Tonight’s Cosmic Jazz featured new music from Steve Kuhn and Vijay Iyer, a track from the just released Fat Freddy’s Drop CD and Albert Ayler recorded at John Coltrane’s funeral! For more on Kuhn’s excellent new ECM CD, find out more about what we think of Mostly Coltrane in our review section.
We started with Max Roach and then threw some Roy Ayers, John Scofield and McCoy Tyner into the mix. It’s all here on Cosmic Jazz – live at at our new start time of 8:30pm.
Max Roach – Freedom Day
Fat Freddy’s Drop – Big BW
John Coltrane – Seraphic Light
Albert Ayler – Love Cry/Truth is Marching In/Our Prayer (live at John Coltrane’s funeral 21 July 1967)
Tenorio JR – Consolacao
EST – Dodge the Dodo
Eddie Harris, Nils Landgren, Bernard Purdie with the WDR Big Band – Wade in the Water
Hank Mobley – East of the Village
John Scofield – A Go Go
The Juju Orchestra – Do It Again
Roy Ayers – He’s Coming
Max Roach – Effi
Steve Kuhn – Song of Praise
Hajime Yoshizawa – Yoake -Dawn-
Vijay Iyer Trio – Galang
McCoy Tyner – African Village
Well – we didn’t expect thirty minutes less music time, but we still crammed in sixteen tracks of Cosmic Jazz!
Let us know what you think of the show and send us a comment.
There have been a lot of Coltrane influenced releases recently but this new one (2009) must surely be one of the best. Steve Kuhn and Coltrane have history: in 1960 at the age of 21, Kuhn was playing piano on a Coltrane quartet tour in New York. It didn’t last – he was replaced after eight weeks by McCoy Tyner who stayed with the quartet through most of the great Impulse recordings of the 1960s.
On this new ECM recording, Kuhn’s trio is augmented by Joe Lovano on tenor (and one track, tarogato – a Hungarian reed instrument also favoured by Charles Lloyd). The music throughout is stunning. This set begins with Coltrane’s Welcome and ends with Kuhn’s solo piano meditation simply called Trance.
In between, the trio and Lovano work their way through the Coltrane repertoire including late originals like Crescent and Living Space together with standards like I Want to Talk about You and The Night Has a Thousand Eyes. It all works. Kuhn’s playing is vibrant and tender. He might once have been compared with Bill Evans but here Kuhn plays with exquisite control one minute and almost free abandon the next. In the remarkable Configuration (originally on Coltrane’s 1967 release Stellar Regions) he does all this and more. Kuhn isn’t at all like Tyner – all block chords and modal runs. Rather, his tone is impressionistic, with solos often built up from tiny runs and clustered arpeggios.
As for Lovano, he may play with Ravi Coltrane in the Saxophone summit group but the sound here is really all his own. It’s fiery but controlled, with a tone that has echoes of ‘trane when it suits the mood best (as in the gorgeous Song of Praise) but melodically inventive too in a way that his recent Folk Art CD on Blue Note didn’t demonstrate. Nowhere is this more clear than on The Night has a Thousand Eyes where he spirals out tenor lines of such warmth and lightness that smiling is the only permitted response.
Drummer Joey Baron is all Elvin Jones one minute and then Roy Haynes the next, but even at his most thunderous (Configuration ) there’s always there’s the delicate stickwork that marks out his style. Live at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival a few years ago, I saw Baron use a wider range of sticks and mallets with greater intensity and depth than any drummer I can think of, and he brings that artistry to this set too. There’s just a couple of solo spots for bassist Finck but both are deep and lyrical and across the full 75 minutes of Mostly Coltrane his interplay with the others is stunning.
This group just really like playing together and producer Manfred Eicher and his New York engineer James Farber capture this with the usual ECM clarity. Tribute albums don’t always work but this one does. I love this album and will be playing it for years to come. As they say, if you’re going to buy one Coltrane-flavoured CD this year – make it Mostly Coltrane.
Just time for a reminder that Cosmic Jazz goes live at Saints Wine Bar on Wednesday 23 September when this time we’re going latin. Expect a Cosmic Jazz Club mix with Brazilian, jazz and club favourites.
Tickets are £3 for admission and a tapas taster or £10 for admission and a full tapas selection – available from Saints on St Peter’s Street, Ipswich.
Call in or call on 01473 252438. We’ll be playing from 7.30 ’til late. See you there!