The last surviving member of the great John Coltrane Quartet, and a great pianist in his own right, has left us. Jase from Sales would probably have a view about them reforming in heaven, but in the meantime, feast your ears on this.
As far as I can tell Michael Palin was led a wonderful, rewarding, rich life. He’s well-educated, enjoyed a long run with the brilliant Monty Python team and now he earns money travelling all over the world, then writing about his adventures. The powers that be have decided to reward him even more by giving him a knighthood. Same with Twiggy and Alistair Cook. As I get older, I become more disillusioned with the honours system. Yes, the statistics say that ‘ordinary people’ feature more often these days but few get the top honour and there’s still room for the likes of John Redmond to be lauded for his services to politics.
Last night, I watched a round up of Sports Relief 2018 presented by a young lady with cerebral palsy who needed subtitles. She was word perfect and really cool. Sports Relief Heroes included a man who cycled from Brussels to Barcelona for a thousand pounds and a man who was told he would never walk but managed to complete a hundred metre sponsored one in his local sports hall, a record distance for him.
I wish the front pages were full of the latter kind of people rather » Continue Reading.
There is an up and coming Columbia Legacy box set of the Miles Davis Quintet’s tour of Europe in 1960.
This article gives a bit of background to the creative tensions within the band and certainly whets my appetite for this set.
Are there any sax players out there who can enlighten me to multiphonics? If it’s two notes at the same time, does that mean the two combine to create a third sound or is there some technique that means each note is distinct but is played simultaneously. It is clearly easy to do on a piano or a guitar (or any instrument that has seaparate strings), but I can’t understand how two separate notes can sound on a sax (or any other wind instrument), because that is my reading of the comment in the article.
178 7th Avenue South, Greenwich Village, New York is a place of magic. In a tiny basement, where you could cram no more than two hundred people if everyone breathes in, is a speakeasy, The Village Vanguard. It started hosting folk concerts from 1937. By the forties, jazz featured more often and from the 1950s onwards, The Village became the premier jazz venue. All the greats played there. Thelonius Monk’s week long residency helped break him to a wider audience. Bill Evans was a regular. Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra performed so often on Mondays from 1966 to 1990, it morphed into the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.
The venue is in the shape of an isosceles triangle with a small angle between the two equal sides. The stage is situated at that point in the triangle. As a consequence, the acoustics are special, the source of the magic. The musicians are touching distance from the audience, even spilling into the front tables if the band has more than a few members. The official capacity is 123. The combination of perfect acoustics and intimacy with audience is inspirational to a jazz musician who thrives on improvisation.
Sonny Rollins was among the first » Continue Reading.
Jazz isn’t discussed enough on The Afterword. I doubt much of it will appear in the end of year list when it is put together. However, as a genre, it is flourishing. There are oodles of great practitioners and fabulous bands making music that is as lively, inventive, challenging and current as jazz has ever been.
Here’s my top ten of 2015:
1. The Bad Plus Joseph Redman
The Bad Plus are a trio from Minnesota, Reid Anderson bass, Ethan Iverson piano and David King on drums. They are willing to try anything. Last year, they recorded a jazz version of The Rite Of Spring. In 2007, they released an album called Prog. They ought to be The Afterword’s house band. On this album, the trio are so empathetic, they sound like a single unit topped by Redman’s expressive, yet gentle, improvisations. It is a beautifully paced and balanced set of original compositions.
2. José James – Yesterday I Had The Blues – The Music Of Billie Holiday
Jazz is a tricky business. Creative challenge doesn’t sell much. When a record label wants to make money from a jazz artist they ask them to record a tribute album. What could » Continue Reading.