Ten jazz and beyond tracks for you this week – from Japan’s Jazz Collective to a trumpeter’s tribute to Fela Kuti and from Brazil’s Caldo de Piaba to new music from neuroscientist and DJ Sam Shepard (AKA Floating Points). To enjoy the music, just click on our IO Radio logo to your left.
Jazz Collective have released three fine albums of accessible contemporary jazz. You can find more and listen their first album here. Renovation features bandleader Takao Hirose on trombone. Next up was new British soul artist Jamie Woon whose newly released second album Making Time is something of a departure from his acclaimed first outing, Mirrorwriting which was co produced by dubstep icon Burial. The first single from Making Time – Sharpness – is a beautifully crafted piece of neo-soul and the excellent Message, which can be heard and seen here, is more of the same.
Returning to the UK before Christmas, I found myself clearing out some CD compilations I’d made and found the powerful piece of trumpet playing from Nicholas Payton’s album Sonic Trance. Fela 1 is, of course, a tribute to Nigeria’s most famous musical ambassador but it’s also very much in Miles Davis’s late 70s electric vein. Produced by Karriem Riggins who has worked with Common and other hip hop artists, this album has a messy, fractured but engaging sound. It’s replete with much use of the wah-wah pedal (just like late Miles) and nowhere is this heard to better effect than on Fela 1. Payton, by the way, can be just as tough in his writing as his music – check out his provocative essay On Why Jazz Isn’t Cool Anymore and let us know what you think. Next up was an excellent version of Herbie Hancock’s Actual Proof, first heard on his 1974 album Thrust, but here in a version on the rather rare Japanese live recording Flood, released in 1975. Actual Proof has also been given a more contemporary workover by pianist Chris ‘Daddy” Dave and his group the Drumheadz – look and listen here.
It seemed appropriate to follow this with something really up to date – music from Sam Shepard and Floating Points. Shepard has created something unique with Elaenia, his first full length release and we featured the longest track on the album, Silhouettes I, II and III. Shepard as DJ and producer has for a while honed his love for all genres from gritty funk, avant-garde jazz, deep house, and more to create his own unique electronica. Anyone who starts his career with a remix of Sun Ra’s I’ll Wait for You is going to be worth a listen… Have a look at Sam Shepard crate digging in Sao Paulo and talking about his musical influences here (and ending his DJ set with some Donald Byrd too!).
It wouldn’t be expected that we would follow this with a slice of Brazilian reggae – but why not? I don’t know anything about Caldo de Piaba but this dubby bassline groove was infectious – as was the Earth, Wind and Fire sample (from Runnin’) on Walk Into the Sun from Queens’, NY 1990s hip hoppers Organized Konfusion. Rapper Pharoahe Monch went on to greater solo success, using jazz improvisational techniques in his rhyming and delivery. After this came perhaps Abbey Lincoln’s most moving song, Throw It Away. This version is from her album A Turtle’s Dream, released in 1994. Lincoln, who died in 2010 , performs the song here with something of a jazz supergroup – Pat Metheny on guitar, on drums, Charlie Haden on bass and Victor Lewis on drums. You can hear another lovely version of this song on the album Golden Lady.
We ended the show with two jazz icons, both now jazz performers for over sixty years. Saxophonist Wayne Shorter is heard on a track from a J J Johnson album but collected here on a lovely retrospective of his work called (not surprisingly) Footprints: the life and music of Wayne Shorter. The title In Walked Wayne is, of course, a reference to the jazz standard In Walked Bud performed by everyone from its composer Thelonious Monk to Chick Corea. Veteran drummer Roy Haynes is a CJ favourite too, and we heard him here in the late 70s with a very sharp piece of drum driven funk, Vistalite, featuring Joe Henderson on tenor and Stanley Cowell on keyboards. Haynes is still one of the coolest men in jazz – have a look at him here on the David Letterman Show in 2013. Aged 88 when this was recorded, he has every right to have that solo spot at the front.
And if that gives you a taste for late Roy Haynes, kick back and watch this video too – almost an hour with his aptly named Fountain of Youth band at the Vienne Festival, France again in 2013. So that’s it for my on-the-mic input for the next few months – over to Derek in the IO studio for more Cosmic Jazz inspiration!
- Jazz Collective – Renovation from The Hurst Selection 2
- Jamie Woon – Sharpness from Making Time
- Nicholas Payton – Fela 1 from Sonic Trance
- Herbie Hancock – Actual Proof from Flood
- Floating Points – Silhouettes I, II and III from Elaenia
- Caldo de Piaba – Venska Pro Papai from Oi! A Nova Musica Brasileira
- Organized Konfusion – Walk Into the Sun from Organized Konfusion
- Abbey Lincoln – Throw it Away from A Turtle’s Dream
- Wayne Shorter – In Walked Wayne from Footprints: the life and music of Wayne Shorter
- Roy Haynes – Vistalite from Quiet Fire