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The Steve Gadd band at Blue Note Tokyo: impressions on 1st listens & rated *** (3 stars)

To be released by BFM Jazz, Steve Gadd has old muckers Jimmy Johnson on bass guitar and Walt Fowler on trumpet, Kevin Hays on keyboards and vocals on a few numbers with guitarist David Spinozza coming in for Michael Landau. The record spans an …

Published: 6 Mar 2021. Updated: 34 days.

To be released by BFM Jazz, Steve Gadd has old muckers Jimmy Johnson on bass guitar and Walt Fowler on trumpet, Kevin Hays on keyboards and vocals on a few numbers with guitarist David Spinozza coming in for Michael Landau. The record spans an album's worth of selections drawn from a 4-night run in the Tokyo jazz club the Blue Note in December 2019. Some tracks are originals. Impressions after a few listens? OK, tastes pretty savoury and invites you in. There's momentarily a sci-fi type opening from Hays on 'Where's Earth' and solemn trumpet before the funkiness. Gadd's sticks you can hear before the very Steely Dan-like 'Doesn't She Know By Now'. On 'Timpanogos' Fowler is quite Linley Hamilton-like and takes up the running quite a lot. 'Hidden Drive' is bluesy. Spinozza is great at swampy pitch-bending quite a lot throughout the album. 'Walk With Me' has an Americana feel and there's a Hays vocal that you could imagine sitting well in a kind of Derek Trucks-type situation. 'One Point Five' has cowbell upfront, a Cuban feel, and really good bass lines. The funkified 'Way Back Home' comes with tremendous brushwork from Gadd. Lest we forget the Rochester icon is one of the greatest drummers on planet earth and this live album is an update on that fact. 'Rat Race' is all about a super band command of the offbeats. It is so full of elasticity and organic flow. Probably the pick of the tracks. 'Watching the River Flow' with a Hays vocal finishes things off. For sheer groove go for 'Way Back Home'. For melody it's 'Doesn't She Know by Now'. Out on 2 April

Tags: Album / EP reviews

German radio stations present 80th birthday Brötzmann tributes

Tune in to Full Blast themed around the artistry of Peter Brötzmann on his 80th birthday today. Broadcast by Stuttgart station Südwestrundfunk, the SWR2 programme, presented in German by Thomas Loewner, offers plenty of listening examples of one of …

Published: 6 Mar 2021. Updated: 47 days.

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Tune in to Full Blast themed around the artistry of Peter Brötzmann on his 80th birthday today.

Broadcast by Stuttgart station Südwestrundfunk, the SWR2 programme, presented in German by Thomas Loewner, offers plenty of listening examples of one of Europe's most globally influential jazz saxophonists who changed the history of jazz with Machine Gun (1968) via the prism of new ideas and thinking surrounding free, collective, improvisation. Of Brötzmann's recent work check out 2019 Trost album I Surrender Dear.

Also celebrating the Remscheid-born player's 80th is the former director of the Berlin Jazz Festival and jazz writer doyen of the Leipzig scene Bert Noglik who presents his own tribute on the Hamburg NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk) station during the regular Round Midnight show linked to here. Additionally Wolke Verlag have just published Brötzmann: Along the Way featuring Brötzmann artwork from 2010-2020 with text contributions by Brötzmann, Thomas Millroth, John Corbett, Markus Müller, Sotiris Kontos, Stephen O´Malley, Heather Leigh and Karl Lippegaus. Link to order.

I've only managed to see Brötzmann in the flesh once, in the early-1990s, in an Elton Dean presentation at the Rumours pub on Stoke Newington Road in north London reviewing for a Soho-based magazine Jazz Express now sadly no longer published. That night changed the way I knew how to listen and burns on my memory. Brötzmann remains to this day hugely influential on the London fiercely hardcore free-improv scene and one of the city's most distinctive contributions in its numerous variants to the music globally yet that crucially share common ground with an international movement that Brötzmann and Evan Parker have done so much to spearhead. (Further reading: Harald Kisiedu's interesting European Echoes: Jazz Experimentalism in Germany 1950-1975 published last year offers an illuminating overview.) SG