08 June 2016: reaching new places/re-visiting old ones

Join us via MixCloud this week and you’ll hear music from an Indonesian artist – unusual on Cosmic Jazz, yes – but not quite a first for the show. Keen eared listeners may remember teenage prodigy Joey Alexander (from Jakarta) dwiki dharmawanwhose debut release My Favorite Things was featured in a show at the end of last year. But Dwiki Dharamawan is something else – an Indonesian pianist and peace activist whose World Peace Orchestra deploys some top US fusion musicians (Jimmy Haslip and Steve Thornton, for example). Check him out live here from a Hollywood concert recorded in 2007. Cosmic Jazz played the title track from his new release, So Far So Close.

Next up was US drummer Chad Wackerman – who also appears on Dwiki Dharmawan’s album (it’s all carefully planned this way…). Wackerman was here working with his own group on an album from 2012 called Dreams, Nightmares and Improvisations and the track A New Day featured some powerful jazz fusion drumming – not usually the way we start a Cosmic Jazz show.

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Percussion of a different, more spiritual nature is what Thomas Stronen plays. With the pure rapture and delight of his recent concert in Norwich still fresh in my memory, another tune was essential. This time  we chose the title track of his 2016 album Time Is A Blind Guide – the basis for that outstanding concert in Norwich. It’s another magnificent ECM release – and, of course, is highly recommended by us here on CJ. Stronen is also part of Iain Ballamy’s group Food – catch him here at a live festival in Oslo in more electronic vein.

046 SPIRITUAL JAZZ 2My programme timing can leave me having to cut tunes short at the end of the show. There have been two examples that have suffered this fate recently and, although they are both long, I wanted to play them in full. The first was Archangelo by Raphael, an interesting and original piece  that can be found on the excellent anthology Spiritual Jazz 2Raphael was a US pianist but this tune is from an album he recorded in Belgium with local musicians. The second extended track is on the fourth Spiritual Jazz compilation, and is from a quintet led by radical vibes player Bobby Hutcherson and tenor sax veteran Harold Land. Throughout the 18 minutes of The Creators the strong, spiritual jazz 4repetitive bass of Reggie Johnson maintains the groove. “Reform of the soul, reform of the spirit, reform of society” is what historian Francis Gooding (who write the liner notes for this excellent release on Jazzman Records) describes as the objective of spiritual jazz. Difficult to disagree with this lofty ambition.

Another bass player – Ameen Saleem – appeared next with one of the more nu soul-oriented tracks from his album The Groove Lab. The album cuts across different genres with ease – much like those of his erik truffaz doni donisometime boss, trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Finally, there was a chance to hear one of the two tracks from a recent album by Erik Truffaz on which Malian singer Rokia Traore appears. Truffaz is always a welcome guest on CJ – another trumpeter who is not afraid to extend the boundaries. Here he is in tandem with Murcof – real name Fernanado Corona – an electronica  artist from Mexico. Wash your soul with this one…

  1. Dwiki Dharmawan – So Far So Close from So Far So Close
  2. Chad Wackerman – A New Day from Dreams, Nightmares and Improvisations
  3. Thomas Stronen – Time is a Blind Guide from Time is a Blind Guide
  4. Raphael – Archangelo  from Spiritual Jazz 2
  5. Bobby Hutcherson & Harold Land – The Creators from Spiritual Jazz 4
  6. Ameen Saleem – Don’t Walk Away from The Groove Lab
  7. Erik Truffaz Quartet feat. Rokia Traore – Doni Doni Part 1 from Doni Doni


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