Week Ending 14 October 2017: jazz and not jazz?







This week’s CJ features more music chosen by Neil even though he is still on distant shores. There’s a re-visit to some essential music he selected, more jazz from Poland and a well-established Cosmic Jazz favourite. All available at the click of the Mixcloud tab on your left.

We began with two tunes from the 2017 release CMM by the Polish quintet led by trumpet/flugelhorn player Lukasz Korybalski. It is serious, heavy jazz with featured solos that still have much going on from the other players – just how I like it. Neil notes: Excellent piano from Michal Tokaj too! The rhythm section integrates beautifully with the soloists and overall the album is highly recommended. It’s another release available from Steve’s Jazz Sounds – check out this invaluable site for new music.

Neil has introduced me to The Elder Statesman, the New Zealand trio with the Yeabsley brothers on piano and bass and Lord Echo on percussion. I simply love the gently catchy and rhythmic  soul jazz of Trans-Alpine Express and the tuneful melody of Montreux Sunrise. Did  I catch echoes of the Coltrane classic  Equinox in there or was it because it’s a tune I have been listening to non-stop recently? Whatever, these two are great tracks – available now from Lord Echo’s Bandcamp site. Neil notes: For me there’s a resonance of Jessica Lauren’s wonderful White Mountain – a track from her 2012 album Four, and one we featured several times on Cosmic Jazz. There was an additional number from Lord Echo from his new album released on Soundway Records. Derek wasn’t entirely convinced by the track – but perhaps that’s because there’s little that can be added to the classic makossa rhythm. Judge for yourselves and have a listen to the real thing – Manu Dibango’s original Soul Makossa.  For more of Lord Echo, check out his new album Harmonies, starting with the sunny Just Do You featuring vocals from Mara TK – here’s the official video.

Neil then took us some some of the edges in jazz, beginning with the Portico Quartet. Their new album Art in the Age of Automation was released earlier over the summer and it’s very definitely a return to form after the rather unsatisfying brush with electronic pop styles on their Ninja Tune release Living Fields. The new album sees the return of the hang – their characteristic customised steel drum/prayer bowl sounding cross – and it’s all a huge improvement on the listless Living Fields. Lead off track Endless is a great place to start.

Up next was another new discovery – DJ Tudo e Sua gente de todo lugar. DJ Tudo (Alfredo Bello) is from Brazil and he’s behind two albums that fuse native percussion styles with music from Morocco, Indonesia and more. For Tudo, Brazil and Morocco are ‘brother’ countries – and this is clearly apparent in his music where Moroccan Gnawa music merges with the songs of Afro-Brazilian religions such as candomblé. Tudo throws in some Brazilian afoxê and even some of the Sufi ritual music issawa. A bass player as well as bandleader and producer, Tudo includes some Gnawa guimbre on some tracks, refreshing his own funky bass playing in the process. It’s a heady mix but one that – most of the time – really works. Both Gaia Musica albums are available on Bandcamp where you can listen to all tracks in full before you buy/download. You can hear and buy all of that second album right here. For more DJ Tudo channelling just Brazilian influences try the Pancada Motor – Manifesto da Festa on the UK’s FarOut label. It’s an excellent collage of contemporary Brazilian sounds with a heady mix of traditional forms too.

Third new track from Neil is from UK techno DJ James Holden whose new album is going into a very different kind of jazzy territory –  but one which is also inspired by Gnawa music. Holden says, This was where I got the idea that songs are just backbones or seeds and the strong ones teach/reveal themselves to the players rather than the other way round. It’s an interesting listen. The whole album will be released in November.

The show returned to more conventional jazz with a return play for promising young British saxophonist Camilla George and her Quartet. The debut album Isang shows a lot of promise and I am sure the band will develop further. For evidence of their intent, Mama Wati Returns is a good example – and check out the excellent Fender Rhodes solo from Sarah Tandy. The quartet is definitely  worth seeing live if you can catch one of their bookings.

After the previous week when I played Rachelle Ferrell on the show for the first time in a long while, I simply had to play her again. No amount of superlatives can describe what I feel about her album First Instrument, which was released first in Japan before reaching Europe in 1999. The record is a Cosmic Jazz must have essential – you need this one. The show ended with a return to Poland and Arek Skolik and his Men – a group whose album title Plays Mingus pretty much says it all. What more can I add?

  1. Lukasz Korybalski – CMM from CMM
  2. Lukasz Korybalski – Taniec Greka from CMM
  3. The Elder Statesman – Trans-Alpine Express from Montreux Sunrise/Trans-Alpine Express
  4. The Elder Statesman – Montreux Sunrise from Montreux Sunrise/Trans-Alpine Express
  5. Lord Echo – Makossa No. 3 from Harmonies
  6. Portico Quartet – Endless from Art in the Age of Automation
  7. DJ Tudo e sua gente de todo lugar – O Amor de Lakshmi Oxum from Gaia Musica
  8. James Holden & The Animal Spirits – Pass Through the Fire from Animal Spirits
  9. Camilla George Quartet – Mama Wati Returns from Isang
  10. Rachelle Ferrell – Don’t Waste Your Time from First Instrument
  11. Arek Skolik and his Men – Peggy’s Blues from Plays Mingus

Derek is listening to:

Neil is listening to…

* And a special bonus – here’s the excellent remix of Lotus 72 from Sine Qua Non (Tee Cardaci)

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