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Jo Harrop, If I Knew ****

Song of regret 'If I Knew' from The Heart Wants is like something that Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley would have written together. Sung with grace by Jo Harrop it is a reminder of hearing the Durham-born singer at the Spice of Life in Soho six …

Published: 10 Apr 2021. Updated: 24 days.

Song of regret 'If I Knew' from The Heart Wants is like something that Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley would have written together. Sung with grace by Jo Harrop it is a reminder of hearing the Durham-born singer at the Spice of Life in Soho six years ago. That night Harrop, appearing with the Copasetics, sounded like Chris Connor. Perhaps there is also a spot of Julie London somewhere in her sound especially circa London's Lonely Girl period. With 'If I Knew' memories of enjoying her live come flooding back. The excellence of the song helps and it's even more impressive that Harrop co-wrote the piece. The lyric is involved with the protagonist's self-admonishment at not pursuing a love affair when it is now all too late. Harrop is accompanied on this evocation of painful regret by modern-mainstream pianist and the song's co-writer Paul Edis surrounded by a very well-arranged strings section.

Tonight Jo Harrop appears with Paul Moran and Mez Clough from the Van Morrison touring band and Jim Mullen streaming from Chelsea jazz club the 606 at 8pm; 'If I Knew' is on Lateralize and is to be released on 16 April. Harrop appears at Cadogan Hall, London on 5 June

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RIP Sonny Simmons

Avant-garde alto saxophonist Sonny Simmons, known for his ESP-Disk albums and work with Eric Dolphy, has died at the age of 87. I only managed to hear Simmons the one time back in 2004 circa the release of Reeds & Birds at a festival in Finland …

Published: 10 Apr 2021. Updated: 27 days.

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Avant-garde alto saxophonist Sonny Simmons, known for his ESP-Disk albums and work with Eric Dolphy, has died at the age of 87. I only managed to hear Simmons the one time back in 2004 circa the release of Reeds & Birds at a festival in Finland called the Tampere Jazz Happening at which he was appearing, pictured above in an official festival photo, in the Cosmosamatics. What I remember most about that time was the way Simmons played in his highly individual style the extraordinary-sounding English horn. SG Listen to a selection drawn from Simmons' work and read a Libération tribute.