This week was a pre-recorded show. Often this is a chance to delve into the past but this week it was an opportunity to travel around the world . Enjoy a global feast of jazz music via the MixCloud tab with not a single tune from a US band.
The African Jazz Pioneers owe their roots to the South African jazz bands of the 1950s. Under apartheid, many of the musicians of that era left the country but, in June 1981, some of the original musicians together some new younger ones got together and started to perform. Mbombela is a tune from the album that emerged. The song was composed in the 1950s and was about the train that took migrant workers from their home to work in the city of Johannesburg. It is about the excitement of a first trip on the train and their return six months later. No doubt, with the arduous work and long absences from home, the excitement soon wore off…
Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin is probably associated in the minds of many people with reggae. Yet jazz was an essential element in his work. When Ranglin started playing regularly, big band music was hugely popular in Jamaica and he followed the likes of Duke Ellington, Woody Herman & Count Basie. Ranglin counted Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Powell among his heroes. In 1964 he played a nine-month residency at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London and that year won the Melody Maker jazz poll for new stars. On the tune Black Disciples from the excellent album Below The Bassline, Distinguished Jamaican jazz player Monty Alexander is on piano.
Brazilian percussionist and drummer Airto Moreira should need no introduction to followers of Cosmic Jazz. Tombo in 7/4 originally appeared on the superb CTI Fingers album in 1973 and it’s remained something of a club favourite. Moreira continues to record and play live – at the age of 78, he featured at the aforementioned Ronnie Scott’s in June this year. You can watch the whole show here.
Trumpeter Edmorny Krater is surely less well known. He can be found on the Heavenly Sweetness album Koute Jazz which is a collection of rare jazz from the French-speaking Caribbean islands. The tune Gwadloup indicates which island he was from, although it was recorded with a group he established after arriving in Paris in 1983. The band were always looking to draw upon the sounds from back home which had spiritual and political values and strengthened their identity – though sadly Krater said This song demonstrates how we don’t manage to value our history, our specificity.
We followed this with a trip to Norway. We have played the beautiful tune Magnus Broo from the Hanna Paulsberg Concept before but did not need much excuse to play it again. Hanna is a sax player and for the album Scent of Soil Swedish trumpeter Magnus Broo joins a band that has been together for eight years. Lucky Novak have also appeared on the show before. They were a unique, risk-taking and unpredictable band from Norway that included Tim Lowerson, a British sax player.
Cuba was the next stop. Pianist Harold Lopez-Nussa now records his trio (which includes brother Ruy Adrian in Boston USA on the American Mack Avenue label) but he remains based in Cuba. Lopez-Nussa was part of the Havana Cultura project (see below) from which the tune on this week’s show is taken. There is a Cuban feel to the music but essentially his music is that of a jazz trio.
Also from Cuba but now recorded on a label from outside the island is Dayme Arocena. She is on Gilles Peterson’s UK based Brownswood label. Nueva Era was her first release. Peterson first encountered her as a teenager singing at a house party on his first trip to the island. It was on his fifth trip that he recorded her as part of the Havana Cultura Project, exploring contemporary Cuban culture. This led to further recording and a new album, Sonocardiogram, just released. You can hear Arocena talking to Gilles Peterson this week on his excellent Worldwide radio show. Stream right here.
Fredrik Kronkvist is a Swedish sax player now based in the US. His 15th album was released last year with a an American group including Jeff “Tain’ Watts on drums. Krnokvist does not stand still and his music is always exciting and contemporary. We played a track from an earlier album Ignition which featured Cuban-influenced music.
The show this week ended in France with pianist Francois Pellisier. His music is modal, spiritual and warm – perfect for Cosmic Jazz.
- African Jazz Pioneers – Mbombela from African Jazz Pioneers
- Ernest Ranglin – Black Disciples from Below the Bassline
- Airto Moreira – Tombo in 7/4 from Fingers
- Edmony Krater – Gwadloup from Koute Jazz
- Hanna Paulsberg Concept – Scent of Soil from Daughter of the Sun
- Lucky Novak – Spartakus from Up. Go
- Harold Lopez-Nussa – La Jungla from Havana Cultura New Cuban Sound
- Dayme Arocena – El Ruso from Nueva Era
- Fredrik Kronkvist Quartet – Straight to the Point from Ignition
- Florian Pellissier Quintet – J’ai du Reve from Biches Bleu
Neil is listening to…