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RIP Norman Simmons

Pianist Norman Simmons has died. He was 91. Carmen McRae is and always has been marlbank's pre-eminent jazz singer of first resource and no. 1. No one comes close and Simmons was one of Carmen's greatest accompanists, probably the greatest of all, …

Published: 14 May 2021. Updated: 41 days.

Pianist Norman Simmons has died. He was 91. Carmen McRae is and always has been marlbank's pre-eminent jazz singer of first resource and no. 1. No one comes close and Simmons was one of Carmen's greatest accompanists, probably the greatest of all, and so the Simmons touch let's be clear was remarkable, an art in itself inhabiting the song and working with many of the greatest singers whose work was nonpareil as was his.

Read more at WBGO.

Simmons who hailed from Chicago also worked with Ernestine Anderson, Anita O'Day, Joe Williams and Betty Carter. He had his own groups first at the end of the 1940s and led the house trio at the Beehive in his home town.

Norman Simmons, top

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Ferg Ireland trio, Stay Broke ****

Good to hear Nathaniel Facey playing so well at the heart of 'Stay Broke' the lead-off track from Ferg Ireland Trio the fine double bassist Ferg Ireland's agenda setting trio record out on the Mondegreen label. Drummer James Maddren, last heard by …

Published: 14 May 2021. Updated: 41 days.

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Good to hear Nathaniel Facey playing so well at the heart of 'Stay Broke' the lead-off track from Ferg Ireland Trio the fine double bassist Ferg Ireland's agenda setting trio record out on the Mondegreen label. Drummer James Maddren, last heard by this blog playing with James Copus at the Jazz Cafe between Lockdowns, read more here, underpins the fiery hard blowing bop on this track. Other numbers are: 'Ludwick Blues'; 'Mel's Mood'; 'When You Know'; 'Lips'; and, 'Confession'. Nat, best known for his work with the great Empirical, is one of the UK's finest jazz musicians.

2AndyDavies

In the pantheon in terms of UK alto draw a line from John Dankworth to Joe Harriott, to Peter King, to Martin Speake, to Soweto Kinch to Rachael Cohen and Nat once again proves how compelling he is in the timeline of icons after Speake and before Kinch. The tunes are Ferg's, a Hollandaise source here in terms of his darting style and beat patrol, who is superb, fleet and happening here. Definitely worth your time. Ferg Ireland Trio is an 18 June release

Link to the Mondegreen site

Ferg Ireland, above, upstairs in Ronnie's playing with Andy Davies at the hard bop jam in May 2015. Photo: marlbank