pub, some say. Sadly even with the best will in the world The Case is Altered would not be able to squeeze everyone into the back room for Blue Maqams, who play the Barbican a few days this side of St Patrick’s Day come March. More’s the pity. 

A must, “obviously”? Well, m’lud, Anouar Brahem is the best jazz oudist in the world. His deft timbral facility is unsurpassable. There you have it. But also cast your mind back to the brilliant Thimar, an album that also featured Dave Holland who returns to the Brahem universe and is at the heart of the Blue Maqams sound along with the Tunisian master. Subtract John Surman from that formula but add the tabasco of Django Bates and one of the best drummers in the world in Nasheet Waits in for the great Jack DeJohnette as the active ingredients and hey presto. Details. 

A PARLOUR GAME AND OPINION ONLY not fact or worse opinion dressed up as fact. It is that time of year. 

The premiss: the most significant jazz musician ever to come out of Europe is Django Reinhardt (1910-1953).

If you reject this notion fare thee well, Elf awaits on TV, plenty on!

Who has followed Django and can be held in similarly high esteem as an icon of the music?

The criteria since you ask: supreme command, charisma, sublime artistry, invention — that altogether touch the soul.

We do not ask for much.

Who came next as an icon?

Jan Garbarek (born 1947), very non-trad.  

A Coltranian disciple from Norway who proved to however impossibly rewrite the rule book of European jazz and fulfils all the above criteria.

To be honest since Garbarek it is harder to find anyone who fits the bill and the ones who do are all saxophonists.

Only two players are to my mind in the running. 

The first the discovery of another Django, Django Bates, the sax titan Marius Neset (born 1985), another Norwegian by a fluke. Yes another outrageously gifted sax player whose sound is as tender as the night.

Since Marius emerged a decade ago the only other contender to follow him, again a child of the 1980s, is another saxophonist. 

He is Émile Parisien (born 1982), whose Sfumato this year was simply brilliant and is included in the marlbank albums of the year for 2018.

In August 2017 Sfumato, the Émile Parisien quintet, played Wynton Marsalis’ favourite festival Marciac in la belle France, where Skain joined the band as did the French bass clarinet legend Michel Portal, led by artist in residence Parisien in front of an estimated 5,000 audience.

Sidney Bechet’s ‘Temptation Rag’, was on the set list, Bechet (1897-1959), father of the jazz saxophone, a hero to record producer Siggi Loch. 

The very good news is the sax god from France is back in January. The signs are that he already is in the pantheon of Euro greats.

Think I am deluded? Well clicky clicky on the tasteful barcode top under the picture of the Parisien quartet for a soupçon of the storming Double Screening and discover Monsieur Parisien for yourself. 

Out at the end of January on Siggi Loch’s resurgent ACT label, Parisien is on soprano and tenor sax with Julien Touéry playing piano, Ivan Gélugne manhandling the double bass, and Julien Loutelier bashing the drums.

Tracks are all written separately by the band members.

A studio album recorded a year ago in Amiens. Harbouring a fear of missing out on an icon very much in his prime by the sound of it?

No fear. 


THE PATCHWORK of new releases destined for early-2019 begins to gain a lot more shape as the New Year approaches. Take this driving upcoming self-titled album to be issued on the Ubuntu label by Wandering Monster which is to be released at the end of January. 

Wandering Monster

“The musicians that inspired me to start writing for a group were those who blend the jazz and rock genres, the likes of Dave Holland, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Tigran Hamasyan being at the top of my list of influences” says bassist-composer-leader Sam Quintana who is joined in the band by Ben Powling on tenor saxophone, Calvin Travers on guitar, Tom Higham on drums and Aleks Podraza on piano and keyboards.

Dates in January and February 2019 include gigs in Ambleside, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Huddersfield before the launch in Leeds at the Sela Bar on 20 January and further touring to Manchester, Birmingham, London, Bristol, Kenilworth, Cardiff, and Leeds again at tour end. 
‘Tuco’ above in a live version is featured on the self-titled album.

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.

David Mossman

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.

Stephen Graham