Raoul Björkenheim, Solar Winds, Long Song Records

Björkenheim has always been a galaxy ahead. He has an incredible spirit that remains undimmed by age. He deploys a blitzkrieg of tactics in his preferred jazz-rock-free-jazz style and while not microtonal in a David "Fuze" Fiuczynski sense shares …

Published: 18 Mar 2020. Updated: 3 months.

Björkenheim has always been a galaxy ahead. He has an incredible spirit that remains undimmed by age. He deploys a blitzkrieg of tactics in his preferred jazz-rock-free-jazz style and while not microtonal in a David "Fuze" Fiuczynski sense shares some vocabulary and certainly heat with Fuze and deep down Hendrix as well. Probably Sonny Sharrock and Terje Rypdal are in there too in the labyrinth of his improvisations.

I enjoyed Solar Winds issued on Italian label Long Song. To be honest however the band with Björkenheim are not really up to giving the guitarist quite what he needs on this Coltrane tribute stocked with a few Björkenheim originals including the title track and plenty of Coltrane improvisations drawn from the more adventurous end of his canon. Emanuele Parrini on violin gives it a good go but needs more firepower although he inhabits the world of Leroy Jenkins on Swift Are The Winds Of Life. Silvia Bolognesi on bass and Tiziano Tononi on drums do what they can. Fair play to them. However you can't always climb Everest even if you really want to however you come equipped.

Highlight? Well the cover of 'Peace on Earth' from the posthumously released Concert in Japan is fabulous. Full marks for intent and execution. Actually it does not matter that the record only goes half way to heaven because Björkenheim still soars even when he needs some better reactions. And there is somehow a sincerity that transmits person to person in a very organic way that wins you over. If you share my feelings you'll want to make excuses for the bits you don't like. There aren't many. SG

Tags: 2020 best so far tracks / albumsAlbum reviews

More clubs and festivals are rocked by the ongoing health crisis

More venues and festivals are badly affected by the current Coronavirus crisis. At Pizza Express on the chain's website music manager Ross Dines writes: ''We have had to make the difficult decision to temporarily suspend the next 4 weeks of shows …

Published: 18 Mar 2020. Updated: 3 months.

Next post

More venues and festivals are badly affected by the current Coronavirus crisis.

At Pizza Express on the chain's website music manager Ross Dines writes: ''We have had to make the difficult decision to temporarily suspend the next 4 weeks of shows across all 5 venues with immediate effect. In these unprecedented times, we do ask for your patience as our hardworking music team work through refunding all our bookings at our 5 venues. All customers will be contacted in due course. Although tempting, please do not contact the box office.''

At Ronnie Scott's all shows until the 26th are it appears no longer listed on the club's website. Last night on Twitter singer Sarah Jane Morris who was to have performed at Ronnie's tweeted: ''From tonight onwards until further notice @officialronnies has made the very hard decisions to close it's doors until further notice due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19! So tonight's & tomorrow shows are now cancelled!''

The 606 is closed and online notes: ''We will be following the advice from Public Health England on a daily basis and as soon as it is considered safe and reasonable for us to re-open we will do so immediately.''

Festivals also continue to be affected. The senior management board of the Cheltenham jazz festival in a statement also deliver bad news: ''It is with deep regret that Cheltenham Festivals has taken the decision to cancel this year’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival and Cheltenham Science Festival, in response to the worst public health crisis in a generation. The safety of our Festival-goers, artists, staff, volunteers, partners and the wider community is our priority, in relation to COVID-19.''

The Sage in Gateshead which was to host the Gateshead Jazz Festival this week is also impacted upon. Abigail Pogson, managing director has posted on the venue website: ''In light of the most recent Government advice, Sage Gateshead will be closed to the public from today until further notice. The health and safety of audiences, musicians and staff at Sage Gateshead is our priority.''

Other closures at home and abroad are many and various and include the Southbank Centre closing the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Hayward Gallery and Purcell Room; and in the United States the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has been postponed and will now take place in the autumn.