What is actually selling?

Good question. The jury is out! It is hard to know in terms of cold hard fact. What we do know is to go on some reliable rankings if not fully disclosed metrics. Some things that are shifting a few units and that aren't reissues in the UK official …

Published: 15 Feb 2021. Updated: 21 days.

Good question. The jury is out! It is hard to know in terms of cold hard fact. What we do know is to go on some reliable rankings if not fully disclosed metrics. Some things that are shifting a few units and that aren't reissues in the UK official jazz and blues album top 30 chart's top 10 (applicable from 12-18 February) are Various Artists' Blue Note Re:imagined, a platter that a Universal top suit Tom Lewis was pretty keen on getting behind in the trade press at the time of release. It resonates with younger jazz fans a good deal although for some of the more grizzled, marlbank included, hearing classic Blue Note from back in the day is still good all, any, day. Has ''the 'guard''' really changed? A difficult if inconvenient question especially if inclined to vainglory for the present but one that needs to be addressed given how extraordinary Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock were to name but 2 greats for instance back in their Blue Note pomp. Nubya Garcia's Source; and Fergus McCreadie's Cairn are also in the top 10. Fergus' record, as noted recently, is the best Scottish jazz record since Tommy Smith's solo on Mira stole the show communing with Arild Andersen and co and there is more quantity. Most of the rest of the top 10 are reissues or old records that are still selling and that is usually the case with the Official UK Jazz and Blues chart. Plus ça change. It all in a certain sense registers but hardly holds up a mirror to the scene. Link: to the chart

Tags:

Archie Shepp and Jason Moran, Let My People Go

Before doing anything else, listen to Paul Robeson, in complete silence, alone. There is a weight. A code. A meaningfulness way beyond what any of us living now can know. Then play Archie Shepp and Jason Moran. There is a momentousness …

Published: 15 Feb 2021. Updated: 21 days.

Next post

Before doing anything else, listen to Paul Robeson, in complete silence, alone. There is a weight. A code. A meaningfulness way beyond what any of us living now can know.

Then play Archie Shepp and Jason Moran. There is a momentousness continued.

Back in December hearing the first stirrings available at the time drawn from Let My People Go, a beatifically striking treatment of the spiritual 'Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child' immediately past merges with time present, I turn to Marian Anderson, to Mahalia Jackson, and to OV Wright inspired by the superb treatment by these two giants of jazz: together, as one.

Hearing the rest of the album Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington's 'Isfahan' has an intimacy and crucially also a sense of anarchy that is part of the Archie Shepp rationale. Moran knows how to dismantle chords and you get a sense of collapse and then brand new construction more than reconstruction all over again. But above all he is responding.

Intergenerational albums are not unusual in jazz, one of the music's biggest and wisest strengths. Less heard however as on Let My People Go is when you have an intergenerational meeting of masters from wildy disparate generations.

Shepp was part of the ''New Thing'', the fire in ''fire music'', a revolutionary figure of free-jazz in the 1960s and onwards.

Moran, mentored initially by Greg Osby, emerged at the end of the 1990s and is one of today's greatest jazz pianists and bandleaders with his trio the Bandwagon and as a reimaginer of Thelonious Monk and Fats Waller among much else.

The best tracks are certainly the 'Motherless' and 'Go Down Moses' treatments that artistically are worth their weight in gold. Shepp has been down this road before many times and interpreted the melody of 'Moses' before with his great pianistic muse Horace Parlan (1931-2017) on Goin' Home (Steeplechase, 1977) for instance. However his duo with Moran is rare alchemy of another kind entirely given Moran's study of touch that in totality lifts us up like nobody's consciousness from theirs to climb into our own private space voiced literally and figuratively above all by Shepp. SG. Archie Shepp and Jason Moran photo: Accra Shepp

Out now on Archieball