Ritualistic Pottering about writ large – Jim McNeely and the Frankfurt Big Band doff their hats to Stravinsky

Chris Potter features on the release of January's Jim McNeely and the Frankfurt Big Band modernistic tribute to Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps – The Rite of Spring. Modernistic is here in the analytical sense that along with T. S. Eliot's The …

Published: 22 Dec 2021. Updated: 37 days.

Chris Potter features on the release of January's Jim McNeely and the Frankfurt Big Band modernistic tribute to Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printempsThe Rite of Spring. Modernistic is here in the analytical sense that along with T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land and James Joyce's Ulysses (both 1922) the earlier Rite of Spring (1913) is also a totem of the 20th century pan-arts modernism movement that caught fire particularly in the wake of the cataclysmic first world war and saw Stravinsky's ballet and orchestral concert among the vanguard.

As for Frankfurt, UK jazz record-buying fans will know this south-west German radio station big band from Hesse for its sterling work playing electric Miles with film and TV jazz composer Colin Towns and more recently with the much-missed Phronesis on The Behemoth on arrangements of the Avishai-esque trio's songbook by the Staffordshire-born Julian Argüelles on a 2017 release.

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It is the language of the 6-part new composition that inspires Rituals (to be issued by Double Moon Records on 28 January) and not a note-for-note replication of the Stravinsky piece itself as that would involve very different artistic, generic and copyright considerations. The album also includes four additional Potter pieces including two from the saxophonist's masterwork The Sirens.

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The Rite of Spring has attracted in recent years a recorded treatment by The Bad Plus back in 2014. Stravinsky influenced Charlie Parker and the appeal of jazz musicians in the Russian composer's direction is not new particularly because of this. For instance nearly a decade ago the London-based Nu Civilisation Orchestra made the Parker/Firebird connection overt in a London concert .

Chicago-born pianist, composer and Grammy winning arranger McNeely in the 1970s was a featured soloist in the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra and later pianist in the Stan Getz quartet and Phil Woods quintet.

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Shadow of Omicron forces jazz show cancellations

Cancellations at live jazz venues are starting to bite all over again on the London scene although it's only a trickle so far. While most venues are publicly holding to their programmes all gigs at the Vortex jazz club up to New Year's Eve are …

Published: 21 Dec 2021. Updated: 38 days.

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Cancellations at live jazz venues are starting to bite all over again on the London scene although it's only a trickle so far. While most venues are publicly holding to their programmes all gigs at the Vortex jazz club up to New Year's Eve are cancelled with the venue saying purchased tickets will be refunded. Shows affected this week and next are: The Shape of Jazz To Come Stan Sulzmann appearance, Eternal Triangle, Vittoria Mura and Olly Chalk, John Etheridge, Heidi Vogel and Estelle Kokot.

More widely in the industry there is growing concern. UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin quoted by Complete Music Update says: “While the government is not formally cancelling events, the nature of the messaging is appearing to advise people not to attend them. This messaging is clearly harming audience confidence at live music events and is tantamount to a lockdown in all but name for our sector, yet without any of the necessary financial support being made available to see us through this latest crisis.” Here we go again: Shows cancelled this week at the Vortex, above