What a show tonight! Two exclusives: the first from Emanative featuring Matthew Halsall and the second a class treatment of Chameleon from new vocalese master Michael L Roberts. No time for JD Allen and Matana Roberts this week – so that’s all in next week’s promising line up. Instead we had Conjure and Steve Coleman (twenty years apart but with real soundlinks), Debussyish melodies from Dave Brubeck and the subtle alto tapestry of Lee Konitz. We romped home to the finish with Japanese jazzrock (Yoshizawa), the 1980s revisited (Marcus Miller) and Sun Ra in a ZAP! KAPOW! finish.
And don’t worry – it really is Cosmic Jazz, even though the show appears to begin with Erykah Badu this week. 03:10mins in you’ll get Emanative/Matthew Halsall – stunning sounds to begin the show… Checkout Emamative’s blog on our links (right).
- Emanative (feat. Matthew Halsall) – Find You
- Michael L Roberts – Chameleon
- Yuko Fujimaya Quintet – If Words
- Babatunde Olatunji – Jolly Mensah
- Ebo Taylor – Heaven
- Conjure – Mo Ku Lana, Mo Jinde Loni
- Steve Coleman and Five Elements – Destination
- Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden – Alone Together
- The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Zen is When
- Bobby Hutcherson – Yuyo
- Hajime Yoshizawa – Open Door
- Marcus Miller – Full Nelson
- Sun Ra and the Blues Project – Batman and Robin Over the Roofs
More on the last track tonight. Here’s the story: sometime in 1966, producer Tom Wilson persuaded Sun Ra and members of his band (John Gilmore and Marshall Allen on tenor and alto, Pat Patrick on bass, and Jimmy Owens and Tom McIntosh on trumpet and trombone) and the members of the Blues Project, (which may or may not have included Al Kooper) to lay down 35 minutes of music for a Batman and Robin album credited to The Sensational Guitars of Dan & Dale. It was a quickie exploitation effort sponsored by some toy company in New Jersey (where these sessions were cut) intended to sell some dance music for discotheques and parties by cashing in on the craze surrounding the Batman television program. The album, showing the Caped Crusader and his partner swinging down on bat-ropes, has been a denizen of dollar-record bins and nostalgia shows for decades, and just happens to feature some of the hottest musicians in New York City. Batman and Robin Over the Roofs features Jimmy Owens prominently, along with Sun Ra and the two guitarists (Steve Katz and Danny Kalb) in the longest jam on the record.
What’s even more fun is that, apart from the Neal Hefti Batman Theme, everything is public domain blues built on some familiar material – including Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Bach. One cut, appropriately entitled The Riddler’s Retreat, quotes riffs and phrases from a half-dozen Beatles songs, and another (The Bat Cave) is this group’s answer to Green Onions. Along with Sun Ra, who dominates every passage he plays on, Steve Katz and Danny Kalb are the stars here, romping and stomping over everything as they weave around each other, while Gilmore, Allen, and Owens step up to the plate when needed. It’s all great fun – and well worth a listen. Download from iTunes because buying the product (vinyl or CD) will cost you.