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Zoltan from the Xhosa Cole quartet's K(no)w Them, K(no)w Us streams

Out on Birmingham label Stoney Lane Brum saxophone star Xhosa Cole is here on a radio edit of 'Zoltan' from K​(​no​)​w Them, K​(​no​)​w Us to be released later this year. Hearing the track takes us back to a pre-Lockdown show at London jazz club …

Published: 25 May 2021. Updated: 30 days.

Out on Birmingham label Stoney Lane Brum saxophone star Xhosa Cole is here on a radio edit of 'Zoltan' from K​(​no​)​w Them, K​(​no​)​w Us to be released later this year. Hearing the track takes us back to a pre-Lockdown show at London jazz club the Vortex in March last year when themed around the Larry Young Blue Note album Unity released in 1966 delivered in the second set of the concert world class tenor saxophonist Cole played 'Zoltan' that night with Jay Phelps also on the new track as is drummer Basford who that night was playing the Elvin Jones role. Cole of course was our Joe Henderson and Jay, Woody Shaw. Cole has a fantastic technique and his solos have an intensity to them even when his timbre is light and airy there is strength and stamina to his method and plenty of detours ahead guaranteed.

That night the audience enthusiastically helped Xhosa gloss 'Zoltan' the Woody Shaw piece named for the Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) as he chatted engagingly explaining the tunes.

Stoney Lane indicate that the full album will be out at the end of July and explain that K​(​no​)​w Them, K​(​no​)​w Us is an album that celebrates ''the rich tapestry of music and heritage of great African-American composers and improvisers, formative influences on his life and music, through a contemporary black British lens.''

Fellow Brum jazz stars saxist Soweto Kinch and pianist Reuben James are guests on the record the title punning on fun repartee involving Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong ‘'no him, no me.’' A fuller version of 'Zoltan' opens the album with Ornette's 'Blues Connotation', 'Manhattan', Monk's 'Played Twice', 'On A Misty Night', Bob Haggart's 'What's New' and 'Untitled Boogaloo' the other numbers. SG

Link to the Stoney Lane Bandcamp pages

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Then and Again, Here & Now from the TC3 is a rare trio treat from Todd Cochran

Coming up next month is Todd Cochran's piano trio album Then and Again, Here & Now a release that will surely send a lot of us scurrying back to delve more deeply into the pianist's stellar back catalogue. Issuing label Sunnyside say that the …

Published: 25 May 2021. Updated: 30 days.

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Coming up next month is Todd Cochran's piano trio album Then and Again, Here & Now a release that will surely send a lot of us scurrying back to delve more deeply into the pianist's stellar back catalogue. Issuing label Sunnyside say that the Cochran release is his first album since his ''two underground classics for Prestige Records in ’72 and ’73.''

An album largely of standards may seem like a familiar formula. When you listen you just know that this format is the framework and the guide sketch for improvisation. Cochran originals, a little Brubeck and Bach are also a potent factor with Cochran's unaccompanied solo take on 'You Must Believe in Spring' very striking on a first listen.

Tracks are 'Softly As In A Morning Sunrise', 'A Foggy Day', 'I Got Rhythm', 'Verselet For The Duke', 'The Duke', 'Don't Get Around Much Any More', 'Heretofore (Interstitial 1)', 'Fantaisie - J.S. Bach Prelude XX WTC Book II', 'April In Paris', 'Between Spaces (Interstitial 2)', 'Invitation', 'You Must Believe In Spring', 'Bemsha Swing', 'Little B's Poem' and 'Then And Again Here & Now'.

Cochran's playing partners in the TC3 are double bassist John Leftwich (an erstwhile musical director for Rickie Lee Jones) and drummer Michael Carvin (known for this classic work with Lonnie Liston Smith for Flying Dutchman in the mid-1970s). Cochran, who is 70 later this year and who hails from San Francisco, was often known as Bayeté. In his teens he played with John Handy and later Bobby Hutcherson and appeared as pianist, arranger and composed the majority of tracks on Hutcherson's expansive 1971 Blue Note album Head On. Cochran was keyboardist and singer in the 1970s in Automatic Man and Fuse One and he has also worked with Jim Capaldi, Bill Bruford, Brand X and Peter Gabriel. Most momentously of all to many his piece 'Free Angela' was played by Santana on Lotus.

'Music can take us to imaginary spaces, like scattered little poetic islands of peace, places that we can escape together and where things that were hazy become clear. The universal creativity we all possess shows us that we’re being guided by something that’s been patiently waiting for us to discover. Music can inspire understanding in our imperfect world,'' writes Cochran on his website.

Todd Cochran, top left, John Leftwich and Michael Carvin

Then and Again, Here & Now is out on Sunnyside and is an 11 June release. Press photo