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The show began by dipping into some of the treasures available at Steve’s Jazz Sounds, a specialist source of music from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, with more besides. One of Sweden’s top jazz musicians, saxophonist Jonas Kulhammer, opened the show followed by an overdue return visit to Poland via a first Cosmic Jazz play for pianist Slavek Jaskalke. His flowing keyboard sounds have been heard at venues from New York to Berlin to Moscow and, of course, Poland. He has also played with Cosmic Jazz favourites David Murray and Urszula Dudziak. Staying in Poland, this segment of the show ended with another tune from the wonderfully named Confusion Project.
The Confusion Project selection reminded me of a tune from Kenny Garrett’s Seeds from the Underground album. I did not play that particular track, but it helped to inspire a choice from Garrett. So too did the impending arrival of his new album, together with the link via a shared drummer to the much-loved Kamasi Washington. In addition, we’ve been talking about the praise heaped on Kenny Garrett by his late boss Miles Davis (of whom we have heard much lately) and finally – and above all – because I love the music of Kenny Garrett. I chose the title track of his last album Pushing the World Away.
I could not let the show pass by without a tribute to the late Congolese maestro Papa Wemba. His high, soaring and sweetly inflected vocals just touch and move me whenever I hear them. I chose one of his more Latin-inspired tunes, which seemed best-fit for the format of the show, but if like me you love Congolese soukous, or even more so if you want to find out what it is all about, try listening to the tunes I have listed below as my listening choices for the week.
From Martinique came Max Cilla an artist who popularised the traditional bamboo flute which is well to the fore on this tune. It’s from the album Koute Jazz, a wonderful and highly recommended compilation of jazz music from the Antilles, the French-speaking Caribbean islands. Staying with the French connection came Paris-based trumpeter Erik Truffaz, a musician who is always – in the spirit of Miles – moving on and trying something different. Last week we played a tune featuring the Malian singer Rokia Traore – this week it was an instrumental. Next week…
Finally, I am off to Sheffield shortly and hopeful of catching two jazz shows, one at The Lescar and the other put on by Sheffield Jazz. It seemed fitting to end with musicians that were/are (?) based in Sheffield. Fall Back from Middlewood Sessions is just one of those tunes that never fails to uplift, excite and surprise. It is not strictly a jazz tune, but jazz is in there – check the subtle changes of the vocalist, check the propulsive drumming, check the whole tune and get dancing.
- Jonas Kulhammer – The Bear Quartet from Gentlemen Original Motion Picture Jazz Tracks
- Slavek Juskulke – On from On
- Confusion Project – The Fruit of Change from Confusion Project
- Kenny Garrett – Pushing the World Away from Pushing the World Away
- Papa Wemba – Epelo from Emotion
- Max Cilla – Crepuscule Tropical from Koute Jazz
- Erik Truffaz Quartet – Doni Pt. 2 from Doni Doni
- Middlewood Sessions – Fall Back (single)
Derek is listening to:
- Papa Wemba – Mwasi
- Koffi Olomide and Papa Wemba – Esakola
- Papa Wemba – Esclave
- Joe Henderson – Felicidade
- Seun Kuti – Think Africa (live)
Neil is listening to: