This week’s CJ has no obvious theme but vocals and strong melodies are certainly woven through Derek’s selections. The show started with a track from the new album by Wojciech Staroniewicz – a tribute to Poland’s greatest composer of film music, Krzysztof Komeda. This doctor and jazz pianist was dead at the age of 37 but in his short life he had penned the scores for more than 40 films, including most of Roman Polanski’s up to and including Rosemary’s Baby. Staroniewicz isn’t the first to focus on Komeda’s music – one of our CJ favourites Tomasz Stanko is a frequent interpreter of his work as evidenced by his great ECM album Litania. The Polish link continued with two more tracks from new releases available from Steve’s Jazz Sounds – the first from the trio led by pianist Franciszek Raczkowski and the second from violinist Bartosz Dworak’s group.
Black Marigolds by Michael Garrick is here performed in the version on the Phase III album from the Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet. With Garrick’s interest in Oriental poetry and church music very apparent in many of his recordings, I’m sure that the title of this piece refers to a now largely forgotten translation by E Powys Mathers of the epic Sanskrit love poem Chaurapanchasika. Mathers was a frequent translator of eastern poetry and I’m sure that Garrick would have known his work.
With the arrival of a second Strut compilation of tracks (this time compiled by Gilles Peterson) it’s difficult to avoid the music of Sun Ra at the moment. Derek chose Enlightenment from the collection called Space Odyssey. In fact, this track first appeared on the ground-breaking Jazz in Silhouette album from 1959 but it sounds contemporary. Of the hundreds of Sun Ra albums now available this one should be in any jazz lover’s collection as it features another track played several times on CJ, the extraordinary Ancient Aiethopia [sic].
Current CJ favourite vocalist is Cecile McLorin Salvant and this week Derek chose one of her own evocative compositions, Fog. The show ended with two more distinctive vocalists, the British Zara McFarlane and the Brazilian Flora Purim. Junior Murvin’s reggae classic Police and Thieves has been covered by a few artists (most notably The Clash on their eponymous first album) but this version is beautifully measured – and just as evocative in The Clash’s interpretation. You can see McFarlane’s video of the song here.
- Wojciech Staroniewicz – Cherry from A’Freak-Komeda Project
- Franciszek Raczkowski Trio – 5/8 from Apprentice
- Bartosz Dworak Quartet – Lullaby For Night Marks from Polished
- Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet – Black Marigolds from Phase III
- Sun Ra – Enlightenment from A Space Odyssey
- Cecile McLorin Salvant – Fog from For One to Love
- Zara McFarlane – Police and Thieves from If You Knew Her
- Chick Corea – 500 Miles High from Light as a Feather