This week’s Cosmic Jazz has tributes to two jazz superstars, some new releases and more music from Brazil. We began with a cut from rapper Oddisee, available as part of his Odd Summer release on Bandcamp and then took at short look at the career of Blue Note vibesman Bobby Hutcherson with Yuyo and Love Song, both from his superb Montara album of 1975. Hutcherson is the subject of a recommended more extended tribute from Gilles Peterson. It’s available in two parts and you can access Part 1 here and Part 2 here. As we noted on the show, Hutcherson had a uniquely long tenure with Blue Note – one only matched by pianist Horace Silver – recording over 45 albums as leader in his long career from 1963 right through to 2014. Fittingly, his last studio album Enjoy the View was a return to the Blue Note label.
Next up were two tracks from the new Robert Glasper/Miles Davis collaboration. Davis is now in that small but select pantheon of artists who will continue to release new best selling albums after his death and Everything’s Beautiful is no exception. It debuted at No.1 on the Billboard jazz chart and even entered into their top 200 releases. Whatever purists think of the music, there’s no doubt that this can kind of activity can promote contemporary jazz and, of course, it helps if you can call on top drawer names like Stevie Wonder, Laura Mvula and Erykah Badu to help you out. We featured the excellent Maiysha (So Long) which adds lyrics to what was probably the weakest track on the Miles Davis Get Up With It album from 1974. Compare Glasper’s imaginative reworking with the original Maiysha track here. A taste of the Haitus Koyote collaboration from Everything’s Beautiful followed and then two examples of contemporary jazz vocals. The first came from Toronto’s Badbadnotgood trio and their new release – simply titled IV. Time Moves Slow features vocalist Sam Herring from American synth-pop band Future Islands. Here though, his vocal is a beautifully restrained take that would have suited legendary southern soul performers like James Carr or Dan Penn. What better to follow this that the consummate restraint of Abbey Lincoln singing Should’ve Been from her excellent 2007 release Abbey Sings Abbey?
CJ returned to Brazil for the second half of this week’s show with music from the new Sonzeira release from Gilles Peterson. Like the Everything’s Beautiful project, this album features radical reworkings of the music from a long lost Brazilian classic album – Jose Prates Tam Tam Tam! from 1958. Peterson’s search for the £1000 album even featured on the UK’s Channel 4 news and in Record Collector magazine. It was eventually re-released on Trunk Records last year with Peterson’s release available on his own Brownswood Records earlier this month.
Up next was another exclusive – a rare track from a still unreleased album. Brazilian vocalist Joyce is a longtime friend of Cosmic Jazz and we have featured her music since we began the show nearly ten years ago. Her 1980 album Feminina was re-released to critical acclaim by Mr Bongo many years ago and this version of the title track is from an unreleased American album. The plan was to launch Joyce’s career in the US with this an album featuring the cream of American jazz musicians – all arranged by Claus Ogerman who oversaw George Benson’s Breezin’ and In Flight albums. This sensational extended version of Feminina has superb solos from Joe Farrell on flute and Mike Manieri on vibes.
Staying in Brazil but with a more contemporary twist, next was Celia Vaz and APE from their excellent album Ebb and Flow. This really successful mix of Brazilian grooves and electronica should be better known: APE are English producers Paul Conboy and Adrian Corker and this release works on every level. We ended the show with two tributes to jazz greats we have recently lost. The first was Belgian harmonica player Toots Thielemans who featured in bass player Jaco Pastorius’s Word of Mouth big band project on the beautiful tune Three Views of a Secret, also recorded by Weather Report for their album Night Passage. The late Bernie Worrell was known for his work with Parliament and Funkadelic but jazz was his musical backbone. Many of his solo albums are worth exploring – but especially his solo piano outing Elevation which begins with this moving version of another Miles Davis tune, In a Silent Way.
- Oddisee – Viva Brasil from Odd Summer
- Bobby Hutcherson – Yuyo from Montara
- Bobby Hutcherson – Love Song from Montara
- Robert Glasper (feat. Erykah Badu) – Maiysha (So Long) from Everything’s Beautiful
- Haitus Koyote – Little Church from Everything’s Beautiful
- Badbadnotgood (feat. Sam Herring) – Time Moves Slow from IV
- Abbey Lincoln – Should’ve Been from Abbey Sings Abbey
- Sonzeira – O Que Voce Sabe from Tam Tam Tam!
- Sonzeira – Aves de Lema from Tam Tam Tam!
- Joyce – Feminina from unreleased album Natureza
- Celia Vaz and APE – Nas Aguas do Rio from Ebb and Flow
- Celia Vaz and APE – Obrigado Donato from Ebb and Flow
- Jaco Pastorius – Three Views of a Secret from Word of Mouth
- Bernie Worrell – In a Silent Way from Elevation (The Upper Air)
Neil is listening to…
- Jacob Collier – Don’t You Know
- Herbie Hancock – Gentle Thoughts
- Mistafide – Equidity Funk
- Cecil Taylor – Free Improvisation #3
- Billy Joel – Zanzibar
Derek is listening to…