I thought last week’s programme had a strong beginning, but the show this week may well match it in strength and intensity. The music is jazz you cannot afford to miss, so click that Mix Cloud tab and enjoy.
The show began with one of those heavy, tough tunes that represent the best in contemporary jazz. Drummer Otis Brown’s record The Thought of You released on Blue Note was one of the best of 2014. The core band on the record includes pianist Robert Glasper and there are guest vocals from Bilal, Gretchen Parlato and Nikki Ross. The other tunes from the record that I played on the show included two of these vocalists: firstly, Parlato and then Ross, both of whom provided sensitive and moving vocal accompaniment. Otis Brown III has played with Cosmic Jazz favourites Esperanza Spalding, Joe Lovano, Terence Blanchard, Oliver Lake and Somi. Previously, Brown had been supported and encouraged by Donald Byrd, which helped to get him noticed. All of this looks like time well spent because this is one of those records that – unreservedly – CJ would say you must hear. You can also see Otis Brown III in this week’s YouTube video below.
The opening tune was followed by a blistering, fiery, righteous piece from Archie Shepp and Jeanne Lee. This track was from a 2014 double CD release from Soul Jazz Records Black Fire! New Spirits! Radical and Revolutionary Jazz in the USA 1957-82. This is a compilation full of powerful messages from black jazz musicians in the USA during the Civil Rights struggles and beyond. It’s another essential record from CL label favourites Soul Jazz.
There was more Polish jazz with further tunes from veteran Ptaszyn Wroblewski and from Tomasz Stanko’s new album Polin. I noticed last week when I was looking up YouTube videos of Stanko that the person who posted wrote that initially they didn’t rate the trumpeter, but now they see what an excellent and important jazz musician he is. I think this represents my approach to him as well. The inclusion of Ravi Coltrane on the album is an important addition and, at the risk of sounding repetitive, I have to say this is another recommended and important record. The programme ended with a cheery invocation from Janet Lawson to Sunday Afternoon. It’s another example of a British record label – BBE this time – re-releasing wonderful, and sometimes forgotten, music from the USA.
- Otis Brown III – The Way (Truth and Life) from The Thought of You
- Archie Shepp & Jeanne Lee – Blase from Black Fire! New Spirits! Radical and Revolutionary Jazz in the USA 1957-82
- Plaszyn Wroblewski – Ten Plus Eight from Pierwsi Mistrowie
- Otis Brown III feat Gretchen Parlato – You’re Still The One from The Thought of You
- Otis Brown III feat Nikki Ross – I Am Your Song from The Thought of You
- Tomasz Stanko – Yankiel’s Lid from Polin
- The Janet Lawson Quintet – Sunday Afternoon from Janet Lawson Quintet