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Catching Up With… Sheboshka

Sophie Wales catches up with Şebnem Zorlu (vocals) and Chris Miles (7 and 6 string guitars) from singer-songwriter duo, Sheboshka.

We’ve been checking-in with jazz artists and musicians throughout the South to see how their lockdown experience has been.

What was your first ever encounter with jazz? 

Şebnem: Listening to jazz tunes on my parents’ vinyl records when I was young and later on discovering Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone on the radio.

Chris: Coming across an interview with veteran UK jazz guitarist, Ike Isaacs, in a copy of Electronic Musician magazine back when I was a kid learning classical guitar. The interview had a transcription of a solo piece of Ike’s called ‘After Hours’. I tried playing it but the harmonies were strange and my sight reading was heavily challenged! But it inspired me to go and start checking out jazz guitarists and I could never play an unextended minor triad again…

Name a track you wish you’d written.

Şebnem: ‘The Part You Throw Away’ by Tom Waits.

Chris: ‘Oblivion’ by Astor Piazzolla.

What have you been listening to while in lockdown?

Şebnem: ‘Rain Dogs’ by Tom Waits and Chris Isaak, I’m also on a Nancy Sinatra kick at the moment!

Chris: Tonnes of Bill Evans and a lot of Yamandu Costa.

Favourite gig you’ve ever been to and why?

Chris: That’s got to be Vincente Amigo back in 2003. It was a tour for his Ciudad de las Ideas record which is still my favourite of his. It was in the old amphitheatre in Famagusta, Northern Cyprus — just a stunning concert in a stunning place.

Şebnem: Ditto!

Any livestream concert recommendations?

Chris: Bireli Lagrene Trio at the Maisons-Lafitte Jazz Festival. It’s on YouTube!

What advice do you have for musicians in lockdown?

Şebnem: My advice to lyric writers in lockdown or otherwise, would be to listen to a vast variety of well written music in different genres and languages, watch movies, read books, and sharpen your skill for emotional memory.

Chris: Find some online lessons or book a Skype lesson with a favourite artist (there are some amazing people doing this in lockdown) and just commit to using some of this time to get back to practicing some basics.

Have you been working on any new material in lockdown?

Both: Yes, we’ve been writing some new songs. We just posted a rehearsal recording of one of them, ‘Something Beautiful’, on Instagram.

Find more of Sheboshka’s music on their website, and check out their album ‘Shadows Behind Us’.

Our next ‘Catching Up With…’ is with Charlie + Jake, and will be posted on 5th August. Follow the series on our social media and hear about it directly when you sign up to our mailing list.

 

Catching Up With… Abi Flynn

Sophie Wales catches up with Abi Flynn, Brighton-based singer and songwriter.

We’ve been checking-in with jazz artists and musicians throughout the South to see how their lockdown experience has been.

What was your first ever encounter with jazz?

My grandad was a jazz singer in his day. He used to sing the greats whilst filling out his crosswords or serenade us at family weddings and parties. He had a beautiful baritone voice and used to tell about his days secretly singing in jazz clubs whilst my nanny thought he was out having a ‘normal’ job!

Name a track you wish you’d written.

There are so many, but what comes to mind this second is ‘Both Sides Now’ by Joni Mitchell (the smoky jazz version from the 2000 album). Wow. The depth of meaning within the lyrics, the melody, the FEELING. Just goose bumps.

Who have you been listening to while in lockdown?

I’ve been listening to a lot of music where world-inspired rhythm and percussion meets orchestral landscapes. Such as Michael Kiwanuka, Terry Callier, Minnie Ripperton, The Isley Brothers, Pete Josef, Snarky Puppy. I’m loving cranking up some personal favourites such as Chantae Cann, Stevie Wonder, Rohey, Esperanza Spalding, Fatima, Bobby Caldwell and Chaka Kahn.

Favourite gig you’ve ever been to and why?

Snarky Puppy live in Brighton. Every single song was like being caressed by about five different dimensions of delicious sounds! I was right at the front, so I soaked it all in and stared in total amazement at the musicality and pure heart that went into every bar.

Any livestream concert recommendations?

I can’t believe I’m saying it but I haven’t seen any livestream concerts! For me, lockdown has been such a time of introspection and redefining myself as an artist, whilst being a new mama in a bit of a love bubble. Lots of gentle experimentation with new sounds and exploring what I’m passionate singing about in this new chapter. I’m going to look into these livestream concerts after this!

What advice do you have for fellow musicians adapting to life in lockdown?

Make it real. Make it felt. We are all feeling so much right now, in one way or another. Without so much distraction from the outer world, we are coming face to face with so much of our inner world. So much of our innermost felt expression usually goes under the radar, but in these illuminating times, we have an opportunity to embrace the discomfort rather than cover it up with more distraction. Inside the discomfort is the good stuff. My advice is to get deep, be with it, and make it into art. That is true alchemy. Also, trust is something magical. Trust that just being and experiencing the vast inner landscape, as apposed to the need to ‘do’, will actually move mountains beyond what you could have imagined in terms of creative expansion and bringing your dreams into manifest!

Have you been working on any new material whilst in lockdown?

In a surprising turn of events, my partner Bradley and I have been writing beautiful songs together. He’s a wonderful songwriter and guitar player. Time will tell what happens with these! But mostly I’ve been falling back in love with singing just for the love of singing. I have so much music written that I didn’t get to release yet due to cancer, pregnancy, and the pandemic, so I’ve been creating a master plan to bring it all out.

Read more about Abi’s story on her website, and head over to her Spotify to check out her music. You can also watch her brand new music video here.

Our next ‘Catching Up With…’ is with Sheboshka, and will be posted on 29th July. Follow the series on our social media and hear about it directly when you sign up to our mailing list.

Catching Up With… Nadav Schneerson

Sophie Wales catches up with Nadav Schneerson, drummer and founder of Yadasofi, a jazz ensemble based in Brighton.

We’ve been checking-in with Jazz artists and musicians throughout the South to see how their lockdown experience has been.

What was your first ever encounter with jazz?

I was probably about 15. My older brother was really into jazz at the time and had some CDs (including Sonny Rollins ‘Saxophone Colossus’, Horace Silver ‘The Tokyo Blues’, Cannonball Adderley ‘Somethin’ Else’, Wynton Kelly Trio and Wes Montgomery ‘Smokin’ at the Half Note’, Kenny Burrel ‘Midnight Blue’, Charlie Parker ‘Charlie Parker with Strings’). I put them onto my iPod classic and got into it! I still listen to the albums to this day and they’ve massively influenced me; I know some of them off by heart now. I began jazz drumming lessons when I was 16 and I started to understand the genre a little more; this was the game changer for me.

Name a track you wish you’d written.

Ooh that’s a hard one. I can never pick just one song! If it was an older Jazz tune it would have to be Thelonious Monk ‘Ruby, My Dear’, or Oliver Nelson ‘Stolen Moments’. A more modern track would have to be ‘Hamina’ by Omer Avital, or in fact any of his tracks. There’s many more…

Who have you been listening to while in lockdown?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Itamar Borochov, Yemen Blues, and Moroccan Gnawa music over the past weeks. Innov Gnawa and Simo Lagnawi are good groups to start with! Clark Terry and plenty more Middle Eastern music!

Favourite gig you’ve ever been to and why?

Probably Omer Avital Qantar at Pizza Express in Soho. He’s been a great influence to me for a while so it was really amazing to finally see him live. I was swinging in my seat and grinning for the whole set non-stop.

Any livestream concert recommendations?

Yes! Yemen Blues streamed a live gig which is on their Facebook! I felt like I was really at a show, it was really well recorded and had me jumping out my seat dancing.

What advice do you have for fellow musicians adapting to life in lockdown?

Honestly, we all move at a different pace. I’ve been using this time to reflect on myself. I would say take your time and don’t let the pressure make you feel bad if you’re not being as productive. I think it’s challenging to find inspiration right now. This isn’t a competition, so it’s important to sit back and reflect on what you really want. If your expression is to share your progress online then that’s brilliant! But as I, and many others are, allow yourself to rest. Do what you can and make a plan for what you want long term.

Have you been working on any new material whilst in lockdown?

At the beginning I finished a tune I was writing for a while. It’s probably my favourite tune I’ve composed so far. We’ve started making a remote video, which is getting there. I’ve felt a little unmotivated during this period, but hopefully it’ll be over soon!

Check out Yadasofi’s bandcamp page to hear their music for yourself.

Our next ‘Catching Up With…’ is with Abi Flynn, and will be posted on 22nd July. Follow the series on our social media and hear about it directly when you sign up to our mailing list.

Catching Up With… Jelly Cleaver

Sophie Wales catches up with guitarist, producer, and singer-songwriter Jelly Cleaver, who is now based in London, but grew up in Southampton.

Welcome to our new series in which we are checking-in with jazz artists and musicians throughout the South to see how their lockdown experience has been.

What was your first ever encounter with jazz?

When I was a teenager, about 13/14, I used to shop in charity shops and I’d always get CDs from there. I’d spend ages going through all the racks, just looking at the liner notes. They mostly had out of date cheesy pop and some old rock and folk classics (my thing at the time), but once I found Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, and Nina Simone it was game over.

Name a track you wish you’d written.

I think ‘Move on Up’ by Curtis Mayfield is an impossibly good piece of music. It’s an absolute floor-filler half a century after it was written, and the message still resonates.

Who have you been listening to while in lockdown?

Dexter Gordon is my new idol. I love the sound of his voice. I always listen to a lot of John Coltrane, he puts me in a good place. I’m obsessed with the new Cleo Sol album ‘Rose in the Dark’. Chloe X Halle has been on repeat. So has Mariah Carrey.

Favourite gig you’ve ever been to and why?

Oh, that’s a hard one! If I really think about it, it would probably be some wild underground jam with only about 30 people there. I’d probably have to say it was my album [The Dream Jazz Manifesto] launch actually . Even though I’d come down a few days before with what I think was glandular fever, and I was struggling to speak audibly, I still had an amazing time and me and most of the audience went to my house afterwards for birthday cake. I think the police were called.

Any livestream concert recommendations?

I haven’t been looking out for livestreams much, but me and my housemates watched an amazing one by Laura Marling at Union Chapel. That was really special.

What advice do you have for fellow musicians adapting to life in lockdown?

It’s a tough time! I haven’t actually felt very creative, which is a shame because it’s rare to have this much spare time as a musician! I’ve been using lockdown to think more about what purpose I want to make music for when we’re back to live concerts and gigs. I’ve found it really useful to focus on practising basics, learning standards, and going over music theory. Not exactly thrilling. But I’d say to everyone, use this time for what you feel you are able to do. Some might go hard on the admin, some might be gripped by creativity and be composing some of their best work, some might use the time to focus on their physical and mental health. All are useful. You do you!

Have you been working on any new material whilst in lockdown?

Like I said I haven’t been able to write anything since lockdown, I think some part of me is still processing everything. But I’ve used the time to gather all the tunes I’d already written into different projects and begin to arrange and score them so I can hit the studio running when it finally opens up. I’ve also been polishing up a few tracks I was producing, getting the final mixes ready. So, hopefully, there should be more music coming from me relatively soon!

Jelly’s latest single ‘In Dreams’ was released on the 5th June. You can listen to more of her music here.

Our next ‘Catching Up With…’ features Nadav Schneerson of Yadasofi, and will be posted on the 15th July. Follow the series on our social media and hear about it directly when you sign up to our mailing list.

Tribute to Keith Tippett 1947-2020

On Sunday, 14 June 2020 the British jazz scene lost one of its finest virtuoso’s, Keith Tippett. An outstanding and unique musician from the South West, Keith has left a huge legacy across the world of jazz and improvisation. As solo artist, collaborator and innovator, his music inspired peers including luminaries such as Paul Dunmall and Andy Sheppard, as well as encouraging a younger generations of jazz musicians such as Matthew Bourne. Keith’s compositions, his spontaneous and improvised performances using different objects inside the piano and on the strings created an original and individual sound.

Megija Petinena has gathered articles, poems, and tributes from musicians, promoters and critics who knew Keith well, including a film and tracks  from the last recording he made, giving an insight into his musical world, innovation and explorations right to the end. We are grateful to everyone who has shared material with us. If you would like to add to this tribute please see details of how you can do this at the end of this article.

Ian Storror, long-time friend, jazz promoter and fellow Bristolian, gives a broad account of Keith’s career:

From the early days in Bristol, Keith studied classical piano and organ and played with a Bristol brass band before creating his first jazz trio. He moved to London in the late 1960’s to pursue a career in music, moving between rock and jazz before going on to form groups including The Keith Tippett Sextet, 50-piece ensemble ‘Centipede’ and ‘Mujician’ (which began as a 3-series solo album project) and onto further international performances and projects. In 1970 he married the pop singer Julie Driscoll (Julie Tippetts), who became a lifetime creative collaborator. Read Ian’s full account here

Nod Knowles, long-time friend and supporter writes his own memoir ranging from the personal, the musical, the political and everything in-between.

‘Amongst his signature philosophical phrases Keith often used to repeat ‘Our job as musicians when we play a gig is to remove our listeners from chronological time’. He did that for me every time – and will still do it on record and in memory for as long as I can imagine. Keith Tippett was funny (oh those classic jokes), sociable (another cider please), passionate in his views and opinions and, sometimes just a wee bit intransigent (‘Can a diva’, someone fondly asked, ‘have a Bristol accent?’) – and I swear that I enjoyed every single moment of the chronological and musical time I spent in his company. Along with thousands of others – musicians, students and audiences – I’ll miss him terribly.’ Read Nod’s full version here

David Jones, co-founder and Director of Serious/EFG London Jazz Festival remembers:

‘The Steinway tuner objected when he gently laid a plastic crocodile on the piano strings for resonance – ‘You’re not allowed to prepare the piano!’ Keith drew himself up to his full height and declaimed ‘How dare you! I never prepare anything – it’s improvised’. The croc stayed… Keith Tippett was a life-enhancing spirit who cared passionately about every note he played’ Read David’s full version here

Tony Dudley-Evans, jazz promoter gives an overview of his musical journey as an innovator and more:

‘Keith’s individuality took many forms.  Above all there were those moments when his humour, the way he responded to situations, the timing of his surreal comments in the Bristolian burr he never lost, made one aware that one was in the presence of genius. I remember a moment in the middle of the Tony Levin Memorial Concert. There was a sudden burst of loud feedback in the hall.  Keith heard the sound. He didn’t wince, but did ‘explain’ to   the band and the entire audience what was going on: ‘It’s Tony.  He’s trying to get in on it!’’ (Tony Dudley-Evans, London Jazz News) Read full article here and London Jazz News Podcast interview with Keith (2013)

Keith worked with students including his teaching/mentoring at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama to his long-standing annual courses at Dartintgon Summer School, influencing a range of musicians.

‘It was his kindness, openness and humanity that opened my ears to improvised music. He was a musician of extraordinary originality, a composer who broke all the rules but never lost his way in what he wanted to achieve. ‘(Dave Stapleton, Edition Records) Read the full version here

‘My discalculaic brain struggled to sight read regular notation let alone 13th chords on the charts he was showing us (and still does). But Keith was only ever encouraging and never once made me feel bad about it, instead giving me credit for listening and trying out unusual chord voicings. There was always humour and ice breaking and attempts to put us at ease: ‘you’ve made an old man very happy… or is that a happy man very old?’ To this day, some of my favourite jokes are Keith jokes.’ (Roshi Nasehi) Read full version here

‘It wasn’t just that Keith was a formidably talented pianist. Or the sort of absolute one-off character who inspired people to be more themselves, more comfortable in their own skin, than they’d ever dared before… it was his generosity of listening which was inseparable from the generosity of his heart.’ (Ana Juliet Silvera ) Read full version here

‘The man inspired so many and the impact he has on many inspirational musicians over a 50 year period is incredible. He was a ‘sweetheart’ (as he would say of those who were genuine and kind hearted), my life was made so much better with him in it as a student and I will forever treasure those many brilliant moments. ‘(Luke Lockyer) Read full version here

‘Feeling real gratitude for having witnessed so many of his performances at Dartington, both his free-wheeling, wild and inquisitive improvs with Julie Tippetts, and his generous, joyous holding of space for students to shine.’ (Sara Mohr-Pietsch)

 ‘Matt Davis and I shared the bill once with Keith and Julie. I was expecting him not to like our set at all. We were VERY minimal in that period. Electronics, trumpet and amplified tam tam, small sounds, tiny gestures, long silences. Afterwards, he was wonderful, very complimentary and said our music was serious and sophisticated and that we delivered it with ‘aplomb’ (the only person I’ve ever known use that word!). The concert was at the Lighthouse Theatre in Poole, Dorset, organised by Stuart Riddle. We played in the little black box, arts space downstairs, usual audience of about 40 people. Quite by coincidence, upstairs in the main concert hall was a big presentation by Karl Jenkins and the Bournemouth Philharmonic Orchestra, Keith’s old band mate and by now, world famous composer. Audience of 1500. I asked Keith about Karl’s success and he replied, with his usual humility and generosity, that it couldn’t have happened to a nicer man and that he deserved every moment of it.’ (Mark Wastell)

‘Over the years I got to know Keith so that as a student and secretary of the Jazz and Improvised Music Society at Middlesex Poly I arranged for him to play a solo concert at Trent Park. Keith had just returned from playing in Japan. He was tired from the travel but, naturally, gave an unforgettable performance. Later in the 1980’s I became seriously ill and was admitted to hospital for open heart surgery. As I began to recover a card arrived from Keith. I don’t know how he had heard but this was the kind of thoughtful, generous person he was, and his best wishes helped. Once recovered I invited him and Elton Dean to play at the Makeshift Club in the back room of the Duke of Wellington on Balls Pond Road, and I was fortunate to support them in a combo with Keith.’ (Stuart Wilding) Read full article here

We were delighted to be contacted by Adrian Chivers who contributed his recent film:

‘I have a collaborative music project called ‘Noise In Your Eye which features Keith co-writing and performing on this record. We finished the record at the end of March. The plan was to showcase and tour the record this year, however Covid-19 had other ideas! Noise in Your Eye brings together elements of jazz, modern composition, film-score, electronica, ambient and free improvisation and is in fact the last record that Keith released. In the video you can see Keith recording the track Touch the Water at my place’ (Adrian  Chivers) Full album available here

 

Keith

So after all, encore, reprise, that’s all you knew.

I’ll forever see this captain of the grand

swashbuckling, conjuring up monsters and motions disturbed from deeps;

from weightless silence plucking a child’s world with music box pling,

pulling this heart string.

 

A dedicated artist dies

yet resonates for ever unsurrendered;

no compromise.

 

Bellows of Spirit through finger tips

Tippett bent over

Brooding, incanting

Blacksmithing magic.

 

Offstage cheek, crude as crap, joke crackling for our warming.

Diffidence? Not his forte. The English are not supposed to fuss but he was made of other stuff.

 

Lungs empty now,

he inspired many

who blow embers,

embed the muse,

light fuses and refuse

to let dull normal win.

 

Keith, our twin.

 

Shaman of unshaved side burn, burn!*

swing fast

swing low

swing high

sweet man,

sweet soul.

 

*as in play as fast and furious (David Mowat, Musician)

 

Other articles:

Keith Tippett Obituary

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/jun/17/keith-tippett-obituary

Keith Tippett: the jazz great who saw music as a source of goodness

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/jun/15/keith-tippett-the-jazz-great-music

British Jazz Pianist Keith Tippett Dies at 72

https://jazztimes.com/features/tributes-and-obituaries/british-jazz-pianist-keith-tippett-dies-at-72/

Bristol Jazz Legend Dies

https://www.bristol247.com/culture/music/bristol-jazz-legend-dies/

KEITH TIPPETT – 25 AUGUST 1947-14 JUNE 2020

https://www.jazzwise.com/news/article/keith-tippett-25-august-1947-14-june-2020

 

If you would like to add a tribute here, please email us at info@jazzsouth.org.uk

Catching Up With… Run Logan Run

Sophie Wales catches up with Andrew Neil Hayes (saxophones/electronics) and Matt Brown (drum kit/percussion) of Run Logan Run, based in Bristol.

Welcome to our brand new series in which we are checking-in with jazz artists and musicians throughout the South to see how their lockdown experience has been.

What was your first ever encounter with jazz?

MATT: Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers ‘Moanin”, was 100% THE album that got me into jazz and one I still revisit a lot now; I will never tire of it. I do however, have a special soft spot for a few years later when Wayne Shorter joined the band (one of, if not the greatest improvisers of all time in my humble opinion). The mix of Art’s unique power, groove, and feel, blended with Wayne’s deeply honest, boundary pushing explorations is one of my favourite combos. Art has one of the greatest shuffle’s ever, his attitude when it comes to fills, solos, and comping is very moving and energising. JAZZ CAN GROOVE TOO is another big lesson I learned from him, coming from a past of funk, blues, rock, and all other types of groove based music. His music then proved a great gateway into the free, avant-garde music I love.

Name a track you wish you’d written.

MATT: There are way too many to list and not all of them would be jazz, but off the top of my head right now I’d say Radiohead ‘Everything in Its Right Place’, Bjork ‘Joga’, Wayne Shorter ‘Witch Hunt’, Lee Morgan (as a part of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers) ‘Afrique’, and all of Thelonious Monks compositions.

ANDREW: Young Fathers ‘Shame’.

Who have you been listening to while in lockdown?

MATT: I’ve been going through a very severe Deerhoof phase, especially the albums ‘Offend Maggie’ and ‘The Magic’. Their unique blend of straight up alt rock, pop, schizophrenic collaging and rebellious attitudes towards songwriting and playing time, has made them one of my all time favourite groups. The chemistry this bunch have is way off the chart. I’ve been going back through lots of vinyl I’ve collected over the years too and so far other favourites of mine have been Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers ‘Free For All’, Dr John ‘Desitively Bonnaroo’, Lou Donaldson ‘Fried Buzzard live’ and Mark Orton ‘Nebraska’ (original soundtrack).

ANDREW: I was listening to the quiet. Bristol normally has a horrible hum and a horrible smell. It’s all come back now though.

Favourite gig you’ve ever been to and why?

MATT: This is a very hard one and I have no way of giving you one answer, but experiences that pop into my head would be seeing one of my favourite drummers Herlin Riley, play with one of my all time favourite artists Dr John in Bristol a few years back. These are two very deep and unique musicians and they played a lot of Dr John’s earlier material from the album ‘Gris Gris’, which I’m very fond of. It was a heavy lesson in so many ways from two of the New Orleans greats. Another was an Afrobeat gig in Paris and I have no idea what the band was called. They were good, however, half way through the show Tony Allen showed up and sat in. My brain melted, one musician had changed and there and then I learned the genius of Tony Allen. The power to elevate this group into the stratosphere blew me away. That man’s sound, feel, vision, and energy makes him one of the best to EVER play the instrument. Finally watching two of my favourite guitarists John Scofield and Nels Cline on separate occasions play with one of my favourite bands Medeski, Martin and Wood was a mind blower as well. One concert was straight up face melting funk and groove and one was a heavy acid trip of improvisation. I was left speechless after both but I’ll let you ponder who played which gig!

ANDREW: I’ve seen The Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall Allen six times now and each time has been a revelation. Most of the band are in their 60s and 70s and Marshall is 95, and they wipe the floor with everyone else whilst doing cartwheels across the stage, literally.

Any livestream concert recommendations?

ANDREW: It’s not a concert, but Berkley Global Jazz Institute live streamed the Wayne Shorter Quartet chatting to each other and it’s awesome!

What advice do you have for fellow musicians adapting to life in lockdown?

ANDREW: Normally I think it’s prudent to have one eye on the future, however, at this time no one really knows what the hell’s going on, so stay in the moment! Tune out from the noise and focus on your creative practice. Don’t get caught up in thinking you need to churn out ‘content’. Try and answer the question: ‘what are you trying to say?’. Also get outside and breathe some air, read some books and tell someone how much you love them!!

Have you been working on any new material whilst in lockdown?

ANDREW: Yeah loads! I started a progress of recording five minute improvisations and going back a day or two later, to transcribe chunks that I like. I’ve been using these chunks to build new compositions. I reckon I’ve almost got an albums worth of tracks now. I’ve also been working on a bunch of electronic compositions with modular synths. I can get stuck for hours twiddling knobs and pumping beats in my headphones.

Our next ‘Catching Up With…’ features Jelly Cleaver, and will be posted on the 8th July. Follow the series on our social media and hear about it directly when you sign up to our mailing list.

Jazz South Commissions – launched 24 June

We have launched Jazz South Commissions, a new three-part programme offering over £30,000 towards commission projects for composers working in jazz and improvisation in the Jazz South Region.

Jazz South Commissions are about innovation, ambition and artistic aspiration, and aim to support and celebrate the vibrant range of jazz talent in the region.

Platform South Commissions will involve the six bands selected for the first round of Jazz South’s inaugural Platform South scheme.

Two open call initiatives – Jazz South Radar Commissions and Jazz South Breakthrough Commissions – will support 14 jazz composers at different career stages to create new work.

Jazz South Radar Commissions and Jazz South Breakthrough Commissions are now open for online applications from composers and jazz presenters

Details for how to apply to each scheme can be found here

Deadline for submissions – Friday 31 July 2020 at 5pm

 

Stay at Home Soundtrack: Emilia Martensson

Emilia Martensson is a vocalist, composer, and educator at the University of Southampton. She recommends five albums to listen to whilst on lockdown.

In these challenging times we need music more than ever. While live gigs are cancelled we want to shine a spotlight on the jazz community in the South. We’ve been in contact with artists, venues, and promoters to ask them for their listening recommendations.

1) Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley – Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley

This was the album that made me fall in love with jazz. A teacher at my school, who is also a professional jazz drummer in Sweden where I grew up, gave it to me and asked me to learn some of the songs to perform with a jazz ensemble in the school. ‘Never Will I Marry’, ‘Save Your Love for Me’, ‘The Old Country’ and ‘Happy Talk’ were the first jazz tunes I performed live. The sound of Nancy’s voice, her phrasing and the interaction between her and the Saxophone, played by Cannonball Adderley, felt so exciting. The idea of having a conversation in music this way was so compelling to a 15 year old me.

2) Louise Hoffsten, Lasse Englund, Esbjorn Svensson Trio – Kära Du

This is a beautiful album of Swedish Folk songs. I love the arrangements and their playful and colourful approach. I especially like track 12, ‘Akvarell’, where Louise starts laughing spontaneously in the middle of the song. Instead of stopping, the laughter gets weaved in to the piano solo.  This album has had a huge influence on me as it weaves Swedish folk melodies together with the ‘jazz approach’ of having more open arrangements, a richer harmonic language, and deep grooves.

3) Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Fitzgerald sings The Cole Porter Song book

If I had to choose an all time favourite singer I think I would have to say Ella Fitzgerald. I love how playful and free she is in her singing. I find her to always pay tribute to the songs in terms of how the composer intended them to be sung before she flips them around to use them as her playground. This album was one I got in to whilst doing my jazz degree. I fell in love with Cole Porter as much as with Ella.

4) Keith Jarrett – The Köln Concert

A live recording by pianist Keith Jarrett where he is improvising a whole set of music. This is my favourite record to put on, as loud as possible, first thing whilst drinking my morning coffee.

5) Sidsel Endresen and Bugge Wesseltoft – Duplex Ride 

A stunning duo album. I love the easy open flow between the pair. There is such adversity in terms of sounds, structures, and choice of repertoire. The way Sidsel handles text and uses her voice to create different textures and sounds has been another huge influence on me.

You can find Emilia’s music on her website and bandcamp page. This is our final piece in the Stay at Home Soundtrack series. We hope you have enjoyed it – please do sign up to our mailing list and keep an eye out on social media to hear all about what we’ve got planned next. 

Stay at Home Soundtrack: Worm Disco Club

The team at Worm Disco Club, Bristol, recommend six albums for lockdown listening.

In these challenging times we need music more than ever. While live gigs are cancelled we want to shine a spotlight on the jazz community in the South. We’ve been in contact with artists, venues, and promoters to ask them for their listening recommendations.

Nathan’s picks:

1) Freddie Hubbard – Backlash

One of the most effortlessly cool Trumpet players for me. The swinging side to the sound of the 60’s explosion. You had the rock, the hippies, and more esoteric stuff, but this music immediately casts you to a big wide open bar/restaurant on Leicester Square or downtown Manhattan. Bowler hats, waiters in waistcoats and long aprons, Gimlets and Martini’s flying across the bar. Plus a dancefloor for sure! The rhythmic clock zips along thanks to the two Ray’s – Appleton on drums and the legend, Baretto on percussion (who features on the first three tracks), all bouncy and light of touch but also, when needed, with much aplomb. Bob Cunningham on the Bass has the deft touch, a player of great calibre to round off the rhythm section. He wrote the closing track ‘Echoes of Blue’ which serves as a nice contrasting tonic, full of menace and mystery at the end. The album holds the original version of the standard ‘Little Sunflower’ with some gorgeous fluttering Flute playing from James Spaulding (also on Alto Sax). Albert Dailey the pianist who played with Art Blakey, Gary Bartz and Stan Getz is all over this record just as much as Hubbard. And the sleeve. It’s all so classic. In a good way.

2) Joe Armon-Jones – Starting Today  

A modern one here. I think of all the new jazz records that have caught my ear over the last 3/4 years, this one has the most intoxicating mix of flavours. Every song is a new groove and contains layer upon layer or intertwining keys and rhythms, guest soloists/vocalists and just enough of that London attitude, but not too much that it gets in the way of the positive energy exuding from Joe’s melodic compositions. Joe’s playing on this record is just nuts. His brain allows his hands to places that are not conceivable for most keys players, and the smoke hazed floaty edge to his compositions make for great headphone and chill time listening. The opener is a proper banger and that horn line on ‘Ragify’ is so catchy and memorable – instant classic in my eyes.

Jackson’s picks:

3) Grachan Moncur III – Evolution 

The American avant-garde trombonist’s first solo offering was recorded when he was just 26 years old, a vast and diverse record, covering everything from bop, post-bop, and free jazz. The musicians switch up styles effortlessly throughout the record and within tracks themselves. Featuring some incredible solos from trumpeter, Lee Morgan, and backing from percussionist Bobby Hutcherson on one of my favourite instruments, the vibraphone! I feel this album really sums up the creativity of musicians producing work in the post-bop era. My favourite number has to be the title track, ‘Evolution’, with its relentlessly building tension and atmosphere, the mood that this piece creates really envelops the listener. I particularly enjoy the part where it drops down to just bass, vibes and drums. Mad.

4) Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo – Lagoa Da Canoa Município De Arapiraca 

Being a huge Hermeto fan, I knew one of his albums would have to make this list. In the end I settled on this one, one of his 80s style fusion albums. With Hermeto’s signature Northeast Brazilian inspired melodies and rhythms, virtuoso soloing and grandiose, soundtrack-esque orchestrations, this can be only be produced by him! What solidified this one of my suggestions is his sampling of football commentators, expanding each recording with a chord sequence and arrangement to fit the melody of the speech, something which YouTube only just seems to have caught up with in the late 2010’s!!!! A true master always ahead of the curve…

Jake’s picks:

5) Billy Cobham – Spectrum

Absolute classic jazz-fusion album centred around the phenomenal Panamanian drummer, Billy Cobham, and Moog wizard, Jan Hammer. This album completely changed my conception of jazz as a teenager and lead me to really dive into the diverse sound worlds that jazz inhabits. It’s really hard to pick a highlight from this album because it is jam-packed with amazing moments. From the jazz-funk standard ‘Red Baron’ to the moment where Tommy Bolin breaks a string mid solo in ‘Taurian Matador’ (around 1:46) and keeps going, to the heavy bassline laid down by Leland Sklar on ‘Stratus’ which was later sampled by Massive Attack as the basis of the classic ‘Safe from Harm’. If you haven’t checked this one out yet, get it on now!

6) Ayizan – Dilijans 

This was another record that completely knocked me sideways and showed me just how elastic the term jazz can be. A deep Haitian record that combines jazz sensibilities with a respect for and understanding of Haiti’s amazing musical heritage. Touches of Kompa, Rara, and influences of Vodou percussion meld seamlessly with smooth, heart-wrenching vocals and heady sax solos to produce a spiritual-jazz album that tugs at the heartstrings and moves the feet in equal measure. If you haven’t discovered some of the amazing francophone jazz that came out of the Caribbean in the ’70s and ’80s, this is a great place to start. The excellent re-press by the good people at Superfly Records makes it easier than ever to get hold of it.

Our next Stay at Home Soundtrack will be by vocalist Emilia Martensson, and published on Wednesday 3 June. Follow the series on our social media and hear about it directly when you sign up to our mailing list.

 

Stay at Home Soundtrack: Trish Brown

Trish Brown, Operations Director at St George’s Bristol recommends five albums (plus one extra) to listen to while in lockdown. 

In these challenging times we need music more than ever. While live gigs are cancelled we want to shine a spotlight on the jazz community in the South. We’ve been in contact with artists, venues, and promoters to ask them for their listening recommendations.

1) Chet Baker – It Could Happen To You

A gorgeous album, wonderfully lyrical and swingin’ in style. We’re fortunate to have a garden, so it’s the perfect accompaniment to a post-working from home outdoor drink in the spring-summer evening.

2) House of Waters – Peace the Coats 

This group are really great to see live​, they interact with each other seamlessly as a trio and when listening to them I often start imagining long rural walks in various countries around the world. It’s nice to have groups that transport you, as such, during this challenging time.

3) Miles Mosley – Uprising

For me, when I start my day I need a kick-start to get stuck into work. This provides that, and it’s also a great one for when I do my daily run. When listening turn it up!

4) Camilla George – The People Could Fly

I love head bopping to this album imagining I’m back out at a live gig (it’s actually how I dance at a live show anyway!). An expression of soulful tunes, swing numbers and some sweet vocals added by Cherise Adams-Burnett.

5) Snarky Puppy – Family Dinner Vol 1

The album is brilliant, everyone should listen to it. Lalah Hathaway’s track is a top for me.

6) Emma-Jean Thackray – Rain Dance

So, technically not an album, and technically an extra one BUT I couldn’t leave this out. This EP is an expertly produced work with cool, groove based tracks. It’s a great addition to the sunshine vibes as we head into Easter and is a definite favourite of 2020 for me.

Trish has put all these albums together in one playlist if you prefer to listen this way. Our next Stay at Home Soundtrack will be by the team at Worm Disco Club, and published on Wednesday 20 May. Follow the series on our social media and hear about it directly when you sign up to our mailing list.