McCoy Tyner has died

Very sad to hear news of the death of McCoy Tyner who has died aged 81. His sound lives on in all its splendour and majesty however which is some comfort. There was so much power in his playing. Of course journey back to Coltrane and hear the …

Published: 7 Mar 2020. Updated: 2 years.

Very sad to hear news of the death of McCoy Tyner who has died aged 81. His sound lives on in all its splendour and majesty however which is some comfort. There was so much power in his playing. Of course journey back to Coltrane and hear the classic quartet of which he was the last surviving member and his sound is completely embedded in jazz universally. It lives inside the hearts and minds of millions of jazz lovers the world over and will do ever on.

I saw him live a few times over the years leading his own band, the first time and best of all in a Warsaw theatre in the 1990s, in Gateshead at the Sage in 2005 and most recently at the Barbican in London. As a composer 'Passion Dance' was one of his biggest achievements and as a player his individual influence is immense ''going fourth'' practically patenting his own take on quartal harmony. There was always a spiritual, somehow ancient core to some of his progressions and an ecstasy in the aftermath of what he had just created. Step out into any jazz club anywhere and before too long you will hear someone play like McCoy and dream that sound into the room. And yet there was no one like him. SG

Read his obituary: in The New York Times.

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ReDiviDeR, Mere Nation

In residence during The English Session in Birmingham at Jazz Connective next week drummer Matthew Jacobson has come up with the goods big time on Mere Nation. Jacobson's sound lands in general terms somewhere between say Han Bennink and Bobby …

Published: 7 Mar 2020. Updated: 2 years.

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In residence during The English Session in Birmingham at Jazz Connective next week drummer Matthew Jacobson has come up with the goods big time on Mere Nation.

Jacobson's sound lands in general terms somewhere between say Han Bennink and Bobby Previte and so what that means (in case you haven't heard him before and can't place what he is doing immediately) his is an open 'beyond the barline' soundworld, not necessarily banishing groove but not wholly dependent on it, pulse however always there and vital.

With a track featured on the Marlbank 25 February playlist regular readers will by now have gained a taster of Mere Nation (Diatribe) already.

In terms of a records back story Meets I Dig Monk, Tuned recorded at Bow Lane Studios in Dublin in 2013 with its “tapes” roll conversational feel, a successor to the palindromic Never Odd or EveN from two years earlier Jacobson with bassist Derek Whyte, alto saxophonist Nick Roth and trombonist Colm O’Hara plus cameos by Troyka’s Kit Downes, guitarist Alex Roth, trumpeter Alex Bonney and cellist Ben Davis the rock influences such as they are often evaporated into much more experimental music on that record partly indicated by the post-production with its scabrous electronica inflection but minus the beats of any overtly "commercial" dance music.

Mere Nation is a quartet album not cluttered by guests recorded in a Wicklow studio at the beginning of this year. Nick Roth, one of the most intellectual of composers, Colm O’Hara, returns too as does 
Derek Whyte. More avant garde than ever, I'm thinking Benoît Delbecq's work with Steve Argüelles a little on a track such as 'Cicaplast' more exactly, and although there is no pianist the exploratory space traversed is the same.

Roth is the soliloquizer rather than a soloist, in the sense of demonstrator, in key passages. 'Opener' moves more into Martin Speake-like territory but Roth however injects a few additional ingredients and is more Anthony Braxton-like than Speake ever is: the pick of the album.

The infrastructure of the tunes here is interesting and O'Hara provides most of the coarser texture. His bustling trombone sound sometimes doubles up with the bass guitar not playing in unison however but as a recruit for the rhythm section and adds a jagged edge. He provides a certain anarchy but this record also has a lot of discipline to it and you will find this half way through 'Opener'. Other highlights? In 'Haiku' Roth channels his inner Evan Parker going someway towards multiphonics and then heading back, that fluttering ache is where he is at his best and the sound, a winning resilience, hangs in the air. SG

ReDiviDeR, top. Photo: Diatribe