Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

GoGo Penguin, From the North: Live in Manchester, XXIM/Sony ****

GoGo Penguin l-r: Jon Scott, Chris Illingworth, Nick Blacka. Photo: stock. Manchester's GoGo Penguin have gone through significant personnel changes down the years - only founder pianist Chris Illingworth remaining. We first heard them when …

Published: 9 Apr 2024. Updated: 3 months.

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GoGo Penguin l-r: Jon Scott, Chris Illingworth, Nick Blacka. Photo: stock.

Manchester's GoGo Penguin have gone through significant personnel changes down the years - only founder pianist Chris Illingworth remaining. We first heard them when original double bassist Grant Russell was in the band, his replacement Nick Blacka remains. But since drummer Jon Scott - known for his work with the MOBO-winning Adam Waldmann led Kairos 4tet - took the reins from Rob Turner, the band continues to be as potent a force but powered differently given that Scott isn't as much a drum'n'bass workhorse as Turner proved so reliably.

The stunning Scott era has already delivered a moving album in Everything Is Going To Be OK and here on mini-album From the North which is a live representation of it if you think in terms of e.s.t. (an early influence on Illingworth) their Live in Hamburg. Translated that means this 7 tracker full of trio co-writes is shit hot. With 'Everything Is Going To Be OK' from the earlier album as a Miroslav Vitouš calibre Blacka-led centrepiece beautifully picked up by the sound engineers this is a goosebumps inducing affair pretty much all over. Illingworth, also heavily influenced by Aphex Twin, has never sounded more at ease, more himself. He knocks any suggestions of a sound that compares in its more heartwarming moments to the pathos of Ludovico Einaudi into a cocked hat.

Tags: Reviews

Summertime jazz series to begin on Radio Ulster

Close enough for jazz? Jazz returns to the air at the BBC in Belfast this summer. Photo: marlbank Stephen Graham It looks like a new ''jazz series'' is to air later this year on BBC Radio Ulster. But will this series be a short lived affair or …

Published: 9 Apr 2024. Updated: 3 months.

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Close enough for jazz? Jazz returns to the air at the BBC in Belfast this summer. Photo: marlbank

  • Stephen Graham

It looks like a new ''jazz series'' is to air later this year on BBC Radio Ulster. But will this series be a short lived affair or a regular schedule fixture in embryo?

For now there are no shows at all! Sadly long time Jazz Club host Walter Love died earlier this year bringing to an end his popular trad-loving station staple. Paul McClean, executive editor of music, arts and events at the BBC in Belfast indicated to us back in February that the station ''plan to donate Walter’s Jazz CDs and some books to the Belfast Central Library to have a Walter Love special jazz section.''

Radio Ulster had however by then already axed the forward looking contemporary scene Jazz World show in 2023.

But contrary to such jazz media coverage shrinkage locally Northern Ireland jazz has seen a lot of increased activity since Lockdown in the Belfast area with regular weekly gigs at pianist Scott Flanigan's club in Belfast's trendy Ballyhackamore on Fridays, improved programming at Berts in the Cathedral Quarter plus national all-Ireland and international acts presented regularly at Magy's Farm in rural County Down by Jazz World presenter Dr Linley Hamilton and his wife poet Maggie Doyle, formerly editor of music programmes at the Belfast headquartered station.

Northern Ireland's biggest and best jazz festival held in Derry annually takes place in the spring to be held over the early-May bank holiday weekend once again. Omagh singer Victoria Geelan, the vaudevillian pop polymath Duke Special who is easily jazz relatable and Derry new generation guitar star Joseph Leighton are notable in the Derry City, Strabane District Council & Guinness backed line-up for 2024. As for the new series, details are under wraps but a BBC Northern Ireland spokesperson told marlbank: ''We’ll have a new jazz series in early summer and will continue to reflect this genre of music in other parts of the BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle schedule.''