Week ending 26 October 2019: an improvised show…

The show this week was a varied and interesting one – but not quite as planned. Sometimes things don’t always go to plan at Cosmic Jazz and the carefully uploaded music – well, just isn’t there.  This was one of those weeks. Luckily, there is always great music still to play – and putting it together for the show just becomes an interesting and improvisatory challenge. And – maybe – that’s exactly what jazz is.

Erik Truffaz, born in Belgium but resident in Paris, is a trumpeter who has always moved on and tried to do things differently. He has included rap artists and other guests on his records, he has varied the size of his band but he always plays with a clear tone, that is  at times almost minimalist and with a sense of cool space. I have seen him live and he plays with the minimum of fuss. Check him out.

Build An Ark is a Los Angeles based creative music ensemble formed as an immediate peace action following the events of 9/11. The band is lead by producer Carlos Niño and vocalist Dwight Trible and includes members such as Tribe Records founder Phil Ranelin, Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra elder Nate Morgan and Adam Rudolph, co-founder of the Pharoahs. The music is cosmic in feel and sound that’s just right for this programme, and the tune selected for our show this week has an appropriate message for this times – How Do We End All This Madness?

I’m currently sorting and re-visiting compilations in my collection and there are a few I have ignored for some time. One was compiled by DJ/producer Mr. Scruff. His Big Chill Classics is a diverse collection and – unexpectedly – includes the Mike Westbrook tune which was on last week’s show. For this week’s show, I chose one of the jazzier pieces from Japan’s Nubukazu Takemura with vocals in French from Nadja.

New artist Mariama was born in Sierra Leone, brought up in Germany and is now resident in Paris, France. Her version of the 1948 Nat King Cole hit Nature Boy from her album Love, Sweat & Tears appeared on the show last week, but as a current favourite it received another airing. This is certainly a version that adds something to the original, not least through the inclusion of kora among the musical backing.

A co-director of the Mariama album was Manuel Schlindwein. As it happens, he has worked with Akua Naru, a hip hop artist with jazz credentials we love here on the show. The tune Nag Champa (referring to an Indian incense mix) makes reference to  Nina Simone, but Akua Naru has also played with trumpeter Christian Scott and I first came across her when I heard the excellent British jazz pianist Sarah Tandy mention that she had worked with her.

We then featured two Japanese jazz favourites from Sleep Walker and Soil & “Pimp” Sessions. The latter was one of our favourite groups back in the day and, whilst they are still recording, their glory days were undoubtedly in the noughties with albums including their first in 2005, Pimp Sessions. This featured the singles Waltz for Goddess and their cover of Bobby Watson’s A Wheel Within a Wheel and the band were extensively promoted by Gilles Peterson in the UK. The now dormant band Sleep Walker featured Masato Nakamura (sax), Hajime Yoshizawa (piano), Kiyoshi Ikeda (bass) and Tomokazu Sugimoto (drums) and they released a first self-titled album in 2003. Their 2004 album The Voyage even included a guest slot from Pharoah Sanders.

We ended with a full airing this week of the Roy Ayers tune A Rose for Cindy from his Stoned Soul Picnic album. This was the second of three albums recorded for Atlantic in the late 1960s with all featuring some outstanding playing from Ayers and his top notch band including Charles Tolliver, Herbie Hancock, Gary Bartz, Huberts Laws, Ron Carter and Grady Tate – whew! Check out this record and the other two releases in this series, Virgo Vibes (1967) and Daddy Bug (1969).

We ended with part of Azanyah’s The One. We’ll do it justice in coming weeks.

  1. Erik Truffaz Quartet – Doni, Doni Pt 2 from Doni, Doni
  2. Build An Ark – How Do We End All This Madness from Love Pt.1
  3. Nobukazu Takemura – Serene from Mr. Scruff’s Big Chill
  4. Mariama – Nature Boy from Love, Sweat & Tears
  5. Akua Naru – Nag Champa from Live & Aflame
  6. Soil & Pimp Sessions – Avalanche from Pimp Master
  7. Sleep Walker – Brotherhood from Into the Sun
  8. Roy Ayers – A Rose for Cindy from Stoned Soul Picnic
  9. Azanyah – The One from The One

Derek is listening to…

Neil is listening to…

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