Building towards the release of Spirituality - Courtney Pine's first album in 5 years - the 1980s saxophone and bass clarinet legend is touring throughout the autumn with the 2021 Ivors Impact winner pianist Zoe Rahman and a string quartet. Shows include Cornwall, Buxton, Liverpool, Wavendon, Norwich, Leeds, Cardiff, Southampton, Edinburgh, London, Saffron Walden and Bradford on Avon.
A London born UK icon of Jamaican lineage Pine's last album was Black Notes From The Deep in 2017.
Courtney, 58, broke the mould to establish a renaissance for UK jazz at the time of Journey to the Urge Within which cracked the pop charts in 1986 something that in that synth pop-dominated era hitherto was fairly unthinkable and somehow introduced a new generation of UK black jazz musicians to the wider public mostly for the first time.
Many musicians on Urge Within have long since become icons of the UK scene including BBC Radio Three presenter pianist and composer Julian Joseph, vibes luminary and jazz industry power Orphy Robinson, Tomorrow's Warriors legend Gary Crosby and the great jazz singer Cleveland Watkiss.
Pine was the Shabaka Hutchings of his day and yet surely Birmingham star Hutchings would admit that he stands on the shoulders of the giant as do so many. Like Pine who set up his own label Destin-E Records signing the likes of long time comrade steady eddie guitarist Cameron Pierre, Hutchings has established Native Rebel. Blessed with a monstrously accomplished playing technique drawing on circular breathing methods and more Pine emerged from a reggae background as a very young man playing with such seminal acts as Clint Eastwood and General Saint.
It's fair to say that Pine, a Black British and Afropean icon whose reach has extended far beyond the jazz niche into more general cultural and socio-political significance, is the most influential jazz musician of Jamaican descent on the UK scene since Joe Harriott and while revered and celebrated quite rightly today long after his passing Harriott was very undersung and neglected in his day given the acute often overtly racist climate of the era. Pine has developed his own syncretic approach whether developing ideas based on DJ and scratch culture, pan-Caribbean music, the legacy of John Coltrane and much more.
Spirituality picks up the thread established on the earlier Song (The Ballad Book) from 2015.
Zoe Rahman and Courtney Pine photo: publicity shot
The podcast Global with Courtney Pine Discovering Nu Jazz and Beyond hits episode 14 today. This week for the brand new show set to go up later tracks are:
Cyrus Chestnut - 'Nippon Soul Connection' HIGHNOTE
Bill Laurance - 'Balm' FLINT
Marco Tranchina/Smat Five - 'Axioma' UBUNTU
Dende & Band - 'Epe Baba' ROPEADOPE
Action Tension and Space - 'Chromosomes' RUNE
Smudges - 'The Gigue is Up' CRYPTOGRAMOPHONE
Maridalen - 'Pa nye eventyr' JAZZLAND
Ebi Soda - Pseudocreme TRU THOUGHTS
Zela Margossian Quintet - Forecast ROPEADOPE
Joel Lyssarides - Gowns of Dark ACT
Catch up on last week's episode above